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LONDON: G. BELL & SONS, LIMITED,
PORTUGAL STREET, KINGSWAY, W.C.
CAMBRIDGE: DEIGHTON, BELL & CO.
NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO.
BOMBAY: A.H. WHEELER & CO.





THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON I



INCLUDING NEW MATERIALS FROM THE BRITISH OFFICIAL RECORDS




BY

JOHN HOLLAND ROSE, LITT.D. LATE SCHOLAR OF CHRIST'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE




"Let my son often read and reflect on history: this is the only
true philosophy." - _Napoleon's last Instructions for the King of
Rome_.





VOL. II





LONDON G. BELL AND SONS, LTD 1910
POST 8VO EDITION,
ILLUSTRATED



First Published, December 1901.
Second Edition, revised, March 1902.
Third Edition, revised, January 1903.
Fourth Edition, revised,September 1907.
Reprinted, January 1910.


CROWN 8VO EDITION
First Published, September 1904.
Reprinted, October 1907;
July 1910.






CONTENTS



CHAPTER
XXII. ULM AND TRAFALGAR
XXIII. AUSTERLITZ
XXIV. PRUSSIA AND THE NEW CHARLEMAGNE
XXV. THE FALL OF PRUSSIA
XXVI. THE CONTINENTAL SYSTEM: FRIEDLAND
XXVII. TILSIT
XXVIII. THE SPANISH RISING
XXIX. ERFURT
XXX. NAPOLEON AND AUSTRIA
XXXI. THE EMPIRE AT ITS HEIGHT
XXXII. THE RUSSIAN CAMPAIGN
XXXIII. THE FIRST SAXON CAMPAIGN
XXXIV. VITTORIA AND THE ARMISTICE
XXXV. DRESDEN AND LEIPZIG
XXXVI. FROM THE RHINE TO THE SEINE
XXXVII. THE FIRST ABDICATION
XXXVIII. ELBA AND PARIS
XXXIX. LIGNY AND QUATRE BRAS
XL. WATERLOO
XLI. FROM THE ELYSÉE TO ST. HELENA
XLII. CLOSING YEARS

APPENDIX I: LIST OF THE CHIEF APPOINTMENTS
AND DIGNITIES BESTOWED BY NAPOLEON

APPENDIX II: THE BATTLE OF WATERLOO

INDEX


MAPS AND PLANS

BATTLE OF ULM
BATTLE OF AUSTERLITZ
BATTLE OF JENA
BATTLE OF FRIEDLAND
BATTLE OF WAGRAM
CENTRAL EUROPE AFTER 1810
CAMPAIGN IN RUSSIA
BATTLE OF VITTORIA
THE CAMPAIGN OF 1813
BATTLE OF DRESDEN
BATTLE OF LEIPZIG
THE CAMPAIGN OF 1814 _to face_
PLAN OF THE WATERLOO CAMPAIGN
BATTLE OF LIGNY
BATTLE OF WATERLOO, about 11 o'clock a.m. _to face_
ST. HELENA









THE LIFE OF NAPOLEON I

* * * * *




CHAPTER XXII

ULM AND TRAFALGAR


"Napoleon is the only man in Europe that knows the value of
time." - Czartoryski.


Before describing the Continental campaign which shattered the old
European system to its base, it will be well to take a brief glance at
the events which precipitated the war of the Third Coalition. Even at
the time of Napoleon's rupture with England, his highhanded conduct
towards the Italian Republic, Holland, Switzerland, and in regard to
the Secularizations in Germany, had exposed him to the hostility of
Russia, Sweden, and Austria; but as yet it took the form of secret
resentment. The last-named Power, under the Ministry of Count Cobenzl,
had relapsed into a tame and undignified policy, which the Swedish
Ambassador at Vienna described as "one of fear and hope - fear of the
power of France, and hope to obtain favours from her."[1] At Berlin,
Frederick William clung nervously to neutrality, even though the
French occupation of Hanover was a threat to Prussia's influence in
North Germany. The Czar Alexander was, at present, wrapt up in home
affairs; and the only monarch who as yet ventured to show his dislike
of the First Consul was the King of Sweden. In the autumn of 1803
Gustavus IV. defiantly refused Napoleon's proposals for a
Franco-Swedish alliance, baited though they were with the offer of
Norway as an eventual prize for Sweden, and a subsidy for every
Swedish warship serving against England. And it was not the dislike of
a proud nature to receive money which prompted his refusal; for
Gustavus, while in Germany, hinted to Drake that he desired to have
pecuniary help from England for the defence of his province of
Pomerania.[2]

But a doughtier champion of European independence was soon to enter
the field. The earlier feelings of respect and admiration which the
young Czar had cherished towards Napoleon were already overclouded,
when the news of the execution of the Duc d'Enghien at once roused a
storm of passion in his breast. The chivalrous protection which he
loved to extend to smaller States, the guarantee of the Germanic
system which the Treaty of Teschen had vested in him, above all, his
horror at the crime, led him to offer an emphatic protest. The Russian
Court at once went into mourning, and Alexander expressed both to the
German Diet and to the French Government his indignation at the
outrage. It was ever Napoleon's habit to return blow with blow; and he
now instructed Talleyrand to reply that in the D'Enghien affair he had
acted solely on the defensive, and that Russia's complaint "led him to
ask if, at the time when England was compassing the assassination of
Paul I., the authors of the plot had been known to be one league
beyond the [Russian] frontiers, every effort would not have been made
to have them seized?" Never has a poisoned dart been more deftly sped
at the weak spot of an enemy's armour. The Czar, ever haunted by the
thought of his complicity in a parricidal plot, was deeply wounded by
this malicious taunt, and all the more so because, as the death of
Paul had been officially ascribed to a fit, the insult could not be
flung back.[3] The only reply was to break off all diplomatic
relations with Napoleon; and this took place in the summer of 1804.[4]

Yet war was not to break out for more than a year. This delay was due
to several causes. Austria could not be moved from her posture of
timid neutrality. In fact, Francis II. and Cobenzl saw in Napoleon's
need of a recognition of his new imperial title a means of assuring a
corresponding change of title for the Hapsburg Dominions. Francis had
long been weary of the hollow dignity of Elective Emperor of the Holy
Roman Empire. The faded pageantry of Ratisbon and Frankfurt was all
that remained of the glories of the realm of Charlemagne: the medley
of States which owned him as elected lord cared not for the decrees of
this ghostly realm; and Goethe might well place in the mouth of his
jovial toper, in the cellar scene of "Faust," the words:

"Dankt Gott mit jedem Morgen
Dass Ihr nicht braucht für's Röm'sche Reich zu sorgen!"

In that bargaining and burglarious age, was it not better to build a
more lasting habitation than this venerable ruin? Would not the
hereditary dominions form a more lasting shelter from the storm? Such
were doubtless the thoughts that prompted the assumption of the title
of Hereditary Emperor of Austria (August 11th, 1804). The
letter-patent, in which this change was announced, cited as parallels
"the example of the Imperial Court of Russia in the last century and
of the new sovereign of France." Both references gave umbrage to
Alexander, who saw no parallel between the assumption of the title of
Emperor by Peter the Great and the game of follow-the-leader played by
Francis to Napoleon.[5]

Prussian complaisance to the French Emperor was at this time to be
expected. Frederick William III. reigned over 10,000,000 subjects; he
could marshal 248,000 of the best trained troops in Europe, and his
revenue was more fruitful than that of the great Frederick. Yet the
effective power of Prussia had sadly waned; for her policy was now
marked by an enervating indecision. In the autumn of 1804, however,
the Prussian King was for a time spurred into action by the news that
Sir George Rumbold, British envoy at Hamburg, had been seized on the
night of October 24th, by French troops, and carried off to Paris.
This aggression upon the Circle of Lower Saxony, of which Frederick
William was Director, aroused lively indignation at Berlin; and the
King at once wrote to Napoleon a request for the envoy's liberation as
a proof of his "friendship and high consideration ...a seal on the past
and a pledge for the future."

To this appeal Napoleon returned a soothing answer that Sir George
would at once be released, though England was ever violating the
rights of neutrals, and her agents were conspiring against his life.
The Emperor, in fact, saw that he had taken a false step, which might
throw Prussia into the arms of England and Russia. For this latter
Power had already (May, 1804) offered her armed help to the Court of
Berlin in case the French should violate any other German
territory.[6] But the King was easily soothed; and when, in the
following spring, Napoleon sent seven Golden Eagles of the Legion of
Honour to the Court of Berlin, seven Black Eagles of the renowned
Prussian Order were sent in return - an occurrence which led Gustavus
IV. to return his Order of the Black Eagle with the remark that he
could not recognize "Napoleon and his like" as comrades in an Order of
Chivalry and Religion.[7] Napoleon's aim was achieved: Prussia was
sundered from any league in which Gustavus IV. was a prominent member.

Thus, the chief steps in the formation of the Third Coalition were
taken by Sweden, England, and Russia. Early in 1804 Gustavus proposed
a League of the Powers; and, on the advent of the Pitt Ministry to
office, overtures began to pass between St. Petersburg and London for
an alliance. Important proposals were made by Pitt and our Foreign
Minister, the Earl of Harrowby, in a note of June 26th, 1804, in which
hopes were expressed that Russia, England, Austria, Sweden, and if
possible Prussia, might be drawn together.[8] Alexander and
Czartoryski were already debating the advantages of an alliance with
England. Their aims were certainly noble. International law and the
rights of the weak States bordering on France were to be championed,
and it was suggested by Czartoryski that disputes should be settled,
not by force, but by arbitration.[9]

The statement of these exalted ideas was intrusted to a special envoy
to London, M. Novossiltzoff, who propounded to Pitt the scheme of a
European polity where the States should be independent and enjoy
institutions "founded on the sacred rights of humanity." With this aim
in view, the Czar desired to curb the power of Napoleon, bring back
France to her old limits, and assure the peace of Europe on a firm
basis, namely on the principle of the _balance of power_. Pitt and
Lord Harrowby having agreed to these proposals, details were discussed
at the close of 1804. None of the allies were, in any case, to make a
separate peace; and England (said M. Novossiltzoff) must not only use
her own troops, but grant subsidies to enable the Powers to set on
foot effective forces.

This last sentence claims special notice, as it disposes of the
well-worn phrase, that the Third Coalition was _built up_ by Pitt's
gold. On the contrary, Russia was the first to set forth the need of
English subsidies, which Pitt was by no means eager to supply. The
phrase used by French historians is doubtless correct in so far as
English gold enabled our allies to arm efficiently; but it is wholly
false if it implies that the Third Coalition was merely trumped up by
our money, and that the Russian, Austrian, and Swedish Governments
were so many automatic machines which, if jogged with coins, would
instantly supply armies to the ready money purchaser. This is
practically the notion still prevalent on the Continent; and it is
clearly traceable to the endless diatribes against Pitt's gold with
which Napoleon seasoned his bulletins, and to the caricatures which he
_ordered to be drawn_. The following was his direction to his Minister
of Police, Fouché: "Have caricatures made - an Englishman purse in
hand, _entreating the various Powers to take his money. This is the
real direction to give the whole business._" How well he knew mankind:
he rightly counted on its gullibility where pictures were concerned;
and the direction which he thus gave to public opinion bids fair to
persist, in spite of every exposure of the trickery.[10]

But, to return to the plans of the allies, Holland, Switzerland, and
Italy were to be liberated from their "enslavement to France," and
strengthened so as to provide barriers to future aggressions: the King
of Sardinia was to be restored to his mainland possessions, and
receive in addition the Ligurian, or Genoese, Republic.[11]

On all essential topics the British Government was in full accord with
the views of the Czar, and Pitt insisted on the need of a system of
international law which should guarantee the Continent against further
rapacious acts. But Europe was not destined to find peace on these
principles until after ten years of desolating war.

Various causes hindered the formation of this league. On January 2nd,
1805, Napoleon sent to George III. an offer of peace; and those
persons who did not see that this was a device for discovering the
course of negotiations believed that he ardently desired it. We now
know that the offer was despatched a week after he had ordered
Missiessy to ravage the British West Indies.[12] And, doubtless, his
object was attained when George III. replied in the speech from the
throne (January 15th) that he could not entertain the proposal without
reference to the Powers with whom he was then engaged in confidential
intercourse, and especially the Emperor of Russia. Yet the British
Government discussed with the Czar the basis for a future pacification
of Europe; and the mission of Novossiltzoff at midsummer to Berlin, on
his way to Paris, was the answer, albeit a belated one, to Napoleon's
New Year's pacific appeal. We shall now see why this delay occurred,
and what acts of the French Emperor finally dispelled all hopes of
peace.

The delay was due to differences between Russia and England respecting
Malta and our maritime code. The Czar insisted on our relinquishing
Malta and relaxing the rigours of the right of search for deserters
from our navy. To this the Pitt Ministry demurred, seeing that Malta
was our only means of protecting the Mediterranean States, and our
only security against French aggressions in the Levant, while the
right of searching neutral vessels was necessary to prevent the
enfeebling of our navy.[13] Negotiations were nearly broken off even
after a treaty between the two Powers had been brought to the final
stage on April 11th, 1805; but in July (after the Czar had recorded
his solemn protest against our keeping Malta) it was ratified, and
formed the basis for the Third Coalition. The aims of the allies were
to bring about the expulsion of French troops from North Germany; to
assure the independence of the Republics of Holland and Switzerland;
and to reinstate the King of Sardinia in Piedmont. Half a million of
men were to be set in motion, besides the forces of Great Britain; and
the latter Power, as a set-off to her lack of troops, agreed to
subsidize her allies to the extent of; £1,250,000 a year for every
100,000 men actually employed in the war. It was further stipulated
that a European Congress at the close of the war should endeavour to
fix more surely the principles of the Law of Nations and establish a
federative system. Above all, the allies bound themselves not to
hinder the popular wish in France respecting the form of government - a
clause which deprived the war of the Third Coalition of that
monarchical character which had pervaded the league of 1793 and, to a
less extent, that of 1799.[14]

What was the attitude of Napoleon towards this league? He certainly
took little pains to conciliate the Czar. In fact, his actions towards
Russia were almost openly provocative. Thus, while fully aware of the
interest which Alexander felt in the restoration of the King of
Sardinia, he sent the proposal that that unlucky King should receive
the Ionian Isles and Malta as indemnities for his losses, and that too
when Russia looked upon Corfu as her own. To this offer the Czar
deigned not a word in reply. Napoleon also sent an envoy to the Shah
of Persia with an offer of alliance, so as to check the advances of
Russia on the shores of the Caspian.[15]

On the other hand, he used every effort to allure Prussia, by secretly
offering her Hanover, and that too as early as the close of July.[16]
For a brief space, also, he took some pains to conciliate Austria.
This indeed was necessary: for the Court of Vienna had already
(November 6th, 1804) framed a secret agreement with Russia to make war
on Napoleon if he committed any new aggression in Italy or menaced any
part of the Turkish Empire.[17] Yet this act was really defensive.
Francis desired only to protect himself against Napoleon's ambition,
and, had he been treated with consideration, would doubtless have
clung to peace.

For a time Napoleon humoured that Court, even as regards the changes
now mooted in Italy. On January 1st, 1805, he wrote to Francis,
stating that he was about to proclaim Joseph Bonaparte King of Italy,
if the latter would renounce his claim to the crown of France, and so
keep the governments of France and Italy separate, as the Treaty of
Lunéville required; that this action would enfeeble his (Napoleon's)
power, but would carry its own recompense if it proved agreeable to
the Emperor Francis.

But it soon appeared that Joseph was by no means inclined to accept
the crown of Lombardy if it entailed the sacrifice of all hope of
succeeding to the French Empire. He had already demurred to _le vilain
titre de roi_, and on January 27th announced his final rejection of
the offer. Napoleon then proposed to Louis that he should hold that
crown in trust for his son; but the suggestion at once rekindled the
flames of jealousy which ever haunted Louis; and, after a violent
scene, the Emperor thrust his brother from the room.

Perhaps this anger was simulated. He once admitted that his rage only
mounted this high - pointing to his chin; and the refusals of his
brothers were certainly to be expected. However that may be, he now
resolved to assume that crown himself, appointing as Viceroy his
step-son, Eugène Beauharnais. True, he announced to the French Senate
that the realms of France and Italy would be kept separate: but
neither the Italian deputies, who had been summoned to Paris to vote
this dignity to their master, nor the servile Senate, nor the rulers
of Europe, were deceived. Thus, when in the early summer Napoleon
reviewed a large force that fought over again in mimic war the battle
of Marengo; when, amidst all the pomp and pageantry that art could
devise, he crowned himself in the cathedral of Milan with the iron
circlet of the old Lombard Kings, using the traditional formula: "God
gave it me, woe to him who touches it"; when, finally, he incorporated
the Ligurian Republic in the French Empire, Francis of Austria
reluctantly accepted the challenges thus threateningly cast down, and
began to arm.[18] The records of our Foreign Office show conclusively
that the Hapsburg ruler felt himself girt with difficulties: the
Austrian army was as yet ill organized: the reforms after which the
Archduke Charles had been striving were ill received by the military
clique; and the sole result had been to unsettle rather than
strengthen the army, and to break down the health of the Archduke.[19]
Yet the intention of Napoleon to treat Italy as a French province was
so insultingly paraded that Francis felt war to be inevitable, and
resolved to strike a blow while the French were still entangled in
their naval schemes. He knew well the dangers of war; he would have
eagerly welcomed any sign of really peaceful intentions at Paris; but
no signs were given; in fact, French agents were sent into Switzerland
to intrigue for a union of that land with France. Here again the pride
of the Hapsburgs was cut to the quick, and they disdained to submit to
humiliations such as were eating the heart out of the Prussian
monarchy.

The Czar, too, was far from eager for war. He had sent Novossiltzoff
to Berlin _en route_ for Paris, in the hope of coming to terms with
Napoleon, when the news of the annexation of Genoa ended the last
hopes of a compromise. "This man is insatiable," exclaimed Alexander;
"his ambition knows no bounds; he is a scourge of the world; he wants
war; well, he shall have it, and the sooner the better," The Czar at
once ordered all negotiations to be broken off. Novossiltzoff, on July
10th, declared to Baron Hardenberg, the successor of Haugwitz at the
Prussian Foreign Office, that Napoleon had now passed the utmost
limits of the Czar's patience; and he at once returned his French
passports. In forwarding them to the French ambassador at Berlin,
Hardenberg expressed the deep regret of the Prussian monarch at the
breakdown of this most salutary negotiation - a phrase which showed
that the patience of Berlin was nearly exhausted.[20]

Clearly, then, the Third Coalition was not cemented by English gold,
but by Napoleon's provocations. While England and Russia found great
difficulty in coming to an accord, and Austria was arming only from
fear, the least act of complaisance on his part would have unravelled
this ill-knit confederacy. But no such action was forthcoming. All his
letters written in North Italy after his coronation are puffed up with
incredible insolence. Along with hints to Eugène to base politics on
dissimulation and to seek only to be feared, we find letters to
Ministers at Paris scorning the idea that England and Russia can come
to terms, and asserting that the annexation of Genoa concerns England
alone; but if Austria wants to find a pretext for war, she may now
find it.

Then he hurries back to Fontainebleau, covering the distance from
Turin in eighty-five hours; and, after a brief sojourn at St. Cloud,
he reaches Boulogne. There, on August the 22nd, he hears that Austria
is continuing to arm: a few hours later comes the news that Villeneuve
has turned back to Cadiz. Fiercely and trenchantly he resolves this
fateful problem. He then sketches to Talleyrand the outlines of his
new policy. He will again press, and this time most earnestly, his
offer of Hanover to Prussia as the price of her effective alliance
against the new coalition. Perhaps this new alliance will strangle the
coalition at its birth; at any rate it will paralyze Austria.
Accordingly, he despatches to Berlin his favourite aide-de-camp,
General Duroc, to persuade the King that his alliance will save the
Continent from war.[21]

Meanwhile the Hapsburgs were completely deceived. They imagined
Napoleon to be wholly immersed in his naval enterprise, and
accordingly formed a plan of campaign, which, though admirable against
a weak and guileless foe, was fraught with danger if the python's
coils were ready for a spring. As a matter of fact, he was far better
prepared than Austria. As late as July 7th, the Court of Vienna had
informed the allies that its army would not be ready for four months;
yet the nervous anxiety of the Hapsburgs to be beforehand with
Napoleon led them to hurry on war: and on August 9th they secretly
gave their adhesion to the Russo-British alliance.

Then, too, by a strange fatuity, their move into Bavaria was to be
made with a force of only 59,000 men, while their chief masses, some
92,000 strong, were launched into Italy against the strongholds on the
Mincio. To guard the flanks of these armies, Austria had 34,000 men in
Tyrol; but, apart from raw recruits, there were fewer than 20,000
soldiers in the rest of that vast empire. In fact, the success of the
autumn campaign was known to depend on the help of the Russians, who
were expected to reach the banks of the Inn before the 20th of
October, while it was thought that the French could not possibly reach
the Danube till twenty days later.[22] It was intended, however, to
act most vigorously in Italy, and to wage a defensive campaign on the
Danube.

Such was the plan concocted at Vienna, mainly under the influence of
the Archduke Charles, who took the command of the army in Italy, while
that of the Danube was assigned to the Archduke Ferdinand and Mack,
the new Quarter-Master-General. This soldier had hitherto enjoyed a
great reputation in Austria, probably because he was the only general
who had suffered no great defeat. Amidst the disasters of 1797 he
seemed the only man able to retrieve the past, and to be shut out from
command by Thugut's insane jealousy of his "transcendent
abilities."[23] Brave he certainly was: but his mind was always swayed
by preconceived notions; he belonged to the school of "manoeuvre



Online LibraryJohn Holland RoseThe Life of Napoleon I (Volume 2 of 2) → online text (page 1 of 51)