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24,1812, a treaty between France and Prussia Confederation had received their orders. was signed, which gave Prussia nothing, but Their peoples were unresponsive, but the exacted from her 20,000 men for active ser- zeal of the rulers overcame all opposition. vice, with 42,000 for garrison duty, and af- The King of Saxony was grateful in a lively forded the French armies free course through sense of favors to come, and his grand duchy her territories, with the right to charge such of Warsaw became an armed camp, the Poles requisitions as were made to the war indem- themselves expecting their national resurrecnity. To this pass Alexander's narrowness tion. The prince primate's realm was erected had brought the proud, regenerated nation; into a grand duchy for Eugène, whose viceits temper can be imagined.
royalty was destined for the little King of French diplomacy, triumphant elsewhere, Rome, and under the stimulus of a fresh was less successful with Sweden. Alexander nationality the people gave more than was offered Norway as the price of alliance, with demanded. Würtemberg and Baden learned hints of the crown of France for Bernadotte that Napoleon « preferred enemies to uncersomewhere in the dim future. Napoleon tain friends, and both found means to suptemptingly offered Finland for 40,000 Swed- ply their respective quotas. Jerome, true to ish soldiers. But the new crown prince was the fraternal instincts of the Bonapartes, seemingly coy, and dallied with both. This hesitated; but his queen was a woman of . temporizing was brought to a sudden end in sound sense, and both were alive to the unJanuary, 1812, when Davout occupied Swed- certainties of tenure in royal office, so that, reish Pomerania. On April 12 the alliance ceiving a peremptory summons, Westphalia between Sweden and Russia was sealed. It fell into line. Bavaria and Switzerland furcarried with it an armistice between Russia nished their contingents as a matter of and Great Britain. This was essential to the course. Among the Germans, some hated Czar, for he would be compelled to withdraw Napoleon for his dealings with the papacy, his troops from the Danube for service in some as the destroyer of their petty nationalthe North, and to that end must make some ities; some devout Protestants even thought arrangement with Turkey. He found little him the antichrist. But the great majority or no unwillingness, and offered the most were in a state of expectancy, many realizing favorable terms; Napoleon, on the other that even the dynastic politics of Europe had hand, demanded 100,000 men if he were to been vitalized by his advent; others, liberals restore to the Sublime Porte all it had lost. like Goethe, Wieland, and Dalberg, hoped for England threatened to bombard Constanti- the complete extinction of feudalism and nople if the Sultan hesitated, and on May 28, dynasticism before his march. 1812, he closed a bargain with Russia which This had already been accomplished in gave him the Pruth as a frontier.
France, and for that reason the peasantry In spite of Turkey's submission, Great and the townsfolk upheld the Empire. In Britain was not to be left passive. The neu- Paris the upper classes had never forgotten trality of the United States had, on the whole, the Terror, and were ready for monarchy in been successfully maintained, but their com- any form if only it brought a settled order merce suffered. On May 1, 1810, Congress and peace. There were still a few radicals enacted that trade with Great Britain should and many royalists, but the masses cared only be forbidden if France revoked her decrees, for two things, glory and security. They enand vice versa. Madison and the Republicans joyed the temporary repose under a rule believed that this would relieve the strain which protected the family, property, and in under which farmers, as well as merchants, a certain sense even religion. Family life at were now suffering. This enabled Napoleon, the Tuileries was a model, the Emperor findin those days of slow communication, to make ing his greatest pleasure in domestic amusea pretense of relaxing the Berlin and Milan ments, playing billiards, riding, driving, and decrees, while continuing to seize American even romping, with his young wife, while his ships as before. England was not for a mo- tenderness for the babe was phenomenal. ment deceived, and enforced the orders in Still he was no puritan, and the lapsed classes council with added indignities. This conduct could indulge themselves in vice if only they so exasperated the American people that they paid; from their purses fabulous sums were demanded war with the oppressor, and on turned into the Emperor's secret funds. June 19 the war of 1812 began. Napoleon's Under the Continental system industry was diplomatic juggling had been entirely suc- at a standstill, and every household felt the cessful.
privation of abstaining from the free use of A year earlier the princes of the Rhenish sugar and other colonial wares. There was,
however, general confidence in speedy relief, but long afterward, that the great captain and there were worse things than waiting. had avowed to a confidential friend his eagerThe peasantry were weary of seeing their ness for the excitement of battle. soldier sons return from hard campaigning But, in spite of the anxiety felt by a few with neither glory nor booty, and began to re- leading Frenchmen, there was general consent the conscription law, which tore the ris- fidence, and it was not until after the catasing generation from home while yet boys. De- trophe that details like those enumerated sertions became so frequent that a terrible were recalled. In reality the outlook in 1812 law was passed, making, first the family, then was better than in 1809. Napoleon's spirits the commune, and lastly the district, respon- were higher, his conscripts were not visibly sible for the missing men. It was enforced worse than any drafted since the beginning mercilessly by bodies of riders known as « fly- of the Consulate, and the veteran Coignets ing columns. Finally every able-bodied male remark concerning the march to Russia is was enrolled for military service in three that « Providence and courage never abandon classes-ban, second ban, and rear ban, the the good soldier.) As to the commander-inlast including all between forty and sixty. chief, he had largely abandoned his licentious Nevertheless, and in spite of all other hard-courses, partly from reasons of policy, partly ships, there was much enthusiasm at the pros- because of his sincere attachment to wife and pect of a speedy change for the better. In child. Throughout the years of youth and March, 1812, Napoleon could count 475,000 early manhood he had indulged his amorous men ready for the field.
passions, but not a single woman had been preferred to power, not even Josephine. But
Maria Louisa was an imperial consort, for THE CONGRESS OF KINGS.
whom no attention, no elevation, was too READY, at least to outward appearance, Na- great. Pliant while an Austrian archduchess, poleon was in truth ready as far as equipment, she remained so as empress, apparently organization, commissariat, strategic plan, without will or enterprise. Men felt, neverand every nice detail of official forethought theless, that, remaining an Austrian extercould go. But how about the efficiency and nally, she was probably still one at heart, zeal of men and officers? There had been mur- perhaps a mere lure thrown out to keep the murings for some years past. His studies hawk from other quarry. Certainly Napoleon's in 1808 were the eastern campaigns of Rome; domestic happiness had not sapped his moral Lannes had warned him in 1809 how ready power; possibly it rendered him over-anxious many of his most trusted servants were to at times, and, perhaps, in revulsion from betray him if he continued his career of con- anxiety over-confident. quest; Decrès, another true friend, expressed During two years of diplomatic fencing the his anxiety in 1810 lest they should all be initiative had been Russian, the instigation thrown into a final horrid elemental crash; French. For the war which followed no single and in 1811 Regnaud de Saint-Jean-d'Angely cause can be assigned. Some blamed Napoexclaimed, « The unhappy man will undo him- leon, claiming that with his scheme of uniself, undo us all, undo everything. The Em- versal empire it was inevitable; Metternich peror heard neither of these last forebodings, said Russia had brought on war in an unparbut is doubtfully reported to have himself de- donable manner. The Tilsit alliance was perclared, «I am driven onward to a goal which sonal; separation inevitably weakened it. The I know not.» Caulaincourt made no secret of affiliations of the Russian aristocracy with how his anxiety increased as he knew Russia the Austrian; the smart of both under the better. Poniatowski believed Lithuania would Continental system, which rendered their refuse to rise against her despot; Ségur and agriculture unprofitable; England's stand unDuroc foresaw that France, if degraded to der Castlereagh; the Oldenburg question-all be but one province of a great empire, would these were cumulative in their effect. With lose her enthusiasm; even Fouché drew up a Alexander, Poland and the Continental system memorial against war, and instanced the fate were the real difficulties; the marriage question of Charles XII. The contents of Fouché's was only secondary. In January, 1812, the Czar paper were divulged to Napoleon by a spy, laid down his ultimatum. To the concentraand when the author presented it he was met tion of Russian troops Napoleon had replied by contemptuous sarcasm. The Emperor be- by sending his own to Erfurt and Magdeburg. lieved Prussia to be helpless, chiding Davout The Czar declared his readiness to take back for his doleful reports of the new temper his move if the Emperor would withdraw his which had been developed. Jomini declared, men; he would even accept Erfurt for Olden
burg, and permit Warsaw to be the capital should be, patronizing her father and stepof a Saxon province. But he said not a word mother, boasting how superior the civilizaabout the Continental system, and for Napo- tion of Paris was to that of Vienna. It was leon to permit the breach of that would be there she first saw Neipperg, the Austrian to abandon all his imperial plans. With the chamberlain, who was later her morganatic hope, apparently, of securing this last essen- husband. Napoleon appeared better; selftial concession, as well as those already made, possessed, moderate, and genial. His vassals
, he set his troops in motion toward the Vistula and his relatives, his marshals and his genon the very day after his treaty with Prussia erals, all seemed content, and even merry. was signed.
The King of Prussia had lost his beautiful The natural countermove to Napoleon's ad- and unfortunate queen; he alone wore a sad vance would be the invasion of Warsaw, and, countenance. Yet it was rumored that the although the new Poland was fortified for de- Prussian crown prince was a suitor for one of fense, yet it might be overwhelmed before Napoleon's nieces. Beneath the gay exterior assistance could reach the garrisons. More were many sad, bitter, perplexed hearts. The over, there were ominous signs in France at Emperor was seldom seen except as a lavish the opening of 1812. Food supplies were host at public entertainments; most of the scarce, and speculators were buying such as time he spent behind closed doors with the there were. Napoleon felt he must remain busy diplomats. As a last resort, Narbonne yet a little while to check such an outrage and was sent, ostensibly to invite Alexander's to strengthen public confidence. Ostensibly presence in the interest of peace; actually, of to avoid a final rupture, but really to prevent course, to get a final glimpse of his preparathe premature opening of war, he therefore tions. The Abbé de Pradt was despatched into summoned Czernicheff, the Czar's aide-de- Poland to fan the enthusiasm for France. camp, who, as a kind of licensed spy, had This unparalleled court was dismissed on been hovering near him for three years past, May 28, Napoleon hastening by Posen and and offered to accept every item of the Rus- Warsaw to Thorn. The Poles were exuberant sian ultimatum, if only an equitable treaty of in their delight; they little knew that their commerce could be substituted for the ukase supposed liberator had bargained away Galiof December, 1810; in other words, if Alex- cia to Francis. For this betrayal, and his ander would agree to observe the letter and general contempt of the Poles, he was to pay spirit of the Continental system. During the dearly. Had he labored sincerely to organize two months intervening before the Czar's a strong nucleus of Polish nationality, a coalireply Napoleon's armies flowed on, and a tion of Russia, Prussia, and Austria such as fitemporary remedy for the economic troubles nally overwhelmed him would have been diffiof France was found. When, late in April, cult, perhaps impossible. But the founder of the answer came, it was, as expected, a de- an imperial dynasty could not trust a Polish claration that without the neutral trade Rus- democracy. When the diet, sitting at Warsaw, sia could not live; she would modify the ukase besought him to declare the existence of Posomewhat, but, as a condition antecedent to land, he criticized the taste which made them peace, France must evacuate Prussia and compose their address in French instead of Pomake better terms with Sweden. On May 1 lish, and gave a further inkling of his temper the French army reached the Vistula; on by sending his Austrian contingent to serve in May 9 Napoleon and his consort started for Volhynia, so that neither French nor Polish Dresden.
enthusiasm might rouse the Russian Poles. The surge of German patriotism had nearly When he reached Vilna he found that the imdrowned Napoleon in 1809. The Austrian mar- passive Lithuanians had no intention of rising riage had withdrawn the house of Hapsburg against Russia, and no attempt was made to from the leadership of Germany; the imperial rouse them. If, as appears, his first intention progress to Dresden, and the high imperial had been to wage a frontier campaign, that court held there, were intended to dazzle the plan was quickly changed. Retaining Venice masses of Europe, possibly to intimidate the and Triest for use against the Orient, with Czar. The French were genuinely enthusi- Austria virtually a member of his system, he astic; the Germans displayed no spite; princes, determined to force Russia back on to the potentates, and powers swelled the train; all confines of Europe, perhaps into Asia, and the monarchs of the coalition, under Francis then- Who can say? It seems as if Poland as dean of the corps, stood in array to re- was to be divided into French departments ceive the august Emperor. Maria Louisa instead of erected into another troublesome was as haughty as the Western Empress nation, vassal state or semi-autonomous.
At the opening of the Russian campaign
THE INVASION OF RUSSIA. the gradual change which had been steadily going on in Napoleon's physique was com- When Napoleon left Dresden his force was plete. He was now plethoric, and slow in all so disposed that the Russians could not tell his movements. Occasionally there were ex- whether he meant to strike from north or hibitions of quickened sensibility, which have south, and accordingly they divided theirs, been interpreted as symptoms of hystero- Barclay de Tolly, with 127,000 men, standepilepsy; but in general his senses, like his ing before Vilna, Bagration, with 66,000, expression, were dull. He had premonitions ensconcing himself behind the swamps of the of a painful disease (dysuria), which soon de- upper Pripet in Volhynia. Barclay hoped veloped fully. His lassitude was noticeable, to strike a sharp, swift blow, and open the and when he roused himself it was often for campaign with a moral victory, but he was trivialities. In other campaigns he had stolen soon convinced of the danger in which he away from Paris in military simplicity; this was, and called in Bagration, who was to be time he had brought the pomp of a court. replaced by an auxiliary force. Napoleon's He planned, too, to bring theater companies first move was to cross the Niemen, and and opera troupes to the very seat of war. seize Vilna. Barclay fell back Above all, he was deeply concerned with his fied camp established at Drissa in order to imperial state, having in his trunks the cover St. Petersburg. If then Jerome's divibaubles and dress he had worn at his corona- sion had promptly advanced from Grodno, tion in Notre Dame. His mien was haughty, Bagration would have been cut off and annibut there was no sparkle in his eye; he seemed hilated. The plan failed through Jerome's spiritless and ailing; he showed no pride or ignorance, slowness, and self-assertion. Bagconfidence in his magnificent army. Yet care- ration turned back, and, descending the Dnieful study will prove that his sagacity as a great per, placed himself beyond pursuit. For a captain was in no way dimmed; his military moment Napoleon contemplated a junction combinations were greater than any he had of Ney and Eugène against Barclay, but the ever formed. As no parallel to the numbers former had pushed on to seize Dünaburg, and engaged in this enterprise can be found ex- was out of reach. Both plans failed; Bagracept in Oriental story, nothing comparable to tion, by a long detour, established communiits organization can be found in the history cation with Drissa, and seemed likely to efof any age. Every corps had its ammunition fect a junction with Barclay on the road to train, and great reserves of supplies were Smolensk. As in these movements both the stored in Modlin, Thorn, Pillau, Dantzic, and Russian commanders had lost many men, Magdeburg. In the two last-named arsenals there would be only 120,000 in the united were siege-trains for beleaguering Dünaburg force. The Czar could raise no money, Drissa and Riga. There were pontoons and bridge was painfully inadequate as a bulwark, and material in abundance; 1350 field-pieces, and the Russians grew desperate. The nation at18,000 horses to draw them. The commissary tributed its sorry plight to the bad advice of stores were prodigious, and there were thou- the Czar's German counselors, and such was sands of ox-wagons to transport them. In the demoralization at the capital that Alexvarious convenient strongholds there were, ander was compelled to hasten thither in besides, stores for 400,000 men for fifty days. order to avert complete disaster. In spite of Knowing Russia, he had prepared to conquer his personal unpopularity, he met with constreams and morasses, to feed the army with- siderable success. The nobility and burghers out fear of a devastating population, and to of both St. Petersburg and Moscow caught trust the seat of war for nothing except the war fever, opened their coffers, equipped forage. His strategic plan was amazing, con- a numerous militia, and by the end of July all taining, as it did, the old elements of unex- Russia was hopeful and eager for battle. pected concentration, of breaking through This, too, was the earnest desire of Napothe opposing line, of conclusive victory, and leon. If the Russian army in its own territory occupation of the enemy's capital. It was shriveled as it did before the summer heat by carried also to successful completion, and sickness and desertion, it may be imagined against tremendous obstacles. The first sea- how that of the French dwindled. Their terson he intended to seize Minsk and Smolensk, rible sufferings could be ended only by a winterthere, andorganize hisconquests. If this battle, and since crossing the Niemen the should not produce a peace, he would advance soldiers longed for a battle as for a festival. in the following season in the heart of the Heat, dust, and drought wrought havoc in country, and there await the Czar's surrender. their columns; the pitiless Northern sun left men and animals with little resisting power; encouraging for such a speedy and overthe flying inhabitants devastated their fields, whelming triumph. the horses and oxen gorged themselves on the The Russians at Smolensk were vainglorihalf-rotten thatch of the abandoned huts, and ous at having outwitted Napoleon, and longed died by the wayside; the gasping soldiery had to fight. Barclay alone was uneasy, but, in deno food but flesh. Dysentery raged, and sol- ference to the prevalent sentiment, he addiers died like flies. For a time St. Cyr's Bava- vanced to offer battle, and on August 9 there rian corps lost from 800 to 900 men a day, was a skirmish between pickets. Napoleon at and it was an exception only in the degree of once set his army in motion, but as neither its losses. Such facts account for the dilato- general was really well-informed or prepared, riness of Napoleon's movements in part; for Barclay pushed on to the right, and the two the rest, his imperial plans demanded that he armies lost touch. Once aroused, the French should organize all the territories in his rear, spirit brooked no further delay, and it was and he gave himself the utmost pains to do determined to seek the « good battle » before so. Besides, he had never before had a task Smolensk, which, lying on the right, or north, so heroic in all its dimensions, and every de- bank of the Dnieper, could be reached only tail of military and political procedure re- by crossing the stream. This maneuver was quired time and care in fullest measure, the brilliantly executed. Barclay was a day's more so when preparing for a decisive, un- march distant on the south bank when Ney common battle.
and Murat deployed on the other side for acVitebsk and Smolensk occupy analogous tion on August 16. Bagration, nearer at hand, positions on the Dwina and Dnieper, the threwone corps across the river into the town, former of which is to the westward and flows and then hurried his main force down-stream north; the latter, farther inland, flows in the to oppose its passage by the French. The first opposite direction into the very heart of Rus- attempt of Ney to storm the thick but dilapisia. Barclay had planned to await Bagration dated walls of Smolensk failed, and a bomat Vitebsk, and Napoleon, arriving on July bardment was ordered. By evening of the 27, hoped for a decisive battle there. But 17th the French army were all drawn up on Davout's movements drove Bagration farther the north bank between the city and the river; eastward, and Barclay, instead of waiting, the Russians were opposite on the heights. hurried to Smolensk, where the junction was During the night of the 17th the Russian effected. This compulsory pursuit had, as army began to cross the Dnieper by the per
. communications then were, thrown the ex- manent bridge, which they held; a fresh gartreme wings of Napoleon's army virtually out rison was thrown into Smolensk, and at four of reach, the Prussians being near Riga, and in the morning of the 18th the van began the Austrians in Volhynia. The long, thin line to retreat toward Moscow. Napoleon, thinkof his center must be, therefore, drawn in for ing that of course Barclay would offer battle safety, and since the character of the country under the walls of the town, waited until had improved, he determined to concentrate afternoon for the expected appearance of near Vitebsk, and recuperate his troops in his foe, but in vain. Puzzled and uneasy, he the comparatively pleasant land which en- determined to force the fighting by a fresh virons it. Both commander and officers were assault. The suburbs were captured late in at first so disheartened that they contem- the evening, but the walls were impregnable. plated remaining for the season, Murat alone Barclay then set fire to the quarter opposite remonstrating; but Napoleon said three years that attacked by the French, and in the resultwere necessary for the Russian war. Such ing confusion safely drew out his garrison; counsels did not long prevail; with new the next morning saw his rear well beyond strength came the old daring, and orders Napoleon's reach, with the bridges destroyed were sent both to Macdonald and the Prus- behind it. On the 23d he halted and drew up sians on the left, and to the Austrians under for battle behind the Uscha. Technically NaSchwarzenberg on the right, which were in- poleon had won, since an important frontier dicative of a great project. Napoleon's pres- fortress was captured; but he had not fought tige among the Poles had in fact shrunk along his great battle, nor had he cut off his enemy's with his army. The latter he could not re- retreat. Ney and Murat were despatched in cruit, but the former he must repair at any pursuit, but they acted recklessly, without hazard; this could be done only by what he concert, and gave the first exhibition of a designated to Jomini as a “good battle.» demoralization destined later to be disasThe success of the minor engagements to trous. Murat, in fact, had foreseen that an right and left, incident to concentration, was affair at Smolensk would amount to nothing,