1902 Encyclopedia > Napoleon I > The Empire

The Empire

The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries, by J.-L. David, 1812 (image)

The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries

Painting by Jacques-Louis David, 1812

All this was done while Bonaparte was still nominally only consul in the French republic. But the rupture with England furnished him with the occasion of throwing off the last disguise and openly restoring monarchy. It was a step which required all his audacity and cunning. He had crushed Jacobinism, but two great parties remained. There was first the more moderate republicanism, which might be called Girondism, and was widely spread among all classes and particularly in the army. Secondly, there was the old royalism, which after many years of helpless weakness had revived since Brumaire. These two parties, though hostile to each other, were forced into a sort of alliance by the new attitude of Bonaparte, who was hurrying France at once into a new revolution at home and into an abyss of war abroad. England too, after the rupture, favored the efforts of these parties. Royalism from England began to open communications with moderate republicanism in France. Pichegru acted for the former, and the great representative of the latter was Moreau, who had helped to make Brumaire in the tacit expectation probably of rising to the consulate in due course when Bonaparte’s term should have expired, and was therefore hurt in his personal claims as well as in his republican principles. Bonaparte watched the movement through his ubiquitous police, and with characteristic strategy determined not merely to defeat it but to make it his stepping stone to monarchy. He would ruin Moreau by fastening on him the stigma of royalism; he would persuade France to make him emperor in order to keep out the Bourbons. He achieved this with the peculiar mastery which he always showed in villainous intrigue. Moreau had in 1797 incurred blame by concealing his knowledge of Pichegru’s dealings with the royalists. That he should now meet and hold conversation with Pichegru at a moment when Pichegru was engaged in contriving a royalist rebellion associated his name still more closely with royalism, and Puchegru brought with him wilder partisans such as Georges the Chouan. That Moreau would gladly have seen and gladly have helped an insurrection against Bonaparte is certain; any republican, and what is more any patriot, would at that moment have risked much to save France from the ruin that Bonaparte was bringing on her. But Bonaparte succeeded in associating him with royalist schemes and with schemes of assassination. Controlling the Senate, he was able to suppress the jury; controlling every avenue of publicity, he was able to suppress opinion; and the army, Moreau’s fortress, was won through its hatred or royalism. In this way Bonaparte’s last personal rival was removed. There remained the royalists, and Bonaparte hoped to seize their leader, the Comte d’Artois, who was expected, as the police knew, soon to join Pichegru and Georges at Paris. What Bonaparte would have done with him we may judge from the course he took when the comte did not come. On March 15, 1804, the Duc d’Enghien, grandson of the Prince de Conde, residing at Ettenheim in Baden, was seized at midnight by a party of dragoons, brought to Paris, where he arrived on the 20th, confined in the castle of Vincennes, brought before a military commission at 2 o’clock the next morning, asked whether he had not borne arms against the republic, which he acknowledged himself to have done, conducted to a staircase above the moat and there shot, and buried in the moat.

This deed was perfectly consistent with Bonaparte’s professed principles, so that no misunderstanding or passing fit of passion is required to explain it. He had made, shortly before, a formal offer to the pretender through the king of Prussia, by which he had undertaken to pay him a handsome pension in return for the formal abdication of his rights. This had been refused, and Bonaparte felt free. That the best course was to strike at the heads of the family was a shrewd conclusion. Neither Louis nor Charles were precisely heroes; and then the whole revolutuinary party in France would applaud a new tragedy like that of January 1793. (Accordingly Bernadotte and Curee were delighted with it). That the Duc d"Enghien was innocent of the conspiracy was nothing to the purpose; the act was political not judicial; accordingly he was not even charged with complicity. That the execution would strike horror into the cabinets, and perhaps bring about a new Coalition, belonged to a class of considerations which at this time Bonaparte systematically disregarded.

This affair led immediately to the thought of giving heredity to Bonaparte’s power. The thought seems to have commended itself irresistibly even to strong republicans and to those who were most shocked by the murder. To make Bonaparte’s position more secure seemed the only way of averting a new Reign of Terror or new convulsions. He himself felt some embarrassment. Like Cromwell, he was afraid of the republicanism of the army, and heredity pure and simple brought him face to face with the question of divorcing Josephine. To propitiate the army he chose from the titles suggested to him-consul, stadholderm &c.- that of emperor, undoubtedly the most accurate, and having a sufficiently military sound. The other difficulty, after much furious dissension among the two families of Bonaparte and Beauharnias, was evaded by giving Napoleon himself (but none of his successors) a power of adoption, and fixing the succession, ion default of a direct heir natural or adoptive, first in Joseph and his descendants, then in Louis and his descendants. Except abstaining from the regal title, no attempt was made to conceal the abolition of republicanism. Bonparte was to be called Napoleon, and "sire" and "majeste"; grand dignitaries with grand titles were appointed; and ‘citoyen" from this time gave way to "monsieur." The change was made by the constituent power of the Senate, and the senatus-consulte is dated May 18, 1804.

It required some impudence to condemn Moreau for royalism at the very moment that his rival was re-establishing monarchy. Yet his trial began on May 15th. The death of Pichegru, nominally by suicide, on April 6th had already furnished the rising sultanism with its first dark mystery. Moreau was condemned to two years’ imprisonment, but was allowed to retire to the United States.

These changes destroyed all that remained of the political life of France. Jacobinism had been eradicated in Nivose; republicanism and royalism were paralysed now. Henceforth there was no power or person in France but Bonaparte, and over Europe there hung a danger more terrible than had ever threatened it before. the combined resources of several countries and an unparalleled military force were at the absolute disposal of a general and administrator of commanding ability, who had shown by the manner of his rupture with England that he was bent upon undertaking vast military enterprises. This danger, which was clearly visible early in 1804, could not be averted. His scheme indeed failed. He did not conquer England, nor recover Malta and reoccupy Egypt. His forces were drawn in another direction. But, if England suffered less, Europe suffered far more than could have been feared in 1804. The wars which now begin are not, like those of the French revolution, wars of principle, for the principles of the Revolution have been recanted and are held by no one is so much contempt as by Bonaparte. Nor are they armed litigations like the old wars of Europe, but unique experiments in which millions of lives are sacrificed to the ambition of an individual.

Throughout 1804 and the first part of 1805 the policy of Bonaparte is such as might be called insane, if he had had the ordinary objects of a ruler; it is explained by the consideration that he wants war, even if it should be war with all the world. He had acted in a similar way in 1798. In thinking that he should profit by war he was not mistaken. Had he only gone to war with the whole Continent at once, he would not, as the event proved, have overestimated his strength. But he was not, in the long run, a match for England and the Continent together; he made at starting the irremediable mistake of not dividing these two enemies. He seems indeed to have set out with an monstrous miscalculation which might have ruined him very speedily, for he had laid his plan for an invasion of England and a war in Europe at the same time. if we imagine the invasion successfully begun, we see France thrown back into the position of 1799, her best general and army cut off from her by the sea, while Austria, Russia, and perhaps Prussia pour their armies across the Rhine; but we see that the position would have been far worse than in 1799, since France without Bonaparte in 1805 would have been wholly paralyzed. As it was, the signal failure of his English enterprise left room for a triumphant campaign in Germany, and Ulm concealed Trafalgar from the view of the Continent. The European Coalition had been disarmed since Brumaire by the belief that Bonaparte’s Government was less intolerably aggressive than that of the Directory; this belief gave place in 1803 to a conviction that he was quite as aggressive and much more dangerous. England therefore might hope to revive the Coalition, and in the spring of 1804 she recalled Pitt to the helm in order that he might do this. The violent proceedings of Bonaparte on the occasions of the rupture, his occupation of Hanover, his persecution of the English representatives in Germany,-Spencer Smith at Stuttgart, Drake at Munich, Sir G. Rumbold at Hamburg, created an alarm in the cabinets greater than that of 1798, and the murder of D’Enghien shocked as much as it alarmed them. Positive conquest and annexation of territory too now went on as rapidly and as openly as in 1798. The new empire compared itself to that of Charlemagne, which extended over Italy and Germany, and on December 2, 1804, a parody of the famous transference of the empire took place in Notre Dame, the pope (Pius VII.) appearing there to crown Napoleon, who, however, took the crown from his hands and placed it himself upon his own head. Meanwhile the Italian republic was changed into a kingdom, which at first Bonaparte intended to give to his brother Joseph, but in the end accepted for himself. In the first months of 1805, fresh from the sacre in Notre Dame, he visited Italy and received the iron crown of the Lombard kings at Milan. Soon after the Ligurian republic was annexed, and a principality was found for his brother-in-law Bacciochi in Lucca and Piombino. By these acts he seemed to show himself not only ready but eager to fight with all Europe at once. It was not his fault that in the autumns of 1805, when he fight with Austria and Russia in Germany, he was not also maintaining a desperate struggle in the heart of England; it was not his fault that Prussia was not also at war with him, for his aggressions had driven Prussia almost to despair, and only once-that is, in the matter of Sir g. Rumbold-had he shown the smallest consideration for her. And yet at first fortune did not seem to favor him.

Had public opinion been less enslaved in France, had the frivolity of the nation been less skillfully amused by the operatic exhibitions of the new court and the sacre in Notre Dame, it would have been remarked that, after most needlessly involving France in war with England, Bonaparte had suffered half the year 1803, all the year 1804, and again more than half the year 1805 to pass without striking a single blow, that after the most gigantic and costly preparations the scheme of invasion was given up, and that finally France suffered a crushing defeat at Trafalgar which paralyzed her on the side of England for the rest of the war. Inorder to understand in any degree the course he took, it seems necessary to suppose that the intoxication of the Marengo campaign still held him, that as then, contrary to all expectation, he had passed the Alps, crushed his enemy, and instantly returned, so now he made no doubt of passing the Channel, signing peace in London, and returning in a month with a fabulous indemnity in his pocket to meet the Coalition in Germany. To conquer England it was worth while to wait two years, but his position was very critical when, after losing two years, he was obliged to confess himself foiled. He retrieved his position suddenly, and achieved a triumph which, though less complete than that which he had counted on, was still prodigious,-the greatest triumph of his life. At the moment when his English scheme was ending in deplorable failure, he produced another, less gigantic but more solid, which he unfolded with a rapid precision and secrecy peculiar to himself. In the five years which had passed since Marengo his position for the purposes of a continental war had improved vastly. Then he had no footing either in Germany or Italy, and his new office of First Consul gave him a very precarious control over the armies, which themselves were in a poor condition. Now his military authority was absolute, and the armies after five years of imperialism were in perfect organization; he had North Italy to the Adige; he had Hanover; and since the Germanic revolution of 1803 Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and Baden had passed over to his side. Therefore as the Coalition consisted only of Austria, Russia, and England he might count upon success, and the more confidently if he could strike Austria before the arrival of the Russian army. It is strange that in this estimate it should be unnecessary to take Prussia into the account, since the Prussian army (consisting of 250,000 men) was at that time supposed to be a match by itself for the French. At the lastmoment, and in the midst of the Austerlitz campaign, Napoelon might have been brought near to ruin by a sudden resolution on the part of the king of Prussia, and it is to be added that he did not escape this risk by any circumspection if his own. But for ten years Prussia had been rooted in the strangest system of immovable neutrality, and in this war both sides had to put up with the uncertainty whether the prodigious weight of the army of Frederick would not be thrown suddenly either into its own or into the opposite scale. It was at the end of August 1805 that Napoelon made his sudden change of front. At the beginning of that month he had been still intent on the invasion of England; ever since March maritime maneuvers on an unparalleled scale had been carried on with the object of decoying the English fleets away from the channel, and so giving an opportunity for the army of invasion to cross it in a flotilla under the protection of French fleets. But in spite of all maneuvers a great English fleet remained stationary at Brest, and nelson, having been for a moment decoyed to Barbados, returned again. In the last days of august Admiral Villeneuve, issuing from Ferrol, took alarm at the news of the approach of an English fleet, and instead of sailing northward faced about and retired to Cadiz. Then for the first time Napoleon admitted the idea of failure, and saw the necessity of screening it by some great achievement in another quarter. He resolved to throw his whole force upon the Coalition, and to do it suddenly. Prussia was to be bribed by the very substantial present of Hanover.

Five years had passed since Napoleon had taken the field when the second period of his military career began. He now begins t make war as a sovereign with a boundless command of means. for five years from 1805 to 1809 he takes the field regularly, and in these campaigns he founds the great Napoleonic empire. By the first he breaks up the Germanic system and attaches the minor German states to France, by the second the humbles Prussia by the third he forces Russia into an alliance, by the fourth he reduces Spain to submission, by the fifth he humbles Austria. Then follows a second pause, during which for three years Napoleon’s word is in the sheath, and he is once more ruler, not soldier.

From the beginning of this second series of wars the principles of the Revolution are entirely forgotten by France, which is now a monarchy and even a propagator of monarchical principles.

Napoleon’s strategy always aims at an overwhelming surprise. As in 1800, when all eyes were intent on Genoa, and from Genoa the Austrians hoped to penetrate into France, he created an overwhelming confusion by throwing himself across the Alps and marching not upon Genoa but upon Milan, so now he appeared not in front of the Austrians but behind them and between them and Vienna. The wavering faith of Bavaria had caused the Austrians to pass the Inn and to advance across the country to Ulm. It was intended that the Russians should join them here, and that the united host should invade France, taking napoleon, as they fondly hoped, by surprise. So often unfortunate in their choice of generals, they had this time made the most unfortunate choice of all. muck, who at Naples in 1799 had moved the impatient contempt of Nelson, now stood matched against Napoleon at the height of his power. He occupied the line of the Iller from Ulm to Memmingen, expecting the attack of napoleon, who personally lingered at Strasburg, in front. Meanwhile the French armies swarmed from Hanover and down the Rhine, treating the small German states half as allies half as conquered dependants, and disregarding all neutrality, even that of Prussia, till they took up their positions along the Danube from Donauworth to Ratisbon far in the rear of Mack. The surprise was so complete that Mack, who in the early days of October used the language of confident hope, on the 19th surrendered at Ulm with about 26,000 men, while another division, that of Werneck, surrendered on the 18th to Murat at Nordlingen. In a month the whole Austrian army, consisting of 80,000 men, was entirely dissolved. Napoleon was master of Bavaria, recalled the elector to Munich, and received the congratulations of the electors of Wurtemberg and Baden (they had just at this time the title of electros). It was the stroke of Marengo repeated, but without a doubtful battle and without undeserved good luck.

After Marengo it had been left to Moreau to win the decisive victory and to conclude the war; this time there was no Moreau to divide the laurels. The second part of the campaign begins at once; on October 28 Napoleon reports that a division of his army had crossed the Inn. He has now to deal with the Russians, of whom 40,000 men have arrived under Kutusoff. He reaches Linz on November 4, where Gyulai brought him the emperor’s proposals for an armistice. He replies by demanding Venice and Tyrol and insisting upon the exclusion of Russia from the negotiations, conditions which, as he no doubt foresaw, Gyubai did not think himself authorized to accept. But Napoleon did not intend this time, as in 1797 and in 1800, to stop short of Vienna. Nothing now could resist his advance, for the other Austrian armies, that of the archduke John in Tyrol and that of the archduke Charles on the Adige, were held in play by Ney and Massena, and compelled at last, instead of advancing to the rescue, to retire through Carniola into Hungary. On November 14 he dates from the palace of Schonbrunn; on the day before Murat had entered Vienna, which the Austrian emperor, from motives of humanity, had resolved not to defend, and the French also succeeded by an unscrupulous trick in getting possession of the bridges over the Danube. So far his progress had been triumphant, ad yet his position was now extremely critical. The archduke Charles was approaching from Hungary with 80,000 Austrians; another Russian army was entering Moravia to join Kutusoff, who had with great skill escaped from the pursuit of Murat after the capture of Vienna. Napoleon, though he had brought 200,000 men into Germany, had not now, since he was obliged to keep open his communication down the valley of the Danube, a large army available for the field. But, what was much more serious, he had recklessly driven Prussia into the opposite camp. He had marched troops across her territory of Ansbach, violating her neutrality, and in consequence on November 3 (while Napoleon was at Linz) she had signed with Russia the treaty of Potsdam, which practically placed 180,000 of the most highly drilled troops in the world at the service of the Coalition. Such had been Napoleon’s rashness, for his audacious daring was balanced indeed by infinite cunning and ingenuity, but was seldom tempered by prudence. In this position, it may be asked, how could he expect ever to make his way back to France? What he had done to Mack Prussia would now do to him. The army of Frederick would block the Danube between him and France, while the Russians and Austrians united under the archduke would seek him at Vienna.

As a Marengo, fortune favored his desperate play. The allies had only to play a waiting game, but this the Russians and their young czar, who was now in the Moravian headquarters, would not consent to do. He was surrounded by young and rash counselors, and the Russians, remembering the victories of Suwaroff in 1799, and remarking that almost all Napoleon’s victories hitherto had been won over Austrians, had not yet learned to be afraid of him. Napoleon became aware of their sanguine confidence from Savary, whom he had sent to the czar with proposals; he contrived to heighten it by exhibiting his army as ill-prepared to Dolgorouki, sent to him on the part of the czar. The end was that the Russians (80,000 men, aided by about 15,000 Austrians) rushed into the battle of Austrerlitz (December 2, 1805), which brought the third Coalition to an end, as that of Hohenlinden had brought the second. Nowhere was Napoleon’s superiority more manifest; the Russians lost more than 20,000 men, the Austrians 6000. The former retired at once under a military convention, and before the year 1805 was out the treaty at Pressburg was concluded with Austria (December 26) and that of Schonbrunn with Prussia (December 15).

It was a transformation-scene more bewildering than even that of Marengo, and completely altered the position of Napoleon before Europe. To the French indeed Austrelitz was not, as a matter of exultation, equal to Marengo, for it did not deliver the state from danger, but only raised it from a perilous eminence to an eminence more perilous still. But as a military achievement it was far greater, exhibiting the army at the height of its valor and organization (the illusion of liberty not yet quite dissipated), and the commander at the height of his tactical skill; and in its historical results it is greater still, ranking among the great events of the world. For not only did it found the ephemeral Napoleonic empire by handing over Venetia to the Napoleonic monarchy of Italy, and Tyrol and Vorarlberg to Napoleon’s new client Bavaria; it also destroyed the Holy roman Empire while it divided the remains of Hither Austria between Wurtemberg and Baden. In the summer of 1806 the emperor of Austria (he had this title since 1804) solemnly abdicated the title of Roman emperor; the ancient diet of Ratisbon was dissolved, and a new organization was created under the name of Confederation of the Rhine, in which the minor states of Germany were united under the protectorate of Napoleon. Bavaria and Wurtemberg at the same time were raised into kingdoms. In all the changes which have happened since, the Holy roman Empire has never been revived, and this event remains the greatest in the modern history of Germany.

But Austerliz was greater than Marengo in another way. That victory had a tranquilizing effect, and was soon followed by a peace with lasted more than four year. But the equilibrium established after Austrelitz was of the most unstable kind; it was but momentary, and was followed by a succession of the most appalling convulsions; the very report of the battle was fatal to William Pitt. A French ascendancy had existed since 1797, and Napoleon’s Government had at first promised to make it less intolerable. Since 1803 this hope had vanished, but now suddenly the ascendancy was converted into something like a universal monarchy. Europe could not settle down. The first half of 1806 was devoted to the internal reconstruction of Germany and to the negotiation of peace with the two great belligerents who remained after Austria and Prussia had retired, viz., England and Russia. But these negotiations failed, and in failing created suddenly a new Coalition. In England, Fox showed unexpectedly all the firmness of Pitt; and the czar refused his ratification to the treaty which his representative at Paris, D’Oubril, had signed. But the negotiations had gone far enough to give Prussia deep offence. At a moment when she found herself almost shut out of the German world by the new Confederation, Napoleon was found coolly treating with England for the restoration of Hanover to George III. In August 1806, just at the moment of the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire and the formation of the Confederation of the Rhine, Prussia suddenly mobilized her army, and about the same time Russia rejected the treaty. This amounted practically to a new Coalition, or to a revival of the old one with Prussia in the place of Austria. No one knew so well as Napoleon the advantage given by suddenness and rapidity. The year before he had succeeded in crushing the Austrians before the Russians could come up; against Prussia he had now the advantage that she had long been politically isolated, and could not immediately get help either from Russia or England,-for the moment only Saxony and Hesse-Cassel stood by her,-while his armies, to the number of 200,000 men, were already stationed in Bavaria and Swabia, whence in a few days they could arrive on the scene of action. The year before Austria had been ruined by the incapacity of Mack; Prussia now suffered from an incapacity diffused through the higher ranks both of the military and civil service. Generals too old, such as Brunswick and Mollendorf, a military system corrupted by long peace, a policy without clearness, a diplomacy without honor, had converted the great power founded by Frederick into a body without a soul. There began a new war of which the incidents are almost precisely parallel to those of the war which had so lately closed. As the Austrians at Ulm, so now Napoleon crushed the Prussians at Jena and Auerstadt (October 14) before the appearance of the Russians; as he entered Vienna, so now he enters Berlin (October 27); as he fought a second war in Moravia, in which Austria played a second part to Russia, so now from November 1806 to June 1807 he fights in East Prussia against the Russians aided with smaller numbers by the Prussians; as he might then, after all his successes, have been ruined by the intervention of Prussia, so now, had Austria struck in, he might have found much difficulty in making his way back to France; as at Austerlitz, so at Freidland in June 1807 the Russians ran hastily into a decisive battle in which they ruined their ally but not themselves; as Austria at Pressburg, so Prussia at Tilsit signed a most humiliating treaty, while Russia, as before escaped, not time by simply retiring from the scene, but by a treaty in which Napoleon admitted her to a share in the spoils of victory.

Here was a second catastrophe far more surprising and disastrous than that which it followed so closely. The defeat of Austria in 1805 had been similar to her former defeats in 1800 and 1797; Ulm had been similar to Hohenlinden, the treaty of Pressburg to that of Luneville. But the double defeat of Jena and Auerstadt, in which the duke of Brunswick, the old general not only of 1792 but of the Seven Years’ War, found his death, dissolved for ever the army of the great Frederick; and it was followed by a general panic, surrender of fortresses, and submission on the part of civil officials, which seemed almost to amount to a dissolution of the Prussian state. The defence of Colberg by Gneisenau and the conduct of the Prussian troops under Lestocq at Eylau were almost the only redeeming achievements of the famous army which half a century before had withstood for seven years the attack of three great powers at once. This downfall was expressed in the treaty of Tilsit, which was vastly more disastrous to Prussia than that of Pressburg had been to Austria. Prussia was partitioned between Saxony, Russia, and a newly established Napoleonic kingdom of Westphalia. Her population was reduced by one-half, her army from 250,000 to 42,000 (the number fixed a little later by the treaty of September 1808), and Napoleon contrived also by a trick to saddle her for some time with the support of a French army of 150,000 men. She was in fact, and continued till 1813 to be, a conquered state. Russia on the other hand came off with more credit, as well as with less loss, than in the former campaign. At Eylau in January 1807 she in part atoned for Austerlitz. It was perhaps the most murderous battle that had been fought since the wars began, and it was not a victory for napoleon. Friedland too was well-contested.
In the two years between August 1805 and the treaty of Tilsit Napoleon had drifted far from his first plan of an invasion of England. But he seemed brought back to it now by another route. England had roused a Coalition against him, which he had not only dissolved, but seemed able now to make impossible for the future. Austria was humbled, Prussia beneath his feet. Why should Russia for the future side with England against him? From the outset her interference in the wars had been somewhat unnecessary; she had had little real interest in the questions of Malta, Naples, or Sardinia. The Russians themselves felt this so much that after friedland they forced Alexander to make peace. But as Paul, when he left the Second Coalition, had actually joined France, napoleon now saw the means of making Alexander do the same. England’s tyranny of the seas had been attacked by the great Catherine and again by Pual; on this subject therefore Russian policy might co-operate with Napoleon, and, if a bribe were needed, he would countenance her in robbing her ally Prussia, and he could promise her freedom in her eastern enterprises. Such was the basis of the treaty of Tilsit, negotiated between Napoleon and Alexander on an island in the river Niemen, by which treaty the fate of Prussia was decided, and at the same time the foundation of the Napoleonic empire firmly laid. It was a coalition of France and Russia to humble England, chiefly by means of the continental system. The invasion of England had failed, and England had destroyed at Trafalgar the allied fleets of France and Spain, a defeat which to the public eye had been lost in the splendid triumph of Ulm; but Napoleon now returns to the attack upon England at the head of a universal confederacy which he has organized against her.

A pause occurs after Friedland during which Europe begins slowly to realize her position and to penetrate the character of Napoleon. It took some time to wear out his reputation of peace-maker; at his breach with England in 1803 he had appealed to that jealousy of England’s maritime power which was widely spread; many thought the war was forced upon him, and as to the war of 1805 it could not be denied that Austria and Russia had attacked him. His absolute control over the French press enabled him almost to dictate public opinion.

But the conquest of Germany, achieved in little more time than had sufficed to Bonaparte ten years before for the conquest of Italy, put him in a new light. He had already passed through many phases: he had been the invincible champion of liberty, then the destroyer of Jacobinism and champion of order, then the new Constantine and restorer of the church, then the pacificator of the world, then the founder of a new monarchy in France. Now suddenly, in 1807, he stands forth in the new character of head of a great European confederacy. It has been usual to contrast the consulate with the empire, but the great transformation was made by the wars of 1805-7, and the true contrast is between the man of Brumarie and the man of Tilsit. The empire as founded in 1804 did not perhaps differ so much from the consulate after Marengo as both differed, alike in spirit and form, from the empire such as it began to appear after Pressburg and was consolidated after Tilsit. Between 1800 and 1805 Napoleon, under whatever title, was absolute ruler of France, including Belgium, the left bank of the Rhine, Savoy, and Nice, and practically also ruler of Holland, Switzerland, and North Italy to the Adige, which states had a republican form. The title emperor meant in 1804 little more than military ruler. But now emperor has rather its mediaeval meaning of paramount over a confederacy of princes. Napoleon has become a king of kings. This system, had been commenced in the consulate, when a kingdom of Etruria under the consul’s protection was created for the benefit of his ally, the king of Spain; it was carried a stage further on the eve of the war of 1805, when the kingdom of Italy was created, of which Napoleon himself assumed the sceptre, but committed the government to Eugene Beauharnais as viceroy. But now almost all Italy and a great part of Germany is subjected to this system. The Bonaparte family, which before had contended for the succession in France, so that Joseph actually refuses, as beneath him, the crown of Italy, now accept subordinate crowns. Joseph becomes king of Naples, the Bourbon dynasty having been expelled immediately after the peace of Pressburg; Louis becomes king of Holland; dynasty having been expelled immediately after the peace of Pressburg; Louis becomes king of Holland; Jerome, the youngest brother, receives after Tilsit a kingdom in North Germany composed of territory taken from Prussia, of Hanover, and of the electorate of Hesse-Cassel, which had shared the fall of Prussia; somewhat earlier Murat, husband of the most ambitious of the Bonaparte sisters, Caroline, had received the grand-duchy of Berg. By the side of these Bonaparte princes there are the German princes how now lookup to France, as under the Holy Roman Empire they had looked up to Austria. These are formed into a Confederation in which the archbishop of Mainz (Dalberg) presides, as he had before presided in the empire. Two of the princes have now the title of kings, and enriched as they are by the secularization of church lands, the mediatizaktionof immediate nobles, and the subjugation of free cities, they have also the substantial power. A princess of Bavaria weds Eugene Beauharnais, a princess of Wurtemberg Jerome Bonaparte. At its foundation in 1806 the Confederation had twelve members but in the end it came to include almost all the states of Germany except Austria and Prussia.

A change seems to take place at the same time in napoleon’s personal relations. In 1804, though the divorce of Josephine was debated, yet it appears to be Napoleon’s fixed intention to bequeath his crown by the method of adoption to the eldest son of Louis by Hortense Beauharnais. But this child died suddenly of croup in the spring of 1807, while Napoleon was absent in Germany, and the event occurring at the moment when he attained his position of king of kings probably decided him in his own mind to proceed to the divorce.

It was impossible to give crowns and principalities to the Bonaparte family without allowing a share of similar distinctions to the leading politicians and generals of France. He was therefore driven to revive titles of nobility. To do this was to abandon the revolutionary principle of equality, but Napoleon always bore in mind the necessity of bribing in the most splendid manner the party upon whose support ever since Brumaire he had depended, and which may be described shortly as the Senate. When in 18023 he received the life-consulate, he had proceeded instantly to create new dotations for the senators; now he feels that he mist devise for them still more splendid bribes. His first plan is to give them feudal lordships outside France. Thus Berthier, his most indispensable minister, becomes sovereign prince of Neufchatel, Bernadotte sovereign prince of Pontecorvo, Talleyrand sovereign prince of Benevento. Especially out of the venetian territory, given to France at Pressburg, are taken fiefs (not les than twelve in all), to which are attached the title of duke. These innovations fall in 1806, that is, in the middle of the period of transformation. But after Tilsit, when Napoleon felt more strongly both the power and the necessity of rewarding his servants, he created formally a new noblesse and revived the majorat in defiance of the revolutionary code. In the end, besides the three sovereign princess just mentioned, he created four hereditary princes (Bertheir is in both lists) and thirty-one hereditary dukes. There were also many counts and barons. The system was prodigiously wasteful. Of public money Berthier received more than £50,000 a year, Davoust about £30,000, nine other officials more than £10,000, and twenty-three others more than £4000.

After Marengo he had seen the importance of reconciling Europe to his greatness by making peace. After Tilsit it was still more urgently necessary that he should dispel the alarm which his conquests had now excited everwhere. But his time he made no attempt to do so; this time he can think of nothing but pushing his success to the destruction of England; and Europe gradually became aware that the evil so long dreaded of a destruction of the balance of power had come in the very worst form conceivable, and that her destiny was in the hands of a man whose headlong ambition was an unprecedented as his energy and good fortune.

As in 1805 he had been drawn into the conquest of Germany in the course of a war with England, so now he assails all the neutral powers, and shortly afterwards violently annexes Spain, not so much from abstract love of conquest as in order to turn against England the forces of all the Continent at once. As he had left Boulogne for Germany, he now, as it were, returns to Boulogne. His success had put into his hands two new instruments of war against England, instruments none the less welcome because the very act of using them made him master of the whole Continent. He had hinted at the first of these when the war with England began in 1803, by saying that in this war he did not intend that there should be any neutrality; what he meant was explained in 1806 by the edict issued from Berlin. In addition to that limited right which the belligerent has by international law to prevent by blockade the trade of a neutral with the enemy and to punish the individual trader by confiscation of ship and goods, Napoleon now assumed the right of preventing such commerce without blockade by controlling the neutral Governments. English goods were to be seized everywhere, and the harbors of neutrals to be closed against English ships under penalty of war with France. Such a threat, involving a claim to criticize and judge the acts of neutral Governments and to inflict on them an enormous pecuniary fine, was almost equivalent to the annexation at one stroke of all the neutral states. The other instruments had a similar character. The French fleet having been crippled at Trafalgar, he proposed now to reinforce it by all the other fleets in Europe, and to get possession of all the resources of all the maritime states. His eyes therefore become now fixed on Denmark, Portugal, and Spain.

Such is Napoleon as king of kings, and such are his views. This unique phase of European history lasted five years, reckoning from the treaty of Tilsit to the breach with Russia. Europe consists now of a confederacy of monarchical states looking up to a paramount power (like India at the present day). The confederacy is held together by the war with England, which it puts under an ineffective commercial blockade, suffering itself in return a more effective one. But Napoleon feels that Spain and Portugal must be brought under his immediate administration, in order that their maritime resources may be properly turned against England. Austria also has y no means been sufficiently humbled, and Prussia is humbled so intolerably that she is forced into plans of insurrection. Throughout these five years a European party of insurrection is gradually forming. It has two great divisions, one scattered through Germany, at the head of which Austria places herself in 1809, the other in Spain and Portugal, which is aided by England. In Germany this movement is successfully repressed until 1813, but in the Peninsula it gains ground steadily from 1809. after 1812 both movements swell the great Anti Napoleonic Revolution which then sets in.

Immediately after Tilsit Napoleon entered on his new course, which had been arranged with Russia in secret articles. In August he required the king of Denmark to declare war with England; but here England, seeing herself threatened by a coalition of all Europe at once, interfered with desperate resolution. She required Denmark to surrender her fleet (consisting of twenty ships of the line and a umber of frigates) in deposit, promising to restore it at the peace, and when she received a refusal took possession of it by force. At the same time an army is formed under Junot for the invasion of Portugal, with which state, as the old ally of England, Napoleon used no ceremony. The feeble state consented to almost all his demands, agreed to enter the Continental system and to declare war against England; only the regent had a scruple which restrained him from confiscating the property of private Englishmen. From this moment Portugal is doomed, and negotiations are opened with Spain concerning the partition of it. But out of these negotiations grew unexpected events.

For more than ten years Spain had been drawn in the wake of revolutionary France; to Napoleon from the beginning of his reign she had been as subservient as Holland or Switzerland; she had made war and peace at his bidding, had surrendered Trinidad to make the treaty of Amiens, had given her fleet to destruction at Trafalgar. In other states equally subservient, such as Holland and the Italian Republic, Napoleon had remodeled the government at his pleasure, and in the end had put his own family at the head of it. After Tilsit he thought himself strong enough to make a similar change in Spain, and the occupation of Portugal seemed to afford the opportunity of doing his. By two conventions signed at Frontainebleau on October 27th the partition of Portugal was arranged with Spain. The Prince of the Peace was to become a sovereign prince of the Algarves, the king of Spain was to have Brazil with the title of emperor of the two Americas, &c., but the main provision was that a French army was to stand on the threshold of Spain ready to resign any intervention of England. The occupation of Portugal took place soon after, Junot arriving at Lisbon on November 30, just as the royal family with a following of several thousands set sail for Brazil under protection of the English fleet. At the same time there commenced in defiance of all treaties a passage of French troops into Spain, which continued until 80,000 had arrived, and had taken quiet possession of a number of Spanish fortresses. At last Murat was appointed to the command of the army of Spain. He entered the country on March 1, 1808, and marched on Madrid, calculating that the king would take flight and take refuge at Seville or Cadiz. This act revealed to the world the nature of the power which had been created at Tilsit. The lawless acts of Napoleon’s earlier life were palliated by the name of the French Revolution, and since Brumaire he had established a character for comparative moderation. But here was naked violence without the excuse of fanaticism; and on what a scale! One of the greater states of Europe was in the hands of a burglar, who would moreover, if successful, become king not only of Spain but of a boundless empire in the New World. The sequel was worse even than this commencement, although the course which events took seems to show that by means of a little delay he might have attained his end without such open defiance of law. The administration of Spain had long been in the contemptible hands of Manuel Godoy, supposed to be the queen’s lover, yet at the same time high in the favor of King Charles IV. Ferdinand, the heir apparent, headed an opposition, but in character he was not better than the trio he opposed, and he had lately been put under arrest on suspicion of designs upon his father’s life. To have fomented this opposition without taking either side, and to have rendered both sides equally contemptible to the Spanish people, was Napoleon’s game; the Spanish people, who profoundly admired him, might then have been induced to ask him for a king. Napoleon, however, perpetrated his crime before the scandal of the palace brokeout. The march of Murat now brought it to a head. On March 17th a tumult broke out at Aranjuez, which led to the fall of the favorite, and then to the abdication of the king and the proclamation of Ferdinand amid universal truly Spanish enthusiasm. It was a fatal mistake to have forced on this popular explosion, and Napoleon has characteristically tried to conceal it by a supposititious letter, in which he tries to throw the blame upon Murat, to whom the letter professes to be addressed. It warns Murat against rousing the Spanish patriotism and creating an opposition which it will be impossible to put down; it predicts all that actually happened; but it has all the marks of invention, and was certainly never received by Murat. The reign of Ferdinand having thus begun, all that the French could do was to decline to acknowledge him, and to encourage Charles to withdrawn his abdication as given under duress. By this means it became doubtful who was king of Spain, and Napoleon, having carefully abstained from taking a side, now presented himself as arbiter. Ferdinand was induced to betake himself to Napoleon’s presence at Bayonne, where he arrived on April 21st; his father and mother followed on the 30th. Violent scenes took place between father and son; news arrived of an insurrection at Madrid and of the stern suppression of it by Murat; in the end Napoleon succeeded in extorting the abdication both of Charles and Ferdinand. It was learned too late that the insurrection of Spain had not really been suppressed.

This crime, as clumsy as it was monstrous, brought on that great popular insurrection of Europe against the universal monarchy which had profoundly modified all subsequent history, and makes the Anti-Napoleonic Revolution an event of the same order as the French Revolution. A rising unparalleled for its suddenness and sublime spontaneousness took place throughout Spain and speedily found a response in Germany. A new impulse was given, out of which grew the great nationality movement of the 19th century. Meanwhile Napoleon, having first offered the throne of Spain to his brother Louis, who refused it, named Joseph king, retaining, however, a reversion to himself and heirs in default of male heirs of Joseph, who had only daughters. The royal council first, afterwards a junta of nobles assembled at Bayonne, accepted him on July 7th. But it must have become clear to Napoleon almost at once that he had committed the most enormous of blunders. Instead of gaining Spain he had in fact lost it, for hitherto he had been master of its resources without trouble, but to support Joseph he was obliged in this same year to invade Spain in person with not less than 180,000 men. With Spain too he lost Portugal, which in June followed the Spanish example of insurrection, and had Spain henceforth for an ally and not for an enemy. Hitherto he had had no conception of any kind of war not strictly professional. He had known popular risings in Italy, La Vendee, and Egypt, but had never found it at all difficult to crush them. the determined insurrection of a whole nation of 11,000,000 was a new experience to him. How serious it might be he learned as early as July, when Dupont with about 20,000 men surrendered at Baylen in Andalusia to the Spanish general Castanos. In August he might wake to another miscalculation of which he had been guilty. An English army landed in Portugal. Defeated Junot at Vimeiro, and forced him to sign the convention of Cintra. By this he evacuated Portugal, in which country the insurrection had already left him much isolated. This occurrence brought to light a capital feature of the insurrection of the Peninsula, viz., that it was in free communication everywhere with the power and resources of England.

Thus the monarchy of Tilsit suffered within a year the most terrible rebuff. Napoleon himself now appears upon the scene. His first step was to revive the memory of Tilsit by a theatrical meeting with Alexander, which was arranged at Erfurt in September. The power of the duumvirate was there displayed in the most imposing manner, the alliance was strengthened by new engagements taken by Napoleon with respect to the Danubian principalities. At the same time he checked the rising spirit of resistance in Prussia by driving from office the great reforming minister Stein. At the beginning of November he was ready for the invasion of Spain. Joseph had retired to Vittoria, and the armies of the insurrection fronted him along the Ebro under the command of Blake, Castaños, and Palafox. Between November 7th and 11th the army of Blake was dissolved by Lefebvre, and Napoleon entered Burgos, which was mnercilessly pillaged; on the 23d Castanos was defeated at Tudela by Lannes; by December 2d Napoleon, having forced the mountain passes, was before Madrid,, and on the 4th he was in possession of the town, where, endeavoring somewhat late to conciliate the liberalism of Europe, he proclaimed the abolition of the Inquisition and of feudalism, and the reduction of the of the number of convents of one-third. He remained in Spain till the middle of January 1809, but he was not allowed repose during the interval. Sir John Moore had advanced from Portugal as far as Salamanca, and determined in the middle of December to assist the insurrection of marching on Valladolid. Soult was at Carrion and was threatened by this advance, since the English force, after Moore had effected his junction with Baird, who arrived from Corunna, at Majorga, amounted to 25,000 men. Napoleon hoped to cut its communications, and so deal one of his crushing blows at the enemy with whom he was always at war yet whom he never, except at Waterloo, met in the field. He set out on the 22d with about 40,000 men, and marched 200 miles in ten days over mountains in the middle of winter. Moore saw the danger, retired to Benavente, and blew up the bridges over the Ezla. Napoleon advanced as far as Astorga; but he had missed his mark, and professed to receive information which showed him that he was urgently wanted at Paris. He returned to Valladolid, whence on January 19th he set out for France. The end of Moore’s expedition belongs to English history.

Another storm was indeed gathering. The downfall of Autria in 1805 had been out of all proportion to her military inferiority; it was impossible that she should acquiesce in it. The year that followed Tilsit had given her quite a new prospect. Spain, which before had given Napoleon help, now swallowed up 300,000 of his troops, so that in the autumn of 1808 he had been obliged to withdraw from Prussia the large army which he had kept for more than a year quartered on that unhappy country. Napoleon could now spare only half his force, and there was now no doubt that Prussia would be as hostile to him as she dared. True, the army of Frederick had ceased to exist, but the country was full of soldiers who had belonged to it, full of skilled officers, and Spain had filled all minds with the thought of popular war. Stein and Scharnhorst had been preparing a levee en masse in Prussia and an insurrection in the new kingdom of Westphalia. Under such circumstances began the war of 1809, which may be called the First German War of Liberation, under the leadership of Austria. It was provoked rather by Napoleon, who wanted new victories to retrieve his position, than by Austria, whose interest lay in gaining time, since time was likely to increase the ferment in Germany and weaken the alliance of Napoleon and Russia. Napoleon’s superiority, though on the wane, was still enormous. Through the Confederation of the Rhine he had now a great German army at his disposal, which he placed under French generals. His frontier was most formidably advanced through the possession of Tyrol and Venetia. Russia was on his side, and, though she did not actively help him in the field, was of great use in holding down Prussia; England was against him, but could do little for an inland state such as Austria now was. In these circumstances the attitude of Austria had something heroic about it, like that of Spain, and the war throughout is like a somewhat pale copy of the Spanish insurrection. But Austria has what Spain had not, the advantage of organization and intelligence. Since Pressburg she had passed through a period of reform and shown some signs of moral regeneration, Station and the archduke Charles doing for her, though not so effectively, what Stein and Scharnhorst did for Prussia. Few wars have begun with less ostensible ground, or more evidently from an intolerable position. Napoleon accused Austria of arming, of wanting war: Austria expostulated, but in vain; and war began. It began early in April, and the proclamation of the archduke Charles addressed to the whole German nation. The watchword of Austria against France was now liberty and nationality. A good general conception of the war may be obtained by comparing it with that of 1805, which it resembles in certain large features. Again there is a short but decisive passage of arms in Bavaria; in a five days’ struggle, celebrated for Napoleon’s masterly maneuvers, the Austrians are driven out of Ratisbon, and the way to Vienna is laid open. Again Napoleon enters Vienna (May 13th). But the war in Italy this time begins farther east, on the Piave. Eugene Beauharnais, after an unfortunate commencement, when he was defeated at Sacile by the archduke John, makes a successful advance, and being joined by Marmont, who makes his way to him from Dalmatia by way of Fiume, drives the Austrian army into Hungary, defeats them at raab, and effects a junction with Napoleon at Bruck. Then, as before, the war is transferred from Vienna to the other side of the Danube. But the Austrian resistance is now far more obstinate than in 1805. From the islandof Loban Napoleon throws his troops across the river in the face of the archduke. A battle takes place which occupies two successive days, and is sometimes called the battle of the Marchfeld, but is sometimes named from the villages of Gross-Aspern and Essling. Like that of Eylau in 1807 it is among the most terrible and bloody battles of the period. In all perhaps 50,000 men fell, among hom was Marshall Lannes, and the French were driven back into their island. Five weeks passed in inaction before Napoleon could retrieve this check, five weeks during which the condition of Europe was indeed singular, since its whole destiny depended upon a single man, who, besides the ordinary risks of a campaign, was threatened by an able adversary who had recently brought him to the verge of destruction, and by outraged populations which might rise in insurrection round him. This is the moment of the glory of Hofer, the hero of the peasant-war in Tyrol. Once more, however, Napoleon’s skill and fortune prevailed. On the night of July 4th he succeeded, under cover of a false attack, in throwing six bridges from Lobau to the left bank of the Danube, over which more than 100,000 men passed before morning and were arrayed upon the Marchfeld. The obstinate battle Wagram followed, in which, by a miscalculation which became the subject of much controversy, the archduke John came too late to his brother’s help. The Austrians were worsted, but by no means decisively, and retired in good order.

Austerlitz and Freidland had led at once to peace, because the principal belligeent, Russia, had little direct interest in the war; Wagram ought to have had no similar effect. Austria was engaged in a war of liberation; Tyrol was emulating Spain; there should therefore have been no negotiation with the invader. But Germany had as yet but half learnt the Spanish principle of war; in particular the Austrian Government and the archduke Charles himself belonged to Old Austria rather than to New Germany. In the campaign the archduke had fallen much below his reputation, having allowed it plainly to appear that Napoleon frightened him, and now, instead of appealing again to German patriotism, he signed at Znaim (July 11th) an armistice similar to that which Melas had so unaccountably concluded after Marengo. But it was by no means certain that all was yet over. North Germany might rise as Spain had risen and as Tyrol risen. The archduke Ferdinand had marched into Poland and threatened Thorn, with the intention of provoking such a movement in Prussia, and England was preparing a great armament which the patriots of North Germany, who now began to emulate the Spanish guerilla leaders, - Schill, Dornberg, Katt, Brunswick,-anxiously expected. There seems little doubt that, if this armament had made Germany its object, Germany would at once have sprung to arms and have attempted, perhaps prematurely, what in 1813 it accomplished. What was expected in Germany had happened already in the Peninsula. Arthur Wellesley had landed at Lisbon on April 22d, and in less than a month had driven South in confusion out of Portugal. In July he undertook an invasion of Spain by the valley of the Tagus. Thus both the quantity and quality of resistance to Napoleon was greater than at any former time; but it was scattered, and the question was whether it could concentrate itself.

But England was unfortunate this time in her intervention. The armament did not set sail till August, when in Wellesley, after winning the battle of Talavera had seen himself obliged to retired into Portugal, and it was directed not to Germany but against Antwerp. It was therefore a mere diversion, and as such it proved unsuccessful. It created indeed a great flutter of alarm in the administration at Paris, which saw France itself left unprotected while its armies occupied Vienna and Madrid, but by mismanagement and misfortune the great enterprise failed, and accomplished nothing but the capture of Flushing.

And so the last triumph of Napoleon was achieved, and the treaty of Schonbrunn was signed on October 20th. By this treaty, as by former treaties, he did not merely end a war or annex territory, but developed his empire and gave it a new character. He now brought to an end the duumvirate which had been established at Tilsit. Since Tilsit his greatness had been dependent on the concert of Russia. He had had the czar’s permission to seize Spain, the czar’s co-operation in humbling Austria. Schorbrunn made his empire self-dependent and self-supporting, and thus in a manner completed the edifice. But he could not thus discard Russia without making her an enemy, and accordingly the Russian war appears on the horizon at the very moment that the Austrian war is terminated. This transformation was accomplished by first humbling Austria, and then, as it were, adopting her and giving her a favored place in the European confederacy. She lost population to the amount 3,500,000, besides her access to the sea; she paid an indemnity of more than £3,000,000, and engaged to reduce her army to 150,000. But, thus humbled, a high and unique honor was reserved for her. We cannot be quite certain whether it was part of Napoleon’s original plan to claim the hand of an archduchess, though this seems likely, since napoleon would hardly break with Russia unless he felt secure of the alliance of Austria, and yet in the treaty of Schonbrunn he does not hesitate to offend Russia by raising the Polish question. What is certain is that after his return to France Napoleon proceeded at once to the divorce, that at the same time he asked the czar for the hand of his sister, that upon this Austria, alarmed, and seeing her own doom in the Russian match, gave him to understand (as he may very well have calculated that she would do) that he might have an archduchess, and that upon this he extricated himself from his engagement to the czar with a rudness which might seem intended to make him an enemy. At the same time he refused to enter into an engagement not to raise the Polish question.

At an earlier period we saw Napoleon urged by his brothers to divorce Josephine, but refusing steadfastly and apparently resolved upon adopting the eldest son of Louis and Hortense. He had now quite ceased to be influenced by his brothers, but at the same time he had risen to such greatness that he had himself come to think different of the question. Fourteen years before he had been warmly attached to Josephine; this attachment had been an effective feature in the character of republican hero which he then sustained. Mme.de Stael had been profoundly struck, when, on being charged by her with not liking women, he had answered, "J’aime la mienne." "It was such an answer," she said, "as Epaminondas would have given!" he is now equally striking in the part of an Oriental sultan and when he discards his Josephine for ambition he requires to be publicly flattered for his self-sacrifice by the officials, by Josephine herself and even by her son Eugene beauharnais!

The archduchess Marie Louise, who now ventured to take the seat of Marie Antoinette, seems to have been of amiable but quite insignificant character. Her letters are childlike. She became a complete Frenchwoman, but, owing to a certain reserve of manner, was never specially popular. On March 20, 1811, she bore a son, who took the title of King of Rome, by which in the Holy Roman empire the successor had been designated. France had thus become once more as monarchical as in the proudest days of Versailles; but the child of empire was reserved for what his father called "the saddest of fates, the fate of Astyanax."

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