Page images
PDF
EPUB

whatever be your resources they must property and subvert the constitution. outlast those of all your enemies; and Such evil counsellors, it was stated, further, that your empire cannot be had already by corrupt influence obsaved by a calculation : besides, your tained a re-enactment of the property wealth is only part of your situation; tax: With much more to the same the name you have established, the purpose, couched in terms so disredeeds you have achieved, and the spectful, that the House refused to part you have sustained, preclude you permit the petition to be laid on the from a second place among nations; table. and when you cease to be the first, The next communications of the you are nothing."

minister announced the Such were the arguments used in manner in which the sti- May 30. the parliament of Britain on this mo- pulations of the treaties mentous occasion. Fortunately, not entered into at Vienna were to be for this country only, but for Europe, carried into practical effect. The those prevailed which preferred an continental powers bad agreed to instant and a manly assertion of our bring into the field.contingents conrights to enforce the broken treaties siderably stronger than the treaties of Fontainbleau and Paris, to the stipulated, while Great Britain, main. equally expensive, and far less effec- taining an army of 50,000 men only, tual measures, of armed neutrality was to pay in terms of the treaty for and husbanding our resources, recom

one hundred thousand. Of the col. mended by the opposition. The di- lective force, the following was the vision in the House of Peers was 156 statement : in favour of the address, to 44 for the amendment moved by Lord Grey. In Austria supplied 300,000 soldiers. the House of Commons the parties

Russia,

Prussia, divided 92 to 331.

States of Germany, If any thing could have rendered

Great Britain, the war more a necessary measure in Holland,

50,000 the eyes of the friends of good order, it must have been the views taken of The formidable total amounted to it by those who are almost the pro- one million and eleven thousand sol. fessed contemners of the constitution diers. and character of their country, and It was the wealth of Britain alone who have used the right of petitioning by which this formidable array could only to insult the legislature with the be put in motion. The sum which effrontery of sturdy beggars, whose was to be paid in lieu of her full cormode of solicitation is threats and tingent of troops, was two millions abuse. A petition from the inhabit- and a half. A similar sum was voted ants of Westminster was presented to be applied to the aid of the confeby Sir Francis Burdett. This docu- deracy, in the mode which should be ment stigmatized the proposed war judged most advisable. This sum of against France as an act not only flag- five millions, with one million for the rantly unjust, but resembling despe- reparation of the fortifications in Holration or insanity, which they could land and Flanders, was voted by the only impute to the policy of those great majority of one hundred and domestic enemies, wlio had an inte. sixty-seven to seventeen votes. The rest in stirring up foreign war, that few members who made this opposithey might cheat the people of their tion, having dwelt much on the ex

225,000
236,000
150,000
50,000

pense incurred in the preceding war there was no hope of peace in the prewith France, were called on by Mr sent circumstances, or of any aid to Charles Grant to remember the trium- be obtained from beyond the fronphant effect to which these subsidies tiers of France, excepting in case of had led, and exhorted to expect from the success of Murat. The enterthe

present a result still more trium- prize of that person is so closely con, phant and decisive.

nected with the history of France, These determined measures on the that it becomes necessary to trace it part of the allies served to convince to a period, before completing that France and her present ruler, that of Buonaparte himself,

[ocr errors]

CHAP. XI.

Situation of Murat.--Debate concerning him in the House of Commons-Dis. affection in the Milanese Territory.— Riots in the Theatre.- Murat puts his

Army in motion-His dubious Policy-He occupies Rome, and commences offensive Operations against the Austrians-His Proclamation from Rimini He attacks the Lower Po, and is defeated at Occhiebello--Commences his Retreat-Solicits an Armistice, and is refused -Battle of Tolentino.Murat's Defeat and disastrous Retreat-He is intercepted at Saint Germano by General Nugent -- His Rear-guard destroyed.-Flies alone to Naples---And from thence to France ---General Insurrection in Naples und Calabria.-- The Queen surrenders to the British The Austrians occupy Naple.Surrender of the Neapolitan Army._Restoration of King Ferdinand.-Murat in dan. ger of being killed by the Royalists Flies to Corsica-Refuses a Retreat ofa fered to him in Austria-His Proclamation to the Neapolitans--Lands near Pizzo-But is defeated and made Prisoner--And tried and executed by a Neapolitan Court-Martial

nour of

JOACHIM Murat had trodden the confirmed his right to the throne of paths of French revolution with suce Naples. cess, which was only surpassed by the His sovereignty had been attended progress of his brother-in-law and with considerable advantages to Na. patron. Originally the stable-boy, or ples, as often happens upon the introwaiter of a cabaret- then a soldier of duction of a new dynasty. Ancient, fortune-then a jacobin, so enthu. abuses had been corrected, assassinasiastic, that he requested permission tions were rendered less trequent by to change his name to Marat, in ho- abridging the privilege of sanctuary,

hat deceased worthy-he the insolencies of the turbulent Laz. had become successively General, zaroni had been checked, and a more Marshal, Grand Duke of Berg, and strict police was established both in King of Naples. Notwithstanding his Naples and Calabria. His governsbare in the treacherous expedition ment became rather popular with the against Spain, and the cruel murders nobles, though the common people of which he perpetrated on the patriotic the capital, and the peasants of the citizens of Madrid upon the 4th of country, retained their ancient preMay, 1808, his opportune desertion dilections in favour of Ferdinand and of his brother-in-law's cause had his family. l'he spiendour of Murat's given him such claims on the confe- public shows, and the distribution of derated powers, as, with good faith wine and money on these occasions, and prudence on his part, might have had not eradicated from the minds of

2

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1

the populace the more plain, popular, in his own hands, till he could deterand even vulgar manners of Ferdi- mine on which side he could most nand, who had won their hearts by safely incline it. To complete the im. the share which he took in their mirth pressions to Murat's prejudice, Tal. and their games on occasion of pub- leyrand exhibited, first to the Duke of lic festivals. Murat was a foreigner, Wellington, and afterwards to Lord and obnoxious to all objections, real Castlereagh, some documents of coror imaginary, which nations make to respondence, in which Murat, while a strange ruler. Neither did he pos- acting with the allies, appeared to have sess either wisdom or moderation to expressed himself still tavourable to balance the popular prejudice against the cause of his brother-in-law. Of him as a Frenchman. Brave as a lion five documents thus produced, two in war, Murat was at once ambitious were stated by the Moniteur, during and irresolute in his politics, under. Buonaparte's usurpation, to have been taking enterprizes beyond his means, manufactured by the French ministry, and abandoning them, when, by some for the purpose of imposing on Lord fortuitous train of circumstances, he Castlereagh. This forgery, or sophistimight possibly have succeeded. In cation, if such existed, must have been person, he was fond of show, dress, a work of gratuitous immorality, for the and decoration, and obtained among conduct of Murat had been so vacilla. the French soldiers the nickname of ting as completely to indicate his want Franconi, from a celebrated Parisian of faith ; and although the Congress mountebank so called.

had not settled on the line of conduct Such a character was not likely to to be adopted toward him, there can be possess the political skill, prudence, no doubt that the throne of Tancred and sagacity, necessary for the secu- tottered under its new possessor. His rity of his dominions in critical times. conduct, and the line of policy which, Murat was aware, that at the Con- in justice and good faith, was to be gress his deposition had been urged observed with him, became the subby Talleyrand,—that the English and ject of an interesting debate in the Austrian courts considered his con- British House of Commons; but from duct during the campaign in Tuscany the documents then produced, and as too dubious to merit favour, and especially from the facts and arguwould afford him no further protec- ments of Lord William Bentinck, and tion than the state of Europe might General Nugent's Memorequire. Alarmed at those indica- rials, the members were May 2. tions of evil intentions towards him, convinced, that the vacillaMurat, by his minister, the Duke of tion of Murat in his engagements with Campochiaro, drew up a laboured vin. the allies, left them free of any oblidication of his good faith towards the gation towards him. Still, however, allies. But this statement was met by the question of political expedience a detailed report from the Austrian remained undecided; and it was foundGeneral Nugent, and another from ed upon by Murat himself, as the best Lord William Bentinck, both of whom guarantee of his cause, that he was in had acted with Murat in the cam. actual possession of the kingdom in paign of Italy, and both now contenid- dispute, enjoyed its apparently unanied, that hc had totally failed to fulfil mous homage, and, with the reputahis engagement with the allies, and tion of a great general, commanded had, instead, played false with all par. an army of eighty thousand men. ties, endeavouring to keep the balance While the views of the allies towards the King of Naples excited his lemn guarantee of his kingdom of Nadoubts, his vanity and ambition were ples would have been the least they fattered by the hope of becoming the would have offered for his neutrality. liberator, and, in consequence, the Murat's army was such as made him monarch of all Italy. The northern formidable ; and he had of late aug. part of that fine country was filled mented, both his forces by new levies, with soldiers, who, trained to arms in and his means of supporting them by the wars of Buonaparte, retained an heavy imposts, neither of which had affection for him, and for all his family. rendered his government more popuThe rule of Austria in the Italian do- lar. He possessed about 45,000 troops minions has never been either gentle of the line, and an equal number of or popular, and at this time there ex- militia, and the former were trained isted a violent ferment in Milan, which to arms under French officers. His was near breaking out into absolute court was the residence of revolutionrevolt. An alarming riot took place ists from all parts of Italy, who kept at the theatre of that city, with such up an active and efficient correspon. acclamations in favour of Italian inde- dence with the various states they bependence, of Eugene Beauharnois, and longed to. But the effective strength even of Napoleon, that the Austrian of his army was much weakened by commandant, Marshal Bellegarde, the recall of many French officers by deemed himself obliged to take the Louis XVIII., and by his own dismissmost prompt and severe measures. ing others, in order to render himself The theatre was surrounded by the more popular with the Neapolitans. troops of the garrison, and as the con. And the character of the troops of tumacious audience issued forth, those Naples stood very low since 1799, who had headed the disorder were ta- when the French General Championken into custody. Their examinations net routed them with such inferior gave rise to a belief, that this disturb. numbers. ance was but the premature explosion In these circumstances, departing of a general disaffection to the Aus- from the neutrality which was his best trian government. The city was de- chance of safety, Murat demanded clared to be in a state of siege; eight permission of Austria to march 80,000 capital executions, and other punish- men through her Italian dominions, to ments, suppressed the appearances of repel an attack from a French army, disaffection. This tumult indicated which, he pretended to believe, deonly one branch of the general con- signed to cross the Alps, with the purspiracy through Italy, of which Mu- pose of dispossessing him of his kingrat trusted to avail himself, to further dom of Naples. The Austrian minishis gigantic plans. His correspon- ter replied to these strange proposidence with Excelman and with Buo- tions, that his imperial majesty was naparte had the same object ; and determined to maintain the tranquilthus, while he ought to have studied lity of Italy. And to do so with efhow to secure the kingdom of Naples, fect, a large body of troops was inhe aspired at the sovereignty of all stantly put in motion to reinforce Italy. It is needless to dwell upon those in the Italian provinces. Thus this miserable policy. The struggle the only effect of Murat's first warlike which was about to take place would demonstration was, to induce the have enabled Murat to make his own power who was chiefly threatened to terms with the allies, in order to de- strengthen his forces on the points tach him from Buonaparte; and a so- exposed to danger.

« PreviousContinue »