« PreviousContinue »
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 hin 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 Representatires.—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 inrested.-Actions.--Convention of Paris.
HE state of parties in France, Some trying questions had been
close of the last year, was such as bers, particularly those relative indicated the existence of wide to emigrant property, and the differences in opinion and interest censorship of the press, whicb, among large classes of the com- though carried in them by decimunity; and although in a well sive majorities in favour of the established government, and a- court, were differently looked mong a people of sedate character upon in the political circles of and temperate feelings, it is found Paris and the provinces. But it by experience that such diversi- was in the military class that ties may prevail without material- feelings existed the most dangerly endangering the public tran- ous to the security of the Bourquillity, yet under the rule of a bon government. With scarcely dynasty restored, after long inter- any exceptions, both officers and mission, in consequence of foreign soldiers retained a high sentimenconquest, to the throne of a na. tal attachment to the man who tion distinguished by the vehe- so long had led them to glory mence and promptitude of its and victory, and under whose emotions, there was sufficient banners, notwithstanding recent reason to apprehend that secret disasters, they fondly regardeal dissensions could not long sub- themselves as destined to retrieve sist without bursting into a flame. their uwa importance, and the
honour honour of their country. The narchy. There was, indeed, noimperial rank, which he had been thing in the character of the king still suffered to preserve, main- to justify such an apprehension; tained his titular dignity; and but other branches of the royal his position at Elba, separated on- family were supposed to have imly by a narrow space of sea, kept bibed a greater portion of the him in constant view, and allows maxims of prerogative, and many ed a ready intercourse with his of the emigrant nobility, who, partizans.
on their return, assumed their The year howerer commenced natural relations with the court, at the French capital with those were known to have retained all demonstrations of loyalty which the political feelings with which are always at the service of actual they left the country. If on these authority. The municipal body accounts the friends of constituof the good city of Paris presented tional liberty found reasonable an address to the King, by the cause for withholding confidence mouth of its prefect, in which the in the existing government, there peculiar advantages of legitimate were not wanting others who power were dwelt upon, and his froin factious motives aggravated Majesty was assured that all his the public discontents, by reportsubjects would shorten their own ing designs probably never seridays, if necessary, to add to his. ously entertained, such as those
An exhibition perhaps not well of invalidating the purchases of adapted to the present temper of confiscated property, and of rethe public, was the solemn disin- storing tithes and feudal priviterment of the almost perished leges. By these means a mass of remains of Louis XVI. and Marie secret disaffection was acrumuAntoinette, on Jan. 18, in the lated in the nation, ready to machurch-yard of the Magdalen, for nifest itself when called to action their removal to the abbey of St. by circumstances. Denis. The ceremonial, civil and The sovereign of Elba had for ecclesiastical, round some moul- some time past given strict ordering bones of dubious owner- ders against the admission of ship, was more likely to excite strangers into his island, whicu the sarcasms than the veneration might in part be attributed to the of the Parisians. An official or- purpose of freeing himself from der for shutting up the theatres the molestation of visitors, many on the day of re-interment, and of whom had shewn little delicacy for the attendance of the civil and in gratifying their curiosity. The niilitary authorities ; and the in- event however proved that there tention of introducing into the were at this time additional reaFrench liturgy a service comme- sons for his care to keep inspecmorative of the royal martyr; tors at a distance; and it was were further displays of the re- observed that a very active curvived spirit of royalism, which respondence was carrying on bewould naturally augnient the sus- tween Elba and Naples by the picions of a design to restore the intervention of the sister of Buoprinciples of the ancient mo- naparte. It cannot be doubted
that the communication with nouncing the same penalties France also had been maintained against all his adherents who without interruption, although its should not submit within ten days. extent and instrumentality have Buonaparte in the inean time was never been fully made known. advancing to Grenoble, where he The island was under a kind of arrived on the 8th. The seventh naval supervision by English and regiment of the line, commanded French armed cruizers, but it by La Bedoyere, had marched out, does not appear that any direct and joined him upon his route. authority was claimed of control. The rest of the garrison opened ing Buonaparte's motions. Pro- the gates to him, delivered up bably the transportation of an their general, Marchand, and the armed force from Elba would magazine and arsenal deposited have been o posed if the attempt in that city, and thus placed their had been discovered; but the op- former en peror at the head of a portunity of a clear sea, and the body of regular troops, with a shade of evening, was taken by train of artillery. As soon as the the daring adventurer, when, on enterprize had put on a serious February 26th, he embarked at aspect, Monsieur, the King's broPorto Ferraio, on board a brig, ther, had hastened to Lyons, and followed by four small vessels, was followed by the Duke of Orconveying about 1000 men, of leans and Marshal Macdonald. whom a few only were French, That important city, the second and the rest Poles, Corsicans, in France, the prosperity of which Neapolitans, and Elbese. On depends on commerce, might have March 1st the expedition anchored been supposed well affected to off the small town of Cannes in wards a government the security Provence, where the men were of which was essential to a state landed. No disposition appeared of peace; but its population was in that quarter to join the inva- wavering in its fidelity, and the der, who put himself in march regular trops by wbich it was with his small and motley force garrisoned were decidedly attachfor Grenoble.
ed to the invader. He appeared Intelligence of this extraordi- before Lyons on the 9th, when Mary event having reached Paris,“ live l'Empereur" was the gea proclamation was issued by the neral cry of the soldiers and the King on March 6th for the convo. populace : he entered without the cation of the two chambers, which least resistance, the French priahad been adjourned to May 1st; ces having previously retired to and another, declaring Napoleon Clermont, whence they soon after Buonaparte a traitor and rebel, returned to Paris. for having entered by inain force It was not now a tiine to de. the department of the Var; en- ceive the public by false or supjoining all the authorities, civil pressed intelligence; and on and military, to attack and arrest March 11th a report was made to him, and bring him before a conrt the chamber of peers, by the martial, to suffer the punishment King's order, in wh!h the whole prescriled by the law, and de- progress of Buonaparte from his
landing was frankly related.” purpose of correcting abuses in Such, gentlemen, (said the Chan- the government; now that he cellor) is the true position in which was in possession of Lyons, and France is now placed. Buona- was hailed emperor by the solparte, who landed with 1100 diers, assumed his former digmen, makes rapid progress. We nity without disguise, and predo not exactly know to what ex- fixed to his public papers tent defections have increased his poleon, by the grace of God, and band; but these defections can- the constitutions of the empire, not lie doubted when we find emperor of the French." He Grenoble occupied, and the se- issued a decree by which he decond city of the kingdum ready to clared all changes made during fall, and probably already in the his absence in the administrahands of the enemy. Numerous tion both civil and military, null emissaries from Buonaparte re- and void ; the white cockade, and pair to our regiments ; some of the orders of St. Louis, the Holy • them are already in our ranks. Ghost, and St. Michael, abolish,
It is feared that many misled men ed; the military establishment of will yield to their perfidious in- the king suppressed ; the goods sinuations, and this fear alone and chattels of the Bourbon enfeebles our means of defence.” princes sequestrated ; the nobi. The Chancellor then mentioned lity and feudal titles abolished : the national guard as the principal the emigrants who had entered object of reliance in this emer- with the King banished, and the gency, and referred to a decree chamber of peers and deputies by which his Majesty had put this dissolved. To supply the place of force into requisition through- the latter, he ordered the electo. out the kingdom. The command ral colleges of the empire to asof all the troops in Paris and its semble at Paris in the course of environs was conferred on the May ensuing, in an extraordinary Duke of Berri. The only favour- assembly of the Champ de Mai, able occurrences which had taken for the purpose of correcting and place were the meeting of a body modifying the constitution, and of ten thousand men by Marshal assisting at the coronation of his Mortier, who were marching from empress and son. This language Lisle to Paris upon a counterfeit was evidently a lure thrown out order, and whom the Marshal sent for that part of the nation which back to their quarters ; and the was attached to popular prindefeat of an attempt by the ciples of government, and on General Lallemand with some which, next to the army, he most troops from the garrison of Cam- relied for support. bray, to obtain possession of the The troops assembled around military depôt at La Fere, in him were still comparatively only Picardy.
a handful, and to push on to the Buonaparte, who on his first capital of France with such a entrance into France had an- force might seem an enterprize counced himself lieutenant-ge- full of hazard ; but Buonaparte Beral of his son, arrived for the had already obtained sufficient assurance of the general disposic and chamber of deputies, stating tion of the army in his favour, the reason for his departure, and and it can scarcely be doubted that ordaining their separation. several of its principal com- Buonaparte entered Paris on manders had secretly engaged the evening of the 20th, hav. themselves to promote his cause. ing been met by all the military, The crisis speedily arrived. Pre- who received him in triumph; parations had been made for col. and thus, within three weeks from lecting a large body of troops at his landing as a desperate advenMelun for the immediate protec- turer, he had marched without tion of Paris, and another was having occasion to fire a musket, posted at Montargis on the road through the greatest part of to Fontainbleau, in order that the France, to mount a throne ocmvader might be placed between cupied by the legitimate successor two fires on his advance. Great of a long line of native kings, hopes were derived from the sup- and apparently fenced by all the posed loyalty of Marshal Ney, authority of a potent monarchy. Prince of Moskwa, an officer of But the throne of France, like high military reputation, who had that of the Roman emperors, was spontaneously repaired to the at the disposal of the soldiery, Tuilleries with a proffer of his whose fcelings were purely proservices, assuring the King, in a fessional; and had the voice of gasconade which might have ex- the French people been of any cited suspicion, that be would weight in the decision, it is doubtbring Buonaparte to Paris in an ful how far the love of change,
He was sent to the and the indignant sense of having command of 12 or 15,000 men had a sovereign imposed upon stationed at Lons le Saulnier, them by conquest, might have whence he was to fall on the rear influenced their determination, of Buonaparte ; but on the ad- This last circumstance was sturance of the latter to Auxterre, diously brought to view by the Ney joined him with his whole usurper in his public addresses. division, whom he had ordered “ The throne of the Bourbons to hoist the tri-coloured flag. He (said he) is illegitimate, since it sealed his treason by a proclama- has been erected by foreign hands, tion to his troops, in which he and proscribed by the voice of told them that the cause of the the nation, expressed in every naBourbons was for ever lost, and tional assembly.” that the lawful dynasty, which If, however, foreign hands had the French had adopted, was replaced the Bourbons on the about to ascend the throne. This throne of France, was it not prodefection was decisive of the con- bable that they would be exerted test, for all confidence was now to maintain them there? This at an end. The King on the idea, like the suspended sword of night of the 19th left Paris with Damocles, could not fail to renthe Princes of the blood, and pro- der uneasy to Buonaparte the ceeded for Lisle, having first pub- seat to which he had made his lished a proclamation to the peers way with such unparalleled fa