Part 7 out of 11
enthusiasts always talk of a united Germany, but in reality it has
never existed yet."
"But it will exist when Prussia and Austria are allied; only this
alliance must be concluded soon, for we have no time to lose. and
every delay is fraught with great danger. France is intent on
establishing a universal monarchy; Napoleon does not conceal it any
longer. If France really succeeds in keeping the German powers at
variance and enmity, and uniting with Russia against them, our last
hour will strike; for these two powers, if united, will easily come
to an understanding as to the division of Europe; and even though
Russia did not entertain such an intention, France would communicate
it to her. [Footnote: The archduke's own words.--See "Letters from
the Archduke John to Johannes von Mueller," p. 81.] Hence, Russia.
should likewise be gained, and its alliance, by Russia's
intercession, be secured, so that Germany, in days of adversity,
might count upon her."
"You believe then, archduke, that days of adversity are yet in store
for us?" asked the emperor.
"Your majesty, I am afraid they are, if we stand alone. All is at
stake now, and all must be risked. We are no longer fighting for
provinces, but for our future existence. We shall fight well; but
even the best strength is exhausted in the long run, and he who
holds out longest remains victorious. Which side has better chances?
Austria, so long as she opposes France single-handed, has not; but
Austria and Prussia, if united, assuredly have. If Austria falls
now, the best adversary of France falls, and with her falls Prussia,
and Germany is lost."
"And what would you do, archduke, if Austria, as you say, were
"Your majesty, if Austria should sink into ruin, I should know how
"You would, like Brutus of old, throw yourself upon your sword,
would you not? Well, I hope we shall not fare so badly as that, for
you have pointed out to me a way of saving the country. You have
proved to me that Austria can be saved by an alliance with Prussia.
Fortunately, I have sometimes ideas of my own, and even a head of my
own. I had this morning a long interview with the Prince of Orange,
who has just arrived from Koenigsberg, where he saw the King of
Prussia. He laid before me a detailed report of what he had seen
there, and I made up my mind before I had heard your advice.--Count
Stadion, be so kind as to take the paper lying on the desk. Do you
know the handwriting?"
"I believe it is your majesty's handwriting," said Count Stadion,
who, in accordance with the emperor's order, had taken the paper
from the desk.
"Yes, it is my handwriting; for, though not as learned as my brother
John, I am at least able, if need be, to write a letter. Be so kind,
minister, as to read my letter aloud."
Count Stadion bowed, and read as follows:
"To his majesty, King Frederick William of Prussia: "Headquarters,
Wolkersdorf, June 8, 1809.
"SIR, MY BROTHER: The Prince of Orange, who has arrived at my
headquarters here, has told me unreservedly, and with full
confidence, of the repeated conversations he had with your majesty
during his recent sojourn at Koenigsberg. You left no doubt in his
mind as to your firm conviction that the existence of our two
monarchies can be protected from the rapacious system of the Emperor
Napoleon only by an active and cordial alliance. For a long time
past, aware of the opinions and wisdom of your majesty, I could
foresee that your majesty would not refuse to take a step, justified
not less by the logic of events than the loyalty of the nations
which Providence has confided to our care."
"The bearer, Colonel Baron Steigentesch, a distinguished staff-
officer of my army, will confer with your majesty's government as to
the questions which may arise in regard to an alliance between the
two countries: he is authorized to regulate the proportions of the
forces to be employed on both sides, and the other arrangements not
less salutary than indispensable for the security of the two states.
For the same reasons I shall speedily send instructions to my
ambassador at Berlin in conformity with the overtures made by Count
von der Goltz."
"Your majesty will permit me to assure you that I remain as ever,
Your most obedient, FRANCIS, Emperor of Austria." [Footnote:
"Lebensbilder," vol, iii., p. 266.]
While Count Stadion was reading the letter, the emperor closely
watched the effect it produced upon the archduke. He saw that John
was at first surprised, that his eyes gradually brightened, that his
face crimsoned with joy, and that a smile played round his lips.
When Count Stadion was through, the archduke stepped up to the
emperor with an expression of profound emotion and intense
"Your Majesty," he cried, "you have filled me both with shame and
ecstasy. Oh, give me your hand, let me press it to my lips; let me
thank you for this gracious punishment! I am grateful, too, for the
gracious confidence with which you initiate me into your plans."
"That is unnecessary," said the emperor, without giving him his
hand; "you need not thank me. Nor was it my intention to give you a
special proof of my confidence. I did not cause the letter to be
read to you in order to have you participate in my plans, but only
to prove to you that I can make up my mind without your advice, and
to request you not to molest me henceforth with any such
suggestions. Now, brother, we have nothing further to say to each
other. Return to Comorn, and carry out the generalissimo's order, as
behooves a good officer, promptly, carefully, and without grumbling.
Fortify and hold Raab, defend Presburg, take Altenburg by a coup de
main; in short, do all that the generalissimo wants you to do. If I
should need your advice and wisdom, I shall send for you; and when
Baron Steigentesch returns from his mission to Prussia, you shall be
informed of the results. Farewell, brother, and let me soon hear of
THE REPLY OF THE KING OF PRUSSIA.
Two weeks after this interview between the Archduke John and the
emperor, the archduke, at the request of the emperor, repaired again
to the imperial headquarters at Wolkersdorf, and sent in his name to
"You come just in time, brother," said the emperor, when John
entered his cabinet." I knew that Baron Steigentesch would arrive
here to-day, hence I sent for you, for I promised to let you hear
the reply of the King of Prussia to my proposal. The colonel did
arrive a few minutes ago, and waits in the anteroom for an
"Before admitting him, your majesty, pray listen to me," said John,
in a grave, tremulous voice.
"I hope you do not intend to reveal a secret to me?" asked the
"No, your majesty; unfortunately that which I have to say to you
will soon be known to everybody, and our enemies will take care to
let their triumphant bulletins circulate the news throughout
"It is a defeat, then, that you have to announce to me?" asked the
"Yes, your majesty, a defeat. I met the enemy yesterday at Raab
[June 14, 1809]. Our men fought bravely; some performed the most
heroic exploits; but the odds of the enemy were too overwhelming.
The Viceroy of Italy attacked us with his well-disciplined veteran
troops, thirty-nine thousand strong. In the outset, we, that is, the
Archduke Palatine and I, were about as strong, including the
Hungarian volunteers. But the very first attack of the enemy, the
first volleys of musketry, caused the volunteers to fall back; they
fled panic-struck, abandoned the hill where I had posted them, and
rushed in wild disorder from the field of battle. The enemy then
occupied the hill, and this decided the fate of the day against us,
shortly after the commencement of the battle. However, we might have
held out and gained a victory, if all had carried out my orders
promptly and carefully, and if, as usually during this campaign, no
obstacles had been placed in my way."
"Ah, archduke, to avoid charges being preferred against yourself,
you intend to prefer charges against others!" exclaimed the emperor,
shrugging his shoulders.
"Yes your majesty; I charge Ignatius Giulay, Ban of Croatia, with
violation of my orders, disobedience, and intentional delays in
making the movements I had prescribed. I had ordered the Ban in time
to join me at Comorn on the 13th of June, and he had positively
assured me, by letter and verbally, that he would promptly be on
hand on the stated day. I counted upon his arrival, and made my
dispositions accordingly. The generalissimo had instructed me to
keep open my communications with the main army on the right bank of
the Danube by way of Raab; and I, therefore, started on the morning
of the 13th from Comorn, firmly convinced that Giulay's troops would
join me in time and follow me. But I waited for him in vain; he
failed me at the critical moment, despite my orders and his
promises, and this was the principal reason why we lost the battle."
[Footnote: See Schlosser's "History of the Eighteenth Century," vol.
vii., p. 540.]
"You prefer a grave charge against a man whom I have always found to
be faithful, brave, and honorable," said the emperor, with cutting
"Your majesty, I beg you to be so gracious as to call the Ban of
Croatia to a strict account," exclaimed John, vehemently. "I beg you
to be so gracious as to send for the orders which I gave him, and
ask him why he did not obey them."
"I shall do so," replied the emperor, "and it is my conviction that
he will be able to justify himself completely."
The Archduke John gave a start, a deathly pallor overspread his
cheeks, his eyes shot fire, his lips opened to utter an impetuous
word, but he restrained it forcibly; compressing his lips, pale and
panting, he hastily moved back a few steps and approached the door.
"Stay!" ordered the emperor, in a harsh voice. "I have yet some
questions to put to you. You are responsible for this battle of
Raab, and you owe me some explanations concerning it. How was the
retreat effected? Where are your forces now?"
"The retreat was effected in good order," said John, in a low,
tremulous voice. "I marched with four battalions of grenadiers and
two battalions of Gratz militia slowly along the heights to Als,
where we arrived at midnight; and to-day we went back to Comorn.
There our forces are now."
"And Raab? Have the enemy taken it already?"
"No, your majesty, it still holds out: but it will fall, as I told
your majesty two weeks ago, for the generalissimo has sent me
neither ammunition nor re-enforcements, despite my most pressing
"Is that to be another charge?" asked the emperor, sternly.
"No," said John, mournfully; "it is only to be my defence, for
unfortunately it is always necessary for me to defend myself."
"Ah, archduke, you always consider yourself the victim of cabals,"
exclaimed the emperor; "you believe yourself always persecuted and
calumniated; you suspect invariably that you are slighted and placed
in false positions by those who are jealous of your exalted
qualities, and envious of your talents. You think that your
greatness excites apprehensions, and your genius and learning create
misgivings, and that you are therefore persecuted; that intrigues
are entered upon against you, and that not sufficient elbow-room is
given to your abilities. But you are mistaken, archduke. I am not
afraid of you, and although I admire you, and think, like you, that
you are the greatest captain of the age--"
"Your majesty," interrupted John, in a loud, vehement voice, "your
"Well, what is it?" cried the emperor, hastily advancing a few steps
toward his brother, and staring at him with defiant eyes. "What have
you got to say to me?"
"Nothing, your majesty," said John, in a hollow voice; "you are the
emperor! I am silent, and submit."
"And you are very prudent in doing so, for, as you say, I am the
emperor, and I will remain the emperor, despite all my great and
august brothers. If your imperial highness does not like this, if
you think you are treated unjustly, if you consider yourself a
martyr, why do you not imitate what the generalissimo has done
already three times during the present campaign--why do you not
offer your resignation? Why do you not request your emperor to
dismiss you from his service?"
"Will your majesty permit me to make a frank and honest reply to
this question?" asked John, looking at the emperor firmly and
"Well, then, your majesty, I do not offer my resignation because I
am not an invalid; because I am young, strong, and able to work. I
request the emperor not to dismiss me from the service, because I
serve not only him, but the fatherland, and because I owe to it my
services and strength. I know well that many would like me to retire
into privacy and withdraw entirely from public affairs; but I cannot
fulfil their wishes, and never shall I withdraw voluntarily from the
service. No matter what wrongs and slights may be inflicted upon me,
they will be fruitless, for they will never shake my purpose. All
the disagreeable things that happen to me in my career, I think
proceed from individuals, and not from the fatherland; why should I,
then, avenge myself on the fatherland by resigning and depriving it
of my services when it has done me no wrong? [Footnote: The
archduke's own words.--See his "Letters to Johannes von Mailer," P.
92.] I serve the fatherland in serving your majesty; should I
resign, I should be unfaithful to both my masters, and only then
would your majesty have a right to despise me."
"Listen," said the emperor; "the word fatherland is a dangerous and
two-edged one, and I do not think much of it. The insurgents and
revolutionists have it always in their mouths; and when rising
against their prince and refusing him obedience, they likewise say
that they do so in the service of the fatherland, and devote their
strength and fidelity to it. The soldier, above all, has nothing to
do with the fatherland, but only with his sovereign; it is to him
alone that he has sworn allegiance, and to him alone he must remain
faithful. Now, as you are a soldier and wish to remain in the
service, pray bear in mind that you have sworn allegiance to your
emperor, and let me bear no longer any of your subtle distinctions
between your emperor and your fatherland. And now that you have
reported to me the result of the disastrous battle of Raab, Baron
Steigentesch may come in and report the results of his mission to
Koenigsberg. Stay, therefore, and listen to him."
The emperor rang the bell, and ordered the footman who entered the
room to admit immediately Minister Count Stadion and Colonel Baron
Steigentesch. A few minutes later the two gentlemen entered the
"Now, colonel," said the emperor to him, "you are to report the
results of your mission to Koenigsberg, and I confess I am quite
anxious to hear them. But before you commence, I wish to say a few
words to your minister of foreign affairs. On the same day that I
dispatched Colonel Steigentesch to Koenigsberg, I handed you a
sealed paper and ordered you to preserve it till my ambassador's
return. Have you done so?"
"I have, your majesty."
"And have you brought it with you now?"
"Here it is, your majesty," said Count Stadion, drawing a sealed
envelope from his bosom, and presenting it to the emperor, with a
low bow. Francis took it, and examined the seal with close
attention, then held it to his nose and smelled it.
"Indeed," he exclaimed joyfully, "it has retained its perfume, and
is as fresh and brilliant as though it had been put on only at the
present moment. And what a beautiful crimson it is! I have, then, at
length, found the right receipt for good sealing-wax, and this,
which I made myself, may vie with that made at the best Spanish
factories. Oh, I see, this sealing-wax will drive my black cabinet
to despair, for it will be impossible to open a letter sealed with
it; even the finest knife will be unable to do it. Do you not think
so too, minister?"
"I am no judge of sealing-wax," said Count Stadion, coldly, "and I
confess that I did not even look at the seal of this envelope; your
majesty ordered me to keep it and return it to you after Baron
Steigentesch's return. I complied with your majesty's orders, that
The emperor smiled, and laid the sealed paper with a slight nod on
the table by his side; then he sank into an easy-chair, and beckoned
to the gentlemen to take seats on the chairs on the other side of
"Now, Colonel Steigentesch, let me hear the results of your mission.
In the first place, tell me, has King Frederick William sent no
letter to me in reply to mine?"
"No, your majesty," replied Colonel Steigentesch, with a significant
smile; "I am only the bearer of a verbal reply. I believe the king
thought a written answer too dangerous, or he was afraid lest he
should thereby compromise himself. But after every interview I had
with the king or the queen, I noted down every word their majesties
spoke to me; and if your majesty permits, I shall avail myself of my
diary in replying to you."
"Do so," said Francis, "let us hear what you noted down in your
Colonel Steigentesch drew a memorandum-book from his bosom and
"Well, then, how did the king receive you?" inquired Francis, after
"The king received me rather coldly and stiffly," read Colonel
Steigentesch from his diary; "he asked me what was the object of my
mission. I replied that my emperor's letter stated this in a
sufficiently lucid manner. The king was silent for a while; then he
said rather morosely: 'The emperor asks for succor now; but
hereafter he will, perhaps, conclude a separate peace and sacrifice
me.' I replied, 'The Emperor Francis, my august master, does not ask
for succor. The battle of Aspern has proved that means of defence
are not wanting to Austria. But as it is the avowed object of this
war that the powers should recover their former possessions, it is
but just and equitable that they should take an active part in the
contest, whose only object can be attained by seizing the favorable
moment. I have not been sent to you to argue a question which should
be settled already, but to make the arrangements necessary for
carrying it into effect.'"
"An expedient reply," exclaimed the emperor, nodding his head
eagerly. "And what did the King of Prussia answer to you?"
"The king was silent a while, and paced his room repeatedly, his
hands clasped on his back. Then he stood still in front of me, and
said in a loud, firm voice: 'Despite the fear which I might have of
being deserted by Austria, I am determined to ally myself ONE DAY
with your court; but it is not yet time. Continue the war; in the
mean time I will gradually strengthen my forces; only then shall I
be able to take a useful part in the contest. I lack powder,
muskets, and money; my artillerists are all young and inexperienced
soldiers. It is painful to me to avow the whole wretchedness of my
position to an Austrian officer; but I must do so to prove to your
master what it is that keeps me back at this juncture. You will
easily convince yourself that I am striving to be useful to you by
all means. Your sick soldiers are nursed at my hospitals and sent to
their homes; I give leave of absence to all my officers who wish to
serve in your army. But to ask me to declare now in your favor, is
to call upon me to sign my own ruin. Deal the enemy another blow,
and I will send an officer out of uniform to your emperor's
headquarters to make all necessary arrangements.' [Footnote: The
king's own words.--See "Lebensbilder," vol. iii., p. 262.] After
these words the king bowed to me and dismissed me."
"Ah, indeed, the King of Prussia gives very wise advice," exclaimed
the emperor; "we are to deal Bonaparte another blow, and then
Prussia will negotiate with us. After we have gained another
victory, the cautious King of Prussia will enter into secret
negotiations with me, and send to my headquarters an officer, but,
do you hear, out of uniform, in order not to compromise himself. Did
you not wear your uniform, then, colonel?"
"Pardon me, your majesty, I did. But this seemed to be disagreeable
to the king, and he asked me to doff my uniform at Koenigsberg; but
I replied, that I was, since the battle of Aspern, so proud of my
uniform that I could not doff it. [Footnote: Ibid] The king
thereupon requested me to state publicly that I had come to Prussia
only for the purpose of asking of the king permission to buy corn in
Silesia and horses in Prussia."
"And you complied with this request, colonel!"
"I did not, your majesty. I replied that I could not even state
this, for it was repugnant to my sense of honor; however, I would
not contradict such a rumor if it were circulated."
"Very well, colonel," said the emperor, smiling; "you have acted in
a manner worthy of a true Austrian. And now tell me, did you see the
"I did, your majesty. Her majesty sent for me on the day of my
arrival. The queen looked pale and feeble, but she seemed to take
pains to conceal her sufferings under a smile which illuminated her
face like a sunbeam."
"See, see." exclaimed the emperor, sarcastically; "our colonel talks
in the enthusiastic strain of a poet now that he refers to the
queen. Is she so very beautiful, then?"
"Your majesty, she is more than beautiful; she is at the same time a
noble, high-spirited woman, and an august queen. Her misfortunes and
humiliations have not bent her neck, but this noble lady seems even
more august and majestic in the days of adversity than in those of
splendor and prosperity."
"And what did the queen say to you? Was she of her husband's opinion
that Austria should not be succored at this juncture, and that
Prussia, before declaring in our favor, ought to wait and see if
Austria can defeat France single-handed?"
"Your majesty, the queen was more unreserved and frank in her
utterances than the king. She openly avowed her hatred against
Napoleon, and it is her opinion that Prussia should take a decided
stand against France. `For,' she said, 'I am convinced that the
hatred of the French emperor against Austria, and his intention to
overthrow all dynasties, leave no hope of peace. I am the mother of
nine children, to whom I am anxious to preserve their inheritance;
you may, therefore, judge of the wishes which I entertain.'"
[Footnote: The queen's own words. See "Lebensbilder," vol. iii., p.
"If such were the queen's sentiments, I suppose she profited by the
great influence which she is said to have over her husband, to
prevail upon him to take a bold stand, and you bring me the news of
it as the final result of your mission, do you not?"
"Pardon me, your majesty, I do not. It seems the influence of the
queen does not go far enough to induce the king to change his mind
after he has once made it up. Now, the king has resolved not to ally
himself with Austria at this juncture, but to wait until Austria, as
he says, `has dealt the Emperor of the French another blow.' All my
interviews with the king were, as it were, only variations of this
theme. In the last interview which I had with the king, he did not
express any thing but what he had already told me in the first. He
repeated that he would, as soon as Austria had dealt France another
decisive blow, send an officer out of uniform to the headquarters of
your majesty; but then, he added, `I hope to come myself, and not
alone.' When I took leave of the queen, she was even sadder than
usual, and her voice was tremulous, and her eyes filled with tears,
when she said to me she hoped to meet me soon again under more
"And what did the other persons at the Prussian court say? How did
the princes, the generals, and ministers express themselves?"
"Prince William, the king's brother, said to me with a shrug: `You
will not find the spirit reigning here much to your taste. The
king's irresolution will ruin him again.' The princess, his wife,
apologized for not inviting me to dinner, the king having positively
forbidden her to do so. The king's generals and ministers
unreservedly gave vent to their impatience and indignation. Grand-
chancellor von Beyme said to me: 'The king would like to unite with
you, but he cannot make up his mind to do so. However, as everybody
about him is earnestly in favor of an alliance with Austria, I hope
that the king will be carried away.'[Footnote: "Lebensbilder," vol.
iii., p.262] General Blucher wrote to the king in his impetuous,
frank manner, that 'he would not witness the downfall of the throne,
and would prefer serving in a foreign army provided it were at war
with the French.' Scharnhorst, the minister of war, spoke as
violently, and with as undisguised hostility against France. He
presented to the king a memoir, in which he said: 'I will not go
dishonored into my grave; I should be dishonored did I not advise
the king to profit by the present moment, and declare war against
France. Can your majesty wish that Austria should return your states
to you as alms, if she were still generous enough to do so; or that
Napoleon, if victorious, should disarm your soldiers like the
militia of a free city?' But all these remonstrances, these
supplications, nay, even the tears of the queen, were in vain. The
king repeated that he would unite with Austria one day, but it was
not yet time. Austria ought first to deal France another blow, and
gain a decisive victory; then would have come for Prussia the moment
to declare openly against France. This, your majesty, is the only
reply which I bring with me from my mission to Prussia."
"Well, I must confess that this reply is decidedly cautious and
wise!" exclaimed the emperor, laughing. "After we have drawn the
chestnuts out of the fire, Prussia will be kind enough to sit down
with Austria and help her to eat them. Well, what do you think of
it, brother John?"
"I think that this hesitating policy of Prussia is a misfortune not
only for Austria and Prussia, but for Germany. For if France and
Russia join hands now against our disunited country, Germany will be
lost. The welfare of Europe is now inseparably bound up with an
alliance between Austria and Prussia, which can alone prevent the
outbreak of a European war. But this alliance must be concluded
openly, unreservedly, and with mutual confidence. No private
interest, no secondary interests calculated to frustrate the
enterprise, but the great ends of saving the states, and restoring
peace and prosperity to humanity, should be kept constantly in view;
then, and then only, success will crown the great undertaking."
[Footnote: The archduke's own words.--See his "Letters to Johannes
"And Prussia seems little inclined to keep such ends in view," said
the emperor. "Well, minister, you do not say a word. You were so
eloquent in trying to gain me over to this alliance with Prussia;
you assured me so often that Prussia was waiting only for me to call
upon her, when she would ally herself with me; and now--"
"Now, your majesty," said Count Stadion, mournfully, "I see, to my
profound sorrow, that Prussia prefers her separate interests to the
interests of Germany; and I confess that I was mistaken in Prussia."
"And you tried to convince me that I was wrong in entertaining a
different opinion; and my esteemed brother yonder spoke so wisely
and loftily of our Prussian brethren, and the united Germany which
we would form together! Well, you shall see at least that, although
I yielded, and, to get rid of all you wise men, applied to Prussia,
I did not believe in the success of the mission. Minister; be kind
enough now to take the letter which you have kept for me so long.
There! Now break the nice seal, open the letter, and read to us what
I wrote on the day when I dispatched Colonel Steigentesch to the
King of Prussia. Read!"
Stadion unfolded the letter and read:
"Colonel Steigentesch will return from his mission without
accomplishing anything. Prussia and Austria are rivals in Germany,
and will never join hands in a common undertaking. Austria can never
forgive Prussia for taking Silesia from her, and Prussia will always
secretly suspect that Austria is intent upon weakening her rising
power and humbling her ambition. Hence, Prussia will hesitate and
temporize even at this juncture, although it is all-important now
for Germany to take a bold stand against her common enemy, rapacious
and insatiable France; she will hesitate because she secretly wishes
that Austria should be humiliated; and she will not bear in mind
that the weakening of Austria is fraught with danger for Prussia,
nay, the whole of Germany."
"Now. gentlemen," said the emperor, when Count Stadion was through,
"you see that my opinion was right, and that I well knew what I had
to expect from Prussia. We must now carry on the struggle against
France single-handed; but, after dealing her another blow, for which
the King of Prussia longs, we shall take good care not to invite
Prussia to our victorious repast. It would be just in us even to
compel her to give us the sweet morsel of Silesia for our dessert.
Well, we shall see what time will bring about. Our first blow
against France was successful.--Archduke, go and help us to succeed
in dealing her another; and, after defeating France single-handed,
we shall also be masters of Germany."
THE BATTLE OF WAGRAM.
"At length!" exclaimed the Archduke John, joyously, holding up the
letter which a courier of the generalissimo had just brought him
from the headquarters of Wagram. "At length a decisive blow is to be
struck.--Count Nugent, General Frimont, come in here! A courier from
So saying, the archduke had opened the door of his cabinet, and
called the gentlemen who were in the anteroom.
"A courier from the generalissimo," he repeated once more, when the
two generals came in.
"Your highness's wish is fulfilled now, is it not?" asked Nugent.
"The generalissimo accepts the assistance which you offered to him.
He permits you to leave this position with your troops and those of
the Archduke Palatine and re-enforce his own army?"
"No, he does not reply to my offer. It seems the generalissimo
thinks that he does not need us to beat the French. But he writes to
me that he is about to advance with his whole army, and that a
decisive battle may be looked for. He says the enemy is still on the
island of Lobau, busily engaged in erecting a TETE-DE-PONT, and
building a bridge across the Danube."
"And our troops do not try to prevent this by all means!" cried
General Frimont, vehemently. "They allow the enemy to build bridges?
They look on quietly while the enemy is preparing to leave the
island, and do not prevent him from so doing?"
"My friend," said the archduke, gently, "let us never forget that it
does not behoove us to criticise the actions of the generalissimo,
and that our sole duty is to obey. Do as I do; let us be silent and
submit. But let us rejoice that something will be done at length.
Just bear in mind how long this inactivity and suspense have lasted
already. The battle of Aspern was fought on the 22d of May, to-day
is the 3d of July; and in the mean time nothing has been done. The
enemy remained quietly on the island of Lobau, nursing his wounded,
reorganizing his troops, erecting TETES-DE-PONT, and building
bridges; and the generalissimo stood with his whole army on the bank
of the Danube, and took great pains to watch in idleness the busy
enemy. Let us thank God, therefore, that at last the enemy is tired
of this situation, that he at length takes the initiative again, and
brings about a decision. The generalissimo informs me that the
enemy's artillery dislodged our outposts yesterday, and that some
French infantry crossed over to the Muhlau. The generalissimo, as I
told you before, advanced with his troops, and hopes for a decisive
battle within a few days."
"And yet the generalissimo does not accept the assistance which your
imperial highness offered to him?" asked Count Nugent, shaking his
"No, he does not. The generalissimo orders me, on the contrary, to
stay here at Presburg and operate in such a manner against the corps
stationed here, that it may not be able to join Napoleon's main
army. Well, then, gentlemen, let us comply with this order, and
perform at least our humble part of the generalissimo's grand plan.
Let us help him to gain a victory, for the victory will be useful to
the fatherland. We will, therefore, form a pontoon-bridge to-day,
and make a sortie from the TETE-DE-PONT. You, General Frimont, will
order up the batteries from Comorn. You, General Nugent, will inform
the Archduke Palatine of the generalissimo's orders. Write him also
that it is positive that the enemy is moving all his troops to
Vienna, and that all his columns are already on the march thither.
Tell him that it is all-important for us to detain him, and that I,
therefore, have resolved to make a sortie from the TETE-DE-PONT, and
request the Archduke Palatine to co-operate with me on the right
bank of the Danube. Let us go to work, gentlemen, to work! We have
no time to lose. The order is to keep the enemy here by all means;
let us strive to do it!"
And they went to work with joyous zeal and untiring energy; all
necessary dispositions were made for forming a pontoon-bridge, and
preventing the enemy from joining Napoleon's main army. The Archduke
John superintended every thing in person; he was present wherever
difficulties were to be surmounted, or obstacles to be removed. In
his ardent zeal, he did not hesitate to take part in the toils of
his men, and the soldiers cheered enthusiastically on seeing him
work so hard in the midst of their ranks.
Early in the morning of the 5th of July the bridge was completed,
the TETE-DE-PONT was fully armed, and every thing was in readiness
for the sortie. The Archduke, who had not slept all the night long,
was just returning from an inspection of the preparations, when a
courier galloped up to him in the middle of the bridge. On beholding
the archduke, he jumped from his horse, and handed him, panting and
in trembling haste, a letter from the generalissimo.
"You have ridden very rapidly? You were instructed then to make
great haste?" asked John.
"I rode hither from Wagram in ten hours, your imperial highness,"
said the courier, breathlessly; "I was instructed to ride as rapidly
"You have done your duty faithfully. Go and rest."
He nodded kindly to the courier, and repaired to his head-quarters
to read the letter he had just received from his brother.
This letter revoked all orders which had been sent to him up to this
time. The archduke had vainly offered his cooperation and that of
the Archduke Palatine four days ago. At that time not even a reply
had been made to his offer; now, at the last moment, the
generalissimo called impetuously upon his brother to hasten to his
assistance. He demanded that the Archduke John should set out at
once, leave only troops enough to hold the TET-DE-PONT, and hasten
up with the remainder of his forces to the scene of action.
When the archduke real this order, a bitter smile played round his
lips. "See," he said, mournfully, to General Frimont, "now I am
needed all at once, and it seems as if the battle cannot be gained
without us. It is all-important for us to arrive in time at the
point to which we are called so late, perhaps too late. Ah, what is
that? What do you bring to me, Nugent?"
"Another courier from the generalissimo has arrived; he brought this
"You see, much deference is paid to us all of a sudden; we are
treated as highly important assistants," sighed the archduke. He
then unfolded the paper quickly and read it.
"The generalissimo," he said, "informs me now that he has changed
his plan, and will not give battle on the bank of the Danube, but
take position in the rear of Wagram. He instructs me to make a
forced march to Marchegg, advance, after resting there for three
hours, to Siebenbrunn, and take position there. Very well,
gentlemen, let us carry the generalissimo's orders into effect. At
one o'clock to-night, all must be in readiness for setting out. We
need the time between now and then to concentrate the extended lines
of our troops. If we are ready at all earlier hour, we shall set out
at once. Make haste; Let that be the password to-night!"
Thanks to this password, all the troops had been concentrated by
midnight, and the march was just about to begin when another courier
arrived from the generalissimo, and informed the archduke that the
enemy was advancing, and that it was now the generalissimo's
intention to attack him and force him to give battle. The Archduke
John was ordered to march as rapidly as possible to Siebenbrunn,
whither a strong corps of the enemy had set out.
The Archduke John now advanced with his ten thousand men with the
utmost rapidity toward Marchegg. The troops were exhausted by the
toils and fatigues of the last days; they had not eaten any thing
for twenty-four hours; but the archduke and his generals and staff-
officers always knew how to stir them up and induce them to continue
their march with unflagging energy. Thus they at length reached
Marchegg, where they were to rest for three hours.
But no sooner had they arrived there than Count Reuss, the
generalissimo's aide-de-camp, galloped up on a charger covered all
over with foam. The count had ridden in seven hours from Wagram to
Marchegg for it was all-important that the archduke should
accelerate his march. The battle was raging already with great fury.
The generalissimo was in urgent need of the archduke's assistance.
Hence, the latter was not to rest with his troops at Marchegg, but
continue his march and advance with the utmost speed by Siebenbrunn
to Loibersdorf. At Siebenbrunn he would find Field-Marshal
Rosenberg; he should then, jointly with him, attack the enemy.
"Let us set out, then, for Loibersdorf," said John, sighing; "we
will do all we can, and thus avoid being charged with tardiness. Up,
up, my braves! The fatherland calls us; we must obey it!"
But the soldiers obeyed this order only with low murmurs, and many
remained at Marchegg, exhausted to death.
The troops continued their march with restless speed, and mute
resignation. The archduke's face was pale, his flashing eyes were
constantly prying into the distance, his breast was panting, his
heart was filled with indescribable anxiety, and he exhorted his
troops incessantly to accelerate their steps. Now they heard the
dull roar of artillery at a distance; and the farther they advanced,
the louder and more terrific resounded the cannon. The battle,
therefore, was going on, and the utmost rapidity was necessary on
their part. Forward, therefore, forward! At five o'clock in the
afternoon they at last reached Siebenbrunn. But where was Field-
Marshal Rosenberg? What did it mean that the roar of artillery had
almost entirely died away? And what dreadful signs surrounded the
horizon on all sides? Tremendous clouds of smoke, burning villages
everywhere, and added to them now the stillness of death, which was
even more horrible after the booming of artillery which had shaken
the earth up to this time. Where was Field-Marshal Rosenberg?
An officer galloped up at full speed. It was a messenger from Field-
Marshal Rosenberg, who informed the archduke that he had been
repulsed, that all was over, and that the day was irretrievably
"I have been ordered to march to Loibersdorf," said the archduke,
resolutely; "I must comply with my instructions."
And he continued his march toward Loibersdorf. Patrols were sent out
and approached Wagram. The fields were covered with the dead and
wounded, and the latter stated amid moans and lamentations that a
dreadful battle had been fought, and that the Austrians had been
The archduke listened to these reports with a pale face and
quivering lips. But he was still in hopes that he would receive a
message from the generalissimo; hence, he remained at Loibersdorf
and waited for news from his brother. Night came; profound stillness
reigned all around, broken only now and then by dull reports of
cannon and musketry fired at a distance, and there was no news yet
from the generalissimo!
One of the patrols now brought in a French officer who had got
separated from his men, and whom the Austrians had taken prisoner.
The archduke sent for him, and asked him for information regarding
the important events of the day.
The officer gave him the required information with sparkling eyes
and in a jubilant voice. A great battle had been fought during the
previous two days. The French army had left the Island of Lobau on
four bridges, which Napoleon had caused to be built in a single
night by two hundred carpenters, and had given battle to the
Archduke Charles at Wagram. A furious combat had raged on the 5th
and 6th of July. Both armies had fought with equal boldness,
bravery, and exasperation; but finally the Archduke Charles had been
compelled to evacuate the field of battle and retreat. The Emperor
Napoleon had remained in possession of the field; he had gained the
battle of Wagram.
Large drops of sweat stood on the archduke's forehead while he was
listening to this report; his eyes filled with tears of indignation
and anger; his lips quivered, and he lifted his eyes reproachfully
to heaven. Then he turned slowly to General Frimont, who was halting
by his side, and behind whom were to be seen the gloomy, mournful
faces of the other officers.
"The generalissimo has lost a battle," he said, with a sigh. "This
is a twofold calamity for us. You know that we could not come
sooner. We arrived even at an earlier hour than I had promised. You
will see that the whole blame for the loss of the battle will be
laid at our door, and we shall be charged with undue tardiness. This
pretended tardiness will be welcome to many a one. A scapegoat is
needed, and I shall have to be this scapegoat!" [Footnote: The
archduke's own words.--See Hormayr's work on "The Campaign of 1809,"
The Archduke John was not mistaken; he had predicted his fate. He
was really to be the scapegoat for the loss of the battle. In the
proclamation which the Archduke Charles issued to his army a few
days afterward at Znaym, and in which he informed it that he had
concluded an armistice with the Emperor Napoleon, he deplored that,
owing to the too late arrival of the Archduke John, the battle had
not been won, despite the admirable bravery which the troops had
displayed at Wagram, and that the generalissimo had been compelled
thereby to retreat.
The Archduke John did not defend himself. He lifted his tearful eyes
to heaven and sighed: "Another battle lost, and this battle decides
the fate of Austria! Now Prussia will not ally herself with us, for
we did not strike the second blow which the king demanded, and she
will look on quietly while Austria is being humiliated! O God, God,
protect Austria! Protect Germany! save us from utter ruin!"
THE ARMISTICE OF ZNAYM
The guests of Anthony Steeger, the innkeeper of Lienz, had been
greatly excited to-day; they had talked, debated, lamented, and
sworn a great deal. In accordance with the request of Andreas Hofer,
the most influential leaders of the Tyrolese had met there and drawn
up, as Hofer proposed, a petition to the Emperor Francis, who was
now in Hungary at one of the palaces belonging to the Prince of
Lichtenstein. The disastrous tidings of the battle of Wagram had
been followed a few days afterward by news fully as disheartening.
The Archduke Charles had concluded an armistice with the Emperor
Napoleon at Znaym, on the 12th of July, 1809. By this armistice
hostilities were to be suspended till the 20th of August; but in the
mean time the Austrians were to evacuate the Tyrol, Styria, and
Carinthia entirely, and restore to the Bavarians and French the
fortified cities which they had occupied.
These calamitous terms of the armistice had induced Andreas Hofer to
summon some of his friends to Lienz, and draw up with them a
petition to the emperor, in which they implored him with touching
humility to have mercy upon them in their distress, and not to
forsake his faithful Tyrol. They stated that they had been told that
the Austrian troops, in accordance with the stipulations of the
armistice, were to evacuate the Tyrol, but this did not confer upon
the French and Bavarians the right of occupying the Tyrol. They
besought the emperor to prevent this, and not to permit the enemy to
occupy the country.
Such were the contents of the petition which Andreas Hofer and the
other leaders of the Tyrolese had signed to-day at the inn of
Anthony Steeger, at Lienz, and which Jacob Sieberer was to convey as
the last cry of the despairing Tyrol to the headquarters of the
emperor at Totis, while Eisenstecken was to deliver a copy of the
petition to General Buol, commander-in-chief of the Austrian troops.
Night had now come; the friends and comrades had long since left
Anthony Steeger's house, and Andreas Hofer alone remained with him
to talk with his faithful friend about the disastrous change in
their affairs, and the gloomy prospects of the future.
"I cannot believe that all is as they say," said Andreas Hofer, with
a sigh. "The emperor promised us solemnly never to give up or
forsake again his faithful Tyrol, and it would be high-treason to
suppose that the emperor will not honestly redeem his pledges. No,
no; I tell you, Anthony, the emperor and our dear Archduke John
certainly do not intend to abandon us; only the Austrian generals
are opposed to the continuance of the war, and long to get away from
our mountains, because they are afraid of Bonaparte, and think he
would punish them if they should stay here any longer and refuse to
deliver the province to his tender mercies."
"I am likewise loth to believe that the Emperor Francis would
forsake us," said Anthony Steeger, nodding his head approvingly.
"For the emperor loves us, and will not allow us to fall into the
hands of the infidel Bonaparte, who has just committed another
outrage by arresting the Holy Father in Rome and dragging him away
from his capital."
"Well, the Holy Father excommunicated him for this outrage," cried
Andreas Hofer, with flashing eyes; "he called down the wrath of God
and man on the head of the Anti-christ, and rendered it incumbent on
every pious Christian to wage war against the criminal who laid his
ruthless hands even upon the holy Church, and trampled under foot
him whom the Almighty has anointed. Anthony Steeger, let me tell
you, I will not allow the French to return to our country, and never
will I permit the Austrians to evacuate the Tyrol."
"And how will you prevent them from so doing?" asked Anthony
Steeger, shrugging his shoulders.
"I said to-day how I and all of us are going to prevent it. We shall
not suffer the Austrians to depart; we shall keep them here by
prayers, stratagems, or force. I have given instructions to all the
commanders to do so; I have given them written orders which they are
to communicate to our other friends, and in which I command them not
to permit the departure of the Austrians. I believe I am commander-
in-chief as yet, and they will obey my bidding."
"If they can do it, Andy, they certainly will; but what if they
cannot? What if the Austrians cannot be kept here by prayers or
"In that case we must resort to force," cried Hofer impetuously. "We
must compel them to stay here; the whole Tyrol must rise as one man
and with its strong arms keep the Austrians in the country. Yes,
yes, Anthony, we must do it; it will be best for us all. It must
look as though we detain the Austrians by force, and this will be
most agreeable to the Emperor Francis; for what fault of his is it
that the Tyrolese prevent him from carrying out what he promised to
Bonaparte in the armistice? It is not his fault, then, if the
Austrians stay here, and if we prevent them from leaving our
mountains. We must detain them, we must. And I will write
immediately to old Red-beard, Father Haspinger, Joseph Speckbacher,
and Anthony Wallner. I will summon them to a conference with me, and
we will concert measures for a renewed rising of the Tyrol. Give me
pen and ink, Tony; I will write in the first place to old Red-beard,
and your Joe shall take the letter this very night to his convent."
Anthony Steeger hastened to bring him what he wanted, and while
Hofer scrawled the letter, his friend stood behind him, and followed
with attentive eyes every word which Andreas finished with
Both were so much absorbed in the letter that they did not perceive
that the door opened behind them, and that Baron von Hormayr, in a
dusty travelling-dress, entered the room. For a moment he stood
still at the door and cast a searching glance on the two men; he
then advanced quickly toward Andreas Hofer, and, laying his hand on
his shoulder, he said: "Well, Andy, what are you writing there?"
Andreas looked up, but the unexpected arrival of the baron did not
seem to excite his surprise. "I am writing to old Red-beard," he
said; "I am writing to him that he is to come to me immediately. And
after finishing the letter to old Red-beard, I will write the same
thing to Speckbacher and Anthony Wallner, Mr. Intendant of the
"Do not apply that title to me any longer, Andy," said Hormayr, with
a slight frown. "I am no longer intendant of the Tyrol, for you know
that we must leave the Tyrol and restore it to the French and
"I for one do not know it, Mr. Intendant of the Tyrol," cried
Andreas, with an angry glance. "I know only that the Archduke John
appointed you military intendant of the Tyrol, and that you took a
solemn oath to aid us in becoming once more, and remaining,
"I think, Andy, I have honestly redeemed my pledges," said Hormayr.
"I assisted you everywhere to the best of my power, was always in
your midst, encouraging, organizing, fighting, and mediating; and I
think you will admit that I had likewise my little share in the
deliverance of the Tyrol, and proved myself one of its good and
"Well, yes, it is true," murmured Hofer; "you did a great deal of
good, and, above all things, you gained over to our side the
Austrian generals, who would not have anything to do with us
peasants, and refused to make common cause with us; for you possess
a very eloquent tongue, and what can be accomplished by means of the
tongue you do accomplish. But now, sir, the tongue will no longer
suffice, and we must fight also with the sword."
"God forbid, Andy!" exclaimed Hormayr; "you know that the emperor
has concluded an armistice with Bonaparte, and while it lasts we are
not allowed to fight with the sword."
"The emperor has concluded an armistice? Well, then, let there be an
armistice. But you will not confine yourself to an armistice--you
intend to evacuate the Tyrol. That seems to me no fair armistice,
and therefore I shall summon old Red-beard, and my other faithful
friends, and concert with them measures to prevent you from
concluding such an unfair armistice, and forsaking us."
"And Andy is right in doing so!" exclaimed Anthony Steeger. "We must
not permit the Austrians to leave the province, and we are firmly
resolved that we will not."
"You are fools, both of you," said Hormayr, shrugging his shoulders.
"The Emperor Francis agreed positively that the Austrian troops
should evacuate the Tyrol during the armistice; hence, the troops
must leave, lest the emperor should break his word."
"But if they do, the emperor breaks the word he pledged to us,"
cried Anthony Steeger, vehemently.
"Anthony Steeger," said Hormayr, sternly, "I have come hither to
have an interview with Andreas Hofer, to whom I wish to communicate
something of great importance. Therefore, be so kind as to withdraw,
and leave me alone with him."
"I believe Andy does not want to keep any thing secret from me, and
I might, therefore, just as well stay here. Say, Andy, is it not
"It is. Speak, Mr. Intendant; Tony may hear it all."
"No, Andy, I shall not speak unless I am alone with you; and what I
have to say to you is highly important to the Tyrol. But no one but
yourself must hear it."
"If that is the case, go out and leave me alone with the intendant,"
said Hofer, shaking hands with his friend.
Anthony Steeger cast an angry glance on Hormayr, and left the room.
"I know very well why he wanted to get rid of me," he growled, as
soon as he was out in the hall. "He intends to persuade Andreas
Hofer to leave with the Austrians and abandon the Tyrol. He thinks
when he is alone with Hofer, he will yield sooner because he is a
weak and good-hearted man, who would like to comply with every one's
wishes. He thinks if I were present I should tell Andy the truth,
and not permit him to desert our cause, and set a bad example to the
others. Well, I will keep a sharp lookout, and if the intendant
really tries to take him away with him, I will endeavor to detain
When the door had closed after Anthony Steeger, Hormayr nodded
kindly to Andreas Hofer and shook hands with him.
"Now we are alone, Andy," he said, "and will speak confidentially a
word which no one is to hear save us two."
"But you should always bear in mind that God Almighty is present,
and listens to us," said Hofer, lifting his eyes devoutly to heaven.
"We shall speak nothing that can offend the good God!" exclaimed
Hormayr, laughing. "We shall speak of you, Andy, and the Tyrol. I
wish to pray you, Andy, in the name of the Archduke John, who sent
me to you, and who sent his kindest greetings with me, not to close
your ears against good and well-meant advice."
"What did the archduke say? What does he want of me?" asked Andreas,
"He wishes Andreas Hofer, like himself, to submit to the emperor's
orders quietly and patiently; he wishes Andreas Hofer to yield to
stern necessity, and no longer sow the seeds of hatred and discord,
but obey the will of his master with Christian humility and
resignation. He wishes Andreas Hofer to set a good example to all
the Tyrolese, and undertake nothing in opposition to the
stipulations of the armistice; and the Archduke John finally wishes
his beloved Andreas Hofer to secure his life and liberty by leaving
the Tyrol with the Austrian troops, and remaining for some time
under the protection of the imperial army."
"Never, never will I do that!" cried Andreas, vehemently; "never
will I leave my beloved country! I swore to the priest, and in my
own heart, that, while I lived, I would be faithful to my God, my
emperor, and my country, and that I would spill the last drop of
blood for our liberty, our constitution, and our emperor; and never
will I break my oath, never will I desert my flag like a faithless
"But, Andy, you are not to desert it, but only convey it to a place
of safety for a short time. Listen to me, Andy, and let me tell you
all about it. You think all may be changed yet, and you may prevent
the Austrians from leaving your mountains. But unfortunately it is
already too late. Already the Austrian general-in-chief, Baron von
Buol, has concentrated his scattered forces, and marched them to-
night from Brixen to Schabs. There you can do nothing against him;
his artillery and ammunition are safe there, and you cannot hinder
him from marching with his troops this very day into Carinthia."
"But we can prevent General Schmidt from surrendering the fortress
of Sachsenburg to General Rusca," cried Andreas, triumphantly.
"Do you think Commander Joseph Turk, in Upper Carinthia, surprised
and occupied the fortress of Sachsenburg immediately, because you
wrote to him to do so previous to Rusca's arrival? You look at me so
wonderingly, you big child? See, here is your letter to Joseph Turk!
Our men intercepted it; hence, Joseph Turk did not occupy the
fortress, and General Rusca has arrived there already."
"It is my letter, indeed," sighed Andreas Hofer, staring at the
paper which Hormayr had handed to him. "They did not allow it to
reach Joseph Turk; they no longer respect what I say and do."
"They cannot, Andy, for your and their superior, the emperor, has
ordered the soldiers to evacuate the Tyrol. It was surely most
repugnant to the emperor to do so, and I know that the Archduke John
shed tears of grief and rage on being obliged to instruct General
Buol to evacuate the Tyrol. But he submitted to stern necessity, and
you will do so too, Andy."
"What am I to do, then? What do you want of me?" asked Andreas, with
tears in his eyes.
"The Archduke John wants you to preserve yourself for better times,
Andy. He implores you to repair to a place of safety, not only for
the sake of your wife and children, but also for that of your
fatherland. Believe me, Andreas, a gloomy time is dawning upon the
Tyrol. The enemy is approaching on all sides, and the French and
Bavarians have already crossed the frontiers of the Tyrol in order
to occupy it again."
"And all our blood has been shed in vain!" cried Hofer, bursting
into tears. "All the faithful Tyrolese who have fallen in battle
gave up their lives for nothing. We fought bravely; the good God
helped us in battle; but men deserted us, and even the emperor, for
whom we fought, will not redeem the pledges he gave us, nor help us
in our sore distress."
"The emperor will never abandon his faithful Tyrolese," said
Hormayr; "only you must be patient. He cannot do any thing now; he
can not endanger his whole empire to serve the small province of the
Tyrol. For the time being, further resistance is out of the
question, but the emperor profits by the armistice to concentrate a
new army; and when hostilities are resumed, he will first think of
the Tyrol, and deliver it from the enemy."
"But until then the Tyrol itself ought to maintain its liberty!"
exclaimed Andreas Hofer, with flashing eyes. "Listen to what I wish
to say to you, Mr. Intendant, and what God Himself prompts me to
tell you. I see full well that the emperor himself is unable to
speak for the Tyrol, and cannot order his troops to remain in the
country; I see full well that the emperor, sorely pressed as he is
by Bonaparte, cannot do any thing for us. But until he is ready
again, someone ought to be courageous enough to take his place and,
as the emperor's lieutenant, defend the Tyrol against the enemy.
You, Mr. Intendant, are the man to do it. You have often assured us
that you were a brave and patriotic son of the Tyrol; prove now that
you told us the truth. Instead of leaving the Tyrol at this hour of
its greatest peril, and surrendering it to the enemy, place yourself
at its head, protect it against the enemy, and preserve it to the
emperor. [Footnote: "Gallery of Heroes: Andreas Hofer," p. 103.]
Become Duke of Tyrol, take charge of the government and defence of
the country. As provisional duke, call upon the faithful people to
take up arms, and they will rise as one man and defend its frontiers
against every enemy. Rule over the Tyrol in the emperor's place,
until he himself is able again to do so and fold us again to his
"What you say is nonsense, Andy," exclaimed Hormayr, shrugging his
shoulders. "You want me to become provisional Duke of Tyrol? Why,
the whole world would laugh at me, and the emperor would punish me
as a rebel!"
"Well, then," cried Andreas Hofer, in a powerful voice, "if you will
not do it, I will! I shall take charge of the government and call
myself 'Andreas Hofer, Sandwirth of Passeyr and Duke of Tyrol,' as
long as it pleases God!" [Footnote: Andreas Hofer's own words.--See
Hormayr's "Andreas Hofer," vol. ii., p. 361.]
"No, you will not, Andy," said Hormayr, gravely; "you will be
sensible, on the contrary, and not, from worldly pride, endanger
your country, your friends, and yourself. Bear in mind, Andy, that
you would be responsible for the blood that would be shed, if you
should incite the people to rebellion, and that you would be the
murderer of all those who should fall in the struggle provoked by
you so recklessly and in open opposition to the orders of your
emperor. Bow your head, Andy, and submit as we all do. Intrust your
and our cause to God; as it is good and just, He will not forsake
it, but render it victorious when it is time."
"I believe you," sighed Andreas; "but how can I keep quiet when, as
you have often told me, I am God's instrument and destined by Him to
deliver the dear Tyrol from the enemy? And what would my brave
lieutenants say if their commander-in-chief, Andreas Hofer, were to
leave the country in its sore distress, after he had taken an oath
to defend it while he lived? Would they not point their fingers at
me, and call me a traitor, a Judas Iscariot who sold his country for
the sake of his own safety?"
"You are mistaken, Andy. You think your friends, the captains and
other commanders, with whom you fought for the deliverance of the
Tyrol, would despise you if you followed the Austrians now and saved
your life? Now listen to me, my friend. Your best friends, the brave
Tyrolese captains, in whom you repose the greatest confidence, will
leave the Tyrol this very day of their own accord and accompany our
Austrian troops to Carinthia."
"That is false, that is impossible!" cried Andreas, vehemently.
"Speckbacher will never do so."
"Yes, he will, Andy. I saw him this morning. Here resisted and
fought as long as he could; but since the armistice compels him to
lay down the sword, and since, moreover, the French and Bavarians
are entering the country once more, he feels that it is better for
him to save his life than be caught and hung here by the vindictive
enemy. Hence, Speckbacher accepted the offer of the Austrian
officers, and will accompany them."
"Joseph Speckbacher will leave the Tyrol?" murmured Andreas Hofer,
"And he is not the only one, Andreas: Aschbacher, Puechler,
Sieberer, and many other brave captains of the Tyrolese, will
likewise leave with the Austrians. All have asked me to implore you
to follow their example, and flee from the perils menacing you all.
Oh, believe them, believe me, Andreas! If you stay here, the
Bavarians will not rest until they have taken you prisoner--until
their hated enemy, the formidable Barbone, has fallen into their
hands. Dear Andy, think of your wife at home, the faithful Anna
Gertrude, who prays for you morning and evening, and beseeches the
Almighty to spare the life of her dear husband; think of your dear
children, whose only protector and supporter you are; do not make
your dear wife a widow, nor your sweet children orphans! Andreas
Hofer, you cannot now be useful to the fatherland; save yourself,
then, for your wife and children!"
"My good wife, my dear children!" sighed Andreas, profoundly moved;
"it is true, they love me dearly, and would be very lonely on earth
if their father should be taken from them!"
"Preserve their father to them, then, and preserve yourself also to
the fatherland! Follow the example of your brave friends
Speckbacher, Aschbacher, Sieberer, and all the others; accompany us,
leave the Tyrol for a while, and when the time has come, return with
them and fight once more for the deliverance of the country."
"Speckbacher will leave, and so will all the others," murmured
Andreas to himself. "The Tyrol will fall again into the enemy's
hands, and all has been in vain!"
He hung his head and heaved a deep sigh.
"Come, Andreas, be sensible; think of yourself and your family,"
said Hormayr, beseechingly. "I have come hither for the sole purpose
of taking you with me; let me not have travelled in vain from Brixen
to Lienz. Come, Andreas, come! My carriage is in readiness at the
door; let us ride together to Matrey. Speckbacher, the other
friends, and the Austrians are waiting for us there; we shall cross
the Tyrolese frontier with them this very day, and you and all your
friends will be safe. Therefore, do not hesitate any longer, but
"I cannot make up my mind so suddenly," said Hofer, disengaging
himself gently from the hand of Hormayr, who was trying to draw him
up from his chair. "It is a grave, momentous step which you ask me
to take, and before I can do so I must consult God and pray to him
fervently. Therefore, pray leave me alone a little while, that I may
speak to the good God and consult him and my conscience."
"Very well, Andy, I give you a quarter of an hour to make up your
mind," exclaimed Hormayr, approaching the door.
"A quarter of an hour is not enough," said Andreas, shaking his
head. "It is late at night, and night is the time for repose and
prayer. Therefore, stay here, Mr. Intendant; sleep a few hours, and
to-morrow morning, at sunrise, come to my chamber and awaken me. I
will tell you then what God in heaven has told me to do."
"You pledge me your word, Andreas, that you will not leave during
the present night?"
"I do. I shall stay here. And now good-night. My heart is profoundly
moved, and I long for repose. This is my chamber; I begged Anthony
Steeger to let me have it; he has fine rooms for aristocratic guests
up-stairs, and he will give you one of them. Now good-night, sir!"
He bowed kindly to the baron, shook hands with him, and conducted
him to the door.
HOFER AND SPECBBACHER.
Scarcely had the sun risen next morning when Baron von Hormayr arose
and quickly prepared every thing for their departure. After seeing
that his carriage was at the street door, he descended the staircase
in order to go to Andreas Hofer.
Anthony Steeger followed him with a gloomy face, and watched his
every movement attentively. "If he tries to take Andy with him," he
said to himself, "I will strangle him. It is true, he has told me
already that Hofer will accompany him, but I do not believe it, and
he shall not coax him away. This time I shall be present, and see
what he is after."
They stood now in front of Hofer's door, and Hormayr put his hand on
the knob to open it, but it was locked on the inside.
"Andreas Hofer, Andreas Hofer!" he shouted out almost imperatively.
"The time is up; come to me, Andreas Hofer!"
The door opened, and the tall, powerful form of the Sandwirth
appeared in it.
"Here I am," he said, smiling calmly, "and you see I am ready to set
"You will accompany me then, Andy?" asked Hormayr, joyfully.
"You will leave us?" cried Anthony Steeger, indignantly.
"I was waiting for you, sir," said Andreas, quietly; "and if you had
not come of your own accord, Tony, I should have called you, for you
shall hear what I have got to say to the intendant. Come in, then,
both of you, and let us speak a last word with each other. Anthony
Steeger, Baron von Hormayr, our countryman, came hither to persuade
me to accompany him and leave the Tyrol. Our friends will do the
same thing, for the Bavarians and French are already entering the
country. Speckbacher, Sieberer, and others, will save their lives
for this reason, and go with the Austrians; and the intendant thinks
I ought to do the same, for the sake of my wife and children.
However, I wished first to consult the good God. I did so all night
long. I prayed and reflected a great deal, and it seemed to me as
though the Lord spoke to me and enlightened my soul to find the true
path. Listen then, Mr. Intendant of the Tyrol, and you, too, friend
Anthony Steeger, to what I have resolved to do with God's
assistance. I took an oath to serve the fatherland as long as I
lived; as an honest man, I must keep my word, and stay in the
Anthony Steeger uttered a loud cry of joy, but Hormayr's face grew
very sombre. "You do not see, then, that you are rushing upon your
own destruction?" he asked. "You are intent on rendering your wife
and children unhappy? You are bent on incurring the most imminent
"I will incur it courageously," said Hofer, kindly. "I know very
well that what I am about to do is not prudent, but it is right.
When the tempter took Jesus up into an exceeding high mountain,
showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and said,
`All these things will I give Thee, if thou wilt fall down and
worship me,' the Saviour did not accept the offer, but remained true
to Himself, and sealed His teachings with his death. I will follow
the Saviour's example, and never, while I live, prove recreant to
the love which I vowed to the dear Tyrol; never will I leave it, but
I will stand by it and serve it to the last. Depart, then, Baron von
Hormayr; I cannot accompany you, for the country keeps me here, and
never will I abandon it whatever may happen!" [Footnote: "Gallery of
Heroes: Andreas Hofer," vol. iii., p. 104.] "Is that your last word,
Andreas?" asked Hormayr, gloomily.
"It is," said Hofer, gently. "But pray, sir, do not be angry with me
for it. Were I more prudent and sagacious, I should certainly follow
your advice; but I am only a plain peasant, and cannot but obey the
promptings of my heart. Let the Austrians leave the Tyrol. Andreas
Hofer cannot accompany them, nor can he look on quietly while the
enemy is re-entering the country. Many brave men, many excellent
sharpshooters will remain in the Tyrol, and I shall call upon them
to rally round me. We have twice delivered the country from the
enemy without any outside assistance, and we shall, perhaps, succeed
a third time."
"But if you should fail," cried Hormayr, "if the seduced Tyrolese
should curse you, if the tears and lamentations of your family
should accuse you, if you ruin yourself and your country, then
remember this hour, and the warning I gave you in order to save
"I will, Mr. Intendant," said Andreas, calmly. "Every one must do
his duty after his own fashion. You think you are doing yours by
leaving the Tyrol; I think I do mine by staying in the country. God
will decide which did right. And now, God bless you, sir! Greet
Speckbacher and all the others; and when you see the Archduke John,
tell him that my heart has not lost faith in him, and that I know
full well he would never have given up the poor Tyrol if he could
have helped it. And now, sir, do not look at me so indignantly;
shake hands with me, and let us part in peace."
He held out his hand, but Hormayr, overcome by his emotion, spread
out his arms and threw them around Hofer's neck with an air of
"Farewell, Andy, farewell," he said, in a low voice. "I cannot
approve of what you are doing, but I must love and admire you for
all that. Farewell, farewell!"
He disengaged himself quickly, hastened out of the room, and walked
hurriedly through the hall. A few minutes afterward his carriage
rolled away with thundering noise.
"He is gone!" cried Anthony Steeger, joyously; "the tempter has left
us, and you have remained firm, Andy; you did not allow yourself to
be seduced by his blandishments. The Tyrol will reward you and love
you for it for evermore!"
"If you speak the truth, it is well; if you do not, it is well too,"
said Andreas, calmly. "I remain because it is my duty, and because I
feel that the Tyrol needs me. Anthony, the enemy is re-entering the
country; we must drive him out a third time; that is my opinion."
"It is mine, too," replied Anthony Steeger, exultingly. "After
succeeding twice in so doing, we shall expel him a third time also."
"It is true, it is a bad and mournful thing that Speckbacher is
going to desert us," said Andreas, musingly; "but Anthony Wallner
and the Capuchin will surely stand by us, and Peter Mayer will not
leave us either. Besides, you are here, and so am I, and we five men
will raise our voices and call upon the people to rise and expel the
enemy once more. I believe the brave men will listen to our voices,
and not one of them will stay at home; all will come to us, bring
their rifles with them, and fight the French and Bavarians."
"I think so too, Andy. When the brave Tyrolese bear your voice, they
will come to a man, and we will achieve another Innspruck triumph,
and gain another victory on Mount Isel."
"God grant it in His mercy;" exclaimed Andreas, touching the
crucifix on his breast. "But I must set out now, my friend. So long
as we are unable to cope with the enemy, we must avoid meeting him,
conceal our forces, and prepare actively for the struggle. Hence, I
shall not tell you where I am going, and no one shall learn of my
whereabouts until the time has come for me to appear once more at
the head of a strong and brave army. Do your duty here, Tony, and
enlist courageous sharpshooters for the fatherland. Inform all the
patriots secretly of my plan, and tell them that we must not heed
the armistice concluded by Austria, but must fight on for our
liberty and our emperor. Have my horse brought to the door, my
friend; the sun is already over the mountains, and it is time for me
Anthony Steeger hastened away; he saddled his friend's horse with
his own hands and brought him to the door. Andreas vaulted with the
agility of a youth into the saddle, and shook hands with his friend.
"Farewell, Anthony Steeger," he said; "you shall hear from me soon."
He then spurred his horse and galloped along the high-way leading
through the Puster valley. His horse knew the way very well; it was
unnecessary for Andreas Hofer to guide him; he could let him trot
along quietly, and absorb himself in his plans and thoughts. He was
animated only by one idea, that his beloved country was in danger,
and that it needed him.
"I do not know if I shall be able to save it," he murmured to
himself, "but I do know that I must not run away. I shall hide as
long as it is necessary, and prepare myself by prayer and devotion.
Forward, my horse, forward!"
And he rode on through the valley and across the heights. Profound
silence reigned everywhere. It was yet early in the morning, the
road was quite deserted, and Andreas could brood uninterruptedly
over his thoughts and conceive his plans. All at once his musings
were interrupted by the roll of a wagon approaching on the road. It
was a large wagon with racks, drawn by four horses, and many men sat
in it. Andreas Hofer was as yet unable to see who they were, but the
red and white colours of their gold-and-silver-embroidered coats
showed him that they were soldiers. When the wagon came closer up to
him, he recognized them; they were Austrian officers and soldiers.
But who was he that occupied one of the front seats among them? Who
was that tall, slender man in the dress of the Tyrolese, his head
covered with a pointed green hat? The wagon came nearer and nearer.
Andreas Hofer halted his horse and looked steadfastly at the
Tyrolese seated in the midst of the Austrian officers. "Good
heavens," he murmured, giving a start, "I believe it is Joseph
Speckbacher! Yes, yes, it is."
Now the wagon was close by his side, and it was really he, it was
Joseph Speckbacher; and it was plainly to be seen that he had
likewise recognized Andreas Hofer, for he uttered a cry, and a deep
blush suffused his cheeks. But the Austrian officers had also
recognized the brave Sandwirth, the universally beloved Barbone, and
they shouted to the coachman to drive quicker and whip his horses
into a full gallop. The coachman did so, and the carriage sped away
at a furious rate. Andreas Hofer halted at the roadside; his tearful
eyes gazed upon his friend, and when Speckbacher was whirled past
him, Andreas exclaimed in a loud, mournful voice, "Speckbacher, are
you too going to desert the country? They are driving you to your
own disgrace, Joe!" [Footnote: Andreas Hofer's own words.--See
Mayr's "Joseph Speckbacher," p. 143.]
The wagon passed him noisily, and Joseph Speckbacher's horse, which
was tied behind, galloped rapidly after it. Andreas Hofer looked
after his friend until a cloud of dust enveloped the disappearing
wagon, and he heard only the sound of the wheels at a distance. He
then heaved a deep sigh, wiped a tear from his eye, and rode on. But
his heart was heavy and melancholy, and his thoughts returned again
and again during his ride on the lonely road to Joseph Speckbacher,
who had turned his back on the Tyrol and was about to leave it in
the hour of its sorest distress. Suddenly he thought he heard his
own name uttered behind; the call was repeated louder and more
Andreas Hofer halted his horse and turned. A cloud of dust came up
the road like a whirlwind; now it opened, and the head and neck of a
horse and the slender rider mounted on him came in view. The cloud
veils his face as yet, but he comes nearer and nearer; his horse is
now by Andreas Hofer's side, the rider stretches out his arms toward
him and exclaims exultingly: "Andy, here I am! I heard what you
said, and jumped from the wagon, untied my horse, vaulted into the
saddle, and sped after you, my Andy. I had to overtake you and tell
you that I do not want to be disgraced; that I will not leave the
Tyrol unless you do too."
"I never will, Joe, unless I should die," said Andreas Hofer,
solemnly. "But God be praised that I have got you back, for a piece
of my heart would have left the country with you. But you are back,
and I am so glad of it! And I must give you a kiss in the name of
God, the country, and the Emperor Francis. Welcome home, good and
faithful son of the fatherland!"
He encircled Speckbacher's neck with his arms and imprinted a kiss
on his forehead. They remained locked in a long embrace, keeping
their horses side by side, and gazing at each other with proud,
"And now tell me, Andy, what are you going to do?" asked
Speckbacher, after a long pause. "I hope you will not look on
quietly and peaceably while the Bavarians and French are re-entering
the country? I could not bear it, and this was the very reason why I
did not want to stay in the country; for the Austrian officers told
me, if I wished to remain in the Tyrol, I should have to keep very
quiet and allow the enemy to take possession of the province, in
accordance with the stipulations of the armistice. And you see,
Andy, my heart revolted at that; therefore I wished to get away and
remain abroad until the armistice had expired, when we would be once
more allowed to fight bravely for our country and our emperor."
"No one shall prevent us from doing so now," said Andreas, calmly.
"What do we care for the armistice? The emperor concluded it; we did
not, and I believe the emperor will not blame us for disregarding it
and continuing the war as we commenced it."
"You are right, we will do so," exclaimed Speckbacher, joyfully.
"And now I will communicate to you some important news which the
Austrian officers received only this morning. Anthony Wallner, of
Windisch-Matrey is also of your opinion; he refuses likewise to
acknowledge the armistice and make peace with the enemy. When the
Bavarians, four days ago, intended to cross the frontier near
Windisch-Matrey, Anthony Wallner and John Panzl went to meet them
with four hundred sharpshooters whom they had gathered in great
haste. They took position at the bridge of Taxenbach and tried to
prevent the Bavarians from crossing it. The Bavarians were seven
thousand strong, and Wallner had only four hundred men; but our
friends, nevertheless, defended the bridge for seven hours, killed
and wounded over three hundred Bavarians, and retreated into the
mountains only because the odds were too great." [Footnote:
Peternader, "Die Tyroler Landesvertheidigung im Jahre 1809," vol.
ii., p. 84.]
"I know Anthony Wallner, and was convinced that he would not submit
quietly," said Andreas, joyfully. "And we will follow his example,
Joseph. The good God has imposed on us the task of defending the
Tyrol, and we will fulfil it faithfully."
"Yes, we will, and we will begin this very hour. We must find out,
above all things, if all of our countrymen are of our opinion, and
if they are courageous enough to continue the struggle, even after
the Austrians have left us."
"What good did the Austrians do us while they were here?" asked
Andreas, indignantly. "Let me tell you, Joe, on the whole I am glad
that the Austrians are evacuating the province. It is better for us
to fight alone, and trust only our own strength. Regular troops and
insurgents never fight well together in the end, for there are
always jealousies between them; they mutually charge each other with
the blunders committed during the campaign, and grudge each other
the glory obtained in the battles. Hence, it is better for us to be
alone and have no other allies than the good God, the Holy Virgin,
and her blessed Son." [Footnote: Andrew Hofer's own words.--See
Mayr's "Joseph Speckbacher," p.145. 22]
"You are right, always right, Andy," said Speckbacher. "We will go
courageously to work, then; and you shall see, my Andy, that
Speckbacher is still what he always was, and that he will henceforth
never think of leaving the country, but will stand faithfully by it
and fight until the enemy has been expelled once more, and we are
free again. I will ride now through the whole Puster valley, and
then from Brunecken through the Dux valley to my home, the Rinn; and
I will stir up the people everywhere, and call upon the men to
follow me and fight once more for liberty and the fatherland."
"Do so, Joe, and I will follow your example. I will return to the
Passeyr valley; you shall all hear from me before long, and then my
voice shall resound throughout the Tyrol. God will make it strong
enough to penetrate to every ear, and fill every heart with
enthusiastic devotion to the country and the emperor. Farewell,
then, Joseph! The Tyrol and I have recovered you, and my heart
thanks God fervently for it. Farewell, you shall hear from me before
He nodded once more kindly to Joseph Speckbacher and galloped down
the valley, while Speckbacher trotted up the mountain-path.
Andreas Hofer rode all day long through the country. He saw the
people everywhere in commotion and uproar; they greeted him with
jubilant cheers, and the men swore everywhere that they would not
allow the enemy to re-enter the country without resistance; that
they did not believe in the pacific assurances of the proclamations
with which the Bavarians had flooded the country; that they were
satisfied, on the contrary, that the enemy would revenge himself as
cruelly as he had done after his return in May; and that they were,
therefore, firmly resolved to fight and expel the enemy once more.
"Get your rifles and ammunition, then, and prepare for the
struggle," said Andreas Hofer everywhere to the men who were so full
of ardor. "You shall hear from me soon, and learn what God wants us
Andreas Hofer did not rest even at night. The great task which was
imposed upon him urged him on incessantly. He therefore profited by
the clear moonlight to ride across the Janfen, and at daybreak his
horse neighed joyously and stopped at the bank of the foaming
Passeyr, at no great distance from the white house of the Sandwirth,
the home which contained his greatest treasures on earth, his wife
But Andreas Hofer did not intend to return to them now; he did not
want to have his heart softened by the sight of his wife, who would
certainly weep and lament on learning of his resolve to renew the
war against the Bavarians and French. And for the same reason he
wished to avoid meeting his children, whose dear faces might remind
him that he was about to endanger the life of their father, and that
their bright eyes might soon fill with tears of bitter grief. He
would speak only to God, and solitude was to be his sole adviser.
Andreas Hofer greeted his house and its beloved inmates with a long,
tearful look; he then dried his eyes and alighted. The horse neighed
joyously and sped merrily down the hill toward his stable. But
Andreas Hofer took a by-path and ascended the mountain through the
forest and shrubbery to the Kellerlahn, a cave known only to him and
some of his intimate friends, where his faithful servant had
prepared him a couch, and kept always in readiness for him, in a
secret cupboard fixed in the rock, wine and food, some prayer-books,
and writing materials.
In this cave Andreas Hofer intended to pass a few days in prayer and
THE CAPUCHIN'S OATH.
A great festival was to be celebrated at Brixen today. It was the
2nd of August, the day of St. Cassian, and not only were the bones
of this saint, which reposed in the cathedral adorned with two
splendid towers to be exhibited as they were every year to the
devout pilgrims, but the pious bishop had resolved that these sacred
relics should be carried in solemn procession through the whole
city, that all might have an opportunity to see the saint's remains
and implore the assistance of God in the sore distress which bad
befallen the Tyrol again. Therefore, since early this morning the
peasantry had been flocking from all sides toward the gates of
Brixen. Women and children, young and old men, came from all parts
of the country to take part in the solemn procession and the devout
prayers for the welfare of the country.
Among those who were wandering along the road to Brixen, was a monk
of strikingly bold and martial appearance. His tall, broad-
shouldered form was remarkable for its military bearing; his long,
well-kept red whiskers and mustache did not correspond to the
tonsure on his head, which was covered with thin reddish ringlets;
and in striking contrast with it were likewise the broad red scar on
his healthy sunburnt countenance, and the bright, defiant glance of
his eyes, which indicated boldness and intrepidity rather than piety
and humility. He had tucked up his brown robe, and thus exhibited
his stout legs, which seemed to mock the soft sandals encasing his
broad, powerful feet. In his hand he held a long brown staff,
terminating at its upper end in a carved image of St. Francis; and
the Capuchin did not carry this staff in order to lean upon it, but
he brandished it in the air like a sword, or held it up triumphantly
as though it were a victorious banner.
But however strange and unusual the Capuchin's appearance might be,
no one laughed at him, but he was greeted everywhere with
demonstrations of love and reverence; and when he passed some slow
wanderers with his rapid step, they looked after him with joyful
surprise, and said to each other, "Look at old Red-beard, look at
brave Father Haspinger! He has fought often enough for the
fatherland. Now he is going to pray for the Tyrol."
"Pray, and fight again, if need be," said the friar, turning to the
"You think, then, reverend father, that there will be war again?"
asked many voices; and dense groups surrounded the friar, and asked
him anxiously if he advised them to allow the enemy to re-enter the
country; if it would not be better to drive him back forcibly, or if
be thought it would be preferable for them to keep quiet and submit
to stern necessity?
"I think there is a time for every thing--for keeping quiet as well
as for fighting, for praying as well as for politics," said Father
Haspinger, shrugging his shoulders. "If you wish to pray and confess
your sins, come to me. I am ready to teach you how to pray, and
exhort you with true earnestness. But if you want to fight and expel
the enemy from the country, why do you not apply to your commanders,
and consult, above all, the brave and pious Andreas Hofer?"
"We cannot find him anywhere," shouted several voices. "He is not at
home, and even his wife does not know where he has concealed
"Do you, impious wretches, think that the most pious man in the
whole Tyrol, Andreas Hofer, has concealed himself because he is
afraid of the Bavarians who are re-entering the country?" asked the
friar, in a thundering voice.
"No, your reverence, we do not. We know well that Andreas Hofer will
not act like Ashbacher, Sieberer, Teimer, Eisenstecken, and
Speckbacher, and abandon us in our sore distress."
"He who does not extricate himself from his sore distress will not
be saved by others," cried the friar, indignantly.
"Do you not know the eleventh commandment you white-livered cowards,
who think you are lost when there is no leader to put himself at
your head? Do you not know the eleventh commandment, saying that he
who trusts in God and fights well will overpower his enemies? But
you will never overpower your enemies; you do not trust in God, and
hence you can not fight well."
"But we will fight well, your reverence," replied the men, with
bold, defiant glances; "only our leaders do not stand by us. Every
one cannot fight alone and at random, but there must be some one at
the lead to lead the whole movement. Since Andreas Hofer cannot be
found, pray put yourself at our head, your reverence, and become our
"That request is not so stupid," said the Capuchin, smiling, and
stroking his red beard. "You know very well that old Red-beard does
not stay at home when an effort is to be made to save the
fatherland, and perhaps I may soon be able to accept your offer and
call upon you to defend the Tyrol."
"Do so, do call upon us," shouted the men enthusiastically. "We will
not permit the French and Bavarians to murder our people and burn
our houses as they did last May; we will fight rather until we have
driven them from the country or perished to a man!"
"These are brave and pious sentiments," said Father Haspinger, his
eyes flashing for joy; "and we will speak further about them. Come
up to the church of Latzfons to-morrow, and hear me preach; and
after the sermon we will confer as to the state of the country. But
now keep quiet, for you see we are at the gate of Brixen; turn your
souls, therefore, to God, and pray St. Cassian to have mercy upon
you, and intercede for you with God and the Redeemer."
And Father Haspinger's face became suddenly very grave and devout;
he lifted the rosary hanging at his belt, and, while entering the
city by the gate, he commenced praying a Pater-noster in an
The city meanwhile was already in great commotion. The bells had
begun to ring their solemn peals, and all devout worshippers,
consisting on this occasion of the whole population of the city,
were flocking to the cathedral. All at once the doors of the
cathedral were thrown open, and under a gold-embroidered baldachin
borne by four priests appeared the pious bishop, carrying in his
uplifted right hand the casket containing the bones of Saint
Cassian. Behind the bishop came the priests bearing wax-lights, and
singing soul-stirring hymns. Next followed the long line of acolytes
with smoking censers; and pious worshippers, carrying torches, and
repeating the hymns intoned by the priests, closed the pro cession.
This procession gained strength at every step as it advanced, and
soon it had been joined by the whole population of the city and the
hundreds of pious pilgrims who had flocked to Brixen to take part in
the holy festival.
Haspinger, the Capuchin friar, was likewise in the procession; he
walked in the midst of the brave peasants with whom he had
conversed, singing with head erect and in a tone of solemn
earnestness the hymns with which the holy relics were being invoked.
Only it seemed to the peasants who heard his powerful voice as
though he somewhat changed the passage imploring Saint Cassian to
grant the Tyrolese peace, protection, and tranquillity, and prayed
for the very reverse. The passage was as follows: "Have mercy upon
our weakness, and grant us peace and tranquillity." But Father
Haspinger, brandishing his staff with the image of Saint Francis,
sang in a tone of fervent piety: "Have mercy upon our valor, and
grant us war!" To those who looked at him wonderingly on account of
this change of the text, he nodded with a shrewd twinkle of his
eyes, and murmured: "Come tomorrow to the church of Latzfons. We
will hold a council of war there!"
The procession had not yet finished one-half of its route, and had
just reached the market-place when a horseman gal loped up the
street leading from the gate to the market-place. It was probably a
belated worshipper, who intended to take part in the procession. He
alighted hurriedly from his horse, and tied it to the brass knob of
a street-door, and then walked close up to the procession. However,
he did not join it, but stood still and contemplated every passer-by
with prying eyes. Now he seemed to have found him whom he sought,
for a smile illuminated his sunburnt face, and he advanced directly
toward Father Haspinger, who was singing again: "Have mercy upon our
valor, and grant us war!" But on perceiving the young lad who was
approaching him, he paused, and a bright gleam of joy overspread his
"It is Andreas Hofer's servant, Anthony Wild," murmured Father
Haspinger, joyfully, holding out his hand to the lad. "Say, Tony, do
you come to bring me a message from brother Andreas?"
"I do, reverend sir. The Sandwirth sends me to you, and as I did not
meet you at your convent of Seeben near Klausen, I followed you to
Brixen; for my master instructed me to deliver my message as quickly
as possible into your hands and return with your answer."
"What message do you bring me, Tony?"
"This letter, reverend sir."
The friar took it and put it quickly into his belt. "Where is
brother Andreas?" he asked.
"In the cave which is known only to him, to you, and to myself,"
whispered Anthony Wild, into the friar's ear. "He awaits your reply
there, reverend sir."
"And you shall have it this very day, Tony. Now, however, we will
not forget our divine service, but worship God with sincere piety.
Take the place behind me in the procession; and when we return to
the cathedral, follow me where-ever I may go."
And the friar commenced singing again; his hand, however, no longer
held the rosary, but he put it firmly on the letter which was
concealed in his belt, and whose contents engrossed his thoughts:
At length the procession had returned to the portals of the
cathedral. Father Haspinger signed to the Sandwirth's servant, who
was walking behind him, and instead of accompanying the other
worshippers into the church, he walked along the procession until he
reached a tall, slender young man, with whom he had already
exchanged many a glance. "Martin Schenk," said the friar to him,
"will you go home now?"
"I will, and I request you, reverend sir, to accompany me," said the
young man, hastily. "I believe you will find a number of friends at
my house. Peter Kemnater, the innkeeper of Schabs, and Peter Mayer,
the innkeeper of Mahr, will be there. I invited them, and had I
known that you would be here, I should have invited you too."
"You see that I come without being invited, for I think the
fatherland has invited us all; and I believe we will not partake of
an epicurean breakfast at your tavern to-day, but confer as to the
terrible calamities of our country. We are the cooks that will
prepare a very spicy and unhealthy breakfast for the French and
Bavarians, and I believe I am the bearer of some salt and pepper
from Andreas Hofer for this purpose. See, Martin Schenck, in my belt
here, by the side of the rosary, is a letter from our dear brother
"And what does he write to you? I hope he does not want us to keep
quiet and permit the enemy to re-enter the country, as all prudent
and cautious people advise us to do?"
"Hush, hush, Martin! do not insult our commander-in-chief by such a
supposition. I have not read the letter yet, but I believe I know
its contents, and could tell you beforehand every word that the good
and faithful Andreas has written to us. Ah, here is your tavern, and
let me ask a favor of you now. The lad who is following us is
Andreas Hofer's faithful servant, Anthony Wild, who brought me the
letter from his master, and who must wait for my answer. Give him a
place where he may rest, and a good breakfast, for he must set out
for home this very day."
"Come in, Anthony Wild; you are welcome," said the young innkeeper,
shaking hands with Hofer's servant.
"Thank you, but I must first fetch my horse which I tied to a pole
somewhere down the street. I rode very fast, and must first attend
to the Horse, afterward I will request you to let me have some
And Hofer's servant hastened down the street. The innkeeper and the
friar entered the house and stepped into the large bar-room. Two men
came to meet them there.
One of them, a man about forty-five years old, dressed in the simple
costume of the Tyrolese, and of a tall, powerful form, was Peter
Mayer, known throughout the Tyrol as one of the most ardent and
faithful patriots, and a man of extraordinary intrepidity, firmness,
The other, a young man of scarcely twenty-two, slender yet well
built, and far-famed for his fine appearance, boldness, and wealth,
was Peter Kemnater, the most faithful and devoted friend of the
fine-looking and patriotic young innkeeper, Martin Schenk.
The two men shook hands with the new-comers and bowed to them, but
their faces were gloomy, and not the faintest gleam of a smile
"Have you come hither, Father Joachim Haspinger, only to join in the
peace-prayers?" asked Peter Mayer in his laconic style, fixing his
dark, piercing eyes on the friar's face.
"No, Peter Mayer," said the Capuchin, gravely; "I have come hither
because I wanted to see you three, and because I have to say many
things to you. But previously let me read what our pious and
patriotic brother Andreas Hofer has written to me."
"You have a letter from Andreas Hofer!" exclaimed Mayer and
"Here it is," said the friar, drawing it from his belt. "Now give me
a moment's time to read the letter, and then we will confer upon the
matter that brought us here."
He stepped to the window and unfolded the letter. While he was
reading it, the three men looked at him with rapt suspense, seeking
to read in his features the impression produced by Andreas Hofer's
words on the heart of the brave Capuchin. Indeed, the friar's
features brightened more and more, his forehead and face colored,
and a smile illuminated his hard features.
"Listen, men," he exclaimed triumphantly, waving the paper as though
it were a flag; "listen to what Andreas writes to me!" And the friar
read in a clarion voice:
"Dear brother Red-beard! Beloved Father Joachim Haspinger: You know,
brother, that all has been in vain; the Austrians are evacuating the
country, and the emperor, or rather not the emperor, but his
ministers and secretaries, stipulated in the armistice concluded
with Bonaparte, that the French and Bavarians should re-enter the
Tyrol and recommence the infamous old system. But I think, even
though the emperor has abandoned us, God Almighty will not do so;
and even though the Austrian soldiers are crossing our frontiers,
our mountains and glaciers remain to us; God placed them there to
protect our frontiers, and He gave us strong arms and good rifles
and keen eyes to discern the enemy and hit him. We are the
inhabitants of the Tyrol, and the Austrian soldiers are not, hence
it is incumbent on us to protect our frontiers, and prevent the
enemy from invading our territory. If you are of my opinion, gather
about you as many brave sharpshooters as you can, call out the
Landsturm where it is possible, tell the other commanders to do the
same, and advance, if possible, at once toward the Brenner, where I
hope you will meet me or hear further news from me. Joseph
Speckbacher did not leave the country either; he is enlisting
sharpshooters and calling out the Landsturm in his district. It is
the Lord's will that the Tyrol be henceforth protected only by the
Tyrolese. Bear this in mind, and go to work.--Your faithful Andreas
Hofer, at present not knowing where he is." [Footnote: Andreas Hofer
signed all his letters and orders in this strange manner while he
was concealed in his cave.]
"Well," asked the friar, exultingly, "do you think that Andreas
Hofer is right, and that we ought not to allow the enemy to re-enter
"I think he is," said Peter Kemnater, joyously. "I think it will be
glorious for us to expel the French and Bavarians once more from our
"Or, if they have already crossed them, drive them ignominiously
from the country," added Peter Mayer.
"I have passed, during the last few days, through the whole of
Puster valley," said Martin Schenk. "Everywhere I found the men
determined to die, rifle in hand, on the field of battle, rather
than stay peaceably at home and bend their necks before the enemy.
'It is a misfortune,' said the men, 'that the Austrians are
abandoning us at this critical juncture; but it would be a greater
misfortune still for us to abandon ourselves and consent to
surrender at discretion.'"
"And I say it is no misfortune at all that the Austrians have left
us," cried the Capuchin, vehemently. "The cause of the fatherland
has not suffered much by the retreat of the Austrians. Who assisted
us at the battle of Mount Isel? Who helped us to drive the enemy
twice from the country? Not an Austrian did! We accomplished all
that was great and glorious in the short and decisive struggle. Let
us not complain, then, that no one stands by us now, and that we
know that no one will help us but God and we ourselves. But we must
not plunge blindly and furiously into the struggle; on the contrary,
we must consider whether we are able to defeat the enemy. The French
and Bavarians are sending large forces on all sides to the poor
Tyrol. I cannot conceal from you that the enterprise which we are
going to undertake, and to which Andreas Hofer invites us, is a
dangerous one. Let me tell you that that miserable assassin and
ruffian Lefebre, whom they call the Duke of Dantsic, is approaching
from the north with twenty-five thousand men, and is already close
to Innspruck. General Deroi, too, is coming; he intends to march
through the whole Vintschgau, and force his way over the Gerlos
Mountains to the district of Innspruck. Rusca's wild legions are
already near Lienz; General Pery is moving up from the south with
his Italian troops; and the exasperated Bavarians, under Generals