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Title: The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte
       Vol. II. (of IV.)

Author: William Milligan Sloane

Release Date: December 1, 2010 [EBook #31026]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Thierry Alberto, Henry Craig, Christine P.
Travers and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at

Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been maintained.

From the collection of W. C. Crane. Engraved by Langlois

Drawn by Raffet.




Ph.D., L.H.D., LL.D.
Professor of History in Columbia University

Revised and Enlarged


Editor's arm.

New York

Copyright, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1910
Published October, 1910





Rescue of the Directory[1]

Deadlock between the French Executive and the Chambers — Bonaparte's Attitude — The Celebration of July Fourteenth at Milan — Plot of the French Royalists — Attitude of Moreau and Hoche — Bonaparte to the Rescue — The Eighteenth of Fructidor — Effects in Paris — Bonaparte a European Personage — His Statesmanship in Italy — The Ligurian Republic — Sardinia, Switzerland, and Great Britain — Readiness of Italy for War — Strength of Bonaparte's Armies.


The fine charter with which France had presumably closed the revolutionary epoch, in order to live for the first time under a constitutional government, (p. 002) was about to display its fatal weakness in the production of a deadlock. This possibility had been clearly foreseen by acute observers, since there was no provision for the control of one arm of the government by the other, and in any working system supreme control must reside somewhere. For fear of usurpation, anarchy, and tyranny the constitution of the Directorate divided the powers so completely that they could not work at all. The spring elections of 1797 were the first held under this new constitution without any restrictions, and the Jacobin majority in the legislature disappeared. Barthélemy, the new director chosen to replace Letourneur, was a moderate democrat with royalistic leanings, who, like his predecessor, joined his fortunes with those of Carnot. The Five Hundred, therefore, as well as the Ancients, now represented the great majority of the French people, who hated Jacobinism, who were opposed to any republican propaganda in foreign countries, and who, more than anything else, wanted peace, in order to restore their fortunes and to secure leisure for their amusements. An attack on the executive policy which had been dictated by the three radical members of the Directory, sometimes designated the triumvirate, at once began. Nothing escaped: assaults were made on their attitude toward the emigrants and the clergy, on their loss of the colonies, on their financial failures, and, above all, on their conduct of foreign affairs, which appeared to have as its aim the continuance of the war, and the overthrow of monarchy throughout Europe. The leaders of the majority in the two councils frequented (p. 003) a club in the Clichy quarter of Paris, which was the center of royalist intrigue. Though no match in ability for their opponents, these men were quite clever enough to taunt the directors with their impotence to stop royalist agitations. Internal affairs were desperate. Suicides from starvation were sadly frequent among the officers of the navy, while their colleagues in the Army of Italy were not only growing rich on plunder, but defiant as well. The French commander in Italy had first made peace on his own terms, and had then declared war without consulting the chambers, thus not only annihilating friendly commonwealths, but evincing a contempt for the constitution, for the duly elected representatives of the people, and for the popular demand that there should be, not a particular, but a general pacification. On June twenty-third, 1797, in a memorable interpellation of the government by Dumorlard, all these matters were thoroughly ventilated in the Five Hundred. Even Pontécoulant, Bonaparte's former protector, joined in the demand for an explanation. Paris and the country in general were left in a ferment.

The disorders, murmurs, and menaces so rife in Paris had long given food for thought to the proconsul at Montebello. He was meditating upon constitutions and their values, while outwardly devoting himself to fascinating his little court and its visitors. He rode, he danced, he told weird tales at dusk, he played cards and cheated with merry effrontery; in the intervals he slept long and deep, as at irregular hours he worked titanically and efficiently. Was it to maintain the chaos in Paris that he was conquering, administering, negotiating? This he flatly asked of Miot de Melito and Melzi, as they narrate. The directors were meditating a state stroke, and they well knew that Bonaparte was less their man than they were his creatures. So they chose (p. 004) a new ministry which included Talleyrand as minister of state and Hoche as minister of war. The rôle to be played by the latter was so evident that the plan was thwarted on a technicality, as will be seen; and with Talleyrand, Bonaparte was soon to be, if he were not already, in personal correspondence about forms of government. Interested experts will note the various suggestions from the medieval constitutions of Italian republics, which in some measure affected the conceptions of these political theorists.

It was with reference to such conditions that the celebration, in Milan, of July fourteenth was arranged. Each detail was nicely calculated to strengthen the self-esteem of every soldier, to intensify his military pride, and to prejudice him against the conservatives who wanted peace only that they might restore the monarchy. The soldiers of Bonaparte were in their own estimation the soldiers of the same republic which survived in the triumvirate, Barras, Rewbell, and Larévellière; and it was a republican constitution which was menaced by the illegal interference of the legislature with the executive. In such a crisis it was easy to confuse in the minds of plain men the love of military glory with the enthusiasm for liberty. "Soldiers, I know that you are deeply moved by the misfortune which threatens our country"—so ran the proclamation of their idolized general. "But our country is in no real danger. The men who have enabled her to triumph over united Europe are on hand. Mountains separate us from France: you would surmount them with the swiftness of the eagle, if it were needful, in order to maintain the constitution, to defend liberty, to protect the government and the republicans. Soldiers, the government guards the law of which it is the depositary. If royalists show their heads, that moment is their last. Dismiss (p. 005) your fears, and let us swear by the spirit of the heroes who have fallen at our side in defense of liberty—let us swear by our new banners: 'Never-ending war on the enemies of the republic, and of the constitution of the year III.'"

This call had exactly the effect desired. From the divisions of the army, and from the chief garrisons, came addresses declaring the adhesion of the troops to the principles of the Revolution. As for the reproaches heaped upon Bonaparte for the overthrow of Venice, he was little concerned. To pacify the clamor, however, he invented and printed a number of half-true explanations cleverly adapted to the charges brought, but of a sardonic nature. The real bolt, the weapon destined to crush his enemies, was one forged in that very city. On its fall, a leading emigrant—the Comte d'Antraigues—had been captured. Treated with the highest distinction by his captors, he was led to write a confession of all that concerned the hitherto suspected, but unproved, treachery of Pichegru two years before. From his refuge at Blankenburg, in the Hartz Mountains, the pretender—Louis XVIII—had slowly and painfully built up the party which has been mentioned, and from its meeting-place was known as the Clichy faction; he had also bought Pichegru's adhesion to his cause, and had laid the complicated train of a plot whereby, when the fated and foreseen moment should arrive in which the exasperated Directory would employ force with the legislative councils, Pichegru, now president of the Five Hundred, was to appear in his uniform as the conqueror of Holland, and, assuming the chief command, turn the army, the chosen bulwark of the directors, against them. The Paris royalists had talked and behaved so as to betray many details regarding this ingenious scheme; but the possession of such knowledge (p. 006) by the directors did not render the situation any less menacing. To save themselves and the constitution, the radical members felt that they must secure, and that speedily, a capable and devoted general to command in Paris.

They had consulted Moreau, Hoche, and Bonaparte. Moreau showed little zeal: the army on the Rhine, which he commanded and whose fortunes he had retrieved by a signal victory, had not been paid; the men were destitute, and, like their leader, sullen on account of their enforced inaction. So unsympathetic and cold was the general's attitude toward the Directory that although, as appears certain, he had in his possession positive proof of Pichegru's desertion to the enemy, he kept silence, and allowed matters to take their course. The brilliant Hoche was willing to aid the directors. He had worked wonders in quelling rebellion throughout the Vendée, had won the favor of the soldiery, and in 1796 had made a gallant though futile expedition to stir up sedition in Ireland. Having then been transferred to the banks of the Rhine, he had gladly lent himself to execute a plan arranged by Barras for bringing troops to Paris under the pretext of a scheme for the complete transformation of the home and northern armies by a change of stations for the various divisions. To this end the general on July sixteenth had been nominated minister of war. It turned out, however, that, being not yet thirty, he was too young under the constitution, and could not be confirmed. Simultaneously the new dispositions in the army began to excite suspicion; the entire plan was discredited, and Hoche was so closely identified with it that he became an object of distrust to the masses, and therefore unavailable.

There remained only Bonaparte or one of his lieutenants. His very strength was a menace to the executive, (p. 007) and they felt the danger; but a general they must have. Accordingly, bitter as the decision was, they asked Bonaparte to send them such a commander as they needed—one of his own men. Bonaparte was ready for the emergency; he had already sent despatches to Paris promising a new remittance of six hundred thousand dollars, the strongest French army in the field had been used in a brilliant demonstration in favor of the Directory, and now most opportunely the ambitious, blustering, and fearless Augereau asked leave to depart for Paris on his private affairs. To him was entrusted an enthusiastic address to the Directory from the army, which had been prepared as part of the patriotic celebration. No better tool could have been selected. On his arrival in Paris,—"sent," as he boasted, "to kill the royalists,"—he was appointed to command the Army of the Interior; and the confession of d'Antraigues having been communicated to Barras a short time previously, through Bernadotte, the Directory felt ready for the coming crisis. Again they owed everything to Bonaparte; he was free to do as he chose in the further negotiations with Austria, and in the rearrangement of Italy.

With such weapons in hand, the Directory was for the moment invulnerable. But the royalist majority in the councils rushed madly on their fate. Infuriated by the presence so near to Paris of the soldiers brought in from the Army of the Sambre and the Meuse, they put their own guard under a royalist commander, closed the constitutional clubs which had been formed to offset that of Clichy, and in an irregular meeting of September third a proposition of General Willot to rise next day and destroy the government was received with applause. That night Augereau put himself at the head of about twelve thousand troops. With these (p. 008) he mounted guard throughout the city, seized the legislative chambers, and thus ended the first short constitutional régime of his country. The next morning, the eighteenth of Fructidor, the radical triumvirate of the Directory had entire control of the city and of the country. Of course all this was done in the name of public safety. Carnot, who had been kept in ignorance of Barras's dealings with Hoche, and had been reasoning with Bonaparte by letter as if his correspondent were an honest patriot, was rudely awakened from his illusion that others were as honest and sincere as he, and, seeing too late the snare which had been spread, took refuge in flight. Barthélemy was seized and imprisoned.

Two new radicals, Merlin and François de Neufchâteau, were appointed to the vacancies. Barbé-Marbois, the royalist president of the Ancients, with eleven members of that body; Pichegru with forty-two deputies from the Five Hundred, and one hundred and forty-eight other persons, mostly journalists, were proscribed. All these, with the exception of a few who escaped by flight, were sent to languish in the pestilential swamps of Cayenne, where there was already a colony of transported priests. Although the guillotine was not again erected, yet the eighteenth of Fructidor brought in a revolutionary government, an administration resting on force, though under the forms of the constitution. The Fructidorians claimed to be strict constitutionalists, and posed as such before the country. But facts were more convincing than their professions. Their rallying-point was the Directory, and the Directory having twice appealed to the army, the army was now its real support. The liberty of the press was abolished, and martial law was proclaimed wherever the executive thought best. Moreover, Bonaparte had shown the way and furnished the general; he had taken (p. 009) another step toward his eventual appearance as the ruler of the army, and through it of the country. Such a forced relation led to mutual distrust, and finally to hatred.

Augereau, who had fondly hoped to enter the Directory, was made commander, in Moreau's place, of an army whose campaigns were over. The premature death of Hoche about the same time quenched the only military genius in France comparable to that of Bonaparte, and removed a political rival as well. The Army of the Alps was then combined with that of Italy, and with this simplification of the military machine he who until peace was made would be virtually its mover could well say to his enemies: "I speak in the name of eighty thousand men. The time is past when scoundrelly lawyers and mere talkers can guillotine soldiers." Napoleon, in his intimate conversations with Mme. de Rémusat, said that at this time he "became a personage in Europe. On one side, by my orders of the day, I supported the revolutionary system; on the other, I secretly dealt with the emigrants, permitting them to cherish some hope. It is easy to deceive that party, for it always sets out not from what actually is, but from what it wishes there were. I received splendid offers in case I were willing to follow the example of General Monk. The pretender himself wrote to me in his halting, florid style. I conquered the Pope more completely by keeping away from Rome than if I had burned his capital. At last I became influential and strong."

With many men the success of the eighteenth of Fructidor would have been glory enough for a single season. But the indomitable and feverish energy of Bonaparte was not exhausted even by such minute prevision as was needed for this; in fact, the political campaign (p. 010) was only a considerable part of the summer's labor. While mastering France, he was preparing to master Italy, and, after Italy, Europe. Concurrently with the management of French politics went not only the negotiations with the Emperor, but the completion of his contemplated labors in Italy. Two constitutions were needed for new-born states, the republics known thus far as the Transpadane and the Cispadane. Neither was strong enough for their creator's purpose. By the preparation of almost identical charters, based upon the French constitution of the year III, the way for their union had already been prepared. These papers were now most carefully elaborated; and not only that, but an administrator for every post, from the highest to the lowest, was, after a minute scrutiny of his character, selected and then instructed according to his abilities. Most of these new officials were men of integrity and high purpose; but nevertheless they owed their appointment to the dictator, and were in consequence his tools, conscious or unconscious. The combination of the two temporary states into the Cisalpine Republic was thus made ready to be recognized in the final treaty with Austria.

Then there was Genoa. Bonaparte had told the Directory in May that her people were clamoring for liberty. She was destined by him for the same fate which had overtaken Venice. The identical machinery was set to work for a similar result. Faypoult, the diplomatic agent of France, began his agitations very much as Lallemant had done, although in comparison with his Venetian colleague he was but a bungler. The democratic club of Genoa first demanded from the senate that aristocracy should be abolished, and when their request was denied, seized the arsenal and the harbor. The populace rose to the support of the aristocracy, (p. 011) and temporarily triumphed. La Valette, Bonaparte's adjutant, appeared in due time on the floor of the Genoese senate with a peremptory message from his commander like that which in similar dramatic circumstances Junot read to the patricians of Venice. The intervention of the French, it said, was only to protect life and property, while assuring their own communications with France. But within twenty-four hours all political prisoners must be released, the people disarmed, and the enemies of France surrendered; otherwise the senators would answer with their lives. Thus menaced, the government obeyed every command. Then Faypoult repeated his demand for the substitution of a democratic constitution in place of the old one. The senate felt how futile further opposition would be, but sent an embassy to Montebello. The members were courteously received, and were probably not greatly amazed to find Bonaparte already occupied with the details of a constitution which was to reconstruct their commonwealth under the name of the Ligurian Republic. It was soon complete in all its parts, and with its adoption Genoa the Superb was no more.

As for Sardinia, the constant agitation carried on by her radicals kept the King in fear; and propositions from Bonaparte for an alliance, which would increase his army by the full effective force of the excellent Piedmontese troops, were favorably entertained. The health of the Pope had become so feeble that his death could not long be postponed. The opportunity was seized to display further respect for his ecclesiastical power by requesting, on August third, a reconciliation between the French government and the clergy for the common advantage of State and Church. A quarrel between the Valtellina and the Grisons gave the great (p. 012) man at Montebello his first chance to intervene in Switzerland as an arbiter whose word was law, and thus to begin the reconstruction of that country. In England, moreover, Leoben had made a profound impression, and Pitt became more anxious than ever for peace. In July Malmesbury reopened his negotiations, this time at Lille. The proffered terms were far more favorable than before. Belgium might be incorporated in France, and Holland made a dependency, if the French would renounce their claim to the most important among the Dutch colonies which England had conquered, including the Cape of Good Hope. There was no good will on the part of the French commissioners from the beginning, and the new ones who were appointed after the eighteenth of Fructidor proved to be utterly impracticable. The negotiations were marked by caviling over unimportant trifles and a suspicious indifference on both sides to really important concessions. Both parties, as later appeared, were fully aware of the impending revolution at Paris: the British plenipotentiary was confident in the restoration of royalty, the French commission was equally sure that the radical triumvirate would regain their mastery. Naturally it was a dispirited embassy which soon returned to England, when not merely the facts but the meaning and ultimate consequences of that revolution were known. Similar conditions attended the negotiation of Caillard at Berlin with Panine for a peace with Russia; only there, a treaty was signed. In it the French republic renounced its right or privilege of propagandism, and therefore the Directory after Fructidor rejected it. Throwing the responsibility for the coming war on England and Russia, the triumvirate without a moment's loss renewed its agitations in both Holland and Prussia to "fructidorize" both and secure them as allies. This (p. 013) insanity was merely the pendant of that with which they spurred Bonaparte to activity in forcing Austria's prompt surrender, withdrawing their agent from the negotiations and thus delivering themselves and France more and more completely into his hands. The process of "ripening the pear" for his enjoyment could not have been more auspiciously inaugurated.

The season was for Bonaparte, as may well be supposed, just as busy on the military as it had been on the political side. Day and night the soldiers in the conquered Venetian lands wrought with ceaseless labor until the whole territory was in perfect order as a base of military operations. Not a single strategic point there or elsewhere was overlooked. Even the little island of St. Peter in the Mediterranean was taken from Piedmont, and garrisoned with two hundred men. It was generally understood that war might break out at any moment. Every contribution under treaty obligations was exacted to the utmost farthing. As a single illustration of the French dealing, jewels and gems estimated by the Pope as worth ten millions of francs were accepted by the French experts at a valuation of five. Within the previous twelve months Bonaparte had sent to Paris one million four hundred thousand dollars, of which he destined four hundred thousand for the outfit of a fleet. It was but a moiety of what he had raised. During this summer, on the contrary, he kept everything: even the six hundred thousand dollars promised to Barras were not paid. It is therefore likely that he had in hand upward of six million dollars in cash, and commissary stores to the extent of possibly a million more.

The size of his army is difficult to estimate. By the records of the War Office he had in April one hundred and forty-one thousand two hundred and twenty-three (p. 014) effectives, of whom one hundred and twenty-one thousand four hundred and twenty were fit for service. On September third he wrote to Carnot that he had seventy-five thousand effective men, of whom fifteen thousand were in garrison; but a fortnight later he admitted a total of eighty-three thousand eight hundred, of whom he declared, however, that only forty-nine thousand were effective. He likewise admitted that he had one thousand Italians and two thousand Poles. No one can believe that these figures are of the slightest value. Conservative estimates put his fighting force at seventy thousand French soldiers ready for the field, and fifteen thousand Piedmontese, Cisalpines, and Poles in like condition. The French were by this time such veterans as Europe had seldom seen: the others were of medium quality only; excepting, of course, the Piedmontese, who were fine. Bonaparte's correspondence for the period was intended to convey the idea that he was preparing to enforce the terms of Leoben by another appeal to arms, if necessary. In fact, Austria was well-nigh as active as he was, and he had need to be ready. But subsequent events proved that all these preparations were really for another end. An advantageous peace was to be made with Austria, if possible, and Italy was to be properly garrisoned. But, on the old principle, one member of the coalition having been quieted, the other was to be humbled. The goal of his further ambition appears for a time to have been nothing less than the destruction somewhere and somehow of British power, and ultimately the conquest of Great Britain herself.

(p. 015) CHAPTER II

The Treaty of Campo Formio[2]

Bonaparte and the Mediterranean — France and the Orient — Bonaparte's Grand Diplomacy — Importance of Malta — Course of Negotiations with Austria — Novel Tactics of the French Plenipotentiary — The Treaty of Campo Formio — Results of Fructidor — Bonaparte's Interests Conflict with those of the Directory — Europe and the Peace.

Bonaparte was a child of the Mediterranean. The light of its sparkling waters was ever in his eyes, and the fascination of its ancient civilizations was never absent from his dreams of glory. His proclamations ring with classic allusions, his festivals were arranged with classic pomp. In infancy he had known of Genoa, the tyrant of his island, as strong in the splendid commercial enterprises which stretched eastward through the Levant, and beyond into the farther Orient; in childhood he had fed his imagination on the histories of Alexander the Great, and his conquest of Oriental empires; in youth he had thought to find an open door for his ambition, when all others seemed closed, by taking service with England to share the renown of those who were building up her Eastern empire. Disappointed in this, he appears to have turned with the same lack of success to Russia, already England's rival on the continent of Asia. It is perfectly comprehensible that throughout his early manhood his mind should have occasionally reverted to the same ideals. The conqueror of Italy and Austria might hope to realize (p. 016) them. Was he not master of the two great maritime commonwealths which had once shared the mass of Eastern trade between them? England's intrusion upon the Mediterranean basin was a never-ceasing irritation to all the Latin powers. Her commercial prosperity and her mastery of the seas increased the exasperation of France, as threatening even her equality in their ancient rivalry. From the days of the first crusade all Frenchmen had felt that leadership in the reconstruction of Asia belonged to them by virtue of preoccupation. Ardent republicans, moreover, still regarded France's mission as incomplete even in the liberalizing of the Continent; and the Department of Marine under the Directory stamped its paper with the motto, "Liberty of the Seas." Imaginative forces, the revolutionary system, and the national ambition all combined to create ubiquitous enthusiasm for the conquest of the Mediterranean. To this the temperament and training of Bonaparte were as the spark to the tinder. It was with willing ears that the Directory heard his first suggestions about the Venetian isles, and subsequently his plans for the capture of Malta, which was to be followed by a death-blow to England's supremacy in the Levant by the seizure of Egypt and the dismemberment of Turkey.

As early as May fourteenth, 1797, a letter from the conqueror of Italy informed the Directory what naval stores they might hope to secure in the dismemberment of Venice; in the previous year similar estimates had been made with regard to Genoa, Tuscany, and Naples. It was with a Franco-Venetian fleet that Gentili established French administration in the Ionian Isles, whose people, weary of Venetian tyranny, welcomed him as a liberator. The more intelligent among them desired home rule under French protection; the gratitude of the (p. 017) ignorant was shown in the erection of rude shrines where lamps were kept alight before pictures of Bonaparte. About the same time the discontented Greeks on the mainland were given to understand that the great annihilator of tyrants would gladly hear their cries. For months an extensive secret correspondence was carried on between the French headquarters in Italy and the disaffected in Turkey, wherever found. No fewer than three rebellious pashas were ready to seek French assistance; and one of them, he of Janina, had actually twelve thousand men in the field. The archives of the French foreign office abound in careful studies by its diplomatic agents of the revolutionary forces and elements in the Ottoman empire. Ways and means to dissolve the ancient friendship between France and the Porte were discussed; a political program, based on the maltreatment of French merchants in the Levant and the scandals of Mameluke administration in Egypt, was elaborated; and on September thirteenth, 1797, the first formal proposition for the seizure of that country was made by Bonaparte to Talleyrand, now minister of foreign affairs. The government at Paris redoubled its energies, and recruited its powers, for the object in view.

In fact, after Fructidor there is a ring in the words of Bonaparte's letters, especially those to Talleyrand, which shows how risky it would have been to neglect his unexpressed but evident wishes. The sum of four hundred thousand dollars, sent from Italy in the previous year for fitting out the fleet, had been used for another purpose, much to the irritation of Bonaparte, whose language in regard to the upbuilding of a sea power had been vigorous. At last, by his contributions of material from Italy, and the efforts of the administration at home, something had been accomplished. Admiral (p. 018) Brueys was in the Adriatic with a force able, it was believed, to meet even the English. By clever diplomacy the Spaniards and Neapolitans had been set to neutralize each other. With time the latter had grown bold, and were making extortionate demands. The Directory offered to send five thousand French soldiers to reinforce the Spanish army which was contending with Portugal, if an equal number of the Spanish troops in Italy would mingle with the French soldiers to conquer the Papal States. The latter would then be given to the Duke of Parma, in return for his old duchy, which was to form part of the new republic.

In this far-reaching design of Bonaparte's—a plan which comprehended the whole basin of the Mediterranean, and which, by throwing French troops into Spain, opened the way for further interference in that peninsula—lies the germ of all his future dealing with the Castilian monarchy. The focal point of the whole system, he had explained as early as May, was the island of Malta, the citadel of the Mediterranean. The grand master of the Knights was at the point of death; the King of Naples claimed the island as an ancient appanage, but a German was the most prominent of his order among the candidates for the succession. Bonaparte's proposal was that the Maltese should first be bribed to revolt, and that then the French or Spanish fleet should seize Valetta, compel the election of a Spaniard, and thus secure a bulwark in the heart of the Mediterranean against Turkey on one side and England on the other.

Such were some of the summer's avocations; its real business was supposed to be the conclusion of a peace with the empire. But Austria was far from being exhausted, and her agents protracted the negotiations while the Vienna government was recruiting its forces, hoping all the time for a triumph of the royalist party (p. 019) in Paris. Until after the eighteenth of Fructidor this was not entirely distasteful to Bonaparte, in view of the desire of Carnot for peace on the basis of the preliminaries. Nevertheless, a spirited comedy was playing all the time, Bonaparte mystifying both Merveldt, one of the Austrian plenipotentiaries, and Clarke, who had finally been admitted to the negotiations as agent of the Directory, by outbursts of feigned impatience, while, by pretended confidences, he coquetted with Gallo, who, though the second Austrian plenipotentiary, was a Neapolitan, minister from that kingdom to Vienna, and has by some been thought to have been Bonaparte's own creature, and to have accepted his bribes. Attempted bribery and counter-bribery, at any rate, there were; for the conqueror himself received from Francis the offer of a principality in the empire with not less than two hundred and fifty thousand subjects, and an independent income. Had the German emperor known the projects of his opponent he would have reviled himself as an artless simpleton. In May it was agreed that the congress to determine the territorial transfers within the Germanic body should sit, not at Bern, but at Rastadt in Baden. But the demands of the conqueror in amplification of the articles signed at Leoben were then so extortionate that the Austrian minister for foreign affairs doubted the good faith of his representatives, and recalled from Russia Count Cobenzl, his most learned, accomplished, and skilful diplomatist, in order to secure something like equality in the negotiations. This gave a temporary pause to the proceedings, which dragged on without significance until after Fructidor, when Barras wrote from Paris: "Peace, peace, but an honorable and lasting one. No more of Carnot's worthless suggestions."

When, therefore, the negotiations were again renewed (p. 020) in the first days of September, Bonaparte earnestly longed for at least a temporary peace. He arranged that the plenipotentiaries should meet at Udine, not far from his military headquarters at Passariano, so that he might secure the greatest possible advantage from the attitude of a conqueror ready at a moment to resume hostilities. The Directory, suspecting that Clarke had become too facile an instrument in the hands of the ambitious soldier, chose this moment to recall him. For a month the conflict of wits between the formal diplomatists and the determined, unhampered French general was hot and furious. Even the veteran Cobenzl, who did not arrive until September twenty-sixth, was but a toy in Bonaparte's hands. More than once the latter had recourse to his old tactics of barbaric rudeness, and once, toward the close, he wilfully brought on a fit of anger, in which by accident he dashed from its stand a porcelain tray, the gift of Catherine II to Cobenzl. The legend ran that as he caught up his hat, he hissed out the words: "In less than a month I shall have shattered your monarchy like this!" and then flung out of the room, declaring that the truce was ended. In fact, no one seems to have paid any attention to the crash at all. Cobenzl wrote that Bonaparte behaved like a crazy man, and the French officers had difficulty in soothing their general. Whether the nervous attack were real or feigned no one can say: at subsequent crises in diplomacy there recurred others, very similar. Both sides were anxious to make the doubtful language of Leoben as elastic as possible—each, naturally enough, for its own advantage. Proposition and counter-proposition, rejoinder and surrejoinder, followed one another through those weeks so pregnant of consequence to both sides. Twice it appeared as if no conclusion could be reached, and as if a breach were (p. 021) imminent. Once, marching orders for the invading army were actually prepared and in part issued. But the season was inclement and to Marmont his general confided a sense of uneasiness regarding Augereau's appointment on the Rhine. Both parties realized that neither could secure all they claimed without delay, or a possible renewal of warfare. They determined, therefore, to brave their respective governments, and entirely to disregard both Prussian and German feeling as to the Rhine boundary. Finally a compromise was made, and on the seventeenth of October at midnight, after a long social reunion of the plenipotentiaries; in the dark, Bonaparte telling ghost stories, and making the scene generally dramatic and even theatrical, the treaty was engrossed and signed, being dated from Campo Formio, a hamlet neutralized for the purpose. The negotiators parted with the exchange of friendly greetings.

The terms were far more favorable to France than in all probability Bonaparte had hoped to obtain. The Austrian Netherlands with the Rhine frontier from Basel to Andernach were surrendered by the Emperor, and in token of good faith the commanding fortress of Mainz was immediately to be delivered into French hands. In return Bonaparte ceded the Italian lands eastward from the Adige, by the head of the Adriatic, to the frontiers of Dalmatia, including, of course, the city of Venice. France kept the Ionian Islands and the Venetian factories opposite on the mainland. All the Venetian territory to the west of the Adige, together with Mantua, Modena, Lombardy, Massa-e-Carrara, Bologna, Ferrara, and the Romagna, was incorporated into the new Cisalpine Republic; and Genoa, receiving from the Emperor the remnants of his feudal rights in the surrounding country, was transformed into the Ligurian Republic, with a constitution similar to that of the Cisalpine. The (p. 022) various arrangements for the redistribution of German lands necessary to compensate princes who must abandon territories on the left bank of the Rhine were to be made by the congress to be held at Rastadt. French plenipotentiaries, under Bonaparte's leadership, were to be members of the congress; while Rastadt, as a border town, and therefore more favorable to French interests than Bern, was to be further neutralized by the departure of the Emperor's troops from all German lands except his own hereditary dominions. When the news of Campo Formio reached Vienna, the peace party was delighted, and the populace broke out in a jubilee. But Thugut was not deceived. "Peace! Peace!" said he. "Where is it? I cannot recognize it in this treaty."

In Paris the negotiations had produced some uneasiness. It is now generally said that Fructidor was exclusively the work of Bonaparte: or, rather, that the thirteenth of Vendémiaire was the work of Barras, assisted by Bonaparte; that the eighteenth of Fructidor was the work of Bonaparte, assisted by Barras. This is only a half-truth based on an exaggerated estimate of the facts. While, on the whole, Bonaparte was at the moment pleased with the results of this second political stroke, there was much connected with it utterly repugnant to his wishes. The so-called Fructidorians, among them Mme. de Staël and her friends, were still favorable, in the main, to Bonaparte; but they were thorough republicans, and considered the day as the victory, not of a man, but of a cause. Later Bonaparte expressed sorrow that he had taken any share in arranging it, for the cause and its few supporters proved to be hostile. The wholesale proscription which followed the success of the Directory and its friends destroyed their personal popularity, strengthened the adherents of the monarchy, and weakened the prestige of the army, (p. 023) which was the real support of the new revolution. As far as the repression of conservative royalist and moderate republican influence in the Directory and the chambers was concerned, Bonaparte's interests were identical with those of Barras, Rewbell, and the bigoted Larévellière. He would gladly have ended public agitation in a nation the majority of whom had become royalists again. To this end, he would willingly have broken the presses of the newspapers and have closed the Clichy club: he was anxious for any extreme course necessary to preserve the revolutionary model in government until, in his own phrase, "the pear was ripe" for him. The events of Fructidor, on the one hand, confirmed the constitutionalists in the policy of letting other countries alone, and at the same time put an end to all enthusiasm for republican principles even in the radical executive, necessarily substituting in its place the merest self-interest. This new situation, though not inimical to Bonaparte's interests, made the Fructidorians the most determined opponents of his ambitions.

Almost immediately after the events of Fructidor the new Directory had sent instructions to Passariano that Venice was to be preserved from the hands of Austria. The removal of Clarke had followed. At once began a war of words and a conflict of purposes. Bonaparte's despatches depicted the situation of the Italian peoples in the darkest light, so as to set forth their unfitness for independence, while in every letter he dwelt on his own feeble and broken health as a reason for his immediate recall. Meantime he was driving the machinery of negotiation at its utmost speed and capacity. The Directory finally took its stand on the determination that Italy must be free as far eastward as the Isonzo, and the subtle Talleyrand agreed to win or compel Bonaparte's acquiescence. The courier with this ultimatum (p. 024) from Paris reached Passariano exactly twelve hours after Monge and Berthier had carried the treaty of Campo Formio in the opposite direction for the sanction of the directors. It was bitter, indeed, for Barras and his colleagues to surrender, but the logic of their position made resistance impossible. They approved the hateful stipulations with what grace they could muster, and, the warfare on the Continent being over, appointed Bonaparte to command what was significantly entitled the Army of England, but without defining his duties. Thirty thousand soldiers began their march from Milan to Picardy on the English Channel. As for the now distracted Venetians, they asked permission to continue the war against Austria on their own account. Bonaparte imprisoned the deputies who presented the petition, and Sérurier delivered Venice into the Emperor's hands, after destroying the arsenals and such vessels as were no longer useful for war. Among these was the stately barge in which the officials of the commonwealth had from immemorial times been wont to espouse the Adriatic—the famous Bucentaur. Manin, the last doge of Venice, was compelled to swear allegiance to Austria in the name of his compatriots. With a broken heart he made ready for the ceremony, but as he stepped forward at the appointed time to pronounce the fatal words, his strength and his faculties gave way together. He fell senseless at the feet of his foes, and died not long afterward.

The effect of Bonaparte's success in forcing such a peace upon Austria was profound throughout Europe. The war party in Great Britain was materially strengthened by the treatment which Malmesbury had received. While the treaty made a pretense of upholding the integrity of the empire as a principle, yet Prussia and all Germany knew that that integrity was quickly to (p. 025) be violated. Paul I of Russia remembered that as guarantor of the peace of Teschen, he too was deeply concerned in that integrity, and displayed uneasiness. The British had on October eleventh annihilated the Dutch fleet at Camperdown: their sea power was again assured and with it the replenishing of their treasury. These elements of the second coalition have been repeatedly described, but for all that, events would have been otherwise than they were, had there been anywhere in Europe a statesman with moral and material power at his bidding, who could have propagated a moderate, enlightened liberalism in the countries of the north. As a sorry radicalism had full play for some years in France, a blind reactionary conservatism prevailed among all the Teutonic peoples. The struggle of two extremes made the chaos. England was determined on war to destruction or exhaustion: France likewise. The system of national assassinations and territorial compensations begun in the partition of Poland was exemplified in the peace of Campo Formio. Then it was three to one against a nation with neither political nor military strength, and the decision was against nationality. Hereafter it was to be all absolute Europe against a nation with some political and immense military aptitudes. The struggle was to last fifteen years and be decided this time for, not against, nationality as a fact and a principle.

(p. 026) CHAPTER III

Bonaparte and Talleyrand[3]

Bonaparte in Switzerland — Arrival at Rastadt — A Royalist Portrait of Him — His Affectation of Simplicity — Reception by the Directory — First Threat of Invading England — Career of Talleyrand — His Relations with Bonaparte — Men and Parties in Paris.

In the complications of his far-reaching designs, the return of Bonaparte to Paris was a matter of consequence to him, an affair to be managed with diplomacy and an eye to dramatic effect. To appease the Directory, the insubordinate plenipotentiary explained in his despatches that he had acted as he did because Austria had made herself stronger than ever in the long interval, which was probably true; and that the possibility of further successful warfare had been jeopardized by the early arrival of winter, which had left him no choice in hastening the conclusion. This was not flatly untrue, for Marmont noted in his diary that it was October thirteenth when the first new snow fell on the mountain peaks, and that he had marked his general's surprise at the fact: the treaty was signed on the seventeenth. Nevertheless, the season was later than usual, and the plea of weather was a pretext to hide the negotiator's own purposes. In his rôle as an Italian deliverer, (p. 027) Bonaparte remained until the middle of November to consolidate the new republics and await the assembling of delegates at Rastadt. Then, traveling sedately by Turin and the Mont Cenis pass through Chambéry, he reached Geneva. Switzerland was ripe for his presence. The first step was to arrest Bontemps, a Genevese banker who had assisted Carnot in his flight to Nyon, where he was still in concealment. The second was to focus the revolutionary movement in the district of Vaud, and to strengthen its preparations for throwing off the Bernese dominion by organizing an ovation for himself at Lausanne: a democrat must be fêted only by democrats.

"Nothing too far" being manifestly his motto at this period, he then passed by easy stages to Rastadt, where he arrived on November twenty-fifth, and immediately asserted for himself a nominal supervision of the arrangements. The King of Sweden had claimed representation both as Duke of Pomerania and as a guarantor of the peace of Westphalia; for that reason he had sent as his delegate Count Fersen, a shrewd agent, once Swedish ambassador in Paris, the friend of Marie Antoinette, and known everywhere as an intimate counselor of the Bourbons. Bonaparte, outraged at such effrontery, summoned the envoy to his presence, and, trampling on the forms of a hollow politeness, informed him with a few biting words that his presence was not desired. The envoy tarried long enough to assure himself that Austria was quite as hostile as France, and returned to Stockholm. It annoyed Bonaparte even more to find that the imperial delegates had not yet arrived. But he passed the interval with considerable satisfaction in an exchange of pleasantries with the various personages who were on the ground. "How," said he to Stadion, garbed as a canon of Würzburg, "can the station of an ecclesiastical prince of the empire, a man who is both (p. 028) warrior and spiritual minister, accord with the precepts of the Scriptures, with the poverty and the lowliness of early Christianity?" "Where will your master live?" he said to the agent from the Bishop of Mainz, "when he loses his present residence?" The hollow shells of worn-out institutions rattled wherever this innovator stepped. At last Cobenzl arrived, and the urgent affair of the transfer of Mainz was promptly concluded. That fortress was to be occupied by French troops on the thirtieth, the day in which Austria was to take possession of Venice. Then, leaving Treilhard and Bonnier, the rude and insolent French plenipotentiaries, in a position of arrogant superiority to their colleagues, he set out for Paris, and after a triumphal progress throughout northern France, a region not before familiar to him, arrived, on December fifth, at his residence on Chantereine street. With its usual facility in that line, the Paris municipality soon after dubbed this rather insignificant byway the Street of Victory. Mme. Bonaparte, who had been visiting Rome, where her brother-in-law Joseph was now French minister, rejoined her husband at Christmas.

In the papers of the Comte d'Antraigues was found a pen-portrait of Bonaparte as he appeared at Venice, and it will no doubt, with due allowances, stand for the few months later when he became the idol of Paris. Sucy, a government commissioner of much sense, overpowered by the importance of passing events, wrote in August to a friend that he could not enter upon such voluminous details as would be necessary to depict Bonaparte, but warned his correspondent against supposing that the general had attained the height of his ambition, using the words previously quoted in another connection, "I can even add that I know no other end for him but the throne or the scaffold." But Antraigues was fortunately more communicative: "Bonaparte is a (p. 029) man of small stature, of sickly hue, with piercing eyes, and something in his look and mouth which is cruel, covert, and treacherous; speaking little, but very talkative when his vanity is engaged or thwarted; of very poor health because of violent humors in his blood. He is covered with tetter, a disease of such a sort as to increase his vehemence and his activity. He is always full of his projects, and gives himself no recreation. He sleeps but three hours every night, and takes no medicine except when his sufferings are unendurable. This man wishes to master France, and, through France, Europe. Everything else, even in his present successes, seems but a means to the end. Thus he steals without concealment, plunders everything, is accumulating an enormous treasure of gold, silver, jewels, and precious stones. But he cares for it only as a means. This same man, who will rob a community to the last sou, will without a thought give a million francs to any person who can assist him. If such a person has hate or vengeance to gratify, he will afford every opportunity to do so. Nothing stands in the way of his prevailing with a man he thinks will be useful; and with him a bargain is made in two words and two minutes, so great is his seductive power. The reverse side of his methods is this: the service rendered, he demands a complete servility, or he becomes an implacable enemy; and when he has bought traitors, their service rendered, he observes but little secrecy concerning them. This man abhors royalty: he hates the Bourbons, and neglects no means to wean his army from them. If there were a king in France other than himself, he would like to have been his maker, and would desire royal authority to rest on the tip of his own sword; that sword he would never surrender, but would plunge it into the king's heart, should the monarch cease for a moment to be subservient."

(p. 030) On Bonaparte's passage through Chambéry, he had been visibly affected by a shout from the multitude hailing him as the father of his soldiers. There were countless homes in France into which the letters of absent sons had sent the same epithet, and the nation at large thought of him in that rôle as a simple, benevolent man, devoted to his country and to her liberties. His histrionic talents, like his other gifts, were of the highest order, and for the moment this ideal must not be shattered. He therefore appeared to the French public as devoted to the principle of equality, which the Revolution considered the guarantee of free institutions. In the "Moniteur," the official journal of the time, may be read every detail of his conduct. Instead of waiting for visits from those in place, he made the advances. His clothes were plain, his manners were simple, his dignity was moderated to a proper respect for himself and others. The carriage in which he drove had but two horses, and there was no suite in attendance, either abroad or at home. Often the passers-by saw him walking alone in the small garden of his unostentatious dwelling, apparently resting from the fatigues of his campaigns. In short, there was nothing recognizable of the conquering potentate who had kept such state at Milan, except the affected simplicity of his personal life and conduct. "At first sight," wrote Talleyrand, whose acquaintance Bonaparte sought immediately on reaching Paris, "he struck me as a charming figure; the laurels of twenty victories are so becoming to youth, a handsome eye, a pale complexion, and a certain tired look."

There were a few proper assumptions of great dignity, as for instance when, on December tenth, 1797, a grand festival was celebrated in the classic style for the formal reception by the Directory of the treaty of Campo (p. 031) Formio from the hands of its negotiator. Talleyrand pronounced a glowing eulogium. Bonaparte, with impressive mien, replied in a few short, terse sentences, which closed with the significant utterance: "When the happiness of the French people shall rest upon the best organic laws, all Europe will become free." Barras closed with a long, dreary tribute to the Directory, and at the end imprinted the kiss of fraternity on the young general's brow. The other members of the executive hurried to display a feigned cordiality in following his example. The two councils united in a banquet to the hero of the hour. The public was overpowered by the harmony of its rulers. Bonaparte's studied modesty might have shown the directors how false was their position. As had been said long before to Pepin, the title of king belongs to him who has the power. In private the skilful minister of foreign affairs was no less adroit than the young conqueror, and lavished his courtier arts in the preservation of apparent unity.

The greatest danger to Bonaparte's ambitions was that he should by some mishap become identified with a party. Thus far, chiefly by absence from the seat of government, he had successfully avoided that pitfall. The Parisian populace did not even identify him with the Fructidorians; and, though not entirely forgetful of the Day of the Sections, they flocked to see him wherever it was known he would be. When asked if their interest did not gratify him, he replied that it meant nothing; they would crowd in the same way to stare if he were on his way to the scaffold. He appears to have felt that long residence would diminish his prestige, which for his purposes would be a disaster, and consequently he seems carefully to have conveyed the impression that he was but a visitor. Sandoz-Rollin, the Prussian minister in Paris, believed that the soldiers sent (p. 032) into France from Italy were intended for use in the capital. Exactly what was planned he did not know, for Bonaparte was not yet thirty, and therefore ineligible, at least under the constitution, to the Directory. Others believed that, Austria having been vanquished, England was to be struck—first through a fight between the two fleets, and then by the landing on her shores of a large body of veterans from the Army of Italy, under their victorious commander. In fact, Monge had formally stated, on December tenth, that "the government of England and the French republic cannot both continue to exist"; and during the winter Thomas Paine exercised his powers as a pamphleteer on the theme of England's approaching bankruptcy, while the public crowded one of the theaters to stare at stage pictures representing the invasion of England. As Bonaparte's almost superhuman diligence had ever open and ready two or more possibilities, this direct invasion may already have been a third choice. In the report which he made in February of the following year after a visit to Dunkirk, he distinctly set forth the studied policy of his whole career; viz., to keep three possibilities in working order, a pretense of invasion, a system of barring England from continental commerce, and a blow at the trade of Great Britain in the Orient. Otherwise there is nothing for it but a peace. But his dealings with every Italian power and with Austria had shown a definite policy of striking, not at the heart to produce desperation, but at the limbs, where the blow would be quite as deadly and resistance less furious. All the natural and successive steps of preparation for such an enterprise had been taken by the government during the summer of 1797. Corfu and Zante, and with them the possessions of Venice in the Levant, were secured and kept; a fleet was collected and equipped from the (p. 033) spoils of northern Italy; Naples was temporarily neutralized; and plans had then been carefully elaborated with experts, among whom was Monge, for the seizure of Malta and the disruption of Turkey by an attack on Egypt.

In all this Talleyrand had been a brilliant and unscrupulous agent. Born of a noble family, his lameness closed other careers and drove him for distinction into the Church, where, under the old régime, the traditions of ecclesiastical feudalism still lingered. In his youth he was the friend of the infamous Mme. du Barry, and owed his early promotion to her influence. When he was treasurer of the French clergy and bishop of Autun, Mirabeau said of him that he would "offer his very soul at a price, and he would do well, for he would exchange dung for gold." During the first years of the Revolution he led the liberal clergy; finally he went to such extremes in secularizing the Church that the Pope excommunicated him. His private life had been scandalous from the first, and he was avowedly a passionate gambler. It was with a sense of relief that he abandoned the Church to become the most unscrupulous statesman and the most adroit diplomatist of his time. It was he who in 1791 laid before the Legislative Assembly the dazzling scheme of national education which afterward was modified and adopted by Napoleon. He forecast the years of radical excess, and had himself sent in 1792 as a secret diplomatic agent to London, where, with occasional visits to Paris, he resided in the main for two years. The English could not endure his duplicity, and finally drove him from their country. The Convention having declared him an emigrant, he sailed for America, and spent some time in the United States, where, being coldly treated in political and social circles, he devoted himself to an analytical study (p. 034) of the people and their institutions. The revocation in 1796 of the decree pronouncing him an emigrant was obtained by Mme. de Staël's influence, and he immediately returned to France. It is characteristic of him that during these years he was successively a representative of the King, of Danton, and of the Directory.

To the Institute of France, of which learned body he had been made a member during his absence, he presented on his return his brilliant studies of colonization in general, and of the respective relations between the United States and the rival powers of France and England. But politics, not literature, was his trade. At once he began to study the situation of his own land, and observed with profound penetration both the instability of the government and the straits of the Directory. Accordingly, though nominally their man, and accepting from them the ministry of foreign affairs, he attached himself at once to Bonaparte, in the hope, as he explains in his memoirs, of using the conqueror to restore the monarchy. The latter had the perspicacity to encourage the relation, and from that moment possessed in the very center of affairs an able and congenial representative. It is known that Talleyrand's public letters to Bonaparte were accompanied with private supplements which often ran in a sense quite opposite to that of the main sheet. For instance, nothing could be more satisfactory to the directors than his open account of Fructidor; but it is known that the private letter mercilessly analyzed the situation as impossible and unstable. Attempting a corrupt bargain with the American envoys, Pinckney, Marshall, and Gerry, in regard to the protection of American commerce, he was mercilessly exposed by the indignant ministers, and finally compelled by public opinion to resign from his office. But even in disgrace he continued in Paris as (p. 035) the unscrupulous prime mover of French politics, until restored to power by Bonaparte, when he again accepted the position from which he had been driven, and successfully elaborated in practice the schemes of his superior.

There were, however, two other men, Barras and Sieyès, who, after the eighteenth of Fructidor, were left in an unendurable position. Both these men were also boundlessly venal. The former was Bonaparte's "ancient friend"; Fructidor made him the general's creature. Like Talleyrand, both were for the present the devoted satraps of a master who could pay not only with prospective power, but with present cash; ultimately they also hoped to use him for their own ends in the restoration of monarchy. Sieyès, now president of the Ancients, was both weak and vain. But, posing as an oracular constitution-maker, he was admitted as such to the councils of Talleyrand and Barras. Both his pride and his interests being thus engaged, he had apparently become as ardent a follower of Bonaparte as were the other two. Rewbell was so occupied with the foreign policy of the Revolution, and Merlin with the internal administration on Jacobin lines, that neither one nor the other gave any thought to the ulterior consequences of Fructidor. François de Neufchâteau was posing as the wit of the epoch, Larévellière was its prophet; neither was of even the slightest importance. Augereau, seeing himself duped by the disbanding of the Rhine army, had been disenchanted, and was for a while the relentless enemy of his old chief. A few mediocrities both in the army and in politics were in sympathy with Augereau; but as England was the one foe left, the general of the Army of England was virtually the commander of the whole. Not one of the division generals disobeyed his orders.

(p. 036) CHAPTER IV

Commotions in European Politics

The Directory and the Legislature — Motives of the French Army — Augereau's Blunders — Humiliation of the Batavian Republic — Seizure of Piedmont — Proclamation of the Roman Republic — Swiss Territory Remodeled — Antagonism of Prussia and Austria — Bernadotte's Mission to Vienna — Prussian Neutrality — Unstable Equilibrium of Europe.

During the winter of 1797-98 it was the custom of Bonaparte, as the constructive commander-in-chief of the French forces, to share in the deliberations of the various civil authorities; sometimes they seemed uneasy under his influence, but a threat of retirement generally brought them to terms. They yielded because every faction believed that the unrelenting attitude of the Directory toward royalists, emigrants, and ecclesiastics would revive in the country the hatred of Jacobinism and give its enemies a victory in the spring elections of 1798. Animosity was all the more fierce since the press had been virtually throttled by closing during the winter the offices of some sixteen papers, in addition to many already silenced. Should the chambers be hostile to the executive, they would certainly attempt a civil revolution, and Bonaparte with his troops would be the arbitrator. The royalists, therefore, made approaches to him once more, this time through Mme. Bonaparte, who diplomatically procrastinated, and kept the suitors in expectancy. But while all was movement and plot under the surface, the Parisian populace only occasionally had evidence of aught but perfect harmony (p. 037) in all parts of the government. They were fond of contrasting the brilliant results of Campo Formio with the unostentatious demeanor of the great general who had humbled Austria, and, as he himself had said in his festival speech, had brought two centers of light, "the finest parts of Europe,"—Italy and the Netherlands,—under the brighter rays of French illumination.

In later years the unexampled capability of Bonaparte for scheming and machination unfolded itself to such unheard-of limits that it is customary in our day to attribute every detail of European history in those times to his manipulation. This is the more natural because the events of that winter, beyond the boundaries of France, contributed in the highest degree to that political conflagration which preceded the ascendancy of Napoleon and the complete rebuilding of the European state system. And yet the most acute historians often overlook the evident causes in their search for hidden ones; in this case the former are sufficient to account for the results. With the Italian campaign republican armies ceased to fight either for the integrity of France, for her "natural" frontiers, or for the revolutionary system. They were often self-deceived, and thought themselves to be propagating liberal ideas; but glory and plunder were thenceforward the mainsprings of action in the majority of both officers and men.


Accordingly, what might have been foreseen actually occurred. Augereau, during the autumn of 1797, sought to emulate in southwestern Germany the political policy initiated by Bonaparte in Italy. But his rude blundering compelled his recall, a step which was softened by his transfer to the Pyrenees, where an army stood ready to intervene in Spain whenever opportunity should be ripe. The movement in Germany spent itself (p. 038) in shameless plundering both east and west of the Rhine—a double disgrace in view of the fact that the war was ended, that Mainz was surrendered, that the whole left bank, though not yet formally ceded, was in French control; and that the Congress of Rastadt was discussing how the princes who had surrendered their possessions to France should be compensated within the boundaries of the empire.

The course of affairs in the Low Countries was equally disastrous to the prestige of the Revolution. Holland had not only lost all her colonies, including the Cape of Good Hope, by her compulsory enrolment in the republican system, but at Camperdown on October eleventh, 1797, the fleet of the Batavian Republic was battered to pieces by that of England under Duncan. The new commonwealth was thus rendered contemptible, and made entirely dependent on France. Twenty-five thousand soldiers were already quartered on the Dutch, and now they were held to enormous contributions of ships, money, and men for the proposed landing in England. Delacroix and Joubert were the respective civil and military agents in these exactions.

Bonaparte's departure from Italy made no change in French policy or conduct with regard to her. The Venetian possessions had been literally stripped by Berthier of every valuable article before their definitive surrender to Austria. Formal negotiations for a treaty of offensive and defensive alliance with the Cisalpine Republic were opened as soon as the new state was recognized, but the same pillage continued as during its conquest. By that treaty, which was not concluded until March, 1798, the new "free" state was bound to support twenty-five thousand French troops, and to raise nearly four million dollars a year to pay them. As to the new Ligurian Republic, its boundaries were (p. 039) incomplete without Piedmont. Before the end of June, 1798, revolutionary fires having been kindled in Turin by the old efficient methods, two French armies under Jacobin generals seized Piedmont, and incorporated it with the other "free" state, which was then bound to France in the same terms as Cisalpina. Charles Emmanuel, having thus lost all his possessions on the mainland, retired to Sardinia, where he was destined to become, under protection of the English fleet, the focus of a new coalition against France.

Rome had called to her service, for the reorganization of her army, Provera, one of the Austrian generals who had been active in the last campaign. Joseph Bonaparte demanded his dismissal. This spark fired the revolutionary spirit of the few determined liberals at the capital, and a rising took place in which General Duphot, who was expecting soon to become Joseph's brother-in-law, was killed. The insurgents were defeated, and sought refuge in the French Embassy. The papal authorities humbled themselves to make restitution, but Joseph would not be appeased, and demanded his passports. Within a month, on February tenth, 1798, Berthier and his soldiers entered the Eternal City, and proclaimed the Roman Republic. With no consideration for his estimable personal character, the French agents stripped Pius VI, the aged and feeble Pope, of all his jewels: his very rings were drawn from his fingers by their hands. The papal government was declared at an end, and the cardinals were forbidden to elect a successor. The Pope himself was allowed to withdraw to Siena; but disappointing his captors' expectations of his speedy demise, he was removed at their convenience from place to place, until at last he died in the following year at Valence. Naples, of course, was in an agony of fear, but her hour had not yet struck.

(p. 040) Finally the flames caught in Switzerland, where the democratic district of Vaud declared its independence of the Bernese aristocracy. The fire was fanned by Bonaparte's agent, Peter Ochs, the liberal burgomaster of Basel. France intervened, nominally in order to compel Bern to liberate all her political prisoners and to emancipate Vaud, but really to plunder and remodel the whole country. The entering army pillaged friend and foe alike. The desperate resistance of Bern, in which even women and children shared, was of no avail. At its close the Helvetian Republic was constituted under a new charter, like those of Cisalpina and Batavia; it likewise entered at once into an offensive and defensive alliance with France. Bern's indemnity was the surrender of her "treasure," or cash reserve—a sum of one million three hundred thousand dollars. Swiss historians state that besides the cash there were nearly two and a half million dollars in bonds. A fifth of this was sent at once to Toulon, where the fleet was fitting out; the rest went to the army and its commander, General Brune. Fribourg, Solothurn, and Zurich were likewise stripped for the benefit of the military chest. It is thought that from all the enormous sums seized during the winter nothing reached the national treasury. Napoleon in exile declared that Paris knew nothing of all this. But more serious still were the contemplated changes of territory. The Valtellina had already been incorporated with the Cisalpine Republic; the Frick valley was soon to be delivered to Austria along with the Inn Quarter; and eventually Geneva, with the upper Rhone valley, was to become a part of France itself, in order that the Simplon, another gateway into Italy, might be assured to her armies in case the difficult passes on the Mediterranean shore should ever be closed.[4]

(p. 041) The effect of all this upon the politics of Europe was like that of a torch in dead stubble. The German-Roman Empire was an antiquated institution. Prussia had risen to importance as the representative of a new Protestant German nationality. Frederick the Great, inheriting his shrewd father's army and policy, thoroughly understood that for the attainment of this end Roman Catholic Austria must be humbled and reduced to a secondary position. His success was only partial, but it was so far effective. The relations between these two great rivals in the Germanic body, therefore, were so strained that Prussia, in her antagonism to Austria, naturally leaned toward France. But the seizure of German lands not only on the west bank of the Rhine, but of some even on the eastern side, together with the behavior of the French armies not only in southwestern Germany, but again in Bern, created consternation at Berlin. Sieyès was sent to allay, if possible, the fears of Frederick William III, and to woo him to the French alliance. Meantime, the radical Directory, looking on the ecclesiastical principalities of the empire as anachronisms, had been planning their entire secularization. This would indemnify the secular powers; and the sentiment of both Prussia and Austria favored this solution of the problem. But Bonaparte, foreseeing that temporarily it would also unify public opinion in Germany, and give France no ground for meddling, had declared in Italy that if the Germanic body were non-existent, France should create it for her own purposes; and he impressed upon the French plenipotentiaries at Rastadt how important it was that they should at least prevent a complete secularization of the great bishoprics.

This was the first bone of contention thrown into that Congress; and Austria soon began to see that the treaty of Campo Formio was to be not merely an armistice, (p. 042) but a very short one. Bonaparte had formed in Italy a legion of five thousand Poles. They were still under arms, awaiting the event. It was notorious that French agents were fomenting discontent in both Poland and Hungary. The Army of Italy had carefully spared the hereditary dominions of the Emperor while hurrying toward Leoben, and Bonaparte, repressing pillage with relentless severity, had explained that France made war not with the good people of Europe, but with their tyrannical dynasties. Even in Carinthia some enthusiasm for revolutionary principles had been created. Thugut had cleverly prevented Clarke from entering Vienna, because he feared the presence of a republican among the inflammable elements of that city. Francis had refused, on the conclusion of peace, to send a diplomatic agent to Paris, because he did not wish for reciprocity, and was anxious lest a French minister, if received at Vienna, might there create such a focus of revolutionary agitation as existed wherever a French embassy had been established. But now it was suddenly announced that the French republic had accredited Bernadotte to his court. The report was true, instructions having been given that the envoy suggest a dismemberment of Turkey in lieu of the further indemnity Francis expected, and ascertain how the reconstruction of Poland would be regarded. He was to prevent Austria's interference in behalf of Rome, and to insist on being treated with the same punctilio as had been shown to the royal ambassadors of France. On the other hand, for the sake of the radicals among the Fructidorians, he was to be conciliatory, because it was of vital importance that France should learn the inner workings of the court of Vienna before war broke out again, especially if the directors were to forestall Bonaparte's complete ascendancy. There is not a scintilla (p. 043) of evidence that, as some have suggested, Barras, Sieyès, or Talleyrand tampered with Bernadotte. He was still a rude soldier, and not the adroit man of affairs he afterward became. They could rely upon his making a mess of his mission, and he did so. In a haughty tone he at once demanded, as he had been instructed to do, the suppression of the Bourbon orders in Austria, and likewise the omission from the royal almanac of that family as reigning sovereigns of France. At the same time he made such an undue display of the tricolor and the republican cockade as to arouse all latent antagonisms to the Revolution. These and other similar indiscretions were successful in agitating the populace to such a degree that finally the embassy was attacked by a mob. Thoroughly frightened, and knowing that his mission regarding Poland and Turkey was in vain, Bernadotte demanded his recall. He returned to Paris, having, as was expected, brought the relations of France and Austria to the verge of rupture. Arriving in April, 1798, he was married soon afterward to Joseph Bonaparte's sister-in-law, who quickly comforted herself after the death of Duphot.[5]

By that time Prussia had been virtually checkmated; for although Sieyès could not bring the court of Berlin to make an alliance with the Directory, yet he had prevented her adhesion to its enemies, promising that revolutionary propaganda should cease in Germany. In return she agreed to observe the old strict neutrality, and to recognize the Cisalpine Republic. This decision has been severely criticized in recent years as a virtual delivery of herself to Napoleon after he should have devoured Austria. It has even been suggested that her statesmen ought to have looked a hundred years ahead, and should have anticipated by a century the Prussian (p. 044) alliance with the house of Savoy, which was at this later date the only liberal monarchy in Europe. As Europe was in 1798, such a conception was impossible.

In the spring of that year, therefore, everything presaged the general outbreak which was soon to occur. It may be that Bonaparte had foreordained it, and to the minutest detail had regulated events as they took place. Taking each division of them into separate consideration, a credulous admirer might believe that so much was within the ability of a single man; but the complexity of the whole makes the demoniac power to produce a crash in this way seem beyond the capacities of even a Bonaparte, although he may have cherished the desire for one. It is clear that he rode triumphant in the swift rush of the times, and took every possible advantage from the instability of European institutions in their moribund condition. To complete the picture of Europe in 1798, we must recall that Augereau was in the Pyrenees with forty thousand men, ready, when French agents should have done their work of agitation, to cross the border at a moment's notice, and liberate Spain from her Bourbon rulers. Such arbitrary emancipation was possible elsewhere. Why did it eventually fail in Spain? The answer is that there were no favorable antecedent conditions beyond the Pyrenees. All the strange story of transformation in Italy, in western and in northern Europe, would seem a lying fiction except for the memory of a still more thorough antecedent transformation in the spirit of their inhabitants by the intellectual ferment of the century. This spiritual and rationalizing movement had left Spain, Russia, and eastern Europe almost untouched. It was for this reason that the schemes of Bonaparte as to Poland and Turkey at once healed the breach between Russia and Austria, neither of which was deeply influenced by the (p. 045) idealism of the age, and both of which were prompted only by dynastic motives. Elsewhere Napoleon seemed like a magician; in those lands his spell was vain. In culture and intelligence England was an age ahead of him, as the others were an age behind him; and the two opposing forces of ignorance and enlightenment crushed him in the end like the upper and the nether millstone.

(p. 046) CHAPTER V

The Expedition to Egypt[6]

French Policy Regarding Egypt — Bonaparte's Use of It — His Military Dispositions and Expectations — His "Complete Code of Politics" — The Alternatives He Saw — Friction Between Bonaparte and the Directory — The Fleet and the Army — The Departure.

Taken in its largest sense, the social life of the world has been due to the relations of commerce, thought, and religion between the Orient and the Occident. The short road from one to the other is by way of the Red Sea, the Isthmus, and the Mediterranean. The controlling site on that thoroughfare is Egypt. From the crusades onward the domination of the countries and lands in that great basin was the prize for which France and England were always contending. Pierre du Bois proposed the seizure of Egypt to Philip le Bel in the fourteenth century; Leibnitz sought to draw Louis XIV out of Germany by explaining to him the dazzling advantage of the same enterprise; d'Argenson suggested the Suez Canal in 1738; and Choiseul kept alive the plan of occupying Egypt. The republic had inherited the notion of world conquest which had occupied both Philip le Bel and Louis XIV, although in another form. Bonaparte, in the double rôle of Raynal´s disciple and supplanter of the Revolution, was full of the same idea. It was his early study of the "Philosophical (p. 047) and Political History of the Two Indies" which made him, in one of his conversations before Campo Formio, designate Europe as a mole-hill when compared with the six hundred millions of men in the East. In these same pages, as in Plutarch, he had read of Alexander the Great, and had learned to admire his example; there, too, he was told that with a proper population and a firm administration Alexandria would rise to greater eminence than London, Paris, Constantinople, or Rome. These opinions he imbibed and never changed, reiterating them even at St. Helena, where he confessed that but for the repulse at Acre he would have founded an Oriental empire. The policy of the Directory was no doubt partly his; but to a far greater extent it mirrored the feeling abroad in the entire nation, and among all its agents, that the times were ripe for the seizure of Egypt. Talleyrand had called the attention of the Institute to its feasibility, and Magallon, the French consul at Cairo, filled his despatches with suggestions as to ways and means. By the spring of 1798 the plan of the Directory was formed and their preparations were finished. Under Talleyrand's supervision a statement of policy, with its historical justification, had been made ready for publication, while the secret outfit of ships and men at Toulon and other points was complete.


The justification of the expedition to the Sultan and to Europe was the plea that Egypt no longer belonged to Turkey. Mameluke usurpers were holding it in disgraceful bondage; France would liberate it. To enforce this view with the Porte, every insurgent of the steadily disintegrating Ottoman empire had for months been receiving encouragement from Bonaparte's letters and agents, and now the grand vizir was given to understand that if an attempt were made to interfere with the French forces, these rebels would be unchained in (p. 048) his rear; on the other hand, he was encouraged to regard the invaders as auxiliaries to suppress rebellion both on the Danube and on the Nile. Bonaparte was playing for high stakes; he probably hoped to win Turkey as an ally, and thus draw Russia and Austria away from France, but was determined in case of failure to hold Egypt as the French share when ultimately the expected partition of the Sultan's domains should be made.

Otherwise it is impossible to explain why he so managed as to leave France helpless against her Continental enemies; why all the gathered treasures of Italy and Switzerland were spent in his own preparations; why almost every general of ability and every regiment of prowess was destined for Egypt, while in the face of an impending European crash the national treasury was depleted, the inferior troops at his own disposal were left at home, and the remaining veterans of Hoche and Moreau were scattered in various divisions between the Rhine and the Pyrenees. The Army of England assembled in the north was temporarily in a state of atrophy. It was kept at Boulogne with depleted ranks, but ready to be recruited for a landing in England as a subordinate move, if the British should be overpowered in the Levant and compelled to divide their fleet. Otherwise, as Bonaparte thought and said after a visit in February to the shores of the Channel, it would be too hazardous to attempt a landing in face of the tremendous armament afloat under the English flag. "To invade England without the mastery of the seas is an enterprise the boldest and most difficult that has been undertaken. If it be possible, it is only by a surprise passage (of the Channel)." He felt that in any case it would be best to spend the summer in fitting out the fleet at Brest for an invasion of Ireland during the autumn. Two questions which present themselves in this connection (p. 049) cannot be answered categorically: Was it of his own free will that Bonaparte accepted the command of the Egyptian expedition, or did the directors force it on him? What was the ultimate design of the great schemer if the imminent war broke out while the best French troops were in Africa?

In considering the probabilities as to both these queries, it appears as if Bonaparte had convinced himself that the open assumption of authority was for the moment impossible. He could not be a director: candidates for that office must be forty years old. He dared not take Barras's suggestion and seize the dictatorship, even temporarily, because the Jacobin members of the Directory made it plain, in certain very disorderly sessions of that body, that they would not tolerate such a plan and were strong enough to thwart it. These scenes, which were not kept secret, and were described in the coffee-houses, led the Paris populace to suspect Bonaparte. They were enjoying a temporary repose which it would have been dangerous at the moment for any aspirant to disturb. It must have seemed plain that a change in the constitution was essential to anything like the speedy realization of his personal ambition, which had already taken definite form. As early as September nineteenth, 1797, Bonaparte wrote Talleyrand a letter containing what he called his complete code of politics. His sphinx-like demeanor and the mysterious allusions already quoted from the festival speech, taken in connection with that outline, confirm the notion that Talleyrand, Barras, and Sieyès were preparing for a new constitution, which should be ready for use when the spring elections had increased the number of royalist delegates, as they were sure to do, and had thus produced a clash between the executive and the legislature.

The "complete code of politics" expresses the same (p. 050) contempt for all antecedent French political speculation as that felt by Sieyès. Even Montesquieu had but arranged and analyzed the results of his reading and travels; though doubtless capable, he had done nothing really constructive. The English had confused the respective functions of the various powers in government. In view of their history, it was easy to see why the taxing power was in the House of Commons. But why should that body also declare war or make peace? Great Britain, being a state whose constitution was compounded of privileges, "a black ceiling with a gilt edge," was quite different from France, where these had been abolished, and all power proceeded directly from the sovereign people. Why, then, as under the present constitution, should the French legislature alone have rights which belonged to government in its totality? This sovereign power, he continued, "naturally falls, I think, into two magistracies quite distinct: one supervises, but does not act, and to this what we now call the executive power should be compelled to submit important measures—the legislation of execution, so to speak. This great magistracy would be truly the chief council of the nation; it would have all that part of administration or of execution which is by our constitution intrusted to the legislative." This assembly should be numerous, and composed only of men who had already held positions of public trust. The legislative should make and change the organic laws, but not in two to three days, as at present; for after an organic law has once been made operative, it should not be changed without four or five months of discussion. "This legislative power, without rank in the Republic, impassive, without eyes or ears for what is about it, would have no ambition, and would not inundate us with more than a thousand specific statutes which, by (p. 051) their absurdity, destroy their own validity, and make us, with three hundred tomes of laws, a nation without laws." Is this effusion a recurrence to youthful crudities of ideal politics, or does it hint at the exercise by that upper magistracy of its unchecked powers through a single executive agent like himself? Certain it is, this very concept, though sensibly changed, had a direct influence on the institutions of the empire.

In the absence of sufficient evidence as to the facts, there is but one complex theory which explains subsequent occurrences. The Egyptian expedition, as its commander publicly said in leaving Toulon, was the right wing of the Army of England; at the same time it was consonant with the ancient French policy, and appealed to the romantic, Oriental side of Bonaparte's own temperament; finally, as a practical measure it gave him a chance to await with distinction the outcome of affairs in Paris, whether it should be, as he said to Bourrienne, "for a few months or for six years." At the same time it was an anchor to windward. In consequence of the Bernadotte incident, the Austrian plenipotentiaries at Rastadt had refused even the entire left bank of the Rhine to France, and European sentiment was apparently consolidating for another coalition. "I go to the Orient," Napoleon said to Joseph, "with every means to guarantee success. If France needs me; if the number of those who think like Talleyrand, Sieyès, and Roederer increases; if war breaks out, and is unlucky for France, then I shall return, more certain of public opinion than now. If, on the other hand, the Republic is successful in war; if a political general like me appears and centers the hopes of the people in himself, good; then still in the Orient I shall perhaps do greater service to the world than he."

Everything indicates that in the months immediately (p. 052) preceding his departure there was friction between Bonaparte and the Directory. It is said that in one of their sessions, called to consider the situation, Bonaparte proposed to reknit the negotiations of Rastadt by himself returning thither, but that François was designated to go in his stead. Thereupon the worn-out scene of threatening resignation was rehearsed by him once more. "Here is a pen," said Rewbell; "you need rest." But Merlin snatched it; and as the furious aspirant, seeing his supremacy jeopardized, left the room, the others heard the words, "The pear is not yet ripe." "Believe me, it is good advice I give you," said Barras, in a private interview immediately after: "leave the country as soon as you can." There was abundant room for such scenes in a committee which considered as its own the policy of indirect attack on England through the East, while all its members were chafing under the dictatorial presence of an embodied and dissatisfied ambition which Talleyrand declares had really devised the scheme, but was now uncertain as to which was the best to take of not two or three, but half a dozen courses. The cast of the die decided for Egypt. The secrecy of preparation had kept even the French in doubt. England for a time was entirely misled, and made the nearly fatal blunder of concentrating her naval force in the Channel, and of guarding the entrance to the Mediterranean with only the few ships she could spare, while on the waters of that sea itself she had virtually no force.

Meantime the great fleet at Toulon, nearly the equal of any which France had ever launched, was entirely ready. To convoy the four hundred overloaded transports, there were fifteen ships of the line, fifteen frigates, seven corvettes, and thirty minor armed vessels. It was a surprise even to the initiated that at the last moment the soldiers were found to number not twenty-five thousand, (p. 053) as originally proposed, but forty thousand, comprising the flower of the republican armies. Of division generals there were D'Hilliers, Vaubois, Desaix, Kléber, Menou, Reynier, and Dugua; of brigade generals, Lannes, Davout, Murat, and Andréossy; of colonels, Marmont, Junot, Lefebvre-Desnouettes, and Bessières. The most novel feature of all was a carefully organized and equipped expedition of a hundred or more scholars, who, according to what was then the fashion, were destined to gather the treasures of the Pharaohs and of the Ptolemies for the collections of Paris. Their apparatus for discovery was the best obtainable, their learning was at least respectable, and their library was a mixture of the ancient classics with those of the modern romanticism, of medieval lore with modern atheism. There were of course the great military memoirs, of Turenne, Condé, Luxembourg, Eugene, and Charles XII; more interesting is the inclusion of fifteen volumes of geography and discovery. Whither bound? Was this another Alexander? Homer and Vergil jostled Ossian, Ariosto, and Tasso, while Rousseau's "Héloïse" stood neighbor to Goethe's "Werther." Among other "political" works were Montesquieu, the Vedas, the Koran, and the Bible. Caroline Bonaparte gave her brother as a farewell gift a little pocket library, among the volumes of which were Bacon's "Essays," Mme. de Staël's "Influence of the Passions," and Mercier's "Philosophic Visions." The curious have examined these volumes, and found in their well-worn pages a few passages specially marked. In his hours of solitude the great solitary read in Bacon how he who dominates others loses his own liberty; in Mme. de Staël how hard it is to keep the acquisitions of ambition; in Mercier of an Oriental visionary who, after the glories of temporary success, ended his days in exile and forgetfulness.

(p. 054) It was on April twelfth that Bonaparte received his final instructions from the executive. He was to seize Malta, drive the British from all their Oriental possessions which he could hope to capture, destroy their factories on the Red Sea, pierce the Isthmus of Suez, improve the condition of all the native populations, and keep a good understanding with the Sultan. Meantime from twenty-five to thirty thousand men were to be assembled at some point on the Channel as a feint against Great Britain so that her attention should be withdrawn for the time being from the Mediterranean. The very next day the departing general deposited with the Directory his secret plan for the camp at Boulogne and a scheme for the surprise passage. The scholar troop was ordered to Toulon and the commander-in-chief prepared to follow. But the Bernadotte incident at Vienna raised the war cloud and he waited a month until it disappeared from the horizon. Throughout that period Bonaparte kept the directors on tenterhooks by repeated offers to return to Rastadt, where he alone could secure reparation for the insult to the republic in the person of her ambassador. But the Austrians were unready for another appeal to arms, Thugut offered reparation, and the dangerous marplot of the Directory was at last free to remove his troublesome presence from Europe. He left Paris on the night of May third.

(p. 055) CHAPTER VI

The Landing in Egypt[7]

Visions of Oriental Conquest — The Surrender of Malta — Nelson Deceived — The Mamelukes — The Skirmishes at Shebreket and the Pyramids — The Emptiness of Success — Plans for Conquering Asia — The Battle of the Nile — Effects on European Policies.

The departure of the Egyptian expedition from Toulon, on May nineteenth, 1798, was thus far the greatest occasion of Bonaparte's life. Josephine, apparently no longer the light Creole, but seemingly transformed by the successes and responsibilities of the last two years into a fond and outwardly judicious helpmate, bade him a tender farewell. There had been checks in his brilliant career, but so far they had been temporary; as for the present hour, he believed, as he afterward told Mme. de Rémusat, that it might be his last in France. Mental fabrics of an Oriental splendor, visions of an empire bestriding three continents, dreams of potentates and powers far eclipsing those of western Europe—license like this intoxicates the imagination and disorders common minds. Such plans seem fantastic to the multitude, but what else than their realization is in sober reality the British empire of to-day? The rank and file of Bonaparte's army might not see (p. 056) a reward for this hazardous expedition in sentimental or distant returns, but they understood perfectly the words of a harangue delivered at Toulon before embarking, which, besides being a reminder of the plunder they had taken in Italy, contained the blunt promise that this time every man should return with money enough to buy seven acres of land. Sailors and soldiers alike were thrilled by the call to establish liberty on the plains of the ocean, as they had on the plains of Lombardy. They even dimly apprehended the meaning of a proclamation, issued at sea, in which their destination was finally revealed, and certain success was foretold, if they would respect the women, the goods, and the faith of the Mohammedans.

Yes; it was a sanguine expedition which, relying on an apparent relaxation of England's vigilance, set sail for Malta. The geographical situation of that island makes it in proper hands the citadel of the Mediterranean, the bulwark of Christendom against heathendom. But the military monks to whom it had been intrusted were grown corrupt and licentious. The Maltese loathed their masters. French agents had already been among them, winning thousands of the people and some of the French knights; and such was the internal disorder at the approach of Bonaparte that after the merest show of resistance to his demands, the gates of an almost impregnable fortress were dishonorably opened to the French republic without a blow. The order, neither monastic nor military in any true sense, was virtually annihilated by the sequestration of its goods, though nominally it survived as vassal to the crown of Naples under the protection of Russia. The spoils of the treasury and the Church were quickly seized, a goodly treasure, and added to the French war chest. Waiting only to garrison his easy conquest, and (p. 057) to establish a French administration, Bonaparte hastened on, and the entire fleet in good condition anchored off Alexandria on June thirtieth. With a few casualties the troops were landed.

News of the great preparations at Toulon had finally convinced the English admiralty that their supremacy in the Mediterranean was endangered. Nelson, with a small squadron, sailed in due time from Cadiz, and arrived off the French coast before the departure of Bonaparte's expedition. Driven from his position by a storm, he took refuge in the lee of Sardinia, where he remained until reinforced. Such was the overcharge of the French ships in troops and stores that even with a few active vessels Nelson could have crippled, if not entirely disabled, his enemy's great armament. With a new force which in the mean time he had received, he was prepared to dispute their passage wherever found, and his orders were stringent to destroy the enemy's fleet at any hazard. Returning to Toulon only to find that the French had escaped him, he sailed thence to Sicily, and perceiving at last the destination of the foe to be Egypt, passed swiftly to the south of Crete, and arrived off Alexandria to be disappointed in finding its roadstead empty. Supposing that he had been deceived, he hastened away toward Syria. In the desire to find his foe, he had passed him. Bonaparte, learning off Crete that he was pursued, sailed northward through the Candian Sea, while Nelson took the direct line on the other side. So it happened that thus far the good fortune of the invaders had not deserted them.

Map of Egypt.

The denizens of the great Egyptian towns were not a warlike people; the great mass of the population, the down-trodden agricultural workers, or fellaheen, were even less so. Their strongest weapon was that Oriental stolidity which, like a fortress of mud, closes over hostile (p. 058) missiles without crumbling under their blows. Accordingly, the city of Alexandria, after a feeble and ineffectual resistance, yielded. Bonaparte, ever conciliatory, issued a proclamation to the people, which was translated by one of his savants into the vernacular. It was clear and concise, but had little influence on the populace. The condition of Egypt at the time seeks in vain a parallel in history. Saladin had followed a tradition of Eastern despotism in the formation of a body-guard destitute of all ties except those which bound them to his person. Purchased as infants in Georgia or Circassia, its members were, like the janizaries at Constantinople, trained to arms as an exclusive profession, and, mounted on the finest steeds of Arabia, they became the elite of his army. In time this force of acute and powerful men transformed itself into a warrior caste, was divided into twenty-four companies, and obeyed no authority except that of its captains. These were known in Oriental phrase as Beys, the subordinates were themselves what we call the Mamelukes; the whole, in number about eight thousand, formed a kind of chivalry which, though reduced to nominal submission in 1517, still governed the land with despotic power, and bade defiance to the Sultan's shaky authority. The first portion of Bonaparte's proclamation sketched the evils of Mameluke tyranny, the second called on the populace to aid their liberators. "We, too, are true Mussulmans. Is it not we who have destroyed the Pope that said war must be made on the Mussulmans? Is it not we who have destroyed the Knights of Malta because those insensate chevaliers believed God wanted them to make war on the Mussulmans? Thrice happy they who are on our side! They shall prosper in their fortune and in their place. Happy those who are neutral! They shall have time to understand us, and (p. 059) shall array themselves with us. But woe, thrice woe, to those who shall take up arms for the Mamelukes and fight against us! There shall be no hope left for them; they shall perish." The contrast between this language and that which its author had used in Italy concerning the Church shows how much sincerity there was in either case. Here as there he used religion as a political expedient.

The capture of Alexandria was a bitter disillusionment to the French soldiery, for the once rich and famous city had shrunk into poverty and insignificance. There was no booty and the squalor was repellent. With this unpropitious start their struggle on to Cairo was an awful trial. The sky was brass, their feet sank in the dry, hot soil, and mounted skirmishers tormented them from behind the low hillocks on each side of their line of march. No enemy more redoubtable than a few half-naked fellaheen really disputed their progress; but even when, on July tenth, they came within sight of the Nile and their sufferings were about to be mitigated, it was in vain that their general sought to silence their bitter cries of disheartened anger. Three days later they were attacked at Shebreket by the outposts of the Mamelukes, under Murad, chief Bey of the force. The irregular and individual attacks of the well-armed and gorgeously equipped cavalry broke harmlessly against the serried ranks of the French veterans, and the desultory firing of the Turkish artillery was quickly silenced; the rusty cannon, though aimed point-blank at the gunboat flotilla which was ascending the river, did little or no damage. The enemy withdrew, and concentrated their forces for a final stand at Om Dinar before Cairo, behind the lines of Embabeh. On July twenty-first Bonaparte ordered his troops in squares six men deep, as before. They were to advance so as to cut off the (p. 060) enemy's retreat southward, and were to halt only to receive a charge. "Soldiers," cried the general, "forty centuries look down upon you from the summit of the Pyramids!" The resistance was scarcely worthy of the name. Five thousand horsemen and as many fellaheen were behind the weak ramparts. Murad and his men dashed forward with desperate courage against the phalanx of Desaix, but only to rebound from its iron sides against the equally impassive lines of Reynier and Dugua. Ibrahim, the other Mameluke leader, fled eastward across the river, and Murad retreated toward the south; the undisciplined infantry scattered and ran like frightened sheep. Many of the Mamelukes were drowned in the Nile. It was their custom to carry their wealth on their persons, and the French soldiers, bending their bayonets into grappling-hooks, spent much time in fishing for the corpses. It was estimated that each body thus recovered would afford about ten thousand francs to the lucky finder.

The so-called battle of the Pyramids will ever have a fictitious and romantic fame, largely due, of course, to the quality of Bonaparte's wonderful proclamations, which long after he admitted to Gourgaud were "un peu charlatan." Its results, however, were temporarily very important. Cairo was delivered by it into French hands, and the possession of Egypt's capital seemed of the first importance both to the soldiers and to their friends at home. The idea that East and West were fighting under the shadow of those monuments which, now hoary with age, were among the first achievements of civilized human intelligence, thrilled the "great nation," and added new luster to Bonaparte's laurels in the minds of a people wont to revel in great conceptions. Yet but thirty French soldiers were killed, and only one hundred and twenty were wounded. It was (p. 061) a skirmish; much more decisive than that at Shebreket, to be sure, and somewhat more bloody, but only a skirmish. Both were represented to the Directory as great battles, the five Mamelukes killed in the first being magnified to three hundred. The camp at Embabeh furnished rich spoils to the victorious leaders, but the fabled wealth of Cairo, destined for the soldiery, proved to be like apples of Sodom. The army had been angry and disheartened; deprived of its accustomed booty, it became sullen and mutinous. There was no news from home. Oriental apathy long defied even Bonaparte's administrative powers. Egypt was subdued, but the situation of the general and of his troops was apparently desperate. Long afterwards the Emperor said to Gourgaud that, horrible as was the confession, he believed it fortunate that the French fleet was destroyed at Aboukir, "otherwise the army would have reëmbarked." If he had commanded Mamelukes, he would have been master of the East, he added.

Nothing daunted by what would have broken a feebler spirit, the disillusioned conqueror turned to the conquest of another world. Africa had failed him, but Asia was near, and a revolution might be effected there. The maltreatment of French merchants in Syria had been one of the Directory's original grounds of complaint; it must serve another turn, and if the Sultan were sufficiently humbled, he might be compelled to an alliance against the menacing league of Russia and Austria. The need for carrying out this plan was further confirmed by the awful news which soon came from Alexandria. Nelson, having scoured in vain the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, had returned first to Sicily, then to Greece, and finally to Egypt. Bonaparte had left instructions for Admiral Brueys to work the fleet into the old port of the Ptolemies; (p. 062) but if the anchorage or water-draft should prove insufficient, he was to sail for Corfu. It was believed that with his splendid new eighty-gun ships, and unhampered by the transports, he was more than a match for the inferior squadron of Nelson, whose largest vessels had but seventy-four guns. But Brueys, finding it impossible to enter the harbor with his warships, and fearing to sail for Corfu without the provisions promised by the general, disobeyed his orders, and took up what he believed to be an impregnable position near by in the bay of Aboukir, his line being parallel with the shoaling beach, and his van protected by insufficient batteries on Aboukir island to the northwest. The strongest ships in the center and van were those stationed seaward.

Nelson descried the anchored fleet on August first, about midday; before evening his daring scheme was formed and carried out. The English ships advanced in two divisions, one attacking the enemy's center and rear from the sea side, while the other, performing by skilful steering what Brueys had believed an impossible feat, entered the shoal waters, and, cutting off the shore defense, simultaneously attacked on that side. The French van, like the rest of the fleet, was at anchor, and could not come to the assistance of its sister ships. Thus entrapped, the French sailors fought with desperate courage, but they were out-manœuvered, and the English cross-fire was deadly. Moreover, with Nelson a new temper had entered the British navy. At Bastia he had determined the result by his personal daring, for the men of the Agamemnon, when led by him, "minded shot as little as peas"; at Calvi he had lost an eye in a desperate venture; at Cape St. Vincent he had boarded two opposing Spanish ships at the head of his own Captain's crew, with the cry, "Westminster (p. 063) Abbey or victory!" and now, in the battle of the Nile, his greatest fight, he inspired the whole fleet with such audacious bravery that to this day his countrymen sing the proud boast of the ballad-writer, "At the battle of the Nile, I was there all the while." Though he had as many vessels as the French, they were of inferior quality and strength; but the result was never doubtful. The brave Brueys went down in his own Orient as the dauntless crew shouted, "Long live the Republic!" and Rear-Admiral Villeneuve barely escaped with two ships of the line and two frigates. Two other vessels of the latter class had been towed into the harbor; all the rest were destroyed. From that awful day the modern maritime ascendancy of England was considered a menace by continental Europe. France had struck Great Britain deadly blows in the annihilation of her allies ashore, and was to do so again. England, however, on her own chosen element, seemed thenceforward indomitable.

Any plan which Bonaparte may have entertained for the use of fleets to transport himself or his armies either on the Mediterranean or on the Atlantic during the expected Continental convulsion had to be abandoned. As was explained in a despatch from the Directory, which he did not receive until long after, he must either make Egypt self-sufficient without aid from France, or march on Constantinople to intimidate or wheedle the Grand Turk, or invade India, collect all the elements hostile to British rule, and establish himself there. Any thought of immediate return to France must be abandoned, however disposed he might be to pluck his "pear." On the other hand, France without Bonaparte was a different subject for European consideration, military or political. The wild schemes of her government for aiding the Irish rebels or invading (p. 064) British soil were necessarily either futile in their inception or never tried; the coalition was shaping itself, and with Bonaparte and Hoche both removed from the scene, the statesmen and generals of the other great powers were only too ready to try conclusions with France.

(p. 065) CHAPTER VII

The Disaster at Acre[8]

Islam and the French — Plans to Revolutionize the East — The News from Europe — Bonaparte's Recommendations to the Directory — The Invasion of Syria — Murder of Turkish Prisoners — Importance of Acre — The Battle of Mount Tabor — The Siege of Acre — Desperate Courage of Besiegers and Besieged — Defeat of Bonaparte — His Estimate of Human Life — The Retreat to Egypt.


"This is the moment," said Bonaparte, on hearing how Brueys's splendid fleet had been annihilated, and the line of retreat to France cut off, "when characters of a superior order assert themselves." "The English," he cried on another occasion, "will compel us to do greater things than we intended." So far from his activity being diminished in the isolation of Egypt, it was redoubled. To preserve the fiction of his mission as the restorer of Ottoman power, the tricolor and the crescent floated everywhere side by side, while prayers were said for both France and Turkey in the mosques. The utmost respect was paid to the Koran and its precepts. Menou and a number of others made an open profession of Islam. To soothe all popular apprehension, existing institutions were changed only to strengthen them, while contemplated reforms were to follow in (p. 066) proportion as increasing public enlightenment demanded them. In particular, the utmost respect was paid to marriage customs, and no license among the common soldiers was tolerated. In marked contrast was Bonaparte's own conduct. An intercepted letter written from Alexandria to his brother Joseph expressed jealous doubts of Josephine's fidelity—or, rather, a certainty of her infidelity. From that instant his own licentiousness became a scandal even to the loose notions of his train. But outwardly he affected the inflated speech of a semi-divine messenger; once, while visiting the burial crypt in the pyramid of Cheops, he pretended to a mufti that he was a proselyte, and pronounced with an air of conviction the Mohammedan creed. Every element in the population, however,—Copts, Turks, Greeks, and Arabs,—was courted, and made to share in the administration. Printing-presses were established, and the French scholars, though surprised and disenchanted by what they found, united into an institute, and began the study of every possible improvement in political, social, and domestic economy. Nor was the army forgotten: the captured Mamelukes and other available youth were enrolled in the French battalions, and taught the drill and discipline of war. Even the scattered Bedouin received the conqueror's flattering attentions with ever lessening distrust.

All this was part of a plan to effect a religious and political revolution in the East, the two to move hand in hand, by an appeal to Mohammedan zeal for coöperation with those who had already destroyed Christianity in Europe. Talleyrand was to have been the representative in Constantinople of the same idea. But in disregard of his promise he stayed at home, and neither the Sultan, as the political and religious head of Islam, nor its devotees, were for a moment deceived. On the (p. 067) well-known principle that offers of peace come best while war is hottest, Bonaparte's iron hand was shown in certain most stringent regulations, and one determined insurrection was put down with merciless rigor. The domestic relations of the people were sacred, but they must buy indemnity with the payment of all their cash; and treasure, wherever found, was seized for the army chest. The old city barriers of Cairo were broken down, and fortified turrets were built in their places. Resistance of any kind met with quick punishment, and heads fell throughout the land with such regularity and frequency as to force from the natives a recognition of Bonaparte as el Kebir, the Exalted.

The utter isolation of summer, autumn, and winter would have been intolerable but for such occupations. Only a single official despatch, and that a most insignificant one, reached Egypt from France during this interval; and the rush of events in Europe was for months utterly unknown to the castaway army. In fact, but two efforts were made to forward news—an astounding proof of the feeling in Paris. The Directory had failed in their attempts to cajole the Sultan, and a message from Bonaparte arrived too late to influence him; for, on receipt of news from Nelson's victorious fleet, the Turkish monarch hesitated no longer, and accepted the proffered alliance of Russia. The only certain news from Europe which was generally disseminated in Cairo was contained in a package of Italian newspapers brought into Alexandria by a blockade-runner. Through them it was known that the invasion of Ireland, having been precipitated by a misunderstanding between the secret society of United Irishmen and the Directory, had failed; that Malta and Corfu were blockaded; that the Spanish fleet was significantly inactive; and that all Europe was arming for the renewal of hostilities in the (p. 068) spring. Bonaparte made every effort to communicate with Paris. Some of his frequent despatches certainly reached their destination; but, going by circuitous routes, they were belated. This very fact, however, went far in France to surround him with a halo of romance, and to glorify the legend, never eradicated from French imaginations, that the national arms had subjugated the land of the Pharaohs. As every day revealed the incapacity of the Directory in the face of an exasperated and united Europe, the fancied splendor of Bonaparte's feats neutralized any remnants of suspicion remaining in the minds of the people regarding their absent victor. The conquering republic was over the sea; it was a spurious one which had remained at home to be humiliated.

Disquieting rumors of Bonaparte's death, said to have been spread by English and Russian agents, were prevalent during a part of December; but while at their height they were allayed by the arrival, direct from the seat of war, of a budget dated October seventh. The condition of the colony was described in glowing terms, but the gist of the despatches was that the Spanish admiral must be goaded to activity, and that the fleet from Brest must be sent to coöperate with him in the Mediterranean, in order to restore the prestige of France in the East. As for the writer himself, he hoped, should war break out again in Europe, to return in the spring. Meantime, the Neapolitans were marching on Rome, a fact which inclined the vacillating and harassed directors to act on the suggestions of their real master, although they kept his recommendations secret.

It was, therefore, not entirely without a coördination of plans that the Army of Egypt, strengthened and refreshed, made ready to move in February. The Turks, under the viceroy, Achmet, styled Jezzar, the (p. 069) Butcher, were mustering in Syria, and it was necessary to anticipate them. Kléber was put at the head of twelve thousand men, and, after dispersing the eight hundred Mamelukes who had retreated in the direction of Rahmaniyeh, he advanced some days' march to El Arish, which was at once beset. Bonaparte tarried at Cairo for a few days, and then having learned that the congress at Rastadt was still sitting, and that war, though imminent, was not yet declared, set out, reaching El Arish on February seventeenth, 1799. Three days later the Turkish garrison, composed largely of volunteers, surrendered. They were paroled, and ordered to march toward Damascus. Gaza fell with the exchange of a few musket-balls, and important munitions of war were delivered into the hands of the French. On March fourth the invaders were before Jaffa, which had a garrison of four thousand men, a part of Jezzar's army. After three days' bombardment a breach was made in the walls, and two thousand troops who had taken refuge behind caravansary walls surrendered under promise of their lives; the rest, it is said, had been killed in a massacre which immediately followed the assault.

No French victory was ever marked by more unbridled license than that which the victorious troops practised at Jaffa. But what followed was worse. Although the prisoners of war were too numerous for the ordinary usage, yet they should have been treated according to the terms of quarter they had exacted. On the seventh a council of war unanimously voted that the old rule under which no quarter is given to defenders in an assault should be applied to them. For two days Bonaparte hesitated, but on the ninth his decision was taken. A few Egyptians were sent home, and the remainder of the prisoners, together with the eight (p. 070) hundred militia from El Arish, were marched to the beach, and shot. In the report to the Directory the total number was put at twelve hundred. Two eye-witnesses estimated it—one at three thousand, the other at four thousand. "I have been severe with those of your troops who violated the laws of war," wrote the author of the deed to Jezzar. No mention of the fact or excuse for it was made in any other portion of his correspondence at the time. All winter long he had been dealing as an Oriental with Orientals, and this was but a piece of the same conduct. The code of Christian morality was far from his mind. In January, for instance, he had ordered Murat to kill all the prisoners of a hostile tribe in the desert, whom he could not bring away; and in the same month identical orders were issued to Berthier concerning another horde. The plea which is made by the eulogists of Napoleon, and by some recent military writers, for this wholesale execution, is that among these slaughtered men the garrison of El Arish, which had surrendered, had been found again with arms in their hands; that they were deserving of death according to all the laws of war; and that, as to the rest, there were no French prisoners for whom to exchange them, and no provisions to support them; consequently their presence with the army would jeopardize its success, and it was therefore justifiable to diminish the enemy's resisting power by their execution. Those who believe that in any war, whether just or unjust, the practice of barbarity is excusable if it lead to speedy victory will agree with that opinion.

Bonaparte had foreseen that of all the Syrian towns the Pasha's capital, St. Jean d'Acre, which was on the shore, and not inland like the places so easily taken, would make the strongest resistance. Accordingly he had provided a siege-train, and had despatched it by (p. 071) sea from Alexandria. The English squadron in those waters, now in command of Sir Sidney Smith, was in the offing when the French army arrived on the coast. Approaching in order to open fire, the English admiral became aware after a few shots that his enemy had no artillery. Divining the reason, he swiftly put to sea, and easily captured their transports. Phélippeaux, a French emigrant who had graduated from the military school at Paris only two days before Bonaparte, was sent by Smith to superintend the fortification of the city with the very guns destined for its destruction. The siege of Acre thus became a task quite different from any hitherto imposed on the French. Supported by an English fleet, and easily provisioned under protection of their guns, the city might have made a determined stand even against an enemy with cannon; but to one without artillery it was likely that its resistance would be effectual. And so it proved; for under the ancient Gothic walls of a city whose name recalled the fleeting dominion of the Frank crusaders, Bonaparte's dreams of an Oriental empire vanished forever. On March nineteenth he sat down before them, with really no dependence except on fate. In spite of discouragements, however, a breach was effected on the twenty-eighth by means of a mine, but the assault was repulsed.

Day followed day without an important incident, until in the third week an army of twenty-five thousand men, under Abdullah, approached from Damascus to relieve Jezzar. Kléber set out to check their march, and the first skirmish of advance-guards occurred at Nazareth. For eight hours Junot, in the van with a few hundred men, stood firm against a tenfold force; and even when the whole French division arrived the overwhelming superiority of the Turkish numbers was not perceptibly diminished. Bonaparte was not far (p. 072) behind. Leaving a respectable array before the town to keep up appearances, he hurried away with the rest, and by a forced march debouched on April sixteenth into the plain of Esdraelon. In the distance, at the foot of Mount Tabor, he could see a cloud of dust and smoke, in the midst of which the ranks of Kléber's division seemed buried beneath the masses of his foe. Throwing his fine cavalry on the Turkish flanks, the commander-in-chief, at the head of the infantry, caught his enemy unawares from behind the whirling sand which had concealed his presence. The result was an utter rout of the Turks, who fled by the mountain passes in complete disorder.

Bonaparte returned victorious to Acre, and resumed the siege with a grim determination such as even he had not often felt. He had good cause. Another messenger from the Directory, traveling with comparative directness by way of Genoa, had arrived with despatches and newspapers dated as late as February. Two Austrian generals, Mack and Sachsen, had put themselves at the head of the Neapolitan army, and were about to march on Rome. An Austrian army division had already begun hostilities by entering the Grisons, thus violating the neutrality of the allied Helvetian Republic. Russia, Turkey, and Austria were in coalition: Russia would despatch troops to defend the Turkish capital and to aid in conquering Italy. Two new French armies were in the field. Moreau, the only first-rate general in France, was still under suspicion of complicity with Pichegru, and although permitted to accompany the Army of Italy as a volunteer, had been passed over in the choice of commanders. Jourdan, whose consistent democracy as a member of the Five Hundred had restored him to favor and rank, was to command the Army of the Danube; Joubert was to (p. 073) succeed Bonaparte in Italy. As for himself, he was left unhampered by instructions, but three alternatives had suggested themselves to the Directory—that he should either remain in Egypt and complete his colonial organization, or else press on to India and there supplant the English power, or, finally, march straight to Constantinople and attack the Russians. The tone of the despatches was one of anxiety. From earliest times Acre had been the key of Palestine; if Bonaparte should secure it, he would become the arbiter of his own destiny and of the world's. With Palestine, Egypt, and India at his feet, the tricontinental monarchy of his dreams was realizable; or else, in the same case, he could return to Paris with laurels unknown since the crusades, and put the copestone on the nearly completed structure of military domination in France and Europe. To the end of his days he imagined, or represented himself as imagining, that he would have altered the world's career by choosing the part of Oriental conqueror. We may call these notions dreams, or fancies, or visions, or what we will; they were sane conceptions in themselves, although it is not likely that England would have been conquered in the loss of India. She had been vigorous without it; she could have survived even that blow. For the moment the fall of Acre appeared to be an antecedent condition to either of the courses which were in the mind of Bonaparte.

But the siege was not prosperous. The assault and the defense during the attack in March had been alike desperate, and French valor had been futile. A fleet was now on its way from Constantinople to throw additional men and provisions into the town. At the same time Phélippeaux had constructed a new girdle of forts inside the walls, and had barricaded the streets. In the interval, however, the French had brought up some (p. 074) heavy guns from Jaffa, and were making preparations to renew operations. A breach was easily effected, and a few gallant fellows seized the tower which controlled the outworks and curtain; but the storming party was repulsed, and the men in the tower, though they held it for two days, were finally so reduced in numbers that they succumbed. This exasperated the French soldiers intensely. For the first two weeks of May there was scarcely a break in the succession of assaults. The fierce struggles which occurred in the breaches, on the barricades, even in the streets, to which the French once or twice penetrated, resulted in an appalling loss of life; but neither party quailed. Before long a pestilence broke out in the French camp, and the hospitals established at Jaffa and elsewhere were crowded with sick and dying.

On May seventh Kléber's division was called in for a conclusive onslaught, and in the face of a double fire from Sir Sidney Smith's cannon and the guns on the walls, both the first and second works were scaled and taken. All was in vain. Every house rained bullets from embrasures made for the purpose, and the entering columns retreated on the very threshold of their goal. Three days later a second equally desperate attempt likewise failed. In all, the siege lasted sixty-two days; the French assaulted forty times, and twenty-six sallies were made by the garrison; four thousand soldiers and four good generals from his splendid army were the sacrifice of human life which Bonaparte offered at Acre to his ambition. Finally, the squadron from Constantinople having safely arrived, news came that another was fitting out at Rhodes to retake Egypt itself. Nothing was left but to draw off, and on the seventeenth the siege was abandoned. The retreat began on the twentieth. At Jaffa Bonaparte passed through the hospital (p. 075) wards calling out in a loud voice: "The Turks will be here in a few hours. Whoever feels strong enough, let him rise and follow us."

As a votary at the shrine of science he believed, both then and later, in the lawfulness of suicide; and he now coldly suggested murder to his surgeon-general, hinting that an overdose of opium would end the sufferings of those plague-stricken men who would have to be abandoned. It was long believed that such a dose actually had been administered to the sixty or more who were left behind. But the conclusive evidence that the report was false is in the fact that when Sir Sidney Smith occupied Jaffa the sufferers were still alive. Napoleon to the last defended the suggestion as proper, though he falsely denied having made it himself, and untruthfully declared at St. Helena that he had delayed three days to protect the dying patients. With cynical good nature, he told the fine story of how the noble French army surgeon Desgenettes had rejected the criminal suggestion, replying that a physician's profession was to save, not to destroy, human life. The rebuke was particularly scathing because the heroic doctor, in spite of his conviction that the plague was contagious, had already inoculated himself with the disease in order to allay the panic of the terror-stricken soldiers. The army was reduced to eight thousand. After a nine days' march through the burning sands, the exhausted columns of the French reached Cairo. Such was the unparalleled vigor of the survivors that a few days' rest and proper food sufficed to recuperate their strength.

More wonderful still, they soon believed themselves to have returned with crowns of victory. Their crafty general explained that but for the terrible heats of Syria, the pest, and the expedition from Rhodes, which (p. 076) threatened their rear, they would have leveled the walls of Acre and destroyed Jezzar's palace, returning with standards and spoils to confirm France's dominion in the hearts and fears of the Egyptians. The volatile and sanguine soldiery, unwilling to admit defeat even to themselves, half believed this was true, and soon by an easy transition came to hold the mere suggestions as actual facts. Berthier was instructed that the native authorities at Cairo were to be so informed by an advance agent, General Boyer. The few important prisoners whose lives had been spared were to be conveyed, with due display of captured standards, to the citadel of Cairo, and there imprisoned with the public announcement "that a great number of such were coming." The litters of the wounded French officers Lannes, Duroc, Croizier, and Arrighi were to be quietly carried in on different days. In one emphatic paragraph are the instructions for Boyer: "He is to write, to say, to do everything which may secure a triumphal entry." So adroitly were truth and fiction intermingled and confused by Bonaparte and his agents, that in spite of various attempted risings the country as a whole remained quiet. Murad, however, who had fled to Nubia, and had there remained in concealment until informed of the proposed Turkish expedition, soon reappeared with the remnants of his cavalry, for the purpose of coöperating with the Sultan's forces. For weeks he came and went among the people so mysteriously that the French guards could never seize him. Bonaparte's superstition was awakened by the stealthy and uncanny movements of his enemy, and in July he gave vent to his nervous irritation in a request to one of his subordinates either to kill or worry to death the object of his dread. "Let him die one way or another, I shall be equally obliged," were his words.


Aboukir and the Great Desertion[9]

The Last of the Mamelukes — Aboukir — The News from Paris — An Adventurer's Decision — Preparations for Departure — His Plans Concealed — The Last Visit to Corsica — A Narrow Escape — Reception in France — Conjugal Estrangement.


The Turkish army which had sailed from Rhodes numbered about twelve thousand men. The fleet which transported them appeared off Alexandria on July twentieth, and a landing was attempted. Repulsed by the forts, the ships drew off to Aboukir, where the effort was successful. The force was composed of infantry, and as nothing further could be done without cavalry, they began immediately to throw up breastworks, hoping to make a successful stand until the arrival of Murad. But this romantic personage, the last of the Mamelukes to enjoy undisputed sway, was able to come no farther than the Pyramids; the land at which he gazed from the summit of Cheops was never again to be his. Before he could reach his allies they had been overwhelmed, and before the evacuation of Egypt by its invaders he fell a victim to the plague. Mehemet Ali and the Albanians were to inherit his power. By July twenty-fourth the Turks had strongly fortified the peninsula of Aboukir with a double line of works. Not only did they hear nothing from Murad, but Ibrahim, who was expected from Syria, also failed them, and the lack of cavalry threw them on the defensive. (p. 078) But their presence, they hoped, would be sufficient to fan the rebellious spirit of the country, and they might maintain themselves until reinforcements should come by sea, or the belated cavalry arrive by land.

With his accustomed rapidity Bonaparte made ready to strike. Ibrahim was checked, Murad was finally driven back, and Desaix was called in from upper Egypt to keep order below while the contest was going on in the Delta. With six thousand men in the main army, and two thousand reserves under Kléber, Bonaparte set out. On July twenty-fifth the battle was joined. It was short and murderous. The enemy was first outflanked on the left, and that wing driven into the sea; then the right was caught in the same manner, and suffered a like fate. Finally, with a rush the infantry of Lannes surmounted a redoubt in the center. What was their surprise to find Murat with his cavalry already on the other side! The dashing riders had madly circumvented the line of intrenchment. There were but three thousand Turks now left, and these took refuge in a citadel which they had constructed at the apex of the peninsula. On August first, 1799, the anniversary of the battle of the Nile, the entire force surrendered. Bonaparte told the Directory that twelve thousand Turks were drowned. As he said in his despatch to Cairo, "Not a single man of the hostile army which had landed escaped." The French troops were now convinced that their general had always been invincible, and that somehow he would open the doors of their prison-house, and find a way for their return.

Napoleon Exposition, 1895

(Belonging to Germain Bapst).

It was nearly six months since the date of the latest authentic news from Paris. At least so thought the general's adjutants and companions, and they were possibly right. They knew that he had been constantly forwarding news of their enterprise, and probably (p. 079) regular instructions, to the authorities at Paris. Bonaparte mentions in his correspondence the despatch of sixty vessels of various kinds with his letters, and some of them, at least, reached their destination. This certainty, with the wise adaptation of his subsequent course to his ultimate ends, has led to the supposition that he was in constant receipt of secret information from his brothers, by way of Genoa and Tunis. This he never explicitly denied, although he said at St. Helena that newspapers were sent ashore from the English fleet after the battle of Aboukir, adding, as a kind of ingenuous generalization, that, besides, news did not come from France by way of Tunis. Joseph declares in his memoirs that he himself sent a messenger to tell the sorry tale of French affairs to Napoleon. But there is no proof and no likelihood that this courier ever reached his destination. It is certain that Bonaparte learned at Acre of the new coalition against France from Phélippeaux in a parley held across the trenches; it is probable that his private news came by way of the Barbary States; it is unquestioned that his best information was obtained through the English fleet, which was now off Alexandria, negotiating for exchanges on behalf of Turkey. According to Marmont, Sir Sidney Smith, hoping to discourage his enemy, sent a packet of papers ashore, and declared that if the French army should strive to escape, in accordance with the desire of the Directory, he would endeavor to give an account himself to the fugitives.

In any case, what was now definitely made known to Bonaparte was not unwelcome information. He was assured that war had broken out, as he expected and perhaps knew; that the French arms had suffered disgrace in Italy; and that a fleet under Admiral Bruix had been despatched to conquer the Mediterranean and (p. 080) to bring home the Army of Egypt. No doubt he guessed that the Directory was showing hopeless incapacity. What he could not know was that on May twenty-sixth they had actually despatched a special courier to express the hope that he himself would return to take command of the armies of the republic. This messenger, we know, never landed in Egypt, but his services were not required; for no sooner was Bonaparte convinced that the crisis he had long foreseen was actually occurring than the resolution he had twice foreshadowed in his letters to Paris was finally taken. He told Marmont that the state of things in Europe compelled him to return: the French armies defeated, all the fruits of his hard-earned victories in Italy lost! Of what use were these incapables who were at the head of affairs? With them all was hesitation, stupidity, and corruption. "I—I alone have borne the burden, and by constant victory have given strength to this administration, which without me would never have lifted its head. On my departure everything had, of necessity, to crumble. Let us not wait until the destruction is complete; the evil would be irremediable.... The news of my return will be heard in France simultaneously with that of the destruction of the Turkish army at Aboukir. My presence will elevate men's spirits, restore to the army its lost confidence, and to the good people the hope of a prosperous future." No commentary could make this language clearer.

His arrangements were quickly made. A few trusted men were confidentially informed of the situation, and Kléber was appointed to the chief command of the army, which was so dishonorably to be abandoned in a most critical situation, reduced as it was to half its original numbers, destitute of provisions and ammunition, surrounded by a hostile, fanatical population, and confronted by the powerful fleet of its most unrelenting (p. 081) enemy. Secretly, and by night, the two frigates in the harbor of Alexandria were prepared, and anchored off a remote point of the shore. In the early hours of August twenty-second the fugitive general embarked, accompanied by a few devoted and choice friends—capable generals like Murat, Lannes, Marmont, Berthier, Duroc, Bessières, Lavalette, Ganteaume, and Andréossy; equally fine political scholars like Monge, Denon, and Berthollet. It was arranged that Junot and Desaix should come later.

The great deserter could easily persuade himself that this was an act of heroism—risking his life on hostile waters in order to save France. It was not hard to reason speciously that it was a colony which had been intended, and a colony which had been planted; that in his return he was using the discretion granted by the Directory, and carrying out a plan announced from the outset. But it needed no verdict of posterity to declare that it would have been more heroic to remain and share the consequences of a scheme so largely his own. His conscience asserted as much, for he deceived the brilliant and acute Kléber in an appointment to say farewell, which was not kept; while the Grand Council of Cairo was told that he had gone to take command of his fleet, and would return in three months. Orders were left that if fifteen hundred soldiers should die of the pest, Kléber should open negotiations for evacuating the country. An angry and emphatic protest was written by the victimized general; but it was intercepted by the English cruisers, and did not fall into the hands of his betrayer until after he had become First Consul. At St. Helena, Napoleon declared that the failure of the expedition was clear to him from the moment of Nelson's victory; for any force which cannot be recruited must melt away and eventually surrender.

(p. 082) Sir Sidney Smith, not thinking either that a general would abandon his army, or that vessels would sail for Europe against the adverse winds of that season, had made for Cyprus to renew his supply of water. In this interval the two French frigates gained the open sea, their captains entertaining the vague hope of reaching Toulon direct, by some reversal of nature's laws. But the prevalent breezes continued, and compelled them to coast along the African shore. It was three weeks before they even sighted the headlands of Tunis. At last a favoring wind began to blow. With lights extinguished, they passed at night the strait which separates Africa from Sicily, escaping the observation of the English cruisers sent from Nelson's fleet to patrol those waters. Skirting Sardinia, the flotilla reached Corsica early in October. Though, as Bonaparte declared, he was "deeply moved by the sight of his native town," no remnant of his early enthusiasm could sweeten for him the enforced delay of several days in the harbor of Ajaccio. He had left far behind the emotions of that primitive society, and, evidently fretting to be gone, was rather impatient at the abounding caresses of all the friends who thronged the town when he was ashore and crowded the decks when he was afloat. Some deeds have been recorded to his credit: all the money he had by him, about forty thousand francs, he distributed to the garrison, which had not been paid for over a year and a half; his features, it is also said, relaxed with evident joy as he tenderly returned the greeting of the old woman who had been his earliest attendant. It was his last visit to the island of his birth, but not the last time the accents of its dialect fell on his ears, for it was a Corsican who troubled his dying hours at St. Helena.

What moved him really and deeply was the news of (p. 083) French disasters on the Trebbia and at Novi, of Joubert's death, of the dissolution of the Italian republics, and of Moreau's last stand in the Piedmont fortresses. What probably moved him most was the further news that the old Directory had virtually fallen on the thirtieth of Prairial, and that Sieyès, who had returned but partly successful from Berlin, had been chosen as a member of the new one, to preserve at least a semblance of respect for the institution. Finally, the favoring breeze sprang up, and on October eighth sail was made again, not for Italy, to restore the fortunes of the army, as Bourrienne says had been planned during the voyage, but direct for France. Suddenly, at sunset, a British squadron loomed on the horizon. Was Fortune at last to desert her child? It seemed so. The captain of Bonaparte's vessel gave orders to make again for Ajaccio, and prepared a long-boat for the solitary landing of his passenger on the wild shores of the island in case of extremity. But a dark night revived his courage. The English, deceived by the apparent angle of their enemy's yards, mistook his course, and sailed in a wrong direction. The French kept directly on. Next morning the adventurer set foot once more on French soil near Fréjus. A few nights later news of Bonaparte's landing was brought to his sisters in their box at the theater. They received it with exultation, but apparently with no manifestation of surprise.

How was he received, this thwarted leader of a costly fiasco, this general who for nothing had left the bones of thousands to whiten upon Eastern deserts, who had deserted in a plague-stricken land many thousands more of the finest troops which France could furnish? With a passion of delight! From Fréjus through Lyons to Paris, along the old familiar route, the people knew nothing of their hero's failures. They had not forgotten (p. 084) his Italian victories, which only a short year before had made them masters where now their armies were in disgrace and their name was execrated; they knew only too well the widespread legends of the same man's triumphs in the romantic East, before Cairo and at the feet of the Pyramids. With all this they contrasted the valley of humiliation through which the republic had been dragged by the incapacity of their leaders. Was it wonderful that at Lyons the fêtes were like a jubilee, through which Bonaparte, aware that his goal was near, moved like one already elevated among his fellows—conciliating, deprecating, mysterious?

It was on October sixteenth that he arrived at his house on Victory street, in Paris. Mme. Bonaparte was not there to give him a welcome. During the absence of her husband she had made her house the center of a brilliant society which numbered among its members the ablest men of the time. This circle was untiring in its devotion to Bonaparte's interests, making friends for him at home, plotting in his behalf abroad, turning every political incident to his advantage, and building up a strong party which believed that he was the only possible savior of France. In conduct the associates were gay and even dissolute; occasionally a select inner coterie withdrew to Plombières, nominally for repose, but probably for a seclusion not altogether innocent. Into this loyal but licentious company the sudden announcement of Bonaparte's approach brought something like consternation. Josephine, in particular, having been recklessly unfaithful during his absence, was now over-anxious to display a feigned devotion to her husband. Doubtless she had heard of his desperate licentiousness in Egypt; she must have recalled her own orgies of faithlessness during his absence, in Italy first and now again in Egypt; she may have learned (p. 085) that his family were already hinting divorce and that his ears were only too attentive to the suggestion. But she knew her powers and resolved to stake all on another cast. Learning of his approach, she went out some distance to meet him, but took the wrong road, and passed him unawares. Hurrying back, she found the door of his chamber barred, her absence being of course a confirmation of the general's jealous suspicions. For hours her entreaties and tears were vain. At last Eugène and Hortense joined theirs with their mother's, and the door was opened. The breach was apparently healed, but rather to avoid a scandal than from sincere forgiveness.

(p. 086) CHAPTER IX

"The Return of the Hero"[10]

The Second Coalition — Failures and Defeats of the Directory — The Rastadt Congress — Murder of the French Plenipotentiaries — The Crisis in France — The Revolution of Prairial — The Conscription — The Schemes of the Directors — The Successes of the Bonapartists — The Attitude of Paris — "The Return of the Hero" — The Man of Destiny.

The situation of affairs in Europe at the close of 1799 was, as Bonaparte had anticipated, by no means simple. England having been scorned in the propositions for peace which she made in 1797 at Lille, a second coalition of France's enemies was formed in 1798, largely through the efforts of Paul I, the new Czar of Russia. The organization of the Helvetian Republic in Switzerland had brought the Revolution into the very heart of central Europe, and thus had further estranged the trembling dynasties of both Austria and Prussia. The organization on February eighteenth, 1798, of the Roman Republic had brought the Revolution to the frontiers of Naples; when her king, having joined the coalition, renewed hostilities and inaugurated a general war by throwing an army (p. 087) into Rome, the French troops in Italy were divided, and a portion of them, under Championnet, overturned the Neapolitan throne in a kind of pleasure excursion. In January, 1799, the Parthenopean Republic was proclaimed. By a skilfully devised complot in which Lucien Bonaparte was active, the Directory charged the feeble King of Sardinia with unfriendliness, the Cisalpine Republic picked a quarrel with him, Tuscany became involved in the ensuing disorders, and Charles Emmanuel IV was compelled on December ninth, 1798, to abandon all his territories on the mainland, while the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand III, fled shortly after, in 1799, to his relatives in the court of Vienna, leaving his dominions temporarily at the disposal of France.

It was doubtless a pleasant delusion for sincere republicans to imagine that in these events free governments were rising on the wreck of absolutism; but unfortunately the fact was otherwise: every one of these so-called free states was founded, not in the hearts of its people, but in the power of French arms. With the waning of this military ascendancy, they must of necessity lose all vitality. Bonaparte had stated to the Directory, in defense of his own conduct, and of course both repeatedly and emphatically, that to divide the Army of Italy and leave the Austrians on the Adige would be to lose Italy. And yet this was precisely the blunder the directors made in sending Championnet to Naples. Angered by the unexpected renewal of hostilities, their preparations for the coming war, though vigorous and energetic, were made unadvisedly and in haste. Brune was sent to command in Holland, Bernadotte to the middle Rhine, Jourdan into central Germany, Masséna to Switzerland, Macdonald to Naples, and Schérer to upper Italy. Two hundred thousand (p. 088) men were raised under the new conscription law, and these conscripts-a word then used in that sense for the first time-were sent to fill the depleted ranks of the respective armies. Brune and Masséna were destined to show ability and win success; the others were marked for overwhelming defeat: the crowning example of folly was the appointment of the incapable Schérer to the post of greatest importance. He had once before shown his inability to master the rudiments of warfare in Italy, and this time his command was as inefficient as might have been expected. Jourdan, having been defeated toward the close of March, by the Archduke Charles, both at Ostrach and at Stockach, was succeeded by Lenouf, who was at once compelled to retreat behind the Rhine. On the heels of this disaster, Schérer was driven first behind the Mincio, then to the Oglio; he was shamefully beaten at Magnano in April, and then voluntarily made way for Moreau, laying down his command amid the jeers of his disgusted troops.

Meantime the congress at Rastadt had been keeping up the forms of negotiation, its proceedings being in the main perfunctory, and its sessions deriving their interest mainly from the attempts of the French plenipotentiaries to overawe their colleagues. In this they were largely successful, because they had in their possession the clearest evidence of Austria's earlier determination to secure her importance by the dismemberment of Bavaria. They were now three in number: two of them, Roberjot and Bonnier, were honest supporters of the Directory; the third, Debry, was an old friend of Bonaparte's, and had never swerved from his allegiance. As chief of the embassy he had attracted great attention, and having displayed a spirit far from conciliatory, he gave some cause for the special dislike in which he was held, not only by the other delegates, but even by his (p. 089) own colleagues. There was the utmost tension in the congress when hostilities were renewed. With the successes of Charles, Austria grew so bold that she determined to break off all negotiation. Already one imperial representative had withdrawn in dudgeon; the others were ready to follow. Aware that war was imminent, both French and Austrian troops had begun early in 1799 to scour the suburbs of Rastadt, and had in frequent forays not merely attacked each other, but had molested the citizens and even the ambassadors. Finally, in April, the imperial troops beset the town, and ordered the remaining members of the congress to leave within a term which, according to usage, was to be fixed by the assembly itself.

The French ministers, in obedience to orders received from Paris, waited until the very last, leaving with their train only at nightfall on April twenty-eighth. In a few moments, and almost before the gates, they were surrounded and hustled, by whom is not altogether certain, though at the time some were believed to be Austrian hussars. In the ensuing tumult the three plenipotentiaries were dragged from their carriages and furiously assaulted; Roberjot and Bonnier were killed, Debry escaped. Next morning he appeared in Rastadt wounded and bloody, but not seriously injured. This murder has become one of the standing historical puzzles. Some have attributed its instigation to the British cabinet, some to Bonaparte, some again to Caroline of Naples, and some to the French émigrés. Many claim that the blows were struck by Debry himself, who, it is thought, was one of those Bonapartist agents, like Garat in Naples and Ginguené in Turin, whose business, as is claimed, was to bring on anarchy at any price, and discredit the Directory. The royalists, supported by the declarations of Mme. Roberjot, who was in the (p. 090) carriage with her husband, asserted this at the time, and the numerous hewers at the greatness of Napoleon have again repeated it in our day. There are circumstances which could be twisted into corroborative evidence if even the slightest positive proof existed; but no satisfactory testimony has ever been offered from Austrian sources to prove that these attacks, like others of the time and in other lands, were not instigated by the authorities, and made both to conceal inconvenient shortcomings, and to bring on the war for which Austria was now thoroughly prepared.[11]

The second coalition was stronger than the first, because, although Prussia remained neutral for reasons already mentioned, it included not only England and Austria, but also both Turkey and Russia, with Portugal and Naples. The long frontier, from Holland to Naples, which France was called on to defend in the absence of her best troops and generals in Egypt, made her weak and vulnerable as never before. England (p. 091) appeared in Holland with an Anglo-Russian army; the Russians poured into Switzerland and Italy; the Austrians were again on the Rhine and the Adige; while Turkey was showing unexpected energy in repelling the invaders from lands which, slack as was the tie, she still considered her own. Worse than all, the false position of the French republic and the Church with reference to each other had kept alive smoldering coals of discontent, and as a result civil war again broke out in Brittany and Vendée. To meet this appalling emergency there was needed either a capable, homogeneous administration heartily supported by the nation, or else a military despotism such as was the logical result of Vendémiaire and Fructidor. The former did not exist. Instead of gaining strength by wise self-denial, the Directory had grown steadily weaker, usurping authority of every kind, and actually seating in the councils of 1798, by the basest arts, creatures of their own as representatives of no less than forty-nine departments. The May elections of 1799 expressed the popular discontent in an uprising of extreme Jacobinism, which sent an opposition delegation into the councils too strong to be thus supplanted or overthrown.

The new legislature met the executive, and at once, with their own weapons. Aided by public clamor, and by the influence of a widely read pamphlet which Carnot had written in justification of his course, they obtained in June a virtual reconstruction of the Directory. Barras, who had become known as a weak trimmer, was suffered to remain. Rewbell, as a supporter of the unsuccessful Schérer and the pertinacious associate of Rapinat, a dishonest contractor connected with the Army of Italy, had been himself suspected of peculation, although unjustly, and his time having expired, he was not reëlected. The others went as a matter of course; (p. 092) Merlin and Larévellière were permitted to resign because, although troublesome, they were nonentities; Treilhard, though honest and able, could not make himself felt, and a flaw in his election was used as a pretext to replace him by Gohier, who, though he had been formerly minister of justice, was a feeble creature. Sieyès was put in Rewbell's place in order to secure a better constitution. He carried into his new sphere the same habits of supercilious mystery which he had always had, continuing likewise the scheming for radical change which he had so long carried on. He looked to Joubert as the popular general most likely to become an easy tool, and formed an intimacy with him. The two other places were filled by utter mediocrities: Roger-Ducos, a moderate, and Moulins, a radical. This revolution of the thirtieth of Prairial, another "day," was held to be a Jacobin counterstroke to that of the eighteenth of Fructidor. The legislature had shown itself as lawless as the Directory; the constitution was proved to be worthless: another must be enacted. With Fouché at the head of the police, and other Robespierrians restored to office, it appeared to the majority of the nation as if all constitutional government were jeopardized, as if the Terror were to be revived, as if such madness could be repressed only by military force.

But where was the general? Championnet had disgraced himself by permitting unbridled license among his soldiery after the capture of Naples on January twenty-third, 1799, and his army fell into a state of disreputable disorganization. Macdonald had gathered together and reorganized the remnants, but only to be defeated by Suvoroff with his Russians on the Trebbia. The army of Joubert, who succeeded Moreau, had been overwhelmed, and its leader killed, by an Austro-Russian force at Novi, on August fifteenth. Mantua was (p. 093) already lost. Moreau, having saved some remnants of Joubert's troops, made a successful stand in the Apennines, where his army still was. Masséna was defeated at Zurich, in June, by the Austrians under the archduke Charles; but on September twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth he routed the Russians under Korsakoff at the same place. Brune had defeated on September nineteenth, at Bergen, an Anglo-Russian army under the Duke of York, who was forced to capitulate at Alkmaar on October tenth, and to evacuate the Batavian Republic. Bernadotte was the new secretary of war, more successful in that office than as a diplomat. Although he was Joseph Bonaparte's brother-in-law, he was not a Bonapartist, being first, last, and always a Bernadottist. Under his administration Jourdan had devised and carried out the new conscription measure which filled once more the empty army lists. This sweeping measure was the extreme development of the system introduced by Carnot, whereby all able-bodied French citizens were declared liable to military service, and drafts were made only when voluntary enlistment failed. The conscription law was passed on September fifth, 1798, and compelled the service of all young men, or at least of as many as the government saw fit to draw, between the ages of twenty and twenty-five. This procedure differed but little from that now universal in modern Europe, and created the Napoleonic armies as distinguished from those of the republic. Organized into divisions, brigades, and half-brigades as before, the new ranks appear to have been quite as enthusiastic as the old, for the young of the nation now looked to war as the quickest road to glory. Bernadotte expressed the common conviction of all ambitious young men when he said: "Children, there are certainly great captains among you." The treasury was replenished by a (p. 094) forced loan disguised under the form of an arbitrary tariff. Besides all this, a frightful measure had been passed, known as the Hostage Law, which made the innocent relatives of every Chouan or emigrant responsible for his conduct.

These measures were indicative of a dangerous and rising tide of the new Jacobinism, which was represented by a majority in the Five Hundred, in the Directory by Gohier and Moulins, and outside by a recognized club of terrorists, which began to sit in the famous riding-school where the Convention had held its sessions. The well-to-do men like Talleyrand, Regnault de St.-Jean-d'Angély, and Roederer, the philosophers Cambacérès, Sémonville, Benjamin Constant, and even Daunou, were outraged at the thought of a new Terror, and looked to Sieyès and Barras to prevent it. In view of these disturbing circumstances, many also asked, Where is the statesman? The Jacobins, as of old, had perfect faith that the chapter of accidents would reveal a statesman; a general they had either in the calm Jourdan or in the hotspur Augereau. Their policy was to repeat republican victories, and fortify democracy in the coming constitution, whatever shape it should take. Sieyès and his friends naturally would have turned to the conqueror of Italy, with whom they had already plotted; but he was absent, and, besides, they wanted a tool, not a master. They actually tried Moreau with the offer of a dictatorship to be equally shared with Bonaparte; but he was already under the spell of royalism, and proved coy. It has been suggested that but for the arrival of Bonaparte himself, Masséna, who much resembled Monk in character, might have repeated that general's rôle in France. Certainly the advocates of a limited monarchy would, in the extremity, have welcomed even the Bourbons as a constitutional (p. 095) dynasty, and this although they were so distrustful that Sieyès, when ambassador in Prussia, had dreamed of choosing a foreign royal house for that purpose, selecting as his own preference that of Brunswick.

Such, then, was the complicated web of defeat and victory in war, of plot and counterplot in politics, of cross-purposes everywhere, which was displayed to Bonaparte on his return to the capital. Should he, the hitherto avowed republican whose devoted soldiers still believed themselves to be fighting for freedom's cause, continue the farce still further, and throw in his fate with the Jacobins? Or should he put down the mask? It soon became clear to him that Paris and the people would never again tolerate a Terror, and that success in the long run lay in an alliance with them. If they would accept his leadership, the game was won. But was this possible? The cool heads, like Baron de Pasquier, had noted the real character of the Egyptian and Syrian campaigns; but even they had an admiration for an adventurer's effrontery, and they were too few to make much impression upon the masses. By large numbers of the hitherto indifferent it was now believed that Bonaparte and his army had been deported to Egypt from jealousy on the part of the Directory; and to some of the conservatives he was a martyr returning from exile, yet bringing new trophies to his country. This rumor was not only never contradicted, but was rather increased by the significant hints of those among the Bonaparte family who were now in the thick of events. Joseph, having three years previously been elected to the Five Hundred, had risen high in the public esteem; and Lucien for two years past had likewise been one of the most influential members. Both were changed men. Polished, at least superficially, and apparently devoted to letters, they were known as (p. 096) solid citizens. Their social gifts had made their homes, like that of Mme. Bonaparte herself, centers of influence among many important people of the capital. Hers, however, was far more exclusive, and affected a lofty superiority to all others. Between it and the other two there existed intense jealousy concerning the general's favor, but all were heartily united in furthering his interests.

The people of Paris did not, like those of Lyons, run to meet Bonaparte as if he were already a sovereign; but they received him warmly. In particular the malcontents who were plotting in his behalf, as if under his personal direction, welcomed him with effusion. Without a moment's delay he took charge of their councils. Sieyès had lost his mainstay in Joubert, and his prestige by the defeat at Novi. With the help of Talleyrand and Roederer he was soon brought to terms, and under Bonaparte's immediate direction the careful, daring plan for a complete change both in the constitution and in the administration which had been already discussed by Sieyès and his followers, the so-called reformists, was revised and finished. It was on its face a determined attempt to remedy the radical defects of the constitution of the year III, and to organize a strong constitutional government. In fact, its author had already shown a certain executive ability in preparing the way. Waving the red signal of the Terror, he had by a series of arbitrary measures suppressed the Jacobin papers and banished their editors. Jourdan at this crisis demanded from the assemblies a vote that the "country was in danger," but his appeal fell flat. Then came the stirring news that under Masséna and Brune the armies of France were renewing their pristine glories, and that the Rhine and the Alps at least were safe. A few days later a messenger from the executive read to the councils, (p. 097) in solemn state, the despatch, composed by Bonaparte for the purpose, containing his exaggerated narrative of the battle of Aboukir. Tremendous enthusiasm swept over both chambers. Gohier, who had fallen a victim to the charms of Josephine in her frequent visits to his flattered wife, was the president of the Directory. To him Bonaparte had paid his first official visit, and on the following day the Directory received in formal audience the general, who, as he himself declared to Gohier, had "left his army to come and share the national perils," reports of which had so disquieted him in Egypt.

The official and the popular good will were therefore before long alike intense: Paris was within a few days as much dazzled by Bonaparte's return as the country had been. The "Return of the Hero" was the catchword of the nation. Recent events had shattered parties into fragments: here was a leader who had never been identified with any one of them. The newspapers took up the pæan of his virtues. Meanness and mediocrity were to disappear; the French people, avid of great things, had found again the favorite of fortune who alone could accomplish them. First Talleyrand, then Sieyès, then all the other well-known men, from Gohier down, openly joined in the train of admirers. The shifty course of large numbers who, like Roederer, were opportunists at heart had become wearisome to the moneyed classes, and they also soon arrayed themselves under Bonaparte's banner. Doubtful or distant persons of influence were courted, and, as in the case of Moreau, were by consummate art often won. Roederer thought the revolution virtually completed by October thirtieth; the work, he said, was three quarters done. Next day Lucien Bonaparte was elected president of the Five Hundred, among whom, though the majority (p. 098) were vacillating and uncomprehending, there was a strong minority of unreconstructed Jacobins. Within the fortnight the defeated general had drawn together at Paris a court more powerful than that which he had had at Montebello in the hour of victory. His personal demeanor was much the same as then—quiet and reserved, but conciliatory, simple, and frank. He affected the simple garb of the civilian, sometimes wearing an Oriental scarf with a small scimitar; frequented the Institute, of which he had been made a member; and associated by preference with men like Volney, discussing questions of philosophy and science. Soon it was whispered that his plans were maturing. What could they be? The answer was not long in suspense. The pear was ripe.

We felt ourselves the associates of an all-powerful destiny, wrote Marmont, concerning the voyage from Egypt. Bonaparte himself was the author of this sentiment, which for long was to be the controlling thought of millions. The Orient had quickened in him a latent conviction as to the value of a destiny and a star. When, in threatening crises, others forgot it, the great adventurer reminded them of it, meaning thereby his own clear vision, unclouded by adversity, penetrating in the confusion of circumstances. In no sense was he an Oriental fatalist; on the contrary, his destiny was the power to discern and to dare which resided in himself. It was his presence in France which was to dispel doubts, restore confidence, control events. "My presence," he had said on shipboard, "by raising their spirits will restore to the army its lacking self-reliance, and to good citizens the hope of a better future. There will be a movement of opinion to the benefit of France. We must struggle to arrive, and we shall arrive." To Kléber, the ablest of his generals, he had left the command and with it (p. 099) a masterly set of directions for the guidance of affairs. He could not be charged with failure, for the end was not yet; disaster could not be retrieved in Egypt: he had hastened to the scene where alone succor could be found, and he had arrived with a heart ready for the decision, under conditions the most favorable, with a definite goal and a clear, simple plan for its attainment. To outsiders and to posterity the result has appeared a happy chance. It was not so, though unforeseen circumstances contributed. It was a foregone conclusion.

(p. 100) CHAPTER X[12]

Bonaparte Seizes his Opportunity

The Banquet to Bonaparte and Moreau — Plans of the Bonapartists — Terrors of Bonaparte and Talleyrand — The Rôle of the Ancients — The Generals at Bonaparte's House — His Address to the Ancients — The Five Hundred — Sieyès and Roger-Ducos Resign from the Directory — Barras Intimidated — Gohier and Moulins Imprisoned — Bernadotte's Counterplot.

On November first, 1799, Sieyès formally surrendered all control. By agreeing, as he did in a conference with Bonaparte, that the outline of the "perfect" constitution which he had written—it was his own epithet—should not be laid directly before the councils, but should be submitted to a committee, he abdicated the public leadership, and became the dupe of his colleagues. On the sixth a banquet was given to Bonaparte in the church of St. Sulpice. It had originally been intended that the tribute should come from both chambers; in reality the affair was arranged entirely by a few of the Ancients, who were now almost to a man Bonapartists. Moreau was present as a guest. Embittered against the Directory by the impossible labors they had assigned to him, he had entered Paris cautiously and quietly; Bonaparte, equally embittered, but by his own failures, had come amid the plaudits of a nation; but (p. 101) the two were for all that justly ranked together as the great captains of the hour. The occasion, however, fell flat; for both Jourdan and Augereau, the Jacobin generals, remained away, and they were the intimates of Bernadotte. Moreau himself was sullen, and the only incident of importance was Bonaparte's toast to the "harmony of all the French." He drank it in wine that was brought in a bottle by Duroc, his aide-de-camp; for his guilty conscience made him suspicious that the meat and drink provided in his honor were poisoned.

Immediately after the close of the gloomy ovation he had a meeting with Sieyès, who produced his draft for three measures, the general tenor of which had been previously agreed upon. In the revolutionary movement now arranged, the Council of the Ancients, in which a majority was certain, were, at the proper time, to take the initiative according to constitutional provision, and pass all three as preliminary to the overthrow of the constitution. They were first to declare the existence of a plot, the nature and size of which were not to be mentioned; then to ordain the session of both councils at St. Cloud; and lastly to appoint Bonaparte commander of the troops in Paris. When assembled next day at St. Cloud, they were to accept the resignations from the Directory of Sieyès and Roger-Ducos, the latter having been persuaded to join the new movement. Finally Gohier, Barras, and Moulins were to be cowed into resigning, and thereupon a provisional (p. 102) consulate, consisting of Bonaparte, Sieyès, and Roger-Ducos, was to be intrusted with the work of reconstruction.

A sufficient military force having been made ready, it was determined at a secret meeting of the Bonapartists, held on the fifteenth of Brumaire (November seventh), that the blow should be struck three days later. To that end the Ancients were to meet, according to the program, on the seventeenth of Brumaire in the morning, and summon both assemblies to hold a session on the eighteenth at St. Cloud. Under a provision of the constitution, whenever an amendment to that document was to be considered, the bodies were to sit outside the walls of Paris. This move would naturally excite considerable suspicion among the uninitiated; and although there might be no disorder, there would certainly be much heated discussion in the streets. Still greater was the danger which lay in the temper of the troops. Enthusiastic for what they felt to be still the republic, every appearance of offering violence to any and all avowed republicans like those who sat among the Five Hundred must be avoided. The solution of this latter problem was really the key to the whole combination. Success would depend entirely on the momentary instinct of plain, honest republican soldiers taken unawares. Minor troubles there were also. Sieyès, sensitive under the evident determination of Bonaparte to use him only so long as he was necessary, became restive, and it required the nicest balancing of interests to keep him temporarily in the traces. It was a time of terrible anxiety to the conspirators. Talleyrand never forgot a scene which took place at his house in the Rue Taitbout a few nights before the crisis. He and Bonaparte were still deep in conversation at about one in the morning, when they heard the rumbling of carriage-wheels (p. 103) and the ring of cavalry hoofs in the street. Suddenly both ceased; the cavalcade had stopped at the door. Bonaparte turned pale, and Talleyrand also, as they paused and listened, fully convinced that both were to be arrested. The latter blew out the candles, and hurried through a passageway to gain a view of the street. After some delay he discovered that the carriage of a gambling-house keeper, returning under police escort from the Palais Royal with his spoils, had broken down. His fears relieved, he returned to joke with Bonaparte about the scare. Before the appointed day, however, everything which master-schemers could foresee was carefully adjusted. The apparent resurrection of Jacobinism was actually the last appearance of its ghost; for the Directory, shorn of all prestige, was divided and shaky; the army, republican to the core, was weary with its inefficiency and furious with its bankruptcy; the mass of the nation, conservative and royalist, despaired of a restoration, and, sick of war, were for the moment in a humor to accept any strong government. The majority of the administration, the nation, and the army were, therefore, in readiness, while the numerous malcontents in each were at least temporarily silenced. Every little hidden wire of private interest was in hand, and plans were ripe to coerce those who could not be cajoled.

All night long, from the sixteenth to the seventeenth of Brumaire, a committee of the Ancients was in session, minutely perfecting its plans. Next morning at seven the faithful majority, having been summoned according to form, convened as the council; the doubtful members had either not been summoned at all, or had received notice of a later hour. As soon as a quorum was present, Cornet, a well-known butt for the wits, rose and denounced the terrible conspiracy which was menacing (p. 104) them. Regnier then moved that according to articles one hundred and two, three and four of the constitution both branches of the legislature should meet next day at noon, and not before, in the palace of St. Cloud; that General Bonaparte should be intrusted with the execution of their decree, and that to that end he be appointed commander of the Paris garrison, of their own special guard, and of the National Guard; that he therefore appear and take the oath; and that these resolutions be duly communicated to the Directory, to the Five Hundred, and also to the public by printed proclamation. The motion was carried unanimously.

During these proceedings, all the generals present in Paris except Jourdan and Augereau, who had not been invited, but including the stanch republican Lefebvre, commander of the garrison, had gathered in and before Bonaparte's house. They had been requested to come in uniform in order to arrange for a review. It was noticed that Bernadotte, though present, was not in uniform. He had so far yielded to the blandishments of his brother-in-law as to come, but declared that he would obey only what was at that moment the chief authority in the state. Lefebvre was in uniform, but having met on the way bodies of troops moving without his orders, and not being initiated, he was naturally startled. But Bonaparte knew his man. "Would you, a supporter of the republic, leave it to perish in the hands of these lawyers?" was his greeting. "See, here is the sword I carried at the Pyramids. I give it to you as a mark of my esteem and confidence." "Let us throw the lawyers into the river," came the expected answer.

A few moments later arrived the authoritative summons from the Ancients. Bonaparte stepped out on the porch, and read their proceedings aloud. By a (p. 105) united impulse the officers flourished their swords in response. It was but an instant before they were mounted, and with Bonaparte in front, the cavalcade, headed by men either already famous or destined to become so,—Macdonald, Sérurier, Murat, Lannes, Andréossy, Berthier, and Lefebvre,—proceeded to the council-chamber. It needed but a hasty glance, as they passed through the city, to see that preconcerted orders had already been carefully executed. The troops were all under arms and at their stations in commanding places throughout the town. Arrived at the Tuileries, the general and his glittering escort entered the chamber. "Citizen delegates," he said, "the republic was falling. You understood the situation; your course has saved it. Woe to them who cause disorder or disturbance! With the help of General Lefebvre, of General Berthier, and my other brethren in arms, I will arrest them. Let no man look for precedents in the past. Nothing in history is comparable to the end of the eighteenth century, nothing to the present moment. Your wisdom passed this motion, our arms will execute it. We desire a republic founded in true liberty, in civil liberty, in popular representation. We are going to have it. I swear it in my own name and in that of my brethren in arms!" "We swear it!" was the antiphonal response of the assembled generals. Some one indiscreetly suggested that Bonaparte had sworn, but not the oath of allegiance to the constitution required by their previous action. At once the president hurriedly declared all further proceedings out of order, the assembly having adjourned by its own act.

By this time it was eleven o'clock, and the members of the Five Hundred were gathering. Their meeting was soon called to order, with Lucien in the chair. The recent action of the Ancients was announced amid (p. 106) a deep silence, broken only at the conclusion by numerous calls for an explanation. In strict legality, and according to the letter of the constitution, the lower house had on such an occasion no function but to listen, and the president pronounced the session ended. Amid cheers for the constitution of the year III the representatives then dispersed. A more impressive and dramatic scene was the reception of Bonaparte a few seconds later by the soldiers who had been assembled in the courtyard below for the purpose. Their cheers rang out in volleys as he mounted and rode away, the hero of the hour. A few moments later he reached his headquarters to find all his chosen subordinates assembled. Fouché, the Jacobin minister of police, having seen how the weathercock was veering, was there likewise, conciliatory, obsequious, and superserviceable.

In fact, the incidents of that day were all uncommon. The "Moniteur" published an article hinting that the Jacobins contemplated merging the two councils into a convention. The populace, far from being uneasy and riotous, seemed dazzled by the military display, and were not alarmed by the movements of the soldiery. It was only with languid interest that they read a pamphlet scattered everywhere, which had been written by Roederer to prove the need for renewing the constitution. Bonaparte as commandant, and therefore temporary dictator, received according to prearrangement the resignations of Sieyès and Roger-Ducos, to be presented on the morrow at St. Cloud. The Gohiers had been invited to breakfast with Mme. Bonaparte that morning at the unusual hour of eight o'clock. Pleading official duties, the director himself did not go; his wife, amazed by the dazzling assemblage of generals which she found before the Bonapartes' door, hurried back (p. 107) to announce what she had seen. We may surmise that had Gohier accompanied his wife, both might have been won to the support of the movement in hand; in the other event, perhaps, both might have been forcibly detained.

As it was, Gohier's first instinct was to consult Barras, and he hurried in search of his colleague; but the fallen statesman was in his bath, and could see nobody. He sent word to Gohier to count on him; but before his toilet was complete he was forced to receive Bruix and Talleyrand, who had come as emissaries from Bonaparte. A guilty conscience made him like wax in the hands of Talleyrand, who successfully pleaded with him to resign, and secured his signature to a form, prepared in advance by Roederer under Bonaparte's supervision, which declared that all danger to freedom was past, thanks to the illustrious warrior for whom he had had the honor to open the way to glory. Such was the haste that even before Moulins, the remaining director, could reach the Tuileries, where Bonaparte had established an office, this paper of Barras had been delivered, and the Directory had ceased to exist. "What have you done," said the dictator to Barras's messenger—"what have you done with the France I made so brilliant? I left you victory: I find nothing but defeat. I left you the millions from Italy: I find plundering laws and misery. Where are the hundred thousand warriors who have disappeared from the soil of France? They are dead, and they were my comrades! Such conditions cannot last; in three years anarchy will land us in despotism. We want a republic founded on the basis of equality, of morality, of civil liberty, of political long-suffering." It is needless to say that a reporter was present, the poet Arnault, who printed this fine language next day in the newspapers.

(p. 108) Finally Moulins and Gohier were admitted. Welcomed as if they, too, were about to join in the movement "to save the commonwealth," it was with feigned astonishment that Bonaparte heard them plead for the laws, for the constitution, for the sanctity of oaths, and for good faith to the republican armies, once again victorious. Their adversary was of course immovable. With Gohier he tried argument; to Moulins he menacingly remarked that if Santerre, the notorious demagogue and his relative, should this time make a move to raise the populace, his fate would be death. To a point-blank demand for their resignation both firmly answered, "No," and withdrew to the Luxembourg, where the now defunct Directory had had its seat. With no knowledge or intention on their part, they were to serve as a means for the immolation of Bonaparte's last victim and most dangerous rival. In the military dispositions of that day, Lannes had been put in command at the Tuileries, Sérurier at the Point-du-Jour, Marmont at the military school, Macdonald at Versailles, and Murat at St. Cloud. To the central point, the seat of government, the home of the Directory, Moreau had been assigned. If Bonaparte became the statesman of the impending revolution, Moreau reasoned that he himself would of necessity become the general of the new government, and, regarding his selection for this post as a distinction, he accepted. By the order of his temporary superior, Gohier and Moulins, the two unyielding and incorruptible members of the executive, though not shamefully treated, were yet deprived of their liberty. With the proverbial fickleness of humanity, the agent was held by the public solely responsible for this conduct, and was harshly judged. To him was imputed the stain of arbitrarily applying force at the critical moment, and his influence disappeared like a mirage. (p. 109) During these closing hours of the day, Augereau, too, appeared to make his peace, asking with perplexed jocularity, and with the use of the familiar "thou," if Bonaparte could count no more on his "little Augereau." His fears were scarcely allayed by the brusque advice that both he and Jourdan should keep the peace.

All afternoon the bill-posters were busy, according to the time-honored French custom, covering the blank walls with a carefully worded announcement that the Revolution, having gone astray through incompetence, was to be concluded by its friends. There was a conspiracy: it must be met by united action to secure civil liberty, equality, victory, peace; by a last supreme effort the people must come to its own. The counter-revolution would be the real one. Meantime the papers were printing for their morning issue of the nineteenth the program of the new government. Away with the hostage law, forced loans, the proscription of emigrants: enter peace, an enduring peace, secured if needs be by a new series of victories over the enemies of France, but a peace, solid and permanent. Did ever the wheels of conspiracy run so smoothly? The officious Fouché had closed the city barriers. Bonaparte was so secure that he ordered them thrown wide open. The night was apparently as serene as his spirit. In reality there was a counterplot, and that in a dangerous quarter. Bernadotte met with a little junta, comprising a few members of the Five Hundred, at Salicetti's house, and planned, with himself in uniform as commander, to reach St. Cloud next day in advance of all others, and to install himself, with his supporters, in charge of the palace, so as to control events in his favor. But Salicetti was a traitor in the camp. He had long been double-faced with Bonaparte; but, having at last recognized where lay the mastery, had made his peace, and (p. 110) had been pardoned for the unforgotten imprisonment. Fouché was duly informed by him of the counterplot, and without exciting suspicion, every member of the Bernadotte junta was delayed in the morning far beyond the time appointed, and their scheme failed. Besides the slight danger in this fiasco there appeared a division of opinion among Bonaparte's own friends, some of the more timid recommending in the early morning hours that Bonaparte should accept a seat in the Directory. "There is no Directory," was his reply; and it was determined, after a number had withdrawn, that they should adhere to the original plan, which was to demand an adjournment of the councils until the first of Ventose (February nineteenth, 1800), and that in the long interval Bonaparte should be intrusted with the administration. Unfortunately, the conspirators overlooked two important points. Nothing was prearranged as to who should act in case the Five Hundred proved refractory, and no preparations were made in the palace of St. Cloud for the reception of the deputies. It was a strange fatality that Bonaparte, who elsewhere and at other times had always two strings to his bow, should, in the heart of France and at the very nick of his fortunes, have provided only one. It was a rash satisfaction with the day's events which he expressed to Bourrienne on retiring for a few hours' rest.

(p. 111) CHAPTER XI

The Overthrow of the Directory

The Councils at St. Cloud — Bonaparte's Poor Appearance as a Conspirator — His Attack on the Constitution — Uneasiness of the Five Hundred — Bonaparte Overawed by their Fury — The Day Saved by His Brother Lucien — A Semblance of Constitutional Government Restored — Bonaparte Master of the Situation — Paris Delighted.

Next morning there was much coming and going in the city, much discussion in the streets, but no disorder. Toward noon, the hour appointed for their meeting, the delegates to the two houses of the legislature, accompanied by many of the people, moved in the direction of St. Cloud. Bonaparte, with a few thousand troops, was already there. Nothing was ready for the reception of the councils, and during the almost fatal interval of hasty preparation the Jacobins gathered in groups to discuss the situation, suspecting for the first time that what confronted them was not reform of the constitution, however radical, but its overthrow. It was long after the appointed time, nearly two o'clock, before the rooms of the palace were ready and the members of the councils were called to order—the Five Hundred in the Orangery on the ground floor of one wing, the Ancients upstairs in the other wing, occupying the Hall of Apollo. Bonaparte and the half-hearted, timid Sieyès were closeted in one of the downstairs chambers, awaiting events. A six-horse carriage had been stationed by the latter at the gate, for his own use in case of mishap. Soldiers stood guard at all the (p. 112) approaches, and the reception-rooms were filled with men and officers, friends of the arch-conspirator. Disquieting news soon began to arrive from the assemblies. Upstairs the Ancients, amid intense excitement, had voted a series of routine motions and adjourned for an interval, a course tending to postpone consideration of the proposition to intrust Bonaparte with the conduct of affairs. They wished to ascertain through a message from the Five Hundred, as the law required, if the executive were duly constituted, and all the directors present; for in that case only would their action be legal. The delay was to them unaccountable and seemed interminable as they strolled about in pairs and groups, uneasy and vacillating. At last the rumor spread that the general was coming to their hall and they hurried to their seats. When they were at last reassembled anarchy broke loose; for the secretary announced, falsely, of course, that four directors had resigned, and that the fifth was in restraint.

At that moment Bonaparte, with his staff, appeared at the door and a sudden silence fell upon the place. The scene appalled him. The bravery of the general is different from the personal courage of the soldier in the face of physical danger, and both are unlike the pluck of him who defies the law. The latter Bonaparte never had. For a moment he was pale; but, gathering resolution by a mighty effort, he spoke in disjointed but rudely eloquent phrase. They were on a volcano, he said. He was no Cæsar or Cromwell, but a plain soldier living quietly in Paris, who had been called unawares to save his country. If he had been a usurper, he would have called not on the legislature, but on the soldiers of Italy. It was the duty of those present to save liberty and equality—"and the constitution," cried a voice. "The constitution!" was his answer. "You violated (p. 113) it on the eighteenth of Fructidor; you violated it on the twenty-second of Floréal; you violated it on the thirtieth of Prairial. The constitution! All factions invoke it, and it has been violated by all. It is despised by everybody; it can no longer save us, because it commands the respect of nobody." He then proceeded to ask for the powers necessary in the emergency, promising to lay them down when his work was done. "What are the pressing dangers?" said some one. What were they, indeed? If he must speak, he would. "I declare," he cried, "that Barras and Moulins have invited me to head a party in order to overthrow all men of liberal ideas." The clumsy falsehood produced a storm. Was this the Jacobin conspiracy they had been told of—Barras the aristocrat and Moulins the democrat conspiring together! They wanted details.

In the interval of speaking, the orator had found his cue again, and at once launched out, not into the asked-for details, but into a tornado of language, abusing the constitution and the Five Hundred, and at the same time adroitly threatening that if the old cry of outlaw were raised against him, he would call on the grenadiers whose caps he saw, on the soldiers whose bayonets were in view. "Remember that I walk with the goddess of fortune, accompanied by the god of war!" "General," whispered Bourrienne in his ear, "you no longer know what you are saying." The president of the Ancients was at his wit's end. How could the council, eager as they were to do so, grant the general's demands on such a showing as this? A third time came calls from the benches for details of the plot which made necessary the contemplated measures. And a third time Bonaparte's gift of specious prevarication failed. He could think of nothing but Barras and Moulins; but now, in mentioning their names once more, he added that what (p. 114) made them dangerous was that they had expressed what was almost universally desired; otherwise they would be no worse than a very large number of others who were at heart of the same mind. "If liberty perish," he cried, "you will be responsible to the universe, to posterity, to France, and to your families." It sounded like an anti-climax and left his auditors perfectly cold. Therewith he was virtually dragged from the room by his dismayed companions. The preconcerted program was then carried out, and a vote of confidence in Bonaparte was passed. To retrieve the blunders of his speech, a revised version, of the same general tenor, but more as it should have been, was next day printed by "authority."

Downstairs the uproar was terrific. Lucien had expected the Ancients to act swiftly and remit their decree at once to the Five Hundred. He hoped to put and carry a motion to sanction it without giving time for deliberation. The opening formalities of the session passed quietly, and the assembly listened without interruption to a short, vague, and feeble speech in which a Bonapartist deputy professed to announce the pretended plot. The delay of two hours in meeting had, however, given the Jacobins time to consider; there was no business before the house, the resignations of the directors had not been presented to them, and, apparently to pass the time, it was proposed that the delegates present should solemnly, one by one, renew each his oath to the constitution. This was done by all but Bergoëng, a single recalcitrant who resigned his seat. Lucien himself performed the solemn rite. But in the tedious process lasting over two hours desultory cries began to be uttered: "No dictation!" "Down with dictators!" "We are all free here!" Finally the shouts swelled in volume so as to reach the sympathetic (p. 115) ears of the guards outside. In this critical moment arrived Barras's resignation. It was read in full, including the passage which declared that with the return of the illustrious warrior for whom he had had the honor to open the way, and amid the striking marks of confidence which the legislature had shown in their general, he felt sure that liberty was no longer in danger, and that he was therefore glad to return to the walks of private life.

The delegates, most of them at least, were unaware of the fact that Sieyès and Roger-Ducos had already handed their resignations to Bonaparte, and did not know that Gohier and Moulins were in duress. This language, read between the lines, made it evident that the Directory was on the verge of dissolution, or already dissolved, and confirmed their suspicions of impending revolution. The Jacobin majority was utterly disconcerted. Some proposed the immediate election of a new Directory; others insisted on the constitutional term of delay, and called for an adjournment. The most clear-sighted saw the trap into which they had fallen, and began to speak of what the circumstances meant. "I believe," said Grandmaison, "that among those present some know whence we have come, and whither we are going." At that critical instant the doors opened, and Bonaparte, surrounded by grenadiers, appeared on the threshold. Chaos ensued. The delegates rose from their seats, some made for the windows, some rushed with menacing gestures toward the intruder, some shouted, "Outlaw him!" "Outlaw him!" and demanded that a motion to that effect be put. This redoubled the disorder. "Put him out!" "Outlaw the dictator!" cried the multitude. "Begone, rash man!" said one near by. "You are violating the sanctuary of the law." "Was it for this," said another, (p. 116) "that you were victorious?" In the heat of passion the unavoidable collision occurred, and the angry representatives laid rude hands on Bonaparte. It was said next day that a grenadier whose name was Thomé threw himself in front of Bonaparte, and received in his own coat-sleeve a dagger-thrust of Arena, an old Corsican foe, which had been intended for his general; but no credible witness ever professed to have seen the deed or any wound. Overpowered by excitement and the mortal agony of one who has staked his all on a doubtful event, the leader turned pale and lost consciousness. The soldiers caught him in their arms, and dragged him downstairs into the office which he had occupied, where he soon regained his self-command. The cries of the now frenzied soldiery served as a complete restorative and he demanded a horse. His own horse was not at hand and he made but a sorry figure in mounting and curbing a restive steed, the first which offered. But at last he found his seat and his voice. Bounding to the open terrace, he harangued the troops and met with a quick response in their hearty acclaim; they promptly formed in line.

The decisive moment had arrived. Would the soldiers, enthusiastic as they seemed, really obey if ordered to take violent measures? Among the generals were many anxious, troubled faces. After his incursion upon the Ancients, Bonaparte had rushed into the antechamber where his commanders sat, exclaiming, "There must be an end to this." During his second absence, Sérurier took the cue, and marched up and down, declaiming, "They were going to kill your general, but be calm!" In the Orangery Lucien accomplished a miracle, calmed the assemblage, steadily refused to put the motion for outlawry, and demanded a hearing for his brother. His plea being of no avail, he finally left the (p. 117) chair, and with the despairing cry, "There is no liberty here!" rushed from the room. The dreary honors of the day were to be his. Bonaparte despatched a file of soldiers to escort him through the throng. The drums rolled for silence, and a horse was brought, which he mounted. Presenting himself then to the troops, he declared, as president of the Five Hundred, that the majority of the legislature were honorable men, but that in the room from which he had come were a few assassins, English hirelings, who held the rest in terror. "Hurrah for Bonaparte!" cried the soldiers; but they made no motion to clear the Orangery, and Napoleon uttered no command. This was the historic moment. Lucien, seizing the drawn sword of a bystander, and pointing it at Napoleon's breast, exclaimed: "I swear I would strike down my own brother should he ever endanger the liberties of the French!" There was at last a movement in the lines. "Shall we enter the hall?" said Murat to Bonaparte. "Yes," was the reply; "and if they resist, kill, kill! Yes; follow me! I am the god of the day!" Fortunately, these hysterical words were heard only by a few. "Keep still!" said Lucien. "Do you think you are talking to the Mamelukes?" With that the order rang out, the rolling drums drowned the roar of talk, action began, and with the brothers on horseback at their head, the grenadiers advanced. There was no resistance, the deputies fled swiftly through doors and windows into the dark, and in a few moments the disordered room was empty.

If Bonaparte were to be neither a Cæsar nor a Cromwell, it was Sieyès, as the civilian and the constitution-maker, who should have swayed the legislative councils in behalf of reform; but his heart was no more engaged in Bonaparte's support now than it had ever been. Anxious to be a leader, and to impose on France a constitution (p. 118) which by its "perfection" should command authority, he had ever been relegated to a second place. Instead of seizing this, his greatest opportunity as a lawgiver, he and Roger-Ducos had softly withdrawn to their carriage. The "perfect" constitution he had prepared would, in view of what had just happened, consequently rest, like the one overthrown, upon military force. Nevertheless, he thoroughly understood that Bonaparte had gone too far, and that his mistake must be retrieved. The country was not ripe for a military despot who, like Charles XII of Sweden, would send his boot to preside over the representatives of the people, or else turn them out of doors without a qualm. Accordingly, the few Bonapartist delegates, who had fled with the rest and had found refuge in the taverns or private houses of the neighborhood, were by his advice, but with some difficulty, found and summoned by Lucien to meet, late as it was, in their respective places, cold and uncomfortable as these were. Upward of fifty out of the Five Hundred—some impartial witnesses have put the number as high as one hundred and twenty—ventured to come, and the semblance of representative government was restored. To them the new, impossible, and clumsy constitution made by Sieyès was presented for consideration.

Meantime Bonaparte had thoroughly recovered his self-control. He declared at St. Helena that all the conspiracies of the time were alike without a head because they needed a "sword"; and that, possessing one, he alone could choose what pleased him best. To Mme. de Rémusat he said: "It was one of the epochs in my life when I was most skilful. I saw the Abbé Sieyès, and promised to put his wordy constitution into operation. I received the Jacobin leaders, and the agents of the Bourbons. I refused no one's advice, (p. 119) but I gave only such as was in the interest of my plans. I withdrew from the people's observation because I knew that when the time arrived curiosity to see me would throw them under my feet. Every one fell into my toils, and when I became head of the state there was not a party in France which did not cherish some hope for my success." Mme. de Staël, returning on the eighteenth of Brumaire from Switzerland to Paris, saw Barras driving to his country-seat of Grosbois. On her arrival men talked no longer of abstractions, of the Constituent Assembly, of the people, or of the Convention: it was all of a person—of what General Bonaparte had done. Her own feelings, she says, were mixed. If the battle were joined, and the Jacobins victorious, she might turn about and fly, for blood would flow once more. Still, at the thought of Bonaparte's triumph she felt a prophetic sadness. She could not mourn for liberty, for liberty had never existed in France. This was the voice of the dispirited and disheartened constitutional republicans, who knew and proposed no remedy. The royalists were fully aware of what they desired. They had been sighing for a despot in France, for another Richelieu, a fierce, intractable master, wielding a rod of iron, without which the inhabitants could never be reconstructed into a nation. In the words of a letter written somewhat earlier from Coblentz, their city of refuge on the Rhine, they desired "the union of powers in the hands of an imperious master, ... who, by a splendid and brilliant Cromwellism, would hold in awe the people whom he forced to respect and bless their own servitude." The mass of the nation were tired of war and eager for a peace that would bring prosperity, pleasure, and glory. The few honest and austere radicals went down with their greedy and noisy fellows; the Jacobin party was no (p. 120) more. There had been a complete rearrangement of factors in the French problem.

For this reason the escaped legislators who reached Paris that night found little or no comfort as they told their dreary tale. Everywhere there was perfect calm, here and there signs of great satisfaction with what was likely to happen or had happened. The great city went about its affairs as usual, and when late in the evening Fouché issued a manifesto to the effect that Bonaparte in his effort to denounce "counter-revolutionary" measures before the Five Hundred had barely escaped assassination, the paper was read on the stage of all the theaters to eager audiences which in every instance applauded with almost frenzied enthusiasm. Paris and all France was weary of the Directory, it was eager for new things, for authority, for order, for foreign and home policies which would safely anchor the civil liberties won by the Revolution but jeopardized by the violence, self-seeking, and incapacity of the adventurers who had been holding the helm of state.

(p. 121) CHAPTER XII[13]

Bonaparte the First Consul

Bonaparte's Position — The Absence of Enthusiasm — The Provisional Consulate — Measures of Security — The New Constitution — An Autocratic Executive — The Plebiscite — Bonaparte the First Consul — New Officials — Efforts to Appease the Church — The Feeling in France — Confidence Restored — Financial Stability.

When Bonaparte returned to Paris on the evening of the eighteenth of Brumaire he was the arbiter of French destiny; for the great powers of government, both executive and legislative, were in the hands of himself and his creatures. To the multitude it was not, perhaps, much of a feat to disperse by force a legislature which rested on force, and by means of the army to turn the tables on the very Jacobins who had themselves been ever ready to appeal to the army. Moreover, in their minds another constitution more or less was of small importance: the next one would doubtless be only a rearrangement of the old devices. The (p. 122) Revolution was in the hands of its friends, and the world must go its way. Talleyrand and the royalists understood that the day's work had turned the oligarchy of the Directory into a powerful monarchy of some kind: a temporary one, they hoped, which would enable them eventually to bring back the Bourbons.

But Napoleon Bonaparte was, as ever, wise in his generation, and, as he understood himself, knew that though both these notions were illusory, he must proceed cautiously. As a gambler he had staked everything, and had won: he meant to pocket the stakes. But yet how narrowly had he won! The shouts of "traitor" and "outlaw" were still in his ears; no doubt the terrible alternative to his perilous escape was in his mind. Though determined to go on, he was nevertheless sobered. There was temporary exultation in the army and the people. He knew that among the latter it would soon die out, as it did. Already it was rumored that although Mme. Bonaparte had been in pecuniary straits, her husband had thirty millions on deposit in various banks. This was certainly untrue, because the general had recourse to the brokers of Paris for the funds needed to reward his abettors. The merciless extortion of the lenders engendered in him a bitterness against their class which he entertained to the latest day of his life. It was estimated that the day had cost him one and a half millions; every man under his command had received a new uniform, twelve francs in cash, and a drink of spirits; the rest was spent in rewarding his generals and political supporters. The constitutional and moderate republicans felt that their cause and the fate of the nation were in the balance. The royalists were the only faction which would have been glad to see Bonaparte usurp the power at once. He and his friends understood that a nation still infatuated (p. 123) with the Revolution in theory must be led by a parade of constitutional measures.

The mutilated chambers began work on the very night of their reassembling at St. Cloud. Lucien harangued them on the familiar theme of Roman liberties, recalling the commonwealth in which the consular fasces had been the symbol of freedom. The country would approve and its enemies would be disarmed if these insignia should again be displayed. Boulay de la Meurthe presented the temporary plan: a provisional consulate composed of Bonaparte, Sieyès, and Roger-Ducos; the adjournment of the legislature until February twentieth, 1800; the appointment of two committees of twenty-five, one from each council, to aid the consuls in the proposed renovation; the proscription of fifty-seven delegates who had made themselves obnoxious. To preserve the appearance of legality and historic continuity, the committee from the Five Hundred was to propose, that of the Ancients to adopt; the new constitution must uphold the one and indivisible republic, respect popular sovereignty, and secure representative government with the division of powers, while property, liberty, and equality must be guaranteed beyond a peradventure. After a formal declaration that the Directory had ceased to exist, each of these measures was duly adopted by both houses in turn, and the consuls were sworn in, promising unswerving fidelity to popular sovereignty, to the French republic one and indivisible, to liberty and equality, and to representative government. With a resolution that Bonaparte had that day deserved well of his country, the chambers adjourned at an early hour in the morning. When the sun rose over Paris and France, the land had found its despot; to all appearances he was to be a beneficent despot. The consuls met that very day in the Luxembourg (p. 124) palace: the general's name came first in alphabetical order, and on the suggestion of Roger-Ducos he took the presidency and the executive for the twenty-four hours, the others to follow in turn. Their first work was the construction of a provisional ministry: three of the old members were without discussion retained: Cambacérès for justice, Bourdon for the navy, and Reinhard for foreign affairs. Dubois-Crancé was replaced by Berthier for war, Robert Lindet by Gaudin for finance, Quinette by Laplace for the interior. There was much debate concerning Fouché as minister of police, but on Bonaparte's urgent representations he was reappointed. It was rumored that the Jacobins intended to rally at Toulouse, and Lannes was ordered to take command in that city at once. To the public a simple and safe announcement was issued, promising better days for the republic.

The men and measures worked well. A treasury absolutely depleted was slowly replenished by the practice of simple honesty; a disintegrated military force was cautiously reassembled and brought into order, but the garrison of Paris was not enlarged above nine thousand men, and there was no show of force. The Bonaparte family moved into the Luxembourg, but its head appeared always in civilian garb. He was much abroad, visiting and conversing with men of science, letters, and finance. Thoroughly restored in balance of mind, he did and said kind things, joking about the scenes of St. Cloud, and explaining away the unhappy words he had uttered. His sayings were repeated far and near, and within a few days there were throngs of influential visitors in his parlors. It may well be believed that shrewd observers noted his appearance and manners, his hollow cheeks, pale face, stern brow; his insatiate, all-embracing curiosity, keen questionings, and tactful rejoinders, (p. 125) the irresistible magnetism of his vigor, his mind, and his youth. The family connections were not in evidence; Lucien especially was kept in the background. There were no oracular statements, no boastful professions, yet every one felt profoundly that the consuls were a force, an active force, saying little, toiling to exhaustion, and that results of importance would emerge in due time. Indeed the ameliorations of administration were in evidence from the very first.

The industry of Sieyès and Bonaparte was indeed unexampled. There was friction, but one was indispensable to the other; they must work together, and the supple Talleyrand was then to keep the peace. Sieyès's "perfect" constitution propounded a singularly cumbersome plan of government, but it contained much that was Bonaparte's own, and therefore suited to Bonaparte's purposes. It was accordingly taken as a starting-point. In the end, the document actually adopted and promulgated proved to be outwardly similar but inwardly antipodal to that of Sieyès. While skilfully blinding all classes to its possibilities as an instrument for controlling the nation by a central power, its provisions were perfectly adapted to conciliate every faction except that of the Jacobins, who were by flight or conversion to all intents annihilated. Sixty-two members of the Five Hundred were deposed. The rest, as a reward for their late complacency, were invited in the name of the public welfare to accept office as foreign ministers, or diplomatic agents, and, in some cases, as government representatives in the provinces; their position as delegates was not to be jeopardized by acceptance. The purpose of this was to remove the majority of the old republican politicians from Paris, under the guise of compensating them for past service. Sieyès's great fundamental notion was to secure the form of (p. 126) popular representation without its substance,—"confidence coming from below," as he expressed it, "power coming from above." In order to secure this he had devised a plan nearly identical with that laid down to Talleyrand by Bonaparte three years before. It was adopted for the new constitution. Every one of the five million citizens of France was to have a vote. From among them one in every ten was to be chosen by universal suffrage to be a candidate for local office; this formed the "communal list." These "notables of the communes" were then to choose one in ten of their number as a "notable of the department," a candidate for departmental office, thus constituting the "departmental list"; and these, in turn, one in every ten of their number as "notables of France," candidates for the national legislature and the higher offices of state, thus forming the "national list." From among these last the administration and the senate, by the exercise of the appointing power, were to select the great officers of state. This was Bonaparte's popular representation, "without eyes, ears, or power."

The legislative was also to be silent and powerless. It was divided into council, tribunate, legislature, and senate. The first, chosen at will by the executive, had the initiative; in the second three speakers might discuss the measures proposed, but no vote could be taken; in the third there was no discussion, but the members voted; the fourth was also mute, but it had the veto power. All except the senate were to sit with closed doors, and publicity was to be controlled by the administration. Sieyès had a plan whereby a chief magistrate, to be called the "great elector," should be chosen by the senators, since they also chose the representatives of the people from the elected candidates. This titled personage was to appoint all civil and military functionaries, (p. 127) together with two consuls to overlook the administration. Bonaparte contemptuously wondered how any man "of some talent and a little honor would consent to play the part of a hog to be fatted on so and so many millions." He called on Daunou for suggestions, but that ardent republican desired both a strong executive and a strong direct expression of the popular will. The new autocrat felt that the latter must be avoided at any cost, and proposed, through one of his creatures, an executive of three consuls, of whom the first should serve for ten years and be the head of the state. His should be the right to execute the laws, and his alone the appointing power. Since he was to nominate the members of the council of state, he should also have the power to initiate legislation. In case of need he might act by administrative process; that is, he might legalize any regulation whatsoever as an administrative necessity. He might rule by decree. This centralizing engine of despotism was made complete by a system of prefects modeled on that of the royal intendants, and intended to be the copestone of the structure. It was adopted, and still prevails in republican France. In every administrative division of town or country the local councils, under stringent regulations as to the scope of their deliberations and decisions, were intrusted to the charge of a prefect. This petty dictator was the sworn servant of the central power, appointed or removed by it at pleasure. Through these men the hand of the First Consul was on every hamlet, village, town, and city. In fact, even the mayors of the great towns were his appointees.

Napoleon Exposition, 1895

From sketch by Ingres, belonging to M. Germain Bapst.

This monstrous but marvelous charter, though nominally prepared by them, was offered for discussion neither to the two committees nor to the councils themselves. During the weeks spent in its elaboration, the (p. 128) nation was skilfully prepared for its reception. In the capital a proscription list drawn up by the wily Fouché, as police minister, was by a studied inadvertence put into reporters' hands. It contained a jumble of names, gentle and simple, criminal and innocent, friend and foe, and was absurd on its face. No one would assume the responsibility, though it was said to have emanated from the police prematurely and irregularly. The consuls, especially Bonaparte, displayed a most engaging activity in erasing one name after another, until nothing of importance remained. By the ordinary course of criminal procedure a few notorious characters were removed from the scene; the persons of importance who were menaced made grateful submission and joined the ranks of the trusty, notably Jourdan. As news came in from the departments it became clear that Jacobinism was everywhere discomfited and could be neglected. The scanty garrisons and the administrative functionaries were all with the new government, the people of the cities and towns were enthusiastic. The horrors and terrors of the passing régime had moderated for the time the frenzies of the royalist party. Indeed, moderation became the watchword. France, in the parlance of the hour, was to drink the waters of Lethe. The example was given in Paris and twenty-four choice men were sent one into each of the military departments to exhibit and emphasize the fact, to study and mold public opinion. They were mostly men of the older régime, who had heartily accepted the consular idea. They worked faithfully and successfully. None knew as yet the provisions of the new constitution, though all approved its provisions, whatever they were, because they must be better than those of the old. On December fifteenth, 1799, six weeks after the completion of the document, it was presented directly to the nation (p. 129) at large, under the proposal of a national or popular decree—a plebiscite. Those then living were amazed at the general apathy, only about three million votes having been cast. To us it appears as if the whole people were in a plague of Egyptian darkness. As each voter could but adhere to or dissent from the proposition for the adoption of the constitution as offered, the result was an overwhelming approval, the negative votes being only one thousand five hundred and sixty-seven in number.

On December twenty-second, before the result of the plebiscite was known, the new charter was put in operation. It is difficult to determine exactly the composition of the assembly which met at the Luxembourg palace to determine who should be the permanent consuls. According to an anecdote of the time, Sieyès opened its proceedings by explaining the dangers of a military despotism should the First Consul be a soldier. Bonaparte impressively whispered to his supporters that they should scatter themselves throughout the room, and that when they saw him take Sieyès's hand they should shout, "Bravo—Bonaparte!" Then, stepping forward at the close of Sieyès's address, he assumed an air of generous friendliness, and said, "Let us have no difference of opinion, my friend; for my part, I vote for the Abbé Sieyès. For whom do you vote?" Taken all aback, Sieyès murmured, "I vote for General Bonaparte." Instantly the latter put out his hand, and the speaker grasped it. "Bravo—Bonaparte!" rang from all sides, and Sieyès's supporters joined in the shout. Thus, apparently by general consent, the shrewd intriguer, as the story runs, was acclaimed First Consul. At all events, Bonaparte took the office to himself without a question on the part of the public. His two colleagues were to be chosen by the constitutional committee. (p. 130) They named Daunou as one, but Bonaparte threw the ballots into the fire. Sieyès obligingly presented two other names,—"the right men," as he assured the committee,—Cambacérès and Lebrun. The former was an eminent jurist, the latter the ablest financier of his time. Both were appointed, and both rendered excellent service to the Consulate. Sieyès had already been made "keeper" of the Directory's secret funds,—six hundred thousand francs,—which he called "une poire pour la soif." Soon afterward he accepted from the First Consul the great estate of Crôsne, and was then relegated to obscurity as chief of the senate. The other great officials were all appointed in much the same way. "The pike is eating the two other fish," said Mme. Permon to the First Consul's mother soon after.

The safeguard of so-called popular adhesion having been secured, the next step was to adopt and execute a comprehensive policy of conciliation. The royalist emigrants were encouraged to return, provided they would accept the new power and lend it the grace of their presence and manners. Amnesty was likewise proclaimed for the victims of Fructidor. Gaudin, who had been an experienced financier under the Bourbons, and had shown his mettle as provisional minister, was put permanently in charge of the treasury. The moderate and able Cambacérès became minister of justice, and Forfait undertook the navy. Carnot, whose castigation of the Directory in his widely read defense had done so much to undermine their prestige and hasten their fall, was recalled and made minister of war. Talleyrand was forgiven for his base desertion on the eve of the Egyptian expedition. As will be recalled, it had been arranged that as the fleet left Toulon for Alexandria he was to start for Constantinople in order to hoodwink (p. 131) the Sultan and prevent the very resistance which afterward proved so disastrous. But at the last moment he refused. In consequence of his scandalous attempt to extort a bribe from the American envoys he was forced to resign his office soon afterward, and he then sought retirement to await results. There never was greed more dishonest than his, a life more licentious, nor a deceit more subtle; but at the same time he was the most adroit diplomat of an age devoted to diplomacy as a political power, and more familiar with the intrigues of courts and the aspirations of European dynasties than were any of his contemporaries, unless possibly Metternich, who did not become prominent until later. He was therefore indispensable, and was reappointed minister of foreign affairs. The great Laplace had been provisionally appointed minister of the interior; but so marked was his unfitness for the post that he soon was transferred to the senate and made way for Lucien Bonaparte.

But all this was little compared with the contemplated reconciliation with the Church for which the way was now carefully prepared. Pius VI had died a prisoner on French soil, and had been buried without honor. Befitting memorial ceremonies having been performed, the priesthood were released from the ban which the Jacobins had laid upon them. No oath in support of the new charter was required from the many priests who could not accept the civil constitution of the clergy, enacted in 1790; they could minister to their adherents without fear of persecution; they at once returned from exile or emerged from their hiding-places in large numbers. In the rôle of philosopher the First Consul professed to see the necessity of the Church as the main prop of a strong social organism and good government. As a far-seeing schemer he clearly felt that military (p. 132) power was a stanch support, but that in the end a firm moral foundation would likewise be needed in the hearts of hundreds of thousands in Europe, who would bless the man that should restore to them the institution which was the visible sign of their hopes for eternity. This desirable affection and approbation Bonaparte meant from the outset to secure. Had the scoffer, the worshiper of science, the would-be Mohammedan prophet, himself experienced a change of heart? Perhaps. Responsibility often breaks down indifference.

This policy of tolerance was well understood to be an interim measure, to be succeeded by a permanent settlement satisfactory to all the faithful. Furthermore, the ban having been removed from the exiled royalists as well, a number of emigrants had likewise returned: these and their clergy soon conceived the idea that Bonaparte was preparing a restoration of the monarchy, and would consider propositions for reëstablishing the close alliance of church and state, the identity almost, which had been the one outstanding feature of French absolutism. For this reason the insurrectionary West made overtures to the First Consul, and emissaries were passed through the lines, admitted to an audience, and permitted to state their case. Bonaparte gave heed and attention. Andigné proved exacting and impossible, Hyde was smooth and uncertain; it was only later that in Bernier, a simple village priest, he found a man to his liking, shrewd and scheming, but reasonable and efficient. He soon became an important agent in resolving the knotty problem of restoring the West to French nationality. Hitherto the rebels of lower Normandy and Brittany had followed either the resident nobility, of whom Andigné and Frotté were types, or peasant reactionaries like Georges Cadoudal, bold, desperate, irreconcilable men who demanded either (p. 133) war or their king. Bonaparte determined to ignore alike the high and the low, the desperate men with everything to gain and little to lose; he therefore appealed to the middle sort of gentle and simple through the intermediation of Hédouville for the government and Bernier for the people. The latter, accompanied by Count Bourmont, finally came to Paris, and both were won, Bourmont to the undoing of Napoleon, as it turned out. A method of pacification was arranged and soon put into successful operation, largely through the superlative adroitness of Bernier. Frotté was captured and executed, Cadoudal fled to England. The royalist agitation of the West was ended for a time: the efforts of the party in Provence, though carefully studied and widely exerted, proved ineffectual, and the internal reforms of administration were there, as throughout all France, efficiently put in operation. The policy of tolerance and moderation won over thousands upon thousands, and reduced the sullen minority to inactivity.

The upheaval of Brumaire is unique in French history. When consummated, there appeared among the people no remnant of fear or distrust. The radical side of the Revolution had ceased to exist. Its ideals of civil liberty were embodied in Bonaparte, the national spirit was invigorated, and hopes ran high. Such was the testimony of all the most disinterested observers. Brinkmann, a Swede of great ability, wrote on November eighteenth that no legitimate monarch had ever found on his accession a people more submissive than Bonaparte had found. "It is literally true," runs his letter: "France will perform the impossible to help him. Excepting the despicable horde of anarchists, the people are so weary, so disgusted with revolutionary horrors and follies, that they are sure any change will be for the better. Every class in society makes fun of the (p. 134) heroism of the demagogues, and from all sides comes a call for their expulsion rather than for the realization of their ideal visions. Even the royalists of every shade are honestly devoted to Bonaparte; for they attribute to him the intention of gradually restoring the old order. The indifferent are attached to him as being the man best fitted to give peace to France; and enlightened republicans, though trembling for their institutions, prefer to see a single man of talent, rather than a club of intriguers, seize and hold the public power."

None of Bonaparte's measures was more masterly than the financial policy whereby he won the devotion of the capitalists. If the country had been exhausted by the old régime, what had the recklessness of the Jacobins done for it? Bankruptcy, disorder, and utter distrust—chaos, in short—held sway in all departments of finance. The new order restored public confidence to such an extent that the revival of credit seemed miraculous. After the events of Brumaire the five per cents., which had fallen to one and a half per cent. of their par value, immediately rose to twelve per cent.; and on the final, satisfactory fulfilment of what the day appeared to foreshadow, they advanced to seventeen. The disgraceful laws for enforcing compulsory loans which had been passed under the Directory disappeared, with their companion the Hostage Law. Instantaneously order was brought into the system of direct taxation, and regularity into the collection of the taxes. The mysterious anti-Jacobin measures, promulgated as a warning, and then modified so as to paralyze and drive away the worthless spendthrifts of the Directory, while sobering and retaining for public use the able and sensible men like Jourdan, worked as a charm; they were a notification that the irregularities of all visionaries whatsoever were ended, and that waste (p. 135) of capacity as well as of money was to be succeeded by wholesome economy. For measures of temporary relief the new constitution permanently substituted a financial system of far-sighted regulations which completely revived general confidence, and with it the public credit, thereby restoring the producing capacity of the country. The Bank of France, organized in January, 1800, fixed a norm for the rates of discount, gave a sound currency to the country, and was the visible sign of a new era.


Bonaparte Embodies the Revolution[14]

End of the Revolution — The Alternatives — French Glory — Bonaparte as an Idealist — Reconstruction of the Army — Russia and the Great Powers — Slackness of the Coalition — The Policy of England — Debates in Parliament — Canning's Influence — Austrian Schemes — French Opinion and the Press — Consolidation of French Power — Bonaparte in the Tuileries — The Washington Festival.

No one understood better than Bonaparte the connection in a state between external and internal affairs. The second coalition, so far as Russia, Austria, England, and Turkey were concerned, was very loosely cemented indeed. They were united in their determination to subdue revolutionary France, but they had not an interest in common beyond that. Such was their jealousy as regarded the control of the Mediterranean that a strong government at Paris might hope to create discord among them. When, therefore, on December fifteenth, 1799, the provisional consulate came to an end, and the new constitution, known in French history as that of the twenty-second of Frimaire, year VIII, came into operation, the government entered (p. 137) upon life, as was most essential for French interests, not as an empty scheme, but as a full-fledged organism, with every office filled, the machinery actually in motion, and the administration ready for intercourse with the other governments of Europe. The words of Bonaparte's proclamation were: "Citizens, the Revolution is planted on the principles from which it proceeded. It is ended." As regarded the internal life of France, no truer words could have been written. There had never been true liberty nor true brotherhood under its banners; the leveling had been more successful, and equality in the matter of civil rights might be considered as won. What was left of those principles, as the event proved, was embodied for France herself in the First Consul and in his beneficent measures. To Europe at large this embodiment of the Revolution in the new sovereign was soon made equally evident. France had adopted him. Would the surviving dynasties admit him, as the representative of French nationality, to a seat on their Olympus? Nothing but an imperative necessity would compel them to do so, and then only for the moment.


Two courses were therefore open to the new power: first, to extort an acquiescence, however distasteful, by consolidating France as the nation and the homogeneous people which the Revolution had made it, by increasing her prosperity, by fostering her genius, by showing an example to the world of what the people of a peaceful, enlightened, industrious state could be in contrast to the case-hardened, unreceptive, and sullen populations who still remained passive under dynastic rule; or, second, to restore the expansive anti-national character of the Revolution, and, using the magnificent military system created in that epoch as a destroying power, to menace the dynasties in their very (p. 138) existence, and thus make them first respectful neutrals and then subservient tools both in their own reconstruction and in the liberation of their subjects. These seemed, in this emergency, the two alternatives at the First Consul's command. Choosing neither permanently, but one or the other at will, as each rising question made it expedient, the result was an interference which brought first this and then that policy into prominence, made both partly successful, but neither entirely so, and ended in the ruin of the schemer.

The responsibility was not his own: he so behaved under the compulsion of the national spirit. The revolutionary tyrannies, one after the other, had adopted the foreign policies of Richelieu and Louis XIV. Nothing could be more definite, nothing more ingrained as the fiber of French existence. France itself must have the boundaries of ancient Gaul, and the Mediterranean must be a French lake. To this end the dynasties must be indemnified: Spain might have Portugal, Prussia the hegemony of North Germany, Austria might expand in Bavaria and Italy. For a bulwark of defence the land frontier must be girt with little buffer states, semi-autonomous but dependent: Batavia, Helvetia, Cisalpina. The still more important sea frontier must be fortified by the exclusion of Great Britain absolutely from the Continent; Italy was to be rearranged, with Piedmont and Tuscany occupied and subdued, the States of the Church distributed among the secular powers of which Roman and Neapolitan republics were to be the chief. It was a stupendous task, but ideals have no physical limits. Glory is the circumambient ether of the French spirit. Repose, order, material prosperity, domestic life, religion—these must be the preëstablished basis of existence, but life is triumph, splendor, power. It was not, therefore, as inheritor (p. 139) and incarnation of the Revolution, but as the embodiment of France and her immemorial policies, that Bonaparte became a student of foreign affairs. With the prospect of peace must be envisaged the prospect of war: war for the frontiers, the heritage of the Gauls; for propagating French thought and influence; for the invasion of irreconcilable lands. The voluminous and careful studies of foreign affairs which he caused to be made by able councilors still exist to show his painstaking zeal in the perpetuation of time-honored and sacred policies, which no man aspiring to capture the heart of the French dared neglect or permit to lapse into oblivion.

Taking advantage of the temporary abdication of all power, and of the momentary renunciation of all activities, even of interest, by the people, the unconscious idealist began his work. Never was a man more practical in his own eyes, or, from his own point of view, more concrete and direct in his motives or conduct. Seizing every opportunity as it arose, he was the type of what is to-day called in France an opportunist. But for all that, not the least element of his supernal greatness was an ever-present idealism. In view of his birth and early training, it is easy to see that if, as Mme. de Staël first suggested, nature had brought that quality down in his line from some far-off Italian of the early Renascence, it would develop under Rousseau's and Raynal's influence. Whencesoever it came, it is not least among the causes of the later political renascence which saw the creation of a new and modern society, the completion of a process which began with the English revolution. It is this quality alone which makes Napoleon an element of the first importance in universal history. Other traits make him so in the epoch now called by his name.

His first thought was for the army. It is probable (p. 140) that Moreau's participation in the latest political stroke—a fact to which, in the initial stages, it owed its success—was due to personal ambition; he probably thought that when Bonaparte had once become a civilian, his only military rival would be disposed of. Accordingly, when the plan for the coming campaign was published, it was found that Moreau was to command a great central European force composed of the recruited armies of the Rhine and of Helvetia, to be called by the name of the former. Masséna, whose brilliant victories in Switzerland had moderated the gloom occasioned by the disasters of the previous year in Italy, was to have supreme command of the forces which were still to be called the Army of Italy—the name made so glorious at Lodi, at Arcola, at Castiglione, and at Rivoli. It seemed, indeed, as if the First Consul had himself renounced all ambition as a soldier in order to become entirely a statesman. The imperious and jealous but prudent Moreau was to have full scope for his powers, the brilliant Masséna was to wear his old commander's laurels. But there was a reserve army, not talked of nor paraded, which was quietly, silently, and unostentatiously formed, under Berthier's master-hand, from new conscripts skilfully intermingled with selected veterans. The divisions were gathered in different places, apparently with no unity, and thus were drilled, trained, and organized without observation. While most of it was kept within the French borders, ready for instant mobilization, and with headquarters ostensibly at Dijon, a part was sent under the nominal command of the devoted adjutant to Geneva in order to maintain the French honor in Switzerland.

The French people, however, desired not war, but peace. The list of competent and admirable administrators chosen by the government was sufficient proof (p. 141) that public affairs were to be carefully transacted. The reconstruction of the army gave evidence that peace was to be made with honor. The next step was so to behave that France should think her new chief magistrate eager for a general pacification. Since Bonaparte's return from Egypt there had been a combination of circumstances which pointed to an easy solution of this problem. The Czar of Russia was much exasperated with George III because the Russian soldiers included in the capitulation of Alkmaar were coolly received when transported to England, and then virtually imprisoned in the island of Guernsey. When, soon afterward, the English laid siege to Malta, of which he yearned to be grand master, he was ready to accuse Great Britain of treachery. But he was still more incensed with Austria. As has been told, a portion of his army, under Korsakoff, was overwhelmed by Masséna at Zurich on September twenty-fifth, 1799. Suvoroff, with the other wing, was at the time in full possession of Piedmont; and in accordance with his master's instructions he had invited the fugitive Charles Emmanuel IV to return from Sardinia and reinstate himself at Turin.

The Austrian archduke Charles had withdrawn, after his defeat of Masséna by the first battle of Zurich in June, 1799, to take command in central Germany. Francis, being fully determined to keep all northern Italy for himself, and therefore to prevent the reëstablishment of the house of Savoy on the mainland, speciously ordered Suvoroff to the assistance of his fellow-countrymen north of the Alps. The Russian general found nothing prepared for his passage of the St. Gotthard; on the contrary, he was so hindered at every turn by the absence of mules for his baggage-train, and so harassed by the attacks of the French, that his expedition (p. 142) was one long disaster. He attributed his misfortunes to Austrian indifference or worse. Driven from valley to valley, over icy peaks and barren passes, his troops perished in great numbers, and their panic was complete when they heard of Korsakoff's terrible defeat. Before a junction could be effected with the remnants of that army, Masséna turned and attacked Suvoroff himself, compelling him to flee eastward as best he could until he reached the confines of Bavaria. This put a climax to the Czar's fury; he demanded that the Italian princes should be restored to their governments, and that Thugut should be dismissed, as a guarantee of good faith. Finally he heard that when Ancona fell before the combined attacks of Austrians, Russians, and Turks, his own standard had been taken down, and only the Austrian left flying. To a gloomy enthusiast, claiming to be the mirror of chivalry and magnanimity, this was a crowning insult; and he determined, in December, 1799, to withdraw from the coalition. This was Bonaparte's opportunity, and he began at once a series of the most flattering attentions to Paul, which made the Czar for the rest of his short life a passionate admirer of the schemes and person of the First Consul. England and Austria were thus the only formidable opponents left in the coalition against France.

With ostentatious simplicity, Bonaparte wrote both to George III and to Francis II, as man to man, announcing his accession to power, and pleading, in the interest of commerce, of national well-being, and of domestic happiness, for a cessation of hostilities after eight years of warfare. The French people, who looked upon the First Consul as a ruler made by themselves, were delighted with this simple straightforwardness, and gratified by the notion of their representative (p. 143) treating on equal terms with the divine-right monarchs of Europe. Pitt mistakenly thought that Bonaparte still personified Jacobinism, and labored under the delusion that France was completely exhausted. An English army was ready and about to disembark on the west coast of France. Kléber in Egypt, having maintained himself superbly thus far, was about to yield to pitiless fate, and accept humiliating terms for evacuating the country. Could the flames of the civil war which was once more raging in France be further fanned, and the control of the Levant secured in English hands, the great English premier would be able in a few months to make terms far more advantageous than any he could hope for at the moment. Lord Grenville therefore wrote a brusque letter to Talleyrand, refusing negotiation with a government the stability of which was not assured, and suggesting in a weak, impolitic way that while the French had a right to choose their own government, the return of the Bourbons would be the best guarantee of a permanent and settled administration. This clause afforded the opportunity for a smart reply by Bonaparte, denouncing England as the author of the war which had raged through 1799 and was about to be renewed, and reminding the King that he himself ruled by consent of his people.

The debate which ensued in Parliament was most instructive, because the First Consul was entirely right. Great Britain was the mainspring of the coalition. The wits of London said in public that England had contracted half of her national debt to destroy the Bourbons and the other half to restore them to power. This was the key-note of the Liberal opposition. Lord Holland was willing to be sponsor for Bonaparte's sincerity, but the Lords laughed at him. In the Commons Whitbread charged the excesses of the French (p. 144) Revolution to the unwarrantable interference of other powers; England owed it to herself to make peace when she could, even with a usurper. Erskine could see in England's course nothing but a blind obstinacy which had overwhelmed the nation with debt and disaster. "What would you say," said Tierney, "if Bonaparte victorious should refuse to treat except with the Stuarts?" But the temper of Parliament and the people was for continuing the war. Grenville, in the upper house, declared that Bonaparte was merely a new exponent of the revolutionary wickedness of the Directory. He had made treaties or armistices with Sardinia, Tuscany, Modena, and the minor Italian states, only to violate them; he had scorned the neutrality of Parma; he had dragged Venice into war for her own destruction; he had trampled Genoa underfoot; and he had destroyed the liberty of Switzerland while uttering false promises of peace and friendship. His hearers sustained him by an overwhelming majority.

In the lower house Canning denounced the First Consul as a usurper who, like a specter, wore on his head something which resembled a crown. Pitt rose to the height of his majestic powers in one of the great orations of his life. Minor political considerations must be waived. Bonaparte was the destroyer of Europe. The sole refuge from the calamities with which he was about to flood the nations was England. He himself had unwillingly consented to the negotiations at Lille; it was Fructidor which had broken them off, and it was Bonaparte who was the author of Fructidor. He might be reproached for desiring the restoration of the ancient monarchy to France, but an exhausted and desperate country could not find the long repose essential for recuperation except under the Bourbons. The success of his plea was even greater than Grenville's. (p. 145) Thus by an appeal to the old detestation of revolutionary excess which was so deep-seated in the English masses, and by an adroit insinuation that it was this for which Bonaparte stood,—a fact which seemed to be shown by his career,—the ministry gained a new lease of life, and men believed that a few months would see France fall in utter exhaustion before the coalition.

Bonaparte's personal letter to the Emperor was, as the writer doubtless foresaw it would be, equally unsuccessful. Austria, thanks to her double-dealings with Russia in the last campaign, was now occupying Lombardy, Piedmont, and the Papal States; she meant to keep them, and moderately but firmly refused to treat on the basis proposed, which was that of Campo Formio.

Among other unfortunate surrenders which France under the Directory had made for the sake of quiet and security was that of freedom for the press. A consular decree of January seventeenth, 1800, further emphasized this undemocratic policy, and suppressed all but thirteen political journals. This was nominally a measure to be enforced only during the war. For its justification there was the plea of necessity. The serious indiscretions which a free and enterprising press always has committed, and is sure to commit, during hostilities, uniformly call out the angry denunciations of military writers. The "spurred and booted ruler" of whom Napoleon spoke at St. Helena could not well be expected to act otherwise than he did. Unfortunately, the only papers which continued to be published became at once mere administrative organs. When, therefore, with a skilful display of facts the course of negotiations in both England and Austria was laid before the public, the people of Paris and the provinces were easily roused to warlike ardor. The clever and (p. 146) witty pasquinades, the abusive and scathing paragraphs, in which all the papers indulged, from the "Moniteur" downward, increased the excitement. It pleased the French fancy to read a supposed summons to George, inviting him, as a convert to legitimacy, to abdicate in favor of the surviving Stuart heir. Forgetful of the immediate past, the nation was ready to maintain French honor at any cost against its embittered and inveterate foe. The Pactolus streams of English gold could not, the French felt sure, much longer subsidize the Continental powers; for it was Great Britain, and not France, which was really exhausted.

Led by a man whose genius was believed to be as fertile in political, administrative, and fiscal expedients as it had always been in military measures, with an admirable machinery of government and a general confidence in their ruler, the French people became ever more certain that they might now and finally conquer in the struggle with England for mastery. This opinion was further strengthened because the inveterate rancor of civil conflict in the west was again quieted, temporarily at least, perhaps permanently. The devastator of Egypt and Syria still held out with one hand the mildest offers of conciliation to the malcontent communities of that district, with the other he displayed his powerful sword, while in his proclamations he threatened measures as severe as those he had practised against the rebellious Bedouin. This course had the desired effect, and, having brought the French rebels to terms, seemed likely to soothe them into habits of submission. The Army of the West could therefore be reduced in numbers; and as at the same time the Batavian Republic was in a fervor of enthusiastic loyalty, so also could the Army of Holland. In this way more than thirty thousand excellent soldiers were freed for use elsewhere.

(p. 147) Simultaneously with these events the most careful preparation was made for a step which might redound to Bonaparte's credit if properly taken, but could easily be detrimental to the complete success of his schemes. Under the new constitution every department of government had an assigned dwelling-place. That of the consuls was to be the Tuileries. How could an absolute dictator install his penates in the sometime home of absolute royalty without inspiring general distrust? The first step was to rechristen the pile as "the palace of the government," the next to consecrate it to glory. From far and near the statues of the great were gathered to adorn its halls. The choice of these displayed in significant confusion the generals and statesmen of all times in all places. Alexander, Cæsar, Frederick; Cato, Cicero, Brutus; Mirabeau, Marceau, and Joubert; and many others of lesser note, were assembled in effigy. But highest of all was set the image of Washington, the news of whose death had just reached Europe. His example was to be held up as the real inspiration of the new ruler. In order both to arouse the imagination of the people and to convince their understanding, the army was put into mourning for the great American, and a festival was instituted in his honor. To exalt the man who was universally considered as the typical and ideal republican of the age was a conspicuously effective idea, since it accorded thoroughly with the approved traditions of the Revolution.

The celebration was set for February ninth, 1800, and proved a great success. It had already been decided to reawaken public enthusiasm by instituting great military ceremonies when the captured standards from Aboukir were finally deposited in the Hospital of the Invalides. These and the Washington festival were interwoven with consummate art: while the First Consul's (p. 148) victories were recalled in the imposing parade, the simple and impressive words of an able orator, M. de Fontanes, reminded the nation that the immortal Washington had shown as a general more strength than brilliancy, and had awakened little enthusiasm but great confidence; that he was one of the men inspired to rule who appear from time to time in the world; that he was neither partizan nor demagogue; and that when peace had once been signed he had laid down his arms to become the wisest of constructive legislators. "Yes, Washington! thy counsels shall be heard—thou warrior, legislator, administrator! He who in his youth surpassed thee in battle, like thee shall close with conquering hands the wounds of his country." Minds less quick than those of the Parisians would have discovered the moral of the address even without the peroration. When the official journal next day published the glowing words and described the brilliant ceremony, the coming monarch was already lodged under the roof of the Bourbons. Since Bonaparte had made the liberation of Lafayette an indispensable condition of the treaty ratified at Campo Formio, it might have been expected that this name, so long used elsewhere in a natural juxtaposition, would on such an occasion have been mentioned in connection with that of Washington; but the honors of that day were to be shared with the dead foreigner, not with the living Frenchman.

(p. 149) CHAPTER XIV[15]

A Constitutional Despotism

Policy of the First Consul — His Family — The New Officials — The Council of State — Bonaparte's Ubiquity — Foreign Affairs — France and Russia — The Mistake of Prussia — Peace Impossible — Bonaparte's Plans — His Aims — The Temper of Great Britain — Bonaparte's Appeal to the Army — The Military Situation.


The makers of a paper constitution cannot foresee every detail in the working of its provisions; and contrary to the expectation at least of Sieyès, the form which the new government took at the outset was largely personal. The Consulate and the ministry were entirely so, their members being chosen with a keen business instinct, like that of a great industrial or commercial master, for personal character, integrity, capacity, and devotion. "What revolutionary," said Napoleon to his brother Joseph, "would not have confidence in an order of things where Fouché is minister? What gentleman would not expect to find existence possible under the former Bishop of Autun? One keeps my left, the other my right. I open a broad path where all may walk." This was so far true, but such nice discrimination could not be exercised in filling the hundreds of minor offices. France is second to no land in the ambition of its people for office-holding, and among (p. 150) the thousands of greedy claimants it was not easy to choose. There were many mistakes made in selecting the petty officials, and the disappointed formed a large class of embittered malcontents from the very inauguration of the consular system. There were the senate, the legislature, the council of state, the tribunate, the whole judicial administration, all to be filled. It was understood that the official emoluments would not be niggardly. When finally fixed, the salary of a senator was twenty-five thousand francs; that of a tribune, fifteen thousand; that of a legislator, ten thousand. As a measure of relative importance it is interesting to note that the First Consul had five hundred thousand a year, and each of his colleagues one hundred and fifty thousand.

So swiftly and thoroughly did Paris and France absorb the concept of monarchy in the Consulate, that the powers and fortunes of the First Consul were scarcely considered in relation to those of the other two, who, far from parity, were barely coadjutant. What the nation felt and accepted, but scarcely whispered, the Bonaparte family discussed with shameless greediness. How far soever Napoleon removed himself in other respects from the primitive institutions of Corsican barbarism, in one he never so far had varied: the sense of clanship. His brothers and sisters were men and women of parts, but they were undisciplined in language and behavior: their natural appetites were never concealed, nor their tongues bridled. Napoleon acknowledged the fraternal bond in the tribal sense; for every one of them he desired to provide handsomely in money and honor, and he expected the return of affection and loyalty. Behind his back they discussed his death and the succession, formed cabals of supporters, wrangled for influence and power. Of this their brother was not unaware, and the danger (p. 151) of their irregular conduct was ever present to him. But he could not bring himself to check them. At this moment when their activities were most pernicious, he intended Lucien to be the master politician, Joseph the master negotiator, Louis a general, and Jerome an admiral. Their intercourse with official France might make or mar the fortunes not only of their brother but also of themselves.

The new officials were selected from every walk of life, from every shade of opinion, from every stratum of society. The intention was that they should have no bond but a common interest in the new order. The senate became a high place for the successful among the old, the men whose day was over. Monge, Berthollet, Volney, and the like were found on its benches. The silent legislature was filled with the majority of those whose ardent and uninstructed ambitions were easily muzzled by the tenure of place, and found a sufficient vent in casting a voiceless vote. The tribunes, "legislative eunuchs," as they have been called, were men such as Daunou, Benjamin Constant, and J. B. Say—the elect among the able and intelligent of the day. Their duty was to debate the nature and utility of all bills with the proposers, the council of state; and it was expected that the fiery logic and merciless criticism which they were sure to employ would rebound harmlessly from the benches on which their opponents sat. If freedom of debate and liberty of speech became too dangerous even in such remoteness from action, the superfluous institution could be suppressed without a jar in the machinery of state. There was possibly a hint of this in the fact that the tribunes found shelter in the Palais Royal, then the haunt of prostitutes and the refuge of the great gambling-hells which were so numerous. To the end of its days the (p. 152) tribunate was the one asylum of liberty under the constitution of the year VIII. It was supposed, as has just been said, that the impotence of the tribunes would be offset by the independence of the council of state.

In this last body, therefore, were assembled three important classes: sincere Bonapartists like Roederer, Regnault de St.-Jean-d'Angély, and Boulay de la Meurthe; clever specialists like Ganteaume, Chaptal, and Fourcroy, who were quite willing to serve the First Consul; and a number of proselytes from among the royalists and other factions. For the most part these were men of great ability, and for a time they found in the First Consul a disinterestedness in serving France which made them his devoted servants. The personality of the council was Bonaparte's, and whatever independence it possessed was his. The court of appeals was duly organized by the senate, which had this right as being the guardian of the constitution. The justices and councilors of a supreme court, the copestone of the judiciary, were nominated by the same body. The other courts were also ably manned with officials who, though not servile, were stanch supporters of the new government.

Before the time when the campaign could open in the spring of 1800, all these parts were intended to be, and actually were, running smoothly; but they were running by the inspiration and activity of a single man. The council of state was his greater self, the senate his instrument of governing; the legislative body was as silent as the tribunate was noisy—neither was a serious check on his plans. Legislation of the greatest importance was under way; it was all devised for purposes of centralization, and was studied in detail by the First Consul. Administration was proceeding with scarcely any friction whatsoever; but this was because Bonaparte (p. 153) kept his eye on each separate office, and carefully superintended its working. By special arrangement foreign relations were considered and settled in secret consultation by the chief of state and Talleyrand; but the latter dared not pretend that in unraveling the threads of so tangled a web, or in their skilful rearrangement, the initiative was his. Carnot, at his old work, with his old genius unimpaired, needed little encouragement; but even in his department every corps, every battalion, every regiment, every company of all the arms,—cavalry, infantry, and artillery of every class, conscript, soldier, reserve, and home guard,—each and all were known to the First Consul. Incredible and exaggerated as such statements must appear, the testimony to their truth is so abundant and unimpeachable that it seems to the reader as if at this crisis there had appeared in Europe a being neither human, demoniac, nor celestial, but a man with superhuman powers of endurance, apprehension, and labor, an angel without perfection, a demon without malevolence. For, on the whole, Bonaparte's work, while replete with dangerous expedients, and, as the future conclusively proved, inspired by self-seeking, was beneficent, constructive, and permanent in regard not merely to France, but to Europe and the world.

In the opening months of 1800 the Continental situation was even more peculiar than usual. In 1799 the Directory had, as a financial measure, incorporated Belgium with France, and her provinces, like all other parts of the country, paid heavy taxes. This could not be changed; and in regard to the minor states still nominally independent, but really under French control, the old policy of the Directory could likewise not immediately be dropped. Masséna had just made a forced levy in Switzerland. Genoa was laid under a (p. 154) fresh contribution of two million francs, and menaced with a forced levy. It was arranged that Holland should pay forty million francs for the restitution of Flushing; and Amsterdam was invited to lend ten more, but refused. Hamburg was secretly held out to Prussia as the price of an alliance with France. Publicly the Hohenzollern monarchy was praised for its refusal to surrender some important political refugees to the coalition, and was offered the friendship of France at the price of four to six millions of francs. It was determined that Portugal, which, having been exhausted by a long alliance with England, now earnestly desired peace, should be told informally by Talleyrand that it could be purchased by a contribution of from eight to ten millions for the Army of Italy. Paul I of Russia, already angry with Austria, was confirmed in his friendship for France by many acts of courtesy. The Russian prisoners of war received new clothes, and were released; the First Consul, recognizing the Czar's quixotic interest in the Knights of Malta, sent to him the sword of Valetta, captured on the seizure of the island. A treaty of peace between France and Russia speedily ensued.

This of course effectually checked Turkey, and soon afterward competent experts were appointed by Paul to consider the details of a combined Franco-Russian expedition for the invasion of India by land, and to parcel out Asia between the two powers. The scheme originated with an agent of the Directory, named Guttin, who after a sojourn in Russia had boldly suggested that as Russia could never be even touched by modern ideas, and as the international propaganda of cosmopolitan republicanism must needs stop at her frontiers, there was but one course open: to seek her alliance. Bonaparte carefully studied the long and persuasive report, (p. 155) began his preparations to realize the policy in the far future, was mindful of it at Tilsit, and, thwarted in his hope of keeping Russia an eastern power, found his first serious check in the campaign fought to coerce her. The expedition planned by him and Paul, as a side thrust at Great Britain, embraced both India and Persia in its details. Should it succeed, even the island kingdom might one day find itself a tamed and trained unit in the federation of western and central Europe under the ægis of a new western emperor, dividing the world with him who claimed to be the eastern; the heir and successor of those Romans who had reigned from Byzantium.

The center of gravity on the Continent remained in Prussia. As the land of Frederick, and the rival of Austria, she supposed herself to represent the liberal side of German life. In fact, there was a strong French party at Berlin, which felt that the republic had been fighting Prussia's battle in weakening the house of Austria. But Frederick William III, the young King, was timid, cautious, and full of self-esteem. He was overmastered by the specious idea, also cherished by his prime minister, that a firm neutrality would recuperate the strength of his country and people while internecine warfare was exhausting the rest of Europe. On this ground he had so far stood unshaken; and though the sympathies of his house had always been, in the main, on the side of absolutism, he refused the alliance of the absolutist coalition, and remained obstinate between the two alternatives. Nor did he falter until he destroyed his own prestige. The country itself would have been sacrificed but for the national uprising which some years later compelled him to take a decided stand. The Directory had longed to secure Prussia as part of the French system in Europe, and finally sent Sieyès to engage her as an ally. But the envoy spent (p. 156) more energy in intriguing against his employers, and in devising schemes for the monarchical system which was to supplant them in France, than in his proper work, and succeeded only in confirming the King of Prussia in his policy. Bonaparte sent two representatives, Duroc and Beurnonville, to renew the negotiation and obtain Prussia's active assistance. They were received with much show of kindness, and the hopes of the latter envoy rose high, but only to be shattered. Privately the King notified Sandoz, his minister in Paris, that if France were defeated in the inevitable impending conflict, Prussia would reclaim her territories on the left bank of the Rhine, and declare war to secure them. The treaties in which she had renounced them were waste paper in this case; but until the event were decided she would stir neither hand nor foot.

With Prussia persistently neutral, and all the minor states exasperated not only by the continued billeting of French troops upon them, but by new demands for money, France was virtually left alone against Austria and England in the coming campaign. This situation was perfectly clear to the French people; but in view of all that had happened since the change of government, it appeared to every one not only as if reasonable offers of peace on the part of the First Consul had been refused, but as if French honor were inseparably united with the policy of war forced upon him. Though not proved, it is reiterated that this was what Bonaparte wanted. Subsequent events support the hypothesis; and if it be true, no schemer ever met with such perfect success. A career of aggressive extension was apparently forced upon him.

Three great revolutionary concepts of foreign policy were therefore the outcome of Bonaparte's studies in the exhibition of Austrian and British policy, of French (p. 157) temperament and personal ambition: the mastery of the Mediterranean basin and thereby of the Orient; the extension of a revolutionary liberal system in Europe by the conquest and protectorate of the Continent; and the leadership of the world for the French nation, still as ever enthusiastic for lofty ideals and great deeds. Similar notions had not been foreign to the ancient régime, but England had prevented their fulfilment. The republic, having vaguely enlarged them, had fought for them as France had never fought before, because these things were not to be achieved for a dynasty, and were now illuminated by visions of human regeneration. Still England stood in the way. Bonaparte had given them new shape and new intensity with new definition; logically his success would stand for that most splendid of ideals which has ever dazzled poets, theologians, and kings—the universality of empire for peace and its arts, and the consequent elevation of all mankind. By the conquests of Alexander, Cæsar, and Charles the Great, animated as was each in turn by ambition and fiery zeal, nations, tribes, and institutions had been melted in one crucible. Each of those heroes had done a wondrous work in the advance of civilization, but their gains had been indirect. The experiment was to be tried for a fourth time. Would England again and finally dash the French Utopia into ruins?

For the moment Great Britain might be well content. India was safer for the overthrow of Tippoo, Ceylon was conquered, Egypt blockaded, and supremacy regained in the West Indies as well. Malta was in her hands, the Dutch fleet had been destroyed, the French and Spanish fleets were imprisoned at Brest. It is true the liberal agitations inaugurated and kept alive by the discontent of her middle and lower classes were hard to repress; but they were mercilessly crushed as they (p. 158) came to the surface, and on the whole, public opinion supported the policy. That Grenville was subsidizing Georges Cadoudal with half a million francs to reorganize the Chouannerie of western France, and strike the "essential blow," was barely suspected. The proof has only come to light a century later. Assassination is an ugly word: it was not used, but it was contemplated. If this were the temper of Great Britain, that of Austria, her ally, was even more irreconcilable. Expansion in Italy was the focal concept of her policy. There was no expense of money and men she would refuse to consider for erasing the blot of Campo Formio. She had recruited her treasury and her army by British aid, and was defiant. The letter to her Emperor from the First Consul, as of equal to equal, was a crowning insult.

The first four months of the Consulate had not left the First Consul without enemies at home both numerous and bitter; moreover, many narrow minds—men who, like Talleyrand, were ignorant of how impossible the permanent return of the Bourbons had become—considered Bonaparte's tenure of power only as a transition to the old order. But at the critical instant, in April of the last year of the eighteenth century, France as a whole, including even the factions which had hoped to use him as a tool, felt that her doctrines, her aspirations, and her fate were personified in the great Corsican. His own motives may properly be stigmatized as those of personal ambition; but they were much more. Half educated and half barbarous as he was in his disdain of human limitations, there was in his heart a clear conception that good can come only of good, and therefore he had a definite purpose to do the most possible in order to illuminate his own rise by the regeneration of society. Himself a man without a country,—for (p. 159) all his patriotic aspirations perished in Corsica's desperate failure,—he cared little for territorial limits, and utterly failed to comprehend the strength of national ties. Without sincere ecclesiastical feeling or an earnest faith, he partly understood the value of religious sentiment in the individual, but underrated utterly its moral preponderance in the social organism. The church to him was little more than a "white" police force. A consummate actor, he estimated at its full the influence of the dramatic word and situation on the common mind, but was often self-deceived while believing others misled or beguiled by his acting.

It is not at all inconsistent with a possible sincerity in the ostensibly pacific foreign policy he was pursuing that, even before the decision to fight had apparently been forced upon him, two manifestoes rang out to the troops. To the Army of the Rhine he said: "You have conquered Holland, the Rhine, and Italy, and have dictated peace under the walls of terrified Vienna. Now it is not a question of defending your borders, but of overpowering hostile states." To the Army of Italy in particular he said, with reference to a too notorious instance in which during the previous year a half-brigade had shown the white feather: "Are they all dead, the brave men of Castiglione, of Rivoli, and of Neumarkt? They would rather have perished than have been untrue to their colors; and they surely would have dragged their younger comrades on to honor and to duty. Soldiers, you say your rations are not regularly distributed. What would you have done if, like Four and Twenty-two of the light infantry, like Eighteen and Thirty-two of the line, you had found yourselves in the midst of the desert, without bread, without water, with nothing to eat but the flesh of horses and mules? 'Victory will give us bread,' said they; and (p. 160) you—you desert your standards!" Such words, from such a man, could leave no soldier of any nation unmoved. The Frenchmen in the ranks were thrilled by them; the general who wrote them understood that peace without glory was a broken reed for an aspiring ruler. He had proffered the olive-branch, but he must, in order completely to win his people, chastise those who had spurned it. Austria, in particular, must get another lesson in humility.

On the eve of active operations in the first months of 1800 the military situation was as follows: The Italian line stretched from Genoa around by Savona to the Col di Tenda. On it were thirty thousand men, under Masséna, while ten thousand more guarded the passes of the Alps. Confronting it was an Austrian force of eighty thousand men, under Melas, a general of the old formal school, hampered by tradition and by the machinery of the Aulic Council in Vienna. In Tuscany, in the Papal States, and in Piedmont were twenty thousand Austrian soldiers in garrison. On the Rhine stood Moreau, with a hundred and twenty thousand men, facing a less able antagonist than Melas in the person of Kray, whose army was about equal in number to his own. The Austrian lines stretched from the falls of the Rhine northward by their headquarters at Donaueschingen to Kinzig. The greatest of the Austrian generals, the Archduke Charles, was not in the field. A sensitive epileptic, he had been wounded by the incessant and meddling interference of the Vienna bureaucrats, and had temporarily withdrawn from service. The plan of Francis and his ministry was to drive back Masséna's inferior force; then, with the aid of the English fleet, which arrived in March, under Keith, to reduce Genoa, where Masséna was sure to make a stand; then to cross the Var, and increase the (p. 161) numerical superiority of the Austrians still further by a union with the royalists of Provence, who were organizing under Pichegru, just escaped from Guiana; and finally to carry the war into the heart of France, while Kray held Moreau in check.

(p. 162) CHAPTER XV

Statesmanship and Strategy[16]

Bonaparte's Plan of Campaign — His Relation to Moreau — The Reserve Army — The Movements of Moreau — The Austrians Defeated — Further Advance of Moreau — Bonaparte with the Army — The Italian Campaign — Position of the Austrians — The St. Bernard — Passage of the Alps — Military Problems — Grand Strategy — Bonaparte's Preparation.

By an article of the new French constitution the First Consul might not be also commander-in-chief of the forces; but, as he said to Miot de Melito, nothing forbade him to be present with the army. Nevertheless, his military greatness was now for the first time to display its stupendous proportions. Hitherto, superb as had been his achievements, they had been won as a subordinate carrying out one part of a large plan, and securing prominence for his own ideas only by disregarding those of nominal superiors. Now he had charge of a great war in its entirety. There was but one obstacle—Moreau's ability and jealousy. With the (p. 163) superiority of true greatness, Bonaparte at once took in the military situation, and, disregarding all the vexing details which would pass for essentials with men of less ability, analyzed it into its large and simple elements. If Kray were beaten, the French army could reach Vienna, and dictate peace before Melas could produce an effect in Italy. His plan, therefore, was to unite near Schaffhausen the various portions of the reserve army which he had quietly been organizing, and, covered by the Rhine, to effect a junction with Moreau; then by overwhelming superiority of numbers to turn Kray's left flank, cut off his connections, and, taking his army in the rear, either capture or annihilate it. Moreover, a detachment of this victorious force could then cross the easy lower passes of the Alps, and attack the Austrian army in Italy from the rear, even if in the interval that force should have been victorious. In this one great combination lies the proof of its author's genius. Its five great strategic principles are these: one line of operation, with one offensive; the massing of the army as the first aim; the line of operation on the enemy's flank verging toward his rear; the surrounding of the enemy's wing so as to jeopardize his connections; and lastly, the defense of your own connections. Standing in sharpest contrast with those of his great predecessor Frederick, these principles have not yet been overthrown even by modern science, nor by the revolutionary change which has taken place in the material of war and in the number of men engaged in modern conflicts.

But the idea was too great for the conditions. Moreau would not serve as second in command, and Bonaparte was perfectly aware that he himself was not yet sufficiently firm in his political seat to alienate a rival so influential. In fact, on March sixteenth, he wrote a private letter to Moreau, in which he said: "General (p. 164) Dessoles will tell you that no one is more interested than I am in your personal glory and in your happiness. The English are embarking in force. What do they want? I am to-day a sort of manikin which has lost its liberty and its happiness. Greatness is fine, but only in memory and in imagination. I envy your happy lot. You are going to do great things with brave men. I would gladly exchange my consular purple for the epaulets of a brigade commander under your orders." All the First Consul's military conceptions had to be carefully propounded; that for a campaign in central Germany was not carried out until several years later. Moreau, conscious of his own powers, would not even accept Bonaparte's suggestions for conducting the passage of the Rhine. He was therefore left perforce to act independently except for instructions from Paris that he should take the offensive at once, and drive the enemy into Bavaria behind the Lech, so as to intercept his direct communication with Milan by way of Lake Constance and the Grisons. Lecourbe, with twenty thousand men, was to watch the higher Alpine passes. The dangerous rival was then left entirely to himself, and the destination of the reserve army was changed to Italy. This, of course, was done in order that such success as Moreau would certainly have won with its aid might not endanger the political situation in Paris. He must not be permitted to retrieve a reputation sullied both by his suspected connection with Pichegru's conspiracy, and by his participation, contrary to lifelong professions, in the revolution of Brumaire.

Early in March the existence of the hitherto hidden army was revealed by an order for its advance toward Zurich to prepare for crossing the Alps. Switzerland, having fallen into French hands through Masséna's operations of the previous year, and being therefore no (p. 165) longer neutral, its territory was open for use in offensive operations against the foe. Masséna had received his first instructions a few days earlier. They were to concentrate the Army of Italy in order to defend Genoa and the entrance to France. Melas would surely follow the well-worn Austrian plan of advancing in three columns for a concentric attack. The French general was to avoid two, and meet the third with all his strength. In April, however, he was informed of the new combination, and told to stand on the defensive until the reserve army had crossed the Alps. "The art of war," Bonaparte always said, "is to gain time when your strength is inferior." This Masséna, with brilliant capacity, undertook to do when, on April sixth, the brave and veteran Melas attacked him with sixty thousand men. But in spite of repeated successes against superior numbers, before the end of the month active resistance became impossible, and the whole French center was compelled to withdraw on April twenty-first behind the walls of Genoa, the situation of which now became precarious, for it was blockaded by the English fleet, and provisions were growing very scanty, not more than sufficient stores for a month being available. Suchet, with the left of Masséna's army, ten thousand strong, retreated along the coast, pursued by Melas with twenty-eight thousand, until on May fourteenth the former crossed the Var. Ott, with twenty-four thousand men, was left to beleaguer Genoa, in which Masséna held out until June fourth—a siege considered one of the most stubborn in history.

Such had been the wretched management of the previous year in the department of war at Paris that Moreau's force was not properly supplied in any particular, and he would not move until a month after the time arranged. It was not until April twenty-fifth, (p. 166) after an urgent request from Bonaparte, that he ventured to carry out his own cautious plan for the passage of the Rhine in four divisions instead of in one united body, as the First Consul had suggested. Less was risked, and probably less was won; but the complicated movement was prosperous. Making a feint as if to occupy the Black Forest, he completely misled Kray as to his real intentions, and induced him to abandon his strong position at Donaueschingen. By a series of clever countermarches, in which the Rhine was crossed and recrossed several times by various French corps, the whole of Moreau's command was finally united beyond the Black Forest, having successfully outflanked not only that dangerous mountain-range, but also the enemy, which was still occupied in guarding its eastern exits.

The movement was brought to a fortunate conclusion by the French advance, before which the Austrians withdrew to secure a position. In the last days of April Moreau found himself with only twenty-five thousand men facing the mass of the Austrians under Kray at Engen. In the rear, on his left, but beyond reach, was a division of his own army under Saint-Cyr. On May second, expecting their speedy arrival, he joined battle with his inadequate force. The reinforcements did not arrive; but after a desperate fight, with serious loss, he defeated the enemy. Next day Saint-Cyr came in, and the Austrians, having learned that Stockach with its abundant stores had fallen into the hands of the French division under Lecourbe, withdrew northeastward toward the Danube. Moreau's success was unqualified. Kray could no longer retreat toward the Tyrol by Switzerland and the Vorarlberg; he had also lost a large supply of munitions most precious to their captors, besides five thousand prisoners and three thousand killed.

(p. 167) Nevertheless, he was still undismayed, and two days later made a stand at Messkirch. After an embittered and sanguinary conflict on May fifth he was again defeated. The victory of Moreau would have been overwhelming but for a second inexplicable failure of Saint-Cyr to bring his division into action. Investigation revealed that while that division general had displayed no zeal and had evinced no good will in the interpretation of orders, he had strictly obeyed their letter. His laxity was therefore overlooked. It was soon found that the Austrians were again gathered to defend their depots at Biberach. This time Saint-Cyr was ardent, and with conspicuous fire he led his inferior numbers against the enemy's center, driving them from their position. Still aglow with victory, he then called in a second division under Richepanse, and attacking again the main body of the enemy's army, which was drawn up on the slopes of the Mettenberg, dislodged them from that position also. Two days later Lecourbe captured Memmingen with eighteen hundred prisoners, and on the tenth the Austrians withdrew to make a determined stand on a fortified camp at Ulm. It is probable that in two days Moreau would have driven them from that position if his force had been left intact; but Carnot had come in person to ask for the detachment of Lecourbe's corps to serve in Italy, and a request from such a man could not well be denied.

The First Consul had studied the situation of France as carefully as he had analyzed that of Europe. Bernadotte was chief in command of all the soldiers within the confines of the republic. He was bound in the most solemn way to treat every faction with the utmost consideration and gentleness far and near throughout the land; above all, to lull the West into repose. To (p. 168) the judicious Cambacérès was intrusted the supreme power at Paris: "during the absence of the First Consul," his orders ran. His duty was to repress without pity every symptom of disturbance by the aid of the police under Fouché and the soldiery under Dubois. The news was carefully spread about that Bonaparte would soon return, very shortly in fact; there was uneasiness among the best-disposed at the thought of his absence, of his carefully balanced machinery left to the care of others. His departure was carefully arranged. The partizans of Masséna were alert that the fortunes of their hero should not be sacrificed. The news, true though inaccurate, that Kléber had capitulated in Egypt made little stir, but the fact was rather ugly. "Have it understood," were Bonaparte's later instructions to Talleyrand, "that had I remained in Egypt that superb colony would have been ours, just as, had I remained in France, we would not have lost Italy." Desaix, of whose eminent ability and vigorous character Bonaparte had formed the highest opinion, was already on the way, and for him a letter was left urging his presence at the earliest moment in Italy. The glorious news of Moreau's brilliant successes was read from the stage of the opera, where the First Consul led the enthusiastic cheering, and that very night, having sent a message of congratulation to the conqueror, "glory and thrice glory," he departed for Dijon. Next day Paris was reassured, gay and brilliant. It so continued until his own triumphant return. Resting for a short day at Dijon, he hurried on to Geneva, where he remained for three days in consultation with Necker. Thence he passed to Lausanne, where Carnot arrived with the news of his successful mission. Moreau had been flattered by the great consideration implied in such an embassy. From every side the news was satisfactory. Berthier's work of organization (p. 169) was thorough and complete: the raw recruits were drilled to efficiency. The generals were resplendent in health, spirits, and fine uniforms. The First Consul, clad in the blue frock of his civil office, wearing at times his rather shabby gray overcoat, with a slim sword at his side and a soft cocked hat on his head, was a very inconspicuous figure indeed. He was with the army, but not apparently in formal command.

Bonaparte's earlier plan for using the reserve army was that it should take up the division of Lecourbe, cross from Zurich by the Splügen into Italy, where, absorbing Masséna's force, it would finally number over a hundred thousand, and be sufficiently strong to conquer Melas. But the latter's immense superiority of numbers throughout April had enabled him in the mean while to cut off all communication with Masséna, and the worst was feared. It was determined, therefore, to cross the Alps much farther to the westward; and Berthier was ordered to study first the St. Gotthard and the Simplon, then both the Great and Little St. Bernard passes, the former of which was still erroneously held to be Hannibal's route. This easy adaptation to changing conditions was another sign of the First Consul's military greatness. The idea of a march to Milan was likewise quickly abandoned in order to relieve Masséna the sooner by way of Tortona. By May ninth all was in order. By "general's reckoning, not that of the office," as Berthier's words were, there were forty-two thousand men on or near the Lake of Geneva. When Bonaparte arrived at Lausanne on the tenth, Lannes was at the foot of the Great St. Bernard, with eight thousand infantry; four other divisions, comprising twenty-five thousand men, stood between Lausanne and the head of the lake; another, of five thousand men, under Chabran, was in Savoy at the foot (p. 170) of the Little St. Bernard. Besides these, Turreau, with five thousand men who had originally formed part of Masséna's left wing, was at the southern end of the Mont Cenis pass; and the fifteen thousand men detached from Moreau were already marching under Moncey toward the northern entrance of the St. Gotthard.

The situation of the Austrians and the French in Italy had not materially changed on May thirteenth, and was of course still to the advantage of the former. Masséna was in Genoa with twelve thousand available troops and sixteen thousand sick or wounded. Ott was conducting the siege with twenty-four thousand men. Melas, with his twenty-eight thousand men, was still on the Var, firmly convinced that the French reserve army would unite with Suchet's ten thousand in Provence and attack from the front. Five days later he was informed of the truth, and leaving a corps of seventeen thousand to guard the Riviera, hurried with the rest back to Turin, which he reached on the twenty-fifth. Ten thousand Austrians were watching the St. Gotthard at Bellinzona, three thousand were in the valley of the Dora Baltea to observe the southern exit from the St. Bernard range, while five thousand were on the Dora Riparia and one thousand on the Stura for similar purposes regarding the Mont Cenis. Six thousand were marching from Tuscany to reinforce Melas, and three thousand remained there; while in the Romagna, in Istria, and in various garrisons of upper Italy, were sixteen thousand more.

On May fourteenth began what has been justly considered one of Bonaparte's most daring and brilliant moves. Even at the present day and after extensive improvement of grade, the road over the Great St. Bernard is for a long stretch barely passable for wheeled vehicles; it was then a wretched mule-track, more like (p. 171) the bed of a mountain torrent than a highway, and at that season of the year storms of snow and sleet often rage about the hospice and on the higher reaches of the path. The First Consul had carefully considered the great outlines of his strategy; the detail had wisely been left to able lieutenants. One by one the successive divisions, with that of Lannes at the front, climbed the steeps, crossed the yoke, and passed down on the other side to Aosta. There was, of course, some snow, and there was in any case no track for the gun-carriages; the cannon were therefore dismounted, laid in sledges of hollowed logs, and dragged by sheer human force along the rough highway.

The passage into the upper vale of Aosta was commonplace enough, and on the sixteenth the head of Chabran's column also arrived there safely by way of the Little St. Bernard. But every enterprise has its crisis. Lower down, on an abrupt and perpendicular rock, was Fort Bard, which entirely controlled the valley. It proved to be impregnable. Lannes hesitated for a day. Berthier wrote him that the fate of Italy, perhaps of the republic, hung upon its capture. This proved to be a pardonable exaggeration. The French van took a rude mountain-path which lay to the northward over Monte Albaredo, and, leaving their artillery behind, advanced, or rather climbed across, toward Ivrea. Bonaparte himself came up two days later, and, hearing that Melas had now left the Var, ordered the path to be improved. Lannes, in the interval, attacked Ivrea, but failed for want of cannon. Marmont, the chief of artillery, could not wait for the engineers to complete the new road, but, wrapping all his wheels in hay, and strewing the streets of the hamlet at the foot of Fort Bard with dung, carried all the guns safely past under cover of night. The Austrians could (p. 172) not fire in a plumb-line downward, and, though aware of the movement, they were helpless. The garrison held out for a time, but surrendered on June first. Ivrea fell at once; the three thousand Austrians in the valley were scattered; and the Italian plains lay open to the daring adventurers, many of whom, having once outflanked the Alps under the same leader, had now attacked and surmounted them. Their enemy was first incredulous, then surprised and undecided; his forces were so scattered that it seemed as if he could no longer hold Tortona. Should that fortress fall into French hands, Genoa could be promptly relieved.

Bonaparte at once became perfectly aware not only of the Austrian position, but also of the favorable opportunity it opened for him. His ideas began immediately to expand and change. Why not take advantage of the time which must intervene before the Austrians could concentrate for a decisive action, leave Masséna to hold Genoa a few days longer, himself march to Milan and secure Lombardy, then cross the Po, and, after having cut off all Melas's connections, offer him battle? That a single battle might decide the fate of Italy was the conception of a strategist. The inverse order of defeating Melas, relieving Genoa, taking Milan, and driving the enemy behind the Adda, would have meant a long campaign. This was the first appearance of this keen conception, which recurs twice more in Napoleon's life—in 1809 and in 1813.

Before the end of the month every portion of the army had done its work. Turreau was over Mont Cenis, and had driven in the Austrian guards. Moncey had passed the St. Gotthard in safety, and was ready at Bellinzona. A side column under Bethencourt had crossed the Simplon and was near Domo d'Ossola. On June second the united French force had crossed (p. 173) the Ticino in safety, and the vanguard entered Milan as the Austrian garrison withdrew first to Lodi and then to Crema. Murat was despatched with his cavalry to drive the retreating columns so far that they could not interfere with the next serious operation, the crossing of the Po. Bonaparte celebrated his return not only by the reëstablishment of the Cisalpine Republic and by great civic festivals, but by a religious solemnity at which he declared his respect for the Holy Father and his attachment to the faith. The great cathedral was his special charge. Among the statues of saints which adorn its myriad pinnacles, one of the best is his own portrait.

(p. 174) CHAPTER XVI[17]


Surrender of Genoa — Bonaparte's Strategy — Politics at Milan — His Over-confidence — The Chosen Battle-field — Victor at Marengo — The French Overpowered — Defeat Retrieved — Desaix and Kléber — A Pattern Campaign — Plots in Paris — France Conquered in Italy — Significance of Marengo — Bonaparte Returns to Paris — His Bid for Peace — Austria Disavows the Negotiations — Conferences at Lunéville — Hostilities Renewed.

The news of all these movements reached Melas at Turin, where, with the ordinary perspicacity of a good army general, he had expected the battle. With Suchet to the westward on the Var, and Bonaparte in front, his situation was critical. His first intention was to advance by Vercelli, and fall on Bonaparte's rear; but learning how great the force was which had crossed the St. Gotthard, he chose as a rallying-point for his army the town, of Alessandria, the situation of which amid lowlands and sluggish streams resembles that of Mantua, and made it in those days of short range and weak projectiles a powerful fortress. It was his daring intention to break through the French center. (p. 175) Meantime Masséna, having conducted the defense of Genoa with heroism and persistency until the last, had been forced to open negotiations for surrender. He was embittered, charging that he was both deserted and sacrificed: a glance at the map will show how utterly impossible it would have been for the French forces from the north to have crossed and recrossed the Apennines for his relief, and moreover the strategic moves did not and could not foresee the ill-advised Austrian tenacity in the siege of Genoa, at a time when Melas's necessity required every man within reach to rally at Alessandria as swiftly as possible. Could the French general have held out for three days longer, Ott would have been compelled to raise the siege in order to release his own troops for the greater struggle soon to take place. As it was, the terms offered were the best possible, and on June fourth the French marched out with eight thousand men under no conditions, leaving the scene by water, however, instead of joining Suchet to strengthen the army at once: a move which Bonaparte savagely condemned in his latter days. On the sixth Ott left with his army for the Austrian rendezvous. Had he renounced the capture of Genoa, he might have joined the force of Melas with his army unharmed. The sequel showed that some one had made a serious mistake; and that some one was not the French commander-in-chief.

Simultaneously Bonaparte was directing from Milan the slow passage of the great river at three points between Piacenza and Pavia, and bringing in from all around the scattered companies which had been clearing the country in various skirmishes. He left a fortified camp at Stradella and five available bridges over the Po, in case he should be beaten and compelled to retreat. On the eighth one of Melas's couriers to Vienna was captured, and his despatches, which told of the disaster at Genoa, (p. 176) also put the First Consul in full possession of his antagonist's movements and plans. The French and Austrians began their advance about the same time; the former, however, in closer formation and less widely separated from one another. Ott and Lannes met at Casteggio, near Montebello. Bonaparte's orders were to destroy, if possible, the first Austrian column which appeared, "as it must of necessity be weak." In the first struggle the French, who were much inferior in numbers, were worsted; but reinforcements coming up quickly under Victor, their rout was speedily turned into victory, and the enemy was driven back upon the Scrivia, with the loss of four thousand men.

The short week in Milan, from June second onward, was a fine exhibition of Bonaparte's concentrated energy. There were a triumphal entry, most impressive, a series of eloquent bulletins, soul-stirring and illuminating, and a political reorganization of the Cisalpine Republic, object-lesson to France of what she had to expect. The horrors of Austrian rule were exhibited and execrated. What else could be expected from the kings of Europe? As to religion, the people want their worship, let the priests perform the desired rites. From Genoa, when it fell into French hands, as it did within a few days, the proclamation went forth announcing the policy of the Consulate. In the exercise of its power the government would completely restore the Roman Catholic cult, first because religion is essential to and in man, second because that of Rome is the best form, and lends itself best to democratic republican institutions. What had already happened in France was sufficient evidence that the First Consul would arrange matters with the new Pope, and recognize him, irregular as his election had been.

Map of the Marengo Campaign.

Melas was still west of Alessandria, at a distance of (p. 177) two days' march. Bonaparte, after leaving Milan for headquarters, remained in the rear, gathering and ordering the advancing army, but giving no sign, by a personal appearance on the front, until all was in readiness, of where the decision would be taken. It was a maxim ever on his lips to prepare for a decisive action by bringing in every available man; no one could tell when the result might turn on the presence of a few men more or less. In this instance he was apparently untrue to his own principle; for no less than twenty-three thousand men had been sent so far out of reach—some to cut off all chance of Austrian escape to the north, east, and south, and some for various other purposes—that he now had only thirty-four thousand men available. His over-confidence was in a sense justified by the enemy's mistakes, but it came near to costing dearly. It went so far that Loison, with six thousand soldiers more, was left behind at Piacenza. By the twelfth Melas had joined Ott at Alessandria, which, in view of Bonaparte's grand strategy, was inevitable. Desaix, in obedience to the urgent summons he had received from the First Consul, had finally reached the French headquarters at Stradella on the eleventh, and was immediately put in command of one of the three corps, his colleagues being Victor and Lannes.

The flat land about Tortona and Alessandria is watered by two small rivers, the Scrivia and the Bormida, which flow parallel to each other northward toward the Po. Irrigating canals and minor tributary streams, all bordered by pollard willows and other low trees, separate the fields, which are themselves planted with orchards, or yield rich crops of cereals. It was customary for Bonaparte to select an open plain for his battles, if possible. He could then, without fear of being hampered, (p. 178) use his favorite arm, the artillery, which he frequently massed with terrible effect on the wings, while his effective cavalry were sent in repeated onsets to break his enemy's center, and deliver the opposing ranks in broken masses to the musket-fire and bayonet charge of his infantry. Such fields were, of course, numerous between Tortona on the Scrivia and Alessandria on the Tanaro just west of its confluence with the Bormida. The best was near the great highway which, coming from the east, connects these two towns, and goes on, due westward, by Asti to Turin. Two roads of importance lead southerly, one from each town, to Novi, where they unite, and then proceed to Genoa. On the northern side of the triangle thus formed, and only three miles eastward from Alessandria, lies the hamlet of Marengo, where Victor was posted on June thirteenth, awaiting the attack of Melas when he should sally from the fortress. Lannes was about three miles behind at San Giuliano. Desaix had been sent southward toward Novi, lest Melas should swerve in that direction to try a flank movement. Bonaparte, with the consular guard,—a picked corps of twelve hundred trusted veterans which he had developed from that formed for personal protection in his first Italian campaign,—stood at Tortona. He could hardly trust himself to believe that the Austrians would be bold enough to make a direct attack, and had therefore disposed his troops in this scattered way.

But Melas, though slow and old-fashioned, was intrepid, and the Austrians were daring fighters. On the morning of the fourteenth he began to cross the Bormida, and as his van drove the French outposts to Marengo, he was able to deploy east of the stream. Victor received orders to hold the village at any cost, in order to gain time for concentrating the scattered (p. 179) French columns to the right and left of his position, which was to be the center. On a level battle-field the solid brick or stone walls of a village, of a churchyard, or of great farm-courts like those of Lombardy, afford the most desirable shelter, and oftentimes, as at Marengo, Aspern, and even Waterloo, the loss or gain of such a position turns the tide of battle; for an army equipped with flint-lock muskets and small unrifled field-pieces, though victorious in the open, dares not leave a considerable portion of their enemy thus ensconced in the rear. Hence the ever-recurring and enormous importance of farmsteads and hamlets in the Napoleonic battle-fields. Lannes was to deploy on the right, and Murat was sent with his cavalry in part to support the forming line, and in part to prevent a flank movement along the slow, willow-bordered current of the Bormida. If Desaix could come up in time, he would form the left; in the mean time the younger Kellermann was stationed with his dragoons to guard Victor's open flank.

The first attacks of the Austrians were repulsed, but with loss and difficulty. At ten in the morning Ott came up, and attacked Lannes's flank. The fighting grew ever hotter and more desperate, and the news from Desaix was that it would be four in the afternoon before he could arrive. Bonaparte called in his small reserve, under Monnier, to strengthen Lannes; but it was of no avail. By midday the French were driven out of Marengo, their front was broken, and their columns were in full retreat to the eastward toward San Giuliano. The First Consul was in despair, and as a last resource sent in eight hundred of the consular guard. For the first hour of the afternoon the retreat was stayed. But the French were soon outflanked on their left by Austrian cavalry, and again began to withdraw. (p. 180) Bonaparte sat by the roadside, and, swishing his riding-whip, called to the flying men to stand and wait for the reserve, a body of troops which did not exist. Seven thousand soldiers—a fifth of his entire available force—had, it is estimated, already fallen. Desaix was not yet within reach. Melas believed he had won the day. Perhaps if the weight of seventy years, and a slight wound, had left the Austrian commander personally less exhausted, he would, in spite of having long endured the heat, fatigue, and dust, have carried his victorious columns onward until he had utterly scattered his enemy. As it was, he deputed the final discomfiture of the disorganized yet slowly, stubbornly retreating Frenchmen to Zach, his chief of staff, and returned to Alessandria. His command, ordered in single main column, followed directly on, while Ott, with a minor one, deviated toward the left to seek a parallel line of pursuit.

At this juncture, about five in the afternoon, Desaix appeared at the head of his hurrying line. In an instant Bonaparte had despatched riders in every direction, who were instructed to declare that "the French line is forming again." The discouraged men who were still in the ranks took fresh courage, many stragglers were gathered in, and the line was really formed once more. Marmont even collected a battery of eighteen guns, and Kellermann, with the brigade of dragoons which had so long covered Victor's left flank, suddenly reappeared in good condition on Desaix's right. In a moment all was changed. Desaix and Kellermann threw themselves with fury on the head and left of the main Austrian column. The first half was soon in confusion; six thousand men laid down their arms. The second half was demoralized, and took to flight. Their officers rallied the flying lines with difficulty, but sufficiently to hold a (p. 181) bridge over the Bormida until Ott had joined the retreat and safely passed. Before dark a portion of Melas's army, about twenty thousand of the thirty he had collected at Alessandria, were all behind the stream, and the French were again in full possession of Marengo. But the gallant Desaix had perished in the moment of victory. "Of all the generals of the Revolution," said Napoleon to Gourgaud, "I only know Hoche and Desaix who could have gone further." Of the latter he said, during the voyage to St. Helena, that he was the best general he had ever known.

There were, however, two others he might have recalled. It is true that among all the purely French generals of the republic and the Directory, the name of Hoche, so prematurely cut off by death, stands highest. But there was another of similar renown: second only to his is that of Kléber. The latter, recognizing the desperate situation of the French colony in Egypt, early in the year 1800 concluded with Sir Sidney Smith, at El Arish, a treaty for honorable withdrawal. But there was delay in accepting it at London, and no preparations to fulfil the terms were made. In the interval Kléber, alarmed by the gathering force of Turkish troops, turned on the Turkish pasha—who now stood at Heliopolis with seventy thousand men—with the sadly diminished army of twelve thousand French, and on March twentieth, 1800, in the most amazing fight ever seen by an Egyptian sun, swept the horde out of existence. It was his admirable administration during the ensuing months which, together with the achievements of its scholars, gave all the luster to the ill-starred expedition which was ever shed upon it. On the very day on which, at Marengo, Desaix received in his heart the fatal ball, Kléber fell a victim to the dagger of a Mohammedan fanatic. The French humiliation (p. 182) in Egypt was completed a year later by the surrender of his successor, Menou. Moreau, therefore, was now the solitary able survivor of Revolutionary traditions in warfare.

MARENGO 14 June 1800.

A distance of about three and a half miles separates the field of the morning battle at Marengo from the field of the evening battle near San Giuliano; the Austrians retreated across the Bormida to Alessandria; the French bivouacked near Marengo.

Exactly a month after the passage of the St. Bernard had begun, the Austrians opened negotiations, and their general agreed to evacuate all northern Italy, with its strong places, as far as the river Mincio. The only Italian lands to be left in Austrian occupation were Tuscany and Ancona. The strategical lesson which Bonaparte drew from the victory at Marengo is often repeated by writers on military science; namely, that the art of war is the art of combinations. His detractors claim the honors of the day for Desaix and Kellermann. The judgment of posterity must be that of his contemporary critics. To plan is already to manœuver; but in war, as elsewhere, to will is one thing, to do is another. A successful battle disorganizes an opposing army, but successful strategy entirely destroys its power. When will and deed accompany each other the result is conclusive. The victory at Marengo was such a decision. Bonaparte the army commander lost it; Bonaparte the general-in-chief won it, exactly as it was. But even if Desaix had not appeared, success would have been gained elsewhere. The road to Stradella was open, the French connections were unbroken. Although such later explanations have little value, Napoleon was probably right when he said to Gourgaud: The French army was in an abnormal position with its rear toward Mantua and Austria. Its only line of retreat was by the left bank of the Po, and to leave that line of communication without defense was not permissible. In an ordinary position all the detachments should be drawn in for battle. Here this was impossible without losing all the advantage of the (p. 183) campaign. Had we been defeated, this fault would have been no reproach, though properly enough the loss of the battle would have been attributed to it; in that case the strength of the positions held by the troops would have been manifest, since to it the army would have owed its safety, together with the chance to await reinforcements from Switzerland and France, and to reassemble at Mentz, for thus we could have maintained ourselves on the left bank of the Po, while Melas could hope only to withdraw to Mantua and take his normal position. This was Napoleon's commentary at the close of his life: likewise he had declared, as Antommarchi asserts, that he would have crossed the Po on one of his five bridges covered by his batteries, would have combined his first division with those he had left behind, and then would have attacked and destroyed each successive Austrian corps as it crossed the stream in pursuit. In any case Marengo was the pattern of an offensive campaign organized, not to win battles and spare the lives of soldiers, but to destroy an enemy. In a just cause this policy is great and humane; in an unjust cause any warfare is butchery. To assert, as many do, that Marengo was superb, but unpatriotic, is simply to renounce the cause in which it was fought. As to the strategy of the campaign, the final judgment must be that of Napoleon himself: To be a good general you must know mathematics; that serves in a thousand circumstances to clarify your ideas. Perhaps I owe my success to my mathematical ideas: a general should never make pictures, this is the worst of all. Because a partizan has captured a position, you need not think the whole army was there; my great talent, my chief distinction, is to see clear in everything, it is even the style of my eloquence to see beneath all its appearances the root of the question. It is the perpendicular, (p. 184) shorter than the oblique. The great art of battle is during the action to change the line of operations: my own idea, entirely new. That made me the victor at Marengo: the enemy moved against my line of operations to cut it; I had changed it and he then found himself cut off.

Throughout his absence from Paris, Bonaparte's mind was almost as much absorbed in home as in foreign affairs. His correspondence, packed as it is with details, gives only a faint idea of the multiplicity of his cares in regard to his family, the army, and the nation. The capital was full of conspiracies, machinations, complots, and intrigues: it could not be otherwise, and he felt it. There were the British and the Chouans combining to rekindle the flames of civil war, and rid the earth of the man who would not restore the Bourbons. The Institute was embroiled over the restoration of the Fructidorians it had expelled. There was Fouché to be cajoled and bribed with promises, if only the police would repress the cabals forming everywhere like mushrooms. There were Bernadotte and all the touchy generals, aspirants to power, who must be flattered and soothed. There were the newspapers to be inspired and fed by a carefully organized news bureau. There was Josephine clamoring for money, and his brothers to be appeased. There were the consuls to be guided and the wheels of government to be kept oiled. All these matters received his attention.

But in spite of such comprehensive care, things went wrong. On June nineteenth Cadoudal wrote to Grenville that everything was arranged, insurrection would break out in the west and south: the royalists were certain of success if only the sixty men selected should remove the "personage" from the scene. Fouché warned his chief that the baser radicals, a group composed of red (p. 185) Jacobins and disgruntled half-pay soldiery, had despatched an agent to dog his footsteps. The purpose may be imagined. Royalists and anarchists considered the First Consul vermin. Talleyrand was carrying water on both shoulders: the insiders of the administration styled him and Sieyès with their adherents the Orleanist party, scheming to put some member of that line on an ineffectual throne as a creature of the other monarchies. Lucien and the Bonaparte family began to discuss heredity and talk of a succession in the Consulate as in a kingdom. They gathered many adherents: Orleanists and Bonapartists alike counted on the possibility of the First Consul's death, either by assassination or in battle, on the still higher probability of his defeat. Death and defeat they considered were for him synonymous, all the plotters of every sort and condition forming plans to share in the contingent legacy of his overthrow. Victory alone could save the First Consul and his personal rule: to conquer in Italy was to reign supreme in France. The plain folk seem never to have doubted for a moment, and their instinct was true.

Heretofore we have seen in Bonaparte the general and the politician commingled, with the former preponderating; now we have carefully to distinguish not one but almost two men in the First Consul, as afterward in the Emperor—the statesman and the general. The former is henceforward always prominent, always in evidence; the latter often hides himself, and does his great work, in the service of the former. The conflict at Marengo was the first of the statesman's four decisive battles, and he knew it. It gave him the undisputed mastery of France. There never was a fight more carefully explained to a nation, both at the time and subsequently, than this one. There was real danger that the temporary check might obscure in the common mind (p. 186) the true greatness of the main conception and its execution. To prevent such a mishap was essential. In the form of bulletins, of inspired articles in the obsequious press, in conversations, by hints, innuendos, and every other known channel, such reports were put in circulation as insured the full value of a great success to the chief magistrate of France. Combined with the victories of Moreau, it restored the finances of the country; for that general, who had in the interval occupied Munich, levied forty millions of francs in a lump on South Germany, while Piedmont and the reorganized Ligurian and Cisalpine republics were now each to pay monthly tribute amounting annually to a similar sum.

Leaving Masséna to command the Army of Italy, the First Consul hastened to Milan, where he tarried only long enough to despatch a peace commissioner to Vienna. He then hurried on to Paris. The public had not at first understood that the chief magistrate would so daringly violate the constitution. When his intention to assume military command became clear, there was no audible discontent; the only effect was to create a coterie about Talleyrand which discussed the consequences if the daring adventurer were to be killed. While deliberating whether Carnot or Lafayette should be the coming man, their session was indefinitely adjourned by receipt of the news and by the speedy return of Bonaparte. His journey through the provinces was a continuous ovation; every town had its triumphal arch. By his command the reception which Paris gave to the man whom victory was fast making her idol was ostentatiously kept within moderate limits, but on the evening of his return—July third, 1800—the entire city burst into one great illumination. Every one was talking of Hannibal and the Alps, of the army climbing like chamois and toiling like oxen, of the hospice of (p. 187) St. Bernard with its devoted brothers and their sagacious dogs, of precipices and avalanches, and of the climax to all these toils in the plains of Italy, not forgetting the touching loss of the gallant and handsome Desaix.

The hour for display was past, the time for solid achievement had arrived. First, if possible, the peace so ardently desired must be secured. In a letter from Milan to the Emperor Francis, explaining why it was Austria's interest to abandon England, and become the friend of France, on the old terms of Campo Formio, Bonaparte wrote: "Let us give peace and quiet to the present generation. If future generations are foolish enough to fight, very well; they will learn after a few years of warfare how to grow wise and live in peace." But Austria, having just bargained for a new subsidy from the apparently inexhaustible coffers of England, could not consider a separate peace, and the cabinet sent an agent with very limited powers to see whether France might not be brought to make some concessions which would be useful toward a general pacification. The personage chosen was one of those who seem by accident to enter now and then the solemn councils of history in order to enliven their gravity by blunders and mock heroism. The Count of St. Julien, an Austrian diplomatist attached after the fall of Genoa to the army, had been chosen by Bonaparte to carry his proposition for a general armistice to Vienna. It was he who was sent back to Milan with an Austrian counter-proposition, accepting the armistice, but suggesting clearer definition of the terms on which peace was to be negotiated than could be found in the treaty of Campo Formio, a document which intervening circumstances and new engagements had rendered impossible of execution.

The luckless diplomat, finding in Milan that Bonaparte (p. 188) was already in Paris, transcended his instructions, and followed. Arrived on the banks of the Seine, he was welcomed with ostentatious heartiness, and intrusted to the wiles of Talleyrand, who intended so to use his victim as to convince the French people that peace was within easy reach since they had a living plenipotentiary among them. Accepting the French minister's large interpretation of his powers, the flattered ignoramus made his first misstep, and began negotiations. Within a week he had actually signed preliminaries the execution of which would have definitely sundered Austria and England. When St. Julien reached Vienna, in August, Thugut was infuriated, and passed sleepless nights at the mere thought of a formal negotiation having taken place without the knowledge of Great Britain, his master's ally and indispensable support. In order to undo the mischief as far as possible, an account of the facts was promptly sent to England, Talleyrand's preliminaries were utterly rejected, and St. Julien himself was disavowed and imprisoned.

The Austrian strength was nearly worn out, but new troops were raised. The Archduke John, still a mere boy, but with talents vaunted as superior to those of the Archduke Charles, was put in Kray's place. Melas was removed to make way for Bellegarde, a younger but less able man. The former had eighty thousand men and a reserve under Klenau; General Iller, with thirty thousand, was in the Tyrol; and Bellegarde was on the Mincio, with ninety thousand. The tried and skilful Cobenzl was sent to reopen negotiations. Joseph Bonaparte was appointed French plenipotentiary to meet him. Their conferences were held chiefly at Lunéville, a frontier town southeast of Nancy. The prolongation of the armistice necessary for these arrangements was bought by the cession of three fortresses to (p. 189) Moreau, and was the more easily secured because Bonaparte, though furious at his failure to secure peace in consequence of Marengo, still felt that peace was imperative. Soon afterward court intrigue at Vienna overthrew Thugut, and Cobenzl was forced to betray the inherent weakness of his position. In order to conceal Austria's exhaustion, he had been instructed to make a bold demand for an English associate, and to plead urgency for a general peace; but he secretly gave Talleyrand to understand that sufficient concession in Italy would secure a separate peace with Austria. Bonaparte had no intention either of suing for peace with England, or of granting more than he had originally offered to Austria. Finally, in November, he determined to renew hostilities, declaring that the state of the nation and Austria's procrastination justified the prosecution of the war. Joseph Bonaparte and the Austrian plenipotentiary continued their parleyings at Lunéville, but the armistice was ended.


The Peace of Lunéville[18]

Hostilities in Germany — Moreau's Position — Battle of Hohenlinden Moreau's Renown — The Peace of Lunéville — The Czar Withdraws from the Coalition — The Temper of France Bonaparte and the Plain People — His Capacity for Work His Social Defects — His Strength and Independence The Emigrant Nobility — Their Return — Their Treatment.

On the opening of hostilities in Germany, the Austrians held a position of great strength behind the Inn. Moreau's line was near Munich, skirting the forests on the Isar. To strengthen his force, troops enough were sent to raise his numbers to about a hundred thousand men, and twenty-five thousand were stationed under Augereau on the Main. Masséna, whose ever more pronounced republicanism had not passed unnoticed at Paris, was found guilty of bad administration in Italy, and was replaced by Brune. This eclipse was, as it was intended to be, only temporary. Murat was stationed in central Italy to watch Naples; Macdonald stood in the Grisons with fifteen thousand troops, ready to turn north or south at a moment's notice, as exigency should demand. The time had come for the conclusive blow where alone it could be delivered, in Bavaria.

(p. 191) The defensive position of the Archduke John was very strong. Moreau had carefully studied the advantages for battle of the high plain on which he himself stood, and in the raw, damp days of early winter reluctantly began to prepare for an advance. His enemy, with the over-confidence of youth, made ready simultaneously to abandon all the strength of his position, and likewise moved forward. The French could hardly believe their senses when, on December first, their left was checked in its advance and driven back by what was evidently the main army of their enemy. Moreau made ready to receive the Austrians on familiar ground. The evening of the next day found his army arrayed near Hohenlinden, eighteen miles east of Munich, so that every avenue of approach by the neighboring forests was in their hands, and every road to Munich closed.


The famous battle began on the morning of December fourth. It opened at half-past seven, the main attack being on the center. Moreau, supported by Grenier, Ney, and Grouchy, easily sustained the onset, while right and left the wings began to infold the Austrians, who were now blundering through the unknown woodland paths. When all was ready, Ney and Grouchy were suddenly detached to break through and join their forces to those of Richepanse, which had reached the Austrian rear. The manœuver was successfully accomplished, and by three in the afternoon the day was won for the French, with a loss that was slight in comparison with that of the Austrians, which was upward of twenty (p. 192) thousand killed and wounded, besides much artillery and immense stores. The flight was a rout, and even the Archduke narrowly escaped capture. Moreau's pursuit was sharp, and a fortnight later he was within easy reach of Vienna, where confusion and terror would have reigned supreme had not the Archduke Charles been persuaded to resume the chief command in the extremity. Fortunately also for Francis, this rapidity had left Augereau's corps in danger from the possible advance of Klenau, and, much as Moreau would have liked to eclipse his rival in Paris, he dared go no further, and was compelled to rest content with having won a victory greater than any Bonaparte had gained. The campaign was of course ended, and to release Augereau from all menace an armistice was signed at Steyer on Christmas day. In Italy, Brune had with difficulty advanced to Trent on the Adige. He was there to join Macdonald, whose feat of leading fifteen thousand men across the Splügen in the heart of winter had scarcely attracted the attention it deserved.

The sober judgment of posterity in the light of the fullest information is that well-nigh every movement of both the Austrian and French armies at Hohenlinden was haphazard and bungling, the former ignorant, the latter lucky. But what with an open road to Vienna on the north and the prompt successes of the French forces south of the Alps, the consequences were decisive. Moreau enjoyed a renown in France that was, though fictitious, of enormous political value. The First Consul must be the first in generous recognition so as not to alienate an important group of republican supporters; he was quick to see it and to use the fruits of victory.

Hohenlinden brought matters at Lunéville to a speedy conclusion. A separate peace for Austria was signed on February ninth, 1801, which virtually shattered the (p. 193) time-honored Hapsburg policy of territorial expansion. Her line in northern Italy was fixed at the Adige; the Grand Duke of Tuscany lost his land, and, like him of Modena, received no other compensation except a grant from the Breisgau in Germany; the Rhine, from source to mouth, was to be the French boundary; and the temporal princes so maimed were to be indemnified by the secularization of the ecclesiastical lands on the right bank. Austria was thus not only left insignificant in Italy, she was deprived of her independent station as a great power in Europe; she was even threatened in her Germanic ascendancy, for the spiritual princes of the empire were her main support in the Diet, and the diminution of their numbers meant the supremacy of Prussia in Germany. The treaty was negotiated for France by Joseph Bonaparte; it was signed by Austria, not only for herself, but for the Germanic body, in which, according to its terms, the First Consul might, if necessary, intervene in order to secure the execution of the stipulations made in the document.

Such provisions could only mean either the permanent humiliation of Austria, or the resumption of hostilities whenever recruited strength would permit. It is doubtful whether they would have been accepted even then had not the First Consul finally succeeded in winning the Czar to his cause. It will be remembered that in the previous year the cession of Malta to Russia had been suggested by the French envoy at St. Petersburg. This was, of course, another step in the process of widening the dissension already created in the coalition. The proposition had been received by the Czar with great delight; and when, on September fifth, 1800, the English compelled the French garrison of that fortress to capitulate, and, careless of the Grand Master's rights, entered on full possession of the island, Paul, openly (p. 194) accusing England and Austria of treachery, entered an "armed neutrality" with Sweden, Denmark, and Prussia to check English aggression at sea. The real motive of Frederick William III in joining this movement was to repress Austria's aspirations for the annexation of Bavarian lands. He persisted in his neutrality, and would make no alliance with Bonaparte; but he was glad to see his rival weakened. The Czar believed that by diminishing Austria's power in Italy that state would be impotent to restrain Russia's ambition in the Orient. One authority declares that the Czar had been assured by the First Consul that he was about to restore the Bourbons, and would himself be content with an Italian principality; but this is doubtful. So ardent was the Russian autocrat, however, that he urged forward the preparation of plans for the projected Franco-Russian expedition, which was to march by way of Khiva and Herat, and strike at the heart of England's power by the conquest of India. This was the first of those sportive tricks which for years to come Bonaparte was so triumphantly to play with the old dynasties of Europe. The success of this combination temporarily secured the peace of the Continent on terms most advantageous to himself.

The people of France were tired of the awful earnestness which had characterized the philosophical and political upheavals of the eighteenth century, and were ever more and more eager for glory and for pleasure. This was true of all political schools, excepting only a very few men of serious minds. The masses had come to loathe royalty. They were living under what was called a republic, and when an expression was needed for the national life as a whole they and their writers employed the common classical term "empire." The word "citizen," used in both genders as a form of (p. 195) address, recalled the days of rude leveling. It had lasted through the Directory; with the Consulate it disappeared, first from official documents, and then, in spite of resistance by a few radicals, it soon gave place everywhere to the old "monsieur" and "madame." In like manner the former habits of polite society quietly reasserted themselves with the return to prominence of those who had been trained in them. Liberty could no longer be endangered by admirable usages whose connection with monarchy was forgotten. Such incidents were significant of the movement which, with the assured stability of the Consulate, brought immediately to its service those persons who represented, not exactly the greatness, but the capacity of France. Excepting that which was resident in a few royalists and in a few radicals, the power of the nation rallied to the support of the new order. When Daunou, Cabanis, Grégoire, Carnot, and Lafayette were identified with the Consulate, the Jacobinism which had turned the early nobility of the Revolution into baseness might well hide its head. For a time, at least, the majority believed that the highest aims of the Revolution were to be attained under the new government.

The Bonapartes resided in the Luxembourg from November, 1799, to February, 1800. In that short time a little coterie of visitors, with many royalists in its number, had been regular in attendance; but the republican side was studiously kept prominent, and thence the First Consul had married his sister Caroline to Murat, the son of an innkeeper at Cahors. During that period the anniversary of the death of Louis XVI was stricken from the list of public festivals, but those of July fourteenth, the storming of the Bastille, and of September twenty-second, the founding of the republic, were kept. After the installation of the family at the (p. 196) Tuileries, in February, 1800, there was little change, except that a clever beginning was made in ceremonial and etiquette, which augured further changes, and the bearers of noble names became more and more prominent. "It is not exactly a court," said the Princess Dolgoruki of the receptions, "but it is no longer a camp." Toward those who aspired to the familiar address of equality the First Consul grew more forbidding; to the plain people in civil and military life he was always accessible, and with them he was simple, even confidential, in his manner and tone. "I have your letter, my gallant comrade," he wrote to a sergeant. "I know your services: ... you are one of the brave grenadiers of the army. You are included in the list for one of a hundred presentation swords which I have ordered distributed. Every soldier in your corps thought you deserved it most. I wish much to see you again. The minister of war is sending you an order to come to Paris." After the battle of Montebello, the affair fought by Lannes five days before Marengo, when Coignet, a common soldier who could neither read nor write, but who had performed several daring deeds in that, his first engagement, was by Berthier's orders presented at ten in the evening to the Consul, the latter playfully caught his visitor by the ear, and held him thus during a short catechism. At the close, the delighted peasant, entranced by such familiarity, saw his services noted in a mysterious book, and was dismissed with the remark that no doubt, eventually, he would merit service in the guard, the members of which must be veterans of four campaigns. The effect of such incidents was to turn the popular admiration into a passion.

No one ever declared that Napoleon Bonaparte was a gentleman animated by trained self-respect and consideration (p. 197) for others. Many thought his accesses of feverish sensitiveness, which now began to be noted, were due to a hysterical temperament: in society he often sat in forbidding silence; sometimes he wept tears which the world would consider unmanly, and appeared to be temporarily disordered in his mind. But he had much rude good nature and considerable wholesome sensibility. He worked regularly from twelve to fifteen hours a day, evolving schemes which paralyzed his secretaries by their magnitude. The hours which such a man of affairs spent in the companionship of women were not marked by that quick appreciation and attention which gratify the great lady. No one has suffered more at the hands of women than Bonaparte. Mme. Junot and Mme. de Rémusat forgot nothing which would place his rude passions in glaring contrast with their own chastity, or even with the polished laxity of that notoriously immoral society which scorned old-fashioned restraints. The long struggle for recognition and attention which that "femme incomprise," Mme. de Staël, waged with Bonaparte ended in her defeat, and she then turned against her antagonist the weapon of her clever pen.

It is certain that with all his genius the great statesman and the great general failed to understand the power of woman. His youth gave him no due share in the society of those mothers, sweethearts, and female friends who, in the routine of daily life, by instinct, training, and ability, mold every generation as it rises to its place. The years of nonage were absorbed in political intrigue, and those of early manhood in tasks not laid upon most men until middle life. Amid the storms of the Revolution was formed a general without experience in those social forces of peace which finally overpower all others. His married life began in passion (p. 198) and ambition; the relation was checked in its normal development by ensuing hurricanes of alternating jealousy and physical attraction. The social power of his wife was great, but superficial; and while she powerfully supported her husband's ambitions, and often captivated his senses, she failed in creating any companionship with him in noble enterprise. The innate coarseness of a giant was, therefore, never diminished, and the society of those who turned pleasing and pleasure into a fine art, who regarded entertainment as the chief concern of life, was generally irksome to a man who looked upon many over-ready women as instruments for gratifying physical passion; to a general who saw in all women the possible mothers of soldiers; to a "scientific" politician who looked on the family and on children as inert factors in a mathematical problem; to a wilful dictator ignorant of the unalterable supremacy of woman in her own sphere. But even Mme. de Rémusat admits that there were times and places when serious women with earnest notions of duty received at his hands the most gracious and considerate treatment. In the main, Napoleon's nature was so dominated by his gigantic schemes that he was impervious to the feminine fascinations by which men are so often ruled. He would tolerate neither Egerias nor Hypatias, neither Cleopatras nor Messalinas, although the times might easily have furnished him with examples of each type.

The Consulate is the period of Bonaparte's greatest and most enduring renown. In what he did the new France was heartily sympathetic; the old France, with all its vices, spite, and bitterness, though existent, was in abeyance, and remained so for some years to come. The multitudinous memoirs concerning the time were for the most part written in the days of the (p. 199) Restoration, when the revulsion of feeling created a passion for the basest defamation, and unduly magnified the small defects of etiquette, behavior, and dress in the preceding régime. The scraps of evidence which these writings afford ought to be carefully examined, and viewed from the standpoint of the circumstances which produced them. Such a task being well-nigh hopeless, the deeds of the First Consul must speak for him rather than the statements about them and him which he himself and others have made. He was not in touch with the polite society of Paris; he certainly did most arbitrarily banish from its precincts Mme. de Staël, the brilliant woman whose writings many praise but few now read, and whose home was the focus for the discontented ability of the time; he never appreciated the spirit of true liberty, and he often misapprehended the gentler spirits who in its name sought his powerful protection and patronage; he was not sensitive to the finer sentiments of the mind, often mocking at the "ideologues"; and while he enjoyed the society of Josephine and her friends, he repelled their interference with his plans, and apparently never forgot that her jealous devotion had grown with his power and reputation. All this must be admitted in characterizing Bonaparte at the height of his greatness; but the vile innuendos, insinuations, and imputations of sordid traits, which so abound in the diaries of the time, must be considered in relation to the murky natures of those who recorded them, and, with allowances for the time and the training of the man, may be consigned to the limbo of malice from which they came.

Exile had broken the spirit but had neither softened the hearts nor enlightened the minds of the long-banished aristocracy and their friends. The new society looked on the thousands and thousands of returned (p. 200) emigrants with some pity and much indifference as they wandered about Paris and the other cities in faded, worn, old-fashioned garb. Their abodes were in garrets and cellars, their ancient titles were carefully concealed; the few who were recognized and betrayed by some vindictive spy were persecuted by legal tricks even to death, and the rest were cowed. Their cowardly precipitate flight had saved their lives, but it had destroyed their king, their honor, and their self-respect. Artois at Turin, Condé at Worms, the petty nobles at Coblentz, the great ones at Brussels, the clergy in England with their adherents, grandees and gentlemen; each of these groups had suffered in a different way from the rest, but all had finally found themselves objects of suspicion to their hosts, and had long since been reduced to an ignoble poverty. The employment in foreign armies for which they had hoped was so guardedly measured to them that their services were inappreciably small. They had been driven for support to teaching and other such noble employments as they could secure, then by a sure descent many became artisans, craftsmen, and even menials, but, failing that, they were frequently reduced to base mendicity, holding their hands for the alms which their sad appearance and murmured pleas drew from the passers-by. This was particularly the case at Hamburg, where twenty-five thousand took refuge, and at Erlangen in Bavaria. But they had scattered everywhere and had been a byword in all Europe.

Nevertheless, throughout Convention, Terror, and Directory they had cherished high hopes, preserved some forms of courtliness and organization, had kept their anniversaries, their military style, and even a formal system, social and military; had dreamed of a restoration in full form and a return to one-time wealth, dignity, and social power; political power they had not (p. 201) had within the memories of men, ecclesiastical power they enjoyed not as Frenchmen but as Romanists. Their old-time merry arrogance had given place to an acrid humor born of hunger and want, but they kept their temper and ambition in spite of the mistakes they committed and heaped one upon another, cradling their own hopes in the disasters of the Directory, which so outdid their own as to insure, they were convinced, the reëstablishment of monarchy. Brumaire and its consequences opened their eyes and confounded their plans; every step in the consolidation of Bonaparte's power was a new blow to their pretensions, and the amnesty which he tendered of his mercy was gall and bitterness. But facts are stronger than feelings; they returned in throngs, a hundred and twenty-five thousand at the lowest estimate, slowly and painfully securing the erasure of their names from the list of proscription, reveling in their mother tongue and familiar scenes, winning a poor livelihood by their accustomed arts while scheming, fawning even to secure the crumbs which fell from the tables of those in power. The great ladies who had never fled gave them some poor comfort, the Jacobins scoffed and jeered, but the versatile Talleyrand, and above all the plotting Fouché, were open to suggestions.

Within some months their plight began to awaken considerable sympathy, and that sympathy gradually found expression in the theaters and newspapers. The next development was a movement to secure restoration, at least in part, of patrimony and station. Then a mild but symptomatic storm burst on their heads. The sequestered estates, ecclesiastical and secular, were now in new hands, and as order followed anarchy their values to the republicans who had acquired them were steadily increasing. Any attempt to dislodge the (p. 202) possessors would have meant the overthrow of Bonaparte's still insecure power. So he treated the suppliants with contemptuous disdain. What he had done was done. They were home once more and might remain, if subservient: otherwise their existence was their own affair. In the perspective of St. Helena he thought he had erred; that he might have assembled all the considerable estates still in state ownership and have distributed them in bits to former proprietors. Possibly and yet improbably he might have conciliated a large constituency of the social and ecclesiastical hierarchy for use in the empire. In this thought the history of France has measurably justified his regrets. But in fact he put the old stock of the nobility in a place far below the middle and upper burghers who rallied to his support. It was a choice of enemies, and he chose radicals and royalists. They accepted the challenge and met the fate of conspirators.


The Pacification of Europe[19]

Russia, Italy, and Spain — The Kingdom of Etruria — The Consulate and Royalty — The Church in France — The Concordat — Affairs in England — France and Russia — The Battle of Copenhagen — Preliminaries of Peace — Terms of the Agreement — France and the United States.


The genius of Bonaparte was all-embracing, because it made one forward step follow close upon another, and that with no appearance of compulsion; for this reason he went so far. The treaty of Lunéville was the first move toward a general pacification. What was to be done with the rest of Italy, with Spain and with Portugal, in order to secure his preponderance in western Europe? To the blandishments of the Consulate, the Czar gave a hearty response. He suggested some sort of demonstration against Great Britain, not alone in the Orient but on her very shores; he advised Prussia to seize Hanover, turned the pretender, Louis XVIII, and his court away from Mittau in midwinter, and dismissed the Bourbon emissary from St. Petersburg. To checkmate Austria he espoused the cause of Piedmont and the Two Sicilies, suggested the Rhine as the French frontier and the restitution of Egypt to Turkey. (p. 204) His Oriental plan was corollary to the armed neutrality he organized to checkmate England. To give respectful heed and retain the good will of Russia, which thus interceded for a monarchical Naples, nothing was said about restoring the Parthenopean Republic. Instead, Ferdinand IV, though compelled to evacuate the Papal States, and to restore the pictures and other booty which in the manner of the time he had removed to his capital, was left in full possession of his crown. English ships were to be forbidden his ports, and the expenses of a French army corps, which should lie, under Soult, at Tarentum, were to be borne by his treasury.

The affairs of Spain had reached a crisis in the low intrigues of her court. Marengo destroyed the influence of the anti-French party at Madrid. Godoy, styled "Prince of the Peace" from his having negotiated the treaty of Basel, had been made prime minister through the influence of Queen Louisa, whom he had infatuated. Though successful in being both the Queen's lover and the King's intimate friend, he was nevertheless an incapable statesman. In 1796 he made Spain still more subservient to France by the first treaty of San Ildefonso; and such was the public resentment that he had to resign. Through Bonaparte's influence he was restored to power, and in a second treaty of San Ildefonso Spain became the servile ally of the Consulate. By the terms of this compact, as already partly expressed in the treaty of Lunéville, not only were Parma and Elba left in the hands of France, but Louisiana was ceded to her, the French colonies in South America were enlarged, (p. 205) and a combined force of French and Spanish troops was organized, which compelled Portugal to abandon the English alliance and accept Bonaparte's terms. The little but important realm was also to shut her harbors to English ships, and pay twenty-five million francs to France. In return, Tuscany was to be erected into a kingdom, with the name of Etruria, for Louis, the heir of Ferdinand of Parma. The latter was a son of Don Philip of Spain, and as his son, the young King, had married the daughter of the ruling sovereigns of Spain, the new royal family was virtually Spanish, their infant boy having only one remote strain of Austrian blood.

When, shortly after, an actor in Paris recited from the stage, in Bonaparte's presence, the line, "J'ai fait des rois, madame, et n'ai pas voulu l'être," the house rocked with applause. The young King was also brought to Paris and paraded as an attendant in the First Consul's antechamber. A few felt the unworthiness of such a game, but the national vanity was tickled. Attendant republics already revolved about the great central French republic; were kingdoms, too, beginning to join the round? It will be seen that, in comparison with the radical anti-royalist policy of the Directory three years before, these arrangements must be considered moderate. To abandon the Roman and Parthenopean republics, and to constitute a new kingdom for a Bourbon, were actions of great significance to the courts of Europe.

But a still more pregnant step was the relation established between the Consulate and the papacy. Among all the institutions erected by Bonaparte, none proved more valuable than that which restored the French Church to Rome. The "civil constitution" of the Jacobin republic virtually created a voluntary Gallican Church, because all the conforming priesthood, of whom it will be remembered that Madame Mère's half-brother (p. 206) Fesch was one, became dependent on the state in support and allegiance. By the laws of 1790 the old diocesan boundaries were wiped out, bishops and priests were chosen by the people, and the celibacy of the clergy was abolished. In consequence, there had at first been bitter resistance and stern repression. But during the last years of the Directory both liberty of conscience and freedom of religion reigned in theory throughout France. There was, however, continuous social disturbance, bickering between sectaries both Christian and infidel, license of speech and conduct; in short, a condition pregnant with possibilities of disaster. Napoleon passed through a stage of rampant unbelief in his youth, and wrote a thesis in which he compared the Saviour unfavorably with Apollonius of Tyana. But with advancing years the dimensions of the papacy impressed his imagination, while ripening political wisdom convinced him of its power. As his ambitions became dominant he defied the Directory, and in 1797 left standing the framework of the papal edifice, because he already saw that the French people had returned to papal allegiance. In spite of the course imposed upon him by the events of Fructidor, he understood that no reunion of all elements in the population was possible except under the favor of Rome.

Shortly after Bonaparte's inauguration as First Consul there began to be circulated a moving tale of how the great man was frequently and visibly affected as he listened to the village chimes from his windows at Malmaison, evidently recalling the hallowed influences of his mother's faith. The act of the Consulate in ordering the performance of funeral obsequies for Pius VI was a recognition of the popular movement. After an interregnum of eight months a new pope, Pius VII, was elected at Venice on March thirteenth, (p. 207) 1800. This was done under the auspices of Austria and after long, fierce contention by the fugitive members of an incomplete conclave, yet soon afterward Bonaparte informed the Pontiff that, excepting the legations which Austria still occupied, the territories of his predecessors were under certain conditions at his disposal. The papal secretary, Cardinal Consalvi, set out for Paris, after what was considered a becoming delay; and before the middle of July, 1801, the treaty known as the Concordat was concluded. The First Consul conceded that the laws of 1790 should be abolished, and that the Pope should be officially recognized by the State as head of the Church. The appointments of archbishops and bishops made by the government were not to be valid until confirmed at Rome. In return the Pope was to end the conflict of State and Church in France, rally all good Catholics to the support of the republic, accept the loss of the confiscated ecclesiastical estates in return for a subsidy of fifty million francs, and recognize the clergy as civil officials in the pay of the State. Thus, at a single stroke, the measure of religious liberty which revolutionary atheism had unwittingly established was destroyed and the French nation relegated to a modified control by Rome; but on the other hand, the strongest support of the Bourbons was struck down, the existing order recognized, and Bonaparte felt assured, as he declared at St. Helena, that in view of France's overwhelming influence in Italy, the Pope, as a petty Italian prince, would become entirely subservient to himself. As is the case in all instances of that judicious compromise which is the foundation of statesmanship, no party or clique in either France or Rome was entirely satisfied. The Pope and his councilors chafed under a series of "organic articles" which, though integral to the treaty, emanated from the secular authority alone (p. 208) and interpreted the treaty in a sense favorable to the secular power. The free-thinkers of France sneered, the philosophers smiled sarcastically, the military authorities were shocked, the returned emigrants outraged. But the great French nation was consolidated in a twinkling, and the Concordat stood for more than a century. The Pope felt that the church in France had been saved as by fire, and forced the treaty upon his unwilling associates, while Bonaparte was even more peremptory and high-handed with his recalcitrant officials. Both knew that it was this or religious anarchy.

But a spectacle even stranger was soon to be offered to the world. Whatever form the struggle between France and England for ascendancy had taken throughout the long centuries it had lasted, it was ever and always bitter and envenomed. The French Revolution had offered the English Tories an opportunity, as they believed, finally and literally to crush France, even to the extent which Lord Chatham had always declared necessary for enduring peace. The younger Pitt inherited his father's idea, and the conquering policy of the republic had enforced his position, so that since the beginning of the present struggle between the two countries the British nation had reposed unbounded confidence in him. Unfortunately, he used this popular feeling to retain power after his convictions had changed. But successful as the war had been, it seemed to many as if there were no limits to its duration, and to timid minds the payment of lavish subsidies to the successive coalitions, combined with the expensive mismanagement of the naval establishment, augured bankruptcy. Pitt fell from power on the question of Catholic emancipation in Ireland, a matter in which he disagreed with George III, the unnerved, feeble King; the Addington ministry which succeeded was (p. 209) popular because it was understood to be above all else a peace ministry.

When, in 1799, Russia, furious at the perfidy of Austria and weary of the tyranny exercised by England over the seas, had instigated a renewal of the armed neutrality, and banished the French pretender, the delicate attentions and substantial offers of Bonaparte, already enumerated, completely won the heart of the Czar. Early in 1800 a confidential Russian agent appeared in Paris, and urged the First Consul to declare himself King. He also proposed to arrange terms for an alliance of the two rulers in order to destroy English power in India, according to plans already outlined by the Czar. An agreement was quickly reached, which early in 1801 resulted in a proposition by Paul for two expeditions: one Russian, by way of the Don and across the carry to the Volga, thence through the Ural Mountains to the Indus, and from the Indus to the Ganges; the other Franco-Russian, to proceed by the Danube, the Black Sea, the Don, and the Volga to Astrakhan and Persia, where it was to combine with the former. The plan for the latter was worked out in the minutest detail, and every item was carefully commentated by Bonaparte.

England's reply to the armed neutrality of the Northern powers was the despatch to the Baltic of a powerful fleet, which reached Copenhagen late in March, 1801. Negotiations were opened by Sir Hyde Parker, who, because of his diplomatic abilities, had been made first in command, and lasted for some days, but failed. On April second, Nelson, who was next in command, opened fire on the lines of defense erected before the city. His success was only partial. During the intervals of a parley opened by him, ostensibly in the interest of humanity, he withdrew his crippled ships (p. 210) out of danger and accepted an inconclusive armistice. England's object, however, was reached in another way. During the night of March twenty-third, 1801, Paul was assassinated in his bed, not without suspicion of connivance on the part of his son Alexander, who succeeded him. The murder was done by a band of drunken brutes, officers of important regiments who had been wrought to a pitch of frenzy. A clique of conspirator nobles had persuaded themselves and the assassins that Paul was crazy and was leading the country to ruin. Like the rest of Europe, the empire was divided into French and English parties, the latter comprising all who lived at ease on government places or inherited fortunes. The mass of the nation and the troops worshiped their Czar for his defiance of Great Britain, his French sympathy, and the reversal of Catherine's policy. It was a palace clique which, as again and again in Russian history, did to death a monarch thwarting the plans of aristocrats and placemen. The new Czar, whatever his share in the compact which set him on the throne, behaved at least like an agent of the conspirators, for he did not continue his father's policy. On the contrary, he immediately liberated the English ships in his harbors, and, further, waived all claim to Malta. The league of Northern neutrals fell by its own weight. For all this, however, Great Britain was still left without a supporting Continental coalition in the face of Marengo and Lunéville.

The death of Paul likewise affected the position of France, which again became insecure. This disposed the First Consul more than ever to yield to the universal clamor for peace. Addington's overtures had at first been coldly received, for Bonaparte wanted the restoration of all the colonial conquests England had made during the long war. But the death of the Czar and (p. 211) the attitude of his successor changed the situation. Still further came news that since Kléber's death one disaster after another had overtaken Menou in Egypt. He had been compelled to surrender Cairo in June, and the fall of Alexandria was only a question of time. Negotiations with England were thereupon seriously resumed. Both sides being equally eager for peace, arrangements were completed within a reasonable time, and on October first, 1801, the resulting preliminaries were ratified. The news was received in London with joyous acclamations.

England bound herself by the preliminaries of London to restore all her colonial conquests except Trinidad and Ceylon, and to withdraw from Malta and the other Mediterranean ports which she had seized. France was to restore Egypt to the Porte, to withdraw her troops from Naples, and to guarantee the integrity of Portugal, which the First Consul had intended to incorporate with Spain for his further purposes. A week later a secret treaty between France and Russia was signed: the two powers were to settle the affairs of Germany and Italy in concert. The idea of perpetual intervention in the German empire by France originated with Richelieu; no Russian monarch since the time of Peter the Great could feel his dignity secure without the same privilege. Such an agreement was, therefore, a final seal to France's new alliance. With Turkey likewise the old relations of amity were reëstablished by a new treaty. Bavaria was appeased by promises.

There would have been one other war-cloud on the distant horizon had it not wisely been dispelled in time. The United States had suffered much from the pretensions of the Directory to control its commerce in the French interest, on the plea of gratitude. The declaration of neutrality made by Washington in 1793 was ill (p. 212) received in Paris; the treaty of commerce concluded with England in the following year was regarded by the French government as a breach of neutrality, and the Directory suspended diplomatic relations. Their insolent agents in the United States had so embroiled the question of the relations of that nation with the two countries respectively that a rupture with France was threatened, especially when Talleyrand's unblushing effrontery in demanding enormous bribes from the American envoys was made public. Great as their obligations were, the United States had no intention of becoming tributary to France. The recognition by England of their neutrality had given them the whole colonial trade of France, Holland, and Spain. Their principle was virtually that of the armed neutrality of 1780: that neutral ships made neutral goods, "free ships, free goods." For this they were ready to fight. The First Consul had recognized the value for his own schemes of a great neutral maritime state, and on September thirty, 1800, had concluded a convention regulating commerce which for the time removed all sources of friction between his government and that at Washington. It was reciprocally agreed that the flag protects the goods, and that merchantmen under convoy may not be searched.

(p. 213) CHAPTER XIX

The Reorganization of France[20]

The Uses of Peace — General Zeal for Reform — The First Consul's Diligence — State Control of the Church — Bonaparte and the Pope — The Organic Articles — Establishment of the Prefectures — The Bank of France — Its Successes — Funding of the Public Debt.

With this general pacification there was widespread contentment. Addington thought the peace would be no ordinary one, but a true reconciliation of the first two nations of the world. The continental dynasties believed that at last the expansion of liberal France had been curbed. The French themselves could not restrain their joy at the prospect of a new social and political structure sufficiently commodious for the exercise of their awakened energies, sufficiently strong to command respect from enemies at home and abroad. The builders were already at work before the ground was fairly cleared; the regeneration of French institutions which has indissolubly linked the name of Napoleon with the life of modern Europe was under way before the peace negotiations were concluded.


The master workman found at his disposal two most important conditions: a clean tablet so far as the monarchical (p. 214) and revolutionary systems were concerned, and a great body of able and educated men anxious to coöperate with him. Their aim, like his, was to make the nation strong and illustrious. But for them the Revolution, confined in their minds to France, was over; while for him, viewing it as a European movement, it was in full operation. Whether they were royalists like Dufresne, or Girondists like Defermon, or radicals like Fourcroy, or moderates like Regnault and Roederer, or pardoned anti-Fructidorians like Portalis and Barbé-Marbois, they were all alike animated with zeal for a strong national life. But Bonaparte and a few of his intimates looked on renovated French nationality as only the means to a further end. In a pamphlet review of the situation, written in 1801, Hauterive declared that the rotten European structure resting on the balance of power had been overthrown by the wars of France, which was now, by her military and financial strength, and by the principles of her government, ready and able to make the beginning in a peaceful and prosperous federation of nations. This was the revolutionary program in another form: under the new conditions of French organization it eventually developed into a scheme of European empire, in which a modernized and glorified reproduction of Charles the Great, a French Charlemagne, was the central figure.

Careful students of the life and labors of Bonaparte can scarcely believe that human power could accomplish what he had already done. His activity as strategist and general, as statesman and administrator, had hitherto been fabulous: in the first years of the Consulate it was simply doubled. To the minutest detail, every department of the rising state received his attention, more or less complete as occasion required. During the year 1801 the ablest observers in the country, having (p. 215) been assigned one to each of the military divisions into which the land was divided, were occupied in compiling comprehensive reports to serve as a basis for legislation. These papers took into consideration finance, the army, the administration, public instruction, the alms-houses, the roads and canals, commerce and industry, the public temper—in short, everything which concerned the well-being of the people. They were the material of Bonaparte's studies, and for the most part he mastered them. In this work he utterly discarded the theory and ideals of the revolutionists; the romance was ended, history must begin, he said. To govern France as it is, to forget France as it had just been; to discard the type unit of humanity, to deal with the real man in every station; to scorn generalities, to assemble details; to abandon possibilities, to secure actualities,—this was the trend of his mind; the practical, the useful, the working machine were his goal. At this task he often toiled fourteen hours a day, never less than ten, and in his secretary Maret he had a minister as indefatigable as himself, able to catch every thought and suggestion, to amplify and execute every order, to coördinate the activity of his chief with all the subordinate branches of the government. As a consequence, there is not one of the great structures which combine in the logical unity of French life as it exists to-day that did not receive the impress of the First Consul's colossal mind.

For example, the Roman Church, which he had brought again to life, comprised in equal numbers prelates who had accepted and those who had refused the "civil constitution" of the republic. To impress the imagination of the people, a service in honor of the Concordat was celebrated at Notre Dame. Augereau and a number of his friends asked to be excused from attendance, but were compelled to be present. The (p. 216) First Consul went, with all the style—coaches, harness, lackeys, and the like—which had been used by the Bourbon kings. But, after all, it was a Napoleon Bonaparte and not a Louis Capet who was the personage, and the remark attributed to an old general, whether correctly or not, is utterly inapt—that everything had been restored except the two million Frenchmen who had died for liberty. The difference was great. For instance, a priest who had refused the rites of burial to a dancer was removed from office for three months, in order that he might reflect how Jesus Christ "prayed even for his enemies." Could anything have been more antipodal to the state of things as it had been in 1762 and 1766, when the cases of Calas, Sirven, and Labarre, innocent men, done to cruel, unmerited death by the connivance of church and state, enabled Voltaire to launch his first thunderbolt on the devoted system of the ancient monarchy so abhorrent to all intelligence and so opposed to righteousness?

The Pope, moreover, was compelled to prohibit those who offended the First Consul from residing at Rome, and when he suggested that compensation should be made for the loss of Avignon, and that the legations Bologna, Ferrara, and Romagna should be restored,—not, of course, in return for the Concordat, which would savor of simony, but as the proof of a heart magnanimous, wise, and just,—the First Consul gravely forwarded to Rome the mortal remains of Pius VI, which had so far rested in the common cemetery at Valence. Bonaparte is credibly reported to have said ironically that the Concordat was the vaccine of religion: in fifty years there would be no more in France. The army openly expressed its contempt for the arrangement, the council of state tittered when announcement was made that the Pope's ban was withdrawn from Talleyrand, and for (p. 217) a long time the public ministrations of a clergy which was called "a consecrated constabulary" were not taken seriously by the multitude. A century has failed to restore in France the consideration which even scoffers felt for the hierarchy antecedent to the Concordat; nay, more, the First Consul's augury has been largely fulfilled; but on the other hand, the former bitterness has never since been equaled.

Bonaparte's innermost thoughts were not at the time revealed; if indeed he had a clear and definite idea of his policy. Later explanations are, however, probable interpretations. Protestantism is at once sectarian and individualistic in its tendencies, Romanism makes for central unified control, secular as well as religious. The restorer of Romanism in France found consideration throughout Roman Europe for his later plans of imperial expansion. The clerical or white police of France was a model for the like institution elsewhere, as the military or black police of France became the basis of armed force everywhere. But the degree of spiritual mission yielded to the Pope was measured with a hand as sparing as that which doled scanty stipends to archbishops and bishops, now a prelacy of public functionaries which had once been princely in its incomes. Furthermore, the organic articles, which were nothing more nor less than consular decrees, were unsparing in their use of the police power for the control of public worship. No bull nor ecumenical ordinance was valid in France, no council nor synod could assemble within its borders unless authorized by government, nor could a prelate leave his diocese without its assent, even though summoned to Rome by the Pope. The temporalities of the church were in the hands of the state. Galled by such pitiless restrictions, the hierarchy winced and cried out, but France has remained inexorable. Later the cults (p. 218) of both the Protestants and the Jews were similarly organized.

On February seventh, 1800, were promulgated the measures which still control departmental administration in France, the law which virtually revived the Bourbon system of intendants, imposing on the country that rigorous hierarchical-political centralization which no succeeding government—royalist, imperial, or republican—has been willing to dispense with. Working in coöperation with the wonderful social system of private life, it minimizes the consequences of political revolutions, and preserves the identity of France. Each local administration was a consulate in miniature. Every department had its prefect, every arrondissement its subprefect, every commune its mayor. These officials were all appointed by the executive, and were subordinate to the minister of the interior. Each had an advising associate appointed from the electoral lists; and the various councils, some likewise appointed, some, however, elected, were in ordinary times only the registers of the decrees sent down from above. Before these measures were put into operation, neither country roads nor city streets were safe, and brigandage was rife to the very gates of Paris. The courts of law were disorganized, the police undisciplined, and local government for the most part was a farce. Within two years the whole machine was working smoothly throughout the length and breadth of the land. Public order was restored, life and property were safe, industry was guaranteed in its rewards, and the productive energy of the people was unhampered by the fear of injustice or by the uncertainty of possession. This transformation made the institution tolerable to the Frenchmen of Napoleon's time, but thoughtful men understand to-day that it annihilated liberty under the Consulate and (p. 219) Empire, and that it still has undiminished possibilities as an instrument of oppression.

It is significant that the great measure which went hand in hand with this one was a true reform of the most vital nature. On January eighteenth, 1800, was founded the Bank of France. The monarchy in its straits had issued bills with no security; the Convention and the Directory also flooded the country with worthless paper, although they assumed to find an adequate collateral in the domains of the crown and of the emigrants, which were seized and held as national property. But war and internal strife destroyed the value of these lands, and in 1795 a gold livre was worth seventy-five in paper, while a year later the price had risen to three hundred and forty. The Directory had recourse to forced loans and the statutory regulation of values, but to no avail: at the close of their career the public lands, except a small part estimated to be worth four hundred million francs, had all passed into private hands at a price about one hundredth of their estimated value. The greediest usury, the most disgraceful speculation, had been universal, and of all those who had owned property in any shape in 1785 there was scarcely one who was not reduced to beggary, while, with numerous exceptions of course, adventurous men of doubtful character were now the landed proprietors and controlling capitalists. The public creditors had seen their obligations legally scaled to a nominal value of one third the face, payable in paper, and these bonds were almost worthless. Under such conditions it was not remarkable that the collection of taxes even by the use of force had become well-nigh impossible. The amount of arrears on the eighteenth of Brumaire was eleven hundred million francs. The Directory and, for a time, the Consulate subsisted on contributions levied on conquered states.


(p. 220) The avowed object of the Bank of France was the support of trade and industry. To its capital of thirty million francs the government subscribed five millions, which it took from the guarantee bonds given by its employees on their assuming positions of trust. The operations of brokers and money-lenders were then subjected to the strictest control, and the enterprises of agriculture and manufactures were regulated and encouraged by the reëstablishment of chambers of commerce and by public rewards for excellence. In the first year of his financial administration Gaudin inaugurated the success which continued for the rest of his term. In every department a new and equitable system of tax-collecting was instituted, and the assessments were so fixed for a definite period at moderate rates as to awaken public confidence. In a single year the returns from the public forests were doubled, and the reorganization of the customs produced similar results.

For the control of expenditures, Barbé-Marbois was appointed state treasurer; Mollien was made director of a special office for the gradual payment of the public debt. To this office was assigned the management of about a quarter of the remaining public lands for the purchase of state securities; and when their price rose, as it soon did, to fifty per cent. of their par value, new obligations were issued, and quickly subscribed at the same rate. The floating debt was soon wiped out. Of the remaining public funds a hundred and twenty million francs were assigned for the maintenance of public instruction, and forty million for the pension list. The victorious army remained quartered abroad. The effect of all these wisely calculated measures was electrical. Taxes were promptly and willingly paid, the public credit was revived, and the moneyed classes became the stanchest supporters of the Consulate.

(p. 221) CHAPTER XX

The Code and the University[21]

The Preparation of the Code — The Men who Made it — Its Defects — The Changes it Wrought — The Benefits it Conferred — French Education under Royalty — Schemes of the Revolution — Bonaparte's Aims in Education — His Preliminary Measures — The University of France.

The climax of these beneficent changes was a corresponding reform and simplification of the laws. The name of Napoleon has been erased from many of his institutions, but it still endures on that splendid system of jurisprudence known as the Code Napoléon, and in the annals of law-making it vies in luster with that of Justinian. The monarchy, before its fall, had become aware of the inconvenience attaching to the diversity of legal practice in the various French provinces. At one extreme was the old customary law of the northern inhabitants, at the other was the nearly pure Roman law of the south, and between them every variety of peculiar and complicated local practice. One of the meanings of the Revolutionary watchword "Equality" (p. 222) was the reform of this inequality; but the turmoil prevalent during the years of the Assembly, the Convention, and the Directory had made it impossible to complete the work. Nevertheless, those years had been full of discussion, and Cambacérès had a project in readiness. So convinced was Bonaparte of the urgency of reform that on the very night in which he assumed the reins of government the two commissions were charged with the performance of the repeated promises which every republican government had made. A statute was formulated, and passed on August twelfth, 1800. In accordance with its provisions, a committee of three great jurists—Tronchet, Bigot de Préameneu, and Portalis, with Malleville as secretary—was appointed to make a draft. This was completed in four months, submitted to the courts of appeal for suggestions, and then in the council of state, the sessions of which Bonaparte regularly attended, was speedily revised into its final form. In the following year the code was promulgated.

The famous body of laws owes its solid value to its historical foundation; for it is a compound of the ancient customs, the Roman law, and the experiences of the Revolution, the third element dominating the other two. Cambacérès's project is its basis, the deliberations of the commissions molded its form, its paragraphs were polished in the council of state according to the opinions of Boulay de la Meurthe, Berlier, Treilhard, Cambacérès, and Lebrun, and Bonaparte himself was the author of many radical regulations concerning marriage, divorce, and property. Simplicity, directness, comprehensibility, and appropriateness are the marks of the entire structure, as they are confessedly characteristic of the First Consul's mind. His good sense and his diligence are stamped on every page. On the other hand, in many (p. 223) places it bears also the marks of his unscientific and untrained intellect; and Savigny, the Prussian jurist, went so far as to characterize it as a "political malady."

This remark is true, but only in the sense that, as in the Roman empire, so in Napoleonic France, civil liberty developed in an inverse ratio to political liberty. Austin thought the code was compiled in haste and ignorance, and that its lack of definitions to the terms employed, together with the absence of expositions either of principles or of distinctions, gave it a "fallacious brevity." Nevertheless, this very simplicity and brevity have been its strength, and to this day—with, of course, many substantive modifications, but still in an undisturbed identity—it successfully dominates France, Italy, Holland, Belgium, and many important parts of Germany. Believing it to be the most enduring portion of his labors, Bonaparte to the latest day of his life claimed the exclusive credit of its creation, to the unjust disparagement of the other great minds which coöperated in its formation.

A few of the more easily comprehensible changes which it wrought will illustrate its character. There are four divisions—one introductory, the other three treating respectively of the law of persons, the law of things, and the law of property and inheritance. The subject of the civil law, the ego, the object of the civil law, the objective or natural world, the relation between the two, or property—such is, in a word, the method; the equality of all men before the law is its principle; the respect for property and the directness of litigation are its aims. Hereditary nobility and primogeniture were definitely abolished—every child, of either sex, having equal rights of inheritance before the law. The right of testamentary disposition was extended so as to give greater liberty while not interfering with the (p. 224) principle of family solidarity. To Jews were given the complete rights of all other citizens, under a series of far-seeing and wise provisions, set forth in special statutes, which destroyed many of their antiquated customs, and all the shifts by which they had hitherto avoided many civil obligations and still evaded the performance of duties which weighed heavily on others. Every religious confession was recognized, and all were alike supported by the state; but the members of all were obliged to submit to official registration, and to consent to the rite of civil marriage. While, on the one hand, the necessity of divorce under certain conditions was recognized and provisions were made for it; on the other, a series of stringent and even barbarous regulations knitted the family more closely together than ever before, or elsewhere in the world, and made it a social rock against which political storms beat in vain to shake the established order. Napoleon's iron will alone realized the notions of regenerating feudal society which philosophers had formed and agitators had sought in vain to establish.

The evils of both absolute royalty and feudalism were thus removed from a vast population in western Europe which had groaned under their burdens long after they had ceased to have any meaning or historical vitality; and besides, the process of assimilation in life and thought was measurably assisted by the adoption of identical laws among millions of men differing in blood and language. The good work was further promoted by a series of complementary codes of criminal procedure and of commerce which are as potent and beneficent to-day as when they were enacted. It is useless in this connection to compare the respective merits of corresponding institutions among the Latin and Teutonic state systems of Europe, or to enter on (p. 225) the long and bitter controversy waged between French and English publicists. The essential thing is a comparison between what Napoleon found and what he left among the same peoples, and this proclaims him one of the great social reformers of the world.

In no respect was the work of the Revolution more complete than in regard to education. Royal France had a pompous list of academies, scientific and special schools, universities, colleges, and common schools. Their arrangements were haphazard, their origin and management for the most part were ecclesiastical, and their patronage was strictly ordered by social rank. Primary education, being dependent altogether on the parishes, was in the main contemptible. There were many great scholars and teachers, and a few choice institutions; but the dependence of all on either the royal favor or on the Roman hierarchy, or on both, rendered the measure of their efficiency proportionate to the interest taken in them by crown and church. There was consequently no general system efficacious either in all its parts or even in all branches of one division.

The passion for national unity manifested itself, among other things, in a demand for a system of national education. The great men of the Assembly and of the Convention bent their shoulders to the task. For the first time in the history of the nation it was recognized that after the leveling of classes, the only guarantee for social order in the future was to be found in the education of the masses. Accordingly, they outlined a grand scheme of graded instruction. The foundation was popular education by the primary school; then came a system of middle or secondary schools; and then instruction by professional faculties, including a magnificent normal school for the training of teachers, and a polytechnic institution of the first order. The whole (p. 226) was to be crowned by a museum, the College of France, and the Institute. Education was to be gratuitous and obligatory. The essential feature of the entire plan was the character of the primary school, which was not to teach merely the necessary rudiments of reading, writing, and ciphering, but the introductory elements of the complete encyclopedia of instruction. The whole structure was purely secular, and no account was taken of the education of females after the age of eight. It was declared that young girls should be trained by their parents, and entirely at home. Condorcet alone believed in the intellectual equality of the sexes. Lakanal secured a decree for mixed schools, under certain conditions, in which the daughters of the republic should have the same instruction as its sons "as far as their sex would permit"; but they were to be chiefly occupied with spinning, dressmaking, and the domestic arts then considered the chief ones proper to their sex. Some parts of the enormous design were put into operation, but it was found to transcend the abilities of an unsettled people. Talleyrand pared down its dimensions, but at the fall of the Directory nothing had been accomplished except the foundation of the polytechnic school.


Profile in sepia by Lemoine. Belonging to M. Petit
Napoleon Exposition, 1895.

It is well known that Bonaparte prepared himself for the rôle of lawgiver by devouring the books lent him by Cambacérès, and by studying the memorials already prepared by the Convention. Even then, however, he was in the main guided by his instinct, combined with his profound knowledge of men. The latter was his sole guide in elaborating his scheme of public instruction. Talleyrand's plan was before him, but the conclusion was his own. He was not at all concerned to make scholars or to increase knowledge. He was stubbornly determined to make citizens, as he understood the word. In a time of utter chaos he professed himself (p. 227) indifferent to ideals, and was animated by a purely practical spirit, doing nothing but what appeared immediately essential. For this reason, in carrying out his plan, he selected as an agent no expert with wide experience and settled convictions, but an excellent chemist who had been a member of the notorious Committee of Public Safety, and within a narrow horizon had good capacities. To Fourcroy alone was intrusted the formulation of a measure which, as Roederer said in its support, was a political institution intended to unite the present generation with the rising one, to bind the fathers to the government by their children and the children by their fathers—in short, to establish a sort of public paternity.

The religious societies which still retained their hold on such instruction as there was had no connection with the state, and very little with the new society. The new system was ingeniously devised to bind up the youth of the nation with both the political and social life of the new France. There was to be in every commune a primary school with teachers appointed by the mayor, under supervision of the subprefect. Next in order were secondary schools in the chief town of every department, under supervision of the prefect; and coördinate with these were such private schools as would submit to government regulations. The next stage was composed of a limited number of lyceums or colleges with both a classical and a modern side. These were open only to such students as had gained distinction in the grade below, and from them in turn a fifth were promoted to the professional schools. Of these there were nine categories: law; medicine; natural science; mechanical and chemical technology; higher mathematics; geography, history, and political economy; the arts of design; astronomy; music and the theory of composition. (p. 228) The First Consul would listen to no more comprehensive or enlightened plan until this should first be put into successful execution, as it soon was under his impulse and Fourcroy's guidance.

Thereupon his ultimate object was unveiled. A few years later came into existence the so-called University of France, whereby all instruction was as perfectly centralized as administration had been. There were three articulated degrees, primary, secondary, and superior, controlled by a complete and rigid system of central inspection. All institutions of each degree were divided by vertical lines of territorial division into academies, each of which had its own rector. These were in turn controlled by a superior council and a grand master. The normal school was revived, military uniform and discipline were introduced into the lyceums, and the instruction was carefully directed toward imbuing the mind with notions suited to the new conditions of French life, as Bonaparte meant to mold them. The corporate university, as a whole, was not a portion of the ministry, but while subordinate was distinct. This provision has probably been the cause of a permanence which no political revolution has been able to destroy. It is only since the Church secured permission for the erection of faculties supported and controlled by itself that there have been signs of any change of organization or any return to academic liberty in the state institutions.

(p. 229) CHAPTER XXI

Steps Toward Monarchy[22]

The New Era — Cæsar, Cromwell, and Bonaparte — The Seizure of Piedmont — Genoa — Etruria — The Valais — Holland and Switzerland — Censorship of the Press — Manifestations of Discontent — The San Domingo Expedition — Toussaint Louverture.


With the return of forty thousand emigrant families under an amnesty which restored to most of the former owners everything not sold excepting woods and forests, and which in some few cases permitted the redemption under easy conditions of entire estates; with the reorganization of the judiciary, of administration, of legislation, of public instruction, and of the finances under a new constitution worked by the strong hand which had made it, every observer saw that a new epoch had indeed begun. At the same time the trend of affairs toward some form of government in which the power of a single man should be dominant was likewise noticeable. This produced but little effect in the mass of the nation, but there were manifestations of discontent in two small classes of men at opposite poles of conviction. The royalists believed that their "pear was ripe," and again opened negotiations with Bonaparte. (p. 230) The republicans who had repented the eighteenth of Brumaire even on the morrow of their participation were now thoroughly alarmed, and manifested their discontent where alone they had any means of expression—by their voices in the tribunate, and by their silent votes in the legislative assembly.

Toward the close of the year VIII, that is, early in 1800, appeared a pamphlet, evidently inspired, which was entitled "Parallel between Cæsar, Cromwell, and Bonaparte." It was ostensibly intended to allay the distrust of the latter's ambitions expressed in many quarters, and was gratuitously distributed everywhere throughout France. It declared that, Bonaparte being a man superior to either Cromwell or Monk and comparable only to Cæsar, the office of First Consul should be made hereditary in his family. This was the real purport of the manifesto, that France should already hail a Bonaparte dynasty; if fate destroyed Napoleon, a brother ought to succeed him. The tract was written by Fontanes, its revision and theatrical publication were the work of Lucien. Fouché as the republican standard-bearer had already avowed himself against the principle and practice of heredity. Mme. Bonaparte's sterility was the safeguard of an elective chief-magistracy. To prevent divorce and remarriage for the sake of direct heirs he had allied himself with Talleyrand, Clement de Ris, and the Beauharnais influence. It was his cynical delight that Lucien had been so hasty. This fact the First Consul first suspected, and then by Fouché's help he assured himself of it. He was angry, for, though agreed as to the principle, his preference was Louis, who he thought had all the qualities and none of the faults pertaining to the clan; and, moreover, the publication was so unreasonable and hasty as to be an act of sheer folly, endangering all his plans. So Lucien was (p. 231) forced to resign his portfolio of the interior and withdraw from the scene. With bitterness in his heart he became ambassador to Spain, and the elegant luxury of his post scarcely softened the blow, under which he winced as he saw the dynastic idea relegated to temporary obscurity by his brother, and himself forever sundered from any share in it. It was only after Louis had proved a broken reed that the question of divorce and remarriage to secure an heir became acute. For the time being a hush fell over the schemers of every sort: Napoleon's health was good and the temple of Janus was closed. Worst of all, the people made no sign, and the wily chief magistrate took no significant step until the preliminaries of peace had been signed in London. Then he made a cautious advance. In January, 1802, Italian delegates were summoned to Lyons in order to outline a constitution for the newly reorganized Cisalpine Republic. As a matter of course, it was determined to reproduce the essentials of that which had been made for the consular republic of France. One exception was important: for a consulate of three members was substituted a single chief magistrate under the title of "president."

At once the question arose, Who should this high official be? Here for the first time it is well to consider the difficulties encountered by the First Consul in connection with his family, inasmuch as with his primitive Corsican devotion to those of his blood, he earnestly desired on the one hand that his brothers and sisters should share in his advancement. He would gladly see them rich, influential, and clothed with a high degree of political power. On the other hand, what he himself had wrought he was grimly determined he would control. To the great ship of state there was to be but one helm and one pilot. Joseph was the eldest, could (p. 232) he be considered as a possible president in Italy? To this his reply was flat. If called to surrender his modest life, his consideration as a temperate and simple private man, he must have in return the substance and reality of rule. For instance, to the Italian republic must be added, if Joseph were to be president, all of Piedmont; Murat and the French army of occupation must be withdrawn, and all the fortresses of the frontier toward France must be rebuilt! Joseph could not be a political marionette. But it was exactly a political puppet that Napoleon professed to desire, and Talleyrand had found one. So Joseph was left to ruminate on the charms of a simple life. For him as well as for Lucien these consisted of intrigues and plots: both succeeded in collecting a substantial following, for their brother was childless, and he was a soldier, and there might be almost anything in the womb of the future.

Accordingly, after much apparent intriguing among the delegates at Lyons, their choice fell unanimously upon Melzi, a Milanese nobleman. The First Consul's agents promptly explained that the safety of the "Italian Republic"—the significant name by which it was henceforth to be called, Alfieri's "Italia virtuosa, magnanima, libera, et una"—depended on its being ruled by him. The Italians at once drew up a formal invitation to that effect, Bonaparte accepted, and the servile newspapers of Paris declared that there was no menace to the peace of France in the act; their First Consul could not have refused such a call without a lack of courtesy, even of prudence. Melzi accepted the vice-presidency, the proconsulate. To make a bridge between his two domains, the Consul-President prepared to incorporate Piedmont, not with his Italian republic, but with France. The Czar who had taken up arms in behalf of the house of Savoy was dead. General Jourdan (p. 233) informed the Piedmontese that their land was a French military division, comprising six prefectures. Bonaparte said that thereby was accomplished a natural reunion of French territory. This idea was a reminiscence of Charles the Great's empire. As soon as the treaty of Amiens was signed a decree of the senate informed the world that Piedmont was a French department.

Valais could not well be given to Piedmont, on account of Swiss jealousy. It was equally impossible to restore it to the Helvetian Republic; for through it lay the splendid military road of the Simplon, which France had been building across the Alps. Accordingly the little land was declared an independent commonwealth. As to Genoa, her still existing directorial constitution would now be as impracticable to work as those of Cisalpina and Batavia. Salicetti therefore offered to her government a new one prepared in Paris on the consular model, and it was gratefully adopted. When the young King of Etruria died on May twenty-seventh, 1803, Murat and Clarke were appointed guardians of his widow, who was made regent for her infant son.

With skilful allowances for national pride, a stroke similar to these was also made in Holland. By the treaty of Amiens, the Batavian Republic was to get back not only a nominal independence, but the major portion of her colonies, including the Cape of Good Hope and her chief East Indian possessions. In return for this a new constitution was imposed upon her, which again was merely that of France under another mask. The chief magistrate was called the "Grand Pensionary," and the place was filled by Schimmelpenninck, the devoted admirer of Bonaparte. A French army continued to occupy the country at the public charge. In Switzerland, also, changes were effected, (p. 234) but of a different nature; for the First Consul thoroughly understood the different character of her people. They had been unhappy under the last constitution, and two embittered parties, the unitary and the federalist, were struggling for mastery. Upon the withdrawal of the French troops in compliance with the treaty of Amiens, it soon became clear that there was danger of serious strife. Ney was sent to occupy the country with thirty thousand men, and the chief Swiss statesmen were summoned to Paris. In February, 1803, they adopted what was called an Act of Mediation prepared by Bonaparte and to be guaranteed by him. Its provisions were most wise, but it made the new state, then called for the first time Switzerland, dependent for its very existence upon him. In token of the new relation the confederation was to furnish a subsidiary army of sixteen thousand men, and the chief magistrate of France formally adopted the title of Grand Mediator of the Helvetian Republic. Although many chafed under the relationship, yet the ten years of Swiss neutrality which Bonaparte guaranteed were probably the most prosperous in the country's history; consequently the influence of Switzerland, so far as it was exerted, was all on the side of Bonaparte.

The rigid censorship of the press established by the First Consul at the beginning of his supremacy worked well for him. Out of a total of seventy-three corrupt and quarrelsome journals published under the Directory, only thirteen political newspapers had been left in existence. These quickly became the most subservient mouthpieces of the executive, iterating the sentiments which the public was to learn, giving such news as they were allowed to give, and edited most skilfully both to entertain and instruct their readers in all matters foreign to politics. The nation rejoiced in the calm (p. 235) produced by contemplating indifferent things. "Why did not Tacitus explain how the Roman people put up with the wicked emperors who ruled them?" This was a stock question of Napoleon's, his implication being that there must have been a correspondence between the social state of Rome and the character of her rulers which the historian dared not openly explain. The parallel in the case of the French was manifest. They had reveled in Jacobinism until suddenly the thing and the name alike became intolerable; they had then swung to the opposite vicious extreme of an indifference which courted a paternal hand in the government. No act, however arbitrary or violent, could disturb a people so accustomed to revolutionary shifts. When, three years later, the shameful edict was issued which forbade the printing or sale of books or plays that had not been authorized by a committee of revision, there was scarcely a protest anywhere to be heard.

But from the beginning there were, nevertheless, emphatic protests of more or less importance against the changes which were transforming the vestiges of the republic into shadowy indications of a coming monarchy. There was a single voice, that of Barnabé, lifted up at the very first from the bench to declare that Brumaire was illegal; and many foolish persons indulged to such an extent in loud seditious talk that a charge of conspiracy was with some show of reason brought against Ceracchi and Arena, two Corsicans, who were particularly violent in denouncing their compatriot. The superserviceable police pretended early in the year to discover details, but the alleged complot was a pure figment. The army, in particular that portion which had fought under Moreau, still cherished much of the republican tradition. The soldiers of the Rhine had shown an angry contempt for the Concordat, and their (p. 236) friends sympathized with them in the instinctive feeling that a courtly religious hierarchy, when legally restored, would lean toward a restoration of monarchy.

The First Consul, understanding that reactions must be checked in their initial stages, determined to find occupation abroad for the republican soldiers, as he had previously done for republican politicians. Among other measures for the revival of commerce made possible by the peace of Amiens, which secured the long-desired "liberty of the seas," the government had determined to revive the slave-trade, so as to populate the Antilles more densely, and create a larger market. Admiral Bruix recalled that among the ancients slavery had been consistent with the love of liberty; and argued that as negroes, when left to themselves, preferred manioc to wheat, and sweetened water to wine, they must be enslaved in order to give them civilized tastes and make them consume the surplus of the French harvests and vintage! Being natives of a burning clime, there was no cruelty in carrying them to the West Indies! In pursuance of this barbarous policy, Leclerc, the husband of Pauline Bonaparte, was commissioned to conquer San Domingo, which, taking advantage of the disorders incident to the Revolution, had asserted its independence. Bonaparte may not altogether have understood the dangers of such an expedition. If he did, he must have been willing to sacrifice his sister; for he compelled Mme. Leclerc to accompany her husband. The troops selected were mainly taken from the Army of the Rhine. Thirty-four first-rate vessels, twenty frigates, and numerous transports, with more than twenty thousand soldiers on board, sailed on December fourteenth, 1801, and arrived safely about the end of January, 1802.

But Bonaparte's plans were doomed to encounter an (p. 237) obstacle in the most remarkable man of negro blood known to modern history. Toussaint Louverture was the descendant, as he claimed, of an African chieftain. Highly endowed by nature, he had obtained an excellent education, and had gradually, though born a slave, cultivated his innate power of leadership until all the blacks in San Domingo regarded him with affection and awe. Asserting their liberties as men, he and his fellow-slaves then rose against their masters, and a servile war ensued. It was temporarily checked by British interference; but the unacclimatized white soldiers died in such numbers that the English were compelled to leave the fertile colony in full control of the negroes. Louverture, in imitation of Bonaparte, thereupon organized a consular government, and with consummate wisdom inaugurated a civilized rule. When summoned by Leclerc to surrender, he refused. For a time his resistance was successful, but in the end he was compelled by superior force to withdraw to the mountains. Thence he was enticed by guile, captured, and sent to France. Kept a close prisoner in the castle of Joux in Franche-Comté, the rigors of the climate speedily destroyed his health, and he died on April twenty-seventh, 1803. But the heat and mephitic vapors of his native isle revenged him. As the French soldiers sickened and died of yellow fever, the natives inaugurated a struggle for liberation, which was marked on both sides by horrible barbarity. In less than two years the task of subjugation became hopeless, and on December first, 1803, Rochambeau, having succeeded Leclerc, who had retired the year previous to die in the Tortugas, surrendered eight thousand men, the remnants of the expedition, to an English fleet. The island has since been left to its unhappy fate, and under native rule has relapsed into semi-barbarism. The magnificent (p. 238) French plan of American colonization, having lost the supports of both San Domingo and Louisiana, collapsed, leaving no trace. Its mere existence, however, was the strongest proof of Bonaparte's confidence in a lasting peace. Whatever his disappointment, he was at least rid of a republican general and a republican army. It was not much in comparison with his hopes, but it was something.


The Life Consulate[23]

Conspiracies against Bonaparte — The Plot of Nivôse — Bonaparte's Ingenuity — Blunders of the Moderate Republicans — The Tribunate and Legislature Purged — Power of the Senate — Bonaparte's Reticence — The Life Consulate Proposed — Complacency of the Chambers — The Legion of Honor — Lafayette's Withdrawal — Amendments to the Constitution — The Nation Content — Change in the Character of the Army.

The Consulate was scarcely inaugurated before a dastardly attempt was made to assassinate its head. Early in the year 1800 a remnant of Jacobins, terrorists, and anarchists had formed a conspiracy for this purpose. Their doings, however, were betrayed to Fouché, who watched them in such a way that their organization, though not broken up, was reduced to impotence. Many persons have since believed that the wily minister was holding the pack in hand for his own purposes, and that this notorious Arena-Ceracchi conspiracy, as it was called, had been his own creation for use in case the First Consul should be killed in Italy. It is certain that during the long career of Fouché as minister he never failed to have in readiness some kind of a complot for the eve of each decisive battle in which Napoleon Bonaparte must expose his person and risk (p. 240) his life. This, therefore, might well have been the first of them. The royalists had persistently negotiated with Bonaparte while he was yet a rising soldier. He seemed now to have reached the summit of power, and alone could open or bar the way to the restoration of Louis XVIII. Having toyed with their offers, it is claimed that he gave the pretender to understand that his own highest ambition was an Italian principality. Hopes, thus awakened, had strengthened the royalist party; but as its ranks grew in number dissension kept equal pace, until, while one faction, the strongest, standing on the strictest legitimacy, remained true to the so-called King, who was now living in Mittau, another, under the leadership of Artois, was scheming in England for that prince, and a third, weary of the petulant and quarrelsome feebleness of the other two, favored the young Due d'Enghien, and grew daily stronger in Paris by desertions from both. The members of the Enghien faction were indefatigable, and at last from among their Vendean supporters was formed a secret junta which, on the evening of December twenty-fourth, 1800, placed an infernal machine in front of the First Consul's carriage as he drove to the opera through the narrow street of St. Nicaise. His coachman, catching sight of the strange obstacle in time, swerved, and drove swiftly past, barely saving his passengers from the effects of a terrific explosion which occurred the moment after, killing outright several innocent persons, wounding sixty, and destroying about forty houses. The First Consul and his wife drove on, and, pale with excitement, appeared for a few moments in their box before the expectant audience, which had already heard the news. They then quietly withdrew. The effect on the public was electrical, and the measures subsequently taken by the government were heartily applauded.

(p. 241) From this circumstance Bonaparte reaped a rich harvest, his perfidy being comparable to that of the plotters themselves. The shameful deed was first charged on the radicals, and by decree of the senate a hundred and thirty of them were deported to the slow torture of places like the Seychelles, tropical islands in the Indian Ocean. Fouché, suspected of lingering Jacobinism, was on a trifling pretext temporarily deprived of his portfolio, and was not ostensibly restored to favor until 1804. Appointed senator, however, and enjoying high consideration, his treatment did not please the brothers of the First Consul. Their irritation was further increased by their knowledge of confidential relations between Napoleon and the senator. During the latter's retirement from his ministry he seems to have been quite as influential secretly as he was openly and manifestly when he resumed office. In the interim Ceracchi, Arena, and their fiery-tongued companions were falsely condemned and executed. It was soon known that the true culprits were the Vendeans, but Bonaparte declared that the banished radicals would not be allowed to return because their absence was a guarantee of the public safety. Only two of the real criminals were eventually captured and executed. But the most disgraceful consequences of this conspiracy, known in French history as the Plot of Nivôse, were the fall of Moreau and the murder of the Duc d'Enghien, the remoter causes of which lie as far back as the First Consul's determination, formed at this time, that he would diminish the chance of such murderous attacks by striking terror to the hearts of all his enemies.

In the rearrangement of powers consequent to the eighteenth of Brumaire and the adoption of the constitution of the year VIII, the able men of the republic had been provided for, partly in lucrative offices connected (p. 242) with administration, partly in the tribunate and the legislature. The greatest were in the former, and their acknowledged leader was Benjamin Constant, the friend of Mme. de Staël. They represented in a measure the courage and the idealism of the Revolution, but they were in a false position, and showed neither wisdom nor prudence. Accordingly, they made a serious tactical blunder, and fixed upon certain doubtful paragraphs introductory to the civil code in order to manifest their discontent with Bonaparte's self-assertion. They resisted not only the reintroduction of such antiquated barbarisms as the confiscation by the state of property belonging to those who for any reason were deprived of their civil rights, and of the goods of unnaturalized strangers who died within its limits, but attacked likewise provisions of the judicial and financial statutes which were wisely conceived, and were of great utility to the country, some of them being in part their own work. As they talked, their friends in the legislature voted.

By a provision of the constitution both these assemblies were to be continuous, one fifth of the old members retiring every year; but a method of designating the class to be retired first, and of choosing their successors, was not presented. When the appointed time for this change arrived, the First Consul was so determined to be rid of the troublesome republicans in the tribunate that he even contemplated expelling them by force, or abolishing the body as a whole. "There are twelve or fifteen metaphysicians there," he had said on one occasion, "fit only to be drowned. It is a kind of vermin which I have in my clothes, but I shall not allow myself to be attacked like Louis XVI. No, I shall not endure it." However, a less violent method was found by Cambacérès, and adopted. The senate had been (p. 243) so constituted as to represent the political indifference which made possible Bonaparte's political career, and from the beginning it was a subservient tool. On several occasions—as, for instance, when about to admit Daunou to their number—the members had been made to feel the terrors of its creator's wrath. The constitution and its interpretation being their special charge, they were now ordered as a constitutional measure to select not merely the names of both the tribunes and legislators who should leave, but also those of their successors. Needless to say that all the ardent and outspoken men like Daunou, Constant, and Chénier went out. The only man of importance among those chosen to the tribunate was Carnot. Fifteen generals or superior officers and twenty-five officials took seats in the legislature.

It requires no astuteness to see that with the establishment of an obedient senate as the guardian of the constitution, and superior to its provisions, nothing was thereafter impossible under the cloak of regular procedure. Any measure which was "conservative of the constitution" could be legalized. The time seemed ripe to introduce the hereditary element into the Consulate, a step which had lately been desired by Bonaparte with an eagerness but poorly concealed from his friends.

When the treaty of Amiens was to be formally ratified the opportunity was at last found. This act marked the pacification of the world, a consummation long and ardently desired in France. The popularity of him who was the author of the peace could reach no higher limits. To show the gratitude of the state, and to guarantee the perpetuity of so great a work, his power must be prolonged. As to the extent, no one could learn Bonaparte's wishes: whatever recompense the great (p. 244) powers of the state chose to bestow he would accept. In vain were all attempts to sound the depths of his desires; the crowning honor must be forced upon him. But his friends failed to apprehend what would be considered worthy, and the program laid down was consequently of petty dimensions. When the treaty was laid before the tribunes their president proposed that some striking mark of national gratitude should be bestowed on General Bonaparte, First Consul, and a resolution to that effect was adopted. There had already been considerable discussion about presenting to him St. Cloud, the royal residence nearest to Paris; but he had privately declared that he would accept nothing from the people during his term of office, and the proposition had been dropped. With something of this kind in view, a committee of conference at once signified the action of the tribunate to the senate in order that "the first assembly of the nation should interpret a general sentiment" which the tribunes could only express.

With a dexterity acquired by habit, the complaisant senate made ready to formulate a decree. Both the prolongation for life of the Consulate and making the office hereditary were proposed as fitting testimonials. Pretending to believe that the First Consul's public virtue would repulse anything so radical, the majority rejected these suggestions, and prolonged the term of his office for ten years. When he saw himself thus overreached the reticent chief magistrate displayed a dangerous passion. But he soon mastered himself, and replied to the senators with formal thanks, declaring that his respect for the sovereignty of the people would not permit him to accept the prolongation of his magistracy without the authorization of the nation; that he was ready, if called upon, to make a new sacrifice. A meeting between the family and many confidential friends was (p. 245) at once held, in which either Lucien or the "wise Cambacérès" suggested an appeal to the nation. The council of state then took up the matter and proposed to ask for a plebiscite on the question, Shall Napoleon Bonaparte be consul for life? Roederer wished to add, "and have the right to name his successor," but the First Consul declared that that would be an encroachment on popular rights, and struck out the words. On May eleventh, 1802, it was publicly announced that the voting would begin immediately. Three months elapsed before the returns were complete. In the interval both tribunate and senate hastened to vote in favor of the measure. Congratulations as to the foregone conclusion soon began to reach the Tuileries from all quarters.

It was in this interval, moreover, that the two servile bodies finally stamped with their approval the measures which reëstablished the slave-trade, even though nothing decisive had as yet occurred at San Domingo. It is not difficult, considering the circumstances, to understand the popularity of a measure, passed at about the same time, for establishing the now well-known Legion of Honor. The passion for pins, badges, ribbons, and personal decorations of every sort is well-nigh universal. They gratify the sense of achievement among men who are able, and flatter the vanity of those who are not. To this passion, in itself not necessarily ignoble, the First Consul determined to appeal for further support.

Every new institution of importance so far created by Bonaparte might, with no great ingenuity, be turned into a prop of autocratic government. The Legion of Honor was a measure easily manageable in the interest of any government which might control it. Priests and emigrants were now his natural allies, the constitution had been virtually superseded, the troublesome senators, tribunes, and legislators had been either dismissed or (p. 246) else called to order, and the surrounding nations, one of them a kingdom, were, in relation to France, like the sheaves bowing to Joseph's sheaf. Roederer declared that the great deeds of the nation made it essential to revive the sentiment of honor. Though the Convention abolished all titles it nevertheless provided that "arms of honor" might be granted to soldiers who had won distinction. An article of the new constitution guaranteed, in the name of the French people, a recompense to its armies. This simple phrase was the sanction chosen for the erection of a corporation which, like the orders of absolutism, might intermediate between the people and their magistrate in order to lend him the same mystery which ever surrounds any monarch who is the "fountain of honor." In well-considered and weighty words the First Consul declared that truly great generals must possess a high degree of civil virtue. That men in civil life were concerned in the main, not with force as were mere soldiers, however brave, but with reason and truth, with the general welfare and the discussion of principles: this was the conclusive evidence to him of their right to drink at this fountain, a right more imperative than that of military men. They could not therefore be excluded. The republicans saw the trap, and resisted sturdily, but to no purpose. The law having passed on May nineteenth, 1802, the ranks were at once constituted, and the decorative badges determined. Every member swore devotion to the service of the republic and resistance to any effort toward the restoration of feudalism in all its attributes: consciences were thus quieted. Right and left the men of science, of art, and of literature appeared with their ribbons and rosettes; the nation applauded, and Bonaparte's opinion was justified. "You call these toys! Well, you manage men with toys," he had declared. The event justified him.

(p. 247) In August the result of the plebiscite was announced: among three and a half millions of votes only a few thousand were in the negative. One of them was Lafayette's. His gratitude to Bonaparte for release from his Austrian prison had so far expressed itself in abstaining from open opposition to his liberator's will, although in reality he was the strongest exponent of what little enlightened liberalism was left in France. Determined not to approve even negatively of what was passing, but to withdraw from public life, he wrote to the First Consul remonstrating against the latter's course. "Surely," he said, "you, who are the first in that order of men who lay tribute on all the ages in order to find a compeer and a place, would wish that such a revolution, such conquest and bloodshed, such sufferings and marvelous deeds, should have for you some other end than arbitrary power." The protest was of course unheeded.

Thus, then, to use Bonaparte's language, "liberty and equality were put beyond the caprice of chance and the uncertainty of the future." A few finishing touches were given to the work after the announcement of the vote. The lists of notables were abolished, and small cantonal assemblies designated the candidates for lower offices. Electoral colleges of manageable size sent up from the districts the names of candidates for the tribunate; similar colleges sent up from the departments the names of candidates for the legislature and the senate; while all the electors of these primary assemblies were appointed for life. The functions of the tribunate were limited, and it deliberated thenceforward behind closed doors. The council of state was stripped of its supremacy by the creation of a small privy council which did most of its work. The powers of the senate were so enlarged as to make it nearly sovereign. It (p. 248) could suspend or interpret the constitution, reverse the decisions of the courts, and dissolve the tribunate and legislature, always provided the proposition came from the government. And the government retained only three prerogatives—the pardoning power, the right to designate a successor in the office of chief magistrate, and the right to nominate forty senators. In reality, the clever manipulation of these provisions made the First Consul supreme for life, and his office hereditary, without recourse to a further plebiscite.

A few wise men understood how the nation had been fettered, and one of them proposed in a pamphlet that Bonaparte should be made king if only he would restore constitutional government. It was easy to dismiss with scornful disdain a proposition so subversive of "liberty." The nation was content. The Revolution had at last culminated through the fulfilment of its ideals in the person of a warrior strong to realize them at home and defend them abroad. The boundaries of France were enlarged, order prevailed within her borders, peace had been made with honor, the "empire" of liberal ideas was established in the "empire" of France, a favorite phrase of the Convention; and in it the existence of beneficent institutions permeated by a liberal spirit was guaranteed by the assured control of one who could turn experiments into national habits.

Behind the Consul for life stood a now purged and unified army, recruited by a system which insured its perpetuity and efficiency. The child of the Revolution, the army, was a national institution; but the influence of Bonaparte, combined with the conscription laws of the Directory and the Consulate, had gradually and completely changed its character and its spirit. Fathers no longer gave their sons for a principle; families no longer saw conscripts march forth with the sense that they (p. 249) were making a sacrifice to patriotism. Long experience had made this a matter of course; young men went out to fight for glory and, alas! too often for booty. Since the first Italian campaign under him who was now chief magistrate for life, the latter motive was always present and often avowed. The leader who could be relied on to gratify the French passion for distinction, and at the same time put money in the purse of his soldiers, might be confident of their devotion.


The Threshold of Monarchy[24]

Bonaparte at Maturity — Ability and Opportunity — Personal Appearance — Mind and Manners — Personal Habits — The Man of France — The Consular Court — The First Consul's Cynicism — The Feud between Bonapartes and Beauharnais — Disuse of the Republican Calendar — The "Genius of Christianity."

Bonaparte was now thirty-four. Thus far he had been not alone the tool of fate nor yet entirely the architect of his own fortunes; he had been both. In Corsica his immature powers had been thwarted by conditions beyond his control. During the Revolution he had caught at every straw which would spare his life and give him a living. Until his marriage he was a soldier of fortune, and fortune made it difficult, either by professional excellence or political scheming, to grasp any of her favors. Accordingly he went without them, suffering, erring, dreaming, philosophizing, observing, and gathering the experience which made him mature at the age when most men are still boys. The observer (p. 251) can descry no revolution in his character when opportunities began to open. There are the same unscrupulous enterprise, the same determination to seize the chances of the hour, the same ability to make the most of circumstances; but the grist is now wheat and the resultant output is flour.

Every success is made introductory to another effort, and his scheming shows the same overweening self-confidence as that of his boyhood. Only now his plans unfold, not in the chill blasts of habitual failure, but in the mild breezes of prospering influences. Many historians proclaim the existence of a great life-scheme, declaring that with satanic powers the boy had prearranged every detail of his manhood. Of this there is not the slightest proof. All that is clear is the continued use, by a great mind tempered in the fires of experience, of ever greater opportunities as they arose. Like all men of commanding ability, Bonaparte belonged, not to one age, but to all ages. His elemental nature made the time and place and conditions in which he actually lived a means to his end, exactly as another century and another environment would have been. Whatever he might have been elsewhere or in another age, he was the personification of France as she was in his time, when he arrived by her desire and connivance at the height of his power.


"Calm on a fiery steed"; thus he desired that the great painter of the time, David, should portray him for posterity. Thus he firmly decided both to appear and to be. But the trustworthy portraits of the time, varying strangely, according to the artist and the mood of the sitter, leave in the composite a quite different impression, expressed by Lamartine as that of a "restless flame." His massive brow jutting over piercing blue eyes, his fine-cut nose, his thin curved lips, his (p. 252) strong short chin, all crowned by scant lank chestnut hair and firmly set on a sturdy neck, gave an impression of manly strength; so, too, did his long bust. But his rather muddy complexion, his short stature, his fine and exquisitely modeled hands and feet, the former dazzling in their clear white skin, the easy comfort of supple hat, loose garments, and wrinkled footwear, were evidence of a nervous temperament, impatient of physical discipline. His voice was ordinarily soft and caressing, but his address was cold and haughty, especially to strangers; when roused, however, his speech was brief, sharp, incisive. His gestures were inelegant and his carriage uneasy; his French was incorrect, and the expression of his face had little or no connection with his language. His smiles were forced, but his laughter was hearty. "Smite brass with a glove," he said, "and it is mute, but strike it with a hammer and you get its ring." So he was almost rude in addressing persons of importance, but he was neither affected nor arrogant. It is the universal testimony of those who saw him that his presence was grave and noble, even majestic. De Staël declared that "more and less than human, comparison was impossible."

His imagination was considered by his poet contemporaries to be prodigious: his word memory was poor, but he recalled figures with accuracy, in numbers and details that were bewildering; and he mastered the reports of finance and statistics in such perfection as to stun his agents and ministers. He had an intimate acquaintance with the persons, lives, and family archives of his officers, and as he paced with his hands behind his back, his head on one side, his lips mechanically working from side to side, he could open any pigeonhole of his memory and dictate facts, figures, orders, suggestions for hours. Enemies like Rémusat and Talleyrand (p. 253) thought him ill-bred, but they admitted that his judgment was infallible, and his capacity for work beyond compare; that, at least, of four men in one. He was an indefatigable reader, especially in the fields of law, philosophy, administration, and war; and in conversation with great specialists he could draw from their stores by apt question the exact explication of difficult points in such a skilful way as to infatuate and fascinate the great men whose society he sought.

Time was his most precious commodity, and for every stage and state of life he had a routine from which he deviated most unwillingly. In these years his days were spent in the careful husbanding of every hour. He rose at seven, summoned his secretaries, and saw both letters and papers opened before his eyes. He read all the former, and heard full reports of the latter, the periodicals, and journals, English and German, as well as French. Meantime he was thoroughly rubbed from head to foot with a silk brush, sprayed with perfumed alcohol, and dried with a sponge. This was varied by frequent baths, for cleanliness, not for invigoration. He then shaved himself before a glass held in position by his body-servant, the Mameluke Rustan. He then slipped quickly into his clothes, all made of the finest, softest materials procurable; his ordinary uniform being the green coat of his chasseurs with a colonel's epaulettes, white nankin breeches, and varnished boots with spurs. Having taken his handkerchief and snuff-box from an attendant, he passed through the door into his office and worked until ten, when a plain breakfast, some simple dish with a single glass of wine, was set before him on a little mahogany table. Having eaten, he took an easy posture on the sofa, spending a short time in reflection, often in light sleep; then rousing himself swiftly, he resumed his dictation, pacing the floor with (p. 254) knitted brow. The late afternoon was devoted to outdoors and the reception of visitors, his dinner hour was seven, the evening was given to relaxation, and at ten he was asleep. When affairs were urgent, as they very often were, he rose again at midnight, took some light refreshment, chocolate or ices, and wrapped in a gown resumed his work with secretaries at hand for the purpose. His labors terminated, he retired once more and fell at once into a sound sleep. When overwhelmed with anxiety he withdrew from the Tuileries to the quiet of Malmaison.

Visionaries might say in vain and beautiful phrase, as they did then and do now, that, having harvested his laurels and exhausted the glories of conquest, he should turn to ameliorate the race, to guide a great nation with the easy reins of popular law in the brilliant paths illuminated by the light of the century. The ideal nation referred to did not exist. It was because the despotism of monarchy and the madness of revolution had shown the utter absence of self-control in the nation—because the French as a whole were avid not of virtue but of pleasure, not of self-denial but of luxury, not of stern morality but of glory—because Bonaparte was a man after their own heart, that he had some justification in his reply to a demand for liberty of the press: "In a moment," said he, "I should have thirty royalist journals and as many Jacobin ones, and I should have to govern with a minority." Many an earnest, liberty-loving French statesman of to-day has had cause in the bitterness of his heart to recall the language. As the ministries in France topple, and a dozen legislative factions, having each its journal, combine for no other purpose than the sport of overturning the government, it is, alas! too often a minority which neither governs nor rules, but guides the public career by a (p. 255) kind of sufferance. This occurs because control of the government, even for a short time, means the autocratic control of power, patronage, and honor, as it was arranged by Bonaparte for his own purposes.

There is no doubt that the First Consul realized what he had done and whither he was going. The conspiracies had seriously affected his nerves; more and more he withdrew from the society of all but a few confidants, and surrounded himself with a more rigid etiquette. Mme. Bonaparte gathered to the Tuileries ever larger numbers of the fortune-hunting nobility, who hoped that Bonaparte's elevation would yet prove a stepping-stone to restore the Bourbons. These elegant persons laughed in their sleeves at what they heard and saw. The dress and state of the monarchy were restored, but neither the chief magistrate himself, nor the late republicans who had made good their position at court, had the manners or the morals of those for whom the social institutions of royalty had been developed. The returning nobles thought it very funny that the great man liked seclusion, and found what amusement he took in ghost-stories, in the sighing of the wind, in brusque sallies of coarse wit, or in the rude familiarities of bluff intimacy with plain people; they considered it very absurd that his vices were commonplace and perhaps even worse; they thought it laughable that the newcomers slipped on the polished floors, and it seemed most entertaining that the gentlewomen of the old régime who, like Mme. de Rémusat, had accepted permanent positions as ladies of the palace, were often subjected to treatment and put into positions not foreseen in the training they had received from courtly tutors.

But, for all this, it was not merry at the Tuileries. The chief grew timid and dark before his own achievements, (p. 256) as he sought to master difficulties which ambition does not foresee, but with which it must reckon. No one liked less than Bonaparte to ride abroad surrounded by guards, or to muse in green alleys where, as at Malmaison, every tree was at times the post of a patrol. Yet even he could not alter the necessity, and the system of espionage was extended about him like a cage for his protection. As to friends, they grew fewer and fewer; for one of the First Consul's maxims was the cynical aphorism of Machiavelli, that friends must always be treated as if one day they might be enemies. Even the notion of duty, not to speak of its practice, was foreign to him; generosity, honesty, and sincerity were utopian conceptions of which his world and his experience had never known. The attractive visions and ideals of virtue which mingled with the speculations of Rousseau or Voltaire had become, like the mirage of the desert, empty illusions that heighten the barrenness of self-interest and ambition beneath them. Human greed, passion, vanity—such, Bonaparte declared, are the motive forces by which kings rule; the justice of governors was for him the safeguarding of comfort, of material prosperity, and of the superstitions which under the name of religion create a moral power necessary to the public order.

In the circle immediately surrounding Bonaparte there was much quarreling and jealousy. Josephine having been barren since her second marriage, would the succession go to her children or to her husband's relatives? This was becoming a serious question. Joseph Bonaparte had kept the new order in touch with the republican idea by his skilful diplomacy both in society and in foreign negotiation. He was disposed to yield to his arbitrary brother in any extremity, and his beautiful wife was a tower of strength to the family (p. 257) interest. The vigorous and able Lucien had risen to the height of his chances, and, having acquired a handsome fortune while occupying the post of French minister to Madrid, began to assert his old democratic independence. He was now a widower, and refusing to marry the queen regent of Etruria, espoused a wife from among the people, and this step eventually cost him the penalty of exile. Josephine was successful in making a match between her daughter Hortense and her husband's third brother, Louis; but although at a later time the Emperor contemplated bequeathing his power to their son, for the present their quarrels, instead of appeasing, intensified the Bonaparte-Beauharnais feud. It was sometimes said in loud whispers that the only solution of the impending difficulties was the divorce of the First Consul from his wife; but the question was not yet seriously discussed. The consular pair had never been married by ecclesiastical form, and many have since suggested that it was a discontented husband who had spoken in the manifest partiality for easy divorce which Bonaparte displayed in discussing the civil code. Jerome had been among the officers blockaded in the West Indies by the English fleet. Having escaped to the United States, he became desperately enamored of Elizabeth Patterson, a beautiful woman of Baltimore, and in December, 1803, married her. The pre-nuptial contract is couched in language which proves that her father understood the risks he was taking. As might have been and was expected, the First Consul was furious, refusing to recognize the marriage or the child born of it, and forbidding his sister-in-law to live in France. In a short time the unworthy object of his wrath deserted his family, and returned, with few qualms apparently, to his elder brother's fold and a share in the splendors of the Empire.

(p. 258) The Bonaparte women were clever intriguers. Madame Mère lived quietly in her own home, where, to her son's exasperation, she continued to speak the Corsican dialect and to save money; it is said that she always distrusted the permanency of her son's elevation. Elisa, now Mme. Bacciocchi, was a shrewd woman of the world, and with Lucien's aid formed a literary coterie of which Chateaubriand was the illumination. Pauline returned from San Domingo to marry Prince Borghese, and became notorious for her conjugal infidelities. Caroline, the wife of Murat, chafed under her husband's intellectual inferiority, but used her position with skill in behalf of her family. Of all his connections none was more useful to the head of the State than Fesch, who was easily persuaded to reënter the Church, and not long after the Concordat became Archbishop of Lyons and cardinal. The republican calendar still nominally survived, but after the reconciliation of State and Church the celebration of the ten-day festival of Décadi, instituted under the republic, fell into disuse, the Church resumed the observance of Sunday, and among the diligent attendants at mass on that day was the First Consul. His near relationship with an ecclesiastical dignitary did not tend to weaken the bonds which tied his government to the religious sentiment of the common people.

In the great world outside the Tuileries there was for a moment peace. Nothing was left of Jacobinism or revolutionary ferment. Old names were restored to streets and places, just as every one now wore the garments of the ancient régime, except the impoverished aristocrats, who in mild protest continued to wear the trousers of the sansculottes. Even they, however, had got back a small portion of their properties, and the newly rich saw in the confirmation of personal government (p. 259) by a consul through a so-called republic the guarantee that restitution of the rest to its former owners would never be required of them. Both alike were therefore satisfied with what was sure. Thus in the same way monarchists and republicans were equally gratified, the latter with a semblance of democratic government, the former with a reality which might end in royalty, the full fruition of their yearnings. In short, public confidence was restored, and showed itself in a respectable, temperate decency of living which had been foreign to Paris under the Directory. Everything appeared as if society were performing its normal functions in commerce, trade, industry, and religion. Even art and literature revived as if upon a solid substructure of permanent organic life. Mme. de Staël had fought gallantly for notoriety and for the attention of the great, so dear to her woman's heart in spite of all its philosophy; but Bonaparte never forgave her persistent self-seeking, nor the insight into his character which she and her friends displayed, and he discovered that the air of Paris disagreed with her. Chateaubriand, a noble of high imaginative power and brilliant literary gifts, after several unsuccessful ventures as a romantic youth, had finally published in 1797 an "Essay on Revolutions," which was intended to be a peacemaker in the struggle of ideas, to mediate between the monarchy and the republic. It was imbued with atheism and the philosophy of Rousseau. Very soon after its appearance the author was the subject of a remarkable conversion, and at once began the composition of his treatise on the "Genius of Christianity," that exquisitely literary and pious work which established his fame. Although he had been hitherto unknown to Bonaparte, his book was so opportune in its far-reaching influence that men could not rid themselves of the feeling that (p. 260) the writer was sponsor for the Concordat. Eloquent and poetic in style, the dissertation is nevertheless arid in opinion and scanty in argument. Its life was therefore ephemeral, but its influence while it lasted was supreme; as a reward for its composition, Chateaubriand was made the French representative first in Rome, afterward in the republic of Valais.


Expansion or the Revolutionary System[25]

The Interpretation of a Treaty — The Document Signed at Amiens — Addington's Policy — English Influence in Germany — Reconstruction of the German State System — Its Consequences — Lord Whitworth at Paris — Bonaparte's Attitude — Influence of the Army — English Disenchantment — Recriminations between England and France — The Trial of Peltier — Diplomatic Hostilities — Sebastiani's Report.


The First Consul might well feel that the constitution of the year VIII had approved itself. The madness of Jacobinism was not merely checked, it was utterly crushed out; political liberty had apparently not been diminished, civil liberty had been formulated and assured as never before; finally, the renown of France had never been more brilliant, and the Consulate had used her glory to make the peace with honor so earnestly desired. Nothing was left but to secure permanency for the well-ordered life thus begun. Opinions varied widely as to how far this was possible. The diplomatists of Europe were not hopeful, knowing as they did what self-control had been exercised on both sides in negotiating the treaty of Amiens, what knotty (p. 262) questions had been passed over, and how easily the stipulations might be rendered of no effect by opposite interpretations of their spirit; on the other hand, Bonaparte, though aware of the strain which at such an epoch must exist in the relations between monarchies and republics, and of the warlike temper of the dynasties, believed that the pressure of public opinion would insure the observance of the treaty. For him its essential feature was the restoration of Malta to its former owners, the Knights of St. John, that is, to the sphere of French influence, or, in other words, England's surrender of absolute control in the Mediterranean. He does not appear to have recalled that others might think a corresponding diminution of French influence on the Continent equally essential to its correct interpretation.

For the treaty of Amiens contained other stipulations. England's warfare was not to be in vain. Trinidad and Ceylon were splendid acquisitions to her colonial empire, and she retained her right to use the harbors of the Cape of Good Hope. Except the two islands just mentioned, Spain and the Batavian Republic got all their colonies back, and the House of Orange was to be indemnified for its loss of power in Holland. As to the Oriental question, England's pride was not humbled, Turkey being left as before the war in respect to her territorial boundaries, and being recognized again as the suzerain both of the Ionian Isles and of Egypt. In return Great Britain was to evacuate the latter country, and by the surrender of Malta abandon her control of the Mediterranean highway. France was to evacuate Rome, Naples, and Elba. Such was the paper to which on March twenty-seventh, 1802, Joseph Bonaparte, Cornwallis, Azara, and Schimmelpenninck set their hands for their respective countries—France, (p. 263) Great Britain, Spain, and the Batavian Republic. No mention was made of Piedmont, or of the Helvetian Republic, or of the reconstruction of Germany in accordance with the peace of Lunéville, a matter which was to be settled by agreement between France and Russia according to a treaty which had been signed on October eighth, 1801. Alexander, the new Czar, on his accession in the previous March, had promptly abandoned the armed neutrality and the doctrine of "neutral flag, neutral goods." Ostensibly he remained friendly to Bonaparte, but he declared in his instructions to Markoff, his ambassador at Paris, that the First Consul, "in flattering the deceased Czar, had been mainly desirous to use him as a weapon against England." To Paul, who had been ready to fight for the "liberty of the seas," and to check Great Britain in India, Bonaparte might have yielded control in Italy; but to Alexander, who, it was clear, was about to desert France, he would naturally not yield one shred of continental control beyond what was absolutely essential for peace.

The success of the negotiations at Amiens was largely due to the personal characters of two men—Lord Cornwallis and Joseph Bonaparte. The latter was conciliatory; the former, as Napoleon told Lord Ebrington, in 1814, was from his integrity and goodness an honor to his country. No sooner was the treaty signed than the opposition leaders of the English Parliament began to declare that it gave to France the mastery of the Continent. Addington stoutly denied the allegation. Addison had always held the view that Great Britain had been made an island in order that she might be the arbiter of the Continent. This well-worn doctrine Addington vigorously maintained, and, stung by the taunts of his opponents, he began the reign of peace with a stronger emphasis than ever upon the time-honored (p. 264) policy of meddling in continental affairs. In the Batavian, Helvetian, Cisalpine, and Ligurian republics the English diplomatic agents renewed their efforts to discredit the French influence, giving comfort and support to those who would gladly have overturned all that Bonaparte had done. The malcontents were, however, comparatively few, because the people, having so long been the plaything of the old European dynasties, had been but slightly invigorated by the revolutionary epoch, and were content if only they might enjoy a period of uninterrupted repose.

In Germany, however, the English envoys had a better field, for in that disrupted land the case of the population, though resembling that of those who dwelt in the countries just enumerated, was not identical. Ever since France had asserted the doctrine that her natural frontier was the Rhine, the simplest answer to the question of how the temporal princes of the Germanic body were to be indemnified for the territories she was seizing had evidently been found in recurring to Richelieu's policy at the close of the Thirty Years' War, namely, the secularization of bishoprics, and their incorporation with dynastic states. In the Congress of Rastadt, Austria had grudgingly admitted this as a guiding principle, disastrous as it was to her supremacy in the empire—a supremacy based on the support of the ecclesiastical rulers, who, being bound to no dynasty, naturally rallied about the great Roman Catholic power, in opposition to Prussia, her Protestant rival. So far, therefore, Roman Catholicism in Germany had been in the main conservative, and English diplomatists found ample room for the display of their ingenuity in offsetting religious factions, as well as political cliques and dynastic interests, one against the other.

But after the Concordat Bonaparte's position was so (p. 265) utterly changed that all the liberal Roman Catholics in Germany, and a large proportion of the rest, had little to choose between France and Austria. He was therefore able to carry out in Germany the excellent policy of entire reconstruction which he had pursued in Italy—a policy which had had the sanction of French royalism and of French republicanism. As a protector of the Church he could go only so far in the wholesome process as he was able to make the world believe to be necessary. Insisting, with this in view, that both the great German powers should be separated from the Rhine by a line of little states, he began to carve lands and transfer communities without the slightest regard to their will. Nothing proves more conclusively how entirely the balance of power had been destroyed, or how the old conceptions of international relations were crushed, than the position of the Germanic body and the disposition Bonaparte made of it. The petty states fell suppliant at Talleyrand's feet, and the venal minister spared those which paid the most; the others disappeared from the map without any protest except from their own deposed princes. Scores of the corrupt little courts which had disgraced the German name died without any to mourn their demise, and proud imperial cities were forced to bow before the semi-feudal dynasties. The process wrought havoc in the local jealousies which had prevented in Germany that wholesome national development already advanced among other European peoples.

In a succession of treaties the work went steadily on. The Czar was pacified by liberal grants to his relatives of the reigning house of Würtemberg. Prussia got an exchange for Cleves and the price of her neutrality in such fine domains as Hildesheim, Paderborn, Quedlinburg, and many others; Austria suffered for her defeats in accepting the Italian arrangements, and a smaller (p. 266) share than seemed her right in Germany; but the Grand Duke of Tuscany got Salzburg, Berchtesgaden, Brixen, Trent, and part of Eichstädt. Bavaria received Passau in fulfilment of Bonaparte's promises. Baden and Darmstadt were, as border states, made slightly stronger than they had been. The substance of the arrangement between France and Russia was the humiliation of Austria, the strengthening of Prussia, the dismemberment of the Holy Roman Empire, and the dislocation of the hitherto existing scheme of European politics. The ruling houses of Bavaria, Würtemberg, Baden, and Darmstadt were all related to the Czar. It seemed a gain for him that their strength was increased; on the other hand, they discerned in Bonaparte the power which rewarded them for their fidelity to France, and became his firm supporters. It is needless to say that English statesmen looked on aghast at this reconstruction of Europe, and began to ask if their country's traditional enemy could thus work its will without hindrance, and to the hurt, not only of England's glory, but of England's prosperity, perhaps to the menace even of her independence.

These changes were in steady progress throughout the autumn of 1802 and the first month of 1803, being completed in February of this year. They were not announced as the "enactment of the imperial delegates," so called by courtesy, until then, and whatever might have been suspected, they were not definitely known before then. But as early as September, 1802, Addington took a step which proves that at that early date his government was determined to put its own interpretation on the treaty of Amiens, or rather to consider any interpretation of the treaty of Lunéville not in England's favor as a breach of the treaty of Amiens. This step was the appointment as British ambassador at Paris (p. 267) of Lord Whitworth, a stately, unbending, self-restrained aristocrat. He would have been an admirable representative of Great Britain at a Bourbon court; his presence at the quasi-republican consular levees of Bonaparte was in itself a standing rebuke to the new order. The character of his instructions was in consonance with his appointment. They expressed suspicion that France was secretly planning to harm English interests, and required him to pay special attention to the lands "under the dominion of the republic." The annexation of Piedmont was cited as a grievance, as was also the attitude of France to the three new republics. He was to refuse any satisfaction concerning Malta, and not to commit "his Majesty as to what may be eventually his intentions with respect to the island." In particular, he was to watch the French policy in regard to the Indies, both East and West. Such a man with such instructions could in no wise be considered or felt to be a minister of peace. He began in December to assert that the French nation despised its government, and that Bonaparte's finances were in serious disorder. Thenceforward carping and faultfinding were intermingled in his correspondence with statements outwardly calm but suppressedly indignant about the course of France. He said, moreover, that every year of peace was better for Great Britain than a year of war, because it would give strength and courage to those of the French whose interest lay in overthrowing the Consulate, which, on the other hand, would be weakened by inactivity.

The First Consul was equally astute. It is said that during the winter a member of the council of state expressed his satisfaction with the peace. "Do the signatures of the great powers make them any less our foes?" was the rejoinder of Bonaparte. The response (p. 268) was of course in the negative. "Well, then," he continued, "draw the necessary conclusion. If these states are always keeping war in petto in order to renew it, the sooner it comes the better; for with every day fades the memory of their defeats, while the prestige of our victories is forgotten in equal measure. Every advantage, then, is on their side. Remember that a first consul is in no respect like these kings by the grace of God, who look on their kingdoms as heirlooms. This is for them an advantage, for us a hindrance. Hated by its neighbors, compelled to hold in restraint various classes of internal malcontents and at the same time to inspire respect in so many external foes, the French state needs glory, and therefore war. It must either surpass all others or fall. I shall put up with peace as long as my neighbors are able to keep it, but I shall think it an advantage if they compel me to take up my arms before they are rusty.... From our point of view I regard the peace as a short armistice, and consider myself doomed to fight almost without intermission throughout my term of office." This language, though credibly reported, was set down at a much later time, as also was a statement of Lucien's in his memoirs that it was ambition, not patriotism, which after the peace of Amiens made war a necessity to his brother. The notices of the time which have come to us from those not in the thick of plot and intrigue—men like Rapp and others of his kind—create a different impression: that Bonaparte was heartily sick of war, and really desired peace, not of course a peace of recession, but one of further penetration for French prestige and influence, an invading peace as it has been aptly styled.

Yet it is impossible to feel sure of the First Consul's innermost desire, in view of the great army at his back eager for war and still posted at the most advantageous (p. 269) strategic points of Europe. Where such an army exists there must be a powerful military party, and such a party must influence a great general. As late as 1875 the great military leaders of the German Empire nearly thwarted the statecraft of Bismarck, and almost succeeded in renewing the Franco-Prussian war for the purpose of reducing France to vassalage. Similar influences may have weighed at times with Bonaparte; but the charge that already in 1802 France was the destined victim of Bonaparte's ambition, and all Europe but its tool, remains unproved. He was not yet convinced that war was essential for the extension of his influence, and there is no proof until two years later that his dreams of Western empire had taken definite form. Then, when France was fighting for her life with an England governed by a narrow-minded and unwholesome king, and when dynastic Europe was all allied against him, he appears to have become convinced that the time had finally arrived when, to defeat England and destroy dynastic rule in Europe, he must by all means at his command unite the Western world under his sway.

Both the preliminaries of London and the peace of Amiens had been hailed with joy by the industrial and mercantile classes of England. It is true the Christian sentiment of the country was shocked by the official restoration of the slave-trade on the part of France; but that feeling was momentarily stilled in view of the untold benefits to commerce which might justly be expected as the result of peace. In this expectation, however, the merchants were disappointed, for the Consulate immediately put in force certain arbitrary and annoying shipping regulations intended to limit any encroachments on its rigid protective policy. The pious philanthropy of England has ever seen missionary zeal go hand (p. 270) in hand with British commerce as the best means of simultaneously fulfilling England's destiny and ameliorating the world. Accordingly, public opinion again took up the cry against the slave-trade, and soon was so changed that the cheers of the multitude were turned into renewed execrations of Bonaparte. Thenceforward the influences which combined to create a warlike temper in England were cumulative. It was found by private citizens that the clause of the treaty which removed all sequestrations from their property in France was not easily enforced. Statesmen began to say that by a further extension of the system of federated states under French hegemony their maritime empire would insure nothing but the insignificant carrying-trade with the colonies, while the European commerce, which was far more important, would be delivered into other hands. The King feared lest, with the guarantee of territorial sanctity, which was its mainstay, absolutism itself would go.

The bitter discontent of the British was expressed in the public press almost before the ink was dry on the treaty of Amiens. Bonaparte, demanding the right to establish consuls in the chief ports of England and Ireland, designated the officials and sent them to their posts. Under the pretext that these men were spies, charged to make and forward to Paris plans of the harbors, they were seized, and forbidden to enter on their duties. Moreover, one Peltier, an emigrant, began without hindrance from the authorities to publish in London a French royalist journal, "L'Ambigu," which lampooned and abused the First Consul in a shameful but brilliant way. Two months after the date of the treaty Bonaparte began to remonstrate against such license. The English administration pleaded the freedom of the press under constitutional guarantees, and (p. 271) asserted the truth of the allegations brought against the consuls. Soon the tide of recrimination was in full flood, and the columns of the "Moniteur" were filled with matter similar to the offensive contents of the English press. The journals of Paris began to declare that "Carthage must be destroyed." It was the irony of fate that while in England the government could deny its responsibility for the utterances of the newspapers, Bonaparte, who had utterly destroyed the freedom of the press in France, could be held to strict account for every word printed.

As early as July, the First Consul made his grievances a subject of diplomatic remonstrance. Receiving a mild reply, he then enumerated as matters of complaint, in addition to the license of the English papers, the residence of emigrants in Great Britain, her harboring conspirators like Georges Cadoudal, and her protection of the Bourbon princes. Although the Alien Act would have made it possible for the government of England to banish political refugees, it was contrary to a wise policy to do so, and this was explained to the French ambassador. In order, however, temporarily to appease the French government, Peltier was prosecuted for libel of the First Consul. By the skill of the defendant's counsel the trial was turned into a jubilation over the liberty of the press; and though the culprit was technically condemned, he was never brought to punishment. Thereafter, by the aid of a subvention from Bonaparte, the Irish radicals began to publish in London a fiery paper, the contents of which were supplied from Paris, and were intended to counteract the influence of the English journals.

Meantime the First Consul gave every evidence that his only warfare was to be a diplomatic one; his chief interest was clearly the improvement of French industries, (p. 272) the extension of beneficent public works, and the consolidation of his colonial empire. Louisiana had been ceded to France by Spain in exchange for the kingdom of Etruria, and an expedition was being fitted out to go and take possession of it. Efforts were directed also to the eastward, Sebastiani, a skilful diplomat, being despatched in September, under the guise of a commercial agent, carefully to examine Persian affairs and report on the situation in the Levant. As a countercheck to the outcry which Bonaparte believed would be raised over the annexation of Piedmont, he filled Ireland with secret agents whose duty it was to foment and organize the spirit of insurrection, while carefully studying the country. Ostensibly they too were commercial agents, and even when some of their instructions were seized by English officials, nothing to the contrary could be proved. In their case, as in that of Sebastiani, it does not appear that Bonaparte was aiming at anything but to secure an alternative in case of extremity. That he had eventually to take the alternative in Ireland is no proof to the contrary. Similarly there was no overt hostility in the fact, considered from any point of view, that Ney's fine army of thirty thousand men, sent to Switzerland ostensibly in the interest of good order, served likewise to check both Prussia and Austria, should they prove restive under the new reorganization of Europe. When England remonstrated, Bonaparte declared in a note of October twenty-third, 1802, to his ambassador in England, that his resolution was taken. If war was threatened, it must needs be a continental war, the consequence of which could only be to force him to conquer Europe. He was about thirty-three years old. Hitherto he had destroyed only second-class states. "Who knew how long he would take to change the face of Europe again, and resuscitate (p. 273) the empire of the West?" This paper Otto, the ambassador, virtually suppressed, knowing how far the threat would jeopardize the peace.

During the summer of 1802, Fox journeyed to Paris, where he was presented to Bonaparte early in September. The English statesman was fascinated, and departed with the conviction that his host desired nothing but peace with a liberal policy both domestic and foreign as far as was consistent with safety. But the English press became none the less virulent in consequence of Fox's favorable report, or of a brilliant defense of France, which he made from his place in Parliament. Toward the close of January, 1803, Talleyrand remonstrated with Whitworth, plumply demanding what England intended to do about Malta. Whitworth made an evasive answer, hinting that the King's opinion of the changes which had taken place in Europe since the treaty might be of importance in determining him as to the disposal of the island. This was the first official intimation that England did not intend to keep her promise. A few days later Sebastiani returned from the East, and on January thirtieth, 1803, the "Moniteur" published his thorough and careful report. It was a long document, fully explaining every source of English weakness in the Orient, and setting forth the possibilities of re-establishing French colonies in Egypt and the Levant. There was only one menacing phrase, but it expressed an unpalatable truth, that "six thousand French troops could now conquer Egypt." The publication in England of this paper raised a tremendous popular storm, and it has pleased many historians to regard Bonaparte's course as a virtual declaration of war. In reality it was merely a French Roland for the English Oliver. If England intended to keep Malta, let her beware of her prestige in the East. Had Bonaparte proposed to act (p. 274) on Sebastiani's report, he certainly would not have published it. Of course, the English populace utterly failed to grasp so nice a point, and the incident so strained the relations of France and England that all Europe saw the impending crisis—one or the other, or both, must consent to a modification of the treaty in respect to Malta, or there would be war.

(p. 275) CHAPTER XXV

Tension between England and France[26]

Reciprocal Impressions — Imminence of War — State of England — Bonaparte as a French Burgher — The Democracy of the Tuileries — Private Interview of Bonaparte and Whitworth — The English Militia Mobilized — Hot Words at Bonaparte's Reception — Explanation of the Scene — France Still Pacific — England Immovable — Declaration of War.


A trustworthy estimate has fixed the number of strangers who flocked to France during 1802 at twenty thousand, of whom four fifths were Britons—Fox and Lord Holland among the number. The impressions of the sympathetic English were not merely favorable, their senses were stunned. Like Great Britain herself, France seemed rejuvenated by her successive revolutions, the national life getting new vigor from movement and change. It was clear to them that the new France would be a foe vastly more redoubtable than either the recent or the former one. Pleasure-seekers found nothing of what they desired, neither reckless vice (p. 276) nor flippant gaiety. Paris was serious, settled, almost reserved. The country was busy and peaceful, agriculture prosperous, the church restored, life and goods safe, the highways improved, social and mercantile relations regular and dignified. The person of Bonaparte impressed them as that of a sagacious statesman; a commingling, they thought and feared, of Cromwell and Washington. Of anything like their own industrial revival they saw nothing; the ruler, they could see, was not a great financier, not even a fair economist. But he was equally great as a warrior and a civilian, so they returned to report to deaf ears that peace must be maintained even at great sacrifice. Liberal and sympathetic Germans made similar observations, and they marked with interest the simple life and plain ways which prevailed in the Tuileries as the example given to the men of power who had risen to replace the theorists of the Revolution. The France that would offer itself in expiation of monarchical crimes, the regenerator of peoples, the expounder of Utopias, was no more. Firm and erect as her ruler, she appeared no longer as an enchantress, but as a Bellona; herself regenerate, she was defiant of the unregenerate dynasties, which retained but a single high quality: they were the only outward expression of continental nationality.

In the Museum at Liège, Belgium


From the painting by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres Presented to the city of Liège by Napoleon in 1806. This is claimed to be one of the few portraits for which Bonaparte posed.

These strained relations between the two great Western powers were the natural consequence of their antipodal interests, and of the fact that neither was yet exhausted by war. Speaking of the treaty of Amiens soon after it was signed, George III said, "I call this an experimental peace; it is nothing else." It was a double experiment. How far would Bonaparte curb his ambition? How far would England surrender her control of European commerce? It soon became clear that a conciliatory temper existed on neither side, and (p. 277) that the so-called peace was merely a truce. Moreover, Bonaparte, not long after the arrival of Lord Whitworth, came to feel that the truce would be a short one. Accordingly he recalled from London the too pacific Otto, replacing him in December by General Andréossy. His conviction was assured by the language which the English ambassador used to Talleyrand in January. The interval of peace, short as it was, had so confirmed Bonaparte in the good graces of the French that he likewise felt able to dismiss three other public servants who seemed unwilling to accept the new state of absolute control by the First Consul. These were Fouché, Roederer, and Bourrienne: the first a shrewd, unscrupulous, self-seeking Jacobin; the second a wise, devoted, but fearless and sometimes troublesome adviser; the third a venal, light-headed, and often untruthful secretary, who presumed too much on early associations in order to continue an annoying intimacy. Almost at the same time Lannes was restored to favor, and the consular guard was strengthened. At the opening of what bade fair to be a struggle for life, the protagonist seemed determined to cast off every weight, to discard even his true friends when troublesome.

The landed aristocracy of Great Britain saw all its prestige endangered by Bonaparte's successes; its control of Parliament, its influence in the local governments, its hierarchy in church and state, its absurd control of the suffrage, all stood in glaring contrast to the reforms of diametrically opposed tendency established in France, where burghers and peasants had come to their own and flaunted their rights and powers before all Europe. A British revolution was imminent. The great masters of industry were equally savage and determined. There was a sudden union of all important interests. If Piedmont were annexed, Switzerland made a protectorate, (p. 278) Italy brought to terms, the lands of the valley and mouths of the Rhine intimidated or won to sympathetic subservience, and the treaty of Lunéville made operative, the island kingdom was isolated indeed. Such a continental combination would close the door in the face of British commerce. Yet there was a greater world than the Continent and markets quite as important. So a continental coalition would open the highways of the ocean, not one of the powers, great or small, being able to maintain an efficient army with an efficient fleet. The policy of alliances and subsidies was ever at hand, and to this again the English ministry recurred. Neither Austria, Russia, nor Prussia, antiquated as were their systems and policies, unstable as were their governments and finances, uncertain as were their very boundaries and the loyalty of their subjects; patched, darned, and frayed as were their dynastic relations; not one of them was content, nor easy, nor secure. The material was at hand for a new coalition, quite as rotten as others since the dynastic cloth was old on the garment, the growing and novel sense of nationality. To the labor of renovation George and his ministers put their hands; renovation of old stuff, old patterns, old fashions, all of which should have been thrown into the rag-bag.

The war which was imminent would in no proper sense be a war between England and France, but rather an appeal to arms concerning Bonaparte's expansion of the revolutionary system for his own purposes. Well aware that if war was inevitable it should for his own sake come quickly, Bonaparte determined to learn whether it was inevitable, and to do so in such a way as further to endear him to that class of the French people which now appeared to be his strongest support—the great middle class, or bourgeoisie. Whether general, diplomatist, or statesman, he had never since (p. 279) his entrance on French public life permitted them to forget that he was one of them. Incidentally it may be remarked that his determination to gratify the middle class whenever possible played a considerable rôle in the grandiose scheme of public works conceived and partly achieved by him. The building of great canals, the perfection of highways, the lavish expenditure of public moneys for the administrative buildings which beautified the provincial towns while distributing the appropriations for these works among the inhabitants, the general control of these enterprises from Paris—all this enormously strengthened the hold which the chief magistrate had upon the country at large. He dressed, behaved, and talked, as far as in him lay, like a French burgher, scornfully and ostentatiously using the forms of society and diplomacy as baubles necessary just so long as they were useful, but holding them up to public contempt whenever that course served his purpose.

Much of the same policy was displayed in the official receptions held in the Tuileries. In the first place, the domestic life of the Bonapartes was carefully accented by the presence of the First Consul's wife and of his sisters with their families. No mistresses were ever allowed to flaunt themselves in public under either the Consulate or the Empire. The same standards of conjugal fidelity were to be supposed valid in the first family of the land as in those of the masses. Then, too, there was displayed a genial familiarity, sometimes even brusque and rude, like that prevalent among the middle class—the good-fellowship which they admired above every other quality. On high occasions the great officers of state with the diplomatic corps were arrayed in a circle like that customary in courts from immemorial times; but grand as they were, they had to put up with much the same treatment from the First Consul while (p. 280) making his rounds as that which his relatives, his civil and military officials, and the plain people of France generally received at his hands. These unceremonious ways afforded Bonaparte exactly the chance he needed to bring England to an explanation. On Sunday, March thirteenth, 1803, there was held a consular levee at the Tuileries. No one apparently thought it likely to be different from any other, and there was the usual attendance, Lord Whitworth being present to introduce some English ladies and gentlemen to Mme. Bonaparte. But the occasion was destined to be of the first importance historically, and what occurred has been the subject of more misrepresentation and turgid rhetoric than any single event in the life of Napoleon.

For some weeks previous, France had continued to fit out armaments in her ports, destined, it was declared, and probably with truth, to confirm her colonial power in the West Indies and America, and to make good her commercial standing in the Levant and farther Orient. These movements, as well as those of her troops, were declared by the English to be preparations solely intended for the renewal of the war. On Friday, February seventeenth, Whitworth, contrary to all diplomatic precedent, had been summoned to the Tuileries, where he was received by Bonaparte with "tolerable cordiality," to use the ambassador's own words, and seated on one side of the First Consul's table in his private cabinet, while the chief of state dropped into a chair on the other, and began without ceremony to state his views concerning the situation. Acknowledging his irritation at the mistrust shown by England in interpreting the treaty of Amiens, he categorically refused to acquiesce in the continued occupation of Malta and Alexandria by her, but disclaimed any intention of either seizing Egypt or going to war. Expatiating on the respective (p. 281) forces of England and France, he strove to prove that neither could gain anything by going to war. On many occasions antecedent to this Bonaparte had emphatically stated his conviction that the Western world was a unit, face to face with the other unit, the Oriental world. Their reciprocity is the life of the globe. On this occasion he flatly asked why the two Western powers of the first magnitude, one mistress of the seas, the other mistress of the land, should not arrange to coöperate and govern the world. But Whitworth was no philosopher, and, mindful of his instructions, he gave no sign of taking notice. In conclusion, therefore, the First Consul demanded the speedy evacuation of Malta as the event on which must turn peace or war. If he had really desired war, he said, he could have seized Egypt a month earlier without difficulty. Whitworth made the rejoinders which had been used all along, and when about to instance the territories and influence gained by France was interrupted by Bonaparte with apparent temper. "I suppose you mean Piedmont and Switzerland. Those are trifles,"—"The expression he made use of," Whitworth interrupts the quotation to say, "was too trivial and vulgar to find a place in a despatch, or anywhere but in the mouth of a hackney-coachman,"—"and it must have been foreseen," continued Bonaparte, "while the negotiation was pending. Vous n'avez pas le droit d'en parler à cette heure." ["Now you have no right to speak of it."] Napoleon said of his own temper that it never went below his neck; and as to his vulgar expression, any French scholar can supply it and see that Whitworth did right not to report it; for to translate it would have been to distort the proportions of its significance. Moreover, the English diplomat must have felt the truth of Bonaparte's reasoning, for he at once turned to the matter of English (p. 282) claims on France, and the First Consul excused the delay by disclaiming all wrong intention. Whitworth expressly states that he brought away no other impression than that Bonaparte intended "to frighten and bully."

Under this impression the English ministry determined to meet bluster with bluster. There was, in spite of all Fox's efforts, a substantial unanimity of anti-French sentiment in Parliament. This the government inflamed by a royal message sent to that body on March eighth, which exaggerated the military preparations in the ports of France and Holland out of all proportion by stating them as a reason why additional measures should be taken for the security of England. On March tenth the militia was called out. News of the message reached Paris on March twelfth. Duroc was in Prussia on a special embassy. The paper was forwarded to him at once, with instructions to say to Frederick William that, if war was declared, France would occupy Hanover—a menace intended to make that monarch active in preserving peace. It was beyond peradventure part of this same system of bluster which made Bonaparte prepare the scene of March thirteenth, before the news of England's arming her militia could have reached him.

While the court was assembling the First Consul passed the time in chatting with the ladies of his family and familiarly joking with their attendants, in particular playing with his nephew, the little Napoleon, son of Louis. His air was unaffected, and he was even merry. Being told that the circle was formed, his manner changed, and he advanced to make his round. Whitworth and Markoff were standing side by side. Asking the former if he had news from England, and receiving an affirmative reply, he said, as Whitworth reported, "'So you are determined to go to war.' 'No, First Consul,' I replied; 'we are too sensible of the advantages (p. 283) of peace.' 'We have,' said he, 'been at war already for fifteen years.' As he seemed to wait for an answer, I observed, 'That is already too long.' 'But,' said he, 'you want war for another fifteen years, and you force me to it.' I told him that was very far from his Majesty's intentions. He then proceeded to Count Markoff and the Chevalier Azara, who were standing at a little distance from me, and said to them, 'The English desire war, but if they are the first to draw the sword I shall be the last to sheathe it. They pay no respect to treaties. It will be necessary henceforth to cover them with black crape.' I suppose he meant the treaties. He then went his round, and was thought by all those to whom he addressed himself to betray great signs of irritation. In a few minutes he came back to me, to my great annoyance, and resumed the conversation, if such it can be called, by something personally civil to me. [The reader will note the words "personally civil."] He then began again: 'Why such armaments? Against whom such measures of precaution? I have not a single vessel of the line in the harbors of France: but if you wish to arm, I shall arm also; if you wish to fight, I shall fight also. You could perhaps destroy France, but never intimidate her.' 'No one would desire,' said I, 'the one or the other. The world would like to live on good terms with her.' 'Then treaties must be respected,' replied he. 'Woe to them who do not respect treaties! They shall be answerable for it to all Europe.' He was too agitated to make it advisable to prolong the conversation. I therefore made no answer, and he retired to his apartment repeating the last phrase.... I am persuaded that there was not a single person who did not feel the extreme impropriety of his conduct, and the total want of dignity as well as of decency on the occasion." Such is Lord (p. 284) Whitworth's own account. That it is substantially accurate is proved by Bonaparte's despatch to Andréossy, dated the same night, in which the words used by the First Consul are given in almost identical form.

This is the much discussed "insult to the British ambassador," the scene in which Bonaparte has been represented as threatening to strike Whitworth, "the violent harangue," etc., which has been given as the reason why England broke the treaty of Amiens. As a matter of fact, the whole picture speaks for itself. Bonaparte's behavior was not courtly, and his conduct was a piece of bluster; for the rest, the scene was not merely, as Talleyrand explained it, the First Consul's method of calling the attention of all Europe to the political situation: it was both a means of warning England in the interest of peace and of warning France in the interest of war, if war there must be.

Five days later Whitworth himself wrote that his agent had seen nothing at Havre "which can be construed into an armament; and," adds the ambassador, "I verily believe this is the case in every port of France." He also declared that, judging from Talleyrand's note to the French envoy in London, France was not ready to declare war. The United States minister in Paris was of the same opinion. When next Bonaparte received the diplomatic corps, on April fourth, Whitworth reported that he had every reason to be satisfied with his treatment.

But the despatches of Lord Whitworth were not published in England as they were written and transmitted. They were printed with such omissions and changes as to make them serve the purpose of the ministry, which was to inflame public opinion. Negotiations were kept up for a few weeks, but without sincerity. England, refusing admission within the fortifications of Malta to the Neapolitan garrison which had (p. 285) been stipulated for, on the ground that it could not be trusted, suggested that she should keep the island until the transfer could safely be made. Bonaparte then suggested either an Austrian or a Russian occupation, for a term of years, but this England rejected. France then proposed a joint French and English occupation, but this was likewise rejected, and Whitworth was instructed to stand on the ultimatum of a ten years' occupancy by England.

On May tenth the diplomatic rupture occurred, and on May sixteenth England formally declared war. Wilberforce asserted in opposition to the act that "the language of Bonaparte in the later stages of the negotiations" afforded reason to believe that he would have acquiesced in the independence of Malta, or even in the English retention of it for ten years. Whitworth's attitude was felt by moderate and liberal Englishmen to have been far from conciliatory.

The first appearance of William Pitt in the House of Commons after a serious illness brought together on the twenty-third a brilliant audience. It was with breathless interest that they heard him gasp forth the eloquent periods in which he denounced the lambent flame of Jacobinism embodied in Bonaparte, and satirized the Whigs who pleaded the cause of a devastator. The triple round of applause, unprecedented at Westminster, with which his speech was cheered at its close was ominous for those who were to follow. Not even Fox, whose polished oratory was heard with respectful attention, could diminish by a jot or tittle the enthusiasm for war. So therefore the struggle of centuries between France and England, orderly conservatism undismayed and turbulent liberalism afire with zeal, was again renewed. The continental powers were the pawns on the board, the players were Pitt and Bonaparte.


France and England in Arms[27]

A Debatable Question — The Attack on English Commerce — Bonaparte Abandons his Colonial System — The Neighbors of France — The Feint against England — The Army at Boulogne — England Aroused — Enthusiasm in France.

The much debated question as to whether or not Bonaparte was victor in the diplomatic struggle, desired the rupture as it occurred and wanted war, is, in the light of the fullest information, apparently unanswerable. If he were a profound philosopher and constructive statesman disposed to abandon the struggle for mastery on the high seas and confine the expansion of France to the Continent, he was ready and his wishes were fulfilled; if, on the other hand, he intended to confront England by sea and her allies by land, he was unready, for he had no fighting navy and he had not expected war so soon. There were the beginnings of colonial empire in Australia, Decaen was on his way to Réunion with a squadron to establish a base of action against British India, the Cape of Good Hope was French, there was every prospect of a powerful Mahratta-French alliance in India itself. There were high hopes in the Ionian Isles, in Greece, and for Egypt. Malta might be wrested from England, and so forth. (p. 287) Ten of his battle-ships were far away, the remaining thirty-three were just available and no more; there were orders out for building twenty-three new ones, and a visit to Normandy convinced him that all sixty-six could be manned by splendid crews from western France. He indulged in much bravado about possibilities. But the hard fact is that in May, 1803, the French naval power was negligible, while the French land power was in the highest state of efficiency. Pitt had his enormous fleets and his possible coalition in hand, Bonaparte his army and his incomparable military genius.

Hostilities began by the seizure of many French merchantmen which were constructively in English harbors, though in many cases really at sea. The reply of the First Consul to this conduct was equally high-handed: every Englishman between the ages of eighteen and sixty within the borders of France was seized and thrown into confinement. For twelve long years these unfortunate persons were held as prisoners of war. The French embargo on hostile ships antedated England's by three days, and simultaneously with its publication Clarke was instructed to drive English ships from the harbors of Tuscany. In the last days of May an army under Mortier occupied Hanover, and, closing both Bremen and Hamburg to British commerce, exacted large contributions of money from them. In June another force under Saint-Cyr entered Naples, which in strict observance of the treaty of Amiens had been evacuated, and laid a similar embargo on the ports of Taranto, Brindisi, and Otranto. In the case of Hanover, France utterly disregarded the fine point in international law which had so far distinguished between George III as King of England and the German Elector whose patrimony was Hanover; in that of Naples she displayed a disregard for treaty obligations not entirely consistent (p. 288) with Bonaparte's maledictions on those who did not observe them.

Finally, in July the famous "Continental System" was instituted by the decree which absolutely forbade the importation of all English wares into France or the sphere of her influence. In order to cut his enemy off from another quarter of the globe, to strengthen a maritime power hostile to England, and to secure new resources, Bonaparte had already extended the hand of friendship to the United States, having sold to them in April the immense territory then known by the name of Louisiana. The event was second in importance to no other in their history; for it gave them immediate control of the entire intercontinental river-system and later that of the Pacific coast, while indirectly it prepared the way for the conflict of 1812, which finally secured their commercial independence. Thenceforward Bonaparte concentrated his energies for the control of Europe. His financial condition was acute, for Barbé-Marbois had failed in his efforts to negotiate a loan of forty million francs from the Dutch bankers. It was possibly a conversation between Bonaparte and Ralph Izard of South Carolina which turned the attention of the First Consul to Louisiana as a quick asset. The United States easily secured the cash where the French had failed, in Amsterdam by the intermediation of Stephen Girard. With sixty million francs in hand as security, Bonaparte raised as much more on credit, and the purchasing power of this hundred and twenty million francs was fully equal to that of four times the sum to-day. With it he refitted his little fleet, and purchased two hundred and fifty thousand muskets, a hundred thousand cavalry pistols, thirty thousand sabers, and a hundred batteries of field artillery, all arms of improved quality and pattern, the arms used (p. 289) at Austerlitz, and to which, as he told Latour-Maubourg, he owed that signal victory. The West Indies and Louisiana in one hemisphere, in the other the Cape of Good Hope, Egypt, and a portion of India, with St. Helena and Malta as ports of call—of this he had dreamed; but the failure to secure San Domingo, and England's evident intention to keep Malta, combined to topple the whole cloud castle into ruins. The Continent must be his sphere of action.

At once the states bordering on France were made to feel their position. Holland agreed to furnish five ships of the line, a hundred gunboats, eleven thousand men, and subsistence for a French army of eighteen thousand. For this France guaranteed her territorial integrity with the return of all her colonies, not even excepting Ceylon. Switzerland was to furnish half of her little army in any case, and nearly the whole of it if France were attacked. The sale of Louisiana spread consternation throughout Spain, which had always hoped to recover it, and with that end in view had included in her treaty with France a clause retaining the right of redemption for herself. Deriding her exasperation, Bonaparte despatched an army to the frontier, and demanded in place of the twenty-five ships and twenty-eight thousand men agreed upon in the treaty of 1796 a subsidy of no less than six million francs a month. Godoy, the "Prince of the Peace," who had been made chief minister of Spain, first thought of war, but his masterful opponent threatened the weak king, Charles IV, with a public exposure of the scandalous relation between his queen and that minister, and before the end of the year the demand was granted. Portugal purchased neutrality by a contribution of one million francs a month, and Genoa agreed to furnish six thousand sailors for the French fleets. In consequence England began to prey on Spanish commerce.

(p. 290) The second preparation for war was the much discussed equipment of an expedition to invade England. It is a commonplace of history that the British empire has ever been fortified in the separation of the kingdom from the continent of Europe by a narrow but stormy estuary. There had been repeated invasions from the days of the Anglo-Saxons themselves down to the expedition of William of Orange; but growing wealth had furnished ever increasing armaments, and made access to England's shores so much more difficult with every year that, finally, successful invasion had come to be regarded by her enemies as impossible. On the other hand, the English remained skeptical, and fell into periodic panics on the question. Even now a clever fiction like the "Battle of Dorking," or a revival of the project for tunneling below the Channel, can awaken such anxiety as to insure the passage of any grant for strengthening the navy. This distrust was well known to the French. For years the project of a descent on England had been the standard pretext of the Convention and of the Directory to extort money from office-holders and patriots. This inheritance was exploited by the First Consul to its full value. In general his preparation was doubtless a feint, but there were probably times when the scheme commended itself as an alternative. He told Whitworth that there was but one chance in a hundred of its success; he never seriously tried to execute it; and in the undiplomatic but apparently sincere effusion of October twenty-third, to Otto, the whole stress of his argument is laid on the chances of continental conquest.

Nevertheless he made enormous outlays of money. Boulogne was the spot nearest to England which was available for the gathering and drill of a mighty force. Thither were summoned to form an Army of England (p. 291) the flower of the troops, a hundred and fifty thousand veterans and recruits, commanded by Soult, Ney, Davout, and Victor. For the first time Bonaparte could work his will in the construction of a fighting-machine. The result was the best machine so far constructed. Tactics were improved, the system of organization was reformed, equipment was simplified, discipline was strengthened, and enthusiasm was awakened to the highest pitch. Moreover, the soldiers were trained in the management of great flatboats, from which they were taught to disembark with precision and skill, both in stormy weather and in the face of opposition. Some were also instructed in the duties of the sailor in order that their services might be available if needed aboard men-of-war. In a letter to Decrès, minister of marine, dated September thirteenth, 1805, the First Consul admitted that his success in these respects had not been striking: he found that his great floats were nearly unmanageable in the currents and tides of the Channel, and that a three days' calm would be necessary for crossing. It also became clear that the attempt could not succeed without the coöperation of a fleet. The chief advantage of the camp at Boulogne, as Bonaparte then saw it, was that he could there keep from eighty to a hundred thousand men in a wholesome situation, ready at a moment's notice to be transferred to Germany.

But the effect in England at the inception of the enterprise was electrical. Her standing army was already a hundred and thirty thousand strong, the militia numbered seventy thousand, and the reserve fifty thousand. In addition there was a body of volunteers which eventually reached the number of three hundred and eighty thousand in England and of over eighty thousand in Ireland. A system of signals was arranged between (p. 292) vessels of observation in the Channel and stations on the shore, beacons were ready on every hilltop, and the whole land was turned into a camp. The navy was not less strengthened: the number of men was raised from eighty to a hundred and twenty thousand, and a hundred vessels of the line, a hundred or more frigates, and several hundreds of smaller vessels, such as cruisers and gunboats, were gathered to protect the coasts. Pitt undermined the Addington ministry by calling for ever greater means of defense, and appeared daily for a time at the head of three thousand volunteers raised on or near his own estates. Even Fox laid aside his French sympathies for a while. Parliament authorized a loan of twelve millions sterling, which was promptly taken, and raised the taxes so as to double the revenue. The "nation of traders," as the First Consul sneeringly called them, again stood at ease ready to face her hereditary foe, under a burden of expense which the people a year before had believed would crush them. These were the "slight derangements" which, as the exile of St. Helena told Las Cases, had permanently thwarted the invasion, then represented in his bitterness as having been a serious purpose. It is true that during the period of extravagant preparation a medal was struck with Bonaparte's profile on the reverse, and on the obverse Hercules strangling a Triton, and that measures were discussed for administering the conquered island and for stripping it of its art objects. But further evidence that the entire movement was in the main a pretext for assembling and drilling a great land force to be held in readiness against Austria and Russia will be given in another connection, and on the whole it seems to outweigh that which indicates a definite, uninterrupted intention to invade England. In view of the stupendous land and sea forces assembled by Great Britain, it is (p. 293) altogether conceivable that the First Consul might have formed the notion of an invasion of the inverse sort, of an English army landing on the eastern shores of the Channel, and an offensive movement by English troops against the French armies. If so, he kept it deep in his mind, but for that alternative he was likewise in readiness by reason of the camp at Boulogne.

Although the Revolution had failed in giving the French their political freedom, it culminated under Bonaparte in giving them civil rights. In view of the hatred felt by the dynastic powers for a movement which shook their thrones, it may easily be argued that to protect this immense gain political centralization like that of the Consulate was essential. On whichever side of this question lies the truth, one thing is certain—that the nation as a whole felt as if moderate republicanism had triumphed; and much as they suffered in trade, industry, and agriculture by the renewal of war, they nevertheless were enthusiastic in upholding their leader and his measures. His bitterest enemies have admitted, and still admit, the national character of the support which he had in 1803. The government was popular, so much so that it even ventured to bestow a pension of thirty dollars a month on Mlle. Robespierre. Addresses which promised willing assistance were numerous. The masses, not yet free from the old sense of security created by the leadership of a powerful man or of a family trained in the management of public interests, were comforted by the presence and the work of their chief magistrate. In the tribunate a higher degree of the same spirit found expression in the significant phrase "consular majesty," with which an orator addressed the First Consul. There was no manifestation of discontent with the censorship of the press, which was regarded as a necessary war measure. Books (p. 294) could not be published until after the censors had possessed a copy for seven days and had given their permission; the newspapers could reprint no news from foreign journals, and were mercilessly controlled in the contents of their columns. When the "Moniteur" and its kindred poured contempt on English perfidy and wrote of Punic faith, when they portrayed Albion as rushing madly on her fate, the readers liked it and applauded.


Warnings to Royalists and Republicans[28]

Moreau and the Republicans — Royalist Conspiracies — Moreau's Fall — The Passion for Plotting — Royalist Dissensions — The Duc d'Enghien — His Plans and Conduct — The Activity of the French Police — Appearances against Enghien — The Expedition to Seize Him — His Imprisonment — Arrival at Paris — Bonaparte at Malmaison — The Commission to Try Enghien — Bonaparte's Decision — Pleas for Clemency — The Trial of Enghien — The Execution — The First Consul's Explanations — Disastrous Effects of the Deed — Revulsion of Feeling.


But there were still a very few sturdy men who felt that one side of the Revolution was falling into atrophy at the expense of that which Bonaparte so ably represented. In spite of his disfavor, they made themselves heard; and Carnot even dared to remonstrate in the tribunate against the adulation of this second young Augustus who was using the forms of a commonwealth to found an empire. In the senate also this little sect had a remnant, some eight members in all. Their power lay not in themselves, nor in their strict republican principles, but in the latent sympathies of many influential officers of the army. During the second campaign in Italy Moreau had smothered his discontent (p. 296) when the Army of the Rhine was weakened at a critical moment by the transfer of twenty-five thousand men into Italy in order to assure the glories of Marengo. An official journal falsely declared that his soldiers had been paid from the public coffers. Such was the state of public morality that the charge was considered injurious, as in fact it was intended to be. Moreau in reply boasted that he had received but eighteen million francs from Paris, that he had levied forty-four millions on Germany, and that of the total there was a surplus of seven millions which had been distributed among the soldiers and officers. This paper was pigeonholed in the ministry of war, and the newspapers were forbidden to print the copies sent to them. The writer's feelings may be imagined. If he and the others who were discontented had shown the craft which Bonaparte did, their opposition would have been dangerous; but they were so carefully watched that their every movement was known beforehand and thwarted. Still further, they were, by the wiles of their enemies, insensibly led to the commission of foolish deeds and the utterance of rash words, which put them within reach of the law. In this particular network of conspiracies, Fouché was not the principal, although he was a valued consultant.

This system was admirably illustrated in the fall of Moreau, who was not a wary man, and had permitted royalist agents to hold communication with him. One of these, the Abbé David, was seized, but no damaging evidence was obtained. Thereupon recourse was had (p. 297) to the services of Méhée de la Touche, a base creature who, after participation in the September massacres of 1792, and an underground career of espionage during the Terror, had opposed Bonaparte on the eighteenth of Brumaire. He was at the moment in exile for participation in the plot of Nivôse, and eagerly accepted his new employment. After many adventures, he finally won the confidence not only of the French royalists in England, but of Pelham and other members of the British government. He described to the consular government the dissensions between the Bourbon leaders and the agents of Great Britain, telling how Georges Cadoudal, the Chouan leader, had been landed in France on August twenty-first, 1803, from an English ship commanded by Captain Wright, and unfolding a plan whereby the royalists could be encouraged to bring the conspiracy of which Georges was the agent to a head. His scheme was adopted, and after writing from Altona to Louis XVIII, now in Warsaw, offering his services, he visited Munich, and probably Stuttgart, where he told the story of a Jacobin rising which was soon to occur in France, and obtained from the English resident ministers money and instructions for organizing it. The official denials of the period made by the British government as to its participation in the Cadoudal conspiracy were long accepted as true and incorporated in the standard histories. Since the opening within a few years of the British archives to investigators the proof of the contrary is patent. The connected list of despatches, letters, and reports presents conclusive and damaging evidence that whether or not the ministers were privy to the plot for assassinating the First Consul, the French conspirators were in British pay.

In order to implicate Moreau in the Cadoudal conspiracy of which they had learned, the Paris police (p. 298) employed another person of the same stripe, Lajolais by name, who had been an officer in the Army of the Rhine, and who, as such, succeeded in meeting Moreau and extorting from him a few words of pity for Pichegru. Thereupon the police, by means still baser, got together two committees, one of royalists and one of old-time Jacobins, and had each select Moreau as its leader. This was possible, because the Bourbon pretender had, in accordance with Méhée's letter, issued a proclamation promising constitutional government and the sale of the public lands in case of his restoration. Lajolais then started for London, where he persuaded Pichegru that France was weary of Bonaparte, that Moreau was ready, and that the time was ripe for overthrowing the Consulate. As a consequence, the dupe and the decoy, with the chief military leaders of the emigrants, landed from Captain Wright's ship on January fourteenth, 1804, at Biville, near Dieppe. Artois and his son were to follow in a few days. By further misrepresentations Moreau and Pichegru were brought together on the sidewalk of a street near the church of the Madeleine, and in Lajolais' presence they exchanged a few noncommittal sentences. Within a few days a police agent, approaching Moreau as an ambassador from Pichegru, was told that if the latter would lead a movement,—and in that case the consuls and government must be disposed of,—his friends would be protected by influence which could be secured in the senate. Moreau steadily refused either to meet Georges Cadoudal or be implicated in the plot for seizing Bonaparte, of which the Chouan was the leader.

About the middle of February everything was ready and Moreau was arrested. On examination he weakly protested too much, and, being convicted from his own papers of inconsistency, was imprisoned. A few weeks (p. 299) later Pichegru was discovered by the aid of an informer, and he too was thrown into prison. Finally on March ninth Georges himself was seized in the streets of Paris after a desperate and bloody resistance. Soon the most popular picture in the shop windows of the city was a colored print representing the fifty "scoundrels" who had been found to be implicated in the conspiracy against the First Consul, and among the faces was an unmistakable likeness of Moreau. After a long trial, Georges and his accomplices were condemned and shot. Pichegru was found dead in his cell: although royalists confined in that adjoining afterward declared that they had heard a scuffle during the fatal night, there is no reasonable doubt that the prisoner committed suicide. The suspicions cast upon Moreau had utterly destroyed his popularity, and numerous addresses were sent in both from the army and by civilians denouncing him. Just before his trial he made the terrible mistake of sending to Bonaparte an exculpatory letter. This he did, instigated by his silly, ambitious wife, who seems in turn to have received the suggestion from Mme. Récamier. Rumor said that the notion originated with Fouché. The fact and nature of the appeal suggested guilt, but the first decision of the court was for acquittal. Popular feeling, however, ran so high that the First Consul compelled a reconsideration of the verdict, and the prisoner was sentenced to imprisonment for two years. Bonaparte, furious at this leniency, commuted the penalty to banishment. Moreau withdrew to America, where he remained until 1813, when he returned to take up arms against Napoleon before Dresden and was killed.

"I have incurred no real danger," wrote Bonaparte to Melzi on March sixth, 1804, "for the police had their eyes on all these machinations." The verdict of history implicates that ubiquitous agency in fostering by (p. 300) its spies and agents many of those same machinations, but leaves no doubt of the desperate character of the ringleaders in them. What England really, and the Bourbons ostensibly, wanted was a Jacobin insurrection; many of their infuriated agents would certainly not have hesitated at assassination. The general opinion in France was not wrong in condemning the extreme measures taken by the Bourbons to gain their ends, and for the moment royalists of all three factions were silent, feeling that their cause had received a blow from which it might never recover. As to the moderate republican party, it was temporarily extinguished by the fate of Moreau. Skilful as a general and sincere as a democrat, his career had been short-sighted and contradictory. Friendship had led him to conceal his knowledge of Pichegru's dealings with the royalists of 1797. Ambition led him to assist at Brumaire, but he would not accept the consequences. Indecision led him into a trap, but even then he might have escaped, but for the letter he wrote by the advice of a proud and foolish wife.

The closing scenes of this drama of plot and counterplot, of assassination and murder, of falsehood, treachery, and execution, formed a fitting dénouement to the piece. That age had seen and condoned acts of revenge which in quieter times would have been considered unpardonable. Nelson had sanctioned the judicial assassination of Caraccioli, the Neapolitan admiral, whose crime was that in the interest of the Parthenopean Republic he had fought the English fleet. Austria's skirts were not clean of the murders perpetrated at Rastadt. A little later the Bourbons, with the assent of the allied sovereigns, ordered the execution of Ney for deserting them to support his former chief at Waterloo. Bonaparte, relying on a conviction that every one (p. 301) regarded him as a harried and innocent man acting in self-defense, and apparently unconscious of how utterly the royalist agitation had been discredited by Cadoudal, determined so to stun the already prostrate Bourbons as to render them harmless for years to come.

Neither Artois nor his son Berry had entered France; the self-styled Louis XVIII was in distant Warsaw. Both these pretenders were more eloquent than courageous. Even the royalists of Paris were doubtful about the leadership of either one, and the partizans of constitutional monarchy had for some time been disposed to rally about a third Bourbon, the Duc d'Enghien, heir apparent to the glories of the house rendered so illustrious by Louis XIV's famous general known as "the Great Condé." The young duke was both fearless and clever. Burning to take arms in honorable warfare for the cause of his house, he had consulted both English and emigrant agents as to how that could best be accomplished; but he was innocent of conspiring for assassination.

For some time he had lived in close proximity to the French frontier at Ettenheim, a manor-house in Baden, some sixteen miles from Strasburg, where Cardinal Rohan had resided with his niece since his resignation of the bishopric of Strasburg after the Concordat. The duke had for some time been secretly married to this lady, the Princess Charlotte of Rohan-Rochefort, and for that reason, though repeatedly warned of his danger, would not take refuge in England. Before the treaty of Amiens he had been the friend of the Swiss reactionaries and the patron of the royalists in Alsace; after the rupture he was active in strengthening their attachment to the Bourbon cause. In response to the manifesto of the self-styled king, his relative at Warsaw, issued in March, 1803, he declared that he was still faithful. (p. 302) When war began he sought permission to enter the English service and repel the expected invasion by Bonaparte; but England would not permit a Bourbon to draw sword on her soil.

At this crisis the publication of the Warsaw manifesto, and of the duke's response, made his continued residence at Ettenheim a subject of still greater inquietude to his friends; but he remained, and spent much energy in forming plans to invade France through Alsace. As the probabilities of war on the Continent grew stronger, he again applied to the English court for a commission, this time through Stuart, the British envoy to Vienna. He now desired employment on the mainland, either in an allied army or with the first English troops which should disembark on the Continent. Meantime the activity of the English residents at the minor German courts intensified his purpose to raise a regiment of men from the anti-Bonaparte elements of central Europe, to be officered by the scattered veterans who had fought under the second Condé but had been dismissed from the Austrian service after the treaty of Lunéville. The news of Moreau's arrest and of Cadoudal's conspiracy came like a thunderbolt, and the duke, though conscious of no guilt, made ready to withdraw to Freiburg in the Breisgau; but in order to mask his uneasiness he instituted a hunt and other festivities which lasted a whole week.

Bonaparte's first intention had been to seize Charles of Artois on his arrival in France; but a thorough supervision of the shore made it evident that the prince's caution had again got the better of his courage. Disappointed in this quarter, the police agents began to develop an intense activity on the German frontier. They professed to have discovered in Offenburg, with which the Duc d'Enghien was in constant communication, (p. 303) the existence of a body of emigrants who were not there. They reported that the young prince sometimes came down to Strasburg to attend the theater; they represented two harmless visitors at Ettenheim to be officers of the Prince of Condé arrived from England; still worse, they declared an emigrant friend of the duke who lived near by—the aged Marquis of Thuméry, whose name in German mouths had a remote resemblance to that of Dumouriez—to be that dangerous general himself. This occurred a few days before March ninth, and almost simultaneously Bonaparte received from an agent in Naples an extract from one of Dumouriez's letters to Nelson, urging a concerted plan not merely of defense, but of offense. No one then doubted that Dumouriez himself was on the Rhine, busy with Enghien in perfecting this very plan.

Rumors of every sort became rife. It was known that the old intriguer General Willot was again in the South. Men declared that Berry was coming to Brittany, that Charles of Artois was perhaps already in Paris, that Enghien and Dumouriez were on the eastern frontier. It was a perfect investment of plots. When Georges was captured he asserted that he was the associate of princes, and then relapsed into a profound silence which he did not again break. His servant deposed that he had seen his master in communication with a distinguished-looking youth in the suburb of Chaillot. The police remembered that in January the Duc d'Enghien had solicited from the French ambassador at Vienna a passport to cross France, and, recalling the festivities at Ettenheim, believed they were but a pretext to cover the host's absence in Paris at a time which would coincide with the mysterious interview asserted to have taken place between Georges and the unknown stranger. This was the chain of evidence which convinced Bonaparte (p. 304) of Enghien's participation in the plot for his assassination. True, he had not been in actual danger, for the police had been alert; but did that alter the enormity of the Bourbon intrigues against his life? It was only too natural that the terror, hate, and fury accumulated in the mind of the First Consul should concentrate on an object within his reach.

Réal, Fouché, and Talleyrand were all consulted. As yet their personal interests were bound up with their ruler's welfare, and alike they urged prompt and ruthless action to end the schemes and complots of the time. The two former needed no credentials of faithfulness. Talleyrand gave his in writing on March eighth; he had so dallied with royalists that his position must be definite now. Later efforts to discredit the note as a forgery have failed. Moreover, there is every reason to believe that all three intended by the seizure and execution of a Bourbon so to "marry," as the phrase ran, the First Consul to the terrorist side of the Revolution that he could never retreat from the position of radicalism to which they felt he had not been sufficiently committed, even yet. On March tenth the council heard and, as a body, approved Bonaparte's plan, although Lebrun was evasive and Cambacérès demurred. That night one column of a double expedition was despatched to the Rhine; it was commanded by Ordener and destined for Ettenheim. The other, under Caulaincourt, set out next day for Offenburg with a diplomatic note to the court of Baden. The latter commander was utterly ignorant of what his colleague had in hand, being instructed merely to disperse the reported company of emigrants and demand the extradition of a notorious intriguer, the Baronne de Reich. Ordener was to seize the Duc d'Enghien. The two columns proceeded by way of Strasburg without delay. Finding the baronne (p. 305) already a prisoner, and the police report unfounded, the generals then carried out the minute instructions of their chief as to the other part of their task.

On the twelfth, Enghien had been warned of his danger; but he was not to be intimidated, and on the thirteenth he sent a messenger to observe how immediate the danger was. On the fourteenth a French spy was despatched from Strasburg; he was recognized as such at Ettenheim, and was pursued, but escaped to report everything favorable. Still the rash young duke refused to move. On the morning of the fifteenth he awoke to find the house surrounded by French troops. Every avenue of escape being closed, he surrendered, and all his papers were seized. With his household and friends he was hurried to the citadel of Strasburg, where he was detained for two days. Couriers were promptly despatched to Paris, and the court at Karlsruhe received a formal notification of what had been done, signed by Talleyrand. Bonaparte learned by the despatches received on the seventeenth from both his expeditions that Dumouriez was not on the Rhine, and on the nineteenth he himself examined the duke's papers, which had been inventoried in their owner's presence, and then forwarded to Malmaison.

On the night of the seventeenth there arrived in Strasburg orders, written while Bonaparte still believed the reports concerning Dumouriez to be true, which directed the immediate removal of the prisoners—that is, of Enghien and Dumouriez—to Paris. In pursuance of these the duke was awakened at midnight, placed in a post-chaise, and driven rapidly toward his destination. He arrived at eleven in the morning of the twentieth, and was immediately taken to Vincennes. His seizure had created the deepest sorrow and consternation in Baden, and Massias, the French minister (p. 306) at Karlsruhe, not only despatched a letter direct to Paris declaring that the duke's conduct had always been "innocent and moderate," but went in person to notify the prefect at Strasburg that there was neither an assembly of emigrants nor a conspiracy at Ettenheim. Talleyrand was afterward charged by Napoleon with having suppressed Massias's despatch; and it is not known whether the prefect sent a report to the same effect or not.

On the twelfth, the First Consul had withdrawn to the seclusion of Malmaison. It was evident that under the surface there were tumultuous feelings, but in his expression there was an icy calm. At times he recited scraps of verse on the theme of clemency, but his chief occupation was consulting with the police agent Réal and with Savary, his aide-de-camp. It was arranged that the castle of Vincennes should be the prison, that the court should be military, composed of colonels from the Paris garrison, and that the main charge against the duke should be that he had borne arms against his country. He was to be asked whether the plot for assassination was known to him, and if, in case it had succeeded, he were not himself to have entered Alsace.

The court-martial was modeled on those pitiless tribunals created by the Revolution. The statute declaring that any Frenchman taking up arms against his country was a traitor and worthy of death had never been repealed. The Consulate restored the activity of these military commissions in order to tame refractory conscripts and condignly to punish tamperers, conspirators, and spies. These courts had been accustomed to take their cue as to severity or leniency from the government for the time being, whatever it was. There was therefore but little difficulty in constituting such a body expressly for the punishment of any offender. (p. 307) In this instance none of the members except the president and judge-advocate knew the station of the accused. Préval, who had been chosen to preside, refused when he heard the name of the prisoner, on the plea that both he and his father had served in the royalist regiment named d'Enghien, and that he had therefore tender memories incompatible with the service required of him. General Hulin, an old-time Jacobin, made no excuses, and, understanding perfectly what was expected, was invited to report the verdict direct to the First Consul.

During these days Bonaparte had also constantly before him both the papers of the English minister at Munich and the inflammatory, untruthful reports of his police agents. He studied these, and reviewed the measures taken to guard the eastern frontier against the emigrants and their hostile sympathizers, who were making demonstrations in Swabia. Until the evening of the seventeenth he believed that Dumouriez had been at Ettenheim; but though informed of his mistake, the resolution already taken became iron, and the papers of the duke were read on the nineteenth with an evident determination to construe them into evidence of his guilt. They afforded no proofs of direct complicity with Georges, but they contained two phrases which, wrested from the true sense of the correspondence, were of awful significance—one in which the duke qualified the French people as "his most cruel foe," the other in which he declared that during his "two years' residence on the frontier he had established communications with the French troops on the Rhine." These were included in the interrogatories for the trial and intrusted to Réal for his use. If the duke were tampering with the loyalty of the troops, what need of proof that he was in any sense a participator in the plot?

Mme. Bonaparte learned with intense sorrow of the (p. 308) determination taken by her husband. In the main his measures and his convictions had been kept a secret, but she confided both to Mme. de Rémusat, and the First Consul himself had told them to Joseph. On the twentieth the decree for the duke's trial and the questions to be put were dictated by the First Consul from the Tuileries, and in the early afternoon he returned to Malmaison, where at three o'clock Joseph found him strolling in the park, conversing with Talleyrand, who limped along at his side. "I'm afraid of that cripple," was Josephine's greeting to her brother-in-law. "Interrupt this long talk if you can." The mediation of the elder brother was kindly and skilful, and for a time the First Consul seemed softened by the memories of their boyhood, among which came and went the figure of the Prince of Condé. But other feelings prevailed: the brothers had differed about Lucien's marriage, and also about the question of descent if the consular power should become hereditary; the old coolness finally settled down and chilled the last hopes in the tenderhearted advocates for clemency. To Josephine's tearful entreaties her husband replied: "Go away; you're a child; you don't understand public duties." By five it was known that the duke had arrived at Vincennes, and at once Savary was despatched to the city for orders from Murat, the military commandant. On his arrival at Murat's office, from which Talleyrand was in the very act of departing, he was informed that the court-martial was already convened, and that it would be his duty to guard the prisoner and execute whatever sentence was passed.

The scenes of that fateful and doleful night defy description. The castle of Vincennes was beset with guards when finally, at about an hour before midnight, the various members of the court assembled. Their (p. 309) looks were dark and troubled as they wondered who the mysterious culprit might be. None knew but Hulin, the president; the judge-advocate; and Savary, the destined executioner. In a neighboring room was the duke, pale and exhausted by his long journey, munching a slender meal, which he shared with his dog, and explaining to his jailer his dreary forebodings at the prospect of a long imprisonment. He thought it would be ameliorated if only he could gratify his passion for hunting, and surely they two, as prisoner and keeper, might range the forest in company. But at last he fell asleep from sheer fatigue. The jailer could not well encourage the expectations of his new prisoner, for he had that very morning supervised the digging of a grave in the castle moat. At midnight the duke was awakened and confronted with the judge-advocate. Réal was unaccountably absent, and the interrogatory so carefully prepared by Bonaparte was not at hand. To the rude questions formulated by Hulin, with the aid of a memorandum from Murat, the prisoner, in spite of repeated hints from the members of the court-martial as to the consequences, would only reply that he had a pension from England, and had applied to her ministers for military service; that he hoped to fight for his cause with troops raised in Germany from among the disaffected and the emigrants; that he had already fought against France. But he stoutly denied any relations with Dumouriez or Pichegru and all knowledge of the plot to assassinate the First Consul. He was then called to the bar in the dimly lighted sitting-room where the commission sat. To the papers containing questions and answers he was ironically permitted to affix a demand for an audience with the First Consul. "My name, my station, my mode of thought, and the horror of my situation," he said, "inspire me with hope that (p. 310) he will not refuse my request." The tribunal followed its instincts: its members, knowing well the familiar statutes under which such bodies had acted since the days of the Convention, but not having at hand the words or forms of a verdict as prescribed by the pitiless laws concerning those who had borne arms against France, left in the record a blank to be filled out later, and pronounced their judgment that the "regular sentence" be executed at once. They were actually engaged in composing a petition for clemency to the First Consul when Savary burst into the room, demanding what had been done, and what they were then doing. Snatching the pen from Hulin's hand, he exclaimed, "The rest is my affair," and left the room.

It was now two in the morning of the twenty-first. "Follow me," said the taciturn Harel to Enghien, "and summon all your courage." A few paces through the moat, a turn of a corner, and the flare of torches displayed a file of troops not far from an open grave. As the adjutant began to read the sentence, the victim faltered for a moment and exclaimed, "Oh, God! what have I done?" But immediately he regained the mastery of himself. Calmly clipping a lock of his hair, and drawing a ring from his finger, he asked that they might be sent to the Princess Charlotte. A volley—and in an instant he was dead. Savary put spurs to his horse to carry the news to Malmaison. At the gate of Paris he met the carriage of Réal, who seemed almost overpowered by what he heard in reply to his eager questions, and terrified by his own remissness. If it really were such, it must be attributed to a misunderstanding and not to lack of zeal.

Bonaparte believed to the end that his victim was a guilty conspirator. For a time he had recourse to some unworthy subterfuges tending to show that the execution (p. 311) was the result of a blunder; but later he justified his conduct as based on reasons of state, and claimed that the act was one of self-defense. "I was assailed," he was reported to have said—"I was assailed 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 others." When on his death-bed, his maladroit attendant read from an English review a bitter arraignment of him as guilty of the duke's murder. The dying man rose, and, catching up his will, wrote in his own hand: "I had the Duc d'Enghien seized and tried because it was necessary to the safety, the interest, and the honor of the French people, when by his own confession the Comte d'Artois was supporting sixty assassins in Paris. Under similar circumstances I would again do likewise." Nevertheless he occasionally endeavored to unload the entire responsibility on Talleyrand. To Lord Ebrington, to O'Meara, to Las Cases, to Montholon, he asseverated that Talleyrand had checked his impulses to clemency.

The perpetrator of this bloody crime represented the Revolution too well to suit the new society. A shudder crossed the world on receipt of the news. But the only European monarch that dared to protest was the Czar, who broke off diplomatic relations and put his court into mourning. But he could go no further; for he could find no one on the Continent to join with him in declaring war. Prussia remained neutral and her king silent. Austria withdrew her troops from Swabia, and sent a courier to say at Paris that she could understand certain political necessities. In the autumn, however, (p. 312) when they had gained time to observe France and mark Bonaparte's policy, Russia and Austria began to draw together. Dynastic politics therefore rendered the public expression of popular opinion impossible; but in France, as in the length and breadth of Europe, the masses were aroused. Was the age of violence not passed? Were they merely to exchange one tyranny for another more bloody? The same men who years before had looked on in a dumb stupor, and with consenting approval, at the events of the Terror in Paris were now alert and alarmed at the possibility of its renewal. The First Consul was mortified and angry. Many of those nearest to him had opposed his course from the outset, and he felt deeply their ill-disguised disapproval. His only remedy was arbitrary prohibition of all discussion, and to this he had recourse. Intending to fix the blame of conspiracy and assassination on England and the Bourbons, he found himself regarded as little else than a murderer. A Richelieu could execute a Montmorency with impunity, but not so could a Bonaparte murder a Condé. Long afterward he dictated to Méneval, "The merited death of the Duc d'Enghien hurt Napoleon in public opinion, and politically was of no service to him." But the masses are proverbially fickle, and easily diverted. Three days after the execution Talleyrand gave a successful ball.

The Parisian world was in fact very fickle. Society had been much exercised over the execution of Enghien, but rumors of coming war furnished more interesting topics of conversation. The giddy majority had a few passing emotions, gossiped about one theme and the other alternately, and then went on with its amusements. The grave men who sincerely desired their country's welfare were profoundly moved, and whispered serious forebodings to each other. The world at large was sensitive (p. 313) to both currents of thought, but in the main the masses considered the coming coronation ceremonies, the splendors of empire, and the prospects for unbounded glory opened by Napoleon's unhampered control vastly more entertaining as a subject of flippant speculation than anything else.


Declaration of the Empire[29]

Bonaparte's Principles — His Comprehension of French Conditions — Meaning of Enghien's Murder — The Dynasties of Europe — The Possibilities of Hereditary Power — The New France — Desire for a Dynasty — Suggestions of Monarchy — The Empire Proposed — The New Constitution — Imperial State — The New Nobility — Device of the Empire — The New Court — The Plebiscite.

Step by step, laboriously and painfully, by guile and prudence, in the exercise of consummate genius as soldier and politician, Napoleon Bonaparte had now climbed to the pinnacle of revolutionary power. Insubordinate as a subaltern under a worn-out system, he found for his soaring ambition no fitting sphere in the country of his birth, the only fatherland he ever knew; and in that limited field he was both ineffectual as an agitator and unsuccessful as a revolutionary. But with keen insight he studied and apprehended the greater movement as it developed in France. Standing ever at the parting of the ways, and indifferent to principle, he carefully considered each path, and finally chose the one which seemed likeliest to guide his footsteps toward the goal of his ambition. Fertile in resources, he strove always to construct a double plan, and in the failure of (p. 315) one expedient passed easily to another. His career had been marked by many blunders, and he had often been brought to a stand on the verge of some abyss which threatened failure and ruin; yet, like the driver of a midnight train, he kept the headlight of caution trimmed and burning. Careless of the dangers abounding behind the walls of revolutionary darkness which hedged his track, he ever paused before those immediately confronting him, and sometimes retreated far to find a hazardless circuit. Brumaire was almost the only occasion of his larger life on which, unwary, he had come in full career upon an open chasm. Fate being propitious, he was saved. Lucien, with presence of mind, opened the throttle, and, by releasing the pent-up enthusiasm of the soldiers at the critical instant, safely drove the machine across a toppling bridge.

Sobered for the moment by contemplating a past danger which had threatened annihilation, and by the crowding responsibilities of the future, the First Consul put into practical operation many important revolutionary ideals. But in this process he took full advantage of the state of French society to make himself indispensable to the continuance of French life on its new path. By the parade of civil liberty and a restored social order he so minimized the constitutional side of his government as to erect it into a virtual tyranny. The self-styled commonwealth, with a chief magistrate claiming to hold his office as a public trust, was quite ready to be launched as a liberal empire under a ruler who in reality held the highest power as a possession.


The murder of the Duc d'Enghien was virtually a notification of this fact to all the dynasties of Europe as well as to the French nation. Their behavior was conclusive evidence that they understood it as such. Death was the fate destined not merely for the intestine (p. 316) and personal enemies of the First Citizen, but for the foreign foe, prince or peasant, who should conspire against him whom the French delighted to honor. Had the continental powers been ready for war, it is quite possible that they would have made the execution of a Bourbon, and he the most popular of his line, the ground of immediate action. But they were far from ready. When a few days later the "Moniteur" made known the high probability of what is now a certainty, that Drake and Smith, British diplomatic agents in central Europe, were compromised hopelessly in the conspiracy to kill the chief magistrate of France, the bitterness of all classes, even the aristocracy, in France was assuaged. Great Britain could do nothing officially except to knit up a coalition and strengthen her forces. The Elector of Bavaria dismissed Drake, the British envoy at his court, as a base conspirator; the Duke of Würtemberg congratulated Bonaparte on his escape from assassins; the Holy Roman Emperor at Vienna kept silence while his ministers expressed sympathy for France; the King of Prussia and Alexander of Russia exchanged letters of reciprocal regard and awaited the British subventions to complete their armaments: but they gave no offense in any official way. The Pope exhibited his grief without restraint, but uttered no remonstrance, and the court of Naples was of course indifferent. There was a general putting on of mourning garb in the high circles of Europe; Louis XVIII sent back his decoration of the Golden Fleece to Madrid because Bonaparte had received and retained its insignia, and the dethroned Gustavus of Sweden returned to Frederick William the badges of the Red Eagle for a similar reason. Pretenders may indulge their sensibilities as hard-working kings dare not. It is entirely possible that Bonaparte believed himself, and a dynasty proceeding from his (p. 317) loins, to be the best, if not the only, conservators of the new France; that he conceived of a purely French empire which should be the depository for that land of all that had been gained by the Revolution; and that he believed he could overcome the inertia of the tremendous speed with which he had entered upon his career of single rule. But it is not probable; for no one knew the French better, appreciating as he did their patriotism and their passion for leadership among nations. It was because the Bourbons had failed to represent these qualities that reconstructed France despised the Bourbons; it was because the new France saw their incarnation in Bonaparte that it had assisted him to climb. He must have known very well that, having mounted so high, he would be compelled to mount still higher.

He also understood the dynastic exclusiveness of Europe. In a sense the houses of Hanover, of Hohenzollern, and of Savoy were parvenus in the councils of royalty; yet they were ancient princely stocks, and their accession to supreme power had not shocked popular feeling; the dubious and blood-stained title of the Czar did not diminish his influence, for his succession was not more irregular than that of many of his predecessors on the semi-oriental Russian throne. But to substitute for the Bourbons, the oldest divine-right dynasty of Europe, and in the enlightened West, a citizen king of low descent, who based his claims on popular suffrage, was to hurl defiance at a system than which to millions of minds none other was conceivable. To reach the goal fighting was not a voluntary choice, but an absolute necessity; for the French must be left in no doubt but that their popular sovereign was quite as able to assert his peerage among kings as any one of royal lineage and ecclesiastical unction would be.

These were the conditions under which the bark of (p. 318) liberal empire was to set sail. It does not seem possible that any pilot could have saved her amid such typhoons as she must encounter. Bonaparte was more likely to succeed than any other, and for years his craft was taut and saucy; but she had no friendly harbors in which to refit, she rode out one storm only to enter another more violent, and at last even the supernal powers of the great captain failed him. Even at the outset the omens were not as propitious as they appeared to be, since the defiance contained in Enghien's murder was better understood abroad than at home. For the moment the mistake, which in the long run was an element in Napoleon's undoing, appeared of little importance. The French public began almost immediately to discuss whether the consular power should not be made hereditary, and, within a week after its occurrence, relegated the "Enghien affair" to apparent oblivion.

For this there were numerous reasons. The discontent in the army virtually disappeared with Moreau's disgrace, and for long thereafter both generals and men were entirely docile. The Bourbons returned to their conspiracies, but so ineffectively that neither the cabinets of Europe nor the French people felt any active interest. Royalism in France was thus temporarily crushed. The France of 1803 was the new France. Her church had been reconstructed; her army was devoted to Bonaparte as the man of the nation; her revolution had been partly pruned and partly warped into the forms of a personal government, her laws revised and codified, her old orders of chivalry replaced by a new one, her financial administration purified and strengthened, her educational system renovated, her social and family life given new direction by the stringent regulation of testamentary disposition, her government centralized—in short, the whole structure, from foundation (p. 319) to turret, had been repaired, restored, strengthened, and given its modern form.

The people, composed of successive alluvia of immigrants and conquerors since the days of Julius Cæsar, had been thoroughly unified by the spirit of the French Revolution. They were convinced that the gains of the Revolution would be better secured by making hereditary the power of a house which must represent the principles of that event. All but a few sincerely believed that patriotism for the new France was in large measure only another name and form for devotion to the man who presided at its birth and claimed to be its progenitor. For some time past the phrase "French empire" had been used by orators and writers to designate the majesty of its institutions. As early as May, 1802, the Austrian ambassador heard the First Consul spoken of as "Emperor of the Gauls," and in March, 1803, an English gentleman in Paris recorded the same expression in his journal. There was, therefore, neither shock nor surprise anywhere in the nation when on March twenty-seventh, 1804, the senate presented to the First Consul an address proposing in the name of the people that he should take measures "to keep for the sons what he had made for the fathers." This was the moment, presumably, of Bonaparte's greatest unpopularity—not a week after the execution of the Duc d'Enghien; while yet the blundering trial of Moreau was incomplete, and his friends were representing their hero as the victim of Bonaparte's hate; before Georges had been condemned, and while Pichegru was yet alive. Yet all expected the event, most desired it, partly for the reason given by the senate, partly for the dramatic effect, partly because they wanted neither the Bourbons nor the Terror again. The senate was now known as the tool of the First Consul; Fouché was second to none of his colleagues (p. 320) in power and he thirsted for a renewal of favor, imperial if that was the desired label. In spite of changes, the tribunate still retained the national respect: it was desirable that the formal initiative should come from this body. During the weeks which elapsed between the address of the senate and the end of April, Bonaparte had made certain that neither Austria nor Prussia would oppose, and that army and people were willing. Indeed the fate of Moreau had, as the officers all felt, cast a limelight on the chances of insubordination, and had illuminated into a dazzling brilliance the possibilities of complaisance. The efforts of historians to prove that France did not want the empire are all failures. Every new contemporary document which sees the light of day contains more or less to prove the contrary. The French of any intelligence understood the Roman meaning of empire and indeed it was easily comprehensible. They had had long experience of the interests of all in the charge of an oligarchy; that type of democracy had brought them to the verge of ruin since nowhere could responsibility be fixed or penalties be inflicted. But the interests of all in the charge of one supernal man was a conception so plain as to be almost tangible, and to a nation distracted by revolution, most attractive. It was an imperial democracy which they desired, which they got, and which for a time retained its character. On the twenty-fifth, therefore, the First Consul seized once more the shield of the Revolution, and told the senate that he had heard with interest their plan "to insure the triumph of equality and public liberty," and would be glad to know their thoughts without reserve. "I should like on July fourteenth of this year to say to the French people: 'Fifteen years ago by a spontaneous movement you ran to arms, you secured liberty, equality, glory. To-day these chiefest treasures of the nation, (p. 321) assured beyond a doubt, are sheltered from every storm; they are preserved for you and your children.'"

On April thirtieth, a member of the tribunate who had been richly bribed brought in a complete project. In the interval a committee had inquired what title the future incumbent of the new hereditary office would like to have—consul, stadholder, or emperor. His prudent choice fell on the last. The word has acquired a new significance in our age; but then it still had the old Roman meaning. It propitiated the professional pride which had taken the place of republicanism in the army, and while plainly abolishing radical democracy, it also bade defiance to absolute royalism. Accordingly, the tribunes voted that Napoleon Bonaparte be intrusted with the government of France as emperor, and that the imperial power be declared hereditary. There was only one man who dared to interpose his negative vote—Napoleon's earliest protector, the veteran republican Carnot. He admitted that there was already a temporary dictator, and that the republican constitutions of the country had been unstable, but he thought that with peace would come wisdom and permanency, as in the United States. Bonaparte was a man of virtue and talent, to be sure, but what about his descendants? Commodus was the son of Marcus Aurelius. Whatever might be the splendor of a man's services, there were bounds to public gratitude, and these bounds had been reached; to overstep them would destroy the liberty which the First Consul had helped to restore. But if the nation desired what he conscientiously opposed, he would retire to private life, and unqualifiedly obey its will.

The legislative body was quickly summoned to a special meeting, and, according to the constitution, made the resolutions law by its approval. As soon as decency would permit, a new constitution was laid before the (p. 322) council of state, discussed under Bonaparte's direction, and sent down to the senate for consideration. On May eighteenth the paper was adopted in that body with four dissenting voices, including that of the Abbé Sieyès, who hated all charters not of his own making. On the same day the decree of the senate constituting the Empire was carried to the First Consul at St. Cloud, where it was duly approved by him, and was formally promulgated. It was found that the difficulty concerning heredity had been evaded by giving to Napoleon, but to none of his successors, the right of adoption; and should there be neither a natural nor an adoptive heir, by settling the succession first in the family of Joseph, then in that of Louis, both of whom were declared to be imperial princes. All chance was thus removed for the return of a dynasty likely to disturb the existing conditions of property.

The changes in the constitution were radical, and many of them were not made public except as they were put into operation. The tribunate was untouched; but the legislature was divided into three sections, juristic, administrative, and financial. Its members regained a partial liberty of speech, and might again discuss, but only with closed doors, the measures laid before them. The senate became a house of lords. Six great dignitaries, sixteen military grandees called marshals, and a number of the highest administrative officials were added to its numbers. Referring to the imperial state of the great German whom the French style Charlemagne, the imperial officers of Napoleon were designated, some by titles from Karling history, such as the "Great Elector," the "Arch-chancellor of the Empire," the "Arch-chancellor of State," the "Arch-treasurer"; others by ancient French designations, such as the "Constable" and the "High Admiral." These, with the (p. 323) imperial princes, were to be addressed as "Monseigneur," or "Your Highness," either "imperial" or "most serene," as the case might be. The Emperor himself was to be addressed as "Your Majesty" or "Sire." His civil list was twenty-five million francs; the income of each "arch" dignitary was a third of a million. Cambacérès was made Chancellor; Lebrun, Treasurer; Joseph Bonaparte was appointed Elector, and Louis, Constable; Fouché was reappointed Minister of Police; Talleyrand remained Minister of Foreign Affairs. The heraldic device chosen for the seal of the Napoleonic dynasty was the favorite symbol of the Holy Roman Empire, an eagle "au vol"—that is, on the wing.

There was nothing original in the idea of all this tawdry state except the institution of the marshals, which was altogether so. In prosperity this military hierarchy was a bulwark to the Empire, but in adversity it proved a serious element of weakness. The list was shrewdly chosen to assure the good will of the army. Jourdan, who as consular minister had successfully pacified Piedmont, was named as having been the victor of Fleurus in 1794; his republicanism was thus both recalled and finally quenched. Berthier was rewarded for his skill as chief of staff; Masséna for his daring at Rivoli, his victory at Zurich, his endurance at Genoa. Augereau, another converted democrat, was remembered for Castiglione; Brune was appointed for his campaign in Holland against the Duke of York; Davout for his Egyptian laurels; Lannes and Ney for their bravery in many actions; Murat as the great cavalry commander; Bessières as chief of the guards; Bernadotte, Soult, Moncey, and Mortier for reasons of policy and for their general reputation.

The "lion couchant" had been suggested as the heraldic device of the new Empire, but Napoleon scorned it. In all his preparations he carefully distinguished between (p. 324) the "State," which was of course France with its natural boundaries, and the "Empire," which was evidently something more; the resting lion might typify the former, the soaring eagle was clearly a device for the other, which, like the realm of Charles the Great, was to know no "natural" obstacles in its extension.

The most immediate sign of the new order was a changed life at the Tuileries. The palace was thronged no longer with powerful but maladroit persons who did not know how to advance, bow, and recede, and who could not wear their elegant clothes with dignity; nor with others who, more refined in their training, smiled condescendingly at the imperfect manners of the former. A thorough court was organized with careful supervision and rigid etiquette. Soon everybody could behave with sufficient grace and dignity. Fesch was the Grand Almoner; Duroc was Grand Marshal of the Palace; Talleyrand, Grand Chamberlain; Berthier, Master of the Hounds; and Caulaincourt, Master of the Horse. Many of the returned emigrants filled minor places of imperial dignity. The perfection of ceremonial was assured by the appointment, to regulate all etiquette, of Ségur, once minister of Louis XVI to Russia. Everybody was expected to study the rules and be present at numerous rehearsals. Mme. Campan, formerly a lady in waiting to Marie Antoinette, was summoned to lend her assistance.

Finally the now traditional formality of seeking the popular approval was not forgotten. To be sure, the question put was merely whether the imperial succession should remain in the Emperor's family. The reply was a thunderous yes; there being, out of three and a half million votes all told, only two and a half thousand in the negative. It was a sign of the times that among the latter were those of all but three of the Paris lawyers.


The Descent into England[30]

Legitimacy Desired for the Empire — The Pope's Conditions — The Festival at Boulogne — Position of Josephine — The Court at Aachen — Pitt and the Continental Powers — France Defiant — The Feint against England — Napoleon's Naval Plans — Consolidation of his Sea-Power — Manœuvers of his Fleet — Attempt to Mystify England — The Underlying Purpose — Napoleon's Own Statement — Corroborative Proof — Pitt's Prophecy — The "Descent" Impossible.


When Pepin the Short asked Pope Zacharias in 752 whether the name or the fact made the legitimate king, the reply was, "He is king who has the power"; and in token of this doctrine it was the papal sanction which sealed the legitimacy of the Karlings in Boniface's crowning Pepin as king. Half a century later Pope Leo III, acting by an arrogated but admitted authority, likewise established their imperial dignity by setting the imperial crown on the head of Charles the Great. This event occurred on Christmas day of the memorable year 800. Early in May of the year 1804, a millennium later, word came that the occupant (p. 326) of St. Peter's chair must once more empty the little vial on the head of another Western emperor, and this time not of his own volition, nor in eternal Rome, but by the Emperor's demand, and in Paris, inheritor of classic glory and renown. The feeble Pontiff was made wretched by the summons. But the Concordat was recent, and doubtless other much-longed-for advantages might be secured by compliance; the legations, once his, but now forming the fairest provinces of the Italian republic, were still outside the pale of his temporal power; moreover, no adequate compensation had ever been received for Avignon and Carpentras, lost to him since the peace of Tolentino in 1797.

At last a hesitating consent was given: the Pontiff would come "for the welfare of religion," if the Emperor would invite him on that pretext. Besides, he hoped there would be a reconsideration of the organic articles of the Concordat, if, as head of the Church, he should demand the expulsion of the "constitutional" bishops. One minor stipulation was that under no circumstances would the Holy Father receive Mme. Talleyrand. Out of gratitude for the Concordat he had, to be sure, removed the ban of excommunication from the sometime bishop, and had given him leave "to administer all civil affairs," but the interpretation of this clause into a permission to marry had been intolerably exasperating. The Emperor in reply recited all his own services to the Church and to the papacy; and what might not hereafter be expected of one who had already done so much? With this indefinite pledge the Pope was obliged to content himself, and the coronation ceremony was appointed for December second.



Since you would like to know when, where, and under what conditions I drew the pencil portrait of Napoleon just sent you, here is the account:

In 1801 I was made a member of the Cisalpine delegation which went to Lyons in order to draft under the presidency of Napoleon, then First Consul, the constitution of my country. When all was settled the First Consul came to preside in person over the Cisalpine Assembly, knowing he would be elected president of our republic, to which he gave under those conditions the name of Italian Republic.

I was seated not far from him during the time when a rather prolix and fulsome orator recited a wordy speech destitute of sense and taste. Possibly Bonaparte was paying no attention; but he looked quietly at the speaker, thinking of something more important. I saw him in profile as he is represented in my drawing, and a fine light coming from the large window in the front of the church where we were gathered marked his nose rather more strongly than the rest of his features. The sketch, almost completed, was so nearly an entire success that little remained to be done in finishing it. Everybody both in Lyons and Paris, whither I afterwards went, thought it at the time the most striking portrait of that extraordinary man.

This, Sir, is my account of the portrait. I am at your service.

Most devotedly,

Joseph Longhi.

Milan, June 4, 1828.

Now in the Bodleian Library.

But festivities and activities alike began immediately after the declaration of the Empire on May eighteenth, 1804. A most successful ceremonial of inauguration (p. 327) was held in June at the Hospital of the Invalides. The titled emigrants who were now numerous in society assumed a most amusing pose. They pouted and with contemptuous gestures signified their sense of shame at having fallen to such low estate. But our evidence is conclusive that by dint of unwearied solicitation they "forced themselves to be forced," in the words of a later historian. The self-styled aristocracy of the day resembled no other: most of their titles were either new or were held by persons otherwise consequential, not by birth, but on account of either wealth or influence, who had at no very distant date married or assumed the dignities they flaunted. This had long been true even under the old monarchy; the Revolution had enabled many shrewd bargainers to assume territorial names and particles which were for the best of reasons not questioned by needy adventurers of older stock; the dawning imperial society, though yet untrained to the severe restraint of the courtier, was making rapid progress and had moreover all the influence which proceeds from a fountain of honor which is likewise the well-spring of power. Hungry aspirants to imperial favor must needs brook more exasperating associates than even the rude soldiery and the Bonaparte family, who, though utterly common, were at least personally good to look upon and exhibited all possible zeal to acquire the manners of a more experienced nobility. The number of those who expressed their disgust for Napoleon's weakness in the tawdry display he so admired was few indeed. Courier said that in the arrangement of empire the hitherto great man had aspired to degradation, and Beethoven changed the dedication of his Heroic Symphony from the form, "To Bonaparte," into the sad caption, "To the memory of a great man." The legend on Napoleon's new coinage was most significant: French (p. 328) Republic, Napoleon Emperor. To be Emperor of the French Republic would have been to continue great. Human nature and unfavorable environment made it impossible.

The Tuileries, however, blazed with candles and jewels; the extravagance and heartburnings of a court began at once. Thanks to Ségur, the exterior at least was gorgeous. That the cup of the aristocracy might overflow, the clemency of the Empire was first displayed in the pardon of all the nobles who had been implicated with Georges. The Emperor's first journey was in July to his camp at Boulogne, where a distribution of decorations and the swearing of allegiance by the army were made the occasion of a second magnificent ceremonial. The ancient Frankish warriors were accustomed to set up their kings on a stage formed of their own bucklers. Napoleon received the acclamations of his troops seated in an iron chair, which was said to have been Dagobert's, and gazing over the sea towards the cliffs of Albion.

On this notable journey, which was intended to have political as well as military significance, he was accompanied by Josephine. Her position was far from comfortable. As will be remembered, her husband when first in Italy had been disappointed in the expectation that she was soon to give him an heir, and her intrigues at Milan were the cause of frequent quarrels between them. Bonaparte had justified his public and scandalous association with a certain Mme. Fougé in Egypt by a suggestion that if he could but have a son he would marry the child's mother; the reconciliation of Brumaire was an act of expediency, and while it did a perfect work for the Consulate, the discussions which had been rife about the line of descent ever since the talk of empire had become general showed the instability of the relation between the imperial pair; even the formal regulations (p. 329) of the new constitution had inspired little confidence in the Beauharnais party. The new Empress, therefore, was the embodiment of meekness, but for the present she was, according to the old Roman formula, "Caia" where her husband was "Caius." Side by side, and apparently in perfect amity, they proceeded from Boulogne to Aachen, the ancient capital of Charles the Great, on the German frontier.

As if to mock the Roman and German claims of Francis, Napoleon and his consort held high court in that historic town, whose memories were redolent of European sway, and whose walls had been the bulwarks of that medieval Roman empire which, though itself an ineffective anachronism, was about to be renewed in modern guise. The dukes, princes, and kings of Germany, either in person or by their ambassadors, came to do homage; even Austria had a representative. Constantine had made a capital for his reunited empire by building a new Rome on the banks of the Bosporus; Paris and France could see how easily Napoleon might adopt a similar policy. They did observe, and not without dismay.

But while the princes of the earth were jostling each other to honor this new monarch of monarchs, the underground currents of feeling were doing his work. Already the "Empire" meant war; but the war so far was with England alone, and must necessarily be either a maritime conflict or else a costly and risky invasion. Pitt's return to power on May twelfth signified the resistance of a united Britain to Bonaparte and all his works: on her own soil, if necessary, but preferably by the renewal of the premier's old policy of continental coalition against France. It was the irony of fate that, thanks to the intricacies of party politics and the King's imbecility, the strong man was brought back to power with a contemptible and feeble cabinet. For the first, therefore, (p. 330) he could only fortify the island kingdom. Signs soon began to appear, however, that his enemy would meet him at least half-way in provoking a new coalition; the union of western Europe for war would give Napoleon the Emperor a new hold on France, that second string to his bow which he always intended to have by him, and of which he now had greater need than ever. Moreover, success would mean to him the immediate realization of a French empire so transcending the boundaries of France herself that men would forget the old nation in the splendors of a new inclusive French political organism, destructive of nationality as an influence in the world.

In July, Russia, whose ruler in reality had cared little for the death of Enghien, and was actuated by an unbounded ambition for Oriental empire, made a formal protest against France's foreign policy, demanding the evacuation of Naples and an indemnity for the King of Sardinia. Talleyrand replied roughly that France had asked no explanation of the suspicious death of the Emperor Paul; that Russia had naturalized notorious French emigrants; that she had sent to Paris in the person of Markoff a distasteful diplomat, who, by the sarcastic disdain of his manners, clearly showed his master's animus toward France; and that, moreover, she had occupied the Ionian Islands. "The Emperor of the French wants peace," said Talleyrand, "but with the aid of God and his armies he need fear no one." Taken in connection with certain high-handed acts already committed by Napoleon,—as, for example, the expulsion from their posts, by his command, of the English envoys at Stuttgart and Munich, who had imprudently plotted with Méhée de la Touche; and the much more arbitrary seizure at Hamburg of Rumbold, the recently appointed minister of England to Saxony, (p. 331) while on his way to assume his diplomatic duties,—these words of Talleyrand meant nothing less than defiance to the whole Continent, as well as to England. Russia had protested in vain against the violation of Baden's neutral territory by the seizure of Enghien; Prussia was successful in her remonstrance with regard to Rumbold, but in view of the continued occupation of Hanover by a strengthened French garrison, this scanty grace did not reassure her ministers.

These provocations seem to furnish cumulative evidence that the ostentatious preparations for invading England were little more than a feint. It may have been that, as ever, the colossal genius of the man who knew that he was a match in military strength for the whole Continent was making ready for either alternative. The romance of his imperial policy knew no bounds: thwarted in crossing the Channel, he might confirm his new position by overwhelming the coalition which, as a result of his conduct and of Pitt's time-honored policy, was sure to be formed at once; or, on the other hand, checked on the Continent, he might retrieve all by one crushing blow at England. But this is the most that can be conceded, even in view of his great preparations and his apparent earnestness.

The autumn of 1803 and the spring of 1804 had seen a steady development of resources at Boulogne. It was tentatively arranged that a French fleet of ten sail of the line under Latouche-Tréville should leave Toulon on July thirtieth as if to reoccupy Egypt, and thus tempt Nelson to follow with the hope of repeating his victory in the scenes of his former exploits. But the French admiral was to turn and appear at Rochefort on the Bay of Biscay, increase his armament by the addition to it of six first-rate vessels with a number of frigates, and then, by a long detour, arrive in the Strait of (p. 332) Dover, as if doubling Cape Clear from the West. "Masters of the Channel for six hours, we are masters of the world," wrote the Emperor. This scheme was thwarted by the untimely death of the admiral.

However, a much grander one was evolved in September. Napoleon's policy of conciliating Spain by gifts and promises to the Duke of Parma had made the queen of that country his friend, and her criminal intimacy with Godoy, the Prince of the Peace, being already notorious, both she and her paramour paid the price of toleration by abject servility. At the First Consul's nod Spain invaded and humiliated Portugal, whose ships had aided Nelson in the Levant, and whose fine harbors were invaluable to England. At the peace of Amiens he gave the Spanish colony of Trinidad to England without consulting its owner, and he sold Louisiana in utter disregard of the right of redemption reserved by Spain. He now forced his ally to a monstrous treaty whereby she was to keep Portugal neutral, and increase her subsidy to the exorbitant sum of six million francs a month. This alliance made Napoleon absolute master of the Spanish maritime resources, when, in December, 1804, as was inevitable, war broke out between England and Spain: he commenced even earlier to act as if the French mastery of the seas were to be not for six hours, but forever. A feverish activity began in all his dockyards and arsenals; press-gangs ranged the harbor cities and seized all available sailors, and in a few weeks the imperial marine was nearly doubled in ships, guns, and men. Its efficiency unfortunately diminished in the direct ratio of its unwieldy size. Villeneuve, the new commander at Toulon, though capable in many ways, was only too well aware of the utter demoralization in French naval affairs. He was consequently destitute of all enthusiasm, and shy of the task imposed upon him.

(p. 333) This mattered little, for his and the Rochefort squadron were now destined to sail for the West Indies separately, in order to draw away the English; incidentally they were to recover San Domingo, if possible, and to strengthen Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Santa Lucia. Ganteaume, the commander at Brest, was to bring out his squadron of twenty line-of-battle ships with Augereau and eighteen thousand men on board, sail westward half-way to Newfoundland as a feint, then, returning, land the soldiers in the north of Ireland, and, sailing thence, enter the Channel from the north to coöperate with the flotilla of invasion which, with great expense, had been got together at and near Boulogne. How little in earnest the Emperor was in this showy plan is evinced by his carefully studied letter of January sixteenth, 1805, in which he proposes attacking England in the East Indies with this same Brest squadron and a force of thirty thousand men. This proposition was seriously made even before Villeneuve had put to sea; it should not be considered as one of the occasional divagations which such a man may either claim as revealing a genuine state of mind, or which may be ridiculed by himself, and forgotten by others, as chimerical, according to the turn of affairs. The Rochefort squadron succeeded in passing the English blockaders, and reached Martinique in safety. Villeneuve left Toulon on January seventeenth, 1805, under cover of a storm, which he hoped to use in running from Nelson; but it so dispersed his ships as to make any concerted action impossible, and the separate vessels returned with some difficulty to their port of departure. Ganteaume did not even make an effort to run the English blockade before Brest.

Three months later a third preposterous scheme for mystifying England was divulged, the Indian expedition (p. 334) being held still in reserve. This time the apparent object was to effect a union of all the French naval forces in the West Indies, and orders were given accordingly. Thence under the command of Villeneuve the vast fleet, forty ships of the line, should return, by the tremendous detour around Scotland and through the North Sea to sweep the Channel clear and keep it so until the flotilla of transports could cross. The whole scheme has been stigmatized as a landsman's conception. In fact, viewed as a serious design, it makes every quality of Napoleon's mind the reverse of what it really was. The monstrous expense of sustaining for such a length of time, and without the usual war indemnities, both a fleet and a large army entirely disproportionate to the demands of invasion; the theatrical character of all these arrangements; the apparent carelessness of indefinite delay; the calmness with which the news of Trafalgar was heard by the great captain—all these are considerations which cumulatively lead to the conclusion that he was in earnest neither with the maritime campaign nor with the invasion, and that his real armament was the costly land force which was prepared for the purpose of conquering Austria, the enemy against whom, in the following year, it was actually used; while the naval armament, including the Boulogne flotilla, was intended to prevent, as it did, the active interference of England to destroy his own so-called blockade of the continental ports, and thereby to renew her commerce.

Napoleon's generals, whose ability was as remarkable as the feebleness of his admirals, were interested, as their own memoirs and those of other keen observers prove, in an empire of Europe by which their dignities were to be perpetuated and strengthened. Joseph told the Prussian minister that his brother's strength with (p. 335) the army was in the new laurels which they hoped to pluck, and in the wealth which would follow as a result. The Emperor had revealed the truth to his favorite brother when he said that he himself would never attempt a landing on British shores, but that he might send Ney to Ireland. It is perhaps a significant straw that when Robert Fulton, as tradition asserts, offered to make the flotilla independent of wind and wave by the use of steam, Napoleon, the apostle of science, friend of Monge and Volney, member of the Institute, displayed very little scientific interest. For some time past he had been coquetting with the great American inventor, granting him inadequate subsidies to prosecute his schemes for applying steam-power to various marine engines of destruction. It must, however, be remembered that there is no proof of actual negotiations between the two for the application of steam to navigation. The Emperor probably intended to keep others from using Fulton's inventions; that he made no fair trial of them himself would seem to show that he had no real use for them.

Most English historians have believed that Napoleon's forecast saw a successful invasion of their country, and Great Britain as a consequence disgorging a vast war indemnity wherewith his invincible legions could be recruited and the continental powers could be reduced to subjection. Englishmen have always felt that it was a deed of high enterprise for Britons to overawe the Corsican ogre by the magnitude of their preparations to resist him, and have by constant iteration convinced large numbers that this among other honors is also theirs. They have rarely considered the anxiety of the other side lest English troops should be landed on the Continent under the protection of such an overwhelming sea-power as Great Britain possessed. It will, (p. 336) of course, never be known how serious the Emperor's much-paraded purpose was during 1803 and 1804. But a more significant sign even than those already enumerated is the fact that in January, 1805, while the council of state was discussing the budget, he declared that for two years France had been making tremendous sacrifices. "A general war on the Continent," he said, "would demand no greater. I now have the strongest possible army, a complete military organization, and am this moment on the footing which I generally have first to secure in case of actual war. To raise such forces in time of peace—twenty thousand artillery, horses and trains complete—there was need of a pretext in order to levy and bring them all together without rousing suspicion in the other continental powers. This pretext was afforded by the project for landing in England. Two years ago I would not thus have spoken to you, but it was nevertheless my sole purpose. I am well aware that to maintain such an equipment in time of peace means throwing thirty millions out of the window. But in return I have the advantage of all my enemies by twenty days, and can take the field a whole month before Austria can even prepare her artillery."

Even within the labyrinthine turnings of the most tortuous mind there is a clue, and this time Napoleon probably spoke the truth. The inherent probability is further strengthened by the evidence of what followed. Some weeks later he said in a moment of frankness: "What I have so far done is nothing. There will be no peace in Europe except under a single chief, under an emperor who shall have kings for officials, who shall distribute kingdoms to his lieutenants, making one king of Italy, another of Bavaria, this one landmann of Switzerland, that one stadholder of Holland—all (p. 337) charged with duties in the imperial household.... You may say there is nothing new in this, that it is only an imitation of the plan on which the German Empire was founded; but nothing is absolutely new: political institutions revolve in an orbit, and it is often necessary to return to what has been." "We were soon aware," wrote Miot de Melito in August, 1804, referring to the demonstration against England, "that the Emperor, in the execution of a plan already abandoned, had made such demonstrations only to increase the security of the continental powers, and lure them to some decisive step which would permit him to speak out and act."

It is well to recall that if the great Egyptian expedition was intended by Bonaparte and his friends in the Directory to mystify the French, the naval preparations, made as if both to meet England on her own undisputed element, and likewise to invade her soil, may well have been made with similar intention regarding the English. The one hypothesis requires no greater credulity than the other. Having driven the Addington ministry from power, Pitt said, on May twenty-third, 1803, that France would base her hope of success either on the expectation that she could "break the spirit and shake the determination of the country by harassing us with perpetual apprehension of descent upon our coasts," or on the supposition that she could "impair our resources and undermine our credit by the effects of an expensive and protracted contest." There is no reason to regard this as other than a prophetic utterance, except that the preparations of Napoleon for invasion assumed such dimensions as to give the whole scheme for "harassing" England the appearance of a real purpose. But it must be remembered that no other course would have deceived a people so astute as the English, and this fact, taken in connection with the Emperor's ever-increasing (p. 338) determination that no power within the sphere of his influence should remain neutral, but that all should close their doors to English commerce, is very strong proof that Napoleon was fighting England in both the ways indicated by Pitt.

It is also pertinent to inquire what would have happened had Napoleon been successful in landing an army on English shores. In the first place, his mastery of the seas would have been quickly ended by the combined efforts of the English war-vessels then afloat, and he would have been left without base of supplies or communication. In the second place, he would have met a resistance from a proud, free, enlightened, and desperate people which would have paralyzed all his tactics, and would have worn out any force he could have kept together. Napoleon had said before that an army which cannot be regularly recruited is a doomed army. He knew very well that with the fleets and flotillas at his disposal a permanent control of the seas was out of the question. The impression which Metternich received in 1810, that the Emperor's intention had been a continental war from the first, and the lavishness with which Napoleon, throughout his public career, made use of any form of ruse, even the costliest, in order to mislead his foes, are complementary pieces of evidence which furnish the strongest corroboration.

(p. 339) CHAPTER XXX

The Coronation of Napoleon I[31]

The Pope's Perplexities — Arrival of Pius VII at Fontainebleau — Arrangements for the Coronation — Ecclesiastical Marriage of Napoleon and Josephine — The Procession to Notre Dame — The Coronation — Significance of the Act — Disenchantment of the Pope — A Presage of War — Europe Prepared — The Rise of National Feeling — Prosperity of France — Literature in France — The New Coalition — Napoleon King of Italy.

Paris had not been agreeably impressed by the spectacle of the imperial court held at Aachen, and when there appeared in the "Moniteur" a shrewd reminder that the seat of Roman empire had been permanently transferred to a Greek city, the feeling of disquiet was heightened to the desired point. The Parisians were therefore not disinclined to exhibit an enthusiastic loyalty on the unique occasion of the coronation. The sometime atheist, later Oriental hero and son of heaven, quasi-Mohammedan and destroyer of the papacy, but now for some years past the professed admirer of Christianity, had recently been addressed by Pius VII, in the form used in addressing legitimate rulers, as his "son in Christ Jesus." Having gone so far as this climax, the Pope's scruples finally disappeared, (p. 340) and, on November second, he set out for his winter journey to the French capital. It is said that he drew back at the last moment, alleging, not, as he might well have done, that Napoleon had violated every tradition of Europe and broken all the commandments, but that the Emperor's letter had been irregularly delivered by General Caffarelli, instead of being duly transmitted by the hands of two bishops! No wonder that the distracted but tenacious man was drawn two ways: as a temporal prince he must bow as others had done; as the vicar of Christ upon earth, how could he give the sacred unction to one who so violated the Ark of the Covenant? But perhaps one office might give assistance to the other; if neither secular nor spiritual restitution could be obtained in completeness, partial satisfaction for wrongs of both sorts might be got.

In due time the venerable traveler reached Fontainebleau. Since the Pope had come to Paris, and the Emperor had not, as of old, gone to Rome, so by another reversal the prodigal son had this time come out to meet his spiritual father. Napoleon was in hunting costume, and seemed by accident to meet the Pope's carriage as it traversed the forest. Against his loud protestations the successor of St. Peter alighted with satin shoes and robes of state upon the muddy ground. But the Emperor, though a prodigal, was not repentant, for after his first effusive greeting little acts of contemptuous discourtesy—such, for example, as himself taking the seat of honor in the carriage which they entered together—showed that this late successor of Charles the Great was no second Henry IV, who thought a crown well worth a mass, but an Otto or a Henry III, determined to assert the secular supremacy against any assumption recalling the pretensions of Gregory VII.

The day before the ceremony a delegation of the (p. 341) senate had formally announced the result of the plebiscite, and the Emperor not only had guaranteed the popular rights as secured by the Revolution, but had promised to transmit them unimpaired to his children. But where were the children? That same night, at the last hour, the Empress, who in the eyes of the Church had so far been only a concubine, obtained by the Pope's insistence what was the chief desire of her heart, but what had so often been refused by her husband—a secret marriage to him by ecclesiastical rite. Would this work a miracle and remove the reproach of her barrenness? In any case it removed the bar to her coronation by the Pope, of which nothing had been said in the preliminary negotiations. This act completed the preparations. The great church had been renovated and gorgeously decorated; the brilliant costumes, the imperial scepter, the jeweled crown, were all in readiness; rehearsals, too, had been held; and still further, by means of ingeniously devised puppets, every participant had been carefully taught his exact movements. It had been suggested that, like former sovereigns, Napoleon should, on the eve of his coronation, repair to the sanctuary, confess, and receive absolution; but he drew back as before a sacrilege. In the official program of the ceremonies it was also arranged that "Their Majesties" should receive the holy communion; but the article was dropped, and it was currently reported that the reason was Napoleon's fear lest the Italian prelates should poison the elements. The Holy Father was not urgent, for he feared a more serious rebuff than any he had yet received. At the outset he had inquired whether, according to immemorial custom, he was himself to set the crown in place on the head of the sovereign. "I will arrange that," had been Napoleon's reply, and the imperial decision was still unknown.

(p. 342) It was cold and cloudy on the morning of Sunday, December second, 1804, as the gorgeous procession passed from the Tuileries to Notre Dame. The streets were lined and the houses decorated; but the people of Paris, sated with ceremonials, were, in spite of self-interest, silent and critical. On the other hand, the presence of the German princes in the train, and the glittering costumes of the court, threw the provincial deputations, and the throngs of office-holders who had come up from all France, into a delirium of enthusiasm. The irreverent tittered when the papal chamberlain ambled by on a mule at the head of His Holiness's court, but immediately fell on their knees and received the papal blessing. Clergy and choristers intoned the hymn, "Tu es Petrus," as the Pontiff entered the majestic cathedral from the transept, and proceeded to his throne in the center of the choir to the right of the high altar. After an interval of an hour or more appeared the Emperor's attendants, Murat leading at the head of twenty squadrons of cavalry. Then followed the imperial chariot, surmounted by a crown, and drawn by eight superb and richly caparisoned steeds. Facing the Emperor and Empress sat Joseph and Louis; the other brothers were in temporary disgrace, and Madame Mère, stubbornly devoted to Lucien, was traveling with him somewhere between Milan and Paris, approaching by stages carefully calculated the capital where as yet both would have caused embarrassment by their presence. They were scarcely conspicuous by their absence when, as the artillery salvos resounded, there advanced eighteen six-horse carriages with the court, all moving to the sound of triumphal music. Passing in a burst of sunshine to the archiepiscopal palace, and entering the vestry, the Emperor donned his coronation robes and a crown of (p. 343) laurel leaves. Thence, with the Empress at his side, he proceeded in state to the place prepared for them in the lofty nave, facing the high altar. Joseph, Louis, Cambacérès, and Lebrun were his pages, and supported the train of his mantle, heavy with gold and embroidery. The yet empty throne had been erected in the heart of the choir. From twenty thousand throats burst the cry, "Long live the Emperor!" as the slow and stately march proceeded. There was one and only one incident, but how significant, in this short progress, when Napoleon with head half turned whispered to Joseph: "If our father could see us now." At last the entrance of the choir was reached, and the Pope, descending from his chair, began to intone, amid the deep silence of the throng, the majestic chant of "Veni, Creator."

This ended, the personages of the court found their appointed seats, the regalia were laid on the altar, and Pius, holding out a copy of the Scriptures, demanded in the Latin tongue whether the Emperor would use all his powers to have law, justice, and peace reign supreme in the Church and among his people. The Emperor laid both his hands on the book, and "Profiteor" came the solemn answer. Pope, cardinals, archbishops, and bishops began the litany, and the sovereigns kneeled. As the closing strains sounded forth, the imperial pair advanced under priestly conduct to the steps of the high altar, and kneeled again. The Pope, pronouncing the customary but long-disused prayer, then solemnly anointed both in turn with the triple unction on head and hands. Returning to their chairs, the two chief actors seated themselves, and high mass began. Midway in its solemn course there was a pause; the Emperor stepped forward to the altar as if to be invested at the papal hands with all the insignia of power—ring, mantle, and crown. The last of the consecrated baubles (p. 344) to be lifted was the crown. At the pregnant instant, just as the Holy Father, doubting but hoping, lifted it aloft, the Emperor advanced two paces downward, and, firmly seizing it in his own hands, set it on his own brow. Without a movement of hesitancy he then crowned the Empress, and the two, stepping upward, seated themselves in the great throne of the Empire. The Pope recovered his self-control, if, indeed, he had momentarily lost it, and said, "May God confirm you on this throne, and may Christ give you to rule with him in his eternal kingdom." Then, giving Napoleon the kiss of peace, he cried, "Vivat imperator in æternum!" The throng shouted in antiphony with deafening acclaim. Then the ritual proceeded, and the religious ceremonial was soon ended. At its close the presidents of the great assemblages of the State advanced. The Emperor, with his hands on the Bible, said, "I swear to maintain the principles of the Revolution, the integrity of French territory, and to govern for the welfare, happiness, and glory of the French people." Other particulars, equally radical in their nature, were added according to constitutional requirement. The hierarchical clergy must have shuddered as they listened. Then the chief of the heralds' college stood forth and cried: "The thrice glorious and thrice august Emperor Napoleon is crowned and enthroned. Long live the Emperor!" At this moment the cannon outside proclaimed the consummation of the ceremony. The French nation and the Napoleonic Empire, it was believed, were wedded in the fusion of Church, State, and army, for the loyal support of what the masses were sure was now France—"one and indivisible," as the motto of the Revolution expressed it.

It was just before this pregnant event that Napoleon had freed his mind to Roederer concerning the ambitions (p. 345) of Joseph and his family in general. Already his brothers and sisters were organized for the enterprise of exploiting their relationship, and already they were rash in their claims. The elder brother was essentially a man of the clan epoch in the development of society, and begrudged the ascendancy of his junior. He was nevertheless clamorous for wealth and power, using his brother's ministers to secure them, to demand them as a right. To this the younger retorted: My brothers are nothing except through me, great because I made them so. The French people knows them only by what I have said. There are thousands of persons in France who have rendered greater service to the state than they. I will not abide that they be set beside me in the same row. Joseph is not destined to reign. I was born in poverty; like me, he was born in the lowest mediocrity. I have raised myself by my own deeds, he has remained exactly where he was born. From this position Napoleon never swerved: for them there must be no expectation of empire. Minor kingdoms, principalities, and duchies he was glad to distribute with lavish hand. Wealth beyond the dreams of avarice they accumulated with his connivance. Lucien married to his own liking and remained a commoner, but in the positions he held under the consulate and empire he left no source of gain untouched and lived like a prince, if he had not the title. Joseph was twice a king, unable in both cases to decide whether he should be true to his imperial brother or to his subjects, a vacillator in Spain, as for a time was Louis in Holland: the latter, however, was at least loyal to his folk if not to his superior. Jerome's career was a farce, in marriage, in statesmanship, in everything: it is relieved only by the high character of the consort Napoleon selected for him. Of the women in the family, not much can be said which indicates (p. 346) a sense of gratitude to their imperial brother for his prodigal favors. Caroline, the spouse of Murat, was a woman of force, and was more loyal to her benefactor than any of his blood, unless it were the giddy, light, beautiful, fascinating Pauline, who, though a child of the sixteenth rather than the nineteenth century, had a heart and showed it in great crises.

Pius VII was a disenchanted man. He claimed that the Emperor had broken an express promise in seizing the crown, and was silent only because the official journal called no attention to the incident. For several months he remained a suppliant in Paris. One demand after another was perforce abandoned. He had hoped to destroy the last vestige of Gallican liberties, and to see the Roman Church recognized, not as a privileged sect, but as the national ecclesiastical organism. His temporary secretary, Cardinal Antonelli, found in Napoleon's minister of public worship, Portalis, an adversary as learned in ecclesiastical matters, as polished, adroit, and unctuous, as himself, and spent his diplomatic arts in vain. Two small concessions were indeed made. The statesman promised to restore the Gregorian calendar, and the Emperor, with a half-ironical, half-superstitious feeling, dated the course of the Empire after January first, 1806, not by the Revolutionary reckoning, but by the Christian. It was likewise ordered that the bishops and priests who had sworn to the civil constitution should take the ecclesiastical oath, and thus return to the fold. In the field of temporal negotiations the Roman prince was quite as unsuccessful as in the spiritual. It was in vain that he pleaded the gift of Charles the Great, which made him a sovereign prince. Talleyrand replied that what God had given to the Emperor the Emperor must keep, but an opportunity might offer to increase the States of the Church. The (p. 347) successor to St. Peter left Paris wounded and disillusioned, considering, says his memorialist Consalvi, that the Emperor must have intended, by the poverty of his gifts, to show the light estimate he put on the papal services. Weakened in dignity and general esteem, outwitted at every point, the Pope returned to Rome, a bitter and secret enemy of the Empire he had sanctioned.

When the legislature assembled, two days after Christmas, and the Emperor opened its session with a state proportionate to his new dignity, his speech from the throne was not merely an enumeration of what France owed to the new dispensation,—the civil and other codes, prizes for the encouragement of letters, industry, and the arts, the achievement of splendid public works,—it was also a presage of war. He declared that Italy, like France, needed a definite organization; that Austria was recuperating her strength; that the King of Prussia was the friend of France. Turkey, however, he said, was pursuing with vacillation and timidity a policy foreign to her interests, and he dragged in an expression of his desire that the spirit of Catherine the Great should guide the councils of the Czar Alexander. "He will remember," said the Emperor, "that the friendship of France is a necessary counterpoise for him in the European balance.... Set far from her, he can neither touch her interests nor trouble her repose." These were clearly words of warning. They meant that Russia must abandon her new Oriental policy, forget the anxiety she felt about French control in Italy and Naples, and forbear to chafe under the limitations of her trade with England, necessitated by the closing of all harbors in western Europe to English commerce.

The feeling arose, and at once became general, not only in France, but in Europe, that these words of the (p. 348) Emperor meant an appeal to force. The Revolution had claimed to have a world-wide mission in protecting the oppressed and establishing justice. The nations had felt a solemn awe when they saw this task intrusted to the greatest general of his day. But now in a twinkling all was changed; here was a new kind of monarch; not a king, but a king of kings; and headstrong, wilful, and selfish, just as kings were, with no more respect than they for the rights of man. The greatest general of Europe was now its most ambitious and ruthless sovereign. It was a powerful argument for the royalists of the Continent that their old kings, whom they knew, were better than this novel, unknown tyrant.

It is a trite remark that, however rapidly events may move, no gulf or cleft separates two epochs either of national life or of general history. The germs of that national uprising which later overwhelmed Napoleon can be observed as early as 1805. The tide of his success was still to flow high before the turn, but his alliance with a great idea began to dissolve before he struck the first blow for his dynasty. It was with a light heart and a new enthusiasm that Europe went to war in 1805. Even the Russian peasants, peering into the misty diplomacy which strove to conceal the Czar's Oriental ambitions and dynastic pride under complaints about the Duc d'Enghien, and demands for indemnity to Piedmont, a kingdom almost extinct, saw dimly that the principles of eternal justice and right were no longer on the side of France, but on theirs. If France was to live henceforth under monarchical rule, her ruler must be made to keep his place in the former political equipoise and abide by the old rules of international law. This fact constituted the moral strength of Russia's position when she somewhat hastily dismissed the French envoy from St. Petersburg. Even then men (p. 349) began dimly to apprehend that, for the triumph of the rights of man which the republic had so loudly proclaimed, the nations must now rise against Napoleon and rally to their dynasties.

While this change of sentiment, elemental in the history of the time, was gradually taking place outside of France, that nation was interested in itself as rarely before. Commerce and industry were rising and developing under a sense of security. Trade and engineering had received a mighty impulse by the inception of those splendid public works which still make the First Empire illustrious,—the superb highways of the Simplon, Mt. Cenis, and Mt. Genèvre, the great canals of St. Quentin, Arles, Aigues-Mortes, in France proper, with those of even higher importance in Belgium,—and by the improvement of every land and water route which made intercommunication easy. Where the Emperor's interest made it seem best, public buildings rose like magic. Labor was abundant, and prosperity almost commonplace; the spell of Napoleon's name and dynasty fascinated men to an ever-growing degree. There were shadows: the budget for 1805 was alarming, for the last harvest had been bad; the American payment was spent, Spain could not be asked for a further subsidy when arming herself for French support, and the prohibition of English trade diminished the customs revenues. The price of French bonds fell for a time at a tremendous rate. But the ingenuity of the Emperor was still fecund. A new tariff, a new syndicate of bankers to scale the public debt, a new tax laid on litigants: such were his expedients, and they temporarily succeeded. When the senate adjourned in March, the members of that high assembly were requested to report how the new machinery was working in their respective homes. It appeared to be working very well.

(p. 350) At the same time the imperial masquerade was further continued in a proclamation which it pleased the imperial writer to date from Aachen, the capital of Charles the Great. Rome reëstablished in France, the land of science, literature, and art, the glories of the coming century should eclipse those of the past. To this end were founded prizes, some of ten thousand, some of five thousand francs, which once in ten years, on the eighteenth of Brumaire, the Emperor with his own gracious hand would distribute in state to successful competitors in the race for scientific, artistic, and literary honors. The best book in each of the physical, mathematical, and historical sciences respectively would then be crowned; so, too, the best play, the best poem, the best opera, the best mechanical invention, the best painting, the best statue. Unfortunately the brightest spirits of the nation were in exile. The inspiration of those who worked under fear was but a scanty rill, and the French intellectual life of the Napoleonic age was feeble and uncertain. Not that the output was meager, for it was not; but the censorship was applied to newspapers and books with ever-increasing rigor, and what did appear in books or on the stage was in general utterly colorless and vague. The only exceptions were those pieces which summoned historical allusions to bolster the existing government. The censors smiled approval on the story of "William the Conqueror" as told by Duval, on the tale of "Peter the Great" in the words of Carrion-Nisas, on M. J. Chénier's "Cyrus," or Raynouard's "Templars," on any thing which, in the Emperor's own words, set forth the "passage from the first to the second race," provided only the theme was from days sufficiently distant. The career of Henry IV, founder of the Bourbon line, who became king by the victories of the Protestants and by the (p. 351) consent of the people, was not to Napoleon's liking, even though he traced in that career a resemblance to his own. The daily papers could publish no news except such as redounded to the credit of France, and dared not discuss religious matters at all. In the whole country there was but one unfettered genius, that of the painter Prud'hon, and he was free because he moved in the orbit of antiquity, within limits which did not intersect the public life of his day. Gros might perhaps rank near him, but David's talent and Chénier's muse were alike enthralled in fetters light but strong. Some high authorities have but lately claimed immortality for Sénancour and the subtle abstractions of "Obermann"; but they are caviare not merely to the multitude, but to many of the initiated.

With France at his back and his great army perfectly equipped, the Emperor was now ready for the continental war which was to give permanency to his system. In the eyes of all Europe the rupture with England had been due to British bad faith in refusing to evacuate Malta according to the treaty of Amiens. Napoleon, in a second personal letter to George III, written with his own hand on January second, 1805, deprecated the consequences of this fact; he felt his conscience awakened by such useless bloodshed, and conjured his Majesty "not to refuse himself the happiness of giving peace to the world, nor to put it off to become a sweet satisfaction to his Majesty's children. It was time to silence passion and hear the voice of humanity and reason." The answer was evasive. England must first consult the continental powers with which she had confidential relations. As Parliament had in February voted five and a half million pounds sterling for secret purposes,—that is, as a subsidy to Austria,—there could be no doubt of what this answer meant.

(p. 352) The war with England was felt therefore to be just. Russia was in a state of hostility, but quiescent because she had meddled with what was not her affair. If she began a war, that likewise would be a conflict on Napoleon's part for French independence. How could Austria be put in the same position? The answer was not difficult for a man of such universal grasp. It was clear that those states dependent on France which, following her example, had adopted in turn the forms and constitution of a directorial, and subsequently of a consular, republic, must still follow their leader and accept the rule of a single man. They could not be imperial commonwealths except as part of France, for there could be but one emperor: they could accomplish the end only by giving a new meaning to kingship. The Italian republic was not averse to securing constitutional monarchy if only it might be rid of French officials and the payment of subsidies. Taking advantage of this, Napoleon determined to make the change, and bestow the crown either on Joseph or on the child which was accepted by the world as Louis's eldest son. On this infant he had always lavished the attentions of a father. Both brothers flatly refused the proposal on the ground that it would prejudice their rights in the imperial succession. Their sovereign appeared to be very angry, but soon suggested to the Italian delegation which he had summoned to Paris that he might himself accept the dignity, a hint which was a command. Late in March, with a suite comprising the chief courtiers, Napoleon began his progress toward Milan. The Emperor of Austria—for to this title Francis was reduced by the dismemberment of Germany—was told in a gracious personal letter that with Russian troops at Corfu and English soldiers at Malta the two crowns of France and Italy could not be kept apart, except (p. 353) nominally, but that "this situation would cease the moment both these islands were evacuated." The attention of all Europe was momentarily diverted from Boulogne to the spectacle at Milan. On May twenty-sixth, in the cathedral, the Emperor of the French was, by his own hand, crowned King of Italy, and that with the iron crown of Lombardy, a diadem considered the most precious on earth, for it was said to be made from the nails which pierced the Saviour's feet and hands. It was with perceptible defiance that, as he set the emblem on his head, he uttered the traditional words: "God hath given it to me; let him beware who touches it." The herald called in clarion tones: "Napoleon, Emperor of the French and King of Italy, is crowned, anointed, and enthroned. Long live the emperor and king." The church rocked with joyous acclamation, in the square and the streets women and children wept, men threw themselves before his carriage as he passed, and were saved with difficulty from the death they sought in their delirium of joy. The great of the land were intoxicated with the enthusiasm of the masses, and even when sobriety regained its seat the attendant festivals surpassed in splendor anything yet seen in the Lombard capital.


The Third Coalition[32]

The Expansion of Empire — Great Britain and Russia — Napoleon's Attitude — Russia and Austria — The New Coalition — Weakness of Austria — Nelson and Villeneuve — The French Fleet at Cadiz — Responsibility for the Napoleonic Wars — The Grand Army of France — The Menace of War — Declaration of Hostilities — From Boulogne to Ulm — Napoleon and Mack — Their Respective Plans — Victory Won by Marching — Surrender of Ulm — Failure of Murat — A Dishonorable Ruse.

The coronation at Milan was startling to cabinets and kings; but the sequel was in their eyes a downright menace. Piombino and Lucca were given to the Bonaparte sisters; Parma and Piacenza were endowed with the new French code, and as the climax of audacity the entire Ligurian Republic was incorporated, with France. Only a short time since, Napoleon had informed the world through an allocution to the legislature that Holland, Switzerland, and three fourths of Germany belonged to France by right of conquest, but that, such was his moderation, the two former lands would be left independent. The partition of Poland and the conquest of India, as he had previously remarked, (p. 355) prejudiced France in the European balance; but again, such was French moderation, Italy was to have remained independent, the two crowns separate, and no new province was to have been annexed to the Empire. But now it was otherwise ordered, and by no fault of his he had been forced to unite the two crowns; this being so, Genoa had become essential to the unity of the Empire. Austria might well ask what the word "Italy" in the royal title was intended to mean. No sooner were the coronation ceremonies ended than half of the sixty thousand troops which had either accompanied Napoleon or had been summoned from near were stationed on the so-called sanitary cordon of Austria, the old Venetian boundaries. Wearing the worm-eaten coat and battered hat which he had worn at Marengo, and on the memorable field which had witnessed his agony of doubt, fear, and joy, the King of Italy rehearsed with the remaining thirty thousand the events of that decisive day. Later, at Castiglione the other contingent gave a similar exhibition.


It is now known, and probably Napoleon suspected at the time, that Pitt's exertions had already been half successful. On November sixth, 1804, Austria and Russia had signed a defensive treaty like that already concluded between Russia and Prussia. Then, as now, the cabinets and peoples of the former lands heartily disliked each other. But Alexander was a dreamer. His notorious scheme for the redistribution of European (p. 356) territory, printed only a few years ago for the first time in the memoirs of Czartoryski, his minister for foreign affairs, is conclusive evidence of his character. By this plan he himself was to have the whole of Poland, together with the provinces from which the kingdom of Prussia takes its name; and besides, Moldavia, Cattaro, Corfu, Constantinople, and the Dardanelles! Austria was to get Bavaria, France the Rhine frontier, Prussia a slight compensation in Germany, and so forth. Great Britain was clever enough to use this dreamer, leading him to hope for some concessions to such of his visionary schemes as were known to her, but putting her propositions in such a form as would to a certainty be unacceptable to Napoleon: for example, she would not promise to evacuate Malta. The Czar accordingly proposed to mediate with the Emperor of the French for peace, not now as a solitary rival, but in the name of all Europe, except, of course, Prussia, which was negotiating with France for Hanover.

In May, therefore, Alexander's envoy asked from the court at Berlin a safe-conduct into France, with which Russia had broken off diplomatic relations. Napoleon received at Milan a letter from Frederick William notifying him of the circumstance. He replied in what appeared a conciliatory tone; but declared that any peace with England must bind her cabinet not to give asylum to the Bourbons, and must compel them likewise to muzzle their wretched writers. "I have no ambition," ran one clause; "twice I have evacuated the third of Europe without compulsion. I owe Russia no more explanation concerning Italian affairs than she owes to me concerning those of Turkey and Persia." The news of what had been done with Genoa, Lucca, and Piombino reached St. Petersburg in due time, and emphasized the grim sincerity of the French Emperor.

(p. 357) As time passed Napoleon also claimed that the city of Naples was a focus of anti-French conspiracies, and that by the queen's influence Russia had occupied Corfu. The independence of Etruria, under the so-called protection of the French troops quartered in the kingdom, was already a phantom; that of Naples was, in spite of existing treaties, not really more substantial. The King was the obedient servant of his masterful Austrian consort, Maria Carolina, who was the real ruler. She had been told in January that the existence of her power depended upon her attitude. If she would dismiss her minister, Acton, expel the French emigrants, send home the English resident, recall her own from St. Petersburg, and muster out her militia,—in short, "show confidence in France,"—she might continue to reign. No one could doubt that this foretold the speedy end of the Italian Bourbons. The Czar at once recalled his peace envoy from Berlin, for he had not journeyed farther, and immediately Russia and Austria put aside their conflicting ambitions. They could look on at all Napoleon's aggressions, they could even condone the murder of Enghien, and continue their rivalry; but they could no longer do so when Austria felt Venice slipping from her grasp, and Alexander saw his Oriental ambitions forever defeated, as would be the case if the western shore of the Adriatic should fall into his great rival's hands.

So evident was all this to the world that early in May the provisional treaty between England and Russia was already rumored to have been made binding. The French papers denounced the report as another English snare; their St. Petersburg correspondence, written, of course, in their own Paris offices, declared that the coalition had collapsed. The Emperor lingered in Italy, carefully noting the Italian and Austrian dispositions, until July, when at last he hastened to Paris, leaving his (p. 358) stepson Beauharnais, the "Prince Eugène," as viceroy at Milan. There was no longer any doubt as to the existence of the new coalition. England had failed in winning Prussia, for Hardenberg desired, by observing the old neutrality, to secure the consolidation of the Prussian territory through the acquisition of Hanover from the French.

Austria was in a serious dilemma. Relying first on the treaty of Lunéville, then on the preparations at Boulogne, as likely to assure a long peace, she had fallen into Napoleon's trap, and had begun a series of important army reforms. Her new system, modeled on that of France, had not yet been perfected. There were only forty thousand men under arms, and there was no artillery. The Archduke Charles might well shrink from taking the field with such an insignificant armament. But England promised cash and Russia offered men; it was no slight inducement that Italy and perhaps Bavaria were to be won. Should Prussia fail to assert her neutrality, and declare for France, the house of Austria might even recover Silesia. On July seventh the cabinet yielded, and orders were given to mobilize the troops. General Mack, who enjoyed a swollen reputation as an organizer, was intrusted with the task of making ready.

This was the condition of affairs, almost certainly known to Napoleon through his emissaries, at the time when he thought best to announce with unusual emphasis that the invasion of England was fixed for the middle of August. In April Nelson had finally been enticed to the West Indies, and Villeneuve, eluding him, had returned in May to European waters. Nelson, mistaking his enemy's destination, sailed in pursuit to Gibraltar; but one of his detached cruisers learned that the united French and Spanish squadrons were to (p. 359) meet at Ferrol, and by the middle of July the English admiralty was fully informed as to the whereabouts and plans of the French fleet. On the sixteenth of that month the Emperor issued orders for Villeneuve to unite the Spanish vessels with his own, and then to reinforce himself with the French squadrons of Rochefort and Brest, and appear in the Channel. On July twenty-second a British fleet under Calder met Villeneuve off Cape Finisterre in a dense fog, but the latter was not checked in his passage to Vigo. By August second he found himself at the head of a Franco-Spanish fleet numbering no fewer than twenty-nine ships of the line, which were assembled in the harbors of Ferrol and Corunna. He complained, however, that he had "bad masts, bad sails, bad rigging, bad officers, bad sailors." Conceiving himself in all probability to be only the tool of a feint, he lost the little enthusiasm he had, and became sullen. Nelson had joined Admiral Cornwallis before Brest, and, leaving his best eight ships to strengthen both the guard and the blockading fleets, made for Portsmouth. Calder, too, had reinforced the blockaders, so that by August seventeenth there would be eighteen vessels before Ferrol; eighteen remained before Brest, while a third squadron, under Sterling, was cruising with five more, prepared to join either. Villeneuve was not ready for sea until the thirteenth. Were his orders, in view of the changed situation, still valid? After an effort to beat northward against a violent storm, the French admiral received false news from a Danish merchant vessel that an English fleet of twenty-five sail was approaching. He thought himself in the exercise of due discretion when he turned and made for Cadiz, especially as the Emperor's orders contained a clause authorizing him, in case of unforeseen casualties which materially altered the situation,—"which (p. 360) with God's help will not occur,"—to anchor in the harbor of Cadiz after liberating the squadrons of Rochefort and Brest.

It was no feigned anger with which Napoleon received this news. What a contrast between the efficiency of his land force and the utter incompetency of his shipbuilders, sailors, and naval officers! If he had really hoped to throw an army on English soil under the momentary protection of his fleet, that project was ended: but if at heart he despised that Revolutionary legacy, the "freedom of the seas and the invasion of England," if he always intended to destroy Great Britain, not by direct attack on land or sea, but by isolating her through the destruction of her continental allies, he might still be furious that his best efforts had resulted in so trivial a display, and that this fiasco by sea might be considered as a presage of similar results in the coming land campaign. History must accept this dilemma: either England or France was the author of the Russian and Austrian alliance which brought in those wars that drenched European soil with human blood. Either Pitt, by his subsidies and diplomacy, turned an army intended for the invasion of England against his continental allies, or else Napoleon taunted and exasperated them into a coalition for his own purposes. If the latter be true, then all the thousand indications that the French Emperor was never serious about the invasion are trustworthy.

The first distribution of crosses after the institution of the Legion of Honor had taken place in July, 1804, with great pomp, at the Hospital of the Invalides; the second occurred at Boulogne just a year later, when the "Little Corporal" appeared among his men to distribute the coveted decorations with his own hands. So skilfully was the distribution managed that no man, (p. 361) however illiterate or mean, despaired of one day attaining the distinction of his favored comrades. The common soldiers and officers alike were thenceforward the Emperor's devoted slaves, and obeyed without question or murmur. Glory or profit, or both, were to be had in his service everywhere. They were consequently neither eager for the particular duty they believed was before them, nor the reverse, but, like fine machines, fit for anything.

Meanwhile Napoleon's purposes were steadily realizing themselves. By the middle of July the King of Prussia agreed that the French army of occupation in Hanover should be relieved by Prussian troops. This removed all fear of the two hundred and fifty thousand soldiers which Frederick the Great's successor could put into the field, a force considered throughout Europe to be quite equal in efficiency to that of France. On the thirty-first the Emperor wrote to Talleyrand that the Italian news was all for war; on August second the Paris newspapers began to abuse Austria and Russia in unmeasured terms; on the twelfth the "Moniteur" summoned Austria to desist from arming, and threatened an advance from the ocean to Switzerland of the great army at Boulogne. Next day the Emperor wrote to Talleyrand that if the court at Vienna gave no heed to his demand, he would attack Austria, be in her capital by November, and thence advance against Russia.

On August twenty-third the declaration of war was composed and held in readiness. The same day Napoleon wrote to Talleyrand that his resolution was taken: if the fleet appeared in the Channel there was still time, and he would be master of England; if not, he would start for Germany. "I march to Vienna, and do not lay down my arms until I have Naples and Venice, and have so enlarged the territories of the Elector of Bavaria that (p. 362) I have nothing more to fear from Austria." Two days later in the same correspondence he wrote, "The Austrians have no idea how quickly my two hundred thousand will pirouette." On the twenty-fourth, Marmont received orders to hasten by forced marches from the Texel to Mainz; on the twenty-seventh, marching orders were issued to the Army of England, otherwise the Army of the Coasts of the Ocean, and after August twenty-sixth down to the end the Grand Army; the swift columns were hurrying eastward before Europe understood what had happened. Duroc was already on his way to offer Hanover to Prussia as the price of a threatening demonstration against Austria. Bernadotte was to mass the army of occupation at Göttingen. Eugène was instructed to collect the troops from northern Italy under Masséna on the banks of the Adige, and Saint-Cyr to make ready for the occupation of Naples.

The merest layman can not only see the colossal proportions of this plan, but he must recognize as well the symmetry of its parts. It is a matter of opinion whether Napoleon devised it in the few days between the receipt of news that Villeneuve had failed him and the departure for Germany, or whether its combination was the result of a long-studied and carefully concealed design. Either hypothesis borders on the miraculous, and yet, paradoxical as it may appear, it requires less strain on one's reason to believe that both are in a measure correct; the test imposed on the navy having failed, the alternative which was long foreseen and always preferred became imperative. So rapid was the wonderful march that scouts could scarcely outrun it with reports, and the newspapers were either without information or dared not print what they knew. It was a force of about two hundred thousand men which crossed the Rhine, and, passing through Hesse, Baden, and (p. 363) Würtemberg to crush the utterly disproportionate and feeble Austrian army, reached the Danube valley near Ulm early in October. It was the third of September before Francis declared war; on the twenty-first, his forces, sixty thousand strong, were on the Iller in sight of Ulm. It was not so much Bavaria that he had in mind; it was Italy for which he was concerned. Austria's weight in the balance now depended upon her keeping the Venetian lands, and her generals made no haste in an advance which would not only put the Alps between her own two armies, but separate her van from her approaching auxiliaries.

The agreement with Russia was that her army, now on the borders of Galicia, and eighty thousand strong, should enter Austria in three divisions, the first of which should reach the Inn on October sixteenth. The Archduke Charles was to command the main force in Italy; the youthful Archduke Ferdinand, under the direction of Mack as quartermaster-general, that in Germany. Napoleon had made the acquaintance of this officer six years before while he was a prisoner of war at Paris, and considered him entirely mediocre—"likely to get a lesson if ever opposed to a first-rate French general." Now that the two were matched the Emperor must have laughed in his sleeve, for he played with his adversary in a spirit of confident and amused assurance.

In order to apprehend Napoleon's supernal greatness it is essential at this period of his life to shut out of view the politician, and fix the eye again on the general; to see him, moreover, solely as a strategist. It may be said that he was for the first and last time unhampered. His political independence and personal popularity were alike secure. His army was the best in Europe, composed of young and well-drilled conscripts, who had been eighteen months under arms, with a large nucleus of (p. 364) trained veterans. Of the generals who commanded the seven corps destined for Germany only two, Augereau and Bernadotte, were over forty years of age. The Emperor himself, Soult, Lannes, and Ney were thirty-six, Davout was thirty-five, and Marmont only thirty-one. Of the division commanders one half were between thirty and forty, while only a single one was fifty. Not one of these men was commonplace. They knew their profession, and had practised it with success; they were without an exception self-reliant and enterprising, familiar with their leader's methods and requirements.

And yet there was the imperfection of all human arrangements even in this masterful and stupendous campaign. An inferior commander might easily have pleaded one of many excuses for failure in such an enterprise. The Rhine crossing was delayed by insufficiency of transport carriages and pontoons, though the further advance was amply arranged. There were many desertions from the ranks, there was an insufficiency of officers, the artillery force was unduly delayed in coming up, the subsistence was scanty and imperfect, and the supply of clothing, especially shoes, was a source of anxiety. Most of all, the French treasury was utterly disorganized, pay was in arrears, no ready money was forthcoming for either ordinary or extraordinary expenses, there was slackness and distrust among the civil officials, and Mollien declares that the situation was so desperate that "in victory alone" Napoleon "saw and sought the remedy."

These facts shed a bright light on the course of affairs throughout the autumn. They explain why Napoleon forgot entirely that he was an emperor, and was first and last throughout the campaign a general. Every highway and cross-road from Boulogne to the Danube had been surveyed by his confidential officers and circumstantially (p. 365) described to him; and out of these reports he evolved a plan for the march which in the teeth of every hindrance was executed to the letter. The order for crossing the Rhine is a classic in military literature. No sooner was the advance from one line to another complete than reserve camps were established in the rear, the strong places fortified, and depots of munitions established. The Austrians had chosen for defense the line of the Iller. In addition to their main force of sixty thousand, there were twelve thousand in the fortified camp at Braunau, which contained their stores, and fifteen thousand on Lake Constance. They had not compelled Bavaria either to disarm or to accept their alliance, and the Elector had consequently gathered an army at Bamberg. Such was the situation when the French and Austrians came within striking distance of each other. The latter did not know that their foe was so near, for by a masterly and seemingly reckless use of his cavalry Napoleon had temporarily misled them as to the true position of his columns, which had flanked the Black Forest, and were holding the northeast line from Weissenburg southwesterly to Ulm by Nördlingen and Aalen, being actually in the rear of their enemy.

The next move of Napoleon was one of daring genius. By a series of carefully prescribed marches, continuing for a week, the seven corps were all thrown northward to the left as if to surround the enemy. Bernadotte, violating the Prussian neutrality, crossed the duchy of Ansbach to Ingolstadt; Marmont was at Neuburg; the other five held the line from Heidenheim to Offingen. Mack learned the facts, and believing, like every Austrian, that the French people hated Napoleon, concluded that his enemy was facing about in order to retreat by the southerly line to France! The French people, he thought, were threatening revolution and (p. 366) causing anxiety; the English, he was positive, were about to make a landing. So he stood still and waited until, on October seventh, the French, instead of marching for home, began to cross the Danube.

Three weeks after the passage of the Rhine, the Emperor wrote to Josephine: "I have destroyed the enemy merely by marches." It was literally true. On October ninth, the French, having beaten the parties sent out to harry them, had crossed the Danube also. Soult seized Memmingen and cut off the retreat to the Tyrol; Bernadotte and Davout remained to observe the Russians, whom they expected to see at any moment. In a sort of dazed uncertainty Mack finally marched out from Ulm to cross the Danube at Günzburg; but he found Ney in possession of the bridge, and in the night of the tenth he returned to the city. Two days were spent in discussions as to the probable course of the French, Mack persisting in the hallucination that they had retreated, the archduke, with better sense, perceiving that the toils were ever drawing closer about his army.

On the twelfth Napoleon moved with his whole force. The Archduke Ferdinand escaped into Bohemia with three battalions of infantry and eleven cavalry squadrons; but Mack, now stubbornly insisting that the Emperor was going to attack the Russians, remained, as he said, to strike the passing columns of the French on their flank! On the thirteenth it became clear that the goal of the enemy was Ulm; on the fourteenth they had virtually beset the town; and on the sixteenth the mortified commander opened negotiations for surrender, which were completed the following day. "If within a week," ran the stipulations, "the auxiliary forces do not appear, the army of Ulm are prisoners of war: except the officers, who march out on parole." On the (p. 367) eighteenth, Murat captured the division of Werneck at Nördlingen. In a personal interview between the Emperor and Mack on October twentieth, three days before the expiration of the limit, the latter was wheedled into admitting the terms as already complete, and twenty-three thousand Austrians laid down their arms. During the scene, according to the journal of one of Mack's officers, Napoleon, "in the uniform of a common soldier, with a gray coat singed on the elbows and tails, a slouch hat, without any badge of distinction, on his head, his arms crossed behind his back and warming himself at a camp-fire, conversed with vivacity and made himself agreeable." An Austrian corps had started from Vienna to guard the crossing of the Inn; the Archduke John was advancing from the Tyrol; the Archduke Charles was holding the Adige. A month later all these were able to unite at Marburg in Styria; but they were too few to assume the offensive, and Mack's capitulation at Ulm was the virtual destruction of Austria's power. The safety of Vienna depended not on its feeble garrison, but on the Russians, who had gathered on the Inn at Braunau and on the Enns at Wels. Almost immediately the French, who had been "gathered to strike," were "separated to live," as their commander's motto ran. Ten days later Braunau with all its stores fell into the hands of Lannes without a blow, and the van of the allies began a somewhat precipitate retreat toward the river Enns, the line which the Aulic Council at Vienna had determined to defend.

But Kutusoff, the Russian general, was not of the same mind, and in order to secure, if possible, the support of the second division of his emperor's army, which was advancing under Buxhöwden from the frontier, crossed to the left bank of the Danube at Krems, and hastened northeastward by Znaim toward Brünn, the (p. 368) capital of Moravia. Murat had been instructed to hang on the enemy's skirts and harass his retreat. Instead, he kept down the right bank of the Danube, hastening toward Vienna for the laurels he hoped to seize in occupying that undefended capital. "I cannot explain your behavior," wrote Napoleon to his brother-in-law; "you have lost me two days, and thought only on the glory of entering Vienna." In fact, an unsupported division under Mortier was caught by the Russians at Dürrenstein on the left bank and utterly destroyed. A victory won at Leoben by Ney over the Austrian division of Merveldt was unfortunately productive of no results and left Napoleon's situation very difficult. There was nothing now possible but for Murat to secure the river at Vienna, cross with two army corps, and hurry backward toward the northwest to prevent Kutusoff from reaching Moravia. This was possible only if the Austrians had not yet destroyed the bridges over the Danube. It was their bad habit, as Marmont has remarked, when defending the passage of a river to leave the bridge intact to the last moment for the sake of a counter-attack. This they had done at both Lodi and Arcola in Italy, and they had done it once again, all three times to their utter undoing.

Entering Vienna on the twelfth, Murat hastened to the Tabor bridge, which, as had been his hope and expectation, he found all laid with combustibles ready to be set on fire by a garrison troop of Austrians who had retreated to the opposite shore, but had not destroyed the bridge. The danger was real and the crisis imminent. Taking advantage of the fact that on the third the Emperor Francis had vainly endeavored to open negotiations with Napoleon, Murat declared to the Austrian commander what he knew to be an untruth—that an armistice had been concluded, and that there was still (p. 369) some prospect of peace. Bertrand fortified the statement by his word of honor; the Austrians withheld their torches, and the French crossed the bridge, while the victimized garrison drew back in the direction of Brünn. The union of the two Russian divisions with the remnants of the Austrian army was thus rendered doubtful, and their chances of defeating the reunited French were doubly uncertain. Napoleon's reputation as a strategist was saved in extremity. By another series of almost superhuman marches his main army reached Vienna on the next day, ready to follow on Murat's heels. On the fourteenth Napoleon's headquarters were established in the palace of Schönbrunn.


Trafalgar and Austerlitz[33]

The English Navy — Villeneuve's Plight — Preliminary Manœuvers — The Attack off Trafalgar — Victory of the English — Suicide of Villeneuve — The Effects of the Battle — Prussia and the Continental Campaign — Napoleon's March to Vienna — The Combat near Hollabrunn — Napoleon's Situation — The Czar Decides for Battle — The Struggle for Position — Plans of the Antagonists — The Eve of Conflict — The Battle-field of Austerlitz — The Struggle for Pratzen — The Allies Overwhelmed — Napoleon and Francis — Conduct of the Czar — The Fighting at Austerlitz — The New Tactics.

In spite of Villeneuve's retreat to Cadiz, Great Britain was by no means sure of her naval superiority. The French had fought bravely at the battle of the Nile; Nelson, though not exactly outwitted in the chase to the West Indies and back, had failed to catch his opponent, who had escaped a second time without serious loss. In the administration of the admiralty there had been great slackness, except during Barham's short term; and it is now generally agreed that the navy was not highly efficient. Every official except Admiral Collingwood was totally in the dark as to the enemy's plans, and even he was correct only in one surmise, the (p. 371) firm belief that Villeneuve would return at once from the West Indies; he was wrong in his conviction that Ireland was Napoleon's mark. The united French and Spanish fleets made a fine appearance in the accounts which reached the admiralty, and the activity of the French dockyards was alarming. England's naval ascendancy appeared to the English to be seriously jeopardized.

Villeneuve and his subordinates were apparently the only ones who positively knew that the show made by the allied fleets was deceptive. They complained bitterly, as has been said, of the deficiencies in the equipment of both, and had good cause to do so. That Napoleon was not altogether unaware of this is sufficiently proved by the fact that some one less despondent than Villeneuve was not put in his place. In justice to the French admiral it should be remembered that after his return from the West Indies he displayed great ability. It was a series of masterly movements in which he withdrew from before Calder, entered Ferrol, sailed thence and beat up against a storm to enter the Channel until he was informed that a powerful British fleet was in his path. Many of his ill-equipped craft were much damaged by the gale, and recalling the Emperor's alternative orders, he ran for Cadiz, entering the harbor with thirty-five ships. Collingwood drew off his little blockading squadron, but immediately returned to hover before the port, reinforcements being already on their way from England. Villeneuve remained at anchor. On September twenty-fifth he received orders which had been issued on the fourteenth to weigh anchor, pass through the Strait of Gibraltar, take up the ships lying at Cartagena, and proceed to Naples, in order to cooperate with the army under Saint-Cyr. He was to engage the enemy wherever (p. 372) found. The wretched admiral was in despair; for lack of stores he had been unable to improve his equipment, and the number of his ships was an embarrassment rather than a source of strength. He prepared to obey, but sent home a remonstrance. On the very heels of his first order, Napoleon despatched Rosily to supersede Villeneuve, who was to return immediately to Paris and answer charges preferred by Napoleon himself. The news outran Rosily's speed. Villeneuve, hearing of the disgrace which had overtaken him, hastened his preparations, and sailed on October nineteenth with thirty-three ships of the line, five frigates, and two brigs. It is easy to see what a tremendous effect the presence of such a naval power in the Mediterranean would have had upon the grand campaign Napoleon had arranged against Austria.

Meantime the total number of ships of the line in the blockading fleet had been raised to thirty-three. On September twenty-eighth Nelson himself came to take command, Collingwood remaining as second. The great admiral hoped for nothing short of absolutely annihilating the naval power of the allies. But he was compelled to send his vessels to Gibraltar for water in detachments, and consequently had only twenty-seven present and available when called on to fight. These were disposed southwestwardly from Cadiz toward Cape Spartel, the main body being fifty miles away when Villeneuve sailed, believing that there were only twenty confronting him. On October tenth Nelson published to his fleet the plan of the coming battle, but in order not to terrify his enemy he hovered at a long distance from the shore. On the twentieth he advanced toward the northwest, having learned from his frigates, which had been watching Cadiz, that the allies had started. Next morning at daybreak his (p. 373) watch descried the enemy sailing southeasterly, just north of Cape Trafalgar. The French fleet, simultaneously descrying the English, at once turned northward so as to be ready for retreat toward Cadiz; and Villeneuve, skilful but ever despondent, drew up his ships for battle in two long lines parallel with the shore, those of the rear covering the spaces between those of the first, so as to make the whole virtually a single compact curved line, concave toward the enemy, and therefore prepared to deliver a cross-fire.

It was a bright morning, with a light westerly breeze, but a heavy ocean swell, as the British, with the advantage of the wind, slowly advanced in two columns, one led by Nelson in the Victory, the other by Collingwood in the Royal Sovereign. All was silent when at the appointed moment the famous signal fluttered from the flag-ship: "England expects every man to do his duty." Responsive cheers burst from ship after ship, and the French admiral murmured, "All is lost!" Nelson had given a stirring order: "In case signals cannot be seen or clearly understood, no captain can do wrong if he places his ship alongside that of an enemy." Villeneuve's was scarcely less so: "Any captain not under fire is not at his post, and a signal to recall him would be a disgrace." It was a splendid audacity on Nelson's part which, fearing lest the light wind might make an engagement impossible, offered each of his ships in two attacking columns, one after the other, to the fire of a whole fleet. Collingwood's line—the southern—came into action first, just at noon, and broke through the enemy's ranks, as was expected; but although this was by prearrangement with Nelson, yet the Royal Sovereign, having outsailed her consorts, went too far, and was isolated for twenty minutes, being exposed to the fire of all the enemy's ships which could reach her, and was nearly (p. 374) lost before she could manœuver or her consorts come to her assistance.

The Victory hastened on against the Bucentaure, which carried the standard of Villeneuve, as fast as the treacherous breeze would permit, and in turn attacked on the north. She too was in advance of her consorts, and was riddled before they could come to her relief. For a time the Redoutable withstood the onset both of the Victory and the next in line; but three more British vessels coming up, the five finally broke through, capturing the Bucentaure, the Redoutable, and the Santissima Trinidad. Both the English flag-ships were saved, but the fighting was terrific on both sides. To the over-confidence of the British was opposed a dull timidity in their opponents, and in the end this began to tell. The allied van failed to use their guns with either rapidity or precision, while their inner line drifted away to leeward and was enveloped by the enemy. It was about half-past one when Nelson received a mortal wound from the maintop of the Redoutable, but he lived to hear the news of victory. He was a victim to his own system, which subordinated caution and every other idea to the single one of success. His men loved him just as Napoleon's did, and fought desperately for his approval. He was still in his prime, and in many minds his loss offset the victory. Of the whole armada, eleven ships—five French and six Spanish—escaped under Gravina; four put to sea under Dumanoir, but were eventually captured.

That night there was a violent storm. It continued throughout the twenty-third, and on the twenty-fourth three of the eleven vessels which had escaped under Admiral Gravina, having put out to cut off prizes from the British, were dashed to pieces on the shore; all but four of the English prizes were wrecked, and of Villeneuve's (p. 375) proud squadron only eleven were finally left. He himself was taken prisoner, and released on parole. Early in the following April he landed at Morlaix, and, proceeding to Rennes, asked for an opportunity to plead his cause before the Emperor. What the reply was is not known, but on the twenty-second he was found dead in his room, stabbed in several places, the knife embedded in the last wound. The reproaches Napoleon had heaped upon him must have been in the main undeserved, for he was never degraded; but they broke his spirit, and he doubtless committed suicide.

The effect of Trafalgar in England was enormous. No doubt of her superiority on the seas could now remain, for the navies of her foes were wiped out. She had been freed from the fear of invasion by Napoleon's great countermarch, and, in spite of the tremendous subsidies paid on the Continent, might now hope for a revival of industry and trade on whatever shores the oceans rolled. Napoleon's career was one long, thick shadow which hung menacingly over English life. The victory of Trafalgar was a great rift in the cloud. It ended French maritime aggressions for the duration of the war, but it scarcely changed the eventual course of affairs on land, and it in no way interfered with Napoleon's operations for the moment. It did not necessitate, as has been claimed, the notorious continental system, for that system was already in existence; it merely hastened the effort to enforce it rigorously enough to lame England by attacking her commerce. Her naval supremacy had been from the beginning a factor in determining French policy; it became after Trafalgar the most powerful element in molding Napoleon's policy, though it was not the only one. The continental allies of England, while of course they rejoiced, felt that, after all, the effects of Nelson's (p. 376) victory were remote. For the moment Austria and Russia were engaged in a struggle which even Trafalgar did not influence to their advantage. Napoleon's simple but characteristic remark on receiving the news was, "I cannot be everywhere." He began at once the reconstruction of a navy for the purpose of destroying commerce, but he never again assigned it any other share in his plans. In France there was a stunned feeling, but it quickly passed away under the influence of another event which marked nearly the highest point ever reached by the imperial power. The one most noticeable result of Trafalgar was the quick dejection it produced in Napoleon's grand army; this was symptomatic of an evil still in its initiatory stages, which, though easily cured for the moment, became in a short time periodic, and finally fatal.

Napoleon Exposition, 1895


Belonging to M. Germain Bapst.

He was almost immediately confronted by a new foe, but there is no link between the destruction of his sea power and that fact. While the French had been crossing from the valley of the Rhine into that of the Danube, they had treated the minor German states with scant courtesy, using their territories as those of either conquered people or dependent allies. This ruthless treatment did not, however, awaken a spirit of resentment among them. But Prussia, still considering herself a great power, grew furious when Bernadotte rashly violated her neutrality and marched over her lands at Ansbach. The Czar, who had already directed his troops toward the Prussian frontier in order to coerce Frederick William into joining the coalition, and intended, if necessary, to violate Prussian neutrality as Napoleon had done, appeared in Berlin about the middle of October. The court party, headed by Queen Louisa, sympathized with the coalition, and used the French ruthlessness to arouse public opinion for itself. Aided (p. 377) by Alexander's presence, it then gained a temporary victory in the treaty with Russia, signed at Potsdam on November third, which virtually ended the policy of neutrality so carefully cherished for ten years by Frederick William, and in the pursuit of which Prussia had lost her vigor and her political importance. The wavering king finally bound himself to armed mediation, to put his army on a war footing, and then either to secure from the Emperor of the French the liberties of Naples, Holland, and Switzerland, with the separation of the crown of Italy from that of France, and an indemnification for the King of Sardinia, or else to enter the coalition with one hundred and eighty thousand men. The Russian troops might occupy or cross Prussian territory whenever needful. It was believed that the necessary negotiations with Napoleon would turn one way or the other by the middle of December. Shortly afterward the two monarchs, who had wrought themselves into an exalted fervor, swore eternal friendship over the tomb of Frederick the Great. Their dramatic oath initiated the policy of secret dealing in everything pertaining to the imperial usurper who had defied all Europe, and with whom no faith in any literal sense could be kept. There was some momentary compensation to the Emperor of the French for the serious blow he had received by this new alliance in the fact that he could now openly consolidate his power in western and southern Germany, relying on the interested friendship of the three electors who had gained so much by the enactment of the imperial delegates, so called, in 1803—those, namely, of Baden, Würtemberg, and Bavaria. The grateful Elector of Bavaria personally thanked Napoleon for his condescension, and again occupied Munich, from which the Austrians had driven him. His visit was short, for Napoleon was in haste; in fact, (p. 378) his position was critical. As to the immediate future, Russia and Austria were in front, and if he should give unsatisfactory answers to the envoy from Berlin, Prussia would be in his rear. All depended, therefore, on a quick and decisive struggle with the two allied empires.

During his advance to Vienna, Napoleon, without a single conflict which might justly be called a pitched battle, had manœuvered both Austrians and Russians out of his way. By serious inadvertence he had suffered the division of Mortier, left isolated on the left bank of the Danube, to be annihilated at Dürrenstein; and through Murat's vainglorious stubbornness, Kutusoff had escaped with the Russian contingent. Nevertheless, as has been told, the main French army had, by the most amazing marches, reached Vienna on November fourteenth, and the same day Napoleon had established his headquarters in the neighboring palace of Francis at Schönbrunn. Murat was hurrying forward with his cavalry, and the divisions of Suchet and Lannes were close on the heels of Murat. If these should attack one Russian flank while a second army turned the other, Kutusoff's force could be dispersed. But two important duties demanded immediate attention. The troops had been scattered over a wide territory to live on the country; now they must be gathered in to strike. It was consequently essential that regular provision-trains be organized and supplied. Both these tasks were pursued with untiring zeal. "They say I have more talent than some others," Napoleon wrote to Marmont on November fifteenth, "and yet to defeat an enemy whom I am accustomed to beat I feel I can never have enough troops. I am calling in all I can unite."

Murat pushed onward after the retreating Russians, and in spite of their tremendous marches overtook them (p. 379) on the fifteenth. Kutusoff's men were so weary that they could proceed no farther without a rest, and from Schrattenthal he sent back a subordinate, Bagration, to Hollabrunn, with six thousand of the freshest troops, to check the French advance, if possible. Believing the main army of Kutusoff to be before him, the French leader felt unable to engage. Accordingly he despatched a messenger under a flag of truce with the statement, purely fictitious, though speciously based on certain irrelevant facts, that negotiations had been opened for a general armistice. Kutusoff, pretending to be familiar with the details of the falsehood, heartily entered into a proposition to negotiate, using the time thus gained to prepare his further retreat. A paper was duly drawn up, signed, and sent to Napoleon at Schönbrunn, where the bearer arrived on the sixteenth. The Emperor, seeing how Murat had been outwitted, immediately sent off an adjutant to him with peremptory orders to attack at once. When this command arrived at Hollabrunn, Soult had come in with three divisions, but Kutusoff with his army was far away on the highroad to Znaim. Murat fought bravely, but Bagration's vastly inferior force resisted with equal stubbornness until eleven at night, when, their purpose of gaining time having been accomplished, they followed the main army. Napoleon had by this time come up to take charge in person, but it was too late: Murat had "destroyed the fruits of a campaign." Near Brünn, Kutusoff met the Vienna garrison, and at Wischau the united force of forty-five thousand men joined the first detachment, fourteen thousand strong, of a second Russian army, which was advancing under Buxhöwden. The second detachment of this army, ten thousand strong, was found next day, November twentieth, at Prossnitz. The great fortress of Olmütz was just beyond, with a (p. 380) garrison of about fifteen thousand; Alexander had arrived with his imperial guard; and Bennigsen, one of Paul's assassins, who had been preferred to high command by Alexander, was already marching from Breslau with another army of forty-five thousand. The Archduke Ferdinand was in Bohemia with an Austrian corps to guard the right, and the Archduke Charles was on his way to Vienna with the Austrian army from Italy—the two together about eighty thousand strong.

At first sight it appears as if Napoleon were outnumbered, his detachments scattered, and his communications endangered; and these charges have been brought in order to attribute his subsequent success to good fortune alone. But a scrutiny of the Emperor's grand strategy will show that he could be perfectly secure. From far and near his scattered but well-trained divisions were moving on. Masséna had left Italy; Ney, having swept the enemy from the Tyrol, was coming up; and all about the southern line divisions were moving to guard strategic points, to stop the hurrying Austrians, and yet be within "marching distance." With this comfortable assurance, the great captain advanced to the Moravian capital, and there established his headquarters on the nineteenth. Once again, by his amazing power of combination, he had gained the advantage, his troops being so disposed that in one day he could call in fifty-four thousand men; in two, seventy-five thousand; in four, eighty-five thousand; and his line of retreat was secure. If compelled to withdraw, he could fall back on Davout, Mortier, and Klein, assemble one hundred thousand men, and again make a stand. If Kutusoff and Charles should march straight to Vienna to effect a junction, he could oppose to their combined army of a hundred and sixty-nine thousand troops a hundred and seventy-two thousand of his own. (p. 381) The defensive position of his foes was virtually impregnable, but they could not unite for attack as swiftly or advantageously as he. His own defensive position was less strong, because he had for some distance about and behind him a hostile country. What the allies, therefore, needed was time; what Napoleon wanted was a battle.

But where and how? There would be little advantage and much danger in simply attacking the foe to drive them farther back into their own lands. The battle must be swift and conclusive, or else the year, with all the prestige of Ulm, would be lost. In this juncture what Napoleon chose to call his fate or destiny signally favored him; in reality it was his own calm assurance which misled his opponents. The Austrians had too often felt the weight of Napoleon's hand, and all their officers except Colonel Weirother, a favorite of Alexander's, were cautious; the Russians, recalling that Napoleon had never fought with them, were eager to destroy his renown. Czartoryski, though he had resigned his post of foreign minister, was again at Alexander's side. "Our true policy—and this I told to every one who would listen," he wrote, in 1806, "was to wear out the foe with skirmishes and keep the main army out of reach, secure Hungary, and unite with the Archduke Charles." But the Czar's other advisers were the more intent because there was no love lost between them and Austria. Francis had already despatched two able agents, Gyuläi and Stadion, to coöperate with the Prussian envoy Haugwitz in negotiating with Napoleon for peace. These negotiations, if successful, would greatly diminish Russia's importance. Moved, therefore, by a characteristic pride, Alexander harkened to those who clamored for battle, and, taking the momentous decision on his own (p. 382) account, began to prepare. Napoleon could scarcely realize the possibility of such rashness, and received the news with delight. Haugwitz and the Austrian diplomats were directed toward Vienna, where Talleyrand was to conduct the negotiations; Napoleon's adjutant, Savary, was sent direct to Alexander himself, nominally to see whether he would consider a partition of Turkey, in reality to observe the state of the Russian forces. The crafty disposition of the diplomats was the never-failing second bow-string, in case the decision of arms should be doubtful; Savary's mission was a feint to gain time and information.

Napoleon heard on November twenty-seventh, from a deserter, that the enemy was actually advancing, but he could not believe it. Next day the news was confirmed by his own cavalry, and in such a way as to indicate the method of attack—a flank movement against the French right. That night his own plan was completed and the outlying divisions were summoned. They came so promptly that the very next morning found him on the heights above Austerlitz, twelve miles to the east of southeast from Brünn, and ready to meet the enemy. Bernadotte accomplished what seemed impossible, and on December first was in position across the highway between Brünn and Olmütz. Davout was close behind, and the same night reached the cloister of Great Raigern, seven miles south of Brünn, and about twelve from Austerlitz. There are on record no such feats of marching as those performed by French troops, with incredible swiftness, on the days preceding Austerlitz. Friant's division marched from Leopoldsdorf through Nikolsburg to Raigern, seventy-eight miles, in exactly forty-two hours!! And after six hours' rest, they marched five miles further, engaged the columns of the allied left wing and fought against (p. 383) terrific odds for eight hours!!! There are records of other similar feats in the same campaign by single brigades, but nothing approaching this in the annals of warfare.[34] But the enemy was not yet visible in force on November twenty-ninth, and it was only when Savary returned from the Russian camp with complete and precious information that there seemed no longer room for doubt. Accordingly the French were withdrawn during that day in a line southwesterly from Austerlitz, to take up a position stronger than that in which they stood. To preserve the appearance of sincerity, Savary was sent back in hot haste to Alexander with a second meaningless proposition. As a return move Prince Dolgoruki was sent on the thirtieth with a like message from Alexander to Napoleon. The prince was utterly hoodwinked, and some have thought that the Russian decision to fight was due to his report that the French were on the point of retreat.

On the highest hilltop between Brünn and Austerlitz, still known as "Napoleon's Mount," the Emperor bivouacked during the night of November thirtieth. Having been aware since morning that the enemy's slowness would give him yet another day, he had carefully examined the land in front and far to his right. The result was a daring resolution. The Czar's advisers had determined to turn the right wing of the French: this Napoleon had now learned through a traitor in the Russian camp. It would be easy to thwart them by occupying a high plateau to the right, on which stood the hamlet of Pratzen, with his right wing on the Littawa stream; in which case he would win "an ordinary battle," to use his own phrase. But it was not such a victory that he wished: his aim was nothing less than the annihilation of the coalition. So he determined to leave (p. 384) this apparently commanding position, feeling sure that his over-confident foe would occupy it as a manifest vantage-ground.

On December first the hostile army appeared, marching in five columns, and before night the two divisions of the center were drawn up, on and behind the plateau of Pratzen; the three which composed the left were on and before its southern slopes. Their movements and their position convinced the experienced observer that his information was exact. Late in the afternoon was held a council of war in which every general received the most minute directions. Soult especially was carefully instructed as to the "manœuver of the day"—an advance in echelon, right shoulder forward. Nicely poised combinations need careful attention, and the uneasy but confident Emperor spent the night passing from watch-fire to watch-fire, encouraging and observing his men. With noisy enthusiasm they besought him not to expose his life on the morrow, and promised to bring him a suitable bouquet for the anniversary of his coronation. For a time the whole camp was illuminated with extemporized torches of hay. But, though excited, the troops, as well as their general, were confident; they understood his casually uttered but carefully considered words, which passed from mouth to mouth: "While they are marching to surround my right, they will offer me their flank." For a time, also, he rode in the darkness to reconnoiter the enemy's position, and being convinced that no movement was to be made before morning, he returned to his tent about three and slept until dawn. He has been charged with having for the first time shown cowardice at Austerlitz. This is because in a proclamation he promised not to risk his life, as his men had requested; but this promise was expressly conditioned on their doing their duty, and he kept his (p. 385) word because they kept theirs. General Bonaparte had led his soldiers where danger was greatest, but Napoleon the Emperor, having won his stake, had no need to take such risks; having more to lose, he now for the first time used the ordinary caution of a man whose life is worth that of many common men. It was only what every great royal and imperial general is accustomed to do.

The early hours of December second, 1805, were misty, although there was a sharp frost; but by seven the sun had dimly risen, and soon the thick fog lay only along the streams. At that hour the Russians and Austrians began their marching. Those behind the Pratzen heights passed swiftly up, and, uniting with those already there, marched in the general direction of the forest near Turas, intending to cross the intervening Goldbach and with their own left, which stood at Telnitz and Sokolnitz, surround Napoleon's right wing. The battle-field of Austerlitz is approximately an isosceles triangle, the short base extending north and south between Raigern and Brünn, a distance of about seven miles, and the equal sides, twelve miles in length, converging in Austerlitz to the eastward. About half-way on a perpendicular let fall from the apex, and parallel with the base, the Goldbach flows on the west side of the Pratzen plateau, nearly due south, the villages of Schlapanitz, Puntowitz, Kobelnitz, Sokolnitz, and Telnitz being at about equidistant intervals from north to south on its banks. A mile north of Schlapanitz the road from Brünn to Olmütz forms the north side of the triangle; the forest of Turas lies about two miles to the west of Puntowitz, on a high plain. In a line eastward of Schlapanitz, about a mile from that village and from each other, are the villages of Girzikowitz and Blasowitz. Napoleon's bivouac was on the high hill northwest of Schlapanitz, at the base of which, on the (p. 386) other side, was Bellowitz. North of the Olmütz road is a commanding hill, dubbed by the veterans of the Egyptian expedition with an Egyptian name, Santon, from a fancied resemblance of the little spire which crowned it to a minaret. This was to be the pivot of the battle, and Napoleon fortified it with a redoubt and eighteen pieces of cannon. South of it stood the left wing under Lannes; next toward the south stood the cavalry under Murat; then the center under Bernadotte; and Soult with the right was west of Puntowitz. Oudinot was eastward, in front of the imperial bivouac, with ten battalions; and ten battalions of the guard, with forty field-pieces, were westward behind it. Davout, having arrived the night before, was at Raigern. Legrand stood between him and Sokolnitz, on a pond lying southeast of that village.

At five in the morning Davout marched from Raigern, and about nine joined Legrand to engage the enemy's left. Meantime, at a quarter to eight, Soult began to climb the Pratzen slopes with the divisions of Vandamme and Saint-Hilaire. In about twenty minutes—the exact time in which he had declared he could do so—he had made good his position, and was fiercely engaged with the column of Kollowrath, which formed the enemy's center, and with which Kutusoff was present in person. The latter, realizing for the first time what the loss of Pratzen would mean, endeavored to concentrate toward the right; but his efforts were unavailing: he could only stand and fight. The two Austro-Russian columns on his left swooped down to the Goldbach, and seized both Telnitz and Sokolnitz. Simultaneously with Soult's advance, Bernadotte and Murat moved forward, encountering between Girzikowitz and Blasowitz the enemy's cavalry under Prince Lichtenstein, and the Russian imperial guard under the Grand Duke Constantine. (p. 387) Napoleon advanced to observe the conflict, and a little before eleven, at the critical moment, when the regiment of his brother Joseph was on the verge of being engulfed and lost, he threw in the cavalry of his own guard, under Bessières and Rapp, upon the Russian guard, turned the scale against them, and with his own eyes saw Constantine withdraw. The Russian vanguard under Bagration had meantime come in from Bosenitz, and was hotly engaged with a portion of the French left. The entire cavalry mass of Lichtenstein and Murat was commingled in bitter conflict. With the retreat of Constantine began the rout of the whole Austro-Russian right wing. Lannes, supported by the Santon redoubt, had stood like a rock until then; at once he precipitated himself, with the divisions of Suchet and Caffarelli, upon Bagration, and drove him back. Lichtenstein, who, up to that moment, had at least held his own,—if, indeed, he had not shown himself the stronger,—could no longer stand, and late in the afternoon he too began to yield.

Between eleven and twelve Soult had cleared the Pratzen heights, and pushing ever toward the right, had finally, just as the sun burst in splendor through the clouds, separated the enemy's left wing from its center. The latter had been sadly weakened both by detachments to strengthen the left and by its losses in conflict. At noon it began to retreat, and Napoleon, having satisfied himself that all was well on his left to the north, rode south to join Soult, and in passing despatched Drouot's division against the fugitive Kutusoff, whose column was thus overpowered and thrown into utter confusion. Since nine in the morning Davout had stood on the west shore of the Goldbach, flinging back the successive charges of the enemy's overgrown left. The continuous struggles had been terrific; the (p. 388) stream literally flowed blood as the soldiers of both sides crashed through the ice, and, unable to disengage themselves from the muddy bottom, stood fighting until they died. By two o'clock, however, his labors were over: the great move of the day, Soult's echelon march, right shoulder forward, was complete; Saint-Hilaire and Vandamme had recaptured the villages of Sokolnitz and Aujezd; the three southernmost Austro-Russian columns were entirely surrounded, and only a few from each escaped to join the remnants of their right, center, and reserve, running for life across frozen ponds and ditches, by dikes, and over rough-plowed fields toward Austerlitz. About five thousand of the fugitives, mostly Russians under Doctoroff and Langeron, had risked themselves on the ice of the Satschan lake and were hurrying across when Napoleon arrived. He ordered the field-pieces to be turned on the ice so that the balls weakened and cracked it.[35] In a few moments it gave way; with shrieks and groans many sank into the slowly rising waters and disappeared under the tossing icefloes. According to the account of the bulletins, frequently doubted but never refuted, nearly two thousand of them were drowned: when the ponds were drained after the battle forty Russian guns and many corpses were found. The fighting strength of the coalition was destroyed; so likewise was their moral courage. Shortly after Kutusoff's retreat, General Toll found Alexander seated weeping by the wayside, and accompanied by only a single adjutant.

(p. 389) Hostilities were scarcely ended for the day before Francis despatched Lichtenstein with proposals for an armistice. Napoleon received the envoy while making his round of the battle-field, but refused to treat for two days. He intended to reap the fruits of victory, and ordered a skilful, thorough pursuit. Such was the rout of the allies that the position of the shattered columns of Austria and Russia was not known until the fourth of December. The Czar was in such danger of being captured that early in the day he sent to Davout a flag of truce and a hastily penciled note declaring that the Austrian emperor had been in conference with Napoleon since six that morning, and that a truce had been arranged. This falsehood enabled Alexander to escape across the river March and avoid being made a prisoner of war. It was only in the afternoon that the Emperor Francis was received by Napoleon in a tent near Holitsch, and it was not before the sixth that the campaign was ended by Austria's acceptance of such terms for an armistice as the Emperor of the French chose to impose.

Considering the character of the battle, the terms first suggested were not hard: No loss of territory for Austria if the Russian emperor would withdraw to his own territories and shut out England from his harbors; otherwise Napoleon would take Venetia for Italy and Tyrol for Bavaria. Alexander would not listen to the embargo project, nor to Francis's desperate suggestion that they should continue the war. On the sixth, having, according to Savary, exchanged fulsome compliments with Napoleon, he marched away for Russia, leaving his ally to take the consequences of what was really his own rashness. This was a complete rupture of the coalition: its weightiest stipulation was that none of the members should make a separate peace. The only hope of Austria for endurable terms now lay in (p. 390) Prussian coöperation. But Haugwitz could no longer offer the ultimatum agreed upon at Potsdam; the battle had of course utterly changed the situation. Napoleon now demanded nothing less from Prussia than the long-desired alliance offensive and defensive. On December fifteenth Frederick William's envoy assented provisionally, and set out for Berlin to secure the royal assent, if possible. His master was to keep Hanover and close her ports to the English; to give Cleves, Wesel, and Neuchâtel to France; to cede Ansbach to Bavaria; and to acknowledge the latter as a kingdom, with such eastern boundaries as Austria would agree to yield.

For an instant Napoleon thought of continuing the war to annihilate Austria forever. Talleyrand's hand, however, had been crossed, as no one doubted, with an enormous bribe from Austrian sources, and he persuaded the Emperor not to follow the bad advice of his generals, but to "rise higher as a statesman" and make peace. With his assent to this went ever larger and harder demands, until Francis actually contemplated a renewal of the desperate and unequal struggle alone and unassisted. He had in all probability a fighting chance, but his longing for peace prevailed. When the treaty was signed, on December twenty-sixth, 1805, at Presburg, Austria surrendered Venice, with Friuli, Istria, and Dalmatia, to Italy; ceded Tyrol to Bavaria; consented to the banishment of the Bourbons from Naples; accepted all the new arrangements which had recently been made by Napoleon in Italy, and agreed to pay a war indemnity of forty million francs. The contributions laid on Austrian lands in irregular ways during the progress of the campaign had been probably more than as much again. The recognition of Bavaria as an independent kingdom, and the rearrangement of German territories, put an end to the (p. 391) empire; Francis, having in 1804 assumed the title Emperor of Austria, was heartily tired of the rather bedraggled imperial Roman style which he still wore. Würtemberg received five cities on the Danube, the counties of Hohenems and Wellenburg, with part of the Breisgau, and became a kingdom like Bavaria; Baden got the rest of the Breisgau, together with Ortenau, Mainau, and the city of Constance; Bavaria received not only Tyrol, with the Vorarlberg, but Brixen, Trent, Passau, Eichstädt, Burgau, Lindau, and other minor possessions, to round out her new frontier. In scanty amends Salzburg and Berchtesgaden were assigned to the Austrian Empire.

The fighting on both sides at Austerlitz was in the main superb. "My people," said the Emperor to his soldiers—"my people will see you again with delight; and if one of you shall say, 'I was at Austerlitz,' every one will respond, 'Here stands a hero.'" The legions of the Empire had indeed fought with unsurpassed bravery, as had likewise the Austrians. The Russians were not so steadfast. In their first experience of the "furia Francesa" their old notions of courage were wiped out. "Those who saw the battle-field," said the "Moniteur," "will testify that it lay strewn with Austrians where the fight was thickest, while elsewhere it was strewn with Russian knapsacks." Such was the effect upon his men that not only did Alexander leave his ally in the lurch and march back into Poland, but he felt called on to publish a bulletin asserting the valor of his own, and the timidity of the Austrian troops. But the "Battle of Austerlitz," as it is called in French phrase, the "Fight of the Three Emperors," as the Germans designate the day, was epochal, not merely for the courage displayed, but for the tactical revolution it wrought. It was the first true Napoleonic battle. Thenceforward the greatest conflicts were arranged on (p. 392) its commanding principle—a principle which had long been used, but was then for the first time fully developed and accepted.

Throughout the preceding period of warfare an army was set in motion as a whole, every portion being from first to last in the commander's hand ready for manœuvering. If any division was hemmed in, or any portion of the line was broken, the result was defeat. From 1805 onward any single part, center or either wing, could be annihilated, and the victory still be won elsewhere by the other parts. For this two things are essential: first, fresh troops to throw into the proper place at the proper time; second, a line of retreat, with a new basis for operations, previously prepared. The highest military authorities go so far as to say that in a well-arranged battle one portion of the line should even be sacrificed to the enemy in order to secure victory with the others. The pursuit after Austerlitz was as fine as the attack, and so colossal and comprehensive was Napoleon's genius that he had made complete arrangements for withdrawing in case of defeat, not, as the enemy thought, toward Vienna, but through Bohemia to Passau. The total numbers engaged were, on the side of the allies, about ninety thousand; on that of the French, about eighty thousand. The Austrians and Russians lost fifteen thousand killed and wounded, with twenty thousand taken prisoners, while the French had seven thousand killed and wounded in the long and dreadful stand made at the Goldbach by their right, and about five thousand elsewhere. The Emperor thought it a small price to pay for the hegemony of Europe, and his favorite title was "Victor of Austerlitz." "Soldiers," he cried at Borodino, as the sun burst through the dun clouds, "it is the sun of Austerlitz!" and his flagging army revived its drooping spirits.


Napoleon, War Lord and Emperor[36]

The New Map of Europe — The Reapportionment of Italy — Treatment of the Papal States — Holland a Vassal Kingdom — Royal Alliances of the Napoleon Family — Prussia Humiliated — Negotiations with Great Britain and Russia — The Transformation of Germany — The Confederation of the Rhine — Napoleon's Disdain of International Law — Russia Enraged — Napoleon as Emperor — The Theocracy — Cares for the Army — The Financial Situation — Napoleon's Conceptions of Finance — Social Avocations.

Pitt was in Bath recovering from an attack of gout when he heard the news of Austerlitz; within twenty-four hours his features became pinched and blue, taking on an expression long known as the "Austerlitz look." Returning to his villa at Putney, with the hand of death upon him, he is said to have entered through a corridor on the wall of which hung a map of Europe. "Roll up that map," he hoarsely murmured to his niece; "it will not be needed these ten years." He died soon afterward, on January twenty-third, 1806, in his forty-seventh year; and the last words he was heard to utter were, "My country—oh, how I leave my country!" He had hoped, and, as the sequel proved, (p. 394) not in vain, that as England had saved herself by her own exertions, so she might save contemporary Europe by her example. In the new ministry, Fox was secretary of state, but, liberal as he was, he could not resist public opinion, which was outraged at the preëminence of France. Austria was stripped of leadership even in Germany; there was but a difference of degree in the subservience of Russia, Prussia, Bavaria, and Baden.


The effect of Austerlitz in the French army was to silence criticism, which had been rife after Kutusoff's escape. In France itself the war had for some time been growing unpopular; the long-feared panic had actually begun; for since Trafalgar all prospect of colonial trade was at an end, while commerce with the East had well-nigh ceased. Though there were forty million francs in subsidies from Spain and Italy, loans thrice that sum were negotiated and only by the shrewdest manipulation of public finance could the increased establishment of the empire be supported. The people, moreover, groaned under the hardships of the ruthless conscription, and many cared more that France herself should be at peace than that she should have the ascendancy in Europe. But the news of Austerlitz was irresistible, and shifts were devised to tide over the financial crisis until the great administrator should return and, with the aid of his war indemnities, rearrange the pieces on the board of domestic affairs. Such victories were not dearly bought in money, but were an actual source of revenue. Other nations might be made contributory in a financial as well as a political way, or rather the two would go hand in hand, prestige and cash. The temptation was subtle.

(p. 395) Thus was opened the way for what was the most profound and influential effect of Austerlitz: the attempted substitution for the effete Holy Roman Empire under a German prince, of another Western empire to be ruled by the Emperor of the French, with territorial subdivisions under Napoleonic princes, all subject to the central power.

The first step taken toward establishing this new conception was a further advance in Italy. At the critical moment of the Austerlitz campaign, Caroline, the Queen of Naples, Napoleon's irreconcilable enemy, had broken her sourly given engagement with him. Her harbors were opened to English ships, and Russian troops occupied her territories. The Czar had prided himself on his guardian relation to the Two Sicilies: his check at Austerlitz and his dismissal from the scene of action were not a sufficient humiliation; the very next day an army order was issued which sent Masséna to Naples, and declared that the Bourbon dynasty had ceased to exist. By decree of the French senate, Joseph Bonaparte was on March thirtieth, 1806, made king of Naples and Sicily. It was with reluctance and under the sting of sharp admonitions that he left his elegant, important ease and took the crown upon his uneasy head, "to keep a firm hand" on unwilling subjects, "to be master" where he was at best an unwilling tool. The new monarch retained his French dignities, but assumed the rôle of a dependent ally of France. At the same time and in the same way all Venetia was incorporated with the kingdom of Italy. Elisa's appanage of Lucca was increased by the districts of Massa-e-Carrara and Garfagnana; the principality of Guastalla was made over to Pauline. Still further, twenty hereditary duchies were organized, either at once or later, bearing the titles of Dalmatia, Istria, Friuli, Cadore, Belluno, (p. 396) Conegliano, Treviso, Feltre, Bassano, Vicenza, Padua, Rovigo, Ragusa, Gaeta, Otranto, Taranto, Reggio, Lucca, Parma, and Piacenza. These were fiefs, not of France, but of the French Empire; the first duty of the holders was to the Emperor, their second to France. A landed aristocracy, thus founded, might be indefinitely enlarged and thus afford not merely society for the lonely summits of the hierarchy, but a comfortable intercalation as the seat of the throne, removed by one stratum from the restless foundation elements. To the Emperor himself the kingdom of Italy was not alone a bastion of political power, but a treasure house: it was to pay fourteen million francs a year, and the kingdom of Naples one million. Later the same system was extended to Germany and Poland. What could be plainer than the meaning of this?

The Pope, returning empty-handed from the coronation, had firmly refused to grant a divorce for Jerome Bonaparte, who had pusillanimously expressed repentance for his American marriage. In the Austerlitz campaign the Pontiff preserved an absolute neutrality. But the papal territories were nevertheless desecrated, since Bernadotte was made titular prince of Ponte Corvo, and Talleyrand, the unfrocked and married bishop, created prince of Benevento. French soldiers seized Ancona on the plea of maintaining it against the English heretics and pagan Turks. The Roman ports were declared shut to all enemies of France. It is credibly reported that Napoleon contemplated having himself crowned as Western emperor in St. Peter's, but whether this be true or not, he demanded recognition as Emperor of Rome, and exacted the expulsion of Russians, English, and Sardinians from the Papal States. The Pope pleaded that for the Emperor of the French to be recognized as Roman emperor would destroy the papal power (p. 397) in all other lands, and obtained a respite by dismissing from his office as secretary of state Consalvi, who headed the opposition.

The title was unimportant compared with the reality, and this Napoleon set about securing still further by erecting Holland into a Napoleonic kingdom. Schimmelpenninck, Napoleon's stanch supporter, was still grand pensionary, and at a wink from the Emperor a deputation of Dutch officials came to Paris. Their chairman, Verhuel, was informed that his country was to receive a new executive in the person of Prince Louis; otherwise Napoleon could not, at the peace, hand back her colonies; that as to religion, the new king would keep his own, but every part of his kingdom should have the same right. The constitution should remain unchanged. The delegates protested, and pleaded the treaties of 1795 and 1803, which guaranteed Dutch independence; but the Emperor stood firm: either Louis as king, or incorporation with France. On May twenty-fourth, 1806, the "High and Mighty States" ceased to exist, and on June fifth a new king, much against his will, was added to the great vassals of the Empire. It was a sorry office, foredoomed both to disgrace and mortify its occupant; being, from the imperial side, little more than that of a stern customs-collector defying Great Britain on one hand, and on the other that of an economic tyrant compelling a proud people to commercial degradation by intolerable restraints on their natural activities. Louis Bonaparte was not of stern material; his irregular life, his morbid sensibility, his boundless self-esteem, his sensuality, each separately and all combined, rendered it impossible for him to play his assigned rôle. His personal pose was to transcend the official, to be king of his people, to be caressed by his court and the nation; to go his own way, in short, indifferent to the hand from which he had fed.

(p. 398) The humiliation of Germany was scarcely less profound than that of Italy and Holland. With the advance of years Napoleon's earlier religious impressions, always vague, had degenerated into a mild and tolerant deism. Less than a fortnight after Austerlitz he found time to reprimand sharply a member of the Institute for printing atheistic books; but Christianity, with its attendant morality, was for him, after all, only an important social phenomenon of which atheism would be destructive. Nevertheless, outward respect for Roman Catholicism had been a powerful lever for his ambitious purposes both in Italy and in France. In the latter country he had formed to his profit a stable alliance between Church and State, and this same lever he purposed to make use of for the complete overturning of the old political system of Germany. Among other complaints which he poured out to the Pope was one concerning the utter disorganization of the Church among the Germans. This was largely true, for some of the petty ecclesiastical princes were as licentious as their secular contemporaries. Protestant Germany was apathetic, and almost everywhere religion and morality were at a low ebb. The remnant of good men were as uneasy about the Church as the sensible masses were about the political tyranny under which they suffered. When Bavaria, Würtemberg, and Baden were enlarged and emancipated from the overlordship of Austria, the reigning princes either misunderstood what had actually occurred,—the transfer of their suzerainty from Austria to France,—or else they felt no sense of shame in becoming vassals of the French emperor. The so-called sovereigns occasionally made a mild endeavor to assert some little independence; but such efforts were so often followed by a message from Paris suggesting that they held their offices, not for themselves, but (p. 399) as part of the French system, that they soon desisted entirely. Yet they long rejected Napoleon's proposals for matrimonial alliances between their families and his. Austerlitz overcame their repugnance. On January fourteenth, 1806, Max Joseph of Bavaria yielded to the Empress Josephine's long-cherished desire, and gave his daughter Augusta as consort to the viceroy Eugène, breaking her engagement with the heir apparent in Baden. Soon after, Eugène's cousin Stéphanie, whose relations with Napoleon had made a scandal even in Paris, was married to the prince who had been Augusta's suitor. A year later, Jerome, in defiance of ecclesiastical laws, was wedded to the Princess Catharine, daughter of King Frederick of Würtemberg. Although these arrangements gratified the Emperor's personal pride, they were made primarily to support the new imperial state policy. In them there was nothing calculated to rouse England from the comparative lethargy into which she fell after Trafalgar, nor to exasperate Prussia unduly.

But this moderation was only apparent. There was a bolt in the forge which, if rightly wielded, would speedily reduce Prussia to vassalage, and eventually bring England herself to terms. When Haugwitz, the Prussian envoy, returned from Schönbrunn to Berlin, the treaty of alliance with France which he had felt bound to make was not welcomed, and with some suggestions for important changes the bearer was despatched to Paris by the King to see whether better terms could not be obtained. The Prussian monarch was, in fact, afraid of the Prussian national temper, and dared not face his people without something more than Hanover to show for his previous losses on the left bank of the Rhine, and the new cessions he had been compelled to make after Austerlitz. The Emperor received the plenipotentiary kindly, and seemed on the point of (p. 400) yielding the modifications, which were that Frederick William should receive along with Hanover the cities of Hamburg, Bremen, and Lübeck. But the advent of Fox to power momentarily turned Napoleon's head. With one great liberal at the helm in England, and another autocratic in France, the two, he felt, could change the face of Europe and the character of the world. This delusion suggested peace with England, and the Emperor thought for an instant of keeping Hanover as a medium of exchange; his second thought, however, was not to buy peace, but to enforce it. Accordingly, even harder conditions than before were laid upon Prussia as to the exchange of territories, and besides she was compelled to enter the continental embargo on English trade. The King was in despair, but he yielded. Hardenberg, the head of his cabinet, was dismissed, at Napoleon's desire, because he represented the national self-respect; and Prussia, lately so proud but now humbled and disgraced, listened, stunned and incredulous, to the insults of the "Moniteur," while her King, on March ninth, 1806, set his hand to a paper which seemed to secure Hanover at the price of Prussian independence. Three months later, on June eleventh, Fox declared war against Prussia. At that very moment Napoleon was negotiating for the return of the electorate to George III of England, its hereditary prince, as the price of a peace with Great Britain.

Fox had found an opportunity to open communications with the French government in connection with the current report of a plot to assassinate the Emperor. Being given to understand that Napoleon would gladly make peace on the basis of the treaty of Amiens, negotiations were opened through Lord Yarmouth, one of the travelers detained in France under the Emperor's retaliatory measure when war was declared by England. (p. 401) Talleyrand offered as a basis for negotiation all that England could desire, including the restitution of Hanover and the principle of uti possidetis, which meant that England could keep Malta with the conquered colonies; besides, the Naples Bourbons, though banished from the mainland, could reign in the island of Sicily. But the French minister stipulated, apparently for France, that Russia should not treat in common with Great Britain. With these seemingly favorable terms Yarmouth set out for London. In reality negotiations with Russia had already been opened, and it was Alexander's express injunction through Oubril, the special plenipotentiary sent to Paris for the purpose, that Russia should not join England in negotiation. The Czar was unwilling to hamper himself in the Orient by even a temporary alliance with Great Britain, his rival in that quarter. This was playing directly into the hands of Napoleon, whose diplomacy was, like his strategy, dependent for its overwhelming success on the utter surprises it prepared for his opponents. Such a one was now in readiness. No sooner had Yarmouth returned to Paris in June than the French government began to draw back. King Joseph could not get on without Sicily, and the only possible indemnity to the former rulers would be a domain formed from the Hanseatic cities. After a few weeks of such fencing, during which Yarmouth appeared to mirror by a yielding complacency the supposed peace policy of Fox's cabinet, Oubril provisionally signed just such a treaty with Russia as Napoleon desired. Then first the bolt thus far kept in concealment was loosed by publishing as an accomplished fact the organization of a great power subsidiary to France in the heart of Europe—the Confederation of the Rhine. This was the most audacious of all Napoleon's audacious schemes.

(p. 402) It meant, indeed, a new map of Europe, the minimizing of England's influence on the Continent, the permanent neutralizing of both Austrian and Prussian power, the exclusion of Russia from the councils of western Europe. The means by which it was brought about were as astute as the measure was momentous. Among the German princes who had lent their presence to the splendors of Napoleon's coronation was the only ecclesiastic who had maintained himself amid the changes incident to the general secularization which took place after the treaty of Lunéville—to wit, the Archbishop Dalberg, Elector of Mainz, who had formed the ambitious plan of securing that unity and efficiency of the German Church which both the Pope and Napoleon desired. Of an ancient and noble line, he found no difficulty in putting himself at the head of an extensive movement among the Roman Catholics of western and central Germany, who desired to restore the Church in Germany to a position of influence, and to secure her purity and power in a way similar to that which had been followed in France through the Concordat. The rulers of France had for more than a century been desirous of establishing between their own territories and those of the great German states, Prussia and Austria, a belt of weak states, to serve as a bulwark against their enemies and as a field for the extension of their own influence. Napoleon, making use of the malleable temper produced in Europe by the fires of Austerlitz, proceeded to realize the project. To the Pope he said that, since his authority was not sufficient to bring order out of the ecclesiastical chaos in Germany, he would intrust the task to Dalberg as primate.

Assured not only of subservient obedience from Bavaria, Würtemberg, and Baden, but of considerable good will from the devout inhabitants of western Germany, (p. 403) the Emperor of the French had formed the plan of confederating the three considerable powers above mentioned, with new ones to be formed by "mediatizing" most of the petty ones still remaining. This term was a euphemism to emphasize the transformation of their hitherto immediate into a mediate relation to the Empire. But immediacy was quasi-autonomy, mediacy was virtual annihilation, the rulers retaining only their personal effects and respective patrimonies. No sooner was the existence of this design whispered abroad than Talleyrand was beset by agents from the twenty-four princelings concerned. Their hands were not empty, and again the minister lined his coffers. When the papers were finally drawn up, and the necessary signatures were added, it was found that only a few of the little principalities and counties had escaped annihilation. For various reasons, those of Isenburg, Arenberg, Lichtenstein, Salm, Hohenzollern, and Von der Leyen were still permitted to live. The electors of Hesse-Cassel and of Saxony, who were friendly to Prussia, were excluded from the league. The components of this new power were Bavaria, Würtemberg, Baden, Nassau, Hesse-Darmstadt, the city and lands of Frankfort, with Dalberg as prince-primate, the six districts just enumerated, and, lastly, a new state, the grand duchy of Cleves and Berg, created for Murat, another Napoleonic prince, who reigned as Joachim I. These all declared themselves members of a federal state independent of both Prussia and Austria, but under the protection of the French Empire. Napoleon could introduce new members to the confederation, had the right of appointing the primate, and, most important privilege of all, was to control the army. This followed as a corollary of the article which declared that every continental war which one of the contracting powers (p. 404) had to wage was common to the others. Bavaria was to furnish thirty thousand men, Würtemberg twelve thousand, Baden eight thousand, Darmstadt four thousand, Berg five thousand, Nassau and the other pygmies four thousand. This arrangement, whereby sixty-three thousand soldiers were added to the armies of France, was then dignified by the name of "alliance."

The decree was published on July twelfth, 1806; on August first the Diet at Regensburg was informed that the Germanic Empire had ceased to exist: on August sixth the Emperor Francis, who had declared himself hereditary Emperor of Austria in 1804, now declared under compulsion that he laid down his Germanic crown. The way to true German national union was opened by Napoleon's contempt for local prejudice together with his wholesale and ruthless violation of dynastic ties. It was ostensibly to perfect his communications with this new ally that the Emperor now for the first time established a permanent garrison on the right bank of the Rhine. The spot he chose was Wesel, in the grand duchy of Cleves and Berg. To be sure, he gave a formal assurance that he did not intend to expand the borders of France beyond the Rhine. This doubtless was literally true; but the French Empire was another thing than France. The attitude of the Emperor was perfectly illustrated in his continued negotiations with Yarmouth, whose easy compliance had to be neutralized by a new commissioner, Lord Lauderdale, specially instructed by Fox to be peremptory about preserving the existing conditions of sovereignty on the Continent. Napoleon did not hesitate to offer England, as a substitute for Sicily, either Albania or Ragusa, or the Balearic Isles. In other words, the whole idea of territorial sanctity was in his opinion antiquated except when so-called sovereigns could make good their (p. 405) claim. Hanover had passed to Prussia by French conquest and treaty agreement, the Hanseatic towns were free cities, Albania belonged to Turkey, Ragusa was nominally independent under Austria's protection, and the Balearic Isles acknowledged the sovereignty of Spain; but he offered any one or all of them as if they were his own.

Alexander of Russia had much the same conception. Seeing his Oriental designs menaced by the treaty of Presburg, he had evacuated Naples to strengthen Corfu, and now proceeded to occupy the Bocche di Cattaro as an outpost. This station, though so far autonomous, was held by Napoleon to be a part of Dalmatia, and that province was to go to Italy with the rest of Venetia. This act of open hostility by the Czar was the complement to his haughty rejection of the treaty with Napoleon which Oubril submitted for his master's signature. In consequence, Francis, the third of the three emperors, was informed that the French army would not evacuate his fortress of Braunau until he could fulfil his obligations and deliver Dalmatia intact. The great army of France, therefore, was not withdrawn, and still continued to occupy Swabia, Franconia, and all southern Germany. This fact assured the existence of the Rhine Confederation and reduced Prussia to impotence. Moreover, it was one among many reasons which finally ended the negotiations with England. Lord Lauderdale gave the surrender of Sicily as his ultimatum, and when it was refused, demanded his passports on August ninth. Fox having finally grasped in its fullest meaning the aggressive, all-inclusive policy of Napoleon, his cabinet saw itself compelled to accept, item for item, the program of Pitt; and during the short remainder of his life, although he did not appear in Parliament after June, he was its hearty, persistent supporter. His death on (p. 406) September thirteenth made no change in the attitude of England. The coalition which was dissolved at Austerlitz was cemented again; only this time Prussia, which had so far preserved a selfish neutrality, was to be associated with England and Russia.

After Napoleon returned to Paris on January twenty-seventh, 1806, he had promptly abandoned the avocation of war, and had reassumed his favorite rôle of emperor. On New Year's day the republican calendar had ceased to exist; there was not even that to remind him of the past. His figure was beginning to grow more portly; his carriage was more stately, and his demeanor more distant. The great Corsican began to emulate the Oriental conquerors of old—men of the people who, like himself, had risen to giddy heights by usurpation and military conquest—in surrounding himself with mystery and hedging himself about with various ranks of courtiers. Nearest him, absent in person, but present in their representatives, were the subsidiary reigning kings, princes, and grand dukes. Next in order, present in the flesh, and first in actual splendor, were the newly made honorary princes and dukes. Some of the old nobility continued to smile contemptuously at this array of former republicans and Jacobins, but many, and those not the least able and influential, hurried to accept office at the court, where their presence was earnestly desired. Etiquette reached an artificial perfection which showed how unnatural it was to those who practised it. In the Tuileries, as was wittily said, everything moved to the tap of the drum. The parvenu princes and dukes had each his proper state, and being now assured of ample income and hereditary office, they displayed a self-indulgence and an independence which augured ill for their continued devotion to their creator.

(p. 407) Behind this impenetrable screen the activities of the Emperor were resumed with a greater intensity and a higher velocity than ever. Not content with a daily task, his hours of recreation became shorter and shorter, until he ceased to have any capacity for pleasure, and found no comfort for his mind except in labor. Paris was in raptures of loyalty, and from every conceivable source came proposals for triumphs, statues, or other honors to "Napoleon the Great." The Church vied with the populace. Among many similar utterances one bishop declared the Emperor to be the chosen of God to restore His worship and lead His people; another announced that recent events, occurring on the anniversary of the coronation, had given Napoleon a divine character; while the cardinal archbishop of Paris cried aloud, "O God of Marengo, thou declarest thyself the God of Austerlitz; and the German eagle with the Russian eagle, both of which thou dost desert, is become the prey of the French eagle, which thou ceasest not to protect." Before long the monarch was everywhere called the "man of God, the anointed of the Lord," and occasionally he was designated as "his sacred Majesty." Opportunity was therefore ripe for radical changes. "My house," "my line," "my people," were phrases which had for a year past been on the Emperor's lips and in his letters. He now began to take measures for lending a theocratic character to his reign, which, in view of his religious belief, were simply shocking. Not only did he express the wish that his imperial standards should be regarded with "religious reverence," but he closed his letters with the royal, absolutist, and Roman Catholic formula, "I pray God to have you in his holy keeping," and was styled in public papers, "Napoleon, by the Grace of God Emperor." For this he could of course make no other plea than the universal (p. 408) though antiquated customs of the existing European dynasties, which still claimed to reign by divine right. But he went further, and in personal coöperation with an obsequious church dignitary prepared a catechism from which every French child learned in a few months such medieval and now blasphemous dogmas as these: Napoleon is "the minister of the power of God, and his image on earth"; "to honor and serve the Emperor is to honor and serve God." The climax of this insincerity was to be found in the awful menace, instilled with absolute solemnity into the mind of every learner throughout all the dioceses, that as to disobey the Emperor was to resist the order ordained by God, such disobedience would prepare eternal damnation for the guilty. Although Napoleon ever refused to admit that he himself had any moral responsibility, and seemed to act on the doctrine that he had been born what he remained to the end, he nevertheless attributed immense influence to education in others. "There can be no settled politics," he said of the university, "without a settled body of teachers."

Above all else, the Emperor was solicitous for the army. "The reports on the situation of my armies," he said, "are for me the most agreeable literary works in my library, and those which I read with the greatest pleasure in my hours of relaxation." He was so assiduous and thorough that, as it has been declared, and probably without great exaggeration, he knew to a man his effective force; and when his armies were scattered over half the world he was more familiar than his ministers with the station of every battalion. This was only the beginning of his cares; his chief concern was for the equipment and well-being of the men—not only for their uniforms, accoutrements, and arms, but for their food, shelter, and pay. It was with the same thoroughness (p. 409) that accounts, inventories, and all the other dry details were examined; his fighting machine must not only be perfect, but he must know that it was so. The enormous levies raised in the late campaigns were turned into an army-chest for the benefit of the army, and the management of that fund was intrusted to Mollien, his most skilful financier. The pleasures of his soldiery were also a matter of interest to him. But carefully as he had studied their psychology, both personal and collective, he was mistaken when he asked the city of Paris to provide Spanish bull-fights and contests of wild beasts for his returning soldiers; and, recognizing his blunder, he revoked his order. For, after all, by the rigid enforcement of the conscription laws, the nation and the army were not far from being identical; hence the softening influences of home life were never entirely absent from the conscripts, and they were powerfully present when the young fellows were on furlough with their mothers and sweethearts. No captain ever understood the art of appealing to the pride and affection of his men as did Napoleon; but his success was on the eve of battle, not in peace. Quite as much as for the army he spent his energies upon the finances. But here he was not an expert. There were no pains he would not take, no toil he would not endure, to master the endless lines of figures, which, as one of his ministers said, he sought to marshal like battalions. Whether in military or in civil life, he desired to prearrange and order every detail. For this end he employed, in addition to his official machinery, an extensive unofficial correspondence. Among other things, he had news of the stock market, of the banks, and of all prices current. When a fact was incomprehensible he had it explained by an expert. The intensity of his interest in finance, and the just appreciation of its importance which he felt, appear in (p. 410) his acts. The very evening of his arrival in Paris after Austerlitz, a midnight message summoned the ministers to council for eight next morning. Their congratulations were brusquely cut off by the dry statement: "We have more serious matters to consider. It appears that the greatest danger to the state has not been in Austria. Let us hear the report from the minister of the treasury." The document read by Barbé-Marbois mercilessly displayed the situation: the insufficiency of income, the venality of officials, and the shifts to which he himself had been put in order to avoid, not a panic,—for that had come,—but an utter crash. Three of the guilty office-holders were summoned on the spot.

The scene, according to Mollien, could be described only as "a discharge of thunderbolts from the highest heaven for a whole hour." One culprit burst into tears, a second stammered weak excuses, the third was stiffened into blank silence, and all three were dismissed with a threatening gesture. The session of the council, which lasted nine hours without a break, was not ended until five o'clock in the evening. When Marbois, who, though honest himself, had failed to keep others so, finally left the room, the Emperor turned to Mollien and said: "You are now minister of the treasury. Find sixty millions stolen by the officials, and I will appoint a successor to you in the management of the sinking fund I have destined for the reward of the army." He would listen to no excuse, and could not then, or in fact at any time, be brought to understand the rise or fall, and even disappearance, of values. He thought government bonds could be kept at one price no matter what happened, and that an annual budget was simply a nuisance. "It cannot be more difficult to govern the little corner of Paris they call the Exchange than to govern France," he said. The lesson which he had to learn cost him (p. 411) many millions of his hoarded contributions. By pouring his treasure into the gulf he succeeded in reëstablishing public confidence for the time.

These were the serious occupations of the Emperor's first half-year; its avocations were of a social nature—chiefly banishing the possessors of biting tongues, and arranging matrimonial alliances between what he designated as the old and the new aristocracy. Napoleon's words and mien had at last become so awe-inspiring that the accustomed quip and jest of the old nobility were uttered only in whispers behind the closed doors of their residences in the Faubourg St. Germain. The most famous society of the Consulate and early Empire was accustomed to gather in the drawing-rooms of Mme. Récamier, wife of the great banker. The wealth of her husband and the distinction of her own manners made her a personage of great importance among the returned emigrants, who flattered and caressed her. By her spirit and beauty she wielded enormous influence, but not in Napoleon's behalf, for she considered him a parvenu. She was in reality one of the most insidious, and consequently one of the most dangerous, of his foes. He tried to buy her silence, through Fouché's intermediation, by the offer not merely of a place as lady in waiting, but of the influence she might hope to exercise over himself. Her persistent refusal was really the cause of her husband's bankruptcy, for the Bank of France refused him assistance in his straits. She was not one of Mme. de Staël's intimate friends, although Necker's great daughter, when banished from Paris, had visited her at Écouen. But many of those who had frequented her salon adored that "rascally Mme. de Staël," as Napoleon, in a letter to Fouché, called the exile, who since her retirement to Switzerland had played her rôle so well as to render herself almost (p. 412) a divinity to her followers. These made annual pilgrimages to Coppet, returning to Mme. Récamier's drawing-room with new arrows of spite and wit to discharge against the Empire. In the end both the hostess herself and the frequenters of her husband's house were therefore visited with condign punishment, on the charge that they had excited public alarm and discredited the Bank of France. With several of her friends the great lady was banished from Paris, and later was sent into exile. From 1806 onward every word uttered about the state was apparently overheard by the police, and high and low alike suffered for any indiscretion. This made clear to the ancient aristocracy and gentry that criticism of the new court must cease; and under the influence of fear many gave their daughters in marriage to the imperial generals. The most conspicuous wedding of this sort was that of Savary: man of mystery at the Due d'Enghien's execution, conspirator suspected of complicity in the deaths of Pichegru and Captain Wright, he nevertheless married Mlle. de Coigny, a great heiress, and the daughter of a most ancient family.


The War with Prussia[37]

The Prussian Despotism — State of Society — The Patriots — The Liberals — The Execution of Palm — The Prussian Court and the Nation — Demoralization of the Army — The Conduct of Napoleon — War Inevitable — The French Army — Napoleon's Strategic Plan — Prussian Feebleness — Napoleon's System of Travel — His Life in the Field — Another Campaign of Marching — The Affair at Schleiz — The Prussians Outflanked — French Soldiers in the Leash — The Battle of Jena — Davout and Bernadotte — The Battle of Auerstädt — Rout of the Prussian Army.


Frederick William I of Prussia built up a system of admirable simplicity and economy in civil administration, which enabled him to lavish proportionately large sums on the finest army of the day. This instrument his brilliant son, Frederick the Great, used to increase the Prussian territories by an area of seventy-five thousand square miles; and when he died, having pursued his father's policy, he left his country without a debt, with a reserve of nearly forty-five million dollars in her treasury, and with a greatly increased income. His nephew and successor, Frederick William (p. 414) II, was also a despot, but a feeble one. Under him throve the disgraceful system of irresponsible cabinet government whereby both religious and intellectual liberty were necessarily diminished, if not destroyed. By a shameful subserviency to Austria he increased his territories, securing a small share in the disreputable partitions of Poland; but on his death in 1797 the people were sluggish, the nation was in debt, and the army was disorganized. Frederick William III was a good citizen, but a poor king. Inheriting the policy of neutrality, he had obstinately clung to it, surrounding himself with irregular privy councilors who hampered the ministers in their functions, and prevented the king from putting confidence in his legal advisers; his court was rent by factions, and but for one circumstance, shortly to be noted, would have been utterly out of touch with the nation.

In 1806, therefore, Prussia had not come under the influence of modern ideas to any appreciable degree. Serfdom of a degrading sort still existed, although not in its worst forms; the old estates of the middle ages still existed also, for the law not only upheld the division of land into noble, burgher, and peasant holdings, but even drew a corresponding distinction between various occupations, forbidding any man to pass from one class to the other, or to transfer real estate from one category to another. The towns still rested on their respective charter rights; the medieval restrictions of trade and communication were not yet entirely abolished; the common schools founded by Frederick William I were as narrow and rigid as either the craft or cathedral schools of the middle ages. Society in the smaller towns and in the country was stagnant, and the position of the individual was immobile, for he was without the spur of ambition. The land-owners were a caste (p. 415) which, having asserted itself as the guarantor of public order after the Thirty Years' War, and having undone the good work of the Reformation by the usurpation of feudal privilege, still held manorial courts. Though they no longer wrung their quota of the taxes from the peasants, they were haughty, exclusive, and tenacious of many petty and annoying privileges.

The one illuminated spot in this picture was small but brilliant. The young and beautiful Queen Louisa was pious, thoughtful, and high-spirited. About her was a small court party of intelligent men and women, who understood the true mission of Prussia, and were therefore eager for a declaration of war against the aggrandizing policy of Napoleon. Many of them were young and ardent, like the princes Louis and Henry; others were mature and cautious like Hardenberg and Stein, to whose efforts as alternating heads of Frederick William's cabinet Germany eventually owed her regeneration. Besides them, there were in this reform party Müller, Humboldt, Blücher, the Princess Radziwill, and others of less renown. The efforts of this little band were soon seconded by those of a somewhat larger one. The universities, having been founded in the principles of liberty, were never entirely mute. Many of the professors appreciated the backwardness of Germany, and the students formed secret associations for the destruction of local prejudice and the promotion of a large patriotism. In the greater cities, which had not entirely forgotten their former struggles with feudalism, there were also burghers in considerable number who received such doctrines kindly, and rendered invaluable service in keeping the embers of liberty from extinction.

Among the indifferent millions there was also a remnant who, having been at first enthusiastic for the liberalizing side of the French Revolution, were now (p. 416) opposed to its conquering and domineering tendency as represented by the Empire, and looked for the realization of their ideals in the regeneration of their own country. Early in 1806 their leading men began to be heard: Schleiermacher among the clergy; Fichte, the sometime admirer of the revolutionary movement, among the philosophers; E. M. Arndt among the men of letters. By the middle of 1806 the new doctrines had mildly permeated the whole nation. The few earnest spirits who still believed in the cosmopolitan equality of all men as the goal of humanity, who longed for Augustine's city of God on earth, without the rivalry of nations and the tumults of exaggerated patriotism, were soon reduced to silence. If Napoleon were, as thousands believed, the appointed agent for this end, they might still hope, but they could no longer speak.

The faith of these idealists must have been rudely shaken by various pieces of news received during the summer. In the very midst of the seething agitation, Murat, the Grand Duke Joachim I of Berg, dashing and irresponsible, spoke of a kingdom soon to be his, possibly meaning the Hanseatic cities; or perhaps he looked for Sweden, whose royal house, one of the most despotic in Europe, was so hated by Napoleon that it was merely a question of time when it would cease to reign. This feeling had recently been intensified by a fatuous attempt to besiege Hameln and drive the French from Hanover, made in the previous November by the Duke of Södermanland, then regent for Gustavus Adolphus IV, but afterward King Charles XIII. The noisy Augereau, too, had exasperated the people of Ansbach, where he was in command, by drinking toasts in public to the success of the French in their coming war with Prussia. These and a thousand other minor irritations combined with the occupation of Wesel to (p. 417) raise the tide of popular feeling still higher. The Emperor of the French was dismayed, but he could think of no other remedy than severity. Accordingly, Berthier was instructed to proceed against the authors and publishers of "political libels" by martial law, on the plea that a commander must care for his army, and that those who stir up the people against it are worthy of death. This might be well enough in war, but it was an absurd and wicked pretext not only in a time of peace, but during an illegal occupation. A certain Ansbacher, Yelin, had but lately written a plain, truth-telling pamphlet entitled, "Germany in her Deepest Humiliation," and it was circulated, though not exactly published, by Palm, a bookseller of Nuremberg. The author was unknown to the French authorities, but Palm was arrested, hastily court-martialed, and shot. He met death with the fortitude of a martyr, conscious that his blood was the seed of patriots. The news of this murder traveled like wildfire; excitement and indignation reached their highest pitch, and the uprising against Napoleon became national in the widest sense. It was long before the officials of Prussia realized the vital importance of the popular feeling thus aroused.

For some weeks after ratifying the treaty which Napoleon substituted for that of Schönbrunn the Berlin cabinet simply fretted in impotence. The young officers of the war party were sharpening their swords on the steps of the French embassy and demanding the disgrace of Haugwitz; there was even insubordination, and the King, with tears streaming from his eyes, threatened to abdicate. His cup of bitterness was more than full. When the Confederation of the Rhine was formed, he besought the Czar to guarantee the integrity of Turkey, hoping that this apple of discord between Russia and France being removed, Prussia would be secure. But (p. 418) Alexander, trusting to gain French neutrality and carry out his schemes of Oriental aggrandizement by slight concessions in the Oubril negotiations as to Naples, Sardinia, and Hanover, refused, vaguely promising to do all in his power to protect the integrity of Prussia, provided Prussia would not attack Russia should he go to war with France about Turkey. The privy councilors of Frederick William, blind to the national feeling which would gladly support a war against Napoleon's tyranny, proposed thereupon to form what French diplomacy skilfully suggested, a League of the North. The King and his advisers at first thought such a federation would be an offset to the menace of their dangerous neighbor on the West. Although kept in ignorance of the Russian and English negotiations at Paris, they heard in August that Hanover had been offered to Great Britain, and felt that the French occupation of southern Germany was intolerable. Accordingly the King opened negotiations with Napoleon for the formation of a North German Confederation to include Saxony, the two Mecklenburgs, Oldenburg, Hesse-Cassel, the Hanseatic towns, and a number of minor principalities. The Emperor could not well give a categorical refusal, and consented on condition that Prussia should disarm. In this interval Alexander contemptuously rejected the extraordinary conditions granted by Oubril in a paper which not only abandoned the Naples Bourbons, the house of Savoy, and the Hanoverian question, but also guaranteed the integrity of the Ottoman Empire! This attitude of the Czar made the disarmament of Prussia essential to Napoleon's supremacy in Germany, the more so because, by the demise of the German-Roman Empire, Russia had lost her right of intervention in Germany, and would probably seek a new pretext to recover it.

(p. 419) The warlike attitude of England and Russia was a strong support to Prussia. After the terrible treaty with France, just signed, her army was more demoralized than ever. Like that of Austria, it had been resting on old traditions and on laurels won by a former generation. The antiquated system virtually made slaves of the common soldiers. Every captain maintained his own company, farming it to the government. One half of the men must be Prussians, the other were the scum of Europe; nearly all were secured by forced enlistment or crimping, and they were all compelled to serve until superannuation released them, when, instead of a pension, they were given a license to beg! It was the interest of every captain to secure the highest efficiency at the least expense, and his soldiers, like costly chattels, were too precious to be risked except under compulsion. The companies had no moral cohesion, and the discipline was necessarily very severe, corporal punishment being inflicted without stint. The principal officers had become venerable creatures of routine. There were majors in the hussars not less than sixty years of age. The Duke of Brunswick, commander-in-chief,—the same who had sold nearly six thousand mercenaries to George III for use in the war of the American Revolution,—a spendthrift, a loose liver, and a martinet, was seventy-one; Möllendorf was over eighty, Kalkreuth was sixty-six, and even Blücher, the exception, the most youthful and fiery general of them all, was over sixty. The staff having occupied itself for years with an absurd refinement and development of Frederick the Great's system, there were only a few of the younger officers who understood Napoleon's revolutionary tactics and strategy. Unfortunately for the country, the aristocratic pride of their class kept them from setting a just value on the efficiency of the French democrats.

(p. 420) But, as the summer advanced, the foolish ardor of the war party combined with the rising sentiment of nationality and the threatening tenor of Napoleon's language to influence the government. To other imperial aggressions was added a new one—the seizure of valuable abbey lands lying on the border of Berg, which had been assigned to Prussia in 1802, and the cool suggestion that, in order to indemnify herself, Prussia should stir up strife with Sweden and seize Pomerania. It was reported that the French were reinforcing the Wesel garrison and had occupied Würzburg; it was even said that they were advancing against Saxony. At last, when assured that Napoleon had actually offered Hanover to England, the King yielded to the solicitations of his people, which grew louder and more angry when they too heard of Napoleon's perfidy. On August ninth, the same day on which Lord Lauderdale demanded his passports from the French minister of war, orders were given to mobilize the Prussian army. Napoleon was not even yet clear as to his own readiness, and, in view of the Czar's still uncertain attitude, would ostensibly have been glad to purchase Prussian disarmament by agreeing to the formation of the North German Confederation. In Talleyrand's despatch of July twenty-second to the French envoy at Berlin the suggestion was flatly made that Prussia should federate the states "still belonging to the Germanic Empire, and install the imperial crown in the house of Brandenburg." At the same time the French minister urged the Elector of Saxony to declare himself an independent prince, and his influence was shown in the fact that neither the Hanseatic towns nor Hesse-Cassel would give a direct answer to Prussia.

There is, however, reason to believe that Napoleon still hoped for peace. As late as August twenty-sixth (p. 421) he wrote to Berthier that he really intended to evacuate Germany; but a week later the Czar's rejection of the Oubril treaty, in a note dated August fifteenth, was formally announced at the same time with the demand of Frederick William for the evacuation of Germany. The French army was left where it stood, for it seemed clear to Napoleon that a new coalition must have been formed. If Prussia was arming merely from fear, she must be stopped; if she was arming to make ready for war in conjunction with England and Russia, he must lose no time in order to prevent a united movement. In reality, matters had not advanced so far, as Prussia was still nominally at war with Great Britain on account of Hanover, and there could be no coalition without English subsidies. With his usual vacillation, Frederick William repented almost immediately of the course he had taken, and on August twenty-fourth vainly suggested to his cabinet the revocation of his orders for mobilization. Pending these hesitancies Napoleon again took up the thread of negotiation with Lord Lauderdale, who had not yet left Paris. This was a feint to gain time, for he began to prepare at the utmost speed for a war which, believing in England's exhaustion and Russia's timidity, he had not expected, and which he accepted as an almost fatal necessity. As yet the renown of Frederick the Great's armies had not been forgotten in France. Moreover, both in 1802 and in 1805 Prussian officers had been able to observe the outlines of his system, and would be forewarned. "I believe," he said at the time, "that we have a more difficult task than with the Austrians; we shall have to move the earth." "The reputation of the Prussian troops was high," he said later to Mme. de Rémusat; "there was much talk about the excellence of their cavalry, while ours commanded no respect, and our officers expected a sturdy resistance."

(p. 422) Accordingly he mustered his arms in double strength—eight army corps and the guard, a powerful cavalry force under Murat, and an auxiliary army from Bavaria. At once his officers began to study the possible roads from central to northern Germany, and the best appeared both to him and to them to be by the way of Bamberg. By September twenty-fifth the new levies of a hundred thousand well-drilled recruits were ready, and on that day the Emperor left Paris for Mainz with all possible secrecy. On the other hand, the Prussian king knew not whither to turn. The Bavarian agent in Paris recorded it as his opinion that Frederick William yielded to the war party in order that, having been defeated in one battle, his people would understand the impossibility of resistance and permit him to make the best terms possible. Whether this be true or not, the unhappy and unready King, unable any longer either to secure advantage from the misfortune of his neighbors, or to pursue a policy of weakness and indecision, with England still hostile and Russia not ardent, finally decided for war. On September twenty-fourth he arrived at his headquarters in Naumburg, and on October first the Prussian minister in Paris presented his sovereign's ultimatum to France. Germany must be evacuated, Wesel restored, and no obstacle be thrown in the way of a North German Confederation. The term set for a reply was October eighth. Napoleon received the paper on October seventh, in Bayreuth, and his columns were already marching. The answer was, of course, in the facts, which were a quite sufficient refusal.

In single combat, with equal arms, the prowess of the victor must be measured by the resistance of his foe. This is not necessarily true in warfare. Knowing, as we now do, the weakness of Prussia in 1806, it is a cheap (p. 423) and simple method of belittling Napoleon to belittle his enemy. But this is unfair as well as unhistoric. Moral courage is more admirable than physical daring, and considering the high renown of the Prussian soldiery it was a deed of great bravery to provoke a conflict. Moreover, skill went hand in hand with pluck, for Napoleon's preparations were better than any hitherto made, and his strategic plan was one of the greatest conceptions so far formed by a master in that department of military science. It is not so striking as some others, because tremendous geographical obstacles like the Alps play no part in it: but it is quite as novel as any, and probably shows the best possible adaptation of means to an end; it has, moreover, the superlative merit of having been overwhelmingly successful—too much so, in fact, for its author's reputation, since it appears to illustrate the proverb of using a sledgehammer to crush an egg-shell. For the sake of estimating Napoleon's power, it is necessary to apprehend at least the outlines of his great design, and further still, if possible, to grasp certain portions of otherwise uninteresting professional detail. In the first place, the Emperor of the French completely metamorphosed himself into the commander-in-chief of the French armies, and for a few weeks gave his undivided attention to the matter in hand. In the second place, he conceived and sketched a form of advance into Germany so far untried in the annals of European warfare, and then proceeded to work it out to the minutest detail. Finally, he developed the principles of Austerlitz into a scheme of open formation, venturesome to a degree, large in outline, and dependent for success upon complete knowledge and a perfect coördination of all the parts. We already begin to feel that nothing less than the Napoleonic concentration of Napoleonic powers could (p. 424) assure the completion of such a design. Choosing the fortress of Würzburg, and later that of Forchheim, as his point of support, he determined to concentrate his force on the extreme right of his line and infold the enemy from the east. To this end he risked abandoning direct connection with France by way of Mainz, but in return he made sure of an indirect one by way of Forchheim, Würzburg, and Mannheim, reserving as his line of retreat that into the Danube valley. If unexpectedly the Prussians should extend their front farther to the eastward, he had in hand the alternative of driving his own mass through their center—an old and favorite manœuver. In order to secure the Rhine, Louis, his brother, was ordered to throw the strongest possible garrison into Wesel, and hold himself ready to attack the Prussians in case they should attempt to turn the French left. As a further safeguard, a corps of fifteen thousand men under Mortier was to occupy Mainz and to make demonstrations as far as Frankfort-on-the-Main. The preliminary stages were all successfully completed before the end of September. The troops behaved admirably, the officers, though anxious, were obedient and trustworthy, and Napoleon was confident of success.

The contrast between the majestic, imperial plan of Napoleon and the petty, inharmonious scheme of Prussia is incredible. On September thirtieth the aged Duke of Brunswick and the King with his staff were at Naumburg with the main army, fifty thousand strong. This body was to be reinforced by twelve thousand more who were coming in, but at a distance of several days' march. The Prince of Hohenlohe was at Chemnitz with nineteen thousand men, awaiting the arrival of twenty thousand Saxons who were not yet even mobilized! General Rüchel was between Erfurt and Eisenach (p. 425) with a nominal force of eighteen thousand men, but many of this number had not yet arrived from Westphalia. All three commanders were alike ignorant of the French positions, and without an idea as to the enemy's purpose; not one of them had a trustworthy map of the country. "They are a set of wiseacres" were Napoleon's own words.

The admirable celerity and accuracy of Napoleon's movements in the field were due to the excellent arrangements by which they were governed. His two inseparable companions were the grand marshal Duroc and Caulaincourt, master of the horse. The latter had always the map of the country through which they were driving or riding ready for instant use. The seats of the imperial carriage could be converted into a couch for the Emperor's frequent night journeys, but ordinarily Berthier and Murat took turns in sitting at his side, while Caulaincourt rode close beside the door. Behind, and as near the wheels as possible, rode seven adjutants, fourteen ordnance officers, and four pages, who must be ready on the instant to receive and carry orders. Two of the officers must be familiar with the speech of the country. Rustan, his Egyptian body-servant, rode with them. There were also two mounted lackeys, each carrying maps, papers, and writing-materials. This escort was protected by a body of mounted chasseurs. In case the Emperor alighted for any purpose, four of these instantly did likewise, and, surrounding him with fixed bayonets or loaded pistols pointed outward to the four points of the compass, preserved this relative position as he moved. Last of all came the grooms with extra horses; for the Emperor's personal use there were from seven to nine. These were substantially the arrangements still in vogue during the Prussian campaign. Thereafter his distrust (p. 426) of those about him gradually increased, until toward the end of his career it became acute, and then, as a consequence, the numbers of his suite were much diminished. Whenever there was need of post-haste the Emperor found relays of nine saddle-horses or six carriage-horses prepared at intervals of from seven to ten miles along his route. In this way he often journeyed at the rate of fourteen miles an hour for six hours at a time. Similar arrangements on a much smaller scale were made for the staff.


From a marble bas-relief brought to America by Joseph Bonaparte.

Arriving at his night quarters, the Emperor found his office ready—a tent or room with five tables, one in the center for himself, and one at each corner for his private secretaries. On his own was a map oriented, and dotted with colored pins which marked the position of each body of his troops. For this campaign he had the only one in existence, prepared long in advance, by his own orders. As soon as possible was arranged the Emperor's bed-chamber, across the door of which Rustan slept, and adjoining it was another for the officers on duty. Dinner occupied less than twenty minutes, for in the field Napoleon ate little, and that rapidly. By seven in the evening he was asleep. At one in the morning the commander-in-chief arose, entered his office, where the secretaries were already at work, found all reports from the divisions ready at his hand, and then, pacing the floor, dictated his despatches and the orders for the coming day. There is an accepted tradition that he often simultaneously composed and uttered in alternate sentences two different letters, so that two secretaries were busy at the same time in writing papers on different topics. The orders, when completed and revised, were handed to Berthier. By three in the morning they were on their way, and reached the separate corps fresh from headquarters just before (p. 427) the soldiers set out on their march. It was by such perfect machinery that accuracy in both command and obedience was assured.

Colonel Scharnhorst of the Prussian staff had prepared in advance a plan whereby his sovereign's forces should cross the Thuringian hills and secure their position a fortnight before the arrival of the French, in order to take the offensive, and use their fine cavalry to advantage on the plains below. The plan was rejected, for the King still feebly hoped that his ultimatum might be accepted. When at last the reluctant monarch set out for the seat of war to join Brunswick, he took with him a numerous suite from the sanguine and even exultant court party. On their arrival at headquarters an antipodal divergence between the ideas of the King's followers and those of the conservative Brunswick was instantly developed, and the latter's command soon became nominal. In spite of the Queen's noble efforts to infuse spirit into her husband, the divided councils of his advisers produced in him an infectious incapacity which spread rapidly throughout the Prussian camp. The results were seen in the wretched disposition of the forces at the crucial moment. After considerable wrangling among the staff, their conference lasting three entire days, the army finally, on October seventh, took position, not on the southern, but on the northern slopes of the Thuringian hills—Brunswick with the main army at Erfurt, Hohenlohe at Blankenhain, and Rüchel, to whose reinforcement Blücher was advancing from Cassel, at Eisenach. Pickets were thrown out into the passes in front. This position was virtually divined by Napoleon on the fifth, and, believing that the Prussians would mass at Erfurt to strike his left, he immediately set his troops in motion. There were three columns; on the eighth the left wing, under Lannes, (p. 428) was at Coburg, with Augereau one day's march behind; of the center, Murat was already over the hills at Saalburg, Bernadotte and Davout were in the very heart of them at Lobenstein and Nordhalben respectively; the guard was at Kronach; and, of the two divisions of the right, one, under Soult, was at Münchberg; the other, with Ney, was at Bayreuth, one day's march behind. By these movements, the campaign was virtually won on the ninth, and that on the plan as at first conceived. The connection of the Prussians with their base of supplies by way of the Elbe was in danger, the process of turning was well advanced, and it could be a matter of a few days only before it would be complete.

When Napoleon's whereabouts finally became known in the Prussian camp, on the ninth, Brunswick and Scharnhorst wished to march eastward and meet the enemy's powerful right with the whole army; but the King seems still to have had in mind a flank move toward the west, as originally contemplated, and would only consent that Hohenlohe should advance to check the French. The first hostile meeting, therefore, occurred on that day, at Schleiz, between Hohenlohe's troops and those of Bernadotte. The conflict was short, and resulted in the withdrawal of Hohenlohe to defend the pass through the hills at Saalfeld. Napoleon was still in comparative ignorance of his enemy's larger movements; but he was constantly strengthened in his hypothesis that his right wing was not really opposed by any substantial force. Next day the advance-guard of Hohenlohe was driven from its post, and the highway to Erfurt was cleared. The fighting was sharp, for the confident Prussian soldiery had not yet lost courage; but Prince Louis, the pride of the army, fell, and his loss was more disheartening to the men than a great defeat.

Throughout the tenth and the eleventh the French (p. 429) columns continued their advance northward. As they encountered no resistance, Napoleon concluded that the Prussian main army was still west of the Saale, and resolved to advance in that direction. The whole French army suddenly turned on the twelfth, and began to move westward toward the river valley. All that day they met no resistance, and pushed rapidly on, Lannes reaching Jena, crossing the stream, and driving a strong body of reconnoitering Prussians over the steep heights beyond. A general halt was ordered for the thirteenth, to give the troops a needed rest. Throughout the campaign they had been marching at a rate one third higher than that laid down by the regulations, fighting, as a current phrase ran, with their legs instead of with their bayonets. Napoleon himself, however, hurried on to Jena. The Saxons having been forced into their alliance with Prussia, there were many in that town well affected toward Napoleon. One of these gladly pointed out a pass up the heights of the Landgrafenberg available for infantry. A force was immediately set to work improving it, and the Emperor pushed forward unaccompanied to within gunshot of the Prussian lines. After a rapid survey with his telescope, both of their situation and his own vantage-ground, he determined to fight next morning, and believing the main Prussian army to be confronting him, he immediately sent orders to Lefebvre, Soult, Ney, and Augereau to bring up their respective commands as swiftly as possible. Before morning they were all either on the battle-field or within easy reach. Davout and Bernadotte were at Naumburg, Murat with the cavalry near them. All three were to march toward Jena if they heard the noise of battle. The Prussians were already nearly surrounded, but it took nine hours' wrangling at the headquarters in Weimar to make their (p. 430) leaders understand it. Finally they concluded that Brunswick with the main army should draw back northward down the Saale toward Freiburg to guard the line of supply, that Hohenlohe should cover the retreat, and that Rüchel should concentrate at Weimar. The French having used this long interval of debate to the utmost advantage, it was then too late to avoid a collision. Hohenlohe, therefore, was opposite Napoleon; Brunswick came upon Davout at Auerstädt.

In the misty dawn of October fourteenth the Emperor put himself at the head of Lannes's troops, and, calling upon them to remember their success with Mack the previous year under similar circumstances, began the attack. As he had correctly estimated, there were between forty and fifty thousand in the opposing ranks, but owing to the fog there was much confusion among them. Thinking there might be more in the mist behind, he was convinced that he had before him the main army of the Prussians. The response of Lannes's men to his appeal was so hearty that with the help of Ney's van they were able to engage and hold the enemy for over two hours. This was a precious interval for Napoleon, enabling him to secure further reserves and to complete his careful dispositions for a crushing final attack. It was a characteristic delay, for, realizing how impotent to control the close of a battle even he himself would be under his system, he was correspondingly obdurate in dominating its beginning to the least detail. To hold straining columns of eager soldiers in a leash for two hours is serious work. On this occasion, as the Emperor stood by his guard, a nervous voice from the ranks called out, "Forward!" "That must be a beardless boy," said he, "who wishes to forestall what I am about to do. Let him wait until he has commanded in twenty battles before he dares to give me advice."

(p. 431) Meanwhile Hohenlohe had put his troops in motion to protect Brunswick's rear; there was much desultory fighting along the straggling line, with a momentary advantage for Hohenlohe. Nothing in the least decisive occurred, however, during the morning or early afternoon. By the arrival of Rüchel at two the Prussian line was somewhat strengthened, but, on the other hand, it was both weakened and demoralized by the steady, galling fire of the French, who were hourly increasing in numbers and deploying their new strength on the plateau. About midday Napoleon had finally felt strong enough to begin the real day's work. At that time Soult, Lefebvre, and Augereau were ordered to advance. For two long hours the Prussians made a brave, stubborn resistance against tremendous odds; even on Rüchel's arrival, Hohenlohe's line was so exhausted that the reinforcement was of no avail. The newcomers were quickly overmatched and compelled to retreat, for Napoleon was then overwhelmingly superior in point of numbers. It is estimated that, first and last, he had nearly a hundred thousand men to oppose to Hohenlohe's forty-five thousand and Rüchel's twenty-seven thousand. By four in the afternoon the field was won. The Prussians strove to reform and make a stand at Weimar, but they were quickly overtaken by Ney's corps with the cavalry reserve that had just come up. These not only dislodged their opponents, but pursued them for some distance. In the evening Napoleon returned to Jena with the conviction that he had destroyed the main body of the Prussian army.

This was far from the truth; but notwithstanding his misapprehension as to his enemy, the moral results of what he had really done were most important. In the early morning of the fourteenth, Brunswick and the (p. 432) King had brought their troops as far as Auerstädt, beyond which they hoped to cross the Saale and make a stand on its right bank to the eastward. They had thirty-five thousand men, excluding the reserve of eighteen thousand. Bernadotte, according to Napoleon's orders, was marching from Gera to Dornburg in order to get in the rear of the deserted Prussian line; but he had not driven his troops, and was still in communication with Davout. Davout had received later orders, based upon Napoleon's conviction that Hohenlohe's was the main Prussian army, to turn in farther south for the same purpose, and march with his division of thirty-three thousand to Apolda. There was a sentence to the effect that if Bernadotte were near by, they could march together; but the Emperor hoped that the latter had already reached his station at Dornburg. Bernadotte was accordingly informed; but recalling the Emperor's dissatisfaction with him the previous year for his inactivity, he did not feel justified in disregarding the letter and obeying the spirit of his orders. Keeping the line of march formally prescribed, he was not only himself absent from both the battles of the fourteenth, but exposed Davout's single corps to destruction by the Prussian main army, numbering, with the reserve, fifty-three thousand.

Napoleon claimed to have sent an order during the night with directions for Bernadotte to reinforce Davout. This was a double-meaning statement intended to place the blame for Davout's exposure on Bernadotte's slow movements. Bernadotte denied having received any message, and the consequence was an increased bitterness between him and Napoleon, destined to grow still stronger, and finally to become of historic importance.

Davout was crossing the river Saale about six o'clock in the morning of the fourteenth, and was well over (p. 433) with about two thirds of his corps, when suddenly his advance-guard found itself facing a portion of the enemy at the hamlet of Hassenhausen. It was the Prussian van. At first the thick mist concealed the armies from each other, but Davout hurried his columns forward and deployed them by the right for a simultaneous attack; those of the Prussians advanced and deployed so slowly that they came into action successively and lost the advantage of their superior numbers. The action began by a charge of Blücher's cavalry against the French right; but the men, unable to withstand the steady fire of the French infantry, recoiled and fell back in confusion. The Prussian right then moved around the French left by the flank, and drove their opponents into the village for shelter. They could not, however, dislodge them, and were left standing in the open field for two hours under a murderous fire. By this time it was noon; Davout's last companies had crossed the river, and the brave general, putting himself at their head, charged with them at double quick. The Duke of Brunswick fell, blinded in both eyes and mortally wounded; the King, though intervening with energy, could not keep the troops in line. At the same time his left was also attacked by a fresh force, and he determined to fall back on the reserve, which, owing to Brunswick's disability and consequent failure to give the necessary orders, had remained stationary in the critical moment at Gernstädt. The French followed, and the running fight continued through and beyond Auerstädt, until at five in the evening Davout called a halt. Frederick William did not, as was entirely possible, turn back with the reserve and strive to overwhelm his exhausted foe, but marched onward, expecting to unite with Hohenlohe and renew the conflict next day at Weimar.

(p. 434) But it was foes, not friends, that he found; for Bernadotte had passed Dornburg, and was in control of the Weimar road, having reached Apolda with his van. The awful disappointment unnerved and demoralized both the King and his army; throughout the terrible day the Prussian soldiers had justified their renown, fighting bravely and stubbornly; but now discipline was at an end, and with one or two exceptions the squadrons dissolved and turned into a flying horde. Hohenlohe drew off ten thousand men in good order, marched in swift but dignified retreat through Nordhausen to Magdeburg, and thence continued by Neu-Ruppin to Prenzlau. Blücher escaped with a body of cavalry. The battle of Auerstädt was tactically a separate affair from that of Jena, but strategically and morally they were one. Professional students find in this campaign almost the first complete realization of the hazardous and delicate manœuver known as turning the enemy—common sense shows that the turner, if careless or slow, is himself liable to be turned. The campaign as a whole was never for a moment endangered, because the unprecedented marches of the French made their leader's strategy impregnable. But Bernadotte's conduct, though technically justifiable, would, with any less efficiency on Davout's part, have jeopardized the battle as it was fought. The success of Napoleon was due in part to the fact that, as he himself said, "while others were taking counsel the French army was marching," in part to the still undiminished devotion and capacity of the marshals. Great ventures generally succeed by narrow margins and fail by broad ones. The Prussian campaign was a great one; its successors were to be of even larger dimensions as to conception. When they were successful it was by an even narrower chance; when disastrous, it was with frightful completeness.


The Devastation of Prussia[38]

The Effects of Jena and Auerstädt — Degeneracy of the French Soldiers — Napoleon's Abuse of Queen Louisa — The Occupation of Berlin — Conduct of the French Generals — Turkey and Russia at War — Prussia and Russia — Treatment of Minor German States — Napoleon as the Liberator of Poland — Condition of the Country — The Retort to Trafalgar.

The moral effect of Jena upon Prussia was pitiful. All the years of irresponsible government, of absolutism and militarism, seemed revenged upon monarchy at a single blow. The nation, with no experience of independent action, was stunned, and did not run to arms, except in a few abortive instances. In his flight Frederick William had with difficulty kept together his royal state, and the day after Jena he sent an envoy to ask for an armistice. This was ostensibly a reply to Napoleon's suggestions of a peace sent three days earlier to the King, probably as a ruse; but the Emperor now declared that he would dictate his terms only from Berlin, and his army continued its advance. The Prussian court, with a few thousand men under Lestocq, retreated through West Prussia (p. 436) and took refuge in Königsberg. So thoroughly did Napoleon organize the pursuit, and so carefully did he estimate the total result of his victory, that nothing escaped him. The French soldiers carried everything before them. A Prussian reserve corps was easily beaten at Halle by Bernadotte, and fled for refuge to the unprovisioned fortress of Magdeburg. Lannes seized Dessau; Davout, Wittenberg; while Murat, Soult, and Ney proceeded to invest Magdeburg, which for those days was the strategic key of the Elbe valley. It resisted until November, but eventually fell, as did also Erfurt. In fact, the French ransacked the land. Even Hohenlohe did not escape them. Being overtaken by the infantry of Lannes and the cavalry of Murat, he was first driven from Prenzlau, and then, on October twenty-eighth, he surrendered, being a victim partly to the duplicity of Murat, who declared that a hundred thousand French were closing in on him, and partly to the stupidity of his own messenger, who asserted that the tale was true. Frederick William himself would have been captured at Weissensee but for Blücher, who brazenly declared to Klein, the French commander, that an armistice had been granted—a pure falsehood. Stettin capitulated to Lasalle's cavalry on the thirtieth, and Küstrin soon opened its doors. The fortresses of Spandau and Hameln followed their example, all four being surrendered with suspicious facility; in two instances the French and Prussian soldiers actually joined to hiss and execrate the governors, (p. 437) who were undoubtedly both recreant and venal. Blücher, after many gallant but fruitless attempts to collect a force, had reached Lübeck, through many dangers, with his cavalry; but driven thence after a gallant and exceptional resistance, he too surrendered. There remained no organized Prussian force in the lands between the Elbe and the Oder.

It had been accurate foresight which enabled Napoleon to say, in the decree issued from Jena on October fifteenth, that in the battle of the previous day he had conquered all the Prussian lands west of the Vistula. Before long the demoralization of the nation was as complete as the conquest of their country. The treatment of the people by the victorious soldiery was the climax of the long career of French officers and men as plunderers. As Napoleon's success kept pace with his ever-growing schemes of conquest, he laid less and less stress on the means to his end, ever more and more on its accomplishment. The army was once again scattered to obtain subsistence, and it left no opportunity for spoil neglected. As one of the most enthusiastic officers reluctantly declared: "From the moment Napoleon obtained supreme power the soldiers' morals changed, the union of hearts among them disappeared with their poverty, a desire for luxury and the comforts of life began. The Emperor considered it politic to favor this degeneracy. He thought it advantageous and shrewd to make the army absolutely dependent upon him."

The shocking details of Prussia's treatment by Napoleon and his army have been often told. On October twenty-fourth the Emperor arrived at the Hohenzollern residence of Potsdam, and publicly visited the tomb of Frederick the Great. Uttering words expressive of profound reverence for the great general, he nevertheless sent the old hero's sword, belt, and hat as trophies to (p. 438) ornament the Invalides at Paris. "His intellect, his genius, and his affections were kin to those of our nation, which he so esteemed," was the pretext for this act of spoliation. He was equally unscrupulous in his shameful treatment of the unfortunate Queen. Recognizing by swift penetration that in her resided the true spirit not alone of Prussian but of German nationality, that hers was the genius of reform, the temperament of the patriot, and the grace of perseverance, he selected her as the target of his spite. He loathed the use of feminine charm in statecraft, resented her endowment of beauty and intellect, and seems to have feared her influence. In bulletin after bulletin he heaped lying abuse on her devoted head. In one he depicted her as having a sufficiently pretty face, but little wit; in another he asked what mystery had led a woman hitherto absorbed in the serious occupations of her toilet to meddle with politics, stir up the King, and kindle everywhere the fire with which she was herself possessed. The answer, he insinuated, was to be found in the Czar's personal visits to Berlin.

On October twenty-seventh Napoleon made his triumphal entry into the Prussian capital with the utmost splendor he could devise, and at the head of the largest military force he could muster. Coignet, one of his soldiers, wrote of the scene: "The Emperor was grand in his plain clothes, with his little hat and a penny cockade. His staff, on the contrary, wore their dress uniform; and for strangers it was a queer sight to see, in the one man most meanly clad of all, the leader of so fine an army." The city of Berlin, populace, burghers, and aristocracy, was strangely apathetic at the approach and presence of the French. Its general aspect seemed to the invaders one of childish curiosity. But the Emperor was about to launch some of his most far-reaching (p. 439) thunderbolts and scorned any appearance of clemency. To "show himself terrible at the first moment," as he had advised Joseph to do at Naples, an order was issued for the seizure of Prince Hatzfeldt, governor of the capital and the most distinguished Prussian nobleman within reach. He was to be tried by a court-martial on the charge of being a traitor and a spy, his crime being that he had written to his King a letter giving an account of the French entry into Berlin. The epistle was so harmless in its nature that its writer had intrusted it to the mail, in which it was seized and then shown to Napoleon. The prince escaped the first blast of the storm by hiding; his life was afterward granted to the personal and tearful solicitations of his wife as an act of great clemency. As in Italy, the galleries, libraries, collections, and public monuments were stripped of their finest treasures to enrich Paris.

The French soldiers needed no example. Lübeck, which, as was claimed, had been taken by storm, was handed over to the men to work their will, just as Pavia had been. Wherever the troops were billeted, they had but to demand from their terrified entertainers what they desired and their behest was done. They were not modest, and before long both rapine and lust worked their will among the angry but helpless populations. The French generals were too much like their men, and, as in Italy and Austria, the gratification of their boundless greed seemed to meet the Emperor's approval. The castles of the nobility and the houses of the wealthy citizens were of course chosen by them as quarters. It would have been hard for their owners to refuse the unbidden guests any object which met with their expressed approval, and the French officers openly admired many valuable things. All these irregularities, the Emperor believed, attached his generals to himself; (p. 440) and at the same time a threat of examination into their accounts would, he knew, instantly check any manifestations of independence. Masséna was the most avaricious of all; nothing but the love of money could influence him, wrote Napoleon, and "where at first little sums sufficed, now milliards are not sufficient." At another time he said, more generously, that one must bow the knee before Masséna's gifts as a soldier, although he had his faults like another. Bernadotte, on the occasion of a certain surprise, lost the wagon which contained his Lübeck booty. He was inconsolable, and it was considered a delicious joke when he explained that he was so depressed because the loss "prevented him from paying a gratification in money to the men of his corps." Davout before long filled all Poland with the terror of his name. Napoleon's brother Jerome, finding a bin of choice Tokay in a Polish castle, loaded the contents in his baggage-train, and carried them away.

With Prussia thus shattered, disintegrated, and almost annihilated, Napoleon proceeded without the loss of a moment to use his new vantage against both Russia and England. In the Oriental question he could strike both with a single blow. As a result of the thorough knowledge of the East obtained in 1803 through Sebastiani, he had virtually determined to assert his supremacy over Turkey. To this end, however, he must for the present spare the sensibilities of Austria, which, though humbled to the dust, was again rising to her feet; her curiously assorted, heterogeneous peoples showed more spirit than the Prussians, displaying resources and courage comparable to those of France. During the summer of 1806, apparently of his own motion, but in reality by French suggestion, the Sultan Selim III had on August twenty-fourth dismissed the viceroys of (p. 441) Moldavia and Wallachia, both of whom had made themselves conspicuous by their Russian proclivities. At once the Czar Alexander I sent an army to cross the Pruth. The Sultan was terrified when the Russians occupied Bucharest, but on November eleventh, 1806, at the very climax of his peril, he was officially notified that Napoleon now had three hundred thousand men free to attack Russia and save Turkey; the Emperor would himself operate from the Vistula, and a Turkish army must simultaneously appear on the Dniester. The Sultan at once obeyed, and the Czar consequently sent eighty thousand men against the Turks. Two British expeditions were despatched in coöperation, one to Constantinople, one to Egypt: both were failures. Russia was soon fully occupied in her offensive campaign against Napoleon and correspondingly disabled in the East, while the Sultan's janizaries by low intrigue rendered active operations on his part impossible. Austria, mindful, apparently, of Russia's desertion after Austerlitz, displayed neither resentment nor alarm at the course taken by France, and Napoleon, whose material gain was slight, nevertheless won the diplomatic move and felt himself a step nearer both to victory over Russia and to such a protectorate of Turkey as would be a serious menace to England's Eastern empire.

As to Prussia, the ultimate arrangements were held in suspense. Napoleon's first response to a request for peace had been that he would make terms only in Berlin, and shortly after his triumphal entry negotiations were opened. The terms proposed by his ministers at the outset were far in excess of what the Prussian plenipotentiaries thought reasonable; but as one fortress after another opened its gates the demands grew more and more exorbitant. Although other counsels prevailed in the end, there was actually a moment when Napoleon (p. 442) contemplated the extinction of the Hohenzollern power, and the partition among his vassal states of that dynasty's variously acquired and strangely assorted lands, which had so little territorial unity that they extended in two separate parallel lines from northeast to southwest. Voltaire said they stretched over Europe like a pair of garters. The best offer that could be wrung from Napoleon—and, in view of Prussia's absolute prostration, he thought his proposition not ungenerous—was for an armistice, during which the French should occupy all Prussia as far as the Bug; and Frederick William should order the now advancing Russians off his soil. The Prussian minister actually signed this paper, but his sovereign, whose hopes were rising in proportion as the Russian army drew nearer, refused to ratify it. Owing to the general readjustment of the international relations so rudely shattered by the rise of French empire, neither Great Britain nor Russia could settle upon a definite policy, much less Prussia, distracted alike by internal dissensions and the smiting of ruthless foes.

It is not difficult to conceive the desperation of Frederick William as he learned the ominous disposition made of the lands belonging to his allies. The Elector of Hesse-Cassel had remained ostensibly neutral in the war, having requested and been refused membership in the Rhine Confederation. But he had mustered about twenty thousand men on a war footing: his heir was in the Prussian lines. He was rightly suspected of trimming to both currents: his people loathed and despised him. The day after Jena he was informed that the Emperor had been aware of his secret sympathy with the coalition, and that his feelings had been evidenced by the permission granted the Prussian troops to pass through his domain while his own army was (p. 443) ready for action. This conduct made it necessary to occupy his states. Mortier, the French commander at Mainz, was ordered to seize the prince and imprison him in Metz; on November fourth it was curtly announced that the house of Hesse had ceased to reign. The fact was, the territories of that house were needed for a new subsidiary kingdom, the formation of which had been for some time in contemplation. The Elector of Saxony, whose troops had fought with the Prussians at Jena, was, on the other hand, offered the privilege of neutrality, and, abandoning his former ally, he eagerly accepted. The dukes of Saxe-Gotha and Saxe-Weimar followed his example, and obtained immunity by submission. The Duke of Brunswick had withdrawn to his capital. Thence he appealed to his conqueror for mercy in behalf of his dominions. Napoleon's reply was pitiless, recalling the duke's notorious proclamation of 1792 against the French republic, and declaring that it was he also who had been the real instigator of the present war. The sting of this retort was in its truth and the humbled warrior in mortal agony betook himself to Altona, where he expired. Brunswick, Hanover, Hamburg, and their domains were all occupied by French troops and put under martial law.

In the treatment which Hesse-Cassel received, the Emperor of the French, though with much provocation, was simply a despot. In the case of Prussia he could not well pose as a liberator, for as yet there was no widespread sense of oppression and little national spirit among the people. In his dealings with Saxony and the Saxon duchies he appeared in a better light, for among their inhabitants there was a very extended sympathy with the liberal ideas, both political and ecclesiastical, which he was still supposed to represent. But there was a nation of Eastern Europe which longed (p. 444) for him as for a savior, and to whom he was far more than a representative liberal. Unhappy in her constitution, feeble in her political life, assassinated by a conspiracy of her neighbors, Poland was nevertheless still alive, and in her longing for a deliverer the majority of her people had fixed their eyes on Napoleon. From this fact he was anxious to draw the utmost advantage, and that right speedily, for the Czar with ninety thousand men was steadily marching toward the Prussian frontier. On November nineteenth a deputation of Polish nobility arrived in Berlin, and Napoleon, after treating them with impressive distinction, dismissed them with the statement that as France had never acknowledged the partition of their country, it was his interest as Emperor of the French to restore their independence and reconstruct a kingdom which, since it originated with him, would be permanent. A week later he proceeded to Posen, and, entering the city under an arch erected to "the liberator of Poland," awakened such enthusiasm that it far outran his own progress; a volunteer movement was almost instantly set on foot in Warsaw, which resulted in the enlistment of sixty thousand men as a national guard. It is idle to discuss whether Napoleon could or would have resuscitated Poland. Kosciusko and the more enlightened Poles believed not. Some of the Polish nobles demanded an immediate and formal recognition of their country's independence as the antecedent condition of their support. But among the masses the old ideals were revived, and the old spasmodic, misdirected energy was awakened in the service of the new Western Empire.

Such proceedings could not but arouse anxiety in Austria concerning the stability of her authority in the Polish lands under her crown. Andréossy, the French ambassador at Vienna, was instructed to say that such (p. 445) insurgent movements were a necessary consequence of the Emperor's presence in Posen, and that he had no intention of meddling with Austrian Poland; but that, nevertheless, if the Emperor of Austria felt uneasy, he might perhaps be willing to consider the acceptance of a part of Silesia as indemnity for the portion of Poland under Austrian rule. By this sly offer Francis was rendered powerless, for he could not accept Silesia, nor even a portion of it, without embroiling himself with England and Russia, and thereby entering into a virtual partnership with France. In spite of the unwearied efforts to stir up strife made by Napoleon's Corsican countryman, Pozzo di Borgo, who now represented the Czar at Vienna, Francis resolved to preserve a strict neutrality. The Poles were hopelessly divided, one party—that of Kosciusko—holding altogether aloof, a second under Poniatowski throwing themselves heartily on Napoleon's good will, a third under Czartoryski preferring to secure their country's resurrection through the Czar, who passed for an enlightened idealist. Here, as so often before, Napoleon concealed his intentions and movements behind the cloud of contradictory sentiments which he inspired in different classes of men by the assumption of a colorless magnanimity, just as the octopus blinds all alike, the indifferent as well as the hostile, in the inky fluid with which it darkens the clear waters round about.

Perplexity as to continental policies was, however, in marked contrast to the directness of his attack on England. This was in the form of a paper fulmination, a proclamation and a decree; mere print, but for all that a bolt, forged, to be sure, from the substance of French policies, yet novel in the daring with which it was now launched.


The Continental System as a Whole[39]

The Berlin Decree — Retort to Trafalgar — High Protection in France — A Weapon of Bonaparte — Fichte's Commercial State — Protectionist Doctrine in Germany and France — The Orders in Council — Responsibility for the Napoleonic Wars — British Opinion — The System and the Invasion of England — The System on the Continent — Napoleon's Explanation — Origin of the Idea — Paper Blockade and the System — The Orders in Council of 1807 — Their Justification — State of British Trade — New Concepts in Public Law — The Licensing System — Its Use by Napoleon — Effects in France.

This was the Berlin Decree, which Napoleon issued on November twenty-first. It was the capstone to that structure of continental embargo which for four years had occupied the attention of its author. England was the soul of every continental coalition; France could answer only by continued continental conquest. As England could be reached only through her trade, with continental Europe in his hands, Napoleon determined that he would strike his implacable enemy where she was vulnerable. "The British Islands," ran the decree, "are henceforth blockaded; all commerce with them is prohibited; letters and packages with an English address will be confiscated, as also every store of English (p. 447) goods on the Continent within the borders of France and her allies; every piece of English goods, all English vessels, and those laden with staples from English colonies, will be excluded from all European harbors, including those of neutral states."

As early as 1795 the Committee of Public Safety had considered the possibility of excluding English goods from the Continent. The idea of the Berlin Decree was therefore not original with Napoleon, but the time and form of its application were; in particular, the final clause was thoroughly his own. These last words speak volumes. In reply to the principle of Great Britain that on the sea "enemy's ships make enemy's goods," he thereby retorted with "enemy's lands make enemy's goods," ordering all English wares found in countries occupied by his troops to be seized. But he went much farther in his suicidal logic, and virtually declared war to the knife by commanding that every British subject found within the same limits should be held as a prisoner of war, and that all property of individual Englishmen should be regarded as lawful prize. These drastic measures, considered together, were intended as a reply to Trafalgar, and to England's Orders in Council issued on May sixteenth, 1806, which announced a blockade of the Continent from Brest to the Elbe for the purpose of utterly destroying French commerce. The Berlin Decree was also intended to be in the nature of reprisals for the English practice of searching French ships and impressing French sailors. Napoleon had himself been guilty of that discourtesy both to warships and to merchantmen, but he had never been strong enough seriously to annoy or cripple England as England had both annoyed and crippled him by the practice. During the year 1806 three more French agents were despatched into the Orient, and Joseph declared to the (p. 448) Prussian envoy that his brother was contemplating an expedition to India. Many years later the Emperor himself confirmed this statement in a conversation with Dr. O'Meara.

No single scheme of Napoleon's contributed in the end so much to his discredit as the Berlin Decree. Colonial wares had become a necessity of life to the populations of Europe, and to be deprived of them brought irritation into every household, even the poorest; it was an attempt to coerce Russia into adhesion to this ruinous policy which directly initiated his fall. Reviving the commercial policy of the old régime, the republic outran the zeal of the monarchy. Such, according to our best authority, Mollien, was the condition of public opinion when Bonaparte took charge in 1800. It is needless to say that a man like the First Consul, who was a suitor for public favor, made the universal jealousy of England's commercial supremacy in a special and peculiar sense his foremost care. But that Bonaparte did not originate the high-protection temper of France is proved by the remarkable enactment known as the Loi de 10 Brumaire, An V (October thirty-first, 1796). This drastic measure forbade the importation of all manufactured articles, either made in England or passing through the channels of English trade by land or sea, except under certain stringent and exceptional regulations as to transshipment; and ordered the confiscation of such articles, if found in a French port on any vessel whatsoever. The carefully prepared list of the articles of English manufacture thus to be shut out included absolutely everything in the production of which the splendid expansion of English manufactures at the close of the eighteenth century made Great Britain supereminent—products of the loom, the forge, the tannery, the glass house, the sugar refinery, and the potter's kiln. Fourteen concluding (p. 449) articles of the law enacted a system of trade control whereby, to all appearance, the evasion of either the letter or the spirit of the statute was made impossible. Yet for a time the disintegration of the public powers under the Directory was such that, in spite of the exasperation of the national hatred against the English government, the law was simply ignored. On December fourth, 1798, however, there was a sudden change; without warning, strong military detachments were placed at all the gates of Paris and every vehicle was carefully searched; domiciliary visits were commenced by the customs authorities and were continued until all English wares were removed from commerce; and French public opinion supported these proceedings, which the English stigmatized as "legal robbery."

The fact was that Napoleon Bonaparte had temporarily taken up the task of administration, and, having correctly read the public temper, was beginning the policy of "thorough." The treaty of Campo Formio had been concluded; and, though he was only commander-in-chief of the French army—and that by construction rather than in form—he was really the arbiter of the government. Whatever the masses thought, the Directory knew that the fate of France was in his hands; and nothing confirmed that opinion more strongly than the ease with which the law enacted two years before was now enforced. Having made what he considered easy terms with Austria, he had determined to destroy the credit of Pitt's government by attacking English industries and commerce, and to defy, if necessary, the neutral carriers of the world. It appears to have been at this time that his mind formed the "Chimera," as a French historian calls it, which in the end proved his ruin—the conception that, if only the conservative administration of Great Britain could (p. 450) be discredited, the Whigs would adhere to "the republican peace."

The time was not ripe for any attack on England more direct than this; and to occupy the interval until it might become so, the well-worn scheme of harassing her at her extremities was revived. The uneasy Bonaparte was temporarily removed from the scene of administration by the Egyptian expedition, intended at least to menace English commerce in those distant parts of the earth, if not to work the complete ruin of her Oriental empire. But if the time was not ripe to engage in active hostilities for the enforcement of an economic doctrine, this fact was not due to the absence of such a doctrine, formulated and avowed. The theory of a closed jural state, which had been evolved in defense of the final stage in the formation of European nationality, was itself undergoing an expansion in the direction of expounding the international relations of states in commercial affairs. In 1801 Fichte published his famous treatise entitled "The Closed Commercial State," his contribution to the literature of Utopias. Defining the jural state as a limited body of men subject to the same laws and to the same coactive sovereignty, he declared that the same body of men ought to be stringently limited to like reciprocity of commerce and industry, and that any one not under the same legislative power and the same coactive force should be excluded from participation in this relation; thus would be formed a closed commercial state parallel to the closed jural state. His treatise was divided into three books, entitled respectively, "Philosophy," "Contemporary History," and "Politics," preceded by an introduction discussing the relation of the rational state to the real, and of pure public law to politics. The first book was merely an elaboration of his idea as to what is just and right within the rational (p. 451) state, in view of trade relations as they are; in the second book he proceeded to discuss the actual condition of commercial intercourse in existing states; and in the third book he considered how the theory of a closed commercial state was to be realized. The vital portion of his argument lay in the statement[40] that if all Christian Europe, with its colonies and factories in other quarters of the globe, was to be considered as a whole, trade must remain free as it once was; if, however, it was to be divided into several wholes, each under its own government, it must likewise be divided into several entirely closed commercial states. Said he: "Those systems which demand free trade, those claims to the right to buy and sell freely in the whole known world, have been handed down to us from among the ideas of our ancestors, for whom they were suited; we took them without examination and adopted them, and it is with trouble that we substitute others for them."

Seven years later the same philosopher declared, in his better-known Address to the German Nation, that the much-vaunted liberty of the seas was a matter entirely indifferent to the Germans. For the preservation of their peculiar genius, he argued, they should be saved from all participation, direct or indirect, in the wealth of other peoples; otherwise the curse of commercialism would overtake them. Thus the "ideologues" of Europe, German and French, held identical opinions. They appear to have had multitudes of supporters in all lands. At any rate, it is idle to charge Bonaparte with being the inventor of the rigid protectionist doctrines that he endeavored to apply to the dominions which, when acquired by conquest, he intended to incorporate in a (p. 452) European empire having its capital and administrative seat at Paris. They were held by the men of the Terror in 1793, by the Directory in 1796, by the overwhelming majority of the French people in 1798, and by a respectable number of Germans and of Americans in the years immediately succeeding; while they are still held by immense numbers of those in whom the idea of nationality is dominant and preponderates over all other political concepts.

The Berlin Decree, which is generally considered to have inaugurated the Continental System in form, is, in fact, antedated by the Orders in Council of Great Britain. During 1801 English commerce was considerably greater than it was during 1802, the year of nominal peace; and this was due, of course, to the fact that the commercial welfare was not even nominally discontinued. The real trouble felt by Lord Whitworth, the British ambassador at Paris, was that the existing commercial situation of his country was intolerable, and that he must find some casus belli in order to end it. We have explained how he fixed on a very trivial pretext, the conduct of Bonaparte at a public reception in the Tuileries, and that Great Britain had much difficulty in making the flimsy excuse appear important. The fact was that the First Consul was using the peace to extend the protective system of France over all the lands which he had conquered in northern and central Italy and to force Holland and Switzerland into his customs union. In consequence English commerce was suffering, and the mission of Sebastiani into the Orient made it seem highly probable to English merchants that the process of further diminishing their trade was already under way in those distant parts. The publication of Sebastiani's report was the last straw in the burden of the British merchants, and they refused to carry the load (p. 453) any longer. Bonaparte said that the independence of a nation carried with it the absolute control of its trade, and that if Great Britain intended to keep both Gibraltar and Malta, she virtually announced by that fact her determination to unite the commerce of the Indies, the Mediterranean, and the Baltic in a single system controlled by herself, which would create a situation intolerable and impossible.

The Peace of Amiens was merely a truce, and the only question as to its duration was one of reciprocal forbearance and endurance. As soon as it became clear that neither England nor France would abandon the idea of commercial supremacy, the vital matter of policy on both sides was how to reopen the war. To do this was to assume a fearful burden of responsibility. History is still striving to determine who gave the immediate impulse; for whoever did give it is held responsible for the appalling bloodshed of the Napoleonic as distinguished from the republican wars. To-day even the English historians of the most enlightened sort admit that France was tricked into the declaration of war. The coalition was in process of formation within a few days after the ink was dry on the treaty of Campo Formio; it was in readiness when hostilities broke out; and the fuel necessary to make the intermittent flickering flames burst forth anew was supplied by the successive Orders in Council.

In 1805 there was printed in London and published anonymously a book which is now believed to have been officially inspired. It was actually written by James Stephen, and the title was "War in Disguise, or the Frauds of the Neutral Flag." Its argument was the need of the destruction of France to prevent the ruin of England. The immediate dilemma considered was the sacrifice of Great Britain's maritime rights or a quarrel with the (p. 454) neutral powers. The author thought that the system of licenses—"salt-water indulgences," he called them—was shaking England's supremacy exactly as the papal indulgences of the fifteenth century had shaken the Roman supremacy. In attacking neutral trade, he thought, there was little danger of provoking hostilities or evoking reprisals. As to America, particularly, a non-importation policy on her part would injure herself alone. She was far too honorable to confiscate the property of English merchants within her borders and far too shrewd to expose to retributive seizure the enormous commerce which she herself had afloat. Suppose, however, he continued, that neither the sacrifice of maritime rights nor the quarrel with neutral powers be accepted, there remains still a third possibility—to admit the pretension that "free ships make free goods," to suspend the navigation laws and then to seize all the benefits of neutral carriers. "Let brooms be put at the mastheads of all our merchantmen, and their seamen be sent to the fleets." This, he argued, would be a less evil than that under which English commerce was suffering, unless, indeed, all parties, including the enemy, would abjure the right of capturing merchant ships or private effects of an enemy—a visionary means of reconciling naval war with commercial peace. Such general abjuration was impossible, and there remained no remedy for England's ills save peace with Bonaparte. But the mere suggestion of this action was preposterous. The insuperable barrier was the British constitution. Austria and Russia might make peace with a military despot; but with a man who employed the leisure of peace for no other purpose than to enslave the smaller powers of the Continent no peace was possible for a free country like England, except such a one as would be equivalent to absolute surrender. As might have been (p. 455) expected, the Englishman who wrote "War in Disguise" concluded his argument with a pious appeal to the Almighty, obedience to whose righteous laws is the soundest political wisdom, and who wills not only the end, but the means—in this case "volunteers, navy and maritime rights." This temper for war to the bitter end was quite as strong in France as in England; and while the English appealed to God and righteousness, it was equally characteristic that the French were at the same time exploiting a parallel drawn from classical history—that of Rome and Carthage.

We must always recollect that the Grand Army of England was a two-edged weapon. Napoleon told Metternich that he always intended to use it against Austria, as he actually did use it; but he told the captain of the Northumberland, on August fifteenth, 1815, that he had intended the invasion seriously, expecting to land as near London as possible. Although these antipodal statements were clearly intended to flatter the national pride of the respective dignitaries to whom they were addressed, yet, paradoxical as the assertion seems, when taken together they express the exact truth: successful invasion would have involved the immediate overthrow of British power; while protective exclusion and the destruction of the coalition was the slower, perhaps, but the more certain of the two ways. The latter was probably the intention toward which Napoleon leaned most seriously. By compelling the British to maintain a costly war establishment, the great schemer would exhaust their by no means bottomless purse; and thus would be able to cripple the equipment of the coalition, to expand by victory the territorial empire of France, and to open the way for her enterprise to the eastward. Finally, Napoleon made no serious effort toward the "Descent," using the notion to extort war (p. 456) funds from the French exactly as the Jacobins and the Directory had done; and the actual fact of the magnificent countermarch toward Vienna and the results of Austerlitz ought to convince us that, while at times he did contemplate invading England, his mind was on the whole directed toward the course he actually pursued—that of striking at the coalition through Austria.

The extension of the protective system beyond France and the countries immediately under her control began in 1803, when Spain was admonished to observe it or to take the consequences; immediately after Austerlitz, Istria and Dalmatia were included in the system. When, thereupon, Prussia was requested to include the North Sea coasts in its operation, as the price for the occupation of Hanover, Great Britain retorted by her Orders in Council, declaring the shore line from the mouth of the Elbe all the way around as far as Brest to be in a state of blockade. Prussia chose to accept neither the terms of Great Britain nor those of France, and struggled to remain neutral—a sheer impossibility; the Czar of Russia then repudiated the treaty into which his ambassador, Oubril, had been drawn by the wiles of Talleyrand; in due course of time followed Jena and Friedland; and at last the way was clear for turning a protective system hitherto more or less local into one which could be more or less continental. The Berlin Decree was the longest step possible after Jena; while the Milan Decree was the natural sequence of the enlarged opportunity which the Peace of Tilsit gave for pursuing the same old economic policy.

In justification of his course, Napoleon pleaded the moderation he had shown in dealing with the enemy after the first three coalitions, and declared in his message to the senate that he desired such a general European peace as would guarantee the prosperity, not of England (p. 457) alone, but of all the continental powers; but as the attitude of the enemy rendered this impossible, nothing remained but to adopt measures "which were repugnant to his heart." The Berlin Decree set forth in its preamble that England paid no respect to international law; that she considered as enemies, not alone the organized war power of hostile states, but the persons and vessels of their citizens engaged in commerce, taking the persons prisoners of war and the ships as prizes; that she extended the principle of blockade to unfortified towns, harbors, and river mouths, declaring places to be blockaded before which there were no forces sufficient to enforce the blockade, and extending this absurdity to the coast lines of entire empires; that, finally, since this conduct had no other intention than the ruin of all Europe to the advantage of English trade, "We have resolved to apply to England the usages which she has sanctioned in her maritime legislation." The principles of the decree were asserted to be valid just as long as England should not admit the validity in maritime war of the principles which control war by land: the laws of war "cannot be applied either to private property, whatever it may be, or to the persons of those who are not belligerents, and the right of blockade must be confined in its application to strong places really invested by sufficient forces." The British Isles were then declared in a state of blockade and all the rigors of the English system were ordered to be carried out in detail. Finally, notification in due form was given to the Kings of Spain, Naples, Holland, and Etruria, and to all Napoleon's allies whose citizens were suffering from the "barbarities of English maritime legislation."

The date of the Berlin Decree was November twenty-first, 1806. On July twenty-fifth, 1805, Montgaillard, a clever scoundrel,—of whom, as Napoleon remarked, (p. 458) something could have been made if he had not been fit for hanging,—wrote a memorial[41] which was presented to Napoleon and is claimed to have been the basis of the Continental System. As expanded on March twenty-fourth, 1806, this paper represents that England has in view the sole object of destroying the French marine in order to destroy French commerce, and that, consequently, the imperial idea of Europe is one to which she can never accede even by a temporary peace; that she will never renounce her claim to Hanover or permit the occupation of Holland, her ultimate intention being to establish in Egypt a station to protect her commerce by the Red Sea with India. Portugal, which will always side with England, must, therefore, be incorporated with Spain; while Crete and Egypt must be occupied by both military and commercial posts. The influence of England's deep, fierce hostility, it continues, is seen in the refusal of both Austria and Russia to recognize the newly created vassal kingdom of Italy. England arrogated the tyranny of the seas in 1651 by the Navigation Act passed under the Protector; her very existence is founded in traffic and commerce, and without it there is no movement in her body politic. She is forced to disregard all provisions of international law which tend to diminish her commercial strength. William of Orange created her national debt; and successive sovereigns have in their various continental and American wars increased it to its present dimensions—estimated at about six hundred millions sterling. To carry this enormous obligation and emit the new loans necessary to sustain the respective coalitions, it is essential that her commerce should continuously expand. "It is through her commerce that England must be attacked," says Montgaillard; (p. 459) "to leave her all her gains in Europe, Asia, and America is to leave her all her arms, to render conflicts and wars eternal. To destroy British commerce is to strike England to the heart." He then advances the idea which appears to be the germ of the Continental System: Since Russia seems to favor the plans of England, and since Sweden is destitute of both independence and dignity, France must begin the attack on the maritime legislation of the enemy. She has only to make the navigation acts her own, modify them in favor of the powers which accept them, and adopt a policy of reciprocity.

How far these counsels influenced Napoleon it is impossible to say; but the chronological coincidence has some value in support of the claim that Montgaillard at least gave the final impulse to the Emperor. There seems, however, to have been a fatal flaw in the reasoning of both. There was no symptom in either executive or counselor of any grasp upon the fact that by the amazing development of industry in England the wealth of the entire world had been enormously increased—so enormously that without a corresponding increase in other nations no international rivalry in prosperity and influence was at all possible. This is a new discovery: then and until very recently it was supposed that England had reached her eminence in commerce by a series of flagrant wrongs; and when the successive steps of aggression and reprisal are chronologically arranged, there is a superficial appearance of truth in the charge. The Orders in Council were iniquitous anachronisms, and they gave a color of justification to the equally barbarous decrees of France—decrees in themselves preposterous, and supported, moreover, by a blockade which was as purely fictitious as that by which Great Britain supported her Orders in Council. The original sketch of the Berlin Decree has been recently discovered (p. 460) in the National Archives at Paris, and it is very important to note that it does not contemplate that portion of the completed document which covers the lands either allied to or under the influence of France; this provision seems to have been added after long reflection. The natural complement of a fictitious blockade was a fictitious protective system; the one was as absurd as the other.

In her puzzled uncertainty, and under the stress of necessity for immediate action of some kind, England took the next false step in the same direction and issued the Orders of January seventh, 1807, declaring all the ports, not only of France, but of her colonies, in a state of blockade, and throwing down the gauntlet to the neutral states by forbidding any ship to trade between the ports of France, of her colonies, and of the countries in the French system; while on November eleventh a new decree extended the inhibition to all ports whatsoever from which the English flag was excluded. This extreme position was pronounced by Lord Erskine to be unconstitutional and contrary to the law of nations. That it was not intended to be enforced, but was to be used as a pretext to secure maritime monopoly, is proved by the fact that already, in the month before, Great Britain had inaugurated the policy of evading her own decrees, raising the blockade of both the Elbe and the Weser and winking at the contraband trade which immediately sprang up in consequence. Napoleon was therefore untiring in the system of reprisals; on November twenty-third of the same year he issued the Milan Decree as a retort both to the scheme of contraband trade put into operation at Bremen and Hamburg and to the Orders of November eleventh; and to supplement this, a second and more rigorous decree was promulgated on December (p. 461) twenty-sixth, 1807. Any vessel which had suffered the visitation of English cruisers or had put in at any English port was declared thereby to have become English and consequently subject to confiscation; an embargo was also placed on all neutral ships at that time in French harbors. Prussia, Sweden, and Denmark adhered promptly to the new Continental System. England was terrified at the consequences of its own temerity, and on April twenty-sixth, 1809, modified her orders by limiting the blockade to "all the ports of the so-called Kingdom of Holland, of France and her colonies, and of Southern Italy, from Orbitello to Pesaro inclusive." Yet, for all this, Austria and Switzerland gave in their adhesion somewhat later; while America stuck to the principle of non-intercourse and finally obtained the revocation in her favor of both the Berlin and the Milan Decrees and, in the end, of the Orders in Council. As is well known, public necessity proved to be stronger than theory; Napoleon's very energy in depriving continental Europe of colonial and English-made articles which, once regarded as luxuries, had in time become necessities, together with the consequent exasperation of Great Britain at the diminution of her trade, was one of the influences which combined the most discordant political elements into a union for the destruction of French empire.

The English side of the secular controversy which has raged over the right and wrong of the Continental System has been presented by various writers with great ingenuity and acumen. The seizure of private persons and property on the high seas, runs their argument, was simply the retort to the French decree of 1798 which ordered the execution of all neutral sailors found on English ships; the French had been the first to disregard the law of nations in seizing the property of English (p. 462) merchants on terra firma at Leghorn, and from times immemorial the usage of Europe had authorized the seizure of private property on the high seas; the paper blockade, though illegal and absurd, was resorted to under great provocation, because Prussia had occupied Hanover, a territory which belonged, if not to England, at least to the holder of the English crown. It follows, therefore, that every measure taken by England was strictly in the nature of a reprisal. This legal plea is a question to be considered by jurisprudence, partly in the light of the changing identity of France and partly in that of variations of obligation due to the incidents of warfare—such, for example, as the conduct of England at Copenhagen, which was only the culmination of a series of similar acts in the treatment of all neutrals. It seems very doubtful whether any legal argument can avail much in explaining the inconsistencies incident to such struggles as the wars which were waged during the Napoleonic epoch. The real and paramount plea of England is self-defense; the arguments based on the political and economic emergencies in which she was involved, in consequence of her amazing constitutional and industrial preëminence, have a validity far beyond any which inheres in pleas that are purely technical—and confined, at that, to the field of international law.

Certain facts recently noted throw a flood of light on the miraculous development of English and Scotch industry during the Napoleonic epoch. Robert Owen stated, and in all sobriety, that in 1816 his two thousand operatives at New Lanark accomplished with the aid of the new machinery as much as had been accomplished by all the operatives in Scotland without it! In his autobiography Owen further emphasizes the extent of the industrial revolution by estimating—and the estimate (p. 463) is conservative—that the work done by the manufacturing population of Great Britain with machinery could not be done without it by a people numbering less than two hundred millions. There was no corresponding development of manufactures on the Continent—not even in France; thus, it was not until 1812 that steam spinning was introduced into Mulhouse, the great industrial capital of Alsace. Similar comparisons could be drawn in many other respects between Great Britain and her continental neighbors, but this single contrast is enough to render very striking the fact that no other power could vie with her in supplying the world with cheap and useful wares of such a sort as to become after a first trial indispensable to the masses of mankind. She found herself, therefore, in the position of being required for the sake of peace to discard all her commercial advantages, all that she had gained in her industrial evolution—all the preëminence, in short, which she held by exertions and sacrifices that had been unexampled elsewhere and continuous for centuries.

Does such a situation create no moral obligation? Is it supposable that a nation could consider for an instant the possibility of destroying itself and its inheritance, for the sake of a peace which would surrender all its advantages to an active and irreconcilable enemy? If there were no alternative except war or suicide, is Great Britain to be blamed for choosing war, however desperate? Moreover, there is another consideration of the first importance, which has a moral quality universally recognized in other spheres. By common consent no occupation of discovered land holds good if it be not permanent and beneficent; and likewise the closed economic state cannot be permanent unless it prove to be universally beneficent. Such a state now appears to be as uncertain in its operations as the closed jural state (p. 464) has proved to be under the operation of international agreements which assist one nation to enforce its municipal law, by the sanction of another. Extradition treaties and other equally pregnant innovations in international law are now generally admitted to have a jural validity, in many of the most important relations of men, that is both higher and stronger than that of the municipal law of the various states which compose the present federation of civilized powers. In the same way—tacitly, perhaps, but none the less really—it is coming to be widely conceded that the markets of the world cannot be closed to wares so good and so cheap as to be necessary for the ever-rising standard of comfortable living demanded by wage-earners in every land, except on condition that such wares can be produced sooner or later as well and as cheaply in the land which protects itself against others of its own class.

The effort of Great Britain to establish a monopoly of ocean commerce was accompanied by one immoral incident of the most far-reaching importance—the inauguration of a licensing system whereby, with simulated papers, vessels of any origin successfully evaded the provisions of both the British orders and the French decrees. This procedure for a time debauched the commerce of the world, and was a fit supplement to the acts of violence severely reprobated both then and since. In the main, fraud and violence brought greater profit to France than to Great Britain. The relaxation in 1798 of the rule of 1756 had accrued to the advantage of the only strictly neutral power of the world, viz., the United States; the orders and the decrees so hampered and exasperated our merchants that we first passed the Embargo Act and then took refuge in non-intercourse. By that time English commerce had so seriously declined under the working of the Continental System that (p. 465) violent agitation against the orders was inaugurated in Great Britain itself. Almost at that very moment, however, Napoleon drove the reigning house of Portugal to Brazil, and thus opened the most important ports of South America to British importations. The glut of the English storehouses was thus momentarily relieved; and, while the merchants suffered serious loss from the low prices they received, they were saved from absolute bankruptcy. For two years longer the struggle on both sides was continued with desperation; and would probably have resulted in the despair of Great Britain, had not the improved methods of agriculture, introduced along with the improved methods in manufacturing, made it possible to feed for some time longer the still comparatively small population by means of home production.

This was the interval which brought matters to a crisis on the Continent. Great Britain could get on very well without the silks and other luxuries produced in France, substituting for them woolens and cottons; but English cruisers made almost impossible the importation into Europe, not only of colonial necessities, but also of the raw materials necessary for indispensable manufactures. By the system of licenses alone was it possible to maintain the French army; cloth and leather wherewith to outfit Napoleon's soldiers were brought from England into the Hanseatic ports in open contempt of the Continental System. Since Great Britain also held the monopoly of coffee, tea, and sugar, without which the not more than half-hearted Germans of the Rhine Confederation would not live, and which Napoleon did not dare to cut off entirely from even the French and Italians, it was thought that the only possible reprisals against her not already instituted would be in the line of further restrictions on her manufactures. During (p. 466) the late summer and early autumn of 1810 were promulgated the three decrees of Trianon, St. Cloud, and Fontainebleau; and not only were enormous duties imposed on all colonial products, wherever found, but all English goods discovered in the lands of the French system were to be burned. Neutral ships, including those of the United States, were at the same time utterly shut out from all the harbors of these lands.

This was the beginning of the end; for in the effort to destroy the English sea power by condemning it to inanition, Napoleon deprived the manufacturers in his own lands of all their raw materials. Even if this had not been a sufficient cause, their manufacturing plants were not modern enough to supply the markets open to them. Russia endured the miseries of privation for but a single year, and in 1811 opened her ports; while smuggling on her boundary lines at once assumed dimensions which rendered anything approaching an administration of the Continental System the work of an army of customs officers, so that after 1812 the effort to enforce it was necessarily abandoned. Our declaration of war with England came too late to exert any influence, one way or the other, on the final solution of the question whether sea power or land power was the stronger in the civilized world at the opening of the nineteenth century. The death throes of Napoleon's imperial system were primarily caused by the exhaustion of France and of himself; when he made himself a dynastic ruler, his prestige and his inherent strength were dissipated as rapidly as were those of the popes when they joined the ranks of the petty princes of Italy. Possibly an empire of United Europe based on the liberal ideas of the day might have had some chance for life, but a single dynastic power pitted against all the dynasties of the Continent, and also against the moral (p. 467) strength of British preëminence in politics and industry, had none at all. It is a mistake to regard the Continental System as an influential cause of Napoleon's overthrow, except in so far as it displayed the folly of attempting to apply what is at best a temporary national expedient as a permanent principle in a world system. The effort did cripple the resources of France and alienate much Continental sympathy from the Emperor, and it embittered Great Britain to the point of desperation; but the result of the struggle to found a Napoleonic hierarchy of two degrees on the states of the Continent was otherwise determined.


Footnote 1: The authorities are as before: Vandal: L'Avènement de Bonaparte; Aulard: Études et leçons sur la Révolution Française; Paris pendant la réaction thermidorienne et sous le Directoire, and Histoire Politique de la Révolution Française; Sorel: L'Europe et la Révolution Française, Vol. V; Bonaparte et le Directoire. Much can be gleaned from the printed letters and despatches of this period. Important sources are the Souvenirs du baron de Barante; Mémoires et correspondance de Lafayette; Fiévée: Correspondance et relations avec Bonaparte; Correspondance de Mallet du Pan; Mémoires du roi Joseph; likewise the memoirs of Madame de Chastenay, of Duport de Cheverny, of Marmont, Marbot, Bourrienne, Carnot, Thiébault, Mathieu Dumas, and above all the Correspondence of Napoleon himself. Further, there are the collections of Bailleu, Staël-Holstein, Charles de Constant, letters of Talleyrand to Napoleon (published by Bertrand), of Jean Hardy, and Mme. Reinhard. The newspapers of the day, such as L'Espiègle, Le Surveillant, Le Publiciste, Le Propagateur, Gazette de France and Moniteur, and the Journal des Hommes Libres, are accessible only in the great libraries of London and Paris. The papers of Cambacérès, Mortier, Barthélemy, Grouvelle, and Jourdan have been found and used by the latest historians, but they are not printed. The best bibliography of the period is a considerable volume edited by Kirchelsen and published in 1902, 2d ed. 1908: that of Lumbroso is not yet completed.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 2: Authorities as before.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 3: Aside from the archives, national and state, and the Correspondence of Napoleon, official and unofficial publications, together with documents published by Pallain, Vivenot, and Bailleu, the best special authorities are Hüffer: Der Rastadter Congress, and Criste: Rastadt, L'Assassinat des Ministres Français (original in German). Then follow the memoirs and studies already enumerated, with Desbrière: Projets de débarquement aux Îles Britanniques.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 4: See Dändliker: Geschichte der Schweiz, Vol. III, p. 350.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 5: See Masson: Les Diplomates de la Révolution.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 6: Boulay de la Meurthe: Le Directoire et l'expédition d'Égypte. De Villiers du Terrage: Journal et Souvenirs sur l'expédition d'Égypte. Otherwise as before.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 7: Mahan: Life of Nelson. Jurien de la Gravière: Guerres Maritimes. Harcourt: Égypte et les Égyptiens. Gourgaud: Journal. Desvernois: Memoirs, ed. Defourg. (The editor has enriched his pages from Arab sources.) Desgenettes: Histoire médicale de L'Armée d'Orient. Ducasse: Les rois frères de Napoléon. The memoirs of de Rémusat, Belliard, Savary, and Berthier.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 8: References as before. Add Masson: Napoléon et les femmes, Josephine. Ernouf: Le Général Kléber. Larrey: Relation historique. Belliard: Bourrienne et ses erreurs. Guitry: L'Armée en Égypte. Memoirs of Lavalette, Bourrienne, Miot de Melito, and Lucien de Bonaparte.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 9: Authorities as before.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 10: The fullest accounts are those of Sorel and Vandal. Further authorities are the memoirs of Duport de Cheverny, of Larévellière-Lepeaux, of Lafayette, of Mme. de Chastenay, and of Pasquier, the works of Roederer, the studies of Aulard, the contemporary journals and reviews. Also, E. and I. de Goncourt: Histoire de la Société Française pendant le Directoire. Stenger: La Société Française pendant le Consulat. Rocquain: L'État de la France au 18 Brumaire.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 11: There is a small library of books and pamphlets devoted to the subject. The latest is that of the Austrian officer, Criste, to which reference has already been made: he searched the Vienna archives to learn, if possible, the truth, and confesses that he cannot find it, though he discusses all the theories and asserts the innocence of Austria. Even finer, however, is the volume of Helfert: Der Rastadter Gesandten Mord. The other sources are Gentz: Ueber die Ermordung der Französisch Congress-gesandten, a contemporary opinion, 1799; Böhtlingk's three discussions in Napoleon, Seine Jugend and Sein Emporkommen; Napoleon Bonaparte und der Rastadter Gesandten Mord; Der Rastadter Gesandten Mord vor dem Karlsruher Schöffengericht; Hüffer: Der Rastadter Gesandten Mord. By Müller, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, and von Reichelin Meldegg, there are monographs of the same title. Further material is contained in Schlitz: Denkwürdigkeiten; Obser: Politische Correspondenz Carl Friederich's von Baden; Delaure: Esquisses historiques; Gohier: Memoirs; Arnault: Souvenirs d'un Sexagénaire; Vivenot: Zur Geschichte des Rastadter Congresses; Jomini: Vie politique et militaire de Napoléon; Erzherzog Karl: Ausgewählte Schriften.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 12: The references for Chapters X and XI are as before, with these additions: the memoirs of Hyde de Neuville, Duport de Cheverny, Thiébault, Marmont (duc de Raguse), Sarrazin, Mathieu Dumas, Barras, Allonville, Gaudin (duc de Gaëte), and Pasquier; the Mémorial de Norvins, Cahiers du Capitaine Coignet, the Souvenirs of Macdonald, the Commentaries of Napoleon, the letters of Mme. de Reinhard, and the correspondence of Fiévée. Likewise, Lescure: Mémoires sur les journées révolutionnaires et les coups d'état de 1789-1799. Lucien Bonaparte: Révolution de Brumaire. Madelin: Fouché. Aulard: Le lendemain du 18 Brumaire and Délibérations du Consulat provisoire. Béranger: Ma Biographie. Guillois: Le Salon de Mme. Helvetius. Montier: Robert Lindet. Vatout: Le Palais de Saint Cloud. Stourm: Les finances du Consulat.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 13: The newspapers of the period. Napoleon's Correspondence and Commentaries. Aulard: Le lendemain du 18 Brumaire and Registre de délibérations du Consulat provisoire. The memoirs of Lafayette, Marmont, Gaudin, Hyde de Neuville, Tercier, and Pasquier. Montier: Robert Lindet. The letters of Charles de Constant and of Mme. Reinhard. The works of Roederer. Albert: Napoleon et les théâtres populaires. Lecomte: Napoléon et l'empire racontés par le théâtre. Schmidt: Tableaux de la Révolution. Mallet du Pan: La Révolution vue de l'étranger. Sloane: The French Revolution and Religious Reform, in which volume of the author will be found references to many of the original sources for our information concerning the restoration of the Roman Catholic Church in France.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 14: References as before. Further, Adolphus: History of England (Reign of George III). Alison: History of Europe. Vandal: l'Avènement de Bonaparte, Vol. II. Oncken: Zeitalter der Revolution. Allardyce: Memoir of Lord Keith. Castlereagh: Correspondence. Jackson: Diaries and Letters, and the Bath Archives. The souvenirs of Chaptal, Hue, and Girardin; the memorial of Norvins, the letters of Joubert, and the memoirs of Barante. Quinet: La Révolution. Tocqueville: Correspondance. Proudhon: Napoleon I. Benckendorff: Histoire anecdotique de Paul Ier.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 15: Further references are the Tratchefski Archives in Vol. LXX, Société d'histoire de Russie. Martens: Traités de la Russie. Montgelas: Denkwürdigkeiten. Eckart: Montgelas. Fournier: Studien und Skizzen. Reinach: Correspondance Royaliste. Pingaud: d'Antraigues. Stanhope: Life of Pitt.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 16: The important military authorities are Napoleon's own letters and bulletins. Dumolin: Précis d'histoire militaire. Yorck von Wartenburg: Napoleon als Feldherr. Jomini: Histoire critique et militaire des guerres de la Révolution, 1792-1803. Dodge: Napoleon. Clausewitz: Werke. For other material see Thugut's letters, Marbot's memoirs, Thiébault's Journal of the Blockade of Genoa, Valmy: Histoire de la Campagne de 1800, Alison's Castlereagh, Woronzow's Archives, and Bailleu: Essays in the Historische Zeitschrift, vols. 77 and 81; Cugnac: Campagne de l'armée de reserve en 1800, La campagne de Marengo; Gachot: La deuxième campagne d'Italie; Neipperg: Aperçu sur la bataille de Marengo; Hüffer: Quellen zur Geschichte des Zeitalters der französischen Revolution; Picard: Bonaparte et Moreau.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 17: References as before. The memoirs of Bourrienne are a publisher's enterprise, valuable in many places when controlled by other authorities: but for this period they are untrustworthy, as are those of Marbot. The memoirs of Antommarchi have little value except as he corroborates more authentic statements by others. Roederer's works are specially valuable for this period. Further, see Hüffer: Quellen zu 1799-1800; Sargent: Campaign of Marengo, Relation de Neipperg; Vivenot: Thugut, Clerfayt und Wurmser; Fournier: Skizzen; Du Casse: Négociations de Lunéville; Bowman: Preliminary Stages of Peace of Amiens; Pajol: Kléber, sa vie, sa correspondance.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 18: For the four years of the Consulate see the memoirs of Lavalette, Barante, Mme. de Chastenay, Chateaubriand, Duport de Cheverny, Mme. de Genlis, Miot de Melito, Ouvrard, Savary, Thibaudeau, Thiébault, and Mme. Vigée-Lebrun; Lady Morgan's Memoirs and Autobiography, Mme. de Staël: Dix années d'exil; the travels of Sir John Carr, translated into French with notes by Albert Babeau; Arnault: Souvenirs de Lacretelle, Histoire du Consulat; Stenger: La Société Française pendant le Consulat; Du Casse: Histoire des négociations relatives aux traités de Lunéville et d'Amiens; Bailleu: Preussen und Frankreich von 1795 bis 1807; Beer: Zehn Jahre Oesterreichischer Politik; Daudet: Les Bourbons et la Russie; Beauchamp: Vie de Moreau; Lemaire: Vie de Moreau; Forneron: Histoire de l'Émigration; Daudet: l'Émigration.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 19: Daudet: Les Bourbons et la Russie; the letters of Rostopchin in Woronzoff's Archives, Vol. VIII; articles by Tatistcheff in the Revue d'histoire diplomatique, 1889; by Buchholz in Preussische Jahrbücher, 1896; Rambaud: Histoire de Russie; Czartoryski: Mémoires; De Maistre (Joseph): Mémoires et correspondance; Téché: Les origines du Concordat; Sloane: The French Revolution and Religious Reform; Boulay de la Meurthe: Négotiation du Concordat; Theiner: Histoire des deux Concordats; Mahan: Life of Nelson; Schiemann: Die Ermordung Pauls; Langeron: Memoirs; likewise those of Norvins, Barante, and Moriolles; Brückner: Kaiser Pauls Ende (von R. R.); Bowman: Preliminary Stages of the Peace of Amiens; Fauchille: Du blocus maritime.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 20: The Memoirs of Mollien, Miot de Melito, Chaptal, Lucien Bonaparte, Pasquier, and Consalvi; the works of Thibaudeau and Roederer; Sagnac: Legislation Civile de la Révolution Française; Life of Sir Samuel Romilly; Haussonville: L'Église romaine et le premier Empire; Léouzon-le-Duc: Correspondance diplomatique du baron de Staël-Holstein et de son successeur le baron Brinkman.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 21: Blanc: Napoleon Ier, ses institutions civiles et administratives; Sabatier: Le Code Civil; Aucoc: Le conseil d'état; Duvergier de Hauranne: Histoire du gouvernement parlementaire en France; Bignon: Histoire de France; Ernouf: Maret, duc de Bassano; Hélie: Les constitutions de la France; Duruy: L'Instruction et la Révolution; Hahn: Unterrichtswesen in Frankreich; Cambacérès: Éclaircissements inédits—quoted at length in Vandal: L'Avènement de Bonaparte, tome II; Nougaret de Fayet: Notice sur la vie et les travaux de M. le comte Bigot de Préameneu; Locré de Roissy: Procès-verbaux du conseil d'état, contenant la discussion du projet de Code Civil.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 22: References as before. Further, Vulliemin: Histoire de la Confederation Suisse; Senfft: Mémoires; Organisation de la politique Suisse; Botta: Storia d'Italia; Cantù: Corrispondenze di diplomatici, etc. (Archives); Melzi: Memorie, documenti e lettere inedite di Napoleone I e Beauharnais; Theiner: Histoire des deux Concordats; Schoelcher: Vie de Toussaint Louverture; Reichardt: Vertraute Briefe; Roloff: Die Kolonial Politik Napoleons I.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 23: The references for this chapter are those already cited; Fiévée, Fouché, Roederer, Musnier-Desclozeaux, Pingaud, Bourrienne. Also, de Martel: Étude sur l'affaire du 3 nivôse an IX; Fescourt: Histoire de la double conspiration de 1800; Madelin: Fouché (publishes many documentary extracts).[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 24: Personal details are abundant in Antommarchi, Montholon, Las Cases and Gourgaud; likewise in the memoirs of the brothers Joseph and Lucien, of the ladies Junot, de Rémusat, de Genlis, and Avrillon, of Barante, Barras, Bourrienne, Chaptal, Chateaubriand, Constant, de Gerardin, Mallet du Pan, Méneval, Thiébault, and Rapp; in Lord Holland's recollections and in the following books: Aubenas: Vie de Josephine; Ducrest: Mémoires sur Josephine; Bouilly: Mes récapitulations; Lamartine: Histoire de la Restauration; Lacretelle: Histoire du Consulat; Bégin: Histoire de Napoléon, and Stenger: La Société Française pendant le Consulat.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 25: Aside from the documentary authorities, printed and otherwise, which have been already enumerated, the most valuable memoirs for this period are those of Chaptal, Czartoryski, Lucien Bonaparte, Joseph de Maistre, Méneval, Metternich, Miot de Melito, Moriolles, Norvins, and Pasolini. Further, Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, Cornwallis's Correspondence, Castlereagh's Letters and Despatches, the Paget Papers, Malmesbury's Journal, and Carr's Stranger in France. See likewise Lecestre's New Letters of Napoleon (Lettres inédites, etc.).[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 26: In addition to the authorities given with the last chapter there are Garden: Traités. Leclercq: Collection des Lois. Lefebvre: Cabinets de l'Europe. Du Casse: Négociations relatives au Traité d'Amiens, Négociations de Lunéville; Jurien de la Gravière: Guerres Maritimes. Lettres inédites de Talleyrand à Napoléon. Stern: Briefe von Gentz in Oesterreichische Geschichtsforschung, Vol. XXI. Bailleu: Correspondance inédite du roi Frédéric-Guillaume et la reine Louise avec l'empereur Alexandre I. Himly: Histoire de la formation territoriale des États de l'Europe centrale. Holtzhausen: Der erste Consul und seine deutschen Besucher. Reichardt: Un Hiver à Paris sous le Consulat. Browning: England and Napoleon in 1803. Stanhope: William Pitt; Denkwürdigkeiten des Grafen de Bray.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 27: In addition to the authorities already given, see Rose's Napoleon and Napoleonic studies; Philippon in the Revue Historique for March, 1901; Bourgeois, Manuel de Politique Étrangère; Castlereagh's Letters and Despatches; Mahan's Sea Power and Life of Nelson; Pellew's Life of Lord Sidmouth; and the Memoirs of the Earl of St. Vincent.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 28: References: Pasquier: Mémoirs; Fauriel: Les derniers jours du Consulat; Desmarest: Témoignages Historiques; Méhée de la Touche: Alliance des Jacobins de France avec le Ministère Anglais; Cadoudal: La conspiration de Georges Cadoudal; Lecestre: Lettres inédites; Tratchefski: Recueil de la Société d'Histoire de Russie; Pingaud: Les dernières années de Moreau (Revue de Paris, 15 Dec., 1899); Huot de Penanster: Une conspiration en l'an XI et XII; Caudrillier: Le complot de l'an XII (Revue Historique, 1901-1902); Rose: Napoleon, I, 406 (quotes the original papers in British archives); Paget Papers; Castlereagh: Letters and Despatches; Pellew: Life of Lord Sidmouth, Earl of St. Vincent; Welschinger: Le duc d'Enghien; Boulay de la Meurthe: Les dernières années du duc d'Enghien; Sorel: Lectures Historiques.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 29: See in particular the memoirs of Miot de Melito, Pasquier, Ségur, Thiébault, Marmont, Lafayette, Savary, Rémusat, Rapp, Thibaudeau, and Bourrienne; the Souvenirs of Macdonald and Chaptal; and the Lettres inédites. Also, De Bausset: Cour de Napoléon; Masson: Josephine, Impératrice et Reine; Aulard: Révolution Française; Remacle: Relations secrètes des agents de Louis XVIII à Paris sous le Consulat.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 30: References: the memoirs of Barante, Rémusat, Ségur, Macdonald, Thiébault, Marbot, Bigarré, the works of Roederer, the Memorial of Norvins, the volumes of Fauriel, Masson, d'Haussonville, and Welschinger, the Correspondence of Davout. Also, Fontaine et Percier: Sacre de Napoléon; Artaud de Montor: Vie et Pontificat du pape Pie VII; Nicolay: Napoleon at the Boulogne Camp; Wheeler and Broadley: Napoleon and the Invasion of England. Rose and Broadley: Dumouriez and the Defence of England; Rose: Napoleonic studies; Desbrière: Projets et tentatives de débarquement aux Îles Britanniques.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 31: As before. Fontaine et Percier: Le Sacre de Napoléon; Masson: Napoleon et sa famille; Welschinger: Le divorce de Napoléon; Artaud de Montor: Vie de Pie VII; Welschinger: Le pape et l'empereur, 1804-1815; Botta: Storia d'Italia; the Memoirs of Consalvi, Montgaillard, and Bigarré; Lumbroso: Napoleone Io e l'Inghilterra; Marmottan: Le royaume d'Étrurie.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 32: Mahan: Life of Nelson and other writings; Jurien de la Gravière: Guerres Maritimes; Rousset: L'Art de Napoléon; Alembert et Colin: La Campagne de 1805 en Allemagne; Huidekoper: Seizure of the Tabor Bridge, Napoleon's Concentration on the Rhine and Main in 1805 (Journal of the Military Service Institution, May-June, 1905; and for September, 1907); the collections of Bailleu, Martens, Leclercq, Garden, and Tratchefski; the Memoirs of Mollien, Méneval, Dumas, Marmont, Ségur, Rapp, Lannes (ed. Thomas), Savary, Oudinot, Hardenberg, Czartoryski, and the Countess Potocka; the works of Hüffer, Ranke, and Oncken, and the correspondence of Napoleon in both Lefebvre and the official publication. For the Austrian sources see von Angeli in the Mittheilungen des K. K. Archivs, Ulm and Austerlitz. The first coalition of more than two powers against France was in 1793, the second in 1798; the war of 1792 was against Austria and Prussia, that of 1795 against England and Austria.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 33: In addition to the references given, see the works of Burke, also the volumes of Alembert and Colin, of Schönhals, and of Rüstow on the war of 1805; the Diaries of Sir G. Jackson; Bernhardi: "Denkwürdigkeiten" of Count Toll; Friant: Vie militaire du Lieutenant-Général Comte Friant; Chénier: Histoire de la vie militaire, politique et administrative du Maréchal Davout; Bernard: Art de la Guerre; Yorck von Wartenburg: Napoleon als Feldherr; Dodge: Napoleon.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 34: See Huidekoper in Mil. Service Journal, July-September, 1906.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 35: This statement is merely a deduction from the events as they occurred and were narrated by eye-witnesses. The Emperor's fate was even more at stake than the general's: it was consonant with the character of the man to disregard all considerations of mercy in such a crisis. Many of his men and officers claimed later that the crushing of the ice was incidental to the cannonading, and recounted acts of French courtesy in rescuing the drowning.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 36: Ducasse: Les rois frères de Napoléon; Lefebvre: Histoire des cabinets de l'Europe; Rambaud: Napoléon Ier et l'Allemagne; Fiévée: Mes relations avec Bonaparte; the Memoirs of Mollien, Pepe, d'Hauteville, Joseph de Maistre, Miot de Melito, Vitrolles, Montgaillard, d'Hauteroche, Courier, Moriolles, Consalvi, Pasolini, and de Bray; Masson: Napoléon et sa famille; Gentz: Mémoires et lettres inédites; Cavaignac: Origines de la Prusse contemporaine; Louis Bonaparte: Documents historiques et Réflexions sur le gouvernement de la Hollande; Cantù: Corrispondenze di diplomatici (1796-1814); Stanhope's Life of W. Pitt; C. J. Fox: Memorials and Correspondence; Tratchefski, Vol. III, Correspondence of Ouvril; Strogonof: Nicolas de Russie.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 37: Gentz: Ausgewählte Schriften; Garden: Traités; Bailleu: Frankreich und Preussen; Hardenberg's Denkwürdigkeiten; Czartoryski: Mémoires; Foucart: Campagne de Prusse; Fitzmaurice: Duke of Brunswick; Hohenlohe: Letters on Strategy (Eng. ed.); Lettow-Vorbeck: Der Krieg von 1806-07; Desvernois: Mémoires; Hansing: Hardenberg und die Dritte Coalition; Bonnal: La Manœuvre de Jena; Gourgaud: Sainte Hélène; Lecestre: Lettres inédites; Davout: Correspondance, etc., Opérations du 3e Corps, 1806-07; the works of Oncken and Rocquain.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 38: References: As before, and especially for 1806-07 Bailleu: Diplomatische Correspondenzen, and the "Briefwechsel" of Frederick William and Louisa with the Czar; the Russian archives published by Woronzoff and Tratchefski; Stern: Abhandlungen und Aktenstücke aus der Preussischen Reformzeit; the published memoirs, correspondence, and lives of Metternich, Gagern, Gentz, Hardenberg, Montgelas, Ompteda, Stein, Varnhagen von Ense, Archduke Charles, Schwarzenberg, Frederick William III, Queen Louisa, Alexander I, Blücher, Gneisenau, Scharnhorst, Czartoryski, Nesselrode, Speranski, and Toll; the general histories of Oncken, Hassel, Häusser, Perthes, Treitschke, Beer, Fournier, Krones, Wertheimer, Bernhardi, Bogdanowitch, Golovine, Schiemann, Schilder, Lelewel, and Oginski; Duncker: Preussen während der Französischen Okkupation; Muffling: Aus meinem Leben. Lettow-Vorbeck: Der Krieg von 1806-07; Foucart: Campagne de Prusse.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 39: References. Lüders: Das Continental System, etc.; Kiesselbach: Die Continentalsperre; Rocke: Die Kontinentalsperre; Rose: Napoleonic Studies; Lumbroso: Napoleone e l'Inghilterra. This volume is the most complete treatment of the subject and contains an excellent bibliography. The most of this chapter was published in the Pol. Sci. Quarterly, Vol. XIII, in connection with the appearance of Lumbroso's book.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 40: Der geschlossene Handelsstaat. Ein philosophischer Entwurf als Anhang zur Rechtslehre und Probe einer künftig zu liefernden Politik (Wien, 1801), p. 109.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 41: Only discovered and edited by C. La Croix in 1896. Montgaillard, Mémoires diplomatiques, 1805-19.[Back to Main Text]

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