1902 Encyclopedia > France > French History: The Second Empire (1852)

France
(Part 20)




FRENCH HISTORY (cont.)

The Second Empire (1852)


The second empire lasted form November 4, 1852, to September 4, 1870, a period of nearly 18 years. It was openly modeled on the first empire, and Napoleon III. never forgot that he was in uncle’s nephew. His mother, the ex-queen of Holland, was Hortense Eugenie de Beauharnais, daughter of the empress Josephine by her first husband, the viscount Alexandre de Beauharnais; the emperor married her to his brother Louis Bonaparte in 1802; and her son Louis was born in 1808. He was now forty-four years of age, a man of no dignity of moral character, ambitious and unscrupulous, but somewhat wanting in nerve; far better than the adventurers who surrounded him; a man of very considerate clearness of vision, who did his utmost to develop the home-prosperity of France, by sweeping away the barriers which wrong-headed Governments had placed on commerce, and by introducing the new doctrines, strange to French ears, of free trade, which he had learnt to admire by seeing their applications in England. His government was frequently, almost incessantly, involved in wars; yet the emperor himself was doubtless sincere in proclaiming his wish for peace. "The empire," he said, "menaces no one; it desires to develop in peace and full independence the vast resources it has received from heaven." It is but one of the inevitable results of a bad tradition that he, like his predecessors, hoped to succeed in securing prosperity to France by constant interference, and by making the nation feel the presence at its head of an irresponsible yet beneficent master. At the same time this ostentatious activity assured labor to the restless artisans of the great cities; towns were half rebuilt; Paris especially felt this malign benevolence, which, while it fed the workman, made him destroy his own mean of resistance to government, - for the rebuilding of Paris by Haussmann was planned so as to drive great and straight military roads through all the disaffected quarters of the north and east. Railways, canals, harbors, public buildings, above all, new churches and old, owned the imperial hand. If, as must be granted, this lower empire was based on popular ignorance and plentiful bloodshed and terrorism, both in Paris and in the provinces, it must also be conceded that the emperor himself, dreamer as he was, was heartily anxious for the welfare of France. He was unfortunate in his associates, and perhaps also in the beautiful lady he chose as empress.

When the second empire began, the sovereign of Europe thought that republicanism was gone for ever; they recognized the new government of France with some cordiality. England came first-for in England the unmistakable expression of the popular will was regarded just as the result of a general election at home might have been; the vote of the people had expressed their wishes clearly; and England was ready to accept their views as to their own affairs. It was noticed that Prussia was unfriendly towards the new government; and when the emperor, anxious to secure the hereditary succession promised to him by France, looked round him for a wife, his proposal to wed a Hohenzollern princess met with a marked rebuff. He had before failed to win a Swedish princess; he finally chose for himself the handsome Eugenie de Teba, a Spanish lady, who had already been conspicuous for her beauty at his court. France was divided in mind respecting her: her appearance won men’s hearts; the national vanity was vexed at the rebuffs, while it was pleased to say that the emperor had disdained royal and formal alliance in order to choose the lady after his own heart; and lastly; there were not a few who grumbled that he ought not to have slighted the ladies of France by selecting a Spaniard. Anyhow, the young empress bore him a son, the prince imperial, on whom rested all the hopes of the new dynasty. For the rest, her extravagant and frivolous tastes in dress and habits set a very bad example to a nation far too willing to copy it; and her influence and advice were invariably on the unlucky side. She was devoted Catholic, and to her counsels are due some of the worst mishaps of the reign.

In 1854 began the first war of the second empire, - the first denial to the famous utterance of Bordeaux in 1852, "L’empire, c’est la paix," which had enlisted the warm partisanship of commerce and finance. The large and ambitious schemes of the czar Nicholas against Turkey, "the sick man" of that day, alarmed all Europe; the dispute between Russia and the Porte as to the holy places was referred to a conference at Vienna, which proposed to solve the difficulty on the lines of the treaty of 1841, which had placed Turkey under the guarantee of the five great powers. Before diplomacy had got to work the Russians had invaded the Turkish territory; the Anglo-French fleet had moved up to Besika Bay, to be within call of Constantinople, and the Russian fleet (30th November 1853) had destroyed the Turkish ships at Sinope. War, however, did not openly break out till the next spring. In April a treaty of alliance was signed between France and England, who were afterwards joined by the king of Sardinia, while Austria and Prussia also guaranteed the possessions of each other; the imperial guard was re-established, and an army of 60,000 men, one-third English, twp-thirds French, set sail for the Black Sea. After halting first at Gallipoli, then at Varna, the allied fleets and armies set sail for the Crimea, and landed under protection of the ships near the mouth of the river Alma. Thence they marched along the coast towards Sebastoppol, and came on the Russians strongly posted on the left bank of the Alma; on the 20th of September 1854 the allies defeated the Russians there and took their position. Mentschikoff, who commanded them, withdrew into Sebastopol, round which the allies marched, taking up their quarters not far from Balaclava, to the south-east of the great fortress. Then began a siege which lasted through the winter; on October 25 the Russians were repulsed at Balaclava itself, by the wild charge of the English calavry; on November 5 the allied armies won the battle of Inkermann, in which the English, who were defending the points attacked, bore the chief brunt of the fighting. It was not till June that the bombardment of the allies was effectual inproducing the fall of some of the outworks. Sebastopol eventually fell on the 10th of September, in consequence of the storm of the Malakoff tower by the French troops. The French and Russians had now done enough, and the war speedily came to an end. The English would willingly have gone on till they had ruined the Russian navy; the emperor of the French was glad to be done with it. In 1856 the czar Alexander, who had succeeded Nicholas in the winter of the great siege, signed a treaty of peace, the terms of which had been agreed on at the Congress of Paris. The Black Sea and the Danube were neutralized ; the Danubian principalities taken, in part at least, from under Russian protection; the sultan was admitted to the council-board of Europe. The peace did little for the real good of France, created a cold feeling between her and England, annoyed Prussia, and did not satisfy Austria. The war had not been very brilliant; the losses had been heavy; the appearance of Count Cavour at the congress had forecast the coming events of 1859.

The attempt of Orsini on the emperor’s life in January 1858 led the way. A man who had been among the carbonari, and had handled the explosive substances which lay like torpedoes in all the water ways of European politics, ought not to have been astonished that Italians, smarting under their country’s wrong, should try to avenge themselves on him for the expedition to Rome and the restoration of the papacy. To them Napoleon III. seemed to be a traitor, and the chief cause of their subjection to hateful and foreign masters. And Orsini’s attempt was by no means the first. The French journals spoke gratefully of the fact that no Frenchmen were compromised in these attempts at assassination; the emperor himself, alarmed for his personal safety, and also sympathizing to some degree with the aspirations of Italy, began to think that he could secure himself from these secret and successive attacks only by satisfying the irritated feelings of Italy. The first result of it, however, was a period of terrorism at home, and of swaggering menace on the part of the army, unchecked by the Government, against England, that "lair of these monsters who are sheltered by its laws." England, disabused since the peace of its admiration for the imperial rule, replied by the volunteer movement, and the construction of defences on the coasts. But the emperor’s mind was not set on war with England. New Year’s Day 1859 disclosed to the diplomatic world his schemes against Austria, and showed that Italy would be the scene of warfare and change. The empress was known to be averse to a war which must be against the instincts of Catholicism. Prince Napoleon, who in January 1859 married the Princess Clotilde, daughter of Victor Emmanuel, king of Sardinia, was known to be in favor of an alliance with the Piedmontese for the liberation of Italy. The emperor hoped to steer between the two; hoped to satisfy the Italians and to escape the alarms of conspiracy, and at the same time to satisfy the empress and the Catholic party by constructing an Italian federation of states under presidency of the pope. The current of affairs, the strength of the "doctrine of nationalities," the definite and heroic attitude of Italy herself, proved too strong for him. A federation in Italy, a federation in Switzerland, and a third in Germany, would have left France in the center of the world, compact and powerful among weak and divided neighbors on every hand. This was the imperial policy; united Italy and united Germany destroyed the plan, and brought the empire with it to the ground.





In July 1858 Cavour and Napoleon had agreed on the terms of an alliance; Victor Emmanuel should be king of Italy, with possession of the north; Nice and Savoy, the cradle of his race, he agreed to surrender to France. With this understanding war began, after delusive talk respecting a congress, in April 1859, Austria at the last moment forcing it on by ordering the cabinet of Turin to reduce its army and dismiss the volunteers. On the 3d of May the French Government also declared war, amidst the plaudits of Paris, and the enthusiasm of the army. The French at once entered Italy, by the Mont Cenis pass, and by sea, landing at Genoa. The emperor himself took the command in chief; King Victor Emmanuel placed himself under his orders. The affairs of Montebello and Palestro, in which the Piedmontese fought well, secured for France the safe passage of the Po. On June 4 the battle of Magenta, fought to open the passage of the Ticino, was won, after a very doubtful struggle, by the arrival of MacMahon, whom the emperor named marshal of France and duke of Magenta. The Austrian fell back, and the allies at once entered Milan. Baraguay-d’Hilliers pushed the Germans out of Mariguano; and Garibaldi, with his chasseurs of the Alps, dislodging the Austrians from their positions round the lago Maggiore, threatened their communications with Tyrol, their only sure line of retreat in case of ultimate disaster. Giulay, who commanded the Austrians, drew back within the Quadrilateral, as it was called, formed by the four fortresses of Peschiera, Mantua, Legnago, and Verona, a square within which, ever since 1815, the Austrians had been accumulating all their means of resistance. This Quadrilateral, well held, could effectually block the passage through North Italy; for Peschiera stands on the Lago di Garda, which runs up into the mountains, while Mantua is not far from the Po; an enemy venturing down southwards could never leave these great strongholds on his flank; their siege and reduction would give their holders time to recover from any disaster. To the attack of this strong position the allies now advanced; and on June 24 they met the Austrians to the west of the Mincio, and, therefore, just in advance of Pescgiera and Mantua, in the broken ground which lies about the town of Solferino. The battle which then took place was fought with great gallantry by allies, and some tenacity by the Austrians, who were on the defensive, and had the great advantage of the position, and of a thorough knowledge of the ground. French historians themselves allow that there was little strategy shown on either side: " At Solferino, as throughout the campaign, the command-in-chief was below its proper level." The defeat of the Austrians, without being crushing, was complete; they fell back to the neighborhood of Verona, the really-point of the Quadrilateral, and the allies laid siege to Peschiera.

These successive victories, and the release of the Milanese from Austrian domination, had an immediate effect on the rest of Italy. The duke of Tuscany had fled, and his territories were occupied by French troops under Prince Napoleon. The duke of Modena, after Magenta, also made his escape, and his duchy proclaimed Victor Emmanuel in his stead. The same took place in Parma. The "Legations," the northern portion of the States of the Church, threw off the papal government, and joyfully proclaimed their adhesion to the national cause. A French fleet in July appeared before Venice, and the Queen of the Adriatic was burning to throw off the Austrian yoke. Still, every one through that the war was scarcely begun, and, considering the strength of the Quadrilateral and the proverbial tenacity of the Austrians under defeat, it seemed not unlikely that changes in the fortune of war might yet favor the reactionary cause, when Europe was astonished to hear that the two emperors, in a conference at Villafranca, had agreed on the bases of a peace. There should be an Italian confederation under presidency of the pope; Lombardy (with exception of Peschiera and Mantua) should be surrendered to Napoleon, who should present it to the king or Sardinia; Venice should be allowed to enter the Italian confederacy, though it was still to be an Austrian possession; the dukes of Tuscacy and Modena were to be replaced; reforms to be introduced into the papal states; not a word about the south of Italy. These terms agreed on, viva voce, between the emperors without a single witness on either side, were embodied, in October, in the treaty of Zurich. The result, for the moment, satisfied no one. Austria was humiliated by it; Italy disappointed, in the very moment of hope and triumph; Germany and England deemed both the war and the peace a high-handed proceeding; and France herself, in spite of the successes of her army, wished that the high-sounding promise of her emperor, "Italy free, from the Alps to the Apennines," had been more nearly fulfilled. Finally, military critics noted that the generalship of the war left much to be desired, and that the organization of the army was very far from perfect. Further change, results as much of the force of ideas as of diplomacy or of war, were sure to follow before long. Ominous utterances and influences of the Ultramontanes in France heralded coming difficulties even before the conclusion of the peace of Zurich. The pope, Pius IX., guided by the Jesuits, threw himself into the arms of the reactionary party; and Napoleon saw good reason to give up his chimerical scheme for an Italian federation under papal presidency. He declared his intention of founding a great kingdom of Northern Italy, and announced that Savoy and Nice were to be united to France, by way of counterpoise. The forms of a plebiscite were duly gone through in those districts; and the transfer took place shortly afterwards.

Even this change of attitude on the Emperor’s part, coupled as it was with the continuance of the French garrison at Rome, and the cession of Nice and Savoy, was offensive to Italian independence. Garibaldi, with his noble band of volunteers, amidst the warm sympathy of all liberal Europe, landed in Sicily, and soon defeated the halfhearted supporters of the wretched Neapolitan Government; Naples and Sicily were at once united to the Italian kingdom. Peimontese troops entered the papal territories, and won the battle of Castelfedardo; general Lamoriciere, who commanded the Papalini in the battle, was soon aster taken, when Ancona surrendered, and was sent back to France by the Italian Government. The victorious troops, leaving Rome and its French garrison on one side, joined the triumphant volunteer-army of Garibaldi. In February 1861 Francis II. king of Naples, who was besieged in Gaeta, capitulated, and a new Italian parliament in the same month proclaimed Victor Emmanuel king of Italy. Rome alone was left out, the natural capital of the kingdom, defended from herself and from Italy by French bayonets. The political situation was indefensible.

During these years France had also been engaged in distant expeditions; a Chinese war, in alliance with England, occupied her from 1858 to 1860; the capture of Pekin brought this war to an end. In Cochin-China, also, France had Spain as an ally, and closed an obscure if successful war with a treaty of peace in 1862. The Syrian expedition of 1860, undertaken in harmony with the other Christian powers, speedily reduced the sultan to reason, and a French occupation, which lasted till June 1861, did much to relieve the oppressed Christians of that part of the Turkish dominions. Lastly, the affairs of Mexico, in which the empress, guided by their clerical tastes, took an active part, led to the intervention of the emperor on behalf of the archduke Maximilian of Austria; at first England and Spain, which also had grievances against the revolutionary Government of Mexico, joined with France. England, however, had little real interest at stake; Spain wanted to place a prince of her own on the Mexican throne; when it came to the point, France was left to carry out her schemes as she could. The whole affair ended in a terrible disaster for the archduke in 1867, and discredit and loss to the imperial Government. It was seen by the elections of 1863 that, while the peasant-vote remained true to Napoleon III., the towns, following the leading of Paris, and in spite of all official efforts, sent up a strong minority to the opposition. It was clear that the educated and thinking part of France was already weary of the second empire.

Now broke out the Danish war, which was the beginning of the consolidation of Germany. In 1852 the conference of London had settled the succession to the Danish crown on the duke of Glucksburg, who had married a Danish princess; when Frederick VII. died in 1863 and Christian IX., succeeded to the throne, the Germanic confederation, which had never agreed to the arrangement, protested against the union of Scheswig and Holstein to the Danish kingdom. Holstein had always been a German duchy, and vigorous colonization had made South Schleswig in large part German in population. The Danish government allowed the federal forces, commanded by Baron Halkett, a Hanoverian general, to occupy Holstein provisionally, while it refused them possession of Schleswig; Purssia and Austria, acting in concert, early in 1864 invaded Schleswig, drove the Danes back, and stormed their lines at Duppel; after which they quietly occupied all the disputed territory. When England, with Russia and Sweden, pressed for a conference to settle the dispute by international arbitration, France held back and refused to oppose Prussia and Austria. The emperors suggested, as a middle course, that a plebiscite, his favorite idea when nationalities were in question, should be taken in the two duchies. The conference admitted this for Holstein, and refused it for Schleswig, and on this point the negotiations were broken off. The allied Germans speedily brought the war to an end by their overwhelming strength, and in October 1864 it was agreed, after some difficulties, that Austria should take charge of Holstein, and Prussia of Scheswig. The confederation gained nothing; and it was obvious that Austria, too, could gain nothing by the occupation of so distant a province. France, which had so much to lose, according to the "doctrine of nationalities," had placed on record her him belief in that idea, and had helped Purssia to become the champion of it for Germany; the foolish Mexican war, and the state of feeling at home, had in fact hampered France so much as to render her almost powerless at this moment.

The jealousy between north and south Germany, which has existed ever since the time of the Reformation, now passed into a new phase. Prussia stood forward again as the champion of German unity, which had failed in 1848, though it had never ceased to be the desire of the nation; and the convention of Gastein, by which Austria retained Holstein, provided a starting-point for a new war in 1866, the Seven Weeks’ War." A visit of Count Bismarck to Napoleon in 1865 had shown that great statesman that he had nothing to fear from France; the second empire seemed paralysed; Italy hastened to treat at Berlin for the completion of her unity, for north Germany and she had the same aims and the same enemies. They both wanted their national life to be completed; both were struggling, in large part, against the Catholic church; both had Austria as their chief foe. Thus secured, Bismarck went boldly to war; and in an incredibly short time had crushed the resistance of Hanover, while he destroyed the Austrian power at Sadowa. The treaty of Prague, under the mediation of Napoleon III., soon followed. Though the Italians had been defeated at Custozza in the end of June, Sadowa had stricken such a blow at the heart of Austria that she abandoned all thought of further resistance, delivered Venetia over to Napoleon, who restored it at once to Italy, signed the peace of Prague in August 1866. by this document the old German Confederation was dissolved; Prussia took full possession of Holstein, and also of Schleswig, under the promise that if the northern or Danish-spekaing part of that duchy desired to return to Denmark, it might say no. up to the present time, Prussia, true to her ancient tradition of never letting go, has quietly retained the whole of the duchy. A new confederacy of the north of Germany was established under the headship of the king of Prussia, and that kingdom also received considerable additions. It was agreed that the river Main, which runs across that narrowest part of Germany, that hilly and wooded country which has seen so many struggles for mastery, and which for centuries has been, roughly speaking, the dividing-line between Low and High Germany, should now once more separate the northern from the southern confederacy. This arrangement, however, came to naught; Baden at once placed itself under the command of Prussia, and Wurtemberg and Bavaria before long did the same. Austria was left alone, and almost excluded from Germany, while Prussia became at once the strongest power in Europe. France, which had welcomed with enthusiasm the restoration of Venetia to Italy, looked with less glad eyes at this growth of German strength across the Rhine. Theirs, with clear foresight in 1866 predicted the coming empire of Germany; M. Magne, addressing Napoleon, did not desitate to say that "the national feelings would be profoundly wounded if the final result should be that France has only gained by her intervention the establishment on her two flanks of two neighbors of abnormally increased strength. Greatness is after all a relative affair; and a country which in itself is no weaker than it was may be diminished by the accumulation of new forces around it."

In 1866, after a convention with Italy, the French troops withdrew from Rome, while Victor Emmanuel promised not to molest the pope. There came, however, to Rome a French legion, composed of volunteers, chiefly old Bourbon partisans, commanded by a French general and officers of the French army. The presence of these troops was naturally regarded by Italy as a violation of the convention; so that when Garibaldi with his volunteers, in 1867 attempted to raise patriotic feelings in the territory round Rome, and in concert with the citizens to gain entrance into the Eternal City, the Italian Government took no steps to prevent him. The emperor, however, with unlucky zeal, after much hesitation, dispatched General de Failly with a strong force to succour the pope, and thus placed himself openly in antagonism with Italy. The French and papal troops defeated the Garibaldians at Mentana (3d November 1867)’ and Italy regarded herself as thenceforward free from all obligation of gratitude towards imperial France. On the other hand, the clerical party loudly complained that the emperor had but half done his work, and grumbled because he had not used his victory to restore to the papacy its lost territory. Thus Napoleon III.lost the favor of both ides, and left on men’s minds the impression that he was a weak and irresolute ruler. Nor did his efforts to purchase the duchy of Luxemborug from Holland add to his reputation (1866-1867). For the intervention of Prussia defeated all his plans; and although the fortifications of Luxemborug were demolished, and the Prussian garrison withdrawn, it was felt that the emperor’s attempt to strengthen his north-eastern frontier had completely failed, and that the antagonism between France and Prussia must one day lead to troubles. The boldness of the opposition increased; each slight advantage yielded by the Government in these days gave it fresh strength; Thiers was listened to with great interest when he demonstrated in 1868 the hollowness of imperial finance the terrible burden of debt, the growing dimensions of the army expenditure, whichwas not accompanied by any real increase in the fighting-strength of the nation. The elections of 1869 showed the quick growth of the opposition; of 1869 showed the quick growth of the opposition; far from the old unanimity, the imperial Government not obtain quite three-fifths of the votes; and again the large towns returned republican candidates. In this assembly M. gambetta made his first public appearance among the "irreconcilables." In January 1870 a quasi-liberal cabinet, headed by M. Ollivier, who had been won over by the emperor and empress in a private interview endeavored to face the growing dissatisfaction; to reconcile the "irreconcilables," without endangering the imperial position. After many liberal professions, the emperor once more appealed to the country for a vote of confidence in himself, and in the hereditary character of his government. The reply of France seemed to be overwhelming and decisive, - 7,358,786 Yes, against 1,571,939 No. This vote was taken on the 8th of May 1870; within two months the Hohenzollern question had begun its ominous course.





In 1868 the Spanish insurrection of September had dislodged Queen Isabella. She took refuge in France, with a crowd of partisans, and became at once the favored guest of the emperor and his Spanish spouse. In the provisional Government of Madrid General Prim in 1869 became president of the council of ministers, and began almost at once to search about Europe for an eligible king. In the course of his inquiries he happened on Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, to whom he offered the crown of Spain without first announcing his intentions to the court of France. The intimacy existing between the empress and the ex-queen of Spain was no doubt a sufficient reason for this reticence. Prince Leopold at once informed the head of his house, the king of Prussia, of the fact, and the king authorized him to accept the offer. So stood affairs when the French cabinet thought it necessary to intervene. The two nations had regarded one another with distrust for years; in the beginning of the imperial rule the Prussians had stood aloof; the irritation which France felt at the Danish war passed into alarm after Sadowa. The failure of Benedetti’s negotiation in 1870 with Bismarck as to Belgium added to the tension. The French Government was also uneasy at the evident signs of opposition at home, the decay of its popularity; the penalty of its corruption and extravagance; finally, there existed two courts, that of the empress and a more patriotic one, which dimly reflected the ancient antagonism between a Spanish party in high place and the true interests of the country. The emperor of the French, worn-out and more irresolute than ever, became the prey and victim of a faction. When Prince Leopold, on learning the objections of France, withdrew his candidature, the French Government, stead of accepting the act in a conciliatory spirit, seemed to be inspired by the temper of the duke of Grammont’s speech in the Assembly at the time. "We cannot allow the actual balance of power in Europe to be deranged, and the interest and honor of France to be imperiled. We firmly hope this may not happen; against it we count on both the prudence of Germany and the friendship of Spain. Were it to be otherwise, strong in your support and in that of the nation, we should know how to do our duty, without hesitation and without weakness;" - brave words and menacing, but works which required real strength behind them, the very thing which was lacking. The empress an her friends wanted war; and consequently the king of Prussia was pressed, as further step, to give assurances that he never would support Prince Leopold in any future candidature for the Spanish throne. This was equivalent to saying that war was determined on; and the Purssian cabinet made no further effort for peace. Steps were taken in Paris for a fresh coup d’etat against the liberals, if they proved too obstructive; the empress was eager to secure, by a successful war, the throne for her son, and to appear as the champion of Catholic and Ultramontane principles in Europe. While the liberal party in the chamber and the country, headed by Thiers, persistently opposed the war, the Bonapartists fiercely pushed matters on; they refused the good offices of the other states of Europe; in shameful ignorance of the truth, they declared that everything was ready-"five times ready," "ready to the last gaiter-button" – and were only eager to begin. The ruffians of Paris, intoxicated after their sort by the brilliancy of an imperial policy, mobbed Thiers, attacked his house, and filled the streets with yells of a Berlin.

And thus war began, with the emperor as commander-in-chief and the empress as regent at Paris. France had no allies; her appeal to South Germany failed; Austria, however friendly, was paralysed by Russia; for it was known that if Austria moved against Prussia, Russia would at once attack her; and the people of the lesser German states whatever the Governments might think, were favorable to Prussia; for she seemed to them to be upholding a national cause. At Paris, the profoundest ignorance reigned. Nothing was known of the state of feeling in Germany, or of the real condition of the Prussian preparations for war. As little was known of the fitness of their own army for a great war; it was thought that it was strong and ready, whereas it was ill-organized, ill-supplied, and without proper reserves, while the incapacity of its leaders was appalling. No one knew anything of strategy; maps and plans were bad; even the employment of railways in war had never been properly studied; bravery there was in plenty, but leading and management were absolutely wanting. The French army was stretched across the frontier-line looking towards Germany from Strasburg to Metz; Metz became the French quarters-general, Mainz the German. By the 2d of august the hostile armies came into collision; the emperor’s reconnaissance drove the Germans out of Sarrebruck on that day, and the prince imperial there underwent his "Bapteme de Feu," a baptism into misfortune. This was the one success of the French arms across the German frontier; for on that same day fighting began near Wissembourg, whence, after severe battle, General Douay had to withdraw on the 4th. Attacks followed sharply; on the 6th MacMahon was driven in at Worth, and on the same day Frossard was defeated at the other end of the line. Before Paris had recovered from her delight at the trivial success of Sarrenbruck, the ominous telegram, "Tout peut se retablir," awoke her to a true view of the state of things. It was soon seen that the emperor was unfit to command, and was a mere encumbrance; there was neither strategy in detail nor a definite plan of campaign; having let in the invasion, he resigned the post of commander-in-chief into the hands of Marshal Bazaine, and with drew into Metz. The forward movement of the Germans soon alarmed both him and Paris, and then he decided (August 14) to retire to the camp at Chalons, where Marshal MacMahon was in command. The emperor’s slow retreat, with a long train of useless followers, blocked the roads, and stopped the movement of troops and supplies. At this very time the Prussians and their allies were closing in on Metz; on the 14th, the 16th, and the 18th great battles were fought, in which, though the Germans sometimes suffered terrible losses, and even seemed to fail, they eventually succeeded in breaking through the French defences, and compelled Bazaine to draw back into Metz. The French view of his conduct is that he meant to keep this army intact in order that afterwards, in conjunction with the Germans as his accomplices,hemight secure, with a fresh military coup d’etat, the imperial rule over France. Wheatever he mayhave meant, the Germans had no intention of intrusting the fortunes of France to him. At this time General Trochu, an able soldier, whomthe empress did not like, was appointed governor of Paris; the army of MacMahon was at Chalons intact, and a prudent ruler would have made these two strong forces act in concert. The empress, on the contrary, refused to hear of the emperor’s return to Paris, and ordered MacMahon to march to the Belgian frontier, to take the Prussians on the flank, and to relieve Bazaine at Metz, - a plan excellent with a strong force able to march fast, fatal with an imperial army, disorganized, doubtful, and slow. The northward movement ended speedily in the great catastrophe of Sedan (1st September 1870). On the 2d the emperor, with an army of more than 80,000 men, was the prisoner of war of the king of Prussia.


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