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

Part 6 out of 9

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With her will or against it, by the impulse of enthusiasm still left or
under the law of good pleasure, France followed her insatiable master upon
the ever open battle-fields. Napoleon was not deceived as to his arbitrary
measures. "I wish to call out 30,000 men by the conscription of 1810," he
wrote on the 21st March to General Lacuée, director-general of the reviews
and conscription; "I am obliged to delay the publication of the 'Senatus-
consulte,' which can only be done when all the documents are published.
Let the good departments be preferred in choosing. The levy for France
generally will only be one fourth of this year's conscription. The
prefects might manage it without letting the public know, since there is
no occasion for their assembling or drawing lots."

Financial difficulties also began to be felt. For a long time, by war
contributions and exactions of every kind imposed upon the conquered
countries, Napoleon had formed a military treasury, which he alone
managed, and without any check. This resource allowed him to do without
increasing taxes or imposing additional burdens. The funds, however,
became exhausted, and war alone could renew them. "Reply to Sieur Otto,"
he wrote on the 1st April, 1809, to Champagny, "that I will have nothing
said about subsidies. It is not at all the principle of France. It was
well enough under the ancient government, because they had few troops, but
at the present day the power of France, and the energy impressed upon my
peoples, will produce as many soldiers as I wish, and my money is employed
in equipping them and putting them on the field."

Negotiations were still being carried on. The fifth coalition was secretly
formed, and diplomatic plots were everywhere joining their threads.
Napoleon strove to engage Russia in a common declaration against Austria;
England enrolled against France the new government just established at
Constantinople by revolution. On both sides the preparations for war
became more patent and hurried. Metternich complained at Paris of the
hostile attitude of France, and announced the reciprocity imposed upon his
master. On the 1st April, Napoleon wrote, "Get articles put in all the
journals upon all that is provoking or offensive for the French nation in
everything done at Vienna. You can go as far back as the first arming.
There must be an article of this tendency every day in the _Journal de
l'Empire_, or the _Publiciste_, or the _Gazette de France_. The aim of
these articles is to prove that they wish us to make war."

In France the decided, if not expressed, wish of the Emperor Napoleon, and
in Austria the patriotic indignation and warlike excitement of the court
and army, must necessarily have brought on a rupture; and the most
trifling pretext was enough to cause the explosion. The arrest of a French
courier by the Austrians at Braunau, the violation of the imperial
territory by the troops of Marshal Davout then posted at Wurzburg,
provoked hostilities several days sooner than Napoleon expected; and
Metternich had already asked for his passports when, on the 10th April,
the Archduke Charles crossed the Inn with his army. The Tyrol at the same
time rose in insurrection under the orders of a mountain innkeeper, Andrew
Hofer; and the Bavarian garrisons were everywhere attacked by hunters and
peasants. Like the Spanish, the Tyrolese claimed the independence of their

The troops of the Emperor Napoleon already covered Germany; Davout being
at Ratisbon, Lannes at Augsburg, and Masséna at Ulm. Marshal Lefebvre
commanded the Bavarians, Augereau was appointed to lead the Wurtembergers,
the men of Baden and Hesse; the Saxons were placed under the orders of
Bernadotte. On the evening of the 9th April, the Archduke Charles wrote to
the King of Bavaria that his orders were to advance, and treat as enemies
all the forces which opposed him; that he fondly trusted that no German
would resist the liberating army on its march to deliver Germany. The
Emperor Napoleon had already offered to the Kings of Saxony and Bavaria
one of his palaces in France as an asylum, should they find themselves
compelled to temporarily abandon their capitals. The King of Bavaria set
out for Augsburg.

The unexpected movement of his enemies modified Napoleon's plan of attack.
A delay in the arrival of the despatches sent to Major-General Berthier
caused some difficulty in the first operations of the French army. When
the emperor arrived at Donauwerth, on the morning of the 17th, his army
was spread over an extent of twenty-five leagues, and was in danger of
being cut in two by the Archduke Charles. It was Napoleon's care and study
on beginning the campaign to avoid this danger, which soon afterwards he
subjected his adversary to. The Austrians, after passing the Isar at two
places, and driving back the Bavarians who had been appointed to defend
the passage, advanced towards the Danube.

Already, before touching Donauwerth, Napoleon's orders had begun the
concentration of his forces. Masséna was at Augsburg, and received the
order to march upon Neustadt, and similarly Davout left Ratisbon to
advance to the same place. The Archduke Charles was also striving to reach
it, hoping to gain upon the French by speed, and pass between the
divisions posted at Ratisbon and Augsburg. This manoeuvre was baffled by
Napoleon's prompt decision. "Never was there need for more rapidity and
activity of movement than now," he wrote on the 18th to Masséna.
"Activity, activity, speed! Let me have your assistance."

The emperor's lieutenants did not fail him in this brilliant and
scientific movement, everywhere executed with an ability and precision
worthy of the great general who had conceived it. The Archduke Charles was
a consummate tactician, but often his prudence degenerated into
hesitation--a dangerous fault in presence of the most overpowering
military genius whom the world had yet beheld. Napoleon himself said of
Marshal Turenne that he was the only general whom experience had made more
daring. A long military experience had not exercised that happy effect on
the archduke; he still felt his way, and neglecting to take advantage of
the concentration of his forces, dispersed the different parts of his
army. The chastisement was not slow in following the fault. On the 19th,
Marshal Davout, ascending the Danube from Ratisbon to Abensberg, met and
defeated the Austrian troops at Fangen, thus being able to effect his
junction with the Bavarians. On the 20th, the emperor attacked the enemy's
lines at several points, and forced his way through them towards Rohr
after several active engagements, thus securing the point of Abensberg,
and separating the Archduke Charles from General Hiller and the Archduke
Louis. On the 21st, this last part of the enemy's army precipitated itself
in a body upon the important position of Landshut, where all the Austrian
war material was collected, with a large number of wounded; but at the
same moment the emperor himself came up, eagerly followed by Lannes and
Bessières, commanding their regiments. Masséna also made haste to join
them. The bridges on the Isar were all attacked at once, and bravely
defended by the Austrians: when carried they were already in flames. The
Archduke Charles, however, attacking Ratisbon, which Davout was obliged to
leave protected only by one regiment, easily took possession of that
important place, commanding both banks of the Danube. He was thus, on the
22nd, before Eckmühl opposite Davout. Informed of this movement, which he
had partly guessed from the noise of the cannon on the 21st, the emperor
directed the main body of his army towards Eckmühl. His troops had already
been fighting for three days, and Napoleon asked a fresh effort from them.
"It is four o'clock," he wrote to Davout, "I have resolved to march, and
shall be upon Eckmühl about midday, and ready to attack the enemy
vigorously at three o'clock. I shall have with me 40,000 men. I shall be
at Ergoltsbach before midday. If the cannon are heard I shall know I am to
attack. If I don't hear it, and you are ready for the attack, fire a salvo
of ten guns at twelve, another at one, and another at two. I am determined
to exterminate the army of the Archduke Charles to-day, or at the latest

The day was not finished, and the cuirassiers were still fighting by
moonlight to carry and defend the Ratisbon highway, yet the victory was
decisive. The Archduke Charles was beaten, and falling back upon Ratisbon,
he, during the night, took the wise step of evacuating the town and
withdrawing into Bohemia, where General Bellegarde and his troops awaited
him. Henceforth the Austrian army formed two distinct bodies. On the 23rd,
Napoleon marched upon Ratisbon, which bravely defended itself. Slightly
wounded in the foot by a ball, the emperor remained the whole day on
horseback, Marshal Lannes directing the assault. At one moment the
soldiers hesitating because the Austrians shot down one after another of
those who carried the ladders, Lannes seized one, and shouted, "I shall
show you that your marshal has not ceased to be a grenadier." His aides-
de-camp went before him, and they themselves led the troops to the
escalade. At last the gates were opened, and Napoleon entered Ratisbon.

He spent three days there, preparing his movement of attack against
Vienna, which was slightly and badly defended, fortifying his positions,
and taking precautions against an unexpected return of the Archduke
Charles. At the same time, by his proclamations to the army, as well as by
his letters to the princes of the Rhenish Confederation, he spread
throughout all Europe his inebriation with success, and the declaration of
his projects.


"You have justified my expectations; you have made up for numbers by
bravery. You have gloriously proved the difference which exists between
the soldiers of Cæsar and the armed hordes of Xerxes.

"In a few days we have triumphed in the three pitched battles of Thann,
Abensberg, and Eckmühl, and in the engagements of Peising, Landshut, and
Ratisbon. A hundred cannon, forty flags, 50,000 prisoners, three sets of
bridge-apparatus, all the enemy's artillery, with 600 harnessed wagons,
3000 harnessed carriages with baggage, all the regimental chests,--that is
the result of your rapid marches and your courage.

"The enemy, intoxicated by a perjured cabinet, seemed to have retained no
recollection of you; his awakening has been speedy, you have appeared to
him more terrible than ever. Recently he crossed the Inn, and invaded the
territory of our allies. Recently he was in full hopes of carrying the war
into the bosom of our country; to-day defeated, terrified, he flies in
disorder. My advance-guard has already passed the Inn. Within a month we
shall be at Vienna."

It was at Ratisbon that the emperor at last received the news of the army
of Italy which he was impatiently demanding. When attacked, on the 10th
April, by the Archduke John, as the generals separated by Napoleon had
been in Germany by the Archduke Charles, Prince Eugène, who was in command
for the first time, had not been able, as Napoleon was, to retrieve, by a
sudden stroke and powerful effort, an engagement badly begun. Being unable
to hold head against the Austrian forces, he resolved to retire, in order
to rejoin the main body of his army. This retrograde movement he performed
with regret; hesitating, and feeling annoyed by the grumbling of the
soldiers, because they wished to march to the enemy, and by the hesitation
of the generals who dared not offer him advice, he halted on the 15th
before the town of Sacile, and on the 16th made an unexpected attack on
the Archduke John, who on the previous evening had surprised and beaten
the French rearguard at Pordenone, though, as it now appeared, not any
better guarded himself. Confused at the first moment by an unlooked-for
attack, the Austrians defended themselves with great bravery. Their
superior forces threatened to cut off our communications, and the prince,
afraid of being isolated, ordered retreat when the issue of the battle was
still uncertain. He had just left the battle-field--which the soldiers
would scarcely leave, furious at not having gained the day--when the
Viceroy of Italy, modest and brave, but evidently not equal to the task
which the emperor had imposed upon him, wrote thus to the latter:--"My
father, I have need of your indulgence. Fearing your blame if I withdrew,
I accepted battle, and I have lost it." He accompanied this sad news with
no message nor any details, and the want of information annoyed Napoleon
still more than the check undergone by his troops. "Whatever evil may have
taken place," he wrote, "if I had full knowledge of the state of things I
should decide what to do; but I think it an absurd and frightful thing
that a battle taking place on the 16th, it is now the 26th, without my
knowing anything about it. That upsets my plans for the campaign, and I
cannot understand what can have suggested to you that singular procedure.
I hope to be soon at Salzburg, and make short work in the Tyrol; but for
God's sake! let me know what is going on, and what is the situation of my
affairs in Italy." And on the 30th April: "War is a serious game, in which
one can compromise his reputation and his country. A man of sense must
soon feel and know if he is made for that profession or not. I know that
in Italy you affect some contempt for Masséna; if I had sent him, that
which has happened would not have taken place. Masséna has military
qualities before which one must humble himself. His faults must be forgot,
for all men have their faults. In giving you the command of the army I
made a mistake, and ought to have sent you Masséna, and given you the
command of the cavalry under his orders. The Prince Royal of Bavaria
commands a division under the Duke of Dantzic. Kings of France, emperors,
even when reigning, have often commanded a regiment or division under the
orders of an old marshal. I think that if matters become pressing you
ought to write to the King of Naples to come to the army: he will leave
the government to the queen. You will hand over the command to him, and
serve under his orders. The case simply is, that you have less experience
of war than a man who has served since he was sixteen. I am not displeased
at the mistakes you have made, but because you don't write to me, and put
me in a position to give you advice, and even direct operations from this

Fortunately for Prince Eugène, as well as the army of Italy, General
Macdonald had just arrived at head-quarters, then moved beyond the Pena.
Able, honorable, and brave as he had shown himself in the wars of the
revolution, Macdonald underwent the weight of imperial disgrace on account
of his intimacy with General Moreau. The young officers of the empire used
to turn to ridicule his grave disposition and simple habits; but the
soldiers loved him, and had confidence in him, and Prince Eugène had the
good sense to let himself be guided by his advice. The retreat being
continued to the Adige, the army rested there, waiting for the enemy, who
were slow in coming in. When at last the Archduke John appeared, he durst
not attack the line of the river, and waited for news from Germany. Prince
Eugène was still ignorant of the emperor's success. On the 1st of May,
Macdonald, who was taking observations, believed he saw a retreating
movement of the enemy towards the Frioul. "Victory in Germany!" he
shouted, running towards the viceroy; "now is the moment to march
forward!" True enough, the Archduke John, being informed of Napoleon's
movement upon Vienna, made haste to return to Germany, in the hope of
joining his brother, the Archduke Charles. Prince Eugène immediately
started in pursuit, passed the Piave hurriedly, and driving the archduke
through the Carnatic and Julian Alps, marched himself, with a part of his
army, towards the victorious emperor. On the 14th May, after dividing his
forces, he sent General Macdonald with one part to meet General Marmont,
who was advancing towards Trieste. The army of Italy was soon after
reunited at Wagram.

The first reverses of Prince Eugène were not the only thing to disturb the
emperor's joy at Ratisbon. In Tyrol a rising of the peasants, prepared and
encouraged by Austrian agents, had suddenly engaged the whole population,
men, women, and children, in a determined struggle against the French
conquest and the Bavarian domination. A proclamation of the Emperor
Francis was spread through the mountains, and General Chasteler was sent
from Vienna to put himself at the head of the insurrection. The Bavarian
garrisons were few, and the French detachments which came to their
assistance being composed of recruits, the patriotic passion of the
mountaineers easily triumphed over an enemy of inferior numbers. From Linz
to Brunecken all the posts were carried by the Tyrolese; Halle, Innspruck,
and Trente quickly fell into the power of the insurgents. A French column
arriving beneath Innspruck when General Chasteler and Hofer had just taken
possession of the place, was surrounded, and compelled to capitulate.
General Baraguey d'Hilliers, who occupied Trente, had to fall back upon
Roveredo, and then upon Rivoli. The Italian as well as the German Tyrolese
had reconquered their independence; from one end of the mountains to the
other re-echoed the name of the Emperor Francis and that of the Archduke
John, whom the peasants were impatiently awaiting since the news of his
first successes in Italy. The insurrection had been entirely patriotic,
religious, and popular: the first leader, Andrew Hofer, was a grave and
pious man, who rejoiced and triumphed with simplicity, asking God's pardon
in the churches for the crime and violence which he had been unable to
prevent, and which were only acts of reprisal for the Bavarian oppression.
The modest glory of the honest innkeeper reached the Emperor Napoleon with
the news of the loss of the Tyrol.

The whole of Germany seemed moved by the same breath of independence in
the subject or conquered countries. In Swabia, Saxony, Hesse, a silent
emotion thrilled all hearts; at certain points bands of insurgents
collected together. In Prussia, the instinct of patriotic vengeance was
still more powerful; the commandant of Berlin gave to the garrison as
watchword "Charles and Ratisbon;" one of the officers at the head of the
cavalry here, Major Schill, formerly known as leader of the partisans in
1806 and 1807, had just resumed his old task, drawing with him the body
which he commanded; and several companies of infantry deserted to join
him. The protestations of the Prussian ministers were not enough to
convince Napoleon of the ignorance of government with regard to these
hostile manifestations. The Archduke Ferdinand at the head of an army of
35,000 men, had just entered Poland, taking by surprise Prince Poniatowski
and the Polish army, still badly organized. After a keenly-contested
battle in the environs of Raszyn, near Warsaw, Prince Poniatowski was
obliged to surrender his capital, and fall back upon the right bank of the

Napoleon alone had conquered, and his lieutenants acting for him in more
distant parts, by being surprised or incapable, had only caused him
embarrassment. This was a natural and inevitable consequence of a too
extensive power, and a territory too vast to be at all points usefully
occupied and skilfully defended. All these events confirmed the emperor in
the resolution which he had already taken to march upon Vienna. Neglecting
the Archduke Charles's army, the Marshals Lannes and Bessières crossed
Bavaria, Napoleon himself setting out for Landshut in order to take the
management of his forces. Thus the whole army advanced towards the Inn.
Masséna took possession of Passau, and by the 1st May all the troops had
crossed the river. Masséna was ordered to make himself master of Linz, and
secure the bridge over the Danube at Monthausen. There the archdukes and
General Hiller might effect their junction, and there, therefore, must the
road to Vienna be opened or closed.

Masséna never hesitated before a difficulty, and never drew back before
the most fatal necessities. The Austrians were superior to him in number,
and occupied excellent positions. Linz was carried and passed through in a
few hours. When Napoleon arrived before the small town of Ebersberg which
defended the bridge, the place, the castle and even the bridge were in our
power, at the cost of a horrible carnage which caused some emotion to the
emperor himself. He refused to occupy Ebersberg, everywhere swimming in
blood and strewed with dead bodies. There was still a rallying-point left
to the archdukes at the bridge of Krems, but they did not think they could
defend it. The Archduke Louis and General Hiller passed to the right bank
of the Danube, and the road to Vienna lay open.

Generally slow in his operations, the Archduke Charles was too far from
the capital to assist it. The place had made no preparations for defence,
but the population was animated by great patriotic zeal, and the sight of
the French troops before the gates at once caused a rising. The new town,
which was open and without ramparts, was quickly in our power.
Preparations were made to defend the walls of the old town, behind which
the Archduke Maximilian was entrenched, with from 15,000 to 18,000 regular

Napoleon took up his abode at Schönbrunn, in the palace abandoned by the
Emperor Francis; and after appointing as governor of Vienna, General
Andréossy, recently his ambassador in Austria, waited calmly for the
result of the bombardment. The archduke had imprudently exposed the town
to an irresistible attack: on the morning of the 12th May he left Vienna
with the greater part of his troops, leaving to General O'Reilly the sad
duty of concluding the capitulation. The French took possession of the
place on the 13th. The population were still excited when Napoleon issued
a proclamation denouncing the princes of the house of Lorraine for having
deserted, "not as soldiers of honor yielding to the circumstances and
reverses of war, but as perjurers pursued by their remorse. On running
away from Vienna their farewells to its inhabitants were fire and
bloodshed; like Medea, they have cut the throats of their children with
their own hands. Soldiers! the people of Vienna, to use the expression of
the deputation from its faubourgs, are forsaken, abandoned, and widowed;
they will be the object of your regards. I take the good citizens under my
special protection. As to turbulent and bad men, I shall make examples of
them in the ends of justice. Soldiers! Let us treat kindly the poor
peasants, and this good population who have so many claims upon our
esteem. Let us not be made haughty by our success; but let us see in it a
proof of that divine justice which punishes the ungrateful and the

That boundless vanity which always pervaded Napoleon's soul, in spite of
his protestations of thankfulness towards divine justice, did not prevent
him from clearly seeing beforehand the difficulties which surrounded him,
and the obstacles still to be overcome, even after reaching Vienna, and
gaining the victory in every battle. Success had again attended on all his
combinations, and the extreme extension of his forces. Prince Eugène after
recovering the advantage over Archduke John, was now coming nearer the
emperor as he pursued the enemy. Marshal Lefebvre at the head of the
Bavarians and French divisions, had commenced offensive operations against
General Chasteler and Jellachich, come to the assistance of Tyrol, and
after beating their forces and those of the mountaineers combined at
Worgel, on the 13th May, advanced to Innspruck and took possession of it.
The peasants had retired to the mountains, and the Austrian forces fell
back upon Hungary. Prince Poniatowski defended victoriously the right bank
of the Vistula, and threatened Cracow, while Galicia was rising in favor
of Polish independence. The Archduke Charles's army, however, still
existed--large, powerful and eager to avenge its defeats. The Archduke
Louis had brought him the remainder of the troops, and the Archduke John
was advancing to the assistance of his brothers. In order to prevent this
junction, and conquer his enemy before he had been reinforced by the army
of Italy, Napoleon decided upon crossing the Danube in the very suburbs of
the capital, by making use of the numerous islets there. At the island of
Lobau, which was the point chosen for the passage, the bed of the Danube
was broad and deep; and the island not being in the middle of the stream,
the branch separating it from the bank was comparatively narrow. The
emperor gave orders to construct bridges.

The attempt was a bold one at any time; it was rash, at the moment when
the waters of the Danube, swollen by the melting of the snow, threatened
to sweep away the bridges, prepared with difficulty, on which depended the
success of the operation. On the 20th May, Marshal Masséna's troops
crossed the river entirely, and took up position in the villages of
Aspern, and Essling; a ditch full of water joined the two villages, and
its banks were immediately covered with troops. The archduke's advance-
guard had alone appeared, till at three o'clock in the afternoon of the
21st May, the Austrian army, 70,000 to 80,000 men strong, at last poured
on the plain of Marchfeld. The large bridge thrown from the right bank to
the island of Lobau had been broken for the second time during the night,
and therefore only 35,000 or 40,000 Frenchmen were there to meet the
enemy. The emperor, however, was there, the bridge was about to be
repaired, and the generals were opposed to every thought of retreat.
Marshal Lannes had gone forward to occupy Essling, while General Molitor
had fortified himself in Aspern. The struggle began with the passionate
ardor of men playing the great game in which their glory or their
country's liberty is at stake. The position at Aspern, covering the bridge
to the island of Lobau, was several times taken and retaken, till at last
Molitor barricaded the houses of the village, and drove back the Austrian
attack with the bayonet. No assault, however fierce, was able to dislodge
Masséna from the burying-ground, nor Lannes from the village of Essling.
At one time the Prince of Hohenzollern's division was very nearly cutting
off our communication between the two villages, at sight of which Lannes,
turning towards Marshal Bessières, ordered him, in a voice of thunder, and
without regard for his rank or age, to put himself at the head of the
cuirassiers for a "thorough" charge. Deeply hurt by this order, and the
tone in which it was given, Bessières deferred demanding an explanation,
and made a dash upon the Austrian lines. He had to meet in succession the
artillery, the infantry, and the cavalry; General Espagne, who was in
charge of the heavy horse, was killed by his side; then General Lasalle
made a charge in his turn, bringing to the marshal assistance of which he
stood in great need, and Prince Hohenzollern's division was stopped. In
the evening, when bivouacking, the emperor was obliged to interpose to
prevent Lannes and Bessières from using against each other the swords
which they had so gallantly used during the fighting against the enemy.

The archduke having ordered retreat after nightfall, both armies camped in
their positions. Large forces had already crossed the Danube, including
the whole corps of General Lannes. The guard also arrived, which had not
yet shared in any engagement during the campaign. Seventy or seventy-five
thousand men having reached the left bank, they only waited for Marshal
Davout's corps, which had received orders to hasten its march, when the
large bridge broke for the third time. Part of the artillery and most of
the ammunition-wagons were still on the right bank. When communication was
again affected, the fighting was everywhere carried on with fresh fury.

Another attack was made on the villages of Aspern and Essling, which had
already been reduced to ruins. One after another, Masséna recovered the
positions which Molitor was forced on the previous evening to abandon; he
also carried the church occupied by the Austrian general, Vacquant. Lannes
had received orders, while protecting Essling, to march into the plain,
and by a circular movement pierce the enemy's line and cut them in two.
This operation was about to be accomplished, and the marshal sent an aide-
de-camp to the emperor to ask him to have his rear protected by the guard
on his leaving Essling unprotected, when frightful news was brought to
Napoleon. The trunks of trees, stones, and rubbish of every kind, brought
down by the rapid current of the river, had again broken the cables which
held together the boats composing the great bridge, and both parts were
carried down the stream, taking with them a squadron of cuirassiers, who
were then defiling over. The passage of the troops being stopped, and the
ammunition running short, Napoleon ordered Lannes to fall back on the line
of the villages and abandon the pursuit of the Austrians, who were just
before that hardly pressed everywhere. Whilst the marshal, bitterly
disappointed, was effecting this backward movement, the archduke ordered
all his artillery to be directed upon him: General St. Hilaire was killed
at the head of his division, and whole files of General Oudinot's
regiments were shot down--unfortunate lads, so recently enrolled that
their officers durst not deploy them before the enemy. It was now midday;
Major-General Berthier had just written to Marshal Davout, retained on the
opposite bank of the Danube: "The interruption of the bridge has prevented
provision-supplies: at ten o'clock we were short of ammunition, and the
enemy, perceiving it, marched back upon us. Two hundred guns, to which we
cannot reply, have done us much harm. In these circumstances, it is
extremely important to repair the bridges and send ammunition and food.
Write to the Prince of Ponte Corvo (Bernadotte) not to open a campaign in
Bohemia, and to General Lauriston to be ready to join us. See that Daru
sends us ambulance-stores and provisions of every kind. As soon as the
bridge is ready, or during the night, come and have a consultation with
the emperor."

At the same moment the Austrians began a movement similar to that which
Lannes so recently was on the point of effecting. The Archduke Charles
combined his best troops, to overpower our centre and finally break our
lines. Marshal Lannes was immediately on the spot, bringing up in close
succession the already decimated divisions--the cuirassiers, the old
guard; and these were soon supported by the charges of the light cavalry.
The conflict was now frightful. The French artillery, placed on the bank
of the ditch connecting Aspern and Essling, fired slowly, with the
precaution and prudence due to their shortness of ammunition, while the
Austrian cannons thundered unceasingly. Lannes galloped in front of his
regiments, which were immovable before the enemy, whose advance had been
stopped; and when encouraging his soldiers by gesture and voice, one of
his aides-de-camp conjured him to dismount. When in the act of obeying, a
cannon-ball struck him, shattering both his knees. Marshal Bessières
assisted his terrified officers in wrapping round him a cuirassier's cloak
and getting him carried to an ambulance; but, recollecting his irritation
of the evening before, he turned away his head as he grasped the hand of
his dying friend, lest the sight of him should cause any sorrow or

Ominous news were now coming from all parts to Napoleon, who had not
quitted the angle formed by the line between Aspern and Essling. Marshal
Masséna still kept in the midst of the smoking ruins which marked the spot
where stood so recently the pretty village of Aspern. The Austrians were
advancing in dense masses against the village of Essling. Marshal
Bessières defended that post, indispensable to the safety of the army. The
emperor sent for the fusileers of the guard and placed them under General
Mouton's orders. "I give them to you," said he; "make another effort to
save the army; but let us put an end to this! After these, I have only the
grenadiers and chasseurs of the old guard; they must be reserved for a
disaster." General Mouton advanced, and his first effort was rewarded by
freeing General Baudet, who was hemmed in in a barn, which he defended
like a fortress. Five times did the enemy return to the charge, and now
they prepared for a new attack, when General Rapp, shouting, "The emperor
says we must put an end to this!" combined his forces with Mouton's, and
both rushed forward, followed by their soldiers, with their bayonets in
front and their heads held low. The Austrians at last recoiled, and
Essling remained in our hands. The battery which had been raised on the
island of Lobau had fired with effect upon the masses of the enemy when,
for a short time, they were near the river. The bridge was free, the only
way left us to effect our retreat, when night at last permitted us to
withdraw without disgrace or danger. The long summer's day was at its

Having for a long time understood the necessity of this backward movement,
the emperor longed only for its execution, and wished to inspect himself
the resources of defence afforded by the island of Lobau. He would not
hear of leaving the battlefield without being certain of the position of
Aspern, and sent to ask Masséna if he could undertake to hold the village,
as he had constantly done for the two previous days. The old soldier was
sitting on a heap of ruins, in the midst of the smoking remains of the
place, and, rising at the first words of the aide-de-camp, he stretched
out his arm towards the Danube, as if to hasten the messenger's return:
"Go and tell the emperor that I shall keep here two hours, six, twenty-
four, if need be--so long as the safety of the army requires it."

The Archduke Charles, however, was himself tired of a struggle that led to
no decision--cruel and bloody beyond all that he had seen in his long
military career. He had brought together all his forces, and placed all
his artillery in a line, in order to crush once more with his cannon-shot
the invincible battalions which separated him from the river and still
forbade his passage. General Mouton brought to this threatened point the
fusileers of the guard who had just freed Essling; our dismounted guns
replied at rare intervals to the continued fire of the enemy; the bodies
of infantry, slightly protected by the inequalities of the ground, were
massed behind useless cannon, and supported by the cavalry, which covered
at one part the road from Essling to Aspern, and at another the
unprotected space between Essling and the Danube. Parallel to them were
arranged the guard in order. All these glorious remnants of a two days'
unexampled struggle, motionless under the cannon-balls, looked in silence
upon their officers moving about in front of the lines between the cannon
of the enemy and the men whom they commanded. "Only one word escaped our
lips," said General Mouton, afterwards Count Lobau, when telling the story
of that day; "we had only one thing to say, 'close up the ranks!' whenever
the soldiers fell under the fire of the archduke's 200 guns."

On crossing to the entrance of the bridge on the river's bank, where there
were confused heaps of wounded men, transport carts, empty artillery-
wagons, and dismounted guns, Napoleon went to see Marshal Lannes, who had
just undergone amputation, and showed more emotion than he usually showed
at the tragical end of his lieutenants. The dying farewell of the
illustrious officer to his chief, still unsated with glory and conquest,
has been told in various ways. The emperor himself reported the words as
he wished them to be known, full of kindness and sadness on the part of
Lannes. Some of those who stood by reported that the instinct of the dying
soldier awoke with the bluntness frequently characterizing it, and that
Lannes cursed the cruel ambition which strewed Napoleon's brilliant route
with the corpses of his friends. He only survived that scene two days, and
was praised as he deserved by Napoleon. On again mounting his horse, the
emperor inspected the island of Lobau in detail, and satisfied himself
that the position could be easily defended by a large body of troops well
equipped and well commanded. He resolved to leave Masséna there--the
natural leader in all cases of supreme resistance--while he made
preparations at Vienna and on the right bank of the Danube for
definitively crossing the river and bringing the campaign to a close. His
project thus conceived, and combinations decided on in his mind, the
emperor repassed the small arm of the river, and, stopping at the head of
the bridge, called his generals around him. It was nightfall; the battle
had finished; on both sides they were still occupied in removing the
wounded; the dead everywhere strewed the plain, the border of the ditch,
and the ruins of the villages. Napoleon held a council of war on the
field, on that bank of the Danube defended during two days with so much

The emperor was not accustomed to consult his generals, his thought was
spontaneous as his will was imperious. On the evening of the 22nd of May,
he listened patiently to the ideas, the objections, even the complaints of
the generals who surrounded him. Nearly all were discouraged, and
conceived the necessity of a complete and long retreat; they weighed,
however, all the inconveniences of this, and felt beforehand all the
humiliation; their perplexity was extreme. Napoleon at last spoke; his
plan was decided. By abandoning the island of Lobau, and repassing the
great arm of the Danube with the entire army, it would be necessary to
leave behind 10,000 wounded, the whole of the artillery, to be covered
with disgrace, and consequently to bring about at once a rising in
Germany, which was ready to fall eagerly upon an enemy she believed
vanquished. It was not the retreat on Vienna, which would be thus
prepared; it was the retreat upon Strasburg. What they must do was to
occupy the island of Lobau with 40,000 men, under the orders of Masséna;
to appoint Davout to protect Vienna and the right bank of the Danube
against the attacks of the Archduke Charles, and prevent him from
effecting his junction with the Archduke John; while all the personal
efforts of Napoleon would be directed to repairing the great bridge,
preparing provisions and transports, concentrating his troops until the
day when, rejoined by Prince Eugène, and sure of traversing the Danube
victoriously, he would again unite the entire army to crush his enemies by
a decisive blow, thus terminating the campaign gloriously on a field of
battle already chosen in the conqueror's mind.

As he spoke, developing his plan with that powerful and spontaneous
eloquence which he drew from the abundance and clearness of his thoughts,
his generals listened, and felt their trouble disappear, and the heroic
ardor of the combat take possession of their hearts. Masséna rose, carried
away by his admiration, forgetful of his habitual ill-humor and the
discontent he so constantly manifested. He took several steps towards the
emperor. "Sire, you are a great man," cried he, "and worthy to command men
like myself. Leave me here, and I promise you to fling into the Danube all
the Austrian forces who may try to dislodge me." Marshal Davout undertook,
in the same way, to defend Vienna. Tranquillity had reappeared on every
face. Within the limits of that plain covered with dead, by the side of
the wagons ceaselessly defiling with wounded and dying, a great work
remained to be done, a great enterprise to be achieved, whatever obstacles
might present themselves. Hope had reappeared, together with the end to be
pursued. Napoleon crossed the island and embarked with Berthier and Savary
in a small boat, which brought him back safely to the right bank of the
river. Masséna returned to Aspern, momentarily invested with the chief
command. The retreat commenced.

The cannonade was still heard in the plain, but faint, and separated by
long intervals; the artillerymen, worn out, stood to their guns with great
difficulty. The Austrians were overcome with fatigue; already several
corps had passed into the island under cover of the darkness, when the
Archduke Charles at length perceived that we were escaping from him. He at
once began to follow, but slowly, without spirit or eagerness. The troops
defiled in order over the little bridge which Marshal Masséna protected in
person. He remained almost alone upon the bank, his entire army having
effected its retreat; and after collecting the arms and horses abandoned
by the soldiers, he at last resolved to follow his men and destroy the
bridge behind him, intrepid to the last moment in his retrograde movement,
as the captain of a shipwrecked vessel is the last to quit the remains of
his ship. Day was now dawning; the balls from the enemy's batteries
recommenced to rain around him, when the marshal at length gained the
centre of the island, beyond their range.

More than 40,000 French or Austrians, dead or wounded, had fallen in the
struggle of these two terrible days. In spite of the emphatic bulletins of
the Emperor Napoleon, Europe looked upon the battle of Essling as a
striking check to our arms. The warlike excitement of Germany increased;
the Tyroleans were again rising, and General Deroy found himself forced to
evacuate Innspruck; a corps of German refuges, under the orders of the
Duke of Brunswick-Oels, took the road to Dresden, the court immediately
taking refuge in Leipzic; a second detachment threatened King Jerome in
Westphalia. He was afraid for his crown, and the emperor wrote to him on
the 9th June: "The English are not to be feared; all their forces are in
Spain and Portugal. They will do nothing--they can do nothing, in Germany;
besides, time enough when they do. As to Schill, he is of little moment,
and has already put himself out of the question by retreating towards
Stralsund. General Gratien and the Danes will probably give an account of
him. The Duke of Brunswick has not 8000 men; the former Elector of Cassel
has not 600. Before making a movement it is well to see clearly.
Experience will show you the difference there is between the reports
spread by the enemy and the reality. Never, during sixteen years that I
have commanded, have I countermanded a regiment, because I always wait for
an affair to be ripe, and have thorough knowledge before commencing
operations. There is no need for anxiety; you have nothing to fear, all
this is nothing but rumor."

At Paris, where the most confident had become anxious, Napoleon severely
reprimanded the timid. He wrote, on the 19th May, to General Clarke, the
minister of war: "Sir, you have alarmed Paris too much about the affairs
of Prussia, even if it were true that she had attacked us. Prussia is of
very small importance, and I shall never want for means to enforce her
submission--all the more so when these reports are contradicted. You have
not used sufficient prudence on this occasion; it produces a bad effect
for any power to imagine that I am without resource. The minister of
police has taken his text from this to make a lot of foolish talk, which
is very much out of place."

Austria had in fact sent to Prussia an ambassador with instructions to
engage King Frederick William to break his chains, and take at last his
part in the resistance; but that monarch had refused. "Not yet," said he;
"it is too soon I am not ready; when I come, I will not come alone. Only
strike one other blow." The efforts of Major Schill had not been
supported, and that courageous partisan had failed under the walls of
Stralsund. The secret diplomacy of Austria appeared to have met with more
favor at St. Petersburg; the declaration of war by Russia against Austria
remained absolutely without result; the Russian troops which were in
Poland seemed more disposed to suppress the insurrection of Galicia than
to second the efforts of Prince Poniatowski.

It was one of the great characteristics of the genius of the Emperor
Napoleon to place no importance upon reports or appearances, although he
was not ignorant of their action on the public. In his public
proclamations he made an effort to disguise the check he had received at
Essling; but in practice, in his military operations he comprehended all
the gravity of it, without allowing himself to be troubled an instant by
bad fortune; he even derived original and powerful combinations from the
embarrassments of his situation. Prince Eugène had already joined him near
Vienna (26th May, 1809), driving back the Archduke John upon Hungary, and
overthrowing the corps of the Jellachich Ban, which had in vain tried to
stop his progress at Mount Saint-Michel, near Leoben. The army of Italy
was not to rest long, the emperor having immediately sent his adopted son
to follow the traces of the archduke. "To do the utmost harm to the
archduke; to drive him back to the Danube; to intercept his communications
with Chastelar and Giulay, who apparently intend to join him; to reduce
the fortress of Graetz by isolating it, and to maintain your
communications on the left with the duke of Auerstaedt, to construct the
bridges on the Raab--these should be your aims," wrote the emperor to
Prince Eugène, on the 13th June, and on the 15th: "It is probable that
Raab has not sufficient fortifications for the enemy to dare to place a
considerable garrison there of his best troops. If he only puts in bad
ones the town will surrender on being invested, which will give us the
advantage of taking his men, and of having a good post. If the archduke
flies before you, you will pursue him, so that he may not be able to pass
the Danube at Komorn, where there is, I think, no bridge, but he may be
obliged to take refuge at Bude: do not go farther from me. The line behind
the Raab is, I think, suitable for you, because my bridges over the Danube
will be completed, and I can recall you in four days, taking at least two
from the enemy, which will permit you to be present at the battle, while
the enemy will be unable to be there. Your aim, then, is to hinder him
from passing to Komorn, and then to oblige him to throw himself upon Bude,
which will take him away from Vienna."

On the 14th June, even before Napoleon had written these last lines,
Prince Eugène, after an obstinate combat, had taken from the Archduke
John, and his brother the Archduke Palatine, the important line of the
Raab. Generals Broussier and Marmont had effected their junction in the
environs of Graetz, repulsing the attacks of the Giulay Ban; General
Macdonald, whom the Viceroy of Italy had left behind at Papa, for the
purpose of facilitating this concentration of forces, arrived on the field
of battle when the day was gained; the archdukes were driven behind the
Danube, and the troops furnished by the Hungarian nobility, were
dispersed. "I compliment you on the battle of Raab," wrote the emperor to
Prince Eugène; "it is the grand-daughter of Marengo and Friedland."
General Lauriston immediately laid siege to the place, which capitulated
on the 23rd June. Marshal Davout had bombarded Presburg without effect for
several days, in the hope of succeeding in destroying the bridge; the
garrison defended itself heroically. Every means had been adopted to
rapidly concentrate the whole of the French forces upon Vienna, and to
frustrate everywhere the progress of the enemy. Large reinforcements had
arrived from France. The emperor himself directed the preparations on the
Danube, displaying in this work all the resources of his most inventive
genius, and that faculty of usefully employing the talent of others which
constitutes one of the most necessary elements of government. At the
commencement of July all was at length ready--men, provisions, ammunition,
and bridges. "With God's help," wrote Napoleon to King Jerome, on the 4th
July, "in spite of his redoubts and his entrenched camps, I hope to crush
the army of the Archduke Charles."

During the forty days which had elapsed since the battle of Essling, the
Archduke Charles had limited his efforts to fortifying his positions on
the left bank of the Danube, without attempting any offensive operations
against Napoleon, and had in vain waited for the reinforcements that his
brothers, and the generals dispersed over the Austrian territory, were to
bring him. The skilful generals of Napoleon had everywhere intercepted
their communications. However, 130,000 or 140,000 of the enemy prepared to
dispute with us the passage of the Danube. One hundred and fifty thousand
French were assembled around Vienna; Massena had not quitted the island of
Lobau; Napoleon established himself there with his staff on the 1st July.

Skilful and learned in the theory of war, the Archduke Charles felt his
inferiority in face of the unexpected genius of the Emperor Napoleon. He
had carefully fortified Aspern, Essling, Ensdorf, but he had not foreseen
that the place of disembarkation, and the point of attack, would be
changed. The heights which ranged from Neusiedel to Wagram, well occupied
by excellent troops, were not furnished with redoubts; it was, however,
these same heights the conqueror was about to attack.

The bridges which united the right bank to the island of Lobau were at
present out of danger from all inundations and accidents. New and
ingenious inventions had utilized all the resources drawn from the
magazines of Vienna and the vast forests of Austria. A stockade protected
the roadway, and flying bridges of an extraordinary size and solidity
could be thrown in several hours over the small arm of the stream which
separated the island of Lobau from the left bank. Two days previously the
archduke had quitted the heights to approach the banks of the Danube,
waiting uselessly for the attack of the enemy; on the 3rd July he drew
back his forces towards the hills. The columns of the French continued to
defile over the great bridge, and massed themselves little by little on
the island. The cannon-balls of the enemy began to rain on the shores of
Lobau, but the space was too vast to permit the Austrian batteries to
sweep the interior. During the night of the 4th the first bridges were
thrown over the small arm of the Danube between the island and the
mainland; flat-bottomed boats brought over soldiers without interruption,
and these moored the boats and fixed the plankings. The enemy's fire had
become incessant and deadly. The engineers continued their work without
appearing to perceive the danger which threatened them, any more than the
thunder which rolled over their heads, the lightning which flashed through
the darkness, or the rain, which did not cease to fall in torrents. The
batteries of the island of Lobau were at length unmasked, everywhere
furnished with guns of the largest calibre, and the fire was directed
towards the little town of Enzensdorf; after that the Archduke Charles
could not deceive himself as to the menaced point. The troops of the
Austrian General Nordmann, which had occupied the plain, had fallen back
under the fire of the guns. The day rose brilliant and pure, the last
clouds massed by the storm were dispersed by the rays of the sun. The long
files of our troops advanced without precipitation and without disorder;
at the first break of day, the emperor himself had crossed the river.

The Archduke Charles contemplated this scene from the heights of Wagram.
His advanced posts had already been forced to give up to their enemies the
ground they had occupied the day before. The Austrian general had not yet
counted on the irresistible impetuosity of the torrent of men, horses, and
artillery, which the island of Lobau continued to vomit on the shores of
the Danube. "It is true that they have conquered the river." said the
Archduke Charles to his brother the Emperor Francis, standing by his side.
"I allow them to pass, that I may drive them presently into its waves."
"All right," said the emperor, dryly; "but do not let too many pass."
Seventy thousand French already deployed in the plain. As they defiled
past, the soldiers cried, "Long live the emperor !"

The town of Enzensdorf was merely a mass of ruins when Marshal Masséna
commanded the attack upon it, and the little corps of Austrians defending
it were soon put to the sword; while on the right, General Oudinot had
taken possession of the chateau of Sachsengang. The entire army advanced,
without obstacle, against the heights of Wagram; Essling and Aspern were
occupied by our troops. The dispositions of the troops of the Archduke
Charles were not made; he was obliged to order detached bodies to retreat,
abandoning positions which were badly defended; the great battle was
deferred till the morrow. A rash attack against the plateau of Wagram was
repulsed, and for a moment several corps were in disorder; the retreat
sounded, and the troops bivouacked at their posts. The last instructions
had been given. Marshal Davout alone still remained with the emperor. The
Archduke Charles did not sleep--the supreme effort of the Austrian
monarchy was to be tried at the break of day.

The extent of the field of battle, and the distance between the positions,
presented serious difficulties for both armies. The genius of organization
possessed by the Emperor Napoleon had in some measure obviated this by the
care he had taken of his centre; the Archduke Charles felt it from the
commencement of the combat. Obliged to send his orders great distances, he
saw them badly obeyed; the left wing of his army attacked us first,
whereas the right wing had been intended to take the offensive. Contrary
to his custom, the Emperor Napoleon had ordered his troops to wait for the

It was four o'clock in the morning when the fire commenced. Marshal
Bernadotte, who had remained in advance on the field of battle after his
attack of the previous night against the plateau of Wagram, found himself
menaced by the Austrians, and fell back on Marshal Masséna, still ill from
a fall from his horse, and commanding his corps from an open carriage. The
two marshals had brought back their troops against the little village of
Aderklaa; but the archduke occupied it; the French were repulsed, and
pushed by the enemy beyond Essling, which had again fallen into the hands
of the Austrians.

Meantime, Marshal Davout, on the extreme right, had vigorously resisted
the first attack of the columns of Rosenberg, and obliged the Austrians to
repass the rivulet of Russbach, and fall back upon Neusiedel. The marshal
threw all his forces immediately against them. It was to him that was
confided the honor of taking the plateau of Wagram.

The emperor had joined Marshal Masséna, talking a few minutes with him
under a storm of balls which fell round the carriage: Napoleon walked his
horse across the plain, impatiently waiting the great movement that he had
ordered on the centre. At the head advanced a division of the army of
Italy, commanded by Macdonald, little known to the young soldiers because
of his long disgrace; he marched proudly, attired in his old uniform of
the armies of the republic. Napoleon saw him unmoved under the fire,
attentive to the least incidents of the battle: "Ah, the fine fellow! the
fine fellow!" he repeated in a low voice.

The artillery of the guard arrived at a gallop, supporting by its hundred
guns the impetuous attack of the centre: the Austrians recoiled from this
enormous mass, the irresistible impulse of which nothing could stay.
Macdonald had already reached Sussenbrunn, where the archduke and his
generals had concentrated their last effort; and the French columns were
stopped by their desperate resistance. For a moment they seemed destined
to retreat in their turn; but Davout had succeeded in his attack against
the heights of Neusiedel. The plateau of Wagram was in our hands; General
Oudinot had effected his junction, after taking the position of
Baumersdorf; and the Prince of Hohenzollern retreated before them. In vain
the Archduke Charles had hoped to see his brother, the Archduke John,
arrive in time to restore their chance; the struggle lasted for more than
ten hours--all the positions had fallen into our power; the retreat of the
Austrian army commenced, regular and well ordered, without precipitation
or rout. Disorder, on the contrary, showed itself in the ranks of the
conquerors, when, at the last moments of the struggle, some soldiers of
the vanguard of the Archduke John appeared in the environs of
Leopoldsdorf. The young troops, already disbanded in the joy of the
victory--the servants of the army, the sutlers, the carriers of the
wounded, were seized with a panic terror, and fell back with loud cries on
the main body of the army, announcing that the enemy were returning to
crush us. It was too late; the Archduke John had slowly executed the
orders tardily received. His arrival could not change the issue of the
battle; he fell back upon Hungary. The Archduke Charles had taken the road
to Bohemia before the Emperor Napoleon was well informed of his march. The
pursuit was, therefore, divided between Bohemia and Moravia. The forces of
the enemy were dispersed during their retreat. The archduke had with him
about 60,000 men, when General Marmont, with a corps of only 10,000,
rejoined him at Znaïm, on the road to Prague.

It was there that Napoleon arrived on the 11th; Masséna was in advance,
and a battle took place on the banks of the Taya, and after a sharp combat
the bridge was forced. But already Prince John of Lichtenstein had come to
ask a suspension of hostilities, announcing openly the intention of the
Austrian government to begin negotiations for peace. The deliberations
were carried on at the head-quarters, while the army ranged itself in the
plain of Znaïm. The emperor recapitulated rapidly in his mind the dangers
and chances of a prolonged war. The opinion of several of his generals was
to follow up Austria, and crush the coalition finally. Napoleon felt the
enormous burden weighing on his shoulders: he saw a difficult and
lingering war in Spain, Prussia agitated, Russia cold and secretly ill-
disposed, the difficulties of Rome, England for the future taking her part
in the continental struggle: he cried, "Enough blood has been shed; let us
make peace!" It was necessary to repeat his words several times to the
hostile parties at Znaïm, to induce them to cease fighting. The officers
whose duty it was to carry the intelligence to the field of battle were
wounded before they were able to stop the combat.

The armistice was signed in the night of the 11th July, and Napoleon
immediately returned to Schoenbrunn. Negotiations had commenced, but their
success was by no means sure. The Austrian armies had been brilliantly
vanquished, but they were neither dispersed nor destroyed, and the efforts
their resistance had cost sufficiently proved the military qualities of
the chief and his soldiers. The Emperor Napoleon, encamped in the centre
of the Austrian monarchy--of which he occupied the capital; he could not,
and durst not in any way, relax his warlike watchfulness. New bodies of
men were summoned from France. The Tyrol not being comprised in the
armistice, the Bavarians and Prince Eugène were ordered to reduce its two
portions, German and Italian. The posts were everywhere fortified, and
works of defence pursued with vigor. The greater part of the army occupied
vast barracks in the suburbs of Vienna. Napoleon distributed rewards to
the officers and soldiers; he even showed his displeasure to Marshal
Bernadotte, who had presumed to address a personal order of the day to the
corps of the army under his direction at Wagram.

"His Majesty commands his army in person," he sent word to the Prince of
Pontecorvo by Major-General Berthier; "it belongs to him alone to
distribute the degree of glory with each merits." Napoleon added, in a
letter to the minister of war, "I am glad also that you are aware that the
Prince of Pontecorvo has not always conducted himself well in this
campaign. The truth is, that this column of bronze has been constantly in
disorder." By thus wounding his vanity, unexpected political difficulties
afterwards arose, by leaving in the heart of Bernadotte implacable
resentment against the emperor.

I wished to pursue without interruption the history of the campaign of
Germany during these three months, so fertile in obstinate combats, in
works as vast as they were novel, in pitched battles, more sanguinary and
important from the number of troops engaged than any which had preceded
them. Germany was not, however, the only theatre of the struggle; and the
attention of Europe, always attracted to the places where Napoleon
commanded in person and carried out his own plans, was occasionally
diverted towards the Spanish and Portuguese peninsula. There several of
the most skilful generals of the emperor fought against populations
eagerly struggling for their independence; there gradually rose to
greatness the name of Sir Arthur Wellesley, and that reputation for
stability and heroic perseverance which at a later date constituted his
power and splendor.

Fighting was carried on in Spain, not without glory or success; the
insurgents having more than once had the honor of annoying the all-
powerful conqueror in the midst of his triumphs. There was no fighting at
Rome, and oppression reigned there without material resistance; yet for
more than a year a struggle continued between the Emperor Napoleon and the
Pope, Pius VII., without all the advantages remaining on the side of
force, or the conqueror feeling certain that he held the prey he had
confided to the care of General Miollis. On the 6th July, 1809, the same
day as the battle of Wagram, the Pope was suddenly taken away from Rome,
and conducted as a prisoner out of that palace and that town which he had
never previously quitted, except to visit Paris for the purpose of
consecrating the very man who was to-day stripping him of his throne.
Since the month of February, 1808, the thoughts and hearts of many had
still found time to seek the aged pontiff at the Quirinal, and they now
followed him with sympathy into exile and captivity.

After the occupation of Rome by General Miollis, when the foreign
cardinals had received orders to return to their respective countries, and
the Pope had recalled his legate from Paris, the Emperor Napoleon, on
stepping into his carriage to visit Bayonne, had ordered Champagny to
transmit to Cardinal Caprara the following note:---

"The _sine quâ non_ of the emperor is, that all Italy, Rome, Naples, and
Milan make a league offensive and defensive, so as to remove disorder and
war from the peninsula. If the holy father consents to this proposition,
all is terminated; if he refuses, by that he declares war against the
emperor. The first result of war is conquest, and the first result of
conquest is change of government. This will not occasion any loss to the
spiritual rights of the Pope; he will be Bishop of Rome, as have been all
his predecessors in the eight first centuries, and under Charlemagne. It
will, however, be a subject of regret, which the emperor will be the first
to feel, to see foolish vanity, obstinacy and ignorance destroy the work
of genius, policy and enlightenment.

"The recall of your Eminence is notified contrary to custom, against the
formalities in usage, and on the eve of the Passion week--three
circumstances which sufficiently explain the charitable and entirely
evangelical spirit of the holy father. No matter, his Majesty recognizes
your Eminence no more as legate. From this moment the Gallican Church
resumes all the integrity of its doctrine. More learned, more truly
religious, than the Church of Rome, she has no want of the latter. I send
to your eminence the passports you have demanded. We are thus at war, and
his Majesty has given orders in consequence. His Holiness will be
satisfied--he will have the happiness of declaring war in the holy week.
The thunders of the Vatican will be all the more formidable. His Majesty
fears them less than those of the castle of St. Angelo. He who curses
kings, is cursed by God."

At the same time, and by order of Napoleon, a decree was prepared
enumerating all the grievances of which he accused the court of Rome, and
enacting that "the provinces of Urbino, Ancona, Macerata, and Camerino,
should be irrevocably and forever united to the kingdom of Italy, to form
three new departments." The Code Napoleon was to be proclaimed there.

The violent and arbitrary measures employed by the emperor towards the
Pope naturally bore their fruits. In removing from Pius VII. the cardinals
who were not natives of the Roman states, he had deprived the pontiff of
the most enlightened and moderate counsels which could reach his ears, and
had delivered him, in his weakness and just indignation, to all the
influences against which Cardinal Consalvi had constantly struggled. From
this time every despotic act of Napoleon, every rude word of the soldiers
charged to execute his orders, increased the irritation of the Pope, and
urged him to advance on a course of blind resistance. A prohibition to
swear allegiance to the new government was addressed to the bishops and
all the priests of the territories taken away from the pontifical states;
this prohibition was founded upon principles of dogma and religion.
Henceforth the personal will of the Pope, his dignity as a sovereign, and
his conscience as a priest, were all engaged in the struggle against the
Emperor Napoleon. "Those who have succeeded in alarming the conscience of
the holy father are still the strongest," Lefebvre, the chargé-d'affaires
of France, who had not yet quitted Rome, wrote to Champagny. "The tenor of
the reply to the ultimatum that I have been instructed to remit to him has
been changed twice this morning--so much did they still hesitate upon the
decision to take. The theologians themselves were divided even in the
Sacred College, and I doubt not that the refusal of his Holiness to agree
with the emperor will throw into consternation a number of his warmest

The rupture was from this time official, and the relations of the Pope
with the French authorities who occupied the pontifical city became every
day more bitter. Pius VII. had chosen for his secretary of state, Cardinal
Pacca, witty, amiable, devoted to the holy father, but strongly attached
to the most narrow ideas as to the government of the Roman Church in the
world; in other respects, prudent in his conduct towards General Miollis,
and often excited to action by the Pope, who complained of his timidity.
"They pretend in Rome that we are asleep," said Pius VII. to his minister;
"we must prove that we are awake, and address a vigorous note to the
French general." The protest was posted everywhere in Rome, on the morning
of the 24th August, 1808; eight days later, and under the pretext that the
secretary of state interfered with the recruiting for the civic guard,
Cardinal Pacca received the order to quit Rome in twenty-four hours. "Your
Eminence will find at the gate of St. John an escort of dragoons, whose
duty is to accompany you to Benevento, your native town." In the meantime
a French officer was appointed to watch over the cardinal. The latter was
still talking with his jailer, when Pius VII. suddenly entered the cabinet
of his minister.

"I was then witness of a phenomenon which I had often heard spoken of,"
relates Cardinal Pacca in his memoirs. "In an access of violent anger, the
hair of the holy father bristled up, and his sight was confused. Although
I was dressed as a cardinal, he did not know me. 'Who is there?' he
demanded, in a loud voice. 'I am the cardinal,' I replied, kissing his
hand. 'Where is the officer?' demanded the holy father; and I pointed him
out near me, in a respectful attitude. Then the Pope, turning towards him,
'Go and tell your general that I am weary of suffering so many insults and
outrages from a man who dares still to call himself a Catholic. I command
my minister not to obey the injunctions of an illegitimate authority. Let
your general know, that if force is employed to tear him from me it shall
only be after having broken all the doors; and I declare him beforehand
responsible for the consequences of such an enormous crime.' And making a
sign to the cardinal to follow him, 'Let us go,' said the Pope. The
officer had gone out to carry to the general the message of the holy
father. The secretary of state was installed in an apartment which opened
into the Pope's bedroom. The gates of the Quirinal remained closed to all
the French officers, and General Miollis did not claim his prisoner."

Months had meanwhile passed away. The emperor had quitted Spain to make
preparations for the campaign of Germany. Without ever ceasing to load the
Pope with unfriendly words and treatment, Napoleon had been engaged in
affairs more important than his troubles with the pontifical court. Public
order was maintained in Rome, thanks to the Italian prudence of the
secretary of state, and the strict discipline which General Miollis knew
how to maintain among his troops, and even among the auxiliaries he had
recruited from the revolutionary middle-class. The time arrived, however,
when this situation, more violent in fact than in form, was suddenly to
assume its real character. Napoleon was at Schoenbrunn, already victor in
the five days' battle which had rendered him master of Vienna, and more
certain than he was immediately after Essling of the promptitude and
extent of his success. It was then that he drew up, and sent by Champagny,
two decrees relating to the taking possession, pure and simple, of the
States of the Pope. He explained the reasons of this to his minister in a
long letter, which was to serve as a basis for Champagny's report, and
which, by its singular mixture of thoughts and principles, showed the
historical heredity connecting the power of Napoleon with that of
Charlemagne, united to the sovereign power which disposed in the name of
conquest of territories and states, were confused in the imagination of
the emperor, and made him look upon the independent attitude of the Pope
as an act of criminal opposition.

"When Charlemagne made the popes temporal sovereigns, he wished them to
remain vassals of the empire; now, far from thinking themselves vassals of
the empire, they are not even willing to form a part of it. The aim of
Charlemagne in his generosity towards the popes was the welfare of
Christianity; and now they claim to ally themselves with Protestants and
the enemies of Christianity. The least impropriety that results from these
arrangements is to see the head of the Catholic religion negotiating with
Protestants; whilst according to the laws of the Church he ought to shun
them, and excommunicate them. (There is a prayer to this effect recited at

"The interest of religion, and the interest of the peoples of France,
Germany and Italy, require that an end should be made of this ridiculous
temporal power--the feeble remnant of the exaggerated pretensions of the
Gregories, who claimed to reign over kings, to give away crowns, and to
have the direction of the affairs of earth as well as of heaven. In the
absence of councils, let the popes have the direction of the affairs of
the Church so far as they do not infringe on the liberties of the Gallican
Church--that is all right; but they ought not to mix themselves up with
armies or state policy. If they are the successors of Jesus Christ, they
ought not to exercise any other dominion than that which He Himself
exercised, and His 'kingdom is not of this world.'

"If your Majesty does not do that which you alone can do, you will leave
in Europe the seeds of dissension and discord. Posterity, whilst praising
you for having re-established religion and re-erected her altars, will
blame you for having left the empire (which is in fact the major portion
of Christendom) exposed to the influence of this fantastic medley,
inimical to religion and the tranquillity of the empire. This obstacle can
only be surmounted by separating the temporal from the spiritual
authority, and by declaring that the states of the Pope form a portion of
the French Empire."

It is too often an error of men, even of the first rank, to believe in the
universal power and duration of their wishes and decisions. The Emperor
Napoleon though he had solved forever this question of the temporal power
of the popes-a question which we have so many times heard discussed by the
most eloquent voices; we have seen armies upholding on fields of battle
contradictory principles on this subject, and diplomacy painfully
accomplishing imperfect settlements.

He displayed towards Pope Pius VII. the most arrogant contempt of the
rights and independence of others, and a passionate self-will as regards
all resistance. Under shelter of ancient authority, of which he
retrospectively took possession, he boldly invoked the highest reasons and
the most venerated names, in order to justify an arbitrary resolution, and
the grasping selfishness which swayed his mind. It was the practice of the
French Revolution to prop up its violent and despotic proceedings by the
loftiest principles; the Emperor Napoleon had not forgotten this

In all the manifestly criminal acts of his powerful career--in the fatal
resolves of his mistaken and culpable caprices, whether it was a question
of the assassination of the Due d'Enghien or the brutal removal of the
Pope from Rome--Napoleon always chose his part in the complete isolation
of his soul, and by the spontaneous act of a personal decision; he made
sure of the execution of his will with minute precautions: he did not the
less subsequently seek to throw back the responsibility of the acts
themselves upon the instruments too ready to obey him. When Europe
suddenly learnt that the Pope had been removed from the states henceforth
united to the French Empire, Napoleon wrote to Fouché, "I am vexed that
the Pope has been arrested; it is a great folly. It was necessary to
arrest Cardinal Pacca, and leave the Pope in tranquillity at Rome;" and to
Cambacérès, the 28th July: "It is without my orders, and against my will,
that the Pope has been made to leave Rome."

Measures had, however, been taken with that provident exactitude which
characterized the personal orders of the Emperor Napoleon. Immediately he
had resolved upon the confiscation of the Roman States he had divined the
consequence and importance of this act; the new government was organized,
Murat had been charged with the command of the troops, and to hold himself
ready for any event. "Since your Majesty has made me aware of your
intentions as to Rome, I shall not withdraw from Naples," wrote Murat to
the emperor. "Word has been sent me that the Pope wished to send forth an
excommunication, but that the majority of the Consistory were opposed to
it. All your orders will be fulfilled, and I hope without trouble."

This was hoping for much from the patience of the holy father, and
maintaining great illusions as to the decision long since taken by the
Court of Rome. The project of the spoliation of the pontifical states had
not been kept so secret that the Pope and his minister had not been
apprised of it; and several times Pius VII. had let it be understood that
he was prepared for resistance. "We see plainly that the French wish to
force us to speak Latin," he had said quite recently; "ah, well! we will
do it."

General Miollis, supported and directed by the King of Naples, did not
take much account of the Latin of the court of Rome when it was a question
of obeying the orders of the Emperor Napoleon. The military preparations
completed (the 10th June, 1809), the tricolor flag was mounted upon the
castle of St. Angelo in place of the pontifical arms, and the imperial
decrees were everywhere read before the population of Rome and the
assembled troops. The report of these things soon reached the Quirinal. "I
rushed suddenly into the apartment of the holy father," writes Cardinal
Pacca, "and on meeting we both pronounced the words of the Redeemer,
_Consummatum est!_ I was in a condition difficult to describe, but the
sight of the holy father, who maintained an unalterable tranquillity, much
edified me, and reanimated my courage. A few minutes afterwards my nephew
brought me a copy of the imperial decree. Observing the Pope attentively
at the first words, I saw emotion on his countenance, and the signs of
indignation only too natural. Little by little he recovered himself, and
he heard the reading with much tranquillity and resignation." Cardinal
Pacca was even obliged to urge the pope to promulgate the bull of
excommunication, which had been prepared already since 1806. Pius VII.
still hesitated. "Raise your eyes towards heaven, Thrice Holy Father,"
said the secretary of state, "and then give me your order, and be sure
that that which proceeds from your mouth will be the will of God." "Ah,
well! let the bull go forth," cried the Pope; "but let those who shall
execute your orders take great care, for if they are discovered they will
be shot, and for that I should be inconsolable."

The bull of excommunication against the Emperor Napoleon was everywhere
placarded in Rome, without the agents of Cardinal Pacca undergoing the
vengeance dreaded by the Pope. Anger and fear were wrestling in a higher
sphere. The instructions of the emperor had been precise: "I have confided
to you the care of maintaining tranquillity in my Roman states," he wrote
to General Miollis. "You are to have arrested, even in the house of the
Pope himself, those who plot against public tranquillity, and against the
safety of my soldiers. A priest abuses his character, and merits less
indulgence than another man, when he preaches war and disobedience to
temporal power, and when he sacrifices spiritual things for the interest
of this world, which the Scripture declares not to be his." And to the
King of Naples, in two different letters, of the 17th and 19th of June:
"If the Pope wishes to form a reunion of caballers like Cardinal Pacca, it
will be necessary to permit nothing of the kind, and to act at Rome as I
should act towards the cardinal archbishop of Paris.... I have given you
to understand that my intention was that the affairs of Rome should be
quickly settled, and that no species of opposition should take place. No
asylum ought to be respected, if my decrees are not submitted to; and
under no pretext whatever ought any resistance to be allowed. If the Pope,
in opposition to the spirit of his office and of the Gospel, preaches
revolt, and wishes to make use of the immunity of his house for the
printing of circulars, he ought to be arrested. The time for this sort of
thing is past. Philippe le Bel caused Boniface to be arrested; and Charles
V. kept Clement VII. in prison for a long time, for far less cause. The
priest who to the temporal powers preaches discord and war, instead of
peace, abuses his character."

The orders were precise, and admitted of no hesitation. The confiscation
of the papal states had been responded to by the papal bull; open war had
broken out between Pius VII., and the Emperor Napoleon. The latter was
desirous of insuring the execution of his will by sending to Rome General
Radet, less honorably scrupulous than General Miollis; an instrument
docile and daring, as regards the details of the general scheme. Radet has
himself given an account of the removal of the Pope in a report to the
minister of war, dated July 13th, 1809. In 1814, he had forgotten the
existence of this letter, and vainly sought to minimize the importance of
the part which he played on the 6th of July. History must preserve for
General Radet his place in her annals. The man to carry out the projects
of Napoleon had been well chosen.

Already for several months the Pope had been carefully guarding himself in
the Quirinal; the precautions had been redoubled since the decrees, and
the publication of the bull. Pius VII. and his counsellors foresaw the
removal. General Radet took all possible measures to turn aside suspicion.
"On the 5th, at the break of day," he himself wrote, "I made the necessary
arrangements, which I succeeded in screening from the eyes of the Romans
by double patrols and measures of police. I kept the troops in the
barracks all day, in order to lull the public and the inhabitants of the
Quirinal into a feeling of security. From that spot the Pope governed with
his finger more than we did with our bayonets. At nine o'clock, I caused
the military chiefs to come to me, one after another, and gave them my
orders. At ten o'clock, we were collected in the place of the Holy
Apostles, and at the barracks of La Pilota, which was the centre of my
operations. At eleven o'clock I myself placed my patrols, my guards, my
posts, and my detachments for carrying out the operations, whilst the
governor-general caused the bridges of the Tiber and the castle of St.
Angelo to be occupied by a Neapolitan battalion."

General Radet had received a written order from General Miollis, for the
arrest of Cardinal Pacca. The order to arrest the Pope was not written
down. Nobody had dared to put his signature to it; verbal instructions
only were given.

Three detachments of soldiers, furnished with scaling-ladders, ropes and
grappling-irons, surrounded the Quirinal. At half-past ten, the sentinel
who kept guard on the tower of the Quirinal disappeared. The signal was
immediately given. With varying success the small battalions introduced
themselves into the palace. The Swiss guard was disarmed; it had for a
long time previously received orders to make no resistance. The chief
anxiety of the Pope had always been that he might be up and about when
they should come to arrest him. He had gone to bed late, and was roused up
by the noise in the middle of his first sleep. Cardinal Pacca, however,
found him completely dressed, when the former rushed precipitately into
his chamber. The gate was already yielding to the efforts of the
assailants. Pius VII. seated himself under a canopy; making a sign to the
secretary of state, and to Cardinal Desping, to place themselves near him.
"Open the gate," said he.

General Radet had never seen the Pope; he recognized him by the attitude
of his guides; and immediately sending back the soldiers, he caused the
officers to enter with drawn swords; a few gendarmes, with muskets in
their hands, also glided into the chamber. The priest was waiting in
silence; the soldier was hesitating. At length the latter, hat in hand,
spoke: "I have a sorrowful mission to accomplish," said General Radet; "I
am compelled by my oaths to fulfil it." Pius VII. stood up. "Who are you,"
said he, "and what is it you require of me, that you come at such an hour
to trouble my repose and invade my dwelling-place?" "Most Holy Father,"
replied the General, "I come in the name of my government to reiterate to
your Holiness the proposal to officially renounce your temporal power. If
your holiness consents to it, I do not doubt but that affairs may be
arranged, and that the emperor will treat your holiness with the greatest
respect." The Pope was resting one hand upon the table placed before him.
"If you have believed yourself bound to execute such orders of the emperor
by reason of your oath of fidelity and obedience, think to what an extent
we feel compelled to sustain the rights of the holy see, to which we are
bound by so many oaths? We can neither yield nor abandon that which
belongs to it. The temporal power belongs to the Church, and we are only
the administrator. The emperor may tear us in pieces, but he will not
obtain from us what he demands. After all that we have done for him, ought
we to expect such treatment?"

"I know that the emperor is under many obligations to your holiness!"
replied Radet, more and more troubled. "Yes, more than you are aware of;
but, finally, what are your orders?"--"Most Holy Father, I regret the
commission with which I am charged, but I must inform you that I am
ordered to take you away with me." The pontiff bent slightly towards the
speaker, and said in tones of sweet compassion, "Ah! my son, your mission
is one that will not draw down upon you the divine blessing." Then,
turning again towards the cardinals, and appearing to speak to himself,
"This, then, is the recognition which is accorded to me of all that which
I have done for the emperor! This, then, is the reward for my great
condescension towards him and towards the Church of France! But perhaps in
this respect I have been culpable towards God. He wishes to punish me; I
submit with humility."

General Radet had sent for the final orders of General Miollis. The
brigadier of gendarmerie charged with this commission re-entered the
chamber of the Pope. "The order of his excellency," said he, "is, that it
is necessary for the holy father and Cardinal Pacca to set out at once
with General Radet: the other persons in his suite will follow after." The
Pope rose up; he walked with difficulty. Moved in spite of himself, Radet
offered his arm to support him, proposing to retire, in order to leave the
holy father free to give his orders and dispose of any valuable objects
that he might have a fancy for. "When one has no hold upon life, one has
no hold upon the things of this world," replied Pius VII., taking from a
table at the side of his bed his breviary and his crucifix. "I am ready,"
said he.

The carriage was already at the palace gate, the postillions ready to
start. The Pope stood still, giving his benediction to the city of Rome,
and to the French troops ranged in order of battle on the place. It was
four o'clock in the morning; the streets were deserted. The Pope got into
the carriage beside Cardinal Pacca; the doors were locked by a gendarme.
General Radet and a marshal of the household got on to the box-seat; the
horses set off at a quick trot along the road to Florence.

General Radet offered a purse of Gold to the Pope, which the latter
refused. "Have you any money?" asked the holy father of his companion. "I
have not been permitted to enter my apartment," said the cardinal; "and I
did not think of bringing my purse." The Pope had a papetto, value twenty
sous. "This is all that remains tome of my principality," said he,
smiling. "We are travelling in apostolic fashion," responded Pacca. "We
have done well in publishing the bull of the 10th of June," replied Pius
VII.; "now it would be too late."

For nineteen hours the coach rattled along; the stores were getting low.
Everywhere, and in spite of a few accidents, the passage of the Pope
forestalled the news of his capture. The suite of the holy father joined
him on the morrow; the Pope was suffering, he was in a fever. The populace
began to be stirred up with the rumors which were circulating: they
crowded round the carriages. "I disembarrassed myself of them," writes
Radet, "by calling out to them to place themselves on their knees on the
right and left of the road, in order that the holy father might give him
his benediction; then all of a sudden I ordered the postillions to dash
forward. By this means the people were still on their kness whilst we were
already far away, at a gallop. This plan succeeded everywhere."

Arrived on the 8th of July at the chartreuse of Florence, Pius VII.
expected to rest there a few days: but the Princess Baciocchi had not
received instructions from the emperor: she hurried the departure. "I see
well that they want to cause my death by their bad treatment," said the
exhausted old man; "and if there is but a little more of it I feel that
the end will not be far off." Cardinal Pacca was no longer with him. At
Genoa the Prince Borghese, who was commanding there, was seized with the
same panic as the Princess Baciocchi. After a few moments of repose at
Alexandria, Pius VII. was carried, by way of Mondovi and Rivoli, towards
Grenoble. In the last stages, in the little Italian villages, the bells
pealed forth, and the crowd who besought the benediction of the prisoner
everywhere retarded the advance. It was the same in all the districts of
Savoy and Dauphiny. When the Pope made his entry into Grenoble, on the
21st of July, the ardor of the population had not diminished, but the
bells rang no longer; the clergy had been forbidden to present themselves
before the pontiff. The prefect was absent, Fouché having been designedly
detained at Paris. The orders of the emperor had at length arrived from
Schoenbrunn. "I received at the same time the two letters of General
Miollis and that of the Grand Duchess," he wrote, on the 18th of July, to
Fouché. "I am vexed that the Pope has been arrested; it is a great folly.
It was needful to arrest Cardinal Pacca, and to leave the Pope quietly at
Rome. But there is no remedy for it now; what is done is done. I know not
what the Prince Borghese will have done, but my intention is that the Pope
should not enter France. If he is still in the Rivière of Genoa, the best
place at which he could be placed would be Savona. There is a house there
large enough, where he would be suitably lodged until we know what course
he decides upon. If his madness terminates, I have no objection to his
being taken back to Rome. If he has entered France, have him taken back
towards Savona and San Remo. Cause his correspondence to be examined. As
to Cardinal Pacca, have him shut up at Fenestrella; and let him understand
that if a single Frenchman is assassinated through his instigation, he
will be the first to pay for it with his head."

Fifteen days later (August 6th, 1809), in the midst of his prudent and
foreseeing preparations for the possible resumption of hostilities,
enlightened by reflection, or by the report of the popular emotion in the
provinces traversed by Pius VII., Napoleon modified his orders as to the
residence of the Pope. "Monsieur Fouché, I should have preferred that only
Cardinal Pacca had been arrested at Rome, and that the Pope had been left
there. I should have preferred, since the Pope has not been left at Genoa,
that he had been taken to Savona; but since he is at Grenoble, I should be
vexed that you should make him set out to be re-conducted to Savona; it
would be better to guard him at Grenoble, since he is there; the former
course would have the appearance of making sport of the old man. I have
not authorized Cardinal Fesch to send any one to his holiness; I have only
had the minister of religion informed that I should desire Cardinal Maury
and the other prelates to write to the Pope, to know what he wishes, and
to make him understand that if he renounces the Concordat I shall regard
it on my side as null and void. As to Cardinal Pacca, I suppose that you
have sent him to Fenestrella, and that you have forbidden his
communication with any one. I make a great difference between the Pope and
him, principally on account of his rank and his moral virtues. The Pope is
a good man, but ignorant and fanatical. Cardinal Pacca is a man of
education and a scoundrel, an enemy of France, and deserving of no regard.
Immediately I know where the Pope is located I shall see about taking
definitive measures; of course if you have already caused him to set out
for Savona, it is not necessary to bring him back."

The Pope was at Savona, where he was long to remain. Already the
difficulties of religious administration were commencing, and the
emperor's mind was engrossed with the institution of bishops to the vacant
sees. He had ordered all the prelates to chant a public _Te Deum_ with
reference to the victory of Wagram. The bishops of Dalmatia alone had
frankly and spiritedly replied to the statement of reasons which preceded
the circular. In France the silence was still profound. The emperor had
beforehand forbidden the journals to give any news from Rome. "It is a bad
plan to let articles be written," he wrote to Fouché; "there is to be no
speaking, either for or against, and it is not to be a matter for
discussion in the journals. Well-informed men know perfectly that I have
not attacked Rome. The mistaken bigots you cannot alter. Act on this
principle." The _Moniteur_ held its tongue. All the journals followed its
example. No one talked of the bull of excommunication. The circuits of the
missionary priests were forbidden, as well as the ecclesiastical
conferences of St. Sulpice. "The missionaries are for whoever pays them,"
declared the emperor, "for the English, if they are willing to employ
them. I do not wish to have any missions whatever; get me ready a draft of
a decree on that subject; I wish to complete it. I only know bishops,
priests, and curates. I am satisfied with keeping up religion in my own
country; I do not care about propagating it abroad." All the cardinals
still remaining at Rome were expelled. In the depths of his soul, and in
spite of the chimerical impulses of his irritated thoughts, Napoleon was
already feeling the embarrassments which he had himself sown along his
path. The Pope a prisoner at Savona, indomitable in his conscientious
resistance, might become more dangerous than the Pope at Rome, powerless
and unarmed. The struggle was not terminated; a breath of revolt had
passed over Europe. Henceforth Napoleon was at war with that Catholic
religion, the splendor of whose altars he had deemed it a point of honor
to restore; he struggled at the same time violently against that national
independence of the peoples which he had everywhere in his words invoked
in opposition to the arbitrary jealousy of the monarchs. The Spanish
sovereigns had succumbed to his yoke; the Spanish people, henceforth
sustained by the might of England, courageously defended its liberties. At
the moment when the supreme effort of the victory of Wagram was about to
snatch humiliating concessions from the Emperor Francis, the captive Pope
and the Spanish insurgents were presenting to Europe a salutary and
striking contrast, the teachings of which she was beginning to comprehend.

Not the least significant of the lessons on the frailty of the human
colossi raised by conquerors is the impossibility of tracing their history
on the same canvas. For a long time Napoleon alone had filled the scene,
and his brilliant track was easily kept in view. In proportion as he
accumulated on his shoulders a burden too heavy, and as he extended his
empire without consolidating it, the insufficiency of human will and human
power made itself more painfully felt. Napoleon was no longer everywhere
present, acting and controlling, in order to repair the faults he had
committed, or to dazzle the spectators with new successes. In vain the
prodigious activity of his spirit sought to make up for the radical defect
of his universal dominion. The Emperor Napoleon was conquered by the very
nature of things, before the fruits of his unmeasured ambition had had
time to ripen, and before all Europe, indignant and wearied out, was at
length roused up against him.

There was already, in 1809, a confused but profound instinctive feeling
throughout the world that the moment for resistance and for supreme
efforts had arrived. The Archduke Charles had proved it in Austria by the
fury of his courage; the English cabinet were bearing witness to it by the
great preparations they were displaying on their coast and in their
arsenals, as well as by the ready aid lent by them to the insurgents of
the Peninsula. The Emperor Napoleon on quitting Spain, in the month of
January, had left behind him the certain germs of growing disorder.
Obliged of necessity to commit the chief command to King Joseph, he had
been desirous of remedying the weakness and military incapacity of the
monarch whom he had himself put on the throne by conferring upon the
marshals charged with continuing the war an almost absolute authority over
their _corps d'armée_. Each of them was to correspond directly with the
minister of war, supremely directed by Napoleon himself. Deprived thus of
all serious control over the direction of the war, King Joseph saw himself
equally thwarted in civil and financial affairs. Spanish interests were
naturally found to conflict with French interests. King Joseph defended
the former; an army of imperial functionaries were charged with the
protection of the second. In this mission they proceeded at times even to
insult. King Joseph threatened to place in a carriage M. de Fréville,
administrator for the treasury of confiscated goods, and to send him
directly to France. The complaints of the unfortunate monarch to his
brother were frequent and well founded. "Your Majesty has not entire
confidence in me," he wrote on the 17th of February to Napoleon, "and
meanwhile, without that, the position is not tenable. I shall not again
repeat what I have already written ten times as to the situation of the
finances; I give all my faculties to business from eight o'clock in the
morning to eleven o'clock in the evening; I go out once a week; I have not
a sou to give to any one; I am in the fourth year of my reign, and I still
see my guard with the first frock-coat which I gave it, three years ago; I
am the goal of all complaints; I have all pretensions to overcome; my
power does not extend beyond Madrid, and at Madrid itself I am daily
thwarted. Your Majesty has ordered the sequestration of the goods of ten
families, it has been extended to more than double. All the habitable
houses are sealed up; 6000 domestics of the sequestrated families are in
the streets. All demand charity; the boldest of them take to robbery and
assassination. My officers--all those who sacrificed with me the kingdom
of Naples--are still lodged by billets. Without capital, without income,
without money, what can I do? All this picture, bad as it is, is not
exaggerated, and, bad as it is, it will not exhaust my courage; I shall
arrive at the end of all that. Heaven has given me everything needful to
overcome the hindrances from circumstances or from my enemies; but that
which Heaven has denied me is an organization capable of supporting the
insults and contradictions of those who ought to serve me, and, above all,
of contending with the dissatisfaction of a man whom I have loved too well
to be ever willing to dislike him. Thus, sire, if my whole life has not
given you the fullest confidence in me; if you judge it necessary to
surround me with petty souls, who cause me myself to redden with shame; if
I am to be insulted even in my capital; if I have not the right to appoint
the governors and commandants who are always under my eyes,--I have not
two choices to make. I am only King of Spain by the force of your arms. I
might become so by the love of the Spaniards; but for that it would be
necessary to govern in my own manner. I have often heard you say, 'Every
animal has its instinct, and each one ought to follow it.' I will be such
a king as the brother and friend of your Majesty ought to be, or I will
return to Mortefontaine, where I shall ask for nothing but the happiness
of living without humiliation, and of dying with a tranquil conscience."

Joseph Bonaparte had presumed too much on his forces and the remains of
his independence. Constantly hard and severe with regard to his brothers,
the emperor replied with scorn to King Joseph: "It is not ill-temper and
small passions that you need, but views cool and conformable to your
position. You talk to me of the constitution. Let me know if the
constitution forbids the King of Spain to be at the head of 300,000
Frenchmen? if the constitution prohibits the garrison from being French,
and the governor of Madrid a Frenchman? if the constitution says that in
Saragossa the houses are to be blown up one after another? You will not
succeed in Spain, except by vigor and energy. This parade of goodness and
clemency ends in nothing. You will be applauded so long as my armies are
victorious; you will be abandoned if they are vanquished. You ought to
have become acquainted with the Spanish nation in the time you have been
in Spain, and after the events that you have seen. Accustom yourself to
think your royal authority as a very small matter."

The emperor had correctly judged the precarious condition of the French
power in Spain; he had reckoned, and he still reckoned, on the success of
his arms. The military counsellor whom he had left near his brother
possessed neither his esteem nor his confidence. Marshal Jourdan was a
cold and prudent spirit, always imbued with the military habits of the
French Revolution, and had never courted the favor of Napoleon; King
Joseph was attached to him, and had brought him with him to Naples. The
lieutenants of the emperor showed him no deference; it was, however, by
his agency that the orders of the minister of war passed to the staff-
officers at Madrid. Already, and by the express instructions of the
emperor, Marshal Soult was on march for Portugal. His rapid triumphs did
not appear doubtful; and the operations of Marshal Victor in the south of
Spain were to be dependent on the succors that were to reach him when
Lisbon was conquered. The difficulties everywhere opposed to Marshal Soult
by the passionate insurrection of the Portuguese population, however,
retarded his march. He only arrived on the banks of the Minho on the 15th
of February; the peasants had taken away the boats. An attempted passage
near the mouth of the river having failed, the _corps d'armée_ was
compelled to reascend its course, after a series of partial combats
against the forces of the Marquis of Romana, who had given his support to
the Portuguese insurrection. When he had at length succeeded in crossing
the Minho at Orense, Soult seized successively the towns of Chaves and
Braga, which were scarcely defended. The chiefs of the insurgents had been
constrained by their soldiers to this useless show of resistance, General
Frère having been massacred by the militia whom he ordered to evacuate
Braga. At Oporto the disorder was extreme; the population fought under the
orders of the bishop. The attack had been cleverly arranged. At the moment
when the bewildered crowd was pressing tumultuously over the bridge of
boats across the Douro, the cables broke; men, women, and children were
engulfed in the waves. In spite of the efforts of the general, the city
was sacked. The long wars, the rude life of the camps, the daily habit of
subsisting by pillage, had little by little relaxed the bonds of
discipline. Marshal Soult established himself at Oporto, incapable of
advancing even to Lisbon with his forces reduced by garrisoning towns, in
presence of the English troops, who had not ceased to occupy the capital.
He could not, or he would not make known at Madrid the position in which
he found himself. Behind him the insurrection had closed every passage. He
found himself isolated in Portugal, and conceived the thought of
submitting the environs of Oporto to a regular and pacific government, re-
establishing order all round, and constantly attentive to gain the favor
of important persons. Perhaps the marshal raised his hopes even to the
foundation of an independent and personal power, more durable than
imperial conquests. It was with his consent that the draft of a popular
pronunciamento was circulated in the provinces of Minho and Oporto,
praying "his Excellency the Duke of Dalmatia to take the reins of
government, to represent the sovereign, and to invest himself with all the
attributes of supreme authority, until the emperor might designate a
prince of his house or of his choice to reign over Portugal."

The sentiments of the army were divided, and an opposition was preparing
to the schemes of the marshal, when the latter learned that an enemy more
redoubtable than the Portuguese insurrection was threatening him in this
province, where he had dreamed of founding a kingdom. Sir Arthur Wellesley
had arrived at Lisbon on the 22nd of April, with reinforcements which
swelled the English _corps d'armée_ to 25,000 men; fifteen or twenty
thousand Portuguese soldiers marched under his orders; a crowd of
insurgents impeded rather than aided his operations. He advanced
immediately against Marshal Soult, now for five weeks immovable at Oporto.
On the 2nd of May he was at Coimbra. Well informed of the plots which were
preparing at Oporto, to which a French officer named Argentan had been
engaged to lend a hand, he resolved upon attacking as speedily as possible
the positions of the marshal. When the latter was informed of the projects
of the English general, retreat was already cut off in the valley of the
Tamega by a strong assemblage of the insurgents, and in the valley of the
Douro by the English general Beresford. Only one route remained still open
to Marshal Soult--by Braga and the provinces of the north. Retreat was
resolved upon, the powder saturated, the field artillery horsed; the
departure was ordered for twelve at noon, and a part of the army was
already defiling on the road to Amarante.

In the night between the 11th and 12th two English battalions had crossed
the Douro at Avinto, three leagues above Oporto, collecting all the
vessels which were to be found on the river, and descending the course of
the stream under cover of the darkness. The army of Sir Arthur Wellesley
had meanwhile occupied the suburbs of the left bank, concealing his
movements behind the heights of La Sarca. Marshal Soult was ignorant of
that operation. At daybreak a small body of picked men, boldly crossing
the river within sight of our soldiers, took possession of an enclosure
called the Seminary. Entrenching themselves there, and constantly
receiving new reinforcements, the English made a desperate defence against
the attempts of General Delaborde. The main body of the enemy's army
beginning to fill all the streets of Oporto, the marshal at once sounded
retreat, and the wounded and sick were left to the care of the English.
When, on the evening of the 12th, the army reached the town of Baltar,
Soult learned that the roads by Braga had been intercepted, as well as by
the valley of the Douro. General Loison, unable to force the passage of
the Tamega, had evacuated Amarante. The roads from the north would bring
the army back to the suburbs of Oporto. The marshal, not wishing to risk a
fresh encounter with the enemy, at once made up his mind to sacrifice
without hesitation his baggage, ammunition, artillery, and even the
greater part of the treasure of the army, to enter the mountain passes,
and join at Guimaraens the divisions which had preceded him. When at last
the army reached Orense, after seven days' marching, varied by small
skirmishes, the soldiers were exhausted and depressed. Portugal was for
the second time lost to us. Marshal Soult immediately marched towards
Galicia, which had for two months been the theatre of Ney's operations,
and freed Lugo, while that marshal was making a brilliant expedition in
the Asturias along with General Kellermann. The two chiefs made an
arrangement as to the measures to be taken against the insurgents who had
assembled at St. Jago under the orders of the Marquis Romana; after which
Soult was to march upon Old Castile as far as Zamora, to be near the
English, who were said to be threatening the south of Portugal. Ney
proposed to attack Vigo, where General Noriena had fortified himself,
supported by the crews of several English vessels. From the very first,
since the junction of the two armies, both officers and soldiers had
exchanged keen and bitter recrimination. A better feeling, however, had
reappeared, and the mutual good-will of the chiefs for each other silenced
the ill-disposed. After their separation, Ney freed St. Jago; but after
advancing to the suburbs of Vigo, and seeing its strong position, he
waited for the result of Soult's movement against Romana.

Several days having elapsed, he learned that, after driving Romana back to
Orense without fighting, and staying several days at Montforte, the
marshal had taken the road to Zamora, without replying to the letters of
his companion-in-arms. From information received from Lugo, Ney was
persuaded that Soult's project had long been premeditated, and that he had
of deliberate purpose broken the bargain stipulated between them. His
anger burst forth with a violence proportioned to the frankness he had
shown when treating with Soult, and this anger was shared by the officers
and soldiers of his army. He at once determined to evacuate Galicia, which
was threatened both by the English and the Spanish insurgents. Leaving a
strong garrison at Ferrol, Ney slowly advanced towards Lugo, where he
collected the sick and wounded left by Soult, and then returned to
Astorga, in the beginning of July. He wrote to King Joseph: "If I had
wished to resolve to leave Galicia without artillery, I could have
remained there longer, at the risk of being hemmed in; but, avoiding such
a mode of departure, I have retreated, bringing with me my sick and
wounded, as well as those of Marshal Soult, left in my charge. I inform
your Majesty that I have decided not to serve again in company with
Marshal Soult."

King Joseph now had a most troublesome complication, and a position that
daily became more serious. At one time, in April, he was in hopes of
seeing his affairs right themselves again, in spite of the absence of all
news of Soult's operations in Portugal. Marshal Victor, urged by the King
of Spain and by his staff to obey the emperor's instructions and invade
Andalusia, had crossed the Tagus in three columns, and, reforming again on
the Guadiana, had, after passing that river, joined near Medellin Don
Gregorio de la Cuesta, who retreated for several days before him. A severe
battle having dispersed those large forces of the Spanish insurgents, on
the 28th March, the marshal took up his position on the banks of the
Guadiana, at the very time when General Sebastiani, at the head of two
divisions, was defeating the army of Estremadura at Ciudad Real, and
driving it back to the entrance of the Sierra Morena. There they awaited
the movement ordered in the instructions given to Soult, the pivot of the
whole campaign, projected by Napoleon before his departure for Paris. It
was in Germany, just after the battle of Essling, that the emperor learned
of the check caused to all his combinations by Soult's immobility at
Oporto. Obstinate in directing himself the operations of armies at a
distance, without the power of taking into account the state of public
opinion, and without any knowledge of all that had occurred between the
departure of the couriers and the arrival of peremptory orders no longer
suitable to the situation, the emperor conceived the idea of concentrating
three armies under one man. Making all personal considerations bend to the
order of seniority, he entrusted the command to Marshal Soult, thus
investing him with supreme authority over Marshals Mortier and Ney. The
order reached Madrid at the moment when the leaders of the armies were
most keenly antagonistic. "You will send a staff-officer to Spain,"
Napoleon had written to the minister of war, "with the orders that the
forces of the Duke of Elchingen, the Duke of Trevisa, and the Duke of
Dalmatia will form only one army, under the command of the Duke of
Dalmatia. These forces must only move together, to march against the
English, pursue them incessantly, defeat them, and throw them into the
sea. Putting all considerations aside, I give the command to the Duke of
Dalmatia, as being senior in rank. These forces ought to form from 50,000
to 60,000 men, and if the junction is promptly effected, the English will
be destroyed, and the affairs of Spain arranged finally. But they must
keep together, and not march in small parties. That principle applies to
every country, but especially to a country where there can be no
communication. I cannot appoint a place for the armies to meet, because I
do not know what events have taken place. Forward this order to the king,
to the Duke of Dalmatia, and to the two other marshals, by four different

Whilst thus writing, constantly and justly apprehensive of the danger
caused by the English army, Napoleon was still ignorant of the evacuation
of Portugal. "Let your instructions to them be, to attack the enemy
wherever they meet him," he said three days previously to General Clarke,
"to renew their communications with the Duke of Dalmatia, and support him
on the Minho. The English alone are to be feared; alone, if the army is
not directed differently, they will in a few months lead it to a

The order sent by the emperor necessarily assisted in bringing about the
catastrophe of which he was afraid. Marshal Soult, being deceived as to
the plan of the English, and meditating an attack upon Portugal by Ciudad
Rodrigo, wished to concentrate large forces for this purpose. He sent for
Marshal Mortier, who was posted at Villacastín, where he covered Madrid,
and demanded reinforcements from Aragon and Catalonia. The latter troops
were refused him, and Generals Suchet and St. Cyr had great difficulty in
keeping those two provinces in respect. Marshal Jourdan had foreseen the
attack of the English on the Tagus, and was anxious about the position of
Marshal Victor, isolated in Andalusia. Like the other leaders, the marshal
acted independently, without attending to the orders from Madrid: he found
himself compelled to fall back upon Talavera.

He was not to hold that post long. In spite of the extreme difficulty
experienced by Sir Arthur Wellesley in maintaining a good understanding
with his Spanish allies, he had marched to attack Marshal Victor, to whom
King Joseph was sending reinforcements as quickly as he could. About
22,000 English soldiers were now on the field, reduced to such scarcity of
provisions and money as to cause pillage and disorder, in spite of their
commander's anger. Don Cuesta, with about 40,000 men under his orders, had
been appointed, much against his will, to occupy the mountain passes. A
Spanish army of 30,000 men, collected by General Venegas, was expected to
join the two principal armies. On leaving Madrid, with the forces at his
disposal, King Joseph had impressed upon Soult the necessity of attacking
the enemy's rear, so that the Anglo-Spanish army might be crushed between
superior forces. The marshal announced his departure.

Victor had had time to fall back upon Vargas, behind the Guadarama. Sir
Arthur Wellesley crossed the Alberche, a tributary of the Tagus, and as
soon as he found himself in presence of the enemy, wished to offer battle,
urging Cuesta to join him in attacking Victor before the arrival of the
enemy's reinforcements. The Spanish general declared that his honor was at
stake in holding his positions, and absolutely refused to fight. The
English alone, had not men enough at their disposal to contend with the
French troops. Scarcely had the latter commenced their retreat when the
Spanish, suddenly seized with the ardor of battle, rushed in pursuit,
complaining that the "rascals withdrew so fast," wrote Cuesta to
Wellesley, "that one cannot follow them in their flight." "If you run like
that, you will get beaten," replied the English general, scornfully,
annoyed at seeing himself perpetually thwarted in his able plans.

In fact when the Spaniards, a few days afterwards, at last engaged with
the French, Marshal Victor's advance-guard were sufficient to drive Cuesta
back as far as the English battalions, which had been prudently told off
to support him. The fighting was gallant on the part of our troops, and
helped to excite their ardor. King Joseph was urged to join battle: he
feared an attack on Madrid, which he had been compelled to leave
undefended, and reckoned upon the rapid movements of Soult, who had
received orders to advance with all haste from Salamanca to Placentia. He
had no experience of war, and neglected to take into account the chances
of delay and the loss of troops during the march. Marshal Victor was
daring, full of contempt for the Spanish troops, and ignorant of the
qualities of the English army, which had not for a long time been seen on
the continent. The French army advanced upon Talavera, which was strongly
held by Sir Arthur. Hampered by the obstinacy and want of discipline of
his Spanish allies, the English general had relinquished all attempts at
daring, entrenching himself on the defensive. Marshal Soult had not
arrived, being unable, he wrote, to effect his operation on the enemy's
rear before the beginning of August. On the 27th of July, however, on
occupying the ground before the English positions at Talavera, Victor gave
orders to attack a height which was badly defended, and was driven back
with heavy loss. Marshal Jourdan insisted on a delay of a few days, to
allow Soult time to arrive; but the anxiety of King Joseph, and Victor's
impatience, gained the day, and on the 28th, at daybreak, they attacked
the mamelon, already threatened on the 27th.

Our troops gained the top under the English fire, but Sir Arthur had
doubled the ranks of those in defence, and a terrible charge under General
Hill compelled the French again to abandon the position.

The check was serious, and the soldiers began to be discouraged. By common
consent, and without orders given by the leaders, the fight ceased. The
English and French crowded on the two banks of a small brook which
separated the two armies, and all quenched their thirst, without suspicion
of treason or perfidy, and without a single shot being fired on either
side. The French generals again discussed the question of resuming
hostilities. "If this mamelon is not taken," exclaimed Victor,
impetuously, "we should not take any part in a campaign." King Joseph,
deficient in authority both of position and character, gave way. Sir
Arthur Wellesley, seated on the grass at the top of a hill, surveyed the
enemy's lines, and the defences, which he had just strengthened by a
division, and a battery of artillery obtained with great difficulty from
Cuesta. Till then the English had borne the brunt of the fighting; on
General Donkin coming to tell Sir Arthur that the Spanish were betraying
him, the general-in-chief quietly said, "Go back to your division." The
attack was again begun, and this time directed against the whole line of
the English positions, while Village's brigade turned the mamelon to
assail them in flank.

At this moment a charge of the enemy's cavalry poured upon our columns. A
German regiment followed Seymour's dragoons, but were stopped by a
watercourse, and pulled up: the English horsemen alone, boldly crossing
the obstacle, made a furious attack on the French ranks, which opened to
let them pass. In their daring impetuosity the dragoons went as far as our
rear-guard, where they were stopped by new forces, and finally brought
back with great loss to the foot of the mamelon. They stopped the flank
movement however; and the centre of the English army, shaken for a moment,
formed again round Colonel Donellan after a brilliant charge, and our
soldiers were again driven back towards their position. The losses were
great on both sides. The English did not attempt to pursue their
advantages, and when the fight had ceased were satisfied with encamping on
the heights of Talavera. Next day the French army withdrew beyond the
Alberche without being disturbed by the enemy, and waited finally for
Marshal Soult's arrival.

He appeared on the 2nd of August at Placentia, too late for his glory as
well as for the success of the French arms, though in time to modify
Wellesley's plans. The latter had commenced to advance towards him,
thinking he should meet forces inferior to his own; but Mortier had
already followed Soult, Ney's troops were advancing by Salamanca, and King
Joseph was preparing to put under him all his regiments, except those
accompanying General Sebastiani in his march towards Madrid. Sir Arthur
Wellesley understood the dangers of his position: his troops were tired,
and badly fed; and not wishing to risk again the lot of arms, he hurriedly
re-crossed the Tagus, taking care to blow the bridges up, and fell back
upon Truxillo, by the rugged mountain passes. The want of a proper
understanding, and the mutual distrust which during the whole campaign had
reigned between the English and Spanish, had borne their fruits.
Wellesley's soldiers, deprived of the resources to which they had been
accustomed, and which they had a right to expect from their allies, died
in great numbers in their encampments on the bank of the Guadiana: their
wounded had been abandoned at Talavera, when Cuesta evacuated that
position. Sir Arthur gave vent to his bitter complaints in writing to
Frère, the English _chargé d'affaires_ at the insurgents' head-quarters:
"I wish the members of the Junta, before blaming me for not doing more,
and charging me beforehand with the probable results of the faults and
imprudence of others, would be good enough to come here, or send somebody
to supply the wants of our army dying of hunger, and actually after
fighting two days, and defeating in the service of Spain an enemy of twice
their number, without bread to eat. It is a positive fact that for the
last seven days the English army has not received a third of its
provisions, that at this moment there are 4000 wounded soldiers dying for
want of the care and necessaries which any other country in the world
would have supplied, even to its enemies, and that I can derive assistance
of no kind from the country. I cannot even get leave to bury the dead
bodies in the neighborhood. We are told that the Spanish troops sometimes
behave well: I confess that I have never seen them behave otherwise than

The emperor's anger was extreme on learning the check our troops had
received at Talavera. He wrote to Marshal Jourdan, indignantly
recapitulating all the blunders made during the campaign, without at all
considering the difficulties everywhere caused by orders sent from a
distance, in ignorance of the actual facts of the situation. "When at last
they decided to give battle," Napoleon summed up, "it was done without
energy, since my arms were disgraced. Battle should not be given, unless
seventy chances in one's favor can be counted upon beforehand: even then,
one should not offer battle unless there are no more chances to be hoped
for, since the lot of battle is from its nature always doubtful: but once
the resolution is taken, one must conquer or perish, and the French eagles
must not withdraw till all have equally put forth every effort. There must
have been a combination of all these faults before an army like my army of
Spain could have been beaten by 30,000 English: but so long as they will
attack good troops, like the English ones, in good positions, without
reconnoitring these positions, without being certain of carrying them,
they will lead my men to death, and for nothing at all."

The Spanish armies were, after the battle scattered everywhere, according
to their custom, to appear again in a short time like swarms of wasps to
harass our soldiers. Sir Arthur Wellesley entrenched himself at Badajoz,
ready to fall back upon Portugal. No definitive result had crowned the
bloody campaign just completed, but it had an influence upon the
negotiations then being carried on in Spain. An attempt, long prepared by
the English, and to which they attached a great importance, now occupied
the Emperor Napoleon's mind still more than the affairs of Spain.

For several weeks it was believed that the great maritime expedition
organized on the coasts of England was for the purpose of carrying
overwhelming reinforcements to Spain. A first attempt, of less importance,
was directed against our fleets collected at the island of Aix, near
Rochefort. Admiral Willaumez, in charge of an expedition to the Antilles,
had to rally the squadrons of Lorient and Rochefort, and being unavoidably
delayed at the latter place, it was there that Admiral Gambier came to
attack our vessels. Vice-Admiral Allemand carefully fortified the isle of
Aix against an attack, the nature of which he had foreseen, though not the
extent. During the night of the 11th and 12th April, conducted by several
divisions, composed of frigates and brigs, thirty large fire-ships were
suddenly launched against our vessels, exploding in all directions,
breaking the wooden bars by the weight of their burning masses, adhering
to the sides of the ships and compelling even those which they did not set
on fire to go aside to avoid dangers which were more to be dreaded. Thanks
to the skill and bravery of our sailors, none of the vessels perished by
fire; but four of them ran aground at the mouth of the Charente, and were
attacked by the English. The _Calcutta_ surrendered after several hours'
fighting--her commander, Captain Lafon, having to pay with his life for
the weak resistance he is said to have made. The English blew up the
_Aquilon_ and _Varsovie_, and Captain Roncière himself set fire to the
_Tonnerre_, after landing all his crew. Napoleon's continued efforts to
form a rival navy in France constituted a standing menace to England.
After the cruel expedition of the isle of Aix, the principal effort was to
be directed against Antwerp, always an object of English jealousy and
dissatisfaction, as a commercial port, or as a place of war. The works
which the emperor had been carrying on there increased their anxiety, and
on the 29th July forty vessels of the line and thirty frigates appeared in
sight of the island of Walcheren. From 700 to 800 transport-ships brought
an army to be landed, under the orders of Lord Chatham, Pitt's elder
brother, and containing about 40,000 men, with much artillery. The emperor
was at once informed, and M. Decrès, minister of the marine, proposed to
station at Flushing the fleet of Admiral Missiessy. The latter refused,
saying that he would not let himself be taken, and did not wish to see his
crews decimated by the Walcheren fever. That was the auxiliary upon which
Napoleon reckoned against the English expedition; and rightly, too.

Walcheren was slightly and badly fortified; the emperor considering
Flushing to be quite impregnable. "You say that the bombardment of
Flushing makes you apprehensive of its surrender," he wrote on the 22nd
August. "You are wrong to have any such fear. Flushing is impregnable so
long as there is bread in it, and they have enough for six months.
Flushing is impregnable, because there is a moat full of water, which must
be crossed; and finally, because by cutting the dykes they can inundate
the whole island. Write and tell everywhere that Flushing cannot be taken,
unless by the cowardice of the commandants; and also that I am certain of
it, and that the English will go off without having it. The bombs are
nothing--absolutely nothing; they will destroy a few houses, but that has
no effect upon the surrender of a place."

General Monnet, who commanded at Flushing, was an old officer of the
revolution wars, brave and daring and he did his best in opposing the
landing of the English, with a part of his forces, and in gallantly
defending the place; but the inundation did not succeed, on account of the
elevation of the ground and the wind being contrary. Therefore when
Napoleon wrote to Fouché, Flushing had already capitulated, under the
efforts of the most formidable siege artillery. The Dutch commandant
surrendered the forts Denhaak and Terwecre at the same time as Middelburg.
The feeling of the Dutch nation, formerly favorable to republican France,
had been modified since the imperial decrees ruined all the transit trade,
the source of Holland's wealth. King Louis alone hastened to the
assistance of the French army, advancing with his little army between
Santvliet and Antwerp. Four Dutch regiments were fighting in Germany, and
a small corps had been sent into Spain. Thus, while extending his
enterprises in remote parts, the unbounded ambition of Napoleon left
unprotected the very centre of his empire.

General Rousseau, however, succeeded in protecting the island of Cadsand,
and Admiral Strachan and Lord Chatham recalled to the eastern Scheldt the
forces which had been intended for the attack on that island. The English
forces began to land upon the islands of North and South Beveland, in
order to attack Fort Batz at the junction of the two Scheldts, and thus
outflank the French fleet lying in the western Scheldt. Fortunately,
Admiral Missiessy had the advantage over the English commanders in speed,
and sailing up into the higher Scheldt, formed by the two branches of the
river, he arranged his vessels under forts Lillo and Liefkenshoek which by
their cross-fires protected the river from bank to bank. Antwerp was thus
safe from attack by sea; at Paris there was great anxiety as to attacks by

A few provisional demi-brigades, the gendarmes, and picked national
guards, about 30,000 men altogether--such were the forces at the disposal
of the war minister. He durst not--nobody durst, change the destination of
the troops already marching to Germany. The minister of marine and Fouché
at once proposed a general levy of the national guard, under the orders of
Bernadotte--one being daring and dissatisfied, the other fostering
discontent of every kind openly or secretly, and still remembering the
revolutionary procedure. The Council, presided over by the Arch-chancellor
Cambacérès, refused to authorize the calling out of the national guards
without the emperor's express order; but Fouché, without waiting for
orders, wrote on his own authority to all the prefects, and stirred up
everywhere a patriotic zeal. At first Napoleon approved of the ardor of
his minister of police, and severely rated the arch-chancellor and
minister of war for their prudence. "I cannot conceive what you are about
in Paris," he wrote to General Clarke on the 10th August; "you must be
waiting for the English to come and take you in your beds. When 25,000
English are attacking our dockyards and threatening our provinces, is the
ministry doing nothing? What trouble is there in raising 60,000 of the
national guard? What trouble is there in sending the Prince of Pontecorvo
to take the command there, where there is nobody? What trouble is there in
putting my strongholds, Antwerp, Ostend, and Lille, in a state of siege?
It is inconceivable. There is none but Fouché who appears to me to have
done what he could, and to have felt the inconvenience of remaining in a
dangerous and dishonorable position:--dangerous, because the English,
seeing that France is not in movement, and that no impulse is given to
public opinion, will have nothing to fear, and will not hurry to leave our
territory; dishonorable, because it shows fear of opinion, and allows
25,000 English to burn our dockyards without defending them. The slur thus
cast upon France is a perpetual disgrace. Circumstances vary from moment
to moment. It is impossible for me to give orders to arrive within a
fortnight. The ministers have the same power as I, since they can hold a
council and pass decisions. Make use of the Prince of Pontecorvo--make use
of General Moncey. I send you besides Marshal Bessières, to remain in
Paris in reserve. I have ordered a levy of 30,000 men of the national
guard. If the English make progress, make a second levy of 30,000 in the
same or other departments. It is evident that the enemy, feeling the
difficulty of taking Flushing, intend marching straight to Antwerp, to
make a sudden attempt upon the squadron."

Flushing had succumbed, but the operations of the English were delayed by
their indecisive generalship. Hope's division easily took possession of
Fort Batz, but the main body of the army remained behind. The
fortifications of Antwerp were daily increased and strengthened. The
engineers, under Decaux, who checked the warlike ardor of King Louis,
rendered the forts impregnable to sudden assault, inundated the country
all round, and erected the old dams on the Scheldt; and troops also began

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