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the English generals maintained themselves only by the exercise of qualities akin to genius. Soult returned from Badajoz to Cadiz, and in March Masséna began a retreat into Spain. Thereupon the English besieged Badajoz, and on May 5 defeated Masséna at Fuentes de Onoro in one of the bitterest conflicts of the war. The old marshal was recalled in disgrace, and replaced by Marmont. On May 16, Soult, advancing to relieve Badajoz, was defeated in a pitched battle at Albuera; but the victory proved an empty one for the English, since Wellington, hearing that French reinforcements were coming up from Salamanca, felt constrained to withdraw before superior force, and decamped on June 18. The rest of 1811 was a season of inactivity, except for the exploits of Suchet, who annihilated Blake's army, capturing Valencia and occupying Aragon. In the following season Wellington captured both Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz; advancing then, he overwhelmed Marmont in the brilliant victory of Salamanca on July 22, 1812, and marched on Madrid to dethrone Joseph. Soult at once abandoned Cadiz and hurried north, while Marmont took possession of Burgos. The British soldiers, finding themselves between two foes, became demoralized. Wellington was forced by the chaos of English politics to retreat into Portugal, and at the close of the year the French held all Spain except the south coast. But in spite of their inglorious successes the soldiers were dispirited; regiments melted away under desertion and sickness, and the military power of France in Spain was annihilated. The peninsula was never to be French.
Yet in some respects the French character appeared in a stronger light throughout the disasters of the Peninsular war than at any other time. Marbot's tale of the beautiful young cantinière, or woman sutler, of the 26th regiment, who after Busaco rushed unhurt through the English outposts to alleviate the sufferings of Simon, the general of her brigade, who had been captured, and who returned on her donkey through the lines without having suffered an insult, reflects equal credit on the unselfish daring of the French, which she typified, and on the pure-minded gallantry of the English. His narrative of the French deserters who, under a leader nicknamed Marshal Stockpot, established themselves as freebooters in a convent not far from Masséna's headquarters at Santarem, and of the general's swift, condign punishment of such conduct, graphically delineates the straits of the
French, which led them into the extreme courses which devastated the land, and also displays the quality of the discipline which was exercised whenever possible. Nor should it be forgotten that the two most splendid writers of France's succeeding age were profoundly impressed by the terrible scenes of the French invasion. George Sand was in Madrid as an infant for a considerable portion of 1808; Victor Hugo passed the year 1811 in a Madrid school, fighting childish battles for the great Emperor,» whom his Spanish schoolmates called Napoladron (Napo the robber). The former was irresistibly drawn to revisit the country; the latter recalled his impressions in some of his noblest verse.
It would be idle to believe that Napoleon did not fully realize the situation in Spain; it is gratuitous to assume that by massing all his resources he could not have made a desert in Spain to call it a peace. But before devastating what he intended to make part of his empire, he thought to cut away the British support from beneath the rebellion. The credit of Great Britain could not long be maintained with her contraband trade paralyzed, and her costly expeditions to Holland, Sicily, and Spain either failures or but partial successes. Her collapse would be assured if the Czar would only remain true to the engagements of Tilsit, since the only channel for British trade to enter the Continent was now through Russia. It is true that the finances of France herself were at a low ebb, but the Emperor had money in abundance. When the legislative assembly met in December, 1809, it was clear that the farce of constitutional imperialism was nearly played out. The members of the senate kept their seats by their own decree; an imperial edict appointed the deputies for the new departments without the form of an election. By an article of the new penal code the confiscation of estates was made the penalty for certain crimes. This was enforced, the public canals were sold to private corporations, and the sanction of legislative ratification was given to such acts. The moneys thus obtained, together with the vast contributions and indemnities received from foreign states, were really a corruption fund. The enormous armies, which covered Europe like swarms of locusts, were admirably maintained; but it was hard to find money for the purpose, because the marshals and generals were insatiate in their demands. The greed of the civil administrators was scarcely less; and thus, in both branches of the public service, every official stood with outstretched palm and hungry eyes.
Napoleon had the lavish hand of a parvenu, but his beneficiaries were not grateful, and with ever-increasing insolence were always craving more. The system of private confiscations or forced contributions from individuals had already attained vast dimensions. During the winter of 1809-10 it was extended and regulated; the sums wrung from German princes and Spanish grandees, from English merchants and the Italian clergy, were not entirely exhausted; the remainder, together with what was "accepted» from timorous politicians, crafty ecclesiastics, sly contractors, and unprincipled financiers, was now erected into the dignity of the Emperor's "extraordinary domain.» The term "army chest» had been devised for times of higher public morality; it was now discarded. Confiscated palaces, forests, lands, fisheries, moneys from the sale of American shipsall were now the Emperor's private property. We should not be astonished at the revenues of his great officials. Berthier had 1,350,800 francs a year; Davout, 910,000; Ney, 728,000; and Masséna, 500,000; naturally Soult wished to augment his 305,000, and for that end sought the crown of Portugal. What with the public charities, the public works, and such lavish bribery, the expenditure had risen to 430,000,000; but the receipts by the means enumerated above had been swollen to 760,000,000, so that Napoleon had 330,000,000 in his purse.
Legislative independence extinguished, a privy purse of immense capacity established, the greed of useful supporters temporarily satisfied, the censorship of the press made rigid, there was but one other measure essential to complete tyranny, and that was taken. There were many disaffected persons in the Empire too powerful to be left at liberty, but too dangerous to be tried in open court. Six state prisons were established for this numerous class, and gradually a colony of helpless malcontents, outraged in every human right, was confined in each. Where was the enlightened public opinion of France? Where, indeed? The publishers bought the slender immunities they enjoyed with considerable sums, and this gold was used to pension needy men of letters; other writers were given decorations that carried subsidies with them; some were elevated into the new baronage. The great majority of those who should have formed and molded public opinion were subservient to the government. Even Carnot accepted a pension of 10,000 francs. The standing exception was Mme. de Staël, who, having been scorned, never forgave. Ordered
from Paris as an intriguer by the Committee of Public Safety, kept under surveillance in Switzerland by the Directory, her offers spurned by Bonaparte, she spent the ten years of her banishment in wandering from court to court through England, Russia, Prussia, and Sweden, undermining Napoleon's character, and fomenting the coalitions which eventually ruined him. Her study of regenerated Germany was in the main a valuable book; influential as it was, it held up to France as a model the course of her bitterest foe, and the censors heightened its renown by their efforts to suppress it. The decennial prizes, instituted to promote letters and learning, were distributed in 1810. Most of the names of those who were crowned are now known to none except the curious.
During the season of 1810-11 the Emperor's private life was virtually devoted to beneficence. In addition to the favors granted to Carnot, he lavished money on other objects, some not so worthy. Canova, who had been called from Rome to make a portrait-statue of the Empress, obtained a substantial grant for the learned societies of that city. Chénier, like Carnot, had been a pronounced adversary of the Empire. He now sought employment under it, and was made inspector-general of the university, an office which he did not live long to enjoy. All the old favorites were remembered in a general distribution of good things. Talleyrand having just lost an immense sum by the failure of a trusted bank, the Emperor came to his relief by purchasing one of his most splendid palaces for more than 2,000,000 francs. The court resided sometimes at St. Cloud, sometimes at Rambouillet, sometimes at the Trianon, but for the most part at Fontainebleau, where the ceremonious life, to which all concerned were now well accustomed, was marked by none of the old awkwardness, but ran as brilliantly as lavish expenditure could make it. The pregnancy of the Empress was celebrated with great festivities, during which Napoleon performed one of his most applauded acts-the endowment of a vast maternity hospital. The Empress was brought into great prominence as the president of a society consisting of a thousand noble ladies, under whose patronage the charity was placed.
The unconcealed and ecstatic delight of the prospective father found vent in delicate and tender attention to the mother of his child, and until her deliverance he was a gentle, devoted, and considerate husband. His whole nature seemed transformed. When in the early morning of March 20, 1811, word was
FROM THE PAINTING BY RENÉ-THÉODORE BERTHON, IN THE POSSESSION OF HIS DESCENDANTS IN CANADA.
brought that the Empress was in labor, and
The fears of the attending physician were
vain, after all, and the man-child, coming without a cry into the world, and lying breathless for seven minutes, as if hesitating to accept or decline his destiny, finally gave a wail as he caught the breath of life. Napoleon turned, caught up his treasure, and pressed it to his bosom. A hundred guns announced the birth, and the city burst into jubilations, which were reëchoed throughout Europe from Dantzic to Cadiz. Festival succeeded festival, and for an interval men believed that the temple of Janus would be again closed. No boy ever came on the earthly stage amid such splen