페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

councilors of the Emperor were in despair. They Chevalier de Goualt, accompanied by five or six urged him, from absolute necessity, to accede to of the inhabitants, with the white cockade of the any terms which the Allies might extort. fallen dynasty upon their breasts, treasonably

The firmness which Napoleon displayed under called upon the Emperor Alexander, and said : these trying circumstances, soars into sublimity. “We entreat your Majesty, in the name of all To their entreaties that he would yield to dis- the respectable inhabitants of Troyes, to accept honor, he calmly replied :

with favor the wish which we form, for the re-estab“No! no! we must think of other things just lishment of the royal house of Bourbon on the now. I am on the eve of beating Blucher. He throne of France." is advancing on the road to Paris. I am about But Alexander, apprehensive that the genius to set off to attack him. I will beat him to-mor- of Napoleon might still retrieve his fallen forrow. I will beat him the day after to-morrow. tunes, cautiously replied : “ Gentlemen, I receive If that movement is attended with the success it you with pleasure. I wish well to your cause, deserves, the face of affairs will be entirely but I fear your proceedings are rather premature. changed. Then we shall see what is to be done." The chances of war are uneertain, and I should

Napoleon had formed one of those extraordi be grieved to see brave men like you compromised nary plans which so often, during his career, had or sacrificed. We do not come ourselves to give changed apparent ruin into the most triumphant a king to France. We desire to know its wishes, success. Leaving ten thousand men at Nogent, and to leave it to declare itself." to retard the advance of the two hundred thou “But it will never declare itself," M. de Gousand Austrians, he hastened, with the remaining alt replied, “as long as it is under the knife. thirty thousand troops, by forced marches across Never, so long as Bonaparte shall be in authority the country, to the valley of the Marne. It was in France, will Europe be tranquil.” . his intention to fall suddenly upon the flank of “It is for that very reason," replied Alexander, Blucher's self-confident and unsuspecting army. " that the first thing we must think of is to beat

The toil of the wintery march, through miry him—to beat him—to beat him." roads and through storms of sleet and rain, was The royalist deputation retired, encouraged so exhausting that he had but twenty-five thou- with the thought that, from prudential consider. sand men to form in line of battle, when he en- ations, their cause was adjourned, but only for a countered the enemy. It was early in the morn- few days. At the same time the Marquis of ing of the 10th of February, as the sun rose Vitrolles, one of the most devoted of the Bourbon brilliantly over the snow-covered hills, when the adherents, arrived at the head-quarters of the French soldiers burst upon the Russians, who Allies, with a message from the royalist conwere quietly preparing their breakfasts. The spirators in Paris, entreating the monarchs to victory was most brilliant. Napoleon pierced the advance as rapidly as possible to the capital. A centre of the multitudinous foe, then turned upon baser act of treachery has seldom been recorded. one wing, and then upon the other, and proudly These very men had been rescued from penury scattered the fragments of the army before him. and exile by the generosity of Napoleon. He But he had no reserves, with which to profit by had pardoned their hostility to republican France; this extraordinary victory. His weary troops had sheltered them from insult and from injury, could not pursue the fugitives.

and, with warm sympathy for their woes, which The next day Blucher, by energetically bring. Napoleon neither caused or could have averted, ing forward reinforcements, succeeded in col- had received them under the protection of the lecting sixty thousind men, and fell with terrible imperial regime. fury upon the little band who were gathered In ten days Napoleon had gained five victories. around Napoleon. A still more sanguinary bat- The inundating wave of invasion was still rolling tle ensued, in which the Emperor was again, and steadily on toward Paris. The activity and enstill more signally triumphant. These brilliant ergy of Napoleon surpassed all which mortal man achievements elated the French soldiers beyond had ever attempted before. In a day and night measure. They felt that nothing could withstand march of thirty hours he hurried back to the banks the genius of the Emperor, and even Napoleon of the Seine. The Austrians, now three hundred began to hope that fortune would again smile thousand strong, were approaching Fontaineupon him. Froin the field of battle he wrote a bleau. Sixty miles southeast of Paris, at the hurried line to Caulaincourt, who was his pleni-confluence of the Seine and the Yonne, is situpotentiary at Chatillon, where the Allies had | ated, in a landscape of remarkable beauty, the opened their pretended negotiation. “I have little town of Montereau. conquered,” he wrote ; “your attitude must be Here Napoleon, having collected around him the same for peace. But sign nothing without forty thousand men, presented a bold front, to my order, because I alone know my position." arrest the farther progress of the Allies. An aw

While Napoleon was thus cutting up the army ful battle now ensued. Napoleon, in the eagerof Blucher upon the Marne, a singular scene was ness of the conflict, as the projectiles from the transpiring in Troyes. The royalists there, en Austrian batteries plowed the ground around him, couraged by Napoleon's apparently hopeless de- and his artillerymen fell dead at his feet, leaped feat, resolved to make a vigorous movement for from his horse, and with his own hand directed the restoration of the Bourbons. A deputation, a gun against the masses of the enemy. As the consisting of the Marquis de Vidranges and the balls from the hostile batteries tore through the

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

French ranks, strewing the ground with the issue. Napoleon, with but forty thousand men, wounded and the dead, the cannoneers entreated pursued the retreating army, one hundred thouthe Emperor to retire to a place of safety. With a sand strong, up the valley of the Seine, till they serene eye he looked around him, upon the storm took refuge in the vicinity of Chaumont, about a of iron and of lead, and smiling, said: "Courage, hundred and sixty miles from the field of battle. my friends, the ball which is to kill me is not yet “My heart is relieved,” said Napoleon joyfully, cast."*' The bloody combat terminated with the as he beheld the flight of the Allies. “I have night. Napoleon was the undisputed victor. saved the capital of my empire." Amazing as

The whole allied army, confounded by such were these achievements, they only postponed the unexpected disasters, precipitately retreated, and day of ruin. The defeat of one or two hundred began to fear that no numbers could triumph over thousand, from armies numbering a million of Napoleon. The Emperors of Russia and Austria, men, with another army of a million held in reand the King of Prussia, bewildered by such un- serve, to fill up the gaps caused by the casualties anticipated blows, were at a loss what orders to of war, could be of but little avail. *

* In one of the charges which took place at the bridge # " Meantime hostilities were maintained with increased or Montereau, a bomb literally entered the chest of Gen vigor over a vast line of operations. How much useless eral Pajoli's charger. and burst in the stomach of the glory did our soldiers not gain in these conflicts. But in poor animal ; sending its rider a considerable height into spite of prodigies of valor, the enemy's masses advanced the air. General Pajoli fell, dreadfully mangled, but al- and approximated to a central point, so that this war most miraculously escaped mortal injury. When this might be compared to the battle of the ravens and the singular occurrence was mentioned to the Emperor, he eagles on the Alps. The eagle kills them by hundreds. said to the general, that nothing but the interposition of Every stroke of his beak is the death of an enemy. But Providence could have preserved his life under such cir still the ravens return to the charge, and press upon the cumstances. This anecdote was related to W. H. Ireland, eagle, until he is literally overwhelmed by the number of Esq., by General Pajoli himself.

his assailants."-BOURRIENNE.

In the midst of these terrific scenes, Napoleon of the battle still continuing, he ordered a draalmost daily corresponded with Josephine, whom goon to conduct her to his own quarters, till she be still loved as he loved no one else. On one could be provided with suitable protection. The occasion, when the movements of battle brought dragoon took the lady, fainting with terror, upon him not far from her residence, he turned aside his horse behind him, when another ruffian band from the army, and sought a hurried interview of Cossacks struck him dead from his steed, with his most faithful friend. It was their last and seized again the unhappy victim. She was meeting. At the close of the short and melan- never heard of morc. And yet every heart must choly visit, Napoleon took her hand, and gazing know her awful doom. Such is war, involving tenderly upon her, said:

in its inevitable career every conceivable crime, “ Josephine, I have been as fortunate as was and every possible combination of misery. ever man upon the face of this earth. But in The Allies, in consternation, held a council of this hour, when a storm is gathering over my war. Great despondency prevailed. “The Grand head, I have not, in this wide world, any one Army,” said the Austrian officers, “has lost but you upon whom I can repose."

half its numbers by the sword, disease, and wet His letters, written amidst all the turmoil of the weather. The country we are now in is ruined. camp, though exceedingly brief, were more con- The sources of our supplies are dried up, All fiding and affectionate than ever, and, no matter around us the inhabitants are ready to raise the in what business he was engaged, a courier from standard of insurrection. It has become indis Josephine immediately arrested his attention, and pensable to secure a retreat to Germany, and a line from her was torn open with the utmost wait for reinforcements." These views were eagerness. His last letter to her was written adopted by the majority. The retreat was confrom the vicinity of Brienne, after a desperate tinued in great confusion, and Count Lichtenengagement against overwhelming numbers. It stein was dispatched to the head-quarters of Nawas concluded in the following affecting words : poleon, to solicit an armistice. Napoleon received

"On beholding these scenes, where I had pass- the envoy in the hut of a peasant, where he had ed my boyhood, and comparing my peaceful con- stopped to pass the night. Prince Lichtenstein, dition then with the agitation and terrors which as he proposed the armistice, presented Napoleon I now experience, I several times said in my own with a private note from the Emperor Francis. mind, 'I have sought to meet death in many con- This letter was written in a conciliatory and almost flicts. I can no longer fear it. To me death apologetic spirit ; admitting that the plans of the would now be a blessing. But I would once Allies had been most effectually frustrated, and more see Josephine.'”

that in the rapidity and force of the strokes which There was an incessant battle raging for a cir- had been given, the Emperor of Austria recogcuit of many miles around the metropolis. All nized anew the resplendent genius of his son-inthe hospitals were filled with the wounded and law. Napoleon, according to his custom on such the dying. Josephine and her ladies were em- occasions, entered into a perfectly frank and unployed at Malmaison in scraping lint, and form- reserved conversation with the Prince. He in ing bandages, for the suffering victims of war. quired of him if the Allies intended the restoration At last it became dangerous for Josephine to re- of the Bourbons to the throne of France. main any longer at Malmaison, as bands of bar. “Is it a war against the throne,” said he, barian soldiers, with rapine and violence, were “which you intend to carry on? The Count wandering all over the country. One stormy d'Artois is with the grand army in Switzerland. morning, when the rain was falling in floods, she The Duke d'Angoulême is at the head-quarters took her carriage for the more distant retreat of of the Duke of Wellington, from thence address Navarre. She had proceeded about thirty miles, ing proclamations to the southern portions of my when some horsemen appeared in the distance, empire. Can I believe that my father-in-law, rapidly approaching. She heard the cry, “ The the Emperor Francis, is so blind, or so unnatuCossacks, the Cossacks !” In her terror she leap- ral, as to project the dethronement of his own ed from her carriage, and, in the drenching rain, daughter, and the disinheriting of his own grandded across the fields. The attendants soon dis- son ?" covered that they were French hussars, and the The Prince assured Napoleon that the Allies unhappy Empress was recalled. She again en- had no such idea ; that the residence of the tered her carriage, and proceeded the rest of the Bourbon princes with the allied armies was way without molestation.

merely on suíferance; and that the Allies wished The scenes of woe which invariably accompany only for peace, not to destroy the empire. Nathe march of brutal armies, no imagination can poleon acceded to the proposal for an armistice. conceive. We will record but one, as illustrative He appointed the city of Lusigny as the place of hundreds which might be narrated. In the for opening the conference. Three of the allied midst of a bloody skirmish, Lord Londonderry generals were deputed as commissioners, one saw a young and beautiful French lady, the wife each on the part of Austria, Russia, and Prussia. of a colonel, seized from a calèche by three semi- Hostilities, however, were not to be suspended barbarian Russian soldiers, who were hurrying till the terms of the armistice were agreed upon. into the woods with their frantic and shrieking On the morning of the 24th Napoleon re-entered victim. With a small band of soldiers he suc- Troyes, the enemy having abandoned the town ceeded in rescuing her. The confusion and peril during the night. The masses of the people

Vol. IX.-No. 49.-D

crowded around him with warm and heartfelt abandonment by France of those gigantic schemes greetings. They thronged the streets through of ambition by which the very existence of sowhich he passed, strove to kiss his hand, and ciety in the adjoining states has so long been even to touch his horse, and with loud acclama- menaced, would be the restoration of that line of tion hailed him as the saviour of his country. Na princes which for so many centuries maintained poleon immediately ordered the arrest of Vi- the French nation in prosperity at home, and dranges and Goualt. The former had escaped consideration and respect abroad. Such an event and joined the Allies. The latter was arrested, would alone have removed, and will at any time lried by a court-martial, and condemned to be remove, all obstacles in the way of negotiation shot. Napoleon, conscious of the peril he en- or peace. It would confirm to France the uncountered from the royalist conspirators in every molested enjoyment of its ancient territory; and town, thought that he could not safely pardon it would give, to all the other nations of Europe, so infamous an act of treason. The nobleman in tranquillity and peace, that security which they was left to his fate. At eleven o'clock at night are now compelled to seek by other means." he was led out to his execution. A large pla- General Pozzo di Borgo was sent by Alexancard was suspended upon his breast upon which der on an embassy to the British government. were inscribed, in conspicuous letters, the words, Count d'Artois, afterward Charles X., urged him « Traitor to his country." He died firmly, pro- to induce the Allies openly to avow their intentesting to the last his devotion to the Bourbons. tions to reinstate the Bourbons. “My lord,” This act of severe but apparently necessary jus- General Borgo replied, “every thing has its tice, Lamartine has stigmatized as a “selfish time. Let us not perplex matters. To sovepiece of vengeance."

reigns you should not present complicated quesSince the commencement of this brief cam- tions. It is with no small difficulty that they paign, Napoleon had performed the most brilliant have been kept united in the grand object of achievements of his whole military career. It is overthrowing Bonaparte. As soon as that is the uncontradicted testimony of history, that feats done, and the imperial rule destroyed, the quesso extraordinary had never before been recorded tion of dynasty will present itself, and then your in military annals. The Allies were astounded illustrious house will spontaneously occur to the and bewildered. Merely to gain time to bring thoughts of all.” up their enormous reserves they had proposed a Lord Castlereagh, in a speech in Parliament, truce, and now, to form a new plan, with which on the 29th of June, 1814, said: "Every pacifito plunge again upon their valiant foe, they held cation would be incomplete, if you did not rea council of war. The Kings of Russia and Prus- establish, on the throne of France, the ancient sia, and the Emperor of Austria were present, family of the Bourbons. Any peace with the and a strong delegation of determined men from man who had placed himself at the head of the the court of St. James. Lord Castlereagh was French nation could have no other final result the prominent representative of the British gov- but to give Europe fresh subjects for alarms ; it ernment. The Allies, while intimating that they could be neither secure nor durable ; neverthehad not determined upon the dethronement of less it was impossible to refuse to negotiate with Napoleon, still advanced resolutely to that re- him when invested with power, without doing

violence to the opinion of Europe, and incurring “Lord Castlereagh,” says Alison, " in con- the whole responsibility for the continuance of formity with the declared purpose of British di- the war." plomacy, ever since the commencement of the These proud despots were indeed committing war, made no concealment of his opinions either a crime which was doing violence to the sense in or out of parliament, that the best security for of justice of every unbiased mind. They were the peace of Europe would be found in the res- ashamed to acknowledge their intentions. While toration of the dispossessed race of princes to forcing, by the aid of two million of bayonets, the French throne; and the ancient race, and upon a nation exhausted by compulsory wars, a the ancient territory,' was often referred to by detested king, they had the boldness to declare him, in private conversation, as offering the only that they had no intention to interfere with the combination which was likely to give lasting re- independence of France. When the indignant pose to the world.” To mitigate the indignation people again drove the Bourbons beyond the of the world against this atrocious interference Rhine, again the invading armies of combined of the Allies with the rights of the French peo- despotisms, crushing the sons of France beneath ple to elect their own sovereign, Sir Archibald their artillery-wheels, conducted the hated dyventures to add, “but it was little his design, nasty to the throne. And England, liberty-loving as it was that of the British cabinet, to advance England, was compelled, by her Tory governthese views as preliminary to any, even the most ment, to engage in this iniquitous work. Louis lasting accommodation."

XVIII., encircled by the sabres of WellingWhen Napoleon was elected to the chair of ton's dragoons, marched defiantly into the Tuilthe First Consul, by the almost unanimous suf- eries. In the accomplishment of this crime Eufrages of France, he made overtures to England rope was, for a quarter of a century, deluged in for peace. Lord Grenville returned an answer blood, and shrouded in woe. And these conspir. both hostile and grossly insulting, in which he ators against popular rights, instead of doing said, " The best and most natural piedge of the justice to the patriotism and the heroism of Na

sult.

poleon, who, for twenty years, nobly sustained duced to conjectures. His generals were disthe independence of his country against the in-heartened ; France was in dismay. cessant coalitions of the monarchs of Europe, In the midst of these scenes of impending have endeavored to consign his name to infamy. peril, Napoleon was urged to request Maria But the world has changed. The people have Louisa, to interpose with her father, in behalf of now a voice in the decisions of history. They her husband. “No," Napoleon promptly rewill reverse—they have already reversed the ver- plied, with pride which all will respect, “the dict of despotisms. In the warm hearts of the archduchess has seen me at the summit of human people of all lands the memory of Napoleon has power. It does not belong to me to tell her now found a congenial throne.

that I am descended from it, and still less to beg The Allies now decided to embarrass Napo- of her to uphold me with her support." Though leon, by dividing their immense host into two he could not condescend to implore the aid of armies. Blucher, taking the command of one, Maria Louisa, it is very evident that he hoped marched rapidly across the country to the Marne, that she would anticipate his wishes, and secretly to descend on both sides of that river to Paris. endeavor to disarm the hostility of the Emperor The other multitudinous host, under Schwartzen Francis. The Empress was with Napoleon when berg, having obtained abundant reinforcements, he received the intelligence that Austria would still trembling before the renown of Napoleon, in all probability join the coalition. He turned were cautiously to descend the valley of the affectionately toward her, took her hand and said, Seine. Napoleon, leaving ten thousand men at in tones of sadness : Troyes, to obstruct the march of Schwartzen- / “Your father is then about to march anew berg, took thirty thousand troops with him, and against me. Now I am alone against all! yes resolutely pursued Blucher. The Prussians, as- alone! absolutely alone!" Maria Louisa burst tonished at the vigor of the pursuit, and bleeding into tears, arose, and left the apartment. beneath the blows which Napoleon incessantly Napoleon now formed the bold resolve to fall dealt on their rear-guard, retreated precipitately. upon the rear of Schwartzenberg's army, and cut The name of Napoleon was so terrible, that one off his communications with Germany and his hundred thousand Prussians fled, in dismay, be- supplies. With astonishing celerity he crossed fore the little band of thirty thousand exhausted the country again, from the Marne to the Seine, troops, headed by the Emperor.

and Schwartzenberg, in dismay, heard the thunBlucher crossed the Marne, blew up the bridges ders of Napoleon's artillery in his rear. The behind him, and escaped, some fifty miles north, | Austrian army, though two hundred thousand to the vicinity of Laon. Napoleon reconstructed strong, dared not advance. They turned and the bridges and followed on. By wonderful skill fled. Alexander, Francis, and Frederick William, in maneuvring, he had placed Blucher in such mindful of Napoleon's former achievements, and a position that his destruction was inevitable, dreading a snare, turned from Paris toward the when suddenly Bernadotte came, with a power- Rhine, and put spurs to their horses. The enorful army, to the aid of his Prussian ally. Na- mous masses of the retreating Allies, unexpectpoleon had now but about twenty-five thousand edly encountered Napoleon at Arcis upon the men with whom to encounter these two united Aube. A sanguinary battle ensued. “Napoarmies, more than one hundred thousand. With leon," says Lamartine, “ fought at hazard, withthe energies of despair he fell upon his foes. out any other plan and with the resolution to His little army was melted away and consumed conquer or die. He renewed, in this action, the before the terrific blaze of the hostile batteries. miracles of bravery and sang froid of Lodi and The battle was long and sanguinary. Contend- of Rivoli; 'and his youngest soldiers blushed at ing against such fearful odds courage was of no the idea of deserting a chief, who hazarded his avail. The enemy, however, could do no more own life with such invincible courage. He was than hold their ground. Napoleon rallied around repeatedly seen spurring his horse to a gallop him his mutilated band, and retired to Rheims. against the enemy's cannon, and reappearing, as The enerny dared not pursue fim in his despair. if inaccessible to death, after the smoke had

As soon as Schwartzenberg heard that Napo- evaporated. A live shell having fallen in front leon was in pursuit of Blucher, he commenced, of one of his young battalions, which recoiled with two hundred thousand men, his march upon and wavered in expectation of an explosion, Paris, by the valley of the Seine. The Duke of Napoleon, to reassure them, spurred his charger Wellington was, at the same time, at Bordeaux, toward the instrument of destruction, made him with his combined army of English, Portuguese, smell the burning match, waited unshaken for and Spaniards, moving, almost without opposi- the explosion, and was blown up. Rolling in the tion, upon the metropolis of France. The Duke dust with his mutilated steed, and rising withof Angoulême was with the English army, call-out a wound amidst the plaudits of the soldiers, ing upon the royalists to rally beneath the un- he calmly called for another horse, and continued furled banner of the Bourbons. Another army to brave the grape-shot, and to fly into the thickest of the Allies had also crossed the Alps from of the battle.” Switzerland, and had advanced as far as Lyons. During the heat of the conflict a division of Wherever Napoleon looked he saw but the march Russian cavalry, six thousand strong, preceded of triumphant armies of invasion. Dispatches by an immense body of Cossacks, with wild Teached him with difficulty. He was often re- hurrahs, broke through the feeble lines of the

« 이전계속 »