FRENCH HISTORY (cont.)
The Republic (1804)
The new government of France reflected the changes which had taken place. Paris sent the chief Jacobins to it; the Girondists sat on the right and had a large majority; the Jacobins on the left, high up, with the soubriquet of the Mountain; below sat the "Plain" and the "Marsh," the timid moderates, who leant towards the Girondists. Paris was behind all, fierce and bloodstained, supporting the Jacobins. At once the Convention decreed (21st September 1792) the abolition of royalty in France, and proclaimed the Republic. The 22d of September 1792 is the "First day of year I. of the Republic." Roland, the most influential of the Girondists, retained office as minister of the interior; and his party, encouraged by the protests of the permanent department of Paris, which felt itself set aside, attacked the anarchy of the capital and the Jacobins. Robespierre was doenounced, and great debates ensued; the Girondists, however, in spite of their majority in the Convention, had no force, and little political sagacity. Paris was in no mood for submission to the more moderate and constitutional friends of the republic; before the end of 1792 the commune, and the Mountain with it, had defeated the Gironde, the executive power, and Roland himself. For a time, however, the triall of the king absorbed all attention. It had begun in November 1792; in December Louis had been questioned by the Convention; all France discussed with vehemence the different views as to the method of the trial. Who should judge him? The parties here split; the Gironde, anxious to gain time, and to save the king from death, and the country from a great blunder, called for an appeal to the sovereign people; they still clung to constitutional forms. The Mountain held that the Convention was competent to undertake the task of an immediate trial. The opinion of the country re-echoed the cries of Paris; and the Convention, on the 15th, 16th, and 17th January 1793, took on itself to decide the question; by a majority of a few votes (387 against 334) it decreed that the kings punishment should be death. Philip Egalite, his nearest kinsman, was one of those who voted with the majority, to the disgrace of his name; even those who wished for the kings death despised and condemned him for an act dictated by weak ambition and cowardice. On the 21st of January 1793 Louis XVI. was executed on the Square of the Revolution.
By this act, as the Montagnards themselves said, "the Revolution threw down the glove to all ancient. Europe." They had accused their rivals the Girondists of intriguing to save the monarchy, of coquetting with the emigrants and the foreign sovereigns. The Girondists, in their turn accused them of being "anarchists sold to the foreigner, men who were treacherously pushing on the Revolution to excess in order to discredit it, and to bring in the foreign help which the court desired; men who were in the pay of Pitt, the supposed macchiavelli of the time, whose hand was believed to be in everything which could turn to the harm of France. If Henry IV. was the hero of the Revolution, Pitt was its bughear; Frenchmen were scared in those days by his name, just as twenty years later Englishmen were scared by the name of Napoleon. The truth is that the Girondists represented the burgher classes, and were honestly eager to establish the new constitution in all its parts; they were on the defensive, while the Mountain, the party of offence, represented the suffering populace-eager, defiant, weary of negotiation, suspicious of treason at every point, and zealously determined too push the principles of the Revolution to their limits. In this they were utterly careless of political considerations, eager for war, come what might, quite honest and narrow, - a very dangerous and powerful party. Their victory in the trial and execution of "Louis Capet" was complete; it brought with it inevitably the fall of Roland. When Robespierre and Danton attacked him in the Convention, finding that the Girondists no longer had a majority, he laid with dignity his resignation before the Convention, and was replaced for the time by the indolent and philosophic Garat, the minister of justice. The ascendancy of Robespierre was assured- the man to whom the revolution, as his enemies said, "was the religion of which he was the priest." "Robespierre preaches, Robespierre encures, thunders against the rich and great, lives simply, has no physical passions, has created for himself a reputation for austerity the austerity of a saint. He speaks of God and Providence, calls himself the friend of the poor and feeble, is followed by the women and the weak, whose adoration and homage he solemnly accepts." This is the dangerous man in whose hands lay the fortunes of France throughout the dark days of the Terror. He was the prophet who should realize on earth the beautiful and popular dreams of the Contrat Social.
After the withdrawal of the Germans from France at the end of the previous September, Dumouriez had easily persuaded the Executive Council at Paris that, by seizing the moment of amazement and disquiet, in French armies might secure for France her "natural frontiers," that is might become masters of the whole left bank of the Rhine from Basel to the sea. Custine and Kellermann should master the middle Rhine at Coblentz, and Dumouriez should invade Belgium. He set out at once, and on November 6, 1792, by winning the battle of Jemmapes, roused the amazement of all Europe. It is true that the French were two to one, yet so low had their reputation for fighting power fallen, that the courage they showed on the field took men by surprise. The Austrians fell back, and Dumouriez occupied all Belgium down to the Meuse. The Scheldt, which had been closed since 1648, thanks to the jealousy of England and Holland, was reopened; Antwerp and all Belgium regarded the French as their deliverers, and a Belgian republic, in which the clergy took the lead, was formed at once. Dumouriez, poorly seconded by the other armies, and ill-provided from France, could push the Austrians no further than Aix-la-Chapelle; Custine, who had occupied Frankfort, and thereby forced the German diet to declare war on France, was driven out of that place, and could scarcely hold his own on the Rhine. While France was laying her hand on monarchy at home, she challenged at the same moment the hostility of Europe, by this conquest of Belgium, and by the declaration of a crusade by the army against all its ancient institutions. The army began henceforth to regard itself as a great republican propaganda; it was by using this belief that Napoleon eventually worked his will on France.
This development of a warlike tendency in the republic, couple with the fall of the king, decided the policy of England, which hitherto had shown some sympathy with France. The ferment of opinion in England, roused by the revolutionary movement and republican ideas, was much stilled by the news of the death of Louis XVI.; and Pitt with great ability both used the feeling in favor of the Tory Government at home and tempted the French ministers of declare war against England (1st February 1793). Pitt at once proclaimed it, by a happy phrase, to be "the war of armed opinions," and drew tighter his friendly relations with the European courts. All ancient lines of policy were entirely obliterated by the new phenomenon. Spain and Portugal agreed; Austria ceased to be jealous of Prussia; Russia and Prussia found the moment good for a farther partition of Poland; the only neutral powers remaining in Europe were Sweden Denmark, Switzerland, Venice, and Turkey. The Mountain did not quail before so great a display of force. "France shall be an armed camp," and every Frenchman a soldier; "conquer or die," the watchword of an united people; the "principles of the revolution" a new religion for which men of good will should devote themselves. The enthusiasm was great; a levy of 300,000 men was voted at once; the revolutionary propaganda filled Belgium, and alienated the friendly feeling there by its violence. They had also ruined Dumouriezs plans, and he, with an ill-equipped army, and feeling that hostility was rising against him at Paris, set himself to recover ground by a bold attempt to conquer Holland. He was caught by the prince of Coburg at Neerwinded, and defeated after a vehement battle (18th march 1793). Then, as a last step, Dumoriez came secretly to terms with the Austrians, agreed to evacuate Belgium, and carrying with him the young duke of Charters, who had shown great gallantry and ability in the face of the enemy, marched for the French frontier, intending to restore the constitution of 1791, to secure the Girondists, overthrow the Jacobins, and proclaim the duke as constitutional king of France. In Paris, the struggle between the parties in the spring of 1793 was acute and close. The news of the disaster of Neerwinden and the march of Dumouriez for Paris aroused all the fury of the Jacobins; the Gorindists, with horror, saw themselves innocently implicated in a counter-revolutionary sceheme, carried out lightly and suddenly by a general whom they did not trust. The Jacobins at once took the ascendant, proposed the creation of the terrible Committee of Public Safety, summoned Dumouriez to the bar of the Convention, and sent off four deputies and the minister of war to him. When they came he seized them, sent them over the frontier to the Austrians, and openly proclaimed his objects. His regular troops might have supported him; the volunteers, full of Jacobin ideas, rose on him, and compelled him to take refuge, with the Orleans princes and a handful of soldiers, within the Austrian lines. It was clear enough that the Jacobins would assume that he and the princes had throughout an understanding with the Gironde. The Convention in alarm decreed that its own members should not be inviolable, but might be arrested on suspicion of treason; that the Orleans family should be sent to Marseilles; that three representatives should be sent to look after each army. The Committee of Public Safety was now formed of nine members re-elected monthly, as a secret spring to push the whole machine forwards without being seen. It was an ominous fact that not one of the nine representatives who formed it was a Girondist. They had still a majority in the Convention; it was all they had. Matters moved on fast; Paris, the commune, the ministers, the army, were all against them; in the country they had no adherents in the east and north-east of France; for the nearer Germany the stronger the Jacobins feeling. In the south-east royalist sentiments were still powerful, though for a time concealed. Their headquarters were at Lyons, and violent and bloody disturbances had already occurred there; in the west, in Brittany, Poitou, and Anjou, the royalist feeling was stronger still, and broke out, on the 10th march 1793, in the terrible Vendean insurrection on behalf of the white flag and the refractory priesthood. The Girondists had their strength in the south-west, with Bordeaux for their headquarters; the Normans and Picards, on the whole, supported the constitution of 1791, and thus could go with the Girondists.
At the beginning the Vendeans carried all before them, and in fanatical enthusiasm sullied each advantage they gained by horrible massacres, by shooting their prisoners in cold blood, pillaging towns, burning villages, maltreating the defenceless. The civil war from the beginning took a fierce color a color given it by the royalists. The Girondists also in the south threatened to march on Paris to put down the Jacobins. The allied powers, however, instead of closing in resolutely on France at her weakest, saved her by their long discussions as to what each of them was to take rather than what each was to undertake. At last they moved forwards in the north; Austrians, Dutchmen and English, under Coburg and the duke of York, slowly drove back the army of the north, which unfortunately lost its commander Dampierre, who was skillfully reviving its confidence, and besieged Valenciennes. The king of Prusia blockaded Mainz; in the other scenes of war the French were too weak to do anything, and suffered losses and defeats. The struggle of Girondists and Montagnards went on all the same; it was the gloomiest moment of the history of the revolution. In May a Committee of Twelve was appointed by the moderate party of the Convention, at the suggestion of Barrere, a moderate who had the confidence of more extreme men. It was composed of Girondists. Over against this move the sections of Paris established their Central Revolutionary Committee. On the 31st of May, guided by Danton, Paris rose against the Convention, and compelled it to suppress the Committee of Twelve. Marat at the head of his sans-culottes, supported by the minority of the rerpesetnatives, the Mountain, on the 2d of June overthrew the Girondists, arresting two of the ministers and thirty-one deputies. More than half the departments rose to defend the defeated party; in the Cevennes the white flag was unfurled, and the emigrants began to steam back into France. "On the one side was Europe with three-fourths of France; on the other side Paris with a few departments" (La Vallee). The position of things might well have seemed desperate for the Mountain, had there been any strong man, any true head, to direct the attack on them. But they had unity, energy, devotion to their principles, the main part of the army at their back; while their antagonists were divided in views and principles, and were in confusion. Danton, who in fact carried his party through the crisis, showed real power and energy. Under his direction the Convention proclaimed martial law in the hostile departments, called up the army, as far as possible, to the capital, and in eight days constructed a new constitution, that of the year I. simple, thoroughly democratic. It never was really acted on; men were too busy to care about constitutions. The assassination of Marat by Charlotte Corday, which occurred at this moment, inflamed mens minds still more against the Girondists; she had come from Caen, one of their towns, and was thought to agree with them. The first active measures taken by the Jacobins showed that the Girdondists were powerless; Paris and the army were at once triumphant, and by the beginning of August the Girondists were crushed.
Elsewhere things looked very dark; Toulon fell into English hands; :La Vendee remained unsubdued; and defeated the incompetent officers sent to reduce it; Mainz and Valenciennes fell; all France was vexed with famine, and the4 assignat-system had utterly paralysed commerce. The republic, however, was full of energy. After the fete of the 10th of August, with its statues of nature and reason, its classical and pagan affectations, and those light frivolities which were natural to Paris even in the darkest days, men turned at once to the ever-recurring question, how the republic should be saved. The Convention decreed a levee en masse to resist the invader and to keep down the ill-affected at home; to the Committee of Public Safety was entrusted the real government of the country; the new constitution was not to be introduced till peaceful days came round. The overthrow of all things old was further indicated by the issue, on 24th November 1793, of the new republican calendar. Year I. was fixed to have begun on the 22d of September 1792, the date of the proclamation of the Republic. The new year should have twelve months like its predecessors, each with a new name, in four groups of three; each of 30 days, and each divided into three decades, of which the tenth days should be days of rest, in lieu of the old exploded Sunday. These 12 months of 30 days a piece, cutting across the old months to awkwardly, only made up 360 days; so that a little bundle of 5 days (in leap years of 6) had to be tacked on at the end of the Fructidor month (August - September) in an awkward and shapeless way, and called, poor things, the Sans-culottides. Such interferences with symmetry will nature cause, when she sets herself against the spirit of system, and the advance of enlightenment. Attempts were also made at this time to grapple with the confusion in the currency and the crushing deficit; the mass of assignats was reduced by more than a half; a maximum price was set on the necessaries of life; trade also had to bow to the will of the Revolution.
In the affairs of war the new life of the Revolution found expression in the vigorous plans of Carnot, an engineer officer, who saw the truth of the principle afterwards acted on by Napoleon, that "God aids the big battalions." "Attack in mass, and cover the want of discipline and skill by numbers and enthusiasm,: - this was the new order. For neglecting this Houchard was deprived of command in the north, and had to give place to Jourdan, who, helped by Carnot himself; defeated Coburg at Wattignies (16th Oct. 1793); on the Rhine the battle of Pirmasens was lots (13th October), and the allies occupied Hagenau and Fort-Vauban; they threatened Landau, and had friends in Strasburg. Hoche was then sent down to the army of the Moselle and Pichegru to that of the Rhine. The former, after a series of rather unsuccessful battles against the duke of Brunswick, in which he failed to relieve Landau, suddenly left his adversary, and, in concert with Pichegru, cleared the Vosges, and brilliantly stormed the Wissemburg lines. The Austrians at the end of the year had raised the siege of landau, and were across the Rhine; the Prussians took winter-quarters at Mainz; the French lay in the Palatinate. In the south also things went better with the new Government; Lyons and Toulon were retaken, though on the slopes of the Pyrenees the Spaniards forced the French to take refuge under the walls of Perpingnan. In the Vendee the terrible civil war still raged; the peasants; point after point, defeated the isolated columns of the army. A more coherent plan of action, however, gave the victory at Chatillon (16th October 1793) to the republicans; then the Vendeans crossed the Loire, and defeated Lechelle near Laval. They next attacked Cherbourg, meaning to make it their point of union with the English; here, however, they were manfully withstood, and, incapable of siege-operations, withdrew. On their return they defeated Rossignol and made a push for Angers, meaning there to recross the Loire to the left bank. Westermann and Kleber drove them thence with loss, and with Marceau pursued them to Le Mans, where after a terrible battle in the streets, in which no quarter was given or taken, the Vendeans were utterly defeated. Westermann pressed on their heels with pitiless vigor; caught at last between the Loire and the Republicans, they were finally defeated (23d December 1793). Thenceforward they ceased to formidable, thought still troublesome at times.
So ended 1793, with fortunes, on the whole, very favourable to the French army, and very fatal to the Girondists. Meanwhile, the Reign of Terror had begun at Paris; the queen, the leading Girondists, all who were "aristocrats" or "ci-devants," as the phrases of the day called them, Philip Egalite, and a crowd of others, passed under the guillotine. In La Vendee, the revolutionary fury, goaded by the blood shed by its opponents, spared none it suspected. From Toulon most of the inhabitants had fled of refuge to the English ships; at Lyons the Convention ordered the destruction of the city, and the establishment of a new town to be called "Commune Affranchie"; many hundreds of the citizens were guillotined, and when that process proved too slow, were shot down by platoon fire.
Two parties were now to be discerned in opposition to the rule of the Committee of Public Safety, - the Exageres, or Hebertists, so named from their leader Hebert, the party of terror and reckless bloodshed; and the Moderes, the dantonists, who tried to calm mens minds, and lessen the atrocities of the time. the Hebertists were the stronger party; they abolished the catholic worship, swept away the past, set up a goddess of Reason, and professed atheism. The party of Robespierre in the Committee disliked both the indulgent and the savage sections. Early ion 1794 the Hebertists were seized and condemned to death; it was a first victory of the Government over the violent party. Had Robespierre been willing to ally himself with Danton, a stable rule, at least for a while, would have been possible. But he refused; he was not a person to brook a manly rival at his side; and Danton, with his party, fell victims to the ambition of the ascetic and heartless Robespierre. "If my friend is culpable, I will sacrifice him to the Republic," was his phrase, - had he said "to myself," he would have hit the truth. Then Robespierre became for a while a dictator; all France bowed before him; the revolutionary spirit in the eleven armies on foot was on his side. The campaigns of 1794 proved glorious fort hem; the battle of Fleurus (26th June) won for them the second conquest of Belgium; in the Pyrenees the French stormed the Spanish camp at ceret, and threatened catalonia; in Italy, where young Bonaparte commanded the artillery, they swept the Piedmontese out of their camp at Saorgio, and got the command of all the strong points along the Alps. It was only on the sea that the French armies failed; Corsica was taken, and Howe defeated the squadron in charge of a corn-fleet from San Domingo.
In the midst of his foreign cares Robespierre also busied himself with the exposition of his ideas. Those whom he had destroyed, Hebertists and Dantonists, had been anarchic and atheist; he, pale reflex of Rousseau, would bring back the reign of virtue and the love of God. He desired to be at once high priest and dictator of a regenerated France. To this end he passed a decree recognizing the Supreme being and declaring that the soul is immortal. His admirers at once hailed him as a great prophet; the emotion throughout the country was great. On the 8th of June 1794 he took the lead in the great fete of the Supreme Being, which amused and offended many of his old friends. Finding himself far from being admired by them, he determined that the Terror, which he had in some ways mitigated, should go on again; the Convention, however, resisted, and he withdrew completely from public life, giving his enemies the opportunity of strengthening themselves against him. At the same time he left the reins of power in the hands of his terrible colleagues, who at once applied with the utmost ferocity the law by which suspected person could be put to death with but the shadow of a trial. This was the time of what is called the Great Terror, June and July 1794. The reaction soon came; in spite of his friends and the power of the Jacobins, he had arrayed against him the majority of the Committees, and almost all the old Montagnards; his pride and vanity, the fete and his conduct of it, their fears of a dictator, their fear for their own heads, all undermined his position. before long the struggle began. Robespierre was no Marat; he would not strike a crushing blow, and "making solitude, call it peace." He trusted too much to the strength of his ideas, the influence of his party; and on the 27th of July 1794 (the 9th Thermidor) it came to an explosion in the Convention. Permanence was voted, the arrest of Robespierre and his chief supporters was agreed to; a proclamation to the people was issued; five members of the Convention were carried off to prison. Instantly, the commune of Paris declared itself in insurrection, the tocsin was, rung, and the five deputies were at once rescued from the jailors hands, and carried in triumph to the Hotel de Ville. Two hundred cannoniers marched on the Tuileries, where the Convention was sitting, and al seemed over there. But the artillerymen were not firm; when the deputies talked to them, they hesitated, and that hesitation was fatal to Robespierre; for those sections of Paris which hated him had also put themselves in motion to defend the Convention; indecision fell on the Jacobins, their forces melted away, and the resistance came to an end. Robespierre tried to shoot himself, and shattered his low jaw; he and his friends were again arrested, and perished the next day on the sacfford. And thus ended the early history of the French revolution. From the proclamationof the Republic to the days of the Legislative Assembly, from the overthrow of their power to the deathof the king, thence to the fall of the Girondists, then to the death of Hebert and Danton, now to the failure of Robespierres bloodstained Utopia, - thus had the Revolution moved onwards, violent, yet often generous, proudly patriotic, yet destructive of all the stability of the country. There remained but the army. The army was heartily republican, and had suffered enough and triumphed enough to have a high idea of its own organization and its worth. When a man comes to lead it, the army will set itself to organize France into an instrument of tremendous power; a despotism, solid and strong, aggressive abroad, vigorous at home, using all the terms and calls of the Revolution, will tale the place of the ill-fated men who have hitherto tried to guide the destinies of the country. It will call itself an empire; it will be a despot ruling with the liberal ideas and phrases.
Meanwhile, as Mr Carlyle says, "here was the end not of Robespierre only, but of the Revolution-system itself," for his death was the signal of a great revulsion of feeling. France, so gay and light of heart, had lived an unnatural life under the preaching of this virtuous dictator; she was weary of the gloom and burden of a system which crushed out gaiety, male wealth a crime, and pleasure impossible; and public opinion hailed with joy the tidings that the regime of virtue and the guillotine was over. The Terror was past; the committees which had destroyed Robespierre perished with his death; the "Thermidorians," the Mountain, who had caused this revolution, became a reactionary party, sitting on the right, and remodeling, if not over-throwing, the existing government. The prisons were emptied, the terrible cruelties of Nantes stopped; amnesty was offered to the rebels; the sections of Paris were reduced in importance, the administration of the capital reorganized. All the parties in hiding came forth; the Girondists returned; society began once more to dance and glitter; it was like the temper of England after the return of Charles II. In January 1795 the Convention closed the Jacobins Club; the agents who had carried out the inhuman orders of the past were put to death.
The armies, which by no means sympathized with the movement of affairs at home, still pursued in the autumn and winter of 1794 a brilliant career under Pichegru in the north, Jourdan on the Sambre and Meuse, and other generals for the Moselle and the Rhine. The whole course of the Rhine from Basel to the sea was in their hands; and the winter campaign, in which Pichegru conquered Holland, raised the fame of the commander and of his troops to the highest point. Pichegru had done what Louis XIV. had failed to do; 1795 wiped out the discredit of 1672; Holland and Belgium were to become republic on the French model; the Amsterdam populace welcomed the French as brethren. The capture of the Dutch fleet at the Texel by hussars, who stormed it on horseback, riding across the ice, seemed to the French people to realize a tale of fairyland. At home, too, the suppression of the Chouans, those Breton peasants who, taking advantage of the troubles, plied the trade of brigands and highway robber, added to the general content. The Vendeans struggled still; their country was a scene a desolation, and the central authority had to recall their barbarous agents, and to try to reduce the district to peace by way of conciliation.
So ended the year 1794, which saw the reaction set in at Paris, and saw, too, the revolution triumphant on every frontier, and the area of its influence extended widely. The coalition against France showed signs of breaking; the Dutch made peace, ceding northern Flanders with other districts to France; the king of Prussia also abandoned the coalition, ceding to France the left bank of the Rhine; the Bourbon king of Spain next abandoned "the cause of all kings"; the little states of Germany followed; Portugal made advances in the same direction, as did Naples, the papacy, and other Italian powers. England and Austria alone stood firm against the new ideas, and Pitt, though he could not hope to direct, or have to pay, half Europe, still felt strong enough to carry on the war.
Paris, where famine raged unchecked, was still uneasy and dissatisfied with the new Government. Men who knew how to excite the populace to fury told them that the scarcity was factitious; and they broke out into insurrection on the 1st of April, and again on the 20th of May. On each occasion the disturbance was easily put down. The multitude was thus completely overthrown, and the guidance of affairs lay entirely with the middle classes; the reign of wealth and comfort was what men longed for ; it was in sharp contrast with the general distress and suffering of the people, and provoked vain contests and bloodshed. The royalist thought that their time was come; and in a large part of the south of France they rose, and pitilessly massacred their political opponents. The murders committed by them fart exceeded in indiscriminate butchery and savageness even the brutal bloodshed which had defiled the progress of the Revolution. Throughout 1795 the efforts of the armies of France were languid-there was a feeling of uncertainty; the troops were firm to the republic, but it was not clear that the generals were so as well. Pichegru paralysed the army of the Rhine, as well as Jourdans army of the Sambre and Meuse, and ended the year by making an armistice with the Ausrtian, after which he was recalled and deprived of his command. The English armament, destined to rekindle the troubles of Brittany and L Vendee, failed wretchedly at Quiberon Bay; the genius of Hoche crushed it in the outset, and captured a large number of royalists. The central Government sent him orders to them all. He shot 711 emigress. And Charette on the other side, to be at least even with him, murdered in cold blood 200 republican prisoners in his hands.
The Constitution of the year III. now appeared, the work of the restored Girondists. It was republican, of a modified type; it entrusted legislation to two councils, the council of the Ancients, 250 persons of forty years of age and upwards, a kind of senate, who sanctioned the laws (or, to put it the other way, had the veto-power); and the council of Five Hundred, men at least thirty years old, who had the preparation and initiation in law-making. The executive power was entrusted to a Directory of five members, under whom should be responsible ministers, and all the machinery of practical government. The general principles of the rights of man were reaffirmed. The Convention at once accepted it, only taking care that the royalists should not be able to get hold of power by means of it. The country generally adopted the new constitution, which seemed likely to be moderate and stable. The royalists made one determined effort (5th October 1795) to overthrow it; the fighting was severe, and for a time Paris seemed likely to accept a counter-revolution. The energy of Bonaparte, who had been set aside because of his Jacobin opinions, but was now recalled by Barras, swept away the insurrection; Bonaparte had guns, he was a great artillery officer already, and the loose resistance of the royalists was vain against his skill andiron resolution. The elections, which took place this same month, being over, the Convention, as a last and, for the time, a very significant act, decreed the abolition of the punishment of death, and then declared its mission ended, and so ceased to exist.
The army had saved the Convention; it had set a new man forward; and he, for all his faults, a great man and a true ruler, became after a short time the central figure of all Europe.
Napoleon, Nonaparte was born in Corsica, on the 15th August 1769, just two months after the patriot Paoli had been obliged to cede that island to France. His was a dark and thoughtful boyhood. He loved history, above all the history of great men in the republics of antiquity. He read with eagerness both Caesars Commentaries and, like so many other great men, Plutarchs Lives. The French tongue was a foreign language to the boy; he learnt it late, and never altogether mastered it. In 1785 he was at the military school at Paris, where he learnt to grumble at and to criticize the ancient regime; in the next year he entered the army. When the Revolution began he declared warmly for it though at first his ambition seemed rather to point to a career in Corsica than to one in France. When Paoli ejected him thence in 1792, he settled, first at Nice, then at Marseilles, with his mother and sisters, who had gone from Corsica with him. In 1793 he became captain of artillery, and was charged to put down the Marseilles federalists; this successfully accomplished, he was made adjutant-general at the siege of Toulon, and by storming the Eguillette fort, secured the fall of the town. He was at once, at the age of twenty-four, named a brigadier-general, and, after arming the Provencal shores against English attacks, was sent to command the artillery (in 1794) in Italy. Here his vigor, amazing power of organization, and genius in war gave a new turn to affairs, and secured the brilliant success of the campaign, which, in about a months time, made France the mistress of the Alps. This triumph made Bonaparte a great favorite with the Robespierres, especially with the younger brother, who had at this moment the charge of the army of Italy; and the young general, without believing much in them, echoed the high-flown sentiments of his chiefs, accepted, with contempt, their opinions, while, as far as he dared, to his honor be it said, he sheltered those who in Italy were obnoxious to their vengeance. In after life he always shunned reference to this period of his career, and his connection with the brief ascendancy of Rousseaus reign of virtue as expounded by Robespierre. At the time he saw that it would not last, and tried his best to avoid compromising himself. He got his reward; when Robespierre fell, though he was arrested, and had a narrow escape, his prudence had kept him sufficiently clear of the fallen leader to save him. For a time he was in disgrace, and with other officers of the army of Italy was suspected of strong Jacobin tendencies. When, however, Barras, in October 1795, needed a vigorous artillery-officer for the streets of Paris, he found one in Bonaparte, whom Pontecoulant, with clear sight which does him great credit, had made president of the "topographical cabinet." For Bonaparte, not being a real Frenchman, knew the value of geography, and understood how to use a map. The remarkable skill and energy with which the young general crushed the Vendemiaire insurrection ecured his fortunes; with the army he had defeated Paris. He was made general of division and commander-in-chief of the army of the interior at the age of twenty-six. The event "showed the world" says Lanfrey, "what can be the weight of a soldiers sword in the balance; from this inauspicious day power learnt to reckon on the army, the army to dispose of power; the path towards a military government was now open."
First, however, the Directory must have its course. The Legislative Assembly, with seemingly the fairest prospects, had lasted less than a year. The national Convention saw the fall of the Girondists,then of Hebert and Danton, lastly of Robespierre, and existed three clear years. The Directory, which came into office with a new constitution on October 28, 1795, had before it no less than four years of power. And yet at first, so far as could be seen, its chances were bad. The five directors, with exception of Barras, who was a noble, and suspected of reactionary leanings, were honest republicans, and men of character; they set themselves to allay the commercial and popular misery of the country, by absorbing a large portion of the asignants, and ten by replacing them with "territorial mandates," which represented a fixed amount of public lands; a considerable amount of coin came again into circulation, and credit seemed to revive. They also abolished the commune of Paris, created an army for the "interior," and established guards for the public service. Stability seemed to return; men were weary of the agitation of late years; the famine also abated, so as to render Paris less difficult of management. It was felt that the Government was in a way provisional, that France had need of repose, and, as usually happens, indifference succeeded as a reaction from the heroic measures of the past. The councils of the Ancients and of the Five Hundred were one-third new; and the elections had shown that the country was weary of the Revolution, and desired a return to a constitution, and perhaps even to monarchy. The bourgeoisie of France were the strength of this movement. The republican party, which had offended Paris, and refused to ally itself with the doings of the Jacobins, seemed weak, and was obliged to stand on the defensive. The royalists, to whom had rallied many of the old Girondists, were able to pass more than one decree in favor of their views. Had there been a prince of any resolution at their head, their chances would have been good; as it was, the count of Provence, who in this year was recognized by the crowned heads as Louis XVIII, on the death of his nephew the dauphin (the titular Louis XVII.), was an intelligent and liberal person, but wanting in power, while his borther the count of Artois (afterwards Charles X.), whom he now named lieutenant-general of the realm, was a miserable and narrow creature, of good manners and bad morals, incapable of any worthy or heroic effort. When the Vendeans and Bretons were eager to revolt again, and Vharette had prepared everything, the count of Artois could not even be persuaded to land; he returned to England, discredited and despised. The fierce outbreak of despair with which Charette signalized his disappointment and anger was soon mastered by the devotion and genius of Hoche, who circled round the revolted districts, gradually hemmed in the insurgents, and eventually took and shot the desperate chieftain himself. His comrade Stofflet had perished a month before. by April 1796 the west was completely pacified, and 80,000 of the best soldiers of France were free for foreign service. At the other extreme, the former "Terrorists" formed a great secret society called the Conspiracy of Babeuf; their plans were betrayed to the Directory, and the movement easily crushed; the Government used no vengeance; only Babeuf and one comrade were executed.
These things gave stability and confidence to the new administration; it seemed to win the good-will of all except the extreme parties; there was a distinct lull in political passion; and as the Directory proved very enterprising and warlike in foreign affairs, it also secured the army. This was in large part due to the military genius and temper or Carnot, the organizer of victory," who was one of the Five. He now planned a grand attack on Austria, feeling that the hostility of England might for the moment be neglected. Three armies, led by three young generals, were to make their way in harmony towards Vienna, one under Jourdan, the army of the Sambre and Meuse, the second under Moreau, that of the Rhine and Moselle, the third under Bonaparte, the army of Italy. This army, hitherto commanded by Scherer, who had under him Surrurier, Massena, and Augereau had not been inactive in 1794 and 1795. Scherer, however, had not enterprise in him, and was content with partial success; his army lay scattered along the Alps, and he seemed powerless to draw it together so as to crush either Piedmontese or Austrians; the army also was not powerful in numbers, though its quality was very good. Bonaparte, on his arrival though its quality was very good. Bonaparte, on his arrival to take the command, at once addressed them in the tone of a confident adventurer speaking to hungry mercenaries. " I am going to lead you into the richest plains on earth; - there you will find honor, glory, and wealth." Splendidly seconded by Massena, Laharpe, and Augereau, he at once took the ascendant, and place his victorious army between the Piedmontese and the Austrians. By a succession of rapid victories he forced the Turin court to sue for an armistice (28th April 1796), securing the neutrality of the Sardinian and Savoyard troops, and the cession of Nice and Savoy to France at the end of the war. Then with the swiftness of an eagle he crossed the Po, won the hard-fought battle of Lodi (10th May 1796), and entered Milan in triumph. There he re-equipped and rested his army, made terms with the dukes of Parma and Modena, raised a contribution of twenty million francs on Lombardy, the half of which, with some of the masterpieces of Italian art, he sent at once to Paris to the Directory,which received his favors with a gratitude which trembled on the verge of jealousy.
When they proposed to interfere with him, he threatened to throw up his command; and so marked already was this young officers popularity in France, that the Government shrank from accepting his resignation, and the great career was not checked. In spite of infinite difficulties, by unscrupulous assertion, audacity, genius in war, Bonaparte succeeded in humbling the Italian states; Venice, with her unarmed neutrality, was easily mastered; Beaulieu, who commanded the Austrian army now falling fast asunder, was driven back towards Tyrol; Mantua was blockaded; the pope, Pius VI., signed an armistice with the young conqueror; the English were dislodged from Leghorn and Corsica; Genoa gave in; Piedmont was quieted. When Wurmser came down into Italy with 40,000 Austrians from the armies of the Rhine, these unwilling friends of France at once turned against her; it might have well appalled a man of slighter nerve. But Bonaparte at once made head against his new foes. He was a man who never failed to see the critical point in a campaign or in a battle; and at Lonato, Castiglione, Bassano, and Saint George he drove the old marshal, with his ancient ways of warfare, completely out of Italy with vast loss. The whole series of operations had taken but a week (July 30 to August 5). He hoped next to penetrate, according to Carnots plan, through Tyrol into Bavaria, and there to unite with Moreau. He had, however, underrated the Austrian obstinacy; for Wurmser, gathering fresh forces, resumed the offensive, hoping ot free Mantua, and to repulse the small French army. Bonaparte, who had won the battles of Roveredo and Calliano, and had reached Trent on his way for Innsbruck, at once hastened back, defeated Wurmser at Bassano and drove him towards mantua, in which place he shut him up by the middle of September. In vain did whole German armies, released from the campaigns elsewhere, pour from the mountains down into Italy; the incredible swiftness, clearness of insight, vivacity of genius, ascendancy over the soldierly mind, which mark the great commander, saved Bonaparte from being crushed. Seconded by his admirable captains, he won the fields of Arcola and Rivoli, of La Favorita and Corona, in which he utterly paralysed the Sustrians, secured the fall of Mantua, the prize for which the antagonists were striving, and led to the capitulation of marshal Wurmser himself. Bonaparte instantly set out to reduce the feeble pope, who, scared by his approach, signed (19th February 1797) the treaty of Tolentino, under which he paid a heavy subsidy, and ceded Avignon and the Venaissin to France, and the Romagna, with Bologna and Ferrara, to the friends of France in the Milanese; Bonaparte also extorted from him a hundred of the chief works of art at Rome, which were sent as spoils of war to Paris. It was believed in France that the last hour of the papacy had struck. The young conqueror, in the midst of his most active movements, had found time to sketch out a future for Italy, and to frame his Cispadane and Lombard republics; he also signed a treaty of peace with Spain. In all things he acted promptly and resolutely, awaiting no mans orders, with perfect confidence in himself and his army. The Directory at Paris could but look on in amazement, and, seeming to advise and approve, endeavored to associate itself with his dreaded triumphs.
The campaign of 1796 in another way was favored by fortune, so far as Bonapartes interests were concerned; for the Rhine armies, ill-supplied, and under two commands, were opposed by the archduke Charles, and were not strong enough to carry out the great and dangerous plans of Carnot. Jourdan was repelled, and Moreau, who had penetrated into Bavaria, seeing himself almost cut off and isolated, with Jourdan on the Rhine, and the Tyrolese Alps between him and Bonaparte, was forced to retreat, and late in October was back again in Alsace. A great expedition to Ireland under Hoche also failed completely; and by the beginning of 1797 Bonaparte seemed to the eyes of all Frenchmen their only great and successful captain.
Now the startled all Europe by his audacious plan for the campaign of 1797. He saw his way to achieve that which Louis XIV. had attempted in vain, the overthrow of Austria by a march on Vienna. His army was strengthened, and those on the Rhine ordered to begin active operations, in order to occupy their opponents; quite early in the spring Bonaparte began his great campaign by driving the archduke Cahrles away from his defences. In spite of the vehement resistance of the Ryrolese and the threatening attitude of Venice in their rear, the French advanced always, and Bonaparte, crossing the Noric Alps, penetrated in April as far as Leoben in Styria; his outposts were pushed to within easy reach of Vienna. Then the Austria court fell into panic; the Austria were either beaten and scattered or were far off; there was no resisting this terrible and swift advance. The emperor gladly signed with Bonaparte (who had no authority to do it only the power), "the Preliminries of leoben" (18th April) ceding to France Belgium and the left bank of the Rhine from Basel to Andernach, as well as Lombard, which was to be an independent state. The successful outset of the Rhine campaign, in which Hoche and Moreau had already thrust the Austrians back into the Black Forest, was early arrested by the tidings of Leoben. In Italy fortune again favored Bonaparte. A Venetian insurrection gave him the opportunity of finally overthrowing the ancient republic of Saint Mark. The Venetian citizens were in the main favorable to France, while the oligarchical senate an the peasantry detested the "deliverers." A democratic government, centered in the people of Venice, replaced the rule of the senate. Genoa, under the grand title of the Ligurian Republic, became the submissive ally of France. The amazement of all Europe, the sympathy of the peoples everywhere, the embarrassments of the Governments, forced even Pitt to make serious proposals for peace.
Yet at home affairs looked ill. In spite of the glorious success of the armies abroad, paper money, - which as La Vallee says, "had done its work, had conquered Europe, had in five years subdivided property far beyond all that had been done in that direction by centuries of feudalism," because it was with paper that the thriftier peasants had been able to purchased the lands of the crown, the church, and the nobles, - these assignats had become almost worthless, and a field for gamblers, who scandalized even Paris with their sham wealth and real dissipation. Republic manners and institutions were alike corrupted and tottering to their fall. It was thought that the elections of the year V., which renewed one-third of the two councils (May 1797), would reverse the political position, for they showed clearly that the country was returning to royalist opinions. In some departments a "White Terror," the usual accompaniment of the rising spirits of royalists, broke out. A reaction at once began in the Directory, of which three members were still firmly republican, while two, Carnot and Barthelemy, were with the new majaority, the "Clinchy" party. The Directory was censured for the war against Venice, and the new alliances in Italy; the exiled and depressed party were favored; it was openly said that the councils would reorganize the national guard, overthrow the Directory, and proclaims Louis XVIII. "While Europe was learning to speak with terror-born respect6 of the name of Republican," says Thibaudeau, "it had become at home a term of contempt, a title to proscription." Napoleon Bonaparte, with his devoted and Jacobin army, had won that respect for France abroad; how would he presently face the difficulties at home? The Directory, finding itself menaced, and its very existence at stake, recalled Hoche, the most single-minded of republicans, with his army from the Rhine, and asked Bonaparte for one of his generals. He sent them Augerieau, whom he could trust both to do the work well, and not to stand afterwards in the way of his own ambition. With these the Directory carried out the "Coup dEtat" of the 18th Fructidor (4th September 1797); with cried of "Long live the Republic" the soldiers occupied Paris; the three directors, who had the stroke in hand, Barras, Rewbel, and Lreveilliere, arreste their fourth colleague Barthelemy, while Carnot, the fifth, escaped. The majority in the Councils was overthrow, fifty-three of them condemned to exile, and a kind of Reign of Terror ensued, without much bloodshed. The liberty of the press was suspended, the laws favorable to the royalists repealed, the party of the old regime crushed. Hoche, who had received the command of both the Rhine armies on the suspension of Moreau, suddenly died (it was said, of poison), at the age of twenty-nine; he left behind him an untarnished name- that of a peasant-hero of purest and noblest character.
The Directory, though it breathed again, felt that it lived only by the grace of the army; and so, which it signed the treaty of Campo Formio (Oct. 18, 1797), which embodied the Preliminaries of Leoben, it broke off negotiations with England. Bonapartes work in Italy done, he was named general of the "army of England," and at the end of 1797 returned in triumph to Paris. In him men saw a new development of Revolution principles, a man of genius under whom those principles were to bring happiness and glory to France, while the taught them by force to the unwilling nations of Europe. He too saw before him an open filed for his ambition; he would destroy the kings of the earth by the agency of his Jacobin army; and then, "head of the army," he would become master of France. His Italian blood and tastes taught him how the Roman republic had passed into empire; he would tread he same path, and reach the same splendid goal. The coup detat of the 18th Fructidor had destroyed the authority of the elective body over the Government; when the departments had sent up royalists, the Directory put them down; and, by a natural consequence, the press was at once coerced, lest public opinion, never strong in French history, should gain too much power. The result of all was the weakening of the Directory, and the gradual preparation of France for the coming of a real master.
For the republican party was by no means content with the five Directors, - the five tyrants of the Luxemborug;" it was a Government without splendour, or principles , or virtue. Consequently, the elections of the year VI. showed a decided majority in favor of republican principles. The Directory did not hesitate to make asecond coup detat, this time against the republicans. They also put a lawyer instead of a general into the vacant place in the Directory itself, as if to show that they could do without the army now. Yet, at the same time they had refused the advantageous terms offered them by Pitt at Lille, and were eager for way; they proposed to remodel all Europe on democratic lines, and rejoiced to have a hand in the overthrow of the papal government, which was replaced by a Roman republic (February 1798), and in April of a Helvetic republic which replaced the old aristocratic government of Bern. By the former France defied the oldest institution in the world; by the latter she destroyed the ancient neutrality of Switzerland, a step which afterwards turned to her own loss.
War with England was now the chief affair for France; she made preparations on the western coasts, and set a considerable fleet afloat. The state of Ireland, which was thoroughly hostile to England, invited the Directory in one direction; the appeal of Tippoo Sahib in Mysore was heard at the same moment. Should they listen to either? Should they not rather strike at the heart of the enemy by an invasion of England? Bonaparte, who was now at Paris, standing aloof from parties, advising the Directory, living tranquilly with his wife Josephine, interested in his new membership of the Institute, was destined to answer this question for them. Afraid of dropping out of sight, anxious to strike the imagination of France by some singular and distant success, attracted by that love of wide combinations which characterized him, Bonaparte now proposed to the Directory to conquer Egypt. The conquest itself would be easy, for the Ottoman power was all but gone. Egypt would be a splendid colony for France, assuring her on the one hand of the Mediterranean, and on the other hand rendering the trade and mastery of England precarious, if it did not at once prove fatal to it. The thought had been presented to Louis XIV. by Descartes, and approved by Colbert. Choiseul had not rejected it in his day. "We can destroy England in Egypt," was Bonapartes belief. On the other hand the Directory, after much doubt, adopted the project, partly because of its dimensions and startling boldness, partly because the Five could thereby, for a time certainly, probably for ever, be delivered from that terrible young general whose ambition was clear to them, and whom they feared. And so, in spite of all whisperings of prudence, and in spite of the threatening state of Europe, and the precarious condition of their power at home, the Directory sanctioned Bonapartes plan, and furnished him with a fine fleet and army for the purpose. That able negotiator Talleyrand set out for Constantinople charged to endeavor to satisfy the Ottoman Porte as to the objects of the expedition.
Bonaparte sailed from Toulon (19th May 1798) for Malta, which, by good will of some of the knights and the idleness and decadence of the Order of St John, he took at once; thence to Alexandria, having escaped the English fleet under Nelson. He landed, and sent Kleber forward to capture Alexandria; then leaving him to garrison that city, he marched on Cairo, threw off the gallant attacks of the Mamelukes on the way, showed to his soldiers the "forty centuries looking down on them from Pyramids," defeated Mouirad Bey, who endeavored to defend Cairo, and entered that city in triumph. The whole of Egypt was thus subdued with one blow; and Bonaparte was already, with his wonted energy, making plans for the permanent occupation and government of the country, was setting out with his savants to explore the wealth and wonders of the land, was writing home bulletins of glory, when there spread through the camp the camp the news of the battle of the Nile, and one great disaster ruined all. brueys, after receiving orders either to enter the port of Alexandria or to withdraw to Corfu, had lingered near Aboukir, and was there caught by Nelson. The battle had lasted all the night of August 1; by the morning the English fleet was much shattered, but it had destroyed its enemy, with the exception of four ships which escaped to Malta. It was the ruin of the French navy; and how should the victorious army at Cairo ever get reinforcements or escape from Egypt? Was the fate of St Louis in store for these new crusaders,who, unlike him, affected Mahometan ways and customs, and issued proclamation which the pious Mussulman might have thought written by a true believed?
The Ottoman Porte, far from being appeased by French explanation (indeed Talleyrand, shrew man, saw that it was hopeless, and never went to Constantinople), declared war on France, and allied itself with England and Russia, - it was the beginning of the new politics of the Mahometans in Europe, the beginning of the end for them. a second coalition was at once organized against France. Russia, under Paul I., entered warmly into it, and constituted herself the special patron and protector of the emigrant royalists; the court of Vienna made its preparations to shake off the yoke of Campo Formio; the five republics round about had learnt already that republicanism under French patronage was very like servitude, - the French having an unhappy knack of always alienating those they patronize as liberators, - and seemed weary of seeing their finest works of art sent to Paris, as if to the worlds center. They were already listening to the court of Naples which hotly urged on war. France, on the other hand, was very unfit to fight . she had lost all control of the Mediterranean; the army was weaker in itself, and much weaker by the absence of Bonaparte in Egypt; finance was still amiss, with a terrible deficit; the Directory inspired little confidence. The only ally of France was Spain, and her navy had been destroyed the year before off Cape At Vincent by Admiral Jervis.
The Directory raised money as it could, and passed the great law of the "conscription," by which every Frenchman was compelled to be a soldier from the age of twenty to twenty-five, and ordered an immediate levy of 200,000 men. War began at once in Italy; before the end of the year the whole peninsula from Piedmont to Sicily was at the feet of France.
The Directory, having destroyed the neutrality of Switzerland, thought it now necessary to occupy that country, in order to protect the frontiers of France on that side; they also spread their forces along their whole line, from Brune who commanded in Holland, to Macdonald who was at Naples. The army of Massena formed the center of the whole; he was instructed to enter Switzerland, seize the central Alps and the Vorarlberg and Tyrol, and thence to threaten Venice. It was an entirely new combination in European warfare, thanks to the new Helvetic Republic . Massene pushed forward into Tyrol, but was arrested there by the ill-success of his colleagues in Bavaria, and in Italy on the Po. Jourdan had been twice defeated by the archduke Cahrles on the Danube, while Scherer, in Italy, after some successes, had been obliged to fall back after a disastrous campaign. The Helvetic strategy had proved a failure, and Massena had to abandon his enterprise. The news of French reverses reaching Rastadt, where France was still trying to intimidate the feeble princes of the empire, the French envoys were told to leave the town, and were murdered on the road by Austian hussars. The news of this barbarous insult to the sacrosanct persons of a nations envoys roused immense excitement in France, and entirely did away the depression which had crept over the country. The ranks of the army filled with amazing speed. The Helvetic plan of advance was abandone; Massena had command of his old army and that of the Rhine, with his center from the Lake of Constance to Basel; Macdonald was withdrawn from Naples; the army of Italywas commanded by Moreau, whom the Directory had restored to favor after eighteen months of inaction, consequent on his ambiguous dealings with Pichegru.
The campaign on the upper Rhine showed that the French were not strong enough to defend so long a line; they were pushed back as far as to Zurich, where Massena defended himself for two days against the archduke Charles, and though in the end successful, he still found it better to fall back again. The Austrians occupied the chief part of Switzerland, and waited for the Russians to come up. In Italy Moreau was also overpowered; his great ability as a captain alone saved his army from terrible disasters after the defeat of Cassano, in which Suwarrof treated him very roughly, driving him back and entering Milan. He took up a good position near Alessandria, and waited for Macdonald, who was coming up from Naples. After a very difficult campaign, in which Moreau showed great vigor and devotion, and Macdonald had done his best, and the Fresh soldiers had displayed all their old bravery, the two armies, after terrible losses, united at Genoa. The Directory dismissed Macdonald, gave Moreau the command of a new force on the Rhine, and sent Joubert to command the army of Italy. In attempting to save Alessandria, he was met by Suwarrof, who defeated him completely (15th August 1799) at Novi, after a very hard fought battle. This defeat ended the French resistance in Italy. Naples Rome, the valley of the Po, were all in the hands of the allies. From all sides news of disaster reached Paris; the Dutch fleet passed over to the English; as expeditionary force reached Ireland, only in time to be taken prisoners; the English took Minorca and blockade Malta; the Russians became masters of the Ionian Islands; Bonaparte even, with the army of Egypt, had suffered defeat from Sir Sidney Smith at St Jean dAcre on the Syrian shore, in May, after having taken Gaza and Jaffa. In India the friend of France, Tippoo Sahib, lay dead in the breach of Seringapatam (4th May 1799). No wonder if after this the position of the Directory became very critical. It was loudly declared Bonaparte; the public feeling in his favor grew with mens sympathy and indignation. The Government was, with exception of Barras, one of honest mediocrity, a dangerous type in France; Sieyes, who entered the Directory in the year VII. (1799), was regarded as its enemy, and men rallied round him; Lucien Bonaparte, who was one of the Five Hundred, led the opposition, which declared the councils to be in permanent session; and thus the legislative power once more asserted its authority over the executive (18th June 1799). It was a republican revival; the constitution of the year III. seemed to be set aside; the character of the Directory was changed by new appointments; things fell into confusion. It was clear that a head was wanted.
Tidings of this state of things at last reached Bonaparte, who had been completely cut off from France by the disaster of the fleet. It is said that he learnt it from a packet of gazettes forwarded to him by Sir Sidney Smith. Turkish armies had been gathering force against him, and baffled in Syria, he had now to fight for existence kin Egypt. The battle of Aboukir (24th July 1799), which destroyed one of their armies, set him free. Not without lies and deceptions he stole away, leaving his army under command of Kleber, whose independent temper troubled him; for as he had failed to conquer Syria, and to win an Oriental empire, he must now hasten home to push his fortunes in France. About the time that he reached Paris (October 1799) in a kind of triumph, as the hero the brilliant success of Aboukir, the anxious country also received tidings of the splendid campaign of Massena in Switzerland, the victory of Zurich (24th September 1799), the quarrels of Russia and Austria, the retreat of Suwarrof into Bavaria, and of the lesser successes with which Brune defeated the duke of York in Holland, and forced him to sign the capitulation of Alkmaar (18th October 1799). France, relieved rather than triumphant, welcomed Bonaparte with enthusiastic transports. No one cared to inquire what he had done with his army; he was there, and that sufficed; he was there, and the reign of order was about to begin. To this then, had the reign of reason, the rights of men, the republican propaganda, fallen; men yearned only for a strong man, a stable government under with they might have equal peace. And Bonaparte was willing enough to accept the part thus pressed on him; he called to himself the moderate party, by far the largest in France, and prepared to seize on a dictatorship. On the 18th and 19th of Brumaire (9th and 10th November 1799) Bonaparte, who had allied himself with Sieyes, and had round him a powerful group of friends and generals, carried out his plans in spite of the resistance of the patriots, the hostility of the Five Hundred, the uncertain temper of the troops. It was a moment of immense peril for Bonaparte and his brother Lucien, until, in reply to an appeal to the soldiers, in which nothing was spared that could rouse them, the grenadiers rallied to their hero, and ejected the council then sitting at St Cloud. The Directory was suppressed, and in their place were three consuls, appointed provisionally. These were Napoleon Bonaparte, Sieyes, and Roger-Ducos. Two commissions were named to revise the constitution. The three consuls took oath to the Republic.
Thus the Revolution passed into its last stage. It had tried to live with a king, had tried to govern by democratic severities, had also been moderate; it now became military. The despot, who, according to Aristotle, haunts like a dark specter the steps of democracy, had now, at ten years end, overtaken and destroyed its forerunner. "Eadem magistratuum nomina," no doubt; also, as in the case of imperial Rome, a new dynasty founded on the sword.
Bonaparte had no sooner secured his revolution than he set himself with his wonted vigor and sagacity to consolidate it. He saw France was weary at heart of the struggles and changes of parties; he wished to sweep away all remembrance that he too had been, in profession at least, an ardent partisan; he felt that he, supported by his bayonets, was strong enough to treat faction with contempt. Therefore he said, "Let there no more Jacobins, nor moderates, nor royalists; let all be Frenchmen;" and as he said it, all France recognized that this was the equality they sought, and hailed him as their master. When the consuls sentenced fifty-nine democrats to exile, the popular feeling showed itself so completely in favor of an amnesty for all that they were compelled to recall the order. Parties were now insignificant, because Bonaparte was great.
On the 13th of December 1799 the "Constitution of the year VIII." chiefly the work of Sieyes, was put forth. There were to be three consuls, first second, and third, not equal as at Rome, named for ten years, and re-eligible. Of these the first consul had in fact all the power; he alone could promulgate laws, name ministers, ambassadors, and officers generally, while the second and third had only a consultative voice, which could not be of great avail; their two voices could not out-vote that of their co-called colleague. A council of state was to be charged with the drawing of all laws, its members to be named by the first consul; laws thus framed should be presented to a tribunate of a hundred members; this body, after discussion f the project, was to pass it on, in the hands of three orators, who should discuss it against three counselors of state nominated by the Government, in the presence of the legislative body, which finally adopted or rejected the law by a secret ballot without debate. This legislative body was composed of three hundred members. Lastly, there was to be a senate of eighty life members, who should confirm or annul all acts which might be referred to it, on grounds of their constitutional character. They also were to name the consuls, tribunes, and the legislative body, choosing them from a list of 5000 names, which were to be chosen by 50,000 persons, who themselves should be elected by 500,000 electors, who in their turn were to be named by universal suffrage. Senators were to elected to vacancies by cooptation, from a list of three candidates presented by the legislative body, the tribunate, and the first consul. Bonaparte had modified this elaborate structure before it saw the light, by significantly cutting out all the poor guarantees for liberty it contained. As it stood, it was merely the decent robe which shrouded the naked dictatorship of the first consul. The people, by an enthusiastic plebiscite, adopted it almost unanimously. Bonaparte having accepted the post he had arranged for himself, two new men were associated with him; Cambaceres, a distinguished lawyer, and not a politician, as second consul; and Lebrun, an elderly man, good at the bureau, the type and representative of French officially, as third consul. The senate was filled with the most distinguished names in France men great in science and arts, as well as in arms or politics; the legislative body whom they selected, after the decimal system explained above had reduced the candidates to 5000, were certain to be quiet obsequious people. Finally, lest public opinion should be disturbed in its happy unanimity, the freedom of the press came suddenly to an end; for the First Consul thought that thirteen journals were enough for France, and these were all duly submissive to the Government. Thus did dictatorial power usurp the place of liberty, and a system began, based on falsehood and illegal force, yet so splendid and so well-suited to the needs of fainting France that she has only in our day at last escaped from the glamour of it, and from the worship of the Napoleonic idea. The First Consul took up his abode, early in 1800, at the Tuileries, and at once formed a ministry: - his brother Lucien for the home office; Gaudin for finance; Berthier for the army; Talleyrand, ex-bishop, for foreign affairs; and Fouche, lord of spies, for police, - the last two the only politicians in the company; they both had abandoned holy orders. Without a portfolio, in close relation with Bonaparte, was Maret, better known by his later title of duke of Bassano, the first founder of the Moniteur Universel, a man of upright character and unwearied industry. The spirit of system, visible in the constitution, and in the tastes and character of Bonaparte, was at once indelibly impressed on the administration of the country. All sprang from one center, the First Consul; a prefect was set over each department, with sub-prefects under him; it was a more perfect development of the intendants office under the old regime; the prefects named the local mayors, and thus the whole machine received all its impulses from headquarters, and formed a perfectly compact and easy-going government. Local law and local finance were also organized in a similar way; and by a simple edict as to the method of tax-gathering, joined to the new confidence all France felt in her ruler, the crushing difficulty of the deficit was at once got rid of. Peculation became impossible; taxpayers were equally and fairly charged; none were allowed to fall into arrears; and the country, being really rich, speedily rose into prosperity. Salaried officials covered the whole land with a network, each for his daily bread interested in the stability of government. The principle of the new government, in general administration, in finance, in the church, in the law, was that of absolute subservience of all officials to the head; and the love of France for bureaucracy, which had made her the chosen land of an official hierarchy, made this organization the most complete and successful that the world had hitherto ever seen. The disturbances in the west, caused by the monarchists, were put down without difficulty.
Bonaparte had promised peace to France; and he at once wrote a letter of George III., with characteristic indifference to the English constitution, offering to make peace directly with him. Pitt, as minister, replied by refusing to negotiate, till France should replace on the throne her ancient dynasty. The terms of the refusal offended the French people, and strengthened Bonapartes position. Russia made peace; Prussia stood neutral. Austria and England, with Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and Mainz, determined to continue the contest.
The campaigns of 1800 were thus planned by Bonaparte. Massena with a weak army was left to defend the Riviera from Nice to Genoa, and there to employ as much as possible the Austrians in Italy. The Rhine army, led by Moreau, should threaten Bavaria, after finally grasping the all-imported strategic position of the corner of the Black Forest, quietly and with scrupulous secrecy, collected a third great army for himself, destined for the Po. Massenas army was driven back and suffered considerable reverses; the Austrians under Melas penetrated across the frontier; Bonaparte, however, knew that Provence was not the heart of France, and that with Massena holding out at Genoa, no very serious attack could be made in the south. Moreaus army of the Rhine penetrated into Bavaria, drove the Austrians back to Ulm, and prepared to send a part of its right flank across the Alps to join the main central movement of Bonaparte. His army of the center, collected rapidly at Geneva, made its famous passage of the St Bernard, while his right went over the Mont Cenis, and the right flank of Moreaus army, now his left, crossed the St Gotthard. To the amazement of all, the Austrians saw Bonaparte returning to the scene of his old triumphs, and entering Milan in triumph. They hastily drew themselves together; the fall of Genoa, after a splendid defence by Massena, freed a large force. The astounding battle of Marengo (14th June 1800) decided the campaign; "in it the Austrians lost all they had gained in eighteen months and by twenty victories." The armistice of Alessandria followed at once; for Marengo had given Bonaparte the command of all the upper valley of the Po, and the Austrians withdrew behind the Mincio. Meanwhile Moreau, with the army of the Rhine, was doing excellent work in Bavaria, and had taken the ascendant all along his line, when tidings of the convention of Alessandria brought his campaign to an end. Peace, however, did not follow; the English Government eagerly urged the Austrians to hold on, and hostilities began again, later in the year, in the valley of the upper Danube, where Moreua, supported by Ney, won the splendid victory of Hohenlinden not far from Munich (2d December 1800), and after a series of brilliant combats drove the Austrians back, till Vienna was in terror. Then an armistice was signed at Steyer, by which Austria ceded her strong places in Tyrol and those of Bavaria to the French army. The army of Italy also won great advantages, and compelled Austria to sign an armistice, by which France occupied a number of important points in north Italy. In concert with Pius VII., lately elected pope, Murat menaced the kingdom of Naples, and a third armistice, which closed the Neapolitan harbors to England, ended the war. The peace of Luneville was concluded on February9, 1801, between France and Austria. It was drawn on the basis of the treaty of Campo Formio; France secured the left bank of the Rhine and the Belgian provinces; the independence of the four republics was recognized; the pope was replaced in his states; Tuscany was ceded to France, and became the heart of a new kingdom of Etruria. The king of Naples also made his peace with France, on the terms of his armistice.
England alone stood out against the First Consul, who seemed able to impose his will on Europe. It is impossible, at this distance of time, to realize completely the combination of causes which led to the determined resistance of England; the most prominent and least defensible cause was the "deminium maris," asserted tin opposition to the principles of the armed neutrality of 1780. at the end of the 18th century the English navy had risen to very great proportions, and the interests of the country, as was then thought, were hostile to the claims of neutral commerce. Consequently, the northern powers, irritated and insulted by English claims carried out with the strong hand, formed a great coalition at the end of 1800, in which Denmark and Sweden, Russia and Prussia, set themselves to secure the liberty of the seas. They invite the First Consul to join them, and he desired nothing better; it seemed as if the national hatred of France against Pitt and England would now find vent, and would overthrow that persistent enemy. It seemed, too, as if Bonaparte, as he consolidated his power at home, would be able to assert himself also as the protector of the liberties of Europe abroad. On the other side, the English Government did not waste time. Parker and Nelson were sent into the Baltic, to break up the coalition, if possible. As Denmark had the most ready fleet, and was in fact the most active member of the coalition, Nelson determined to strike hard at Copenhagen. The hard-fought battle of Copenhagen, in which the Danes made heroic resistance to the English forces, led to an armistice; and the assassination of the emperor Paul I., which reversed the policy of Russia, brought the great coalition to an end. By the summer of 1801 the northern powers were all again the friends and allies of England. It was in vain that Bonaparte threatened the English shores with invasion; he felt that his great plan had broken down, and wanted a little breathing time. He made peace with Portugal, occupying with French troops two of its provinces. On the other hand, the army Bonaparte had left in Egypt, after the refusal of England to allow it to return to Europe, had lost its general Kleber, who had been assassinated by a Turk; all the efforts made to reinforce the army from France failed; an English force from Minorca, and 7000sepoys from India, as well as a Turkish army, now converged on Egypt. Abercromby, at Aboukir, repulsed the attack of the French under Menou; the French army after a short time had to capitulate (27th June 1801), and was carried over to France in English ships.
At the same time war between France and England was drawing to an end; the negotiations were concluded in March 1802 by the peace of Amiens. The principles of the armed neutrality had failed to establish themselves, and England secured not only her command of the sea, but her lordship over India. She had also freed Portugal, the kingdom of Naples, the States of the Church, from French control; Egypt was restored to the Sublime Porte. On the other hand, the authority of France in central Europe remained unbroken; the great campaigns on the Po and the Danube had secured this result. The brilliant successes of the French arms, and the treaties of Luneville and Amiens, prepared the way for the next forward movement of the First Consul. Meanwhile France at home was prosperous and productive; Bonapartes splendid gifts of organization continued to work wonders; he made the income of the country meet all the outgoings, and created a real surplus, a thing unknown throughout the previous century. On every side fresh energy was evoked, new enterprise sitmulated; allthings were felt to proceed fromone center, - a center not, as in the old monarchy, of selfishness and waste, but of active and beneficent influence. Too little was left for private and spontaneous effort, that being the weak side of the development of France; yet considering the state of the country, the rule of a beneficent despot was welcome and most successful. The greatest work of this period was the construction of the civil code, on which Bonaparte himself worked with amazing zeal, clearness, and ability. It was issued in January 1804. In other domestic matters his ascendancy displayed itself more and more; the attempts made against his life enabled him to crush and terrorize the extremer republicans. The system of senatus-consultes, by which he veiled his arbitrary edicts under the authority of an obsequious senate, enabled him by degrees to crush the remnant of free discussion still possessed by France in the tribunate of the constitution. He got rid of constitutional opposition as readily as he had freed himself from the attempts of conspiracy, and reduced the legislative assembly to a nullity. The age of the revolution seemed to be past; the grand organizing faculty of the First Consul was doing what the destructive forces of the republic could not do, - was reconstructing society on a basis partly new and partly old, was centralizing authority, was creating a despotism adapted to the phraseology of a "republic one and individible," and giving to France a new position among the nations. For the autocracy of Napoleon was the direct outcome of republicanism, as it allied itself with military organization, and slowly attracted to itself many of the relics of the old order of things. Though essentially hostile to real liberty, the coming empire sprang out of a great and generous effort made by France in that direction; it was not till our own days that she succeeded, if even now she has succeeded, in shaking off the iron trammels of imperialism, and ruling herself with constitutional freedom and calmness under the republic of her choice.
In these years (1800-1804) the First Consul not only crushed the spirit of the two chambers and the tribunate, but also passed on boldly to reconstruct French society, a much harder task. Directly after the peace of Amiens, when France was in the first flush of an unwonted tranquility, Bonaparte made terms with the papacy, and by the Concordat reconstructed the Church of France. All the old divisions were swept away; ten archbishoprics and fifty bishoprics were newly mapped out by First Consul and Pope; and in 1802 the will of Bonaparte and Pius VII. peremptorily put an end to the schism between refractory and constitutional clergy, and so cut away from the ancient monarchy its chief support. The traditional life of the church was rudely cut off; the authority of the state was displayed in full; the constitutional priests were sacrificed to the political needs of the First Consul, who saw that, if he would have firm hold of power, he must first win over the royalist clergy. The chief opponents of the revolution got the chief rewards; the constitutionalists were mortified. From this moment dates the friendship between the Napoleonic dynasty and the Church of Rome; from this dates also that secret hostility between the clergy and the army, which has often since that period produced results none the less striking because their origin was concealed. For the time, however, the paramount authority of Bonaparte over the army made resistance impossible. The weak point in the arrangement was the certainty that in their hearts the courtier-like clergy would always prefer a Bourbon to a Napoleon; and of this, too history has provided more than one proof. Still, for the time, in church as in army, the step was successful, and gave strength to Bonapartes position. the emigrants also returned, thanks to an armistice, and in large numbers too oath to respect the new government. It was a bold and hazardous step, which the first consul afterwards saw good reason to regret. An exiled adherent of a lost cause never changes, never learns prudence, never is satisfied with the de facto ruler of his people; his mind is warped, his moral sense, in matters political, vitiated; the existing government has in him a secret enemy, a plotter and intriguer, a fierce fanatic, outwardly subdued, inwardly smouldering, and ready to burst forth in flame whenever the breath of a royal whisper fans the embers.
In restoring the Catholic clergy and the ancient nobles to France, Bonaparte affirmed a principle hostile to the revolution, necessary for a despotism. He must have classes of society "intermediate," as he said, "between the people and the powers"; "to settle the bases of the Republic, one must throw on the sand some masses of granite," as apt illustration of the way in which this despot of an iron will determined to crush all liberty in France. Unfortunately for him his heavy "masses of granite" after all, while they crushed the people, formed but an insecure foundation for himself. The same motive led him to reorganize education and to establish the university-in his hands a mere creature of power, a machine to turn out public officers, and to centralize and unify all education in France; public schools or lycees throughout France were all dependent on this central university. Education, as is always the way under a despot, took a mathematical and scientific bias; moral sciences and history found no place; theology was left for the clergy in their seminaries; the dead languages held a secondary position. to this new organization France owes, in large part, her unpractical ignorance of modern languages, geography, political economy; she has not yet entirely shaken off the load thus imposed on her shoulders. Next, the institution of the Legion of Honor was the beginning of a new aristocracy, and was meant to supply another blank in the new hierarchy of this growing military despotism. Finally, the First Consul constructed a new constitution, that of the year X., which strengthened his own position, and weakened still further all the elements of republican and constitutional opposition. It was adopted with obsequious unanimity (4th August 1802). During this period the influence of the First Consul was also dominant across a large part of Europe: the four republics rested on him, and were much modified at his demand; the lesser states of Germany allowed him to interfere in their affairs; he was able to overcome, at least for a while, the suspicion and ill-will of Russia. On the seas also his activity was felt: he was anxious to restore the colonial power of France, shattered by the war; he interfered in the affairs of Hayti, and hoped also to recover his influence over Egypt and the Mediterranean. England, seeing her special province of the seas thus invaded, and never very well pleased with Bonaparte and the peace of Amiens, declared war against France in the spring of 1803.
Bonaparte at once occupied on the one hand Hanover, on the other Naples, made friendly overtures to the United States, and threatened the English shores with invasion. Europe was divided into two hostile camps, and a great and stubborn war impended. Russia at once sided with England; the court of Vienna, though unable at once to go to war, warmly sympathized with the opposition to France; Prussia held aloof; England also seconded the underground resistance of the old royalists in France. This was the period of the conspiracy which led to the seizure by Bonaparte of the duke of Enghien, a seizure on the soil of Baden, excusable on no plea of international law or sudden necessity, his military and violent mockery of a trial, and his peremptory execution. Moreau, whom the First Consul was glad to be rid of, for he alone could be a rival in the affections of the army, was exiled to the United States; Pichegru committed suicide in prison; a handful of others were executed; and the First Consul, taking advantage of the excitement and indignation of all France, had himself proclaimed Emperor of the French (18th May 1804). A new constitution, of imperial texture, was woven for the occasion. Hereditary succession was affirmed; sic great dignitaries, with high sounding imperial titles and no power, were established; the military splendors of the marshalate reappeared; the council of state and the senate were charged with all legislative functions; the older bodies, the tribunate and the legislative body, were a mere appendage; and thus began the imperial age.
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