When the advanced guard of the Allies came in sight of the Rhine, over which the last of the hated invaders had fled, they raised such shouts of “The Rhine! the Rhine!” that those behind rushed forward, supposing that it was a call to action; but they soon learned the true cause, and joined in a mighty acclamation, that proclaimed the haughty and sanguinary oppressor driven out, and the soil of Germany at length freed from his licentious and marauding legions. It turned out that they had left behind them one hundred and forty thousand prisoners, and seven hundred and ninety-one guns. On the 2nd of November Hanover was again delivered to Great Britain; the Duke of Brunswick, who had maintained his stern hatred to Buonaparte, also returned to his patrimonial domains; the kingdom of Westphalia dissolving like a dream, the different portions of Jerome’s ephemeral realm reverted to its former owners. The Confederacy of the Rhine was at an end, the members of it hastening to make peace with the Allies, and save as much of their dominions as they could. Bernadotte, immediately after the defeat of Buonaparte at Leipsic, entered Denmark, and overran the country of that ally of France. The Danish army speedily consented to an armistice, by which it was agreed that the Swedes should occupy Holstein and a part of Schleswig till the French were expelled from all the Danish fortresses. It was already stipulated as the price of his co-operation, that the Crown Prince should receive Norway to add to the Swedish Crown.
Holland rose in exultation on the news of the overthrow of Buonaparte at Leipsic. His dominion over that country had been a bitter thraldom. Its sons had been dragged yearly, by conscription, to his great slaughter-houses called battle-fields in distant regions. Their trade had been crushed by his Continental system; their colonies seized by Great Britain; their mercantile sources thus dried up—in fact, he had squeezed the wealth and the life out of Holland as out of a sponge, and hordes of French officials maintained an insolent dominance all over the country. At news of the Russian disasters, the Dutch had risen to throw off this hateful and ruinous yoke; but the French forces in Holland had then been sufficient to put them down, and to severely punish them for the attempt. But the necessities in Germany had nearly drained Holland of French troops, and they now rose once more joyfully at Amsterdam, on the 15th of November, and at the Hague on the 16th. They received the most prompt assurances of assistance from Great Britain. A man-of-war was immediately put at the service of the Prince of Orange, and after a nineteen years’ exile he embarked on the 25th, and entered Amsterdam on the 1st of December as King of Holland, amid the most enthusiastic acclamations. An army of twenty-five thousand men was soon enrolled; the Allies were at hand; the French authorities fled, after laying hands on all the booty they could carry off; and with the exception of the fortress of Bergen-op-Zoom, the country was speedily cleared of them.
THE PALACE OF FONTAINEBLEAU
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The Swiss acted a more cautious part. Fearful that Napoleon might yet, by some other wonderful chance, regain his power, they summoned a Diet, passed an order for the neutrality of the cantons, and issued an order calling on the Allies to respect this, and not attempt to march troops through their country. This would have suited Buonaparte extremely well, as it would have closed his eastern frontiers to the Austrians, who were marching that way under Count Bubna; but the Austrians informed the Swiss authorities that they should certainly march through; and the Allied sovereigns dispatched Count Capo d’Istria and Herr Lebzeltern to Zurich to state that the power of France over Switzerland was at an end, and to desire them to send deputies to meet them, and to establish an independent government for Switzerland. Thus assured, the greater part of the cantons sent their deputies to Zurich, who proclaimed the restoration of national independence, and gave free consent for the armies of the Allies to march through the country.
Whilst all the countries which Buonaparte, at such an incalculable cost of life and human suffering, had compelled to the dominion of France were thus re-asserting their freedom, Buonaparte, in Paris, presented the miserable phantom of a vanished greatness. He called on the Senate to vote new conscriptions, telling them that theirs had been made by him the first throne of the universe, and they must maintain it as such; that without him they would become nothing. But the Allies were now entering France at one end, and Wellington was firmly fixed in the other; ere long the insulted nations would be at the gates of Paris, and the Senate and people demanded peace. Buonaparte refused to listen, and the Senate voted the conscription of three hundred thousand men, knowing that there was no longer any authority in the country to raise them. La Vendée, and all the Catholic South, were on the verge of insurrection; Murat, in Naples, was ready to throw off his last link of adhesion to Buonaparte; and the defeated usurper stood paralysed at the approach of his doom.
It was natural that this mighty turn in affairs on the Continent should be watched in Great Britain with an interest beyond the power of words. Though this happy country had never felt the foot of the haughty invader, no nation in Europe had put forth such energies for the overthrow of the usurper; none had poured forth such a continual flood of wealth to arm, to clothe, to feed the struggling nations, and hold them up against the universal aggressor. Parliament met on the 4th of November, and, in the speech of the Prince Regent and in the speeches in both Houses, one strain of exultation and congratulation on the certain prospect of a close to this unexampled war prevailed. At that very moment the “Corsican upstart” was on his way to Paris, his lost army nearly destroyed, the remains of it chased across the Rhine, and himself advancing to meet a people at length weary of his sanguinary ambition, and sternly demanding peace.
Lord Castlereagh, in recounting the aid given by Great Britain to the sovereigns of the Continent in this grand effort to put down the intolerable military dominance of Buonaparte, drew a picture of expenditure such as no country had presented since the commencement of history. He said that the nations of the north of Europe were so exhausted by their former efforts, that not one of them could move without our aid; that this year alone we had sent to Russia two million pounds; to Prussia two million pounds; to Austria one million pounds in money, and one hundred thousand stand of arms; to Spain two million pounds; to Portugal one million pounds; to Sicily four hundred thousand pounds. By these aids Russia had been able to bring up men from the very extremities of the earth, and Prussia to put two hundred thousand men into the field. We had sent during the year five hundred thousand muskets to Spain and Portugal, and four hundred thousand to other parts of the Continent. There was something sublime in the contemplation of one nation, by the force of her wealth and her industry, calling together the armies of the whole world to crush the evil genius of the earth.
But Lord Castlereagh called on Parliament to maintain the same scale of expenditure and exertion till the great drama was completed. He estimated that there would still be wanted for 1814 four million pounds for the Peninsula, and six million pounds for Germany. He stated that our army in all quarters of the world amounted to two hundred and thirty thousand men, and that it was probable that we should have occasion to send from fifteen thousand to twenty thousand men to Holland, which, he recommended, should be raised by drafts from the militia. Of seamen, one hundred and forty thousand, and thirty-one thousand marines were voted, as it was resolved to chase the flag of the troublesome Americans from the seas. All these proposals were assented to without hesitation, and with the warmest encomiums on the achievements of Lord Wellington in Spain and the south of France, Parliament adjourned on the 26th of December till the 1st of March, 1814.
At the opening of the year 1814 Buonaparte was busy endeavouring to make good some of his false steps, so as to meet the approaching Allies with all possible strength. He made haste to liberate the captive Pope, and thus remove one of the causes of the hostility of the Italians to him, for in Italy the Austrians were bearing hard on his Viceroy, Eugene, who had but about forty-five thousand men there, whilst Murat, at Naples, so far from supporting the claims of Napoleon, was endeavouring to bargain with the Allies for the kingdom of Naples. Buonaparte, at the commencement of the year, sent Cardinal Maury and the Bishops of Evreux and Plaisance to Pius VII. at Fontainebleau. But even in such pressing circumstances Buonaparte could not make a generous offer. He endeavoured to bargain for the cession of a part of the Papal territories, on condition of the surrender of the rest. But Pius, who had always shown great spirit, replied that the estates of the Church were not his to give, and he would not give his consent to their alienation. Foiled on this point, Buonaparte then sent word that the Pope should be unconditionally liberated. “Then,” said Pius, “so must all my cardinals.” This was refused, but he was permitted to go alone, and a carriage and guard of honour were given him. Before departing, Pius called together the cardinals, seventeen in number, and commanded them to wear no decoration received from the French Government, and to assist at no festival to which they should be invited. He then took his leave, on the 24th of January, and reached Rome on the 18th of May. Thus ended the most foolish of all the arbitrary actions of Napoleon. The folly of it was so obvious that he disclaimed having ordered the seizure of the Pope, but he showed that this was false by keeping him prisoner more than five years.
Another matter which he was eager to set right was the captivity of the King of Spain. He had one hundred thousand of his best disciplined and most seasoned troops in Spain, and he was anxious to get them out to meet the approaching Allies. Besides this, he was equally anxious to render the stay of Wellington in the south of France indefensible. To effect these purposes, he determined not only to liberate Ferdinand of Spain, but to send him home under the conditions of a treaty, by which a full exchange of prisoners should be effected, and the continuance of the British there be declared unnecessary. Nay, he did all in his power to embroil the Spaniards with their deliverers, the British. By a treaty Buonaparte recognised Ferdinand VII. and his successors as King of Spain and the Indies, and Ferdinand, on his part, bound himself to maintain the integrity of his empire, and to oblige the British immediately to evacuate every part of Spain. The contracting powers were to maintain their maritime rights against Great Britain; and whilst Buonaparte surrendered all fortresses held by him in Spain, Ferdinand was to continue to all the Spaniards who had adhered to King Joseph the rights, privileges, and property they had enjoyed under him.
Could this treaty have been carried out, Buonaparte would at once have obtained his one hundred thousand veterans from Spain, and completely paralysed the army of Lord Wellington. The Duke de San Carlos conveyed the treaty to Spain. He was instructed to inquire into the state of the Regency and the Cortes, whether they were really so infected with infidelity and Jacobinism as Napoleon had represented; but, whether so or not, he was to procure the ratification of the treaty by these bodies, and Ferdinand undertook to deal with them himself when once safe upon the throne. San Carlos travelled eastward into Spain, and visited the camp of Suchet, who very soon communicated to General Capons, who was co-operating with General Clinton, that there was peace concluded between Spain and France, and that there was no longer any use for the British. Capons was very ready to act on this information and enter into a separate 长沙桑拿会所 armistice with Suchet; but fortunately for both Spain and the British, neither the Regency nor the Cortes would sign the treaty so long as the king was in durance in France.
Lord Wellington had been duly informed of the progress of these man?uvres, and they had given him great anxiety; nor were these the only causes of anxiety which affected him. The British Ministry were so much absorbed with the business of supporting the Allies in their triumphant march after Buonaparte, that they seemed to think the necessity of Lord Wellington’s exertions at an end. At the close of 1813 they recalled Sir Thomas Graham and some of his best battalions to send them into Holland. They appeared to contemplate still further reductions of the Peninsular army, and Lord Wellington was obliged to address them in very plain terms to impress them 长沙桑拿按摩 with the vital necessity of maintaining the force in this quarter unweakened. He reminded them that thirty thousand British troops had kept two hundred thousand of Buonaparte’s best troops engaged in Spain for five years; that without this assistance Spain and Portugal would have long ago been completely thrown under the feet of the invader, and the Allies of the North would have had to contend against the undivided armies and exertions of Napoleon; that to render his own army inefficient would be at once to release one hundred thousand veterans such as the Allied armies had not had to deal with. This had the proper effect; and as soon as Wellington had obtained the necessary supplies, he resumed his operations to drive Soult from under the walls of Bayonne.
Early in February he commenced his operations, and carried them 长沙桑拿哪里好玩 forward with a vigour most extraordinary. He drove Soult from all his entrenchments before Bayonne, and again on the 27th he routed him at Orthez and pursued him to the banks of the Adour. This was a sharply contested field, the British having nearly three hundred killed and two thousand wounded; but the loss of the French was far heavier, for they flung down their arms and ran, and there was a great slaughter of the fugitives. The towns of Bayonne and Bordeaux being now left uncovered by the French, Wellington sent bodies of troops to invest them. Bordeaux opened its gates on March 8th, and proclaimed Louis XVIII. Lord Wellington had issued orders that the British should take no part in any political demonstrations, but should leave all such decisions to the Allies, who would settle by treaty what dynasty should reign. He 长沙桑拿论坛吧 himself followed Soult to Tarbes, where he expected that he would give battle; but Soult was anxious for the arrival and junction of Suchet, who was advancing from Spain with upwards of twenty thousand men. Soult, therefore, retreated to Toulouse, which he reached on the 24th of March.
Lord Wellington came up with him on the 9th of April, in the meantime having had to get across the rapid Garonne, with all his artillery and stores, in the face of the French batteries. The next morning, the 10th, being Easter Sunday, Wellington attacked Soult in all his positions. These were remarkably strong, most of his troops being posted on well-fortified heights, bristling with cannon, various strongly-built houses being crammed with riflemen; while a network of vineyards and orchards, surrounded by stone walls, and intersected by streams, protected his men, and rendered the coming at 长沙桑拿论坛 them most difficult. The forces on both sides were nearly equal. Soult had about forty-two thousand men, and Wellington, besides his army composed of British, Germans, and Portuguese, had a division of fifteen thousand Spaniards. The difficulties of the situation far out-balanced the excess of about three thousand men on the British side; but every quarter was gallantly attacked and, after a severe conflict, carried. Soult retired into Toulouse, and during the ensuing night he evacuated it, and retreated to Carcassonne. The loss of the Allies in killed was six hundred, and about four thousand wounded. Soult confessed to three thousand two hundred killed and wounded, but we may calculate his total loss at little less than that of the Allies, although his troops had been protected by their stone walls and houses.
On the 12th of April Wellington entered Toulouse amid the acclamations 长沙桑拿按摩论坛网 of the people. But Lord Wellington was accused by the French of fighting the battle five days after the abdication of Buonaparte, and therefore incurring a most needless waste of life. The fact was, that it was not till the afternoon of the 12th of April that Colonel Cooke and the French Colonel, St. Simon, arrived at Toulouse, bringing the official information that Buonaparte had abdicated at Fontainebleau on the 4th. Thus it happened that the battle was fought a week before the knowledge of the peace was received. Moreover, we have the evidence of
Soult’s own correspondence, that on the 7th of April, after he had heard of the entrance of the Allies into Paris, he was determined to fight another battle, and for the very reason that the Allies had entered Paris. When the English and French colonels arrived at Soult’s camp with the same news that they had communicated to Wellington, Soult refused to submit to the Provisional 长沙桑拿网论坛社区 Government until he received orders from Napoleon; nor did he acknowledge this Government till the 17th, when Wellington was in full pursuit of him towards Castelnaudary. On the 18th a convention was signed between Wellington and Soult, and on the following day a like one was signed between Wellington and Suchet. On the 21st Lord Wellington announced to his army that hostilities were at an end, and thanked them “for their uniform discipline and gallantry in the field, and for their conciliatory conduct towards the inhabitants of the country.”
In preparing to meet the invasion of the Allies Napoleon had to encounter the most formidable difficulties. In Russia and in this German campaign he had seen the bulk of his veteran army dissipated—nay, destroyed. After all his years of incessant drafts on the life-blood of France, six hundred thousand men could not be readily replaced. To replace a fourth of that number with well-disciplined troops was impossible. He could draw none from Germany, for his boasted Confederation of the Rhine had disappeared as a summer cloud, and the very princes on whom he had relied were marching against him in the vast army of the Allies. He could draw none from Italy; for there Eugene Beauharnais was contending, with only about forty-five thousand men, against the much more numerous Austrians; whilst his brother-in-law, Murat, his dashing cavalry general, was gone over to the enemy. Poland would send him no more gallant regiments, for he had grievously deceived the Poles; and his trusted ally of Denmark lay trodden under foot by his former companion-in-arms, Bernadotte. When he turned his eyes over France, which had so long sent forth her hordes to desolate Europe at his bidding, he beheld a prospect not much more cheering. The male population, almost to a man, was drained off, and their bones lay bleaching in the torrid sands of Egypt and Syria, the rugged sierras of Spain and Portugal, in the fens of Holland and the sandy flats of Belgium, on many a heath and plain in Germany, and far away amid the mocking snows of frozen Muscovy. The fields of “la belle France” were being cultivated by old men, by women, and mere boys. Those who had been so long buoyed up under the loss of husbands, fathers, and children, by the delusive mirage of the glory of the “grand nation,” now cursed the tyrant whose insane ambition had led such millions of the sons of France to the great slaughter-house of war. The conscriptions, therefore, were very little attended to. Besides this, Buonaparte was well aware that there remained a strong leaven of Jacobinism in Paris and the large towns, and he was afraid of calling out city guards to set at liberty other soldiers, lest, in the hour of his absence and weakness, they should rise and renounce his authority.