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but that he might accept the crown of the his new son-in-law to join him in a protest grand duchy of Warsaw, including Galicia. against the aggressions of the Czar. NapoA secret emissary was then despatched to leon honorably refused thus to rupture the Vienna to sound Francis: Austria was to be in- Tilsit alliance, but said significantly to Metdemnified amply for Galicia in the partition ternich, « If Russia quarrels with us she will of Turkey. But Francis remained mute, and lose Finland, Moldavia, and Wallachia»; addthe fencing between Paris and St. Petersburg ing that if the Czar, contrary to his engagewas renewed. A rejoinder to Napoleon's ment of 1808, should seize anything south of counter-project was laid on his desk, which the Danube, then he himself would intercontained the identical words used before, vene on Austria's behalf. But all Europe a that the kingdom of Poland shall never seemed convinced that war was inevitable. be restored. This persistence infuriated In all the watering-places the talk was of the recipient; he dictated a smooth reply, nothing else. The Russian party in Vienna began to rouse public opinion in favor of grew bolder; Pozzo di Borgo, Napoleon's lifewar, strengthened certain of his fortresses, long foe, who had been temporarily under a and sought a closer rapprochement with cloud in Russia, appeared in Vienna in his Austria. The negotiations with Russia con- Russian uniform, courted and oracular. A tinued, Russia insisting on the obnoxious French interpreter on his way to Persia was phrase, France repelling the insinuation it stopped by him, and bribed to enter the Ruscontained.
sian service. Kourakine, partly recovered, Meanwhile Metternich, confident that in was leaving Paris for home. Through him the partition of Turkey better terms could be Napoleon called the Czar's attention to all obtained for Austria from Napoleon than from the facts, and at the same time orders were Alexander, was doing his utmost to embitter sent commanding Caulaincourt to end all netheir relations. There was a strong Russian gotiation, and the Poles were peremptorily party in Vienna which was in close touch with enjoined to silence. the numerous Poles in Warsaw who looked to Something of Alexander's secret diplomacy Alexander for the restoration of their coun- must have leaked out, but he appeared untry's integrity. In both places there was much moved. He was steadily preparing for war, talk of the restoration of Poland, in Warsaw strengthening his fortresses, and locating especially, and the phrase was constantly in fortified camps in the district between the the newspapers. Alexander's ambassador in Dwina and the Dnieper. But his chief concern Paris made urgent representations concern- was with Poland. Relying on the Jesuit ining « a persistent rumor that the Emperor in- fluence for support against the jailer of the tends to restore Poland.» Napoleon retorted Pope, he again took up his old scheme and in fury, and threatened war, but immediately wrote to Czartoryski. But that nobleman, wrote a soothing assurance that he was still after a long residence in his native land, had true to the engagements of Tilsit. On July 1, learned how strong was the conviction of his while the lines were in the copyist's hands, countrymen that Napoleon would give them there occurred the incident which many a more complete autonomy than the Czar, and thought at the time changed the course of accordingly he gave a discouraging reply. history. During a magnificent festival given Alexander was determined that the coming by the Austrian ambassador, the decorations war should be defensive on his part, and imin an open court caught fire, and the con- mediately opened communications with Engflagration spread, enveloping the entire em- land and Sweden concerning the Continental bassy. All the important guests escaped system. Finally, in the closing days of the unhurt except Kourakine, the Russian am- year, he issued a ukase excluding wines, bassador, who was so injured that he could silks, and similar luxuries from France, but no longer perform his official duties. Almost facilitating the entry of the colonial wares immediately Napoleon's humor seemed to in which England dealt. This was an act of change; he curtly dismissed the Russian open hostility to his old ally, a declaration of chargé d'affaires, and ended the negotiation. commercial war. Prussia immediately made It was when this news reached St. Petersburg semi-official advances to the Czar, but they that Alexander a second time offered Norway were repelled. to Sweden.
It is not easy to estimate Napoleon's reThe cause of Napoleon's abrupt manner was sponsibility for what had happened and was the news communicated by Metternich that about to happen. He was persistently domithe Russian army had advanced successfully neering, contemptuous of national feeling to the Danube. On July 17 Francis requested and dynastic politics, over-confident in the
unswerving devotion of France, inflexible in for nationality, for religious, civil, and politihis policy of territorial aggrandizement, ruth- cal liberty, and for mercantile ascendancy. less in applying his infantile conceptions of Her inborn longings for the highest civilizafinance and political economy, and pitiless in tion were not inconsistent with her grim dehis own self-seeking. On the other hand, termination to resist a system that stood on Alexander, having received Prussia's auton- the Continent for progress, but which she had omy as his price, had proved an untrustworthy come to believe meant national ruin for her. ally from the outset. Having seized Finland, In January, 1812, Wellington stormed Ciuhe evaded the Continental system, and in the dad Rodrigo; on April 6 Badajoz fell. On April latest war between France and Austria had 18 Napoleon offered terms of peace, Spain to actually wooed the latter's favor. Procras- be kept intact under Joseph, Portugal to be tinating in the marriage affair, he displayed restored to the house of Braganza, Sicily to an insulting mistrust concerning Poland, remain under Ferdinand, and Naples under and finally declared diplomatic war by his Murat. Considering all the circumstances, overtures to England and his secret tamper- the offer was worthy of consideration; but ing with Austria. This latter power had done the English cabinet refused it. The possibilits utmost to bring on a conflict, hoping to ity of peace with Great Britain being thus exfind her account in the dissensions of the two tinguished, Napoleon considered what course empires; and Sweden, under Bernadotte, was he should pursue toward the other Protestant ready to do anything to strengthen the hands land, which felt itself to be still struggling of Alexander and escape from French pro- for life. Some well-informed persons asserted tection. On April 2, 1811, Napoleon admitted that at first the Emperor contemplated dethat war was inevitable. «It is all a scene stroying the Hohenzollern power utterly. If in an opera,» he wrote, “and the English con- so, he quickly dismissed the idea as involving trol the machinery. A week later he notified unnecessary risk. With the reforms of Stein Alexander that he was aware of the move- and Hardenberg successfully accomplished, ment of Russian troops toward Poland, and with her educational system completed and declared that he, too, was preparing. Lau- her army reorganized, with her people electririston was sent to replace the too pacific fied at last into true patriotism, Prussia was Caulaincourt at St. Petersburg, and Cham- again a redoubtable power. Her influence perpagny was replaced in the foreign office by meated all Germany, and the secret associathe fiery Maret.
tions which ramified everywhere labored for There was much to be done before the ac- German unity, their members already dreamtual outbreak of hostilities. Prussia, with a ing of the Jura, Vosges, and Ardennes as the new vigor born of self-denial, education, and western frontier of their fatherland. At first passionate patriotism; Sweden, restless and Frederick William made overtures to the Czar, uneasy under the yoke of Napoleonic suprem- offering an army of 100,000 men. Alexander, acy; Denmark, friendly, but independent in desiring a purely defensive war, was cold; but her quasi-autonomy; the United States, chaf- late in 1811 he agreed, in case of an attack ing under the restriction of her commerce; on Prussia, to advance as far as the Vistula, Turkey, sick to death, but then as now pivotal «if possible.» Meantime Austria at first in all European politics—the relation of all contemplated neutrality, but abandoned the these powers to the coming conflict must be policy when convinced that, whichever side prearranged. The impending struggle was should be victorious, Prussia would be disto be between two insatiate despotisms, one membered. Francis saw Alexander's conWestern and modern, the other Oriental and tinued successes on the Danube with growing theocratic. Napoleon dimly grasped the ten- anxiety, and, learning that Napoleon would dency of his own career; as Goethe said, «He put 400,000 men into the field, determined lives entirely in the ideal, but can never con- that France must win. Accordingly, in March, sciously grasp it.» Unconsciously, too, Alex- 1812, a treaty was executed, which put 30,ander the Great had fought for the extension of 000 Austrian troops under Napoleon's perGreek culture; Cæsar, to destroy the stifling sonal command, and stipulated for Austria's institutions of a worn-out system; Charles enlargement by Galicia, Illyria, and even the Great, to realize the «city of God” on Silesia, under certain contingencies. During earth. Napoleon was fighting for nationality, these negotiations Frederick William had individual liberty, popular sovereignty; had learned how stupendous Napoleon's preparahe been told so, he would have wondered what tions were, and, with some hesitancy, he fithe words could mean.
nally sent Scharnhorst to sound Austria. The English history is the story of her struggles result was determinative, and on February 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 Coignet's 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; self
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.