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to his unfortunate foster son, is also a most touching feature in the picture. We have already given our opinion of Conachar's character. The hero appears to us to be totally eclipsed by the other persons of the drama. His strength and courage have too much of the animal in them, and his sentimentalism, which is not unfrequently puling and mawkish, does not answer very well to the description he gives of himself. There is nothing remarkable about Catharine, but a degree of virtue which every heroine has of course and her heresy, which makes her too much of an esprit fort for our vulgar tastes, and which was so unsettled, as in some unaccountable manner, to have entirely evaporated at Falkland Castle, or on her journey thither. But Sir Walter is not quite so much distinguished by the verisimilitude of his dénoumens as by the masterly manner in which his plots are, in other respects, contrived to awaken and sustain the interest of the reader.
ART. VIII.-The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the
French; with a preliminary view of the French Revolution. By the Author of Waverly. London. 1827. Philadelphia. Reprinted by Carey, Lea & Carey. 1827.
In a preceding article, we spoke of the perspicuous and animated style in which this work is written, and the passages which we extracted, afforded some exemplification of its pecu
iar properties. A few more quotations, worthy of the Author of Waverly or Ivanhoe, we shall insert, as specimens of the work, and of the powers of Sir Walter Scott as a writer, when interested in his subject, and permitting himself to indulge in general views or in picturesque descriptions. Speaking of the meeting of the States General in 1789, he remarks :
“ The Estates General of France met at Versailles on the 5th May, 1789, and that was indisputably the first day of the Revolution. The Abbé Sieyes, in a pamphlet which we have mentioned, had already asked, “what was the third estate? It was the whole nation. What had it been hitherto in a political light? Nothing. What was it about to become presently? Something.' Had the last answer been everything, it would have been nearer the truth, for it soon appeared that this third estate, which, in the year 1614, the Nobles had refused to acknow
ledge even as a younger brother* of their order, was now like the rod of the prophet, to swallow up all those who affected to share its power.Even amid the pageantry with which the ceremonial of the first sitting abounded, it was clearly visible that the wishes, hopes, and interest of the public, were exclusively fixed upon the representatives of the Com
The rich garments and floating plumes of the nobility, and the reverend robes of the clergy, had nothing to fix the public eye; their sounding and emphatic titles had nothing to win the ear; the recollection of the high feats of the one, and long sanctified characters of the other order, had nothing to influence the mind
of the spectators. All eyes were turned on the members of the Third Estate, in a plebeian and humble costume, corresponding to their lowly birth and occupation, as the only portion of the assembly from whom they looked for the lights and the counsels which the time demanded." Vol. i.-(Carey's edition, which we shall continue to quote) p. 57.
After narrating the massacres in the prisons of Paris in 1792, he eloquently exclaims
Where, in that hour, were the men who formed their judgment upon the models presented by Plutarch, their feelings on the wild eloquence of Rousseau ? Where the Girondists, celebrated by one of their adınirers, as distinguished by good morals, by severe probity, by a profound respect for the dignity of man, by a deep sense of his rights and his duties, by a sound, constant, and immutable love of order, of justice, and of rty. Were the eyes of such men blind, that they could not see the blood—which flooded, for four days, the streets of the Metropolis ?Were their ears deadened, that they could not hear the shouts of the murderers, and the screams of the victims ? Or, were their voices mute, that they called not upon God and man-upon the very stones of Paris, to assist them in interrupting such a crime?” Vol. i. p. 162.
After the treaty of Leoben, in the spring of 1797, and before its final ratification at Campo Formio, several months intervened. Napoleon had concluded the former treaty without consulting the Directory, who were dissatisfied with some of its articles; Austria, on her part, was willing to renew negotiations in order to modify some of the stipulations. Their differences were all finally adjusted at the expense of Venice. The diplomatic discussions took place at Montebello, the temporary residence of Bonaparte. Sir Walter gives an interesting picture of the ascendancy which even then the conqueror of Italy had acquired:
“ This Villa, celebrated from the important negotiations of which it was the scene, is situated a few leagues from Milan, on a gently sloping
* The Baron de Senneci, when
the estates of the kingdom were compared to three brethren, of which the Tiers Etat was youngest, declared that the Commons of France had no title to arrogate such a relationship with the Nobles, to whom they were so far inferior in blood, and in estimation.
hill, which commands an extensive prospect over the fertile plains of Lombardy. The ladies of the highest rank, as well as those celebrated for beauty and accomplishments, -all, in short, who could add charms to society, -were daily paying their homage to Josephine, who received them with a felicity of address which seemed as if she had been born for exercising the high courtesies that devolved upon the wife of so distinguished a person as Napoleon.
Negotiations proceeded amid gaiety and pleasure. The various ministers and envoys of Austria, of the Pope, of the Kings of Naples and Sardinia, of the Duke of Parma, of the Swiss Cantons, of several of the Princes of Germany,—the throng of Generals, of persons in authority, of deputies of towns,—with the daily arrival and despatch of numerous couriers, the bustle of important business, mingled with fetes and entertainments, with balls and with hunting parties,-gave the picture of a splendid court, and the assemblage was called accordingly, by the Italians, the Court of Montebello. It was such in point of importance; for the deliberations agitated there were to regulate the political relations of Germany, and decide the fate of the King of Sardinia, of Switzerland, of Venice, of Genoa; all destined to hear from the voice of Napoleon, the terms on which their national existence was to be prolonged or terminated.
“ Montebello was not less the abode of pleasure. The sovereigns of this diplomatic and military court made excursions to the Lago-Maggiore, to Lago di Como, to the Borromean islands, and occupied, at pleasure, the villas which surround those delicious regions. Every town, every village, desired to distinguish itself by some peculiar mark of homage and respect to him, whom they then named the Liberator of Italy. These expressions are, in a great measure, those of Napoleon himself, who seems to have looked back on this period of bis life with warmer recollections of pleasurable enjoyment than he had experienced on any other occasion.
" It was probably the happiest time of his life. Honour beyond that of a crowned head, was his own, and had the full relish of novelty to a mind, which, two or three years before, was pining in obscurity. Power was his, and he had not experienced its cares and risks; high hopes were formed of him by all around, and he had not yet disappointed them. He was in the flower of youth, and married to the woman of his heart. Above all, he had the glow of Hope, which was marshalling him even to more exalted dominion: and he had not yet become aware that possession brings satiety, and that all earthly desires and wishes terminate, when fully attained, in vanity and vexation of spirit.” Vol. i.
Describing the sanguinary battles which took place in France during the two months preceding his first abdication ; our author adds:
“ It is difficult for the inhabitants of a peaceful territory to picture to themselves the miseries sustained by the country which formed the theatre of this sanguinary contest. While Bonaparte, like a tiger, hemVOL. II.-NO. 3.
med in by bounds and hunters, now menaced one of his foes, now sprung furiously upon another, and while, although his rapid movements disconcerted and dismayed them, he still remained unable to destroy the individuals whom he had assailed, lest, while aiming to do so, he should afford a fatal advantage to those who were disengaged, the scene of this desultory warfare was laid waste in the most merciless
The soldiers on both parts, driven to desperation by rapid marches through roads blocked with snow, or trodden into swamps, became reckless and pitiless; and, straggling from their columns in all directions, committed every species of excess upon the inhabitants.These evils are mentioned in the bulletins of Napoleon, as well as in the general orders of Schwartzenberg,
“ The peasants, with their wives and children, fled to caves, quarries, and woods, where the latter were starved to death by the inclemency of the season, and want of sustenance; and the former, collecting into small bodies, increased the terrors of war by pillaging the convoys of both armies, attacking small parties of all nations, and cutting off the sick, the wounded, and the stragglers. The repeated advance and retreat of the different contending powers, exasperated these evils. Every fresh band of plunderers which arrived; was savagely eager after spoil, in proportion as the gleanings became scarce. In the words of Scripture, what the locust left was devoured by the palmer-worm-what escaped the
Baskirs, and Kirgas, and Croats, of the Wolga, and Caspian and Turkish frontier, was seized by the half-clad and half-starved conscripts of Napoleon, whom want, hardship, and an embittered spirit, rendered as careless of the ties of country and language, as the others were indifferent to the general claims of humanity. The towns and villages, which were the scenes of actual conflict, were frequently burnt to the ground; and this not only in the course of the actions of importance which we have detailed, but in consequence of innumerable skirmishes fought in different points, which had no influence, indeed, upon the issue of the campaign, but increased incalculably the distress of the invaded country, by extending the terrors of battle, with fire, famine, and slaughter for its accompaniments, into the most remote and sequestered districts. The woods afforded no concealment, the churches no sanctuary; even the grave itself gave no cover to the relics of mortality. The villages were every where burnt, the farms wasted and pillaged, the abodes of man, and all that belongs to peaceful industry and domestic comfort, desolated and destroyed. Wolves, and other savage animals, increased fearfully in the districts which had been laid waste by human hands, with ferocity congenial to their own. Thus were the evils, which France had unsparingly inflicted upon Spain, Prussia, Russia, and almost every European nation, terribly retaliated within a few leagues of her own metropolis ; and such were the consequences of a system, which, assuming military force for its sole principle and law, taught the united nations of Europe to repel its aggressions by means yet more formidable in extent, than those which had been used in supporting them.” Vol. iii. p.
101. After narrating the fall and first abdication of Bonaparte, he adds
“While we endeavour to sum the mass of misfortunes, with which Bonaparte was overwhelmed at this crisis, it seems as if fortune had been determined to show that she did not intend to reverse the lot of humanity, even in the case of one who had been so long her favourite, but that she retained the power of depressing the obscure soldier, whom she had raised to be almost King of Europe, in a degree as humiliating, as his exaltation had been splendid. All that three years before seemed inalienable from his person, was now reversed. The victor was defeated, the monarch was dethroned, the ransomer of prisoners was in captivity, the general was deserted by his soldiers, the master abandoned by his domestics, the brother parted from his brethren, the husband severed from the wife, and the father torn from his only child. To console him for the fairest and largest empire that ambition ever lorded it over, he had, with the mock name of Einperor, a petty isle, to which he was to retire, accompanied by the pity of such friends, as dared express their feelings, the unrepressed execrations of many of his former subjects, who refused to regard his present humiliation as an amends for what he had made them suffer during his power, and the ill-concealed triumph of the enemies into whose hands he had been delivered.” Vol. iii. p. 158.
The passage of Mount St. Bernard, previously to the battle of Marengo, has been much celebrated, and is narrated by our author with much beauty and effect. At Geneva, Bonaparte met General Marescot, who had been detached to survey Mount St. Bernard, and who had, with great difficulty, ascended as far as the Convent of the Chartreux.
“Is the route practicable ?' said Bonaparte. It is barely possible to pass,' replied the engineer. 'Let us set forward then,' said Napoleon, and the extraordinary march was commenced.
“During the interval between the 15th and 18th of May, all the columns of the French army were put into motion to cross the Alps. Tureau, at the head of 5000 men, directed his march by Mount Cenis, on Exilles and Susa. A similar division commanded by Chabran, took the route of the Little St. Bernard. Bonaparte himself on the 15th, at the head of the main body of his army, consisting of 30,000 men and upwards, marched from Lausanne to the little village called St. Pierre, at which point there ended every thing resembling a practicable road. An immense and apparently inaccessible mountain, reared its head among general desolation and eternal frost; while precipices, glaciers, ravines, and a boundless extent of faithless snows, which the slightest concussion of the air converts into avalanches, capable of burying armies in their descent, appeared to forbid access to all living things but the chamois, and his scarce less wild pursuer. Yet, foot by foot, and man by man, did the French soldiers proceed to ascend this formidable barrier which nature had erected in vain to limit human ambition. The view of the Valley, emphatically called “of Desolation," where nothing is to be seen but snow and sky, had no terrors for the First Consul and his army. They advanced up paths hitherto only practised by hunters,