Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Worlds Best Histories - France Vol 7 by M. Guizot and Madame Guizot De Witt

Part 1 out of 9

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.1 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

This eBook was produced by Anne Soulard, Charles Franks
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team

[Illustration: JOSEPHINE]

World's Best Histories: FRANCE






CHAPTER VII. The Consulate (1799-1804)

CHAPTER VIII. Glory and Success (1804-1805)

CHAPTER IX. Glory and Conquest (1805-1808)

CHAPTER X. The Home Government (1804-1808)

CHAPTER XI. Glory and Illusions. Spain and Austria

CHAPTER XII. The Divorce (1809-1810)

CHAPTER XIII. Glory and Madness. The Russian Campaign (1811-1812)



THE CONSULATE (1799-1804).

For more than ten years, amid unheard of shocks and sufferings, France had
been seeking for a free and regular government, that might assure to her
the new rights which had only been gained through tribulation. She had
overthrown the Monarchy and attempted a Republic; she had accepted and
rejected three constitutions, all the while struggling single-handed with
Europe, leagued against her. She had undergone the violence of the Reign
of Terror, the contradictory passions of the Assemblies, and the
incoherent feebleness of the Directory. For the first time since the death
of King Louis XIV., her history finds once more a centre, and henceforth
revolves round a single man. For fifteen years, victorious or vanquished,
at the summit of glory, or in the depths of abasement, France and Europe,
overmastered by an indomitable will and unbridled passion for power, were
compelled to squander their blood and their treasure upon that page of
universal history which General Bonaparte claims for his own, and which he
has succeeded in covering with glory and crime.

On the day following the 18th Brumaire, in the uncertainty of parties, in
face of a constitution audaciously violated, and a government mainly
provisional, the nation was more excited than apprehensive or disquieted.
It had caught a glimpse of that natural power and that free ascendancy of
genius to which men willingly abandon themselves, with a confidence which
the most bitter deceptions have never been able to extinguish. Ardent and
sincere republicans, less and less numerous, felt themselves conquered
beforehand, by a sure instinct that was not misled by the protest of their
adversaries. They bent before a new power, to which their old hatreds did
not attach, which they believed to be in some sort created by their own
hands, and of which they had not yet measured the audacity. The mass of
the population, the true France, hailed with joy the hope of order and of
a regular and strong administration. They were not prejudiced in favor of
the philosophic constitution so long propounded by Sieyès. In the eyes of
the nation, the government was already concentrated in the hands of
General Bonaparte; it was in him that all were trusting, for repose at
home and glory and peace abroad.

In fact, he was governing already, disregarding the prolonged discussions
of the two legislative commissions, and the profound developments of the
projects of Sieyès, expounded by M. Boulay. Before the Constitution of the
year VIII, received the sanction of his dominant will, he had repealed the
Law of Hostages, recalled the proscribed priests from the Isle of Oléron,
and from Sinnamari most of those transported on 18th Fructidor. He had
reformed the ministry, and distributed according to his pleasure the chief
commands in the army. As Moreau had been of service to Bonaparte in his
_coup d'état_, he was placed at the head of the army of the Rhine joined
to the army of Helvetia, taken from Massena on the morrow of his most
brilliant victories. Distrust and ill-will struggled with his admiration
of Bonaparte in the mind of the conqueror of Zurich; he was sent to the
army of Italy, always devoted to Bonaparte. Berthier remained at Paris in
the capacity of minister of war. Fouché was placed at the police, and
Talleyrand undertook foreign affairs. By a bent of theoretical fancy,
which was not borne out by experience in government, the illustrious
mathematician Laplace was called to the ministry of the interior. Gaudin
became minister of finances; he replaced immediately the forced loans with
an increase of direct taxes, and introduced into the collection of the
public revenues some important improvements, which paved the way for our
great financial organization.

At the same time, without provocation and without necessity, as if simply
in compliance with the mournful traditions of past violence, a list of
proscriptions, published on the 23rd Brumaire, exiled to Guiana or the Île
de Ré nine persons--a mixture of honest republicans opposed to the new
state of things, and of wretches still charged with the crimes of the
Reign of Terror. Only the name of General Jourdan excited universal
reprobation, and it was immediately struck out. The measure itself was
soon mitigated, and the decree was never executed.

Through the revolutionary storms and the murderous epochs which had
successively seen all the great actors in the political struggles
disappear from the scene, the Abbé Sieyès emerged as a veteran associated
with the first free impulses of the nation. In 1789, his pamphlet, "What
is the Third Estate?" had arrested the attention of all serious minds. He
had several times, and in decisive circumstances, played an important part
in the Constituent Assembly. Since his vote of the 20th January, and until
the 9th Thermidor, he remained in voluntary obscurity; mingling since then
in all great theoretical discussions, he had exercised a preponderating
influence in recent events. From revolution to revolution, popular or
military, he came out in the part of legislator, his spirit escaping from
the influence of pure democracy. He had formerly proposed the banishment
_en masse_ of all the nobility, and he still nursed in the depths of his
soul a horror for all traditional superiority. He had said, "Whoever is
not of my species is not my fellow-creature; the nobles are not of my
species; they are wolves, and I fire upon them." He had, however, been
brought, by his reflections and the course of events, to construct
eccentric theories, of a factitious aristocracy, the wielders of power to
the exclusion of the nation, recruited from a limited circle--a disfigured
survival of the Italian republics of the middle ages, without the free and
salutary action of representative government.

"Confidence ought to proceed from below, and power to act from above,"
declared the appointed legislator of the 18th Brumaire. He himself
compared his political system to a pyramid, resting on the entire mass of
the nation, terminating at the top in a single man, whom he called the
Great Elector. He had not the courage to pronounce the word king.

Five millions of electors, constituted into primary assemblies, were to
prepare a _municipal_ list of 500,000 elected who in their turn were
entrusted with the formation of a _departmental_ list of 50,000 names. To
these twice sifted delegates was confided the care of electing 5000 as a
_national_ list, alone capable of becoming the agents of executive power
in the whole of France. The municipal and departmental administrations
were to be chosen by authority from their respective lists. The
_Conservative Senate_, composed of eighty members, self-elective, had the
right of appointing the members of the Corps Législatif, the Tribuneship,
and the Court of Cassation. It was besides destined to the honor of
choosing the Great Elector. The senators, richly endowed, might exercise
no other function. The Corps Législatif was dumb, and limited to voting
the laws prepared by the Council of State, and discussed by the Tribunate.
The Great Elector, without actively interfering in the government,
furnished with a civil list of six millions, and magnificently housed by
the state, appointed the two councils of peace and war, upon whom depended
the ministers and all the administrative _personnel_ of prefects and sub-
prefects entrusted with the government of the departments. In case the
magistrate, so highly placed in his sumptuous indolence, should seem to
menace the safety of the State, the Senate was authorized to _absorb_ him
by admitting him into its ranks. The same action might be exercised with
respect to any of the civil or military functionaries.

So many complicated wheels calculated to hinder rather than to sustain
each other, so much pomp in words and so little efficacy in action, could
never suit the intentions or the character of General Bonaparte. He
claimed at once the position of Great Elector, which Sieyès had perhaps
secretly thought to reserve for himself.

"What!" said he, "would you want to make me a pig in a dunghill?" Then
demolishing the edifice laboriously constructed by the legislator, "Your
Great Elector is a slothful king," said he to Sieyès; "the time for that
sort of thing is past. What! appoint people to act, and not act himself!
It won't do. If I were this Great Elector I should certainly do everything
which you would desire me not to do. I should say to the two consuls of
peace and war: 'If you don't choose such and such a man, or take such and
such a measure, I shall send you about your business.' And I would compel
them to proceed according to my will. And these two consuls? How do you
think they could agree? Unity of action is indispensable in government. Do
you think that serious men would be able to lend themselves to such

Sieyès was not fond of discussion, for which indeed he was not suited;
with the prudent sagacity which always characterized his conduct, he
recognized the inferiority of his will and his influence in comparison
with General Bonaparte. Three consuls were substituted for the Great
Elector and his two chosen subordinates equal in appearance, but already
classed according to the origin of their power. As first consul, Bonaparte
was not to be subjected to any election; he held himself as appointed by
the people. "What colleagues will they give me?" said he bluntly to
Roederer and Talleyrand who served him constantly as his agents of
communication. "Whom do you wish?" He named Cambacérès, then minister of
justice, clever and clear-sighted, of an independent spirit joined to a
docile character; and Lebrun, the former secretary of the Chancellor
Maupeou, minister for foreign affairs under the Convention, and respected
by moderate republicans. Some had spoken of M. Daunou, honestly courageous
in the worst days of the Revolution; the clever author of the Constitution
of the year III., and whom Bonaparte had taken a malicious pleasure in
entrusting with the drawing up of the new Constitution. A certain number
of voices in the two legislative commissions had supported his name. The
resolution of M. Daunou was known; Bonaparte did not complete the counting
of the votes. "We shall do better," said he, "to keep to those whom M.
Sieyès has named." Cambacérès and Lebrun were appointed consuls. Sieyès
received from the nation a rich grant and the estate of Crosne. In concert
with Roger-Ducos and the new consuls, he formed the list of the Senate,
who immediately completed its numbers, as well as the lists of the 300
members of the Corps Législatif, and the 100 members of the Tribunate.
Moderation presided over the composition of the lists; Bonaparte attached
no importance to them, and took no part in their preparation. He had
formed with care the Council of State, many capable men finding a place in
it. It was the instrument which the First Consul destined for the
execution of his ideas. Once only, on the 19th Brumaire, he came for a
moment into contact with the assemblies. Henceforth he left them in the
shade; all power rested in his hands. Under the name of Republic, the
accent of an absolute master resounded already in the proclamation
everywhere circulated on the day following the formation of the new


"To render the Republic dear to citizens, respected by foreigners,
formidable to our enemies, are the obligations which we have contracted in
accepting the chief magistracy.

"It will be dear to citizens if the laws and the acts of authority bear
the impress of the spirit of order, justice and moderation.

"The Republic will be imposing to foreigners if it knows how to respect in
their independence the title of its own independence, if its engagements,
prepared with wisdom and entered upon with sincerity, are faithfully kept.

"Lastly, it will be formidable to its enemies, if the army and navy are
made strong, and if each of its defenders finds a home in the regiment to
which he belongs, and in that home a heritage of virtue and glory; if the
officer, trained by long study, obtains by regular promotion the
recompense due to his talents and work.

"Upon these principles depend the stability of government, the success of
commerce and agriculture, the greatness and prosperity of nations.

"We have pointed out the rule, Frenchmen, by which we ought to be judged,
we have stated our duties. It will be for you to tell us whether we have
fulfilled them."

"What would you have?" said the First Consul to La Fayette. "Sieyès has
put nothing but shadows everywhere; the shadow of legislative power, the
shadow of judicial power, the shadow of government; some part of the
substance was necessary. Faith! I have put it there." The very preamble of
the Constitution affirmed the radical change brought about in the
direction of affairs. "The powers instituted to-day will be strong and
lasting, such as they ought to be in order to guarantee the rights of
citizens and the interests of the State. Citizens, the Revolution is fixed
upon the same principles which began it. It is finished!"

It was not the apotheosis, but the end of the Revolution that the authors
of the Constitution of the year VIII. arrogantly announced. In the first
impulse of a great spirit brought face to face with a difficult task,
Bonaparte conceived the thought of terminating the war like the
Revolution, and of re-establishing, at least for some time, the peace he
needed in order to govern France. Disdainful of the ordinary forms of
diplomacy, he wrote directly to George III., as he had formerly written to
the Archduke Charles (18th December, 1799).

"Called by the will of the French nation to be first magistrate, I deem it
expedient on entering upon my charge to communicate directly with your

"Must the war which for eight years has ravaged the four quarters of the
globe, be eternal? Is there no other means of arriving at a mutual

"How can the most enlightened nations of Europe, powerful and strong
beyond what their security and independence require, sacrifice the
interest of commerce, the prosperity of their people, and the happiness of
families, to ideas of vainglory?

"These sentiments cannot be foreign to the heart of your Majesty, who
governs a free nation with the sole aim of rendering it happy.

"Your Majesty will see in these overtures only my sincere desire to
contribute effectively, for the second time, to a general pacification by
a prompt procedure, full of confidence and divested of those forms which,
necessary perhaps, in order to disguise the dependence of feeble States,
only reveal between strong States a mutual desire to deceive each other.

"France and England, by the abuse of their power, may for a long time yet
retard its termination; but I dare to say that every civilized nation is
interested in the close of a war which embraces the whole world."

At the same time, and in nearly the same terms, Bonaparte wrote to the
Emperor Francis. He had treated formerly with this sovereign, and would
not perhaps have found him inflexible; but Pitt did not believe the
Revolution finished, and had no confidence in a man who had just seized
with a victorious hand the direction of the destinies of France. A
frigidly polite letter, addressed by Lord Granville to Talleyrand, the
minister of foreign affairs, repelled the advances of the First Consul.
The English then prepared a new armament intended to second the attempts
which the royalists were at that time renewing in the west. In enumerating
the causes of European mistrust with regard to France, Lord Granville
added, "The best guarantee, the most natural guarantee, for the reality
and the permanence of the pacific intentions of the French government,
would be the restoration of that royal dynasty which has maintained for so
many ages the internal prosperity of France, and which has made it
regarded with respect and consideration abroad. Such an event would clear
away all the obstacles which hinder negotiations for peace, it would
ensure to France the tranquil possession of her ancient territory, and it
would give to all the nations of Europe that security which they are
compelled to seek at present by other means."

During the violent debate raised in Parliament by the pacific propositions
of the First Consul, Pitt based all his arguments upon the instability and
insecurity of a treaty of peace with the French Revolution, whatever might
be the name of its chief rulers. "When was it discovered that the dangers
of Jacobinism cease to exist?" he cried. "When was it discovered that the
Jacobinism of Robespierre, of Barère, of the five directors, of the
triumvirate, has all of a sudden disappeared because it is concentrated in
a single man, raised and nurtured in its bosom, covered with glory under
its auspices, and who has been at once the offspring and the champion of
all its atrocities?... It is because I love peace sincerely that I cannot
content myself with a vain word; it is because I love peace sincerely that
I cannot sacrifice it by seizing the shadow when the reality is not within
my reach. _Cur igitur pacem nolo? Quia infida est, quia periculosa, quia
esse non potest!_"

More moderate in form, Austria had in reality replied like England. War
was inevitable, and in the internal disorder in which the Directory had
left affairs, in the financial embarrassment and in the deplorable state
of the armies, the First Consul felt the weight of a government that had
been so long disorganized and weak, pressing heavily on his shoulders. His
first care was to achieve the pacification of the west, always agitated by
royalist passions. For a moment the chiefs of the party thought it
possible to engage General Bonaparte in the service of the monarchical
restoration: they were speedily undeceived. But the First Consul knew how
to make use in Vendée of the influence of the former curé of St. Laud, the
Abbé Bernier; he made an appeal to the priests, who returned from all
parts to their provinces, "The ministers of a God of Peace," said the
proclamation of the 28th December, 1799, "will be the first promoters of
reconciliation and concord; let them speak to all hearts the language
which they learn in the temple of their Master! Let them enter temples
which will be reopened to them, and offer for their fellow-citizens the
sacrifice which shall expiate the crime of war and the blood which has
been made to flow!" Always in intimate unison with the religious sentiment
of the populace who fought under their orders, the Vendean chiefs
responded to this appeal, laying down their arms. In Brittany and in
Normandy, Georges Cadoudal and Frotté continued hostilities; severe
instructions were sent, first to General Hédouville, and then to General
Brune. "The Consuls think that the generals ought to shoot on the spot the
principal rebels taken with arms in hand. However cunning the Chouans may
be, they are not so much so as Arabs of the desert. The First Consul
believes that a salutary example would be given by burning two or three
large communes, chosen from among those who have behaved themselves most
badly." Six weeks later the insurrection was everywhere subdued; Frotté,
and his young aide-de-camp Toustain, had been shot; Bourmont had accepted
the offers of the First Consul, and enrolled himself in his service;
Georges Cadoudal resisted all the advances of him whom he was soon to
pursue with his hatred even to attempting a crime. "What a mistake I have
made in not stifling him in my arms!" repeated the hardy chief of the
Chouans on quitting General Bonaparte. He retired into England. The civil
war was terminated; the troops which had occupied the provinces of the
west could now rejoin the armies which were preparing on the frontiers.
Carnot, who had just re-entered France, replaced at the ministry of war
General Berthier, called upon active service. It was the grand association
connected with his name, rather than the hope of an active and effective
co-operation, which decided the First Consul to entrust this post to
Carnot; possibly he wished to remove it from the little group of obstinate
liberals justly disquieted at the dangers with which they saw freedom
menaced. Already the journals had been suppressed, with the exception of
thirteen; the laws were voted without dispute; and, "in a veritable
whirlwind of urgency," the government claimed to regulate the duration of
the discussions of the Tribunate. Benjamin Constant, still young, and
known for a short time previously as a publicist, raised his voice
eloquently against the wrong done to freedom of discussion. "Without
doubt," said he "harmony is desirable amongst the authorities of the
Republic; but the independence of the Tribunate is no less necessary to
that harmony than the constitutional authority of the government; without
the independence of the Tribunate, there will be no longer either harmony
or constitution, there will be no longer anything but servitude and
silence, a silence that all Europe will understand."

The past violence of the assemblies, and their frequent inconsistencies,
had wearied feeble minds, and blinded short-sighted spirits. The speech of
Benjamin Constant secured for his friend Madame de Staël a forced
retirement from Paris. The law was voted by a large majority, and the
adulations of flatterers were heaped up around the feet of the First
Consul. He himself took a wiser view of his position, which he still
considered precarious. On taking up his residence at the Tuileries, in
great state, on February 19, 1800, he said to his secretary, "Well,
Bourienne, we have reached the Tuileries; the thing is now to stop here."

Already, and by the sole effort of a sovereign will, which appeared to
improve by exercise, the power formerly distributed among obscure hands
was concentrated at Paris, under the direction of a central administration
suddenly organized; exactions borne with difficulty resulted in abundant
resources from the conquered or annexed countries, at Genoa, in Holland,
at Hamburg. The young King of Prussia, sensible and prudent, had refused
to transform his neutrality into alliance; but he had used his influence
over the smaller states of the empire, to induce them to maintain the same
attitude. The Emperor Paul I., tossed to and fro by the impetuous
movements of his ardent and unhealthy spirit, was piqued by the defeats of
Suwarrow, and offended by the insufficiency of the help of Austria; he was
discontented with the English government, and ill-humoredly kept himself
apart from the coalition. The resumption of hostilities was imminent, and
the grand projects of the First Consul began to unroll themselves. Active
preparations had been till then confined to the army of the Rhine under
Moreau. The army of Liguria, placed under the command of Masséna, with
Genoa as a centre of operations, had received neither reinforcements nor
munitions; its duty was to protect the passage of the Appenines against
Mélas, whilst Moreau attacked upon the Rhine the army of Suabia, commanded
by Marshal Kray. The occupation of Switzerland by the French army impeded
the movements of the allies, by compelling them to withdraw their two
armies from each other; the First Consul meditated a movement which should
give him all the advantages of this separation. Moreau in Germany, Masséna
in Italy, were ordered at any cost to keep the enemy in check. Bonaparte
silently formed a third army, the corps of which he cleverly dispersed,
distracting the attention of Europe by the camp of the army of reserve at
Dijon. Already he was preparing the grand campaign which should raise his
glory to its pinnacle, and establish his power upon victory. In his idea
everything was to be sacrificed to the personal glory of his successes. He
conceived a project of attack by crossing the Rhine. Moreau, modest and
disinterested, accepted the general plan of the war, and subordinated his
operations to those of the First Consul; in his military capacity
independent and resolute, he persisted in passing the Rhine at his
pleasure. Bonaparte was enraged. "Moreau would not seek to understand me,"
cried he. He yielded, however, to the observations of General Dessoles,
and always clever in subjugating those of whom he had need, he wrote to
Moreau to restore him liberty of action. "Dessoles will tell you that no
one is more interested than myself in your personal glory and your good
fortune. The English embark in force; what do they want? I am to-day a
sort of manikin, who has lost his liberty and his good fortune. Greatness
is fine but in prospective and in imagination. I envy you your luck; you
go with the heroes to do fine deeds. I would willingly barter my consular
purple against one of your brigadier's epaulettes" (16th March, 1800).

The army of Italy had been suffering for a long time with heroic courage;
the well-known chief who took the command was more than any other suited
to obtain from it the last efforts of devotion; it was the first to
undergo the attack of the allied forces. The troops of Masséna were still
scattered when he was assailed by Mélas. The fear of prematurely
exhausting the insufficient resources of Genoa had prevented him from
following the wise councils of Bonaparte, by massing his troops round that
town. After a series of furious combats upon the upper Bormida, the French
line found itself cut in two by the Austrians; General Suchet was obliged
to fall back upon Nice, Masséna re-entered Genoa. A new effort forced back
General Mélas beyond the Appenines. The attempt to rejoin the corps of
General Suchet having failed, Masséna saw himself constrained to shut
himself up in Genoa, in the midst of a population divided in opinion, but
whose confidence he had already known how to win. Resolved to occupy by
resistance and by sorties all the forces of the allies, the general made
preparations for sustaining the siege to the last extremity. All the
provisions of the place were brought into the military magazines; the most
severe order reigned in the distribution, but already scarcity was felt.
The forces of Masséna, exhausted by frequent fights, diminished every day;
bread failed; and the heroic obstinacy of the general alone compelled the
Austrians to keep a considerable corps d'armée before a famished town (5th
May, 1800). Mélas had in vain attempted to force the lines of Var, behind
which General Suchet, too feeble to defend Nice, had cleverly entrenched

Moreau delayed to commence the campaign; his material was insufficient;
Alsace and Switzerland, exhausted of resources, could not furnish the
means of transport required by his movement. The First Consul urged him.
"Obtain a success as soon as possible, that you may be able by a diversion
in some degree to expedite the operations in Italy," he wrote to him on
April 24; "every day's delay is extremely disastrous to us." On April 26,
Moreau passed the Rhine at Strasburg, at Brisach, and at Basle, thus
deceiving General Kray, who defended the defiles of the Black Forest,
whilst the different divisions of the French army reascended and repassed
the Rhine, in order to cross it afresh without difficulty at Schaffhausen.
The Austrians had not yet collected their forces, dispersed by the
unlooked-for movement they found themselves obliged to execute; the French
corps were themselves dispersed when the battle commenced, on May 3, at
Engen. After a furious struggle at several points, General Moreau achieved
a splendid victory; two days later the same fortune crowned the battle of
Moesskirch; the loss on both sides was great. The action was not well
combined; Marshal Kray at first fell back behind the Danube; by the advice
of his council of war he decided to defend the magazines at Biberach. He
repassed the river, and offered battle to the corps of Gouvion St. Cyr,
then hampered with Moreau, bearing his direction with difficulty. The
positions occupied by the Austrians were everywhere attacked at once;
their troops, already demoralized by several defeats, retired in disorder.
Kray fell back on Ulm, where an entrenched camp was ready for him. General
Moreau was compelled to weaken his army by detaching a corps of 1800 men,
necessary for the operations of the First Consul. He attempted without
success a movement intended to turn the flank of General Kray, and
resolved to blockade him in his positions, and wait for the result of the
manoeuvres of Bonaparte. On the 27th May he wrote to Bonaparte, "We await
with impatience the announcement of your success. M. de Kray and I are
groping about here--he to keep his army round Ulm, I to make him quit the
post. It would have been dangerous, especially for you, if I had carried
the war to the left bank of the Danube. Our present position has forced
the Prince of Reuss to remove himself to the passes of the Tyrol, to the
sources of the Lech and the Iller; thus he is no longer dangerous for you.
If M. de Kray comes towards me, I shall still retreat as far as Meiningen;
there I shall join General Lecourbe, and we shall fight. If M. de Kray
marches upon Augsburg, I shall do the same; he will quit his support at
Ulm, and then we shall see what will have to be done to cover your
movements. We should find more advantages in carrying on the war upon the
left bank of the Danube, and making Wurtemberg and Franconia contribute to
it; but that would not suit you, as the enemy would be able to send
detachments down into Italy whilst leaving us to ravage the provinces of
the Empire.

"Give me, I pray you, some news of yourself, and command me in every
possible service I can render you."

All was thus prepared in Germany and Italy for the success of that
campaign of the First Consul of which the enemy were still ignorant.
Always deceived by the fictitious concentrations carried on at Dijon, the
Austrians saw without disquietude the departure of Bonaparte, who left
Paris, as it was said, for a few days, in order to pass in review the army
of reserve. The French public shared the same illusion; the preparations
eagerly pushed forward by the First Consul, remained secret. He set out at
the last moment, leaving with regret, and not without uneasiness, his
government scarcely established, and new institutions not yet in working
order. "Keep firmly together," said he to Cambacérès and Lebrun; "if an
emergency occurs, don't be alarmed at it. I will return like a
thunderbolt, to crush those who are audacious enough to raise a hand
against the government." He had in advance, by the powerful conceptions of
his genius arranged the whole plan of operations, and divined the
movements of his enemies. Bending over his maps, and designating with his
finger the positions of the different corps, he muttered in a low voice,
"This poor M. de Mélas will pass by Turin, he will fall back upon
Alessandria. I shall pass the Po, and come up with him again on the road
of Placenza, in the plains of the Scrivia; and I shall beat him there, and
then there." The Tribunate expressed their desire that the First Consul
might return soon, "conqueror and pacificator." An article of the
Constitution forbade him to take the command of the armies; Berthier
received the title of general-in-chief. The First Consul passed in review
the army of conscripts and invalids assembled at Dijon. On May 13, he
combined the active forces at Geneva; the troops coming from Germany under
the command of General Moncey had not yet arrived; they were to pass by
the St. Gothard. General Marescot had been ordered to reconnoitre the
Alps; the pass of the St. Bernard, more difficult than that of the Simplon
or Mont Cenis, was much shorter, and the passage from it could be much
more easily defended. "Difficult it may be," replied the First Consul to
the report of Marescot, "but is it possible?" "I think so," said the
general, "with extraordinary efforts." "Ah, well! let us set out," said

From Geneva to Villeneuve the journey was easy, and vessels carried
provisions to that point. The First Consul had carefully arranged places
for revictualling all along the road. At Montigny half the mules,
requisitioned at great cost in the neighborhood, were loaded with victuals
and munitions of war; the other half were attached to the gun carriages
relieved of the cannon, which were to be again put in working order at San
Remi, on the other side of the pass. The cannon themselves were enveloped
in the hollowed trunks of trees; they could then be dragged over the ice
and snow. The number of mules proving insufficient, and the peasants
refusing to undertake this rough work, the soldiers yoked themselves to
the cannon, and dragged them across the mountain without wishing to accept
the rewards promised by the First Consul. He rode on a mule at the head of
the rear-guard, wrapped in a gray greatcoat, chatting familiarly with his
guide, and sustaining the courage of his soldiers by his unalterable
coolness. After a few hours' rest at the hospice of St. Bernard commenced
the descent, more difficult still than the ascent. From the 15th to the
20th of May the divisions followed each other. Lannes and Berthier, who
commanded the vanguard, had already advanced to Aosta, when they found
themselves stopped by the little fort of Bard, built upon a precipitous
rock, and with artillery commanding the defile. It was now night; a layer
of straw and refuse was spread over the frozen foot-path; the wheels of
the gun-carriages were encased in tow; at the break of day the passage had
been safely cleared. The French army, descending like a torrent into the
valley, seized upon Ivry, and repulsed the Austrians at the Chiusella on
May 26th. All the divisions of Bonaparte's army assembled by degrees; the
corps of Moncey debouched by the St. Gothard, 4000 men under the orders of
General Thureau crossed by Mont Cenis. General Mélas still refused to
believe in the danger which menaced him, and already an imposing army was
advancing against his scattered and divided forces. Already Lannes had
beaten General Ott at Montebello, after a hotly disputed engagement. "I
heard the bones crackle like a hailstorm on the roofs," said the

Bonaparte threw himself upon Milan, neglecting Genoa, which he might have
delivered without risk; thereby condemning Masséna and his army to the
sufferings of a prolonged siege, terminated by a sad defeat. He had
conceived vaster projects, and the design of annihilating the Austrian
army by a single blow. Everything had to give way to the consideration of
personal success and his egotistical thirst for glory. The Lombard
populace received the First Consul with transport, happy to see themselves
delivered from the Austrian yoke, and beguiled in advance with the hope of
liberty. General Mélas was at Alessandria, summoning to his aid the forces
that were attacking Suchet on the Var, and the troops of General Ott,
detained by the siege of Genoa. He was assured of the impossibility of any
succor being sent by Marshal Kray. It was necessary to conquer or die. In
the prison in which the Austrian army detained him, Masséna had divined
the situation of the enemy. He was still hoping for the assistance that
had been promised him; already General Ott had sent him a flag of truce.
"Give me only provisions for two days, or one day," said he to the
Genoese, "and I will save you from the Austrian yoke, and spare my army
the sorrow of surrender."

All resources were exhausted; the horrors of famine had worn out the
courage of the inhabitants; even the soldiers were yielding to
discouragement. "Before he will surrender," said they, "the general will
make us eat his boots." For a long time the garrison had lived on
unwholesome bread made with starch, upon linseed and cocoa, which scarcely
sufficed to keep the soldiers alive; the population, reduced to live on
soup made of herbs gathered on the ramparts, died by hundreds; the
prisoners cantoned in the port in old dismasted vessels, uttered cries
that reached the ears of their old generals. The latter had refused to
send in provisions for the prisoners, in spite of the promise of Masséna
to reserve it for them. The last food was used up; on the 3rd of June the
general consented to receive the flag of truce. He asked for, and
obtained, the honors of war; the army was authorized to depart from Genoa
with arms and baggage, flags displayed, and free to direct its course
towards the corps of General Suchet. "Without that I should issue arms in
hand, and it should be seen what eight thousand famished men could do."
War and famine had reduced to this number the soldiers in condition to
carry arms. After their cure, the sick, who filled the hospitals, were to
be sent to the quarters of General Suchet. Masséna defended the interests
of the Genoese, and asked in their favor for a free government. The
Austrian generals refused to make any engagement. "In less than a
fortnight I shall be back again in Genoa," declared the French general.
"You will find there the men whom you have taught how to defend it,"
replied St. Julien, one of the plenipotentiaries. General Soult remained
in the place, seriously wounded. Masséna brought his exhausted troops to
the Var. In the depths of their souls, generals and soldiers cherished a
bitter resentment for the manner in which they had been abandoned. When
the Austrian troops, beaten by Suchet, had retired towards Alessandria,
Masséna did not allow him to pursue them; he contented himself with
guarding the gates of France.

Bonaparte had just quitted Stradella, which he had occupied after leaving
Milan. He had been obliged to disperse his forces, in order to cut off all
the passages open to the enemy. When he entered, on June 13th, the plain
that extends between the Scrivia and the Bormida, near the little village
of Marengo, he was badly instructed as regards the movements of the enemy,
as well as the resources of the country. On the morning of the 14th,
General Mélas, constrained by necessity, evacuated Alessandria, and,
passing the Bormida upon three bridges, attacked General Victor before
Marengo. Lannes was at the same time surrounded on every side, and obliged
to retreat in spite of prodigies of courage. Marengo had been destroyed by
the artillery of the enemy, when Bonaparte arrived upon the field of
battle with his guard and his staff officers, at once drawing upon himself
the brunt of the fight. Meanwhile the retreat continued; the army seemed
about to be cut in two; the Austrian general, old and fatigued, believing
himself assured of victory, re-entered Alessandria. It was now three
o'clock, and Bonaparte still hoped and kept on fighting. He despatched an
aide-de-camp to Desaix, returned from Egypt two days before, and whom he
had detached in the direction of Novi; upon his return depended the
fortune of the day. Desaix had divined this, and forestalled the message
of Bonaparte; before he could be expected he was beside the general, who
questioned him as to the aspect of affairs. "Well," said Desaix, after
having rapidly examined the situation of the different corps, "it is a
lost battle; but it is not late; we have time to gain another." His
regiments were forming whilst he spoke, stopping the march of the
Austrians. "My friends," said the First Consul to the reanimated soldiers,
"remember that it is my custom to sleep upon the field of battle."

At the same moment Desaix advanced at the heads of his troops. "Go and
tell the First Consul that I am about to charge," said he to his aide-de-
camp, Savary; "I need to be supported by cavalry." He was crossing an
undulation in the ground when a ball struck him in the breast; from
daybreak he had been oppressed by gloomy presentiments. "I have been too
long making war in Africa," said he; "the bullets of Europe know me no
longer." On falling he said to General Boudet, "Conceal my death; it might
unsettle the troops." The soldiers had perceived it and rushed forward to
avenge him. Kellermann arrived at the same instant, urged forward by one
of those sudden inspirations which mark great generals; hurling his
dragoons upon the Austrian cavalry, which he broke through, he attacked
the column of grenadiers which arduously sustained the assault of the
division of Desaix. Their ranks fell into disorder; one entire corps threw
down its arms. General Zach, entrusted with the command in the absence of
Mélas, was forced to give up his sword. When the old general hurried up in
agitation, the battle was lost. The Austrian troops, repulsed and routed,
and crowded against the banks of the Bormida, blocked up all the bridges,
or cast themselves into the river, everywhere pursued by the victorious
French. The cannon, which stuck fast in the Bormida, fell into the hands
of the conquerors. The staff was decimated.

The First Consul regretted the loss of Desaix, the only one among the
companions of his youth who had seemed able to inspire in him any
particular regard. He was, however, triumphant, and this great day made
him in fact the master of Italy. He had the wisdom to perceive it. The
needs of government recalled him to France; the conditions he proposed to
Mélas, although hard, were such as could be accepted. The Austrian army
was authorized to retire with the honors of war; but it was to surrender
to the French troops all its positions in Liguria, Piedmont, Lombardy, and
the Legations, whilst evacuating the Italian territory as far as the
Mincio. To the protests of Mélas, Bonaparte replied by a formal refusal to
listen. "Sir," said he, "my conditions are irrevocable. I did not begin to
made war yesterday. Your position is as well known to me as to yourself.
You are in Alessandria, encumbered with the dead, the wounded, and the
sick, and destitute of provisions; you have lost the _élite_ of your army;
you are surrounded on all sides. I could exact everything, but I only
demand of you that which the situation of affairs imperatively requires.
Return to Alessandria; you will have no other conditions."

Mélas signed, pledging his word until he should receive a reply from
Vienna. On the same evening, before quitting the field of battle, the
First Consul wrote for the second time to the Emperor Francis Joseph. He
was moved to the very depths of his impassable and haughty soul by the
spectacle of the carnage and fury of the battle. In subsequent calmer
moments he perhaps regretted his letter. "It is upon the battlefield of
Marengo," said he, "in the midst of agonies, and surrounded by 15,000
corpses, that I conjure your Majesty to listen to the cry of humanity, and
not permit the children of two brave and powerful nations to massacre each
other for interests which are foreign to them. It is for me to press this
upon your Majesty, since I am the nearest to the theatre of war. Your
heart cannot be so keenly alive to it as mine. The arms of your Majesty
have achieved sufficient glory. You govern a large number of States. What
then can those in the cabinet of your Majesty allege in favor of the
continuation of hostilities? Is it the interests of religion and of the
Church? Why do they not counsel your Majesty to make war on the English,
the Muscovites, and the Prussians? They are further from the Church than
we. Is it the form of the French Government, which is not hereditary but
simply elective? But the government of the Empire is also elective; and
besides, your Majesty is thoroughly convinced of the powerlessness of the
entire world to change the desire which the French people have received
from nature to govern themselves as they please. Is it the destruction of
revolutionary principles? If your Majesty will take account of the effects
of war you will see that it tends to revolutionize Europe, by increasing
everywhere the public debt and the discontent of the people. In compelling
the French people to make war, you compel them only to think of war, only
to live in war; and the French legions are numerous and brave. If your
Majesty wishes for peace it is done; let us give repose and tranquillity
to the present generation. If future generations are foolish enough to
fight--well, they will learn after a few years of war to become wise and
live in peace. I might take captive the entire army of your Majesty. I am
satisfied by a suspension of hostilities, having hopes that it may be the
first step towards the repose of the world; an object for which I can
plead all the more forcibly because, nurtured and schooled by war, I might
be suspected of being more accustomed to the evils it drags after it. If
your Majesty refuses these proposals, the hostilities will recommence; and
let me be permitted to tell you frankly, in the eyes of the world you
alone will be responsible for the war."

Peace was still to be delayed, but the Convention of Alessandria was
concluded at once; and the success of General Moreau sustained in Germany
the victorious arguments of the First Consul. The former passed the Danube
near Hochstedt; after a very brilliant action, which lasted eighteen hours
(June 19), he took 5000 prisoners, and captured twenty pieces of cannon
and considerable magazines. Kray, menaced with the probability of having
his line of retreat cut off, had abandoned his position at Ulm, forcing
his march so precipitately that General Moreau had not been informed of
it. Meanwhile he attacked the Grisons and the Tyrol, repulsed the Prince
of Reuss, and established himself upon the Isar. On the 15th of July a
suspension of arms was signed at Parsdorf, near Munich. Like the soldiers
of the army of Italy, the soldiers of the army of the Rhine were about to
take some repose.

Masséna had re-entered Genoa on the 24th of June, justifying to the letter
his glorious bravado; his ill-humor was dissipated, and he remained
entrusted with the chief command of the army of Italy. The First Consul
had received at Milan the eager homage of the Lombards, but the Cisalpine
Republic was not reconstituted; a Grand Council governed it under the
Presidency of Pétiet, the French minister. At Turin, General Jourdan
directed the provisional government; at Genoa, General Dejean filled the
same functions; everywhere the paraded power of France was substituted for
the semblance of liberty; the Roman States were still in the hands of the
Neapolitans. The new Pope, Barnabus Chiaramonti, formerly Bishop of Imola,
who had shown himself well disposed towards the French, had just arrived
unexpectedly at Ancona, whence he negotiated his re-entry into the eternal
city. The First Consul assured him of his good intentions as regards the
Catholic Church, and the Holy See. The far-seeing _finesse_ of the Court
of Rome did not permit it to be deceived. The Secretary of the Sacred
College, Monsignor Consalvi, had said during the conclave, "It is from
France that we have received persecutions for ten years past; well, it is
from France that will perhaps come in the future our succors and our
consolations. A very extraordinary young man, and even more difficult to
be judged, rules there to-day. There is no doubt he will soon have
reconquered Italy. Remember that he protected the priests in 1797, and
that he has recently rendered funeral honors to Pius VI. Let us not
neglect the resources which offer themselves to us on this side." On the
day after the battle of Marengo preliminary negotiations already
commenced. The First Consul was officially present at the grand _Te Deum_
chanted in the cathedral of Milan. "Our atheists at Paris may say of it
what they will," wrote Bonaparte to Cambacérès.

During the night of the 2nd and 3rd July, 1800, Bonaparte re-entered
Paris, overwhelmed on the way by evidences of public joy, which were most
brilliantly manifested at Lyons. He had forbidden all preparations for his
return: "My intention is to have neither arches of triumph nor any species
of ceremony," he wrote to his brother Lucien, who had replaced Laplace at
the ministry of the interior. "I have too good an opinion of myself to
hold such baubles in much estimation. I know no other triumph than the
public satisfaction."

The day would come when public satisfaction, of a truth much mitigated by
long sufferings, would no longer suffice for the triumph of the absolute
master who dragged exhausted France across fields of battle; the
remembrance of his return to Paris after the victory of Marengo was to
recur to his sorrowful mind when he dictated at St. Helena the memoirs
explanatory of his life: "It was a great day," said he.

Already the adulations and mean worship of courtiers were encompassing
him; already, also, was revealed the provisional character of that power
which depended so completely upon the life of a single man. Sinister
reports were circulated during the campaign in Italy; the names of Carnot,
Moreau, and La Fayette had been put forward. The triumphant arrival of the
First Consul promptly baffled the intrigues in which the principals
interested had never taken part; nevertheless, he nursed against Carnot an
unjust feeling, which soon betrayed itself in his dismissal. Lucien
Bonaparte had forestalled, or badly comprehended, the wishes of his
brother; he had got Fontanes to write a pamphlet entitled "Caesar,
Cromwell, and Bonaparte," which revealed projects and hopes in favor of
the First Consul for which the public was not prepared. "Happy for the
Republic," it was said, "if Bonaparte were immortal? But where are his
successors? Who is the successor of Pericles? Frenchmen, you slumber over
an abyss, and your sleep is madly tranquil."

It was too soon to allow these premature pretensions to be thus made
public. The _finesse_ of La Fayette enabled him to penetrate the secret
hope of the First Consul, who was already occupied, and for most serious
reasons, with the re-establishment of religion in France. He was able to
say to him, with an irony that was a little scornful, "Come, general,
confess that this has no other aim than to get the little phial broken on
your head." Public opinion was not yet calling for the re-establishment of
the monarchy; it did not connect the idea of hereditary power with a
victorious general, still young, and who had scarcely seized the reins of
the government of the interior. The pamphlet, and the insinuations it
contained, had no success; Fouché was openly reprimanded for allowing the
publication. Lucien Bonaparte was sent as ambassador to Madrid, bearing,
he has declared, the manuscript of the pamphlet, with four corrections in
the handwriting of the First Consul. The latter began to surround himself
with a court. Madame Bonaparte had already her ladies and chevaliers of

St. Julien had just arrived at Paris with the ratification of the treaty
of Alessandria, and for the purpose of sounding the First Consul as to his
intentions on the subject of a definitive peace. Major-general of the
imperial armies, and little versed in diplomatic usages, he, in all
simplicity, avowed his ignorance to Talleyrand. The latter profited by
this to prevail upon the Austrian ambassador to sign the preliminary
articles. "So be it," said St. Julien, "but they will have no authority
until after their ratification by my sovereign." The major-general was not
authorized to treat; and the conventions he had accepted being vague as to
the most important point, the settlement of the frontiers of Italy, were
disavowed at Vienna. Thugut proposed the opening of a congress, in which
England was disposed to take part. General Duroc, aide-de-camp of the
First Consul, who had accompanied St. Julien on his return to Vienna, was
not admitted to negotiate, and found himself compelled to return to Paris.

Bonaparte's temper was quick; his irritation against England was old and
inveterate. For more than two years that power had hindered the success of
his favorite enterprises; and he struggled against her in her commercial
interests, as well as in her military efforts, with a perseverance worthy
of Pitt. He had already won over the United States to the doctrine of the
greater part of European States as to the rights of neutrals, and
concluded with their diplomatists the treaty of Morfontaine; he then
worked to raise up against England a formidable coalition, at the head of
which the Emperor Paul I. had just placed himself. Strongly influenced in
favor of France by the offer the First Consul had made to cede to him
Malta, then besieged by the English, the Czar also received with
satisfaction the 6000 Russian prisoners whom Bonaparte sent to him without
ransom, after having vainly solicited exchanges with England and Russia.
The maritime powers of the north of Europe had to complain of vexatious
interference with merchant vessels on the part of England. The law of the
seas, said they, authorized them to carry on commerce between one power
and another, goods contraband of war alone excepted; as the flag covered
the merchandise, English vessels could not legitimately stop and visit
ships of neutral countries, in order to seize French or Spanish
commodities. The theory of England was different, serving her own
commercial and military interests. In 1800 the Emperor Paul embraced the
cause of the maritime powers, and formed against England the League of
Neutrals, whilst he entered into amicable relations, and a sort of
alliance, with the First Consul. At the same time Bonaparte negotiated
with the King of Spain, offering him Tuscany, with the title of King of
Etruria, for his son-in-law the Duke of Parmo, on condition that France
should receive back Louisiana, formerly ceded to Spain by Louis XV. for an
indemnity claim. Charles IV. also engaged himself to use his influence to
have the ports of Portugal closed against England. Before admitting
England to the congress, the First Consul demanded that the continental
armistice should be extended to naval forces, as the suspension of
maritime hostilities would permit him to revictual Malta and Egypt; he
accepted on these terms the common negotiations.

England rejected, and could not but reject, these proposals. She already
held the conquest of Malta as certain; and since Bonaparte himself had
quitted Egypt, the English soldiers and marines no longer doubted the
ultimate success of their efforts against us, everywhere united with those
of the Porte. Egypt was henceforth a point so important for England that
she had resolved never to yield to the passionate caprices which had led
General Bonaparte to establish the French dominion there. In the month of
August, 1800, she could not accept an armistice which would of necessity
have prolonged the war in the East. In the month of November, 1799,
letters of General Kléber, sincere and discouraged, had fallen into the
hands of the English Government. Entrusted since the departure of General
Bonaparte with the chief command, Kléber displayed to the Directory the
sad state of his army and his finances. Five months had passed, and
nothing new had taken place; no succor had arrived from France. Kléber had
lent his ear to the proposals of the vizier and Sir Sidney Smith.
Bonaparte himself had foreseen the circumstances under which the
evacuation of Egypt would become necessary; he had left upon this subject
peremptory and haughty instructions. Kléber forestalled the term marked
out by the general who had let his mantle fall upon his shoulders, and he
concluded the treaty of El Arish, a monument of his sorrow and desolation.
The signature of Desaix, who negotiated it, was mournfully wrung from him,
after he had required from the general-in-chief a formal order to put his
name to it. Negotiated between military men, it was not countersigned with
the signature of the plenipotentiary, who himself had not better authority
to negotiate. The Government of Great Britain, informed of the distress of
General Kléber, sent to Admiral Keith a formal injunction forbidding him
to treat with the French army, unless they surrendered as prisoners of
war. Sir Sidney Smith immediately made known to Kléber the orders he had
received; the honorable conditions which the French general had previously
accepted were already in process of execution; several places had been
given up to the Turks; the vizier had advanced. Kléber, however, did not
hesitate. He published to the army the letter of the English commodore,
with these words: "Soldiers! such insolence as this is only answered by
victories: prepare to give battle."

It is a noble spectacle, that of resolute men reduced to extremities
without fleeing from danger. On March 20 the French army went out from
Cairo; diminished by death and sickness it numbered no more than 12,000
men, who formed themselves into squares, according to the old tactics of
the troops of Egypt, in front of the ancient ruins of Heliopolis. Kléber
estimated at 70,000 or 80,000 men the Turkish army which was to assail
him. "My friends," said he in passing along the ranks, "you possess in
Egypt only the ground which you have beneath your feet! If you retreat a
step, you are lost!" Having thus spoken, he gave the order to carry the
entrenched village of El Matarieh. The little redoubts were already in our
possession when the Janissaries made their first rush upon the Friant
division. The squares remained immovable, keeping up a continuous fire,
enveloped in smoke, and scarcely distinguishing the mass of the enemies
who were falling at their feet. When the clouds began to disperse, a
rampart of corpses surrounded all the French corps; in the distance were
seen the enemy in flight. Kléber order a pursuit, which was continued
during three days. When the general-in-chief at length reached the camp of
the vizier at Salahieh he only found a few detachments of the enemy. The
chiefs had disappeared in the desert, with their best troops. The French
soldiers pillaged the tents: they were loaded with rich spoils when they
retook the road to Cairo.

The capital of Egypt, never in complete submission, and disturbed by
frequent insurrections, had revolted at the announcement of the evacuation
and the departure of the French army; crimes had been committed, and the
Christians had been massacred in several quarters. Kléber laid siege to
it; the resistance was long and furious, and it was as conquerors that the
French re-entered the city which formerly cost them such slight efforts.
All the rebel cities of Lower Egypt were again brought back into obedience
to France. The war indemnities and the prizes taken from the enemy
restored the finances. Kléber labored for the completion of the forts
scattered over the hills; he enrolled Copts, Syrians, and some blacks from
Darfour; he treated with Murad Bey, who had driven from Upper Egypt the
Turkish corps of Dervish Pacha; Ibrahim Bey and Nassif Pacha, who had
sustained the revolt of Cairo, obtained an authorization to retire. Egypt
appeared to be once more submissive; but the illusions which the
Mohammedans had conceived were promptly dissipated: they recognized their
traditional enemies, and the old fanaticism was reawakened. An assassin
had already arrived in Cairo from Palestine, and shut up in the great
mosque he had confided to the sheiks his project of killing General
Kléber. They sought to dissuade him from it, but without informing the
French. On the 14th of June, as the general was walking in his garden with
the architect of the army, Suleiman presented himself before him,
pretending to ask alms, and struck him several times with his dagger. The
architect was wounded in striving to defend Kléber. When the soldiers came
hurrying up the general had already breathed his last. The assassin made
no attempt to flee; he expired under torture. At Cairo, and on the
battlefield of Marengo, Kléber and Desaix succumbed on the same day, and
almost at the same hour, both young, and serving to their last day the
designs of the chief to whom they were very unequally attached. The First
Consul wished to unite them in the same patriotic honors; he had never had
much liking for Kléber, but he did not the less keenly feel the greatness
of his loss. General Menou, who took by seniority the command of the army
of Egypt was incapable, and of a chimerical spirit. Bonaparte comprehended
the danger which threatened that one of his conquests to which he attached
the most importance; he increased the reinforcements of men and munitions,
but he was in want of generals, and the war was recommencing in Europe.
The English had just succeeded at last in taking Malta.

The armistice had been prolonged for eighty-five days, and the Emperor of
Austria had paid for this moment of peace by the surrender of the cities
of Ulm, Philipsburg, and Ingoldstadt; the preliminaries, which Cobentzel
had drawn out to great length, had brought about no result. Austria
refused to negotiate without England, to whom she was allied by a treaty
of subsidies. In contempt of the convention of Alessandria, the French
troops occupied Tuscany; Masséna no longer commanded the army of Italy.
Quarrels had arisen with the Italian administrations, who said they were
victims of heavy exactions. Masséna was accused; in the depth of his soul
he was discontented, and was always little favorable to the First Consul.
Brune had replaced him. At the expiration of the armistice, and in spite
of the new attempts at negotiations, the troops entered on the campaign.
General Bonaparte still remained at Paris, ready to proceed at need to the
threatened points. All eyes were fixed on Germany; by a common instinct
great military events upon this theatre were look forward to.

The Archduke John was young and daring; he conceived the hope of cutting
off the army of General Moreau, and imprudently crossing the Inn, the
difficult passage of which the French dreaded, he advanced immediately
towards the Isar, intending to reascend the river in our rear. But already
the difficulties of the enterprise became apparent; the young general
resolved to give battle immediately. An advantage gained on the 1st of
December, over the left wing of the French army, emboldened him to the
point of pushing forward across the forest of Hohenlinden, in the vain
hope of encountering no resistance. General Moreau waited for him in the
plain between Hohenlinden and Harthofen; Generals Richepanse and Decaen
had been directed to take the Austrians in the rear. Moreau had exactly
calculated the time necessary for this operation. The battle commenced at
the exit from the forest; as fast as they debouched upon the plain the
Austrian corps encountered the attack of our troops. Across the snow,
which fell in great flakes, the general-in-chief discerned a little
confusion in the ranks of the enemy. "The moment has come to charge," he
cried; "Richepanse has taken them in the rear." General Ney rushed forward
at the head of his division; he rejoined his companions at the centre of
the defile mingled with the confused crowd of the enemy, which they drove
before them. The centre of the Austrian army was completely hemmed in; the
left wing had been thrown back upon the Inn by Decaen. The French
divisions who were engaged on the right, repulsed for a moment, had in
their turn forced the Austrians to redescend into the valley. The plain of
Hohenlinden remained in the hands of the French army. The enemy lost 8000
men killed or wounded, 12,000 prisoners, and eighty-seven pieces of
cannon. General Lecourbe passed the Inn close behind the Archduke John,
the division of Decaen crossed the Salza and seconded the movement of
Lecourbe; General Moreau crossed the Traun, and advanced towards the Ens.
The Archduke Charles, drawn from his disgrace by the danger of his
country, resumed the command of the Austrian troops. It was too late to
snatch back victory; he accepted the sorrowful duty of arresting the
conqueror's progress by negotiations. Moreau had arrived at Steyer, a few
leagues from Vienna; the ardor of his lieutenants urged him to march
forward. "It would, without doubt, be a fine thing to enter Vienna," he
replied; "but it is a much finer thing to dictate peace." The armistice
was signed on the 25th of December, 1800, delivering to the French all the
valley of the Danube, with the Tyrol, various fortresses, and immense
magazines. The army of Augereau, which had had adventure enough on the
Rednitz, was included in the armistice; the generals commanding in Italy
and in the Grisons, Macdonald and Brune, were to be engaged to accept a
suspension of arms. The modest prudence and consummate cleverness of
General Moreau had assured to our arms advantages which at length promised
peace. Bonaparte perceived this, not without secret heartburning; but for
a time he felt himself compelled to dissemble. "I cannot tell you all the
interest I have taken in your admirable and wise manoeuvres," he wrote to
Moreau; "in this campaign you have surpassed yourself."

The orders of the First Consul caused the war in Italy to be ardently
pushed forward. "Wherever a couple of men can plant their feet, an army
can find the means of passing," said General Bonaparte; and Macdonald had
led his 15,000 men across the passes of the Splügen, among rocks and
glaciers, obliged to open a path by the oxen, who trod down the snow in
order to permit the soldiers to advance; he left behind him numerous
victims of cold and fatigue. The army of the Grisons had arrived at Trent,
the efforts of General Wukassovich having failed to arrest its progress.
Brune had conducted his operations more gently; when he marched towards
the Mincio, in order to cross it at two points, the imprudence of the
attack and the division of the forces led to a great shedding of blood; it
was only on the 31st December that the passage of the Adige was at last
effected. The corps of General Moncey rejoined the forces of Macdonald at
Trent; the Count of Laudon, close pressed, could only save his troops by a
subterfuge, by forestalling the armistice, which did not yet extend to the
armies of Italy. He had rejoined the Count of Bellegarde, when all
military operations were suspended by a convention signed at Treviso.

Cobentzel and Joseph Bonaparte had remained at Lunéville during the
resumption of hostilities, negotiating mutual concessions, of which the
cannon every day altered the conditions. The success of his armies, and
the attitude of the powers of the north, enlarged the pretensions of the
First Consul; the Austrian plenipotentiary defended with persevering
courage the frontier of the Adda, and the re-establishment of the Italian
princes in their States, when the instructions of Bonaparte to his brother
were all of a sudden altered. Order was given to retard the conclusion of
peace; at the same time, as if for the purpose of calling upon Austria to
bow to imperious necessity, the First Consul sent to the Corps Législatif
a message, which was a bold evidence of the newest phase of his diplomacy.

"Legislators, the Republic triumphs, and its enemies once more implore its

"The news of the victory of Hohenlinden has resounded throughout Europe;
that day will be reckoned in history as one of the grandest examples of
French valor. But it has been thought little of by our defenders, who only
think themselves victors when the country has no more enemies. The army of
the Rhine has passed the Inn; every day has been a battle, and every
battle a triumph. The Gallo-Batavian army has conquered at Bamberg; the
army of the Grisons, through snow and ice, has crossed the Splügen, in
order to turn the formidable lines of the Mincio and the Adige. The army
of Italy has carried by main force the passage of the Mincio, and has
blockaded Mantua. Lastly, Moreau is no more than five days' march from
Vienna, master of an immense tract of country, and of all the magazines of
the enemy.

"It is at this juncture that the Archduke Charles has asked, and the
general-in-chief of the army of the Rhine has accorded, the armistice of
which the conditions are about to be placed before you.

"Cobentzel, plenipotentiary of the Emperor at Lunéville, has declared
himself ready to open negotiations for a separate peace. Thus Austria is
freed from the influence of the English Government.

"The Government, faithful to its principles and to the prayer of humanity,
confides to you, and proclaims to France and entire Europe, the intentions
which animate it.

"The left bank of the Rhine shall be the limit of the French Republic; she
claims nothing on the right bank. The interests of Europe will not permit
the emperor to pass the Adige. The independence of the Helvetic and
Batavian Republics shall be assured and recognized. Our victories add
nothing to the claims of the French people. Austria ought not to expect
from its defeats that which it would not have obtained by victories. Such
are the unchangeable intentions of the Government. It will be the
happiness of France to restore calm to Germany and Italy; its glory to
enfranchise the continent from the covetous and malevolent influence of

"If our good faith is still deceived, we are at Prague, at Vienna, at

So many rigorous conditions, thus arrogantly announced, were, and could
not fail to be, the object of discussions and stubborn resistance. But
even these did not satisfy the will of the First Consul, and his
resolution to snatch the last concessions from the conquered. The Emperor
Paul, in his capacity of Grand Master of the Order, demanded from England
the cession of the island of Malta. Upon the refusal of the British
Government, he placed an embargo on all English vessels found in his
ports, at the same time announcing the despatch of a plenipotentiary to
Paris. In accord with Prussia, he admitted the principle of the granting
of indemnities to the deposed Italian princes by the secularization of the
ecclesiastical territories in Germany. Cobentzel was constantly opposed to
this arrangement; he equally refused to deliver Mantua to France as a
condition of the armistice in Italy. Abandoned by the neutral powers,
isolated in Germany, and separated from England, who alone remained openly
hostile to France, the Austrian envoy saw himself constrained to accept
conditions harder than those the rigor of which he had formerly deplored.
On the 9th February, 1801, the treaty of Lunéville was at last signed. A
single concession had been accorded to Cobentzel; France had consented to
surrender the places which she held on the right bank of the Rhine. She
insisted, however, that the fortifications should be demolished.
"Dismantle them yourselves," said the Austrian plenipotentiary,
sorrowfully, "and we will engage that they shall remain in the condition
in which they are surrendered." This was the last hope, and the last
effort of diplomacy. Upon the very morning of the signature, and with
reference to the obstinate persistence of Cobentzel, Joseph Bonaparte
declared, in language which was not his own, "that if the termination of
the war was favorable to France, the house of Austria ought to expect to
find the valley of the Adige on the crest of the Julian Alps; and that
there was no power in Europe which did not see with pleasure the Austrians
expelled from Italy."

The bases of the treaty of Lunéville were identical with those of the
treaty of Campo Formio. Austria lost in Germany the bishopric of Salzburg,
assured as an indemnity to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and in Italy the
territories of this prince were granted to the Duke of Parma. The articles
made no mention of Piedmont or Parma, or of the Pontifical States. The
First Consul did not wish to commit himself on this point or encounter the
sluggish proceedings of a congress. The Emperor of Austria had treated for
the Empire as for himself. The Diet assembled at Ratisbon simply ratified
the conditions of the treaty. Henceforth England found itself isolated in
Europe, as France had been in 1793. The duel continued between Bonaparte
and Pitt.

So much _éclat_ abroad, so much glory and success terminating in an almost
general peace, did not absorb all the thoughts of the First Consul, and
had not yet succeeded in founding his power on a lasting basis. He felt it
bitterly, and the irritation which he experienced habitually manifested
itself against the remnants of the Jacobin party, the declared enemies of
the order of things which he wished to establish, capable, he thought, of
any crimes, and whose works he had had the opportunity of judging. This
exclusive preoccupation sometimes turned away his attention from more
pressing perils and bolder enemies. A conspiracy to which the police had
lent themselves, and which had failed without any of the accomplices
daring to put their hands on their arms, roused public attention, in the
month of October, 1800, to the dangers which pursued the First Consul.
Since then there had been seized, at the house of a mechanician named
Chevalier, an explosive machine which had given rise to certain
suspicions; but no attempt had been made, and the conspirators, who
plotted in the dark, were as yet only known to Fouché, the minister of
police, clever and foreseeing, constantly hostile to the old enemies of
the Republic, and more disquieted than the First Consul at the royalist
manoeuvres. It was to the Chouans and men of that class that the police
attributed the brigandage which infested the roads in the departments of
the west, the centre, and the south; it was the descents of their former
chiefs upon the Norman coasts which preoccupied Fouché. At one period the
royalists had thought General Bonaparte capable of playing the _rôle_ of
Monk, and accepting that modest ambition. On the 20th of February, 1800,
Louis XVIII. wrote to him with his own hand, "Whatever may be their
apparent conduct, men like yourself, monsieur, never inspire uneasiness.
You have accepted an eminent place, and I am thankful for it. Better than
any one you know how much force and power are needed to make the happiness
of a great nation. Save France from its own madness, and you will have
accomplished the first desire of my heart; restore to it its king, and
future generations will bless your memory. You will always be too much a
necessity of the State for me ever to discharge by the highest
appointments the debt of my forefathers and my own."

This letter remained unanswered. Louis XVIII. thought he ought to write
again. "For a long time, general," said he yon ought to know that you have
won my esteem. If you have any doubt as to my being susceptible of
gratitude, appoint your place, and decide as to the position of your
friends. As to my principles, I am French; merciful by character, I should
be still more so by reason.

"No, the conqueror of Lodi, of Castiglione, of Arcola, the conqueror of
Italy and Egypt, cannot prefer a vain notoriety to glory. But you are
losing precious time. We can assure the peace of France; I say _we_,
because I need Bonaparte for that, and he cannot do it without me.

"General, Europe observes you, glory waits for you, and I am impatient to
restore peace to my people."

Sad illusions of exiles, who in a remote country know not how to judge
either men or circumstances! Louis XVIII. and his friends were blind as to
the state of men's minds in France, which they believed ripe for a
monarchical restoration; they comprehended neither the character nor the
still veiled designs of the man who had conquered, by the audacity of his
genius, military glory and the civil authority. In the depth of his soul,
and in spite of his firm design to mount the throne by means of absolute
power, Bonaparte was, and remained, revolutionary--hostile to the remains
of the past by conviction as well as by personal ambition. He wrote to
Louis XVIII. on the 7th September, 1800. "I have received, monsieur, your
letter; I thank you for the fair words you have spoken. You ought not to
desire your return to France; it would be necessary for you to march over
500,000 corpses. Sacrifice your interests for the repose and happiness of
France; history will take account of you for it.

"I am not insensible to the misfortune of your family. I shall contribute
with pleasure to the comfort and tranquillity of your retreat."

Five hundred thousand corpses of French soldiers were yet to strew the
soil of Europe to serve the ambition of Bonaparte, without hindering that
return of the House of Bourbon which he declared to be so disastrous. In
1800 the First Consul deigned to promise his benevolence to the
descendants of Henry IV., and felt no fear as to royalist intrigues in
France. Since the troubles had ceased in the west, only Georges Cadoudal
had continued sometimes to attract his attention. A letter in the month of
July had ordered Bernadotte to pursue him: "Have this miserable Georges
arrested, and shot within twenty-four hours," he wrote. Georges had
returned to England.

He was back again in France on the 24th December, 1800, when the coach of
the First Consul was stopped in the Rue St. Nicaise by a small cart which
barred the way; the coachman urged forward the horses, and passed it. At
the same instant an explosion was heard; the dead and the wounded fell
round the carriage of Bonaparte, shaken by the violence of the shock, all
the windows being broken. Bonaparte stopped his carriage, and comprehended
at once the cause of the accident. "Drive to the opera!" said he. Madame
Bonaparte was waiting for him there. When the public was reassured by his
presence, he returned to the Tuileries. A barrel of powder, loaded with
grape-shot, had been placed upon the road; the victims were numerous, and
the assassins escaped.

The general fright was of use to the anger and emotion of the First
Consul. The enemies of Fouché denounced a police everywhere favorable to
the old Jacobins. The suspicions of Bonaparte were all directed against
these known and furious enemies of his person and his policy. He was
enraged in his irritation, and disdained, according to his custom, the
legal forms and the justice of the tribunals. "We must make the number of
the convicted equal to the number of their victims," he said, "and
transport all their adherents. I will not have all quarters of Paris
successively undermined. There are always Septembrisers, miscreants
covered with crimes, in square battalion against every successive
government. It is necessary to make an end of them." Fouché, silent but
imperturbable, for a long time on the traces of the conspiracy, persisted
in seeing in the infernal machine the work of the agents of Chouannerie.
The Council of State proposed to institute a military commission and
authorize the First Consul to remove the men who appeared dangerous.
Bonaparte was irritated by this slowness of justice. "The action of a
special tribunal will be slow," said he; "it will not get hold of the
truly guilty. It is not a question of judicial metaphysics. There are in
France 10,000 miscreants who have persecuted all honest men, and who are
steeped in blood. They are not all culpable in the same degree, far from
it. Strike the chiefs boldly and the soldiers will disperse. There is no
middle course here; it is necessary to pardon all, like Augustus, or else
there must be a prompt and terrible vengeance proportionate to the crime.
It is necessary to shoot fifteen or twenty of these miscreants, and
transport 200 of them. I am so convinced of the necessity of purging
France from these sanguinary dregs that I am ready to constitute myself
sole tribunal--to bring forward the guilty, examine them, judge them, and
have their condemnation carried into effect. It is not myself that I seek
to avenge here. I am as ready to die as First Consul for the preservation
of the Republic and the Constitution as to fall upon the field of battle;
but it is necessary to reassure France, who will approve my policy."

The members of the council listened, struck with consternation at such
absolutist and revolutionary violence, but already too much dismayed to
defend the cause of the most elementary justice. Admiral Truguet alone
suggested doubts as to the true authors of the crime. "It is desired,"
said he, "to defeat the miscreants who trouble the Republic, so be it; but
the miscreants are of more than one kind. The returned emigrants menace
those who have acquired national property, the Chouans infest the
highways, the priests inflame the passions of the people, the public
spirit is corrupted by pamphlets." The First Consul blushed violently at
this allusion; the reminder of the unfortunate attempt of Lucien Bonaparte
increased his anger. Advancing towards the admiral, "Of what pamphlets do
you speak?" cried he. "You know as well as I do," without giving way,
answered the brave sailor.

The First Consul paced the hall; the councillors of State watched him,
vaguely recognizing in the outbursts of the anger of the master the
powerful instinct of government, which discerned the permanent hostility
of the revolutionaries without being able to divest itself of their
principles or of their modes of action. "Do people take us for children?"
he cried. "Do they expect to draw us aside with these declamations against
the emigrants, the Chouans, and the priests? Because there are still a few
partial attempts in Vendée, must we be called upon to declare the country
in danger? If the Chouans commit crimes, I will have them shot. But must I
commence proscribing for a quality? Must I strike these because they are
priests, those because they are old nobles? Must I send away into exile
10,000 old men, who only ask to be allowed to live peaceably in obedience
to the established laws? Do you not know, gentlemen, members of the
council, that excepting two or three you all pass for royalists? You,
Citizen Defermon, don't they take you for a partisan of the Bourbons? Must
I send Citizen Portalis to Sinnamari, and Citizen Devaisne to Madagascar,
and then must I make for myself a Babeuf council? No, no, Citizen Truguet,
you won't get me to make any change; there are none to fear except the
Septembrisers. They would not spare even you yourself, and it would be in
vain for you to tell them that you defended them at the Council of State.
They would cut your throat, just the same as mine or the throats of your

He went out without giving time for any one to answer him. Cambacérès,
moderate and prudent, equally clever in giving counsel and at yielding
when counsels were useless, deemed the anger of the First Consul too
passionate to admit of contradiction. The Council of State, several times
consulted, was brought over with repugnance to the idea of an
extraordinary measure. The First Consul wished a law; it was decided to
involve the great bodies of the State in the arbitrary act which he was
about to commit. "The consuls do not know what may happen," said he. "So
long as I am alive I am not afraid of any one daring to ask me an account
of my actions; but I may be killed, and then I cannot answer for my two
colleagues. You are not very firmly placed in your stirrups," he added,
turning to Cambacérès, with a smile. "Better to have a law now as well as
for the future." The Council of State hesitated from a repugnance to form
a proscription list, assuring him that it would be rejected by the
Tribunate and the Legislative Body. "You are always afraid of the
Tribunate," said Bonaparte, "because it rejected one or two of your laws;
but there are only a few Jacobins in the Legislative Body, ten or twelve
at most. The others know well that but for me they would all have been
massacred. The law will be passed."

At last, Talleyrand, who had previously remained silent, said that since
there was a Senate, some use should be made of it. The proscription list
was sent to the Senate. It had been written by Fouché, who knew the real
criminals; and the statement of reasons were drawn up by the two sections
of the Council of State who were at first unanimously opposed to the
measure: the Senate voted, the First Consul having signed the act. "All
these men have not taken the dagger in their hands," said the preamble,
"but they are all universally known to be capable of sharpening it and
taking it." Two days afterwards 133 Jacobins sailed from Nantes for
Guiana--formerly members of the Convention and the Commune, proved or
supposed to have had a part in the massacres of September, all certainly
loaded with crime, and worthy of the punishment which they underwent,
strangers to the attempt to assassinate the First Consul, and condemned
without regard to moral or legal justice. At the same time, and as if to
clear off all old accounts with the conspirators, the four men accused in
October, Aréna, formerly a representative, and recently employed by the
Committee of Public Safety, and the artists Ceracchi and Topino-Lebrun,
were at last tried, and condemned to perish on the scaffold. Chauveau-
Lagarde defended them, as he had formerly defended Charlotte Corday and
the men of Nantes denounced by Carrier. His efforts were not crowned with
success; whether acknowledged or only suspected, the Jacobin conspiracy
was everywhere repressed with the same rigor.

Nevertheless, Fouché had at last recovered the temporarily lost traces of
the real criminals. Two assistants of Georges Cadoudal, Limoëlan and St.
Réjant, who had formerly taken part in the civil wars, entered into
partnership with a man of the lower orders named Carbon, who bought them
the cart, the horse, and powder. He was found concealed in Paris; Limoëlan
had fled abroad. St. Réjant, who had let off the infernal machine, had not
yet recovered from the injuries caused by it; and Carbon having betrayed
his place of concealment, and all the details of the plot, they were both
executed. Fouché's penetration on this occasion gained him still greater
confidence with the First Consul. "He was right," repeated Bonaparte: "his
opinion was better than that of the others. The returned emigrants, the
royalist plotters, and people of that sort, ought to be closely watched. I
am pleased, however, to be rid of the Jacobin staff."

Neither the banishment of the old revolutionists, nor the condemnation of
those who had contrived the infernal machine, had disturbed the repose of
public opinion, then in close alliance with the steady and firm power
which ruled France. The abstract principles of justice were no longer
thought of by men in general: the desire for permanent freedom had given
place to the longing for rest and quiet, and all were pleased with the
energy which the government had shown against disturbers of the peace; and
the oppressive laws being modified, prosperity was reappearing. The state
of the finances became more satisfactory: a part of the public funds had
been paid, and that which still remained had just been registered in the
"Great Ledger;" the fundholders accepted without too much difficulty the
delay in paying the first dividend. The national property not yet sold was
set apart for the liquidation, excepting what was assigned for public
instruction and the support of the Invalides. Everywhere roads were being
made or repaired, canals dug, and three bridges were built over the Seine.
In spite of the formation of extraordinary tribunals, the great Code of
Civil Law was being slowly made--destined to rule France and extend her
useful action. An agent, almost unknown at Rome and only recently arrived
in Paris, was already discussing with Abbé Bernier those great questions
of order and organization which were afterwards to introduce the
concordat. Peace, even when partial and precarious, was everywhere bearing
its fruits; at home, France displayed that wonderful recuperative power so
frequently and painfully put to the proof by the severe shocks of our
modern history; abroad, her importance in Europe was daily increasing, and
caused more disquiet to all her enemies. The government of England,
however, was soon to pass from Pitt's hands: the whole English nation
called loudly to stop a war of which they had financially borne the
burden, even though their armies had generally had little share in it.

In the south of Europe the First Consul, while negotiating with the Pope,
and occupying Piedmont without diplomacy, had no longer any enemy to
subdue worthy of his power. Murat had invaded the kingdom of Naples,
causing so great terror that the queen herself was on the point of
accepting an armistice by which the ports of the Two Sicilies were closed
to the English. The treaty of definitive peace was signed at Florence on
the 18th of March, 1801, the conditions being the same as those of the
armistice, with the important addition that the territory of Elba, a
dependency of the kingdom of Naples, was to be ceded. By a secret article,
the sovereign of the Two Sicilies was obliged to receive and maintain a
body of fifteen thousand men, which the First Consul intended to transport
to Egypt, important armaments being prepared in our ports in order to be
sent to the same place, their real destination being yet concealed. A
Franco-Spanish expedition, nominally commanded by Prince de la Paix but
really directed by General Gouvion St. Cyr, was to attempt in April the
conquest of Portugal. In spite of repeated promises, the government of
that small State remained obstinately faithful to England.

England was suffering from a scarcity of food which threatened to become a
famine, constantly made worse by the hindrances put in the way of her
commerce. The difficulties of the home government increased those of the
diplomatic and military isolation which she underwent in Europe. At the
moment of the conclusion of the Treaty of Union, Pitt had entered upon
engagements with the Irish Catholics which he felt himself bound to
fulfil. The conscientious but shortsighted and narrow-minded George III.
opposed every act of toleration with respect to his Catholic subjects: he
refused to give his assent, and Pitt by resigning his post sacrificed, at
a perilous crisis for his country, foreign policy to the duties and
obligations of parliamentary tactics. The reason of King George, already
tottering, was unable to undergo so much agitation; he remained faithful
to his convictions, but was for a short time out of his mind. When he
regained his faculties, Pitt, who was moved to the heart by the trouble
which he had caused to his aged king, and disturbed by the evils which
threatened England under the regency of the Prince of Wales, undertook
never to raise the question of the emancipation of the Catholics during
the life of George III. He had no seat, however, in the new cabinet, which
was obviously incapable, and unequal to the difficult task which it had
undertaken, and in their earlier proceedings still influenced by Pitt's
action, and following the line of policy which he had traced. Scarcely had
Addington become prime minister, when an attempt which had long been
projected against Denmark was put in execution. Nelson had charge of it
under the superior command of Sir Hyde Parker, who was above him in the
order of seniority. "This is no time to feel nervous," said Nelson to his
superior as they were setting sail. "Dark nights and mountains of ice
matter little; we must take courage to meet the enemy."

Having passed the Sound, the English squadron blockaded the fleet which
covered Copenhagen. The Danes made an heroic defence, and the old Admiral
Parker, somewhat alarmed, gave the signal for the action to cease. "I'll
be d----d first!" cried Nelson in a passion: "I have the right of seeing
badly"--putting his telescope to the eye which he had lost at Aboukir. "I
don't see the signal. Nail mine to the mast. Let them press closer on the
enemy. That's my reply to such signalling." It was Nelson, moreover, who,
when the battle was gained, arranged with the Prince Royal of Denmark the
terms of the armistice which separated his country from the number of the
neutral states.

Almost at the same moment the coalition of maritime powers underwent a
more fatal check. For several months the strange workings of the mind of
the Emperor Paul I. had become more obvious. Everybody trembled before
him, and even the empress, as well as her sons, had been threatened with
banishment to Siberia. A caricature was published representing the Czar
holding in one hand a paper on which was written the word "order;" in the
other, the word "counter-order;" on his forehead was read the word
"disorder." A conspiracy was formed, including the principal nobles and
the most intimate members of his household. "They are conspiring against
me, Pahlen," said the emperor to the Governor of St. Petersburg. "Let your
Majesty's mind be easy," replied the Russian, coolly; "I am up to them."
He really was so, and on the night of the 23rd March, 1801, he entered the
Michael palace with the conspirators. The next in importance to him,
General Benningsen, had afterwards the honor of fighting bravely against
the Emperor Napoleon when subduing Poland; he was already distinguished,
and had been decorated with all the orders of the empire. On making his
way to the bedroom of the Czar, who was asleep, the two Hungarians who
formed the only guard ran away after striking one or two blows; the
palace-guard were already on an understanding with the conspirators. The
unfortunate Czar, pursued by the assassins, took refuge behind a screen.
Benningsen observing him held out a paper: "There is your act of
abdication," said he; "sign it and I answer for your life." The emperor
resisted; the conspirators crowded into the room; the lamp fell and was
extinguished, and in that moment of darkness a scarf was tightened round
the neck of Paul I., and he was struck on the head with the pummel of a
sword. When a light was brought in he was dead.

Count Pahlen had not entered the room, being engaged in guarding the doors
with a troop of soldiers: he went to call on the new emperor. Alexander
was not ignorant of the plot formed to force from his father an abdication
which had become necessary; but he had not considered, and did not
anticipate, the fatal consequences of that enterprise. Pahlen's silence
was the only reply to his questions about the Czar: the young man burst
into tears, hiding his face in his hands and heaping reproaches upon the
Governor of St. Petersburg, who still remained motionless before him. But
by this time the empress, out of her mind from sorrow, and suddenly seized
with an ill-regulated ambition, sent to announce to her son that she was
resolved to take possession of the power. Count Pahlen at once threw off
his apathy. "Enough of childish tears," said he to the young emperor;
"now, come and reign!" He then presented him to the troops, by whom he was
well received.

A few days afterwards the Emperor Alexander was crowned. "Before him
marched his grandfather's murderers," wrote Madame de Bonneuil, "beside
him those of his father, and behind him his own." Count Pahlen's ambition
was to govern the young monarch, but he was not to reap the fruits of his
crime. The empress-mother insisted upon the banishment of the murderers of
Paul I. In the retirement of his country estate, where he lived a long
time, the count on the 23rd of March made himself drunk from daybreak, in
order to pass in oblivion the dreaded anniversary which awoke in his mind
a remorse which was only slumbering. "That's the regular mode of
deposition in Russia," said Talleyrand, cynically, on hearing of the
emperor's assassination. The First Consul's anger overcame his judgment.
"The wretches!" he exclaimed; "they failed here on the 3rd Nivôse, but
they have not failed in St. Petersburg." And bent on showing his spite
towards his enemies, he had the following note inserted in the _Moniteur_:
"Paul I. died on the night of the 23rd March, and the English squadron
passed the Sound on the 31st. History will inform us the relation that
possibly exists between these two events."

History has done justice to those false insinuations, unworthy even of him
who pronounced them. Admiral Nelson felt no joy at the death of the
Emperor Paul, which finally broke the league of the neutrals, and deprived
him of the easy triumph which he made sure of gaining over the Russian
fleet. It was of service, however, to England, and contributed to assist
the wish for peace which was beginning to be awakened in the mind of the
First Consul. Scarcely was the Emperor of Russia dead, when Piedmont, long
protected by his favor, was reduced to the condition of a French
department: but it was in vain that Bonaparte pretended to reckon on the
alliance of the young Czar, in vain that Duroc was despatched to St.
Petersburg with a mission of confidence; he was not deceived as to the
Emperor Alexander's leaning to ally himself with England. In fact, M.
Otto, who had been sent to London to arrange the exchange of prisoners,
had already several weeks previously been authorized to meet favorably the
advances made by Lord Hawkesbury, then the foreign minister. On both sides
they tried to gain time. The great question which then separated France
and England, the possession of Egypt, remained undecided, and both sides
determined that it should be settled. On the 7th of March, 1801, the
English squadron of the Mediterranean, which was long stationed at Mahon,
and had recently been directed towards Malta, suddenly disembarked a body
of 18,000 soldiers under the orders of Sir Ralph Abercromby. Thus, with a
Turkish contingent and the regiments of sepoys brought from India, there
were 60,000 men united against the army of occupation, which was reduced
to 15,000 or 18,000 soldiers, commanded by dissatisfied officers, and
generals who could not act together. Unfortunate in his relations to his
colleagues, and showing little tact in his application of European methods
of organization to the native population, General Menou was unable to take
the necessary precautions against the English invasion of Egypt; and in
spite of his bravery, General Friant, who was in charge of 15,000 men
defending Alexandria, could make only a feeble resistance to the landing
of the English. Assisted by General Lanusse, he again joined battle, 13th
March, on the road to Ramanièh; while General Menou--"Abdallah Menou," as
his soldiers called him after he became a Mussulman--was on march with all
his troops to assist Alexandria. After committing the fault of allowing
the English army to land, it was necessary to make haste to fight it
before it should have received the expected reinforcements. The battle of
Canopa was fought on the 21st March under disadvantageous circumstances;
and General Lanusse being killed in the action, General Reynier's
disposition prevented his supplying his chief's incapacity. The battle,
though remaining indecisive, left the English masters of the coast, and
constantly revictualled by the fleet.

For more than two months, the French army hoped and waited for the
assistance which had been promised them. Admiral Ganteaume, provided with
the best vessels of our navy, a body of picked soldiers, and supplies and
resources of every kind, had in fact set sail on the 23rd January, leaving
Brest in the midst of a frightful tempest in the hopes of escaping the
English cruisers. After being beaten about and somewhat damaged by the
sea, the French vessels made for the Straits of Gibraltar, without any
accident except a short engagement between the frigate "Bravoure" and an
English one. The admiral hesitated; in spite of his personal courage, he
felt loaded with too great a responsibility. Bringing back his squadron
almost within view of Toulon, he thought he saw Mahon's English fleet
making straight for him, and as the struggle threatened to be unequal he
returned into the harbor of Toulon. Leaving it on the 19th of March, after
his vessels were repaired and urgent orders were received from the First
Consul, he again delayed, on account of an accident which had happened to
one of his ships, and it was only on the 22nd that he finally put to sea.
On the 26th he was delayed by the collision of two vessels at Cape
Carbonara in Sardinia, and becoming discouraged and uneasy, the admiral
again entered Toulon on the 5th of April, at the moment when the English
fleet were passing Rosetta. The town was badly defended and fell into the
hands of the enemies, who thus became masters of the mouth of the Nile;
and sending some gun-boats up as far as Fouèh, they soon took it. Generals
Lagrange and Morand held Ramanièh; and Menou delaying to lend the
assistance which he promised, Lagrange fell back upon Cairo, and
communication with Alexandria was interrupted. General Billiard, who
commanded in the capital of Egypt, made a sally to repulse the vizier's
troops; but in spite of several skirmishes he could not reach the main
body of the army, and returning to the town, he offered to capitulate. The
English were anxious to finish, being afraid of one of those strokes of
good fortune to which the French arms had so often owed their success. The
most honorable conditions were granted to the army, the troops evacuating
Egypt being carried back to France at the expense of England, and in their
vessels (27th June, 1801). Almost at the same moment (24th June), Admiral
Ganteaume, with his squadron reduced by sickness, at last anchored before
Derne, several marches from Alexandria; but as the people on the coast
opposed his landing, and the undertaking was hazardous and the land route
difficult, he again put to sea, thinking himself fortunate in finding in
the Straits at Candia an English ship, which he captured and brought
triumphantly to Toulon. General Menou, now alone, and shut up in
Alexandria, obstinately and heroically resisted in vain. When at last he
surrendered, he had been long forgotten in his isolation. Thus though
Bonaparte's thoughts often went back to that famous and chimerical
conquest of his youth, Egypt was definitively lost to France.

The negotiations with England had undergone the fluctuations inseparable
from the vicissitudes of a distant war, the events of which remained still
doubtful in Europe several weeks after their occurrence. The successes
gained by Admiral Linois against the English before Algesiras and Cadiz,
and the danger of Portugal threatened by the Spanish army, had their
influence no doubt upon the English cabinet, but it was still haughty and
exacting. The First Consul himself drew up a minute for the minister of
foreign affairs, giving an abstract of the concessions which he was
disposed to accept. "The French Government wishes to overlook nothing
which may lead to a general peace, that being for the interests both of
humanity and of the allies. It is for the King of England to consider if
it is also for the interests of his policy, his commerce, and his nation:
and if so, a distant island more or less can be no sufficient reason for
prolonging the unhappiness of the world.

"The question consists of three points: the Mediterranean--the Indies--

"Egypt will be restored to the Porte.

"The Republic of the Seven Islands will be recognized.

"All the ports of the Adriatic and Mediterranean occupied by French troops
will be restored to the King of Naples and to the Pope.

"Mahon will be restored to Spain.

"Malta will be restored to the Order; and if the King of England should
consider it conformable to his interests as a preponderating naval power
to destroy the fortifications, that clause will be admitted.

"In India, England will keep Ceylon, and so become unassailable mistress
of those immense and wealthy countries.

"The other establishments will be restored to the allies, including the
Cape of Good Hope.

"In America, all will be restored to the former possessors. The King of
England is already so powerful in that part of the world that to wish for
more is, being absolute master of India, to wish to be so of America also.

"Portugal will be preserved in all its integrity.

"Such are the conditions which the French Government is ready to sign.

"The advantages which the British Government thus derive are immense: to
claim greater ones is not to wish a peace which is just and reciprocally

"Martinico not having been conquered by the English arms, but placed by
the inhabitants in the hands of the English till France should have a
government, cannot be considered an English possession. France will never
give it up.

"All that now remains is for the British Government to make known the
course they wish to adopt; and if these conditions do not satisfy them, it
will be at least proved before the eyes of the world that the First Consul
has left nothing undone, and has shown himself disposed to make any
sacrifice, in order that peace may be restored and humanity spared the
tears and bloodshed which must inevitably result from a new campaign."

The concessions were in fact great, the First Consul abandoning points
which had long been disputed,--Egypt, Malta, and Ceylon; and he showed
extreme annoyance when Lord Hawkesbury refused to admit the principle of
complete restitution in America. Several threatening articles were
inserted in the _Moniteur_, and Bonaparte urgently hurried the preparation
of a fleet of gun-boats at Boulogne, which were supposed to be intended
for the invasion of England. It had long been an idea of the First
Consul's thus to intimidate the English Government, but it was only the
people on the coast who were really alarmed. Nelson wrote immediately to
the Admiralty, that "even on leaving the French harbors the landing is
impossible were it only for the difficulties caused by the tides: and as
to the notion of rowing over, it is impracticable humanly speaking." An
attempt to land a large army on the English coast was soon to become a
fixed idea in Bonaparte's mind; but then he used his armaments to disquiet
the British Government. Twice Nelson attempted to destroy our fleet, and
twice he failed completely: in the second attack, which was begun at
night, and vigorously carried on to boarding, Admiral Latouche-Tréville
compelled the English ships to withdraw, after inflicting severe losses
upon them. Nevertheless, England still insisted on obtaining possession of
the island of Trinidad, which belonged to Spain. The First Consul refused
for a long time, but the Prince de la Paix had betrayed the hopes of his
imperious ally. Bonaparte had guaranteed the throne of "Etruria" to the
young Duke of Parma, and recently received in Paris the new sovereign, and
his wife, the daughter of the King of Spain, and showed the nation that
the prince was a simple lad, to be easily bent to his purposes. In return
for so many favors, the Spanish troops had with difficulty conquered a few
provinces, and King Charles IV., already reconciled to his son-in-law, the
King of Portugal, concluded the treaty of Badajoz, which closed the
harbors to the English, and granted an indemnity of twenty millions to
France. The First Consul was extremely indignant, having counted on the
threat of a war in Portugal to exercise a preponderating influence in the
negotiations in London. At first he insisted that the treaty must be
broken. "At the very time," said he, "when the First Consul places a
prince of the house of Spain on a throne which is the fruit of the
victories of the French nation, the French Republic is treated as the
Republic of San Marino might with impunity be treated. Let the Prince de
la Paix know that if he has been bought by England, and has drawn the king
and queen into measures contrary to the honor and interest of the
Republic, the last hour of the Spanish monarchy has struck."

The Prince de la Paix made ample excuses, but refused to break the treaty
of Badajoz. The real intention of the First Consul was to have peace: he
had three vessels granted him by Portugal, and abandoned the island of
Trinidad to the demands of the English Government. At one time England
also claimed Tobago, but the very terms of the treaty were displeasing to
Bonaparte's pride, and he assumed the insulting tone which he had been
accustomed to use with foreign diplomatists. "The following is what I am
directed to tell you," wrote Talleyrand: "excepting Trinidad, the First
Consul will not yield, not only Tobago, but even a single rock, if there
is one, with only a village of a hundred people; and the ground of the
First Consul's conduct is, that in the treaty he has yielded to England to
the last limit of honor, and that further there would be for the French
nation dishonor. He will grant nothing more, even if the English fleets
were anchored before Chaillot."

Lord Hawkesbury withdrew his demands as to Tobago, and the First Consul
modified his threats, both nations being eagerly desirous of peace. The
preliminaries were at last signed in London, on the 1st October, 1801; and
when, two days afterwards, the ratifications were brought from Paris by
Colonel Lauriston, the welcome news caused an irresistible outburst of joy
amongst the populace. The horses of the French envoy's carriage were
unharnessed, that he might be drawn in triumph to Lord Hawkesbury's house;
and everywhere in the streets there were shouts of "Long live Bonaparte!"
At the banquets the First Consul's health was drunk, and cheered as loudly
as the speeches in favor of the friendship of the two nations. The same
excessive delight was shown in Paris, which was soon crowded with the
foreigners whom war had long kept away; and Fox was received by the First
Consul with such flattering attentions as made a deep impression on his
mind. Party feeling had so influenced the mind of the illustrious orator
as to partially efface his patriotic sentiments. A few days after the
preliminaries were signed, he wrote to his friend Lord Grey, "I confess to
you that I go farther than you in my hatred of the English Government: the
triumph gained by France excites in me a joy I can scarcely conceal."

The public joy and hopes, both in France and England, were founded on
motives superior to those which inspired Fox's satisfaction, but they were
not more permanent, or better founded. On the day after signing the
preliminaries of London, and as if to increase the renown of his
successes, the First Consul took pleasure in concluding successively
treaties with Portugal, the Sublime Porte, the Deys of Algiers and Tunis,
Bavaria, and finally Russia. One clause of the last treaty stipulated that
both sovereigns should prevent criminal conduct on the part of emigrants
from either country. The House of Bourbon and the Poles were thus equally
deprived of important protection. The situation of the King of Sardinia
was to be regulated in every way according to actual circumstances. Each
of the conventions, and especially the treaty of peace with England
contained reticences and obscurities, which were fertile in pretexts for
war and in unfriendly interpretations. The First Consul wished to secure
an interval of rest and leisure, to consolidate his conquests at home and
abroad. He had not renounced the glorious and ill-defined project of the
imperial government which he affected to exercise over Europe. "If England
made a new coalition," he wrote to M. Otto, "the only result would be a
renewal of the history of the greatness of Rome."

It was to the honor of the First Consul, in the midst of this brilliant
political and military renown, and in spite of his impulsive and
ungovernable disposition, that he understood that the restoration of
peace, the joy of victory, and the hope of a regular government, were
unable to satisfy all the wants or regulate all the movements of the human
soul. Personally without experience of religious prejudices or feelings,
free from any connection with philosophical coteries, Bonaparte did not
limit himself to a sense of the support which religion could lend in
France to the new order which he wished to establish: he understood the
higher wants of minds and consciences, and the supreme law which assigns
to Heaven the regulation of human life. The doctrines of Christianity, as
well as the divisions of the Christian Church, were indifferent to him; he
did not understand their importance, and would have thought little of
them; but he knew that, in spite of the efforts of the eighteenth century
philosophy--in spite of the ravages caused by the French Revolution, the
attachment and respect of many for the Catholic religion had still great
power. He knew also that Catholicism could not be re-established in
France, under his auspices, without the assistance and good will of the
Court of Rome. No impression was made on his mind by the attempts made to
persuade him to found in France an independent church freed from all
connection with the Papacy, or by the arguments used in favor of
Protestantism. His traditional respect, as well as the religious sentiment
of the mass of the French nation, were in favor of Catholicism. His good
sense, as well as his profound instinct of the means of action in
government, had long urged him towards religious toleration. During his
last campaign in Italy, a circular to the curés of Milan had revived the
hopes of the Roman Court; and after Pope Pius VII. returned to his
capital, on its evacuation by the Neapolitan troops, M. Spina, at first
envoy at Turin, had followed the First Consul to Paris. He treated with
Abbé Bernier who had skilfully negotiated to bring about the pacification
of Vendée--a man of great ambition, determined to serve the government
which could raise him to the episcopal purple. The _pourparlers_ were
prolonged; the situation was difficult; the new powers founded in France
by the Revolution and by victory raised pretensions which were contrary to
the Roman tradition. They were, moreover, embarrassed by the unequal
position of the ecclesiastics who were performing in France their sacred
functions, some having submitted to the republican demands rather than
leave their country and their flocks, others believing it was their duty
to sacrifice everything to their former oaths. Proscribed and outlawed,
they had for a long time preached, said mass, and given the sacraments in
spite of an unrelenting persecution. A large number had decided to take to
flight, but having now returned, the faithful were divided between them
and the priests who had remained in France. Almost alone in Paris, and
among those men whose opinion he was accustomed to consult, the First
Consul persevered in his idea of again joining the French Church to the
general Catholic body. His patience, however, was exhausted by the delay
of the Holy College, and he resolved to have recourse to means which were
more efficacious, and more in accordance with his character. On the 13th
May, 1801, he wrote to M. Cacault, French minister at Rome, that he had
determined to accept no longer the irresolution and dilatory procedure of
the Court of Rome; if in five days the scheme sent from Paris, and long
discussed by the Sacred College, was not accepted, Cacault must leave Rome
to join, in Florence, General Murat, the commander-in-chief of the army of

The emotion at the Vatican was great. Shortly before, when giving Cacault
his final instructions, the First Consul said, "Forget not to treat the
Pope as if he had 200,000 men at his orders." The French minister had
faithfully observed this injunction, which agreed with his personal
opinions: he knew the obstacles which still separated the new master of
France from the Roman Court. The scheme of ecclesiastical organization
proposed by Bonaparte was simple: sixty bishops named by the civil power
and confirmed by the Pope, the clergy salaried by the State, the
ecclesiastical jurisdiction transferred to the Council of State, and the
official management of religious bodies to the temporal authority. Pius
VII. agreed to accept this new condition of the Church exclusively
restored to her spiritual functions. The situation in the Church of the
priests who had taken the oath to the civil constitution of 1789, their
reconciliation to the papacy, the tacit admission of the appropriation by
the State of the ecclesiastical property, the nomination of new bishops
and consequent resignation or deprivation of those already holding the
titles,--such were the various questions which occupied Pope Pius VII. and
his skilful minister Cardinal Consalvi. Cacault tried to persuade them
that the cardinal himself must go to Paris. "Most Holy Father," said the
French minister, "it is necessary that Consalvi himself carry your reply
to Paris. What alarms me most is the character of the First Consul; that
man is never open to persuasion. Believe me, something stronger than cold
reason advises me in this matter: a mere animal instinct some would call
it, but it never deceives. What inconvenience if somehow or other you
appear yourself? You are blamed. What did they say? They wish for a
'Concordat' of religion; we anticipate them and bring it, there it is!"

Pope Pius VII. had long felt for General Bonaparte an attraction caused by
a mixed feeling of alarm and confidence. Alarm reigned in the mind of his
minister, who made up his mind to set out for Paris as if he were going to
martyrdom. "Since a victim is necessary," said he, "I devote myself, and
go to see the First Consul: let the will of God be done!" He rode in
Cacault's carriage from Rome to Florence, whence the French minister wrote
to Talleyrand,--

"Citizen Minister, here I am, arrived in Florence. The cardinal secretary
of state set out with me from Rome, and we have travelled together in the
same carriage. We were looked upon everywhere with great astonishment. The
cardinal was much afraid people should think I had withdrawn on account of
a rupture, and kept saying to everybody, 'This is the French minister.'
This country, crushed under the recent evils of war, shudders at the least
thought of military disturbance. The Roman Government has still greater
fear of its own dissatisfied subjects, especially those who have been
allured to authority and pillage by the sort of revolution just gone
through.... The cardinal set out this morning for Paris, and will arrive
shortly before my despatch, as he goes extremely quickly. The wretched man
feels that if he fails he will be irretrievably lost, and that all will be
lost for Rome. He is eager to know his lot. I tried at Rome to bring the
Pope to sign the Concordat only; and if he had granted me that point, I
should not have left Rome; but that idea was unsuccessful.

"You understand that the cardinal is not sent to Paris to sign that which
the Pope has refused to sign at Rome; but being the prime minister of his
Holiness, and his favorite, it is with the Pope's mind that you will be in
communication. I hope the result will be an agreement as to the
modifications. It is a matter of phrases and words, which can be turned in
so many meanings that at last the good meaning is got hold of."

The First Consul had resolved to make from the very first an impression on
the mind of the pontifical envoy by the display of his power. Scarcely had
the cardinal stepped out of his carriage when he received a visit from
Abbé Bernier, whom he at once employed to ask an audience for him. The
same day, at the Tuileries, before the crowd of courtiers who were
thronging to one of the grand receptions, Cardinal Consalvi was presented
to the First Consul. "My astonishment," says he in his correspondence,
"was like that felt in the theatre by the sudden scene-shifting, when a
cottage, prison, or wood is unexpectedly changed to the dazzling spectacle
of the most magnificent court. You can easily imagine that a person
arriving at Paris on the night preceding, without being told beforehand,
without knowing anything of the habits, customs, and dispositions of those
before whom he appeared, and who was in a measure considered responsible
for the bad success of the negotiations so far as they had been carried,
must, at the sight of such grandeur, as imposing as it was unexpected,
have felt not only profound emotion, but even a too evident
embarrassment." As the cardinal approached the three consuls, alone in the
midst of a magnificent drawing-room filled with a brilliant throng,
Bonaparte left him no time to speak. "I know the object of your journey to
France," said he. "I wish the conferences to be immediately opened. I
leave you five days' time; and I tell you beforehand that if at the
expiration of the fifth day the negotiations are not finished, you must
return to Rome; whilst as for me, I have decided what to do in that case."

Consalvi came to Paris ardently wishing to bring to a successful
completion the difficult negotiations which had been entrusted to him. His
Italian cunning was not deceived as to the motive of the display of
magnificence, and the rough reception of himself which signalized his
first audience. He was conscientious and resolute without narrowness of
mind, and he understood the immense importance to religion and politics of
the restoration of agreement between France and the Court of Rome. He
appeared neither astonished nor disturbed with reference to the First
Consul. When they came to the discussion of the questions which had
brought him to Paris, the Pope's envoy showed himself easily influenced on
most of the points. Bonaparte himself summarized the whole of the
Concordat in a few words: "Fifty emigrant bishops, paid by England, manage
all the French clergy, and their influence must be destroyed. The
authority of the Pope is necessary for that. He deprives them of their
charge, or obliges them to resign. As it is said that the Catholic
religion is that of the majority of the French, the exercise of it should
be organized. The First Consul nominates the fifty bishops; the Pope
institutes them; they name the curés, and the State pays their salaries.
They take the oath: the priests who refuse to submit are removed, and
those who preach against the government are referred to their superiors.
After all, enlightened men will not rise against Catholicism; they are

A rather keen opposition, however, was raised among the courtiers and in
the army against the Concordat, which assisted in hampering the progress
of the negotiations. Most of the military men were still imbued with the
spirit of the Revolution, and suspicious of the influence of the priests.
The constitutional clergy, who had no serious objection to the Concordat,
the only means of securing them a regular ecclesiastical standing, feared
lest they should be sacrificed in favor of the priests who had refused to
take the oath. Several of them were married, and had thus increased the
difficulties of their position by new ties. So many personal interests and
different motives kept the First Consul's advisers in a state of hostility
to the claims of the Holy See. Even the preamble of the Concordat gave
room to long discussions. On the refusal to apply the title "State
religion" to the Catholic religion, Cardinal Consalvi agreed to the simple
statement of the fact that the Catholic Apostolic and Roman religion was
the religion of the great majority of the French people. On the other
hand, the Pope admitted the great advantage that religion should derive
from the re-establishment of Catholic worship in France, and from the
personal profession of it made by the consuls of the republic. He at the
same time agreed to ask the old titular bishops to resign. The resignation
of the constitutional bishops had been already secured. The First Consul
wrote to Pius VII.: "Most holy Father, Cardinal Consalvi has showed me
your Holiness' letter, and I recognize the evangelical sentiments which
distinguish it. The cardinal will inform your Holiness of my intention to
do all that may contribute to your happiness. It will depend only on you
to find again in the French Government the support which it has always
granted to your predecessors, when they have classed with their principal
duties the preaching of maxims which help to confirm peace, morality, and
obedience to the civil power.

"It only depends on me that the tears of Europe cease to flow, that the
revolutions and wars be followed by general peace and order.

"On all occasions, I beg your Holiness to reckon upon the assistance of
your devoted son."

Cardinal Consalvi had made several concessions; the French negotiators had
more than once extended as they chose the exact sense of his concessions;
but he refused absolutely to entrust the regulation of the public worship
to the civil authority. In view of the cardinal's conscientious obstinacy,
the First Consul at last agreed to important modifications of this point.
When the day for signing arrived, Joseph Bonaparte, who had always a share
in diplomatic negotiations, being one of the appointed signatories, the
cardinal went to his house with the Abbé Bernier, both bringing a copy of
the act. At the moment when the papal envoy was taking the pen, he cast
his eyes over the text of the convention, and saw that the article
referring to the exercise of worship had been restored to the form which
he had objected to. Reading further, and finding other changes and
additions, the cardinal protested against it. Joseph Bonaparte declared
that he knew nothing of it. "The First Consul wished it to be so," said
Bernier with some confusion, "declaring that anything may be changed so
long as it is not signed. Besides, the draft agreed upon did not please
him; and he insists upon the articles being so modified."

The time was short, the First Consul having announced his intention of
announcing publicly the signature of the Concordat at a great banquet the
same evening. The outbursts of his anger even reached the cardinal's ears.
He had torn the Concordat, and threatened to declare the rupture of the
negotiations if Consalvi did not consent to give way. "I underwent the
agonies of death," said the cardinal. But he was convinced of his duty,
and went to the Tuileries as unbending in his resolution as the First
Consul in his imperious will. Bonaparte came to him as he entered the
drawing-room, and called loudly, "Well, cardinal, you wish then to break!
I have no need of Rome! Let it be so! I have no need of the Pope! If Henry
VIII., who had not the twentieth part of my power, was able to change the
religion of his country, I am much more able to do so! By that change of
religion I shall change the religion through nearly the whole of Europe,
wherever the influence of my power extends. Rome will be sensible of the
losses she brings on herself. She will lament them, but there will be no
remedy. You wished to break.... Very well! let it be so, since you wished
it. When do you set out?" "After dinner, general," replied the cardinal
with calmness.

Consalvi did not set out. Next day, in spite of the reiterated attempt
made to influence him, in spite of the weakness of the majority of his
legation, the Pope's secretary of state held firm. The First Consul gave
way, or pretended it, in order afterwards to withdraw the concessions
granted, but sufficiently to satisfy the conscience of the cardinal, and
persuade him to put his signature to the Concordat. The ratification at
Rome quickly succeeded, and a legate was sent to Paris, chosen at the
First Consul's express desire. After Cardinal Caprara's arrival, the
publication of the Concordat was still delayed by the choosing of the new
bishops. Thirteen of the former prelates, who had taken refuge in England,
alone refused to resign at the command of the Holy See; and thirty-three
bishops, still abroad or already returned to France, obeyed generously and

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest