« PreviousContinue »
Proceedings of the French Government.--Positions and Strength of the French and allied Armies.
- His Reply to the Chambers.--His Departure for the Army.-Reflections on the approaching
Loss on both sides.—Retreat of the Allies.
WHEN the French government had clearly as In a few days a similar article appeared. “ It
certained that the allied powers had really deter was decided,” says this article, “ in a council, on CRAP. VI. mined on war, and that the British parliament the 4th and 5th of April, at Vienna, to prosecute
had voted large subsidies, they made the most the war upon a systematic plan-not to assume 1815.
vigorous preparations for meeting the approach- the offensive till all the troops be in line-to make ing storm. Till the decision of the British par- sieges in order that a double and triple line of liament was known, it seemos that they had some fortresses may not be left in their rear. Not to reason for believing that, notwithstanding the give batile to the emperor except with double the mighty preparations of the allies, war would not number of troops of every armé. The Duke of take place. Whether this was their opinion or Wellington has a plan of his own for all the allies, not, it is certain that they endeavoured to instil and for all the operations in general, even for it into the minds of the French people; and the Italy, but he will not disclose it until all the allies French press, during the months of April and are ready to commence hostilities. The allies May, teemed with accounts from different parts distrust the Swiss—they dread the French army; of Europe, for the purpose of shewing that the but fear still more that ihe nation will take a part allies were at variance in their views, and that
in the war.
There is great dissensions amongst public opinion was against a war with France. the Prussians, Austrians, and Bavarians, at Mentz." At the same time, the French papers, in several Continuing the same system, as the danger drew articles which they inserted, no doubt according nearer and increased, they endeavoured to lessen to orders, endeavoured 10 convince the French its strength. “ The allies will not be ready to with what dread the allied powers viered the take the field before the end of July. It is not talents and power of the emperor, in the event of thought that, excludirg Italy, they can bave more war. Of the plans and dispositions of the allies than 350,000 effective men. The poverty and they gave the following account. “ Hitherto the disorder of the finances become more manifest cabinets have formed no other plan than that of every day in Austria. Wherever the Austrians holding themselves on the defensive, and the and Prussians meet they quarrel. The Poles idea generally prevails, that to attack France evinced much discontent. The officers of the would be to repeat the faults of 1793, to give to troops belonging to the former Rhenish confedethe war that pational character the force of which ration openly declare, that the humiliation of is terrible. This opinion is so fixed, that the France would be the absolute ruin of the inde. enemies of France rely much on the enterprising pendence of their countries. Opinions were character of Napoleon, and hope that he will be much divided at Berlin. It was considered usthe first to attack. This they wish for, because just and impolitic to attack France. It was cobthen the national feeling would be weakened, and sidered absurd, that Austria should complete the would be transposed to the Germans, who would ruin of her finances, by a war contrary to her overwhelm the French with their mass.
interests. The interest for the young French of sense can venture to advise the invasion of Prince (Napoleon) was daily increasing at Vienna France. The people do not wish for war. It is That young prince is remarkable for a precocity certain that Lord Wellington has been requested of understanding. He is very impatient to return to draw up a plan of campaign, and that his to France, and says, every day, shall we go grace has replied he had none to give, that he soon ?' This august infant is endowed with 1did not sufficiently know the spirit which reigned describable intelligence." in France. But that, as a general principle, and About a fortnight before this, a French paper, still more from late events, the soldiers com in speaking of the Emperor of Russia, observed. manded by the emperor could only be attacked “ The Emperor Alexander appears very wartz. by forces double their number. Suclr are, in the He declares, on all occasions, that be wished ne inost exact truth, the position of affairs, and the thing of the French, that he despised the Bourdisposition of mind of both parties.
bons, that they were a degenerate race, but that
he would never consent to the Emperor Napo-. Orders have been given to construct works upon
BOOK XV. leon's reigning over France, that bis honor was the heights of Montmartre and Menil Montant, engaged in it. It is said, that while thus talking and arm them with 300 pieces of cannon. His Chap. VI. in company, Madame Bagrathion, who was known majesty bas also ordered that Lyons shall be put for her enmity to Napoleon during bis greatness,
1815. in a state of defence; a tête-du pont will be but who has since changed and become one of his formed at Broiteaux, and the draw-bridge of La panegyrics, availing herself of the right which Guillotierre is re-establishing. The ground beshe arrogates to herself of saying every thing in tween the Saone and the Rhone will be fortified ; company, replied to Alexander, • But, sire, if you some rerloubts are preparing to be constructed in consider this as an affair of honor with Napoleon, front of this ground.' A redoubt will be conwhy don't you send him a challenge ? Judging : structed on the heights of Pierre en Sise, to supfrom bis character, I doubt not but he would ac port a work which defends the town on the right cept of it, and then you would have no occasion bank. The heights commanding the quarter of again to send against France armies of 100,000 St. Jean, on the bank of the Saone, will be demen, 10,000 Cossacks, and trains of artillery.? fended with several redoubts; eighty pieces of The Princess Esterhazy, and many other ladies cannon, with the necessary ammunition, are propresent, applauded this. Sensible people at Vi- ceeding towards Lyons. 'Sisteron, and Pont St. epna treat it as ridiculous to march so many armed Esprit, will be placed in a state of defence. The men, when it is declared that one man only was works around Paris have been laid out with skill. the object. It is also told of Lord Stewart, that All that part of Paris, from the heights of Monthearing it disputed whether Napoleon had a rightmartre to those of Belleville and Charonne, and to violate the treaty of the 11th of April, he said, thence to Vincennes, will be secured against at
Since they talked of rights, Napoleon had them tack. The canal which receives the waters of the
But whether the allies were in earnest or not, resolute intentions of the allies to be to inflict the French government prepared for the worst. every possible enormity and cruelty upon the Every town in France, from Paris to the frontiers, French nation, particularly the military part of it. of any consequence, was fortified. The capital According to them these were doomed to endless itself and the country was covered with fortifica- captivity or death; and the people, after their tions or covering with them. “ All the fortresses property being laid waste, to the most servile on the northern frontiers," said the Moniteur, chains and bondage.--" The Prussians," said « from Dunkirk to Charlemont, are armed and they, “shew great resentment towards the French; provisioned. The sluices are prepared and will and are disposed to do all possible mischief to be opened to inundate the country, on the first France, should the war commence. The Austrian hostile movement that takes place. Some works and Bavarian officers speak of nothing but burnhave been constructed in the forest of Mormole. ing, plundering, and other severe treatment to Measures have been taking to make entrench- France. Such language has already been held at ments in the differerit passes of the forest of Vienna. On the 31 and 4th of April
, it was Argone. All the fortresses in Lorraine are ready. agreed by the allies at Vienna, that all the French Some entrenchments have been constructed in the prisoners of war should be sent to the extremity. five passes of the Vosges. The fortresses in of Russia, and neither be restored nor exchanged. Alsace are armed. Orders have been given to Those who choose to serve will be sent to the defend the passes of the Jura, and all the frontiers army of Caucasus, others may form colonies, and of the Alps. They are preparing the fortresses of those who refuse to do any ihing are to be sold the Somme, which are in the third line. In tbe for slaves. The other allied powers are to treat interior, Guise, La Fere, Vitry, Soissons, Chateau, the prisoners they make with all the severity and Thierry, and Laugres, are arming and fortifying contempt due to the conduct of a nation which
BOOK XV. arrogates to itself ihe right of choosing its govern which the present troubles bave been fomented, and
ment." Not content, however, with fabricating which has dared to pronounce againsttbe unanimou Cuap. VI.
these things at Paris, as the work of foreig, cor wisbof all the European monarchies. Yes, French 1815.
respondents, on whose veracity they could rely, men, henceforth Europe, united and moved by the they boldly took a higher fight; and, by endea sanie interest, must form but one single power, vouring to stain the character of him w ose arms and the sovereigns a supreme corporation, upon they dreaded, whose sword they were yet to feel, whicb will be raised the solid pedestal of the peace they tried to stimulate the rage of their adherents and happiness of nations. ' The allied sovereigns to madness against the British army and their allies. replaced Louis XVIII. on the throne of his an. Forging a proclamation in the name of Welling cestors, and proclaimed the reign of the family of ton, they caused it to be published, with notes Bourbon, until its extinction, over the French thereon, and to be circulated throughout France. people. They now take up arms to restore and In it they made him address the French nation in a confirm that dynasty-to support the cause of manner which they supposed would woud their kings, and to give an imposing example of sove. pride, and awaken their passions to a desire of re reign authority to all nations. This they have sistance and revenge. In this document Lord sworo in the face of the universe. Within a few Wellington was made to say, "I raise my voice in days, 1,200,000 men will pass your frøptiers
, and the name of your king and bis allies, to recal you occupy your provinces.** I shall eause the provinces to the sentiments of subinission * and peace. which submit to be respected, but I shall be under Freuchmen! what do you expect by attaching the necessity of punishing the rebel population. " yourselves to the fate of the violator of treaties? The malignity of this odious fabrication was of a man without right and without power? only equalled by its absurdity. It must give a Frenchmen! we cannot believe, we cannot sup mean idea of the intellect and energies of the na. pose, that bis furious ambition can have infinence tion, where only falsehood could stimulate them sufticient, so far to seduce you, as to produce a belief to defence ; and the lowest opinion of the bead in the success of his insane projects. † We know and the heart of that government which could dehis forces, we are acquainted with his means. We grade itself in using such expedients to consolido not deceive ourselves in declaring to you, that date or defend its power. all bis efforts will only serve to make him fall Events were now rapidly approaching to a with more certainty into our hands. No, French crisis. The decision of the British legislature men, I must repeat it, it is not on the nation we dissipated all those doubts and fears of any luke mean to make war, but on Bonaparte and his , warmness of any power on the Continent. The soldiers. # Woe to them who shall join him! allied forces were arriving daily on the French Woe to the rebel provinces ! Do not imagine frontiers on every side. But before we proceed that Bonaparte can brave with impunity the so to detail the military operations, we shall bere vereign authority of so many crowned heads;& or endeavour to enumerate the strength of the that offended Europe will consent to have in vain French and allied armies; and, as distinctly as made enormous sacrifices for replacing the Bour- possible, state their positions and the objects bons on the throne of France, l| when the repose which they had in view. St. Jean d'Angely
, in and the interests of nations require that they his exposé, stated the total number of the French should be maintained thereon. But did not these army to be 375,000 of every description. To this circumstances exist, one rule more powerful would must be added the imperial-guard, which amountrender it necessary to resume a second' ed, as a separate force, to 40,000 men. This made time—that of punishing the factious horde by the French army 415,000 strong ; but it is, hor,
ever, probable, that a considerable number of these had not joined the armies on the froutiers
. • “ My lord, you need not preach peace to us; on The regular forces, however, at least those that that point we are all converis. As to submission, were effective, were all disposable for the field, we do not understand that language.
as the national-guards were appointed to garrison † “ Yes, my lord, we are sufficiently deceived, all the fortified towns and forts. The numbers sufficiently misled, to think that we shall resist all Europe, if all Europe do not resist the most insane of projects."
9 “ That is to say, that the allied sovereigos #On bis soldiers !—Think, my lord, on those have proclaimed themselves arbiters of the deswords."
tinies of France. My lord, what would you say $ “ The sovereign of Frenchmen does not re
were similar language to be addressed to the cognise the authority of any crowned head." people of Great Britain Nay, what would
11 “ That is to say, that France should indemnify Europe for the enormous sacrifices made to ** “ This is not quite certain. This prediesubjugate us.”
tion savours a little of the Brussels Oracle."
assigned to this service, amounted to about 200,000; two armies, which we observed before, occupied BOUK XV. but none had as yet been called out to join the re the Netberlands, the forts in it, and lined the gular armies; though there cannot be a doubt French frontiers from Ostend to Luxemburg. The Cuap. VI. but it was in contemplation. The mayors of all total force for this point was about 250,000 men; the towns had orders to levy the people en masse and three corps of Prussians were on their march
1815. in case of invasion; and free corps were orga to join Blucher. The grand army, under Prince nizing in many of the departments. The fedéres Schwartzenberg, with whom were the sovereigos also formed a considerable force; and if the war of Russia, Austria, and Prussia, consisted of had been prosperous, they would probably have Russians, Austrians. Bavarians, &r, and of the been called out to recruit the forces of Napoleon. Prussian guards. These lined the French froll
The regular forces were divided into eight tiers from Luxemburg to the Rhine, occupied armies: viz. the army of the North; the army of the different forts, and extended along the Rhine to Moselle; the army of the Rhine; a corps of observa Basle. Their numbers amounted, in the middle tion collecting at Befort; the army of the Alps, of Jone, to about 300,000 men. Switzerland also formed at Chamberry; the corps of observation of had an army of 30,000 men stationed on her vulthe Var, formed at Autibes ; the corps of observa- nerable side, and in front of Besançon. On the tion formed at Perpignan and Bourdeaux; and the frontiers of Savoy and Piedmont, General Friarmy of reserve formed at Laon and at Paris. mont, with an army of Austrians and Sardinians,
The force in each of these armies was estimated held the fortifications in that live, and lined the as follows:
French frontiers from Switzerland to the MediArmy of the North, including that of
terranean. This army amounted to about 80,000 Moselle, and consisting of five corps 130,000 men, and was daily increasing in number. The Army of the Rhine, under General
whole of the allied forces assembled on the French Rapp, fifth corps
30,000 frontiere, on the 14th of June, or within a few days Army at Befort, under General Le
march of them, stood thus :courbe, seventh corps.
30,000 Army, under the Duke of Wellington, At Besançon 20,000 including garrisons, &c.
120,000 Army of the Alps, under Marshal
Prussian army, under Blucher 120,000 Suchet.
30,000 Grand army, under Schwartzenberg . 300,000 At Antibes, &c. under Marshal Brune 10,000 Austro-Sardinian army, under FriBetween Lyons and Geneva 10,000 mont
80,000 Army of the Pyrenees, under General Clausel 15,000
Total 620,000 Io La Vendée, under General Lamarque
15,000 These were all veteran troops, under experiGarrison of Paris
15,000 enced leaders ; but it must be observed, that
Prince Schwartzenberg's army was waiting for
the arrival of several corps of Russian troops,
done, and before the sword was unsheathed, a Such was the force of France. That of the solemn appeal was intended to be made by them lies, which was already on the frontiers of to the French nation, calling upon them to return rance, was still more considerable, and con
to a state of amity, by abandoning the man who šted as follows:-The army under the com had brought so many calamities and this fresh and of the Duke of Wellington consisted of war upon Europe, and to remould the treaty of ritish, Hanoverians, Dutch, Belgians, troops of peace which they had violated. This offer unissau and Brunswickers. The Prussian grand successful, as they calculated it would be, their my, consisting at this time of four corps, was intention was to enter France at every point with mmanded by Marshal Prince Blucher. These an overwhelming force ; and, from every quarter,
BOOK XV. to advance without delay upon Paris, which, small part of his force would have been sufficient
again in their power, they supposed would disor to guard the quarter where they were, and the Cuap. VI.
ganize and scatter the government and resources remainder of his force would thus have been die 1815.
of Napoleon. Of this Bonaparte was perfectly posable to watch the movements or attack the
benefit his cause—the only measure which was pleted. In furtherance of this object, the allied likely to have a serious intuence upon the plans armies, stationed in the Netherlands, under the of his adversaries-a beneficial influence on the command of Wellington and Blucher, engaged recovery of his military character, and the rehis earliest attention, as being those nearest the establishment of his former power. Half mea. capital of his empire. He, therefore, resolved to sures were not the weapons with which he fought. attack them first. In this resolution he seems to All or nothing was his watch-word in every opehave had four great objects in view. The first ration. No lesser matters occupied his thoughts . was the gratification of French ambition and It animated bim at this moment, it prompted vanity, by the conquest of Belgium, so generally every movement, directed every motion
, and wished for in France. The second was, if possi- guided him to cast every thing upon the issue of ble, to remove the danger of invasion to a point one terrible attempt. What he had in view, be as far distant from his capital as possible. The must also do quickly. The allied army in the third was of still greater importatice, namely, if Netherlands were, at this moment, dispersed over he succeeded in forcing back the armies here the country, for the sake of procuring, more stationed, he would thers have it in his power to readily, the necessary supplies for such vast menace the rear of the right wing of the grand bodies of men. A considerable body of the Prusallied army, which was to enter Frauce by the sian army were upon the banks of the Rhine, a couUpper Rhine, thereby either retarding or endan siderable distance from the remainder and from gering their forward movements. If he succeeded the frontiers. On his part, he had it in his power
, in these important operations, it was of less con when acting on the offensive, to choose bis point sequence at what expense he did so.
of attack with greater security than the allies ceived that he would thereby crush the voice of could; because he had a much more formidable disaffection in France, and call forth once more, chain of fortresses in his line to support bis opearound his conquering standards, the energy and rations, and behind which be, no doubt, calcu. unprincipled ambition of the nation. Last, and lated that he would be able to retire, if be found pot least, as the surest road to ultimale success, he could not accomplish bis object. His army by gaining the first point, he was certain that he was not only formidable in point of numbers, but would succeed in removing the war from the more so from the quality of the troops. These French territories, and make other countries, as men were the flower of France, and of bis miliforinerly, support the expense; without which, tary strength. They had their characters to relie was aware France would not long bend with gain--their glory to re-conquer— their fortunes perfect satisfaction to bis sway.
to re-establish, and their future repose to secure. To accomplish this point, however, he must Perjury and treason bad lowered tbem in the have totally destroyed the armies of Wellington eyes of honor and worth. These feelings comand Blucher
. Any partial victory obtained over bined, stung their souls, and goaded them to fury, them, though it might have compelled them to The utmose exertions were to be expected, from retreat, and thereby have given him the pos- both them and their leader. Their fate
, their session of a tract of country, would have been of fortune, and their fame, they had altogetber to no solid advantage, so long as their armies re re-create, and these were all irretrievably comained unbroken and united, because their loss mitted in ibis dreadful struggle. They marched would have been quickly supplied from the nu to it with a resolution which the utrnost strength merous reinforcements pushing on to join them; of rage and despair could inspire. The attempke and because the advance of the grand army of their goverument to inflame their hearts wid across the Upper Rhine, where Bonaparte bad the deadliest animosity and resentment agains confessedly no force equal to oppose them, would the allies, and particularly against the Prussia not only have laid his right wing open to their by publishing accounts about the intended cruel efforts, but his capital also. This alone would ties to be committed by the latter in France, bad have compelled bim to relinquish any bold which but too well succeeded. “ It is particularly he might have gained in the Netherlands, unless, against the Prussians," said an article in the in his usual phrase, he had in reality annihilated Moniteur, " that the French army manifests as the armies of Blucher and Wellington, when a implacable hatred, and we have some reason 1