페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

this, and also to arrange matters arising out of the Treaty of Paris, were the immediate causes which induced the assembling of the Congress of Vienna.

They there formed the “balance of power," which, in plain English, is nothing more nor less than a union of the most powerful states of Europe, who pledged themselves to use their combined force to put down any attempt of the people to reform their governments. This combination of kings against the liberties of the people, was remodelled at Paris in 1815, after Napoleon's second abdication, under the name of the “Holy Alliance," at which time their political principles were promulgated to the world. This “Holy Alliance” (unholy it should have been called), since that time has had two important meetings, one at Trappeau in Austrian Silesia, in 1820, after the close of the Neapolitan revolution--and the other Lay back, in January, 1821. Among other matters which claimed the attention of the allied sovereigns at Vienna, was the disposition of a territory containing more than thirty millions of people, which was to be divided among them for their services in dethroning Napoleon. They found as much difficulty in agreeing about the disposal of this territory, as the French king had in organizing his government. It was found almost impossible to satisfy the various interests which were claiming indemification, each demanding more than the others were willing to allow. The alliance was completely broken for a time—the breach was widened daily, and nothing but the sudden return of Napoleon from Elba at this juncture of affairs, prevented an open rupture between the allied sovereigns.

The Emperor of Russia claimed the whole of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw as an indemnification for the losses he had sustained, and said it would be worth his crown and throne to return home without an adequate remuneration. In support of this claim, he offered a very potent argument, which was, that he had three hundred thousand troops ready to march, at a moment's warning, to any point in Europe. In this demand Alexander was supported by the King of Prussia, who was wholly in his interest. France, Austria and England opposed these ambitious views. The divisions ran high, and each party prepared for war. The Emperor Alexander halted all his troops who were returning to Russia, in Poland, and the Grand Duke Constantine, who commanded them, issued a flaming proclamation to the Poles, telling them that the Emperor wished to restore to them their old nationality, calling upon them to rally around his standard. In the meantime a secret treaty had been concluded between Austria, England and France, and signed at Vienna the 3d day of February, 1815, by which the contracting parties mutually pledged themselves to support each other, in case of war, and to carry out in full force the treaty of Paris. Affairs were in this situation when the news was brought to Vienna, that Napoleon had secretly left Elba, and had landed on the coast of France. It was like a bomb-shell in the camp of the allies—all was consternation and alarm. Minor difficulties were healed at once, and they thought only of preparing to meet their common enemy. The Congress soon adjourned, and the sovereigns hastened to their respective capitals, to prepare for the conflict. The news of the return of Napoleon astonished all Europe, and so well aware were the allies of the danger that menaced them, that soon they had more than a million of troops in arms, and converging from different points towards France. The saying of Chateaubriand, that if the cocked-hat and surtout of Napoleon, were placed on a stick on the shores of Brest, it would cause Europe to run to arms, from one end to the other," seemed almost verified in this instance.

Let us now turn from the allied sovereigns and their schemes of European aggrandizement, to the situation of Napoleon on the Island of Elba, and trace his course from his landing upon the shores of France, until he was again reseated upon the imperial throne. Elba is a small island in the Mediterranean Sea, within sight of the coast of Tuscany, and within a few days sail of France. The act of his leaving this island has been much animadverted upon by his enemies, and much pains taken to place him in the wrong. By the terms of the abdication, this island was given to him as a sovereignty, and a certain revenue guaranteed to be paid to him, to maintain his imperial honors in his kingdom. These terms the allies failed to comply with, and the contract having been violated on one side, he was no longer bound to fulfill it, on his part. They failed to pay to him his annual revenue, and instead of recognizing him as a sovereign, they placed spies at his court, and had guard-ships stationed around his island. Sir Neil Campbell was the English spy commissioner, and each of the other allied sovereigns had a similar functionary there, whose duty it was to make reports to their governments of every movement of the Emperor. Thus he was watched like a felon from day to day, and smarting under this ungenerous treatment, he determined to leave his place of confinement, and make a bold stroke to regain his lost throne and empire.

Thus situated, Napoleon kept up a brisk correspondence with his friends in France and Italy, and by them was advised of every movement of the allies at the Congress of Vienna. A vast conspiracy was formed, with its centre in Paris, whose ramifications extended into every province and department in France. The officers and soldiers of the army were, more than any others, the grand movers in it. Although they had taken an oath to support the new government, they had, by no means, renounced their allegiance to Napoleon. They cherished his memory with a holy

All the hardships they had undergone were forgotten, and they thought of him only as their victorious Emperor—the idol of their hearts. He opened a direct correspondence with Murat, who again threw himself into his interest, and promised to furnish him with numerous troops the moment he should put his foot upon the shores of France. Every thing was now prepared for leaving the island. His friends through. out France were warned of his intended movements, and were both ready and willing to aid him. As extensive as these plans of revolution were, they had been thus far matured, without the allies having the least suspicion that such an event was about to take place, and all this in spite of the close surveillance over the Emperor and all his movements.

On the 26th of February, 1815, he gave a grand ball at the town of Porto Ferrajo, which was graced with the presence of his mother, and his sister,—the Princess Pauline. While they were doing the honors of the house, he was making private arrangements to leave the island. Upon that occasion, the Emperor appeared in his most fascinating mood, and going around the room, talked with his guests in the most familiar

In the meantime, he had despatched orders to his troops, to hold themselves in readiness at the quay. During the afternoon he secretly left the ball-room and went to the quay, where he found his troops drawn up, about eleven hundred strong, under the command of

reverence.

manner.

Bertrand, Drouat and Cambronne. They immediately began embarking, and by seven o'clock all were on board. To the wondering inhabitants who witnessed the embarkation, he said, “ that he was going to the coast of Barbary to chastise the pirates, who, from time immemorial, had infested the coasts of Elba." Sealed instructions were given to the captain of L'Inconstant, on board of which was Napoleon, which were not to be opened until they were several leagues at sea. When fairly out at sea, he opened them, and for the first time learned that his destination was the Gulf of Juan, on the coast of Province. The prows of the ships were immediately turned in that direction. When the soldiers knew they were on their way to the coast of France, they burst out into wild shouts of joy, and made the welkin ring again, with cries of “long live the Emperor.” After the first manifestation of feeling was over, a sadness seemed to take possession of both officers and men, and a deep silence prevailed throughout the ships. Their minds were filled with sad presentiments of the future, and a recollection of other times came full and fresh to their memory. The vessels pursued their way without interruption, and on the first of March cast anchor in the Gulf of Juan. The troops immediately disembarked, and kindling some watch-fires on the sand, bivouacked near the shore.

A little incident occurred on the passage, which shows what admirable presence of mind Napoleon was possessed of at all times. On the evening of the 27th, when off Leghorn, a French brig came within speaking distance and hailed the vessel the Emperor was on board of. To prevent his soldiers from being discovered, he made them lie flat upon the deck with their caps oft. The captain of the French vessel inquired of Napoleon himself, about the Emperor's health, who answered, that he was well. The brig suspecting nothing, passed on.

The officers, as well as the men, were impressed with the importance and magnitude of the expedition they were engaged in. With a force of only twelve hundred men, they had landed upon the coast of France, and arrayed themselves in arms against all Europe. Napoleon infused into this small band of faithful followers his own sanguine hopes, and raised somewhat their drooping spirits. As there was no time to be lost, he immediately commenced his march. He took the road by Gap, to Grenoble, through the mountains, everywhere distributing his proclamations to the inhabitants. On the 7th of March they approached the fortress of Grenoble, where General Marchaud was in command, who hearing of his advance, sent out troops to oppose him. General Cambronne, who commanded the advance-guard, first encountered this force, and seeing no signs of disaffection among the troops, sent word to Napoleon, who was in the rear. The latter remarked to Bertrand, who was at his side, " we are betrayed,” and immediately rode forward, dressed in his wellknown surtout and cocked-hat. Arriving before the opposing force, he rode in front of them, and said : “ Comrades do you know me?” “Yes, sire," they answered. "Do you recognize me, my children? I am your Emperor; fire on me, if you wish.” This appeal of their beloved Emperor was overpowering, and they immediately threw down their arms and rushed to embrace him. As soon as their manifestations of joy had subsided, they mounted the tri-colored cockade, and arrayed themselves under his banners. Colonel Labedoyeré, who commanded a regiment in the same garrison, in disobedience to the orders of his superior officer, marched with his men to meet Napoleon. As soon as he was outside of the garrison, he drew an eagle from his pocket, and embraced it before his soldiers. They immediately broke in the head of a drum which was filled with tri-colored cockades, and soon one was mounted on each cap. When Napoleon appeared, they made the air resound with their cry of “Vive L'Emperor," and joined his forces. His column, now near three thousand strong, marched upon Grenoble, and breaking down the gates, entered the town in triumph. He rested there that night. The citizens, in crowds, flocked to see him, and bid him welcome again to the shores of France. He was busily employed during his stay there, making civil appointments, and other arrangements to secure himself in favor. The next morning he continued his march towards Paris, meeting with no opposi. tion. In every part of the country his old soldiers joined his standard, and the middle and lower classes welcomed his return with many demonstrations of joy.

Let us now turn from Napoleon and his triumphant march through France, and direct the attention to Paris and the king. Louis was entirely ignorant of the dangers which had been gathering around him, for a long time; he had not even a suspicion, founded upon anything tangible, that such a vast conspiracy was on foot, to wrest from him his crown and throne. A close watch was kept upon all the movements of the Imperialists, but to no purpose; and neither he, nor his ministers, dreamed of what was about to take place. Meetings were held nightly in different parts of Paris, and even in his very household their plans were being matured. Being in fancied security, the astounding intelligence he received of the movements of Napoleon made a deeper impression. All Paris was in commotion, and the king and his government in the greatest alarm. He endeavored, in vain, to rally the royalists to resistance, but all seemed paralyzed, and incapable of making headway against the tide that was rolling up towards the capital. He convoked the Chamber of Deputiesdespatched messengers to different parts of France to arouse the people to oppose the march of Napoleon-sent large bodies of troops against him, who in every instance joined his standard, and recommended other measures which the emergency seemed to require. All these efforts were useless—the finger of destiny had marked the Bourbon throne for overthrow, and no power that Louis could control was able to save it. Marshal Ney, at the head of a large force, was sent by the king, from Paris, to stop the advance of the Emperor, and when he set out promised his royal master to bring him back in an “iron cage.” But the iron cage and his promises to the king were all forgotten when he arrived in sight of Napoleon, whom he and his troops immediately joined, without any attempt to resist his march. Napoleon entered Lyons on the 12th, amid the acclamations of the populace, and the keys of the city were surrendered to him with much ceremony by the municipal authorities, who gave in their allegiance. When the news reached the king that Ney and his force had deserted to Napoleon, all hope seemed to have fled—as great confidence had been placed in the fidelity of the old Marshal. But the king, seeing such general disaffection in the army, and failing in support even from his own partisans, and losing all hope of retaining the crown, determined to leave Paris. He and the royal family set out on the evening of the 19th, attended only by a few friends, and a small guard, and went in the direction of Flanders. The same evening Napoleon arrived at Fontain bleau, and the next afternoon set out for Paris, which he reached in the evening, and took possession of the palace of the Tuilleries. Thousands had assembled there to welcome him, and he was received with the most unbounded demonstrations of delight. The extensive courtyard around the palace was filled with his faithful troops, who bore him aloft in their arms, to the grand saloon, where he was welcomed by the kisses and smiles of the imperial ladies who had assembled to greet his coming. Never before did a monarch receive such a welcome from his subjects.

Thus far his triumph had been bloodless-everywhere opposition had fled from before him, and both soldiers and peasants hailed his advent with joy. History furnishes no parallel to his march through France, and victorious entry into Paris. He had landed upon the coast of a distant province, marched from one end of the kingdom to the other-subdued every thing which had opposed his course, and finally wrested a crown and throne from a powerful monarch, without shedding one drop of blood. The like had never been known before. Although again seated upon the throne of France, he well knew his situation was a precarious one, and that all his energy would be required to prepare for the important crisis that was approaching. His first duty was, to reorganize the government, and in doing so, he had double the difficulties to contend against that beset Louis XVIII. And in addition to these civil duties which pressed upon him, he had also to prepare to meet a million of armed men who were arrayed against him. Nothing that vigor and activity could accomplish was wanting on the part of Napoleon, and the amount of labor which he performed in so short a time seems almost incredible. The arsenals were entirely empty of military stores and arms -among other items, twelve hundred pieces of cannon had been ceded to the allies by the treaty of Paris. The army had been almost entirely disbanded during the reign of Louis, and not more than a hundred thousand men were now under arms, scattered throughout France, in the different garrison towns. The first step Napoleon took towards reorganizing the army, was to return the eagles to the different regiments, which was done with great pomp and ceremony. All the old veterans who had retired from service, were called in by proclamation-additions were made to all the regiments, and thirty new battalions of artillery were organized from the sailors of the fleets. Both the old and young guard were strengthened, by adding a new battalion to each regiment, and filling up the old ones. By these mearts he calculated to have, at least, four hundred thousand men under arins, by the first of June; and by the first of September, he expected to have six hundred thousand foot, and sixty thousand admirable horse in the field. He found it a herculean task to provide arms and clothing for these troops. Manufactories of arms were established in different parts of the empire-the old arms everywhere called in, and the workmen in all the armories doubled. Horses were purchased at fairs at different parts of the country, and each department was

ordered to furnish a certain amount of clothing, He found as much difficulty in reorganizing the civil government as the army, and no other man could have, so soon, brought order out of chaos. Many of the imperialists, who were most anxious for his return, now that he was on the throne, declined taking any responsible trust under him ;-with Europe in arms against him, they felt a disquietude and uncertainty as to his success. The public

« 이전계속 »