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

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allied peoples did not prevent his annexing to the kingdom of Italy the
territory of Genoa, whilst forming the domains of Lucca and Piombino into
a principality in favor of his eldest sister, Elisa Baciocchi. The storm
was already threatening the feeble government of Naples: the queen,
obsequious in her alarm, had sent to Milan an ambassador to congratulate
the emperor and king. "Tell your queen," exclaimed Napoleon, "that her
intrigues are known to me, and that her children will curse her memory,
for I shall not leave in her kingdom enough of land to build her tomb

So much brilliance and severity in the display of his sovereign power
proved of service to the irreconcilable enemies who were stirring up
Europe against the already uncontrollable ambition of the new emperor.
Pitt had already returned to power (19th May, 1804), though with less
support in Parliament, and very infirm in health. He felt himself
sustained by the breath of public opinion, and by the firm confidence of
the mass of the nation. In this great duel, of which he was not to see the
end, it was the consolation, as well as the honor of the illustrious
minister, that he had constantly defended the principles of true liberty,
as well as European independence, against the encroachments and contagion
of the revolutionary powers, and those of anarchy or absolutism.

It was in the name of the same principles that the young Emperor of Russia
then proposed to Europe a mediation which was soon to end in a coalition.
Generously chimerical in his inexperience, Alexander dreamt of a general
rearrangement of Europe, which was to secure forever the peace of every
nation. Poland itself was to be reconstituted, Italy and Germany to
recover their independence, and a new code of the rights of nations on sea
and land was to regulate the relations of civilized states. Nowosiltzoff
was entrusted to discuss this scheme with Pitt.

It was by the prudence and skilful tact of the English minister that the
scaffolding of ambitious hopes was overthrown, and the Emperor Alexander
brought to the practical consideration of a durable alliance. England and
Russia engaged to carry out the formation of a great European league and
the legitimate re-establishment of the states. Hanover and Northern
Germany were to be evacuated, the independence of Holland and Switzerland
guaranteed, the King of Piedmont reestablished, the kingdom of Naples
consolidated, Italy delivered. In order to bring Prussia into that
alliance, Pitt proposed to grant him the Rhenish provinces. He refused
formally to evacuate Malta, and pleaded the English prejudices against the
Russian overtures with reference to the Turkish territory. The Emperor
Alexander still hoped to obtain important concessions from Napoleon.
Trusting in his sincere disinterestedness, the young monarch had got
Prussia to ask passports for his envoy; Napoleon was in Italy, and said he
could not receive Nowosiltzoff before July. "I expect nothing from this
mediation," he wrote to the King of Prussia: "Alexander is too fickle and
feeble; Russia is too far, too foreign to colonial and maritime interests;
the Woronzovs too much influenced by English money, for one to have
reasonable hopes of an advantageous general peace. Whenever propositions
are passed at St. Petersburg to reach Paris, there is no wish to come to
an understanding: in London they wish to gain time, dazzle the eyes of all
the peoples, and perhaps form a coalition which should bring disgrace upon
England. My brother, I wish for peace, but I do not wish to agree to my
people being disinherited of the commerce of the world. I have no
ambition: I have twice evacuated the third part of Europe without being
compelled to do so. I owe Russia no more as to Italian affairs than she
owes me with reference to Turkish and Persian affairs. Russia has not the
right to take that tone with anybody, and with me still less than with
anybody whatever."

The Emperor Napoleon had already given his reply to Europe. The annexation
of the territory of Genoa, and the threat to the Neapolitan government
sufficiently proved his intentions. The treaty provisionally signed on the
11th April between England and the Emperor Alexander was confirmed; and on
the 9th August, Austria, which already had a secret engagement with
Russia, adhered to the Anglo-Russian alliance. Sweden joining soon after,
the third coalition was now complete. Prussia remained as a common object
for the negotiations and advances of all. Napoleon gave her hopes of
obtaining Hanover.

He had just set out for Boulogne, always the centre of his adventurous
plans. Already in the previous year he believed that he had reached the
accomplishment of the project so carefully matured and prepared with that
mixture of foresight and boldness which so often secured the unexpected
success of his attempts. His enormous preparations were at last completed,
the Dutch squadron alone being waited for; and the emperor deceived the
impatience of his troops and his own agitation by reviews and military
ceremonies. On the 2nd July, he wrote to Admiral Latouche-Tréville, whom
he had put in command of his Toulon squadron: "By the same messenger let
me know on what day you will weigh anchor. Let me know also what the enemy
is doing, and where Nelson is located. Reflect upon the great enterprise
which you are about to execute, and before I sign your definite orders let
me understand the manner in which you think they would be most
advantageously carried into effect. I have appointed you Grand Officer of
the Empire, Inspector of the Coasts of the Mediterranean; but I desire
much that the operation you are about to undertake may enable me to
elevate you to such a degree of consideration and honor, that you may have
nothing more to desire. The squadron of Rochefort (commanded by Admiral
Villeneuve), composed of five vessels, of which one is a three-decker, and
of four frigates, is ready to weigh anchor; it has before it only five of
the enemy's ships. The squadron of Brest (commanded by Admiral Ganteaume)
is of twenty-one ships; these ships have just weighed anchor in order to
harass the enemy and compel him to keep there a large number of vessels.
The enemy have also six ships before the Texel, and there blockade the
Dutch squadron, consisting of eight vessels, four frigates, and a convoy
of thirty ships in which the corps of General Marmont is embarked. Between
Étaples, Boulogne, Wimereux and Ambleteuse (two new ports which I have
constructed) we have 1800 gun-boats of various kinds, and 120,000 men, and
10,000 horses; only let us be masters of the strait for six hours, and we
shall be the masters of the world.

"The enemy have before Boulogne, before Ostend, and at the Downs, two
ships of seventy-four guns, two of sixty-four guns, and two or three of
fifty guns. Until now Admiral Cornwallis has had only fifteen vessels, but
all the reserves from Plymouth and Portsmouth have come to reinforce him
before Brest.

"The enemy keep also at Cork, in Ireland, four or five ships of war; I do
not speak of frigates or small vessels, of which they have a large number.
If you deceive Nelson, he will go to Sicily or to Egypt or to Ferrol. It
would then appear to me best to make a considerable roundabout, and arrive
before Rochefort; thus making your squadron one of sixteen ships and
eleven frigates; and then, without dropping anchor or losing a single
instant, arrive before Boulogne. Our squadron at Brest, twenty-three
vessels strong, will have on board an army, and will be constantly under
sail set, so that Cornwallis will be obliged to press close to the shore
of Brittany in order to try and prevent the escape of our fleet. For the
rest, in order to fix my ideas upon this operation, which has its risks,
but of which the success offers results so enormous, I wait for the scheme
you have mentioned to me, and which you will send me by return of the
courier. You must embark as many provisions as possible, so that under any
circumstances you may have nothing to hinder you."

It is the weakness as well as the honor of human enterprises to depend
upon the life and force of a man. Before Admiral Latouche-Tréville had
been able to profit by the occurrence of the mistral to get out of Toulon
and deceive Nelson, he himself succumbed to the illness that had preyed
upon him since the expedition of San Domingo (20th August, 1804), and the
projected expedition against the coast of England was indefinitely
postponed. "The flotilla has been looked upon as temporary," wrote the
Emperor to Decrès, the Minister of Marine; "it will be necessary
henceforth to look upon it as a fixed establishment, and from this moment
to give the greatest attention to all that is unchangeable, managing it by
other regulations than the squadron."

It was at the same time the plan of the emperor to try to turn away the
thoughts of the English from his schemes of invasion; in the midst of his
arrangements for the coronation, and of the diplomatic negotiations, and
whilst writing a private letter to the King of England, pompously
proposing peace, he had formed other designs and prepared new plans in
order at last to carry out his great enterprise.

It was no longer on the coasts of France or of Spain, but far away in the
regions of the Antilles that the French squadrons of Toulon, Brest, and
Rochefort were to effect their junction and concentrate their forces. The
hope of Napoleon was to see the English, deceived by their disappearance,
dash off in pursuit of them and rush to the succor of the Indies. The
emperor had for a moment thought of directing the blows of his united navy
against this distant and new formed empire. Returning to the project of
the descent on England, he had made Admiral Villeneuve set out directly
after the 30th of March. He was to join at Cadiz the Spanish Admiral
Gravina and at Martinique, Admiral Missiessy, who had left Rochefort on
the 11th of January. Admiral Ganteaume, taking advantage of the first
moment when the English should be obliged by contrary winds to withdraw
from Brest, was in his turn to set sail for Martinique. The fleet, which
would then be fifty or sixty strong, assured of triumphing over all the
English forces if they should dare to face it, would return into the
channel to cover the departure of the flotilla. "The English do not know
what calamity awaits them," wrote Napoleon on the 4th of August to the
Admiral Decrès. "If we are masters of the passage for twelve hours,
England's day is done."

Racine has said by the mouth of Mithridates,--

"Mais, pour être approuvés,
De semblables projets veulent être achevés."

Villeneuve quoted it to the Minister of Marine when the plans formed by
the emperor were confided to him. This mournful forecast haunted, no
doubt, more than once the thoughts of the admiral when he found himself at
sea, discontented and uneasy. "We have bad masts, bad sails, bad rigging,
bad officers, and bad sailors," said he. Arrived, on the 14th of May, at
Martinique, he found Missiessy no longer there, but his orders obliged him
to await the arrival of Ganteaume. A continuous calm prevented the latter
from leaving Brest, where he was blockaded by the English. At the two ends
of the world, discouragement weighed upon the admirals consigned to
inaction by unforeseen obstacles met with in the execution of a plan which
took no account of accidents of wind or sea. In vain wrote Napoleon to
Ganteaume, "You hold in your hands the destinies of the world." The
unfortunate commander of the Brest squadron communicated his despair to
the Minister of Marine: "I believe, my friend, that you share all my
experience. Every day that passes is a day of torment for me; and I
tremble lest at the end I should be obliged to commit some gross folly.
The length of the days and the beauty of the season cause me to despair of
the expedition." In the middle of May, Admiral Magon was despatched to
Martinique to give Villeneuve orders to return with his squadron, to raise
the blockade of Ferrol, to touch at Rochefort, and join Admiral Missiessy,
and then to present themselves before Brest in order to force the blockade
with the aid of Ganteaume. The united fleets were then to set sail towards
the channel.

Upon land, and until the day when success and presumption disturbed the
clearness of his judgment, and the penetrating light of his genius,
Napoleon was accustomed to judge soberly of the obstacles he calculated on
overcoming, and of his power to do so. Without maritime experience, and
struggling against the recognized superiority of the English navy, he
constantly committed the error of counting on the mistakes of the enemy
and of looking on the chiefs of his squadrons as equal in talent to
Nelson. No sooner had the latter learnt the direction of Villeneuve than
he dashed off in pursuit, caring little as to the number of vessels he
might have to confront. Napoleon had miscalculated the length of the
voyage. "Nelson will have been first to Surinam, thence to Trinidad, and
from that to Barbadoes," wrote he on the 28th of June to Admiral Decrès;
"he will lose two days at Cape Verd; he will lose much time in collecting
his ships, on account of the vessels and frigates to which he will give
chase on his way. When he learns that Villeneuve is not in the Windward
Islands he will go to Jamaica, and during the days lost in provisioning
and waiting, great blows will be struck. This is my calculation. Nelson is
in America and Collingwood in the East Indies. Nelson will not venture
before Martinique; he will stay at Barbadoes in order to plan a junction
with Cochrane."

Nelson had already quitted Barbadoes and was pursuing his adversary from
anchorage to anchorage. Troubled by this formidable proximity, and pressed
by the formal orders which enjoined him to transfer his efforts to the
seas of Europe, Villeneuve crowded all sail to reach Ferrol. Nelson soon
followed him, directing his course towards the Mediterranean, but careful
to warn the Admirality, who sent Admiral Calder with fifteen vessels to
the neighborhood of Cape Finisterre. It was in these waters that
Villeneuve encountered Nelson on July 22nd, 1805. The weather was foggy,
and the sea rough; the engagement ended without any important result, two
Spanish vessels being captured by the English. Villeneuve set sail
speedily towards Ferrol, without entering the Channel, the order having
arrived to take his course to Brest immediately; but he lingered at
Corunna, persuaded that Nelson had joined Admiral Calder, and that both
would combine with Lord Cornwallis for his destruction. In again taking to
sea, he let it be thought that he was setting out for Brest; General
Lauriston, aide-de-camp to the emperor, and who had accompanied Villeneuve
in his expedition, wrote so immediately to the emperor. But the
discouragement of Villeneuve, more profound than ever, showed itself in a
letter to his friend, Admiral Decrès. "They make me the arbiter of the
highest interests," wrote he; "my despair doubles in proportion as more
confidence is placed in me, because I cannot pretend to any success,
whatever plan I adopt. It is perfectly plain to me that the fleets of
France and Spain cannot be effective in large squadrons. Divisions of
three or four, or five at the most, are all that we are capable of
conducting. Let Ganteaume get out, and he will judge the point. Public
opinion will be settled. I am about to set out, but I know not what I
shall do. Eight vessels are in view of the coast at a few leagues'
distance. They will follow us, but I shall not be able to join them, and
they will go to unite with the other squadrons before Brest or Cadiz,
according as I make my way to one or other of those ports. I am far from
being in a position, in leaving this place with twenty-nine vessels, to be
able to fight against a similar number; I do not fear to tell you that I
should be hard put to it to encounter twenty."

For three weeks past the emperor had been at Boulogne, consumed with
impatience, exercising the troops every day, repeating the manoeuvres of
embarkation, his attention fixed upon the sea, and ready to deliver his
flotilla and his army to the mercy of the waves as soon as his squadrons
should at last appear in the Channel. The days sped by; in vain ships
after ships were hurried off to Admiral Villeneuve, bearing the most
urgent orders. "If you run up here in three days, if only for twenty-four
hours, your mission would be accomplished. The English are not so numerous
as you think; they are everywhere detained by the wind. Never will a
squadron have run a few risks with so great an end, and never will our
soldiers have had the chance on land or sea to shed their blood for a
grander or nobler result. For the great object of aiding a descent upon
that power which for six centuries has oppressed France, we ought all to
die without regret."

The Minister of Marine, clever and experienced in naval affairs, endowed
with a cold and prudent spirit, had never approved the projects of
Napoleon, and had constantly sought to turn him from them. The conviction
which was firmly rooted in the mind of Decrès as to the impossibility of
success, in connection with the sorrowful discouragement which impelled
Villeneuve towards Cadiz instead of towards Brest, increased the
uneasiness as well as the anger of the emperor. Located in barracks by the
seashore, whilst Napoleon resided at the Château du Pont de Briques,
Decrès wrote to his terrible master: "I throw myself at the feet of your
Majesty, to beseech of you not to associate the Spanish vessels with the
operations of the squadrons. Far from having gained anything in this
respect, your Majesty hears that this association would add to the vessels
of Cadiz and Carthagena. In this state of things, in which your Majesty
counts as nothing my arguments and experience, I know of no situation that
would be more painful than mine. I desire your Majesty to take seriously
into consideration that I have no other interest than that of your banner
and the honor of your arms; and if your fleet is at Cadiz, I beseech you
to consider this event as an act of destiny which reserves it for other
operations. I implore you not to cause it to come from Cadiz into the
channel, because the attempt at this moment would only be attended by
misfortunes. I reproach myself with not being able to persuade your
Majesty. I doubt if a single man could succeed in doing so. Deign to form
a council upon maritime affairs--an admiralty, of those who may suit your
Majesty, but as for me, I perceive that in place of growing stronger, I
grow weaker every day. And it cannot but be true that a Minister of
Marine, overruled by your Majesty in naval affairs, becomes useless for
the glory of your arms, if, indeed, not positively hurtful."

A single word from the emperor was the reply to the despairing letter of
his minister:--"Raise yourself to the height of the circumstances and of
the situation in which France and England now find themselves; never again
write me a letter like that which you have written to me; it is not to the
purpose. As for me, I have only need of one thing, and that is to

In the depth of his soul; and in his secret thoughts, Napoleon saw himself
conquered by a concurrence of circumstances which he had not been willing
to foresee. His anger continued violent against the instrument who had
failed him in his imprudent designs; he asked Decrès, however, what should
be his plans in case Admiral Villeneuve were found at Cadiz, which he
still refused to believe. On August 13th he wrote to Talleyrand: "The more
I reflect upon the state of Europe, the more I see how urgent it is to
take a decisive part. I have in reality nothing to expect from the
explanations of Austria. She will answer by fine phrases and gain time, in
order that I may not be able to act this winter. Her treaty of subsidies
and her act of coalition will be signed this winter under the pretext of
an armed neutrality, and in April I shall find 100,000 Russians in Poland,
provided by England with equipment of horses, artillery, etc., 15,000 to
20,000 English at Malta, and 15,000 Russians at Corfu. I shall find myself
then in a critical situation. My decision is taken. My fleet left Ferrol
on the 29th Thermidor with thirty-four vessels. It had no enemy in sight.
If it followed its instructions, joined itself to the squadron at Brest
and entered the Channel, there is yet time, and I am master of England.
If, on the contrary, my admirals hesitate, manoeuvre badly, and do not
accomplish their purpose, I have no other resource than to wait for the
winter to cross with the flotilla. The plan is a hazardous one. It would
be more so if, pressed by circumstances, political events placed me under
the obligation of passing over in the month of April. In this state of
things I rush to the point where I am most needed; I raise my camps, and
replace my war battalions with my third battalion, always an army
sufficiently formidable for Boulogne; and on the 1st Vendémiaire I find
myself with 200,000 men in Germany, and 25,000 men in the kingdom of
Naples. I march upon Vienna, and I do not lay down my arms till I have
taken Naples and Venice, and have so augmented the States of the Elector
of Bavaria that I shall have nothing to fear from Austria. She will in
this manner be certainly pacified for the winter. I return to Paris, but
to be off again immediately."

It was always one of the sources of power of the Emperor Napoleon, and
perhaps the rarest among them, that the marvellous fecundity of his mind,
and the inexhaustible variety of the projects and conceptions which he was
constantly turning over, reciprocally sustained and complemented each
other. This characteristic of his genius has been ignored; and little
honor has been done to his foresight when he has been depicted as taken in
some degree unawares by the failure of his maritime plans, and constrained
to improvise by a supreme effort the direction of his campaign in Germany.
In the last days of August, whilst he was still uncertain as to the
movements of his squadrons, all the orders were already given for the
concentration of his armies. Bernadotte was to proceed to Göttingen with
the army of Hanover; Prince Eugène was collecting his forces on the Adige;
Gouvion St. Cyr was ready to march upon Naples; and Marmont to advance
from the Texel upon Mayence. General Duroc had set out for Berlin,
commissioned to propose an alliance. "My intention is not to leave Austria
and Russia to combine with England," said Napoleon. "My conduct in that
event would be that of the great Frederic in his first war." He wrote to
Marshal Berthier on August 25th: "The decisive moment has arrived; you
know how important a day is in this affair. Austria restrains herself no
longer; she believes, without doubt, that we are all drowned in the

Doubt was no longer possible; time was flying, and no news arrived of the
squadron. Villeneuve had evidently retired to Cadiz. The violence and
injustice of the emperor's utterances vexed Decrès beyond expression.
"Villeneuve is a wretch, who ought to be ignominiously discharged," cried
he; "he has neither contrivance, nor courage, nor public interest; he
would sacrifice everything provided that he could save his skin." He broke
out thus before Monge, for whom he had retained a true friendship,
notwithstanding the known opinions of the savant, who had remained
republican. Troubled by the anger of Napoleon, Monge went to apprise Daru,
then principal Secretary of War, who presented himself before the emperor.
Badly informed as to the intentions of the master and the causes of his
discontent, he waited silently. The emperor, coming up to him, exclaimed,
"Do you know where Villeneuve is? He is at Cadiz." And, unfolding before
Daru all the projects he had been cherishing for six months, and
attributing their failure to the cowardice and incapacity of the men he
had employed, he launched out into invectives and recriminations. All of a
sudden, and as if he had relieved his soul by the outburst of his passion,
"Sit down there," said he to Daru, "and write!" A powerful effort, and the
natural play of a fruitful imagination, had recalled him to the
combinations which were to make his enemies tremble, and to assure him of
the triumph over Austria of which he had been baulked as regards England.
The plan of his campaign was fixed; all his thoughts turned towards a
dreadful execution of his will.

The secret had been carefully guarded, and already, on all sides, the
French armies were threatening the enemy, when, on the 1st Vendémiaire,
the emperor opened the session of the Senate. "The wishes of the eternal
enemies of the Continent are fulfilled," said he. "War has broken out in
the centre of Germany; Austria and Russia are leagued with England; and
our generation is dragged once more into all the calamities of war. A few
days ago I still hoped that peace might not be broken; menaces and
outrages found me impassive; but the Austrian army has passed the Inn,
Munich is invaded, the Elector of Bavaria is driven from his capital, all
my hopes have vanished. Senators, when, at your desire, at the call of the
entire French people, I placed upon my head the imperial crown, I received
from you, and from all citizens, the promise to maintain it pure and
without blemish. All the promises I have made to you I have kept; the
French people in their turn have made no engagement with me which they
have not even surpassed. Frenchmen, your emperor will do his duty; my
soldiers will do theirs; you will do yours."

General Mack had entered Ulm, and the emperor was still at Saint-Cloud.
The movements of our troops were quietly going forward, when Napoleon
conceived the idea of surrounding the enemy in Suabia by cutting off his
communications with Austria. A note in his own handwriting, written on the
22nd of September, indicates beforehand the positions of all the corps of
the army. On the 27th he arrived at Strasburg, prolonging his residence
there in order to deceive the Austrian general, who kept his attention
constantly fixed upon the Black Forest. On the 30th, at Strasburg, the
emperor addressed to his troops a simple and firm proclamation, animated
by that martial spirit which always inspired the army when he addressed
it. "Soldiers, the war of the third coalition has commenced. The Austrian
army has passed the Inn, broken the treaties, attacked our ally, and sent
him from his capital. You yourselves have been compelled to hasten, by
forced marches, to the defence of our frontiers. But already you have
passed the Rhine. We will not stay our progress until we have assured the
independence of the Germanic state, succored our allies, and confounded
the pride of the unjust aggressors. We will have no more peace without a
guarantee. Our generosity shall not again deceive our policy. Soldiers,
your emperor is in the midst of you; you are only the vanguard of the
great people. If it is necessary, they will rise as one man, to confound
and dissolve this new league woven by the hatred and the gold of England.
But, soldiers, we have forced marches to make, fatigues and privations of
every kind to endure. Whatever obstacles maybe opposed to us we shall be
victorious, and we will take no rest till we have planted our eagles upon
the territory of our enemies."

Napoleon had said, "I reckon on making more use of the legs of my soldiers
than even of their bayonets." The fatal circle was narrowing round General
Mack by the rapid movements of the French troops, without his appearing to
comprehend their aim, or divine the danger which threatened him. On the
8th of October he still wrote, that never had an army been posted in a
manner more fitted to assure its superiority. On the same day, advancing
upon Günzburg, Marshals Lannes and Murat encountered at Wutingen an
Austrian corps, which was tardily marching to the succor of General
Kienmayer, already dislodged from the bridges of the Danube and the Lech.
The engagement was short and brilliant; the fugitives bore at length to
Ulm the conviction of the overwhelming forces which menaced the Austrian
army. The Emperor Napoleon had arrived at Donauwerth. The first bulletin
from the Grand Army was dated October 7th, explaining all the military
operations: "This grand and vast movement has carried us in a few days to
Bavaria; has enabled us to avoid the Black Mountains, the line of parallel
rivers which fall into the Danube, and the inconvenience of a system of
operations which would have always had the defiles of the Tyrol on the
flank; and lastly, has placed us several marches in the rear of the enemy,
who has no time to lose, to avoid his entire destruction."

Napoleon was particularly watchful with respect to the Tyrol, for he had
settled in his own mind that General Mack would seek an outlet on this
side, to escape from the blockade with which he was menaced. The little
German princes, terrified or won over, had submitted to the yoke of
Napoleon, and accepted his alliance; the French troops had violated
neutral territories with impunity; the Russian armies were at last making
forced marches, and had just entered into Germany. At one moment Mack
appeared to discover the feeble point in the enemy's line; the left bank
of the Danube at Albech, was occupied by the divisions of Dupont and
Baraguey d'Hilliers, insufficient for resisting a violent attack. Murat,
who commanded the three divisions posted near Ulm, ordered Ney to recall
all the troops posted on the left bank. The marshal was indignant and
furious, but obeyed; but General Dupont had not accomplished his movement
when he was assailed by a corps of 25,000 Austrians, commanded by the
Archduke Ferdinand. The heroic resistance of the French troops enabled
them to fall back upon Albech with 1500 prisoners. The enemy contented
themselves with occupying the little town of Elchingen, and burning the

Napoleon had quitted Augsburg, and Marshal Soult had just effected the
capitulation of Meiningen. The emperor ordered Ney to retake the positions
of Elchingen. The piles of the bridge had not been burnt, and under the
fire of the Austrians the platform was replaced, and the troops rushed
forward to the attack on the village. The convent which crowned the height
was taken at the bayonet's point. Always pushing the enemy before him, Ney
seized upon the heights of Michelsberg; the fire of his cannons commanded
the grand square in Ulm. The emperor in person had just arrived at the

The Archduke Ferdinand had succeeded in escaping during the night. In
spite of a frightful tempest he gained Biberach, and rejoined Wernek in
Bohemia. Murat pursued him, while Marshal Soult occupied Biberach.

Henceforth Mack found himself without resources. "The general-in-chief was
in the city," said the sixth bulletin of the grand army. "It is the
destiny of generals opposed to the emperor to be taken in town. It will be
remembered that after the splendid manoeuvres of the Brenta, the old
Field-Marshal Wurmser was made prisoner at Mantua; Melas was taken in
Alexandria; so is Mack in Ulm."

The emperor caused the Prince of Lichtenstein, major-general of the
Austrian army, to be summoned. "I desire" said he "that the place
capitulate; if I take it by assault, I shall he compelled to do what I did
at Jaffa, where the garrison was put to the sword. It is the sad law of
war. I desire that the necessity for such a frightful act should he spared
to me, as well as to the brave Austrian nation. The place is not tenable."

Mack consented to surrender if he was not succored before the 25th of
October. The rain fell in torrents. For eight days the emperor had not
taken off his boots. The Austrian prisoners were astonished to see him,
"soaked, covered with mud, as much fatigued as the lowest drummer in his
army, and even more so." An aide-de-camp repeated to Napoleon the remarks
of the enemy's officers. Napoleon replied quickly, "Your master has been
desirous of making me remember that I am a soldier," said he. "I hope he
will be convinced that the throne and the imperial purple have not made me
forget my first business."

Wernek had laid down his arms at Nordlingen; the archduke was fleeing into
Bohemia before the cavalry of Murat: the corps of Jellachich in the Tyrol,
and that of Kienmayer beyond the Inn, could send no succors to General
Mack. Urged to escape the horror of the situation, he forestalled the day
fixed for the capitulation: on the 20th of October, 1805, the garrison at
Ulm, which still counted 24,000 or 25,000 men, defiled slowly before the
conqueror. The troops were prisoners of war, the cannons and flags had
been abandoned; seven lieutenant-generals, eight generals, and the
general-in-chief, Mack, kept at the emperor's side, were present with
death in their souls at the ceremonial which proved their defeat. "In
fifteen days we have finished a campaign," said the proclamation of
Napoleon to his soldiers. "That which we proposed is completed. We have
driven the troops of the House of Austria from Bavaria, and re-established
our ally in the sovereignty of his States. That army which, with as much
ostentation as imprudence, came forward to place itself on our frontiers,
is annihilated. But what matters it to England? Her purpose is answered;
we are not at Boulogne, and the subsidy which she grants to Austria will
be neither larger nor smaller."

England resented the defeat of her ally more keenly than Napoleon
acknowledged in the bitterness of his hate. The rumor of the capitulation
of Ulm had reached London. On November 2nd, Lord Malmesbury was seated at
table beside Pitt, and spoke to him of the rumors he had heard. "Don't
believe a word of it; it is simply a lie," said Pitt, roughly, raising his
voice so as to make himself heard by those around him. "But the next day,
Sunday, the 3rd," continues Lord Malmesbury in his journal, "he entered my
house with Lord Mulgrave, about one o'clock, and they brought with them a
Dutch journal which contained at full length the capitulation of Ulm.
Neither of them knew that language, and all the officials were away. I
translated the article as well as I could, and I saw very clearly the
effect that it produced upon Pitt, in spite of the efforts he made to hide
it. This was the last time that I saw him. This visit left upon me a
profound impression, his manners and countenance were so altered; I
conceived from it, in spite of myself, the sad presentiment of the
misfortune which threatened us."

Pitt was again, for one day only, to taste for an instant of patriotic
joy, bitterly mingled with regret. In spite of the bravery to which
Napoleon did not always render justice, the French sailors, inexperienced
and badly commanded, had alone failed in the great projects confided to
them, and thwarted the hopes of the emperor. Before setting out for
Strasburg he had ordered the fleet at Brest to make several cruises, and
the fleet at Cadiz to take the soldiers it had on board to the support of
the movement of Gouvion St. Cyr in the Bay of Naples. "It might seize an
English vessel and a Russian frigate which are to be found there: it could
remain in the waters near Naples all the time necessary to do the greatest
possible harm to the enemy and intercept the convoy which he is projecting
to send to Malta. After this expedition it will return to Toulon, where it
will effect for me a powerful diversion. I estimate then that it is
necessary to do two things, first to send a special message to Admiral
Villeneuve, ordering him to effect this manoeuvre; second, as his
excessive pusillanimity will hinder him from undertaking it, you will send
Admiral Rosily to replace him. He will be the bearer of letters enjoining
upon Admiral Villeneuve to return to France, to render an account of his

The minister of Marine was a friend of Villeneuve, and in announcing to
him the departure of Admiral Rosily, he did not make him acquainted with
his own disgrace. Leaving the consequences to chance, he had given up the
endeavor to influence the imperious will of Napoleon with regard to the
squadrons, and he dared not give instructions to Villeneuve. Villeneuve
divined what his friend hid from him. "The sailors of Paris and the
departments will be very unworthy and very foolish if they cast a stone at
me," wrote he to Decrès. "They will have themselves prepared the
condemnation which will strike them later on. Let them come on board the
squadrons, and they will see against what elements they are exposed to
fight. For the rest, if the French marine, as is maintained, has only
failed in daring, the emperor will shortly be satisfied, and may count
upon the most brilliant successes."

In the middle of October, without having united with the Spanish squadron
of Carthagena, nor the vessels which he had formerly imprudently detached
under the orders of Captain Allemand, Villeneuve left Cadiz in company
with Admiral Gravina and some Spanish vessels. The latter were large and
heavy, difficult to manoeuvre, and fitted with very second-rate crews. The
squadron of battle, commanded by Admiral Villeneuve and the Spanish Vice-
Admiral Alava, numbered twenty-one vessels. The squadron of reserve,
composed of twelve vessels, had been placed under the orders of Admiral

The forces of Nelson numerically equalled those of Villeneuve, but they
were infinitely superior to his in the quality of the vessels and their
crews. The illustrious English admiral was ill; for several weeks he had
sought repose in England. When he offered to resume the command of the
fleet, he was impressed with the idea that he should not again see his
country. He called upon the workman entrusted with making a coffin, which
Captain Hollowell had ordered to be made from a fragment of the keel of
the French vessel L'Orient [Footnote: L'Orient, commanded by Admiral
Brueys, foundered at Aboukir.] "Engrave the history of this coffin on the
plate," said he; "I shall probably have need of it before long." When at
length he appeared on board, the sailors cheered him as the assurance of
victory. The English admiral had carefully concealed the number of his
vessels, fearing Villeneuve might hesitate in view of his forces. On the
21st the Franco-Spanish fleet was entirely at sea, sailing in order of
battle. The English had formed in two lines; Admiral Collingwood, upon the
_Royal Sovereign_, commanded the first; Nelson, on board the _Victory_,
directed the second. He had given orders to bear down upon the French
lines in order to cut them. "The part of the enemy's fleet that you leave
out of the fight," said he, "will come with difficulty to the assistance
of the part attacked, and you will have conquered before it arrives." The
same signal was hoisted all over the fleet, "England expects that every
man will do his duty." Villeneuve had not less nobly announced his
intentions to his officers. "You need not wait for signals from the
admiral," were his orders; "in the confusion of a naval battle it is often
impossible to see what is going forward, or to give orders, or above all
to get them understood. Each one ought to listen only to the voice of
honor, and throw himself into the place of greatest danger. Every captain
is at his post if he is under fire." It was the misfortune of Admiral
Villeneuve in the battle of Trafalgar, that he did not adhere to his
original instructions. Gravina asked for authority to manoeuvre in an
independent manner. Villeneuve objected, and ordered him to place himself
in line. Already at midday Admiral Collingwood, separated from his column
by the superior swiftness of the _Royal Sovereign_, engaged so hotly in
battle with the _Santa Anna_, the flag-ship of the Spaniard Alava, that he
soon found himself in the midst of the enemy. "See how that brave
Collingwood hurls himself into action," said Nelson to his flag-officer;
whilst on his own deck, in the midst of the bullets that rained around
him, Collingwood cried, "Nelson would give all the world to be here." The
greater number of the Spanish captains offered a feeble resistance, and
Collingwood had already cut the line of battle. Gravina, upon the _Prince-
des-Asturies_, was surrounded by English vessels. The _Fougueux_, the
_Pluton_, the _Algésiras_, commanded by Rear-Admiral Magon, heroically
resisted overwhelming attacks. The _Redoutable_, the _Santissima-
Trinidad_, and the French flag-ship the _Bucentaure_, crowded in upon each
other, waited for the assault of the second column, which Nelson brought
against them. Like Collingwood, he had got in advance of his squadron. The
officers had begged of him to leave the vanguard to the _Téméraire_. "I am
quite willing," said Nelson, "that the _Téméraire_ should get in front if
it can;" and spreading all sail on board the _Victory_, he advanced first
against the enemy.

Already his topmast had been struck, and fifty men placed _hors de
combat_. The English admiral had given orders to separate the _Redoutable_
from the _Bucentaure_; but Captain Lucas, who commanded the former vessel,
profited by a slight breath of wind, and his bowsprit touched the stern of
the _Bucentaure_. Nelson then engaged the _Redoutable_, dashing against it
with a shock so violent that both vessels were thrown out of the line; the
_Bucentaure_ and the _Santissima-Trinidad_ were also surrounded by the
English. The struggle continued between Nelson and his courageous
adversary; the flames were breaking out every moment upon the French
vessel. "Hardy, this is too hot to last long," said Nelson to his flag-
captain. Presently a ball from the topmast of the Redoutable struck the
illustrious sailor in the loins. He fell, still supporting himself by one
hand. "Hardy, they have done for me now," said he. "No! not yet," cried
the captain, who sought to raise him up. "Yes," replied Nelson, "the spine
is hit;" and drawing his handkerchief from his pocket, he himself covered
his face and his decorations, in order to hide his fall from his crew.
"Take care!" said he, as they carried him down; "the cable of the helm is
cut." Between decks was crowded with the wounded and the dying. "Attend to
those whom you can save," said he to the surgeon; "as for me, there is
nothing to be done." Meanwhile he listened anxiously, noticing the
discharges of artillery, seeking to divine the issue of the combat. The
_Redoutable_ had been attacked by the _Téméraire_ and the Neptune at the
moment when the French sailors were preparing to board the _Victory_.
Captain Lucas was compelled to haul down his flag; of the 660 men of his
crew, 522 were _hors de combat_. The _Bucentaure_, caught by its bowsprit
in the gallery of the _Santissima-Trinidad_, was overwhelmed by the enemy,
and, held in its position by the Spanish vessel, completely dismasted.
Already the flag-officer and two lieutenants had been wounded by the side
of Admiral Villeneuve, who courted death in vain. The _Bucentaure_ was cut
down close like a pontoon. The admiral wished to pass on to another
vessel. Not a single boat was left him. When he at last pulled down his
flag he could not reply with a single cannon-shot to the English vessels
that were bent on his destruction.

Nelson still breathed. "Where is Hardy?" he repeated; "if he does not come
to me, it is because he is dead." The captain presently came down, too
much moved to utter a word. "How is it now with us?" said the dying man.
"All goes well," said Hardy; "ten vessels have already lowered their flag.
I see that the French are signalling to the vanguard to tack about. If
they come against the _Victory_ we will call for aid, and give them a
beating." "I hope none of our ships have surrendered," said Nelson. "There
is no danger," replied Hardy, who returned to his post. When he
reappeared, Nelson's eyes were closed. The captain stooped over him. "We
have fifteen prizes," said he. "I counted upon twenty," murmured the dying
man. Then rousing himself, "Anchor, Hardy, anchor; give the signal! Kiss
me ... I am satisfied. Thank God, I have done my duty." He expired,--just
forty-seven years of age.

The French Admiral Magon was still defending the _Algesiras_, attacked by
the _Tonnant_; he wanted to board her, but his deck was swept by the grape
shot of fresh assailants. Himself threatened with being boarded, the
admiral repulsed the English, axe in hand, at the head of his sailors. He
was covered with wounds. Bretonnière, become flag officer by the death of
his seniors, implored Magon to have his wounds dressed; as he yielded to
the request, a cannon-shot penetrating between decks struck him in the
chest, and he was dead. The _Algésiras_ at last hauled down her flag, at
the moment when the _Achille_, for some time already the prey of flames
which the crew had no time to extinguish, blew up with a terrific
explosion. Thus ended the battle. Admiral Gravina rallied round him eleven
vessels; a few had at an early period withdrawn from the combat. Admiral
Dumanoir, who had not succeeded in engaging his vanguard, had already
retired. The English carried off seventeen vessels, for the most part too
shattered to be of service. The unfortunate French admiral was received by
the conquerors with the honor due to his bravery. A few months later, when
released by the enemy, Villeneuve in despair was to die by his own hand in
an inn at Rennes, writing in the last moment these heartrending words:
"What a blessing that I have no child to receive my horrible inheritance,
and live under the weight of my name!"

The last orders of Nelson in dying, recommended the fleet to be anchored;
Collingwood judged otherwise, and waited till daylight. Already Admiral
Gravina had taken his vessels into the port of Cadiz, when a furious
tempest broke forth, irresistible by the ships so dreadfully damaged in
the conflict. The English had so much to do in looking after their own
safety that they could not attend to their prizes, and the officer having
charge of the _Bucentaure_ resigned it to the French commanders: the
unfortunate vessel perished on the coast, opposite Cape Diamant.

Indomitable in defeat as in battle, the officers and sailors of the
_Algesiras_ forced their guardians to surrender the vessel. They at last
escaped death, after two nights of anguish and struggle. At their side the
_Indomptable_, all hung with lanterns, its deck crowded with a despairing
crew, was forced from its anchors by the hurricane, and shattered against
the rocks. The English lost all their prizes but four; they were compelled
to sink the _Swiftsure_, captured by Admiral Ganteaume and which they were
intent on recapturing from us.

Nelson had made the request in dying, "Do not cast my poor body into the
sea." The most extraordinary honors awaited in England the remains of this
great seaman: the broken mast of his flag-ship, and one of the French
bullets whicn struck him, still attract attention in a room at Windsor.
The whole nation put on mourning; the politicians forgot the embarrassment
which he had more than once caused them, and which had drawn from one of
them the expression, "He is an heroic cockney." The splendor of his
military genius, his devotion to his country, the noble simplicity of his
character, inspired all minds with respect. The hero of the struggle
against France, he fell at the height of his glory. He had taken part in
nearly all the maritime victories which had signalized the war: the names
of Aboukir, Copenhagen, and Trafalgar render his memory glorious.

The emperor bore the blow of his defeat without showing despondency or
anger. "All this makes no change in my cruising projects," wrote he on the
18th November, to Admiral Decrès; "I am even annoyed that all is not
ready. They must set out without delay. Cause all the troops that are on
board the squadron to come to me by land. They will wait my orders at the
first town in France."

Napoleon was then at Znaïm in Moravia, and the date of his letter told the
story of his astonishing successes. Abandoned by the King of Prussia, with
whom the Austrians and the Russians had turned to account the violation of
his territory, Napoleon prepared to dispute Hanover with new enemies,
without modifying his general plan, and without renouncing his march upon
Vienna. The Russian army of Kutuzof alone barred his way; but already it
was commencing a clever movement of retreat, never fighting without
necessity, firm and resolute, however, when attacked. The Russians passed
the Danube at Krems, destroying the bridges behind them. They committed
great ravages during their march, and had gained the ill-will of the
Austrian corps who went with them, and who fell back upon Vienna. With
great imprudence General Mortier had been detached on the left bank of the
Danube, where he was attacked by the larger portion of the Russian army at
the very moment when he found himself separated from the division of
Dupont. In spite of the heroic resistance of the French soldiers the
danger was imminent. Mortier was urged to take to a boat, and not deliver
to the enemy a marshal of France. "Who would leave such brave men?"
replies Mortier; "we will be saved or perish together." A road lay open
across the ground occupied by the Russians, to the village of Dernstein;
the soldiers of General Dupont entered it at the same time from another
direction. They hastened by forced marches to the succor of the marshal.
Napoleon's anger fell heavily on Murat, whom he accused, not without
reason, of vainglorious levity. Already the brilliant general of cavalry
had presented himself at the gates of Vienna. The Emperor Francis had not
wished to expose his capital to the horrors of a siege; when he saw the
proposals for an armistice rejected which he had addressed to Napoleon
(November 8th) he prepared to quit Vienna. Less menacing than at Ulm, the
conqueror no longer invited the Emperor of Austria to meditate upon the
fall of empires: he reminded him that the present war was for Russia only
a fancy war; "for your Majesty and myself it is a war that absorbs all our
means, all our sentiments, all our faculties." Fifteen days later Napoleon
entered the palace of Schoenbrunn. Thanks to a ruse, more daring than
fair, Murat had succeeded in carrying the bridges of Vienna at the moment
when the workmen were preparing to blow them up; he was on the march for
Moravia, pursuing the Russians, with the co-operation of Mortier and

By his superior ability Napoleon struck his enemies at once with terror
and astonishment, paralyzing their forces by their anxiety at the
unforeseen blows he dealt them. The Archduke Charles had long remained
immovable on the Adige; when he at last commenced his retreat he marched
to the assistance of the threatened empire, and was pursued by Masséna.
The marshal attacked the archduke in his camp of Caldiero after having
seized Verona by night, and had fought him on the shores of the
Tagliamento; he was now approaching Marmont, who occupied the Styrian
Alps. The Archduke Charles rallying the remains of the army of his
brother, the Archduke John, was engaged with him in Hungary, in order to
rejoin the Russian army in Moravia. Before the two masses of the enemy
could reach Brünn, and in spite of the clever manoeuvre of Kutuzoff, who
succeeded before Hollabrunn in concealing from Murat and Lannes the great
bulk of his army, the French were, on the 19th of November, in possession
of the capital of Moravia. Napoleon entered it next day.

The Emperor Alexander joined the Emperor of Austria at Olmütz. Proud of
his diplomatic successes at Berlin, and convinced that his visit to the
King of Prussia had alone decided him to attach himself to the coalition,
he nursed a military ambition, assiduously encouraged by his young
favorites. The Emperor Francis sent Stadion and Giulay to Brünn,
commissioned to treat for conditions of peace. Napoleon referred them to
Talleyrand, whom he had sent to Vienna. "They know the state of the
question by what I have said to them in a few words," wrote he; "but you
have to treat it smoothly and at full length. My intention is absolutely
to have the State of Venice, and to reunite it to the kingdom of Italy. I
have good cause to think that the court of Vienna has taken its resolution
on that point."

Napoleon was wishing for peace--immediate, glorious, and fruitful. He had
vainly sought to separate the Austrians from the Russians; he could not
doubt the hostile intentions of Prussia. The very explanations that
Haugwitz had just given him as to the motives for the entry of a Prussian
army into Hanover foreshadowed plenty of approaching hostilities: a
brilliant victory, forestalling the union of the German and Russian
forces, became necessary. For a few days the soldiers rested, recruiting
their forces after their long and perilous marches. The impatience of the
Emperor Alexander had already carried the general quarters of the allies
to Wischau. It was there that General Savary presented himself, intrusted
with aimless negotiations, which gave him opportunity to examine the
condition of the Austro-Russian army. Prince Dolgorouki, sent from Brünn
with the reply of the Emperor Alexander, was received at the advanced
posts. The young favorite was thoughtless and proud. "What do they want of
me?" said Napoleon. "Why does the Emperor Alexander make war on me? Is he
jealous of the growth of France? Well, let him extend his frontiers at the
expense of his neighbors on the side of Turkey, and all quarrels will be
at an end." Dolgorouki protested the disinterestedness of his master. "The
emperor wishes," said he "for the independence of Europe, the evacuation
of Holland and Switzerland, an indemnity for the King of Sardinia, and
barriers round France for the protection of its neighbors." Napoleon broke
out in a passion: "I will never yield anything in Italy, even if the
Russians should camp upon the heights of Montmartre." He sent back the
negotiator, who had perceived the movements of troops falling back around
Brünn. Ignorant of the great principle which directed the campaigns of
Napoleon--"divide in order to subsist, concentrate in order to fight"--he
thought he divined the preparations for retreat. The ardor of the Russian
army grew more intense. It advanced towards the position long studied by
Napoleon, and which he destined for his field of battle. In accordance
with the plan of the Austrian general, Weirother, who was in great favor
with the Emperor Alexander, the allies had resolved to turn the right of
the French army, in order to cut off the road to Vienna by isolating
numerous corps dispersed in Austria and Styria. Already the two emperors
and their staff-officers occupied the castle and village of Austerlitz. On
December 1st, 1805, the allies established themselves upon the plateau of
Platzen; Napoleon had by design left it free. Divining, with the sure
instinct of superior genius, the manoeuvres of his enemy, he had cleverly
drawn them into the snare. His proclamation to the troops announced all
the plan of the battle.

"Soldiers," said he, "the Russian army presents itself before you to
avenge the Austrian army of Ulm. These are the same battalions which you
have beaten at Hollabrunn, and that you have constantly pursued to this

"The positions that we occupy are formidable, and whilst they march to
turn my right they will present me their flank.

"Soldiers, I will myself direct your battalions. I will keep myself away
from the firing if, with your accustomed bravery, you carry disorder and
confusion into the enemy's ranks. But if the victory were for a moment
uncertain you would see your emperor expose himself to the brunt of the
attack; for this victory will finish the campaign, and we shall be able to
resume our winter quarters, where we shall be joined by new armies which
are forming in France. Then the peace I shall make will be worthy of my
people, of you, and of me."

It was late, and the emperor had just dismissed Haugwitz, whom he had sent
back to Vienna. "I shall see you again if I am not carried off to-morrow
by a cannon-ball. It will be time then to understand each other." Napoleon
went out to visit the soldiers at the bivouac. A great ardor animated the
troops; it was remembered that the 2nd December was the anniversary of the
coronation of the emperor. The soldiers gathered up the straw upon which
they were stretched, making it into bundles, which they lit at the end of
poles; a sudden illumination lit up the camp. "Be assured," said an old
grenadier, advancing towards the chief who had so many times led his
comrades to victory, "I promise thee that we will bring thee to-morrow the
flags and the cannon of the Russian army to signalize the anniversary of
the 2nd December."

The fires were extinguished, and the enemies thought they saw in it the
indication of a nocturnal retreat. Gathered around a map, the allied
generals listened to Weirother, who developed his plan of battle "with a
boasting air, which displayed in him a clear persuasion of his own merit
and of our incapacity," says General Langeron, a French emigrant officer
in the Russian army. Old Kutuzof slept. "If Bonaparte had been able to
attack us, he would have done it to-day," was the assurance of Weirother.
"You do not then think him strong?" "If he has 40,000 men, it is all." "He
has extinguished his fires; a good deal of noise comes from his camp." "He
is either retreating or else he is changing his position; if he takes that
of Turas, he will spare us a good deal of trouble, and the dispositions of
the troops will remain the same." The day was scarcely begun (2nd
December, 1805) when the allied army was on the march. The noise of the
preparations in the camps had reassured Napoleon as to the direction the
enemy would take. On the previous evening, whilst listening to the learned
lecture of Weirother, Prince Bagration, formerly the heroic defender of
the positions of Hollabrunn, had uttered under his long moustache, "The
battle is lost!" In seeing his enemies advance towards the right, as he
had himself announced to his soldiers, Napoleon could not withhold the
signs of his joy. He held the victory in his own hands. He waited
patiently until his enemies had deployed their line. The sun had just
risen, shining through the midst of a fog, which it dispersed with its
brilliant rays. The plateau of Pratzen was in part abandoned; the emperor
gave the signal, and the whole French army moved forward, forming an
enormous and compact mass, eager to hurl itself on the enemy. "See how the
French climb the height without staying to respond to our fire!" said
Prince Czartoriski, who watched the battle near the two emperors. He was
still speaking when already the allied columns, thrown out one after
another on the slope, found themselves arrested in their movement and
separated from the two wings of the army. Old Kutuzof, badly wounded,
strove in vain to send aid to the disordered centre. "See, see, a mortal
wound!" he cried, extending his arms towards Pratzen.

During this time the right, commanded by Marshal Davout, disputed with the
Russians the line of Goldbach, extricating with the division of Friant
General Legrand for a moment outflanked. Murat and Lannes attacked on the
left eighty-two Russian and Austrian squadrons, under the orders of Prince
John of Lichtenstein. The infantry advanced in quick time against the
Uhlans sent against them, soon dispersed by the light cavalry of
Kellermann. The Russian batteries drowned the sound of all the drums of
the first regiment of the division of Cafarelli. General Valhubert had his
thigh fractured, and his soldiers wished to carry him away. "Remain at
your posts," said he calmly. "I know well how to die alone. We must not
for one man lose six." The Russian guard at last turned towards Pratzen. A
French battalion, which had let itself be drawn in pursuit, was in danger.
Napoleon, stationed at the centre with the infantry of the guard, and the
corps of Bernadotte, perceived the disorder. "Take there the Mamelukes and
the chasseurs of the guard," said he to Rapp. When the latter returned to
the emperor he was wounded, but the Russians, were repulsed, and Prince
Repnin prisoner. A Russian division, isolated at Sokolnitz, had just
surrendered; two columns had been thrown back beyond the marshes. The
bridge broke under the weight of the artillery. The cold was intense; and
the soldiers thought to save themselves by springing upon the ice, but
already the French cannon-balls were breaking it under their feet. With
cries of despair they were engulfed in the waters of the lake. Generals
Doctoroff and Keinmayer effected their painful retreat, under the fire of
our batteries, by a narrow embankment, separating the two lakes of Melnitz
and Falnitz. Only the corps of Prince Bagration still kept in order of
battle, Marshal Lannes having restrained his troops which were rushing
forward in pursuit.

The day had come to a close; the two emperors had abandoned the terrible
battle-field. Behind them resounded the French shouts of victory; around
them, before them, they heard the imprecations of the fugitives, the
groans of the wounded, unable any longer to keep on their way, the
complaints of the peasants ravaged by the furious soldiery. They arrived
thus at the imperial castle of Halitsch, where they found themselves next
day pressed by Marshal Davout. Austerlitz became the headquarters of the

Before even having reached a place of safety the Emperor Francis, gloomy
and calm, had in his own mind taken his decision. Prince John of
Lichtenstein was sent to ask from Napoleon an armistice and an interview.
The conqueror was still traversing the field of battle, attentive in
procuring for his soldiers the care that their bravery merited. "The
interview, when the emperor will, the day after to-morrow, at our advanced
posts," said he to the Austrian envoy; "until then, no armistice." Whilst
Napoleon was speaking to his army and to Europe, Marshal Lannes and the
cavalry were already pursuing the vanquished enemy.

"Soldiers, I am satisfied with you," said he in his proclamation of the
3rd December, 1805. "You have upon the day of Austerlitz justified all
that I expected from your intrepidity. An army of 100,000 men, commanded
by the Emperors of Russia and Austria, has been in less than four hours
either cut up or dispersed, and what escaped from your steel is drowned in
the lakes. Forty flags, the standards of the Imperial Guard of Russia, a
hundred and twenty pieces of cannon, twenty generals, and more than thirty
thousand prisoners are the results of this ever-memorable day. In three
months this third coalition has been vanquished and dissolved. Soldiers,
when all that is necessary in order to assure the happiness and prosperity
of France shall be accomplished, I will lead you back into France; there
you will be the object of my most tender solicitude. My people will see
you again with joy, and it will suffice for you to say, 'I was at the
battle of Austerlitz,' to receive the reply, 'There is a hero!'"

The army rested, intoxicated with pride and joy. The losses, considerable
in themselves, were small in comparison with the disasters inflicted on
the coalition; the arrogance of the Russians had undergone a most painful
check; the youthful illusions of their Czar cruelly dissipated. The
Emperor of Austria informed him of his pacific intentions, and Alexander
hastened to release his allies from their engagements; he was in a hurry
to retire and disengage himself from a war which could procure for him no
other advantage than a vain hope of glory.

Napoleon repeated his former sentiments to the Emperor Francis when he met
him next day at the mill of Paleny, between Nasiedlowitz and Urschitz. "Do
not confound your cause with that of the Emperor Alexander. Russia can to-
day only make a fancy war (_une guerre de fantaisie_). Conquered, she
retires into her deserts, and you pay all the costs of the war." Then,
gracefully returning to the courtesies of society, the all-powerful
conqueror made excuses for the poor place in which he was compelled to
receive his illustrious host.

"These are the palaces," said he, "which your Majesty has compelled me to
inhabit for three months past." "Your visit has succeeded sufficiently
well for you to have no right to bear me any grudge," replied the Emperor
Francis. The two monarchs embraced, and the armistice was concluded. The
Russians were to retire by stages, and the seat of negotiations was fixed
at Brünn. A formal order from Napoleon was necessary in order to stop the
march of Marshal Davout in pursuit of the Russian army. General Savary was
entrusted with this order; he brought to the Czar the conditions of the
armistice. "I am satisfied, since my ally is," replied Alexander, and he
allowed to escape from him the expression of an admiration which was long
to exercise over him a profound influence. "Your master has shown himself
very great," said he to Savary.

Napoleon left Talleyrand at Brünn exchanging arguments with Stadion and
Giulay; he himself repaired to Vienna, where Haugwitz awaited him.
Imperfectly instructed as to the alliance concluded on the 3rd of November
at Potsdam between the King of Prussia and the allies, he knew enough of
it to break forth in violent reproaches against the perfidy of the
Prussian Government. And as Haugwitz made excuses and protests, the
Emperor proposed to him all of a sudden that union with France which had
been so often discussed. Hanover was to be the price of it. Prussia was
uneasy, frightened, divided in her councils, but she accepted; the
Marquisate of Anspach, the Principality of Neufchâtel, and the Duchy of
Clèves were ceded to France, and the treaty was signed at Schönbrunn on
the 15th December, 1805. Prussia recognized all the conquests of Napoleon;
the two sovereigns reciprocally guaranteed each other's possessions.

Talleyrand had just quitted Brünn, which had become unhealthy through the
overcrowding of the hospitals; the negotiations were being carried on at
Presburg. In spite of the wise and prudent counsels of his minister,
Napoleon was resolved on exacting from Austria still more than he had
declared before Ulm. The defection of Prussia had thoroughly disheartened
the plenipotentiaries of the Emperor Francis. The French armies
concentrated afresh around Vienna. Napoleon was doubly imperious,
threatening to recommence the war; the negotiators at length yielded to
necessity. On the 26th of December, 1805, peace was signed at Presburg
between France and Austria. The Emperor Francis abandoned to the conqueror
Venice, Istria, Frioul, and Dalmatia, which were to become part of the
kingdom of Italy; the Tyrol and Vorarlberg, of which Napoleon made a
present to Bavaria; the outlying territories of Suabia, handed over to
Wurtemberg; the Brisgau, Ortenau, and the city of Constance, which were
added to the territories of the Elector of Baden. Napoleon ceded to the
Emperor the Principality of Wurtzburg for one of the archdukes; the
secularization of the Teutonic Order was agreed upon to the profit of
Austria; the latter power was to pay a war indemnity of forty millions.

The small German princes, who beheld their possessions increased and their
titles made more glorious by the powerful hand of the conqueror, were in
their turn to pay the price of the terrible alliance which weighed upon
them. The new Kings of Wurtemberg and Bavaria found themselves obliged to
give their daughters to Jerome Bonaparte and to Eugène de Beauharnais; the
marriage that the former had contracted in America, and the betrothal of
the Princess of Bavaria to the son of the Elector of Baden, weighed
nothing in the balance in comparison with the iron will of Napoleon.
Intimidated and restless, the Elector of Baden himself broke off the
marriage of his son, accepting for him the hand of Stéphani de
Beauharnais, niece of the Empress Josephine. Before taking the road to
France, the Emperor was present at the marriage of the vice-King of Italy
with the princess whose portrait he had seen a few days before upon a
porcelain cup. Everything had yielded to his power,--sovereigns, families,
and hearts. Russia and England alone remained openly enemies. "Rest
awhile, my children," said the Archduke Charles in disbanding his army;
"rest awhile, until we begin again."

I have been desirous of conducting General Bonaparte, now become the
Emperor Napoleon, up to the popular summit of his glory. He had already
tainted it by many acts of violence, and by an exclusive devotion to
personal ends, in defiance of justice and liberty. Henceforward and under
the disastrous inspirations of a mad ambition, victory itself was to
become a fatal seduction which by inevitable degrees draws us on to ruin.
Great and terrible lesson of Divine justice on the morality of nations!
Starting from the violation of the peace of Amiens, and in spite of the
glory of the sun of Austerlitz, the history of the glory of the conqueror
includes in germ the history of his fall, and of the ever-increasing
misfortunes of France.



Guizot has said at the commencement of his essay on Washington: "There is
a spectacle as fine as that of a virtuous man struggling with adversity,
and not less salutary to contemplate; it is the spectacle of a virtuous
man at the head of a good cause and assuring his triumph."

There is a spectacle, sorrowful and sad, also salutary to contemplate in
its austere teachings: it is that of a man of genius bearing along in his
train an enthusiastic nation, and squandering all the living forces of his
genius and his country in the service of a senseless ambition, as fatal to
the sovereign as the people, both foolishly dragged along by a vision of
glory towards injustices and crimes not at first foreseen. Such is the
spectacle offered to us by the history of the Emperor Napoleon, and of
France, after the battle of Austerlitz and the Peace of Presburg.

For the moment a stupor seemed to oppress the whole of Europe. Prussia,
humiliated and indignant, had, however, just ratified the treaty of
Schönbrunn; Austria was panting and conquered; England had lost her great
minister: William Pitt died 23rd January, 1806, struck to the heart in his
patriotic passion, by the new victory of the conqueror whom he dreaded for
the liberty of the world. "Roll up this map of Europe," said he when the
news was brought to him as he lay dying in his little house at Putney, "in
ten years time there will be no further need for it." Already his rival
had succeeded him in office, and Fox did not yet foresee that he would
presently be inevitably brought to adopt the policy of resistance to the
long increasing power of Napoleon. He was then making cordial advances
towards him. The Emperor Alexander had not disarmed, but the appeals to
him from the Court of Naples found him immovable. Already the Bourbons
were trembling on the thrones they still occupied.

Napoleon announced it in his thirty-seventh bulletin, dated from Vienna.
"General Saint Cyr marches by long stages towards Naples, to punish the
treason of the queen, and hurl from the throne this criminal woman who has
violated everything that is held sacred among men." Intercession was
attempted for her with the Emperor. He replied, "Ought hostilities to
recommence, and the nation to sustain a war of thirty years, a perfidy so
atrocious cannot he pardoned."

In this struggle between violence and treason the issue could not remain
long doubtful. In the name of Joseph Bonaparte, Masséna commanded the army
which came to take possession of the kingdom of Naples. For the second
time, King Ferdinand and Queen Charlotte took refuge in Sicily. "It is the
interest of France to make sure of the kingdom of Naples by a useful and
easy conquest," the _Moniteur_ had formerly declared, in publishing the
treaty of neutrality agreed to by the House of Bourbon. The work was
accomplished; on the 30th of March, Joseph Bonaparte was proclaimed King
of the Two Sicilies. The city of Gaëta alone was to prolong its

Two months later, with the appearance of the national consent, Napoleon
elevated his brother Louis to the throne which he had instituted for him
in Holland. The prince had been ordered to protect this country,
threatened by the Anglo-Swedish army. After the battle of Austerlitz he
presented himself before the Emperor. "Why have you quitted Holland?"
demanded the latter brusquely, "we saw you there with pleasure, and you
should have remained there." "Sounds of a monarchical transformation
circulate in Holland," replied Louis Bonaparte, "they are not agreeable to
this free and worthy nation, nor are they any more pleasant to me."

Napoleon broke out into a passion. "He gave me to understand," says Prince
Louis in his _Mémoires_, "that if I had not been more consulted over this
affair, it was for a subject only to obey." At the same time the Emperor
wrote to Talleyrand, "I have seen this evening Admiral Verhuell. In two
words hear what this question amounts to. Holland is without executive
power. It requires that power, and I will give it Prince Louis. In place
of the Grand Pensionary Schimmelpenninck, there shall be a king. The
argument is that without that I shall not be able to give peace a firm
settlement. Prince Louis must make his entry into Amsterdam within twenty
days." The accession to the throne of the new monarch was celebrated on
the 5th June, 1806.

Napoleon disposed at his will of crowns and appanages, elevating or
dethroning kings, magnificently dowering the companions of his military
life and the servants of his policy. He had at the same time conceived the
idea of forming beyond his States a barrier which should separate them
from the great German powers, always secretly hostile. The dukes and the
electors whom he had made kings, the princes whose domains he had
aggrandized, were to unite in a confederation for the protection of the
new State of Germany. The seat of government was established at Frankfort.
The town of Ratisbon, formerly honored by the assemblies of the Diet, had
been ceded to Bavaria. The Diet was officially informed that Prussia
received a decisive authorization to form in its turn a confederation of
the North. Most of the German States having been forcibly taken from him,
Francis II voluntarily resigned the vain title he still bore; he ceased to
be Emperor of Germany, and became Emperor of Austria.

Meanwhile the overtures of Fox towards France had until now remained
without result. England refused to treat without Russia, whom the Emperor
would not admit to a common negotiation. "Regrets are useless," wrote Fox
to Talleyrand on the 10th April, 1806; "but if the great man whom you
serve, could see with the same eye with which I behold it, the true glory
which would accrue to him from a moderate and just peace, what good
fortune would not result from it for France and for all Europe?"

In the depth of his soul and in his secret thoughts Napoleon now desired
peace. Amongst the English prisoners detained in France after the rupture
of the treaty of Amiens, a few had been exchanged since the advent of Fox
to the ministry; one of them, Lord Yarmouth (afterwards Lord Hertford),
elegant and dissipated, had been commissioned by his government to talk
over familiarly with Talleyrand the chances of peace that existed between
the two nations. Napoleon had conceded Hanover to Prussia as the price of
peace; he was ready to retrocede it to England, free to indemnify Prussia
at the expense of Germany. The negotiation was carried on secretly, the
negotiators meeting as men of the world rather than diplomats. Oubril, an
envoy from the Emperor Alexander, had just arrived in Paris, charged with
reassuring France on the subject of a circumstance which had recently
taken place in Dalmatia. The Russian admiral, Sinavin, animated with
unseasonable zeal, with the aid of the Montenegrins had seized the mouths
of the Cattaro. The Austrian officers, appointed to hand over the
territory to the French, had not opposed any resistance to the Russians.
The two Emperors of Austria and Russia hastened to disavow their agents;
on 20th July Oubril signed with France a separate peace.

This was failing in loyalty towards England, who had refused to treat
without its ally. The Emperor of Russia perceived it; he had thought the
cabinet of London more inclined to conclude peace at any cost. The health
of Fox was giving way, and his successors were likely to be less favorable
to the demands of Napoleon. Alexander declared that he would not ratify
the treaty negotiated by Oubril. This news arrived at Paris on the 3rd of
September, 1806. On the 13th of the same month Fox expired in London,
amiable and beloved to the last day of his life; ardently devoted to his
friends, to freedom, to all noble and generous causes; a great orator and
a great debater; feeble in his political conduct even in opposition,
incapable of governing and of sustaining the great struggle which for so
long agitated Europe. At his death the party of resistance resumed power
in England. In Germany the secret of the negotiations with regard to
Hanover had transpired; the disregard of sworn faith which Prussia had
more than once practised during the war fell back upon herself with
crushing weight. Napoleon thought nothing of his engagements; he had
detached King Frederick William from his natural allies, and showed
himself disposed to snatch from him the price of his compliance. The
nation and the king had with great difficulty accepted the treaty
negotiated by Haugwitz; indignation broke forth on every side. It had
already betrayed itself for a few weeks past by numerous and violent
pamphlets against the Emperor of the French and against the armies of
occupation. Napoleon responded to them by a despotic and cruel act which
was to bear bitter fruits. On the 5th August he wrote to Marshal

"My cousin,--I imagine that you have had the booksellers of Augsburg and
Nuremberg arrested. My intention is that they should be indicted before a
military tribunal, and shot within twenty-four hours. It is no ordinary
crime to spread libels in places where the French army is stationed, in
order to excite the inhabitants against it. It is a crime of high treason.
The sentence shall set forth that wherever there is an army, the duty of
the commander being to watch over its safety, such and such individuals
convicted of having attempted to stir up the inhabitants of Suabia against
the French army are condemned to death. You will place the criminals in
the midst of a division, and you will appoint seven colonels to try them.
You will have the sentence published throughout Germany." Only one
bookseller of Nuremberg, named Palm, was arrested, and suffered the
terrible sentence. Berthier never forgot the cruel necessity to which he
had been subjected in ordering this odious procedure. "He makes us condemn
under the penalty of being condemned ourselves," said General Hullin, in
reporting the murder of the Duc d'Enghien.

The growing irritation of Germany only awaited an excuse for bursting
forth. A despatch of the Marquis of Lucchesini, then minister of Prussia
at Paris, gave the protracted irritation of the court of Berlin its
opportunity. According to the information received from this diplomatist,
the French government was putting pressure upon the German Princes of the
North, to prevent them from entering the Confederation projected by
Prussia. A letter from King Frederick William and a diplomatic note
demanded peremptorily the evacuation of Germany by the French troops, and
liberty of action for the German Princes. At the same time the armaments
of Prussia, for a long time prepared in secret, became public. Already the
Emperor Napoleon had quitted Paris, without Laforest, his minister at
Berlin, having been authorized to reply to the demands of the Prussians.
"We have been deceived three times," said Napoleon. "We must have facts;
let Prussia disarm, and France will re-cross the Rhine, and not before."
It was to the Senate and to the soldiers alone that Napoleon now addressed
the explanation of his aggressive movements against Prussia.

"Soldiers, the order for your re-entry into France was issued; you had
already approached it by several marches. Triumphant fêtes awaited you,
and the preparations to receive you had already commenced in the capital.

"But whilst we abandon ourselves to this too confident security, new plots
are hatched under the mask of friendship and alliance. War cries have made
themselves heard from Berlin. For two months we have been provoked more
and more every day.

"The same faction, the same spirit of giddiness which, under favor of our
internal dissensions, conducted the Prussians fourteen years ago into the
midst of the plains of Champagne, rules in their councils; if it is no
longer Paris that they wish to burn and overthrow to its foundations, it
is to-day their flag that they wish to plant in the capitals of our
allies; it is Saxony that they wish to compel by a shameful transaction to
renounce its independence by ranging it in the number of their provinces;
it is, in fine, your laurels that they wish to snatch from your foreheads.
They wish us to evacuate Germany at the sight of their arms. Fools! What?
Shall we then have braved the seasons, the seas, the deserts, conquered
Europe several times allied against us, carried our glory from the east to
the west, in order to return to-day into our country like fugitives who
have abandoned their allies; to hear it said that the French eagle fled in
fear at the mere sight of the Prussian armies?"

It was, in fact, a fourth continental coalition which was beginning to be
formed against France. Prussia alone was then on the scene: long prudent
and circumspect in its conduct, it had been drawn in this time, in spite
of its weakness, by irresistible anger and indignation. Napoleon did not
dread the war. "I have nearly 150,000 men in Germany," wrote he to King
Joseph; "with them I can subdue Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg." The reply
that he at last deigned to address to the King of Prussia from the camp of
Gera breathed the most haughty confidence. A few engagements had already
taken place. "Monsieur my brother," wrote Napoleon to Frederick William,
"I only received on the 7th the letter of your Majesty of the 25th
September. I am vexed that you have been induced to sign this sort of
thing. You appoint a meeting with me on the 8th. Like a good knight, I
keep faith with you, I am in the middle of Saxony; believe me I have such
forces with me that all your forces cannot long prevent my victory. But
why spill so much blood? To what end? Sire, I have been your friend for
six years past. I do not wish to profit by that species of giddiness which
animates your council, and has caused you to commit political errors, at
which Europe is still astonished, and military errors of such an enormity
that Europe will soon ring with them. If in your note you had asked
possible things from me, I would have granted them to you; you have asked
for my dishonor: you ought to have been certain of my reply. War is then
made between us, the alliance broken forever; but why make our subjects
kill each other? Sire, your Majesty will be conquered; you will have
compromised the peace of your days and the existence of your subjects
without the shadow of a pretext. I have nothing to gain against your
Majesty. I want nothing, and I have wanted nothing from you. The present
war is an impolitic war."

Napoleon had well estimated the forces of the enemy he was preparing to
crush; he had concentrated under his hand a power superior to all the
resources of the Prussians, whose soldiers were courageous and well
disciplined, but for a long time little exercised in war. Napoleon's
precautions were taken at every point of his vast territory; he had called
new troops under his banners; everywhere he held in check his enemies,
either secret or avowed. At one moment he thought of tendering his hand to
Austria; he wrote to his ambassador at Vienna, M. de la Rochefoucauld: "My
position and my forces are such that I have no cause to fear any one; but
at length all these efforts are burdensome to my people. Of the three
powers, Russia, Prussia, and Austria, I must have one for an ally. In any
case one cannot rely on Prussia: there remains only Austria. The navy of
France formerly flourished through the benefit resulting from an alliance
with Austria. This power also feels the need of remaining quiet, a
sentiment that I partake with all my heart. The house of Austria having
often caused hints to be thrown out to me, the present moment, if it knows
how to profit by it, is the most favorable."

Austria remained immovable, the uneasy spectator of the events that were
preparing. The Russians had not quitted their positions on the Vistula;
already the Prussians had invaded Saxony, compelling that little power to
furnish them with an army of 20,000 men. The old Duke of Brunswick
collected at the same time the contingent of the Elector of Hesse-Cassel,
who had sought in vain to maintain his neutrality. The French army
occupied Franconia; it was across these mountainous defiles that Napoleon
had resolved to march against the enemy divided into two corps, under the
orders of the Duke of Brunswick and the Prince of Hohenlohe. Already
Marshals Davout and Bernadotte were established upon the left bank of the
Saale. The troops of the Prince of Hohenlohe occupied the road from Weimar
to Jena. Marshal Lannes had taken possession of the heights which
commanded this last town. On the morning of the 14th October, the combat
was opened against the corps of the Prince of Hohenlohe; superior in
number to the troops employed by the Emperor Napoleon, but surprised by an
attack of which they had not foreseen the vigor, the Prussian soldiers
were soon thrown into a panic terror. The two wings of the French army,
commanded by Soult and Augereau, already enveloped the enemy when Napoleon
sent forward the guard and the reserves. The centre of the Prussian army
fell back before this enormous mass; the retreat changed into a rout. At
the same moment Marshal Biechel arrived by forced marches to the aid of
the Prince of Hohenlohe; he brought 20,000 men, but in vain did he
struggle to rally and curb the fugitives; he was drawn along and repulsed
by the conquered as well as by the conquerors. French and Germans entered
at the same time into Weimar; already the crowd of prisoners hindered the
march of the victorious army.

At the same hour on the same day, with forces less considerable, Marshal
Davout struggled alone, near Auerstadt, against the enemy's corps,
commanded by the Duke of Brunswick and by King Frederick William. Marshal
Bernadotte had quitted him, obeying literally the orders of the Emperor,
who had enjoined him to occupy Hamburg, little careful, perhaps, of the
danger to which he exposed his companion-in-arms. Davout cut the road of
the Prussians in the defile of Koesen. The Duke of Brunswick, marching
himself at the head of his troops, rushed upon him, violently attacking
our immovable squares under a murderous fire. The old general fell,
mortally wounded; the effort of Prince William and the king remained
equally fruitless. Profiting by the trouble caused by his resistance,
Davout threw his troops forward, and seized the heights of Eckartsberg;
there, protected by his artillery, he could still defend his positions.
The King of Prussia gave orders to retire on Weimar; he counted on joining
the corps of the Prince of Hohenlohe, in order to renew the attack with
all his forces. He had already travelled over half the distance without
being harassed by Marshal Davout, whose troops were exhausted; but
Bernadotte barred his passage; the confused waves of fugitives from Jena
precipitated themselves into the ranks of their friends and compatriots.
Behind them appeared the French soldiers, ardent in pursuit. The king
turned off hastily, by way of Sommerda; the darkness was increasing, and
the disorder increased with the darkness. In a single day the entire
Prussian army was destroyed. "They can do nothing but gather up the
_débris_," said Napoleon.

He took care to crush everywhere these sad remains of a generous and
patriotic effort. Whilst his lieutenants were pursuing the wandering
detachments of the Prussian army, the emperor imposed upon the nation he
had just conquered a contribution of a hundred and fifty-nine millions. He
sent the elector of Hesse to Metz, announcing in a letter to Marshal
Mortier his intention that the house of Hesse should cease to reign, and
would be effaced from the number of the powers. The Saxon prisoners, on
the contrary, were sent back free to their sovereign. Everywhere the
English merchandise found in the ports and warehouses was confiscated for
the profit of the army. The Prussian commerce was ruined like the state.

Napoleon advanced upon Berlin; the King of Prussia sought to reach
Magdeburg, constantly accompanied by the queen, whose warlike and
patriotic ardor excited the rage and the insults of the emperor. "The
Queen of Prussia has been many times in view of our posts," says the 8th
bulletin of the grand army; "she is in continual fear and alarms. Last
night she passed her regiment in review; she continually excited the king
and the generals; she craves for blood. Blood the most precious has
flowed; the most distinguished generals are those upon whom the first
blows have fallen." Gross insinuations aggravated these rude allusions.
"All the Prussians assign the misfortunes of Prussia to the journey of the
Emperor Alexander. The change which has since then taken place in the
spirit of the queen, who, from being a timid and modest woman, occupied
with her home affairs, has become turbulent and warlike, is quite a sudden
revolution. She desired all at once to have a regiment, to go to the
Council, and she has led the monarchy so well that in a few days she has
conducted it to the edge of a precipice."

A few battles finally opened everywhere the roads to the conqueror;
Magdeburg was besieged, Erfurt had surrendered, Marshal Davout occupied
Wittemberg, and Lannes occupied Dessau; Bernadotte had thrown himself
against Halle, still defended by Prince Eugène of Wurtemberg. The
resistance was severe; when the emperor came to visit the battle-field, he
recognized among the corpses still scattered upon the ground the uniforms
of the 32nd half-brigade. "Still the 32nd!" cried he. "I have had so many
of them killed in Egypt, in Italy, everywhere, that there ought to be no
more of them." It was with the same accent of indifferent and cold
reflection that he was to say much later, in contemplating his sleeping
son, "How long it takes to make a man! I have, however, seen fourteen of
them cut off by a cannon-shot!"

Napoleon was at Potsdam, in the palace of the great Frederick, the
military genius of this prince had for a long time excited his admiration.
"At Potsdam has been found the sword of the great Frederick, the sash of a
general, which he carried in the Seven Years' War, and his cordon of the
Black Eagle," says the 19th bulletin.

The emperor seized upon these trophies with eagerness, and said, "I prefer
these to twenty millions." Then, thinking a moment to whom he should
confide this precious trust, "I will send it," said he, "to my old
soldiers of the Hanoverian War; I will make a present of it to the
governor of the Invalides; it shall remain at the Hotel."

On the 27th, for the first time in his life, Napoleon entered in triumph
into an enemy's capital. For two days Berlin had been occupied by Marshal
Davout. A gloomy sadness rested on all faces, but order was everywhere
respected. The Prussian nation had valiantly defended itself, and there
was no shame mingled with its sorrow. The dying Duke of Brunswick
recommended his subjects to the emperor. The latter, in a passion,
recalled bitterly to the old general the wild manifesto published in his
name at the commencement of the French Revolution. "If I had the city of
Brunswick demolished, and if I did not leave of it one stone on another,
what would your prince say? Does not the law of retaliation permit me to
do to Brunswick what he wanted to do to my capital? It is the Duke of
Brunswick whom France and Prussia can accuse of being the sole cause of
this war. Tell the general that he will be treated with all the respect
due to a Prussian officer, but that in a Prussian general I cannot
recognize a sovereign."

The same harshness characterized the reception by the emperor of the great
Prussian nobles. "Do not come into my presence," said he to the Prince of
Hatzfeld, who brought before him the civil magistrates of Berlin. "I have
no need of your services; retire to your own estates." A letter from the
prince to the King of Prussia, giving an account of the entry of the
emperor, was intercepted. Napoleon saw treason in this communication, and
a decree was immediately sent to Marshal Davout. "The Prince of Hatzfeld,
who presented himself at the head of the deputation from Berlin, as
entrusted with the civil government of this capital, and who,
notwithstanding this office, and the duties which are attached to it, has
made use of the knowledge which his position afforded him as to the
situation of the French army, to convey intelligence respecting it to the
enemy, will be tried before a military commission, in order to be judged
as a traitor and a spy.

"Marshal Davout is charged with the execution of this order.

"The military commission will be composed of seven colonels of the corps
of Marshal Davout, by whom he will be tried."

In vain all the most faithful servants of the emperor wasted their
entreaties in order to obtain mercy for the Prince of Hatzfeld; only the
wife of the accused, far advanced in pregnancy, and overwhelmed with
terror, succeeded in arresting the anger of the conqueror. "This is most
certainly the writing of your husband," said he to the poor woman, who
could scarcely support herself. And as she dared not deny it: "Throw this
letter into the fire," added Napoleon, "and I shall no longer have any
power to procure his death." It was Marshal Duroc who had taken upon
himself the introduction of the Princess of Hatzfeld to the palace.

The prince of Hohenlohe, hard pushed by Murat and Marshal Lannes, had
capitulated before Prenzlow, on the 28th of October; General Blucher, who
had seized by force the free city of Lubeck, in the hope of finding there
a place of support, was constrained, on November 7th, to follow his
example. On the 8th, Magdeburg surrendered to Marshal Ney. Lannes occupied
Stettin, and Davout occupied Custrin. "Sire," wrote Lannes to Napoleon, "I
read your proclamation to the soldiers; they all began to cry 'Long live
the Emperor of the West!' I beseech your Majesty to let me know if, for
the future, you wish me to address my despatches to the Emperor of the
West, and I ask it in the name of my _corps d'armée_."

Napoleon did not reply; this dream of supreme glory, which he had had an
idea of realizing in the footsteps of Charlemagne, doubtless appeared to
him still beyond his reach. More than one sign, however, betrayed the
undying hope, that he was never to realize. It is only by reason and the
general good that genius is effectively sustained in extraordinary
enterprises. From day to day, and from victory to victory, these great
supports of the human mind became less and less visible in the conduct of
the Emperor Napoleon.

Hanover and the Hanseatic towns were occupied by the French army; Prussia
asked for a suspension of hostilities, in order to treat for peace. But
the emperor had conceived a new project. In the ceaseless activity of his
thoughts he reasonably enough looked on England as the implacable and
invincible enemy who directed and excited against him the animosity of
Europe. It was against England that he henceforth directed his efforts. "I
am about to reconquer the colonies over the globe," he wrote to the King
of Holland. It was in the same spirit that he made his declaration to the
Senate: "We have unalterably determined not to evacuate Berlin or Warsaw,
or the provinces which have fallen into our hands by force of arms, until
a general peace be concluded, the Spanish, Dutch, and French colonies
restored, the foundations of the Ottoman power confirmed, and the absolute
independence of this vast empire, the first interest of our people,
irrevocably secured."

These brilliant pledges of victory, which Napoleon kept in his hand as
hostages for the purpose of enforcing submission on England, did not,
however, appear to him sufficient; he resolved to strike at the wealth of
his enemy a mortal blow, which should exhaust its resources at the
fountain-head. On the 21st of November, 1806, he sent from Berlin to
Talleyrand a decree, putting England in the Index Expurgatorius of Europe
--at least, of that part of Europe which was in submission to his rule. The
continental blockade was established and regulated in the following

"The British Isles are declared in a state of blockade.

"All commerce, and all correspondence, with the British Isles are
forbidden. Consequently, letters or packets addressed to England, or to an
Englishman, or written in the English language, will not pass through the
post, and will be seized.

"Every individual English subject, whatever may be his state or condition,
who shall be found in the countries occupied by our troops, or in the
countries of our allies, shall be made prisoner of war.

"Every warehouse, all merchandise, all property of whatsoever nature it
may be, belonging to an English subject, shall be deemed lawful prizes.

"Commerce in English merchandise is forbidden; any ships coming directly
from England or from the English colonies, or having been there since the
publication of the present decree, shall not be admitted into any port."

The Emperor Napoleon was right in recognizing, in his declaration to the
Senate, that it was lamentable, after so many years of civilization, to
recur to the principles, the barbarism, of the first ages of nations; and
the pretexts which he adduced for this necessity were as insufficient as
the consequences that flowed from his policy were odious. More than once
the English had replied by violent and rude proceedings to the proceedings
of the same nature in which Napoleon had for a long time been indulging on
all seas. They had claimed to interdict the commerce of neutrals by
imprudent and unjust "Orders in Council;" a still more inexcusable
iniquity fettered at one stroke the commerce of Europe in all its
branches, carrying annoyance into all families, and arbitrarily modifying
the conditions of all existence. From henceforth, in the poorest
household, no one could forget for a single day the power and the
vengeance of the Emperor Napoleon, as well as the death grapple between
him and England. It is a terrible undertaking for the most powerful of men
to change on all sides the habits of life, and lay his hands upon the
daily interests, of every one. The continental blockade was in Napoleon's
hands a redoubtable weapon against his enemy; the firmness of England and
the general distress, were yet cruelly to turn that weapon against his own

He was not yet satisfied, and Napoleon resolved on making an end of all
his adversaries. Russia alone, silent and immovable, remained the ally of
England, and its last support. Its armies occupied Poland, always
quivering under the hands of its oppressors, ready to rise up against them
at the first appeal. It was upon the Vistula that the emperor had resolved
to go and seek the Russians, intoxicating the Poles beforehand with the
hope of the reconstitution of their country, and assured of finding
amongst them inexhaustible stores of provisions, ammunition, and soldiers.
"A Pole is not a man," he was accustomed to say, "he is a sabre." He
counted on all these sabres being ready to leap from their scabbards at
his voice, for the service of Poland. To the disquietude of the court of
Vienna on the subject of the insurrections which might be produced in
Galicia, Napoleon answered in advance by the promise of Silesia. "The
insurrection in Poland is a consequence of my war with Russia and
Prussia," wrote he to General Andréossy, recently sent to Vienna. "I have
never recognized the partition of Poland; but, a faithful observer of
treaties, in favoring an insurrection in Russian and Prussian Poland, I
will not mix myself up with Austrian Poland. Does Austria wish to keep
Galicia? Would she cede a part of it? I am willing to give her all the
facilities she can desire. Does she wish to treat openly or secretly?
After these manifestations I ought to say that I fear no one."

At the same time that he entered Poland, Napoleon excited the hostile
sentiment of the Porte against Russia. General Sebastiani was charged to
say to Sultan Selim: "Prussia, who was leagued with Russia, has
disappeared; I have destroyed its armies, and I am master of its fortified
towns. My armies are on the Vistula, and Warsaw is in my power. Prussian
and Russian Poland are rising, and forming armies to reconquer their
independence; it is the moment for reconquering yours. I have given orders
to my ambassador to enter into all necessary engagements with you. If you
have been prudent up to this time, a longer forbearance towards Russia
would be weakness, and cause the loss of your empire."

The King of Prussia had refused to accept the harsh conditions of the
armistice; he had resolved to struggle to the end, and to join the remains
of his forces to the army of the Emperor Alexander. "Your Majesty has had
me informed that you are throwing yourself into the arms of the Russians,"
wrote Napoleon to King Frederick William. "The future will make it
apparent whether you have chosen the best and most effective part. You
have taken the dice-box and thrown the dice, and the dice will decide the
question." Already the French armies had entered Poland, but they were not
there alone; two Russian corps, under the orders of General Benningsen and
General Buxhouden, had crossed the Niemen, and advanced towards the
Vistula, and soon afterwards they entered Warsaw. Marshals Davout and
Lannes sent reports, apparently contradictory, but in reality identical,
as to popular feeling in Poland. Davout had found at Posen an extreme
enthusiasm; he could scarcely furnish with arms those who pressed forward
to ask for them; the same sentiment animated the population of Warsaw,
when he made his entry in pursuit of the Russians, who fell back before
him. Meanwhile he wrote to the emperor, on December 1st: "Levies of men
are very easily made, but there is a want of persons who can direct their
instruction and organization. There is also a want of guns. The feeling of
Warsaw is excellent, but the upper class are making use of their influence
to calm the ardor which is prevalent in the middle classes. The
uncertainty of the future terrifies them, and they leave it to be
sufficiently understood that they will only openly declare themselves
when, with the declaration of their independence, they can also receive
tacit guarantees for its maintenance." Lannes regretted the campaign in
Poland; he recommended that they should establish themselves on the Oder,
and pointed out the inconveniences and dangers of the enterprise they were
about to attempt in a sterile and desert country. "They are always the
same--frivolous, divided, anarchical; we shall uselessly waste our blood
for their sakes, without founding anything durable."

Murat dreamed of seating himself on the throne of a restored Poland, and
he was angry at the mistrust of the great nobles. Napoleon read in his
correspondence a thought that the brilliant chief of the vanguard dared
not express; he had said to Davout, at the beginning of the campaign,
"When I shall see 40,000 Poles in the field I will declare their
independence, not before." In their turn the Poles, long crushed down by
harsh servitude, asked for guarantees from the conqueror, who had only
delivered them in order to subjugate them afresh. "Those who show so much
circumspection, and ask so many guarantees, are selfish persons, who are
not warmed by the love of country," wrote the emperor to Murat, already
Grand Duke of Berg for several months past. "I am experienced in the study
of men. My greatness is not founded on the aid of a few thousand Poles. It
is for them to profit, with enthusiasm, by present circumstances; it is
not for me to take the first step. Let them display a firm resolution to
render themselves independent--let them engage to uphold the king who will
be given to them, and then I shall see what I shall next have to do. Let
it be well understood that I do not come to beg a throne for any of my
relations; I have no lack of thrones to give to my family."

In that conversation with the world which he kept up by bulletins from the
grand army, Napoleon spoke of the Poles in other language; but he no
longer laid bare the secret of his thoughts. "The army has entered into
Warsaw," wrote he from Posen on December 1st. "It is difficult to paint
the enthusiasm of the Poles. Our entry into this great city was a triumph,
and the feelings that the Poles of all classes display since our arrival
cannot be expressed. The love of country and the national sentiment is not
only preserved in its entirety in the hearts of the people, but it has
even gained new vigor from misfortune. Their first passion, their chief
desire, is to become once more a nation. The richest leave their castles
in order to come and demand, with loud cries, the re-establishment of the
nation, and to offer their children, their fortunes, their influence. This
spectacle is truly touching. Already they have everywhere resumed their
ancient costume and their ancient customs.

"Shall the throne of Poland be re-established, and shall this great nation
reassert its existence and its independence? From the depths of the tomb
shall it be born again to life? God alone, who holds in His hands the
results of all events, is the arbiter of this grand political problem."

Under the hand of God, which in the depths of his soul he often
recognized, the Emperor Napoleon believed himself to be the arbiter of the
grand problem of the independence of Poland. He remained personally
indifferent to it, resolved on pursuing his own interest, either in aid
of, or in contempt of, the interests and aspirations of the Poles.

In spite of the generous cordiality of the population, who lavished their
resources upon those from whom they hoped for deliverance, Napoleon and
his troops perceived that they had entered a desert. "Our soldiers find
that the solitudes of Poland contrast with the smiling fields of their own
country; but they add immediately, 'They are a fine people, these Poles!'"
Before establishing himself for the winter in this savage country, under a
frozen sky, and on a cold and damp soil, it was necessary to push back the
enemy. Napoleon only went to Warsaw, and advanced towards the Russians
entrenched behind the Narew and the Ukra. Already his lieutenants, Davout,
Augereau, Ney, had taken up positions for attack. Furious battles at
Czarnovo, at Pultusk, at Golymin, at Soldau, obliged the Russians to fall
back upon the Pregel, without disaster to their _corps d'armée_, although
they had been constantly beaten. The rigor of the season had prevented
those grand concentrations of forces and those brilliant strokes in which
Napoleon ordinarily delighted; the troops advanced with difficulty through
impenetrable forests, soaked by the rain: the men fell in great numbers
without a battle. In the month of January, 1807, the emperor at last took
up his winter-quarters, carefully fortifying his positions, and laying
siege to the towns which still resisted him in Silesia. Breslau, Glogau,
Brieg successively succumbed. The old Marshal Lefebvre was charged with
the siege of Dantzig.

Meanwhile the Russians, henceforth concentrated under the orders of
General Benningsen, and less affected than the French by the inclemencies
to which they were accustomed, had not suspended their military
operations. Soon Marshal Ney, in one of those armed reconnoitering
expeditions which he often risked without orders, was able to assure
himself that the enemy was approaching us by a prolonged movement, which
was to bring him to the shore of the Baltic. Already a few battles had
taken place. The weather became cold; ice succeeded to the mud. Napoleon
quitted Warsaw on January 30th, resolved to march against the enemy.
"Since when have the conquered had the right of choosing the finest
country for their winter-quarters?" said the proclamation to the army.
Twice a great battle appeared imminent; twice a movement of the Russians
in retreat enabled them to escape from the overwhelming forces which
Napoleon had been able to collect; a few skirmishes, however, signalized
the first days of February. On the seventh day's march General Benningsen
entered Eylau.

The French entered in pursuit, and dislodged them. The Russians made their
bivouac outside the city whilst the battle was preparing for the morrow.
The weather was cold; one half of the country upon which the armies were
camped was only a sheet of ice covering some small lakes. The snow lay
thick upon the ground, and continued to fall in great flakes. The two
armies were composed of nearly equal forces; several French corps,
detached or delayed, were about to fail in the great effort which this
rough winter campaign required. The troops were fatigued and hungry. "I
have wherewith to nourish the army for a year," wrote Napoleon to Fouché,
annoyed at the reports current in France as to the sufferings of the
soldiers, "it is absurd to think one can want corn and wine, bread and
meat, in Poland." The provisions remained, nevertheless, insufficient. "I
can assure you," said the Duc de Fezensac in his military souvenirs, "that
with all these orders so freely given in January, our _corps d'armée_ was
dying of hunger in March."

Long before the dawn of a slowly breaking and cloudy day Napoleon was
already in the streets, establishing his guard in the cemetery of Eylau,
and ordering his line of battle. The formidable artillery of the Russians
covered their two lines; presently the shells fired the town of Eylau and
the village of Rothenen, which protected a division of Marshal Soult's.
The two armies remained immovable in a rain of cannon-balls. The Russians
were the first to move forward, in order to attack the mill of Eylau;
"they were impatient at suffering so much," says the 58th bulletin of the
grand army. Nearly at the same moment the corps of Marshal Davout arrived;
the emperor had him supported by Marshal Augereau. The snow fell in thick
masses, obscuring the view of the soldiers; the troops of Augereau turned
swiftly to the left, decimated by the Russian artillery. The marshal
himself, already ill before the battle, was struck by a ball. The officers
were nearly all wounded. The emperor called Murat: "Wilt thou let us be
annihilated by these people?" The cavalry shot immediately in advance;
only the imperial guard remained massed round Napoleon.

In a moment Murat had routed the Russian centre, but already the
battalions were reforming. Marshal Soult defended with difficulty the
positions of Eylau; Davout maintained a furious struggle against the left
wing of the Russians: the Prussians, preceding by one hour Marshal Ney,
who had been pursuing them for several days, made their appearance on the
battle-field. The dead and dying formed round the emperor a ghastly
rampart; gloomy and calm he contemplated the attack of the Prussians and
Russians united, in great numbers, and pressing upon Marshal Davout. The
latter glanced along the ranks of his troops: "The cowards will go to die
in Siberia," said he, "the brave will die here like men of honor." The
effort of the enemy died out against the heroic resistance of the French
divisions, who maintained their positions.

The night was falling; the carnage was horrible. In spite of the serious
advantage of the French troops, General Benningsen was preparing to
attempt a new assault, when he learnt the approach of Marshal Ney, who was
debouching towards Althof. The bad weather and the distance retarded the
effect of the combinations of the emperor. He had caused much blood to be
spilt; victory, however, remained with him; the Russians and Prussians
were decidedly beating a retreat. The French remained masters of this most
sanguinary battlefield, destitute of provisions, without shelter, in the
wet and cold. Marshal Ney, who had taken no part in the action, to which,
however, he assured success, surveyed the plain, covered with corpses and
inundated with blood. "He turned away from the hideous spectacle," says M.
de Fezensac, "crying, 'What a massacre, and without result!'" The Russians
had retired behind the Pregel to cover Königsberg. Napoleon re-entered his
cantonments. He established his headquarters at the little town of
Osterode, directing from this advanced post the works of defence on the
Vistula and Passarge, at the same time as the preparations for the siege
of Dantzig. On arriving there he wrote to King Joseph: "Staff-officers,
colonels, officers, have not undressed for two months, and a few of them
not for four; I have myself been fifteen days without taking off my boots.
We are in the midst of snow and mud, without wine, without brandy, without
bread, eating potatoes and meat, making long marches and countermarches,
without anything to sweeten existence, and fighting at bayonet-point and
under showers of grape-shot, the wounded very often obliged to be removed
on a sledge for fifty leagues in the open air. After having destroyed the
Prussian monarchy, we are making war against the remnants of Prussia,
against the Russians, the Calmucs, the Cossacks, and the peoples of the
north who formerly invaded the Roman Empire; we are making war in all its
energy and all its horror." Such vigorous language was not permitted to
all. "The gloomy pictures that have been drawn of our situation," wrote
Napoleon to Fouché on April 13th, "have for authors a few gossips of
Paris, who are simply blockheads. Never has the position of France been
grander or finer. As to Eylau, I have said and resaid that the bulletin
exaggerated the loss; and, for a great battle, what are 2000 men slain?
There were none of the battles of Louis XIV. or Louis XV. which did not
cost more. When I lead back my army to France and across the Rhine, it
will be seen that there are not many wanting at the roll-call."

It was against Russia and against the vigor of its resistance that
Napoleon now concentrated all his efforts. Tardy hostilities had at length
commenced between the Porte and Russia. For a moment the Sultan had
appeared to hesitate before the demands of the English, united to those of
the Russians: Admiral Duckworth forced the Dardanelles at the head of a
squadron, and destroyed the Turkish division anchored at Cape Nagara. In
spite of the terror which reigned in Constantinople, the energetic
influence of General Sebastiani carried the day. The overtures of the
English Legation were repulsed; the capital was armed all of a sudden,
under the direction of French officers. When Admiral Duckworth appeared
before the place, he found it in good condition of defence; thus the
English squadron could not leave the Straits of the Dardanelles without
sustaining serious damage. For the British navy the evil was small; the
moral effect could not but have some influence.

The Emperor Napoleon sought to profit by this circumstance to enter afresh
into negotiations with Austria. On the day after the battle of Eylau he
sent General Bertrand to the King of Prussia, offering to surrender him
his States as far as the Elbe. The messenger was charged with the
significant insinuation: "You will give just a hint that as to Poland,
since the emperor has become acquainted with it, he attaches to it no
value." The sacrifice of a fourth of the Prussian monarchy seemed too
bitter for King Frederick William; he replied to the envoy with evasive
answers. Napoleon became disdainful as regards the Prussians. It was with
Austria that he determined henceforth to treat concerning the affairs of
Prussia. "See now my plan, and what you must say to M. de Vincent," wrote
he on March 9, 1807, to Talleyrand: "To restore to the King of Prussia his
throne and his estates, and to maintain the integrity of the Porte. As to
Poland, that will be found included in the first part of the sentence. If
these bases of peace suit Austria, we shall be able to understand each
other. As for the remark of M. de Vincent, that Prussia is too thoroughly
humiliated to hope for recovery, that is reasonable. The end of all this
will be an arrangement between France and Austria, or between France and
Russia; for there will be no repose for the people, who need it so much,
except by this union."

Austria responded to these propositions of alliance by offer of mediation;
at the same time, and without ostentation, as a precautionary measure, she
was getting ready for war, and was secretly preparing her armaments. The
small places in the north of Prussia had fallen, one after another;
Dantzig alone was still waiting for the army which was to besiege it. The
Prussians had profited by this delay to put the place into a good state of
defence. On all sides Napoleon collected fresh forces, as if resolved upon
terrifying his secret enemies and crushing his declared ones. The
conscription for 1808 was enforced in France by an anticipation of nearly
two years; the Italian regiments and the auxiliary German corps were
concentrated on the Vistula; the emperor even went so far as to demand
from Spain the contingent which the Prince de la Paix had offered him on
the day after the battle of Jena. Formerly the Spanish minister had nursed
other ideas, and had counted on serving the Prussians; he, however,
hastened to despatch 10,000 men to the all-powerful conqueror. An army of
reserve had just been created on the Elbe; by the middle of March the town
of Dantzig was completely invested.

I do not care to recount the incidents of a siege which lasted more than
two months, and which was conducted in a masterly manner by Chasseloup and
Lariboisière. Marshal Lefebvre grew weary of the long and able
preparations of his colleagues, and wished to begin the actual assault.
Authorization for this step was asked of the emperor. "You only know how
to grumble, to abuse your allies, and change your opinion at the will of
the first comer," wrote Napoleon to the old warrior. "You treat the allies
without any consideration; they are not accustomed to be under fire, but
that will come. Do you think that we were as brave in '92 as we are to-
day, after fifteen years of warfare? The chests of your grenadiers that
you wish to push everywhere will not overturn walls; you must let your
engineers work, and whilst waiting learn to have patience. The loss of a
few days, which I should not just now know how to employ, does not require
you to get several thousand men killed whose lives it is possible to
economize. You will have the glory of taking Dantzig; when that is
accomplished, you will be satisfied with me."

Meanwhile, the Russians and Prussians had resolved upon an attempt to
raise the siege of Dantzig: a considerable body came to attack the French
camp before the fort of Weichelsmunde. They were repulsed, after a furious
combat, by the aid of the reinforcements which had arrived to succor
Marshal Lefebvre; and the attempts of the English corvettes to re-victual
the town were equally unsuccessful. A previous attack of the Swedes upon
Stralsund had brought about no definite result, and their general, Essen,
had been constrained to conclude an armistice. Dantzig capitulated at
last, on the 26th of May, without having undergone the assault which the
French soldiers loudly demanded. As early as the 22nd, Napoleon had
written to Marshal Lefebvre: "I authorize Marshal Kalbreuth to go out
under the ordinary regulations, wishing to give this general an especial
proof of esteem; however, the capitulation of Mayence cannot be taken as a
basis, as the siege was less advanced than that of Dantzig now is. I
allowed, at the time, an honorable capitulation for General Wurmser, shut
up in Mantua; I wish to accord one more advantageous to General Kalbreuth,
taking a middle position between that of Mayence and that of Mantua."

All the French _corps d'armée_ occupied entrenched camps, prudently
defended against the attacks of enemies; they were suffering from the
rigors of the winter, and the large stores of wine found in Dantzig were
an important resource for the soldiers. The attempts at mediation by
Austria had failed; the campaign of 1809 was being prepared; everywhere
the grass was springing up in the fields, affording necessary sustenance
for the horses; the wild swans were reappearing in flocks upon the shores
of the Passarge. The Emperor Napoleon had fixed upon the 10th of June for
the resumption of hostilities.

The Russians forestalled it: Alexander had sent his guard to General
Benningsen. "Brothers, uphold honor!" said the young emperor to his
soldiers as they began the march. "We will do everything that is
possible," cried the troops: "adieu, master!" Already Benningsen was
advancing against the corps of Ney, who occupied the advanced posts, but
the clever and prudent arrangements of Napoleon had prepared the retreat
of his lieutenants; without disorder and without weakness, always
victoriously fighting, Marshal Ney fell back upon Deppen; two other
attacks upon the bridges of Lanutten and Spanden were likewise repulsed.
The concentration of the French _corps d'armée_ began to be effected near
Saafeldt, when General Benningsen changed all of a sudden his plan of
campaign: passing from the offensive to the defensive, he decided to
repass the Alle, in order to protect the entrenched camp of Heilsberg, and
by the same movement the town of Königsberg, the last refuge of the
resources of Prussia. The retreat of the Russians commenced on the evening
of the 7th of June.

Napoleon followed them with almost the whole of his army; the detachments
of the vanguard and rearguard had more than once been engaged in partial
combats when, on the evening of the 10th of June, the French army
debouched before the entrenched camp of Heilsberg strongly supported by
the banks of the Alle. Napoleon followed the left bank, seeking to
forestall the enemy at the confluence of the Alle and the Pregel, in the
hope of seizing Königsberg before the place could be succored. Murat and
Davout were already threatening the city.

It was the supreme feature in the genius of Napoleon, that an indomitable
perseverance in wisely calculated projects did not exclude the
thunderbolts of a marvellous promptitude in resolution and combinations.
Uncertainty and want of foresight reigned, on the contrary, in the
military councils of the Russians. General Benningsen, formerly in the
attitude of attack, now compelled to engage in a defensive march, and
projecting the defence of Königsberg, thought it all of a sudden necessary
to protect himself against an attack in flank. He crossed the Alle under
the eyes of the French, and meeting them on the left bank of the river, he
advanced towards the corps of Marshal Lannes, whom the emperor had sent
against Domnau; a strong Russian detachment drove from Friedland the
regiment of French hussars, who had established themselves there. The
whole Russian army attacked Marshal Lannes, who had just collected a few
reinforcements. It was to judge badly of the able prudence of the Emperor
Napoleon, to hope to encounter a single corps of his grand army: Lannes
held out till mid-day upon the field of battle with heroic skill; he sent
meanwhile express after express to the emperor, who arrived at a gallop,
his face radiant with the anticipation of the joys of victory. "It is the
14th of June," said he, "the anniversary of Marengo; it is a lucky day for

Napoleon and his staff had preceded the march of the troops; Lannes and
his soldiers recovered their forces in the presence of the invincible
chief who had so many times led them to victory. "Give me only a
reinforcement, sire," cried Oudinot, whose coat was pierced with bullets,
"and although my grenadiers can do no more, we will cast all the Russians
into the water."

This was the aim of the emperor as well as of his soldiers; and the
positions which General Benningsen had taken, concentred in a bend of the
river, rendered the enterprise practicable. The day was advanced, and a
few of the generals had been wishing to put off the battle till the
morrow. "No!" said Napoleon; "one does not surprise the enemy twice in
such a blunder." Then sweeping with his telescope the masses of the enemy
grouped before him, he quickly seized the arm of Marshal Ney. "You see the
Russians and Friedland," said he; "the bridges are there--there only.
March right on before you; enter into Friedland; take the bridges,
whatever it may cost, and do not disquiet yourself about what shall take
place on your right, or your left, or in your rear. That concerns us--the
army and me."

When Marshal Ney had set out, marching to danger as to a festival, the
emperor turned towards Marshal Mortier and said, "That man is a lion."

Upon the field of battle, where he had just arrived in face of the enemy,
who appeared hesitating and troubled, Napoleon dictated his orders, which
he caused to be delivered to all his lieutenants. The troops continued to
arrive; all the corps formed again at the posts which had been assigned to
them. The emperor checked the impatience of his generals. "The action," he
told them, "will commence when the battery posted in the village of
Posthenen shall commence to fire." It was half-past five when the cannon
at last sounded.

Ney advanced towards Friedland under a terrible fire from the Russians;
extricated by the cavalry of Latour-Marbourg, and protected by the
artillery of General Victor, suddenly thrown in advance, the French
columns had reached a stream defended by the imperial Russian guard. The
resistance of these picked troops for a moment threw disorder into our
lines, who fell back; when General Dupont, arriving with his division,
broke the Russian guard. The French in pursuit of their enemies penetrated
into Friedland. The city was in flames; the fugitives fled towards the
bridges; a very small number had succeeded in reaching them when this only
means of safety was snatched from them; the bridges were cut and set on
fire when Marshal Ney took possession of the burning remains of Friedland.
At the same moment the corps of General Gortschakoff, pressed by Marshals
Lannes and Mortier, fighting valiantly in a position without egress,
sought in vain to reconquer the city, and afterwards redescended the
length of the river in the hope of finding fordable passages. Many
soldiers were drowned, others succeeded in regaining the right shore.
Almost the entire column of General Lambert succeeded in escaping. Night
at length followed the long twilight; it was ten o'clock in the evening
when the combat ceased. The victory was complete; the remains of the
Russian army retired upon the Pregel without Napoleon being able again to
encounter them. They soon afterwards gained the Niemen. Meanwhile Marshal
Soult had occupied Königsberg, evacuated by Generals Lestocq and Kaminsky.
The King of Prussia possessed nothing more than the little town of Memel.

The Emperor Alexander had rejoined his troops, vanquished and decimated in
spite of their courage; the King Frederick William placed himself close to
his ally, at Tilsit. Peace had become necessary for the Russians; for the
Prussians it had long been so. Napoleon resolved on negotiating for
himself. In response to the request for an armistice, he proposed an
interview, with the Emperor Alexander. It was in the middle of the Niemen,
upon a raft constructed for this purpose, that the two emperors met.

Alexander was young, amiable, winning, drawn along at times by chivalrous
or mystical sentiments and enthusiasms, at other times under the dominion
of Oriental tastes and passions. No one could be more capable of being
influenced by the charm of a superior genius and an extraordinary destiny,
and the personal ascendancy of a man who knew at once how to please and
how to vex.

Napoleon wished to captivate his vanquished enemy, whom he desired to make
his ally; he succeeded in doing so with ease. Master of the destinies of
the world--in his own idea more so than he even was in reality--he had
resolved upon offering to Alexander compensations which might satisfy him,
whilst distracting his attention from the conquests and encroachments
which Napoleon reserved for himself. On the eve of Austerlitz, Napoleon
had said to Prince Dolgorouki: "Ah well! let Russia extend herself at the
expense of her neighbors!" It was the same thought that he was about to

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