« 이전계속 »
tion all the talents and energy of Napoleon. By his untiring activity, he raised new armies as fast as old ones had disappeared before the murderous fire of the allies, and always presented a formidable front to the enemy. His genius never shone with more brilliancy, and he performed feats of valor, and gained victories, which appear to have been the result of efforts almost superhuman. Always combating with superior num. bers, he had to rely solely upon his own skill for success. These two campaigns are marked by some of his finest strokes of generalship, and alone would be sufficient to give him rank among the first commanders of ancient or modern times. But overwhelming numbers finally triumphed, and he was driven back upon the frontiers of France, and at last to Paris.
The allies, flushed with victory, entered the territory of France in the winter of 1814, and marched direct upon the capital, which they entered the last day of March. The battle of Paris, the closing act in the bloody drama, was fought on the 30th day of March, and Napoleon was compelled to surrender his crown and throne to the victorious enemy.
The entry of the allied armies into Paris was a splendid sight to gaze upon, but deeply humiliating to the French soldiers, many of whom were obliged to witness the pageantry. All was activity in the allied camps, after the victory under the walls of the capital, and the whole army was placed in the most perfect order, that the display in marching into the city might be as brilliant as possible. At noon-day, on the last day of March, 1814, a hundred thousand men, the most splendid troops in Europe, defiled through the streets of Paris, and took possession of the city. Napoleon, with the small force under his command, retired to Fontainebleau, from which place he opened negotiations with the allied powers, through the agency of Caulincourt. At first, the allied emperors wished him to abdicate in favor of his son, which he refused to do; but afterwards, consulting with Ney, Berthier, Lefebvre and others, he had drawn up and signed such an abdication, with the empress as regent. These terms he sent to Paris, but were rejected by the allied sovereigns, who obliged him to sign an unconditional surrender of his throne. A scene of baseness now commenced at Fontainebleau, which was disgraceful in the extreme, and everlastingly sullied those who were guilty of it. As soon as Napoleon's abdication was known, and the power which he had so long possessed was about to pass into other hands, almost every person of any note around him, deserted to the allies. What baseness! what perfidy! So great was their anxiety to hear of his abdication, in order that they might hasten to Paris, and make favor with the new dynasty—every time the door of the emperor's room was opened, it was filled with heads to learn if the important event had happened. Maret, Caulincourt, and a few others of the host whom he had raised from obscurity, with a nobleness of soul which rose far above any selfish desires, remained firm to the for. tune of their fallen chieftain to the very last.
A formal treaty was concluded, and signed by Napoleon and the allied sovereigns, on the 11th day of April. By this treaty Napoleon renounced, for himself and his descendants, the crowns of France and Italy, but he was allowed to retain the name of Emperor, and his brothers and sisters, nephews and nieces, were also allowed to retain their respective titles. The island of Elba was selected as his future residence, which was recognized as an independent principality—a sort of miniature kingdom. They decreed him, as a yearly revenue, two millions five hundred thousand francs from the treasury of France, and a separate allowance to Josephine of one million francs yearly. He was allowed to take with him all his personal effects, and four hundred of his old guards. He set out for Elba on the 20th of March. His parting from his faithful troops and the few personal friends who yet remained loyal to him, was affecting in the extreme, and drew tears from all who witnessed it. The old guard, who, as it were, had borne his imperial diadem on their bayonet points, and carried his victorious banners into every capital in Europe, were drawn up on the plains of Fontainebleau to receive his farewell. Napoleon, surrounded by a few faithful generals, went among the soldiers, and arnid a breathless silence and tearful eyes, addressed them a few parting words. So strong had the attachment become between the great leader and these trusty followers, that his emotions in saying farewell almost overpowered him. With a great effort he tore himself from the embrace of those who surrounded him, sprang into his carriage, and rode off. He was escorted by a large body of troops to the port of Fejus, where he embarked on board an English frigate for his place of destination.
Louis XVIlI. was called to the throne, and the order of succession established as it was before the revolution. He entered Paris on the 3d of May, from England, where he had passed an exile of twenty-five years, and immediately ascended the throne of his ancestors. The treaty of Paris was signed on the 30th of May, which provided that France should be reduced to its original limits as they were on the 1st of January, 1792. Holland was to be an independent state, governed by the house of Orange. Germany was to be independent, under the guarantee of a federal union. Switzerland was also to be independent, under a government of her own, and Italy divided into sovereign states. Provision was also made for the free navigation of the Rhine, and the restoration of the West India Islands to the powers from which they were captured. And in addition to these public provisions, there were some secret articles in the treaty, which related chiefly to the disposition of a large district of territory which Napoleon had taken from different states of Europe.
In the latter part of May, the allied sovereigns made a visit to England, and upon their return, withdrew their respective forces from France, and left Louis in quiet possession of his throne.
The events which now follow are considered as the principal causes which led to the return of Napoleon from his exile at Elba, and again involved Europe in a bloody war.
ar. Every reader knows the simple fact, that Napoleon returned to France from his place of banishment, and after being in power a short time, was overthrown at the battle of Waterloo ; but few, comparatively, are familiar with the train of events which led to his return.
Napoleon being in exile, and the allies having returned to their respective countries, it became the dutty of Louis to reorganize the governmen; and a task more difficult to perform, than that which now devolved upon the French monarch, never fell to the lot of a sovereign. During the dreadful struggle which had preceded the fall of the Empire, the lesser evils were forgotten in the great desire for a change. But now that Napoleon was stricken down, and the cause which firmly bound together all who opposed him had ceased to exist, and they came to remodel the government, difficulties, which were almost irreconcilable, appeared among them. While they were arrayed against Napoleon, whom they deemed a common enemy, there was a unity of sentiment, and a concert of action ; but he had no sooner surrendered his power, than jealousies, as rancorous as those which had severed the Empire, arose. In remodelling the government, so many different and conflicting interests had to be conciliated, and so many desires satisfied, that the king found it utterly impossible to establish it upon a stable foundation. The historian of those times says“ The seeds of the disunion which paralyzed the restoration, were beginning to spring up even before Louis XVIII. had ascended the throne, and his subsequent reign, till the hundred days, was but an amplification of the causes which produced the return of Napoleon."
The veterans of the revolution, and the republicans of the senate, had joined with Talleyrand and the royalists to overthrow Napoleon, with the express understanding that in the formation of the new government they were to be amply provided for.
A great difference of opinion prevailed as to the extent to which the popular power should be revived upon the restoration. This was the source of much angry feeling. Some mentioned openly, that the constitution of '91 was to form the basis of the new government, with strong guarantees against any encroachment by the monarch on the rights of the people. These divisions of opinion soon created parties, who took sides under leaders, and arrayed themselves against each other. Unmindful of advice from any quarter, the French king determined to have his own way, and to form the government upon such a plan as he deemed most conducive to the glory of his kingdom. He had made up his mind to take a middle course, and by conciliating both the royalists and the republicans, obtain their united support, and thus render his seat on the throne firm and easy. Blind and infatuated monarch! he should have already learned from history, that that ruler who endeavors to draw to himself the support of two rival parties by conciliating them, gains the ill will and opposition of both, and thus paves the way to his own overthrow.
In a few days after the king had ascended the throne, he called a convention for the purpose of forming a constitution, or rather a charter of government; and after a session of five days, they promulgated one, by which the French people were to be governed under the new order of things. It made the government a monarchy, and in many instances gave the king almost absolute power. Under the Empire, suffrage was universal—this was now abridged, and a property qualification for electors was introduced, which deprived a majority of the people of the right of voting. It was a serious cause of alarm, and the people showed an unwillingness to be deprived of a single right they had enjoyed under the reign of Napoleon.
Without a doubt, the joy at the restoration was, at first, sincere ; but after the excitement was over, and the allies had been withdrawn, the losses and reverses which had overtaken them, together with the sadness of the change, seemed to sink into the very soul of the nation. Whole classes were in a state of uneasiness, caused mainly by the uncertainty of the future. The holders of national domain, which had become private property under the laws of the Empire, considered the guarantee the government gave them, as insufficient to secure their possessions. The regicides, whose hands had been stained in the blood of the revolution, considered the restoration as a judgment upon their former bad conduct, and trembled lest punishment should yet be meted out to them. The marshals and generals who had received large estates from Napoleon, in the different conquered provinces, now separated from France, as a compensation for their valuable services, felt great disquietude at the thought of being deprived of them, and left in their old age without the means of support. The army, driven back into France in disgrace, was almost in despair, and ready for any change of fortune that might enable them to regain the laurels they had lost. The excitement of the camp and the battle-field, the march and the bivouac, were now at an end, and distributed in the various provincial towns, they were compelled to lead an inactive life. The tens of thousands of workmen who had been employed on the different public works in the various provinces now severed from the Empire, came flocking in crowds to Paris. The palace of the Tuilleries was besieged from morning until night by clamorous crowds—the republicans asking for employment and relief-while the royalists, who had shared a twenty-five year's exile with their monarch, demanded some remuneration for the losses they had sustained. With an empty treasury, and no immediate means of supplying it, it was impossible to answer these pressing demands. The army was several months in arrears in their pay, and both officers and men were loud and angry in their claims. In this state of affairs, the course pursued by the Bourbons in the administration of the government, was weak in the extreme. The king, trying to please everybody, pleased nobody. He worked to retain in office all the imperial functionaries whom he knew were much more competent to manage affairs than his own friends, the royalists. At this the latter were highly displeased, and considered themselves but illy repaid for all the sufferings and privations they had endured for their exiled king.
The army was treated in a manner well calculated to create discontent. The national colors, which had become an object almost of holy reverence to the French soldiers, and which were associated with all their victories and glorious memories, were abolished, and the white flag of the hated Bourbons substituted in their stead. The organization of the army was changed, and in such a manner that the different corps almost entirely lost their old identity under their new names. The numbers of the different regiments of infantry, artillery and cavalry, were altered, thereby, in a great measure, destroying the association of names with their former achievements, and even reducing the imperial veterans to a level with the newly-raised recruits. The eagles were wrested from the standards, but generally concealed by the officers; and the tri-color cockade, which the men were now forbidden to wear, was hidden by them in their knapsacks. The tri-color standards, which had waved in triumph over so many victorious fields, were ordered to be given up, but the soldiers generally burned them, saying they would, at least, preserve their ashes. The grades of all the officers were changed, substituting those of the old monarchy. The old imperial guard, which had always occupied the post of honor at the palace, were removed, and their place supplied by the Swiss guard, and other foreign troops. Neither the officers nor soldiers were allowed to make any allusion to the name of the Emperor. The army was much reduced—first, to one hundred and forty thousand, and then to eighty thousand men. An ordinance was passed which placed every officer not in actual employment, on half pay, and those who were not in active service were forbidden to reside at Paris, unless already living there. These changes had a powerful effect on the troops, and they brooded over their wrongs in sullen silence. All parties laid aside their previous animosities, and directed their combined efforts to make the new government unpopular, hoping by this means to overthrow it. They found fault with everything that was done, and took care always to throw the blame on Louis. Although the king had selected able men for his cabinet, yet the steady opposition they encountered from all parties, brought his government into difficulty daily. The errors of his civil administration were numerous, and contributed towards his downfall. An ordinance was passed prohibiting the ordinary work on Sunday, which caused a large portion of the lower classes to murmur. During the days of the revolution and the empire, they had been allowed to pursue their labor on all days alike, and now they did not like thiş restraint. The old noblesse treated the wives of the nobles of the empire with marked disrespect, and none of them were allowed situations in the household. The king abolished the order of the Legion of Honor for that of Saint Louis. This measure was very unpopular with the officers and soldiers, many of whom had been decorated with the former for their bravery on the field of battle. While the king wished to conciliate the imperialists, and have their aid in the administration of affairs, he took no pains to conceal from them his aversion to the principles of the revolution. In fine, Louis possessed neither the courage nor the ability to contend successfully with all these difficulties, and it is not at all surprising that he gave way under them.
While the French King was then endeavoring to heal up the wounds caused by the revolution, and to establish order in his dominions, events of the most vital importance were taking place in another quarter of Europe. We allude to the Congress of Vienna.
The allied sovereigns originally intended that the Congress should meet about the latter end of July, (1814), but by reason of their visit to England, and their return to their own capital, it was not convened until about the first of the following November. Probably no legislative body of men, which have assembled in Europe in modern times, have attracted more attention than this Congress of Sovereigns at Vienna. The eyes of the whole civilized world were upon them, and it was expected that their proceedings would have an important bearing on the general welfare of Europe. But the true cause of their meeting was very different from that alleged, and as much as they endeavored to conceal it, they were unable to hide from the people of Europe the real objects they had in view. For many years previous to the overthrow of Napoleon, liberal principles had been gradually making their way among the people of Europe. Kings were denied the divine right to rule. The people were becoming awakened to a sense of their own legitimate rights, and were determined to loose the shackles which had hung around them, and to stand forth as their own masters. They now began to feel within them, that the same hand which had made them immortal, also made them free. Their hearts beat a hearty response to the sentiments which the western winds wafted from their brethren in the new world, and like them, they desired to say who should be their rulers and make their laws. This freedom of thought—this newborn energy which was quickening in the hearts and in the minds of the people, made the monarchs of Europe tremble. To meet a crisis like