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Title: A History of Modern Europe, 1792-1878
Author: Fyffe, Charles Alan
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A History of Modern Europe, 1792-1878" ***







Barrister-at-Law; Fellow of University College, Oxford;
Vice-President of the Royal Historical Society


With Maps


In acceding to the Publishers' request for a re-issue of the "History of
Modern Europe," in the form of a popular edition, I feel that I am only
fulfilling what would have been the wish of the Author himself. A few
manuscript corrections and additions found in his own copy of the work have
been adopted in the present edition; in general, however, my attention in
revising each sheet for the press has been devoted to securing an accurate
reproduction of the text and notes as they appeared in the previous
editions in three volumes. I trust that in this cheaper and more portable
form the work will prove, both to the student and the general reader, even
more widely acceptable than heretofore.


London, November, 1895.


The object of this work is to show how the States of Europe have gained the
form and character which they possess at the present moment. The outbreak
of the Revolutionary War in 1792, terminating a period which now appears
far removed from us, and setting in motion forces which have in our own day
produced a united Germany and a united Italy, forms the natural
starting-point of a history of the present century. I have endeavoured to
tell a simple story, believing that a narrative in which facts are chosen
for their significance, and exhibited in their real connection, may be made
to convey as true an impression as a fuller history in which the writer is
not forced by the necessity of concentration to exercise the same rigour
towards himself and his materials. The second volume of the work will bring
the reader down to the year 1848: the third, down to the present time.

London, 1880.


In revising this volume for the second edition I have occupied myself
mainly with two sources of information--the unpublished Records of the
English Foreign Office, and the published works which have during recent
years resulted from the investigation of the Archives of Vienna. The
English Records from 1792 to 1814, for access to which I have to express my
thanks to Lord Granville, form a body of firsthand authority of
extraordinary richness, compass, and interest. They include the whole
correspondence between the representatives of Great Britain at Foreign
Courts and the English Foreign Office; a certain number of private
communications between Ministers and these representatives; a quantity of
reports from consuls, agents, and "informants" of every description; and in
addition to these the military reports, often admirably vivid and full of
matter, sent by the British officers attached to the head-quarters of our
Allies in most of the campaigns from 1792 to 1814. It is impossible that
any one person should go through the whole of this material, which it took
the Diplomatic Service a quarter of a century to write. I have endeavoured
to master the correspondence from each quarter of Europe which, for the
time being, had a preponderance in political or military interest, leaving
it when its importance became obviously subordinate to that of others; and
although I have no doubt left untouched much that would repay
investigation, I trust that the narrative has gained in accuracy from a
labour which was not a light one, and that the few short extracts which
space has permitted me to throw into the notes may serve to bring the
reader nearer to events. At some future time I hope to publish a selection
from the most important documents of this period. It is strange that our
learned Societies, so appreciative of every distant and trivial chronicle
of the Middle Ages, should ignore the records of a time of such surpassing
interest, and one in which England played so great a part. No just
conception can be formed of the difference between English statesmanship
and that of the Continental Courts in integrity, truthfulness, and public
spirit, until the mass of diplomatic correspondence preserved at London has
been studied; nor, until this has been done, can anything like an adequate
biography of Pitt be written.

The second and less important group of authorities with which I have busied
myself during the work of revision comprises the works of Hüffer, Vivenot,
Beer, Helfert, and others, based on Austrian documents, along with the
Austrian documents and letters that have been published by Vivenot. The
last-named writer is himself a partizan, but the material which he has
given to the world is most valuable. The mystery in which the Austrian
Government until lately enveloped all its actions caused some of these to
be described as worse than they really were; and I believe that in the
First Edition I under-estimated the bias of Prussian and North-German
writers. Where I have seen reasons to alter any statements, I have done so
without reserve, as it appears to me childish for any one who attempts to
write history to cling to an opinion after the balance of evidence seems to
be against it. The publication of the second volume of this work has been
delayed by the revision of the first; but I hope that it will appear before
many months more. I must express my obligations to Mr. Oscar Browning, a
fellow-labourer in the same field, who not only furnished me with various
corrections, but placed his own lectures at my disposal; and to Mr. Alfred
Kingston, whose unfailing kindness and courtesy make so great a difference
to those whose work lies in the department of the Record Office which is
under his care.

London, 1883.


In writing this volume I have not had the advantage of consulting the
English Foreign Office Records for a later period than the end of 1815. A
rule not found necessary at Berlin and some other foreign capitals still
closes to historical inquirers the English documents of the last seventy
years. Restrictions are no doubt necessary in the case of transactions of
recent date, but the period of seventy years is surely unnecessarily long.
Public interests could not be prejudiced, nor could individuals be even
remotely affected, by the freest examination of the papers of 1820 or 1830.

The London documents of 1814-1815 are of various degrees of interest and
importance. Those relating to the Congress of Vienna are somewhat
disappointing. Taken all together, they add less to our knowledge on the
one or two points still requiring elucidation than the recently-published
correspondence of Talleyrand with Louis XVIII. The despatches from Italy
are on the other hand of great value, proving, what I believe was not
established before, that the Secret Treaty of 1815, whereby Austria gained
a legal right to prevent any departure from absolute Government at Naples,
was communicated to the British Ministry and received its sanction. This
sanction explains the obscure and embarrassed language of Castlereagh in
1820, which in its turn gave rise to the belief in Italy that England was
more deeply committed to Austria than it actually was, and probably
occasioned the forgery of the pretended Treaty of July 27, 1813, exposed in
vol. i. of this work, p. 538, 2nd edit. [3] The papers from France and
Spain are also interesting, though not establishing any new conclusions.

While regretting that I have not been able to use the London archives later
than 1815, I believe that it is nevertheless possible, without recourse to
unpublished papers, to write the history of the succeeding thirty years
with substantial correctness. There exist in a published form, apart from
documents printed officially, masses of first-hand material of undoubtedly
authentic character, such as the great English collection known by the
somewhat misleading name of Wellington Despatches, New Series; or again,
the collection printed as an appendix to Prokesch von Osten's History of
the Greek Rebellion, or the many volumes of Gentz' Correspondence belonging
to the period about 1820, when Gentz was really at the centre of affairs.
The Metternich papers, interesting as far as they go, are a mere selection.
The omissions are glaring, and scarcely accidental. Many minor collections
bearing on particular events might be named, such as those in Guizot's
Mémoires. Frequent references will show my obligation to the German series
of historical works constituting the Leipzig Staatengeschichte, as well as
to French authors who, like Viel-Castel, have worked with original sources
of information before them. There exist in English literature singularly
few works on this period of Continental history.

A greater publicity was introduced into political affairs on the Continent
by the establishment of Parliamentary Government in France in 1815, and
even by the attempts made to introduce it in other States. In England we
have always had freedom of discussion, but the amount of information made
public by the executive in recent times has been enormously greater than it
was at the end of the last century. The only documents published at the
outbreak of the war of 1793 were, so far as I can ascertain, the well-known
letters of Chauvelin and Lord Grenville. During the twenty years' struggle
with France next to nothing was known of the diplomatic transactions
between England and the Continental Powers. But from the time of the Reform
Bill onwards the amount of information given to the public has been
constantly increasing, and the reader of Parliamentary Papers in our own
day is likely to complain of diffusiveness rather than of reticence.
Nevertheless the perusal of published papers can never be quite the same
thing as an examination of the originals; and the writer who first has
access to the English archives after 1815 will have an advantage over those
who have gone before him.

The completion of this volume has been delayed by almost every circumstance
adverse to historical study and production, including a severe
Parliamentary contest. I trust, however, that no trace of partisanship or
unrest appears in the work, which I have valued for the sake of the mental
discipline which it demanded. With quieter times the third volume will, I
trust, advance more rapidly.

LONDON, October, 1886.

NOTE.--The third volume was published in 1889.




Outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1792--Its immediate causes--
Declaration of Pillnitz made and withdrawn--Agitation of the Priests and
Emigrants--War Policy of the Gironde--Provocations offered to France by the
Powers--State of Central Europe in 1792--The Holy Roman Empire--Austria--
Rule of the Hapsburgs--The Reforms of Maria Theresa and Joseph II.--Policy
of Leopold II.--Government and Foreign Policy of Francis II.--Prussia--
Government of Frederick William II.--Social Condition of Prussia--Secondary
States of Germany--Ecclesiastical States--Free Cities--Knights--Weakness of



French and Austrian Armies on the Flemish Frontier--Prussia enters the
War--Brunswick invades France--His Proclamation--Insurrection of Aug. 10 at
Paris--Massacres of September--Character of the War--Brunswick, checked at
Valmy, retreats--The War becomes a Crusade of France--Neighbours of
France--Custine enters Mainz--Dumouriez conquers the Austrian Netherlands--
Nice and Savoy annexed--Decree of the Convention against all Governments--
Execution of Louis XVI.--War with England, followed by war with the
Mediterranean States--Condition of England--English Parties, how affected
by the Revolution--The Gironde and the Mountain--Austria recovers the
Netherlands--The Allies invade France--La Vendée--Revolutionary System of
1793--Errors of the Allies--New French Commanders and Democratic
Army--Victories of Jourdan, Hoche, and Pichegru--Prussia withdrawing from
the War--Polish Affairs--Austria abandons the Netherlands--Treaties of
Basle--France in 1795--Insurrection of 13 Vendémiaire--Constitution of
1795--The Directory--Effect of the Revolution on the Spirit of Europe up to



Triple attack on Austria--Moreau, Jourdan--Bonaparte in Italy--Condition
of the Italian States--Professions and real intentions of Bonaparte and the
Directory--Battle of Montenotte--Armistice with Sardinia--Campaign in
Lombardy--Treatment of the Pope, Naples, Tuscany--Siege of Mantua--
Castiglione--Moreau and Jourdan in Germany--Their retreat--Secret Treaty
with Prussia--Negotiations with England--Cispadane Republic--Rise of the
idea of Italian Independence--Battles of Arcola and Rivoli--Peace with the
Pope at Tolentino--Venice--Preliminaries of Leoben--The French in
Venice--The French take the Ionian Islands and give Venice to
Austria--Genoa--Coup d'état of 17 Fructidor in Paris--Treaty of Campo
Formio--Victories of England at Sea--Bonaparte's project against Egypt



Congress of Rastadt--The Rhenish Provinces ceded--Ecclesiastical States of
Germany suppressed--French Intervention in Switzerland--Helvetic
Republic--The French invade the Papal States--Roman Republic--Expedition to
Egypt--Battle of the Nile--Coalition of 1798--Ferdinand of Naples enters
Rome--Mack's defeats--French enter Naples--Parthenopean Republic--War with
Austria and Russia--Battle of Stockach--Murder of the French Envoys at
Rastadt--Campaign in Lombardy--Reign of Terror at Naples--Austrian designs
upon Italy--Suvaroff and the Austrians--Campaign in Switzerland--Campaign
in Holland--Bonaparte returns from Egypt--Coup d'état of 18 Brumaire--
Constitution of 1799--System of Bonaparte in France--Its effect on the
influence of France abroad



Overtures of Bonaparte to Austria and England--The War continues--Massena
besieged in Genoa--Moreau invades Southern Germany--Bonaparte crosses the
St. Bernard, and descends in the rear of the Austrians--Battle of
Marengo--Austrians retire behind the Mincio--Treaty between England and
Austria--Austria continues the War--Battle of Hohenlinden--Peace of
Lunéville--War between England and the Northern Maritime League--Battle
of Copenhagen--Murder of Paul--End of the Maritime War--English Army
enters Egypt--French defeated at Alexandria--They capitulate at Cairo and
Alexandria--Preliminaries of Peace between England and France signed at
London, followed by Peace of Amiens--Pitt's Irish Policy and his
retirement--Debates on the Peace--Aggressions of Bonaparte during the
Continental Peace--Holland, Italy, Switzerland--Settlement of Germany
under French and Russian influence--Suppression of Ecclesiastical States
and Free Cities--Its effects--Stein--France under the Consulate--The
Civil Code--The Concordat



England claims Malta--War renewed--Bonaparte occupies Hanover, and
blockades the Elbe--Remonstrances of Prussia--Cadoudal's Plot--Murder
of the Duke of Enghien--Napoleon Emperor--Coalition of 1805--Prussia
holds aloof--State of Austria--Failure of Napoleon's Attempt to gain
Naval Superiority in the Channel--Campaign in Western Germany--
Capitulation of Ulm--Trafalgar--Treaty of Potsdam between Prussia and
the Allies--The French enter Vienna--Haugwitz sent to Napoleon with
Prussian Ultimatum--Battle of Austerlitz--Haugwitz signs a Treaty of
Alliance with Napoleon--Peace--Treaty of Presburg--End of the Holy
Roman Empire--Naples given to Joseph Bonaparte--Battle of Maida--The
Napoleonic Empire and Dynasty--Federation of the Rhine--State of
Germany--Possibility of maintaining the Empire of 1806



Death of Pitt--Ministry of Fox and Grenville--Napoleon forces Prussia into
war with England, and then offers Hanover to England--Prussia resolves on
war with Napoleon--State of Prussia--Decline of the Army--Southern Germany
with Napoleon--Austria neutral--England and Russia about to help Prussia,
but not immediately--Campaign of 1806--Battles of Jena and Auerstädt--Ruin
of the Prussian Army--Capitulation of Fortresses--Demands of Napoleon--The
War continues--Berlin Decree--Exclusion of English goods from the
Continent--Russia enters the war--Campaign in Poland and East
Prussia--Eylau--Treaty of Bartenstein--Friedland--Interview at
Tilsit--Alliance of Napoleon and Alexander--Secret Articles--English
expedition to Denmark--The French enter Portugal--Prussia after the Peace
of Tilsit--Stein's Edict of Emancipation--The Prussian Peasant--Reform of
the Prussian Army, and creation of Municipalities--Stein's other projects
of Reform, which are not carried out



Spain in 1806--Napoleon uses the quarrel between Ferdinand and Godoy--He
affects to be Ferdinand's Protector--Dupont's Army enters Spain--Murat in
Spain--Charles abdicates--Ferdinand King--Savary brings Ferdinand to
Bayonne--Napoleon makes both Charles and Ferdinand resign--Spirit of the
Spanish Nation--Contrast with Germany--Rising of all Spain--The Notables
at Bayonne--Campaign of 1808--Capitulation of Baylen--Wellesley lands in
Portugal--Vimieiro--Convention of Cintra--Effect of the Spanish Rising on
Europe--War Party in Prussia--Napoleon and Alexander at Erfurt--Stein
resigns, and is proscribed--Napoleon in Spain--Spanish Misgovernment--
Campaign on the Ebro--Campaign of Sir John Moore--Corunna--Napoleon
leaves Spain--Siege of Saragossa--Successes of the French



Austria preparing for war--The war to be one on behalf of the German
Nation--Patriotic movement in Prussia--Expected Insurrection in North
Germany--Plans of Campaign--Austrian Manifesto to the Germans--Rising of
the Tyrolese--Defeats of the Archduke Charles in Bavaria--French in
Vienna--Attempts of Dörnberg and Schill--Battle of Aspern--Second passage
of the Danube--Battle of Wagram--Armistice of Znaim--Austria waiting for
Events--Wellesley in Spain--He gains the Battle of Talavera, but
retreats--Expedition against Antwerp fails--Austria makes Peace--Treaty of
Vienna--Real Effects of the War of 1809--Austria after 1809--Metternich--
Marriage of Napoleon with Marie Louise--Severance of Napoleon and
Alexander--Napoleon annexes the Papal States, Holland, Le Valais, and the
North German Coast--The Napoleonic Empire: its benefits and wrongs--The
Czar withdraws from Napoleon's Commercial System--War with Russia
imminent--Wellington in Portugal; Lines of Torres Vedras; Massena's
Campaign of 1810, and retreat--Soult in Andalusia--Wellington's Campaign
of 1811--Capture of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz--Salamanca



War approaching between France and Russia--Policy of Prussia--Hardenberg's
Ministry--Prussia forced into Alliance with Napoleon--Austrian Alliance--
Napoleon's Preparations--He enters Russia--Alexander and Bernadotte--Plan
of Russians to fight a battle at Drissa frustrated--They retreat on
Witepsk--Sufferings of the French--French enter Smolensko--Battle of
Borodino--Evacuation of Moscow--Moscow fired--The Retreat from Moscow--
French at Smolensko--Advance of Russian Armies from North and South--Battle
of Krasnoi--Passage of the Beresina--The French reach the Niemen--York's
Convention with the Russians--The Czar and Stein--Russian Army enters
Prussia--Stein raises East Prussia--Treaty of Kalisch--Prussia declares
War--Enthusiasm of the Nation--Idea of German Unity--The Landwehr



The War of Liberation--Blücher crosses the Elbe--Battle of Lützen--The
Allies retreat to Silesia--Battle of Bautzen--Armistice--Napoleon intends
to intimidate Austria--Mistaken as to the Forces of Austria--Metternich's
Policy--Treaty of Reichenbach--Austria offers its Mediation--Congress of
Prague--Austria enters the War--Armies and Plans of Napoleon and the
Allies--Campaign of August--Battles of Dresden, Grosbeeren, the Katzbach,
and Kulm--Effect of these Actions--Battle of Dennewitz--German Policy of
Austria favourable to the Princes of the Rhenish Confederacy--Frustrated
hopes of German Unity--Battle of Leipzig--The Allies reach the Rhine--
Offers of Peace at Frankfort--Plan of Invasion of France--Backwardness of
Austria--The Allies enter France--Campaign of 1814--Congress of
Châtillon--Napoleon moves to the rear of the Allies--The Allies advance
on Paris--Capitulation of Paris--Entry of the Allies--Dethronement of
Napoleon--Restoration of the Bourbons--The Charta--Treaty of Paris--
Territorial effects of the War, 1792-1814--Every Power except France had
gained--France relatively weaker in Europe--Summary of the permanent
effects of this period on Europe




The Restoration of 1814--Norway--Naples--Westphalia--Spain--The Spanish
Constitution overthrown: victory of the clergy--Restoration in France--The
Charta--Encroachments of the nobles and clergy--Growing hostility to the
Bourbons--Congress of Vienna--Talleyrand and the Four Powers--The Polish
question--The Saxon question--Theory of Legitimacy--Secret alliance
against Russia and Prussia--Compromise--The Rhenish Provinces--Napoleon
leaves Elba and lands in France--His declarations--Napoleon at Grenoble,
at Lyons, at Paris--The Congress of Vienna unites Europe against
France--Murat's action in Italy--The Acte Additionnel--The Champ de
Mai--Napoleon takes up the offensive--Battles of Ligny, Quatre Bras,
Waterloo--Affairs at Paris--Napoleon sent to St. Helena--Wellington and
Fouché--Arguments on the proposed cession of French territory--Treaty of
Holy Alliance--Second Treaty of Paris--Conclusion of the work of the
Congress of Vienna--Federation of Germany--Estimate of the Congress of
Vienna and of the Treaties of 1815--The Slave Trade



Concert of Europe after 1815--Spirit of the Foreign Policy of Alexander, of
Metternich, and of the English Ministry--Metternich's action in Italy,
England's in Sicily and Spain--The Reaction in France--Richelieu and the
New Chamber--Execution of Ney--Imprisonments and persecutions--Conduct of
the Ultra-Royalists in Parliament--Contests on the Electoral Bill and the
Budget--The Chamber prorogued--Affair of Grenoble--Dissolution of the
Chamber--Electoral Law and Financial Settlement of 1817--Character of the
first years of peace in Europe generally--Promise of a Constitution in
Prussia--Hardenberg opposed by the partisans of autocracy and
privilege--Schmalz' Pamphlet--Delay of Constitutional Reform in Germany at
large--The Wartburg Festival--Progress of Reaction--The Czar now inclines
to repression--Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle--Evacuation of France--Growing
influence of Metternich in Europe--His action on Prussia--Murder of
Kotzebue--The Carlsbad Conference and measures of repression in
Germany--Richelieu and Decazes--Murder of the Duke of Berry--Progress of
the reaction in France--General causes of the victory of reaction in Europe



Movements in the Mediterranean States beginning in 1820--Spain from
1814 to 1820--The South American Colonies--The Army at Cadiz: Action
of Quiroga and Riego--Movement at Corunna--Ferdinand accepts the
Constitution of 1812--Naples from 1815 to 1820--The Court-party, the
Muratists, the Carbonari--The Spanish Constitution proclaimed at
Naples--Constitutional movement in Portugal--Alexander's proposal with
regard to Spain--The Conference and Declaration of Troppau--Protest of
England--Conference of Laibach--The Austrians invade Naples and restore
absolute Monarchy--Insurrection in Piedmont, which fails--Spain from
1820 to 1822--Death of Castlereagh--The Congress of Verona--Policy of
England--The French invade Spain--Restoration of absolute Monarchy, and
violence of the reaction--England prohibits the conquest of the Spanish
Colonies by France, and subsequently recognises their independence--
Affairs in Portugal--Canning sends troops to Lisbon--The Policy of
Canning--Estimate of his place in the history of Europe



Condition of Greece: its Races and Institutions--The Greek Church
--Communal System--The Ægæan Islands--The Phanariots--Greek intellectual
revival: Koraes--Beginning of Greek National Movement; Contact of Greece
with the French Revolution and Napoleon--The Hetæria Philike--Hypsilanti's
Attempt in the Danubian Provinces: its failure--Revolt of the Morea:
Massacres: Execution of Gregorius, and Terrorism at Constantinople
--Attitude of Russia, Austria, and England--Extension of the Revolt:
Affairs at Hydra--The Greek Leaders--Fall of Tripolitza--The Massacre of
Chios--Failure of the Turks in the Campaign of 1822--Dissensions of the
Greeks--Mahmud calls upon Mehemet Ali for Aid--Ibrahim conquers Crete and
invades the Murea--Siege of Missolonghi--Philhellenism in Europe--Russian
proposal for Intervention--Conspiracies in Russia: Death of Alexander:
Accession of Nicholas--Military Insurrection at St. Petersburg--
Anglo-Russian Protocol--Treaty between England, Russia, and France--Death
of Canning--Navarino--War between Russia and Turkey--Campaigns of 1828 and
1829--Treaty of Adrianople--Capodistrias President of Greece--Leopold
accepts and then declines the Greek Crown--Murder of Capodistrias--Otho,
King of Greece



France before 1830--Reign of Charles X.--Ministry of Martignac--Ministry
of Polignac--The Duke of Orleans--War in Algiers--The July Ordinances--
Revolution of July--Louis Philippe King--Nature and effects of the July
Revolution--Affairs in Belgium--The Belgian Revolution--The Great
Powers--Intervention, and establishment of the Kingdom of Belgium--Affairs
of Poland--Insurrection at Warsaw--War between Russia and Poland--Overthrow
of the Poles: End of the Polish Constitution--Affairs of Italy--
Insurrection in the Papal States--France and Austria--Austrian
Intervention--Ancona occupied by the French--Affairs of Germany--Prussia;
the Zollverein--Brunswick, Hanover, Saxony--The Palatinate--Reaction in
Germany--The exiles in Switzerland: Incursion into Savoy--Dispersion of the
Exiles--France under Louis Philippe: Successive risings--Period of
Parliamentary activity--England after 1830: The Reform Bill



France and England after 1830--Affairs of Portugal--Don Miguel--Don Pedro
invades Portugal--Ferdinand of Spain--The Pragmatic Sanction--Death of
Ferdinand: Regency of Christina--The Constitution--Quadruple
Alliance--Miguel and Carlos expelled from Portugal--Carlos enters
Spain--The Basque Provinces--Carlist War: Zumalacarregui--The Spanish
Government seeks French assistance, which is refused--Constitution of
1837--End of the War--Regency of Espartero--Isabella Queen--Affairs of
the Ottoman Empire--Ibrahim invades Syria; his victories--Rivalry of
France and Russia at Constantinople--Peace of Kutaya and Treaty of Unkiar
Skelessi--Effect of this Treaty--France and Mehemet Ali--Commerce of the
Levant--Second War between Mehemet and the Porte--Ottoman disasters--The
Policy of the Great Powers--Quadruple Treaty without France--Ibrahim
expelled from Syria--Final Settlement--Turkey after 1840--Attempted
reforms of Reschid Pasha



Europe during the Thirty-years' Peace--Italy and Austria--Mazzini--The
House of Savoy--Gioberti--Election of Pius IX.--Reforms expected--
Revolution at Palermo--Agitation in Northern Italy--Lombardy--State of
the Austrian Empire--Growth of Hungarian national spirit--The Magyars
and Slavs--Transylvania--Parties among the Magyars--Kossuth--The Slavic
national movements in Austria--The government enters on reforms in
Hungary--Policy of the Opposition--The Rural system of Austria--
Insurrection in Galicia: the nobles and the peasants--Agrarian
edict--Public opinion in Vienna--Prussia--Accession and character of
King Frederick William IV.--Convocation of the United Diet--Its
debates and dissolution--France--The Spanish Marriages--Reform
movement--Socialism--Revolution of February--End of the Orleanist




Europe in 1789 and in 1848--Agitation in Western Germany before and
after the Revolution at Paris--Austria and Hungary--The March Revolution
at Vienna--Flight of Metternich--The Hungarian Diet--Hungary wins its
independence--Bohemian movement--Autonomy promised to Bohemia--
Insurrection of Lombardy--Of Venice--Piedmont makes war on Austria--A
general Italian war against Austria imminent--The March Days at
Berlin--Frederick William IV.--A National Assembly promised--
Schleswig-Holstein--Insurrection in Holstein--War between Germany and
Denmark--The German Ante-Parliament--Republican Rising in Baden--Meeting
of the German National Assembly at Frankfort--Europe generally in March,
1848--The French Provisional Government--The National Workshops--The
Government and the Red Republicans--French National Assembly--Riot of
May 15--Measures against the National Workshops--The Four Days of
June--Cavaignac--Louis Napoleon--He is elected to the Assembly--Elected



Austria and Italy--Vienna from March to May--Flight of the Emperor
--Bohemian National Movement--Windischgrätz subdues Prague--Campaign around
Verona--Papal Allocution--Naples in May--Negotiations as to Lombardy--
Reconquest of Venetia--Battle of Custozza--The Austrians enter
Milan--Austrian Court and Hungary--The Serbs in Southern Hungary--Serb
Congress at Carlowitz--Jellacic--Affairs of Croatia--Jellacic, the Court
and the Hungarian Movement--Murder of Lamberg--Manifesto of October 3--
Vienna on October 6--The Emperor at Olmütz--Windischgrätz conquers
Vienna--The Parliament at Kremsier--Schwarzenberg Minister--Ferdinand
abdicates--Dissolution of the Kremsier Parliament--Unitary Edict--Hungary
--The Roumanians in Transylvania--The Austrian Army occupies Pesth--
Hungarian Government at Debreczin--The Austrians driven out of
Hungary--Declaration of Hungarian Independence--Russian Intervention--The
Hungarian Summer Campaign--Capitulation of Vilagos--Italy--Murder of
Rossi--Tuscany--The March Campaign in Lombardy--Novara--Abdication of
Charles Albert--Victor Emmanuel--Restoration in Tuscany--French
Intervention in Rome--Defeat of Oudinot--Oudinot and Lesseps--The French
enter Rome--The Restored Pontifical Government--Fall of Venice--Ferdinand
reconquers Sicily--Germany--The National Assembly at Frankfort--The
Armistice of Malmö--Berlin from April to September--The Prussian Army--Last
Days of the Prussian Parliament--Prussian Constitution granted by
Edict--The German National Assembly and Austria--Frederick William IV.
elected Emperor--He refuses the Crown--End of the National Assembly--
Prussia attempts to form a separate Union--The Union Parliament at
Erfurt--Action of Austria--Hesse-Cassel--The Diet of Frankfort
restored--Olmütz--Schleswig-Holstein--Germany after 1849--Austria after
1851--France after 1848--Louis Napoleon--The October Message--Law Limiting
the Franchise--Louis Napoleon and the Army--Proposed Revision of the
Constitution--The Coup d'Etat--Napoleon III. Emperor



England and France in 1851--Russia under Nicholas--The Hungarian
Refugees--Dispute between France and Russia on the Holy Places--Nicholas
and the British Ambassador--Lord Stratford de Redcliffe--Menschikoff's
Mission--Russian troops enter the Danubian Principalities--Lord Aberdeen's
Cabinet--Movements of the Fleets--The Vienna Note--The Fleets pass the
Dardanelles--Turkish Squadron destroyed at Sinope--Declaration of
War--Policy of Austria--Policy of Prussia--The Western Powers and the
European Concert--Siege of Silistria--The Principalities evacuated--
Further objects of the Western Powers--Invasion of the Crimea--Battle of
the Alma--The Flank March--Balaclava--Inkermann--Winter in the
Crimea--Death of Nicholas--Conference of Vienna--Austria--Progress of the
Siege--Plans of Napoleon III.--Canrobert and Pélissier--Unsuccessful
Assault--Battle of the Tchernaya--Capture of the Malakoff--Fall of
Sebastopol--Fall of Kars--Negotiations for Peace--The Conference of
Paris--Treaty of Paris--The Danubian Principalities--Continued discord in
the Ottoman Empire--Revision of the Treaty of Paris in 1871



Piedmont after 1849--Ministry of Azeglio--Cavour Prime Minister--Designs
of Cavour--His Crimean Policy--Cavour at the Conference of Paris--Cavour
and Napoleon III.--The Meeting at Plombières--Preparations in Italy--Treaty
of January, 1859--Attempts at Mediation--Austrian Ultimatum--Campaign of
1859--Magenta--Movement in Central Italy--Solferino--Napoleon and
Prussia--Interview of Villafranca--Cavour resigns--Peace of Zürich--Central
Italy after Villafranca--The Proposed Congress--"The Pope and the
Congress"--Cavour resumes office--Cavour and Napoleon--Union of the Duchies
and the Romagna with Piedmont--Savoy and Nice added to France--Cavour on
this cession--European opinion--Naples--Sicily--Garibaldi lands at
Marsala--Capture of Palermo--The Neapolitans evacuate Sicily--Cavour and
the Party of Action--Cavour's Policy as to Naples--Garibaldi on the
mainland--Persano and Villamarina at Naples--Garibaldi at Naples--The
Piedmontese Army enters Umbria and the Marches--Fall of Ancona--Garibaldi
and Cavour--The Armies on the Volturno--Fall of Gaeta--Cavour's Policy
with regard to Rome and Venice--Death of Cavour--The Free Church in the
Free State



Germany after 1858--The Regency in Prussia--Army-reorganisation--King
William I.--Conflict between the Crown and the Parliament--Bismarck--The
struggle continued--Austria from 1859--The October Diploma--Resistance of
Hungary--The Reichsrath--Russia under Alexander II.--Liberation of the
Serfs--Poland--The Insurrection of 1863--Agrarian measures in Poland--
Schleswig-Holstein--Death of Frederick VII.--Plans of Bismarck--Campaign
in Schleswig--Conference of London--Treaty of Vienna--England and Napoleon
III.--Prussia and Austria--Convention of Gastein--Italy--Alliance of
Prussia with Italy--Proposals for a Congress fail--War between Austria and
Prussia--Napoleon III.--Königgrätz--Custozza--Mediation of Napoleon
--Treaty of Prague--South Germany--Projects for compensation to
France--Austria and Hungary--Deák--Establishment of the Dual System in



Napoleon III.--The Mexican Expedition--Withdrawal of the French and death
of Maximilian--The Luxemburg Question--Exasperation in France against
Prussia--Austria--Italy--Mentana--Germany after 1866--The Spanish
Candidature of Leopold of Hohenzollern--French declaration--Benedetti and
King William--Withdrawal of Leopold and demand for guarantees--The telegram
from Ems--War--Expected Alliances of France--Austria--Italy--Prussian
plans--The French army--Causes of French inferiority--Weissenburg--Wörth--
Spicheren--Borny--Mars-la-Tour--Gravelotte--Sedan--The Republic proclaimed
at Paris--Favre and Bismarck--Siege of Paris--Gambetta at Tours--The Army
of the Loire--Fall of Metz--Fighting at Orleans--Sortie of Champigny--The
Armies of the North, of the Loire, of the East--Bourbaki's ruin--
Capitulation of Paris and Armistice--Preliminaries of Peace--Germany--
Establishment of the German Empire--The Commune of Paris--Second Siege--
Effects of the war as to Russia and Italy--Rome



France after 1871--Alliance of the Three Emperors--Revolt of Herzegovina--
The Andrássy Note--Murder of the Consuls at Salonika--The Berlin
Memorandum--Rejected by England--Abdul Aziz deposed--Massacres in
Bulgaria--Servia and Montenegro declare War--Opinion in England--Disraeli--
Meeting of Emperors at Reichstadt--Servian Campaign--Declaration of the
Czar--Conference at Constantinople--Its Failure--The London Protocol--
Russia declares War--Advance on the Balkans--Osman at Plevna--Second Attack
on Plevna--The Shipka Pass--Roumania--Third Attack on Plevna--Todleben--
Fall of Plevna--Passage of the Balkans--Armistice--England--The Fleet
passes the Dardanelles--Treaty of San Stefano--England and Russia--Secret
Agreement--Convention with Turkey--Congress of Berlin--Treaty of






Outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1792--Its immediate causes--
Declaration of Pillnitz made and withdrawn--Agitation of the Priests and
Emigrants--War Policy of the Gironde--Provocations offered to France by
the Powers--State of Central Europe in 1792--The Holy Roman Empire--
Austria--Rule of the Hapsburgs--The Reforms of Maria Theresa and Joseph
II.--Policy of Leopold II.--Government and Foreign Policy of Francis
II.--Prussia--Government of Frederick William II.--Social condition or
Prussia--Secondary States of Germany--Ecclesiastical States--Free
Cities--Knights--Weakness of Germany

On the morning of the 19th of April, 1792, after weeks of stormy agitation
in Paris, the Ministers of Louis XVI. brought down a letter from the King
to the Legislative Assembly of France. The letter was brief but
significant. It announced that the King intended to appear in the Hall of
Assembly at noon on the following day. Though the letter did not disclose
the object of the King's visit, it was known that Louis had given way to
the pressure of his Ministry and the national cry for war, and that a
declaration of war against Austria was the measure which the King was about
to propose in person to the Assembly. On the morrow the public thronged the
hall; the Assembly broke off its debate at midday in order to be in
readiness for the King. Louis entered the hall in the midst of deep
silence, and seated himself beside the President in the chair which was now
substituted for the throne of France. At the King's bidding General
Dumouriez, Minister of Foreign Affairs, read a report to the Assembly upon
the relations of France to foreign Powers. The report contained a long
series of charges against Austria, and concluded with the recommendation of
war. When Dumouriez ceased reading Louis rose, and in a low voice declared
that he himself and the whole of the Ministry accepted the report read to
the Assembly; that he had used every effort to maintain peace, and in vain;
and that he was now come, in accordance with the terms of the Constitution,
to propose that the Assembly declare war against the Austrian Sovereign. It
was not three months since Louis himself had supplicated the Courts of
Europe for armed aid against his own subjects. The words which he now
uttered were put in his mouth by men whom he hated, but could not resist:
the very outburst of applause that followed them only proved the fatal
antagonism that existed between the nation and the King. After the
President of the Assembly had made a short answer, Louis retired from the
hall. The Assembly itself broke up, to commence its debate on the King's
proposal after an interval of some hours. When the House re-assembled in
the evening, those few courageous men who argued on grounds of national
interest and justice against the passion of the moment could scarcely
obtain a hearing. An appeal for a second day's discussion was rejected; the
debate abruptly closed; and the declaration of war was carried against
seven dissentient votes. It was a decision big with consequences for France
and for the world. From that day began the struggle between Revolutionary
France and the established order of Europe. A period opened in which almost
every State on the Continent gained some new character from the aggressions
of France, from the laws and political changes introduced by the conqueror,
or from the awakening of new forces of national life in the crisis of
successful resistance or of humiliation. It is my intention to trace the
great lines of European history from that time to the present, briefly
sketching the condition of some of the principal States at the outbreak of
the Revolutionary War, and endeavouring to distinguish, amid scenes of
ever-shifting incident, the steps by which the Europe of 1792 has become
the Europe of today.

[First threats of foreign Courts against France, 1791.]

The first two years of the Revolution had ended without bringing France
into collision with foreign Powers. This was not due to any goodwill that
the Courts of Europe bore to the French people, or to want of effort on the
part of the French aristocracy to raise the armies of Europe against their
own country. The National Assembly, which met in 1789, had cut at the roots
of the power of the Crown; it had deprived the nobility of their privilees,
and laid its hand upon the revenues of the Church. The brothers of King
Louis XVI., with a host of nobles too impatient to pursue a course of
steady political opposition at home, quitted France, and wearied foreign
Courts with their appeals for armed assistance. The absolute monarchs of
the Continent gave them a warm and even ostentatious welcome; but they
confined their support to words and tokens of distinction, and until the
summer of 1791 the Revolution was not seriously threatened with the
interference of the stranger. The flight of King Louis from Paris in June,
1791, followed by his capture and his strict confinement within the
Tuileries, gave rise to the first definite project of foreign intervention.
[4] Louis had fled from his capital and from the National Assembly; he
returned, the hostage of a populace already familiar with outrage and
bloodshed. For a moment the exasperation of Paris brought the Royal Family
into real jeopardy. The Emperor Leopold, brother of Marie Antoinette,
trembled for the safety of his unhappy sister, and addressed a letter to
the European Courts from Padua, on the 6th of July, proposing that the
Powers should unite to preserve the Royal Family of France from popular
violence. Six weeks later the Emperor and King Frederick William II. of
Prussia met at Pillnitz, in Saxony. A declaration was published by the two
Sovereigns, stating that they considered the position of the King of France
to be matter of European concern, and that, in the event of all the other
great Powers consenting to a joint action, they were prepared to supply an
armed force to operate on the French frontier.

[Declaration of Pillnitz withdrawn.]

Had the National Assembly instantly declared war on Leopold and Frederick
William, its action would have been justified by every rule of
international law. The Assembly did not, however, declare war, and for a
good reason. It was known at Paris that the manifesto was no more than a
device of the Emperor's to intimidate the enemies of the Royal Family.
Leopold, when he pledged himself to join a coalition of all the Powers, was
in fact aware that England would be no party to any such coalition. He was
determined to do nothing that would force him into war; and it did not
occur to him that French politicians would understand the emptiness of his
threats as well as he did himself. Yet this turned out to be the case; and
whatever indignation the manifesto of Pillnitz excited in the mass of the
French people, it was received with more derision than alarm by the men who
were cognisant of the affairs of Europe. All the politicians of the
National Assembly knew that Prussia and Austria had lately been on the
verge of war with one another upon the Eastern question; they even
underrated the effect of the French revolution in appeasing the existing
enmities of the great Powers. No important party in France regarded the
Declaration of Pillnitz as a possible reason for hostilities; and the
challenge given to France was soon publicly withdrawn. It was withdrawn
when Louis XVI., by accepting the Constitution made by the National
Assembly, placed himself, in the sight of Europe, in the position of a free
agent. On the 14th September, 1791, the King, by a solemn public oath,
identified his will with that of the nation. It was known in Paris that he
had been urged by the emigrants to refuse his assent, and to plunge the
nation into civil war by an open breach with the Assembly. The frankness
with which Louis pledged himself to the Constitution, the seeming sincerity
of his patriotism, again turned the tide of public opinion in his favour.
His flight was forgiven; the restrictions placed upon his personal liberty
were relaxed. Louis seemed to be once more reconciled with France, and
France was relieved from the ban of Europe. The Emperor announced that the
circumstances which had provoked the Declaration of Pillnitz no longer
existed, and that the Powers, though prepared to revive the League if
future occasion should arise, suspended all joint action in reference to
the internal affairs of France.

[Priests and emigrants keep France in agitation.]

The National Assembly, which, in two years, had carried France so far
towards the goal of political and social freedom, now declared its work
ended. In the mass of the nation there was little desire for further
change. The grievances which pressed most heavily upon the common course of
men's lives--unfair taxation, exclusion from public employment, monopolies
among the townspeople, and the feudal dues which consumed the produce of
the peasant--had been swept away. It was less by any general demand for
further reform than by the antagonisms already kindled in the Revolution
that France was forced into a new series of violent changes. The King
himself was not sincerely at one with the nation; in everything that most
keenly touched his conscience he had unwillingly accepted the work of the
Assembly. The Church and the noblesse were bent on undoing what had already
been done. Without interfering with doctrine or ritual, the National
Assembly had re-organised the ecclesiastical system of France, and had
enforced that supremacy of the State over the priesthood to which,
throughout the eighteenth century, the Governments of Catholic Europe had
been steadily tending. The Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which was
created by the National Assembly in 1790, transformed the priesthood from a
society of landowners into a body of salaried officers of the State, and
gave to the laity the election of their bishops and ministers. The change,
carried out in this extreme form, threw the whole body of bishops and a
great part of the lower clergy into revolt. Their interests were hurt by
the sale of the Church lands; their consciences were wounded by the system
of popular election, which was condemned by the Pope. In half the pulpits
of France the principles of the Revolution were anathematised, and the
vengeance of heaven denounced against the purchasers of the secularised
Church lands. Beyond the frontier the emigrant nobles, who might have
tempered the Revolution by combining with the many liberal men of their
order who remained at home, gathered in arms, and sought the help of
foreigners against a nation in which they could see nothing but rebellious
dependents of their own. The head-quarters of the emigrants were at
Coblentz in the dominions of the Elector of Trèves. They formed themselves
into regiments, numbering in all some few thousands, and occupied
themselves with extravagant schemes of vengeance against all Frenchmen who
had taken part in the destruction of the privileges of their caste.

[Legislative Assembly. Oct. 1791.]

[War policy of the Gironde.]

Had the elections which followed the dissolution of the National Assembly
sent to the Legislature a body of men bent only on maintaining the
advantages already won, it would have been no easy task to preserve the
peace of France in the presence of the secret or open hostility of the
Court, the Church, and the emigrants. But the trial was not made. The
leading spirits among the new representatives were not men of compromise.
In the Legislative Body which met in 1791 there were all the passions of
the Assembly of 1789, without any of the experience which that Assembly had
gained. A decree, memorable among the achievements of political folly, had
prohibited members of the late Chamber from seeking re-election. The new
Legislature was composed of men whose political creed had been drawn almost
wholly from literary sources; the most dangerous theorists of the former
Assembly were released from Parliamentary restraints, and installed, like
Robespierre, as the orators of the clubs. Within the Chamber itself the
defenders of the Monarchy and of the Constitution which had just been given
to France were far outmatched by the party of advance. The most conspicuous
of the new deputies formed the group named after the district of the
Gironde, where several of their leaders had been elected. The orator
Vergniaud, pre-eminent among companions of singular eloquence, the
philosopher Condorcet, the veteran journalist Brissot, gave to this party
an ascendancy in the Chamber and an influence in the country the more
dangerous because it appeared to belong to men elevated above the ordinary
regions of political strife. Without the fixed design of turning the
monarchy into a republic, the orators of the Gironde sought to carry the
revolutionary movement over the barrier erected against it in the
Constitution of 1791. From the moment of the opening of the Assembly it was
clear that the Girondins intended to precipitate the conflict between the
Court and the nation by devoting all the wealth of their eloquence to the
subjects which divided France the most. To Brissot and the men who
furnished the ideas of the party, it would have seemed a calamity that the
Constitution of 1791, with its respect for the prerogative of the Crown and
its tolerance of mediæval superstition, should fairly get underway. In
spite of Robespierre's prediction that war would give France a strong
sovereign in the place of a weak one, the Girondins persuaded themselves
that the best means of diminishing or overthrowing monarchical power in
France was a war with the sovereigns of Europe; and henceforward they
laboured for war with scarcely any disguise. [5]

[Notes of Kaunitz, Dec. 21, Feb. 17.]

Nor were occasions wanting, if war was needful for France. The protection
which the Elector of Trèves gave to the emigrant army at Coblentz was so
flagrant a violation of international law that the Gironde had the support
of the whole nation when they called upon the King to demand the dispersal
of the emigrants in the most peremptory form. National feeling was keenly
excited by debates in which the military preparations of the emigrants and
the encouragement given to them by foreign princes were denounced with all
the energy of southern eloquence. On the 13th of December Louis declared to
the Electors of Trèves and Mainz that he would treat them as enemies unless
the armaments within their territories were dispersed by January 15th; and
at the same time he called upon the Emperor Leopold, as head of the
Germanic body, to use his influence in bringing the Electors to reason. The
demands of France were not resisted. On the 16th January, 1792, Louis
informed the Assembly that the emigrants had been expelled from the
electorates, and acknowledged the good offices of Leopold in effecting this
result. The substantial cause of war seemed to have disappeared; but
another had arisen in its place. In a note of December 21st the Austrian
Minister Kaunitz used expressions which implied that a league of the Powers
was still in existence against France. Nothing could have come more
opportunely for the war-party in the Assembly. Brissot cried for an
immediate declaration of war, and appealed to the French nation to
vindicate its honour by an attack both upon the emigrants and upon their
imperial protector. The issue depended upon the relative power of the Crown
and the Opposition. Leopold saw that war was inevitable unless the
Constitutional party, which was still in office, rallied for one last
effort, and gained a decisive victory over its antagonists. In the hope of
turning public opinion against the Gironde, he permitted Kaunitz to send a
despatch to Paris which loaded the leaders of the war-party with abuse, and
exhorted the French nation to deliver itself from men who would bring upon
it the hostility of Europe. (Feb. 17.) [6] The despatch gave singular proof
of the inability of the cleverest sovereign and the most experienced
minister of the age to distinguish between the fears of a timid cabinet and
the impulses of an excited nation. Leopold's vituperations might have had
the intended effect if they had been addressed to the Margrave of Baden or
the Doge of Venice; addressed to the French nation and its popular Assembly
in the height of civil conflict, they were as oil poured upon the flames.
Leopold ruined the party which he meant to reinforce; he threw the nation
into the arms of those whom he attacked. His despatch was received in the
Assembly with alternate murmurs and bursts of laughter; in the clubs it
excited a wild outburst of rage. The exchange of diplomatic notes continued
for a few weeks more; but the real answer of France to Austria was the
"Marseillaise," composed at Strasburg almost simultaneously with Kaunitz'
attack upon the Jacobins. The sudden death of the Emperor on March 1st
produced no pause in the controversy. Delessart, the Foreign Minister of
Louis, was thrust from office, and replaced by Dumouriez, the
representative of the war-party.

[War declared, April 20th, 1792.]

Expostulation took a sharper tone; old subjects of complaint were revived;
and the armies on each side were already pressing towards the frontier when
the unhappy Louis was brought down to the Assembly by his Ministers, and
compelled to propose the declaration of war.

[Pretended grounds of war.]

[Expectation of foreign attack real among the French people; not real among
the French politicians.]

It is seldom that the professed grounds correspond with the real motives of
a war; nor was this the case in 1792. The ultimatum of the Austrian
Government demanded that compensation should be made to certain German
nobles whose feudal rights over their peasantry had been abolished in
Alsace; that the Pope should be indemnified for Avignon and the Venaissin,
which had been taken from him by France; and that a Government should be
established at Paris capable of affording the Powers of Europe security
against the spread of democratic agitation. No one supposed the first two
grievances to be a serious ground for hostilities. The rights of the German
nobles in Alsace over their villagers were no doubt protected by the
treaties which ceded those districts to France; but every politician in
Europe would have laughed at a Government which allowed the feudal system
to survive in a corner of its dominions out of respect for a settlement a
century and a half old: nor had the Assembly refused to these foreign
seigneurs a compensation claimed in vain by King Louis for the nobles of
France. As to the annexation of Avignon and the Venaissin, a power which,
like Austria, had joined in dismembering Poland, and had just made an
unsuccessful attempt to dismember Turkey, could not gravely reproach France
for incorporating a district which lay actually within it, and whose
inhabitants, or a great portion of them, were anxious to become citizens of
France. The third demand, the establishment of such a government as Austria
should deem satisfactory, was one which no high-spirited people could be
expected to entertain. Nor was this, in fact, expected by Austria. Leopold
had no desire to attack France, but he had used threats, and would not
submit to the humiliation of renouncing them. He would not have begun a war
for the purpose of delivering the French Crown; but, when he found that he
was himself certain to be attacked, he accepted a war with the Revolution
without regret. On the other side, when the Gironde denounced the league of
the Kings, they exaggerated a far-off danger for the ends of their domestic
policy. The Sovereigns of the Continent had indeed made no secret of their
hatred to the Revolution. Catherine of Russia had exhorted every Court in
Europe to make war; Gustavus of Sweden was surprised by a violent death in
the midst of preparations against France; Spain, Naples, and Sardinia were
ready to follow leaders stronger than themselves. But the statesmen of the
French Assembly well understood the interval that separates hostile feeling
from actual attack; and the unsubstantial nature of the danger to France,
whether from the northern or the southern Powers, was proved by the very
fact that Austria, the hereditary enemy of France, and the country of the
hated Marie Antoinette, was treated as the main enemy. Nevertheless, the
Courts had done enough to excite the anger of millions of French people who
knew of their menaces, and not of their hesitations and reserves. The man
who composed the "Marseillaise" was no maker of cunningly-devised fables;
the crowds who first sang it never doubted the reality of the dangers which
the orators of the Assembly denounced. The Courts of Europe had heaped up
the fuel; the Girondins applied the torch. The mass of the French nation
had little means of appreciating what passed in Europe; they took their
facts from their leaders, who considered it no very serious thing to plunge
a nation into war for the furtherance of internal liberty. Events were soon
to pass their own stern and mocking sentence upon the wisdom of the
Girondin statesmanship.

[Germany follows Austria into the war.]

[State of Germany.]

After voting the Declaration of War the French Assembly accepted a
manifesto, drawn up by Condorcet, renouncing in the name of the French
people all intention of conquest. The manifesto expressed what was
sincerely felt by men like Condorcet, to whom the Revolution was still too
sacred a cause to be stained with the vulgar lust of aggrandisement. But
the actual course of the war was determined less by the intentions with
which the French began it than by the political condition of the States
which bordered upon the French frontier. The war was primarily a war with
Austria, but the Sovereign of Austria was also the head of Germany. The
German Ecclesiastical Princes who ruled in the Rhenish provinces had been
the most zealous protectors of the emigrants; it was impossible that they
should now find shelter in neutrality. Prussia had made an alliance with
the Emperor against France; other German States followed in the wake of one
or other of the great Powers. If France proved stronger than its enemy,
there were governments besides that of Austria which would have to take
their account with the Revolution. Nor indeed was Austria the power most
exposed to violent change. The mass of its territory lay far from France;
at the most, it risked the loss of Lombardy and the Netherlands. Germany at
large was the real area threatened by the war, and never was a political
community less fitted to resist attack than Germany at the end of the
eighteenth century. It was in the divisions of the German people, and in
the rivalries of the two leading German governments, that France found its
surest support throughout the Revolutionary war, and its keenest stimulus
to conquest. It will throw light upon the sudden changes that now began to
break over Europe if we pause to make a brief survey of the state of
Germany at the outbreak of the war, to note the character and policy of its
reigning sovereigns, and to cast a glance over the circumstances which had
brought the central district of Europe into its actual condition.

[Since 1648, all the German States independent of the Emperor.]

[Holy Roman Empire.]

Germany at large still preserved the mediæval name and forms of the Holy
Roman Empire. The members of this so-called Empire were, however, a
multitude of independent States; and the chief of these States, Austria,
combined with its German provinces a large territory which did not even in
name form part of the Germanic body. The motley of the Empire was made up
by governments of every degree of strength and weakness. Austria and
Prussia possessed both political traditions and resources raising them to
the rank of great European Powers; but the sovereignties of the second
order, such as Saxony and Bavaria, had neither the security of strength nor
the free energy often seen in small political communities; whilst in the
remaining petty States of Germany, some hundreds in number, all public life
had long passed out of mind in a drowsy routine of official benevolence or
oppression. In theory there still existed a united Germanic body; in
reality Germany was composed of two great monarchies in embittered rivalry
with one another, and of a multitude of independent principalities and
cities whose membership in the Empire involved little beyond a liability to
be dragged into the quarrels of their more powerful neighbours. A German
national feeling did not exist, because no combination existed uniting the
interests of all Germany. The names and forms of political union had come
down from a remote past, and formed a grotesque anachronism amid the
realities of the eighteenth century. The head of the Germanic body held
office not by hereditary right, but as the elected successor of Charlemagne
and the Roman Cæsars. Since the fifteenth century the imperial dignity had
rested with the Austrian House of Hapsburg; but, with the exception of
Charles V., no sovereign of that House had commanded forces adequate to the
creation of a united German state, and the opportunity which then offered
itself was allowed to pass away. The Reformation severed Northern Germany
from the Catholic monarchy of the south. The Thirty Years' War, terminating
in the middle of the seventeenth century, secured the existence of
Protestantism on the Continent of Europe, but it secured it at the cost of
Germany, which was left exhausted and disintegrated. By the Treaty of
Westphalia, A.D. 1648, the independence of every member of the Empire was
recognised, and the central authority was henceforth a mere shadow. The
Diet of the Empire, where the representatives of the Electors, of the
Princes, and of the Free Cities, met in the order of the Middle Ages, sank
into a Heralds' College, occupied with questions of title and precedence;
affairs of real importance were transacted by envoys from Court to Court.
For purposes of war the Empire was divided into Circles, each Circle
supplying in theory a contingent of troops; but this military organisation
existed only in letter. The greater and the intermediate States regulated
their armaments, as they did their policy, without regard to the Diet of
Ratisbon; the contingents of the smaller sovereignties and free cities were
in every degree of inefficiency, corruption, and disorder; and in spite of
the courage of the German soldier, it could make little difference in a
European war whether a regiment which had its captain appointed by the city
of Gmünd, its lieutenant by the Abbess of Rotenmünster, and its ensign by
the Abbot of Gegenbach, did or did not take the field with numbers fifty
per cent. below its statutory contingent. [7] How loose was the connection
subsisting between the members of the Empire, how slow and cumbrous its
constitutional machinery, was strikingly proved after the first inroads of
the French into Germany in 1792, when the Diet deliberated for four weeks
before calling out the forces of the Empire, and for five months before
declaring war.


[Catholic policy of the Hapsburgs.]

The defence of Germany rested in fact with the armies of Austria and
Prussia. The Austrian House of Hapsburg held the imperial title, and
gathered around it the sovereigns of the less progressive German States.
While the Protestant communities of Northern Germany identified their
interests with those of the rising Prussian Monarchy, religious sympathy
and the tradition of ages attached the minor Catholic Courts to the
political system of Vienna. Austria gained something by its patronage; it
was, however, no real member of the German family. Its interests were not
the interests of Germany; its power, great and enduring as it proved, was
not based mainly upon German elements, nor used mainly for German ends. The
title of the Austrian monarch gave the best idea of the singular variety of
races and nationalities which owed their political union only to their
submission to a common head. In the shorter form of state the reigning
Hapsburg was described as King of Hungary, Bohemia, Croatia, Slavonia, and
Galicia; Archduke of Austria; Grand Duke of Transylvania; Duke of Styria,
Carinthia, and Carniola; and Princely Count of Hapsburg and Tyrol. At the
outbreak of the war of 1792 the dominions of the House of Austria included
the Southern Netherlands and the Duchy of Milan, in addition to the great
bulk of the territory which it still governs. Eleven distinct languages
were spoken in the Austrian monarchy, with countless varieties of dialects.
Of the elements of the population the Slavic was far the largest, numbering
about ten millions, against five million Germans and three million Magyars;
but neither numerical strength nor national objects of desire coloured the
policy of a family which looked indifferently upon all its subject races as
instruments for its own aggrandisement. Milan and the Netherlands had come
into the possession of Austria since the beginning of the eighteenth
century, but the destiny of the old dominions of the Hapsburg House had
been fixed for many generations in the course of the Thirty Years' War. In
that struggle, as it affected Austria, the conflict of the ancient and the
reformed faith had become a conflict between the Monarchy, allied with the
Church, and every element of national life and independence, allied with
the Reformation. Protestantism, then dominant in almost all the Hapsburg
territories, was not put down without extinguishing the political liberties
of Austrian Germany, the national life of Bohemia, the spirit and ambition
of the Hungarian nobles. The detestable desire of the Emperor Ferdinand,
"Rather a desert than a country full of heretics," was only too well
fulfilled in the subsequent history of his dominions. In the German
provinces, except the Tyrol, the old Parliaments, and with them all trace
of liberty, disappeared; in Bohemia the national Protestant nobility lost
their estates, or retained them only at the price of abandoning the
religion, the language, and the feelings of their race, until the country
of Huss passed out of the sight of civilised Europe, and Bohemia
represented no more than a blank, unnoticed mass of tillers of the soil. In
Hungary, where the nation was not so completely crushed in the Thirty
Years' War, and Protestantism survived, the wholesale executions in 1686,
ordered by the Tribunal known as the "Slaughter-house of Eperies,"
illustrated the traditional policy of the Monarchy towards the spirit of
national independence. Two powers alone were allowed to subsist in the
Austrian dominions, the power of the Crown and the power of the Priesthood;
and, inasmuch as no real national unity could exist among the subject
races, the unity of a blind devotion to the Catholic Church was enforced
over the greater part of the Monarchy by all the authority of the State.

[Reforms of Maria Theresa, 1740-1780.]

Under the pressure of this soulless despotism the mind of man seemed to
lose all its finer powers. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in
which no decade passed in England and France without the production of some
literary masterpiece, some scientific discovery, or some advance in
political reasoning, are marked by no single illustrious Austrian name,
except that of Haydn the musician. When, after three generations of torpor
succeeding the Thirty Years' War, the mind of North Germany awoke again in
Winckelmann and Lessing, and a widely-diffused education gave to the middle
class some compensation for the absence of all political freedom, no trace
of this revival appeared in Austria. The noble hunted and slept; the serf
toiled heavily on; where a school existed, the Jesuit taught his schoolboys
ecclesiastical Latin, and sent them away unable to read their
mother-tongue. To this dull and impenetrable society the beginnings of
improvement could only be brought by military disaster. The loss of Silesia
in the first years of Maria Theresa disturbed the slumbers of the
Government, and reform began. Although the old provincial Assemblies,
except in Hungary and the Netherlands, had long lost all real power, the
Crown had never attempted to create a uniform system of administration: the
collection of taxes, the enlistment of recruits, was still the business of
the feudal landowners of each district. How such an antiquated order was
likely to fare in the presence of an energetic enemy was clearly enough
shown in the first attack made upon Austria by Frederick the Great. As the
basis of a better military organisation, and in the hope of arousing a
stronger national interest among her subjects, Theresa introduced some of
the offices of a centralised monarchy, at the same time that she improved
the condition of the serf, and substituted a German education and German
schoolmasters for those of the Jesuits. The peasant, hitherto in many parts
of the monarchy attached to the soil, was now made free to quit his lord's
land, and was secured from ejectment so long as he fulfilled his duty of
labouring for the lord on a fixed number of days in the year. Beyond this
Theresa's reform did not extend. She had no desire to abolish the feudal
character of country life; she neither wished to temper the sway of
Catholicism, nor to extinguish those provincial forms which gave to the
nobles within their own districts a shadow of political independence.
Herself conservative in feeling, attached to aristocracy, and personally
devout, Theresa consented only to such change as was recommended by her
trusted counsellors, and asked no more than she was able to obtain by the
charm of her own queenly character.

[Joseph II., 1780-1790.]

With the accession of her son Joseph II. in 1780 a new era began for
Austria. The work deferred by Theresa was then taken up by a monarch whose
conceptions of social and religious reform left little for the boldest
innovators of France ten years later to add. There is no doubt that the
creation of a great military force for enterprises of foreign conquest was
an end always present in Joseph's mind, and that the thirst for
uncontrolled despotic power never left him; but by the side of these
coarser elements there was in Joseph's nature something of the true fire of
the man who lives for ideas. Passionately desirous of elevating every class
of his subjects at the same time that he ignored all their habits and
wishes, Joseph attempted to transform the motley and priest-ridden
collection of nations over whom he ruled into a single homogeneous body,
organised after the model of France and Prussia, worshipping in the spirit
of a tolerant and enlightened Christianity, animated in its relations of
class to class by the humane philosophy of the eighteenth century. In the
first year of his reign Joseph abolished every jurisdiction that did not
directly emanate from the Crown, and scattered an army of officials from
Ostend to the Dniester to conduct the entire public business of his
dominions under the immediate direction of the central authority at Vienna.
In succeeding years edict followed edict, dissolving monasteries,
forbidding Church festivals and pilgrimages, securing the protection of the
State to every form of Christian worship, abolishing the exemption from
land-tax and the monopoly of public offices enjoyed by the nobility,
transforming the Universities from dens of monkish ignorance into schools
of secular learning, converting the peasant's personal service into a
rent-charge, and giving him in the officer of the Crown a protector and an
arbiter in all his dealings with his lord. Noble and enlightened in his
aims, Joseph, like every other reformer of the eighteenth century,
underrated the force which the past exerts over the present; he could see
nothing but prejudice and unreason in the attachment to provincial custom
or time-honoured opinion; he knew nothing of that moral law which limits
the success of revolutions by the conditions which precede them. What was
worst united with what was best in resistance to his reforms. The bigots of
the University of Louvain, who still held out against the discoveries of
Newton, excited the mob to insurrection against Joseph, as the enemy of
religion; the Magyar landowners in Hungary resisted a system which
extinguished the last vestiges of their national independence at the same
time that it destroyed the harsh dominion which they themselves exercised
over their peasantry. Joseph alternated between concession and the extreme
of autocratic violence. At one moment he resolved to sweep away every local
right that fettered the exercise of his power; then, after throwing the
Netherlands into successful revolt, and forcing Hungary to the verge of
armed resistance, he revoked his unconstitutional ordinances (January 28,
1790), and restored all the institutions of the Hungarian monarchy which
existed at the date of his accession.

[Leopold II., 1790-1792.]

A month later, death removed Joseph from his struggle and his sorrows. His
successor, Leopold II., found the monarchy involved as Russia's ally in an
attack upon Turkey; threatened by the Northern League of Prussia, England,
and Holland; exhausted in finance; weakened by the revolt of the
Netherlands; and distracted in every province by the conflict of the
ancient and the modern system of government, and the assertion of new
social rights that seemed to have been created only in order to be
extinguished. The recovery of Belgium and the conclusion of peace with
Turkey were effected under circumstances that brought the adroit and
guarded statesmanship of Leopold into just credit. His settlement of the
conflict between the Crown and the Provinces, between the Church and
education, between the noble and the serf, marked the line in which, for
better or for worse, Austrian policy was to run for sixty years. Provincial
rights, the privileges of orders and corporate bodies, Leopold restored;
the personal sovereignty of his house he maintained unimpaired. In the more
liberal part of Joseph's legislation, the emancipation of learning from
clerical control, the suppression of unjust privilege in taxation, the
abolition of the feudal services of the peasant, Leopold was willing to
make concessions to the Church and the aristocracy; to the spirit of
national independence which his predecessor's aggression had excited in
Bohemia as well as in Hungary, he made no concession beyond the restoration
of certain cherished forms. An attempt of the Magyar nobles to affix
conditions to their acknowledgment of Leopold as King of Hungary was
defeated; and, by creating new offices at Vienna for the affairs of Illyria
and Transylvania, and making them independent of the Hungarian Diet,
Leopold showed that the Crown possessed an instrument against the dominant
Magyar race in the Slavic and Romanic elements of the Hungarian Kingdom.
[8] On the other hand, Leopold consented to restore to the Church its
control over the higher education, and to throw back the burden of taxation
upon land not occupied by noble owners. He gave new rigour to the
censorship of the press; but the gain was not to the Church, to which the
censorship had formerly belonged, but to the Government, which now employed
it as an instrument of State. In the great question of the emancipation of
the serf Leopold was confronted by a more resolute and powerful body of
nobility in Hungary than existed in any other province. The right of the
lord to fetter the peasant to the soil and to control his marriage Leopold
refused to restore in any part of his dominions; but, while in parts of
Bohemia he succeeded in maintaining the right given by Joseph to the
peasant to commute his personal service for a money payment, in Hungary he
was compelled to fall back upon the system of Theresa, and to leave the
final settlement of the question to the Diet. Twenty years later the
statesman who emancipated the peasants of Prussia observed that Hungary was
the only part of the Austrian dominions in which the peasant was not in a
better condition than his fellows in North Germany; [9] and so torpid was
the humanity of the Diet that until the year 1835 the prison and the
flogging-board continued to form a part of every Hungarian manor.

[Death of Leopold, March 1, 1792.]

[Francis II., 1792.]

Of the self-sacrificing ardour of Joseph there was no trace in Leopold's
character; yet his political aims were not low. During twenty-four years'
government of Tuscany he had proved himself almost an ideal ruler in the
pursuit of peace, of religious enlightenment, and of the material
improvement of his little sovereignty. Raised to the Austrian throne, the
compromise which he effected with the Church and the aristocracy resulted
more from a supposed political necessity than from his own inclination. So
long as Leopold lived, Austria would not have wanted an intelligence
capable of surveying the entire field of public business, nor a will
capable of imposing unity of action upon the servants of State. To the
misfortune of Europe no less than of his own dominions, Leopold was carried
off by sickness at the moment when the Revolutionary War broke out. An
uneasy reaction against Joseph's reforms and a well-grounded dread of the
national movements in Hungary and the Netherlands were already the
principal forces in the official world at Vienna; in addition to these came
the new terror of the armed proselytism of the Revolution. The successor of
Leopold, Francis II., was a sickly prince, in whose homely and
unimaginative mind the great enterprises of Joseph, amidst which he had
been brought up, excited only aversion. Amongst the men who surrounded him,
routine and the dread of change made an end of the higher forms of public
life. The Government openly declared that all change should cease so long
as the war lasted; even the pressing question of the peasant's relation to
his lord was allowed to remain unsettled by the Hungarian Diet, lest the
spirit of national independence should find expression in its debates. Over
the whole internal administration of Austria the torpor of the days before
Theresa seemed to be returning. Its foreign policy, however, bore no trace
of this timorous, conservative spirit. Joseph, as restless abroad as at
home, had shared the ambition of the Russian Empress Catherine, and
troubled Europe with his designs upon Turkey, Venice, and Bavaria. These
and similar schemes of territorial extension continued to fill the minds of
Austrian courtiers and ambassadors. Shortly after the outbreak of war with
France the aged minister Kaunitz, who had been at the head of the Foreign
Office during three reigns, retired from power. In spite of the first
partition of Poland, made in combination with Russia and Prussia in 1772,
and in spite of subsequent attempts of Joseph against Turkey and Bavaria,
the policy of Kaunitz had not been one of mere adventure and shifting
attack. He had on the whole remained true to the principle of alliance with
France and antagonism to Prussia; and when the revolution brought war
within sight, he desired to limit the object of the war to the restoration
of monarchical government in France. The conditions under which the young
Emperor and the King of Prussia agreed to turn the war to purposes of
territorial aggrandisement caused Kaunitz, with a true sense of the fatal
import of this policy, to surrender the power which he had held for forty
years. It was secretly agreed between the two courts that Prussia should
recoup itself for its expenses against France by seizing part of Poland. On
behalf of Austria it was demanded that the Emperor should annex Bavaria,
giving Belgium to the Elector as compensation. Both these schemes violated
what Kaunitz held to be sound policy. He believed that the interests of
Austria required the consolidation rather than the destruction of Poland;
and he declared the exchange of the Netherlands for Bavaria to be, in the
actual state of affairs, impracticable. [10] Had the coalition of 1792 been
framed on the principles advocated by Kaunitz, though Austria might not
have effected the restoration of monarchial power in France, the alliance
would not have disgracefully shattered on the crimes and infamies attending
the second partition of Poland.

From the moment when Kaunitz retired from office, territorial extension
became the great object of the Austrian Court. To prudent statesmen the
scattered provinces and varied population of the Austrian State would have
suggested that Austria had more to lose than any European Power; to the men
of 1792 it appeared that she had more to gain. The Netherlands might be
increased with a strip of French Flanders; Bavaria, Poland, and Italy were
all weak neighbours, who might be made to enrich Austria in their turn. A
sort of magical virtue was attached to the acquisition of territory. If so
many square miles and so many head of population were gained, whether of
alien or kindred race, mutinous or friendly, the end of all statesmanship
was realised, and the heaviest sacrifice of life and industry repaid.
Austria affected to act as the centre of a defensive alliance, and to fight
for the common purpose of giving a Government to France which would respect
the rights of its neighbours. In reality, its own military operations were
too often controlled, and an effective common warfare frustrated, at one
moment by a design upon French Flanders, at another by the course of Polish
or Bavarian intrigue, at another by the hope of conquests in Italy. Of all
the interests which centred in the head of the House of Hapsburg, the least
befriended at Vienna was the interest of the Empire and of Germany.


Nor, if Austria was found wanting, had Germany any permanent safeguard in
the rival Protestant State. Prussia, the second great German Power and the
ancient enemy of Austria, had been raised to an influence in Europe quite
out of proportion to its scanty resources by the genius of Frederick the
Great and the earlier Princes of the House of Hohenzollern. Its population
was not one-third of that of France or Austria; its wealth was perhaps not
superior to that of the Republic of Venice. That a State so poor in men and
money should play the part of one of the great Powers of Europe was
possible only so long as an energetic ruler watched every movement of that
complicated machinery which formed both army and nation after the prince's
own type. Frederick gave his subjects a just administration of the law; he
taught them productive industries; he sought to bring education to their
doors [11]; but he required that the citizen should account himself before
all the servant of the State. Every Prussian either worked in the great
official hierarchy or looked up to it as the providence which was to direct
all his actions and supply all his judgments. The burden of taxation
imposed by the support of an army relatively three times as great as that
of any other Power was wonderfully lightened by Frederick's economy: far
more serious than the tobacco-monopoly and the forage-requisitions, at
which Frederick's subjects grumbled during his life-time, was the danger
that a nation which had only attained political greatness by its obedience
to a rigorous administration should fall into political helplessness, when
the clear purpose and all-controlling care of its ruler no longer animated
a system which, without him, was only a pedantic routine. What in England
we are accustomed to consider as the very substance of national life,--the
mass of political interest and opinion, diffused in some degree amongst all
classes, at once the support and the judge of the servants of the
State,--had in Prussia no existence. Frederick's subjects obeyed and
trusted their Monarch; there were probably not five hundred persons outside
the public service who had any political opinions of their own. Prussia did
not possess even the form of a national representation; and, although
certain provincial assemblies continued to meet, they met only to receive
the instructions of the Crown-officers of their district. In the absence of
all public criticism, the old age of Frederick must in itself have
endangered the efficiency of the military system which had raised Prussia
to its sudden eminence. [12] The impulse of Frederick's successor was
sufficient to reverse the whole system of Prussian foreign policy, and to
plunge the country in alliance with Austria into a speculative and
unnecessary war.

[Frederick William II., 1786.]

[Alliance with Austria against France, Feb., 1792.]

On the death of Frederick in 1786, the crown passed to Frederick William
II., his nephew. Frederick William was a man of common type, showy and
pleasure-loving, interested in public affairs, but incapable of acting on
any fixed principle. His mistresses gave the tone to political society. A
knot of courtiers intrigued against one another for the management of the
King; and the policy of Prussia veered from point to point as one unsteady
impulse gave place to another. In countries less dependent than Prussia
upon the personal activity of the monarch, Frederick William's faults might
have been neutralised by able Ministers; in Prussia the weakness of the
King was the decline of the State. The whole fabric of national greatness
had been built up by the royal power; the quality of the public service,
apart from which the nation was politically non-existent, was the quality
of its head. When in the palace profusion and intrigue took the place of
Frederick the Great's unflagging labour, the old uprightness, industry, and
precision which had been the pride of Prussian administration fell out of
fashion everywhere. Yet the frivolity of the Court was a less active cause
of military decline than the abandonment of the first principles of
Prussian policy. [13] If any political sentiment existed in the nation, it
was the sentiment of antagonism to Austria. The patriotism of the army,
with all the traditions of the great King, turned wholly in this direction.
When, out of sympathy with the Bourbon family and the emigrant French
nobles, Frederick William allied himself with Austria (Feb. 1792), and
threw himself into the arms of his ancient enemy in order to attack a
nation which had not wronged him, he made an end of all zealous obedience
amongst his servants. Brunswick, the Prussian Commander-in-Chief, hated the
French emigrants as much as he did the Revolution; and even the generals
who did not originally share Brunswick's dislike to the war recovered their
old jealousy of Austria after the first defeat, and exerted themselves only
to get quit of the war at the first moment that Prussia could retire from
it without disgrace. The very enterprise in which Austria had consented
that the Court of Berlin should seek its reward--the seizure of a part of
Poland--proved fatal to the coalition. The Empress Catherine was already
laying her hand for the second time upon this unfortunate country. It was
easy for the opponents of the Austrian alliance who surrounded King
Frederick William to contrast the barren effort of a war against France
with the cheap and certain advantages to be won by annexation, in concert
with Russia, of Polish territory. To pursue one of these objects with
vigour it was necessary to relinquish the other. Prussia was not rich
enough to maintain armies both on the Vistula and the Rhine. Nor, in the
opinion of its rulers, was it rich enough to be very tender of its honour
or very loyal towards its allies. [14]

[Social system of Prussia.]

In the institutions of Prussia two opposite systems existed side by side,
exhibiting in the strongest form a contrast which in a less degree was
present in most Continental States. The political independence of the
nobility had long been crushed; the King's Government busied itself with
every detail of town and village administration; yet along with this
rigorous development of the modern doctrine of the unity and the authority
of the State there existed a social order more truly archaic than that of
the Middle Ages at their better epochs. The inhabitants of Prussia were
divided into the three classes of nobles, burghers, and peasants, each
confined to its own stated occupations, and not marrying outside its own
order. The soil of the country bore the same distinction; peasant's land
could not be owned by a burgher; burgher's land could not be owned by a
noble. No occupation was lawful for the noble, who was usually no more than
a poor gentleman, but the service of the Crown; the peasant, even where
free, might not practise the handicraft of a burgher. But the mass of the
peasantry in the country east of the Elbe were serfs attached to the soil;
and the noble, who was not permitted to exercise the slightest influence
upon the government of his country, inherited along with his manor a
jurisdiction and police-control over all who were settled within it.
Frederick had allowed serfage to continue because it gave him in each
manorial lord a task-master whom he could employ in his own service. System
and obedience were the sources of his power; and if there existed among his
subjects one class trained to command and another trained to obey, it was
so much the easier for him to force the country into the habits of industry
which he required of it. In the same spirit, Frederick officered his army
only with men of the noble caste. They brought with them the habit of
command ready-formed; the peasants who ploughed and threshed at their
orders were not likely to disobey them in the presence of the enemy. It was
possible that such a system should produce great results so long as
Frederick was there to guard against its abuses; Frederick gone, the
degradation of servitude, the insolence of caste, was what remained. When
the army of France, led by men who had worked with their fathers in the
fields, hunted a King of Prussia amidst his capitulating grandees from the
centre to the verge of his dominions, it was seen what was the permanent
value of a system which recognised in the nature of the poor no capacity
but one for hereditary subjection. The French peasant, plundered as he was
by the State, and vexed as he was with feudal services, knew no such
bondage as that of the Prussian serf, who might not leave the spot where he
was born; only in scattered districts in the border-provinces had serfage
survived in France. It is significant of the difference in self-respect
existing in the peasantry of the two countries that the custom of striking
the common soldier, universal in Germany, was in France no more than an
abuse, practised by the admirers of Frederick, and condemned by the better
officers themselves.

[Minor States of Germany.]

[Ecclesiastical States.]

In all the secondary States of Germany the government was an absolute
monarchy; though, here and there, as in Würtemberg, the shadow of the old
Assembly of the Estates survived; and in Hanover the absence of the
Elector, King George III., placed power in the hands of a group of nobles
who ruled in his name. Society everywhere rested on a sharp division of
classes similar in kind to that of Prussia; the condition of the peasant
ranging from one of serfage, as it existed in Mecklenburg, [15] to one of
comparative freedom and comfort in parts of the southern and western
States. The sovereigns differed widely in the enlightenment or selfishness
of their rule; but, on the whole, the character of government had changed
for the better of late years; and, especially in the Protestant States,
efforts to improve the condition of the people were not wanting. Frederick
the Great had in fact created a new standard of monarchy in Germany. Forty
years earlier, Versailles, with its unfeeling splendours, its glorification
of the personal indulgence of the monarch, had been the ideal which, with a
due sense of their own inferiority, the German princes had done their best
to imitate. To be a sovereign was to cover acres of ground with state
apartments, to lavish the revenues of the country upon a troop of
mistresses and adventurers, to patronise the arts, to collect with the same
complacency the masterpieces of ancient painting that adorn the Dresden
Gallery, or an array of valuables scarcely more interesting than the chests
of treasure that were paid for them. In the ecclesiastical States, headed
by the Electorates of Mainz, Trèves, and Cologne, the affectations of a
distinctive Christian or spiritual character had long been abandoned. The
prince-bishop and canons, who were nobles appointed from some other
province, lived after the gay fashion of the time, at the expense of a land
in which they had no interest extending beyond their own lifetime. The only
feature distinguishing the ecclesiastical residence from that of one of the
minor secular princes was that the parade of state was performed by monks
in the cathedral instead of by soldiers on the drill-ground, and that even
the pretence of married life was wanting among the flaunting harpies who
frequented a celibate Court. Yet even on the Rhine and on the Moselle the
influence of the great King of Prussia had begun to make itself felt. The
intense and penetrating industry of Frederick was not within the reach of
every petty sovereign who might envy its results; but the better spirit of
the time was seen under some of the ecclesiastical princes in the
encouragement of schools, the improvement of the roads, and a retrenchment
in courtly expenditure. That deeply-seated moral disease which resulted
from centuries of priestly rule was not to be so lightly shaken off. In a
district where Nature most bountifully rewards the industry of man,
twenty-four out of every hundred of the population were monks, nuns, or
beggars. [16]

[Petty States. Free Cities. Knights.]

Two hundred petty principalities, amongst which Weimar, the home of Goethe,
stood out in the brightest relief from the level of princely routine and
self-indulgence; fifty imperial cities, in most of which the once vigorous
organism of civic life had shrivelled to the type of the English rotten
borough, did not exhaust the divisions of Germany. Several hundred Knights
of the Empire, owing no allegiance except to the Emperor, exercised, each
over a domain averaging from three to four hundred inhabitants, all the
rights of sovereignty, with the exception of the right to make war and
treaties. The districts in which this order survived were scattered over
the Catholic States of the south-west of Germany, where the knights
maintained their prerogatives by federations among themselves and by the
support of the Emperor, to whom they granted sums of money. There were
instances in which this union of the rights of the sovereign and the
landlord was turned to good account; but the knight's land was usually the
scene of such poverty and degradation that the traveller needed no guide to
inform him when he entered it. Its wretched tracks interrupted the great
lines of communication between the Rhine and further Germany; its hovels
were the refuge of all the criminals and vagabonds of the surrounding
country; for no police existed but the bailiffs of the knight, and the only
jurisdiction was that of the lawyer whom the knight brought over from the
nearest town. Nor was the disadvantage only on the side of those who were
thus governed. The knight himself, even if he cherished some traditional
reverence for the shadow of the Empire, was in the position of a man who
belongs to no real country. If his sons desired any more active career than
that of annuitants upon the family domains, they could obtain it only by
seeking employment at one or other of the greater Courts, and by
identifying themselves with the interests of a land which they entered as

Such was in outline the condition of Germany at the moment when it was
brought into collision with the new and unknown forces of the French
Revolution. A system of small States, which in the past of Greece and Italy
had produced the finest types of energy and genius, had in Germany resulted
in the extinction of all vigorous life, and in the ascendancy of all that
was stagnant, little, and corrupt. If political disorganisation, the decay
of public spirit, and the absence of a national idea, are the signs of
impending downfall, Germany was ripe for foreign conquest. The obsolete and
dilapidated fabric of the Empire had for a century past been sustained only
by the European tradition of the Balance of Power, or by the absence of
serious attack from without. Austria once overpowered, the Empire was ready
to fall to pieces by itself: and where, among the princes or the people of
Germany, were the elements that gave hope of its renovation in any better
form of national life?


French and Austrian armies on the Flemish frontier--Prussia enters the
war--Brunswick invades France--His Proclamation--Insurrection of Aug. 10
at Paris--Massacres of September--Character of the war--Brunswick, checked
at Valmy, retreats--The War becomes a Crusade of France--Neighbours of
France--Custine enters Mainz--Dumouriez conquers the Austrian Netherlands
--Nice and Savoy annexed--Decree of the Convention against all Governments
--Execution of Louis XVI.--War with England, followed by war with the
Mediterranean States--Condition of England--English Parties, how affected
by the Revolution--The Gironde and the Mountain--Austria recovers the
Netherlands--The Allies invade France--La Vendée--Revolutionary System of
1793--Errors of the Allies--New French Commanders and Democratic Army--
Victories of Jourdan, Hoche, and Pichegru--Prussia withdrawing from the War
--Polish Affairs--Austria abandons the Netherlands--Treaties of
Basle--France in 1795--Insurrection of 13 Vendémiaire--Constitution of
1795--The Directory--Effect of the Revolution on the spirit of Europe up
to 1795.

[Fighting on Flemish frontier, April, 1792.]

[Prussian army invades France, July, 1792. Proclamation.]

The war between France and Austria opened in April, 1792, on the Flemish
frontier. The first encounters were discreditable to the French soldiery,
who took to flight and murdered one of their generals. The discouragement
with which the nation heard of these reverses deepened into sullen
indignation against the Court, as weeks and months passed by, and the
forces lay idle on the frontier or met the enemy only in trifling
skirmishes which left both sides where they were before. If at this crisis
of the Revolution, with all the patriotism, all the bravery, all the
military genius of France burning for service, the Government conducted the
war with results scarcely distinguishable from those of a parade, the
suggestion of treason on the part of the Court was only too likely to be
entertained. The internal difficulties of the country were increasing. The
Assembly had determined to banish from France the priests who rejected the
new ecclesiastical system, and the King had placed his veto upon their
decree. He had refused to permit the formation of a camp of volunteers in
the neighbourhood of Paris. He had dismissed the popular Ministry forced
upon him by the Gironde. A tumult on the 20th of June, in which the mob
forced their way into the Tuileries, showed the nature of the attack
impending upon the monarchy if Louis continued to oppose himself to the
demands of the nation; but the lesson was lost upon the King. Louis was as
little able to nerve himself for an armed conflict with the populace as to
reconcile his conscience to the Ecclesiastical Decrees, and he surrendered
himself to a pious inertia at a moment when the alarm of foreign invasion
doubled revolutionary passion all over France. Prussia, in pursuance of a
treaty made in February, united its forces to those of Austria. Forty
thousand Prussian troops, under the Duke of Brunswick, the best of
Frederick's surviving generals, advanced along the Moselle. From Belgium
and the upper Rhine two Austrian armies converged upon the line of
invasion; and the emigrant nobles were given their place among the forces
of the Allies.

On the 25th of July the Duke of Brunswick, in the name of the Emperor and
the King of Prussia, issued a proclamation to the French people, which, but
for the difference between violent words and violent deeds, would have left
little to be complained of in the cruelties that henceforward stained the
popular cause. In this manifesto, after declaring that the Allies entered
France in order to deliver Louis from captivity, and that members of the
National Guard fighting against the invaders would be punished as rebels
against their king, the Sovereigns addressed themselves to the city of
Paris and to the representatives of the French nation:--"The city of Paris
and its inhabitants are warned to submit without delay to their King; to
set that Prince at entire liberty, and to show to him and to all the Royal
Family the inviolability and respect which the law of nature and of nations
imposes on subjects towards their Sovereigns. Their Imperial and Royal
Majesties will hold all the members of the National Assembly, of the
Municipality, and of the National Guard of Paris responsible for all events
with their heads, before military tribunals, without hope of pardon. They
further declare that, if the Tuileries be forced or insulted, or the least
violence offered to the King, the Queen, or the Royal Family, and if
provision be not at once made for their safety and liberty, they will
inflict a memorable vengeance, by delivering up the city of Paris to
military execution and total overthrow, and the rebels guilty of such
crimes to the punishment they have merited." [17]

[Insurrection August 10, 1972.]

This challenge was not necessary to determine the fate of Louis. Since the
capture of the Bastille in the first days of the Revolution the National
Government had with difficulty supported itself against the populace of the
capital; and, even before the foreigner threatened Paris with fire and
sword, Paris had learnt to look for the will of France within itself. As
the columns of Brunswick advanced across the north-eastern frontier, Danton
and the leaders of the city-democracy marshalled their army of the poor and
the desperate to overthrow that monarchy whose cause the invader had made
his own. The Republic which had floated so long in the thoughts of the
Girondins was won in a single day by the populace of Paris, amid the roar
of cannons and the flash of bayonets. On the 10th of August Danton let
loose the armed mob upon the Tuileries. Louis quitted the Palace without
giving orders to the guard either to fight or to retire; but the guard were
ignorant that their master desired them to offer no resistance, and one
hundred and sixty of the mob were shot down before an order reached the
troops to abandon the Palace. The cruelties which followed the victory of
the people indicated the fate in store for those whom the invader came to
protect. It is doubtful whether the foreign Courts would have made any
serious attempt to undo the social changes effected by the Revolution in
France; but no one supposed that those thousands of self-exiled nobles who
now returned behind the guns of Brunswick had returned in order to take
their places peacefully in the new social order. In their own imagination,
as much as in that of the people, they returned with fire and sword to
repossess themselves of rights of which they had been despoiled, and to
take vengeance upon the men who were responsible for the changes made in
France since 1789. [18] In the midst of a panic little justified by the
real military situation, Danton inflamed the nation with his own passionate
courage and resolution; he unhappily also thought it necessary to a
successful national defence that the reactionary party at Paris should be
paralysed by a terrible example. The prisons were filled with persons
suspected of hostility to the national cause, and in the first days of
September many hundreds of these unfortunate persons were massacred by
gangs of assassins paid by a committee of the Municipality. Danton did not
disguise his approval of the act. He had made up his mind that the work of
the Revolution could only be saved by striking terror into its enemies, and
by preventing the Royalists from co-operating with the invader. But the
multitudes who flocked to the standards of 1792 carried with them the
patriotism of Danton unstained by his guilt. Right or wrong in its origin,
the war was now unquestionably a just one on the part of France, a war
against a privileged class attempting to recover by force the unjust
advantages that they had not been able to maintain, a war against the
foreigner in defence of the right of the nation to deal with its own
government. Since the great religious wars there had been no cause so
rooted in the hearts, so close to the lives of those who fought for it.
Every soldier who joined the armies of France in 1792 joined of his own
free will. No conscription dragged the peasant to the frontier. Men left
their homes in order that the fruit of the poor man's labour should be his
own, in order that the children of France should inherit some better
birthright than exaction and want, in order that the late-won sense of
human right should not be swept from the earth by the arms of privilege and
caste. It was a time of high-wrought hope, of generous and pathetic
self-sacrifice; a time that left a deep and indelible impression upon those
who judged it as eye-witnesses. Years afterwards the poet Wordsworth, then
alienated from France and cold in the cause of liberty, could not recall
without tears the memories of 1792. [19]

[Brunswick checked at Valmy, Sept. 20.]

[Retreat of Brunswick.]

The defence of France rested on General Dumouriez. The fortresses of Longwy
and Verdun, covering the passage of the Meuse, had fallen after the
briefest resistance; the troops that could be collected before Brunswick's
approach were too few to meet the enemy in the open field. Happily for
France the slow advance of the Prussian general permitted Dumouriez to
occupy the difficult country of the Argonne, where, while waiting for his
reinforcements, he was able for some time to hold the invaders in check. At
length Brunswick made his way past the defile which Dumouriez had chosen
for his first line of defence; but it was only to find the French posted in
such strength on his flank that any further advance would imperil his own
army. If the advance was to be continued, Dumouriez must be dislodged.
Accordingly, on the 20th of September, Brunswick directed his artillery
against the hills of Valmy, where the French left was encamped. The
cannonade continued for some hours, but it was followed by no general
attack. The firmness of the French under Brunswick's fire made it clear
that they would not be displaced without an obstinate battle; and,
disappointed of victory, the King of Prussia began to listen to proposals
of peace sent to him by Dumouriez. [20] A week spent in negotiation served
only to strengthen the French and to aggravate the scarcity and sickness
within the German camp. Dissensions broke out between the Prussian and
Austrian commanders; a retreat was ordered; and to the astonishment of
Europe the veteran forces of Brunswick fell back before the mutinous
soldiery and unknown generals of the Revolution, powerless to delay for a
single month the evacuation of France and the restoration of the fortresses
which they had captured.

[The Convention meets. Proclaims Republic, Sept. 21.]

[The war becomes a crusade of democracy.]

In the meantime the Legislative Assembly had decreed its own dissolution in
consequence of the overthrow of the monarchy on August both, and had
ordered the election of representatives to frame a constitution for France.
The elections were held in the crisis of invasion, in the height of
national indignation against the alliance of the aristocracy with the
foreigner, and, in some districts, under the influence of men who had not
shrunk from ordering the massacres in the prisons. At such a moment a
Constitutional Royalist had scarcely more chance of election than a
detected spy from the enemy's camp. The Girondins, who had been the party
of extremes in the Legislative Assembly, were the party of moderation and
order in the Convention. By their side there were returned men whose whole
being seemed to be compounded out of the forces of conflict, men who,
sometimes without conscious depravity, carried into political and social
struggles that direct, unquestioning employment of force which has
ordinarily been reserved for war or for the diffusion of religious
doctrines. The moral differences that separated this party from the Gironde
were at once conspicuous: the political creed of the two parties appeared
at first to be much the same. Monarchy was abolished, and France declared a
Republic (Sept. 21). Office continued in the hands of the Gironde; but the
vehement, uncompromising spirit of their rivals, the so-called party of the
Mountain, quickly made itself felt in all the relations of France to
foreign Powers. The intention of conquest might still be disavowed, as it
had been five months before; but were the converts to liberty to be denied
the right of uniting themselves to the French people by their own free
will? When the armies of the Republic had swept its assailants from the
border-provinces that gave them entrance into France, were those provinces
to be handed back to a government of priests and nobles? The scruples which
had condemned all annexation of territory vanished in that orgy of
patriotism which followed the expulsion of the invader and the discovery
that the Revolution was already a power in other lands than France. The
nation that had to fight the battle of European freedom must appeal to the
spirit of freedom wherever it would answer the call: the conflict with
sovereigns must be maintained by arming their subjects against them in
every land. In this conception of the universal alliance of the nations,
the Governments with which France was not yet at war were scarcely
distinguished from those which had pronounced against her. The
frontier-lines traced by an obsolete diplomacy, the artificial guarantees
of treaties, were of little account against the living and inalienable
sovereignty of the people. To men inflamed with the passions of 1792 an
argument of international law scarcely conveyed more meaning than to Peter
the Hermit. Among the statesmen of other lands, who had no intention of
abandoning all the principles recognised as the public right of Europe, the
language now used by France could only be understood as the avowal of
indiscriminate aggression.

[The neighbors of France.]

The Revolution had displayed itself in France as a force of union as well
as of division. It had driven the nobles across the frontier; it had torn
the clergy from their altars; but it had reconciled sullen Corsica; and by
abolishing feudal rights it had made France the real fatherland of the
Teutonic peasant in Alsace and Lorraine. It was now about to prove its
attractive power in foreign lands. At the close of the last century the
nationalities of Europe were far less consolidated than they are at
present; only on the Spanish and the Swiss frontier had France a neighbour
that could be called a nation. On the north, what is now the kingdom of
Belgium was in 1792 a collection of provinces subject to the House of
Austria. The German population both of the districts west of the Rhine and
of those opposite to Alsace was parcelled out among a number of petty
principalities. Savoy, though west of the chain of the Alps and French in
speech, formed part of the kingdom of Piedmont, which was itself severed by
history and by national character from the other States of Northern Italy.
Along the entire frontier, from Dunkirk to the Maritime Alps, France
nowhere touched a strong, united, and independent people; and along this
entire frontier, except in the country opposite Alsace, the armed
proselytism of the French Revolution proved a greater force than the
influences on which the existing order of things depended. In the Low
Countries, in the Principalities of the Rhine, in Switzerland, in Savoy, in
Piedmont itself, the doctrines of the Revolution were welcomed by a more or
less numerous class, and the armies of France appeared, though but for a
moment, as the missionaries of liberty and right rather than as an invading

[Custine enters Mainz, Oct. 20.]

No sooner had Brunswick been brought to a stand by Dumouriez at Valmy than
a French division under Custine crossed the Alsatian frontier and advanced
upon Spires, where Brunswick had left large stores of war. The garrison was
defeated in an encounter outside the town; Spires and Worms surrendered to
Custine. In the neighbouring fortress of Mainz, the key to Western Germany,
Custine's advance was watched by a republican party among the inhabitants,
from whom the French general learnt that he had only to appear before the
city to become its master. Brunswick had indeed apprehended the failure of
his invasion of France, but he had never given a thought to the defence of
Germany; and, although the King of Prussia had been warned of the
defenceless state of Mainz, no steps had been taken beyond the payment of a
sum of money for the repair of the fortifications, which money the
Archbishop expended in the purchase of a wood belonging to himself and the
erection of a timber patchwork. On news arriving of the capture of Spires,
the Archbishop fled, leaving the administration to the Dean, the
Chancellor, and the Commandant. The Chancellor made a speech, calling upon
his "beloved brethren" the citizens to defend themselves to the last
extremity, and daily announced the overthrow of Dumouriez and the
approaching entry of the Allies into Paris, until Custine's soldiers
actually came into sight. [21] Then a council of war declared the city to
be untenable; and before Custine had brought up a single siege-gun the
garrison capitulated, and the French were welcomed into Mainz by the
partisans of the Republic (Oct. 20). With the French arms came the French
organisation of liberty. A club was formed on the model of the Jacobin Club
of Paris; existing officers and distinctions of rank were abolished; and
although the mass of the inhabitants held aloof, a Republic was finally
proclaimed, and incorporated with the Republic of France.

[Dumouriez invades the Netherlands.]

[Battle of Jemappes, Nov. 6.]

The success of Custine's raid into Germany did not divert the Convention
from the design of attacking Austria in the Netherlands, which Dumouriez
had from the first pressed upon the Government. It was not three years
since the Netherlands had been in revolt against the Emperor Joseph. In its
origin the revolt was a reactionary movement of the clerical party against
Joseph's reforms; but there soon sprang up ambitions and hopes at variance
with the first impulses of the insurrection; and by the side of monks and
monopolists a national party came into existence, proclaiming the
sovereignty of the people, and imitating all the movements of the French
Revolution. During the brief suspension of Austrian rule the popular and
the reactionary parties attacked one another; and on the restoration of
Leopold's authority in 1791 the democratic leaders, with a large body of
their followers, took refuge beyond the frontier, looking forward to the
outbreak of war between Austria and France. Their partisans formed a French
connection in the interior of the country; and by some strange illusion,
the priests themselves and the close corporations which had been attacked
by Joseph supposed that their interests would be respected by Revolutionary
France. [22] Thus the ground was everywhere prepared for a French invasion.
Dumouriez crossed the frontier. The border fortresses no longer existed;
and after a single battle won by the French at Jemappes on the 6th of
November, [23] the Austrians, finding the population universally hostile,
abandoned the Netherlands without a struggle.

[Nice and Savoy annexed.]

[Decree of Dec. 15.]

The victory of Jemappes, the first pitched battle won by the Republic,
excited an outburst of revolutionary fervour in the Convention which deeply
affected the relations of France to Great Britain, hitherto a neutral
spectator of the war. A manifesto was published declaring that the French
nation offered its alliance to all peoples who wished to recover their
freedom, and charging the generals of the Republic to give their protection
to all persons who might suffer in the cause of liberty (Nov. 19). A week
later Savoy and Nice were annexed to France, the population of Savoy having
declared in favour of France and Sardinia. On the 15th of December the
Convention proclaimed that social and political revolution was henceforth
to accompany every movement of its armies on foreign soil. "In every
country that shall be occupied by the armies of the French Republic"--such
was the substance of the Decree of December 15th--"the generals shall
announce the abolition of all existing authorities; of nobility, of
serfage, of every feudal right and every monopoly; they shall proclaim the
sovereignty of the people, and convoke the inhabitants in assemblies to
form a provisional Government, to which no officer of a former Government,
no noble, nor any member of the former privileged corporations shall be
eligible. They shall place under the charge of the French Republic all
property belonging to the Sovereign or his adherents, and the property of
every civil or religious corporation. The French nation will treat as
enemies any people which, refusing liberty and equality, desires to
preserve its prince and privileged castes, or to make any accommodation
with them."

[England arms.]

[The Schelde.]

[Execution of Louis XVI., Jan. 21, 1793.]

This singular announcement of a new crusade caused the Government of Great
Britain to arm. Although the decree of the Convention related only to
States with which France was at war, the Convention had in fact formed
connections with the English revolutionary societies; and the French
Minister of Marine informed his sailors that they were about to carry fifty
thousand caps of liberty to their English brethren. No prudent statesman
would treat a mere series of threats against all existing authorities as
ground for war; but the acts of the French Government showed that it
intended to carry into effect the violent interference in the affairs of
other nations announced in its manifestoes. Its agents were stirring up
dissatisfaction in every State; and although the annexation of Savoy and
the occupation of the Netherlands might be treated as incidental to the
conflict with Austria and Sardinia, in which Great Britain had pledged
itself to neutrality, other acts of the Convention were certainly
infringements of the rights of allies of England. A series of European
treaties, oppressive according to our own ideas, but in keeping with the
ideas of that age, prohibited the navigation of the River Schelde, on which
Antwerp is situated, in order that the commerce of the North Sea might flow
exclusively into Dutch ports. On the conquest of Belgium the French
Government gave orders to Dumouriez to send a flotilla down the river, and
to declare Antwerp an open port in right of the law of nature, which
treaties cannot abrogate. Whatever the folly of commercial restraints, the
navigation of the Schelde was a question between the Antwerpers and the
Dutch, and one in which France had no direct concern. The incident, though
trivial, was viewed in England as one among many proofs of the intention of
the French to interfere with the affairs of neighbouring States at their
pleasure. In ordinary times it would not have been easy to excite much
interest in England on behalf of a Dutch monopoly; but the feeling of this
country towards the French Revolution had been converted into a passionate
hatred by the massacres of September, and by the open alliance between the
Convention and the Revolutionary societies in England itself. Pitt indeed,
whom the Parisians imagined to be their most malignant enemy, laboured
against the swelling national passion, and hoped against all hope for
peace. Not only was Pitt guiltless of the desire to add this country to the
enemies of France, but he earnestly desired to reconcile France with
Austria, in order that the Western States, whose embroilment left Eastern
Europe at the mercy of Catherine of Russia, might unite to save both Poland
and Turkey from falling into the hands of a Power whose steady aggression
threatened Europe more seriously than all the noisy and outspoken
excitement of the French Convention. Pitt, moreover, viewed with deep
disapproval the secret designs of Austria and Prussia. [24] If the French
executive would have given any assurance that the Netherlands should not be
annexed, or if the French ambassador, Chauvelin, who was connected with
English plotters, had been superseded by a trustworthy negotiator, it is
probable that peace might have been preserved. But when, on the execution
of King Louis (Jan. 21, 1793), Chauvelin was expelled from England as a
suspected alien, war became a question of days. [25]

[Holland and Mediterranean States enter the war.]

[War with England, Feb. 1st, 1793.]

Points of technical right figured in the complaints of both sides; but the
real ground of war was perfectly understood. France considered itself
entitled to advance the Revolution and the Rights of Man wherever its own
arms or popular insurrection gave it the command. England denied the right
of any Power to annul the political system of Europe at its pleasure. No
more serious, no more sufficient, ground of war ever existed between two
nations; yet the event proved that, with the highest justification for war,
the highest wisdom would yet have chosen peace. England's entry into the
war converted it from an affair of two or three campaigns into a struggle
of twenty years, resulting in more violent convulsions, more widespread
misery, and more atrocious crimes, than in all probability would have
resulted even from the temporary triumph of the revolutionary cause in
1793. But in both nations political passion welcomed impending calamity;
and the declaration of war by the Convention on February 1st only
anticipated the desire of the English people. Great Britain once committed
to the struggle, Pitt spared neither money nor intimidation in his efforts
to unite all Europe against France. Holland was included with England in
the French declaration of war. The Mediterranean States felt that the navy
of England was nearer to them than the armies of Austria and Prussia; and
before the end of the summer of 1793, Spain, Portugal, Naples, Tuscany, and
the Papal States had joined the Coalition.

[French wrongly think England inclined to revolution.]

The Jacobins of Paris had formed a wrong estimate of the political
condition of England. At the outbreak of the war they believed that England
itself was on the verge of revolution. They mistook the undoubted
discontent of a portion of the middle and lower classes, which showed
itself in the cry for parliamentary reform, for a general sentiment of
hatred towards existing institutions, like that which in France had swept
away the old order at a single blow. The Convention received the addresses
of English Radical societies, and imagined that the abuses of the
parliamentary system under George III. had alienated the whole nation. What
they had found in Belgium and in Savoy--a people thankful to receive the
Rights of Man from the soldiers of the Revolution--they expected to find
among the dissenting congregations of London and the factory-hands of
Sheffield. The singular attraction exercised by each class in England upon
the one below it, as well as the indifference of the nation generally to
all ideals, was little understood in France, although the Revolutions of
the two countries bore this contrast on their face. A month after the fall
of the Bastille, the whole system of class-privilege and monopoly had
vanished from French law; fifteen years of the English Commonwealth had
left the structure of English society what it had been at the beginning.
But political observation vanished in the delirium of 1793; and the French
only discovered, when it was too late, that in Great Britain the Revolution
had fallen upon an enemy of unparalleled stubbornness and inexhaustible

[The Whigs not democratic.]

[Political condition of England.]

In the first Assembly of the Revolution it was usual to speak of the
English as free men whom the French ought to imitate; in the Convention it
was usual to speak of them as slaves whom the French ought to deliver. The
institutions of England bore in fact a very different aspect when compared
with the absolute monarchy of the Bourbons and when compared with the
democracy of 1793. Frenchmen who had lived under the government of a Court
which made laws by edict and possessed the right to imprison by
letters-patent looked with respect upon the Parliament of England, its
trial by jury, and its freedom of the press. The men who had sent a king to
prison and confiscated the estates of a great part of the aristocracy could
only feel compassion for a land where three-fourths of the national
representatives were nominees of the Crown or of wealthy peers. Nor, in
spite of the personal sympathy of Fox with the French revolutionary
movement, was there any real affinity between the English Whig party and
that which now ruled in the Convention. The event which fixed the character
of English liberty during the eighteenth century, the Revolution of 1688,
had nothing democratic in its nature. That revolution was directed against
a system of Roman Catholic despotism; it gave political power not to the
mass of the nation, which had no desire and no capacity to exercise it, but
to a group of noble families and their retainers, who, during the reigns of
the first two Georges, added all the patronage and influence of the Crown
to their social and constitutional weight in the country. The domestic
history of England since the accession of George III. had turned chiefly
upon the obstinate struggle of this monarch to deliver himself from all
dependence upon party. The divisions of the Whigs, their jealousies, but,
above all, their real alienation from the mass of the people whose rights
they professed to defend, ultimately gave the King the victory, when, after
twenty years of errors, be found in the younger Pitt a Minister capable of
uniting the interests of the Crown with the ablest and most patriotic
liberal statesmanship. Bribes, threats, and every species of base influence
had been employed by King George to break up the great Coalition of 1783,
which united all sections of the Whigs against him under the Ministry of
Fox and North; but the real support of Pitt, whom the King placed in office
with a minority in the House of Commons, was the temper of the nation
itself, wearied with the exclusiveness, the corruption, and the
party-spirit of the Whigs, and willing to believe that a popular Minister,
even if he had entered upon power unconstitutionally, might do more for the
country than the constitutional proprietors of the rotten boroughs.

[Pitt Minister, 1783.]

[Effect of French Revolution on English Parties.]

From 1783 down to the outbreak of the French Revolution, Pitt, as a Tory
Minister confronted by a Whig Opposition, governed England on more liberal
principles than any statesman who had held power during the eighteenth
century. These years were the last of the party-system of England in its
original form. The French Revolution made an end of that old distinction in
which the Tory was known as the upholder of Crown-prerogative and the Whig
as the supporter of a constitutional oligarchy of great families. It
created that new political antagonism in which, whether under the names of
Whig and Tory, or of Liberal and Conservative, two great parties have
contended, one for a series of beneficial changes, the other for the
preservation of the existing order. The convulsions of France and the dread
of revolutionary agitation in England transformed both Pitt and the Whigs
by whom he was opposed. Pitt sacrificed his schemes of peaceful progress to
foreign war and domestic repression, and set his face against the reform of
Parliament which he had once himself proposed. The Whigs broke up into two
sections, led respectively by Burke and by Fox, the one denouncing the
violence of the Revolution, and ultimately uniting itself with Pitt; the
other friendly to the Revolution, in spite of its excesses, as the cause of
civil and religious liberty, and identifying itself, under the healthy
influence of parliamentary defeat and disappointment, with the defence of
popular rights in England and the advocacy of enlightened reform.

[Burke's "Reflections," Oct. 1790.]

[Most of the Whigs support Pitt against France.]

The obliteration of the old dividing-line in English politics may be said
to date from the day when the ancient friendship of Burke and Fox was
bitterly severed by the former in the House of Commons (May 6, 1791). The
charter of the modern Conservative party was that appeal to the nation
which Burke had already published, in the autumn of 1790, under the title
of "Reflections on the French Revolution." In this survey of the political
forces which he saw in action around him, the great Whig writer, who in
past times had so passionately defended the liberties of America and the
constitutional tradition of the English Parliament against the aggression
of George III., attacked the Revolution as a system of violence and caprice
more formidable to freedom than the tyranny of any Crown. He proved that
the politicians and societies of England who had given it their sympathy
had given their sympathy to measures and to theories opposed to every
principle of 1688. Above all, he laid bare that agency of riot and
destructiveness which, even within the first few months of the Revolution,
filled him with presentiment of the calamities about to fall upon France.
Burke's treatise was no dispassionate inquiry into the condition of a
neighbouring state: it was a denunciation of Jacobinism as fierce and as
little qualified by political charity as were the maledictions of the
Hebrew prophets upon their idolatrous neighbours; and it was intended, like
these, to excite his own countrymen against innovations among themselves.
It completely succeeded. It expressed, and it heightened, the alarm arising
among the Liberal section of the propertied class, at first well inclined
to the Revolution; and, although the Whigs of the House of Commons
pronounced in favour of Fox upon his first rupture with Burke, the tide of
public feeling, rising higher with every new outrage of the Revolution,
soon invaded the legislature, and carried the bulk of the Whig party to the
side of the Minister, leaving to Fox and his few faithful adherents the
task of maintaining an unheeded protest against the blind passions of war,
and the increasing rigour with which Pitt repressed every symptom of
popular disaffection.

[The Gironde and the Mountain in the Convention.]

[The Gironde and the Commune of Paris.]

The character of violence which Burke traced and condemned in the earliest
acts of the Revolution displayed itself in a much stronger light after the
overthrow of the Monarchy by the insurrection of August 10th. That event
was the work of men who commanded the Parisian democracy, not the work of
orators and party-leaders in the Assembly. The Girondins had not hesitated
to treat the victory as their own, by placing the great offices of State,
with one exception, in the hands of their leaders; they instantly found
that the real sovereignty lay elsewhere. The Council of the Commune, or
Municipality, of Paris, whose members had seized their post at the moment
of the insurrection, was the only administrative body that possessed the
power to enforce its commands; in the Ministries of State one will alone
made itself felt, that of Danton, whom the Girondins had unwillingly
admitted to office along with themselves. The massacres of September threw
into full light the powerlessness of the expiring Assembly. For five
successive days it was unable to check the massacres; it was unable to
bring to justice the men who had planned them, and who called upon the rest
of France to follow their example. With the meeting of the Convention,
however, the Girondins, who now regarded themselves as the legitimate
government, and forgot that they owed office to an insurrection, expected
to reduce the capital to submission. They commanded an overwhelming
majority in the new chamber; they were supported by the middle class in all
the great cities of France. The party of the Mountain embraced at first
only the deputies of Paris, and a group of determined men who admitted no
criticism on the measures which the democracy of Paris had thought
necessary for the Revolution. In the Convention they were the assailed, not
the assailants. Without waiting to secure themselves by an armed force, the
orators of the Gironde attempted to crush both the Municipality and the
deputies who ruled at the Clubs. They reproached the Municipality with the
murders of September; they accused Robespierre of aiming at the
Dictatorship. It was under the pressure of these attacks that the party of
the Mountain gathered its strength within the Convention, and that the
populace of Paris transferred to the Gironde the passionate hatred which it
had hitherto borne to the King and the aristocracy. The gulf that lay
between the people and those who had imagined themselves to be its leaders
burst into view. The Girondins saw with dismay that the thousands of hungry
workmen whose victory had placed them in power had fought for something
more tangible than Republican phrases from Tacitus and Plutarch. On one
side was a handful of orators and writers, steeped in the rhetoric and the
commonplace of ancient Rome, and totally strange to the real duties of
government; on the other side the populace of Paris, such as centuries of
despotism, privilege, and priestcraft had made it: sanguinary, unjust,
vindictive; convulsed since the outbreak of the Revolution with every
passion that sways men in the mass; taught no conception of progress but
the overthrow of authority, and acquainted with no title to power but that
which was bestowed by itself. If the Girondins were to remain in power,
they could do so only by drawing an army from the departments, or by
identifying themselves with the multitude. They declined to take either
course. Their audience was in the Assembly alone; their support in the
distant provinces. Paris, daily more violent, listened to men of another
stamp. The Municipality defied the Government; the Mountain answered the
threats and invectives of the majority in the Assembly by displays of
popular menace and tumult. In the eyes of the common people, who after so
many changes of government found themselves more famished and more
destitute than ever, the Gironde was now but the last of a succession of
tyrannies; its statesmen but impostors who stood between the people and the
enjoyment of their liberty.

Among the leaders of the Mountain, Danton aimed at the creation of a
central Revolutionary Government, armed with absolute powers for the
prosecution of the war; and he attacked the Girondins only when they
themselves had rejected his support. Robespierre, himself the author of
little beyond destruction, was the idol of those whom Rousseau's writings
had filled with the idea of a direct exercise of sovereignty by the people.
It was in the trial of the King that the Gironde first confessed its
submission to the democracy of Paris. The Girondins in their hearts desired
to save the King; they voted for his death with the hope of maintaining
their influence in Paris, and of clearing themselves from the charge of
lukewarmness in the cause of the Revolution. But the sacrifice was as vain
as it was dishonourable. The populace and the party of the Mountain took
the act in its true character, as an acknowledgment of their own victory. A
series of measures was brought forward providing for the poorer classes at
the expense of the wealthy. The Gironde, now forced to become the defenders
of property, encountered the fatal charge of deserting the cause of the
people; and from this time nothing but successful foreign warfare could
have saved their party from ruin.

[Defeat and treason of Dumouriez, March, 1793.]

Instead of success came inaction, disaster, and treason. The army of
Flanders lay idle during January and February for want of provisions and
materials of war; and no sooner had Dumouriez opened the campaign against
Holland than he was recalled by intelligence that the Austrians had fallen
upon his lieutenant, Miranda, at Maestricht, and driven the French army
before them. Dumouriez returned, in order to fight a pitched battle before
Brussels. He attacked the Austrians at Neerwinden (March 18), and suffered
a repulse inconsiderable in itself, but sufficient to demoralise an army
composed in great part of recruits and National Guards. [26] His defeat
laid Flanders open to the Austrians; but Dumouriez intended that it should
inflict upon the Republic a far heavier blow. Since the execution of the
King, he had been at open enmity with the Jacobins. He now proposed to the
Austrian commander to unite with him in an attack upon the Convention, and
in re-establishing monarchy in France. The first pledge of Dumouriez's
treason was the surrender of three commissioners sent by the Convention to
his camp; the second was to have been the surrender of the fortress of
Condé. But Dumouriez had overrated his influence with the army. Plainer
minds than his own knew how to deal with a general who intrigues with the
foreigner. Dumouriez's orders were disregarded; his movements watched; and
he fled to the Austrian lines under the fire of his own soldiers. About
thirty officers and eight hundred men passed with him to the enemy.

[Defeats on the North and East. Revolt of La Vendée, March, 1793.]

[The Commune crushes the Gironde, June 2.]

The defeat and treason of Dumouriez brought the army of Austria over the
northern frontier. Almost at the same moment Custine was overpowered in the
Palatinate; and the conquests of the previous autumn, with the exception of
Mainz, were lost as rapidly as they had been won. Custine fell back upon
the lines of Weissenburg, leaving the defence of Mainz to a garrison of
17,000 men, which, alone among the Republican armies, now maintained its
reputation. In France itself civil war broke out. The peasants of La
Vendée, a district destitute of large towns, and scarcely touched either by
the evils which had produced the Revolution or by the hopes which animated
the rest of France, had seen with anger the expulsion of the parish priests
who refused to take the oath to the Constitution. A levy of 300,000 men,
which was ordered by the Convention in February, 1793, threw into revolt
the simple Vendeans, who cared for nothing outside their own parishes, and
preferred to fight against their countrymen rather than to quit their
homes. The priests and the Royalists fanned these village outbreaks into a
religious war of the most serious character. Though poorly armed, and
accustomed to return to their homes as soon as fighting was over, the
Vendean peasantry proved themselves a formidable soldiery in the moment of
attack, and cut to pieces the half-disciplined battalions which the
Government sent against them. On the north, France was now assailed by the
English as well as by the Austrians. The Allies laid siege to Condé and
Valenciennes, and drove the French army back in disorder at Famars. Each
defeat was a blow dealt to the Government of the Gironde at Paris. With
foreign and civil war adding disaster to disaster, with the general to whom
the Gironde had entrusted the defence of the Republic openly betraying it
to its enemies, the fury of the capital was easily excited against the
party charged with all the misfortunes of France. A threatening movement of
the middle classes in resistance to a forced loan precipitated the
struggle. The Girondins were accused of arresting the armies of the
Republic in the midst of their conquests, of throwing the frontier open to
the foreigner, and of kindling the civil war of La Vendée. On the 31st of
May a raging mob invaded the Convention. Two days later the representatives
of France were surrounded by the armed forces of the Commune; the
twenty-four leading members of the Gironde were placed under arrest, and
the victory of the Mountain was completed. [27]

[Civil War. The Committee of Public Safety.]

The situation of France, which was serious before, now became desperate;
for the Girondins, escaping from their arrest, called the departments to
arms against Paris. Normandy, Bordeaux, Marseilles, Lyons, rose in
insurrection against the tyranny of the Mountain, and the Royalists of the
south and west threw themselves into a civil war which they hoped to turn
to their own advantage. But a form of government had now arisen in France
well fitted to cope with extraordinary perils. It was a form of government
in which there was little trace of the constitutional tendencies of 1789,
one that had come into being as the stress of conflict threw into the
background the earlier hopes and efforts of the Revolution. In the two
earlier Assemblies it had been a fixed principle that the representatives
of the people were to control the Government, but were not to assume
executive powers themselves. After the overthrow of Monarchy on the 10th
August, the Ministers, though still nominally possessed of powers distinct
from the representative body, began to be checked by Committees of the
Convention appointed for various branches of the public service; and in
March, 1793, in order to meet the increasing difficulties of the war, a
Committee of Public Safety was appointed, charged with the duty of
exercising a general surveillance over the administration. In this
Committee, however, as in all the others, the Gironde were in the majority;
and the twenty-four members who composed it were too numerous a body to act
with effect. The growing ascendancy of the Mountain produced that
concentration of force which the times required. The Committee was reduced
in April to nine members, and in this form it ultimately became the supreme
central power. It was not until after the revolt of Lyons that the
Committee, exchanging Danton's influence for that of Robespierre, adopted
the principle of Terror which has made the memory of their rule one of the
most sinister in history. Their authority steadily increased. The members
divided among themselves the great branches of government. One directed the
army, another the navy, another foreign affairs; the signature of three
members practically gave to any measure the force of law, for the
Convention accepted and voted their reports as a matter of course.

[Commissioners of the Convention]

Whilst the Committee gave orders as the supreme executive, eighty of the
most energetic of the Mountain spread themselves over France, in parties of
two and three, with the title of Commissioners of the Convention, and with
powers over-riding those of all the local authorities. They were originally
appointed for the purpose of hastening on the levy ordered by the
Convention in March, but their powers were gradually extended over the
whole range of administration. Their will was absolute, their authority
supreme. Where the councillors of the Departments or the municipal officers
were good Jacobins, the Commissioners availed themselves of local
machinery; where they suspected their principles, they sent them to the
scaffold, and enforced their own orders by whatever means were readiest.
They censured and dismissed the generals; one of them even directed the
movements of a fleet at sea. What was lost by waste and confusion and by
the interference of the Commissioners in military movements was more than
counterbalanced by the vigour which they threw into all the preparations of
war, and by the unity of purpose which, at the price of unsparing
bloodshed, they communicated to every group where Frenchmen met together.

[Local revolutionary system of 1793]

But no individual energy could have sustained these dictatorships without
the support of a popular organisation. All over France a system of
revolutionary government sprang up, which superseded all existing
institutions just as the authority of the Commissioners of the Convention
superseded all existing local powers. The local revolutionary
administration consisted of a Committee, a Club, and a Tribunal. [28] In
each of 21,000 communes a committee of twelve was elected by the people,
and entrusted by the Convention, as the Terror gained ground, with
boundless powers of arrest and imprisonment. Popular excitement was
sustained by clubs, where the peasants and labourers assembled at the close
of their day's work, and applauded the victories or denounced the enemies
of the Revolution. A Tribunal with swift procedure and powers of life and
death sat in each of the largest towns, and judged the prisoners who were
sent to it by the committees of the neighbouring district. Such was the
government of 1793--an executive of uncontrolled power drawn from the
members of a single Assembly, and itself brought into immediate contact
with the poorest of the people in their assemblies and clubs. The balance
of interests which creates a constitutional system, the security of life,
liberty, and property, which is the essence of every recognised social
order, did not now exist in France. One public purpose, the defence of the
Revolution, became the law before which all others lost their force.
Treating all France like a town in a state of siege, the Government took
upon itself the duty of providing support for the poorest classes by
enactments controlling the sale and possession of the necessaries of life.

[Law of the Maximum]

The price of corn and other necessaries was fixed; and, when the traders
and producers consequently ceased to bring their goods to market, the
Commissioners of the Convention were empowered to make requisition of a
certain quantity of corn for every acre of ground. Property was thus placed
at the disposal of the men who already exercised absolute political power.
"The state of France," said Burke, "is perfectly simple. It consists of but
two descriptions, the oppressors and the oppressed." It is in vain that the
attempt has been made to extenuate the atrocious and senseless cruelties of
this time by extolling the great legislative projects of the Convention, or
pleading the dire necessity of a land attacked on every side by the
foreigner, and rent with civil war. The more that is known of the Reign of
Terror, the more hateful, the meaner and more disgusting is the picture
unveiled. France was saved not by the brutalities, but by the energy, of
the faction that ruled it. It is scarcely too much to say that the cause of
European progress would have been less injured by the military overthrow of
the Republic, by the severance of the border provinces from France and the
restoration of some shadow of the ancient _régime_, than by the traditions
of horror which for the next fifty years were inseparably associated in
men's minds with the victory of the people over established power.

[French disasters, March-Sept., 1793.]

The Revolutionary organisation did not reach its full vigour till the
autumn of 1793, when the prospects of France were at their worst. Custine,
who was brought up from Alsace to take command of the Army of the North,
found it so demoralised that he was unable to attempt the relief of the
fortresses which were now besieged by the Allies. Condé surrendered to the
Austrians on the 10th of July; Valenciennes capitulated to the Duke of York
a fortnight later. In the east the fortune of war was no better. An attack
made on the Prussian army besieging Mainz totally failed; and on the 23rd
of July this great fortress, which had been besieged since the middle of
April, passed back into the hands of the Germans. On every side the
Republic seemed to be sinking before its enemies. Its frontier defences had
fallen before the victorious Austrians and English; Brunswick was ready to
advance upon Alsace from conquered Mainz; Lyons and Toulon were in revolt;
La Vendée had proved the grave of the forces sent to subdue it. It was in
this crisis of misfortune that the Convention placed the entire male
population of France between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five at the
disposal of the Government, and turned the whole country into one great
camp and arsenal of war. Nor was there wanting a mind equal to the task of
giving order to this vast material. The appointment of Carnot, an officer
of engineers, to a seat on the Committee of Public Safety placed the
military administration of France in the hands of a man who, as an
organiser, if not as a strategist, was soon to prove himself without equal
in Europe.

[The Allies seek each their separate ends.]

Nevertheless, it was to the dissensions and to the bad policy of the Allies
more than to the energy of its own Government that France owed its safety.
The object for which the Allies professed to be carrying on the war, the
establishment of a pacific Government in France, was subordinated to
schemes of aggrandisement, known as the acquisition of just indemnities.
While Prussia, bent chiefly on preventing the Emperor from gaining Bavaria
in exchange for Belgium, kept its own army inactive on the Rhine, [29]
Austria, with the full approval of Pitt's Cabinet, claimed annexations in
Northern France, as well as Alsace, and treated the conquered town of Condé
as Austrian territory. [30] Henceforward all the operations of the northern
army were directed to the acquisition of frontier territory, not to the
pursuit and overthrow of the Republican forces. The war was openly
converted from a war of defence into a war of spoliation. It was a change
which mocked the disinterested professions with which the Allies had taken
up arms; in its military results it was absolutely ruinous. In face of the
immense levies which promised the French certain victory in a long war, the
only hope for the Allies lay in a rapid march to Paris; they preferred the
extreme of division and delay. No sooner had the advance of their united
armies driven Custine from his stronghold at Famars, than the English
commander led off his forces to besiege Dunkirk, while the Austrians, under
Prince Coburg, proceeded to invest Cambray and Le Quesnoy. The line of the
invaders thus extended from the Channel to Brunswick's posts at Landau, on
the border of Alsace; the main armies were out of reach of one another, and
their strength was diminished by the corps detached to keep up their
communications. The French held the inner circle; and the advantage which
this gave them was well understood by Carnot, who now inspired the measures
of the Committee. In steadiness and precision the French recruits were no
match for the trained armies of Germany; but the supply of them was
inexhaustible, and Carnot knew that when they were thrown in sufficient
masses upon the enemy their courage and enthusiasm would make amends for
their inexperience. The successes of the Allies, unbroken from February to
August, now began to alternate with defeats; the flood of invasion was
first slowly and obstinately repelled, then swept away before a victorious

[York driven from Dunkirk Sept. 8.]

It was on the British commander that the first blow was struck. The forces
that could be detached from the French Northern army were not sufficient to
drive York from before Dunkirk; but on the Moselle there were troops
engaged in watching an enemy who was not likely to advance; and the
Committee did not hesitate to leave this side of France open to the
Prussians in order to deal a decisive stroke in the north. Before the
movement was noticed by the enemy, Carnot had transported 30,000 men from
Metz to the English Channel; and in the first week of September the German
corps covering York was assailed by General Houchard with numbers double
its own. The Germans were driven back upon Dunkirk; York only saved his own
army from destruction by hastily raising the siege and abandoning his heavy
artillery. The victory of the French, however, was ill followed up.
Houchard was sent before the Revolutionary Tribunal, and he paid with his
life for his mistakes. Custine had already perished, unjustly condemned for
the loss of Mainz and Valenciennes.

[Commands given to men of the people.]

[Jourdan's victory at Wattignies, Oct 15.]

It was no unimportant change for France when the successors of Custine and
Houchard received their commands from the Committee of Public Safety. The
levelling principle of the Reign of Terror left its effect on France
through its operation in the army, and through this almost alone. Its
executions produced only horror and reaction; its confiscations were soon
reversed; but the creation of a thoroughly democratic army, the work of the
men who overthrew the Gironde, gave the most powerful and abiding impulse
to social equality in France. The first generals of the Revolution had been
officers of the old army, men, with a few exceptions, of noble birth, who,
like Custine, had enrolled themselves on the popular side when most of
their companions quitted the country. These generals were connected with
the politicians of the Gironde, and were involved in its fall. The victory
of the Mountain brought men of another type into command. Almost all the
leaders appointed by the Committee of Public Safety were soldiers who had
served in the ranks. In the levies of 1792 and 1793 the officers of the
newly-formed battalions were chosen by the recruits themselves. Patriotism,
energy of character, acquaintance with warfare, instantly brought men into
prominence. Soldiers of the old army, like Massena, who had reached middle
life with their knapsacks on their backs; lawyers, like the Breton Moreau;
waiters at inns, like Murat, found themselves at the head of their
battalions, and knew that Carnot was ever watching for genius and ability
to call it to the highest commands. With a million of men under arms, there
were many in whom great natural gifts supplied the want of professional
training. It was also inevitable that at the outset command should
sometimes fall into the hands of mere busy politicians; but the character
of the generals steadily rose as the Committee gained the ascendancy over a
knot of demagogues who held the War Ministry during the summer of 1793; and
by the end of the year there was scarcely one officer in high command who
had not proved himself worthy of his post. In the investigation into
Houchard's conduct at Dunkirk, Carnot learnt that the victory had in fact
been won by Jourdan, one of the generals of division. Jourdan had begun
life as a common soldier fifteen years before. Discharged at the end of the
American War, he had set up a draper's shop in Limoges, his native town. He
joined the army a second time on the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, and
the men of his battalion elected him captain. His ability was noticed; he
was made successively general of brigade and general of division; and, upon
the dismissal of Houchard, Carnot summoned him to the command of the Army
of the North. The Austrians were now engaged in the investment of Maubeuge.
On the 15th of October Jourdan attacked and defeated their covering army at
Wattignies. His victory forced the Austrians to raise the siege, and
brought the campaign to an end for the winter.

[Lyons, Toulon, La Vendée, conquered Oct.-Dec. 1793.]

Thus successful on the northern frontier, the Republic carried on war
against its internal enemies without pause and without mercy. Lyons
surrendered in October; its citizens were slaughtered by hundreds in cold
blood. Toulon had thrown itself into the hands of the English, and
proclaimed King Louis XVII. It was besieged by land; but the operations
produced no effect until Napoleon Bonaparte, captain of artillery, planned
the capture of a ridge from which the cannon of the besiegers would command
the English fleet in the harbour. Hood, the British admiral, now found his
position hopeless. He took several thousands of the inhabitants on board
his ships, and put out to sea, blowing up the French ships which he left in
the harbour. Hood had received the fleet from the Royalists in trust for
their King; its destruction gave England command of the Mediterranean and
freed Naples from fear of attack; and Hood thought too little of the
consequences which his act would bring down upon those of the inhabitants
of Toulon whom he left behind. [31]

The horrors that followed the entry of the Republican army into the city
did not prevent Pitt from including among the subjects of congratulation in
the King's Speech of 1794 "the circumstances attending the evacuation of
Toulon." It was perhaps fortunate for the Royalists in other parts of
France that they failed to receive the assistance of England. Help was
promised to the Vendeans, but it arrived too late. The appearance of Kleber
at the head of the army which had defended Mainz had already turned the
scale. Brave as they were, the Vendeans could not long resist trained
armies. The war of pitched battles ended on the Loire with the year 1793.
It was succeeded by a war of merciless and systematic destruction on the
one side, and of ambush and surprises on the other.

[Prussia withdrawing from the war on account of Polish affairs.]

At home the foes of the Republic were sinking; its invaders were too much
at discord with one another to threaten it any longer with serious danger.
Prussia was in fact withdrawing from the war. It has been seen that when
King Frederick William and the Emperor concerted the autumn campaign of
1792, the understanding was formed that Prussia, in return for its efforts
against France, should be allowed to seize part of western Poland, if the
Empress Catherine should give her consent. With this prospect before it,
the thoughts of the Prussian Government had been from the first busied more
with Poland, where it hoped to enter into possession, than with France,
where it had only to fight Austria's battles. Negotiations on the Polish
question had been actively carried on between Berlin and St. Petersburg
during the first months of the war; and in January, 1793, the Empress
Catherine had concluded a Treaty of Partition with King Frederick William,
in virtue of which a Prussian army under General Mollendorf immediately
entered western Poland. It was thought good policy to keep the terms of
this treaty secret from Austria, as it granted a much larger portion of
Poland to Prussia than Austria was willing that it should receive. Two
months passed before the Austrian Sovereign learnt how he had been treated
by his ally. He then denounced the treaty, and assumed so threatening an
attitude that the Prussians thought it necessary to fortify the territory
that they had seized. [32] The Ministers who had been outwitted by the
Court of Berlin were dismissed; Baron Thugut, who from the first had
prophesied nothing but evil of the Prussian alliance, was called to power.
The history of this statesman, who for the next eight years directed the
war-policy of Austria, and filled a part in Europe subordinate only to
those of Pitt and Bonaparte, has until a recent date been drawn chiefly
from the representations of his enemies. Humbly born, scornful and
inaccessible, Thugut was detested by the Viennese aristocracy; the French
emigrants hated and maligned him on account of his indifference to their
cause; the public opinion of Austria held him responsible for unparalleled
military disasters; Prussian generals and ambassadors, whose reports have
formed the basis of Prussian histories, pictured him as a Satanic
antagonist. It was long believed of Thugut that while ambassador at
Constantinople he had sold the Austrian cypher to the French; that in 1794
he prevented his master's armies from winning victories because he had
speculated in the French funds; and that in 1799 he occasioned the murder
of the French envoys at Rastadt, in order to recover documents
incriminating himself. Better sources of information are now opened, and a
statesman, jealous, bitter, and over-reaching, but not without great
qualities of character, stands in the place of the legendary criminal. It
is indeed clear that Thugut's hatred of Prussia amounted almost to mania;
it is also clear that his designs of aggression, formed in the school of
the Emperor Joseph, were fatally in conflict with the defensive principles
which Europe ought to have opposed to the aggressions of France. Evidence
exists that during the eight years of Thugut's ministry he entertained,
together or successively, projects for the annexation of French Flanders,
Bavaria, Alsace, part of Poland, Venice and Dalmatia, Salzburg, the Papal
Legations, the Republic of Genoa, Piedmont, and Bosnia; and to this list
Tuscany and Savoy ought probably to be added. But the charges brought
against Thugut of underhand dealings with France, and of the willing
abandonment of German interests in return for compensation to Austria in
Italy, rest on insufficient ground. Though, like every other politician at
Vienna and Berlin, he viewed German affairs not as a matter of nationality
but in subordination to the general interests of his own Court, Thugut
appears to have been, of all the Continental statesmen of that time, the
steadiest enemy of French aggression, and to have offered the longest
resistance to a peace that was purchased by the cession of German soil.

[Victories of Hoche and Pichegru at Wörth and Weissenburg, Dec. 23, 26.]

Nevertheless, from the moment when Thugut was called to power the alliance
between Austria and Prussia was doomed. Others might perhaps have averted a
rupture; Thugut made no attempt to do so. The siege of Mainz was the last
serious operation of war which the Prussian army performed. The mission of
an Austrian envoy, Lehrbach, to the Prussian camp in August, 1793, and his
negotiations on the Polish and the Bavarian questions, only widened the
breach between the two Courts. It was known that the Austrians were
encouraging the Polish Diet to refuse the cession of the provinces occupied
by Prussia; and the advisers of King Frederick William in consequence
recommended him to quit the Rhine, and to place himself at the head of an
army in Poland. At the headquarters of the Allies, between Mainz and the
Alsatian frontier, all was dissension and intrigue. The impetuosity of the
Austrian general, Wurmser, who advanced upon Alsace without consulting the
King, was construed as a studied insult. On the 29th of September, after
informing the allied Courts that Prussia would henceforth take only a
subordinate part in the war, King Frederick William quitted the army,
leaving orders with the Duke of Brunswick to fight no great battle. It was
in vain that Wurmser stormed the lines of Weissenburg (Oct. 13), and
victoriously pushed forward into Alsace. The hopes of a Royalist
insurrection in Strasburg proved illusory. The German sympathies shown by a
portion of the upper and middle classes of Alsace only brought down upon
them a bloody vengeance at the hands of St. Just, commissioner of the
Convention. The peasantry, partly from hatred of the feudal burdens of the
old _régime_, partly from fear of St. Just and the guillotine, thronged to
the French camp. In place of the beaten generals came Hoche and Pichegru:
Hoche, lately a common soldier in the Guards, earning by a humble industry
little sums for the purchase of books, now, at the age of twenty-six, a
commander more than a match for the wrangling veterans of Germany;
Pichegru, six years older, also a man sprung from the people, once a
teacher in the military school of Brienne, afterwards a private of
artillery in the American War. A series of harassing encounters took place
during December. At length, with St. Just cheering on the Alsatian peasants
in the hottest of the fire, these generals victoriously carried the
Austrian positions at Wörth and at Weissenburg (Dec. 23, 26). The Austrian
commander declared his army to be utterly ruined; and Brunswick, who had
abstained from rendering his ally any real assistance, found himself a
second time back upon the Rhine. [34]

[Pitt's bargain with Prussia, April, 1794.]

[Revolt of Kosciusko. April, 1794.]

[Möllendorf refuses to help in Flanders.]

The virtual retirement of Prussia from the Coalition was no secret to the
French Government: amongst the Allies it was viewed in various lights. The
Empress Catherine, who had counted on seeing her troublesome Prussian
friend engaged with her detested French enemy, taunted the King of Prussia
with the loss of his personal honour. Austria, conscious of the antagonism
between Prussian and Austrian interests and of the hollow character of the
Coalition, would concede nothing to keep Prussia in arms. Pitt alone was
willing to make a sacrifice, in order to prevent the rupture of the
alliance. The King of Prussia was ready to continue the struggle with
France if his expenses were paid, but not otherwise. Accordingly, after
Austria had refused to contribute the small sum which Pitt asked, a bargain
was struck between Lord Malmesbury and the Prussian Minister Haugwitz, by
which Great Britain undertook to furnish a subsidy, provided that 60,000
Prussian troops, under General Möllendorf, were placed at the disposal of
the Maritime Powers. [35] It was Pitt's intention that the troops which he
subsidised should be massed with Austrian and English forces for the
defence of Belgium: the Prussian Ministry, availing themselves of an
ambiguous expression in the treaty, insisted on keeping them inactive upon
the Upper Rhine. Möllendorf wished to guard Mainz: other men of influence
longed to abandon the alliance with Austria, and to employ the whole of
Prussia's force in Poland. At the moment when Haugwitz was contracting to
place Möllendorf's army at Pitt's disposal, Poland had risen in revolt
under Kosciusko, and the Russian garrison which occupied Warsaw had been
overpowered and cut to pieces. Catherine called upon the King of Prussia
for assistance; but it was not so much a desire to rescue the Empress from
a momentary danger that excited the Prussian Cabinet as the belief that her
vengeance would now make an absolute end of what remained of the Polish
kingdom. The prey was doomed; the wisdom of Prussia was to be the first to
seize and drag it to the ground. So large a prospect offered itself to the
Power that should crush Poland during the brief paralysis of the Russian
arms, that, on the first news of the outbreak, the King's advisers urged
him instantly to make peace with France and to throw his whole strength
into the Polish struggle. Frederick William could not reconcile himself to
making peace with the Jacobins; but he ordered an army to march upon
Warsaw, and shortly afterwards placed himself at its head (May, 1794). When
the King, who was the only politician in Prussia who took an interest in
the French war, thus publicly acknowledged the higher importance of the
Polish campaign, his generals upon the Rhine made it their only object to
do nothing which it was possible to leave undone without actually
forfeiting the British subsidy. Instead of fighting, Möllendorf spent his
time in urging other people to make peace. It was in vain that Malmesbury
argued that the very object of Pitt's bargain was to keep the French out of
the Netherlands: Möllendorf had made up his mind that the army should not
be committed to the orders of Pitt and the Austrians. He continued in the
Palatinate, alleging that any movement of the Prussian army towards the
north would give the French admittance to southern Germany. Pitt's hope of
defending the Netherlands now rested on the energy and on the sincerity of
the Austrian Cabinet, and on this alone.

[Battles on the Sambre, May-June, 1794.]

After breaking up from winter quarters in the spring of 1794, the Austrian
and English allied forces had successfully laid siege to Landrecies, and
defeated the enemy in its neighbourhood. [36] Their advance, however, was
checked by a movement of the French Army of the North, now commanded by
Pichegru, towards the Flemish coast. York and the English troops were
exposed to the attack, and suffered a defeat at Turcoing. The decision of
the campaign lay, however, not in the west of Flanders, but at the other
end of the Allies' position, at Charleroi on the Sambre, where a French
victory would either force the Austrians to fall back eastwards, leaving
York to his fate, or sever their communications with Germany. This became
evident to the French Government; and in May the Commissioners of the
Convention forced the generals on the Sambre to fight a series of battles,
in which the French repeatedly succeeded in crossing the Sambre, and were
repeatedly driven back again. The fate of the Netherlands depended,
however, on something beside victory or defeat on the Sambre. The Emperor
had come with Baron Thugut to Belgium in the hope of imparting greater
unity and energy to the allied forces, but his presence proved useless.
Among the Austrian generals and diplomatists there were several who desired
to withdraw from the contest in the Netherlands, and to follow the example
of Prussia in Poland. The action of the army was paralysed by intrigues.
"Every one," wrote Thugut, "does exactly as he pleases: there is absolute
anarchy and disorder." [37] At the beginning of June the Emperor quitted
the army; the combats on the Sambre were taken up by Jourdan and 50,000
fresh troops brought from the army of the Moselle; and on the 26th of June
the French defeated Coburg at Fleurus, as he advanced to the relief of
Charleroi, unconscious that Charleroi had surrendered on the day before.
Even now the defence of Belgium was not hopeless; but after one council of
war had declared in favour of fighting, a second determined on a retreat.
It was in vain that the representatives of England appealed to the good
faith and military honour of Austria. Namur and Louvain were abandoned; the
French pressed onwards; and before the end of July the Austrian army had
fallen back behind the Meuse. York, forsaken by the allies, retired
northwards before the superior forces of Pichegru, who entered Antwerp and
made himself master of the whole of the Netherlands up to the Dutch
frontier. [38]

[England disappointed by the Allies.]

Such was the result of Great Britain's well-meant effort to assist the two
great military Powers to defend Europe against the Revolution. To the aim
of the English Minister, the defence of existing rights against democratic
aggression, most of the public men alike of Austria and Prussia were now
absolutely indifferent. They were willing to let the French seize and
revolutionise any territory they pleased, provided that they themselves
obtained their equivalent in Poland. England was in fact in the position of
a man who sets out to attack a highway robber, and offers each of his arms
to a pickpocket. The motives and conduct of these politicians were justly
enough described by the English statesmen and generals who were brought
into closest contact with them. In the councils of Prussia, Malmesbury
declared that he could find no quality but "great and shabby art and
cunning; ill-will, jealousy, and every sort of dirty passion." From the
head quarters of Möllendorf he wrote to a member of Pitt's Cabinet: "Here I
have to do with knavery and dotage.... If we listened only to our feelings,
it would be difficult to keep any measure with Prussia. We must consider it
an alliance with the Algerians, whom it is no disgrace to pay, or any
impeachment of good sense to be cheated by." To the Austrian commander the
Duke of York addressed himself with royal plainness: "Your Serene Highness,
the British nation, whose public opinion is not to be despised, will
consider that it has been bought and sold." [39]

[French reach the Rhine, Oct., 1794.]

[Pichegru conquers Holland, Dec., 1794.]

The sorry concert lasted for a few months longer. Coburg, the Austrian
commander, was dismissed at the peremptory demand of Great Britain; his
successor, Clerfayt, after losing a battle on the Ourthe, offered no
further resistance to the advance of the Republican army, and the campaign
ended in the capture of Cologne by the French, and the disappearance of the
Austrians behind the Rhine. The Prussian subsidies granted by England
resulted in some useless engagements between Möllendorf's corps in the
Palatinate and a French army double its size, followed by the retreat of
the Prussians into Mainz. It only remained for Great Britain to attempt to
keep the French out of Holland. The defence of the Dutch, after everything
south of the river Waal had been lost, Pitt determined to entrust to abler
hands than those of the Duke of York; but the presence of one high-born
blunderer more or less made little difference in a series of operations
conceived in indifference and perversity. Clerfayt would not, or could not,
obey the Emperor's orders and succour his ally. City after city in Holland
welcomed the French. The very elements seemed to declare for the Republic.
Pichegru's army marched in safety over the frozen rivers; and, when the
conquest of the land was completed, his cavalry crowned the campaign by the
capture of the Dutch fleet in the midst of the ice-bound waters of the
Texel. The British regiments, cut off from home, made their way eastward
through the snow towards the Hanoverian frontier, in a state of prostrate
misery which is compared by an eye-witness of both events to that of the
French on their retreat in 1813 after the battle of Leipzig. [40]

[Treaties of Basle with Prussia, April 5, and Spain, July 22, 1795.]

The first act of the struggle between France and the Monarchies of Europe
was concluded. The result of three years of war was that Belgium, Nice, and
Savoy had been added to the territory of the Republic, and that French
armies were in possession of Holland, and the whole of Germany west of the
Rhine. In Spain and in Piedmont the mountain-passes and some extent of
country had been won. Even on the seas, in spite of the destruction of the
fleet at Toulon, and of a heavy defeat by Lord Howe off Ushant on the 1st
of June, 1794, the strength of France was still formidable; and the losses
which she inflicted on the commercial marine of her enemies exceeded those
which she herself sustained. England, which had captured most of the French
West Indian Islands, was the only Power that had wrested anything from the
Republic. The dream of suppressing the Revolution by force of arms had
vanished away; and the States which had entered upon the contest in levity,
in fanaticism, or at the bidding of more powerful allies, found it
necessary to make peace upon such terms as they could obtain. Holland, in
which a strong Republican party had always maintained connection with
France, abolished the rule of its Stadtholder, and placed its resources at
the disposal of its conquerors. Sardinia entered upon abortive
negotiations. Spain, in return for peace, ceded to the Republic the Spanish
half of St. Domingo (July 22, 1795). Prussia concluded a Treaty at Basle
(April 5), which marked and perpetuated the division of Germany by
providing that, although the Empire as a body was still at war with France,
the benefit of Prussia's neutrality should extend to all German States
north of a certain line. A secret article stipulated that, upon the
conclusion of a general peace, if the Empire should cede to France the
principalities west of the Rhine, Prussia should cede its own territory
lying in that district, and receive compensation elsewhere. [41]

[Austria and England continue the war, 1795.]

Humiliating such a peace certainly was; yet it would probably have been the
happiest issue for Europe had every Power been forced to accept its
conditions. The territory gained by France was not much more than the very
principle of the Balance of Power would have entitled it to demand, at a
moment when Russia, victorious over the Polish rebellion, was proceeding to
make the final partition of Poland among the three Eastern Monarchies; and,
with all its faults, the France of 1795 would have offered to Europe the
example of a great free State, such as the growth of the military spirit
made impossible after the first of Napoleon's campaigns. But the dark
future was withdrawn from the view of those British statesmen who most
keenly felt the evils of the present; and England, resolutely set against
the course of French aggression, still found in Austria an ally willing to
continue the struggle. The financial help of Great Britain, the Russian
offer of a large share in the spoils of Poland, stimulated the flagging
energy of the Emperor's government. Orders were sent to Clerfayt to advance
from the Rhine at whatever risk, in order to withdraw the troops of the
Republic from the west of France, where England was about to land a body of
Royalists. Clerfayt, however, disobeyed his instructions, and remained
inactive till the autumn. He then defeated a French army pushing beyond the
Rhine, and drove back the besiegers of Mainz; but the British expedition
had already failed, and the time was passed when Clerfayt's successes might
have produced a decisive result. [42]

[Landing at Quiberon, June 27, 1795.]

[France in 1795.]

A new Government was now entering upon power in France. The Reign of Terror
had ended in July, 1794, with the life of Robespierre. The men by whom
Robespierre was overthrown were Terrorists more cruel and less earnest than
himself, who attacked him only in order to save their own lives, and
without the least intention of restoring a constitutional Government to
France. An overwhelming national reaction forced them, however, to
represent themselves as the party of clemency. The reaction was indeed a
simple outburst of human feeling rather than a change in political opinion.
Among the victims of the Terror the great majority had been men of the
lower or middle class, who, except in La Vendée and Brittany, were as
little friendly to the old _régime_ as their executioners. Every class in
France, with the exception of the starving city mobs, longed for security,
and the quiet routine of life. After the disorders of the Republic a
monarchical government naturally seemed to many the best guarantee of
peace; but the monarchy so contemplated was the liberal monarchy of 1791,
not the ancient Court, with its accessories of a landed Church and
privileged noblesse. Religion was still a power in France; but the peasant,
with all his superstition and all his desire for order, was perfectly free
from any delusions about the good old times. He liked to see his children
baptised; but he had no desire to see the priest's tithe-collector back in
his barn: he shuddered at the summary marketing of Conventional
Commissioners; but he had no wish to resume his labours on the fields of
his late seigneur. To be a Monarchist in 1795, among the shopkeepers of
Paris or the farmers of Normandy, meant no more than to wish for a
political system capable of subsisting for twelve months together, and
resting on some other basis than forced loans and compulsory sales of
property. But among the men of the Convention, who had abolished monarchy
and passed sentence of death upon the King, the restoration of the Crown
seemed the bitterest condemnation of all that the Convention had done for
France, and a sentence of outlawry against themselves. If the will of the
nation was for the moment in favour of a restored monarchy, the Convention
determined that its will must be overpowered by force or thwarted by
constitutional forms. Threatened alternately by the Jacobin mob of Paris
and by the Royalist middle class, the Government played off one enemy
against the other, until an ill-timed effort of the emigrant noblesse gave
to the Convention the prestige of a decisive victory over Royalists and
foreigners combined. On the 27th of June, 1795, an English fleet landed the
flower of the old nobility of France at the Bay of Quiberon in southern
Brittany. It was only to give one last fatal proof of their incapacity that
these unhappy men appeared once more on French soil. Within three weeks
after their landing, in a region where for years together the peasantry,
led by their landlords, baffled the best generals of the Republic, this
invading army of the nobles, supported by the fleet, the arms, and the
money of England, was brought to utter ruin by the discord of its own
leaders. Before the nobles had settled who was to command and who was to
obey, General Hoche surprised their fort, beat them back to the edge of the
peninsula where they had landed, and captured all who were not killed
fighting or rescued by English boats (July 20). The Commissioner Tallien,
in order to purge himself from the just suspicion of Royalist intrigues,
caused six hundred prisoners to be shot in cold blood. [43]

[Project of Constitution, 1795.]

At the moment when the emigrant army reached France, the Convention was
engaged in discussing the political system which was to succeed its own
rule. A week earlier, the Committee appointed to draw up a new constitution
for France had presented its report. The main object of the new
constitution in its original form was to secure France against a recurrence
of those evils which it had suffered since 1792. The calamities of the last
three years were ascribed to the sovereignty of a single Assembly. A vote
of the Convention had established the Revolutionary Tribunal, proscribed
the Girondins, and placed France at the mercy of eighty individuals
selected by the Convention from itself. The legislators of 1795 desired a
guarantee that no party, however determined, should thus destroy its
enemies by a single law, and unite supreme legislative and executive power
in its own hands. With the object of dividing authority, the executive was,
in the new draft-constitution, made independent of the legislature, and the
legislature itself was broken up into two chambers. A Directory of five
members, chosen by the Assemblies, but not responsible except under actual
impeachment, was to conduct the administration, without the right of
proposing laws; a Chamber of five hundred was to submit laws to the
approval of a Council of two hundred and fifty Ancients, or men of middle
life; but neither of these bodies was to exercise any influence upon the
actual government. One director and a third part of each of the legislative
bodies were to retire every year. [44]

[Constitution of 1795. Insurrection of Vendémiaire, Oct. 4.]

The project thus outlined met with general approval, and gained even that
of the Royalists, who believed that a popular election would place them in
a majority in the two new Assemblies. Such an event was, however, in the
eyes of the Convention, the one fatal possibility that must be averted at
every cost. In the midst of the debates upon the draft-constitution there
arrived the news of Hoche's victory at Quiberon. The Convention gained
courage to add a clause providing that two-thirds of the new deputies
should be appointed from among its own members, thus rendering a Royalist
majority in the Chambers impossible. With this condition attached to it,
the Constitution was laid before the country. The provinces accepted it;
the Royalist middle class of Paris rose in insurrection, and marched
against the Convention in the Tuileries. Their revolt was foreseen; the
defence of the Convention was entrusted to General Bonaparte, who met the
attack of the Parisians in a style unknown in the warfare of the capital.
Bonaparte's command of trained artillery secured him victory; but the
struggle of the 4th of October (13 Vendémiaire) was the severest that took
place in Paris during the Revolution, and the loss of life in fighting
greater than on the day that overthrew the Monarchy.

[The Directory, Oct., 1795.]

The new Government of France now entered into power. Members of the
Convention formed two-thirds of the new legislative bodies; the one-third
which the country was permitted to elect consisted chiefly of men of
moderate or Royalist opinions. The five persons who were chosen Directors
were all Conventionalists who had voted for the death of the King; Carnot,
however, who had won the victories without sharing in the cruelties of the
Reign of Terror, was the only member of the late Committee of Public Safety
who was placed in power. In spite of the striking homage paid to the great
act of regicide in the election of the five Directors, the establishment of
the Directory was accepted by Europe as the close of revolutionary
disorder. The return of constitutional rule in France was marked by a
declaration on the part of the King of England of his willingness to treat
for peace. A gentler spirit seemed to have arisen in the Republic. Although
the laws against the emigrants and non-juring priests were still
unrepealed, the exiles began to return unmolested to their homes. Life
resumed something of its old aspect in the capital. The rich and the gay
consoled themselves with costlier luxury for all the austerities of the
Reign of Terror. The labouring classes, now harmless and disarmed, were
sharply taught that they must be content with such improvement in their lot
as the progress of society might bring.

[What was new to Europe in the Revolution.]

[Absolute governments of 18th century engaged in reforms.]

At the close of this first period of the Revolutionary War we may pause to
make an estimate of the new influences which the French Revolution had
brought into Europe, and of the effects which had thus far resulted from
them. The opinion current among the French people themselves, that the
Revolution gave birth to the modern life not of France only but of the
Western Continent generally, is true of one great set of facts; it is
untrue of another. There were conceptions in France in 1789 which made
France a real contrast to most of the Continental monarchies; there were
others which it shared in common with them. The ideas of social, legal, and
ecclesiastical reform which were realised in 1789 were not peculiar to
France; what was peculiar to France was the idea that these reforms were to
be effected by the nation itself. In other countries reforms had been
initiated by Governments, and forced upon an unwilling people. Innovation
sprang from the Crown; its agents were the servants of the State. A
distinct class of improvements, many of them identical with the changes
made by the Revolution in France, attracted the attention in a greater or
less degree of almost all the Western Courts of the eighteenth century. The
creation of a simple and regular administrative system; the reform of the
clergy; the emancipation of the Church from the jurisdiction of the Pope,
and of all orders in the State from the jurisdiction of the Church; the
amelioration of the lot of the peasant; the introduction of codes of law
abolishing both the cruelties and the confusion of ancient practice,--all
these were purposes more or less familiar to the absolute sovereigns of the
eighteenth century, whom the French so summarily described as benighted
tyrants. It was in Austria, Prussia, and Tuscany that the civilising energy
of the Crown had been seen in its strongest form, but even the Governments
of Naples and Spain had caught the spirit of change. The religious
tolerance which Joseph gave to Austria, the rejection of Papal authority
and the abolition of the punishment of death which Leopold effected in
Tuscany, were bolder efforts of the same political rationalism which in
Spain minimised the powers of the Inquisition and in Naples attempted to
found a system of public education. In all this, however, there was no
trace of the action of the people, or of any sense that a nation ought to
raise itself above a state of tutelage. Men of ideas called upon
Governments to impose better institutions upon the people, not upon the
people to wrest them from the Governments.

[In France, the nation itself acted.]

In France alone a view of public affairs had grown up which impelled the
nation to create its reforms for itself. If the substance of many of the
French revolutionary changes coincided with the objects of Austrian or of
Tuscan reform, there was nothing similar in their method. In other
countries reform sprang from the command of an enlightened ruler; in France
it started with the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and aimed at the
creation of local authority to be exercised by the citizens themselves. The
source of this difference lay partly in the influence of England and
America upon French opinion, but much more in the existence within France
of a numerous and energetic middle class, enriched by commerce, and keenly
interested in all the speculation and literary activity of the age. This
was a class that both understood the wrongs which the other classes
inflicted or suffered, and felt itself capable of redressing them. For the
flogged and over-driven peasant in Naples or Hungary no ally existed but
the Crown. In most of those poor and backward States which made up
monarchical Europe, the fraction of the inhabitants which neither enjoyed
privilege nor stood in bondage to it was too small to think of forcing
itself into power. The nobles sought to preserve their feudal rights: the
Crown sought to reduce them; the nation, elsewhere than in France, did not
intervene and lay hands upon power for itself, because the nation was
nothing but the four mutually exclusive classes of the landlords who
commanded, the peasants who served, the priests who idled, and the soldiers
who fought. France differed from all the other monarchies of the Continent
in possessing a public which blended all classes and was dominated by none;
a public comprehending thousands of men who were familiar with the great
interests of society, and who, whether noble or not noble, possessed the
wealth and the intelligence that made them rightly desire a share in power.

[Movements against governments outside France.]

Liberty, the right of the nation to govern itself, seemed at the outset to
be the great principle of the Revolution. The French people themselves
believed the question at issue to be mainly between authority and popular
right; the rest of Europe saw the Revolution under the same aspect. Hence,
in those countries where the example of France produced political
movements, the effect was in the first instance to excite agitation against
the Government, whatever might be the form of the latter. In England the
agitation was one of the middle class against the aristocratic
parliamentary system; in Hungary, it was an agitation of the nobles against
the Crown; on the Rhine it was an agitation of the commercial classes
against ecclesiastical rule. But in every case in which the reforming
movement was not supported by the presence of French armies, the terrors
which succeeded the first sanguine hopes of the Revolution struck the
leaders of these movements with revulsion and despair, and converted even
the better Governments into engines of reaction. In France itself it was
seen that the desire for liberty among an enlightened class could not
suddenly transform the habits of a nation accustomed to accept everything
from authority. Privilege was destroyed, equality was advanced; but instead
of self-government the Revolution brought France the most absolute rule it
had ever known. It was not that the Revolution had swept by, leaving things
where they were before: it had in fact accomplished most of those great
changes which lay the foundation of a sound social life: but the faculty of
self-government, the first condition of any lasting political liberty,
remained to be slowly won.


Outside France reaction set in without the benefit of previous change. At
London, Vienna, Naples, and Madrid, Governments gave up all other objects
in order to devote themselves to the suppression of Jacobinism. Pitt, whose
noble aims had been the extinction of the slave-trade, the reform of
Parliament, and the advance of national intercourse by free trade,
surrendered himself to men whose thoughts centred upon informers, Gagging
Acts, and constructive treasons, and who opposed all legislation upon the
slave-trade because slaves had been freed by the Jacobins of the
Convention. State trials and imprisonments became the order of the day; but
the reaction in England at least stopped short of the scaffold. At Vienna
and Naples fear was more cruel. The men who either were, or affected to be,
in such fear of revolution that they discovered a Jacobinical allegory in
Mozart's last opera, [45] did not spare life when the threads of anything
like a real conspiracy were placed in their hands. At Vienna terror was
employed to crush the constitutional opposition of Hungary to the Austrian
Court. In Naples a long reign of cruelty and oppression began with the
creation of a secret tribunal to investigate charges of conspiracy made by
informers. In Mainz, the Archbishop occupied the last years of his
government, after his restoration in 1793, with a series of brutal
punishments and tyrannical precautions.

These were but instances of the effect which the first epoch of the
Revolution produced upon the old European States. After a momentary
stimulus to freedom it threw the nations themselves into reaction and
apathy; it totally changed the spirit of the better governments, attaching
to all liberal ideas the stigma of Revolution, and identifying the work of
authority with resistance to every kind of reform. There were States in
which this change, the first effect of the Revolution, was also its only
one; States whose history, as in the case of England, is for a whole
generation the history of political progress unnaturally checked and thrown
out of its course. There were others, and these the more numerous, where
the first stimulus and the first reaction were soon forgotten in new and
penetrating changes produced by the successive victories of France. The
nature of these changes, even more than the warfare which introduced them,
gives its interest to the period on which we are about to enter.


Triple attack on Austria--Moreau, Jourdan--Bonaparte in Italy--Condition of
the Italian States--Professions and real intentions of Bonaparte and the
Directory--Battle of Montenotte--Armistice with Sardinia--Campaign in
Lombardy--Treatment of the Pope, Naples, Tuscany--Siege of Mantua--
Castiglione, Moreau and Jourdan in Germany Their retreat--Secret Treaty
with Prussia--Negotiations with England--Cispadane Republic--Rise of the
idea of Italian Independence--Battles of Arcola and Rivoli--Peace with the
Pope at Tolentino--Venice--Preliminaries of Leoben--The French in
Venice--The French take the Ionian Islands and give Venice to
Austria--Genoa--Coup d'état of 17 Fructidor in Paris--Treaty of Campo
Formio--Victories of England at sea--Bonaparte's project against Egypt.

[Armies of Italy, the Danube, and the Main, 1796.]

With the opening of the year 1796 the leading interest of European history
passes to a new scene. Hitherto the progress of French victory had been in
the direction of the Rhine: the advance of the army of the Pyrenees had
been cut short by the conclusion of peace with Spain; the army of Italy had
achieved little beyond some obscure successes in the mountains. It was the
appointment of Napoleon Bonaparte to the command of the latter force, in
the spring of 1796, that first centred the fortunes of the Republic in the
land beyond the Alps. Freed from Prussia by the Treaty of Basle, the
Directory was now able to withdraw its attention from Holland and from the
Lower Rhine, and to throw its whole force into the struggle with Austria.
By the advice of Bonaparte a threefold movement was undertaken against
Vienna, by way of Lombardy, by the valley of the Danube, and by the valley
of the Main. General Jourdan, in command of the army that had conquered the
Netherlands, was ordered to enter Germany by Frankfort; Moreau crossed the
Rhine at Strasburg: Bonaparte himself, drawing his scanty supplies along
the coast-road from Nice, faced the allied forces of Austria and Sardinia
upon the slopes of the Maritime Apennines, forty miles to the west of
Genoa. The country in which he was about to operate was familiar to
Bonaparte from service there in 1794; his own descent and language gave him
singular advantages in any enterprise undertaken in Italy. Bonaparte was no
Italian at heart; but he knew at least enough of the Italian nature to work
upon its better impulses, and to attach its hopes, so long as he needed the
support of Italian opinion, to his own career of victory.

[Condition of Italy.]

Three centuries separated the Italy of that day from the bright and
vigorous Italy which, in the glow of its Republican freedom, had given so
much to Northern Europe in art, in letters, and in the charm of life. A
long epoch of subjection to despotic or foreign rule, of commercial
inaction, of decline in mind and character, had made the Italians of no
account among the political forces of Europe. Down to the peace of
Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 their provinces were bartered between the Bourbons
and the Hapsburgs; and although the settlement of that date left no part of
Italy, except the Duchy of Milan, incorporated in a foreign empire, yet the
crown of Naples was vested in a younger branch of the Spanish Bourbons, and
the marriage of Maria Theresa with the Archduke Francis made Tuscany an
appanage of the House of Austria. Venice and Genoa retained their
independence and their republican government, but little of their ancient
spirit. At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, Austrian influence was
dominant throughout the peninsula, Marie Caroline, the Queen and the ruler
of Ferdinand of Naples, being the sister of the Emperor Leopold and Marie
Antoinette. With the exception of Piedmont, which preserved a strong
military sentiment and the tradition of an active and patriotic policy, the
Italian States were either, like Venice and Genoa, anxious to keep
themselves out of danger by seeming to hear and see nothing that passed
around them, or governed by families in the closest connection with the
great reigning Houses of the Continent. Neither in Italy itself, nor in the
general course of European affairs during the Napoleonic period, was
anything determined by the sentiment of the Italian people. The peasantry
at times fought against the French with energy; but no strong impulse, like
that of the Spaniards, enlisted the upper class of Italians either on the
side of Napoleon or on that of his enemies. Acquiescence and submission had
become the habit of the race; the sense of national unity and worth, the
personal pride which makes the absence of liberty an intolerable wrong,
only entered the Italian character at a later date.

[Revival after 1740.]

Yet, in spite of its political nullity, Italy was not in a state of
decline. Its worst days had ended before the middle of the eighteenth
century. The fifty years preceding the French Revolution, if they had
brought nothing of the spirit of liberty, had in all other respects been
years of progress and revival. In Lombardy the government of Maria Theresa
and Joseph awoke life and motion after ages of Spanish torpor and misrule.
Traditions of local activity revived; the communes were encouraged in their
works of irrigation and rural improvement; a singular liberality towards
public opinion and the press made the Austrian possessions the centre of
the intellectual movement of Italy. In the south, progress began on the day
when the last foreign Viceroy disappeared from Naples (1735), and King
Charles III., though a member of the Spanish House, entered upon the
government of the two Sicilies as an independent kingdom. Venice and the
Papal States alone seemed to be untouched by the spirit of material and
social improvement, so active in the rest of Italy before the interest in
political life had come into being.

Nor was the age without its intellectual distinction. If the literature of
Italy in the second half of the eighteenth century had little that recalled
the inspiration of its splendid youth, it showed at least a return to
seriousness and an interest in important things. The political economists
of Lombardy were scarcely behind those of England; the work of the Milanese
Beccaria on "Crimes and Punishments" stimulated the reform of criminal law
in every country in Europe; an intelligent and increasing attention to
problems of agriculture, commerce, and education took the place of the
fatuous gallantries and insipid criticism which had hitherto made up the
life of Italians of birth and culture. One man of genius, Vittorio Alfieri,
the creator of Italian tragedy, idealised both in prose and verse a type of
rugged independence and resistance to tyrannical power. Alfieri was neither
a man of political judgment himself nor the representative of any real
political current in Italy; but the lesson which he taught to the Italians,
the lesson of respect for themselves and their country, was the one which
Italy most of all required to learn; and the appearance of this manly and
energetic spirit in its literature gave hope that the Italian nation would
not long be content to remain without political being.

[Social condition.]


Italy, to the outside world, meant little more than the ruins of the Roman
Forum, the galleries of Florence, the paradise of Capri and the Neapolitan
coast; the singular variety in its local conditions of life gained little
attention from the foreigner. There were districts in Italy where the
social order was almost of a Polish type of barbarism; there were others
where the rich and the poor lived perhaps under a happier relation than in
any other country in Europe. The difference depended chiefly upon the
extent to which municipal life had in past time superseded the feudal order
under which the territorial lord was the judge and the ruler of his own
domain. In Tuscany the city had done the most in absorbing the landed
nobility; in Naples and Sicily it had done the least. When, during the
middle ages, the Republic of Florence forced the feudal lords who
surrounded it to enter its walls as citizens, in some cases it deprived
them of all authority, in others it permitted them to retain a jurisdiction
over their peasants; but even in these instances the sovereignty of the
city deprived the feudal relation of most of its harshness and force. After
the loss of Florentine liberty, the Medici, aping the custom of older
monarchies, conferred the title of marquis and count upon men who preferred
servitude to freedom, and accompanied the grant of rank with one of
hereditary local authority; but the new institutions took no deep hold on
country life, and the legislation of the first Archduke of the House of
Lorraine (1749) left the landed aristocracy in the position of mere country
gentlemen. [46] Estates were not very large: the prevalent agricultural
system was, as it still is, that of the _mezzeria_, a partnership between
the landlord and tenant; the tenant holding by custom in perpetuity, and
sharing the produce with the landlord, who supplied a part of the stock and
materials for farming. In Tuscany the conditions of the _mezzeria_ were
extremely favourable to the tenant; and if a cheerful country life under a
mild and enlightened government were all that a State need desire, Tuscany
enjoyed rare happiness.

[Naples and Sicily.]


Far different was the condition of Sicily and Naples. Here the growth of
city life had never affected the rough sovereignty which the barons
exercised over great tracts of country withdrawn from the civilised world.
When Charles III. ascended the throne in 1735, he found whole provinces in
which there was absolutely no administration of justice on the part of the
State. The feudal rights of the nobility were in the last degree
oppressive, the barbarism of the people was in many districts extreme. Out
of two thousand six hundred towns and villages in the kingdom, there were
only fifty that were not subject to feudal authority. In the manor of San
Gennaro di Palma, fifteen miles from Naples, even down to the year 1786 the
officers of the baron were the only persons who lived in houses; the
peasants, two thousand in number, slept among the corn-ricks. [47] Charles,
during his tenure of the Neapolitan crown, from 1735 to 1759, and the
Ministers Tanucci and Caraccioli under his feeble successor Ferdinand IV.,
enforced the authority of the State in justice and administration, and
abolished some of the most oppressive feudal rights of the nobility; but
their legislation, though bold and even revolutionary according to an
English standard, could not in the course of two generations transform a
social system based upon centuries of misgovernment and disorder. At the
outbreak of the French Revolution the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was, as
it still in a less degree is, a land of extreme inequalities of wealth and
poverty, a land where great estates wasted in the hands of oppressive or
indolent owners, and the peasantry, untrained either by remunerative
industry or by a just and regular enforcement of the law, found no better
guide than a savage and fanatical priesthood. Over the rest of Italy the
conditions of life varied through all degrees between the Tuscan and the
Neapolitan type. Piedmont, in military spirit and patriotism far superior
to the other Italian States, was socially one of the most backward of all.
It was a land of priests, nobles, and soldiers, where a gloomy routine and
the repression of all originality of thought and character drove the most
gifted of its children, like the poet Alfieri, to seek a home on some more
liberal soil.

[Professions and real intentions of the Directory and Bonaparte, 1796.]

During the first years of the Revolution, an attempt had been made by
French enthusiasts to extend the Revolution into Italy by means of
associations in the principal towns; but it met with no great success. A
certain liberal movement arose among the young men of the upper classes at
Naples, where, under the influence of Queen Marie Caroline, the Government
had now become reactionary; and in Turin and several of the Lombard cities
the French were not without partisans; but no general disaffection like
that of Savoy existed east of the Alps. The agitation of 1789 and 1792 had
passed by without bringing either liberty or national independence to the
Italians. When Bonaparte received his command, that fervour of Republican
passion which, in the midst of violence and wrong, had seldom been wanting
in the first leaders of the Revolutionary War, had died out in France. The
politicians who survived the Reign of Terror and gained office in the
Directory repeated the old phrases about the Rights of Man and the
Liberation of the Peoples only as a mode of cajolery. Bonaparte entered
Italy proclaiming himself the restorer of Italian freedom, but with the
deliberate purpose of using Italy as a means of recruiting the exhausted
treasury of France. His correspondence with the Directory exposes with
brazen frankness this well-considered system of pillage and deceit, in
which the general and the Government were cordially at one. On the further
question, how France should dispose of any territory that might be
conquered in Northern Italy, Bonaparte and the Directory had formed no
understanding, and their purposes were in fact at variance. The Directory
wished to conquer Lombardy in order to hand it back to Austria in return
for the Netherlands; Bonaparte had at least formed the conception that an
Italian State was possible, and he intended to convert either Austrian
Lombardy itself, or some other portion of Northern Italy, into a Republic,
serving as a military outwork for France.

[Bonaparte separates the Austrian and Sardinian Armies, April, 1796.]

[Armistice and peace with Sardinia.]

The campaign of 1796 commenced in April, in the mountains above the
coast-road connecting Nice and Genoa. Bonaparte's own army numbered 40,000
men; the force opposed to it consisted of 38,000 Austrians, under Beaulieu,
and a smaller Sardinian army, so placed upon the Piedmontese Apennines as
to block the passes from the coast-road into Piedmont, and to threaten the
rear of the French if they advanced eastward against Genoa. The Piedmontese
army drew its supplies from Turin, the Austrian from Mantua; to sever the
two armies was to force them on to lines of retreat conducting them farther
and farther apart from one another. Bonaparte foresaw the effect which such
a separation of the two armies would produce upon the Sardinian Government.
For four days he reiterated his attacks at Montenotte and Millesimo, until
he had forced his own army into a position in the centre of the Allies;
then, leaving a small force to watch the Austrians, he threw the mass of
his troops upon the Piedmontese, and drove them back to within thirty miles
of Turin. The terror-stricken Government, anticipating an outbreak in the
capital itself, accepted an armistice from Bonaparte at Cherasco (April
28), and handed over to the French the fortresses of Coni, Ceva, and
Tortona, which command the entrances of Italy. It was an unworthy
capitulation for Turin could not have been taken before the Austrians
returned in force; but Bonaparte had justly calculated the effect of his
victory; and the armistice, which was soon followed by a treaty of peace
between France and Sardinia, ceding Savoy to the Republic, left him free to
follow the Austrians, untroubled by the existence of some of the strongest
fortresses of Europe behind him.

[Bridge of Lodi, May 10.]

In the negotiations with Sardinia Bonaparte demanded the surrender of the
town of Valenza, as necessary to secure his passage over the river Po.
Having thus led the Austrian Beaulieu to concentrate his forces at this
point, he suddenly moved eastward along the southern bank of the river, and
crossed at Piacenza, fifty miles below the spot where Beaulieu was awaiting
him. It was an admirable movement. The Austrian general, with the enemy
threatening his communications, had to abandon Milan and all the country
west of it, and to fall back upon the line of the Adda. Bonaparte followed,
and on the 10th of May attacked the Austrians at Lodi. He himself stormed
the bridge of Lodi at the head of his Grenadiers. The battle was so
disastrous to the Austrians that they could risk no second engagement, and
retired upon Mantua and the line of the Mincio. [48]

[Bonaparte in Milan. Extortions.]

Bonaparte now made his triumphal entry into Milan (May 15). The splendour
of his victories and his warm expressions of friendship for Italy excited
the enthusiasm of a population not hitherto hostile to Austrian rule. A new
political movement began. With the French army there came all the partisans
of the French Republic who had been expelled from other parts of Italy.
Uniting with the small revolutionary element already existing in Milan,
they began to form a new public opinion by means of journals and patriotic
meetings. It was of the utmost importance to Bonaparte that a Republican
party should be organised among the better classes in the towns of
Lombardy; for the depredations of the French army exasperated the peasants,
and Bonaparte's own measures were by no means of a character to win him
unmixed goodwill. The instructions which he received from the Directory
were extremely simple. "Leave nothing in Italy," they wrote to him on the
day of his entry into Milan, "which will be useful to us, and which the
political situation will allow you to remove." If Bonaparte had felt any
doubt as to the meaning of such an order, the pillage of works of art in
Belgium and Holland in preceding years would have shown him that it was
meant to be literally interpreted. Accordingly, in return for the gift of
liberty, the Milanese were invited to offer to their deliverers twenty
million francs, and a selection from the paintings in their churches and
galleries. The Dukes of Parma and Modena, in return for an armistice, were
required to hand over forty of their best pictures, and a sum of money
proportioned to their revenues. The Dukes and the townspeople paid their
contributions with good grace: the peasantry of Lombardy, whose cattle were
seized in order to supply an army that marched without any stores of its
own, rose in arms, and threw themselves into Pavia, killing all the French
soldiers who fell in their way. The revolt was instantly suppressed, and
the town of Pavia given up to pillage. In deference to the Liberal party of
Italy, the movement was described as a conspiracy of priests and nobles.


[Battle on the Mincio, May 29.]

The way into Central Italy now lay open before Bonaparte. Rome and Naples
were in no condition to offer resistance; but with true military judgment
the French general declined to move against this feeble prey until the army
of Austria, already crippled, was completely driven out of the field.
Instead of crossing the Apennines, Bonaparte advanced against the Austrian
positions upon the Mincio. It suited him to violate the neutrality of the
adjacent Venetian territory by seizing the town of Brescia. His example was
followed by Beaulieu, who occupied Peschiera, at the foot of the Lake of
Garda, and thus held the Mincio along its whole course from the lake to
Mantua. A battle was fought and lost by the Austrians half-way between the
lake and the fortress. Beaulieu's strength was exhausted; he could meet the
enemy no more in the field, and led his army out of Italy into the Tyrol,
leaving Mantua to be invested by the French. The first care of the
conqueror was to make Venice pay for the crime of possessing territory
intervening between the eastern and western extremes of the Austrian
district. Bonaparte affected to believe that the Venetians had permitted
Beaulieu to occupy Peschiera before he seized upon Brescia himself. He
uttered terrifying threats to the envoys who came from Venice to excuse an
imaginary crime. He was determined to extort money from the Venetian
Republic; he also needed a pretext for occupying Verona, and for any future
wrongs. "I have purposely devised this rupture," he wrote to the Directory
(June 7th), "in case you should wish to obtain five or six millions of
francs from Venice. If you have more decided intentions, I think it would
be well to keep up the quarrel." The intention referred to was the
disgraceful project of sacrificing Venice to Austria in return for the
cession of the Netherlands, a measure based on plans familiar to Thugut as
early as the year 1793. [49]

[Armistice with Naples, June 6.]

[Armistice with the Pope, June 23.]

The Austrians were fairly driven out of Lombardy, and Bonaparte was now
free to deal with southern Italy. He advanced into the States of the
Church, and expelled the Papal Legate from Bologna. Ferdinand of Naples,
who had lately called heaven and earth to witness the fury of his zeal
against an accursed horde of regicides, thought it prudent to stay
Bonaparte's hand, at least until the Austrians were in a condition to renew
the war in Lombardy. He asked for a suspension of hostilities against his
own kingdom. The fleet and the sea-board of Naples gave it importance in
the struggle between France and England, and Bonaparte granted the king an
armistice on easy terms. The Pope, in order to gain a few months' truce,
had to permit the occupation of Ferrara, Ravenna, and Ancona, and to
recognise the necessities, the learning, the taste, and the virtue of his
conquerors by a gift of twenty million francs, five hundred manuscripts, a
hundred pictures, and the busts of Marcus and Lucius Brutus. The rule of
the Pope was unpopular in Bologna, and a Senate which Bonaparte placed in
power, pending the formation of a popular Government gladly took the oath
of fidelity to the French Republic. Tuscany was the only State that
remained to be dealt with. Tuscany had indeed made peace with the Republic
a year before, but the ships and cargoes of the English merchants at
Leghorn were surely fair prey; and, with the pretence of punishing insults
offered by the English to the French flag, Bonaparte descended upon
Leghorn, and seized upon everything that was not removed before his
approach. Once established in Leghorn, the French declined to quit it. By
way of adjusting the relations of the Grand Duke, the English seized his
harbour of Porto Ferraio, in the island of Elba.

[Battles of Lonato and Castiglione, July, Aug., 1796.]

Mantua was meanwhile invested, and thither, after his brief incursion into
Central Italy, Bonaparte returned. Towards the end of July an Austrian
relieving army, nearly double the strength of Bonaparte's, descended from
the Tyrol. It was divided into three corps: one, under Quosdanovich,
advanced by the road on the west of Lake Garda; the others, under Wurmser,
the commander-in-chief, by the roads between the lake and the river Adige.
The peril of the French was extreme; their outlying divisions were defeated
and driven in; Bonaparte could only hope to save himself by collecting all
his forces at the foot of the lake, and striking at one or other of the
Austrian armies before they effected their junction on the Mincio. He
instantly broke up the siege of Mantua, and withdrew from every position
east of the river. On the 30th of July, Quosdanovich was attacked and
checked at Lonato, on the west of the Lake of Garda. Wurmser, unaware of
his colleague's repulse, entered Mantua in triumph, and then set out,
expecting to envelop Bonaparte between two fires. But the French were ready
for his approach. Wurmser was stopped and defeated at Castiglione, while
the western Austrian divisions were still held in check at Lonato. The
junction of the Austrian armies had become impossible. In five days the
skill of Bonaparte and the unsparing exertions of his soldiery had more
than retrieved all that appeared to have been lost. [50] The Austrians
retired into the Tyrol, beaten and dispirited, and leaving 15,000 prisoners
in the hands of the enemy.

Bonaparte now prepared to force his way into Germany by the Adige, in
fulfilment of the original plan of the campaign. In the first days of
September he again routed the Austrians, and gained possession of Roveredo
and Trent. Wurmser hereupon attempted to shut the French up in the
mountains by a movement southwards; but, while he operated with
insufficient forces between the Brenta and the Adige, he was cut off from
Germany, and only escaped capture by throwing himself into Mantua with the
shattered remnant of his army. The road into Germany through the Tyrol now
lay open; but in the midst of his victories Bonaparte learnt that the
northern armies of Moreau and Jourdan, with which he had intended to
co-operate in an attack upon Vienna, were in full retreat.

[Invasion of Germany by Moureau and Jourdan, June-Oct. 1796.]

[The Archduke Charles overpowers Jourdan.]

Moreau's advance into the valley of the Danube had, during the months of
July and August, been attended with unbroken military and political
success. The Archduke Charles, who was entrusted with the defence of the
Empire, found himself unable to bring two armies into the field capable of
resisting those of Moreau and Jourdan separately, and he therefore
determined to fall back before Moreau towards Nuremberg, ordering
Wartensleben, who commanded the troops facing Jourdan on the Main, to
retreat in the same direction, in order that the two armies might throw
their collected force upon Jourdan while still at some distance north of
Moreau. [51] The design of the Archduke succeeded in the end, but it opened
Germany to the French for six weeks, and showed how worthless was the
military constitution of the Empire, and how little the Germans had to
expect from one another. After every skirmish won by Moreau some
neighbouring State abandoned the common defence and hastened to make its
terms with the invader. On the 17th of July the Duke of Würtemberg
purchased an armistice at the price of four million francs; a week later
Baden gained the French general's protection in return for immense supplies
of food and stores. The troops of the Swabian Circle of the Empire, who
were ridiculed as "harlequins" by the more martial Austrians, dispersed to
their homes; and no sooner had Moreau entered Bavaria than the Bavarian
contingent in its turn withdrew from the Archduke. Some consideration was
shown by Moreau's soldiery to those districts which had paid tribute to
their general; but in the region of the Main, Jourdan's army plundered
without distinction and without mercy. They sacked the churches, they
maltreated the children, they robbed the very beggars of their pence.
Before the Archduke Charles was ready to strike, the peasantry of this
country, whom their governments were afraid to arm, had begun effective
reprisals of their own. At length the retreating movement of the Austrians
stopped. Leaving 30,000 men on the Lech to disguise his motions from
Moreau, Charles turned suddenly northwards from Neuburg on the [***] August,
met Wartensleben at Amberg, and attacked Jourdan at this place with greatly
superior numbers. Jourdan was defeated and driven back in confusion towards
the Rhine. The issue of the campaign was decided before Moreau heard of his
colleague's danger. It only remained for him to save his own army by a
skilful retreat. Jourdan's soldiers, returning through districts which they
had devastated, suffered heavier losses from the vengeance of the peasantry
than from the army that pursued them. By the autumn of 1796 no Frenchman
remained beyond the Rhine. The campaign had restored the military spirit of
Austria and given Germany a general in whom soldiers could trust; but it
had also shown how willing were the Governments of the minor States to
become the vassals of a foreigner, how little was wanting to convert the
western half of the Empire into a dependency of France.

[Secret Treaty with Prussia, Aug. 5.]

With each change in the fortunes of the campaign of 1796 the diplomacy of
the Continent had changed its tone. When Moreau won his first victories,
the Court of Prussia, yielding to the pressure of the Directory,
substituted for the conditional clauses of the Treaty of Basle a definite
agreement to the cession of the left bank of the Rhine, and a stipulation
that Prussia should be compensated for her own loss by the annexation of
the Bishopric of Münster. Prussia could not itself cede provinces of the
Empire: it could only agree to their cession. In this treaty, however,
Prussia definitely renounced the integrity of the Empire, and accepted the
system known as the Secularisation of Ecclesiastical States, the first step
towards an entire reconstruction of Germany. [52] The engagement was kept
secret both from the Emperor and from the ecclesiastical princes. In their
negotiations with Austria the Directory were less successful. Although the
long series of Austrian disasters had raised a general outcry against
Thugut's persistence in the war, the resolute spirit of the Minister never
bent; and the ultimate victory of the Archduke Charles more than restored
his influence over the Emperor. Austria refused to enter into any
negotiation not conducted in common with England, and the Directory were
for the present foiled in their attempts to isolate England from the
Continental Powers. It was not that Thugut either hoped or cared for that
restoration of Austrian rule in the Netherlands which was the first object
of England's Continental policy. The abandonment of the Netherlands by
France was, however, in his opinion necessary for Austria, as a step
towards the acquisition of Bavaria, which was still the cherished hope of
the Viennese Government. It was in vain that the Directory suggested that
Austria should annex Bavaria without offering Belgium or any other
compensation to its ruler. Thugut could hardly be induced to listen to the
French overtures. He had received the promise of immediate help from the
Empress Catherine; he was convinced that the Republic, already anxious for
peace, might by one sustained effort be forced to abandon all its
conquests; and this was the object for which, in the winter of 1796, army
after army was hurled against the positions where Bonaparte kept his guard
on the north of the still unconquered Mantua. [53]

[Malmesbury sent to Paris, Oct., 1796.]

In England itself the victory of the Archduke Charles raised expectations
of peace. The war had become unpopular through the loss of trade with
France, Spain, and Holland, and petitions for peace daily reached
Parliament. Pitt so far yielded to the prevalent feeling as to enter into
negotiations with the Directory, and despatched Lord Malmesbury to Paris;
but the condition upon which Pitt insisted, the restoration of the
Netherlands to Austria, rendered agreement hopeless; and as soon as Pitt's
terms were known to the Directory, Malmesbury was ordered to leave Paris.
Nevertheless, the negotiation was not a mere feint on Pitt's part. He was
possessed by a fixed idea that the resources of France were exhausted, and
that, in spite of the conquest of Lombardy and the Rhine, the Republic must
feel itself too weak to continue the war. Amid the disorders of
Revolutionary finance, and exaggerated reports of suffering and distress,
Pitt failed to recognise the enormous increase of production resulting from
the changes which had given the peasant full property in his land and
labour, and thrown vast quantities of half-waste domain into the busy hands
of middling and small proprietors. [54]

Whatever were the resources of France before the Revolution, they were now
probably more than doubled. Pitt's belief in the economic ruin of France,
the only ground on which he could imagine that the Directory would give up
Belgium without fighting for it, was wholly erroneous, and the French
Government would have acted strangely if they had listened to his demand.

[Bonaparte creates a Cispadane Republic, Oct., 1796.]

Nevertheless, though the Directory would not hear of surrendering Belgium,
they were anxious to conclude peace with Austria, and unwilling to enter
into any engagements in the conquered provinces of Italy which might render
peace with Austria more difficult. They had instructed Bonaparte to stir up
the Italians against their Governments, but this was done with the object
of paralysing the Governments, not of emancipating the peoples. They looked
with dislike upon any scheme of Italian reconstruction which should bind
France to the support of newly-formed Italian States. Here, however, the
scruples of the Directory and the ambition of Bonaparte were in direct
conflict. Bonaparte intended to create a political system in Italy which
should bear the stamp of his own mind and require his own strong hand to
support it. In one of his despatches to the Directory he suggested the
formation of a client Republic out of the Duchy of Modena, where
revolutionary movements had broken out. Before it was possible for the
Government to answer him, he published a decree, declaring the population
of Modena and Reggio under the protection of the French army, and deposing
all the officers of the Duke (Oct. 4). When, some days later, the answer of
the Directory arrived, it cautioned Bonaparte against disturbing the
existing order of the Italian States. Bonaparte replied by uniting to
Modena the Papal provinces of Bologna and Ferrara, and by giving to the
State which he had thus created the title of the Cispadane Republic. [55]

[Idea of free Italy.]

The event was no insignificant one. It is from this time that the idea of
Italian independence, though foreign to the great mass of the nation, may
be said to have taken birth as one of those political hopes which wane and
recede, but do not again leave the world. A class of men who had turned
with dislike from the earlier agitation of French Republicans in Italy
rightly judged the continued victories of Bonaparte over the Austrians to
be the beginning of a series of great changes, and now joined the
revolutionary movement in the hope of winning from the overthrow of the old
Powers some real form of national independence. In its origin the French
party may have been composed of hirelings and enthusiasts. This ceased to
be the case when, after the passage of the Mincio, Bonaparte entered the
Papal States. Among the citizens of Bologna in particular there were men of
weight and intelligence who aimed at free constitutional government, and
checked in some degree the more numerous popular party which merely
repeated the phrases of French democracy. Bonaparte's own language and
action excited the brightest hopes. At Modena he harangued the citizens
upon the mischief of Italy's divisions, and exhorted them to unite with
their brethren whom he had freed from the Pope. A Congress was held at
Modena on the 16th of October. The representatives of Modena, Reggio,
Bologna, and Ferrara declared themselves united in a Republic under the
protection of France. They abolished feudal nobility, decreed a national
levy, and summoned a General Assembly to meet at Reggio two months later,
in order to create the Constitution of the new Cispadane Republic. It was
in the Congress of Modena, and in the subsequent Assembly of Reggio (Dec.
23), that the idea of Italian unity and independence first awoke the
enthusiasm of any considerable body of men. With what degree of sincerity
Bonaparte himself acted may be judged from the circumstance that, while he
harangued the Cispadanes on the necessity of Italian union, he imprisoned
the Milanese who attempted to excite a popular movement for the purpose of
extending this union to themselves. Peace was not yet made with Austria,
and it was uncertain to what account Milan might best be turned.

[Rivoli, Jan. 14, 15, 1797.]

[Arcola, Nov. 15-17.]

Mantua still held out, and in November the relieving operations of the
Austrians were renewed. Two armies, commanded by Allvintzy and Davidovich,
descended the valleys of the Adige and the Piave, offering to Bonaparte,
whose centre was at Verona, a new opportunity of crushing his enemy in
detail. Allvintzy, coming from the Piave, brought the French into extreme
danger in a three days' battle at Arcola, but was at last forced to retreat
with heavy loss. Davidovich, who had been successful on the Adige, retired
on learning the overthrow of his colleague. Two months more passed, and the
Austrians for the third time appeared on the Adige. A feint made below
Verona nearly succeeded in drawing Bonaparte away from Rivoli, between the
Adige and Lake Garda, where Allvintzy and his main army were about to make
the assault; but the strength of Allvintzy's force was discovered before it
was too late, and by throwing his divisions from point to point with
extraordinary rapidity, Bonaparte at length overwhelmed the Austrians in
every quarter of the battle-field. This was their last effort. The
surrender of Mantua on the 2nd February, 1797, completed the French
conquest of Austrian Lombardy. [56]

[Peace of Tolentino, Feb. 19, 1797.]

The Pope now found himself left to settle his account with the invaders,
against whom, even after the armistice, he had never ceased to intrigue.
[57] His despatches to Vienna fell into the hands of Bonaparte, who
declared the truce broken, and a second time invaded the Papal territory. A
show of resistance was made by the Roman troops; but the country was in
fact at the mercy of Bonaparte, who advanced as far as Tolentino, thirty
miles south of Ancona. Here the Pope tendered his submission. If the Roman
Court had never appeared to be in a more desperate condition, it had never
found a more moderate or a more politic conqueror. Bonaparte was as free
from any sentiment of Christian piety as Nero or Diocletian; but he
respected the power of the Papacy over men's minds, and he understood the
immense advantage which any Government of France supported by the
priesthood would possess over those who had to struggle with its hostility.
In his negotiations with the Papal envoys he deplored the violence of the
French Executive, and consoled the Church with the promise of his own
protection and sympathy. The terms of peace which he granted, although they
greatly diminished the ecclesiastical territory were in fact more
favourable than the Pope had any right to expect. Bologna, Ferrara, and the
Romagna, which had been occupied in virtue of the armistice, were now ceded
by the Papacy. But conditions affecting the exercise of the spiritual power
which had been proposed by the Directory were withdrawn; and, beyond a
provision for certain payments in money, nothing of importance was added to
the stipulations of the armistice.

The last days of the Venetian Republic were now at hand. It was in vain
that Venice had maintained its neutrality when all the rest of Italy joined
the enemies of France; its refusal of a French alliance was made an
unpardonable crime. So long as the war with Austria lasted, Bonaparte
exhausted the Venetian territory with requisitions: when peace came within
view, it was necessary that he should have some pretext for seizing it or
handing it over to the enemy. In fulfilment of his own design of keeping a
quarrel open, he had subjected the Government to every insult and wrong
likely to goad it into an act of war. When at length Venice armed for the
purpose of protecting its neutrality, the organs of the invader called upon
the inhabitants of the Venetian mainland to rise against the oligarchy, and
to throw in their lot with the liberated province of Milan. A French
alliance was once more urged upon Venice by Bonaparte: it was refused, and
the outbreak which the French had prepared instantly followed. Bergamo and
Brescia, where French garrisons deprived the Venetian Government of all
power of defence, rose in revolt, and renounced all connection with Venice.
The Senate begged Bonaparte to withdraw the French garrisons; its
entreaties drew nothing from him but repeated demands for the acceptance of
the French alliance, which was only another name for subjection. Little as
the Venetians suspected it, the only doubt now present to Bonaparte was
whether he should add the provinces of Venetia to his own Cispadane
Republic or hand them over to Austria in exchange for other cessions which
France required.

[Preliminaries of Leoben, April 18.]

Austria could defend itself in Italy no longer. Before the end of March the
mountain-passes into Carinthia were carried by Bonaparte. His army drove
the enemy before it along the road to Vienna, until both pursuers and
pursued were within eighty miles of the capital. At Leoben, on the 7th of
April, Austrian commander asked for a suspension of arms. It was granted,
and negotiations for peace commenced. [58] Bonaparte offered the Venetian
provinces, but not the city of Venice, to the Emperor. On the 18th of April
preliminaries of peace were signed at Leoben, by which, in return for the
Netherlands and for Lombardy west of the river Oglio, Bonaparte secretly
agreed to hand over to Austria the whole of the territory of Venice upon
the mainland east of the Oglio, in addition to its Adriatic provinces of
Istria and Dalmatia. To disguise the act of spoliation, it was pretended
that Bologna and Ferrara should be offered to Venice in return. [59]

[French enter Venice.]

But worse was yet to come. While Bonaparte was in conference at Leoben, an
outbreak took place at Verona, and three hundred French soldiers, including
the sick in the hospital, perished by popular violence. The Venetian Senate
despatched envoys to Bonaparte to express their grief and to offer
satisfaction; in the midst of the negotiations intelligence arrived that
the commander of a Venetian fort had fired upon a French vessel and killed
some of the crew. Bonaparte drove the envoys from his presence, declaring
that he could not treat with men whose hands were dripping with French
blood. A declaration of war was published, charging the Senate with the
design of repeating the Sicilian Vespers, and the panic which it was
Bonaparte's object to inspire instantly followed. The Government threw
themselves upon his mercy. Bonaparte pretended that he desired no more than
to establish a popular government in Venice in the place of the oligarchy.
His terms were accepted. The Senate consented to abrogate the ancient
Constitution of the Republic, and to introduce a French garrison into
Venice. On the 12th of May the Grand Council voted its own dissolution.
Peace was concluded. The public articles of the treaty declared that there
should be friendship between the French and the Venetian Republics; that
the sovereignty of Venice should reside in the body of the citizens; and
that the French garrison should retire so soon as the new Government
announced that it had no further need of its support. Secret articles
stipulated for a money payment, and for the usual surrender of works of
art; an indefinite expression relating to an exchange of territory was
intended to cover the surrender of the Venetian mainland, and the union of
Bologna and Ferrara with what remained of Venice. The friendship and
alliance of France, which Bonaparte had been so anxious to bestow on
Venice, were now to bear their fruit. "I shall do everything in my power,"
he wrote to the new Government of Venice, "to give you proof of the great
desire I have to see your liberty take root, and to see this unhappy Italy,
freed from the rule of the stranger, at length take its place with glory on
the scene of the world, and resume, among the great nations, the rank to
which nature, destiny, and its own position call it." This was for Venice;
for the French Directory Bonaparte had a very different tale. "I had
several motives," he wrote (May 19), "in concluding the treaty:--to enter
the city without difficulty; to have the arsenal and all else in our
possession, in order to take from it whatever we needed, under pretext of
the secret articles; ... to evade the odium attaching to the Preliminaries
of Leoben; to furnish pretexts for them, and to facilitate their

[French seize Ionian islands.]

[Venice to be given to Austria.]

As the first fruits of the Venetian alliance, Bonaparte seized upon Corfu
and the other Ionian Islands. "You will start," he wrote to General
Gentili, "as quickly and as secretly as possible, and take possession of
all the Venetian establishments in the Levant.... If the inhabitants
should be inclined for independence, you should flatter their tastes, and
in all your proclamations you should not fail to allude to Greece, Athens,
and Sparta." This was to be the French share in the spoil. Yet even now,
though stripped of its islands, its coasts, and its ancient Italian
territory, Venice might still have remained a prominent city in Italy. It
was sacrificed in order to gain the Rhenish Provinces for France. Bonaparte
had returned to the neighbourhood of Milan, and received the Austrian
envoy, De Gallo, at the villa of Montebello. Wresting a forced meaning from
the Preliminaries of Leoben, Bonaparte claimed the frontier of the Rhine,
offering to Austria not only the territory of Venice upon the mainland, but
the city of Venice itself. De Gallo yielded. Whatever causes subsequently
prolonged the negotiation, no trace of honour or pity in Bonaparte led him
even to feign a reluctance to betray Venice. "We have to-day had our first
conference on the definitive treaty," he wrote to the Directory, on the
night of the 26th of May, "and have agreed to present the following
propositions: the line of the Rhine for France; Salzburg, Passau for the
Emperor; ... the maintenance of the Germanic Body; ... Venice for the
Emperor. Venice," he continued, "which has been in decadence since the
discovery of the Cape of Good Hope and the rise of Trieste and Ancona, can
scarcely survive the blows we have just struck. With a cowardly and
helpless population in no way fit for liberty, without territory and
without rivers, it is but natural that she should go to those to whom we
give the mainland." Thus was Italy to be freed from foreign intervention;
and thus was Venice to be regenerated by the friendship of France!


In comparison with the fate preparing for Venice, the sister-republic of
Genoa met with generous treatment. A revolutionary movement, long prepared
by the French envoy, overthrew the ancient oligarchical Government; but
democratic opinion and French sympathies did not extend below the middle
classes of the population; and, after the Government had abandoned its own
cause, the charcoal-burners and dock-labourers rose in its defence, and
attacked the French party with the cry of "Viva Maria," and with figures of
the Virgin fastened to their hats, in the place where their opponents wore
the French tricolour. Religious fanaticism won the day; the old Government
was restored, and a number of Frenchmen who had taken part in the conflict
were thrown into prison. The imprisonment of the Frenchmen gave Bonaparte a
pretext for intervention. He disclaimed all desire to alter the Government,
and demanded only the liberation of his countrymen and the arrest of the
enemies of France. But the overthrow of the oligarchy had been long
arranged with Faypoult, the French envoy; and Genoa received a democratic
constitution which place the friends of France in power (June 5).

[France in 1797.]

While Bonaparte, holding Court in the Villa of Montebello, continued to
negotiate with Austria upon the basis of the Preliminaries of Leoben,
events took place in France which offered him an opportunity of interfering
directly in the government of the Republic. The elections which were to
replace one-third of the members of the Legislature took place in the
spring of 1797. The feeling of the country was now much the same as it had
been in 1795, when a large Royalist element was returned for those seats in
the Councils which the Convention had not reserved for its own members.
France desired a more equitable and a more tolerant rule. The Directory had
indeed allowed the sanguinary laws against non-juring priests and returning
emigrants to remain unenforced; but the spirit and traditions of official
Jacobinism were still active in the Government. The Directors themselves
were all regicides; the execution of the King was still celebrated by a
national _fête_; offices, great and small, were held by men who had risen
in the Revolution; the whole of the old gentry of France was excluded from
participation in public life. It was against this revolutionary class-rule,
against a system which placed the country as much at the mercy of a few
directors and generals as it had been at the mercy of the Conventional
Committee, that the elections of 1797 were a protest. Along with certain
Bourbonist conspirators, a large majority of men were returned who, though
described as Royalists, were in fact moderate Constitutionalists, and
desired only to undo that part of the Revolution which excluded whole
classes of the nation from public life. [60]

[Opposition to the Directory.]

Such a party in the legislative body naturally took the character of an
Opposition to the more violent section of the Directory. The Director
retiring in 1797 was replaced by the Constitutionalist Barthélemy,
negotiator of the treaty of Basle; Carnot, who continued in office, took
part with the Opposition, justly fearing that the rule of the Directory
would soon amount to nothing more than the rule of Bonaparte himself. The
first debates in the new Chamber arose upon the laws relating to emigrants;
the next, upon Bonaparte's usurpation of sovereign power in Italy. On the
23rd of June a motion for information on the affairs of Venice and Genoa
was brought forward in the Council of Five Hundred. Dumolard, the mover,
complained of the secrecy of Bonaparte's action, of the contempt shown by
him to the Assembly, of his tyrannical and un-republican interference with
the institutions of friendly States. No resolution was adopted by the
Assembly; but the mere fact that the Assembly had listened to a hostile
criticism of his own actions was sufficient ground in Bonaparte's eyes to
charge it with Royalism and with treason. Three of the Directors, Barras,
Rewbell, and Laréveillère, had already formed the project of overpowering
the Assembly by force. Bonaparte's own interests led him to offer them his
support. If the Constitutional party gained power, there was an end to his
own unshackled rule in Italy; if the Bourbonists succeeded, a different
class of men would hold all the honours of the State. However feeble the
Government of the Directory, its continuance secured his own present
ascendency, and left him the hope of gaining supreme power when the public
could tolerate the Directory no longer.

[Coup d'état, 17 Fructidor (Sept. 3).]

The fate of the Assembly was sealed. On the anniversary of the capture of
the Bastille, Bonaparte issued a proclamation to his army declaring the
Republic to be threatened by Royalist intrigues. A banquet was held, and
the officers and soldiers of every division signed addresses to the
Directory full of threats and fury against conspiring aristocrats.
"Indignation is at its height in the army," wrote Bonaparte to the
Government; "the soldiers are asking with loud cries whether they are to be
rewarded by assassination on their return home, as it appears all patriots
are to be so dealt with. The peril is increasing every day, and I think,
citizen Directors, you must decide to act one way or other." The Directors
had no difficulty in deciding after such an exhortation as this; but, as
soon as Bonaparte had worked up their courage, he withdrew into the
background, and sent General Augereau, a blustering Jacobin, to Paris, to
risk the failure or bear the odium of the crime. Augereau received the
military command of the capital; the air was filled with rumours of an
impending blow; but neither the majority in the Councils nor the two
threatened Directors, Carnot and Barthélemy, knew how to take measures of
defence. On the night of the 3rd September (17 Fructidor) the troops of
Augereau surrounded the Tuileries. Barthélemy was seized at the Luxembourg;
Carnot fled for his life; the members of the Councils, marching in
procession to the Tuileries early the next morning, were arrested or
dispersed by the soldiers. Later in the day a minority of the Councils was
assembled to ratify the measures determined upon by Augereau and the three
Directors. Fifty members of the Legislature, and the writers, proprietors,
and editors of forty-two journals, were sentenced to exile; the elections
of forty-eight departments were annulled; the laws against priests and
emigrants were renewed; and the Directory was empowered to suppress all
journals at its pleasure. This coup d'état was described as the suppression
of a Royalist conspiracy. It was this, but it was something more. It was
the suppression of all Constitutional government, and all but the last step
to the despotism of the chief of the army.

[Peace signed with Austria, Oct. 17.]

The effect of the movement was instantly felt in the negotiations with
Austria and with England. Lord Malmesbury was now again in France, treating
for peace with fair hopes of success, since the Preliminaries of Leoben had
removed England's opposition to the cession of the Netherlands, the
discomfiture of the moderate party in the Councils brought his mission to
an abrupt end. Austria, on the other hand, had prolonged its negotiations
because Bonaparte claimed Mantua and the Rhenish Provinces in addition to
the cessions agreed upon at Leoben. Count Ludwig Cobenzl, Austrian
ambassador at St. Petersburg, who had protected his master's interests only
too well in the last partition of Poland, was now at the head of the
plenipotentiaries in Italy, endeavouring to bring Bonaparte back to the
terms fixed in the Preliminaries, or to gain additional territory for
Austria in Italy. The Jacobin victory at Paris depressed the Austrians as
much as it elated the French leader. Bonaparte was resolved on concluding a
peace that should be all his own, and this was only possible by
anticipating an invasion of Germany, about to be undertaken by Augereau at
the head of the Army of the Rhine. It was to this personal ambition of
Bonaparte that Venice was sacrificed. The Directors were willing that
Austria should receive part of the Venetian territory: they forbade the
proposed cession of Venice itself. Within a few weeks more, the advance of
the Army of the Rhine would have enabled France to dictate its own terms;
but no consideration either for France or for Italy could induce Bonaparte
to share the glory of the Peace with another. On the 17th of October he
signed the final treaty of Campo Formio, which gave France the frontier of
the Rhine, and made both the Venetian territory beyond the Adige and Venice
itself the property of the Emperor. For a moment it seemed that the Treaty
might be repudiated at Vienna as well as at Paris. Thugut protested against
it, because it surrendered Mantua and the Rhenish Provinces without gaining
for Austria the Papal Legations; and he drew up the ratification only at
the absolute command of the Emperor. The Directory, on the other hand,
condemned the cession of Venice. But their fear of Bonaparte and their own
bad conscience left them impotent accessories of his treachery; and the
French nation at large was too delighted with the peace to resent its baser
conditions. [61]

[Treaty of Campo Formio, Oct. 17.]

By the public articles of the Treaty of Campo Formio, the Emperor ceded to
France the Austrian possessions in Lombardy and in the Netherlands, and
agreed to the establishment of a Cisalpine Republic, formed out of Austrian
Lombardy, the Venetian territory west of the Adige, and the districts
hitherto composing the new Cispadane State. France took the Ionian Islands,
Austria the City of Venice, with Istria and Dalmatia, and the Venetian
mainland east of the Adige. For the conclusion of peace between France and
the Holy Roman Empire, it was agreed that a Congress should meet at
Rastadt; but a secret article provided that the Emperor should use his
efforts to gain for France the whole left bank of the Rhine, except a tract
including the Prussian Duchies of Cleve and Guelders. With humorous
duplicity the French Government, which had promised Prussia the Bishopric
of Münster in return for this very district, now pledged itself to Austria
that Prussia should receive no extension whatever, and affected to exclude
the Prussian Duchies from the Rhenish territory which was to be made over
to France. Austria was promised the independent Bishopric of Salzburg, and
that portion of Bavaria which lies between the Inn and the Salza. The
secular princes dispossessed in the Rhenish Provinces were to be
compensated in the interior of the Empire by a scheme framed in concert
with France.

[Austria sacrifices Germany.]

The immense advantages which the Treaty of Campo Formio gave to France--its
extension over the Netherlands and the Rhenish Provinces, and the virtual
annexation of Lombardy, Modena, and the Papal Legations under the form of a
client republic--were not out of proportion to its splendid military
successes. Far otherwise was it with Austria. With the exception of the
Archduke's campaign of 1796, the warfare of the last three years had
brought Austria nothing but a series of disasters; yet Austria gained by
the Treaty of Campo Formio as much as it lost. In the place of the distant
Netherlands and of Milan it gained, in Venice and Dalmatia, a territory
touching its own, nearly equal to the Netherlands and Milan together in
population, and so situated as to enable Austria to become one of the naval
Powers of the Mediterranean. The price which Austria paid was the
abandonment of Germany, a matter which, in spite of Thugut's protests,
disturbed the Court of Vienna as little as the betrayal of Venice disturbed
Bonaparte. The Rhenish Provinces were surrendered to the stranger; German
districts were to be handed over to compensate the ejected Sovereigns of
Holland and of Modena; the internal condition and order of the Empire were
to be superseded by one framed not for the purpose of benefiting Germany,
but for the purpose of extending the influence of France.

[Policy of Bonaparte.]

As defenders of Germany, both Prussia and Austria had been found wanting.
The latter Power seemed to have reaped in Italy the reward of its firmness
in prolonging the war. Bonaparte ridiculed the men who, in the earlier
spirit of the Revolution, desired to found a freer political system in
Europe upon the ruins of Austria's power. "I have not drawn my support in
Italy," he wrote to Talleyrand (Oct. 7), "from the love of the peoples for
liberty and equality, or at least but a very feeble support. The real
support of the army of Italy has been its own discipline, ... above all,
our promptitude in repressing malcontents and punishing those who declared
against us. This is history; what I say in my proclamations and speeches is
a romance.... If we return to the foreign policy of 1793, we shall do so
knowing that a different policy has brought us success, and that we have no
longer the great masses of 1793 to enrol in our armies, nor the support of
an enthusiasm which has its day and does not return." Austria might well,
for the present, be left in some strength, and France was fortunate to have
so dangerous an enemy off her hands. England required the whole forces of
the Republic. "The present situation," wrote Bonaparte, after the Peace of
Campo Formio, "offers us a good chance. We must set all our strength upon
the sea; we must destroy England; and the Continent is at our feet."

[Battles of St. Vincent, Feb. 14, 1797, and Camperdown, Oct. 6.]

It had been the natural hope of the earlier Republicans that the Spanish
and the Dutch navies, if they could be brought to the side of France, would
make France superior to Great Britain as a maritime Power. The conquest of
Holland had been planned by Carnot as the first step towards an invasion of
England. For a while these plans seemed to be approaching their fulfilment,
Holland was won; Spain first made peace, and then entered into alliance
with the Directory (Aug. 1796). But each increase in the naval forces of
the Republic only gave the admirals of Great Britain new material to
destroy. The Spanish fleet was beaten by Jarvis off St. Vincent; even the
mutiny of the British squadrons at Spithead and the Nore, in the spring and
summer of 1797, caused no change in the naval situation in the North Sea.
Duncan, who was blockading the Dutch fleet in the Texel when his own
squadron joined the mutineers, continued the blockade with one ship beside
his own, signalling all the while as if the whole fleet were at his back;
until the misused seamen, who had lately turned their guns upon the Thames,
returned to the admiral, and earned his forgiveness by destroying the Dutch
at Camperdown as soon as they ventured out of shelter.

[Bonaparte about to invade Egypt.]

It is doubtful whether at any time after his return from Italy Bonaparte
seriously entertained the project of invading England. The plan was at any
rate soon abandoned, and the preparations, which caused great alarm in the
English coast-towns, were continued only for the purpose of disguising
Bonaparte's real design of an attack upon Egypt. From the beginning of his
career Bonaparte's thoughts had turned towards the vast and undefended
East. While still little known, he had asked the French Government to send
him to Constantinople to organise the Turkish army; as soon as Venice fell
into his hands, he had seized the Ionian Islands as the base for a future
conquest of the Levant. Every engagement that confirmed the superiority of
England upon the western seas gave additional reason for attacking her
where her power was most precarious, in the East. Bonaparte knew that
Alexander had conquered the country of the Indus by a land-march from the
Mediterranean, and this was perhaps all the information which he possessed
regarding the approaches to India; but it was enough to fix his mind upon
the conquest of Egypt and Syria, as the first step towards the destruction
of the Asiatic Empire of England. Mingled with the design upon India was a
dream of overthrowing the Mohammedan Government of Turkey, and attacking
Austria from the East with an army drawn from the liberated Christian races
of the Ottoman Empire. The very vagueness of a scheme of Eastern conquest
made it the more attractive to Bonaparte's genius and ambition. Nor was
there any inclination on the part of the Government to detain the general
at home. The Directory, little concerned with the real merits or dangers of
the enterprise, consented to Bonaparte's project of an attack upon Egypt,
thankful for any opportunity of loosening the grasp which was now closing
so firmly upon themselves.


Congress of Rastadt--The Rhenish Provinces ceded--Ecclesiastical States of
Germany suppressed--French intervention in Switzerland--Helvetic Republic--
The French invade the Papal States--Roman Republic--Expedition to Egypt--
Battle of the Nile--Coalition of 1798--Ferdinand of Naples enters
Rome--Mack's defeats--French enter Naples--Parthenopean Republic--War with
Austria and Russia--Battle of Stockach--Murder of the French Envoys at
Rastadt--Campaign in Lombardy--Reign of Terror at Naples--Austrian designs
upon Italy--Suvaroff and the Austrians--Campaign in Switzerland--Campaign
in Holland--Bonaparte returns from Egypt--Coup d'état of 18 Brumaire--
Constitution of 1799--System of Bonaparte in France--Its effect on the
influence of France abroad.

[Congress of Rastadt, Nov. 1797.]

The public articles of the Treaty of Campo Formio contained only the terms
which had been agreed upon by France and Austria in relation to Italy and
the Netherlands: the conditions of peace between France and the Germanic
Body, which had been secretly arranged between France and the two leading
Powers, were referred by a diplomatic fiction to a Congress that was to
assemble at Rastadt. Accordingly, after Prussia and Austria had each signed
an agreement abandoning the Rhenish Provinces, the Congress was duly
summoned. As if in mockery of his helpless countrymen, the Emperor informed
the members of the Diet that "in unshaken fidelity to the great principle
of the unity and indivisibility of the German Empire, they were to maintain
the common interests of the Fatherland with noble conscientiousness and
German steadfastness; and so, united with their imperial head, to promote a
just and lasting peace, founded upon the basis of the integrity of the
Empire and of its Constitution." [62] Thus the Congress was convoked upon
the pretence of preserving what the two greater States had determined to
sacrifice; while its real object, the suppression of the ecclesiastical
principalities and the curtailment of Bavaria, was studiously put out of

[Rivalry of the Germans.]

The Congress was composed of two French envoys, of the representatives of
Prussia and Austria, and of a committee, numbering with their secretaries
seventy-four persons, appointed by the Diet of Ratisbon. But the recognised
negotiators formed only a small part of the diplomatists who flocked to
Rastadt in the hope of picking up something from the wreck of the Empire.
Every petty German sovereign, even communities which possessed no political
rights at all, thought it necessary to have an agent on the spot, in order
to filch, if possible, some trifling advantage from a neighbour, or to
catch the first rumour of a proposed annexation. It was the saturnalia of
the whole tribe of busybodies and intriguers who passed in Germany for men
of state. They spied upon one another; they bribed the secretaries and
doorkeepers, they bribed the very cooks and coachmen, of the two omnipotent
French envoys. Of the national humiliation of Germany, of the dishonour
attaching to the loss of entire provinces and the reorganisation of what
remained at the bidding of the stranger, there seems to have been no sense
in the political circles of the day. The collapse of the Empire was viewed
rather as a subject of merriment. A gaiety of life and language prevailed,
impossible among men who did not consider themselves as the spectators of a
comedy. Cobenzl, the chief Austrian plenipotentiary, took his travels in a
fly, because his mistress, the _citoyenne_ Hyacinthe, had decamped with all
his carriages and horses. A witty but profane pamphlet was circulated, in
which the impending sacrifice of the Empire was described in language
borrowed from the Gospel narrative, Prussia taking the part of Judas
Iscariot, Austria that of Pontius Pilate, the Congress itself being the
chief priests and Pharisees assembling that they may take the Holy Roman
Empire by craft, while the army of the Empire figures as the "multitude who
smote upon their breasts and departed." In the utter absence of any German
pride or patriotism the French envoys not only obtained the territory that
they required, but successfully embroiled the two leading Powers with one
another, and accustomed the minor States to look to France for their own
promotion at the cost of their neighbours. The contradictory pledges which
the French Government had given to Austria and to Prussia caused it no
embarrassment. To deceive one of the two powers was to win the gratitude of
the other; and the Directory determined to fulfil its engagement to Prussia
at the expense of the bishoprics, and to ignore what it had promised to
Austria at the expense of Bavaria.

[Rhenish Provinces.]

[Ecclesiastical States suppressed.]

A momentary difficulty arose upon the opening of the Congress, when it
appeared that, misled by the Emperor's protestations, the Diet had only
empowered its Committee to treat upon the basis of the integrity of the
Empire (Dec. 9). The French declined to negotiate until the Committee had
procured full powers: and the prospects of the integrity of the Empire were
made clear enough a few days later by the entry of the French into Mainz,
and the formal organisation of the Rhenish Provinces as four French
Departments. In due course a decree of the Diet arrived, empowering the
Committee to negotiate at their discretion: and for some weeks after the
inhabitants of the Rhenish Provinces had been subjected to the laws, the
magistracy, and the taxation of France, the Committee deliberated upon the
proposal for their cession with as much minuteness and as much impartiality
as if it had been a point of speculative philosophy. At length the French
put an end to the tedious trifling, and proceeded to the question of
compensation for the dispossessed lay Princes. This they proposed to effect
by means of the disestablishment, or secularisation, of ecclesiastical
States in the interior of Germany. Prussia eagerly supported the French
proposal, both with a view to the annexation of the great Bishopric of
Münster, and from ancient hostility to the ecclesiastical States as
instruments and allies of Catholic Austria. The Emperor opposed the
destruction of his faithful dependents; the ecclesiastical princes
themselves raised a bitter outcry, and demonstrated that the fall of their
order would unloose the keystone of the political system of Europe; but
they found few friends. If Prussia coveted the great spoils of Münster, the
minor sovereigns, as a rule, wore just as eager for the convents and abbeys
that broke the continuity of their own territories: only the feeblest of
all the members of the Empire, the counts, the knights, and the cities,
felt a respectful sympathy for their ecclesiastical neighbours, and foresaw
that in a system of annexation their own turn would come next. The
principle of secularisation was accepted by the Congress without much
difficulty, all the energy of debate being reserved for the discussion of
details: arrangements which were to transfer a few miles of ground and half
a dozen custom-houses from some bankrupt ecclesiastic to some French-bought
duke excited more interest in Germany than the loss of the Rhenish
Provinces, and the subjection of a tenth part of the German nation to a
foreign rule.

[Austria determines on war, 1798.]

One more question was unexpectedly presented to the Congress. After
proclaiming for six years that the Rhine was the natural boundary of
France, the French Government discovered that a river cannot be a military
frontier at all. Of what service, urged the French plenipotentiaries, were
Strasburg and Mainz, so long as they were commanded by the guns on the
opposite bank? If the Rhine was to be of any use to France, France must be
put in possession of the fortresses of Kehl and Castel upon the German
side. Outrageous as such a demand appears, it found supporters among the
venal politicians of the smaller Courts, and furnished the Committee with
material for arguments that extended over four months. But the policy of
Austria was now taking a direction that rendered the resolutions of the
Congress of very little importance. It had become clear that France was
inclining to an alliance with Prussia, and that the Bavarian annexations
promised to Austria by the secret articles of Campo Formio were to be
withheld. Once convinced, by the failure of a private negotiation in
Alsace, that the French would neither be content with their gains of 1797,
nor permit Austria to extend its territory in Italy, Thugut determined upon
a renewal of the war. [63] In spite of a powerful opposition at Court,
Thugut's stubborn will still controlled the fortune of Austria: and the
aggressions of the French Republic in Switzerland and the Papal States, at
the moment when it was dictating terms of peace to the Empire, gave only
too much cause for the formation of a new European league.

[French intervention in Switzerland.]

At the close of the last century there was no country where the spirit of
Republican freedom was so strong, or where the conditions of life were so
level, as in Switzerland; its inhabitants, however, were far from enjoying
complete political equality. There were districts which stood in the
relation of subject dependencies to one or other of the ruling cantons: the
Pays de Vaud was governed by an officer from Berne; the valley of the
Ticino belonged to Uri; and in most of the sovereign cantons themselves
authority was vested in a close circle of patrician families. Thus,
although Switzerland was free from the more oppressive distinctions of
caste, and the Governments, even where not democratic, were usually just
and temperate, a sufficiently large class was excluded from political
rights to give scope to an agitation which received its impulse from Paris.
It was indeed among communities advanced in comfort and intelligence, and
divided from those who governed them by no great barrier of wealth and
prestige, that the doctrines of the Revolution found a circulation which
they could never gain among the hereditary serfs of Prussia or the
priest-ridden peasantry of the Roman States. As early as the year 1792 a
French army had entered the territory of Geneva, in order to co-operate
with the democratic party in the city. The movement was, however, checked
by the resolute action of the Bernese Senate; and the relations of France
to the Federal Government had subsequently been kept upon a friendly
footing by the good sense of Barthélemy, the French ambassador at Berne,
and the discretion with which the Swiss Government avoided every occasion
of offence. On the conquest of Northern Italy, Bonaparte was brought into
direct connection with Swiss affairs by a reference of certain points in
dispute to his authority as arbitrator. Bonaparte solved the difficulty by
annexing the district of the Valteline to the Cisalpine Republic; and from
that time he continued in communication with the Swiss democratic leaders
on the subject of a French intervention in Switzerland, the real purpose of
which was to secure the treasure of Berne, and to organise a government,
like that of Holland and the Cisalpine Republic, in immediate dependence
upon France.

[Helvetic Republic, April 12.]

[War between France and Swiss Federation, June, 1798.]

At length the moment for armed interference arrived. On the 15th December,
1797, a French force entered the Bishopric of Basle, and gave the signal
for insurrection in the Pays de Vaud. The Senate of Berne summoned the Diet
of the Confederacy to provide for the common defence: the oath of
federation was renewed, and a decree was passed calling out the Federal
army. It was now announced by the French that they would support the
Vaudois revolutionary party, if attacked. The Bernese troops, however,
advanced; and the bearer of a flag of truce having been accidentally
killed, war was declared between the French Republic and the Government of
Berne. Democratic movements immediately followed in the northern and
western cantons; the Bernese Government attempted to negotiate with the
French invaders, but discovered that no terms would be accepted short of
the entire destruction of the existing Federal Constitution. Hostilities
commenced; and the Bernese troops, supported by contingents from most of
the other cantons, offered a brave but ineffectual resistance to the
advance of the French, who entered the Federal capital on the 6th of March,
1798. The treasure of Berne, amounting to about £800,000, accumulated by
ages of thrift and good management, was seized in order to provide for
Bonaparte's next campaign, and for a host of voracious soldiers and
contractors. A system of robbery and extortion, more shameless even than
that practised in Italy, was put in force against the cantonal governments,
against the monasteries, and against private individuals. In compensation
for the material losses inflicted upon the country, the new Helvetic
Republic, one and indivisible, was proclaimed at Aarau. It conferred an
equality of political rights upon all natives of Switzerland, and
substituted for the ancient varieties of cantonal sovereignty a single
national government, composed, like that of France, of a Directory and two
Councils of Legislature.

The towns and districts which had been hitherto excluded from a share in
government welcomed a change which seemed to place them on a level with
their former superiors: the mountain-cantons fought with traditional
heroism in defence of the liberties which they had inherited from their
fathers; but they were compelled, one after another, to submit to the
overwhelming force of France, and to accept the new constitution. Yet, even
now, when peace seemed to have been restored, and the whole purpose of
France attained, the tyranny and violence of the invaders exhausted the
endurance of a spirited people. The magistrates of the Republic were
expelled from office at the word of a French Commission; hostages were
seized; at length an oath of allegiance to the new order was required as a
condition for the evacuation of Switzerland by the French army. Revolt
broke out in Unterwalden, and a handful of peasants met the French army at
the village of Stanz, near the eastern shore of the Lake of Lucerne (Sept.
8). There for three days they fought with unyielding courage. Their
resistance inflamed the French to a cruel vengeance; slaughtered families
and burning villages renewed, in this so-called crusade of liberty, the
savagery of ancient war.

[French intrigues in Rome.]

Intrigues at Rome paved the way for a French intervention in the affairs of
the Papal States, coincident in time with the invasion of Switzerland. The
residence of the French ambassador at Rome, Joseph Bonaparte, was the
centre of a democratic agitation. The men who moved about him were in great
part strangers from the north of Italy, but they found adherents in the
middle and professional classes in Rome itself, although the mass of the
poor people, as well as the numerous body whose salaries or profits
depended upon ecclesiastical expenditure, were devoted to the priests and
the Papacy. In anticipation of disturbances, the Government ordered
companies of soldiers to patrol the city. A collision occurred on the 28th
December, 1797, between the patrols and a band of revolutionists, who,
being roughly handled by the populace as well as by the soldiers, made
their way for protection to the courtyard of the Palazzo Corsini, where
Joseph Bonaparte resided. Here, in the midst of a confused struggle,
General Duphot, a member of the Embassy, was shot by a Papal soldier. [64]

[Berthier enters Rome, Feb. 10, 1798.]

[Roman Republic, Feb. 15, 1798.]

The French had now the pretext against the Papal Government which they
desired. Joseph Bonaparte instantly left the city, and orders were sent to
Berthier, chief of the staff in northern Italy, to march upon Rome.
Berthier advanced amid the acclamations of the towns and the curses of the
peasantry, and entered Rome on the 10th of February, 1798. Events had
produced in the capital a much stronger inclination towards change than
existed on the approach of Bonaparte a year before. The treaty of Tolentino
had shaken the prestige of Papal authority; the loss of so many well-known
works of art, the imposition of new and unpopular taxes, had excited as
much hatred against the defeated government as against the extortionate
conquerors; even among the clergy and their retainers the sale of a portion
of the Church-lands and the curtailment of the old Papal splendours had
produced alienation and discontent. There existed too within the Italian
Church itself a reforming party, lately headed by Ricci, bishop of Pistoia,
which claimed a higher degree of independence for the clergy, and condemned
the assumption of universal authority by the Roman See. The ill-judged
exercise of the Pope's temporal power during the last six years had gained
many converts to the opinion that the head of the Church would best perform
his office if emancipated from a worldly sovereignty, and restored to his
original position of the first among the bishops. Thus, on its approach to
Rome, the Republican army found the city ripe for revolution. On the 15th
of February an excited multitude assembled in the Forum, and, after
planting the tree of liberty in front of the Capitol, renounced the
authority of the Pope, and declared that the Roman people constituted
itself a free Republic. The resolution was conveyed to Berthier, who
recognised the Roman Commonwealth, and made a procession through the city
with the solemnity of an ancient triumph. The Pope shut himself up in the
Vatican. His Swiss guard was removed, and replaced by one composed of
French soldiers, at whose hands the Pontiff, now in his eighty-first year,
suffered unworthy insults. He was then required to renounce his temporal
power, and, upon his refusal, was removed to Tuscany, and afterwards beyond
the Alps to Valence, where in 1799 he died, attended by a solitary

In the liberated capital a course of spoliation began, more thorough and
systematic than any that the French had yet effected. The riches of Rome
brought all the brokers and contractors of Paris to the spot. The museums,
the Papal residence, and the palaces of many of the nobility were robbed of
every article that could be moved; the very fixtures were cut away, when
worth the carriage. On the first meeting of the National Institute in the
Vatican it was found that the doors had lost their locks; and when, by
order of the French, masses were celebrated in the churches in expiation of
the death of Duphot, the patrols who were placed at the gates to preserve
order rushed in and seized the sacred vessels. Yet the general robbery was
far less the work of the army than of the agents and contractors sent by
the Government. In the midst of endless peculation the soldiers were in
want of their pay and their food. A sense of the dishonour done to France
arose at length in the subordinate ranks of the army; and General Massena,
who succeeded Berthier, was forced to quit his command in consequence of
the protests of the soldiery against a system to which Massena had
conspicuously given his personal sanction. It remained to embody the
recovered liberties of Rome in a Republican Constitution, which was, as a
matter of course, a reproduction of the French Directory and Councils of
Legislature, under the practical control of the French general in command.
What Rome had given to the Revolution in the fashion of classical
expressions was now more than repaid. The Directors were styled Consuls;
the divisions of the Legislature were known as the Senate and the
Tribunate; the Prætorship and the Quæstorship were recalled to life in the
Courts of Justice. That the new era might not want its classical memorial,
a medal was struck, with the image and superscription of Roman heroism, to
"Berthier, the restorer of the city," and to "Gaul, the salvation of the
human race."

[Expedition to Egypt, May, 1798.]

It was in the midst of these enterprises in Switzerland and Central Italy
that the Directory assembled the forces which Bonaparte was to lead to the
East. The port of Expedition to embarkation was Toulon; and there, on the
9th of May, 1798, Bonaparte took the command of the most formidable
armament that had ever left the French shores. Great Britain was still but
feebly represented in the Mediterranean, a detachment from St. Vincent's
fleet at Cadiz, placed under the command of Nelson, being the sole British
force in these waters. Heavy reinforcements were at hand; but in the
meantime Nelson had been driven by stress of weather from his watch upon
Toulon. On the 19th of May the French armament put out to sea, its
destination being still kept secret from the soldiers themselves. It
appeared before Malta on the 16th of June. By the treachery of the knights
Bonaparte was put in possession of this stronghold, which he could not even
have attempted to besiege. After a short delay the voyage was resumed, and
the fleet reached Alexandria without having fallen in with the English, who
had now received their reinforcements. The landing was safely effected, and
Alexandria fell at the first assault. After five days the army advanced
upon Cairo. At the foot of the Pyramids the Mameluke cavalry vainly threw
themselves upon Bonaparte's soldiers. They were repulsed with enormous loss
on their own side and scarcely any on that of the French. Their camp was
stormed; Cairo was occupied; and there no longer existed a force in Egypt
capable of offering any serious resistance to the invaders.

[Battle of the Nile, Aug. 1.]

But the fortune which had brought Bonaparte's army safe into the Egyptian
capital was destined to be purchased by the utter destruction of his fleet.
Nelson had passed the French in the night, when, after much perplexity, he
decided on sailing in the direction of Egypt. Arriving at Alexandria before
his prey, he had hurried off in an imaginary pursuit to Rhodes and Crete.
At length he received information which led him to visit Alexandria a
second time. He found the French fleet, numbering thirteen ships of the
line and four frigates, at anchor in Aboukir Bay. [65] His own fleet was
slightly inferior in men and guns, but he entered battle with a
presentiment of the completeness of his victory. Other naval battles have
been fought with larger forces; no destruction was ever so complete as that
of the Battle of the Nile (August 1). Two ships of the line and two
frigates, out of the seventeen sail that met Nelson, alone escaped from his
hands. Of eleven thousand officers and men, nine thousand were taken
prisoners, or perished in the engagement. The army of Bonaparte was cut off
from all hope of support or return; the Republic was deprived of
communication with its best troops and its greatest general.

[Coalition of 1798.]

A coalition was now gathering against France superior to that of 1793 in
the support of Russia and the Ottoman Empire, although Spain was now on the
side of the Republic, and Prussia, in spite of the warnings of the last two
years, refused to stir from its neutrality. The death of the Empress
Catherine, and the accession of Paul, had caused a most serious change in
the prospects of Europe. Hitherto the policy of the Russian Court had been
to embroil the Western Powers with one another, and to confine its efforts
against the French Republic to promises and assurances; with Paul, after an
interval of total reaction, the professions became realities. [66] No
monarch entered so cordially into Pitt's schemes for a renewal of the
European league; no ally had joined the English minister with a sincerity
so like his own. On the part of the Ottoman Government, the pretences of
friendship with which Bonaparte disguised the occupation of Egypt were
taken at their real worth. War was declared by the Porte; and a series of
negotiations, carried on during the autumn of 1798, united Russia, England,
Turkey, and Naples in engagements of mutual support against the French

[Nelson at Naples, Sept., 1798.]

A Russian army set out on its long march towards the Adriatic: the levies
of Austria prepared for a campaign in the spring of 1799; but to the
English Government every moment that elapsed before actual hostilities was
so much time given to uncertainties; and the man who had won the Battle of
the Nile ridiculed the precaution which had hitherto suffered the French to
spread their intrigues through Italy, and closed the ports of Sicily and
Naples to his own most urgent needs. Towards the end of September, Nelson
appeared in the Bay of Naples, and was received with a delirium that
recalled the most effusive scenes in the French Revolution. [67] In the
city of Naples, as in the kingdom generally, the poorest classes were the
fiercest enemies of reform, and the steady allies of the Queen and the
priesthood against that section of the better-educated classes which had
begun to hope for liberty. The system of espionage and persecution with
which the sister of Marie Antoinette avenged upon her own subjects the
sufferings of her kindred had grown more oppressive with every new victory
of the Revolution. In the summer of 1798 there were men languishing for the
fifth year in prison, whose offences had never been investigated, and whose
relatives were not allowed to know whether they were dead or alive. A mode
of expression, a fashion of dress, the word of an informer, consigned
innocent persons to the dungeon, with the possibility of torture. In the
midst of this tyranny of suspicion, in the midst of a corruption which made
the naval and military forces of the kingdom worse than useless, King
Ferdinand and his satellites were unwearied in their theatrical invocations
of the Virgin and St. Januarius against the assailants of divine right and
the conquerors of Rome. A Court cowardly almost beyond the example of
Courts, a police that had trained every Neapolitan to look upon his
neighbour as a traitor, an administration that had turned one of the
hardiest races in Europe into soldiers of notorious and disgraceful
cowardice--such were the allies whom Nelson, ill-fitted for politics by his
sailor-like inexperience and facile vanity, heroic in his tenderness and
fidelity, in an evil hour encouraged to believe themselves invincible
because they possessed his own support. On the 14th of November, 1798, King
Ferdinand published a proclamation, which, without declaring war on the
French, announced that the King intended to occupy the Papal States and
restore the Papal government. The manifesto disclaimed all intention of
conquest, and offered a free pardon to all compromised persons. Ten days
later the Neapolitan army crossed the frontier, led by the Austrian
general, Mack, who passed among his admirers for the greatest soldier in
Europe. [68]

[Ferdinand enters Rome, Nov. 29.]

The mass of the French troops, about twelve thousand in number, lay in the
neighbourhood of Ancona; Rome and the intermediate stations were held by
small detachments. Had Mack pushed forward towards the Upper Tiber, his
inroad, even if it failed to crush the separated wings of the French army,
must have forced them to retreat; but, instead of moving with all his
strength through Central Italy, Mack led the bulk of his army upon Rome,
where there was no French force capable of making a stand, and sent weak
isolated columns towards the east of the peninsula, where the French were
strong enough to make a good defence. On the approach of the Neapolitans to
Rome, Championnet, the French commander, evacuated the city, leaving a
garrison in the Castle of St. Angelo, and fell back on Civita Castellana,
thirty miles north of the capital. The King of Naples entered Rome on the
29th November. The restoration of religion was celebrated by the erection
of an immense cross in the place of the tree of liberty, by the immersion
of several Jews in the Tiber, by the execution of a number of compromised
persons whose pardon the King had promised, and by a threat to shoot one of
the sick French soldiers in the hospital for every shot fired by the guns
of St. Angelo. [69] Intelligence was despatched to the exiled Pontiff of
the discomfiture of his enemies. "By help of the divine grace," wrote King
Ferdinand, "and of the most miraculous St. Januarius, we have to-day with
our army entered the sacred city of Rome, so lately profaned by the
impious, who now fly terror-stricken at the sight of the Cross and of my
arms. Leave then, your Holiness, your too modest abode, and on the wings of
cherubim, like the virgin of Loreto, come and descend upon the Vatican, to
purify it by your sacred presence." A letter to the King of Piedmont, who
had already been exhorted by Ferdinand to encourage his peasants to
assassinate French soldiers, informed him that "the Neapolitans, guided by
General Mack, had sounded the hour of death to the French, and proclaimed
to Europe, from the summit of the Capitol, that the time of the Kings had

[Mack defeated by Championnet, Dec. 6-13.]

The despatches to Piedmont fell into the hands of the enemy, and the usual
modes of locomotion would scarcely have brought Pope Pius to Rome in time
to witness the exit of his deliverer. Ferdinand's rhapsodies were cut short
by the news that his columns advancing into the centre and east of the
Papal States had all been beaten or captured. Mack, at the head of the main
army, now advanced to avenge the defeat upon the French at Civita
Castellana and Terni. But his dispositions were as unskilful as ever:
wherever his troops encountered the enemy they were put to the rout; and,
as he had neglected to fortify or secure a single position upon his line of
march, his defeat by a handful of French soldiers on the north of Rome
involved the loss of the country almost up to the gates of Naples. On the
first rumour of Mack's reverses the Republican party at Rome declared for
France. King Ferdinand fled; Championnet re-entered Rome, and, after a few
days' delay, advanced into Neapolitan territory. Here, however, he found
himself attacked by an enemy more formidable than the army which had been
organised to expel the French from Italy. The Neapolitan peasantry, who, in
soldiers' uniform and under the orders of Mack, could scarcely be brought
within sight of the French, fought with courage when an appeal to their
religious passions collected them in brigand-like bands under leaders of
their own. Divisions of Championnet's army sustained severe losses; they
succeeded, however, in effecting their junction upon the Volturno; and the
stronghold of Gaeta, being defended by regular soldiers and not by
brigands, surrendered to the French at the first summons.

[French enter Naples, Jan. 23, 1799.]

Mack was now concentrating his troops in an entrenched camp before Capua.
The whole country was rising against the invaders; and, in spite of lost
battles and abandoned fortresses, the Neapolitan Government if it had
possessed a spark of courage, might still have overthrown the French army,
which numbered only 18,000 men. But the panic and suspicion which the
Government had fostered among its subjects were now avenged upon itself.
The cry of treachery was raised on every side. The Court dreaded a
Republican rising; the priests and the populace accused the Court of
conspiracy with the French; Mack protested that the soldiers were resolved
to be beaten; the soldiers swore that they were betrayed by Mack. On the
night of the 21st of December, the Royal Family secretly went on board
Nelson's ship the _Vanguard_, and after a short interval they set sail
for Palermo, leaving the capital in charge of Prince Pignatelli, a courtier
whom no one was willing to obey. [70] Order was, however, maintained by a
civic guard enrolled by the Municipality, until it became known that Mack
and Pignatelli had concluded an armistice with the French, and surrendered
Capua and the neighbouring towns. Then the populace broke into wild uproar.
The prisons were thrown open; and with the arms taken from the arsenal the
lazzaroni formed themselves into a tumultuous army, along with thousands of
desperate men let loose from the gaols and the galleys. The priests,
hearing that negotiations for peace were opened, raised the cry of treason
anew; and, with the watchword of the Queen, "All the gentlemen are
Jacobins; only the people are faithful," they hounded on the mob to riot
and murder. On the morning of January 15th hordes of lazzaroni issued from
the gates to throw themselves upon the French, who were now about nine
miles from the city; others dragged the guns down from the forts to defend
the streets. The Republican party, however, and that considerable body
among the upper class which was made Republican by the chaos into which the
Court, with its allies, the priests, and the populace, had thrown Naples,
kept up communication with Championnet, and looked forward to the entrance
of the French as the only means of averting destruction and massacre. By a
stratagem carried out on the night of the 20th they gained possession of
the fort of St. Elmo, while the French were already engaged in a bloody
assault upon the suburbs. On the 23rd Championnet ordered the attack to be
renewed. The conspirators within St. Elmo hoisted the French flag and
turned their guns upon the populace; the fortress of the Carmine was
stormed by the French; and, before the last struggle for life and death
commenced in the centre of the city, the leaders of the lazzaroni listened
to words of friendship which Championnet addressed to them in their own
language, and, with the incoherence of a half-savage race, escorted his
soldiers with cries of joy to the Church of St. Januarius, which
Championnet promised to respect and protect.

[Parthenopean Republic.]

Championnet used his victory with a discretion and forbearance rare amongst
French conquerors. He humoured the superstition of the populace; he
encouraged the political hopes of the enlightened. A vehement revulsion of
feeling against the fugitive Court and in favour of Republican government
followed the creation of a National Council by the French general, and his
ironical homage to the patron saint. The Kingdom of Naples was converted
into the Parthenopean Republic. New laws, new institutions, discussed in a
representative assembly, excited hopes and interests unknown in Naples
before. But the inevitable incidents of a French occupation, extortion and
impoverishment, with all their bitter effects on the mind of the people,
were not long delayed. In every country district the priests were exciting
insurrection. The agents of the new Government, men with no experience in
public affairs, carried confusion wherever they went. Civil war broke out
in fifty different places; and the barbarity of native leaders of
insurrection, like Fra Diavolo, was only too well requited by the French
columns which traversed the districts in revolt.

[War with Austria and Russia, March, 1799.]

The time was ill chosen by the French Government for an extension of the
area of combat to southern Italy. Already the first division of the Russian
army, led by Suvaroff, had reached Moravia, and the Court of Vienna was
only awaiting its own moment for declaring war. So far were the
newly-established Governments in Rome and Naples from being able to assist
the French upon the Adige, that the French had to send troops to Rome and
Naples to support the new Governments. The force which the French could
place upon the frontier was inferior to that which two years of preparation
had given to Austria: the Russians, who were expected to arrive in Lombardy
in April, approached with the confidence of men who had given to the French
none of their recent triumphs. Nor among the leaders was personal
superiority any longer markedly on the side of the French, as in the war of
the First Coalition. Suvaroff and the Archduke Charles were a fair match
for any of the Republican generals, except Bonaparte, who was absent in
Egypt. The executive of France had deeply declined. Carnot was in exile;
the work of organisation which he had pursued with such energy and
disinterestedness flagged under his mediocre and corrupt successors.
Skilful generals and brave soldiers were never wanting to the Republic; but
no single controlling will, no storm of national passion, inspired the
Government with the force which it had possessed under the Convention, and
which returned to it under Napoleon.

A new character was given to the war now breaking out by the inclusion of
Switzerland in the area of combat. In the war of the First Coalition,
Switzerland had been neutral territory; but the events of 1798 had left the
French in possession of all Switzerland west of the Rhine, and an Austrian
force subsequently occupied the Grisons. The line separating the combatants
now ran without a break from Mainz to the Adriatic. The French armies were
in continuous communication with one another, and the movements of each
could be modified according to the requirements of the rest. On the other
hand, a disaster sustained at any one point of the line endangered every
other point; for no neutral territory intervened, as in 1796, to check a
lateral movement of the enemy, and to protect the communications of a
French army in Lombardy from a victorious Austrian force in southern
Germany. The importance of the Swiss passes in this relation was understood
and even overrated by the French Government; and an energy was thrown into
their mountain warfare which might have produced greater results upon the

[The Archduke Charles defeats Jourdan at Stockach, March, 25.]

Three armies formed the order of battle on either side. Jourdan held the
French command upon the Rhine; Massena in Switzerland; Scherer, the least
capable of the Republican generals, on the Adige. On the side of the
Allies, the Archduke Charles commanded in southern Germany; in Lombardy the
Austrians were led by Kray, pending the arrival of Suvaroff and his corps;
in Switzerland the command was given to Hotze, a Swiss officer who had
gained some distinction in foreign service. It was the design of the French
to push their centre under Massena through the mountains into the Tyrol,
and by a combined attack of the central and the southern army to destroy
the Austrians upon the upper Adige, while Jourdan, also in communication
with the centre, drove the Archduke down the Danube upon Vienna. Early in
March the campaign opened. Massena assailed the Austrian positions east of
the head-waters of the Rhine, and forced back the enemy into the heart of
the Orisons. Jourdan crossed the Rhine at Strasburg, and passed the Black
Forest with 40,000 men. His orders were to attack the Archduke Charles,
whatever the Archduke's superiority of force. The French and the Austrian
armies met at Stockach, near the head of the Lake of Constance (March 25).
Overwhelming numbers gave the Archduke a complete victory. Jourdan was not
only stopped in his advance, but forced to retreat beyond the Rhine.
Whatever might be the fortune of the armies of Switzerland and Italy, all
hope of an advance upon Vienna by the Danube was at an end.

[Murder of the French envoys at Rastadt, April 28.]

Freed from the invader's presence, the Austrians now spread themselves over
Baden, up to the gates of Rastadt, where, in spite of the war between
France and Austria, the envoys of the minor German States still continued
their conferences with the French agents. On the 28th of April the French
envoys, now three in number, were required by the Austrians to depart
within twenty-four hours. An escort, for which they applied, was refused.
Scarcely had their carriages passed through the city gates when they were
attacked by a squadron of Austrian hussars. Two of French envoys the French
envoys were murdered; the third left for dead. Whether this frightful
violation of international law was the mere outrage of a drunken soldiery,
as it was represented to be by the Austrian Government; whether it was to
any extent occasioned by superior civil orders, or connected with French
emigrants living in the neighbourhood, remains unknown. Investigations
begun by the Archduke Charles were stopped by the Cabinet, in order that a
more public inquiry might be held by the Diet. This inquiry, however, never
took place. In the year 1804 all papers relating to the Archduke's
investigation were removed by the Government from the military archives.
They have never since been discovered. [71]

[Battle of Magnano, April 5.]

The outburst of wrath with which the French people learnt the fate of their
envoys would have cost Austria dear if Austria had now been the losing
party in the war; but, for the present, everything seemed to turn against
the Republic. Jourdan had scarcely been overthrown in Germany before a
ruinous defeat at Magnano, on the Adige, drove back the army of Italy to
within a few miles of Milan; while Massena, deprived of the fruit of his
own victories by the disasters of his colleagues, had to abandon the
eastern half of Switzerland, and to retire upon the line of the river
Limnat, Lucerne, and the Gothard. Charles now moved from Germany into
Switzerland. Massena fixed his centre at Zürich, and awaited the Archduke's
assault. For five weeks Charles remained inactive: at length, on the 4th of
June, he gave battle. After two days' struggle against greatly superior
forces, Massena was compelled to evacuate Zürich. He retreated, however, no
farther than to the ridge of the Uetliberg, a few miles west of the city;
and here, fortifying his new position, he held obstinately on, while the
Austrians established themselves in the central passes of Switzerland, and
disaster after disaster seemed to be annihilating the French arms in Italy.

[Suvaroff's Campaign in Lombardy, April-June.]

Suvaroff, at the head of 17,000 Russians, had arrived in Lombardy in the
middle of April. His first battle was fought, and his first victory won, at
the passage of the Adda on the 25th of April. It was followed by the
surrender of Milan and the dissolution of the Cisalpine Republic. Moreau,
who now held the French command, fell back upon Alessandria, intending to
cover both Genoa and Turin; but a sudden movement of Suvaroff brought the
Russians into the Sardinian capital before it was even known to be in
jeopardy. The French general, cut off from the roads over the Alps, threw
himself upon the Apennines above Genoa, and waited for the army which had
occupied Naples, and which, under the command of Macdonald, was now
hurrying to his support, gathering with it on its march the troops that lay
scattered on the south of the Po. Macdonald moved swiftly through central
Italy, and crossed the Apennines above Pistoia in the beginning of June.
His arrival at Modena with 20,000 men threatened to turn the balance in
favour of the French. Suvaroff, aware of his danger, collected all the
troops within reach with the utmost despatch, and pushed eastwards to meet
Macdonald on the Trebbia. Moreau descended from the Apennines in the same
direction; but he had underrated the swiftness of the Russian general; and,
before he had advanced over half the distance, Macdonald was attacked by
Suvaroff on the Trebbia, and overthrown in three days of the most desperate
fighting that had been seen in the war (June 18). [72]


All southern Italy now rose against the Governments established by the
French. Cardinal Ruffo, with a band of fanatical peasants, known as the
Army of the Faith, made himself master of Apulia and Calabria amid scenes
of savage cruelty, and appeared before Naples, where the lazzaroni were
ready to unite with the hordes of the Faithful in murder and pillage.
Confident of support within the city, and assisted by some English and
Russian vessels in the harbour, Ruffo attacked the suburbs of Naples on the
morning of the 13th of June. Massacre and outrage continued within and
without the city for five days. On the morning of the 19th, the Cardinal
proposed a suspension of arms. It was accepted by the Republicans, who were
in possession of the forts. Negotiations followed. On the 23rd conditions
of peace were signed by Ruffo on behalf of the King of Naples, and by the
representatives of Great Britain and of Russia in guarantee for their
faithful execution. It was agreed that the Republican garrison should march
out with the honours of war; that their persons and property should be
respected; that those who might prefer to leave the country should be
conveyed to Toulon on neutral vessels; and that all who remained at home
should be free from molestation.

[Reign of Terror.]

The garrison did not leave the forts that night. On the following morning,
while they were embarking on board the polaccas which were to take them to
Toulon, Nelson's fleet appeared in the Bay of Naples. Nelson declared that
in treating with rebels Cardinal Ruffo had disobeyed the King's orders, and
he pronounced the capitulation null and void. The polaccas, with the
Republicans crowded on board, were attached to the sterns of the English
ships, pending the arrival of King Ferdinand. On the 29th of June, Admiral
Caracciolo, who had taken office under the new Government, and on its fall
had attempted to escape in disguise, was brought a captive before Nelson.
Nelson ordered him to be tried by a Neapolitan court-martial, and, in spite
of his old age, his rank, and his long service to the State, caused him to
be hanged from a Neapolitan ship's yard-arm, and his body to be thrown into
the sea. Some days later, King Ferdinand arrived from Palermo, and Nelson
now handed over all his prisoners to the Bourbon authorities. A reign of
terror followed. Innumerable persons were thrown into prison.
Courts-martial, or commissions administering any law that pleased
themselves, sent the flower of the Neapolitan nation to the scaffold. Above
a hundred sentences of death were carried out in Naples itself:
confiscation, exile, and imprisonment struck down thousands of families. It
was peculiar to the Neapolitan proscriptions that a Government with the
names of religion and right incessantly upon its lips selected for
extermination both among men and women those who were most distinguished in
character, in science, and in letters, whilst it chose for promotion and
enrichment those who were known for deeds of savage violence. The part
borne by Nelson in this work of death has left a stain on his glory which
time cannot efface. [73]

[Austrian designs in Italy.]

[New plan of the War.]

It was on the advance of the Army of Naples under Macdonald that the French
rested their last hope of recovering Lombardy. The battle of the Trebbia
scattered this hope to the winds, and left it only too doubtful whether
France could be saved from invasion. Suvaroff himself was eager to fall
upon Moreau before Macdonald could rally from his defeat, and to drive him
westwards along the coast-road into France. It was a moment when the
fortune of the Republic hung in the scales. Had Suvaroff been permitted to
follow his own counsels, France would probably have seen the remnant of her
Italian armies totally destroyed, and the Russians advancing upon Lyons or
Marseilles. The Republic was saved, as it had been in 1793, by the
dissensions of its enemies. It was not only for the purpose of resisting
French aggression that Austria had renewed the war, but for the purpose of
extending its own dominion in Italy. These designs were concealed from
Russia; they were partially made known by Thugut to the British Ambassador,
under the most stringent obligation to secrecy. On the 17th of August,
1799, Lord Minto acquainted his Government with the intentions of the
Austrian Court. "The Emperor proposes to retain Piedmont, and to take all
that part of Savoy which is important in a military view. I have no doubt
of his intention to keep Nice also, if he gets it, which will make the Var
his boundary with France. The whole territory of the Genoese Republic seems
to be an object of serious speculation ... The Papal Legations will, I am
persuaded, be retained by the Emperor ... I am not yet master of the
designs on Tuscany." [74] This was the sense in which Austria understood
the phrase of defending the rights of Europe against French aggression. It
was not, however, for this that the Czar had sent his army from beyond the
Carpathians. Since the opening of the campaign Suvaroff had been in
perpetual conflict with the military Council of Vienna. [75] Suvaroff was
bent upon a ceaseless pursuit of the enemy; the Austrian Council insisted
upon the reduction of fortresses. What at first appeared as a mere
difference of military opinion appeared in its true political character
when the allied troops entered Piedmont. The Czar desired with his whole
soul to crush the men of the Revolution, and to restore the governments
which France had overthrown. As soon as his troops entered Turin, Suvaroff
proclaimed the restoration of the House of Savoy, and summoned all
Sardinian officers to fight for their King. He was interrupted by a letter
from Vienna requiring him to leave political affairs in the hands of the
Viennese Ministry. [76] The Russians had already done as much in Italy as
the Austrian Cabinet desired them to do, and the first wish of Thugut was
now to free himself from his troublesome ally. Suvaroff raged against the
Austrian Government in every despatch, and tendered his resignation. His
complaints inclined the Czar to accept a new military scheme, which was
supported by the English Government in the hope of terminating the
contention between Suvaroff and the Austrian Council. It was agreed at St.
Petersburg that, as soon as the French armies were destroyed, the reduction
of the Italian fortresses should be left exclusively to the Austrians; and
that Suvaroff, uniting with a new Russian army now not far distant, should
complete the conquest of Switzerland, and then invade France by the Jura,
supported on his right by the Archduke Charles. An attack was to be made at
the same time upon Holland by a combined British and Russian force.

If executed in its original form, this design would have thrown a
formidable army upon France at the side of Franche Comté, where it is least
protected by fortresses. But at the last moment an alteration in the plan
was made at Vienna. The prospect of an Anglo-Russian victory in Holland
again fixed the thoughts of the Austrian Minister upon Belgium, which had
been so lightly abandoned five years before, and which Thugut now hoped to
re-occupy and to barter for Bavaria or some other territory. "The Emperor,"
he wrote, "cannot turn a deaf ear to the appeal of his subjects. He cannot
consent that the Netherlands shall be disposed of without his own
concurrence." [77] The effect of this perverse and mischievous resolution
was that the Archduke Charles received orders to send the greater part of
his army from Switzerland to the Lower Rhine, and to leave only 25,000 men
to support the new Russian division which, under General Korsakoff, was
approaching from the north to meet Suvaroff. The Archduke, as soon as the
new instructions reached him, was filled with the presentiment of disaster,
and warned his Government that in the general displacement of forces an
opportunity would be given to Massena, who was still above Zürich, to
strike a fatal blow. Every despatch that passed between Vienna and St.
Petersburg now increased the Czar's suspicion of Austria. The Pope and the
King of Naples were convinced that Thugut had the same design upon their
own territories which had been shown in his treatment of Piedmont. [78]
They appealed to the Czar for protection. The Czar proposed a European
Congress, at which the Powers might learn one another's real intentions.
The proposal was not accepted by Austria; but, while disclaiming all desire
to despoil the King of Sardinia, the Pope, or the King of Naples, Thugut
admitted that Austria claimed an improvement of its Italian frontier, in
other words, the annexation of a portion of Piedmont, and of the northern
part of the Roman States. The Czar replied that he had taken up arms in
order to check one aggressive Government, and that he should not permit
another to take its place.

[Battle of Novi, Aug. 15.]

For the moment, however, the allied forces continued to co-operate in Italy
against the French army on the Apennines covering Genoa. This army had
received reinforcements, and was now placed under the command of Joubert,
one of the youngest and most spirited of the Republican generals. Joubert
determined to attack the Russians before the fall of Mantua should add the
besieging army to Suvaroff's forces in the field. But the information which
he received from Lombardy misled him. In the second week of August he was
still unaware that Mantua had fallen a fortnight before. He descended from
the mountains to attack Suvaroff at Tortona, with a force about equal to
Suvaroff's own. On reaching Novi he learnt that the army of Mantua was also
before him (Aug. 15). It was too late to retreat; Joubert could only give
to his men the example of Republican spirit and devotion. Suvaroff himself,
with Kray, the conqueror of Mantua, began the attack: the onset of a second
Austrian corps, at the moment when the strength of the Russians was
failing, decided the day. Joubert did not live to witness the close of a
defeat which cost France eleven thousand men. [79]

[Suvaroff goes into Switzerland.]

The allied Governments had so framed their plans that the most overwhelming
victory could produce no result. Instead of entering France, Suvaroff was
compelled to turn back into Switzerland, while the Austrians continued to
besiege the fortresses of Piedmont. In Switzerland Suvaroff had to meet an
enemy who was forewarned of his approach, and who had employed every
resource of military skill and daring to prevent the union of the two
Russian armies now advancing from the south and the north. Before Suvaroff
could leave Italy, a series of admirably-planned attacks had given Massena
the whole network of the central Alpine passes, and closed every avenue of
communication between Suvaroff and the army with which he hoped to
co-operate. The folly of the Austrian Cabinet seconded the French general's
exertions. No sooner had Korsakoff and the new Russian division reached
Schaffhausen than the Archduke Charles, forced by his orders from Vienna,
turned northwards (Sept. 3), leaving the Russians with no support but
Hotze's corps, which was scattered over six cantons. [80] Korsakoff
advanced to Zürich; Massena remained in his old position on the Uetliberg.
It was now that Suvaroff began his march into the Alps, sorely harassed and
delayed by the want of the mountain-teams which the Austrians had promised
him, and filled with the apprehension that Korsakoff would suffer some
irreparable disaster before his own arrival.

[Second Battle of Zürich, Sept. 26.]

Two roads lead from the Italian lakes to central Switzerland; one, starting
from the head of Lago Maggiore and crossing the Gothard, ends on the shore
of Lake Lucerne; the other, crossing the Splügen, runs from the Lake of
Como to Reichenau, in the valley of the Rhine. The Gothard in 1799 was not
practicable for cannon; it was chosen by Suvaroff, however, for his own
advance, with the object of falling upon Massena's rear with the utmost
possible speed. He left Bellinzona on the 21st of September, fought his way
in a desperate fashion through the French outposts that guarded the defiles
of the Gothard, and arrived at Altorf near the Lake of Lucerne. Here it was
discovered that the westward road by which Suvaroff meant to strike upon
the enemy's communications had no existence. Abandoning this design,
Suvaroff made straight for the district where his colleague was encamped,
by a shepherd's path leading north-eastwards across heights of 7,000 feet
to the valley of the Muotta. Over this desolate region the Russians made
their way; and the resolution which brought them as far as the Muotta would
have brought them past every other obstacle to the spot where they were to
meet their countrymen. But the hour was past. While Suvaroff was still
struggling in the mountains, Massena advanced against Zürich, put
Korsakoff's army to total rout, and drove it, with the loss of all its
baggage and of a great part of its artillery, outside the area of

[Retreat of Suvaroff.]

The first rumours of the catastrophe reached Suvaroff on the Muotta; he
still pushed on eastwards, and, though almost without ammunition, overthrew
a corps commanded by Massena in person, and cleared the road over the
Pragel at the point of the bayonet, arriving in Glarus on the 1st of
October. Here the full extent of Korsakoff's disaster was made known to
him. To advance or to fall back was ruin. It only remained for Suvaroff's
army to make its escape across a wild and snow-covered mountain-tract into
the valley of the Rhine, where the river flows below the northern heights
of the Grisons. This exploit crowned a campaign which filled Europe with
astonishment. The Alpine traveller of to-day turns with some distrust from
narratives which characterise with every epithet of horror and dismay
scenes which are the delight of our age; but the retreat of Suvaroff's
army, a starving, footsore multitude, over what was then an untrodden
wilderness of rock, and through fresh-fallen autumn snow two feet deep, had
little in common with the boldest feats of Alpine hardihood. [81] It was
achieved with loss and suffering; it brought the army from a position of
the utmost danger into one of security; but it was followed by no renewed
attack. Proposals for a combination between Suvaroff and the Archduke
Charles resulted only in mutual taunts and menaces. The co-operation of
Russia in the war was at an end. The French remained masters of the whole
of the Swiss territory that they had lost since the beginning of the

[British and Russian expedition against Holland Aug. 1799.]

In the summer months of 1799 the Czar had relieved his irritation against
Austria by framing in concert with the British Cabinet the plan for a joint
expedition against Holland. It was agreed that 25,000 English and 17,000
Russian troops, brought from the Baltic in British ships, should attack the
French in the Batavian Republic, and raise an insurrection on behalf of the
exiled Stadtholder. Throughout July the Kentish coast-towns were alive with
the bustle of war; and on the 13th of August the first English division,
numbering 12,000 men, set sail from Deal under the command of Sir Ralph
Abercromby. After tossing off the Dutch coast for a fortnight, the troops
landed at the promontory of the Helder. A Dutch corps was defeated on the
sand-hills, and the English captured the fort of the Helder, commanding the
Texel anchorage. Immediately afterwards a movement in favour of the
Stadtholder broke out among the officers of the Dutch fleet. The captains
hoisted the Orange flag, and brought their ships over to the English.

This was the first and the last result of the expedition. The Russian
contingent and a second English division reached Holland in the middle of
September, and with them came the Duke of York, who now took the command
out of the hands of Abercromby. On the other side reinforcements daily
arrived from France, until the enemy's troops, led by General Brune, were
equal in strength to the invaders. A battle fought at Alkmaar on the 19th
of September gave the Allies some partial successes and no permanent
advantage; and on the 3rd of October the Duke of York gained one of those
so-called victories which result in the retreat of the conquerors. Never
were there so many good reasons for a bad conclusion. The Russians moved
too fast or too slow; the ditches set at nought the rules of strategy; it
was discovered that the climate of Holland was unfavourable to health, and
that the Dutch had not the slightest inclination to get back their
Stadtholder. The result of a series of mischances, every one of which would
have been foreseen by an average midshipman in Nelson's fleet, or an
average sergeant in Massena's army, was that York had to purchase a retreat
for the allied forces at a price equivalent to an unconditional surrender.
He was allowed to re-embark on consideration that Great Britain restored to
the French 8,000 French and Dutch prisoners, and handed over in perfect
repair all the military works which our own soldiers had erected at the
Helder. Bitter complaints were raised among the Russian officers against
York's conduct of the expedition. He was accused of sacrificing the Russian
regiments in battle, and of courting a general defeat in order not to
expose his own men. The accusation was groundless. Where York was,
treachery or bad faith was superfluous. York in command, the feeblest enemy
became invincible. Incompetence among the hereditary chiefs of the English
army had become part of the order of nature. The Ministry, when taxed with
failure, obstinately shut their eyes to the true cause of the disaster.
Parliament was reminded that defeat was the most probable conclusion of any
military operations that we might undertake, and that England ought not to
expect success when Prussia and Austria had so long met only with
misfortune. Under the command of Nelson, English sailors were indeed
manifesting that kind of superiority to the seamen of other nations which
the hunter possesses over his prey; yet this gave no reason why foresight
and daring should count for anything ashore. If the nation wished to see
its soldiers undefeated, it must keep them at home to defend their country.
Even among the Opposition no voice was raised to protest against the system
which sacrificed English life and military honour to the dignity of the
Royal Family. The collapse of the Anglo-Russian expedition was viewed with
more equanimity in England than in Russia. The Czar dismissed his
unfortunate generals. York returned home, to run horses at Newmarket, to
job commissions with his mistress, and to earn his column at St. James's

[Unpopularity of the Directory.]

[Plans of Siéyès 1799.]

It was at this moment, when the tide of military success was already
turning in favour of the Republic, that the revolution took place which
made Bonaparte absolute ruler of France. Since the attack of the Government
upon the Royalists in Fructidor, 1797, the Directory and the factions had
come no nearer to a system of mutual concession, or to a peaceful
acquiescence in the will of a parliamentary majority. The Directory,
assailed both by the extreme Jacobins and by the Constitutionalists, was
still strong enough to crush each party in its turn. The elections of 1798,
which strengthened the Jacobins, were annulled with as little scruple as
the Royalist elections in the preceding year; it was only when defeat in
Germany and Italy had brought the Government into universal discredit that
the Constitutionalist party, fortified by the return of a large majority in
the elections of 1799, dared to turn the attack upon the Directors
themselves. The excitement of foreign conquest had hitherto shielded the
abuses of Government from criticism; but when Italy was lost, when generals
and soldiers found themselves without pay, without clothes, without
reinforcements, one general outcry arose against the Directory, and the
nation resolved to have done with a Government whose outrages and
extortions had led to nothing but military ruin. The disasters of France in
the spring of 1799, which resulted from the failure of the Government to
raise the armies to their proper strength, were not in reality connected
with the defects of the Constitution. They were caused in part by the
shameless jobbery of individual members of the Administration, in part by
the absence of any agency, like that of the Conventional Commissioners of
1793, to enforce the control of the central Government over the local
authorities, left isolated and independent by the changes of 1789. Faults
enough belonged, however, to the existing political order; and the
Constitutionalists, who now for the second time found themselves with a
majority in the Councils, were not disposed to prolong a system which from
the first had turned their majorities into derision. A party grew up around
the Abbé Siéyès intent upon some change which should give France a
government really representing its best elements. What the change was to be
few could say; but it was known that Siéyès, who had taken a leading part
in 1789, and had condemned the Constitution of 1795 from the moment when it
was sketched, had elaborated a scheme which he considered exempt from every
error that had vitiated its predecessors. As the first step to reform,
Siéyès himself was elected to a Directorship then falling vacant. Barras
attached himself to Siéyès; the three remaining Directors, who were
Jacobins and popular in Paris, were forced to surrender their seats. Siéyès
now only needed a soldier to carry out his plans. His first thought had
turned on Joubert, but Joubert was killed at Novi. Moreau scrupled to raise
his hand against the law; Bernadotte, a general distinguished both in war
and in administration, declined to play a secondary part. Nor in fact was
the support of Siéyès indispensable to any popular and ambitious soldier
who was prepared to attack the Government. Siéyès and his friends offered
the alliance of a party weighty in character and antecedents; but there
were other well-known names and powerful interests at the command of an
enterprising leader, and all France awaited the downfall of a Government
whose action had resulted only in disorder at home and defeat abroad.

[Bonaparte returns from Egypt, Oct., 1799.]

Such was the political situation when, in the summer of 1799, Bonaparte,
baffled in an attack upon the Syrian fortress of St. Jean d'Acre, returned
to Egypt, and received the first tidings from Europe which had reached him
since the outbreak of the war. He saw that his opportunity had arrived. He
determined to leave his army, whose ultimate failure was inevitable, and to
offer to France in his own person that sovereignty of genius and strength
for which the whole nation was longing. On the 7th of October a despatch
from Bonaparte was read in the Council of Five Hundred, announcing a
victory over the Turks at Aboukir. It brought the first news that had been
received for many months from the army of Egypt; it excited an outburst of
joyous enthusiasm for the general and the army whom a hated Government was
believed to have sent into exile; it recalled that succession of victories
which had been unchecked by a single defeat, and that Peace which had given
France a dominion wider than any that her Kings had won. While every
thought was turned upon Bonaparte, the French nation suddenly heard that
Bonaparte himself had landed on the coast of Provence. "I was sitting that
day," says Béranger in his autobiography, "in our reading-room with thirty
or forty other persons. Suddenly the news was brought in that Bonaparte had
returned from Egypt. At the words, every man in the room started to his
feet and burst into one long shout of joy." The emotion portrayed by
Béranger was that of the whole of France. Almost everything that now
darkens the early fame of Bonaparte was then unknown. His falsities, his
cold, unpitying heart were familiar only to accomplices and distant
sufferers; even his most flagrant wrongs, such as the destruction of
Venice, were excused by a political necessity, or disguised as acts of
righteous chastisement. The hopes, the imagination of France saw in
Bonaparte the young, unsullied, irresistible hero of the Republic. His fame
had risen throughout a crisis which had destroyed all confidence in others.
The stale placemen of the factions sank into insignificance by his side;
even sincere Republicans, who feared the rule of a soldier, confessed that
it is not always given to a nation to choose the mode of its own
deliverance. From the moment that Bonaparte landed at Fréjus, he was master
of France.

[Conspiracy of Siéyès and Bonaparte.]

Siéyès saw that Bonaparte, and no one else, was the man through whom he
could overthrow the existing Constitution. [82] So little sympathy existed,
however, between Siéyès and the soldier to whom he now offered his support,
that Bonaparte only accepted Siéyès' project after satisfying himself that
neither Barras nor Bernadotte would help him to supreme power. Once
convinced of this, Bonaparte closed with Siéyès' offers. It was agreed that
Siéyès and his friend Ducos should resign their Directorships, and that the
three remaining Directors should be driven from office. The Assemblies, or
any part of them favourable to the plot, were to appoint a Triumvirate
composed of Bonaparte, Siéyès, and Ducos, for the purpose of drawing up a
new Constitution. In the new Constitution it was understood, though without
any definite arrangement, that Bonaparte and Siéyès were to be the leading
figures. The Council of Ancients was in great part in league with the
conspirators: the only obstacle likely to hinder the success of the plot
was a rising of the Parisian populace. As a precaution against attack, it
was determined to transfer the meeting of the Councils to St. Cloud.
Bonaparte had secured the support of almost all the generals and troops in
Paris. His brother Lucien, now President of the Council of Five Hundred,
hoped to paralyse the action of his own Assembly, in which the conspirators
were in the minority.

[Coup d'état, 18 Brumaire (Nov. 9), 1799.]

Early on the morning of the 9th of November (18 Brumaire), a crowd of
generals and officers met before Bonaparte's house. At the same moment a
portion of the Council of Ancients assembled, and passed a decree which
adjourned the session to St. Cloud, and conferred on Bonaparte the command
over all the troops in Paris. The decree was carried to Bonaparte's house
and read to the military throng, who acknowledged it by brandishing their
swords. Bonaparte then ordered the troops to their posts, received the
resignation of Barras, and arrested the two remaining Directors in the
Luxembourg. During the night there was great agitation in Paris. The arrest
of the two Directors and the display of military force revealed the true
nature of the conspiracy, and excited men to resistance who had hitherto
seen no great cause for alarm. The Councils met at St. Cloud at two on the
next day. The Ancients were ready for what was coming; the Five Hundred
refused to listen to Bonaparte's accomplices, and took the oath of fidelity
to the Constitution. Bonaparte himself entered the Council of Ancients, and
in violent, confused language declared that he had come to save the
Republic from unseen dangers. He then left the Assembly, and entered the
Chamber of the Five Hundred, escorted by armed grenadiers. A roar of
indignation greeted the appearance of the bayonets. The members rushed in a
mass upon Bonaparte, and drove him out of the hall. His brother now left
the President's chair and joined the soldiers outside, whom he harangued in
the character of President of the Assembly. The soldiers, hitherto
wavering, were assured by Lucien's civil authority and his treacherous
eloquence. The drums beat; the word of command was given; and the last free
representatives of France struggled through doorways and windows before the
levelled and advancing bayonets.

[Siéyès' plan of Constitution.]

The Constitution which Siéyès hoped now to impose upon France had been
elaborated by its author at the close of the Reign of Terror. Designed at
that epoch, it bore the trace of all those apprehensions which gave shape
to the Constitution of 1795. The statutory outrages of 1793, the Royalist
reaction shown in the events of Vendémiaire, were the perils from which
both Siéyès and the legislators of 1795 endeavoured to guard the future of
France. It had become clear that a popular election might at any moment
return a royalist majority to the Assembly: the Constitution of 1795
averted this danger by prolonging the power of the Conventionalists; Siéyès
overcame it by extinguishing popular election altogether. He gave to the
nation no right but that of selecting half a million persons who should be
eligible to offices in the Communes, and who should themselves elect a
smaller body of fifty thousand, eligible to offices in the Departments. The
fifty thousand were in their turn to choose five thousand, who should be
eligible to places in the Government and the Legislature. The actual
appointments were to be made, however, not by the electors, but by the
Executive. With the irrational multitude thus deprived of the power to
bring back its old oppressors, priests, royalists, and nobles might safely
do their worst. By way of still further precaution, Siéyès proposed that
every Frenchman who had been elected to the Legislature since 1789 should
be inscribed for ten years among the privileged five thousand.

Such were the safeguards provided against a Bourbonist reaction. To guard
against a recurrence of those evils which France had suffered from the
precipitate votes of a single Assembly, Siéyès broke up the legislature
into as many chambers as there are stages in the passing of a law. The
first chamber, or Council of State, was to give shape to measures suggested
by the Executive; a second chamber, known as the Tribunate, was to discuss
the measures so framed, and ascertain the objections to which they were
liable; the third chamber, known as the Legislative Body, was to decide in
silence for or against the measures, after hearing an argument between
representatives of the Council and of the Tribunate. As a last impregnable
bulwark against Jacobins and Bourbonists alike, Siéyès created a Senate
whose members should hold office for life, and be empowered to annul every
law in which the Chambers might infringe upon the Constitution.

It only remained to invent an Executive. In the other parts of his
Constitution, Siéyès had borrowed from Rome, from Greece, and from Venice;
in his Executive he improved upon the political theories of Great Britain.
He proposed that the Government should consist of two Consuls and a Great
Elector; the Elector, like an English king, appointing and dismissing the
Consuls, but taking no active part in the administration himself. The
Consuls were to be respectively restricted to the affairs of peace and of
war. Grotesque under every aspect, the Constitution of Siéyès was really
calculated to effect in all points but one the end which he had in view.
His object was to terminate the convulsions of France by depriving every
element in the State of the power to create sudden change. The members of
his body politic, a Council that could only draft, a Tribunate that could
only discuss, a Legislature that could only vote, Yes or No, were impotent
for mischief; and the nation itself ceased to have a political existence as
soon as it had selected its half-million notables.

[Siéyès and Bonaparte.]

So far, nothing could have better suited the views of Bonaparte; and up to
this point Bonaparte quietly accepted Siéyès' plan. But the general had his
own scheme for what was to follow. Siéyès might apportion the act of
deliberation among debating societies and dumb juries to the full extent of
his own ingenuity; but the moment that he applied his disintegrating method
to the Executive, Bonaparte swept away the flimsy reasoner, and set in the
midst of his edifice of shadows the reality of an absolute personal rule.
The phantom Elector, and the Consuls who were to be the Elector's
tenants-at-will, corresponded very little to the power which France desired
to see at its head. "Was there ever anything so ridiculous?" cried
Bonaparte. "What man of spirit could accept such a post?" It was in vain
that Siéyès had so nicely set the balance. His theories gave to France only
the pageants which disguised the extinction of the nation beneath a single
will: the frame of executive government which the country received in 1799
was that which Bonaparte deduced from the conception of an absolute central
power. The First Consul summed up all executive authority in his own
person. By his side there were set two colleagues whose only function was
to advise. A Council of State placed the highest skill and experience in
France at the disposal of the chief magistrate, without infringing upon his
sovereignty. All offices, both in the Ministries of State and in the
provinces, were filled by the nominees of the First Consul. No law could be
proposed but at his desire.

[Contrast of the Institutions of 1791 and 1799.]

[Centralisation of 1799.]

The institutions given to France by the National Assembly of 1789 and those
given to it in the Consulate exhibited a direct contrast seldom found
outside the region of abstract terms. Local customs, survivals of earlier
law, such as soften the difference between England and the various
democracies of the United States, had no place in the sharp-cut types in
which the political order of France was recast in 1791 and 1799. The
Constituent Assembly had cleared the field before it began to reconstruct.
Its reconstruction was based upon the Rights of Man, identified with the
principle of local self-government by popular election. It deduced a system
of communal administration so completely independent that France was
described by foreign critics as partitioned into 40,000 republics; and the
criticism was justified when, in 1793, it was found necessary to create a
new central Government, and to send commissioners from the capital into the
provinces. In the Constitution of 1791, judges, bishops, officers of the
National Guard, were all alike subjected to popular election; the Minister
of War could scarcely move a regiment from one village to another without
the leave of the mayor of the commune. In the Constitution of 1799 all
authority was derived from the head of the State. A system of
centralisation came into force with which France under her kings had
nothing to compare. All that had once served as a check upon monarchical
power, the legal Parliaments, the Provincial Estates of Brittany and
Languedoc, the rights of lay and ecclesiastical corporations, had vanished
away. In the place of the motley of privileges that had tempered the
Bourbon monarchy, in the place of the popular Assemblies of the Revolution,
there sprang up a series of magistracies as regular and as absolute as the
orders of military rank. [83] Where, under the Constitution of 1791, a body
of local representatives had met to conduct the business of the Department,
there was now a Préfet, appointed by the First Consul, absolute, like the
First Consul himself, and assisted only by the advice of a nominated
council, which met for one fortnight in the year. In subordination to the
Préfet, an officer and similar council transacted the local business of the
Arrondissement. Even the 40,000 Maires with their communal councils were
all appointed directly or indirectly by the Chief of the State. There
existed in France no authority that could repair a village bridge, or light
the streets of a town, but such as owed its appointment to the central
Government. Nor was the power of the First Consul limited to the
administration. With the exception of the lowest and the highest members of
the judicature, he nominated all judges, and transferred them at his
pleasure to inferior or superior posts.

Such was the system which, based to a great extent upon the preferences of
the French people, fixed even more deeply in the national character the
willingness to depend upon an omnipresent, all-directing power. Through its
rational order, its regularity, its command of the highest science and
experience, this system of government could not fail to confer great and
rapid benefits upon the country. It has usually been viewed by the French
themselves as one of the finest creations of political wisdom. In
comparison with the self-government which then and long afterwards existed
in England, the centralisation of France had all the superiority of
progress and intelligence over torpor and self-contradiction. Yet a heavy,
an incalculable price is paid by every nation which for the sake of
administrative efficiency abandons its local liberties, and all that is
bound up with their enjoyment. No practice in the exercise of public right
armed a later generation of Frenchmen against the audacity of a common
usurper: no immortality of youth secured the institutions framed by
Napoleon against the weakness and corruption which at some period undermine
all despotisms. The historian who has exhausted every term of praise upon
the political system of the Consulate lived to declare, as Chief of the
State himself, that the first need of France was the decentralisation of
power. [84]

[State policy of Bonaparte.]

After ten years of disquiet, it was impossible that any Government could be
more welcome to the French nation than one which proclaimed itself the
representative, not of party or of opinion, but of France itself. No
section of the nation had won a triumph in the establishment of the
Consulate; no section had suffered a defeat. In his own elevation Bonaparte
announced the close of civil conflict. A Government had arisen which
summoned all to its service which would employ all, reward all, reconcile
all. The earliest measures of the First Consul exhibited the policy of
reconciliation by which he hoped to rally the whole of France to his side.
The law of hostages, under which hundreds of families were confined in
retaliation for local Royalist disturbances, was repealed, and Bonaparte
himself went to announce their liberty to the prisoners in the Temple.
Great numbers of names were struck off the list of the emigrants, and the
road to pardon was subsequently opened to all who had not actually served
against their country. In the selection of his officers of State, Bonaparte
showed the same desire to win men of all parties. Cambacérès, a regicide,
was made Second Consul; Lebrun, an old official of Louis XVI., became his
colleague. In the Ministries, in the Senate, and in the Council of State
the nation saw men of proved ability chosen from all callings in life and
from all political ranks. No Government of France had counted among its
members so many names eminent for capacity and experience. One quality
alone was indispensable, a readiness to serve and to obey. In that
intellectual greatness which made the combination of all the forces of
France a familiar thought in Bonaparte's mind, there was none of the moral
generosity which could pardon opposition to himself, or tolerate energy
acting under other auspices than his own. He desired to see authority in
the best hands; he sought talent and promoted it, but on the understanding
that it took its direction from himself. Outside this limit ability was his
enemy, not his friend; and what could not be caressed or promoted was
treated with tyrannical injustice. While Bonaparte boasted of the career
that he had thrown open to talent, he suppressed the whole of the
independent journalism of Paris, and banished Mme. de Stael, whose guests
continued to converse, when they might not write, about liberty. Equally
partial, equally calculated, was Bonaparte's indulgence towards the ancient
enemies of the Revolution, the Royalists and the priests. He felt nothing
of the old hatred of Paris towards the Vendean noble and the superstitious
Breton; he offered his friendship to the stubborn Breton race, whose
loyalty and piety he appreciated as good qualities in subjects; but failing
their submission, he instructed his generals in the west of France to burn
down their villages, and to set a price upon the heads of their chiefs.
Justice, tolerance, good faith, were things which had no being for
Bonaparte outside the circle of his instruments and allies.

[France ceases to excite democracy abroad, but promotes equality under
monarchical systems.]

[Effect of Bonaparte's autocracy outside France.]

In the foreign relations of France it was not possible for the most
unscrupulous will to carry aggression farther than it had been already
carried; yet the elevation of Bonaparte deeply affected the fortunes of all
those States whose lot depended upon France. It was not only that a mind
accustomed to regard all human things as objects for its own disposal now
directed an irresistible military force, but from the day when France
submitted to Bonaparte, the political changes accompanying the advance of
the French armies took a different character. Belgium and Holland, the
Rhine Provinces, the Cisalpine, the Roman, and the Parthenopean Republics,
had all received, under whatever circumstances of wrong, at least the forms
of popular sovereignty. The reality of power may have belonged to French
generals and commissioners; but, however insincerely uttered, the call to
freedom excited hopes and aspirations which were not insincere themselves.
The Italian festivals of emancipation, the trees of liberty, the rhetoric
of patriotic assemblies, had betrayed little enough of the instinct for
self-government; but they marked a separation from the past; and the period
between the years 1796 and 1799 was in fact the birth-time of those hopes
which have since been realised in the freedom and the unity of Italy. So
long as France had her own tumultuous assemblies, her elections in the
village and in the county-town, it was impossible for her to form republics
beyond the Alps without introducing at least some germ of republican
organisation and spirit. But when all power was concentrated in a single
man, when the spoken and the written word became an offence against the
State, when the commotion of the old municipalities was succeeded by the
silence and the discipline of a body of clerks working round their chief,
then the advance of French influence ceased to mean the support of popular
forces against the Governments. The form which Bonaparte had given to
France was the form which he intended for the clients of France. Hence in
those communities which directly received the impress of the Consulate, as
in Bavaria and the minor German States, authority, instead of being
overthrown, was greatly strengthened. Bonaparte carried beyond the Rhine
that portion of the spirit of the Revolution which he accepted at home, the
suppression of privilege, the extinction of feudal rights, the reduction of
all ranks to equality before the law, and the admission of all to the
public service. But this levelling of the social order in the client-states
of France, and the establishment of system and unity in the place of
obsolete privilege, cleared the way not for the supremacy of the people,
but for the supremacy of the Crown. The power which was taken away from
corporations, from knights, and from ecclesiastics, was given, not to a
popular Representative, but to Cabinet Ministers and officials ranged after
the model of the official hierarchy of France. What the French had in the
first epoch of their Revolution endeavoured to impart to Europe--the spirit
of liberty and self-government--they had now renounced themselves. The
belief in popular right, which made the difference between the changes of
1789 and those attempted by the Emperor Joseph, sank in the storms of the

[Bonaparte legislates in the spirit of the reforming monarchs of the 18th

Yet the statesmanship of Bonaparte, if it repelled the liberal and
disinterested sentiment of 1789, was no mere cunning of a Corsican soldier,
or exploit of mediæval genius born outside its age. Subject to the fullest
gratification of his own most despotic or most malignant impulse, Bonaparte
carried into his creations the ideas upon which the greatest European
innovators before the French Revolution had based their work. What
Frederick and Joseph had accomplished, or failed to accomplish, was
realised in Western Germany when its Sovereigns became the clients of the
First Consul. Bonaparte was no child of the French Revolution; he was the
last and the greatest of the autocratic legislators who worked in an unfree
age. Under his rule France lost what had seemed to be most its own; it most
powerfully advanced the forms of progress common to itself and the rest of
Europe. Bonaparte raised no population to liberty: in extinguishing
privilege and abolishing the legal distinctions of birth, in levelling all
personal and corporate authority beneath the single rule of the State, he
prepared the way for a rational freedom, when, at a later day, the
Government of the State should itself become the representative of the
nation's will.


Overtures of Bonaparte to Austria and England--The War continues--Massena
besieged in Genoa--Moreau invades Southern Germany--Bonaparte crosses the
St. Bernard, and descends in the rear of the Austrians--Battle of
Marengo--Austrians retire behind the Mincio--Treaty between England and
Austria--Austria continues the War--Battle of Hohenlinden--Peace of
Lunéville--War between England and the Northern Maritime League--Battle of
Copenhagen--Murder of Paul--End of the Maritime War--English Army enters
Egypt--French defeated at Alexandria--They capitulate at Cairo and
Alexandria--Preliminaries of Peace between England and France signed at
London, followed by Peace of Amiens--Pitt's Irish Policy and his
retirement--Debates on the Peace--Aggressions of Bonaparte during the
Continental Peace--Holland, Italy, Switzerland--Settlement of Germany under
French and Russian influence--Suppression of Ecclesiastical States and Free
Cities--Its effects--Stein--France under the Consulate--The Civil Code--The

[Overtures of Bonaparte to Austria and to England, 1799.]

The establishment of the Consulate gave France peace from the strife of
parties. Peace from foreign warfare was not less desired by the nation; and
although the First Consul himself was restlessly planning the next
campaign, it belonged to his policy to represent himself as the mediator
between France and Europe. Discarding the usual diplomatic forms, Bonaparte
addressed letters in his own name to the Emperor Francis and to King George
III., deploring the miseries inflicted by war upon nations naturally
allied, and declaring his personal anxiety to enter upon negotiations for
peace. The reply of Austria which was courteously worded, produced an offer
on the part of Bonaparte to treat for peace upon the basis of the Treaty of
Campo Formio. Such a proposal was the best evidence of Bonaparte's real
intentions. Austria had re-conquered Lombardy, and driven the armies of the
Republic from the Adige to within a few miles of Nice. To propose a peace
which should merely restore the situation existing at the beginning of the
war was pure irony. The Austrian Government accordingly declared itself
unable to treat without the concurrence of its allies. The answer of
England to the overtures of the First Consul was rough and defiant. It
recounted the causes of war and distrust which precluded England from
negotiating with a revolutionary Government; and, though not insisting on
the restoration of the Bourbons as a condition of peace, it stated that no
guarantee for the sincerity and good behaviour of France would be so
acceptable to Great Britain as the recall of the ancient family. [85]

Few State papers have been distinguished by worse faults of judgment than
this English manifesto. It was intended to recommend the Bourbons to France
as a means of procuring peace: it enabled Bonaparte to represent England as
violently interfering with the rights of the French people, and the
Bourbons as seeking their restoration at the hand of the enemy of their
country. The answer made to Pitt's Government from Paris was such as one
high-spirited nation which had recently expelled its rulers might address
to another that had expelled its rulers a century before. France, it was
said, had as good a right to dismiss an incapable dynasty as Great Britain.
If Talleyrand's reply failed to convince King George that before restoring
the Bourbons he ought to surrender his own throne to the Stuarts, it
succeeded in transferring attention from the wrongs inflicted by France to
the pretensions advanced by England. That it affected the actual course of
events there is no reason to believe. The French Government was well
acquainted with the real grounds of war possessed by England, in spite of
the errors by which the British Cabinet weakened the statement of its
cause. What the mass of the French people now thought, or did not think,
had become a matter of very little importance.

[Situation of the Armies.]

[Moreau invades South Germany, April, 1800.]

The war continued. Winter and the early spring of 1800 passed in France
amidst vigorous but concealed preparations for the campaign which was to
drive the Austrians from Italy. In Piedmont the Austrians spent months in
inaction, which might have given them Genoa and completed the conquest of
Italy before Bonaparte's army could take the field. It was not until the
beginning of April that Melas, their general, assailed the French positions
on the Genoese Apennines; a fortnight more was spent in mountain warfare
before Massena, who now held the French command, found himself shut up in
Genoa and blockaded by land and sea. The army which Bonaparte was about to
lead into Italy lay in between Dijon and Geneva, awaiting the arrival of
the First Consul. On the Rhine, from Strasburg to Schaffhausen, a force of
100,000 men was ready to cross into Germany under the command of Moreau,
who was charged with the task of pushing the Austrians back from the Upper
Danube, and so rendering any attack through Switzerland upon the
communications of Bonaparte's Italian force impossible. Moreau's army was
the first to move. An Austrian force, not inferior to Moreau's own, lay
within the bend of the Rhine that covers Baden and Würtemberg. Moreau
crossed the Rhine at various points, and by a succession of ingenious
manoeuvres led his adversary, Kray, to occupy all the roads through the
Black Forest except those by which the northern divisions of the French
were actually passing. A series of engagements, conspicuous for the skill
of the French general and the courage of the defeated Austrians, gave
Moreau possession of the country south of the Danube as far as Ulm, where
Kray took refuge in his entrenched camp. Beyond this point Moreau's
instructions forbade him to advance. His task was fulfilled by the
severance of the Austrian army from the roads into Italy.

[Bonaparte crosses the Alps, May, 1800.]

Bonaparte's own army was now in motion. Its destination was still secret;
its very existence was doubted by the Austrian generals. On the 8th of May
the First Consul himself arrived at Geneva, and assumed the command. The
campaign upon which this army was now entering was designed by Bonaparte to
surpass everything that Europe had hitherto seen most striking in war. The
feats of Massena and Suvaroff in the Alps had filled his imagination with
mountain warfare. A victory over nature more imposing than theirs might, in
the present position of the Austrian forces in Lombardy, be made the
prelude to a victory in the field without a parallel in its effects upon
the enemy. Instead of relieving Genoa by an advance along the coast-road,
Bonaparte intended to march across the Alps and to descend in the rear of
the Austrians. A single defeat would then cut the Austrians off from their
communications with Mantua, and result either in the capitulation of their
army or in the evacuation of the whole of the country that they had won,
Bonaparte led his army into the mountains. The pass of the Great St.
Bernard, though not a carriage-road, offered little difficulty to a
commander supplied with every resource of engineering material and skill;
and by this road the army crossed the Alps. The cannons were taken from
their carriages and dragged up the mountain in hollowed trees; thousands of
mules transported the ammunition and supplies; workshops for repairs were
established on either slope of the mountain; and in the Monastery of St.
Bernard there were stores collected sufficient to feed the soldiers as they
reached the summit during six successive days (May 15-20). The passage of
the St. Bernard was a triumph of organisation, foresight, and good
management; as a military exploit it involved none of the danger, none of
the suffering, none of the hazard, which gave such interest to the campaign
of Massena and Suvaroff.

[Bonaparte cuts off the Austrian army from Eastern Lombardy.]

Bonaparte had rightly calculated upon the unreadiness of his enemy. The
advanced guard of the French army poured down the valley of the Dora-Baltea
upon the scanty Austrian detachments at Ivrea and Chiusella, before Melas,
who had in vain been warned of the departure of the French from Geneva,
arrived with a few thousand men at Turin to dispute the entrance into
Italy. Melas himself, on the opening of the campaign, had followed a French
division to Nice, leaving General Ott in charge of the army investing
Genoa. On reaching Turin he discovered the full extent of his peril, and
sent orders to Ott to raise the siege of Genoa and to join him with every
regiment that he could collect. Ott, however, was unwilling to abandon the
prey at this moment falling into his grasp. He remained stationary till the
5th of June, when Massena, reduced to the most cruel extremities by famine,
was forced to surrender Genoa to the besiegers. But his obstinate endurance
had the full effect of a battle won. Ott's delay rendered Melas powerless
to hinder the movements of Bonaparte, when, instead of marching upon Genoa,
as both French and Austrians expected him to do, he turned eastward, and
thrust his army between the Austrians and their own fortresses. Bonaparte
himself entered Milan (June 2); Lannes and Murat were sent to seize the
bridges over the Po and the Adda. The Austrian detachment guarding Piacenza
was overpowered; the communications of Melas with the country north of the
Powere completely severed. Nothing remained for the Austrian commander but
to break through the French or to make his escape to Genoa.

[Battle of Marengo, June 14, 1800.]

[Conditions of Armistice.]

The French centre was now at Stradella, half-way between Piacenza and
Alessandria. Melas was at length joined by Ott at Alessandria, but so
scattered were the Austrian forces, that out of 80,000 men Melas had not
more than 33,000 at his command. Bonaparte's forces were equal in number;
his only fear was that Melas might use his last line of retreat, and escape
to Genoa without an engagement. The Austrian general, however, who had
shared with Suvaroff the triumph over Joubert at Novi, resolved to stake
everything upon a pitched battle. He awaited Bonaparte's approach at
Alessandria. On the 12th of June Bonaparte advanced westward from
Stradella. His anxiety lest Melas might be escaping from his hands
increased with every hour of the march that brought him no tidings of the
enemy; and on the 13th, when his advanced guard had come almost up to the
walls of Alessandria without seeing an enemy, he could bear the suspense no
longer, and ordered Desaix to march southward towards Novi and hold the
road to Genoa. Desaix led off his division. Early the next morning the
whole army of Melas issued from Alessandria, and threw itself upon the
weakened line of the French at Marengo. The attack carried everything
before it: at the end of seven hours' fighting, Melas, exhausted by his
personal exertions, returned into Alessandria, and sent out tidings of a
complete victory. It was at this moment that Desaix, who had turned at the
sound of the cannon, appeared on the field, and declared that, although one
battle had been lost, another might be won. A sudden cavalry-charge struck
panic into the Austrians, who believed the battle ended and the foe
overthrown. Whole brigades threw down their arms and fled; and ere the day
closed a mass of fugitives, cavalry and infantry, thronging over the
marshes of the Bormida, was all that remained of the victorious Austrian
centre. The suddenness of the disaster, the desperate position of the army,
cut off from its communications, overthrew the mind of Melas, and he agreed
to an armistice more fatal than an unconditional surrender. The Austrians
retired behind the Mincio, and abandoned to the French every fortress in
Northern Italy that lay west of that river. A single battle had produced
the result of a campaign of victories and sieges. Marengo was the most
brilliant in conception of all Bonaparte's triumphs. If in its execution
the genius of the great commander had for a moment failed him, no mention
of the long hours of peril and confusion was allowed to obscure the
splendour of Bonaparte's victory. Every document was altered or suppressed
which contained a report of the real facts of the battle. The descriptions
given to the French nation claimed only new homage to the First Consul's
invincible genius and power. [86]

[Austria continues the war.]

At Vienna the military situation was viewed more calmly than in Melas'
camp. The conditions of the armistice were generally condemned, and any
sudden change in the policy of Austria was prevented by a treaty with
England, binding Austria, in return for British subsidies, and for a secret
promise of part of Piedmont, to make no separate peace with France before
the end of February, 1801. This treaty was signed a few hours before the
arrival of the news of Marengo. It was the work of Thugut, who still
maintained his influence over the Emperor, in spite of growing unpopularity
and almost universal opposition. Public opinion, however, forced the
Emperor at least to take steps for ascertaining the French terms of peace.
An envoy was sent to Paris; and, as there could be no peace without the
consent of England, conferences were held with the object of establishing a
naval armistice between England and France. England, however, refused the
concessions demanded by the First Consul; and the negotiations were broken
off in September. But this interval of three months had weakened the
authority of the Minister and stimulated the intrigues which at every great
crisis paralysed the action of Austria. At length, while Thugut was
receiving the subsidies of Great Britain and arranging for the most
vigorous prosecution of the war, the Emperor, concealing the transaction
from his Minister, purchased a new armistice by the surrender of the
fortresses of Ulm and Ingolstadt to Moreau's army. [87]

[Battle of Hohenlinden, Dec. 3, 1800.]

A letter written by Thugut after a council held on the 25th of September
gives some indication of the stormy scene which then passed in the
Emperor's presence. Thugut tendered his resignation, which was accepted;
and Lehrbach, the author of the new armistice, was placed in office. But
the reproaches of the British ambassador forced the weak Emperor to rescind
this appointment on the day after it had been published to the world. There
was no one in Vienna capable of filling the vacant post; and after a short
interval the old Minister resumed the duties of his office, without,
however, openly resuming the title. The remainder of the armistice was
employed in strengthening the force opposed to Moreau, who now received
orders to advance upon Vienna. The Archduke John, a royal strategist of
eighteen, was furnished with a plan for surrounding the French army and
cutting it off from its communications. Moreau lay upon the Isar; the
Austrians held the line of the Inn. On the termination of the armistice the
Austrians advanced and made some devious marches in pursuance of the
Archduke's enterprise, until a general confusion, attributed to the
weather, caused them to abandon their manoeuvres and move straight against
the enemy. On the 3rd of December the Austrians plunged into the
snow-blocked roads of the Forest of Hohenlinden, believing that they had
nothing near them but the rear-guard of a retiring French division. Moreau
waited until they had reached the heart of the forest, and then fell upon
them with his whole force in front, in flank, and in the rear. The defeat
of the Austrians was overwhelming. What remained of the war was rather a
chase than a struggle. Moreau successively crossed the Inn, the Salza, and
the Traun; and on December 25th the Emperor, seeing that no effort of Pitt
could keep Moreau out of Vienna, accepted an armistice at Steyer, and
agreed to treat for peace without reference to Great Britain.

[Peace of Lunéville, Feb. 9, 1801.]

Defeats on the Mincio, announced during the following days, increased the
necessity for peace. Thugut was finally removed from power. Some resistance
was offered to the conditions proposed by Bonaparte, but these were
directed more to the establishment of French influence in Germany than to
the humiliation of the House of Hapsburg. Little was taken from Austria but
what she had surrendered at Campo Formio. It was not by the cession of
Italian or Slavonic provinces that the Government of Vienna paid for
Marengo and Hohenlinden, but at the cost of that divided German race whose
misfortune it was to have for its head a sovereign whose interests in the
Empire and in Germany were among the least of all his interests. The Peace
of Lunéville, [88] concluded between France and the Emperor on the 9th of
February, 1801, without even a reference to the Diet of the Empire, placed
the minor States of Germany at the mercy of the French Republic. It left to
the House of Hapsburg the Venetian territory which it had gained in 1797;
it required no reduction of the Hapsburg influence in Italy beyond the
abdication of the Grand Duke of Tuscany; but it ceded to France, without
the disguises of 1797, the German provinces west of the Rhine, and it
formally bound the Empire to compensate the dispossessed lay Sovereigns in
such a manner as should be approved by France. The French Republic was thus
made arbiter, as a matter of right, in the rearrangement of the maimed and
shattered Empire. Even the Grand Duke of Tuscany, like his predecessor in
ejection, the Duke of Modena, was to receive some portion of the German
race for his subjects, in compensation for the Italians taken from him. To
such a pass had political disunion brought a nation which at that time
could show the greatest names in Europe in letters, in science, and in art.

[Peace with Naples.]

[Russia turns against England.]

[Northern Maritime League, Dec., 1800.]

Austria having succumbed, the Court of Naples, which had been the first of
the Allies to declare war, was left at the mercy of Bonaparte. Its
cruelties and tyranny called for severe punishment; but the intercession of
the Czar kept the Bourbons upon the throne, and Naples received peace upon
no harder condition than the exclusion of English vessels from its ports.
England was now left alone in its struggle with the French Republic. Nor
was it any longer to be a struggle only against France and its
dependencies. The rigour with which the English Government had used its
superiority at sea, combined with the folly which it had shown in the
Anglo-Russian attack upon Holland, raised against it a Maritime League
under the leadership of a Power which England had offended as a neutral and
exasperated as an ally. Since the pitiful Dutch campaign, the Czar had
transferred to Great Britain the hatred which he had hitherto borne to
France. The occasion was skilfully used by Bonaparte, to whom, as a
soldier, the Czar felt less repugnance than to the Government of advocates
and contractors which he had attacked in 1799. The First Consul restored
without ransom several thousands of Russian prisoners, for whom the
Austrians and the English had refused to give up Frenchmen in exchange, and
followed up this advance by proposing that the guardianship of Malta, which
was now blockaded by the English, should be given to the Czar. Paul had
caused himself to be made Grand Master of the Maltese Order of St. John of
Jerusalem. His vanity was touched by Bonaparte's proposal, and a friendly
relation was established between the French and Russian Governments.
England, on the other hand, refused to place Malta under Russian
guardianship, either before or after its surrender. This completed the
breach between the Courts of London and St. Petersburg. The Czar seized all
the English vessels in his ports and imprisoned their crews (Sept. 9). A
difference of long standing existed between England and the Northern
Maritime Powers, which was capable at any moment of being made a cause of
war. The rights exercised over neutral vessels by English ships in time of
hostilities, though good in international law, were so oppressive that, at
the time of the American rebellion, the Northern Powers had formed a
league, known as the Armed Neutrality, for the purpose of resisting by
force the interference of the English with neutral merchantmen upon the
high seas. Since the outbreak of war with France, English vessels had again
pushed the rights of belligerents to extremes. The Armed Neutrality of 1780
was accordingly revived under the auspices of the Czar. The League was
signed on the 16th of December, 1800, by Russia, Sweden, and Denmark. Some
days later Prussia gave in its adhesion. [89]

[Points at issue.]

The points at issue between Great Britain and the Neutrals were such as
arise between a great naval Power intent upon ruining its adversary and
that larger part of the world which remains at peace and desires to carry
on its trade with as little obstruction as possible. It was admitted on all
sides that a belligerent may search a neutral vessel in order to ascertain
that it is not conveying contraband of war, and that a neutral vessel,
attempting to enter a blockaded port, renders itself liable to forfeiture;
but beyond these two points everything was in dispute. A Danish ship
conveys a cargo of wine from a Bordeaux merchant to his agent in New York.
Is the wine liable to be seized in the mid-Atlantic by an English cruiser,
to the destruction of the Danish carrying-trade, or is the Danish flag to
protect French property from a Power whose naval superiority makes capture
upon the high seas its principal means of offence? England announces that a
French port is in a state of blockade. Is a Swedish vessel, stopped while
making for the port in question, to be considered a lawful prize, when, if
it had reached the port, it would as a matter of fact have found no real
blockade in existence? A Russian cargo of hemp, pitch, and timber is
intercepted by an English vessel on its way to an open port in France. Is
the staple produce of the Russian Empire to lose its market as contraband
of war? Or is an English man-of-war to allow material to pass into France,
without which the repair of French vessels of war would be impossible?

[War between England and the Northern Maritime Powers, Jan., 1801.]

These were the questions raised as often as a firm of shipowners in a
neutral country saw their vessel come back into port cleared of its cargo,
or heard that it was lying in the Thames awaiting the judgment of the
Admiralty Court. Great Britain claimed the right to seize all French
property, in whatever vessel it might be sailing, and to confiscate, as
contraband of war, not only muskets, gunpowder, and cannon, but wheat, on
which the provisioning of armies depended, and hemp, pitch, iron, and
timber, out of which the navies of her adversary were formed. The Neutrals,
on the other hand, demanded that a neutral flag should give safe passage to
all goods on board, not being contraband of war; that the presence of a
vessel of State as convoy should exempt merchantmen from search; that no
port should be considered in a state of blockade unless a competent
blockading force was actually in front of it; and that contraband of war
should include no other stores than those directly available for battle.
Considerations of reason and equity may be urged in support of every
possible theory of the rights of belligerents and neutrals; but the theory
of every nation has, as a matter of fact, been that which at the time
accorded with its own interests. When a long era of peace had familiarised
Great Britain with the idea that in the future struggles of Europe it was
more likely to be a spectator than a belligerent, Great Britain accepted
the Neutrals' theory of international law at the Congress of Paris in 1856;
but in 1801, when the lot of England seemed to be eternal warfare, any
limitation of the rights of a belligerent appeared to every English jurist
to contradict the first principles of reason. Better to add a general
maritime war to the existing difficulties of the country than to abandon
the exercise of its naval superiority in crippling the commerce of an
adversary. The Declaration of armed Neutrality, announcing the intention of
the Allied Powers to resist the seizure of French goods on board their own
merchantmen, was treated in this country as a declaration of war. The
Government laid an embargo upon all vessels of the allied neutrals lying in
English ports (Jan. 14th, 1801), and issued a swarm of privateers against
the trading ships making for the Baltic. Negotiations failed to lower the
demands of either side, and England prepared to deal with the navies of
Russia, Denmark, Sweden, and Prussia.

[Battle of Copenhagen, April 2, 1801.]

At the moment, the concentrated naval strength of England made it more than
a match for its adversaries. A fleet of seventeen ships of the line sailed
from Yarmouth on the 12th of March, under the command of Parker and Nelson,
with orders to coerce the Danes and to prevent the junction of the
confederate navies. The fleet reached the Sound. The Swedish batteries
commanding the Sound failed to open fire. Nelson kept to the eastern side
of the channel, and brought his ships safely past the storm of shot poured
upon them from the Danish guns at Elsinore. He appeared before Copenhagen
at mid-day on the 30th of March. Preparations for resistance were made by
the Danes with extraordinary spirit and resolution. The whole population of
Copenhagen volunteered for service on the ships, the forts, and the
floating batteries. Two days were spent by the English in exploring the
shallows of the channel; on the morning of the 2nd of April Nelson led his
ships into action in front of the harbour. Three ran aground; the Danish
fire from land and sea was so violent that after some hours Admiral Parker,
who watched the engagement from the mid-channel, gave the signal of recall.
Nelson laughed at the signal, and continued the battle. In another hour the
six Danish men-of-war and the whole of the floating batteries were disabled
or sunk. The English themselves had suffered most severely from a
resistance more skilful and more determined than anything that they had
experienced from the French, and Nelson gladly offered a truce as soon as
his own victory was assured. The truce was followed by negotiation, and the
negotiation by an armistice for fourteen weeks, a term which Nelson
considered sufficient to enable him to visit and to overthrow the navies of
Sweden and Russia.

[Murder of Paul, March 23.]

[Peace between England and the Northern Powers.]

But an event had already occurred more momentous in its bearing upon the
Northern Confederacy than the battle of Copenhagen itself. On the night of
the 23rd of March the Czar of Russia was assassinated in his palace. Paul's
tyrannical violence, and his caprice verging upon insanity, had exhausted
the patience of a court acquainted with no mode of remonstrance but
homicide. Blood-stained hands brought to the Grand Duke Alexander the crown
which he had consented to receive after a pacific abdication. Alexander
immediately reversed the policy of his father, and sent friendly
communications both to the Government at London and to the commander of the
British fleet in the Baltic. The maintenance of commerce with England was
in fact more important to Russia than the protection of its carrying trade.
Nelson's attack was averted. A compromise was made between the two
Governments, which saved Russia's interests, without depriving England of
its chief rights against France. The principles of the Armed Neutrality
were abandoned by the Government of St. Petersburg in so far as they
related to the protection of an enemy's goods by the neutral flag. Great
Britain continued to seize French merchandise on board whatever craft it
might be found; but it was stipulated that the presence of a ship of war
should exempt neutral vessels from search by privateers, and that no port
should be considered as in a state of blockade unless a reasonable
blockading force was actually in front of it. The articles condemned as
contraband were so limited as not to include the flax, hemp, and timber, on
whose export the commerce of Russia depended. With these concessions the
Czar was easily brought to declare Russia again neutral. The minor Powers
of the Baltic followed the example of St. Petersburg; and the naval
confederacy which had threatened to turn the balance in the conflict
between England and the French Republic left its only trace in the
undeserved suffering of Denmark.

[Affairs in Egypt.]

Eight years of warfare had left France unassailable in Western Europe, and
England in command of every sea. No Continental armies could any longer be
raised by British subsidies: the navies of the Baltic, with which Bonaparte
had hoped to meet England on the seas, lay at peace in their ports. Egypt
was now the only arena remaining where French and English combatants could
meet, and the dissolution of the Northern Confederacy had determined the
fate of Egypt by leaving England in undisputed command of the approach to
Egypt by sea. The French army, vainly expecting reinforcements, and
attacked by the Turks from the east, was caught in a trap. Soon after the
departure of Bonaparte from Alexandria, his successor, General Kleber, had
addressed a report to the Directory, describing the miserable condition of
the force which Bonaparte had chosen to abandon. The report was intercepted
by the English, and the Government immediately determined to accept no
capitulation which did not surrender the whole of the French army as
prisoners of war. An order to this effect was sent to the Mediterranean.
Before, however, the order reached Sir Sidney Smith, the English admiral
cooperating with the Turks, an agreement had been already signed by him at
El Arish, granting Kleber's army a free return to France (Feb. 24, 1800).
After Kleber, in fulfilment of the conditions of the treaty, had withdrawn
his troops from certain positions, Sir Sidney Smith found himself compelled
to inform the French General that in the negotiations of El Arish he had
exceeded his powers, and that the British Government insisted upon the
surrender of the French forces. Kleber replied by instantly giving battle
to the Turks at Heliopolis, and putting to the rout an army six times as
numerous as his own. The position of the French seemed to be growing
stronger in Egypt, and the prospect of a Turkish re-conquest more doubtful,
when the dagger of a fanatic robbed the French of their able chief, and
transferred the command to General Menou, one of the very few French
officers of marked incapacity who held command at any time during the war.
The British Government, as soon as it learnt what had taken place between
Kleber and Sir Sidney Smith, declared itself willing to be bound by the
convention of El Arish. The offer was, however, rejected by the French. It
was clear that the Turks could never end the war by themselves; and the
British Ministry at last came to understand that Egypt must be re-conquered
by English arms.

[English army lands in Egypt, March, 1801.]

[French capitulate at Cairo, June 27, 1801.]

[And at Alexandria, Aug. 30.]

On the 8th of March, 1801, a corps of 17,000 men, led by Sir Ralph
Abercromby, landed at Aboukir Bay. According to the plan of the British
Government, Abercromby's attack was to be supported by a Turkish corps from
Syria, and by an Anglo-Indian division brought from Ceylon to Kosseir, on
the Red Sea. The Turks and the Indian troops were, however, behind their
time, and Abercromby opened the campaign alone. Menou had still 27,000
troops at his disposal. Had he moved up with the whole of his army from
Cairo, he might have destroyed the English immediately after their landing.
Instead of doing so, he allowed weak isolated detachments of the French to
sink before superior numbers. The English had already gained confidence of
victory when Menou advanced in some force in order to give battle in front
of Alexandria. The decisive engagement took place on the 21st of March. The
French were completely defeated. Menou, however, still refused to
concentrate his forces; and in the course of a few weeks 13,000 French
troops which had been left behind at Cairo were cut off from communication
with the rest of the army. A series of attempts made by Admiral Ganteaume
to land reinforcements from France ended fruitlessly. Towards the end of
June the arrival of a Turkish force enabled the English to surround the
French in Cairo. The circuit of the works was too large to be successfully
defended; on the other hand, the English were without the heavy artillery
necessary for a siege. Under these circumstances the terms which had
originally been offered at El Arish were again proposed to General Belliard
for himself and the army of Cairo. They were accepted, and Cairo was
surrendered to the English on condition that the garrison should be
conveyed back to France (June 27). Soon after the capitulation General
Baird reached Lower Egypt with an Anglo-Indian division. Menou with the
remainder of the French army was now shut up in Alexandria. His forts and
outworks were successively carried; his flotilla was destroyed; and when
all hope of support from France had been abandoned, the army of Alexandria,
which formed the remnant of the troops with which Bonaparte had won his
earliest victories in Italy, found itself compelled to surrender the last
stronghold of the French in Egypt (Aug. 30). It was the first important
success which had been gained by English soldiers over the troops of the
Republic; the first campaign in which English generalship had permitted the
army to show itself in its true quality.

[Negotiations for peace.]

[Preliminaries of London, Oct. 1, 1801.]

[Peace of Amiens, March 27, 1802.]

Peace was now at hand. Soon after the Treaty of Lunéville had withdrawn
Austria from the war, unofficial negotiations had begun between the
Governments of Great Britain and France. The object with which Pitt had
entered upon the war, the maintenance of the old European system against
the aggression of France, was now seen to be one which England must
abandon. England had borne its share in the defence of the Continent. If
the Continental Powers could no longer resist the ascendancy of a single
State, England could not struggle for the Balance of Power alone. The
negotiations of 1801 had little in common with those of 1796. Belgium,
which had been the burden of all Pitt's earlier despatches, no longer
figured as an object of contention. The frontier of the Rhine, with the
virtual possession of Holland and Northern Italy, under the title of the
Batavian, Ligurian, and Cisalpine Republics, was tacitly conceded to
France. In place of the restoration of the Netherlands, the negotiators of
1801 argued about the disposal of Egypt, of Malta, and of the colonies
which Great Britain had conquered from France and its allies. Events
decided the fate of Egypt. The restoration of Malta to the Knights of St.
John was strenuously demanded by France, and not refused by England. It was
in relation to the colonial claims of France that the two Governments found
it most difficult to agree. Great Britain, which had lost no territory
itself, had conquered nearly all the Asiatic and Atlantic colonies of the
French Republic and of its Dutch and Spanish allies. In return for the
restoration of Ceylon, the Cape of Good Hope, Guiana, Trinidad, and various
East and West Indian settlements, France had nothing to offer to Great
Britain but peace. If peace, however, was to be made, the only possible
settlement was by means of a compromise; and it was finally agreed that
England should retain Ceylon and Trinidad, and restore the rest of the
colonies which it had taken from France, Spain, and Holland. Preliminaries
of peace embodying these conditions were signed at London on the 1st of
October, 1801. Hostilities ceased; but an interval of several months
between the preliminary agreement and the conclusion of the final treaty
was employed by Bonaparte in new usurpations upon the Continent, to which
he forced the British Government to lend a kind of sanction in the
continuance of the negotiations. The Government, though discontented, was
unwilling to treat these acts as new occasions of war. The conferences were
at length brought to a close, and the definitive treaty between France and
Great Britain was signed at Amiens on the 27th of March, 1802. [90]

[Pitt's retirement. Its cause.]

[Union of Ireland and Great Britain, 1800.]

The Minister who, since the first outbreak of war, had so resolutely
struggled for the freedom of Europe, was no longer in power when Great
Britain entered into negotiations with the First Consul. In the same week
that Austria signed the Peace of Lunéville, Pitt had retired from office.
The catastrophe which dissolved his last Continental alliance may possibly
have disposed Pitt to make way for men who could treat for peace with a
better grace than himself, but the immediate cause of his retirement was an
affair of internal policy. Among the few important domestic measures which
Pitt had not sacrificed to foreign warfare was a project for the
Legislative Union of Great Britain and Ireland. Ireland had up to this time
possessed a Parliament nominally independent of that of Great Britain. Its
population, however, was too much divided to create a really national
government; and, even if the internal conditions of the country had been
better, the practical sovereignty of Great Britain must at that time have
prevented the Parliament of Dublin from being more than an agency of
ministerial corruption. It was the desire of Pitt to give to Ireland, in
the place of a fictitious independence, that real participation in the
political life of Great Britain which has more than recompensed Scotland
and Wales for the loss of separate nationality. As an earnest of
legislative justice, Pitt gave hopes to the leaders of the Irish Catholic
party that the disabilities which excluded Roman Catholics from the House
of Commons and from many offices in the public service would be no longer
maintained. On this understanding the Catholics of Ireland abstained from
offering to Pitt's project a resistance which would probably have led to
its failure. A majority of members in the Protestant Parliament of Dublin
accepted the price which the Ministry offered for their votes. A series of
resolutions in favour of the Legislative Union of the two countries was
transmitted to England in the spring of 1800; the English Parliament passed
the Act of Union in the same summer; and the first United Parliament of
Great Britain and Ireland assembled in London at the beginning of the year

[Pitt desires to emancipate the Catholics.]

[Pitt resigns Feb. 1801.]

[Addington Minister.]

Pitt now prepared to fulfil his virtual promise to the Irish Catholics. A
measure obliterating the ancient lines of civil and religious enmity, and
calling to public life a class hitherto treated as alien and hostile to the
State, would have been in true consonance with all that was best in Pitt's
own statesmanship. But the ignorant bigotry of King George III. was excited
against him by men who hated every act of justice or tolerance to Roman
Catholics; and it proved of greater force than the genius of the Minister.
The old threat of the King's personal enmity was publicly addressed to
Pitt's colleague, Dundas, when the proposal for Catholic emancipation was
under discussion in the Cabinet; and, with a just regard for his own
dignity, Pitt withdrew from office (Feb. 5, 1801), unable to influence a
Sovereign who believed his soul to be staked on the letter of the
Coronation Oath. The ablest members of Pitt's government, Grenville,
Dundas, and Windham, retired with their leader. Addington, Speaker of the
House of Commons, became Prime Minister, with colleagues as undistinguished
as himself. It was under the government of Addington that the negotiations
were begun which resulted in the signature of Preliminaries of Peace in
October 1801.

[The Peace of 1801.]

Pitt himself supported the new Ministry in their policy of peace;
Grenville, lately Pitt's Foreign Minister, unsparingly condemned both the
cession of the conquered colonies and the policy of granting France peace
on any terms whatever. Viewed by the light of our own knowledge of events,
the Peace of 1801 appears no more than an unprofitable break in an
inevitable war; and perhaps even then the signs of Bonaparte's ambition
justified those who, like Grenville, urged the nation to give no truce to
France, and to trust to Bonaparte's own injustice to raise us up allies
upon the Continent. But, for the moment, peace seemed at least worth a
trial. The modes of prosecuting a war of offence were exhausted; the cost
of the national defence remained the same. There were no more navies to
destroy, no more colonies to seize; the sole means of injuring the enemy
was by blockading his ports, and depriving him of his maritime commerce. On
the other hand, the possibility of a French invasion required the
maintenance of an enormous army and militia in England, and prevented any
great reduction in the expenses of the war, which had already added two
hundred millions to the National Debt. Nothing was lost by making peace,
except certain colonies and military positions which few were anxious to
retain. The argument that England could at any moment recover what she now
surrendered was indeed a far sounder one than most of those which went to
prove that the positions in question were of no real service. Yet even on
the latter point there was no want of high authority. It was Nelson himself
who assured the House of Lords that neither Malta nor the Cape of Good Hope
could ever be of importance to Great Britain. [91] In the face of such
testimony, the men who lamented that England should allow the adversary to
recover any lost ground in the midst of a struggle for life or death,
passed for obstinate fanatics. The Legislature reflected the general
feeling of the nation; and the policy of the Government was confirmed in
the Lords and the Commons by majorities of ten to one.

[Aggressions of Bonaparte during the Continental peace.]

[Holland, Sept., 1801.]

Although the Ministry of Addington had acted with energy both in Egypt and
in the Baltic, it was generally felt that Pitt's retirement marked the
surrender of that resolute policy which had guided England since 1793. When
once the Preliminaries of Peace had been signed in London, Bonaparte
rightly judged that Addington would waive many just causes of complaint,
rather than break off the negotiations which were to convert the
Preliminaries into a definitive treaty. Accordingly, in his instructions to
Joseph Bonaparte, who represented France at the conferences held at Amiens,
the First Consul wrote, through Talleyrand, as follows:--"You are forbidden
to entertain any proposition relating to the King of Sardinia, or to the
Stadtholder, or to the internal affairs of Batavia, of Helvetia, or the
Republic of Italy. None of these subjects have anything to do with the
discussions of England." The list of subjects excluded from the
consideration of England was the list of aggressions by which Bonaparte
intended to fill up the interval of Continental peace. In the Treaty of
Lunéville, the independence of the newly-established republics in Holland,
Switzerland, and Italy had been recognised by France. The restoration of
Piedmont to the House of Savoy had been the condition on which the Czar
made peace. But on every one of these points the engagements of France were
made only to be broken. So far from bringing independence to the
client-republics of France, the peace of Lunéville was but the introduction
to a series of changes which brought these States directly into the hands
of the First Consul. The establishment of absolute government in France
itself entailed a corresponding change in each of its dependencies, and the
creation of an executive which should accept the First Consul's orders with
as little question as the Prefect of a French department. Holland received
its new constitution while France was still at war with England. The
existing Government and Legislature of the Batavian Republic were dissolved
(Sept., 1801), and replaced by a council of twelve persons, each holding
the office of President in turn for a period of three months, and by a
legislature of thirty-five, which met only for a few days in the year. The
power given to the new President during his office was enough, and not more
than enough, to make him an effective servant: a three-months' Minister and
an Assembly that met and parted at the word of command were not likely to
enter into serious rivalry with the First Consul. The Dutch peaceably
accepted the constitution thus forced upon them; they possessed no means of
resistance, and their affairs excited but little interest upon the

[Bonaparte made President of the Italian Republic, Jan., 1802.]

[Piedmont annexed to France, Sept., 1802.]

Far more striking was the revolution next effected by the First Consul. In
obedience to orders sent from Paris to the Legislature of the Cisalpine
Republic, a body of four hundred and fifty Italian representatives crossed
the Alps in the middle of winter in order to meet the First Consul at
Lyons, and to deliberate upon a constitution for the Cisalpine Republic.
The constitution had, as a matter of fact, been drawn up by Talleyrand, and
sent to the Legislature at Milan some months before. But it was not for the
sake of Italy that its representatives were collected at Lyons, in the
presence of the First Consul, with every circumstance of national
solemnity. It was the most striking homage which Bonaparte could exact from
a foreign race in the face of all France; it was the testimony that other
lands besides France desired Bonaparte to be their sovereign. When all the
minor offices in the new Cisalpine Constitution had been filled, the
Italians learnt that the real object of the convocation was to place the
sceptre in Bonaparte's hands. They accepted the part which they found
themselves forced to play, and offered to the First Consul the presidency
of the Cisalpine State (Jan. 25, 1802). Unlike the French Consulate, the
chief magistracy in the new Cisalpine Constitution might be prolonged
beyond the term of ten years. Bonaparte had practically won the Crown of
Lombardy; and he had given to France the example of a submission more
unqualified than its own. A single phrase rewarded the people who had thus
placed themselves in his hands. The Cisalpine Republic was allowed to
assume the name of Italian Republic. The new title indicated the national
hopes which had sprung up in Italy during the past ten years; it indicated
no real desire on the part of Bonaparte to form either a free or a united
Italian nation. In the Cisalpine State itself, although a good
administration and the extinction of feudal privileges made Bonaparte's
government acceptable, patriots who asked for freedom ran the risk of exile
or imprisonment. What further influence was exercised by France upon
Italian soil was not employed for the consolidation of Italy. Tuscany was
bestowed by Bonaparte upon the Spanish Prince of Parma, and controlled by
agents of the First Consul. Piedmont, which had long been governed by
French generals, was at length definitely annexed to France.

[Intervention in Switzerland.]

[Bonaparte Mediator of the Helvetic League, Oct. 4, 1802.]

Switzerland had not, like the Cisalpine Republic, derived its liberty from
the victories of French armies, nor could Bonaparte claim the presidency of
the Helvetic State under the title of its founder. The struggles of the
Swiss parties, however, placed the country at the mercy of France. Since
the expulsion of the Austrians by Massena in 1799, the antagonism between
the Democrats of the town and the Federalists of the Forest Cantons had
broken out afresh. A French army still occupied Switzerland; the Minister
of the First Consul received instructions to interfere with all parties and
consolidate none. In the autumn of 1801, the Federalists were permitted to
dissolve the central Helvetic Government, which had been created by the
Directory in 1798. One change followed another, until, on the 19th of May,
1802, a second Constitution was proclaimed, based, like that of 1798, on
centralising and democratic principles, and almost extinguishing the old
local independence of the members of the Swiss League. No sooner had French
partisans created this Constitution, which could only be maintained by
force against the hostility of Berne and the Forest Cantons, than the
French army quitted Switzerland. Civil war instantly broke out, and in the
course of a few weeks the Government established by the French had lost all
Switzerland except the Pays de Vaud. This was the crisis for which
Bonaparte had been waiting. On the 4th of October a proclamation appeared
at Lausanne, announcing that the First Consul had accepted the office of
Mediator of the Helvetic League. A French army entered Switzerland.
Fifty-six deputies from the cantons were summoned to Paris; and, in the
beginning of 1803, a new Constitution, which left the central Government
powerless in the hands of France and reduced the national sovereignty to
cantonal self-administration, placed Switzerland on a level with the
Batavian and the Cisalpine dependencies of Bonaparte. The Rhone Valley,
with the mountains crossed by the new road over the Simplon, was converted
into a separate republic under the title of La Valais. The new chief
magistrate of the Helvetic Confederacy entered upon his office with a
pension paid out of Bonaparte's secret police fund.

[Settlement of Germany.]

Such was the nature of the independence which the Peace of Lunéville gave
to Holland, to Northern Italy, and to Switzerland. The re-organisation of
Germany, which was provided for by the same treaty, affected larger
interests, and left more permanent traces upon European history. In the
provinces ceded to France lay the territory of the ancient ecclesiastical
princes of the empire, the Electors of Mainz, Cologne, and Trèves; but,
besides these spiritual sovereigns, a variety of secular potentates,
ranging from the Elector Palatine, with 600,000 subjects, to the Prince of
Wiedrunkel, with a single village, owned territory upon the left bank of
the Rhine; and for the dispossessed lay princes new territories had now to
be formed by the destruction of other ecclesiastical States in the interior
of Germany. Affairs returned to the state in which they had stood in 1798,
and the comedy of Rastadt was renewed at the point where it had been broken
off: the only difference was that the French statesmen who controlled the
partition of ecclesiastical Germany now remained in Paris, instead of
coming to the Rhine, to run the risk of being murdered by Austrian hussars.
Scarcely was the Treaty of Lunéville signed when the whole company of
intriguers who had touted at Rastadt posted off to the French capital with
their maps and their money-bags, the keener for the work when it became
known that by common consent the Free Cities of the Empire were now to be
thrown into the spoil. Talleyrand and his confidant Mathieu had no occasion
to ask for bribes, or to manoeuvre for the position of arbiters in Germany.
They were overwhelmed with importunities. Solemn diplomatists of the old
school toiled up four flights of stairs to the office of the needy
secretary, or danced attendance at the parties of the witty Minister. They
hugged Talleyrand's poodle; they vied with one another in gaining a smile
from the child whom he brought up at his house. [92] The shrewder of them
fortified their attentions with solid bargains, and made it their principal
care not to be outbidden at the auction. Thus the game was kept up as long
as there was a bishopric or a city in the market.

This was the real process of the German re-organisation. A pretended one
was meanwhile enacted by the Diet of Ratisbon. The Diet deliberated during
the whole of the summer of 1801 without arriving at a single resolution.
Not even the sudden change of Russian policy that followed the death of the
Emperor Paul and deprived Bonaparte of the support of the Northern Maritime
League, could stimulate the German Powers to united action. The old
antagonism of Austria and Prussia paralysed the Diet. Austria sought a
German indemnity for the dethroned Grand Duke of Tuscany; Prussia aimed at
extending its influence into Southern Germany by the annexation of Würzburg
and Bamberg. Thus the summer of 1801 was lost in interminable debate, until
Bonaparte regained the influence over Russia which he had held before the
death of Paul, and finally set himself free from all check and restraint by
concluding peace with England.

[German policy of Bonaparte.]

No part of Bonaparte's diplomacy was more ably conceived or more likely to
result in a permanent empire than that which affected the secondary States
of Germany. The rivalry of Austria and Prussia, the dread of Austrian
aggression felt in Bavaria, the grotesque ambition of the petty sovereigns
of Baden and Würtemburg, were all understood and turned to account in the
policy which from this time shaped the French protectorate beyond the
Rhine. Bonaparte intended to give to Prussia such an increase of territory
upon the Baltic as should counterbalance the power of Austria; and for this
purpose he was willing to sacrifice Hanover or Mecklenburg: but he forbade
Prussia's extension to the south. Austria, so far from gaining new
territory in Bavaria, was to be deprived of its own outlying possessions in
Western Germany, and excluded from all influence in this region. Bavaria,
dependent upon French protection against Austria, was to be greatly
strengthened. Baden and Würtemberg, enriched by the spoil of little
sovereignties, of Bishoprics and Free Cities, were to look to France for
further elevation and aggrandisement. Thus, while two rival Powers balanced
one another upon the Baltic and the Lower Danube, the sovereigns of central
and western Germany, owing everything to the Power that had humbled
Austria, would find in submission to France the best security for their own
gains, and the best protection against their more powerful neighbours.

[Treaty between France and Russia for joint action in Germany, Oct. 11,

One condition alone could have frustrated a policy agreeable to so many
interests, namely, the existence of a national sentiment among the Germans
themselves. But the peoples of Germany cared as little about a Fatherland
as their princes. To the Hessian and the Bavarian at the centre of the
Empire, Germany was scarcely more than it was to the Swiss or the Dutch,
who had left the Empire centuries before. The inhabitants of the Rhenish
Provinces had murmured for a while at the extortionate rule of the
Directory; but their severance from Germany and their incorporation with a
foreign race touched no fibre of patriotic regret; and after the
establishment of a better order of things under the Consulate the
annexation to France appears to have become highly popular. [93] Among a
race whose members could thus be actually conquered and annexed without
doing violence to their feelings Bonaparte had no difficulty in finding
willing allies. While the Diet dragged on its debates upon the settlement
of the Empire, the minor States pursued their bargainings with the French
Government; and on the 14th of August, 1801, Bavaria signed the first of
those treaties which made the First Consul the patron of Western Germany.
Two months later a secret treaty between France and Russia admitted the new
Czar, Alexander, to a share in the reorganisation of the Empire. The
Governments of Paris and St. Petersburg pledged themselves to united action
for the purpose of maintaining an equilibrium between Austria and Prussia;
and the Czar further stipulated for the advancement of his own relatives,
the Sovereigns of Bavaria, Baden, and Würtemberg. The relationship of these
petty princes to the Russian family enabled Bonaparte to present to the
Czar, as a graceful concession, the very measure which most vitally
advanced his own power in Germany. Alexander's intervention made resistance
on the part of Austria hopeless. One after another the German Sovereigns
settled with their patrons for a share in the spoil; and on the 3rd of
June, 1802, a secret agreement between France and Russia embodied the whole
of these arrangements, and disposed of almost all the Free Cities and the
entire ecclesiastical territory of the Empire.

[Diet of Ratisbon accepts French Scheme.]

[End of German Ecclesiastical States and forty-five Free Cities, March,

When everything had thus been settled by the foreigners, a Committee, to
which the Diet of Ratisbon had referred the work of re-organisation, began
its sessions, assisted by a French and a Russian representative. The Scheme
which had been agreed upon between France and Russia was produced entire;
and in spite of the anger and the threats of Austria it passed the
Committee with no greater delay than was inseparable from everything
connected with German affairs. The Committee presented the Scheme to the
Diet: the Diet only agitated itself as to the means of passing the Scheme
without violating those formalities which were the breath of its life. The
proposed destruction of all the Ecclesiastical States, and of forty-five
out of the fifty Free Cities, would extinguish a third part of the members
of the Diet itself. If these unfortunate bodies were permitted to vote upon
the measure, their votes might result in its rejection: if unsummoned,
their absence would impair the validity of the resolution. By a masterpiece
of conscientious pedantry it was agreed that the doomed prelates and cities
should be duly called to vote in their turn, and that upon the mention each
name the answer "absent" should be returned by an officer. Thus, faithful
to its formalities, the Empire voted the destruction of its ancient
Constitution; and the sovereignties of the Ecclesiastics and Free Cities,
which had lasted for so many centuries, vanished from Europe (March, 1803).

[Effect on Germany.]

The loss was small indeed. The internal condition of the priest-ruled
districts was generally wretched; heavy ignorance, beggary, and intolerance
reduced life to a gross and dismal inertia. Except in their patronage of
music, the ecclesiastical princes had perhaps rendered no single service to
Germany. The Free Cities, as a rule, were sunk in debt; the management of
their affairs had become the perquisite of a few lawyers and privileged
families. For Germany, as a nation, the destruction of these petty
sovereignties was not only an advantage but an absolute necessity. The
order by which they were superseded was not devised in the interest of
Germany itself; yet even in the arrangements imposed by the foreigner
Germany gained centres from which the institutions of modern political life
entered into regions where no public authority had yet been known beyond
the court of the bishop or the feudal officers of the manor. [95] Through
the suppression of the Ecclesiastical States a Protestant majority was
produced in the Diet. The change bore witness to the decline of Austrian
and of Catholic energy during the past century; it scarcely indicated the
future supremacy of the Protestant rival of Austria; for the real interests
of Germany were but faintly imaged in the Diet, and the leadership of the
race was still open to the Power which should most sincerely identify
itself with the German nation. The first result of the changed character of
the Diet was the confiscation of all landed property held by religious or
charitable bodies, even where these had never advanced the slightest claim
to political independence. The Diet declared the whole of the land held in
Germany by pious foundations to be at the disposal of the Governments for
purposes of religion, of education, and of financial relief. The more needy
courts immediately seized so welcome an opportunity of increasing their
revenues. Germany lost nothing by the dissolution of some hundreds of
monasteries; the suppression of hospitals and the impoverishment of
Universities was a doubtful benefit. Through the destruction of the
Ecclesiastical States and the confiscation of Church lands, the support of
an army of priests was thrown upon the public revenues. The Elector of
Cologne, who had been an indifferent civil ruler, became a very prosperous
clergyman on £20,000 a year. All the members of the annexed or disendowed
establishments, down to the acolytes and the sacristans, were credited with
annuities equal in value to what they had lost. But in the confusion caused
by war the means to satisfy these claims was not always forthcoming; and
the ecclesiastical revolution, so beneficial on the whole to the public
interest, was not effected without much severe and undeserved individual

[Governments in Germany become more absolute and more regular.]

[Bavaria. Reforms of Montgelas.]

[Suppression of the Knights.]

The movement of 1803 put an end to an order of things more curious as a
survival of the mixed religious and political form of the Holy Roman Empire
than important in the actual state of Europe. The temporal power now lost
by the Church in Germany had been held in such sluggish hands that its
effect was hardly visible except in a denser prejudice and an idler life
than prevailed under other Governments. The first consequence of its
downfall was that a great part of Germany which had hitherto had no
political organisation at all gained the benefit of a regular system of
taxation, of police, of civil and of criminal justice. If harsh and
despotic, the Governments which rose to power at the expense of the Church
were usually not wanting in the love of order and uniformity. Officers of
the State administered a fixed law where custom and privilege had hitherto
been the only rule. Appointments ceased to be bought or inherited; trades
and professions were thrown open; the peasant was relieved of his heaviest
feudal burdens. Among the newly consolidated States, Bavaria was the one
where the reforming impulse of the time took the strongest form. A new
dynasty, springing from the west of the Rhine, brought something of the
spirit of French liberalism into a country hitherto unsurpassed in Western
Europe for its ignorance and bigotry. [96] The Minister Montgelas, a
politician of French enlightenment, entered upon the same crusade against
feudal and ecclesiastical disorder which Joseph had inaugurated in Austria
twenty years before. His measures for subjecting the clergy to the law, and
for depriving the Church of its control over education, were almost
identical with those which in 1790 had led to the revolt of Belgium; and
the Bavarian landowners now unconsciously reproduced all the mediæval
platitudes of the University of Louvain. Montgelas organised and levelled
with a remorseless common sense. Among his victims there was a class which
had escaped destruction in the recent changes. The Knights of the Empire,
with their village jurisdictions, were still legally existent; but to
Montgelas such a class appeared a mere absurdity, and he sent his soldiers
to disperse their courts and to seize their tolls. Loud lamentation
assailed the Emperor at Vienna. If the dethroned bishops had bewailed the
approaching extinction of Christianity in Europe, the knights just as
convincingly deplored the end of chivalry. Knightly honour, now being swept
from the earth, was proved to be the true soul of German nationality, the
invisible support of the Imperial throne. For a moment the intervention of
the Emperor forced Montgelas to withdraw his grasp from the sacred rents
and turnpikes; but the threatening storm passed over, and the example of
Bavaria was gradually followed by the neighbouring Courts.

[Stein and the Duke of Nassau.]

[Stein's attack on the Minor Princes.]

It was to the weak and unpatriotic princes who were enriched by the French
that the knights fell victims. Among the knights thus despoiled by the Duke
of Nassau was the Ritter vom Stein, a nobleman who had entered the Prussian
service in the reign of Frederick the Great, and who had lately been placed
in high office in the newly-acquired province of Münster. Stein was
thoroughly familiar with the advantages of systematic government; the loss
of his native parochial jurisdiction was not a serious one to a man who had
become a power in Prussia; and although domestic pride had its share in
Stein's resentment, the protest now published by him against the
aggressions of the Duke of Nassau sounded a different note from that of his
order generally. That a score of farmers should pay their dues and take off
their hats to the officer of the Duke of Nassau instead of to the bailiff
of the Ritter vom Stein was not a matter to excite deep feeling in Europe;
but that the consolidation of Germany should be worked out in the interest
of French hirelings instead of in the interests of the German people was
justly treated by Stein as a subject for patriotic anger. In his letter
[97] to the Duke of Nassau, Stein reproached his own despoiler and the
whole tribe of petty princes with that treason to German interests which
had won them the protection of the foreigner. He argued that the knights
were a far less important obstacle to German unity than those very princes
to whom the knights were sacrificed; and he invoked that distant day which
should give to Germany a real national unity, over knights and princes
alike, under the leadership of a single patriotic sovereign. Stein's appeal
found little response among his contemporaries. Like a sober man among
drunkards, he seemed to be scarcely rational. The simple conception of a
nation sacrificing its internal rivalries in order to avert foreign rule
was folly to the politicians who had all their lives long been outwitting
one another at Vienna or Berlin, or who had just become persons of
consequence in Europe through the patronage of Bonaparte. Yet, if years of
intolerable suffering were necessary before any large party in Germany rose
to the idea of German union, the ground had now at least been broken. In
the changes that followed the Peace of Lunéville the fixity and routine of
Germany received its death-blow. In all but name the Empire had ceased to
exist. Change and re-constitution in one form or another had become
familiar to all men's minds; and one real statesman at the least was
already beginning to learn the lesson which later events were to teach to
the rest of the German race.

[France, 1801-1804.]

[Civil Code.]

Four years of peace separated the Treaty of Lunéville from the next
outbreak of war between France and any Continental Power. They were years
of extension of French influence in every neighbouring State; in France
itself, years of the consolidation of Bonaparte's power, and of the decline
of everything that checked his personal rule. The legislative bodies sank
into the insignificance for which they had been designed; everything that
was suffered to wear the appearance of strength owed its vigour to the
personal support of the First Consul. Among the institutions which date
from this period, two, equally associated with the name of Napoleon, have
taken a prominent place in history, the Civil Code and the Concordat. Since
the middle of the eighteenth century the codification of law had been
pursued with more or less success by almost every Government in Europe. In
France the Constituent Assembly of 1789 had ordered the statutes, by which
it superseded the old variety of local customs, to be thus cast into a
systematic form. A Committee of the Convention had completed the draft of a
Civil Code. The Directory had in its turn appointed a Commission; but the
project still remained unfulfilled when the Directory was driven from
power. Bonaparte instinctively threw himself into a task so congenial to
his own systematising spirit, and stimulated the efforts of the best
jurists in France by his personal interest and pride in the work of
legislation. A Commission of lawyers, appointed by the First Consul,
presented the successive chapters of a Civil Code to the Council of State.
In the discussions in the Council of State Bonaparte himself took an
active, though not always a beneficial, part. The draft of each chapter, as
it left the Council of State, was submitted, as a project of Law, to the
Tribunate and to the Legislative Body. For a moment the free expression of
opinion in the Tribunate caused Bonaparte to suspend his work in impatient
jealousy. The Tribunate, however, was soon brought to silence; and in
March, 1804, France received the Code which has formed from that time to
the present the basis of its civil rights.

[Napoleon as a legislator.]

When Napoleon declared that he desired his fame to rest upon the Civil
Code, he showed his appreciation of the power which names exercise over
mankind. It is probable that a majority of the inhabitants of Western
Europe believe that Napoleon actually invented the laws which bear his
name. As a matter of fact, the substance of these laws was fixed by the
successive Assemblies of the Revolution; and, in the final revision which
produced the Civil Code, Napoleon appears to have originated neither more
nor less than several of the members of his Council whose names have long
been forgotten. He is unquestionably entitled to the honour of a great
legislator, not, however, as one who, like Solon or like Mahomet, himself
created a new body of law, but as one who most vigorously pursued the work
of consolidating and popularising law by the help of all the skilled and
scientific minds whose resources were at his command. Though faulty in
parts, the Civil Code, through its conciseness, its simplicity, and its
justice, enabled Napoleon to carry a new and incomparably better social
order into every country that became part of his Empire. Four other Codes,
appearing at intervals from the year 1804 to the year 1810, embodied, in a
corresponding form, the Law of Commerce, the Criminal Law, and the Rules of
Civil and of Criminal Process. [98] The whole remains a monument of the
legal energy of the period which began in 1789, and of the sagacity with
which Napoleon associated with his own rule all the science and the
reforming zeal of the jurists of his day.

[The Concordat.]

[The Concordat destroys the Free Church.]

Far more distinctively the work of Napoleon's own mind was the
reconciliation with the Church of Rome effected by the Concordat. It was a
restoration of religion similar to that restoration of political order
which made the public service the engine of a single will. The bishops and
priests, whose appointment the Concordat transferred from their
congregations to the Government, were as much instruments of the First
Consul as his prefects and his gendarmes. The spiritual wants of the
public, the craving of the poor for religious consolation, were made the
pretext for introducing the new theological police. But the situation of
the Catholic Church was in reality no worse in France at the commencement
of the Consulate than its present situation in Ireland. The Republic had
indeed subjected the non-juring priests to the heaviest penalties, but the
exercise of Christian worship, which, even in the Reign of Terror, had only
been interrupted by local and individual fanaticism, had long recovered the
protection of the law, services in the open air being alone prohibited.
[99] Since 1795 the local authorities had been compelled to admit the
religious societies of their district to the use of church-buildings.
Though the coup d'état of Fructidor, 1797, renewed the persecution of
non-juring priests, it in no way checked the activity of the Constitutional
Church, now free from all connection with the Civil Government. While the
non-juring priests, exiled as political offenders, or theatrically adoring
the sacred elements in the woods, pretended that the age of the martyrs had
returned to France, a Constitutional Church, ministering in 4,000 parishes,
unprivileged but unharassed by the State, supplied the nation with an
earnest and respectable body of clergy. [100] But in the eyes of the First
Consul everything left to voluntary association was so much lost to the
central power. In the order of nature, peasants must obey priests, priests
must obey bishops, and bishops must obey the First Consul. An alliance with
the Pope offered to Bonaparte the means of supplanting the popular
organisation of the Constitutional Church by an imposing hierarchy, rigid
in its orthodoxy and unquestioning in its devotion to himself. In return
for the consecration of his own rule, Bonaparte did not shrink from
inviting the Pope to an exercise of authority such as the Holy See had
never even claimed in France. The whole of the existing French Bishops,
both the exiled non-jurors and those of the Constitutional Church, were
summoned to resign their Sees into the hands of the Pope; against all who
refused to do so sentence of deposition was pronounced by the Pontiff,
without a word heard in defence, or the shadow of a fault alleged. The Sees
were re-organised, and filled up by nominees of the First Consul. The
position of the great body of the clergy was substantially altered in its
relation to the Bishops. Episcopal power was made despotic, like all other
power in France: thousands of the clergy, hitherto secure in their livings,
were placed at the disposal of their bishop, and rendered liable to be
transferred at the pleasure of their superior from place to place. The
Constitutional Church vanished, but religion appeared to be honoured by
becoming part of the State.

[Results in Ultramontanism.]

In its immediate action, the Napoleonic Church served the purpose for which
it was intended. For some few years the clergy unflaggingly preached,
prayed, and catechised to the glory of their restorer. In the greater cycle
of religious change, the Concordat of Bonaparte appears in another light.
However little appreciated at the time, it was the greatest, the most
critical, victory which the Roman See has ever gained over the more
enlightened and the more national elements in the Catholic Church. It
converted the Catholicism of France from a faith already far more
independent than that of Fénélon and Bossuet into the Catholicism which in
our own day has outstripped the bigotry of Spain and Austria in welcoming
the dogma of Papal infallibility. The lower clergy, condemned by the State
to an intolerable subjection, soon found their only hope in an appeal to
Rome, and instinctively worked as the emissaries of the Roman See. The
Bishops, who owed their office to an unprecedented exercise of Papal power
and to the destruction of religious independence in France, were not the
men who could maintain a struggle with the Papacy for the ancient Gallican
liberties. In the resistance to the Papacy which had been maintained by the
Continental Churches in a greater or less degree during the eighteenth
century, France had on the whole taken the most effective part; but, from
the time when the Concordat dissolved both the ancient and the
revolutionary Church system of France, the Gallican tradition of the past
became as powerless among the French clergy as the philosophical liberalism
of the Revolution.

[So do the German changes.]

In Germany the destruction of the temporal power of the Church tended
equally to Ultramontanism. An archbishop of Cologne who governed half a
million subjects was less likely to prostrate himself before the Papal
Chair than an archbishop of Cologne who was only one among a regiment of
churchmen. The spiritual Electors and Princes who lost their dominions in
1801 had understood by the interests of their order something more tangible
than a body of doctrines. When not hostile to the Papacy, they had usually
treated it with indifference. The conception of a Catholic society exposed
to persecution at the hands of the State on account of its devotion to Rome
was one which had never entered the mind of German ecclesiastics in the
eighteenth century. Without the changes effected in Germany by the Treaty
of Lunéville, without the Concordat of Bonaparte, Catholic orthodoxy would
never have become identical with Ultramontanism. In this respect the
opening years of the present century mark a turning-point in the relation
of the Church to modern life. Already, in place of the old monarchical
Governments, friendly on the whole to the Catholic Church, events were
preparing the way for that changed order with which the century seems
destined to close--an emancipated France, a free Italy, a secular,
state-disciplined Germany, and the Church in conspiracy against them all.


England claims Malta--War renewed--Bonaparte occupies Hanover, and
blockades the Elbe--Remonstrances of Prussia--Cadoudal's Plot--Murder of
the Duke of Enghien--Napoleon Emperor--Coalition of 1805--Prussia holds
aloof--State of Austria--Failure of Napoleon's attempt to gain naval
superiority in the Channel--Campaign in Western Germany--Capitulation of
Ulm--Trafalgar--Treaty of Potsdam between Prussia and the Allies--The
French enter Vienna--Haugwitz sent to Napoleon with Prussian Ultimatum--
Battle of Austerlitz--Haugwitz signs a Treaty of Alliance with
Napoleon--Peace--Treaty of Presburg--End of the Holy Roman Empire--
Naples given to Joseph Bonaparte--Battle of Maida--The Napoleonic Empire
and Dynasty--Federation of the Rhine--State of Germany--Possibility of
maintaining the Empire of 1806.

[England prepares for war, Nov., 1802.]

[England claims Malta.]

War was renewed between France and Great Britain in the spring of 1803.
Addington's Government, in their desire for peace, had borne with
Bonaparte's aggressions during all the months of negotiation at Amiens;
they had met his complaints against the abuse of the English press by
prosecuting his Royalist libellers; throughout the Session of 1802 they had
upheld the possibility of peace against the attacks of their parliamentary
opponents. The invasion of Switzerland in the autumn of 1802, following the
annexation of Piedmont, forced the Ministry to alter its tone. The King's
Speech at the meeting of Parliament in November declared that the changes
in operation on the Continent demanded measures of security on the part of
Great Britain. The naval and military forces of the country were restored
to a war-footing; the evacuation of Malta by Great Britain, which had
hitherto been delayed chiefly through a misunderstanding with Russia, was
no longer treated as a matter of certainty. While the English Government
still wavered, a challenge was thrown down by the First Consul which forced
them into decided action. The _Moniteur_ published on the 13th of January,
1803, a report upon Egypt by Colonel Sebastiani, pointing in the plainest
terms to the renewal of French attacks upon the East. The British
Government demanded explanations, and declared that until satisfaction was
given upon this point they should retain possession of Malta. Malta was in
fact appropriated by Great Britain as an equivalent for the Continental
territory added to France since the end of the war. [101]

[War, May, 1803.]

It would have been better policy if, some months earlier, Bonaparte had
been required to withdraw from Piedmont or from Switzerland, under pain of
hostilities with England. Great Britain had as little technical right to
retain Malta as Bonaparte had to annex Piedmont. The desire for peace had,
however, led Addington's Government to remain inactive until Bonaparte's
aggressions had become accomplished facts. It was now too late to attempt
to undo them: England could only treat the settlement of Amiens as
superseded, and claim compensation on its own side. Malta was the position
most necessary to Great Britain, in order to prevent Bonaparte from
carrying out projects in Egypt and Greece of which the Government had
evidence independent of Sebastiani's report. The value of Malta, so lately
denied by Nelson, was now fully understood both in France and England. No
sooner had the English Ministry avowed its intention of retaining the
island than the First Consul declared himself compelled to take up arms in
behalf of the faith of treaties. Ignoring his own violations of
treaty-rights in Italy and Switzerland, Bonaparte declared the retention of
Malta by Great Britain to be an outrage against all Europe. He assailed the
British Ambassador with the utmost fury at a reception held at the
Tuileries on the 13th of March; and, after a correspondence of two months,
which probably marked his sense of the power and obstinacy of his enemy,
the conflict was renewed which was now to continue without a break until
Bonaparte was driven from his throne.

[Bonaparte and Hanover.]

So long as England was without Continental allies its warfare was limited
to the seizure of colonies and the blockade of ports: on the part of France
nothing could be effected against the island Power except by actual
invasion. There was, however, among the communities of Germany one which,
in the arguments of a conqueror, might be treated as a dependency of
England, and made to suffer for its connection with the British Crown.
Hanover had hitherto by common agreement been dissociated from the wars in
which its Elector engaged as King of England; even the personal presence of
King George II. at the battle of Dettingen had been held no ground for
violating its neutrality. Bonaparte, however, was untroubled by precedents
in a case where he had so much to gain. Apart from its value as a possible
object of exchange in the next treaty with England, Hanover would serve as
a means of influencing Prussia: it was also worth so many millions in cash
through the requisitions which might be imposed upon its inhabitants. The
only scruple felt by Bonaparte in attacking Hanover arose from the
possibility of a forcible resistance on the part of Prussia to the
appearance of a French army in North Germany. Accordingly, before the
invasion began, General Duroc was sent to Berlin to inform the King of the
First Consul's intentions, and to soothe any irritation that might be felt
at the Prussian Court by assurances of friendship and respect.

[Prussia and Hanover.]

It was a moment of the most critical importance to Prussia. Prussia was the
recognised guardian of Northern Germany; every consideration of interest
and of honour required that its Government should forbid the proposed
occupation of Hanover--if necessary, at the risk of actual war. Hanover in
the hands of France meant the extinction of German independence up to the
frontiers of the Prussian State. If, as it was held at Berlin, the cause of
Great Britain was an unjust one, and if the connection of Hanover with the
British Crown was for the future to make that province a scapegoat for the
offences of England, the wisest course for Prussia would have been to
deliver Hanover at once from its French and from its English enemies by
occupying it with its own forces. The Foreign Minister, Count Haugwitz,
appears to have recommended this step, but his counsels were overruled.
King Frederick William III., who had succeeded his father in 1797, was a
conscientious but a timid and spiritless being. Public affairs were in the
hands of his private advisers, of whom the most influential were the
so-called cabinet-secretaries, Lombard and Beyme, men credulously anxious
for the goodwill of France, and perversely blind to the native force and
worth which still existed in the Prussian Monarchy. [102] Instead of
declaring the entry of the French into Hanover to be absolutely
incompatible with the safety of the other North German States, King
Frederick William endeavoured to avert it by diplomacy. He tendered his
mediation to the British Government upon condition of the evacuation of
Malta; and, when this proposal was bluntly rejected, he offered to the
First Consul his personal security that Hanover should pay a sum of money
in order to be spared the intended invasion.

[French enter Hanover, May, 1803.]

[Oppression in Hanover, 1803-1805.]

Such a proposal marked the depth to which Prussian statemanship had sunk;
it failed to affect the First Consul in the slightest degree. While
negotiations were still proceeding, a French division, commanded by General
Mortier, entered Hanover (May, 1803). The Hanoverian army was lost through
the follies of the civil Government; the Duke of Cambridge, commander of
one of its divisions, less ingenious than his brother the Duke of York in
finding excuses for capitulation, resigned his commission, and fled to
England, along with many brave soldiers, who subsequently found in the army
of Great Britain the opportunity for honourable service which was denied to
them at home. Hanover passed into the possession of France, and for two
years the miseries of French occupation were felt to the full. Extortion
consumed the homely wealth of the country; the games and meetings of the
people were prohibited; French spies violated the confidences of private
life; law was administered by foreign soldiers; the press existed only for
the purpose of French proselytism. It was in Hanover that the bitterness of
that oppression was first felt which subsequently roused all North Germany
against a foreign master, and forced upon the race the long-forgotten
claims of patriotism and honour.

[French blockade the Elbe.]

[Vain remonstrance of Prussia.]

Bonaparte had justly calculated upon the inaction of the Prussian
Government when he gave the order to General Mortier to enter Hanover; his
next step proved the growth of his confidence in Prussia's impassivity. A
French force was despatched to Cuxhaven, at the mouth of the Elbe, in order
to stop the commerce of Great Britain with the interior of Germany. The
British Government immediately informed the Court of Berlin that it should
blockade the Elbe and the Weser against the ships of all nations unless the
French soldiers withdrew from the Elbe. As the linen trade of Silesia and
other branches of Prussian industry depended upon the free navigation of
the Elbe, the threatened reprisals of the British Government raised very
serious questions for Prussia. It was France, not England, that had first
violated the neutrality of the river highway; and the King of Prussia now
felt himself compelled to demand assurances Bonaparte that the interests of
Germany should suffer no further injury at his hands. A letter was written
by the King to the First Consul, and entrusted to the cabinet-secretary,
Lombard, who carried it to Napoleon at Brussels (July, 1803). Lombard, the
son of French parents who had settled at Berlin in the reign of Frederick
the Great, had risen from a humble station through his skill in expression
in the two languages that were native to him; and the accomplishments which
would have made him a good clerk or a successful journalist made him in the
eyes of Frederick William a counsellor for kings. The history of his
mission to Brussels gives curious evidence both of the fascination
exercised by Napoleon over common minds, and of the political helplessness
which in Prussia could now be mistaken for the quality of a statesman.
Lombard failed to obtain from Napoleon any guarantee or security whatever;
yet he wrote back in terms of the utmost delight upon the success of his
mission. Napoleon had infatuated him by the mere exercise of his personal
charm. "What I cannot describe," said Lombard, in his report to the King
relating his interview with the First Consul, [103] "is the tone of
goodness and noble frankness with which he expressed his reverence for your
Majesty's rights, and asked for that confidence from your Majesty which he
so well deserves." "I only wish," he cried at the close of Napoleon's
address, "that I could convey to the King, my master, every one of your
words and the tone in which they are uttered; he would then, I am sure,
feel a double joy at the justice with which you have always been treated at
his hands." Lombard's colleagues at Berlin were perhaps not stronger men
than the envoy himself, but they were at least beyond the range of
Napoleon's voice and glance, and they received this rhapsody with coldness.
They complained that no single concession had been made by the First Consul
upon the points raised by the King. Cuxhaven continued in French hands; the
British inexorably blockaded the Germans upon their own neutral waters; and
the cautious statecraft of Prussia proved as valueless to Germany as the
obstinate, speculating warfare of Austria.

[Alexander displeased.]

There was, however, a Power which watched the advance of French dominion
into Northern Germany with less complaisance than the Germans themselves.
The Czar of Russia had gradually come to understand the part allotted to
him by Bonaparte since the Peace of Lunéville, and was no longer inclined
to serve as the instrument of French ambition. Bonaparte's occupation of
Hanover changed the attitude of Alexander into one of coldness and
distrust. Alexander saw and lamented the help which he himself had given to
Bonaparte in Germany: events that now took place in France itself, as well
as the progress of French intrigues in Turkey, [104] threw him into the
arms of Bonaparte's enemies, and prepared the way for a new European

[Bonaparte about to become Emperor.]

[Murder of the Duke of Enghien, March 20, 1804.]

The First Bonaparte Consul had determined to assume the dignity of Emperor.
The renewal of war with England excited a new outburst of enthusiasm for
his person; nothing was wanting to place the crown on his head but the
discovery of a plot against his life. Such a plot had been long and
carefully followed by the police. A Breton gentleman, Georges Cadoudal, had
formed the design of attacking the First Consul in the streets of Paris in
the midst of his guards. Cadoudal and his fellow-conspirators, including
General Pichegru, were traced by the police from the coast of Normandy to
Paris: an unsuccessful attempt was made to lure the Count of Artois, and
other royal patrons of the conspiracy, from Great Britain. When all the
conspirators who could be enticed to France were collected within the
capital, the police, who had watched every stage of the movement, began to
make arrests. Moreau, the last Republican soldier of France, was charged
with complicity in the plot. Pichegru and Cadoudal were thrown into prison,
there to await their doom; Moreau, who probably wished for the overthrow of
the Consular Government, but had no part in the design against Bonaparte's
life, [105] was kept under arrest and loaded with official calumny. One
sacrifice more remained to be made, in place of the Bourbon d'Artois, who
baffled the police of the First Consul beyond the seas. In the territory of
Baden, twelve miles from the French frontier, there lived a prince of the
exiled house, the Duke of Enghien, a soldier under the first Coalition
against France, now a harmless dependent on the bounty of England. French
spies surrounded him; his excursions into the mountains gave rise to a
suspicion that he was concerned in Pichegru's plot. This was enough to mark
him for destruction. Bonaparte gave orders that he should be seized,
brought to Paris, and executed. On the 15th of March, 1804, a troop of
French soldiers crossed the Rhine and arrested the Duke in his own house at
Ettenheim. They arrived with him at Paris on the 20th. He was taken to the
fort of Vincennes without entering the city. On that same night a
commission of six colonels sat in judgment upon the prisoner, whose grave
was already dug, and pronounced sentence of death without hearing a word of
evidence. At daybreak the Duke was led out and shot.

[Napoleon Emperor, May 18, 1804.]

If some barbaric instinct made the slaughter of his predecessor's kindred
in Bonaparte's own eyes the omen of a successful usurpation, it was not so
with Europe generally. One universal sense of horror passed over the
Continent. The Court of Russia put on mourning; even the Diet of Ratisbon
showed signs of human passion at the indignity done to Germany by the
seizure of the Duke of Enghien on German soil. Austria kept silent, but
watched the signs of coming war. France alone showed no pity. Before the
Duke of Enghien had been dead a week, the Senate besought Napoleon to give
to France the security of a hereditary throne. Prefects, bishops, mayors,
and councils with one voice repeated the official prayer. A resolution in
favour of imperial rule was brought forward in the Tribunate, and passed,
after a noble and solitary protest on the part of Carnot. A decree of the
Senate embodied the terms of the new Constitution; and on the 18th of May,
without waiting for the sanction of a national vote, Napoleon assumed the
title of Emperor of the French.

[Title of Emperor of Austria, Aug., 1804.]

In France itself the change was one more of the name than of the substance
of power. Napoleon could not be vested with a more absolute authority than
he already possessed; but the forms of republican equality vanished; and
although the real social equality given to France by the Revolution was
beyond reach of change, the nation had to put up with a bastard Court and a
fictitious aristocracy of Corsican princes, Terrorist excellencies, and
Jacobin dukes. The new dynasty was recognised at Vienna and Berlin: on the
part of Austria it received the compliment of an imitation. Three months
after the assumption of the Imperial title by Napoleon, the Emperor Francis
(Emperor in Germany, but King in Hungary and Bohemia) assumed the title of
Emperor of all his Austrian dominions. The true reason for this act was the
virtual dissolution of the Germanic system by the Peace of Lunéville, and
the probability that the old Imperial dignity, if preserved in name, would
soon be transferred to some client of Napoleon or to Napoleon himself. Such
an apprehension was, however, not one that could be confessed to Europe.
Instead of the ruin of Germany, the grandeur of Austria was made the
ostensible ground of change. In language which seemed to be borrowed from
the scriptural history of Nebuchadnezzar, the Emperor Francis declared
that, although no possible addition could be made to his own personal
dignity, as Roman Emperor, yet the ancient glory of the Austrian House, the
grandeur of the principalities and kingdoms which were united under its
dominion, required that the Sovereigns of Austria should hold a title equal
to that of the greatest European throne. A general war against Napoleon was
already being proposed by the Court of St. Petersburg; but for the present
the Corsican and the Hapsburg Cæsar exchanged their hypocritical
congratulations. [106]

[Pitt again Minister, May, 1804.]

[Coalition of 1805.]

Almost at the same time that Bonaparte ascended the throne, Pitt returned
to power in Great Britain. He was summoned by the general distrust felt in
Addington's Ministry, and by the belief that no statesman but himself could
rally the Powers of Europe against the common enemy. Pitt was not long in
framing with Russia the plan of a third Coalition. The Czar broke off
diplomatic intercourse with Napoleon in September, 1804, and induced the
Court of Vienna to pledge itself to resist any further extension of French
power. Sweden entered into engagements with Great Britain. On the opening
of Parliament at the beginning of 1805, King George III. announced that an
understanding existed between Great Britain and Russia, and asked in
general terms for a provision for Continental subsidies. In April, a treaty
was signed at St. Petersburg by the representatives of Russia and Great
Britain, far more comprehensive and more serious in its provisions than any
which had yet united the Powers against France. [107] Russia and England
bound themselves to direct their efforts to the formation of a European
League capable of placing five hundred thousand men in the field. Great
Britain undertook to furnish subsidies to every member of the League; no
peace was to be concluded with France but by common consent; conquests
made by any of the belligerents were to remain unappropriated until the
general peace; and at the termination of the war a Congress was to fix
certain disputed points of international right, and to establish a
federative European system for their maintenance and enforcement. As the
immediate objects of the League, the treaty specified the expulsion of
the French from Holland, Switzerland, Italy, and Northern Germany; the
re-establishment of the King of Sardinia in Piedmont, with an increase of
territory; and the creation of a solid barrier against any future
usurpations of France. The last expression signified the union of Holland
and part of Belgium under the House of Orange. In this respect, as in the
provision for a common disposal of conquests and for the settlement of
European affairs by a Congress, the Anglo-Russian Treaty of 1805 defined
the policy actually carried out in 1814. Other territorial changes now
suggested by Pitt, including the annexation of the Rhenish Provinces to
the Prussian Monarchy, were not embodied in the treaty, but became from
this time understood possibilities.

[Policy of Prussia.]

[Prussia neutral.]

England and Russia had, however, some difficulty in securing allies.
Although in violation of his promises to Austria, Napoleon had accepted the
title of King of Italy from the Senate of the Italian Republic, and had
crowned himself with the Iron Crown of Lombardy (March, 1805), the
Ministers at Vienna would have preferred peace, if that had been possible;
and their master reluctantly consented to a war against Napoleon when war
in some form or other seemed inevitable. The policy of Prussia was
doubtful. For two years past Napoleon had made every effort to induce
Prussia to enter into alliance with himself. After the invasion of Hanover
he had doubled his attentions to the Court of Berlin, and had spared
nothing in the way of promises and assurances of friendship to win the King
over to his side. The neutrality of Prussia was of no great service to
France: its support would have been of priceless value, rendering any
attack upon France by Russia or Austria almost impossible, and thus
enabling Napoleon to throw his whole strength into the combat with Great
Britain. In the spring of 1804, the King of Prussia, uncertain of the
friendship of the Czar, and still unconvinced of the vanity of Napoleon's
professions, had inclined to a defensive alliance with France. The news of
the murder of the Duke of Enghien, arriving almost simultaneously with a
message of goodwill from St. Petersburg, led him to abandon this project of
alliance, but caused no breach with Napoleon. Frederick William adhered to
the temporising policy which Prussia had followed since 1795, and the
Foreign Minister, Haugwitz, who had recommended bolder measures, withdrew
for a time from the Court. [108] Baron Hardenberg, who had already acted as
his deputy, stepped into his place. Hardenberg, the negotiator of the peace
of Basle, had for the last ten years advocated a system of neutrality. A
politician quick to grasp new social and political ideas, he was without
that insight into the real forces at work in Europe which, in spite of
errors in detail, made the political aims of Pitt, and of many far inferior
men, substantially just and correct. So late as the end of the year 1804,
Hardenberg not only failed to recognise the dangers to which Prussia was
exposed from Napoleon's ambition, but conceived it to be still possible for
Prussia to avert war between France and the Allied Powers by maintaining a
good understanding with all parties alike. Hardenberg's neutrality excited
the wrath of the Russian Cabinet. While Metternich, the Austrian ambassador
at Berlin, cautiously felt his way, the Czar proposed in the last resort to
force Prussia to take up arms. A few months more passed; and, when
hostilities were on the point of breaking out, Hanover was definitely
offered to Prussia by Napoleon as the price of an alliance. Hardenberg,
still believing that it lay within the power of Prussia, by means of a
French alliance, both to curb Napoleon and to prevent a European war, urged
the King to close with the offer of the French Emperor. [109] But the King
shrank from a decision which involved the possibility of immediate war. The
offer of Hanover was rejected, and Prussia connected itself neither with
Napoleon nor his enemies.

[State of Austria. The army.]

Pitt, the author of the Coalition of 1805, had formed the most sanguine
estimate of the armaments of his allies. Austria was said to have entered
upon a new era since the peace of Lunéville, and to have turned to the best
account all the disasters of its former campaigns. There had indeed been no
want of fine professions from Vienna, but Pitt knew little of the real
state of affairs. The Archduke Charles had been placed at the head of the
military administration, and entrusted with extraordinary powers; but the
whole force of routine and corruption was ranged against him. He was
deceived by his subordinates; and after three years of reorganisation he
resigned his post, confessing that he left the army no nearer efficiency
than it was before. Charles was replaced at the War Office by General Mack.
Within six months this bustling charlatan imagined himself to have effected
the reorganisation of which the Archduke despaired, [110] while he had in
fact only introduced new confusion into an army already hampered beyond any
in Europe by its variety of races and languages.

[Political condition of Austria.]

If the military reforms of Austria were delusive, its political reforms
were still more so. The Emperor had indeed consented to unite the
Ministers, who had hitherto worked independently, in a Council of State;
but here reform stopped. Cobenzl, who was now First Minister, understood
nothing but diplomacy. Men continued in office whose presence was an
insuperable bar to any intelligent action: even in that mechanical routine
which, in the eyes of the Emperor Francis, constituted the life of the
State, everything was antiquated and self-contradictory. In all that
affected the mental life of the people the years that followed the peace of
Lunéville were distinctly retrograde. Education was placed more than ever
in the hands of the priests; the censorship of the press was given to the
police; a commission was charged with the examination of all the books
printed during the reign of the Emperor Joseph, and above two thousand
works, which had come into being during that brief period of Austrian
liberalism, were suppressed and destroyed. Trade regulations were issued
which combined the extravagance of the French Reign of Terror with the
ignorance of the Middle Ages. All the grain in the country was ordered to
be sold before a certain date, and the Jews were prohibited from carrying
on the corn-trade for a year. Such were the reforms described by Pitt in
the English Parliament as having effected the regeneration of Austria.
Nearer home things were judged in a truer light. Mack's paper-regiments,
the helplessness and unreality of the whole system of Austrian officialism,
were correctly appreciated by the men who had been most in earnest during
the last war. Even Thugut now thought a contest hopeless. The Archduke
Charles argued to the end for peace, and entered upon the war with the
presentiment of defeat and ruin.

[Plans of campaign, 1805.]

The plans of the Allies for the campaign of 1805 covered an immense field.
[111] It was intended that one Austrian army should operate in Lombardy
under the Archduke Charles, while a second, under General Mack, entered
Bavaria, and there awaited the arrival of the Russians, who were to unite
with it in invading France: British and Russian contingents were to combine
with the King of Sweden in Pomerania, and with the King of Naples in
Southern Italy. At the head-quarters of the Allies an impression prevailed
that Napoleon was unprepared for war. It was even believed that his
character had lost something of its energy under the influence of an
Imperial Court. Never was there a more fatal illusion. The forces of France
had never been so overwhelming; the plans of Napoleon had never been worked
out with greater minuteness and certainty. From Hanover to Strasburg masses
of troops had been collected upon the frontier in readiness for the order
to march; and, before the campaign opened, the magnificent army of
Boulogne, which had been collected for the invasion of England, was thrown
into the scale against Austria.

[Failure of Napoleon's naval designs against England.]

[Nelson and Villeneuve, April-June, 1805.]

Events had occurred at sea which frustrated Napoleon's plan for an attack
upon Great Britain. This attack, which in 1797 had been but lightly
threatened, had, upon the renewal of war with England in 1803, become the
object of Napoleon's most serious efforts. An army was concentrated at
Boulogne sufficient to overwhelm the military forces of England, if once it
could reach the opposite shore. Napoleon's thoughts were centred on a plan
for obtaining the naval superiority in the Channel, if only for the few
hours which it would take to transport the army from Boulogne to the
English coast. It was his design to lure Nelson to the other side of the
Atlantic by a feigned expedition against the West Indies, and, during the
absence of the English admiral, to unite all the fleets at present lying
blockaded in the French ports, as a cover for the invading armament.
Admiral Villeneuve was ordered to sail to Martinique, and, after there
meeting with some other ships, to re-cross the Atlantic with all possible
speed, and liberate the fleets blockaded in Ferrol, Brest, and Rochefort.
The junction of the fleets would give Napoleon a force of fifty sail in the
British Channel, a force more than sufficient to overpower all the
squadrons which Great Britain could possibly collect for the defence of its
shores. Such a design exhibited all the power of combination which marked
Napoleon's greatest triumphs; but it required of an indifferent marine the
precision and swiftness of movement which belonged to the land-forces of
France; it assumed in the seamen of Great Britain the same absence of
resource which Napoleon had found among the soldiers of the Continent. In
the present instance, however, Napoleon had to deal with a man as far
superior to all the admirals of France as Napoleon himself was to the
generals of Austria and Prussia. Villeneuve set sail for the West Indies in
the spring of 1805, and succeeded in drawing Nelson after him; but, before
he could re-cross the Atlantic, Nelson, incessantly pursuing the French
squadron in the West-Indian seas, and at length discovering its departure
homewards at Antigua (June 13), had warned the English Government of
Villeneuve's movement by a message sent in the swiftest of the English
brigs. [112] The Government, within twenty-four hours of receiving Nelson's
message, sent orders to Sir Robert Calder instantly to raise the blockades
of Ferrol and Rochefort, and to wait for Villeneuve off Cape Finisterre.
Here Villeneuve met the English fleet (July 22). He was worsted in a
partial engagement, and retired into the harbour of Ferrol. The pressing
orders of Napoleon forced the French admiral, after some delay, to attempt
that movement on Brest and Rochefort on which the whole plan of the
invasion of England depended. But Villeneuve was no longer in a condition
to meet the English force assembled against him. He put back without
fighting, and retired to Cadiz. All hope of carrying out the attack upon
England was lost.

[March of French armies on Bavaria, Sept.]

It only remained for Napoleon to avenge himself upon Austria through the
army which was baulked of its English prey. On the 1st of September, when
the Austrians were now on the point of crossing the Inn, the camp of
Boulogne was broken up. The army turned eastwards, and distributed itself
over all the roads leading from the Channel to the Rhine and the Upper
Danube. Far on the north-east the army of Hanover, commanded by Bernadotte,
moved as its left wing, and converged upon a point in Southern Germany
half-way between the frontiers of France and Austria. In the fables that
long disguised the true character of every action of Napoleon, the
admirable order of march now given to the French armies appears as the
inspiration of a moment, due to the rebound of Napoleon's genius after
learning the frustration of all his naval plans. In reality, the employment
of the "Army of England" against a Continental coalition had always been an
alternative present to Napoleon's mind; and it was threateningly mentioned
in his letters at a time when Villeneuve's failure was still unknown.

[Austrians invade Bavaria, Sept. 8.]

The only advantage which the Allies derived from the remoteness of the
Channel army was that Austria was able to occupy Bavaria without
resistance. General Mack, who was charged with this operation, crossed the
Inn on the 8th of September. The Elector of Bavaria was known to be
secretly hostile to the Coalition. The design of preventing his union with
the French was a correct one; but in the actual situation of the allied
armies it was one that could not be executed without great risk. The
preparations of Russia required more time than was allowed for them; no
Russian troops could reach the Inn before the end of October; and, in
consequence, the entire force operating in Western Germany did not exceed
seventy thousand men. Any doubts, however, as to the prudence of an advance
through Bavaria were silenced by the assurance that Napoleon had to bring
the bulk of his army from the British Channel. [113] In ignorance of the
real movements of the French, Mack pushed on to the western limit of
Bavaria, and reached the river Iller, the border of Würtemberg, where he
intended to stand on the defensive until the arrival of the Russians.

[Mack at Ulm, October.]

[Capitulation of Ulm, Oct. 17.]

Here, in the first days of October, he became aware of the presence of
French troops, not only in front but to the east of his own position.
With some misgiving as to the situation of the enemy, Mack nevertheless
refused to fall back from Ulm. Another week revealed the true state of
affairs. Before the Russians were anywhere near Bavaria, the vanguard of
Napoleon's Army of the Channel and the Army of Hanover had crossed
North-Western Germany, and seized the roads by which Mack had advanced
from Vienna. Every hour that Mack remained in Ulm brought new divisions
of the French into the Bavarian towns and villages behind him. Escape was
only possible by a retreat into the Tyrol, or by breaking through the
French line while it was yet incompletely formed. Resolute action might
still have saved the Austrian army; but the only energy that was shown
was shown in opposition to the general. The Archduke Ferdinand, who was
the titular commander-in-chief, cut his way through the French with part
of the cavalry; Mack remained in Ulm, and the iron circle closed around
him. At the last moment, after the hopelessness of the situation had
become clear even to himself, Mack was seized by an illusion that some
great disaster had befallen the French in their rear, and that in the
course of a few days Napoleon would be in full retreat. "Let no man utter
the word 'Surrender'"--he proclaimed in an order of October 15th--"the
enemy is in the most fearful straits; it is impossible that he can
continue more than a few days in the neighbourhood. If provisions run
short, we have three thousand horses to nourish us." "I myself," continued
the general, "will be the first to eat horseflesh." Two days later the
inevitable capitulation took place; and Mack with 25,000 men, fell into the
hands of the enemy without striking a blow. A still greater number of the
Austrians outside Ulm surrendered in detachments. [114]

[Trafalgar, Oct. 21.]


All France read with wonder Napoleon's bulletins describing the capture of
an entire army and the approaching presentation of forty Austrian standards
to the Senate at Paris. No imperial rhetoric acquainted the nation with an
event which, within four days of the capitulation of Ulm, inflicted a
heavier blow on France than Napoleon himself had ever dealt to any
adversary. On the 21st of October Nelson's crowning victory of Trafalgar,
won over Villeneuve venturing out from Cadiz, annihilated the combined
fleets of France and Spain. Nelson fell in the moment of his triumph; but
the work which his last hours had achieved was one to which years prolonged
in glory could have added nothing. He had made an end of the power of
France upon the sea. Trafalgar was not only the greatest naval victory, it
was the greatest and most momentous victory won either by land or by sea
during the whole of the Revolutionary War. No victory, and no series of
victories, of Napoleon produced the same effect upon Europe. Austria was in
arms within five years of Marengo, and within four years of Austerlitz;
Prussia was ready to retrieve the losses of Jena in 1813; a generation
passed after Trafalgar before France again seriously threatened England at
sea. The prospect of crushing the British navy, so long as England had the
means to equip a navy, vanished: Napoleon henceforth set his hopes on
exhausting England's resources by compelling every State on the Continent
to exclude her commerce. Trafalgar forced him to impose his yoke upon all
Europe, or to abandon the hope of conquering Great Britain. If national
love and pride have idealised in our great sailor a character which, with
its Homeric force and freshness, combined something of the violence and the
self-love of the heroes of a rude age, the common estimate of Nelson's work
in history is not beyond the truth. So long as France possessed a navy,
Nelson sustained the spirit of England by his victories; his last triumph
left England in such a position that no means remained to injure her but
those which must result in the ultimate deliverance of the Continent.

[Treaty of Potsdam, Nov. 3.]

[Violation of Prussian territory.]

The consequences of Trafalgar lay in the future; the military situation in
Germany after Mack's catastrophe was such that nothing could keep the army
of Napoleon out of Vienna. In the sudden awakening of Europe to its danger,
one solitary gleam of hope appeared in the attitude of the Prussian Court.
Napoleon had not scrupled, in his anxiety for the arrival of the Army of
Hanover, to order Bernadotte, its commander, to march through the Prussian
territory of Anspach, which lay on his direct route towards Ulm. It was
subsequently alleged by the Allies that Bernadotte's violation of Prussian
neutrality had actually saved him from arriving too late to prevent Mack's
escape; but, apart from all imaginary grounds of reproach, the insult
offered to Prussia by Napoleon was sufficient to incline even Frederick
William to decided action. Some weeks earlier the approach of Russian
forces to his frontier had led Frederick William to arm; the French had now
more than carried out what the Russians had only suggested. When the
outrage was made known to the King of Prussia, that cold and reserved
monarch displayed an emotion which those who surrounded him had seldom
witnessed. [115] The Czar was forthwith offered a free passage for his
armies through Silesia; and, before the news of Mack's capitulation reached
the Russian frontier, Alexander himself was on the way to Berlin. The
result of the deliberations of the two monarchs was the Treaty of Potsdam,
signed on November 3rd. By this treaty Prussia undertook to demand from
Napoleon an indemnity for the King of Piedmont, and the evacuation of
Germany, Switzerland, and Holland: failing Napoleon's acceptance of
Prussia's mediation upon these terms, Prussia engaged to take the field
with 180,000 men.

[French enter Vienna, Nov. 13.]

Napoleon was now close upon Vienna. A few days after the capitulation of
Ulm thirty thousand Russians, commanded by General Kutusoff, had reached
Bavaria; but Mack's disaster rendered it impossible to defend the line of
the Inn, and the last detachments of the Allies disappeared as soon as
Napoleon's vanguard approached the river. The French pushed forth in
overpowering strength upon the capital. Kutusoff and the weakened Austrian
army could neither defend Vienna nor meet the invader in the field. It was
resolved to abandon the city, and to unite the retreating forces on the
northern side of the Danube with a second Russian army now entering
Moravia. On the 7th of November the Court quitted Vienna. Six days later
the French entered the capital, and by an audacious stratagem of Murat's
gained possession of the bridge connecting the city with the north bank of
the Danube, at the moment when the Austrian gunners were about to blow it
into the air. [116] The capture of this bridge deprived the allied army of
the last object protecting it from Napoleon's pursuit. Vienna remained in
the possession of the French. All the resources of a great capital were now
added to the means of the conqueror; and Napoleon prepared to follow his
retreating adversary beyond the Danube, and to annihilate him before he
could reach his supports.

[The Allies and Napoleon in Moravia, Nov.]

The retreat of the Russian army into Moravia was conducted with great skill
by General Kutusoff, who retorted upon Murat the stratagem practised at the
bridge of Vienna, and by means of a pretended armistice effected his
junction with the newly-arrived Russian corps between Olmütz and Brünn.
Napoleon's anger at the escape of his prey was shown in the bitterness of
his attacks upon Murat. The junction of the allied armies in Moravia had in
fact most seriously altered the prospects of the war. For the first time
since the opening of the campaign, the Allies had concentrated a force
superior in numbers to anything that Napoleon could bring against it. It
was impossible for Napoleon, while compelled to protect himself on the
Italian side, to lead more than 70,000 men into Moravia. The Allies had now
80,000 in camp, with the prospect of receiving heavy reinforcements. The
war, which lately seemed to be at its close, might now, in the hands of a
skilful general, be but beginning. Although the lines of Napoleon's
communication with France were well guarded, his position in the heart of
Europe exposed him to many perils; the Archduke Charles had defeated
Massena at Caldiero on the Adige, and was hastening northwards; above all,
the army of Prussia was preparing to enter the field. Every mile that
Napoleon advanced into Moravia increased the strain upon his resources;
every day that postponed the decision of the campaign brought new strength
to his enemies. Merely to keep the French in their camp until a Prussian
force was ready to assail their communications seemed enough to ensure the
Allies victory; and such was the counsel of Kutusoff, who made war in the
temper of the wariest diplomatist. But the scarcity of provisions was
telling upon the discipline of the army, and the Czar was eager for battle.
[117] The Emperor Francis gave way to the ardour of his allies. Weyrother,
the Austrian chief of the staff, drew up the most scientific plans for a
great victory that had ever been seen even at the Austrian head-quarters;
and towards the end of November it was agreed by the two Emperors that the
allied army should march right round Napoleon's position near Brünn, and
fight a battle with the object of cutting off his retreat upon Vienna.

[Haugwitz comes with Prussian demands to Napoleon, Nov. 28.]

[Haugwitz goes away to Vienna.]

It was in the days immediately preceding the intended battle, and after
Napoleon had divined the plans of his enemy, that Count Haugwitz, bearing
the demands of the Cabinet of Berlin, reached the French camp at Brünn.
[118] Napoleon had already heard something of the Treaty of Potsdam, and
was aware that Haugwitz had started from Berlin. He had no intention of
making any of those concessions which Prussia required; at the same time it
was of vital importance to him to avoid the issue of a declaration of war
by Prussia, which would nerve both Austria and Russia to the last
extremities. He therefore resolved to prevent Haugwitz by every possible
method from delivering his ultimatum, until a decisive victory over the
allied armies should have entirely changed the political situation. The
Prussian envoy himself played into Napoleon's hands. Haugwitz had obtained
a disgraceful permission from his sovereign to submit to all Napoleon's
wishes, if, before his arrival, Austria should be separately treating for
peace; and he had an excuse for delay in the fact that the military
preparations of Prussia were not capable of being completed before the
middle of December. He passed twelve days on the journey from Berlin, and
presented himself before Napoleon on the 28th of November. The Emperor,
after a long conversation, requested that he would proceed to Vienna and
transact business with Talleyrand. He was weak enough to permit himself to
be removed to a distance with his ultimatum to Napoleon undelivered. When
next the Prussian Government heard of their envoy, he was sauntering in
Talleyrand's drawing-rooms at Vienna, with the cordon of the French Legion
of Honour on his breast, exchanging civilities with officials who politely
declined to enter upon any question of business.

[Austerlitz, Dec. 2.]

[Armistice, Dec. 4.]

Haugwitz once removed to Vienna, and the Allies thus deprived of the
certainty that Prussia would take the field, Napoleon trusted that a single
great defeat would suffice to break up the Coalition. The movements of the
Allies were exactly those which he expected and desired. He chose his own
positions between Brünn and Austerlitz in the full confidence of victory;
and on the morning of the 2nd of December, when the mists disappeared
before a bright wintry sun, he saw with the utmost delight that the Russian
columns were moving round him in a vast arc, in execution of the
turning-movement of which he had forewarned his own army on the day before.
Napoleon waited until the foremost columns were stretched far in advance of
their supports; then, throwing Soult's division upon the gap left in the
centre of the allied line, he cut the army into halves, and crushed its
severed divisions at every point along the whole line of attack. The
Allies, although they outnumbered Napoleon, believed themselves to be
overpowered by an army double their own size. The incoherence of the allied
movements was as marked as the unity and effectiveness of those of the
French. It was alleged in the army that Kutusoff, the commander-in-chief,
had fallen asleep while the Austrian Weyrother was expounding his plans for
the battle; a truer explanation of the palpable errors in the allied
generalship was that the Russian commander had been forced by the Czar to
carry out a plan of which he disapproved. The destruction in the ranks of
the Allies was enormous, for the Russians fought with the same obstinacy as
at the Trebbia and at Novi. Austria had lost a second army in addition to
its capital; and the one condition which could have steeled its Government
against all thoughts of peace--the certainty of an immediate Prussian
attack upon Napoleon--had vanished with the silent disappearance of the
Prussian envoy. Two days after the battle, the Emperor Francis met his
conqueror in the open field, and accepted an armistice, which involved the
withdrawal of the Russian army from his dominions.

[Haugwitz signs Treaty with Napoleon, Dec. 15.]

Yet even now the Czar sent appeals to Berlin for help, and the negotiation
begun by Austria would possibly have been broken off if help had been
given. But the Cabinet of Frederick William had itself determined to evade
its engagements; and as soon as the news of Austerlitz reached Vienna,
Haugwitz had gone over heart and soul to the conqueror. While negotiations
for peace were carried on between France and Austria, a parallel
negotiation was carried on with the envoy of Prussia; and even before the
Emperor Francis gave way to the conqueror's demands, Haugwitz signed a
treaty with Napoleon at Schönbrunn, by which Prussia, instead of attacking
Napoleon, entered into an alliance with him, and received from him in
return the dominion of Hanover (December 15, 1805). [119] Had Prussia been
the defeated power at Austerlitz, the Treaty of Schönbrunn could not have
more completely reversed the policy to which King Frederick William had
pledged himself six weeks before. While Haugwitz was making his pact with
Napoleon, Hardenberg had been arranging with an English envoy for the
combination of English and Russian forces in Northern Germany. [120]

There were some among the King's advisers who declared that the treaty must
be repudiated, and the envoy disgraced. But the catastrophe of Austerlitz,
and the knowledge that the Government of Vienna was entering upon a
separate negotiation, had damped the courage of the men in power. The
conduct of Haugwitz was first excused, then supported, then admired. The
Duke of Brunswick disgraced himself by representing to the French
Ambassador in Berlin that the whole course of Prussian policy since the
beginning of the campaign had been an elaborate piece of dissimulation in
the interest of France. The leaders of the patriotic party in the army
found themselves without influence or following; the mass of the nation
looked on with the same stupid unconcern with which it had viewed every
event of the last twenty years. The King finally decided that the treaty by
which Haugwitz had thrown the obligations of his country to the winds
should be ratified, with certain modifications, including one that should
nominally reserve to King George III. a voice in the disposal of Hanover.

[Treaty of Presburg, Dec. 27.]

[End of the Holy Roman Empire, Aug. 6, 1806.]

Ten days after the departure of the Prussian envoy from Vienna, peace was
concluded between France and Austria by the Treaty of Presburg [122]
(December 27). At the outbreak of the war Napoleon had declared to his army
that he would not again spare Austria, as he had spared her at Campo Formio
and at Lunéville; and he kept his word. The Peace of Presburg left the
Austrian State in a condition very different from that in which it had
emerged from the two previous wars. The Treaty of Campo Formio had only
deprived Austria of Belgium in order to replace it by Venice; the
Settlement of Lunéville had only substituted French for Austrian influence
in Western Germany: the Treaty that followed the battle of Austerlitz
wrested from the House of Hapsburg two of its most important provinces, and
cut it off at once from Italy, from Switzerland, and from the Rhine.
Venetia was ceded to Napoleon's kingdom of Italy; the Tyrol was ceded to
Bavaria; the outlying districts belonging to Austria in Western Germany
were ceded to Baden and to Würtemberg. Austria lost 28,000 square miles of
territory and 3,000,000 inhabitants. The Emperor recognised the sovereignty
and independence of Bavaria, Baden, and Würtemberg, and renounced all
rights over those countries as head of the Germanic Body. The Electors of
Bavaria and Würtemberg, along with a large increase of territory, received
the title of King. The constitution of the Empire ceased to exist even in
name. It only remained for its chief, the successor of the Roman Cæsars, to
abandon his title at Napoleon's bidding; and on the 6th of August, 1806, an
Act, published by Francis II. at Vienna, made an end of the outworn and
dishonoured fiction of a Holy Roman Empire.

[Naples given to Joseph Bonaparte.]

Though Russia had not made peace with Napoleon, the European Coalition was
at an end. Now, as in 1801, the defeat of the Austrian armies left the
Neapolitan Monarchy to settle its account with the conqueror. Naples had
struck no blow; but it was only through the delays of the Allies that the
Neapolitan army had not united with an English and a Russian force in an
attack upon Lombardy. What had been pardoned in 1801 was now avenged upon
the Bourbon despot of Naples and his Austrian Queen, who from the first had
shown such bitter enmity to France. Assuming the character of a judge over
the sovereigns of Europe, Napoleon pronounced from Vienna that the House of
Naples had ceased to reign (Dec. 27, 1805). The sentence was immediately
carried into execution. Ferdinand fled, as he had fled in 1798, to place
himself under the protection of the navy of Great Britain. The vacant
throne was given by Napoleon to his own brother, Joseph Bonaparte.
Ferdinand, with the help of the English fleet, maintained himself in
Sicily. A thread of sea two miles broad was sufficient barrier against the
Power which had subdued half the Continent; and no attempt was made either
by Napoleon or his brother to gain a footing beyond the Straits of Messina.
In Southern Italy the same fanatical movements took place among the
peasantry as in the previous period of French occupation. When the armies
of Austria and Russia were crushed, and the continent lay at the mercy of
France, Great Britain imagined that it could effect something against
Napoleon in a corner of Italy, with the help of some ferocious villagers. A
British force, landing near Maida, on the Calabrian coast, in the summer of
1806, had the satisfaction of defeating the French at the point of the
bayonet, of exciting a horde of priests and brigands to fruitless
barbarities, and of abandoning them to their well-merited chastisement.

[Battle of Maida, July 6, 1806.]

[The Empire. Napoleonic dynasty and titles.]

The elevation of Napoleon's brother Joseph to the throne of Naples was the
first of a series of appointments now made by Napoleon in the character of
Emperor of the West. He began to style himself the new Charlemagne; his
thoughts and his language were filled with pictures of universal
sovereignty; his authority, as a military despot who had crushed his
neighbours, became strangely confused in his own mind with that half-sacred
right of the Cæsars from which the Middle Ages derived all subordinate
forms of power. He began to treat the government of the different countries
of Western Europe as a function to be exercised by delegation from himself.
Even the territorial grants which under the Feudal System accompanied
military or civil office were now revived and the commander of a French
army-corps or the chief of the French Foreign Office became the titular
lord of some obscure Italian principality. [123] Napoleon's own family were
to reign in many lands, as the Bourbons and the Hapsburgs had reigned
before them, but in strict dependence on their head. Joseph Bonaparte had
not long been installed at Naples when his brother Louis was compelled to
accept the Crown of Holland. Jerome, for whom no kingdom was at present
vacant, was forced to renounce his American wife, in order that he might
marry the daughter of the King of Würtemberg. Eugène Beauharnais,
Napoleon's step-son, held the office of Viceroy of Italy; Murat, who had
married Napoleon's sister, had the German Duchy of Berg. Bernadotte,
Talleyrand, and Berthier found themselves suzerains of districts whose
names were almost unknown to them. Out of the revenues of Northern Italy a
yearly sum was reserved as an endowment for the generals whom the Emperor
chose to raise to princely honours.

[Federation of the Rhine.]

More statesmanlike, more practical than Napoleon's dynastic policy, was his
organisation of Western Germany under its native princes as a dependency of
France. The object at which all French politicians had aimed since the
outbreak of the Revolutionary War, the exclusion of both Austria and
Prussia from influence in Western Germany, was now completely attained. The
triumph of French statesmanship, the consummation of two centuries of
German discord, was seen in the Act of Federation subscribed by the Western
German Sovereigns in the summer of 1806. By this Act the Kings of Bavaria
and Würtemberg, the Elector of Baden, and thirteen minor princes, united
themselves, in the League known as the Rhenish Confederacy, under the
protection of the French Emperor, and undertook to furnish contingents,
amounting to 63,000 men, in all wars in which the French Empire should
engage. Their connection with the ancient Germanic Body was completely
severed; the very town in which the Diet of the Empire had held its
meetings was annexed by one of the members of the Confederacy. The
Confederacy itself, with a population of 8,000,000, became for all purposes
of war and foreign policy a part of France. Its armies were organised by
French officers; its frontiers were fortified by French engineers; its
treaties were made for it at Paris. In the domestic changes which took
place within these States the work of consolidation begun in 1801 was
carried forward with increased vigour. Scores of tiny principalities which
had escaped dissolution in the earlier movement were now absorbed by their
stronger neighbours. Governments became more energetic, more orderly, more
ambitious. The princes who made themselves the vassals of Napoleon assumed
a more despotic power over their own subjects. Old constitutional forms
which had imposed some check on the will of the sovereign, like the Estates
of Würtemberg, were contemptuously suppressed; the careless, ineffective
routine of the last age gave place to a system of rigorous precision
throughout the public services. Military service was enforced in countries
hitherto free from it. The burdens of the people became greater, but they
were more fairly distributed. The taxes were more equally levied; justice
was made more regular and more simple. A career both in the army and the
offices of Government was opened to a people to whom the very conception of
public life had hitherto been unknown.

[No national unity in Germany.]

The establishment of German unity in our own day after a victorious
struggle with France renders it difficult to imagine the voluntary
submission of a great part of the race to a French sovereign, or to excuse
a policy which, like that of 1806, appears the opposite of everything
honourable and patriotic. But what seems strange now was not strange then.
No expression more truly describes the conditions of that period than one
of the great German poet who was himself so little of a patriot. "Germany,"
said Goethe, "is not a nation." Germany had indeed the unity of race; but
all that truly constitutes a nation, the sense of common interest, a common
history, pride, and desire, Germany did not possess at all. Bavaria, the
strongest of the western States, attached itself to France from a
well-grounded fear of Austrian aggression. To be conquered by Austria was
just as much conquest for Bavaria as to be conquered by any other Power; it
was no step to German unity, but a step in the aggrandisement of the House
of Hapsburg. The interests of the Austrian House were not the interests of
Germany any more than they were the interests of Croatia, or of Venice, or
of Hungary. Nor, on the other hand, had Prussia yet shown a form of
political life sufficiently attractive to lead the southern States to
desire to unite with it. Frederick's genius had indeed made him the hero of
Germany, but his military system was harsh and tyrannical. In the actual
condition of Austria and Prussia, it is doubtful whether the population of
the minor States would have been happier united to these Powers than under
their own Governments. Conquest in any case was impossible, and there was
nothing to stimulate to voluntary union. It followed that the smaller
States were destined to remain without a nationality, until the violence of
some foreign Power rendered weakness an intolerable evil, and forced upon
the better minds of Germany the thought of a common Fatherland.

[What German unity desirable.]

The necessity of German unity is no self-evident political truth. Holland
and Switzerland in past centuries detached themselves from the Empire, and
became independent States, with the highest advantage to themselves.
Identity of blood is no more conclusive reason for political union between
Holstein and the Tyrol than between Great Britain and the United States of
America. The conditions which determine both the true area and the true
quality of German unity are, in fact, something more complex than an
ethnological law or an outburst of patriotic indignation against the
French. Where local circumstances rendered it possible for a German
district, after detaching itself from the race, to maintain a real national
life and defend itself from foreign conquest, there it was perhaps better
that the connection with Germany should be severed; where, as in the great
majority of minor States, independence resulted only in military
helplessness and internal stagnation, there it was better that independence
should give place to German unity. But the conditions of any tolerable
unity were not present so long as Austria was the leading Power. Less was
imperilled in the future of the German people by the submission of the
western States to France than would have been lost by their permanent
incorporation under Austria.

[The Empire of 1806 might have been permanent.]

[Limits of a possible Napoleonic Empire.]

With the establishment of the Rhenish Confederacy and the conquest of
Naples, Napoleon's empire reached, but did not overpass, the limits within
which the sovereignty of France might probably have been long maintained.
It has been usual to draw the line between the sound statesmanship and the
hazardous enterprises of Napoleon at the Peace of Lunéville: a juster
appreciation of the condition of Western Europe would perhaps include
within the range of a practical, though mischievous, ideal the whole of the
political changes which immediately followed the war of 1805, and which
extended Napoleon's dominion to the Inn and to the Straits of Messina.
Italy and Germany were not then what they have since become. The districts
that lay between the Rhine and the Inn were not more hostile to the
foreigner than those Rhenish Provinces which so readily accepted their
union with France. The more enterprising minds in Italy found that the
Napoleonic rule, with all its faults, was superior to anything that Italy
had known in recent times. If we may judge from the feeling with which
Napoleon was regarded in Germany down to the middle of the year 1806, and
in Italy down to a much later date, the Empire then founded might have been
permanently upheld, if Napoleon had abstained from attacking other States.
No comparison can be made between the attractive power exercised by the
social equality of France, its military glory, and its good administration,
and the slow and feeble process of assimilation which went on within the
dominions of Austria; yet Austria succeeded in uniting a greater variety of
races than France sought to unite in 1806. The limits of a possible France
were indeed fixed, and fixed more firmly than by any geographical line, in
the history and national character of two other peoples. France could not
permanently overpower Prussia, and it could not permanently overpower
Spain. But within a boundary-line drawn roughly from the mouth of the Elbe
to the head of the Adriatic, that union of national sentiment and material
force which checks the formation of empires did not exist. The true
turning-point in Napoleon's career was the moment when he passed beyond the
policy which had planned the Federation of the Rhine, and roused by his
oppression the one State which was still capable of giving a national life
to Germany.


Death of Pitt--Ministry of Fox and Grenville--Napoleon forces Prussia into
War with England, and then offers Hanover to England--Prussia resolves on
War with Napoleon--State of Prussia--Decline of the Army--Southern Germany
with Napoleon--Austria Neutral--England and Russia about to help Prussia,
but not immediately--Campaign of 1806--Battles of Jena and Auerstädt--Ruin
of the Prussian Army--Capitulation of Fortresses--Demands of Napoleon--The
War continues--Berlin Decree--Exclusion of English Goods from the
Continent--Russia enters the War--Campaign in Poland and East
Prussia--Eylau--Treaty of Bartenstein--Friedland--Interview at
Tilsit--Alliance of Napoleon and Alexander--Secret Articles--English
Expedition to Denmark--The French enter Portugal--Prussia after the Peace
of Tilsit--Stein's Edict of Emancipation--The Prussian Peasant--Reform of
the Prussian Army, and Creation of Municipalities--Stein's other Projects
of Reform, which are not carried out.

[Death of Pitt, Jan. 23rd, 1806.]

[Coalition Ministry of Fox and Grenville.]

Six weeks after the tidings of Austerlitz reached Great Britain, the
statesman who had been the soul of every European coalition against France
was carried to the grave. [124] Pitt passed away at a moment of the deepest
gloom. His victories at sea appeared to have effected nothing; his
combinations on land had ended in disaster and ruin. If during Pitt's
lifetime a just sense of the greatness and patriotism of all his aims
condoned the innumerable faults of his military administration, that
personal ascendancy which might have disarmed criticism even after the
disaster of Austerlitz belonged to no other member of his Ministry. His
colleagues felt their position to be hopeless. Though the King attempted to
set one of Pitt's subordinates in the vacant place, the prospects of Europe
were too dark, the situation of the country too serious, to allow a
Ministry to be formed upon the ordinary principles of party-organisation or
in accordance with the personal preferences of the monarch. The nation
called for the union of the ablest men of all parties in the work of
government; and, in spite of the life-long hatred of King George to Mr.
Fox, a Ministry entered upon office framed by Fox and Grenville conjointly;
Fox taking the post of Foreign Secretary, with a leading influence in the
Cabinet, and yielding to Grenville the title of Premier. Addington received
a place in the Ministry, and carried with him the support of a section of
the Tory party, which was willing to countenance a policy of peace.

[Napoleon hopes to intimidate Fox through Prussia.]

Fox had from the first given his whole sympathy to the French Revolution,
as the cause of freedom. He had ascribed the calamities of Europe to the
intervention of foreign Powers in favour of the Bourbon monarchy: he had
palliated the aggressions of the French Republic as the consequences of
unjust and unprovoked attack: even the extinction of liberty in France
itself had not wholly destroyed his faith in the honour and the generosity
of the soldier of the Revolution. In the brief interval of peace which in
1802 opened the Continent to English travellers, Fox had been the guest of
the First Consul. His personal feeling towards the French Government had in
it nothing of that proud and suspicious hatred which made negotiation so
difficult while Pitt continued in power. It was believed at Paris, and with
good reason, that the first object of Fox on entering upon office would be
the restoration of peace. Napoleon adopted his own plan in view of the
change likely to arise in the spirit of the British Cabinet. It was his
habit, wherever he saw signs of concession, to apply more violent means of
intimidation. In the present instance he determined to work upon the
pacific leanings of Fox by adding Prussia to the forces arrayed against
Great Britain. Prussia, isolated and discredited since the battle of
Austerlitz, might first be driven into hostilities with England, and then
be made to furnish the very satisfaction demanded by England as the primary
condition of peace.

[The King of Prussia wishes to disguise the cession of Hanover.]

[Napoleon forces Prussia into war with England, March, 1806.]

At the moment when Napoleon heard of Pitt's death, he was expecting the
arrival of Count Haugwitz at Paris for the purpose of obtaining some
modification in the treaty which he had signed on behalf of Prussia after
the battle of Austerlitz. The principal feature in that treaty had been the
grant of Hanover to Prussia by the French Emperor in return for its
alliance. This was the point which above all others excited King Frederick
William's fears and scruples. He desired to retain Hanover, but he also
desired to derive his title rather from its English owner than from its
French invader. It was the object of Haugwitz' visit to Paris to obtain an
alteration in the terms of the treaty which should make the Prussian
occupation of Hanover appear to be merely provisional, and reserve to the
King of England at least a nominal voice in its ultimate transfer. In full
confidence that Napoleon would agree to such a change, the King of Prussia
had concealed the fact of its cession to himself by Napoleon, and published
an untruthful proclamation, stating that, in the interests of the
Hanoverian people themselves, a treaty had been signed and ratified by the
French and Prussian Governments, in virtue of which Hanover was placed
under the protection of the King of Prussia until peace should be concluded
between Great Britain and France. The British Government received
assurances of Prussia's respect for the rights of King George III.: the
bitter truth that the treaty between France and Prussia contained no single
word reserving the rights of the Elector, and that the very idea of
qualifying the absolute cession of Hanover was an afterthought, lay hidden
in the conscience of the Prussian Cabinet. Never had a Government more
completely placed itself at the mercy of a pitiless enemy. Count Haugwitz,
on reaching Paris, was received by Napoleon with a storm of invective
against the supposed partisans of England at the Prussian Court. Napoleon
declared that the ill faith of Prussia had made an end even of that
miserable pact which had been extorted after Austerlitz, and insisted that
King Frederick William should openly defy Great Britain by closing the
ports of Northern Germany to British vessels, and by declaring himself
endowed by Napoleon with Hanover in virtue of Napoleon's own right of
conquest. Haugwitz signed a second and more humiliating treaty embodying
these conditions; and the Prussian Government, now brought into the depths
of contempt, but unready for immediate war, executed the orders of its
master. [125] A proclamation, stating that Prussia had received the
absolute dominion of Hanover from its conqueror Napoleon, gave the lie to
the earlier announcements of King Frederick William. A decree was published
excluding the ships of England from the ports of Prussia and from those of
Hanover itself (March 28, 1806). It was promptly answered by the seizure of
four hundred Prussian vessels in British harbours, and by the total
extinction of Prussian maritime commerce by British privateers. [126]

[Napoleon negotiates with Fox. Offers Hanover to England.]

Scarcely was Prussia committed to this ruinous conflict with Great Britain,
when Napoleon opened negotiations for peace with Mr. Fox's Government. The
first condition required by Great Britain was the restitution of Hanover to
King George III. It was unhesitatingly granted by Napoleon. [127] Thus was
Prussia to be mocked of its prey, after it had been robbed of all its
honour. For the present, however, no rumour of this part of the negotiation
reached Berlin. The negotiation itself, which dragged on through several
months, turned chiefly upon the future ownership of Sicily. Napoleon had in
the first instance agreed that Sicily should be left in the hands of
Ferdinand of Naples, who had never been expelled from it by the French.
Finding, however, that the Russian envoy d'Oubril, who had been sent to
Paris with indefinite instructions by the Emperor Alexander, was willing to
separate the cause of Russia from that of England, and to sign a separate
peace, Napoleon retracted his promise relating to Sicily, and demanded that
this island should be ceded to his brother Joseph. D'Oubril signed
Preliminaries on behalf of Russia on the 20th of July, and left the English
negotiator to obtain what terms he could. Fox had been willing to recognise
the order of things established by Napoleon on the Italian mainland; he
would even have ceded Sicily, if Russia had urged this in a joint
negotiation; but he was too good a statesman to be cheated out of Sicily by
a mere trick. He recalled the English envoy from Paris, and waited for the
judgment of the Czar upon the conduct of his own representative. The Czar
disavowed d'Oubril's negotiations, and repudiated the treaty which he
brought back to St. Petersburg. Napoleon had thus completely overreached
himself, and, instead of severing Great Britain and Russia by separate
agreements, had only irritated and displeased them both. The negotiations
went no further; their importance lay only in the effect which they
produced upon Prussia, when Napoleon's offer of Hanover to Great Britain
became known at Berlin.

[Prussia learns of Napoleon's offer of Hanover to England, Aug. 7.]

[Prussia determines on war.]

From the time when Haugwitz' second treaty placed his master at Napoleon's
feet, Prussia had been subjected to an unbroken series of insults and
wrongs. Murat, as Duke of Berg, had seized upon territory allotted to
Prussia in the distribution of the ecclesiastical lands; the establishment
of a North German Confederacy under Prussian leadership was suggested by
Napoleon himself, only to be summarily forbidden as soon as Prussia
attempted to carry the proposal into execution. There was scarcely a
courtier in Berlin who did not feel that the yoke of the French had become
past endurance; even Haugwitz himself now considered war as a question of
time. The patriotic party in the capital and the younger officers of the
army bitterly denounced the dishonoured Government, and urged the King to
strike for the credit of his country. [128] In the midst of this deepening
agitation, a despatch arrived from Lucchesini, the Prussian Ambassador at
Paris (August 7), relating the offer of Hanover made by Napoleon to the
British Government. For nearly three months Lucchesini had caught no
glimpse of the negotiations between Great Britain and France; suddenly, on
entering into conversation with the English envoy at a dinner-party, he
learnt the blow which Napoleon had intended to deal to Prussia. Lucchesini
instantly communicated with the Court of Berlin; but his despatch was
opened by Talleyrand's agents before it left Paris, and the French
Government was thus placed on its guard against the sudden explosion of
Prussian wrath. Lucchesini's despatch had indeed all the importance that
Talleyrand attributed to it. It brought that spasmodic access of resolution
to the irresolute King which Bernadotte's violation of his territory had
brought in the year before. The whole Prussian army was ordered to prepare
for war; Brunswick was summoned to form plans of a campaign; and appeals
for help were sent to Vienna, to St. Petersburg, and even to the hostile
Court of London.

[Condition of Prussia.]

[Ministers not in the King's Cabinet.]

The condition of Prussia at this critical moment was one which filled with
the deepest alarm those few patriotic statesmen who were not blinded by
national vanity or by slavery to routine. The foreign policy of Prussia in
1805, miserable as it was, had been but a single manifestation of the
helplessness, the moral deadness that ran through every part of its
official and public life. Early in the year 1806 a paper was drawn up by
Stein, [129] exposing, in language seldom used by a statesman, the
character of the men by whom Frederick William was surrounded, and
declaring that nothing but a speedy change of system could save the
Prussian State from utter downfall and ruin. Two measures of immediate
necessity were specified by Stein, the establishment of a responsible
council of Ministers, and the removal of Haugwitz and all his friends from
power. In the existing system of government the Ministers were not the
monarch's confidential advisers. The Ministers performed their work in
isolation from one another; the Cabinet, or confidential council of the
King, was composed of persons holding no public function, and free from all
public responsibility. No guarantee existed that the policy of the country
would be the same for two days together. The Ministers were often unaware
of the turn that affairs had taken in the Cabinet; and the history of
Haugwitz' mission to Austerlitz showed that an individual might commit the
State to engagements the very opposite of those which he was sent to
contract. The first necessity for Prussia was a responsible governing
council: with such a council, formed from the heads of the actual
Administration, the reform of the army and of the other branches of the
public service, which was absolutely hopeless under the present system,
might be attended with some chance of success.

[State of the Prussian Army.]

[Higher officers.]

The army of Prussia, at an epoch when the conscription and the genius of
Napoleon had revolutionised the art of war, was nothing but the army of
Frederick the Great grown twenty years older. [130] It was obvious to all
the world that its commissariat and marching-regulations belonged to a time
when weeks were allowed for movements now reckoned by days; but there were
circumstances less conspicuous from the outside which had paralysed the
very spirit of soldiership, and prepared the way for a military collapse in
which defeats in the field were the least dishonourable event. Old age had
rendered the majority of the higher officers totally unfit for military
service. In that barrack-like routine of officialism which passed in
Prussia for the wisdom of government, the upper ranks of the army formed a
species of administrative corps in time of peace, and received for their
civil employment double the pay that they could earn in actual war. Aged
men, with the rank of majors, colonels, and generals, mouldered in the
offices of country towns, and murmured at the very mention of a war, which
would deprive them of half their salaries. Except in the case of certain
princes, who were placed in high rank while young, and of a few vigorous
patriarchs like Blücher, all the energy and military spirit of the army was
to be found in men who had not passed the grade of captain. The higher
officers were, on an average, nearly double the age of French officers of
corresponding rank. [131] Of the twenty-four lieutenant-generals, eighteen
were over sixty; the younger ones, with a single exception, were princes.
Five out of the seven commanders of infantry were over seventy; even the
sixteen cavalry generals included only two who had not reached sixty-five.
These were the men who, when the armies of Prussia were beaten in the
field, surrendered its fortresses with as little concern as if they had
been receiving the French on a visit of ceremony. Their vanity was as
lamentable as their faint-heartedness. "The army of his Majesty," said
General Rüchel on parade, "possesses several generals equal to Bonaparte."
Faults of another character belonged to the generation which had grown up
since Frederick. The arrogance and licentiousness of the younger officers
was such that their ruin on the field of Jena caused positive joy to a
great part of the middle classes of Prussia. But, however hateful their
manners, and however rash their self-confidence, the vices of these younger
men had no direct connection with the disasters of 1806. The gallants who
sharpened their swords on the window-sill of the French Ambassador received
a bitter lesson from the plebeian troopers of Murat; but they showed
courage in disaster, and subsequently gave to their country many officers
of ability and honour.

[Common soldiers.]

What was bad in the higher grades of the army was not retrieved by any
excellence on the part of the private soldier. The Prussian army was
recruited in part from foreigners, but chiefly from Prussian serfs, who
were compelled to serve. Men remained with their regiments till old age;
the rough character of the soldiers and the frequency of crimes and
desertions occasioned the use of brutal punishments, which made the
military service an object of horror to the better part of the middle and
lower classes. The soldiers themselves, who could be flogged and drilled
into high military perfection by a great general like Frederick, felt a
surly indifference to their present taskmasters, and were ready to desert
in masses to their homes as soon as a defeat broke up the regimental muster
and roll-call. A proposal made in the previous year to introduce that
system of general service which has since made Prussia so great a military
power was rejected by a committee of generals, on the ground that it "would
convert the most formidable army of Europe into a militia." But whether
Prussia entered the war with a militia or a regular army, under the men who
held command in 1806 it could have met with but one fate. Neither soldiery
nor fortresses could have saved a kingdom whose generals knew only how to

[Southern Germany. Execution of Palm, Aug. 26.]

All southern Germany was still in Napoleon's hands. As the probability of a
war with Prussia became greater and greater, Napoleon had tightened his
grasp upon the Confederate States. Publications originating among the
patriotic circles of Austria were beginning to appeal to the German people
to unite against a foreign oppressor. An anonymous pamphlet, entitled
"Germany in its Deep Humiliation," was sold by various booksellers in
Bavaria, among others by Palm, a citizen of Nuremberg. There is no evidence
that Palm was even acquainted with the contents of the pamphlet; but as in
the case of the Duke of Enghien, two years before, Napoleon had required a
victim to terrify the House of Bourbon, so now he required a victim to
terrify those who among the German people might be inclined to listen to
the call of patriotism. Palm was not too obscure for the new Charlemagne.
The innocent and unoffending man, innocent even of the honourable crime of
attempting to save his country, was dragged before a tribunal of French
soldiers, and executed within twenty-four hours, in pursuance of the
imperative orders of Napoleon (August 26). The murder was an unnecessary
one, for the Bavarians and the Würtembergers were in fact content with the
yoke they bore; its only effect was to arouse among a patient and
home-loving class the doubt whether the German citizen and his family might
not after all have some interest in the preservation of national

[Austria neutral. England and Russia can give Prussia no prompt help.]

When, several years later, the oppressions of Napoleon had given to a great
part of the German race at least the transient nobleness of a real
patriotism, the story of Palm's death was one of those that kindled the
bitterest sense of wrong: at the time, it exercised no influence upon the
course of political events. Southern Germany remained passive, and supplied
Napoleon with a reserve of soldiers: Prussia had to look elsewhere for
allies. Its prospects of receiving support were good, if the war should
prove a protracted one, but not otherwise. Austria, crippled by the
disasters of 1805, could only hope to renew the struggle if victory should
declare against Napoleon. In other quarters help might be promised, but it
could not be given at the time and at the place where it was needed. The
Czar proffered the whole forces of his Empire; King George III. forgave the
despoilers of his patrimony when he found that they really intended to
fight the French; but the troops of Alexander lay far in the East, and the
action of England in any Continental war was certain to be dilatory and
ineffective. Prussia was exposed to the first shock of the war alone. In
the existing situation of the French armies, a blow unusually swift and
crushing might well be expected by all who understood Napoleon's warfare.

[Situation of the French and Prussian armies, Sept., 1806.]

[French on the Main.]

[Prussians on the Saale.]

A hundred and seventy thousand French soldiers, with contingents from the
Rhenish Confederate States, lay between the Main and the Inn. The last
weeks of peace, in which the Prussian Government imagined themselves to be
deceiving the enemy while they pushed forward their own preparations, were
employed by Napoleon in quietly concentrating this vast force upon the Main
(September, 1806). Napoleon himself appeared to be absorbed in friendly
negotiations with General Knobelsdorff, the new Prussian Ambassador at
Paris. In order to lull Napoleon's suspicions, Haugwitz had recalled
Lucchesini from Paris, and intentionally deceived his successor as to the
real designs of the Prussian Cabinet. Knobelsdorff confidentially informed
the Emperor that Prussia was not serious in its preparations for war.
Napoleon, caring very little whether Prussia intended to fight or not,
continued at Paris in the appearance of the greatest calm, while his
lieutenants in Southern Germany executed those unobserved movements which
were to collect the entire army upon the Upper Main. In the meantime the
advisers of King Frederick William supposed themselves to have made
everything ready for a vigorous offensive. Divisions of the Prussian army,
numbering nearly 130,000 men, were concentrated in the neighbourhood of
Jena, on the Saale. The bolder spirits in the military council pressed for
an immediate advance through the Thuringian Forest, and for an attack upon
what were supposed to be the scattered detachments of the French in
Bavaria. Military pride and all the traditions of the Great Frederick
impelled Prussia to take the offensive rather than to wait for the enemy
upon the strong line of the Elbe. Political motives pointed in the same
direction, for the support of Saxony was doubtful if once the French were
permitted to approach Dresden.

[Confusion of the Prussians.]

On the 23rd of September King Frederick William arrived at the
head-quarters of the army, which were now at Naumburg, on the Saale. But
his presence brought no controlling mind to the direction of affairs.
Councils of war held on the two succeeding days only revealed the discord
and the irresolution of the military leaders of Prussia. Brunswick, the
commander-in-chief, sketched the boldest plans, and shrank from the
responsibility of executing them. Hohenlohe, who commanded the left wing,
lost no opportunity of opposing his superior; the suggestions of officers
of real ability, like Scharnhorst, chief of the staff, fell unnoticed among
the wrangling of pedants and partisans. Brunswick, himself a man of great
intelligence though of little resolution, saw the true quality of the men
who surrounded him. "Rüchel," he cried, "is a tin trumpet, Möllendorf a
dotard, Kalkreuth a cunning trickster. The generals of division are a set
of stupid journeymen. Are these the people with whom one can make war on
Napoleon? No. The best service that I could render to the King would be to
persuade him to keep the peace." [132] It was ultimately decided, after two
days of argument, that the army should advance through the Thuringian
Forest, while feints on the right and left deceived the French as to its
real direction. The diplomatists, however, who were mad enough to think
that an ultimatum which they had just despatched to Paris would bring
Napoleon on to his knees, insisted that the opening of hostilities should
be deferred till the 8th of October, when the term of grace which they had
given to Napoleon would expire.

[Prussians at Erfurt, Oct. 4.]

A few days after this decision had been formed, intelligence arrived at
head-quarters that Napoleon himself was upon the Rhine. Before the
ultimatum reached the hands of General Knobelsdorff in Paris, Napoleon had
quitted the capital, and the astonished Ambassador could only send the
ultimatum in pursuit of him after he had gone to place himself at the head
of 200,000 men. The news that Napoleon was actually in Mainz confounded the
diplomatists in the Prussian camp, and produced an order for an immediate
advance. This was the wisest as well as the boldest determination that had
yet been formed; and an instant assault upon the French divisions on the
Main might perhaps even now have given the Prussian army the superiority in
the first encounter. But some fatal excuse was always at hand to justify
Brunswick in receding from his resolutions. A positive assurance was
brought into camp by Lucchesini that Napoleon had laid his plans for
remaining on the defensive on the south of the Thuringian Forest. If this
were true, there might yet be time to improve the plan of the campaign; and
on the 4th of October, when every hour was of priceless value, the forward
march was arrested, and a new series of deliberations began at the
head-quarters at Erfurt. In the council held on the 4th of October, a total
change in the plan of operations was urged by Hohenlohe's staff. They
contended, and rightly, that it was the design of Napoleon to pass the
Prussian army on the east by the valley of the Saale, and to cut it off
from the roads to the Elbe. The delay in Brunswick's movements had in fact
brought the French within striking distance of the Prussian communications.
Hohenlohe urged the King to draw back the army from Erfurt to the Saale, or
even to the east of it, in order to cover the roads to Leipzig and the
Elbe. His theory of Napoleon's movements, which was the correct one, was
adopted by the council, and the advance into the Thuringian Forest was
abandoned; but instead of immediately marching eastwards with the whole
army, the generals wasted two more days in hesitations and half-measures.
At length it was agreed that Hohenlohe should take post at Jena, and that
the mass of the army should fall back to Weimar, with the object of
striking a blow at some undetermined point on the line of Napoleon's

[Encounter at Saalfeld, Oct. 10.]

[Napoleon defeats Hohenlohe at Jena, Oct. 14.]

[Davoust defeats Brunswick at Auerstädt, Oct. 14.]

[Ruin of the Prussian Army.]

Napoleon, who had just received the Prussian ultimatum with unbounded
ridicule and contempt, was now moving along the roads that lead from
Bamberg and Baireuth to the Upper Saale. On the 10th of October, as the
division of Lannes was approaching Saalfeld, it was attacked by Prince
Louis Ferdinand at the head of Hohenlohe's advanced guard. The attack was
made against Hohenlohe's orders. It resulted in the total rout of the
Prussian force. Though the numbers engaged were small, the loss of
magazines and artillery, and the death of Prince Louis Ferdinand, the hero
of the war-party, gave to this first repulse the moral effect of a great
military disaster. Hohenlohe's troops at Jena were seized with panic;
numbers of men threw away their arms and dispersed; the drivers of
artillery-waggons and provision-carts cut the traces and rode off with
their horses. Brunswick, however, and the main body of the army, were now
at Weimar, close at hand; and if Brunswick had decided to fight a great
battle at Jena, the Prussians might have brought nearly 90,000 men into
action. But the plans of the irresolute commander were again changed. It
was resolved to fall back upon Magdeburg and the Elbe. Brunswick himself
moved northwards to Naumburg; Hohenlohe was ordered to hold the French in
check at Jena until this movement was completed. Napoleon reached Jena. He
had no intelligence of Brunswick's retreat, and imagined the mass of the
Prussian army to be gathered round Hohenlohe, on the plateau before him. He
sent Davoust, with a corps 27,000 strong, to outflank the enemy by a march
in the direction of Naumburg, and himself prepared to make the attack in
front with 90,000 men, a force more than double Hohenlohe's real army. The
attack was made on the 14th of October. Hohenlohe's army was dashed to
pieces by Napoleon, and fled in wild disorder. Davoust's weak corps, which
had not expected to meet with any important forces until it fell upon
Hohenlohe's flank, found itself in the presence of Brunswick's main army,
when it arrived at Auerstädt, a few miles to the north. Fortune had given
to the Prussian commander an extraordinary chance of retrieving what
strategy had lost. A battle conducted with common military skill would not
only have destroyed Davoust, but have secured, at least for the larger
portion of the Prussian forces, a safe retreat to Leipzig or the Elbe. The
French general, availing himself of steep and broken ground, defeated
numbers nearly double his own through the confusion of his adversary, who
sent up detachment after detachment instead of throwing himself upon
Davoust with his entire strength. The fighting was as furious on the
Prussian side as its conduct was unskilful. King Frederick William, who led
the earlier cavalry charges, had two horses killed under him. Brunswick was
mortally wounded. Many of the other generals were killed or disabled. There
remained, however, a sufficient number of unbroken regiments to preserve
some order in the retreat until the army came into contact with the remnant
of Hohenlohe's forces, flying for their lives before the cavalry of Murat.
Then all hope was lost. The fugitive mass struck panic and confusion into
the retreating columns; and with the exception of a few regiments which
gathered round well-known leaders, the soldiers threw away their arms and
spread over the country in headlong rout. There was no line of retreat, and
no rallying-point. The disaster of a single day made an end of the Prussian
army as a force capable of meeting the enemy in the field. A great part of
the troops was captured by the pursuing enemy during the next few days. The
regiments which preserved their coherence were too weak to make any attempt
to check Napoleon's advance, and could only hope to save themselves by
escaping to the fortresses on the Oder.

[Haugwitz and Lord Morpeth.]

[Retreat and surrender of Hohenlohe.]

Two days before the battle of Jena, an English envoy, Lord Morpeth, had
arrived at the head-quarters of the King of Prussia, claiming the
restoration of Hanover, and bearing an offer of the friendship and support
of Great Britain. At the moment when the Prussian monarchy was on the point
of being hurled to the ground, its Government might have been thought
likely to welcome any security that it should not be abandoned in its
utmost need. Haugwitz, however, was at head-quarters, dictating lying
bulletins, and perplexing the generals with ridiculous arguments of policy
until the French actually opened fire. When the English envoy made known
his arrival, he found that no one would transact business with him.
Haugwitz had determined to evade all negotiations until the battle had been
fought. He was unwilling to part with Hanover, and he hoped that a victory
over Napoleon would enable him to meet Lord Morpeth with a bolder
countenance on the following day. When that day arrived, Ministers and
diplomatists were flying headlong over the country. The King made his
escape to Weimar, and wrote to Napoleon, begging for an armistice; but the
armistice was refused, and the pursuit of the broken army was followed up
without a moment's pause. The capital offered no safe halting-place; and
Frederick William only rested when he had arrived at Graudenz, upon the
Vistula. Hohenlohe's poor remnant of an army passed the Elbe at Magdeburg,
and took the road for Stettin, at the mouth of the Oder, leaving Berlin to
its fate. The retreat was badly conducted; alternate halts and strained
marches discouraged the best of the soldiers. As the men passed their
native villages they abandoned the famishing and broken-spirited columns;
and at the end of a fortnight's disasters Prince Hohenlohe surrendered to
his pursuers at Prenzlau with his main body, now numbering only 10,000 men
(Oct. 28).

[Blücher at Lübeck.]

Blücher, who had shown the utmost energy and fortitude after the
catastrophe of Jena, was moving in the rear of Hohenlohe with a
considerable force which his courage had gathered around him. On learning
of Hohenlohe's capitulation, he instantly reversed his line of march, and
made for the Hanoverian fortress of Hameln, in order to continue the war in
the rear of the French. Overwhelming forces, however, cut off his retreat
to the Elbe; he was hemmed in on the east and on the west; and nothing
remained for him but to throw himself into the neutral town of Lübeck, and
fight until food and ammunition failed him. The French were at his heels.
The magistrates of Lübeck prayed that their city might not be made into a
battle-field, but in vain; Blücher refused to move into the open country.
The town was stormed by the French, and put to the sack. Blücher was driven
out, desperately fighting, and pent in between the Danish frontier and the
sea. Here, surrounded by overpowering numbers, without food, without
ammunition, he capitulated on the 7th of November, after his courage and
resolution had done everything that could ennoble both general and soldiers
in the midst of overwhelming calamity.

[Napoleon at Berlin, Oct. 27.]

[Capitulation of Prussian fortresses.]

The honour of entering the Prussian capital was given by Napoleon to
Davoust, whose victory at Auerstädt had in fact far surpassed his own.
Davoust entered Berlin without resistance on the 25th of October; Napoleon
himself went to Potsdam, and carried off the sword and the scarf that lay
upon the grave of Frederick the Great. Two days after Davoust, the Emperor
made his own triumphal entry into the capital. He assumed the part of the
protector of the people against the aristocracy, ordering the formation of
a municipal body and of a civic guard for the city of Berlin. The military
aristocracy he treated with the bitterest hatred and contempt. "I will make
that noblesse," he cried, "so poor that they shall beg their bread." The
disaster of Jena had indeed fearfully punished the insolence with which the
officers of the army had treated the rest of the nation. The Guards were
marched past the windows of the citizens of Berlin, a miserable troop of
captives; soldiers of rank who remained in the city had to attend upon the
French Emperor to receive his orders. But calamity was only beginning. The
overthrow of Jena had been caused by faults of generalship, and cast no
stain upon the courage of the officers; the surrender of the Prussian
fortresses, which began on the day when the French entered Berlin, attached
the utmost personal disgrace to their commanders. Even after the
destruction of the army in the field, Prussia's situation would not have
been hopeless if the commanders of fortresses had acted on the ordinary
rules of military duty. Magdeburg and the strongholds upon the Oder were
sufficiently armed and provisioned to detain the entire French army, and to
give time to the King to collect upon the Vistula a force as numerous as
that which he had lost. But whatever is weakest in human nature--old age,
fear, and credulity--seemed to have been placed at the head of Prussia's
defences. The very object for which fortresses exist was forgotten; and the
fact that one army had been beaten in the field was made a reason for
permitting the enemy to forestall the organisation of another. Spandau
surrendered on the 25th of October, Stettin on the 29th. These were places
of no great strength; but the next fortress to capitulate, Küstrin on the
Oder, was in full order for a long siege. It was surrendered by the older
officers, amidst the curses of the subalterns and the common soldiers: the
artillerymen had to be dragged from their guns by force. Magdeburg, with a
garrison of 24,000 men and enormous supplies, fell before a French force
not numerous enough to beleaguer it (Nov. 8).

[Napoleon's demands.]

Neither Napoleon himself nor any one else in Europe could have foreseen
such conduct on the part of the Prussian commanders. The unexpected series
of capitulations made him demand totally different terms of peace from
those which he had offered after the battle of Jena. A week after the
victory, Napoleon had demanded, as the price of peace, the cession of
Prussia's territory west of the Elbe, with the exception of the town of
Magdeburg, and the withdrawal of Prussia from the affairs of Germany. These
terms were communicated to King Frederick William; he accepted them, and
sent Lucchesini to Berlin to negotiate for peace upon this basis.
Lucchesini had scarcely reached the capital when the tidings arrived of
Hohenlohe's capitulation, followed by the surrender of Stettin and Küstrin.
The Prussian envoy now sought in vain to procure Napoleon's ratification of
the terms which he had himself proposed. No word of peace could be
obtained: an armistice was all that the Emperor would grant, and the terms
on which the armistice was offered rose with each new disaster to the
Prussian arms. On the fall of Magdeburg becoming known, Napoleon demanded
that the troops of Prussia should retire behind the Vistula, and surrender
every fortress that they still retained, with the single exception of
Königsberg. Much as Prussia had lost, it would have cost Napoleon a second
campaign to make himself master of what he now asked; but to such a depth
had the Prussian Government sunk, that Lucchesini actually signed a
convention at Charlottenburg (November 16), surrendering to Napoleon, in
return for an armistice, the entire list of uncaptured fortresses,
including Dantzig and Thorn on the Lower Vistula, Breslau, with the rest of
the untouched defences of Silesia, Warsaw and Praga in Prussian Poland, and
Colberg upon the Pomeranian coast. [133]

[Frederick William continues the war.]

The treaty, however, required the King's ratification. Frederick William,
timorous as he was, hesitated to confirm an agreement which ousted him from
his dominions as completely as if the last soldier of Prussia had gone into
captivity. The patriotic party, headed by Stein, pleaded for the honour of
the country against the miserable Cabinet which now sought to complete its
work of ruin. Assurances of support arrived from St. Petersburg. The King
determined to reject the treaty, and to continue the war to the last
extremity. Haugwitz hereupon tendered his resignation, and terminated a
political career disastrous beyond any recorded in modern times. For a
moment, it seemed as if the real interests of the country were at length to
be recognised in the appointment of Stein to one of the three principal
offices of State. But the King still remained blind to the necessity of
unity in the government, and angrily dismissed Stein when he refused to
hold the Ministry if representatives of the old Cabinet and of the
peace-party were to have places beside him. The King's act was ill
calculated to serve the interests of Prussia, either at home or abroad.
Stein was the one Minister on whom the patriotic party of Prussia and the
Governments of Europe could rely with perfect confidence. [134] His
dismissal at this crisis proved the incurable poverty of Frederick
William's mental nature; it also proved that, so long as any hope remained
of saving the Prussian State by the help of the Czar of Russia, the
patriotic party had little chance of creating a responsible government at

[Napoleon at Berlin.]

[The Berlin decree against English commerce, Nov. 21, 1806.]

Throughout the month of November French armies overran Northern Germany:
Napoleon himself remained at Berlin, and laid the foundations of a
political system corresponding to that which he had imposed upon Southern
Germany after the victory of Austerlitz. The Houses of Brunswick and
Hesse-Cassel were deposed, in order to create a new client-kingdom of
Westphalia; Saxony, with Weimar and four other duchies, entered the
Confederation of the Rhine. A measure more widely affecting the Continent
of Europe dated from the last days of the Emperor's residence at the
Prussian capital. On the 21st of November, 1806, a decree was published at
Berlin prohibiting the inhabitants of the entire European territory allied
with France from carrying on any commerce with Great Britain, or admitting
any merchandise that had been produced in Great Britain or in its colonies.
[135] The line of coast thus closed to the shipping and the produce of the
British Empire included everything from the Vistula to the southern point
of Dalmatia, with the exception of Denmark and Portugal and the Austrian
port of Trieste. All property belonging to English subjects, all
merchandise of British origin, whoever might be the owner, was ordered to
be confiscated: no vessel that had even touched at a British port was
permitted to enter a Continental harbour. It was the fixed purpose of
Napoleon to exhaust Great Britain, since he could not destroy its navies,
or, according to his own expression, to conquer England upon the Continent.
All that was most harsh and unjust in the operation of the Berlin Decree
fell, however, more upon Napoleon's own subjects than upon Great Britain.
The exclusion of British ships from the harbours of the allies of France
was no more than the exercise of a common right in war; even the seizure of
the property of Englishmen, though a violation of international law, bore
at least an analogy to the seizure of French property at sea; but the
confiscation of the merchandise of German and Dutch traders, after it had
lain for weeks in their own warehouses, solely because it had been produced
in the British Empire, was an act of flagrant and odious oppression. The
first result of the Berlin Decree was to fill the trading towns of North
Germany with French revenue-officers and inquisitors. Peaceable tradesmen
began to understand the import of the battle of Jena when French gendarmes
threw their stock into the common furnace, or dragged them to prison for
possessing a hogshead of Jamaica sugar or a bale of Leeds cloth. The
merchants who possessed a large quantity of English or colonial wares were
the heaviest sufferers by Napoleon's commercial policy: the public found
the markets supplied by American and Danish traders, until, at a later
period, the British Government adopted reprisals, and prevented the ships
of neutrals from entering any port from which English vessels were
excluded. Then every cottage felt the stress of the war. But if the full
consequences of the Berlin Decree were delayed until the retaliation of
Great Britain reached the dimensions of Napoleon's own tyranny, the Decree
itself marked on the part of Napoleon the assumption of a power in conflict
with the needs and habits of European life. Like most of the schemes of
Napoleon subsequent to the victories of 1806, it transgressed the limits of
practical statesmanship, and displayed an ambition no longer raised above
mere tyranny by its harmony with forms of progress and with the better
tendencies of the age.

[Napoleon and the Poles.]

Immediately after signing the Berlin Decree, Napoleon quitted the Prussian
capital (Nov. 25). The first act of the war had now closed. The Prussian
State was overthrown; its territory as far as the Vistula lay at the mercy
of the invader; its King was a fugitive at Königsberg, at the eastern
extremity of his dominions. The second act of the war began with the
rejection of the armistice which had been signed by Lucchesini, and with
the entry of Russia into the field against Napoleon. The scene of
hostilities was henceforward in Prussian Poland and in the Baltic Province
lying between the lower Vistula and the Russian frontier. Napoleon entered
Poland, as he had entered Italy ten years before, with the pretence of
restoring liberty to an enslaved people. Kosciusko's name was fraudulently
attached to a proclamation summoning the Polish nation to arms; and
although Kosciusko himself declined to place any trust in the betrayer of
Venice, thousands of his countrymen flocked to Napoleon's standard, or
anticipated his arrival by capturing and expelling the Prussian detachments
scattered through their country. Promises of the restoration of Polish
independence were given by Napoleon in abundance; but the cause of Poland
was the last to attract the sympathy of a man who considered the sacrifice
of the weak to the strong to be the first principle of all good policy. To
have attempted the restoration of Polish independence would have been to
make permanent enemies of Russia and Prussia for the sake of an ally weaker
than either of them. The project was not at this time seriously entertained
by Napoleon. He had no motive to face a work of such enormous difficulty as
the creation of a solid political order among the most unpractical race in
Europe. He was glad to enrol the Polish nobles among his soldiers; he knew
the value of their enthusiasm, and took pains to excite it; but, when the
battle was over, it was with Russia, not Poland, that France had to settle;
and no better fate remained, even for the Prussian provinces of Poland,
than in part to be formed into a client-state, in part to be surrendered as
a means of accommodation with the Czar.

[Campaign in Poland against Russia, Dec., 1806.]

The armies of Russia were at some distance from the Vistula when, in
November, 1806, Napoleon entered Polish territory. Their movements were
slow, their numbers insufficient. At the moment when all the forces of the
Empire were required for the struggle against Napoleon, troops were being
sent into Moldavia against the Sultan. Nor were the Russian commanders
anxious to save what still remained of the Prussian kingdom. The disasters
of Prussia, like those of Austria at the beginning of the campaign of 1805,
excited less sympathy than contempt; and the inclination of the Czar's
generals was rather to carry on the war upon the frontier of their own
country than to commit themselves to a distant campaign with a despised
ally. Lestocq, who commanded the remnant of the Prussian army upon the
Vistula, was therefore directed to abandon his position at Thorn and to
move eastwards. The French crossed the Vistula higher up the river; and by
the middle of December the armies of France and Russia lay opposite to one
another in the neighbourhood of Pultusk, upon the Ukra and the Narew. The
first encounter, though not of a decisive character, resulted in the
retreat of the Russians. Heavy rains and fathomless mud checked the
pursuit. War seemed almost impossible in such a country and such a climate;
and Napoleon ordered his troops to take up their winter quarters along the
Vistula, believing that nothing more could be attempted on either side
before the spring.

[Eylau, Feb. 8, 1807.]

[Napoleon and Bennigsen in East Prussia.]

But the command of the Russian forces was now transferred from the aged and
half-mad Kamenski, [136] who had opened the campaign, to a general better
qualified to cope with Napoleon. Bennigsen, the new commander-in-chief, was
an active and daring soldier. Though a German by birth, his soldiership was
of that dogged and resolute order which suits the character of Russian
troops; and, in the mid-winter of 1806, Napoleon found beyond the Vistula
such an enemy as he had never encountered in Western Europe. Bennigsen
conceived the design of surprising the extreme left of the French line,
where Ney's division lay stretched towards the Baltic, far to the
north-east of Napoleon's main body. Forest and marsh concealed the movement
of the Russian troops, and both Ney and Bernadotte narrowly escaped
destruction. Napoleon now broke up his winter quarters, and marched in
great force against Bennigsen in the district between Königsberg and the
mouth of the Vistula. Bennigsen manoeuvred and retired until his troops
clamoured for battle. He then took up a position at Eylau, and waited for
the attack of the French. The battle of Eylau, fought in the midst of
snowstorms on the 8th of February, 1807, was unlike anything that Napoleon
had ever yet seen. His columns threw themselves in vain upon the Russian
infantry. Augereau's corps was totally destroyed in the beginning of the
battle. The Russians pressed upon the ground where Napoleon himself stood;
and, although the superiority of the Emperor's tactics at length turned the
scale, and the French began a forward movement, their advance was stopped
by the arrival of Lestocq and a body of 13,000 Prussians. At the close of
the engagement 30,000 men lay wounded or dead in the snow; the positions of
the armies remained what they had been in the morning. Bennigsen's
lieutenants urged him to renew the combat on the next day; but the
confusion of the Russian army was such that the French, in spite of their
losses and discouragement, would probably have gained the victory in a
second battle; [137] and the Russian commander determined to fall back
towards Königsberg, content with having disabled the enemy and given
Napoleon such a check as he had never received before. Napoleon, who had
announced his intention of entering Königsberg in triumph, fell back upon
the river Passarge, and awaited the arrival of reinforcements.

[Sieges of Dantzig and Colberg, March, 1807.]

[Inaction of England.]

[Fall of Grenville's Ministry, March 24, 1807.]

[Treaty of Barrenstein between Russia, Prussia, England, and Sweden.
April, 1807.]

The warfare of the next few months was confined to the reduction of the
Prussian fortresses which had not yet fallen into the hands of the French.
Dantzig surrendered after a long and difficult siege; the little town of
Colberg upon the Pomeranian coast prolonged a defence as honourable to its
inhabitants as to the military leaders. Two soldiers of singularly
different character, each destined to play a conspicuous part in coming
years, first distinguished themselves in the defence of Colberg. Gneisenau,
a scientific soldier of the highest order, the future guide of Blücher's
victorious campaigns, commanded the garrison; Schill, a cavalry officer of
adventurous daring, gathered round him a troop of hardy riders, and
harassed the French with an audacity as perplexing to his military
superiors as to the enemy. The citizens, led by their burgomaster, threw
themselves into the work of defence with a vigour in striking contrast to
the general apathy of the Prussian people; and up to the end of the war
Colberg remained uncaptured. Obscure as Colberg was, its defence might have
given a new turn to the war if the Government of Great Britain had listened
to the entreaties of the Emperor Alexander, and despatched a force to the
Baltic to threaten the communications of Napoleon. The task was not a
difficult one for a Power which could find troops, as England now did, to
send to Constantinople, to Alexandria, and to Buenos Ayres; but military
judgment was more than ever wanting to the British Cabinet. Fox had died at
the beginning of the war; his successors in Grenville's Ministry, though
they possessed a sound theory of foreign policy, [138] were not fortunate
in its application, nor were they prompt enough in giving financial help to
their allies. Suddenly, however, King George quarrelled with his Ministers
upon the ancient question of Catholic Disabilities, and drove them from
office (March 24). The country sided with the King. A Ministry came into
power, composed of the old supporters of Pitt, men, with the exception of
Canning and Castlereagh, of narrow views and poor capacity, headed by the
Duke of Portland, who, in 1793, had given his name to the section of the
Whig party which joined Pitt. The foreign policy of the new Cabinet, which
concealed its total lack of all other statesmanship, returned to the lines
laid down by Pitt in 1805. Negotiations were opened with Russia for the
despatch of an English army to the Baltic; arms and money were promised to
the Prussian King. For a moment it seemed as if the Powers of Europe had
never been united in so cordial a league. The Czar embraced the King of
Prussia in the midst of his soldiers, and declared with tears that the two
should stand or fall together. The Treaty of Bartenstein, signed in April
1807 pledged the Courts of St. Petersburg, Stockholm, and Berlin to a joint
prosecution of the war, and the common conclusion of peace. Great Britain
joined the pact, and prepared to fulfil its part in the conflict upon the
Baltic. But the task was a difficult one, for Grenville's Ministry had
dispersed the fleet of transports; and, although Canning determined upon
the Baltic expedition in April, two months passed before the fleet was
ready to sail.

[Summer campaign in East Prussia, 1807.]

[Battle of Friedland.]

In the meantime army upon army was moving to the support of Napoleon, from
France, from Spain, from Holland, and from Southern Germany. The fortresses
of the Elbe and the Oder, which ought to have been his barrier, had become
his base of operations; and so enormous were the forces at his command,
that, after manning every stronghold in Central Europe, he was able at the
beginning of June to bring 140,000 men into the field beyond the Vistula.
The Russians had also received reinforcements, but Bennigsen's army was
still weaker than that of the enemy. It was Bennigsen, nevertheless, who
began the attack; and now, as in the winter campaign, he attempted to
surprise and crush the northern corps of Ney. The same general movement of
the French army followed as in January. The Russian commander, outnumbered
by the French, retired to his fortified camp at Heilsberg. After sustaining
a bloody repulse in an attack upon this position, Napoleon drew Bennigsen
from his lair by marching straight upon Königsberg. Bennigsen supposed
himself to be in time to deal with an isolated corps; he found himself face
to face with the whole forces of the enemy at Friedland, accepted battle,
and was unable to save his army from a severe and decisive defeat (June
14). The victory of Friedland brought the French into Königsberg. Bennigsen
retired behind the Niemen; and on the 19th of June an armistice closed the
operations of the hostile forces upon the frontiers of Russia. [139]

The situation of Bennigsen's army was by no means desperate. His men had
not been surrounded; they had lost scarcely any prisoners; they felt no
fear of the French. But the general exaggerated the seriousness of his
defeat. Like most of his officers, he was weary of the war, and felt no
sympathy with the motives which led the Emperor to fight for the common
cause of Europe. The politicians who surrounded Alexander urged him to
withdraw Russia from a conflict in which she had nothing to gain. The
Emperor wavered. The tardiness of Great Britain, the continued neutrality
of Austria, cast a doubt upon the wisdom of his own disinterestedness; and
he determined to meet Napoleon, and ascertain the terms on which Russia
might be reconciled to the master of half the Continent.

[Interview of Napoleon and Alexander at Tilsit, June 25.]

On the 25th of June the two sovereigns met one another on the raft of
Tilsit, in the midstream of the river Niemen. The conversation, which is
alleged to have been opened by Alexander with an expression of hatred
towards England, was heard by no one but the speakers. But whatever the
eagerness or the reluctance of the Russian monarch to sever himself from
Great Britain, the purpose of Napoleon was effected. Alexander surrendered
himself to the addresses of a conqueror who seemed to ask for nothing and
to offer everything. The negotiations were prolonged; the relations of the
two monarchs became more and more intimate; and the issue of the struggle
for life or death was that Russia accepted the whole scheme of Napoleonic
conquest, and took its place by the side of the despoiler in return for its
share of the prey. It was in vain that the King of Prussia had rejected
Napoleon's offers after the battle of Eylau, in fidelity to his engagements
towards his ally. Promises, treaties, and pity were alike cast to the
winds. The unfortunate Frederick William received no more embraces; the
friend with whom he was to stand or fall bargained away the larger half of
his dominions to Napoleon, and even rectified the Russian frontier at his
expense. Prussia's continued existence in any shape whatever was described
as a concession made by Napoleon to Alexander. By the public articles of
the Treaties of Tilsit, signed by France, Russia, and Prussia in the first
week of July, the King of Prussia ceded to Napoleon the whole of his
dominions west of the Elbe, and the entire territory which Prussia had
gained in the three partitions of Poland, with the exception of a district
upon the Lower Vistula connecting Pomerania with Eastern Prussia. Out of
the ceded territory on the west of the Elbe a Kingdom of Westphalia was
created for Napoleon's brother Jerome; the Polish provinces of Prussia,
with the exception of a strip made over to Alexander, were formed into the
Grand-Duchy of Warsaw, and presented to Napoleon's vassal, the King of
Saxony. Russia recognised the Napoleonic client-states in Italy, Holland,
and Germany. The Czar undertook to offer his mediation in the conflict
between France and Great Britain; a secret article provided that, in the
event of Great Britain and France being at war on the ensuing 1st of
December, Prussia should declare war against Great Britain.

[Secret Treaty of Alliance.]

[Conspiracy of the two Emperors.]

Such were the stipulations contained in the formal Treaties of Peace
between the three Powers. These, however, contained but a small part of the
terms agreed upon between the masters of the east and of the west.
A secret Treaty of Alliance, distinct from the Treaty of Peace, was also
signed by Napoleon and Alexander. In the conversations which won over the
Czar to the cause of France, Napoleon had offered to Alexander the spoils
of Sweden and the Ottoman Empire. Finland and the Danubian provinces were
not too high a price for the support of a Power whose arms could paralyse
Austria and Prussia. In return for the promise of this extension of his
Empire, Alexander undertook, in the event of Great Britain refusing terms
of peace dictated by himself, to unite his arms to those of Napoleon, and
to force the neutral maritime Powers, Denmark and Portugal, to take part in
the struggle against England. The annexation of Moldavia and Wallachia to
the Russian Empire was provided for under the form of a French mediation.
In the event of the Porte declining this mediation, Napoleon undertook to
assist Russia to liberate all the European territory subject to the yoke of
the Sultan, with the exception of Roumelia and Constantinople. A partition
of the liberated territory between France and Russia, as well as the
establishment of the Napoleonic house in Spain, probably formed the subject
rather of a verbal understanding than of any written agreement. [140]

Such was this vast and threatening scheme, conceived by the man whose whole
career had been one consistent struggle for personal domination, accepted
by the man who among the rulers of the Continent had hitherto shown the
greatest power of acting for a European end, and of interesting himself in
a cause not directly his own. In the imagination of Napoleon, the national
forces of the western continent had now ceased to exist. Austria excepted,
there was no State upon the mainland whose army and navy were not
prospectively in the hands of himself and his new ally. The commerce of
Great Britain, already excluded from the greater part of Europe, was now to
be shut out from all the rest; the armies which had hitherto fought under
British subsidies for the independence of Europe, the navies which had
preserved their existence by neutrality or by friendship with England, were
soon to be thrown without distinction against that last foe. If even at
this moment an English statesman who had learnt the secret agreement of
Tilsit might have looked without fear to the future of his country, it was
not from any imperfection in the structure of Continental tyranny. The
fleets of Denmark and Portugal might be of little real avail against
English seamen; the homes of the English people might still be as secure
from foreign invasion as when Nelson guarded the seas; but it was not from
any vestige of political honour surviving in the Emperor Alexander. Where
Alexander's action was of decisive importance, in his mediation between
France and Prussia, he threw himself without scruple on to the side of
oppression. It lay within his power to gain terms of peace for Prussia as
lenient as those which Austria had gained at Campo Formio and at Lunéville:
he sacrificed Prussia, as he allied himself against the last upholders of
national independence in Europe, in order that he might himself receive
Finland and the Danubian Provinces.

[English expedition against Denmark, July, 1807.]

Two days before the signature of the Treaty of Tilsit the British troops
which had once been so anxiously expected by the Czar landed in the island
of Rügen. The struggle in which they were intended to take their part was
over. Sweden alone remained in arms; and even the Quixotic pugnacity of
King Gustavus was unable to save Stralsund from a speedy capitulation. But
the troops of Great Britain were not destined to return without striking a
blow. The negotiations between Napoleon and Alexander had scarcely begun,
when secret intelligence of their purport was sent to the British
Government. [141] It became known in London that the fleet of Denmark was
to be seized by Napoleon, and forced to fight against Great Britain.
Canning and his colleagues acted with the promptitude that seldom failed
the British Government when it could effect its object by the fleet alone.
They determined to anticipate Napoleon's violation of Danish neutrality,
and to seize upon the navy which would otherwise be seized by France and

[Bombardment of Copenhagen, Sept. 2.]

On the 28th of July a fleet with 20,000 men on board set sail from the
British coast. The troops landed in Denmark in the middle of August, and
united with the corps which had already been despatched to Rügen. The
Danish Government was summoned to place its navy in the hands of Great
Britain, in order that it might remain as a deposit in some British port
until the conclusion of peace. While demanding this sacrifice of Danish
neutrality, England undertook to protect the Danish nation and colonies
from the hostility of Napoleon, and to place at the disposal of its
Government every means of naval and military defence. Failing the surrender
of the fleet, the English declared that they would bombard Copenhagen. The
reply given to this summons was such as might be expected from a courageous
nation exasperated against Great Britain by its harsh treatment of neutral
ships of commerce, and inclined to submit to the despot of the Continent
rather than to the tyrants of the seas. Negotiations proved fruitless, and
on the 2nd of September the English opened fire on Copenhagen. For three
days and nights the city underwent a bombardment of cruel efficiency.
Eighteen hundred houses were levelled, the town was set on fire in several
places, and a large number of the inhabitants lost their lives. At length
the commander found himself compelled to capitulate. The fleet was handed
over to Great Britain, with all the stores in the arsenal of Copenhagen. It
was brought to England, no longer under the terms of a friendly neutrality,
but as a prize of war.

The captors themselves were ashamed of their spoil. England received an
armament which had been taken from a people who were not our enemies, and
by an attack which was not war, with more misgiving than applause. In
Europe the seemingly unprovoked assault upon a weak neutral State excited
the utmost indignation. The British Ministry, who were prevented from
making public the evidence which they had received of the intention of the
two Emperors, were believed to have invented the story of the Secret
Treaty. The Danish Government denied that Napoleon had demanded their
co-operation; Napoleon and Alexander themselves assumed the air of
indignant astonishment. But the facts alleged by Canning and his colleagues
were correct. The conspiracy of the two Emperors was no fiction. The only
question still remaining open--and this is indeed an essential one--relates
to the engagements entered into by the Danish Government itself. Napoleon
in his correspondence of this date alludes to certain promises made to him
by the Court of Denmark, but he also complains that these promises had not
been fulfilled; and the context of the letter renders it almost certain
that, whatever may have been demanded by Napoleon, nothing more was
promised by Denmark than that its ports should be closed to English
vessels. [142] Had the British Cabinet possessed evidence of the
determination of the Danish Government to transfer its fleet to Napoleon
without resistance, the attack upon Denmark, considered as virtually an act
of war, would not have been unjust. But beyond an alleged expression of
Napoleon at Tilsit, no such evidence was even stated to have reached
London; and the undoubted conspiracy of the Emperors against Danish
neutrality was no sufficient ground for an action on the part of Great
Britain which went so far beyond the mere frustration of their designs. The
surrender of the Danish fleet demanded by England would have been an
unqualified act of war on the part of Denmark against Napoleon; it was no
mere guarantee for a continued neutrality. Nor had the British Government
the last excuse of an urgent and overwhelming necessity. Nineteen Danish
men-of-war would not have turned the scale against England. The memory of
Trafalgar might well have given a British Ministry courage to meet its
enemies by the ordinary methods of war. Had the forces of Denmark been far
larger than they actually were, the peril of Great Britain was not so
extreme as to excuse the wrong done to mankind by an example encouraging
all future belligerents to anticipate one another in forcing each neutral
state to take part with themselves.

[Napoleon's demands upon Portugal.]

The fleet which Napoleon had meant to turn against this country now lay
safe within Portsmouth harbour. Denmark, in bitter resentment, declared war
against Great Britain, and rendered some service to the Continental League
by the attacks of its privateers upon British merchant-vessels in the
Baltic. The second neutral Power whose fate had been decided by the two
Emperors at Tilsit received the summons of Napoleon a few days before the
attack on Copenhagen. The Regent of Portugal himself informed the British
Government that he had been required by Napoleon to close his ports to
British vessels, to declare war on England, and to confiscate all British
property within his dominions. Placed between a Power which could strip him
of his dominions on land, and one which could despoil him of everything he
possessed beyond the sea, the Regent determined to maintain his ancient
friendship with Great Britain, and to submit to Napoleon only in so far as
the English Government would excuse him, as acting under coercion. Although
a nominal state of war arose between Portugal and England, the Regent
really acted in the interest of England, and followed the advice of the
British Cabinet up to the end.

[Treaty of Fontainebleau between France and Spain for the partition of
Portugal, Oct. 27.]

The end was soon to come. The demands of Napoleon, arbitrary and oppressive
as they were, by no means expressed his full intentions towards Portugal.
He had determined to seize upon this country, and to employ it as a means
for extending his own dominion over the whole of the Spanish Peninsula. An
army-corps, under the command of Junot, had been already placed in the
Pyrenees. On the 12th of October Napoleon received the answer of the Regent
of Portugal, consenting to declare war upon England, and only rejecting the
dishonourable order to confiscate all English property. This single act of
resistance was sufficient for Napoleon's purpose. He immediately recalled
his ambassador from Lisbon, and gave orders to Junot to cross the frontier,
and march upon Portugal. The King of Spain, who was to be Napoleon's next
victim, was for the moment employed as his accomplice. A treaty was
concluded at Fontainebleau between Napoleon and King Charles IV. for the
partition of Portugal (Oct. 27). [143] In return for the cession of the
kingdom of Etruria, which was still nominally governed by a member of the
Spanish house, the King of Spain was promised half the Portuguese colonies,
along with the title of Emperor of the Indies; the northern provinces of
Portugal were reserved for the infant King of Etruria, its southern
provinces for Godoy, Minister of Charles IV.; the central districts were to
remain in the hands of France, and to be employed as a means of regaining
the Spanish colonies from England upon the conclusion of a general peace.

[Junot invades Portugal, Nov., 1807.]

[Flight of the House of Braganza.]

Not one of these provisions was intended to be carried into effect. The
conquest of Portugal was but a part of the conquest of the whole peninsula.
But neither the Spanish Court nor the Spanish people suspected Napoleon's
design. Junot advanced without resistance through the intervening Spanish
territory, and pushed forward upon Lisbon with the utmost haste. The speed
at which Napoleon's orders forced him to march reduced his army to utter
prostration, and the least resistance would have resulted in its ruin. But
the Court of Lisbon had determined to quit a country which they could not
hope to defend against the master of the Continent. Already in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the House of Braganza had been
familiar with the project of transferring the seat of their Government to
Brazil; and now, with the approval of Great Britain, the Regent resolved to
maintain the independence of his family by flight across the Atlantic. As
Junot's troops approached the capital, the servants of the palace hastily
stowed the royal property on ship-board. On the 29th of November, when the
French were now close at hand, the squadron which bore the House of
Braganza to its colonial home dropped down the Tagus, saluted by the cannon
of the English fleet that lay in the same river. Junot entered the capital
a few hours later, and placed himself at the head of the Government without
encountering any opposition. The occupation of Portugal was described by
Napoleon as a reprisal for the bombardment of Copenhagen. It excited but
little attention in Europe; and even at the Spanish Court the only feeling
was one of satisfaction at the approaching aggrandisement of the Bourbon
monarchy. The full significance of Napoleon's intervention in the affairs
of the Peninsula was not discovered until some months were passed.

[Prussia after the Peace of Tilsit.]

[Stein Minister, Oct. 5, 1807.]

Portugal and Denmark had felt the consequences of the peace made at Tilsit.
Less, however, depended upon the fate of the Danish fleet and the
Portuguese Royal Family than upon the fate of Prussia, the most cruelly
wronged of all the victims sacrificed by Alexander's ambition. The
unfortunate Prussian State, reduced to half its former extent, devastated
and impoverished by war, and burdened with the support of a French army,
found in the crisis of its ruin the beginning of a worthier national life.
Napoleon, in his own vindictive jealousy, unwittingly brought to the head
of the Prussian Government the ablest and most patriotic statesman of the
Continent. Since the spring of 1807 Baron Hardenberg had again been the
leading Minister of Prussia, and it was to his counsel that the King's
honourable rejection of a separate peace after the battle of Eylau was due.
Napoleon could not permit this Minister, whom he had already branded as a
partisan of Great Britain, to remain in power; he insisted upon
Hardenberg's dismissal, and recommended the King of Prussia to summon
Stein, who was as yet known to Napoleon only as a skilful financier, likely
to succeed in raising the money which the French intended to extort.

[Edict of Emancipation, Oct. 9, 1807.]

Stein entered upon office on the 5th of October, 1807, with almost
dictatorial power. The need of the most radical changes in the public
services, as well as in the social order of the Prussian State, had been
brought home to all enlightened men by the disasters of the war; and a
commission, which included among its members the historian Niebuhr, had
already sketched large measures of reform before Hardenberg quitted office.
Stein's appointment brought to the head of the State a man immeasurably
superior to Hardenberg in the energy necessary for the execution of great
changes, and gave to those who were the most sincerely engaged in civil or
military reform a leader unrivalled in patriotic zeal, in boldness, and in
purity of character. The first great legislative measure of Stein was the
abolition of serfage, and of all the legal distinctions which fixed within
the limits of their caste the noble, the citizen, and the peasant. In
setting his name to the edict [144] which, on the 9th of October, 1807,
made an end of the mediæval framework of Prussian society, Stein was indeed
but consummating a change which the progress of neighbouring States must
have forced upon Prussia, whoever held its government. The Decree was
framed upon the report of Hardenberg's Commission, and was published by
Stein within six days after his own entry upon office. Great as were the
changes involved in this edict of emancipation, it contained no more than
was necessary to bring Prussia up to the level of the least advanced of the
western Continental States. In Austria pure serfage had been abolished by
Maria Theresa thirty years before; it vanished, along with most of the
legal distinctions of class, wherever the victories of France carried a new
political order; even the misused peasantry of Poland had been freed from
their degrading yoke within the borders of the newly-founded Duchy of
Warsaw. If Prussia was not to renounce its partnership in European progress
and range itself with its barbarous eastern neighbour, that order which
fettered the peasant to the soil, and limited every Prussian to the
hereditary occupations of his class could no longer be maintained. It is
not as an achievement of individual genius, but as the most vivid
expression of the differences between the old and the new Europe, that the
first measure of Stein deserves a closer examination.

[The Prussian peasant before and after the Edict of Oct. 9.]

The Edict of October 9, 1807, extinguished all personal servitude; it
permitted the noble, the citizen, and the peasant to follow any calling; it
abolished the rule which prevented land held by a member of one class from
passing into the hands of another class; it empowered families to free
their estates from entail. Taken together, these enactments substitute the
free disposition of labour and property for the outworn doctrine which
Prussia had inherited from the feudal ages, that what a man is born that he
shall live and die. The extinction of serfage, though not the most
prominent provision of the Edict, was the one whose effects were the
soonest felt. In the greater part of Prussia the marks of serfage, as
distinct from payments and services amounting to a kind of rent, were the
obligation of the peasant to remain on his holding, and the right of the
lord to take the peasant's children as unpaid servants into his house. A
general relation of obedience and command existed, as between an hereditary
subject and master, although the lord could neither exact an arbitrary
amount of labour nor inflict the cruel punishments which had been common in
Poland and Hungary. What the villein was in England in the thirteenth
century, that the serf was in Prussia in the year 1806; and the change
which in England gradually elevated the villein into the free copyholder
was that change which, so many centuries later, the Prussian legislator
effected by one great measure. Stein made the Prussian peasant what the
English copyholder had become at the accession of Henry VII., and what the
French peasant had been before 1789, a free person, but one bound to render
fixed dues and service to the lord of the manor in virtue of the occupation
of his land. These feudal dues and services, which the French peasant,
accustomed for centuries before the Revolution to consider himself as the
full proprietor of the land, treated as a mere grievance and abuse, Stein
considered to be the best form in which the joint interest of the lord and
the peasant could be maintained. It was reserved for Hardenberg, four years
later, to free the peasant from all obligations towards his lord, and to
place him in unshackled proprietorship of two-thirds of his former holding,
the lord receiving the remaining one-third in compensation for the loss of
feudal dues. Neither Stein nor Hardenberg interfered with the right of the
lord to act as judge and police-magistrate within the limits of his manor;
and the hereditary legal jurisdiction, which was abolished in Scotland in
1747, and in France in 1789, continued unchanged in Prussia down to the
year 1848.

[Relative position of the peasant in Prussia and England.]

The history of Agrarian Reform upon the Continent shows how vast was the
interval of time by which some of the greatest social changes in England
had anticipated the corresponding changes in almost all other nations. But
if the Prussian peasant at the beginning of this century remained in the
servile condition which had passed out of mind in Great Britain before the
Reformation, the early prosperity of the peasant in England was dearly
purchased by a subsequent decline which has made his present lot far
inferior to that of the children or grandchildren of the Prussian serf.
However heavy the load of the Prussian serf, his holding was at least
protected by law from absorption into the domain of his lord. Before
sufficient capital had been amassed in Prussia to render landed property an
object of competition, the forced military service of Frederick had made it
a rule of State that the farmsteads of the peasant class must remain
undiminished in number, at whatever violence to the laws of the market or
the desires of great landlords. No process was permitted to take place
corresponding to that by which in England, after the villein had become the
free copyholder, the lord, with or without technical legal right,
terminated the copyhold tenure of his retainer, and made the land as much
his own exclusive property as the chairs and tables in his house. In
Prussia, if the law kept the peasant on the land, it also kept the land for
the peasant. Economic conditions, in the absence of such control in
England, worked against the class of small holders. Their early
enfranchisement in fact contributed to their extinction. It would perhaps
have been better for the English labouring class to remain bound by a
semi-servile tie to their land, than to gain a free holding which the law,
siding with the landlord, treated as terminable at the expiration of
particular lives, and which the increasing capital of the rich made its
favourite prey. It is little profit to the landless, resourceless English
labourer to know that his ancestor was a yeoman when the Prussian was a
serf. Long as the bondage of the peasant on the mainland endured,
prosperity came at last. The conditions which once distinguished
agricultural England from the Continent are now reversed. Nowhere on the
Continent is there a labouring class so stripped and despoiled of all
interest in the soil, so sedulously excluded from all possibilities of
proprietorship, as in England. In England alone the absence of internal
revolution and foreign pressure has preserved a class whom a life spent in
toil leaves as bare and dependent as when it began, and to whom the only
boon which their country can offer is the education which may lead them to
quit it.

[Reform of Prussian Army.]

[Short service.]

Besides the commission which had drafted the Edict of Emancipation, Stein
found a military commission engaged on a plan for the reorganisation of the
Prussian army. The existing system forced the peasant to serve in the ranks
for twenty years, and drew the officers from the nobility, leaving the
inhabitants of towns without either the duty or the right to enter the army
at all. Since the battle of Jena, no one doubted that the principle of
universal liability to military service must be introduced into Prussia; on
the other hand, the very disasters of the State rendered it impossible to
maintain an army on anything approaching to its former scale. With half its
territory torn from it, and the remainder devastated by war, Prussia could
barely afford to keep 40,000 soldiers in arms. Such were the conditions
laid before the men who were charged with the construction of a new
Prussian military system. Their conclusions, imperfect in themselves, and
but partially carried out in the succeeding years, have nevertheless been
the basis of the latest military organisation of Prussia and of Europe
generally. The problem was solved by the adoption of a short period of
service and the rapid drafting of the trained conscript into a
reserve-force. Scharnhorst, President of the Military Commission, to whom
more than to any one man Prussia owed its military revival, proposed to
maintain an Active Army of 40,000 men; a Reserve, into which soldiers
should pass after short service in the active army; a Landwehr, to be
employed only for the internal defence of the country; and a Landsturm, or
general arming of the population, for a species of guerilla warfare.
Scharnhorst's project was warmly supported by Stein, who held a seat and a
vote on the Military Commission; and the system of short service, with a
Reserve, was immediately brought into action, though on a very limited
scale. The remainder of the scheme had to wait for the assistance of
events. The principle of universal military obligation was first proclaimed
in the war of 1813, when also the Landwehr was first enrolled.

[Stein's plans of political reform.]

[Design for a Parliament, for Municipalities, and District boards.]

The reorganisation of the Prussian military system and the emancipation of
the peasant, though promoted by Stein's accession to power, did not
originate in Stein himself; the distinctive work of Stein was a great
scheme of political reform. Had Stein remained longer in power, he would
have given to Prussia at least the beginnings of constitutional government.
Events drove him from office when but a small part of his project was
carried into effect; but the project itself was great and comprehensive. He
designed to give Prussia a Parliament, and to establish a system of
self-government in its towns and country districts. Stein had visited
England in his youth. The history and the literature of England interested
him beyond those of any other country; and he had learnt from England that
the partnership of the nation in the work of government, so far from
weakening authority, animates it with a force which no despotic system can
long preserve. Almost every important State-paper written by Stein
denounces the apathy of the civil population of Prussia, and attributes it
to their exclusion from all exercise of public duties. He declared that the
nation must be raised from its torpor by the establishment of
representative government and the creation of free local institutions in
town and country. Stein was no friend of democracy. Like every other
Prussian statesman he took for granted the exercise of a vigorous
monarchical power at the centre of the State; but around the permanent
executive he desired to gather the Council of the Nation, checking at least
the caprices of Cabinet-rule, and making the opinion of the people felt by
the monarch. Stein's Parliament would have been a far weaker body than the
English House of Commons, but it was at least not intended to be a mockery,
like those legislative bodies which Napoleon and his clients erected as the
disguise of despotism. The transaction of local business in the towns and
country districts, which had hitherto belonged to officials of the Crown,
Stein desired to transfer in part to bodies elected by the inhabitants
themselves. The functions allotted to the new municipal bodies illustrated
the modest and cautious nature of Stein's attempt in the direction of
self-government, including no more than the care of the poor, the
superintendence of schools, and the maintenance of streets and public
buildings. Finance remained partly, police wholly, in the hands of the
central Government. Equally limited were the powers which Stein proposed to
entrust to the district councils elected by the rural population. In
comparison with the self-government of England or America, the
self-government which Stein would have introduced into Prussia was of the
most elementary character; yet his policy stood out in striking contrast to
that which in every client-state of Napoleon was now crushing out the last
elements of local independence under a rigid official centralisation.

[Municipal reform alone carried out.]

Stein was indeed unable to transform Prussia as he desired. Of the
legislative, the municipal, and the district reforms which he had sketched,
the municipal reform was the only one which he had time to carry out before
being driven from power; and for forty years the municipal institutions
created by Stein were the only fragment of liberty which Prussia enjoyed. A
vehement opposition to reform was excited among the landowners, and
supported by a powerful party at the Court. Stein was detested by the
nobles whose peasants he had emancipated, and by the Berlin aristocracy,
which for the last ten years had maintained the policy of friendship with
France, and now declared the only safety of the Prussian State to lie in
unconditional submission to Napoleon. The fire of patriotism, of energy, of
self-sacrifice, which burned in Stein made him no representative of the
Prussian governing classes of his time. It was not long before the
landowners, who deemed him a Jacobin, and the friends of the French, who
called him a madman, had the satisfaction of seeing the Minister sent into
banishment by order of Napoleon himself (Dec., 1808). Stein left the
greater part of his work uncompleted, but he had not laboured in vain. The
years of his ministry in 1807 and 1808 were the years that gathered
together everything that was worthiest in Prussia in the dawn of a national
revival, and prepared the way for that great movement in which, after an
interval of the deepest gloom, Stein was himself to light the nation to its


Spain in 1806--Napoleon uses the quarrel between Ferdinand and Godoy--He
affects to be Ferdinand's protector--Dupont's army enters Spain--Murat in
Spain--Charles abdicates--Ferdinand King--Savary brings Ferdinand to
Bayonne--Napoleon makes both Charles and Ferdinand resign--Spirit of the
Spanish Nation--Contrast with Germany--Rising of all Spain--The Notables at
Bayonne--Campaign of 1808--Capitulation of Baylen--Wellesley lands in
Portugal--Vimieiro--Convention of Cintra--Effect of the Spanish Rising on
Europe--War Party in Prussia--Napoleon and Alexander at Erfurt--Stein
resigns, and is proscribed--Napoleon in Spain--Spanish Misgovernment--
Campaign on the Ebro--Campaign of Sir John Moore--Corunna--Napoleon
leaves Spain--Siege of Saragossa--Successes of the French.

[Spanish affairs, 1793-1806.]

[Spain in 1806.]

Spain, which had played so insignificant a part throughout the
Revolutionary War, was now about to become the theatre of events that
opened a new world of hope to Europe. Its King, the Bourbon Charles IV.,
was more weak and more pitiful than any sovereign of the age. Power
belonged to the Queen and to her paramour Godoy, who for the last fourteen
years had so conducted the affairs of the country that every change in its
policy had brought with it new disaster. In the war of the First Coalition
Spain had joined the Allies, and French armies had crossed the Pyrenees. In
1796 Spain entered the service of France, and lost the battle of St.
Vincent. At the Peace of Amiens, Napoleon surrendered its colony Trinidad
to England; on the renewal of the war he again forced it into hostilities
with Great Britain, and brought upon it the disaster of Trafalgar. This
unbroken humiliation of the Spanish arms, combined with intolerable
oppression and impoverishment at home, raised so bitter an outcry against
Godoy's government, that foreign observers, who underrated the loyalty of
the Spanish people, believed the country to be on the verge of revolution.
At the Court itself the Crown Prince Ferdinand, under the influence of his
Neapolitan wife, headed a party in opposition to Godoy and the supporters
of French dominion. Godoy, insecure at home, threw himself the more
unreservedly into the arms of Napoleon, who bestowed upon him a
contemptuous patronage, and flattered him with the promise of an
independent principality in Portugal. Izquierdo, Godoy's agent at Paris,
received proposals from Napoleon which were concealed from the Spanish
Ambassador; and during the first months of 1806 Napoleon possessed no more
devoted servant than the man who virtually held the government of Spain.

[Spain intends to join Prussia in 1806.]

The opening of negotiations between Napoleon and Fox's Ministry in May,
1806, first shook this relation of confidence and obedience. Peace between
France and England involved the abandonment on the part of Napoleon of any
attack upon Portugal; and Napoleon now began to meet Godoy's inquiries
after his Portuguese principality with an ominous silence. The next
intelligence received was that the Spanish Balearic Islands had been
offered by Napoleon to Great Britain, with the view of providing an
indemnity for Ferdinand of Naples, if he should give up Sicily to Joseph
Bonaparte (July, 1806.) This contemptuous appropriation of Spanish
territory, without even the pretence of consulting the Spanish Government,
excited scarcely less anger at Madrid than the corresponding proposal with
regard to Hanover excited at Berlin. The Court began to meditate a change
of policy, and watched the events which were leading Prussia to arm for the
war of 1806. A few weeks more passed, and news arrived that Buenos Ayres,
the capital of Spanish South America, had fallen into the hands of the
English. This disaster produced the deepest impression, for the loss of
Buenos Ayres was believed, and with good reason, to be but the prelude to
the loss of the entire American empire of Spain. Continuance of the war
with England was certain ruin; alliance with the enemies of Napoleon was at
least not hopeless, now that Prussia was on the point of throwing its army
into the scale against France. An agent was despatched by the Spanish
Government to London (Sept., 1806); and, upon the commencement of
hostilities by Prussia, a proclamation was issued by Godoy, which, without
naming any actual enemy, summoned the Spanish people to prepare for a war
on behalf of their country.

[Treaty of Fontainebleau, Oct., 1807.]

Scarcely had the manifesto been read by the Spaniards when the Prussian
army was annihilated at Jena. The dream of resistance to Napoleon vanished
away; the only anxiety of the Spanish Government was to escape from the
consequences of its untimely daring. Godoy hastened to explain that his
martial proclamation had been directed not against the Emperor of the
French, but against the Emperor of Morocco. Napoleon professed himself
satisfied with this palpable absurdity: it appeared as if the events of the
last few months had left no trace on his mind. Immediately after the Peace
of Tilsit he resumed his negotiations with Godoy upon the old friendly
footing, and brought them to a conclusion in the Treaty of Fontainebleau
(Oct., 1807), which provided for the invasion of Portugal by a French and a
Spanish army, and for its division into principalities, one of which was to
be conferred upon Godoy himself. The occupation of Portugal was duly
effected, and Godoy looked forward to the speedy retirement of the French
from the province which was to be his portion of the spoil.

[Napoleon uses the enmity of Ferdinand against Godoy.]

[Napoleon about to intervene as protector of Ferdinand.]

Napoleon, however, had other ends in view. Spain, not Portugal, was the
true prize. Napoleon had gradually formed the determination of taking Spain
into his own hands, and the dissensions of the Court itself enabled him to
appear upon the scene as the judge to whom all parties appealed. The Crown
Prince Ferdinand had long been at open enmity with Godoy and his own
mother. So long as Ferdinand's Neapolitan wife was alive, her influence
made the Crown Prince the centre of the party hostile to France; but after
her death in 1806, at a time when Godoy himself inclined to join Napoleon's
enemies, Ferdinand took up a new position, and allied himself with the
French Ambassador, at whose instigation he wrote to Napoleon, soliciting
the hand of a princess of the Napoleonic House. [145] Godoy, though unaware
of the letter, discovered that Ferdinand was engaged in some intrigue. King
Charles was made to believe that his son had entered into a conspiracy to
dethrone him. The Prince was placed under arrest, and on the 30th of
October, 1807, a royal proclamation appeared at Madrid, announcing that
Ferdinand had been detected in a conspiracy against his parents, and that
he was about to be brought to justice along with his accomplices. King
Charles at the same time wrote a letter to Napoleon, of whose connection
with Ferdinand he had not the slightest suspicion, stating that he intended
to exclude the Crown Prince from the succession to the throne of Spain. No
sooner had Napoleon received the communication from the simple King than he
saw himself in possession of the pretext for intervention which he had so
long desired. The most pressing orders were given for the concentration of
troops on the Spanish frontier; Napoleon appeared to be on the point of
entering Spain as the defender of the hereditary rights of Ferdinand. The
opportunity, however, proved less favourable than Napoleon had expected.
The Crown Prince, overcome by his fears, begged forgiveness of his father,
and disclosed the negotiations which had taken place between himself and
the French Ambassador. Godoy, dismayed at finding Napoleon's hand in what
he had supposed to be a mere palace-intrigue, abandoned all thought of
proceeding further against the Crown Prince; and a manifesto announced that
Ferdinand was restored to the favour of his father. Napoleon now
countermanded the order which he had given for the despatch of the Rhenish
troops to the Pyrenees, and contented himself with directing General
Dupont, the commander of an army-corps nominally destined for Portugal, to
cross the Spanish frontier and advance as far as Vittoria.

[Dupont enters Spain, Dec., 1807.]

[French welcomed in Spain as Ferdinand's protectors.]

Dupont's troops entered Spain in the last days of the year 1807, and were
received with acclamations. It was universally believed that Napoleon had
espoused the cause of Ferdinand, and intended to deliver the Spanish nation
from the detested rule of Godoy. Since the open attack made upon Ferdinand
in the publication of the pretended conspiracy, the Crown Prince, who was
personally as contemptible as any of his enemies, had become the idol of
the people. For years past the hatred of the nation towards Godoy and the
Queen had been constantly deepening, and the very reforms which Godoy
effected in the hope of attaching to himself the more enlightened classes
only served to complete his unpopularity with the fanatical mass of the
nation. The French, who gradually entered the Peninsula to the number of
80,000, and who described themselves as the protectors of Ferdinand and of
the true Catholic faith, were able to spread themselves over the northern
provinces without exciting suspicion. It was only when their commanders, by
a series of tricks worthy of American savages, obtained possession of the
frontier citadels and fortresses, that the wiser part of the nation began
to entertain some doubt as to the real purpose of their ally. At the Court
itself and among the enemies of Ferdinand the advance of the French roused
the utmost alarm. King Charles wrote to Napoleon in the tone of ancient
friendship; but the answer he received was threatening and mysterious. The
utterances which the Emperor let fall in the presence of persons likely to
report them at Madrid were even more alarming, and were intended to terrify
the Court into the resolution to take flight from Madrid. The capital once
abandoned by the King, Napoleon judged that he might safely take everything
into his own hands on the pretence of restoring to Spain the government
which it had lost.

[Murat sent to Spain, Feb., 1808.]

[Charles IV. abdicates, March 17, 1808.]

On the 20th of February, 1808, Murat was ordered to quit Paris in order to
assume the command in Spain. Not a word was said by Napoleon to him before
his departure. His instructions first reached him at Bayonne; they were of
a military nature, and gave no indication of the ultimate political object
of his mission. Murat entered Spain on the 1st of March, knowing no more
than that he was ordered to reassure all parties and to commit himself to
none, but with full confidence that he himself was intended by Napoleon to
be the successor of the Bourbon dynasty. It was now that the Spanish Court,
expecting the appearance of the French army in Madrid, resolved upon that
flight which Napoleon considered so necessary to his own success. The
project was not kept a secret. It passed from Godoy to the Ministers of
State, and from them to the friends of Ferdinand. The populace of Madrid
was inflamed by the report that Godoy was about to carry the King to a
distance, in order to prolong the misgovernment which the French had
determined to overthrow. A tumultuous crowd marched from the capital to
Aranjuez, the residence of the Court. On the evening of the 17th of March,
the palace of Godoy was stormed by the mob. Godoy himself was seized, and
carried to the barracks amid the blows and curses of the populace. The
terrified King, who already saw before him the fate of his cousin, Louis
XVI., first published a decree depriving Godoy of all his dignities, and
then abdicated in favour of his son. On the 19th of March Ferdinand was
proclaimed King.

[French enter Madrid, March 23.]

Such was the unexpected intelligence that met Murat as he approached
Madrid. The dissensions of the Court, which were to supply his ground of
intervention, had been terminated by the Spaniards themselves: in the place
of a despised dotard and a menaced favourite, Spain had gained a youthful
sovereign around whom all classes of the nation rallied with the utmost
enthusiasm. Murat's position became a very difficult one; but he supplied
what was wanting in his instructions by the craft of a man bent upon
creating a vacancy in his own favour. He sent his aide-de-camp, Monthieu,
to visit the dethroned sovereign, and obtained a protest from King Charles
IV., declaring his abdication to have been extorted from him by force, and
consequently to be null and void. This document Murat kept secret; but he
carefully abstained from doing anything which might involve a recognition
of Ferdinand's title. On the 23rd of March the French troops entered
Madrid. Nothing had as yet become known to the public that indicated an
altered policy on the part of the French; and the soldiers of Murat, as the
supposed friends of Ferdinand, met with as friendly a reception in Madrid
as in the other towns of Spain. On the following day Ferdinand himself made
his solemn entry into the capital, amid wild demonstrations of an almost
barbaric loyalty.

[Savary brings Ferdinand to Bayonne, April, 1808.]

In the tumult of popular joy it was noticed that Murat's troops continued
their exercises without the least regard to the pageant that so deeply
stirred the hearts of the Spaniards. Suspicions were aroused; the
enthusiasm of the people for the French soldiers began to change into
irritation and ill-will. The end of the long drama of deceit was in fact
now close at hand. On the 4th of April General Savary arrived at Madrid
with instructions independent of those given to Murat. He was charged to
entice the new Spanish sovereign from his capital, and to bring him, either
as a dupe or as a prisoner, on to French soil. The task was not a difficult
one. Savary pretended that Napoleon had actually entered Spain, and that he
only required an assurance of Ferdinand's continued friendship before
recognising him as the legitimate successor of Charles IV. Ferdinand, he
added, could show no greater mark of cordiality to his patron than by
advancing to meet him on the road. Snared by these hopes, Ferdinand set out
from Madrid, in company with Savary and some of his own foolish confidants.
On reaching Burgos, the party found no signs of the Emperor. They continued
their journey to Vittoria. Here Ferdinand's suspicions were aroused, and he
declined to proceed farther. Savary hastened to Bayonne to report the delay
to Napoleon. He returned with a letter which overcame Ferdinand's scruples
and induced him to cross the Pyrenees, in spite of the prayers of statesmen
and the loyal violence of the simple inhabitants of the district. At
Bayonne Ferdinand was visited by Napoleon, but not a word was spoken on the
object of his journey. In the afternoon the Emperor received Ferdinand and
his suite at a neighbouring château, but preserved the same ominous
silence. When the other guests departed, the Canon Escoiquiz, a member of
Ferdinand's retinue, was detained, and learned from Napoleon's own lips the
fate in store for the Bourbon Monarchy. Savary returned to Bayonne with
Ferdinand, and informed the Prince that he must renounce the crown of
Spain. [146]

[Charles and Ferdinand surrender their rights to Napoleon.]

[Attack on the French in Madrid, May 2.]

For some days Ferdinand held out against Napoleon's demands with a
stubbornness not often shown by him in the course of his mean and
hypocritical career. He was assailed not only by Napoleon but by those
whose fall had been his own rise; for Godoy was sent to Bayonne by Murat,
and the old King and Queen hurried after their son in order to witness his
humiliation. Ferdinand's parents attacked him with an indecency that
astonished even Napoleon himself; but the Prince maintained his refusal
until news arrived from Madrid which terrified him into submission. The
irritation of the capital had culminated in an armed conflict between the
populace and the French troops. On an attempt being made by Murat to remove
the remaining members of the royal family from the palace, the capital had
broken into open insurrection, and wherever French soldiers were found
alone or in small bodies they were massacred. (May 2.) Some hundreds of the
French perished; but the victory of Murat was speedy, and his vengeance
ruthless. The insurgents were driven into the great central square of the
city, and cut down by repeated charges of cavalry. When all resistance was
over, numbers of the citizens were shot in cold blood. Such was the
intelligence which reached Bayonne in the midst of Napoleon's struggle with
Ferdinand. There was no further need of argument. Ferdinand was informed
that if he withheld his resignation for twenty-four hours longer he would
be treated as a rebel. He yielded; and for a couple of country houses and
two life-annuities the crown of Spain and the Indies was renounced in
favour of Napoleon by father and son.

[National spirit of the Spaniards.]

The crown had indeed been won without a battle. That there remained a
Spanish nation ready to fight to the death for its independence was not a
circumstance which Napoleon had taken into account. His experience had as
yet taught him of no force but that of Governments and armies. In the
larger States, or groups of States, which had hitherto been the spoil of
France, the sense of nationality scarcely existed. Italy had felt it no
disgrace to pass under the rule of Napoleon. The Germans on both sides of
the Rhine knew of a fatherland only as an arena of the keenest jealousies.
In Prussia and in Austria the bond of citizenship was far less the love of
country than the habit of obedience to government. England and Russia,
where patriotism existed in the sense in which it existed in Spain, had as
yet been untouched by French armies. Judging from the action of the Germans
and the Italians, Napoleon might well suppose that in settling with the
Spanish Government he had also settled with the Spanish people, or, at the
worst, that his troops might have to fight some fanatical peasants, like
those who resisted the expulsion of the Bourbons from Naples. But the
Spanish nation was no mosaic of political curiosities like the Holy Roman
Empire, and no divided and oblivious family like the population of Italy.
Spain, as a single nation united under its King, had once played the
foremost part in Europe: when its grandeur departed, its pride had remained
behind: the Spaniard, in all his torpor and impoverishment, retained the
impulse of honour, the spirited self-respect, which periods of national
greatness leave behind them among a race capable of cherishing their
memory. Nor had those influences of a common European culture, which
directly opposed themselves to patriotism in Germany, affected the
home-bred energy of Spain. The temper of mind which could find satisfaction
in the revival of a form of Greek art when Napoleon's cavalry were scouring
Germany, or which could inquire whether mankind would not profit by the
removal of the barriers between nations, was unknown among the Spanish
people. Their feeling towards a foreign invader was less distant from that
of African savages than from that of the civilised and literary nations
which had fallen so easy a prey to the French. Government, if it had
degenerated into everything that was contemptible, had at least failed to
reduce the people to the passive helplessness which resulted from the
perfection of uniformity in Prussia. Provincial institutions, though
corrupted, were not extinguished; provincial attachments and prejudices
existed in unbounded strength. Like the passion of the Spaniard for his
native district, his passion for Spain was of a blind and furious
character. Enlightened conviction, though not altogether absent, had small
place in the Spanish war of defence. Religious fanaticism, hatred of the
foreigner, delight in physical barbarity, played their full part by the
side of nobler elements in the struggle for national independence.

[Rising of Spain, May, 1808.]

The captivity of Ferdinand, and the conflict of Murat's troops with the
inhabitants of Madrid, had become known in the Spanish cities before the
middle of May. On the 20th of the same month the _Gaceta_ announced
the abdication of the Bourbon family. Nothing more was wanting to throw
Spain into tumult. The same irresistible impulse seized provinces and
cities separated by the whole breadth of the Peninsula. Without
communication, and without the guidance of any central authority, the
Spanish people in every part of the kingdom armed themselves against the
usurper. Carthagena rose on the 22nd. Valencia forced its magistrates to
proclaim King Ferdinand on the 23rd. Two days later the mountain-district
of Asturias, with a population of half a million, formally declared war on
Napoleon, and despatched envoys to Great Britain to ask for assistance. On
the 26th, Santander and Seville, on opposite sides of the Peninsula, joined
the national movement. Corunna, Badajoz, and Granada declared themselves on
the Feast of St. Ferdinand, the 30th of May. Thus within a week the entire
country was in arms, except in those districts where the presence of French
troops rendered revolt impossible. The action of the insurgents was
everywhere the same. They seized upon the arms and munitions of war
collected in the magazines, and forced the magistrates or commanders of
towns to place themselves at their head. Where the latter resisted, or were
suspected of treachery to the national cause, they were in many cases put
to death. Committees of Government were formed in the principal cities, and
as many armies came into being as there were independent centres of the

[Joseph Bonaparte made King.]

[Napoleon's Assembly at Bayonne, June, 1808.]

Napoleon was in the meantime collecting a body of prelates and grandees at
Bayonne, under the pretence of consulting the representatives of the
Spanish nation. Half the members of the intended Assembly received a
personal summons from the Emperor; the other half were ordered to be chosen
by popular election. When the order, however, was issued from Bayonne, the
country was already in full revolt. Elections were held only in the
districts occupied by the French, and not more than twenty representatives
so elected proceeded to Bayonne. The remainder of the Assembly, which
numbered in all ninety-one persons, was composed of courtiers who had
accompanied the Royal Family across the Pyrenees, and of any Spaniards of
distinction upon whom the French could lay their hands. Joseph Bonaparte
was brought from Naples to receive the crown of Spain. [147] On the 15th of
June the Assembly of the Notables was opened. Its discussions followed the
order prescribed by Napoleon on all similar occasions. Articles disguising
a central absolute power with some pretence of national representation were
laid before the Assembly, and adopted without criticism. Except in the
privileges accorded to the Church, little indicated that the Constitution
of Bayonne was intended for the Spanish rather than for any other nation.
Its political forms were as valuable or as valueless as those which
Napoleon had given to his other client States; its principles of social
order were those which even now despotism could not dissever from French
supremacy--the abolition of feudal services, equality of taxation,
admission of all ranks to public employment. Titles of nobility were
preserved, the privileges of nobility abolished. One genuine act of homage
was rendered to the national character. The Catholic religion was declared
to be the only one permitted in Spain.

[Attempts of Napoleon to suppress the Spanish rising.]

While Napoleon was thus emancipating the peasants from the nobles, and
reconciling his supremacy with the claims of the Church, peasants and
townspeople were flocking to arms at the call of the priests, who so little
appreciated the orthodoxy of their patron as to identify him in their
manifestos with Calvin, with the Antichrist, and with Apollyon. [148] The
Emperor underrated the military efficiency of the national revolt, and
contented himself with sending his lieutenants to repress it, while he
himself, expecting a speedy report of victory, remained in Bayonne.
Divisions of the French army moved in all directions against the
insurgents. Dupont was ordered to march upon Seville from the capital,
Moncey upon Valencia; Marshal Bessières took command of a force intended to
disperse the main army of the Spaniards, which threatened the roads from
the Pyrenees to Madrid. The first encounters were all favourable to the
practised French troops; yet the objects which Napoleon set before his
generals were not achieved. Moncey failed to reduce Valencia; Dupont found
himself outnumbered on passing the Sierra Morena, and had to retrace his
steps and halt at Andujar, where the road to Madrid leaves the valley of
the Guadalquivir. Without sustaining any severe loss, the French divisions
were disheartened by exhausting and resultless marches; the Spaniards
gained new confidence on each successive day which passed without
inflicting upon them a defeat. At length, however, the commanders of the
northern army were forced by Marshal Bessières to fight a pitched battle at
Rio Seco, on the west of Valladolid (July 13th). Bessières won a complete
victory, and gained the lavish praises of his master for a battle which,
according to Napoleon's own conception, ended the Spanish war by securing
the roads from the Pyrenees to Madrid.

[Capitulation of Baylen, July 19.]

[Dupont in Andalusia.]

Never had Napoleon so gravely mistaken the true character of a campaign.
The vitality of the Spanish insurrection lay not in the support of the
capital, which had never passed out of the hands of the French, but in the
very independence of the several provincial movements. Unlike Vienna and
Berlin, Madrid might be held by the French without the loss being felt by
their adversary; Cadiz, Corunna, Lisbon, were equally serviceable bases for
the insurrection. The victory of Marshal Bessières in the north preserved
the communication between France and Madrid, and it did nothing more. It
failed to restore the balance of military force in the south of Spain, or
to affect the operations of the Spanish troops which were now closing round
Dupont upon the Guadalquivir. On the 15th of July Dupont was attacked at
Andujar by greatly superior forces. His lieutenant, Vedel, knowing the
Spaniards to be engaged in a turning movement, made a long march northwards
in order to guard the line of retreat. In his absence the position of
Baylen, immediately in Dupont's rear, was seized by the Spanish general
Reding. Dupont discovered himself to be surrounded. He divided his army
into two columns, and moved on the night of the 18th from Andujar towards
Baylen, in the hope of overpowering Reding's division. At daybreak on the
19th the positions of Reding were attacked by the French. The struggle
continued until mid-day, though the French soldiers sank exhausted with
thirst and with the burning heat. At length the sound of cannon was heard
in the rear. Castanos, the Spanish general commanding at Andujar, had
discovered Dupont's retreat, and pressed behind him with troops fresh and
unwearied by conflict. Further resistance was hopeless. Dupont had to
negotiate for a surrender. He consented to deliver up Vedel's division as
well as his own, although Vedel's troops were in possession of the road to
Madrid, the Spanish commander promising, on this condition, that the
captives should not be retained as prisoners of war in Spain, but be
permitted to return by sea to their native country. The entire army of
Andalusia, numbering 23,000 men, thus passed into the hands of an enemy
whom Napoleon had not believed to possess a military existence. Dupont's
anxiety to save something for France only aggravated the extent of the
calamity; for the Junta of Seville declined to ratify the terms of the
capitulation, and the prisoners, with the exception of the superior
officers, were sent to the galleys at Cadiz. The victorious Spaniards
pushed forwards upon Madrid. King Joseph, who had entered the city only a
week before, had to fly from his capital. The whole of the French troops in
Spain were compelled to retire to a defensive position upon the Ebro.

[Wellesley lands in Portugal, Aug. 1, 1808.]

[Vimeiro, Aug. 21.]

[Convention of Cintra, Aug. 30.]

The disaster of Baylen did not come alone. Napoleon's attack upon Portugal
had brought him within the striking-range of Great Britain. On the 1st of
August an English army, commanded by Sir Arthur Wellesley, landed on the
Portuguese coast at the mouth of the Mondego. Junot, the first invader of
the Peninsula, was still at Lisbon; his forces in occupation of Portugal
numbered nearly 30,000 men, but they were widely dispersed, and he was
unable to bring more than 13,000 men into the field against the 16,000 with
whom Wellesley moved upon Lisbon. Junot advanced to meet the invader. A
battle was fought at Vimieiro, thirty miles north of Lisbon, on the 21st of
August. The victory was gained by the British; and had the first advantage
been followed up, Junot's army would scarcely have escaped capture. But the
command had passed out of Wellesley's hands. His superior officer, Sir
Harry Burrard, took up the direction of the army immediately the battle
ended, and Wellesley had to acquiesce in a suspension of operations at a
moment when the enemy seemed to be within his grasp. Junot made the best
use of his reprieve. He entered into negotiations for the evacuation of
Portugal, and obtained the most favourable terms in the Convention of
Cintra, signed on the 30th of August. The French army was permitted to
return to France with its arms and baggage. Wellesley, who had strongly
condemned the inaction of his superior officers after the battle of the
21st, agreed with them that, after the enemy had once been permitted to
escape, the evacuation of Portugal was the best result which the English
could obtain. [149] Junot's troops were accordingly conveyed to French
ports at the expense of the British Government, to the great displeasure of
the public, who expected to see the marshal and his army brought prisoners
into Portsmouth. The English were as ill-humoured with their victory as the
French with their defeat. When on the point of sending Junot to a
court-martial for his capitulation, Napoleon learnt that the British
Government had ordered its own generals to be brought to trial for
permitting the enemy to escape them.

[Effect of Spanish rising on Europe.]

[War-party in Austria and Prussia.]

[Napoleon and Prussia.]

If the Convention of Cintra gained little glory for England, the tidings of
the successful uprising of the Spanish people against Napoleon, and of
Dupont's capitulation at Baylen, created the deepest impression in every
country of Europe that still entertained the thought of resistance to
France. The first great disaster had befallen Napoleon's arms. It had been
inflicted by a nation without a government, without a policy, without a
plan beyond that of the liberation of its fatherland from the foreigner.
What Coalition after Coalition had failed to effect, the patriotism and
energy of a single people deserted by its rulers seemed about to
accomplish. The victory of the regular troops at Baylen was but a part of
that great national movement in which every isolated outbreak had had its
share in dividing and paralysing the Emperor's force. The capacity of
untrained popular levies to resist practised troops might be exaggerated in
the first outburst of wonder and admiration caused by the Spanish rising;
but the difference made in the nature of the struggle by the spirit of
popular resentment and determination was one upon which mistake was
impossible. A sudden light broke in upon the politicians of Austria and
Prussia, and explained the powerlessness of those Coalitions in which the
wars had always been the affair of the Cabinets, and never the affair of
the people. What the Spanish nation had effected for itself against
Napoleon was not impossible for the German nation, if once a national
movement like that of Spain sprang up among the German race. "I do not
see," wrote Blücher some time afterwards, "why we should not think
ourselves as good as the Spaniards." The best men in the Austrian and
Prussian Governments began to look forward to the kindling of popular
spirit as the surest means for combating the tyranny of Napoleon. Military
preparations were pushed forward in Austria with unprecedented energy and
on a scale rivalling that of France itself. In Prussia the party of Stein
determined upon a renewal of the war, and decided to risk the extinction of
the Prussian State rather than submit to the extortions by which Napoleon
was completing the ruin of their country. It was among the patriots of
Northern Germany that the course of the Spanish struggle excited the
deepest emotion, and gave rise to the most resolute purpose of striking for
European liberty.

Since the nominal restoration of peace between France and Prussia by the
cession of half the Prussian kingdom, not a month had passed without the
infliction of some gross injustice upon the conquered nation. The
evacuation of the country had in the first instance been made conditional
upon the payment of certain requisitions in arrear. While the amount of
this sum was being settled, all Prussia, except Königsberg, remained in the
hands of the French, and 157,000 French soldiers lived at free quarters
upon the unfortunate inhabitants. At the end of the year 1807 King
Frederick William was informed that, besides paying to Napoleon 60,000,000
francs in money, and ceding domain lands of the same value, he must
continue to support 40,000 French troops in five garrison-towns upon the
Oder. Such was the dismay caused by this announcement, that Stein quitted
Königsberg, now the seat of government, and passed three months at the
head-quarters of the French at Berlin, endeavouring to frame some
settlement less disastrous to his country. Count Daru, Napoleon's
administrator in Prussia, treated the Minister with respect, and accepted
his proposal for the evacuation of Prussian territory on payment of a fixed
sum to the French. But the agreement required Napoleon's ratification, and
for this Stein waited in vain. [150]

[Stein urges war.]

[Demands of Napoleon, Sept., 1808.]

Month after month dragged on, and Napoleon made no reply. At length the
victories of the Spanish insurrection in the summer of 1808 forced the
Emperor to draw in his troops from beyond the Elbe. He placed a bold front
upon his necessities, and demanded from the Prussian Government, as the
price of evacuation, a still larger sum than that which had been named in
the previous winter: he insisted that the Prussian army should be limited
to 40,000 men, and the formation of the Landwehr abandoned; and he required
the support of a Prussian corps of 16,000 men, in the event of hostilities
breaking out between France and Austria. Not even on these conditions was
Prussia offered the complete evacuation of her territory. Napoleon still
insisted on holding the three principal fortresses on the Oder with a
garrison of 10,000 men. Such was the treaty proposed to the Prussian Court
(September, 1808) at a time when every soldierly spirit thrilled with the
tidings from Spain, and every statesman was convinced by the events of the
last few months that Napoleon's treaties were but stages in a progression
of wrongs. Stein and Scharnhorst urged the King to arm the nation for a
struggle as desperate as that of Spain, and to delay only until Napoleon
himself was busied in the warfare of the Peninsula. Continued submission
was ruin; revolt was at least not hopeless. However forlorn the condition
of Prussia, its alliances were of the most formidable character. Austria
was arming without disguise; Great Britain had intervened in the warfare of
the Peninsula with an efficiency hitherto unknown in its military
operations; Spain, on the estimate of Napoleon himself, required an army of
200,000 men. Since the beginning of the Spanish insurrection Stein had
occupied himself with the organisation of a general outbreak throughout
Northern Germany. Rightly or wrongly, he believed the train to be now laid,
and encouraged the King of Prussia to count upon the support of a popular
insurrection against the French in all the territories which they had taken
from Prussia, from Hanover, and from Hesse.

[Stein resigns, Nov. 24. Proscribed by Napoleon.]

[Napoleon and Alexander meet at Erfurt, Oct. 7, 1808.]

In one point alone Stein was completely misinformed. He believed that
Alexander, in spite of the Treaty of Tilsit, would not be unwilling to see
the storm burst upon Napoleon, and that in the event of another general war
the forces of Russia would more probably be employed against France than in
its favour. The illusion was a fatal one. Alexander was still the
accomplice of Napoleon. For the sake of the Danubian Principalities,
Alexander was willing to hold central Europe in check while Napoleon
crushed the Spaniards, and to stifle every bolder impulse in the simple
King of Prussia. Napoleon himself dreaded the general explosion of Europe
before Spain was conquered, and drew closer to his Russian ally.
Difficulties that had been placed in the way of the Russian annexation of
Roumania vanished. The Czar and the Emperor determined to display to all
Europe the intimacy of their union by a festal meeting at Erfurt in the
midst of their victims and their dependents. The whole tribe of vassal
German sovereigns was summoned to the meeting-place; representatives
attended from the Courts of Vienna and Berlin. On the 7th of October
Napoleon and Alexander made their entry into Erfurt. Pageants and
festivities required the attendance of the crowned and titled rabble for
several days; but the only serious business was the settlement of a treaty
confirming the alliance of France and Russia, and the notification of the
Czar to the envoy of the King of Prussia that his master must accept the
terms demanded by Napoleon, and relinquish the idea of a struggle with
France. [151] Count Goltz, the Prussian envoy, unwillingly signed the
treaty which gave Prussia but a partial evacuation at so dear a cost, and
wrote to the King that no course now remained for him but to abandon
himself to unreserved dependence upon France, and to permit Stein and the
patriotic party to retire from the direction of the State. Unless the King
could summon up courage to declare war in defiance of Alexander, there was,
in fact, no alternative left open to him. Napoleon had discovered Stein's
plans for raising an insurrection in Germany several weeks before, and had
given vent to the most furious outburst of wrath against Stein in the
presence of the Prussian Ambassador at Erfurt. If the great struggle on
which Stein's whole heart and soul were set was to be relinquished, if
Spain was to be crushed before Prussia moved an arm, and Austria was to be
left to fight its inevitable battle alone, then the presence of Stein at
the head of the Prussian State was only a snare to Europe, a peril to
Prussia, and a misery to himself. Stein asked for and received his
dismissal. (Nov. 24, 1808.)

Stein's retirement averted the wrath of Napoleon from the King of Prussia;
but the whole malignity of that Corsican nature broke out against the
high-spirited patriot as soon as fresh victories had released Napoleon from
the ill-endured necessity of self-control. On the 16th of December, when
Madrid had again passed into the possession of the French, an imperial
order appeared, which gave the measure of Napoleon's hatred of the fallen
Minister. Stein was denounced as the enemy of the Empire; his property was
confiscated; he was ordered to be seized by the troops of the Emperor or
his allies wherever they could lay their hands upon him. As in the days of
Roman tyranny, the west of Europe could now afford no asylum to the enemies
of the Emperor. Russia and Austria remained the only refuge of the exile.
Stein escaped into Bohemia; and, as the crowning humiliation of the
Prussian State, its police were forced to pursue as a criminal the
statesman whose fortitude had still made it possible in the darkest days
for Prussian patriots not to despair of their country.

[Misgovernment of the Spanish Junta.]

[Napoleon goes to Spain, Nov., 1808.]

Central Europe secured by the negotiations with Alexander at Erfurt,
Napoleon was now able to place himself at the head of the French forces in
Spain without fear of any immediate attack from the side of Germany. Since
the victory of Baylen the Spaniards had made little progress either towards
good government or towards a good military administration. The provincial
Juntas had consented to subordinate themselves to a central committee
chosen from among their own members; but this new supreme authority, which
held its meetings at Aranjuez, proved one of the worst governments that
even Spain itself had ever endured. It numbered thirty persons,
twenty-eight of whom were priests, nobles, or officials. [152] Its
qualities were those engrained in Spanish official life. In legislation it
attempted absolutely nothing but the restoration of the Inquisition and the
protection of Church lands; its administration was confined to a foolish
interference with the better generals, and the acquisition of enormous
supplies of war from Great Britain, which were either stolen by contractors
or allowed to fall into the hands of the French. While the members of the
Junta discussed the titles of honour which were to attach to them
collectively and individually, and voted themselves salaries equal to those
of Napoleon's generals, the armies fell into a state of destitution which
scarcely any but Spanish troops would have been capable of enduring. The
energy of the humbler classes alone prolonged the military existence of the
insurrection; the Government organised nothing, comprehended nothing. Its
part in the national movement was confined to a system of begging and
boasting, which demoralised the Spaniards, and bewildered the agents and
generals of England who first attempted the difficult task of assisting the
Spaniards to help themselves. When the approach of army after army, the
levies of Germany, Poland, Holland, and Italy, in addition to Napoleon's
own veteran troops of Austerlitz and Jena, gave to the rest of the world
some idea of the enormous force which Napoleon was about to throw on to
Spain, the Spanish Government could form no better design than to repeat
the movement of Baylen against Napoleon himself on the banks of the Ebro.

[Napoleon enters Madrid, Dec. 4.]

[Campaign on the Ebro, Nov., 1808.]

The Emperor for the first time crossed the Pyrenees in the beginning of
November, 1808. The victory of the Spaniards in the summer had forced the
invaders to retire into the district between the Ebro and the Pyrenees, and
the Ebro now formed the dividing-line between the hostile armies. It was
the intention of Napoleon to roll back the extremes of the Spanish line to
the east and the west, and, breaking through its centre, to move straight
upon Burgos and Madrid. The Spaniards, for their part, were not content to
act upon the defensive. When Napoleon arrived at Vittoria on the 5th of
November, the left wing of the Spanish army under General Blake had already
received orders to move eastwards from the upper waters of the Ebro, and to
cut the French off from their communication with the Pyrenees. The movement
was exactly that which Napoleon desired; for in executing it, Blake had
only to march far enough eastwards to find himself completely surrounded by
French divisions. A premature movement of the French generals themselves
alone saved Blake from total destruction. He was attacked and defeated at
Espinosa, on the upper Ebro, before he had advanced far enough to lose his
line of retreat (Nov. 10); and, after suffering great losses, he succeeded
in leading off a remnant of his army into the mountains of Asturias. In the
centre, Soult drove the enemy before him, and captured Burgos. Of the army
which was to have cleared Spain of the French, nothing now remained but a
corps on the right at Tudela, commanded by Palafox. The destruction of this
body was committed by the Emperor to Lannes and Ney. Ney was ordered to
take a long march southwards in order to cut off the retreat of the
Spaniards; he found it impossible, however, to execute his march within the
time prescribed; and Palafox, beaten by Lannes at Tudela, made good his
retreat into Saragossa. A series of accidents had thus saved the divisions
of the Spanish army from actual capture, but there no longer existed a
force capable of meeting the enemy in the field. Napoleon moved forward
from Burgos upon Madrid. The rest of his march was a triumph. The batteries
defending the mountain-pass of Somo Sierra were captured by a charge of
Polish cavalry; and the capital itself surrendered, after a short artillery
fire, on the 4th of December, four weeks after the opening of the campaign.

[Campaign of Sir John Moore.]

An English army was slowly and painfully making its way towards the Ebro at
the time when Napoleon broke in pieces the Spanish line of defence. On the
14th of October Sir John Moore had assumed the command of 20,000 British
troops at Lisbon. He was instructed to march to the neighbourhood of
Burgos, and to co-operate with the Spanish generals upon the Ebro.
According to the habit of the English, no allowance was made for the
movements of the enemy while their own were under consideration; and the
mountain-country which Moore had to traverse placed additional obstacles in
the way of an expedition at least a month too late in its starting. Moore
believed it to be impossible to carry his artillery over the direct road
from Lisbon to Salamanca, and sent it round by way of Madrid, while he
himself advanced through Ciudad Rodrigo, reaching Salamanca on the 13th of
November. Here, while still waiting for his artillery, rumours reached him
of the destruction of Blake's army at Espinosa, and of the fall of Burgos.
Later came the report of Palafox's overthrow at Tudela. Yet even now Moore
could get no trustworthy information from the Spanish authorities. He
remained for some time in suspense, and finally determined to retreat into
Portugal. Orders were sent to Sir David Baird, who was approaching with
reinforcements from Corunna, to turn back towards the northern coast.
Scarcely had Moore formed this decision, when despatches arrived from
Frere, the British agent at Madrid, stating that the Spaniards were about
to defend the capital to the last extremity, and that Moore would be
responsible for the ruin of Spain and the disgrace of England if he failed
to advance to its relief. To the great joy of his soldiers, Moore gave
orders for a forward march. The army advanced upon Valladolid, with the
view of attacking the French upon their line of communication, while the
siege of the capital engaged them in front. Baird was again ordered
southwards. It was not until the 14th of December, ten days after Madrid
had passed into the hands of the French, that Moore received intelligence
of its fall. Neither the Spanish Government nor the British agent who had
caused Moore to advance took the trouble to inform him of the surrender of
the capital; he learnt it from an intercepted French despatch. From the
same despatch Moore learnt that to the north of him, at Saldanha, on the
river Carrion, there lay a comparatively small French force under the
command of Soult. The information was enough for Moore, heart-sick at the
mockery to which his army had been subjected, and burning for decisive
action. He turned northwards, and marched against Soult, in the hope of
surprising him before the news of his danger could reach Napoleon in the

[Napoleon marches against Moore, Dec. 19.]

[Retreat of the English.]

[Corunna, Jan. 16, 1809.]

On the 19th of December a report reached Madrid that Moore had suspended
his retreat on Portugal. Napoleon instantly divined the actual movement of
the English, and hurried from Madrid against Moore at the head of 40,000
men. Moore had met Baird on the 20th at Mayorga; on the 23rd the united
British divisions reached Sahagun, scarcely a day's march from Soult at
Saldanha. Here the English commander learnt that Napoleon himself was on
his track. Escape was a question of hours. Napoleon had pushed across the
Guadarama mountains in forced marches through snow and storm. Had his
vanguard been able to seize the bridge over the river Esla at Benavente
before the English crossed it, Moore would have been cut off from all
possibility of escape. The English reached the river first and blew up the
bridge. This rescued them from immediate danger. The defence of the river
gave Moore's army a start which rendered the superiority of Napoleon's
numbers of little effect. For a while Napoleon followed Moore towards the
northern coast. On the 1st of January, 1809, he wrote an order which showed
that he looked upon Moore's escape as now inevitable, and on the next day
he quitted the army, leaving to his marshals the honour of toiling after
Moore to the coast, and of seizing some thousands of frozen or drunken
British stragglers. Moore himself pushed on towards Corunna with a rapidity
which was dearly paid for by the demoralisation of his army. The sufferings
and the excesses of the troops were frightful; only the rear-guard, which
had to face the enemy, preserved soldierly order. At length Moore found it
necessary to halt and take up position, in order to restore the discipline
of his army. He turned upon Soult at Lugo, and offered battle for two
successive days; but the French general declined an engagement; and Moore,
satisfied with having recruited his troops, continued his march upon
Corunna. Soult still followed. On January 11th the English army reached the
sea; but the ships which were to convey them back to England were nowhere
to be seen. A battle was inevitable, and Moore drew up his troops, 14,000
in number, on a range of low hills outside the town to await the attack of
the French. On the 16th, when the fleet had now come into harbour, Soult
gave battle. The French were defeated at every point of their attack. Moore
fell at the moment of his victory, conscious that the army which he had so
bravely led had nothing more to fear. The embarkation was effected that
night; on the next day the fleet put out to sea.

[Siege of Saragossa, Dec., 1808.]

[Napoleon leaves Spain, Jan 19, 1809.]

Napoleon quitted Spain on the 19th of January, 1809, leaving his brother
Joseph again in possession of the capital, and an army of 300,000 men under
the best generals of France engaged with the remnants of a defeated force
which had never reached half that number. No brilliant victories remained
to be won; no enemy remained in the field important enough to require the
presence of Napoleon. Difficulties of transit and the hostility of the
people might render the subjugation of Spain a slower process than the
subjugation of Prussia or Italy; but, to all appearance, the ultimate
success of the Emperor's plans was certain, and the worst that lay before
his lieutenants was a series of wearisome and obscure exertions against an
inconsiderable foe. Yet, before the Emperor had been many weeks in Paris, a
report reached him from Marshal Lannes which told of some strange form of
military capacity among the people whose armies were so contemptible in the
field. The city of Saragossa, after successfully resisting its besiegers in
the summer of 1808, had been a second time invested after the defeats of
the Spanish armies upon the Ebro. [153] The besiegers themselves were
suffering from extreme scarcity when, on the 22nd of January, 1809, Lannes
took up the command. Lannes immediately called up all the troops within
reach, and pressed the battering operations with the utmost vigour. On the
29th, the walls of Saragossa were stormed in four different places.

[Defeats of the Spaniards, March, 1809.]

According to all ordinary precedents of war, the French were now in
possession of the city. But the besiegers found that their real work was
only beginning. The streets were trenched and barricaded; every dwelling
was converted into a fortress; for twenty days the French were forced to
besiege house by house. In the centre of the town the popular leaders
erected a gallows, and there they hanged every one who flinched from
meeting the enemy. Disease was added to the horrors of warfare. In the
cellars, where the women and children crowded in filth and darkness, a
malignant pestilence broke out, which, at the beginning of February, raised
the deaths to five hundred a day. The dead bodies were unburied; in that
poisoned atmosphere the slightest wound produced mortification and death.
At length the powers of the defenders sank. A fourth part of the town had
been won by the French; of the townspeople and peasants who were within the
walls at the beginning of the siege, it is said that thirty thousand had
perished; the remainder could only prolong their defence to fall in a few
days more before disease or the enemy. Even now there were members of the
Junta who wished to fight as long as a man remained, but they were
outnumbered. On the 20th of February what was left of Saragossa
capitulated. Its resistance gave to the bravest of Napoleon's soldiers an
impression of horror and dismay new even to men who had passed through
seventeen years of revolutionary warfare, but it failed to retard
Napoleon's armies in the conquest of Spain. No attempt was made to relieve
the heroic or ferocious city. Everywhere the tide of French conquest
appeared to be steadily making its advance. Soult invaded Portugal; in
combination with him, two armies moved from Madrid upon the southern and
the south-western provinces of Spain. Oporto fell on the 28th of March; in
the same week the Spanish forces covering the south were decisively beaten
at Ciudad Real and at Medellin upon the line of the Guadiana. The hopes of
Europe fell. Spain itself could expect no second Saragossa. It appeared as
if the complete subjugation of the Peninsula could now only be delayed by
the mistakes of the French generals themselves, and by the untimely removal
of that controlling will which had hitherto made every movement a step
forward in conquest.


Austria preparing for war--The war to be one on behalf of the German
Nation--Patriotic Movement in Prussia--Expected Insurrection in North
Germany--Plans of Campaign--Austrian Manifesto to the Germans--Rising of
the Tyrolese--Defeats of the Archduke Charles in Bavaria--French in
Vienna--Attempts of Dörnberg and Schill--Battle of Aspern--Second Passage
of the Danube--Battle of Wagram--Armistice of Znaim--Austria waiting for
events--Wellesley in Spain--He gains the Battle of Talavera, but
retreats--Expedition against Antwerp fails--Austria makes Peace--Treaty of
Vienna--Real Effects of the War of 1809--Austria after 1809--Metternich--
Marriage of Napoleon with Marie Louise--Severance of Napoleon and
Alexander--Napoleon annexes the Papal States, Holland, La Valais, and the
North German Coast--The Napoleonic Empire: Its Benefits and Wrongs--The
Czar withdraws from Napoleon's Commercial System--War with Russia
imminent--Wellington in Portugal: Lines of Torres Vedras; Massena's
Campaign of 1810, and retreat--Soult in Andalusia--Wellington's Campaign
of 1810--Capture of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz--Salamanca.

[Austria preparing for war, 1808-9.]

Napoleon, quitting Spain in the third week of January, 1809, travelled to
Paris with the utmost haste. He believed Austria to be on the point of
declaring war; and on the very day of his arrival at the capital he called
out the contingents of the Rhenish Federation. In the course of the next
few weeks, however, he formed the opinion that Austria would either decline
hostilities altogether, or at least find it impossible to declare war
before the middle of May. For once the efforts of Austria outstripped the
calculations of her enemy. Count Stadion, the earnest and enlightened
statesman who had held power in Austria since the Peace of Presburg, had
steadily prepared for a renewal of the struggle with France. He was
convinced that Napoleon would soon enter upon new enterprises of conquest,
and still farther extend his empire at the expense of Austria, unless
attacked before Spain had fallen under his dominion. Metternich, now
Austrian Ambassador at Paris, reported that Napoleon was intending to
divide Turkey as soon as he had conquered Spain; and, although he advised
delay, he agreed with the Cabinet at Vienna that Austria must sooner or
later strike in self-defence. [154] Stadion, more sanguine, was only
prevented from declaring war in 1808 by the counsels of the Archduke
Charles and of other generals who were engaged in bringing the immense mass
of new levies into military formation. Charles himself attached little
value to the patriotic enthusiasm which, since the outbreak of the Spanish
insurrection, had sprung up in the German provinces of Austria. He saw the
approach of war with more apprehension than pleasure; but, however faint
his own hopes, he laboured earnestly in creating for Austria a force far
superior to anything that she had possessed before, and infused into the
mass of the army that confident and patriotic spirit which he saw in others
rather than felt in himself. By the beginning of March, 1809, Austria had
260,000 men ready to take the field.

[The war of 1809 to be a war for Germany.]

The war now breaking out was to be a war for the German nation, as the
struggle of the Spaniards had been a struggle for Spain. The animated
appeals of the Emperor's generals formed a singular contrast to the silence
with which the Austrian Cabinet had hitherto entered into its wars. The
Hapsburg sovereign now stood before the world less as the inheritor of an
ancient empire and the representative of the Balance of Power than as the
disinterested champion of the German race. On the part of the Emperor
himself the language of devotion for Germany was scarcely more than
ironical. Francis belonged to an age and to a system in which the idea of
nationality had no existence; and, like other sovereigns, he regarded his
possessions as a sort of superior property which ought to be defended by
obedient domestic dogs against marauding foreign wolves. The same personal
view of public affairs had hitherto satisfied the Austrians. It had been
enough for them to be addressed as the dutiful children of a wise and
affectionate father. The Emperor spoke the familiar Viennese dialect; he
was as homely in his notions and his prejudices as any beerseller in his
dominions; his subjects might see him at almost any hour of the day or
night; and out of the somewhat tough material of his character popular
imagination had no difficulty in framing an idol of parental geniality and
wisdom. Fifteen years of failure and mismanagement had, however, impaired
the beauty of the domestic fiction; and although old-fashioned Austrians,
like Haydn, the composer of the Austrian Hymn, were ready to go down to the
grave invoking a blessing on their gracious master, the Emperor himself and
his confidants were shrewd enough to see that the newly-excited sense of
German patriotism would put them in possession of a force which they could
hardly evoke by the old methods.

[Austrian Parties.]

One element of reality lay in the professions which were not for the most
part meant very seriously. There was probably now no statesman in Austria
who any longer felt a jealousy of the power of Prussia. With Count Stadion
and his few real supporters the restoration of Germany was a genuine and
deeply-cherished desire; with the majority of Austrian politicians the
interests of Austria herself seemed at least for the present to require the
liberation of North Germany. Thus the impassioned appeals of the Archduke
Charles to all men of German race to rise against their foreign oppressor,
and against their native princes who betrayed the interests of the
Fatherland, gained the sanction of a Court hitherto very little inclined to
form an alliance with popular agitation. If the chaotic disorder of the
Austrian Government had been better understood in Europe, less importance
would have been attached to this sudden change in its tone. No one in the
higher ranks at Vienna was bound by the action of his colleagues. The
Emperor, though industrious, had not the capacity to enforce any coherent
system of government. His brothers caballed one against another, and
against the persons who figured as responsible ministers. State-papers were
brought by soldiers to the Emperor for his signature without the knowledge
of his advisers. The very manifestos which seemed to herald a new era for
Germany owed most of their vigour to the literary men who were entrusted
with their composition. [155]

[Patriotic movement in Prussia.]

[Governing classes in South Germany on the side of Napoleon.]

The answer likely to be rendered by Germany to the appeal of Austria was
uncertain. In the Rhenish Federation there were undoubted signs of
discontent with French rule among the common people; but the official
classes were universally on the side of Napoleon, who had given them their
posts and their salaries; while the troops, and especially the officers,
who remembered the time when they had been mocked by the Austrians as
"harlequins" and "nose-bags," were won by the kindness of the great
conqueror, who organised them under the hands of his own generals, and gave
them the companionship of his own victorious legions. Little could be
expected from districts where to the mass of the population the old régime
of German independence had meant nothing more than attendance at the
manor-court of a knight, or the occasional spectacle of a ducal wedding, or
a deferred interest in the droning jobbery of some hereditary
town-councillor. In Northern Germany there was far more prospect of a
national insurrection. There the spirit of Stein and of those who had
worked with him was making itself felt, in spite of the fall of the
Minister. Scharnhorst's reforms had made the Prussian army a school of
patriotism, and the work of statesmen and soldiers was promoted by men who
spoke to the feelings and the intelligence of the nation. Literature lost
its indifference to nationality and to home. The philosopher Fichte, the
poet Arndt, the theologian Schleiermacher pressed the claims of Germany and
of the manlier virtues upon a middle class singularly open to literary
influences, singularly wanting in the experience and the impulses of active
public life. [156] In the Kingdom of Westphalia preparations for an
insurrection against the French were made by officers who had served in the
Prussian and the Hessian armies. In Prussia itself, by the side of many
nobler agencies, the newly-founded Masonic society of the Tugendbund, or
League of Virtue, made the cause of the Fatherland popular among thousands
to whom it was an agreeable novelty to belong to any society at all. No
spontaneous, irresistible uprising, like that which Europe had seen in the
Spanish Peninsula, was to be expected among the unimpulsive population of
the North German plains; but the military circles of Prussia were generally
in favour of war, and an insurrection of the population west of the Elbe
was not improbable in the event of Napoleon's army being defeated by
Austria in the field. King Frederick William, too timid to resolve upon war
himself, too timid even to look with satisfaction upon the bold attitude of
Austria, had every reason for striking, if once the balance should incline
against Napoleon: even against his own inclination it was possible that the
ardour of his soldiers might force him into war.

[Plans of campaign.]

So strong were the hopes of a general rising in Northern Germany, that the
Austrian Government to some extent based its plans for the campaign on this
event. In the ordinary course of hostilities between France and Austria the
line of operations in Germany is the valley of the Danube; but in preparing
for the war of 1809 the Austrian Government massed its forces in the
north-west of Bohemia, with the object of throwing them directly upon
Central Germany. The French troops which were now evacuating Prussia were
still on their way westwards at the time when Austria was ready to open the
campaign. Davoust, with about 60,000 men, was in Northern Bavaria,
separated by a great distance from the nearest French divisions in Baden
and on the Rhine. By a sudden incursion of the main army of Austria across
the Bohemian mountains, followed by an uprising in Northern Germany,
Davoust and his scattered detachments could hardly escape destruction. Such
was the original plan of the campaign, and it was probably a wise one in
the present exceptional superiority of the Austrian preparations over those
of France. For the first time since the creation of the Consulate it
appeared as if the opening advantages of the war must inevitably be upon
the side of the enemies of France. Napoleon had underrated both the energy
and the resources of his adversary. By the middle of March, when the
Austrians were ready to descend upon Davoust from Bohemia, Napoleon's first
troops had hardly crossed the Rhine. Fortunately for the French commander,
the Austrian Government, at the moment of delivering its well-planned blow,
was seized with fear at its own boldness. Recollections of Hohenlinden and
Ulm filled anxious minds with the thought that the valley of the Danube was
insufficiently defended; and on the 20th of March, when the army was on the
point of breaking into Northern Bavaria, orders were given to divert the
line of march to the south, and to enter the Rhenish Confederacy by the
roads of the Danube and the Inn. Thus the fruit of so much energy, and of
the enemy's rare neglectfulness, was sacrificed at the last moment. It was
not until the 9th of April that the Austrian movement southward was
completed, and that the army lay upon the line of the Inn, ready to attack
Napoleon in the territory of his principal German ally.

[Austrian manifesto to the Germans.]

The proclamations now published by the Emperor and the Archduke bore
striking testimony to the influence of the Spanish insurrection in exciting
the sense of national right, and awakening the Governments of Europe to the
force which this placed in their hands. For the first time in history a
manifesto was addressed "to the German nation." The contrast drawn in the
Archduke's address to his army between the Spanish patriots dying in the
defence of their country, and the German vassal-contingents dragged by
Napoleon into Spain to deprive a gallant nation of its freedom, was one of
the most just and the most telling that tyranny has ever given to the
leaders of a righteous cause. [157] The Emperor's address "to the German
nation" breathed the same spirit. It was not difficult for the politicians
of the Rhenish Federation to ridicule the sudden enthusiasm for liberty and
nationality shown by a Government which up to the present time had dreaded
nothing so much as the excitement of popular movements; but, however
unconcernedly the Emperor and the old school of Austrian statesmen might
adopt patriotic phrases which they had no intention to remember when the
struggle was over, such language was a reality in the effect which it
produced upon the thousands who, both in Austria and other parts of
Germany, now for the first time heard the summons to unite in defence of a
common Fatherland.

[Austrians invade Bavaria, April 9, 1809.]

[Rising of the Tyrol, April, 1809.]

[Its causes religious.]

The leading divisions of the Archduke's army crossed the Inn on the 9th of
April. Besides the forces intended for the invasion of Bavaria, which
numbered 170,000 men, the Austrian Government had formed two smaller
armies, with which the Princes Ferdinand and John were to take up the
offensive in the Grand Duchy of Warsaw and in Northern Italy. On every side
Austria was first in the field; but even before its regular forces could
encounter the enemy, a popular outbreak of the kind that the Government had
invoked wrested from the French the whole of an important province. While
the army crossed the Inn, the Tyrolese people rose, and overpowered the
French and Bavarian detachments stationed in their country. The Tyrol had
been taken from Austria at the Peace of Presburg, and attached to
Napoleon's vassal kingdom of Bavaria. In geographical position and in
relationship of blood the Tyrolese were as closely connected with the
Bavarians as with the Austrians; and the annexation would probably have
caused no lasting discontent if the Bavarian Government had condescended to
take some account of the character of its new subjects. Under the rule of
Austria the Tyrolese had enjoyed many privileges. They were exempt from
military service, except in their own militia; they paid few taxes; they
possessed forms of self-government which were at least popular enough to be
regretted after they had been lost. The people adored their bishops and
clergy. Nowhere could the Church exhibit a more winning example of unbroken
accord between a simple people and a Catholic Crown. Protestantism and the
unholy activities of reason had never brought trouble into the land. The
people believed exactly what the priests told them, and delighted in the
innumerable holidays provided by the Church. They had so little cupidity
that no bribe could induce a Tyrolese peasant to inform the French of any
movement; they had so little intelligence that, when their own courage and
stout-heartedness had won their first battle, they persuaded one another
that they had been led by a Saint on a white horse. Grievances of a
substantial character were not wanting under the new Bavarian rule; but it
was less the increased taxation and the enforcement of military service
that exasperated the people than the attacks made by the Government upon
the property and rights of the Church. Montgelas, the reforming Bavarian
minister, treated the Tyrolese bishops with as little ceremony as the
Swabian knights. The State laid claim to all advowsons; and upon the
refusal of the bishops to give up their patronage, the bishops themselves
were banished and their revenues sequestrated. A passion for uniformity and
common sense prompted the Government to revive the Emperor Joseph's edicts
against pilgrimages and Church holidays. It became a police-offence to shut
up a shop on a saint's day, or to wear a gay dress at a festival. Bavarian
soldiers closed the churches at the end of a prescribed number of masses.
At a sale of Church property, ordered by the Government, some of the sacred
vessels were permitted to fall into the hands of the Jews.

These were the wrongs that fired the simple Tyrolese. They could have borne
the visits of the tax-gatherer and the lists of conscription; they could
not bear that their priests should be overruled, or that their observances
should be limited to those sufficient for ordinary Catholics. Yet, with all
its aspect of unreason, the question in the Tyrol was also part of that
larger question whether Napoleon's pleasure should be the rule of European
life, or nations should have some voice in the disposal of their own
affairs. The Tyrolese were not more superstitious, and they were certainty
much less cruel, than the Spaniards. They fought for ecclesiastical
absurdities; but their cause was also the cause of national right, and the
admiration which their courage excited in Europe was well deserved.

[Tyrolese expel Bavarians and French, April 1809.]

Early in the year 1809 the Archduke John had met the leaders of the
Tyrolese peasantry, and planned the first movements of a national
insurrection. As soon as the Austrian army crossed the Inn, the peasants
thronged to their appointed meeting-places. Scattered detachments of the
Bavarians were surrounded, and on the 12th of April the main body of the
Tyrolese, numbering about 15,000 men, advanced upon Innsbruck. The town was
invested; the Bavarian garrison, consisting of 3,000 regular troops, found
itself forced to surrender after a severe engagement. On the next morning a
French column, on the march from Italy to the Danube, approached Innsbruck,
totally unaware of the events of the preceding day. The Tyrolese closed
behind it as it advanced. It was not until the column was close to the town
that its commander, General Brisson, discovered that Innsbruck had fallen
into an enemy's hands. Retreat was impossible; ammunition was wanting for a
battle; and Brisson had no choice but to surrender to the peasants, who had
already proved more than a match for the Bavarian regular troops. The
Tyrolese had done their work without the help of a single Austrian
regiment. In five days the weak fabric of Bavarian rule had been thrown to
the ground. The French only maintained themselves in the lower valley of
the Adige: and before the end of April their last positions at Trent and
Roveredo were evacuated, and no foreign soldier remained on Tyrolese soil.

[Campaign of Archduke Charles in Bavaria.]

The operations of the Austrian commanders upon the Inn formed a melancholy
contrast to the activity of the mountaineers. In spite of the delay of
three weeks in opening the campaign, Davoust had still not effected his
junction with the French troops in Southern Bavaria, and a rapid movement
of the Austrians might even now have overwhelmed his isolated divisions at
Ratisbon. Napoleon himself had remained in Paris till the last moment,
instructing Berthier, the chief of the staff, to concentrate the vanguard
at Ratisbon, if by the 15th of April the enemy had not crossed the Inn, but
to draw back to the line of the Lech if the enemy crossed the Inn before
that day. [158] The Archduke entered Bavaria on the 9th; but, instead of
retiring to the Lech, Berthier allowed the army to be scattered over an
area sixty miles broad, from Ratisbon to points above Augsburg. Davoust lay
at Ratisbon, a certain prey if the Archduke pushed forwards with vigour and
thrust his army between the northern and the southern positions of the
French. But nothing could change the sluggishness of the Austrian march.
The Archduke was six days in moving from the Inn to the Isar; and before
the order was given for an advance upon Ratisbon, Napoleon himself had
arrived at Donauwörth, and taken the command out of the hands of his feeble

[Napoleon restores superiority of French, April 18, 19.]

It needed all the Emperor's energy to snatch victory from the enemy's
grasp. Davoust was bidden to fall back from Ratisbon to Neustadt; the most
pressing orders were sent to Massena, who commanded the right at Augsburg,
to push forward to the north-east in the direction of his colleague, before
the Austrians could throw the mass of their forces upon Davoust's weak
corps. Both generals understood the urgency of the command. Davoust set out
from Ratisbon on the morning of the 19th. He was attacked by the Archduke,
but so feebly and irresolutely that, with all their superiority in numbers,
the Austrians failed to overpower the enemy at any one point. Massena,
immediately after receiving his orders, hurried from Augsburg
north-eastwards, while Napoleon himself advanced into the mid-space between
the two generals, and brought the right and left wings of the French army
into communication with one another. In two days after the Emperor's
arrival all the advantages of the Austrians were gone: the French, so
lately exposed to destruction, formed a concentrated mass in the presence
of a scattered enemy. The issue of the campaign was decided by the
movements of these two days. Napoleon was again at the head of 150,000 men;
the Archduke, already baulked in his first attack upon Davoust, was seized
with unworthy terror when he found that Napoleon himself was before him,
and resigned himself to anticipations of ruin.

[Austrian defeats at Landshut and Eggmühl, April 22.]

[French enter Vienna, May 13.]

A series of manoeuvres and engagements in the finest style of Napoleonic
warfare filled the next three days with French victories and Austrian
disasters. On April the 20th the long line of the Archduke's army was cut
in halves by an attack at Abensberg. The left was driven across the Isar at
Landshut; the right, commanded by the Archduke himself, was overpowered at
Eggmühl on the 22nd, and forced northwards. The unbroken mass of the French
army now thrust itself between the two defeated wings of the enemy. The
only road remaining open to the Archduke was that through Ratisbon to the
north of the Danube. In five days, although no engagement of the first
order had taken place between the French and Austrian armies, Charles had
lost 60,000 men; the mass of his army was retreating into Bohemia, and the
road to Vienna lay scarcely less open than after Mack's capitulation at Ulm
four years before. A desperate battle fought against the advancing French
at Edelsberg by the weak divisions that had remained on the south of the
Danube, proved that the disasters of the campaign were due to the faults of
the general, not to the men whom he commanded. But whatever hopes of
ultimate success might still be based on the gallant temper of the army, it
was impossible to prevent the fall of the capital. The French, leaving the
Archduke on the north of the Danube, pressed forwards along the direct
route from the Inn to Vienna. The capital was bombarded and occupied. On
the 13th of May Napoleon again took up his quarters in the palace of the
Austrian monarchs where he had signed the Peace of 1806. The divisions
which had fallen back before him along the southern road crossed the Danube
at Vienna, and joined the Archduke on the bank of the river opposite the

[Attempts of Dörnberg and Schill in Northern Germany, April, 1809.]

The disasters of the Bavarian campaign involved the sacrifice of all that
had resulted from Austrian victories elsewhere, and of all that might have
been won by a general insurrection in Northern Germany. In Poland and in
Italy the war had opened favourably for Austria. Warsaw had been seized;
Eugene Beauharnais, the Viceroy of Italy, had been defeated by the Archduke
John at Sacile, in Venetia; but it was impossible to pursue these
advantages when the capital itself was on the point of falling into the
hands of the enemy. The invading armies halted, and ere long the Archduke
John commenced his retreat into the mountains. In Northern Germany no
popular uprising could be expected when once Austria had been defeated. The
only movements that took place were undertaken by soldiers, and undertaken
before the disasters in Bavaria became known. The leaders in this military
conspiracy were Dörnberg, an officer in the service of King Jerome of
Westphalia, and Schill, the Prussian cavalry leader who had so brilliantly
distinguished himself in the defence of Colberg. Dörnberg had taken service
under Jerome with the design of raising Jerome's own army against him. It
had been agreed by the conspirators that at the same moment Dörnberg should
raise the Hessian standard in Westphalia, and Schill, marching from Berlin
with any part of the Prussian army that would follow him, should proclaim
war against the French in defiance of the Prussian Government. Dörnberg had
made sure of the support of his own regiment; but at the last moment the
plot was discovered, and he was transferred to the command of a body of men
upon whom he could not rely. He placed himself at the head of a band of
peasants, and raised the standard of insurrection. King Jerome's troops met
the solicitations of their countrymen with a volley of bullets. Dörnberg
fled for his life; and the revolt ended on the day after it had begun
(April 23). Schill, unconscious of Dörnberg's ruin, and deceived by reports
of Austrian victories upon the Danube, led out his regiment from Berlin as
if for a day's manoeuvring, and then summoned his men to follow him in
raising a national insurrection against Napoleon. The soldiers answered
Schill's eloquent words with shouts of applause; the march was continued
westwards, and Schill crossed the Elbe, intending to fall upon the
communications of Napoleon's army, already, as he believed, staggering
under the blows delivered by the Archduke in the valley of the Danube.

[Schill at Stralsund, May 23.]

On reaching Halle, Schill learnt of the overthrow of the Archduke and of
Dörnberg's ruin in Westphalia. All hope of success in the enterprise on
which he had quitted Berlin was dashed to the ground. The possibility of
raising a popular insurrection vanished. Schill, however, had gone too far
to recede; and even now it was not too late to join the armies of
Napoleon's enemies. Schill might move into Bohemia, or to some point on the
northern coast where he would be within reach of English vessels. But in
any case quick and steady decision was necessary; and this Schill could not
attain. Though brave even to recklessness, and gifted with qualities which
made him the idol of the public, Schill lacked the disinterestedness and
self-mastery which calm the judgment in time of trial. The sudden ruin of
his hopes left him without a plan. He wasted day after day in purposeless
marches, while the enemy collected a force to overwhelm him. His influence
over his men became impaired; the denunciations of the Prussian Government
prevented other soldiers from joining him. At length Schill determined to
recross the Elbe, and to throw himself into the coast town of Stralsund, in
Swedish Pomerania. He marched through Mecklenburg, and suddenly appeared
before Stralsund at moment when the French cannoneers in garrison were
firing a salvo in honour of Napoleon's entry into Vienna. A hand-to-hand
fight gave Schill possession of the town, with all its stores. For a moment
it seemed as if Stralsund might become a second Saragossa; but the French
were at hand before it was possible to create works of defence. Schill had
but eighteen hundred men, half of whom were cavalry; he understood nothing
of military science, and would listen to no counsels. A week after his
entry into Stralsund the town was stormed by a force four times more
numerous than its defenders. Capitulation was no word for the man who had
dared to make a private war upon Napoleon; Schill could only set the
example of an heroic death. [159] The officers who were not so fortunate as
to fall with their leader were shot in cold blood, after trial by a French
court-martial. Six hundred common soldiers who surrendered were sent to the
galleys of Toulon to sicken among French thieves and murderers. The cruelty
of the conqueror, the heroism of the conquered, gave to Schill's
ill-planned venture the importance of a great act of patriotic martyrdom.
Another example had been given of self-sacrifice in the just cause.
Schill's faults were forgotten; his memory deepened the passion with which
all the braver spirits of Germany now looked for the day of reckoning with
their oppressor. [160]

[Napoleon crosses the Danube, May 20.]

[Battle of Aspern, May 21, 22.]

Napoleon had finished the first act of the war of 1809 by the occupation of
Vienna; but no peace was possible until the Austrian army, which lay upon
the opposite bank of the river, had been attacked and beaten. Four miles
below Vienna the Danube is divided into two streams by the island of Lobau:
the southern stream is the main channel of the river, the northern is only
a hundred and fifty yards broad. It was here that Napoleon determined to
make the passage. The broad arm of the Danube, sheltered by the island from
the enemy's fire, was easily bridged by boats; the passage from the island
to the northern bank, though liable to be disputed by the Austrians, was
facilitated by the narrowing of the stream. On the 18th of May, Napoleon,
supposing himself to have made good the connection between the island and
the southern bank, began to bridge the northern arm of the river. His
movements were observed by the enemy, but no opposition was offered. On the
20th a body of 40,000 French crossed to the northern bank, and occupied the
villages of Aspern and Essling. This was the movement for which the
Archduke Charles, who had now 80,000 men under arms, had been waiting.
Early on the 21st a mass of heavily-laden barges was let loose by the
Austrians above the island. The waters of the Danube were swollen by the
melting of the snows, and at midday the bridges of the French over the
broad arm of the river were swept away. A little later, dense Austrian
columns were seen advancing upon the villages of Aspern and Essling, where
the French, cut off from their supports, had to meet an overpowering enemy
in front, with an impassable river in their rear. The attack began at four
in the afternoon; when night fell the French had been driven out of Aspern,
though they still held the Austrians at bay in their other position at
Essling. During the night the long bridges were repaired; forty thousand
additional troops moved across the island to the northern bank of the
Danube; and the engagement was renewed, now between equal numbers, on the
following morning. Five times the village of Aspern was lost and won. In
the midst of the struggle the long bridges were again carried away. Unable
to break the enemy, unable to bring up any new forces from Vienna, Napoleon
ordered a retreat. The army was slowly withdrawn into the island of Lobau.
There for the next two days it lay without food and without ammunition,
severed from Vienna, and exposed to certain destruction if the Archduke
could have thrown his army across the narrow arm of the river and renewed
the engagement. But the Austrians were in no condition to follow up their
victory. Their losses were enormous; their stores were exhausted. The
moments in which a single stroke might have overthrown the whole fabric of
Napoleon's power were spent in forced inaction. By the third day after the
battle of Aspern the communications between the island and the mainland
were restored, and Napoleon's energy had brought the army out of immediate

[Effect on Europe.]

[Brunswick invades Saxony.]

Nevertheless, although the worst was averted, and the French now lay secure
in their island fortress, the defeat of Aspern changed the position of
Napoleon in the eyes of all Europe. The belief in his invincibility was
destroyed; he had suffered a defeat in person, at the head of his finest
troops, from an enemy little superior in strength to himself. The disasters
of the Austrians in the opening of the campaign were forgotten; everywhere
the hopes of resistance woke into new life. Prussian statesmen urged their
King to promise his support if Austria should gain one more victory. Other
enemies were ready to fall upon Napoleon without waiting for this
condition. England collected an immense armament destined for an attack
upon some point of the northern coast. Germany, lately mute and nerveless,
gave threatening signs. The Duke of Brunswick, driven from his inheritance
after his father's death at Jena, invaded the dominions of Napoleon's
vassal, the King of Saxony, and expelled him from his capital. Popular
insurrections broke out in Würtemberg and in Westphalia, and proved the
rising force of national feeling even in districts where the cause of
Germany lately seemed so hopelessly lost.

[Napoleon's preparations for the second passage of the Danube, June.]

[French cross the Danube, July 4.]

But Napoleon concerned himself little with these remoter enemies. Every
energy of his mind was bent to the one great issue on which victory
depended, the passage of the Danube. His chances of success were still
good, if the French troops watching the enemy between Vienna and the
Adriatic could be brought up in time for the final struggle. The Archduke
Charles was in no hurry for a battle, believing that every hour increased
the probability of an attack upon Napoleon by England or Prussia, or
insurgent Germany. Never was the difference between Napoleon and his ablest
adversaries more strikingly displayed than in the work which was
accomplished by him during this same interval. He had determined that in
the next battle his army should march across the Danube as safely and as
rapidly as it could march along the streets of Vienna. Two solid bridges
were built on piles across the broad arm of the river; no less than six
bridges of rafts were made ready to be thrown across the narrow arm when
the moment arrived for the attack. By the end of June all the outlying
divisions of the French army had gathered to the great rallying-point; a
hundred and eighty thousand men were in the island, or ready to enter it;
every movement, every position to be occupied by each member of this vast
mass in its passage and advance, was fixed down to the minutest details.
Napoleon had decided to cross from the eastern, not from the northern side
of the island, and thus to pass outside the fortifications which the
Archduke had erected on the former battlefield. Towards midnight on the 4th
of July, in the midst of a violent storm, the six bridges were successively
swung across the river. The artillery opened fire. One army corps after
another, each drawn up opposite to its own bridge, marched to the northern
shore, and by sunrise nearly the whole of Napoleon's force deployed on the
left bank of the Danube. The river had been converted into a great highway;
the fortifications which had been erected by the Archduke were turned by
the eastward direction of the passage. All that remained for the Austrian
commander was to fight a pitched battle on ground that was now at least
thoroughly familiar to him. Charles had taken up a good position on the
hills that look over the village of Wagram. Here, with 130,000 men, he
awaited the attack of the French. The first attack was made in the
afternoon after the crossing of the river. It failed; and the French army
lay stretched during the night between the river and the hills, while the
Archduke prepared to descend upon their left on the morrow, and to force
himself between the enemy and the bridges behind them.

[Battle of Wagram, July 5, 6.]

[Armistice of Zuaim, July 12.]

Early on the morning of the 6th the two largest armies that had ever been
brought face to face in Europe began their onslaught. Spectators from the
steeples of Vienna saw the fire of the French little by little receding on
their left, and dense masses of the Austrians pressing on towards the
bridges, on whose safety the existence of the French army depended. But ere
long the forward movement stopped. Napoleon had thrown an overpowering
force against the Austrian centre, and the Archduke found himself compelled
to recall his victorious divisions and defend his own threatened line.
Gradually the superior numbers of the French forced the enemy back. The
Archduke John, who had been ordered up from Presburg, failed to appear on
the field; and at two o'clock Charles ordered a retreat. The order of the
Austrians was unbroken; they had captured more prisoners than they had
lost; their retreat was covered by so powerful an artillery that the French
could make no pursuit. The victory was no doubt Napoleon's, but it was a
victory that had nothing in common with Jena and Austerlitz. Nothing was
lost by the Austrians at Wagram but their positions and the reputation of
their general. The army was still in fighting-order, with the fortresses of
Bohemia behind it. Whether Austria would continue the war depended on the
action of the other European Powers. If Great Britain successfully landed
an armament in Northern Germany or dealt any overwhelming blow in Spain, if
Prussia declared war on Napoleon, Austria might fight on. If the other
Powers failed, Austria, must make peace. The armistice of Zuaim, concluded
on the 12th of July, was recognised on all sides as a mere device to gain
time. There was a pause in the great struggle in the central Continent. Its
renewal or its termination depended upon the issue of events at a distance.

[Wellesley invades Spain, June, 1809.]

[Talavera, July 27.]

[Wellesley retreats to Portugal.]

For the moment the eyes of all Europe were fixed upon the British army in
Spain. Sir Arthur Wellesley, who took command at Lisbon in the spring, had
driven Soult out of Oporto, and was advancing by the valley of the Tagus
upon the Spanish capital. Some appearance of additional strength was given
to him by the support of a Spanish army under the command of General
Cuesta. Wellesley's march had, however, been delayed by the neglect and bad
faith of the Spanish Government, and time had been given to Soult to
collect a large force in the neighbourhood of Salamanca, ready either to
fall upon Wellesley from the north, or to unite with another French army
which lay at Talavera, if its commander, Victor, had the wisdom to postpone
an engagement. The English general knew nothing of Soult's presence on his
flank: he continued his march towards Madrid along the valley of the Tagus,
and finally drew up for battle at Talavera, when Victor, after retreating
before Cuesta to some distance, hunted back his Spanish pursuer to the
point from which he had started. [161] The first attack was made by Victor
upon the English positions at evening on the 27th of July. Next morning the
assault was renewed, and the battle became general. Wellesley gained a
complete victory, but the English themselves suffered heavily, and the army
remained in its position. Within the next few days Soult was discovered to
be descending from the mountains between Salamanca and the Tagus. A force
superior to Wellesley's own threatened to close upon him from the rear, and
to hem him in between two fires. The sacrifices of Talavera proved to have
been made in vain. Wellesley had no choice but to abandon his advance upon
the Spanish capital, and to fall back upon Portugal by the roads south of
the Tagus. In spite of the defeat of Victor, the French were the winners of
the campaign. Madrid was still secure; the fabric of French rule in the
Spanish Peninsula was still unshaken. The tidings of Wellesley's retreat
reached Napoleon and the Austrian negotiators, damping the hopes of
Austria, and easing Napoleon's fears. Austria's continuance of the war now
depended upon the success or failure of the long-expected descent of an
English army upon the northern coast of Europe.

Three months before the Austrian Government declared war upon Napoleon, it
had acquainted Great Britain with its own plans, and urged the Cabinet to
dispatch an English force to Northern Germany. Such a force, landing at the
time of the battle of Aspern, would certainly have aroused both Prussia and
the country between the Elbe and the Maine. But the difference between a
movement executed in time and one executed weeks and months too late was
still unknown at the English War Office. The Ministry did not even begin
their preparations till the middle of June, and then they determined, in
pursuance of a plan made some years earlier, to attack the French fleet and
docks at Antwerp, and to ignore that patriotic movement in Northern Germany
from which they had so much to hope.

[British Expedition against Antwerp, July, 1809.]

[Total failure.]

On the 28th of July, two months after the battle of Aspern and three weeks
after the battle of Wagram, a fleet of thirty-seven ships of the line, with
innumerable transports and gunboats, set sail from Dover for the Schelde.
Forty thousand troops were on board; the commander of the expedition was
the Earl of Chatham, a court-favourite in whom Nature avenged herself upon
Great Britain for what she had given to this country in his father and his
younger brother. The troops were landed on the island of Walcheren. Instead
of pushing forward to Antwerp with all possible haste, and surprising it
before any preparations could be made for its defence, Lord Chatham placed
half his army on the banks of various canals, and with the other half
proceeded to invest Flushing. On the 16th of August this unfortunate town
surrendered, after a bombardment that had reduced it to a mass of ruins.
During the next ten days the English commander advanced about as many
miles, and then discovered that for all prospect of taking Antwerp he might
as well have remained in England. Whilst Chatham was groping about in
Walcheren, the fortifications of Antwerp were restored, the fleet carried
up the river, and a mass of troops collected sufficient to defend the town
against a regular siege. Defeat stared the English in the face. At the end
of August the general recommended the Government to recall the expedition,
only leaving a force of 15,000 soldiers to occupy the marshes of Walcheren.
Chatham's recommendations were accepted; and on a spot so notoriously
pestiferous that Napoleon had refused to permit a single French soldier to
serve there on garrison duty, [162] an English army-corps, which might at
least have earned the same honour as Schill and Brunswick in Northern
Germany, was left to perish of fever and ague. When two thousand soldiers
were in their graves, the rest were recalled to England.

[Austria makes peace.]

Great Britain had failed to weaken or to alarm Napoleon; the King of
Prussia made no movement on behalf of the losing cause; and the Austrian
Government unwillingly found itself compelled to accept conditions of
peace. It was not so much a deficiency in its forces as the universal
distrust of its generals that made it impossible for Austria to continue
the war. The soldiers had fought as bravely as the French, but in vain. "If
we had a million soldiers," it was said, "we must make peace; for we have
no one to command them." Count Stadion, who was for carrying on the war to
the bitter end, despaired of throwing his own energetic courage into the
men who surrounded the Emperor, and withdrew from public affairs. For week
after week the Emperor fluctuated between the acceptance of Napoleon's hard
conditions and the renewal of a struggle which was likely to involve his
own dethronement as well as the total conquest of the Austrian State. At
length Napoleon's demands were presented in the form of an ultimatum. In
his distress the Emperor's thoughts turned towards the Minister who, eight
years before, had been so strong, so resolute, when all around him wavered.
Thugut, now seventy-six years old, was living in retirement. The Emperor
sent one of his generals to ask his opinion on peace or war. "I thought to
find him," reported the general, "broken in mind and body; but the fire of
his spirit is in its full force." Thugut's reply did honour to his
foresight: "Make peace at any price. The existence of the Austrian monarchy
is at stake: the dissolution of the French Empire is not far off." On the
14th of October the Emperor Francis accepted his conqueror's terms, and
signed conditions of peace. [163]

[Peace of Vienna, Oct. 14, 1809.]

[Real effects of the war of 1809.]

The Treaty of Vienna, the last which Napoleon signed as a conqueror, took
from the Austrian Empire 50,000 square miles of territory and more than
4,000,000 inhabitants. Salzburg, with part of Upper Austria, was ceded to
Bavaria; Western Galicia, the territory gained by Austria in the final
partition of Poland, was transferred to the Grand-Duchy of Warsaw; part of
Carinthia, with the whole of the country lying between the Adriatic and the
Save as far as the frontier of Bosnia, was annexed to Napoleon's own
Empire, under the title of the Illyrian Provinces. Austria was cut off from
the sea, and the dominion of Napoleon extended without a break to the
borders of Turkey. Bavaria and Saxony, the outposts of French sovereignty
in Central Europe, were enriched at the expense of the Power which had
called Germany to arms; Austria, which at the beginning of the
Revolutionary War had owned territory upon the Rhine and exercised a
predominating influence over all Italy, seemed now to be finally excluded
both from Germany and the Mediterranean. Yet, however striking the change
of frontier which gave to Napoleon continuous dominion from the Straits of
Calais to the border of Bosnia, the victories of France in 1809 brought in
their train none of those great moral changes which had hitherto made each
French conquest a stage in European progress. The campaign of 1796 had
aroused the hope of national independence in Italy; the settlements of 1801
and 1806 had put an end to Feudalism in Western Germany; the victories of
1809 originated nothing but a change of frontier such as the next war might
obliterate and undo. All that was permanent in the effects of the year 1809
was due, not to any new creations of Napoleon, but to the spirit of
resistance which France had at length excited in Europe. The revolt of the
Tyrol, the exploits of Brunswick and Schill, gave a stimulus to German
patriotism which survived the defeat of Austria. Austria itself, though
overpowered, had inflicted a deadly injury upon Napoleon, by withdrawing
him from Spain at the moment when he might have completed its conquest, and
by enabling Wellesley to gain a footing in the Peninsula. Napoleon appeared
to have gathered a richer spoil from the victories of 1809 than from any of
his previous wars; in reality he had never surrounded himself with so many
dangers. Russia was alienated by the annexation of West Galicia to the
Polish Grand Duchy of Warsaw; Northern Germany had profited by the examples
of courage and patriotism shown so largely in 1809 on behalf of the
Fatherland; Spain, supported by Wellesley's army, was still far from
submission. The old indifference which had smoothed the way for the earlier
French conquests was no longer the characteristic of Europe. The
estrangement of Russia, the growth of national spirit in Germany and in
Spain, involved a danger to Napoleon's power which far outweighed the
visible results of his victory.

[Austria and the Tyrol.]

Austria itself could only acquiesce in defeat: nor perhaps would the
permanent interests of Europe have been promoted by its success. The
championship of Germany which it assumed at the beginning of the war would
no doubt have resulted in the temporary establishment of some form of
German union under Austrian leadership, if the event of the war had been
different; but the sovereign of Hungary and Croatia could never be the true
head of the German people; and the conduct of the Austrian Government after
the peace of 1809 gave little reason to regret its failure to revive a
Teutonic Empire. No portion of the Emperor's subjects had fought for him
with such determined loyalty as the Tyrolese. After having been the first
to throw off the yoke of the stranger, they had again and again freed their
country when Napoleon's generals supposed all resistance overcome; and in
return for their efforts the Emperor had solemnly assured them that he
would never accept a peace which did not restore them to his Empire. If
fair dealing was due anywhere it was due from the Court of Austria to the
Tyrolese. Yet the only reward of the simple courage of these mountaineers
was that the war-party at head-quarters recklessly employed them as a means
of prolonging, hostilities after the armistice of Znaim, and that up to the
moment when peace was signed they were left in the belief that the Emperor
meant to keep his promise, Austria, however, could not ruin herself to
please the Tyrolese. Circumstances were changed; and the phrases of
patriotism which had excited so much rejoicing at the beginning of the war
were now fallen out of fashion at Vienna. Nothing more was heard about the
rights of nations and the deliverance of Germany. Austria had made a great
venture and failed; and the Government rather resumed than abandoned its
normal attitude in turning its back upon the professions of 1809.

[Austrian policy after 1809.]


Henceforward the policy of Austria was one of calculation, untinged by
national sympathies. France had been a cruel enemy; yet if there was a
prospect of winning something for Austria by a French alliance,
considerations of sentiment could not be allowed to stand in the way. A
statesman who, like Count Stadion, had identified the interests of Austria
with the liberation of Germany, was no fitting helmsman for the State in
the shifting course that now lay before it. A diplomatist was called to
power who had hitherto by Napoleon's own desire represented the Austrian
State at Paris. Count Metternich, the new Chief Minister, was the son of a
Rhenish nobleman who had held high office under the Austrian crown. His
youth had been passed at Coblentz, and his character and tastes were those
which in the eighteenth century had marked the court-circles of the little
Rhenish Principalities, French in their outer life, unconscious of the
instinct of nationality, polished and seductive in that personal management
which passed for the highest type of statesmanship. Metternich had been
ambassador at Dresden and at Berlin before he went to Paris. Napoleon had
requested that he might be transferred to the Court of the Tuileries, on
account of the marked personal courtesy shown by Metternich to the French
ambassador at Berlin during the war between France and Austria in 1805.
Metternich carried with him all the friendliness of personal intercourse
which Napoleon expected in him, but he also carried with him a calm and
penetrating self-possession, and the conviction that Napoleon would give
Europe no rest until his power was greatly diminished. He served Austria
well at Paris, and in the negotiations for peace which followed the battle
of Wagram he took a leading part. After the disasters of 1809, when war was
impossible and isolation ruin, no statesman could so well serve Austria as
one who had never confessed himself the enemy of any Power; and, with the
full approval of Napoleon, the late Ambassador at Paris was placed at the
head of the Austrian State.

[Marriage of Napoleon with Marie Louise, 1810.]

[Severance of Napoleon and Alexander.]

Metternich's first undertaking gave singular evidence of the flexibility of
system which was henceforward to guard Austria's interests. Before the
grass had grown over the graves at Wagram, the Emperor Francis was
persuaded to give his daughter in marriage to Napoleon. For some time past
Napoleon had determined on divorcing Josephine and allying himself to one
of the reigning houses of the Continent. His first advances were made at
St. Petersburg; but the Czar hesitated to form a connection which his
subjects would view as a dishonour; and the opportunity was seized by the
less fastidious Austrians as soon as the fancies of the imperial suitor
turned towards Vienna. The Emperor Francis, who had been bullied by
Napoleon upon the field of Austerlitz, ridiculed and insulted in every
proclamation issued during the late campaign, gave up his daughter for what
was called the good of his people, and reconciled himself to a son-in-law
who had taken so many provinces for his dowry. Peace had not been
proclaimed four months when the treaty was signed which united the House of
Bonaparte to the family of Marie Antoinette. The Archduke Charles
represented Napoleon in the espousals; the Archbishop of Vienna anointed
the bride with the same sacred oil with which he had consecrated the
banners of 1809; the servile press which narrated the wedding festivities
found no space to mention that the Emperor's bravest subject, the Tyrolese
leader Hofer, was executed by Napoleon as a brigand in the interval between
the contract and the celebration of the marriage. Old Austrian families,
members of the only aristocracy upon the Continent that still possessed
political weight and a political tradition, lamented the Emperor's consent
to a union which their prejudices called a mis-alliance, and their
consciences an adultery; but the object of Metternich was attained. The
friendship between France and Russia, which had inflicted so much evil on
the Continent since the Peace of Tilsit, was dissolved; the sword of
Napoleon was turned away from Austria for at least some years; the
restoration of the lost provinces of the Hapsburg seemed not impossible,
now that Napoleon and Alexander were left face to face in Europe, and the
alliance of Austria had become so important to the power which had hitherto
enriched itself at Austria's expense.

[Napoleon annexes Papal States, May, 1809.]

Napoleon crowned his new bride, and felt himself at length the equal of the
Hapsburgs and the Bourbons. Except in Spain, his arms were no longer
resisted upon the Continent, and the period immediately succeeding the
Peace of Vienna was that which brought the Napoleonic Empire to its widest
bounds. Already, in the pride of the first victories of 1809, Napoleon had
completed his aggressions upon the Papal sovereignty by declaring the
Ecclesiastical States to be united to the French Empire (May 17, 1809). The
Pope retorted upon his despoiler with a Bull of Excommunication; but the
spiritual terrors were among the least formidable of those then active in
Europe, and the sanctity of the Pontiff did not prevent Napoleon's soldiers
from arresting him in the Quirinal, and carrying him as a prisoner to
Savona. Here Pius VII., was detained for the next three years. The Roman
States received the laws and the civil organisation of France. [164]
Bishops and clergy who refused the oath of fidelity to Napoleon were
imprisoned or exiled; the monasteries and convents were dissolved; the
cardinals and great officers, along with the archives and the whole
apparatus of ecclesiastical rule, were carried to Paris. In relation to the
future of European Catholicism, the breach between Napoleon and Pius VII.,
was a more important event than was understood at the time; its immediate
and visible result was that there was one sovereign the fewer in Europe,
and one more province opened to the French conscription.

[Napoleon annexes, Holland, July, 1810.]

The next of Napoleon's vassals who lost his throne was the King of Holland.
Like Joseph in Spain, and like Murat in Naples, Louis Bonaparte had made an
honest effort to govern for the benefit of his subjects. He had endeavoured
to lighten the burdens which Napoleon laid upon the Dutch nation, already
deprived of its colonies, its commerce, and its independence; and every
plea which Louis had made for his subjects had been treated by Napoleon as
a breach of duty towards himself. The offence of the unfortunate King of
Holland became unpardonable when he neglected to enforce the orders of
Napoleon against the admission of English goods. Louis was summoned to
Paris, and compelled to sign a treaty, ceding part of his dominions and
placing his custom-houses in the hands of French officers. He returned to
Holland, but affairs grew worse and worse. French troops overran the
country; Napoleon's letters were each more menacing than the last; and at
length Louis fled from his dominions (July 1, 1810), and delivered himself
from a royalty which had proved the most intolerable kind of servitude. A
week later Holland was incorporated with the French Empire.

[Annexation of Le Valais, and of the North German coast.]

Two more annexations followed before the end of the year. The Republic of
the Valais was declared to have neglected the duty imposed upon it of
repairing the road over the Simplon, and forfeited its independence. The
North German coast district, comprising the Hanse towns, Oldenburg, and
part of the Kingdom of Westphalia, was annexed to the French Empire, with
the alleged object of more effectually shutting out British goods from the
ports of the Elbe and the Weser. Hamburg, however, and most of the
territory now incorporated with France, had been occupied by French troops
ever since the war of 1806, and the legal change in its position scarcely
made its subjection more complete. Had the history of this annexation been
written by men of the peasant-class, it would probably have been described
in terms of unmixed thankfulness and praise. In the Decree introducing the
French principle of the free tenure of land, thirty-six distinct forms of
feudal service are enumerated, as abolished without compensation. [165]

[Extent of Napoleon's Empire and Dependencies, 1810.]

Napoleon's dominion had now reached its widest bounds. The frontier of the
Empire began at Lübeck on the Baltic, touched the Rhine at Wesel, and
followed the river and the Jura mountains to the foot of the Lake of
Geneva; then, crossing the Alps above the source of the Rhone, it ran with
the rivers Sesia and Po to a point nearly opposite Mantua, mounted to the
watershed of the Apennines, and descended to the Mediterranean at
Terracina. The late Ecclesiastical States were formed into the two
Departments of the Tiber and of Trasimene; Tuscany, also divided into
French Departments, and represented in the French Legislative Body, gave
the title of Archduchess and the ceremonial of a Court to Napoleon's sister
Eliza; the Kingdom of Italy, formed by Lombardy, Venice, and the country
east of the Apennines as far south as Ascoli, belonged to Napoleon himself,
but was not constitutionally united with the French Empire. On the east of
the Adriatic the Illyrian Provinces extended Napoleon's rule to the borders
of Bosnia and Montenegro. Outside the frontier of this great Empire an
order of feudatories ruled in Italy, in Germany, and in Poland. Murat, King
of Naples, and the client-princes of the Confederation of the Rhine,
holding all Germany up to the frontiers of Prussia and Austria, as well as
the Grand-Duchy of Warsaw, were nominally sovereigns within their own
dominions; but they held their dignities at Napoleon's pleasure, and the
population and revenues of their States were at his service.

[Benefits of Napoleon's rule.]

[Wrongs of Napoleon's rule.]

[Commercial blockade.]

The close of the year 1810 saw the last changes effected which Europe was
destined to receive at the hands of Napoleon. The fabric of his sovereignty
was raised upon the ruins of all that was obsolete and forceless upon the
western Continent; the benefits as well as the wrongs or his supremacy were
now seen in their widest operation. All Italy, the northern districts of
Germany which were incorporated with the Empire, and a great part of the
Confederate Territory of the Rhine, received in the Code Napoleon a law
which, to an extent hitherto unknown in Europe, brought social justice into
the daily affairs of life. The privileges of the noble, the feudal burdens
of the peasant, the monopolies of the guilds, passed away, in most
instances for ever. The comfort and improvement of mankind were vindicated
as the true aim of property by the abolition of the devices which convert
the soil into an instrument of family pride, and by the enforcement of a
fair division of inheritances among the children of the possessor. Legal
process, both civil and criminal, was brought within the comprehension of
ordinary citizens, and submitted to the test of publicity. These were among
the fruits of an earlier enlightenment which Napoleon's supremacy bestowed
upon a great part of Europe. The price which was paid for them was the
suppression of every vestige of liberty, the conscription, and the
Continental blockade. On the whole, the yoke was patiently borne. The
Italians and the Germans of the Rhenish Confederacy cared little what
Government they obeyed; their recruits who were sent to be killed by the
Austrians or the Spaniards felt it no especial hardship to fight Napoleon's
battles. More galling was the pressure of Napoleon's commercial system and
of the agencies by which he attempted to enforce it. In the hope of ruining
the trade of Great Britain, Napoleon spared no severity against the owners
of anything that had touched British hands, and deprived the Continent of
its entire supply of colonial produce, with the exception of such as was
imported at enormous charges by traders licensed by himself. The possession
of English goods became a capital offence. In the great trading towns a
system of permanent terrorism was put in force against the merchants.
Soldiers ransacked their houses; their letters were opened; spies dogged
their steps. It was in Hamburg, where Davoust exercised a sort of
independent sovereignty, that the violence and injustice of the Napoleonic
commercial system was seen in its most repulsive form; in the greater part
of the Empire it was felt more in the general decline of trade and in a
multitude of annoying privations than in acts of obtrusive cruelty. [166]
The French were themselves compelled to extract sugar from beetroot, and to
substitute chicory for coffee; the Germans, less favoured by nature, and
less rapid in adaptation, thirsted and sulked. Even in such torpid
communities as Saxony political discontent was at length engendered by
bodily discomfort. Men who were proof against all the patriotic exaltation
of Stein and Fichte felt that there must be something wrong in a system
which sent up the price of coffee to five shillings a pound, and reduced
the tobacconist to exclusive dependence upon the market-gardener.

[The Czar withdraws from Napoleon's commercial system, Dec., 1810.]

[France and Russia preparing for war, 1811.]

It was not, however, by its effects upon Napoleon's German vassals that the
Continental system contributed to the fall of its author. Whatever the
discontent of these communities, they obeyed Napoleon as long as he was
victorious, and abandoned him only when his cause was lost. Its real
political importance lay in the hostility which it excited between France
and Russia. The Czar, who had attached himself to Napoleon's commercial
system at the Peace of Tilsit, withdrew from it in the year succeeding the
Peace of Vienna. The trade of the Russian Empire had been ruined by the
closure of its ports to British vessels and British goods. Napoleon had
broken his promise to Russia by adding West Galicia to the Polish Duchy of
Warsaw; and the Czar refused to sacrifice the wealth of his subjects any
longer in the interest of an insincere ally. At the end of the year 1810 an
order was published at St. Petersburg, opening the harbours of Russia to
all ships bearing a neutral flag, and imposing a duty upon many of the
products of France. This edict was scarcely less than a direct challenge to
the French Emperor. Napoleon exaggerated the effect of his Continental
prohibitions upon English traffic. He imagined that the command of the
European coast-line, and nothing short of this, would enable him to exhaust
his enemy; and he was prepared to risk a war with Russia rather than permit
it to frustrate his long-cherished hopes. Already in the Austrian marriage
Napoleon had marked the severance of his interests from those of Alexander.
An attempted compromise upon the affairs of Poland produced only new
alienation and distrust; an open affront was offered to Alexander in the
annexation of the Duchy of Oldenburg, whose sovereign was a member of his
own family. The last event was immediately followed by the publication of
the new Russian tariff. In the spring of 1811 Napoleon had determined upon
war. With Spain still unsubdued, he had no motive to hurry on hostilities;
Alexander on his part was still less ready for action; and the forms of
diplomatic intercourse were in consequence maintained for some time longer
at Paris and St. Petersburg. But the true nature of the situation was shown
by the immense levies that were ordered both in France and Russia; and the
rest of the year was spent in preparations for the campaign which was
destined to decide the fate of Europe.

[Affairs in Spain and Portugal, 1809-1812.]

[Lines of Torres Vedras, 1809-1810.]

We have seen that during the period of more than two years that elapsed
between the Peace of Vienna and the outbreak of war with Russia, Napoleon
had no enemy in arms upon the Continent except in the Spanish Peninsula.
Had the Emperor himself taken up the command in Spain, he would probably
within a few months have crushed both the Spanish armies and their English
ally. A fatal error in judgment made him willing to look on from a distance
whilst his generals engaged with this last foe. The disputes with the Pope
and the King of Holland might well have been adjourned for another year;
but Napoleon felt no suspicions that the conquest of the Spanish Peninsula
was too difficult a task for his marshals; nor perhaps would it have been
so if Wellington had been like any of the generals whom Napoleon had
himself encountered. The French forces in the Peninsula numbered over
300,000 men: in spite of the victory of Talavera, the English had been
forced to retreat into Portugal. But the warfare of Wellington was a
different thing from that even of the best Austrian or Russian commanders.
From the time of the retreat from Talavera he had foreseen that Portugal
would be invaded by an army far outnumbering his own; and he planned a
scheme of defence as original, as strongly marked with true military
insight, as Napoleon's own most daring schemes of attack. Behind Lisbon a
rugged mountainous tract stretches from the Tagus to the sea: here, while
the English army wintered in the neighbourhood of Almeida, Wellington
employed thousands of Portuguese labourers in turning the promontory into
one vast fortress. No rumour of the operation was allowed to reach the
enemy. A double series of fortifications, known as the Lines of Torres
Vedras, followed the mountain-bastion on the north of Lisbon, and left no
single point open between the Tagus and the sea. This was the barrier to
which Wellington meant in the last resort to draw his assailants, whilst
the country was swept of everything that might sustain an invading army,
and the irregular troops of Portugal closed in upon its rear. [167]

[Retreat of Massena, 1810-11.]

[Massena's campaign against Wellington, 1810.]

In June, 1810, Marshal Massena, who had won the highest distinction at
Aspern and Wagram, arrived in Spain, and took up the command of the army
destined for the conquest of Portugal. Ciudad Rodrigo was invested:
Wellington, too weak to effect its relief, too wise to jeopardise his army
for the sake of Spanish praise, lay motionless while this great fortress
fell into the hands of the invader. In September, the French, 70,000
strong, entered Portugal. Wellington retreated down the valley of the
Mondego, devastating the country. At length he halted at Busaco and gave
battle (September 27). The French were defeated; the victory gave the
Portuguese full confidence in the English leader; but other roads were open
to the invader, and Wellington continued his retreat. Massena followed, and
heard for the first time of the fortifications of Torres Vedras when he was
within five days' march of them. On nearing the mountain-barrier, Massena
searched in vain for an unprotected point. Fifty thousand English and
Portuguese regular troops, besides a multitude of Portuguese militia, were
collected behind the lines; with the present number of the French an
assault was hopeless. Massena waited for reinforcements. It was with the
utmost difficulty that he could keep his army from starving; at length,
when the country was utterly exhausted, he commenced his retreat (Nov. 14).
Wellington descended from the heights, but his marching force was still too
weak to risk a pitched battle. Massena halted and took post at Santarem, on
the Tagus. Here, and in the neighbouring valley of the Zezere, he
maintained himself during the winter. But in March, 1811, reinforcements
arrived from England: Wellington moved forward against his enemy, and the
retreat of the French began in real earnest. Massena made his way
northwards, hard pressed by the English, and devastating the country with
merciless severity in order to retard pursuit. Fire and ruin marked the
track of the retreating army; but such were the sufferings of the French
themselves, both during the invasion and the retreat, that when Massena
re-entered Spain, after a campaign in which only one pitched battle had
been fought, his loss exceeded 30,000 men.

[Soult conquers Spain as far as Cadiz.]

[Wellington's campaign of 1811.]

Other French armies, in spite of a most destructive guerilla warfare, were
in the meantime completing the conquest of the south and the east of Spain.
Soult captured Seville, and began to lay siege to Cadiz. Here, at the end
of 1810, an order reached him from Napoleon to move to the support of
Massena. Leaving Victor in command at Cadiz, Soult marched northwards,
routed the Spaniards, and conquered the fortress of Badajoz, commanding the
southern road into Portugal. Massena, however, was already in retreat, and
Soult's own advance was cut short by intelligence that Graham, the English
general in Cadiz, had broken out upon the besiegers and inflicted a heavy
defeat. Soult returned to Cadiz and resumed the blockade. Wellington, thus
freed from danger of attack from the south, and believing Massena to be
thoroughly disabled, considered that the time had come for a forward
movement into Spain. It was necessary for him to capture the fortresses of
Almeida and Ciudad Rodrigo on the northern road, and to secure his own
communications with Portugal by wresting back Badajoz from the French. He
left a small force to besiege Almeida, and moved to Elvas to make
arrangements with Beresford for the siege of Badajoz. But before the
English commander had deemed it possible, the energy of Massena had
restored his troops to efficiency; and the two armies of Massena and Soult
were now ready to assail the English on the north and the south. Massena
marched against the corps investing Almeida. Wellington hastened back to
meet him, and fought a battle at Fuentes d'Onoro. The French were defeated;
Almeida passed into the hands of the English. In the south, Soult advanced
to the relief of Badajoz. He was overthrown by Beresford in the bloody
engagement of Albuera (May 16th); but his junction with the army of the
north, which was now transferred from Massena to Marmont, forced the
English to raise the siege; and Wellington, after audaciously offering
battle to the combined French armies, retired within the Portuguese
frontier, and marched northwards with the design of laying siege to Ciudad
Rodrigo. Again outnumbered by the French, he was compelled to retire to
cantonments on the Coa.

[Capture of Ciudad Rodrigo, Jan. 19, 1812.]

[Capture of Badajoz, April 6.]

Throughout the autumn months, which were spent in forced inaction,
Wellington held patiently to his belief that the French would be unable to
keep their armies long united, on account of the scarcity of food. His
calculations were correct, and at the close of the year 1811 the English
were again superior in the field. Wellington moved against Ciudad Rodrigo,
and took it by storm on the 19th of January, 1812. The road into Spain was
opened; it only remained to secure Portugal itself by the capture of
Badajoz. Wellington crossed the Tagus on the 8th of March, and completed
the investment of Badajoz ten days later. It was necessary to gain
possession of the city, at whatever cost, before Soult could advance to its
relief. On the night of the 6th of April Wellington gave orders for the
assault. The fury of the attack, the ferocity of the English soldiers in
the moment of their victory, have made the storm of Badajoz conspicuous
amongst the most terrible events of war. But the purpose of Wellington was
effected; the base of the English army in Portugal was secured from all
possibility of attack; and at the moment when Napoleon was summoning his
veteran regiments from beyond the Pyrenees for the invasion of Russia, the
English commander, master of the frontier fortresses of Spain, was
preparing to overwhelm the weakened armies in the Peninsula, and to drive
the French from Madrid.

[Wellington invades Spain, June 1812.]

[Salamanca, July 22.]

[Wellington retires to Portugal.]

It was in the summer of 1812, when Napoleon was now upon the point of
opening the Russian campaign, that Wellington advanced against Marmont's
positions in the north of Spain and the French lines of communication with
the capital. Marmont fell back and allowed Wellington to pass Salamanca;
but on reaching the Douro he turned upon his adversary, and by a succession
of swift and skilful marches brought the English into some danger of losing
their communications with Portugal. Wellington himself now retreated as far
as Salamanca, and there gave battle (July 22). A decisive victory freed the
English army from its peril, and annihilated all the advantages gained by
Marmont's strategy and speed. The French were so heavily defeated that they
had to fall back on Burgos. Wellington marched upon Madrid. At his approach
King Joseph fled from the capital, and ordered Soult to evacuate Andalusia,
and to meet him at Valencia, on the eastern coast. Wellington entered
Madrid amidst the wild rejoicing of the Spaniards, and then turned
northwards to complete the destruction of the army which he had beaten at
Salamanca. But the hour of his final success was not yet come. His advance
upon Madrid, though wise as a political measure, had given the French
northern army time to rally. He was checked by the obstinate defence of
Burgos; and finding the French strengthened by the very abandonment of
territory which his victory had forced upon them, he retired to Portugal,
giving to King Joseph a few months' more precarious enjoyment of his
vassal-sovereignty before his final and irrevocable overthrow.

[The war excites a constitutional movement in Spain.]

In Spain itself the struggle of the nation for its independence had
produced a political revolution as little foreseen by the Spaniards as by
Napoleon himself when the conflict began. When, in 1808, the people had
taken up arms for its native dynasty, the voices of those who demanded a
reform in the abuses of the Bourbon government had scarcely been heard amid
the tumult of loyal enthusiasm for Ferdinand. There existed, however, a
group of liberally-minded men in Spain; and as soon as the invasion of the
French and the subsequent successes of the Spaniards had overthrown both
the old repressive system of the Bourbons and that which Napoleon attempted
to put in its place, the opinions of these men, hitherto scarcely known
outside the circle of their own acquaintances, suddenly became a power in
the country through the liberation of the press. Jovellanos, an upright and
large-minded statesman, who had suffered a long imprisonment in the last
reign in consequence of his labours in the cause of progress, now
represented in the Central Junta the party of constitutional reform. The
Junta itself acted with but little insight or sincerity. A majority of its
members neither desired nor understood the great changes in government
which Jovellanos advocated; yet the Junta itself was an irregular and
revolutionary body, and was forced to appeal to the nation in order to hold
its ground against the old legal Councils of the monarchy, which possessed
not only a better formal right, but all the habits of authority. The
victories of Napoleon at the end of 1808, and the threatening attitude both
of the old official bodies and of the new provincial governments which had
sprung up in every part of the kingdom, extorted from the Junta in the
spring of 1809 a declaration in favour of the assembling of the Cortes, or
National Parliament, in the following year. Once made, the declaration
could not be nullified or withdrawn. It was in vain that the Junta, alarmed
at the progress of popular opinions, restored the censorship of the press,
and attempted to suppress the liberal journals. The current of political
agitation swept steadily on; and before the end of the year 1809 the
conflict of parties, which Spain was henceforward to experience in common
with the other Mediterranean States, had fairly begun. [168]

[Spanish Liberals in 1809 and 1810.]

The Spanish Liberals of 1809 made the same attack upon despotic power, and
upheld the same theories of popular right, as the leaders of the French
nation twenty years before. Against them was ranged the whole force of
Spanish officialism, soon to be supported by the overwhelming power of the
clergy. In the outset, however, the Liberals carefully avoided infringing
on the prerogatives of the Church. Thus accommodating its policy to the
Catholic spirit of the nation, the party of reform gathered strength
throughout the year 1809, as disaster after disaster excited the wrath of
the people against both the past and the present holders of power. It was
determined by the Junta that the Cortes should assemble on the 1st of
March, 1810. According to the ancient usage of Spain, each of the Three
Estates, the Clergy, the Nobles, and the Commons, would have been
represented in the Cortes by a separate assembly. The opponents of reform
pressed for the maintenance of this mediæval order, the Liberals declared
for a single Chamber; the Junta, guided by Jovellanos, adopted a middle
course, and decided that the higher clergy and nobles should be jointly
represented by one Chamber, the Commons by a second. Writs of election had
already been issued, when the Junta, driven to Cadiz by the advance of the
French armies, and assailed alike by Liberals, by reactionists, and by city
mobs, ended its ineffective career, and resigned its powers into the hands
of a Regency composed of five persons (Jan. 30, 1810). Had the Regency
immediately taken steps to assemble the Cortes, Spain would probably have
been content with the moderate reforms which two Chambers, formed according
to the plans of Jovellanos, would have been likely to sanction. The
Regency, however, preferred to keep power in its own hands and ignored the
promise which the Junta had given to the nation. Its policy of obstruction,
which was continued for months after the time when the Cortes ought to have
assembled, threw the Liberal party into the hands of men of extremes, and
prepared the way for revolution instead of reform. It was only when the
report reached Spain that Ferdinand was about to marry the daughter of King
Joseph, and to accept the succession to the Spanish crown from the usurper
himself, that the Regency consented to convoke the Cortes. But it was now
no longer possible to create an Upper House to serve as a check upon the
popular Assembly. A single Chamber was elected, and elected in great part
within the walls of Cadiz itself; for the representatives of districts
where the presence of French soldiery rendered election impossible were
chosen by refugees from those districts within Cadiz, amid the tumults of
political passion which stir a great city in time of war and revolution.

[Constitution made by the Cortes, 1812.]

On the 24th of September, 1810, the Cortes opened. Its first act was to
declare the sovereignty of the people, its next act to declare the freedom
of the Press. In every debate a spirit of bitter hatred towards the old
system of government and of deep distrust towards Ferdinand himself
revealed itself in the speeches of the Liberal deputies, although no one in
the Assembly dared to avow the least want of loyalty towards the exiled
House. The Liberals knew how passionate was the love of the Spanish people
for their Prince; but they resolved that, if Ferdinand returned to his
throne, he should return without the power to revive the old abuses of
Bourbon rule. In this spirit the Assembly proceeded to frame a Constitution
for Spain. The Crown was treated as the antagonist and corrupter of the
people; its administrative powers were jealously reduced; it was confronted
by an Assembly to be elected every two years, and the members of this
Assembly were prohibited both from holding office under the Crown, and from
presenting themselves for re-election at the end of their two years'
service. To a Representative Body thus excluded from all possibility of
gaining any practical acquaintance with public affairs was entrusted not
only the right of making laws, but the control of every branch of
government. The executive was reduced to a mere cypher.

[The Clergy against the Constitution.]

Such was the Constitution which, under the fire of the French artillery now
encompassing Cadiz, the Cortes of Spain proclaimed in the spring of the
year 1812. Its principles had excited the most vehement opposition within
the Assembly itself; by the nation, or at least that part of it which was
in communication with Cadiz, it appeared to be received with enthusiasm.
The Liberals, who had triumphed over their opponents in the debates in the
Assembly, believed that their own victory was the victory of the Spanish
people over the forces of despotism. But before the first rejoicings were
over, ominous signs appeared of the strength of the opposite party, and of
the incapacity of the Liberals themselves to form any effective Government.
The fanaticism of the clergy was excited by a law partly ratifying the
suppression of monasteries begun by Joseph Bonaparte; the enactments of the
Cortes regarding the censorship of religious writings threw the Church into
open revolt. In declaring the freedom of the Press, the Cortes had
expressly guarded themselves against extending this freedom to religious
discussion; the clergy now demanded the restoration of the powers of the
Inquisition, which had been in abeyance since the beginning of the war. The
Cortes were willing to grant to the Bishops the right of condemning any
writing as heretical, and they were willing to enforce by means of the
ordinary tribunals the law which declared the Catholic religion to be the
only one permitted in Spain; but they declined to restore the jurisdiction
of the Holy Office (Feb., 1813). Without this engine for the suppression of
all mental independence the priesthood of Spain conceived its cause to be
lost. The anathema of the Church went out against the new order. Uniting
with the partisans of absolutism, whom Wellington, provoked by the
extravagances of the Liberals, now took under his protection, the clergy
excited an ignorant people against its own emancipators, and awaited the
time when the return of Ferdinand, and a combination of all the interests
hostile to reform, should overthrow the Constitution which the Liberals
fondly imagined to have given freedom to Spain.


War approaching between France and Russia--Policy of Prussia--Hardenberg's
Ministry--Prussia forced into Alliance with Napoleon--Austrian Alliance--
Napoleon's Preparations--He enters Russia--Alexander and Bernadotte--Plan
of the Russians to fight a Battle at Drissa frustrated--They retreat on
Witepsk--Sufferings of the French--French enter Smolensko--Battle of
Borodino--Evacuation of Moscow--Moscow fired--The Retreat from Moscow--The
French at Smolensko--Advance of Russian Armies from North and South--
Battle of Krasnoi--Passage of the Beresina--The French reach the Niemen--
York's Convention with the Russians--The Czar and Stein--Russian Army
enters Prussia--Stein raises East Prussia--Treaty of Kalisch--Prussia
declares War--Enthusiasm of the Nation--Idea of German Unity--The Landwehr.

[Austria and Prussia in 1811.]

[Hardenberg's Ministry.]

War between France and Russia was known to be imminent as early as the
spring of 1811. The approach of the conflict was watched with the deepest
anxiety by the two States of central Europe which still retained some
degree of independence. The Governments of Berlin and Vienna had been drawn
together by misfortune. The same ultimate deliverance formed the secret
hope of both; but their danger was too great to permit them to combine in
open resistance to Napoleon's will. In spite of a tacit understanding
between the two powers, each was compelled for the present to accept the
conditions necessary to secure its own existence. The situation of Prussia
in especial was one of the utmost danger. Its territory lay directly
between the French Empire and Russia; its fortresses were in the hands of
Napoleon, its resources were certain to be seized by one or other of the
hostile armies. Neutrality was impossible, however much desired by Prussia
itself; and the only question to be decided by the Government was whether
Prussia should enter the war as the ally of France or of Russia. Had the
party of Stein been in power, Prussia would have taken arms against
Napoleon at every risk. Stein, however, was in exile his friends, though
strong in the army, were not masters of the Government; the foreign policy
of the country was directed by a statesman who trusted more to time and
prudent management than to desperate resolves. Hardenberg had been recalled
to office in 1810, and permitted to resume the great measures of civil
reform which had been broken off two years before. The machinery of
Government was reconstructed upon principles that had been laid down by
Stein; agrarian reform was carried still farther by the abolition of
peasant's service, and the partition of peasant's land between the occupant
and his lord; an experiment, though a very ill-managed one, was made in the
forms of constitutional Government by the convocation of three successive
assemblies of the Notables. On the part of the privileged orders Hardenberg
encountered the most bitter opposition; his own love of absolute power
prevented him from winning popular confidence by any real approach towards
a Representative System. Nor was the foreign policy of the Minister of a
character to excite enthusiasm. A true patriot at heart, he seemed at times
to be destitute of patriotism, when he was in fact only destitute of the
power to reveal his real motives.

[Hardenburg's foreign policy, 1811.]

Convinced that Prussia could not remain neutral in the coming war, and
believing some relief from its present burdens to be absolutely necessary,
Hardenberg determined in the first instance to offer Prussia's support to
Napoleon, demanding in return for it a reduction of the payments still due
to France, and the removal of the limits imposed upon the Prussian army.
[169] The offer of the Prussian alliance reached Napoleon in the spring of
1811: he maintained an obstinate silence. While the Prussian envoy at Paris
vainly waited for an audience, masses of troops advanced from the Rhine
towards the Prussian frontier, and the French garrisons on the Oder were
raised far beyond their stipulated strength. In July the envoy returned
from Paris, announcing that Napoleon declined even to enter upon a
discussion of the terms proposed by Hardenberg. King Frederick William
now wrote to the Czar, proposing an alliance between Prussia and Russia.
It was not long before the report of Hardenberg's military preparations
reached Paris. Napoleon announced that if they were not immediately
suspended he should order Davoust to march on Berlin; and he presented a
counter-proposition for a Prussian alliance, which was in fact one of
unqualified submission. The Government had to decide between accepting a
treaty which placed Prussia among Napoleon's vassals, or certain war.
Hardenberg, expecting favourable news from St. Petersburg, pronounced in
favour of war; but the Czar, though anxious for the support of Prussia,
had determined on a defensive plan of operations, and declared that he
could send no troops beyond the Russian frontier.

[Prussia accepts alliance with Napoleon Feb, 1812.]

Prussia was thus left to face Napoleon alone. Hardenberg shrank from the
responsibility of proclaiming a war for life or death, and a treaty was
signed which added the people of Frederick the Great to that inglorious
crowd which fought at Napoleon's orders against whatever remained of
independence and nationality in Europe. [170] (Feb. 24th, 1812.) Prussia
undertook to supply Napoleon with 20,000 men for the impending campaign,
and to raise no levies and to give no orders to its troops without
Napoleon's consent. Such was the bitter termination of all those patriotic
hopes and efforts which had carried Prussia through its darkest days.
Hardenberg himself might make a merit of bending before the storm, and of
preserving for Prussia the means of striking when the time should come; but
the simpler instincts of the patriotic party felt his submission to be the
very surrender of national existence. Stein in his exile denounced the
Minister with unsparing bitterness. Scharnhorst resigned his post; many of
the best officers in the Prussian army quitted the service of King
Frederick William in order to join the Russians in the last struggle for
European liberty.

[Alliance of Austria with Napoleon.]

The alliance which Napoleon pressed upon Austria was not of the same
humiliating character as that which Prussia was forced to accept. Both
Metternich and the Emperor Francis would have preferred to remain neutral,
for the country was suffering from a fearful State-bankruptcy, and the
Government had been compelled to reduce its paper money, in which all debts
and salaries were payable, to a fifth of its nominal value. Napoleon,
however, insisted on Austria's co-operation. The family-relations of the
two Emperors pointed to a close alliance, and the reward which Napoleon
held out to Austria, the restoration of the Illyrian provinces, was one of
the utmost value. Nor was the Austrian contingent to be treated, like the
Prussian, as a mere French army-corps. Its operations were to be separate
from those of the French, and its command was to be held by an Austrian
general, subordinate only to Napoleon himself. On these terms Metternich
was not unwilling to enter the campaign. He satisfied his scruples by
inventing a strange diplomatic form in which Austria was still described as
a neutral, although she took part in the war, [171] and felt as little
compunction in uniting with France as in explaining to the Courts of St.
Petersburg and Berlin that the union was a hypocritical one. The Sovereign
who was about to be attacked by Napoleon, and the Sovereigns who sent their
troops to Napoleon's support, perfectly well understood one another's
position. The Prussian corps, watched and outnumbered by the French, might
have to fight the Russians because they could not help it; the Austrians,
directed by their own commander, would do no serious harm to the Russians
so long as the Russians did no harm to them. Should the Czar succeed in
giving a good account of his adversary, he would have no difficulty in
coming to a settlement with his adversary's forced allies.

[Preparations of Napoleon for invasion of Russia.]

The Treaties which gave to Napoleon the hollow support of Austria and
Prussia were signed early in the year 1812. During the next three months
all Northern Germany was covered with enormous masses of troops and
waggon-trains, on their way from the Rhine to the Vistula. No expedition
had ever been organised on anything approaching to the scale of the
invasion of Russia. In all the wars of the French since 1793 the enemy's
country had furnished their armies with supplies, and the generals had
trusted to their own exertions for everything but guns and ammunition. Such
a method could not, however, be followed in an invasion of Russia. The
country beyond the Niemen was no well-stocked garden, like Lombardy or
Bavaria. Provisions for a mass of 450,000 men, with all the means of
transport for carrying them far into Russia, had to be collected at Dantzig
and the fortresses of the Vistula. No mercy was shown to the unfortunate
countries whose position now made them Napoleon's harvest-field and
storehouse. Prussia was forced to supplement its military assistance with
colossal grants of supplies. The whole of Napoleon's troops upon the march
through Germany lived at the expense of the towns and villages through
which they passed; in Westphalia such was the ruin caused by military
requisitions that King Jerome wrote to Napoleon, warning him to fear the
despair of men who had nothing more to lose. [172]

[Napoleon crosses Russian frontier, June, 1812.]

[Alexander and Bernadotte.]

At length the vast stores were collected, and the invading army reached the
Vistula. Napoleon himself quitted Paris on the 9th of May, and received the
homage of the Austrian and Prussian Sovereigns at Dresden. The eastward
movement of the army continued. The Polish and East Prussian districts
which had been the scene of the combats of 1807 were again traversed by
French columns. On the 23rd of June the order was given to cross the Niemen
and enter Russian territory. Out of 600,000 troops whom Napoleon had
organised for this campaign, 450,000 were actually upon the frontier. Of
these, 380,000 formed the central army, under Napoleon's own command, at
Kowno, on the Niemen; to the north, at Tilsit, there was formed a corps of
32,000, which included the contingent furnished by Prussia; the Austrians,
under Schwarzenburg, with a small French division, lay to the south, on the
borders of Galicia. Against the main army of Napoleon, the real invading
force, the Russians could only bring up 150,000 men. These were formed into
the First and Second Armies of the West. The First, or Northern Army, with
which the Czar himself was present, numbered about 100,000, under the
command of Barclay de Tolly; the Second Army, half that strength, was led
by Prince Bagration. In Southern Poland and on the Lower Niemen the French
auxiliary corps were faced by weak divisions. In all, the Russians had only
220,000 men to oppose to more than double that number of the enemy. The
principal reinforcements which they had to expect were from the armies
hitherto engaged with the Turks upon the Danube. Alexander found it
necessary to make peace with the Porte at the cost of a part of the spoils
of Tilsit. The Danubian provinces, with the exception of Bessarabia, were
restored to the Sultan, in order that Russia might withdraw its forces from
the south. Bernadotte, Crown Prince of Sweden, who was threatened with the
loss of his own dominions in the event of Napoleon's victory, concluded an
alliance with the Czar. In return for the co-operation of a Swedish army,
Alexander undertook, with an indifference to national right worthy of
Napoleon himself, to wrest Norway from Denmark, and to annex it to the
Swedish crown.

[Russians intend to fight at Drissa.]

[Russian armies severed, and retreat on Witepsk.]

The head-quarters of the Russian army were at Wilna when Napoleon crossed
the Niemen. It was unknown whether the French intended to advance upon
Moscow or upon St. Petersburg; nor had any systematic plan of the campaign
been adopted by the Czar. The idea of falling back before the enemy was
indeed familiar in Russia since the war between Peter the Great and Charles
XII. of Sweden, and there was no want of good counsel in favour of a
defensive warfare; [173] but neither the Czar nor any one of his generals
understood the simple theory of a retreat in which no battles at all should
be fought. The most that was understood by a defensive system was the
occupation of an entrenched position for battle, and a retreat to a second
line of entrenchments before the engagement was repeated. The actual course
of the campaign was no result of a profound design; it resulted from the
disagreements of the general's plans, and the frustration of them all. It
was intended in the first instance to fight a battle at Drissa, on the
river Dwina. In this position, which was supposed to cover the roads both
to Moscow and St. Petersburg, a great entrenched camp had been formed, and
here the Russian army was to make its first stand against Napoleon.
Accordingly, as soon as the French crossed the Niemen, both Barclay and
Bagration were ordered by the Czar to fall back upon Drissa. But the
movements of the French army were too rapid for the Russian commanders to
effect their junction. Bagration, who lay at some distance to the south,
was cut off from his colleague, and forced to retreat along the eastern
road towards Witepsk. Barclay reached Drissa in safety, but he knew himself
to be unable to hold it alone against 300,000 men. He evacuated the lines
without waiting for the approach of the French, and fell back in the
direction taken by the second army. The first movement of defence had thus
failed, and the Czar now quitted the camp, leaving to Barclay the command
of the whole Russian forces.

[Collapse of the French transport.]

[Barclay and Bagration unite at Smolensko, Aug. 3.]

Napoleon entered Wilna, the capital of Russian Poland, on the 28th of June.
The last Russian detachments had only left it a few hours before; but the
French were in no condition for immediate pursuit. Before the army reached
the Niemen the unparalleled difficulties of the campaign had become only
too clear. The vast waggon-trains broke down on the highways. The stores
were abundant, but the animals which had to transport them died of
exhaustion. No human genius, no perfection of foresight and care, could
have achieved the enormous task which Napoleon had undertaken. In spite of
a year's preparations the French suffered from hunger and thirst from the
moment that they set foot on Russian soil. Thirty thousand stragglers had
left the army before it reached Wilna; twenty-five thousand sick were in
the hospitals; the transports were at an unknown distance in the rear. At
the end of six days' march from the Niemen, Napoleon found himself
compelled to halt for nearly three weeks. The army did not leave Wilna till
the 16th of July, when Barclay had already evacuated the camp at Drissa.
When at length a march became possible, Napoleon moved upon the Upper
Dwina, hoping to intercept Barclay upon the road to Witepsk; but
difficulties of transport again brought him to a halt, and the Russian
commander reached Witepsk before his adversary. Here Barclay drew up for
battle, supposing Bagration's army to be but a short distance to the south.
In the course of the night intelligence arrived that Bagration's army was
nowhere near the rallying-point, but had been driven back towards
Smolensko. Barclay immediately gave up the thought of fighting a battle,
and took the road to Smolensko himself, leaving his watch-fires burning.
His movement was unperceived by the French; the retreat was made in good
order; and the two severed Russian armies at length effected their junction
at a point three hundred miles distant from the frontier.

[The French waste away.]

[French enter Smolensko, Aug. 18.]

[Barclay superseded by Kutusoff.]

Napoleon, disappointed of battle, entered Witepsk on the evening after the
Russians had abandoned it (July 28). Barclay's escape was, for the French,
a disaster of the first magnitude, since it extinguished all hope of
crushing the larger of the two Russian armies by overwhelming numbers in
one great and decisive engagement. The march of the French during the last
twelve days showed at what cost every further step must be made. Since
quitting Wilna the 50,000 sick and stragglers had risen to 100,000. Fever
and disease struck down whole regiments. The provisioning of the army was
beyond all human power. Of the 200,000 men who still remained, it might
almost be calculated in how many weeks the last would perish. So fearful
was the prospect that Napoleon himself thought of abandoning any further
advance until the next year, and of permitting the army to enter into
winter-quarters upon the Dwina. But the conviction that all Russian
resistance would end with the capture of Moscow hurried him on. The army
left Witepsk on the 13th of August, and followed the Russians to Smolensko.
Here the entire Russian army clamoured for battle. Barclay stood alone in
perceiving the necessity for retreat. The generals caballed against him;
the soldiers were on the point of mutiny; the Czar himself wrote to express
his impatience for an attack upon the French. Barclay nevertheless
persisted in his resolution to abandon Smolensko. He so far yielded to the
army as to permit the rearguard to engage in a bloody struggle with the
French when they assaulted the town; but the evacuation was completed under
cover of night; and when the French made their entrance into Smolensko on
the next morning they found it deserted and in rums. The surrender of
Smolensko was the last sacrifice that Barclay could extort from Russian
pride. He no longer opposed the universal cry for battle, and the retreat
was continued only with the intention of halting at the first strong
position. Barclay himself was surveying a battleground when he heard that
the command had been taken out of his hands. The Czar had been forced by
national indignation at the loss of Smolensko to remove this able soldier,
who was a Livonian by birth, and to transfer the command to Kutusotff, a
thorough Russian, whom a life-time spent in victories over the Turk had
made, in spite of his defeat at Austerlitz, the idol of the nation.

[The French advance from Smolensko.]

When Kutusoff reached the camp, the prolonged miseries of the French
advance had already reduced the invaders to the number of the army opposed
to them. As far as Smolensko the French had at least not suffered from the
hostility of the population, who were Poles, not Russians; but on reaching
Smolensko they entered a country where every peasant was a fanatical enemy.
The villages were burnt down by their inhabitants, the corn destroyed, and
the cattle driven into the woods. Every day's march onward from Smolensko
cost the French three thousand men. On reaching the river Moskwa in the
first week of September, a hundred and seventy-five thousand out of
Napoleon's three hundred and eighty thousand soldiers were in the
hospitals, or missing, or dead. About sixty thousand guarded the line of
march. The Russians, on the other hand, had received reinforcements which
covered their losses at Smolensko; and although detachments had been sent
to support the army of Riga, Kutusoff was still able to place over one
hundred thousand men in the field.

[Battle of Borodino, Sept. 7.]

[Evacuation of Moscow. French enter Moscow, Sept. 14.]

On the 5th of September the Russian army drew up for battle at Borodino, on
the Moskwa, seventy miles west of the capital. At early morning on the 7th
the French advanced to the attack. The battle was, in proportion to its
numbers, the most sanguinary of modern times. Forty thousand French, thirty
thousand Russians were struck down. At the close of the day the French were
in possession of the enemy's ground, but the Russians, unbroken in their
order, had only retreated to a second line of defence. Both sides claimed
the victory; neither had won it. It was no catastrophe such as Napoleon
required for the decision of the war, it was no triumph sufficient to save
Russia from the necessity of abandoning its capital. Kutusoff had sustained
too heavy a loss to face the French beneath the walls of Moscow. Peace was
no nearer for the 70,000 men who had been killed or wounded in the fight.
The French steadily advanced; the Russians retreated to Moscow, and
evacuated the capital when their generals decided that they could not
encounter the French assault. The Holy City was left undefended before the
invader. But the departure of the army was the smallest part of the
evacuation. The inhabitants, partly of their own free will, partly under
the compulsion of the Governor, abandoned the city in a mass. No gloomy or
excited crowd, as at Vienna and Berlin, thronged the streets to witness the
entrance of the great conqueror, when on the 14th of September Napoleon
took possession of Moscow. His troops marched through silent and deserted
streets. In the solitude of the Kremlin Napoleon received the homage of a
few foreigners, who alone could be collected by his servants to tender to
him the submission of the city.

[Moscow fired.]

But the worst was yet to come. On the night after Napoleon's entry, fires
broke out in different parts of Moscow. They were ascribed at first to
accident; but when on the next day the French saw the flames gaining ground
in every direction, and found that all the means for extinguishing fire had
been removed from the city, they understood the doom to which Moscow had
been devoted by its own defenders. Count Rostopchin, the governor, had
determined on the destruction of Moscow without the knowledge of the Czar.
The doors of the prisons were thrown open. Rostopchin gave the signal by
setting fire to his own palace, and let loose his bands of incendiaries
over the city. For five days the flames rose and fell; and when, on the
evening of the 20th, the last fires ceased, three-fourths of Moscow lay in

[Napoleon at Moscow, Sept. 14-Oct. 19.]

Such was the prize for which Napoleon had sacrificed 200,000 men, and
engulfed the weak remnant of his army six hundred miles deep in an enemy's
country. Throughout all the terrors of the advance Napoleon had held fast
to the belief that Alexander's resistance would end with the fall of his
capital. The events that accompanied the entry of the French into Moscow
shook his confidence; yet even now Napoleon could not believe that the Czar
remained firm against all thoughts of peace. His experience in all earlier
wars had given him confidence in the power of one conspicuous disaster to
unhinge the resolution of kings. His trust in the deepening impression made
by the fall of Moscow was fostered by negotiations begun by Kutusoff for
the very purpose of delaying the French retreat. For five weeks Napoleon
remained at Moscow as if spell-bound, unable to convince himself of his
powerlessness to break Alexander's determination, unable to face a retreat
which would display to all Europe the failure of his arms and the
termination of his career of victory. At length the approach of winter
forced him to action. It was impossible to provision the army at Moscow
during the winter months, even if there had been nothing to fear from the
enemy. Even the mocking overtures of Kutusoff had ceased. The frightful
reality could no longer be concealed. On the 19th of October the order for
retreat was given. It was not the destruction of Moscow, but the departure
of its inhabitants, that had brought the conqueror to ruin. Above two
thousand houses were still standing; but whether the buildings remained or
perished made little difference; the whole value of the capital to Napoleon
was lost when the inhabitants, whom he could have forced to procure
supplies for his army, disappeared. Vienna and Berlin had been of such
incalculable service to Napoleon because the whole native administration
placed itself under his orders, and every rich and important citizen became
a hostage for the activity of the rest. When the French gained Moscow, they
gained nothing beyond the supplies which were at that moment in the city.
All was lost to Napoleon when the class who in other capitals had been his
instruments fled at his approach. The conflagration of Moscow acted upon
all Europe as a signal of inextinguishable national hatred; as a military
operation, it neither accelerated the retreat of Napoleon nor added to the
miseries which his army had to undergo.

[Napoleon leaves Moscow, Oct. 19.]

[Forced to retreat by the same road.]

The French forces which quitted Moscow in October numbered about 100,000
men. Reinforcements had come in during the occupation of the city, and the
health of the soldiers had been in some degree restored by a month's rest.
Everything now depended upon gaining a line of retreat where food could be
found. Though but a fourth part of the army which entered Russia in the
summer, the army which left Moscow was still large enough to protect itself
against the enemy, if allowed to retreat through a fresh country; if forced
back upon the devastated line of its advance it was impossible for it to
escape destruction. Napoleon therefore determined to make for Kaluga, on
the south of Moscow, and to endeavour to gain a road to Smolensko far
distant from that by which he had come. The army moved from Moscow in a
southern direction. But its route had been foreseen by Kutusoff. At the end
of four days' march it was met by a Russian corps at Jaroslavitz. A bloody
struggle left the French in possession of the road: they continued their
advance; but it was only to find that Kutusoff, with his full strength, had
occupied a line of heights farther south, and barred the way to Kaluga. The
effort of an assault was beyond the powers of the French. Napoleon surveyed
the enemy's position, and recognised the fatal necessity of abandoning the
march southwards and returning to the wasted road by which he had advanced.
The meaning of the backward movement was quickly understood by the army.
From the moment of quitting Jaroslavitz, disorder and despair increased
with every march. Thirty thousand men were lost upon the road before a
pursuer appeared in sight. When, on the 2nd of November, the army reached
Wiazma, it numbered no more than 65,000 men.

[Kutusoff follows by parallel road.]

Kutusoff was unadventurous in pursuit. The necessity of moving his army
along a parallel road south of the French, in order to avoid starvation,
diminished the opportunities for attack; but the general himself disliked
risking his forces, and preferred to see the enemy's destruction effected
by the elements. At Wiazma, where, on the 3rd of November, the French were
for the first time attacked in force, Kutusoff's own delay alone saved them
from total ruin. In spite of heavy loss the French kept possession of the
road, and secured their retreat to Smolensko, where stores of food had been
accumulated, and where other and less exhausted French troops were at hand.

[Frost, Nov. 6.]

[French reach Smolensko, Nov. 9.]

Up to the 6th of November the weather had been sunny and dry. On the 6th
the long-delayed terrors of Russian winter broke upon the pursuers and the
pursued. Snow darkened the air and hid the last traces of vegetation from
the starving cavalry trains. The temperature sank at times to forty degrees
of frost. Death came, sometimes in the unfelt release from misery,
sometimes in horrible forms of mutilation and disease. Both armies were
exposed to the same sufferings; but the Russians had at least such succour
as their countrymen could give; where the French sank, they died. The order
of war disappeared under conditions which made life itself the accident of
a meal or of a place by the camp-fire. Though most of the French soldiery
continued to carry their arms, the Guard alone kept its separate formation;
the other regiments marched in confused masses. From the 9th to the 13th of
November these starving bands arrived one after another at Smolensko,
expecting that here their sufferings would end. But the organisation for
distributing the stores accumulated in Smolensko no longer existed. The
perishing crowds were left to find shelter where they could; sacks of corn
were thrown to them for food.

[Russian armies from north and south attempt to cut off French retreat.]

[Krasnoi, Nov. 17.]

It was impossible for Napoleon to give his wearied soldiers rest, for new
Russian armies were advancing from the north and the south to cut off their
retreat. From the Danube and from the Baltic Sea troops were pressing
forward to their meeting-point upon the rear of the invader. Witgenstein,
moving southwards at the head of the army of the Dwina, had overpowered the
French corps stationed upon that river, and made himself master of Witepsk.
The army of Bucharest, which had been toiling northwards ever since the
beginning of August, had advanced to within a few days' march of its
meeting-point with the army of the Dwina upon the line of Napoleon's
communications. Before Napoleon reached Smolensko he sent orders to Victor,
who was at Smolensko with some reserves, to march against Witgenstein and
drive him back upon the Dwina. Victor set out on his mission. During the
short halt of Napoleon in Smolensko, Kutusoff pushed forward to the west of
the French, and took post at Krasnoi, thirty miles farther along the road
by which Napoleon had to pass. The retreat of the French seemed to be
actually cut off. Had the Russian general dared to face Napoleon and his
Guards, he might have held the French in check until the arrival of the two
auxiliary armies from the north and south enabled him to capture Napoleon
and his entire force. Kutusoff, however, preferred a partial and certain
victory to a struggle with Napoleon for life or death. He permitted
Napoleon and the Guard to pass by unattacked, and then fell upon the hinder
divisions of the French army. (Nov. 17.) These unfortunate troops were
successively cut to pieces. Twenty-six thousand were made prisoners. Ney,
with a part of the rear-guard, only escaped by crossing the Dnieper on the
ice. Of the army that had quitted Moscow there now remained but 10,000
combatants and 20,000 followers. Kutusoff himself was brought to such a
state of exhaustion that he could carry the pursuit no further, and entered
into quarters upon the Dnieper.

[Victor joins Napoleon.]

[Passage of the Beresina, Nov. 28th.]

It was a few days after the battle at Krasnoi that the divisions of Victor,
coming from the direction of the Dwina, suddenly encountered the remnant
of Napoleon's army. Though aware that Napoleon was in retreat, they knew
nothing of the calamities that had befallen him, and were struck with
amazement when, in the middle of a forest, they met with what seemed more
like a miserable troop of captives than an army upon the march. Victor's
soldiers of a mere auxiliary corps found themselves more than double the
effective strength of the whole army of Moscow. Their arrival again placed
Napoleon at the head of 30,000 disciplined troops, and gave the French a
gleam of victory in the last and seemingly most hopeless struggle in the
campaign. Admiral Tchitchagoff, in command of the army marching from the
Danube, had at length reached the line of Napoleon's retreat, and
established himself at Borisov, where the road through Poland crosses the
river Beresina. The bridge was destroyed by the Russians, and Tchitchagoff
opened communication with Witgenstein's army, which lay only a few miles to
the north. It appeared as if the retreat of the French was now finally
intercepted, and the surrender of Napoleon inevitable. Yet even in this
hopeless situation the military skill and daring of the French worked with
something of its ancient power. The army reached the Beresina; Napoleon
succeeded in withdrawing the enemy from the real point of passage; bridges
were thrown across the river, and after desperate fighting a great part of
the army made good its footing upon the western bank (Nov. 28). But the
losses even among the effective troops were enormous. The fate of the
miserable crowd that followed them, torn by the cannon-fire of the
Russians, and precipitated into the river by the breaking of one of the
bridges, has made the passage of the Beresina a synonym for the utmost
degree of human woe.

[French reach the Niemen, Dec. 13.]

This was the last engagement fought by the army. The Guards still preserved
their order: Marshal Ney still found soldiers capable of turning upon the
pursuer with his own steady and unflagging courage; but the bulk of the
army struggled forward in confused crowds, harassed by the Cossacks, and
laying down their arms by thousands before the enemy. The frost, which had
broken up on the 19th, returned on the 30th of November with even greater
severity. Twenty thousand fresh troops which joined the army between the
Beresina and Wilna scarcely arrested the process of dissolution. On the 3rd
of December Napoleon quitted the army. Wilna itself was abandoned with all
its stores; and when at length the fugitives reached the Niemen, they
numbered little more than twenty thousand. Here, six months earlier, three
hundred and eighty thousand men had crossed with Napoleon. A hundred
thousand more had joined the army in the course of its retreat. Of all this
host, not the twentieth part reached the Prussian frontier. A hundred and
seventy thousand remained prisoners in the hands of the Russians; a greater
number had perished. Of the twenty thousand men who now beheld the Niemen,
probably not seven thousand had crossed with Napoleon. In the presence of a
catastrophe so overwhelming and so unparalleled the Russian generals might
well be content with their own share in the work of destruction. Yet the
event proved that Kutusoff had done ill in sparing the extremest effort to
capture or annihilate his foe. Not only was Napoleon's own escape the
pledge of continued war, but the remnant that escaped with him possessed a
military value out of all proportion to its insignificant numbers. The best
of the army were the last to succumb. Out of those few thousands who
endured to the end, a very large proportion were veteran officers, who
immediately took their place at the head of Napoleon's newly-raised armies,
and gave to them a military efficiency soon to be bitterly proved by Europe
on many a German battle-field.

[York's convention with the Russians, Dec. 30.]

[York and the Prussian contingent at Riga.]

Four hundred thousand men were lost to a conqueror who could still stake
the lives of half a million more. The material power of Napoleon, though
largely, was not fatally diminished by the Russian campaign; it was through
its moral effect, first proved in the action of Prussia, that the retreat
from Moscow created a new order of things in Europe. The Prussian
contingent, commanded by General von York, lay in front of Riga, where it
formed part of the French subsidiary army-corps led by Marshal Macdonald.
Early in November the Russian governor of Riga addressed himself to York,
assuring him that Napoleon was ruined, and soliciting York himself to take
up arms against Macdonald. [174] York had no evidence, beyond the word of
the Russian commander, of the extent of Napoleon's losses; and even if the
facts were as stated, it was by no means clear that the Czar might not be
inclined to take vengeance on Prussia on account of its alliance with
Napoleon. York returned a guarded answer to the Russian, and sent an
officer to Wilna to ascertain the real state of the French army. On the 8th
of December the officer returned, and described what he had himself seen.
Soon afterwards the Russian commandant produced a letter from the Czar,
declaring his intention to deal with Prussia as a friend, not as an enemy.
On these points all doubt was removed; York's decision was thrown upon
himself. York was a rigid soldier of the old Prussian type, dominated by
the idea of military duty. The act to which the Russian commander invited
him, and which the younger officers were ready to hail as the liberation of
Prussia, might be branded by his sovereign as desertion and treason.
Whatever scruples and perplexity might be felt in such a situation by a
loyal and obedient soldier were felt by York. He nevertheless chose the
course which seemed to be for his country's good; and having chosen it, he
accepted all the consequences which it involved. On the 30th of December a
convention was signed at Tauroggen, which, under the guise of a truce,
practically withdrew the Prussian army from Napoleon, and gave the Russians
possession of Königsberg. The momentous character of the act was recognised
by Napoleon as soon as the news reached Paris. York's force was the
strongest military body upon the Russian frontier; united with Macdonald,
it would have forced the Russian pursuit to stop at the Niemen; abandoning
Napoleon, it brought his enemies on to the Vistula, and threatened
incalculable danger by its example to all the rest of Germany. For the
moment, however, Napoleon could count upon the spiritless obedience of King
Frederick William. In the midst of the French regiments that garrisoned
Berlin, the King wrote orders pronouncing York's convention null and void,
and ordering York himself to be tried by court-martial. The news reached
the loyal soldier: he received it with grief, but maintained his resolution
to act for his country's good. "With bleeding heart," he wrote, "I burst
the bond of obedience, and carry on the war upon my own responsibility. The
army desires war with France; the nation desires it; the King himself
desires it, but his will is not free. The army must make his will free."

[The Czar and Stein.]

[Alexander enters Prussia, Jan., 1813.]

York's act was nothing less than the turning-point in Prussian history.
Another Prussian, at this great crisis of Europe, played as great, though
not so conspicuous, a part. Before the outbreak of the Russian war, the
Czar had requested the exile Stein to come to St. Petersburg to aid him
with his counsels during the struggle with Napoleon. Stein gladly accepted
the call; and throughout the campaign he encouraged the Czar in the
resolute resistance which the Russian nation itself required of its
Government. So long as French soldiers remained on Russian soil, there was
indeed little need for a foreigner to stimulate the Czar's energies; but
when the pursuit had gloriously ended on the Niemen, the case became very
different. Kutusoff and the generals were disinclined to carry the war into
Germany. The Russian army had itself lost three-fourths of its numbers;
Russian honour was satisfied; the liberation of Western Europe might be
left to Western Europe itself. Among the politicians who surrounded
Alexander, there were a considerable number, including the first minister
Romanzoff, who still believed in the good policy of a French alliance.
These were the influences with which Stein had to contend, when the
question arose whether Russia should rest satisfied with its own victories,
or summon all Europe to unite in overthrowing Napoleon's tyranny. No record
remains of the stages by which Alexander's mind rose to the clear and firm
conception of a single European interest against Napoleon; indications
exist that it was Stein's personal influence which most largely affected
his decision. Even in the darkest moments of the war, when the forces of
Russia seemed wholly incapable of checking Napoleon's advance, Stein had
never abandoned his scheme for raising the German nation against Napoleon.
The confidence with which he had assured Alexander of ultimate victory over
the invader had been thoroughly justified; the triumph which he had
predicted had come with a rapidity and completeness even surpassing his
hopes. For a moment Alexander identified himself with the statesman who, in
the midst of Germany's humiliation, had been so resolute, so far-sighted,
so aspiring. [175] The minister of the peace-party was dismissed: Alexander
ordered his troops to advance into Prussia, and charged Stein himself to
assume the government of the Prussian districts occupied by Russian armies.
Stein's mission was to arm the Landwehr, and to gather all the resources of
the country for war against France; his powers were to continue until some
definite arrangement should be made between the King of Prussia and the

[Stein's commission from Alexander.]

[Province of East Prussia arms, Jan., 1813.]

Armed with this commission from a foreign sovereign, Stein appeared at
Königsberg on the 22nd of January, 1813, and published an order requiring
the governor of the province of East Prussia to convoke an assembly for the
purpose of arming the people. Stein would have desired York to appear as
President of the Assembly; but York, like most of the Prussian officials,
was alarmed and indignant at Stein's assumption of power in Prussia as the
representative of the Russian Czar, and hesitated to connect himself with
so revolutionary a measure as the arming of the people. It was only upon
condition that Stein himself should not appear in the Assembly that York
consented to recognise its powers. The Assembly met. York entered the
house, and spoke a few soul-stirring words. His undisguised declaration of
war with France was received with enthusiastic cheers. A plan for the
formation of a Landwehr, based on Scharnhorst's plans of 1808, was laid
before the Assembly, and accepted. Forty thousand men were called to arms
in a province which included nothing west of the Vistula. The nation itself
had begun the war, and left its Government no choice but to follow. Stein's
task was fulfilled; and he retired to the quarters of Alexander, unwilling
to mar by the appearance of foreign intervention the work to which the
Prussian nation had now committed itself beyond power of recall. It was the
fortune of the Prussian State, while its King dissembled before the French
in Berlin, to possess a soldier brave enough to emancipate its army, and a
citizen bold enough to usurp the government of its provinces. Frederick
William forgave York his intrepidity; Stein's action was never forgiven by
the timid and jealous sovereign whose subjects he had summoned to arm
themselves for their country's deliverance.

[Policy of Hardenberg.]

[Treaty of Kalisch, Feb. 27.]

The Government of Berlin, which since the beginning of the Revolutionary
War had neither been able to fight, nor to deceive, nor to be honest, was
at length forced by circumstances into a certain effectiveness in all three
forms of action. In the interval between the first tidings of Napoleon's
disasters and the announcement of York's convention with the Russians,
Hardenberg had been assuring Napoleon of his devotion, and collecting
troops which he carefully prevented from joining him. [176] The desire of
the King was to gain concessions without taking part in the war either
against Napoleon or on his side. When, however, the balance turned more
decidedly against Napoleon, he grew bolder; and the news of York's
defection, though it seriously embarrassed the Cabinet for the moment,
practically decided it in favour of war with France. The messenger who was
sent to remove York from his command received private instructions to fall
into the hands of the Russians, and to inform the Czar that, if his troops
advanced as far as the Oder, King Frederick William would be ready to
conclude an alliance. Every post that arrived from East Prussia
strengthened the warlike resolutions of the Government. At length the King
ventured on the decisive step of quitting Berlin and placing himself at
Breslau (Jan. 25). At Berlin he was in the power of the French; at Breslau
he was within easy reach of Alexander. The significance of the journey
could not be mistaken: it was immediately followed by open preparation for
war with France. On February 3rd there appeared an edict inviting
volunteers to enrol themselves: a week later all exemptions from military
service were abolished, and the entire male population of Prussia between
the ages of seventeen and twenty-four was declared liable to serve. General
Knesebeck was sent to the headquarters of the Czar, which were now between
Warsaw and Kalisch, to conclude a treaty of alliance. Knesebeck demanded
securities for the restoration to Prussia of all the Polish territory which
it had possessed before 1806; the Czar, unwilling either to grant this
condition or to lose the Prussian alliance, kept Knesebeck at his quarters,
and sent Stein with a Russian plenipotentiary to Breslau to conclude the
treaty with Hardenberg himself. Stein and Hardenberg met at Breslau on the
26th of February. Hardenberg accepted the Czar's terms, and the treaty,
known as the Treaty of Kalisch, [177] was signed on the following day. By
this treaty, without guaranteeing the restoration of Prussian Poland,
Russia undertook not to lay down its arms until the Prussian State as a
whole was restored to the area and strength which it had possessed before
1806. For this purpose annexations were promised in Northern Germany. With
regard to Poland, Russia promised no more than to permit Prussia to retain
what it had received in 1772, together with a strip of territory to connect
this district with Silesia. The meaning of the agreement was that Prussia
should abandon to Russia the greater part of its late Polish provinces, and
receive an equivalent German territory in its stead. The Treaty of Kalisch
virtually surrendered to the Czar all that Prussia had gained in the
partitions of Poland made in 1793 and in 1795. The sacrifice was deemed a
most severe one by every Prussian politician, and was accepted only as a
less evil than the loss of Russia's friendship, and a renewed submission to
Napoleon. No single statesman, not even Stein himself, appears to have
understood that in exchanging its Polish conquests for German annexations,
in turning to the German west instead of to the alien Slavonic east,
Prussia was in fact taking the very step which made it the possible head of
a future united Germany.

[French retreat to the Elbe.]

War was still undeclared upon Napoleon by King Frederick William, but
throughout the month of February the light cavalry of the Russians pushed
forward unhindered through Prussian territory towards the Oder, and crowds
of volunteers, marching through Berlin on their way to the camps in
Silesia, gave the French clear signs of the storm that was about to burst
upon them. [178] The remnant of Napoleon's army, now commanded by Eugene
Beauharnais, had fallen back step by step to the Oder. Here, resting on the
fortresses, it might probably have checked the Russian advance; but the
heart of Eugene failed; the line of the Oder was abandoned, and the retreat
continued to Berlin and the Elbe. The Cossacks followed. On the 20th of
February they actually entered Berlin and fought with the French in the
streets. The French garrison was far superior in force; but the appearance
of the Cossacks caused such a ferment that, although the alliance between
France and Prussia was still in nominal existence, the French troops
expected to be cut to pieces by the people. For some days they continued to
bivouac in the streets, and as soon as it became known that a regular
Russian force had reached the Oder, Eugene determined to evacuate Berlin.
On the 4th of March the last French soldier quitted the Prussian capital.
The Cossacks rode through the town as the French left it, and fought with
their rear-guard. Some days later Witgenstein appeared with Russian
infantry. On March 17th York made his triumphal entry at the head of his
corps, himself cold and rigid in the midst of tumultuous outbursts of
patriotic joy.

[King of Prussia declares war March 17.]

It was on this same day that King Frederick William issued his proclamation
to the Prussian people, declaring that war had begun with France, and
summoning the nation to enter upon the struggle as one that must end either
in victory or in total destruction. The proclamation was such as became a
monarch conscious that his own faint-heartedness had been the principal
cause of Prussia's humiliation. It was simple and unboastful, admitting
that the King had made every effort to preserve the French alliance, and
ascribing the necessity for war to the intolerable wrongs inflicted by
Napoleon in spite of Prussia's fulfilment of its treaty-obligations. The
appeal to the great memories of Prussia's earlier sovereigns, and to the
example of Russia, Spain, and all countries which in present or in earlier
times had fought for their independence against a stronger foe, was worthy
of the truthful and modest tone in which the King spoke of the misfortunes
of Prussia under his own rule.

[Spirit of the Prussian nation.]

[Idea of Germany unity.]

But no exhortations were necessary to fire the spirit of the Prussian
people. Seven years of suffering and humiliation had done their work. The
old apathy of all classes had vanished under the pressure of a bitter sense
of wrong. If among the Court party of Berlin and the Conservative
landowners there existed a secret dread of the awakening of popular forces,
the suspicion could not be now avowed. A movement as penetrating and as
universal as that which France had experienced in 1792 swept through the
Prussian State. It had required the experience of years of wretchedness,
the intrusion of the French soldier upon the peace of the family, the sight
of the homestead swept bare of its stock to supply the invaders of Russia,
the memory of Schill's companions shot in cold blood for the cause of the
Fatherland, before the Prussian nation caught that flame which had
spontaneously burst out in France, in Spain, and in Russia at the first
shock of foreign aggression. But the passion of the Prussian people, if it
had taken long to kindle, was deep, steadfast, and rational. It was
undisgraced by the frenzies of 1792, or by the religious fanaticism of the
Spanish war of liberation; where religion entered into the struggle, it
heightened the spirit of self-sacrifice rather than that of hatred to the
enemy. Nor was it a thing of small moment to the future of Europe that in
every leading mind the cause of Prussia was identified with the cause of
the whole German race. The actual condition of Germany warranted no such
conclusion, for Saxony, Bavaria, and the whole of the Rhenish Federation
still followed Napoleon: but the spirit and the ideas which became a living
force when at length the contest with Napoleon broke out were those of men
like Stein, who in the depths of Germany's humiliation had created the
bright and noble image of a common Fatherland. It was no more given to
Stein to see his hopes fulfilled than it was given to Mirabeau to establish
constitutional liberty in France, or to the Italian patriots of 1797 to
create a united Italy. A group of States where kings like Frederick William
and Francis, ministers like Hardenberg and Metternich, governed millions of
people totally destitute of political instincts and training, was not to be
suddenly transformed into a free nation by the genius of an individual or
the patriotism of a single epoch. But if the work of German union was one
which, even in the barren form of military empire, required the efforts of
two more generations, the ideals of 1813 were no transient and ineffective
fancy. Time was on the side of those who called the Prussian monarchy the
true centre round which Germany could gather. If in the sequel Prussia was
slow to recognise its own opportunities, the fault was less with patriots
who hoped too much than with kings and ministers who dared too little.

[Formation of the Landwehr.]

For the moment, the measures of the Prussian Government were worthy of the
spirit shown by the nation. Scharnhorst's military system had given Prussia
100,000 trained soldiers ready to join the existing army of 45,000. The
scheme for the formation of a Landwehr, though not yet carried into effect,
needed only to receive the sanction of the King. On the same day that
Frederick William issued his proclamation to the people, he decreed the
formation of the Landwehr and the Landsturm. The latter force, which was
intended in case of necessity to imitate the peasant warfare of Spain and
La Vendée, had no occasion to act: the Landwehr, though its arming was
delayed by the poverty and exhaustion of the country, gradually became a
most formidable reserve, and sent its battalions to fight by the side of
the regulars in some of the greatest engagements in the war. It was the
want of arms and money, not of willing soldiers, that prevented Prussia
from instantly attacking Napoleon with 200,000 men. The conscription was
scarcely needed from the immense number of volunteers who joined the ranks.
Though the completion of the Prussian armaments required some months more,
Prussia did not need to stand upon the defensive. An army of 50,000 men was
ready to cross the Elbe immediately on the arrival of the Russians, and to
open the next campaign in the territory of Napoleon's allies of the Rhenish


The War of Liberation--Blücher crosses the Elbe--Battle of Lützen--The
Allies retreat to Silesia--Battle of Bautzen--Armistice--Napoleon intends
to intimidate Austria--Mistaken as to the Forces of Austria--Metternich's
Policy--Treaty of Reichenbach--Austria offers its Mediation--Congress of
Prague--Austria enters the War--Armies and Plans of Napoleon and the
Allies--Campaign of August--Battles of Dresden, Grosbeeren, the Katzbach,
and Kulm--Effect of these Actions--Battle of Dennewitz--German Policy of
Austria favourable to the Princes of the Rhenish Confederacy--Frustrated
Hopes of German Unity--Battle of Leipzig--The Allies reach the Rhine--
Offers of Peace at Frankfort--Plan of Invasion of France--Backwardness of
Austria--The Allies enter France--Campaign of 1814--Congress of Châtillon--
Napoleon moves to the rear of the Allies--The Allies advance on Paris--
Capitulation of Paris--Entry of the Allies--Dethronement of Napoleon--
Restoration of the Bourbons--The Charta--Treaty of Paris--Territorial
Effects of the War, 1792-1814--Every Power except France had gained--France
relatively weaker in Europe--Summary of the Permanent Effects of this
Period on Europe.

[Napoleon in 1813.]

The first three months of the year 1813 were spent by Napoleon in vigorous
preparation for a campaign in Northern Germany. Immediately after receiving
the news of York's convention with the Russians he had ordered a levy of
350,000 men. It was in vain that Frederick William and Hardenberg affected
to disavow the general as a traitor; Napoleon divined the national
character of York's act, and laid his account for a war against the
combined forces of Prussia and Russia. In spite of the catastrophe of the
last campaign, Napoleon was still stronger than his enemies. Italy and the
Rhenish Federation had never wavered in their allegiance; Austria, though a
cold ally, had at least shown no signs of hostility. The resources of an
empire of forty million inhabitants were still at Napoleon's command. It
was in the youth and inexperience of the new soldiers, and in the scarcity
of good officers, [179] that the losses of the previous year showed their
most visible effect. Lads of seventeen, commanded in great part by officers
who had never been through a campaign, took the place of the soldiers who
had fought at Friedland and Wagram. They were as brave as their
predecessors, but they failed in bodily strength and endurance. Against
them came the remnant of the men who had pursued Napoleon from Moscow, and
a Prussian army which was but the vanguard of an armed nation.
Nevertheless, Napoleon had no cause to expect defeat, provided that Austria
remained on his side. Though the Prussian nation entered upon the conflict
in the most determined spirit, a war on the Elbe against Russia and Prussia
combined was a less desperate venture than a war with Russia alone beyond
the Niemen.

[Blücher crosses the Elbe, March, 1813.]

When King Frederick William published his declaration of war (March 17),
the army of Eugène had already fallen back as far west as Magdeburg,
leaving garrisons in most of the fortresses between the Elbe and the
Russian frontier. Napoleon was massing troops on the Main, and preparing
for an advance in force, when the Prussians, commanded by Blücher, and some
weak divisions of the Russian army, pushed forward to the Elbe. On the 18th
of March the Cossacks appeared in the suburbs of Dresden, on the right bank
of the river. Davoust, who was in command of the French garrison, blew up
two arches of the bridge, and retired to Magdeburg: Blücher soon afterwards
entered Dresden, and called upon the Saxon nation to rise against Napoleon.
But he spoke to deaf ears. The common people were indifferent; the
officials waited to see which side would conquer. Blücher could scarcely
obtain provisions for his army; he passed on westwards, and came into the
neighbourhood of Leipzig. Here he found himself forced to halt, and to wait
for his allies. Though a detachment of the Russian army under Witgenstein
had already crossed the Elbe, the main army, with Kutusoff, was still
lingering at Kalisch on the Polish frontier, where it had arrived six weeks
before. As yet the Prussians had only 50,000 men ready for action; until
the Russians came up, it was unsafe to advance far beyond the Elbe. Blücher
counted every moment lost that kept him from battle: the Russian
commander-in-chief, sated with glory and sinking beneath the infirmities of
a veteran, could scarcely be induced to sign an order of march. At length
Kutusoff's illness placed the command in younger hands. His strength failed
him during the march from Poland; he was left dying in Silesia; and on the
24th of April the Czar and the King of Prussia led forward his veteran
troops into Dresden.

[Napoleon enters Dresden, May 14.]

[Battle of Lützen, May 2.]

Napoleon was now known to be approaching with considerable force by the
roads of the Saale. A pitched battle west of the Elbe was necessary before
the Allies could hope to win over any of the States of the Rhenish
Confederacy; the flat country beyond Leipzig offered the best possible
field for cavalry, in which the Allies were strong and Napoleon extremely
deficient. It was accordingly determined to unite all the divisions of the
army with Blücher on the west of Leipzig, and to attack the French as soon
as they descended from the hilly country of the Saale, and began their
march across the Saxon plain. The Allies took post at Lützen: the French
advanced, and at midday on the 2nd of May the battle of Lützen began. Till
evening, victory inclined to the Allies. The Prussian soldiery fought with
the utmost spirit; for the first time in Napoleon's campaigns, the French
infantry proved weaker than an enemy when fighting against them in equal
numbers. But the generalship of Napoleon turned the scale. Seventy thousand
of the French were thrown upon fifty thousand of the Allies; the battle was
fought in village streets and gardens, where cavalry were useless; and at
the close of the day, though the losses on each side were equal, the Allies
were forced from the positions which they had gained. Such a result was
equivalent to a lost battle. Napoleon's junction with the army of Eugène at
Magdeburg was now inevitable, unless a second engagement was fought and
won. No course remained to the Allies but to stake everything upon a
renewed attack, or to retire behind the Elbe and meet the reinforcements
assembling in Silesia. King Frederick William declared for a second battle;
[180] he was over-ruled, and the retreat commenced. Napoleon entered
Dresden on May 14th. No attempt was made by the Allies to hold the line of
the Elbe; all the sanguine hopes with which Blücher and his comrades had
advanced to attack Napoleon within the borders of the Rhenish Confederacy
were dashed to the ground. The Fatherland remained divided against itself.
Saxony and the rest of the vassal States were secured to France by the
victory of Lützen; the liberation of Germany was only to be wrought by
prolonged and obstinate warfare, and by the wholesale sacrifice of Prussian

[Armistice, June 4.]

[Battle of Bautzen, May 21.]

It was with deep disappointment, but not with any wavering of purpose, that
the allied generals fell back before Napoleon towards the Silesian
fortresses. The Prussian troops which had hitherto taken part in the war
were not the third part of those which the Government was arming; new
Russian divisions were on the march from Poland. As the Allies moved
eastwards from the Elbe, both their own forces and those of Napoleon
gathered strength. The retreat stopped at Bautzen, on the river Spree; and
here, on the 19th of May, 90,000 of the Allies and the same number of the
French drew up in order of battle. The Allies held a long, broken chain of
hills behind the river, and the ground lying between these hills and the
village of Bautzen. On the 20th the French began the attack, and won the
passage of the river. In spite of the approach of Ney with 40,000 more
troops, the Czar and the King of Prussia determined to continue the battle
on the following day. The struggle of the 21st was of the same obstinate
and indecisive character as that at Lützen. Twenty-five thousand French had
been killed or wounded before the day was over, but the bad generalship of
the Allies had again given Napoleon the victory. The Prussian and Russian
commanders were all at variance; Alexander, who had to decide in their
contentions, possessed no real military faculty. It was not for want of
brave fighting and steadfastness before the enemy that Bautzen was lost.
The Allies retreated in perfect order, and without the loss of a single
gun. Napoleon followed, forcing his wearied regiments to ceaseless
exertion, in the hope of ruining by pursuit an enemy whom he could not
overthrow in battle. In a few more days the discord of the allied generals
and the sufferings of the troops would probably have made them unable to
resist Napoleon's army, weakened as it was. But the conqueror himself
halted in the moment of victory. On the 4th of June an armistice of seven
weeks arrested the pursuit, and brought the first act of the War of
Liberation to a close.

[Napoleon and Austria.]

Napoleon's motive for granting this interval to his enemies, the most fatal
step in his whole career, has been vaguely sought among the general reasons
for military delay; as a matter of fact, Napoleon was thinking neither of
the condition of his own army nor of that of the Allies when he broke off
hostilities, but of the probable action of the Court of Vienna. [181] "I
shall grant a truce," he wrote to the Viceroy of Italy (June 2, 1813), "on
account of the armaments of Austria, and in order to gain time to bring up
the Italian army to Laibach to threaten Vienna." Austria had indeed
resolved to regain, either by war or negotiation, the provinces which it
had lost in 1809. It was now preparing to offer its mediation, but it was
also preparing to join the Allies in case Napoleon rejected its demands.
Metternich was anxious to attain his object, if possible, without war. The
Austrian State was bankrupt; its army had greatly deteriorated since 1809;
Metternich himself dreaded both the ambition of Russia and what he
considered the revolutionary schemes of the German patriots. It was his
object not to drive Napoleon from his throne, but to establish a European
system in which neither France nor Russia should be absolutely dominant.
Soon after the retreat from Moscow the Cabinet of Vienna had informed
Napoleon, though in the most friendly terms, that Austria could not longer
remain in the position of a dependent ally. [182] Metternich stated, and
not insincerely, that by certain concessions Napoleon might still count on
Austria's friendship; but at the same time he negotiated with the allied
Powers, and encouraged them to believe that Austria would, under certain
circumstances, strike on their behalf. The course of the campaign of May
was singularly favourable to Metternich's policy. Napoleon had not won a
decided victory; the Allies, on the other hand, were so far from success
that Austria could set almost any price it pleased upon its alliance. By
the beginning of June it had become a settled matter in the Austrian
Cabinet that Napoleon must be made to resign the Illyrian Provinces
conquered in 1809 and the districts of North Germany annexed in 1810; but
it was still the hope of the Government to obtain this result by peaceful
means. Napoleon saw that Austria was about to change its attitude, but he
had by no means penetrated the real intentions of Metternich. He credited
the Viennese Government with a stronger sentiment of hostility towards
himself than it actually possessed; at the same time he failed to
appreciate the fixed and settled character of its purpose. He believed that
the action of Austria would depend simply upon the means which he possessed
to intimidate it; that, if the army of Italy were absent, Austria would
attack him; that, on the other hand, if he could gain time to bring the
army of Italy into Carniola, Austria would keep the peace. It was with this
belief, and solely for the purpose of bringing up a force to menace
Austria, that Napoleon stayed his hand against the Prussian and Russian
armies after the battle of Bautzen, and gave time for the gathering of the
immense forces which were destined to effect his destruction.

[Metternich offers Austria's mediation.]

Immediately after the conclusion of the armistice of June 4th, Metternich
invited Napoleon to accept Austria's mediation for a general peace. The
settlement which Metternich contemplated was a very different one from that
on which Stein and the Prussian patriots had set their hopes. Austria was
willing to leave to Napoleon the whole of Italy and Holland, the frontier
of the Rhine, and the Protectorate of Western Germany: all that was
required by Metternich, as arbiter of Europe, was the restoration of the
provinces taken from Austria after the war of 1809, the reinstatement of
Prussia in Western Poland, and the abandonment by France of the
North-German district annexed in 1810. But to Napoleon the greater or less
extent of the concessions asked by Austria was a matter of no moment. He
was determined to make no concessions at all, and he entered into
negotiations only for the purpose of disguising from Austria the real
object with which he had granted the armistice. While Napoleon affected to
be weighing the proposals of Austria, he was in fact calculating the number
of marches which would place the Italian army on the Austrian frontier;
this once effected, he expected to hear nothing more of Metternich's

[Napoleon deceived as to the forces of Austria.]

It was a game of deceit; but there was no one who was so thoroughly
deceived as Napoleon himself. By some extraordinary miscalculation on the
part of his secret agents, he was led to believe that the forces of [***]
whole force of Austria, both in the north and the south, amounted to only
100,000 men, [183] and it was on this estimate that he had formed his plans
of intimidation. In reality Austria had double that number of men ready to
take the field. By degrees Napoleon saw reason to suspect himself in error.
On the 11th of July he wrote to his Foreign Minister, Maret, bitterly
reproaching him with the failure of the secret service to gain any
trustworthy information. It was not too late to accept Metternich's terms.
Yet even now, when the design of intimidating Austria had proved an utter
delusion, and Napoleon was convinced that Austria would fight, and fight
with very powerful forces, his pride and his invincible belief in his own
superiority prevented him from drawing back. He made an attempt to enter
upon a separate negotiation with Russia, and, when this failed, he resolved
to face the conflict with the whole of Europe.

[Treaty of Reichenbach, June 27.]

There was no longer any uncertainty among Napoleon's enemies. On the 27th
of June, Austria had signed a treaty at Reichenbach, pledging itself to
join the allied Powers in the event of Napoleon rejecting the conditions to
be proposed by Austria as mediator; and the conditions so to be proposed
were fixed by the same treaty. They were the following:--The suppression of
the Duchy of Warsaw; the restoration to Austria of the Illyrian Provinces;
and the surrender by Napoleon of the North-German district annexed to his
Empire in 1810. Terms more hostile to France than these Austria declined to
embody in its mediation. The Elbe might still sever Prussia from its German
provinces lost in 1807; Napoleon might still retain, as chief of the
Rhenish Confederacy, his sovereignty over the greater part of the German

[Austria enters the war, Aug. 10.]

[Congress of Prague, July 15-Aug. 10.]

From the moment when these conditions were fixed, there was nothing which
the Prussian generals so much dreaded as that Napoleon might accept them,
and so rob the Allies of the chance of crushing him by means of Austria's
support. But their fears were groundless. The counsels of Napoleon were
exactly those which his worst enemies would have desired him to adopt. War,
and nothing but war, was his fixed resolve. He affected to entertain
Austria's propositions, and sent his envoy Caulaincourt to a Congress which
Austria summoned at Prague; but it was only for the purpose of gaining a
few more weeks of preparation. The Congress met; the armistice was
prolonged to the 10th of August. Caulaincourt, however, was given no power
to close with Austria's demands. He was ignorant that he had only been sent
to Prague in order to gain time. He saw the storm gathering: unable to
believe that Napoleon intended to fight all Europe rather than make the
concessions demanded of him, he imagined that his master still felt some
doubt whether Austria and the other Powers meant to adhere to their word.
As the day drew nigh which closed the armistice and the period given for a
reply to Austria's ultimatum, Caulaincourt implored Napoleon not to deceive
himself with hopes that Austria would draw back. Napoleon had no such hope;
he knew well that Austria would declare war, and he accepted the issue.
Caulaincourt heard nothing more. At midnight on the 10th of August the
Congress declared itself dissolved. Before the dawn of the next morning the
army in Silesia saw the blaze of the beacon-fires which told that
negotiation was at an end, and that Austria was entering the war on the
side of the Allies. [184]

[Armies of Napoleon and the Allies.]

Seven days' notice was necessary before the commencement of actual
hostilities. Napoleon, himself stationed at Dresden, held all the lower
course of the Elbe; and his generals had long had orders to be ready to
march on the morning of the 18th. Forces had come up from all parts of the
Empire, raising the French army at the front to 300,000 men; but, for the
first time in Napoleon's career, his enemies had won from a pause in war
results even surpassing his own. The strength of the Prussian and Russian
armies was now enormously different from what it had been at Lützen and
Bautzen. The Prussian Landwehr, then a weaponless and ill-clad militia
drilling in the villages, was now fully armed, and in great part at the
front. New Russian divisions had reached Silesia. Austria took the field
with a force as numerous as that which had checked Napoleon in 1809. At the
close of the armistice, 350,000 men actually faced the French positions
upon the Elbe; 300,000 more were on the march, or watching the German
fortresses and the frontier of Italy. The allied troops operating against
Napoleon were divided into three armies. In the north, between Wittenberg
and Berlin, Bernadotte commanded 60,000 Russians and Prussians, in addition
to his own Swedish contingent. Blücher was placed at the head of 100,000
Russians and Prussians in Silesia. The Austrians remained undivided, and
formed, together with some Russian and Prussian divisions, the great army
of Bohemia, 200,000 strong, under the command of Schwarzenberg. The plan of
the campaign had been agreed upon by the Allies soon after the Treaty of
Reichenbach had been made with Austria. It was a sound, though not a daring

[Plan of the Allies.]

The three armies, now forming an arc from Wittenberg to the north of
Bohemia, were to converge upon the line of Napoleon's communications behind
Dresden; if separately attacked, their generals were to avoid all hazardous
engagements, and to manoeuvre so as to weary the enemy and preserve their
own general relations, as far as possible, unchanged. Blücher, as the most
exposed, was expected to content himself the longest with the defensive;
the great army of Bohemia, after securing the mountain-passes between
Bohemia and Saxony, might safely turn Napoleon's position at Dresden, and
so draw the two weaker armies towards it for one vast and combined
engagement in the plain of Leipzig.

[Napoleon's plan of attack.]

In outline, the plan of the Allies was that which Napoleon expected them to
adopt. His own design was to anticipate it by an offensive of extraordinary
suddenness and effect. Hostilities could not begin before the morning of
the 18th of August; by the 21st or the 22nd, Napoleon calculated that he
should have captured Berlin. Oudinot, who was at Wittenberg with 80,000
men, had received orders to advance upon the Prussian capital at the moment
that the armistice expired, and to force it, if necessary by bombardment,
into immediate surrender. The effect of this blow, as Napoleon supposed,
would be to disperse the entire reserve-force of the Prussian monarchy, and
paralyse the action of its army in the field. While Oudinot marched on
Berlin, Blücher was to be attacked in Silesia, and prevented from rendering
any assistance either on the north or on the south. The mass of Napoleon's
forces, centred at Dresden, and keeping watch upon the movements of the
army of Bohemia, would either fight a great battle, or, if the Allies made
a false movement, march straight upon Prague, the centre of Austria's
supplies, and reach it before the enemy. All the daring imagination of
Napoleon's earlier campaigns displayed itself in such a project, which, if
successful, would have terminated the war within ten days; but this
imagination was no longer, as in those earlier campaigns, identical with
insight into real possibilities. The success of Napoleon's plan involved
the surprise or total defeat of Bernadotte before Berlin, the disablement
of Blücher, and a victory, or a strategical success equivalent to a
victory, over the vast army of the south. It demanded of a soldiery,
inferior to the enemy in numerical strength, the personal superiority which
had belonged to the men of Jena and Austerlitz, when in fact the French
regiments of conscripts had ceased to be a match for equal numbers of the
enemy. But no experience could alter Napoleon's fixed belief in the fatuity
of all warfare except his own. After the havoc of Borodino, after the even
struggles of Lützen and Bautzen, he still reasoned as if he had before him
the armies of Brunswick and Mack. His plan assumed the certainty of success
in each of its parts; for the failure of a single operation hazarded all
the rest, by requiring the transfer of reinforcements from armies already
too weak for the tasks assigned to them. Nevertheless, the utmost that
Napoleon would acknowledge was that the execution of his design needed
energy. He still underrated the force which Austria had brought into the
field against him. Though ignorant of the real position and strength of the
army in Bohemia, and compelled to wait for the enemy's movements before
striking on this side, he already in imagination saw the war decided by the
fall of the Prussian capital.

[Triple movement, Aug. 18-26.]

[Battle of Dresden, Aug. 26, 27.]

[Battles of Grossbeeren, Aug. 23, and the Katzbach, Aug. 26.]

On the 18th of August the forward movement began. Oudinot advanced from
Wittenberg towards Berlin; Napoleon himself hurried into Silesia, intending
to deal Blücher one heavy blow, and instantly to return and place himself
before Schwarzenberg. On the 21st, and following days, the Prussian general
was attacked and driven eastwards. Napoleon committed the pursuit to
Macdonald, and hastened back to Dresden, already threatened by the advance
of the Austrians from Bohemia. Schwarzenberg and the allied sovereigns, as
soon as they heard that Napoleon had gone to seek Blücher in Silesia, had
in fact abandoned their cautious plans, and determined to make an assault
upon Dresden with the Bohemian army alone. But it was in vain that they
tried to surprise Napoleon. He was back at Dresden on the 25th, and ready
for the attack. Never were Napoleon's hopes higher than on this day. His
success in Silesia had filled him with confidence. He imagined Oudinot to
be already in Berlin; and the advance of Schwarzenberg against Dresden gave
him the very opportunity which he desired for crushing the Bohemian army in
one great battle, before it could draw support either from Blücher or from
Bernadotte. Another Austerlitz seemed to be at hand. Napoleon wrote to
Paris that he should be in Prague before the enemy; and, while he completed
his defences in front of Dresden, he ordered Vandamme, with 40,000 men, to
cross the Elbe at Königstein, and force his way south-westwards on to the
roads into Bohemia, in the rear of the Great Army, in order to destroy its
magazines and menace its line of retreat on Prague. On August 26th
Schwarzenberg's host assailed the positions of Napoleon on the slopes and
gardens outside Dresden. Austrians, Russians, and Prussians all took part
in the attack. Moreau, the victor of Hohenlinden, stood by the side of the
Emperor Alexander, whom he had come to help against his own countrymen. He
lived only to witness one of the last and greatest victories of France. The
attack was everywhere repelled: the Austrian divisions were not only
beaten, but disgraced and overthrown. At the end of two days' fighting the
Allies were in full retreat, leaving 20,000 prisoners in the hands of
Napoleon. It was a moment when the hearts of the bravest sank, and when
hope itself might well vanish, as the rumour passed through the Prussian
regiments that Metternich was again in friendly communication with
Napoleon. But in the midst of Napoleon's triumph intelligence arrived which
robbed it of all its worth. Oudinot, instead of conquering Berlin, had been
defeated by the Prussians of Bernadotte's army at Grossbeeren (Aug. 23),
and driven back upon the Elbe. Blücher had turned upon Macdonald in
Silesia, and completely overthrown his army on the river Katzbach, at the
very moment when the Allies were making their assault upon Dresden. It was
vain to think of a march upon Prague, or of the annihilation of the
Austrians, when on the north and the east Napoleon's troops were meeting
with nothing but disaster. The divisions which had been intended to support
Vandamme's movement from Königstein upon the rear of the Great Army were
retained in the neighbourhood of Dresden, in order to be within reach of
the points where their aid might be needed. Vandamme, ignorant of his
isolation, was left with scarcely 40,000 men to encounter the Great Army in
its retreat.

[Battle of Kulm, Aug. 29, 30.]

He threw himself upon a Russian corps at Kulm, in the Bohemian mountains,
on the morning of the 29th. The Russians, at first few in number, held
their ground during the day; in the night, and after the battle had
recommenced on the morrow, vast masses of the allied troops poured in. The
French fought desperately, but were overwhelmed. Vandamme himself was made
prisoner, with 10,000 of his men. The whole of the stores and most of the
cannon of his army remained in the enemy's hands.

[Effect of the twelve days, Aug. 18-30.]

[Battle of Dennewitz, Sept. 6.]

The victory at Kulm secured the Bohemian army from pursuit, and almost
extinguished the effects of its defeat at Dresden. Thanks to the successes
of Blücher and of Bernadotte's Prussian generals, which prevented Napoleon
from throwing all his forces on to the rear of the Great Army,
Schwarzenberg's rash attack had proved of no worse significance than an
unsuccessful raid. The Austrians were again in the situation assigned to
them in the original plan of the campaign, and capable of resuming their
advance into the interior of Saxony: Blücher and the northern commanders
had not only escaped separate destruction, but won great victories over the
French: Napoleon, weakened by the loss of 100,000 men, remained exactly
where he had been at the beginning of the campaign. Had the triple movement
by which he meant to overwhelm his adversaries been capable of execution,
it would now have been fully executed. The balance, however, had turned
against Napoleon; and the twelve days from the 18th to the 29th of August,
though marked by no catastrophe like Leipzig or Waterloo, were in fact the
decisive period in the struggle of Europe against Napoleon. The attack by
which he intended to prevent the junction of the three armies had been
made, and had failed. Nothing now remained for him but to repeat the same
movements with a discouraged force against an emboldened enemy, or to quit
the line of the Elbe, and prepare for one vast and decisive encounter with
all three armies combined. Napoleon drove from his mind the thought of
failure; he ordered Ney to take command of Oudinot's army, and to lead it
again, in increased strength, upon Berlin; he himself hastened to
Macdonald's beaten troops in Silesia, and rallied them for a new assault
upon Blücher. All was in vain. Ney, advancing on Berlin, was met by the
Prussian general Billow at Dennewitz, and totally routed (Sept. 6):
Blücher, finding that Napoleon himself was before him, skilfully avoided
battle, and forced his adversary to waste in fruitless marches the brief
interval which he had [***] from his watch on Schwarzenberg. Each conflict
with the enemy, each vain and exhausting march, told that the superiority
had passed from the French to their foes, and that Napoleon's retreat was
now only a matter of time. "These creatures have learnt something," said
Napoleon in the bitterness of his heart, as he saw the columns of Blücher
manoeuvring out of his grasp. Ney's report of his own overthrow at
Dennewitz sounded like an omen of the ruin of Waterloo. "I have been
totally defeated," he wrote, "and do not yet know whether my army has
re-assembled. The spirit of the generals and officers is shattered. To
command in such conditions is but half to command. I had rather be a common


[German policy of Stein and of Austria.]

The accession of Austria had turned the scale in favour of the Allies; it
rested only with the allied generals themselves to terminate the warfare
round Dresden, and to lead their armies into the heart of Saxony. For a
while the course of the war flagged, and military interests gave place to
political. It was in the interval between the first great battles and the
final advance on Leipzig that the future of Germany was fixed by the three
allied Powers. In the excitement of the last twelve months little thought
had been given, except by Stein and his friends, to the political form to
be set in the place of the Napoleonic Federation of the Rhine. Stein, in
the midst of the Russian campaign, had hoped for a universal rising of the
German people against Napoleon, and had proposed the dethronement of all
the German princes who supported his cause. His policy had received the
general approval of Alexander, and, on the entrance of the Russian army
into Germany, a manifesto had been issued appealing to the whole German
nation, and warning the vassals of Napoleon that they could only save
themselves by submission. [185] A committee had been appointed by the
allied sovereigns, under the presidency of Stein himself, to administer the
revenues of all Confederate territory that should be occupied by the allied
armies. Whether the reigning Houses should be actually expelled might
remain in uncertainty; but it was the fixed hope of Stein and his friends
that those princes who were permitted to retain their thrones would be
permitted to retain them only as officers in a great German Empire, without
sovereign rights either over their own subjects or in relation to foreign
States. The Kings of Bavaria and Würtemberg had gained their titles and
much of their despotic power at home from Napoleon; their independence of
the Head of Germany had made them nothing more than the instruments of a
foreign conqueror. Under whatever form the central authority might be
revived, Stein desired that it should be the true and only sovereign Power
in Germany, a Power to which every German might appeal against the
oppression of a minor Government, and in which the whole nation should find
its representative before the rest of Europe. In the face of such a central
authority, whether an elected Parliament or an Imperial Council, the minor
princes could at best retain but a fragment of their powers; and such was
the theory accepted at the allied head-quarters down to the time when
Austria proffered its mediation and support. Then everything changed. The
views of the Austrian Government upon the future system of Germany were in
direct opposition to those of Stein's party. Metternich dreaded the thought
of popular agitation, and looked upon Stein, with his idea of a National
Parliament and his plans for dethroning the Rhenish princes, as little
better than the Jacobins of 1792. The offer of a restored imperial dignity
in Germany was declined by the Emperor of Austria at the instance of his
Minister. With characteristic sense of present difficulties, and blindness
to the great forces which really contained their solution, Metternich
argued that the minor princes would only be driven into the arms of the
foreigner by the establishment of any supreme German Power. They would
probably desert Napoleon if the Allies guaranteed to them everything that
they at present possessed; they would be freed from all future temptation
to attach themselves to France if Austria contented itself with a
diplomatic influence and with the ties of a well-constructed system of
treaties. In spite of the influence of Stein with the Emperor Alexander,
Metternich's views prevailed. Austria had so deliberately kept itself in
balance during the first part of the year 1813, that the Allies were now
willing to concede everything, both in this matter and in others, in return
for its support. Nothing more was heard of the dethronement of the
Confederate princes, or even of the limitation of their powers. It was
agreed by the Treaty of Teplitz, signed by Prussia, Russia, and Austria on
September 9th, that every State of the Rhenish Confederacy should be placed
in a position of absolute independence. Negotiations were opened with the
King of Bavaria, whose army had steadily fought on the side of Napoleon in
every campaign since 1806. Instead of being outlawed as a criminal, he was
welcomed as an ally. The Treaty of Ried, signed on the 3rd of October,
guaranteed to the King of Bavaria, in return for his desertion of Napoleon,
full sovereign rights, and the whole of the territory which he had received
from Napoleon, except the Tyrol and the Austrian district on the Inn. What
had been accorded to the King of Bavaria could not be refused to the rest
of Napoleon's vassals who were willing to make their peace with the Allies
in time. Germany was thus left at the mercy of a score of petty Cabinets.
It was seen by the patriotic party in Prussia at what price the alliance of
Austria had been purchased. Austria had indeed made it possible to conquer
Napoleon, but it had also made an end of all prospect of the union of the
German nation.

[Allies cross the Elbe, Oct. 3.]

Till the last days of September the position of the hostile armies round
Dresden remained little changed, Napoleon unweariedly repeated his attacks,
now on one side, now on another, but without result. The Allies on their
part seemed rooted to the soil. Bernadotte, balanced between the desire to
obtain Norway from the Allies and a foolish hope of being called to the
throne of France, was bent on doing the French as little harm as possible;
Schwarzenberg, himself an indifferent general, was distracted by the
councillors of all the three monarchs; Blücher alone pressed for decided
and rapid action. At length the Prussian commander gained permission to
march northwards, and unite his army with Bernadotte's in a forward
movement across the Elbe. The long-expected Russian reserves, led by
Bennigsen, reached the Bohemian mountains; and at the beginning of October
the operation began which was to collect the whole of the allied forces in
the plain of Leipzig. Blücher forced the passage of the Elbe at Wartenburg.
It was not until Napoleon learnt that the army of Silesia had actually
crossed the river that he finally quitted Dresden. Then, hastening
northwards, he threw himself upon the Prussian general; but Blücher again
avoided battle, as he had done in Silesia; and on the 7th of October his
army united with Bernadotte's, which had crossed the Elbe two days before.

The enemy was closing in upon Napoleon. Obstinately as he had held on to
the line of the Elbe, he could hold on no longer. In the frustration of all
his hopes there flashed across his mind the wild project of a march
eastwards to the Oder, and the gathering of all the besieged garrisons for
a campaign in which the enemy should stand between himself and France; but
the dream lasted only long enough to gain a record. Napoleon ventured no
more than to send a corps back to the Elbe to threaten Berlin, in the hope
of tempting Blücher and Bernadotte to abandon the advance which they had
now begun in co-operation with the great army of Schwarzenberg. From the
10th to the 14th of October, Napoleon [***] at Düben, between Dresden and
Leipzig, restlessly expecting to hear of Blücher's or Bernadotte's retreat.
The only definite information that he could gain was that Schwarzenberg was
pressing on towards the west. At length he fell back to Leipzig, believing
that Blücher, but not Bernadotte, was advancing to meet Schwarzenberg and
take part in a great engagement. As he entered Leipzig on October 14th the
cannon of Schwarzenberg was heard on the south.

[Battle of Leipzig. Oct 16-19.]

Napoleon drew up for battle. The number of his troops in position around
the city was 170,000: about 15,000 others lay within call. He placed
Marmont and Ney on the north of Leipzig at the village of Möckern, to meet
the expected onslaught of Blücher; and himself, with the great mass of his
army, took post on the south, facing Schwarzenberg. On the morning of the
16th, Schwarzenberg began the attack. His numbers did not exceed 150,000,
for the greater part of the Russian army was a march in the rear. The
battle was an even one. The Austrians failed to gain ground: with one more
army-corps Napoleon saw that he could overpower the enemy. He was still
without intelligence of Blücher's actual appearance in the north; and in
the rash hope that Blücher's coming might be delayed, he sent orders to Ney
and Marmont to leave their positions and hurry to the south to throw
themselves upon Schwarzenberg. Ney obeyed. Marmont, when the order reached
him, was actually receiving Blücher's first fire. He determined to remain
and defend the village of Möckern, though left without support. York,
commanding the vanguard of Blücher's army, assailed him with the utmost
fury. A third part of the troops engaged on each side were killed or
wounded before the day closed; but in the end the victory of the Prussians
was complete. It was the only triumph won by the Allies on this first day
of the battle, but it turned the scale against Napoleon. Marmont's corps
was destroyed; Ney, divided between Napoleon and Marmont, had rendered no
effective help to either. Schwarzenberg, saved from a great disaster,
needed only to wait for Bernadotte and the Russian reserves, and to renew
the battle with an additional force of 100,000 men.

[Storm of Leipzig, 19th. French retreat.]

[Battle of the 18th.]

In the course of the night Napoleon sent proposals for peace. It was in the
vain hope of receiving some friendly answer from his father-in-law, the
Austrian Emperor, that he delayed making his retreat during the next day,
while it might still have been unmolested. No answer was returned to his
letter. In the evening of the 17th, Bennigsen's army reached the field of
battle. Next morning began that vast and decisive encounter known in the
language of Germany as "the battle of the nations," the greatest battle in
all authentic history, the culmination of all the military effort of the
Napoleonic age. Not less than 300,000 men fought on the side of the Allies;
Napoleon's own forces numbered 170,000. The battle raged all round Leipzig,
except on the west, where no attempt was made to interpose between Napoleon
and the line of his retreat. As in the first engagement, the decisive
successes were those of Blücher, now tardily aided by Bernadotte, on the
north; Schwarzenberg's divisions, on the south side of the town, fought
steadily, but without gaining much ground. But there was no longer any
doubt as to the issue of the struggle. If Napoleon could not break the
Allies in the first engagement, he had no chance against them now when they
had been joined by 100,000 more men. The storm of attack grew wilder and
wilder: there were no new forces to call up for the defence. Before the day
was half over Napoleon drew in his outer line, and began to make
dispositions for a retreat from Leipzig. At evening long trains of wounded
from the hospitals passed through the western gates of the city along the
road towards the Rhine. In the darkness of night the whole army was
withdrawn from its positions, and dense masses poured into the town, until
every street was blocked with confused and impenetrable crowds of cavalry
and infantry. The leading divisions moved out of the gates before sunrise.
As the throng lessened, some degree of order was restored, and the troops
which Napoleon intended to cover the retreat took their places under the
walls of Leipzig. The Allies advanced to the storm on the morning of the
19th. The French were driven into the town; the victorious enemy pressed on
towards the rear of the retreating columns. In the midst of the struggle an
explosion was heard above the roar of the battle. The bridge over the
Elster, the only outlet from Leipzig to the west, had been blown up by
--the mistake of a French soldier before the rear-guard began to cross. The
mass of fugitives, driven from the streets of the town, found before them
an impassable river. Some swam to the opposite bank or perished in
attempting to do so; the rest, to the number of 15,000, laid down their
arms. This was the end of the battle. Napoleon had lost in the three days
40,000 killed and wounded, 260 guns, and 30,000 prisoners. The killed and
wounded of the Allies reached the enormous sum of 54,000.

[Conditions of peace offered to Napoleon at Frankfort, Nov. 9th.]

[Allies follow Napoleon to the Rhine.]

The campaign was at an end. Napoleon led off a large army, but one that was
in no condition to turn upon its pursuers. At each stage in the retreat
thousands of fever-stricken wretches were left to terrify even the pursuing
army with the dread of their infection. It was only when the French found
the road to Frankfort blocked at Hanau by a Bavarian force that they
rallied to the order of battle. The Bavarians were cut to pieces; the road
was opened; and, a fortnight after the Battle of Leipzig, Napoleon, with
the remnant of his great army, re-crossed the Rhine. Behind him the fabric
of his Empire fell to the ground. Jerome fled from Westphalia; [186] the
princes of the Rhenish Confederacy came one after another to make their
peace with the Allies; Bülow, with the army which had conquered Ney at
Dennewitz, marched through the north of Germany to the deliverance of
Holland. Three days after Napoleon had crossed the Rhine the Czar reached
Frankfort; and here, on the 7th of November, a military council was held,
in which Blücher and Gneisenau, against almost all the other generals,
advocated an immediate invasion of France. The soldiers, however, had time
to re-consider their opinions, for, on the 9th, it was decided by the
representatives of the Powers to send an offer of peace to Napoleon, and
the operations of the war were suspended by common consent. The condition
on which peace was offered to Napoleon was the surrender of the conquests
of France beyond the Alps and the Rhine. The Allies were still willing to
permit the Emperor to retain Belgium, Savoy, and the Rhenish Provinces;
they declined, however, to enter into any negotiation until Napoleon had
accepted this basis of peace; and they demanded a distinct reply before the
end of the month of November.

[Offer of peace withdrawn, Dec. 1.]

[Plan of invasion of France.]

[Allies enter France, Jan., 1814.]

Napoleon, who had now arrived in Paris, and saw around him all the signs of
power, returned indefinite answers. The month ended without the reply which
the Allies required; and on the 1st of December the offer of peace was
declared to be withdrawn. It was still undecided whether the war should
take the form of an actual invasion of France. The memory of Brunswick's
campaign of 1792, and of the disasters of the first coalition in 1793, even
now exercised a powerful influence over men's minds. Austria was unwilling
to drive Napoleon to extremities, or to give to Russia and Prussia the
increased influence which they would gain in Europe from the total
overthrow of Napoleon's power. It was ultimately determined that the allied
armies should enter France, but that the Austrians, instead of crossing the
north-eastern frontier, should make a détour by Switzerland, and gain the
plateau of Langres in Champagne, from which the rivers Seine, Marne, and
Aube, with the roads following their valleys, descend in the direction of
the capital. The plateau of Langres was said to be of such strategical
importance that its occupation by an invader would immediately force
Napoleon to make peace. As a matter of fact, the plateau was of no
strategical importance whatever; but the Austrians desired to occupy it,
partly with the view of guarding against any attack from the direction of
Italy and Lyons, partly from their want of the heavy artillery necessary
for besieging the fortresses farther north, [187] and from a just
appreciation of the dangers of a campaign conducted in a hostile country
intersected by several rivers. Anything was welcomed by Metternich that
seemed likely to avert, or even to postpone, a struggle with Napoleon for
life or death. Blücher correctly judged the march through Switzerland to be
mere procrastination. He was himself permitted to take the straight road
into France, though his movements were retarded in order to keep pace with
the cautious steps of Schwarzenberg. On the last day of the year 1813 the
Prussian general crossed the Rhine near Coblentz; on the 18th of January,
1814, the Austrian army, having advanced from Switzerland by Belfort and
Vesoul, reached its halting-place on the plateau of Langres. Here the march
stopped; and here it was expected that terms of peace would be proposed by

[Wellington entering France from the south.]

It was not on the eastern side alone that the invader was now entering
France. Wellington had passed the Pyrenees. His last victorious march into
the north of Spain began on the day when the Prussian and Russian armies
were defeated by Napoleon at Bautzen (May 21, 1813). During the armistice
of Dresden, a week before Austria signed the treaty which fixed the
conditions of its armed mediation, he had gained an overwhelming triumph at
Vittoria over King Joseph and the French army, as it retreated with all the
spoils gathered in five years' occupation of Spain (June 21). A series of
bloody engagements had given the English the passes of the Pyrenees in
those same days of August and September that saw the allied armies close
around Napoleon at Dresden; and when, after the catastrophe of Leipzig, the
wreck of Napoleon's host was retreating beyond the Rhine, Soult, the
defender of the Pyrenees, was driven by the British general from his
entrenchments on the Nivelle, and forced back under the walls of Bayonne.

[French armies unable to hold the frontier.]

[Napoleon's plan of defence.]

Twenty years had passed since, in the tempestuous morn of the Revolution,
Hoche swept the armies of the first coalition across the Alsatian frontier.
Since then, French soldiers had visited every capital, and watered every
soil with their blood; but no foreign soldier had set foot on French soil.
Now the cruel goads of Napoleon's military glory had spent the nation's
strength, and the force no longer existed which could bar the way to its
gathered enemies. The armies placed upon the eastern frontier had to fall
back before an enemy five times more numerous than themselves. Napoleon had
not expected that the Allies would enter France before the spring. With
three months given him for organisation, he could have made the
frontier-armies strong enough to maintain their actual positions; the
winter advance of the Allies compelled him to abandon the border districts
of France, and to concentrate his defence in Champagne, between the Marne,
the Seine, and the Aube. This district was one which offered extraordinary
advantages to a great general acting against an irresolute and
ill-commanded enemy. By holding the bridges over the three rivers, and
drawing his own supplies along the central road from Paris to
Arcis-sur-Aube, Napoleon could securely throw the bulk of his forces from
one side to the other against the flank of the Allies, while his own
movements were covered by the rivers, which could not be passed except at
the bridges. A capable commander at the head of the Allies would have
employed the same river-strategy against Napoleon himself, after conquering
one or two points of passage by main force; but Napoleon had nothing of the
kind to fear from Schwarzenberg; and if the Austrian head-quarters
continued to control the movements of the allied armies, it was even now
doubtful whether the campaign would close at Paris or on the Rhine.

[Campaign of 1814.]

For some days after the arrival of the monarchs and diplomatists at Langres
(Jan. 22), Metternich and the more timorous among the generals opposed any
further advance into France, and argued that the army had already gained
all it needed by the occupation of the border provinces. It was only upon
the threat of the Czar to continue the war by himself that the Austrians
consented to move forward upon Paris. After several days had been lost in
discussion, the advance from Langres was begun. Orders were given to
Blücher, who had pushed back the French divisions commanded by Marmont and
Mortier, and who was now near St. Dizier on the Marne, to meet the Great
Army at Brienne. This was the situation of the Allies when, on the 25th of
January, Napoleon left Paris, and placed himself at Châlons on the Marne,
at the head of his left wing, having his right at Troyes and at Arcis,
guarding the bridges over the Seine and the Aube. Napoleon knew that
Blücher was moving towards the Austrians; he hoped to hold the Prussian
general in check at St. Dizier, and to throw himself upon the heads of
Schwarzenberg's columns as they moved towards the Aube. Blücher, however,
had already passed St. Dizier when Napoleon reached it. Napoleon pursued,
and overtook the Prussians at Brienne. After an indecisive battle, Blücher
fell back towards Schwarzenberg. The allied armies effected their junction,
and Blücher, now supported by the Austrians, turned and marched down the
right bank of the Aube to meet Napoleon. Napoleon, though far outnumbered,
accepted battle. He was attacked at La Rothière close above Brienne, and
defeated with heavy loss (Feb. 1). A vigorous pursuit would probably have
ended the war; but the Austrians held back. Schwarzenberg believed peace to
be already gained, and condemned all further action as useless waste of
life. In spite of the protests of the Emperor Alexander, he allowed
Napoleon to retire unmolested. Schwarzenberg's inaction was no mere error
in military judgment. There was a direct conflict between the Czar and the
Austrian Cabinet as to the end to be obtained by the war. Alexander already
insisted on the dethronement of Napoleon; the Austrian Government would
have been content to leave Napoleon in power if he would accept a peace
giving France no worse a frontier than it had possessed in 1791.
Castlereagh, who had come from England, and Hardenberg were as yet inclined
to support Metternich's policy, although the whole Prussian army, the
public opinion of Great Britain, and the counsels of Stein and all the
bolder Prussian statesmen, were on the side of the Czar. [188]

[Congress of Châtillon, Feb. 5-9.]

Already the influence of the peace-party was so far in the ascendant that
negotiations had been opened with Napoleon. Representatives of all the
Powers assembled at Châtillon, in Burgundy; and there, towards the end of
January, Caulaincourt appeared on behalf of France. The first sitting took
place on the 5th of February; on the following day Caulaincourt received
full powers from Napoleon to conclude peace. The Allies laid down as the
condition of peace the limitation of France to the frontiers of 1791. Had
Caulaincourt dared to conclude peace instantly on these terms, Napoleon
would have retained his throne; but he was aware that Napoleon had only
granted him full powers in consequence of the disastrous battle of La
Rothière, and he feared to be disavowed by his master as soon as the army
had escaped from danger. Instead of simply accepting the Allies' offer, he
raised questions as to the future of Italy and Germany. The moment was
lost; on the 9th of February the Czar recalled his envoy from Châtillon,
and the sittings of the Congress were broken off.

[Defeats of Blücher on the Marne Feb. 10-14.]

[Montereau, Feb 18.]

[Austrians fall back towards Langres.]

Schwarzenberg was now slowly and unwillingly moving forwards along the
Seine towards Troyes. Blücher was permitted to return to the Marne, and to
advance upon Paris by an independent line of march. He crossed the country
between the Aube and the Marne, and joined some divisions which he had left
behind him on the latter river. But his dispositions were outrageously
careless: his troops were scattered over a space of sixty miles from
Châlons westward, as if he had no enemy to guard against except the weak
divisions commanded by Mortier and Marmont, which had uniformly fallen back
before his advance. Suddenly Napoleon himself appeared at the centre of the
long Prussian line at Champaubert. He had hastened northwards in pursuit of
Blücher with 30,000 men, as soon as Schwarzenberg entered Troyes; and on
February 10th a weak Russian corps that lay in the centre of Blücher's
column was overwhelmed before it was known the Emperor had left the Seine.
Then, turning leftwards, Napoleon overthrew the Prussian vanguard at
Montmirail, and two days later attacked and defeated Blücher himself, who
was bringing up the remainder of his troops in total ignorance of the enemy
with whom he had to deal. In four days Blücher's army, which numbered
70,000 men, had thrice been defeated in detail by a force of 30,000.
Blücher was compelled to fall back upon Châlons; Napoleon instantly
returned to the support of Oudinot's division, which he had left in front
of Schwarzenberg. In order to relieve Blücher, the Austrians had pushed
forward on the Seine beyond Montereau. Within three days after the battle
with Blücher, Napoleon was back upon the Seine, and attacking the heads of
the Austrian column. On the 18th of February he gained so decisive a
victory at Montereau that Schwarzenberg abandoned the advance, and fell
back upon Troyes, sending word to Blücher to come southwards again and help
him to fight a great battle. Blücher moved off with admirable energy, and
came into the neighbourhood of Troyes within a week after his defeats upon
the Marne. But the design of fighting a great battle was given up. The
disinclination of the Austrians to vigorous action was too strong to be
overcome; and it was finally determined that Schwarzenberg should fall back
almost to the plateau of Langres, leaving Blücher to unite with the troops
of Bülow which had conquered Holland, and to operate on the enemy's flank
and rear.

[Congress of Châtillon resumed, Feb. 17-March 15.]

The effect of Napoleon's sudden victories on the Marne was instantly seen
in the councils of the allied sovereigns. Alexander, who had withdrawn his
envoy from Châtillon, could no longer hold out against negotiations with
Napoleon. He restored the powers of his envoy, and the Congress
re-assembled. But Napoleon already saw himself in imagination driving the
invaders beyond the Rhine, and sent orders to Caulaincourt to insist upon
the terms proposed at Frankfort, which left to France both the Rhenish
Provinces and Belgium. At the same time he attempted to open a private
negotiation with his father-in-law the Emperor of Austria, and to detach
him from the cause of the Allies. The attempt failed; the demands now made
by Caulaincourt overcame even the peaceful inclinations of the Austrian
Minister; and on the 1st of March the Allies signed a new treaty at
Chaumont, pledging themselves to conclude no peace with Napoleon that did
not restore the frontier of 1791, and to maintain a defensive alliance
against France for a period of twenty years. [189] Caulaincourt continued
for another fortnight at Châtillon, instructed by Napoleon to prolong the
negotiations, but forbidden to accept the only conditions which the Allies
were willing to grant.

[Napoleon follows Blücher to the north. Battle of Laon, March 10.]

Blücher was now on his way northwards to join the so-called army of
Bernadotte upon the Aisne. Since the Battle of Leipzig, Bernadotte himself
had taken no part in the movements of the army nominally under his command.
The Netherlands had been conquered by Bülow and the Russian general
Winzingerode, and these officers were now pushing southwards in order to
take part with Blücher in a movement against Paris. Napoleon calculated
that the fortress of Soissons would bar the way to the northern army, and
enable him to attack and crush Blücher before he could effect a junction
with his colleagues. He set out in pursuit of the Prussians, still hoping
for a second series of victories like those he had won upon the Marne. But
the cowardice of the commander of Soissons ruined his chances of success.
The fortress surrendered to the Russians at the first summons. Blücher met
the advanced guard of the northern army upon the Aisne on the 4th of March,
and continued his march towards Laon for the purpose of uniting with its
divisions which lay in the rear. The French followed, but the only
advantage gained by Napoleon was a victory over a detached Russian corps at
Craonne. Marmont was defeated with heavy loss by a sally of Blücher from
his strong position on the hill of Laon (March 10); and the Emperor
himself, unable to restore the fortune of the battle, fell back upon
Soissons, and thence marched southward to throw himself again upon the line
of the southern army.

[Napoleon marches to the rear of the Allies, March 23.]

[The Allies advance on Paris.]

Schwarzenberg had once more begun to move forward on the news of Blücher's
victory at Laon. His troops were so widely dispersed that Napoleon might
even now have cut the line in halves had he known Schwarzenberg's real
position. But he made a détour in order to meet Oudinot's corps, and gave
the Austrians time to concentrate at Arcis-sur-Aube. Here, on the 20th of
March, Napoleon found himself in face of an army of 100,000 men. His own
army was less than a third of that number; yet with unalterable contempt
for the enemy he risked another battle. No decided issue was reached in the
first day's fighting, and Napoleon remained in position, expecting that
Schwarzenberg would retreat during the night. But on the morrow the
Austrians were still fronting him. Schwarzenberg had at length learnt his
own real superiority, and resolved to assist the enemy no longer by a
wretched system of retreat. A single act of firmness on the part of the
Austrian commander showed Napoleon that the war of battles was at an end.
He abandoned all hope of resisting the invaders in front: it only remained
for him to throw himself on to their rear, and, in company with the
frontier-garrisons and the army of Lyons, to attack their communications
with Germany. The plan was no unreasonable one, if Paris could either have
sustained a siege or have fallen into the enemy's hands without terminating
the war. But the Allies rightly judged that Napoleon's power would be
extinct from the moment that Paris submitted. They received the
intelligence of the Emperor's march to the east, and declined to follow
him. The armies of Schwarzenberg and Blücher approached one another, and
moved together on Paris. It was at Vitry, on March 27th, that Napoleon
first discovered that the troops which had appeared to be following his
eastward movement were but a detachment of cavalry, and that the allied
armies were in full march upon the capital. He instantly called up every
division within reach, and pushed forward by forced marches for the Seine,
hoping to fall upon Schwarzenberg's rear before the allied vanguard could
reach Paris. But at each hour of the march it became more evident that the
enemy was far in advance. For two days Napoleon urged his men forward; at
length, unable to bear the intolerable suspense, he quitted the army on the
morning of the 30th, and drove forward at the utmost speed along the road
through Fontainebleau to the capital. As day sank, he met reports of a
battle already begun. When he reached the village of Fromenteau, fifteen
miles from Paris, at ten o'clock at night, he heard that Paris had actually

[Attack on Paris, March 30.]

[Capitulation of Marmont.]

[Allies enter Paris, March 31.]

The Allies had pressed forward without taking any notice of Napoleon's
movements, and at early morning on the 30th they had opened the attack on
the north-eastern heights of Paris. Marmont, with the fragments of a beaten
army and some weak divisions of the National Guard, had but 35,000 men to
oppose to three times that number of the enemy. The Government had taken no
steps to arm the people, or to prolong resistance after the outside line of
defence was lost, although the erection of barricades would have held the
Allies in check until Napoleon arrived with his army. While Marmont fought
in the outer suburbs, masses of the people were drawn up on Montmartre,
expecting the Emperor's appearance, and the spectacle of a great and
decisive battle. But the firing in the outskirts stopped soon after noon:
it was announced that Marmont had capitulated. The report struck the people
with stupor and fury. They had vainly been demanding arms since early
morning; and even after the capitulation unsigned papers were handed about
by men of the working classes, advocating further resistance. [190] But the
people no longer knew how to follow leaders of its own. Napoleon had
trained France to look only to himself: his absence left the masses, who
were still eager to fight for France, helpless in the presence of the
conqueror: there were enemies enough of the Government among the richer
classes to make the entry of the foreigner into Paris a scene of actual joy
and exultation. To such an extent had the spirit of caste and the malignant
delight in Napoleon's ruin overpowered the love of France among the party
of the old noblesse, that upon the entry of the allied forces into Paris on
the 31st of March hundreds of aristocratic women kissed the hands, or the
very boots and horses, of the leaders of the train, and cheered the
Cossacks who escorted a band of French prisoners, bleeding and exhausted,
through the streets.

[Napoleon dethroned, April 2.]

Napoleon's reign was indeed at an end. Since the rupture of the Congress of
Châtillon on the 18th of March, the Allies had determined to make his
dethronement a condition of peace. As the end approached, it was seen that
no successor was possible but the chief of the House of Bourbon, although
Austria would perhaps have consented to the establishment of a Regency
under the Empress Marie Louise, and the Czar had for a time entertained the
project of placing Bernadotte at the head of the French State. Immediately
after the entry into Paris it was determined to raise the exile Louis
XVIII. to the throne. The politicians of the Empire who followed Talleyrand
were not unwilling to unite with the conquerors, and with the small party
of Royalist noblesse, in recalling the Bourbon dynasty. Alexander, who was
the real master of the situation, rightly judged Talleyrand to be the man
most capable of enlisting the public opinion of France on the side of the
new order. He took up his abode at Talleyrand's house, and employed this
dexterous statesman as the advocate both of the policy of the Allies, and
of the principles of constitutional liberty, which at this time Alexander
himself sincerely befriended. A Provisional Government was appointed under
Talleyrand's leadership. On the 2nd of April the Senate proclaimed the
dethronement of Napoleon. On the 6th it published a Constitution, and
recalled the House of Bourbon.

Louis XVIII. was still in England: his brother, the Count of Artois, had
joined the invaders in France and assumed the title of Lieutenant of the
Kingdom; but the influence of Alexander was necessary to force this
obstinate and unteachable man into anything like a constitutional position.
The Provisional Government invited the Count to take up the administration
until the King's arrival, in virtue of a decree of the Senate. D'Artois
declined to recognise the Senate's competency, and claimed the Lieutenancy
of the Kingdom as his brother's representative. The Senate refusing to
admit the Count's divine right, some unmeaning words were exchanged when
d'Artois entered Paris; and the Provisional Government, disregarding the
claims of the Royal Lieutenant, continued in the full exercise of its
powers. At length the Czar insisted that d'Artois should give way. The
decree of the Senate was accordingly accepted by him at the Tuileries on
the 14th of April; the Provisional Government retired, and a Council of
State was formed, in which Talleyrand still continued to exercise the real
powers of government. In the address made by d'Artois on this occasion, he
stated that although the King had not empowered him to accept the
Constitution made by the Senate on the 6th of April, he entertained no
doubt that the King would accept the principles embodied in that
Constitution, which were those of Representative Government, of the freedom
of the press, and of the responsibility of ministers. A week after
d'Artois' declaration, Louis XVIII. arrived in France.

[Louis XVIII. and the Czar.]

[Louis XVIII. enters Paris, May 3.]

Louis XVIII., though capable of adapting himself in practice to a
constitutional system, had never permitted himself to question the divine
right of the House of Bourbon to sovereign power. The exiles who surrounded
him were slow to understand the needs of the time. They recommended the
King to reject the Constitution. Louis made an ambiguous answer when the
Legislative Body met him at Compiègne and invited an expression of the
royal policy. It was again necessary for the Czar to interfere, and to
explain to the King that France could no longer be an absolute monarchy.
Louis, however, was a better arguer than the Count of Artois. He reasoned
as a man whom the sovereigns of Europe had felt it their duty to restore
without any request from himself. If the Senate of Napoleon, he urged, had
the right to give France a Constitution, he himself ought never to have
been brought from his peaceful English home. He was willing to grant a free
Constitution to his people in exercise of his own royal rights, but he
could not recognise one created by the servants of an usurper. Alexander
was but half satisfied with the liberal professions of Louis: he did not,
however, insist on his acceptance of the Constitution drawn up by the
Senate, but he informed him that until the promises made by d'Artois were
confirmed by a royal proclamation, there would be no entry into Paris. The
King at length signed a proclamation written by Talleyrand, and made his
festal entry into the capital on the 3rd of May.

[Feeling of Paris.]

The promises of Louis himself, the unbroken courtesy and friendliness shown
by the Allies to Paris since their victory a month before, had almost
extinguished the popular feeling of hostility towards a dynasty which owed
its recall to the overthrow of French armies. The foreign leaders
themselves had begun to excite a certain admiration and interest. Alexander
was considered, and with good reason, as a generous enemy; the simplicity
of the King of Prussia, his misfortunes, his well-remembered gallantry at
the Battle of Jena, gained him general sympathy. It needed but little on
the part of the returning Bourbons to convert the interest and curiosity of
Paris into affection. The cortège which entered the capital with Louis
XVIII. brought back, in a singular motley of obsolete and of foreign
costumes, the bearers of many unforgotten names. The look of the King
himself, as he drove through Paris, pleased the people. The childless
father of the murdered Duke of Enghien gained the pitying attention of
those few who knew the face of a man twenty-five years an exile. But there
was one among the members of the returning families whom every heart in
Paris went out to meet. The daughter of Louis XVI., who had shared the
captivity of her parents and of her brother, the sole survivor of her
deeply-wronged house, now returned as Duchess of Angoulême. The uniquely
mournful history of her girlhood, and her subsequent marriage with her
cousin, the son of the Count of Artois, made her the natural object of a
warmer sympathy than could attach to either of the brothers of Louis XVI.
But adversity had imprinted its lines too deeply upon the features and the
disposition of this joyless woman for a moment's light to return. Her voice
and her aspect repelled the affection which thousands were eager to offer
to her. Before the close of the first days of the restored monarchy, it was
felt that the Bourbons had brought back no single person among them who was
capable of winning the French nation's love.

[Napoleon sent to Elba.]


The recall of the ancient line had been allowed to appear to the world as
the work of France itself; Napoleon's fate could only be fixed by his
conquerors. After the fall of Paris, Napoleon remained at Fontainebleau
awaiting events. The soldiers and the younger officers of his army were
still ready to fight for him; the marshals, however, were utterly weary,
and determined that France should no longer suffer for the sake of a single
man. They informed Napoleon that he must abdicate. Yielding to their
pressure, Napoleon, on the 3rd of April, drew up an act of abdication in
favour of his infant son, and sent it by Caulaincourt to the allied
sovereigns at Paris. The document was rejected by the Allies; Caulaincourt
returned with the intelligence that Napoleon must renounce the throne for
himself and all his family. For a moment the Emperor thought of renewing
the war; but the marshals refused their aid more resolutely than before,
and, on the 6th of April, Napoleon signed an unconditional surrender of the
throne for himself and his heirs. He was permitted by the Allies to retain
the unmeaning title of Emperor, and to carry with him a body-guard and a
considerable revenue to the island of Elba, henceforward to be his
principality and his prison. The choice of this island, within easy reach
of France and Italy, and too extensive to be guarded without a large fleet,
was due to Alexander's ill-judged generosity towards Napoleon, and to a
promise made to Marmont that the liberty of the Emperor should be
respected. Alexander was not left without warning of the probable effects
of his leniency. Sir Charles Stewart, military representative of Great
Britain at the allied head-quarters, urged both his own and the allied
Governments to substitute some more distant island for Elba, if they
desired to save Europe from a renewed Napoleonic war, and France from the
misery of a second invasion. The Allies, though not without misgivings,
adhered to their original plan, and left it to time to justify the
predictions of their adviser.

[Treaty of Paris, May 30.]

It was well known what would be the terms of peace, now that Napoleon was
removed from the throne. The Allies had no intention of depriving France of
any of the territory that it had held before 1792: the conclusion of a
definitive Treaty was only postponed until the Constitution, which
Alexander required King Louis XVIII. to grant, had been drawn up by a royal
commission and approved by the King. On the 27th of May the draft of this
Constitution, known as the Charta, was laid before the King, and sanctioned
by him; on the 30th, the Treaty of Paris was signed by the representatives
of France and of all the great Powers. [191] France, surrendering all its
conquests, accepted the frontier of the 1st of January, 1792, with a slight
addition of territory on the side of Savoy and at points on its northern
and eastern border. It paid no indemnity. It was permitted to retain all
the works of art accumulated by twenty years of rapine, except the trophies
carried from the Brandenburg Gate of Berlin and the spoils of the Library
of Vienna. It received back nearly all the colonies which had been taken
from it by Great Britain. By the clauses of the Treaty disposing of the
territory that had formed the Empire and the dependencies of Napoleon,
Holland was restored to the House of Orange, with the provision that its
territory should be largely increased; Switzerland was declared
independent; it was stipulated that Italy, with the exception of the
Austrian Provinces, should consist of independent States, and that Germany
should remain distributed among a multitude of sovereigns, independent, but
united by a Federal tie. The navigation of the Rhine was thrown open. By a
special agreement with Great Britain the French Government undertook to
unite its efforts to those of England in procuring the suppression of the
Slave-trade by all the Powers, and pledged itself to abolish the
Slave-trade among French subjects within five years at the latest. For the
settlement of all European questions not included in the Treaty of Paris it
was agreed that a Congress of the Powers should, within two months,
assemble at Vienna. These were the public articles of the Treaty of Paris.
Secret clauses provided that the Allies--that is, the Allies independently
of France--should control the distributions of territory to be made at the
Congress; that Austria should receive Venetia and all Northern Italy as far
as the Ticino; that Genoa should be given to the King of Sardinia; and that
the Southern Netherlands should be united into a single kingdom with
Holland, and thus form a solid bulwark against France on the north. No
mention was made of Naples, whose sovereign, Murat, had abandoned Napoleon
and allied himself with Austria, but without fulfilling in good faith the
engagements into which he had entered against his former master. A nominal
friend of the Allies, he knew that he had played a double game, and that
his sovereignty, though not yet threatened, was insecure. [192]

[Territorial arrangements of 1814.]

Much yet remained to be settled by the Congress at Vienna, but in the
Treaty of Paris two at least of the great Powers saw the objects attained
for which they had straggled so persistently through all the earlier years
of the war, and which at a later time had appeared to pass almost out of
the range of possibility. England saw the Netherlands once more converted
into a barrier against France, and Antwerp held by friendly hands. Austria
reaped the full reward of its cool and well-balanced diplomacy during the
crisis of 1813, in the annexation of an Italian territory that made it the
real mistress of the Peninsula. Castlereagh and every other English
politician felt that Europe had done itself small honour in handing Venice
back to the Hapsburg; but this had been the condition exacted by Metternich
at Prague before he consented to throw the sword of Austria into the
trembling scale; [193] and the Republican traditions both of Venice and of
Genoa counted for little among the statesmen of 1814, in comparison with
the divine right of a Duke of Modena or a Prince of Hesse Cassel. [194]
France itself, though stripped of the dominion won by twenty years of
warfare, was permitted to retain, for the benefit of a restored line of
kings, the whole of its ancient territory, and the spoil of all the
galleries and museums of Western Europe. It would have been no unnatural
wrong if the conquerors of 1814 had dealt with the soil of France as France
had dealt with other lands; it would have been an act of bare justice to
restore to its rightful owners the pillage that had been brought to Paris,
and to recover from the French treasury a part of the enormous sums which
Napoleon had extorted from conquered States. But the Courts were too well
satisfied with their victory to enter into a strict account upon secondary
matters; and a prudent regard on the part of the Allies to the prospects of
the House of Bourbon saved France from experiencing what it had inflicted
upon others.

[All the Powers except France gained territory by the war, 1792-1814.]

The policy which now restored to France the frontier of 1792 was viewed
with a very different feeling in France and in all other countries. Europe
looked with a kind of wonder upon its own generosity; France forgot the
unparalleled provocations which it had offered to mankind, and only
remembered that Belgium and the Rhenish Provinces had formed part of the
Republic and the Empire for nearly twenty years. These early conquests of
the Republic, which no one had attempted to wrest from France since 1795,
had undoubtedly been the equivalent for which, in the days of the
Directory, Austria had been permitted to extend itself in Italy, and
Prussia in Germany. In the opinion of men who sincerely condemned
Napoleon's distant conquests, the territory between France and the Rhine
was no more than France might legitimately demand, as a counterpoise to the
vast accessions falling to one or other of the Continental Powers out of
the territory of Poland, Venice, and the body of suppressed States in
Germany. Poland, excluding the districts taken from it before 1792,
contained a population twice as great as that of Belgium and the Rhenish
Provinces together: Venice carried with it, in addition to a commanding
province on the Italian mainland, the Eastern Adriatic Coast as far as
Ragusa. If it were true that the proportionate increase of power formed the
only solid principle of European policy, France sustained a grievous injury
in receiving back the limits of 1791, when every other State on the
Continent was permitted to retain the territory, or an equivalent for the
territory, which it had gained in the great changes that took place between
1791 and 1814. But in fact there had never been a time during the last
hundred and fifty years when France, under an energetic Government, had not
possessed a force threatening to all its neighbours. France, reduced to its
ancient limits, was still the equal, and far more than the equal, of any of
the Continental Powers, with all that they had gained during the
Revolutionary War. It remained the first of European nations, though no
longer, as in the eighteenth century, the one great nation of the western
continent. Its efforts after universal empire had aroused other nations
into life. Had the course of French conquest ceased before Napoleon grasped
power, France would have retained its frontier of the Rhine, and long have
exercised an unbounded influence over both Germany and Italy, through the
incomparably juster and brighter social life which the Revolution, combined
with all that France had inherited from the past, enabled it to display to
those countries. Napoleon, in the attempt to impose his rule upon all
Europe, created a power in Germany whose military future was to be not less
solid than that of France itself, and left to Europe, in the accord of his
enemies, a firmer security against French attack than any that the efforts
of statesmen had ever framed.

[Permanent effect on Europe of period 1792-1814.]

[National sense excited in Germany and Italy.]

The league of the older monarchies had proved stronger in the end than the
genius and the ambition of a single man. But if, in the service of
Napoleon, France had exhausted its wealth, sunk its fleets, and sacrificed
a million lives, only that it might lose all its earlier conquests, and
resume limits which it had outgrown before Napoleon held his first command,
it was not thus with the work which, for or against itself, France had
effected in Europe during the movements of the last twenty years. In the
course of the epoch now ending the whole of the Continent up to the
frontiers of Austria and Russia had gained the two fruitful ideas of
nationality and political freedom. There were now two nations in Europe
where before there had been but aggregates of artificial States. Germany
and Italy were no longer mere geographical expressions: in both countries,
though in a very unequal degree, the newly-aroused sense of nationality had
brought with it the claim for unity and independence. In Germany, Prussia
had set a great example, and was hereafter to reap its reward; in Italy
there had been no State and no statesman to take the lead either in
throwing off Napoleon's rule, or in forcing him, as the price of support,
to give to his Italian kingdom a really national government. Failing to act
for itself, the population of all Italy, except Naples, was parcelled out
between Austria and the ancient dynasties; but the old days of passive
submission to the foreigner were gone for ever, and time was to show
whether those were the dreamers who thought of a united Italy, or those who
thought that Metternich's statesmanship had for ever settled the fate of
Venice and of Milan.

[Desire for political liberty.]

The second legacy of the Revolutionary epoch, the idea of constitutional
freedom, which in 1789 had been as much wanting in Spain, where national
spirit was the strongest, as in those German States where it was the
weakest, had been excited in Italy by the events of 1796 and 1798, in Spain
by the disappearance of the Bourbon king and the self-directed struggle of
the nation against the invader; in Prussia it had been introduced by the
Government itself when Stein was at the head of the State. "It is
impossible," wrote Lord Castlereagh in the spring of 1814, "not to perceive
a great moral change coming on in Europe, and that the principles of
freedom are in full operation." [195] There was in fact scarcely a Court in
Europe which was not now declaring its intention to frame a Constitution.
The professions might be lightly made; the desire and the capacity for
self-government might still be limited to a narrower class than the friends
of liberty imagined; but the seed was sown, and a movement had begun which
was to gather strength during the next thirty years of European history,
while one revolution after another proved that Governments could no longer
with safety disregard the rights of their subjects.

[Social changes.]

Lastly, in all the territory that had formed Napoleon's Empire and
dependencies, and also in Prussia, legal changes had been made in the
rights and relations of the different classes of society, so important as
almost to create a new type of social life. Within the Empire itself the
Code Napoléon, conferring upon the subjects of France the benefits which
the French had already won for themselves, had superseded a society resting
on class-privilege, on feudal service, and on the despotism of custom, by a
society resting on equality before the law, on freedom of contract, and on
the unshackled ownership and enjoyment of land, whether the holder
possessed an acre or a league. The principles of the French Code, if not
the Code itself, had been introduced into Napoleon's kingdom of Italy, into
Naples, and into almost all the German dependencies of France. In Prussia
the reforms of Stein and Hardenberg had been directed, though less boldly,
towards the same end; and when, after 1814, the Rhenish Provinces were
annexed to Prussia by the Congress of Vienna, the Government was wise
enough and liberal enough to leave these districts in the enjoyment of the
laws which France had given them, and not to risk a comparison between even
the best Prussian legislation and the Code Napoleon. In other territory now
severed from France and restored to German or Italian princes, attempts
were not wanting to obliterate the new order and to re-introduce the
burdens and confusions of the old regime. But these reactions, even where
unopposed for a time, were too much in conflict with the spirit of the age
to gain more than a temporary and precarious success. The people had begun
to know good and evil: examples of a free social order were too close at
hand to render it possible for any part of the western continent to relapse
for any very long period into the condition of the eighteenth century.


It was indeed within a distinct limit that the Revolutionary epoch effected
its work of political and social change. Neither England nor Austria
received the slightest impulse to progress. England, on the contrary,
suspended almost all internal improvement during the course of the war; the
domestic policy of the Austrian Court, so energetic in the reign
immediately preceding the Revolution, became for the next twenty years,
except where it was a policy of repression, a policy of pure vacancy and
inaction. But in all other States of Western Europe the period which
reached its close with Napoleon's fall left deep and lasting traces behind
it. Like other great epochs of change, it bore its own peculiar character.
It was not, like the Renaissance and the Reformation, a time when new
worlds of faith and knowledge transformed the whole scope and conception of
human life; it was not, like our own age, a time when scientific discovery
and increased means of communication silently altered the physical
conditions of existence; it was a time of changes directly political in
their nature, and directly effected by the political agencies of
legislation and of war. In the perspective of history the Napoleonic age
will take its true place among other, and perhaps greater, epochs. Its
elements of mere violence and disturbance will fill less space in the eyes
of mankind; its permanent creations, more. As an epoch of purely political
energy, concentrating the work of generations within the compass of twenty
five years, it will perhaps scarcely find a parallel.


The Restoration of 1814--Norway--Naples--Westphalia--Spain--The Spanish
Constitution overthrown: Victory of the Clergy--Restoration in France--The
Charta--Encroachments of the Nobles and Clergy--Growing Hostility to the
Bourbons--Congress of Vienna--Talleyrand and the Four Powers--The Polish
Question--The Saxon Question--Theory of Legitimacy--Secret Alliance against
Russia and Prussia--Compromise--The Rhenish Provinces--Napoleon leaves Elba
and lands in France--His Declarations--Napoleon at Grenoble, at Lyon, at
Paris--The Congress of Vienna unites Europe against France--Murat's Action
in Italy--The Acte Additionnel--The Champ de Mai--Napoleon takes up the
offensive--Battles of Ligny, Quatre Bras, Waterloo--Affairs at
Paris--Napoleon sent to St. Helena--Wellington and Fouché--Arguments on the
proposed Cession of French Territory--Treaty of Holy Alliance--Second
Treaty of Paris--Conclusion of the Work of the Congress of Vienna--
Federation of Germany--Estimate of the Congress of Vienna and of the
Treaties of 1815--The Slave Trade.

Of all the events which, in the more recent history of mankind, have struck
the minds of nations with awe, and appeared to reveal in its direct
operation a power overruling the highest human effort, there is none equal
in grandeur and terror to the annihilation of Napoleon's army in the
invasion of Russia. It was natural that a generation which had seen State
after State overthrown, and each new violation of right followed by an
apparent consolidation of the conqueror's strength, should view in the
catastrophe of 1812 the hand of Providence visibly outstretched for the
deliverance of Europe. [196] Since that time many years have passed. Perils
which then seemed to envelop the future of mankind now appear in part
illusory; sacrifices then counted cheap have proved of heavy cost. The
history of the two last generations shows that not everything was lost to
Europe in passing subjection to a usurper, nor everything gained by the
victory of his opponents. It is now not easy to suppress the doubt whether
the permanent interests of mankind would not have been best served by
Napoleon's success in 1812. His empire had already attained dimensions that
rendered its ultimate disruption certain: less depended upon the
postponement or the acceleration of its downfall than on the order of
things ready to take its place. The victory of Napoleon in 1812 would have
been followed by the establishment of a Polish kingdom in the provinces
taken from Russia. From no generosity in the conqueror, from no sympathy on
his part with a fallen people, but from the necessities of his political
situation, Poland must have been so organised as to render it the bulwark
of French supremacy in the East. The serf would have been emancipated. The
just hatred of the peasant to the noble, which made the partition of 1772
easy, and has proved fatal to every Polish uprising from that time to the
present, would have been appeased by an agrarian reform executed with
Napoleon's own unrivalled energy and intelligence, and ushered in with
brighter hopes than have at any time in the history of Poland lit the dark
shades of peasant-life. The motives which in 1807 had led Napoleon to stay
his hand, and to content himself with half-measures of emancipation in the
Duchy of Warsaw [197], could have had no place after 1812, when Russia
remained by his side, a mutilated but inexorable enemy, ever on the watch
to turn to its own advantage the first murmurs of popular discontent beyond
the border. Political independence, the heritage of the Polish noble, might
have been withheld, but the blessing of landed independence would have been
bestowed on the mass of the Polish people. In the course of some years this
restored kingdom, though governed by a member of the house of Bonaparte,
would probably have gained sufficient internal strength to survive the
downfall of Napoleon's Empire or his own decease. England, Austria, and
Turkey would have found it no impossible task to prevent its absorption by
Alexander at the re-settlement of Europe, if indeed the collapse of Russia
had not been followed by the overthrow of the Porte, and the establishment
of a Greek, a Bulgarian, and a Roumanian Kingdom under the supremacy of
France. By the side of the three absolute monarchs of Central and Eastern
Europe there would have remained, upon Napoleon's downfall, at least one
people in possession of the tradition of liberty: and from the example of
Poland, raised from the deep but not incurable degradation of its social
life, the rulers of Russia might have gained courage to emancipate the
serf, without waiting for the lapse of another half-century and the
occurrence of a second ruinous war. To compare a possible sequence of
events with the real course of history, to estimate the good lost and evil
got through events which at the time seemed to vindicate the moral
governance of the world, is no idle exercise of the imagination. It may
serve to give caution to the judgment: it may guard us against an arbitrary
and fanciful interpretation of the actual. The generation which witnessed
the fall of Napoleon is not the only one which has seen Providence in the
fulfilment of its own desire, and in the storm-cloud of nature and history
has traced with too sanguine gaze the sacred lineaments of human equity and

[Settlement of 1814.]



The Empire of Napoleon had indeed passed away. The conquests won by the
first soldiers of the Republic were lost to France along with all the
latest spoils of its Emperor; but the restoration which was effected in
1814 was no restoration of the political order which had existed on the
Continent before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. The Powers which
had overthrown Napoleon had been partakers, each in its own season, in the
system of aggrandisement which had obliterated the old frontiers of Europe.
Russia had gained Finland, Bessarabia, and the greater part of Poland;
Austria had won Venice, Dalmatia, and Salzburg; Prussia had received
between the years 1792 and 1806 an extension of territory in Poland and
Northern Germany that more than doubled its area. It was now no part of the
policy of the victorious Courts to reinstate the governments which they had
themselves dispossessed: the settlement of 1814, in so far as it deserved
the name of a restoration, was confined to the territory taken from
Napoleon and from princes of his house. Here, though the claims of
Republics and Ecclesiastical Princes were forgotten, the titles of the old
dynasties were freely recognised. In France itself, in the Spanish
Peninsula, in Holland, Westphalia, Piedmont, and Tuscany, the banished
houses resumed their sovereignty. It cost the Allies nothing to restore
these countries to their hereditary rulers, and it enabled them to describe
the work of 1814 in general terms as the restoration of lawful government
and national independence. But the claims of legitimacy, as well as of
national right, were, as a matter of fact, only remembered where there
existed no motive to disregard them; where they conflicted with
arrangements of policy, they received small consideration. Norway, which
formed part of the Danish monarchy, had been promised by Alexander to
Bernadotte, Crown Prince of Sweden, in 1812, in return for his support
against Napoleon, and the bargain had been ratified by the Allies. As soon
as Napoleon was overthrown, Bernadotte claimed his reward. It was in vain
that the Norwegians, abandoned by their king, declared themselves
independent, and protested against being handed over like a flock of sheep
by the liberators of Europe. The Allies held to their contract; a British
fleet was sent to assist Bernadotte in overpowering his new subjects, and
after a brief resistance the Norwegians found themselves compelled to
submit to their fate (April--Aug., 1814). [198] At the other extremity of
Europe a second of Napoleon's generals still held his throne among the
restored legitimate monarchs. Murat, King of Naples, had forsaken Napoleon
in time to make peace and alliance with Austria. Great Britain, though
entering into a military convention, had not been a party to this treaty;
and it had declared that its own subsequent support of Murat would depend
upon the condition that he should honourably exert himself in Italy against
Napoleon's forces. This condition Murat had not fulfilled. The British
Government was, however, but gradually supplied with proofs of his
treachery; nor was Lord Liverpool, the Prime Minister, inclined to raise
new difficulties at Vienna by pressing the claim of Ferdinand of Sicily to
his territories on the mainland. [199] Talleyrand, on behalf of the
restored Bourbons of Paris, intended to throw all his strength into a
diplomatic attack upon Murat before the end of the Congress; but for the
present Murat's chances seemed to be superior to those of his rival.
Southern Italy thus continued in the hands of a soldier of fortune, who,
unlike Bernadotte, was secretly the friend of Napoleon, and ready to
support him in any attempt to regain his throne.

[Restoration in Westphalia.]

The engagement of the Allies towards Bernadotte, added to the stipulations
of the Peace of Paris, left little to be decided by the Congress of Vienna
beyond the fate of Poland, Saxony, and Naples, and the form of political
union to be established in Germany. It had been agreed that the Congress
should assemble within two months after the signature of the Peace of
Paris: this interval, however, proved to be insufficient, and the autumn
had set in before the first diplomatists arrived at Vienna, and began the
conferences which preceded the formal opening of the Congress. In the
meantime a singular spectacle was offered to Europe by the Courts whose
restoration was the subject of so much official thanksgiving. Before King
Louis XVIII. returned to Paris, the exiled dynasties had regained their
thrones in Northern Germany and in Spain. The process of reaction had begun
in Hanover and in Hesse as soon as the battle of Leipzig had dissolved the
Kingdom of Westphalia and driven Napoleon across the Rhine. Hanover indeed
did not enjoy the bodily presence of its Sovereign: its character was
oligarchical, and the reaction here was more the affair of the privileged
classes than of the Government. In Hesse a prince returned who was the very
embodiment of divine right, a prince who had sturdily fought against French
demagogues in 1792, and over whose stubborn, despotic nature the
revolutions of a whole generation and the loss of his own dominions since
the battle of Jena had passed without leaving a trace. The Elector was
seventy years old when, at the end of the year 1813, his faithful subjects
dragged his carriage in triumph into the streets of Cassel. On the day
after his arrival he gave orders that the Hessian soldiery who had been
sent on furlough after the battle of Jena should present themselves, every
man in the garrison-town where he had stood on the 1st of November, 1806. A
few weeks later all the reforms of the last seven years were swept away
together. The Code Napoleon ceased to be the law of the land; the old
oppressive distinctions of caste, with the special courts for the
privileged orders, came again into force, in defiance of the spirit of the
age. The feudal burdens of the peasantry were revived, the purchasers of
State-lands compelled to relinquish the land without receiving back any of
their purchase-money. The decimal coinage was driven out of the country.
The old system of taxation, with its iniquitous exemptions, was renewed.
All promotions, all grants of rank made by Jerome's Government were
annulled: every officer, every public servant resumed the station which he
had occupied on the 1st of November, 1806. The very pigtails and powder of
the common soldier under the old regime were revived. [200]

[Restoration in Spain.]

The Hessians and their neighbours in North-Western Germany had from of old
been treated with very little ceremony by their rulers; and if they
welcomed back a family which had been accustomed to hire them out at so
much a head to fight against the Hindoos or by the side of the North
American Indians, it only proved that they preferred their native
taskmasters to Jerome Bonaparte and his French crew of revellers and
usurers. The next scene in the European reaction was a far more mournful
one. Ferdinand of Spain had no sooner re-crossed the Pyrenees in the spring
of 1814, than, convinced of his power by the transports of popular
enthusiasm that attended his progress through Northern Spain, he determined
to overthrow the Constitution of 1812, and to re-establish the absolute
monarchy which had existed before the war. The courtiers and ecclesiastics
who gathered round the King dispelled any scruples that he might have felt
in lifting his hand against a settlement accepted by the nation. They
represented to him that the Cortes of 1812--which, whatever their faults,
had been recognised as the legitimate Government of Spain by both England
and Russia--consisted of a handful of desperate men, collected from the
streets of Cadiz, who had taken upon themselves to insult the Crown, to rob
the Church, and to imperil the existence of the Catholic Faith. On the
entry of the King into Valencia, the cathedral clergy expressed the wishes
of their order in the address of homage which they offered to Ferdinand.
"We beg your Majesty," their spokesman concluded, "to take the most
vigorous measures for the restoration of the Inquisition, and of the
ecclesiastical system that existed in Spain before your Majesty's
departure." "These," replied the King, "are my own wishes, and I will not
rest until they are fulfilled." [201]

[Spanish Constitution overthrown.]

The victory of the clergy was soon declared. On the 11th of May the King
issued a manifesto at Valencia, proclaiming the Constitution of 1812 and
every decree of the Cortes null and void, and denouncing the penalties of
high treason against everyone who should defend the Constitution by act,
word, or writing. A variety of promises, made only to be broken,
accompanied this assertion of the rights of the Crown. The King pledged
himself to summon new Cortes as soon as public order should be restored, to
submit the expenditure to the control of the nation, and to maintain
inviolate the security of person and property. It was a significant comment
upon Ferdinand's professions of Liberalism that on the very day on which
the proclamation was issued the censorship of the Press was restored. But
the King had not miscalculated his power over the Spanish people. The same
storm of wild, unreasoning loyalty which had followed Ferdinand's
reappearance in Spain followed the overthrow of the Constitution. The mass
of the Spaniards were ignorant of the very meaning of political liberty:
they adored the King as a savage adores his fetish: their passions were at
the call of a priesthood as brutish and unscrupulous as that which in 1798
had excited the Lazzaroni of Naples against the Republicans of Southern
Italy. No sooner had Ferdinand set the example, by arresting thirty of the
most distinguished of the Liberals, than tumults broke out in every part of
the country against Constitutionalist magistrates and citizens. Mobs,
headed by priests bearing the standard of the Inquisition, destroyed the
tablets erected in honour of the Constitution of 1812, and burned Liberal
writings in bonfires in the market-places. The prisons were filled with men
who, but a short time before, had been the objects of popular adulation.

[The clergy in power.]

Whatever pledges of allegiance had been given to the Constitution of 1812,
it was clear that this Constitution had no real hold on the nation, and
that Ferdinand fulfilled the wish of the majority of Spaniards in
overthrowing it. A wise and energetic sovereign would perhaps have allowed
himself to use this outburst of religious fanaticism for the purpose of
substituting some better order for the imprudent arrangements of 1812.
Ferdinand, an ignorant, hypocritical buffoon, with no more notion of
political justice or generosity than the beasts of the field, could only
substitute for the fallen Cortes a government by palace-favourites and
confessors. It was in vain, that the representatives of Great Britain urged
the King to fulfil his constitutional promises, and to liberate the persons
who had unjustly been thrown into prison. [202] The clergy were masters of
Spain and of the King: their influence daily outweighed even that of
Ferdinand's own Ministers, when, under the pressure of financial necessity,
the Ministers began to offer some resistance to the exorbitant demands of
the priesthood. On the 23rd of May the King signed an edict restoring all
monasteries throughout Spain, and reinstating them in their lands. On the
24th of June the clergy were declared exempt from taxation. On the 21st of
July the Church won its crowning triumph in the re-establishment of the
Inquisition. In the meantime the army was left without pay, in some places
actually without food. The country was at the mercy of bands of guerillas,
who, since the disappearance of the enemy, had turned into common brigands,
and preyed upon their own countrymen. Commerce was extinct; agriculture
abandoned; innumerable villages were lying in ruins; the population was
barbarised by the savage warfare with which for years past it had avenged
its own sufferings upon the invader. Of all the countries of Europe, Spain
was the one in which the events of the Revolutionary epoch seemed to have
left an effect most nearly approaching to unmixed evil.

[Restoration in France.]

In comparison with the reaction in the Spanish Peninsula the reaction in
France was sober and dignified. Louis XVIII. was at least a scholar and a
man of the world. In the old days, among companions whose names were now
almost forgotten, he had revelled in Voltaire and dallied with the
fashionable Liberalism of the time. In his exile he had played the king
with some dignity; he was even believed to have learnt some political
wisdom by his six years' residence in England. If he had not character,
[203] he had at least some tact and some sense of humour; and if not a
profound philosopher, he was at least an accomplished epicurean. He hated
the zealotry of his brother, the Count of Artois. He was more inclined to
quiz the emigrants than to sacrifice anything on their behalf; and the
whole bent of his mind made him but an insincere ally of the priesthood,
who indeed could hardly expect to enjoy such an orgy in France as their
brethren were celebrating in Spain. The King, however, was unable to impart
his own indifference to the emigrants who returned with him, nor had he
imagination enough to identify himself, as King of France, with the
military glories of the nation and with the democratic army that had won
them. Louis held high notions of the royal prerogative: this would not in
itself have prevented him from being a successful ruler, if he had been
capable of governing in the interest of the nation at large. There were few
Republicans remaining in France; the centralised institutions of the Empire
remained in full vigour; and although the last months of Napoleon's rule
had excited among the educated classes a strong spirit of constitutional
opposition, an able and patriotic Bourbon accepting his new position, and
wielding power for the benefit of the people and not of a class, might
perhaps have exercised an authority not much inferior to that possessed by
the Crown before 1789. But Louis, though rational, was inexperienced and
supine. He was ready enough to admit into his Ministry and to retain in
administrative posts throughout the country men who had served under
Napoleon; but when the emigrants and the nobles, led by the Count of
Artois, pushed themselves to the front of the public service, and treated
the restoration of the Bourbons as the victory of their own order, the King
offered but a faint resistance, and allowed the narrowest class-interests
to discredit a monarchy whose own better traditions identified it not with
an aristocracy but with the State.

[The Charta.]

The Constitution promulgated by King Louis XVIII. on the 4th of June, 1814,
and known as the Charta, [204] was well received by the French nation.
Though far less liberal than the Constitution accepted by Louis XVI. in
1791, it gave to the French a measure of representative government to which
they had been strangers under Napoleon. It created two legislative
chambers, the Upper House consisting of peers who were nominated by the
Crown at its pleasure, whether for life-peerages or hereditary dignity; the
Lower House formed by national election, but by election restricted by so
high a property-qualification [205] that not one person in two hundred
possessed a vote. The Crown reserved to itself the sole power of proposing
laws. In spite of this serious limitation of the competence of the two
houses, the Lower Chamber possessed, in its right of refusing taxes and of
discussing and rejecting all measures laid before it, a reality of power
such as no representative body had possessed in France since the beginning
of the Consulate. The Napoleonic nobility was placed on an equality with
the old noblesse of France, though neither enjoyed, as nobles, anything
more than a titular distinction. [206] Purchasers of landed property sold
by the State since the beginning of the Revolution were guaranteed in their
possessions. The principles of religious freedom, of equality before the
law, and of the admissibility of all classes to public employment, which
had taken such deep root during the Republic and the Empire, were declared
to form part of the public law of France; and by the side of these
deeply-cherished rights the Charta of King Louis XVIII. placed, though in a
qualified form, the long-forgotten principle of the freedom of the Press.

[Encroachments of Nobles.]

Under such a Constitution there was little room for the old noblesse to
arrogate to itself any legal superiority over the mass of the French
nation. What was wanting in law might, however, in the opinion of the Count
of Artois and his friends, be effected by administration. Of all the
institutions of France the most thoroughly national and the most thoroughly
democratic was the army; it was accordingly against the army that the
noblesse directed its first efforts. Financial difficulties made a large
reduction in the forces necessary. Fourteen thousand officers and sergeants
were accordingly dismissed on half-pay; but no sooner had this measure of
economy been effected than a multitude of emigrants who had served against
the Republic in the army of the Prince of Condé or in La Vendée were
rewarded with all degrees of military rank. Naval officers who had quitted
the service of France and entered that of its enemies were reinstated with
the rank which they had held in foreign navies. [207] The tricolor, under
which every battle of France had been fought from Jemappes to Montmartre,
was superseded by the white flag of the House of Bourbon, under which no
living soldier had marched to victory. General Dupont, known only by his
capitulation at Baylen in 1808, was appointed Minister of War. The Imperial
Guard was removed from service at the Palace, and the so-called Military
Household of the old Bourbon monarchy revived, with the privileges and the
insignia belonging to the period before 1775. Young nobles who had never
seen a shot fired crowded into this favoured corps, where the musketeer and
the trooper held the rank and the pay of a lieutenant in the army. While in
every village of France some battered soldier of Napoleon cursed the
Government that had driven him from his comrades, the Court revived at
Paris all the details of military ceremonial that could be gathered from
old almanacks, from the records of court-tailors, and from the memories of
decayed gallants. As if to convince the public that nothing had happened
during the last twenty-two years, the aged Marquis de Chansenets, who had
been Governor of the Tuileries on the 10th of August, 1792, and had then
escaped by hiding among the bodies of the dead, [208] resumed his place at
the head of the officers of the Palace.

[Encroachments of the clergy.]

[Growing hostility to the Bourbons.]

These were but petty triumphs for the emigrants and nobles, but they were
sufficient to make the restored monarchy unpopular. Equally injurious was
their behaviour in insulting the families of Napoleon's generals, in
persecuting men who had taken part in the great movement of 1789, and in
intimidating the peasant-owners of land that had been confiscated and sold
by the State. Nor were the priesthood backward in discrediting the
Government of Louis XVIII. in the service of their own order. It might be
vain to think of recovering the Churchlands, or of introducing the
Inquisition into France, but the Court might at least be brought to invest
itself with the odour of sanctity, and the parish-priest might be made as
formidable a person within his own village as the mayor or the agent of the
police-minister. Louis XVIII. was himself sceptical and self-indulgent.
This, however, did not prevent him from publishing a letter to the Bishops
placing his kingdom under the especial protection of the Virgin Mary, and
from escorting the image of the patron-saint through the streets of Paris
in a procession in which Marshal Soult and other regenerate Jacobins of the
Court braved the ridicule of the populace by acting as candle-bearers.
Another sign of the King's submission to the clergy was the publication of
an edict which forbade buying and selling on Sundays and festivals.

Whatever the benefits of a freely-observed day of rest, this enactment,
which was not submitted to the Chambers, passed for an arrogant piece of
interference on the part of the clergy with national habits; and while it
caused no inconvenience to the rich, it inflicted substantial loss upon a
numerous and voluble class of petty traders. The wrongs done to the
French nation by the priests and emigrants who rose to power in 1814 were
indeed the merest trifle in comparison with the wrongs which it had
uncomplainingly borne at the hands of Napoleon. But the glory of the
Empire, the strength and genius of its absolute rule, were gone. In its
place there was a family which had been dissociated from France during
twenty years, which had returned only to ally itself with an unpopular
and dreaded caste, and to prove that even the unexpected warmth with
which it had been welcomed home could not prevent it from becoming, at
the end of a few months, utterly alien and uninteresting. The indifference
of the nation would not have endangered the Bourbon monarchy if the army
had been won over by the King. But here the Court had excited the
bitterest enmity. The accord which for a moment had seemed possible even
to Republicans of the type of Carnot had vanished at a touch. [209]
Rumours of military conspiracies grew stronger with every month.
Wellington, now British Ambassador at Paris, warned his Government of the
changed feeling of the capital, of the gatherings of disbanded officers,
of possible attacks upon the Tuileries. "The truth is," he wrote, "that
the King of France without the army is no King." Wellington saw the more
immediate danger: [210] he failed to see the depth and universality of
the movement passing over France, which before the end of the year 1814
had destroyed the hold of the Bourbon monarchy except in those provinces
where it had always found support, and prepared the nation at large to
welcome back the ruler who so lately seemed to have fallen for ever.

[Congress of Vienna, Sept., 1814.]

Paris and Madrid divided for some months after the conclusion of peace the
attention of the political world. At the end of September the centre of
European interest passed to Vienna. The great council of the Powers, so
long delayed, was at length assembled. The Czar of Russia, the Kings of
Prussia, Denmark, Bavaria, and Würtemberg, and nearly all the statesmen of
eminence in Europe, gathered round the Emperor Francis and his Minister,
Metternich, to whom by common consent the presidency of the Congress was
offered. Lord Castlereagh represented England, and Talleyrand France.
Rasumoffsky and other Russian diplomatists acted under the immediate
directions of their master, who on some occasions even entered into
personal correspondence with the Ministers of the other Powers.
Hardenberg stood in a somewhat freer relation to King Frederick William;
Stein was present, but without official place. The subordinate envoys and
attaches of the greater Courts, added to a host of petty princes and the
representatives who came from the minor Powers, or from communities which
had ceased to possess any political existence at all, crowded Vienna. In
order to relieve the antagonisms which had already come too clearly into
view, Metternich determined to entertain his visitors in the most
magnificent fashion; and although the Austrian State was bankrupt, and in
some districts the people were severely suffering, a sum of about £10,000
a day was for some time devoted to this purpose. The splendour and the
gaieties of Metternich were emulated by his guests; and the guardians of
Europe enjoyed or endured for months together a succession of fêtes,
banquets, dances, and excursions, varied, through the zeal of Talleyrand
to ingratiate himself with his new master, by a Mass of great solemnity
on the anniversary of the execution of Louis XVI. [211] One incident
lights the faded and insipid record of vanished pageants and defunct
gallantries. Beethoven was in Vienna. The Government placed the great
Assembly-rooms at his disposal, and enabled the composer to gratify a
harmless humour by sending invitations in his own name to each of the
Sovereigns and grandees then in Vienna. Much personal homage, some
substantial kindness from these gaudy creatures of the hour, made the
period of the Congress a bright page in that wayward and afflicted life
whose poverty has enriched mankind with such immortal gifts.

[Talleyrand and the four Powers.]

The Congress had need of its distractions, for the difficulties which faced
it were so great that, even after the arrival of the Sovereigns, it was
found necessary to postpone the opening of the regular sittings until
November. By the secret articles of the Peace of Paris, the Allies had
reserved to themselves the disposal of all vacant territory, although their
conclusions required to be formally sanctioned by the Congress at large.
The Ministers of Austria, England, Prussia, and Russia accordingly
determined at the outset to decide upon all territorial questions among
themselves, and only after their decisions were completely formed to submit
them to France and the other Powers. [212] Talleyrand, on hearing of this
arrangement, protested that France itself was now one of the Allies, and
demanded that the whole body of European States should at once meet in open
Congress. The four Courts held to their determination, and began their
preliminary sittings without Talleyrand. But the French statesman had,
under the form of a paradox, really stated the true political situation.
The greater Powers were so deeply divided in their aims that their old bond
of common interest, the interest of union against France, was now less
powerful than the impulse that made them seek the support of France against
one another. Two men had come to the Congress with a definite aim:
Alexander had resolved to gain the Duchy of Warsaw, and to form it, with or
without some part of Russian Poland, into a Polish kingdom, attached to his
own crown: Talleyrand had determined, either on the question of Poland, or
on the question of Saxony, which arose out of it, to break allied Europe
into halves, and to range France by the side of two of the great Powers
against the two others. The course of events favoured for a while the
design of the Minister: Talleyrand himself prosecuted his plan with an
ability which, but for the untimely return of Napoleon from Elba, would
have left France, without a war, the arbiter and the leading Power of

[Polish question.]

Since the Russian victories of 1812, the Emperor Alexander had made no
secret of his intention to restore a Polish Kingdom and a Polish
nationality. [213] Like many other designs of this prince, the project
combined a keen desire for personal glorification with a real generosity of
feeling. Alexander was thoroughly sincere in his wish not only to make the
Poles again a people, but to give them a Parliament and a free
Constitution. The King of Poland, however, was to be no independent prince,
but Alexander himself: although the Duchy of Warsaw, the chief if not the
sole component of the proposed new kingdom, had belonged to Austria and
Prussia after the last partition of Poland, and extended into the heart of
the Prussian monarchy. Alexander insisted on his anxiety to atone for the
crime of Catherine in dismembering Poland: the atonement, however, was to
be made at the sole cost of those whom Catherine had allowed to share the
booty. Among the other Governments, the Ministry of Great Britain would
gladly have seen a Polish State established in a really independent form;
[214] failing this, it desired that the Duchy of Warsaw should be divided,
as formerly, between Austria and Prussia. Metternich was anxious that the
fortress of Cracow, at any rate, should not fall into the hands of the
Czar. Stein and Hardenberg, and even Alexander's own Russian counsellors,
earnestly opposed the Czar's project, not only on account of the claims of
Prussia on Warsaw, but from dread of the agitation likely to be produced by
a Polish Parliament among all Poles outside the new State. King Frederick
William, however, was unaccustomed to dispute the wishes of his ally; and
the Czar's offer of Saxony in substitution for Warsaw gave to the Prussian
Ministers, who were more in earnest than their master, at least the
prospect of receiving a valuable equivalent for what they might surrender.

[Saxon question.]

By the Treaty of Kalisch, made when Prussia united its arms with those of
Russia against Napoleon (Feb. 27th, 1813), the Czar had undertaken to
restore the Prussian monarchy to an extent equal to that which it had
possessed in 1805. It was known before the opening of the Congress that the
Czar proposed to do this by handing over to King Frederick William the
whole of Saxony, whose Sovereign, unlike his colleagues in the Rhenish
Confederacy, had supported Napoleon up to his final overthrow at Leipzig.
Since that time the King of Saxony had been held a prisoner, and his
dominions had been occupied by the Allies. The Saxon question had thus
already gained the attention of all the European Governments, and each of
the Ministers now at Vienna brought with him some more or less distinct
view upon the subject. Castlereagh, who was instructed to foster the union
of Prussia and Austria against Alexander's threatening ambition, was
willing that Prussia should annex Saxony if in return it would assist him
in keeping Russia out of Warsaw: [215] Metternich disliked the annexation,
but offered no serious objection, provided that in Western Germany Prussia
would keep to the north of the Main: Talleyrand alone made the defence of
the King of Saxony the very centre of his policy, and subordinated all
other aims to this. His instructions, like those of Castlereagh, gave
priority to the Polish question; [216] but Talleyrand saw that Saxony, not
Poland, was the lever by which he could throw half of Europe on to the side
of France; and before the four Allied Courts had come to any single
conclusion, the French statesman had succeeded, on what at first passed for
a subordinate point, in breaking up their concert.

[Talleyrand's action on Saxony.]

For a while the Ministers of Austria, Prussia, and England appeared to be
acting in harmony; and throughout the month of October all three
endeavoured to shake the purpose of Alexander regarding Warsaw. [217]
Talleyrand, however, foresaw that the efforts of Prussia in this direction
would not last very long, and he wrote to Louis XVIII. asking for his
permission to make a definite offer of armed assistance to Austria in case
of need. Events took the turn which Talleyrand expected. Early in November
the King of Prussia completely yielded to Alexander, and ordered Hardenberg
to withdraw his opposition to the Russian project. Metternich thus found
himself abandoned on the Polish question by Prussia; and at the same moment
the answer of King Louis XVIII. arrived, and enabled Talleyrand to assure
the Austrian Minister that, if resistance to Russia and Prussia should
become necessary, he might count on the support of a French army.
Metternich now completely changed his position on the Saxon question, and
wrote to Hardenberg (Dec. 10) stating that, inasmuch as Prussia had chosen
to sacrifice Warsaw, the Emperor Francis absolutely forbade the annexation
of more than a fifth part of the kingdom of Saxony. Castlereagh, disgusted
with the obstinacy of Russia and the subserviency of King Frederick
William, forgave Talleyrand for not supporting him earlier, and cordially
entered into this new plan for thwarting the Northern Powers. The leading
member of the late Rhenish Confederacy, the King of Bavaria, threw himself
with eagerness into the struggle against Prussia and against German unity.
In proportion as Stein and the patriots of 1813 urged the claims of German
nationality under Prussian leadership against the forfeited rights of a
Court which had always served on Napoleon's side, the politicians of the
Rhenish Confederacy declaimed against the ambition and the Jacobinism of
Prussia, and called upon Europe to defend the united principles of
hereditary right and of national independence in the person of the King of

[Theory of Legitimacy.]

Talleyrand's object was attained. He had isolated Russia and Prussia, and
had drawn to his own side not only England and Austria but the whole body
of the minor German States. Nothing was wanting but a phrase, or an idea,
which should consecrate the new league in the opinion of Europe as a league
of principle, and bind the Allies, in matters still remaining open, to the
support of the interests of the House of Bourbon. Talleyrand had made his
theory ready. In notes to Castlereagh and Metternich, [218] he declared
that the whole drama of the last twenty years had been one great struggle
between revolution and established right, a struggle at first between
Republicanism and Monarchy, afterwards between usurping dynasties and
legitimate dynasties. The overthrow of Napoleon had been the victory of the
principle of legitimacy; the task of England and Austria was now to extend
the work of restitution to all Europe, and to defend the principle against
new threatened aggressions. In the note to Castlereagh, Talleyrand added a
practical corollary. "To finish the revolution, the principle of legitimacy
must triumph without exception. The kingdom of Saxony must be preserved;
the kingdom of Naples must return to its legitimate king."

[Alliance against Russia and Prussia, Jan. 3, 1815.]

As an historical summary of the Napoleonic wars, Talleyrand's doctrine was
baseless. No one but Pitt had cared about the fate of the Bourbons; no one
would have hesitated to make peace with Napoleon, if Napoleon would have
accepted terms of peace. The manifesto was not, however, intended to meet a
scientific criticism. In the English Foreign Office it was correctly
described as a piece of drollery; and Metternich was too familiar with the
language of principles himself to attach much meaning to it in the mouth of
anyone else. Talleyrand, however, kept a grave countenance. With inimitable
composure the old Minister of the Directory wrote to Louis XVIII. lamenting
that Castlereagh did not appear to care much about the principle of
legitimacy, and in fact did not quite comprehend it; [219] and he added his
fear that this moral dimness on the part of the English Minister arose from
the dealing of his countrymen with Tippoo Sahib. But for Europe at
large,--for the English Liberal party, who looked upon the Saxons and the
Prussians as two distinct nations, and for the Tories, who forgot that
Napoleon had made the Elector of Saxony a king; for the Emperor of Austria,
who had no wish to see the Prussian frontier brought nearer to Prague;
above all, for the minor German courts who dreaded every approach towards
German unity,--Talleyrand's watchword was the best that could have been
invented. His counsel prospered. On the 3rd of January, 1815, after a rash
threat of war uttered by Hardenberg, a secret treaty [220] was signed by
the representatives of France, England, and Austria, pledging these Powers
to take the field, if necessary, against Russia and Prussia in defence of
the principles of the Peace of Paris. The plan of the campaign was drawn
up, the number of the forces fixed. Bavaria had already armed; Piedmont,
Hanover, and even the Ottoman Porte, were named as future members of the

[Compromise on Polish and Saxon questions.]

[Prussia gains Rhenish Provinces.]

It would perhaps be unfair to the French Minister to believe that he
actually desired to kindle a war on this gigantic scale. Talleyrand had
not, like Napoleon, a love for war for its own sake. His object was rather
to raise France from its position as a conquered and isolated Power; to
surround it with allies; to make the House of Bourbon the representatives
of a policy interesting to a great part of Europe; and, having thus undone
the worst results of Napoleon's rule, to trust to some future complication
for the recovery of Belgium and the frontier of the Rhine. Nor was
Talleyrand's German policy adopted solely as the instrument of a passing
intrigue. He appears to have had a true sense of the capacity of Prussia to
transform Germany into a great military nation; and the policy of alliance
with Austria and protection of the minor States which he pursued in 1814
was that which he had advocated throughout his career. The conclusion of
the secret treaty of January 3rd marked the definite success of his plans.
France was forthwith admitted into the council hitherto known as that of
the Four Courts, and from this time its influence visibly affected the
action of Russia and Prussia, reports of the secret treaty having reached
the Czar immediately after its signature. [221] The spirit of compromise
now began to animate the Congress. Alexander had already won a virtual
decision in his favour on the Polish question, but he abated something of
his claims, and while gaining the lion's share of the Duchy of Warsaw, he
ultimately consented that Cracow, which threatened the Austrian frontier,
should be formed into an independent Republic, and that Prussia should
receive the fortresses of Dantzic and Thorn on the Vistula, with the
district lying between Thorn and the border of Silesia. [222] This was
little for Alexander to abandon; on the Saxon question the allies of
Talleyrand gained most that they demanded. The King of Saxony was restored
to his throne, and permitted to retain Dresden and about half of his
dominions. Prussia received the remainder. In lieu of a further expansion
in Saxony, Prussia was awarded territory on the left bank of the Rhine,
which, with its recovered Westphalian provinces, restored the monarchy to
an area and population equal to that which it had possessed in 1805. But
the dominion given to Prussia beyond the Rhine, though considered at the
time to be a poor equivalent for the second half of Saxony, was in reality
a gift of far greater value. It made Prussia, in defence of its own soil,
the guardian and bulwark of Germany against France. It brought an element
into the life of the State in striking contrast with the aristocratic and
Protestant type predominant in the older Prussian provinces,--a Catholic
population, liberal in its political opinions, and habituated by twenty
years' union with France to the democratic tendencies of French social
life. It gave to Prussia something more in common with Bavaria and the
South, and qualified it, as it had not been qualified before, for its
future task of uniting Germany under its own leadership.

[Napoleon leaves Elba, Feb. 26.]

[Lands in France, March 1.]

The Polish and Saxon difficulties, which had threatened the peace of
Europe, were virtually settled before the end of the month of January.
Early in February Lord Castlereagh left Vienna, to give an account of his
labours and to justify his policy before the English House of Commons. His
place at the Congress was taken by the Duke of Wellington. There remained
the question of Naples, the formation of a Federal Constitution for
Germany, and several matters of minor political importance, none of which
endangered the good understanding of the Powers. Suddenly the action of the
Congress was interrupted by the most startling intelligence. On the night
of March 6th Metternich was roused from sleep to receive a despatch
informing him that Napoleon had quitted Elba. The news had taken eight days
to reach Vienna. Napoleon had set sail on the 26th of February. In the
silence of his exile he had watched the progress of events in France: he
had convinced himself of the strength of the popular reaction against the
priests and emigrants; and the latest intelligence which he had received
from Vienna led him to believe that the Congress itself was on the point of
breaking up. There was at least some chance of success in an attempt to
regain his throne; and, the decision once formed, Napoleon executed it with
characteristic audacity and despatch. Talleyrand, on hearing that Napoleon
had left Elba, declared that he would only cross into Italy and there raise
the standard of Italian independence: instead of doing this, Napoleon made
straight for France, with the whole of his guard, eleven hundred in number,
embarked on a little flotilla of seven ships. The voyage lasted three days:
no French or English vessels capable of offering resistance met the
squadron. On the 1st of March Napoleon landed at the bay of Jouan, three
miles to the west of Antibes. A detachment of his guards called upon the
commandant of Antibes to deliver up the town to the Emperor; the commandant
refused, and the troops bivouacked that evening, with Napoleon among them,
in the olive-woods by the shore of the Mediterranean.

[Moves on Grenoble.]

[Troops at La Mure.]

Before daybreak began the march that was to end in Paris. Instead of
following the coast road of Provence, which would have brought him to
Toulon and Marseilles, where most of the population were fiercely Royalist,
[223] and where Massena and other great officers might have offered
resistance, Napoleon struck northwards into the mountains, intending to
descend upon Lyons by way of Grenoble. There were few troops in this
district, and no generals capable of influencing them. The peasantry of
Dauphine were in great part holders of land that had been taken from the
Church and the nobles: they were exasperated against the Bourbons, and,
like the peasantry of France generally, they identified the glory of the
country which they loved with the name and the person of Napoleon. As the
little band penetrated into the mountains the villagers thronged around
them, and by offering their carts and horses enabled Napoleon to march
continuously over steep and snowy roads at the rate of forty miles a day.
No troops appeared to dispute these mountain passages: it was not until the
close of the fifth day's march that Napoleon's mounted guard, pressing on
in front of the marching column, encountered, in the village of La Mure,
twenty miles south of Grenoble, a regiment of infantry wearing the white
cockade of the House of Bourbon. The two bodies of troops mingled and
conversed in the street: the officer commanding the royal infantry fearing
the effect on his men, led them back on the road towards Grenoble.
Napoleon's lancers also retired, and the night passed without further
communication. At noon on the following day the lancers, again advancing
towards Grenoble, found the infantry drawn up to defend the road. They
called out that Napoleon was at hand, and begged the infantry not to fire.
Presently Napoleon's column came in sight; one of his _aides-de-camp_
rode to the front of the royal troops, addressed them, and pointed out
Napoleon. The regiment was already wavering, the officer commanding had
already given the order of retreat, when the men saw their Emperor
advancing towards them. They saw his face, they heard his voice: in another
moment the ranks were broken, and the soldiers were pressing with shouts
and tears round the leader whom nature had created with such transcendent
capacity for evil, and endowed with such surpassing power of attracting

[Enters Grenoble, March 7.]

[Declaration of his purpose.]

Everything was decided by this first encounter. "In six days," said
Napoleon, "we shall be in the Tuileries." The next pledge of victory came
swiftly. Colonel Labédoyère, commander of the 7th Regiment of the Line, had
openly declared for Napoleon in Grenoble, and appeared on the road at the
head of his men a few hours after the meeting at La Mure. Napoleon reached
Grenoble the same evening. The town had been in tumult all day. The Préfet
fled: the general in command sent part of his troops away, and closed the
gates. On Napoleon's approach the population thronged the ramparts with
torches; the gates were burst open; Napoleon was borne through the town in
triumph by a wild and intermingled crowd of soldiers and workpeople. The
whole mass of the poorer classes of the town welcomed him with enthusiasm:
the middle classes, though hostile to the Church and the Bourbons, saw too
clearly the dangers to France involved in Napoleon's return to feel the
same joy. [224] They remained in the background, neither welcoming Napoleon
nor interfering with the welcome offered him by others. Thus the night
passed. On the morning of the next day Napoleon received the magistrates
and principal inhabitants of the town, and addressed them in terms which
formed the substance of every subsequent declaration of his policy. "He had
come," he said, "to save France from the outrages of the returning nobles;
to secure to the peasant the possession of his land; to uphold the rights
won in 1789 against a minority which sought to re-establish the privileges
of caste and the feudal burdens of the last century. France had made trial
of the Bourbons: it had done well to do so; but the experiment had failed.
The Bourbon monarchy had proved incapable of detaching itself from its
worst supports, the priests and nobles: only the dynasty which owed its
throne to the Revolution could maintain the social work of the Revolution.
As for himself, he had learnt wisdom by misfortune. He renounced conquest.
He should give France peace without and liberty within. He accepted the
Treaty of Paris and the frontiers of 1792. Freed from the necessities which
had forced him in earlier days to found a military Empire, he recognised
and bowed to the desire of the French nation for constitutional government.
He should henceforth govern only as a constitutional sovereign, and seek
only to leave a constitutional crown to his son."

[Feeling of the various classes.]

[Napoleon enters Lyons, March 10.]

This language was excellently chosen. It satisfied the peasants and the
workmen, who wished to see the nobles crushed, and it showed at least a
comprehension of the feelings uppermost in the minds of the wealthier and
more educated middle classes, the longing for peace, and the aspiration
towards political liberty. It was also calculated to temper the unwelcome
impression that an exiled ruler was being forced upon France by the
soldiery. The military movement was indeed overwhelmingly decisive, yet the
popular movement was scarcely less so. The Royalists were furious, but
impotent to act; thoughtful men in all classes held back, with sad
apprehensions of returning war and calamity; [225] but from the time when
Napoleon left Grenoble, the nation at large was on his side. There was
nowhere an effective centre of resistance. The Préfets and other civil
officers appointed under the Empire still for the most part held their
posts; they knew themselves to be threatened by the Bourbonist reaction,
but they had not yet been displaced; their professions of loyalty to Louis
XVIII. were forced, their instincts of obedience to their old master, even
if they wished to have done with him, profound. From this class, whose
cowardice and servility find too many parallels in history, [226] Napoleon
had little to fear. Among the marshals and higher officers charged with the
defence of the monarchy, those who sincerely desired to serve the Bourbons
found themselves powerless in the midst of their troops. Macdonald, who
commanded at Lyons, had to fly from his men, in order to escape being made
a prisoner. The Count of Artois, who had come to join him, discovered that
the only service he could render to the cause of his family was to take
himself out of sight. Napoleon entered Lyons on the 10th of March, and now
formally resumed his rank and functions as Emperor. His first edicts
renewed that appeal to the ideas and passions of the Revolution which had
been the key-note of every one of his public utterances since leaving Elba.
Treating the episode of Bourbon restoration as null and void, the edicts of
Lyons expelled from France every emigrant who had returned without the
permission of the Republic or the Emperor; they drove from the army the
whole mass of officers intruded by the Government of Louis XVIII.; they
invalidated every appointment and every dismissal made in the magistracy
since the 1st of April, 1814; and, reverting to the law of the Constituent
Assembly of 1789, abolished all nobility except that which had been
conferred by the Emperor himself.

[Marshal Ney.]

[The Chambers in Paris.]

[Napoleon enters Paris, March 20.]

From this time all was over. Marshal Ney, who had set out from Paris
protesting that Napoleon deserved to be confined in an iron cage, [227]
found, when at some distance from Lyons, that the nation and army were on
the side of the Emperor, and proclaimed his own adherence to him in an
address to his troops. The two Chambers of Legislature, which had been
prorogued, were summoned by King Louis XVIII. as soon as the news of
Napoleon's landing reached the capital. The Chambers met on the 13th of
March. The constitutionalist party, though they had opposed various
measures of King Louis' Government as reactionary, were sincerely loyal to
the Charta, and hastened, in the cause of constitutional liberty, to offer
to the King their cordial support in resisting Bonaparte's military
despotism. The King came down to the Legislative Chamber, and, in a scene
concerted with his brother, the Count of Artois, made, with great dramatic
effect, a declaration of fidelity to the Constitution. Lafayette and the
chiefs of the Parliamentary Liberals hoped to raise a sufficient force from
the National Guard of Paris to hold Napoleon in check. The project,
however, came to nought. The National Guard, which represented the middle
classes of Paris, was decidedly in favour of the Charta and Constitutional
Government; but it had no leaders, no fighting-organisation, and no
military spirit. The regular troops who were sent out against Napoleon
mounted the tricolor as soon as they were out of sight of Paris, and joined
their comrades. The courtiers passed from threats to consternation and
helplessness. On the night of March 19th King Louis fled from the
Tuileries. Napoleon entered the capital the next evening, welcomed with
acclamations by the soldiers and populace, but not with that general
rejoicing which had met him at Lyons, and at many of the smaller towns
through which he had passed.

[Congress of Vienna outlaws Napoleon.]

[Napoleon's preparations for defence.]

France was won: Europe remained behind. On the 13th of March the Ministers
of all the Great Powers, assembled at Vienna, published a manifesto
denouncing Napoleon Bonaparte as the common enemy of mankind, and declaring
him an outlaw. The whole political structure which had been reared with so
much skill by Talleyrand vanished away. France was again alone, with all
Europe combined against it. Affairs reverted to the position in which they
had stood in the month of March, 1814, when the Treaty of Chaumont was
signed, which bound the Powers to sustain their armed concert against
France, if necessary, for a period of twenty years. That treaty was now
formally renewed. [228] The four great Powers undertook to employ their
whole available resources against Bonaparte until he should be absolutely
unable to create disturbance, and each pledged itself to keep permanently
in the field a force of at least a hundred and fifty thousand men. The
presence of the Duke of Wellington at Vienna enabled the Allies to decide
without delay upon the general plan for their invasion of France. It was
resolved to group the allied troops in three masses; one, composed of the
English and the Prussians under Wellington and Blücher, to enter France by
the Netherlands; the two others, commanded by the Czar and Prince
Schwarzenberg, to advance from the middle and upper Rhine. Nowhere was
there the least sign of political indecision. The couriers sent by Napoleon
with messages of amity to the various Courts were turned back at the
frontiers with their despatches undelivered. It was in vain for the Emperor
to attempt to keep up any illusion that peace was possible. After a brief
interval he himself acquainted France with the true resolution of his
enemies. The most strenuous efforts were made for defence. The old soldiers
were called from their homes. Factories of arms and ammunition began their
hurried work in the principal towns. The Emperor organised with an energy
and a command of detail never surpassed at any period of his life; the
nature of the situation lent a new character to his genius, and evoked in
the organisation of systematic defence all that imagination and resource
which had dazzled the world in his schemes of invasion and surprise. Nor,
as hitherto, was the nation to be the mere spectator of his exploits. The
population of France, its National Guard, its _levée en masse_, as
well as its armies and its Emperor, was to drive the foreigner from French
soil. Every operation of defensive warfare, from the accumulation of
artillery round the capital to the gathering of forest-guards and
free-shooters in the thickets of the Vosges and the Ardennes, occupied in
its turn the thoughts of Napoleon. [229] Had France shared his resolution
or his madness, had the Allies found at the outset no chief superior to
their Austrian leader in 1814, the war on which they were now about to
enter would have been one of immense difficulty and risk, its ultimate
issue perhaps doubtful.

[Campaign and fall of Murat, April, 1815]

Before Napoleon or his adversaries were ready to move, hostilities broke
out in Italy. Murat, King of Naples, had during the winter of 1814 been
represented at Vienna by an envoy: he was aware of the efforts made by
Talleyrand to expel him from his throne, and knew that the Government of
Great Britain, convinced of his own treachery during the pretended
combination with the Allies in 1814, now inclined to act with France. [230]
The instinct of self-preservation led him to risk everything in raising the
standard of Italian independence, rather than await the loss of his
kingdom; and the return of Napoleon precipitated his fall. At the moment
when Napoleon was about to leave Elba, Murat, who knew his intention, asked
the permission of Austria to move a body of troops through Northern Italy
for the alleged purpose of attacking the French Bourbons, who were
preparing to restore his rival, Ferdinand. Austria declared that it should
treat the entry either of French or of Neapolitan troops into Northern
Italy as an act of war. Murat, as soon as Napoleon's landing in France
became known, protested to the Allies that he intended to remain faithful
to them, but he also sent assurances of friendship to Napoleon, and
forthwith invaded the Papal States. He acted without waiting for Napoleon's
instructions, and probably with the intention of winning all Italy for
himself even if Napoleon should victoriously re-establish his Empire. On
the 10th of April, Austria declared war against him. Murat pressed forward
and entered Bologna, now openly proclaiming the unity and independence of
Italy. The feeling of the towns and of the educated classes generally
seemed to be in his favour, but no national rising took place. After some
indecisive encounters with the Austrians, Murat retreated. As he fell back
towards the Neapolitan frontier, his troops melted away. The enterprise
ended in swift and total ruin; and on the 22nd of May an English and
Austrian force took possession of the city of Naples in the name of King
Ferdinand. Murat, leaving his family behind him, fled to France, and sought
in vain to gain a place by the side of Napoleon in his last great struggle,
and to retrieve as a soldier the honour which he had lost as a king. [231]

[The Acte Additionnel, April 23, 1815.]

In the midst of his preparations for war with all Europe, Napoleon found it
necessary to give some satisfaction to that desire for liberty which was
again so strong in France. He would gladly have deferred all political
change until victory over the foreigner had restored his own undisputed
ascendency over men's minds; he was resolved at any rate not to be harassed
by a Constituent Assembly, like that of 1789, at the moment of his greatest
peril; and the action of King Louis XVIII. in granting liberty by Charta
gave him a precedent for creating a Constitution by an Edict supplementary
to the existing laws of the Empire. Among the Liberal politicians who had
declared for King Louis XVIII. while Napoleon was approaching Paris, one of
the most eminent was Benjamin Constant, who had published an article
attacking the Emperor with great severity on the very day when he entered
the capital. Napoleon now invited Constant to the Tuileries, assured him
that he no longer either desired or considered it possible to maintain an
absolute rule in France, and requested Constant himself to undertake the
task of drawing up a Constitution. Constant, believing the Emperor to be in
some degree sincere, accepted the proposals made to him, and, at the cost
of some personal consistency, entered upon the work, in which Napoleon by
no means allowed him entire freedom. [232] The result of Constant's labours
was the Decree known as the Acte Additionnel of 1815. The leading
provisions of this Act resembled those of the Charta: both professed to
establish a representative Government and the responsibility of Ministers;
both contained the usual phrases guaranteeing freedom of religion and
security of person and property. The principal differences were that the
Chamber of Peers was now made wholly hereditary, and that the Emperor
absolutely refused to admit the clause of the Charta abolishing
confiscation as a penalty for political offences. On the other hand,
Constant definitely extinguished the censorship of the Press, and provided
some real guarantee for the free expression of opinion by enacting that
Press-offences should be judged only in the ordinary Jury-courts. Constant
was sanguine enough to believe that the document which he had composed
would reduce Napoleon to the condition of a constitutional king. As a
Liberal statesman, he pressed the Emperor to submit the scheme to a
Representative Assembly, where it could be examined and amended. This
Napoleon refused to do, preferring to resort to the fiction of a Plébiscite
for the purpose of procuring some kind of national sanction for his Edict.
The Act was published on the 23rd of April, 1815. Voting lists were then
opened in all the Departments, and the population of France, most of whom
were unable to read or write, were invited to answer Yes or No to the
question whether they approved of Napoleon's plan for giving his subjects
Parliamentary government.

[The Chambers summoned for June.]

There would have been no difficulty in obtaining some millions of votes for
any absurdity that the Emperor might be pleased to lay before the French
people; but among the educated minority who had political theories of their
own, the publication of this reform by Edict produced the worst possible
impression. No stronger evidence, it was said, could have been given of the
Emperor's insincerity than the dictatorial form in which he affected to
bestow liberty upon France. Scarcely a voice was raised in favour of the
new Constitution. The measure had in fact failed of its effect. Napoleon's
object was to excite an enthusiasm that should lead the entire nation, the
educated classes as well as the peasantry, to rally round him in a struggle
with the foreigner for life or death: he found, on the contrary, that he
had actually injured his cause. The hostility of public opinion was so
serious that Napoleon judged it wise to make advances to the Liberal party,
and sent his brother Joseph to Lafayette, to ascertain on what terms he
might gain his support. [233] Lafayette, strongly condemning the form of
the Acte Additionnel, stated that the Emperor could only restore public
confidence by immediately convoking the Chambers. This was exactly what
Napoleon desired to avoid, until he had defeated the English and Prussians;
nor in fact had the vote of the nation accepting the new Constitution yet
been given. But the urgency of the need overcame the Emperor's inclinations
and the forms of law. Lafayette's demand was granted: orders were issued
for an immediate election, and the meeting of the Chambers fixed for the
beginning of June, a few days earlier than the probable departure of the
Emperor to open hostilities on the northern frontier.


Lafayette's counsel had been given in sincerity, but Napoleon gained little
by following it. The nation at large had nothing of the faith in the
elections which was felt by Lafayette and his friends. In some places not a
single person appeared at the poll: in most, the candidates were elected by
a few scores of voters. The Royalists absented themselves on principle: the
population generally thought only of the coming war, and let the professed
politicians conduct the business of the day by themselves. Among the
deputies chosen there were several who had sat in the earlier Assemblies of
the Revolution; and, mingled with placemen and soldiers of the Empire, a
considerable body of men whose known object was to reduce Napoleon's power.
One interest alone was unrepresented--that of the Bourbon family, which so
lately seemed to have been called to the task of uniting the old and the
new France around itself.

[Champ de Mai.]

Napoleon, troubling himself little about the elections, laboured
incessantly at his preparations for war, and by the end of May two hundred
thousand men were ready to take the field. The delay of the Allies, though
necessary, enabled their adversary to take up the offensive. It was the
intention of the Emperor to leave a comparatively small force to watch the
eastern frontier, and himself, at the head of a hundred and twenty-five
thousand men, to fall upon Wellington and Blücher in the Netherlands, and
crush them before they could unite their forces. With this object the
greater part of the army was gradually massed on the northern roads at
points between Paris, Lille, and Maubeuge. Two acts of State remained to be
performed by the Emperor before he quitted the capital; the inauguration of
the new Constitution and the opening of the Chambers of Legislature. The
first, which had been fixed for the 26th of May, and announced as a revival
of the old Frankish Champ de Mai, was postponed till the beginning of the
following month. On the 1st of June the solemnity was performed with
extraordinary pomp and splendour, on that same Champ de Mars where,
twenty-five years before, the grandest and most affecting of all the
festivals of the Revolution, the Act of Federation, had been celebrated by
King Louis XVI. and his people. Deputations from each of the constituencies
of France, from the army, and from every public body, surrounded the
Emperor in a great amphitheatre enclosed at the southern end of the plain:
outside there were ranged twenty thousand soldiers of the Guard and other
regiments; and behind them spread the dense crowd of Paris. When the total
of the votes given in the Plébiscite had been summed up and declared, the
Emperor took the oath to the Constitution, and delivered one of his
masterpieces of political rhetoric. The great officers of State took the
oath in their turn: mass was celebrated, and Napoleon, leaving the enclosed
space, then presented their standards to the soldiery in the Champ de Mars,
addressing some brief, soul-stirring word to each regiment as it passed.
The spectacle was magnificent, but except among the soldiers themselves a
sense of sadness and disappointment passed over the whole assembly. The
speech of the Emperor showed that he was still the despot at heart: the
applause was forced: all was felt to be ridiculous, all unreal. [234]

[Plan of Napoleon.]

The opening of the Legislative Chambers took place a few days later, and on
the night of the 11th of June Napoleon started for the northern frontier.
The situation of the forces opposed to him in this his last campaign
strikingly resembled that which had given him his first Italian victory in
1796. Then the Austrians and Sardinians, resting on opposite bases, covered
the approaches to the Sardinian capital, and invited the assailant to break
through their centre and drive the two defeated wings along diverging and
severed paths of retreat. Now the English and the Prussians covered
Brussels, the English resting westward on Ostend, the Prussians eastward on
Cologne, and barely joining hands in the middle of a series of posts nearly
eighty miles long. The Emperor followed the strategy of 1796. He determined
to enter Belgium by the central road of Charleroi, and to throw his main
force upon Blücher, whose retreat, if once he should be severed from his
colleague, would carry him eastwards towards Liège, and place him outside
the area of hostilities round Brussels. Blücher driven eastwards, Napoleon
believed that he might not only push the English commander out of Brussels,
but possibly, by a movement westwards, intercept him from the sea and cut
off his communication with Great Britain. [235]

[Situation of the armies.]

On the night of the 13th of June, the French army, numbering a hundred and
twenty-nine thousand men, had completed its concentration, and lay gathered
round Beaumont and Philippeville. Wellington was at Brussels; his troops,
which consisted of thirty-five thousand English and about sixty thousand
Dutch, Germans, and Belgians, [236] guarded the country west of the
Charleroi road as far as Oudenarde on the Scheldt. Blücher's headquarters
were at Namur; he had a hundred and twenty thousand Prussians under his
command, who were posted between Charleroi, Namur, and Liège. Both the
English and Prussian generals were aware that very large French forces had
been brought close to the frontier, but Wellington imagined Napoleon to be
still in Paris, and believed that the war would be opened by a forward
movement of Prince Schwarzenberg into Alsace. It was also his fixed
conviction that if Napoleon entered Belgium he would throw himself not upon
the Allied centre, but upon the extreme right of the English towards the
sea. [237] In the course of the 14th, the Prussian outposts reported that
the French were massed round Beaumont: later in the same day there were
clear signs of an advance upon Charleroi. Early next morning the attack on
Charleroi began. The Prussians were driven out of it, and retreated in the
direction of Ligny, whither Blücher now brought up all the forces within
his reach. It was unknown to Wellington until the afternoon of the 15th
that the French had made any movement whatever: on receiving the news of
their advance, he ordered a concentrating movement of all his forces
eastward, in order to cover the road to Brussels and to co-operate with the
Prussian general. A small division of the British army took post at Quatre
Bras that night, and on the morning of the 16th Wellington himself rode to
Ligny, and promised his assistance to Blücher, whose troops were already
drawn up and awaiting the attack of the French.

[Ligny, June 16.]

But the march of the invader was too rapid for the English to reach the
field of battle. Already, on returning to Quatre Bras in the afternoon,
Wellington found his own troops hotly engaged. Napoleon had sent Ney along
the road to Brussels to hold the English in check and, if possible, to
enter the capital, while he himself, with seventy thousand men, attacked
Blücher. The Prussian general had succeeded in bringing up a force superior
in number to his assailants; but the French army, which consisted in a
great part of veterans recalled to the ranks, was of finer quality than any
that Napoleon had led since the campaign of Moscow, and it was in vain that
Blücher and his soldiers met them with all the gallantry and even more than
the fury of 1813. There was murderous hand-to-hand fighting in the villages
where the Prussians had taken up their position: now the defenders, now the
assailants gave way: but at last the Prussians, with a loss of thirteen
thousand men, withdrew from the combat, and left the battlefield in
possession of the enemy. If the conquerors had followed up the pursuit that
night, the cause of the Allies would have been ruined. The effort of battle
had, however, been too great, or the estimate which Napoleon made of his
adversary's rallying power was too low. He seems to have assumed that
Blücher must necessarily retreat eastwards towards Namur; while in reality
the Prussian was straining every nerve to escape northwards, and to restore
his severed communication with his ally.

[Quatre Bras, June 16.]

At Quatre Bras the issue of the day was unfavourable to the French. Ney
missed his opportunity of seizing this important point before it was
occupied by the British in any force; and when the battle began the British
infantry-squares unflinchingly bore the attack of Ney's cavalry, and drove
them back again and again with their volleys, until successive
reinforcements had made the numbers on both sides even. At the close of the
day the French marshal, baffled and disheartened, drew back his troops to
their original position. The army-corps of General d'Erlon, which Napoleon
had placed between himself and Ney in order that it might act wherever
there was the greatest need, was first withdrawn from Ney to assist at
Ligny, and then, as it was entering into action at Ligny, recalled to
Quatre Bras, where it arrived only after the battle was over. Its presence
in either field would probably have altered the issue of the campaign.

[Prussian movement.]

Blücher, on the night of the 16th, lay disabled and almost senseless; his
lieutenant, Gneisenau, not only saved the army, but repaired, and more than
repaired, all its losses by a memorable movement northwards that brought
the Prussians again into communication with the British. Napoleon, after an
unexplained inaction during the night of the 16th and the morning of the
17th, committed the pursuit of the Prussians to Marshal Grouchy, ordering
him never to let the enemy out of his sight; but Blücher and Gneisenau had
already made their escape, and had concentrated so large a body in the
neighbourhood of Wavre, that Grouchy could not now have prevented a force
superior to his own from uniting with the English, even if he had known the
exact movements of each of the three armies, and, with a true presentiment
of his master's danger, had attempted to rejoin him on the morrow.

Wellington, who had both anticipated that Blücher would be beaten at Ligny,
and assured himself that the Prussian would make good his retreat
northwards, moved on the 17th from Quatre Bras to Waterloo, now followed by
Napoleon and the mass of the French army. At Waterloo he drew up for
battle, trusting to the promise of the gallant Prussian that he would
advance in that direction on the following day. Blücher, in so doing,
exposed himself to the risk of having his communications severed and half
his army captured, if Napoleon should either change the direction of his
main attack and bend eastwards, or should crush Wellington before the
arrival of the Prussians, and seize the road from Brussels to Louvain with
a victorious force. Such considerations would have driven a commander like
Schwarzenberg back to Liège, but they were thrown to the winds by Blücher
and Gneisenau. In just reliance on his colleague's energy, Wellington, with
thirty thousand English and forty thousand Dutch, Germans, and Belgians,
awaited the attack of Napoleon, at the head of seventy-four thousand
veteran soldiers. The English position extended two miles along the brow of
a gentle slope of cornfields, and crossed at right angles the great road
from Charleroi to Brussels; the château of Hugomont, some way down the
slope on the right, and the farmhouse of La Haye Sainte, on the high-road
in front of the left centre, served as fortified outposts. The French
formed on the opposite and corresponding slope; the country was so open
that, but for the heavy rain on the evening of the 17th, artillery could
have moved over almost any part of the field with perfect freedom.

[Waterloo, June 18.]

At eleven o'clock on Sunday, the 18th of June, the battle began. Napoleon,
unconscious of the gathering of the Prussians on his right, and
unacquainted with the obstinacy of English troops, believed the victory
already thrown into his hands by Wellington's hardihood. His plan was to
burst through the left of the English line near La Haye Sainte, and thus to
drive Wellington westwards and place the whole French army between its two
defeated enemies. The first movement was an assault on the buildings of
Hugomont, made for the purpose of diverting Wellington from the true point
of attack. The English commander sent detachments to this outpost
sufficient to defend it, but no more. After two hours' indecisive fighting
and a heavy cannonade, Ney ordered D'Erlon's corps forward to the great
onslaught on the centre and left. As the French column pressed up the
slope, General Picton charged at the head of a brigade. The English leader
was among the first to fall, but his men drove the enemy back, and at the
same time the Scots Greys, sweeping down from the left, cut right through
both the French infantry and their cavalry supports, and, charging far up
the opposite slope, reached and disabled forty of Ney's guns, before they
were in their turn overpowered and driven back by the French dragoons. The
English lost heavily, but the onslaught of the enemy had totally failed,
and thousands of prisoners remained behind. There was a pause in the
infantry combat; and again the artillery of Napoleon battered the English
centre, while Ney marshalled fresh troops for a new and greater effort.
About two o'clock the attack was renewed on the left. La Haye Sainte was
carried, and vast masses of cavalry pressed up the English slope, and rode
over the plateau to the very front of the English line. Wellington sent no
cavalry to meet them, but trusted, and trusted justly, to the patience and
endurance of the infantry themselves, who, hour after hour, held their
ground, unmoved by the rush of the enemy's horse and the terrible spectacle
of havoc and death in their own ranks; for all through the afternoon the
artillery of Napoleon poured its fire wherever the line was left open, or
the assault of the French cavalry rolled back.

At last the approach of the Prussians visibly told. Napoleon had seen their
vanguard early in the day, and had detached Count Lobau with seven thousand
men to hold them in check; but the little Prussian corps gradually swelled
to an army, and as the day wore on it was found necessary to reinforce
Count Lobau with some of the finest divisions of the French infantry. Still
reports came in of new Prussian columns approaching. At six o'clock
Napoleon prepared to throw his utmost strength into one grand final attack
upon the British, and to sweep them away before the battle became general
with their allies. Two columns of the Imperial Guard, supported by every
available regiment, moved from the right and left towards the English
centre. The column on the right, unchecked by the storm of Wellington's
cannon-shot from front and flank, pushed to the very ridge of the British
slope, and came within forty yards of the cross-road where the English
Guard lay hidden. Then Wellington gave the order to fire. The French
recoiled; the English advanced at the charge, and drove the enemy down the
hill, returning themselves for a while to their own position. The left
column of the French Guard attacked with equal bravery, and met with the
same fate. Then, while the French were seeking to re-form at the bottom of
the hill, Wellington commanded a general advance. The whole line of the
British infantry and cavalry swept down into the valley; before them the
baffled and sorely-stricken host of the enemy broke into a confused mass;
only the battalions of the old Guard, which had halted in the rear of the
attacking columns, remained firm together. Blücher, from the east, dealt
the death-blow, and, pressing on to the road by which the French were
escaping, turned the defeat into utter ruin and dispersion. The pursuit,
which Wellington's troops were too exhausted to attempt, was carried on
throughout the night by the Prussian cavalry with memorable ardour and
terrible success. Before the morning the French army was no more than a
rabble of fugitives.

[Napoleon at Paris.]

[Allies enter Paris, July 7.]

Napoleon fled to Philippeville, and made some ineffectual attempts both
there and at Laon to fix a rallying point for his vanished forces. From
Laon he hastened to Paris, which he reached at sunrise on the 21st. His
bulletin describing the defeat of Waterloo was read to the Chambers on the
same morning. The Lower House immediately declared against the Emperor, and
demanded his abdication. Unless Napoleon seized the dictatorship his cause
was lost. Carnot and Lucien Bonaparte urged him to dismiss the Chambers and
to stake all on his own strong will; but they found no support among the
Emperor's counsellors. On the next day Napoleon abdicated in favour of his
son. But it was in vain that he attempted to impose an absent successor
upon France, and to maintain his own Ministers in power. It was equally in
vain that Carnot, filled with the memories of 1793, called upon the
Assembly to continue the war and to provide for the defence of Paris. A
Provisional Government entered upon office. Days were spent in inaction and
debate while the Allies advanced through France. On the 28th of June, the
Prussians appeared on the north of the capital; and, as the English
followed, they moved to the south of the Seine, out of the range of the
fortifications with which Napoleon had covered the side of St. Denis and
Montmartre. Davoust, with almost all the generals in Paris, declared
defence to be impossible. On the 3rd of July, a capitulation was signed.
The remnants of the French army were required to withdraw beyond the Loire.
The Provisional Government dissolved itself; the Allied troops entered the
capital and on the following day the Members of the Chamber of Deputies, on
arriving at their Hall of Assembly, found the gates closed, and a
detachment of soldiers in possession. France was not, even as a matter of
form, consulted as to its future government. Louis XVIII. was summarily
restored to his throne. Napoleon, who had gone to Rochefort with the
intention of sailing to the United States, lingered at Rochefort until
escape was no longer possible, and then embarked on the British ship
_Bellerophon_, commending himself, as a second Themistocles, to the
generosity of the Prince Regent of England. He who had declared that the
lives of a million men were nothing to him [238] trusted to the folly or
the impotence of the English nation to provide him with some agreeable
asylum until he could again break loose and deluge Europe with blood. But
the lesson of 1814 had been learnt. Some island in the ocean far beyond the
equator formed the only prison for a man whom no European sovereign could
venture to guard, and whom no fortress-walls could have withdrawn from the
attention of mankind. Napoleon was conveyed to St. Helena. There, until at
the end of six years death removed him, he experienced some trifling share
of the human misery that he had despised.

[Wellington and Fouché.]

Victory had come so swiftly that the Allied Governments were unprepared
with terms of peace. The Czar and the Emperor of Austria were still at
Heidelberg when the battle of Waterloo was fought; they had advanced no
further than Nancy when the news reached them that Paris had surrendered.
Both now hastened to the capital, where Wellington was already exercising
the authority to which his extraordinary successes as well as his great
political superiority over all the representatives of the Allies then
present, entitled him. Before the entry of the English and Prussian troops
into Paris he had persuaded Louis XVIII. to sever himself from the party of
reaction by calling to office the regicide Fouché, head of the existing
Provisional Government. Fouché had been guilty of the most atrocious crimes
at Lyons in 1793; he had done some of the worst work of each succeeding
government in France; and, after returning to his old place as Napoleon's
Minister of Police during the Hundred Days, he had intrigued as early as
possible for the restoration of Louis XVIII., if indeed he had not held
treasonable communication with the enemy during the campaign. His sole
claim to power was that every gendarme and every informer in France had at
some time acted as his agent, and that, as a regicide in office, he might
possibly reconcile Jacobins and Bonapartists to the second return of the
Bourbon family. Such was the man whom, in association with Talleyrand, the
Duke of Wellington found himself compelled to propose as Minister to Louis
XVIII. The appointment, it was said, was humiliating, but it was necessary;
and with the approval of the Count of Artois the King invited this
blood-stained eavesdropper to an interview and placed him in office. Need
subdued the scruples of the courtiers: it could not subdue the resentment
of that grief-hardened daughter of Louis XVI. whom Napoleon termed the only
man of her family. The Duchess of Angoulême might have forgiven the Jacobin
Fouché the massacres at Lyons: she refused to speak to a Minister whom she
termed one of the murderers of her father.

[Disagreement on terms of peace.]

Fouché had entered into a private negotiation with Wellington while the
English were on the outskirts of Paris, and while the authorised envoys of
the Assembly were engaged elsewhere. Wellington's motive for recommending
him to the King was the indifference or hostility felt by some of the
Allies to Louis XVIII. personally, which led the Duke to believe that if
Louis did not regain his throne before the arrival of the sovereigns he
might never regain it at all. [239] Fouché was the one man who could at
that moment throw open the road to the Tuileries. If his overtures were
rejected, he might either permit Carnot to offer some desperate resistance
outside Paris, or might retire himself with the army and the Assembly
beyond the Loire, and there set up a Republican Government. With Fouché and
Talleyrand united in office under Louis XVIII., there was no fear either of
a continuance of the war or of the suggestion of a change of dynasty on the
part of any of the Allies. By means of the Duke's independent action Louis
XVIII. was already in possession when the Czar arrived at Paris, and
nothing now prevented the definite conclusion of peace but the disagreement
of the Allies themselves as to the terms to be exacted. Prussia, which had
suffered so bitterly from Napoleon, demanded that Europe should not a
second time deceive itself with the hollow guarantee of a Bourbon
restoration, but should gain a real security for peace by detaching Alsace
and Lorraine, as well as a line of northern fortresses, from the French
monarchy. Lord Liverpool, Prime Minister of England, stated it to be the
prevailing opinion in this country that France might fairly be stripped of
the principal conquests made by Louis XIV.; but he added that if Napoleon,
who was then at large, should become a prisoner, England would waive a
permanent cession of territory, on condition that France should be occupied
by foreign armies until it had, at its own cost, restored the
barrier-fortresses of the Netherlands. [240] Metternich for a while held
much the same language as the Prussian Minister: Alexander alone declared
from the first against any reduction of the territory of France, and
appealed to the declarations of the Powers that the sole object of the war
was the destruction of Napoleon and the maintenance of the order
established by the Peace of Paris.

[Arguments for and against cessions.]

[Prussia isolated.]

[Second Treaty of Paris, Nov. 20.]

The arguments for and against the severance of the border-provinces from
France were drawn at great length by diplomatists, but all that was
essential in them was capable of being very briefly put. On the one side,
it was urged by Stein and Hardenberg that the restoration of the Bourbons
in 1814 with an undiminished territory had not prevented France from
placing itself at the end of a few months under the rule of the military
despot whose life was one series of attacks on his neighbours: that the
expectation of long-continued peace, under whatever dynasty, was a vain one
so long as the French possessed a chain of fortresses enabling them at any
moment to throw large armies into Germany or the Netherlands: and finally,
that inasmuch as Germany, and not England or Russia, was exposed to these
irruptions, Germany had the first right to have its interests consulted in
providing for the public security. On the other side, it was argued by the
Emperor Alexander, and with far greater force by the Duke of Wellington,
[241] that the position of the Bourbons would be absolutely hopeless if
their restoration, besides being the work of foreign armies, was
accompanied by the loss of French provinces: that the French nation,
although it had submitted to Napoleon, had not as a matter of fact offered
the resistance to the Allies which it was perfectly capable of offering:
and that the danger of any new aggressive or revolutionary movement might
be effectually averted by keeping part of France occupied by the Allied
forces until the nation had settled down into tranquillity under an
efficient government. Notes embodying these arguments were exchanged
between the Ministers of the great Powers during the months of July and
August. The British Cabinet, which had at first inclined to the Prussian
view, accepted the calm judgment of Wellington, and transferred itself to
the side of the Czar. Metternich went with the majority. Hardenberg, thus
left alone, abandoned point after point in his demands, and consented at
last that France should cede little more than the border-strips which had
been added by the Peace of 1814 to its frontier of 1791. Chambéry and the
rest of French Savoy, Landau and Saarlouis on the German side,
Philippeville and some other posts on the Belgian frontier, were fixed upon
as the territory to be surrendered. The resolution of the Allied
Governments was made known to Louis XVIII. towards the end of September.
Negotiation on details dragged on for two months more, while France itself
underwent a change of Ministry; and the definitive Treaty of Peace, known
as the second Treaty of Paris, was not signed until November the 20th.
France escaped without substantial loss of territory; it was, however,
compelled to pay indemnities amounting in all to about £40,000,000; to
consent to the occupation of its northern provinces by an Allied force of
150,000 men for a period not exceeding five years; and to defray the cost
of this occupation out of its own revenues. The works of art taken from
other nations, which the Allies had allowed France to retain in 1814, had
already been restored to their rightful owners. No act of the conquerors in
1815 excited more bitter or more unreasonable complaint.

[Treaty of Holy Alliance, Sept. 26.]

It was in the interval between the entry of the Allies into Paris and the
definitive conclusion of peace that a treaty was signed which has gained a
celebrity in singular contrast with its real insignificance, the Treaty of
Holy Alliance. Since the terrible events of 1812 the Czar's mind had taken
a strongly religious tinge. His private life continued loose as before; his
devotion was both very well satisfied with itself and a prey to mysticism
and imposture in others; but, if alloyed with many weaknesses, it was at
least sincere, and, like Alexander's other feelings, it naturally sought
expression in forms which seemed theatrical to stronger natures. Alexander
had rendered many public acts of homage to religion in the intervals of
diplomatic and military success in the year 1814; and after the second
capture of Paris he drew up a profession of religious and political faith,
embodying, as he thought, those high principles by which the Sovereigns of
Europe, delivered from the iniquities of Napoleon, were henceforth to
maintain the reign of peace and righteousness on earth. [242] This
document, which resembled the pledge of a religious brotherhood, formed the
draft of the Treaty of the Holy Alliance. The engagement, as one binding on
the conscience, was for the consideration of the Sovereigns alone, not of
their Ministers; and in presenting it to the Emperor Francis and King
Frederick William, the Czar is said to have acted with an air of great
mystery. The King of Prussia, a pious man, signed the treaty in
seriousness; the Emperor of Austria, who possessed a matter-of-fact humour,
said that if the paper related to doctrines of religion, he must refer it
to his confessor, if to secrets of State, to Prince Metternich. What the
confessor may have thought of the Czar's political evangel is not known:
the opinion delivered by the Minister was not a sympathetic one. "It is
verbiage," said Metternich; and his master, though unwillingly, signed the
treaty. With England the case was still worse. As the Prince Regent was not
in Paris, Alexander had to confide the articles of the Holy Alliance to
Lord Castlereagh. Of all things in the world the most incomprehensible to
Castlereagh was religious enthusiasm. "The fact is," he wrote home to the
English Premier, "that the Emperor's mind is not completely sound." [243]
Apart, however, from the Czar's sanity or insanity, it was impossible for
the Prince Regent, or for any person except the responsible Minister, to
sign a treaty, whether it meant anything or nothing, in the name of Great
Britain. Castlereagh was in great perplexity. On the one hand, he feared to
wound a powerful ally; on the other, he dared not violate the forms of the
Constitution. A compromise was invented. The Treaty of the Holy Alliance
was not graced with the name of the Prince Regent, but the Czar received a
letter declaring that his principles had the personal approval of this
great authority on religion and morality. The Kings of Naples and Sardinia
were the next to subscribe, and in due time the names of the witty glutton,
Louis XVIII., and of the abject Ferdinand of Spain were added. Two
potentates alone received no invitation from the Czar to enter the League:
the Pope, because he possessed too much authority within the Christian
Church, and the Sultan, because he possessed none at all.

[Treaty between the Four Powers, Nov. 20.]

Such was the history of the Treaty of Holy Alliance, of which, it may be
safely said, no single person connected with it, except the Czar and the
King of Prussia, thought without a smile. The common belief that this
Treaty formed the basis of a great monarchical combination against Liberal
principles is erroneous; for, in the first place, no such combination
existed before the year 1818; and, in the second place, the Czar, who was
the author of the Treaty, was at this time the zealous friend of Liberalism
both in his own and in other countries. The concert of the Powers was
indeed provided for by articles signed on the same day as the Peace of
Paris; but this concert, which, unlike the Holy Alliance, included England,
was directed towards the perpetual exclusion of Napoleon from power, and
the maintenance of the established Government in France. The Allies pledged
themselves to act in union if revolution or usurpation should again
convulse France and endanger the repose of other States, and undertook to
resist with their whole force any attack that might be made upon the army
of occupation. The federative unity which for a moment Europe seemed to
have gained from the struggle against Napoleon, and the belief existing in
some quarters in its long continuance, were strikingly shown in the last
article of this Quadruple Treaty, which provided that, after the holding of
a Congress at the end of three or more years, the Sovereigns or Ministers
of all the four great Powers should renew their meetings at fixed
intervals, for the purpose of consulting upon their common interests, and
considering the measures best fitted to secure the repose and prosperity of
nations, and the continuance of the peace of Europe. [244]

[German Federation.]

Thus terminated, certainly without any undue severity, yet not without some
loss to the conquered nation, the work of 1815 in France. In the meantime
the Congress of Vienna, though interrupted by the renewal of war, had
resumed and completed its labours. One subject of the first importance
remained unsettled when Napoleon returned, the federal organisation of
Germany. This work had been referred by the Powers in the autumn of 1814 to
a purely German committee, composed of the representatives of Austria and
Prussia and of three of the Minor States; but the first meetings of the
committee only showed how difficult was the problem, and how little the
inclination in most quarters to solve it. The objects with which statesmen
like Stein demanded an effective federation were thoroughly plain and
practical. They sought, in the first place, that Germany should be rendered
capable of defending itself against the foreigner; and in the second place,
that the subjects of the minor princes, who had been made absolute rulers
by Napoleon, should now be guaranteed against despotic oppression. To
secure Germany from being again conquered by France, it was necessary that
the members of the League, great and small, should abandon something of
their separate sovereignty, and create a central authority with the sole
right of making war and alliances. To protect the subjects of the minor
princes from the abuse of power, it was necessary that certain definite
civil rights and a measure of representative government should be assured
by Federal Law to the inhabitants of every German State, and enforced by
the central authority on the appeal of subjects against their Sovereigns.
There was a moment when some such form of German union had seemed to be
close at hand, the moment when Prussia began its final struggle with
Napoleon, and the commander of the Czar's army threatened the German
vassals of France with the loss of their thrones (Feb., 1813). But even
then no statesman had satisfied himself how Prussia and Austria were to
unite in submission to a Federal Government; and from the time when Austria
made terms with the vassal princes little hope of establishing a really
effective authority at the centre of Germany remained. Stein, at the
Congress of Vienna, once more proposed to restore the title and the
long-vanished powers of the Emperor; but he found no inclination on the
part of Metternich to promote his schemes for German unity, while some of
the minor princes flatly refused to abandon any fraction of their
sovereignty over their own subjects. The difficulties in the way of
establishing a Federal State were great, perhaps insuperable; the statesmen
anxious for it few in number; the interests opposed to it all but
universal. Stein saw that the work was intended to be unsubstantial, and
withdrew himself from it before its completion. The Act of Federation,
[245] which was signed on the 8th of June, created a Federal Diet, forbade
the members of the League to enter into alliances against the common
interest, and declared that in each State, Constitutions should be
established. But it left the various Sovereigns virtually independent of
the League; it gave the nomination of members of the Diet to the
Governments absolutely, without a vestige of popular election; and it
contained no provision for enforcing in any individual State, whose ruler
might choose to disregard it, the principle of constitutional rule. Whether
the Federation would in any degree have protected Germany in case of attack
by France or Russia is matter for conjecture, since a long period of peace
followed the year 1815; but so far was it from securing liberty to the
Minor States, that in the hands of Metternich the Diet, impotent for every
other purpose, became an instrument for the persecution of liberal opinion
and for the suppression of the freedom of the press.

[Final Act of the Congress, June 10.]

German affairs, as usual, were the last to be settled at the Congress; when
these were at length disposed of, the Congress embodied the entire mass of
its resolutions in one great Final Act [246] of a hundred and twenty-one
articles, which was signed a few days before the battle of Waterloo was
fought. This Act, together with the second Treaty of Paris, formed the
public law with which Europe emerged from the warfare of a quarter of a
century, and entered upon a period which proved, even more than it was
expected to prove, one of long-lasting peace. Standing on the boundary-line
between two ages, the legislation of Vienna forms a landmark in history.
The provisions of the Congress have sometimes been criticised as if that
body had been an assemblage of philosophers, bent only on advancing the
course of human progress, and endowed with the power of subduing the
selfish impulses of every Government in Europe. As a matter of fact the
Congress was an arena where national and dynastic interests struggled for
satisfaction by every means short of actual war. To inquire whether the
Congress accomplished all that it was possible to accomplish for Europe is
to inquire whether Governments at that moment forgot all their own
ambitions and opportunities, and thought only of the welfare of mankind.
Russia would not have given up Poland without war; Austria would not have
given up Lombardy and Venice without war. The only measures of 1814-15 in
which the common interest was really the dominant motive were those adopted
either with the view of strengthening the States immediately exposed to
attack by France, or in the hope of sparing France itself the occasion for
new conflicts. The union of Holland and Belgium, and the annexation of the
Genoese Republic to Sardinia, were the means adopted for the former end;
for the latter, the relinquishment of all claims to Alsace and Lorraine.
These were the measures in which the statesmen of 1814-15 acted with their
hands free, and by these their foresight may fairly be judged. Of the union
of Belgium to Holland it is not too much to say that, although planned by
Pitt, and treasured by every succeeding Ministry as one of his wisest
schemes, it was wholly useless and inexpedient. The tranquillity of Western
Europe was preserved during fifteen years, not by yoking together
discordant nationalities, but by the general desire to avoid war; and as
soon as France seriously demanded the liberation of Belgium from Holland,
it had to be granted. Nor can it be believed that the addition of the
hostile and discontented population of Genoa to the kingdom of Piedmont
would have saved that monarchy from invasion if war had again arisen. The
annexation of Genoa was indeed fruitful of results, but not of results
which Pitt and his successors had anticipated. It was intended to
strengthen the House of Savoy for the purpose of resistance to France:
[247] it did strengthen the House of Savoy, but as the champion of Italy
against Austria. It was intended to withdraw the busy trading city Genoa
from the influences of French democracy: in reality it brought a strong
element of innovation into the Piedmontese State itself, giving, on the one
hand, a bolder and more national spirit to its Government, and, on the
other hand, elevating to the ideal of a united Italy those who, like the
Genoese Mazzini, were now no longer born to be the citizens of a free
Republic. In sacrificing the ancient liberty of Genoa, the Congress itself
unwittingly began the series of changes which was to refute the famous
saying of Metternich, that Italy was but a geographical expression.

[Alsace and Lorraine.]

But if the policy of 1814-15 in the affairs of Belgium and Piedmont only
proves how little an average collection of statesmen can see into the
future, the policy which, in spite of Waterloo, left France in possession
of an undiminished territory, does no discredit to the foresight, as it
certainly does the highest honour to the justice and forbearance of
Wellington, whose counsels then turned the scale. The wisdom of the
resolution has indeed been frequently impugned. German statesmen held then,
and have held ever since, that the opportunity of disarming France once for
all of its weapons of attack was wantonly thrown away. Hardenberg, when his
arguments for annexation of the frontier-fortresses were set aside,
predicted that streams of blood would hereafter flow for the conquest of
Alsace and Lorraine, [248] and his prediction has been fulfilled. Yet no
one perhaps would have been more astonished than Hardenberg himself, could
he have known that fifty-five years of peace between France and Prussia
would precede the next great struggle. When the same period of peace shall
have followed the acquisition of Metz and Strasburg by Prussia, it will be
time to condemn the settlement of 1815 as containing the germ of future
wars; till then, the effects of that settlement in maintaining peace are
entitled to recognition. It is impossible to deny that the Allies, in
leaving to France the whole of its territory in 1815, avoided inflicting
the most galling of all tokens of defeat upon a spirited and still most
powerful nation. The loss of Belgium and the frontier of the Rhine was
keenly enough felt for thirty years to come, and made no insignificant part
of the French people ready at any moment to rush into war; how much greater
the power of the war-cry, how hopeless the task of restraint, if to the
other motives for war there had been added the liberation of two of the
most valued provinces of France. Without this the danger was great enough.
Thrice at least in the next thirty years the balance seemed to be turning
against the continuance of peace. An offensive alliance between France and
Russia was within view when the Bourbon monarchy fell; the first years of
Louis Philippe all but saw the revolutionary party plunge France into war
for Belgium and for Italy; ten years later the dismissal of a Ministry
alone prevented the outbreak of hostilities on the distant affairs of
Syria. Had Alsace and Lorraine at this time been in the hands of disunited
Germany, it is hard to believe that the Bourbon dynasty would not have
averted, or sought to avert, its fall by a popular war, or that the victory
of Louis Philippe over the war-party, difficult even when there was no
French soil to reconquer, would have been possible. The time indeed came
when a new Bonaparte turned to enterprises of aggression the resources
which Europe had left unimpaired to his country; but to assume that the
cessions proposed in 1815 would have made France unable to move, with or
without allies, half a century afterwards, is to make a confident guess in
a doubtful matter; and, with Germany in the condition in which it remained
after 1815, it is at least as likely that the annexation of Alsace and
Lorraine would have led to the early reconquest of the Rhenish provinces by
France, or to a war between Austria and Prussia, as that it would have
prolonged the period of European peace beyond that distant limit which it
actually reached.

[English efforts at the Congress to abolish the slave-trade.]

Among the subjects which were pressed upon the Congress of Vienna there was
one in which the pursuit of national interests and calculations of policy
bore no part, the abolition of the African slave-trade. The British people,
who, after twenty years of combat in the cause of Europe, had earned so
good a right to ask something of their allies, probably attached a deeper
importance to this question than to any in the whole range of European
affairs, with the single exception of the personal overthrow of Napoleon.
Since the triumph of Wiberforce's cause in the Parliament of 1807, and the
extinction of English slave-traffic, the anger with which the nation viewed
this detestable cruelty, too long tolerated by itself, had become more and
more vehement and widespread. By the year 1814 the utterances of public
opinion were so loud and urgent that the Government, though free from
enthusiasm itself, was forced to place the international prohibition of the
slave-trade in the front rank of its demands. There were politicians on the
Continent credulous enough to believe that this outcry of the heart and the
conscience of the nation was but a piece of commercial hypocrisy.
Talleyrand, with far different insight, but not with more sympathy, spoke
of the state of the English people as one of frenzy. [249] Something had
already been effected at foreign courts. Sweden had been led to prohibit
slave-traffic in 1813, Holland in the following year. Portugal had been
restrained by treaty from trading north of the line. France had pledged
itself in the first Treaty of Paris to abolish the commerce within five
years. Spain alone remained unfettered, and it was indeed intolerable that
the English slavers should have been forced to abandon their execrable
gains only that they should fall into the hands of the subjects of King
Ferdinand. It might be true that the Spanish colonies required a larger
supply of slaves than they possessed; but Spain had at any rate not the
excuse that it was asked to surrender an old and profitable branch of
commerce. It was solely through the abolition of the English slave-trade
that Spain possessed any slave-trade whatever. Before the year 1807 no
Spanish ship had been seen on the coast of Africa for a century, except one
in 1798 fitted out by Godoy. [250] As for the French trade, that had been
extinguished by the capture of Senegal and Goree; and along the two
thousand miles of coast from Cape Blanco to Cape Formosa a legitimate
commerce with the natives was gradually springing up in place of the
desolating traffic in flesh and blood. It was hoped by the English people
that Castlereagh would succeed in obtaining a universal and immediate
prohibition of the slave-trade by all the Powers assembled at Vienna. The
Minister was not wanting in perseverance, but he failed to achieve this
result. France, while claiming a short delay elsewhere, professed itself
willing, like Portugal, to abolish at once the traffic north of the line;
but the Government on which England had perhaps the greatest claim, that of
Spain, absolutely refused to accept this restriction, or to bind itself to
a final prohibition before the end of eight years. Castlereagh then
proposed that a Council of Ambassadors at London and Paris should be
charged with the international duty of expediting the close of the
slave-trade; the measure which he had in view being the punishment of
slave-dealing States by a general exclusion of their exports. Against this
Spain and Portugal made a formal protest, treating the threat as almost
equivalent to one of war. The project dropped, and the Minister of England
had to content himself with obtaining from the Congress a solemn
condemnation of the slave-trade, as contrary to the principles of
civilisation and human right (Feb., 1815).

The work was carried a step further by Napoleon's return from Elba.
Napoleon understood the impatience of the English people, and believed that
he could make no higher bid for its friendship than by abandoning the
reserves made by Talleyrand at the Congress, and abolishing the French
slave-trade at once and for all. This was accomplished; and the Bourbon
ally of England, on his second restoration could not undo what had been
done by the usurper. Spain and Portugal alone continued to pursue--the
former country without restriction, the latter on the south of the line--a
commerce branded by the united voice of Europe as infamous. The Governments
of these countries alleged in their justification that Great Britain itself
had resisted the passing of the prohibitory law until its colonies were far
better supplied with slaves than those of its rivals now were. This was
true, but it was not the whole truth. The whole truth was not known, the
sincerity of English feeling was not appreciated, until, twenty years
later, the nation devoted a part of its wealth to release the slave from
servitude, and the English race from the reproach of slave holding. Judged
by the West Indian Emancipation of 1833, the Spanish appeal to English
history sounds almost ludicrous. But the remembrance of the long years
throughout which the advocates of justice encountered opposition in England
should temper the severity of our condemnation of the countries which still
defended a bad interest. The light broke late upon ourselves: the darkness
that still lingered elsewhere had too long been our own.


Concert of Europe after 1815--Spirit of the Foreign Policy of Alexander, of
Metternich, and of the English Ministry--Metternich's action in Italy,
England's in Sicily and Spain--The Reaction in France--Richelieu and the
New Chamber--Execution of Ney--Imprisonments and persecutions--Conduct of
the Ultra-Royalists in Parliament--Contests on the Electoral Bill and the
Budget--The Chamber prorogued--Affair of Grenoble--Dissolution of the
Chamber--Electoral Law and Financial Settlement of 1817--Character of the
first years of peace in Europe generally--Promise of a Constitution in
Prussia--Hardenberg opposed by the partisans of autocracy and
privilege--Schmalz's Pamphlet--Delay of Constitutional Reform in Germany at
large--The Wartburg Festival--Progress of Reaction--The Czar now inclines
to repression--Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle--Evacuation of France--Growing
influence of Metternich in Europe--His action on Prussia--Murder of
Kotzebue--The Carlsbad Conference and measures of repression in
Germany--Richelieu and Decazes--Murder of the Duke of Berry--Progress of
the reaction in France--General causes of the victory of reaction in

[Concert of Europe regarding France.]

For nearly twenty years the career of Bonaparte had given to European
history the unity of interest which belongs to a single life. This unity
does not immediately disappear on the disappearance of his mighty figure.
The Powers of Europe had been too closely involved in the common struggle,
their interests were too deeply concerned in the maintenance of the
newly-established order, for the thoughts of Governments to be withdrawn
from foreign affairs, and the currents of national policy to fall at once
apart into separate channels. The Allied forces continued to occupy France
with Wellington as commander-in-chief; the defence of the Bourbon monarchy
had been declared the cause of Europe at large; the conditions under which
the numbers of the army of occupation might be reduced, or the period of
occupation shortened, remained to be fixed by the Allies themselves. France
thus formed the object of a common European deliberation; nor was the
concert of the Powers without its peculiar organ. An International Council
was created at Paris, consisting of the Ambassadors of the four great
Courts. The forms of a coalition were, for the first time, preserved after
the conclusion of peace. Communications were addressed to the Government of
Louis XVIII., in the name of all the Powers together. The Council of
Ambassadors met at regular intervals, and not only transacted business
relating to the army of occupation and the payment of indemnities, but
discussed the domestic policy of the French Government, and the situation
of parties or the signs of political opinion in the Assembly and the

[Action of the Powers outside France.]

In thus watching over the restored Bourbon monarchy, the Courts of Europe
were doing no more than they had bound themselves to do by treaty. Paris,
however, was not the only field for a busy diplomacy. In most of the minor
capitals of Europe each of the Great Powers had its own supposed interests
to pursue, or its own principles of government to inculcate. An age of
transition seemed to have begun. Constitutions had been promised in many
States, and created in some; in Spain and in Sicily they had reached the
third stage, that of suppression. It was not likely that the statesmen who
had succeeded to Napoleon's power in Europe should hold themselves entirely
aloof from the affairs of their weaker neighbours, least of all when a
neighbouring agitation might endanger themselves. In one respect the
intentions of the British, the Austrian, and the Russian Governments were
identical, and continued to be so, namely, in the determination to
countenance no revolutionary movement. Revolution, owing to the experience
of 1793, had come to be regarded as synonymous with aggressive warfare.
Jacobins, anarchists, disturbers of the public peace, were only different
names for one and the same class of international criminals, who were
indeed indigenous to France, but might equally endanger the peace of
mankind in other countries. Against these fomenters of mischief all the
Courts were at one.


Here, however, agreement ceased. It was admitted that between revolutionary
disturbance and the enjoyment of constitutional liberty a wide interval
existed, and the statesmen of the leading Powers held by no means the same
views as to the true relation between nations and their rulers. The most
liberal in theory among the Sovereigns of 1815 was the Emperor Alexander.
Already, in the summer of 1815, he had declared the Duchy of Warsaw to be
restored to independence and nationality, under the title of the Kingdom of
Poland; and before the end of the year he had granted it a Constitution,
which created certain representative assemblies, and provided the new
kingdom with an army and an administration of its own, into which no person
not a Pole could enter. The promised introduction of Parliamentary life
into Poland was but the first of a series of reforms dimly planned by
Alexander, which was to culminate in the bestowal of a Constitution upon
Russia itself, and the emancipation of the serf. [251] Animated by hopes
like these for his own people, hopes which, while they lasted, were not
merely sincere but ardent, Alexander was also friendly to the cause of
constitutional government in other countries. Ambition mingled with
disinterested impulses in the foreign policy of the Czar. It was impossible
that Alexander should forget the league into which England and Austria had
so lately entered against him. He was anxious to keep France on his side;
he was not inclined to forego the satisfaction of weakening Austria by
supporting national hopes in Italy; [252] and he hoped to create some
counterpoise to England's maritime power by allying Russia with a
strengthened and better-administered Spain. Agents of the Czar abounded in
Italy and in Germany, but in no capital was the Ambassador of Russia more
active than in Madrid. General Tatistcheff, who was appointed to this post
in 1814, became the terror of all his colleagues and of the Cabinet of
London from his extraordinary activity in intrigue; but in relation to the
internal affairs of Spain his influence was beneficial; and it was
frequently directed towards the support of reforming Ministers, whom King
Ferdinand, if free from foreign pressure, would speedily have sacrificed to
the pleasure of his favourites and confessors.


[Metternich's policy in Germany.]

[In Italy.]

In the eyes of Prince Metternich, the all-powerful Minister of Austria,
Alexander was little better than a Jacobin. The Austrian State, though its
frontiers had been five times changed since 1792, had continued in a
remarkable degree free from the impulse to internal change. The Emperor
Francis was the personification of resistance to progress; the Minister
owed his unrivalled position not more to his own skilful statesmanship in
the great crisis of 1813 than to a genuine accord with the feelings of his
master. If Francis was not a man of intellect, Metternich was certainly a
man of character; and for a considerable period they succeeded in
impressing the stamp of their own strongly-marked Austrian policy upon
Europe. The force of their influence sprang from no remote source; it was
due mainly to a steady intolerance of all principles not their own.
Metternich described his system with equal simplicity and precision as an
attempt neither to innovate nor to go back to the past, but to keep things
as they were. In the old Austrian dominions this was not difficult to do,
for things had no tendency to move and remained fixed of themselves; [253]
but on the outside, both on the north and on the south, ideas were at work
which, according to Metternich, ought never to have entered the world, but,
having unfortunately gained admittance, made it the task of Governments to
resist their influence by all available means. Stein and the leaders of the
Prussian War of Liberation had agitated Germany with hopes of national
unity, of Parliaments, and of the impulsion of the executive powers of
State by public opinion. Against these northern innovators, Metternich had
already won an important victory in the formation of the Federal
Constitution. The weakness and timidity of the King of Prussia made it
probable that, although he was now promising his subjects a Constitution,
he might at no distant date be led to unite with other German Governments
in a system of repression, and in placing Liberalism under the ban of the
Diet. In Italy, according to the conservative statesman, the same dangers
existed and the same remedies were required. Austria, through the
acquisition of Venice, now possessed four times as large a territory beyond
the Alps as it had possessed before 1792; but the population was no longer
the quiescent and contented folk that it had been in the days of Maria
Theresa. Napoleon's kingdom and army of Italy had taught the people
warfare, and given them political aims and a more masculine spirit.
Metternich's own generals had promised the Italians independence when they
entered the country in 1814; Murat's raid a year later had actually been
undertaken in the name of Italian unity. These were disagreeable incidents,
and signs were not wanting of the existence of a revolutionary spirit in
the Italian provinces of Austria, especially among the officers who had
served under Napoleon. Metternich was perfectly clear as to the duties of
his Government. The Italians might have a Viceroy to keep Court at Milan, a
body of native officials to conduct their minor affairs, and a mock
Congregation or Council, without any rights, powers, or functions whatever;
if this did not satisfy them, they were a rebellious people, and government
must be conducted by means of spies, police, and the dungeons of the
Spielberg. [254]

[Scheme of an Austrian Protectorate over Italy.]

On this system, backed by great military force, there was nothing to fear
from the malcontents of Lombardy and Venice: it remained for Metternich to
extend the same security to the rest of the peninsula, and by a series of
treaties to effect the double end of exterminating constitutional
government and of establishing an Austrian Protectorate over the entire
country, from the Alps to the Sicilian Straits. The design was so ambitious
that Metternich had not dared to disclose it at the Congress of Vienna; it
was in fact a direct violation of the Treaty of Paris, and of the
resolution of the Congress, that Italy, outside the possessions of Austria,
should consist of independent States. The first Sovereign over whom the net
was cast was Ferdinand of Naples. On the 15th of June, 1815, immediately
after the overthrow of Murat, King Ferdinand signed a Treaty of Alliance
with Austria, which contained a secret clause, pledging the King to
introduce no change into his recovered kingdom inconsistent with its own
old monarchical principles, or with the principles which had been adopted
by the Emperor of Austria for the government of his Italian provinces.
[255] Ferdinand, two years before, had been compelled by Great Britain to
grant Sicily a Constitution, and was at this very moment promising one to
Naples. The Sicilian Constitution was now tacitly condemned; the
Neapolitans were duped. By a further secret clause, the two contracting
Sovereigns undertook to communicate to one another everything that should
come to their knowledge affecting the security and tranquillity of the
Italian peninsula; in other words, the spies and the police of Ferdinand
were now added to Metternich's staff in Lombardy. Tuscany, Modena, and
Parma entered into much the same condition of vassalage; but the scheme for
a universal federation of Italy under Austria's leadership failed through
the resistance of Piedmont and of the Pope. Pius VII. resented the attempts
of Austria, begun in 1797 and repeated at the Congress of Vienna, to
deprive the Holy See of Bologna and Ravenna. The King of Sardinia, though
pressed by England to accept Metternich's offer of alliance, maintained
with great decision the independence of his country, and found in the
support of the Czar a more potent argument than any that he could have
drawn from treaties. [256]

[Spirit of England's foreign policy.]

The part played by the British Government at this epoch has been severely
judged not only by the later opinion of England itself, but by the
historical writers of almost every nation in Europe. It is perhaps
fortunate for the fame of Pitt that he did not live to witness the
accomplishment of the work in which he had laboured for thirteen years. The
glory of a just and courageous struggle against Napoleon's tyranny remains
with Pitt; the opprobrium of a settlement hostile to liberty has fallen on
his successors. Yet there is no good ground for believing that Pitt would
have attached a higher value to the rights or inclinations of individual
communities than his successors did in re-adjusting the balance of power;
on the contrary, he himself first proposed to destroy the Republic of
Genoa, and to place Catholic Belgium under the Protestant Crown of Holland;
nor was any principle dearer to him than that of aggrandising the House of
Austria as a counterpoise to the power of France. [257] The Ministry of
1815 was indeed but too faithfully walking in the path into which Pitt had
been driven by the King and the nation in 1793. Resistance to France had
become the one absorbing care, the beginning and end of English
statesmanship. Government at home had sunk to a narrow and unfeeling
opposition to the attempts made from time to time to humanise the mass of
the people, to reform an atrocious criminal law, to mitigate the civil
wrongs inflicted in the name and the interest of a State-religion. No one
in the Cabinet doubted that authority, as such, must be wiser than
inexperienced popular desire, least of all the statesman who now, in
conjunction with the Duke of Wellington, controlled the policy of Great
Britain upon the Continent. Lord Castlereagh had no sympathy with cruelty
or oppression in Continental rulers; he had just as little belief in the
value of free institutions to their subjects. [258] The nature of his
influence, which has been drawn sometimes in too dark colours, may be
fairly gathered from the course of action which he followed in regard to
Sicily and to Spain.

[In Sicily.]

In Sicily the representative of Great Britain, Lord William Bentinck, had
forced King Ferdinand, who could not have maintained himself for an hour
without the arms and money of England, to establish in 1813 a Parliament
framed on the model of our own. The Parliament had not proved a wise or a
capable body, but its faults were certainly not equal to those of King
Ferdinand, and its re-construction under England's auspices would have been
an affair of no great difficulty. Ferdinand, however, had always detested
free institutions, and as soon as he regained the throne of Naples he
determined to have done with the Sicilian Parliament. A correspondence on
the intended change took place between Lord Castlereagh and A'Court, the
Ambassador who had now succeeded Lord William Bentinck. [259] That the
British Government, which had protected the Sicilian Crown against Napoleon
at the height of his power, could have protected the Sicilian Constitution
against King Ferdinand's edicts without detaching a single man-of-war's
boat, is not open to doubt. Castlereagh, however, who for years past had
been paying, stimulating, or rebuking every Government in Europe, and who
had actually sent the British fleet to make the Norwegians submit to
Bernadotte, now suddenly adopted the principle of non-intervention, and
declared that, so long as Ferdinand did not persecute the Sicilians who at
the invitation of England had taken part in political life, or reduce the
privileges of Sicily below those which had existed prior to 1813, Great
Britain would not interfere with his action. These stipulations were
inserted in order to satisfy the House of Commons, and to avert the charge
that England had not only abandoned the Sicilian Constitution, but
consented to a change which left the Sicilians in a worse condition than if
England had never intervened in their affairs. Lord Castlereagh shut his
eyes to the confession involved, that he was leaving the Sicilians to a
ruler who, but for such restraint, might be expected to destroy every
vestige of public right, and to take the same bloody and unscrupulous
revenge upon his subjects which he had taken when Nelson restored him to
power in 1799.

[Action of England in Spain.]

The action of the British Government in Spain showed an equal readiness to
commit the future to the wisdom of Courts. Lord Castlereagh was made
acquainted with the Spanish Ferdinand's design of abolishing the
Constitution on his return in the year 1814. "So far," he replied, "as the
mere existence of the Constitution is at stake, it is impossible to believe
that any change tranquilly effected can well be worse." [260] In this case
the interposition of England would perhaps not have availed against a
reactionary clergy and nation: Castlereagh, was, moreover, deceived by
Ferdinand's professions that he had no desire to restore absolute
government. He credited the King with the same kind of moderation which had
led Louis XVIII. to accept the Charta in France, and looked forward to the
maintenance of a constitutional régime, though under conditions more
favourable to the executive power and to the influence of the great landed
proprietors and clergy. [261] Events soon proved what value was to be
attached to the word of the King; the flood of reaction and vengeance broke
over the country; and from this time the British Government, half
confessing and half excusing Ferdinand's misdeeds, exerted itself to check
the outrages of despotism, and to mitigate the lot of those who were now
its victims. In the interest of the restored monarchies themselves, as much
as from a regard to the public opinion of Great Britain, the Ambassadors of
England urged moderation upon all the Bourbon Courts. This, however, was
also done by Metternich, who neither took pleasure in cruelty, nor desired
to see new revolutions produced by the extravagances of priests and
emigrants. It was not altogether without cause that the belief arose that
there was little to choose, in reference to the constitutional liberties of
other States, between the sentiments of Austria and those of the Ministers
of free England. A difference, however, did exist. Metternich actually
prohibited the Sovereigns over whom his influence extended from granting
their subjects liberty: England, believing the Sovereigns to be more
liberal than they were, did not interfere to preserve constitutions from

[Outrages of the Royalists in the south of France, June-August.]

Such was the general character of the influence now exercised by the three
leading Powers of Europe. Prussia, which had neither a fleet like England,
an Italian connection like Austria, nor an ambitious Sovereign like Russia,
concerned itself little with distant States, and limited its direct action
to the affairs of France, in which it possessed a substantial interest,
inasmuch as the indemnities due from Louis XVIII. had yet to be paid. The
possibility of recovering these sums depended upon the maintenance of peace
and order in France; and from the first it was recognised by every
Government in Europe that the principal danger to peace and order arose
from the conduct of the Count of Artois and his friends, the party of
reaction. The counterrevolutionary movement began in mere riot and outrage.
No sooner had the news of the battle of Waterloo reached the south of
France than the Royalist mob of Marseilles drove the garrison out of the
town, and attacked the quarter inhabited by the Mameluke families whom
Napoleon had brought from Egypt. Thirteen of these unfortunate persons, and
about as many Bonapartist citizens, were murdered. [262] A few weeks later
Nismes was given over to anarchy and pillage. Religious fanaticism here
stimulated the passion of political revenge. The middle class in Nismes
itself and a portion of the surrounding population were Protestant, and had
hailed Napoleon's return from Elba as a deliverance from the ascendancy of
priests, and from the threatened revival of the persecutions which they had
suffered under the old Bourbon monarchy. The Catholics, who were much more
numerous, included the lowest class in the town, the larger landed
proprietors of the district, and above half of the peasantry. Bands of
volunteers had been formed by the Duke of Angoulême at the beginning of the
Hundred Days, in the hope of sustaining a civil war against Napoleon. After
capitulating to the Emperor's generals, some companies had been attacked by
villagers and hunted down like wild beasts. The bands now reassembled and
entered Nismes. The garrison, after firing upon them, were forced to give
up their arms, and in this defenceless state a considerable number of the
soldiers were shot down (July 17). On the next day the leaders of the armed
mob began to use their victory. For several weeks murder and outrage,
deliberately planned and publicly announced, kept not only Nismes itself,
but a wide extent of the surrounding country in constant terror. The
Government acted slowly and feebly; the local authorities were intimidated;
and, in spite of the remonstrances of Wellington and the Russian
Ambassador, security was not restored until the Allies took the matter into
their own hands, and a detachment of Austrian troops occupied the
Department of the Gard. Other districts in the south of France witnessed
the same outbreaks of Royalist ferocity. Avignon was disgraced by the
murder of Marshal Brune, conqueror of the Russians and English in the Dutch
campaign of 1799, an honest soldier, who after suffering Napoleon's neglect
in the time of prosperity, had undertaken the heavy task of governing
Marseilles during the Hundred Days. At Toulouse, General Ramel, himself a
Royalist, was mortally wounded by a band of assassins, and savagely
mutilated while lying disabled and expiring.

[Elections of 1815.]

Crimes like these were the counterpart of the September massacres of 1792;
and the terrorism exercised by the Royalists in 1815 has been compared, as
a whole, with the Republican Reign of Terror twenty-two years earlier. But
the comparison does little credit to the historical sense of those who
suggested it. The barbarities of 1815 were strictly local: shocking as they
were, they scarcely amounted in all to an average day's work of Carrier or
Fouché in 1794; and the action of the established Government, though
culpably weak, was not itself criminal. A second and more dangerous stage
of reaction began, however, when the work of popular vengeance closed.
Elections for a new Chamber of Deputies were held at the end of August. The
Liberals and the adherents of Napoleon, paralysed by the disasters of
France and the invaders' presence, gave up all as lost: the Ministers of
Louis XVIII. abstained from the usual electoral manoeuvres, Talleyrand
through carelessness, Fouché from a desire to see parties evenly balanced:
the ultra-Royalists alone had extended their organisation over France, and
threw themselves into the contest with the utmost passion and energy.
Numerically weak, they had the immense forces of the local administration
on their side. The Préfets had gone over heart and soul to the cause of the
Count of Artois, who indeed represented to them that he was acting under
the King's own directions. The result was that an Assembly was elected to
which France has seen only one parallel since, namely in the Parliament of
1871, elected when invaders again occupied the country, and the despotism
of a second Bonaparte had ended in the same immeasurable calamity. The bulk
of the candidates returned were country gentlemen whose names had never
been heard of in public life since 1789, men who had resigned themselves to
inaction and obscurity under the Republic and the Empire, and whose one
political idea was to reverse the injuries done by the Revolution to their
caste and to their Church. They were Royalists because a Bourbon monarchy
alone could satisfy their claims: they called themselves ultra-Royalists,
but they were so only in the sense that they required the monarchy to
recognise no ally but themselves. They had already shown before Napoleon's
return that their real chief was the Count of Artois, not the King; in what
form their ultra-Royalism would exhibit itself in case the King should not
submit to be their instrument remained to be proved.

[Fall of Talleyrand and Fouché.]

[Richelieu's Ministry, Sept., 1815.]

The first result of the elections was the downfall of Talleyrand's Liberal
Ministry. The Count of Artois and the courtiers, who had been glad enough
to secure Fouché's services while their own triumph was doubtful, now
joined in the outcry of the country gentlemen again this monster of
iniquity. Talleyrand promptly disencumbered himself of his old friend, and
prepared to meet the new Parliament as an ultra-Royalist; but in the eyes
of the victorious party Talleyrand himself, the married priest and the
reputed accomplice in the murder of the Duke of Enghien, was little better
than his regicide colleague; and before the Assembly met he was forced to
retire from power.

[Richelieu's Ministry, Sept. 1815.]

His successor, the Duc de Richelieu, was recommended to Louis XVIII. by the
Czar. Richelieu had quitted France early in the Revolution, and, unlike
most of the emigrants, had played a distinguished part in the country which
gave him refuge. Winning his first laurels in the siege of Ismail under
Suvaroff, he had subsequently been made Governor of the Euxine provinces of
Russia, and the flourishing town of Odessa had sprung up under his rule.
His reputation as an administrator was high; his personal character
singularly noble and disinterested. Though the English Government looked at
first with apprehension upon a Minister so closely connected with the Czar
of Russia, Richelieu's honesty and truthfulness soon gained him the respect
of every foreign Court. His relation to Alexander proved of great service
to France in lightening the burden of the army of occupation; his equity,
his acquaintance with the real ends of monarchical government, made him,
though no lover of liberty, a valuable Minister in face of an Assembly
which represented nothing but the passions and the ideas of a reactionary
class. But Richelieu had been too long absent from France to grasp the
details of administration with a steady hand. The men, the parties of 1815,
were new to him: it is said that he was not acquainted by sight with most
of his colleagues when he appointed them to their posts. The Ministry in
consequence was not at unity within itself. Some of its members, like
Decazes, were more liberal than their chief; others, like Clarke and
Vaublanc, old servants of Napoleon now turned ultra-Royalists, were eager
to make themselves the instruments of the Count of Artois, and to carry
into the work of government the enthusiasm of revenge which had already
found voice in the elections.

[Violence of the Chamber of 1815.]

The session opened on the 7th of October. Twenty-nine of the peers, who had
joined Napoleon during the Hundred Days, were excluded from the House, and
replaced by adherents of the Bourbons; nevertheless the peers as a body
opposed themselves to extreme reaction, and, in spite of Chateaubriand's
sanguinary harangues, supported the moderate policy of Richelieu against
the majority of the Lower House. The first demand of the Chamber of
Deputies was for retribution upon traitors; [263] their first conflict with
the Government of Louis XVIII. arose upon the measures which were brought
forward by the Ministry for the preservation of public security and the
punishment of seditious acts. The Ministers were attacked, not because
their measures were too severe, but because they were not severe enough.
While taking power to imprison all suspected persons without trial, or to
expel them from their homes, Decazes, the Police-Minister, proposed to
punish incitements to sedition by fines and terms of imprisonment varying
according to the gravity of the offence. So mild a penalty excited the
wrath of men whose fathers and brothers had perished on the guillotine.
Some cried out for death, others for banishment to Cayenne. When it was
pointed out that the infliction of capital punishment for the mere attempt
at sedition would place this on a level with armed rebellion, it was
answered that a distinction might be maintained by adding in the latter
case the ancient punishment of parricide, the amputation of the hand.
Extravagances like this belonged rather to the individuals than to a party;
but the vehemence of the Chamber forced the Government to submit to a
revision of its measure. Transportation to Cayenne, but not death, was
ultimately included among the penalties for seditious acts. The Minister of
Justice, M. Barbé-Marbois, who had himself been transported to Cayenne by
the Jacobins in 1797, was able to satisfy the Chamber from his own
experience that they were not erring on the side of mercy. [264]

[Ney executed, Dec. 7.]

It was in the midst of these heated debates that Marshal Ney was brought to
trial for high treason. A so-called Edict of Amnesty had been published by
the King on the 24th of July, containing the names of nineteen persons who
were to be tried by courts-martial on capital charges, and of thirty-eight
others who were to be either exiled or brought to justice, as the Chamber
might determine. Ney was included in the first category. Opportunities for
escape had been given to him by the Government, as indeed they had to
almost every other person on the list. King Louis XVIII. well understood
that his Government was not likely to be permanently strengthened by the
execution of some of the most distinguished men in France; the emigrants,
however, and especially the Duchess of Angoulême, were merciless, and the
English Government acted a deplorable part. "One can never feel that the
King is secure on his throne," wrote Lord Liverpool, "until he has dared to
spill traitors' blood." It is not that many examples would be necessary;
but the daring to make a few will alone manifest any strength in the
Government. [265] Labédoyère had already been executed. On the 9th of
November Ney was brought before a court-martial, at which Castlereagh and
his wife had the bad taste to be present. The court-martial, headed by
Ney's old comrade Jourdan, declared itself incompetent to judge a peer of
France accused of high treason, [266] Ney was accordingly tried before the
House of Peers. The verdict was a foregone conclusion, and indeed the legal
guilt of the Marshal could hardly be denied. Had the men who sat in
judgment upon him been a body of Vendean peasants who had braved fire and
sword for the Bourbon cause, the sentence of death might have been
pronounced with pure, though stern lips: it remains a deep disgrace to
France that among the peers who voted not only for Ney's condemnation but
for his death, there were some who had themselves accepted office and pay
from Napoleon during the Hundred Days. A word from Wellington would still
have saved the Marshal's life, but in interceding for Ney the Duke would
have placed himself in direct opposition to the action of his own
Government. When the Premier had dug the grave, it was not for Wellington
to rescue the prisoner. It is permissible to hope that he, who had so
vehemently reproached Blücher for his intention to put Napoleon to death if
he should fall into his hands, would have asked clemency for Ney had he
considered himself at liberty to obey the promptings of his own nature. The
responsibility for Marshal Ney's death rests, more than upon any other
individual, upon Lord Liverpool.

On the 7th of December the sentence was executed. Ney was shot at early
morning in an unfrequented spot, and the Government congratulated itself
that it had escaped the dangers of a popular demonstration and heard the
last of a disagreeable business. Never was there a greater mistake. No
crime committed in the Reign of Terror attached a deeper popular opprobrium
to its authors than the execution of Ney did to the Bourbon family. The
victim, a brave but rough half-German soldier, [267] rose in popular legend
almost to the height of the Emperor himself. His heroism in the retreat
from Moscow became, and with justice, a more glorious memory than Davoust's
victory at Jena or Moreau's at Hohenlinden. Side by side with the thought
that the Bourbons had been brought back by foreign arms, the remembrance
sank deep into the heart of the French people that this family had put to
death "the bravest of the brave." It would have been no common good fortune
for Louis XVIII. to have pardoned or visited with light punishment a great
soldier whose political feebleness had led him to an act of treason,
condoned by the nation at large. Exile would not have made the transgressor
a martyr. But the common sense of mankind condemns Ney's execution: the
public opinion of France has never forgiven it.

[Amnesty Bill, Dec 8.]

On the day after the great example was made, Richelieu brought forward the
Amnesty Bill of the Government in the House of Representatives. The King,
while claiming full right of pardon, desired that the Chamber should be
associated with him in its exercise, and submitted a project of law
securing from prosecution all persons not included in the list published on
July 24th. Measures of a very different character had already been
introduced under the same title into the Chamber. Though the initiative in
legislation belonged by virtue of the Charta to the Crown, resolutions
might be moved by members in the shape of petition or address, and under
this form the leaders of the majority had drawn up schemes for the
wholesale proscription of Napoleon's adherents. It was proposed by M. la
Bourdonnaye to bring to trial all the great civil and military officers
who, during the Hundred Days, had constituted the Government of the
usurper; all generals, préfets, and commanders of garrisons, who had obeyed
Napoleon before a certain day, to be named by the Assembly; and all voters
for the death of Louis XVI. who had recognised Napoleon by signing the Acte
Additionnel. The language in which these prosecutions were urged was the
echo of that which had justified the bloodshed of 1793; its violence was
due partly to the fancy that Napoleon's return was no sudden and unexpected
act, but the work of a set of conspirators in high places, who were still
plotting the overthrow of the monarchy. [268]

[Persecution of suspected persons over all France.]

It was in vain that Richelieu intervened with the expression of the King's
own wishes, and recalled the example of forgiveness shown in the testament
of Louis XVI. The committee which was appointed to report on the projects
of amnesty brought up a scheme little different from that of La
Bourdonnaye, and added to it the iniquitous proposal that civil actions
should be brought against all condemned persons for the damages sustained
by the State through Napoleon's return. This was to make a mock of the
clause in the Charta which abolished confiscation. The report of the
committee caused the utmost dismay both in France itself and among the
representatives of foreign Powers at Paris. The conflict between the men of
reaction and the Government had openly broken out; Richelieu's Ministry,
the guarantee of peace, seemed to be on the point of falling. On the 2nd of
January, 1816, the Chamber proceeded to discuss the Bill of the Government
and the amendments of the committee. The debate lasted four days; it was
only by the repeated use of the King's own name that the Ministers
succeeded in gaining a majority of nine votes against the two principal
categories of exception appended to the amnesty by their opponents. The
proposal to restore confiscation under the form of civil actions was
rejected by a much greater majority, but on the vote affecting the
regicides the Government was defeated. This indeed was considered of no
great moment. Richelieu, content with having averted measures which would
have exposed several hundred persons to death, exile, or pecuniary ruin,
consented to banish from France the regicides who had acknowledged
Napoleon, along with the thirty-eight persons named in the second list of
July 24th. Among other well-known men, Carnot, who had rendered such great
services to his country, went to die in exile. Of the seventeen companions
of Ney and Labédoyère in the first list of July 24th, most had escaped from
France; one alone suffered death. [269] But the persons originally excluded
from the amnesty and the regicides exiled by the Assembly formed but a
small part of those on whom the vengeance of the Royalists fell; for it was
provided that the amnesty-law should apply to no one against whom
proceedings had been taken before the formal promulgation of the law. The
prisons were already crowded with accused persons, who thus remained
exposed to punishment; and after the law had actually passed the Chamber,
telegraph-signals were sent over the country by Clarke, the Minister of
War, ordering the immediate accusation of several others. One distinguished
soldier at least, General Travot, was sentenced to death on proceedings
thus instituted between the passing and the promulgation of the law of
amnesty. [270] Executions, however, were not numerous except in the south
of France, but an enormous number of persons were imprisoned or driven from
their homes, some by judgment of the law-courts, some by the exercise of
the powers conferred on the administration by the law of Public Security.
[271] The central government indeed had less part in this species of
persecution than the Préfets and other local authorities, though within
their own departments Clarke and Vaublanc set an example which others were
not slow to follow. Royalist committees were formed all over the country,
and assumed the same kind of irregular control over the officials of their
districts as had been practised by the Jacobin committees of 1793.
Thousands of persons employed in all grades of the public service, in
schools and colleges as well as in the civil administration, in the
law-courts as well as in the army and navy, were dismissed from their
posts. The new-comers were professed agents of the reaction; those who were
permitted to retain their offices strove to outdo their colleagues in their
renegade zeal for the new order. It was seen again, as it had been seen
under the Republic and under the Empire, that if virtue has limits,
servility has none. The same men who had hunted down the peasant for
sheltering his children from Napoleon's conscription now hunted down those
who were stigmatised as Bonapartists. The clergy threw in their lot with
the victorious party, and denounced to the magistrates their parishioners
who treated them with disrespect. [272] Darker pages exist in French
history than the reaction of 1815, none more contemptible. It is the
deepest condemnation of the violence of the Republic and the despotism of
the Empire that the generation formed by it should have produced the class
who could exhibit, and the public who could tolerate, the prodigies of
baseness which attended the second Bourbon restoration.

[The reactionists adopt Parliamentary theory.]

Within the Chamber of Deputies the Ultra-Royalist majority had gained
Parliamentary experience in the debates on the Amnesty Bill and the Law of
Public Security: their own policy now took a definite shape, and to
outbursts of passion there succeeded the attempt to realise ideas. Hatred
of the Revolution and all its works was still the dominant impulse of the
Assembly; but whatever may have been the earlier desire of the
Ultra-Royalist noblesse, it was no longer their intention to restore the
political system that existed before 1789. They would in that case have
desired to restore absolute monarchy, and to surrender the power which
seemed at length to have fallen into the hands of their own class. With
Artois on the throne this might have been possible, for Artois, though heir
to the crown, was still what he had been in his youth, the chief of a
party: with Louis XVIII. and Richelieu at the head of the State, the
Ultra-Royalists became the adversaries of royal prerogative and the
champions of the rights of Parliament. Before the Revolution the noblesse
had possessed privileges; it had not possessed political power. The
Constitution of 1814 had unexpectedly given it, under representative forms,
the influence denied to it under the old monarchy. New political vistas
opened; and the men who had hitherto made St. Louis and Henry IV. the
subject of their declamations, now sought to extend the rights of
Parliament to the utmost, and to perpetuate in succeeding assemblies the
rule of the present majority. An electoral law favourable to the great
landed proprietors was the first necessity. This indeed was but a means to
an end; another and a greater end might be attained directly, the
restoration of a landed Church, and of the civil and social ascendancy of
the clergy.

[Ecclesiastical schemes of the reaction.]

It had been admitted by King Louis XVIII. that the clause in the Charta
relating to elections required modification, and on this point the
Ultra-Royalists in the Chamber were content to wait for the proposals of
the Government. In their ecclesiastical policy they did not maintain the
same reserve. Resolutions in favour of the State-Church were discussed in
the form of petitions to be presented to the Crown. It was proposed to make
the clergy, as they had been before the Revolution, the sole keepers of
registers of birth and marriage; to double the annual payment made to them
by the State; to permit property of all kinds to be acquired by the Church
by gift or will; to restore all Church lands not yet sold by the State;
and, finally, to abolish the University of France, and to place all schools
and colleges throughout the country under the control of the Bishops. One
central postulate not only passed the Chamber, but was accepted by the
Government and became law. Divorce was absolutely abolished; and for two
generations after 1816 no possible aggravation of wrong sufficed in France
to release either husband or wife from the mockery of a marriage-tie. The
power to accept donations or legacies was granted to the clergy, subject,
however, in every case to the approval of the Crown. The allowance made to
them out of the revenues of the State was increased by the amount of
certain pensions as they should fall in, a concession which fell very far
short of the demands of the Chamber. In all, the advantages won for the
Church were scarcely proportioned to the zeal displayed in its cause. The
most important question, the disposal of the unsold Church lands, remained
to be determined when the Chamber should enter upon the discussion of the

[Electoral Bill, Dec. 18, 1815.]

The Electoral Bill of the Government, from which the Ultra-Royalists
expected so much, was introduced at the end of the year 1815. It showed in
a singular manner the confusion of ideas existing within the Ministry as to
the nature of the Parliamentary liberty now supposed to belong to France.
The ex-préfet Vaublanc, to whom the framing of the measure was entrusted,
though he imagined himself purged from the traditions of Napoleonism, could
conceive of no relation between the executive and the legislative power but
that which exists between a substance and its shadow. It never entered his
mind that the representative institutions granted by the Charta were
intended to bring an independent force to bear upon the Government, or that
the nation should be treated as more than a fringe round the compact and
lasting body of the administration. The language in which Vaublanc
introduced his measure was grotesquely candid. Montesquieu, he said, had
pointed out that powers must be subordinate; therefore the electoral power
must be controlled by the King's Government. [273] By the side of the
electors in the Canton and the Department there was accordingly placed, in
the Ministerial scheme, an array of officials numerous enough to carry the
elections, if indeed they did not actually outnumber the private voters.
The franchise was confined to the sixty richest persons in each Canton:
these, with the officials of the district, were to elect the voters of the
Department, who, with a similar contingent of officials, were to choose the
Deputies. Re-affirming the principle laid down in the Constitution of 1795
and repeated in the Charta, Vaublanc proposed that a fifth part of the
Assembly should retire each year.

[Counter-project of Villèle.]

If the Minister had intended to give the Ultra-Royalists the best possible
means of exalting the peculiar policy of their class into something like a
real defence of liberty, he could not have framed a more fitting measure.
The creation of constituent bodies out of mayors, crown-advocates, and
justices of the peace, was described, and with truth, as a mere Napoleonic
juggle. The limitation of the franchise to a fixed number of rich persons
was condemned as illiberal and contrary to the spirit of the Charta: the
system of yearly renovation by fifths, which threatened to curtail the
reign of the present majority, was attributed to the dread of any complete
expression of public opinion. It was evident that the Bill of the
Government would either be rejected or altered in such a manner as to give
it a totally different character. In the Committee of the Chamber which
undertook the task of drawing up amendments, the influence was first felt
of a man who was soon to become the chief and guiding spirit of the
Ultra-Royalist party. M. de Villèle, spokesman of the Committee, had in his
youth been an officer in the navy of Louis XVI. On the dethronement of the
King he had quitted the service, and settled in the Isle of Bourbon, where
he gained some wealth and an acquaintance with details of business and
finance rare among the French landed gentry. Returning to France under the
Empire, he took up his abode near Toulouse, his native place, and was made
Mayor of that city on Napoleon's second downfall. Villèle's politics gained
a strong and original colour from his personal experience and the character
of the province in which he lived. The south was the only part of France
known to him. There the reactionary movement of 1815 had been a really
popular one, and the chief difficulty of the Government, at the end of the
Hundred Days, had been to protect the Bonapartists from violence. Villèle
believed that throughout France the wealthier men among the peasantry were
as ready to follow the priests and nobles as they were in Provence and La
Vendée. His conception of the government of the future was the rule of a
landed aristocracy, resting, in its struggle against monarchical
centralisation and against the Liberalism of the middle class, on the
conservative and religious instincts of the peasantry. Instead of excluding
popular forces, Villèle welcomed them as allies. He proposed to lower the
franchise to one-sixth of the sum named in the Charta, and, while retaining
a system of double-election, to give a vote in the primary assemblies to
every Frenchman paying annual taxes to the amount of fifty francs. In
constituencies so large as to include all the more substantial peasantry,
while sufficiently limited to exclude the ill-paid populace in towns,
Villèle believed that the Church and the noblesse would on the whole
control the elections. In the interest of the present majority he rejected
the system of renovation by fifths proposed by the Government, and demanded
that the present Chamber should continue unchanged until its dissolution,
and the succeeding Chamber be elected entire.

[Result of debates on Electoral Bill.]

Villèle's scheme, if carried, would in all probability have failed at the
first trial. The districts in which the reaction of 1815 was popular were
not so large as he supposed: in the greater part of France the peasantry
would not have obeyed the nobles except under intimidation. This was
suspected by the majority, in spite of the confident language in which they
spoke of the will of the nation as identical with their own. Villèle's
boldness alarmed them: they anticipated that these great constituencies of
peasants, if really left masters of the elections, would be more likely to
return a body of Jacobins and Bonapartists than one of hereditary
landlords. It was not necessary, however, to sacrifice the well-sounding
principle of a low franchise, for the democratic vote at the first stage of
the elections might effectively be neutralised by putting the second stage
into the hands of the chief proprietors. The Assembly had in fact only to
imitate the example of the Government, and to appoint a body of persons who
should vote, as of right, by the side of the electors chosen in the primary
assemblies. The Government in its own interest had designated a troop of
officials as electors: the Assembly, on the contrary, resolved that in the
Electoral College of each Department, numbering in all about 150 persons,
the fifty principal landowners of the Department should be entitled to
vote, whether they had been nominated by the primary constituencies or not.
Modified by this proviso, the project of Villèle passed the Assembly. The
Government saw that under the disguise of a series of amendments a measure
directly antagonistic to their own had been carried. The franchise had been
altered; the real control of the elections placed in the hands of the very
party which was now in open opposition to the King and his Ministers. No
compromise was possible between the law proposed by the Government and that
passed by the Assembly. The Government appealed to the Chamber of Peers.
The Peers threw out the amendments of the Lower House. A provisional
measure was then introduced by Richelieu for the sake of providing France
with at least some temporary rule for the conduct of elections. It failed;
and the constitutional legislation of the country came to a dead-lock,
while the Government and the Assembly stood face to face, and it became
evident that one or the other must fall. The Ministers of the Great Powers
at Paris, who watched over the restored dynasty, debated whether or not
they should recommend the King to resort to the extreme measure of a

[Contest on the Budget.]

[The Chambers prorogued, April 29.]

The Electoral Bill was not the only object of conflict between Richelieu's
Ministry and the Chamber, nor indeed the principal one. The Budget excited
fiercer passions, and raised greater issues. It was for no mere scheme of
finance that the Government had to fight, but against a violation of public
faith which would have left France insolvent and creditless in the face of
the Powers who still held its territory in pledge. The debt incurred by the
nation since 1813 was still unfunded. That part of it which had been raised
before the summer of 1814 had been secured by law upon the unsold forests
formerly belonging to the Church, and upon the Communal lands which
Napoleon had made the property of the State: the remainder, which included
the loans made during the Hundred Days, had no specified security. It was
now proposed by the Government to place the whole of the unfunded debt upon
the same level, and to provide for its payment by selling the so-called
Church forests. The project excited the bitterest opposition on the side of
the Count of Artois and his friends. If there was one object which the
clerical and reactionary party pursued with religious fervour, it was the
restoration of the Church lands: if there was one class which they had no
scruple in impoverishing, it was the class that had lent