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Title: Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Volume III.
Author: Scott, Walter
Language: English
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VOL. 3

[Illustration: Hotel de Ville. Paris]





  CHAP. XXV.--Increasing Jealousies betwixt France and
  England--Encroachments on the part of the former--Instructions given
  by the First Consul to his Commercial Agents--Orders issued by the
  English Ministers--Peltier's celebrated Royalist Publication,
  L'Ambigu--Peltier tried for a Libel against the First Consul--found
  Guilty--Angry Discussions respecting the Treaty of
  Amiens--Malta--Report of Sebastiani--Resolutions of the British
  Government--Conferences betwixt Buonaparte and Lord
  Whitworth--Britain declares War against France on 18th May, 1803,    1

  CHAP. XXVI.--St. Domingo--The Negroes split into parties under
  different Chiefs--Toussaint L'Ouverture the most distinguished of
  these--Appoints a Consular Government--France sends an Expedition
  against St. Domingo, under General Leclerc, in December,
  1801--Toussaint submits--He is sent to France, where he dies--The
  French are assaulted by the Negroes--Leclerc is succeeded by
  Rochambeau--The French finally obliged to capitulate to an English
  squadron--Buonaparte's scheme to consolidate his power--The Consular
  Guard augmented--Legion of Honour--Opposition formed against the
  Consular Government--Application to the Count de Provence (Louis
  XVIII.),                                                            16

  CHAP. XXVII.--Renewal of the War--England lays an Embargo on French
  Vessels--Napoleon retaliates by detaining British Subjects--Effects
  of this unprecedented Measure--Hanover and other places occupied by
  the French--Scheme of Invasion renewed--Napoleon's
  Preparations--Defensive Measures of England,                        27

  CHAP. XXVIII.--Disaffection begins to arise against Napoleon among
  the Soldiery--Purpose of setting up Moreau against him--Character of
  Moreau--Causes of his Estrangement from Buonaparte--Pichegru--The
  Duke d'Enghien--Georges Cadoudal, Pichegru, and other Royalists,
  landed in France--Desperate Enterprise of Georges--Defeated--Arrest
  of Moreau--of Pichegru--and Georges--Captain Wright--Duke d'Enghien
  seized at Strasburg--Hurried to Paris--Transferred to
  Vincennes--Tried by a Military Commission--Condemned--and
  Executed--Universal Horror of France and Europe--Buonaparte's
  Vindication of his Conduct--His Defence considered--Pichegru found
  dead in his Prison--Attempt to explain his Death by charging him
  with Suicide--Captain Wright found with his Throat cut--A similar
  Attempt made--Georges and other Conspirators Tried--Condemned--and
  Executed--Royalists Silenced--Moreau sent into Exile,               38

  CHAP. XXIX.--General Indignation of Europe in consequence of the
  Murder of the Duke d'Enghien--Russia complains to Talleyrand of the
  Violation of Baden--and, along with Sweden, Remonstrates in a Note
  laid before the German Diet--but without effect--Charges brought by
  Buonaparte against Mr. Drake and Mr. Spencer Smith--who are
  accordingly Dismissed from the Courts of Stuttgard and
  Munich--Seizure--Imprisonment--and Dismissal of Sir George Rumbold,
  the British Envoy at Lower Saxony--Treachery attempted against Lord
  Elgin, by the Agents of Buonaparte--Details--Defeated by the
  Exemplary Prudence of that Nobleman--These Charges brought before
  the House of Commons--and peremptorily Denied by the Chancellor of
  the Exchequer,                                                      57

  CHAP. XXX.--Napoleon meditates a change of title from Chief Consul
  to Emperor--A Motion to this purpose brought forward in the
  Tribunate--Opposed by Carnot--Adopted by the Tribunate and
  Senate--Outline of the New System--Coldly received by the
  People--Napoleon visits Boulogne, Aix-la-Chapelle, and the Frontiers
  of Germany, where he is received with respect--The Coronation--Pius
  VII. is summoned from Rome to perform the Ceremony at
  Paris--Details--Reflections--Changes that took place in
  Italy--Napoleon appointed Sovereign of Italy, and Crowned at
  Milan--Genoa annexed to France,                                     63

  CHAP. XXXI.--Napoleon addresses a Second Letter to the King of
  England personally--Answered by the British Secretary of State to
  Talleyrand--Alliance formed betwixt Russia and England--Prussia
  keeps aloof, and the Emperor Alexander visits Berlin--Austria
  prepares for War, and marches an Army into Bavaria--Her impolicy in
  prematurely commencing Hostilities, and in her Conduct to
  Bavaria--Unsoldierlike Conduct of the Austrian General
  Mack--Buonaparte is joined by the Electors of Bavaria and
  Wirtemberg, and the Duke of Baden--Skilful Manœuvres of the
  French Generals, and successive losses of the Austrians--Napoleon
  violates the Neutrality of Prussia, by marching through Anspach and
  Bareuth--Further Losses of the Austrian Leaders, and consequent
  Disunion among them--Mack is cooped up in Ulm--Issues a formidable
  Declaration on the 16th October--and surrenders on the following
  day--Fatal Results of this Man's Poltroonery, want of Skill, and
  probable Treachery,                                                 79

  CHAP. XXXII.--Position of the French Armies--Napoleon advances
  towards Vienna--The Emperor Francis leaves his Capital--French
  enter Vienna on 13th November--Review of the French Successes in
  Italy and the Tyrol--Schemes of Napoleon to force on a General
  Battle--Battle of Austerlitz is fought on the 2d December, and the
  combined Austro-Russian Armies completely Defeated--Interview
  betwixt the Emperor of Austria and Napoleon--The Emperor Alexander
  retreats towards Russia--Treaty of Presburgh signed on the 26th
  December--Its Conditions--Fate of the King of Sweden--and of the Two
  Sicilies,                                                           95

  CHAP. XXXIII.--Relative situations of France and
  England--Hostilities commenced with Spain, by the Stoppage, by
  Commodore Moore, of four Spanish Galleons, when three of their
  escort were taken, and one blew up--Napoleon's Plan of Invasion
  stated and discussed--John Clerk of Eldin's great System of Breaking
  the Line, explained--The French Admiral, Villeneuve, forms a
  junction with the Spanish Fleet under Gravina--Attacked and Defeated
  by Sir Robert Calder--Nelson appointed to the Command in the
  Mediterranean--BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR, fought 21st October, 1805--Death
  of Nelson--Behaviour of Napoleon on learning the Intelligence of
  this signal Defeat--Villeneuve commits Suicide--Address of
  Buonaparte to the Legislative Body--Statement of M. de Champagny on
  the Internal Improvements of France--Elevation of Napoleon's
  Brothers, Louis and Joseph, to the Thrones of Holland and
  Naples--Principality of Lucca conferred on Eliza, the eldest Sister
  of Buonaparte, and that of Guastalla on Pauline, the youngest--Other
  Alliances made by his family--Napoleon appoints a new Hereditary
  Nobility--Converts from the old Noblesse anxiously sought for and
  liberally rewarded--Confederation of the Rhine established, and
  Napoleon appointed Protector--The Emperor of Austria lays aside the
  Imperial Crown of Germany, retaining only the Title of Emperor of
  Austria--Vacillating and Impolitic Conduct of Prussia,             111

  CHAP. XXXIV.--Death of Pitt--He is succeeded by Fox as Prime
  Minister--Negotiation with France--The Earl of Lauderdale sent to
  Paris as the British Negotiator--Negotiation broken off, in
  consequence of the refusal of England to cede Sicily to
  France--Temporizing Policy of Prussia--An attempt made by her to
  form a Confederacy in opposition to that of the Rhine, defeated by
  Napoleon--General Disposition of the Prussians to War--Legal Murder
  of Palm, a Bookseller--The Emperor Alexander again visits
  Berlin--Prussia begins to arm in August 1806, and after some
  Negotiation, takes the field in October, under the Duke of
  Brunswick--Impolicy of the Plans of the Campaign--Details--Action at
  Saalfeld--Battle of Auerstadt, or Jena, on 14th October--Duke of
  Brunswick mortally wounded--Consequences of this total
  Defeat--Buonaparte takes possession of Berlin on the
  25th--Situations of Austria and Prussia, after their several
  Defeats--Reflections on the fall of Prussia,                       137

  CHAP. XXXV.--Ungenerous Conduct of Buonaparte to the Duke of
  Brunswick--The approach of the French Troops to Brunswick compels
  the dying Prince to cause himself to be carried to Altona, where he
  expires--Oath of revenge taken by his son--At Potsdam and Berlin,
  the proceedings of Napoleon are equally cruel and vindictive--His
  Clemency towards the Prince of Hatzfeld--His Treatment of the
  Lesser Powers--Jerome Buonaparte--Seizure of Hamburgh--Berlin
  Decrees against British Commerce--Napoleon rejects all Application
  from the Continental Commercial Towns to Relax or Repeal
  them--Commerce, nevertheless, flourishes in spite of them--Second
  anticipation called for of the Conscription for 1807--The King of
  Prussia applies for an Armistice, which is clogged with such harsh
  Terms, that he refuses them,                                       162

  CHAP. XXXVI.--Retrospect of the Partition of Poland--Napoleon
  receives Addresses from Poland, which he evades--He advances into
  Poland, Bennigsen Retreating before him--Character of the Russian
  Soldiery--The Cossacks--Engagement at Pultusk, on 26th November,
  terminating to the disadvantage of the French--Bennigsen continues
  his Retreat--The French go into Winter Quarters--Bennigsen appointed
  Commander-in-chief in the place of Kaminskoy, who shows symptoms of
  Insanity--He resumes Offensive Operations--Battle of Eylau, 8th
  February, 1807--Claimed as a Victory by both Parties--The loss on
  both sides amounts to 50,000 men killed, the greater part
  Frenchmen--Bennigsen Retreats upon Königsberg--Napoleon offers
  favourable terms for an Armistice to the King of Prussia, who
  refuses to Treat, save for a General Peace--Napoleon falls back to
  the line of the Vistula--Dantzick is besieged, and
  Surrenders--Russian Army is poorly recruited--the French
  powerfully--Actions during the Summer--Battle of Heilsberg, and
  Retreat of the Russians--Battle of Friedland, 14th June--An
  Armistice takes place on the 23d,                                  174

  CHAP. XXXVII.--British Expedition to Calabria, under Sir John
  Stuart--Character of the People--Opposed by General Reynier--Battle
  of Maida, 4th July, 1806--Defeat of the French--Calabria evacuated
  by the British--Erroneous Commercial Views, and Military Plans, of
  the British Ministry--Unsuccessful Attack on Buenos Ayres--General
  Whitelocke--is Cashiered--Expedition against Turkey, and its
  Dependencies--Admiral Duckworth's Squadron sent against
  Constantinople--Passes and repasses the Dardanelles, without
  accomplishing anything--Expedition against Alexandria--Rosetta
  attacked--British Troops defeated, and withdrawn from Egypt,
  September, 1807--Curaçoa and Cape of Good Hope taken, by
  England--British Expedition against Copenhagen--its Citadel, Forts,
  and Fleet, surrendered to the British--Effects of this proceeding
  upon France and Russia--Coalition of France, Russia, Austria, and
  Prussia, against British Commerce,                                 206

  CHAP. XXXVIII.--View of the Internal Government of Napoleon at the
  period of the Peace of Tilsit--The Tribunate abolished--Council of
  State--Prefectures--Their nature and object described--The Code
  Napoleon--Its Provisions--Its Merits and Defects--Comparison betwixt
  that Code and the Jurisprudence of England--Laudable efforts of
  Napoleon to carry it into effect,                                  218

  CHAP. XXXIX.--System of Education introduced into France by
  Napoleon--National University--its nature and
  objects--Lyceums--Proposed Establishment at Meudon,                249

  CHAP. XL.--Military Details--Plan of the Conscription--Its
  Nature--and Effects--Enforced with unsparing rigour--Its Influence
  upon the General Character of the French Soldiery--New mode of
  Conducting Hostilities introduced by the Revolution--Constitution of
  the French Armies, Forced Marches--_La Maraude_--Its Nature--and
  Effects--on the Enemy's Country, and on the French Soldiers
  themselves--Policy of Napoleon, in his Personal Conduct to his
  Officers and Soldiers--Altered Character of the French Soldiery
  during, and after, the Revolution,                                 252

  CHAP. XLI.--Effects of the Peace of Tilsit--Napoleon's Views of a
  State of Peace--Contrasted with those of England--The Continental
  System--Berlin and Milan Decrees--British Orders in
  Council--Spain--Retrospect of the Relations of that Country with
  France since the Revolution--Godoy--his Influence--Character--and
  Political Views--Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias, applies to Napoleon
  for Aid--Affairs of Portugal--Treaty of Fontainbleau--Departure of
  the Prince Regent for Brazil--Entrance of Junot into Lisbon--His
  unbounded rapacity--Disturbances at Madrid--Ferdinand detected in a
  Plot against his Father, and Imprisoned--King Charles applies to
  Napoleon--Wily Policy of Buonaparte--Orders the French Army to enter
  Spain,                                                             259

  CHAP. XLII.--Pampeluna, Barcelona, Montjouy, and St. Sebastians, are
  fraudulently seized by the French--King Charles proposes to sail for
  South America--Insurrection at Aranjuez--Charles resigns the Crown
  in favour of Ferdinand--Murat enters Madrid--Charles disavows his
  Resignation--General Savary arrives at Madrid--Napoleon's Letter to
  Murat, touching the Invasion of Spain--Ferdinand sets out to meet
  Napoleon--Halts at Vittoria, and learns too late Napoleon's designs
  against him--Joins Buonaparte at Bayonne--Napoleon opens his designs
  to Escoiquiz and Cevallos, both of whom he finds intractable--He
  sends for Charles, his Queen, and Godoy, to Bayonne--Ferdinand is
  induced to Abdicate the Crown in favour of his Father, who resigns
  it next day to Napoleon--This transfer is reluctantly confirmed by
  Ferdinand, who, with his Brothers, is sent to splendid Imprisonment
  at Valençay--Joseph Buonaparte is appointed to the Throne of Spain,
  and joins Napoleon at Bayonne--Assembly of Notables convoked,      272

  CHAP. XLIII.--State of Morals and Manners in Spain--The
  Nobility--The Middle Classes--The Lower Ranks--The indignation of
  the People strongly excited against the French--Insurrection at
  Madrid on the 2d May--Murat proclaims an Amnesty, notwithstanding
  which, many Spanish prisoners are put to Death--King Charles
  appoints Murat Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom, and Ferdinand's
  Resignation of the Throne is announced--Murat unfolds the Plan of
  Government to the Council of Castile, and Addresses of Submission
  are sent to Buonaparte from various quarters--Notables appointed to
  meet at Bayonne on 15th June--The Flame of Resistance becomes
  Universal throughout Spain,                                        289

  CHAP. XLIV.--Plans of Defence of the Spanish Juntas--Defeated by the
  ardour of the Insurrectionary Armies--Cruelty of the French Troops,
  and Inveteracy of the Spaniards--Successes of the Invaders--Defeat
  of Rio Secco--Exultation of Napoleon--Joseph enters Madrid--His
  Reception--Duhesme compelled to Retreat to Barcelona, and Moncey
  from before Valencia--Defeat of Dupont by Castanos at Baylen--His
  Army Surrenders Prisoners of War--Effects of this Victory and
  Capitulation--Unreasonable Expectations of the British
  Public--Joseph leaves Madrid, and Retires to Vittoria--Defence of
  Zaragossa,                                                         299

  CHAP. XLV.--Zeal of Britain with regard to the Spanish struggle--It
  is Resolved to send an Expedition to Portugal--Retrospect of what
  had passed in that Country--Portuguese Assembly of Notables summoned
  to Bayonne--Their Singular Audience of Buonaparte--Effects of the
  Spanish Success on Portugal--Sir Arthur Wellesley--His Character as
  a General--Despatched at the Head of the Expedition to
  Portugal--Attacks and Defeats the French at Roriça--Battle and
  Victory of Vimeiro--Sir Harry Burrard Neale assumes the Command, and
  frustrates the Results proposed by Sir Arthur Wellesley from the
  Battle--Sir Harry Burrard is superseded by Sir Hew
  Dalrymple--Convention of Cintra--Its Unpopularity in England--A
  Court of Inquiry is held,                                          310

  CHAP. XLVI.--Duplicity of Buonaparte on his return to
  Paris--Official Statements in the Moniteur--Reports issued by
  Champagny, Minister of the Foreign Department--French Relations with
  the different Powers of Europe--Spirit of Resistance throughout
  Germany--Russia--Napoleon and Alexander meet at Erfurt on 27th
  September, and separate in apparent Friendship on 17th
  October--Actual feelings of the Autocrats--Their joint Letter to the
  King of Great Britain proposing a General Peace on the Principle of
  _uti possidetis_--Why rejected--Procedure in
  Spain--Catalonia--Return of Romana to Spain--Armies of Blake,
  Castanos, and Palafox--Expedition of General Moore--His desponding
  Views of the Spanish Cause--His Plans--Defeat of Blake--and
  Castanos--Treachery of Morla--Sir John Moore Retreats to
  Corunna--Disasters on the March--Battle of Corunna, and Death of Sir
  John Moore,                                                        322

  CHAP. XLVII.--General Belliard occupies Madrid--Napoleon returns to
  France--Cause of his hurried Return--View of the Circumstances
  leading to a Rupture with Austria--Feelings of Russia upon this
  occasion--Secret intrigues of Talleyrand to preserve Peace--Immense
  exertions made by Austria--Counter efforts of Buonaparte--The
  Austrian army enters Bavaria, 9th April, 1809--Napoleon hastens to
  meet them--Austrians defeated at Abensberg on the 20th--and at
  Eckmühl on the 22d--They are driven out of Ratisbon on the 23d--The
  Archduke Charles Retreats into Bohemia--Napoleon pushes forward to
  Vienna, which, after a brief Defence, is occupied by the French on
  the 12th of May--Retrospect of the events of the War in Poland,
  Italy, the North of Germany, and the Tyrol--Enterprises of
  Schill--Of the Duke of Brunswick Oels--Movements in the
  Tyrol--Character and Manners of the Tyrolese--Retreat of the
  Archduke John into Hungary,                                        343

  CHAP. XLVIII.--Position of the French and Austrian Armies after the
  Battle of Eckmühl--Napoleon crosses the Danube--Great Conflict at
  Asperne, when victory was claimed by both Parties--Battle of
  Wagram, fought 6th July--Armistice concluded at Znaim--Close of the
  Career of Schill and the Duke of Brunswick Oels--Defence of the
  Tyrol--Its final unfortunate Result--Growing Resistance throughout
  Germany--Its effects on Buonaparte--He Publishes a singular
  Manifesto in the Moniteur,                                         360


  NO. I.--Instructions by Napoleon to Talleyrand, Prince of
  Beneventum,                                                        377

  NO. II.--Further Particulars concerning the Arrest, Trial, and Death
  of the Duke d'Enghien,                                             378




    _Increasing Jealousies betwixt France and England--Encroachments on
    the part of the former--Instructions given by the First Consul to
    his Commercial Agents--Orders issued by the English
    Ministers--Peltier's celebrated Royalist Publication,
    L'Ambigu--Peltier tried for a Libel against the First Consul--found
    Guilty--Angry Discussions respecting the Treaty of
    Amiens--Malta--Report of Sebastiani--Resolution of the British
    Government--Conferences betwixt Buonaparte and Lord
    Whitworth--Britain declares War against France on 18th May, 1803._

These advances towards universal empire, made during the very period
when the pacific measures adopted by the preliminaries, and afterwards
confirmed by the treaty of Amiens, were in the act of being carried into
execution, excited the natural jealousy of the people of Britain. They
had not been accustomed to rely much on the sincerity of the French
nation; nor did the character of its present chief, so full of ambition,
and so bold and successful in his enterprises, incline them to feelings
of greater security. On the other hand, Buonaparte seems to have felt as
matter of personal offence the jealousy which the British entertained;
and instead of soothing it, as policy dictated, by concessions and
confidence, he showed a disposition to repress, or at least to punish
it, by measures which indicated anger and irritation. There ceased to be
any cordiality of intercourse betwixt the two nations, and they began to
look into the conduct of each other for causes of offence, rather than
for the means of removing it.

The English had several subjects of complaint against France, besides
the general encroachments which she had continued to make on the
liberties of Europe. A law had been made during the times of the wildest
Jacobinism, which condemned to forfeiture every vessel under a hundred
tons burden, carrying British merchandise, and approaching within four
leagues of France. It was now thought proper, that the enforcing a
regulation of so hostile a character, made during a war of unexampled
bitterness, should be the first fruits of returning peace. Several
British vessels were stopped, their captains imprisoned, their cargoes
confiscated, and all restitution refused. Some of these had been driven
on the French coast unwillingly, and by stress of weather; but the
necessity of the case created no exemption. An instance there was of a
British vessel in ballast, which entered Charente, in order to load with
a cargo of brandy. The plates, knives, forks, &c., used by the captain,
being found to be of British manufacture, the circumstance was thought a
sufficient apology for seizing the vessel. These aggressions, repeatedly
made, were not, so far as appears, remedied on the most urgent
remonstrances, and seemed to argue that the French were already acting
on the vexatious and irritating principle which often precedes a war,
but very seldom immediately follows a peace. The conduct of France was
felt to be the more unreasonable and ungracious, as all restrictions on
her commerce, imposed during the war, had been withdrawn on the part of
Great Britain, so soon as the peace was concluded. In like manner, a
stipulation of the treaty of Amiens, providing that all sequestrations
imposed on the property of French or of English, in the two contending
countries, should be removed, was instantly complied with in Britain,
but postponed and dallied with on the part of France.


The above were vexatious and offensive measures, intimating little
respect for the Government of England, and no desire to cultivate her
good will. They were perhaps adopted by the chief consul, in hopes of
inducing Britain to make some sacrifices in order to obtain from his
favour a commercial treaty, the advantages of which, according to his
opinion of the English nation, was a boon calculated to make them
quickly forgive the humiliating restrictions from which it would
emancipate their trade. If this were any part of his policy, he was
ignorant of the nature of the people to whom it was applied. It is the
sluggish ox alone that is governed by a goad. But what gave the deepest
offence and most lively alarm to Britain, was, that while Buonaparte
declined affording the ordinary facilities for English commerce, it was
his purpose, nevertheless, to establish a commercial agent in every part
of the British dominions, whose ostensible duty was to watch over that
very trade which the first consul showed so little desire to encourage,
but whose real business resembled that of an accredited and privileged
spy. These official persons were not only, by their instructions,
directed to collect every possible information on commercial points, but
also to furnish a plan of the ports of each district, with all the
soundings, and to point out with what wind vessels could go out and
enter with most ease, and at what draught of water the harbour might be
entered by ships of burden. To add to the alarming character of such a
set of agents, it was found that those invested with the office were
military men and engineers.

Consuls thus nominated had reached Britain, but had not, in general,
occupied the posts assigned to them, when the British Government,
becoming informed of the duties they were expected to perform, announced
to them, that any one who might repair to a British seaport under such a
character, should be instantly ordered to quit the island. The secrecy
with which these agents had been instructed to conduct themselves was so
great, that one Fauvelet, to whom the office of commercial agent at
Dublin had been assigned, and who had reached the place of his
destination before the nature of the appointment was discovered, could
not be found out by some persons who desired to make an affidavit before
him as consul of France. It can be no wonder that the very worst
impression was made on the public mind of Britain respecting the further
projects of her late enemies, when it was evident that they availed
themselves of the first moments of returning peace to procure, by an
indirect and most suspicious course of proceeding, that species of
information, which would be most useful to France, and most dangerous to
Britain, in the event of a renewed war.

While these grievances and circumstances of suspicion agitated the
English nation, the daily press, which alternately acts upon public
opinion, and is reacted upon by it, was loud and vehement. The personal
character of the chief consul was severely treated; his measures of
self-aggrandisement arraigned, his aggressions on the liberty of France,
of Italy, and especially of Switzerland, held up to open day; while
every instance of petty vexation and oppression practised upon British
commerce or British subjects, was quoted as expressing his deep
resentment against the only country which possessed the will and the
power to counteract his acquiring the universal dominion of Europe.

There was at this period in Britain a large party of French Royalists,
who, declining to return to France, or falling under the exceptions to
the amnesty, regarded Buonaparte as their personal enemy, as well as the
main obstacle to the restoration of the Bourbons, to which, but for him
only, the people of France seemed otherwise more disposed than at any
time since the commencement of the Revolution. These gentlemen found an
able and active advocate of their cause in Monsieur Peltier, an
emigrant, a determined royalist, and a man of that ready wit and
vivacity of talent which is peculiarly calculated for periodical
writing. He had opposed the democrats during the early days of the
Revolution, by a publication termed the "Acts of the Apostles;"[1] in
which he held up to ridicule and execration the actions, pretensions,
and principles of their leaders, with such success as induced Brissot to
assert, that he had done more harm to the Republican cause than all the
allied armies. At the present crisis, he commenced the publication of a
weekly paper in London, in the French language, called _L'Ambigu_. The
decoration at the top of the sheet was a head of Buonaparte, placed on
the body of a Sphinx. This ornament being objected to after the first
two or three numbers, the Sphinx appeared with the neck truncated; but,
being still decked with the consular emblems, continued to intimate
emblematically the allusion at once to Egypt, and to the ambiguous
character of the first consul. The columns of this paper were dedicated
to the most severe attacks upon Buonaparte and the French Government;
and as it was highly popular, from the general feelings of the English
nation towards both, it was widely dispersed and generally read.

The torrent of satire and abuse poured forth from the English and
Anglo-Gallican periodical press, was calculated deeply to annoy and
irritate the person against whom it was chiefly aimed. In England we are
so much accustomed to see characters the most unimpeachable, nay, the
most venerable, assailed by the daily press, that we account the
individual guilty of folly, who, if he be innocent of giving cause for
the scandal, takes it to heart more than a passenger would mind the
barking of a dog, that yelps at every passing sound. But this is a
sentiment acquired partly by habit, partly by our knowledge, that
unsubstantiated scandal of this sort makes no impression on the public
mind. Such indifference cannot be expected on the part of foreigners,
who, in this particular, resemble horses introduced from neighbouring
counties into the precincts of forest districts, where they are liable
to be stung into madness by a peculiar species of gadfly, to which the
race bred in the country are from habit almost totally indifferent.

If it be thus with foreigners in general, it must be supposed that from
natural impatience of censure, as well as rendered susceptible and
irritable by his course of uninterrupted success, Napoleon Buonaparte
must have winced under the animated and sustained attacks upon his
person and government, which appeared in the English newspapers, and
Peltier's _Ambigu_. He attached at all times, as we have already had
occasion to remark, much importance to the influence of the press, which
in Paris he had taken under his own especial superintendence, and for
which he himself often condescended to compose or correct paragraphs. To
be assailed, therefore, by the whole body of British newspapers, almost
as numerous as their navy, seems to have provoked him to the extremity
of his patience; and resentment of these attacks aggravated the same
hostile sentiments against England, which, from causes of suspicion
already mentioned, had begun to be engendered in the British public
against France and her ruler.

Napoleon, in the meantime, endeavoured to answer in kind, and the
columns of the _Moniteur_ had many an angry and violent passage directed
against England.[2] Answers, replies, and rejoinders passed rapidly
across the Channel, inflaming and augmenting the hostile spirit,
reciprocally entertained by the two countries against each other. But
there was this great disadvantage on Buonaparte's side, that while the
English might justly throw the blame of this scandalous warfare on the
license of a free press, the chief consul could not transfer the
responsibility of the attack on his side; because it was universally
known that the French periodical publications being under the most
severe regulations, nothing could appear in them except what had
received the previous sanction of the government. Every attack upon
England, therefore, which was published in the French papers, was held
to express the personal sentiments of the chief consul, who thus, by
destroying the freedom of the French press, had rendered himself
answerable for every such license as it was permitted to take.

[Sidenote: NOTE BY M. OTTO.]

[Sidenote: July 25.]

It became speedily plain, that Buonaparte could reap no advantage from a
contest in which he was to be the defendant in his own person, and to
maintain a literary warfare with anonymous antagonists. He had recourse,
therefore, to a demand upon the British Government, and after various
representations of milder import, caused his envoy, Monsieur Otto, to
state in an official note the following distinct grievances:--First, the
existence of a deep and continued system to injure the character of the
first consul, and prejudice the effect of his public measures, through
the medium of the press: Secondly, the permission of a part of the
Princes of the House of Bourbon, and their adherents, to remain in
England for the purpose, (it was alleged,) that they might hatch and
encourage schemes against the life and government of the chief consul.
It was therefore categorically demanded, 1st, That the British
Government do put a stop to the publication of the abuse complained of,
as affecting the head of the French Government. 2d, That the emigrants
residing in Jersey be dismissed from England--that the bishops who had
declined to resign their sees be also sent out of the country--that
George Cadoudal be transported to Canada--that the Princes of the House
of Bourbon be advised to repair to Warsaw, where the head of their
family now resided--and, finally, that such emigrants who continued to
wear the ancient badges and decorations of the French court, be also
compelled to leave England. Lest the British ministers should plead,
that the constitution of their country precluded them from gratifying
the first consul in any of these demands, Monsieur Otto forestalled the
objection, by reminding them that the Alien Act gave them full power to
exclude any foreigners from Great Britain at their pleasure.[3]

To this peremptory mandate, Lord Hawkesbury,[4] then minister for
foreign affairs, instructed the British agent, Mr. Merry, to make a
reply, at once firm and conciliatory; avoiding the tone of pique and ill
temper which is plainly to be traced in the French note, yet maintaining
the dignity of the nation he represented. It was observed, that, if the
French Government had reason to complain of the license of the English
journals, the British Government had no less right to be dissatisfied
with the retorts and recriminations which had been poured out from those
of Paris; and that there was this remarkable feature of difference
betwixt them, that the English Ministry neither had, could have, nor
wished to have, any control over the freedom of the British press;
whereas the _Moniteur_, in which the abuse of England had appeared, was
the official organ of the French Government. But, finally, upon this
point, the British Monarch, it was said, would make no concession to any
foreign power, at the expense of the freedom of the press.[5] If what
was published was libellous or actionable, the printers and publishers
were open to punishment, and all reasonable facilities would be afforded
for prosecuting them. To the demands so peremptorily urged, respecting
the emigrants, Lord Hawkesbury replied, by special answers applying to
the different classes, but summed up in the general argument, that his
Majesty neither encouraged them in any scheme against the French
Government, nor did he believe there were any such in existence; and
that while these unfortunate princes and their followers lived in
conformity to the laws of Great Britain, and without affording nations
with whom she was at peace any valid or sufficient cause of complaint,
his Majesty would feel it inconsistent with his dignity, his honour, and
the common laws of hospitality, to deprive them of that protection,
which individuals resident within the British dominions could only
forfeit by their own misconduct.[6]


To render these answers, being the only reply which an English Minister
could have made to the demands of France, in some degree acceptable to
Buonaparte, Peltier was brought to trial[7] for a libel against the
first consul, at the instance of the Attorney-General. He was defended
by Mr. Mackintosh, (now Sir James,)[8] in one of the most brilliant
speeches ever made at bar or in forum, in which the jury were reminded,
that every press on the continent was enslaved, from Palermo to
Hamburgh, and that they were now to vindicate the right we had ever
asserted, to speak of men both at home and abroad, not according to
their greatness, but their crimes.

The defendant was found guilty; but his cause might be considered as
triumphant.[9] Accordingly, every part of the proceedings gave offence
to Buonaparte. He had not desired to be righted by the English law, but
by a vigour beyond the law. The publicity of the trial, the wit and
eloquence of the advocate, were ill calculated to soothe the feelings of
Buonaparte, who knew human nature, and the character of his usurped
power, too well, to suppose that public discussion could be of service
to him.[10] He had demanded darkness, the English Government had
answered by giving him light; he had wished, like those who are
conscious of flaws in their conduct, to suppress all censure of his
measures, and by Peltier's trial, the British ministers had made the
investigation of them a point of legal necessity. The first consul felt
the consciousness that he himself, rather than Peltier,[11] was tried
before the British public, with a publicity which could not fail to
blaze abroad the discussion. Far from conceiving himself obliged by the
species of atonement which had been offered him, he deemed the offence
of the original publication was greatly aggravated, and placed it now
directly to the account of the English ministers, of whom he could never
be made to understand, that they had afforded him the only remedy in
their power.

The paragraphs hostile to England in the _Moniteur_ were continued; an
English paper called the _Argus_, conducted by Irish refugees, was
printed at Paris, under permission of the Government, for the purpose
of assailing Britain with additional abuse, while the fire was returned
from the English side of the Channel, with double vehemence and tenfold
success. These were ominous precursors to a state of peace, and more
grounds of misunderstanding were daily added.

The new discussions related chiefly to the execution of the treaty of
Amiens, in which the English Government showed no promptitude. Most of
the French colonies, it is true, had been restored; but the Cape, and
the other Batavian settlements, above all, the island of Malta, were
still possessed by the British forces. At common law, if the expression
may be used, England was bound instantly to redeem her engagement, by
ceding these possessions, and thus fulfilling the articles of the
treaty. In equity, she had a good defence; since in policy for herself
and Europe, she was bound to decline the cession at all risks.

The recent acquisitions of France on the continent, afforded the plea of
equity to which we have alluded. It was founded on the principle adopted
at the treaty of Amiens, that Great Britain should, out of her conquests
over the enemy's foreign settlements, retain so much as to
counterbalance, in some measure, the power which France had acquired in
Europe. This principle being once established, it followed that the
compact at Amiens had reference to the then existing state of things;
and since, after that period, France had extended her sway over Italy
and Piedmont, England became thereby entitled to retain an additional
compensation, in consequence of France's additional acquisitions. This
was the true and simple position of the case; France had innovated upon
the state of things which existed when the treaty was made, and England
might, therefore, in justice, claim an equitable right to innovate upon
the treaty itself, by refusing to make surrender of what had been
promised in other and very different circumstances. Perhaps it had been
better to fix upon this obvious principle, as the ground of declining to
surrender such British conquests as were not yet given up, unless France
consented to relinquish the power which she had usurped upon the
continent. This, however, would have produced instant war; and the
Ministers were naturally loth to abandon the prospect of prolonging the
peace which had been so lately established, or to draw their pen through
the treaty of Amiens, while the ink with which it was written was still
moist. They yielded, therefore, in a great measure. The Cape of Good
Hope and the Dutch colonies were restored, Alexandria was evacuated, and
the Ministers confined their discussions with France to the island of
Malta only; and, condescending still farther, declared themselves ready
to concede even this last point of discussion, providing a sufficient
guarantee should be obtained for this important citadel of the
Mediterranean being retained in neutral hands. The Order itself was in
no respect adequate to the purpose; and as to the proposed Neapolitan
garrison, (none of the most trustworthy in any case,) France, by her
encroachments in Italy, had become so near and so formidable a neighbour
to the King of Naples, that, by a threat of invasion of his capital, she
might have compelled him to deliver up Malta upon a very brief notice.
All this was urged on the part of Britain. The French Ministry, on the
other hand, pressed for literal execution of the treaty. After some
diplomatic evasions had been resorted to, it appeared as if the cession
could be no longer deferred, when a publication appeared in the
_Moniteur_ [Jan. 30, 1803] which roused to a high pitch the suspicions
as well as the indignation of the British nation.


The publication alluded to was a report of General Sebastiani. This
officer had been sent as the emissary of the first consul, to various
Mahommedan courts in Asia and Africa, in all of which it seems to have
been his object, not only to exalt the greatness of his master, but to
misrepresent and degrade the character of England. He had visited Egypt,
of which, with its fortresses, and the troops that defended them, he had
made a complete survey. He then waited upon Djezzar Pacha, and gives a
flattering account of his reception, and of the high esteem in which
Djezzar held the first consul, whom he had so many reasons for wishing
well to. At the Ionian Islands, he harangued the natives, and assured
them of the protection of Buonaparte. The whole report is full of the
most hostile expressions towards England, and accuses General Stuart of
having encouraged the Turks to assassinate the writer. Wherever
Sebastiani went, he states himself to have interfered in the factions
and quarrels of the country; he inquired into its forces; renewed old
intimacies, or made new ones with leading persons; enhanced his master's
power, and was liberal in promises of French aid. He concludes, that a
French army of six thousand men would be sufficient to conquer Egypt,
and that the Ionian Islands were altogether attached to the French

The publication of this report, which seemed as if Buonaparte were
blazoning forth to the world his unaltered determination to persist in
his Eastern projects of colonization and conquest, would have rendered
it an act of treason in the English Ministers, if, by the cession of
Malta, they had put into his hand, or at least placed within his grasp,
the readiest means of carrying into execution those gigantic schemes of
ambition, which had for their ultimate, perhaps their most desired
object, the destruction of the Indian commerce of Britain.

As it were by way of corollary to the gasconading journal of Sebastiani,
an elaborate account of the forces, and natural advantages of France,
was published at the same period, which, in order that there might be no
doubt concerning the purpose of its appearance at this crisis, was
summed up by the express conclusion, "that Britain was unable to contend
with France single-handed."[13] This tone of defiance, officially
adopted at such a moment, added not a little to the resentment of the
English nation, not accustomed to decline a challenge or endure an

The Court of Britain on the appearance of this Report on the State of
France, together with that of Sebastiani, drawn up and subscribed by an
official agent, containing insinuations totally void of foundation, and
disclosing intrigues inconsistent with the preservation of peace, and
the objects for which peace had been made, declared that the King would
enter into no farther discussion on the subject of Malta, until his
Majesty had received the most ample satisfaction for this new and
singular aggression.[14]

While things were thus rapidly approaching to a rupture, the chief
consul adopted the unusual resolution, of himself entering personally
into conference with the British ambassador. He probably took this
determination upon the same grounds which dictated his contempt of
customary forms, in entering, or attempting to enter, into direct
correspondence with the princes whom he had occasion to treat with. Such
a deviation from the established mode of procedure seemed to mark his
elevation above ordinary rules, and would afford him, he might think, an
opportunity of bearing down the British ambassador's reasoning, by
exhibiting one of those bursts of passion, to which he had been
accustomed to see most men give way.

It would have been more prudent in Napoleon, to have left the conduct of
the negotiation to Talleyrand.[15] A sovereign cannot enter in person
upon such conferences, unless with the previous determination of
adhering precisely and finally to whatever ultimatum he has to propose.
He cannot, without a compromise of dignity, chaffer or capitulate, or
even argue, and of course is incapable of wielding any of the usual, and
almost indispensable weapons of negotiators. If it was Napoleon's
expectation, by one stunning and emphatic declaration of his pleasure,
to beat down all arguments, and confound all opposition, he would have
done wisely to remember, that he was not now, as in other cases, a
general upon a victorious field of battle, dictating terms to a defeated
enemy; but was treating upon a footing of equality with Britain, the
mistress of the seas, possessing strength as formidable as his own,
though of a different character, and whose prince and people were far
more likely to be incensed than intimidated by any menaces which his
passion might throw out.


The character of the English ambassador was as unfavourable for the
chief consul's probable purpose, as that of the nation he represented.
Lord Whitworth was possessed of great experience and sagacity.[16] His
integrity and honour were undoubted; and, with the highest degree of
courage, he had a calm and collected disposition, admirably calculated
to give him the advantage in any discussion with an antagonist of a
fiery, impatient, and over-bearing temper.

We will make no apology for dwelling at unusual length on the
conferences betwixt the first consul and Lord Whitworth, as they are
strikingly illustrative of the character of Buonaparte, and were, in
their consequences, decisive of his fate, and that of the world.

Their first interview of a political nature took place in the Tuileries,
17th February, 1803. Buonaparte, having announced that this meeting was
for the purpose of "making his sentiments known to the King of England
in a clear and authentic manner," proceeded to talk incessantly for the
space of nearly two hours, not without considerable incoherence, his
temper rising as he dwelt on the alleged causes of complaint which he
preferred against England, though not so much or so incautiously as to
make him drop the usual tone of courtesy to the ambassador.

He complained of the delay of the British in evacuating Alexandria and
Malta; cutting short all discussion on the latter subject, by declaring
he would as soon agree to Britain's possessing the suburb of St. Antoine
as that island. He then referred to the abuse thrown upon him by the
English papers, but more especially by those French journals published
in London. He affirmed that Georges and other Chouan chiefs, whom he
accused of designs against his life, received relief or shelter in
England; and that two assassins had been apprehended in Normandy, sent
over by the French emigrants to murder him. This, he said, would be
publicly proved in a court of justice. From this point he diverged to
Egypt, of which he affirmed he could make himself master whenever he had
a mind; but that he considered it too paltry a stake to renew the war
for. Yet, while on this subject, he suffered it to escape him, that the
idea of recovering this favourite colony was only postponed, not
abandoned. "Egypt," he said, "must sooner or later belong to France,
either by the falling to pieces of the Turkish government, or in
consequence of some agreement with the Porte."[17] In evidence of his
peaceable intentions, he asked, what he should gain by going to war,
since he had no means of acting offensively against England, except by
a descent, of which he acknowledged the hazard in the strongest terms.
The chances, he said, were a hundred to one against him; and yet he
declared that the attempt should be made if he were now obliged to go to
war. He extolled the power of both countries. The army of France, he
said, should be soon recruited to four hundred and eighty thousand men;
and the fleets of England were such as he could not propose to match
within the space of ten years at least. United, the two countries might
govern the world, would they but understand each other. Had he found, he
said, the least cordiality on the part of England, she should have had
indemnities assigned her upon the continent, treaties of commerce, all
that she could wish or desire. But he confessed that his irritation
increased daily, "since every gale that blew from England, brought
nothing but enmity and hatred against him."

He then made an excursive digression, in which, taking a review of the
nations of Europe, he contended that England could hope for assistance
from none of them in a war with France. In the total result, he demanded
the instant implement of the treaty of Amiens, and the suppression of
the abuse in the English papers. War was the alternative.

During this excursive piece of declamation, which the first consul
delivered with great rapidity, Lord Whitworth, notwithstanding the
interview lasted two hours, had scarcely time to slide in a few words in
reply or explanation. As he endeavoured to state the new grounds of
mistrust which induced the King of England to demand more advantageous
terms, in consequence of the accession of territory and influence which
France had lately made, Napoleon interrupted him--"I suppose you mean
Piedmont and Switzerland--they are trifling occurrences, which must have
been foreseen while the negotiation was in dependence. You have no right
to recur to them at this time of day." To the hint of indemnities which
might be allotted to England out of the general spoil of Europe, if she
would cultivate the friendship of Buonaparte, Lord Whitworth nobly
answered, that the King of Britain's ambition led him to preserve what
was his, not to acquire that which belonged to others. They parted with
civility, but with a conviction on Lord Whitworth's part, that
Buonaparte would never resign his claim to the possession of Malta.[18]

[Sidenote: March 8.]

The British Ministry were of the same opinion; for a Message was sent
down by his Majesty to the House of Commons, stating, that he had
occasion for additional aid to enable him to defend his dominions, in
case of an encroachment on the part of France. A reason was given,
which injured the cause of the Ministers, by placing the vindication of
their measures upon simulated grounds;--it was stated, that these
apprehensions arose from "military preparations carrying on in the ports
of France and Holland."[19] No such preparations had been complained of
during the intercourse between the ministers of France and England,--in
truth, none such existed to any considerable extent,--and in so far, the
British ministers gave the advantage to the French, by not resting the
cause of their country on the just and true grounds. All, however, were
sensible of the real merits of the dispute, which were grounded on the
grasping and inordinate ambition of the French ruler, and the sentiments
of dislike and irritation with which he seemed to regard Great Britain.

The charge of the pretended naval preparations being triumphantly
refuted by France, Talleyrand was next employed to place before Lord
Whitworth the means which, in case of a rupture, France possessed of
wounding England, not directly indeed, but through the sides of those
states of Europe whom she would most wish to see, if not absolutely
independent, yet unoppressed by military exactions. "It was _natural_,"
a note of this statesman asserted, "that Britain being armed in
consequence of the King's message, France should arm also--that she
should send an army into Holland--form an encampment on the frontiers of
Hanover--continue to maintain troops in Switzerland--march others to the
south of Italy, and, finally, form encampments upon the coast."[20] All
these threats, excepting the last, referred to distant and to neutral
nations, who were not alleged to have themselves given any cause of
complaint to France; but who were now to be subjected to military
occupation and exaction, because Britain desired to see them happy and
independent, and because harassing and oppressing them must be in
proportion unpleasing to her. It was an entirely new principle of
warlike policy, which introduced the oppression of unoffending and
neutral neighbours as a legitimate mode of carrying on war against a
hostile power, against whom there was little possibility of using
measures directly offensive.

Shortly after this note had been lodged, Buonaparte, incensed at the
message of the King to Parliament, seems to have formed the scheme of
bringing the protracted negotiations betwixt France and England to a
point, in a time, place, and manner, equally extraordinary. At a public
court held at the Tuileries, on the 13th March, the chief consul came up
to Lord Whitworth in considerable agitation, and observed aloud, and
within hearing of the circle,--"You are then determined on war?"--and,
without attending to the disclamations of the English ambassador,
proceeded,--"We have been at war for fifteen years--you are determined
on hostility for fifteen years more--and you force me to it."[21] He
then addressed Count Marcow and the Chevalier Azara--"The English wish
for war; but if they draw the sword first, I will be the last to return
it to the scabbard. They do not respect treaties, which henceforth we
must cover with black crape."[22] He then again addressed Lord
Whitworth--"To what purpose are these armaments? Against whom do you
take these measures of precaution? I have not a single ship of the line
in any port in France: But if you arm, I too will take up arms--if you
fight, I will fight--you may destroy France, but you cannot intimidate

"We desire neither the one nor the other," answered Lord Whitworth,
calmly: "We desire to live with her on terms of good intelligence."

"You must respect treaties, then," said Buonaparte, sternly. "Woe to
those by whom they are not respected! They will be accountable for the
consequences to all Europe."

So saying, and repeating his last remark twice over, he retired from the
levee, leaving the whole circle surprised at the want of decency and
dignity which had given rise to such a scene.[23]

This remarkable explosion may be easily explained, if we refer it
entirely to the impatience of a fiery temper, rendered, by the most
extraordinary train of success, morbidly sensitive to any obstacle which
interfered with a favourite plan; and, doubtless, it is not the least
evil of arbitrary power, that he who possesses it is naturally tempted
to mix up his own feelings of anger, revenge, or mortification, in
affairs which ought to be treated under the most calm and impartial
reference to the public good exclusively. But it has been averred by
those who had best opportunity to know Buonaparte, that the fits of
violent passion which he sometimes displayed, were less the bursts of
unrepressed and constitutional irritability, than means previously
calculated upon to intimidate and astound those with whom he was
treating at the time. There may, therefore, have been policy amid the
first consul's indignation, and he may have recollected, that the
dashing to pieces Cobentzel's china jar in the violent scene which
preceded the signing of the treaty of Campo Formio,[24] was completely
successful in its issue. But the condition of Britain was very different
from that of Austria, and he might have broken all the porcelain at St.
Cloud without making the slightest impression on the equanimity of Lord
Whitworth. This "angry parle," therefore, went for nothing, unless in so
far as it was considered as cutting off the faint remaining hope of
peace, and expressing the violent and obstinate temper of the
individual, upon whose pleasure, whether originating in judgment or
caprice, the fate of Europe at this important crisis unhappily depended.
In England, the interview at the Tuileries, where Britain was held to be
insulted in the person of her ambassador, and that in the presence of
the representatives of all Europe, greatly augmented the general spirit
of resentment.[25]

Talleyrand, to whom Lord Whitworth applied for an explanation of the
scene which had occurred, only answered, that the first consul, publicly
affronted, as he conceived himself, desired to exculpate himself in
presence of the ministers of all the powers of Europe.[26] The question
of peace or war came now to turn on the subject of Malta. The retention
of this fortress by the English could infer no danger to France;
whereas, if parted with by them under an insecure guarantee, the great
probability of its falling into the hands of France, was a subject of
the most legitimate jealousy to Britain, who must always have regarded
the occupation of Malta as a preliminary step to the recapture of Egypt.
There seemed policy, therefore, in Napoleon's conceding this point, and
obtaining for France that respite, which, while it regained her colonies
and recruited her commerce, would have afforded her the means of
renewing a navy, which had been almost totally destroyed during the war,
and consequently of engaging England, at some future and propitious
time, on the element which she called peculiarly her own. It was
accordingly supposed to be Talleyrand's opinion, that, by giving way to
England on the subject of Malta, Napoleon ought to lull her suspicions
to sleep.

Yet there were strong reasons, besides the military character of
Buonaparte, which might induce the first consul to break off
negotiation. His empire was founded on the general opinion entertained
of his inflexibility of purpose, and of his unvaried success, alike in
political objects as in the field of battle. Were he to concede the
principle which England now contested with him in the face of Europe, it
would have in a certain degree derogated from the pre-eminence of the
situation he claimed, as autocrat of the civilized world. In that
character he could not recede an inch from pretensions which he had once
asserted. To have allowed that his encroachment on Switzerland and
Piedmont rendered it necessary that he should grant a compensation to
England, by consenting to her retention of Malta, would have been to
grant that Britain had still a right to interfere in the affairs of the
continent, and to point her out to nations disposed to throw off the
French yoke, as a power to whose mediation he still owed some deference.
These reasons were not without force in themselves, and, joined to the
natural impetuosity of Buonaparte's temper, irritated and stung by the
attacks in the English papers, had their weight probably in inducing him
to give way to that sally of resentment, by which he endeavoured to cut
short the debate, as he would have brought up his guard in person to
decide the fate of a long-disputed action.

Some lingering and hopeless attempts were made to carry on negotiations.
The English Ministry lowered their claim of retaining Malta in
perpetuity to their right of holding it for ten years. Buonaparte, on
the other hand, would listen to no modification of the treaty of Amiens,
but offered, as the guarantee afforded by the occupation of Neapolitan
troops was objected to, that the garrison should consist of Russians or
Austrians. To this proposal Britain would not accede. Lord Whitworth
left Paris, and, on the 18th May, 1803, Britain declared war against

Before we proceed to detail the history of this eventful struggle, we
must cast our eyes backwards, and review some events of importance which
had happened in France since the conclusion of the treaty of Amiens.


[1] The "Actes des Apôtres," which appeared in 1790, and in the editing
of which Peltier was assisted by Riverol, Champcenetz, and the Viscount
Mirabeau, was principally directed against the measures of the
Constituent Assembly.

[2] "I made the _Moniteur_ the soul and life-blood of my government; it
was the intermediate instrument of my communications with public
opinion, both at home and abroad. Did any question arise respecting
certain grand political combinations, or some delicate points of
diplomacy? the objects were indirectly hinted at in the _Moniteur_. They
instantly attracted universal attention, and became the topics of
general investigation. The _Moniteur_ has been reproached for the
acrimony and virulence of its notes against the enemy: but before we
condemn them, we are bound to take into consideration the benefits they
may have produced, the anxiety with which they occasionally perplexed
the enemy, the terror with which they struck a hesitating
cabinet."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. iv., p. 186.

[3] Annual Register, vol. xlv., p. 659.

[4] Afterwards Earl of Liverpool, and Prime Minister of England--who
died early in 1827.

[5] "His Majesty cannot, and never will, in consequence of any
representation or menace from a foreign power, make any concession which
can be, in the smallest degree, dangerous to the liberty of the press,
as secured by the constitution of the country--a liberty justly dear to
every British subject."--_Annual Register_, vol. xlv., p. 664.

[6] "The French Government must have formed a most erroneous judgment of
the disposition of the British nation, and of the character of its
Government, if they have been taught to expect that any representation
of a foreign power will ever induce them to a violation of those rights
on which the liberties of the people of this country are
founded."--_Ibid._, p. 666.

[7] The trial took place in the Court of King's Bench, Feb. 21, before
Lord Ellenborough and a special jury.

[8] The Right Hon. Sir James Mackintosh, died May 30, 1832.

[9] He was never brought up to receive sentence, our quarrel with the
French having soon afterwards come to an absolute rupture. [Peltier was
a native of Nantes. On the restoration of the Bourbons, he returned to
Paris, where he died in 1825.]

[10] "Thence the resentment which Buonaparte felt against England.
'Every wind which blows,' said he, 'from that direction, brings nothing
but contempt and hatred against my person.' From that time he concluded
that the peace could not benefit him; that it would not leave him
sufficient facility to aggrandize his dominion externally, and would
impede the extension of his internal power; that, moreover, our daily
relations with England modified our political ideas and revived our
thoughts of liberty."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 257.

[11] "When Napoleon was shown, at St. Helena, some numbers of
_L'Ambigu_, he said, 'Ah! Peltier. He has been libelling me these twenty
years: but I am very glad to get them.'"--O'MEARA, vol. i., p. 385.

[12] For a copy of Sebastiani's report to the first consul, see Annual
Register, vol. xlv., p. 742.

[13] "Whatever success intrigues may experience in London, no other
people will be involved in new combinations. The government says, with
conscious truth, that England, single-handed, cannot maintain a struggle
against France."--_View of the State of the Republic_, Feb. 22, 1803.
See Annual Register, vol. xlv., p. 760.

[14] See Declaration, dated Westminster, May 18, 1803; Annual Register,
vol. xlv., p. 742.

[15] "The conference with Lord Whitworth proved for me a lesson which
altered my method for ever. From this moment I never treated officially
of political affairs, but through the intervention of my minister for
foreign affairs. He, at any rate, could give a positive and formal
denial, which the sovereign could not do."--NAPOLEON, tom. iv., p. 156.

[16] Lord Whitworth had been, successively,--in 1786, minister
plenipotentiary at Warsaw,--in 1788, envoy extraordinary and minister
plenipotentiary to St. Petersburgh,--and, in 1800, minister
plenipotentiary to the court of Denmark.

[17] "If Buonaparte had wished for the maintenance of peace, he would
sedulously have avoided giving umbrage and inquietude to England, with
regard to its Indian possessions, and would have abstained from
applauding the rhodomontades about the mission of Sebastiani into Syria
and Turkey. His imprudent conversation with Lord Whitworth accelerated
the rupture. I foresaw, from that time, that he would quickly pass from
a certain degree of moderation, as chief of the government, to acts of
exaggeration, violence, and even rage."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 259.

[18] See Extract of a Despatch from Lord Whitworth to Lord Hawkesbury,
dated Paris, Feb. 17; Annual Register, vol. xlv., p. 685.

[19] Annual Register, vol. xlv., p. 646.

[20] Annual Register, vol. xlv., p. 697.

[21] "Nous avons," said he, "dejà fait la guerre pendant quinze ans." As
he seemed to wait for an answer, I observed only, "C'en est dejà
trop."--"Mais," said he, "vous voulez la faire encore quinze années; et
vous m'y forcez."--Lord Whitworth to Lord Hawkesbury; see Annual
Register, vol. xlv., p. 696.

[22] "Ils ne respectent pas les traités: il faut dorénavant les couvrir
de crêpe noir."

[23] "The ambassador made a respectful bow, and gave no reply. The first
consul left that part of the saloon; but whether he had been a little
heated by this explosion of ill-humour, or from some other cause, he
ceased his round, and withdrew to his own apartments. Madame Buonaparte
followed; and in an instant the saloon was cleared of company."--SAVARY,
tom. i., p. 307.

[24] See _ante_, vol. ii., pp. 175, 176. "It is to be remarked, that all
this passed loud enough to be heard by two hundred people who were
present; and I am persuaded that there was not a single person who did
not feel the impropriety of the first consul's conduct, and the total
want of dignity, as well as of decency, on the occasion."--LORD

[25] "It is utterly incorrect, that any thing occurred in the course of
our interview which was not in conformity with the common rules of
decorum. Lord Whitworth himself, after our conference, being in company
with other ambassadors, expressed himself perfectly satisfied, and
added, that he had no doubt all things would be satisfactorily
settled."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. iv., p. 157.

[26] For a copy of Napoleon's Instructions to Talleyrand, see Appendix
to this Volume, No. I.


    _St. Domingo--The Negroes split into parties under different
    Chiefs--Toussaint L'Ouverture the most distinguished of
    these--Appoints a Consular Government--France sends an Expedition
    against St. Domingo, under General Leclerc, in December
    1801--Toussaint submits--He is sent to France, where he dies--The
    French are assaulted by the Negroes--Leclerc is succeeded by
    Rochambeau--The French finally obliged to capitulate to an English
    squadron--Buonaparte's scheme to consolidate his power--The
    Consular Guard augmented--Legion of Honour--Opposition formed
    against the Consular Government--Application to the Count de
    Provence (Louis XVIII.)_

When the treaty of Amiens appeared to have restored peace to Europe, one
of Buonaparte's first enterprises was to attempt the recovery of the
French possessions in the large, rich, and valuable colony of St.
Domingo, the disasters of which island form a terrible episode in the
history of the war.

The convulsions of the French Revolution had reached St. Domingo, and,
catching like fire to combustibles, had bred a violent feud between the
white people in the island, and the mulattoes, the latter of whom
demanded to be admitted into the privileges and immunities of the
former; the newly established rights of men, as they alleged, having no
reference to the distinction of colour. While the whites and the people
of colour were thus engaged in a civil war, the negro slaves, the most
oppressed and most numerous class of the population, rose against both
parties, and rendered the whole island one scene of bloodshed and
conflagration. The few planters who remained invited the support of the
British arms, which easily effected a temporary conquest. But the
European soldiery perished so fast through the influence of the climate,
that, in 1798, the English were glad to abandon an island which had
proved the grave of so many of her best and bravest, who had fallen
without a wound, and void of renown.


The negroes, left to themselves, divided into different parties, who
submitted to the authority of chiefs more or less independent of each
other, many of whom displayed considerable talent. Of these, the
principal leader was Toussaint L'Ouverture, who, after waging war like a
savage, appears to have used the power which victory procured him with
much political skill. Although himself a negro, he had the sagacity to
perceive how important it was for the civilisation of his subjects, that
they should not be deprived of the opportunities of knowledge, and
examples of industry, afforded them by the white people. He, therefore,
protected and encouraged the latter, and established, as an equitable
regulation, that the blacks, now freemen, should nevertheless continue
to labour the plantations of the white colonists, while the produce of
the estate should be divided in certain proportions betwixt the white
proprietor and the sable cultivator.

The least transgressions of these regulations he punished with African
ferocity. On one occasion, a white female, the owner of a plantation,
had been murdered by the negroes by whom it was laboured, and who had
formerly been her slaves. Toussaint marched to the spot at the head of a
party of his horse-guards, collected the negroes belonging to the
plantation, and surrounded them with his black cavalry, who, after a
very brief inquiry, received orders to charge and cut them to pieces; of
which order our informant witnessed the execution. His unrelenting
rigour, joined to his natural sagacity, soon raised Toussaint to the
chief command of the island; and he availed himself of the maritime
peace, to consolidate his authority by establishing a constitution on
the model most lately approved of in France, which being that of the
year Eight, consisted of a consular government. Toussaint failed not, of
course, to assume the supreme government to himself, with power to name
his successor. The whole was a parody on the procedure of Buonaparte,
which, doubtless, the latter was not highly pleased with;[27] for there
are many cases in which an imitation by others, of the conduct we
ourselves have held, is a matter not of compliment, but of the most
severe satire. The constitution of St. Domingo was instantly put in
force, although, with an ostensible deference to France, the sanction of
her Government had been ceremoniously required. It was evident that the
African, though not unwilling to acknowledge some nominal degree of
sovereignty on the part of France, was determined to retain in his own
hands the effective government of the colony. But this in no respect
consisted with the plans of Buonaparte, who was impatient to restore to
France those possessions of which the British naval superiority had so
long deprived her--colonies, shipping, and commerce.[28]

A powerful expedition was fitted out at the harbours of Brest, L'Orient,
and Rochefort, destined to restore St. Domingo in full subjection to the
French empire. The fleet amounted to thirty-four ships bearing forty
guns and upwards, with more than twenty frigates and smaller armed
vessels. They had on board above twenty thousand men, and General
Leclerc, the brother-in-law of the first consul, was named
commander-in-chief of the expedition, having a staff composed of
officers of acknowledged skill and bravery.

It is said that Buonaparte had the art to employ a considerable
proportion of the troops which composed the late army of the Rhine, in
this distant expedition to an insalubrious climate.[29] But he would not
permit it to be supposed, that there was the least danger; and he
exercised an act of family authority on the subject, to prove that such
were his real sentiments. His sister, the beautiful Pauline, afterwards
the wife of Prince Borghese, showed the utmost reluctance to accompany
her present husband, General Leclerc, upon the expedition, and only went
on board when actually compelled to do so by the positive orders of the
first consul, who, although she was his favourite sister, was yet
better contented that she should share the general risk, than, by
remaining behind, leave it to be inferred that he himself augured a
disastrous conclusion to the expedition.

The armament set sail on the 14th of December, 1801, while an English
squadron of observation, uncertain of their purpose, waited upon and
watched their progress to the West Indies. The French fleet presented
themselves before Cape François, on the 29th of January, 1802.

Toussaint, summoned to surrender, seemed at first inclined to come to an
agreement, terrified probably by the great force of the expedition,
which time and the climate could alone afford the negroes any chance of
resisting. A letter was delivered to him from the first consul,
expressing esteem for his person; and General Leclerc offered him the
most favourable terms, together with the situation of
lieutenant-governor. Ultimately, however, Toussaint could not make up
his mind to trust the French, and he determined upon resistance, which
he managed with considerable skill. Nevertheless, the well-concerted
military operations of the whites soon overpowered for the present the
resistance of Toussaint and his followers. Chief after chief
surrendered, and submitted themselves to General Leclerc. At length,
Toussaint L'Ouverture himself seems to have despaired of being able to
make further or more effectual resistance. He made his formal
submission, and received and accepted Leclerc's pardon, under the
condition that he should retire to a plantation at Gonaives, and never
leave it without permission of the commander-in-chief.


The French had not long had possession of the colony, ere they
discovered, or supposed they had discovered, symptoms of a conspiracy
amongst the negroes, and Toussaint was, on very slight grounds, accused
as encouraging a revolt. Under this allegation, the only proof of which
was a letter, capable of an innocent interpretation, the unfortunate
chief was seized upon, with his whole family, and put on board of a
vessel bound to France. Nothing official was ever learned concerning his
fate, farther than that he was imprisoned in the Castle of Joux, in
Franche Compté, where the unhappy African fell a victim to the severity
of an Alpine climate,[30] to which he was unaccustomed, and the
privations of a close confinement. The deed has been often quoted and
referred to as one of the worst actions of Buonaparte, who ought, if not
in justice, in generosity at least, to have had compassion on the man,
whose fortunes bore, in many respects, a strong similarity to his own.
It afforded but too strong a proof, that though humanity was often in
Napoleon's mouth, and sometimes displayed in his actions, yet its maxims
were seldom found sufficient to protect those whom he disliked or
feared, from the fate which tyranny most willingly assigns to its
victims, that of being silently removed from the living world, and
enclosed in their prison as in a tomb, from which no complaints can be
heard, and where they are to await the slow approach of death, like men
who are literally buried alive.

The perfidy with which the French had conducted themselves towards
Toussaint, was visited by early vengeance. That scourge of Europeans,
the yellow fever, broke out among their troops, and in an incredible
short space of time, swept off General Leclerc,[31] with many of his
best officers and bravest soldiers. The negroes, incensed at the conduct
of the governor towards Toussaint, and encouraged by the sickly
condition of the French army, rose upon them in every quarter. A species
of war ensued, of which we are thankful it is not our task to trace the
deplorable and ghastly particulars. The cruelty which was perhaps to be
expected in the savage Africans, just broke loose from the bondage of
slavery, communicated itself to the civilized French. If the former tore
out their prisoners' eyes with cork-screws, the latter drowned their
captives by hundreds, which imitation of Carrier's republican baptism
they called "deportation into the sea." On other occasions, numerous
bodies of negroes were confined in hulks, and there smothered to death
with the fumes of lighted sulphur. The issue of this hellish warfare
was, that the cruelty of the French enraged, instead of terrifying their
savage antagonists; and at length, that the numbers of the former,
diminished by disease and constant skirmishing, became unequal to the
defence even of the garrison towns of the island, much more so to the
task of reconquering it. General Rochambeau, who succeeded Leclerc as
commander-in-chief, was finally obliged to save the poor wreck of that
fine army, by submitting at discretion to an English squadron, 1st
December 1803. Thus was the richest colony in the West Indies finally
lost to France.[32] Remaining entirely in the possession of the black
population, St. Domingo will show, in process of time, how far the
natives of Africa, having European civilisation within their reach, are
capable of forming a state, governed by the usual rules of polity.


While Buonaparte made these strong efforts for repossessing France in
this fine colony, it was not to be supposed that he was neglecting the
establishment of his own power upon a more firm basis. His present
situation was--like every other in life--considerably short of what he
could have desired, though so infinitely superior to all that his most
unreasonable wishes could at one time have aspired to. He had all the
real power of royalty, and, since the settlement of his authority for
life, he had daily assumed more of the pomp and circumstance with which
sovereignty is usually invested. The Tuileries were once more surrounded
with guards without, and filled by levees within. The ceremonial of a
court was revived, and Buonaparte, judging of mankind with accuracy,
neglected no minute observance by which the princes of the earth are
wont to enforce their authority. Still there remained much to be done.
He held the sovereignty only in the nature of a life-rent. He could,
indeed, dispose of it by will, but the last wills even of kings have
been frequently set aside; and, at any rate, the privilege comes short
of that belonging to an hereditary crown, which descends, by the right
of blood, from one possessor to another, so that, in one sense, it may
be said to confer on the dynasty a species of immortality. Buonaparte
knew also the virtue of names. The title of chief consul did not
necessarily infer sovereign rights--it might signify every thing, or it
might signify nothing--in common language, it inferred alike one of the
annual executive governors of the Roman Republic, whose _fasces_ swayed
the world, or the petty resident who presides over commercial affairs in
a foreign seaport. There were no precise ideas of power or rights
necessarily and unalienably connected with it. Besides, Buonaparte had
other objections to his present title of dignity. The title of first
consul implied, that there were two others,--far, indeed, from being
co-ordinate with Napoleon, but yet who occupied a higher rank on the
steps of the throne, and approached his person more nearly than he could
have desired. Again, the word reminded the hearer, even by the new mode
of its application, that it belonged to a government of recent
establishment, and of revolutionary origin, and Napoleon did not wish to
present such ideas to the public mind; since that which was but lately
erected might be easily destroyed, and that which last arose out of the
revolutionary cauldron might, like the phantoms which had preceded it,
give place in its turn to an apparition more potent. Policy seemed to
recommend to him, to have recourse to the ancient model which Europe had
been long accustomed to reverence; to adopt the form of government best
known and longest established through the greater part of the world;
and, assuming the title and rights of a monarch, to take his place among
the ancient and recognised authorities of Europe.

It was necessary to proceed with the utmost caution in this innovation,
which, whenever accomplished, must necessarily involve the French people
in the notable inconsistency, of having murdered the descendant of their
old princes, committed a thousand crimes, and suffered under a mass of
misery, merely because they were resolved not to permit the existence of
that crown, which was now to be placed on the head of a soldier of
fortune. Before, therefore, he could venture on this bold measure, in
which, were it but for very shame's sake, he must be certain of great
opposition, Buonaparte endeavoured, by every means in his power, to
strengthen himself in his government.

The army was carefully new-modelled, so as to make it as much as
possible his own; and the French soldiers, who regarded the power of
Buonaparte as the fruit of their own victories, were in general devoted
to his cause, notwithstanding the fame of Moreau, to whom a certain part
of their number still adhered. The consular guard, a highly privileged
body of select forces, was augmented to the number of six thousand men.
These formidable legions, which included troops of every species of
arms, had been gradually formed and increased upon the plan of the corps
of guides which Buonaparte introduced during the first Italian
campaigns, for immediate attendance on his person and for preventing
such accidents as once or twice had like to have befallen him, by
unexpected encounters with flying parties of the enemy. But the guards,
as now increased in numbers, had a duty much more extended. They were
chosen men, taught to consider themselves as superior to the rest of the
army, and enjoying advantages in pay and privileges. When the other
troops were subject to privations, care was taken that the guards should
experience as little of them as possible, and that by every possible
exertion they should be kept in the highest degree of readiness for
action. They were only employed upon service of the utmost importance,
and seldom in the beginning of an engagement, when they remained in
reserve under the eye of Napoleon himself. It was usually by means of
his guard that the final and decisive exertion was made which marked
Buonaparte's tactics, and so often achieved victory at the very crisis
when it seemed inclining to the enemy. Regarding themselves as
considerably superior to the other soldiers, and accustomed also to be
under Napoleon's immediate command, his guards were devotedly attached
to him; and a body of troops of such high character might be considered
as a formidable bulwark around the throne which he meditated ascending.


The attachment of these chosen legions, and of his soldiers in general,
formed the foundation of Buonaparte's power, who, of all sovereigns that
ever mounted to authority, might be said to reign by dint of victory and
of his sword. But he surrounded himself by another species of partisans.
The Legion of Honour was destined to form a distinct and particular
class of privileged individuals, whom, by honours and bounties bestowed
on them, he resolved to bind to his own interest.

This institution, which attained considerable political importance,
originated in the custom which Napoleon had early introduced, of
conferring on soldiers, of whatever rank, a sword, fusee, or other
military weapon, in the name of the state, as acknowledging and
commemorating some act of peculiar gallantry. The influence of such
public rewards was of course very great. They encouraged those who had
received them to make every effort to preserve the character which they
had thus gained, while they awakened the emulation of hundreds and
thousands who desired similar marks of distinction. Buonaparte now
formed the project of embodying the persons who had merited such rewards
into an association, similar in many respects to those orders, or
brotherhoods of chivalry, with which, during the middle ages, the feudal
sovereigns of Europe surrounded themselves, and which subsist to this
day, though in a changed and modified form. These, however, have been
uniformly created on the feudal principles, and the honour they confer
limited, or supposed to be limited, to persons of some rank and
condition: but the scheme of Buonaparte was to extend this species of
honourable distinction through all ranks, in the quality proper to each,
as medals to be distributed among various classes of the community are
struck upon metals of different value, but are all stamped with the same
dye.[33] The outlines of the institution were these:--

The Legion of Honour was to consist of a great council of administration
and fifteen cohorts, each of which was to have its own separate
headquarters, in some distinguished town of the Republic. The council of
administration was to consist of the three consuls, and four other
members; a senator, namely, a member of the Legislative Body, a member
of the Tribunate, and one of the Council of State, each to be chosen by
the body to which he belonged. The order might be acquired by
distinguished merit, either of a civil or a military nature; and various
rules were laid down for the mode of selecting the members. The first
consul was, in right of his office, captain-general of the legion, and
president of the council of administration. Every cohort was to consist
of seven grand officers, twenty commanders, thirty subaltern officers,
and three hundred and fifty legionaries. Their nomination was for life,
and their appointments considerable. The grand officers enjoyed a yearly
pension of 5000 francs; the commanders, 2500; the officers, 1000 francs;
the privates, or legionaries, 250. They were to swear upon their honour
to defend the government of France, and maintain the inviolability of
her empire; to combat, by every lawful means, against the
re-establishment of the feudal institutions; and to concur in
maintaining the principles of liberty and equality.

Notwithstanding these last words, containing, when properly understood,
the highest political and moral truth, but employed in France originally
to cover the most abominable cruelties, and used more lately as mere
words of course, the friends of liberty were not to be blinded,
regarding the purpose of this new institution. Their number was now much
limited; but amidst their weakness they had listened to the lessons of
prudence and experience, and abandoning these high-swoln, illusory, and
absurd pretensions, which had created such general disturbance, seem to
have set themselves seriously, and at the same time moderately to work,
to protect the cause of practical and useful freedom, by such resistance
as the constitution still permitted them to offer, by means of the
Tribunate and the Legislative Body.


Among the statesmen who associated to form an Opposition, which, on the
principle of the constitutional Opposition of England, were to act
towards the executive government rather as to an erring friend, whom
they desired to put right, than as an enemy, whom they meant to destroy,
were Benjamin Constant, early distinguished by talent and eloquence,
Chenier, author of the hymn of the Marseilloise, Savoye-Rollin,
Chauvelin, and others, among whose names that of Carnot was most
distinguished. These statesmen had learned apparently, that it is better
in human affairs to aim at that minor degree of good which is
practicable, than to aspire to a perfection which is unattainable. In
the opinion of most of them, the government of Buonaparte was a
necessary evil, without which, or something of the same strength, to
control the factions by which she was torn to pieces, France must have
continued to be a prey to a succession of such anarchical governments as
had already almost ruined her. They, therefore, entertained none of the
usual views of conspirators. They considered the country as in the
condition of a wounded warrior, compelled for a short time to lay aside
her privileges, as he his armour; but they hoped, when France had
renewed her strength and spirit by an interval of repose, they might see
her, under better auspices than before, renew and assert her claims to
be free from military law. Meantime, they held it their duty,
professing, at the same time, the highest respect to the government and
its head, the first consul, to keep alive as far as was permitted the
spirit of the country, and oppose the encroachments of its ruler. They
were not long allowed to follow the practical and useful path which they
had sketched out; but the French debates were never so decently or
respectably conducted as during this period.

The opposition, as they may be called, had not objected to the
reappointment of Buonaparte to the Consulate for life. Probably they
were reluctant to have the appearance of giving him personal offence,
were aware they would be too feebly supported, and were sensible, that
struggling for a point which could not be attained, was unlikely to lead
to any good practical results. The institution of the Legion of Honour
offered a better chance to try their new opposition tactics.

Rœderer, the orator by whom the measure was proposed to the
Tribunate, endeavoured to place it in the most favourable light. It was
founded, he said, upon the eighty-seventh article of the Constitutional
Declaration, which provided that national recompenses should be
conferred on those soldiers who had distinguished themselves in their
country's service. He represented the proposed order as a moral
institution, calculated to raise to the highest the patriotism and
gallantry of the French people. It was a coin, he said, of a value
different from, and far more precious than that which was issued from
the treasury--a treasure of a quality which could not be debased, and of
a quantity which was inexhaustible, since the mine consisted in the
national sense of honour.

To this specious argument, it was replied by Rollin and others, that the
law was of a nature dangerous to public liberty. It was an abuse, they
said, of the constitutional article, on which it was alleged to be
founded, since it exhausted at once, by the creation of a numerous
corps, the stock of rewards which the article referred to held in frugal
reserve, to recompense great actions as they should occur. If everything
was given to remunerate merits which had been already ascertained, what
stock, it was asked, remained for compensating future actions of
gallantry, excepting the chance of a tardy admission into the corps as
vacancies should occur? But especially it was pleaded, that the
establishment of a military body, distinguished by high privileges and
considerable pay, yet distinct and differing from all the other national
forces, was a direct violation of the sacred principles of equality.
Some reprobated the intermixture of the civil officers of the state in a
military institution. Others were of opinion that the oath proposed to
be taken was superfluous, if not ridiculous; since, how could the
members of the Legion of Honour be more bound to serve the state, or
watch over the constitution, than any other citizens; or, in what manner
was it proposed they should exert themselves for that purpose? Other
arguments were urged; but that which all felt to be the most cogent, was
rather understood than even hinted at. This was the immense additional
strength which the first consul must attain, by having at his command
the distribution of the new honours, and being thus enabled to form a
body of satellites entirely dependent upon himself, and carefully
selected from the bravest and ablest within the realm.

The institution of the Legion of Honour was at length carried in the
Tribunate, by a majority of fifty-six voices over thirty-eight, and
sanctioned in the Legislative Body by one hundred and sixty-six over an
hundred and ten. The strong divisions of the opposition on this trying
question, showed high spirit in those who composed that party; but they
were placed in a situation so insulated and separated from the public,
so utterly deprived of all constitutional guarantees for the protection
of freedom, that their resistance, however honourable to themselves, was
totally ineffectual, and without advantage to the nation.[34]


Meanwhile, Buonaparte was deeply engaged in intrigues of a different
character, by means of which he hoped to place the sovereign authority
which he had acquired, on a footing less anomalous, and more
corresponding with that of the other monarchs in Europe, than it was at
present. For this purpose an overture was made by the Prussian minister
Haugwitz, through the medium of M. de Meyer, President of the Regency of
Warsaw, proposing to the Comte de Provence (since Louis XVIII.,) that he
should resign his rights to the crown of France to the successful
general who occupied the throne, in which case the exiled princes were
to be invested with dominions in Italy, and restored to a brilliant
existence. The answer of Louis was marked at once by moderation, sense,
and that firmness of character which corresponded with his illustrious
birth and high pretensions. "I do not confound Monsieur Buonaparte,"
said the exiled monarch, "with those who have preceded him; I esteem his
bravery and military talents; I owe him good-will for many acts of his
government, for the good which is done to my people I will always esteem
done to me. But he is mistaken if he thinks that my rights can be made
the subjects of bargain and composition. The very step he is now
adopting would go to establish them, could they be otherwise called in
question. I know not what may be the designs of God for myself and my
family, but I am not ignorant of the duties imposed on me by the rank in
which it was his pleasure I should be born. As a Christian, I will
fulfil those duties to my last breath. As a descendant of Saint Louis, I
will know by his example how to respect myself, even were I in fetters.
As the successor of Francis the First, I will at least have it to say
with him, 'We have lost all excepting our honour!'"

Such is the account which has been uniformly given by the Princes of the
House of Bourbon, concerning this communication, which is said to have
taken place on the 26th February, 1803.[35] Buonaparte has, indeed,
denied that he was accessory to any such transaction, and has said truly
enough, that an endeavour to acquire an interest in the Bourbon's title
by compromise, would have been an admission on his part that his own,
flowing, as he alleged, from the people, was imperfect, and needed
repairs. Therefore, he denied having taken any step which could, in its
consequences, have inferred such an admission.

But, in the first place, it is not to be supposed that such a treaty
would have been published by the Bourbon family, unless it had been
proposed by Meyer; and it is equally unlikely that either Haugwitz or
Meyer would have ventured on such a negotiation, excepting at the
instigation of Buonaparte, who alone could make good the terms proposed
on the one side, or derive advantage from the concessions stipulated on
the other. Secondly, without stopping to inquire how far the title which
Buonaparte pretended to the supreme authority, was of a character
incapable of being improved by a cession of the Comte de Provence's
rights in his favour, it would still have continued an object of great
political consequence to have obtained a surrender of the claims of the
House of Bourbon, which were even yet acknowledged by a very
considerable party within the kingdom. It was, therefore, worth while to
venture upon a negotiation which might have had the most important
results, although, when it proved fruitless, we can see strong reasons
for Napoleon concealing and disowning his accession to a step, which
might be construed as implying some sense of deficiency of his own
title, and some degree of recognition of that of the exiled prince.

It may be remarked, that, up to this period, Napoleon had manifested no
particular spleen towards the family of Bourbon. On the contrary, he had
treated their followers with lenity, and spoken with decency of their
own claims. But the rejection of the treaty with _Monsieur_ Buonaparte,
however moderately worded, has been reasonably supposed to have had a
deep effect on his mind, and may have been one remote cause of a
tragedy, for which it is impossible to find an adequate one--the murder,
namely, of the Duke d'Enghien. But, before we approach this melancholy
part of Napoleon's history, it is proper to trace the events which
succeeded the renewal of the war.


[27] "To give an idea of the indignation which the first consul must
have felt, it may suffice to mention, that Toussaint not only assumed
authority over the colony during his life, but invested himself with the
right of naming his successor; and pretended to hold his authority, not
from the mother-country, but from a _soi-disant_ colonial assembly which
he had created."--NAPOLEON, _Montholon_, tom. i., p. 203.

[28] "The party of the colonists was very powerful in Paris: public
opinion required the possession of St. Domingo. On the other hand, the
first consul was not sorry to dissipate the apprehensions of the
English, by sending 15,000 men to St. Domingo. These 15,000 men would
have succeeded, had it not been for the yellow fever. If Toussaint,
Dessalines, and Christophe had chosen to submit, they would have secured
their liberty, rank, and fortune, as well as those of the people of
their colour; the freedom of the blacks would have been securely
confirmed."--NAPOLEON, _Montholon_, tom. ii., p. 218.

[29] "The first consul ardently seized the happy opportunity of sending
away a great number of officers, formed in the school of Moreau, whose
reputation pained him, and whose influence with the army, if not a
subject of alarm, was at least to him one of restraint and inquietude.
'Well,' said Buonaparte to me one day, 'your Jacobins malignantly say,
that they are the soldiers and friends of Moreau whom I am sending to
perish at St. Domingo; they are grumbling maniacs; let them talk
on.'"--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 217.

[30] Anxiety, age, and a climate too severe for his constitution, soon
put an end to his days. He died on April 27, 1803, after a captivity of
ten months. His mysterious fate excited great interest--witness the
noble sonnet of Wordsworth:--

    "TOUSSAINT! the most unhappy man of men!
      Whether the all-cheering sun be free to shed
      His beams around thee, or thou rest thy head
    Pillow'd in some dark dungeon's noisome den--
    O, miserable chieftain! where and when
      Wilt thou find patience?--Yet die not; do thou
      Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow:
    Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,
      Live and take comfort. Thou hast left behind
    Powers that will work for thee--Air, Earth, and Skies;
      There's not a breathing of the common wind
    That will forget thee; thou hast great allies;
    Thy friends are Exultations, Agonies,
      And Love, and Man's unconquerable Mind."

[31] "Leclerc was an officer of the first merit, equally skilful in the
labours of the cabinet and in the manœuvres of the field of battle:
he had served in the campaigns of 1796 and 1797 as adjutant-general to
Napoleon; and in that of 1799 as a general of division under Moreau. He
commanded at the battle of Freisingen, where he defeated the Archduke
Ferdinand; he led into Spain an army of observation, of 20,000 men,
intended to act against Portugal; finally, in this expedition of St.
Domingo, he displayed great talent and activity."--NAPOLEON, tom. i., p.

[32] "I have to reproach myself with the attempt made upon the colony
during the Consulship. The design of reducing it by force was a great
error. I ought to have been satisfied with governing it through the
medium of Toussaint."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. iv., p. 171.

[33] "If the Legion of Honour were not the recompense of _civil_ as well
as _military_ services, it would cease to be the _Legion of Honour_. It
would be a strange piece of presumption, indeed, in the military to
pretend that honours should be paid to them only. Soldiers who knew not
how to read or write, were proud of bearing, in recompense for the blood
they had shed, the same decoration as was given to distinguished talents
in civil life; and, on the other hand, the latter attached a greater
value to this reward of their labours, because it was the decoration of
the brave. The Legion of Honour was the property of every one who was an
honour to his country, stood at the head of his profession, and
contributed to the national prosperity and glory."--NAPOLEON,
_Montholon_, tom. ii., p. 145.

[34] Montgaillard, tom. v., p. 573.

[35] Montgaillard, tom. v., p. 5.


    _Renewal of the War--England lays an Embargo on French
    Vessels--Napoleon retaliates by detaining British Subjects--Effects
    of this unprecedented Measure--Hanover and other places occupied by
    the French--Scheme of Invasion renewed--Napoleon's
    Preparations--Defensive Measures of England._

The bloody war which succeeded the short peace of Amiens, originated, to
use the words of the satirist, in high words, jealousies, and fears.
There was no special or determinate cause of quarrel, which could be
removed by explanation, apology, or concession.

The English nation were jealous, and from the strides which Buonaparte
had made towards universal power, not jealous without reason, of the
farther purposes of the French ruler, and demanded guarantees against
the encroachments which they apprehended; and such guarantees he deemed
it beneath his dignity to grant. The discussion of these adverse claims
had been unusually violent and intemperate; and as Buonaparte conceived
the English nation to be his personal enemies, so they, on the other
hand, began to regard his power as totally incompatible with the peace
of Europe, and independence of Britain. To Napoleon, the English people,
tradesmen and shopkeepers as he chose to qualify them, seemed assuming a
consequence in Europe, which was, he conceived, far beyond their due. He
was affected by feelings similar to those with which Haman beheld
Mordecai sitting at the King's gate;--all things availing him nothing,
while Britain held such a high rank among the nations, without deigning
to do him reverence or worship. The English people, on the other hand,
regarded him as the haughty and proud oppressor who had the will at
least, if not the power, to root Britain out from among the nations, and
reduce them to a state of ignominy and bondage.

When, therefore, the two nations again arose to the contest, it was like
combatants whose anger against each other has been previously raised to
the highest pitch by mutual invective. Each had recourse to the measures
by which their enemy could be most prejudiced.

England had at her command the large means of annoyance arising out of
her immense naval superiority, and took her measures with the decision
which the emergency required. Instant orders were despatched to prevent
the cession of such colonies as yet remained to be given up, according
to the treaty of Amiens, and to seize by a _coup-de-main_ such of the
French settlements as had been ceded, or were yet occupied by her.
France, on the other hand, in consequence of her equally great
superiority by land, assembled upon her extensive line of sea-coast a
very numerous army, with which she appeared disposed to make good her
ruler's threats of invasion. At the same time, Buonaparte occupied
without ceremony the territory of Naples, Holland, and such other states
as Britain must have seen in his hands with feelings of keen
apprehension, and thus made good the previous menaces of Talleyrand in
his celebrated Note.[36]

But besides carrying to the utmost extent all the means of annoyance
which the ordinary rules of hostility afford, Napoleon, going beyond
these, had recourse to strange and unaccustomed reprisals, unknown as
yet to the code of civilized nature, and tending only to gratify his
own resentment, and extend the evils of war, already sufficiently


The English had, as is the universal custom, laid an embargo on all
French vessels in their ports, at the instant the war was proclaimed,
and the loss to France was of course considerable. Buonaparte took a
singular mode of retaliating, by seizing on the persons of the English
of every description, who chanced to be at Paris, or travelling in the
dominions of France, who, trusting to the laws of good faith hitherto
observed by all civilized nations, expected nothing less than an attack
upon their personal freedom. The absurd excuse at first set up for this
extraordinary violation of humanity, at once, and of justice, was, that
some of these individuals might be liable to serve in the English
militia, and were therefore to be considered as prisoners of war. But
this flimsy pretext could not have excused the seizing on the English of
all ranks, conditions, and ages. The measure was adopted without the
participation of the first consul's ministers; at least we must presume
so, since Talleyrand himself encouraged some individuals to remain after
the British ambassador had left Paris, with an assurance of safety which
he had it not in his power to make good. It was the vengeful start of a
haughty temper, rendered irritable, as we have often stated, by
uninterrupted prosperity, and of consequence, opposing itself to all
resistance, and contradiction, with an acuteness of feeling approaching
to frenzy.

The individuals who suffered under this capricious and tyrannical act of
arbitrary power, were treated in all respects like prisoners of war, and
confined to prison as such, unless they gave their parole to abide in
certain towns assigned them, and keep within particular limits.

The mass of individual evil occasioned by this cruel measure was
incalculably great. Twelve years, a large proportion of human life, were
cut from that of each of these _Détenus_, as they were called, so far as
regarded settled plan, or active exertion. Upon many, the interruption
fell with fatal influence, blighting all their hopes and prospects;
others learned to live only for the passing day, and were thus deterred
from habitual study or useful industry. The most tender bonds of
affection were broken asunder by this despotic sentence of imprisonment;
the most fatal inroads were made on family feelings and affections by
this long separation between children, and husbands, and wives--all the
nearest and dearest domestic relations. In short, if it was Buonaparte's
desire to inflict the highest degree of pain on a certain number of
persons, only because they were born in Britain, he certainly attained
his end. If he hoped to gain any thing farther, he was completely
baffled; and when he hypocritically imputes the sufferings of the
_détenus_ to the obstinacy of the English Ministry,[37] his reasoning is
the same with that of a captain of Italian banditti, who murders his
prisoner, and throws the blame of the crime on the friends of the
deceased, who failed to send the ransom at which he had rated his life.
Neither is his vindication more reasonable, when he pretends to say that
the measure was taken in order to prevent England, on future occasions,
from seizing, according to ancient usage, on the shipping in her ports.
This outrage must therefore be recorded as one of those acts of wanton
wilfulness in which Buonaparte indulged his passion at the expense of
his honour, and, if rightly understood, of his real interest.

The detention of civilians, unoffending and defenceless, was a breach of
those courtesies which ought to be sacred, as mitigating the horrors of
war. The occupation of Hanover was made in violation of the Germanic
Constitution. This patrimony of our kings had in former wars been
admitted to the benefit of neutrality; a reasonable distinction being
taken betwixt the Elector of Hanover, as one of the grand feudatories of
the empire, and the same person in his character of King of Great
Britain; in which latter capacity only he was at war with France. But
Buonaparte was not disposed to recognise these metaphysical
distinctions; nor were any of the powers of Germany in a condition to
incur his displeasure, by asserting the constitution and immunities of
the empire. Austria had paid too deep a price for her former attempts to
withstand the power of France, to permit her to extend her opposition
beyond a feeble remonstrance; and Prussia had too long pursued a
temporizing and truckling line of politics, to allow her to break short
with Napoleon by endeavouring to merit the title her monarch once
claimed,--of Protector of the North of Germany.


Every thing in Germany being thus favourable to the views of France,
Mortier, who had already assembled an army in Holland, and on the
frontiers of Germany, moved forward on Hanover. A considerable force was
collected for resistance under his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge
and General Walmoden. It soon appeared, however, that, left to their own
resources, and absolutely unsupported either by England or the forces of
the empire, the electorate was incapable of resistance; and that any
attempt at an ineffectual defence would only serve to aggravate the
distresses of the country, by subjecting the inhabitants to the
extremities of war. In compassion, therefore, to the Hanoverians, the
Duke of Cambridge was induced to leave the hereditary dominions of his
father's house; and General Walmoden had the mortification to find
himself obliged to enter into a convention, by which the capital of the
electorate, and all its strongholds, were to be delivered up to the
French, and the Hanoverian army were to retire behind the Elbe, on
condition not to serve against France and her allies till previously

The British government having refused to ratify this convention of
Suhlingen, as it was termed, the Hanoverian army were summoned to
surrender as prisoners of war;--hard terms, which, upon the determined
resistance of Walmoden, were only thus far softened, that these tried
and faithful troops were to be disbanded, and deliver up their arms,
artillery, horses, and military stores. In a letter to the first consul,
Mortier declares that he granted these mitigated terms from respect to
the misfortunes of a brave enemy; and mentions, in a tone of creditable
feeling, the distress of General Walmoden, and the despair of the fine
regiment of Hanoverian guards, when dismounting from their horses to
surrender them up to the French.

At the same time that they occupied Hanover, the French failed not to
make a further use of their invasion of Germany, by laying forced loans
on the Hanseatic towns, and by other encroachments.

The Prince Royal of Denmark was the only sovereign who showed an
honourable sense of these outrages, by assembling in Holstein an army of
thirty thousand men; but being unsupported by any other power, he was
soon glad to lay aside the attitude which he had assumed. Austria
accepted, as current payment, the declaration of France, that by her
occupation of Hanover she did not intend any act of conquest, or
annexation of territory, but merely proposed to retain the electorate as
a pledge for the isle of Malta, which the English, contrary, as was
alleged, to the faith of treaties, refused to surrender. Prussia,
naturally dissatisfied at seeing the aggressions of France extend to the
neighbourhood of her own territories, was nevertheless obliged to rest
contented with the same excuse.

The French ruler did not confine himself to the occupation of Hanover.
Tarentum, and other seaports of the King of Naples's dominions, were
seized upon, under the same pretext of their being a pledge for the
restoration of Malta. In fact, by thus quartering his troops upon
neutral territories, by whom he took care that they should be paid and
clothed, Napoleon made the war support itself, and spared France the
burden of maintaining a great proportion of his immense army; while
large exactions, not only on the commercial towns, but on Spain,
Portugal, and Naples, and other neutral countries, in the name of loans,
filled his treasury, and enabled him to carry on the expensive plans
which he meditated.

Any one of the separate manœuvres which we have mentioned, would,
before this eventful war, have been considered as a sufficient object
for a long campaign. But the whole united was regarded by Buonaparte
only as side-blows, affecting Britain indirectly through the occupation
of her monarch's family dominions, the embarrassment offered to her
commerce, and the destruction of such independence as had been left to
the continental powers. His great and decisive game remained to be
played--that scheme of invasion to which he had so strongly pledged
himself in his angry dialogue with Lord Whitworth. Here, perhaps, if
ever in his life, Buonaparte, from considerations of prudence, suffered
the period to elapse which would have afforded the best chance for
execution of his venturous project.

It must be in the memory of most who recollect the period, that the
kingdom of Great Britain was seldom less provided against invasion than
at the commencement of this second war; and that an embarkation from the
ports of Holland, if undertaken instantly after the war had broken out,
might have escaped our blockading squadrons, and have at least shown
what a French army could have done on British ground, at a moment when
the alarm was general, and the country in an unprepared state. But it is
probable that Buonaparte himself was as much unprovided as England for
the sudden breach of the treaty of Amiens--an event brought about more
by the influence of passion than of policy; so that its consequences
were as unexpected in his calculations as in those of Great Britain.
Besides, he had not diminished to himself the dangers of the
undertaking, by which he must have staked his military renown, his
power, which he held chiefly as the consequence of his reputation,
perhaps his life, upon a desperate game, which, though he had already
twice contemplated it, he had not yet found hardihood enough seriously
to enter upon.

He now, however, at length bent himself, with the whole strength of his
mind, and the whole force of his empire, to prepare for this final and
decisive undertaking. The gun-boats in the bay of Gibraltar, where calms
are frequent, had sometimes in the course of the former war been able to
do considerable damage to the English vessels of war, when they could
not use their sails. Such small craft, therefore, were supposed the
proper force for covering the intended descent. They were built in
different harbours, and brought together by crawling along the French
shore, and keeping under the protection of the batteries, which were now
established on every cape, almost as if the sea-coast of the Channel on
the French side had been the lines of a besieged city, no one point of
which could with prudence be left undefended by cannon. Boulogne was
pitched upon as the centre port, from which the expedition was to sail.
By incredible exertions, Buonaparte had rendered its harbour and roads
capable of containing two thousand vessels of various descriptions. The
smaller seaports of Vimereux, Ambleteuse, and Etaples, Dieppe, Havre,
St. Valeri, Caen, Gravelines, and Dunkirk, were likewise filled with
shipping. Flushing and Ostend were occupied by a separate flotilla.
Brest, Toulon, and Rochefort, were each the station of as strong a naval
squadron as France had still the means to send to sea.

[Sidenote: ARMY OF ENGLAND.]

A land army was assembled of the most formidable description, whether we
regard the high military character of the troops, the extent and
perfection of their appointments, or their numerical strength. The
coast, from the mouth of the Seine to the Texel, was covered with
forces; and Soult, Ney, Davoust, and Victor, names that were then the
pride and the dread of war, were appointed to command the army of
England, (for that menacing title was once more assumed,) and execute
those manœuvres, planned and superintended by Buonaparte, the issue
of which was to be the blotting out of Britain from the rank of
independent nations.

Far from being alarmed at this formidable demonstration of force,
England prepared for her resistance with an energy becoming her ancient
rank in Europe, and far surpassing in its efforts any extent of military
preparation before heard of in her history. To nearly one hundred
thousand troops of the line, were added eighty thousand and upwards of
militia, which scarce yielded to the regulars in point of discipline.
The volunteer force, by which every citizen was permitted and invited to
add his efforts to the defence of the country, was far more numerous
than during the last war, was better officered also, and rendered every
way more effective. It was computed to amount to three hundred and fifty
thousand men, who, if we regard the shortness of the time and the nature
of the service, had attained considerable practice in the use and
management of their arms. Other classes of men were embodied, and
destined to act as pioneers, drivers of waggons, and in the like
services. On a sudden, the land seemed converted to an immense camp, the
whole nation into soldiers, and the good old King himself into a
general-in-chief. All peaceful considerations appeared for a time to be
thrown aside; and the voice, calling the nation to defend their dearest
rights, sounded not only in Parliament, and in meetings convoked to
second the measures of defence, but was heard in the places of public
amusement, and mingled even with the voice of devotion--not unbecomingly
surely, since to defend our country is to defend our religion.

Beacons were erected in conspicuous points, corresponding with each
other, all around and all through the island; and morning and evening,
one might have said, every eye was turned towards them to watch for the
fatal and momentous signal. Partial alarms were given in different
places from the mistakes to which such arrangements must necessarily be
liable; and the ready spirit which animated every species of troops
where such signals called to arms, was of the most satisfactory
description, and afforded the most perfect assurance, that the heart of
every man was in the cause of his country.

Amidst her preparations by land, England did not neglect or relax her
precautions on the element she calls her own. She covered the ocean with
five hundred and seventy ships of war of various descriptions.
Divisions of her fleet blocked up every French port in the Channel; and
the army destined to invade our shores, might see the British flag
flying in every direction on the horizon, waiting for their issuing from
the harbour, as birds of prey may be seen floating in the air above the
animal which they design to pounce upon. Sometimes the British frigates
and sloops of war stood in, and cannonaded or threw shells into Havre,
Dieppe, Granville, and Boulogne itself. Sometimes the seamen and marines
landed, cut out vessels, destroyed signal-posts, and dismantled
batteries. Such events were trifling, and it was to be regretted that
they cost the lives of gallant men; but although they produced no direct
results of consequence, yet they had their use in encouraging the
spirits of our sailors, and damping the confidence of the enemy, who
must at length have looked forward with more doubt than hope to the
invasion of the English coast, when the utmost vigilance could not
prevent their experiencing insults upon their own.

During this period of menaced attack and arranged defence, Buonaparte
visited Boulogne, and seemed active in preparing his soldiers for the
grand effort. He reviewed them in an unusual manner, teaching them to
execute several manœuvres by night; and experiments were also made
upon the best mode of arranging the soldiers in the flat-bottomed boats,
and of embarking and disembarking them with celerity. Omens were
resorted to for keeping up the enthusiasm which the presence of the
first consul naturally inspired. A Roman battle-axe was said to be found
when they removed the earth to pitch Buonaparte's tent or barrack; and
medals of William the Conqueror were produced, as having been dug up
upon the same honoured spot. These were pleasant bodings, yet perhaps
did not altogether, in the minds of the soldiers, counterbalance the
sense of insecurity impressed on them by the prospect of being packed
together in these miserable chaloupes, and exposed to the fire of an
enemy so superior at sea, that during the chief consul's review of the
fortifications, their frigates stood in shore with composure, and fired
at him and his suite as at a mark. The men who had braved the perils of
the Alps and of the Egyptian deserts, might yet be allowed to feel alarm
at a species of danger which seemed so inevitable, and which they had no
adequate means of repelling by force of arms.


A circumstance which seemed to render the expedition in a great measure
hopeless, was the ease with which the English could maintain a constant
watch upon their operations within the port of Boulogne. The least
appearance of stir or preparation, to embark troops, or get ready for
sea, was promptly sent by signal to the English coast, and the numerous
British cruisers were instantly on the alert to attend their motions.
Nelson had, in fact, during the last war, declared the sailing of a
hostile armament from Boulogne to be a most forlorn undertaking, on
account of cross tides and other disadvantages, together with the
certainty of the flotilla being lost if there were the least wind
west-north-west. "As for rowing," he adds, "that is impossible.--It is
perfectly right to be prepared for a mad government," continued this
most incontestible judge of maritime possibilities; "but with the active
force which has been given me, I may pronounce it almost impracticable."

Buonaparte himself continued to the last to affirm that he was serious
in his attempts to invade Great Britain, and that the scheme was very
practicable. He did not, however, latterly, talk of forcing his way by
means of armed small craft and gun-boats, while the naval forces on each
side were in their present degree of comparative strength, the allowed
risk of miscarriage being as ten to one to that of success;--this
bravade, which he had uttered to Lord Whitworth, involved too much
uncertainty to be really acted upon. At times, long after, he talked
slightingly to his attendants of the causes which prevented his
accomplishing his project of invasion;[39] but when speaking seriously
and in detail, he shows plainly that his sole hope of effecting the
invasion was by assembling such a fleet as should give him the temporary
command of the Channel. This fleet was to consist of fifty vessels,
which, despatched from the various ports of France and Spain, were to
rendezvous at Martinico, and, returning from thence to the British
Channel, protect the flotilla, upon which were to embark one hundred and
fifty thousand men.[40] Napoleon was disappointed in his combinations
respecting the shipping; for as it happened, Admiral Cornwallis lay
before Brest; Pellew observed the harbours of Spain; Nelson watched
Toulon and Genoa; and it would have been necessary for the French and
Spanish navy to fight their way through these impediments, in order to
form a union at Martinico.

It is wonderful to observe how incapable the best understandings become
of forming a rational judgment, where their vanity and self-interest are
concerned, in slurring over the total failure of a favourite scheme.
While talking of the miscarriage of this plan of invasion, Napoleon
gravely exclaimed to Las Cases, "And yet the obstacles which made me
fail were not of human origin--they were the work of the elements. In
the south, the sea undid my plans; in the north, it was the
conflagration of Moscow, the snows and ice that destroyed me. Thus,
water, air, fire, all nature, in short, have been the enemies of a
universal regeneration, commanded by Nature herself. The problems of
Providence are inscrutable."[41]

Independent of the presumptuousness of expressions, by which an
individual being, of the first-rate talents doubtless, but yet born of a
woman, seems to raise himself above the rest of his species, and deem
himself unconquerable save by elementary resistance, the inaccuracy of
the reasoning is worth remarking. Was it the sea which prevented his
crossing to England, or was it the English ships and sailors? He might
as well have affirmed that the hill of Mount St. John, and the wood of
Soignies, and not the army of Wellington, were the obstacles which
prevented him from marching to Brussels.

Before quitting the subject, we may notice, that Buonaparte seems not to
have entertained the least doubts of success, could he have succeeded in
disembarking his army. A single general action was to decide the fate of
England. Five days were to bring Napoleon to London, where he was to
perform the part of William the Third; but with more generosity and
disinterestedness. He was to call a meeting of the inhabitants, restore
them what he calls their rights, and destroy the oligarchical faction. A
few months would not, according to his account, have elapsed, ere the
two nations, late such determined enemies, would have been identified by
their principles, their maxims, their interests. The full explanation of
this gibberish, (for it can be termed no better, even proceeding from
the lips of Napoleon,) is to be found elsewhere, when he spoke a
language more genuine than that of the _Moniteur_ and the bulletins.
"England," he said, "must have ended, by becoming an appendage to the
France of _my_ system. Nature has made it one of our islands, as well as
Oleron and Corsica."[42]

It is impossible not to pursue the train of reflections which Buonaparte
continued to pour forth to the companion of his exile, on the rock of
Saint Helena. When England was conquered, and identified with France in
maxims and principles, according to one form of expression, or rendered
an appendage and dependency, according to another phrase, the reader may
suppose that Buonaparte would have considered his mission as
accomplished. Alas! it was not much more than commenced. "I would have
departed from thence [from subjugated Britain] to carry the work of
European regeneration [that is, the extension of his own arbitrary
authority] from south to north, under the Republican colours, for I was
then chief consul, in the same manner which I was more lately on the
point of achieving it under the monarchical forms."[43] When we find
such ideas retaining hold of Napoleon's imagination, and arising to his
tongue after his irretrievable fall, it is impossible to avoid
exclaiming, Did ambition ever conceive so wild a dream, and had so wild
a vision ever a termination so disastrous and humiliating!


It may be expected that something should be here said, upon the chances
which Britain would have had of defending herself successfully against
the army of invaders. We are willing to acknowledge that the risk must
have been dreadful; and that Buonaparte, with his genius and his army,
must have inflicted severe calamities upon a country which had so long
enjoyed the blessings of peace. But the people were unanimous in their
purpose of defence, and their forces composed of materials to which
Buonaparte did more justice when he came to be better acquainted with
them. Of the three British nations, the English have since shown
themselves possessed of the same steady valour which won the fields of
Cressy and Agincourt, Blenheim and Minden--the Irish have not lost the
fiery enthusiasm which has distinguished them in all the countries of
Europe--nor have the Scots degenerated from the stubborn courage with
which their ancestors, for two thousand years, maintained their
independence against a superior enemy. Even if London had been lost, we
would not, under so great a calamity, have despaired of the freedom of
the country; for the war would, in all probability, have assumed that
popular and national character which, sooner or later, wears out an
invading army. Neither does the confidence with which Buonaparte affirms
the conviction of his winning the first battle, appear so certainly
well-founded. This, at least, we know, that the resolution of the
country was fully bent up to the hazard; and those who remember the
period will bear us witness, that the desire that the French would make
the attempt, was a general feeling through all classes, because they had
every reason to hope that the issue might be such as for ever to silence
the threat of invasion.[44]


[36] See _ante_, p. 13.

[37] "Your ministers made a great outcry about the English travellers
that I detained in France; although they themselves had set the example,
by seizing upon all the French vessels and persons on board of them,
upon whom they could lay their hands, before the declaration of war, and
before I had detained the English in France. I said then, if you detain
my travellers at sea, where you can do what you like, I will detain
yours at land, where I am equally powerful. But after this I offered to
release all the English I had seized in France before the declaration of
war, provided you would in like manner release the French and their
property which you had seized on board of the ships. Your ministers
would not."--NAPOLEON, _Voice_, &c., vol. i., p. 326.

[38] Annual Register, vol. xlv., p. 283.

[39] "On what trifles does the fate of empires depend! How petty and
insignificant are our revolutions in the grand organization of the
earth! If, instead of entering upon the Egyptian expedition, I had
invaded Ireland; if some slight derangement of my plans had not thrown
obstacles in the way of my Boulogne enterprise, what would England have
been to-day? What would have been the situation of the Continent, and
the whole political world?"--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. iii., p. 330.

[40] See Montholon, tom. ii., p. 224. "The invasion of England," adds
Napoleon, "was always regarded as practicable; and, if once the descent
had been effected, London must infallibly have been taken. The French
being in possession of that capital, a very powerful party would have
arisen against the oligarchy. Did Hannibal look behind him when he
passed the Alps? or Cæsar when he landed in Epirus, or Africa? London is
situated only a few marches from Calais; and the English army, scattered
for the purpose of defending the coasts, could not have joined in time
to have covered that capital after once the descent had been actually

[41] Las Cases, tom. ii., p. 263.

[42] Las Cases, tom. iii., p. 330.

[43] Las Cases, tom. ii., p. 263.

[44] "I commanded a brigade of the army of the coasts, united at this
period against England, and I remember that, when called upon to give my
opinion upon this expedition, I replied, that 'a maritime expedition,
unless it had the superiority at sea, appeared to me to be a
contradiction.' Nevertheless, let any one imagine a French army of
200,000 men, landing upon the English territory, and seizing upon the
immense city of London--would he deny that, even if the liberty of the
country had not been lost, England would have suffered an immense and
perhaps irreparable injury? It cannot be denied that the plan was well
conceived; that the combined fleets of France and Spain were sufficient
to sweep the Channel, and to command there during the time necessary to
seize upon London, and even to have conveyed the whole army back to
France."--LOUIS BUONAPARTE, p. 40.


    _Disaffection begins to arise against Napoleon among the
    Soldiery--Purpose of setting up Moreau against him--Character of
    Moreau--Causes of his Estrangement from Buonaparte--Pichegru--The
    Duke d'Enghien--Georges Cadoudal, Pichegru, and other Royalists,
    landed in France--Desperate Enterprise of Georges--Defeated--Arrest
    of Moreau--of Pichegru--and Georges--Captain Wright--Duke d'Enghien
    seized at Strasburg--Hurried to Paris--Transferred to
    Vincennes--Tried by a Military Commission--Condemned--and
    Executed--Universal Horror of France and Europe--Buonaparte's
    Vindication of his Conduct--His Defence considered--Pichegru found
    dead in his Prison--Attempt to explain his Death by charging him
    with Suicide--Captain Wright found with his Throat cut--A similar
    Attempt made--Georges and other Conspirators Tried--Condemned--and
    Executed--Royalists Silenced--Moreau sent into Exile._


While Buonaparte was meditating the regeneration of Europe, by means of
conquering, first Britain, and then the northern powers, a course of
opposition to his government, and disaffection to his person, was
beginning to arise even among the soldiers themselves. The acquisition
of the consulate for life was naturally considered as a deathblow to the
Republic; and to that name many of the principal officers of the army,
who had advanced themselves to promotion by means of the Revolution,
still held a grateful attachment. The dissatisfaction of these military
men was the more natural, as some of them might see in Buonaparte
nothing more than a successful adventurer, who had raised himself high
above the heads of his comrades, and now exacted their homage. As
soldiers, they quickly passed from murmurs to threats; and at a festive
meeting, which was prolonged beyond the limits of sobriety, a colonel of
hussars proposed himself as the Brutus to remove this new Cæsar. Being
expert at the use of the pistol, he undertook to hit his mark at fifty
yards distance, during one of those reviews which were perpetually
taking place in presence of the first consul. The affair became known to
the police, but was hushed up as much as possible by the address of
Fouché, who saw that Buonaparte might be prejudiced by the bare act of
making public that such a thing had been agitated, however

The discontent spread wide, and was secretly augmented by the agents of
the house of Bourbon; and, besides the constitutional Opposition, whose
voice was at times heard in the Legislative Body and the Tribunate,
there existed malecontents without doors, composed of two parties, one
of whom considered Buonaparte as the enemy of public liberty, whilst the
other regarded him as the sole obstacle to the restoration of the
Bourbons; and the most eager partisans of both began to meditate on the
practicability of removing him by any means, the most violent and the
most secret not excepted. Those among the furious Republicans, or
enthusiastic Royalists, who entertained such sentiments, excused them,
doubtless, to their conscience, by Napoleon's having destroyed the
liberties, and usurped the supreme authority, of the country; thus
palliating the complexion of a crime which can never be vindicated.

These zealots, however, bore no proportion to the great body of
Frenchmen, who, displeased with the usurpation of Buonaparte, and
disposed to overthrow it, if possible, held themselves yet obliged to
refrain from all crooked and indirect practices against his life.
Proposing to destroy his power in the same way in which it had been
built, the first and most necessary task of the discontented party was
to find some military chief, whose reputation might bear to be balanced
against that of Napoleon; and no one could claim such distinction
excepting Moreau. If his campaigns were inferior to those of his great
rival in the lightning-like brilliancy and celerity of their operations,
and in the boldness of combination on which they were founded, they were
executed at smaller loss to his troops, and were less calculated to
expose him to disastrous consequences if they chanced to miscarry.
Moreau was no less celebrated for his retreat through the defiles of the
Black Forest, in 1796, than for the splendid and decisive victory of

Moreau's natural temper was mild, gentle, and accessible to
persuasion--a man of great abilities certainly, but scarcely displaying
the bold and decisive character which he ought to possess, who, in such
times as we write of, aspires to place himself at the head of a faction
in the state. Indeed, it rather would seem that he was forced into that
situation of eminence by the influence of general opinion, joined to
concurring circumstances, than that he deliberately aspired to place
himself there. He was the son of a lawyer of Bretagne,[46] and in every
respect a man who had risen by the Revolution. He was not, therefore,
naturally inclined towards the Bourbons; yet when Pichegru's
communications with the exiled family in 1795 became known to him by the
correspondence which he intercepted, Moreau kept the secret until some
months after,[47] when Pichegru had, with the rest of his party, fallen
under the Revolution of 18th Fructidor, which installed the Directory
of Barras, Reubel, and La Raveillière. After this period, Moreau's
marriage with a lady[48] who entertained sentiments favourable to the
Bourbons, seems to have gone some length in deciding his own political

Moreau had lent Buonaparte his sword and countenance on 18th Brumaire;
but he was soon dissatisfied with the engrossing ambition of the new
ruler of France, and they became gradually estranged from each other.
This was not the fault of Buonaparte, who, naturally desirous of
attaching to himself so great a general, showed him considerable
attention, and complained that it was received with coldness. On one
occasion, a most splendid pair of pistols had been sent to the first
consul. "They arrive in a happy time," he said, and presented them to
Moreau, who at that instant entered his presence chamber.[49] Moreau
received the civility as one which he would willingly have dispensed
with. He made no other acknowledgment than a cold bow, and instantly
left the levee.

Upon the institution of the Legion of Honour, one of the grand crosses
was offered to him. "The fool!" said Moreau, "does he not know that I
have belonged to the ranks of honour for these twelve years?" Another
pleasantry on this topic, upon which Buonaparte was very sensitive, was
a company of officers, who dined together with Moreau, voting a
sauce-pan of honour to the general's cook, on account of his merits in
dressing some particular dish. Thus, living estranged from Buonaparte,
Moreau came to be gradually regarded as the head of the disaffected
party in France; and the eyes of all those who disliked Napoleon or his
government, were fixed upon him, as the only individual whose influence
might be capable of balancing that of the chief consul.

Meantime, the peace of Amiens being broken, the British Government, with
natural policy, resolved once more to avail themselves of the state of
public feeling in France, and engage the partisans of royalty in a fresh
attack upon the Consular Government. They were probably in some degree
deceived concerning the strength of that party, which had been much
reduced under Buonaparte's management, and had listened too implicitly
to the promises and projects of agents, who, themselves sanguine beyond
what was warranted, exaggerated even their own hopes in communicating
them to the British ministers. It seems to have been acknowledged, that
little success was to be hoped for, unless Moreau could be brought to
join the conspiracy. This, however, was esteemed possible; and
notwithstanding the disagreement, personal as well as political, which
had subsisted betwixt him and Pichegru, the latter seems to have
undertaken to become the medium of communication betwixt Moreau and the
Royalists. Escaped from the deserts of Cayenne, to which he had been
exiled, Pichegru had for some time found refuge and support in London,
and there openly professed his principles as a Royalist, upon which he
had for a long time acted in secret.


A scheme was in agitation for raising the Royalists in the west, and the
Duke de Berri was to make a descent on the coast of Picardy, to favour
the insurrection. The Duke d'Enghien, grandson of the Prince of Condé,
fixed his residence under the protection of the Margrave of Baden, at
the chateau of Ettenheim, with the purpose, doubtless, of being ready to
put himself at the head of the Royalists in the east of France, or, if
occasion should offer, in Paris itself. This prince of the house of
Bourbon, the destined inheritor of the name of the great Condé, was in
the flower of youth, handsome, brave, and high-minded. He had been
distinguished for his courage in the emigrant army, which his
grandfather commanded. He gained by his valour the battle of Bortsheim;
and when his army, to whom the French Republicans showed no quarter,
desired to execute reprisals on their prisoners, he threw himself among
them to prevent their violence. "These men," he said "are
Frenchmen--they are unfortunate--I place them under the guardianship of
your honour and your humanity." Such was the princely youth, whose name
must now be written in bloody characters in this part of Napoleon's

Whilst the French princes expected on the frontier the effect of
commotions in the interior of France, Pichegru, Georges Cadoudal, and
about thirty other Royalists of the most determined character, were
secretly landed in France, made their way to the metropolis, and
contrived to find lurking places invisible to the all-seeing police.
There can be no reason to doubt that a part of those agents, and Georges
in particular, saw the greatest obstacle of their enterprise in the
existence of Buonaparte, and were resolved to commence by his
assassination. Pichegru, who was constantly in company with Georges,
cannot well be supposed ignorant of this purpose, although better
befitting the fierce chief of a band of Chouans than the conqueror of

In the meantime, Pichegru effected the desired communication with
Moreau, then, as we have said, considered as the chief of the
discontented military men, and the declared enemy of Buonaparte. They
met at least twice; and it is certain that on one of these occasions
Pichegru carried with him Georges Cadoudal, at whose person and plans
Moreau expressed horror, and desired that Pichegru would not again bring
that irrational savage into his company. The cause of his dislike we
must naturally suppose to have been the nature of the measures Georges
proposed, being the last to which a brave and loyal soldier like Moreau
would willingly have resorted to; but Buonaparte, when pretending to
give an exact account of what passed betwixt Moreau and Pichegru,
represents the conduct of the former in a very different point of view.
Moreau, according to this account, informed Pichegru, that while the
first consul lived, he had not the slightest interest in the army, and
that not even his own aides-de-camp would follow him against Napoleon;
but were Napoleon removed, Moreau assured them all eyes would be fixed
on himself alone--that he would then become first consul--that Pichegru
should be second; and was proceeding to make farther arrangements, when
Georges broke in on their deliberations with fury, accused the generals
of scheming their own grandeur, not the restoration of the king, and
declared that to choose betwixt _blue_ and _blue_, (a phrase by which
the Vendéans distinguished the Republicans,)[50] he would as soon have
Buonaparte as Moreau at the head of affairs, and concluded by stating
his own pretensions to be third consul at least. According to this
account, therefore, Moreau was not shocked at the atrocity of Georges'
enterprise, of which he himself had been the first to admit the
necessity, but only disgusted at the share which the Chouan chief
assorted to himself in the partition of the spoil. But we give no credit
whatever to this story. Though nothing could have been so important to
the first consul at the time as to produce proof of Moreau's direct
accession to the plot on his life, no such proof was ever brought
forward; and therefore the statement, we have little doubt, was made up
afterwards, and contains what Buonaparte might think probable, and
desire that others should believe, not what he knew from certain
information, or was able to prove by credible testimony.

The police was speedily alarmed, and in action. Notice had been received
that a band of Royalists had introduced themselves into the capital,
though it was for some time very difficult to apprehend them. Georges,
meanwhile, prosecuted his attempt against the chief consul, and is
believed at one time to have insinuated himself in the disguise of a
menial into the Tuileries, and even into Buonaparte's apartment; but
without finding any opportunity to strike the blow, which his uncommon
strength and desperate resolution might otherwise have rendered
decisive. All the barriers were closed, and a division of Buonaparte's
guards maintained the closest watch, to prevent any one escaping from
the city. By degrees sufficient light was obtained to enable the
government to make a communication to the public upon the existence and
tendency of the conspiracy, which became more especially necessary, when
it was resolved to arrest Moreau himself. This took place on the 15th
February, 1804. He was seized without difficulty or resistance, while
residing quietly at his country-house. On the day following, an order of
the day, signed by Murat, then Governor of Paris, announced the fact to
the citizens, with the additional information, that Moreau was engaged
in a conspiracy with Pichegru, Georges, and others, who were closely
pursued by the police.

The news of Moreau's imprisonment produced the deepest sensation in
Paris; and the reports which were circulated on the subject were by no
means favourable to Buonaparte. Some disbelieved the plot entirely,
while others, less sceptical, considered the chief consul as making a
pretext of the abortive attempt of Pichegru and Georges for the purpose
of sacrificing Moreau, who was at once his rival in military fame, and
the declared opponent of his government. It was even asserted, that
secret agents of Buonaparte in London had been active in encouraging the
attempts of the original conspirators, for the sake of implicating a man
whom the first consul both hated and feared. Of this there was no proof;
but these and other dark suspicions pervaded men's minds, and all eyes
were turned with anxiety upon the issue of the legal investigations
which were about to take place.

Upon the 17th February, the great judge of police, by a report[51] which
was communicated to the Senate, the Legislative Body, and the Tribunate,
denounced Pichegru, Georges, and others, as having returned to France
from their exile, with the purpose of overthrowing the government, and
assassinating the chief consul, and implicated Moreau as having held
communication with them. When the report was read in the Tribunate, the
brother of Moreau arose, and, recalling the merits and services of his
relative, complained of the cruelty of calumniating him without proof,
and demanded for him the privilege of an open and public trial.

"This is a fine display of sensibility," said Curee, one of the
tribunes, in ridicule of the sensation naturally produced by this
affecting incident.

"It is a display of indignation," replied the brother of Moreau, and
left the assembly.

The public bodies, however, did what was doubtless expected of them, and
carried to the foot of the consular throne the most exaggerated
expressions of their interest in the life and safety of him by whom it
was occupied.


Meanwhile, the vigilance of the police, and the extraordinary means
employed by them, accomplished the arrest of almost all the persons
concerned in the plot. A false friend, whom Pichegru had trusted to the
highest degree, betrayed his confidence for a large bribe, and
introduced the gendarmes into his apartment while he was asleep. They
first secured the arms which lay beside him, and then his person, after
a severe struggle. Georges Cadoudal, perhaps a yet more important
capture, fell into the hands of the police soon after. He had been
traced so closely, that at length he dared not enter a house, but spent
many hours of the day and night in driving about Paris in a cabriolet.
On being arrested, he shot one of the gendarmes dead, mortally wounded
another, and had nearly escaped from them all. The other conspirators,
and those accused of countenancing their enterprise, were arrested to
the number of forty persons, who were of very different characters and
conditions; some followers or associates of Georges, and others
belonging to the ancient nobility. Among the latter were Messrs. Armand
and Jules Polignac, Charles de la Rivière, and other Royalists of
distinction. Chance had also thrown into Buonaparte's power a victim of
another description. Captain Wright, the commander of a British brig of
war, had been engaged in putting ashore on the coast of Morbihan,
Pichegru and some of his companions. Shortly afterwards, his vessel was
captured by a French vessel of superior force. Under pretence that his
evidence was necessary to the conviction of the French conspirators, he
was brought up to Paris, committed to the Temple, and treated with a
rigour which became a prelude to the subsequent tragedy.

It might have been supposed, that among so many prisoners, enough of
victims might have been selected to atone with their lives for the
insurrection which they were accused of meditating; nay, for the attempt
which was alleged to be designed against the person of the first consul.
Most unhappily for his fame, Napoleon thought otherwise; and, from
causes which we shall hereafter endeavour to appreciate, sought to give
a fuller scope to the gratification of his revenge, than the list of his
captives, though containing several men of high rank, enabled him to


We have observed, that the residence of the Duke d'Enghien upon the
French frontier was to a certain degree connected with the enterprise
undertaken by Pichegru, so far as concerned the proposed insurrection of
the royalists in Paris. This we infer from the duke's admission, that he
resided at Ettenheim in the expectation of having soon a part of
importance to play in France.[52] This was perfectly vindicated by his
situation and connexions. But that the duke participated in, or
countenanced in the slightest degree, the meditated attempt on
Buonaparte's life, has never even been alleged, and is contrary to all
the proof led in the case, and especially to the sentiments impressed
upon him by his grandfather, the Prince of Condé.[53] He lived in great
privacy, and amused himself principally with hunting. A pension allowed
him by England was his only means of support.

On the evening of the 14th March, a body of French soldiers and
gendarmes, commanded by Colonel Ordenner, acting under the direction of
Caulaincourt, afterwards called Duke of Vicenza, suddenly entered the
territory of Baden, a power with whom France was in profound peace, and
surrounded the chateau in which the unfortunate prince resided. The
descendant of Condé sprung to his arms, but was prevented from using
them by one of his attendants, who represented the force of the
assailants as too great to be resisted. The soldiers rushed into the
apartment, and, presenting their pistols, demanded to know which was the
Duke d'Enghien. "If you desire to arrest him," said the Duke, "you ought
to have his description in your warrant."--"Then we must seize on you
all," replied the officer in command; and the prince, with his little
household, were arrested and carried to a mill at some distance from the
house, where he was permitted to receive some clothes and necessaries.
Being now recognised, he was transferred, with his attendants, to the
citadel of Strasburg, and presently afterwards separated from the
gentlemen of his household, with the exception of his aide-de-camp, the
Baron de St. Jacques. He was allowed to communicate with no one. He
remained a close prisoner for three days; but on the 18th, betwixt one
and two in the morning, he was obliged to rise and dress himself
hastily, being only informed that he was about to commence a journey.
He requested the attendance of his valet-de-chambre, but was answered
that it was unnecessary. The linen which he was permitted to take with
him amounted to two shirts only; so nicely had his worldly wants been
calculated and ascertained. He was transported with the utmost speed and
secrecy towards Paris, where he arrived on the 20th; and, after having
been committed for a few hours to the Temple, was transferred to the
ancient Gothic castle of Vincennes, about a mile from the city, long
used as a state prison, but whose walls never received a more
illustrious or a more innocent victim. There he was permitted to take
some repose; and, as if the favour had only been granted for the purpose
of being withdrawn, he was awaked at midnight, and called upon to
sustain an interrogatory on which his life depended, and to which he
replied with the utmost composure. On the ensuing night, at the same
dead hour, he was brought before the pretended court. The law enjoined
that he should have had a defender appointed to plead his cause. But
none such was allotted to him.

The inquisitors before whom he was hurried, formed a military commission
of eight officers, having General Hulin as their president. They were,
as the proceedings express it, named by Buonaparte's brother-in-law
Murat, then governor of Paris. Though necessarily exhausted with fatigue
and want of rest, the Duke d'Enghien performed in this melancholy scene
a part worthy of the last descendant of the great Condé. He avowed his
name and rank, and the share which he had taken in the war against
France, but denied all knowledge of Pichegru or of his conspiracy. The
interrogations ended by his demanding an audience of the chief consul.
"My name," he said, "my rank, my sentiments, and the peculiar distress
of my situation, lead me to hope that my request will not be refused."

The military commissioners paused and hesitated--nay, though selected
doubtless as fitted for the office, they were even affected by the whole
behaviour, and especially by the intrepidity, of the unhappy prince. But
Savary, then chief of the police, stood behind the president's chair,
and controlled their sentiments of compassion. When they proposed to
further the prisoner's request of an audience of the first consul,
Savary cut the discussion short, by saying, that was inexpedient. At
length they reported their opinion, that the Duke d'Enghien was guilty
of having fought against the Republic, intrigued with England, and
maintained intelligence in Strasburg, for the purpose of seizing the
place;--great part of which allegations, and especially the last, was in
express contradiction to the only proof adduced, the admission, namely,
of the prisoner himself. The report being sent to Buonaparte to know his
farther pleasure, the court received for answer their own letter, marked
with the emphatic words, "Condemned to death." Napoleon was obeyed by
his satraps with Persian devotion. The sentence was pronounced, and the
prisoner received it with the same intrepid gallantry which
distinguished him through the whole of the bloody scene. He requested
the aid of a confessor. "Would you die like a monk?" is said to have
been the insulting reply. The duke, without noticing the insult, knelt
down for a minute, and seemed absorbed in profound devotion.

"Let us go," he said, when he arose from his knees. All was in readiness
for the execution; and, as if to stamp the trial as a mere mockery, the
grave had been prepared ere the judgment of the court was
pronounced.[54] Upon quitting the apartment in which the pretended trial
had taken place, the prince was conducted by torch-light down a
winding-stair, which seemed to descend to the dungeons of the ancient

"Am I to be immured in an oubliette?" he said, naturally recollecting
the use which had sometimes been made of those tombs for the
living.--"No, Monseigneur," answered the soldier he addressed, in a
voice interrupted by sobs, "be tranquil on that subject." The stair led
to a postern, which opened into the castle ditch, where, as we have
already said, a grave was dug, beside which were drawn up a party of the
gendarmes d'élite. It was near six o'clock in the morning, and day had
dawned. But as there was a heavy mist on the ground, several torches and
lamps mixed their pale and ominous light with that afforded by the
heavens,--a circumstance which seems to have given rise to the
inaccurate report, that a lantern was tied to the button of the victim,
that his slayers might take the more certain aim. Savary was again in
attendance, and had taken his place upon a parapet which commanded the
place of execution. The victim was placed, the fatal word was given by
the future Duke de Rovigo, the party fired, and the prisoner fell. The
body, dressed as it was, and without the slightest attention to the
usual decencies of sepulture, was huddled into the grave with as little
ceremony as common robbers use towards the carcases of the murdered.

Paris learned with astonishment and fear the singular deed which had
been perpetrated so near her walls. No act had ever excited more
universal horror, both in France and in foreign countries, and none has
left so deep a stain on the memory of Napoleon. If there were farther
proof necessary of the general opinion of mankind on the subject, the
anxiety displayed by Savary, Hulin, and the other subaltern agents in
this shameful transaction to diminish their own share in it, or transfer
it to others, would be sufficient evidence of the deep responsibility to
which they felt themselves subjected.

There is but justice, however, in listening to the defence which
Buonaparte set up for himself when in Saint Helena, especially as it
appeared perfectly convincing to Las Cases, his attendant who, though
reconciled to most of his master's actions, had continued to regard the
Duke d'Enghien's death as so great a blot upon his escutcheon, that he
blushed even when Napoleon himself introduced the subject.[55]

His exculpation seems to have assumed a different and inconsistent
character, according to the audience to whom it was stated. Among his
intimate friends and followers, he appears to have represented the whole
transaction as an affair not of his own device, but which was pressed
upon him by surprise by his ministers. "I was seated," he said, "alone,
and engaged in finishing my coffee, when they came to announce to me the
discovery of some new machination. They represented it was time to put
an end to such horrible attempts, by washing myself in the blood of one
amongst the Bourbons; and they suggested the Duke d'Enghien as the most
proper victim." Buonaparte proceeds to say, that he did not know exactly
who the Duke d'Enghien was, far less that he resided so near France as
to be only three leagues from the Rhine. This was explained. "In that
case," said Napoleon, "he ought to be arrested." His prudent ministers
had foreseen this conclusion. They had the whole scheme laid, and the
orders ready drawn up for Buonaparte's signature; so that, according to
this account, he was hurried into the enormity by the zeal of those
about him, or perhaps in consequence of their private views and
mysterious intrigues. He also charged Talleyrand with concealing from
him a letter,[56] written by the unfortunate prisoner, in which he
offered his services to Buonaparte, but which was intercepted by the
minister. If this had reached him in time, he intimates that he would
have spared the prince's life. To render this statement probable, he
denies generally that Josephine had interested herself to the utmost to
engage him to spare the duke; although this has been affirmed by the
testimony of such as declared, that they received the fact from the
Empress's own lips.[57]

It is unfortunate for the truth of this statement and the soundness of
the defence which it contains, that neither Talleyrand, nor any human
being save Buonaparte himself, could have the least interest in the
death of the Duke d'Enghien. That Napoleon should be furious at the
conspiracies of Georges and Pichegru and should be willing to avenge the
personal dangers he incurred; and that he should be desirous to
intimidate the family of Bourbon, by "washing himself," as he expresses
it, "in the blood of one of their House," was much in character. But
that the sagacious Talleyrand should have hurried on a cruel proceeding,
in which he had no earthly interest, is as unlikely, as that, if he had
desired to do so, he could have been able to elicit from Buonaparte the
powers necessary for an act of so much consequence, without his master
having given the affair, in all its bearings, the most full and ample
consideration. It may also be noticed, that besides transferring a part
at least of the guilt from himself, Buonaparte might be disposed to
gratify his revenge against Talleyrand, by stigmatizing him, from St.
Helena, with a crime the most odious to his new sovereigns of the House
of Bourbon. Lastly, the existence of the letter above mentioned has
never been proved, and it is inconsistent with every thought and
sentiment of the Duke d'Enghien. It is besides said to have been dated
from Strasburg; and the duke's aide-de-camp, the Baron de St. Jacques,
has given his testimony that he was never an instant separated from his
patron, during his confinement in that citadel; and that the duke
neither wrote a letter to Buonaparte nor to any one else. But, after
all, if Buonaparte had actually proceeded in this bloody matter upon the
instigation of Talleyrand, it cannot be denied, that, as a man knowing
right from wrong, he could not hope to transfer to his counsellor the
guilt of the measures which he executed at his recommendation. The
murder, like the rebellion of Absalom, was not less a crime, even
supposing it recommended and facilitated by the unconscientious counsels
of a modern Achitophel.

Accordingly, Napoleon has not chosen to trust to this defence; but,
inconsistently with this pretence of being hurried into the measure by
Talleyrand, he has, upon other occasions, broadly and boldly avowed that
it was in itself just and necessary; that the Duke d'Enghien was
condemned by the laws, and suffered execution accordingly under their

It is an easy task to show, that even according to the law of France,
jealous and severe as it was in its application to such subjects, there
existed no right to take the life of the duke. It is true he was an
emigrant, and the law denounced the penalty of death against such of
these as should return to France with arms in their hands. But the duke
did not so return--nay, his returning at all was not an act of his own,
but the consequence of violence exercised on his person. He was in a
more favourable case than even those emigrants whom storms had cast on
their native shore, and whom Buonaparte himself considered as objects of
pity, not of punishment. He had indeed borne arms against France; but as
a member of the House of Bourbon, he was not, and could not be
accounted, a subject of Buonaparte, having left the country before his
name was heard of; nor could he be considered as in contumacy against
the state of France, for he, like the rest of the royal family, was
specially excluded from the benefits of the amnesty which invited the
return of the less distinguished emigrants. The act by which he was
trepanned, and brought within the compass of French power, not of French
law, was as much a violation of the rights of nations, as the
precipitation with which the pretended trial followed the arrest, and
the execution the trial, was an outrage upon humanity. On the trial no
witnesses were produced, nor did any investigation take place, saving by
the interrogation of the prisoner. Whatever points of accusation,
therefore, are not established by the admission of the duke himself,
must be considered as totally unproved. Yet this unconscientious
tribunal not only found their prisoner guilty of having borne arms
against the Republic, which he readily admitted, but of having placed
himself at the head of a party of French emigrants in the pay of
England, and carried on machinations for surprising the city of
Strasburg; charges which he himself positively denied, and which were
supported by no proof whatever.

Buonaparte, well aware of the total irregularity of the proceedings in
this extraordinary case, seems, on some occasions, to have wisely
renounced any attempt to defend what he must have been convinced was
indefensible, and has vindicated his conduct upon general grounds, of a
nature well worthy of notice. It seems that, when he spoke of the death
of the Duke d'Enghien among his attendants, he always chose to represent
it as a case falling under the ordinary forms of law, in which all
regularity was observed, and where, though he might be accused of
severity, he could not be charged with violation of justice. This was
safe language to hearers from whom he was sure to receive neither
objection nor contradiction, and is just an instance of an attempt, on
the part of a conscientiously guilty party, to establish, by repeated
asseverations, an innocence which was inconsistent with fact. But with
strangers, from whom replies and argument might be expected, Napoleon
took broader grounds. He alleged the death of the Duke d'Enghien to be
an act of self-defence, a measure of state policy, arising out of the
natural rights of humanity, by which a man, to save his own life, is
entitled to take away that of another. "I was assailed," he said, "on
all hands by the enemies whom the Bourbons raised up against me;
threatened with air-guns, infernal machines, and deadly stratagems of
every kind. I had no tribunal on earth to which I could appeal for
protection, therefore I had a right to protect myself; and by putting to
death one of those whose followers threatened my life, I was entitled to
strike a salutary terror into the others."[58]

We have no doubt that, in this argument, which is in the original much
extended, Buonaparte explained his real motives; at least we can only
add to them the stimulus of obstinate resentment, and implacable
revenge. But the whole resolves itself into an allegation of that state
necessity, which has been justly called the Tyrant's plea, and which has
always been at hand to defend, or rather to palliate, the worst crimes
of sovereigns. The prince may be lamented, who is exposed, from civil
disaffection, to the dagger of the assassin, but his danger gives him no
right to turn such a weapon even against the individual person by whom
it is pointed at him. Far less could the attempt of any violent
partisans of the House of Bourbon authorise the first consul to take, by
a suborned judgment, and the most precipitate procedure, the life of a
young prince, against whom the accession to the conspiracies of which
Napoleon complained had never been alleged, far less proved. In every
point of view, the act was a murder; and the stain of the Duke
d'Enghien's blood must remain indelibly upon Napoleon Buonaparte.

With similar sophistry, he attempted to daub over the violation of the
neutral territory of Baden, which was committed for the purpose of
enabling his emissaries to seize the person of his unhappy victim. This,
according to Buonaparte, was a wrong which was foreign to the case of
the Duke d'Enghien, and concerned the sovereign of Baden alone. As that
prince never complained of this violation, "the plea," he contended,
"could not be used by any other person."[59] This was merely speaking as
one who has power to do wrong. To whom was the Duke of Baden to
complain, or what reparation could he expect by doing so? He was in the
condition of a poor man, who suffers injustice at the hands of a wealthy
neighbour, because he has no means to go to law, but whose acquiescence
under the injury cannot certainly change its character, or render that
invasion just which is in its own character distinctly otherwise. The
passage may be marked as showing Napoleon's unhappy predilection to
consider public measures not according to the immutable rules of right
and wrong, but according to the opportunities which the weakness of one
kingdom may afford to the superior strength of another.[60]

It may be truly added, that even the pliant argument of state necessity
was far from justifying this fatal deed. To have retained the Duke
d'Enghien a prisoner, as a hostage who might be made responsible for the
Royalists' abstaining from their plots, might have had in it some touch
of policy; but the murder of the young and gallant prince, in a way so
secret and so savage, had a deep moral effect upon the European world,
and excited hatred against Buonaparte wherever the tale was told. In the
well-known words of Fouché, the duke's execution was worse than a moral
crime--it was a political blunder.[61] It had this consequence, most
unfortunate for Buonaparte, that it seemed to stamp his character as
bloody and unforgiving; and in so far prepared the public mind to
receive the worst impressions, and authorised the worst suspicions, when
other tragedies of a more mysterious character followed that of the last
of the race of Condé.[62]


The Duke d'Enghien's execution took place on the 21st March; on the 7th
April following, General Pichegru was found dead in his prison. A black
handkerchief was wrapped round his neck, which had been tightened by
twisting round a short stick inserted through one of the folds. It was
asserted that he had turned this stick with his own hands, until he lost
the power of respiring, and then, by laying his head on the pillow, had
secured the stick in its position. It did not escape the public, that
this was a mode of terminating life far more likely to be inflicted by
the hands of others than those of the deceased himself. Surgeons were
found, but men, it is said, of small reputation, to sign a report upon
the state of the body, in which they affirm that Pichegru had died by
suicide; yet as he must have lost animation and sense so soon as he had
twisted the stick to the point of strangulation, it seems strange he
should not have then unclosed his grasp on the fatal tourniquet, which
he used as the means of self-destruction. In that case the pressure must
have relaxed, and the fatal purpose have remained unaccomplished. No
human eye could see into the dark recesses of a state prison, but there
were not wanting many who entertained a total disbelief of Pichegru's
suicide. It was argued that the first consul did not dare to bring
before a public tribunal, and subject to a personal interrogatory, a man
of Pichegru's boldness and presence of mind--it was said, also, that his
evidence would have been decisively favourable to Moreau--that the
citizens of Paris were many of them attached to Pichegru's person--that
the soldiers had not forgotten his military fame--and, finally, it was
reported, that in consideration of these circumstances, it was judged
most expedient to take away his life in prison. Public rumour went so
far as to name, as the agents in the crime, four of those Mamelukes, of
whom Buonaparte had brought a small party from Egypt, and whom he used
to have about his person as matter of parade. This last assertion had a
strong impression on the multitude, who are accustomed to think, and
love to talk, about the mutes and bowstrings of Eastern despotism. But
with well-informed persons, its improbability threw some discredit on
the whole accusation. The state prisons of France must have furnished
from their officials enough of men as relentless and dexterous in such a
commission as those Eastern strangers, whose unwonted appearance in
these gloomy regions must have at once shown a fatal purpose, and
enabled every one to trace it to Buonaparte.[63]

A subsequent catastrophe, of nearly the same kind, increased by its
coincidence the dark suspicions which arose out of the circumstances
attending the death of Pichegru.

Captain Wright, from whose vessel Pichegru and his companions had
disembarked on the French coast, had become, as we have said, a prisoner
of war, his ship being captured by one of much superior force, and after
a most desperate defence. Under pretext that his evidence was necessary
to the conviction of Pichegru and Georges, he was brought to Paris, and
lodged a close prisoner in the Temple. It must also be mentioned, that
Captain Wright had been an officer under Sir Sidney Smith, and that the
mind of Buonaparte was tenaciously retentive of animosity against those
who had aided to withstand a darling purpose, or diminish and obscure
the military renown, which was yet more dear to him. The treatment of
Captain Wright was--must have been severe, even if it extended no
farther than solitary imprisonment; but reports went abroad, that
torture was employed to bring the gallant seaman to such confessions as
might suit the purposes of the French Government. This belief became
very general, when it was heard that Wright, like Pichegru, was found
dead in his apartment, with his throat cut from ear to ear, the result,
according to the account given by Government, of his own impatience and
despair. This official account of the second suicide committed by a
state prisoner, augmented and confirmed the opinions entertained
concerning the death of Pichegru, which it so closely resembled. The
unfortunate Captain Wright was supposed to have been sacrificed, partly
perhaps to Buonaparte's sentiments of petty vengeance, but chiefly to
conceal, within the walls of the Temple, the evidence which his person
would have exhibited in a public court of justice, of the dark and cruel
practices by which confession was sometimes extorted.

Buonaparte always alleged his total ignorance concerning the fate of
Pichegru and Wright, and affirmed upon all occasions, that they
perished, so far as he knew, by their own hands, and not by those of
assassins. No proof has ever been produced to contradict his assertion;
and so far as he is inculpated upon these heads, his crime can be only
matter of strong suspicion. But it was singular that this rage for
suicide should have thus infected the state prisons of Paris, and that
both these men, determined enemies of the Emperor, should have adopted
the resolution of putting themselves to death, just when that event was
most convenient to their oppressor. Above all, it must be confessed,
that, by his conduct towards the Duke d'Enghien, Buonaparte had lost
that fairness of character to which he might otherwise have appealed, as
in itself an answer to the presumptions formed against him. The man who,
under pretext of state necessity, ventured on such an open violation of
the laws of justice, ought not to complain if he is judged capable, in
every case of suspicion, of sacrificing the rights of humanity to his
passions or his interest. He himself has affirmed, that Wright died,
long before it was announced to the public, but has given no reason why
silence was preserved with respect to the event.[64] The Duke de Rovigo,
also denying all knowledge of Wright's death, acknowledges that it was
a dark and mysterious subject, and intimates his belief that Fouché was
at the bottom of the tragedy.[65] In Fouché's real or pretended Memoirs,
the subject is not mentioned. We leave, in the obscurity in which we
found it, a dreadful tale, of which the truth cannot, in all
probability, be known, until the secrets of all hearts shall be laid


Rid of Pichegru, by his own hand or his jailor's, Buonaparte's
government was now left to deal with Georges and his comrades, as well
as with Moreau. With the first it was an easy task, for the Chouan chief
retained, in the court of criminal justice before which he was conveyed,
the same fearless tone of defiance which he had displayed from the
beginning. He acknowledged that he came to Paris for the sake of making
war personally on Napoleon, and seemed only to regret his captivity, as
it had disconcerted his enterprise. He treated the judges with cool
contempt, and amused himself by calling Thuriot, who conducted the
process, and who had been an old Jacobin, by the name of Monsieur
Tue-Roi. There was no difficulty in obtaining sentence of death against
Georges and nineteen of his associates; amongst whom was Armand de
Polignac, for whose life his brother affectionately tendered his own.
Armand de Polignac, however, with seven others, were pardoned by
Buonaparte; or rather banishment in some cases, and imprisonment in
others, were substituted for a capital punishment. Georges and the rest
were executed, and died with the most determined firmness.

The discovery and suppression of this conspiracy seems to have produced,
in a great degree, the effects expected by Buonaparte. The Royal party
became silent and submissive, and, but that their aversion to the reign
of Napoleon showed itself in lampoons, satires, and witticisms, which
were circulated in their evening parties, it could hardly have been
known to exist. Offers were made to Buonaparte to rid him of the
remaining Bourbons, in consideration of a large sum of money; but with
better judgment than had dictated his conduct of late, he rejected the
proposal. His interest, he was now convinced, would be better consulted
by a line of policy which would reduce the exiled family to a state of
insignificance, than by any rash and violent proceedings, which must
necessarily draw men's attention, and, in doing so, were likely to
interest them in behalf of the sufferers, and animate them against their
powerful oppressor. With this purpose, the names of the exiled family
were, shortly after this period, carefully suppressed in all periodical
publications, and, with one or two exceptions, little allusion to their
existence can be traced in the pages of the official journal of France;
and, unquestionably, the policy was wisely adopted towards a people so
light, and animated so intensely with the interest of the moment, as the
French, to whom the present is a great deal, the future much less, and
the past nothing at all.

Though Georges's part of the conspiracy was disposed of thus easily, the
trial of Moreau involved a much more dangerous task. It was found
impossible to procure evidence against him, beyond his own admission
that he had seen Pichegru twice; and this admission was coupled with a
positive denial that he had engaged to be participant in his schemes. A
majority of the judges seemed disposed to acquit him entirely, but were
cautioned by the president Hemart, that, by doing so, they would force
the government upon violent measures. Adopting this hint, and willing to
compromise matters, they declared Moreau guilty, but not to the extent
of a capital crime. He was subjected to imprisonment for two years; but
the soldiers continuing to interest themselves in his fate, Fouché, who
about this time was restored to the administration of police, interceded
warmly in his favour,[66] and seconded the applications of Madame
Moreau, for a commutation of her husband's sentence.[67] His doom of
imprisonment was therefore exchanged for that of exile; a mode of
punishment safer for Moreau, considering the late incidents in the
prisons of state; and more advantageous for Buonaparte, as removing
entirely from the thoughts of the republican party, and of the soldiers,
a leader, whose military talents brooked comparison with his own, and to
whom the public eye would naturally be turned when any cause of
discontent with their present government might incline them to look
elsewhere. Buonaparte thus escaped from the consequences of this
alarming conspiracy; and, like a patient whose disease is brought to a
favourable crisis by the breaking of an imposthume, he attained
additional strength by the discomfiture of those secret enemies.


[45] Fouché, tom. i., p. 231.

[46] Moreau was born at Morlaix in 1763.

[47] "If Moreau's friendship for Pichegru led him into this culpable
compromise, he ought not to have communicated these papers at a time
when a knowledge of their contents could no longer be serviceable to the
state; for, after the transactions of the 18th Fructidor, that party was
defeated, and Pichegru was in chains."--NAPOLEON, _Montholon_, tom. i.,
p. 43.

[48] "The Empress Josephine married Moreau to Mademoiselle Hulot, a
creole of the Isle of France. This young lady had an ambitious mother,
who governed her, and soon governed her husband also. She changed his
character; he was no longer the same man; he began to intrigue; his
house became the rendezvous of all the disaffected. For a long time the
first consul refused to notice this imprudent conduct; but at length he
said, 'I wash my hands of him; let him run his head against the pillars
of the Tuileries.'"--NAPOLEON, _Montholon_, tom. i., p. 53.

[49] "Moreau went to Paris during the armistice of Pahrsdorff, and
alighted unexpectedly at the Tuileries. Whilst he was engaged with the
first consul, the minister at war, Carnot, arrived from Versailles with
a pair of pistols, enriched with diamonds, of very great value: they
were intended for the first consul, who, taking the pistols, presented
them to Moreau, saying, 'They come very opportunely.' This was not a
thing contrived for effect."--NAPOLEON, _Montholon_, tom. i., p. 52.

[50] See Mémoires de Savary, tom. ii., p. 52.

[51] See Annual Register, vol. xlvi., p. 616.

[52] The passage alluded to is in the Duke of Rovigo's (Savary's)
Vindication of his own Conduct. At the same time, no traces of such an
admission are to be found in the interrogations, as printed elsewhere.
It is also said, that when the duke (then at Ettenheim) first heard of
the conspiracy of Pichegru, he alleged that it must have been only a
pretended discovery. "Had there been such an intrigue in reality," he
said, "my father and grandfather would have let me know something of the
matter, that I might provide for my safety." It may be added, that if he
had been really engaged in that conspiracy, it is probable that he would
have retired from the vicinity of the French territory on the scheme
being discovered.--S.

[53] A remarkable letter from the Prince of Condé to the Comte d'Artois,
dated 24th January, 1802, contains the following passage, which we
translate literally:--"The Chevalier de Roll will give you an account of
what has passed here yesterday. A man of a very simple and gentle
exterior arrived the night before, and having travelled, as he affirmed,
on foot, from Paris to Calais, had an audience of me about eleven in the
forenoon, and distinctly offered to rid us of the usurper by the
shortest method possible. I did not give him time to finish the details
of his project, but rejected the proposal with horror, assuring him that
you, if present, would do the same. I told him, we should always be the
enemies of him who had arrogated to himself the power and the throne of
our Sovereign, until he should make restitution: that we had combated
the usurper by open force, and would do so again if opportunity offered;
but that we would never employ that species of means which only became
the Jacobin party; and if that faction should meditate such a crime,
assuredly we would not be their accomplices." This discourse the prince
renewed to the secret agent in the presence of the Chevalier de Roll, as
a confidential friend of the Comte d'Artois, and, finally, advised the
man instantly to leave England, as, in case of his being arrested, the
prince would afford him no countenance or protection. The person to whom
the Prince of Condé addressed sentiments so worthy of himself and of his
great ancestor, afterwards proved to be an agent of Buonaparte,
despatched to sound the opinions of the Princes of the House of Bourbon,
and if possible to implicate them in such a nefarious project as should
justly excite public indignation against them.--S.

[54] Savary has denied this. It is not of much consequence. The illegal
arrest--the precipitation of the mock trial--the disconformity of the
sentence from the proof--the hurry of the execution--all prove that the
unfortunate prince was doomed to die long before he was brought before
the military commission.--S.--See, in Savary's Memoirs, tom. ii, p. 221,
the Supplementary Chapter, "On the Catastrophe of the Duke d'Enghien."

[55] The reasoning and sentiments of Buonaparte on this subject are
taken from the work of Las Cases, tom. iv., partie 7ieme, p. 249, where
they are given at great length.--S.

[56] Napoleon in Exile, vol. i., p. 335.

[57] "The idea of the death of the Duke d'Enghien never crossed the
first consul's mind, till he was astonished and confounded by the
tidings communicated to him by Savary of his execution. The question was
not whether he should be put to death, but whether he should be put on
his trial. Joseph, Josephine, Cambacérès, Berthier, earnestly
expostulated with the chief magistrate against it. Joseph, who was
living at Morfontaine, and transiently in town, on the 20th of March,
the day the Duke d'Enghien was taken a prisoner to Paris, spoke to his
brother in his behalf, warmly urging the defence of the grandson of the
Prince of Condé, who, he reminded his brother, had seven times crowned
him for as many distinctions gained at the Royal School; to which
expostulation the first consul's reply affords a curious proof of the
state of his mind at the moment. His answer was given by declaiming the
following passage from a speech of Cæsar, in Corneille's tragedy of _La
Mort de Pompée_:--

    'Votre zèle est faux, si seul il redoutait
    Ce que le monde entier à pleins vœux souhaitait:
    Et s'il vous a donné ces craintes trop subtiles,
    Qui m'ôtent tout le fruit de nos guerres civiles,
    Où l'honneur seul m'engage, et que pour terminer
    Je ne veux que celui de vaincre et pardonner;
    Où mes plus dangereux et plus grands adversaires,
    Sitôt qu'ils sont vaincus, ne sont plus que mes frères;
    Et mon ambition ne va qu'à les forcer,
    Ayant domté leur haine, à vivre et m'embrasser.
    Oh! combien d'allegresse une si triste guerre
    Aurait-elle laisée dessus toute la terre,
    Si l'on voyait marcher dessus un même char,
    Vainqueurs de leur discorde, et Pompée et César.'"


[58] See Las Cases, tom. iv., p. 269.

[59] See Las Cases, tom. iv., p. 271.

[60] See, in the Appendix to this volume, No. II., "FURTHER PARTICULARS

[61] "I was not the person who hesitated to express himself with the
least restraint, respecting this violence against the rights of nations
and humanity. 'It is more than a crime,' I said, 'it is a political
blunder;' words which I record, because they have been repeated and
attributed to others."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 266.

[62] "I deplore as much as any man can possibly do, the catastrophe of
the Duke d'Enghien; but as Napoleon has himself spoken of it, it does
not become me to add another word. I shall only observe, that this
affair is far from having been cleared up--that it was impossible that
my brother should have brought the prince to Paris to be immolated--that
he who established a Bourbon in Tuscany, had quite a contrary design,
and one which could but be favourable; else why cause so distinguished a
prince to make a journey to Paris, when his presence in traversing
France could but be dangerous? If it be asked, why the commendable
design attributed to Napoleon was not followed up, and was so cruelly
changed, I cannot explain: but I am persuaded that impartial history
will one day reveal this secret."--LOUIS BUONAPARTE, p. 40.

[63] "M. de Bourrienne does not scruple to charge with a frightful crime
the man whom he calls the friend of his youth, in whose service he had
been for years, and by whom he sought to be again employed, as long as
fortune was on his side. In my conscience, I believe there never existed
a man less capable of committing such a crime than Napoleon; yet it is
he whom the schoolfellow of Brienne dares to accuse. On the morning of
Pichegru's death, I was in the first consul's cabinet in the Tuileries,
searching for some papers, when Savary was announced, and I heard him
detail the particulars of the suicide, precisely as they were afterwards
published. I read on Napoleon's countenance the surprise which the event
created, and little imagined that there were men so base as to charge
him with so detestable and uncalled-for a murder; for the meeting
between Pichegru and Moreau had been fully established."--JOSEPH
BUONAPARTE.--"What advantage could accrue to me from Pichegru's
assassination?--a man who was evidently guilty, against whom every proof
was ready, and whose condemnation was certain. The fact is, that he
found himself in a hopeless situation; his high mind could not bear to
contemplate the infamy of a public execution, he despaired of my
clemency, or disdained to appeal to it, and put an end to his
existence."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. iv., p. 258.

[64] See Napoleon in Exile, vol. ii., p. 215.

[65] "When, as minister of the police, the sources of information were
open to me, I ascertained that Wright cut his throat in despair, after
reading the account of the capitulation of the Austrian general, Mack,
at Ulm, that is, while Napoleon was engaged in the campaign of
Austerlitz. Can any one, in fact, without alike insulting common sense
and glory, admit that the Emperor had attached so much importance to the
destruction of a scurvy lieutenant of the English navy, as to send from
one of his most glorious fields of battle the order for his destruction?
It has been added, that it was I who received from him this commission:
now I never quitted him for a single day during the whole campaign, from
his departure from Paris till his return."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 61.

[66] Mémoires de Fouché, tom. i., p. 267.

[67] "I was the person whom the first consul sent to him in the Temple
to communicate his consent, and to make arrangements with him for his
departure. I gave him my own carriage, and the first consul paid all the
expenses of his journey to Barcelona. The general expressed a wish to
see Madame Moreau; I went myself to fetch her, and brought her to the
Temple."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 66.


    _General Indignation of Europe in consequence of the Murder of the
    Duke d'Enghien--Russia complains to Talleyrand of the Violation of
    Baden--and, along with Sweden, Remonstrates in a Note laid before
    the German Diet--but without effect--Charges brought by Buonaparte
    against Mr. Drake and Mr. Spencer Smith--who are
    accordingly Dismissed from the Courts of Stuttgard and
    Munich--Seizure--Imprisonment--and Dismissal--of Sir George Rumbold,
    the British Envoy at Lower Saxony--Treachery attempted against Lord
    Elgin, by the Agents of Buonaparte--Details--Defeated by the
    Exemplary Prudence of that Nobleman--These Charges brought before
    the House of Commons--and peremptorily Denied by the Chancellor of
    the Exchequer._


Buonaparte, as we have seen, gained a great accession of power by the
event of Pichegru's conspiracy. But this was, in some measure,
counterbalanced by the diminution of character which attached to the
kidnapping and murdering the Duke d'Enghien, and by the foul suspicions
arising from the mysterious fate of Pichegru and Wright. He possessed no
longer the respect which might be claimed by a victor and legislator,
but had distinctly shown that either the sudden tempest of ungoverned
passion, or the rankling feelings of personal hatred, could induce him
to take the readiest means of wreaking the basest, as well as the
bloodiest vengeance. Deep indignation was felt through every country on
the Continent, though Russia and Sweden alone ventured to express their
dissatisfaction with a proceeding so contrary to the law of nations. The
court of St. Petersburg went into state mourning for the Duke d'Enghien,
and while the Russian minister at Paris presented a note to M.
Talleyrand, complaining of the violation of the Duke of Baden's
territory, the Russian resident at Ratisbon was instructed to lay before
the Diet of the Empire a remonstrance to the same effect. The Swedish
minister did the same. The answer of the French minister was hostile and
offensive.[68] He treated with scorn the pretensions of Russia to
interfere in the affairs of France and Germany, and accused that power
of being desirous to rekindle the flames of war in Europe. This
correspondence tended greatly to inflame the discontents already
subsisting betwixt France and Russia, and was one main cause of again
engaging France in war with that powerful enemy.

The Russian and Swedish remonstrance to the Diet produced no effect.
Austria was too much depressed, Prussia was too closely leagued with
France to be influenced by it; and there were none of the smaller powers
who could be expected to provoke the displeasure of the first consul,
by seconding the complaint of the violation of the territory of Baden.
The blood of the Duke d'Enghien was not, however, destined to sleep
unavenged in his obscure dwelling. The Duke of Baden himself requested
the matter might be left to silence and oblivion; but many of the German
potentates felt as men, what they dared not, in their hour of weakness,
resent as princes. It was a topic repeatedly and efficaciously resumed
whenever an opportunity of resistance against the universal conqueror
presented itself; and the perfidy and cruelty of the whole transaction
continued to animate new enemies against him, until, in the issue, they
became strong enough to work his overthrow. From the various and
inconsistent pleas which Buonaparte set up in defence of his
conduct--now attempting to justify, now to apologize for, now to throw
on others a crime which he alone had means and interest to commit, it is
believed that he felt the death of the Duke d'Enghien to be the most
reprehensible as well as the most impolitic act in his life.

Already aware of the unpopularity which attached to his late cruel
proceedings, Buonaparte became desirous to counterbalance it by filling
the public mind with a terrific idea of the schemes of England, which,
in framing and encouraging attempts upon his life, drove him to those
unusual and extraordinary acts, which he desired to represent as
measures of retaliation. Singular manœuvres were resorted to for the
purpose of confirming the opinions which he was desirous to impress upon
the world. The imprudence--so, at least, it seems--of Mr. Drake, British
resident at Munich, enabled Buonaparte to make his charges against
England with some speciousness. This agent of the British Government had
maintained a secret correspondence with a person of infamous character,
called Mehee de la Touche, who, affecting the sentiments of a Royalist
and enemy of Buonaparte, was, in fact, employed by the first consul to
trepan Mr. Drake into expressions which might implicate the English
ministers, his constituents, and furnish grounds for the accusations
which Buonaparte made against them. It certainly appears that Mr. Drake
endeavoured, by the medium of de la Touche, to contrive the means of
effecting an insurrection of the Royalists, or other enemies of
Buonaparte, with whom his country was then at war; and, in doing so, he
acted according to the practice of all belligerent powers, who, on all
occasions, are desirous to maintain a communication with such
malecontents as may exist in the hostile nation. But, unless by the
greatest distortion of phrase and expression, there arises out of the
letters not the slightest room to believe that Mr. Drake encouraged the
party with whom he supposed himself to be in correspondence, to proceed
by the mode of assassination, or any others that are incompatible with
the law of nations, and acknowledged by civilized governments. The error
of Mr. Drake seems to have been, that he was not sufficiently cautious
respecting the sincerity of the person with whom he maintained his
intercourse. Mr. Spencer Smith, the British envoy at Stuttgard, was
engaged in a similar intrigue, which appears also to have been a snare
spread for him by the French Government.

Buonaparte failed not to make the utmost use of these pretended
discoveries, which were promulgated with great form by Regnier,[69] who
held the office of grand judge. He invoked the faith of nations, as if
the Duke d'Enghien had been still residing in peaceable neutrality at
Ettenheim, and exclaimed against assassination, as if his state dungeons
could not have whispered of the death of Pichegru. The complaisant
sovereigns of Stuttgard and Munich readily ordered Smith and Drake to
leave their courts; and the latter was forced to depart on foot, and by
crossroads, to avoid being kidnapped by the French gendarmes.


The fate which Mr. Drake dreaded, and perhaps narrowly escaped, actually
befell Sir George Rumbold, resident at the free German city of Hamburgh,
in the capacity of his British Majesty's envoy to the Circle of Lower
Saxony. On the night of the 25th October, he was seized, in violation of
the rights attached by the law of nations to the persons of ambassadors,
as well as to the territories of neutral countries, by a party of the
French troops, who crossed the Elbe for that purpose. The envoy, with
his papers, was then transferred to Paris in the capacity of a close
prisoner, and thrown into the fatal Temple. The utmost anxiety was
excited even amongst Buonaparte's ministers, lest this imprisonment
should be intended as a prelude to further violence; and both Fouché and
Talleyrand exerted what influence they possessed over the mind of
Napoleon, to prevent the proceedings which were to be apprehended. The
King of Prussia also extended his powerful interposition; and the result
was, that Sir George Rumbold, after two days' imprisonment, was
dismissed to England, on giving his parole not to return to Hamburgh. It
seems probable, although the _Moniteur_ calls this gentleman the worthy
associate of Drake and Spencer Smith, and speaks of discoveries amongst
his papers which were to enlighten the public on the policy of England,
that nothing precise was alleged against him, even to palliate the
outrage which the French ruler had committed.

The tenor of Buonaparte's conduct in another instance, towards a British
nobleman of distinction, though his scheme was rendered abortive by the
sagacity of the noble individual against whom it was directed, is a
striking illustration of the species of intrigue practised by the French
police, and enables us to form a correct judgment of the kind of
evidence upon which Buonaparte brought forward his calumnious accusation
against Britain and her subjects.

[Sidenote: LORD ELGIN.]

The Earl of Elgin, lately ambassador of Great Britain at the Porte, had,
contrary to the usage among civilized nations, been seized upon with his
family as he passed through the French territory; and during the period
of which we are treating, he was residing upon his parole near Pau, in
the south of France, as one of the _Détenus_. Shortly after the arrest
of Moreau, Georges, &c., an order arrived for committing his lordship to
close custody, in reprisal, it was said, of severities exercised in
England on the French General Boyer. The truth was, that the affair of
General Boyer had been satisfactorily explained to the French
Government. In the Parisian papers, on the contrary, his lordship's
imprisonment was ascribed to barbarities which he was said to have
instigated against the French prisoners of war in Turkey--a charge
totally without foundation. Lord Elgin was, however, transferred to the
strong castle of Lourdes, situated on the descent of the Pyrenees, where
the commandant received him, though a familiar acquaintance, with the
reserve and coldness of an entire stranger. Attempts were made by this
gentleman and his lieutenant to exasperate the feelings which must
naturally agitate the mind of a man torn from the bosom of his family,
and committed to close custody in a remote fortress, where the
accommodation was as miserable as the castle itself was gloomy, strong,
and ominously secluded from the world. They failed, however, in
extracting from their prisoner any expressions of violence or
impatience, however warranted by the usage to which he was subjected.

After a few days' confinement, a sergeant of the guard delivered to Lord
Elgin a letter, the writer of which informed him, that, being his fellow
prisoner, and confined in a secluded dungeon, he regretted he could not
wait on his lordship, but that when he walked in the court-yard, he
could have conversation with him at the window of his room. Justly
suspecting this communication, Lord Elgin destroyed the letter; and
while he gave the sergeant a louis-d'or, told him, that if he or any of
his comrades should again bring him any secret letter or message, he
would inform the commandant of the circumstance. Shortly afterwards, the
commandant of the fortress, in conversation with Lord Elgin, spoke of
the prisoner in question as a person whose health was suffering for want
of exercise; and next day his lordship saw the individual walking in the
court-yard before his window. He manifested every disposition to engage
his lordship in conversation, which Lord Elgin successfully avoided.

A few weeks afterwards, and not till he had been subjected to several
acts of severity and vexation, Lord Elgin was permitted to return to
Pau. But he was not yet extricated from the nets in which it was the
fraudulent policy of the French Government to involve him. The female,
who acted as porter to his lordship's lodgings, one morning presented
him with a packet, which she said had been left by a woman from the
country, who was to call for an answer. With the same prudence which
distinguished his conduct at Lourdes, Lord Elgin detained the portress
in the apartment, and found that the letter was from the state prisoner
already mentioned; that it contained an account of his being imprisoned
for an attempt to burn the French fleet; and detailed his plan as one
which he had still in view, and which he held out in the colours most
likely, as he judged, to interest an Englishman. The packet also covered
letters to the Comte d'Artois, and other foreigners of distinction,
which Lord Elgin was requested to forward with his best convenience.
Lord Elgin thrust the letters into the fire in presence of the portress,
and kept her in the room till they were entirely consumed; explaining to
her, at the same time, that such letters to him as might be delivered by
any other channel than the ordinary post, should be at once sent to the
governor of the town. His lordship judged it his farther duty to mention
to the prefect the conspiracy detailed in the letter, under the
condition, however, that no steps should be taken in consequence, unless
the affair became known from some other quarter.

Some short time after these transactions, and when Buonaparte was
appointed to assume the imperial crown, (at which period there was hope
of a general act of grace, which should empty the prisons,) Lord Elgin's
fellow-captive at Lourdes, being, it seems, a real prisoner, as well as
a spy, in hopes of meriting a share in this measure of clemency, made a
full confession of all which he had done or designed to do against
Napoleon's interest. Lord Elgin was naturally interested in this
confession, which appeared in the _Moniteur_, and was a good deal
surprised to see that a detail, otherwise minute, bore no reference to,
or correspondence regarding, the plan of burning the Brest fleet. He
lost no time in writing an account of the particulars we have mentioned
to a friend at Paris, by whom they were communicated to Monsieur
Fargues, senator of the district of Bearn, whom these plots particularly
interested as having his senatorie for their scene. When Lord Elgin's
letter was put into his hand, the senator changed countenance, and
presently after expressed his high congratulation at what he called Lord
Elgin's providential escape. He then intimated, with anxious hesitation,
that the whole was a plot to entrap Lord Elgin; that the letters were
written at Paris, and sent down to Bearn by a confidential agent, with
the full expectation that they would be found in his lordship's
possession. This was confirmed by the commandant of Lourdes, with whom
Lord Elgin had afterwards an unreserved communication, in which he laid
aside the jailor, and resumed the behaviour of a gentleman. He imputed
Lord Elgin's liberation to the favourable report which he himself and
his lieutenant had made of the calm and dignified manner in which his
lordship had withstood the artifices which they had been directed to
use, with a view of working on his feelings, and leading him into some
intemperance of expression against France or her ruler; which might
have furnished a pretext for treating him with severity, and for
implicating the British Government in the imprudence of one of her
nobles, invested with a diplomatic character.[70]

The above narrative forms a singularly luminous commentary on the
practices imputed to Messrs. Drake and Spencer, and subsequently to Sir
George Rumbold; nor is it a less striking illustration of the detention
of the unfortunate Captain Wright. With one iota less of prudence and
presence of mind, Lord Elgin must have been entangled in the snare which
was so treacherously spread for him. Had he even engaged in ten minutes
conversation with the villanous spy and incendiary, it would have been
in the power of such a wretch to represent the import after his own
pleasure. Or had his lordship retained the packet of letters even for
half an hour in his possession, which he might have most innocently
done, he would probably have been seized with them upon his person, and
it must in that case have been impossible for him to repel such
accusations, as Buonaparte would have no doubt founded on a circumstance
so suspicious.

While Napoleon used such perfidious means, in order to attach, if
possible, to a British ambassador of such distinguished rank, the charge
of carrying on intrigues against his person, the British ministers, in a
tone the most manly and dignified, disclaimed the degrading charges
which had been circulated against them through Europe. When the topic
was introduced by Lord Morpeth[71] into the British House of Commons, by
a motion respecting the correspondence of Drake, the Chancellor of the
Exchequer replied, "I thank the noble lord for giving me an opportunity
to repel, openly and courageously, one of the most gross and most
atrocious calumnies ever fabricated in one civilized nation to the
prejudice of another. I affirm, that no power has been given, no
instruction has been sent, by this government to any individual, to act
in a manner contrary to the law of nations. I again affirm, as well in
my own name as in that of my colleagues, that we have not authorised any
human being to conduct himself in a manner contrary to the honour of
this country, or the dictates of humanity."[72]

This explicit declaration, made by British ministers in a situation
where detected falsehood would have proved dangerous to those by whom it
was practised, is to be placed against the garbled correspondence of
which the French possessed themselves, by means violently subversive of
the law of nations; and which correspondence was the result of intrigues
that would never have existed but for the treacherous suggestions of
their own agents.


[68] See Annual Register, vol. xlvi., pp. 642-656.

[69] For the First and Second Reports of the Grand Judge to the First
Consul, on the alleged Conspiracies against him, see Annual Register,
vol. xlvi., pp. 619, 622.

[70] This account is abstracted from the full details which Lord Elgin
did us the honour to communicate in an authenticated manuscript.--S.

[71] Now Earl of Carlisle.

[72] See Parliamentary Debates, April 16, 1804, vol. ii., p. 131.


    _Napoleon meditates a change of title from Chief Consul to
    Emperor--A Motion to this purpose brought forward in the
    Tribunate--Opposed by Carnot--Adopted by the Tribunate and
    Senate--Outline of the New System--Coldly received by the
    People--Napoleon visits Boulogne, Aix-la-Chapelle, and the
    Frontiers of Germany, where he is received with respect--The
    Coronation--Pius VII. is summoned from Rome to perform the Ceremony
    at Paris--Details--Reflections--Changes that took place in
    Italy--Napoleon appointed Sovereign of Italy, and Crowned at
    Milan--Genoa annexed to France._


The time seemed now propitious for Buonaparte to make the last remaining
movement in the great game, which he had hitherto played with equal
skill, boldness, and success. The opposing factions of the state lay in
a great measure prostrate before him. The death of the Duke d'Enghien
and of Pichegru had intimidated the Royalists, while the exile of Moreau
had left the Republicans without a leader.

These events, while they greatly injured Buonaparte's character as a
man, extended, in a like proportion, the idea of his power, and of his
determination to employ it to the utmost extremity against whoever might
oppose him. This moment, therefore, of general submission and
intimidation was the fittest to be used for transmuting the military
baton of the first consul into a sceptre, resembling those of the
ancient and established sovereignties of Europe; and it only remained,
for one who could now dispose of France as he listed, to dictate the
form and fashion of the new emblem of his sway.

The title of King most obviously presented itself; but it was connected
with the claims of the Bourbons, which it was not Buonaparte's policy to
recall to remembrance. That of Emperor implied a yet higher power of
sovereignty, and there existed no competitor who could challenge a claim
to it. It was a novelty also, and flattered the French love of change;
and though, in fact, the establishment of an empire was inconsistent
with the various oaths taken against royalty, it was not, in terms, so
directly contradictory to them. As the re-establishment of a kingdom, so
far it was agreeable to those who might seek, not indeed how to keep
their vows, but how to elude, in words at least, the charge of having
broken them. To Napoleon's own ear, the word King might sound as if it
restricted his power within the limits of the ancient kingdom; while
that of Emperor might comprise dominions equal to the wide sweep of
ancient Rome herself, and the bounds of the habitable earth alone could
be considered as circumscribing their extent.

The main body of the nation being passive or intimidated,[73] there was
no occasion to stand upon much ceremony with the constitutional bodies,
the members of which were selected and paid by Buonaparte himself, held
their posts at his pleasure, had every species of advancement to hope if
they promoted his schemes, and every evil, of which the least would be
deprivation of office, to expect, should they thwart him.

[Sidenote: CHANGE OF TITLE.]

On the 30th of April, 1804, Curée,[74] an orator of no great note, (and
who was perhaps selected on that very account, that his proposal might
be disavowed, should it meet with unexpected opposition,) took the lead
in this measure, which was to destroy the slight and nominal remains of
a free constitution which France retained under her present form of
government. "It was time to bid adieu," he said, "to political
illusions. The internal tranquillity of France had been regained, peace
with foreign states had been secured by victory. The finances of the
country had been restored, its code of laws renovated and
re-established. It was time to ascertain the possession of these
blessings to the nation in future, and the orator saw no mode of doing
this, save rendering the supreme power hereditary in the person and
family of Napoleon, to whom France owed such a debt of gratitude. This,
he stated, was the universal desire of the army and of the people. He
invited the Tribunate, therefore, to give effect to the general wish,
and hail Napoleon Buonaparte by the title of Emperor, as that which best
corresponded with the dignity of the nation."[75]

The members of the Tribunate contended with each other who should most
enhance the merits of Napoleon, and prove, in the most logical and
rhetorical terms, the advantages of arbitrary power over the various
modifications of popular or limited governments. But one man, Carnot,
was bold enough to oppose the full tide of sophistry and adulation. This
name is unhappily to be read among the colleagues of Robespierre in the
Revolutionary Committee, as well as amongst those who voted for the
death of the misused and unoffending Louis XVI.; yet his highly
honourable conduct in the urgent crisis now under discussion, shows that
the zeal for liberty which led him into such excesses was genuine and
sincere; and that, in point of firmness and public spirit, Carnot
equalled the ancient patriots whom he aspired to imitate. His speech was
as temperate and expressive as it was eloquent. Buonaparte, he admitted,
had saved France, and saved it by the assumption of absolute power; but
this, he contended, was only the temporary consequence of a violent
crisis of the kind to which republics were subject, and the evils of
which could only be stemmed by a remedy equally violent. The present
head of the government was, he allowed, a dictator; but in the same
sense in which Fabius, Camillus, and Cincinnatus, were so of yore, who
retired to the condition of private citizens when they had accomplished
the purpose for which temporary supremacy had been intrusted to them.
The like was to be expected from Buonaparte, who, on entering on the
government of the state, had invested it with republican forms, which he
had taken a solemn oath to maintain, and which it was the object of
Curée's motion to invite him to violate. He allowed that the various
republican forms of France had been found deficient in stability, which
he contended was owing to the tempestuous period in which they had been
adopted, and the excited and irritable temper of men fired with
political animosity, and incapable at the moment of steady or
philosophical reflection; but he appealed to the United States of
America, as an example of a democratical government, equally wise,
vigorous, and permanent. He admitted the virtues and talents of the
present governor of France, but contended that these attributes could
not be rendered hereditary along with the throne. He reminded the
Tribunate that Domitian had been the son of the wise Vespasian, Caligula
of Germanicus, and Commodus of Marcus Aurelius. Again, he asked, whether
it was not wronging Buonaparte's glory to substitute a new title to that
which he had rendered so illustrious, and to invite and tempt him to
become the instrument of destroying the liberties of the very country to
which he had rendered such inestimable services? He then announced the
undeniable proposition, that what services soever an individual might
render to the state of which he was a member, there were bounds to
public gratitude prescribed by honour as well as reason. If a citizen
had the means of operating the safety, or restoring the liberty of his
country, it could not be termed a becoming recompense to surrender to
him that very liberty, the re-establishment of which had been his own
work. Or what glory, he asked, could accrue to the selfish individual
who should claim the surrender of his country's independence in requital
of his services, and desire to convert the state which his talents had
preserved into his own private patrimony![76]

Carnot concluded his manly and patriotic speech by declaring, that
though he opposed, on grounds of conscience, the alteration of
government which had been proposed, he would, nevertheless, should it
be adopted by the nation, give it his unlimited obedience. He kept his
word accordingly, and retired to a private station, in poverty most
honourable to a statesman who had filled the highest offices of the
state, and enjoyed the most unlimited power of amassing wealth.[77]

When his oration was concluded, there was a contention for precedence
among the time-serving speakers, who were each desirous to take the lead
in refuting the reasoning of Carnot. It would be tedious to trace them
through their sophistry. The leading argument turned upon the talents of
Buonaparte, his services rendered to France, and the necessity there was
for acknowledging them by something like a proportionate act of national
gratitude. Their eloquence resembled nothing so nearly as the pleading
of a wily procuress, who endeavours to persuade some simple maiden, that
the services rendered to her by a liberal and gallant admirer, can only
be rewarded by the sacrifice of her honour. The speaking (for it could
neither be termed debate nor deliberation) was prolonged for three days,
after which the motion of Curée was adopted by the Tribunate,[78]
without one negative voice, excepting that of the inflexible Carnot.


The Senate, to whom the Tribunate hastened to present their project of
establishing despotism under its own undisguised title, hastened to form
a senatus consultum, which established the new constitution of France.
The outline,--for what would it serve to trace the minute details of a
design sketched in the sand, and obliterated by the tide of subsequent
events,[79]--was as follows:--

1st, Napoleon Buonaparte was declared hereditary Emperor of the French
nation. The empire was made hereditary, first in the male line of the
Emperor's direct descendants. Failing these, Napoleon might adopt the
sons or grandsons of his brothers, to succeed him in such order as he
might point out. In default of such adoptive heirs, Joseph and Louis
Buonaparte were, in succession, declared the lawful heirs of the empire.
Lucien and Jerome Buonaparte were excluded from this rich inheritance,
as they had both disobliged Napoleon by marrying without his consent.

2d, The members of the Imperial family were declared Princes of the
Blood, and by the decree of the Senate, the offices of Grand Elector,
Archchancellor of the Empire, Archchancellor of State, High Constable,
and Great Admiral of the Empire, were established as necessary
appendages of the empire. These dignitaries, named of course by the
Emperor himself, consisting of his relatives, connexions, and most
faithful adherents, formed his Grand Council. The rank of Marshal of the
Empire was conferred upon seventeen of the most distinguished generals,
comprehending Jourdan, Augereau, and others, formerly zealous
Republicans.[80] Duroc was named Grand Marshal of the Palace;
Caulaincourt, Master of the Horse; Berthier, Grand Huntsman, and the
Comte de Ségur, a nobleman of the old court, Master of Ceremonies.

Thus did republican forms, at length and finally, give way to those of a
court; and that nation, which no moderate or rational degree of freedom
would satisfy, now contentedly, or at least passively, assumed the yoke
of a military despot. France, in 1792, had been like the wild elephant
in his fits of fury, when to oppose his course is death; in 1804, she
was like the same animal tamed and trained, who kneels down and suffers
himself to be mounted by the soldier, whose business is to drive him
into the throng of the battle.

Measures were taken, as on former occasions, to preserve appearances, by
obtaining, in show at least, the opinion of the people, on this radical
change of their system.[81] Government, however, were already confident
of their approbation, which, indeed, had never been refused to any of
the various constitutions, however inconsistent, that had succeeded each
other with such rapidity. Secure on this point, Buonaparte's accession
to the empire was proclaimed with the greatest pomp, without waiting to
inquire whether the people approved of his promotion or otherwise. The
proclamation was coldly received, even by the populace, and excited
little enthusiasm.[82] It seemed, according to some writers, as if the
shades of D'Enghien and Pichegru had been present invisibly, and spread
a damp over the ceremony. The Emperor was recognised by the soldiery
with more warmth. He visited the encampments at Boulogne, with the
intention apparently, of receiving such an acknowledgment from the
troops as was paid by the ancient Franks to their monarchs, when they
elevated them on their bucklers. Seated on an iron chair, said to have
belonged to King Dagobert, he took his place between two immense camps,
and having before him the Channel and the hostile coasts of England. The
weather, we have been assured, had been tempestuous, but no sooner had
the Emperor assumed his seat, to receive the homage of his shouting
host, than the sky cleared, and the wind dropt, retaining just breath
sufficient gently to wave the banners. Even the elements seemed to
acknowledge the imperial dignity, all save the sea, which rolled as
carelessly to the feet of Napoleon as it had formerly done towards those
of Canute the Dane.

The Emperor, accompanied with his Empress, who bore her honours both
gracefully and meekly, visited Aix-la-Chapelle, and the frontiers of
Germany. They received the congratulations of all the powers of Europe,
excepting England, Russia, and Sweden, upon their new exaltation; and
the German princes, who had every thing to hope and fear from so
powerful a neighbour, hastened to pay their compliments to Napoleon in
person, which more distant sovereigns offered by their ambassadors.[83]

But the most splendid and public recognition of his new rank was yet to
be made, by the formal act of coronation, which, therefore, Napoleon
determined should take place with circumstances of solemnity, which had
been beyond the reach of any temporal prince, however powerful, for many
ages. His policy was often marked by a wish to revive, imitate, and
connect his own titles and interest with some ancient observance of
former days; as if the novelty of his claims could have been rendered
more venerable by investing them with antiquated forms, or as men of low
birth, when raised to wealth and rank, are sometimes desirous to conceal
the obscurity of their origin under the blaze of heraldic honours. Pope
Leo, he remembered, had placed a golden crown on the head of
Charlemagne, and proclaimed him Emperor of the Romans. Pius VII., he
determined, should do the same for a successor to much more than the
actual power of Charlemagne. But though Charlemagne had repaired to Rome
to receive inauguration from the hands of the Pontiff of that day,
Napoleon resolved that he who now owned the proud, and in Protestant
eyes profane, title of Vicar of Christ, should travel to France to
perform the coronation of the successful chief, by whom the See of Rome
had been more than once humbled, pillaged, and impoverished, but by whom
also her power had been re-erected and restored, not only in Italy, but
in France itself.

Humiliating as the compliance with Buonaparte's request must have seemed
to the more devoted Catholics, Pius VII. had already sacrificed, to
obtain the Concordat, so much of the power and privileges of the Roman
See, that he could hardly have been justified if he had run the risk of
losing the advantages of a treaty so dearly purchased, by declining to
incur some personal trouble or, it might be termed, some direct
self-abasement. The Pope, and the cardinals whom he consulted, implored
the illumination of Heaven upon their councils; but it was the stern
voice of necessity which assured them, that except at the risk of
dividing the Church by a schism, they could not refuse to comply with
Buonaparte's requisition. The Pope left Rome on the 5th November. He was
every where received on the road with the highest respect, and most
profound veneration; the Alpine precipices themselves had been secured
by parapets wherever they could expose the venerable Father of the
Catholic Church to danger, or even apprehension. Upon the 25th November
he met Buonaparte at Fontainbleau;[84] and the conduct of the Emperor
Napoleon was as studiously respectful towards him as that of
Charlemagne, whom he was pleased to call his predecessor, could have
been towards Leo.


On the 2d December, the ceremony of the coronation took place in the
ancient cathedral of Notre Dame, with the addition of every ceremony
which could be devised to add to its solemnity.[85] Yet we have been
told, that the multitude did not participate in the ceremonial with that
eagerness which characterises the inhabitants of all capitals, but
especially those of Paris, upon similar occasions.[86] They had, within
a very few years, seen so many exhibitions, processions and festivals,
established on the most discordant principles, which, though announced
as permanent and unchangeable, had successively given way to newer
doctrines, that they considered the splendid representation before them
as an unsubstantial pageant, which would fade away in its turn.
Buonaparte himself seemed absent and gloomy, till recalled to a sense of
his grandeur by the voice of the numerous deputies and functionaries
sent up from all the several departments of France, to witness the
coronation.[87] These functionaries had been selected with due attention
to their political opinions; and many of them holding offices under the
government, or expecting benefits from the Emperor, made up, by the
zealous vivacity of their acclamations, for the coldness of the good
citizens of Paris.


The Emperor took his coronation oath, as usual on such occasions, with
his hands upon the Scripture, and in the form in which it was repeated
to him by the Pope. But in the act of coronation itself, there was a
marked deviation from the universal custom, characteristic of the man,
the age, and the conjuncture. In all other similar solemnities, the
crown had been placed on the sovereign's head by the presiding spiritual
person, as representing the Deity, by whom princes rule. But not even
from the Head of the Catholic Church would Buonaparte consent to receive
as a boon the golden symbol of sovereignty, which he was sensible he
owed solely to his own unparalleled train of military and civil
successes. The crown having been blessed by the Pope, Napoleon took it
from the altar with his own hands, and placed it on his brows. He then
put the diadem on the head of his Empress, as if determined to show that
his authority was the child of his own actions. _Te Deum_ was sung; the
heralds (for they also had again come into fashion) proclaimed, "that
the thrice glorious and thrice august Napoleon, Emperor of the French,
was crowned and installed." Thus concluded this remarkable ceremony.
Those who remember having beheld it, must now doubt whether they were
waking, or whether fancy had framed a vision so dazzling in its
appearance, so extraordinary in its origin and progress, and so
ephemeral in its endurance.[88]

The very day before the ceremony of coronation, (that is, on the 1st of
December,) the Senate had waited upon the Emperor with the result of the
votes collected in the departments, which, till that time, had been
taken for granted. Upwards of three millions five hundred thousand
citizens had given their votes on this occasion; of whom only about
three thousand five hundred had declared against the proposition. The
vice-president, Neufchateau, declared, "this report was the unbiassed
expression of the people's choice. No government could plead a title
more authentic."[89]

This was the established language of the day; but when the orator went
farther, and mentioned the measure now adopted as enabling Buonaparte to
guide into port the vessel of the _Republic_, one would have thought
there was more irony than compliment in the expression.

Napoleon replied, by promises to employ the power which the unanimous
consent of the Senate, the people, and the army, had conferred upon him,
for the advantage of that nation which he himself, writing from fields
of battle, had first saluted with the title of the Great. He promised,
too, in name of his Dynasty, that his children should long preserve the
throne, and be at once the first soldiers in the army of France, and the
first magistrates among her citizens.[90]

As every word on such an occasion was scrupulously sifted and examined,
it seemed to some that this promise, which Napoleon volunteered in
behalf of children who had as yet no existence, intimated a meditated
change of consort, since from his present Empress he had no longer any
hope of issue. Others censured the prophetic tone in which he announced
what would be the fate and conduct of unborn beings, and spoke of a
reign, newly commenced, under the title of a Dynasty, which is usually
applied to a race of successive princes.


We pause for a moment to consider the act of popular accession to the
new government; because there, if any where, we are to look for
something like a legal right, in virtue of which Napoleon might claim
obedience. He himself, when pleading his own cause after his fall,
repeatedly rests his right to be considered and treated as a legitimate
monarch, upon the fact, that he was called to the crown by the voice of
the people.[91]

We will not stop to inquire how the registers, in which the votes of the
citizens were enrolled, were managed by the functionaries who had the
charge of them;--it is only necessary to state in passing, that these
returning officers were in general accessible to the influence of
government, and that there was no possibility of instituting any
scrutiny into the authenticity of the returns. Neither will we repeat,
that instead of waiting for the event of the popular vote, he had
accepted of the empire from the Senate, and had been proclaimed Emperor
accordingly. Waving those circumstances entirely, let it be remembered,
that France is usually reckoned to contain upwards of thirty millions of
inhabitants, and that three millions five hundred thousand, only gave
their votes. This was not a third part, deducing women and children, of
those who had a title to express their opinion, where it was to be held
decisive of the greatest change which the state could undergo; and it
must be allowed that the authority of so limited a portion of the people
is far too small to bind the remainder. We have heard it indeed argued,
that the question having been formally put to the nation at large, every
one was under an obligation to make a specific reply; and they who did
not vote, must be held to have acquiesced in the opinion expressed by
the majority of such as did. This argument, being directly contrary to
the presumption of law in all similar cases, is not more valid than the
defence of the soldier, who, accused of having stolen a necklace from an
image of the Virgin, replied to the charge, that he had first asked the
Madonna's permission, and, receiving no answer, had taken silence for

In another point of view, it must be remembered that this vote, by which
Napoleon claimed the absolute and irredeemable cession of the liberties
of France in his favour, was not a jot more solemn than those by which
the people had previously sanctioned the Constitutional Monarchy of
1791, the Republic of 1792, the Directory of 1795, and the Consular
Government of 1799. Now, either the vote upon all those occasions was
binding and permanent, or it was capable of being denied and recalled at
the pleasure of the people. If the former was the case, then the people
had no right, in 1804, to resume the votes they had given, and the oaths
they had sworn, to the first form of government in 1791. The others
which they sanctioned in its stead, were in consequence, mere
usurpations, and that now attempted the most flagrant of all; since
three constitutions, each resting on the popular consent, were
demolished, and three sets of oaths broken and discarded, to make room
for the present model. Again, if the people, in swearing to one
constitution, retained inalienably the right of substituting another
whenever they thought proper, the imperial constitution remained at
their mercy as much as those that preceded it; and then on what could
Buonaparte rest the inviolability of his authority, guarded with such
jealous precaution, and designed to descend to his successors, without
any future appeal to the people? The dynasty which he supposed himself
to have planted, was in that case not the oak-tree which he conceived
it, but, held during the good pleasure of a fickle people, rather
resembled the thistle, whose unsubstantial crest rests upon the stalk
only so long as the wind shall not disturb it.

But we leave these considerations; nor do we stop to inquire how many,
amid the three millions and upwards of voters, gave an unwilling
signature, which they would have refused if they had dared, nor how many
more attached no greater consequence to the act than to a piece of
formal complaisance, which every government expected in its turn, and
which bound the subject no longer than the ruler had means to enforce
his obedience. Another and more formidable objection remains behind,
which pervaded the whole pretended surrender by the French nation of
their liberties, and rendered it void, null, and without force or effect
whatever. It was, from the commencement, what jurists call a _pactum in
illicito_:--the people gave that which they had no right to surrender,
and Buonaparte accepted that which he had no title to take at their
hands. In most instances of despotic usurpation--we need only look at
the case of Cæsar--the popular party have been made the means of working
out their own servitude; the government being usurped by some demagogue
who acted in their name, and had the art to make their own hands the
framers of their own chains. But though such consent on the part of the
people, elicited from an excess of partial confidence or of gratitude,
may have rendered such encroachments on the freedom of the state more
easy, it did not and could not render it in any case more legal. The
rights of a free people are theirs to enjoy, but not theirs to alienate
or surrender. The people are in this respect like minors, to whom law
assures their property, but invests them with no title to give it away
or consume it; the national privileges are an estate entailed from
generation to generation, and they can neither be the subject of gift,
exchange, nor surrender, by those who enjoy the usufruct or temporary
possession of them. No man is lord even of his person, to the effect of
surrendering his life or limbs to the mercy of another; the contract of
the Merchant of Venice would now be held null from the beginning in any
court of justice in Europe. But far more should the report of 1804, upon
Buonaparte's election, be esteemed totally void, since it involved the
cession on the part of the French people of that which ought to have
been far more dear to them, and held more inalienable, than "the pound
of flesh nearest the heart,"[92] or the very heart itself.

As the people of France had no right to resign their own liberties, and
that of their posterity, for ever, so Buonaparte could not legally avail
himself of their prodigal and imprudent cession. If a blind man give a
piece of gold by mistake instead of a piece of silver, he who receives
it acquires no legal title to the surplus value. If an ignorant man
enter unwittingly into an illegal compact, his signature, though
voluntary, is not binding upon him. It is true, that Buonaparte had
rendered the highest services to France by his Italian campaigns in the
first instance, and afterwards by that wonderful train of success which
followed his return from Egypt. Still the services yielded by a subject
to his native land, like the duty paid by a child to a parent, cannot
render him creditor of the country, beyond the amount which she has
legal means of discharging. If France had received the highest benefits
from Buonaparte, she had in return raised him as high as any subject
could be advanced, and had, indeed, in her reckless prodigality of
gratitude, given, or suffered him to assume, the very despotic
authority, which this compact of which we treat was to consolidate and
sanction under its real name of Empire. Here, therefore, we close the
argument; concluding the pretended vote of the French people to be
totally null, both as regarding the subjects who yielded their
privileges, and the emperor who accepted of their surrender. The former
could not give away rights which it was not lawful to resign, the latter
could not accept an authority which it was unlawful to exercise.

An apology, or rather a palliation of Buonaparte's usurpation, has been
set up by himself and his more ardent admirers, and we are desirous of
giving to it all the weight which it shall be found to deserve. They
have said, and with great reason, that Buonaparte, viewed in his general
conduct, was no selfish usurper, and that the mode in which he acquired
his power was gilded over by the use which he made of it. This is true;
for we will not under-rate the merits which Napoleon thus acquired, by
observing that shrewd politicians have been of opinion, that sovereigns
who have only a questionable right to their authority, are compelled,
were it but for their own sakes, to govern in such a manner as to make
the country feel its advantage in submitting to their government. We
grant willingly, that in much of his internal administration Buonaparte
showed that he desired to have no advantage separate from that of
France; that he conceived her interests to be connected with his own
glory; that he expended his wealth in ornamenting the empire, and not
upon objects more immediately personal to himself. We have no doubt that
he had more pleasure in seeing treasures of art added to the Museum,
than in hanging them on the walls of his own palace; and that he spoke
truly, when asserting that he grudged Josephine the expensive plants
with which she decorated her residence at Malmaison, because her taste
interfered with the prosperity of the public botanical garden of
Paris.[93] We allow, therefore, that Buonaparte fully identified himself
with the country which he had rendered his patrimony; and that while it
should be called by his name, he was desirous of investing it with as
much external splendour, and as much internal prosperity as his gigantic
schemes were able to compass. No doubt it may be said, so completely
was the country identified with its ruler, that as France had nothing
but what belonged to its Emperor, he was in fact improving his own
estate when he advanced her public works, and could no more be said to
lose sight of his own interest, than a private gentleman does, who
neglects his garden to ornament his park. But it is not fair to press
the motives of human nature to their last retreat, in which something
like a taint of self-interest may so often be discovered. It is enough
to reply, that the selfishness which embraces the interests of a whole
kingdom, is of a kind so liberal, so extended, and so refined, as to be
closely allied to patriotism; and that the good intentions of Buonaparte
towards that France, over which he ruled with despotic sway, can be no
more doubted, than the affections of an arbitrary father whose object it
is to make his son prosperous and happy, to which he annexes as the only
condition, that he shall be implicitly obedient to every tittle of his
will. The misfortune is, however, that arbitrary power is in itself a
faculty, which, whether exercised over a kingdom, or in the bosom of a
family, is apt to be used with caprice rather than judgment, and becomes
a snare to those who possess it, as well as a burden to those over whom
it extends. A father, for example, seeks the happiness of his son, while
he endeavours to assure his fortunes, by compelling him to enter into a
mercenary and reluctant marriage; and Buonaparte conceived himself to be
benefiting as well as aggrandizing France, when, preferring the
splendour of conquest to the blessings of peace, he led the flower of
her young men to perish in foreign fields, and finally was the means of
her being delivered up, drained of her population,[94] to the mercy of
the foreign invaders, whose resentment his ambition had provoked.


Such are the considerations which naturally arise out of Napoleon's
final and avowed assumption of the absolute power, which he had in
reality possessed and exercised ever since he had been created First
Consul for life. It was soon after made manifest, that France, enlarged
and increased in strength as she had been under his auspices, was yet
too narrow a sphere for his domination. Italy afforded the first
illustration of his grasping ambition.[95]

The northern states of Italy had followed the example of France through
all her change of models. They had become republican in a directorial
form, when Napoleon's sword conquered them from the Austrians; had
changed to an establishment similar to the consular, when that was
instituted in Paris by the 18th Brumaire; and were now destined to
receive, as a king, him who had lately accepted and exercised with regal
authority the office of their president.

The authorities of the Italian (late Cisalpine) republic had a prescient
guess of what was expected of them. A deputation[96] appeared at Paris,
to declare the absolute necessity which they felt, that their government
should assume a monarchical and hereditary form. On the 17th March,
1805, they obtained an audience of the Emperor, to whom they intimated
the unanimous desire of their countrymen, that Napoleon, founder of the
Italian Republic, should be monarch of the Italian Kingdom. He was to
have power to name his successor, such being always a native of France
or Italy. With an affectation of jealous independence, however, the
authors of this "humble petition and advice" stipulated, that the crowns
of France and Italy should never, save in the present instance, be
placed on the head of the same monarch. Napoleon might, during his life,
devolve the sovereignty of Italy on one of his descendants, either
natural or adopted; but it was anxiously stipulated, that such
delegation should not be made during the period while France continued
to occupy the Neapolitan territories, the Russians Corfu, and the
British Malta.[97]

Buonaparte granted the petition of the Italian states, and listened with
indulgence to their jealous scruples. He agreed with them, that the
separation of the crowns of France and Italy, which might be useful to
their descendants, would be in the highest degree dangerous to
themselves; and therefore he consented to bear the additional burden
which their love and confidence imposed, at least until the interest of
his Italian subjects should permit him to place the crown on a younger
head, who, animated by his spirit, should, he engaged, "be ever ready to
sacrifice his life for the people over whom he should be called to
reign, by Providence, by the constitution of the country, and by the
will of Napoleon."[98] In announcing this new acquisition to the French
Senate, Buonaparte made use of an expression so singularly audacious,
that to utter it required almost as much courage as to scheme one of his
most daring campaigns. "The power and majesty of the French empire," he
said, "are surpassed by the moderation which presides over her political


Upon the 11th April, Napoleon, with his Empress, set off to go through
the form of coronation, as King of Italy.[99] The ceremony almost
exactly resembled that by which he had been inaugurated Emperor. The
ministry of the Pope, however, was not employed on this second occasion,
although, as Pius VII. was then on his return to Rome, he could scarcely
have declined officiating, if he had been requested by Buonaparte to
take Milan in his route for that purpose. Perhaps it was thought too
harsh to exact from the Pontiff the consecration of a King of Italy,
whose very title implied a possibility that his dominion might be one
day extended, so as to include the patrimony of Saint Peter. Perhaps,
and we rather believe it was the case, some cause of dissatisfaction had
already occurred betwixt Napoleon and Pius VII. However this may be, the
ministry of the Archbishop of Milan was held sufficient for the
occasion, and it was he who blessed the celebrated iron crown, said to
have girded the brows of the ancient Kings of the Lombards. Buonaparte,
as in the ceremony at Paris, placed the ancient emblem on his head with
his own hands, assuming and repeating aloud the haughty motto attached
to it by its ancient owners, _Dieu me l'a donné; Gare qui la touche_.
"God has given it me: Let him beware who touches it."[100]

The new kingdom was, in all respects, modelled on the same plan with the
French empire. An order, called "of the Iron Crown," was established on
the footing of that of the Legion of Honour. A large French force was
taken into Italian pay, and Eugene Beauharnois,[101] the son of
Josephine by her former marriage, who enjoyed and merited the confidence
of his father-in-law, was created viceroy, and appointed to represent,
in that character, the dignity of Napoleon.[102]

Napoleon did not leave Italy without further extension of his empire.
Genoa, once the proud and the powerful, resigned her independence, and
her Doge presented to the Emperor a request that the Ligurian republic,
laying down her separate rights, should be considered in future as a
part of the French nation. It was but lately that Buonaparte had
declared to the listening Senate, that the boundaries of France were
permanently fixed, and should not be extended for the comprehension of
future conquests. It is farther true, that, by a solemn alliance with
France, Genoa had placed her arsenals and harbours at the disposal of
the French government; engaged to supply her powerful ally with six
thousand sailors, and ten sail of the line, to be equipped at her own
expense; and that her independence, or such a nominal share of that
inestimable privilege as was consistent with her connexion with this
formidable power, had been guaranteed by France. But neither the charge
of inconsistency with his own public declarations, nor consideration of
the solemn treaty acknowledging the Ligurian republic, prevented
Napoleon from availing himself of the pretext afforded by the petition
of the Doge. It was convenient to indulge the city and government of
Genoa in their wish to become an integral part of the Great Nation.[103]
Buonaparte was well aware, that, by recognising them as a department of
France, he was augmenting the jealousy of Russia and Austria, who had
already assumed a threatening front towards him; but, as he visited the
splendid city of the Dorias, and saw its streets of marble palaces,
ascending from and surrounding its noble harbours, he was heard to
exclaim, that such a possession was well worth the risks of war.[104]
The success of one mighty plan only induced him to form another; and
while he was conscious that he was the general object of jealousy and
suspicion to Europe, Napoleon could not refrain from encroachments,
which necessarily increased and perpetuated such hostile sentiments
towards him.[105]


[73] "I advised Buonaparte to make himself master of the crisis, and
cause himself to be proclaimed Emperor, in order to terminate all our
uncertainties, by the foundation of his dynasty. I knew that his
resolution was taken. Would it not have been absurd, on the part of the
men of the Revolution, to compromise every thing, in order to defend our
principles, while we had nothing further to do but enjoy the
reality?"--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 268.

[74] Curée was born at St. André, near Lodève, in 1756. When, in 1807,
the Tribunate was dissolved, he was appointed a member of the
Conservative Senate. In 1808, Napoleon bestowed on him the title of
Count de Labédissières.

[75] Moniteur, No. 222, An. xii.; Montgaillard, Hist. de France, tom.
vi., p. 57.

[76] Montgaillard, tom. vi., p. 76; Moniteur, No. 222, An. xii.

[77] "When a member of the Tribunate, Carnot spoke and voted against the
establishment of the empire; but his conduct, open and manly, gave no
uneasiness to the administration."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. iv., p.

[78] For the decree, passed the Tribunate on the 3d of May, and carried
up to the Conservative Senate on the following day, see Annual Register,
vol. xlvi., p. 658.

[79] See Organic Senatus Consultum, May 18, Annual Register, vol. xlvi.,
p. 664.

[80] Montgaillard, tom. vi., p. 103; Annual Register, vol. xlvi., p.

[81] "In the army the proposed change went down of itself; this is
easily accounted for. The dragoons gave the first impulsion. They sent
an address to the first consul, in which they alleged that their efforts
would be of no service if wicked men should succeed in taking away his
life; that the best way to thwart their designs, and to fix their
resolute, was to put the imperial crown on his head, and to fix that
dignity in his family. After the dragoons came the cuirassiers, then all
the corps of infantry, and then the seamen; and lastly, those of the
civil orders who wished for the change, followed the example of the
army. The spirit spread in an instant to the smallest parishes; the
first consul received carriages full of such addresses. A register for
the reception of votes was opened in every parish in France. It was the
summary of all these votes, laid before the senate, that formed the
basis of the _procès-verbal_ of inauguration of the Buonaparte family to
the imperial dignity."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 69.

[82] "Napoleon's elevation to the imperial dignity met, from all
quarters, with the most chilling reception; there were public _fêtes_
without animation, and without joy."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 272.

[83] Fouché, tom. ii., p. 280.

[84] "The Emperor went to meet the Pope on the road to Nemours. To avoid
ceremony, the pretext of a hunting party was assumed: the attendants,
with his equipages, were in the forest. The Emperor came on horseback,
and in a hunting dress, with his retinue. It was at the half moon at the
top of the hill that the meeting took place. There the Pope's carriage
drew up; he got out at the left door in his white costume; the ground
was dirty; he did not like to step upon it with his white silk shoes,
but was obliged to do so at last. Napoleon alighted to receive him. They
embraced; and the Emperor's carriage, which had been purposely driven
up, was advanced a few paces; but men were posted to hold the two doors
open; at the moment of getting in, the Emperor took the right door, and
an officer of the court handed the Pope to the left, so that they
entered the carriage by the two doors at the same time. The Emperor
naturally seated himself on the right; and this first step decided,
without negotiation, upon the etiquette to be observed during the whole
time that the Pope was to remain at Paris."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 73.

[85] "The departure of the Pope from the Tuileries for the
Archiepiscopal Palace, was delayed for a short time by a singular cause.
Every body was ignorant in France, that it was customary at Rome when
the Pope went out to officiate in the great churches, for one of his
principal chamberlains to set off a little before him, mounted on an
ass, and carrying a large cross, such as is used in processions. It was
not till the very moment of departure that this custom was made known.
The chamberlain would not, for all the gold in the world, have derogated
from the practice, and accepted a nobler animal. All the grooms of the
Tuileries were instantly despatched in quest of an ass; and they were
fortunate enough to find a tolerably well-looking one, which was hastily
caparisoned. The chamberlain rode with a composure which nothing could
disturb, through the innumerable multitudes who lined the quays, and
could not help laughing at this odd spectacle, which they beheld for the
first time."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 75.

[86] "At the ceremony of the coronation, the acclamations, at first
extremely few, were afterwards reinforced by the multitude of men in
office, (_fonctionnaires_,) who were summoned from all parts of France
to be present at the coronation. But upon returning to his palace,
Napoleon found cold and silent spectators."--FOUCHÉ, tom. ii., p. 285.

[87] Montgaillard, tom. vi., p. 142.

[88] Montgaillard, tom. vi., p. 144; Annual Register, vol. xlvi., p.
680; Savary, tom. ii., p. 75.

[89] Annual Register, vol. xlvi., p. 685.

[90] "I ascend the throne, to which the unanimous wishes of the senate,
the people, and the army have called me, with a heart penetrated with
the great destinies of that people, whom, from the midst of camps, I
first saluted with the name of GREAT. From my youth, my thoughts have
been solely fixed upon them, and I must add here, that my pleasures and
my pains are derived entirely from the happiness or misery of my people.
My descendants shall long preserve this throne; in the camps, they will
be the first soldiers of the army, sacrificing their lives in the
defence of their country. As magistrates, they will never forget that
the contempt of the laws, and the confusion of social order, are only
the result of the imbecility and unsteadiness of princes. You, senators,
whose councils and support have never failed me in the most difficult
circumstances; your spirit will be handed down to your successors. Be
ever the props and first counsellors of that throne, so necessary to the
welfare of this vast empire."

[91] "If I was not a legitimate sovereign, William the Third was a
usurper of the throne of England, as he was brought in chiefly by the
aid of foreign bayonets. George the First was placed on the throne by a
faction, composed of a few nobles. I was called to that of France by the
votes of nearly four millions of Frenchmen."--NAPOLEON, _Voice_, &c.,
vol. ii., p. 113.

[92] Merchant of Venice, act iv., scene 1.

[93] Las Cases, tom. vii., p. 120.

[94] "The Emperor constantly insisted on subjecting the whole nation to
the laws of the conscription. 'The conscription,' he said, 'is the root
of a nation, its moral purification, the real foundation of its habits.
Organized, built up in this way, the French people might have defied the
world, and might with justice have renewed the saying of the proud
Gauls: 'If the sky should fall, we will keep it up with our
lances.'"--LAS CASES, tom. vii., p. 98.

[95] "We soon perceived that Napoleon meditated a great diversion. When
he mentioned in council his idea of going to be crowned King of Italy,
we all told him he would provoke a new continental war. 'I must have
battles and triumphs,' replied he. And yet he did not relax his
preparations for the invasion of England. One day, upon my objecting to
him that he could not make war at the same time, against England and
against all Europe, he replied, 'I may fail by sea, but not by land;
besides, I shall be able to strike the blow before the old coalition
machines are ready. The people of the old school (_têtes à perruques_)
understand nothing about it, and the kings have neither activity nor
decision of character. I do not fear old Europe."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p.

[96] Consisting of M. Melzi, vice-president of the Italian republic; M.
Mareschalchi, ambassador of that republic; and the representatives of
its principal bodies.

[97] See official proceedings relative to the assumption of the crown of
Italy by Napoleon, emperor of the French.--_Annual Register_, vol.
xlvii., p. 720.

[98] "I shall keep this crown; but only so long as your interests shall
require; and I shall with pleasure see the moment arrive, when I can
place it on the head of a younger person, who, animated by my spirit,
may continue my work, and be on all occasions ready to sacrifice his
person and interests to the security and the happiness of the people
over whom Providence, the constitutions of the kingdom, and my wish,
shall have called him to reign."

[99] "Napoleon remained three weeks at Turin, and was in that city when
the Pope arrived there. His holiness had lodgings provided for him in
the royal palace; the Emperor went thither to see him, and set out the
next day by Asti for Alexandria; the Pope took the road to Casal on his
way back to Rome. At Alexandria the Emperor inspected the immense works
which, by his direction, were carrying on there. He held a review on the
field of Marengo; he put on that day the same coat and laced hat which
he wore in the engagement; the coat was quite moth-eaten."--SAVARY, tom.
ii., p. 80.

[100] See official account of the coronation of the Emperor of the
French, as king of Italy, at Milan, 26th May, 1805.--Annual Register,
vol. xlvii., p. 723. See also Botta, Storia d'Italia, tom. iv., p. 209;
Jomini, Vie Politique, tom. ii., p. 86.

[101] "After the ceremony of the coronation, the Emperor went in
procession to the Italian senate, where he invested Prince Eugene with
the viceroyalty of Italy."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 80.

[102] "During Napoleon's stay at Milan, he directed his attention
towards the embellishment of that city, with the same zeal as if it had
been Paris. He had always regretted that none of the governments of that
country had undertaken the completion of the cathedral of Milan, the
largest edifice of the kind, after St. Peter's at Rome. He ordered the
works to be immediately resumed, forbidding them to be interrupted on
any pretext whatever, and created a special fund for defraying the
expenses. To him the Milanese are indebted for the completion of that
noble structure."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 81.

[103] "The Doge and Senate had come to Milan to beg the Emperor to
accept them, and to incorporate them with the French empire. I have no
doubt that this resolution had been somewhat assisted. Such was the
state of this unfortunate republic, that its inhabitants were almost
famishing: the English closely blockaded it by sea; the French _douanes_
cooped it up by land: it had no territory, and could not, without
difficulty, procure wherewithal to subsist. Add to this, that whenever a
quarrel took place in Italy, the first thing was to send it a garrison,
which it had not the means of refusing. It had, therefore, all the
inconveniences arising from a union with France, without possessing any
of the advantages: it determined, therefore, to make application to be
incorporated with the empire."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 83. See also Botta,
tom. iv., p. 214; Dumas, Précis des Evénemens Militaires; and Jomini,
Vie Politique, tom. ii., p. 87.

[104] "In order to show himself to his new subjects, Napoleon traversed
his kingdom of Italy. Upon seeing the magnificent city of Genoa and its
picturesque environs, he exclaimed--'This is indeed worth a
war.'"--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 286.

[105] "All the organisations of Italy were provisional. Napoleon wished
to make a single power of that great peninsula; for which reason he
reserved the iron crown to himself, in order to keep in his own hands
the direction of the different people of Italy. He preferred uniting
Genoa, Rome, Tuscany and Piedmont to the empire, rather than to the
kingdom of Italy, because the people of those countries preferred it;
because the imperial influence would be more powerful; because it was a
means of calling a great number of the inhabitants of those countries
into France, and of sending a number of French thither in exchange; and
because it would bring the conscripts and sailors of those provinces to
strengthen the French regiments, and the crews of Toulon."--NAPOLEON,
_Montholon_, tom. ii., p. 234.


    _Napoleon addresses a Second Letter to the King of England
    personally--Answered by the British Secretary of State to
    Talleyrand--Alliance formed betwixt Russia and England--Prussia
    keeps aloof, and the Emperor Alexander visits Berlin--Austria
    prepares for War, and marches an Army into Bavaria--Her impolicy in
    prematurely commencing Hostilities, and in her Conduct to
    Bavaria--Unsoldierlike Conduct of the Austrian General
    Mack--Buonaparte is joined by the Electors of Bavaria and
    Wirtemberg, and the Duke of Baden--Skilful Manœuvres of the
    French Generals, and successive losses of the Austrians--Napoleon
    violates the Neutrality of Prussia, by marching through Anspach and
    Bareuth--Further Losses of the Austrian Leaders, and consequent
    Disunion among them--Mack is cooped up in Ulm--Issues a formidable
    Declaration on the 16th October--and surrenders on the following
    day--Fatal Results of this Man's Poltroonery, want of Skill, and
    probable Treachery._


Buonaparte, Consul, had affected to give a direct testimony of his
desire to make peace, by opening a communication immediately and
personally with the King of Great Britain. Buonaparte, Emperor, had,
according to his own interpretation of his proceedings, expiated by his
elevation all the crimes of the Revolution, and wiped out for ever the
memory of those illusory visions of liberty and equality, which had
alarmed such governments as continued to rest their authority on the
ancient basis of legitimacy. He had, in short, according to his own
belief, preserved in his system all that the Republic had produced of
good, and done away all the memory of that which was evil.

With such pretensions, to say nothing of his absolute power, he hastened
to claim admission among the acknowledged Princes of Europe; and a
second time (2d January 1805,) by a letter addressed to King George
III., personally, under the title of "Sir my Brother," endeavoured to
prove, by a string of truisms,--on the preference of a state of peace
to war, and on the reciprocal grandeur of France and England, both
advanced to the highest pitch of prosperity,--that the hostilities
between the nations ought to be ended.[106]

We have already stated the inconveniences which must necessarily attach
to a departure from the usual course of treating between states, and to
the transference of the discussions usually intrusted to inferior and
responsible agents, to those who are themselves at the head of the
nation. But if Napoleon had been serious in desiring peace, and saw any
reason for directly communicating with the English King rather than with
the English Government, he ought to have made his proposal something
more specific than a string of general propositions, which, affirmed on
the one side, and undisputed on the other, left the question between the
belligerent powers as undecided as formerly. The question was, not
whether peace was desirable, but on what terms it was offered, or could
be obtained. If Buonaparte, while stating, as he might have been
expected to do, that the jealousies entertained by England of his power
were unjust, had agreed, that for the tranquillity of Europe, the weal
of both nations, and the respect in which he held the character of the
monarch whom he addressed, Malta should remain with Britain in
perpetuity, or for a stipulated period, it would have given a serious
turn to his overture, which was at present as vague in its tendency, as
it was unusual in the form.

The answer to his letter, addressed by the British Secretary of
State[107] to M. Talleyrand, declared, that Britain could not make a
precise reply to the proposal of peace intimated in Napoleon's letter,
until she had communicated with her allies on the continent, and in
particular with the Emperor of Russia.

These expressions indicated, what was already well known to Buonaparte,
the darkening of another continental storm, about to be directed against
his power. On this occasion, Russia was the soul of the confederacy.
Since the death of the unfortunate Paul had placed that mighty country
under the government of a wise and prudent prince, whose education had
been sedulously cultivated, and who had profited in an eminent degree by
that advantage, her counsels had been dignified, wise, and moderate. She
had offered her mediation betwixt the belligerent powers, which,
accepted willingly by Great Britain, had been somewhat haughtily
declined by France, whose ruler was displeased, doubtless, to find that
power in the hands of a sharp-sighted and sagacious sovereign, which,
when lodged in those of Paul, he might reckon upon as at his own
disposal, through his influence over that weak and partial monarch.


From this time, there was coldness betwixt the French and Russian
Governments. The murder of the Duke d'Enghien increased the
misunderstanding. The Emperor of Russia was too high-spirited to view
this scene of perfidy and violence in silence; and as he not only
remonstrated with Buonaparte himself, but appealed to the German Diet on
the violation of the territories of the Empire,[108] Napoleon, unused to
have his actions censured and condemned by others, how powerful soever,
seems to have regarded the Emperor Alexander with personal dislike.[109]
Russia and Sweden, and their monarchs, became the subject of satire and
ridicule in the _Moniteur_;[110] and, as every one knew, such arrows
were never discharged without Buonaparte's special authority. The latter
prince withdrew his ambassador from Paris, and in a public note,
delivered to the French envoy at Stockholm, expressed his surprise at
the "indecent and ridiculous insolences which Monsieur _Napoleon
Buonaparte_ had permitted to be inserted in the _Moniteur_."[111]
Gustavus was, it is true, of an irregular and violent temper, apt to
undertake plans, to the achievement of which the strength of his kingdom
was inadequate;[112] yet he would scarcely have expressed himself with
so little veneration for the most formidable authority in Europe, had he
not been confident in the support of the Czar. In fact, on the 10th of
January, 1805, the King of Sweden had signed a treaty of close alliance
with Russia; and, as a necessary consequence, on the 31st of October
following, he published a declaration of war against France, in terms
personally insulting to Napoleon.[113]

Russia and England, in the meantime, had engaged in an alliance, the
general purpose of which was to form a league upon the continent, to
compel the French Government to consent to the re-establishment of the
balance of Europe. The objects proposed were briefly the independence of
Holland and Switzerland; the evacuation of Hanover and the north of
Germany by the French troops; the restoration of Piedmont to the King of
Sardinia; and the complete evacuation of Italy by the French.[114] These
were gigantic schemes, for which suitable efforts were to be made. Five
hundred thousand men were to be employed; and Britain, besides affording
the assistance of her forces by sea and land, was to pay large subsidies
for supporting the armies of the coalition.

Great Britain and Russia were the animating sources of this new
coalition against France; but it was impossible, considering the insular
situation of the first of those powers, and the great distance of the
second from the scene of action, that they alone, without the
concurrence of the Emperor of Austria and the King of Prussia, should be
able to assail France with any prospect of making a successful
impression. Every effort, therefore, was used to awaken those states to
a sense of the daily repeated encroachments of Buonaparte, and of the
extreme danger to which they, were respectively exposed by the rapidly
increasing extent of his empire.

[Sidenote: PRUSSIA.]

But since the unsuccessful campaign of the year 1792, Prussia had
observed a cautious and wary neutrality. She had seen, not perhaps
without secret pleasure, the humiliation of Austria, her natural rival
in Germany, and she had taken many opportunities to make acquisition of
petty objects of advantage, in consequence of the various changes upon
the continent; so that she seemed to find her own interest in the
successes of France. It is imagined, also, that Buonaparte had found
some of her leading statesmen not altogether inaccessible to influence
of a different kind, by the liberal exercise of which he was enabled to
maintain a strong interest in the Prussian councils.[115] But the
principles of these ministers were far from being shared by the nation
at large. The encroachments on the German Empire intimately concerned
the safety of Prussia, and the nation saw, in the decay of the Austrian
influence, the creation and increase of a strong German party in favour
of France, to whom Bavaria, Wirtemberg, and almost all the petty princes
upon the Rhine, and its vicinity, began now to look up with the devotion
and reverence which had hitherto been paid to the great states of
Austria and Prussia. The subjects of the Great Frederick also remembered
his numerous victories, and, proud of the army which he had created and
bequeathed to his successor, felt neither apprehension nor unwillingness
at the thought of measuring forces with the Dictator of Europe. The
councils, therefore, of Prussia were divided; and though those which
were favourable to France prevailed so far as to prevent her immediately
becoming a member of the coalition, yet, by increasing her army to the
war establishment, and marching forces towards the country which
appeared about to become the scene of hostilities, Prussia gave plain
intimation that the continuance of her neutrality depended upon the
events of war.

[Sidenote: Oct. 25.]

To animate her councils, if possible, with a more decided spirit,
Alexander visited the court of Berlin in person. He was received, with
the utmost distinction, and both the King of Prussia, and his beautiful
and interesting queen, gave manifest tokens of the share they took
personally in the success of the alliance. An oath was taken by the two
sovereigns at the tomb of the Great Frederick, by which they are said to
have devoted themselves to the liberation of Germany,[116]--a vow which,
though at a distant period, they amply redeemed. Still, whatever might
be the personal opinions of the King of Prussia, the counsels of
Haugwitz continued to influence his Cabinet; and the Emperor withdrew
from Berlin, to place himself at the head of his troops, while the
Prussian monarch, assembling an army of observation, assumed the
menacing air of a neutral who feels himself able to turn the scale in
favour of either of the belligerent powers at his pleasure. This was not
the moment for Buonaparte to take offence at these demonstrations, as
the doing so might convert a doubtful friend into an avowed and
determined enemy. But the dubious policy of Prussia was not
forgotten,--it was carefully treasured in Napoleon's memory, as that for
which she was to be called to account at a future period. In the
meantime, he had the full advantage of her hesitating councils and
doubtful neutrality.

Austria was more accessible to the application of the allies.
Notwithstanding the disasters of the last two wars, the loss of a large
portion of Italy, the disasters of Bellegarde, Alvinzi, and Wurmser, and
the disastrous defeats of Marengo and Hohenlinden, the extent and
military character of her population, amongst whom a short interval of
peace was sufficient to recruit the losses of the most bloody
war,--above all, the haughty determination of a Cabinet remarkable for
the tenacity with which they retain and act upon the principles which
they have once adopted, induced her Government to accede to the alliance
betwixt Russia and Great Britain. She had not forgotten the successes
which her generals and armies had obtained when fighting by the side of
Suwarrow, and might hope to see once more renewed the victories of
Trebia and of Novi. She therefore increased her force in every quarter;
and while the Archduke Charles took the command of eighty thousand men
in Italy, on which country Austria always kept a wishful eye, eighty
thousand more, destined to act upon the Lech, and it was hoped upon the
Rhine, were placed under the charge of General Mack, whose factitious
and ill-merited reputation had, unfortunately for Austria, remained
unabated, notwithstanding his miserable Neapolitan campaign in 1799. The
Archduke Ferdinand, a prince of great courage and hopes, was the nominal
commander of the last-mentioned army, while the real authority was
lodged in this old and empty professor of tactics. To conclude this
detail of preparation, the Archduke John was appointed to command in the

It remained only to try the event of negotiation, ere finally proceeding
to military extremities. It was not difficult to state the causes of the
war, which was now about to break out anew. By the peace of Luneville,
finally concluded between Austria and France, the independence of the
Italian, Helvetian, and Batavian republics had been stipulated; but
instead of such terms being complied with, Napoleon, rendering himself
Grand Mediator of Switzerland and King of Italy, had at the same time
filled Holland with troops, and occupied the whole three countries in
such a manner, as made them virtually, and almost avowedly, the absolute
dependencies of France.

Complaints on these heads, warmly urged by Austria, were sharply
answered by France, who in her turn accused Austria of want of
confidence, and of assuming arms in the midst of peace.[118] The Emperor
of Russia interfered, and sent a special ambassador to Paris, with the
purpose of coming, if possible, to an amicable accommodation, which
might even yet preserve the tranquillity of Europe. But ere Novosiltzoff
had reached his place of destination, the union of Genoa with the French
empire was announced; an encroachment which, joined to Napoleon's
influence in Switzerland, rendered the whole north-western frontier of
Italy completely open for the march of French armies, and precluded the
possible hope of that fine country assuming any character of
independence, even if, at a future time, its crown should be vested in a
person different from the ruler of France.[119]


Upon hearing of this new usurpation, made at the very time when
Napoleon's steps towards the aggrandisement of his power were under
challenge, Russia countermanded her ambassador; and Austria, after the
exchange of some more angry notes, began her daring enterprise by
marching a large army upon Bavaria.[120] It would have been better,
probably, had the Emperor Francis suspended this decisive measure, and
continued to protract, if possible, the negotiation, until the Russian
auxiliary armies, two in number, of fifty thousand men each, could have
advanced to the assistance of their allies; or until a sense of the
approaching crisis had removed the indecision in the Prussian councils,
and induced the King to join the coalition. Either of these events, and
more especially both, might have given a very different turn to this
disastrous campaign.[121]

But Austria was not alone to be blamed for precipitating the war--she
exposed herself to censure by the mode in which she conducted it.
Occupying Bavaria with numerous forces, the elector was required to join
the confederacy. Maximilian of Bavaria was not disinclined to unite his
forces with those which proposed for their object the defence of
Germany; but he pleaded that his son, now travelling in France, would be
made responsible, should he join the coalition. "On my knees," he said,
in a letter [September 8] to the Emperor Francis, "I implore you for
permission to remain neutral."[122] His reasonable request was rejected,
and the elector was required to join the confederacy with a violence of
urgency, both unjust and impolitic. He was farther given to understand,
that his troops would not be permitted to remain as a separate army, but
must be incorporated with those of Austria. These were terms so harsh,
as to render even the precarious alliance of France preferable to
submission. Maximilian, retreating from his capital of Munich to
Wurtzburg, and withdrawing his army into Franconia, again endeavoured
to negotiate for neutrality. It was again imperiously refused; and while
the Austrian Government insisted that the elector should join them with
his whole forces, the Austrian troops were permitted to conduct
themselves as in an enemy's country; requisitions were raised, and other
measures resorted to, tending to show that the invaders remembered the
ancient grudge which had so long subsisted between Bavaria and Austria.
It was natural that the Bavarian prince, incensed at this treatment,
should regard the allies as enemies, and wait the arrival of the French
as liberators.


The military manœuvres of the Austrian army were not more able, than
her conduct towards the neutral state of Bavaria was politic or just.
There are two errors, equally fatal, into which a general of middling or
inferior talent is apt to fall, when about to encounter with an
adversary of genius. If he mixes presumption with his weakness of parts,
he will endeavour to calculate the probable motions of his antagonist;
and having, as he supposes, ascertained what they are likely to be, will
attempt to anticipate and interrupt them, and thereby expose himself to
some signal disaster, by mistaking the principle on which his enemy
designs to act. Or, if intimidated by the reputation of the commander
opposed to him, such a general is apt to remain passive and irresolute,
until the motions of the enemy make his purpose evident, at a time when
it is probably impossible to prevent his attaining it. It was left for
General Mack,[123] within the space of a very brief campaign, to unite
both characters; and fall first into errors of rashness and presumption,
afterwards into those of indecision and cowardice.

It required little experience to know, that, after two singularly
unfortunate wars, every precaution should have been taken to bring the
Austrian troops into contact with their enemy, under such advantages of
position and numbers as might counterbalance the feelings of
discouragement with which the bravest soldiers must be affected, in
consequence of a course of defeat and disaster so uniform, that there
seemed to be a fate in it. In this point of view, the Austrian armies
ought to have halted on their own territories, where the river Inn forms
a strong and excellent line of defence, extending betwixt the Tyrol and
the Danube, into which the Inn empties itself at Passau. Supposing
Mack's large force concentrated, with this formidable barrier in front,
it seems as if the Austrians might have easily maintained a defensive
position until the armies of Russia appeared to support them.

If, determined upon the imperious and unjust aggression on Bavaria, Mack
found it necessary to advance more to the westward than the line of the
Inn, in order to secure the country of the elector, the Lech, in its
turn, offered him a position in which he might have awaited the
Russians, though their junction must necessarily have been protracted,
in proportion to the extent of his advance. But it was the choice of
this unlucky tactician to leave Bavaria also behind him, and,
approaching the frontiers of France, to take possession of Ulm,
Memmingen, and the line of the Iller and Danube, where he fortified
himself with great care, as if to watch the defiles of the Black Forest.
It can only be thought by those who judge most favourably of Mack's
intentions, that, as the passes of that celebrated forest had been
frequently the route by which the French invaded Germany, he had
concluded it must therefore be by that road, and no other, that their
approach on the present occasion was to be expected. Knowing with whom
he had to contend, the Austrian general ought to have suspected the
direct contrary; for Buonaparte's manœuvres were not more
distinguished by talent, than by novelty and originality of design.[124]

It is not to be supposed that this great confederacy took at unawares
one who had so many reasons for being alert. The Austrian forces, though
they had commenced the campaign so hastily, were not more early ready
for the field, than were the immense armies of the French empire. The
camps at Boulogne, so long assembled on the shores of the Channel, were
now to be relieved from their inactivity;[125] and serious as the danger
was in which their assistance was required, Buonaparte was perhaps not
displeased at finding a fair pretext to withdraw from the invasion to
which he had hastily pledged himself. This formidable assemblage of
troops, laying aside the appellation of the Army of England, was
hereafter distinguished by that of the Grand Army. At the same time, the
armies maintained in Holland, and in the North of Germany, were put into

In this remarkable campaign Buonaparte commenced, for the first time,
the system of issuing official bulletins, for the purpose of announcing
to the French nation his accounts of success, and impressing upon the
public mind what truths he desired them to know, and, at the same time,
what falsehoods he was desirous they should believe. In every country,
such official accounts will naturally have a partial character, as every
government must desire to represent the result of its measures in as
favourable a light as possible. Where there is a free press, however,
the deception cannot be carried to extremity; imposture cannot be
attempted, on a grand scale at least, where it can be contrasted with
other sources of information, or refuted by arguments derived from
evidence. But Buonaparte had the unlimited and exclusive privilege of
saying what he pleased, without contradiction or commentary, and he was
liberal in using a license which could not be checked. Yet his bulletins
are valuable historical documents, as well as the papers in the
_Moniteur_, which he himself frequently composed or superintended. Much
correct information there certainly is; and that which is less accurate
is interesting, since it shows, if not actual truths, at least what
Napoleon desired should be received as such, and so throws considerable
light both on his schemes and on his character.

Buonaparte communicated to the Senate the approach of war, by a report,
dated 23d September,[126] in which, acquainting them with the cause of
quarrel betwixt himself and the allied powers, he asked, and of course
obtained, two decrees; one for ordering eighty thousand conscripts to
the field, another for the organisation of the National Guard.[127] He
then put himself at the head of his forces, and proceeded to achieve the
destruction of Mack's army, not as at Marengo by one great general
battle, but by a series of grand manœuvres, and a train of partial
actions necessary to execute them, which rendered assistance and retreat
alike impossible. These manœuvres we can only indicate; nor can they
perhaps be well understood without the assistance of the map.


While Mack expected the approach of the French upon his front,
Buonaparte had formed the daring resolution to turn the flank of the
Austrian general, cut him off from his country and his resources, and
reduce him to the necessity, either of surrender, or of giving battle
without a hope of success. To execute this great conception, the French
army was parted into six grand divisions. That of Bernadotte, evacuating
Hanover, which it had hitherto occupied, and traversing Hesse, seemed as
if about to unite itself to the main army, which had now reached the
Rhine on all points. But its real destination was soon determined, when,
turning towards the left, Bernadotte ascended the river Maine, and at
Wurtzburg formed a junction with the elector of Bavaria, who, with the
troops which had followed him into Franconia, immediately declared for
the French cause.

The elector of Wirtemberg and the Duke of Baden followed the same line
of politics; and thus Austria had arrayed against her those very German
princes, whom a moderate conduct towards Bavaria might perhaps have
rendered neutral; France, at the outset of the contest, scarce having
the power to compel them to join her standard. The other five columns of
French troops, under Ney, Soult, Davoust, Lannes, and Marmont, crossed
the Rhine at different points, and entered Germany to the northward of
Mack's position; while Murat, who made his passage at Kehl, approaching
the Black Forest, manœuvred in such a manner as to confirm Mack in
his belief that the main attack was to come from that quarter. But the
direction of all the other divisions intimated that it was the object of
the French Emperor to move round the right wing of the Austrians, by
keeping on the north or left side of the Danube, and then by crossing
that river, to put themselves in the rear of Mack's army, and interpose
betwixt him and Vienna. For this purpose, Soult, who had crossed at
Spires, directed his march upon Augsburg; while, to interrupt the
communication betwixt that city and Ulm, the Austrian headquarters,
Murat and Lannes had advanced to Wertingen, where a smart action took
place. The Austrians lost all their cannon, and it was said four
thousand men--an ominous commencement of the campaign. The action would
have been termed a battle, had the armies been on a smaller scale; but
where such great numbers were engaged on either side, it did not rank
much above a skirmish.[128]

With the same purpose of disquieting Mack in his headquarters, and
preventing him from attending to what passed on his left wing and rear,
Ney, who advanced from Stutgard, attacked the bridges over the Danube at
Guntzburg, which were gallantly but fruitlessly defended by the Archduke
Ferdinand, who had advanced from Ulm to that place. The archduke lost
many guns, and nearly three thousand men.[129]

In the meantime, an operation took place, which marked, in the most
striking manner, the inflexible and decisive character of Napoleon's
councils, compared with those of the ancient courts of Europe. To
accomplish the French plan, of interposing betwixt Mack and the supplies
and reinforcements, both Austrian and Russian, which were in motion
towards him, it was necessary that all the French divisions should be
directed upon Nordlingen, and particularly that the division under
Bernadotte, which now included the Bavarian troops, should accomplish a
simultaneous movement in that direction. But there was no time for the
last-mentioned general to get into the desired position, unless by
violating the neutrality of Prussia, and taking the straight road to the
scene of operations, by marching through the territories of Anspach and
Bareuth, belonging to that power. A less daring general, a more timid
politician than Napoleon, would have hesitated to commit such an
aggression at such a moment. Prussia, undecided in her councils, was yet
known to be, in point of national spirit, hostilely disposed towards
France; and a marked outrage of this nature was likely to raise the
indignation of the people in general to a point which Haugwitz and his
party might be unable to stem. The junction of Prussia with the allies
at a moment so critical, might be decisive of the fate of the campaign,
and well if the loss ended there.

Yet, with these consequences before his eyes, Napoleon knew, on the
other hand, that it was not want of pretexts to go to war which
prevented Prussia from drawing the sword, but diffidence in the power of
the allies to resist the arms and fortune of France. If, therefore, by
violating the territory of Prussia, he should be able to inflict a
sudden and terrible blow upon the allies, he reckoned truly, that the
court of Berlin would be more astounded at his success, than irritated
at the means which he had taken to obtain it. Bernadotte received,
therefore, the Emperor's commands to march through the territory of
Anspach and Bareuth, which were only defended by idle protests and
reclamations of the rights of neutrality. The news of this aggression
gave the utmost offence at the Prussian court; and the call for war,
which alone could right their injured honour, became almost unanimous
through the nation. But while the general irritation, which Buonaparte
of course foresaw, was thus taking place on the one side, the success
which he had achieved over the Austrians acted on the other as a
powerful sedative.[130]


The spirit of enterprise had deserted Mack as soon as actual hostilities
commenced. With the usual fault of Austrian generals, he had extended
his position too far, and embraced too many points of defence, rendering
his communications difficult, and offering facilities for Buonaparte's
favourite tactics, of attacking and destroying in detail the divisions
opposed to him. The defeat at Guntzburg induced Mack at length to
concentrate his army around Ulm; but Bavaria and Suabia were now fully
in possession of the French and Bavarians; and the Austrian General
Spangenberg, surrounded in Memmingen, was compelled to lay down his arms
with five thousand men.[131] The French had crossed the Rhine about the
26th September; it was now the 13th October, and they could scarcely be
said to have begun the campaign, when they had made, on various points,
not fewer than twenty thousand prisoners. Napoleon, however, expected
that resistance from Mack's despair, which no other motive had yet
engaged him to offer; and he announced to his army the prospect of a
general action. He called on his soldiers to revenge themselves on the
Austrians for the loss of the plunder of London, of which, but for this
new continental war, they would have been already in possession. He
pointed out to them, that, as at Marengo, he had cut the enemy off from
his reserves and resources, and he summoned them to signalise Ulm by a
battle, which should be yet more decisive.[132]

No general action, however, took place, though several sanguinary
affairs of a partial nature were fought, and terminated uniformly to the
misfortune of the Austrians. In the meantime, disunion took place among
their generals. The Archduke Ferdinand, Schwartzenberg, afterwards
destined to play a remarkable part in this changeful history, with
Collowrath and others, seeing themselves invested by toils which were
daily narrowed upon them, resolved to leave Mack and his army, and cut
their way into Bohemia at the head of the cavalry. The archduke executed
this movement with the greatest gallantry, but not without considerable
loss. Indeed, the behaviour of the Austrian princes of the blood
throughout these wars was such, as if Fate had meant to mitigate the
disasters of the Imperial House, by showing forth the talents and
bravery of their ancient race, and proving, that although Fortune
frowned on them, Honour remained faithful to their line. Ferdinand,
after much fighting, and considerable damage done and received, at
length brought six thousand cavalry in safety to Egra, in Bohemia.[133]


Meanwhile, Mack found himself, with the remains of his army, cooped up
in Ulm, as Wurmser had been in Mantua. He published an order of the day,
which intimated an intention to imitate the persevering defence of that
heroic veteran. He forbade the word surrender to be used by any one--he
announced the arrival of two powerful armies, one of Austrians, one of
Russians, whose appearance would presently raise the blockade--he
declared his determination to eat horse-flesh rather than listen to any
terms of capitulation. This bravado appeared on the 16th October, and
the conditions of surrender were subscribed by Mack on the next day,
having been probably in the course of adjustment when he was making
these notable professions of resistance.[134]

The course of military misconduct which we have traced, singular as it
is, might be perhaps referred to folly or incapacity on the part of
Mack, though it must be owned it was of that gross kind which civilians
consider as equal to fraud. But another circumstance remains to be told,
which goes far to prove that this once celebrated and trusted general
had ingrafted the traitor upon the fool. The terms of capitulation, as
subscribed on the 17th October, bore, that there should be an armistice
until 26th October at midnight; and that if, during this space, an
Austrian or Russian army should appear to raise the blockade, the army
at Ulm should have liberty to join them, with their arms and baggage.
This stipulation allowed the Austrian soldiers some hope of relief, and
in any event it was sure to interrupt the progress of Buonaparte's
successes, by detaining the principal part of his army in the
neighbourhood of Ulm, until the term of nine days was expired. But Mack
consented to a revision of these terms, a thing which would scarcely
have been proposed to a man of honour, and signed on the 19th a second
capitulation, by which he consented to evacuate Ulm on the day
following;[135] thus abridging considerably, at a crisis when every
minute was precious, any advantage, direct or contingent, which the
Austrians could have derived from the delay originally stipulated. No
reason has ever been alleged for this concession. Buonaparte, indeed,
had given Mack an audience[136] previous to the signing of this
additional article of capitulation, and what arguments he then employed
must be left to conjecture.[137]

The effects of Mack's poltroonery, want of skill, and probable
treachery, were equal to the results of a great victory. Artillery,
baggage, and military stores, were given up to an immense extent. Eight
general officers surrendered upon parole, upwards of 20,000 men became
prisoners of war, and were marched into France. The numbers of the
prisoners taken in this campaign were so great, that Buonaparte
distributed them amongst the agriculturists, that their work in the
fields might make up for the absence of the conscripts, whom he had
withdrawn from such labour. The experiment was successful; and from the
docile habits of the Germans, and the good-humour of their French
employers, this new species of servitude suited both parties, and went
some length to soften the hardships of war. For not the field of battle
itself, with its wounded and dead, is a more distressing sight to
humanity and reflection, than prison-barracks and hulks, in which
hundreds and thousands of prisoners are delivered up to idleness, and
all the evils which idleness is sure to introduce, and not unfrequently
to disease and death. Buonaparte meditated introducing this alteration
into the usages of war upon a great scale, and thought of regimenting
his prisoners for the purpose of labouring on public works. His jurists
objected to the proposal as contrary to the law of nations.[138] This
scruple might have been avoided, by employing only volunteers, which
would also have prevented the appearance of retrograding towards those
barbarous times, when the captive of the sword became the slave of his
victor. But national character would, in most instances, render the
scheme impracticable. Thus, an attempt was afterwards made to dispose of
the Spanish prisoners in a similar way, who in most cases made their
escape, and in some rose upon and destroyed their taskmasters. A French
soldier would, in like manner, make an indifferent serf to an English
farmer, an English prisoner a still more intractable assistant to a
French agriculturist. The advantages of comparative freedom would be in
both cases counterbalanced, by a feeling of degradation in the personal
subjection experienced.

When the general officers of the Austrians[139] were admitted to a
personal interview with the French Emperor, he behaved with courtesy to
Klenau and others of reputation, whose character had become known to him
in the Italian campaigns. But he complained of the politics of their
court, which he said had forced him into war when he knew not what he
was fighting for. He prophesied the fall of the House of Austria, unless
his brother the Emperor hastened to make peace, and reprobated the
policy which brought the uncivilized Russians to interfere in the
decision of more cultivated countries than their own. Mack[140] had the
impudence to reply, that the Emperor of Austria had been forced into the
war by Russia. "Then," said Napoleon, "you no longer exist as an
independent power." The whole conversation appeared in the bulletin[141]
of the day, which also insinuates, with little probability, that the
Austrian officers and soldiers concurred generally in blaming the
alliance between their own Emperor and Alexander.[142] From this we
infer, that the union between those two powerful sovereigns was, even in
the moment of this great success, a subject of apprehension to
Buonaparte; whose official notes are sometimes expressed with generosity
towards the vanquished, who had ceased to struggle, but always with an
eager tone of reproach and offence towards those from whom an animated
resistance was to be apprehended.


[106] "Sir and Brother,--Called to the throne of France by Providence,
and by the suffrages of the senate, the people, and the army, my first
sentiment is a wish for peace. France and England abuse their
prosperity. They may contend for ages; but do their Governments well
fulfil the most sacred of their duties, and will not so much blood, shed
uselessly and without a view to any end, condemn them in their own
consciences? I consider it as no disgrace to make the first step. I
have, I hope, sufficiently proved to the world, that I fear none of the
chances of war; it, besides, presents nothing that I need to fear: peace
is the wish of my heart, but war has never been inconsistent with my
glory. I conjure your majesty not to deny yourself the happiness of
giving peace to the world, nor to leave that sweet satisfaction to your
children; for certainly there never was a more fortunate opportunity,
nor a moment more favourable, to silence all the passions, and listen
only to the sentiments of humanity and reason. This moment once lost,
what end can be assigned to a war which all my efforts will not be able
to terminate! Your majesty has gained more within ten years, both in
territory and riches, than the whole extent of Europe. Your nation is at
the highest point of prosperity; what can it hope from war? To form a
coalition with some powers of the continent? The continent will remain
tranquil: a coalition can only increase the preponderance and
continental greatness of France. To renew intestine troubles? The times
are no longer the same. To destroy our finances? Finances founded on a
flourishing agriculture can never be destroyed. To take from France her
colonies? The colonies are to France only a secondary object; and does
not your majesty already possess more than you know how to preserve? If
your majesty would but reflect, you must perceive that the war is
without an object, without any presumable result to yourself. Alas! what
a melancholy prospect to cause two nations to fight merely for the sake
of fighting. The world is sufficiently large for our two nations to live
in it, and reason is sufficiently powerful to discover means of
reconciling every thing, when the wish for reconciliation exists on both
sides. I have, however, fulfilled a sacred duty, and one which is
precious to my heart. I trust your majesty will believe in the sincerity
of my sentiments, and my wish to give you every proof of it."--NAPOLEON.

[107] Lord Mulgrave. For the letter see Annual Register, vol. xlvii., p.

[108] See Note presented to M. Talleyrand, by M. d'Oubril, relative to
the seizure of the Duke d'Enghien, April 20, 1804; and also Note of the
Minister Resident of Russia, communicated to the Diet of Ratisbon, May
5; Annual Register, vol. xlvi., pp. 642, 654.

[109] "As to the Emperor of Russia, he possesses wit, grace,
information, is fascinating; but he is not to be trusted; he is a true
Greek of the Lower Empire. Would you believe what I had to discuss with
him? He maintained that inheritance was an abuse of monarchy, and I had
to spend more than an hour, and employ all my eloquence and logic in
proving to him that this right constituted the peace and happiness of
the people. It may be that he was mystifying; for he is cunning, false,
and expert. If I die in St. Helena, he will be my real heir in
Europe."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. i., p. 300.

[110] See Moniteur, 14th August, 1804.

[111] See Note presented by order of the King of Sweden to. M. Caillard,
the French Chargé d'Affaires at Stockholm, Sept. 7, 1804; Annual
Register, vol. xlvi., p. 697.

[112] "On my accession to the sovereignty, Gustavus declared himself my
great antagonist; it might have been supposed, that nothing short of
renewing the exploits of the great Gustavus Adolphus would have
satisfied him. He ran over the whole of Germany, for the purpose of
stirring up enemies against me. At the time of the catastrophe of the
Duke d'Enghien, he swore he would exact vengeance in person; and at a
later period, he insolently sent back the black eagle to the King of
Prussia, because the latter had accepted my Legion of Honour."--NAPOLEON,
_Las Cases_, tom. v., p. 168.

[113] See Annual Register, vol. xlvii., p. 717.

[114] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 82.

[115] Montgaillard, tom. vi., p. 165.

[116] Montgaillard, tom. vi., p. 179; Jomini, tom. ii., p. 137.

[117] Jomini, Vie Politique et Militaire, tom. ii., pp. 97-101.

[118] See two Notes, delivered on the 13th and 16th April, by M. de
Talleyrand to Count Cobentzel, Annual Register, vol. xlvii., pp. 644,

[119] Mémoires de Savary, tom. ii., p. 123; Jomini, tom. ii., p. 93.

[120] "The public, who had been solely occupied with the projected
invasion of England, saw, with astonishment, in the _Moniteur_ of the
21st September, the announcement of the invasion of Bavaria by Austria,
without any rupture or previous declaration of war. What a fortunate
diversion for the French Emperor! It saved his maritime honour, and
probably preserved him from a disaster which would have destroyed both
himself and his ancient empire. The army hastened to abandon the
Boulogne coast. It was a magnificent one, and felt the highest
enthusiasm at quitting a state of irksome inaction to march on towards
the Rhine."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 291.

[121] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 95.

[122] "I pledge," he added, "my most sacred word to your majesty, that
my troops shall not, in the smallest degree, interfere with the
operations of your army. It is a father, a prey to the most frightful
despair, that applies for mercy in favour of his son."--See Annual
Register, vol. xlvii., p. 710.

[123] "The Austrian army was nominally under the command of the Archduke
Ferdinand; but orders had been given him to follow implicitly the advice
of Mack, whom all Germany fancied a great general notwithstanding the
glaring incapacity he had already shown in Flanders and at
Naples."--JOMINI, tom. ii., p. 101.

[124] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 107.

[125] "The Emperor, before he left Boulogne, had in haste sent orders to
the banks of the Rhine to collect draught horses, and to provide as
large a quantity as possible of _materiel_ for artillery. We were taken
quite unawares; and it required all the activity of the Emperor to
supply that army, on the spur of the occasion, with what it needed for
the campaign, into which it was so suddenly forced. He, however, had
already calculated and foreseen every thing. The maps of England had
disappeared: those of Germany alone were admitted into his cabinet. He
made us follow the march of the troops; and one day addressed to us
these remarkable words: 'If the enemy comes to meet me, I will destroy
him before he has repassed the Danube; if he waits for me, I will take
him between Augsburg and Ulm.' He issued the last orders to the navy and
to the army, and set out for Paris."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 91.

[126] "The wishes of the eternal enemies of the continent are
accomplished; war has commenced in the midst of Germany, Austria and
Russia have united with England; and our generation is again involved in
all the calamities of war. But a very few days ago I cherished a hope
that peace would not be disturbed. Threats and outrages only showed that
they could make no impression upon me; but the Austrians have passed the
Inn; Munich is invaded; the Elector of Bavaria is driven from his
capital; _all_ my hopes are therefore vanished. I tremble at the idea of
the blood that must be spilt in Europe; but the French name will emerge
with renovated and increased lustre."

[127] He started next day for Strasburg, and on reaching that city
issued the following proclamation to the army:--

"Soldiers! The war of the third coalition has begun. The Austrian army
has passed the Inn, violated treaties, and has attacked and driven our
ally from his capital. You yourselves have been compelled to advance by
forced marches to the defence of our frontiers. Already you have passed
the Rhine. We will not again make peace without a sufficient guarantee.
Our policy shall no more give way to our generosity. Soldiers, your
Emperor is in the midst of you. You are only the advanced guard of a
great people. If it should be necessary, they will all rise at my voice
to confound and dissolve this new league which has been formed by the
hatred and the gold of England. But, soldiers, we shall have forced
marches to make, fatigues and privations of every kind to endure.
Whatever obstacles may be opposed to us, we will overcome them, and we
shall take no rest until we have planted our eagles on the territory of
our enemy."

[128] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 108; Savary, tom. ii., p. 99.

[129] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 112.

[130] "Sir Walter Scott blames the violation of the territory of
Bareuth; but, how little have these neutralities been respected by
conquerors! Witness the invasion of Switzerland at the end of 1813, so
fatal to France!"--LOUIS BUONAPARTE, p. 43.

[131] "This intelligence reached Napoleon in a wretched bivouac, which
was so wet, that it was necessary to seek a plank for him to keep his
feet out of the water. He had just received this capitulation, when
Prince Maurice Lichtenstein, whom Mack had sent with a flag of truce,
was announced. He came to treat for the evacuation of Ulm: the army
which occupied it demanded permission permission to return to Austria.
The Emperor could not forbear smiling, and said, 'What reason have I to
comply with this demand? in a week you will be in my power, without
conditions?' Prince Maurice protested, that without the conditions which
he demanded, the army should not leave the place. 'I shall not grant
them,' rejoined the Emperor; 'there is the capitulation of Memmingen;
carry it to Marshal Mack, and whatever may be your resolutions in Ulm, I
will never grant him any other terms: besides, I am in no hurry; the
longer he delays, the worse he will render his own situation, and that
of you all. For the rest, I shall have the corps which took Memmingen
here to-morrow, and we shall then see.'"--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 96.

[132] "Soldiers! But for the army which is now in front of you, we
should this day have been in London; we should have avenged ourselves
for six centuries of insults, and restored the freedom of the seas. But
bear in mind to-morrow, that you are fighting against the allies of
England; that you have to avenge yourselves on a perjured prince, whose
own letters breathed nothing but peace, at the moment when he was
marching his army against our ally! Soldiers! to-morrow will be a
hundred times more celebrated than the day of Marengo. I have placed the
enemy in the same position."

[133] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 123.

[134] For the terms of the capitulation of Ulm, see Annual Register,
vol. xlvii., p. 662.

[135] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 126.

[136] "Marshal Mack paid the Emperor a visit at the abbey of Elchingen.
He kept him a long time, and made him talk a great deal. It was on this
interview that he learned all the circumstances which had preceded the
resolution of the Austrian cabinet to make war upon him. He was made
acquainted with all the springs which the Russians had set to work to
decide it; and lastly, with the plans of the coalition."--SAVARY, tom.
ii., p. 98.

[137] "It must be owned, that Napoleon did not think himself justified
in resting his sole dependence upon his excellent troops. He recollected
the saying of Machiavel: that a prudent prince must be both a fox and a
lion at the same time. After having well studied his new field of
battle, (for it was the first time he made war in Germany) he told us,
that we should soon see that the campaigns of Moreau were nothing in
comparison with his. In fact, he acted admirably in order to derange
Mack's plans, who permitted himself to be petrified in his position of
Ulm. All the Emperor's spies were more easily purchased than may be
conceived. Almost all the Austrian staff-officers were virtually gained
over. I had intrusted Savary, who was employed in the management of the
_espoinage_ at the grand headquarters, with all my secret notes upon
Germany, and, with his hands full, he worked quickly and
successfully."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 291.

[138] "I intended to enrol them in regiments, and to make them labour
under military discipline, at public works and monuments. They should
have received whatever money they earned, and would thus have been
secured against the misery of absolute idleness, and the disorders
arising out of it. They would have been well fed and clothed, and would
have wanted for nothing, without being a burden on the state. But my
idea did not meet the approval of the Council of State, which, in this
instance, was swayed by the mistaken philanthropy, that it would be
unjust and cruel to compel men to labour."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom.
vii., p. 45.

[139] "The 19th October arrived. The drums beat--the bands played; the
gates of Ulm opened; the Austrian army advanced in silence, filed off
slowly, and went, corps by corps, to lay down its arms on a spot which
had been prepared to receive them. The ceremony occupied the whole day.
The Emperor was posted on a little hill in front of the centre of his
army; a great fire had been lighted, and by this fire he received the
Austrian generals, to the number of seventeen. They were all very dull:
it was the Emperor who kept up the conversation."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p.

[140] It will be unnecessary again to mention this man's name, of which
our readers are doubtless as much tired as we ourselves are. He was
committed to a state prison, in a remote part of the Austrian dominions;
and whether he died in captivity, or was set at liberty, we have not
learned, nor are we anxious to know.--S.--On his return to Austria, Mack
was arrested, and sent to the citadel of Brunn, in Moravia, whence he
was transferred to the fortress of Josephstadt, in Bohemia. He was tried
by a military commission and condemned to death, but the penalty was
commuted by the Emperor for two years' imprisonment, and the loss of

[141] Tenth Official Bulletin of the Grand Army.

[142] "This conversation was not lost upon all: none of them, however,
made any reply."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 100.


    _Position of the French Armies--Napoleon advances towards
    Vienna--The Emperor Francis leaves his Capital--French enter Vienna
    on the 13th November--Review of the French Successes in Italy and
    the Tyrol--Schemes of Napoleon to force on a General Battle--Battle
    of Austerlitz is fought on the 2d December, and the combined
    Austro-Russian Armies completely Defeated--Interview betwixt the
    Emperor of Austria and Napoleon--The Emperor Alexander retreats
    towards Russia--Treaty of Presburgh signed on the 26th December--Its
    Conditions--Fate of the King of Sweden--and of the Two Sicilies._


The tide of war now rolled eastward, having surmounted and utterly
demolished the formidable barrier which was opposed to it. Napoleon
placed himself at the head of his central army.[143] Ney, upon his
right, was ready to repel any descent which might be made from the
passes of the Tyrol. Murat, on his left, watched the motions of the
Austrians, under the Archduke Ferdinand, who, refusing to join in the
unworthy capitulation of Ulm, had cut their way into Bohemia, and there
united themselves with other forces, either stationed in that kingdom,
or who had, like themselves, escaped thither. Lastly, the division of
Augereau, (who had recently advanced from France at the head of an army
of reserve,) occupying part of Swabia, served to protect the rear of the
French army against any movement from the Vorarlberg; and at the same
time menaced the Prussians, in case, acting upon the offence given by
the violation of their territory, they should have crossed the Danube,
and engaged in the war.[144]

If, however, the weight of Prussia had been thrown into the scale with
sufficient energy at this decisive moment, it would not probably have
been any resistance which Augereau could have offered that could have
saved Napoleon from a perilous situation, since the large armies of the
new enemy would have been placed in his rear, and, of course, his
communications with France entirely cut off. It was a crisis of the same
kind which opened to Austria in the year 1813; but she was then taught
wisdom by experience, and availed herself of the golden opportunity
which Prussia now suffered to escape. Buonaparte had reckoned with
accuracy upon the timid and fluctuating councils of that power. The
aggression on their territories of Anspach and Bareuth was learned at
Berlin; but then the news of the calamity sustained by the Austrians at
Ulm succeeded these tidings almost instantly, and while the first
article of intelligence seemed to urge instant hostilities, the next was
calculated to warn them against espousing a losing cause.

Thus, trusting to the vacillating and timid policy of Prussia,[145]
Napoleon, covered on his flank and rear as we have stated, continued to
push forward[146] with his central forces towards Vienna, menaced
repeatedly in the former wars, but whose fate seemed decided after the
disaster of Ulm. It is true, that an army, partly consisting of Russians
and partly of Austrians, had pressed forward to prevent that disgraceful
calamity, and, finding that the capitulation had taken place, were now
retreating step by step in front of the advancing French; but, not
exceeding forty-five thousand men, they were unable to make any
effectual stand upon the Inn, the Traun, the Ens, or in any other
position which might have covered Vienna. They halted, indeed,
repeatedly, made a considerable show of resistance, and fought some
severe though partial actions; but always ended by continuing their
retreat, which was now directed upon Moravia, where the grand Russian,
army had already assembled, under the command of the Emperor Alexander,
and were expecting still further reinforcements under General

Some attempts were made to place Vienna in a state of defence, and the
inhabitants were called upon to rise in mass for that purpose. But as
the fortifications were ancient and in disrepair, an effort at
resistance could only have occasioned the destruction of the city. The
Emperor Francis saw himself, therefore, under the necessity of
endeavouring to provide for the safety of his capital by negotiation,
and for that of his person by leaving it. On the 7th November,
accordingly, he departed from Vienna for Brunn in Moravia, in order to
place himself under the protection of the Russian forces.

On the same day, but late in the evening, Count Giulay arrived at
Buonaparte's headquarters, then established at Lintz, with a proposal
for an armistice, previous to a general negotiation for peace. Napoleon
refused to listen to the proposal, unless Venice and the Tyrol were put
into his hands. These terms were too hard to be accepted.[148] Vienna,
therefore, was left to its fate; and that proud capital of the proud
House of Austria remained an unresisting prize to the invader.

[Sidenote: VIENNA TAKEN.]

On the 13th November the French took possession of Vienna, where they
obtained an immense quantity of military stores, arms, and
clothing;[149] a part of which spoils were bestowed by Napoleon on his
ally the Elector of Bavaria, who now witnessed the humiliation of the
Imperial House which had of late conducted itself so haughtily towards
him. General Clarke was appointed Governor of Vienna; and by a change as
rapid as if it had taken place on the stage, the new Emperor of France
occupied Schonbrun, the splendid palace of the long-descended Emperor of
Austria. But though such signal successes had crowned the commencement
of the campaign, it was necessary to defeat the haughty Russians, in
whose aid the Emperor of Austria still confided, before the object of
the war could be considered as attained. The broken and shattered
remnant of the Austrian forces had rallied from different quarters
around the yet untouched army of Alexander; and although the latter
retreated from Brunn towards Olmutz, it was only with the purpose of
forming a junction with Buxhowden, before they hazarded a general

In the meantime, the French army, following close on their back into
Moravia, fought one or two partial actions, which, though claimed as
victories, were so severely disputed as to make Napoleon aware that he
had to do with a more obstinate enemy than he had of late encountered in
the dispirited Austrians. He waited, therefore, until the result of his
skilful combinations should have drawn around him the greatest force he
could expect to collect, ere venturing upon an engagement, of which, if
he failed to obtain a decisive victory, the consequences were likely to
be fatal to him.

At this period, success had smiled on the French in Italy, and in the
Tyrol, as well as in Germany. In the former country, it may be
remembered that the Archduke Charles, at the head of seventy-five or
eighty thousand men, exclusive of garrisons, was opposed to Massena,
whose forces considerably exceeded that amount. The prince occupied the
left bank of the Adige, with the purpose of maintaining a defensive
warfare, until he should hear news of the campaign in Germany. Massena,
however, after some fighting, succeeded in forcing the passage of the
river at Verona, and in occupying the village of St. Michael. This was
on the 20th October. Soon afterwards, the account of the surrender at
Ulm reached the Frenchman, and determined him on a general attack along
the whole Austrian line, which was strongly posted near Caldiero. The
assault took place on the 30th October, and was followed by a very
desperate action; for the Austrians, confident in the presence of their
favourite commander, fought with the greatest courage. They were,
however, defeated; and a column of five thousand men, under General
Hellinger, detached for the purpose of attacking the French in the rear,
failed in their purpose, and being themselves surrounded, were obliged
to lay down their arms. The victors were joined by General St. Cyr, at
the head of twenty-five thousand men, who had evacuated the kingdom of
Naples, upon a treaty of neutrality entered into with the King, and now
came to join their countrymen in Lombardy.

In the midst of his own misfortunes, the Archduke Charles received the
fatal intelligence of the capitulation of Ulm, and that the French were
advancing in full march towards Vienna. To cover his brother's capital
became a matter of more pressing necessity than to attempt to continue
the defence of Italy, which circumstances rendered almost hopeless. He
commenced his retreat, therefore, on the night of the 1st of November,
determining to continue it through the mountain passes of Carinthia, and
so on into Hungary. If he had marched by the Tyrol, he would have found
Augereau in his front, with Ney and Marmont threatening his flanks,
while Massena, before whom he was now retreating, pressed on his rear.

The archduke commenced this dispiriting and distressing movement, over
nearly the same ground which he had passed while retreating before
Buonaparte himself in 1797. He did not, however, as on that occasion,
avail himself of the Tagliamento, or Palma Nova. His purpose was
retreat, not defence; and, though pursued closely by Massena, he halted
no longer at these strong posts than was necessary to protect his march,
and check the vivacity of the French advance. He effected at length his
retreat upon Laybach, where he received tidings from his brother the
Archduke John, whose situation on the Tyrol was not more agreeable than
his own in Italy; and who, like Charles himself, was desirous to escape
into the vicinity of Hungary with what forces remained to him.

The distress of the Archduke John was occasioned by an army of French
and Bavarians, commanded by Ney, who had penetrated into the Tyrol by
paths deemed impracticable; taken the forts of Schwatz, Neustadt, and
Inspruck itself, and placed the archduke's army in the most precarious
situation. Adopting a determination worthy of his birth, the Austrian
prince resolved at all risks to effect a junction with his brother,
and, though hard pressed by the enemy, he accomplished his purpose. Two
considerable corps of Austrians, being left in an insulated situation by
these movements of the two princes, were obliged to surrender. These
were the divisions of Jellachich, in the Vorarlberg, and of the Prince
of Rohan, in Lombardy. The whole of the north of Italy, with the Tyrol
and all its passes, was left to the undisturbed and unresisted
occupation of the French.[150]

The army of the royal brothers had, however, become formidable by their
junction, and was daily growing stronger. They were in communication
with Hungary, the brave inhabitants of which warlike country were
universally rising in arms. They were also joined by volunteers from
Croatia, the Tyrol, and all those wild and mountainous countries, which
have so long supplied the Austrian army with the finest light troops in
the world.

It might seem to counterbalance these advantages, that Massena had also
entered into communications with the French army of Germany at
Clagenfurt, the capital of Carinthia. But having left great part of his
troops in Italy, he had for the time ceased to be formidable to the
Austrian princes, who now meditated advancing on the French grand army,
which the audacity of its leader had placed in a situation extremely
perilous to any other than French troops acting under the eye of their


Nothing, it is true, could be more admirably conceived and
satisfactorily accomplished than the succession of grand manœuvres,
which, distinguishing the opening of the campaign, had produced the
great, yet cheaply-purchased success of Ulm, and the capture of Vienna.
Nor was the series of combination less wonderful, by which, clearing the
Vorarlberg, the Tyrol, and the north of Italy of the enemy, Napoleon had
placed almost all the subordinate divisions of his own army at his
disposal, ready to assist him in the grand enterprise against the
Austro-Russian forces. But he has been considered by military critics as
having trusted too great a risk upon the precarious event of battle,
when he crossed the Danube, and plunged into Moravia, where a defeat, or
even a check, might have been attended with the most fatal consequences.
The position of the Archdukes Charles and John; the organisation of the
Hungarian insurrection, which proceeded rapidly; the success of the
Archduke Ferdinand, in raising a similar general levy in Bohemia,
threatened alarming operations in the French rear; while Prussia, with
the sword drawn in her hand, and the word _war_ upon her lips, watched
but the slightest waning of Buonaparte's star, to pronounce the word,
and to strike a blow at the same moment.

Napoleon accordingly, though he had dared the risk, was perfectly
sensible that as he had distinguished the earlier part of this campaign
by some of the most brilliant manœuvres which military history
records, it was now incumbent upon him, without delay, to conclude it by
a great and decisive victory over a new and formidable enemy. He
neglected, therefore, no art by which success could be ensured. In the
first place, it was necessary to determine the allies to immediate
battle; for, situated in the heart of an enemy's country, with
insurrection spreading wide and wider around him, an immediate action
was as desirable on his part, as delay would have been advantageous to
his opponents.

Some attempts at negotiation were made by the Austrians, to aid which
Haugwitz, the Prussian minister, made his appearance in the French camp
with the offer of his master's mediation, but with the alternative of
declaring war in case it was refused. To temporize with Prussia was of
the last consequence, and the French Emperor found a willing instrument
in Haugwitz. "The French and Austrian outposts," said Napoleon, "are
engaged; it is a prelude to the battle which I am about to fight--Say
nothing of your errand to me at present--I wish to remain in ignorance
of it. Return to Vienna, and wait the events of war."[151] Haugwitz, to
use Napoleon's own expression, was no novice, and returned to Vienna
without waiting for another hint; and doubtless the French Emperor was
well pleased to be rid of his presence.[152]

Napoleon next sent Savary[153] to the Russian camp, under pretence of
compliment to the Emperor Alexander, but in reality as a spy upon that
monarch and his generals. He returned, having discovered, or affected to
discover, that the Russian sovereign was surrounded by counsellors, whom
their youth and rank rendered confident and presumptuous, and who, he
concluded, might be easily misguided into some fatal act of

Buonaparte acted on the hint, and upon the first movement of the
Austro-Russian army in advance, withdrew his forces from the position
they had occupied. Prince Dolgorucki, aide-de-camp of the Emperor
Alexander, was despatched by him to return the compliments which had
been brought him. He too was, doubtless, expected to use his powers of
observation, but they were not so acute as those of the old officer of
police. Buonaparte, as if the interior of his camp displayed scenes
which he did not desire Dolgorucki to witness, met the prince at the
outposts, which the soldiers were in the act of hastily covering with
field-works, like an army which seeks to shelter conscious weakness
under intrenchments. Encouraged by what he thought he saw of the
difficulties in which the French seemed to be placed, Dolgorucki entered
upon politics, and demanded in plain terms the cession of the crown of
Italy. To this proposal Buonaparte listened with a patience which seemed
to be the effect of his present situation. In short, Dolgorucki carried
back to his imperial master the hastily conceived opinion, that the
French Emperor was retreating, and felt himself in a precarious
posture.[155] On this false ground the Russian council of war determined
to act. Their plan was to extend their own left wing, with the purpose
of turning the right of the French army, and taking them upon the flank
and rear.

[Sidenote: AUSTERLITZ.]

It was upon the 1st December at noon that the Russians commenced this
movement, by which, in confidence of success, they abandoned a chain of
heights where they might have received an attack with great advantage,
descended into ground more favourable to the enemy, and, finally, placed
their left wing at too great a distance from the centre. The French
general no sooner witnessed this rash manœuvre, than he exclaimed,
"Before to-morrow is over, that army is my own." In the meantime,
withdrawing his outposts, and concentrating his forces, he continued to
intimate a conscious inferiority, which was far from existing.

The two armies seem to have been very nearly of the same strength. For
though the bulletin, to enhance the victory, makes the opposite army
amount to 100,000 men, yet there were not actually above 50,000
Russians, and about 25,000 Austrians, in the field of battle.[156] The
French army might be about the same force. But they were commanded by
Napoleon, and the Russians by Kutousof; a veteran soldier indeed, full
of bravery and patriotism, and accustomed to war as it was waged against
the Turks; but deficient in general talent, as well as in the alertness
of mind necessary to penetrate into and oppose the designs of his
adversary, and, as is not unusual, obstinate in proportion to the
narrowness of his understanding, and the prejudices of his education.

Meanwhile Buonaparte, possessed of his enemy's plan by the
demonstrations of the preceding day, passed the night in making his
arrangements.[157] He visited the posts in person, and apparently
desired to maintain an incognito which was soon discovered. As soon as
the person of the Emperor was recognised, the soldiers remembered that
next day [2d December] was the anniversary of his coronation. Bunches of
lighted hay, placed on the end of poles, made an extempore illumination,
while the troops, with loud acclamations, protested they would present
him on the following day with a bouquet becoming the occasion; and an
old grenadier, approaching his person, swore that the Emperor should
only have to combat with his eyes, and that, without his exposing his
person, the whole colours and artillery of the Russian army should be
brought to him to celebrate the festival of the morrow.[158]

In the proclamation which Napoleon, according to his custom, issued to
the army, he promises that he will keep his person out of the reach of
fire; thus showing the full confidence, that the assurance of his
personal safety would be considered as great an encouragement to the
troops, as the usual protestation of sovereigns and leaders, that they
will be in the front, and share the dangers of the day.[159] This is,
perhaps, the strongest proof possible of the complete and confidential
understanding which subsisted between Napoleon and his soldiers. Yet
there have not been wanting those, who have thrown the imputation of
cowardice on the victor of a hundred battles, and whose reputation was
so well established amongst those troops who must be the best judges,
that his attention to the safety of his person was requested by them,
and granted by him, as a favour to his army.


The Battle of Austerlitz, fought against an enemy of great valour but
slender experience, was not of a very complicated character. The
Russians, we have seen, were extending their line to surround the French
flank. Marshal Davoust, with a division of infantry, and another of
dragoons, was placed behind the convent of Raygern, to oppose the forces
destined for this manœuvre, at the moment when they should conceive
the point carried. Soult commanded the right wing; Lannes conducted the
left, which last rested upon a fortified position called Santon,
defended by twenty pieces of cannon. Bernadotte led the centre, where
Murat and all the French cavalry were stationed. Ten battalions of the
Imperial Guard, with ten of Oudinot's division, were kept in reserve in
the rear of the line, under the eye of Napoleon himself, who destined
them, with forty field-pieces, to act wherever the fate of battle should
render their services most necessary. Such were the preparations for
this decisive battle, where three Emperors, each at the head of his own
army, strove to decide the destinies of Europe. The sun rose with
unclouded brilliancy; it was that sun of Austerlitz which Napoleon, upon
so many succeeding occasions apostrophised, and recalled to the minds of
his soldiers. As its first beams rose above the horizon, Buonaparte
appeared in front of the army, surrounded by his marshals, to whom he
issued his last directions, and they departed at full gallop to their
different posts.[160]

The column detached from the left of the Austro-Russian army was engaged
in a false manœuvre, and it was ill executed. The intervals between
the regiments of which it consisted were suffered to become irregular,
and the communications between this attacking column itself and the main
body were not maintained with sufficient accuracy. When the Russians
thought themselves on the point of turning the right flank of the
French, they found themselves suddenly, and at unawares, engaged with
Davoust's division, of whose position behind the convent of Raygern,
they had not been aware. At the same time, Soult, at the head of the
French right wing, rushed forward upon the interval between the
Austro-Russian centre and left, caused by the march of the latter upon
Raygern, and, completely intersecting their line, severed the left wing
entirely from the centre.

The Emperor of Russia perceived the danger, and directed a desperate
attempt to be made upon Soult's division by the Russian Guards, for the
purpose of restoring the communication with his left. The French
infantry were staggered by this charge, and one regiment completely
routed. But it was in such a crisis that the genius of Buonaparte
triumphed. Bessières had orders to advance with the Imperial Guard,
while the Russians were disordered with their own success. The encounter
was desperate, and the Russians displayed the utmost valour before they
at length gave way to the discipline and steadiness of Buonaparte's
veterans. Their artillery and standards were lost, and Prince
Constantine, the Emperor's brother, who fought gallantly at their head,
was only saved by the speed of his horse.

The centre of the French army now advanced to complete the victory, and
the cavalry of Murat made repeated charges with such success, that the
Emperors of Russia and Austria, from the heights of Austerlitz, beheld
their centre and left completely defeated. The fate of the right wing
could no longer be protracted, and it was disastrous even beyond the
usual consequences of defeat.[161] They had been actively pressed during
the whole battle by Lannes, but now the troops on their left being
routed, they were surrounded on all sides, and, unable to make longer
resistance, were forced down into a hollow, where they were exposed to
the fire of twenty pieces of cannon. Many attempted to escape across a
lake, which was partially frozen; but the ice proving too weak gave way
under them, or was broken by the hostile cannonade. This fatality
renewed, according to Buonaparte's description, the appearance of the
battle with the Turks at Aboukir, where so many thousand men, flying
from the battle, perished by drowning. It was with the greatest
difficulty, that, rallying the remains of their routed forces around
them, and retiring in the best manner they could, the Emperors effected
their personal retreat. Only the devoted bravery of the Russians, and
the loyalty of the Austrian cavalry, who charged repeatedly to protect
the retrograde movement, could have rendered it possible, since the sole
passage to the rear lay along a causeway, extending between two lakes.
The retreat was, however, accomplished, and the Emperors escaped without
sustaining the loss in the pursuit which might have been expected. But
in the battle, at least twenty thousand men had remained, killed,
wounded, and prisoners; and forty standards, with a great proportion of
the hostile artillery, were the trophies of Napoleon, whose army had
thus amply redeemed their pledge. It was, however, at a high rate that
they had purchased the promised bouquet. Their own ranks had lost
probably five thousand men, though the bulletin diminishes the numbers
to two thousand five hundred.[162]

The Austrian Emperor considered his last hope of successful opposition
to Napoleon as extinguished by this defeat, and conceived, therefore,
that he had nothing remaining save to throw himself upon the discretion
of the victor. There, were, indeed some, who accused his councils of
pusillanimity. It was said, that the levies of Prince Charles in
Hungary, and of Prince Ferdinand in Bohemia, were in great
forwardness--that the Emperors had still a considerable army under their
own command--and that Prussia, already sufficiently disposed for war,
would certainly not permit Austria to be totally overwhelmed. But it
ought to be considered, on the other hand, that the new levies, however
useful in a partisan war, could not be expected to redeem the loss of
such a battle as Austerlitz--that they were watched by French troops,
which, though inferior in number, were greatly more formidable in
discipline--and that, as for Prussia, it was scarce rational to expect
that she would interfere by arms, to save, in the hour of distress,
those to whom she had given no assistance, when such would probably have
been decisive of the contest, and that in favour of the allies.


The influence of the victory on the Prussian councils was indeed soon
made evident; for Count Haugwitz, who had been dismissed to Vienna till
the battle should take place, now returned to Buonaparte's headquarters,
having changed the original message of defiance of which he was the
bearer, into a handsome compliment to Napoleon upon his victory. The
answer of Napoleon intimated his full sense of the duplicity of
Prussia.--"This," he said, "is a compliment designed for others, but
Fortune has transferred the address to me."[163] It was, however, still
necessary to conciliate a power which had a hundred and fifty thousand
men in the field; and a private treaty with Haugwitz assigned the
Electorate of Hanover to Prussia, in exchange for Anspach, or rather as
the price of her neutrality at this important crisis.[164] Thus all
hopes of Prussian interference being over, the Emperor Francis must be
held justified in yielding to necessity, and endeavouring to secure the
best terms which could be yet obtained, by submitting at discretion. His
ally, Alexander, refused indeed to be concerned in a negotiation, which
in the circumstances could not fail to be humiliating.

A personal interview took place betwixt the Emperor of Austria and
Napoleon, to whose camp Francis resorted almost in the guise of a
suppliant. The defeated prince is represented as having thrown the blame
of the war upon the English. "They are a set of merchants," he said,
"who would set the continent on fire, in order to secure to themselves
the commerce of the world." The argument was not very logical, but the
good prince in whose mouth it is placed, is not to be condemned for
holding at such a moment the language which might please the victor.
When Buonaparte welcomed him to his military hut, and said it was the
only palace he had inhabited for nearly two months, the Austrian
answered with a smile, "You have turned your residence, then, to such
good account, that you ought to be content with it."

The Emperor of Austria, having satisfied himself that he would be
admitted to terms of greater or less severity, next stipulated for that
which Alexander had disdained to request in his own person--the
unmolested retreat of the Russians to their own country.--"The Russian
army is surrounded," said Napoleon; "not a man can escape me. But I wish
to oblige their Emperor, and will stop the march of my columns, if your
Majesty promises me that these Russians shall evacuate Germany and the
Austrian and Prussian parts of Poland."--"It is the purpose of the
Emperor Alexander to do so."[165]

The arrangement was communicated by Savary to the Russian Emperor, who
acquiesced in the proposal to return with his army to Russia by regular
marches.[166] No other engagement was required of Alexander than his
word; and the respectful manner in which he is mentioned in the
bulletins, indicates Buonaparte's desire to cultivate a good
understanding with this powerful and spirited young monarch. On the
other hand, Napoleon has not failed to place in the Czar's mouth such
compliments to himself as the following:--"Tell your master," said he to
Savary, "that he did miracles yesterday--that this bloody day has
augmented my respect for him--He is the predestined of Heaven--it will
take a hundred years ere my army equals that of France." Savary is then
stated to have found Alexander, despite of his reverse of fortune, a man
of heart and head. He entered into details of the battle.

"You were inferior to us on the whole," he said, "yet we found you
superior on every point of action."

"That," replied Savary, "arises from warlike experience, the fruit of
sixteen years of glory. This is the fortieth battle which the Emperor
has fought."

"He is a great soldier," said Alexander; "I do not pretend to compare
myself with him--this is the first time I have been under fire. But it
is enough. I came hither to the assistance of the Emperor of
Austria--he has no farther occasion for my services--I return to my

Accordingly, he commenced his march towards Russia, in pursuance of the
terms agreed upon. The Russian arms had been unfortunate; but the
behaviour of their youthful Emperor, and the marked deference shown
towards him by Buonaparte, made a most favourable impression upon Europe
at large.[167]


[Sidenote: Dec. 6.]

The Austrian monarch, left to his fate, obtained from Buonaparte an
armistice[168]--a small part of the price was imposed in the shape of a
military contribution of a hundred millions of francs, to be raised in
the territories occupied by the French armies. The cessation of
hostilities was to endure while Talleyrand on the one side, and Prince
John of Lichtenstein on the other, adjusted the terms of a general
pacification. Buonaparte failed not to propitiate the Austrian
negotiator by the most extravagant praises in his bulletins, and has
represented the Emperor of Austria as asking, "Why, possessing men of
such distinguished talent, should the affairs of my cabinet be committed
to knaves and fools?" Of this question we can only say, that if really
asked by Francis, which we doubt, he was himself the only person by whom
it could have been answered.

The compliments to the Prince John of Lichtenstein, were intended to
propitiate the public in favour of the treaty of peace, negotiated by a
man of such talents. Some of his countrymen, on the other hand, accused
him of selfish precipitation in the treaty, for the purpose of removing
the scene of war from the neighbourhood of his own family estates. But
what could the wisdom of the ablest negotiator, or the firmness of the
most stubborn patriot have availed, when France was to dictate terms,
and Austria to receive them. The treaties of Campo Formio and Luneville,
though granted to Austria by Napoleon in the hour of victory, were
highly advantageous compared to that of Presburgh, which was signed on
the 26th of December, 1805, about a fortnight after the battle of
Austerlitz.[169] By this negotiation, Francis ceded to Bavaria the
oldest possession of his house, the mountains of Tyrol and of the
Vorarlberg, filled with the best, bravest, and most attached of his
subjects, and which, by their geographical situation, had hitherto given
Austria influence at once in Germany and Italy. Venice, Austria's most
recent possession, and which had not been very honourably obtained, was
also yielded up, and added to the kingdom of Italy.[170] She was again
reduced to the solitary seaport of Trieste, in the Adriatic.

By the same treaty, the Germanic allies of Buonaparte were to be
remunerated. Wirtemberg, as well as Bavaria,[171] received large
additions at the expense of Austria and of the other princes of the
empire, and Francis consented that both the electors should be promoted
to the kingly dignity, in reward of their adherence to the French cause.
Other provisions there were, equally inconsistent with the immunities of
the Germanic body, for which scarcely a shadow of respect was retained,
save by an illusory clause, or species of protest, by which Austria
declared that all the stipulations to which she consented were under
reservation of the rights of the empire. By the treaty of Presburgh,
Austria is said to have lost upwards of 20,000 square miles of
territory, two millions and a half of subjects, and a revenue to the
amount of ten millions and a half of florins. And this momentous
surrender was made in consequence of one unfortunate campaign, which
lasted but six months, and was distinguished by only one general action.

There were two episodes in this war, of little consequence in
themselves, but important considered with reference to the alterations
they produced in two of the ancient kingdoms of Europe, which they
proved the proximate cause of re-modelling according to the new form of
government which had been introduced by Buonaparte, and sanctioned by
the example of France.

The King of Sweden had been an ardent and enthusiastic member of the
anti-Gallican league. He was brave, enterprising, and chivalrous, and
ambitious to play the part of his namesake and progenitor, Gustavus
Adolphus, or his predecessor, Charles XII.; without, however,
considering, that since the time of those princes, and partly in
consequence of their wars and extensive undertakings, Sweden had sunk
into a secondary rank in the great European family; and without
reflecting, that when great enterprises are attempted without adequate
means to carry them through, valour becomes Quixotic, and generosity
ludicrous. He had engaged to join in a combined effort for the purpose
of freeing Hanover, and the northern parts of Germany, from the French,
by means of an army of English, Russians, and Swedes. Had Prussia
acceded to the confederacy, this might have been easily accomplished;
especially as Saxony, Hesse, and Brunswick, would, under her
encouragement, have willingly joined in the war. Nay, even without the
accession of Prussia, a diversion in the north, ably conducted and
strongly supported, might have at least found Bernadotte sufficient work
in Hanover, and prevented him from materially contributing, by his march
to the Danube, to the disasters of the Austrian army at Ulm. But, by
some of those delays and misunderstandings, which are so apt to
disappoint the objects of a coalition, and disconcert enterprises
attempted by troops of different nations, the forces designed for the
north of Europe did not assemble until the middle of November, and then
only in strength sufficient to undertake the siege of the Hanoverian
fortress of Hamelen, in which Bernadotte had left a strong garrison. The
enterprise, too tardy in its commencement, was soon broken off by the
news of the battle of Austerlitz and its consequences, and, being
finally abandoned, the unfortunate King of Sweden returned to his own
dominions, where his subjects received with unwillingness and terror a
prince, who, on many accounts, had incurred the fatal and persevering
resentment of Buonaparte. Machinations began presently to be agitated
for removing him from the kingdom, as one with whom Napoleon could never
be reconciled, and averting from Sweden, by such sacrifice, the
punishment which must otherwise fall on the country, as well as on the

[Sidenote: NAPLES.]

While the trifling attempt against Hamelen, joined to other
circumstances, was thus preparing the downfall of the ancient dynasty of
Sweden, a descent, made by the Russians and English on the Neapolitan
territories, afforded a good apology to Buonaparte for depriving the
King of the Two Sicilies of his dominions, so far as they lay open to
the power of France. Governed entirely by the influence of the Queen,
the policy of Naples had been of a fickle and insincere character.
Repeatedly saved from the greatest hazard of dethronement, the King or
his royal consort had never omitted an opportunity to resume arms
against France, under the conviction, perhaps, that their ruin would no
longer be deferred than whilst political considerations induced the
French Emperor to permit their possession of their power. The last
interference in their behalf had been at the instance of the Emperor
Paul. After this period we have seen that their Italian dominions were
occupied by French troops, who held Otranto, and other places in
Calabria, as pledges (so they pretended) for the restoration of Malta.

But upon the breaking out of the war of 1805, it was agreed, by a
convention entered into at Paris, 21st of September, and ratified by the
King of Naples on the 8th of October, that the French should withdraw
their forces from the places which they occupied in the Neapolitan
territories, and the King should observe a strict neutrality. Neither of
the contracting parties was quite sincere. The French troops, which were
commanded by St. Cyr, were, as we have seen, withdrawn from Naples, for
the purpose of reinforcing Massena, in the beginning of the campaign of
Austerlitz. Their absence would probably have endured no longer than the
necessity which called them away. But the court of Naples was equally
insincere; for no sooner had St. Cyr left the Neapolitan territories to
proceed northward, than the King, animated by the opportunity which his
departure afforded, once more raised his forces to the war
establishment, and received with open arms an army, consisting of 12,000
Russian troops from Corfu, and 8000 British from Malta, who disembarked
in his dominions.[173]

Had this armament occupied Venice at the commencement of the war, they
might have materially assisted in the campaign of the Archduke Charles
against Massena. The sending them in November to the extremity of the
Italian peninsula, only served to seal the fate of Ferdinand the Fourth.
On receiving the news of the armistice at Austerlitz, the Russians and
the British re-embarked, and not long after their departure a large
French army, commanded by Joseph Buonaparte, approached, once more to
enforce the doom passed against the royal family of Naples, that they
should cease to reign.[174] The King and Queen fled from the storm which
they had provoked. Their son, the prince royal, in whose favour they had
abdicated, only made use of his temporary authority to surrender Gaeta,
Pescara, and Naples itself, with its castles, to the French general. In
Calabria, however, whose wild inhabitants were totally disinclined to
the French yoke, Count Roger de Damas and the Duke of Calabria attempted
to make a stand. But their hasty and undisciplined levies were easily
defeated by the French under General Regnier, and, nominally at least,
almost the whole Neapolitan kingdom was subjected to the power of Joseph


One single trait of gallantry illuminated the scene of universal
pusillanimity. The Prince of Hesse Philipsthal, who defended the strong
fortress of Gaeta in name of Ferdinand IV., refused to surrender it in
terms of the capitulation. "Tell your general," said he, in reply to the
French summons, "that Gaeta is not Ulm, nor the Prince of Hesse General
Mack!" The place was defended with a gallantry corresponding to these
expressions, nor was it surrendered until the 17th of July, 1806, after
a long siege, in which the brave governor was wounded.[175] This heroic
young prince only appeared on the public scene to be withdrawn from it
by an untimely death, which has been ascribed to poison. His valour,
however honourable to himself, was of little use to the royal family of
Naples, whose deposition was determined on by Buonaparte, in order to
place upon the throne one of his own family.


[143] From Elchingen, Oct. 21, Napoleon issued the following address to
the army:--"Soldiers of the Grand Army! In a fortnight we have finished
a campaign: we have expelled the troops of the house of Austria from
Bavaria, and re-established our ally in the sovereignty of his estates.
That army which, with equal ostentation and imprudence, had posted
itself on our frontiers, is annihilated. Soldiers! you owe this success
to your unbounded confidence in your Emperor; to your patience in
supporting fatigues and privations of every description; and to your
singular intrepidity. But we will not stop here. You are impatient to
commence a second campaign. We are about to make the Russian army, which
the gold of England has transported from the extremities of the
universe, undergo the same fate. Here there are no generals in combating
against whom I can have any glory to acquire. All my care shall be to
obtain the victory with the least possible effusion of blood. My
soldiers are my children."

[144] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 133.

[145] "The conduct of Prussia at this period was conformable to the
wholesome policy which had so long connected this power with France. It
is not for us, Frenchmen, to reproach her inaction at this important
crisis, even while criticising her raising the shield before Jena. Until
then Prussia had showed herself reasonable, in not allowing herself to
be drawn into new coalitions."--LOUIS BUONAPARTE, p. 44.

[146] "Napoleon was always on horseback whatever weather it might be,
travelling in his carriage only when his army was two or three marches
in advance. This was a calculation on his part, the point always entered
into in his combinations, and to him distances were nothing: he
traversed them with the swiftness of eagles."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 103.

[147] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 133; Savary, tom. ii., p. 101. Fourteenth and
Fifteenth Bulletins of the Grand Army.

[148] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 145.

[149] "In the magazines and arsenals of Vienna were found artillery and
ammunition enough for two campaigns: we had no farther occasion to draw
upon our stores at Strasburg or Metz: but could, on the contrary,
despatch a considerable _materiel_ to those two great
establishments."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 107.

[150] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 169; Savary, tom. ii., p. 107

[151] Montholon, tom. ii., p. 241.

[152] "I asked Napoleon, if Haugwitz had been gained by him? he replied
'No; but he was of opinion that Prussia should never play the first
fiddle in the affairs of the continent; that she was only a second-rate
power, and ought to act as such.'"--O'MEARA, vol. i., p. 227.

[153] "Napoleon sent for me at daybreak: he had passed the night over
his maps; his candles were burnt down to the sockets: he held a letter
in his hand; he was silent for some moments, and then abruptly said to
me, 'Be off to Olmutz; deliver this letter to the Emperor of Russia, and
tell him that, having heard of his arrival at his army, I have sent you
to salute him in my name. If he questions you,' added he, 'you know what
answer ought to be given under such circumstances.'"--SAVARY, tom. ii.,
p. 112.

[154] "I saw at Olmutz a great number of young Russians, belonging to
the different ministerial departments of their country, who talked
wildly of the ambition of France; and all of whom, in their plans for
reducing her to a state of harmlessness, made much the same kind of
calculations as the maid with her pail of milk."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p.

[155] Thirtieth Bulletin of the Grand Army.

[156] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 181.

[157] "The Emperor passed the whole day of the 1st December inspecting
his army himself, regiment by regiment. He spoke to the troops, viewed
all the parks, all the light batteries, and gave instructions to all the
officers and gunners. He returned to dine at his bivouac and sent for
all his marshals; he enlarged upon all that they ought to do the next
day, and all that it was possible for the enemy to attempt. He knew his
ground as well as the environs of Paris. It would require a volume to
detail all that emanated from his mind in those twenty-four
hours."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 131.

[158] Thirtieth Bulletin of the Grand Army.

[159] "_Order of the Day. On the Field, Dec. 1._--Soldiers! The Russian
forces are before you, to avenge the Austrian army at Ulm; they are the
same battalions you conquered at Hollabrun, and which you have
constantly pursued. The positions we occupy are formidable, and, whilst
they march to turn my right, they shall present me their flank.
Soldiers! I shall direct myself all your battalions, I shall keep at a
distance from the firing, if, with your accustomed bravery, you carry
confusion and disorder into the enemy's ranks; but should victory be for
a moment doubtful, you shall behold your Emperor expose himself to the
first blow. This victory will finish our campaign, when we shall return
to winter quarters, and be joined by the new armies forming in France;
then the peace which I shall sanction will be worthy of my people, of
you, and of myself."

[160] "In passing along the front of several regiments, the Emperor
said, 'Soldiers! we must finish this campaign by a thunderbolt, which
shall confound the pride of our enemies;' and, instantly, hats were
placed on the points of their bayonets, and cries of 'Vive l'Empereur!'
were the signal for the battle."--_Thirtieth Bulletin._

[161] "The Russians fled and dispersed: Alexander and the Emperor of
Austria witnessed the defeat. Stationed on a height at a little distance
from the field of battle, they beheld the guard, which had been expected
to decide the victory, cut to pieces by a handful of brave men. Their
guns and baggage had fallen into our possession, and Prince Repnin was
our prisoner; unfortunately, however, we had a great number of men
killed and wounded. I had myself received a sabre wound in the head; in
which situation I galloped off to give an account of the affair to the
Emperor. My sabre broken, my wound, the blood with which I was covered,
the decided advantage we had gained with so small a force over the
enemy's chosen troops, inspired Napoleon with the idea of the picture
that was painted by Girard."--_Mémoires du Général RAPP_, p. 62.

[162] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 180-191; Savary, tom. ii., p. 133. Thirtieth
Bulletin of the Grand Army. On the field of battle, Napoleon issued the
following proclamation:--

    "Headquarters, Dec. 2, 10 o'clock at night.

"Soldiers of the Grand Army! Even at this hour, before this great day
shall pass away and be lost in the ocean of eternity, your Emperor must
address you, and express how much he is satisfied with the conduct of
all those who have had the good fortune to combat in this memorable
battle. Soldiers! you are the first warriors in the world! The
recollection of this exploit and of your deeds, will be eternal!
thousands of ages hereafter, so long as the events of the universe
continue to be related, will record, that a Russian army, of seventy-six
thousand men, hired by the gold of England, was annihilated by you on
the plains of Olmutz.--The miserable remains of that army, upon which
the commercial spirit of a despicable nation had placed its expiring
hope, are in flight, hastening to make known to the savage inhabitants
of the north what the French are capable of performing; they will,
likewise, tell them, that, after having destroyed the Austrian army, at
Ulm, you told Vienna--'That army is no more!' To Petersburgh you shall
also say--'The Emperor Alexander has no longer an army.'"

[163] Thirty-Fourth Bulletin of the Grand Army; Savary, tom. ii., p.

[164] "The battle of Austerlitz took place on the 2d December, and on
the 15th, Prussia, by the convention of Vienna, renounced the treaty of
Potsdam and the oath of the tomb; she yielded Wesel, Bareuth, and
Neuchatel to France; who, in return, consented to Frederic William's
taking possession of Hanover, and uniting that country to his
dominions."--NAPOLEON, _Montholon_, tom. ii., p. 242.

[165] Thirty-First Bulletin of the Grand Army.

[166] "The Emperors seemed to be both in excellent humour; they laughed,
which seemed to us all to be a good _omen_: accordingly, in an hour or
two, the sovereigns parted with a mutual embrace. We followed Napoleon,
who rode his horse at a foot-pace, musing on what he meant to do. He
called me, and said, 'Run after the Emperor of Austria: tell him that I
have desired you to go and wait at his headquarters for the adhesion of
the Emperor of Russia to what has just been concluded between us. When
you are in possession of this adhesion, proceed to the corps d'armée of
Marshal Davoust, stop his movement, and tell him what has
passed.'"--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 140.

[167] "I could not help feeling a certain timidity on finding myself in
Alexander's presence; he awed me by the majesty and nobleness of his
look. Nature had done much for him; and it would have been difficult to
find a model so perfect and so graceful; he was then twenty-six years
old. He was already somewhat hard of hearing with the left ear, and he
turned the right to hear what was said to him. He spoke in broken
sentences; he laid great stress upon his finals, so that the discourse
was never long. For the rest, he spoke the French language in all its
purity, and always used its elegant academic expression. As there was no
affectation in his language, it was easy to judge that this was one of
the results of an excellent education."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 115.

[168] See Annual Register, vol. xlvii., p. 666.

[169] For a copy of the treaty, see Annual Register, vol. xlvii., p.

[170] "After leaving Vienna, Napoleon, on his way to Munich, passed
through Passau, where he met General Lauriston, who was returning from
Cadiz; he sent him as governor to Venice."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 155.

[171] "The Emperor arrived at Munich, a few hours before New Year's-day,
1806. The Empress had come thither by his order a fortnight before.
There was, as may be supposed, great rejoicing at the court of Bavaria:
not only was the country saved, but almost doubled in extent. The
greatest delight was therefore expressed at seeing us. It was at Munich
that we began to perceive something which we had as yet only heard
vaguely talked of. A courier was sent by the Tyrol with orders to the
Viceroy of Italy to come immediately to Munich: accordingly, five days
afterwards, he arrived. No secret was any longer made of his marriage
with the Princess Augusta of Bavaria. The viceroy was much beloved, and
the greatest pleasure was expressed to see him unite his destiny with
that of a princess so virtuous and so lovely. The nuptials were
celebrated at Munich; after which Napoleon returned to Paris."--SAVARY,
tom. ii., p. 156.

[172] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 196; Las Cases, tom. v., p. 168;
Montgaillard, tom. vi., p. 280.

[173] "Before his departure from Vienna, Napoleon received intelligence
of the entry of the Russians, jointly with some English, into Naples. He
immediately made dispositions for marching troops thither. He had an old
grudge against the Queen of Naples, and on receiving this news, he said,
'Ah! as for her, I am not surprised at it; but woe betide her if I enter
Naples; never shall she set foot there again!' He sent from the staff of
his own army officers to compose that which was about to assemble on the
frontiers of Naples, and ordered Prince Joseph, his brother, whom he had
left at Paris, to go and put himself at the head of it."--SAVARY, tom.
ii., p. 152.

[174] "General St. Cyr is advancing by forced marches towards Naples, to
punish the treason of the Queen, and to precipitate from the throne this
culpable woman, who has violated, in so shameless a manner, all that is
held sacred among men. It was endeavoured to intercede for her with the
Emperor. He replied, 'Were hostilities to recommence, and the nation to
support a thirty years' war, so atrocious an act of perfidy cannot be
pardoned.' _The Queen of Naples has ceased_ to reign."--_Thirty-seventh
Bulletin of the Grand Army_, Dec. 26.

[175] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 237; Annual Register, vol. xlviii., p. 144.


    _Relative situations of France and England--Hostilities commenced
    with Spain, by the Stoppage, by Commodore Moore, of four Spanish
    Galleons, when three of their Escort were taken, and one blew
    up--Napoleon's Plan of Invasion stated and discussed--John Clerk of
    Eldin's great System of Breaking the Line, explained--The French
    Admiral, Villeneuve, forms a junction with the Spanish Fleet under
    Gravina--Attacked and defeated by Sir Robert Calder--Nelson
    appointed to the Command in the Mediterranean--BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR
    fought 21st October, 1805--Death of Nelson--Behaviour of Napoleon on
    learning the Intelligence of this signal Defeat--Villeneuve commits
    Suicide--Address of Buonaparte to the Legislative Body--Statement of
    M. de Champagny on the Internal Improvements of France--Elevation of
    Napoleon's Brothers, Louis and Joseph, to the Thrones of Holland and
    Naples--Principality of Lucca conferred on Eliza, the eldest Sister
    of Buonaparte, and that of Guastalla on Pauline, the youngest--Other
    Alliances made by his Family--Napoleon appoints a new Hereditary
    Nobility--Converts from the old Noblesse anxiously sought for and
    liberally rewarded--Confederation of the Rhine established, and
    Napoleon appointed Protector--The Emperor Francis lays aside the
    Imperial Crown of Germany, retaining only the Title of Emperor of
    Austria--Vacillating and Impolitic Conduct of Prussia._

The triumphs of Napoleon had been greater at this period of his reign,
than had ever before been recorded in history as achieved by a single
man. Yet even these, like every thing earthly, had their limit. Fate,
while she seemed to assign him complete domination over the land, had
vested in other hands the empire of the seas; and it frequently
happened, that when his victorious eagles were flying their highest
pitch upon the continent, some conspicuous naval disaster warned the
nations, that there was another element, where France had a rival and a

It is true, that the repeated success of England, resembling almost that
of the huntsman over his game, had so much diminished the French navy,
and rendered so cautious such seamen as France had remaining, that the
former country, unable to get opportunities of assailing the French
vessels, was induced to have recourse to strange, and, as it proved,
ineffectual means of carrying on hostilities. Such was the attempt at
destroying the harbour of Boulogne, by sinking in the roads ships loaded
with stones, and another scheme to blow up the French ships, by means of
detonating machines to be affixed to them under water. The one, we
believe, only furnished the inhabitants of Boulogne with a supply of
useful building stone; the other, from the raft on which the machines
were conveyed, was much ridiculed under the name of the catamaran

Buonaparte, meanwhile, never lost sight of that combination of naval
manœuvres, through means of which, by the time that the subjugation
of Austria should permit the Grand Army to resume its destination for
England, he hoped to assemble in the Channel such a superior fleet, as
might waft his troops in safety to the devoted shores of Britain. The
unbounded influence which he exercised over the court of Spain, seemed
likely to facilitate this difficult enterprise. Yet, as from Spain the
French Emperor derived large supplies of treasure, it would have been
convenient for him, that, for a time at least, she should retain the
mask of neutrality, while, in fact, she was contributing to serve
France, and prejudice England, more effectually than if she had been in
a state of avowed hostility with the latter power.

The British Government determined to bring this state of things to a
decided point, by stopping four galleons, or vessels loaded with
treasure, proceeding under an escort from the South Sea, and destined
for Cadiz. The purpose of the English was only to detain these ships, as
a pledge for the sincerity of the Government of Spain, in observing a
more strict neutrality than hitherto. But unhappily the British force,
under Commodore Moore, amounted only to four frigates. Spanish honour
rendered the admiral unwilling to strike the national flag to an equal
strength, and an action ensued, in which three of the Spanish vessels
were taken, and one unfortunately blew up--an accident greatly to be
regretted. Mr. Southey observes, with his usual sound sense and
humanity, "Had a stronger squadron been sent, (against the Spaniards,)
this deplorable catastrophe might have been saved--a catastrophe which
excited not more indignation in Spain, than it did grief in those who
were its unwilling instruments, in the British people and in the British


This action took place on the 5th of October 1804; and as hostilities
were of course immediately commenced betwixt Spain and Britain,[177]
Buonaparte, losing the advantages he derived from the neutrality of the
former power, had now only to use the naval and military means which she
afforded for the advancement of his own purposes. The Court of Spain
devoted them to his service, with a passive complaisance of which we
shall hereafter see the reward.

Napoleon persisted to the last in asserting, that he saw clearly the
means of utterly destroying the English superiority at sea. This he
proposed to achieve by evading the blockades of the several ports of
France and Spain, which, while weather permitted, were each hermetically
sealed by the presence of a British squadron, and by finally assembling
in the Channel that overwhelming force, which, according to his
statement, was to reduce England to a dependency on France, as complete
as that of the Isle of Oleron.[178] But men of the greatest talents must
necessarily be liable to error, when they apply the principles of a
science with which they are well acquainted upon one element, to the
operations which are to be carried on by means of another. It is evident
that he erred, when calculating his maritime combinations, in not
sufficiently considering two most material differences betwixt them, and
those which had exalted his glory upon land.

In the first place, as a landsman, Napoleon did not make sufficient
allowance for the action of contrary winds and waves; as indeed it was
perhaps his fault, even in land operations, where their influence is
less essential, to admit too little consequence to the opposition of the
elements. He complained, when at St. Helena, that he could never get a
seaman sufficiently emancipated from the technicality of his profession,
to execute or enter into any of his schemes. "If I proposed," he said,
"any new idea, I had Gantheaume and all the marine department to contend
with--Sir, that is impossible--Sir,--the winds--the calms--the currents,
will not permit it; and thus I was stopped short."[179] We believe
little dread could have been entertained of the result of naval
combinations in which the influence of the winds and waves was not
previously and accurately calculated; and that British seamen would have
desired nothing more ardently, than that their enemies should have acted
upon a system in which these casualties were neglected, even if that
system had been derived from the genius of Napoleon.

But, secondly, there was this great difference betwixt the land and the
sea service, to which (the vehemence of his wishes, doubtless,
overpowering his judgment) Buonaparte did not give sufficient weight.
Upon land, the excellence of the French troops, their discipline, and
the enthusiasm arising from uninterrupted success, might be safely
reckoned upon as likely to bear down any obstacle which they might
unexpectedly meet with, in the execution of the movements which they
were commanded to undertake. The situation of the French seamen was
diametrically the contrary. Their only chance of safety consisted in
their being able to elude a rencontre with a British squadron, even of
very inferior force. So much was this the case at the period of which we
treat, that Linois, their admiral in the East Indian seas, commanding an
eighty-four-gun ship, and at the head of a considerable squadron of
ships of war, was baffled and beaten off in the straits of Malacca by a
squadron of merchant vessels belonging to the British East India
Company, although built, of course, for traffic, and not for war, and,
as usual in war time, very imperfectly manned.[180]

Yet, notwithstanding the great and essential difference which we have
pointed out between the French navy and their land forces, and that the
former was even more inferior to that of England than the continental
troops in general were to the French soldiers, it is evident that
Buonaparte, when talking of ships of the line, was always thinking of
battalions. Thus he imagines that the defeat of the Nile might have been
prevented, had the headmost vessels of the French line, instead of
remaining at anchor, slipped their cables, and borne down to the
assistance of those which were first attacked by the British. But in
urging this, the leading principle of the manœuvre of breaking the
line had totally escaped the French Emperor. It was the boast of the
patriotic sage,[181] who illustrated and recommended this most
important system of naval tactics, that it could serve the purpose of a
British fleet only. The general principle is briefly this: By breaking
through the line, a certain number of ships are separated from the rest,
which the remainder must either abandon to their fate by sailing away,
or endeavour to save by bearing down, or doubling as it were, upon the
assailants, and engaging in a close and general engagement. Now, this
last alternative is what Buonaparte recommends,--what he would certainly
have practised on land,--and what he did practise, in order to extricate
his right wing, at Marengo. But the relative superiority of the English
navy is so great, that, while it is maintained, a close engagement with
an enemy in the least approaching to equality, is equivalent to a
victory; and to recommend a plan of tactics which should render such a
battle inevitable, would be, in other words, advising a French admiral
to lose his whole fleet, instead of sacrificing those ships which the
English manœuvre had cut off, and crowding sail to save such as were
yet unengaged.[182]

Under this consciousness of inferiority, the escape of a Spanish or
French squadron, when a gale of wind forced, from the port in which they
lay, the British blockading vessels, was a matter, the ultimate success
of which depended not alone on the winds and waves, but still more upon
the chance of their escaping any part of the hostile navy, with whom
battle, except with the most exorbitant superiority on their side, was
certain and unavoidable defeat. Their efforts to comply with the wishes
of the Emperor of France, were therefore so partially conducted, so
insulated, and so ineffectual, that they rather resembled the children's
game of hide and seek, than any thing like a system of regular
combination. A more hasty and less cautious compliance with Napoleon's
earnest wishes to assemble a predominant naval force, would have only
occasioned the total destruction of the combined fleets at an earlier
period than when it actually took place.


Upon this desultory principle, and seizing the opportunity of the
blockading squadron being driven by weather from the vicinity of their
harbour, a squadron of ten French vessels escaped from Rochefort on the
11th of January, 1805; and another, under Villeneuve, got out of Toulon
on the 18th by a similarly favourable opportunity. The former, after
rendering some trifling services in the West Indies, was fortunate
enough to regain the port from which they had sailed, with the pride of
a party who have sallied from a besieged town, and returned into it
without loss. Villeneuve also regained Toulon without disaster, and,
encouraged by his success, made a second sortie upon the 18th of March,
having on board a large body of troops, designed, it was supposed, for a
descent upon Ireland or Scotland. He made, however, towards Cadiz, and
formed a junction there with the Spanish fleet under Gravina. They
sailed for the West Indies, where the joint squadrons were able to
possess themselves of a rock called Diamond, which is scarce to be
discovered on the map; and with this trophy, which served at least to
show they had been actually out of harbour, they returned with all speed
to Europe. As for executing manœuvres, and forming combinations, as
Napoleon's plans would lead us to infer was the purpose of their hurried
expedition, they attempted none, save of that kind which the hare
executes when the hound is at its heels. Nelson, they were aware, was in
full pursuit of them, and to have attempted any thing which involved a
delay, or gave a chance of his coming up with them, was to court
destruction. They were so fortunate as to escape him, though very
narrowly, yet did not reach their harbours in safety.

On the 22d July, the combined fleets fell in with Sir Robert Calder,
commanding a British squadron. The enemy amounted to twenty sail of the
line, three fifty-gun ships, and four frigates, and the British to
fifteen sail of the line, and two frigates only. Under this disparity of
force, nevertheless, the English admiral defeated the enemy, and took
two ships of the line; yet such was the opinion in both countries of the
comparative superiority of the British navy, that the French considered
their escape as a kind of triumph. Buonaparte alone grumbled against
Villeneuve, for not having made use of his advantages,[183] for so it
pleased him to term an engagement in which two ships of the line were
lost; whilst the English murmured at the inadequate success of Sir
Robert Calder, against an enemy of such superior strength, as if he had
performed something less than his duty. A court-martial ratified, to a
certain extent,[184] the popular opinion; though it may be doubted
whether impartial posterity will concur in the justice of the censure
which was passed upon the gallant admiral. At any other period of our
naval history, the action of the 22d of July would have been rated as a
distinguished victory.

The combined fleets escaped into Vigo, where they refitted; and,
venturing to sail from that port, they proceeded to Ferrol,[185] united
themselves with the squadron which was lying there, and continued their
course for Cadiz, which they entered in safety. This did not consist
with the plans of Buonaparte, who would have had the whole naval force
united at Brest to be in readiness to cover the descent upon England.
"General terror was spread," he said, "throughout that divided nation,
and never was England so near to destruction."[186] Of the general
terror, few of the British, we believe, remember any thing, and of the
imminent danger we were not sensible. Had the combined fleets entered
the British Channel, instead of the Mediterranean, they would have found
the same admiral, the same seamen, nay, in many instances, the same
ships, to which Villeneuve's retreat into Cadiz gave the trouble of
going to seek him there.


When the certainty was known that the enemy's fleets were actually in
Cadiz, Nelson was put at the head of the British naval force in the
Mediterranean,[187] which was reinforced with an alertness and secrecy
that did the highest honour to the Admiralty. Villeneuve, in the
meantime, had, it is believed, his master's express orders to put to
sea;[188] and if he had been censured for want of zeal in the action off
Cape Finisterre with Calder, he was likely, as a brave man, to determine
on running some risk to prove the injustice of his Emperor's reproaches.
Cadiz also, being strictly blockaded by the English, the fleets of
France and Spain began to be in want of necessaries. But what
principally determined the French admiral on putting to sea, was his
ignorance of the reinforcements received by the English, which, though
they left Nelson's fleet still inferior to his own, yet brought them
nearer to an equality than, had he been aware of it, would have rendered
their meeting at all desirable to Villeneuve. It was another and
especial point of encouragement, that circumstances led him to
disbelieve the report that Nelson commanded the British fleet.[189]
Under the influence of these united motives, and confiding in a plan of
tactics which he had formed for resisting the favourite mode of attack
practised by the English, the French admiral sailed from Cadiz on the
19th October, 1805, in an evil hour for himself and for his country.

The hostile fleets were not long in meeting, and the wind never impelled
along the ocean two more gallant armaments. The advantage of numbers was
greatly on the side of Villeneuve. He had thirty-three sail of the line,
and seven large frigates; Nelson only twenty-seven line-of-battle ships,
and three frigates. The inferiority of the English in number of men and
guns was yet more considerable. The combined fleet had four thousand
troops on board, many of whom, excellent rifle-men, were placed in the
tops. But all odds were compensated by the quality of the British
sailors, and the talents of Nelson.

Villeneuve showed no inclination to shun the eventful action. His
disposition was singular and ingenious. His fleet formed a double line,
each alternate ship being about a cable's length to the windward of her
second a-head and a-stern, and thus the arrangements represented the
chequers of a draught-board, and seemed to guard against the operation
of cutting the line, as usually practised by the British. But Nelson had
determined to practise the manœuvre in a manner as original as the
mode of defence adopted by Villeneuve. His order for sailing was in two
lines, and this was also the order for battle. An advanced squadron of
eight of the fastest sailing two-deckers, was to cut off three or four
of the enemy's line, a-head of their centre; the second in command,
Admiral Collingwood, was to break in upon the enemy about the twelfth
ship from the rear, and Nelson himself determined to bear down on the
centre. The effect of these manœuvres must of course be a close and
general action; for the rest Nelson knew he could trust to the
determination of his officers and seamen. To his admirals and officers
he explained in general, that his object was a close and decisive
engagement; and that if, in the confusion and smoke of the battle,
signals should not be visible, the captain would never do wrong who laid
his ship alongside of the enemy.

With such dispositions on either side, the two gallant fleets met on the
memorable 21st of October. Admiral Collingwood, who led the van, went
down on the enemy with all his sails set, and, disdaining to furl them
in the usual manner, cut the sheets, and let his canvass fly loose in
the wind, as if he needed it no longer after it had borne him amidst the
thickest of the enemy. Nelson run his vessel, the Victory, on board the
French Redoutable; the Temeraire, a second British ship, fell on board
the same vessel on the other side; another enemy's ship fell on board of
the Temeraire, and the action was fiercely maintained betwixt these four
vessels, which lay as close as if they had been moored together in some
friendly harbour. While the Victory thus engaged the Redoutable on the
starboard, she maintained from her larboard guns an incessant fire on
the Bucentaur and the colossal Santa Trinidad, a vessel of four decks.
The example of the admiral was universally followed by the British
captains; they broke into the enemy's line on every side, engaged two or
three ships at the same time, and maintained the battle at the very
muzzles of the cannon. The superiority which we have claimed for our
countrymen was soon made manifest. Nineteen ships of the line were
captured, two were first-rate vessels, none were under seventy-four
guns. Four ships of the line were taken, in a subsequent action, by Sir
Richard Strachan. Seven out of the vessels which escaped into Cadiz were
rendered unserviceable. The whole combined fleet was almost totally

[Sidenote: DEATH OF NELSON.]

It is twenty years and upwards since that glorious day. But the feelings
of deep sorrow mingled with those of exultation, with which we first
heard the tidings of the battle of Trafalgar, still agitate our bosoms,
as we record, that Nelson, the darling of Britain, bought with his life
this last and decided triumph over his country's enemies. A Briton
himself in every word and thought, the discharge of a sailor's duty,
according to his idea, was a debt involving every feat which the most
exalted bravery could perform, and every risk which the extremity of
danger could present. The word to which he attached such an unlimited
meaning, was often in his mouth; the idea never, we believe, absent from
his mind. His last signal intimated that England expected every man to
do his _duty_. His first words on entering the action were, "I thank the
great Disposer of events for this great opportunity of doing my _duty_;"
and with his last departing breath, he was distinctly heard to repeat
the same pious and patriotic sentiment, "I thank God I have done my
duty."[190] That DUTY was indeed performed, even to the utmost extent
of his own comprehensive interpretation of the phrase. The good servant
of his country slept not before his task was fulfilled; for, by the
victory in which he fell, the naval force of the enemy was altogether
destroyed, and the threat of invasion silenced for ever.

It is a remarkable coincidence, that Mack's surrender having taken place
the 20th October, Napoleon was probably entering Ulm in triumph upon the
very day, when the united remains of his maritime force, and the means
on which, according to his own subsequent account, he relied for the
subjugation of England, were flying, striking, and sinking, before the
banners of Nelson. What his feelings may have been on learning the news
we have no certain means of ascertaining. The Memoirs of Fouché say,
upon the alleged authority of Berthier, that his emotion was extreme,
and that his first exclamation was, "I cannot be every where!" implying,
certainly, that his own presence would have changed the scene.[191] The
same idea occurs in his conversations with Las Cases.[192] It may be
greatly doubted, however, whether Napoleon would have desired to have
been on board the best ship in the French navy on that memorable
occasion; and it seems pretty certain, that his being so could have had
no influence whatever on the fate of the day. The unfortunate Villeneuve
dared not trust to his master's forgiveness. "He ought," so Buonaparte
states it, "to have been victorious, and he was defeated." For this,
although the mishap which usually must attend one out of the two
commanders who engage in action, Villeneuve felt there was no apology to
be accepted, or even offered, and the brave but unfortunate seaman
committed suicide.[193] Buonaparte, on all occasions, spoke with
disrespect of his memory; nor was it a sign of his judgment in nautical
matters, that he preferred to this able, but unfortunate admiral, the
gasconading braggart, Latouche Tréville.[194]

The unfortunate event of the battle of Trafalgar was not permitted to
darken the brilliant picture, which the extraordinary campaign of Ulm
and Austerlitz enabled the victor to present to the empire which he
governed, and which detailed his successes in the full-blown pride of
conquest. "His armies," he said, addressing the Legislative Body, the
session of which he opened with great pomp on 2d March, 1806, "had never
ceased to conquer, until he commanded them to cease to combat. His
enemies were humbled and confounded--the royal house of Naples had
ceased to reign _for ever_"--(the term was too comprehensive)--"the
entire peninsula of Italy now made a part of the Great Empire--his
generosity had permitted the return of the defeated Russians to their
own country, and had re-established the throne of Austria, after
punishing her by the privation of a part of her dominions." Trafalgar
was then touched upon. "A tempest," he said, "had deprived him of some
few vessels, after a combat imprudently entered into;"[195]--and thus he
glossed over a calamitous and decisive defeat, in which so many of his
hopes were shipwrecked.


When a sovereign has not sufficient greatness of mind to acknowledge his
losses, we may, without doing him wrong, suspect him of exaggerating his
successes. Those of France, in her external relations, were indeed
scarcely capable of being over-estimated. But when M. de Champagny, on
the 4th March following, made a relation of the internal improvements of
France under the government of Buonaparte, he seems to have assumed the
merit of those which only existed upon paper, and of others which were
barely commenced, as well as of some that were completed. All was of
course ascribed to the inspiring genius of the Emperor, to whose agency
France was indebted for all her prosperity. The credit of the good city
of Paris was restored, and her revenue doubled--agriculture was
encouraged, by the draining of immense morasses--mendicity was
abolished. Beneficial results, apparently inconsistent with each other,
were produced by his regulations--the expenses of legal proceedings were
abridged, and the appointments of the judges were raised. Immense and
most expensive improvements, which, in other countries, or rather under
other sovereigns, are necessarily reserved for times of peace, were
carried on by Napoleon during the most burdensome wars against entire
Europe. Forty millions had been expended on public works, of which eight
great canals were quoted with peculiar emphasis, as opening all the
departments of the empire to the influence of internal navigation. To
conclude, the Emperor had established three hundred and seventy
schools--had restored the rites of religion--re-inforced public credit
by supporting the Bank--reconciled jarring factions--diminished the
public imposts--and ameliorated the condition of every existing
Frenchman.[196] To judge from the rapturous expressions of M. de
Champagny, the Emperor was already the subject of deserved adoration; it
only remained to found temples and raise altars.

Much of this statement was unquestionably the exaggeration of flattery,
which represented every thing as commenced as soon as it had been
resolved upon by the sovereign, every thing finished as soon as it was
begun. Other measures there were, which, like the support afforded to
the Bank, merely repaired injuries which Napoleon himself had inflicted.
The credit of this commercial establishment had been shaken, because, in
setting off for the campaign, Napoleon had stripped it of the reserve of
specie laid up to answer demands; and it was restored, because his
return with victory had enabled him to replace what he had borrowed.
Considering that there was no small hazard of his being unable to remedy
the evil which he had certainly occasioned,[197] his conduct on the
occasion scarcely deserves the name of a national benefit.

Some part of this exaggeration might even deceive Napoleon. It is one of
the great disadvantages of despotism, that the sovereign himself is
liable to be imposed upon by false representations of this nature; as it
is said the Empress Catherine was flattered by the appearance of distant
villages and towns in the desert places of her empire, which were, in
fact, no more than painted representations of such objects,[198] upon
the plan of those that are exhibited on the stage, or are erected as
points of view in some fantastic pleasure gardens. It was a part of
Buonaparte's character to seize with ready precision upon general ideas
of improvement. Wherever he came, he formed plans of important public
works, many of which never existed but in the bulletin. Having issued
his general orders, he was apt to hold them as executed. It was
impossible to do all himself, or even to overlook with accuracy those to
whom the details were committed. There were, therefore, many magnificent
schemes commenced, under feelings of the moment, which were left
unfinished for want of funds, or perhaps because they only regarded some
points of local interest, and there were many adopted that were
forgotten amid the hurry of affairs, or postponed till the moment of
peace, which was never to appear during his reign.

But with the same frankness with which history is bound to censure the
immeasurable ambition of this extraordinary man, she is bound also to
record that his views towards the improvement of his empire were broad,
clear-sighted, and public-spirited; and we think it probable, that, had
his passion for war been a less predominant point of his character, his
care, applied to the objects of peace, would have done as much for
France, as Augustus did for Rome. Still it must be added, that, having
bereft his country of her freedom, and proposing to transmit the empire,
like his own patrimony, to his heirs, the evil which he had done to
France was as permanent as his system of government, while the benefits
which he had conferred on her, to whatever extent they might have been
realized, must have been dependent upon his own life, and the character
of his successor.

But as such reflections had not prevented Napoleon from raising the
fabric of supreme power, to the summit of which he had ascended, so they
did not now prevent him from surrounding and strengthening it with such
additional bulwarks as he could find materials for erecting, at the
expense of the foes whom he subdued. Sensible of the difficulty, or
rather the impossibility, of retaining all power in his own hands, he
now bent himself so to modify and organise the governments of the
countries adjacent, that they should always be dependent upon France;
and to ensure this point, he determined to vest immediate relations of
his own with the supreme authority in those states, which, under the
name of allies, were to pay to France the same homage in peace, and
render her the same services in war, which ancient Rome exacted from the
countries which she had subdued. Germany, Holland, and Italy, were each
destined to furnish an appanage to the princes born of the Imperial
blood of Napoleon, or connected with it by matrimonial alliances. In
return for these benefits, Buonaparte was disposed to subject his
brothers to the ordinary monarchical restrictions, which preclude
princes nearly connected with the throne from forming marriages,
according to their own private inclinations, and place them in this
respect entirely at the devotion of the monarch, and destined to form
such political alliances as may best suit his views. They belonged, he
said, in the decree creating them, entirely to the country, and must
therefore lay aside every sentiment of individual feeling, when the
public weal required such a sacrifice.[199]

Two of Napoleon's brothers resisted this species of authority. The
services which Lucien had rendered him upon the 18th Brumaire, although
without his prompt assistance that daring adventure might have
altogether failed, had not saved him from falling under the Imperial
displeasure. It is said that he had disapproved of the destruction of
the Republic, and that, in remonstrating against the murder of the Duke
d'Enghien, he had dared to tell his brother, that such conduct would
cause the people to cast himself and his kindred into the common sewer,
as they had done the corpse of Marat.[200] But Lucien's principal
offence consisted in his refusing to part with his wife, a beautiful and
affectionate woman, for the purpose of forming an alliance more suited
to the views of Napoleon.[201] He remained, therefore, long in a private
situation,[202] notwithstanding the talent and decision which he had
evinced on many occasions during the Revolution, and was only restored
to his brother's favour and countenance, when, after his return from
Elba, his support became again of importance. Jerome, the youngest
brother of the family, incurred also for a time his brother's
displeasure, by having formed a matrimonial connexion with an American
lady of beauty and accomplishments.[203] Complying with the commands of
Napoleon, he was at a later period restored to his favour, but at
present he too was in disgrace. Neither Lucien nor Jerome was therefore
mentioned in the species of entail, which, in default of Napoleon's
naming his successor, destined the French empire to Joseph and Louis in
succession; nor were the former called upon to partake in the splendid
provisions, which, after the campaign of Austerlitz, Napoleon was
enabled to make for the other members of his family.


Of these establishments, the most princely were the provinces of
Holland, which Napoleon now converted into a kingdom, and conferred upon
Louis Buonaparte. This transmutation of a republic, whose independence
was merely nominal, into a kingdom, which was completely and absolutely
subordinate, was effected by little more than an expression of the
French Emperor's will that such an alteration should take place. The
change was accomplished without attracting much attention; for the
Batavian republic was placed so absolutely at Buonaparte's mercy, as to
have no power whatever to dispute his pleasure. They had followed the
French Revolution through all its phases; and under their present
constitution, a Grand Pensionary, who had the sole right of presenting
new laws for adoption, and who was accountable to no one for the acts of
his administration, corresponded to the First Consul of the French
Consular Government. This office-bearer was now to assume the name of
king, as his prototype had done that of emperor; but the king was to be
chosen from the family of Buonaparte.

On the 18th March, 1806, the secretary of the Dutch Legation at Paris
arrived at the Hague bearing a secret commission. The States-General
were convoked--the Grand Pensionary was consulted--and, finally, a
deputation was sent to Paris, requesting that the Prince Louis
Buonaparte should be created hereditary King of Holland. Buonaparte's
assent was graciously given, and the transaction was concluded.

It is indeed probable, that though the change was in every degree
contradictory of their habits and opinions, the Dutch submitted to it as
affording a prospect of a desirable relief from the disputes and
factions which then divided their government. Louis Buonaparte was of a
singularly amiable and gentle disposition. Besides his near relationship
to Napoleon, he was married to Hortensia,[204] the daughter of
Josephine, step-child of course to the Emperor, and who was supposed to
share a great proportion of his favour. The conquered States of
Holland, no longer the High and Mighty, as they had been accustomed to
style themselves, hoped in adopting a monarch so nearly and intimately
connected with Buonaparte, and received from his hand, that they might
be permitted to enjoy the protection of France, and be secured against
the subaltern oppression exercised over their commerce and their
country. The acceptance of Louis as their King, they imagined, must
establish for them a powerful protector in the councils of that
Autocrat, at whose disposal they were necessarily placed. Louis
Buonaparte was therefore received as King of Holland.[205] How far the
prince and his subjects experienced fulfilment of the hopes which both
naturally entertained, belongs to another page of this history.

Germany also was doomed to find more than one appanage for the
Buonaparte family. The effect of the campaign of Ulm and Austerlitz had
been almost entirely destructive of the influence which the House of
Austria had so long possessed in the south-west districts of Germany.
Stripped of her dominions in the Vorarlberg and the Tyrol, as she had
formerly been of the larger portion of the Netherlands, she was flung
far back from that portion of Germany bordering on the right of the
Rhine, where she had formerly exercised so much authority, and often, it
must be confessed, with no gentle hand.

Defeated and humbled, the Emperor of Austria was no longer able to offer
any opposition to the projects of aggrandisement which Napoleon
meditated in those confines of the empire which lay adjacent to the
Rhine and to France, of which that river had been declared the boundary;
nor indeed to his scheme of entirely new-modelling the empire itself.

Prussia, however, remained a party interested, and too formidable, from
her numerous armies and high military reputation, to be despised by
Napoleon. He was indeed greatly dissatisfied with her conduct during the
campaign, and by no means inclined either to forget or to forgive the
menacing attitude which the Court of Berlin had assumed, although
finally determined by the course of events to abstain from actual
hostility. Yet notwithstanding these causes of irritation, Napoleon
still esteemed it more politic to purchase Prussia's acquiescence in his
projects by a large sacrifice to her selfish interests, than to add her
to the number of his avowed enemies. She was therefore to be largely
propitiated at the expense of some other state.

We have already noticed the critical arrival of Haugwitz, the prime
minister of Prussia, at Vienna, and how the declaration of war against
France, with which he was charged, was exchanged for a friendly
congratulation to Napoleon by the event of the battle of Austerlitz.
Napoleon was no dupe to the versatility of the Prussian Cabinet; but the
Archduke Ferdinand had rallied a large army in Bohemia--his brother
Charles was at the head of a yet larger in Hungary--Alexander, though
defeated, refused to enter into any treaty, and retained a menacing
attitude, and, victor as he was, Buonaparte could not wish to see the
great and highly-esteemed military force of Prussia thrown into the
scale against him. He entered, therefore, into a private treaty with
Haugwitz, by which Prussia was to cede to France, or rather to place at
her disposal, the territories of Anspach and Bareuth, and, by way of
indemnification, was to have the countenance of France in occupying
Hanover, from which the French troops had been withdrawn to join the
Grand Army.

The conduct of the Prussian minister--for with him, rather than with his
court, the fault lay--was at once mean-spirited and unprincipled. He
made his country surrender to France that very territory which the
French armies had so recently violated; and he accepted as an
indemnification the provinces belonging to the King of Britain, with
whom Prussia was so far from having any quarrel, that she had been on
the point of making common cause with her against the aggressions of
France; and which provinces had been seized by France in violation of
the rights of neutrality claimed by the Elector of Hanover, as a member
of the Germanic Body. Such gross and complicated violations of national
law and justice, have often carried with them their own punishment, nor
did they fail to do so in the present instance.

[Sidenote: MURAT.]

Those states, Anspach and Bareuth, were united to Bavaria; that kingdom
was also aggrandized by the Tyrol, at the expense of Austria; and it
ceded the Grand Duchy of Berg, which, with other lordships, Napoleon
erected into a Grand Duchy, and conferred as an appanage upon Joachim
Murat. Originally a soldier of fortune,[206] and an undaunted one, Murat
had raised himself to eminence in the Italian campaigns. On the 18th
Brumaire, he commanded the party which drove the Council of Five Hundred
out of their hall. In reward for this service, he obtained the command
of the Consular Guard, and the hand of Marie de l'Annonciade, afterwards
called Caroline, sister of Napoleon.[207] Murat was particularly
distinguished as a cavalry officer; his handsome person, accomplished
horsemanship, and daring bravery at the head of his squadrons, procured
him the title of _Le Beau Sabreur_. Out of the field of battle he was
but a weak man, liable to be duped by his own vanity, and the flattery
of those around him. He affected a theatrical foppery in dress, which
rather evinced a fantastic love of finery than good taste; and hence he
was sometimes called King Franconi, from the celebrated mountebank of
that name.[208] His wife Caroline was an able woman, and well versed in
political intrigue.[209] It will presently be found that they arose to
higher fortunes than the Grand Duchy of Berg. Meantime, Murat was
invested with the hereditary dignity of Grand Admiral of France; for it
was the policy of Buonaparte to maintain the attachment of the new
princes to the Great Nation, were it but by wearing some string or
tassel of his own imperial livery.

The fair territories of Naples and Sicily were conferred upon
Joseph,[210] the former in possession, the latter in prospect. He was a
good man, who often strove to moderate the fits of violence to which his
brother gave way. In society, he was accomplished and amiable, fond of
letters, and, though not possessed of any thing approaching his
brother's high qualifications, had yet good judgment as well as good
inclinations. Had he continued King of Naples, it is probable he might
have been as fortunate as Louis, in conciliating the respect of his
subjects; but his transference to Spain was fatal to his reputation. In
conformity with the policy which we have noticed, the King of Naples was
to continue a high feudatory of the empire, under the title of the
Vice-Grand Elector.

The principality of Lucca had been already conferred on Eliza, the
eldest sister of Buonaparte, and was now augmented by the districts of
Massa-Carara and Garfagnana. She was a woman of a strong and masculine
character, which did not, however, prevent her giving way to the
feminine weakness of encouraging admirers, who, it is said, did not sigh
in vain.[211]

The public opinion was still less favourable to her younger sister
Pauline, who was one of the most beautiful women in France, and perhaps
in Europe. Leclerc, her first husband, died in the fatal expedition to
St. Domingo, and she was afterwards married to the Prince Borghese. Her
encouragement of the fine arts was so little limited by the ordinary
ideas of decorum, that the celebrated Canova was permitted to model from
her person a naked Venus, the most beautiful, it is said, of his
works.[212] Scandal went the horrible length of imputing to Pauline an
intrigue with her own brother; which we willingly reject as a crime too
hideous to be imputed to any one, without the most satisfactory
evidence.[213] The gross and guilty enormities practised by the ancient
Roman emperors, do not belong to the character of Buonaparte, though
such foul aspersions have been cast upon him by those who were willing
to represent him as in all respects the counterpart of Tiberius or
Caligula. Pauline Borghese received the principality of Guastalla, in
the distribution of honours among the family of Napoleon.


At this period, also, Buonaparte began first to display a desire of
engrafting his own family upon the ancient dynasties of Europe, with
whom he had been so long at war, and the ruin of most of whom had
contributed to his elevation. The Elector of Bavaria had to repay the
patronage which raised him to the rank of king, and enlarged his
territories with the fine country of the Tyrol, by forming an alliance
which should mix his ancient blood with that of the family connexions of
the fortunate soldier. Eugene Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy, the son of
Josephine by her first husband, and now the adopted son of Napoleon, was
wedded to the eldest daughter of the King of Bavaria. Eugene was
deservedly favoured by his father-in-law, Napoleon. He was a man of
talents, probity, and honour, and displayed great military skill,
particularly during the Russian Campaign of 1812. Stephanie
Beauharnais,[214] the niece of Josephine, was married about the same
time to the Hereditary Prince of Baden, son to the reigning duke, the
neutrality of whose territories had been violated in the seizure of the
Duke d'Enghien.

These various kingdoms and principalities, erected in favour of his
nearest relations, imposed on the mind a most impressive image of
Buonaparte's unlimited authority, who distributed crowns among his
kinsfolk as ordinary men give vails to their domestics. But the sound
policy of his conduct may be greatly doubted. We have elsewhere stated
the obvious objections to the transference of cities and kingdoms from
hand to hand, with as little ceremony as the circulation of a
commercial bill payable to the holder. Authority is a plant of a slow
growth, and to obtain the full veneration which renders it most
effectual, must have arisen by degrees in the place which it overshadows
and protects. Suddenly transferred to new regions, it is apt to pine and
to perish. The theoretical evils of a long-established government are
generally mitigated by some practical remedy, or those who suffer by
them have grown callous from habit. The reverse is the case with a
newly-established domination, which has no claim to the veneration due
to antiquity, and to which the subjects are not attached by the strong
though invisible chains of long habit.

Fox, in his own nervous language, has left his protest against the
principle adopted at this time in Europe, of transferring the subjects
of one prince to another by way of equivalents, and under the pretext of
general arrangement. "The wildest schemes," he remarked, "that were ever
before broached, would not go so far to shake the foundations of all
established government, as this new practice. There must be in every
nation a certain attachment of the people to its form of government,
without which no government could exist. The system, then, of
transferring the subjects of one prince to another, strikes at the
foundation of every government, and the existence of every nation."[215]

These observations apply generally to violent alterations upon the
European system; but other and more special objections arise to
Buonaparte's system of erecting thrones in Holland, in Naples, and all
through Europe, for the members of his own family. It was particularly
impolitic, as marking too strongly his determination to be satisfied
with nothing less than the dominion of the world; for while he governed
France in his own person, the disposing of other countries to his
brothers and near relations feudatories of France, and his dependents as
well by blood as by allegiance, what else could be expected than that
the independence of such kingdoms must be merely nominal, and their
monarchs bound to act in every respect as the agents of Buonaparte's
pleasure? This, indeed, was their most sacred duty, according to his own
view of the matter, and he dilated upon it to Las Cases while at St.
Helena. The following passage contains an express avowal of the
principles on which he desired and expected his brothers to regulate the
governments intrusted to them:--

"At another time the Emperor recurred to the subject of his relations,
the little aid he had received from them, the embarrassment and mischief
which they had caused him. He dwelt especially on that false idea upon
their part, that when once placed at the head of a state, they ought to
identify themselves with it to such an extent, as to prefer its
interests to those of the common country. He agreed, that the source of
this sentiment might be in some degree honourable, but contended that
they made a false and hurtful application of it, when, in their whims of
absolute independence, they considered themselves as in an isolated
posture, not observing that they made only parts of a great system, the
movements of which it was their business to aid, and not to


This is explaining in few words the principle on which Napoleon
established these subsidiary monarchies, which was not for the benefit
of the people of whom they were respectively composed, but for the
service of France, or more properly of himself, the sole moving
principle by which France was governed. In devolving the crown of
Holland on the son of Louis, after the abdication of Louis, [in July,
1810,] he repeats the same principle as a fundamental condition of its
tenure. "Never forget," he said, "that in the situation to which my
political system, and the interest of my empire have called you, your
_first_ duty is towards ME, your _second_ towards France. All your other
duties, even those towards the people whom I have called you to govern,
rank after these."[217]

When Napoleon censures his delegate princes for preferring the interest
of the kingdoms which he had assigned them, instead of sacrificing it to
him and his government, he degrades them into mere puppets, which might
indeed bear regal titles and regal attendance, but, entirely dependent
on the will of another, had no choice save to second the views of an
ambition, the most insatiable certainly that ever reigned in a human

This secret did not remain concealed from the Dutch, from the
Neapolitans, or other foreigners, subjected to these pageant monarchs;
and as it naturally incensed them against Napoleon's government, so it
prevented the authority which he had delegated from obtaining either
affection or reverence, and disposed the nations who were subjected to
it to take the first opportunity of casting the yoke aside.

The erection of these kindred monarchies was not the only mode by which
Napoleon endeavoured to maintain an ascendency in the countries which he
had conquered, and which he desired to retain in dependence upon France,
though not nominally or directly making parts of the French empire.
Buonaparte had already proposed to his council the question whether the
creation of Grandees of the Empire, a species of nobility whose titles
were to depend, not on their descents, but on their talents and services
to the state, was to be considered as a violation of the laws of liberty
and equality. He was universally answered in the negative; for, having
now acquired an hereditary monarch, it seemed a natural, if not an
indispensable consequence, that France should have peers of the kingdom,
and great officers of the crown. Such an establishment, according to
Buonaparte's view, would at once place his dignity on the same footing
with those of the other courts of Europe, (an assimilation to which he
attached a greater degree of consequence than was consistent with
policy,) and by blending the new nobles of the empire with those of the
ancient kingly government, would tend to reconcile the modern state of
things with such relics of the old court as yet existed.

From respect, perhaps, to the republican opinions which had so long
predominated, the titles and appanages of these grand feudatories were
not chosen within the bounds of France herself, but from provinces which
had experienced the sword of the ruler. Fifteen dukedoms, grand fiefs,
not of France, but of the French empire, which extended far beyond
France itself, were created by the fiat of the Emperor. The income
attached to each amounted to the fifteenth part of the revenue of the
province, which gave title to the dignitary. The Emperor invested with
these endowments those who had best served him in war and in state
affairs. Princedoms also were erected, and while marshals and ministers
were created dukes, the superior rank of prince was bestowed on
Talleyrand, Bernadotte, and Berthier, by the titles of Beneventum,
Ponte-Corvo, and Neufchatel.

The transformation of Republican generals and ancient Jacobins into the
peerage of a monarchical government, gave a species of incongruity to
this splendid masquerade, and more than one of the personages showed not
a little awkwardness in supporting their new titles. It is true, the
high degree of talent annexed to some of the individuals thus promoted,
the dread inspired by others, and the fame in war which many had
acquired, might bear them out against the ridicule which was unsparingly
heaped upon them in the saloons frequented by the ancient noblesse; but,
whatever claims these dignitaries had to the respect of the public, had
been long theirs, and received no accession from their new honours and

In this, and on similar occasions, Napoleon overshot his aim, and
diminished to a certain extent his reputation, by seeming to set a value
upon honours, titles, and ceremonies, which, if matters of importance to
other courts, were certainly not such as _he_ ought to have rested his
dignity upon. Ceremonial is the natural element of a long-established
court, and etiquette and title are the idols which are worshipped there.
But Buonaparte reigned by his talents and his sword. Like Mezentius in
the Æneid, he ought to have acknowledged no other source of his
authority.[218] It was imprudent to appear to attach consequence to
points, which even his otherwise almost boundless power could not
attain, since his nobility and his court-ceremonial must still retain
the rawness of novelty, and could no more possess that value, which,
whether real or imaginary, has been generally attached to ancient
institutions and long descent, than the Emperor could, by a decree of
his complaisant Senate, have given his modern coinage the value which
antiquaries attach to ancient medals. It was imprudent to descend to a
strife in which he must necessarily be overcome; for where power rests
in a great measure on public opinion, it is diminished in proportion to
its failure in objects aimed at, whether of greater or less consequence.
This half-feudal half-oriental establishment of grand feudatories, with
which Buonaparte now began to decorate the structure of his power, may
be compared to the heavy Gothic devices with which modern architects
sometimes overlay the front of their buildings, where they always
encumber what they cannot ornament, and sometimes overload what they are
designed to support.[219]

[Sidenote: NEW NOBILITY.]

The system of the new noblesse was settled by an Imperial edict of
Napoleon himself, which was communicated to the Senate 30th March, 1806,
not for the purpose of deliberation or acceptance, but merely that, like
the old Parliament of Paris, they might enter it upon their register.

The court of Buonaparte now assumed a character of the strictest
etiquette, in which these important trifles, called by a writer on the
subject the "Superstitions of Gentlemen Ushers," were treated as matters
of serious import, and sometimes occupied the thoughts of Napoleon
himself, and supplied the place of meditated conquests, and the future
destruction or erection of kingdoms.

The possessors of ancient titles, tempted by revival of the respect paid
to birth and rank, did not fail to mingle with those whose nobility
rested on the new creation. The Emperor distinguished these ancient
minions of royalty with considerable favour, as half-blushing for their
own apostasy in doing homage to Buonaparte in the palace of the
Bourbons, half-sneering at the maladroit and awkward manners of their
new associates, they mingled among the men of new descent, and paid
homage to the monarch of the day, "because," as one of them expressed
himself to Madame de Staël, "one must serve some one or other."[220]
Buonaparte encouraged these nobles of the ancient antechambers, whose
superior manners seemed to introduce among his courtiers some traits of
the former court, so inimitable for grace and for address, and also
because he liked to rank among his retainers, so far as he could, the
inheritors of those superb names which ornamented the history of France
in former ages. But then he desired to make them exclusively his own;
nothing less than complete and uncompromising conversion to his
government would give satisfaction. A baron of the old noblesse, who had
become a counsellor of state, was in 1810 summoned to attend the Emperor
at Fontainbleau.

"What would you do," said the Emperor, "should you learn that the Comte
de Lille was this instant at Paris?"

"I would inform against him, and have him arrested," said the candidate
for favour; "the law commands it."

"And what would you do if appointed a judge on his trial?" demanded the
Emperor again.

"I would condemn him to death," said the unhesitating noble; "the law
denounces him."

"With such sentiments you deserve a prefecture," said the Emperor; and
the catechumen, whose respect for the law was thus absolute, was made
Prefect of Paris.

Such converts were searched for, and, when found, were honoured, and
rewarded, and trusted. For the power of recompensing his soldiers,
statesmen, and adherents, the conquered countries were again the
Emperor's resource. National domains were reserved to a large amount
throughout those countries, and formed funds, out of which
gratifications and annuities were, at Napoleon's sole pleasure, assigned
to the generals, officers, and soldiers of the French army; who might in
this way be said to have all Europe for their paymaster. Thus, every
conquest increased his means of rewarding his soldiers; and that army,
which was the most formidable instrument of his ambition, was encouraged
and maintained at the expense of those states which had suffered most
from his arms.


We have not yet concluded the important changes introduced into Europe
by the consequences of the fatal campaign of Austerlitz. The
Confederation of the Rhine,[221] which withdrew from the German empire
so large a portion of its princes, and, transferring them from the
influence of Austria, placed them directly and avowedly under the
protection of France, was an event which tended directly to the
dissolution of the Germanic League, which had subsisted since the year
800, when Charlemagne received the Imperial Crown from Pope Leo the

By the new Federation of the Rhine, the courts of Wirtemberg and
Bavaria, of Hesse d'Armstadt, with some petty princes of the right bank
of the Rhine, formed among themselves an alliance offensive and
defensive, and renounced their dependence upon the Germanic Body, of
which they declared they no longer recognised the constitution. The
reasons assigned for this league had considerable weight. It was urged,
that the countries governed by these princes were, in every case of war
betwixt France and Austria, exposed to all the evils of invasion, from
which the Germanic Body had no longer power to defend them. Therefore,
being obliged to seek for more effectual protection from so great an
evil, they placed themselves directly under the guardianship of France.
Napoleon, on his part, did not hesitate to accept the title of Protector
of the Confederation of the Rhine. It is true, that he had engaged to
his subjects that he would not extend the limits of his empire beyond
that river, which he acknowledged as the natural boundary of France; but
this engagement was not held to exclude the sort of seigniorie attached
to the new Protectorate, in virtue of which he plunged the German states
who composed the Confederacy into every war in which France herself
engaged, and at pleasure carried their armies against other German
states, their brethren in language and manners, or transferred them to
more distant climates, to wage wars in which they had no interest, and
to which they had received no provocation. It was also a natural
consequence, that a number of inferior members of the empire, who had
small tenures under the old constitutions, having no means of defence
excepting their ancient rights, were abolished in their capacity of
imperial feudatories, and reduced from petty sovereigns to the condition
of private nobles. This, though certainly unjust in the abstract
principle, was not in practice an inconvenient result of the great
change introduced.

The military contingents, which the Confederation placed, not perhaps in
words, but certainly in fact, at the disposal of their Protector, not
less than sixty thousand men, were of a character and in a state of
military organisation very superior to those which they had formerly
furnished to the Germanic Body. These last, much fewer in number, were
seldom in a complete state of equipment, and were generally very
inferior in discipline. But Napoleon not only exacted, that the
contingents furnished under this new federation should be complete in
numbers, and perfect in discipline and appointments, but, imparting to
them, and to their officers, a spark of his own military ardour, he
inspired them with a spirit of bravery and confidence which they had
been far from exhibiting when in the opposite ranks. No troops in his
army behaved better than those of the Confederacy of the Rhine. But the
strength which the system afforded to Napoleon was only temporary, and
depended on the continuance of the power by which it was cheated. It was
too arbitrary, too artificial, and too much opposed both to the
interests and national prejudices of the Germans, not to bear within it
the seeds of dissolution. When the tide of fortune turned against
Buonaparte after the battle of Leipsic, Bavaria hastened to join the
allies for the purpose of completing his destruction, and the example
was followed by all the other princes of the Rhine. It fared with
Napoleon and the German Confederation, as with a necromancer and the
demon whom for a certain term he has bound to his service, and who obeys
him with fidelity during the currency of the obligation; but when that
is expired, is the first to tear his employer to pieces.

Francis of Austria, seeing the empire, of which his house had been so
long the head, going to pieces like a parting wreck, had no other
resource than to lay aside the Imperial Crown of Germany, and to declare
that league dissolved which he now saw no sufficient means of enforcing.
He declared the ties dissevered which bound the various princes to him
as Emperor, to each other as allies; and although he reserved the
Imperial title, it was only as the Sovereign of Austria, and his other
hereditary states.[222]

France became therefore in a great measure the successor to the
influence and dignity of the Holy Roman Empire, as that of Germany had
been proudly styled for a thousand years; and the Empire of Napoleon
gained a still nearer resemblance to that of Charlemagne. At least
France succeeded to the Imperial influence exercised by Austria and her
empire over all the south-western provinces of that powerful district of
Europe. In the eastern districts, Austria, stunned by her misfortunes
and her defeats, was passive and unresisting. Prussia, in the north of
Germany, was halting between two very opposite set of counsellors; one
of which, with too much confidence in the military resources of the
country, advised war with France, for which the favourable opportunity
had been permitted to escape; while the other recommended that, like the
jackal in the train of the lion, Prussia should continue to avail
herself of the spoils which Napoleon might permit her to seize upon,
without presuming to place herself in opposition to his will. In either
case, the course recommended was sufficiently perilous; but to
vacillate, as the Cabinet of Berlin did, betwixt the one and the other,
inferred almost certain ruin.

While Napoleon thus revelled in augmented strength, and increased
honours, Providence put it once more, and for the last time, in his
power to consolidate his immense empire by a general peace, maritime as
well as upon the continent.


[176] These implements of destruction were afterwards used against the
British cruizers in America, and were judged formidable. But such
desperate courage is necessary to attach the machine to the destined
vessel, and the fate of the engineer, if discovered, is so certainly
fatal, that, like fire-ships, petards, and similar inventions, liable to
the same inconvenience, they do not appear likely to get into general
use.--S. See in the Annual Register, vol. xlvi., p. 553, Lord Keith's
account of the failure of the catamaran expedition against the French
flotilla outside the pier of Boulogne.

[177] See declaration of war made by Spain against England, dated
Madrid, Dec. 12, 1804, and also declaration of war with Spain on the
part of the King of England, Annual Register, vol. xlvi., p. 699, and
vol. xlvii., p. 608.

[178] Las Cases, tom. ii., p. 264; O'Meara, vol. i., p. 351.

[179] Las Cases, tom. iii., p. 248.

[180] See Commodore Dance's account of the defeat of Admiral Linois'
squadron in the Indian seas, Annual Register, vol. xlvi., p. 551.

[181] The late JOHN CLERK of Eldin; a name never to be mentioned by
Britons without respect and veneration, since, until his systematic
Essay upon Naval Tactics appeared, the breaking of the line (whatever
professional jealousy may allege to the contrary) was never practised on
decided and defined principle. His suavity, nay, simplicity of manner,
equalled the originality of his genius. This trifling tribute is due
from one, who, honoured with his regard from boyhood, has stood by his
side, while he was detailing and illustrating the system which taught
British seamen to understand and use their own force, at an age so
early, that he can remember having been guilty of abstracting from the
table some of the little cork models by which Mr. Clerk exemplified his
manœuvres; unchecked but by his good-humoured raillery, when he
missed a supposed line-of-battle ship, and complained that the
demonstration was crippled by its absence.--S

[182] "If it were permitted to a man whose only campaign at sea was that
of Egypt in the vessel of Brueyes, to speak of naval tactics, I could
easily refute all that Sir Walter Scott has here said. I shall limit
myself to the relation of the observations made with General Kleber,
when, from the neighbouring coast, we witnessed the battle of Aboukir.
The greater part of our squadron remained inactive, while the English
turned the left; there was not a single spectator who was not irritated
at seeing the six vessels on the right of the squadron, commanded by
Brueyes, keep their line, when, if they had hoisted sail, and fallen
back on the left, they would have put the English between two fires, and
would certainly have gained the victory."--LOUIS BUONAPARTE, p. 46.

[183] "Had Villeneuve manifested more vigour at Cape Finistère, the
attack on England might have been rendered practicable. I had made
arrangements for his arrival, with considerable art and calculation, and
in defiance of the opinions and the routine of the naval officers by
whom I was surrounded. Every thing happened as I had foreseen; when the
inactivity of Villeneuve ruined all."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. iii.,
p. 247.

[184] "The court are of opinion that such conduct on the part of Admiral
Sir Robert Calder was not the result of cowardice or disaffection, but
of error in judgment, for which he deserves to be severely
reprimanded--and he is hereby severely reprimanded accordingly."--See
Annual Register, vol. xlvii., p. 436. And for the Defence of Sir Robert
Calder, see p. 564 of the same volume.

[185] "In 1805, M. Daru was at Boulogne, intendant general of the army.
One morning, Napoleon sent for him into his cabinet: Daru there found
him transported with rage, striding rapidly up and down the apartment,
and breaking a sullen silence only by abrupt and short
exclamations--'What a navy!--What an admiral!--What sacrifices thrown
away!--My hope is destroyed!--This Villeneuve! instead of being in the
Channel, he is gone into Ferrol! It is all over! he will be blockaded.
Daru, sit down, listen, and write!' Napoleon had received early in the
morning the news of Villeneuve's arrival in a Spanish port; he saw
instantly that the conquest of England was abortive, the immense expense
of the fleet and the flotilla lost for a long time, perhaps for ever. At
that moment, in the transport of rage, which permits not other men to
preserve their judgment, he had taken one of those bold resolutions, and
traced out one of the most admirable plans of a campaign, that any other
conqueror could have conceived at leisure and with coolness, without
hesitation, without stopping: he then dictated the whole plan of the
campaign of Austerlitz, the departure of the several corps of the army,
from Hanover and Holland, even to the confines of the west and south of
France."--DUPIN, _Force Naval_, tom. i., p. 244.

[186] Las Cases, tom. ii., p. 263.

[187] Nelson had not been a month in England when Captain Blackwood, on
his way to the Admiralty with despatches, called on him at Merton, at
five in the morning, and found him already dressed. Upon seeing him, he
exclaimed "I am sure you bring me news of the French and Spanish fleets!
I think I shall have yet to beat them!" It was as he had supposed; they
had liberated the squadron from Ferrol, and being now thirty-four sail
of the line, got safely into Cadiz. "Depend on it, Blackwood," he
repeatedly said, "I shall yet give M. Villeneuve a drubbing!"--SOUTHEY.

[188] "Napoleon had, no doubt, ordered the minister of the marine to
take from Admiral Villeneuve the command of his fleets; for the latter
sent Admiral Rosilly to supersede him. He apprised Villeneuve of this by
a courier: whether he added any reproaches I know not; but something of
the kind must have passed, since Villeneuve quitted Cadiz without
occasion, with the French and Spanish fleet, to attack the English
squadron commanded by Nelson."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 112.

[189] "Villeneuve had called a council of war on hearing that Nelson had
taken the command; and their determination was not to leave Cadiz unless
they had reason to believe themselves one-third stronger than the
British force. Many circumstances tended to deceive them into such an
opinion, and an American contributed unintentionally to mislead them, by
declaring that Nelson could not possibly be with the fleet, for he
himself had seen him only a few days before in London."--SOUTHEY.

[190] See, for these and other particulars of the battle of Trafalgar,
Southey's _Life of Nelson_, a work already repeatedly quoted. It is the
history of a hero, in the narrative of which are evinced at once the
judgment and fidelity of the historian, with the imagination of the
poet. It well deserves to be, what already it is, the text-book of the
British navy.--S.

[191] "The disaster of Trafalgar, by the ruin of our navy, completed the
security of Great Britain. It was a few days after the capitulation of
Ulm, and upon the Vienna road, that Napoleon received the despatch
containing the first intelligence of this misfortune. Berthier has since
related to me, that while seated at the same table with Napoleon, he
read the fatal paper, but not daring to present it to him, he pushed it
gradually with his elbows under his eyes. Scarcely had Napoleon glanced
through its contents, than he started up, full of rage, exclaiming, 'I
cannot be every where!' His agitation was extreme, and Berthier
despaired of tranquillizing him."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 293.

[192] "It used to be remarked in the saloon of the household, that I was
never accessible to any one after I had an audience with the minister of
the marine. The reason was, because he never had any but bad news to
communicate to me. For my part, I gave up every thing after the disaster
of Trafalgar; I could not be every where, and I had enough to occupy my
attention with the armies of the continent."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_,
tom. iii., p. 248.

[193] "At Rennes, 26th April, 1806, on his way from England to
Paris.--Villeneuve, when taken prisoner and conveyed to England, was so
much grieved at his defeat, that he studied anatomy on purpose to
destroy himself. For this purpose he bought some anatomical plates of
the heart, and compared them with his own body, in order to ascertain
the exact situation of that organ. On his arrival in France, I ordered
that he should remain at Rennes, and not proceed to Paris. Villeneuve,
afraid of being tried by a court-martial, determined to destroy himself,
and accordingly took his plates of the heart, and compared them with his
breast. Exactly in the shape of the plate, he made a mark with a large
pin, then fixed the pin as near as he could judge in the same spot in
his own breast, shoved it in to the head, penetrated his heart, and
expired. He need not have done it, as he was a brave man, though
possessed of no talent."--NAPOLEON, _Voice_, &c., vol. i., p. 57.

[194] This admiral commanded at Toulon in 1804, and having stolen out of
harbour with a strong squadron, when the main body of the English fleet
was out of sight, had the satisfaction to see three vessels, under
Rear-admiral Campbell, retreat before his superior force. This unusual
circumstance so elated Monsieur Latouche Tréville, that he converted the
affair into a general pursuit of the whole British fleet, and of Nelson
himself, who, he pretended, fled before him. Nelson was so much nettled
at his effrontery, that he wrote to his brother, "You will have seen
Latouche's letter, how he chased me and how I run. I keep it, and if I
take him, by God, he shall eat it." Latouche escaped this punishment by
dying [19th August, 1804] of the fatigue incurred by walking so often up
to the signal-post at Sepet, to watch for the momentary absence of the
blockading squadron, which he pretended dared not face him. This man
Buonaparte considered as the boast of the French navy.--S.--"Napoleon
said, he much regretted Latouche Tréville, whom he regarded as a man of
real talent. He was of opinion that that admiral would have given a
different impulse to affairs. The attack on India, and the invasion of
England, would by him have been at least attempted."--LAS CASES, tom.
iii., p. 247.

[195] Moniteur, 3d March, 1806.

[196] The Exposé also states--"The calendar of the Revolution has been
abolished, because its object was found to be unattainable, and it was
necessary to sacrifice it to commercial and political convenience, which
requires a common system.--Indeed," it adds, "the people of fair Europe
are already divided by too many varieties; they ought only to form one
great family."

[197] "This embarrassment Napoleon had himself caused by carrying off
from the vaults of the bank above fifty millions. Placed upon the backs
of King Philip's mules, these millions had powerfully contributed to the
prodigious success of this unexpected campaign."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p.

[198] "A ridiculous story," says the Prince de Ligne, who accompanied
the Empress Catherine during her tour through her southern provinces, in
1787, "has been spread, which affirms that villages of pasteboard, and
paintings representing distant fleets and arsenals, and bodies of
cavalry, have been so disposed as to cheat our eyes during our rapid
journey. I believe, however, that some little contrivance is
occasionally employed: that, for instance, the Empress, who cannot rove
about on foot as we do, is persuaded that some towns, for the building
of which she has paid considerable sums, are really finished; whereas
there are, in fact, many towns without streets, streets without houses,
and houses without roofs, doors, or windows."--_Lettres et Pensées._

[199] "How does Sir Walter make these different assertions agree? The
truth is, Napoleon never wished or pretended to give _appanages_, but to
act as he thought right towards France, and this design was as great as
it was noble and generous; exaggeration only deforms it."--LOUIS

[200] "One day, after a warm despute between the two brothers, Lucien,
taking out his watch, and flinging it violently on the floor, addressed
Napoleon in these remarkable words: 'You will one day be smashed to
pieces as I have smashed that watch; and a time will come, when your
family and friends will not have a resting-place for their
heads.'"--_Mémoires de RAPP_, p. 11.

[201] De Bourrienne, tom. vi., p. 80.

[202] In 1805 he settled at Rome, where the Pope, calling to mind the
active part he had taken in the negotiation relative to the Concordat,
treated him with marked attention and kindness.

[203] Towards the close of 1803, Jerome married Miss Paterson, the
daughter of a rich merchant of Baltimore. In the spring of 1805, he
embarked in a neutral vessel, and landed at Lisbon, whence he set off,
by land, for Paris, directing the ship to proceed to Amsterdam; from
which city he intended his wife should follow him, as soon as he had
obtained the requisite permission from his imperial brother. On the
arrival, however, of the vessel in the Texel, Madame Jerome, not being
permitted to go on shore, landed at Dover, took up her residence during
the summer at Camberwell, and in the autumn returned to America.

[204] "The marriage took place on the 4th January, 1802. Louis became a
husband--never was there a more gloomy ceremony--never had husband and
wife a stronger presentiment of all the horrors of a forced and
ill-assorted union! From this he dates the commencement of his
unhappiness. It stamped on his whole existence a profound
melancholy."--LOUIS BUONAPARTE, _Documens Historiques_, tom. i., p. 126.

[205] Louis pleaded the delicacy of his constitution, and the
unfavourableness of the climate. "Better to die a king than to live a
prince," was Napoleon's reply; and in a day or two after Talleyrand
waited on him at St. Leu, and read aloud to him and Hortensia, the
treaty and constitution. This took place on the 3d of June, 1806; on the
5th Louis was proclaimed King of Holland.--DE BOURRIENNE, tom. viii., p.

[206] Murat's father was the keeper of an humble country inn, and,
having once been a steward of the Talleyrands, enjoyed the protection of
that ancient and wealthy family.

[207] They were married in January, 1800, at the Palace of the

[208] Las Cases, tom. iv., p. 357.

[209] M. de Talleyrand said of her, that "she had Cromwell's head on the
shoulders of a pretty woman."

[210] Ferdinand having embarked for Sicily, Joseph Buonaparte, in
February, 1806, made his public entry into Naples, alighting at the
palace which the unfortunate monarch had just quitted. He was proclaimed
King of Naples and the two Sicilies on the 30th of March. The city was
illuminated on the occasion, "amidst every demonstration of joy, even
more on the part of the nobles than of the lower orders."--BOTTA,
_Storia d'Italia_, tom. iv., p. 264.

[211] "She was haughty, nervous, passionate, dissolute, and devoured by
the two passions of love and ambition--influenced, as has been said, by
the poet Fontanes, in whom she was wrapped up."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p.

[212] It is said, that being asked by a lady how she could submit to
such an exposure of her person, she conceived that the question only
related to physical inconvenience, and answered it by assuring her
friend that the apartment was properly aired.--S.

[213] Fouché, tom. ii., p. 33. The most ridiculous reports were also
circulated, respecting an improper intercourse between Napoleon and his
step-daughter Hortensia:--"Such a connexion," said he, "would have been
wholly repugnant to my ideas; and those who knew any thing of the
morality of the Tuileries, must be aware that I need not have been
reduced to so unnatural and revolting a choice."--LAS CASES, tom. iii.,
p. 307.

[214] "Stephanie Beauharnais lost her mother in childhood. She was left
in the care of an English lady, who confided her _protegée_ to some old
nuns in the south of France. During the consulship, I had her placed in
the establishment of Madame Campan, at St. Germain; all sorts of masters
were appointed to superintend her education, and on her introduction
into the world, her beauty, wit, accomplishments, and virtues, rendered
her an object of universal admiration. I adopted her as my daughter, and
gave her in marriage to the hereditary Prince of Baden. This union was,
for several years, far from being happy. In course of time, however,
they became attached to each other, and from that moment they had only
to regret the happiness of which they had deprived themselves during the
early years of their marriage."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. iii., p.

[215] Speech on the King's Message, relating to Prussia, April 23, 1806;
Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, vol. vi., p. 891.

[216] Las Cases, tom. vii., p. 77.

[217] On the abdication of Louis, Napoleon sent an aide-de-camp for the
minor, to whom he assigned a dwelling in a pavilion in the park of St.
Cloud with his brother, and a few days after made him the above speech,
which he caused to be inserted in the _Moniteur_. "This," says Madame de
Staël, "is no libel, it is not the opinion of a faction: it is the man
himself, it is Buonaparte in person, who brings against himself a
severer accusation than posterity would ever have dared to do. Louis
XIV. was accused of having said in private, '_I am the State;_' and
enlightened historians have with justice grounded themselves upon this
language in condemning his character. But if, when that monarch placed
his grandson on the throne of Spain, he had publicly taught him the same
doctrine that Buonaparte taught his nephew, perhaps even Bossuet would
not have dared to prefer the interests of kings to those of nations."
_Consid. sur la Rév. Franç._, tom. ii., p. 379.


    Dextra mihi Deus, et telum, quod missile libro,
    Nunc adsint---- _Æneidos, Lib. X._--S.

    "Now! now! my spear, and conquering hand, he cry'd,
    (Mezentius owns no deity beside!)
    Assist my vows."--PITT.

[219] "I had three objects in view in establishing an hereditary
national nobility: 1st, to reconcile France to the rest of Europe; 2dly,
to reconcile ancient with modern France; 3dly, to banish the remains of
the feudal system from Europe, by attaching the idea of nobility to
services rendered to the state, and detaching it from every feudal
association. The old French nobles, on recovering their country and part
of their wealth, had resumed their titles, not legally, but actually;
they more than ever regarded themselves as a privileged race; all
blending and amalgamation with the leaders of the Revolution was
difficult; the creation of new titles wholly annihilated these
difficulties; there was not an ancient family that did not readily form
alliances with the new dukes. It was not without design that I bestowed
the first title I gave on Marshal Lefebvre, who had been a private
soldier, and whom every body at Paris remembered a sergeant in the
French guards."--NAPOLEON, _Montholon_, tom. ii., p. 239.

[220] Considerations sur la Rév. Franç., tom. ii., p. 331.

[221] For the "Act of Confederation of the Rhenish League, done at
Paris, July 12, 1806," see Annual Register, vol. xlviii., p. 818.

[222] See the "Act of Resignation of the Office of Emperor of Germany,
by Francis, Emperor of Austria, August 6, 1806," Annual Register, vol.
xlviii., p. 824.


    _Death of Pitt--He is succeeded by Fox as Prime
    Minister--Negotiation with France--The Earl of Lauderdale sent to
    Paris as the British Negotiator--Negotiation broken off, in
    consequence of the refusal of England to cede Sicily to
    France--Temporizing Policy of Prussia--An attempt made by her to
    form a Confederacy in opposition to that of the Rhine, defeated by
    Napoleon--General Disposition of the Prussians to War--Legal Murder
    of Palm, a bookseller--The Emperor Alexander again visits
    Berlin--Prussia begins to arm in August 1806, and, after some
    Negotiation, takes the field in October, under the Duke of
    Brunswick--Impolicy of the Plans of the Campaign--Details--Action at
    Saalfeld--Battle of Auerstadt, or Jena, on 14th October--Duke of
    Brunswick mortally wounded--Consequences of this total
    Defeat--Buonaparte takes possession of Berlin on the
    25th--Situations of Austria and Prussia, after their several
    Defeats--Reflections on the fall of Prussia._

[Sidenote: DEATH OF PITT.]

The death of William Pitt [23d Jan.] was accelerated by the campaign of
Ulm and Austerlitz, as his health had been previously injured by the
defeat of Marengo. Great as he was as a statesman, ardent in patriotism,
and comprehensive in his political views, it had been too much the habit
of that great minister, to trust, for some re-establishment of the
balance of power on the continent, to the exertions of the ancient
European governments, whose efforts had gradually become fainter and
fainter, and their spirits more and more depressed, when opposed to the
power of Buonaparte, whose blows, like the thunderbolt, seemed to
inflict inevitable ruin wherever they burst. But, while resting too much
hope on coalitions, placing too much confidence in foreign armies, and
too little considering, perhaps, what might have been achieved by our
own, had sufficient numbers been employed on adequate objects, Pitt
maintained with unabated zeal the great principle of resistance to
France, unless France should be disposed to show, that, satisfied with
the immense power which she possessed, her Emperor was willing to leave
to the rest of Europe such precarious independence as his victorious
arms had not yet bereft them of.

The British prime minister was succeeded, upon his death, by the
statesman to whom, in life, he had waged the most uniform opposition.
Charles Fox, now at the head of the British Government, had uniformly
professed to believe it possible to effect a solid and lasting peace
with France, and, in the ardour of debate, had repeatedly thrown on his
great adversary the blame that such had not been accomplished. When he
himself became possessed of the supreme power of administration, he was
naturally disposed to realize his predictions, if Napoleon should be
found disposed to admit a treaty upon any thing like equal terms. In a
visit to Paris during the peace of Amiens, Mr. Fox had been received
with great distinction by Napoleon. The private relations betwixt them
were, therefore, of an amicable nature, and gave an opening for friendly

The time, too, appeared favourable for negotiation; for whatever
advantages had been derived by France from her late triumphant campaign
on the continent, were, so far as Britain was concerned, neutralized and
outbalanced by the destruction of the combined fleets. All possibility
of invasion--which appears before this event to have warmly engrossed
the imagination of Napoleon--seemed at an end and for ever. The delusion
which represented a united navy of fifty sail of the line triumphantly
occupying the British Channel, and escorting an overpowering force to
the shores of England, was dispelled by the cannon of 21st October. The
gay dreams, which painted a victorious army marching to London,
reforming the state of England by the destruction of her aristocracy,
and reducing her to her natural condition, as Napoleon termed it, of
such a dependency on France as the island of Oleron or of Corsica, were
gone. After the battle of Trafalgar, all hopes were extinguished, that
the fair provinces of England could, in any possible event, have been
cut up into new fiefs of the French empire. It was no longer to be
dreamed, that _Dotations_, as they were termed, might be formed upon the
Royal Exchange for the payment of annuities by hundreds of thousands,
and by millions, for rewarding the soldiers of the Great Nation. To work
purses for the French officers, that they might be filled with British
gold, had of late been a favourite amusement among the fair ladies of
France; but it was now evident that they had laboured in vain. All these
hopes and projects were swallowed up in the billows which entombed the
wrecks of Trafalgar.

In a word, if Austria had fallen in the contest of 1805, Britain stood
more pre-eminent than ever; and it might have been rationally expected,
that the desire of war, on the part of Napoleon, should have ended, when
every prospect of bringing that war to the conclusive and triumphant
termination which he meditated, had totally disappeared. The views of
the British Cabinet, also, we have said, were now amicable, and an
incident occurred for opening a negotiation, under circumstances which
seemed to warrant the good faith of the English ministers.


A person pretending to be an adherent of the Bourbons, but afterwards
pretty well understood to be an agent of the French Government, acting
upon the paltry system of espionage which had infected both their
internal and exterior relations, obtained an audience of Mr. Fox, for
the purpose, as he pretended, of communicating to the British minister a
proposal for the assassination of Buonaparte. It had happened, that Mr.
Fox, in conversation with Napoleon, while at Paris, had indignantly
repelled a charge of this kind, which the latter brought against some of
the English Ministry. "Clear your head of that nonsense," was said to be
his answer, with more of English bluntness than of French politeness.
Perhaps Buonaparte was desirous of knowing whether his practice would
keep pace with his principles, and on this principle had encouraged the
spy. Fox, as was to be expected, not only repelled with abhorrence the
idea suggested by this French agent, but caused it to be communicated to
the French Emperor;[223] and this gave rise to some friendly
communication, and finally to a negotiation for peace. Lord Yarmouth,
and afterwards Lord Lauderdale, acted for the British Government;
Champagny and General Clarke for the Emperor of France. Napoleon, who,
like most foreigners, had but an inaccurate idea of the internal
structure of the British constitution, had expected to find a French
party in the bosom of England, and was surprised to find that a few
miscreants of the lowest rank, whom he had been able to bribe, were the
only English who were accessible to foreign influence; and that the
party which had opposed the war with France in all its stages, were
nevertheless incapable of desiring to see it cease on such terms as were
dishonourable to the country.

The French commissioners made several concessions, and even intimated,
in verbal conference with Lord Yarmouth, that they would be content to
treat upon the principle of _uti possidetis_; that is, of allowing each
party to retain such advantages as she had been able to gain by her arms
during the war. But when the treaty was farther advanced, the French
negotiators resisted this rule, and showed themselves disposed to deny
that they had ever assented to it.

They were, indeed, willing to resign a long contested point, and
consented that the island of Malta, with the Cape of Good Hope, and
other possessions in the East and West Indies, should remain under the
dominion of Great Britain. But then they exacted the surrender of Sicily
and Naples, proposing that Frederick IV. should be indemnified at the
expense of Spain by the cession of the Balearic isles. Britain could not
implicitly consent to this last proposition, either in policy, or in
justice to her unfortunate ally. Naples was indeed occupied by the
French, and had received Joseph Buonaparte as her King; but the insular
situation of Sicily rendered it easy for Britain to protect that rich
island, which was still in the possession of its legitimate monarch. The
principle of _uti possidetis_ was, therefore, in favour of the English,
so far as Sicily was concerned, as it was in that of the French in the
case of Naples. The English envoy, for this reason, refused an
ultimatum, in which the cession of Sicily was made an indispensable
article. Lord Lauderdale, at the same time, demanded his passports,
which, however, he did not receive for several days, as if there had
been some hopes of renewing the treaty.[224]

Buonaparte was put to considerable inconvenience by the shrewdness and
tenacity of the noble negotiator, and had not forgotten them when, in
1815, he found himself on board the Bellerophon, commanded by a relation
of the noble earl.[225] It is indeed probable, that, had Mr. Fox lived,
the negotiation might have been renewed. That eminent statesman, then in
his last illness, was desirous to accomplish two great objects--peace
with France, and the abolition of the slave trade. But although
Buonaparte's deference for Fox might have induced him to concede some of
the points in dispute, and although the British statesman's desire of
peace might have made him relinquish others on the part of England,
still, while the two nations retained their relative power and
positions, the deep jealousy and mutual animosity which subsisted
between them would probably have rendered any peace which could have
been made a mere suspension of arms--a hollow and insincere truce, which
was almost certain to give way on the slightest occasion. Britain could
never have seen with indifference Buonaparte making one stride after
another towards universal dominion; and Buonaparte could not long have
borne with patience the neighbourhood of our free institutions and our
free press; the former of which must have perpetually reminded the
French of the liberty they had lost, while the latter was sure to make
the Emperor, his government, and his policy, the daily subject of the
most severe and unsparing criticism. Even the war with Prussia and
Russia, in which Napoleon was soon afterwards engaged, would, in all
probability, have renewed the hostilities between France and England,
supposing them to have been terminated for a season by a temporary
peace. Yet Napoleon always spoke of the death of Fox as one of the
fatalities on which his great designs were shipwrecked;[226] which makes
it the more surprising that he did not resume intercourse with the
administration formed under his auspices, and who might have been
supposed to be animated by his principles even after his decease. That
he did not do so may be fairly received in evidence to show, that peace,
unless on terms which he could dictate, was not desired by him.

[Sidenote: PRUSSIA.]

As the conduct of Prussia had been fickle and versatile during the
campaign of Austerlitz, the displeasure of Napoleon was excited in
proportion against her. She had, it is true, wrenched from him an
unwilling acquiescence in her views upon Hanover. By the treaty which
Haugwitz had signed at Vienna, after the battle of Austerlitz, it was
agreed that Prussia should receive the electoral dominions of the King
of England, his ally, instead of Anspach, Bareuth, and Neufchatel, which
she was to cede to France. The far superior value of Hanover was to be
considered as a boon to Prussia, in guerdon of her neutrality. But
Napoleon did not forgive the hostile disposition which Prussia had
manifested, and it is probable he waited with anxiety for the
opportunity of inflicting upon her condign chastisement. He continued to
maintain a large army in Swabia and Franconia, and, by introducing
troops into Westphalia, intimated, not obscurely, an approaching rupture
with his ally. Meantime, under the influence of conflicting councils,
Prussia proceeded in a course of politics which rendered her odious for
her rapacity, and contemptible for the shortsighted views under which
she indulged it.

It was no matter of difficulty for the Prussian forces to take
possession of Hanover, which, when evacuated by Bernadotte and his army,
lay a prey to the first invader, with the exception of the fortress of
Hamelen, still occupied by a French garrison. The electorate, the
hereditary dominions of the King of Great Britain, with whom Prussia was
at profound peace, was accordingly seized upon, and her Cabinet
pretended to justify that usurpation by alleging, that Hanover, having
been transferred to France by the rights of war, had been ceded to the
Prussian Government in exchange for other districts. At the same time,
an order of the Prussian monarch shut his ports in the Baltic against
the admission of British vessels. These measures, taken together, were
looked upon by England as intimating determined and avowed hostility;
and Fox described, in the House of Commons, the conduct of Prussia, as a
compound of the most hateful rapacity with the most contemptible
servility.[227] War was accordingly declared against her by Great
Britain; and her flag being banished from the ocean by the English
cruizers, the mouth of the Elbe and the Prussian seaports were declared
in a state of blockade, and her trade was subjected to a corresponding
degree of distress.

Meantime, it was the fate of Prussia to find, that she held by a very
insecure tenure that very electorate, the price of her neutrality at
Austerlitz, and which was farther purchased at the expense of war with
England. Her ministers, while pressing France to confirm the cession of
Hanover, had the mortification to discover that Napoleon, far from
regarding the Prussian right in it as indefeasible, was in fact
negotiating for a general peace upon the condition, amongst others, that
the electorate should be restored to the King of England, its
hereditary sovereign. While the disclosure of this double game showed
Frederick William upon what insecure footing he held the premium
assigned to Prussia by the treaty of Vienna, farther discovery of the
projects of France seemed to impel him to change the pacific line of his

Hitherto the victories of Napoleon had had for their chief consequences
the depression of Austria, and the diminution of that power which was
the natural and ancient rival of the House of Brandenburg. But now, when
Austria was thrust back to the eastward, and deprived of her influence
in the south-west of Germany, Prussia saw with just alarm that France
was assuming that influence herself, and that, unless opposed, she was
likely to become as powerful in the north of Germany, as she had
rendered herself in the south-western circles. Above all, Prussia was
alarmed at the Confederacy of the Rhine, an association which placed
under the direct influence of France, so large a proportion of what had
been lately component parts of the Germanic empire. The dissolution of
the Germanic empire itself was an event no less surprising and
embarrassing; for, besides all the other important points, in which the
position of Prussia was altered by the annihilation of that ancient
confederacy, she lost thereby the prospect of her own monarch being,
upon the decline of Austria, chosen to wear the imperial crown, as the
most powerful member of the federation.

One way remained, to balance the new species of power which France had
acquired by these innovations on the state of Europe. It was possible,
by forming the northern princes of the German empire into a league of
the same character with the Confederacy of the Rhine, having Prussia
instead of France for its protector, to create such an equilibrium as
might render it difficult or dangerous for Buonaparte to use his means,
however greatly enlarged, to disturb the peace of the north of Europe.
It was, therefore, determined in the Prussian Cabinet to form a league
on this principle.

This proposed Northern Confederacy, however, could not well be
established without communication with France; and Buonaparte, though
offering no direct opposition to the formation of a league, sanctioned
by the example of that of the Rhine, started such obstacles to the
project in detail, as were likely to render its establishment on an
effectual footing impossible. It was said by his ministers, that
Napoleon was to take the Hanseatic towns under his own immediate
protection; that the wise prince who governed Saxony showed no desire to
become a member of the proposed Confederacy; and that France would
permit no power to be forced into such a measure. Finally, the Landgrave
of Hesse Cassel, who was naturally reckoned upon as an important member
of the proposed Northern League, was tampered with to prevail upon him
to join the Confederacy of the Rhine, instead of that which was
proposed to be formed under the protectorate of Prussia. This prince,
afraid to decide which of these powerful nations he should adhere to,
remained in a state of neutrality, notwithstanding the offers of France;
and, by doing so, incurred the displeasure of Napoleon, from which in
the sequel he suffered severely.

By this partial interruption and opposition, Napoleon rendered it
impossible for Prussia to make any effectual efforts for combining
together those remaining fragments of the German empire, over which her
military power and geographical position gave her natural influence.
This disappointment, with the sense of having been outwitted by the
French Government, excited feelings of chagrin and resentment in the
Prussian Cabinet, which corresponded with the sentiments expressed by
the nation at large. In the former, the predominant feeling was, despite
for disappointed hopes, and a desire of revenge on the sovereign and
state by whom they had been over-reached; in the latter, there prevailed
a keen and honourable sense that Prussia had lost her character through
the truckling policy of her Administration.

Whatever reluctance the Cabinet of Berlin had shown to enter into
hostilities with France, the court and country never appear to have
shared that sensation. The former was under the influence of the young,
beautiful, and high-spirited Queen, and of Louis of Prussia, a prince
who felt with impatience the decaying importance of that kingdom, which
the victories of the Great Frederick had raised to such a pitch of
glory. These were surrounded by a numerous band of noble youths,
impatient for war, as the means of emulating the fame of their fathers;
but ignorant how little likely were even the powerful and
well-disciplined forces of Frederick, unless directed by his genius, to
succeed in opposition to troops not inferior to themselves, and
conducted by a leader who had long appeared to chain victory to his
chariot wheels. The sentiments of the young Prussian noblesse were
sufficiently indicated, by their going to sharpen their sabres on the
threshold of La Foret, the ambassador of Napoleon, and the wilder frolic
of breaking the windows of the ministers supposed to be in the French
interest. The Queen appeared frequently in the uniform of the regiment
which bore her name, and sometimes rode at their head, to give
enthusiasm to the soldiery. This was soon excited to the highest pitch;
and had the military talents of the Prussian generals borne any
correspondence to the gallantry of the officers and soldiers, an issue
to the campaign might have been expected far different from that which
took place. The manner in which the characters of the Queen, the King,
and Prince Louis, were treated in the _Moniteur_, tended still more to
exasperate the quarrel; for Napoleon's studious and cautious exclusion
from the government paper of such political articles as had not his own
previous approbation, rendered him in reason accountable for all which
appeared there.

The people of Prussia at large were clamorous for war. They, too, were
sensible that the late versatile conduct of their Cabinet had exposed
them to the censure, and even the scorn of Europe; and that Buonaparte,
seeing the crisis ended in which the firmness of Prussia might have
preserved the balance of Europe, retained no longer any respect for
those whom he had made his dupes, but treated with total disregard the
remonstrances, which, before the advantages obtained at Ulm and
Austerlitz, he must have listened to with respect and deference.

Another circumstance of a very exasperating character took place at this
time. One Palm, a bookseller at Nuremberg, had exposed to sale a
pamphlet,[228] containing remarks on the conduct of Napoleon, in which
the Emperor and his policy were treated with considerable severity. The
bookseller was seized upon for this offence by the French gendarmes, and
transferred to Braunau, where he was brought before a military
commission, tried for a libel on the Emperor of France, found guilty,
and shot to death [Aug. 26] in terms of his sentence. The murder of this
poor man, for such it literally was, whether immediately flowing from
Buonaparte's mandate,[229] or the effects of the furious zeal of some of
his officers, excited deep and general indignation.[230]

The constitution of many of the states in Germany is despotic; but,
nevertheless, the number of independent principalities, and the
privileges of the free towns, have always ensured to the nation at large
the blessings of a free press, which, much addicted as they are to
literature, the Germans value as it deserves. The cruel effort now made
to fetter this unshackled expression of opinion, was, of course, most
unfavourable to his authority by whom it had been commanded. The
thousand presses of Germany continued on every possible opportunity to
dwell on the fate of Palm; and, at the distance of six or seven years
from his death, it might be reckoned among the leading causes which
ultimately determined the popular opinion against Napoleon. It had not
less effect at the time when the crime was committed; and the eyes of
all Germany were turned upon Prussia, as the only member of the late
Holy Roman League, by whom the progress of the public enemy of the
liberties of Europe could be arrested in its course.

Amidst the general ferment of the public mind, Alexander once more
appeared in person at the court of Berlin, and, more successful than on
the former occasion, prevailed on the King of Prussia at length to
unsheath the sword. The support of the powerful hosts of Russia was
promised; and, defeated on the fatal field of Austerlitz in his attempt
to preserve the south-east of Germany from French influence, Alexander
now stood forth to assist Prussia as the Champion of the North. An
attempt had indeed been made through means of D'Oubril, a Russian envoy
at Paris, to obtain a general peace for Europe, in concurrence with that
which Lord Lauderdale was endeavouring to negotiate on the part of
Britain; but the treaty entirely miscarried.

While Prussia thus declared herself the enemy of France, it seemed to
follow, as a matter of course, that she should become once more the
friend of Britain; and, indeed, that power lost no time in manifesting
an amicable disposition on her part, by recalling the order which
blockaded the Prussian ports, and annihilated her commerce. But the
Cabinet of Berlin evinced, in the moment when about to commence
hostilities, the same selfish insincerity which had dictated all their
previous conduct. While sufficiently desirous of obtaining British money
to maintain the approaching war, they showed great reluctance to part
with Hanover, an acquisition made in a manner so unworthy; and the
Prussian minister, Lucchesini, did not hesitate to tell the British
ambassador, Lord Morpeth, that the fate of the electorate would depend
upon the event of arms.

Little good could be augured from the interposition of a power, who,
pretending to arm in behalf of the rights of nations, refused to part
with an acquisition which she herself had made, contrary to all the
rules of justice and good faith. Still less was a favourable event to be
hoped for, when the management of the war was intrusted to the same
incapable or faithless ministers, who had allowed every opportunity to
escape of asserting the rights of Prussia, when, perhaps, her assuming a
firm attitude might have prevented the necessity of war altogether. But
the resolution which had been delayed, when so many favourable occasions
were suffered to escape unemployed, was at length adopted with an
imprudent precipitation, which left Prussia neither time to adopt the
wisest warlike measures, nor to look out for those statesmen and
generals by whom such measures could have been most effectually


About the middle of August, Prussia began to arm. Perhaps there are few
examples of a war declared with the almost unanimous consent of a great
and warlike people, which was brought to an earlier and more unhappy
termination. On the 1st of October, Knobelsdorff, the Prussian envoy,
was called upon by Talleyrand to explain the cause of the martial
attitude assumed by his state. In reply, a paper was delivered,
containing three propositions, or rather demands. First, That the French
troops which had entered the German territory, should instantly recross
the Rhine. Secondly, That France should desist from presenting obstacles
to the formation of a league in the northern part of Germany, to
comprehend all the states, without exception, which had not been
included in the Confederation of the Rhine. Thirdly, That negotiations
should be immediately commenced, for the purpose of detaching the
fortress of Wesel from the French empire, and for the restitution of
three abbeys,[231] which Murat had chosen to seize upon as a part of his
Duchy of Berg. With this manifesto[232] was delivered a long explanatory
letter, containing severe remarks on the system of encroachment which
France had acted upon. Such a text and commentary, considering their
peremptory tone, and the pride and power of him to whom they were
addressed in such unqualified terms, must have been understood to amount
to a declaration of war. And yet, although Prussia, in common with all
Europe, had just reason to complain of the encroachments of France, and
her rapid strides to universal empire, it would appear that the two
first articles in the King's declaration, were subjects rather of
negotiation than grounds of an absolute declaration of war; and that the
fortress of Wesel, and the three abbeys, were scarce of importance
enough to plunge the whole empire into blood for the sake of them.

Prussia, indeed, was less actually aggrieved than she was mortified and
offended. She saw she had been outwitted by Buonaparte in the
negotiation of Vienna; that he was juggling with her in the matter of
Hanover; that she was in danger of beholding Saxony and Hesse withdrawn
from her protection, to be placed under that of France; and under a
general sense of these injuries, though rather apprehended than really
sustained, she hurried to the field. If negotiations could have been
protracted till the advance of the Russian armies, it might have given a
different face to the war; but in the warlike ardour which possessed the
Prussians, they were desirous to secure the advantages which, in
military affairs, belong to the assailants, without weighing the
circumstances which, in their situation, rendered such precipitation

Besides, such advantages were not easily to be obtained over Buonaparte,
who was not a man to be amused by words when the moment of action
arrived. Four days before the delivery of the Prussian note to his
minister, Buonaparte had left Paris, and was personally in the field
collecting his own immense forces, and urging the contribution of those
contingents which the Confederate Princes of the Rhine were bound to
supply. His answer to the hostile note of the King of Prussia was
addressed, not to that monarch, but to his own soldiers. "They have
dared to demand," he said, "that we should retreat at the first sight of
their army. Fools! could they not reflect how impossible they found it
to destroy Paris, a task incomparably more easy than to tarnish the
honour of the Great Nation! Let the Prussian army expect the same fate
which they encountered fourteen years ago, since experience has not
taught them, that while it is easy to acquire additional dominions and
increase of power, by the friendship of France, her enmity, on the
contrary, which will only be provoked by those who are totally destitute
of sense and reason, is more terrible than the tempests of the ocean."

The King of Prussia had again placed at the head of his armies the Duke
of Brunswick. In his youth, this general had gained renown under his
uncle Prince Ferdinand. But it had been lost in the retreat from
Champagne in 1792, where he had suffered himself to be out-manœuvred
by Dumouriez and his army of conscripts. He was seventy-two years old,
and is said to have added the obstinacy of age to others of the
infirmities which naturally attend it. He was not communicative, nor
accessible to any of the other generals, excepting Mollendorf; and this
generated a disunion of councils in the Prussian camp, and the personal
dislike of the army to him by whom it was commanded.


The plan of the campaign, formed by this ill-fated prince, seems to have
been singularly injudicious, and the more so, as it is censurable on
exactly the same grounds as that of Austria in the late war. Prussia
could not expect to have the advantage of numbers in the contest. It
was, therefore, her obvious policy to procrastinate and lengthen out
negotiation, until she could have the advantage of the Russian forces.
Instead of this, it was determined to rush forward towards Franconia,
and oppose the Prussian army alone to the whole force of France,
commanded by their renowned Emperor.

The motive, too, was similar to that which had determined Austria to
advance as far as the banks of the Iller. Saxony was in the present
campaign, as Bavaria in the former, desirous of remaining neuter; and
the hasty advance of the Prussian armies was designed to compel the
Elector Augustus to embrace their cause. It succeeded accordingly; and
the sovereign of Saxony united his forces, though reluctantly, with the
left wing of the Prussians, under Prince Hohenloe. The conduct of the
Prussians towards the Saxons bore the same ominous resemblance to that
of the Austrians to the Bavarians. Their troops behaved in the country
of Saxony more as if they were in the land of a tributary than an ally,
and while the assistance of the good and peaceable prince was sternly
exacted, no efforts were made to conciliate his good-will, or soothe the
pride of his subjects. In their behaviour to the Saxons in general, the
Prussians showed too much of the haughty spirit that goes before a fall.

The united force of the Prussian army, with its auxiliaries, amounted to
one hundred and fifty thousand men,[233] confident in their own
courage, in the rigid discipline which continued to distinguish their
service, and in the animating recollections of the victorious career of
the Great Frederick. There were many generals and soldiers in their
ranks who had served under him; but, amongst that troop of veterans,
Blucher alone was destined to do distinguished honour to the school.

Notwithstanding these practical errors, the address of the Prussian King
to his army was in better taste than the vaunting proclamation of
Buonaparte, and concluded with a passage, which, though its
accomplishment was long delayed, nevertheless proved at last
prophetic:--"We go," said Frederick William, "to encounter an enemy, who
has vanquished numerous armies, humiliated monarchs, destroyed
constitutions, and deprived more than one state of its independence, and
even of its very name. He has threatened a similar fate to Prussia, and
proposes to reduce us to the dominion of a strange people, who would
suppress the very name of Germans. The fate of armies, and of nations,
is in the hands of the Almighty; but constant victory, and durable
prosperity, are never granted, save to the cause of justice."

While Buonaparte assembled in Franconia an army considerably superior in
number to that of the Prussians, the latter occupied the country in the
vicinity of the river Saale, and seemed, in doing so, to renounce all
the advantage of making the attack on the enemy ere he had collected his
forces. Yet, to make such an attack was, and must have been, the
principal motive of their hasty and precipitate advance; especially
after they had secured its primary object, the accession of Saxony to
the campaign. The position which the Duke of Brunswick occupied was
indeed very strong as a defensive one, but the means of supporting so
large an army were not easily to be obtained in such a barren country as
that about Weimar; and their magazines and depôts of provisions were
injudiciously placed, not close in the rear of the army, but at
Naumburg, and other places, upon their extreme left, and where they were
exposed to the risk of being separated from them. It might be partly
owing to the difficulty of obtaining forage and subsistence, that the
Prussian army was extended upon a line by far too much prolonged to
admit of mutual support. Indeed, they may be considered rather as
disposed in cantonments than as occupying a military position; and as
they remained strictly on the defensive, an opportunity was gratuitously
afforded to Buonaparte to attack their divisions in detail, of which he
did not fail to avail himself with his usual talent. The headquarters of
the Prussians, where were the King and Duke of Brunswick, were at
Weimar; their left, under Prince Hohenloe, were at Schleitz; and their
right extended as far as Muhlhausen, leaving thus a space of ninety
miles betwixt the extreme flanks of their line.

Buonaparte, in the meantime, commenced the campaign, according to his
custom, by a series of partial actions fought on different points, in
which his usual combinations obtained his usual success; the whole
tending to straiten the Prussians in their position, to interrupt their
communications, separate them from their supplies, and compel them to
fight a decisive battle from necessity, not choice, in which dispirited
troops, under baffled and outwitted generals, were to encounter with
soldiers who had already obtained a foretaste of victory, and who fought
under the most renowned commanders, the combined efforts of the whole
being directed by the master spirit of the age.

Upon the 8th October, Buonaparte gave vent to his resentment in a
bulletin, in which he complained of having received a letter of twenty
pages, signed by the King of Prussia, being, as he alleged, a sort of
wretched pamphlet, such as England engaged hireling authors to compose
at the rate of five hundred pounds sterling a-year. "I am sorry," he
said, "for my brother, who does not understand the French language, and
has certainly never read that rhapsody." The same publication contained
much in ridicule of the Queen and Prince Louis.[234] It bears evident
marks of Napoleon's own composition, which was as singular, though not
so felicitous, as his mode of fighting; but it was of little use to
censure either the style or the reasoning of the lord of so many
legions. His arms soon made the impression which he desired upon the
position of the enemy.

The French advanced, in three divisions, upon the dislocated and
extended disposition of the large but ill-arranged Prussian army. It was
a primary and irretrievable fault of the Duke of Brunswick, that his
magazines, and reserves of artillery and ammunition were placed at
Naumburg, instead of being close in the rear of his army, and under the
protection of his main body. This ill-timed separation rendered it easy
for the French to interpose betwixt the Prussians and their supplies,
providing they were able to clear the course of the Saale.


With this view the French right wing, commanded by Soult and Ney,
marched upon Hof. The centre was under Bernadotte and Davoust, with the
guard commanded by Murat. They moved on Saalburg and Schleitz. The left
wing was led by Augereau against Coburg and Saalfield. It was the object
of this grand combined movement to overwhelm the Prussian right wing,
which was extended farther than prudence permitted; and, having beaten
this part of the army, to turn their whole position, and possess
themselves of their magazines. After some previous skirmishes, a serious
action took place at Saalfield, where Prince Louis of Prussia commanded
the advanced guard of the Prussian left wing.

In the ardour and inexperience of youth, the brave prince, instead of
being contented with defending the bridge on the Saale, quitted that
advantageous position, to advance with unequal forces against Lannes,
who was marching upon him from Graffenthal. If bravery could have atoned
for imprudence, the battle of Saalfield would not have been lost. Prince
Louis showed the utmost gallantry in leading his men when they advanced,
and in rallying them when they fled. He was killed fighting hand to hand
with a French subaltern, who required him to surrender, and, receiving a
sabre-wound for reply, plunged his sword into the prince's body. Several
of his staff fell around him.[235]

The victory of Saalfield opened the course of the Saale to the French,
who instantly advanced on Naumburg. Buonaparte was at Gera, within half
a day's journey from the latter city, whence he sent a letter to the
King of Prussia, couched in the language of a victor, (for victorious he
already felt himself by his numbers and position,) and seasoned with the
irony of a successful foe. He regretted his good brother had been made
to sign the wretched pamphlet which had borne his name, but which he
protested he did not impute to him as his composition. Had Prussia asked
any practicable favour of him, he said he would have granted it; but she
had asked his dishonour, and ought to have known there could be but one
answer. In consideration of their former friendship, Napoleon stated
himself to be ready to restore peace to Prussia and her monarch; and,
advising his good brother to dismiss such counsellors as recommended the
present war and that of 1792, he bade him heartily farewell.[236]

Buonaparte neither expected nor received any answer to this missive,
which was written under the exulting sensations experienced by the
angler, when he feels the fish is hooked, and about to become his secure
prey. Naumburg and its magazines were consigned to the flames, which
first announced to the Prussians that the French army had gotten
completely into their rear, had destroyed their magazines, and, being
now interposed betwixt them and Saxony, left them no alternative save
that of battle, which was to be waged at the greatest disadvantage with
an alert enemy, to whom their supineness had already given the choice
of time and place for it. There was also this ominous consideration,
that, in case of disaster, the Prussians had neither principle, nor
order, nor line of retreat. The enemy were betwixt them and Magdeburg,
which ought to have been their rallying point; and the army of the Great
Frederick was, it must be owned, brought to combat with as little
reflection or military science, as a herd of school-boys might have
displayed in a mutiny.

[Sidenote: AUERSTADT.]

Too late determined to make some exertion to clear their communications
to the rear, the Duke of Brunswick, with the King of Prussia in person,
marched with great part of their army to the recovery of Naumburg. Here
Davoust, who had taken the place, remained at the head of a division of
six-and-thirty thousand men, with whom he was to oppose nearly double
the number. The march of the Duke of Brunswick was so slow, as to lose
the advantage of this superiority. He paused on the evening of the
thirteenth on the heights of Auerstadt, and gave Davoust time to
reinforce the troops with which he occupied the strong defile of Koesen.
The next morning, Davoust, with strong reinforcements, but still unequal
in numbers to the Prussians, marched towards the enemy, whose columns
were already in motion. The vanguard of both armies met, without
previously knowing that they were so closely approaching each other, so
thick lay the mist upon the ground.

The village of Hassen-Hausen, near which the opposite armies were first
made aware of each other's proximity, became instantly the scene of a
severe conflict, and was taken and retaken repeatedly. The Prussian
cavalry, being superior in numbers to that of the French, and long
famous for its appointments and discipline, attacked repeatedly, and was
as often resisted by the French squares of infantry, whom they found it
impossible to throw into disorder, or break upon any point. The French,
having thus repelled the Prussian horse, carried, at the point of the
bayonet, some woods and the village of Spilberg, and remained in
undisturbed possession of that of Hassen-Hausen. The Prussians had by
this time maintained the battle from eight in the morning till eleven,
and being now engaged on all points, with the exception of two divisions
of the reserve, had suffered great loss. The Generalissimo, Duke of
Brunswick, wounded in the face by a grape-shot, was carried off; so was
General Schmettau, and other officers of distinction. The want of an
experienced chief began to be felt; when, to increase the difficulties
of their situation, the King of Prussia received intelligence, that
General Mollendorf, who commanded his right wing, stationed near Jena,
was in the act of being defeated by Buonaparte in person. The King took
the generous but perhaps desperate resolution, of trying, whether in one
general charge he could not redeem the fortune of the day, by defeating
that part of the French with which he was personally engaged. He ordered
the attack to be made along all the line, and with all the forces which
he had in the field; and his commands were obeyed with gallantry enough
to vindicate the honour of the troops, but not to lead to success. They
were beaten off, and the French resumed the offensive in their turn.

Still the Prussian monarch, who seems now to have taken the command upon
himself, endeavouring to supply the want of professional experience by
courage, brought up his last reserves, and encouraged his broken troops
rather to make a final stand for victory, than to retreat in face of a
conquering army. This effort also proved in vain. The Prussian line was
attacked every where at once; centre and wings were broken through by
the French at the bayonet's point; and the retreat, after so many
fruitless efforts, in which no division had been left unengaged, was of
the most disorderly character. But the confusion was increased tenfold,
when, as the defeated troops reached Weimar, they fell in with the right
wing of their own army, fugitives like themselves, and who were
attempting to retreat in the same direction. The disorder of two routed
armies meeting in opposing currents, soon became inextricable. The roads
were choked up with artillery and baggage waggons; the retreat became a
hurried flight; and the King himself, who had shown the utmost courage
during the battle of Auerstadt, was at length, for personal safety,
compelled to leave the high-roads, and escape across the fields,
escorted by a small body of cavalry.

[Sidenote: BATTLE OF JENA.]

While the left of the Prussian army were in the act of combating Davoust
at Auerstadt, their right, as we have hinted, were with equally bad
fortune engaged at Jena. This second action, though the least important
of the two, has always given the name to the double battle; because it
was at Jena that Napoleon was engaged in person.

[Sidenote: Oct. 14.]

The French Emperor had arrived at this town, which is situated upon the
Saale, on the 13th of October, and had lost no time in issuing those
orders to his mareschals, which produced the demonstrations of Davoust,
and the victory of Auerstadt. His attention was not less turned to the
position he himself occupied, and in which he had the prospect of
fighting Mollendorf, and the right of the Prussians, on the next
morning. With his usual activity, he formed or enlarged, in the course
of the night, the roads by which he proposed to bring up his artillery
on the succeeding day, and by hewing the solid rock, made a path
practicable for guns to the plateau, or elevated plain in the front of
Jena, where his centre was established.[237] The Prussian army lay
before them, extended on a line of six leagues, while that of Napoleon,
extremely concentrated, showed a very narrow front, but was well secured
both in the flanks and in the rear. Buonaparte, according to his custom,
slept in the bivouac, surrounded by his guards.[238] In the morning he
harangued his soldiers, and recommended to them to stand firm against
the charges of the Prussian cavalry, which had been represented as very
redoubtable. As before Ulm, he had promised his soldiers a repetition of
the battle of Marengo, so now he pointed out to his men that the
Prussians, separated from their magazines, and cut off from their
country, were in the situation of Mack at Ulm. He told them, that the
enemy no longer fought for honour and victory, but for the chance of
opening a way to retreat; and he added, that the corps which should
permit them to escape would lose their honour. The French replied with
loud shouts, and demanded instantly to advance to the combat. The
Emperor ordered the columns destined for the attack to descend into the
plain. His centre consisted of the Imperial Guard, and two divisions of
Lannes. Augereau commanded the right, which rested on a village and a
forest; and Soult's division, with a part of Ney's, were upon the left.

General Mollendorf advanced on his side, and both armies, as at
Auerstadt, were hid from each other by the mist, until suddenly the
atmosphere cleared, and showed them to each other within the distance of
half-cannon shot. The conflict instantly commenced. It began on the
French right, where the Prussians attacked with the purpose of driving
Augereau from the village on which he rested his extreme flank. Lannes
was sent to support him, by whose succour he was enabled to stand his
ground. The battle then became general; and the Prussians showed
themselves such masters of discipline, that it was long impossible to
gain any advantage over men, who advanced, retired, or moved to either
flank, with the regularity of machines. Soult at length, by the most
desperate efforts, dispossessed the Prussians opposed to him of the
woods from which they had annoyed the French left; and at the same
conjuncture the division of Ney, and a large reserve of cavalry,
appeared upon the field of battle. Napoleon, thus strengthened, advanced
the centre, consisting in a great measure of the Imperial Guard, who,
being fresh and in the highest spirits, compelled the Prussian army to
give way. Their retreat was at first orderly; but it was a part of
Buonaparte's tactics to pour attack after attack upon a worsted enemy,
as the billows of a tempestuous ocean follow each other in succession,
till the last waves totally disperse the fragments of the bulwark which
the first have breached. Murat, at the head of the dragoons and the
cavalry of reserve, charged, as one who would merit, as far as bravery
could merit, the splendid destinies which seemed now opening to him. The
Prussian infantry were unable to support the shock, nor could their
cavalry protect them. The rout became general.[239] Great part of the
artillery was taken, and the broken troops retreated in disorder upon
Weimar, where, as we have already stated, their confusion became
inextricable, by their encountering the other tide of fugitives from
their own left, which was directed upon Weimar also. All leading and
following seemed now lost in this army, so lately confiding in its
numbers and discipline. There was scarcely a general left to issue
orders, scarcely a soldier disposed to obey them; and it seems to have
been more by a sort of instinct, than any resolved purpose, that several
broken regiments were directed, or directed themselves, upon Magdeburg,
where Prince Hohenloe endeavoured to rally them.

The French accounts state that 20,000 Prussians were killed and taken in
the course of this fatal day; that three hundred guns fell into their
power, with twenty generals, or lieutenant-generals, and standards and
colours to the number of sixty.[240]

The mismanagement of the Prussian generals in these calamitous battles,
and in all the manœuvres which preceded them, amounted to
infatuation. The troops also, according to Buonaparte's evidence,
scarcely maintained their high character, oppressed probably by a sense
of the disadvantages under which they combated. But it is unnecessary to
dwell on the various causes of a defeat, when the vanquished seem
neither to have formed one combined and general plan of attack in the
action, nor maintained communication with each other while it endured,
nor agreed upon any scheme of retreat when the day was lost. The Duke of
Brunswick, too, and General Schmettau, being mortally wounded early in
the battle, the several divisions of the Prussian army fought
individually, without receiving any general orders, and consequently
without regular plan or combined manœuvres. The consequences of the
defeat were more universally calamitous than could have been
anticipated, even when we consider, that no mode of retreat having been
fixed on, or general rallying place appointed, the broken army resembled
a covey of heathfowl, which the sportsman marks down and destroys in
detail and at his leisure.

Next day after the action, a large body of the Prussians, who, under the
command of Mollendorf had retired to Erfurt, were compelled to surrender
to the victors, and the marshal, with the Prince of Orange Fulda, became
prisoners. Other relics of this most unhappy defeat met with the same
fate. General Kalkreuth, at the head of a considerable division of
troops, was overtaken and routed in an attempt to cross the Hartz
mountains. Prince Eugene of Wirtemberg commanded an untouched body of
sixteen thousand men, whom the Prussian general-in-chief had suffered to
remain at Memmingen, without an attempt to bring them into the field.
Instead of retiring when he heard all was lost, the prince was rash
enough to advance towards Halle, as if to put the only unbroken division
of the Prussian army in the way of the far superior and victorious hosts
of France. He was accordingly attacked and defeated by Bernadotte.


The chief point of rallying, however, was Magdeburg, under the walls of
which strong city Prince Hohenloe, though wounded, contrived to assemble
an army amounting to fifty thousand men, but wanting every thing, and in
the last degree of confusion. But Magdeburg was no place of rest for
them. The same improvidence, which had marked every step of the
campaign, had exhausted that city of the immense magazines which it
contained, and taken them for the supply of the Duke of Brunswick's
army. The wrecks of the field of Jena were exposed to famine as well as
the sword. It only remained for Prince Hohenloe to make the best escape
he could to the Oder, and, considering the disastrous circumstances in
which he was placed, he seems to have displayed both courage and skill
in his proceedings. After various partial actions, however, in all of
which he lost men, he finally found himself, with the advanced guard and
centre of his army, on the heights of Prenzlow, without provisions,
forage, or ammunition. Surrender became unavoidable; and at Prenzlow and
Passewalk, nearly twenty thousand Prussians laid down their arms.

The rear of Prince Hohenloe's army did not immediately share this
calamity. They were at Boitzenburg when the surrender took place, and
amounted to about ten thousand men, the relics of the battle in which
Prince Eugene of Wirtemberg had engaged near Weimar, and were under the
command of a general whose name hereafter was destined to sound like a
war trumpet--the celebrated Blucher.

In the extremity of his country's distresses, this distinguished soldier
showed the same indomitable spirit, the same activity in execution and
daringness of resolve, which afterwards led to such glorious results. He
was about to leave Boitzenburg on the 29th, in consequence of his orders
from Prince Hohenloe, when he learned that general's disaster at
Prenzlow. He instantly changed the direction of his retreat, and, by a
rapid march towards Strelitz, contrived to unite his forces with about
ten thousand men, gleanings of Jena and Auerstadt, which, under the
Dukes of Weimar and of Brunswick Oels, had taken their route in that
direction. Thus reinforced, Blucher adopted the plan of passing the Elbe
at Lauenburg, and reinforcing the Prussian garrisons in Lower Saxony.
With this view he fought several sharp actions, and made many rapid
marches. But the odds were too great to be balanced by courage and
activity. The division of Soult which had crossed the Elbe, cut him off
from Lauenburg, that of Murat interposed between him and Stralsund,
while Bernadotte pressed upon his rear. Blucher had no resource but to
throw himself and his diminished and dispirited army into Lubeck. The
pursuers came soon up, and found him like a stag at bay. A battle was
fought on the 6th of November, in the streets of Lubeck, with extreme
fury on both sides, in which the Prussians were overpowered by numbers,
and lost many slain, besides four thousand prisoners. Blucher fought his
way out of the town, and reached Schwerta. But he had now retreated as
far as he could, without violating the neutrality of the Danish
territory, which would only have raised up new enemies to his
unfortunate master.

On the 7th November, therefore, he gave up his good sword, to be resumed
under happier auspices, and surrendered with the few thousand men which
remained under his command.[241] But the courage which he had
manifested, like the lights of St. Elmo amid the gloom of the tempest,
showed that there was at least one pupil of the Great Frederick worthy
of his master, and afforded hopes, on which Prussia long dwelt in
silence, till the moment of action arrived.


The total destruction, for such it might almost be termed, of the
Prussian army, was scarcely so wonderful, as the facility with which the
fortresses which defend that country, some of them ranking among the
foremost in Europe, were surrendered by their commandants, without
shame, and without resistance, to the victorious enemy. Strong towns,
and fortified places, on which the engineer had exhausted his science,
provided too with large garrisons, and ample supplies, opened their
gates at the sound of a French trumpet, or the explosion of a few bombs.
Spandau, Stettin, Custrin, Hamelen, were each qualified to have
arrested the march of invaders for months, yet were all surrendered on
little more than a summons. In Magdeburg was a garrison of twenty-two
thousand men, two thousand of them being artillerymen; and nevertheless
this celebrated city capitulated with Mareschal Ney at the first flight
of shells. Hamelen was garrisoned by six thousand troops, amply supplied
with provisions, and every means of maintaining a siege. The place was
surrendered to a force scarcely one-third in proportion to that of the
garrison. These incidents were too gross to be imputed to folly and
cowardice alone. The French themselves wondered at their conquests, yet
had a shrewd guess at the manner in which they were rendered so easy.
When the recreant governor of Magdeburg was insulted by the students of
Halle for treachery as well as cowardice, the French garrison of the
place sympathized, as soldiers, with the youthful enthusiasm of the
scholars, and afforded the sordid old coward but little protection
against their indignation. From a similar generous impulse, Schoels, the
commandant of Hamelen, was nearly destroyed by the troops under his
orders. In surrendering the place, he had endeavoured to stipulate,
that, in case the Prussian provinces should pass by the fortune of war
to some other power, the officers should retain their pay and rank. The
soldiers were so much incensed at this stipulation, which carried
desertion in its front, and a proposal to shape a private fortune to
himself amid the ruin of his country, that Schoels only saved himself by
delivering up the place to the French before the time stipulated in the
articles of capitulation.

It is believed that, on several of these occasions, the French
constructed a golden key to open these iron fortresses, without being
themselves at the expense of the precious metal which composed it. Every
large garrison has of course a military chest, with treasure for the
regular payment of the soldiery; and it is said, that more than one
commandant was unable to resist the proffer, that, in case of an
immediate surrender, this deposit should not be inquired into by the
captors, but left at the disposal of the governor, whose accommodating
disposition had saved them the time and trouble of a siege.[242]

While the French army made this uninterrupted progress, the new King of
Holland, Louis Buonaparte, with an army partly composed of Dutch and
partly of Frenchmen, possessed himself with equal ease of Westphalia,
great part of Hanover, Emden, and East Friesland.[243]

[Sidenote: Oct. 25.]

To complete the picture of general disorder which Prussia now exhibited,
it is only necessary to add, that the unfortunate King, whose personal
qualities deserved a better fate, had been obliged, after the battle, to
fly into East Prussia, where he finally sought refuge in the city of
Königsberg. L'Estocq, a faithful and able general, was still able to
assemble out of the wreck of the Prussian army a few thousand men, for
the protection of his sovereign. Buonaparte took possession of Berlin on
the 25th October, eleven days after the battle of Jena. The mode in
which he improved his good fortune, we reserve for future consideration.

[Sidenote: FALL OF PRUSSIA.]

The fall of Prussia was so sudden and so total, as to excite the general
astonishment of Europe. Its prince was compared to the rash and
inexperienced gambler, who risks his whole fortune on one desperate
cast, and rises from the table totally ruined. That power had, for three
quarters of a century, ranked among the most important of Europe; but
never had she exhibited such a formidable position as almost immediately
before her disaster, when, holding in her own hand the balance of
Europe, she might, before the day of Austerlitz, have inclined the scale
to which side she would. And now she lay at the feet of the antagonist
whom she had rashly and in ill time defied, not fallen merely, but
totally prostrate, without the means of making a single effort to arise.
It was remembered that Austria, when her armies were defeated, and her
capital taken, had still found resources in the courage of her subjects,
and that the insurrections of Hungary and Bohemia had assumed, even
after Buonaparte's most eminent successes, a character so formidable, as
to aid in procuring peace for the defeated Emperor on moderate terms.
Austria, therefore, was like a fortress repeatedly besieged, and as
often breached and damaged, but which continued to be tenable, though
diminished in strength, and deprived of important outworks. But Prussia
seemed like the same fortress swallowed up by an earthquake, which
leaves nothing either to inhabit or defend, and where the fearful agency
of the destroyer reduces the strongest bastions and bulwarks to crumbled
masses of ruins and rubbish.

The cause of this great distinction between two countries which have so
often contended against each other for political power, and for
influence in Germany, may be easily traced.

The empire of Austria combines in itself several large kingdoms, the
undisturbed and undisputed dominions of a common sovereign, to whose
sway they have been long accustomed, and towards whom they nourish the
same sentiments of loyalty which their fathers entertained to the
ancient princes of the same house. Austria's natural authority
therefore rested, and now rests, on this broad and solid base, the
general and rooted attachment of the people to their prince, and their
identification of his interests with their own.

Prussia had also her native provinces, in which her authority was
hereditary, and where the affection, loyalty, and patriotism of the
inhabitants were natural qualities, which fathers transmitted to their
sons. But a large part of her dominions consist of late acquisitions,
obtained at different times by the arms or policy of the great
Frederick; and thus her territories, made up of a number of small and
distant states, want geographical breadth, while their disproportioned
length stretches, according to Voltaire's well-known simile, like a pair
of garters across the map of Europe. It follows as a natural
consequence, that a long time must intervene betwixt the formation of
such a kingdom, and the amalgamation of its component parts, differing
in laws, manners, and usages, into one compact and solid monarchy,
having respect and affection to their king, as the common head, and
regard to each other as members of the same community. It will require
generations to pass away, ere a kingdom, so artificially composed, can
be cemented into unity and strength; and the tendency to remain
disunited, is greatly increased by the disadvantages of its geographical

These considerations alone might explain, why, after the fatal battle of
Jena, the inhabitants of the various provinces of Prussia contributed no
important personal assistance to repel the invader; and why, although
almost all trained to arms, and accustomed to serve a certain time in
the line, they did not display any readiness to exert themselves against
the common enemy. They felt that they belonged to Prussia only by the
right of the strongest, and therefore were indifferent when the same
right seemed about to transfer their allegiance elsewhere. They saw the
approaching ruin of the Prussian power, not as children view the danger
of a father, which they are bound to prevent at the hazard of their
lives, but as servants view that of a master, which concerns them no
otherwise than as leading to a change of their employers.

There were other reasons, tending to paralyse any effort at popular
resistance, which affected the hereditary states of Prussia, as well as
her new acquisitions. The power of Prussia had appeared to depend almost
entirely upon her standing army, established by Frederick, and modelled
according to his rules. When, therefore, this army was at once
annihilated, no hope of safety was entertained by those who had so long
regarded it as invincible. The Prussian peasant, who would gladly have
joined the ranks of his country while they continued to keep the field,
knew, or thought he knew, too much of the art of war, to have any hope
in the efforts which might be made in a desultory guerilla warfare;
which, however, the courage, devotion, and pertinacity of an invaded
people have rendered the most formidable means of opposition even to a
victorious army.

The ruin of Prussia, to whatever causes it was to be attributed, seemed,
in the eyes of astonished Europe, not only universal, but irremediable.
The King, driven to the extremity of his dominions, could only be
considered as a fugitive, whose precarious chance of restoration to the
crown depended on the doubtful success of his ally of Russia, who now,
as after the capture of Vienna, had upon his hands, strong as those
hands were, not the task of aiding an ally, who was in the act of
resistance to the common enemy, but the far more difficult one of
raising from the ground a prince who was totally powerless and
prostrate. The French crossed the Oder--Glogau and Breslau were
invested. Their defence was respectable; but it seemed not the less
certain that their fall involved almost the last hopes of Prussia, and
that a name raised so high by the reign of one wise monarch, was like to
be blotted from the map of Europe by the events of a single day.

Men looked upon this astonishing calamity with various sentiments,
according as they considered it with relation to the Prussian
administration alone, or as connected with the character of the King and
kingdom, and the general interests of Europe. In the former point of
view, the mind could not avoid acknowledging, with a feeling of
embittered satisfaction, that the crooked and selfish policy of
Prussia's recent conduct,--as shortsighted as it was grasping and
unconscientious,--had met in this present hour of disaster with no more
than merited chastisement. The indifference with which the Prussian
Cabinet had viewed the distresses of the House of Austria, which their
firm interposition might probably have prevented--the total want of
conscience and decency with which they accepted Hanover from France, at
the moment when they meditated war with the power at whose hand they
received it--the shameless rapacity with which they proposed to detain
the Electorate from its legal owner, at the very time when they were
negotiating an alliance with Britain--intimated that contempt of the
ordinary principles of justice, which, while it renders a nation
undeserving of success, is frequently a direct obstacle to their
attaining it. Their whole procedure was founded on the principles of a
felon, who is willing to betray his accomplice, providing he is allowed
to retain his own share of the common booty. It was no wonder, men said,
that a government setting such an example to its subjects, of greediness
and breach of faith in its public transactions, should find among them,
in the hour of need, many who were capable of preferring their own
private interests to that of their country. And if the conduct of this
wretched administration was regarded in a political instead of a moral
point of view, the disasters of the kingdom might be considered as the
consequence of their incapacity, as well as the just remuneration of
their profligacy. The hurried and presumptuous declaration of war,
after every favourable opportunity had been suffered to escape, and
indeed the whole conduct of the campaign, showed a degree of folly not
far short of actual imbecility, and which must have arisen either from
gross treachery, or something like infatuation. So far, therefore, as
the ministers of Prussia were concerned, they reaped only the reward due
to their political want of morality, and their practical want of

Very different, indeed, were the feelings with which the battle of Jena
and its consequences were regarded, when men considered that great
calamity in reference not to the evil counsellors by whom it was
prepared, but to the prince and nation who were to pay the penalty. "We
are human," and, according to the sentiment of the poet, on the
extinction of the state of Venice,[244] "must mourn, even when the
shadow of that which has once been great passes away." But the apparent
destruction of Prussia was not like the departure of the aged man, whose
life is come to the natural close, or the fall of a ruined tower, whose
mouldering arches can no longer support the incumbent weight. These are
viewed with awe indeed, and with sympathy, but they do not excite
astonishment or horror. The seeming fate of the Prussian monarchy
resembled the agonizing death of him who expires in the flower of
manhood. The fall of the House of Brandenburgh was as if a castle, with
all its trophied turrets strong and entire, should be at once hurled to
the earth by a superhuman power. Men, alike stunned with the extent and
suddenness of the catastrophe, were moved with sympathy for those
instantly involved in the ruin, and struck with terror at the demolition
of a bulwark, by the destruction of which all found their own safety
endangered. The excellent and patriotic character of Frederick William,
on whose rectitude and honour even the misconduct of his ministers had
not brought any stain; the distress of his interesting, high-spirited,
and beautiful consort; the general sufferings of a brave and proud
people, accustomed to assume and deserve the name of Protectors of the
Protestant Faith and of the Liberties of Germany, and whose energies,
corresponding with the talents of their leader, had enabled them in
former times to withstand the combined force of France, Austria, and
Russia--excited deep and general sympathy.

Still wider did that sympathy extend, and more thrilling became its
impulse, when it was remembered that in Prussia fell the last state of
Germany, who could treat with Napoleon in the style of an equal; and
that to the exorbitant power which France already possessed in the south
of Europe, was now to be added an authority in the north almost equally
arbitrary and equally extensive. The prospect was a gloomy one; and they
who felt neither for the fallen authority of a prince, nor the destroyed
independence of a kingdom, trembled at the prospect likely to be
entailed on their own country by a ruin, which seemed as remediless as
it was extensive and astounding.

    "But yet the end was NOT."--

Providence, which disappoints presumptuous hopes by the event, is often
mercifully pleased to give aid when human aid seems hopeless. Whatever
may be thought of the doctrine of an intermediate state of sufferance
and purification in an after stage of existence, it is evident from
history, that in this world, kingdoms, as well as individuals, are often
subjected to misfortunes arising from their own errors, and which prove
in the event conducive to future regeneration. Prussia was exposed to a
long and painful discipline in the severe school of adversity, by which
she profited in such a degree as enabled her to regain her high rank in
the republic of Europe, with more honour perhaps to her prince and
people, than if she had never been thrust from her lofty station. Her
government, it may be hoped, have learned to respect the rights of other
nations, from the sufferings which followed the destruction of their
own--her people have been taught to understand the difference between
the dominion of strangers and the value of independence. Indeed, the
Prussians showed in the event, by every species of sacrifice, how fully
they had become aware, that the blessing of freedom from foreign control
is not to be secured by the efforts of a regular army only, but must be
attained and rendered permanent by the general resolution of the nation,
from highest to lowest, to dedicate their united exertions to the
achievement of the public liberty at every risk, and by every act of
self-devotion. Their improvement under the stern lessons which calamity
taught them, we shall record in a brighter page. For the time, the cloud
of misfortune sunk hopelessly dark over Prussia, of which not merely the
renown, but the very national existence seemed in danger of being
extinguished for ever.


[223] See Mr. Fox's letter to M. Talleyrand, February 20, 1806;
Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, vol. viii., p. 92; Annual Register,
vol. xlviii., p. 708. After reading it, Napoleon's first words were, "I
recognise here the principles of honour and of virtue, by which Mr. Fox
has ever been actuated. Thank him on my part."

[224] For copies of the "Papers relative to the Negotiation with
France," see Parliamentary Debates, vol. viii., p. 92; Annual Register,
vol. xlviii., p. 708.

[225] Captain Maitland.

[226] "Certainly the death of Fox was one of the fatalities of my
career. Had his life been prolonged, affairs would have taken a totally
different turn; the cause of the people would have triumphed, and we
should have established a new order of things in Europe."--NAPOLEON,
_Las Cases_, tom. vii., p. 97.

[227] Parliamentary Debates, vol. vi., p. 887.

[228] The pamphlet was intitled, "L'Allemagne dans son profond
Abaissement," and was attributed to the pen of M. Gentz. Palm was
offered his pardon, upon condition that he gave up the author of the
work; which he refused to do.

[229] "All that I recollect about Palm is, that he was arrested by order
of Davoust, I believe, tried, condemned, and shot, for having, while the
country was in possession of the French, and under military occupation,
not only excited rebellion amongst the inhabitants, and urged them to
rise and massacre the soldiers, but also attempted to instigate the
soldiers themselves to refuse obedience to their orders, and to mutiny
against their generals. I believe that he met with a fair
trial."--NAPOLEON, _Voice_, &c., vol. i., p. 432.

[230] A subscription was set on foot in Germany, and also in England,
for his widow and three children.

[231] Essen, Werden, and Elten.

[232] See Annual Register, vol. xlviii., p. 800.

[233] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 276.

[234] "'Marshal,' said the Emperor, on the 7th, to Berthier, 'they give
us a rendezvous of honour for the 8th. They say a handsome queen is
there, who desires to see battles; let us be polite, and march without
delay for Saxony!' The Emperor was correctly informed; for the Queen of
Prussia is with the army, equipped like an Amazon, wearing the uniform
of her regiment of dragoons, and writing twenty letters a-day to all
parts of the kingdom, to excite the inhabitants against the French. It
appears like the conduct of the frenzied Armida, setting fire to her own
palace. Next to her Majesty, Prince Louis of Prussia, a brave young man,
incited by the war faction, vainly hopes to gain honours and renown in
the vicissitudes of war."--_First Bulletin of the Grand Army._

[235] "Prince Louis urged and hastened hostilities, and feared to let
the opportunity escape. He was, besides, a man of great courage and
talent; all accounts agreed on that point. Napoleon, who did not dislike
such petulant eagerness, was conversing with us one evening respecting
the generals of the enemy's army; some one present happened to mention
Prince Louis; 'As for him,' said he, 'I foretell that he will be killed
this campaign.' Who could have thought that the prediction would so soon
have been fulfilled."--_Mémoires de RAPP_, p. 66.

[236] See Fifteenth Bulletin of the Grand Army.

[237] "Before the Emperor lay down, he descended the hill of Jena on
foot, to be certain that no ammunition-waggon had been left at the
bottom. He there found the whole of Marshal Lannes's artillery sticking
in a ravine, which, in the obscurity of the night had been mistaken for
a road. The Emperor was excessively angry, but showed his displeasure
only by a cold silence. Without wasting time in reproaches, he set to
work himself to do the duty of an artillery officer. He collected the
men, made them get their park-tools, and light the lanterns; one of
which he held for the convenience of those whose labours he directed.
Never shall I forget the expression of the countenances of the men on
seeing the Emperor lighting them with a lantern, nor the heavy blows
with which they struck the rocks."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 180.

[238] "The night before the battle of Jena, the Emperor said, he had run
the greatest risk. He might then have disappeared without his fate being
clearly known. He had approached the bivouacs of the enemy, in the dark,
to reconnoitre them; he had only a few officers with him. The opinion
which was then entertained of the Prussian army kept every one on the
alert: it was thought that the Prussians were particularly given to
nocturnal attacks. As the Emperor returned, he was fired at by the first
sentinel of his camp; this was a signal for the whole line; he had no
resource but to throw himself flat on his face, until the mistake was
discovered. But his principal apprehension was, that the Prussian line,
which was near him, would act in the same manner."--LAS CASES, tom. i.,
p. 143.

[239] "The Emperor, at the point where he stood, saw the flight of the
Prussians, and our cavalry taking them by thousands. Night was
approaching; and here, as at Austerlitz, he rode round the field of
battle. He often alighted from his horse to give a little brandy to the
wounded; and several times I observed him putting his hand into the
breast of a soldier to ascertain whether his heart beat, because, in
consequence of having seen some slight appearance of colour in his
cheeks, he supposed he might not be dead. In this manner I saw him two
or three times discover men who were still alive. On these occasions he
gave way to a joy which it is impossible to describe."--SAVARY, tom.
ii., p. 184.

[240] Fifth Bulletin of the Grand Army; Jomini, tom. ii., p. 281;
Savary, tom. ii., p. 181.

[241] "So jealous was Blucher of any tarnish being attached to his
character, in consequence of this surrender, that the capitulation was
at one time on the point of being broken off, because Bernadotte would
not consent that the reasons which compelled him to surrender, viz. a
want of powder and other necessaries, should be stated, as Blucher
insisted, among the articles drawn up between them."--See GENTZ,
_Journal des Quatorze Jours de la Monarchie Prussienne_.

[242] "The war with Prussia--a war which had been hatching since the
battle of Austerlitz--was less caused by the counsels of the cabinet,
than by the compilers of secret memoirs. They began by representing the
Prussian monarchy as ready to fall at the least puff, like a house built
with cards. I can affirm, that, for the last three months, this war was
prepared like a _coup de théâtre_; all the chances and vicissitudes had
been calculated, and weighed, with the greatest exactness. I considered
it ill becoming the dignity of crowned heads, to see a cabinet so ill
regulated. The Prussian monarchy, whose safeguard it should have been,
depended upon the cunning of some intriguers, and the energy of a few
subsidized persons, who were the very puppets of our will. Jena! history
will one day develope thy secret causes."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 304.

[243] Documens sur la Hollande, tom. i., p. 282.


    "Men are we, and must grieve even when the shade
    Of that which once was great is pass'd away."



    _Ungenerous conduct of Buonaparte to the Duke of Brunswick--The
    approach of the French troops to Brunswick compels the dying Prince
    to cause himself to be carried to Altona, where he expires--Oath of
    revenge taken by his Son--At Potsdam and Berlin, the proceedings of
    Napoleon are equally cruel and vindictive--His clemency towards the
    Prince of Hatzfeld--His Treatment of the Lesser Powers--Jerome
    Buonaparte--Seizure of Hamburgh--Berlin Decrees against British
    Commerce--Napoleon rejects all application from the continental
    commercial towns to relax or repeal them--Commerce, nevertheless,
    flourishes in spite of them--Second anticipation called for of the
    Conscription for 1807--The King of Prussia applies for an
    Armistice, which is clogged with such harsh terms, that he refuses

The will of Napoleon seemed now the only law, from which the conquered
country, that so late stood forth as the rival of France, was to expect
her destiny; and circumstances indicated, that, with more than the
fortune of Cæsar or Alexander, the Conqueror would not emulate their
generosity or clemency.


The treatment of the ill-fated Duke of Brunswick did little honour to
the victor. After receiving a mortal wound on the field of battle, he
was transported from thence to Altona. Upon his way to his native
dominions, in the government of which his conduct had been always
patriotic and praiseworthy, he wrote to Napoleon, representing that,
although he had fought against him as a general in the Prussian service,
he nevertheless, as a Prince of the Empire, recommended his hereditary
principality to the moderation and clemency of the victor. This attempt
to separate his two characters, or to appeal to the immunities of a
league which Napoleon had dissolved, although natural in the duke's
forlorn situation, formed a plea not likely to be attended to by the
conqueror. But, on other and broader grounds, Buonaparte, if not
influenced by personal animosity against the duke, or desirous to
degrade, in his person, the father-in-law of the heir of the British
crown, might have found reasons for treating the defeated general with
the respect due to his rank and his misfortunes. The Duke of Brunswick
was one of the oldest soldiers in Europe, and his unquestioned bravery
ought to have recommended him to his junior in arms. He was a reigning
prince, and Buonaparte's own aspirations towards confirmation of
aristocratical rank should have led him to treat the vanquished with
decency. Above all, the duke was defenceless, wounded, dying; a
situation to command the sympathy of every military man, who knows on
what casual circumstances the fate of battle depends. The answer of
Napoleon was, nevertheless, harsh and insulting in the last degree. He
reproached the departing general with his celebrated proclamation
against France in 1792, with the result of his unhappy campaign in that
country, with the recent summons by which the French had been required
to retreat beyond the Rhine. He charged him as having been the
instigator of a war which his counsels ought to have prevented. He
announced the right which he had acquired, to leave not one stone
standing upon another in the town of Brunswick; and summed up his
ungenerous reply by intimating, that though he might treat the subjects
of the duke like a generous victor, it was his purpose to deprive the
dying prince and his family of their hereditary sovereignty.[245]

As if to fulfil these menaces, the French troops approached the city of
Brunswick; and the wounded veteran, dreading the further resentment of
his ungenerous victor, was compelled to cause himself to be removed to
the neutral town of Altona, where he expired.[246] An application from
his son, requesting permission to lay his father's body in the tomb of
his ancestors, was rejected with the same sternness which had
characterised Buonaparte's answer to the attempt of the duke, when
living, to soften his enmity. The successor of the duke vowed, it is
believed, to requite these insults with mortal hatred--did much to
express it during his life--and bequeathed to his followers the legacy
of revenge,[247] which the Black Brunswickers had the means of amply
discharging upon the 18th of June, 1815.

Some have imputed this illiberal conduct of Buonaparte to an ebullition
of spleen against the object of his personal dislike; others have
supposed that his resentment was, in whole or in part, affected in order
to ground upon it his resolution of confiscating the state of Brunswick,
and uniting it with the kingdom of Westphalia, which, as we shall
presently see, he proposed to erect as an appanage for his brother
Jerome. Whether arising from a burst of temperament, or a cold
calculation of interested selfishness, his conduct was equally unworthy
of a monarch and a soldier.

At Potsdam and at Berlin, Napoleon showed himself equally as the sworn
and implacable enemy, rather than as the generous conqueror. At Potsdam
he seized on the sword, belt, and hat of the Great Frederick, and at
Berlin he appropriated and removed to Paris the monument of Victory,
erected by the same monarch, in consequence of the defeat of the French
at Rosbach.[248] The finest paintings and works of art in Prussia were
seized upon for the benefit of the French National Museum.

The language of the victor corresponded with his actions. His bulletins
and proclamations abounded with the same bitter sarcasms against the
King, the Queen, and those whom he called the war faction of Prussia.
Ascribing the war to the unrepressed audacity of the young nobility, he
said, in one of those proclamations, he would permit no more rioting in
Berlin, no more breaking of windows; and, in addressing the Count Neale,
he threatened, in plain terms, to reduce the nobles of Prussia to beg
their bread.[249] These, and similar expressions of irritated spleen,
used in the hour of conquest, level the character of the great victor
with that of the vulgar Englishman in the farce, who cannot be satisfied
with beating his enemy, but must scold him also. Napoleon's constant
study of the poetry ascribed to Ossian, might have taught him that wrath
should fly on eagles' wings from a conquered foe. The soldiers, and even
the officers, caught the example of their Emperor, and conceived they
met his wishes by behaving more imperiously in quarters, and producing
more distress to their hosts, than had been their custom in the Austrian
campaigns. Great aggressions, perhaps, were rarely perpetrated, and
would have been punished, as contrary to military discipline; but a
grinding, constant, and unremitting system of vexation and requisition,
was bitterly felt by the Prussians at the time, and afterwards sternly


It is but justice, however, to record an act of clemency of Napoleon
amid these severities. He had intercepted a letter containing some
private intelligence respecting the motions of the French, sent by
Prince Hatzfeld, late the Prussian governor of Berlin, to Prince
Hohenloe, then still at the head of an army. Napoleon appointed a
military commission for the trial of Hatzfeld; and his doom, for
continuing to serve his native prince after his capital had been
occupied by the enemy, would have been not less certain than severe. His
wife, however, threw herself at Napoleon's feet, who put into her hands
the fatal document which contained evidence of what was called her
husband's guilt, with permission to throw it into the fire.[250] The
French Emperor is entitled to credit for the degree of mercy he showed
on this occasion; but it must be granted at the same time, that to have
proceeded to sentence and execution upon such a charge, would have been
an act of great severity, if not of actual atrocity. If, as has been
alleged, the correspondence of Prince Hatzfeld was dated before, not
after the capitulation of Berlin, his death would have been an
unqualified murder.[251]

[Sidenote: HESSE-CASSEL.]

The victor, who had all at his disposal, was now to express his pleasure
concerning those satellites of Prussia, which, till her fall, had looked
up to her as their natural protector and ally. Of these, Saxony and
Hesse-Cassel were the principal; and, in his proceedings towards them,
Buonaparte regarded the train of his own policy much more than the
merits which the two electors might have respectively pleaded towards

Saxony had joined her arms to those of Prussia--forced, as she said, by
the arguments which a powerful neighbour can always apply to a
weaker--still she _had_ joined her, and fought on her side at the battle
of Jena. The apology of compulsion was admitted by Buonaparte; the Saxon
troops were dismissed upon their parole, and their prince raised to the
rank of a King, shortly afterwards admitted as a member of the
Confederacy of the Rhine, and treated by Buonaparte with much personal
consideration. The Dukes of Saxe-Weimar and Saxe-Gotha also were
permitted to retain their dominions, on acknowledging a similar
vassalage to the French empire.

The Landgrave, or Elector, of Hesse-Cassel, might have expected a still
more favourable acceptance in the eyes of the victor; for he had refused
to join Prussia, and, in spite of threats and persuasions, had observed
neutrality during the brief contest. But Napoleon remembered, to the
prejudice of the landgrave, that he had resisted all previous
temptations to enter into the Confederation of the Rhine. He imputed
his neutrality to fear, not choice. He alleged, that it had not been
strictly observed; and, treating the inaction of Hesse, whose
inclinations were with Prussia, as a greater crime than the actual
hostilities of Saxony, whose will was with France, he declared,
according to his usual form of dethronement, that the House of
Hesse-Cassel had ceased to reign. The doom was executed even before it
was pronounced. Louis Buonaparte, with Marshal Mortier, had possessed
himself of Hesse-Cassel by the 1st of November.[252] The army of the
landgrave made no resistance--a part of them passed under the banners of
France, the rest were disbanded.

The real cause of seizing the territories of an unoffending prince, who
was totally helpless, unless in so far as right or justice could afford
him protection, was Buonaparte's previous resolution, already hinted at,
to incorporate Hesse-Cassel with the adjacent territories, for the
purpose of forming a kingdom to be conferred on his youngest brother
Jerome. This young person bore a gay and dissipated character; and,
though such men may at times make considerable sacrifices for the
indulgence of transient passion, they are seldom capable of retaining
for a length of time a steady affection for an object, however amiable.
Jerome Buonaparte, as before stated, had married an American young lady,
distinguished for her beauty and her talents, and had thus lost the
countenance of Napoleon, who maintained the principle, that segregated
as his kindred were from the nation at large, by their connexion with
him, his rank, and his fortunes, they were not entitled to enter into
alliances according to the dictates of their own feelings, but were
bound to form such as were most suitable to his policy. Jerome was
tempted by ambition finally to acquiesce in this reasoning, and
sacrificed the connexion which his heart had chosen, to become the tool
of his brother's ever-extending schemes of ambition. The reward was the
kingdom of Westphalia, to which was united Hesse-Cassel, with the
various provinces which Prussia had possessed in Franconia, Westphalia
Proper, and Lower Saxony; as also the territories of the unfortunate
Duke of Brunswick. Security could be scarcely supposed to attend upon a
sovereignty, where the materials were acquired by public rapine, and the
crown purchased by domestic infidelity.

About the middle of November, Mortier formally re-occupied Hanover in
the name of the Emperor, and, marching upon Hamburgh, took possession
of that ancient free town, so long the emporium of commerce for the
north of Europe. Here, as formerly at Leipsic, the strictest search was
made for British commodities and property, which were declared the
lawful subject of confiscation. The _Moniteur_ trumpeted forth, that
these rigorous measures were accompanied with losses to British commerce
which would shake the credit of the nation. This was not true. The
citizens of Hamburgh had long foreseen that their neutrality would be no
protection, and, in spite of the fraudful assurances of the French
envoy, designed to lull them into security, the merchants had availed
themselves of the last two years to dispose of their stock, call in
their capital, and wind up their trade; so that the rapacity of the
French was in a great measure disappointed. The strict search after
British property, and the confiscation which was denounced against it at
Hamburgh and elsewhere, were no isolated acts of plunder and spoliation,
but made parts of one great system for destroying the commerce of
England, which was shortly after laid before the world by the celebrated
decrees of Berlin.[253]

It was frequently remarked of Buonaparte, that he studied a sort of
theatrical effect in the mode of issuing his decrees and proclamations,
the subject matter of which formed often a strange contrast with the
date; the latter, perhaps, being at the capital of some subdued monarch,
while the matter promulgated respected some minute regulation affecting
the municipality of Paris. But there was no such discrepancy in the date
and substance of the Berlin decrees against British enterprise. It was
when Buonaparte had destroyed the natural bulwark which protected the
independence of the north of Germany, and had necessarily obtained a
corresponding power on the shores of the Baltic, that he seriously
undertook to promulgate his sweeping plan of destroying the commerce of
his Island foe.[254]

When slight inconveniences, according to Buonaparte's expression, put
an end to his hopes of invading Britain, or when, as at other times he
more candidly admitted, the defeat at Trafalgar induced him "to throw
helve after hatchet," and resign all hope of attaining any success by
means of his navy, he became desirous of sapping and undermining the
bulwark, which he found it impossible to storm; and, by directing his
efforts to the destruction of British commerce, he trusted gradually to
impair the foundations of her national wealth and prosperity. He erred,
perhaps, in thinking that, even if his object could have been fully
attained, the full consequences would have followed which his animosity
anticipated. Great Britain's prosperity mainly rests on her commerce,
but her existence as a nation is not absolutely dependent upon it; as
those foreigners are apt to imagine, who have only seen the numerous
vessels with which she covers the ocean and fills foreign ports, but
have never witnessed the extent of her agricultural and domestic
resources. But, entertaining the belief which Napoleon did, in regard to
the indispensable connexion betwixt British commerce and British power,
the policy of his war upon the former cannot be denied. It was that of
the Abyssynian hunter, who, dreading to front the elephant in his fury,
draws his sabre along the animal's heel-joint, and waits until the
exertions of the powerful brute burst the injured sinews, and he sinks
prostrate under his own weight.


The celebrated Decrees of Berlin appeared on the 21st November, 1806,
interdicting all commerce betwixt Great Britain and the continent; which
interdiction was declared a fundamental law of the French empire, until
the English should consent to certain alterations in the mode of
conducting hostilities by sea, which should render her naval superiority
less useful to herself, and less detrimental to the enemy. This measure
was justified upon the following grounds:--That England had either
introduced new customs into her maritime code, or revived those of a
barbarous age--that she seized on merchant vessels, and made their crews
prisoners, just as if they had been found on board ships of
war--declared harbours blockaded which were not so in reality--and
extended the evils of war to the peaceful and unarmed citizen.

This induction to the celebrated project, afterwards called the
Continental System of the Emperor, was false in the original
proposition, and sophistical in those by which it was supported. It was
positively false that Great Britain had introduced into her maritime
law, either by new enactment, or by the revival of obsolete and
barbarous customs, any alteration by which the rights of neutrals were
infringed, or the unarmed citizen prejudiced, more than necessarily
arose out of the usual customs of war. The law respecting the blockade
of ports, and the capture of vessels at sea, was the same on which every
nation had acted for three centuries past, France herself not excepted.
It is true, that the maritime code seemed at this period to be
peculiarly that of England, because no nation save herself had the
means of enforcing them; but she did not in this respect possess any
greater advantage by sea than Napoleon enjoyed by land.

The reasoning of the Emperor Napoleon upon the inequality and injustice
of the maritime mode of exercising war, compared with the law of
hostilities by land, was not more accurate than his allegation that
Britain had innovated upon the former for the purpose of introducing
new, or reviving old severities. This will appear plain from the
following considerations:--

At an early period of society, the practice of war was doubtless the
same by land or sea; and the savage slaughtered or enslaved his enemy
whether he found him in his hut or in his canoe. But when centuries of
civilisation began to mitigate the horrors of barbarous warfare, the
restrictive rules introduced into naval hostilities were different from
those adopted in the case of wars by land, as the difference of the
services obviously dictated. A land army has a precise object, which it
can always attain if victorious. If a general conquer a town, he can
garrison it; he can levy contributions; nay, he may declare that he will
appropriate it to himself in right of sovereignty. He can afford to
spare the property of private individuals, when he is at liberty to
seize, if he is so minded, upon all their public rights, and new-mould
them at his pleasure. The seaman, on the other hand, seizes on the
merchant vessel and its cargo, by the same right of superior force, in
virtue of which the victor by land has seized upon castles, provinces,
and on the very haven, it may be, which the vessel belongs to. If the
maritime conqueror had no right to do this, he would gain nothing by his
superiority except blows, when he met with vessels of force, and would
be cut off from any share of the spoils of war, which form the reward of
victory. The innocent and unarmed citizen, perhaps the neutral stranger,
suffers in both cases; but a state of war is of course a state of
violence, and its evils, unhappily, cannot be limited to those who are
actually engaged in hostilities. If the spirit of philanthropy affected
in the peroration to Buonaparte's decrees had been real, he might have
attained his pretended purpose of softening the woes of war, by
proposing some relaxation of the rights of a conqueror by land, in
exchange for restrictions to be introduced into the practice of
hostilities by sea. Instead of doing so, he, under the pretext of
exercising the right of reprisals, introduced the following Decrees,
unheard of hitherto among belligerent powers, and tending greatly to
augment the general distress, which must, under all circumstances,
attend a state of war.

I. The British isles were declared in a state of blockade. II. All
commerce and correspondence with England was forbidden. All English
letters were to be seized in the post-houses. III. Every Englishman, of
whatever rank or quality, found in France, or the countries allied with
her, was declared a prisoner of war. IV. All merchandise, or property of
any kind, belonging to English subjects, was declared lawful prize. V.
All articles of English manufacture, and articles produced in her
colonies, were in like manner declared contraband and lawful prize. VI.
Half of the produce of the above confiscations was to be employed in the
relief of those merchants whose vessels had been captured by the English
cruizers. VII. All vessels coming from England, or the English colonies,
were to be refused admission into any harbour. Four additional articles
provided the mode of promulgating and enforcing the decree, and directed
that it should be communicated to the allies of France.

This was the first link of a long chain of arbitrary decrees and
ordinances, by which Napoleon, aiming at the destruction of British
finance, interrupted the whole commerce of Europe, and destroyed for a
season, and as far as lay in his power, that connexion between distant
nations which unites them to each other by the most natural and
advantageous means, the supply of the wants of the one country by the
superfluous produce of the other. The extent of public inconvenience and
distress, which was occasioned by the sudden suppression of commercial
communication with England, may be judged of by reflecting, how many of
the most ordinary articles of consumption are brought from foreign
countries--in how many instances the use of these articles have brought
them into the list of necessaries--and how, before an ordinary mechanic
or peasant sits down to breakfast, distant climes must be taxed to raise
the coffee and sugar which he consumes.[255]

The painful embarrassment of those deprived of their habitual comforts,
was yet exceeded by the clamour and despair of the whole commercial
world on the continent, who were thus, under pretext of relieving them
from the vexation of the English cruizers, threatened with a total
abrogation of their profession. Hamburgh, Bourdeaux, Nantes, and other
continental towns, solicited, by petitions and deputations, some
relaxation of decrees which inferred their general ruin. They pleaded
the prospect of universal bankruptcy, which this prohibitory system must
occasion. "Let it be so," answered the Emperor; "the more insolvency on
the continent, the greater will be the distress of the merchants in
London. The fewer traders in Hamburgh, the less will be the temptation
to carry on commerce with England. Britain must be humbled, were it at
the expense of throwing civilisation back for centuries, and returning
to the original mode of trading by barter."

But, great as was Buonaparte's power, he had overrated it in supposing,
that, by a mere expression of his will, he could put an end to an
intercourse, in the existence of which the whole world possessed an
interest. The attempt to annihilate commerce, resembled that of a child
who tries to stop with his hand the stream of an artificial fountain,
which escapes in a hundred partial jets from under his palm and between
his fingers. The Genius of Commerce, like a second Proteus, assumed
every variety of shape, in order to elude the imperial interdiction, and
all manner of evasions was practised for that purpose. False papers,
false certificates, false bills of lading, were devised, and these
frauds were overlooked in the seaports, by the very agents of the
police, and customhouse officers, to whom the execution of the decrees
was committed. Douaniers, magistrates, generals, and prefects, nay, some
of the kindred princes of the House of Napoleon, were well pleased to
listen to the small still voice of their interest, rather than to his
authoritative commands; and the British commerce, though charged with
heavy expenses, continued to flourish in spite of the Continental
System.[256] The new, and still more violent measures, which Napoleon
had recourse to for enforcing his prohibitions, will require our notice
hereafter. Meantime, it is enough to say, that such acts of increasing
severity had the natural consequence of rendering his person and power
more and more unpopular; so that, while he was sacrificing the interests
and the comforts of the nations under his authority to his hope of
destroying England, he was, in fact, digging a mine under his own feet,
which exploded to his destruction long before the security of England
was materially affected.

Napoleon had foreseen, that, in order to enforce the decrees by which,
without possession of any naval power, he proposed to annihilate the
naval supremacy of England, it would be necessary to augment to a great
extent the immense superiority of land forces which France already
possessed. It was necessary, he was aware, that to enable him to
maintain the prohibitions which he had imposed upon general commerce, as
well as to prosecute the struggle in which he was about to be engaged
with Russia, a large draught should be made on the population of France.
He had, accordingly, by a requisition addressed to the Senate, dated
from Bamberg, 7th of October, required a second anticipation of the
conscription of 1807, amounting to a levy of eighty thousand men.

The measure was supported in the Senate by the oratory of Regnault de
St. Jean d'Angely, an ancient Republican. This friend of freedom saw
nothing inconsistent in advocating a measure, which the absolute monarch
recommended as the necessary step to a general peace. The conscripts who
had first marched had secured victory; those who were now to be put in
motion were to realize the prospect of peace, the principal object of
their brethren's success. The obsequious Senate readily admitted these
arguments, as they would have done any which had been urged in support
of a request which they dared not deny. The sole purpose of Regnault's
eloquence, was to express in decent amplification the simple phrase,
"Napoleon so wills it."

A deputation of the Senate,[257] carrying to Napoleon in person their
warm acquiescence in the proposed measure, received in guerdon the
honourable task of conveying to Paris the spoils of Potsdam and Berlin,
with three hundred and forty-six stand of colours, the trophies of the
war against Prussia--with the task of announcing the celebrated Decrees,
by which the general commerce of Europe and of France itself was
annihilated, to secure it from the aggressions of the British naval
force. The military trophies were received--the Decrees were recorded;
and no one dared undertake the delicate task of balancing the victories
of the Emperor against the advantage which his dominions were likely to
derive from them.

[Sidenote: PRUSSIA.]

In the meanwhile, the unfortunate Frederick William, whose possession of
his late flourishing kingdom was reduced to such territories as Prussia
held beyond the Vistula, and a few fortresses on the Oder, which still
held out, sent an embassy to Berlin, for the purpose of learning upon
what terms he might be yet admitted to treat for peace with the victor,
who had hold of his capital and the greater part of his dominions. The
Marquis Lucchesini was employed on this mission, a subtle Italian, who,
being employed in negotiations at Paris, had been accustomed to treat
with France on a footing of equality. But these times were passed since
the battle of Jena; and the only terms to which Prussia could be now
admitted, were to be so dearly purchased, that even a mere temporary
armistice was to cost the surrender of Graudentz, Dantzick, Colberg,--in
short, all the fortresses yet remaining to Prussia, and still in a state
of defence. As this would have been placing himself entirely at the
mercy of Buonaparte, and in as bad circumstances as he could be reduced
to even by the most unsuccessful military operations, the King refused
to acquiesce in such severe terms, and determined to repose his fate in
the chance of war, and in the support of the auxiliary army of Russia,
which was now hastily advancing to his assistance.


[245] Sixteenth Bulletin of the Grand Army, dated 12th Oct.

[246] "The Duke of Brunswick's entry into Altona presented a new and
striking proof of the instability of fortune. A sovereign prince was
beheld, enjoying, right or wrong, a great military reputation, but very
lately powerful and tranquil in his own capital, now beaten and mortally
wounded, borne into Altona on a miserable litter, carried by ten men,
without officers, without domestics, escorted by a crowd of boys and
ragamuffins, who pressed about him from curiosity, deposited in a bad
inn, and so worn out with fatigue, that the morrow after his arrival,
the report of his death was generally credited. His wife joined him on
the 1st November; he refused all visits, and died on the
10th."--BOURRIENNE, tom. vii., p. 159.


    "Within a window'd niche of that high hall,
    Sate Brunswick's fated chieftain: he did hear
    That sound the first amidst the festival,
    And caught its tone with Death's prophetic ear;
    And when they smiled because he deem'd it near,
    His heart more truly knew that peal too well,
    Which stretch'd his Father on a bloody bier,
    And roused the Vengeance blood alone could quell.
    He rush'd into the field, and, foremost fighting, fell."

    _Childe Harold._

[248] "The sword of the Great Frederick was easily found at Potsdam,
together with the scarf which he wore during the Seven Years' War; also
the insignia of the Black Eagle. The Emperor took these trophies with
transport, saying, 'I would rather have these than twenty millions: I
shall send them to my old soldiers--I shall present them to the governor
of the Invalids: in that hotel they shall remain.'"--_Nineteenth

[249] "The good people of Berlin have been the sacrifice of the war;
while those who excited it have left them and are become fugitives; I
shall reduce those noble courtiers to such extremities that they shall
be compelled to beg their bread." To Prince Hatzfeld, the Emperor said,
"Do not appear in my presence; I have no need of your services; retire
to your estates."--_Twenty-first Bulletin._

[250] "I remained at the door of the Emperor's cabinet to prevent any
person from being announced before the princess. Duroc soon came out and
immediately introduced her. She knew not why her husband had been
arrested; and, in the simplicity of her nature, demanded justice for the
wrong which she supposed was done to him. When she had finished, the
Emperor handed to her the letter written by her husband; when she had
run it over, she seemed motionless, and looked as if she had lost
sensation. She stared with haggard eyes at the Emperor; but articulated
not a word. He said to her, 'Well, madam, is this a calumny--an unjust
charge?' The princess, more dead than alive, was going to answer only
with her tears, when the Emperor took the letter from her, and said,
'Madam, were it not for this letter there would be no proof against your
husband.'--'That is very true,' she replied, 'but I cannot deny that it
is his writing.'--'Well,' said the Emperor, 'there is nothing to be done
but to burn it;' and he threw the letter into the fire."--SAVARY, tom.
ii., p. 206.

The following is Napoleon's own account of what passed, in a letter to
Josephine, dated 6th November, nine o'clock evening:--"I received thy
letter; in which thou seemest angry with me for speaking ill of women."
In the letter here referred to, Josephine had expressed her regret at
the disrespectful terms in which the Queen of Prussia was spoken of in
the Bulletins of the Grand Army. "It is true I utterly abominate
intriguing females. I am accustomed to those who are amiable, gentle,
and conciliating; and such I love. If they have spoiled me it is not my
fault, but thine. But at least thou wilt see I have been very good to
one, who showed herself a feeling, amiable woman--Madame Hatzfeld. When
I showed her her husband's letter, she replied to me, weeping bitterly,
with heartfelt sensibility and _naïveté_: _Alas! it is but too surely
his writing_. When she read it, her accent went to my soul--her
situation distressed me. I said, _Well, then, madame, throw that letter
into the fire; I shall then no longer possess the means of punishing
your husband_. She burnt the letter, and was happy. Her husband is
restored to tranquillity: Two hours later, and he would have been a lost
man. Thus thou seest, that I esteem women that are good, and ingenuous,
and amiable: but this is because such alone resemble thee."--_Lettres de
Napoleon à Josephine_, tom. i., p. 195.

[251] "The letter was forwarded from the post-office a few days _after_
our arrival at Berlin."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 205.

[252] "This is not correct. I had put myself at this period at the head
of my own troops and some French regiments then in Holland, because the
Emperor required the King of Holland to form a combined army at Wesel,
under the title of the Army of the North. Endeavouring as much as
possible to reconcile my very different duties, I marched towards
Cassel, at the orders of Marshal Mortier, who was advancing upon Mayence
with a small number of troops. When I approached Cassel, Marshal Mortier
had entered the evening before. I immediately halted the body of the
army before I entered the town, and leaving the French troops under the
command of Marshal Mortier, I took the route to Holland with the
Dutch."--LOUIS BUONAPARTE, p. 50.

[253] "On the 19th November, Hamburgh was taken possession of in the
Emperor's name. The demands which Marshal Mortier was necessitated to
make were hard. But my representations suspended for a time the order
given by Napoleon to seize the Bank. I cannot do otherwise than render a
tribute to the uprightness of the marshal's conduct, who forwarded my
representations to the Emperor at Berlin, announcing that he has delayed
acting till the arrival of fresh orders. The Emperor read and approved
my views."--BOURRIENNE, tom. vii., p. 179.

[254] "The delirium caused by the wonderful results of the Prussian
campaign completed the intoxication of France. She prided herself upon
having been saluted with the name of the Great Nation by her Emperor,
who had triumphed over the genius and the work of Frederick. Napoleon
believed himself the Son of Destiny, called to break every sceptre.
Peace, and even a truce with England, was no longer thought of. The idea
of destroying the power of England, the sole obstacle to universal
monarchy, now became his fixed resolve. It was with this view he
established the continental system, the first decree concerning which
was dated from Berlin. Napoleon persuaded himself, that by depriving
England of all the outlets for its manufactures, he should reduce it to
poverty, and that it must then submit to its fate. He not only thought
of subjecting it, but also of effecting its destruction."--FOUCHÉ, tom.
i., p. 305.

[255] "It is difficult, at this day, to conceive how Europe could, for a
single hour, endure that fiscal tyranny which exacted the most
exorbitant prices for articles, become indispensable necessaries of
life, both to rich and poor, through habits of three centuries. It is so
far from being the truth that such system had for its only and exclusive
aim to prevent England from disposing of her merchandise, that licenses
were sold at a high rate to those who had influence sufficient to
procure them; and gold alone gave that influence. The quantity and the
quality of articles exported from France were exaggerated with
incredible impudence. It became necessary, indeed, to purchase such
articles, in submission to the will of the Emperor; but they were bought
only to be thrown into the sea. And yet none was found who had the
conscience to tell the Emperor that England sold to the continent, but
that she bought almost nothing from thence."--BOURRIENNE, tom. vii., p.

[256] "The accusation thus brought might also fall upon me; and although
I consider myself beyond the reach of such calumnies, I must declare, in
answer to the frequent insinuations made during and even since the reign
of my brother, that such an accusation is as untrue as it is
inconceivable. I declare I was in no manner a partisan of the
Continental System; first, because it injured Holland more than it did
England, and it was the interest of Holland which concerned me most
deeply; and, in the second place, because this system, though true in
theory, was false in its application. I compare it to a sieve; a single
hole is sufficient to render it incapable of containing any thing. The
Continental System being acted upon in most countries, must have
produced more beneficial results in those points where it was not
maintained; and thus it was with respect to the advantages it conferred
upon English commerce, mentioned by Sir Walter Scott. It was this which
gave France the means of benefiting her merchants, to the injury of
those of other countries, who had not the power to open and shut their
ports at will. It will consequently be supposed that I could only lend
myself partially, without zeal or pleasure, to the Continental System,
since it was both against my own opinion and against the interest of the
country, and I was convinced of its inefficacy against England; but at
the same time I may declare, since all this is now a mere matter of
history, that I did not hesitate to obey all that was required, with
respect to the pretended blockade of England; but I repeat, that it was
against my own opinion, and consequently without zeal and without
pleasure."--LOUIS BUONAPARTE, p. 53.

[257] "This deputation thought fit to make representations to the
Emperor, on the danger which he might incur by advancing beyond the
Oder, and to express to him a wish to see his conquests brought to a
termination. This observation offended the Emperor, and he replied to
the deputation, that he would make peace as soon as he could, but in
such a way as to make it once for all; and that he could not refrain
from showing his dissatisfaction at their want of consideration, in
exhibiting the shameful spectacle of disunion between the chief of the
state and the first constituted body of the nation, at the very time
when they knew that the Russians were advancing to join the
Prussians."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 210.


    _Retrospect of the Partition of Poland--Napoleon receives addresses
    from Poland, which he evades--He advances into Poland, Bennigsen
    retreating before him--Character of the Russian Soldiery--The
    Cossacks--Engagement at Pultusk, on 26th November, terminating to
    the disadvantage of the French--Bennigsen continues his retreat--The
    French go into winter quarters--Bennigsen appointed
    Commander-in-chief in the place of Kaminskoy, who shows symptoms of
    insanity--He resumes offensive operations--Battle of Eylau, 8th
    February, 1807--Claimed as a victory by both parties--The loss on
    both sides amounts to 50,000 men killed, the greater part
    Frenchmen--Bennigsen retreats upon Königsberg--Napoleon offers
    favourable terms for an Armistice to the King of Prussia, who
    refuses to treat, save for a general Peace--Napoleon falls back to
    the line of the Vistula--Dantzick is besieged, and
    surrenders--Russian army is poorly recruited--the French
    powerfully--Actions during the Summer--Battle of Heilsberg, and
    retreat of the Russians--Battle of Friedland, 14th June--An
    Armistice takes place on the 23d._

[Sidenote: POLAND.]

Napoleon was politically justified in the harsh terms which he was
desirous to impose on Prussia, by having now brought his victorious
armies to the neighbourhood of Poland in which he had a good right to
conceive himself sure to find numerous followers and a friendly

The partition of this fine kingdom by its powerful neighbours, Russia,
Austria, and Prussia, was the first open and audacious transgression of
the law of nations, which disgraced the annals of civilized Europe. It
was executed by a combination of three of the most powerful states of
Europe against one too unhappy in the nature of its constitution, and
too much divided by factions to offer any effectual resistance. The
kingdom subjected to this aggression had appealed in vain to the code of
nations for protection against an outrage, to which, after a desultory
and uncombined, and therefore a vain defence, she saw herself under the
necessity of submitting. The Poles retained, too, a secret sense of
their fruitless attempt to recover freedom in 1791, and an animated
recollection of the violence by which it had been suppressed by the
Russian arms. They waited with hope and exultation the approach of the
French armies; and candour must allow, that, unlawfully subjected as
they had been to a foreign yoke, they had a right to avail themselves of
the assistance, not only of Napoleon, but of Mahomet, or of Satan
himself, had he proposed to aid them in regaining the independence of
which they had been oppressively and unjustly deprived.[258]

This feeling was general among the middling classes of the Polish
aristocracy, who recollected with mortified pride the diminution of
their independent privileges, the abrogation of their Diets, and the
suppression of the _Liberum Veto_, by which a private gentleman might
render null the decision of a whole assembly, unless unanimity should be
attained, by putting the dissentient to death upon the spot.[259] But
the higher order of nobility, gratified by the rank they held, and the
pleasures they enjoyed at the courts of Berlin, Vienna, and especially
at Petersburgh, preferred in general the peaceful enjoyment of their
immense estates to the privileges of a stormy independence, which raised
the most insignificant of the numerous aristocracy to a rank and
importance nearly resembling their own. They might, too, with some
justice, distrust the views of Napoleon, though recommended by the most
specious promises. The dominion of Russia, in particular, from
similarity of manners, and the particular attention paid to their
persons and interests, was not so unpopular among the higher branches of
the aristocracy as might have been expected, from the unjust and
arbitrary mode in which she had combined to appropriate so large a part
of their once independent kingdom. These did not, therefore, so
generally embrace the side of France as the minor nobles or gentry had
done. As for the ordinary mass of the population, being almost all in
the estate of serfage, or villanage, which had been general over Europe
during the prevalence of the feudal system, they followed their
respective lords, without pretending to entertain any opinion of their


While Russia was marching her armies hastily forward, not only to
support, or rather raise up once more, her unfortunate ally the King of
Prussia, but to suppress any ebullition of popular spirit in Poland,
Buonaparte received addresses from that country, which endeavoured to
prevail on him to aid them in their views of regaining their
independence. Their application was of a nature to embarrass him
considerably. To have declared himself the patron of Polish
independence, might have, indeed, brought large forces to his
standard--might have consummated the disasters of Prussia, and greatly
embarrassed even Russia herself; and so far policy recommended to
Napoleon to encourage their hopes of her restored independence. But
Austria had been a large sharer in the various partitions of Poland, and
Austria, humbled as she had been, was still a powerful state, whose
enmity might have proved formidable, if, by bereaving her of her Polish
dominions, or encouraging her subjects to rebel, Buonaparte had provoked
her to hostilities, at the time when he himself and the best part of his
forces were engaged in the North of Europe. The same attempt would have
given a very different character to the war, which Russia at present
waged only in the capacity of the auxiliary of Prussia. The safety and
integrity of the Russian empire, south of the Volga, depends almost
entirely upon the preservation of those territories which she has
acquired in Poland; and, if she had engaged in the war as a principal,
Buonaparte was scarcely yet prepared to enter upon a contest with the
immense power of that empire, which must be waged upon the very frontier
of the enemy, and as near to their resources as he was distant from his
own. It might have been difficult, also, to have stated any consistent
grounds, why he, who had carved out so many new sovereignties in Europe
with the point of the sword, should reprobate the principle of the
partition of Poland. Influenced by these motives, the modern setter-up
and puller-down of kings abstained from re-establishing the only
monarchy in Europe, which he might have new-modelled to his mind, in the
character not of a conqueror, but a liberator.

While Napoleon declined making any precise declaration, or binding
himself by any express stipulations to the Polish delegates, the
language he used to them was cautiously worded, so as to keep up their
zeal and animate their exertions. Dombrowski,[260] a Polish exile in the
French army, was employed to raise men for Napoleon's service, and the
enthusiasm of those who entered, as well as the expectations of the
kingdom at large, were excited by such oracular passages as the
following, which appeared in the thirty-sixth bulletin:--"Is the throne
of Poland to be re-established, and will that great nation regain her
existence and independence? Will she be recalled to life, as if summoned
to arise from the tomb?--God only, the great disposer of events, can be
the arbiter of this great political problem."[261]

The continuance of war was now to be determined upon; a war to be waged
with circumstances of more than usual horror, as it involved the
sufferings of a winter campaign in the northern latitudes. The French,
having completely conquered the Prussian estates to the east of the
Oder, had formed the sieges of Great Glogau, of Breslau, and of
Graudentz, and were at the same time pushing westward to occupy Poland.
The Russian general, Bennigsen, had on his side pressed forward for the
purpose of assisting the Prussians, and had occupied Warsaw. But finding
that their unfortunate allies had scarcely the remnant of an army in the
field, the Russian general retreated after some skirmishes, and
recrossed the Vistula, while the capital of Poland, thus evacuated, was
entered on the 28th November by Murat, at the head of the French

About the 25th, Napoleon, leaving Berlin, had established himself at
Posen, a central town of Poland, which country began to manifest an
agitation, partly the consequence of French intrigues, partly arising
from the animating prospect of restored independence. The Poles resumed
in many instances their ancient national dress and manners, and sent
deputies to urge the decision of Buonaparte in their favour. The
language in which they entreated his interposition, resembled that of
Oriental idolatry. "The Polish nation," said Count Radyiminiski, the
Palatine of Gnesna, "presents itself before your Majesty, groaning still
under the yoke of German nations, and salutes with the purest joy the
regenerator of their dear country, the legislator of the universe. Full
of submission to your will, they adore you, and repose on you with
confidence all their hopes, as upon him who has the power of raising
empires and destroying them, and of humbling the proud." The address of
the President of the Judicial Council-Chamber of the Regency of Poland,
was not less energetic. "Already," he said, "we see our dear country
saved; for in your person we adore the most just and the most profound
Solon. We commit our fate and our hopes into your hands, and we implore
the mighty protection of the most august Cæsar."

Not even these Eastern hyperboles could extort any thing from Buonaparte
more distinctly indicative of his intentions, than the obscure hints we
have already mentioned.

In the meanwhile, Warsaw was put into a state of defence, and the
auxiliary forces of Saxony and the new confederates of the Rhine were
brought up by forced marches, while strong reinforcements from France
repaired the losses of the early part of the campaign.

The French army at length advanced in full force, and crossed
successively the rivers Vistula and Bug, forcing a passage wherever it
was disputed. But it was not the object of Bennigsen to give battle to
forces superior to his own, and he therefore retreated behind the Wkra,
and was joined by the large bodies of troops commanded by Generals
Buxhowden and Kaminskoy. The latter took the general command. He was a
contemporary of Suwarrow, and esteemed an excellent officer, but more
skilled in the theory than the practice of war. "Kaminskoy," said
Suwarrow, "knows war, but war does not know him--I do not know war, but
war knows me." It appears also, that during this campaign Kaminskoy was
afflicted with mental alienation.

On the 23d December, Napoleon arrived in person upon the Wkra, and
ordered the advance of his army in three divisions. Kaminskoy, when he
saw the passage of this river forced, determined to retreat behind the
Niemen, and sent orders to his lieutenants accordingly. Bennigsen,
therefore, fell back upon Pultusk, and Prince Galitzin upon Golymin,
both pursued by large divisions of the French army. The Russian Generals
Buxhowden and D'Anrep also retreated in different directions, and
apparently without maintaining a sufficiently accurate communication
either with Bennigsen, or with Galitzin. In their retrograde movements
the Russians sustained some loss, which the bulletins magnified to such
an extent, as to represent their army as entirely disorganised, their
columns wandering at hazard in unimaginable disorder, and their safety
only caused by the shortness of the days, the difficulties of a country
covered with woods and intersected with ravines, and a thaw which had
filled the roads with mud to the depth of five feet. It was, therefore,
predicted, that although the enemy might possibly escape from the
position in which he had placed himself, it must necessarily be effected
at the certain loss of his artillery, his carriages, and his


These were exaggerations calculated for the meridian of Paris. Napoleon
was himself sensible, that he was approaching a conflict of a different
kind from that which he had maintained with Austria, and more lately
against Prussia. The common soldier in both those services was too much
levelled into a mere moving piece of machinery, the hundred-thousandth
part of the great machine called an army, to have any confidence in
himself, or zeal beyond the mere discharge of the task intrusted to him
according to the word of command. These troops, however highly
disciplined, wanted that powerful and individual feeling, which in
armies possessing a strong national character, (by which the Russians
are peculiarly distinguished,) induces the soldier to resist to the last
moment, even when resistance can only assure him of revenge. They were
still the same Russians, of whom Frederick the Great said, "that he
could kill, but could not defeat them;"--they were also strong of
constitution, and inured to the iron climate in which Frenchmen were now
making war for the first time;--they were accustomed from their earliest
life to spare nourishment and hardship;--in a word, they formed then, as
they do now, the sole instance in Europe of an army, the privates of
which are semi-barbarians, with the passions, courage, love of war, and
devotion to their country, which is found in the earlier periods of
society, while the education received by their superior officers places
them on a level with those of any other nation. That of the inferior
regimental officers is too much neglected; but they are naturally brave,
kind to the common soldier, and united among themselves like a family
of brothers,--attributes which go far to compensate the want of
information. Among the higher officers, are some of the best informed
men in Europe.

The Russian army was at this period deficient in its military staff, and
thence imperfect in the execution of combined movements; and their
generals were better accustomed to lead an army in the day of actual
battle, than to prepare for victory by a skilful combination of previous
manœuvres. But this disadvantage was balanced by their zealous and
unhesitating devotion to their Emperor and their country. There scarcely
existed a Russian, even of the lowest rank, within the influence of
bribery; and an officer, like the Prussian commandant of Hamelen, who
began to speculate upon retaining his rank in another service, when
surrendering the charge intrusted to him by his sovereign, would have
been accounted in Russia a prodigy of unexampled villany. In the mode of
disciplining their forces, the Russians proceeded on the system most
approved in Europe. Their infantry was confessedly excellent, composed
of men in the prime of life, and carefully selected as best qualified
for military service. Their artillery was of the first description, so
far as the men, guns, carriages, and appointments were concerned; but
the rank of General of Artillery had not the predominant weight in the
Russian army, which ought to be possessed by those particularly
dedicated to the direction of that arm, by which, according to Napoleon,
modern battles must be usually decided. The direction of their guns was
too often intrusted to general officers of the line. The service of
cavalry is less natural to the Russians than that of the infantry, but
their horse regiments are nevertheless excellently trained, and have
uniformly behaved well.


But the Cossacks are a species of force belonging to Russia exclusively;
and although subsequent events have probably rendered every reader in
some degree acquainted with their national character, they make too
conspicuous a figure in the history of Napoleon, to be passed over
without a brief description here.

The natives on the banks of the Don and the Volga hold their lands by
military service, and enjoy certain immunities and prescriptions, in
consequence of which each individual is obliged to serve four years in
the Russian armies. They are trained from early childhood to the use of
the lance and sword, and familiarized to the management of a horse
peculiar to the country--far from handsome in appearance, but tractable,
hardy, swift, and surefooted, beyond any breed perhaps in the world. At
home, and with his family and children, the Cossack is kind, gentle,
generous, and simple; but when in arms, and in a foreign country, he
resumes the predatory, and sometimes the ferocious habits of his
ancestors, the roving Scythians. As the Cossacks receive no pay, plunder
is generally their object; and as prisoners were esteemed a useless
encumbrance, they granted no quarter, until Alexander promised a ducat
for every Frenchman whom they brought in alive. In the actual field of
battle, their mode of attack is singular. Instead of acting in line, a
body of Cossacks about to charge, disperse at the word of command, very
much in the manner of a fan suddenly flung open, and, joining in a loud
yell, or _hourra_, rush, each acting individually, upon the object of
attack, whether infantry, cavalry, or artillery, to all of which they
have been, in this wild way of fighting, formidable assailants. But it
is as light cavalry that the Cossacks are perhaps unrivalled. They and
their horses have been known to march one hundred miles in twenty-four
hours without halting. They plunge into woods, swim rivers, thread
passes, cross deep morasses, and penetrate through deserts of snow,
without undergoing material loss, or suffering from fatigue. No Russian
army, with a large body of Cossacks in front, can be liable to surprise;
nor, on the other hand, can an enemy surrounded by them ever be
confident against it. In covering the retreat of their own army, their
velocity, activity and courage, render pursuit by the enemy's cavalry
peculiarly dangerous; and in pursuing a flying enemy, these qualities
are still more redoubtable. In the campaign of 1806-7, the Cossacks took
the field in great numbers, under their celebrated Hettman, or Attaman,
Platow, who, himself a Cossack, knew their peculiar capacity for
warfare, and raised their fame to a pitch which it had not attained in
former European wars.

The Russians had also in their service Tartar tribes, who in
irregularity resembled the Cossacks, but were not to be compared with
them in discipline or courage, being, in truth, little better than
hordes of roving savages.

It remains only to be mentioned, that at this time the Russian
commissariat was very indifferent, and, above all, deficient in funds.
The funds of the Imperial treasury were exhausted, and an aid, amounting
only to eighty thousand pounds, was obtained from England with
difficulty. In consequence of these circumstances, the Russians were
repeatedly, during the campaign, obliged to fight at disadvantage for
want of provisions.--We return to the progress of the war.

On the 25th of December, the Russian army of Bennigsen, closely
concentrated, occupied a position behind Pultusk; their left, commanded
by Count Ostermann, resting upon the town, which is situated on the
river Narew. A corps occupied the bridge, to prevent any attack from
that point. The right, under Barclay de Tolly, was strongly posted in a
wood, and the centre was under the orders of General Zachen. A
considerable plain extended between the town of Pultusk and the wood,
which formed the right of the Russian position. They had stationed a
powerful advanced guard, had occupied the plain with their cavalry, and
established a strong reserve in their rear. On the 26th, the Russian
position was attacked by the French divisions of Lannes and Davoust,
together with the French guards. After skirmishing some time in the
centre, without making the desired impression, the battle appeared
doubtful, when, suddenly assembling a great strength on their own left,
the French made a decisive effort to overwhelm the Russians, by turning
their right wing. The attack prevailed to a certain extent. The
accumulated and superior weight of fire determined Barclay de Tolly to
retreat on his reserves, which he did without confusion, while the
French seized upon the wood, and took several Russian guns. But
Bennigsen, in spite of Kaminskoy's order to retreat, was determined to
abide the brunt of battle, and to avail himself of the rugged
intrepidity of the troops which he commanded. Ordering Barclay de Tolly
to continue his retreat, and thus throwing back his right wing, he
enticed the French, confident in victory, to pursue their success, until
the Russian cavalry, which had covered the manœuvre, suddenly
withdrawing, they found themselves under a murderous and well-directed
fire from one hundred and twenty guns, which, extending along the
Russian front, played on the French advancing columns with the utmost
success. The Russian line at the same time advanced in turn, and,
pushing the enemy before them, recovered the ground from which they had
been driven. The approach of night ended the combat, which had been both
obstinate and bloody. The French lost near eight thousand men, killed
and wounded, including General Lannes and five other general officers
among the latter. The Russian loss amounted to five thousand. The French
retreated after nightfall with such rapidity, that on the next day the
Cossacks could not find a rear-guard in the vicinity of Pultusk.[263]

The action of Pultusk raised the reputation of Bennigsen, and the
character as well as the spirits of the Russian army; but its moral
effect on the soldiers was its only important consequence. Had Bennigsen
been joined during the action by the division of Buxhowden or D'Anrep,
of whom the former was only eight miles distant, the check might have
been converted into a victory, highly influential on the issue of the
campaign. But either the orders of Kaminskoy, or some misunderstanding,
prevented either of these corps from advancing to support the efforts of
Bennigsen. It became impossible for him, therefore, notwithstanding the
advantages he had obtained, to retain his position at Pultusk, where he
must have been surrounded. He accordingly fell back upon Ostrolenka,
where he was joined by Prince Galitzin, who had been engaged in action
at Golymin upon the day of the battle of Pultusk; had, like Bennigsen,
driven back the enemy, and like him had retreated for the purpose of
concentrating his forces with those of the grand army. The French
evinced a feeling of the unusual and obstinate nature of the contest in
which they had been engaged at Pultusk and Golymin. Instead of pressing
their operations, they retreated into winter quarters; Napoleon
withdrawing his guard as far as Warsaw,[264] while the other divisions
were cantoned in the towns to the eastward, but without attempting to
realize the prophecies of the bulletins concerning the approaching fate
of the Russian army.

The conduct of Kaminskoy began now to evince decided tokens of insanity.
He was withdrawn from the supreme command, which, with the general
approbation of the soldiers, was conferred upon Bennigsen. This general
was not equal in military genius to Suwarrow, but he seems to have been
well fitted to command a Russian army. He was active, hardy, and
enterprising, and showed none of that peculiarly fatal hesitation, by
which officers of other nations opposed to the French generals, and to
Buonaparte in particular, seem often to have been affected, as with a
sort of moral palsy, which disabled them for the combat at the very
moment when it seemed about to commence. On the contrary, Bennigsen
finding himself in a supreme command of ninety thousand men, was
resolved not to wait for Buonaparte's onset, but determined to
anticipate his motions; wisely concluding, that the desire of desisting
from active operations, which the French Emperor had evinced by
cantoning his troops in winter quarters, ought to be a signal to the
Russians again to take the field.


The situation of the King of Prussia tended to confirm that
determination. This unfortunate monarch--well surely did Frederick
William then deserve that epithet--was cooped up in the town of
Königsberg, only covered by a small army of a few thousand men, and
threatened by the gradual approach of the divisions of Ney and
Bernadotte; so that the King's personal safety appeared to be in
considerable danger. Graudentz, the key of the Vistula, continued indeed
to hold out, but the Prussian garrison was reduced to distress, and the
hour of surrender seemed to be approaching. To relieve this important
fortress, therefore, and at the same time protect Königsberg, were
motives added to the other reasons which determined Bennigsen to resume
offensive operations. A severe and doubtful skirmish was fought near
Mohrungen,[265] in which the French sustained considerable loss. The
Cossacks spread abroad over the country, making numerous prisoners; and
the scheme of the Russian general succeeded so well, as to enable the
faithful L'Estocq to relieve Graudentz with reinforcements and

By these daring operations, Buonaparte saw himself forced into a winter
campaign, and issued general orders for drawing out his forces, with the
purpose of concentrating them at Willenberg, in the rear of the
Russians, (then stationed at Mohrungen,) and betwixt them and their own
country. He proposed, in short, to force his enemies eastward towards
the Vistula, as at Jena he had compelled the Prussians to fight with
their rear turned to the Rhine. Bernadotte had orders to engage the
attention of Bennigsen upon the right, and detain him in his present
situation, or rather, if possible, induce him to advance eastward
towards Thorn, so as to facilitate the operation he meditated.

The Russian general learned Buonaparte's intention from an intercepted
despatch,[266] and changed his purpose of advancing on Ney and
Bernadotte. Marches and counter-marches took place, through a country at
all times difficult, and now covered with snow. The experience and
dexterity of the French secured some advantages; but these were fully
counterbalanced by the daily annoyance and loss which they in turn
sustained from Platow and his Cossacks. In cases where the French
retreated, the Scythian lances were always on their rear; and when the
Russians retired in turn, and were pursued by the French, with the same
venturous spirit which they had displayed against others, the latter
seldom failed to suffer for their presumption. There was found in the
spearmen of the Don and Wolga a natural and instinctive turn for
military stratagem, ambuscade, and sudden assault, which compelled the
French light troops to adopt a caution, very different from their usual
habits of audacity.

Bennigsen was aware that it was the interest of Russia to protract the
campaign in this manner. He was near his reinforcements, the French were
distant from theirs; every loss, therefore, told more in proportion on
the enemy, than on his army. On the other hand, the Russian army,
impatient of protracted hostilities, became clamorous for battle; for
the hardships of their situation were such as to give them every desire
to bring the war to a crisis. We have noticed the defects of the Russian
Commissariat. They were especially manifest during those campaigns, when
the leader was obliged more than once, merely from want of provisions,
to peril the fate of the war upon a general battle, which prudence would
have induced him to avoid. In those northern latitudes, and in the month
of February, the troops had no resource but to prowl about, and dig for
the hoards of provision concealed by the peasants. This labour, added to
their military duty, left them scarcely time to lie down; and when they
did so, they had no bed but the snow, no shelter but the wintry heaven,
and no covering but their rags.[267] The distresses of the army were so
extreme, that it induced General Bennigsen, against his judgment, to
give battle at all risks, and for this purpose to concentrate his forces
at Preuss-Eylau, which was pitched on as the field on which he proposed
to await Buonaparte.


In marching through Landsberg to occupy the selected ground, the Russian
rear-guard was exposed to a serious attack by the French, and was only
saved from great loss by the gallantry of Prince Bagration, who
redeemed, by sheer dint of fighting, the loss sustained by want of
conduct in defiling through the streets of a narrow village, while
pursued by an enterprising enemy. The Russian army lost 3000 men. On the
7th February, the same gallant prince, with the Russian rear-guard,
gained such decided advantages over the French van as nearly balanced
the loss at Landsberg, and gave time for the whole army to march through
the town of Preuss-Eylau, and to take up a position behind it. It had
been intended to maintain the town itself, and a body of troops had been
left for that purpose; but in the confusion attending the movement of so
large an army, the orders issued had been misunderstood, and the
division designed for this service evacuated the place so soon as the
rear-guard had passed through it.

A Russian division was hastily ordered to re-occupy Preuss-Eylau. They
found the French already in possession, and, although they dislodged
them, were themselves driven out in turn by another division of French,
to whom Buonaparte had promised the plunder of the town. A third
division of Russians was ordered to advance; for Bennigsen was desirous
to protract the contest for the town until the arrival of his heavy
artillery, which joined him by a different route. When it came up, he
would have discontinued the struggle for possession of Preuss-Eylau, but
it was impossible to control the ardour of the Russian columns, who
persevered in advancing with drums beating, rushed into the town, and
surprising the French in the act of sacking it, put many of them to the
bayonet, even in the acts of license which they were practising.
Preuss-Eylau, however, proved no place of shelter. It was protected by
no works of any kind; and the French, advancing under cover of the
hillocks and broken ground which skirt the village, threw their fire
upon the streets, by which the Russians sustained some loss. General
Barclay de Tolly was wounded, and his forces again evacuated the town,
which was once more and finally occupied by the French. Night fell, and
the combat ceased, to be renewed with treble fury on the next day.

The position of the two armies may be easily described. That of Russia
occupied a space of uneven ground, about two miles in length and a mile
in depth, with the village of Serpallen on their left; in the front of
their army lay the town of Preuss-Eylau, situated in a hollow, and in
possession of the French. It was watched by a Russian division; which,
to protect the Russian centre from being broken by an attack from that
quarter, was strongly reinforced, though by doing so the right wing was
considerably weakened. This was thought of the less consequence, that
L'Estocq, with his division of Prussians, was hourly expected to join
the Russians on that point. The French occupied Eylau with their left,
while their centre and right lay parallel to the Russians, upon a chain
of heights which commanded in a great measure the ground possessed by
the enemy. They also expected to be reinforced by the division of Ney,
which had not come up, and which was destined to form on the extreme

The space betwixt the hostile armies was open and flat, and intersected
with frozen lakes. They might trace each other's position by the pale
glimmer of the watch-lights upon the snow. The difference of numerical
force was considerably to the advantage of the French. Sir Robert Wilson
rates them at 90,000 men, opposed to 60,000 only; but the disproportion
is probably considerably over-rated.[268]

The eventful action commenced with daybreak on the 8th of February. Two
strong columns of the French advanced, with the purpose of turning the
right, and storming the centre, of the Russians, at one and the same
time. But they were driven back in great disorder by the heavy and
sustained fire of the Russian artillery. An attack on the Russian left
was equally unsuccessful. The Russian infantry stood like stone
ramparts--they repulsed the enemy--their cavalry came to their support,
pursued the retiring assailants, and took standards and eagles. About
mid-day, a heavy storm of snow began to fall, which the wind drove right
in the face of the Russians, and which added to the obscurity caused by
the smoke of the burning village of Serpallen, that rolled along the

Under cover of the darkness, six columns of the French advanced with
artillery and cavalry, and were close on the Russian position ere they
were opposed. Bennigsen, at the head of his staff, brought up the
reserves in person, who, uniting with the first line, bore the French
back at the point of the bayonet. Their columns, partly broken, were
driven again to their own position, where they rallied with difficulty.
A French regiment of cuirassiers, which, during this part of the action,
had gained an interval in the Russian army, were charged by the
Cossacks, and found their defensive armour no protection against the
lance. They were all slain except eighteen.[269]

At the moment when victory appeared to declare for the Russians, it was
on the point of being wrested from them. Davoust's division had been
manœuvring since the beginning of the action to turn the left, and
gain the rear, of the Russian line. They now made their appearance on
the field of battle with such sudden effect, that Serpallen was lost,
the Russian left wing, and a part of their centre, were thrown into
disorder, and forced to retire and change their front, so as to form
almost at right angles with the right, and that part of the centre which
retained their original position.

At this crisis, and while the French were gaining ground on the rear of
the Russians, L'Estocq, so long expected, appeared in his turn suddenly
on the field, and, passing the left of the French, and the right of the
Russians, pushed down in three columns to redeem the battle on the
Russian centre and rear. The Prussians, under that loyal and gallant
leader, regained in this bloody field their ancient military reputation.
They never fired till within a few paces of the enemy, and then used the
bayonet with readiness and courage. They redeemed the ground which the
Russians had lost, and drove back in their turn the troops of Davoust
and Bernadotte, who had been lately victorious.

Ney, in the meanwhile, appeared on the field, and occupied Schloditten,
a village on the road to Königsberg. As this endangered the
communication of the Russians with that town, it was thought necessary
to carry it by storm--a gallant resolution, which was successfully
executed.[270] This was the last act of the bloody day. It was ten
o'clock at night, and the combat was ended.[271]

Fifty thousand men perished in this dreadful battle--the best contested
in which Buonaparte had yet engaged, and by far the most unsuccessful.
He retired to the heights from which he had advanced in the morning,
without having gained one point for which he had struggled, and after
having suffered a loss considerably greater than that which he had
inflicted on the enemy. But the condition of the Russian army was also
extremely calamitous. Their generals held a council of war upon the
field of battle, and without dismounting from their horses. The general
sentiment which prevailed among them was, a desire to renew the battle
on the next day, at all hazards. Tolstoy undertook to move forward on
the French lines--L'Estocq urged the same counsel. They offered to
pledge their lives, that, would Bennigsen advance, Napoleon must
necessarily retire; and they urged the moral effect which would be
produced, not on their army only, but on Germany and on Europe, by such
an admission of weakness on the part of him who had never advanced but
to victory. But Bennigsen conceived that the circumstances of his army
did not permit him to encounter the hazard of being cut off from
Königsberg, and endangering the person of the King of Prussia; or that
of risking a second general action, with an army diminished by at least
20,000 killed and wounded, short of ammunition, and totally deprived of
provisions. The Russians accordingly commenced their retreat on
Königsberg that very night. The division of Count Ostermann did not move
till the next morning, when it traversed the field in front of
Preuss-Eylau, without the slightest interruption from the French, who
still occupied the town.[272]

The battle of Preuss-Eylau was claimed as a victory by both parties,
though it was very far from being decided in favour of either. Bennigsen
had it to boast, that he had repelled the attacks of Buonaparte along
the whole of his line, and that the fighting terminated unfavourably to
the French. He could also exhibit the unusual spectacle of twelve
imperial eagles of France, taken in one action. For many days after the
battle, also, the Cossacks continued to scour the country, and bring
into Königsberg great numbers of French prisoners. On the other hand,
the subsequent retreat of the Russians was interpreted by the French
into an acknowledgment of weakness; and they appealed to their own
possession of the field of battle, with the dead and wounded, as the
usual testimonials of victory.

But there were two remarkable circumstances by which Napoleon virtually
acknowledged that he had received an unusual check. On the 13th
February, four days after the battle, a message was despatched to the
King of Prussia by Buonaparte, proposing an armistice, on grounds far
more favourable to the Prince than those Frederick William might have
been disposed to accept, or which Buonaparte would have been inclined to
grant, after the battle of Jena. It was even intimated, that in case of
agreeing to make a separate peace, the Prussian King might obtain from
the French Emperor the restoration of his whole dominions. True to his
ally the Emperor of Russia, Frederick William, even in the extremity of
his distress, refused to accede to any save a general peace. The
proposal of an armistice was also peremptorily refused, and the ground
on which it was offered was construed to indicate Buonaparte's conscious

Another decisive proof of the loss which Napoleon had sustained in the
battle of Preuss-Eylau, was his inactivity after the battle. For eight
days he remained without making any movement, excepting by means of his
cavalry, which were generally worsted, and on the 19th February he
evacuated the place, and prepared himself to retreat upon the Vistula,
instead of driving the Russians, as he had threatened, behind the
Pregel. Various actions took place, during his retreat, with different
fortunes, but the Russian Cossacks and light troops succeeded in making
numbers of prisoners, and collecting much spoil.

[Sidenote: DANTZIC.]

The operations of Napoleon, when he had again retired to the line of the
Vistula, intimated caution, and the sense of a difficult task before
him. He appeared to feel, that the advance into Poland had been
premature, while Dantzic remained in the hands of the Prussians, from
whence the most alarming operations might take place in his rear, should
he again advance to the Vistula without subduing it. The siege of
Dantzic was therefore to be formed without delay. The place was defended
by General Kalkreuth to the last extremity. After many unsuccessful
attempts to relieve it, Dantzic finally surrendered in the end of May
1807, after trenches had been opened before it for fifty-two days.[273]
If the season of the year had admitted, a British expedition to Dantzic
might, if ably conducted, have operated in the rear of the Emperor
Napoleon the relief of Prussia, and perhaps effected the liberation of

The utmost care was also taken to supply the loss which Napoleon's
armies had sustained in these hard-fought campaigns. He raised the siege
of Colberg, drew the greater part of his forces out of Silesia, ordered
a new levy in Switzerland, urged the march of bodies of troops from
Italy, and, to complete his means, demanded a new conscription of the
year 1808, which was instantly complied with by the Senate as a matter
of course. At length, as summer approached, the surrender of Dantzic
enabled him to unite the besieging division, twenty-five thousand
strong, to his main army, and to prepare to resume offensive operations.
A large levy of Poles was made at the same time; and they, with other
light troops of the French, were employed in making strong
reconnoissances, with various fortune, but never without the exchange of
hard blows. It became evident to all Europe, that whatever might be the
end of this bloody conflict, the French Emperor was contending with a
general and troops, against whom it was impossible to gain those
overpowering and irresistible advantages, which characterised his
campaigns in Italy and Germany. The bulletins, it is true, announced new
successes from day to day; but as the geographical advance upon the
Polish territory was by no means in proportion to the advantages
claimed, it was plain that Napoleon was as often engaged in parrying as
in pushing, in repairing losses as in improving victories. The Russian
generals composed plans with skill, and executed them with activity and
spirit, for cutting off separate divisions, and disturbing the French

The Russian army had received reinforcements; but they were deficient in
numerical amount, and only made up their strength, at the utmost, to
their original computation of 90,000 men. This proved unpardonable
negligence in the Russian Government, considering the ease with which
men can there be levied to any extent by the mere will of the Emperor,
and the vital importance of the war which they were now waging. It is
said, however, that the poverty of the Russian Administration was the
cause of this failure to recruit their forces; and that the British
being applied to, to negotiate a loan of six millions, and advance one
million to account, had declined the transaction, and thereby given
great offence to the Emperor Alexander.

Napoleon, so much more remote from his own territories, had already, by
exertions unparalleled in the history of Europe, assembled two hundred
and eighty thousand men between the Vistula and Memel, including the
garrison of Dantzic. With such unequal forces the war recommenced.

The Russians were the assailants, making a combined movement on Ney's
division, which was stationed at Gutstadt, and in the vicinity. They
pursued him as far as Deppen, where there was some fighting; but upon
the 8th of June, Napoleon advanced in person to extricate his marshal,
and Bennigsen was obliged to retreat in his turn. He was hardly pressed
on the rear by the Grand Army of France. But even in this moment of
peril, Platow, with his Cossacks, made a charge, or, in their phrase, a
hourra, upon the French, with such success, that they not only dispersed
the skirmishers of the French vanguard, and the advanced troops destined
to support them, but compelled the infantry to form squares, endangered
the personal safety of Napoleon, and occupied the attention of the whole
French cavalry, who bore down on them at full speed. Musketry and
artillery were all turned on them at once, but to little or no purpose;
for, having once gained the purpose of checking the advance, which was
all they aimed at, the cloud of Cossacks dispersed over the field, like
mist before the sun, and united behind the battalions whom their
demonstration had protected.

By this means Platow and his followers had got before the retreating
division of the Russian army under Bagration, which they were expected
to support, and had reached first a bridge over the Aller. The Cossacks
were alarmed by the immense display of force demonstrated against them,
and showed a disposition to throw themselves confusedly on the bridge,
which must certainly have been attended with the most disastrous
consequences to the rear-guard, who would thus have been impeded in
their retreat by the very troops appointed to support them. The courage
and devotion of Platow prevented that great misfortune. He threw himself
from his horse. "Let the Cossack that is base enough," he exclaimed,
"desert his Hettman!" The children of the wilderness halted around him,
and he disposed them in perfect order to protect the retreat of
Bagration and the rear-guard, and afterwards achieved his own retreat
with trifling loss.[274]


The Russian army fell back upon Heilsberg, and there concentrating their
forces made a most desperate stand. A very hard-fought action [10th
June] here took place. The Russians, overpowered by superior numbers,
and forced from the level ground, continued to defend with fury their
position on the heights, which the French made equally strenuous efforts
to carry by assault. The combat was repeatedly renewed, with cavalry,
infantry, and artillery, but without the fiery valour of the assailants
making any effectual impression on the iron ranks of the Russians.[275]
The battle continued, till the approach of midnight, upon terms of
equality; and when the morning dawned, the space of ground between the
position of the Russians and that of the French, was not merely strewed,
but literally sheeted over, with the bodies of the dead and
wounded.[276] The Russians retired unmolested after the battle of
Heilsberg, and crossing the river Aller, placed that barrier betwixt
them and the army of Buonaparte, which, though it had suffered great
losses, had, in consequence of the superiority of numbers, been less
affected by them than the Russian forces. In the condition of
Bennigsen's army, it was his obvious policy to protract the war,
especially as reinforcements, to the number of thirty thousand men, were
approaching the frontier from the interior of the empire. It was
probably with this view that he kept his army on the right bank of the
Aller, with the exception of a few bodies of cavalry, for the sake of
observation and intelligence.

On the 13th, the Russian army reached Friedland, a considerable town on
the west side of the Aller, communicating with the eastern, or right
bank of the river, by a long wooden bridge. It was the object of
Napoleon to induce the Russian general to pass by this narrow bridge to
the left bank, and then to decoy him into a general action, in a
position where the difficulty of defiling through the town, and over the
bridge, must render retreat almost impossible. For this purpose he
showed such a proportion only of his forces, as induced General
Bennigsen to believe that the French troops on the western side of the
Aller consisted only of Oudinot's division, which had been severely
handled in the battle of Heilsberg, and which he now hoped altogether to
destroy. Under this deception he ordered a Russian division to pass the
bridge, defile through the town, and march to the assault. The French
took care to offer no such resistance as should intimate their real
strength. Bennigsen was thus led to reinforce this division with
another--the battle thickened, and the Russian general at length
transported all his army, one division excepted, to the left bank of the
Aller, by means of the wooden bridge and three pontoons, and arrayed
them in front of the town of Friedland, to overpower, as he supposed,
the crippled division of the French, to which alone he believed himself


But no sooner had he taken this irretrievable step than the mask was
dropped. The French skirmishers advanced in force; heavy columns of
infantry began to show themselves; batteries of cannon were got into
position; and all circumstances concurred, with the report of prisoners,
to assure Bennigsen, that he, with his enfeebled forces, was in presence
of the grand French army. His position, a sort of plain, surrounded by
woods and broken ground, was difficult to defend; with the town and a
large river in his rear, it was dangerous to attempt a retreat, and to
advance was prevented by the inequality of his force. Bennigsen now
became anxious to maintain his communication with Wehlau, a town on the
Pregel, which was the original point of retreat, and where he hoped to
join with the Prussians under General L'Estocq. If the enemy should
seize the bridge at Allerberg, some miles lower down the Aller than
Friedland, this plan would become impossible, and he found himself
therefore obliged to diminish his forces, by detaching six thousand men
to defend that point. With the remainder of his force he resolved to
maintain his present position till night.

The French advanced to the attack about ten o'clock. The broken and
wooded country which they occupied, enabled them to maintain and renew
their efforts at pleasure, while the Russians, in their exposed
situation, could not make the slightest movement without being observed.
Yet they fought with such obstinate valour, that at noon the French
seemed sickening of the contest, and about to retire. But this was only
a feint, to repose such of their forces as had been engaged, and to
bring up reinforcements. The cannonade continued till about half past
four, when Buonaparte brought up his full force in person, for the
purpose of one of those desperate and generally irresistible efforts to
which he was wont to trust the decision of a doubtful day. Columns of
enormous power, and extensive depth, appeared partially visible among
the interstices of the wooded country, and, seen from the town of
Friedland, the hapless Russian army looked as if surrounded by a deep
semicircle of glittering steel. The attack upon all the line, with
cavalry, infantry, and artillery, was general and simultaneous, the
French advancing with shouts of assured victory; while the Russians,
weakened by the loss of at least twelve thousand killed and wounded,
were obliged to attempt that most dispiriting and dangerous of
movements--a retreat through encumbered defiles, in front of a superior
enemy. The principal attack was on the left wing, where the Russian
position was at length forced. The troops which composed it streamed
into the town, and crowded the bridge and pontoons; the enemy thundered
on their rear, and without the valour of Alexander's Imperial Guard, the
Russians would have been utterly destroyed. These brave soldiers charged
with the bayonet the corps of Ney, who led the French vanguard,
disordered his column, and, though they were overpowered by numbers,
prevented the total ruin of the left wing.

Meanwhile, the bridge and pontoons were set on fire, to prevent the
French, who had forced their way into the town, from taking possession
of them. The smoke rolling over the combatants, increased the horror and
confusion of the scene; yet a considerable part of the Russian infantry
escaped through a ford close by the town, which was discovered in the
moment of defeat. The Russian centre and right, who remained on the west
bank of the Aller, effected a retreat by a circuitous route, leaving on
the right the town of Friedland, with its burning bridges, no longer
practicable for friend or foe, and passing the Aller by a ford
considerably farther down the river. This also was found out in the very
moment of extremity--was deep and dangerous, took the infantry up to the
breast, and destroyed what ammunition was left in the tumbrils.

Thus were the Russians once more united on the right bank of the Aller,
and enabled to prosecute their march towards Wehlau. Amid the calamities
of defeat, they had saved all their cannon except seventeen, and
preserved their baggage. Indeed, the stubborn character of their defence
seems to have paralysed the energies of the victor, who, after carrying
the Russian position, showed little of that activity in improving his
success, which usually characterised him upon such occasions. He pushed
no troops over the Aller in pursuit of the retreating enemy, but
suffered Bennigsen to rally his broken troops without interruption.
Neither, when in possession of Friedland, did he detach any force down
the left bank, to act upon the flank of the Russian centre and right,
and cut them off from the river. In short, the battle of Friedland,
according to the expression of a French general, was a battle gained,
but a victory lost.[278]

Yet the most important consequences resulted from the action, though the
French success had been but partially improved. Königsberg,[279] which
had been so long the refuge of the King of Prussia, was evacuated by his
forces, as it became plain his Russian auxiliaries could no longer
maintain the war in Poland.[280] Bennigsen retreated to Tilsit, towards
the Russian frontiers. But the moral consequences of the defeat were of
far greater consequence than could have been either the capture of guns
and prisoners, or the acquisition of territory. It had the effect,
evidently desired by Napoleon, of disposing the Emperor Alexander to
peace. The former could not but feel that he was engaged with a more
obstinate enemy in Russia, than any he had yet encountered. After so
many bloody battles, he was scarce arrived on the frontiers of an
immense empire, boundless in its extent, and almost inexhaustible in
resources; while the French, after suffering extremely in defeating an
army that was merely auxiliary, could scarce be supposed capable of
undertaking a scheme of invasion so gigantic, as that of plunging into
the vast regions of Muscovy.

Such an enterprise would have been peculiarly hazardous in the situation
in which the French Emperor now stood. The English expedition to the
Baltic was daily expected. Gustavus was in Swedish Pomerania, at the
head of a considerable army which had raised the siege of Stralsund. A
spirit of resistance was awakening in Prussia, where the resolute
conduct of Blucher had admirers and imitators, and the nation seemed to
be reviving from the consternation inflicted by the defeat of Jena. The
celebrated Schill, a partisan of great courage and address, had gained
many advantages, and was not unlikely, in a nation bred to arms, to
acquire the command of a numerous body of men. Hesse, Hanover,
Brunswick, and the other provinces of Germany, deprived of their ancient
princes, and subjected to heavy exactions by the conquerors, were ripe
for insurrection. All these dangers were of a nature from which little
could be apprehended, while the Grand Army was at a moderate distance;
but were it to advance into Russia, especially were it to meet with a
check there, these sparks of fire, left in the rear, might be expected
to kindle a dreadful conflagration.

Moved by such considerations, Napoleon had fully kept open the door for
reconciliation betwixt the Czar and himself, abstaining from all those
personal reflections against him, which he usually showered upon those
who thwarted his projects, and intimating more than once, by different
modes of communication, that a peace, which should enable Russia and
France to divide the world betwixt them, should be placed within
Alexander's reach so soon as he was disposed to accept it.

[Sidenote: ARMISTICE.]

The time was now arrived when the Emperor of Russia was disposed to
listen to terms of accommodation with France. He had been for some time
dissatisfied with his allies. Against Frederick William, indeed, nothing
could be objected, save his bad fortune; but what is it that so soon
deprives us of our friends as a constant train of bad luck, rendering us
always a burden more than an aid to them? The King of Sweden was a
feeble ally at best, and had become so unpopular with his subjects, that
his dethronement was anticipated; and it was probably remembered, that
the Swedish province of Finland extended so near to St. Petersburgh, as
to be a desirable acquisition, which, in the course of a treaty with
Buonaparte, might be easily attained.

The principal ally of the Czar had been Britain. But he was displeased,
as we have already noticed, with the economy of the English Cabinet, who
had declined, in his instance, the loans and subsidies, of which they
used to be liberal to allies of far less importance. A subsidy of about
eighty thousand pounds, was all which he had been able to extract from
them. England had, indeed, sent an army into the north to join the
Swedes, in forming the siege of Stralsund; but this was too distant an
operation to produce any effect upon the Polish campaign. Alexander was
also affected by the extreme sufferings of his subjects. His army had
been to him, as to most young sovereigns, a particular object of
attention; and he was justly proud of his noble regiments of Guards,
which, maltreated as they had been in the desperate actions of which we
have given some account, remained scarce the shadow of themselves, in
numbers and appearance. His fame, moreover, suffered little in
withdrawing from a contest in which he was engaged as an auxiliary only;
and Alexander was no doubt made to comprehend, that he might do more in
behalf of the King of Prussia, his ally, by negotiation, than by
continuation of the war. The influence of Napoleon's name, and the
extraordinary splendour of his talents and his exploits, must also have
had an effect upon the youthful imagination of the Russian Emperor. He
might be allowed to feel pride (high as his own situation was) that the
Destined Victor, who had subdued so many princes, was willing to
acknowledge an equality in his case; and he might not yet be so much
aware of the nature of ambition, as to know that it holds the world as
inadequate to maintain two co-ordinate sovereigns.

The Russian Emperor's wish of an armistice was first hinted at by
Bennigsen, on the 21st of June, was ratified on the 23d of the same
month, and was soon afterwards followed, not only by peace with Russia
and Prussia, on a basis which seemed to preclude the possibility of
future misunderstanding, but by the formation of a personal intimacy
and friendship between Napoleon and the only sovereign in Europe, who
had the power necessary to treat with him on an equal footing.

The negotiation for this important pacification was not conducted in the
usual style of diplomacy, but in that which Napoleon had repeatedly
shown a desire to substitute for the conferences of inferior agents, by
the intervention, namely, of the high-contracting parties in person.

The armistice was no sooner agreed upon, than preparations were made for
a personal interview betwixt the two Emperors.[281] It took place upon a
raft prepared for the purpose, and moored in the midst of the river
Niemen, which bore an immense tent or pavilion. At half-past nine, 25th
June, 1807, the two Emperors, in the midst of thousands of spectators,
embarked at the same moment from the opposite banks of the river.
Buonaparte was attended by Murat, Berthier, Bessières, Duroc, and
Caulaincourt; Alexander, by his brother the Archduke Constantine,
Generals Bennigsen and Ouwarrow, with the Count de Lieven, one of his
aides-de-camp. Arriving on the raft, they disembarked and embraced, amid
the shouts and acclamations of both armies, and entering the pavilion
which had been prepared, held a private conference of two hours. Their
officers, who remained at a distance during the interview, were then
reciprocally introduced, and the fullest good understanding seemed to be
established between the sovereigns, who had at their disposal so great a
portion of the universe.[282] It is not to be doubted, that on this
momentous occasion Napoleon exerted all those personal powers of
attraction, which, exercised on the part of one otherwise so
distinguished, rarely failed to acquire the good-will of all with whom
he had intercourse, when he was disposed to employ them.[283] He
possessed also, in an eminent degree, the sort of eloquence which can
make the worse appear the better reason, and which, turning into
ridicule the arguments derived from general principles of morality or
honesty, which he was accustomed to term idiosyncrasy, makes all
reasoning rest upon existing circumstances. Thus, all the maxims of
truth and honour might be plausibly parried by those arising out of
immediate convenience; and the direct interest, or what seemed the
direct interest, of the party whom he wished to gain over, was put in
immediate opposition to the dictates of moral sentiment, and of princely
virtue. In this manner he might plausibly represent, in many points,
that the weal of Alexander's empire might require him to strain some of
the maxims of truth and justice, and to do a little wrong in order to
attain a great national advantage.

The town of Tilsit was now declared neutral. Entertainments of every
kind followed each other in close succession, and the French and
Russian, nay, even the Prussian officers, seemed so delighted with each
other's society, that it was difficult to conceive that men, so
courteous and amiable, had been for so many months drenching trampled
snows and muddy wastes with each other's blood. The two Emperors were
constantly together in public and in private, and on those occasions
their intimacy approached to the character of that of two young men of
rank, who are comrades in sport or frolic, as well as accustomed to be
associates in affairs, and upon occasions, of graver moment. They are
well known to have had private and confidential meetings, where gaiety
and even gallantry seemed to be the sole purpose, but where politics
were not entirely forgotten.[284]


Upon the more public occasions, there were guests at the imperial
festivities, for which they contained small mirth. On the 28th, the
unfortunate King of Prussia arrived at Tilsit, and was presented to his
formidable victor. Buonaparte did not admit him to the footing of
equality on which he treated the Emperor Alexander, and made an early
intimation, that it would only be for the purpose of obliging his
brother of the North, that he might consent to relax his grasp on the
Prussian territories. Those in the King's own possession were reduced to
the petty territory of Memel, with the fortresses of Colberg and
Graudentz. It was soon plain, that the terms on which he was to be
restored to a part of his dominions, would deprive Prussia of almost all
the accessions which had been made since 1773, under the system and by
the talents of the Great Frederick, and reduce her at once from a
first-rate power in Europe to one of the second class.

The beautiful and unfortunate Queen, whose high spirit had hastened the
war, was anxious, if possible, to interfere with such weight as female
intercession might use to diminish the calamities of the peace. It was
but on the first day of the foregoing April, that when meeting the
Emperor Alexander at Königsberg, and feeling the full difference
betwixt that interview and those at Berlin which preceded the war,
Alexander and Frederick William had remained locked for a time in each
other's arms; the former shedding tears of compassion, the latter of
grief. On the same occasion, the Queen, as she saluted the Emperor,
could only utter amidst her tears the words, "Dear cousin!" intimating
at once the depth of their distress, and their affectionate confidence
in the magnanimity of their ally. This scene was melancholy, but that
which succeeded it at Tilsit was more so, for it was embittered by
degradation. The Queen, who arrived at the place of treaty some days
after her husband, was now not only to support the presence of Napoleon,
in whose official prints she was personally abused, and who was the
author of all the misfortunes which had befallen her country; but if she
would in any degree repair these misfortunes, it could only be by
exciting his compassion, and propitiating his favour. "Forgive us," she
said, "this fatal war--the memory of the Great Frederick deceived us--we
thought ourselves his equals because we are his descendants--alas, we
have not proved such!" With a zeal for the welfare of Prussia, which
must have cost her own feelings exquisite pain, she used towards
Napoleon those arts of insinuation, by which women possessed of high
rank, great beauty, wit, and grace, frequently exercise an important
influence. Desirous to pay his court, Napoleon on one occasion offered
her a rose of uncommon beauty. The Queen at first seemed to decline
receiving the courtesy--then accepted it, adding the stipulation--"At
least with Magdeburg."[285] Buonaparte, as he boasted to Josephine, was
proof against these lady-like artifices, as wax-cloth is against rain.
"Your Majesty will be pleased to remember," he said, "that it is I who
offer, and that your Majesty has only the task of accepting."[286]

It was discourteous to remind the unfortunate princess how absolutely
she was at the mercy of the victor, and unchivalrous to dispute that a
lady, accepting a courtesy, has a right to conceive herself as
conferring an obligation, and is therefore entitled to annex a
condition. But it is true, on the other hand, as Napoleon himself urged,
that it would have been playing the gallant at a high price, if he had
exchanged towns and provinces in return for civilities. It is not
believed that the Queen of Prussia succeeded, to any extent, in
obtaining a modification of the terms to which her husband was
subjected; and it is certain, that she felt so deeply the distress into
which her country was plunged, that her sense of it brought her to an
untimely grave. The death of this interesting and beautiful Queen,[287]
not only powerfully affected the mind of her husband and family, but the
Prussian nation at large; who, regarding her as having died a victim to
her patriotic sorrow for the national misfortunes, recorded her fate as
one of the many injuries for which they were to call France and Napoleon
to a severe accompting.


The terms imposed on Prussia by the treaty of Tilsit,[288] were briefly

That portion of Poland acquired by Prussia in the partition of 1772, was
disunited from that kingdom, and erected into a separate territory, to
be called the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. It was to be held by the King of
Saxony, under the character of Grand Duke; and it was stipulated that he
was to have direct communication with this new acquisition by means of a
military road across Silesia, a privilege likely to occasion constant
jealousy betwixt the courts of Berlin and Warsaw. Thus ended the hope of
the Poles to be restored to the condition of an independent nation. They
merely exchanged the dominion of one German master for another--Prussia
for Saxony, Frederick William for Augustus--the only difference being,
that the latter was descended from the ancient Kings of Poland. They
were, however, subjected to a milder and more easy yoke than that which
they had hitherto borne; nor does it appear that the King (as he had
been created) of Saxony derived any real addition of authority and
consequence from the Grand Duchy of Warsaw. It seems, indeed, probable,
that the erection of this sovereignty was the effect of a composition
between the Emperors; Napoleon, on the one hand, renouncing all attempts
at the liberation of Poland, which he could not have persevered in
without continuing the war with Russia, and perhaps with Austria also;
and Alexander consenting that Prussia should be deprived of her Polish
dominions, under the stipulation that they were to be transferred to
Saxony, from whose vicinity his empire could apprehend little danger.

The constitution arranged for the Grand Duchy, also, was such as was not
liable to lead to disturbances among those provinces of Poland which
were united with Austria and Russia. Slavery was abolished, and the
equality of legal rights among all ranks of citizens was acknowledged.
The Grand Duke held the executive power. A Senate, or Upper House, of
eighteen members, and a Lower House of nuncios, or deputies, amounting
to a hundred, passed into laws, or rejected at their pleasure, such
propositions as the Duke laid before them. But the Diets, the Pospolite,
the _Liberum Veto_, and all the other turbulent privileges of the Polish
nobles, continued abolished, as they had been under the Prussian

Buonaparte made it his boast that he had returned the Prussian
territories, not to the House of Brandenburgh, but to Alexander; so that
if Frederick William yet reigned, it was only, he said, by the
friendship of Alexander,--"a term," he added, "which he himself did not
recognise in the vocabulary of sovereigns, under the head of state
affairs." Alexander, however, was not altogether so disinterested as
Buonaparte, with something like a sneer, thus seemed to insinuate. There
was excepted from the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, and added to the territory
of Russia at the expense of Prussia, the province of Bialystock, serving
materially to improve the frontier of the empire. Thus the Czar, in some
degree, profited by the distress of his ally. The apology for his
conduct must rest, first, on the strength of the temptation to stretch
his empire towards the Vistula, as a great natural boundary; secondly,
on the plea, that if he had declined the acquisition from a point of
delicacy, Saxony, not Prussia would have profited by his self-denial, as
the territory of Bialystock would, in that event, have gone to augment
the Duchy of Warsaw. Russia ceded the lordship of Jever to Holland, as
an ostensible compensation for her new acquisition.[289]

Dantzic, with a certain surrounding territory, was, by the treaty of
Tilsit, recognised as a free city, under the protection of Prussia and
Saxony. There can be little doubt, that the farther provision, that
France should occupy the town until the conclusion of a maritime peace,
was intended to secure, for the use of Napoleon, a place of arms, so
important in case of a new breach betwixt him and Russia.

It followed, as a matter of course, that the Emperor Alexander and the
King of Prussia ratified all the changes which Napoleon had wrought on
Europe, acknowledged the thrones which he had erected, and recognised
the leagues which he had formed. On the other hand, out of deference to
the Emperor, Buonaparte consented that the Dukes of Saxe-Coburg,
Oldenburg, and Mecklenburg-Schwerin, German princes connected with
Alexander, should remain in possession of their territories; the French,
however, continuing to occupy the seaports of the two countries last
named, until a final peace betwixt France and England.

While these important negotiations were proceeding, a radical change
took place in the councils of the British nation; what was called the
Fox and Grenville administration being dissolved, and their place
supplied by one formed under the auspices of the Duke of Portland, and
comprehending Lords Liverpool, Castlereagh, Mr. Canning, and other
statesmen, professing the principles of the late William Pitt. It was an
anxious object with the new cabinet to reconcile the Czar to the
alliance of England, and atone for the neglect with which he considered
himself as having been treated by their predecessors. With this purpose,
Lord Leveson Gower[290] was despatched with power to make such offers of
conciliation as might maintain or renew an amicable intercourse between
Britain and Russia. But the Emperor Alexander had taken his part, at
least for the present; and, being predetermined to embrace the course
recommended by his new ally Buonaparte, he avoided giving audience to
the British ambassador, and took his measures at Tilsit, without
listening to the offers of accommodation which Lord Gower was empowered
to propose.

By the treaty of Tilsit, so far as made public, Russia offered her
mediation betwixt Britain and France, on condition that the first named
kingdom should accept the proffer of her interference within a month. So
far, therefore, the Czar appeared to a certain extent careful of the
interest of his late ally. But it is now perfectly well understood, that
among other private articles of this memorable treaty, there existed one
by which the Emperor bound himself, in case of Britain's rejecting the
proposed mediation, to recognise and enforce what Buonaparte called the
Continental System, by shutting his ports against British vessels, and
engaging the Northern Courts in a new coalition, having for its object
the destruction of English maritime superiority. In a word, the armed
Northern Neutrality, originally formed under the auspices of Catherine,
and in an evil hour adopted by the unfortunate Paul, was again to be
established under the authority of Alexander. Denmark, smarting under
the recollections of the battle of Copenhagen, only waited, it was
thought, the signal to join such a coalition, and would willingly
consent to lend her still powerful navy to its support; and Sweden was
in too weak and distracted a state to resist the united will of France
and Russia, either regarding war with Britain, or any other stipulations
which it might be intended to impose upon her. But as there is no
country of Europe to which the commerce of England is so beneficial as
Russia, whose gross produce she purchases almost exclusively, it was
necessary to observe strict secrecy upon these further objects. The
ostensible proposal of mediation was therefore resorted to, less in the
hope, perhaps, of establishing peace betwixt France and England, than in
the expectation of affording a pretext, which might justify in the eye
of the Russian nation a rupture with the latter power. But in spite of
every precaution which could be adopted, the address of the British
ambassador obtained possession of the secret which France and Russia
deemed it so important to conceal; and Lord Gower was able to transmit
to his court an exact account of this secret article, and particularly
of the two Emperors having resolved to employ the Danish fleet in the
destruction of the maritime rights of Britain, which had been so lately
put upon a footing, that, to Alexander at least, had, till his recent
fraternization with Buonaparte, seemed entirely satisfactory.

There were, no doubt, other secret articles named in the treaty of
Tilsit, by which it seems to have been the object of these two great
Emperors, as they loved to term themselves, of the North and of the
South, to divide the civilized world between them.[291] It may be
regarded as certain, that Buonaparte opened to Alexander the course of
unprincipled policy which he intended to pursue respecting the kingdom
of Spain, and procured his acquiescence in that daring usurpation. And
it has been affirmed, that he also stipulated for the aid of Russia to
take Gibraltar, to recover Malta and Egypt, and to banish the British
flag from the Mediterranean. All these enterprises were more or less
directly calculated to the depression, or rather the destruction of
Great Britain, the only formidable enemy who still maintained the strife
against France, and so far the promised co-operation of Russia must have
been in the highest degree grateful to Napoleon. But Alexander, however
much he might be Buonaparte's personal admirer, did not follow his
father's simplicity in becoming his absolute dupe, but took care, in
return for his compliance with the distant, and in some degree visionary
projects of Buonaparte's ambition, to exact his countenance and
co-operation in gaining certain acquisitions of the highest importance
to Russia, and which were found at a future period to have added
powerfully to her means of defence, when she once more matched her
strength with that of France. To explain this, we must look back to the
ancient policy of France and of Europe, when, by supporting the weaker
states, and maintaining their dependence, it was the object to prevent
the growth of any gigantic and over-bearing power, who might derange the
balance of the civilized world.

The growing strength of Russia used in former times to be the natural
subject of jealousy to the French Government, and they endeavoured to
counterbalance these apprehensions by extending the protection of France
to the two weaker neighbours of Russia, the Porte and the kingdom of
Sweden, with which powers it had always been the policy of France to
connect herself, and which connexion was not only honourable to that
kingdom, but useful to Europe. But, at the treaty of Tilsit, and in
Buonaparte's subsequent conduct relating to these powers, he lost sight
of this national policy, or rather sacrificed it to his own personal

One of the most important private articles of the treaty of Tilsit seems
to have provided, that Sweden should be despoiled of her provinces of
Finland in favour of the Czar, and be thus, with the consent of
Buonaparte, deprived of all effectual means of annoying Russia. A single
glance at the map will show how completely the possession of Finland put
a Swedish army, or the army of France as an ally of Sweden, within a
short march of St. Petersburgh; and how, by consenting to Sweden's being
stripped of that important province, Napoleon relinquished the grand
advantage to be derived from it, in case of his ever being again obliged
to contend with Russia upon Russian ground. Yet there can be no doubt,
that at the treaty of Tilsit he became privy to the war which Russia
shortly after waged against Sweden, in which Alexander deprived that
ancient kingdom of her frontier province of Finland, and thereby
obtained a covering territory of the last and most important consequence
to his own capital.

The Porte was no less made a sacrifice to the inordinate anxiety, which,
at the treaty of Tilsit, Buonaparte seems to have entertained, for
acquiring at any price the accession of Russia to his extravagant desire
of destroying England. By the public treaty, indeed, some care seems to
have been taken of the interests of Turkey, since it provides that
Turkey was to have the benefit of peace under the mediation of France,
and that Russia was to evacuate Moldavia and Wallachia, for the
acquisition of which she was then waging an unprovoked war. But by the
secret agreement of the two Emperors, it was unquestionably understood,
that Turkey in Europe was to be placed at the mercy of Alexander, as
forming naturally a part of the Russian Empire, as Spain, Portugal, and
perhaps Great Britain, were, from local position, destined to become
provinces of France. At the subsequent Congress betwixt the Emperors at
Erfurt, their measures against the Porte were more fully adjusted.

It may seem strange, that the shrewd and jealous Napoleon should have
suffered himself to be so much over-reached in his treaty with
Alexander, since the benefits stipulated for France, in the treaty of
Tilsit, were in a great measure vague, and subjects of hope rather than
certainty. The British naval force was not easily to be
subdued--Gibraltar and Malta are as strong fortresses as the world can
exhibit--the conquest of Spain was at least a doubtful undertaking, if
the last war of the Succession was carefully considered. But the Russian
objects were nearer, and were within her grasp. Finland was seized on
with little difficulty, nor did the conquest even of Constantinople
possess any thing very difficult to a Russian army, if unopposed save by
the undisciplined forces of the Turkish empire. Thus it is evident,
that Napoleon exchanged, for distant and contingent prospects, his
acquiescence in the Russian objects, which were near, essential, and, in
comparison, of easy attainment. The effect of this policy we shall
afterwards advert to. Meanwhile, the two most ancient allies of France,
and who were of the greatest political importance to her in case of a
second war with Russia, were most unwisely abandoned to the mercy of
that power, who failed not to despoil Sweden of Finland, and, but for
intervening causes, would probably have seized upon Constantinople with
the same ease.

If the reader should wonder how Buonaparte, able and astucious as he
was, came to be overreached in the treaty of Tilsit, we believe the
secret may be found in a piece of private history. Even at that early
period Napoleon nourished the idea of fixing, as he supposed, the fate
of his own family, or dynasty, by connecting it by marriage with the
blood of one of the established monarchies of Europe. He had hopes, even
then, that he might obtain the hand of one of the Archduchesses of
Russia, nor did the Emperor throw any obstacle in the way of the scheme.
It is well known that his suit was afterwards disappointed by the
Empress Mother, who pleaded the difference of religion; but at the time
of the treaty of Tilsit, Napoleon was actually encouraged, or deceived
himself into an idea that he received encouragement, to form a perpetual
family connexion with Russia.[292] This induced him to deal easily with
Alexander in the matters which they had to discuss together, and to act
the generous, almost the prodigal friend. And this also seems to have
been the reason why Napoleon frequently complained of Alexander's
insincerity, and often termed him _The Greek_, according to the Italian
sense of the name, which signifies a trickster or deceiver.

But we must return from the secret articles of the Tilsit treaty, which
opened such long vistas in futurity, to the indisputable and direct
consequences of that remarkable measure.

The treaty betwixt Russia and France was signed upon the 7th--that
betwixt France and Prussia on the 9th July.[293] Frederick William
published upon the 24th of the same month one of the most dignified, and
at the same time the most affecting proclamations, that ever expressed
the grief of an unfortunate sovereign.

"Dear inhabitants of faithful provinces, districts, and towns," said
this most interesting document, "my arms have been unfortunate. The
efforts of the relics of my army have been of no avail. Driven to the
extreme boundaries of my empire, and having seen my powerful ally
conclude an armistice, and sign a peace, no choice remained for me save
to follow his example. That peace was necessarily purchased upon terms
corresponding to imperious circumstances. It has imposed on me, and on
my house--it has imposed upon the whole country, the most painful
sacrifices. The bonds of treaties, the reciprocalities of love and duty,
the work of ages, have been broken asunder. My efforts have proved in
vain. Fate ordains it, and a father parts from his children. I release
you completely from your allegiance to myself and to my house. My most
ardent prayers for your welfare will always attend you in your relations
to your new sovereign. Be to him what you have ever been to me. Neither
force nor fate shall ever efface the remembrance of you from my heart."

To trace the triumphant return of the victor is a singular contrast to
those melancholy effusions of the vanquished monarch. The treaty of
Tilsit had ended all appearance of opposition to France upon the
Continent. The British armament, which had been sent to Pomerania too
late in the campaign, was re-embarked, and the King of Sweden,
evacuating Stralsund, retired to the dominions which he was not very
long destined to call his own. After having remained together for twenty
days, during which they daily maintained the most friendly intercourse,
and held together long and secret conferences, the two Emperors at last
separated, with demonstrations of the highest personal esteem, and each
heaping upon the other all the honours which it was in his power to
bestow. The congress broke up on the 9th July; and on his return to
France, Napoleon visited Saxony, and was there met at Bautzen (doomed
for a very different reason to be renowned in his history) by King
Augustus, who received him with the honours due to one who had, in
outward appearance at least, augmented the power which he might have

[Sidenote: PARIS.]

On 29th July, Napoleon, restored to his palace at St. Cloud, received
the homage of the Senate, and other official and constitutional bodies.
The celebrated naturalist Lacepède, as the organ of the former body,
made a pompous enumeration of the miracles of the campaign; and avowed,
that the accomplishment of such wonderful actions as would seemingly
have required ages, was but to Napoleon the work of a few months; while
at the same time his ruling genius gave motion to all the domestic
administration of his vast empire, and, although four hundred leagues
distant from the capital, was present with and observant of the most
complicated as well as extensive details. "We cannot," concludes the
orator, "offer to your Majesty praises worthy of you. Your glory is too
much raised above us. It will be the task of posterity, removed at a
distance from your presence, to estimate with greater truth its real
degree of elevation. Enjoy, sire, the recompense the most worthy of the
greatest of monarchs, the happiness of being beloved by the greatest of
nations, and may our great-grandchildren be long happy under your
Majesty's reign."

So spoke the President of the French Senate; and who, that wished to
retain the name of a rational being, dared have said, that, within the
period of seven years, the same Senate would be carrying to the
downfallen and dejected King of Prussia their congratulations on his
share in the overthrow of the very man whom they were now adoring as a

The fortunes and fame of Napoleon were, indeed, such as to excite in the
highest degree the veneration with which men look upon talents and
success. All opposition seemed to sink before him, and Fortune appeared
only to have looked doubtfully upon him during a part of the last
campaign, in order to render still brighter the auspicious aspect under
which she closed it. Many of his most confirmed enemies, who, from their
proved attachment to the House of Bourbon, had secretly disowned the
authority of Buonaparte, and doubted the continuance of his success,
when they saw Prussia lying at his feet, and Russia clasping his hand in
friendship, conceived they should be struggling against the decrees of
Providence, did they longer continue to resist their predestined master.
Austerlitz had shaken their constancy; Tilsit destroyed it: and with few
and silent exceptions, the vows, hopes, and wishes of France, seemed
turned on Napoleon as her Heir by Destiny. Perhaps he himself, only,
could finally have disappointed their expectations. But he was like the
adventurous climber on the Alps, to whom the surmounting the most
tremendous precipices, and ascending to the most towering peaks only
shows yet dizzier heights and higher points of elevation.


[258] "We have here a critique upon the policy of Napoleon towards
Poland, which I shall not stop to examine. It is but too easy to
criticise the actions of statesmen, when time, in its rapid course, has
unveiled the causes and effects of events: when the game is finished,
the spectators have no longer any credit in discovering what the players
ought to have done."--LOUIS BUONAPARTE, p. 53.

[259] Most readers must be so far acquainted with the ancient form of
Polish Diets as to know, that their resolutions were not legally valid
if there was one dissenting voice, and that in many cases the most
violent means were resorted to, to obtain unanimity. The following
instance was related to our informer, a person of high rank:--On some
occasion, a provincial Diet was convened for the purpose of passing a
resolution which was generally acceptable, but to which it was
apprehended one noble of the district would oppose his veto. To escape
this interruption, it was generally resolved to meet exactly at the hour
of summons, to proceed to business upon the instant, and thus to elude
the anticipated attempt of the individual to defeat the purpose of their
meeting. They accordingly met at the hour, with most accurate precision,
and shut and bolted the doors of their place of meeting. But the
dissentient arrived a few minutes afterwards, and entrance being
refused, under the excuse that the Diet was already constituted, he
climbed upon the roof of the hall, and, it being summer time, when no
fires were lighted, descended through the vent into the stove by which,
in winter, the apartment was heated. Here he lay perdu, until the vote
was called, when, just as it was about to be recorded as unanimous in
favour of the proposed measure, he thrust his head out of the stove,
like a turtle protruding his neck from his shell, and pronounced the
fatal _veto_. Unfortunately for himself, instead of instantly
withdrawing his head, he looked around for an instant with exultation,
to remark and enjoy the confusion which his sudden appearance and
interruption had excited in the assembly. One of the nobles who stood by
unsheathed his sabre, and severed at one blow the head of the
dissentient from his body. Our noble informer, expressing some doubt of
a story so extraordinary, was referred for its confirmation to Prince
Sobieski, afterwards King of Poland, who not only bore testimony to the
strange scene, as what he had himself witnessed, but declared that the
head of the Dietm rolled over on his own foot almost as soon as he heard
the word _veto_ uttered. Such a constitution required much amelioration;
but that formed no apology for the neighbouring states, who dismembered
and appropriated to themselves an independent kingdom, with the faults
or advantages of whose government they had not the slightest title to

[260] "Napoleon had sent to Italy for the Polish General, Dombrowski,
who joined us at Potsdam. This was an indication of his intentions,
though as yet he had not allowed a word on the subject to transpire in
Poland. It was not until after the final refusal of the King of Prussia
to negotiate, that he appealed to the patriotism of the Poles to augment
his force. With a view to this object, the mere presence of Dombrowski
was of great advantage."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 212.

[261] This bulletin was dated, Imperial Headquarters at Posen, December
1. On the next day, Napoleon issued the following proclamation to the
army:--"Soldiers! a year ago, at the same hour, you were on the
memorable field of Austerlitz. The sacred cohorts of Russia fled,
defeated, before you; or, surrounded, laid down their arms at the feet
of their conquerors. To the moderation, and, perhaps, blameable
generosity, which overlooked the third coalition, the formation of a
fourth may be ascribed. But the ally on whose military skill their
principal hope rested, is already no more. His principal towns, his
fortresses, his forage, and ammunition, magazines, 280 standards, 700
pieces of cannon, are in our power. Neither the Oder, nor Warta, the
deserts of Poland, nor the rude season of winter, have been capable of
arresting, for a moment, our progress. You have braved all dangers,
surmounted them all, and every enemy has fled on your approach. In vain
did the Russians wish to defend the capital of ancient and illustrious
Poland. The French eagles hover over the Vistula. The unfortunate, but
brave Poles, on contemplating you, fancy they behold the celebrated
legions of their great Sobieski returning from a military expedition."

[262] Forty-fifth, forty-sixth, and forty-seventh Bulletins of the Grand

[263] Forty-seventh Bulletin of the Grand Army; Jomini, tom. ii., pp.
334, 343; Savary, tom. ii., p. 15.

[264] "The Emperor established himself at Warsaw on the 1st January,
1807. He calculated on remaining there until the return of spring. Our
halt was delightful. With the exception of theatres, the city presented
all the gaieties of Paris. Twice a-week the Emperor gave a concert;
after which a court was held, which led again to numerous meetings in
private parties. On these occasions, the personal beauty and graceful
manners of the Polish ladies were conspicuous. While time passed away
thus agreeably, duty was not neglected. The Emperor made every exertion
to revictual and provide for his army."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 17.

[265] Fifty-fifth Bulletin of the Grand Army; Savary, tom. ii., p. 25;
Jomini, tom. ii., p. 353.

[266] "As ill luck would have it, the officer despatched to Bernadotte
was a young man of no experience, who proceeded straight towards the
place of his destination, without making any inquiries as to what might
be on the road. The consequence was, he fell into the hands of some
Cossacks, who carried him and his despatch to the Russian
general-in-chief. This trifling accident was attended with serious
consequences. But for the capture of this officer, the Russian army must
inevitably have been destroyed, and peace would have been immediately
concluded."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 30.

[267] Sir Robert Wilson's Sketches of the Campaigns in Poland, in 1806
and 1807, p. 94.--S.

[268] Jomini, tom. ii., p. 359, states the Russian army to have been
80,000 strong.

[269] "When the French cuirassiers made their desperate charge on the
Russian centre, and passed through an interval, the Cossacks bore down
on them, speared them, unhorsed them, and in a few moments 530 Cossacks
reappeared on the field, equipped with the spoil of the slain."--SIR R.
WILSON, p. 27.

[270] Fifty-eighth Bulletin of the Grand Army; Savary, tom. ii., p. 30;
Jomini, tom. ii., p. 357.

[271] "One day, during dinner, the conversation turned on various deeds
of arms. The grand marshal said, that what had most struck him in the
life of Napoleon happened at Eylau, when, attended only by some officers
of his staff, a column of four or five thousand Russians came almost in
contact with him. The Emperor was on foot; Berthier instantly ordered up
the horses: the Emperor gave him a reproachful look; then sent orders to
a battalion of his guard to advance, which was a good way behind, and
standing still. As the Russians advanced, he repeated several times,
'What audacity! what audacity!' At the sight of the grenadiers of the
guard, the Russians stopped short. It was high time for them to do so,
as Bertrand said. The Emperor had never stirred; all who surrounded him
had been much alarmed."--LAS CASES, tom. i., p. 143.

[272] Sir Robert Wilson's Sketch of the Campaigns in Poland, p. 29.

[273] Seventy-seventh Bulletin of the Grand Army; Jomini, tom. ii., p.
396; Savary, tom. ii., p. 48. Dantzic surrendered on the 24th of May,
and, four days after, Napoleon conferred on Marshal Lefebvre the title
of Duke of Dantzic.

[274] Sir Robert Wilson's Campaigns in Poland, p. 30.

[275] Seventy-eighth Bulletin of the Grand Army; Jomini, tom. ii., p.
408; Savary, tom. ii., p. 52.

[276] "Next day, June 11, the Russians stopped all day in front of
Heilsberg: both parties removed their wounded; and we had as many as
though we had fought a great battle. The Emperor was very
dissatisfied."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 53.

[277] "The Emperor ordered me to advance alone, along the wood on our
right, to seek a point whence the bridge of Friedland was visible; and
after observing whether the Russians were crossing over to our bank or
recrossing to the right, I returned to inform him, that the Russians,
instead of retiring, were all crossing to our bank of the river, and
that their masses were sensibly augmenting. 'Well,' said the Emperor, 'I
am ready now. I have an hour's advantage of them, and will give them
battle since they wish it: this is the anniversary of Marengo, and
to-day fortune is with me.'"--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 56.

[278] Seventy-ninth Bulletin of the Grand Army; Savary, tom. ii., p. 56;
Jomini, tom. ii., p. 411.

[279] Eightieth Bulletin of the Grand Army.

[280] Three days after the battle, the unfortunate Queen of Prussia
wrote thus to her father, the elector of Baden:--"By the unfortunate
battle of Friedland, Königsberg fell into the hands of the French. We
are closely pressed by the enemy, and if the danger should become in any
degree more imminent, I shall be compelled to leave Memel with my
children. I shall go to Riga, should the aspect of affairs become more
alarming. God will give me the power to survive the moment when I shall
cross the borders: all my firmness will then be required, but I look to
Heaven for support, from whence comes all good and evil; and it is my
firm belief, that no more is imposed upon us than we are able to bear."

[281] "I saw in the hands of M. de Talleyrand, who had just arrived at
Königsberg, the letter in which the Emperor directed him to come to
Tilsit, and which contained this observation, 'If peace be not concluded
in a fortnight, I cross the Niemen.' At the same time, I received orders
to prepare the bridge-equipage. I mentioned this circumstance to M. de
Talleyrand. 'Do not hurry yourself,' replied he: 'where is the utility
of going beyond the Niemen? What are we to find beyond that river? the
Emperor must renounce his views respecting Poland: that country is good
for nothing: we can only organize disorder there: we have now a
favourable opportunity of making an end of this business, and we must
not let it escape.' At first I was at a loss to comprehend all this; and
it was not until our diplomatist unfolded his projects with respect to
_Spain_, that I understood the hints he had thrown out."--SAVARY, tom.
ii., p. 74.

[282] Eighty-sixth Bulletin of the Grand Army; Savary, tom. ii., p. 75;
Jomini, tom. ii., p. 423.

[283] The impression which Buonaparte's presence and conversation, aided
by the preconceived ideas of his talents, made on all who approached his
person, was of the most striking kind. The captain of a British
man-of-war, who was present at his occupying the island of Elba,
disturbed on that occasion the solemnity and gravity of a levee, at
which several British functionaries attended, by bearing a homely, but
certainly a striking testimony to his powers of attraction, while he
exclaimed, that "Boney was a d--d good fellow, after all!"--S.

[284] Las Cases, tom. iv., p. 218.

[285] "The Queen often called to her recollection that part of English
history which states that Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII., after the
taking of Calais, which had so long been an appanage to the English
crown, and which had often been attempted in vain by the Duke of Guise,
during her reign, and its subsequent cession to France,--was accustomed
to say, 'That if her heart could be opened, the name of Calais would be
found traced there in letters of blood.' The same might be said of the
Queen of Prussia in regard to Magdeburg."--MAD. DE BERG.

[286] Las Cases, tom. iv., p. 213.

[287] The Queen of Prussia died on the 19th July, 1810. The following
letter was written by her a few days after the signing of the treaty of
Tilsit:--"Peace is concluded; but at how painful a price! Our frontiers
will not henceforth extend beyond the Elbe: the King, however, after
all, has proved himself a greater man than his adversary. He has been
compelled by necessity to negotiate with his enemy, but no alliance has
taken place between them. This will one day or other bring a blessing
upon Prussia. Again, I say, the King's just dealing will bring good
fortune to Prussia; this is my firm belief."

[288] For a copy of the Treaty of Tilsit, see Annual Register, vol.
xlix., p. 720.

[289] "This does not appear to me to be correct: according to the terms
of the treaty, this country was ceded personally to me, and my first act
was to unite it to Holland. I establish this fact merely for the sake of
truth."--LOUIS BUONAPARTE, p. 53.

[290] Now Earl Granville.

[291] "In the secret treaty, Alexander and Napoleon shared between them
the continental world: all the south was abandoned to Napoleon, already
master of Italy and arbiter of Germany, pushing his advanced post as far
as the Vistula, and making Dantzic one of the most formidable
arsenals."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 310.

[292] "It was perhaps a misfortune to me that I had not married a sister
of the Emperor Alexander, as proposed to me by Alexander himself at
Erfurth. But there were inconveniences in that union arising from her
religion. I did not like to allow a Russian priest to be the confessor
of my wife, as I considered that he would have been a spy in the
Tuileries for Alexander."--NAPOLEON, _Voice_, &c., vol. ii., p. 150.

[293] See the treaty between Prussia and France, Annual Register, vol.
xlix., p. 714.


     _British Expedition to Calabria, under Sir John Stuart--Character
     of the People--Opposed by General Reynier--Battle of Maida, 4th
     July, 1806--Defeat of the French--Calabria evacuated by the
     British--Erroneous Commercial Views, and Military Plans, of the
     British Ministry--Unsuccessful Attack on Buenos Ayres--General
     Whitelocke--is cashiered--Expedition against Turkey, and its
     Dependencies--Admiral Duckworth's Squadron sent against
     Constantinople--Passes and repasses the Dardanelles, without
     accomplishing anything--Expedition against Alexandria--Rosetta
     attacked--British troops defeated--and withdrawn from Egypt,
     September, 1807--Curaçoa and Cape of Good Hope taken by
     England--British Expedition against Copenhagen--its Citadel, Forts,
     and Fleet, surrendered to the British--Effects of this proceeding
     upon France and Russia--Coalition of France, Russia, Austria, and
     Prussia, against British Commerce._

The treaty of Tilsit is an important point in the history of Napoleon.
At no time did his power seem more steadfastly rooted, more feebly
assailed. The canker-worm by which it was ultimately to be destroyed,
was, like that of the forest-tree, intrenched and hidden in the bosom of
him whom it was destined to sap and consume. It is a fitting time,
therefore, to take a general survey of the internal character of his
government, when the arrangements seemed to be at his own choice, and
ere misfortune, hitherto a stranger, dictated his course of proceeding,
which had before experienced no control save his own will. We propose,
therefore, in the next chapter, to take a brief review of the character
of Buonaparte's government during this the most flourishing period of
his power.

But, ere doing so, we must shortly notice some circumstances, civil and
military, which, though they had but slight immediate effect upon the
general current of events, yet serve to illustrate the character of the
parties concerned, and to explain future incidents which were followed
by more important consequences. These we have hitherto omitted, in order
to present, in a continuous and uninterrupted form, the history of the
momentous warfare, in the course of which Prussia was for the time
subjugated, and Russia so far tamed by the eventful struggle, as to be
willing to embrace the relation of an ally to the conqueror, whose
course she had proposed to stem and to repel.

Among these comparatively minor incidents, must be reckoned the attempt
made by the British Government to rescue the Calabrian dominions of the
Neapolitan Bourbons from the intrusive government of Joseph Buonaparte.
The character of the inhabitants of that mountainous country is well
known. Bigots in their religion, and detesting a foreign yoke, as is
usual with natives of a wild and almost lawless region; sudden in their
passions, and readily having recourse to the sword, in revenge whether
of public or private injury; enticed also by the prospect of occasional
booty, and retaining a wild species of attachment to Ferdinand, whose
manners and habits were popular with the Italians, and especially with
those of the inferior order, the Calabrians were readily excited to take
arms by the agents sent over to practise among them by the Sicilian
court. Lawless at the time, cruel in their mode of conducting war, and
incapable of being subjected to discipline, the bands which they formed
amongst themselves, acted rather in the manner, and upon the motives of
banditti, than of patriots. They occasionally, and individually, showed
much courage, and even a sort of instinctive skill, which taught them
how to choose their ambushes, defend their passes, and thus maintain a
sort of predatory war, in which the French sustained considerable
losses. Yet if their efforts remained unassisted by some regular force,
it was evident that these insurrectionary troops must be destroyed in
detail by the disciplined and calculated exertions of the French
soldiers. To prevent this, and to gratify, at the same time, the anxious
wishes of the Court of Palermo, Sir John Stuart, who commanded the
British troops which had been sent to defend Sicily, undertook an
expedition to the neighbouring shore of Italy, and disembarked in the
Gulf of St. Euphemia, near the frontier of Lower Calabria, in the
beginning of July, 1806, with something short of five thousand men.

[Sidenote: MAIDA.]

The disembarkation was scarcely made, ere the British commander learned
that General Reynier, who commanded for Joseph Buonaparte in Calabria,
had assembled a force nearly equal to his own, and had advanced to
Maida, a town about ten miles distant from St. Euphemia, with the
purpose of giving him battle. Sir John Stuart lost no time in moving to
meet him, and Reynier, confident in the numbers of his cavalry, the
quality of his troops, and his own skill in tactics, abandoned a strong
position on the further bank of the river Amata, and on the 4th July
came down to meet the British in the open plain. Of all Buonaparte's
generals, an Englishman would have desired, in especial, to be opposed
to this leader, who had published a book on the evacuation of
Egypt,[294] in which he denied every claim on the part of the British to
skill or courage, and imputed the loss of the province exclusively to
the incapacity of Menou, under whom Reynier, the author, had served as
second in command. He was now to try his own fate with the enemy, for
whom he had expressed so much contempt.

At nine in the morning, the two lines were opposite to each other, when
the British light infantry brigade, forming the right of the advanced
line, and the 1^{ere} Légère on the French left, a favourite regiment,
found themselves confronted. As if by mutual consent, when at the
distance of about one hundred yards, the opposed corps threw in two or
three close fires reciprocally, and then rushed on to charge each other
with the bayonet. The British commanding officer, perceiving that his
men were embarrassed by the blankets which they carried at their backs,
halted the line that they might throw them down. The French saw the
pause, and taking it for the hesitation of fear, advanced with a
quickened pace and loud acclamations. An officer, our informer, seeing
their veteran appearance, moustached countenances, and regularity of
order, could not forbear a feeling of anxiety as he glanced his eye
along the British line, which consisted in a great measure of young and
beardless recruits. But disembarrassed of their load, and receiving the
order to advance, they cheered, and in their turn hastened towards the
enemy with a rapid pace and levelled bayonets. The French officers were
now seen encouraging their men, whose courage began to falter when they
found they were to be the assailed party, not the assailants. Their line
halted; they could not be brought to advance by the utmost efforts of
their officers, and when the British were within bayonet's length, they
broke and ran; but too late for safety, for they were subjected to the
most dreadful slaughter. An attempt made by Reynier to redeem the day
with his cavalry, was totally unsuccessful.[295] He was beaten on all
points, and in such a manner as left it indisputable, that the British
soldier, man to man, has a superiority over his enemy, similar to that
which the British seaman possesses upon his peculiar element.[296]

It would be in vain to inquire whether this superiority, which we do not
hesitate to say has been made manifest, with very few exceptions,
wherever the British have met foreign troops upon equal terms, arises
from a stronger conformation of body, or a more determined turn of mind;
but it seems certain that the British soldier, inferior to the Frenchman
in general intelligence, and in individual acquaintance with the trade
of war, has a decided advantage in the bloody shock of actual conflict,
and especially when maintained by the bayonet, body to body. It is
remarkable also, that the charm is not peculiar to any one of the three
united nations, but is common to the natives of all, different as they
are in habits and education. The Guards, supplied by the city of London,
may be contrasted with a regiment of Irish recruited among their rich
meadows, or a body of Scotch from their native wildernesses; and while
it may be difficult to assign the palm to either over the other two, all
are found to exhibit that species of dogged and desperate courage,
which, without staying to measure force or calculate chances, rushes on
the enemy as the bull-dog upon the bear. This great moral encouragement
was the chief advantage derived from the battle of Maida; for such was
the tumultuous, sanguinary, and unmanageable character of the Calabrian
insurgents, that it was judged impossible to continue the war with such
assistants. The _malaria_ was also found to affect the British troops;
and Sir John Stuart, re-embarking his little army, returned to Sicily,
and the efforts of the British were confined to the preservation of that
island. But the battle of Maida was valuable as a corollary to that of
Alexandria. We have not learned whether General Reynier ever thought it
equally worthy of a commentary.[297]


The eyes of the best-informed men in Britain were now open to the
disadvantageous and timid policy, of conducting this momentous war by
petty expeditions and experimental armaments, too inadequate to the
service to be productive of any thing but disappointment. The paltry
idea of making war for British objects, as it was called, that is,
withholding from the general cause those efforts which might have saved
our allies, and going in search of some petty object in which Britain
might see an individual interest, was now universally acknowledged;
although it became more difficult than ever to select points of attack
where our limited means might command success. It was also pretty
distinctly seen, that the plan of opening a market for British
manufactures, by conquering distant and unhealthy provinces, was as idle
as immoral. In the latter quality, it somewhat resembled the proceedings
of the surgeon mentioned in Le Sage's satirical novel, who converted
passengers into patients by a stroke of his poniard, and then hastened,
in his medical capacity, to cure the wounds he had inflicted. In point
of profit, we had frequently to regret, that the colonists, whom we
proposed to convert by force of arms into customers for British goods,
were too rude to want, and too poor to pay for them. Nothing deceives
itself so willingly as the love of gain. Our principal merchants and
manufacturers, among other commercial visions, had imagined to
themselves an unlimited market for British commodities, in the immense
plains surrounding Buenos Ayres, which are, in fact, peopled by a sort
of Christian savages called Gauchos, whose principal furniture is the
skulls of dead horses, whose only food is raw beef and water, whose sole
employment is to catch wild cattle, by hampering them with a Gaucho's
noose, and whose chief amusement is to ride wild horses to death.[298]
Unfortunately, they were found to prefer their national independence to
cottons and muslins.

Two several attempts were made on this miserable country, and neither
redounded to the honour or advantage of the British nation. Buenos Ayres
was taken possession of by a handful of British troops on the 27th June,
1806, who were attacked by the inhabitants and by a few Spanish troops;
and, surrounded in the market place of the town, under a general and
galling fire, were compelled to lay down their arms and surrender
prisoners of war. A small remnant of the invading forces retained
possession of a town on the coast, called Maldonado. In October, 1806,
an expedition was sent out to reinforce this small body, and make some
more material impression upon the continent of South America, which the
nation were under the delusion of considering as a measure extremely to
the advantage of British trade. Monte Video was taken, and a large body
of troops, under command of General Whitelocke, a man of factitious
reputation, and who had risen high in the army without having seen much
service, marched against Buenos Ayres. This person proved both fool and
coward. He pushed his columns of attack into the streets of Buenos
Ayres, knowing that the flat roofs and terraces were manned by excellent
though irregular marksmen; and, that the British might have no means of
retaliation, they were not permitted to load their muskets--as if stone
walls could have been carried by the bayonet. One of the columns was
obliged to surrender; and although another had, in spite of desperate
opposition, possessed themselves of a strong position, and that a few
shells might have probably ended the sort of defence which had been
maintained, Whitelocke thought it best to conclude a treaty with the
enemy for recovery of the British prisoners, and so to renounce all
further attempts on the colony. For this misconduct he was cashiered by
the sentence of a court-martial.[299]

An expedition against Turkey and its dependencies, was as little
creditable to the councils of Britain, and eventually to her arms, as
were her attempts on South America. It arose out of a war betwixt
England and the Porte, her late ally against France; for, so singular
had been the turns of chance in this extraordinary conflict, that allies
became enemies, and enemies returned to a state of close alliance,
almost before war or peace could be proclaimed between them. The time
was long past when the Sublime Ottoman Porte could regard the quarrels
and wars of Christian powers with the contemptuous indifference with
which men look on the strife of the meanest and most unclean
animals.[300] She was now in such close contact with them, as to feel a
thrilling interest in their various revolutions.

The invasion of Egypt excited the Porte against France, and disposed
them to a close alliance with Russia and England, until Buonaparte's
assumption of the Imperial dignity; on which occasion the Turks,
overawed by the pitch of power to which he had ascended, sent an embassy
to congratulate his succession, and expressed a desire to cultivate his


Napoleon, whose eyes were sometimes almost involuntarily turned to the
East, and who besides desired, at that period, to break off the good
understanding betwixt the Porte and the Cabinet of St. Petersburgh,
despatched Sebastiani as his envoy to Constantinople; a man well known
for his skill in Oriental intrigues, as was displayed in the celebrated
Report which had so much influence in breaking through the peace of

The effect of this ambassador's promises, threats, and intrigues, was
soon apparent. The Turks had come under an engagement that they would
not change the Hospodars, or governors, of Moldavia and Wallachia.
Sebastiani easily alarmed Turkish pride on the subject of this
stipulation, and induced them to break through it. The two Hospodars
were removed, in defiance of the agreement made to the contrary; and
although the Turks became aware of the risk to which they had exposed
themselves, and offered to replace the governors whom they had
dismissed, Russia, with precipitate resentment, declared war, and
invaded the two provinces in question. They overran and occupied them,
but to their own cost; as an army of fifty thousand men thus rashly
engaged against the Turks, might have been of the last consequence in
the fields of Eylau, Heilsberg, or Friedland.

In the meanwhile, Great Britain sent a squadron, under Sir Thomas
Duckworth, to compel the Porte to dismiss the French ambassador, and
return to the line of politics which Sebastiani had induced them to
abandon. Admiral Duckworth passed the Dardanelles in spite of the
immense cannon by which they are guarded, and which hurled from their
enormous muzzles massive fragments of marble instead of ordinary
bullets. But if ever it was intended to act against the Turks by any
other means than intimidation, the opportunity was suffered to escape;
and an intercourse by message and billet was permitted to continue until
the Turks had completed a line of formidable fortifications, while the
state of the weather was too unfavourable to allow even an effort at the
destruction of Constantinople, which had been the alternative submitted
to the Turks by the English admiral. The English repassed the
Dardanelles in no very creditable manner, hated for the threats which
they had uttered, and despised for not having attempted to make their
menaces good.[301]

Neither was a subsequent expedition to Alexandria more favourable in its
results. Five thousand men, under General Fraser, were disembarked, and
occupied the town with much ease. But a division, despatched against
Rosetta, was the cause of renewing in a different part of the world the
calamity of Buenos Ayres. The detachment was, incautiously and
unskilfully on our part, decoyed into the streets of an Oriental town,
where the enemy, who had manned the terraces and the flat roofs of their
houses, slaughtered the assailants with much ease and little danger to
themselves. Some subsequent ill-combined attempts were made for reducing
the same place, and after sustaining a loss of more than a fifth of
their number, by climate and combat, the British troops were withdrawn
from Egypt on the 23d of September, 1807.

It was no great comfort, under these repeated failures, that the British
were able to secure the Dutch island of Curaçoa. But the capture of the
Cape of Good Hope was an object of deep importance; and the more so, as
it was taken at a small expense of lives. Its consequence to our Indian
trade is so great, that we may well hope it will be at no future time
given up to the enemy. Upon the whole, the general policy of England
was, at this period, of an irresolute and ill-combined character. Her
ministers showed a great desire to do something, but as great a doubt
what that something was to be. Thus, they either mistook the importance
of the objects which they aimed at, or, undertaking them without a
sufficient force, failed to carry them into execution. If the wealth and
means, more especially the brave troops, frittered away in the attempts
at Calabria, Buenos Ayres, Alexandria, and elsewhere, had been united
with the forces sent to Stralsund, and thrown into the rear of the
French army before the fatal battle of Friedland, Europe might, in all
probability, have escaped that severe, and, for a time, decisive blow.

The evil of this error, which had pervaded our continental efforts from
the beginning of the original war with France down to the period of
which we are treating, began now to be felt from experience. Britain
gained nothing whatever by her partial efforts, not even settlements or
sugar-islands. The enemy maintained against her revenues and commerce a
constant and never-ceasing war--her resistance was equally stubborn, and
it was evident that the strife on both sides was to be mortal. Ministers
were, therefore, called upon for bolder risks, the nation for greater
sacrifices, than had yet been demanded; and it became evident to every
one, that England's hope of safety lay in her own exertions, not for
petty or selfish objects, but such as might have a decided influence on
the general events of the war. The urgent pressure of the moment was
felt by the new Administration, whose principles being in favour of the
continuance of the war, their efforts to conduct it with energy began
now to be manifest.

[Sidenote: COPENHAGEN.]

The first symptoms of this change of measures were exhibited in the
celebrated expedition to Copenhagen, which manifested an energy and
determination not of late visible in the military operations of Britain
on the continent. It can hardly be made matter of serious doubt, that
one grand object by which Buonaparte meant to enforce the continental
system, and thus reduce the power of England without battle or invasion,
was the re-establishment of the great alliance of the Northern Powers,
for the destruction of Britain's maritime superiority. This had been
threatened towards the conclusion of the American war, and had been
again acted upon in 1801, when the unnatural compact was dissolved by
the cannon of Nelson, and the death of the Emperor Paul. The treaty of
Tilsit, according to the information which the British ambassador had
procured, certainly contained an article to this purpose, and ministers
received from other quarters the most positive information of what was
intended. Indeed, the Emperor Alexander had shown, by many indications,
that in the new friendship which he had formed with the Emperor of the
East, he was to embrace his resentment, and further his plans, against
England. The unfortunate Gustavus of Sweden could scarcely be expected
voluntarily to embrace the proposed northern alliance, and his ruin was
probably resolved upon. But the accession of Denmark was of the utmost
consequence. That country still possessed a fleet, and the local
situation of the island of Zealand gave her the key of the Baltic. Her
confessed weakness could not have permitted her for an instant to resist
the joint influence of Russia and France, even if her angry recollection
of the destruction of her fleet by Nelson, had not induced her
inclinations to lean in that direction. It was evident that Denmark
would only be permitted to retain her neutrality, till it suited the
purposes of the more powerful parties to compel her to throw it off. In
this case, and finding the French troops approaching Holstein, Jutland,
and Fiume, the British Government, acting on the information which they
had received of the purpose of their enemies, conceived themselves
entitled to require from Denmark a pledge as to the line of conduct
which she proposed to adopt on the approach of hostilities, and some
rational security that such a pledge, when given, should be redeemed.

A formidable expedition was now fitted out, humanely, as well as
politically, calculated on a scale of such magnitude, as, it might be
expected, would render impossible the resistance which the Danes, as a
high-spirited people, might offer to such a harsh species of
expostulation. Twenty-seven sail of the line, and twenty thousand men,
under the command of Lord Cathcart, were sent to the Baltic, to support
a negotiation with Denmark, which it was still hoped might terminate
without hostilities. The fleet was conducted with great ability through
the intricate passages called the Belts, and was disposed in such a
manner, that ninety pendants flying round Zealand, entirely blockaded
the shores of that island.

Under these auspices the negotiation was commenced. The British envoy,
Mr. Jackson, had the delicate task of stating to the Crown Prince in
person, the expectation of England that his royal highness should
explain unequivocally his sentiments, and declare the part which he
meant to take between her and France. The unpleasant condition was
annexed, that, to secure any protestation which might be made of
friendship or neutrality, it was required that the fleet and naval
stores of the Danes should be delivered into the hands of Great Britain,
not in right of property, but to be restored so soon as the state of
affairs, which induced her to require possession of them, should be
altered for more peaceful times. The closest alliance, and every species
of protection which Britain could afford, was proffered, to obtain
compliance with these proposals. Finally, the Crown Prince was given to
understand, that so great a force was sent in order to afford him an
apology to France, should he choose to urge it, as having been compelled
to submit to the English demands; but at the same time it was intimated,
that the forces would be actually employed to compel the demands, if
they should be refused.

In the ordinary intercourse betwixt nations, these requisitions, on the
part of Britain, would have been, with respect to Denmark, severe and
unjustifiable. The apology arose out of the peculiar circumstances of
the times. The condition of England was that of an individual, who,
threatened by the approach of a superior force of mortal enemies, sees
close beside him, and with arms in his hand, one, of whom he had a right
to be suspicious, as having co-operated against him on two former
occasions, and who, he has the best reason to believe, is at the very
moment engaged in a similar alliance to his prejudice. The individual,
in the case supposed, would certainly be warranted in requiring to know
this third party's intention, nay, in disarming him, if he had strength
to do so, and retaining his weapons, as the best pledge of his

However this reasoning may be admitted to justify the British demands,
we cannot wonder that it failed to enforce compliance on the part of the
Crown Prince. There was something disgraceful in delivering up the fleet
of the nation under a menace that violence would otherwise be employed;
and although, for the sake of his people and his capital, he ought, in
prudence, to have forborne an ineffectual resistance, yet it was
impossible to blame a high-minded and honourable man for making the best
defence in his power.

So soon as the object of the Danes was found to be delay and evasion,
while they made a hasty preparation for defence, the soldiers were
disembarked, batteries erected, and a bombardment commenced, which
occasioned a dreadful conflagration. Some forces which had been
collected in the interior of the island, were dispersed by the troops
under Sir Arthur Wellesley, a name already famous in India, but now for
the first time heard in European warfare. The unavailing defence was at
last discontinued, and upon the 8th September the citadel and forts of
Copenhagen were surrendered to the British general. The Danish ships
were fitted out for sea with all possible despatch, together with the
naval stores, to a very large amount; which, had they fallen into the
hands of the French, must have afforded them considerable facility in
fitting out a fleet.[302]

As the nature and character of the attack upon Copenhagen were attended
by circumstances which were very capable of being misrepresented,
France--who, through the whole war, had herself shown the most total
disregard for the rights of neutral nations, with her leader Napoleon,
the invader of Egypt, when in profound peace with the Porte; of Hanover,
when in amity with the German empire; and who was at this very moment
meditating the appropriation of Spain and Portugal--France was filled
with extreme horror at the violence practised on the Danish capital.
Russia was also offended, and to a degree which showed that a feeling of
disappointed schemes mingled with her affectation of zeal for the rights
of neutrality.[303] But the daring and energetic spirit with which
England had formed and accomplished her plan, struck a wholesome terror
into other nations, and showed neutrals, that if, while assuming that
character, they lent their secret countenance to the enemies of Great
Britain, they were not to expect that it was to be done with impunity.
This was, indeed, no small hardship upon the lesser powers, many of whom
would, no doubt, have been well contented to have observed a strict
neutrality, but for the threats and influence of France, against whom
they had no means of defence; but the furious conflict of such two
nations as France and England, is like the struggle of giants, in which
the smaller and more feeble, who have the misfortune to be in the
neighbourhood, are sure to be borne down and trodden upon by one or both

The extreme resentment expressed by Buonaparte, when he received
intelligence of this critical and decisive measure, might serve to argue
the depth of his disappointment at such an unexpected anticipation of
his purposes. He had only left to him the comfort of railing against
Britain in the _Moniteur_; and the breach of peace, and of the law of
nations, was gravely imputed to England as an inexpiable crime, by one
who never suffered his regard either for his own word, or the general
good faith observed amongst nations, to interfere with any wish or
interest he had ever entertained.[304]


The conduct of Russia was more singular. An English officer of literary
celebrity was employed by Alexander, or those who were supposed to share
his most secret counsels, to convey to the British Ministry the
Emperor's expressions of the secret satisfaction which his Imperial
Majesty felt at the skill and dexterity which Britain had displayed in
anticipating and preventing the purposes of France, by her attack upon
Copenhagen.[305] Her ministers were invited to communicate freely with
the Czar, as with a prince, who, though obliged to give way to
circumstances, was, nevertheless, as much attached as ever to the cause
of European independence. Thus invited, the British Cabinet entered into
an explanation of their views for establishing a counterbalance to the
exorbitant power of France, by a northern confederacy of an offensive
and defensive character. It was supposed that Sweden would enter with
pleasure into such an alliance, and that Denmark would not decline it
if encouraged by the example of Russia, who was proposed as the head and
soul of the coalition.

Such a communication was accordingly made to the Russian ministers, but
was received with the utmost coldness. It is impossible now to
determine, whether there had been some over-confidence in the agent;
whether the communication had been founded on some hasty and fugitive
idea of a breach with France, which the Emperor had afterwards
abandoned; or finally, whether, as is more probable, it originated in a
wish to fathom the extent of Great Britain's resources, and the purposes
to which she meant to devote them. It is enough to observe, that the
countenance with which Russia received the British communication, was so
different from that with which she had invited the confidence of her
ministers, that the negotiation proved totally abortive.

Alexander's ultimate purpose was given to the world, so soon as Britain
had declined the offered mediation of Russia in her disputes with
France. In a proclamation, or manifesto, sent forth by the Emperor, he
expressed his repentance for having entered into agreements with
England, which he had found prejudicial to the Russian trade; he
complained (with justice) of the manner in which Britain had conducted
the war by petty expeditions, conducive only to her own selfish ends;
and the attack upon Denmark was treated as a violation of the rights of
nations. He therefore annulled every convention entered into between
Russia and Britain, and especially that of 1801; and he avowed the
principles of the Armed Neutrality, which he termed a monument of the
wisdom of the Great Catherine.[306] In November 1807, an ukase, or
imperial decree, was issued, imposing an embargo on British vessels and
property. But, by the favour of the Russian nation, and even of the
officers employed by Government, the shipmasters were made aware of the
impending arrest; and not less than eighty vessels, setting sail with a
favourable wind, reached Britain with their cargoes in safety.

Austria and Prussia found themselves under the necessity of following
the example of Russia, and declaring war against British commerce; so
that Buonaparte had now made an immense stride towards his principal
object, of destroying every species of intercourse which could unite
England with the continent.


[294] "De l'Egypte après la Balle d'Héliopolis."

[295] For Sir John Stuart's detail of the memorable battle of Maida, see
Annual Register, vol. xlviii., p. 590; see also Jomini, tom. ii., p.

[296] "The French soldiers had a great contempt for the English troops
at the beginning of the war, caused, perhaps, by the failure of the
expeditions under the Duke of York, the great want of alertness in the
English advanced posts, and the misfortunes which befell your armies. In
this they were fools, as the English were well known to be a brave
nation. It was probably by a similar error that Reynier was beaten by
General Stuart; as the French imagined you would run away and be driven
into the sea. Reynier was a man of talent, but more fit to give counsel
to an army of twenty or thirty thousand men, than to command one of five
or six. It is difficult to conceive how little the French soldiers
thought of yours, until they were taught the contrary."--NAPOLEON,
_Voice_, &c., vol. ii., p. 47.

[297] Reynier died at Paris in 1814, at the age of forty-four. Besides
his work on Egypt, he published "Conjectures sur les anciens habitans de
l'Egypte," and "Sur les Sphinx qui accompagnent les Pyramides."

[298] See the very extraordinary account of the Pampas, published by
Captain Head of the engineers.

[299] See Annual Register, vol. xlix., p. 223.

[300] In the time of Louis XIV., when the French envoy at the court of
Constantinople came, in a great hurry, to intimate as important
intelligence, some victory of his master over the Prussians, "Can you
suppose it of consequence to his Serene Highness," said the Grand
Vizier, with infinite contempt, "whether the dog bites the hog, or the
hog bites the dog?"

[301] See "Particulars from Sir J. Duckworth to Lord Collingwood,
relative to the affairs of the Dardanelles," Annual Register, vol.
xlix., p. 659.

[302] See "Papers relating to the Expedition to Copenhagen," Parl.
Debates, vol. x., p. 221; and "Proceedings before Copenhagen," Annual
Register, vol. xlix., p. 681.

[303] "Russia felt severely the loss which Denmark had sustained. The
Danish fleet was a good third of the guarantee of the neutrality of the
Baltic."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 112.

[304] "The attack upon Copenhagen by the English was the first blow
given to the secret stipulations of Tilsit, in virtue of which the navy
of Denmark was to be placed at the disposal of France. Since the
catastrophe of Paul the First, I never saw Napoleon abandon himself to
more violent transports. What most struck him in this vigorous
enterprise, was the promptness of the resolution of the English
ministry."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 312.

[305] Lord Hutchinson. See Parliamentary Debates, vol. x., p. 602.

[306] See Declaration of the Emperor of Russia, dated St. Petersburgh,
20th (31st) October, 1807, Annual Register, vol. xlix., p. 761; and
Parl. Debates, vol. x., p. 218.


     _View of the Internal Government of Napoleon at the period of the
     Peace of Tilsit--The Tribunate abolished--Council of
     State--Prefectures--Their nature and objects described--The Code
     Napoleon--Its Provisions--Its merits and Defects--Comparison
     betwixt that Code and the Jurisprudence of England--Laudable
     efforts of Napoleon to carry it into effect._


At this period of Buonaparte's elevation, when his power seemed best
established, and most permanent, it seems proper to take a hasty view,
not indeed of the details of his internal government, which is a subject
that would exhaust volumes; but at least of its general character, of
the means by which his empire was maintained, and the nature of the
relations which it established betwixt the sovereign and his subjects.

The ruling, almost the sole principle on which the government of
Buonaparte rested, was the simple proposition upon which despotism of
every kind has founded itself in every species of society; namely, that
the individual who is to exercise the authority and power of the state,
shall, on the one hand, dedicate himself and his talents exclusively to
the public service of the empire, while, on the other, the nation
subjected to his rule shall requite this self-devotion on his part by
the most implicit obedience to his will. Some despots have rested this
claim to universal submission upon family descent, and upon their right,
according to Filmer's doctrine, of representing the original father of
the tribe, and becoming the legitimate inheritors of a patriarchal
power. Others have strained scripture and abused common sense, to
establish in their own favour a right through the especial decree of
Providence. To the hereditary title Buonaparte could of course assert no
claim; but he founded not a little on the second principle, often
holding himself out to others, and no doubt occasionally considering
himself, in his own mind, as an individual destined by Heaven to the
high station which he held, and one who could not therefore be opposed
in his career, without an express struggle being maintained against
Destiny, who, leading him by the hand, and at the same time protecting
him with her shield, had guided him by paths as strange as perilous, to
the post of eminence which he now occupied. No one had been his tutor in
the lessons which led the way to his preferment--no one had been his
guide in the dangerous ascent to power--scarce any one had been of so
much consequence to his promotion, as to claim even the merit of an
ally, however humble. It seemed as if Napoleon had been wafted on to
this stupendous pitch of grandeur by a power more effectual than that of
any human assistance, nay, which surpassed what could have been expected
from his own great talents, unassisted by the especial interposition of
Destiny in his favour. Yet it was not to this principle alone that the
general acquiescence in the unlimited power which he asserted is to be
imputed. Buonaparte understood the character of the French nation so
well, that he could offer them an acceptable indemnification for
servitude; first, in the height to which he proposed to raise their
national pre-eminence; secondly, in the municipal establishments, by
means of which he administered their government, and which, though
miserably defective in all which would have been demanded by a nation
accustomed to the administration of equal and just laws, afforded a
protection to life and property that was naturally most welcome to those
who had been so long, under the republican system, made the victims of
cruelty, rapacity, and the most extravagant and unlimited tyranny,
rendered yet more odious as exercised under the pretext of liberty.

To the first of these arts of government we have often adverted; and it
must be always recalled to mind whenever the sources of Buonaparte's
power over the public mind in France come to be treated of. He himself
gave the solution in a few words, when censuring the imbecility of the
Directors, to whose power he succeeded. "These men," he said, "know not
how to work upon the imagination of the French nation." This idea,
which, in phraseology, is rather Italian than French, expresses the
chief secret of Napoleon's authority. He held himself out as the
individual upon whom the fate of France depended--of whose hundred
decisive victories France enjoyed the glory. It was he whose sword,
hewing down obstacles which her bravest monarchs had accounted
insurmountable, had cut the way to her now undeniable supremacy over
Europe. He alone could justly claim to be Absolute Monarch of France,
who, raising that nation from a perilous condition, had healed her
discords, reconciled her factions, turned her defeats into victory, and,
from a disunited people, about to become the prey to civil and external
war, had elevated her to the situation of Queen of Europe. This had been
all accomplished upon one condition; and, as we have stated elsewhere,
it was that which the Tempter offered in the wilderness, after his
ostentatious display of the kingdoms of the earth--"All these will I
give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."

Napoleon had completed the boastful promise, and it flattered a people
more desirous of glory than of liberty; and so much more pleased with
hearing of national conquests in foreign countries, than of enjoying the
freedom of their own individual thoughts and actions, that they
unreluctantly surrendered the latter in order that their vanity might be
flattered by the former.

Thus did Napoleon avail himself of, or, to translate his phrase more
literally, play upon the imagination of the French people. He gave them
public festivals, victories, and extended dominion; and in return,
claimed the right of carrying their children in successive swarms to yet
more distant and yet more extended conquests, and of governing,
according to his own pleasure, the bulk of the nation which remained

To attain this purpose, one species of idolatry was gradually and
ingeniously substituted for another, and the object of the public
devotion was changed, while the worship was continued. France had been
formerly governed by political maxims--she was now ruled by the name of
an individual. Formerly the Republic was every thing--Fayette,
Dumouriez, or Pichegru, were nothing. Now, the name of a successful
general was of more influence than the whole code of the Rights of Man.
France had submitted to murder, spoliation, revolutionary tribunals, and
every species of cruelty and oppression, while they were gilded by the
then talismanic expressions--"Liberty and Equality--Fraternization--the
public welfare, and the happiness of the people." She was now found
equally compliant, when the watchword was, "The honour of his Imperial
and Royal Majesty--the interests of the Great Empire--the splendours of
the Imperial Throne." It must be owned, that the sacrifices under the
last form were less enormous; they were limited to taxes at the Imperial
pleasure, and a perpetual anticipation of the conscription. The
Republican tyrants claimed both life and property, the Emperor was
satisfied with a tithe of the latter, and the unlimited disposal of that
portion of the family who could best support the burden of arms, for
augmenting the conquests of France. Such were the terms on which this
long-distracted country attained once more, after its Revolution, the
advantage of a steady and effective government.

The character of that government, its means and principles of action,
must now be briefly traced.

It cannot be forgotten that Buonaparte, the heir of the Revolution,
appropriated to himself the forms and modifications of the Directorial
government, altered, in some degree, by the ingenuity of Siêyes; but
they subsisted as forms only, and were carefully divested of all
effectual impulse on the government. The Senate and Legislative Bodies
became merely passive and pensioned creatures of the Emperor's will,
whom he used as a medium for promulgating the laws which he was
determined to establish. The Tribunate had been instituted for the
protection of the people against all acts of arbitrary power, whether by
imprisonment, exile, assaults on the liberty of the press, or otherwise;
but after having gradually undermined the rights and authority of this
body, after having rendered its meetings partial and secret, and having
deprived it of its boldest members, Buonaparte suppressed it entirely,
on account, as he alleged, of the expense which it occasioned to the
government. It had, indeed, become totally useless;[307] but this was
because its character had been altered, and because, originating from
the Senate, and not from popular election, the Tribunate never consisted
of that class of persons, who are willing to encounter the frown of
power when called upon to impeach its aggressions. Yet, as the very name
of this body, while it subsisted, recalled some ideas of Republican
freedom, the Emperor thought fit altogether to abolish it.


The deliberative Council of the Emperor existed in his own personal
Council of State, of whose consultations, in which he himself presided,
he made frequent use during the course of his reign. Its functions were
of an anomalous character, comprehending political legislation, or
judicial business, according to the order of the day. It was, in short,
Buonaparte's resource, when he wanted the advice, or opinion, or
information, of others in aid of his own; and he often took the
assistance of the Council of State, in order to form those resolutions
which he afterwards executed by means of his ministers. Monsieur de Las
Cases, himself a member of it, has dwelt with complaisance upon the
freedom which Buonaparte permitted to their debates, and the good-humour
with which he submitted to contradiction, even when expressed with
obstinacy or vivacity;[308] and would have us consider the Council as an
important barrier afforded to the citizens against the arbitrary will of
the Sovereign. What he has said, however, only amounts to this,--that
Buonaparte, desirous to have the advice of his counsellors, tolerated
their freedom of speech, and even of remonstrance. Mahmoud, or Amurath,
seated in their divan, must have done the same, and yet would not have
remained the less absolutely masters of the lives of those who stood
around them. We have no doubt that Buonaparte, on certain occasions,
permitted his counsellors to take considerable freedoms, and that he
sometimes yielded up his opinion to theirs without being convinced; in
such cases, at least, where his own passions or interest were no way
concerned.[309] But we further read of the Emperor's using, to
extremely stubborn persons, such language as plainly intimated, that he
would not suffer contradiction beyond a certain point, "You are very
obstinate," he said to such a disputant; "what if I were to be as much
so as you? You are wrong to push the powerful to extremity--you should
consider the weakness of humanity." To another he said, after a scene of
argumentative violence, "Pray, pay some attention to accommodate
yourself a little more to my humour. Yesterday, you carried it so far as
to oblige me to scratch my temple. That is a great sign with me--take
care in future not to drive me to such an extremity."[310]

Such limits to the freedom of debate in the Imperial Council of State,
correspond with those laid down in the festive entertainments of Sans
Souci, where the Great Frederick professed to support and encourage
every species of familiar raillery, but, when it attained a point that
was too personal, used to hint to the facetious guests, that he heard
the King's step in the gallery. There were occasions, accordingly, when,
not satisfied with calling their attention to the distant murmurs of the
Imperial thunder, Napoleon launched its bolts in the midst of his
trembling counsellors. Such a scene was that of Portalis. This
statesman, a man of talent and virtue, had been eminently useful, as we
have seen, in bringing about the Concordat, and had been created, in
recompense, minister of religious affairs, and counsellor of state. In
the subsequent disputes betwixt the Pope and Buonaparte, a relation of
the minister had been accused of circulating the bulls, or spiritual
admonitions of the Pope; and Portalis had failed to intimate the
circumstance to the Emperor. On this account, Napoleon, in full council,
attacked him in the severest terms, as guilty of having broken his oath
as a counsellor and minister of state, deprived him of both offices, and
expelled him from the assembly, as one who had betrayed his
sovereign.[311] If any of the members of the Council of State had
ventured, when this sentence rung in their ears, to come betwixt the
dragon and his wrath, for the purpose of stating that a hasty charge
ought not instantly to be followed with immediate censure and
punishment; that it was possible M. Portalis might have been misled by
false information, or by a natural desire to screen the offence of his
cousin; or, finally, that his conduct might have been influenced by
views of religion which, if erroneous, were yet sincere and
conscientious--we should then have believed, that the Council of State
of Buonaparte formed a body, in which the accused citizen might receive
some protection against the despotism of the government. But when, or
in what country, could the freedom of the nation be intrusted to the
keeping of the immediate counsellors of the throne? It can only be
safely lodged in some body, the authority of which emanates directly
from the nation, and whom the nation therefore will protect and support,
in the existence of their right of opposition or remonstrance.

The deliberations of the Council of State, or such resolutions as
Buonaparte chose to adopt without communication with them, (for it may
be easily supposed that they were not admitted to share his more secret
political discussions,) were, as in other countries, adjusted with and
executed by the ostensible ministers.

[Sidenote: PREFECTURES.]

But, that part of the organisation of the Imperial government, upon
which Buonaparte most piqued himself, was the establishment of the
Prefectures, which certainly gave facilities for the most effectual
agency of despotism that was ever exercised. There is no mistaking the
object and tendency of this arrangement, since Buonaparte himself, and
his most bitter opponents, hold up the same picture, one to the
admiration, the other to the censure, of the world. These prefects, it
must be understood, were each the supreme governor of a department,
answering to the old lieutenants and governors of counties, and
representing the Imperial person within the limits of the several
prefectures. The individuals were carefully selected, as persons whose
attachment was either to be secured or rewarded. They received large
and, in some cases, exorbitant salaries, some amounting to fifteen,
twenty, and even thirty thousand francs. This heavy expense Napoleon
stated to be the consequence of the depraved state of moral feeling in
France, which made it necessary to attach men by their interests rather
than their duties; but it was termed by his enemies one of the leading
principles of his government, which treated the public good as a
chimera, and erected private and personal interest into the paramount
motive upon which alone the state was to be served by efficient
functionaries. The prefects were chosen in the general case, as men
whose birth and condition were totally unconnected with that of the
department in which each was to preside; _les dépayser_, to place them
in a country to which they were strangers, being an especial point of
Napoleon's policy. They were entirely dependent on the will of the
Emperor, who removed or cashiered them at pleasure. The administration
of the departments was intrusted to these important officers.

"With the authority and local resources placed at their disposal," said
Buonaparte, "the prefects were themselves emperors on a limited scale;
and as they had no force excepting through the impulse which they
received from the throne, as they owed their whole power to their
immediate commission, and as they had no authority of a personal
character, they were of as much use to the crown as the former high
agents of government, without any of the inconveniences which attached
to their predecessors."[312] It was by means of the prefects that an
impulse, given from the centre of the government, was communicated
without delay to the extremities of the kingdom, and that the influence
of the crown, and the execution of its commands, were transmitted, as if
by magic, through a population of forty millions. It appears that
Napoleon, while describing with self-complacency this terrible engine of
unlimited power, felt that it might not be entirely in unison with the
opinions of those favourers of liberal institutions, whose sympathy at
the close of life he thought worthy of soliciting. "My creating that
power," he said, "was on my part a case of necessity. I was a dictator,
called to that office by force of circumstances. There was a necessity
that the filaments of the government which extended over the state,
should be in complete harmony with the key-note which was to influence
them. The organisation which I had extended over the empire, required to
be maintained at a high degree of tension, and to possess a prodigious
force of elasticity, to enable it to resist the terrible blows directed
against it without cessation."[313] His defence amounts to this--"The
men of my time were extravagantly fond of power, exuberantly attached to
place and wealth. I therefore bribed them to become my agents by force
of places and pensions. But I was educating the succeeding race to be
influenced by better motives. My son would have been surrounded by
youths sensible to the influence of justice, honour, and virtue; and
those who were called to execute public duty, would have considered
their doing so as its own reward."

The freedom of France was therefore postponed till the return of a
Golden Age, when personal aggrandisement and personal wealth should
cease to have any influence upon regenerated humanity. In the meanwhile,
she had the dictatorship and the prefects.

The _impulse_, as Napoleon terms it, by which the crown put in action
these subordinate agents in the departments, was usually given by means
of a circular letter or proclamation, communicating the particular
measure which government desired to be enforced. This was subscribed by
the minister to whose department the affair belonged, and concluded with
an injunction upon the prefect, to be active in forwarding the matter
enjoined, as he valued the favour of the Emperor, or wished to show
himself devoted to the interests of the crown.[314] Thus conjured, the
prefect transmitted the order to the sub-prefect and mayors of the
communities within his department, who, stimulated by the same motives
that had actuated their principal, endeavoured each to distinguish
himself by his active compliance with the will of the Emperor, and thus
merit a favourable report, as the active and unhesitating agent of his

It was the further duty of the prefects, to see that all honour was duly
performed towards the head of the state, upon the days appointed for
public rejoicings, and to remind the municipal authorities of the
necessity of occasional addresses to the government, declaring their
admiration of the talents, and devotion to the person of the Emperor.
These effusions were duly published in the _Moniteur_, and, if examined
closely, would afford some of the most extraordinary specimens of
composition which the annals of flattery can produce. It is sufficient
to say, that a mayor, we believe of Amiens, affirmed, in his ecstasy of
loyal adoration, that the Deity, after making Buonaparte, must have
reposed, as after the creation of the universe. This, and similar
flights of rhetoric, may appear both impious and ridiculous, and it
might have been thought that a person of Napoleon's sense and taste
would have softened or suppressed them. But he well knew the influence
produced on the public mind, by ringing the changes to different time on
the same unvaried subject. The ideas which are often repeated in all
variety of language and expression, will at length produce an effect on
the public mind, especially if no contradiction is permitted to reach
it. A uniform which may look ridiculous on a single individual, has an
imposing effect when worn by a large body of men; and the empiric, whose
extravagant advertisement we ridicule upon the first perusal, often
persuades us, by sheer dint of repeating his own praises, to make trial
of his medicine. Those who practise calumny know, according to the
vulgar expression, that if they do but throw dirt sufficient, some part
of it will adhere; and acting on the same principle, for a contrary
purpose, Buonaparte was well aware, that the repetition of his praises
in these adulatory addresses was calculated finally to make an
impression on the nation at large, and to obtain a degree of credit as
an expression of public opinion.

Faber, an author too impassioned to obtain unlimited credit, has given
several instances of ignorance amongst the prefects; many of whom, being
old generals, were void of the information necessary for the exercise of
a civil office, and all of whom, having been, upon principle, nominated
to a sphere of action with the local circumstances of which they were
previously unacquainted, were sufficiently liable to error. But the same
author may be fully trusted, when he allows that the prefects could not
be accused of depredation or rapine, and that such of them as improved
their fortune during the date of their office, did so by economising
upon their legitimate allowances.[315]

Such was the outline of Napoleon's provincial administration, and of the
agency by which it was carried on, without check or hesitation, in every
province of France at the same moment. The machinery has been in a great
measure retained by the royal government, to whom it appeared
preferable, doubtless, to the violent alterations which an attempt to
restore the old appointments, or create others of a different kind, must
necessarily have occasioned.


But a far more important change, introduced by the Emperor, though not
originating with him, was the total alteration of the laws of the
kingdom of France, and the introduction of that celebrated code to which
Napoleon assigned his name, and on the execution of which his admirers
have rested his claim to be considered as a great benefactor to the
country which he governed. Bacon has indeed informed us, that when laws
have been heaped upon laws, in such a state of confusion as to render it
necessary to revise them, and collect their spirit into a new and
intelligible system, those who accomplish such an heroic task have a
good right to be named amongst the legislators and benefactors of
mankind. It had been the reproach of France before the Revolution, and
it was one of the great evils which tended to produce that immense and
violent change, that the various provinces, towns, and subordinate
divisions of the kingdom, having been united in different periods to the
general body of the country, had retained in such union the exercise of
their own particular laws and usages; to the astonishment, as well as to
the great annoyance of the traveller, who, in journeying through France,
found that, in many important particulars, the system and character of
the laws to which he was subjected, were altered almost as often as he
changed his post-horses. It followed, from this discrepancy of laws and
subdivision of jurisdiction, that the greatest hardships were sustained
by the subjects, more especially when, the district being of small
extent, those authorities who acted there were likely neither to have
experience, nor character sufficient for exercise of the trust reposed
in them.

The evils attending such a state of things had been long felt, and, at
various periods before the Revolution, it had been proposed repeatedly
to institute a uniform system of legislation for the whole kingdom. But
so many different interests were compromised, and such were, besides,
the pressing occupations of the successive administrations of Louis
XVI., and his grandfather, that the project was never seriously adopted
or entered upon. When, however, the whole system of provinces,
districts, and feudal jurisdictions, great and small, had fallen at the
word of the Abbé Siêyes, like an enchanted castle at the dissolution of
a spell, and their various laws, whether written or consuetudinary, were
buried in the ruins, all France, now united into one single and integral
nation, lay open to receive any legislative code which the National
Assembly might dictate. But the revolutionary spirit was more fitted to
destroy than to establish; and was more bent upon the pursuit of
political objects, than upon affording the nation the protection of just
and equal laws. Under the Directory, two or three attempts towards
classification of the laws had been made in the Council of Five Hundred,
but never had gone farther than a preliminary and general report.
Cambacérès, an excellent lawyer and enlightened statesman, was one of
the first to solicit the attention of the state to this great and
indispensable duty. The various successive authorities had been content
with passing such laws as affected popular subjects of the day, and
which (like that which licensed universal divorce) partook of the
extravagance that gave them origin. The project of Cambacérès, on the
contrary, embraced a general classification of jurisprudence through all
its branches, although too much tainted, it is said, with the prevailing
revolutionary opinions of the period, to admit its being taken for a
basis, when Buonaparte, after his elevation, determined to supersede the
Republican by Monarchical forms of government.

After the revolution of the 18th Brumaire, Napoleon saw no way more
certain of assuring the popularity of that event, and connecting his own
authority with the public interests of France, than to resume a task
which former rulers of the Republic had thought too heavy to be
undertaken, and thus, at once, show a becoming confidence in the
stability of his own power, and a laudable desire of exercising it for
the permanent advantage of the nation. An order of the Consuls, dated
24th Thermidor, in the year VIII., directed the minister of justice,
with a committee of lawyers of eminence, to examine the several
projects, four in number, which had been made towards compiling the
civil code of national law, to give their opinion on the plan most
desirable for accomplishing its formation, and to discuss the bases upon
which legislation in civil matters ought to be rested.

The preliminary discourse upon the first project of the Civil Code, is
remarkable for the manner in which the reporters consider and confute
the general and illusory views entertained by the uninformed part of the
public, upon the nature of the task to which they had been called. It is
the common and vulgar idea, that the system of legislation may be
reduced and simplified into a few general maxims of equity, sufficient
to lead any judge of understanding and integrity, to a just decision of
all questions which can possibly occur betwixt man and man. It follows,
as a corollary to this proposition, that the various multiplications of
authorities, exceptions, particular cases, and especial provisions,
which have been introduced among civilized nations, by the address of
those of the legal profession, are just so many expedients to embarrass
the simple course of justice with arbitrary modifications and
refinements, in order to procure wealth and consequence to those
educated to the law, whose assistance must be used as its interpreters,
and who became rich by serving litigants as guides through the
labyrinth of obscurity which had been raised by themselves and their

Such were the ideas of the law and its professors, which occurred to the
Parliament of Praise-God-Barebones, when they proposed to Cromwell to
abrogate the whole common law of England, and dismiss the lawyers, as
drones who did but encumber the national hive. Such was also the opinion
of many of the French statesmen, who, as rash in judging of
jurisprudence as in politics, imagined that a system of maxims, modified
on the plan of the Twelve Tables of the ancient Romans, might serve all
the purposes of a civil code in modern France. They who thought in this
manner had entirely forgotten, how soon the laws of these twelve tables
became totally insufficient for Rome herself--how, in the gradual change
of manners, some laws became obsolete, some inapplicable--how it became
necessary to provide for emerging cases, successively by the decrees of
the Senate, the ordinances of the people, the edicts of the Consuls, the
regulations of the Prætors, the answers or opinions of learned
Jurisconsults, and finally, by the rescripts, edicts, and novels of the
Emperors, until such a mass of legislative matter was assembled, as
scarcely the efforts of Theodosius or Justinian were adequate to bring
into order, or reduce to principle. But this, it may be said, was the
very subject complained of. The simplicity of the old laws, it may be
urged, was gradually corrupted; and hence, by the efforts of interested
men, not by the natural progress of society, arose the complicated
system, which is the object of such general complaint.

The answer to this is obvious. So long as society remains in a simple
state, men have occasion for few and simple laws. But when that society
begins to be subdivided into ranks; when duties are incurred, and
obligations contracted, of a kind unknown in a ruder or earlier period,
these new conditions, new duties, and new obligations, must be regulated
by new rules and ordinances, which accordingly are introduced as fast as
they are wanted, either by the course of long custom, or by precise
legislative enactment. There is, no doubt, one species of society in
which legislation may be much simplified; and that is, where the whole
law of the country, with the power of enforcing it, is allowed to reside
in the bosom of the King, or of the judge who is to administer justice.
Such is the system of Turkey, where the Cadi is bound by no laws nor
former precedents, save what his conscience may discover from perusing
the Koran. But so apt are mankind to abuse unlimited power, and indeed
so utterly unfit is human nature to possess it, that in all countries
where the judge is possessed of such arbitrary jurisdiction, he is found
accessible to bribes, or liable to be moved by threats. He has no
distinct course prescribed, no beacon on which to direct his vessel; and
trims, therefore, his sails to the pursuit of his own profit.

[Sidenote: CIVIL CODE.]

The French legislative commissioners, with these views, wisely judged
it their duty to produce their civil code, upon such a system as might
afford, as far as possible, protection to the various kinds of rights
known and acknowledged in the existing state of society. Less than this
they could not do; nor, in our opinion, is their code as yet adequate to
attain that principal object. By the implied social contract, an
individual surrenders to the community his right of protecting and
avenging himself, under the reserved and indispensable condition that
the public law shall defend him, or punish those by whom he has
sustained injury. As revenge has been said, by Bacon, to be a species of
wild justice, so the individual pursuit of justice is often a modified
and legitimate pursuit of revenge, which ought, indeed, to be qualified
by the moral and religious sentiments of the party, but to which law is
bound to give free way, in requital for the bridle which she imposes on
the indulgence of man's natural passions. The course of litigation,
therefore, cannot be stopt; it can only be diminished, by providing
beforehand as many regulations as will embrace the greater number of
cases likely to occur, and trusting to the authority of the judges
acting upon the spirit of the law, for the settlement of such as cannot
be decided according to its letter.

The organisation of this great national work was proceeded in with the
caution and deliberation which the importance of the subject eminently
deserved. Dividing the subjects of legislation according to the usual
distinctions of jurisconsults, the commissioners commenced by the
publication and application of the laws in general; passed from that
preliminary subject to the consideration of personal rights under all
their various relations; then to rights respecting property; and,
lastly, to those legal forms of procedure, by which the rights of
citizens, whether arising out of personal circumstances, or as connected
with property, are to be followed forth, explicated, and ascertained.
Thus adopting the division, and in some degree the forms, of the
Institutes of Justinian, the commission proceeded, according to the same
model, to consider each subdivision of this general arrangement, and
adopt respecting each such maxims or brocards of general law, as were to
form the future basis of French jurisprudence. Their general principles
being carefully connected and fixed, the ingenuity of the commissioners
was exerted in deducing from them such a number of corollaries and
subordinate maxims, as might provide, so far as human ingenuity could,
for the infinite number of questions that were likely to emerge on the
practical application of the general principles to the varied and
intricate transactions of human life. It may be easily supposed, that a
task so difficult gave rise to much discussion among the commissioners;
and as their report, when fully weighed among themselves, was again
subjected to the Council of State, before it was proposed to the
Legislative Body, it must be allowed, that every means which could be
devised were employed in maturely considering and revising the great
body of national law, which, finally, under the name of the Code
Napoleon, was adopted by France, and continues, under the title of the
Civil Code, to be the law by which her subjects still possess and
enforce their civil rights.

It would be doing much injustice to Napoleon, to suppress the great
personal interest which, amid so many calls upon his time, he
nevertheless took in the labours of the commission. He frequently
attended their meetings, or those of the Council of State, in which
their labours underwent revision; and, though he must be supposed
entirely ignorant of the complicated system of jurisprudence as a
science, yet his acute, calculating, and argumentative mind enabled him,
by the broad views of genius and good sense, often to get rid of those
subtleties by which professional persons are occasionally embarrassed,
and to treat as cobwebs, difficulties of a technical or metaphysical
character, which, to the jurisconsults, had the appearance of bonds and

There were times, however, on the other hand, when Napoleon was led, by
the obvious and vulgar views of a question, to propose alterations which
would have been fatal to the administration of justice, and the gradual
enlargement and improvement of municipal law. Such was his idea, that
advocates and solicitors ought only to be paid in the event of the cause
being decided in favour of their client,[316]--a regulation which, had
he ever adopted it, would have gone far to close the gates of justice;
since, what practitioner would have forfeited at once one large portion
of the means of his existence, and consented to rest the other upon the
uncertainty of a gambling transaction? A lawyer is no more answerable
for not gaining his cause, than a horse-jockey for not winning the race.
Neither can foretell, with any certainty, the event of the struggle, and
each, in justice, can only be held liable for the utmost exertion of his
skill and abilities. Napoleon was not aware that litigation is not to be
checked by preventing lawsuits from coming into court, but by a
systematic and sage course of trying and deciding points of importance,
which, being once settled betwixt two litigants, cannot, in the same
shape, or under the same circumstances, be again the subject of dispute
among others.

The Civil Code of Napoleon is accompanied by a code of procedure in
civil cases, and a code relating to commercial affairs, which may be
regarded as supplemental to the main body of municipal law. There is,
besides, a Penal Code, and a code respecting the procedure against
persons accused under it. The whole forms a grand system of
jurisprudence, drawn up by the most enlightened men of the age, having
access to all the materials which the past and the present times afford;
and it is not surprising that it should have been received as a great
boon by a nation who, in some sense, may be said, previous to its
establishment, to have been without any fixed or certain municipal law
since the date of the Revolution.

But while we admit the full merit of the Civil Code of France, we are
under the necessity of observing, that the very symmetry and theoretical
consistency, which form, at first view, its principal beauty, render it,
when examined closely, less fit for the actual purposes of
jurisprudence, than a system of national law, which, having never
undergone the same operation of compression, and abridgement, and
condensation, to which that of France was necessarily subjected, spreads
through a multiplicity of volumes, embraces an immense collection of
precedents, and, to the eye of inexperience, seems, in comparison of the
compact size and regular form of the French code, a labyrinth to which
no clue is afforded. It is of the greater importance to give this
subject some consideration, because it has of late been fashionable to
draw comparisons between the jurisprudence of England and that of
France, and even to urge the necessity of new-modelling the former upon
such a concise and systematic plan as the latter exhibits.

In arguing this point, we suppose it will be granted, that that code of
institutions is the most perfect, which most effectually provides for
every difficult case as it emerges, and therefore averts, as far as
possible, the occurrence of doubt, and, of course, of litigation, by
giving the most accurate and certain interpretation to the general rule,
when applied to cases as they arise. Now, in this point, which
comprehends the very essence and end of all jurisprudence--the
protection, namely, of the rights of the individual--the English law is
preferable to the French in an incalculable degree; because each
principle of English law has been the subject of illustration for many
ages, by the most learned and wise judges, acting upon pleadings
conducted by the most acute and ingenious men of each successive age.
This current of legal judgments has been flowing for centuries,
deciding, as they occurred, every question of doubt which could arise
upon the application of general principles to particular circumstances;
and each individual case, so decided, fills up some point which was
previously disputable, and, becoming a rule for similar questions, tends
to that extent to diminish the debateable ground of doubt and argument
with which the law must be surrounded, like an unknown territory when it
is first partially discovered.

It is not the fault of the French jurisconsults, that they did not
possess the mass of legal authority arising out of a regular course of
decisions by a long succession of judges competent to the task, and
proceeding, not upon hypothetical cases supposed by themselves, and
subject only to the investigation of their own minds, but upon such as
then actually occurred in practice and had been fully canvassed and
argued in open court. The French lawyers had not the advantage of
referring to such a train of decisions; each settling some new point, or
ascertaining and confirming some one which had been considered as
questionable. By the Revolution, the ancient French courts had been
destroyed, together with their records; their proceedings only served as
matter of history or tradition, but could not be quoted in support or
explanation of a code which had no existence until after their
destruction. The commissioners endeavoured, we have seen, to supply this
defect in their system, by drawing from their general rules such a
number of corollary propositions as might, so far as possible, serve for
their application to special and particular cases. But rules, founded in
imaginary cases, can never have the same weight with precedents emerging
in actual practice, where the previous exertions of the lawyers have put
the case in every possible light, and where the judge comes to the
decision, not as the theorist, whose opinion relates only to an ideal
hypothesis of his own mind, but as the solemn arbiter of justice betwixt
man and man, after having attended to, and profited by, the collision
and conflict of opposite opinions, urged by those best qualified to
state and to illustrate them. The value of such discussion is well known
to all who have experience of courts of justice, where it is never
thought surprising to hear the wisest judge confess, that he came into
court with a view of the case at issue wholly different from that which
he was induced to form after having given the requisite attention to the
debate before him. But this is an advantage which can never be gained,
unless in the discussion of a real case; and therefore the opinion of a
judge, given _tota re cognita_, must always be a more valuable
precedent, than that which the same learned individual could form upon
an abstract and hypothetical question.

It is, besides, to be considered, that the most fertile ingenuity with
which any legislator can be endued, is limited within certain bounds;
and that, when he has racked his brain to provide for all the ideal
cases which his prolific imagination can supply, it will be found that
he has not anticipated or provided for the hundredth part of the
questions which are sure to occur in actual practice. To make a
practical application of what we have stated, to the relative
jurisprudence of France and England, it may be remarked, that the Title
V. of the 1st Book of the Civil Code, upon the subject of Marriage,
contains only one hundred and sixty-one propositions respecting the
rights of parties, arising in different circumstances out of that
contract, the most important known in civilized society. If we deduce
from this gross amount the great number of rules which are not
doctrinal, but have only reference to the forms of procedure, the result
will be greatly diminished. The English law, on the other hand, besides
its legislative enactments, is guarded, as appears from Roper's Index,
by no less than a thousand decided cases, or precedents, each of which
affords ground to rule any other case in similar circumstances. In this
view, the certainty of the law of England compared to that of France,
bears the proportion of ten to one.

It is, therefore, a vulgar, though a natural and pleasing error, to
prefer the simplicity of an ingenious and philosophic code of
jurisprudence, to a system which has grown up with a nation, augmented
with its wants, extended according to its civilisation, and only become
cumbrous and complicated, because the state of society to which it
applies has itself given rise to a complication of relative situations,
to all of which the law is under the necessity of adapting itself. In
this point of view, the Code of France may be compared to a warehouse
built with much attention to architectural uniformity, showy in the
exterior, and pleasing from the simplicity of its plan, but too small to
hold the quantity of goods necessary to supply the public demand; while
the Common Law of England resembles the vaults of some huge Gothic
building--dark, indeed, and ill-arranged, but containing an immense
store of commodities, which those acquainted with its recesses seldom
fail to be able to produce to such as have occasion for them. The
practiques, or adjudged cases, in fact, form a breakwater, as it were,
to protect the more formal bulwark of the statute law; and although they
cannot be regularly jointed or dovetailed together, each independent
decision fills its space on the mound, and offers a degree of resistance
to innovation, and protection to the law, in proportion to its own
weight and importance.

The certainty of the English jurisprudence, (for, in spite of the
ordinary opinion to the contrary, it has acquired a comparative degree
of certainty,) rests upon the multitude of its decisions. The views
which a man is disposed to entertain of his own rights, under the
general provisions of the law, are usually controlled by some previous
decision on the case; and a reference to precedents, furnished by a
person of skill, saves, in most instances, the expense and trouble of a
lawsuit, which is thus stifled in its very birth. If we are rightly
informed, the number of actions at common law, tried in England yearly,
does not exceed betwixt five-and-twenty and thirty on an average, from
each county; an incredibly small number, when the wealth of the kingdom
is considered, as well as the various and complicated transactions
incident to the advanced and artificial state of society in which we

But we regard the multitude of precedents in English law as eminently
favourable, not only to the certainty of the law, but to the liberty of
the subject; and especially as a check upon any judge, who might be
disposed to innovate either upon the rights or liberties of the lieges.
If a general theoretical maxim of law be presented to an unconscientious
or partial judge, he may feel himself at liberty, by exerting his
ingenuity, to warp the right cause the wrong way. But if he is bound
down by the decisions of his wise and learned predecessors, that judge
would be venturous indeed, who should attempt to tread a different and
more devious path than that which is marked by the venerable traces of
their footsteps; especially, as he well knows that the professional
persons around him, who might be blinded by the glare of his ingenuity
in merely theoretical argument, are perfectly capable of observing and
condemning every departure from precedent.[317] In such a case he
becomes sensible, that, fettered as he is by previous decisions, the law
is in his hands, to be administered indeed, but not to be altered or
tampered with; and that if the evidence be read in the court, there are
and must be many present, who know as well as himself, what must,
according to precedent, be the verdict, or the decision. These are
considerations which never can restrain or fetter a judge, who is only
called upon to give his own explanation of the general principle briefly
expressed in a short code, and susceptible therefore of a variety of
interpretations, from which he may at pleasure select that which may be
most favourable to his unconscientious or partial purposes.

It follows, also, from the paucity of laws afforded by a code
constructed not by the growth of time, but suggested by the ingenuity of
theorists suddenly called to the task, and considering its immense
importance, executing it in haste, that many provisions, most important
for the exercise of justice, must, of course, be neglected in the French
Code. For example, the whole law of evidence, the very key and
corner-stone of justice between man and man, has been strangely
overlooked in the French jurisprudence. It is plain, that litigation may
proceed for ever, unless there be some previous adjustment (called
technically an issue) betwixt the parties, at the sight of the judge,
tending to ascertain their averments in point of fact, as also the
relevancy of those averments to the determination of the cause. In
England, chiefly during the course of last century, the Law of Evidence
has grown up to a degree of perfection, which has tended, perhaps more
than any other cause, at once to prevent and to shorten litigation. If
we pass from the civil to the penal mode of procedure in France, the
British lawyer is yet more shocked by a course, which seems in his view
totally to invert and confound every idea which he has received upon the
law of evidence. Our law, it is well known, is in nothing so scrupulous
as in any conduct towards the prisoner, which may have the most indirect
tendency to entrap him into bearing evidence against himself. Law
sympathizes in such a case with the frailties of humanity, and, aware
of the consequence which judicial inquiries must always have on the mind
of the timid and ignorant, never pushes the examination of a suspected
person farther than he himself, in the natural hope of giving such an
account of himself as may procure his liberty, shall choose to reply to

In France, on the contrary, the whole trial sometimes resolves into a
continued examination and cross-examination of the prisoner, who is not
only under the necessity of giving his original statement of the
circumstances on which he founds his defence, but is confronted
repeatedly with the witnesses, and repeatedly required to reconcile his
own statement of the case with that which these have averred. With
respect to the character of evidence, the same looseness of practice
exists. No distinction seems to be made between that which is hearsay
and that which is direct--that which is spontaneously given, and that
which is extracted, or perhaps suggested, by leading questions. All this
is contrary to what we are taught to consider as the essence of justice
towards the accused. The use of the rack is, indeed, no longer admitted
to extort the confession, but the mode of judicial examination seems to
us a species of moral torture, under which a timid and ignorant, though
innocent man, is very likely to be involved in such contradictions and
inextricable confusion, that he may be under the necessity of throwing
away his life by not knowing how to frame his defence.

We shall not protract these remarks on the Code Napoleon; the rather
that we must frankly confess, that the manners and customs of a country
make the greatest difference with respect to its laws, and that a system
may work well in France, and answer all the purposes of jurisprudence,
which in England would be thought very inadequate to the purpose. The
humane institution which allows the accused the benefit of counsel, is a
privilege which the English law does not permit to the accused, and may
have its own weight in counterbalancing some of the inconveniences to
which he is subjected in France. It seems also probable, that the
deficiencies in the Code, arising from its recent origin and compressed
form, must be gradually remedied, as in England, by the course of
decisions pronounced by intelligent and learned judges; and that what we
now state as an objection to the system, will gradually disappear under
the influence of time.

Considered as a production of human science, and a manual of legislative
sagacity, the Code may challenge general admiration for the clear and
wise manner in which the axioms are drawn up and expressed. There are
but few peculiarities making a difference betwixt its principles and
those of the Roman law, which has in most contracts claimed to be
considered as the mother of judicial regulation. The most remarkable
occurs, perhaps, in the articles regulating what is called the Family
Council--a subject which does not seem of importance sufficient to claim
much attention.

The Civil Code being thus ascertained, provision was made for its
regular administration by suitable courts; the judges of which did not,
as before the Revolution, depend for their emoluments upon fees payable
by the litigants, but were compensated by suitable salaries at the
expense of the public. As France does not supply that class of persons
who form what is called in England the unpaid magistracy, the French
justices of peace received a small salary of from 800 to 1800 francs.
Above them in rank came judges in the first instance, whose salaries
amounted to 3000 francs at the utmost. The judges of the supreme
tribunals enjoyed about four or five thousand francs; and those of the
High Court of Cassation had not more than ten thousand francs, which
scarcely enabled them to live and keep some rank in the metropolis. But,
though thus underpaid, the situation of the French judges was honourable
in the eyes of the country, and they maintained its character by
activity and impartiality in their judicial functions.

The system of juries had been introduced in criminal cases, by the
acclamation of the Assembly. Buonaparte found them, however,
scrupulously restive and troublesome. There may be some truth in the
charge, that they were averse from conviction, where a loop-hole
remained for acquitting the criminal; and that many audacious crimes
remained unpunished, from the punctilious view which the juries took of
their duty. But it was from other motives than those of the public weal
that Napoleon made an early use of his power, for the purpose of forming
special tribunals, invested with a half-military character, to try all
such crimes as assumed a political complexion, with power to condemn
without the suffrage of a jury.[318] We have already alluded to this
infringement of the most valuable political rights of the subject, in
giving some account of the trials of Georges, Pichegru, and Moreau. No
jury would ever have brought in a verdict against the latter, whose sole
crime was his communication with Pichegru; a point of suspicion
certainly, but no proof whatever of positive guilt. Political causes
being out of the field, the trial by jury was retained in the French
Code, so far as regarded criminal questions; and the general
administration of justice seems to have been very well calculated for
protecting the right, and punishing that which is wrong.


The fiscal operations of Buonaparte were those of which the subjects
complained the most, as indeed these are generally the grievances to
which the people in every country are the most sensible. High taxes were
imposed on the French people, rendered necessary by the expenses of the
government, which, with all its accompaniments, were very considerable;
and although Buonaparte did all in his power to throw the charge of the
eternal wars which he waged upon the countries he overran or subdued,
yet so far does the waste of war exceed any emolument which the armed
hand can wrest from the sufferers, so imperfect a proportion do the
gains of the victor bear to the losses of the vanquished, that after all
the revenue which was derived from foreign countries, the continual
campaigns of the Emperor proved a constant and severe drain upon the
produce of French industry. So rich, however, is the soil of France,
such are the extent of her resources, such the patience and activity of
her inhabitants, that she is qualified, if not to produce at once the
large capitals which England can raise upon her national credit, yet to
support the payment of a train of heavy annual imposts for a much longer
period, and with less practical inconvenience. The agriculture of France
had been extremely improved since the breaking up of the great estates
into smaller portions, and the abrogation of those feudal burdens which
had pressed upon the cultivators; and it might be considered as
flourishing, in spite of war taxes, and, what was worse, the
conscription itself.[319] Under a fixed and secure, though a severe and
despotic government, property was protected, and agriculture received
the best encouragement, namely, the certainty conferred on the
cultivator of reaping the crop which he sowed.

It was far otherwise with commerce, which the maritime war, carried on
so long and with such unmitigated severity, had very much injured, and
the utter destruction of which was in a manner perfected by Buonaparte's
adherence to the continental system. This, indeed, was the instrument by
which, in the long run, he hoped to ruin the commerce of his rival, but
the whole weight of which fell in the first instance on that of France,
whose seaports showed no other shipping save coasters and fishing
vessels; while the trade of Marseilles, Bourdeaux, Nantes, and other
great commercial towns, had, in a great measure, ceased to exist. The
government of the Emperor was proportionally unpopular in those cities;
and although men kept silence, because surrounded by the spies of a
jealous and watchful despotism, their dislike to the existing state of
things could not entirely be concealed.[320]


On the other hand, capitalists, who had sums invested in the public
funds, or who were concerned with the extensive and beneficial contracts
for the equipment and supply of Napoleon's large armies, with all the
numerous and influential persons upon whom any part of the gathering in
or expenditure of the public money devolved, were necessarily devoted to
a government, under which, in spite of the Emperor's vigilance, immense
profits were often derived, even after those by whom they were made had
rendered to the ministers, or perhaps the generals, by whom they were
protected, a due portion of the spoil. Economist and calculator as he
was, to a most superior degree of excellence, Napoleon seems to have
been utterly unable, if he really sincerely desired, to put an end to
the peculations of those whom he trusted with power. He frequently,
during his conversations at St. Helena, alludes to the venality and
corruption of such as he employed in the highest offices, but whose
sordid practices seem never to have occurred to him in the way of
objection to his making use of their talents. Fouché, Talleyrand, and
others, are thus stigmatized; and as we well know how long, and upon how
many different occasions, he employed those statesmen, we cannot but
suppose that, whatever may have been his sentiments as to the _men_, he
was perfectly willing to compound with their peculation, in order to
have the advantage of their abilities. Even when practices of this kind
were too gross to be passed over, Napoleon's mode of censuring and
repressing them was not adapted to show a pure sense of morality on his
own part, or any desire to use extraordinary rigour in preventing them
in future. This conclusion we form from the following anecdote which he
communicated to Las Cases:--

Speaking of generals, and praising the disinterestedness of some, he
adds, Massena, Augereau, Brune, and others, were undaunted depredators.
Upon one occasion, the rapacity of the first of these generals had
exceeded the patience of the Emperor. His mode of punishing him was
peculiar. He did not dispossess him of the command, of which he had
rendered himself unworthy by such an unsoldier-like vice--he did not
strip the depredator by judicial sentence of his ill-won gains, and
restore them to those from whom they were plundered--but, in order to
make the General sensible that he had proceeded too far, Buonaparte drew
a bill upon the banker of the delinquent, for the sum of two or three
millions of francs, to be placed to Massena's debit, and the credit of
the drawer. Great was the embarrassment of the banker, who dared not
refuse the Imperial order, while he humbly hesitated, that he could not
safely honour it without the authority of his principal. "Pay the
money," was the Emperor's reply, "and let Massena refuse to give you
credit at his peril." The money was paid accordingly, and placed to that
General's debit, without his venturing to start any objections.[321]
This was not punishing peculation, but partaking in its gains; and the
spirit of the transaction approached nearly to that described by Le
Sage, where the Spanish minister of state insists on sharing the bribes
given to his secretary.

Junot, in like manner; who, upon his return from Portugal, gave general
scandal by the display of diamonds, and other wealth, which he had
acquired in that oppressed country, received from Buonaparte a friendly
hint to be more cautious in such exhibitions. But his acknowledged
rapacity was never thought of as a reason disqualifying him for being
presently afterwards sent to the government of Illyria.

We are informed, in another of the Emperor's communications, that his
Council of State was of admirable use to him in the severe inquisition
which he was desirous of making into the public accounts. The
proceedings of this Star Chamber, and the fear of being transmitted to
the cognition of the Grand Judge, usually brought the culprits to
composition; and when they had disgorged one, two, or three millions,
the government was enriched, or, according to Buonaparte's ideas, the
laws were satisfied.[322] The truth seems to be, that Buonaparte, though
he contemned wealth in his own person, was aware that avarice, which,
after all, is but a secondary and sordid species of ambition, is the
most powerful motive to mean and vulgar minds; and he willingly advanced
gold to those who chose to prey upon it, so long as their efforts
facilitated his possessing and retaining the unlimited authority to
which he had reached. In a country where distress and disaster of every
kind, public and private, had enabled many to raise large fortunes by
brokerage and agiotage, a monied interest of a peculiar character was
soon formed, whose hopes were of course rested on the wonderful ruler,
by whose gigantic ambition new schemes of speculation were opened in
constant succession, and whose unrivalled talents seemed to have found
the art of crowning the most difficult undertakings with success.

It might be thought that the manufacturing interest must have perished
in France, from the same reasons which so strongly and unfavourably
afflicted the commerce of that country. In ceasing to import, there must
indeed have been a corresponding diminution of the demand for goods to
be exported, whether these were the growth of the soil, or the
productions of French labour. Accordingly, this result had, in a great
degree, taken place, and there was a decrease to a large amount in those
goods which the French were accustomed to export in exchange for the
various commodities supplied to them by British trade. But, though the
real and legitimate stimulus to manufactures had thus ceased, Napoleon
had substituted an artificial one, which had, to a certain extent,
supplied the place of the natural trade. We must remark, that Napoleon,
practically and personally frugal, was totally a stranger to the
science of Political Economy. He never received or acted upon the idea,
that a liberal system of commerce operates most widely in diffusing the
productions which are usually the subjects of exchange, and in affording
to every country the greatest share of the bounties of nature, or the
produce of industry at the easiest rates. On the contrary, he had
proceeded to act against the commerce of England, as, in a military
capacity, he would have done in regard to the water which supplied a
besieged city. He strove to cut it off, and altogether to destroy it,
and to supply the absence of its productions, by such substitutes as
France could furnish.[323] Hence, the factitious encouragement given to
the French manufactures, not by the natural demand of the country, but
by the bounties and prohibitions by which they were guarded. Hence, the
desperate efforts made to produce a species of sugar from various
substances, especially from the beet-root. To this unnatural and
unthrifty experiment, Buonaparte used to attach so much consequence,
that a piece of the new composition, which, with much time and trouble,
had been made to approximate the quality of ordinary loaf-sugar, was
preserved in a glass-case over the Imperial mantel-piece; and a pound or
two of beet-sugar, highly-refined, was sent to foreign courts, to
illustrate the means by which Napoleon consoled his subjects for the
evils incumbent on the continental system. No way of flattering or
gratifying the Emperor was so certain, as to appear eager in supporting
these views; and it is said that one of his generals, when tottering in
the Imperial good graces, regained the favour of his master, by planting
the whole of a considerable estate with beet-root. In these, and on
similar occasions, Napoleon, in his eager desire to produce the
commodity desiderated, became regardless of those considerations which a
manufacturer first ascertains when about to commence his operations,
namely, the expense at which the article can be produced, the price at
which it can be disposed of, and its fitness for the market which it is
intended to supply. The various encouragements given to the cotton
manufacturers, and others, in France, by which it was designed to supply
the want of British goods, proceeded upon a system equally illiberal and
impolitic. Still, however, the expensive bounties, and forced sales,
which the influence of government afforded, enabled these manufacturers
to proceed, and furnished employment to a certain number of men, who
were naturally grateful for the protection which they received from the
Emperor. In the same manner, although no artificial jet-d'eau, upon the
grandest scale of expense, can so much refresh the face of nature, as
the gentle and general influence of a natural shower, the former will
nevertheless have the effect of feeding and nourishing such vegetable
productions as are within the reach of its limited influence. It was
thus, that the efforts of Napoleon at encouraging arts and manufactures,
though proceeding on mistaken principles, produced, in the first
instance, results apparently beneficial.[324]

[Sidenote: PUBLIC WORKS.]

We have already had occasion to observe the immense public works which
were undertaken at the expense of Buonaparte's government. Temples,
bridges, and aqueducts, are, indeed, the coin with which arbitrary
princes, in all ages, have endeavoured to compensate for the liberty of
which the people are deprived. Such monuments are popular with the
citizens, because the enjoyment of them is common to all, and the
monarch is partial to a style of expenditure promising more plausibly
than any other, to extend the memory of his present greatness far into
the bosom of futurity. Buonaparte was not, and could not be insensible
to either of these motives. His mind was too much enlarged to seek
enjoyment in any of the ordinary objects of exclusive gratification; and
undoubtedly, he who had done so much to distinguish himself during his
life above ordinary mortals, must have naturally desired that his public
works should preserve his fame to future ages. Accordingly, he undertook
and executed some of the most splendid labours of modern times. The road
over the Simplon, and the basins at Antwerp, may be always appealed to
as gigantic specimens of his public spirit.

On the other hand, as we have before hinted, Napoleon sometimes aimed at
producing immediate effect, by proposals and plans hastily adopted, as
hastily decreed, and given in full form to the government journal; but
which were either abandoned immediately after having been commenced, or
perhaps, never advanced farther than the plan announced in the
_Moniteur_. Buonaparte's habits of activity, his powers of deciding with
a single glance upon most points of either military or civil
engineering, were liberally drawn upon to strike his subjects with
wonder and admiration. During the few peaceful intervals of his reign,
his impatience of inaction found amusement in traversing, with great
rapidity, and often on the shortest notice, the various departments in
France. Travelling with incredible celerity, though usually accompanied
by the Empress Josephine, he had no sooner visited any town of
consequence, than he threw himself on horseback, and, followed only by
his aide-de-camp and his Mameluke Rustan, who with difficulty kept him
in view, he took a flying survey of the place, its capacities of
improvement, or the inconveniences which attached to it. With this local
knowledge, thus rapidly acquired, he gave audience to the municipal
authorities, and overwhelmed them very often with liberal and long
details concerning the place round which he had galloped for the first
time, but in which they had spent their days. Amazement at the extent
and facility of the Emperor's powers of observation, was thus
universally excited, and his hints were recorded in the _Moniteur_, for
the admiration of France. Some public work, solicited by the
municipality, or suggested by the enlightened benevolence of the Emperor
himself, was then projected, but which, in many, if not most cases,
remained unexecuted; the imperial funds not being in all circumstances
adequate to the splendour of Napoleon's undertakings, or, which was the
more frequent case, some new absorbing war, or project of ambition,
occasioning every other object of expenditure to be postponed.

Even if some of Buonaparte's most magnificent works of public splendour
had been completed, there is room to doubt whether they would have been
attended with real advantage to his power, bearing the least proportion
to the influence which their grandeur necessarily produces upon the
imagination. We look with admiration, and indeed with astonishment, on
the splendid dock-yards of the Scheldt; but, had they been accomplished,
what availed the building of first-rates, which France could hardly find
sailors to man; which being manned, dared not venture out of the river;
or, hazarding themselves upon the ocean, were sure to become the prizes
of the first British men-of-war with whom they chanced to encounter?
Almost all this profuse expense went to the mere purposes of vain glory;
for more mischief would have been done to British commerce, which
Buonaparte knew well was the assailable point, by six privateers from
Dunkirk, than by all the ships of the line which he could build at the
new and most expensive dock-yard of Antwerp, with Brest and Toulon to

In such cases as these, Napoleon did, in a most efficient manner, that
which he ridiculed the Directory for being unable to do--he wrought on
the imagination of the French nation, which indeed had been already so
dazzled by the extraordinary things he had accomplished, that, had he
promised them still greater prodigies than were implied in the
magnificent works which he directed to be founded, they might still have
been justified in expecting the performance of his predictions. And it
must be admitted, looking around the city of Paris, and travelling
through the provinces of France, that Buonaparte has, in the works of
peaceful grandeur, left a stamp of magnificence, not unworthy of the
soaring and at the same time profound spirit, which accomplished so many
wonders in warfare.


The personal and family life of Napoleon was skilfully adapted to his
pre-eminent station. If he had foibles connected with pleasure and
passion, they were so carefully veiled to remain unknown to the
world--at least, they were not manifested by any of those weaknesses
which might serve to lower the Emperor to the stamp of common men. His
conduct towards the Empress Josephine was regular and exemplary. From
their accession to grandeur till the fatal divorce, as Napoleon once
termed it, they shared the privacy of the same apartment, and for many
years partook the same bed. Josephine is said, indeed, to have given her
husband, upon whom she had many claims, some annoyance by her jealousy,
to which he patiently submitted, and escaped the reproach thrown on so
many heroes and men of genius, that, proof to every thing else, they are
not so against the allurements of female seduction. What amours he had
were of a passing character. No woman, excepting Josephine and her
successor, who exercised their lawful and rightful influence, was ever
known to possess any power over him.[325]

The dignity of his throne was splendidly and magnificently maintained,
but the expense was still limited by that love of order which arose out
of Buonaparte's powers of arithmetical calculation, habitually and
constantly employed, and the trusting to which, contributed, it may be,
to that external regularity and decorum which he always supported. In
speaking of his own peculiar taste, Buonaparte said that his favourite
work was a book of logarithms, and his choicest amusement was working
out the problems. The individual to whom the Emperor made this singular
avowal mentioned it with surprise to an officer near his person, who
assured him, that not only did Napoleon amuse himself with arithmetical
ciphers, and the theory of computation, but that he frequently brought
it to bear on his domestic expenses, and diverted himself with comparing
the price at which particular articles were charged to him, with the
rate which they ought to have cost at the fair market price, but which,
for reasons unnecessary to state, was in general greatly exceeded. Las
Cases mentions his detecting such an overcharge in the gold fringe which
adorned one of his state apartments. A still more curious anecdote
respects a watch, which the most eminent artist of Paris had orders to
finish with his utmost skill, in a style which might become a gift from
the Emperor of France to his brother the King of Spain. Before the watch
was out of the artist's hands, Napoleon received news of the battle of
Vittoria. "All is now over with Joseph," were almost his first words
after receiving the intelligence. "Send to countermand the order for the

Properly considered, this anecdote indicates no indifference as to his
brother's fate, nor anxiety about saving a petty sum; it was the rigid
calculation of a professed accountant, whose habits of accuracy induce
him to bring every loss to a distinct balance, however trivial the
off-set may be. But although the Emperor's economy descended to minute
trifles, we are not to suppose that among such was its natural sphere.
On the contrary, in the first year of the Consulate, he discovered and
rectified an error in the statement of the revenue, to the amount of no
less than two millions of francs, to the prejudice of the state. In
another instance, with the skill which only a natural taste for
calculation brought to excellence by constant practice could have
attained, he discovered an enormous overcharge of more than sixty
thousand francs in the pay-accounts of the garrison of Paris. Two such
discoveries, by the head-magistrate, must have gone far to secure
regularity in the departments in which they were made, in future.

Attending to this remarkable peculiarity throws much light on the
character of Buonaparte. It was by dint of his rapid and powerful
combinations that he succeeded as a general; and the same laws of
calculation can be traced through much of his public and private life.

The palace charges, and ordinary expenses of the Emperor, were
completely and accurately regulated by his Imperial Majesty's own
calculation. He boasted to have so simplified the expenditure of the
ancient kings of France, that his hunting establishment, though
maintained in the utmost splendour, cost a considerable sum less than
that of the Bourbons. But it must be recollected, first, that Napoleon
was free from the obligation which subjected the Bourbons to the
extravagant expenses which attended the high appointments of their
household; secondly, that under the Imperial government, the whole
establishment of falconry was abolished; a sport which is, in the
opinion of many, more strikingly picturesque and interesting than any
other variety of the chase, and which, as it infers a royal expense,
belongs properly to sovereign princes.


The Imperial court was distinguished not only by a severe etiquette, but
the grandees, by whom its principal duties were discharged, were given
to understand, that the utmost magnificence of dress and equipage was
required from them upon public occasions. It was, indeed, a subject of
complaint amongst the servants of the Crown, that though Buonaparte was
in many respects attentive to their interests, gave them opportunities
of acquiring wealth, invested them with large dotations and endowments,
and frequently assisted them with an influence not easily withstood in
the accomplishment of advantageous marriages; yet still the great
expenditure at which they were required to support their appearance at
the Imperial court, prevented their realizing any fortune which could
provide effectually for their family. This expense Buonaparte loved to
represent, as a tax which he made his courtiers pay to support the
manufactures of France; but it was extended so far as to show plainly,
that, determined as he was to establish his nobility on such a scale as
to grace his court, it was far from being his purpose to permit them to
assume any real power, or to form an existing and influential barrier
between the crown and the people. The same inference is to be drawn
from the law of France concerning succession in landed property, which
is in ordinary cases equally divided amongst the children of the
deceased; a circumstance which must effectually prevent the rise of
great hereditary influence. And although, for the support of dignities
granted by the Crown, and in some other cases; an entail of a portion of
the favoured person's estate, called a _Majorat_, is permitted to follow
the title, yet the proportion is so small as to give no considerable
weight to those upon whom it devolves.

The composition of Buonaparte's court was singular. Amid his military
dukes and mareschals were mingled many descendants of the old noblesse,
who had been struck out of the lists of emigration. On these Buonaparte
spread the cruel reproach, "I offered them rank in my army--they
declined the service;--I opened my antechambers to them--they rushed in
and filled them." In this the Emperor did not do justice to the ancient
noblesse of France. A great many resumed their natural situation in the
military ranks of their country, and a still greater number declined, in
any capacity, to bend the knee to him, whom they could only consider as
a successful usurper.

The ceremonial of the Tuileries was upon the most splendid scale, the
public festivals were held with the utmost magnificence, and the
etiquette was of the most strict and indefeasible character. To all this
Buonaparte himself attached consequence, as ceremonies characterising
the spirit and dignity of his government; and he had drilled even his
own mind into a veneration for all those outward forms connected with
royalty, as accurately as if they had been during his whole life the
special subject of his attention. There is a curious example given by
Monsieur Las Cases. Buonaparte, in good-humoured trifling, had given his
follower the titles of your highness, your lordship, and so forth,
amidst which it occurred to him, in a fit of abstraction, to use the
phrase, "Your Majesty." The instant that the word, sacred to his own
ears, had escaped him, the humour of frolic was ended, and he resumed a
serious tone, with the air of one who feels that he has let his
pleasantry trespass upon an unbecoming and almost hallowed subject.

There were many of Buonaparte's friends and followers, bred, like
himself, under the influence of the Revolution, who doubted the policy
of his entering into such a strain of imitation of the ancient courts of
Europe, and of his appearing anxious to emulate them in the only points
in which he must necessarily fail, antiquity and long observance giving
to ancient usages an effect upon the imagination, which could not
possibly attach to the same ceremonial introduced into a court of
yesterday. These would willingly have seen the dignity of their master's
court rested upon its real and pre-eminent importance, and would have
desired, that though republican principles were abandoned, something of
the severe and manly simplicity of Republican manners should have
continued to characterise a throne whose site rested upon the
Revolution. The courtiers who held such opinions were at liberty to draw
consolation from the personal appearance and habits of Napoleon. Amid
the gleam of embroidery, of orders, decorations, and all that the
etiquette of a court demands to render ceremonial at once accurate and
splendid, the person of the Emperor was to be distinguished by his
extreme simplicity of dress and deportment. A plain uniform, with a hat
having no other ornament than a small three-coloured cockade, was the
dress of him who bestowed all these gorgeous decorations, and in honour
of whom these costly robes of ceremonial had been exhibited. Perhaps
Napoleon might be of opinion, that a person under the common size, and
in his latter days somewhat corpulent, was unfit for the display of rich
dresses; or it is more likely he desired to intimate, that although he
exacted from others the strict observance of etiquette, he held that the
Imperial dignity placed him above any reciprocal obligation towards

Perhaps, also, in limiting his personal expenses, and avoiding that of a
splendid royal wardrobe, Buonaparte might indulge that love of
calculation and order, which we have noticed as a leading point of his
character. But his utmost efforts could not carry a similar spirit of
economy among the female part of his Imperial family; and it may be a
consolation to persons of less consequence to know, that in this respect
the Emperor of half the world was nearly as powerless as they may feel
themselves to be. Josephine, with all her amiable qualities, was
profuse, after the general custom of Creoles, and Pauline de Borghese
was no less so. The efforts of Napoleon to limit their expenses,
sometimes gave rise to singular scenes. Upon one occasion, the Emperor
found in company of Josephine a certain milliner of high reputation and
equal expense, with whom he had discharged his wife to have any
dealings. Incensed at this breach of his orders, he directed the
_marchande des modes_ to be conducted to the Bicètre; but the number of
carriages which brought the wives of his principal courtiers to consult
her in captivity, convinced him that the popularity of the milliner was
too powerful even for his Imperial authority; so he wisely dropped a
contention which must have appeared ludicrous to the public, and the
artist was set at liberty, to charm and pillage the gay world of Paris
at her own pleasure.[327]

On another occasion, the irregularity of Josephine in the article of
expense, led to an incident which reminds us of an anecdote in the
history of some Oriental Sultan. A creditor of the Empress, become
desperate from delay, stopped the Imperial _calèche_, in which the
Emperor was leaving St. Cloud, with Josephine by his side, and presented
his account, with a request of payment. Buonaparte did as Saladin would
have done in similar circumstances--he forgave the man's boldness in
consideration of the justice of his claim, and caused the debt to be
immediately settled. In fact, while blaming the expense and irregularity
which occasioned such demands, his sense of justice, and his family
affection, equally inclined him to satisfy the creditor.

The same love of order, as a ruling principle of his government, must
have rendered Buonaparte a severe censor of all public breaches of the
decencies of society. Public morals are in themselves the accomplishment
and fulfilment of all laws; they alone constitute a national code.
Accordingly, the manners of the Imperial court were under such
regulation as to escape public scandal, if they were not beyond secret
suspicion.[328] In the same manner, gambling, the natural and favourite
vice of a court, was not practised in that of Buonaparte, who
discountenanced high play by every means in his power. But he suffered
it to be licensed to an immense and frightful extent, by the minister of
police; nor can we give him the least credit when he affirms, that the
gambling-houses which paid such immense rents to Fouché, existed without
his knowledge. Napoleon's own assertion cannot make us believe that he
was ignorant of the principal source of revenue which supported his
police. He compounded, on this as on other occasions, with a good-will,
in consideration of the personal advantage which he derived from it.

In the public amusements of a more general kind, Buonaparte took a deep
interest. He often attended the theatre, though commonly in private, and
without eclat. His own taste, as well as political circumstances, led
him to encourage the amusements of the stage; and the celebrated Talma,
whose decided talents placed him at the head of the French performers,
received, as well in personal notice from the Emperor, as through the
more substantial medium of a pension, an assurance, that the kindness
which he had shown in early youth to the little Corsican student had not
been forgotten. The strictest care was taken that nothing should be
admitted on the stage which could awaken feelings or recollections
unfavourable to the Imperial Government. When the acute wit of the
Parisian audience seized on some expression or incident which had any
analogy to public affairs, the greatest pains were taken, not only to
prevent the circumstance from recurring, but even to hinder it from
getting into general circulation. This secrecy respecting what occurred
in public, could not be attained in a free country, but was easily
accomplished in one where the public papers, the general organs of
intelligence, were under the strict and unremitted vigilance of the

There were periods when Buonaparte, in order to gain the approbation and
sympathy of those who claim the exclusive title of lovers of liberty,
was not unwilling to be thought the friend of liberal opinions, and was
heard to express himself in favour of the liberty of the press, and
other checks upon the executive authority. To reconcile his opinions (or
rather what he threw out as his opinions) with a practice diametrically
opposite, was no easy matter, yet he sometimes attempted it. On
observing one or two persons, who had been his silent and surprised
auditors on such an occasion, unable to suppress some appearance of
incredulity, he immediately entered upon his defence. "I am," he said,
"at bottom, and naturally, for a fixed and limited government. You seem
not to believe me, perhaps because you conceive my opinions and practice
are at variance. But you do not consider the necessity arising out of
persons and circumstances. Were I to relax the reins for an instant, you
would see a general confusion. Neither you nor I, probably, would spend
another night in the Tuileries."

Such declarations have often been found in the mouths of those, who have
seized upon an unlawful degree of authority over their species. Cromwell
was forced to dissolve the Parliament, though he besought the Lord
rather to slay him. State necessity is the usual plea of tyrants, by
which they seek to impose on themselves and others; and, by resorting to
such an apology, they pay that tribute to truth in their language, to
which their practice is in the most decided opposition. But if there are
any to whom such an excuse may appear valid, what can be, or must be,
their sentiments of the French Revolution, which, instead of leading to
national liberty, equality, and general happiness, brought the country
into such a condition, that a victorious soldier was obliged, contrary
to the conviction of his own conscience, to assume the despotic power,
and subject the whole empire to the same arbitrary rules which directed
the followers of his camp?

The press, at no time, and in no civilized country, was ever so
completely enchained and fettered as at this period it was in France.
The public journals were prohibited from inserting any article of public
news which had not first appeared in the _Moniteur_, the organ of
Government; and this, on all momentous occasions, was personally
examined by Buonaparte himself. Nor were the inferior papers permitted
to publish a word, whether in the way of explanation, criticism, or
otherwise, which did not accurately correspond with the tone observed in
the leading journal. They might, with the best graces of their
eloquence, enhance the praise, or deepen the censure, which
characterised the leading paragraph; but seizure of their paper,
confiscation, imprisonment, and sometimes exile, were the unfailing
reward of any attempt to correct what was erroneous in point of fact, or
sophistical in point of reasoning. The _Moniteur_, therefore, was the
sole guide of public opinion; and by his constant attention to its
contents, it is plain that Napoleon relied as much on its influence to
direct the general mind of the people of France, as he did upon the
power of his arms, military reputation, and extensive resources, to
overawe the other nations of Europe.


[307] "It is certain that the Tribunate was absolutely useless, while it
cost nearly half a million; I therefore suppressed it. I was well aware
that an outcry would be raised against the violation of the law; but I
was strong; I possessed the full confidence of the people, and I
considered myself a reformer."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. i., p. 289.

[308] "So little was the Council of State understood by the people in
general, that it was believed no one dared utter a word in that assembly
in opposition to the Emperor's opinion. Thus I very much surprised many
persons, when I related the fact, that one day, during a very animated
debate, the Emperor, having been interrupted three times in giving his
opinion, turned towards the individual who had rather rudely cut him
short, and said in a sharp tone: 'I have not yet done, I beg you will
allow me to continue; I believe every one here has a right to deliver
his opinion.' The smartness of his reply, notwithstanding the solemnity
of the occasion, excited a general laugh, in which the Emperor himself
joined."--LAS CASES, tom. i., p. 280.

[309] Ségur gives example of a case in which Buonaparte deferred his own
opinion to that of the Council. A female of Amsterdam, tried for a
capital crime, had been twice acquitted by the Imperial Courts, and the
Court of Appeal claimed the right to try her a third time. Buonaparte
alone contended against the whole Council of State, and claimed for the
poor woman the immunity which, in justice, she ought to have obtained,
considering the prejudices that must have been excited against her. He
yielded, at length, to the majority, but protesting he was silenced, and
not convinced. To account for his complaisance, it may be remarked
first, that Buonaparte was no way personally interested in the decision
of the question; and, secondly, if it concerned him at all, the fate of
the female was in his hands, since he had only to grant her a pardon if
she was condemned by the Court of Appeal.--S.--See also Las Cases, tom.
i., p. 278.

[310] Las Cases, tom. i., p. 281.

[311] Las Cases, tom. i., p. 282. At St. Helena, Napoleon reproached
himself for the expulsion of M. Portalis. "I was," he said, "perhaps too
severe; I should have checked myself before I ordered him to be gone. He
attempted no justification, and therefore the scene should have ended,
merely by my saying, _it is well_. His punishment should have awaited
him at home. Anger is always unbecoming in a sovereign. But, perhaps, I
was excusable in my council, where I might consider myself in the bosom
of my own family; or perhaps, after all, I may be justly condemned for
this act. Every one has his fault; nature will exert her sway over us
all."--LAS CASES, tom. iv., p. 320.

[312] Las Cases, tom. iv., p. 105.

[313] Las Cases, tom. iv., p. 105.

[314] "Your Emperor," is the usual conclusion, "relies upon the zeal
which you will display on this business, in order to prove your devotion
to his person, and your attachment to the interests of the throne." Each
of the prefects amplifies the circular. The warmest expressions and the
strongest colours are employed; no figure of rhetoric is forgotten, and
the circular is transmitted to the sub-prefects of the department. The
sub-prefects in their turn season it with still stronger language, and
the mayors improve upon that of the sub-prefects.--FABER, _Notices sur
l'Intérieur de la France_, p. 13.

[315] Faber, _Notices_, p. 31.

[316] "What litigations would thus have been prevented! On the first
examination of a cause, a lawyer would have rejected it, had it been at
all doubtful. There would have been little fear that a man, living by
his labour, would have undertaken to conduct a lawsuit, from mere
motives of vanity; and if he had, he would himself have been the only
sufferer in case of failure. But my idea was opposed by a multitude of
objections, and as I had no time to lose, I postponed the further
consideration of the subject. Yet I am still convinced that the scheme
might, with certain modifications, have been turned to the best
account."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. vii., p. 199.

[317] The intelligent reader will easily be aware, that we mean not to
say that every decision of their predecessors is necessarily binding on
the judges of the day. Laws themselves become obsolete, and so do the
decisions which have maintained and enforced them.--S.

[318] "In the Code Napoleon, and even in the Criminal Code, some good
principles remain, derived from the Constituent Assembly; the
institution of juries, for instance, the anchor of French hope: but of
what value were legal institutions, when extraordinary tribunals, named
by the Emperor, special courts, and military commissions, judged all
political offences--the very offences on which the unchangeable ægis of
the law is most required."--MAD. DE STAËL, tom. ii., p. 364.

[319] "Agriculture was continually improving during the whole course of
the Revolution. Foreigners thought it ruined in France. In 1814,
however, the English were compelled to admit, that we had little or
nothing to learn from them."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. iv., p. 280.

[320] "Foreign trade, which in its results is infinitely inferior to
agriculture, was an object of subordinate importance in my mind. Foreign
trade is made for agriculture and home industry, and not the two latter
for the former. The interests of these three fundamental cases are
diverging, and frequently conflicting. I always promoted them in their
natural gradation; but I could not and ought not to have ranked them all
on an equality. The difficulties, and even the total stagnation of
foreign trade during my reign, arose out of the force of circumstances,
and the accidents of the time. One brief interval of peace would
immediately have restored it to its natural level."--NAPOLEON, _Las
Cases_, tom. iv., p. 280.

[321] Las Cases, tom. ii., p. 230.

[322] Las Cases, tom. ii., p. 256.

[323] "The system of commercial licenses was no doubt mischievous.
Heaven forbid that I should have laid it down as a principle. It was the
invention of the English; with me it was only a momentary resource. Even
the continental system, in its extent and rigour, was by me regarded as
a measure occasioned by the war and temporary circumstances."--NAPOLEON,
_Las Cases_, tom. iv., pp. 280, 283.

[324] "Industry or manufactures, and internal trade, made immense
progress during my reign. The application of chemistry to the
manufactures, caused them to advance with giant strides. I gave an
impulse, the effects of which extended throughout Europe."--NAPOLEON,
_Las Cases_, tom. iv., p. 280.

[325] Las Cases, tom. iii., p. 297.

[326] The watch, half completed, remained in the hands of the artist,
and is now the property of the Duke of Wellington.--S.

[327] Las Cases, tom. vii., p. 120.

[328] We again repeat, that we totally disbelieve the gross infamies
imputed to Napoleon within his own family, although sanctioned by the
evidence of the Memoirs of Fouché. Neither Buonaparte's propensities nor
his faults were those of a voluptuary.--S.


     _System of Education introduced into France by Napoleon--National
     University--its nature and objects--Lyceums--Proposed Establishment
     at Meudon._

The reputation of Buonaparte as a soldier, was the means which raised
him to the Imperial dignity; and, unfortunately for himself, his ideas
were so constantly associated with war and victory, that peaceful
regulations of every kind were postponed, as of inferior importance; and
thus war, which in the eye of reason ought always, even when most
necessary and justifiable, to be regarded as an extraordinary state into
which a nation is plunged by compulsion, was certainly regarded by
Napoleon as almost the natural and ordinary condition of humanity. He
had been bred on the battle-field, from which his glory first arose.
"The earthquake voice of victory," according to the expression of
Britain's noble and lost bard, "was to him the breath of life."[329] And
although his powerful mind was capable of applying itself to all the
various relations of human affairs, it was with war and desolation that
he was most familiar, and the tendency of his government accordingly
bore an aspect decidedly military.


The instruction of the youth of France had been the subject of several
projects during the Republic; which was the more necessary, as the
Revolution had entirely destroyed all the colleges and seminaries of
public instruction, most of which were more or less connected with the
Church, and had left the nation almost destitute of any public means of
education. These schemes were of course marked with the wild sophistry
of the period. In many cases they failed in execution from want of
public encouragement; in others, from want of funds. Still, however,
though no fixed scheme of education had been adopted, and though the
increasing vice and ignorance of the rising generation was sufficiently
shocking, there existed in France two or three classes of schools for
different purposes; as indeed it is not to be supposed that so great and
civilized a nation could, under any circumstances, tolerate a total want
of the means of educating their youth.

The schemes to which we allude had agreed in arranging, that each
commune (answering, perhaps, to our parish) should provide a school and
teacher, for the purpose of communicating the primary and most
indispensable principles of education. This plan had in a great measure
failed, owing to the poverty of the communes on whom the expense was
thrown. In some cases, however, the communes had found funds for this
necessary purpose; and, in others, the expense had been divided betwixt
the public body, and the pupils who received the benefit of the
establishment. So that these primary schools existed in many instances,
though certainly in a precarious and languishing state.

The secondary schools were such as qualified persons, or those who held
themselves out as such, had established upon speculation, or by the aid
of private contributions, for teaching the learned and modern languages,
geography, and mathematics.

There was besides evinced on the part of the Catholic clergy, so soon as
the Concordat had restored them to some rank and influence, a desire to
resume the task of public education, which, before the Revolution, had
been chiefly vested in their hands. Their seminaries had been supported
by the public with considerable liberality, and being under the control
of the bishop, and destined chiefly to bring up young persons intended
for the Church, they had obtained the name of Ecclesiastical Schools.

[Sidenote: LYCEUMS.]

Matters were upon this footing when Buonaparte brought forward his grand
project of a National University, composed of a Grand Master, a
Chancellor, a treasurer, ten counsellors for life, twenty counsellors in
ordinary, and thirty inspectors-general; the whole forming a sort of
Imperial council, whose supremacy was to be absolute on matters
respecting education. All teachers, and all seminaries of education,
were subjected to the supreme authority of the National University, nor
could any school be opened without a brevet or diploma from the Grand
Master, upon which a considerable tax was imposed. It was indeed the
policy of the government to diminish as far as possible the number of
Secondary and of Ecclesiastical Schools, in order that the public
education might be conducted at the public seminaries, called Lyceums,
or Academies.

In these Lyceums the discipline was partly military, partly monastic.
The masters, censors, and teachers, in the Lyceums and Colleges, were
bound to celibacy; the professors might marry, but in that case were not
permitted to reside within the precincts. The youth were entirely
separated from their families, and allowed to correspond with no one
save their parents, and then only through the medium, and under the
inspection, of the censors. The whole system was subjected to the strict
and frequent investigation of the University. The Grand Master might
dismiss any person he pleased, and such a sentence of dismission
disqualified the party receiving it from holding any civil employment.

In the general case, it is the object of a place of learning to remove
from the eyes of youth that pomp and parade of war, by which at an
early age they are so easily withdrawn from severe attention to their
studies. The Lyceums of Buonaparte were conducted on a contrary
principle; every thing was done by beat of drum, all the interior
arrangements of the boys were upon a military footing. At a period when
the soldier's profession held out the most splendid prospects of
successful ambition, it was no wonder that young men soon learned to
look forward to it as the only line worthy of a man of spirit to pursue.
The devotion of the young students to the Emperor, carefully infused
into them by their teachers, was farther excited by the recollection,
that he was their benefactor for all the means of instruction afforded
them; and thus they learned from every circumstance around them, that
the first object of their lives was devotion to his service, and that
the service required of them was of a military character.

There were in each Lyceum one hundred and fifty exhibitions, or
scholarships, of which twenty were of value sufficient to cover the
student's full expenses, while the rest, of smaller amount, were called
half or three quarter bursaries, in which the parents or relations of
the lad supplied a portion of the charge. From these Lyceums, two
hundred and fifty of the most selected youth were yearly draughted into
the more professional and special military schools maintained by the
Emperor; and to be included in this chosen number, was the prime object
of every student. Thus, every thing induced the young men brought up at
these Lyceums, to look upon a military life as the most natural and
enviable course they had to pursue; and thus Buonaparte accomplished
that alteration on the existing generation, which he intimated, when he
said, "The clergy regard this world as a mere diligence which is to
convey us to the next--it must be my business to fill the public
carriage with good recruits for my army."

Of the whole range of national education, that which was conducted at
the Lyceums, or central schools, was alone supported by the state; and
the courses there taught were generally limited to Latin and
mathematics, the usual accomplishments of a military academy.
Undoubtedly Brienne was in Napoleon's recollection; nor might he perhaps
think a better, or a more enlarged course of education necessary for the
subjects of France, than that which had advanced their sovereign to the
supreme government. But there was a deeper reason in the limitation.
Those who, under another system of education, might have advanced
themselves to that degree of knowledge which becomes influential upon
the mind of the public, or the fortunes of a state, by other means than
those of violence, were disqualified for the task by that which they
received in the Lyceums; and the gentle, studious, and peaceful youth,
was formed, like all the rest of the generation, to the trade of war, to
which he was probably soon to be called by the conscription. If the
father chose to place his son at one of the Secondary Schools, where a
larger sphere of instruction was opened, it was still at the risk of
seeing the youth withdrawn from thence and transferred to the nearest
Lyceum, if the Directors of the Academy should judge it necessary for
the encouragement of the schools which appertained more properly to

Yet Napoleon appears to have been blind to the errors of this system, or
rather to have been delighted with them, as tending directly to aid his
despotic views. "My university," he was accustomed to say to the very
last, "was a masterpiece of combination, and would have produced the
most material effect on the public mind." And he was wont on such
occasions to throw the blame of its failure on Monsieur Fontanes, the
Grand Master, who, he said, afterwards took merit with the Bourbons for
having encumbered its operation in some of its most material

Buonaparte, it must be added, at a later period, resolved to complete
his system of national education, by a species of Corinthian capital. He
proposed the establishment of an institution at Meudon, for the
education of his son, the King of Rome, where he was to be trained to
the arts becoming a ruler, in the society of other young princes of the
Imperial family, or the descendants of the allies of Napoleon. This
would have been reversing the plan of tuition imposed on Cyrus, and on
Henry IV., who were bred up among the common children of the peasants,
that their future grandeur might not too much or too early obscure the
real views of human nature and character. But it is unnecessary to
speculate on a system which never was doomed to be brought to
experiment; only, we may presume it was intended to teach the young
Napoleon more respect to the right of property which his princely
companions held in their toys and playthings, than his father evinced
towards the crowns and sceptres of his brothers and allies.



    "The triumph, and the vanity,
      The rapture of the strife--
    The earthquake voice of victory,
      To thee the breath of life."

    BYRON, vol. x., p. 7.


     _Military Details--Plan of the Conscription--Its Nature--and
     Effects--Enforced with unsparing rigour--Its influence upon the
     general Character of the French Soldiery--New mode of Conducting
     Hostilities introduced by the Revolution--Constitution of the
     French Armies, Forced Marches--_La Maraude_--Its Nature--and
     Effects--on the Enemy's Country, and on the French Soldiers
     themselves--Policy of Napoleon, in his personal conduct to his
     Officers and Soldiers--Altered Character of the French Soldiery
     during, and after, the Revolution._


We have shown that the course of education practised in France was so
directed, as to turn the thoughts and hopes of the youth to a military
life, and prepare them to obey the call of the conscription. This means
of recruiting the military force, the most formidable ever established
in a civilized nation, was originally presented to the Council of Five
Hundred in 1798.[330] It comprehended a series of lists, containing the
names of the whole youth of the kingdom, from the age of twenty to
twenty-five, and empowering government to call them out successively, in
such numbers as the exigencies of the state should require. The classes
were five in number. The first contained those who were aged twenty
years complete, before the commencement of the year relative to which
the conscription was demanded, and the same rule applied to the other
four classes of men, who had attained the twenty-first, twenty-second,
twenty-third, twenty-fourth, and twenty-fifth years successively, before
the same period. In practice, however, the second class of conscripts
were not called out until the first were actually in service, nor was it
usual to demand more than the first class in any one year. But as the
first class amounted to 60 or 80,000, so forcible and general a levy
presented immense facilities to the government, and was proportionally
burdensome to the people.[331]

This law, undoubtedly, has its general principle in the duty which every
one owes to his country. Nothing can be more true, than that all men
capable of bearing arms are liable to be employed in the defence of the
state; and nothing can be more politic, than that the obligation which
is incumbent upon all, should be, in the first instance, imposed upon
the youth, who are best qualified for military service by the freshness
of their age, and whose absence from the ordinary business of the
country will occasion the least inconvenience. But it is obvious, that
such a measure can only be vindicated in defensive war, and that the
conduct of Buonaparte, who applied the system to the conduct of distant
offensive wars, no otherwise necessary than for the satisfaction of his
own ambition, stands liable to the heavy charge of having drained the
very life-blood of the people intrusted to his charge, not for the
defence of their own country, but to extend the ravages of war to
distant and unoffending regions.

The French conscription was yet more severely felt by the extreme rigour
of its conditions. No distinction was made betwixt the married man,
whose absence might be the ruin of his family, and the single member of
a numerous lineage, who could be easily spared. The son of the widow,
the child of the decrepid and helpless, had no right to claim an
exemption. Three sons might be carried off in three successive years
from the same desolated parents; there was no allowance made for having
already supplied a recruit. Those unable to serve were mulcted in a
charge proportioned to the quota of taxes which they or their parents
contributed to the state, and which might vary from fifty to twelve
hundred francs. Substitutes might indeed be offered, but then it was
both difficult and expensive to procure them, as the law required that
such substitutes should not only have the usual personal qualifications
for a military life, but should be domesticated within the same district
as their principal, or come within the conscription of the year.
Suitable persons were sure to know their own value, and had learned so
well to profit by it, that they were not to be bribed to serve without
excessive bounties. The substitutes also had the practice of deserting
upon the road, and thus cheated the principal, who remained answerable
for them till they joined their colours. On the whole, the difficulty of
obtaining exemption by substitution was so great, that very many young
men, well educated, and of respectable families, were torn from all
their more propitious prospects, to bear the life, discharge the duties,
and die the death, of common soldiers in a marching regiment.

There was no part of Napoleon's government enforced with such extreme
rigour as the levy of the conscriptions.[332] The mayor, upon whom the
duty devolved of seeing the number called for selected by lot from the
class to whom they belonged, was compelled, under the most severe
penalties, to avoid showing the slightest indulgence--the brand, the
pillory, or the galleys, awaited the magistrate himself, if he was found
to have favoured any individuals on whom the law of conscription had
claims. The same laws held out the utmost extent of their terrors
against refractory conscripts, and the public functionaries were every
where in search of them. When arrested, they were treated like convicts
of the most infamous description. Clothed in a dress of infamy, loaded
with chains, and dragging weights which were attached to them, they were
condemned like galley slaves to work upon the public fortifications.
Their relations did not escape, but were often rendered liable for fines
and penalties.

But perhaps the most horrible part of the fate of the conscript, was,
that it was determined for life. Two or three, even four or five years
spent in military service, might have formed a more endurable, though
certainly a severe tax upon human life, with its natural prospects and
purposes. But the conscription effectually and for ever changed the
character of its victims. The youth, when he left his father's hearth,
was aware that he was bidding it adieu, in all mortal apprehension, for
ever; and the parents who had parted with him, young, virtuous, and
ingenuous, and with a tendency, perhaps, to acquire the advantages of
education, could only expect to see him again (should so unlikely an
event ever take place) with the habits, thoughts, manners, and morals,
of a private soldier.

But whatever distress was inflicted on the country by this mode of
compulsory levy, it was a weapon particularly qualified to serve
Buonaparte's purposes. He succeeded to the power which it gave the
government, amongst other spoils of the Revolution, and he used it to
the greatest possible extent.

The conscription, of course, comprehended recruits of every kind, good,
bad, and indifferent; but chosen as they were from the mass of the
people, without distinction, they were, upon the whole, much superior to
that description of persons among whom volunteers for the army are
usually levied in other countries, which comprehends chiefly the
desperate, the reckless, the profligate, and those whose unsettled or
vicious habits render them unfit for peaceful life. The number of young
men of some education who were compelled to serve in the ranks, gave a
tone and feeling to the French army of a very superior character, and
explains why a good deal of intellect and power of observation was often
found amongst the private sentinels. The habits of the nation also being
strongly turned towards war, the French formed, upon the whole, the most
orderly, most obedient, most easily commanded, and best regulated
troops, that ever took the field in any age or country. In the long and
protracted struggle of battle, their fiery courage might sometimes be
exhausted before that of the determined British; but in all that
respects the science, practice, and usages of war, the French are
generally allowed to have excelled their more stubborn, but less
ingenious rivals. They excelled especially in the art of shifting for
themselves; and it was one in which the wars of Napoleon required them
to be peculiarly adroit.[333]

The French Revolution first introduced into Europe a mode of conducting
hostilities, which transferred almost the whole burden of the war to the
country which had the ill-fortune to be the seat of its operations, and
rendered it a resource rather than a drain to the successful
belligerent. This we shall presently explain.


At the commencement of a campaign, nothing could be so complete as the
arrangement of a French army. It was formed into large bodies, called
_corps d'armée_, each commanded by a king, viceroy, mareschal, or
general officer of high pretensions, founded on former services. Each
corps d'armée formed a complete army within itself, and had its allotted
proportion of cavalry, infantry, artillery, and troops of every
description. The corps d'armée consisted of from six to ten divisions,
each commanded by a general of division. The divisions, again, were
subdivided into brigades, of which each, comprehending two or three
regiments, (consisting of two or more battalions,) was commanded by a
general of brigade. A corps d'armée might vary in number from fifty to
eighty thousand men, and upwards; and the general of such a body
exercised the full military authority over it, without the control of
any one excepting the Emperor himself. There were very few instances of
the Emperor's putting the officers who were capable of this high charge
under command of each other; indeed, so very few, as might almost imply
some doubt on his part, of his commands to this effect being obeyed, had
they been issued. This system of dividing his collected forces into
separate and nearly independent armies, the generals of which were each
intrusted with and responsible for his execution of some separate
portion of an immense combined plan, gave great celerity and efficacy to
the French movements; and, superintended as it was by the master-spirit
which planned the campaign, often contributed to the most brilliant
results. But whenever it became necessary to combine two corps d'armée
in one operation, it required the personal presence of Napoleon himself.

Thus organised, the French army was poured into some foreign country by
forced marches, without any previous arrangement of stores or magazines
for their maintenance, and with the purpose of maintaining them solely
at the expense of the inhabitants. Buonaparte was exercised in this
system; and the combination of great masses, by means of such forced
marches, was one great principle of his tactics. This species of war was
carried on at the least possible expense of money to his treasury; but
it was necessarily at the greatest possible expenditure of human life,
and the incalculable increase of human misery. Napoleon's usual object
was to surprise the enemy by the rapidity of his marches, defeat him in
some great battle, and then seize upon his capital, levy contributions,
make a peace with such advantages as he could obtain, and finally return
to Paris.

[Sidenote: LA MARAUDE.]

In these dazzling campaigns, the army usually began their march with
provisions, that is, bread or biscuit for a certain number of days, on
the soldiers' backs. Cattle also were for a time driven along with them,
and slaughtered as wanted. These articles were usually provided from
some large town or populous district, in which the troops might have
been cantoned. The horses of the cavalry were likewise loaded with
forage, for the consumption of two or three days. Thus provided, the
army set forward on its expedition by forced marches. In a very short
time the soldiers became impatient of their burdens, and either wasted
them by prodigal consumption, or actually threw them away. It was then
that the officers, who soon entertained just apprehensions of the troops
suffering scarcity before another regular issue of provisions, gave
authority to secure supplies by what was called _la maraude_, in other
words, by plunder. To ensure that these forced supplies should be
collected and distributed systematically, a certain number of soldiers
from each company were despatched to obtain provisions at the villages
and farm-houses in the neighbourhood of the march, or of the ground upon
which the army was encamped. These soldiers were authorised to compel
the inhabitants to deliver their provisions without receipt or payment;
and, such being their regular duty, it may be well supposed that they
did not confine themselves to provisions, but exacted money and articles
of value, and committed many other similar abuses.


It must be owned, that the intellectual character of the French, and the
good-nature which is the real ground of their national character,
rendered their conduct more endurable under the evils of this system
than could have been expected, provided always that provisions were
plenty, and the country populous. A sort of order was then observed,
even in the disorder of the _maraude_, and pains were taken to divide
regularly the provisions thus irregularly obtained. The general temper
of the soldiery, when unprovoked by resistance, made them not wholly
barbarous; and their original good discipline, the education which many
had received, with the habits of docility which all had acquired,
prevented them from breaking up into bands of absolute banditti, and
destroying themselves by their own irregularities. No troops except the
French could have subsisted in the same manner; for no other army is
sufficiently under the command of its officers.

But the most hideous features of this system were shown when the army
marched through a thinly-peopled country, or when the national
character, and perhaps local facilities, encouraged the natives and
peasants to offer resistance. Then the soldiers became animated alike by
the scarcity of provisions, and irritated at the danger which they
sometimes incurred in collecting them. As their hardships increased,
their temper became relentless and reckless, and, besides indulging in
every other species of violence, they increased their own distresses by
destroying what they could not use. Famine and sickness were not long of
visiting an army which traversed by forced marches a country exhausted
of provisions. These stern attendants followed the French columns as
they struggled on. Without hospitals, and without magazines, every
straggler who could not regain his ranks fell a victim to hunger, to
weather, to weariness, to the vengeance of an incensed peasantry. In
this manner, the French army suffered woes, which, till these tremendous
wars, had never been the lot of troops in hostilities carried on between
civilized nations. Still Buonaparte's object was gained; he attained,
amid these losses and sacrifices, and at the expense of them, the point
which he had desired; displayed his masses to the terrified eyes of a
surprised enemy; reaped the reward of his despatch in a general victory;
and furnished new subjects of triumph to the _Moniteur_. So much did he
rely upon the celerity of movement, that if an officer asked time to
execute any of his commands, it was frequently his remarkable
answer--"Ask me for any thing except time." That celerity depended on
the uncompromising system of forced marches, without established
magazines; and we have described how wasteful it must have been to
human life.[334] But when the battle was over, the dead were at rest,
and could not complain; the living were victors, and soon forgot their
sufferings; and the loss of the recruits who had been wasted in the
campaign, was supplied by another draught upon the youth of France, in
the usual forms of the conscription.

Buonaparte observed, with respect to his army, an adroit species of
policy. His mareschals, his generals, his officers of high rank, were
liberally honoured and rewarded by him; but he never treated them with
personal familiarity. The forms of etiquette were, upon all occasions,
strictly maintained. Perhaps he was of opinion that the original
equality in which they had stood with regard to each other, would have
been too strongly recalled by a more familiar mode of intercourse. But
to the common soldier, who could not misconstrue or intrude upon his
familiarity, Buonaparte observed a different line of conduct. He
permitted himself to be addressed by them on all suitable occasions, and
paid strict attention to their petitions, complaints, and even their
remonstrances. What they complained of was, in all instances, inquired
into and reformed, if the complaints were just. After a battle, he was
accustomed to consult the regiments which had distinguished themselves,
concerning the merits of those who had deserved the Legion of Honour, or
other military distinction. In these moments of conscious importance,
the sufferings of the whole campaign were forgotten; and Napoleon
seemed, to the soldiery who surrounded him, not as the ambitious man who
had dragged them from their homes, to waste their valour in foreign
fields, and had purchased victory at the expense of subjecting them to
every privation, but as the father of the war, to whom his soldiers were
as children, and to whom the honour of the meanest private was as dear
as his own.

Every attention was paid, to do justice to the claims of the soldier,
and provide for his preferment as it was merited. But with all this
encouragement, it was the remark of Buonaparte himself, that the army no
longer produced, under the Empire, such distinguished soldiers as
Pichegru, Kleber, Moreau, Massena, Desaix, Hoche, and he himself above
all, who, starting from the ranks of obscurity, like runners to a race,
had astonished the world by their progress. These men of the highest
genius, had been produced, as Buonaparte thought, in and by the fervour
of the Revolution; and he appears to have been of opinion, that, since
things had returned more and more into the ordinary and restricted
bounds of civil society, men of the same high class were no longer
created. There is, however, some fallacy in this statement. Times of
revolution do not create great men, but revolutions usually take place
in periods of society when great principles have been under discussion,
and the views of the young and of the old have been turned, by the
complexion of the times, towards matters of grand and serious
consideration, which elevate the character and raise the ambition. When
the collision of mutual violence, the explosion of the revolution itself
actually breaks out, it neither does nor can _create_ talent of any
kind. But it brings forth, (and in general destroys,) in the course of
its progress, all the talent which the predisposition to discussion of
public affairs had already encouraged and fostered; and when that talent
has perished, it cannot be replaced from a race educated amidst the
furies of civil war. The abilities of the Long Parliament ceased to be
seen under the Commonwealth, and the same is true of the French
Convention, and the Empire which succeeded it. Revolution is like a
conflagration, which throws temporary light upon the ornaments and
architecture of the house to which it attaches, but always ends by
destroying them.

It is said also, probably with less authority, that Napoleon, even when
surrounded by those Imperial Guards, whose discipline had been so
sedulously carried to the highest pitch, sometimes regretted the want of
the old Revolutionary soldiers, whose war-cry, "Vive la Republique!"
identified each individual with the cause which he maintained. Napoleon,
however, had no cause to regret any circumstance which referred to his
military power. It was already far too great, and had destroyed the
proper scale of government in France, by giving the military a decided
superiority over all men of civil professions, while he himself, with
the habits and reasoning of a despotic general, had assumed an almost
unlimited authority over the fairest part of Europe. Over foreign
countries, the military renown of France streamed like a comet,
inspiring universal dread and distrust; and whilst it rendered
indispensable similar preparations for resistance, it seemed as if peace
had departed from the earth for ever, and that its destinies were
hereafter to be disposed of according to the laws of brutal force alone.


[330] By General Jourdan.

[331] Montgaillard, tom. v., p. 139. See also Mounteney's Historical
Enquiry relative to Napoleon, p. 20.

[332] "The Emperor constantly insisted on subjecting the whole nation to
the laws of the conscription. 'I am inexorable on the subject of
exemption,' said he, one day in the Council of State, 'it would be
criminal. How could I acquit my conscience with having exposed the life
of one man, for the advantage of another? I do not even think I would
exempt my own son.'"--LAS CASES, tom. vii., p. 197.

[333] Mad. de Staël, tom. ii., p. 351.

[334] "This is not correct. Activity of movement and rapidity of attack
are as conducive to the well-being of mankind, as they are favourable to
victory. Where did Sir Walter Scott learn that the system of forced
marches pursued by the Emperor Napoleon was always without magazines? On
the contrary, his administrative system was admirable, and his
calculations on this head worthy of his plans: without the one, the
other could not have succeeded."--LOUIS BUONAPARTE, p. 54.


     _Effects of the Peace of Tilsit--Napoleon's views of a State of
     Peace--Contrasted with those of England--The Continental
     System--Berlin and Milan Decrees--British Orders in
     Council--Spain--Retrospect of the Relations of that Country with
     France since the Revolution--Godoy--His Influence--Character--and
     Political Views--Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias, applies to Napoleon
     for Aid--Affairs of Portugal--Treaty of Fontainbleau--Departure
     of the Prince Regent for Brazil--Entrance of Junot into Lisbon--His
     unbounded Rapacity--Disturbances at Madrid--Ferdinand detected in a
     Plot against his Father, and imprisoned--King Charles applies to
     Napoleon--Wily Policy of Buonaparte--Orders the French Army to
     enter Spain._

The peace of Tilsit had been of that character, which, while it settled
the points of dispute between two rival monarchies, who had found
themselves hardly matched in the conflict to which it put a period, left
both at liberty to use towards the nations more immediately under the
influence of either, such a degree of discretion as their power enabled
them to exercise. Such was Napoleon's idea of pacification, which
amounted to this:--"I will work my own pleasure with the countries over
which my power gives me not indeed the right, but the authority and
power; and you, my ally, shall, in recompense, do what suits you in the
territories of other states adjoining to you, but over which I have no
such immediate influence."

This was the explanation which he put upon the treaty of Amiens, and
this was the species of peace which long afterwards he regretted had not
been concluded with England. His regrets on that point were expressed at
a very late period, in language which is perfectly intelligible.
Speaking of France and England, he said, "We have done each other
infinite harm--we might have rendered each other infinite service by
mutual good understanding. If the school of Fox had succeeded, we would
have understood each other--there would only have been in Europe one
army and one fleet--we would have governed the world--we would have
fixed repose and prosperity every where, either by force or by
persuasion. Yes--I repeat how much good we might have done--how much
evil we have actually done to each other."[335]

Now, the fundamental principle of such a pacification, which Buonaparte
seems to the very last to have considered as the mutual basis of common
interest, was such as could not, ought not, nay, dared not, have been
adopted by any ministry which England could have chosen, so long as she
possessed a free Parliament. Her principle of pacification must have
been one that ascertained the independence of other powers, not which
permitted her own aggressions, and gave way to those of France. Her
wealth, strength, and happiness, do, and must always, consist in the
national independence of the states upon the continent. She could not,
either with conscience or safety, make peace with a usurping conqueror,
on the footing that she herself was to become a usurper in her turn. She
has no desire or interest to blot out other nations from the map of
Europe, in order that no names may remain save those of Britain and
France; nor is she interested in depriving other states of their fleets,
or of their armies. Her statesmen must disclaim the idea of governing
the world, or a moiety of the world, and of making other nations either
happy or unhappy by force of arms. The conduct of England in 1814 and in
1815, evinced this honest and honourable policy; since, yielding much to
others, she could not be accused of being herself influenced by any
views to extend her own dominion, in the general confusion and blending
which arose out of the downfall of the external power of France. That,
however, is a subject for another place.

In the meanwhile, France, who, with Russia, had arranged a treaty of
pacification on a very different basis, was now busied in gathering in
the advantages which she expected to derive from it. In doing so, it
seems to have been Buonaparte's principal object so to consolidate and
enforce what he called his Continental System, as ultimately to root out
and destroy the remaining precarious communications, which England, by
her external commerce, continued to maintain with the nations of the


To attain this grand object, the treaty of Tilsit and its consequences
had given him great facilities. France was his own--Holland was under
the dominion, nominally, of his brother Louis, but in a great measure at
his devotion. His brother Jerome was established in the kingdom of
Westphalia. It followed, therefore, in the course of his brother's
policy, that he was to form an alliance worthy of his new rank. It has
been already noticed that he had abandoned, by his brother's command,
Elizabeth Paterson, daughter of a respectable gentleman of Baltimore,
whom he had married in 1803. He was now married at the Tuileries to
Frederica Catherine, daughter of the King of Wirtemberg.[336]

Prussia, and all the once free ports of the Hanseatic League, were
closed against English commerce, so far as absolute military power could
effect that purpose. Russia was not so tractable in that important
matter as the terms of the treaty of Tilsit, and Napoleon's secret
engagements with the Czar, had led him to hope. But Alexander was too
powerful to be absolutely dictated to in the enforcement of this
anti-commercial system; and, indeed, the peculiar state of the Russian
nation might have rendered it perilous to the Czar to enforce the
non-intercourse to the extent which Napoleon would have wished. The
large, bulky, and heavy commodities of Russia--hemp and iron, and timber
and wax, and pitch and naval stores--that produce upon which the Boyards
of the empire chiefly depended for their revenue, would not bear the
expense of transportation by land; and England, in full and exclusive
command of the sea, was her only, and at the same time her willing
customer. Under various elusory devices, therefore, England continued
to purchase Russian commodities, and pay for them in her own
manufactures, in spite of the decrees of the French Emperor, and in
defiance of the ukases of the Czar himself; and to this Buonaparte was
compelled to seem blind, as what his Russian ally could not, or would
not, put an end to.

The strangest struggle ever witnessed in the civilized world began now
to be maintained, betwixt Britain and those countries who felt the
importation of British goods as a subject not only of convenience, but
of vital importance, on the one hand, and France on the other; whose
ruler was determined that on no account should Britain either maintain
intercourse with the continent, or derive the inherent advantages of a
free trade. The decrees of Berlin were reinforced by others of the
French Emperor, yet more peremptory and more vexatious. By these, and
particularly by one promulgated at Milan, 17th December, 1807, Napoleon
declared Britain in a state of blockade--all nations whatever were
prohibited not only to trade with her, but to deal in any articles of
British manufactures.[337] Agents were named in every seaport and
trading-town on the part of Buonaparte. There was an ordinance that no
ship should be admitted into any of the ports of the continent without
certificates, as they were called, of origin; the purpose of which was
to show that no part of their cargo was of British produce. These
regulations were met by others on the part of Britain, called the Orders
in Council.[338] They permitted all neutrals to trade with countries at
peace with Great Britain, providing they touched at a British port, and
paid the British duties. Neutrals were thus placed in a most undesirable
predicament betwixt the two great contending powers. If they neglected
the British Orders in Council, they were captured by the cruizers of
England, with which the sea was covered. If they paid duties at British
ports, they were confiscated, if the fact could be discovered, on
arrival at any port under French influence. This led to every species of
deception by which the real character of the mercantile transaction
could be disguised. False papers, false entries, false registers, were
every where produced; and such were the profits attending the trade,
that the most trusty and trusted agents of Buonaparte, men of the
highest rank in his empire, were found willing to wink at this
contraband commerce, and obtained great sums for doing so. All along the
sea-coast of Europe, this struggle was keenly maintained betwixt the
most powerful individual the world ever saw, and the wants and wishes of
the society which he controlled--wants and wishes not the less eagerly
entertained, that they were directed towards luxuries and superfluities.

But it was chiefly the Spanish Peninsula, in which the dominion of its
ancient and natural princes still nominally survived, which gave an
extended vent to the objects of British commerce. Buonaparte, indeed,
had a large share of its profits, since Portugal, in particular, paid
him great sums to connive at her trade with England. But at last the
weakness of Portugal, and the total disunion of the Royal Family in
Spain, suggested to Napoleon the thoughts of appropriating to his own
family, or rather to himself, that noble portion of the continent of
Europe. Hence arose the Spanish contest, of which he afterwards said in
bitterness, "That wretched war was my ruin; it divided my
forces--obliged me to multiply my efforts, and injured my character for
morality."[339] But could he expect better results from a usurpation,
executed under circumstances of treachery perfectly unexampled in the
history of Europe? Before entering, however, upon this new and most
important era of Napoleon's history, it is necessary hastily to resume
some account of the previous relations between France and the Peninsula
since the Revolution.


Manuel de Godoy, a favourite of Charles IV. and the paramour of his
profligate Queen, was at this time the uncontrolled minister of
Spain.[340] He bore the title of Prince of the Peace, or of Peace, as it
was termed for brevity's sake, on account of his having completed the
pacification of Basle, which closed the revolutionary war betwixt Spain
and France. By the subsequent treaty of Saint Ildefonso, he had
established an alliance, offensive and defensive, betwixt the two
countries, in consequence of which Spain had taken from time to time,
without hesitation, every step which Buonaparte's interested policy
recommended. But notwithstanding this subservience to the pleasure of
the French ruler, Godoy seems in secret to have nourished hopes of
getting free of the French yoke; and at the very period when the
Prussian war broke out, without any necessity which could be discovered,
he suddenly called the Spanish forces to arms, addressing to them a
proclamation of a boastful, and, at the same time, a mysterious
character, indicating that the country was in danger, and that some
great exertion was expected from the Spanish armies in her behalf.
Buonaparte received this proclamation on the field of battle at Jena,
and is said to have sworn vengeance against Spain.[341] The news of that
great victory soon altered Godoy's military attitude, and the minister
could find no better excuse for it, than to pretend that he had armed
against an apprehended invasion of the Moors. Napoleon permitted the
circumstance to remain unexplained. It had made him aware of Godoy's
private sentiments in respect to himself and to France, if he had before
doubted them; and though passed over without farther notice, this hasty
armament of 1806 was assuredly not dismissed from his thoughts.

In the state of abasement under which they felt their government and
royal family to have fallen, the hopes and affections of the Spaniards
were naturally turned on the heir-apparent, whose succession to the
crown they looked forward to as a signal for better things, and who was
well understood to be at open variance with the all-powerful Godoy. The
Prince of the Asturias, however, does not seem to have possessed any
portion of that old heroic pride, and love of independence, which ought
to have marked the future King of Spain. He was not revolted at the sway
which Buonaparte held in Europe and in Spain, and, far from desiring to
get rid of the French influence, he endeavoured to secure Buonaparte's
favour for his own partial views, by an offer to connect his own
interest in an indissoluble manner with those of Napoleon and his
dynasty. Assisted by some of the grandees, who were most especially
tired of Godoy and his administration, the Prince wrote Buonaparte a
secret letter, [11th October,] expressing the highest esteem for his
person; intimating the condition to which his father, whose too great
goodness of disposition had been misguided by wicked counsellors, had
reduced the flourishing kingdom of Spain; requesting the counsels and
support of the Emperor Napoleon, to detect the schemes of those
perfidious men; and entreating, that, as a pledge of the paternal
protection which he solicited, the Emperor would grant him the honour of
allying him with one of his relations.[342]

In this manner the heir-apparent of Spain threw himself into the arms,
or, more properly, at the feet of Napoleon; but he did not meet the
reception he had hoped for. Buonaparte was at this time engaged in
negotiations with Charles IV., and with that very Godoy whom it was the
object of the Prince to remove or ruin; and as they could second his
views with all the remaining forces of Spain, while Prince Ferdinand was
in possession of no actual power or authority, the former were for the
time preferable allies. The Prince's offer, as what might be useful on
some future occasion, was for the present neither accepted nor refused.
Napoleon was altogether silent. The fate of the royal family was thus in
the hands of the Stranger. Their fate was probably already determined.
But before expelling the Bourbons from Spain, Napoleon judged it most
politic to use their forces in subduing Portugal.

The flower of the Spanish army, consisting of sixteen thousand men,
under the Marquis de la Romana, had been marched into the north of
Europe, under the character of auxiliaries of France. Another detachment
had been sent to Tuscany, commanded by O'Farrel. So far the kingdom was
weakened by the absence of her own best troops; the conquest of Portugal
was to be made a pretext for introducing the French army to dictate to
the whole Peninsula.

Portugal was under a singularly weak government. Her army was ruined;
the soul and spirit of her nobility was lost; her sole hope for
continuing in existence, under the name of an independent kingdom,
rested in her power of purchasing the clemency of France, and some
belief that Spain would not permit her own territories to be violated
for the sake of annihilating an unoffending neighbour and ally.

Shortly after the treaty of Tilsit, the Prince Regent of Portugal was
required, by France and Spain jointly, to shut his ports against the
English, to confiscate the property of Britain, and to arrest the
persons of her subjects wherever they could be found within his
dominions. The Prince reluctantly acceded to the first part of this
proposal; the last he peremptorily refused, as calling upon him at once
to violate the faith of treaties and the rights of hospitality. And the
British merchants received intimation, that it would be wisdom to close
their commercial concerns, and retire from a country which had no longer
the means of protecting them.

In the meantime, a singular treaty was signed at Fontainbleau, for the
partition of the ancient kingdom of Portugal. By this agreement, a
regular plan was laid for invading Portugal with French and Spanish
armies, accomplishing the conquest of the country, and dividing it into
three parts. The province of Entre Minho y Douro, with the town of
Oporto, was to belong to the King of Etruria (who was to cede his
Italian dominions to Napoleon,) with the title of King of Northern
Lusitania; another portion, consisting of Alenteyo and the Algarves, was
to be given in sovereignty to Godoy, with the title of Prince of the
Algarves; and a third was to remain in sequestration till the end of the
war.[343] By the treaty of Fontainbleau, Napoleon obtained two important
advantages; the first, that Portugal should be conquered; the second,
that a great part of the Spanish troops should be employed on the
expedition, and their native country thus deprived of their assistance.
It is impossible to believe that he ever intended Godoy, or the King of
Etruria, should gain any thing by the stipulations in their behalf.


Junot, one of the most grasping, extravagant, and profligate of the
French generals, a man whom Buonaparte himself has stigmatized as a
monster of rapacity,[344] was appointed to march upon Lisbon, and
intrusted with the charge of reconciling to the yoke of the invaders, a
nation who had neither provoked war, nor attempted resistance.

Two additional armies, consisting partly of French and partly of
Spaniards, supported the attack of Junot. A French army, amounting to
40,000 men, was formed at Bayonne, in terms of the treaty of
Fontainbleau, destined, it was pretended, to act as an army of reserve,
in case the English should land troops for the defence of Portugal, but
which, it had been stipulated, was on no account to enter Spain, unless
such a crisis should demand their presence. It will presently appear
what was the true purpose of this army of reserve, and under what
circumstances it was really intended to enter the Spanish territory.

Meantime, Junot advanced upon Lisbon with such extraordinary forced
marches, as very much dislocated and exhausted his army. But this was of
the less consequence, because, aware that he could not make an effectual
resistance, the Prince Regent had determined that he would not, by an
ineffectual show of defence, give the invaders a pretext to treat
Portugal like a conquered country. He resolved at this late hour to
comply even with the last and harshest of the terms dictated by France
and Spain, by putting the restraint of a register on British subjects
and British property; but he had purposely delayed compliance, till
little was left that could be affected by the measure. The British
Factory, so long domiciliated at Lisbon, had left the Tagus on the 18th
of October, amid the universal regret of the inhabitants. The British
resident minister, Lord Strangford, although feeling compassion for the
force under which the Prince Regent acted, was, nevertheless, under the
necessity of considering these unfriendly steps as a declaration against
England. He took down the British arms, departed from Lisbon
accordingly, and went on board Sir Sidney Smith's squadron, then lying
off the Tagus. The Marquis of Marialva was then sent as an ambassador
extraordinary, to state to the courts of France and Spain, that the
Prince Regent had complied with the whole of their demands, and to
request that the march of their forces upon Lisbon should be
countermanded. Junot and his army had by this time crossed the frontiers
of Portugal, entering, he said, as the friends, allies, and protectors
of the Portuguese, come to save Lisbon from the fate of Copenhagen, and
relieve the inhabitants from the yoke of the maritime tyrants of
Europe.[345] He promised the utmost good discipline on the part of his
troops, while, at the same time the constant plunder and exactions of
the French were embittered by wanton scorn and acts of sacrilege, which,
to a religious people, seemed peculiarly horrible.[346] Nothing,
however, retarded the celerity of his march; for he was well aware that
it was his master's most anxious wish to seize the persons of the
Portuguese royal family, and especially that of the Prince Regent.


But the Prince, although his general disposition was gentle and
compromising, had, on this occasion, impressions not unworthy of the
heir of Braganza. He had determined that he would not kiss the dust at
the feet of the invader, or be made captive to enhance his triumph. The
kingdom of Portugal had spacious realms beyond the Atlantic, in which
its royal family might seek refuge. The British ambassador offered every
facility which her squadron could afford, and, as is now known, granted
the guarantee of Great Britain, that she would acknowledge no government
which the invaders might establish in Portugal, to the prejudice of the
House of Braganza. The Prince Regent, with the whole royal family,
embarked on board the Portuguese vessels of the line, hastily rigged out
as they were, and indifferently prepared for sea; and thus afforded
modern Europe, for the first time, an example of that species of
emigration, frequent in ancient days, when kings and princes, expelled
from their native seats by the strong arm of violence, went to seek new
establishments in distant countries. The royal family embarked (27th
Nov.) amid the tears, cries, and blessings of the people, from the very
spot whence Vasco de Gama loosened his sails to discover for Portugal
new realms in the East. The weather was as gloomy as were the actors and
spectators of this affecting scene; and the firmness of the Prince
Regent was applauded by the nation which he was leaving, aware that his
longer presence might have exposed himself to insult, but could have had
no effect in ameliorating their own fate.

Junot, within a day's march of Lisbon, was almost frantic with rage when
he heard this news. He well knew how much the escape of the Prince, and
the resolution he had formed, would diminish the lustre of his own
success in the eyes of his master. Once possessed of the Prince Regent's
person, Buonaparte had hoped to get him to cede possession of the
Brazils; and transmarine acquisitions had for Napoleon all the merit of
novelty. The empire of the House of Braganza in the new world, was now
effectually beyond his reach; and his general, thus far unsuccessful,
might have some reason to dread the excess of his master's

Upon the first of December, exhausted with their forced marches, and
sufficiently miserable in equipment and appearance,[347] the French
vanguard approached the city, and their general might see the retreating
sails of the vessels which deprived him of so fair a portion of his
prize. Junot, however, was soon led to resume confidence in his own
merits. He had been connected with Buonaparte ever since the
commencement of his fortunes, which he had faithfully followed. Such
qualifications, and his having married a lady named Comnene,[348] who
affirmed herself to be descended from the blood of the Greek emperors,
was sufficient, he thought, to entitle him to expect the vacant throne
of Lisbon from the hand of his master. In the meantime, he acted as if
already in possession of supreme power. He took possession of the house
belonging to the richest merchant in the city, and although he received
twelve hundred crusadoes a-month for his table, he compelled his
landlord to be at the whole expense of his establishment, which was
placed on the most extravagant scale of splendour. His inferior officers
took the hint, nor were the soldiers slow in following the example. The
extortions and rapacity practised in Lisbon seemed to leave all former
excesses of the French army far behind. This led to quarrels betwixt the
French and the natives; blood was shed; public executions took place,
and the invaders, proceeding to reduce and disband the remnant of the
Portuguese army, showed their positive intention to retain the kingdom
under their own exclusive authority.

This purpose was at last intimated by an official document or
proclamation, issued by Junot [1st Feb.] under Buonaparte's orders. It
declared, that, by leaving his kingdom, the Prince of Brazil had, in
fact, abdicated the sovereignty, and that Portugal, having become a part
of the dominions of Napoleon, should, for the present, be governed by
the French general-in-chief, in name of the Emperor.[349] The French
flag was accordingly displayed, the arms of Portugal every where
removed. The property of the Prince Regent, and of all who had followed
him, was sequestrated, with a reserve in favour of those who should
return before the 15th day of February, the proclamation being published
upon the first day of that month. The next demand upon the unhappy
country, was for a contribution of forty millions of crusadoes, or four
millions and a half sterling;[350] which, laid upon a population of
something less than three millions, came to about thirty shillings
a-head; while the share of the immense numbers who could pay nothing,
fell upon the upper and middling ranks, who had still some property
remaining. There was not specie enough in the country to answer the
demand; but plate, valuables, British goods, and colonial produce, were
received instead of money. Some of the French officers turned jobbers in
these last articles, sending them off to Paris, where they were sold to
advantage. Some became money-brokers, and bought up paper-money at a
discount--so little does the profession of arms retain of its
disinterested and gallant character, when its professors become
habituated and accustomed depredators.[351]

The proclamation of 2d February, vesting the government of Portugal in
General Junot, as the representative of the French Empire, seemed
entirely to abrogate the treaty of Fontainbleau, and in fact, really did
so, except as to such articles in favour of Napoleon, as he himself
chose should remain in force. As for the imaginary princedom of
Algarves, with which Godoy was to have been invested, no more was ever
said or thought about it; nor was he in any condition to assert his
claim to it, however formal the stipulation.[352]


While the French were taking possession of Portugal, one of those
scandalous scenes took place in the royal family at Madrid, which are
often found to precede the fall of a shaken throne.

We have already mentioned the discontent of the Prince of Asturias with
his father, or rather his father's minister. We have mentioned that he
had desired to ally himself with the family of Buonaparte, in order to
secure his protection, but that the Emperor of France had given no
direct encouragement to his suit. Still, a considerable party, headed by
the Duke del Infantado, and the Canon Escoiquiz, who had been the
Prince's tutor,[353] relying upon the general popularity of Ferdinand,
seem to have undertaken some cabal, having for its object probably the
deposition of the old King and the removal of Godoy. The plot was
discovered; the person of the Prince was secured, and Charles made a
clamorous appeal to the justice of Napoleon, and to the opinion of the
world. He stated that the purpose of the conspirators had been aimed at
his life, and that of his faithful minister; and produced, in support of
this unnatural charge, two letters from Ferdinand, addressed to his
parents, in which he acknowledges (in general terms) having failed in
duty to his father and sovereign, and says "that he has denounced his
advisers, professes repentance, and craves pardon."[354] The reality of
this affair is not easily penetrated. That there had been a conspiracy,
is more than probable; the intended parricide was probably an
aggravation, of which so weak a man as Charles IV. might be easily
convinced by the arts of his wife and her paramour.

So standing matters in that distracted house, both father and son
appealed to Buonaparte as the august friend and ally of Spain, and the
natural umpire of the disputes in its royal family. But Napoleon
nourished views which could not be served by giving either party an
effectual victory over the other. He caused his ambassador, Beauharnois,
to intercede in favour of the Prince of Asturias. Charles IV. and his
minister were alarmed and troubled at finding his powerful ally take
interest, even to this extent, in behalf of his disobedient son. They
permitted themselves to allude to the private letter from the Prince of
Asturias to Napoleon, and to express a hope that the Great Emperor would
not permit a rebellious son to shelter himself by an alliance with his
Imperial family. The touching this chord was what Buonaparte desired. It
gave him a pretext to assume a haughty, distant, and offended aspect
towards the reigning King, who had dared to suspect him of bad faith,
and had mentioned with less than due consideration the name of a lady of
the Imperial house.

Godoy was terrified at the interpretation put upon the remonstrances
made by himself and his master, by the awful arbiter of their destiny.
Izquierdo, the Spanish ambassador, was directed to renew his
applications to the Emperor, for the especial purpose of assuring him
that a match with his family would be in the highest degree acceptable
to the King of Spain. Charles wrote with his own hand to the same
purpose. But it was Napoleon's policy to appear haughty, distant,
indifferent, and offended; and to teach the contending father and son,
who both looked to him as their judge, the painful feelings of mutual
suspense. In the meantime, a new levy of the conscription put into his
hands a fresh army; and forty thousand men were stationed at Bayonne, to
add weight to his mediation in the affairs of Spain.


About this period, he did not hesitate to avow to the ablest of his
counsellors, Talleyrand and Fouché, the resolution he had formed, that
the Spanish race of the House of Bourbon should cease to reign. His plan
was opposed by these sagacious statesmen, and the opposition on the part
of Talleyrand is represented to have been obstinate.[355] At a later
period, Napoleon found it more advantageous to load Talleyrand with the
charge of being his adviser in the war with Spain, as well as in the
tragedy of the Duke d'Enghien. In Fouché's Memoirs, there is an
interesting account of his conversation with the Emperor on that
occasion, of which we see room fully to credit the authenticity. It
places before us, in a striking point of view, arguments for and against
this extraordinary and decisive measure. "Let Portugal take her fate,"
said Fouché, "she is, in fact, little else than an English colony. But
that King of Spain has given you no reason to complain of him; he has
been the humblest of your prefects. Besides, take heed you are not
deceived in the disposition of the Spaniards. You have a party amongst
them now, because they look on you as a great and powerful potentate, a
prince, and an ally. But you ought to be aware that the Spanish people
possess no part of the German phlegm. They are attached to their laws;
their government; their ancient customs. It would be an error to judge
of the national character by that of the higher classes, which are
there, as elsewhere, corrupted and indifferent to their country. Once
more, take heed you do not convert, by such an act of aggression, a
submissive and useful tributary kingdom into a second La Vendée."

Buonaparte answered these prophetic remarks, by observations on the
contemptible character of the Spanish government, the imbecility of the
King, and the worthless character of the minister; the common people,
who might be influenced to oppose him by the monks, would be dispersed,
he said, by one volley of cannon. "The stake I play for is immense--I
will continue in my own dynasty the family system of the Bourbons, and
unite Spain for ever to the destinies of France. Remember that the sun
never sets on the immense Empire of Charles V."[356]

Fouché urged another doubt; whether, if the flames of opposition should
grow violent in Spain, Russia might not be encouraged to resume her
connexion with England, and thus place the empire of Napoleon betwixt
two fires? This suspicion Buonaparte ridiculed as that of a minister of
police, whose habits taught him to doubt the very existence of
sincerity. The Emperor of Russia, he said, was completely won over, and
sincerely attached to him.[357] Thus, warned in vain of the wrath and
evil to come, Napoleon persisted in his purpose.

But, ere yet he had pounced upon the tempting prey, in which form Spain
presented herself to his eyes, Napoleon made a hurried expedition to
Italy. This journey had several motives. One was, to interrupt his
communications with the royal family of Spain, in order to avoid being
pressed to explain the precise nature of his pretensions, until he was
prepared to support them by open force. Another was, to secure the
utmost personal advantage which could be extracted from the treaty of
Fontainbleau, before he threw that document aside like waste paper; it
being his purpose that it should remain such, in so far as its
stipulations were in behalf of any others than himself. Under pretext of
this treaty, he expelled from Tuscany, or Etruria, as it was now called,
the widowed Queen of that territory. She now, for the first time
learned, that by an agreement to which she was no party, she was to be
dispossessed of her own original dominions, as well as of those which
Napoleon himself had guaranteed to her, and was informed that she was to
receive a compensation in Portugal. This increased her affliction. "She
did not desire," she said, "to share the spoils of any one, much more of
a sister and a friend." Upon arriving in Spain, and having recourse to
her parent, the King of Spain, for redress and explanation, she had the
additional information, that the treaty of Fontainbleau was to be
recognised as valid, in so far as it deprived her of her territories,
but was not to be of any effect in as far as it provided her with
indemnification.[358] At another time, or in another history, this would
have been dwelt upon as an aggravated system of violence and tyranny
over the unprotected. But the far more important affairs of Spain threw
those of Etruria into the shade.

After so much preparation behind the scenes, Buonaparte now proposed to
open the first grand act of the impending drama. He wrote from Italy to
the King of Spain, that he consented to the proposal which he had made
for the marriage betwixt the Prince of Asturias and one of his
kinswomen; and having thus maintained to the last the appearances of
friendship, he gave orders to the French army, lying at Bayonne, to
enter Spain on different points, and to possess themselves of the strong
fortresses by which the frontier of that kingdom is defended.


[335] Las Cases, tom. iv., p. 163.

[336] The marriage took place on the 12th of August, and, a few days
after, Jerome was proclaimed king of Westphalia. The constitution of the
kingdom was issued on the 15th December, the new monarch's birth-day,
who had then completed his twenty-second year; and, on the 21st, Jerome
made his public entry into Cassel.

[337] Annual Register, vol. xlix., p. 779.

[338] For copies of the several Orders in Council, see Hansard's
Parliamentary Debates, vol. x., p. 126, and Annual Register, vol. xlix.,
pp. 745, 746, 754.

[339] Las Cases, tom. iii., p. 220.

[340] From the rank of a simple gentleman of the royal guards, Godoy
had, through the Queen's influence, been raised to the highest
dignities. "There was no jealousy in the Queen's attachment to this
minion; she gave him one of the royal family in marriage, but the
private life of the favourite continued to be as infamous as the means
whereby he had risen. It is said, that there was no way so certain to
obtain promotion, as by pandering to his vices; and that wives, sisters,
and daughters were offered him as the price of preferment, in a manner
more shameful than had ever before been witnessed in a Christian
country."--SOUTHEY, _History of the Peninsular War_, vol. i., p. 79.

[341] De Pradt, Mémoires sur la Révolution d'Espagne, p. 15.

[342] Southey, vol. i., p. 87.

[343] This treaty, together with a convention dependent on it, was
signed the 27th, and ratified by Napoleon on the 29th of October.

[344] Las Cases, tom. iv., p. 347.

[345] Proclamation from Alcantara, Nov. 17.

[346] "As if they had been desirous of provoking the Portuguese to some
act of violence which might serve as a pretext for carrying into effect
the threats which Junot had denounced, they burnt or mutilated the
images in the churches, and threw the wafer to be trodden under
foot."--NEVES, _Historia de la Guerra contra Nap._, tom. i., p. 196.

[347] "Not a regiment, not a battalion, not even a company, arrived
entire; many of them were beardless boys, and they came in so pitiable a
condition, as literally to excite compassion; foot-sored, bemired and
wet, ragged, and hungered, and diseased."--NEVES, tom. i., p. 213.

[348] "Her family was from Corsica, and resided in the neighbourhood of
mine; they were under great obligations to my mother, not merely for her
benevolence towards them, but for services of a more positive
nature."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. iv., p. 349.

[349] "The House of Braganza has ceased to reign in Portugal, and the
Emperor Napoleon wills that this fine country shall be governed entirely
in his name, by the general-in-chief of his army."

[350] The edict imposing this contribution was dated from Milan, Dec.

[351] Southey, vol. i., p. 155.

[352] "Fallen from his dreams of royalty, and trembling for his life, he
was ready to make any sacrifice which might procure him the protection
of France."--NEVES, tom. i., p. 313.

[353] And author of an heroic poem on the Conquest of Mexico.

[354] Las Cases, tom. iv., p. 198; Southey, vol. i., p. 188; Savary,
tom. ii., p. 144.

[355] "So far from being opposed to it, M. de Talleyrand even advised
it. It was he who dictated all the preliminary steps, and it was with
the view of promptly carrying the measure into effect, that he so
urgently pressed the conclusion of peace at Tilsit. He was the first who
thought of the Spanish expedition; he laid the springs which it was
necessary to bring into play to complete the work."--_Mémoires de
SAVARY_, tom. ii., p. 139.

[356] Mémoires de Fouché, tom. i., p. 313.

[357] "I am sure of Alexander, who is very sincere. I now exercise over
him a kind of charm, independently of the guarantee offered me by those
about him, of whom I am equally certain."--FOUCHÉ, tom. i., p. 315.

[358] Memoir of the Queen of Etruria, p. 70; Southey, vol. i., p. 193.


     _Pampeluna, Barcelona, Montjouy, and St. Sebastians, are
     fraudulently seized by the French--King Charles proposes to sail
     for South America--Insurrection at Aranjuez--Charles resigns the
     Crown in favour of Ferdinand--Murat enters Madrid--Charles disavows
     his resignation--General Savary arrives at Madrid--Napoleon's
     Letter to Murat, touching the Invasion of Spain--Ferdinand sets out
     to meet Napoleon--Halts at Vittoria, and learns too late Napoleon's
     designs against him--Joins Buonaparte at Bayonne--Napoleon opens
     his designs to Escoiquiz and Cevallos, both of whom he finds
     intractable--He sends for Charles, his Queen, and Godoy, to
     Bayonne--Ferdinand is induced to abdicate the Crown in favour of
     his Father, who resigns it next day to Napoleon--This transfer is
     reluctantly confirmed by Ferdinand, who, with his Brothers, is sent
     to splendid imprisonment at Vallençay--Joseph Buonaparte is
     appointed to the throne of Spain, and joins Napoleon at
     Bayonne--Assembly of Notables convoked._


Not a word was spoken, or a motion made, to oppose the entrance of this
large French army into the free territories of a friendly power. Neither
the King, Godoy, nor any other, dared to complain of the gross breach of
the treaty of Fontainbleau, which, in stipulating the formation of the
army of reserve at Bayonne, positively provided that it should not
cross the frontiers, unless with consent of the Spanish government.
Received into the cities as friends and allies, it was the first object
of the invaders to possess themselves, by a mixture of force and fraud,
of the fortresses and citadels, which were the keys of Spain on the
French frontier. The details are curious.

At Pampeluna, [Feb. 9,] a body of French troops, who apparently were
amusing themselves with casting snowballs at each other on the esplanade
of the citadel, continued their sport till they had an opportunity of
throwing themselves upon the drawbridge, possessing the gate, and
admitting a body of their comrades, who had been kept in readiness; and
the capture was thus effected.[359]

Duhesme, who commanded the French troops detached upon Barcelona, had
obtained permission from the Spanish governor to mount guards of French
along with those maintained by the native soldiers. He then gave out
that his troops were about to march; and, as if previous to their
moving, had them drawn up in front of the citadel of the place. A French
general rode up under pretence of reviewing these men, then passed
forward to the gate, as if to speak to the French portion of the guard.
A body of Italian light troops rushed in close after the French officer
and his suite; and the citadel was surrendered. Another division
summoned the fort of Montjouy, the key, as it may be termed, of
Barcelona, which shared the same fate. St. Sebastians was overpowered by
a body of French, who had been admitted as patients into the hospital.

Thus the first fruits of the French invasion were the unresisted
possession of these four fortresses, each of which might have detained
armies for years under its walls.[360]

Nothing could exceed the consternation of the Spanish nation when they
saw their frontier invaded, and four of the most impregnable forts in
the world thus easily lost and won. There was indignation as well as
sorrow in every countenance; and even at this late hour, had Charles and
his son attempted an appeal to the spirit of the people, it would have
been vigorously answered. But Godoy, who was the object of national
hatred, and was aware that he would instantly become the victim of any
general patriotic movement, took care to recommend only such measures of
safety as he himself might have a personal share in. He had at once
comprehended Napoleon's intentions of seizing upon Spain; and could
discern no better course for the royal family, than that they should
follow the example to which their own invasion of Portugal had given
rise, and transport themselves, like the House of Braganza, to their
South American provinces. But what in the Prince of Brazil, surrounded
by such superior forces, was a justifiable, nay, a magnanimous effort
to avoid personal captivity, would have been in the King of Spain the
pusillanimous desertion of a post, which he had yet many means of

Nevertheless, upon Godoy's suggestion, the voyage for America was
determined on, and troops were hastily collected at Madrid for the sake
of securing the retreat of the royal family to Cadiz, where they were to
embark. The terror and confusion of the King's mind was artfully
increased by a letter from Napoleon, expressing deep resentment at the
coldness which Charles, as he alleged, had exhibited on the subject of
the proposed match with his house. The intimidated King returned for
answer, that he desired nothing so ardently as the instant conclusion of
the marriage, but at the same time redoubled his preparations for
departure. This effect was probably exactly what Napoleon intended to
produce. If the King went off to America, his name might be used to curb
the party of the Prince of Asturias; and the chance of influencing the
countries where the precious metals are produced, would be much
increased, should they fall under the dominion of the weak Charles and
the profligate Godoy.

Meantime, the resolution of the king to depart from the royal residence
of Aranjuez to Cadiz, with the purpose of going from thence to New
Spain, began to get abroad among the people of all ranks. The Council of
Castile remonstrated against the intentions of the sovereign. The Prince
of Asturias and his brother joined in a strong protest against the
measure. The populace, partaking the sentiments of the heir-apparent and
council, treated the departure of the king as arising out of some scheme
of the detested Godoy, and threatened to prevent it by force. The
unfortunate and perplexed monarch changed his opinions, or his language
at least, with every new counsellor and every new alarm.

On the 17th of March, the walls of the palace were covered with a royal
proclamation, professing his Majesty's intentions to remain with and
share the fate of his subjects. Great crowds assembled joyfully beneath
the balcony, on which the royal family appeared and received the thanks
of their people, for their determination to abide amongst them. But, in
the course of that same evening, the movements among the guards, and the
accumulation of carriages and baggage, seemed plainly to indicate
immediate intentions to set forth. While the minds of the spectators
were agitated by appearances so contradictory of the royal proclamation,
an accidental quarrel took place betwixt one of the King's body-guard
and a bystander, when the former fired a pistol. The literal flash of
the weapon could not more effectually have ignited a powder-magazine,
than its discharge gave animation at once to the general feelings of the
crowd. The few household troops who remained steady, could not check the
enraged multitude; a regiment was brought up, commanded by Godoy's
brother, but the men made a prisoner of their commanding officer, and
joined the multitude. A great scene of riot ensued, the cry was
universal to destroy Godoy, and some, it is said, demanded the
abdication or deposition of the King. Godoy's house was plundered in the
course of the night, and outrages committed on all who were judged his
friends and counsellors.

In the morning the tumult was appeased by the news that the King had
dismissed his minister. But the crowd continued strictly to search for
him, and at length discovered him. He was beaten, wounded, and it was
with some difficulty that Ferdinand saved him from instant death, on a
promise that he should be reserved for punishment by the course of
justice. The people were delighted with their success thus far, when, to
complete their satisfaction, the old, weak, and unpopular King, on the
19th March, resigned his crown to Ferdinand, the favourite of his
subjects, professing an unconstrained wish to retire from the seat of
government, and spend his life in peace and quiet in some remote
province. This resolution was unquestionably hurried forward by the
insurrection at Aranjuez; nor does the attitude of a son, who grasps at
his father's falling diadem, appear good or graceful. Yet it is probable
that Charles, in making his abdication, executed a resolution on which
he had long meditated,[361] and from which he had chiefly been withheld
by the intercession of the Queen and Godoy, who saw in the continuation
of the old man's reign the only means to prolong their own power. The
abdication was formally intimated to Napoleon, by a letter from the King


While the members of the royal family were distracted by these
dissensions, the army of France was fast approaching Madrid, under the
command of Joachim Murat, the brother-in-law of Buonaparte. He was at
Aranda de Duero upon the day of the insurrection at Aranjuez, and his
approach to Madrid required decisive measures on the part of the
government. Ferdinand had formed an administration of those statesmen
whom the public voice pointed out as the best patriots, and, what was
thought synonymous, the keenest opponents of Godoy.[362] There was no
time, had there been sufficient spirit in the councils of the new
Prince, to request this military intruder to stay upon his road; he was
a guest who would have known but too well how to make force supply the
want of welcome. But this alarming visitor was, they next learned, to be
followed hard upon the heel by one still more formidable. Napoleon, who
had hurried back to Paris from Italy, was now setting out for Bayonne,
with the purpose of proceeding to Madrid, and witnessing in person the
settlement of the Spanish Peninsula.

To render the approach of the Emperor of France yet more appalling to
the young King and his infant government, Beauharnois, the French
ambassador, made no recognition of Ferdinand's authority, but observed a
mysterious and ominous silence, when all the other representatives of
foreign powers at Madrid, made their addresses of congratulation to the
new sovereign. Murat next appeared, in all the pomp of war; brought ten
thousand men within the walls of Madrid, [23d March,] where they were
received with ancient hospitality, and quartered more than thrice that
number in the vicinity. This commander also wore a doubtful and clouded
brow, and while he expressed friendship for Ferdinand, and good-will to
his cause, declined any definite acknowledgment of his title as king. He
was lodged in the palace of Godoy, supported in the most splendid style,
and his every wish watched that it might be attended to. But nothing
more could be extracted from him than a reference to Napoleon's
determination, which he advised Ferdinand to wait for and be guided by.
In the idle hope (suggested by French councils) that a compliment might
soothe either the Sultan or the satrap, the sword of Francis I., long
preserved in memory of his captivity after the battle of Pavia, was
presented to Murat with great ceremony, in a rich casket, to be by his
honoured hands transmitted to those of the Emperor of France.[363] The
hope to mitigate Buonaparte's severe resolves by such an act of
adulation, was like that of him who should hope to cool red-hot iron by
a drop of liquid perfume.

But though Murat and Beauharnois were very chary of saying any thing
which could commit their principal, they were liberal of their private
advice to Ferdinand as his professed friends; and joined in recommending
that he should send his second brother, the Infant Don Carlos, to greet
Napoleon upon his entrance into Spain, as at once a mark of respect and
as a means of propitiating his favour. Ferdinand consented to this, as
what he dared not well decline. But when it was proposed that he himself
should leave his capital, and go to meet Buonaparte in the north of
Spain, already completely occupied by French troops, he demurred, and by
the advice of Cevallos, one of the wisest of his counsellors, declined
the measure proposed, until, at least, he should receive express
information of Napoleon's having crossed the frontier. To meet the
French Emperor in Spain might be courtesy, but to advance into France
would be meanness, as well as imprudence.[364]

Meantime, Murat, under pretence of hearing all parties in the family
quarrel, opened, unknown to Ferdinand, a correspondence with his father
and mother. The Queen, equally attached to her paramour, and filled with
unnatural hatred to her son, as Godoy's enemy, breathed nothing but
vengeance against Ferdinand and his advisers;[365] and the King at once
avowed that his resignation was not the act of his voluntary will, but
extorted by compulsion, in consequence of the insurrection of Aranjuez,
and its consequences. Thus, the agents of Buonaparte obtained and
transmitted to him documents, which, if Ferdinand should prove
intractable, might afford ground for setting his right aside, and
transacting with his father as still the legitimate possessor of the
throne of Spain.

[Sidenote: SAVARY--MURAT.]

A new actor soon appeared on this busy stage. This was Savary, who was
often intrusted with Buonaparte's most delicate negotiations.[366] He
came, it was stated, to inquire particularly into the character of the
insurrection at Aranjuez, and of the old King's abdication. He affected
to believe that the explanations which Ferdinand afforded on these
subjects, would be as satisfactory to his sovereign as to himself; and
having thus opened the young King's heart, by perfectly approving of his
cause and conduct, he assumed the language of a friendly adviser, and
urged and entreated, by every species of argument, that Ferdinand should
meet Buonaparte on the road to Madrid; and the young sovereign, beset
with difficulties, saw no resource but in compliance.[367] The capital
was surrounded by an army of forty thousand foreigners. The
communications of Murat with France were kept open by thirty thousand
more; while, exclusive of the Spanish troops, whom the French had
withdrawn to distant realms in the character of auxiliaries, the rest of
the native forces, dispersed over the whole realm, and in many cases
observed and mastered by the French, did not perhaps exceed thirty
thousand men. If Ferdinand remained in Madrid, therefore, he was as much
under the mastery of the French as he would have been when advancing
northward on the journey to meet Buonaparte; while to leave his capital,
and raise his standard against France in a distant province, seemed an
idea which desperation only could have prompted.

[Sidenote: LETTER TO MURAT.]

Murat, whose views of personal ambition were interested in the complete
accomplishment of the subjugation of Spain, seems to have seen no
objection remaining when military resistance was placed out of the
question. But the penetration of Napoleon went far deeper; and, judging
from a letter written to Murat on the 29th March,[368] it seems to have
induced him to pause, while he surveyed all the probable chances which
might attend the prosecution of his plan. The resignation of Charles IV.
had, he observed, greatly complicated the affairs of Spain, and thrown
him into much perplexity. "Do not," he continued, "conceive that you are
attacking a disarmed nation, and have only to make a demonstration of
your troops to subject Spain. The Revolution of the 20th March, when
Charles resigned the throne, serves to show there is energy among the
Spanish people. You have to do with a _new_ people, who will display all
the enthusiasm proper to men whose political feelings have not been worn
out by frequent exercise. The grandees and clergy are masters of Spain.
If they once entertain fear for their privileges and political
existence, they may raise levies against us, _en masse_, which will
render the war eternal. I have at present partisans; but if I show
myself in the character of a conqueror, I cannot retain one of them. The
Prince of the Peace is detested, because they accuse him of having
betrayed Spain to France. The Prince of the Asturias has none of the
qualities requisite for a monarch, but that will not prevent their
making him out a hero, providing he stands forth in opposition to us. I
will have no violence offered to the persons of that family--it is
needless to render ourselves unnecessarily odious."

Napoleon, in this remarkable document, touches again on the hazard of a
popular war in Spain, and on the dangers arising from the interference
of the English; and then proceeds to consider what course his own
politics demand. "Shall I go to Madrid, and there exercise the power of
a grand protector of the realm of Spain, by deciding between the father
and son?--Were I to replace Charles and his minister, they are so
unpopular, that they could not sustain themselves three months. On the
other hand, Ferdinand is the enemy of France; and to set him on the
throne would be to gratify those parties in the state who have long
desired the destruction of her authority. A matrimonial alliance would
be but a feeble tie of union betwixt us.

"I do not approve of your Highness having so hastily possessed yourself
of the capital. You ought to have kept the army at ten leagues distant
from Madrid. You could not be sure whether the people and the magistracy
would have recognised the young king. Your arrival has powerfully served
him, by giving the alarm to the Spaniards. I have commanded Savary to
open a communication with the old King, and he will inform you of what
passes. In the meantime, I prescribe to you the following line of

"You will take care not to engage me to hold any interview with
Ferdinand _within Spain_, unless you judge the situation of things such,
that I have no alternative save acknowledging him as King. You will use
all manner of civility towards the old King, the Queen, and Godoy, and
will require that the same honours be rendered to them as heretofore.
You will so manage, that the Spaniards may not suspect the course I
intend to pursue. This will not be difficult, for I have not fixed upon
it myself." He then recommends, that such insinuations be made to all
classes, as may best induce them to expect advantages from a more close
union with France; exhorts Murat to trust his interests exclusively to
his care; hints that Portugal will remain at his disposal; and enjoins
the strictest discipline on the part of the French soldiery. Lastly, he
enjoins Murat to avoid all explanation with the Spanish generals, and
all interference with their order of march. "There must not," he says in
one place, "be a single match burnt;" and in another, he uses the almost
prophetic expression--"_If war once break out, all is lost._"[369]

This letter has a high degree of interest, as it tends to show, that not
one of the circumstances which attended the Spanish insurrection escaped
the prescient eye of Napoleon, although the headlong course of his
ambition drove him upon the very perils which his political wisdom had
foreseen and delineated. The immense object of adding Spain to his
empire, seemed worthy of being pursued, even at the risk of stirring to
arms her hardy population, and exciting a national war, which he himself
foretold might prove perpetual.

Meantime, to assist the intrigues of Murat, there was carried on a sort
of under plot, the object of which was to disguise Napoleon's real
intentions, and induce the counsellors of Ferdinand to conclude, that he
did not mean to use his power over Spain, save for the attainment of
some limited advantages, far short of engrossing the supreme authority,
and destroying the independence of the kingdom. With this view, some
illusory terms held out had been communicated by Duroc to the Spanish
ambassador, Izquierdo, and of which Ferdinand's council had received
information. These seemed to intimate, that Napoleon's exactions from
Spain might be gratified by the cession of Navarre, and some part of her
frontier on the north, in exchange for the whole of Portugal, which,
according to Izquierdo's information, Napoleon was not unwilling to cede
to Spain. Such an exchange, however objectionable on the ground of
policy and morality, would have been regarded as a comparatively easy
ransom, considering the disastrous state of Spain, and the character of
him who had coiled around the defenceless kingdom the folds of his

Under all the influences of hope and fear, conscious helplessness, and
supreme dread of Napoleon, Ferdinand took his determination, and
announced to his Council of State, [8th April,] his purpose of going as
far as Burgos, to meet his faithful friend and mighty ally the Emperor.
His absence, he said, would amount to a few days, and he created his
uncle, Don Antonio, President, during that time, of the High Council of
Government. An effort was made by Ferdinand, previous to his departure,
to open a more friendly communication with his father; but the answer
only bore that the King was retiring to rest, and could not be troubled.

On the 11th April, in an evil day, and an hour of woe, to use the
language of the Spanish romancers, Ferdinand set out on his journey,
accompanied by Savary, who eagerly solicited that honour, assuring him
that they should meet Buonaparte at Burgos.[371] But at Burgos there
were no tidings of the French Emperor, and it was only when he had
proceeded as far as Vittoria, that Ferdinand learned Napoleon had but
then reached Bourdeaux, and was on his way to Bayonne. He halted,
therefore, at Vittoria, where Savary left him, and went on to France, to
render an account to his master to what extent his mission had

Afraid to advance or to retire, yet feeling ridiculous in the situation
where he was, Ferdinand's unpleasant moments spent at Vittoria were not
much cheered by private intelligence brought him by Don Mariano Urquijo.
This was a Spanish nobleman of considerable talent, who had penetrated
the scheme of Napoleon, and came to inform the young King and his
counsellors, that the intention of Napoleon was to possess himself of
the royal person, depose the dynasty of the Bourbons, and name a member
of his own family to reign in their stead.

Another Spaniard, Don Joseph Hervas, the brother-in-law of General
Duroc, and the intimate friend of Savary, had acquired such strong
suspicions of the plot, that his information corroborated that of
Urquijo. The astounded sovereign, and his perplexed advisers, could but
allege the unlikelihood, that a hero like Napoleon could meditate such
treachery. "Men of extraordinary talents," replied Urquijo, "commit
great crimes to attain great objects, and are not the less entitled
heroes." He offered to go to Bayonne as Ferdinand's ambassador; and
advised him even yet to make his escape and retire to some part of his
dominions, where, free at least, if not powerful, he might treat with
Napoleon on more equal terms.[372]

Ferdinand thought it too late to follow this wise counsel; and, instead
of attempting an escape, he wrote a letter to Napoleon, [14th April,]
appealing to all that he had done to show himself the devoted friend and
ally of France, and endeavouring to propitiate his favour. An answer was
instantly returned--[dated Bayonne, 16th April]--containing much that
was alarming and ominous. In this the Emperor treated Ferdinand as
Prince of Asturias, not King of Spain--censured his earliest measure of
writing to himself without his father's knowledge, and, with what seemed
a jealous apprehension for the rights of sovereigns, blamed him for
availing himself of the arm of the people to shake his father's throne.
He intimated, that he had taken the Prince of the Peace under his own
protection; hinted that the Prince ought not to rip up the follies of
his mother--nay, did not forbear the highly offensive insinuation, that,
by exposing her faults, Ferdinand might occasion his own legitimacy to
be called in question. Still he assured the Prince of his continued
friendship, declared himself anxious to have some personal communication
with him on the subject of the revolution of Aranjuez, and intimated,
that if the resignation of Charles should appear to have been voluntary,
he would no longer scruple to acknowledge King Ferdinand.[373]

Cevallos, before mentioned as one of Ferdinand's wisest counsellors,
would fain have prevailed on him to turn back from Vittoria on receiving
a letter of such doubtful tenor.[374] Even the people of the town
opposed themselves to the prosecution of his rash journey, and went so
far as to cut the traces of his mules.[375] Ferdinand, however,
proceeded, entered France, and reached Bayonne; placing himself thus in
that state of absolute dependence upon the pleasure of the French
autocrat, which, as Napoleon had foretold to Murat, could not have had
an existence at any spot within the Spanish territory. Ferdinand was now
a hostage at least, perhaps a prisoner.

[Sidenote: BAYONNE.]

Buonaparte received the anxious Prince with flattering distinction,[376]
invited him to dinner, and treated him with the usual deference
exchanged between sovereigns when they meet. But that very evening he
sent Savary, by whose encouragement Ferdinand had been deluded to
undertake this journey, to acquaint him that the Bourbon dynasty was to
cease to reign in Spain, and that the Prince must prepare to relinquish
to Napoleon all right over the territories of his ancestors.[377]


Buonaparte explained himself at length to the Canon Escoiquiz, as the
person most likely to reconcile Ferdinand to the lot, which he was
determined should be inevitable. The Bourbons, he said, were the mortal
enemies of him and of his house; his policy could not permit them to
reign in Spain. They were incapable of wise government; and he was
determined that Spain should be wisely governed in future, her
grievances redressed, and the alliance betwixt her and France placed on
an unalterable footing. "King Charles," he said, "is ready to co-operate
in such a revolution, by transferring to me his own rights. Let
Ferdinand follow his father's wise example, and he shall have the crown
of Etruria, and my niece in marriage. Otherwise, I will treat with King
Charles exclusively, and all Ferdinand can expect is permission to
return to Spain, when hostilities must ensue between us." Escoiquiz
justified the insurrection at Aranjuez, and pleaded hard the cause of
his former pupil. By protecting Ferdinand, he said, Napoleon might merit
and gain the esteem and the affection of Spain; but by an attempt to
subject the nation to a foreign yoke, he would lose their affections for
ever. Buonaparte set these arguments at defiance. The nobles and higher
classes would, he said, submit for security of their property; a few
severe chastisements would keep the populace in order. But he declared
he was determined on the execution of his plan, should it involve the
lives of two hundred thousand men. "The new dynasty," replied Escoiquiz,
"will in that case be placed on a volcano--an army of two hundred
thousand men will be indispensable to command a country of discontented
slaves." The canon was interrupted by Buonaparte, who observed that they
could not agree upon their principles, and said he would on the morrow
make known his irrevocable determination.

To do Napoleon justice, he at no time through this extraordinary
discussion made the least attempt even to colour his selfish policy. "I
am desirous," he said, "that the Bourbons should cease to reign, and
that my own family should succeed them on the throne of Spain." He
declared, that this was best both for Spain and France--above all, that
he had the power as well as the will to accomplish his purpose. There
was never a more unpalliated case of violent and arbitrary spoliation.
He argued also with Escoiquiz with the most perfect good-humour, and
pulled him familiarly by the ear as he disputed with him. "So then,
canon," he said, "you will not enter into my views?"--"On the contrary,"
said Escoiquiz,[378] "I wish I could induce your Majesty to adopt mine,
though it were at the expense of my ears," which Napoleon was at the
moment handling somewhat rudely.[379]

With Cevallos the Emperor entered into a more violent discussion, for
Buonaparte was as choleric by temperament, as he was upon reflection and
by policy calm and moderate. Upon hearing Cevallos, in a discussion with
his minister Champagny, insist in a high tone upon the character of the
Spaniards, and the feelings they were likely to entertain on the manner
in which Ferdinand had been received, he gave loose to his native
violence of disposition, accused Cevallos of being a traitor, because
having served the old King, he was now a counsellor of his son, and at
length concluded with the characteristic declaration--"I have a system
of policy of my own.--You ought to adopt more liberal ideas--to be less
susceptible on the point of honour, and to beware how you sacrifice the
interests of Spain to a fantastic loyalty for the Bourbons."[380]

Cevallos being found as intractable as Escoiquiz, the conduct of the
negotiation, if it could be called so on the part of Ferdinand, was
intrusted to Don Pedro de Labrador. Labrador, however, insisted on
knowing, as an indispensable preliminary, whether King Ferdinand were at
liberty; and if so, why he was not restored to his own country?
Champagny[381] replied, that such return could scarce be permitted, till
the Emperor and he came to an understanding. Cevallos, in his turn,
presented a note, expressing on what terms Ferdinand had put himself in
the power of Buonaparte, and declaring his master's intention of
immediate departure. As a practical answer to this intimation, the
guards on the King and his brother were doubled, and began to exercise
some restraint over their persons. One of the Infants was even forcibly
stopped by a gendarme. The man was punished; but the resentment and
despair, shown by the Spaniards of the King's retinue, might have
convinced Napoleon how intimately they connected the honour of their
country with the respect due to their royal family.

Buonaparte found, by all these experiments, that Ferdinand and his
counsellors were likely to be less tractable than he had expected; and
that it would be necessary, however unpopular King Charles and still
more his wife and minister were in Spain, to bring them once more
forward on this singular stage. He therefore sent to Murat to cause the
old King, with the Queen and Godoy, to be transported to Bayonne without
delay. The arrival of Charles excited much interest in the French
assembled at Bayonne, who flocked to see him, and to trace in his person
and manners the descendant of Louis XIV. In external qualities, indeed,
there was nothing wanting. He possessed the regal port and dignified
manners of his ancestors; and, though speaking French with difficulty,
the expatriated monarch, on meeting with Napoleon, showed the easy
manners and noble mien of one long accustomed to command all around
him.[382] But in spirit and intellect there was a woeful deficiency.
Napoleon found Charles,[383] his wife, and minister, the willing tools
of his policy; for Godoy accounted Ferdinand his personal enemy; the
mother hated him as wicked women have been known to hate their children
when they are conscious of having forfeited their esteem; and the King,
whose own feelings resented the insurrection of Aranjuez, was readily
exasperated to an uncontrollable fit of rage against his son.

Upon his first arrival at Bayonne, Charles loudly protested that his
abdication of the 19th March was the operation of force alone; and
demanded that his son should repossess him in the crown, of which he had
violently deprived him.

The reply of Ferdinand alleged that the resignation of his father had
been unquestionably voluntary at the time, and he quoted the old King's
repeated declarations to that effect. But he declared, that if they were
both permitted to return to Madrid, and summon the Cortes, or body of
National Representatives, he was ready to execute in their presence, a
renunciation of the rights vested in him by his father's abdication.

In his answer, Charles declared that he had sought the camp of his
powerful ally, not as a king in regal splendour, but as an unhappy old
man, whose royal office had been taken from him, and even his life
endangered by the criminal ambition of his own son. He treated the
convocation of the Cortes with contempt. "Every thing," he said, "ought
to be done by sovereigns for the people; but the people ought not to be
suffered to carve for themselves." Finally, he assured his son that the
Emperor of France could alone be the saviour of Spain, and that Napoleon
was determined that Ferdinand should never enjoy the crown of that
kingdom. In different parts of this paternal admonition, Charles accused
his son of the crime which existing circumstances rendered most
dangerous--of being indisposed towards the interests of France.

Ferdinand replied [3d May] to this manifesto in firm and respectful
terms, and appealed, too justly, to the situation he at present stood
in, as a proof how unbounded had been his confidence in France. He
concluded, that since the conditions he had annexed to his offer of
resigning back the crown to his father had given displeasure, he was
content to abdicate unconditionally; only stipulating that they should
both be permitted to return to their own country, and leave a place
where no deed which either could perform would be received by the world
as flowing from free-will.[384]


The day after this letter was written, the unfortunate Ferdinand was
summoned to the presence of his parents, where he also found Napoleon
himself. The conclave received him sitting; and while the King
overwhelmed him with the most outrageous reproaches,[385] the Queen,
(the statement appears scarce credible,) in the height of her fury, lost
sight of shame and womanhood so far as to tell Ferdinand, in her
husband's presence, that he was the son of another man.[386] Buonaparte
expressed himself greatly shocked at this scene, in which he compared
the Queen's language and deportment to that of a fury on the Grecian
stage. The Prince's situation, he owned, moved him to pity; but the
emotion was not strong enough to produce any interposition in his
favour. This occurred on the 5th of May, 1808. Confused with a scene so
dreadful, and at the same time so disgusting, Ferdinand the next day
executed the renunciation which had been demanded in such intemperate
terms. But the master of the drama had not waited till this time to
commence his operations.

Two days before Ferdinand's abdication, that is upon the 4th, his father
Charles, acting in the character of King, which he had laid aside at
Aranjuez, had named Joachim Murat Lieutenant-General of his kingdom, and
President of the Government. A proclamation was at the same time
published, in which the Spaniards were particularly and anxiously
cautioned against listening to treacherous men, agents of England, who
might stir them up against France, and assuring them that Spain had no
well-founded hope of safety, excepting in the friendship of the Great

On the same day, and without waiting for such additional right as he
might have derived from his son's renunciation, Charles resigned all
claims on Spain, with its kingdoms and territories, in favour of his
friend and faithful ally, the Emperor of the French. To preserve some
appearance of attention to external forms, it was stipulated that the
cession only took place under the express conditions that the integrity
and independence of the kingdoms should be preserved, and that the
Catholic religion should be the only one practised in Spain. Finally,
all decrees of confiscation or of penal consequences, which had been
issued since the revolution of Aranjuez, were declared null and void.
Charles having thus secured, as it was termed, the prosperity,
integrity, and independence of his kingdom by these articles,
stipulates, by seven which follow, for the suitable maintenance of
himself and his Queen, his minister the Prince of the Peace, and of
others their followers. Rank, income, appanages, were heaped on them
accordingly, with no niggard hand; for the prodigality of the King's
gift called for some adequate requital.

Still the resignation of Ferdinand in Napoleon's favour was necessary to
give him some more colourable right, than could be derived from the
alienation, by the father, of a crown which he had previously abdicated.
Much urgency was used with Ferdinand on the occasion, and for some time
firmly resisted. But he found himself completely in Napoleon's power;
and the tragedy of the Duke d'Enghien might have taught him, that the
Emperor stood on little ceremony with those who were interruptions in
his path. His counsellors also assured him, that no resignation which he
could execute in his present state of captivity could be binding upon
himself or upon the Spanish nation. Yielding, then, to the circumstances
in which he was placed, Ferdinand also entered into a treaty of
resignation; but he no longer obtained the kingdom of Etruria, or the
marriage with Buonaparte's niece, or any of the other advantages held
out in the beginning of the negotiation. These were forfeited by his
temporary hesitation to oblige the Emperor. A safe and pleasant place of
residence, which was not to be absolutely a prison, and an honourable
pension, were all that was allowed to Ferdinand, in exchange for his
natural birthright, the mighty kingdom of Spain. The Infants, his
brothers, who adhered to the same accession which stripped Ferdinand of
his heritage, were in like manner recompensed by similar provisions for
their holding in future the kind of life which that resignation
condemned them to. The palace of Navarre and its dependencies had been
assigned to Ferdinand as his residence; but he and his brothers, the
Infants, were afterwards conducted to that of Valançay, a superb mansion
belonging to the celebrated Talleyrand, who was punished, it was said,
by this allocation, for having differed in opinion from his master, on
the mode in which he should conduct himself towards Spain. The royal
captives observed such rules of conduct as were recommended to them,
without dreaming apparently either of escape or of resistance to the
will of the victor; nor did their deportment, during the tremendous
conflict which was continued in the name of Ferdinand for four years and
upwards, ever give Napoleon any excuse for close restraint, or food for
ulterior suspicions.


The Spanish royal family thus consigned to an unresisted fate, it only
followed to supply the vacant throne by a new dynasty, as Napoleon
called it; but, in fact, by some individual closely connected with
himself, and absolutely dependent upon him;--much in the manner in which
the inferior partners of a commercial establishment are connected with,
and subject to, the management of the head of the house. For this
purpose, he had cast his eyes on Lucien, who was, after Napoleon, the
ablest of the Buonaparte family, and whose presence of mind had so
critically assisted his brother at the expulsion of the Council of Five
Hundred from Saint Cloud, in a moment when, in the eyes of the
bystanders, that of Napoleon seemed rather to waver.

It has been mentioned before, that Lucien had offended Napoleon by
forming a marriage of personal attachment; and it is supposed, that on
his part, he saw with displeasure the whole institutions and liberties
of his native country sacrificed to the grandeur of one man, though that
man was his brother. He had been heard to say of Napoleon, "that every
word and action of his were dictated by his political system," and "that
the character of his politics rested entirely on egotism." Even the
proffer of the kingdom of Spain, therefore, did not tempt Lucien from
the enjoyments of a private station, where he employed a large income in
collecting pictures and objects of art, and amused his own leisure with
literary composition. Receiving this repulse from Lucien, Buonaparte
resolved to transfer his eldest brother Joseph from the throne of
Naples, where, as an Italian, acquainted with the language and manners
of the country, he enjoyed some degree of popularity, and bestow on him
a kingdom far more difficult to master and to govern. Joachim Murat,
Grand Duke, as he was called, of Berg, at present in command of the army
which occupied Madrid, was destined to succeed Joseph in the throne
which he was about to vacate. It was said that the subordinate parties
were alike disappointed with the parts assigned them in this masque of
sovereigns. Murat thought his military talents deserved the throne of
Spain, and the less ambitious Joseph, preferring quiet to extent of
territory, would have willingly remained contented with the less
important royalty of Naples. But Napoleon did not permit the will of
others to interfere with what he had previously determined, and Joseph
was summoned to meet him at Bayonne, and prepared, by instructions
communicated to him on the road, to perform without remonstrance his
part in the pageant. The purposes of Napoleon were now fully announced
to the world. An assembly of Notables from all parts of Spain were
convoked, to recognise the new monarch, and adjust the constitution
under which Spain should be in future administered.

The place of meeting was at Bayonne; the date of convocation was the
15th of June; and the object announced for consideration of the Notables
was the regeneration of Spain, to be effected under the auspices of

But events had already occurred in that kingdom, tending to show that
the prize, of which Buonaparte disposed so freely, was not, and might
perhaps never be, within his possession. He had indeed obtained, by a
course of the most audacious treachery, all those advantages which,
after the more honourable success obtained in great battles, had
prostrated powerful nations at his feet. He had secured the capital with
an army of forty thousand men. The frontier fortresses were in his
possession, and enabled him to maintain his communications with Madrid;
the troops of the Spanish monarchy were either following his own banner
in remote climates, or broken up and scattered in small bodies through
Spain itself. These advantages he had possessed over Austria after
Austerlitz, and over Prussia after Jena; and in both cases these
monarchies were placed at the victor's discretion. But in neither case
had he, as now at Bayonne, the persons of the royal family at his own
disposal,[388] or had he reduced them to the necessity of becoming his
mouth-piece, or organ, in announcing to the people the will of the
conqueror. So that, in this very important particular, the advantages
which he possessed over Spain were greater than those which Napoleon had
obtained over any other country. But then Spain contained within herself
principles of opposition, which were nowhere else found to exist in the
same extent.


[359] Southey, vol. i., p. 196.

[360] Southey, vol. i., p. 201.

[361] "Maria Louisa," said Charles to the Queen, in the presence of
Cevallos and of all the other ministers of state, "we will retire to one
of the provinces, and Ferdinand, who is a young man, will take upon
himself the burden of the government."--SOUTHEY, vol. i., p. 206.

[362] "This wretched minion now felt that there are times when despotism
itself proves even-handed as justice. He was sent prisoner to the castle
of Villa Viciosa: with that measure wherewith he had dealt to others, it
was now meted to him; a judicial inquiry into his conduct was ordered,
and before any trial--before any inquiry--the whole of his property was
confiscated."--SOUTHEY, vol. i., p. 220.

[363] "The Grand Duke of Berg demanded the sword of Francis I. from the
arsenal of Madrid. This mode of recovering it was not calculated to
soothe the mortification of seeing it transferred to the hands of a
conqueror. The Spaniards were sensible to this affront, and it
diminished the popularity of the Grand Duke of Berg."--SAVARY, tom. ii.,
p. 169.

[364] Southey, vol. i., p. 235.

[365] "Every letter was filled with anxious solicitations; of the throne
there seemed to be neither thought nor care; with the mob at Aranjuez
before her eyes, and the recollection of Marie Antoinette in her heart,
this wretched woman was sick of royalty; she asked only an allowance for
the King, herself, and Godoy, upon which they might live all three
together----a corner in which they might quietly finish their
days."--SOUTHEY, vol. i., p. 233. See the Letters in Savary, tom. ii.,
p. 175, and Annual Register, vol. i., p. 240.

[366] For the instructions given by Napoleon to Savary, see his
Mémoires, tom. ii., p. 164.

[367] Mémoires de Savary, tom. ii., p. 182; Southey, vol. i., p. 244.

[368] "The Emperor constantly recommended the Grand Duke of Berg to act
with the utmost caution. He was no doubt apprehensive of his fits of
zeal and ambition; for my departure had been preceded by several
couriers, and I had scarcely set out when fresh instructions were
despatched. This letter abundantly shows the doubts which existed in
Napoleon's mind, and the point of view in which the question presented
itself to him."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 169.

[369] Las Cases, tom. iv., p. 203; Savary, tom. ii., p. 169.

[370] Southey, vol. i., p. 240.

[371] "I asked leave to accompany the King, solely for this reason--I
had come from Bayonne to Madrid on horseback, which was then the usual
mode of travelling in Spain. I had not been long arrived, and it was now
necessary to go back, that I might be with the Emperor as soon as
Ferdinand; but I did not wish to travel over again the same road in the
same manner. I therefore requested the King's grand equery to include in
the relays harness and draught-horses for me. He consented; and this is
the way in which my carriage happened to be in the suite of the
King."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 187.

[372] Savary, tom. ii., p. 203; Southey, vol. i., p. 249.

[373] Savary, tom. ii., p. 243; Southey, vol. i., p. 254.

[374] "Ferdinand's counsellors, who were present when I delivered the
letter, did not appear satisfied with the manner in which the Emperor
expressed himself, because he used the title of royal highness. I felt
myself obliged to observe, that the Emperor could not, with propriety,
make use of any other address, because, on his part, the recognition was
yet a thing to be done; that there were questions still more important
than that to be settled between them; and these once adjusted, the rest
would follow naturally."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 216.

[375] "I was convinced that all would proceed quietly, when a
fierce-looking man, armed, dressed in a way corresponding with his
appearance, approached the King's carriage, and with one hand seizing
the traces of the eight mules which were harnessed to it, with the
other, in which he held a hedgebill, like a sickle, cut with one stroke,
the traces of all the mules. The King himself appeared at the window
smiling to the multitude, who greeted him with cries of '_Viva
Fernando!_' At this moment it struck me, that the scene I witnessed was
merely a preconcerted trick."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 248.

[376] "The Prince was received with a salute of artillery from the
ramparts, and all the civil and military authorities paid him their
respects. The Emperor himself was the first to go and visit him; and his
carriage not being ready as soon as he wanted it, he went on horseback.
I was present at the interview, during which every thing was as it
should be."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 219.

[377] Southey, vol. i., p. 262.

[378] "This canon, who had besides a very high opinion of his own
talents, did not despair of making an impression on my decisions, by his
arguments, and of inducing me to acknowledge Ferdinand, making me a
tender, on his own account, of his services to govern, altogether under
my control, as effectually as the Prince of the Peace could, under the
name of Charles IV.; and it must be owned, that, had I listened to
several of his reasons, and adopted some of his ideas, I should have
been much better off."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. iv., p. 199.

[379] Southey, vol. i., p. 262.

[380] Southey, vol. i., p. 269.

[381] "I believe this was one of the occasions on which the Emperor was
most anxious to have M. de Talleyrand near him, and that he would have
sent for him, had he not been afraid of offending M. de Champagny. Cases
of this kind often happened to the Emperor. He sometimes offended by
mere trifles men who were of an irritable disposition, and, at other
times, he sacrificed his own interests through the fear of offending the
self-love of a good servant. If M. de Talleyrand had come to Bayonne
while there was yet time to bring about an adjustment, the affairs of
Spain would have taken a different turn. He would not have been so
hasty; for he would have taken care to have many conferences before he
committed any thing to writing. M. de Talleyrand had the excellent
quality of being quite impassive; when he found that the disposition of
the Emperor's mind was not what he thought best suited to the
consideration of the subject to which he wished to call his attention,
he never said a word about it until he had led him back to that tranquil
state which benefited the business. If an order was given in a moment of
irritation, he found means to make its execution be evaded; and it
seldom happened that he was not thanked for a delay which was almost
always attended with good effects."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 221.

[382] "I was present when Charles alighted from his carriage. He spoke
to every body, even to those he did not know; and on seeing his two sons
at the foot of the staircase, where they were waiting for him, he
pretended not to observe them. He, however, said, as he advanced to the
Infantado Don Carlos--'Good morning, Carlos,' and the Queen embraced
him. When Ferdinand advanced to embrace him, the King stopped, with an
expression of indignation, and then passed on to his
apartment."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 223.

[383] "Charles IV. dined with Napoleon on the very day of his arrival.
He had some difficulty in ascending the steps leading to the saloon, and
he said to the Emperor, who offered him his arm, 'It is because I am so
frail that they want to drive me away.' The Emperor replied, 'Oh! oh! we
shall see that: let me support you: I have strength enough for us both.'
On hearing this, the King stopped, and said, looking at the Emperor, 'I
believe and hope so!'"--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 224.

[384] Southey, vol. i., p. 281-292.--Annual Register, vol. l., pp.

[385] "Charles IV. carried constantly in his hand a long cane. He was so
enraged, that it sometimes seemed to us he was going to forget himself
so far as to use the cane against his son, who maintained all the time a
sullen look. We heard the Queen say, 'Why don't you speak? This is
always the way with you; for every new folly you have nothing to say.'
She approached him, lifting up her hand, as if she meant to give him a
slap on the face."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 228.

[386] Southey, vol. i., p. 292.

[387] "Trust to my experience, and obey that authority which I hold from
God and my fathers! Follow my example, and think that, in your present
situation, there is no prosperity or safety for the Spaniards, but in
the friendship of the Great Emperor, our ally."

[388] "When I had them all assembled at Bayonne, I felt a confidence in
my political system, to which I never before had the presumption to
aspire. I had not made my combinations, but I took advantage of the
moment. I here found the Gordian knot before me, and I cut it. I
proposed to Charles IV. and the Queen, to resign the crown of Spain to
me, and to live quietly in France. They agreed, I could say, almost with
joy, to the proposal. The Prince of Asturias made no extraordinary
resistance to the plan; but neither violence nor threats were employed
against him. There you have, in very few words, the complete historical
sketch of the affair of Spain; whatever may be said, or written on it,
must amount to that; and you see, that there could be no occasion for me
to have had recourse to paltry tricks, to falsehoods, to breaches of
faith, or violation of engagements."--NAPOLEON, _Las Cases_, tom. iv.,
p. 200.


     _State of morals and manners in Spain--The Nobility--the Middle
     Classes--the Lower Ranks--the indignation of the People strongly
     excited against the French--Insurrection at Madrid on the 2d
     May--Murat proclaims an amnesty, notwithstanding which, many
     Spanish prisoners are put to death--King Charles appoints Murat
     Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom, and Ferdinand's resignation of
     the throne is announced--Murat unfolds the plan of government to
     the Council of Castile, and addresses of submission are sent to
     Buonaparte from various quarters--Notables appointed to meet at
     Bayonne on 15th June--The flame of resistance becomes universal
     throughout Spain._


The government of Spain, a worn-out despotism lodged in the hands of a
family of the lowest degree of intellect, was one of the worst in
Europe; and the state of the nobility, speaking in general, (for there
were noble exceptions,) seemed scarce less degraded. The incestuous
practice of marrying within the near degrees of propinquity, had long
existed, with its usual consequences, the dwarfing of the body, and
degeneracy of the understanding. The education of the nobility was
committed to the priests, who took care to give them no lights beyond
Catholic bigotry. The custom of the country introduced them to premature
indulgences, and they ceased to be children, without arriving either at
the strength or the intellect of youth.

The middling classes, inhabitants of towns, and those who followed the
learned professions, had not been so generally subjected to the same
withering influence of superstition and luxury. In many instances, they
had acquired good education, and were superior to the bigotry which the
ecclesiastics endeavoured to inspire them with; but, mistaking the
reverse of wrong for the right, many of these classes had been hurried
into absolute scepticism, having renounced altogether the ideas of
religion, which better instruction would have taught them to separate
from superstition, and having adopted in their extravagance many of the
doctrines which were so popular in France at the commencement of the

The lower classes of Spain, and especially those who resided in the
country, possessed nearly the same character which their ancestors
exhibited under the reign of the Emperor Charles V. They were little
interested by the imperfections of the government, for the system,
though execrable, did not immediately affect their comforts. They lay
too low for personal oppression, and as the expenses of the state were
supplied from the produce of the American provinces, the Spanish
peasants were strangers, in a great measure, to the exactions of the
tax-gatherer. Born in a delicious climate, where the soil, on the
slightest labour, returned far more than was necessary for the support
of the labourer, extreme poverty was as rare as hard toil. The sobriety
and moderation of the Spaniard continued to be one of his striking
characteristics; he preferred his personal ease to increasing the sphere
of his enjoyments, and would rather enjoy his leisure upon dry bread and
onions, than toil more severely to gain better fare. His indolence was,
however, often exchanged for the most active excitation, and though slow
in the labours of the field, the Spaniard was inexhaustible in his
powers of travelling through his plains and sierras, and at the end of a
toilsome day's journey, seemed more often desirous of driving away his
fatigue by the dance, than of recruiting himself by repose. There were
many classes of peasantry--shepherds, muleteers, traders between distant
provinces--who led a wandering life by profession, and, from the
insecure state of the roads, were in the habit of carrying arms. But
even the general habits of the cultivators of the soil led them to part
with the advantages of civilized society upon more easy terms than the
peasantry of a less primitive country. The few and simple rights of the
Spaniard were under the protection of the alcalde, or judge of his
village, in whose nomination he had usually a vote, and whose judgment
was usually satisfactory. If, however, an individual experienced
oppression, he took his cloak, sword, and musket, and after or without
avenging the real or supposed injury, plunged into the deserts in which
the peninsula abounds, joined one of the numerous bands of contraband
traders and outlaws by which they were haunted, and did all this without
experiencing any violent change, either of sentiment or manner of life.

As the habits of the Spaniard rendered him a ready soldier, his
disposition and feelings made him a willing one. He retained, with other
traits of his ancestry, much of that Castilian pride, which mixed both
with the virtues and defects of his nation. The hours of his indolence
were often bestowed on studying the glories of his fathers. He was well
acquainted with their struggles against the Moors, their splendid
conquests in the New World, their long wars with France; and when the
modern Castilian contrasted his own times with those which had passed
away, he felt assurances in his bosom, that, if Spain had descended from
the high pre-eminence she formerly enjoyed in Europe, it was not the
fault of the Spanish people. The present crisis gave an additional
stimulus to their natural courage and their patriotism, because the yoke
with which they were threatened was that of France, a people to whom
their own national character stands in such opposition, as to excite
mutual hatred and contempt. Nothing, indeed, can be so opposite as the
stately, grave, romantic Spaniard, with his dislike of labour, and his
rigid rectitude of thinking, to the lively, bustling, sarcastic
Frenchman, indefatigable in prosecution of whatever he undertakes, and
calculating frequently his means of accomplishing his purpose, with much
more ingenuity than integrity. The bigotry of the Spaniards was no less
strikingly contrasted with the scoffing, and, at the same time,
proselytizing scepticism, which had been long a distinction of modern

To conclude, the Spaniards, easily awakened to anger by national
aggression, and peculiarly sensible to such on the part of a rival
nation, were yet more irresistibly excited to resistance and to revenge,
by the insidious and fraudulent manner in which they had seen their
country stript of her defenders, deprived of her frontier fortresses,
her capital seized, and her royal family kidnapped, by an ally who had
not alleged even a shadow of pretext for such enormous violence.

Such being the character of the Spaniards, and such the provocation they
had received, it was impossible that much time should elapse ere their
indignation became manifest. The citizens of Madrid had looked on with
gloomy suspicion at the course of public events which followed
Ferdinand's imprudent journey to Bayonne. By degrees almost all the rest
of the royal family were withdrawn thither, and Godoy, upon whose head,
as a great public criminal, the people ardently desired to see vengeance
inflicted, was also transferred to the same place.[389] The interest
excited in the fate of the poor relics of the royal family remaining at
Madrid, which consisted only of the Queen of Etruria and her children,
the Infant Don Antonio, brother of the old king, and Don Francisco,
youngest brother of Ferdinand, grew deeper and deeper among the

On the last day of April, Murat produced an order to Don Antonio,[390]
who still held a nominal power of regency, demanding that the Queen of
Etruria and her children should be sent to Bayonne. This occasioned some
discussion, and the news getting abroad, the public seemed generally
determined that they would not permit the last remains of their royal
family to travel that road, on which, as on that which led to the lion's
den in the fable, they could discern the trace of no returning
footsteps. The tidings from thence had become gradually more and more
unfavourable to the partisans of Ferdinand, and the courier, who used to
arrive every night from Bayonne, was anxiously expected on the evening
of April the 30th, as likely to bring decisive news of Napoleon's
intentions towards his royal visitor. No courier arrived, and the
populace retired for the evening, in the highest degree gloomy and
discontented. On the next day (1st of May) the Gate of the Sun, and the
vicinity of the Post-office, were crowded with men, whose looks menaced
violence, and whose capas, or long cloaks, were said to conceal arms.
The French garrison got under arms, but this day also passed off without


On the 2d of May, the streets presented the same gloomy and menacing
appearance. The crowds which filled them were agitated by reports that
the whole remaining members of the royal family were to be removed, and
they saw the Queen of Etruria and her children put into their carriages,
together with Don Francisco, the youngest brother of Ferdinand, a youth
of fourteen, who appeared to feel his fate, for he wept bitterly. The
general fury broke out at this spectacle, and at once and on all sides,
the populace of Madrid assailed the French troops with the most bitter
animosity. The number of French who fell was very considerable, the
weapons of the assailants being chiefly their long knives, which the
Spaniards use with such fatal dexterity.[391]

Murat poured troops into the city to suppress the consequences of an
explosion, which had been long expected. The streets were cleared with
volleys of grape-shot and with charges of cavalry, but it required near
three or four hours' hard fighting to convince the citizens of Madrid,
that they were engaged in an attempt entirely hopeless. About the middle
of the day, some members of the Spanish Government, joining themselves
to the more humane part of the French generals, and particularly General
Harispe, interfered to separate the combatants, when there at length
ensued a cessation of these strange hostilities, maintained so long with
such fury by men almost totally unarmed, against the flower of the
French army.

A general amnesty was proclaimed, in defiance of which Murat caused
seize upon and execute several large bands of Spaniards, made prisoners
in the scuffle. They were shot in parties of forty or fifty at a time;
and as the inhabitants were compelled to illuminate their houses during
that dreadful night, the dead and dying might be seen lying on the
pavement as clearly as at noon-day. These military executions were
renewed on the two or three following days, probably with more attention
to the selection of victims, for the insurgents were now condemned by
French military courts. The number of citizens thus murdered is said to
have amounted to two or three hundred at least.[392] On the 5th May,
Murat published a proclamation, relaxing in his severity.

This crisis had been extremely violent, much more so, perhaps, than the
French had ever experienced in a similar situation; but it had been
encountered with such celerity, and put down with such rigour, that
Murat may well have thought that the severity was sufficient to prevent
the recurrence of similar scenes. The citizens of Madrid did not again,
indeed, undertake the task of fruitless opposition; but, like a bull
stupified by the first blow of the axe, suffered their conquerors to
follow forth their fatal purpose, without resistance, but also without

News came now with sufficient speed, and their tenor was such as to
impress obedience on those ranks, who had rank and title to lose. Don
Antonio set off for Bayonne; and on the 7th of May arrived, and was
promulgated at Madrid, a declaration by the old King Charles, nominating
Murat Lieutenant-General of the kingdom. The abdication of the son, less
expected and more mortifying, was next made public, and a proclamation
in his name and those of the Infants, Don Carlos and Don Antonio,
recommended the laying aside all spirit of resistance, and an implicit
obedience to the irresistible power of France.[393]

The destined plan of government was then unfolded by Murat to the
Council of Castile, who, first by an adulatory address,[394] and then by
a deputation of their body despatched personally to Bayonne, hailed the
expected resuscitation of the Spanish monarchy as a certain and
infallible consequence of the throne being possessed by a relation of
the great Napoleon. Other bodies of consequence were prevailed upon to
send similar addresses; and one in the name of the city of Madrid, its
streets still slippery with the blood of its citizens, was despatched
to express the congratulations of the capital.[395] The summons of
Murat, as Lieutenant-General of King Charles, and afterwards one from
Buonaparte, as possessed of the sovereign power by the cession of that
feeble monarch, convoked the proposed meeting of the Notables at Bayonne
on 15th June; and the members so summoned began to depart from such
places as were under the immediate influence of the French armies, in
order to give their attendance upon the proposed convocation.

The news of the insurrection of Madrid, on the 2d May, had in the
meantime communicated itself with the speed of electricity to the most
remote provinces of the kingdom; and every where, like an alarm-signal,
had inspired the most impassioned spirit of opposition to the invaders.
The kingdom, from all its provinces, cried out with one voice for war
and vengeance; and the movement was so universal and simultaneous, that
the general will seemed in a great measure to overcome or despise every
disadvantage, which could arise from the suddenness of the event, and
the unprepared state of the country.[396]


The occupation of Madrid might have been of more importance to check and
derange the movements of the Spanish nation at large, if that capital
had borne exactly the same relation to the kingdom which other
metropolises of Europe usually occupy to theirs, and which Paris, in
particular, bears towards France. But Spain consists of several separate
provinces, formerly distinct sovereignties, which having been united
under the same sovereign by the various modes of inheritance, treaty, or
conquest, still retain their separate laws; and though agreeing in the
general features of the national character, have shades of distinction
which distinguish them from each other. Biscay, Galicia, Catalonia,
Andalusia, Valencia, and other lesser dominions of Spain, each had their
capitals, their internal government, and the means of providing
themselves for resistance, though Madrid was lost. The patriotic spirit
broke out in all parts of Spain at once, excepting where the French
actually possessed large garrisons, and even there the spirit of the
people was sufficiently manifest. The call for resistance usually began
among the lower class of the inhabitants. But in such instances as their
natural leaders and superiors declared themselves frankly for the same
cause, the insurgents arranged themselves quietly in the ranks of
subordination natural to them, and the measures which the time rendered
necessary were adopted with vigour and unanimity. In other instances,
when the persons in possession of the authority opposed themselves to
the wishes of the people, or gave them reason, by tergiversation and
affectation of delay, to believe they were not sincere in the cause of
the country, the fury of the people broke out, and they indulged their
vindictive temper by the most bloody excesses. At Valencia, in
particular, before the insurrection could be organised, a wretched
priest, called Calvo, had headed the rabble in the massacre of upwards
of two hundred French residing within the city, who were guiltless of
any offence, except their being of that country. The governor of Cadiz,
Solano,[397] falling under popular suspicion, was, in like manner, put
to death; and similar bloody scenes signalized the breaking out of the
insurrection in different parts of the Peninsula.

Yet among these bursts of popular fury, there were mixed great signs of
calmness and national sagacity. The arrangements made for organising
their defence, were wisely adopted. The supreme power of each district
was vested in a Junta, or Select Committee, who were chosen by the
people, and in general the selection was judiciously made. These bodies
were necessarily independent in their respective governments, but a
friendly communication was actively maintained among them, and by common
consent a deference was paid to the Junta of Seville, the largest and
richest town in Spain, after Madrid, and whose temporary governors
chanced, generally speaking, to be men of integrity and talents.

These provisional Juntas proceeded to act with much vigour. The rich
were called upon for patriotic contributions. The clergy were requested
to send the church plate to the mint. The poor were enjoined to enter
the ranks of the defenders of the country, or to labour on the
fortifications which the defences rendered necessary. All these calls
were willingly obeyed. The Spanish soldiery, wherever situated, turned
invariably to the side of the country, and the insurrection had not
broken out many days, when the whole nation assumed a formidable aspect
of general and permanent resistance. Let us, in the meantime, advert to
the conduct of Napoleon.

That crisis, of which Buonaparte had expressed so much apprehension in
his prophetic letter to Murat--the commencement of that war, which was
to be so long in arriving at a close--had taken place in the streets of
Madrid on the second of May; and the slaughter of the inhabitants, with
the subsequent executions by the orders of Murat, had given the signal
for the popular fermentation throughout Spain, which soon attained the
extent we have just described.

The news[398] arrived at Bayonne on the very day on which the terrible
scene took place between the Queen and her son; and the knowledge that
blood had been spilled, became an additional reason for urging Ferdinand
to authenticate the cession which Napoleon had previously received from
the hand of the weak old king. To force forward the transaction without
a moment's delay; to acquire a right such as he could instantly make use
of as a pretext to employ his superior force and disciplined army,
became now a matter of the last importance; and Cevallos avers, that, in
order to overcome Ferdinand's repugnance, Napoleon used language of the
most violent kind, commanding his captive to choose betwixt death and
acquiescence in his pleasure. The French Emperor succeeded in this
point, as we have already shown, and he now proceeded to the execution
of his ultimate purpose, without condescending to notice that the people
of Spain were a party concerned in this change of rulers, and that they
were in arms in all her provinces for the purpose of opposing it.

To the French public, the insurrection of Madrid was described as a mere
popular explosion, although, perhaps for the purpose of striking terror,
the numbers of the Spanish who fell were exaggerated from a few hundreds
to "some thousands of the worst disposed wretches of the capital,"[399]
whose destruction was stated to be matter of joy and congratulation to
all good citizens. On the yet more formidable insurrections through
Spain in general, the _Moniteur_ observed an absolute silence. It
appeared as if the French troops had been every where received by the
Spanish people as liberators; and as if the proud nation, which
possessed so many ages of fame, was waiting her doom from the pleasure
of the French Emperor, with the same passive spirit exhibited by the
humble republics of Venice or Genoa.


Buonaparte proceeded on the same plan of disguise, and seemed himself
not to notice those signs of general resistance which he took care to
conceal from the public. We have already mentioned the proceedings of
the Assembly of Notables, whom he affected to consider as the
representatives of the Spanish nation, though summoned by a foreign
prince, meeting within a foreign land, and possessing no powers of
delegation enabling them, under any legal form, to dispose of the rights
of the meanest hamlet in Spain. Joseph, who arrived at Bayonne on the
fifth of June, was recognised by these obsequious personages; received
their homage; agreed to guarantee their new constitution, and promised
happiness to Spain, while he only alluded to the existence of
discontents in that kingdom, by expressing his intention to remain
ignorant of the particulars of such ephemeral disturbances.[400]

At length Napoleon, who had convoked this compliant body, thought proper
to give them audience before their return to their own country. It is
said he was tired of a farce to which few were disposed to give any
weight or consequence. At least he was so much embarrassed by a
consciousness of the wide distinction between the real condition in
which he was placed, and that which he was desirous of being thought to
hold, that he lost, on this occasion, his usual presence of mind; was
embarrassed in his manner; repeated from time to time phrases which had
neither meaning nor propriety; and took a brief adieu of his astonished
audience, who were surprised to see how much the consciousness of the
evil part he was acting had confused his usual audacity of assertion,
and checked the fluency of his general style of elocution.[401]

The brothers then parted, and Joseph prepared to accomplish the
destinies shaped out for him by his brother, while Napoleon returned to
the capital of his augmented empire. The former did not travel fast or
far, although the _Moniteurs_ announced nothing save the general joy
testified by the Spaniards at his reception, and the serenades performed
by the natives on their guitars from night till morning under the
windows of their new sovereign. The sounds by which he was in reality
surrounded, were of a sterner and more warlike character. The tidings of
insurrection, imperfectly heard and reluctantly listened to, on the
northern side of the Pyrenees, were renewed with astounding and
overpowering reiteration, as the intrusive King approached the scene of
his proposed usurpation. He was in the condition of the huntsman, who,
expecting that the tiger is at his mercy, and secured in the toils, has
the unpleasing surprise of finding him free, and irritated to frenzy. It
was judged proper, as Joseph possessed no talents of a military order,
that he should remain at Vittoria until the measures adopted by his
brother's generals might secure him a free and safe road to the capital.
It is singular, that the frontier town which thus saw his early
hesitation at entering upon his undertaking, was also witness to its
disgraceful conclusion, by the final defeat which he received there in

No doubts or forebodings attended the return of Napoleon to Paris. The
eyes of the French were too much dazzled by the splendid acquisition to
the Great Empire, which was supposed to have been secured by the
measures taken at Bayonne, to permit them to examine the basis of
violence and injustice on which it was to be founded. The union of
France and Spain under kindred monarchs, had been long accounted the
masterpiece of Louis XIV.'s policy; and the French now saw it, to
outward appearance, on the point of accomplishment, at the simple wish
of the wonderful man, who had erected France into the Mistress of the
World, and whose vigour in forming plans for her yet augmenting
grandeur, was only equalled by the celerity with which they were carried
into execution.

Buonaparte had indeed availed himself to the utmost of that art of
seducing and acting upon the imagination of the French people, in which
he accused the Directory of being deficient. He had strung the popular
feeling in such a manner, that it was sure to respond to almost every
note which he chose to strike upon it. The love of national glory, in
itself a praiseworthy attribute, becomes a vice when it rests on success
accomplished by means inconsistent with honour and integrity. These
unfavourable parts of the picture he kept in shade, while, as an artful
picture-dealer, he threw the full lights on those which announced the
augmented grandeur and happiness of France. The nation, always willing
listeners to their own praises, were contented to see with the eyes of
their ruler; and at no period in his life did Buonaparte appear to be in
such a genuine degree the pride and admiration of France, as when
returning from Bayonne, after having, in his attempt to seize upon the
crown of Spain, perpetrated a very great crime, and at the same time
committed an egregious folly.

The appearance of brilliant success, however, had its usual effect upon
the multitude. In his return through Pau, Thoulouse, Montauban, and the
other towns in that district, the Emperor was received with the honours
due to a demi-god. Their antique and gloomy streets were arched over
with laurels, and strewed with flowers; the external walls of their
houses were covered with tapestry, rich hangings, and splendid
paintings; the population crowded to meet the Emperor, and the mayors,
or prefects, could scarce find language enough to exaggerate what was
the actual prevailing tone of admiration towards Napoleon's person.
Bourdeaux alone exhibited a melancholy and silent appearance. But Nantes
and La Vendée, so distinguished as faithful to the Bourbon cause,
seemed to join in the general feeling of the period; and the population
of these countries rushed to congratulate him, who had with a strong
hand plucked from the throne the last reigning branch of that
illustrious house. The gods, says a heathen poet, frequently punish the
folly of mortals by granting their own ill-chosen wishes. In the present
case, they who rejoiced in the seeming acquisition of Spain to the
French empire, could not foresee that it was to cost the lives of a
million of Frenchmen; and he who received their congratulations was
totally unaware, that he had been digging under his own feet the mine by
which he was finally to be destroyed.


[389] "The Marquis de Cartellar, to whose custody Godoy had been
committed, was instructed to deliver him up, and he was removed by
night. Had the people been aware that this minister was thus to be
conveyed away from their vengeance, that indignation which soon
afterwards burst out would probably have manifested itself now, and
Godoy would have perished by their hands."--SOUTHEY, vol. i., p. 279.

[390] From his brother King Charles.

[391] "It is certain that, including the peasants shot, the whole number
of Spaniards slain did not amount to one hundred and twenty persons,
while more than seven hundred French fell. Of the imperial guards
seventy men were wounded, and this fact alone would suffice to prove
that there was no premeditation on the part of Murat; for if he was base
enough to sacrifice his own men with such unconcern, he would not have
exposed the select soldiers of the French empire in preference to the
conscripts who abounded in his army. The affair itself was certainly
accidental, and not very bloody for the patriots, but policy induced
both sides to attribute secret motives, and to exaggerate the
slaughter."--NAPIER, vol. i., p. 26.

[392] "In the first moment of irritation, Murat ordered all the
prisoners to be tried by a military commission, which condemned them to
death; but the municipality representing to him the extreme cruelty of
visiting this angry ebullition of the people with such severity, he
forbade any executions on the sentence; but forty were shot in the
Prado, by direction of General Grouchy, before Murat could cause his
orders to be effectually obeyed."--NAPIER, vol. i., p. 25.

[393] Southey, vol. i., p. 324.

[394] "Your Imperial Majesty," said they, "who foresees all things, and
executes them still more swiftly, has chosen for the provisional
government of Spain, a prince educated for the art of government in your
own great school. He has succeeded in stilling the boldest storms, by
the moderation and wisdom of his measures."

[395] A letter was also transmitted to Napoleon from the Cardinal
Archbishop of Toledo, the last of the Bourbons who remained in Spain:
"May your Imperial and Royal Majesty," he said, "be graciously pleased
to look upon me as one of your most dutiful subjects, and instruct me
concerning your high purposes."

[396] "The firing on the end of May was heard at Mostoles, a little town
about ten miles south of Madrid; and the alcalde, who knew the situation
of the capital, despatched a bulletin to the south, in these words: 'The
country is in danger; Madrid is perishing through the perfidy of the
French; all Spaniards, come to deliver it!' No other summons was sent
abroad than this!"--SOUTHEY, vol. i., p. 336.

[397] The mob brought cannon against his house, shattered the doors, and
rushed in. Seeing that they were bent upon his death, Solano escaped by
the roof, and took shelter in the house of an English merchant, whose
lady concealed him in a secret closet. The mistress of the house, Mrs.
Strange, in vain endeavoured to save him, by the most earnest
entreaties, and by interposing between him and his merciless assailants.
She was wounded in the arm; and Solano, as he was dragged away, bade her
farewell till eternity! They hauled him towards the gallows, that his
death might be ignominious; others were too ferocious to wait for
this--they cut and stabbed him, while he resigned himself with composure
and dignity to his fate.--See NELLERTO, _Mem._, tom. iii., and CARR'S
_Travels_, p. 47.

[398] "The Emperor could not restrain his passion on reading these
details. Instead of returning home, he went straight to Charles IV. I
accompanied him. On entering, he said to the King, 'See what I have
received from Madrid. I cannot understand this.' The King read the Grand
Duke of Berg's despatch; and no sooner finished it, than with a firm
voice, he said to the Prince of the Peace, 'Emanuel, send for Carlos and
Ferdinand.' They were in no haste to obey the call; and, in the
meantime, Charles IV. observed to the Emperor--'I am much deceived if
these youths have not had something to do with this business. I am very
vexed, but not surprised at it.'"--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 227.

[399] "Plusieurs milliers des plus mauvais sujects du

[400] Southey, vol. i., p. 403.

[401] Southey, vol. i., p. 438.

[402] "From Vittoria, Joseph sent abroad a proclamation. 'I come among
you,' he said, 'with the utmost confidence, surrounded by estimable men,
who have not concealed from you any thing which they believed to be
useful for your interests. Blind passions, deceitful vices, and the
intrigues of the common enemy of the continent, whose only view is to
separate the Indies from Spain, have precipitated some among you into
the most dreadful anarchy. My heart is rent at the thought. Yet this
great evil may in a moment cease. Spaniards, unite yourselves! come
around my throne! and do not suffer intestine divisions to rob me of the
time, and consume the means which I would fain employ solely for your


     _Plans of Defence of the Spanish Juntas--defeated by the ardour of
     the Insurrectionary Armies--Cruelty of the French Troops, and
     Inveteracy of the Spaniards--Successes of the Invaders--Defeat of
     Rio Secco--Exultation of Napoleon--Joseph enters Madrid--His
     reception--Duhesme compelled to retreat to Barcelona, and Moncey
     from before Valencia--Defeat of Dupont by Castanos at Baylen--His
     Army surrenders Prisoners of War--Effects of this Victory and
     Capitulation--Unreasonable Expectations of the British
     Public--Joseph leaves Madrid, and retires to Vittoria--Defence of


Surrounded by insurrection, as we have stated them to be, the French
generals who had entered Spain entertained no fear but that the
experience of their superiority in military skill and discipline, would
soon teach the Spaniards the folly of their unavailing resistance. The
invading armies were no longer commanded by Murat,[403] who had returned
to France, to proceed from thence to take possession of the throne of
Naples, vacant by the promotion of Joseph, as in earlier life he might
have attained a higher step of military rank, in consequence of
regimental succession. Savary, who had, as we have seen, a principal
share in directing Ferdinand's mind towards the fatal journey to
Bayonne, remained in command at Madrid,[404] and endeavoured, by a
general system of vigorous effort in various directions, to put an end
to the insurrection, which had now become general wherever the French
did not possess such preponderating armed force, as rendered opposition
impossible. We can but hint at the character which the war assumed even
at the outset, and touch generally upon its more important incidents.


The Spanish Juntas had wisely recommended to their countrymen to avoid
general engagements--to avail themselves of the difficulties of various
kinds which their country presents to an army of invaders--to operate
upon the flanks, the rear, and the communications of the French--and to
engage the enemy in a war of posts, in which courage and natural
instinct bring the native sharpshooter more upon a level with the
trained and practised soldier, than the professors of military tactics
are at all times willing to admit. But although this plan was
excellently laid down, and in part adhered to, in which case it seldom
failed to prove successful, yet on many occasions it became impossible
for the Spanish leaders to avoid more general actions, in which defeat
and loss were usually inevitable. The character of the insurrectionary
armies, or rather of the masses of armed citizens so called, led to many
fatal errors of this kind. They were confident in their own numbers and
courage, in proportion to their ignorance of the superiority which
discipline, the possession of cavalry and artillery, and the power of
executing combined and united movements, must always bestow upon regular
forces. They were also impatient of the miseries necessarily brought
upon the country by a protracted and systematic war of mere defence, and
not less unwilling to bear the continued privations to which they
themselves were exposed. On some occasions, opposition on the part of
their officers to their demand of being led against the enemy, to put an
end, as they hoped, to the war, by one brave blow, was construed into
cowardice or treachery; and falling under the suspicion of either, was a
virtual sentence of death to the suspected person. Sometimes, also,
these insurrectionary bodies were forced to a general action, which they
would willingly have avoided, either by want of provisions, with which
they were indifferently supplied at all times, or by the superior
manœuvres of a skilful enemy. In most of the actions which took place
from these various causes, the French discipline effectually prevailed
over the undisciplined courage of the insurgents, and the patriots were
defeated with severe loss.

On these occasions, the cruelty of the conquerors too frequently sullied
their victory, and materially injured the cause in which it was gained.
Affecting to consider the Spaniards, who appeared in arms to oppose a
foreign yoke and an intrusive king, as rebels taken in the fact, the
prisoners who fell into the hands of the French were subjected to
military execution; and the villages where they had met with opposition
were delivered up to the licentious fury of the soldier, who spared
neither sex nor age. The French perhaps remembered, that some such
instances of sanguinary severity, in the commencement of the Italian
campaigns, had compelled the insurgents of Lombardy to lay down their
arms, and secured the advantages which Napoleon had gained by the defeat
of the Austrian forces. But in Spain the result was extremely different.
Every atrocity of this kind was a new injury to be avenged, and was
resented as such by a nation at no time remarkable for forgiveness of
wrongs. The sick, the wounded, the numerous stragglers of the French
army, were, when they fell into the hands of the Spaniards, which
frequently happened, treated with the utmost barbarity; and this
retaliation hardening the heart, and inflaming the passions of either
party as they suffered by it in turn, the war assumed a savage, bloody,
and atrocious character, which seemed to have for its object not the
subjection, but the extermination of the vanquished.

The character of the country, very unfavourable to the French mode of
supporting their troops at the expense of the districts through which
they marched, added to the inveteracy of the struggle. Some parts of
Spain are no doubt extremely fertile, but there are also immense tracts
of barren plains, or unproductive mountains, which afford but a scanty
support to the inhabitants themselves, and are totally inadequate to
supply the additional wants of an invading army. In such districts the
_Marauders_, to be successful in their task of collecting provisions,
had to sweep a large tract of country on each side of the line of
march--an operation the more difficult and dangerous, that though the
principal high-roads through Spain are remarkably good, yet the lateral
communications connecting them with the countries which they traverse
are of the worst possible description, and equally susceptible of being
defended by posts, protected by ambuscades, or altogether broken up, and
rendered impervious to an invader. Hence it was long since said by Henry
IV., that if a general invaded Spain with a small army, he must be
defeated--if with a large one, he must be starved; and the gigantic
undertaking of Buonaparte appeared by no means unlikely to fail, either
from the one or the other reason.

At the first movement of the French columns into the provinces which
were in insurrection, victory seemed every where to follow the invaders.
Lefebvre Desnouettes defeated the Spaniards in Arragon on the 9th of
June; General Bessières beat the insurgents in many partial actions in
the same month, kept Navarre and Biscay in subjection, and overawed the
insurgents in Old Castile. These, however, were but petty advantages,
compared to that which he obtained, in a pitched battle, over two united
armies of the Spaniards, consisting of the forces of Castile and Leon,
joined to those of Galicia.

The first of these armies was commanded by Cuesta, described, by
Southey,[405] as a brave old man, energetic, hasty, and headstrong, in
whose resolute, untractable, and decided temper, the elements of the
Spanish character were strongly marked. His army was full of zeal, but
in other respects in such a state of insubordination, that they had
recently murdered one of the general officers against whom they
harboured some rashly adopted suspicions of treachery. The Galician army
was in the same disorderly condition; and they also had publicly torn to
pieces their general, Filangieri,[406] upon no further apparent cause of
suspicion than that he had turned his thoughts rather to defensive than
offensive operations. Blake, a good soldier, who enjoyed the confidence
of the army, but whose military talents were not of the first order,
succeeded Filangieri in his dangerous command, and having led his
Galician levies to form a junction with Cuesta, they now proceeded
together towards Burgos. The two generals differed materially in
opinion. Cuesta, though he had previously suffered a defeat from the
French near Cabezon, was for hazarding the event of a battle, moved
probably by the difficulty of keeping together and maintaining their
disorderly forces; while Blake, dreading the superiority of the French
discipline, deprecated the risk of a general action. Bessières left them
no choice on the subject. He came upon them, when posted near Medina del
Rio Seco, where, on the 14th July, the combined armies of Galicia and
Castile received the most calamitous defeat which the Spaniards had yet
sustained. The patriots fought most bravely, and it was said more than
twenty thousand slain were buried on the field of battle.

[Sidenote: July 20.]

Napoleon received the news of this victory with exultation. "It is," he
said, "the battle of Villa Viciosa. Bessières has put the crown on
Joseph's head. The Spaniards," he added, "have now perhaps fifteen
thousand men left, with some old blockhead at their head;--the
resistance of the Peninsula is ended."[407] In fact, the victory of
Medina del Rio Seco made the way open for Joseph to advance from
Vittoria to Madrid, where he arrived without molestation. He entered the
capital in state, but without receiving any popular greetings, save what
the municipal authorities found themselves compelled to offer. The money
which was scattered amongst the populace was picked up by the French
alone, and by the French alone were the theatres filled, which had been
thrown open to the public in honour of their new prince.[408]

[Sidenote: VALENCIA.]

In the meantime, however, the advantages obtained by Bessières in
Castile seemed fast in the course of being outbalanced by the losses
which the French sustained in the other provinces. Duhesme, with those
troops which had so treacherously possessed themselves of Barcelona and
Figueras, seems, at the outset, to have entertained little doubt of
being able not only to maintain himself in Catalonia, but even to send
troops to assist in the subjugation of Valencia and Arragon. But the
Catalonians are, and have always been, a warlike people, addicted to the
use of the gun, and naturally disposed, like the Tyrolese, to act as
sharp-shooters. Undismayed by several partial losses, they made good the
strong mountain-pass of Bruch and other defiles, and, after various
actions, compelled the French general to retreat towards Barcelona, with
a loss both of men and character.[409]

An expedition undertaken by Marshal Moncey against Valencia, was marked
with deeper disaster. He obtained successes, indeed, over the insurgents
as he advanced towards the city; but when he ventured an attack on the
place itself, in hopes of carrying it by a sudden effort, he was opposed
by all the energy of a general popular defence. The citizens rushed to
man the walls--the monks, with a sword in one hand, and a crucifix in
the other, encouraged them to fight in the name of God and their
King--the very women mingled in the combat, bringing ammunition and
refreshments to the combatants.[410] Every attempt to penetrate into the
city was found unavailing; and Moncey, disappointed of meeting with the
reinforcements which Duhesme was to have despatched him from Barcelona,
was obliged to abandon his enterprise, and to retreat, not without being
severely harassed, towards the main French army, which occupied Old and
New Castile.[411]

It was not common in Napoleon's wars for his troops and generals to be
thus disconcerted, foiled, and obliged to abandon a purpose which they
had adopted. But a worse and more decisive fate was to attend the
division of Dupont, than the disappointments and losses which Duhesme
had experienced in Catalonia, and Moncey before Valencia.

So early as Murat's first occupation of Madrid, he had despatched
Dupont, an officer of high reputation, towards Cadiz, of which he named
him governor. This attempt to secure that important city, and protect
the French fleet which lay in its harbours, seems to have been judged by
Napoleon premature, probably because he was desirous to leave the
passage open for Charles IV. to have made his escape from Cadiz to South
America, in case he should so determine. Dupont's march, therefore, was
countermanded, and he remained stationary at Toledo, until the
disposition of the Andalusians, and of the inhabitants of Cadiz, showing
itself utterly inimical to the French, he once more received orders to
advance at all risks, and secure that important seaport, with the French
squadron which was lying there. The French general moved forward
accordingly, traversed the chain of wild mountains called Sierra Morena,
which the tale of Cervantes has rendered classical, forced the passage
of the river Guadalquiver at the bridge of Alcolea, advanced to, and
subdued, the ancient town of Cordoba.[412]

Dupont had thus reached the frontiers of Andalusia; but the fate of
Cadiz was already decided. That rich commercial city had embraced the
patriotic cause, and the French squadron was in the hands of the
Spaniards; Seville was in complete insurrection, and its Junta, the most
active in the kingdom of Spain, were organising large forces, and adding
them daily to a regular body of ten thousand men, under General
Castanos, which had occupied the camp of St. Rocque, near Gibraltar.

If Dupont had ventured onward in the state in which matters were, he
would have rushed on too unequal odds. On the other hand, his situation
at Cordoba, and in the neighbourhood, was precarious. He was divided
from the main French army by the Sierra Morena, the passes of which were
infested, and might almost be said to be occupied, by the insurgent
mountaineers; and he was exposed to be attacked by the Andalusian army,
so soon as their general might think them adequate to the task. Dupont
solicited reinforcements, therefore, as well from Portugal as from the
French army in the Castiles; such reinforcements being absolutely
necessary, not merely to his advancing into Andalusia, but to his
keeping his ground, or even effecting a safe retreat. Junot, who
commanded in Portugal, occupied at once by the insurrection of the
natives of that country, and by the threatened descent of the English,
was, as we shall hereafter see, in no situation to spare Dupont the
succours he desired. But two brigades, under Generals Vedel and Gobert,
joined Dupont from Castile, after experiencing some loss of rather an
ominous character, for it could neither be returned nor avenged, from
the armed peasantry of the Sierra.

[Sidenote: BAYLEN.]

These reinforcements augmented Dupont's division to twenty thousand
men, a force which was thought adequate to strike a decisive blow in
Andalusia, providing Castanos could be brought to hazard a general
action. Dupont accordingly put himself in motion, occupied Baylen and La
Carolina in Andalusia, and took by storm the old Moorish town of Jaen.
The sagacious old Spanish general had, in the meantime, been bringing
his new levies into order, and the French, after they had possessed
themselves of Jaen, were surprised to find themselves attacked there
with great vigour and by superior forces, which compelled them, after a
terrible resistance, to evacuate the place and retire to Baylen. From
thence, Dupont wrote despatches to Savary at Madrid, stating the
difficulties of his situation. His men, he said, had no supplies of
bread, save from the corn which they reaped, grinded, and baked with
their own hands--the peasants, who were wont to perform the country
labour, had left their harvest-work to take up arms--the insurgents were
becoming daily more audacious--they were assuming the offensive, and
strong reinforcements were necessary to enable him either to maintain
his ground, or do any thing considerable to annoy the enemy. These
despatches fell into the hands of Castanos, who acted upon the
information they afforded.

On the 16th July, two large divisions of the Spaniards attacked the
French on different points, and, dislodging them from Baylen, drove them
back on Menjibar; while Castanos, at the head of a large force, overawed
Dupont, and prevented his moving to the assistance of his generals of
brigade, one of whom, Gobert, was killed in the action. On the night of
the 18th, another battle commenced, by an attempt on the part of the
French to recover Baylen. The troops on both sides fought desperately,
but the Spaniards, conscious that succours were at no great distance,
made good their defence of the village. The action continued the greater
part of the day, when, after an honourable attempt to redeem the
victory, by a desperate charge at the head of all his forces, Dupont
found himself defeated on all points, and so enclosed by the superior
force of the Spaniards, as rendered his retreat impossible. He had no
resource except capitulation. He was compelled to surrender himself, and
the troops under his immediate command, prisoners of war. But, for the
division of Vedel, which had not been engaged, and was less hard pressed
than the other, it was stipulated that they should be sent back to
France in Spanish vessels. This part of the convention of Baylen was
afterwards broken by the Spaniards, and the whole of the French army
were detained close prisoners. They were led to this act of bad faith,
partly by an opinion that the French generals had been too cunning for
Castanos in the conditions they obtained--partly from the false idea,
that the perfidy with which they had acted towards Spain, dispensed with
the obligations of keeping terms with them--and partly at the
instigation of Morla, the successor of the unhappy Solano, who scrupled
not to recommend to his countrymen that sacrifice of honour to
interest, which he himself afterwards practised, in abandoning the cause
of his country for that of the intrusive King.[413]

The battle and subsequent capitulation of Baylen, was in itself a very
great disaster, the most important which had befallen the French arms
since the star of Buonaparte arose--the _furcæ Caudinæ_, as he himself
called it, of his military history. More than three thousand Frenchmen
had been lost in the action--seventeen thousand had surrendered
themselves,[414]--Andalusia, the richest part of Spain, was freed from
the French armies--and the wealthy cities of Seville and Cadiz had
leisure to employ a numerous force of trained population, and their
treasures in support of the national cause. Accordingly, the tidings
which Napoleon received while at Bourdeaux, filled him with an agitation
similar to that of the Roman Emperor, when he demanded from Varus his
lost legions. But the grief and anxiety of Buonaparte was better founded
than that of Augustus. The latter lost only soldiers, whose loss might
be supplied; but the battle of Baylen dissolved that idea of
invincibility attached to Napoleon and his fortunes, which, like a
talisman, had so often palsied the councils and disabled the exertions
of his enemies, who felt, in opposing him, as if they were predestined
victims, struggling against the dark current of Destiny itself. The
whole mystery, too, and obscurity, in which Buonaparte had involved the
affairs of Spain, concealing the nature of the interest which he held in
that kingdom, and his gigantic plan of annexing it to his empire, were
at once dispelled. The tidings of Dupont's surrender operated like a
whirlwind on the folds of a torpid mist, and showed to all Europe, what
Napoleon most desired to conceal--that he was engaged in a national
conflict of a kind so doubtful, that it had commenced by a very great
loss on the side of France; and that he was thus engaged purely by his
own unprincipled ambition. That his armies could be defeated, and
brought to the necessity of surrendering, was now evident to Spain and
to Europe. The former gathered courage to persist in an undertaking so
hopefully begun, while nations, now under the French domination, caught
hope for themselves while they watched the struggle; and the spell being
broken which had rendered them submissive to their fate, they cherished
the prospect of speedily emulating the contest, which they at present
only witnessed.

Yet were these inspiriting consequences of the victory of Castanos
attended with some counterbalancing inconveniences, both as the event
affected the Spaniards themselves, and the other nations of Europe. It
fostered in the ranks of Spain their national vice, and excess of
presumption and confidence in their own valour; useful, perhaps, so far
as it gives animation in the moment of battle, but most hazardous when
it occasions inattention to the previous precautions which are always
necessary to secure victory, and which are so often neglected in the
Spanish armies.[415] In short, while the success at Baylen induced the
Spaniards to reject the advice of experience and skill, when to follow
it might have seemed to entertain a doubt of the fortunes of Spain, it
encouraged also the most unreasonable expectations in the other
countries of Europe, and especially in Great Britain, where men's wishes
in a favourite cause are so easily converted into hopes. Without
observing the various concurrences of circumstances which had
contributed to the victory of Baylen, they considered it as a scene
which might easily be repeated elsewhere, whenever the Spaniards should
display the same energy; and thus, because the patriots had achieved one
great and difficult task, they expected from them on all occasions, not
miracles only, but sometimes even impossibilities. When these
unreasonable expectations were found groundless, the politicians who had
entertained them were so much chagrined and disappointed, that, hurrying
into the opposite extreme, they became doubtful either of the zeal of
the Spanish nation in the cause for which they were fighting, or their
power of maintaining an effectual resistance. And thus, to use the
scriptural phrase, the love of many waxed cold, and men of a desponding
spirit were inclined to wish the aid of Britain withdrawn from a contest
which they regarded as hopeless, and that those supplies should be
discontinued, on which its maintenance in a great measure depended.

The event of Baylen was not known at Madrid till eight or ten days after
it had taken place; but when it arrived, Joseph Buonaparte, the
intrusive King, plainly saw that the capital was no longer a safe
residence for him, and prepared for his retreat. He generously gave
leave to the individuals composing his administration, either to follow
his fortunes, or take the national side, if they preferred it;[416] and
leaving Madrid, (3d July,) again retired to Vittoria, where, secured by
a French garrison, and at no great distance from the frontier, he might
in safety abide the events of the war.


Another memorable achievement of the Spanish conflict, which served
perhaps better than even the victory of Baylen, to evince the character
of the resistance offered to the French, was the immortal defence of
Zaragossa, the capital of Arragon. This ancient city was defenceless,
excepting for the old Gothic, or Roman or Moorish wall, of ten feet
high, by which it is surrounded, and which is in most places a mere
curtain, without flankers or returning angles of any kind.[417] Its
garrison consisted chiefly of the citizens of the place; and its
governor, a young nobleman, called Don Joseph Palafox, who was chosen
Captain-general because he happened to be in the vicinity, had hitherto
been only distinguished by the share he had taken in the frivolous
gaieties of the court.[418] The city thus possessing no important
advantages of defence, and the French general in Arragon, Lefebvre
Desnouettes, having defeated such of the insurgents as had shown
themselves in the field, he conceived he had only to advance, in
security of occupying the capital of the province. But there never was
on earth a defence in which the patriotic courage of the defenders
sustained so long, and baffled so effectually, the assaults of an enemy
provided with all those military advantages, of which they themselves
were totally destitute.

On the 15th of June, the French attempted to carry the place by a
_coup-de-main_, in which they failed with great loss. On the 27th,
reinforced and supplied with a train of mortars, they made a more
regular effort, and succeeded in getting possession of a suburb, called
the Terrero. They then began to invest the place more closely, showered
bombs on its devoted edifices, and amid the conflagration occasioned by
these missiles of destruction, attempted to force the gates of the city
at different points. All the Zaragossians rushed to man their
defences--condition, age, even sex, made no difference; the monks fought
abreast with the laity, and several women showed more than masculine

Lefebvre was incensed by a defence of a place, which, according to all
common rules, was untenable. He forgot the rules of war in his turn, and
exposed his troops to immense loss by repeatedly attempting to carry the
place at the bayonet's point. Meanwhile ammunition ran scarce--but the
citizens contrived to manufacture gunpowder in considerable quantities.
Famine came--its pressure was submitted to. Sickness thinned the ranks
of the defenders--those who survived willingly performed the duty of the
absent. It was in vain that the large convent of Santa Engracia,
falling into the hands of the besiegers, enabled them to push their
posts into the town itself. The French general announced this success in
a celebrated summons:--"_Sancta Engracia--Capitulation!_"--"_Zaragossa--war
to the knife's blade_,"[420] was the equally laconic answer. The threat
was made good--the citizens fought from street to street, from house to
house, from chamber to chamber--the contending parties often occupied
different apartments of the same house--the passages which connected
them were choked with dead. After this horrid contest had continued for
several weeks, the gallant defence of Zaragossa excited at once the
courage and sympathy of those who shared the sentiments of its heroic
garrison and citizens, and a considerable reinforcement was thrown into
the place in the beginning of August.[421] After this the citizens
began to gain ground in all their skirmishes with the invaders; the
news of Dupont's surrender became publicly known, and Lefebvre, on the
13th of August, judged it most prudent to evacuate the quarter of the
city which he possessed. He blew up the church of Santa Engracia, and
set fire to several of the houses which he had gained, and finally
retreated from the city which had so valiantly resisted his arms.[422]

The spirit of indomitable courage which the Spaniards manifested on this
occasion, has perhaps no equal in history, excepting the defence of
Numantium by their ancestors. It served, even more than the victory of
Baylen, to extend hope and confidence in the patriotic cause; and the
country which had produced such men as Palafox and his followers, was,
with much show of probability, declared unconquerable.

It is now necessary to trace the effects which this important revolution
produced, as well in England, as in the Portuguese part of the


[403] Before Murat had well recovered from a severe attack of the Madrid
cholic an intermittent fever supervened, and when that was removed, he
was ordered by his physicians to the warm baths of Barèges.

[404] "As some person was immediately wanted to supply the place of the
Grand Duke of Berg, he directed me to proceed to Madrid, where I found
myself in a more extraordinary situation than any general officer had
ever been placed in. My mission was for the purpose of perusing all the
reports addressed to the Grand Duke of Berg, to return answers, and
issue orders in every case of emergency; but I was not to affix my
signature to any paper; every thing was to be done in the name of
General Belliard, in his capacity of chief of the staff of the army. The
Emperor adopted this course, because he intended to send the new King
forward in a very short time; and felt it to be unnecessary to make any
alterations until the King's arrival at Madrid, when I was to be
recalled."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 250.

[405] History of the Peninsular War, vol. i., p. 453.

[406] "Filangieri, the Governor of Corunna, being called on by a
tumultuous crowd to exercise the rights of sovereignty, and to declare
war in form against the French, was unwilling to commence such an
important revolution upon such uncertain grounds; the impatient crowd
instantly attempted his life, which was then saved by the courage of an
officer of his staff; but his horrible fate was only deferred. A part of
the regiment of Navarre seized him at Villa Franca del Bierzo, planted
the ground with their bayonets, and then tossing him in a blanket, let
him fall on the points thus disposed, and there leaving him to struggle,
they dispersed and retired to their own homes."--NAPIER, vol. i., p. 37.

[407] Southey, vol. i., p. 481; Napier, vol. i., p. 110.

[408] "King Joseph made his entry into Madrid at four in the afternoon,
with no other escort than the Emperor's guard. Although his suite was
numerous, he was accompanied by no other Spaniard than the
Captain-general of Navarre; the ministers and deputies who had left
Bayonne in his train had already deserted him. The inhabitants
manifested some degree of curiosity, and even gave some signs of
approbation; public decorum, however, was not in the least
interrupted."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 276.

[409] Napier, vol. i., p. 75.

[410] Southey, vol. i., p. 470; Napier, vol. i., p. 94.

[411] Moncey could hardly have expected to succeed against the town of
Valencia; for, to use Napoleon's words, "a city, with eighty thousand
inhabitants, barricadoed streets, and artillery placed at the gates,
cannot be _taken by the collar_."--NAPIER, vol. i., p. 99.

[412] Savary, tom. ii., p. 255; Napier, vol. i., p. 116.

[413] Southey, vol. i., p. 497; Napier, vol. i., p. 125.

[414] "Dupont surrendered an effective force of 21,000 infantry, forty
pieces of cannon, and 2400 cavalry; in short, a full third of the French
forces in Spain."--SAVARY, tom. ii., p. 273.

[415] "The moral effect of the battle of Baylen was surprising; it was
one of those minor events which, insignificant in themselves, are the
cause of great changes in the affairs of nations. Opening as it were a
new crater for the Spanish fire, the glory of past ages seemed to be
renewed, every man conceived himself a second Cid, and perceived in the
surrender of Dupont, not the deliverance of Spain, but the immediate
conquest of France. 'We are much obliged to our good friends, the
English,' was a common phrase among them, when conversing with the
officers of Sir John Moore's army; 'we thank them for their good-will,
and we shall have the pleasure of escorting them through France to
Calais.' This absurd confidence might have led to great things, if it
had been supported by wisdom, activity, or valour; but it was a 'voice,
and nothing more.'"--NAPIER, vol. i., p. 131.

[416] De Pradt, Mémoire Hist. sur la Rév. de l'Espagne, p. 192.

[417] Napier, vol. i., p. 65.

[418] Southey, vol. i., p. 37.

[419] "Augustina Zaragoza, a handsome woman of the lower class, about
twenty-two years of age, arrived at one of the batteries with
refreshments at the time when not a man who defended it was left alive,
so tremendous was the fire which the French kept up against it. For a
moment the citizens hesitated to re-man the guns. Augustina sprung
forward over the dead and dying, snatched a match from the hand of a
dead artilleryman, and fired off a six-and-twenty pounder; then jumping
upon the gun, made a solemn vow never to quit it alive during the
siege."--SOUTHEY, vol. ii., p. 14.--Lord Byron states, that when he was
at Seville, in 1809, the Maid of Zaragoza was seen walking daily on the
Prado, decorated with medals, and orders, by command of the Junta. She
has further had the honour of being painted by Wilkie.


      "Such be the sons of Spain, and strange her fate
      They fight for freedom who were never free;
      A kingless people for a nerveless state,
      Her vassals combat when their chieftains flee,
      True to the veriest slaves of treachery:
      Fond of a land which gave them nought but life,
      Pride points the path that leads to liberty;
      Back to the struggle, baffled in the strife,
    War, war is still the cry, '_War even to the knife!_'"

    _Childe Harold_, c. i., st. 86.

[421] "Just before the day closed, Don Francisco Palafox, the general's
brother, entered the city with a convoy of arms and ammunition, and
reinforcement of three thousand men."--SOUTHEY, vol. ii., p. 26.

[422] "A hideous and revolting spectacle was exhibited during the
action; the public hospital being taken and fired, the madmen confined
there issued forth among the combatants, muttering, shouting, singing,
and moping, according to the character of their disorder, while
drivelling idiots mixed their unmeaning cries with the shouts of
contending soldiers."--NAPIER, vol. i., p. 70.


     _Zeal of Britain with regard to the Spanish struggle--It is
     resolved to send an Expedition to Portugal--Retrospect of what had
     passed in that Country--Portuguese Assembly of Notables summoned to
     Bayonne--Their Singular Audience of Buonaparte--Effects of the
     Spanish Success on Portugal--Sir Arthur Wellesley--His Character as
     a General--Despatched at the head of the Expedition to
     Portugal--Attacks and defeats the French at Roriça--Battle and
     victory of Vimeiro--Sir Harry Burrard Neale assumes the command,
     and frustrates the results proposed by Sir Arthur Wellesley from
     the Battle--Sir Harry Burrard is superseded by Sir Hew
     Dalrymple--Convention of Cintra--Its Unpopularity in England--A
     Court of Inquiry is held._

There is nothing more praiseworthy in the British, or rather in the
English character--for it is they who in this respect give tone to the
general feelings of the other two British nations--than the noble
candour with which, laying aside all petty and factious considerations,
they have at all times united in the same spring-tide of sentiment, when
the object in question was in itself heart-stirring and generous. At no
time was this unison of sentiment more universally felt and expressed,
than when the news became general through Britain that the Spanish
nation, the victim of an unparalleled process of treachery, had resolved
to break through the toils by which they were enclosed, and vindicate
their national independence at the hazard of their lives. "The war,"
says the elegant historian,[423] to whose labours we are so much
indebted in this part of our subject, "assumed a higher and holier
character, and men looked to the issue with faith as well as hope." Both
these were the brighter that they seemed to have arisen out of the
midnight of scepticism, concerning the existence of public spirit in

It became the universal wish of Britain, to afford the Spaniards every
possible assistance in their honourable struggle. Sheridan declared,
that the period had arrived for striking a decisive blow for the
liberation of Europe; and another distinguished member of
Opposition,[424] having expressed himself with more reserve on the
subject, found it necessary to explain, that in doing so he disclaimed
the thoughts of abandoning the heroic Spaniards to their fate. But it
was with particular interest, that all lovers of their country listened
to the manly declaration of Mr. Canning,[425] in which, disclaiming the
false and petty policy which made an especial object of what were called
peculiarly British interests, he pledged himself, and the Administration
to which he belonged, for pursuing such measures as might ensure Spanish
success, because it was that which, considering the cause in which she
was embarked, comprehended the essential interest not of England only,
but of the world. The resolution to support Spain through the struggle,
founded as it was on this broad and generous basis, met the universal
approbation of the country.

It remained only to inquire in what shape the succours of Britain should
be invested, in order to render them most advantageous to the cause of
Spanish independence. Most Spaniards seemed to concur with the deputies,
who had been hastily despatched to England by the Junta of the Asturias,
in declining the assistance of an auxiliary army; "of men," they said,
"Spain had more than enough." Arms, ammunition, and clothing, were sent,
therefore, with a liberal and unsparing profusion, and military officers
of skill and experience were despatched, to assist where their services
could be useful to the insurgents. The war with Spain was declared at an
end, and the Spanish prisoners, freed from confinement, clothed, and
regaled at the expense of the English, were returned to their country in
a sort of triumph.[426]


The conduct of the Spaniards in declining the aid of British troops,
partly perhaps arose out of that overweening confidence which has been
elsewhere noted as their great national foible, and might be partly
justified by the difficulty of combining the operations of a body of
native insurgents with regular forces, consisting of foreigners,
professing a different religion, and speaking another language. These
objections, however, did not apply with the same force to Portugal,
where the subjected state of the country did not permit their national
pride, though not inferior to that of the Spaniards, to assume so high a
tone; and where, from long alliance, the English, in despite of their
being foreigners and heretics, were ever regarded with favour. It was,
therefore, resolved to send an expedition, consisting of a considerable
body of troops, to assist in the emancipation of Portugal, an operation
for which the progress of the Spanish insurrection rendered the time

[Sidenote: PORTUGAL.]

We left Portugal under the provisional command of General Junot,
described by Napoleon himself as one whose vanity was only equalled by
his rapacity, and who conducted himself like a tyrant over the
unresisting natives, from whom he levied the most intolerable exactions.

There is no access to know in what manner Napoleon intended to dispose
of this ancient kingdom. The partition treaty executed at Fontainbleau,
which had been made the pretext of occupying Portugal, had never been in
reality designed to regulate its destinies, and was neglected on all
sides, as much as if it never had existed. Buonaparte subsequently seems
to have entertained some ideas of new-modelling the kingdom, which
caused him to summon together at Bayonne a Diet, or Assembly of
Portuguese Notables, in order to give an ostensible authority to the
change which he was about to introduce.

They met him there, according to the summons; and, although their
proceedings had no material consequences, yet, as narrated by the Abbé
de Pradt, who was present on the occasion, they form too curious an
illustration of Buonaparte's mind and manner to be omitted in this
place. Having heard with indifference an address pronounced by the Count
de Lima, an ancient Portuguese noble, who was President of the
deputation, Napoleon opened the business in this light and desultory
way:--"I hardly know what to make of you, gentlemen--it must depend on
the events in Spain. And then, are you of consequence sufficient to
constitute a separate people?--have you enough of size to do so? Your
Prince has let himself be carried off to the Brazils by the English--he
has committed a great piece of folly, and he will not be long in
repenting of it. A prince," he added, turning gaily to the Abbé de
Pradt, "is like a bishop--he ought to reside within his charge."--Then
again speaking to the Count de Lima, he asked what was the population of
Portugal, answering, at the game time, his own question, "Two millions,
is it?"--"More than three, Sire," replied the Count.--"Ah--I did not
know that--And Lisbon--are there one hundred and fifty thousand
inhabitants?"--"More than double that number, Sire."--"Ah--I was not
aware of that."

Proceeding through several questions regarding matters in which his
information did not seem more accurate, he at length approached the
prime subject of the conference. "What do you wish to be, you
Portuguese?" he said. "Do you desire to become Spaniards?" This
question, even from Napoleon, roused the whole pride of the Portuguese;
for it is well known with what ill-will and jealousy they regard the
sister-country of the Peninsula, against whom they have so long
preserved their independence. The Count de Lima drew up his person to
its full height, laid his hand on his sword, and answered the insulting
demand by a loud No, which resounded through the whole apartment.
Buonaparte was not offended, but rather amused by this trait of national
character. He broke up the meeting without entering farther on the
business for which it was summoned together, and afterwards told those
about his person, that the Count of Lima had treated him with a superb
No. He even showed some personal favour to that high-spirited nobleman,
but proceeded no farther in his correspondence with the Portuguese
deputies. The whole scene is curious, as serving to show how familiar
the transference of allegiance, and alienation of sovereignty, was
become to his mind, since in the case of a kingdom like Portugal, of
some importance were even its ancient renown alone regarded, he could
advance to the consideration of its future state with such imperfect
knowledge of its circumstances, and so much levity both of manner and of
purpose. Kingdoms had become the cards, which he shuffled and dealt at
his pleasure, with all the indifference of a practised gamester. The
occasion he had for the services of the Portuguese assembly of Notables
passed away, and the deputies of whom it had consisted were sent to
Bourdeaux, where they resided in neglect and poverty until the general
peace permitted them to return to Portugal.

Some hints in Buonaparte's letter to Murat, formerly quoted, might
induce one to believe that the crown of the house of Braganza was meant
to be transferred to his brows;[427] but he obtained that of Naples, and
the fate of Portugal continued undetermined, when the consequences of
the Spanish Revolution seemed about to put it beyond the influence of

A movement so general as the Revolution effected in Spain through all
her provinces, could not fail to have a sympathetic effect on the sister
kingdom of Portugal, on whom the French yoke pressed so much more
severely; not merely wounding the pride, and destroying the independence
of the country, but leading to the plunder of its resources, and the
maltreatment of the inhabitants. The spirit which animated the Spaniards
soon showed itself among the Portuguese. Oporto, the second city in the
kingdom, after a first attempt at insurrection, which the French, by aid
of the timid local authorities, found themselves able to suppress, made
a second effort with better success, expelled the French from the city
and the adjacent country, and placed themselves under the command of a
provisional junta, at the head of whom was the Bishop of Oporto. The
kindling fire flew right and left in every direction; and at length,
wherever the French did not possess a strong and predominating armed
force, the country was in insurrection against them. This did not pass
without much bloodshed. The French, under command of Loison, marched
from the frontier fortress of Almeida, to suppress the insurrection at
Oporto; but General Silviera, a Portuguese nobleman, who had put himself
at the head of the armed population, managed so to harass the enemy's
march, that he was compelled to abandon his intention, and return to
Almeida, though his force amounted to four thousand men. At Beja,
Leiria, Evora,[428] and other places, the discipline of the French
overcame the opposition of the citizens and peasantry; and, in order to
strike terror, the bloody hand of military execution was extended
against the unfortunate towns and districts. But the inhumanity of the
victors only served to increase the numbers and ferocity of their
enemies. Men who had seen their houses burned, their vineyards torn up,
their females violated, had no further use of life save for revenge; and
when either numbers, position, or other advantages, gave the Portuguese
an opportunity, it was exercised with premeditated and relentless


Had Junot been able to employ his full force against the insurgents, it
is likely that in so narrow a country this miserable war might have been
ended by the despotic efforts of irresistible military force. But the
French general had apprehensions from another quarter, which obliged him
to concentrate a considerable part of his army, that might otherwise
have been disposable for the total subjugation of Portugal. Britain,
long excluded from the continent, had assumed, with regard to it, the
attitude of the Grecian hero, who, with his lance pointed towards his
enemy, surveys his armour of proof from head to foot, in hopes of
discovering some rent or flaw, through which to deal a wound. Junot
justly argued, that the condition of the peninsula, more especially of
Portugal, was such as to invite a descent on the part of the English. In
fact, an expedition of ten thousand men had already sailed from Cork,
and, what was of more importance than if the force had been trebled, it
was placed under the command of SIR ARTHUR WELLESLEY, a younger son of
the Earl of Mornington, one of those gifted individuals upon whom the
fate of the world seems to turn like a gate upon its hinges, or as a
vessel is managed by its rudder.

In India, Sir Arthur Wellesley had seen and conducted war upon a large
and extended scale, of which no general officer in the European army of
England had much comprehension, at least much experience. He was well
acquainted with the best mode of supplying armies while in the field.
His thoughts had been familiarly exercised in the task of combining
grand general movements over extended regions, and his natural genius,
deducing the principles of war from the service which he had seen in the
East, qualified him to apply them to other countries, and to an enemy
of a different description. Formidable in his preparations for battle,
and successful in the action itself, he was even more distinguished by
the alertness and sagacity which never rested satisfied with a useless
victory, but improved to the uttermost the advantages which he had
attained, by his own masterly dispositions, and the valour of his
troops. His mind was never entirely engrossed by the passing event, how
absorbing soever its importance; the past and the future were alike
before him; and the deductions derived from a consideration of the
whole, were combined, in all their bearings, with a truth and
simplicity, which seemed the work of intuition, rather than the exercise
of judgment. In fact, the mind of this singular and distinguished man
seemed inaccessible to those false and delusive views which mislead
ordinary thinkers; his strength of judgment rejected them, as some soils
will not produce noxious weeds; and it might be said of him, that on
subjects to which he gave his attention, the opinions which he formed,
approached, perhaps, as near the perfection of human reason as the
fallibility of our nature will permit.

To this prescience of intellect, in itself so rare a quality, was added
a decision, which, when his resolution was once formed, enabled Sir
Arthur Wellesley to look to the event with a firmness, inaccessible to
all the doubts and vacillations to which minds of the highest resolution
have been found accessible in arduous circumstances, but which are sure
to impair the energy, and exhaust the spirits of others. A frame fitted
to endure every species of fatigue and privation, and capable of
supplying the want of regular repose by hasty and brief slumbers,
snatched as occasion permitted, together with a power of vision
uncommonly acute, may be mentioned as tending to complete the qualities
of Sir Arthur Wellesley for the extraordinary part to which Providence
had destined him. It may be added, that in precision of thought,
sagacity of judgment, promptness of decision, and firmness of
resolution, there was a considerable resemblance betwixt Napoleon and
the English General, destined to be his great rival; and that the
characters of both serve to show that the greatest actions are
performed, and the greatest objects attained, not by men who are gifted
with any rare and singular peculiarities of talent, but by those in whom
the properties of judgment, firmness, power of calculation, and rapidity
in execution, which ordinary men possess in an ordinary degree, are
carried to the highest and most uncommon degree of perfection.

Sir Arthur Wellesley's qualities were well known in India, where, in the
brilliant campaign of Assaye, he defeated the whole force of the
Mahrattas, and ended triumphantly a long and doubtful war. The following
expressions, on his leaving India, occur in the familiar letter of an
excellent judge of human character, and who, it is to be hoped, lives to
take a natural and just pride in the event of his own prophecy:--"You
seem," he wrote to his European correspondent, "to be at a loss for
generals in England. There is one now returning from India, who, if you
can overcome the objections of precedence and length of service, and
place him at once at the head of the British army, is capable of saving
England at least, if not Europe, from the dangers which seem thickening
around you."--Most fortunately for England, and for Europe, the
objections which might have obstructed the rise of another officer in
like circumstances, did not operate against Sir Arthur Wellesley in the
same degree. His brother, the Marquis Wellesley, distinguished by the
talents which had governed and extended our empire in India, had already
much interest in our domestic councils, in which, some months
afterwards, he held an eminent place.

He was selected at this important crisis to go as ambassador
plenipotentiary to Spain, as one on whose wisdom and experience the
utmost reliance could be reposed. The Marquis was of course well
acquainted with Sir Arthur's talents; and, conscious that in urging his
brother's pretensions to high employment in his profession, he was
preparing for the arms of Great Britain every chance of the most
distinguished success, he requested his assistance as the hand to
execute the counsels, which were, in a great measure, to emanate from
himself as the head.

The army and the public had become acquainted with Sir Arthur's merits
during the brief campaign of Copenhagen--his name already inspired hope
and confidence into the country--and when the brother of the Marquis
Wellesley received the command of the expedition destined for the
peninsula, none hinted that the selection had been made from undue
partiality; and subsequent events soon taught the nation, not only that
the confidence, so far as reposed in Sir Arthur Wellesley, was perfectly
just, but that it ought, in wisdom, to have been much more absolute.

Under these auspices the expedition set sail for the peninsula, and,
touching at Corunna, received such news as determined Sir Arthur
Wellesley to select Portugal as the scene of his operations, being the
point upon which success seemed most likely to influence the general
cause. He opened a communication with Oporto, and soon learned the
important news of the defeat of Dupont, and the flight of the intrusive
King from Madrid. These tidings were of particular importance, because
the consequences were likely to find full occupation in Spain for the
victorious army of Bessières, which, if left disengaged, might have
entered Portugal, and co-operated with Junot. At the same time, a body
of British troops, which had been destined to support Castanos, was left
disposable by the surrender of Baylen, and, having embarked for
Portugal, now joined Sir Arthur Wellesley. Lastly, came the important
intelligence, that Sir Arthur's army was to be reinforced immediately
with fifteen thousand men, and that Sir Hew Dalrymple was to command in
chief. This officer was governor of Gibraltar, and, during the Spanish
insurrection, had acted both with wisdom and energy in assisting,
advising, and encouraging the patriots; but it is doing him no injury to
say, that he does not appear to have had the uncommon combination of
talents, both military and political, which, in the present crisis, the
situation of commander-in-chief in Portugal peremptorily demanded.


Assured of these succours, Sir Arthur Wellesley disembarked his army in
Mondego bay, and advanced towards Leiria by the sea-coast for the sake
of communicating with the fleet, from which they received their
provisions. The French generals Laborde and Thomieres were detached from
Lisbon to check the progress of the invaders, and Loison, moving from
the Alantejo, was in readiness to form a junction with his countrymen.
In the meantime, a tumultuary Portuguese army of insurgents commanded by
General Freire, an unreasonable and capricious man, (who afterwards lost
his life under strong suspicions of treachery to the patriot cause,)
first incommoded the British general by extravagant pretensions, and
finally altogether declined to co-operate with him. A general of an
ordinary character might not unreasonably have been so far disgusted
with the conduct of those whom he had come to assist, as to feel
diminished zeal in a cause which seemed to be indifferent to its natural
defenders. But Sir Arthur Wellesley, distinguished as much by his
knowledge of mankind as his military talents, knew how to make allowance
for the caprice of an individual called suddenly to a command, for which
perhaps his former life had not fitted him, and for the ebb and flow of
national spirit in the ranks of an insurgent population. He knew that
victory over the French was necessary to obtain the confidence of the
Portuguese; and, with an alertness and activity which had prevented the
junction of Loison with Laborde, he pushed on to attack (17th August)
the latter French general, where he waited the approach of his colleague
in a strong position near the town of Roriça. Attacking at once in front
and upon the flank, he drove them from their ground, and his victory
formed the first permanent and available success obtained by the British
army in the eventful Peninsular struggle. Laborde retreated upon Torres
Vedras, on which Loison had also directed his course.[430]

The Portuguese insurrection became wide and general on flank and rear,
and Junot saw little chance of extinguishing the conflagration, unless
he should be able to defeat the English general in a pitched battle. For
this purpose he withdrew all the French garrisons except from Lisbon
itself, Elvas, Almeida, and Peniche; and, collecting his whole forces,
at Vimeiro, near Torres Vedras, determined there to abide the shock of

In the meanwhile, Sir Arthur Wellesley had been joined by a part of the
promised succours; who, disembarking with difficulty on the dangerous
coast, formed a junction with the main body as they marched towards the
enemy. It was not an equally fortunate circumstance, that Sir Harry
Burrard Neale, an officer of superior rank, also appeared on the coast,
and communicated with Sir Arthur Wellesley. The latter explained his
plan of engaging the French army, and throwing it back on Lisbon, where
an insurrection would instantly have taken place in their rear, and thus
Portugal might have been delivered by a single blow. But Sir Harry
Burrard, though a brave officer, does not appear to have had that
confidence in the British soldiery, which they so well deserve at the
hands of their leaders. He recommended a defensive system until the
arrival of the rest of the succours from England; neither seeing how
much, in war, depends upon a sudden and powerful effort, nor considering
that the French of all men can best employ to their own advantage,
whatever leisure may be allowed them by the timidity or indecision of
their enemy.


At this time, however, the difficulties of Junot's situation had
determined him on the hazard of a general action; and the armies being
already very near each other, the only change occasioned in the course
of events by the interposition of the lately arrived British general,
was, that Sir Arthur Wellesley, instead of being the assailant, as he
had proposed, was, on the memorable 21st August, himself attacked by
Junot near the town of Vimeiro. The British amounted to about 16,000
men, but of these not above one half were engaged; the French consisted
of about 14,000, all of whom were brought into action.[431] The French
attacked in two divisions; that on the left, commanded by Laborde, about
five thousand men, and that on the right, under Loison, considerably
stronger. The centre, or reserve, was commanded by Kellerman, occupied
the space between the attacking divisions, and served to connect them
with each other. The battle was interesting to military men, as forming
a remarkable example of that peculiar mode of tactics by which the
French troops had so often broken through and disconcerted the finest
troops of the continent, and also of the manner in which their impetuous
valour might be foiled and rendered unavailing, by a steady, active, and
resolute enemy.

The favourite mode of attack by the French was, we have often noticed,
by formation into massive columns, the centre and rear of which give the
head no opportunity to pause, but thrust the leading files headlong
forward on the thin line of enemies opposed to them, which are
necessarily broken through, as unequal to sustain the weight of the
charging body. In this manner, and in full confidence of success,
General Laborde in person, heading a column of better than two thousand
men, rushed on the British advanced guard, consisting of the 50th
regiment, with some field-pieces, and a single company of
sharp-shooters. The regiment, about four hundred men in number, drawn up
in line on the brow of a hill, presented an obstacle so little
formidable to the heavy column which came against them, that it seemed
the very noise of their approach should have driven them from the
ground. But Colonel Walker suddenly altering the formation of his
regiment, so as to place its line obliquely on the flank of the
advancing column, instead of remaining parallel to it, opened a
terrible, well-sustained, and irresistible fire, where every ball
passing through the dense array of the enemy, made more than one victim,
and where the close discharge of grape-shot was still more fatal. This
heavy and destructive fire was immediately seconded by a charge with the
bayonet, by which the column, unable to form or to deploy, received on
their defenceless flank, and among their shattered ranks, the attack of
the handful of men whom they had expected at once to sweep from their
course. The effect was instantaneous and irresistible; and the French,
who had hitherto behaved with the utmost steadiness, broke their ranks
and ran, leaving near three-fourths of their number in killed, wounded,
and prisoners.[432] The same sort of close combat was general over the
field. The brigade of General Fergusson, on the right, was attacked by
General Loison with an impetuosity and vigour not inferior to that of
Laborde. A mutual charge of bayonets took place; and here, as at Maida,
the French advanced, indeed, bravely to the shock, but lost heart at the
moment of the fatal encounter. To what else can we ascribe the
undeniable fact, that their whole front rank, amounting to three hundred
grenadiers, lay stretched on the ground almost in a single instant?[433]

The French were now in full retreat on all sides. They had abandoned
their artillery--they were flying in confusion--the battle was won--the
victor had only to stretch forth his hand to grasp the full fruits of
conquest. Sir Arthur Wellesley had determined to move one part of his
army on Torres Vedras, so as to get between the French and the nearest
road to Lisbon, while with another division he followed the chase of the
beaten army, to whom thus no retreat on Lisbon would remain, but by a
circuitous route through a country in a state of insurrection.
Unhappily, Sir Arthur Wellesley's period of command was for the present
ended. Sir Harry Burrard had landed during the action, and had with due
liberality declined taking any command until the battle seemed to be
over; when it unhappily occurred to him, in opposition to the
remonstrances of Sir Arthur Wellesley, General Fergusson, and other
general officers, to interpose his authority for the purpose of
prohibiting farther pursuit.[434] He accounted such a measure incautious
where the enemy was superior in cavalry, and perhaps entertained too
sensitive a feeling of the superiority of French tactics. Thus Vimeiro,
in its direct consequences, seemed to be only another example of a
victory gained by the English without any corresponding results; one of
those numerous instances, in which the soldiers gain the battle from
confidence in their own hearts and arms, and the general fails to
improve it, perhaps from an equally just diffidence of his own skill and

Meanwhile, Sir Hew Dalrymple, arriving from Gibraltar in a frigate,
superseded Sir Harry Burrard, as Sir Harry had superseded Sir Arthur;
and thus, within twenty-four hours, the English army had successively
three commanders-in-chief.[435] The time of prosecuting the victory was
passed away before Sir Hew Dalrymple came ashore--for the French had
been able to gain the position of Torres Vedras, from which it had been
Sir Arthur Wellesley's chief object to exclude them. That general then
knew well, as he afterwards showed to the world, what advantage might be
taken of that position for the defence of Lisbon.

But Junot had suffered too severely in the battle of Vimeiro, and had
too many difficulties to contend with, to admit of his meditating an
obstinate defence. The victorious British army was in his front--the
insurgents, encouraged by the event of the battle, were on his
flanks--the English fleet might operate in his rear--and the populous
town of Lisbon itself was not to be kept down without a great military
force. Then if the successes in Andalusia were to be followed by similar
events, the Spanish armies might invade Portugal, and co-operate with
the English. Moved by these circumstances, the French general was
induced to propose that evacuation of Portugal, its cities, and
fortresses, which was afterwards concluded by the treaty of Cintra.[436]
The French, by the articles of that convention, were to be transported
to their own country, with their arms, artillery, and property--under
which last article they carried off much of the plunder of which they
had stripped the Portuguese. A Russian fleet in the Tagus; commanded by
Admiral Siniavin, was delivered up to the English, in deposit, as it was
termed; so unwilling were we to use towards Russia the language or
practice of war, although the countries were in a state of avowed
hostilities. In a military point of view, all the British generals
concurred in approving of the convention. Sir Arthur Wellesley, who saw
better, it may be supposed, than the others, how long the war might be
protracted, after the favourable moment of victory had been permitted to
pass without being improved, considered the liberation of Portugal, with
its sea-coast, its ports, and its fortresses, besides the eastern line
of frontier, which offered an easy communication with Spain, as an
advantage of the highest importance, and cheaply purchased by the
articles granted to Junot.


But the light in which the people of England saw the Convention of
Cintra,[437] was extremely different. It is their nature to nurse
extravagant hopes, and they are proportionally incensed when such are
disappointed. The public were never more generally united in the
reprobation of any measure; and although much of their resentment was
founded in ignorance and prejudice, yet there were circumstances in the
transaction which justified in some measure the general indignation. The
succession of the three generals was compared to the playing of
trump-cards at a game of whist; and, whether it was designed or
fortuitous, had an air of indecision that was almost ludicrous. Then it
was obvious, that the younger and inferior officer of the three had been
prevented from following up the victory he had gained, and that this
interference had rendered necessary the convention which England seemed
determined to consider as injurious to Portugal, and dishonourable to
herself. A Court of Inquiry[438] put the proceedings in a more just
point of view for the two superior officers, whose error appeared in no
degree to have exceeded a mistake in judgment, the fruit of too much
caution. But the fierce and loudly expressed resentment on the part of
the public[439] produced very important consequences; and though there
occurred exceptions, it became comparatively difficult or dangerous,
from that period, to propose any one as commander of an expedition whose
talents had not pretensions to merit the confidence of the people.


[423] Southey's History of the Peninsular War, vol. i., p. 444.

[424] Mr. Whitbread. See Parliamentary Debates, vol. xi., pp. 886, 891.
As a farther avowal of these sentiments, Mr. Whitbread addressed a
letter, on the situation of Spain, to Lord Holland; "the subject," he
said, "being peculiarly interesting to that distinguished nobleman, from
the attachment he had formed to a people, the grandeur of whose
character he had had the opportunity to estimate."

[425] At that time Secretary of State for foreign affairs.

[426] Southey, vol. i., p. 451.

[427] "I will look after your private interests; give yourself no
concern about them. Portugal will remain at my disposal. Let no personal
project occupy you, or influence your conduct; that would be injurious
to my interests, and would injure you still more than me."

[428] Loison's conduct at Evora was marked by deliberate and sportive
cruelty, of the most flagitious kind. The convents and churches afforded
no asylum. He promised the archbishop that his property should not be
touched, but, after this promise, he, with some of his officers, entered
the Episcopal library, took down the books in the hope of discovering
valuables behind them, broke off the gold and silver clasps, and, in
their wrath at finding so little plunder, tore in pieces a whole pile of
manuscripts. They took every gold and silver coin from his cabinet of
medals, and every jewel and bit of the precious metals with which the
relics were adorned. Loison was even seen in noon-day, to take the
archbishop's ring from the table and pocket it. These circumstances are
stated by Mr. Southey, on the authority of the archbishop himself.

[429] "In such detestation was Loison held by the Portuguese, that he
was scarcely safe from their vengeance when surrounded by his troops.
The execrations poured forth at the mere mention of 'the bloody Maneta,'
as, from the loss of his hand, he was called, proves that he must have
committed many heinous acts."--NAPIER, vol. i., p. 167.

[430] S