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if so, his delicacy in sparing her almost overacted its part, he ad-
“ These poor
be treated no better than her open to one general, when there was a enemies. Those who pretended to question of uniting the commands deliver the Milanese from the yoke of the armies on the eastern fronof Austria wrote: “It is especially tier. The Directory did not send the Milanese territory which must an answer to his communication not be spared. Raise contributions for a fortnight; but in the interval there in ready money, and during the news they received of new and the first terror that the approach yet more signal successes forced of our arms will inspire, let the eye their hand, and he was requested of economy watch over the employ- to continue in that sole command ment of them.” And no less ex- which had proved so profitable to plicit were the directions to be ob- the Republic. Though a purist served with respect to Rome : "If himself, he willingly connived at Rome makes advances, the first the peculations of his generals and thing to require is that the Pope others who served under him, since should immediately order public the knowledge that he had the prayers for the prosperity of the power to ruin them made them French arms.
Some of his fine more convenient instruments of his monuments, his statues, his pic- will. When the exactions of the tures, his medallions, his libraries, French had driven the people in his silver Madonnas, and even his Milan and Pavia to revolt against bells, will indemnify us for the ex- their liberators, the insurrection penses of the visit we may find was repressed with the utmost senecessary to make him.” This verity, and made the excuse for kind of spoliation was entirely new; fresh exactions. The deliberate for all the conquerors of Italy had violation of the territory of Venice, respected her monuments, the alien- which had refused to join the coaliation of which was equivalent to tion against France, and the subthe destruction of her past history. sequcnt annexation of the repubThe only question with regard to lic on the pretext of acts of hostilit is whether it was suggested by ity, which the intrusion of French Buonaparte himself in the first place, arms had studiously fomented, was or whether he was only carrying the most glaring of all the acts of into effect a scheme which had perfidy and injustice perpetrated originated with others, but with a during the Italian campaigns. M. zeal as to details which left them Lanfrey lays great stress on the nothing to desire. Another scheme treatment of Venice, as more calcuof the Directory—the division of lated than any other series of events the command of the army of Italy to dissipate the halo of romance
- did not please him so well. It which still surrounds Buonaparte's was four days after his brilliant victories as a republican general, success at Lodi that he received not only in the eyes of France, but the letter announcing that he had of Europe. He clearly shows by for the future to share his position facts that it was not only with Kellermann. His resolution " When tortured by ambition's sting, was taken in a moment. He ten- The hero sunk into the king; dered his resignation, in a letter but from the commencement of his which began by announcing the command, that Buonaparte, though conquest of Lombardy, and ended a consummate captain, was never by remarking that one bad general to be looked upon as a hero in the was better than two good ones, and just sense of the word. “Our rethat he could not consent to share lations at that time with Venice his command. It was rather in- were such as serve best to characconsistent with an opinion he had terise the spirit of this war, and it expressed, to the effect that too is to the purpose to carefully folmuch power ought not to be given low the incidents of them if we wish to form an impartial judg- to let slip so precious an opportument on the final result. It is not nity of accusation and complaint. less indispensable to consider un- 'Perhaps,' he wrote to them on this der what conditions that offer of subject, you will think it advisalliance was made with which our able to begin at once a little quarrel historians have so often armed with the Venetian Minister at Paris, themselves against that republic. that, after I have driven away the We had at first violated the neu- Austrians from the Brenta, it may trality of Venice in occupying be more easy for me to enforce the Brescia—an act which led the Aus- demand of a few millions which trians to violate it in their turn by you wish me to make from them.' occupying Peschiera for the pur- It is not difficult to realise the senpose of defending the passage of the timents which such a policy was Mincio. Then, under the pretext calculated to inspire in those who of punishing Venice for having were its victims-a policy by no suffered this second violation, which means calculated to pave the way was the consequence of the former, to an alliance. Nevertheless, such and which in any case she had no was the terror inspired by our arms, power to prevent, we took posses- that the Senate of Venice bore it all, sion of most of her strong places if not without complaint, at least on the continent. We partly drove without attempting resistance. To her garrisons away from them that these measures the iniquity was soon we might make ourselves more at added of not paying the Venetians home in them-we plundered her for the stores which they had adarsenals and her magazines, we re- vanced to the army. By the 20th quired her to feed and supply the of July they had already furnished wants of our troops. That was not to the amount of three millions, all: as a reparation for the evil we and had only received in payment, had done her, we now gave her to by dint of importunity, a letter of understand that she would have to exchange for 300,000 francs. But pay an indemnity of several mil- the very wrongs which we did lions. All this was done under them were imputed to them as a pretexts which Buonaparte in his crime, and became the occasion of correspondence admits to be en- new machinations against the retirely without foundation, after he public. Thus this payment of had invented them and appealed 300,000 francs, inadequate and illuto them so loudly. It was at this sory as it was, was in Buonaparte's stage that the unhappy republic, eyes a real fault, and became the crushed by our exactions, com- source of such vexations that the promised with Austria, driven to Venetians had, as it were, an indespair, had recourse somewhat terest in never being paid. This late to an expedient which might payment was, he said, a fault, have saved her at first—that of because it let them see that by arming, no less for the purpose of importunity and neglecting of sercausing her neutrality to be re- vices they had the power to get spected, than of defending herself money out of us. So that,' he against insurrectionary tendencies continued, 'I am obliged to put which began to reveal themselves myself in a passion with the purobscurely in her continental pro- veyor, to exaggerate the assassinavinces. This measure had only the tions they commit against our effect of eliciting fresh reproaches troops, to complain bitterly of the on our part. From the 12th July armament which they did not re(1796) Buonaparte denounced these sort to at the time that the Impearmaments. He seized with eager- rialists were the stronger party, and ness this new text of recrimina- by these means I shall oblige them tion; he warned the Directory not to furnish all I want, in order to ap
pease my wrath. That is the way worth M. Lanfrey shows from a to manage these people. They will quotation from the words of Napocontinue to supply me, partly by leon himself, in Las Casas's Memfair means, partly by foul, until I oirs, in which, during his early have taken Mantua, and then I campaigns in Italy, he caused a will declare to them openly that position to be uselessly attacked they must pay me the sum men- near the Col di Tenda, sacrificing tioned in your instructions, a meas- the lives of a number of men for ure which will be easily carried the sake of showing a favourite into execution.'" It is not sur lady what war was like. He adprising after this that the Vene- mitted, however, that his conscience tians elected to remain neutral, in had always reproached him for the a case, however, where neutrality act. In the negotiations which folwas impossible. The assassinations lowed this letter, Buonaparte soon mentioned by Buonaparte referred showed that he intended the reto some disturbances raised by the public of Venice to be the scapeexactions of the French soldiers, goat which should bear the sins of in which a few of the latter had France. Under various pretexts, been slain, the outraged peasants the French army
posseshaving taken the law into their sion of the town, and superseded own hands. If the Venetians had the government. Venice was conaccepted the French alliance, it demned to pay several millions, might have saved them from being to cede to France three ships of the handed over to Austria by the line, two frigates, provisions of all Treaty of Campo Formio, but they kinds, and, in accordance with the would only have exchanged the rule now established in Italian Austrian yoke for the French. As spoliation, twenty pictures and five it was, their refusal of the alliance hundred manuscripts, at the disof France sealed the doom of their cretion of the conqueror, as the republic. Buonaparte finding, not- price of the friendship of France. withstanding that he had carried Painful as this treaty was, it was a all before him in Italy, and beaten relief to the Venetians to have their one Austrian army after another, independent political existence still until that most long-suffering of recognised, since it was possible states was almost reduced to despair, that all they had suffered might be that the army of the Rhine, which repaired by time. But they were ought to have fought its way to a not allowed to remain long under junction with him in the Tyrol, made the influence of any such illusion. little progress, and fearing to com- Buonaparte, in a letter to the Direcpromise his position by involving tory, explained his reasons for himself further in the mountains sparing Venice for the present, but without support, wrote to the Arch- added that it would be soon desirduke Charles, on the 31st of March able to annex it to the newly1797, making propositions of peace. formed Cispadane Republic, which He invited that Prince to deserve was a mere dependency of France.
the title of the benefactor of hu- In the mean time, he took every manity,' declaring that, as far as he advantage of the helpless situation was concerned, 'if the proposition of the republic. He sent a comwhich he had the honour of making missioner to Corfu and the other him would have the effect of saving Venetian dependencies, with full the life of a single man, he should instructions as to the means of feel prouder of the civic crown that keeping the authorities of the rewould be his due in such a case public faithful to the French conthan of any melancholy glory which nection, in which this very charcould result from military suc- acteristic passage occurs—"If the cesses.'” What his humanity was inhabitants of the country should
be inclined to independence, you out the contemplated coup-d'état, will flatter their taste, and not fail, and Augereau was supported by in the different proclamations which Bernadotte and Lavalette. On the you address to them, to speak of 18th Fructidor (4th September Greece, of Sparta, and of Athens.” 1797), Augereau with 12,000 men In accordance with these instruc- invested the Tuileries, where the tions, the French envoy, Gentili, Legislative Body was sitting, and, presented himself at Corfu as the securing all the avenues that led to agent of the new government, and, it, took possession of the palace in introducing himself into the for- the middle of the night with little tress, assumed the tone of a master, resistance from the guard, most of took possession of the whole navy, whom had been previously gained five hundred guns, and immense over. The bolder deputies still tried stores. Nevertheless, Buonaparte to enter, but were received with continued to lull the suspicions of fixed bayonets, and had to return; the Venetians with fine speeches and those devoted to the triumvirate and promises of liberty and future met at the Odéon and School of greatness, for whose performance Medicine to ratify their acts, and he made himself personally respon- proscribed a large number of their sible, at the precise time when, in former colleagues. This coup-d'état his letters to the Directory, he was changed the government into a typroposing to hand them over body rannical oligarchy, and paved the and soul to Austria, to indemnify way for the more decisive one of her for the loss of the rest of the 18th Brumaire, which was desItaly.
tined to further change it into a dicNotwithstanding that the strug- tatorship. Though licence reigned gles of parties in Paris at this time as before, it was the end of liberty. drew off the attention of the Gov. Though Augereau boasted that ernment from foreign affairs, the there had been no blood shed, the conduct of Buonaparte with regard transportations to Cayenne that folto Venice and the other Italian lowed his success were equally calstates was questioned in the Legis- culated to strike terror into the lative Body, to his extreme indig- vanquished party. By the death of nation. He wrote letters to the Hoche, which followed soon after, Directory fulminating against his Buonaparte was deprived of a danaccusers, and accusing them of be- gerous rival—the more dangerous ing in the pay of England, and of because above corruption, although favouring the emigration; and threw he suffered himself to be made for himself into the arms of the army, a time the tool of a corrupt party, who promised devotion without “The 18th Fructidor,” says M. Lanlimits to his person and to the Exe- frey," was, in fact, the almost imcutive, and destruction to the ene- mediate contre-coupof the violations mies of the State, by which he un- of right which we had committed derstood those who called his acts at Venice. The protests of the Lein question. He was ably seconded gislature brought about the threatby the Directory at home, who ening manifestations of Buonaparte wished to make the pure and patri- and his soldiers ; the irritation otic Hoche the instrument of their of the army furnished the Direcwill, by ordering him to direct a tory with a weapon without which body of troops on Paris, under the it would never have been able to pretext of marching them to the triumph over the Councils ; and by ocean for an attempt on Ireland. a just expiation France saw her own This did not, however, quite suit liberty struck by the same deathBuonaparte, who was jealous of blow which had destroyed the inHoche, and sent Augereau to Paris dependence of Venice." Up to as a better instrument for carrying this time the Republican régime