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cher lost 6000 dead and wounded, the French about 4000. The odds against the latter were never less than two to one, sometimes more. Had the allies thrown their full strength into the contest, the campaign would have ended there; as it was, they gained nothing but a foolish self-confidence. They determined to advance on Paris in two columns, Blücher, as the conqueror of La Rothière, taking the shortest line down the Marne.

For several days the allied columns moved onward, slowly, widely scattered, and carelessly, Napoleon retreating on the defensive with equal deliberation, but vigorously strengthening his forces by well-chosen periods of rest, and by hurrying in reinforcements from the various depots about and beyond Paris. On the afternoon of February 9, as Napoleon was leaving Nogent for Sezanne, he wrote to Joseph that he could now reckon, all told, on between 60,000 and 70,000 men, including engineers and artillery; that he estimated the Silesian army under Blücher at 45,000, and the main army under Schwarzenberg at 150,000, including Bubna and the Cossacks. «If I gain a victory over the Silesian army, and put it out of account for some days, I can turn against Schwarzenberg, reckoning on the reinforcements you will send, with from 70,000 to 80,000 men, and I think he cannot oppose me at once with more than 110,000 to 120,000. If I find myself too weak to attack, I shall be at least strong enough to hold him in check for a fortnight or three weeks, which would give an opportunity for new combinations.» This was the last of Napoleon's great strategic schemes destined to be crowned with success; it had but a single drawback. While Napoleon was still the boldest man in war that ever lived, as at St. Helena he declared himself to be, his marshals were uneasy and depressed; Marmont in this moment of infinite chance, as it seemed to him, fell into a panic. Blücher, on the other hand, was overconfident. Having dispersed his detachments more than ever, he had for two days been moving swiftly in the hope of cutting off Macdonald by a dashing feat of arms. In his haste he had left the two separated Russian corps so far out that they were beyond support, and, by a blunder of the Czar's, reinforcements which had been promised were still a long distance in the rear. Accordingly when on the 10th Marmont advanced from Sezanne, he found the corps of Olsusieff, about 4500 strong, virtually isolated at Champaubert. His own numbers were slightly superior, and with a swift rush he almost annihilated

the unready Russians. Napoleon was beside himself with joy, and began to talk of the Vistula once more; but he stopped when he saw how sour the visages of Marmont and the other marshals grew at the very mention of such an idea. Nevertheless, if the process begun at Champaubert could be continued, victory and ultimate recovery of power were assured. He therefore hurried Nansouty and Macdonald on toward Montmirail for a second stroke of the same kind.

The affair at Montmirail was more of a battle than that at Champaubert, for Blücher had been able to gather in Sacken, York, Kleist, and Kapzewitch. The battle opened about an hour before noon on the 11th by a fierce artillery fire from the French, behind which Napoleon manoeuvered so as to concentrate his own force against the Russians, and separate them from York with his Prussians. At two Napoleon attacked the Russians, Mortier engaging the Prussians separately. The plan succeeded, and by nightfall the enemy was in full retreat for Château Thierry, where was the nearest bridge over the Marne. Napoleon had hoped that Macdonald would arrive from La Ferté-sous-Jouarre in time to seize the bridge, cut off the retreat, and make the victory decisive. But in spite of heroic exertion, the marshal could not move with sufficient rapidity over the heavy dirt roads. The flying allies sacked the town with awful cruelty, and destroyed the bridge without any molestation except from the inhabitants, who wreaked their vengeance on numerous stragglers. On the 13th the French occupied the place, repaired the bridge, and crossed to the right bank. Next morning Marmont started in pursuit of Blücher. Somewhat flushed by such success, Napoleon deliberated whether he should not now turn and attack Schwarzenberg. The Emperor thought these victories might give pause to a mediocre Austrian, ever mindful of the terrific blows his country had received once and again from France. He was mistaken; Schwarzenberg had moved steadily forward. On the 12th Victor abandoned the bridge at Nogent, and Napoleon sent Macdonald, with 12,000, to join Victor at Montereau. Early on the 14th came news that Blücher had driven Marmont back to Fromentières. At noon Napoleon had effected a junction with Marmont near Étoges by means of a famous and successful flank march over a marshy country, a manœuver which is justly considered worthy of his great genius. Advancing then to the neighborhood of Vauchamps, his infantry attacked in front, while the cavalry, under Grouchy,

outflanked the enemy's line and fell on the rear. Blücher was apparently doomed, but he formed his troops into a line of solid squares, and while one stood to support the artillery and receive the onset in front, the others dashed at Grouchy's horsemen, each square standing and retreating behind the next alternately as the bloody retreat went on. At last the butchery ceased, and Blücher fled to Bergères. The French pursued only as far as Étoges. Napoleon had hoped to follow all the way to Châlons, annihilate what was left of Blücher's army, and then to return and throw himself on Schwarzenberg. He was arrested by the news that the Seine valley, as far as Montereau, was in the hands of the Austro-Russians; that Oudinot and Victor had been driven back to Nangis; in short, that Paris was seriously menaced.

It was long asserted that in the three actions just recorded the French far outnumbered their opponents, and that Napoleon's generalship was consequently inferior to his high average. The sufficient answer to this is in the facts now universally accepted. At Champaubert there were 4850 French against 4700 Russians; at Montmirail there were 22,700 Russians and Prussians against 12,800 French; and in the third engagement, near Étoges, Blücher had 21,500 to 10,300. It is therefore natural to compare these three victories with those at Montenotte, Millesimo, and Dego. But they were far greater; at forty-four Napoleon displayed exactly the same boldness, steadfastness, and skill which he had displayed in youth; but in addition, he overcame the stolid enmity of winter, weather variable, roads almost impassable, the swampy fields entirely so by reason of Overflowing ditches and half-frozen morasses; he overcame, too, the resisting power created by his own example; for here were the élite of the Continent, commanded by men inured for eighteen years to the hardships, the shifts, the rapidity of warfare as he himself had taught the art. Momentarily Napoleon seems to have wondered whether allied and co-allied Europe had learned nothing in half a generation, and whether an army twice and a half larger than his own, under veteran generals, was to withdraw again behind the Rhine, the Elbe, the Oder, perhaps the Vistula. It is hard to believe that he dreamed such dreams as we read the prosaic, scientific, hard common sense of his military correspondence between January 26 and February 14. Yet there is certainly an appearance of self-deception and vacillation in his political and diplomatic plans, due appa

rently to the intoxication of success, as when he spoke of the Vistula to Marmont after Champaubert.

The innermost thoughts of Metternich, and of the diplomats associated with him, are very hard to fathom. For two generations the world believed that after Leipsic Napoleon, in his sanguine conceit, rejected offer after offer from the allies, and finally perished utterly because of a folly which made him believe he could recover his predominance. In the light of recent memoirs, especially those of Metternich himself, we seem forced to the conclusion that in all the offers after Leipsic there was, if anything, far less of reality and sincerity than in those before it and after Poischwitz. When Castlereagh arrived at the allied headquarters early in 1814, he found the sovereigns and their ministers convinced that any peace with Napoleon would be nothing but a «ridiculous armistice,» and that the Emperor of the French must, in any case, be utterly overthrown. To the pacific Caulaincourt the invaders had already suggested that they must abandon the Frankfort proposals, and confine France to her royal limits; that is, refuse her Belgium with the great port of Antwerp. So far they were agreed, but there the unanimity ceased. The Czar desired to conquer, and leave France to choose her own government; he intended to take the whole of Poland, and give Alsace to Francis in return for Galicia, thus checking Austria by both Prussia and France, so that he could work his will in the Orient. Metternich wished the old balance of power, and had determined on the restoration of the Bourbons. Francis was writing to his daughter that he would never separate her cause and that of her son from France. The Prussian king and ministers desired only such an arrangement as would secure to their country what she had regained. Stein and his associates wished the utter humiliation of France. Castlereagh spoke with the authority of a paymaster; he was determined to keep the Netherlands from falling under French influence, to restore the Bourbons, and to establish so nice an equilibrium in Europe that Great Britain would be unhampered elsewhere in the world. There was to be no mention of colonial restitution or neutral rights. Being a second-rate statesman, he was much influenced by Metternich, and the two sought to form an impossible alliance between constitutional liberty and feudal absolutism.

A so-called congress was opened at Chatillon on February 5. It must be remembered that the treaty of Reichenbach was still a

secret. That agreement was the reality behind the congress of Prague, the Frankfort proposals, and the meeting of Mannheim. None of those gatherings consequently was serious; that at Chatillon was even less so. The memoirs of Metternich explain all the facts: Swiss neutrality was violated in order to restore the aristocratic constitution of Bern and the ascendancy of that canton; Alexander, posing still as a liberal, was angry, and forbade the restoration of Vaud to its old master. Schwarzenberg's deliberate movements, due primarily to timidity, stood in good stead Metternich's desire to restore the Bourbons to an exhausted France. Blücher and the Prussian liberals, who desired so to crush France that Prussia might slough off her militarism, and build up a constitutional government, were furious at being chained to the frontier. All these cross-purposes and bitternesses were mirrored in the ostentatious proceedings of the congress. Napoleon, either divining the facts or, more probably, informed by spies, seemed indifferent, and refused at first to give full powers to Caulaincourt; finally the marshals, terrified at the prospect of indefinite war opened by the unlucky mention of the Vistula, made their influence so felt that the Emperor yielded.



Maret, whose name was long held up to detestation as the instigator of Napoleon's procrastinating policy at Dresden, which seemed to have made it possible for Austria to join the coalition, has left an account of his relations with Napoleon during the congress at Chantillon, which displays the evident motive of an attempt to prove how pacific his nature really was. He declares that after the defeat at La Rothière Caulaincourt wrote a panicstricken letter demanding full authority to treat. Maret handed it to the Emperor, beseeching him to yield. Napoleon seemed scarcely to heed, but indicated a passage in Montesquieu's «Grandeur and Fall of the Romans, which he happened to be reading: << I know nothing more magnanimous than the resolution taken by a monarch who ruled in our time, to bury himself under the ruins of the throne rather than accept proposals which a king may not entertain. He had a soul too lofty (fière) to descend lower than his misfor

tunes had hurled him.» «But I, sire,» rejoined Maret-«I know something more magnanimous-to cast aside your glory in order to close the abyss into which France would fall along with you.» «Well, then, gentlemen, make your peace,» came the reply. «Let Caulaincourt make it; let him sign everything necessary to obtain it. I can support the disgrace, but do not expect me to dictate my own humiliation.» Maret informed Caulaincourt, but the latter recoiled before the responsibility, and asked for particular instructions. The Emperor persistently refused, but wrote giving the minister «carte blanche » to take any measures which would save the capital. Again Caulaincourt begged for details, and again Napoleon refused, persisting until Bertrand joined his supplications to those of Maret, whereupon he consented to abandon Belgium, and even the left bank of the Rhine. The formal despatch containing these concessions was to be signed next morning, on February 8, but in the interval came news of Blücher's movements. Maret found the Emperor buried in the study of his map. «I have an entirely different matter in hand,» was the

greeting; «I am at present occupied in dealing Blücher a blow in the eye.» The signature was indefinitely postponed. On the 10th Alexander suspended the congress on the plea of Caulaincourt's refusal to state terms. Then followed the three victories, and Napoleon, on the night of the 12th, wrote to Chatillon demanding the Frankfort proposals. Caulaincourt asked the allies for an armistice, and besought Napoleon to be less exacting. Austria was eager for the armistice, but Alexander obstinately refused to reopen the congress until the 18th, when everything seemed changed, and the allies really desired peace. Caulaincourt, warned by Napoleon's letter of the 12th, refused to treat without full instructions, and as he had none he began to procrastinate. In the end he bore the blame for not having used the carte blanche when he had it in order to save his country, for subsequently he had no opportunity.


THE eagerness of the Prussians and the Austrians to grant the armistice was at first due to the belief that Caulaincourt's request was a confession of exhaustion; the Czar's assent to reopening the congress on the 18th was wrung from him by the military operations between the 14th and that date. Convinced that Paris was menaced, Napoleon left Marmont to hold Blücher, and, starting for La Ferté-sousJouarre on the 15th, covered fifty miles with his army in a marvelous march of thirty-six hours, arriving on the evening of the 16th with his men comparatively fresh. Next morning the French began to advance, and the Austrians to withdraw toward the Seine. Victor was to seize Montereau and hold the bridge. Compelled to drive an Austrian corps out of Valjouan, the marshal did not reach Montereau until six or seven in the evening, and, finding it beset by the Crown Prince of Würtemberg, with 14,000 Germans, he merely drove in the outposts and then halted for the night. Napoleon, having driven Wittgenstein from Nangis on the 17th, had expected by a rush over the bridge to prevent Schwarzenberg from extending his flank to Fontainebleau, a move which would surround the French right. He was deeply incensed by what he considered Victor's slackness, and degraded him. The humbled marshal displayed deep contrition, and was restored to partial favor, with the command, under Ney, of a portion of the young guard. This was the third of the marshals-Augereau, Macdonald, Victor, each in turn-who since the opening of the campaign had displayed a

VOL. LII.-70.

physical and moral exhaustion disabling them from rising to the heights of Napoleon's expectation. «We must pull on the boots and the resolution of '93,» wrote the Emperor to Augereau; nothing short of the unsapped revolutionary vigor could have saved his cause. On the 18th, after a six hours' struggle, the French under Gérard and Pajol seized Montereau. Napoleon had halted at Nangis, and there Berthier received by a flag of truce a letter from Schwarzenberg, declaring that he had ceased his offensive march in consequence of news that preliminaries of peace had been signed the day previous at Chatillon. This was probably as base a ruse as any ever practised by Napoleon's generals. It is quite possible that all the Austrian marches and countermarches for ten days past had been but a bustling semblance calculated for diplomatic effect. Be that as it may, before Napoleon's advance the Austrian commander had quailed, and, with the French at Montereau, his columns were already moving back to Troyes, where they were drawn up in battle array. Napoleon wrote indignantly to Joseph that the ruse was probably preliminary to a request for an armistice, and that he would now accept nothing short of the Frankfort proposals. Meanwhile he led his army over the river to Nogent, and prepared to attack Schwarzenberg.

But Blücher had not been idle; by superhuman exertions he had collected and strengthened his army at Châlons, and on the 21st he appeared at Méry on the Seine, threatening Napoleon's left flank in case of an advance toward Troyes. By this time the flames of French patriotism were rekindled in town and country, and, the soldiers being flushed with victory, it was clearly the hour to strike at any hazard. Oudinot was despatched with 10,000 men to hold Blücher, and this task he actually accomplished, capturing that portion of Méry which lay on the left bank of the river, and fortifying the bridgehead against all comers. Marmont being at Sezanne with 8000 men to cover Paris, and Mortier at Soissons with 10,000 to prevent the advance of York and Sacken, Napoleon marched on Troyes. It was late in the evening when his main army was drawn up, and in order to leave time for his rear to come in, he postponed operations until the morning. Schwarzenberg had 70,000 in line, but at four in the early dawn of the 22d, leaving in place a front formation sufficient to mask his movements, he decamped with his main force and withdrew behind the Aube. Arrived at Bar, he wrote on the 26th an admirable

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