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History of Modern Europe 1792-1878 by C. A. Fyffe

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On the 8th of March, 1801, a corps of 17,000 men, led by Sir Ralph
Abercromby, landed at Aboukir Bay. According to the plan of the British
Government, Abercromby's attack was to be supported by a Turkish corps from
Syria, and by an Anglo-Indian division brought from Ceylon to Kosseir, on
the Red Sea. The Turks and the Indian troops were, however, behind their
time, and Abercromby opened the campaign alone. Menou had still 27,000
troops at his disposal. Had he moved up with the whole of his army from
Cairo, he might have destroyed the English immediately after their landing.
Instead of doing so, he allowed weak isolated detachments of the French to
sink before superior numbers. The English had already gained confidence of
victory when Menou advanced in some force in order to give battle in front
of Alexandria. The decisive engagement took place on the 21st of March. The
French were completely defeated. Menou, however, still refused to
concentrate his forces; and in the course of a few weeks 13,000 French
troops which had been left behind at Cairo were cut off from communication
with the rest of the army. A series of attempts made by Admiral Ganteaume
to land reinforcements from France ended fruitlessly. Towards the end of
June the arrival of a Turkish force enabled the English to surround the
French in Cairo. The circuit of the works was too large to be successfully
defended; on the other hand, the English were without the heavy artillery
necessary for a siege. Under these circumstances the terms which had
originally been offered at El Arish were again proposed to General Belliard
for himself and the army of Cairo. They were accepted, and Cairo was
surrendered to the English on condition that the garrison should be
conveyed back to France (June 27). Soon after the capitulation General
Baird reached Lower Egypt with an Anglo-Indian division. Menou with the
remainder of the French army was now shut up in Alexandria. His forts and
outworks were successively carried; his flotilla was destroyed; and when
all hope of support from France had been abandoned, the army of Alexandria,
which formed the remnant of the troops with which Bonaparte had won his
earliest victories in Italy, found itself compelled to surrender the last
stronghold of the French in Egypt (Aug. 30). It was the first important
success which had been gained by English soldiers over the troops of the
Republic; the first campaign in which English generalship had permitted the
army to show itself in its true quality.

[Negotiations for peace.]

[Preliminaries of London, Oct. 1, 1801.]

[Peace of Amiens, March 27, 1802.]

Peace was now at hand. Soon after the Treaty of Lunville had withdrawn
Austria from the war, unofficial negotiations had begun between the
Governments of Great Britain and France. The object with which Pitt had
entered upon the war, the maintenance of the old European system against
the aggression of France, was now seen to be one which England must
abandon. England had borne its share in the defence of the Continent. If
the Continental Powers could no longer resist the ascendancy of a single
State, England could not struggle for the Balance of Power alone. The
negotiations of 1801 had little in common with those of 1796. Belgium,
which had been the burden of all Pitt's earlier despatches, no longer
figured as an object of contention. The frontier of the Rhine, with the
virtual possession of Holland and Northern Italy, under the title of the
Batavian, Ligurian, and Cisalpine Republics, was tacitly conceded to
France. In place of the restoration of the Netherlands, the negotiators of
1801 argued about the disposal of Egypt, of Malta, and of the colonies
which Great Britain had conquered from France and its allies. Events
decided the fate of Egypt. The restoration of Malta to the Knights of St.
John was strenuously demanded by France, and not refused by England. It was
in relation to the colonial claims of France that the two Governments found
it most difficult to agree. Great Britain, which had lost no territory
itself, had conquered nearly all the Asiatic and Atlantic colonies of the
French Republic and of its Dutch and Spanish allies. In return for the
restoration of Ceylon, the Cape of Good Hope, Guiana, Trinidad, and various
East and West Indian settlements, France had nothing to offer to Great
Britain but peace. If peace, however, was to be made, the only possible
settlement was by means of a compromise; and it was finally agreed that
England should retain Ceylon and Trinidad, and restore the rest of the
colonies which it had taken from France, Spain, and Holland. Preliminaries
of peace embodying these conditions were signed at London on the 1st of
October, 1801. Hostilities ceased; but an interval of several months
between the preliminary agreement and the conclusion of the final treaty
was employed by Bonaparte in new usurpations upon the Continent, to which
he forced the British Government to lend a kind of sanction in the
continuance of the negotiations. The Government, though discontented, was
unwilling to treat these acts as new occasions of war. The conferences were
at length brought to a close, and the definitive treaty between France and
Great Britain was signed at Amiens on the 27th of March, 1802. [90]

[Pitt's retirement. Its cause.]

[Union of Ireland and Great Britain, 1800.]

The Minister who, since the first outbreak of war, had so resolutely
struggled for the freedom of Europe, was no longer in power when Great
Britain entered into negotiations with the First Consul. In the same week
that Austria signed the Peace of Lunville, Pitt had retired from office.
The catastrophe which dissolved his last Continental alliance may possibly
have disposed Pitt to make way for men who could treat for peace with a
better grace than himself, but the immediate cause of his retirement was an
affair of internal policy. Among the few important domestic measures which
Pitt had not sacrificed to foreign warfare was a project for the
Legislative Union of Great Britain and Ireland. Ireland had up to this time
possessed a Parliament nominally independent of that of Great Britain. Its
population, however, was too much divided to create a really national
government; and, even if the internal conditions of the country had been
better, the practical sovereignty of Great Britain must at that time have
prevented the Parliament of Dublin from being more than an agency of
ministerial corruption. It was the desire of Pitt to give to Ireland, in
the place of a fictitious independence, that real participation in the
political life of Great Britain which has more than recompensed Scotland
and Wales for the loss of separate nationality. As an earnest of
legislative justice, Pitt gave hopes to the leaders of the Irish Catholic
party that the disabilities which excluded Roman Catholics from the House
of Commons and from many offices in the public service would be no longer
maintained. On this understanding the Catholics of Ireland abstained from
offering to Pitt's project a resistance which would probably have led to
its failure. A majority of members in the Protestant Parliament of Dublin
accepted the price which the Ministry offered for their votes. A series of
resolutions in favour of the Legislative Union of the two countries was
transmitted to England in the spring of 1800; the English Parliament passed
the Act of Union in the same summer; and the first United Parliament of
Great Britain and Ireland assembled in London at the beginning of the year
1801.

[Pitt desires to emancipate the Catholics.]

[Pitt resigns Feb. 1801.]

[Addington Minister.]

Pitt now prepared to fulfil his virtual promise to the Irish Catholics. A
measure obliterating the ancient lines of civil and religious enmity, and
calling to public life a class hitherto treated as alien and hostile to the
State, would have been in true consonance with all that was best in Pitt's
own statesmanship. But the ignorant bigotry of King George III. was excited
against him by men who hated every act of justice or tolerance to Roman
Catholics; and it proved of greater force than the genius of the Minister.
The old threat of the King's personal enmity was publicly addressed to
Pitt's colleague, Dundas, when the proposal for Catholic emancipation was
under discussion in the Cabinet; and, with a just regard for his own
dignity, Pitt withdrew from office (Feb. 5, 1801), unable to influence a
Sovereign who believed his soul to be staked on the letter of the
Coronation Oath. The ablest members of Pitt's government, Grenville,
Dundas, and Windham, retired with their leader. Addington, Speaker of the
House of Commons, became Prime Minister, with colleagues as undistinguished
as himself. It was under the government of Addington that the negotiations
were begun which resulted in the signature of Preliminaries of Peace in
October 1801.

[The Peace of 1801.]

Pitt himself supported the new Ministry in their policy of peace;
Grenville, lately Pitt's Foreign Minister, unsparingly condemned both the
cession of the conquered colonies and the policy of granting France peace
on any terms whatever. Viewed by the light of our own knowledge of events,
the Peace of 1801 appears no more than an unprofitable break in an
inevitable war; and perhaps even then the signs of Bonaparte's ambition
justified those who, like Grenville, urged the nation to give no truce to
France, and to trust to Bonaparte's own injustice to raise us up allies
upon the Continent. But, for the moment, peace seemed at least worth a
trial. The modes of prosecuting a war of offence were exhausted; the cost
of the national defence remained the same. There were no more navies to
destroy, no more colonies to seize; the sole means of injuring the enemy
was by blockading his ports, and depriving him of his maritime commerce. On
the other hand, the possibility of a French invasion required the
maintenance of an enormous army and militia in England, and prevented any
great reduction in the expenses of the war, which had already added two
hundred millions to the National Debt. Nothing was lost by making peace,
except certain colonies and military positions which few were anxious to
retain. The argument that England could at any moment recover what she now
surrendered was indeed a far sounder one than most of those which went to
prove that the positions in question were of no real service. Yet even on
the latter point there was no want of high authority. It was Nelson himself
who assured the House of Lords that neither Malta nor the Cape of Good Hope
could ever be of importance to Great Britain. [91] In the face of such
testimony, the men who lamented that England should allow the adversary to
recover any lost ground in the midst of a struggle for life or death,
passed for obstinate fanatics. The Legislature reflected the general
feeling of the nation; and the policy of the Government was confirmed in
the Lords and the Commons by majorities of ten to one.

[Aggressions of Bonaparte during the Continental peace.]

[Holland, Sept., 1801.]

Although the Ministry of Addington had acted with energy both in Egypt and
in the Baltic, it was generally felt that Pitt's retirement marked the
surrender of that resolute policy which had guided England since 1793. When
once the Preliminaries of Peace had been signed in London, Bonaparte
rightly judged that Addington would waive many just causes of complaint,
rather than break off the negotiations which were to convert the
Preliminaries into a definitive treaty. Accordingly, in his instructions to
Joseph Bonaparte, who represented France at the conferences held at Amiens,
the First Consul wrote, through Talleyrand, as follows:--"You are forbidden
to entertain any proposition relating to the King of Sardinia, or to the
Stadtholder, or to the internal affairs of Batavia, of Helvetia, or the
Republic of Italy. None of these subjects have anything to do with the
discussions of England." The list of subjects excluded from the
consideration of England was the list of aggressions by which Bonaparte
intended to fill up the interval of Continental peace. In the Treaty of
Lunville, the independence of the newly-established republics in Holland,
Switzerland, and Italy had been recognised by France. The restoration of
Piedmont to the House of Savoy had been the condition on which the Czar
made peace. But on every one of these points the engagements of France were
made only to be broken. So far from bringing independence to the
client-republics of France, the peace of Lunville was but the introduction
to a series of changes which brought these States directly into the hands
of the First Consul. The establishment of absolute government in France
itself entailed a corresponding change in each of its dependencies, and the
creation of an executive which should accept the First Consul's orders with
as little question as the Prefect of a French department. Holland received
its new constitution while France was still at war with England. The
existing Government and Legislature of the Batavian Republic were dissolved
(Sept., 1801), and replaced by a council of twelve persons, each holding
the office of President in turn for a period of three months, and by a
legislature of thirty-five, which met only for a few days in the year. The
power given to the new President during his office was enough, and not more
than enough, to make him an effective servant: a three-months' Minister and
an Assembly that met and parted at the word of command were not likely to
enter into serious rivalry with the First Consul. The Dutch peaceably
accepted the constitution thus forced upon them; they possessed no means of
resistance, and their affairs excited but little interest upon the
Continent.

[Bonaparte made President of the Italian Republic, Jan., 1802.]

[Piedmont annexed to France, Sept., 1802.]

Far more striking was the revolution next effected by the First Consul. In
obedience to orders sent from Paris to the Legislature of the Cisalpine
Republic, a body of four hundred and fifty Italian representatives crossed
the Alps in the middle of winter in order to meet the First Consul at
Lyons, and to deliberate upon a constitution for the Cisalpine Republic.
The constitution had, as a matter of fact, been drawn up by Talleyrand, and
sent to the Legislature at Milan some months before. But it was not for the
sake of Italy that its representatives were collected at Lyons, in the
presence of the First Consul, with every circumstance of national
solemnity. It was the most striking homage which Bonaparte could exact from
a foreign race in the face of all France; it was the testimony that other
lands besides France desired Bonaparte to be their sovereign. When all the
minor offices in the new Cisalpine Constitution had been filled, the
Italians learnt that the real object of the convocation was to place the
sceptre in Bonaparte's hands. They accepted the part which they found
themselves forced to play, and offered to the First Consul the presidency
of the Cisalpine State (Jan. 25, 1802). Unlike the French Consulate, the
chief magistracy in the new Cisalpine Constitution might be prolonged
beyond the term of ten years. Bonaparte had practically won the Crown of
Lombardy; and he had given to France the example of a submission more
unqualified than its own. A single phrase rewarded the people who had thus
placed themselves in his hands. The Cisalpine Republic was allowed to
assume the name of Italian Republic. The new title indicated the national
hopes which had sprung up in Italy during the past ten years; it indicated
no real desire on the part of Bonaparte to form either a free or a united
Italian nation. In the Cisalpine State itself, although a good
administration and the extinction of feudal privileges made Bonaparte's
government acceptable, patriots who asked for freedom ran the risk of exile
or imprisonment. What further influence was exercised by France upon
Italian soil was not employed for the consolidation of Italy. Tuscany was
bestowed by Bonaparte upon the Spanish Prince of Parma, and controlled by
agents of the First Consul. Piedmont, which had long been governed by
French generals, was at length definitely annexed to France.

[Intervention in Switzerland.]

[Bonaparte Mediator of the Helvetic League, Oct. 4, 1802.]

Switzerland had not, like the Cisalpine Republic, derived its liberty from
the victories of French armies, nor could Bonaparte claim the presidency of
the Helvetic State under the title of its founder. The struggles of the
Swiss parties, however, placed the country at the mercy of France. Since
the expulsion of the Austrians by Massena in 1799, the antagonism between
the Democrats of the town and the Federalists of the Forest Cantons had
broken out afresh. A French army still occupied Switzerland; the Minister
of the First Consul received instructions to interfere with all parties and
consolidate none. In the autumn of 1801, the Federalists were permitted to
dissolve the central Helvetic Government, which had been created by the
Directory in 1798. One change followed another, until, on the 19th of May,
1802, a second Constitution was proclaimed, based, like that of 1798, on
centralising and democratic principles, and almost extinguishing the old
local independence of the members of the Swiss League. No sooner had French
partisans created this Constitution, which could only be maintained by
force against the hostility of Berne and the Forest Cantons, than the
French army quitted Switzerland. Civil war instantly broke out, and in the
course of a few weeks the Government established by the French had lost all
Switzerland except the Pays de Vaud. This was the crisis for which
Bonaparte had been waiting. On the 4th of October a proclamation appeared
at Lausanne, announcing that the First Consul had accepted the office of
Mediator of the Helvetic League. A French army entered Switzerland.
Fifty-six deputies from the cantons were summoned to Paris; and, in the
beginning of 1803, a new Constitution, which left the central Government
powerless in the hands of France and reduced the national sovereignty to
cantonal self-administration, placed Switzerland on a level with the
Batavian and the Cisalpine dependencies of Bonaparte. The Rhone Valley,
with the mountains crossed by the new road over the Simplon, was converted
into a separate republic under the title of La Valais. The new chief
magistrate of the Helvetic Confederacy entered upon his office with a
pension paid out of Bonaparte's secret police fund.

[Settlement of Germany.]

Such was the nature of the independence which the Peace of Lunville gave
to Holland, to Northern Italy, and to Switzerland. The re-organisation of
Germany, which was provided for by the same treaty, affected larger
interests, and left more permanent traces upon European history. In the
provinces ceded to France lay the territory of the ancient ecclesiastical
princes of the empire, the Electors of Mainz, Cologne, and Trves; but,
besides these spiritual sovereigns, a variety of secular potentates,
ranging from the Elector Palatine, with 600,000 subjects, to the Prince of
Wiedrunkel, with a single village, owned territory upon the left bank of
the Rhine; and for the dispossessed lay princes new territories had now to
be formed by the destruction of other ecclesiastical States in the interior
of Germany. Affairs returned to the state in which they had stood in 1798,
and the comedy of Rastadt was renewed at the point where it had been broken
off: the only difference was that the French statesmen who controlled the
partition of ecclesiastical Germany now remained in Paris, instead of
coming to the Rhine, to run the risk of being murdered by Austrian hussars.
Scarcely was the Treaty of Lunville signed when the whole company of
intriguers who had touted at Rastadt posted off to the French capital with
their maps and their money-bags, the keener for the work when it became
known that by common consent the Free Cities of the Empire were now to be
thrown into the spoil. Talleyrand and his confidant Mathieu had no occasion
to ask for bribes, or to manoeuvre for the position of arbiters in Germany.
They were overwhelmed with importunities. Solemn diplomatists of the old
school toiled up four flights of stairs to the office of the needy
secretary, or danced attendance at the parties of the witty Minister. They
hugged Talleyrand's poodle; they vied with one another in gaining a smile
from the child whom he brought up at his house. [92] The shrewder of them
fortified their attentions with solid bargains, and made it their principal
care not to be outbidden at the auction. Thus the game was kept up as long
as there was a bishopric or a city in the market.

This was the real process of the German re-organisation. A pretended one
was meanwhile enacted by the Diet of Ratisbon. The Diet deliberated during
the whole of the summer of 1801 without arriving at a single resolution.
Not even the sudden change of Russian policy that followed the death of the
Emperor Paul and deprived Bonaparte of the support of the Northern Maritime
League, could stimulate the German Powers to united action. The old
antagonism of Austria and Prussia paralysed the Diet. Austria sought a
German indemnity for the dethroned Grand Duke of Tuscany; Prussia aimed at
extending its influence into Southern Germany by the annexation of Wrzburg
and Bamberg. Thus the summer of 1801 was lost in interminable debate, until
Bonaparte regained the influence over Russia which he had held before the
death of Paul, and finally set himself free from all check and restraint by
concluding peace with England.

[German policy of Bonaparte.]

No part of Bonaparte's diplomacy was more ably conceived or more likely to
result in a permanent empire than that which affected the secondary States
of Germany. The rivalry of Austria and Prussia, the dread of Austrian
aggression felt in Bavaria, the grotesque ambition of the petty sovereigns
of Baden and Wrtemburg, were all understood and turned to account in the
policy which from this time shaped the French protectorate beyond the
Rhine. Bonaparte intended to give to Prussia such an increase of territory
upon the Baltic as should counterbalance the power of Austria; and for this
purpose he was willing to sacrifice Hanover or Mecklenburg: but he forbade
Prussia's extension to the south. Austria, so far from gaining new
territory in Bavaria, was to be deprived of its own outlying possessions in
Western Germany, and excluded from all influence in this region. Bavaria,
dependent upon French protection against Austria, was to be greatly
strengthened. Baden and Wrtemberg, enriched by the spoil of little
sovereignties, of Bishoprics and Free Cities, were to look to France for
further elevation and aggrandisement. Thus, while two rival Powers balanced
one another upon the Baltic and the Lower Danube, the sovereigns of central
and western Germany, owing everything to the Power that had humbled
Austria, would find in submission to France the best security for their own
gains, and the best protection against their more powerful neighbours.

[Treaty between France and Russia for joint action in Germany, Oct. 11,
1801.]

One condition alone could have frustrated a policy agreeable to so many
interests, namely, the existence of a national sentiment among the Germans
themselves. But the peoples of Germany cared as little about a Fatherland
as their princes. To the Hessian and the Bavarian at the centre of the
Empire, Germany was scarcely more than it was to the Swiss or the Dutch,
who had left the Empire centuries before. The inhabitants of the Rhenish
Provinces had murmured for a while at the extortionate rule of the
Directory; but their severance from Germany and their incorporation with a
foreign race touched no fibre of patriotic regret; and after the
establishment of a better order of things under the Consulate the
annexation to France appears to have become highly popular. [93] Among a
race whose members could thus be actually conquered and annexed without
doing violence to their feelings Bonaparte had no difficulty in finding
willing allies. While the Diet dragged on its debates upon the settlement
of the Empire, the minor States pursued their bargainings with the French
Government; and on the 14th of August, 1801, Bavaria signed the first of
those treaties which made the First Consul the patron of Western Germany.
Two months later a secret treaty between France and Russia admitted the new
Czar, Alexander, to a share in the reorganisation of the Empire. The
Governments of Paris and St. Petersburg pledged themselves to united action
for the purpose of maintaining an equilibrium between Austria and Prussia;
and the Czar further stipulated for the advancement of his own relatives,
the Sovereigns of Bavaria, Baden, and Wrtemberg. The relationship of these
petty princes to the Russian family enabled Bonaparte to present to the
Czar, as a graceful concession, the very measure which most vitally
advanced his own power in Germany. Alexander's intervention made resistance
on the part of Austria hopeless. One after another the German Sovereigns
settled with their patrons for a share in the spoil; and on the 3rd of
June, 1802, a secret agreement between France and Russia embodied the whole
of these arrangements, and disposed of almost all the Free Cities and the
entire ecclesiastical territory of the Empire.

[Diet of Ratisbon accepts French Scheme.]

[End of German Ecclesiastical States and forty-five Free Cities, March,
1803.]

When everything had thus been settled by the foreigners, a Committee, to
which the Diet of Ratisbon had referred the work of re-organisation, began
its sessions, assisted by a French and a Russian representative. The Scheme
which had been agreed upon between France and Russia was produced entire;
and in spite of the anger and the threats of Austria it passed the
Committee with no greater delay than was inseparable from everything
connected with German affairs. The Committee presented the Scheme to the
Diet: the Diet only agitated itself as to the means of passing the Scheme
without violating those formalities which were the breath of its life. The
proposed destruction of all the Ecclesiastical States, and of forty-five
out of the fifty Free Cities, would extinguish a third part of the members
of the Diet itself. If these unfortunate bodies were permitted to vote upon
the measure, their votes might result in its rejection: if unsummoned,
their absence would impair the validity of the resolution. By a masterpiece
of conscientious pedantry it was agreed that the doomed prelates and cities
should be duly called to vote in their turn, and that upon the mention each
name the answer "absent" should be returned by an officer. Thus, faithful
to its formalities, the Empire voted the destruction of its ancient
Constitution; and the sovereignties of the Ecclesiastics and Free Cities,
which had lasted for so many centuries, vanished from Europe (March, 1803).
[94]

[Effect on Germany.]

The loss was small indeed. The internal condition of the priest-ruled
districts was generally wretched; heavy ignorance, beggary, and intolerance
reduced life to a gross and dismal inertia. Except in their patronage of
music, the ecclesiastical princes had perhaps rendered no single service to
Germany. The Free Cities, as a rule, were sunk in debt; the management of
their affairs had become the perquisite of a few lawyers and privileged
families. For Germany, as a nation, the destruction of these petty
sovereignties was not only an advantage but an absolute necessity. The
order by which they were superseded was not devised in the interest of
Germany itself; yet even in the arrangements imposed by the foreigner
Germany gained centres from which the institutions of modern political life
entered into regions where no public authority had yet been known beyond
the court of the bishop or the feudal officers of the manor. [95] Through
the suppression of the Ecclesiastical States a Protestant majority was
produced in the Diet. The change bore witness to the decline of Austrian
and of Catholic energy during the past century; it scarcely indicated the
future supremacy of the Protestant rival of Austria; for the real interests
of Germany were but faintly imaged in the Diet, and the leadership of the
race was still open to the Power which should most sincerely identify
itself with the German nation. The first result of the changed character of
the Diet was the confiscation of all landed property held by religious or
charitable bodies, even where these had never advanced the slightest claim
to political independence. The Diet declared the whole of the land held in
Germany by pious foundations to be at the disposal of the Governments for
purposes of religion, of education, and of financial relief. The more needy
courts immediately seized so welcome an opportunity of increasing their
revenues. Germany lost nothing by the dissolution of some hundreds of
monasteries; the suppression of hospitals and the impoverishment of
Universities was a doubtful benefit. Through the destruction of the
Ecclesiastical States and the confiscation of Church lands, the support of
an army of priests was thrown upon the public revenues. The Elector of
Cologne, who had been an indifferent civil ruler, became a very prosperous
clergyman on 20,000 a year. All the members of the annexed or disendowed
establishments, down to the acolytes and the sacristans, were credited with
annuities equal in value to what they had lost. But in the confusion caused
by war the means to satisfy these claims was not always forthcoming; and
the ecclesiastical revolution, so beneficial on the whole to the public
interest, was not effected without much severe and undeserved individual
suffering.

[Governments in Germany become more absolute and more regular.]

[Bavaria. Reforms of Montgelas.]

[Suppression of the Knights.]

The movement of 1803 put an end to an order of things more curious as a
survival of the mixed religious and political form of the Holy Roman Empire
than important in the actual state of Europe. The temporal power now lost
by the Church in Germany had been held in such sluggish hands that its
effect was hardly visible except in a denser prejudice and an idler life
than prevailed under other Governments. The first consequence of its
downfall was that a great part of Germany which had hitherto had no
political organisation at all gained the benefit of a regular system of
taxation, of police, of civil and of criminal justice. If harsh and
despotic, the Governments which rose to power at the expense of the Church
were usually not wanting in the love of order and uniformity. Officers of
the State administered a fixed law where custom and privilege had hitherto
been the only rule. Appointments ceased to be bought or inherited; trades
and professions were thrown open; the peasant was relieved of his heaviest
feudal burdens. Among the newly consolidated States, Bavaria was the one
where the reforming impulse of the time took the strongest form. A new
dynasty, springing from the west of the Rhine, brought something of the
spirit of French liberalism into a country hitherto unsurpassed in Western
Europe for its ignorance and bigotry. [96] The Minister Montgelas, a
politician of French enlightenment, entered upon the same crusade against
feudal and ecclesiastical disorder which Joseph had inaugurated in Austria
twenty years before. His measures for subjecting the clergy to the law, and
for depriving the Church of its control over education, were almost
identical with those which in 1790 had led to the revolt of Belgium; and
the Bavarian landowners now unconsciously reproduced all the medival
platitudes of the University of Louvain. Montgelas organised and levelled
with a remorseless common sense. Among his victims there was a class which
had escaped destruction in the recent changes. The Knights of the Empire,
with their village jurisdictions, were still legally existent; but to
Montgelas such a class appeared a mere absurdity, and he sent his soldiers
to disperse their courts and to seize their tolls. Loud lamentation
assailed the Emperor at Vienna. If the dethroned bishops had bewailed the
approaching extinction of Christianity in Europe, the knights just as
convincingly deplored the end of chivalry. Knightly honour, now being swept
from the earth, was proved to be the true soul of German nationality, the
invisible support of the Imperial throne. For a moment the intervention of
the Emperor forced Montgelas to withdraw his grasp from the sacred rents
and turnpikes; but the threatening storm passed over, and the example of
Bavaria was gradually followed by the neighbouring Courts.

[Stein and the Duke of Nassau.]

[Stein's attack on the Minor Princes.]

It was to the weak and unpatriotic princes who were enriched by the French
that the knights fell victims. Among the knights thus despoiled by the Duke
of Nassau was the Ritter vom Stein, a nobleman who had entered the Prussian
service in the reign of Frederick the Great, and who had lately been placed
in high office in the newly-acquired province of Mnster. Stein was
thoroughly familiar with the advantages of systematic government; the loss
of his native parochial jurisdiction was not a serious one to a man who had
become a power in Prussia; and although domestic pride had its share in
Stein's resentment, the protest now published by him against the
aggressions of the Duke of Nassau sounded a different note from that of his
order generally. That a score of farmers should pay their dues and take off
their hats to the officer of the Duke of Nassau instead of to the bailiff
of the Ritter vom Stein was not a matter to excite deep feeling in Europe;
but that the consolidation of Germany should be worked out in the interest
of French hirelings instead of in the interests of the German people was
justly treated by Stein as a subject for patriotic anger. In his letter
[97] to the Duke of Nassau, Stein reproached his own despoiler and the
whole tribe of petty princes with that treason to German interests which
had won them the protection of the foreigner. He argued that the knights
were a far less important obstacle to German unity than those very princes
to whom the knights were sacrificed; and he invoked that distant day which
should give to Germany a real national unity, over knights and princes
alike, under the leadership of a single patriotic sovereign. Stein's appeal
found little response among his contemporaries. Like a sober man among
drunkards, he seemed to be scarcely rational. The simple conception of a
nation sacrificing its internal rivalries in order to avert foreign rule
was folly to the politicians who had all their lives long been outwitting
one another at Vienna or Berlin, or who had just become persons of
consequence in Europe through the patronage of Bonaparte. Yet, if years of
intolerable suffering were necessary before any large party in Germany rose
to the idea of German union, the ground had now at least been broken. In
the changes that followed the Peace of Lunville the fixity and routine of
Germany received its death-blow. In all but name the Empire had ceased to
exist. Change and re-constitution in one form or another had become
familiar to all men's minds; and one real statesman at the least was
already beginning to learn the lesson which later events were to teach to
the rest of the German race.

[France, 1801-1804.]

[Civil Code.]

Four years of peace separated the Treaty of Lunville from the next
outbreak of war between France and any Continental Power. They were years
of extension of French influence in every neighbouring State; in France
itself, years of the consolidation of Bonaparte's power, and of the decline
of everything that checked his personal rule. The legislative bodies sank
into the insignificance for which they had been designed; everything that
was suffered to wear the appearance of strength owed its vigour to the
personal support of the First Consul. Among the institutions which date
from this period, two, equally associated with the name of Napoleon, have
taken a prominent place in history, the Civil Code and the Concordat. Since
the middle of the eighteenth century the codification of law had been
pursued with more or less success by almost every Government in Europe. In
France the Constituent Assembly of 1789 had ordered the statutes, by which
it superseded the old variety of local customs, to be thus cast into a
systematic form. A Committee of the Convention had completed the draft of a
Civil Code. The Directory had in its turn appointed a Commission; but the
project still remained unfulfilled when the Directory was driven from
power. Bonaparte instinctively threw himself into a task so congenial to
his own systematising spirit, and stimulated the efforts of the best
jurists in France by his personal interest and pride in the work of
legislation. A Commission of lawyers, appointed by the First Consul,
presented the successive chapters of a Civil Code to the Council of State.
In the discussions in the Council of State Bonaparte himself took an
active, though not always a beneficial, part. The draft of each chapter, as
it left the Council of State, was submitted, as a project of Law, to the
Tribunate and to the Legislative Body. For a moment the free expression of
opinion in the Tribunate caused Bonaparte to suspend his work in impatient
jealousy. The Tribunate, however, was soon brought to silence; and in
March, 1804, France received the Code which has formed from that time to
the present the basis of its civil rights.

[Napoleon as a legislator.]

When Napoleon declared that he desired his fame to rest upon the Civil
Code, he showed his appreciation of the power which names exercise over
mankind. It is probable that a majority of the inhabitants of Western
Europe believe that Napoleon actually invented the laws which bear his
name. As a matter of fact, the substance of these laws was fixed by the
successive Assemblies of the Revolution; and, in the final revision which
produced the Civil Code, Napoleon appears to have originated neither more
nor less than several of the members of his Council whose names have long
been forgotten. He is unquestionably entitled to the honour of a great
legislator, not, however, as one who, like Solon or like Mahomet, himself
created a new body of law, but as one who most vigorously pursued the work
of consolidating and popularising law by the help of all the skilled and
scientific minds whose resources were at his command. Though faulty in
parts, the Civil Code, through its conciseness, its simplicity, and its
justice, enabled Napoleon to carry a new and incomparably better social
order into every country that became part of his Empire. Four other Codes,
appearing at intervals from the year 1804 to the year 1810, embodied, in a
corresponding form, the Law of Commerce, the Criminal Law, and the Rules of
Civil and of Criminal Process. [98] The whole remains a monument of the
legal energy of the period which began in 1789, and of the sagacity with
which Napoleon associated with his own rule all the science and the
reforming zeal of the jurists of his day.

[The Concordat.]

[The Concordat destroys the Free Church.]

Far more distinctively the work of Napoleon's own mind was the
reconciliation with the Church of Rome effected by the Concordat. It was a
restoration of religion similar to that restoration of political order
which made the public service the engine of a single will. The bishops and
priests, whose appointment the Concordat transferred from their
congregations to the Government, were as much instruments of the First
Consul as his prefects and his gendarmes. The spiritual wants of the
public, the craving of the poor for religious consolation, were made the
pretext for introducing the new theological police. But the situation of
the Catholic Church was in reality no worse in France at the commencement
of the Consulate than its present situation in Ireland. The Republic had
indeed subjected the non-juring priests to the heaviest penalties, but the
exercise of Christian worship, which, even in the Reign of Terror, had only
been interrupted by local and individual fanaticism, had long recovered the
protection of the law, services in the open air being alone prohibited.
[99] Since 1795 the local authorities had been compelled to admit the
religious societies of their district to the use of church-buildings.
Though the coup d'tat of Fructidor, 1797, renewed the persecution of
non-juring priests, it in no way checked the activity of the Constitutional
Church, now free from all connection with the Civil Government. While the
non-juring priests, exiled as political offenders, or theatrically adoring
the sacred elements in the woods, pretended that the age of the martyrs had
returned to France, a Constitutional Church, ministering in 4,000 parishes,
unprivileged but unharassed by the State, supplied the nation with an
earnest and respectable body of clergy. [100] But in the eyes of the First
Consul everything left to voluntary association was so much lost to the
central power. In the order of nature, peasants must obey priests, priests
must obey bishops, and bishops must obey the First Consul. An alliance with
the Pope offered to Bonaparte the means of supplanting the popular
organisation of the Constitutional Church by an imposing hierarchy, rigid
in its orthodoxy and unquestioning in its devotion to himself. In return
for the consecration of his own rule, Bonaparte did not shrink from
inviting the Pope to an exercise of authority such as the Holy See had
never even claimed in France. The whole of the existing French Bishops,
both the exiled non-jurors and those of the Constitutional Church, were
summoned to resign their Sees into the hands of the Pope; against all who
refused to do so sentence of deposition was pronounced by the Pontiff,
without a word heard in defence, or the shadow of a fault alleged. The Sees
were re-organised, and filled up by nominees of the First Consul. The
position of the great body of the clergy was substantially altered in its
relation to the Bishops. Episcopal power was made despotic, like all other
power in France: thousands of the clergy, hitherto secure in their livings,
were placed at the disposal of their bishop, and rendered liable to be
transferred at the pleasure of their superior from place to place. The
Constitutional Church vanished, but religion appeared to be honoured by
becoming part of the State.

[Results in Ultramontanism.]

In its immediate action, the Napoleonic Church served the purpose for which
it was intended. For some few years the clergy unflaggingly preached,
prayed, and catechised to the glory of their restorer. In the greater cycle
of religious change, the Concordat of Bonaparte appears in another light.
However little appreciated at the time, it was the greatest, the most
critical, victory which the Roman See has ever gained over the more
enlightened and the more national elements in the Catholic Church. It
converted the Catholicism of France from a faith already far more
independent than that of Fnlon and Bossuet into the Catholicism which in
our own day has outstripped the bigotry of Spain and Austria in welcoming
the dogma of Papal infallibility. The lower clergy, condemned by the State
to an intolerable subjection, soon found their only hope in an appeal to
Rome, and instinctively worked as the emissaries of the Roman See. The
Bishops, who owed their office to an unprecedented exercise of Papal power
and to the destruction of religious independence in France, were not the
men who could maintain a struggle with the Papacy for the ancient Gallican
liberties. In the resistance to the Papacy which had been maintained by the
Continental Churches in a greater or less degree during the eighteenth
century, France had on the whole taken the most effective part; but, from
the time when the Concordat dissolved both the ancient and the
revolutionary Church system of France, the Gallican tradition of the past
became as powerless among the French clergy as the philosophical liberalism
of the Revolution.

[So do the German changes.]

In Germany the destruction of the temporal power of the Church tended
equally to Ultramontanism. An archbishop of Cologne who governed half a
million subjects was less likely to prostrate himself before the Papal
Chair than an archbishop of Cologne who was only one among a regiment of
churchmen. The spiritual Electors and Princes who lost their dominions in
1801 had understood by the interests of their order something more tangible
than a body of doctrines. When not hostile to the Papacy, they had usually
treated it with indifference. The conception of a Catholic society exposed
to persecution at the hands of the State on account of its devotion to Rome
was one which had never entered the mind of German ecclesiastics in the
eighteenth century. Without the changes effected in Germany by the Treaty
of Lunville, without the Concordat of Bonaparte, Catholic orthodoxy would
never have become identical with Ultramontanism. In this respect the
opening years of the present century mark a turning-point in the relation
of the Church to modern life. Already, in place of the old monarchical
Governments, friendly on the whole to the Catholic Church, events were
preparing the way for that changed order with which the century seems
destined to close--an emancipated France, a free Italy, a secular,
state-disciplined Germany, and the Church in conspiracy against them all.

CHAPTER VI.

England claims Malta--War renewed--Bonaparte occupies Hanover, and
blockades the Elbe--Remonstrances of Prussia--Cadoudal's Plot--Murder of
the Duke of Enghien--Napoleon Emperor--Coalition of 1805--Prussia holds
aloof--State of Austria--Failure of Napoleon's attempt to gain naval
superiority in the Channel--Campaign in Western Germany--Capitulation of
Ulm--Trafalgar--Treaty of Potsdam between Prussia and the Allies--The
French enter Vienna--Haugwitz sent to Napoleon with Prussian Ultimatum--
Battle of Austerlitz--Haugwitz signs a Treaty of Alliance with
Napoleon--Peace--Treaty of Presburg--End of the Holy Roman Empire--
Naples given to Joseph Bonaparte--Battle of Maida--The Napoleonic Empire
and Dynasty--Federation of the Rhine--State of Germany--Possibility of
maintaining the Empire of 1806.

[England prepares for war, Nov., 1802.]

[England claims Malta.]

War was renewed between France and Great Britain in the spring of 1803.
Addington's Government, in their desire for peace, had borne with
Bonaparte's aggressions during all the months of negotiation at Amiens;
they had met his complaints against the abuse of the English press by
prosecuting his Royalist libellers; throughout the Session of 1802 they had
upheld the possibility of peace against the attacks of their parliamentary
opponents. The invasion of Switzerland in the autumn of 1802, following the
annexation of Piedmont, forced the Ministry to alter its tone. The King's
Speech at the meeting of Parliament in November declared that the changes
in operation on the Continent demanded measures of security on the part of
Great Britain. The naval and military forces of the country were restored
to a war-footing; the evacuation of Malta by Great Britain, which had
hitherto been delayed chiefly through a misunderstanding with Russia, was
no longer treated as a matter of certainty. While the English Government
still wavered, a challenge was thrown down by the First Consul which forced
them into decided action. The _Moniteur_ published on the 13th of January,
1803, a report upon Egypt by Colonel Sebastiani, pointing in the plainest
terms to the renewal of French attacks upon the East. The British
Government demanded explanations, and declared that until satisfaction was
given upon this point they should retain possession of Malta. Malta was in
fact appropriated by Great Britain as an equivalent for the Continental
territory added to France since the end of the war. [101]

[War, May, 1803.]

It would have been better policy if, some months earlier, Bonaparte had
been required to withdraw from Piedmont or from Switzerland, under pain of
hostilities with England. Great Britain had as little technical right to
retain Malta as Bonaparte had to annex Piedmont. The desire for peace had,
however, led Addington's Government to remain inactive until Bonaparte's
aggressions had become accomplished facts. It was now too late to attempt
to undo them: England could only treat the settlement of Amiens as
superseded, and claim compensation on its own side. Malta was the position
most necessary to Great Britain, in order to prevent Bonaparte from
carrying out projects in Egypt and Greece of which the Government had
evidence independent of Sebastiani's report. The value of Malta, so lately
denied by Nelson, was now fully understood both in France and England. No
sooner had the English Ministry avowed its intention of retaining the
island than the First Consul declared himself compelled to take up arms in
behalf of the faith of treaties. Ignoring his own violations of
treaty-rights in Italy and Switzerland, Bonaparte declared the retention of
Malta by Great Britain to be an outrage against all Europe. He assailed the
British Ambassador with the utmost fury at a reception held at the
Tuileries on the 13th of March; and, after a correspondence of two months,
which probably marked his sense of the power and obstinacy of his enemy,
the conflict was renewed which was now to continue without a break until
Bonaparte was driven from his throne.

[Bonaparte and Hanover.]

So long as England was without Continental allies its warfare was limited
to the seizure of colonies and the blockade of ports: on the part of France
nothing could be effected against the island Power except by actual
invasion. There was, however, among the communities of Germany one which,
in the arguments of a conqueror, might be treated as a dependency of
England, and made to suffer for its connection with the British Crown.
Hanover had hitherto by common agreement been dissociated from the wars in
which its Elector engaged as King of England; even the personal presence of
King George II. at the battle of Dettingen had been held no ground for
violating its neutrality. Bonaparte, however, was untroubled by precedents
in a case where he had so much to gain. Apart from its value as a possible
object of exchange in the next treaty with England, Hanover would serve as
a means of influencing Prussia: it was also worth so many millions in cash
through the requisitions which might be imposed upon its inhabitants. The
only scruple felt by Bonaparte in attacking Hanover arose from the
possibility of a forcible resistance on the part of Prussia to the
appearance of a French army in North Germany. Accordingly, before the
invasion began, General Duroc was sent to Berlin to inform the King of the
First Consul's intentions, and to soothe any irritation that might be felt
at the Prussian Court by assurances of friendship and respect.

[Prussia and Hanover.]

It was a moment of the most critical importance to Prussia. Prussia was the
recognised guardian of Northern Germany; every consideration of interest
and of honour required that its Government should forbid the proposed
occupation of Hanover--if necessary, at the risk of actual war. Hanover in
the hands of France meant the extinction of German independence up to the
frontiers of the Prussian State. If, as it was held at Berlin, the cause of
Great Britain was an unjust one, and if the connection of Hanover with the
British Crown was for the future to make that province a scapegoat for the
offences of England, the wisest course for Prussia would have been to
deliver Hanover at once from its French and from its English enemies by
occupying it with its own forces. The Foreign Minister, Count Haugwitz,
appears to have recommended this step, but his counsels were overruled.
King Frederick William III., who had succeeded his father in 1797, was a
conscientious but a timid and spiritless being. Public affairs were in the
hands of his private advisers, of whom the most influential were the
so-called cabinet-secretaries, Lombard and Beyme, men credulously anxious
for the goodwill of France, and perversely blind to the native force and
worth which still existed in the Prussian Monarchy. [102] Instead of
declaring the entry of the French into Hanover to be absolutely
incompatible with the safety of the other North German States, King
Frederick William endeavoured to avert it by diplomacy. He tendered his
mediation to the British Government upon condition of the evacuation of
Malta; and, when this proposal was bluntly rejected, he offered to the
First Consul his personal security that Hanover should pay a sum of money
in order to be spared the intended invasion.

[French enter Hanover, May, 1803.]

[Oppression in Hanover, 1803-1805.]

Such a proposal marked the depth to which Prussian statemanship had sunk;
it failed to affect the First Consul in the slightest degree. While
negotiations were still proceeding, a French division, commanded by General
Mortier, entered Hanover (May, 1803). The Hanoverian army was lost through
the follies of the civil Government; the Duke of Cambridge, commander of
one of its divisions, less ingenious than his brother the Duke of York in
finding excuses for capitulation, resigned his commission, and fled to
England, along with many brave soldiers, who subsequently found in the army
of Great Britain the opportunity for honourable service which was denied to
them at home. Hanover passed into the possession of France, and for two
years the miseries of French occupation were felt to the full. Extortion
consumed the homely wealth of the country; the games and meetings of the
people were prohibited; French spies violated the confidences of private
life; law was administered by foreign soldiers; the press existed only for
the purpose of French proselytism. It was in Hanover that the bitterness of
that oppression was first felt which subsequently roused all North Germany
against a foreign master, and forced upon the race the long-forgotten
claims of patriotism and honour.

[French blockade the Elbe.]

[Vain remonstrance of Prussia.]

Bonaparte had justly calculated upon the inaction of the Prussian
Government when he gave the order to General Mortier to enter Hanover; his
next step proved the growth of his confidence in Prussia's impassivity. A
French force was despatched to Cuxhaven, at the mouth of the Elbe, in order
to stop the commerce of Great Britain with the interior of Germany. The
British Government immediately informed the Court of Berlin that it should
blockade the Elbe and the Weser against the ships of all nations unless the
French soldiers withdrew from the Elbe. As the linen trade of Silesia and
other branches of Prussian industry depended upon the free navigation of
the Elbe, the threatened reprisals of the British Government raised very
serious questions for Prussia. It was France, not England, that had first
violated the neutrality of the river highway; and the King of Prussia now
felt himself compelled to demand assurances Bonaparte that the interests of
Germany should suffer no further injury at his hands. A letter was written
by the King to the First Consul, and entrusted to the cabinet-secretary,
Lombard, who carried it to Napoleon at Brussels (July, 1803). Lombard, the
son of French parents who had settled at Berlin in the reign of Frederick
the Great, had risen from a humble station through his skill in expression
in the two languages that were native to him; and the accomplishments which
would have made him a good clerk or a successful journalist made him in the
eyes of Frederick William a counsellor for kings. The history of his
mission to Brussels gives curious evidence both of the fascination
exercised by Napoleon over common minds, and of the political helplessness
which in Prussia could now be mistaken for the quality of a statesman.
Lombard failed to obtain from Napoleon any guarantee or security whatever;
yet he wrote back in terms of the utmost delight upon the success of his
mission. Napoleon had infatuated him by the mere exercise of his personal
charm. "What I cannot describe," said Lombard, in his report to the King
relating his interview with the First Consul, [103] "is the tone of
goodness and noble frankness with which he expressed his reverence for your
Majesty's rights, and asked for that confidence from your Majesty which he
so well deserves." "I only wish," he cried at the close of Napoleon's
address, "that I could convey to the King, my master, every one of your
words and the tone in which they are uttered; he would then, I am sure,
feel a double joy at the justice with which you have always been treated at
his hands." Lombard's colleagues at Berlin were perhaps not stronger men
than the envoy himself, but they were at least beyond the range of
Napoleon's voice and glance, and they received this rhapsody with coldness.
They complained that no single concession had been made by the First Consul
upon the points raised by the King. Cuxhaven continued in French hands; the
British inexorably blockaded the Germans upon their own neutral waters; and
the cautious statecraft of Prussia proved as valueless to Germany as the
obstinate, speculating warfare of Austria.

[Alexander displeased.]

There was, however, a Power which watched the advance of French dominion
into Northern Germany with less complaisance than the Germans themselves.
The Czar of Russia had gradually come to understand the part allotted to
him by Bonaparte since the Peace of Lunville, and was no longer inclined
to serve as the instrument of French ambition. Bonaparte's occupation of
Hanover changed the attitude of Alexander into one of coldness and
distrust. Alexander saw and lamented the help which he himself had given to
Bonaparte in Germany: events that now took place in France itself, as well
as the progress of French intrigues in Turkey, [104] threw him into the
arms of Bonaparte's enemies, and prepared the way for a new European
coalition.

[Bonaparte about to become Emperor.]

[Murder of the Duke of Enghien, March 20, 1804.]

The First Bonaparte Consul had determined to assume the dignity of Emperor.
The renewal of war with England excited a new outburst of enthusiasm for
his person; nothing was wanting to place the crown on his head but the
discovery of a plot against his life. Such a plot had been long and
carefully followed by the police. A Breton gentleman, Georges Cadoudal, had
formed the design of attacking the First Consul in the streets of Paris in
the midst of his guards. Cadoudal and his fellow-conspirators, including
General Pichegru, were traced by the police from the coast of Normandy to
Paris: an unsuccessful attempt was made to lure the Count of Artois, and
other royal patrons of the conspiracy, from Great Britain. When all the
conspirators who could be enticed to France were collected within the
capital, the police, who had watched every stage of the movement, began to
make arrests. Moreau, the last Republican soldier of France, was charged
with complicity in the plot. Pichegru and Cadoudal were thrown into prison,
there to await their doom; Moreau, who probably wished for the overthrow of
the Consular Government, but had no part in the design against Bonaparte's
life, [105] was kept under arrest and loaded with official calumny. One
sacrifice more remained to be made, in place of the Bourbon d'Artois, who
baffled the police of the First Consul beyond the seas. In the territory of
Baden, twelve miles from the French frontier, there lived a prince of the
exiled house, the Duke of Enghien, a soldier under the first Coalition
against France, now a harmless dependent on the bounty of England. French
spies surrounded him; his excursions into the mountains gave rise to a
suspicion that he was concerned in Pichegru's plot. This was enough to mark
him for destruction. Bonaparte gave orders that he should be seized,
brought to Paris, and executed. On the 15th of March, 1804, a troop of
French soldiers crossed the Rhine and arrested the Duke in his own house at
Ettenheim. They arrived with him at Paris on the 20th. He was taken to the
fort of Vincennes without entering the city. On that same night a
commission of six colonels sat in judgment upon the prisoner, whose grave
was already dug, and pronounced sentence of death without hearing a word of
evidence. At daybreak the Duke was led out and shot.

[Napoleon Emperor, May 18, 1804.]

If some barbaric instinct made the slaughter of his predecessor's kindred
in Bonaparte's own eyes the omen of a successful usurpation, it was not so
with Europe generally. One universal sense of horror passed over the
Continent. The Court of Russia put on mourning; even the Diet of Ratisbon
showed signs of human passion at the indignity done to Germany by the
seizure of the Duke of Enghien on German soil. Austria kept silent, but
watched the signs of coming war. France alone showed no pity. Before the
Duke of Enghien had been dead a week, the Senate besought Napoleon to give
to France the security of a hereditary throne. Prefects, bishops, mayors,
and councils with one voice repeated the official prayer. A resolution in
favour of imperial rule was brought forward in the Tribunate, and passed,
after a noble and solitary protest on the part of Carnot. A decree of the
Senate embodied the terms of the new Constitution; and on the 18th of May,
without waiting for the sanction of a national vote, Napoleon assumed the
title of Emperor of the French.

[Title of Emperor of Austria, Aug., 1804.]

In France itself the change was one more of the name than of the substance
of power. Napoleon could not be vested with a more absolute authority than
he already possessed; but the forms of republican equality vanished; and
although the real social equality given to France by the Revolution was
beyond reach of change, the nation had to put up with a bastard Court and a
fictitious aristocracy of Corsican princes, Terrorist excellencies, and
Jacobin dukes. The new dynasty was recognised at Vienna and Berlin: on the
part of Austria it received the compliment of an imitation. Three months
after the assumption of the Imperial title by Napoleon, the Emperor Francis
(Emperor in Germany, but King in Hungary and Bohemia) assumed the title of
Emperor of all his Austrian dominions. The true reason for this act was the
virtual dissolution of the Germanic system by the Peace of Lunville, and
the probability that the old Imperial dignity, if preserved in name, would
soon be transferred to some client of Napoleon or to Napoleon himself. Such
an apprehension was, however, not one that could be confessed to Europe.
Instead of the ruin of Germany, the grandeur of Austria was made the
ostensible ground of change. In language which seemed to be borrowed from
the scriptural history of Nebuchadnezzar, the Emperor Francis declared
that, although no possible addition could be made to his own personal
dignity, as Roman Emperor, yet the ancient glory of the Austrian House, the
grandeur of the principalities and kingdoms which were united under its
dominion, required that the Sovereigns of Austria should hold a title equal
to that of the greatest European throne. A general war against Napoleon was
already being proposed by the Court of St. Petersburg; but for the present
the Corsican and the Hapsburg Csar exchanged their hypocritical
congratulations. [106]

[Pitt again Minister, May, 1804.]

[Coalition of 1805.]

Almost at the same time that Bonaparte ascended the throne, Pitt returned
to power in Great Britain. He was summoned by the general distrust felt in
Addington's Ministry, and by the belief that no statesman but himself could
rally the Powers of Europe against the common enemy. Pitt was not long in
framing with Russia the plan of a third Coalition. The Czar broke off
diplomatic intercourse with Napoleon in September, 1804, and induced the
Court of Vienna to pledge itself to resist any further extension of French
power. Sweden entered into engagements with Great Britain. On the opening
of Parliament at the beginning of 1805, King George III. announced that an
understanding existed between Great Britain and Russia, and asked in
general terms for a provision for Continental subsidies. In April, a treaty
was signed at St. Petersburg by the representatives of Russia and Great
Britain, far more comprehensive and more serious in its provisions than any
which had yet united the Powers against France. [107] Russia and England
bound themselves to direct their efforts to the formation of a European
League capable of placing five hundred thousand men in the field. Great
Britain undertook to furnish subsidies to every member of the League; no
peace was to be concluded with France but by common consent; conquests
made by any of the belligerents were to remain unappropriated until the
general peace; and at the termination of the war a Congress was to fix
certain disputed points of international right, and to establish a
federative European system for their maintenance and enforcement. As the
immediate objects of the League, the treaty specified the expulsion of
the French from Holland, Switzerland, Italy, and Northern Germany; the
re-establishment of the King of Sardinia in Piedmont, with an increase of
territory; and the creation of a solid barrier against any future
usurpations of France. The last expression signified the union of Holland
and part of Belgium under the House of Orange. In this respect, as in the
provision for a common disposal of conquests and for the settlement of
European affairs by a Congress, the Anglo-Russian Treaty of 1805 defined
the policy actually carried out in 1814. Other territorial changes now
suggested by Pitt, including the annexation of the Rhenish Provinces to
the Prussian Monarchy, were not embodied in the treaty, but became from
this time understood possibilities.

[Policy of Prussia.]

[Prussia neutral.]

England and Russia had, however, some difficulty in securing allies.
Although in violation of his promises to Austria, Napoleon had accepted the
title of King of Italy from the Senate of the Italian Republic, and had
crowned himself with the Iron Crown of Lombardy (March, 1805), the
Ministers at Vienna would have preferred peace, if that had been possible;
and their master reluctantly consented to a war against Napoleon when war
in some form or other seemed inevitable. The policy of Prussia was
doubtful. For two years past Napoleon had made every effort to induce
Prussia to enter into alliance with himself. After the invasion of Hanover
he had doubled his attentions to the Court of Berlin, and had spared
nothing in the way of promises and assurances of friendship to win the King
over to his side. The neutrality of Prussia was of no great service to
France: its support would have been of priceless value, rendering any
attack upon France by Russia or Austria almost impossible, and thus
enabling Napoleon to throw his whole strength into the combat with Great
Britain. In the spring of 1804, the King of Prussia, uncertain of the
friendship of the Czar, and still unconvinced of the vanity of Napoleon's
professions, had inclined to a defensive alliance with France. The news of
the murder of the Duke of Enghien, arriving almost simultaneously with a
message of goodwill from St. Petersburg, led him to abandon this project of
alliance, but caused no breach with Napoleon. Frederick William adhered to
the temporising policy which Prussia had followed since 1795, and the
Foreign Minister, Haugwitz, who had recommended bolder measures, withdrew
for a time from the Court. [108] Baron Hardenberg, who had already acted as
his deputy, stepped into his place. Hardenberg, the negotiator of the peace
of Basle, had for the last ten years advocated a system of neutrality. A
politician quick to grasp new social and political ideas, he was without
that insight into the real forces at work in Europe which, in spite of
errors in detail, made the political aims of Pitt, and of many far inferior
men, substantially just and correct. So late as the end of the year 1804,
Hardenberg not only failed to recognise the dangers to which Prussia was
exposed from Napoleon's ambition, but conceived it to be still possible for
Prussia to avert war between France and the Allied Powers by maintaining a
good understanding with all parties alike. Hardenberg's neutrality excited
the wrath of the Russian Cabinet. While Metternich, the Austrian ambassador
at Berlin, cautiously felt his way, the Czar proposed in the last resort to
force Prussia to take up arms. A few months more passed; and, when
hostilities were on the point of breaking out, Hanover was definitely
offered to Prussia by Napoleon as the price of an alliance. Hardenberg,
still believing that it lay within the power of Prussia, by means of a
French alliance, both to curb Napoleon and to prevent a European war, urged
the King to close with the offer of the French Emperor. [109] But the King
shrank from a decision which involved the possibility of immediate war. The
offer of Hanover was rejected, and Prussia connected itself neither with
Napoleon nor his enemies.

[State of Austria. The army.]

Pitt, the author of the Coalition of 1805, had formed the most sanguine
estimate of the armaments of his allies. Austria was said to have entered
upon a new era since the peace of Lunville, and to have turned to the best
account all the disasters of its former campaigns. There had indeed been no
want of fine professions from Vienna, but Pitt knew little of the real
state of affairs. The Archduke Charles had been placed at the head of the
military administration, and entrusted with extraordinary powers; but the
whole force of routine and corruption was ranged against him. He was
deceived by his subordinates; and after three years of reorganisation he
resigned his post, confessing that he left the army no nearer efficiency
than it was before. Charles was replaced at the War Office by General Mack.
Within six months this bustling charlatan imagined himself to have effected
the reorganisation of which the Archduke despaired, [110] while he had in
fact only introduced new confusion into an army already hampered beyond any
in Europe by its variety of races and languages.

[Political condition of Austria.]

If the military reforms of Austria were delusive, its political reforms
were still more so. The Emperor had indeed consented to unite the
Ministers, who had hitherto worked independently, in a Council of State;
but here reform stopped. Cobenzl, who was now First Minister, understood
nothing but diplomacy. Men continued in office whose presence was an
insuperable bar to any intelligent action: even in that mechanical routine
which, in the eyes of the Emperor Francis, constituted the life of the
State, everything was antiquated and self-contradictory. In all that
affected the mental life of the people the years that followed the peace of
Lunville were distinctly retrograde. Education was placed more than ever
in the hands of the priests; the censorship of the press was given to the
police; a commission was charged with the examination of all the books
printed during the reign of the Emperor Joseph, and above two thousand
works, which had come into being during that brief period of Austrian
liberalism, were suppressed and destroyed. Trade regulations were issued
which combined the extravagance of the French Reign of Terror with the
ignorance of the Middle Ages. All the grain in the country was ordered to
be sold before a certain date, and the Jews were prohibited from carrying
on the corn-trade for a year. Such were the reforms described by Pitt in
the English Parliament as having effected the regeneration of Austria.
Nearer home things were judged in a truer light. Mack's paper-regiments,
the helplessness and unreality of the whole system of Austrian officialism,
were correctly appreciated by the men who had been most in earnest during
the last war. Even Thugut now thought a contest hopeless. The Archduke
Charles argued to the end for peace, and entered upon the war with the
presentiment of defeat and ruin.

[Plans of campaign, 1805.]

The plans of the Allies for the campaign of 1805 covered an immense field.
[111] It was intended that one Austrian army should operate in Lombardy
under the Archduke Charles, while a second, under General Mack, entered
Bavaria, and there awaited the arrival of the Russians, who were to unite
with it in invading France: British and Russian contingents were to combine
with the King of Sweden in Pomerania, and with the King of Naples in
Southern Italy. At the head-quarters of the Allies an impression prevailed
that Napoleon was unprepared for war. It was even believed that his
character had lost something of its energy under the influence of an
Imperial Court. Never was there a more fatal illusion. The forces of France
had never been so overwhelming; the plans of Napoleon had never been worked
out with greater minuteness and certainty. From Hanover to Strasburg masses
of troops had been collected upon the frontier in readiness for the order
to march; and, before the campaign opened, the magnificent army of
Boulogne, which had been collected for the invasion of England, was thrown
into the scale against Austria.

[Failure of Napoleon's naval designs against England.]

[Nelson and Villeneuve, April-June, 1805.]

Events had occurred at sea which frustrated Napoleon's plan for an attack
upon Great Britain. This attack, which in 1797 had been but lightly
threatened, had, upon the renewal of war with England in 1803, become the
object of Napoleon's most serious efforts. An army was concentrated at
Boulogne sufficient to overwhelm the military forces of England, if once it
could reach the opposite shore. Napoleon's thoughts were centred on a plan
for obtaining the naval superiority in the Channel, if only for the few
hours which it would take to transport the army from Boulogne to the
English coast. It was his design to lure Nelson to the other side of the
Atlantic by a feigned expedition against the West Indies, and, during the
absence of the English admiral, to unite all the fleets at present lying
blockaded in the French ports, as a cover for the invading armament.
Admiral Villeneuve was ordered to sail to Martinique, and, after there
meeting with some other ships, to re-cross the Atlantic with all possible
speed, and liberate the fleets blockaded in Ferrol, Brest, and Rochefort.
The junction of the fleets would give Napoleon a force of fifty sail in the
British Channel, a force more than sufficient to overpower all the
squadrons which Great Britain could possibly collect for the defence of its
shores. Such a design exhibited all the power of combination which marked
Napoleon's greatest triumphs; but it required of an indifferent marine the
precision and swiftness of movement which belonged to the land-forces of
France; it assumed in the seamen of Great Britain the same absence of
resource which Napoleon had found among the soldiers of the Continent. In
the present instance, however, Napoleon had to deal with a man as far
superior to all the admirals of France as Napoleon himself was to the
generals of Austria and Prussia. Villeneuve set sail for the West Indies in
the spring of 1805, and succeeded in drawing Nelson after him; but, before
he could re-cross the Atlantic, Nelson, incessantly pursuing the French
squadron in the West-Indian seas, and at length discovering its departure
homewards at Antigua (June 13), had warned the English Government of
Villeneuve's movement by a message sent in the swiftest of the English
brigs. [112] The Government, within twenty-four hours of receiving Nelson's
message, sent orders to Sir Robert Calder instantly to raise the blockades
of Ferrol and Rochefort, and to wait for Villeneuve off Cape Finisterre.
Here Villeneuve met the English fleet (July 22). He was worsted in a
partial engagement, and retired into the harbour of Ferrol. The pressing
orders of Napoleon forced the French admiral, after some delay, to attempt
that movement on Brest and Rochefort on which the whole plan of the
invasion of England depended. But Villeneuve was no longer in a condition
to meet the English force assembled against him. He put back without
fighting, and retired to Cadiz. All hope of carrying out the attack upon
England was lost.

[March of French armies on Bavaria, Sept.]

It only remained for Napoleon to avenge himself upon Austria through the
army which was baulked of its English prey. On the 1st of September, when
the Austrians were now on the point of crossing the Inn, the camp of
Boulogne was broken up. The army turned eastwards, and distributed itself
over all the roads leading from the Channel to the Rhine and the Upper
Danube. Far on the north-east the army of Hanover, commanded by Bernadotte,
moved as its left wing, and converged upon a point in Southern Germany
half-way between the frontiers of France and Austria. In the fables that
long disguised the true character of every action of Napoleon, the
admirable order of march now given to the French armies appears as the
inspiration of a moment, due to the rebound of Napoleon's genius after
learning the frustration of all his naval plans. In reality, the employment
of the "Army of England" against a Continental coalition had always been an
alternative present to Napoleon's mind; and it was threateningly mentioned
in his letters at a time when Villeneuve's failure was still unknown.

[Austrians invade Bavaria, Sept. 8.]

The only advantage which the Allies derived from the remoteness of the
Channel army was that Austria was able to occupy Bavaria without
resistance. General Mack, who was charged with this operation, crossed the
Inn on the 8th of September. The Elector of Bavaria was known to be
secretly hostile to the Coalition. The design of preventing his union with
the French was a correct one; but in the actual situation of the allied
armies it was one that could not be executed without great risk. The
preparations of Russia required more time than was allowed for them; no
Russian troops could reach the Inn before the end of October; and, in
consequence, the entire force operating in Western Germany did not exceed
seventy thousand men. Any doubts, however, as to the prudence of an advance
through Bavaria were silenced by the assurance that Napoleon had to bring
the bulk of his army from the British Channel. [113] In ignorance of the
real movements of the French, Mack pushed on to the western limit of
Bavaria, and reached the river Iller, the border of Wrtemberg, where he
intended to stand on the defensive until the arrival of the Russians.

[Mack at Ulm, October.]

[Capitulation of Ulm, Oct. 17.]

Here, in the first days of October, he became aware of the presence of
French troops, not only in front but to the east of his own position.
With some misgiving as to the situation of the enemy, Mack nevertheless
refused to fall back from Ulm. Another week revealed the true state of
affairs. Before the Russians were anywhere near Bavaria, the vanguard of
Napoleon's Army of the Channel and the Army of Hanover had crossed
North-Western Germany, and seized the roads by which Mack had advanced
from Vienna. Every hour that Mack remained in Ulm brought new divisions
of the French into the Bavarian towns and villages behind him. Escape was
only possible by a retreat into the Tyrol, or by breaking through the
French line while it was yet incompletely formed. Resolute action might
still have saved the Austrian army; but the only energy that was shown
was shown in opposition to the general. The Archduke Ferdinand, who was
the titular commander-in-chief, cut his way through the French with part
of the cavalry; Mack remained in Ulm, and the iron circle closed around
him. At the last moment, after the hopelessness of the situation had
become clear even to himself, Mack was seized by an illusion that some
great disaster had befallen the French in their rear, and that in the
course of a few days Napoleon would be in full retreat. "Let no man utter
the word 'Surrender'"--he proclaimed in an order of October 15th--"the
enemy is in the most fearful straits; it is impossible that he can
continue more than a few days in the neighbourhood. If provisions run
short, we have three thousand horses to nourish us." "I myself," continued
the general, "will be the first to eat horseflesh." Two days later the
inevitable capitulation took place; and Mack with 25,000 men, fell into the
hands of the enemy without striking a blow. A still greater number of the
Austrians outside Ulm surrendered in detachments. [114]

[Trafalgar, Oct. 21.]

[Effects.]

All France read with wonder Napoleon's bulletins describing the capture of
an entire army and the approaching presentation of forty Austrian standards
to the Senate at Paris. No imperial rhetoric acquainted the nation with an
event which, within four days of the capitulation of Ulm, inflicted a
heavier blow on France than Napoleon himself had ever dealt to any
adversary. On the 21st of October Nelson's crowning victory of Trafalgar,
won over Villeneuve venturing out from Cadiz, annihilated the combined
fleets of France and Spain. Nelson fell in the moment of his triumph; but
the work which his last hours had achieved was one to which years prolonged
in glory could have added nothing. He had made an end of the power of
France upon the sea. Trafalgar was not only the greatest naval victory, it
was the greatest and most momentous victory won either by land or by sea
during the whole of the Revolutionary War. No victory, and no series of
victories, of Napoleon produced the same effect upon Europe. Austria was in
arms within five years of Marengo, and within four years of Austerlitz;
Prussia was ready to retrieve the losses of Jena in 1813; a generation
passed after Trafalgar before France again seriously threatened England at
sea. The prospect of crushing the British navy, so long as England had the
means to equip a navy, vanished: Napoleon henceforth set his hopes on
exhausting England's resources by compelling every State on the Continent
to exclude her commerce. Trafalgar forced him to impose his yoke upon all
Europe, or to abandon the hope of conquering Great Britain. If national
love and pride have idealised in our great sailor a character which, with
its Homeric force and freshness, combined something of the violence and the
self-love of the heroes of a rude age, the common estimate of Nelson's work
in history is not beyond the truth. So long as France possessed a navy,
Nelson sustained the spirit of England by his victories; his last triumph
left England in such a position that no means remained to injure her but
those which must result in the ultimate deliverance of the Continent.

[Treaty of Potsdam, Nov. 3.]

[Violation of Prussian territory.]

The consequences of Trafalgar lay in the future; the military situation in
Germany after Mack's catastrophe was such that nothing could keep the army
of Napoleon out of Vienna. In the sudden awakening of Europe to its danger,
one solitary gleam of hope appeared in the attitude of the Prussian Court.
Napoleon had not scrupled, in his anxiety for the arrival of the Army of
Hanover, to order Bernadotte, its commander, to march through the Prussian
territory of Anspach, which lay on his direct route towards Ulm. It was
subsequently alleged by the Allies that Bernadotte's violation of Prussian
neutrality had actually saved him from arriving too late to prevent Mack's
escape; but, apart from all imaginary grounds of reproach, the insult
offered to Prussia by Napoleon was sufficient to incline even Frederick
William to decided action. Some weeks earlier the approach of Russian
forces to his frontier had led Frederick William to arm; the French had now
more than carried out what the Russians had only suggested. When the
outrage was made known to the King of Prussia, that cold and reserved
monarch displayed an emotion which those who surrounded him had seldom
witnessed. [115] The Czar was forthwith offered a free passage for his
armies through Silesia; and, before the news of Mack's capitulation reached
the Russian frontier, Alexander himself was on the way to Berlin. The
result of the deliberations of the two monarchs was the Treaty of Potsdam,
signed on November 3rd. By this treaty Prussia undertook to demand from
Napoleon an indemnity for the King of Piedmont, and the evacuation of
Germany, Switzerland, and Holland: failing Napoleon's acceptance of
Prussia's mediation upon these terms, Prussia engaged to take the field
with 180,000 men.

[French enter Vienna, Nov. 13.]

Napoleon was now close upon Vienna. A few days after the capitulation of
Ulm thirty thousand Russians, commanded by General Kutusoff, had reached
Bavaria; but Mack's disaster rendered it impossible to defend the line of
the Inn, and the last detachments of the Allies disappeared as soon as
Napoleon's vanguard approached the river. The French pushed forth in
overpowering strength upon the capital. Kutusoff and the weakened Austrian
army could neither defend Vienna nor meet the invader in the field. It was
resolved to abandon the city, and to unite the retreating forces on the
northern side of the Danube with a second Russian army now entering
Moravia. On the 7th of November the Court quitted Vienna. Six days later
the French entered the capital, and by an audacious stratagem of Murat's
gained possession of the bridge connecting the city with the north bank of
the Danube, at the moment when the Austrian gunners were about to blow it
into the air. [116] The capture of this bridge deprived the allied army of
the last object protecting it from Napoleon's pursuit. Vienna remained in
the possession of the French. All the resources of a great capital were now
added to the means of the conqueror; and Napoleon prepared to follow his
retreating adversary beyond the Danube, and to annihilate him before he
could reach his supports.

[The Allies and Napoleon in Moravia, Nov.]

The retreat of the Russian army into Moravia was conducted with great skill
by General Kutusoff, who retorted upon Murat the stratagem practised at the
bridge of Vienna, and by means of a pretended armistice effected his
junction with the newly-arrived Russian corps between Olmtz and Brnn.
Napoleon's anger at the escape of his prey was shown in the bitterness of
his attacks upon Murat. The junction of the allied armies in Moravia had in
fact most seriously altered the prospects of the war. For the first time
since the opening of the campaign, the Allies had concentrated a force
superior in numbers to anything that Napoleon could bring against it. It
was impossible for Napoleon, while compelled to protect himself on the
Italian side, to lead more than 70,000 men into Moravia. The Allies had now
80,000 in camp, with the prospect of receiving heavy reinforcements. The
war, which lately seemed to be at its close, might now, in the hands of a
skilful general, be but beginning. Although the lines of Napoleon's
communication with France were well guarded, his position in the heart of
Europe exposed him to many perils; the Archduke Charles had defeated
Massena at Caldiero on the Adige, and was hastening northwards; above all,
the army of Prussia was preparing to enter the field. Every mile that
Napoleon advanced into Moravia increased the strain upon his resources;
every day that postponed the decision of the campaign brought new strength
to his enemies. Merely to keep the French in their camp until a Prussian
force was ready to assail their communications seemed enough to ensure the
Allies victory; and such was the counsel of Kutusoff, who made war in the
temper of the wariest diplomatist. But the scarcity of provisions was
telling upon the discipline of the army, and the Czar was eager for battle.
[117] The Emperor Francis gave way to the ardour of his allies. Weyrother,
the Austrian chief of the staff, drew up the most scientific plans for a
great victory that had ever been seen even at the Austrian head-quarters;
and towards the end of November it was agreed by the two Emperors that the
allied army should march right round Napoleon's position near Brnn, and
fight a battle with the object of cutting off his retreat upon Vienna.

[Haugwitz comes with Prussian demands to Napoleon, Nov. 28.]

[Haugwitz goes away to Vienna.]

It was in the days immediately preceding the intended battle, and after
Napoleon had divined the plans of his enemy, that Count Haugwitz, bearing
the demands of the Cabinet of Berlin, reached the French camp at Brnn.
[118] Napoleon had already heard something of the Treaty of Potsdam, and
was aware that Haugwitz had started from Berlin. He had no intention of
making any of those concessions which Prussia required; at the same time it
was of vital importance to him to avoid the issue of a declaration of war
by Prussia, which would nerve both Austria and Russia to the last
extremities. He therefore resolved to prevent Haugwitz by every possible
method from delivering his ultimatum, until a decisive victory over the
allied armies should have entirely changed the political situation. The
Prussian envoy himself played into Napoleon's hands. Haugwitz had obtained
a disgraceful permission from his sovereign to submit to all Napoleon's
wishes, if, before his arrival, Austria should be separately treating for
peace; and he had an excuse for delay in the fact that the military
preparations of Prussia were not capable of being completed before the
middle of December. He passed twelve days on the journey from Berlin, and
presented himself before Napoleon on the 28th of November. The Emperor,
after a long conversation, requested that he would proceed to Vienna and
transact business with Talleyrand. He was weak enough to permit himself to
be removed to a distance with his ultimatum to Napoleon undelivered. When
next the Prussian Government heard of their envoy, he was sauntering in
Talleyrand's drawing-rooms at Vienna, with the cordon of the French Legion
of Honour on his breast, exchanging civilities with officials who politely
declined to enter upon any question of business.

[Austerlitz, Dec. 2.]

[Armistice, Dec. 4.]

Haugwitz once removed to Vienna, and the Allies thus deprived of the
certainty that Prussia would take the field, Napoleon trusted that a single
great defeat would suffice to break up the Coalition. The movements of the
Allies were exactly those which he expected and desired. He chose his own
positions between Brnn and Austerlitz in the full confidence of victory;
and on the morning of the 2nd of December, when the mists disappeared
before a bright wintry sun, he saw with the utmost delight that the Russian
columns were moving round him in a vast arc, in execution of the
turning-movement of which he had forewarned his own army on the day before.
Napoleon waited until the foremost columns were stretched far in advance of
their supports; then, throwing Soult's division upon the gap left in the
centre of the allied line, he cut the army into halves, and crushed its
severed divisions at every point along the whole line of attack. The
Allies, although they outnumbered Napoleon, believed themselves to be
overpowered by an army double their own size. The incoherence of the allied
movements was as marked as the unity and effectiveness of those of the
French. It was alleged in the army that Kutusoff, the commander-in-chief,
had fallen asleep while the Austrian Weyrother was expounding his plans for
the battle; a truer explanation of the palpable errors in the allied
generalship was that the Russian commander had been forced by the Czar to
carry out a plan of which he disapproved. The destruction in the ranks of
the Allies was enormous, for the Russians fought with the same obstinacy as
at the Trebbia and at Novi. Austria had lost a second army in addition to
its capital; and the one condition which could have steeled its Government
against all thoughts of peace--the certainty of an immediate Prussian
attack upon Napoleon--had vanished with the silent disappearance of the
Prussian envoy. Two days after the battle, the Emperor Francis met his
conqueror in the open field, and accepted an armistice, which involved the
withdrawal of the Russian army from his dominions.

[Haugwitz signs Treaty with Napoleon, Dec. 15.]

Yet even now the Czar sent appeals to Berlin for help, and the negotiation
begun by Austria would possibly have been broken off if help had been
given. But the Cabinet of Frederick William had itself determined to evade
its engagements; and as soon as the news of Austerlitz reached Vienna,
Haugwitz had gone over heart and soul to the conqueror. While negotiations
for peace were carried on between France and Austria, a parallel
negotiation was carried on with the envoy of Prussia; and even before the
Emperor Francis gave way to the conqueror's demands, Haugwitz signed a
treaty with Napoleon at Schnbrunn, by which Prussia, instead of attacking
Napoleon, entered into an alliance with him, and received from him in
return the dominion of Hanover (December 15, 1805). [119] Had Prussia been
the defeated power at Austerlitz, the Treaty of Schnbrunn could not have
more completely reversed the policy to which King Frederick William had
pledged himself six weeks before. While Haugwitz was making his pact with
Napoleon, Hardenberg had been arranging with an English envoy for the
combination of English and Russian forces in Northern Germany. [120]

There were some among the King's advisers who declared that the treaty must
be repudiated, and the envoy disgraced. But the catastrophe of Austerlitz,
and the knowledge that the Government of Vienna was entering upon a
separate negotiation, had damped the courage of the men in power. The
conduct of Haugwitz was first excused, then supported, then admired. The
Duke of Brunswick disgraced himself by representing to the French
Ambassador in Berlin that the whole course of Prussian policy since the
beginning of the campaign had been an elaborate piece of dissimulation in
the interest of France. The leaders of the patriotic party in the army
found themselves without influence or following; the mass of the nation
looked on with the same stupid unconcern with which it had viewed every
event of the last twenty years. The King finally decided that the treaty by
which Haugwitz had thrown the obligations of his country to the winds
should be ratified, with certain modifications, including one that should
nominally reserve to King George III. a voice in the disposal of Hanover.
[121]

[Treaty of Presburg, Dec. 27.]

[End of the Holy Roman Empire, Aug. 6, 1806.]

Ten days after the departure of the Prussian envoy from Vienna, peace was
concluded between France and Austria by the Treaty of Presburg [122]
(December 27). At the outbreak of the war Napoleon had declared to his army
that he would not again spare Austria, as he had spared her at Campo Formio
and at Lunville; and he kept his word. The Peace of Presburg left the
Austrian State in a condition very different from that in which it had
emerged from the two previous wars. The Treaty of Campo Formio had only
deprived Austria of Belgium in order to replace it by Venice; the
Settlement of Lunville had only substituted French for Austrian influence
in Western Germany: the Treaty that followed the battle of Austerlitz
wrested from the House of Hapsburg two of its most important provinces, and
cut it off at once from Italy, from Switzerland, and from the Rhine.
Venetia was ceded to Napoleon's kingdom of Italy; the Tyrol was ceded to
Bavaria; the outlying districts belonging to Austria in Western Germany
were ceded to Baden and to Wrtemberg. Austria lost 28,000 square miles of
territory and 3,000,000 inhabitants. The Emperor recognised the sovereignty
and independence of Bavaria, Baden, and Wrtemberg, and renounced all
rights over those countries as head of the Germanic Body. The Electors of
Bavaria and Wrtemberg, along with a large increase of territory, received
the title of King. The constitution of the Empire ceased to exist even in
name. It only remained for its chief, the successor of the Roman Csars, to
abandon his title at Napoleon's bidding; and on the 6th of August, 1806, an
Act, published by Francis II. at Vienna, made an end of the outworn and
dishonoured fiction of a Holy Roman Empire.

[Naples given to Joseph Bonaparte.]

Though Russia had not made peace with Napoleon, the European Coalition was
at an end. Now, as in 1801, the defeat of the Austrian armies left the
Neapolitan Monarchy to settle its account with the conqueror. Naples had
struck no blow; but it was only through the delays of the Allies that the
Neapolitan army had not united with an English and a Russian force in an
attack upon Lombardy. What had been pardoned in 1801 was now avenged upon
the Bourbon despot of Naples and his Austrian Queen, who from the first had
shown such bitter enmity to France. Assuming the character of a judge over
the sovereigns of Europe, Napoleon pronounced from Vienna that the House of
Naples had ceased to reign (Dec. 27, 1805). The sentence was immediately
carried into execution. Ferdinand fled, as he had fled in 1798, to place
himself under the protection of the navy of Great Britain. The vacant
throne was given by Napoleon to his own brother, Joseph Bonaparte.
Ferdinand, with the help of the English fleet, maintained himself in
Sicily. A thread of sea two miles broad was sufficient barrier against the
Power which had subdued half the Continent; and no attempt was made either
by Napoleon or his brother to gain a footing beyond the Straits of Messina.
In Southern Italy the same fanatical movements took place among the
peasantry as in the previous period of French occupation. When the armies
of Austria and Russia were crushed, and the continent lay at the mercy of
France, Great Britain imagined that it could effect something against
Napoleon in a corner of Italy, with the help of some ferocious villagers. A
British force, landing near Maida, on the Calabrian coast, in the summer of
1806, had the satisfaction of defeating the French at the point of the
bayonet, of exciting a horde of priests and brigands to fruitless
barbarities, and of abandoning them to their well-merited chastisement.

[Battle of Maida, July 6, 1806.]

[The Empire. Napoleonic dynasty and titles.]

The elevation of Napoleon's brother Joseph to the throne of Naples was the
first of a series of appointments now made by Napoleon in the character of
Emperor of the West. He began to style himself the new Charlemagne; his
thoughts and his language were filled with pictures of universal
sovereignty; his authority, as a military despot who had crushed his
neighbours, became strangely confused in his own mind with that half-sacred
right of the Csars from which the Middle Ages derived all subordinate
forms of power. He began to treat the government of the different countries
of Western Europe as a function to be exercised by delegation from himself.
Even the territorial grants which under the Feudal System accompanied
military or civil office were now revived and the commander of a French
army-corps or the chief of the French Foreign Office became the titular
lord of some obscure Italian principality. [123] Napoleon's own family were
to reign in many lands, as the Bourbons and the Hapsburgs had reigned
before them, but in strict dependence on their head. Joseph Bonaparte had
not long been installed at Naples when his brother Louis was compelled to
accept the Crown of Holland. Jerome, for whom no kingdom was at present
vacant, was forced to renounce his American wife, in order that he might
marry the daughter of the King of Wrtemberg. Eugne Beauharnais,
Napoleon's step-son, held the office of Viceroy of Italy; Murat, who had
married Napoleon's sister, had the German Duchy of Berg. Bernadotte,
Talleyrand, and Berthier found themselves suzerains of districts whose
names were almost unknown to them. Out of the revenues of Northern Italy a
yearly sum was reserved as an endowment for the generals whom the Emperor
chose to raise to princely honours.

[Federation of the Rhine.]

More statesmanlike, more practical than Napoleon's dynastic policy, was his
organisation of Western Germany under its native princes as a dependency of
France. The object at which all French politicians had aimed since the
outbreak of the Revolutionary War, the exclusion of both Austria and
Prussia from influence in Western Germany, was now completely attained. The
triumph of French statesmanship, the consummation of two centuries of
German discord, was seen in the Act of Federation subscribed by the Western
German Sovereigns in the summer of 1806. By this Act the Kings of Bavaria
and Wrtemberg, the Elector of Baden, and thirteen minor princes, united
themselves, in the League known as the Rhenish Confederacy, under the
protection of the French Emperor, and undertook to furnish contingents,
amounting to 63,000 men, in all wars in which the French Empire should
engage. Their connection with the ancient Germanic Body was completely
severed; the very town in which the Diet of the Empire had held its
meetings was annexed by one of the members of the Confederacy. The
Confederacy itself, with a population of 8,000,000, became for all purposes
of war and foreign policy a part of France. Its armies were organised by
French officers; its frontiers were fortified by French engineers; its
treaties were made for it at Paris. In the domestic changes which took
place within these States the work of consolidation begun in 1801 was
carried forward with increased vigour. Scores of tiny principalities which
had escaped dissolution in the earlier movement were now absorbed by their
stronger neighbours. Governments became more energetic, more orderly, more
ambitious. The princes who made themselves the vassals of Napoleon assumed
a more despotic power over their own subjects. Old constitutional forms
which had imposed some check on the will of the sovereign, like the Estates
of Wrtemberg, were contemptuously suppressed; the careless, ineffective
routine of the last age gave place to a system of rigorous precision
throughout the public services. Military service was enforced in countries
hitherto free from it. The burdens of the people became greater, but they
were more fairly distributed. The taxes were more equally levied; justice
was made more regular and more simple. A career both in the army and the
offices of Government was opened to a people to whom the very conception of
public life had hitherto been unknown.

[No national unity in Germany.]

The establishment of German unity in our own day after a victorious
struggle with France renders it difficult to imagine the voluntary
submission of a great part of the race to a French sovereign, or to excuse
a policy which, like that of 1806, appears the opposite of everything
honourable and patriotic. But what seems strange now was not strange then.
No expression more truly describes the conditions of that period than one
of the great German poet who was himself so little of a patriot. "Germany,"
said Goethe, "is not a nation." Germany had indeed the unity of race; but
all that truly constitutes a nation, the sense of common interest, a common
history, pride, and desire, Germany did not possess at all. Bavaria, the
strongest of the western States, attached itself to France from a
well-grounded fear of Austrian aggression. To be conquered by Austria was
just as much conquest for Bavaria as to be conquered by any other Power; it
was no step to German unity, but a step in the aggrandisement of the House
of Hapsburg. The interests of the Austrian House were not the interests of
Germany any more than they were the interests of Croatia, or of Venice, or
of Hungary. Nor, on the other hand, had Prussia yet shown a form of
political life sufficiently attractive to lead the southern States to
desire to unite with it. Frederick's genius had indeed made him the hero of
Germany, but his military system was harsh and tyrannical. In the actual
condition of Austria and Prussia, it is doubtful whether the population of
the minor States would have been happier united to these Powers than under
their own Governments. Conquest in any case was impossible, and there was
nothing to stimulate to voluntary union. It followed that the smaller
States were destined to remain without a nationality, until the violence of
some foreign Power rendered weakness an intolerable evil, and forced upon
the better minds of Germany the thought of a common Fatherland.

[What German unity desirable.]

The necessity of German unity is no self-evident political truth. Holland
and Switzerland in past centuries detached themselves from the Empire, and
became independent States, with the highest advantage to themselves.
Identity of blood is no more conclusive reason for political union between
Holstein and the Tyrol than between Great Britain and the United States of
America. The conditions which determine both the true area and the true
quality of German unity are, in fact, something more complex than an
ethnological law or an outburst of patriotic indignation against the
French. Where local circumstances rendered it possible for a German
district, after detaching itself from the race, to maintain a real national
life and defend itself from foreign conquest, there it was perhaps better
that the connection with Germany should be severed; where, as in the great
majority of minor States, independence resulted only in military
helplessness and internal stagnation, there it was better that independence
should give place to German unity. But the conditions of any tolerable
unity were not present so long as Austria was the leading Power. Less was
imperilled in the future of the German people by the submission of the
western States to France than would have been lost by their permanent
incorporation under Austria.

[The Empire of 1806 might have been permanent.]

[Limits of a possible Napoleonic Empire.]

With the establishment of the Rhenish Confederacy and the conquest of
Naples, Napoleon's empire reached, but did not overpass, the limits within
which the sovereignty of France might probably have been long maintained.
It has been usual to draw the line between the sound statesmanship and the
hazardous enterprises of Napoleon at the Peace of Lunville: a juster
appreciation of the condition of Western Europe would perhaps include
within the range of a practical, though mischievous, ideal the whole of the
political changes which immediately followed the war of 1805, and which
extended Napoleon's dominion to the Inn and to the Straits of Messina.
Italy and Germany were not then what they have since become. The districts
that lay between the Rhine and the Inn were not more hostile to the
foreigner than those Rhenish Provinces which so readily accepted their
union with France. The more enterprising minds in Italy found that the
Napoleonic rule, with all its faults, was superior to anything that Italy
had known in recent times. If we may judge from the feeling with which
Napoleon was regarded in Germany down to the middle of the year 1806, and
in Italy down to a much later date, the Empire then founded might have been
permanently upheld, if Napoleon had abstained from attacking other States.
No comparison can be made between the attractive power exercised by the
social equality of France, its military glory, and its good administration,
and the slow and feeble process of assimilation which went on within the
dominions of Austria; yet Austria succeeded in uniting a greater variety of
races than France sought to unite in 1806. The limits of a possible France
were indeed fixed, and fixed more firmly than by any geographical line, in
the history and national character of two other peoples. France could not
permanently overpower Prussia, and it could not permanently overpower
Spain. But within a boundary-line drawn roughly from the mouth of the Elbe
to the head of the Adriatic, that union of national sentiment and material
force which checks the formation of empires did not exist. The true
turning-point in Napoleon's career was the moment when he passed beyond the
policy which had planned the Federation of the Rhine, and roused by his
oppression the one State which was still capable of giving a national life
to Germany.

CHAPTER VII.

Death of Pitt--Ministry of Fox and Grenville--Napoleon forces Prussia into
War with England, and then offers Hanover to England--Prussia resolves on
War with Napoleon--State of Prussia--Decline of the Army--Southern Germany
with Napoleon--Austria Neutral--England and Russia about to help Prussia,
but not immediately--Campaign of 1806--Battles of Jena and Auerstdt--Ruin
of the Prussian Army--Capitulation of Fortresses--Demands of Napoleon--The
War continues--Berlin Decree--Exclusion of English Goods from the
Continent--Russia enters the War--Campaign in Poland and East
Prussia--Eylau--Treaty of Bartenstein--Friedland--Interview at
Tilsit--Alliance of Napoleon and Alexander--Secret Articles--English
Expedition to Denmark--The French enter Portugal--Prussia after the Peace
of Tilsit--Stein's Edict of Emancipation--The Prussian Peasant--Reform of
the Prussian Army, and Creation of Municipalities--Stein's other Projects
of Reform, which are not carried out.

[Death of Pitt, Jan. 23rd, 1806.]

[Coalition Ministry of Fox and Grenville.]

Six weeks after the tidings of Austerlitz reached Great Britain, the
statesman who had been the soul of every European coalition against France
was carried to the grave. [124] Pitt passed away at a moment of the deepest
gloom. His victories at sea appeared to have effected nothing; his
combinations on land had ended in disaster and ruin. If during Pitt's
lifetime a just sense of the greatness and patriotism of all his aims
condoned the innumerable faults of his military administration, that
personal ascendancy which might have disarmed criticism even after the
disaster of Austerlitz belonged to no other member of his Ministry. His
colleagues felt their position to be hopeless. Though the King attempted to
set one of Pitt's subordinates in the vacant place, the prospects of Europe
were too dark, the situation of the country too serious, to allow a
Ministry to be formed upon the ordinary principles of party-organisation or
in accordance with the personal preferences of the monarch. The nation
called for the union of the ablest men of all parties in the work of
government; and, in spite of the life-long hatred of King George to Mr.
Fox, a Ministry entered upon office framed by Fox and Grenville conjointly;
Fox taking the post of Foreign Secretary, with a leading influence in the
Cabinet, and yielding to Grenville the title of Premier. Addington received
a place in the Ministry, and carried with him the support of a section of
the Tory party, which was willing to countenance a policy of peace.

[Napoleon hopes to intimidate Fox through Prussia.]

Fox had from the first given his whole sympathy to the French Revolution,
as the cause of freedom. He had ascribed the calamities of Europe to the
intervention of foreign Powers in favour of the Bourbon monarchy: he had
palliated the aggressions of the French Republic as the consequences of
unjust and unprovoked attack: even the extinction of liberty in France
itself had not wholly destroyed his faith in the honour and the generosity
of the soldier of the Revolution. In the brief interval of peace which in
1802 opened the Continent to English travellers, Fox had been the guest of
the First Consul. His personal feeling towards the French Government had in
it nothing of that proud and suspicious hatred which made negotiation so
difficult while Pitt continued in power. It was believed at Paris, and with
good reason, that the first object of Fox on entering upon office would be
the restoration of peace. Napoleon adopted his own plan in view of the
change likely to arise in the spirit of the British Cabinet. It was his
habit, wherever he saw signs of concession, to apply more violent means of
intimidation. In the present instance he determined to work upon the
pacific leanings of Fox by adding Prussia to the forces arrayed against
Great Britain. Prussia, isolated and discredited since the battle of
Austerlitz, might first be driven into hostilities with England, and then
be made to furnish the very satisfaction demanded by England as the primary
condition of peace.

[The King of Prussia wishes to disguise the cession of Hanover.]

[Napoleon forces Prussia into war with England, March, 1806.]

At the moment when Napoleon heard of Pitt's death, he was expecting the
arrival of Count Haugwitz at Paris for the purpose of obtaining some
modification in the treaty which he had signed on behalf of Prussia after
the battle of Austerlitz. The principal feature in that treaty had been the
grant of Hanover to Prussia by the French Emperor in return for its
alliance. This was the point which above all others excited King Frederick
William's fears and scruples. He desired to retain Hanover, but he also
desired to derive his title rather from its English owner than from its
French invader. It was the object of Haugwitz' visit to Paris to obtain an
alteration in the terms of the treaty which should make the Prussian
occupation of Hanover appear to be merely provisional, and reserve to the
King of England at least a nominal voice in its ultimate transfer. In full
confidence that Napoleon would agree to such a change, the King of Prussia
had concealed the fact of its cession to himself by Napoleon, and published
an untruthful proclamation, stating that, in the interests of the
Hanoverian people themselves, a treaty had been signed and ratified by the
French and Prussian Governments, in virtue of which Hanover was placed
under the protection of the King of Prussia until peace should be concluded
between Great Britain and France. The British Government received
assurances of Prussia's respect for the rights of King George III.: the
bitter truth that the treaty between France and Prussia contained no single
word reserving the rights of the Elector, and that the very idea of
qualifying the absolute cession of Hanover was an afterthought, lay hidden
in the conscience of the Prussian Cabinet. Never had a Government more
completely placed itself at the mercy of a pitiless enemy. Count Haugwitz,
on reaching Paris, was received by Napoleon with a storm of invective
against the supposed partisans of England at the Prussian Court. Napoleon
declared that the ill faith of Prussia had made an end even of that
miserable pact which had been extorted after Austerlitz, and insisted that
King Frederick William should openly defy Great Britain by closing the
ports of Northern Germany to British vessels, and by declaring himself
endowed by Napoleon with Hanover in virtue of Napoleon's own right of
conquest. Haugwitz signed a second and more humiliating treaty embodying
these conditions; and the Prussian Government, now brought into the depths
of contempt, but unready for immediate war, executed the orders of its
master. [125] A proclamation, stating that Prussia had received the
absolute dominion of Hanover from its conqueror Napoleon, gave the lie to
the earlier announcements of King Frederick William. A decree was published
excluding the ships of England from the ports of Prussia and from those of
Hanover itself (March 28, 1806). It was promptly answered by the seizure of
four hundred Prussian vessels in British harbours, and by the total
extinction of Prussian maritime commerce by British privateers. [126]

[Napoleon negotiates with Fox. Offers Hanover to England.]

Scarcely was Prussia committed to this ruinous conflict with Great Britain,
when Napoleon opened negotiations for peace with Mr. Fox's Government. The
first condition required by Great Britain was the restitution of Hanover to
King George III. It was unhesitatingly granted by Napoleon. [127] Thus was
Prussia to be mocked of its prey, after it had been robbed of all its
honour. For the present, however, no rumour of this part of the negotiation
reached Berlin. The negotiation itself, which dragged on through several
months, turned chiefly upon the future ownership of Sicily. Napoleon had in
the first instance agreed that Sicily should be left in the hands of
Ferdinand of Naples, who had never been expelled from it by the French.
Finding, however, that the Russian envoy d'Oubril, who had been sent to
Paris with indefinite instructions by the Emperor Alexander, was willing to
separate the cause of Russia from that of England, and to sign a separate
peace, Napoleon retracted his promise relating to Sicily, and demanded that
this island should be ceded to his brother Joseph. D'Oubril signed
Preliminaries on behalf of Russia on the 20th of July, and left the English
negotiator to obtain what terms he could. Fox had been willing to recognise
the order of things established by Napoleon on the Italian mainland; he
would even have ceded Sicily, if Russia had urged this in a joint
negotiation; but he was too good a statesman to be cheated out of Sicily by
a mere trick. He recalled the English envoy from Paris, and waited for the
judgment of the Czar upon the conduct of his own representative. The Czar
disavowed d'Oubril's negotiations, and repudiated the treaty which he
brought back to St. Petersburg. Napoleon had thus completely overreached
himself, and, instead of severing Great Britain and Russia by separate
agreements, had only irritated and displeased them both. The negotiations
went no further; their importance lay only in the effect which they
produced upon Prussia, when Napoleon's offer of Hanover to Great Britain
became known at Berlin.

[Prussia learns of Napoleon's offer of Hanover to England, Aug. 7.]

[Prussia determines on war.]

From the time when Haugwitz' second treaty placed his master at Napoleon's
feet, Prussia had been subjected to an unbroken series of insults and
wrongs. Murat, as Duke of Berg, had seized upon territory allotted to
Prussia in the distribution of the ecclesiastical lands; the establishment
of a North German Confederacy under Prussian leadership was suggested by
Napoleon himself, only to be summarily forbidden as soon as Prussia
attempted to carry the proposal into execution. There was scarcely a
courtier in Berlin who did not feel that the yoke of the French had become
past endurance; even Haugwitz himself now considered war as a question of
time. The patriotic party in the capital and the younger officers of the
army bitterly denounced the dishonoured Government, and urged the King to
strike for the credit of his country. [128] In the midst of this deepening
agitation, a despatch arrived from Lucchesini, the Prussian Ambassador at
Paris (August 7), relating the offer of Hanover made by Napoleon to the
British Government. For nearly three months Lucchesini had caught no
glimpse of the negotiations between Great Britain and France; suddenly, on
entering into conversation with the English envoy at a dinner-party, he
learnt the blow which Napoleon had intended to deal to Prussia. Lucchesini
instantly communicated with the Court of Berlin; but his despatch was
opened by Talleyrand's agents before it left Paris, and the French
Government was thus placed on its guard against the sudden explosion of
Prussian wrath. Lucchesini's despatch had indeed all the importance that
Talleyrand attributed to it. It brought that spasmodic access of resolution
to the irresolute King which Bernadotte's violation of his territory had
brought in the year before. The whole Prussian army was ordered to prepare
for war; Brunswick was summoned to form plans of a campaign; and appeals
for help were sent to Vienna, to St. Petersburg, and even to the hostile
Court of London.

[Condition of Prussia.]

[Ministers not in the King's Cabinet.]

The condition of Prussia at this critical moment was one which filled with
the deepest alarm those few patriotic statesmen who were not blinded by
national vanity or by slavery to routine. The foreign policy of Prussia in
1805, miserable as it was, had been but a single manifestation of the
helplessness, the moral deadness that ran through every part of its
official and public life. Early in the year 1806 a paper was drawn up by
Stein, [129] exposing, in language seldom used by a statesman, the
character of the men by whom Frederick William was surrounded, and
declaring that nothing but a speedy change of system could save the
Prussian State from utter downfall and ruin. Two measures of immediate
necessity were specified by Stein, the establishment of a responsible
council of Ministers, and the removal of Haugwitz and all his friends from
power. In the existing system of government the Ministers were not the
monarch's confidential advisers. The Ministers performed their work in
isolation from one another; the Cabinet, or confidential council of the
King, was composed of persons holding no public function, and free from all
public responsibility. No guarantee existed that the policy of the country
would be the same for two days together. The Ministers were often unaware
of the turn that affairs had taken in the Cabinet; and the history of
Haugwitz' mission to Austerlitz showed that an individual might commit the
State to engagements the very opposite of those which he was sent to
contract. The first necessity for Prussia was a responsible governing
council: with such a council, formed from the heads of the actual
Administration, the reform of the army and of the other branches of the
public service, which was absolutely hopeless under the present system,
might be attended with some chance of success.

[State of the Prussian Army.]

[Higher officers.]

The army of Prussia, at an epoch when the conscription and the genius of
Napoleon had revolutionised the art of war, was nothing but the army of
Frederick the Great grown twenty years older. [130] It was obvious to all
the world that its commissariat and marching-regulations belonged to a time
when weeks were allowed for movements now reckoned by days; but there were
circumstances less conspicuous from the outside which had paralysed the
very spirit of soldiership, and prepared the way for a military collapse in
which defeats in the field were the least dishonourable event. Old age had
rendered the majority of the higher officers totally unfit for military
service. In that barrack-like routine of officialism which passed in
Prussia for the wisdom of government, the upper ranks of the army formed a
species of administrative corps in time of peace, and received for their
civil employment double the pay that they could earn in actual war. Aged
men, with the rank of majors, colonels, and generals, mouldered in the
offices of country towns, and murmured at the very mention of a war, which
would deprive them of half their salaries. Except in the case of certain
princes, who were placed in high rank while young, and of a few vigorous
patriarchs like Blcher, all the energy and military spirit of the army was
to be found in men who had not passed the grade of captain. The higher
officers were, on an average, nearly double the age of French officers of
corresponding rank. [131] Of the twenty-four lieutenant-generals, eighteen
were over sixty; the younger ones, with a single exception, were princes.
Five out of the seven commanders of infantry were over seventy; even the
sixteen cavalry generals included only two who had not reached sixty-five.
These were the men who, when the armies of Prussia were beaten in the
field, surrendered its fortresses with as little concern as if they had
been receiving the French on a visit of ceremony. Their vanity was as
lamentable as their faint-heartedness. "The army of his Majesty," said
General Rchel on parade, "possesses several generals equal to Bonaparte."
Faults of another character belonged to the generation which had grown up
since Frederick. The arrogance and licentiousness of the younger officers
was such that their ruin on the field of Jena caused positive joy to a
great part of the middle classes of Prussia. But, however hateful their
manners, and however rash their self-confidence, the vices of these younger
men had no direct connection with the disasters of 1806. The gallants who
sharpened their swords on the window-sill of the French Ambassador received
a bitter lesson from the plebeian troopers of Murat; but they showed
courage in disaster, and subsequently gave to their country many officers
of ability and honour.

[Common soldiers.]

What was bad in the higher grades of the army was not retrieved by any
excellence on the part of the private soldier. The Prussian army was
recruited in part from foreigners, but chiefly from Prussian serfs, who
were compelled to serve. Men remained with their regiments till old age;
the rough character of the soldiers and the frequency of crimes and
desertions occasioned the use of brutal punishments, which made the
military service an object of horror to the better part of the middle and
lower classes. The soldiers themselves, who could be flogged and drilled
into high military perfection by a great general like Frederick, felt a
surly indifference to their present taskmasters, and were ready to desert
in masses to their homes as soon as a defeat broke up the regimental muster
and roll-call. A proposal made in the previous year to introduce that
system of general service which has since made Prussia so great a military
power was rejected by a committee of generals, on the ground that it "would
convert the most formidable army of Europe into a militia." But whether
Prussia entered the war with a militia or a regular army, under the men who
held command in 1806 it could have met with but one fate. Neither soldiery
nor fortresses could have saved a kingdom whose generals knew only how to
capitulate.

[Southern Germany. Execution of Palm, Aug. 26.]

All southern Germany was still in Napoleon's hands. As the probability of a
war with Prussia became greater and greater, Napoleon had tightened his
grasp upon the Confederate States. Publications originating among the
patriotic circles of Austria were beginning to appeal to the German people
to unite against a foreign oppressor. An anonymous pamphlet, entitled
"Germany in its Deep Humiliation," was sold by various booksellers in
Bavaria, among others by Palm, a citizen of Nuremberg. There is no evidence

Book of the day: