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France-State of parties.-Unpopularity of the Bourbon government.— Landing of Buonaparte.-His progress.-Measures to oppose him.-His Decree at Lyons.-Joined by Ney.-Enters Paris.-Declaration against him by the Allied Powers.-His cause adopted by the majority of the Nation.-Opposition in the South: Duke and Duchess of Angouleme.-Brittany and la Vendee.-Reports of the State of Affairs.-Treaty between the four Allied Powers.-Louis XVIII.-Buonaparte's additional act to the Constitution.-Extraordinary Commissioners.-Fouche's Report, and Imperial Decrees.-Champ de Mai.-Internal Commotions.-Chamber of Representatives.-British and Prussian Armies on the Flemish border.Buonaparte repairs to the army.—Actions of June 15, 16, 17, and 18, ending with the battle of Waterloo.-Buonaparte's Return to Paris.— His Projects and Abdication.-Proceedings of the Chambers.-Commission of Government.—Advance of the Allies towards Paris.—Wellington's Proclamation.-Address of Louis XVIII. to the French.-The Capital invested.-Actions.—Convention of Paris.
HE state of parties in France, as it appeared towards the close of the last year, was such as indicated the existence of wide differences in opinion and interest among large classes of the community; and although in a well established government, and among a people of sedate character and temperate feelings, it is found by experience that such diversities may prevail without materially endangering the public tranquillity, yet under the rule of a dynasty restored, after long intermission, in consequence of foreign conquest, to the throne of a nation distinguished by the vehemence and promptitude of its emotions, there was sufficient reason to apprehend that secret dissensions could not long subsist without bursting into a flame.
Some trying questions had been agitated in the legislative chambers, particularly those relative to emigrant property, and the censorship of the press, which, though carried in them by decisive majorities in favour of the court, were differently looked upon in the political circles of Paris and the provinces. But it was in the military class that feelings existed the most dangerous to the security of the Bourbon government. With scarcely any exceptions, both officers and soldiers retained a high sentimental attachment to the man who so long had led them to glory and victory, and under whose banners, notwithstanding recent disasters, they fondly regarded themselves as destined to retrieve their own importance, and the
honour of their country. The imperial rank, which he had been still suffered to preserve, maintained his titular dignity; and his position at Elba, separated only by a narrow space of sea, kept him in constant view, and allowed a ready intercourse with his partizans.
The year however commenced at the French capital with those demonstrations of loyalty which are always at the service of actual authority. The municipal body of the good city of Paris presented an address to the King, by the mouth of its prefect, in which the peculiar advantages of legitimate power were dwelt upon, and his Majesty was assured that all his subjects would shorten their own days, if necessary, to add to his.
An exhibition perhaps not well adapted to the present temper of the public, was the solemn disinterment of the almost perished remains of Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette, on Jan. 18, in the church-yard of the Magdalen, for their removal to the abbey of St. Denis. The ceremonial, civil and ecclesiastical, round some mouldering bones of dubious ownership, was more likely to excite the sarcasms than the veneration of the Parisians. An official order for shutting up the theatres on the day of re-interment, and for the attendance of the civil and military authorities; and the intention of introducing into the French liturgy a service commemorative of the royal martyr; were further displays of the revived spirit of royalism, which would naturally augnient the suspicions of a design to restore the principies of the ancient mo
narchy. There was, indeed, nothing in the character of the king to justify such an apprehension; but other branches of the royal family were supposed to have imbibed a greater portion of the maxims of prerogative, and many of the emigrant nobility, who, on their return, assumed their natural relations with the court, were known to have retained all the political feelings with which they left the country. If on these accounts the friends of constitutional liberty found reasonable cause for withholding confidence in the existing government, there were not wanting others who froin factious motives aggravated the public discontents, by reporting designs probably never seriously entertained, such as those of invalidating the purchases of confiscated property, and of restoring tithes and feudal privileges. By these means a mass of secret disaffection was accumulated in the nation, ready to ma nifest itself when called to action by circumstances.
The sovereign of Elba had for some time past given strict orders against the admission of strangers into his island, which might in part be attributed to the purpose of freeing himself from the molestation of visitors, many of whom had shewn little delicacy in gratifying their curiosity. The event however proved that there were at this time additional reasons for his care to keep inspectors at a distance; and it was observed that a very active correspondence was carrying on between Elba and Naples by the intervention of the sister of Buonaparte. It cannot be doubted
that the communication with France also had been maintained without interruption, although its extent and instrumentality have never been fully made known. The island was under a kind of naval supervision by English and French armed cruizers, but it does not appear that any direct authority was claimed of controling Buonaparte's motions. Probably the transportation of an armed force from Elba would have been o posed if the attempt had been discovered; but the opportunity of a clear sea, and the shade of evening, was taken by the daring adventurer, when, on February 26th, he embarked at Porto Ferraio, on board a brig, followed by four small vessels, conveying about 1000 men, of whom a few only were French, and the rest Poles, Corsicans, Neapolitans, and Elbese.
On March 1st the expedition anchored off the small town of Cannes in Provence, where the men were landed. No disposition appeared in that quarter to join the invader, who put himself in march with his small and motley force for Grenoble.
Intelligence of this extraordinary event having reached Paris, a proclamation was issued by the King on March 6th for the convo cation of the two chambers, which had been adjourned to May 1st; and another, declaring Napoleon Buonaparte a traitor and rebel, for having entered by main force the department of the Var; enjoining all the authorities, civil and military, to attack and arrest him, and bring him before a court martial, to suffer the punishment prescribed by the law, and de
nouncing the same penalties against all his adherents who should not submit within ten days. Buonaparte in the mean time was advancing to Grenoble, where he arrived on the 8th. The seventh regiment of the line, commanded by La Bedoyere, had marched out, and joined him upon his route. The rest of the garrison opened the gates to him, delivered up their general, Marchand, and the magazine and arsenal deposited in that city, and thus placed their former enperor at the head of a body of regular troops, with a train of artillery. As soon as the enterprize had put on a serious aspect, Monsieur, the King's brother, had hastened to Lyons, and was followed by the Duke of Orleans and Marshal Macdonald. That important city, the second in France, the prosperity of which depends on commerce, might have been supposed well affected towards a government the security of which was essential to a state of peace; but its population was wavering in its fidelity, and the regular troops by which it was garrisoned were decidedly attached to the invader. He appeared before Lyons on the 9th, when "Vive l'Empereur" was the general cry of the soldiers and the populace: he entered without the least resistance, the French priaces having previously retired to Clermont, whence they soon after returned to Paris.
It was not now a time to deceive the public by false or suppressed intelligence; and on March 11th a report was made to the chamber of peers, by the King's order, in which the whole progress of Buonaparte from his
landing was frankly related." Such, gentlemen, (said the Chancellor) is the true position in which France is now placed. Buonaparte, who landed with 1100 men, makes rapid progress. We do not exactly know to what extent defections have increased his band; but these defections cannot be doubted when we find Grenoble occupied, and the second city of the kingdom ready to fall, and probably already in the hands of the enemy. Numerous emissaries from Buonaparte repair to our regiments; some of them are already in our ranks. It is feared that many misled men will yield to their perfidious insinuations, and this fear alone enfeebles our means of defence." The Chancellor then mentioned the national guard as the principal object of reliance in this emergency, and referred to a decree by which his Majesty had put this force into requisition throughout the kingdom. The command of all the troops in Paris and its environs was conferred on the Duke of Berri. The only favourable occurrences which had taken place were the meeting of a body of ten thousand men by Marshal Mortier, who were marching from Lisle to Paris upon a counterfeit order, and whom the Marshal sent back to their quarters; and the defeat of an attempt by the General Lallemand with some troops from the garrison of Cambray, to obtain possession of the military depôt at La Fere, in Picardy.
Buonaparte, who on his first entrance into France had anCounced himself lieutenant-general of his son, arrived for the
purpose of correcting abuses in the government; now that he was in possession of Lyons, and was hailed emperor by the soldiers, assumed his former dignity without disguise, and prefixed to his public papers "Napoleon, by the grace of God, and the constitutions of the empire, emperor of the French." issued a decree by which he declared all changes made during his absence in the administration both civil and military, null and void; the white cockade, and the orders of St. Louis, the Holy Ghost, and St. Michael, abolished; the military establishment of the king suppressed; the goods and chattels of the Bourbon princes sequestrated; the nobi lity and feudal titles abolished: the emigrants who had entered with the King banished, and the chamber of peers and deputies dissolved. To supply the place of the latter, he ordered the electoral colleges of the empire to assemble at Paris in the course of May ensuing, in an extraordinary assembly of the Champ de Mai, for the purpose of correcting and modifying the constitution, and assisting at the coronation of his empress and son. This language was evidently a lure thrown out for that part of the nation which was attached to popular principles of government, and on which, next to the army, he most relied for support.
The troops assembled around him were still comparatively only a handful, and to push on to the capital of France with such a force might seem an enterprize full of hazard; but Buonaparte had already obtained sufficient
assurance of the general disposition of the army in his favour, and it can scarcely be doubted that several of its principal commanders had secretly engaged themselves to promote his cause. The crisis speedily arrived. Preparations had been made for collecting a large body of troops at Melun for the immediate protection of Paris, and another was posted at Montargis on the road to Fontainbleau, in order that the invader might be placed between two fires on his advance. Great hopes were derived from the supposed loyalty of Marshal Ney, Prince of Moskwa, an officer of high military reputation, who had spontaneously repaired to the Tuilleries with a proffer of his services, assuring the King, in a gasconade which might have excited suspicion, that he would bring Buonaparte to Paris in an iron cage. He was sent to the command of 12 or 15,000 men stationed at Lons le Saulnier, whence he was to fall on the rear of Buonaparte; but on the advance of the latter to Auxterre, Ney joined him with his whole division, whom he had ordered to hoist the tri-coloured flag. He sealed his treason by a proclamation to his troops, in which he told them that the cause of the Bourbons was for ever lost, and that the lawful dynasty, which the French had adopted, was about to ascend the throne. This defection was decisive of the contest, for all confidence was now at an end. The King on the night of the 19th left Paris with the Princes of the blood, and proceeded for Lisle, having first published a proclamation to the peers
and chamber of deputies, stating the reason for his departure, and ordaining their separation.
Buonaparte entered Paris on the evening of the 20th, having been met by all the military, who received him in triumph; and thus, within three weeks from his landing as a desperate adventurer, he had marched without having occasion to fire a musket, through the greatest part of France, to mount a throne occupied by the legitimate successor of a long line of native kinga, and apparently fenced by all the authority of a potent monarchy. But the throne of France, like that of the Roman emperors, was at the disposal of the soldiery, whose feelings were purely professional; and had the voice of the French people been of any weight in the decision, it is doubtful how far the love of change, and the indignant sense of having had a sovereign imposed upon them by conquest, might have influenced their determination. This last circumstance was studiously brought to view by the usurper in his public addresses. "The throne of the Bourbons (said he) is illegitimate, since it has been erected by foreign hands, and proscribed by the voice of the nation, expressed in every national assembly."
If, however, foreign hands had replaced the Bourbons on the throne of France, was it not probable that they would be exerted to maintain them there? This idea, like the suspended sword of Damocles, could not fail to render uneasy to Buonaparte the seat to which he had made his way with such unparalleled fa