1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Napoleon I.
NAPOLEON I. (1769–1821), Emperor of the French. Napoleon Bonaparte (or Buonaparte, as he almost always spelt the name down the year 1796) was born at Ajaccio in Corsica on the 15th of August 1769. The date of his birth has been disputed, and certain curious facts have been cited in proof of the assertion that he was born on the 7th of January 1768, and that his brother Joseph, who passed as the eldest surviving son, was in reality his junior. Recent research has, however, explained how it came about that a son born on the earlier date received the name Nabulione (Napoleon). The father, Carlo Maria da Buonaparte (Charles Marie de Bonaparte), had resolved to call his three first sons by the names given by his great-grandfather to his sons, namely Joseph, Napoleon and Lucien. This was done; but on the death of the eldest (Joseph) the child first baptized Nabulion received the name Joseph; while the third son (the second surviving son) was called Napoleon. The baptismal register of Ajaccio leaves no doubt as to the date of his birth as given above. For his parents and family see Bonaparte. The father’s literary tastes, general inquisitiveness, and powers of intrigue reappeared in Napoleon, who, however, derived from his mother Letizia (a descendant of the Ramolino and Pietra Santa families) the force of will, the power of forming a quick decision and of maintaining it against all odds, which made him so terrible an opponent both in war and in diplomacy. The sterner strain in the mother’s nature may be traced to intermarriage with the families of the wild interior of Corsica, where the vendetta was the unwritten but omnipotent law of the land. The Bonapartes, on the other hand, had long concerned themselves with legal affairs at Ajaccio or in the coast towns of the island. They traced their descent to ancestors who had achieved distinction in the political life of medieval Florence and Sarzana; Francesco Buonaparte of Sarzana migrated to Corsica early in the 16th century. What is equally noteworthy, as explaining the characteristics of Napoleon, is that his descent was on both sides distinctly patrician. He once remarked that the house of Bonaparte dated from the coup d’état of Brumaire (November 1799); but it is certain the de Buonapartes had received the title of nobility from the senate of the republic of Genoa which, during the 18th century, claimed to exercise sovereignty over Corsica.
It was in the midst of the strifes resulting from those claims that Napoleon Bonaparte saw the light in 1769. His compatriots had already freed themselves from the yoke of Genoa, thanks to Pasquale Paoli; but in 1764 that republic appealed to Louis XV. of France for aid, and in 1768 a bargain was struck by which the French government succeeded to the nearly bankrupt sovereignty of Genoa. In the campaigns of 1768–69 the French gradually overcame the fierce resistance of the islanders; and Paoli, after sustaining a defeat at Ponte-Novo (9th of May 1769), fled to the mainland, and ultimately to England. Napoleon’s father at first sided with Paoli, but after the disaster of Ponte-Novo he went over to the conquerors, and thereafter solicited places for himself and for his sons with a skill and persistence which led to a close union between the Bonapartes and France. From the French governor of Corsica, the comte de Marbeuf, he procured many favours, among them being the nomination of the young Napoleon to the military school at Brienne in the east of France.
Already the boy had avowed his resolve to be a soldier. In the large playroom of the house at Ajaccio, while the others amused themselves with ordinary games, Napoleon delighted most in beating a drum and wielding a sword. His elder brother, Joseph, a mild and dreamy boy, had to give way before him; and it was a perception of this difference of temperament which decided the father to send Joseph into the church and Napoleon into the army. Seeing that the younger boy was almost entirely ignorant of French, he took him with Joseph to the college at Autun at the close of the year 1778. After spending four months at Autun, Napoleon entered the school at Brienne in May 1779. The pupils at Brienne, far from receiving a military education, were grounded in ordinary subjects, and in no very efficient manner, by brethren of the order, or society, of Minims. The moral tone of the school was low; and Napoleon afterwards spoke with contempt of the training of the “monks” and the manner of life of the scholars. Perhaps his impressions were too gloomy; his whole enthusiasm had been for the Corsicans, who still maintained an unequal struggle against the French; he deeply resented his father’s espousal of the French cause; and dislike of the conquerors of his native island made him morose and solitary. Apart from decided signs of proficiency in mathematics, he showed no special ability. Languages he disliked, but he spent much of his spare time in reading history, especially Plutarch. The firmness of character which he displayed caused him to be recommended in 1782 for the navy by one of the inspectors of the school; but a new inspector, who was appointed in 1783, frustrated this plan. In October 1784 Bonaparte and three other Briennois were authorized, by a letter signed by Louis XVI., to proceed as gentlemen cadets to the military school at Paris. There the education was more thorough, and the discipline stricter, than at Brienne. Napoleon applied himself with more zest to his studies, in the hope of speedily qualifying himself for the artillery. In this he succeeded. As the result of an examination conducted in September 1785 by Laplace, Bonaparte was included among those who entered the army without going through an intermediate stage.
At the end of October 1785 he closed a scholastic career which had been creditable but not brilliant. He now entered the artillery regiment, La Fère, quartered at Valence, and went through all the duties imposed on privates, and thereafter those of a corporal and a sergeant. Not until January 1786 did he actually serve as junior lieutenant. A time of furlough in Corsica from September 1786 to September 1787 served to strengthen his affection for his mother, and for the island which he still hoped to free from the French yoke. The father having died of cancer at Montpellier in 1785, Napoleon felt added responsibilities, which he zealously discharged. In order to push forward a claim which Letizia urged on the French government, he proceeded to Paris in September 1787, and toyed for a time with the pleasures of the Palais Royal, but failed to make good the family claim. After gaining a further extension of leave of absence from his regiment he returned to Ajaccio and spent six months more in the midst of family and political, affairs. Rejoining his regiment, then in the garrison at Auxonne, after a furlough of twenty-one months, the young officer went through a time of much privation, brightened only by the study of history and cognate subjects. Many of the notes and essays written by him at Auxonne bear witness to his indomitable resolve to master all the details of his profession and the chief facts relating to peoples who had struggled successfully to achieve their liberation. Enthusiasm for Corsica was a leading motive prompting him to this prolonged exertion. His notes on English history (down to the time of the revolution of 1688) were especially detailed. Of Cromwell he wrote: “Courageous, clever, deceitful, dissimulating, his early principles of lofty republicanism yielded to the devouring flames of his ambition; and, having tasted the sweets of power, he aspired to the pleasure of reigning alone.” At Auxonne, as previously at Valence, Napoleon commanded a small detachment of troops sent to put down disturbances in neighbouring towns, and carried out his orders unflinchingly. To this period belongs his first crude literary effort, a polemic against a Genevese pastor who had criticized Rousseau.
In the latter part of his stay at Auxonne (June 1788–September 1789) occurred the first events of the Revolution which was destined to mould anew his ideas and his career. But his preoccupation about Corsica, the privations to which he and his family were then exposed, and his bad health, left him little energy to expend on purely French affairs. He read much of the pamphlet literature then flooding the country, but he still preferred the more general studies in history and literature, Plutarch, Caesar, Corneille, Voltaire and Rousseau being his favourite authors. The plea of the last named on behalf of Corsica served to enlist the sympathy of Napoleon in his wider speculations, and so helped to bring about that mental transformation which merged Buonaparte the Corsican in Bonaparte the jacobin and Napoleon the First Consul and Emperor.
Family influences also played their part in this transformation. On proceeding to Ajaccio in September 1789 for another furlough, he found his brother Joseph enthusiastic in the democratic cause and acting as secretary of the local political club. Napoleon seconded his efforts, and soon they had the help of the third brother, Lucien, who proved to be most eager and eloquent. Thanks to the exertions of Saliceti, one of the two deputies sent by the tiers état of Corsica to the National Assembly of France, that body, on the 30th of November 1789, declared the island to be an integral part of the kingdom with right to participate in all the reforms then being decreed. This event decided Napoleon to give his adhesion to the French or democratic party; and when, in July 1790, Paoli returned from exile in England (receiving on his way the honours of the sitting by the National Assembly) the claims of nationality and democracy seemed to be identical, though the future course of events disappointed these hopes. Shortly before returning to his regiment in the early weeks of 1791 he indited a letter inveighing in violent terms against Matteo Buttafuoco, deputy for the Corsican noblesse in the National Assembly of France, as having betrayed the cause of insular liberty in 1768 and as plotting against it again.
The experiences of Bonaparte at Auxonne during his second stay in garrison were again depressing. With him in his poorly furnished lodgings was Louis Bonaparte, the fourth surviving son, whom he carefully educated and for whom he predicted a brilliant future. For the present their means were very scanty, and, as the ardent royalism of his brother officers limited his social circle, he plunged into work with the same ardour as before, frequently studying fourteen or fifteen hours a day. Then it was, or perhaps at a slightly later date, that he became interested in the relations subsisting between political science and war. From L'Esprit des lois of Montesquieu he learnt suggestive thoughts like the following: “L'objet de la guerre, c'est la victoire; celui de la victoire, la conquête; celui de la conquête, l'occupation.” Machiavelli taught him the need of speed, decision and unity of command, in war. From the Trailé de tactique (1772) of Guibert he caught a glimpse of the power which a patriotic and fully armed nation might gain amidst the feeble and ill-organized governments of that age.
External events served to unite him more closely to France. The reorganization of the artillery, which took place in the spring of 1791, brought Bonaparte to the rank of lieutenant in the regiment of Grenoble, then stationed at Valence. He left the regiment La Fere with regret on the 14th of June 1791; but at Valence he renewed former friendships and plunged into politics with greater ardour. Most of his colleagues refused to take the oath of obedience to the Constituent Assembly, after the attempted escape of Louis XVI. to the eastern frontier at midsummer. Bonaparte took the oath on the 4th of July, but said later that the Assembly ought to have banished the king and proclaimed a regency for Louis XVII. In general, however, his views at that time were republican; he belonged to the club of Friends of the Constitution at Valence, spoke there with much acceptance, and was appointed librarian to the club.
At Valence also he wrote an essay for a prize instituted by his friend and literary adviser, Raynal, at the academy of Lyons. The subject was “What truths and sentiments is it most important to inculcate to men for their happiness?” Bonaparte's essay bore signs of study of Rousseau and of the cult of Lycurgus which was coming into vogue. The Spartans were happy, said the writer, because they had plenty of good, suitable clothing and lodging, robust women, and were able to meet their requirements both physical and mental. Men should live according to the laws and dictates of nature, not forgetting the claims of reason and sentiment. The latter part of the essay is remarkable for its fervid presentment of the charms of scenery and for vigorous declamation against the follies and crimes of ambitious men. The judges at Lyons placed it fifteenth in order of merit among the sixteen essays sent in. Thanks to the friendly intervention of the maréchal du camp, baron Duteil, Bonaparte once more gained leave of absence for three months and reached Corsica in September 1791. Opinion there was in an excited state, the priests and the populace being inflamed against the anti-clerical decrees of the National Assembly of France. Paoli did little to help on the Bonapartes; and the advancement of Joseph Bonaparte was slow. Napoleon's admiration for the dictator also began to cool, and events began to point to a rupture. The death of Archdeacon Lucien Bonaparte, the recognized head of the family, having placed property at the disposal of the sons, they bought a house, which became the rendezvous of the democrats and of a band of volunteers whom they raised. In the intrigues for the command of this body Napoleon had his rival, Morati, carried off by forcehis first coup d'état. The incident led to a feud with the supporters of Morati, among whom was Pozzo di Borgo (destined to be his life-long enemy), and opened a breach between the Bonapartes and Paoli. Bonaparte's imperious nature also showed itself in family matters, which he ruled with a high hand. No one, said his younger brother Lucien, liked to thwart him. Further discords naturally arose between so masterful a lieutenant as Bonaparte and so autocratic a chief as Paoli. The beginnings of this rupture, as well as a sharp affray between his volunteers and the townsfolk of Ajaccio, may have quickened Bonaparte's resolve to return to France in May 1792, but there were also personal and family reasons for this step. Having again exceeded his time of furlough, he was liable to the severe penalties attaching to a deserter and an émigré; but he saw that the circumstances of the time would help to enforce the appeal for reinstatement which he resolved to make at Paris. His surmise was correct. The Girondin ministry then in power had brought Louis XVI. to declare war against Austria (20th of April 1792) and against Sardinia (15th of May 1792). The lack of trained officers was such as to render the employment and advancement of Bonaparte probable in the near future, and on the 30th of August, Servan, the minister for war, issued an order appointing him to be captain in his regiment and to receive arrears of pay. During this stay at Paris he witnessed some of the great “days” of the Revolution; but the sad plight of his sister, Marianna Elisa, on the dissolution of the convent of St Cyr, where she was being educated, compelled him to escort her back to Corsica shortly after the September massacres.
His last time of furlough in Corsica is remarkable for the failure of the expedition in which he and his volunteers took part, against la Maddalena, a small island off the coast of Sardinia. The breach between Paoli and the Bonapartes now rapidly widened, the latter having now definitely espoused the cause of the French republic, while Paoli, especially after the execution of Louis XVI., repudiated all thought of political connexion with the regicides. Ultimately the Bonapartes had to flee from Corsica (11th of June 1793), an event which clinched Napoleon's decision to identify his fortunes with those of the French republic. His ardent democratic opinions rendered the change natural when Paoli and his compatriots declared for an alliance with England.
The arrival of the Bonapartes at Toulon coincided with a time of acute crisis in the fortunes of the republic. Having declared war on England and Holland (1st of February 1793), and against Spain (9th of March), France was soon girdled by foes; and the forces of the first coalition invaded her territory at several points. At first the utmost efforts of the republic failed to avert disaster; for the intensely royalist district of la Vendée, together with most of Brittany, burst into revolt, and several of the northern, central and southern departments rose against the Jacobin rule. The struggle which the constitutionalists and royalists of Marseilles made against the central government furnished Bonaparte with an occasion for writing his first important political pamphlet, entitled “Le Souper de Beaucaire.” It purports to be a conversation at the little town of Beaucaire between a soldier (obviously the writer himself) and three men, citizens of Marseilles, Nimes and Montpellier, who oppose the Jacobinical government and hope for victory over its forces. The officer points out' the folly of such a. course, and the certainty that the republic, whose troops had triumphed over those of Prussia and Austria, will speedily disperse the untrained levies of Provence. The pamphlet closes with a passionate plea for national unity.
He was now to further the cause of the republic one and indivisible in the sphere of action. The royalists of Toulon had admitted British and Spanish forces to share in the defence of that stronghold (29th of August 1793). The blow to the republican cause was most serious: for from Toulon as a centre the royalists threatened to raise a general revolt throughout the south of France, and Pitt cherished hopes of dealing a death-blow to the Jacobins in that quarter. But fortune now brought Bonaparte to blight those hopes. Told off to serve in the army of Nice, he was detained by a special order of the commissioners of the Convention, Saliceti and Gasparin, who, hearing of the severe wound sustained by Dommartin, the commander of the artillery of the republican forces before Toulon, ordered Bonaparte to take his place. He arrived at the republican headquarters, then at Ollioules on the north-west of Toulon, on the 16th of September; and it is noteworthy that as early as September 10th the commissioners had seen the need of attacking the allied fleet and had paid some attention to the headland behind l'Eguillette, which commanded both the outer and the inner harbour. But there is no doubt that Bonaparte brought to bear on the execution of this as yet vague and general proposal powers of concentration and organization which ensured its success. In particular he soon put the artillery of the besiegers in good order. Carteaux, an ex-artist, at first held the supreme command, but was superseded on the 23rd of October. Doppet, the next commander, was little better fitted for the task; but his successor, Dugommier, was a brave and experienced soldier who appreciated the merits of Bonaparte. Under their direction steady advance was made on the side which Bonaparte saw to be all important; a sortie of part of the British, Spanish and Neapolitan forces on the 30th of November was beaten back with loss, General O'Hara, their commander, being severely wounded and taken prisoner. On the night of the 16th-17th December, Dugommier, Bonaparte, Victor and Muiron headed the storming column which forced its way into the chief battery thrown up by the besieged on the height behind l'Eguillette; and on the next day Hood and Langara set sail, leaving the royalists to the vengeance of the Jacobins. General du Teil, the younger, who took part in the siege, thus commented on Bonaparte's services: “I have no words in which to describe the merit of Bonaparte: much science, as much intelligence and too much bravery .... It is for you, Ministers, to consecrate him to the glory of the republic.” At Toulon Bonaparte made the acquaintance of men who were to win renown under his leadership-Desaix, Junot, Marmont, Muiron, Suchet and Victor.
It is often assumed that the fortunes of Bonaparte were made at Toulon. This is an exaggeration. True, on the 22nd of December 1793 he was made general of brigade for his services; and in February 1794 he gained the command of the artillery in the French army about to invade Italy; but during the preliminary work of fortification along the coast he was placed under arrest for a time owing to his reconstruction of an old fort at Marseilles which had been destroyed during the Revolution. He was soon released owing to the interposition of the younger Robespierre and of Saliceti. Thereafter he resided successively at Toulon, St Tropez and Antibes, doing useful work in fortifying the coast and using his spare time in arduous study of the science of war. This he had already begun at Auxonne under the inspiring guidance of the baron du Teil. General du Teil, younger brother of the baron, had recently published a work, L'Usage de l'artillerie nouvelle; and it is now known that Bonaparte derived from this work and from those of Guibert and Bourcet that leading principle, concentration of effort against one point of the enemy's line, which he had advocated at Toulon and which he everywhere put in force in his campaigns.
On or about the 20th of March 1794 he arrived at the headquarters of the army of Italy. At Colmars, on the 21st of May 1794, he drew up the first draft of his Italian plan of campaign for severing the Piedmontese from their Austrian allies and for driving the latter out of their Italian provinces. A secret mission to Genoa enabled him to inspect the pass north of Savona, and the knowledge of the peculiarities of that district certainly helped him in maturing his plan for an invasion of Italy, which he put into execution in 1796. For the present he experienced a sharp rebuff of fortune, which he met with his usual fortitude. He was suddenly placed under arrest owing to intrigues or suspicions of the men raised to power by the coup d'état of Thermidor 9-10 (July 27–28) 1794. The commissioners sent by the Convention, Albitte, Laporte and Saliceti, suspected him of having divulged the plan of campaign, and on the 6th of August ordered his arrest as being the “maker of plans” for the younger Robespierre. On a slighter accusation than this many had perished; but an examination into the details of the mission of Bonaparte to Genoa and the new instructions which arrived from Carnot, availed to procure his release on the 20th of August. It came in time to enable him to share in the operations of the French army against the Austrians that led to the battle of Dego, north of Savona (21st of September), a success largely due to his skilful combinations. But the decline in the energies of the central government at Paris and the appointment of Schérer as commander-in-chief of the army of Italy frustrated the plans of a vigorous offensive which Bonaparte continued to develop and advocate.
Meanwhile he took part in an expedition fitted out in the southern ports to drive the English from Corsica. It was a complete failure, and for a time his prospects were overclouded. In the spring of 1795 he received an order from Paris to proceed to la Vendée in command of an infantry brigade. He declined on the score of ill-health, but set out for Paris in May, along with Marmont, Junot and Louis Bonaparte. At the capital he found affairs quickly falling back into the old ways of pleasure and luxury. “People,” he wrote, “remember the Terror only as a dream.” That he still pursued his studies of military affairs is shown by the compilation of further plans for the Italian campaign. The news of the ratification of peace with Spain brought at once the thought that an offensive plan of campaign in Piedmont was thenceforth inevitable. Probably these plans gained for him an appointment (20th of August) in the topographical bureau of the committee of Public Safety. But, either from weariness of the life at Paris, or from disgust at clerical work, he sought permission to go to Turkey in order to reorganize the artillery of the Sultan. But an inspection of his antecedents showed the many irregularities of his conduct as officer and led to his name being erased from the list of general officers (September 15th).
Again the difiiculty of the republic was to be his opportunity. The action of the Convention in perpetuating its influence by the imposition of two-thirds of its members on the next popularly elected councils, aroused a storm of indignation in Paris, where the “moderate” and royalist reaction was already making headway. The result was the massing of some 30,000 National Guards to coerce the Convention. Confronted by this serious danger, the Convention entrusted its defence to Barras, who appointed the young officer to be one of the generals assisting him. The vigour and tactical skill of Bonaparte contributed very largely to the success of the troops of the Convention over the Parisian malcontents on the famous day of 13 Vendémiaire (October 5th, 1795), when the defenders of the Convention, sweeping the quays and streets near the Tuilleries by artillery and musketry, soon paralysed the movement at its headquarters, the church of St Roch. The results of this day were out of all proportion to the comparatively small number of casualties. With the cost of about 2oo killed on either side, the Convention crushed the royalist or malcontent reaction, and imposed on France a form of government which ensured the perpetuation of democracy though in a bureaucratic form—the first of those changes which paved the way to power for Bonaparte. For the constitution of the year 1795 which inaugurated the period of the Directory (1795–1799) see French Revolution. Here we may notice that the perpetuation of the republic by means of the armed forces tended to exalt the army at the expense of the civil authorities. The repetition of the same tactics by Bonaparte in Fructidor, 1797, served still more decidedly to tilt the balance in favour of the sword, with results which were to be seen at the coup d'élat of Brumaire 1799.
The events which helped the disgraced officer of August 1795 to impose his will on France in November 1799 now claim our attention. The services which he rendered to the republic at Vendémiaire brought as their reward the hand of Josephine de Beauharnais. The influence of Barras with this fashionable lady helped on the match. At the outset she felt some repugnance for the thin sallow-faced young officer, and was certainly terrified by his ardour and by the imperious egoism of his nature; but she consented to the union, especially when he received the promise of the command of the French army of Italy. The story that he owed this promotion solely to the influence of Barras and Josephine is, however, an exaggeration. It is now known that the plans of campaign which he had drawn up for that army had enlisted the far more influential support of Carnot on his behalf. In January 1796 he drew up another plan for the conquest of Italy, which gained the assent of the Directory. Vendémiaire and the marriage with Josephine (9th of March 1796) were but stepping-stones to the attainment of the end which he had kept steadily in sight since the spring of the year 1794. For the events of this campaign in Italy see French Revolutionary Wars. The success at the bridge of Lodi (10th of May) seems first to have inspired in the young general dreams of a grander career than that of a successful general of the Revolution; while his narrow escape at the bridge of Arcola in November strengthened his conviction that he was destined for a great future. The means whereby he engaged the energies of the Italians on behalf of the French Republic and yet refrained from persecuting the Roman Catholic Church in the way only too common among revolutionary generals, bespoke political insight of no ordinary kind. From every dispute which he had with the central authorities at Paris he emerged victorious; and he took care to assure his ascendancy by sending presents to the Directors, large sums to the nearly bankrupt treasury and works of art to the museums of Paris. Thus when, after the crowning victory of Rivoli (14th of January I797), Mantua surrendered and the Austrian rule in Italy for the time collapsed, Bonaparte was virtually the idol of the French nation, the master of the Directory and potentially the protector of the Holy See.
It may be well to point out here the salient features in Bonaparte's conduct towards the states of northern Italy. While arousing the enthusiasm of their inhabitants on behalf of France, he in private spoke contemptuously of them, mercilessly suppressed all outbreaks caused by the exactions and plundering of his army, and carefully curbed the factions which the new political life soon developed. On his first entry into Milan (15th of May 1796) he received a rapturous welcome as the liberator of Italy from the Austrian yoke; but the instructions of the Directory allowed him at the outset to do little more than effect the organization of consultative committees and national guards in the chief towns of Lombardy. The successful course of the campaign and the large sums which he sent from Italy to the French exchequer served to strengthen his hold over the Directors, and his constructive policy grew more decided. Thus when the men of Reggio and Modena overthrew the rule of their duke, he at once accorded protection to them, as also to the inhabitants of the cities of Bologna and Ferrara when they broke away from papal authority. He even allowed the latter to send delegates to confer with those of the duchy at Modena, with the result that a political union was decreed in a state called the Cispadane Republic (16th of October I796) This action was due in large measure to the protection of Bonaparte. The men of Lombardy, emboldened by his tacit encouragement, prepared at the close of the year to form a republic, which assumed the name of Transpadane, and thereafter that of Cisalpine. Its constitution was drawn up in the spring of 1797 by committees appointed, and to some extent supervised, by him; and he appointed the first directors, deputies and chief administrators of the new state (July 1797). The union of these republics took place on the 15th of July 1797. The bounds of the thus enlarged Cisalpine Republic were afterwards extended eastwards to the banks of the Adige by the terms of the treaty of Campo Formio; and in November 1797 Bonaparte added the formerly Swiss district of the Valtelline, north-east of Lake Como, to its territory. Much of this work of reorganization was carried on at the castle of Montebello, or Mombello, near Milan, where he lived in almost viceregal pomp (May–July, 1797). Taking advantage of an outbreak at Genoa, he overthrew that ancient oligarchy, replaced it by a form of government modelled on that of France (June 6th); and subsequently it adopted the name of the Ligurian Republic.
Concurrently with these undertakings, he steadily prepared to strengthen his position in the political life of France; and it will be well to notice the steps by which he ensured the defeat of the royalists in France and the propping up of the directorial system in the coup d'état of Fructidor 1797. The unrest in France in the years 1795–1797 resulted mainly from the harshness, incompetence and notorious corruption of the five Directors who, after the 13th of Vendémiaire 1795, practically governed France. All those who wished for peace and orderly government came by degrees to oppose the Directors; and, seeing that the latter clung to Jacobinical catchwords and methods, public opinion tended to become “moderate” or even royalist. This was seen in the elections for one-third of the 750 members' composing the two councils of the nation (the Anciens and the Council of Five Hundred); they gave the moderates a majority alike in that of the older deputies and in that of the younger deputies (April 1797), and that majority elected Barthelemy, a well-known moderate, as the fifth member of the Directory. Carnot, the ablest administrator, but not the strongest man, soon joined Barthélemy in opposing their Jacobinical colleagues—Barras, Rewbell and Larevelliére-Lépeaux. Time was on the side of the moderates; they succeeded in placing General Pichegru, already known for his tendencies towards constitutional monarchy, in the presidential chair of the Council of Five Hundred; and they proceeded to agitate, chiefly through the medium of a powerful club founded at Clichy, for the repeal of the revolutionary and persecuting laws. The three Jacobinical Directors thereupon intrigued to bring to Paris General Lazarre Hoche and his army destined for the invasion of Ireland for the purpose of coercing their opponents; but these, perceiving the danger, ordered Hoche to Paris, rebuked him for bringing his army nearer to the capital than was allowed by law, and dismissed him in disgrace.
The failure of Hoche led the three Directors to fix their hopes on Bonaparte. The commander of the ever-victorious army of Italy had recently been attacked by one of the moderates in the councils for proposing to hand over Venice to Austria. This cession was based on political motives, which Bonaparte judged to be of overwhelming force; and he now decided to support the Directors and overthrow the moderates. Prefacing his action by a violent tirade against the royalist conspirators of Clichy, he sent to Paris General Augereau, well known for his brusque behaviour and demagogic Jacobinism. This officer rushed to Paris, breathing out threats of slaughter against all royalists, and entered into close relations with Barras. In order to discount the chances of failure, Bonaparte warned the three Directors that Augereau was a turbulent politician, not to be trusted over-much. Events, indeed, might readily have gone in favour of the moderates had Carnot acted with decision; but he relapsed into strange inactivity, while Barras and his military tool prepared to coerce the majority. Before dawn of September the 4th (18 Fructidor) Augereau with 2000 soldiers marched against the Tuileries, where the councils were sitting, dispersed their military guards, arrested several deputies and seized Barthélemy in his bed. Carnot, on receiving timely warning, fled from the Luxemburg palace and made his way to Switzerland. The remembrance of the fatal day of Vendémiaire 1795 perhaps helped to paralyse the majority. In any case exile, and death in the prisons of Cayenne, now awaited the timid champions of law and order; while parliamentary rule sustained a shock from which it never recovered. The Cotmcils allowed the elections to be annulled in forty-nine departments of France, and re-enacted some of the laws of the period of the Terror, notably those against non-juring priests and returned émigrés. The election of Merlin of Douay and Francois of Neufchatel as Directors, in place of Carnot and Barthelemy, gave to that body a compactness which enabled it to carry matters with a high hand, until the hatred felt by Frenchmen for this soulless revival of a moribund Iacobinism gradually endowed the Chambers with life and strength sufficient to provoke a renewal of strife with the Directory. These violent oscillations not only weakened the fabric of the Republic, but brought about a situation in which Bonaparte easily paralysed both the executive and the legislative powers so ill co-ordinated by the constitution of the year 1795.
In the sphere of European diplomacy, no less than in that of French politics, the results of the coup d'état of Fructidor were momentous. The Fructidorian Directors contemptuously rejected the overtures for peace which Pitt had recently made through the medium of Lord Malmesbury at Lille; and they further illustrated their desire for war and plunder by initiating a forward policy in central Italy and Switzerland which opened up a new cycle of war. The coup d'élat was favourable to Bonaparte; it ensured .his hold over the Directors and enabled him to impose his own terms of peace on Austria; above all it left him free for the prosecution of his designs in a field of action which now held the first place in his thoughts-the Orient. Having rivalled the exploits of Caesar, he now longed to follow in the steps of Alexander the Great.
At the time of his first view of the Adriatic (February 1797) he noted the importance of the port of Ancona for intercourse with the Sultan's dominions; and at that city fortune placed in his hands Russian dispatches relative to the designs of the Tsar Paul on Malta. The incident reawakened the interest which had early been aroused in the young Corsican by converse with the savant Volney, author of Les Raines, on meditation sur les revolutions des empires. The intercourse which he had with Monge, the physicist and ex-minister of marine, during the negotiations with Austria, served to emphasize the orientation of his thoughts. This explains the eagerness with which he now insisted on the acquisition of the Ionian Isles by France and the political extinction of their present possessor, Venice. That city had given him cause for complaint, of which he made the most unscrupulous use. Thanks to the blind complaisance of its democrats and the timid subservience of its once haughty oligarchs, he became master of its fleet and arsenal (16th of May 1797). Already, as may be seen by his letters to the Directory, he had laid his plans for the bartering away of the Queen of the Adriatic to Austria; and throughout the lengthy negotiations of the summer and early autumn of 1797 which he conducted with little interference from Paris, he adhered to his plan of gaining the fleet and the Ionian Isles; while the house of Habsburg was to acquire the city itself, together with all the mainland territories of the Republic as far west as the River Adige. In vain did the Austrian envoy, Cobenzl, resist the cession of the Ionian Isles to France; in vain did the Directors intervene in the middle of September with an express order that Venice must not beiceded to Austria, but must, along with Friuli, be included in the Cisalpine Republic. To the subtle tenacity of Cobenzl he opposed a masterful violence: he checkmated the Directors, when they sought to thwart him in this and in other directions, by sending in once more his resignation with a letter in which he accused them of “ horrible ingratitude.” He was successful at all points. The Directors feared a rupture with the man to Whom they owed their existence; and the house of Austria was fain to make peace with the general rather than expose itself to harder terms at the hands of the Directory. The treaty of Campo Formio, signed on the 17th of October 1797, was therefore pre-eminently the work of Bonaparte. Already at Cherasco and Leoben he had dictated the preliminaries of peace to the courts of Turin and Vienna quite independently of the French Directory. At Campo Formio he showed himself the first diplomatist of the age, and the arbiter of the destinies of Europe. The terms were on the whole unexpectedly favourable to Austria. In Italy she was to acquire the Venetian lands already named, along with Dalmatia and Venetian Istria. The rest of the Venetian mainland (the districts between the rivers Adige and Ticino) went to the newly constituted Cisalpine republic, France gaining the Ionian Islesand the Venetian fleet. The Emperor Francis renounced all claims to his former Netherland provinces, which had been occupied by the French since the summer of 1794; he further ceded the Breisgau to the dispossessed duke of Modena, agreed to summon a congress at Rastatt for the settlement of German affairs, and recognized the independence of the Cisalpine republic. In secret articles the emperor bound himself to use his influence at the congress of Rastatt in order to procure the cession to France of the Germanic lands west of the Rhine, while France promised to help him to acquire the archbishopric of Salzburg and a strip of land on the eastern frontier of Bavaria.
After acting for a brief space as one of the French envoys to the congress of Rastatt, Napoleon returned to Paris early in December and received the homage of the Directors and the acclaim of the populace. The former sought to busy him by appointing him commander-in-chief of the Army of England, the island power being now the only one which contested French supremacy in Europe. In February 1798 he inspected the preparations for the invasion of England then proceeding at the northern ports. He found that they were wholly inadequate, and summed up his views in a remarkable letter to the Directory (23rd of February), wherein he pointed out two possible alternatives to an invasion of England, namely, a conquest of the coast of the north-west of Germany, for the cutting off of British commerce with central Europe, or the undertaking of an expedition to the Orient which would be equally ruinous to British trade. The inference was inevitable that, as German affairs were about to be profitably exploited by France in the bargains then beginning at Rastatt, she must throw her chief energies into the Egyptian expedition. One of the needful preliminaries of this enterprise had already received his attention. In November 1797 he sent to Malta Poussielgue, secretary of the French legation at Genoa, on business which was ostensibly commercial but (as he informed the Directory) “in reality to put the last touch to the design that we have on that island.” The intrigues of the French envoy in corrupting the knights of the order of St John were completely successful. It remained, however, to find the funds needful for the equipment of a great expedition. Here the difficulties were great. The Directory, after the coup d'état of Fructidor, had acknowledged a state of bankruptcy by writing off two thirds of the national debt in a form which soon proved to be a thin disguise for repudiation. The return of a large part of the armed forces from Italy and Germany, Where they had lived on the liberated inhabitants, also threw new burdens on the Republic; and it was clear that French money alone would not sufhce to fit out an armada. Again, however, the .financial situation was improved by conquest. The occupation of Rome in February 1798 enabled Berthier to send a considerable sum to Paris and to style himself “ treasurer to the chest of the Army of England.” The invasion of Switzerland, which Bonaparte had of late persistently pressed on the Directory, proved to be an equally lucrative device, the funds in several of the cantonal treasuries being transferred straightway to Paris or Toulon. The conquest of north and central Italy also placed great naval resources at the disposal of France, Venice alone providing nine sail of the line and twelve frigates (see Bonaparte's letter of the 15th of November 1797), Genoa, Spezzia, Leghorn, Civita Vecchia and Ancona also supplied their quota in warships, transports, stores and sailors, with the result that the armada was ready for sea by the middle of May 1798. The secrecy maintained as to its destination was equally remarkable. The British government inclined to the belief that it was destined either for Ireland or for Naples. As the British fleet had abandoned the Mediterranean since November 1796 and had recently been disorganized by two serious mutinies, Bonaparte’s plan of conquering Egypt was by no means so rash as has sometimes been represented.
The ostensible aims of the expedition, as drawn up by him, and countersigned by the Directory on the 12th of April, were the seizure of Egypt, the driving of the British from all their possessions in the East and the cutting of the Suez canal. But apart from these public aims there were private motives which weighed with Bonaparte. His relations to the Directors were most strained. They feared his ability and ambition; while he credited them with the design of poisoning him. Shortly before his starting, an open rupture was scarcely averted; and he and his brothers allowed the idea to get abroad that he was being virtually banished from France. It is certain, however, that his whole heart was in the expedition, which appealed to his love of romance and of the gigantic. His words to Joseph Bonaparte shortly before sailing are significant: “Our dreams of a republic were youthful illusions. Since the 9th of Thermidor, the republican instinct has grown weaker every day. To-day all eyes are on me: to-morrow they may be on another. . . . I depart for the Orient with all the means of success at my disposal. If my country needs me, if there are additions to the number of those who share the opinion of Talleyrand, Sieyès and Roederer, that war will break out again and that it will be unsuccessful for France, I will return, more sure of the feeling of the nation.” He added, however, that if France waged a successful war, he would remain in the East, and do more damage to England there than by mere demonstrations in the English Channel.
The Toulon fleet set sail on the 19th of May; and when the other contingents from the ports of France and Italy joined the flag, the armada comprised thirteen sail of the line, fourteen frigates, many smaller warships and some three hundred transports. An interesting feature of the expedition was the presence on board of several savants who were charged to examine the antiquities and develop the resources of Egypt. The chief had lately become a member of the Institute, and did his utmost to inflame in France that love of art and science which he had helped to kindle by enriching the museums of Paris with the treasures of Italy. By good fortune the armada evaded Nelson and arrived safely off Malta. Thanks to French intrigues, the Knights of Malta offered the tamest defence of their capital. During the week which he spent there, Bonaparte displayed marvellous energy in endowing the city with modern institutions; he even arranged the course of studies to be followed in the university. Setting sail for Egypt on the 19th of June, he again had the good fortune to elude Nelson and arrived off Alexandria on the 2nd of July. For an account of the Egyptian and Syrian campaigns see French Revolutionary Wars. But here we may point out the influence of the expedition on Egypt, on European politics and on the fortunes of Bonaparte. The chief direct result in the life of the Egyptian people was the virtual destruction of the governing caste of the Mamelukes, the Turks finding it easy to rid themselves of their surviving chiefs and to re-establish the authority of the Sultan. As for the benefits which Bonaparte and his savants helped to confer on Egypt, they soon vanished. The great canal was not begun; irrigation works were started but were soon given up. The letters of Kléber and Menou (the successors of Bonaparte) show that the expenditure on public works had been so reckless that the colony was virtually bankrupt at the time of Bonaparte’s departure; and William Hamilton, who travelled through Egypt in 1802, found few traces, other than military, of the French occupation. The indirect results, however, were incalculably great. Though for the present the Sultan regained his hold upon Egypt, yet in reality Bonaparte set in motion forces which could not be stayed until the ascendancy of one or other of the western maritime powers in that land was definitely decided.
The effects of the expedition in the sphere of world-politics were equally remarkable and more immediate. The British government, alarmed by Bonaparte’s attempt to intrigue with Tippoo Sahib, put forth all its strength in India and destroyed the power of that ambitious ruler. Nelson’s capture of Malta (5th of September 1800) also secured for the time a sure base for British fleets in the Mediterranean. A Russo-Turkish fleet wrested Corfu from the French; and the Neapolitan Bourbons, emboldened by the news of the battle of the Nile, began hostilities with France which preluded the war of the Second Coalition. In the domain of science the results of the expedition were of unique interest. The discovery of the Rosetta Stone furnished the key to Egyptian hieroglyphics; and archaeology, no less than the more practical sciences, acknowledges its debt of gratitude to the man who first brought the valley of the Nile into close touch with the thought of the West.
Finally, it should be noted that, amid the failure of the national aims which the Directory and Bonaparte set forth, his own desires received a startlingly complete fulfilment. The war of the Second Coalition having brought about the expulsion of the French from Italy, the Directors were exposed to a storm of indignation in France, not unmixed with contempt; and this state of public opinion enabled the young conqueror within a month of his landing at Fréjus (9th of October 1799) easily to prevail over the Directory and the elective councils of the nation. In the spring of 1798 he had judged the pear to be not ripe; in Brumaire 1799 it came off almost at a touch.
In order to understand the sharp swing of the political pendulum back from republicanism to autocracy which took place at Brumaire, it is needful to remember that the virtual failure of the Egyptian Expedition was then unknown. The news of Bo11aparte’s signal victory over the Turkish army at Aboukir aroused general rejoicings undimmed by any save the vaguest rumours of his reverse at Acre. In the popular imagination he seemed to be the only possible guarantor of victory abroad and order at home. This was unjust to the many men who were working, not without success, to raise the Republic out of its many difficulties. Masséna’s triumph at Zurich (September 25th-26th, 1799) paralysed the Second Coalition; and, though the Austrians continued to make progress along the Italian riviera, the French Republic was in little danger on that side so long as it held Switzerland.
The internal condition of France was also not so desperate as has often been represented. True, the Directory seemed on the point of collapse; it had been overcome by the popularly elected Chambers in the insignificant coup d’état of 30 Prairial (18th of June) 1799; when Larevellière-Lépeaux and Merlin were compelled to resign. The retirement of Rewbell a short time previously also rid France of a turbulent and corrupt administrator. His place was now filled by Sieyés. This ex-priest, this disillusioned Jacobin and skilful spinner of cobweb constitutions, enjoyed for a time the chief reputation in France. His oracular reserve, personal honesty and consistency of aim had gained him the suffrages of all who hoped to save France from the harpies of the Directory and the violent rhetoricians of the now reconstituted Jacobin Club. He was known to disapprove of the Directory both as an institution in the making of which he had had no hand, and of its personnel, with one exception. This was natural. The new Directors, Gohier and Moulin, were honest but incapable and narrow-minded, As for Barras, his venality and vices outweighed even his capacity for successful intrigue. The fifth Director, Ducos, an ex-Girondin, was sure to swim with the stream. Clearly, then, the Directory was doomed.
It was far otherwise with the Councils. A majority of the Ancients was ready to support Sieyés and make drastic changes in the constitution; but in the Council of Five Hundred the prevalent feeling was democratic or even Jacobinical. The aim of Sieyes was to perpetuate the republic, but in a bureaucratic or autocratic form. With this aim in view he sought to find a man possessing ability in war and probity in civil affairs, who would act as figure-head to his long projected constitution. For a time affairs moved as he wished. The Jacobin Club was closed, thanks to the ability of Fouché, the new minister of Police; but the hopes of Sieyés were dashed by the death of General Joubert, commander of the Army of Italy, at the disastrous battle of Novi (15th of August). The dearth of ability among the generals left in France (Kléber and Desaix were in Egypt) was now painfully apparent. Moreau was notoriously lethargic in civil affairs. Bernadotte, lourdan and Augereau had compromised themselves by close association with the Jacobins. The soldiery had never forgiven Masséna his peculations after the capture of Rome. One name, and one alone, leaped to men’s thoughts, that of Bonaparte.
He arrived from Egypt at the psychological moment, and his journey from Fréjus to Paris resembled a triumphant procession. Nevertheless he acted with the utmost caution. A fortnight passed before he decided to support Sieyés in effecting a change in the constitution; and by then he had captivated all men except Bernadotte and a few intransigeant Jacobins. Talleyrand, Roederer, Cambacérés and Réal were among his special confidants, his brothers Joseph and Lucien also giving useful advice. Of the generals, Murat, Berthier, Lannes and Leclerc were those who prepared the way for the coup d’état. Fouché, pulling the wires through the police, was an invaluable helper. The conduct of Barras was known to depend on material considerations.
All being ready, the Ancients on the 18 Brumaire (9th of November) decreed the transference of the sessions of both Councils to St Cloud, on the plea of a Jacobin plot which threatened the peace of Paris. They also placed the troops in Paris and its neighbourhood under the command of Bonaparte. Thereupon Sieyés and Ducos resigned office. Barras, after a calculating delay, followed suit. Gohier and Moulin, on refusing to retire, were placed under a military guard; and General Moreau showed his political incapacity by discharging this duty, for the benefit of Bonaparte.
Nevertheless the proceedings of St Cloud on the day following bade fair to upset the best-laid schemes of Bonaparte and his coadjutors. The Five Hundred, meeting in the Orangerie of the palace, had by this time seen through the plot; and, on the entrance of the general with four grenadiers, several deputies rushed at him, shook him violently, while others vehemently demanded a decree of outlawry against the new Cromwell. He himself lost his nerve, stammered, nearly fainted, and was dragged out by the soldiers in a state of mental and physical collapse. The situation was saved solely by the skill of his brother Lucien, then president of the Council. He refused to put the vote of outlawry, uttered a few passionate words, cast off his official robes, declared the session at an end, and made his way out under protection of a squad of grenadiers. The coup d’état seemed to have failed. In reality matters now rested with the troops outside. Stung to action by some words of Sieyès, Bonaparte appealed to the troops of the line in terms which provoked a ready response. Imprecations uttered by Lucien against the brigands and traitors in the pay of England decided the grenadiers of the Council to march against the deputies whom it was their special duty to protect. Drums beat the charge, Murat led the way through the corridors of the palace to the Orangerie, and levelled bayonets ended the existence of the Council. Within the space of ten and a half years from the summoning of the States-General at Versailles (May 1789), parliamentary government fell beneath the sword.
Lucien now consolidated the work of the soldiery .by procuring from the Ancients a decree which named Bonaparte, Sieyes and Ducos as provisional consuls, while a legislative commission was appointed to report on necessary changes in the constitution. Lucien also gathered together a small group of the younger deputies to throw the cloak of legality over the events of the day. The Rump proceeded to expel sixty-one Jacobins from the Council of Five Hundred, adjourned its sessions until the 10th of February 1800, and appointed a commission of twenty-five members with power to act in the meantime. Clearly the success of the coup d’état of Brumaire was due in the last resort to Lucien Bonaparte.
The Parisians received the news of the event with joy, believing that freedom was now at last to be established on a firm basis by the man whose name was the synonym for victory in the field and disinterestedness in civil affairs. People are full of mirth” (Wrote Madame Reinhard, wife of the minister for Foreign Affairs, four days later) “believing that they have regained liberty.” She added that all the parties except the Jacobins were full of confidence; and that the nobles now cherished hopes of a reaction, seeing that the reduction of the number of rulers from five to three pointed towards monarchy. Her comment on this delusion is instructive. Three consuls had been appointed, she remarked, precisely in order that power might not be vested in the hands of one man.
Only by degrees did the events of the 19th of Brumaire stand out in their real significance; for the new consuls, installed at the Luxemburg palace, and somewhat later at the Tuileries, took care that the new constitution, which they along with the two commissions were now secretly drawing up, should not be promulgated until Paris and France had settled down to the ordinary life of pleasure and toil. In the meantime they won credit by popular measures such as the abolition of forced loans and of the objectionable habit of seizing hostages from the districts of the west where the royalist ferment was still strongly working.
The feelings of surprise at the clemency and moderation with which the victors used their powers predisposed men everywhere to accept their constitution. Sieyes now sketched its outlines in vaguely republican forms; thereupon Bonaparte freely altered them and gave them strongly personal touches. The theorist laid before the joint commission his projet, the result of five years of cogitation, only to have it ridiculed by the great soldier. In one respect alone did it suit him. While restoring the principle of universal suffrage, which had been partially abrogated in 1795, Sieyés rendered this system of election practically a nullity. The voters were to choose one-tenth of their number (notabilities of the commune); one-tenth of these would form the notabilities of the department; while by a similar decimal sifting, the notabilities of the nation were selected. The final and all-important act of selection from among these men was, however, to be made by a personage, styled the proclamateur-électeur, who chose all the important functionaries, and, conjointly with the notabilities of the nation, chose the members for the Council of State (wielding the chief executive powers), the Tribunate and the Senate. The latter body would, however, have the power to “absorb” the head of the state if he showed signs of ambition. Against this power of absorption Bonaparte declaimed vehemently, asserting also that the proclamateur-électeur would be a mere cochon à l’engrais. In vain did Sieyés modify his scheme so as to provide for two consuls, one holding the chief executive powers for war, the other for peace. This division of powers was equally distasteful to Bonaparte: he formed a kind of cabal within the joint commission, and there intimidated the theorist, with the result already foreseen by the latter. Sieyes, conscious that his political mechanism would merely winnow the air, until the profoundly able and forceful man at his side adapted it to the work of government, relapsed into silence; and his resignation of the office of consul, together with that of Ducos, was announced as imminent. Bonaparte further brushed aside a frankly democratic constitution proposed by Daunou, and intimidated his opponents in the joint commission by a threat that he would himself draft a constitution and propose it to the people in a mass vote.
This was what really happened. They looked. on helplessly while he refashioned the scheme of Sieyés. Keeping the electoral machinery almost unchanged (save that the lists of notables were to be permanent) Bonaparte entirely altered the upper parts of the constitutional pyramid reared by the philosopher. Improving upon the procedure of the Convention in Vendémiaire 1795, Bonaparte procured the nomination of three consuls in an article of the new constitution; they were Bonaparte (First Consul), Cambacérès and Lebrun. The latter two, uniting with the two retiring consuls, Sieyes and Ducos, were to form the nucleus of the senate and choose the majority among its full complement of sixty members, the minority being thereafter chosen by co-optation. To the senate, thus chosen “from above,” was allotted the important task of supervising the constitution, and of selecting, from among the notabilities of the nation, the members of the Corps Législatif and the Tribunate. These two bodies nominally formed the legislature, the Tribunate merely discussing the bills sent to it by an important body, the Council of State; while the Corps Législatif, sitting in silence, heard them defended by councillors of state and criticized by members of the Tribunate; thereupon it passed or rejected such proposals by secret voting. Thus, the initiative in lawmaking lay with the Council of State; but, as its members were all chosen by the First Consul, it is clear that that important duty was vested really in him. The executive powers were placed almost entirely in his hands, as will be seen by the terms of article 41 which defined his functions:“ The First Consul promulgates the laws; he appoints and dismisses at will the members of the Council of State, the ministers, the ambassadors and other leading agents serving abroad, the officers of the army and navy, the members of local administrative bodies and the commissioners of government attached to the tribunals. He names all the judges for criminal and civil cases, other than the juges de paix (magistrates) and the judges of the Cour de causation, without having the power to discharge them.”-As for the second and third consuls, their functions were almost entirely consultative and formal, their opposition being recorded, but having no further significance against the fiat of the First Consul. Bonaparte’s powers were subsequently extended in the years 1802, 1804 and 1807; but it is clear that autocracy was practically established by his own action in the secret commission of 1799. The new constitution was promulgated on the 15th of December 1799 and in a plebiscite held during January 1800 it received the support of 3,011,007 voters, only 1562 persons voting against it. The fact that the three new consuls had entered upon office and set the constitutional machinery in motion fully six weeks before the completion of the plebiscite, detracts somewhat from the impressiveness of the 'vox papuli on that occasion.
Bonaparte selected his ministers with much skill. They were Talleyrand, Foreign Affairs; Berthier, War; Abrial, Justice; Lucien Bonaparte, Interior; Gaudin, Finance; Forfait, Navy and Colonies. Maret became secretary of state to the consuls. Bonaparte’s selection gave general satisfaction, as also did the personnel of the Council of State (divided into five sections for the chief spheres of government) and of the other organs of state. Many of the furious Terrorists now became quiet and active councillors or administrators, the First Consul adopting the plan of multiplying “ places, ” of overwhelming all officials with work, and of busying the watch-dogs of the Iacobinical party by “ throwing them bones to gnaw."
In our survey of the career of Napoleon, we have now reached the time of the Consulate (November 1799-May 1804), which marks the zenith of his mental powers and creative activity. Externally, and in a personal sense, the period falls into two parts. The former of these extends to August 1802, when the powers of the First Consul, which had been decreed for ten years, were prolonged to the duration of his life. But in another and wider sense the Consulate has a well-defined unity; it is the time when France gained most of her institutions and the essentials of her machinery of government.
The reader is referred to the article FRANCE (Law and Institutions) for the information respecting the various codes dating from this period, and to the article CONCORDAT for the famous measure whereby Napoleon re-established official relations between the state and the church in France. More pressing even than that question was the regulation of local government. Bonaparte’s action in this matter was so characteristic as to deserve close attention. Undoubtedly the question was one of great importance; for local affairs had fallen into chaos. The aim of the constituent assembly in its departmental system (1789–1790) had been to vest local affairs ultimately in councils elected by universal suffrage, alike in the department and in the three smaller areas within it. These councils and the executive officers dependent on them soon proved to be unable to manage even local affairs efficiently, while they were very lax in the collection of the national taxes unwisely entrusted to them. Lack of central control over the virtually independent communes (over forty thousand in number) led to a sharp rebound under the Convention, when all matters of importance were disposed of by commissioners appointed by that body. The relations between national and local authorities fluctuated considerably during the Directory; and it is noteworthy that the constitution of December 1799 placed local administration merely under the control of ministers at Paris. Everything, therefore, portended a change in this sphere, but few persons expected a change so drastic as that which Bona rte now brought about in the measure of 28 Pluviose, year VIII. iifxéth of February 1800). Certainly no measure marked more clearly the abandonment of democratic ideals. The powers formerly vested in elective bodies were now to be wielded by prefects and sub-prefects, nominated by the First Consul and responsible to him. The elective councils for the department and for the arrondissement (a new area which replaced the “districts” of the year 1795) continued to exist, but they sat only for a fortnight in the year and had to deal mainly with the assessment of taxes For their respective areas. They might be consulted by the prefect or sub-prefect; but the had no hold over him. The municipal councils had slightly larger powers, relating to loans, octrois, &c. But the chief municipal officer, the mayor, was chosen by the prefect. The police of all towns containing more than 100,000 inhabitants was -controlled by the central government.
It is significant that Bonaparte proposed this bill (drafted in the Council of State) to the Tribunate and the Corps Législatzf on the very day on which it was first certainly known that France had accepted the new constitution. The opposition in the Tribunate was sharp, but was paral sed by the knowledge of the fact just named and by the lack ofy a free press. The bill passed there by 7I votes to 25; and in the Corps Législatif by 217 to 68. The acquiescence of these bodies in the transition to despotic methods predisposed the public to a similar attitude of mind. At first the sharpness of the change was not fully apparent owing to the tactful choice of prefects made by the First Consul; but before long their very extensive powers were seen to form an important part of the new machinery of autocracy. In this connexion we may note that the disturbances, mainly royalist but sometimes Iacobinical, in several districts of France enabled Bonaparte to propose the establishment in the troubled districts of special tribunals for the trial of all offences tending to disturb the general peace. Here again the Tribunate offered a vehement opposition to the measure, and in spite of official pressure passed the bill only by a majority of ei ht. Becoming law on 18 Pluviôse, year IX. (6th of February 1801) , it enabled the government to supersede the ordinary judicial machinery for political offences in no fewer than thirty-two departments.
Bonaparte signalized his tenure of power by no ver important developments in the sphere of elementary education. This was left to the local authorities, and led to little result. The more advanced schools, known as écoles centrales, were reconstituted either as écoles secondaires or as lycées by the law of the 30th of April 1802. The former of these were designed for the completion of the training of the most promising pupils in the communal elementary schools, and were left to local control or even to management by private individuals. Far more important, however, were the lycées, where an excellent education was imparted, semi-military in form and under the control of government. It gained valuable powers of patronage by founding 6400 exhibitions (bourses) in connexion with the lycées; 2400 of which were reserved for the sons of soldier sand government officials. The same centralizing tendency is strongly marked in the organization of the university of France, the general principle of which was set forth in May 1806, while the details were arranged by that of March the 17th, 1808. It was designed to control all the educational institutions of France, both public and private; and it did so with two exceptions, the Museum and the Collège de France. The discipline was strict. Fidelity to the emperor and to the teaching of the Roman Catholic doctrine formed part of the aims of this comprehensive corporation. Its officers were required to obey “the statutes of the teaching body, which have for their object uniformity of instruction, and which tend to form for the state citizens attached to their religion, their prince, their country and their family.” These words sufficiently illustrate the essentially political character of the institution. Its organization was completed by the decree of the 15th of November 1811. Napoleon’s ideas on the education of girls may be judged by this extract from his speech at the Council of State on the 1st of March 1806: “I do not think that we need trouble ourselves with any plan of instruction for young females: they cannot be better brought up than by their mothers. Public education is not suitable for them, because they are never called upon to act in public. Manners are all in all to them, and marriage is all they look to.”
Returning to the period of the Consulate, we notice the founding of an institution which also had its complete development during the Empire, namely, the Legion of Honour (19th of May 1802). Napoleon intended it as a protest against the spirit of equality which pervaded revolutionary thought. In one respect the new institution marked an enormous advance on titles of nobility, which had been granted nearly always for warlike exploits, or merely as a mark of the favour of the sovereign. The First Consul, on the other hand, sought to recognize and reward merit in all walks of life. Nevertheless his proposal met with strong opposition in the Corps Législatif and Tribunate, where members saw that it portended a revival of the older distinction. This was so: abolished in 1790 by the constituent assembly, titles of nobility were virtually restored by Napoleon in 1806 and legally in 1808. Side by side with them there continued to exist the Legion of Honour. It was organized in fifteen cohorts, each comprising seven grand officers, twenty commanders, thirty officers and 350 legionaries. A stipend, ranging from 5000 francs a year to 250 francs, was attached to each grade of the institution. The benefits attaching to membership and the number of the members were increased during the Empire, when the average number somewhat exceeded thirty thousand. Napoleon's aim of bidding for the support of all able men is disagreeably prominent in all details of this institution, which may be looked upon as the tangible outcome of the conviction which he thus frankly expressed: “In ambition is to be found the chief motive-force of humanity; and a man puts forth his best powers in proportion to his hopesof advancement.”
The success of Bonaparte in reorganizing France may be ascribed to his determined practicality and to his perception of the needs of the average man. Since the death of Mirabeau no one had appeared who could strike the happy mean and enforce his will on the extremes on either side. Bonaparte did so with a forcefulness rarely possessed by that usually mediocre creature, the moderate man.
It is time now to notice the chief events which ensured the ascendancy of Bonaparte. Military, diplomatic and police affairs were skilfully made to conduce to that result. In the first of these spheres the victory of Marengo (14th of June 1800) was of special importance, as it consolidated the reputation of Bonaparte at a time when republican opposition was gathering strength. As Lucien Bonaparte remarked, if Marengo had been lost-and it was saved only by Desaix and Kellermann-the Bonaparte family would have been proscribed. Negotiations for peace now followed; but they led to nothing, until Moreau's triumph at Hohenlinden (December 2nd, 1800) brought the court of Vienna to a state of despair. By the treaty with Austria, signed by Joseph Bonaparte at Lunéville on the 9th of February 1801, France regained all that she had won at Campo Formio, much of which had been lost for a time in the war of the Second Coalition. True, she now agreed to recognise the independence of the Cisalpine, Ligurian, Helvetic and Batavian (Dutch) republics; but the masterful acquisitiveness of the First Consul and the weak conduct of Austrian and British affairs at that time soon made that clause of the treaty a dead letter. Bonaparte meanwhile, by dexterous behaviour to Paul I. of Russia, had won the friendship of that potentate, whose resentment against his former allies, Austria and England, facilitated a re-grouping of the Powers. The new Franco-Russian entente helped on the formation of the Armed Neutrality League and led to the concoction of schemes for the driving of the British from India. But these undertakings were thwarted in March-April 1801 by the murder of the tsar Paul and by Nelson's victory at Copenhagen. The advent of the more peaceful and Anglophile tsar, Alexander I. (q.v.), brought about the dissolution of the League, and the abandonment of the oriental schemes which Bonaparte had so closely at heart. Another disappointment befel him in the same quarter, the surrender of the French forces in Egypt to the British expedition commanded first by General Abercromby and afterwards by General John Hely-Hutchinson (30th of August 1801).
These events disposed both Bonaparte and the British cabinet towards peace. He was all powerful on land, they on the sea; and for the present each was powerless to harm the other. Bonaparte in particular discerned the advantages which peace would bring in the consolidation of his position. The beginning of negotiations had been somewhat facilitated by the resignation of Pitt (4th of February 1801) and the advent to office of Henry Addington. Bonaparte, perceiving the weakness of Addington, both as a man and as a minister, pressed him hard; and both the Preliminaries of Peace, concluded at London on the 1st of October 1801, and the terms of the treaty of Amiens (27th of March 1802) were such as to spread through the United Kingdom a feeling of annoyance. In everything which related to the continent of Europe and to the resumption of trade relations between Great Britain and France, Bonaparte had his way; and he abated his demands only in a few questions relating to India and Newfoundland. The terms of the treaty of Amiens may be thus summarized: Great Britain restored to France the colonial possessions (almost the whole of the French colonial empire) conquered in the late war. Of their many maritime conquests the British retained only the Spanish island of Trinidad and the Dutch settlements in Ceylon. Their other conquests at the expense of these allies of France were restored to them, including the Cape of Good Hope to the Dutch. France recognized the integrity of the Turkish Empire and promised an indemnity to the House of Orange exiled from the Batavian (Dutch) Republic since 1794. She further agreed to evacuate the papal states, Taranto and other towns in the Mediterranean coasts which she had occupied. The independence of the Ionian Isles (now reconstituted as the Republic of the Seven Islands) was guaranteed. As to Malta, the United Kingdom was to restore it to the order of St John (its possessors previous to 1798) when the Great Powers had guaranteed its independence. It was to receive a Neapolitan garrison for a year, and, if necessary, for a longer time. No event in the life of Bonaparte was more auspicious than the conclusion of this highly advantageous bargain. By retaining nearly all the continental conquests of France, and by recovering every one of those which the British had made at her expense beyond the seas, he achieved a feat which was far beyond the powers even of Louis XIV. The gratitude of the French for this triumph found expression in a proposal, emanating from the Tribunate, that the First Consul should receive a pledge of the gratitude of the nation. When referred to the senate, the matter underwent secret manipulation, largely through the influence of Cambacérés; but the republican instinct even in the senate was sufficiently strong to thwart the intrigues of the second consul; and that body on the 8th of May merely re-elected Bonaparte for a second term of ten years after the expiration of the first decennial term for which he was chosen. This fell far short of his desires, and he now dexterously referred the whole question to the nation at large. The Council of State. acting on a suggestion made by Cambacérés, now intervened witl telling effect. It altered the wording of the senatorial proposa; in such a way that the nation was asked to vote on the question; “Is Napoleon Bonaparte to be made Consul for Life?” France responded by an overwhelming affirmative, 3,568,885 votes being cast for the proposal and only 8374 against it.
Napoleon (who now used his Christian name instead of the surname Bonaparte) thereupon sent proposals for various changes in the constitution, which were at once registered by the obsequious Council of State and the Senate on the 4th of August (16 Thermidor) 1802. Besides holding his powers for life, he now gained the right of nominating his successor. He alone could ratify treaties of peace and alliance, and on his nomination fifty-four senators were added to the senate, which thereafter numbered one hundred and twenty members appointed by him alone. This body received the right of deciding by senatus consulta all questions not provided for by the constitution; the Corps Législatif and Tribunate might also thenceforth be dissolved at its bidding. In short, the First Consul now became the irresponsible ruler of France, governing the country through the ministry, the Council of State and the Senate. As for the chambers, based avowedly on universal suffrage, their existence thenceforth was ornamental or sepulchral. The constitutional changes of August 1802, initiated solely by Bonaparte, made France an absolute monarchy. The name of Empire was not adopted until nearly two years later; but the change then brought about was scarcely more than titular.
In order to understand the utter inability of the old republican party to withstand these changes, it is needful to retrace our steps and consider the skilful use made by Bonaparte of plots and disturbances as they occurred. As was natural, when he sought to steer a middle course between the Scylla of royalism and the Charybdis of Jacobinism, disturbances were to be expected on both sides of the consular ship of state. The first of these was an unimportant affair, probably nursed by the agents provocateurs of Fouché's ubiquitous police. It purported to be an undertaking entered into by a few jacobins, among them Aréna, a Corsican, for the murder of Bonaparte at the opera. Aréna and his supposed accomplice were arrested (10th of October 1800); and that was virtually the beginning and the end of the plot. Far more serious was the danger to be apprehended from the royalists. Enra ed by Bonaparte's contemptuous refusal to encourage the return of “Louis XVIII.” to his own, the royalists began to compass the death of the man whom they had at first naively looked on as a potential General Monk to their Charles II. Their chief man of action was a sturdy Breton peasant, Georges Cadoudal, whose zeal and courage served to bring to a head planS long talked over by the confidants of the Comte d'Artois (the future Charles X. of France) in London. The outcome of it was the despatch of some five or six Chouan desperadoes to Paris, three of whom exploded an infernal machine close to Bonaparte's carriage in the narrow streets near the Tuileries (3rd Nivose [24th of December] 1800). Bonaparte and Josephine escaped uninjured, but several bystanders were killed or wounded. Napoleon's vengeance at once took a strongly practical turn. Despite the evidence which Fouché and others brought forward to incriminate the royalists, the First Consul persisted in attributing the outrage to the Jacobins, had a list of suspects drawn up, and caused the Council of State to declare that a special precautionary measure was necessary. The measure proved to be the deportation of the leading Jacobins; and a cloak of legality was cast over this extraordinary proceeding by a special decree of the senate (avowedly the guardian of the constitution) that this act of the government was a “measure tending to preserve the constitution” (5th of January 1801). The body charged with the guarding of the constitution was thus brought by Bonaparte to justify its violation; and a way was thus opened for the legalizing of further irregularities. For the present the connivance of the senate at his coup d'état of Nivose led to the deportation of one hundred and thirty Jacobins; some were interned in the islands of the Bay of Biscay, while fifty were sent to the tropical colonies of France, whence few of them ever returned. It is to be observed that, before the punishment was inflicted, evidence was forthcoming which brought home the outrage of Nivose to the royalists; but this was all one to Bonaparte; his aim was to destroy the Jacobin party, and it never recovered from the blow. The party which had set up the Committee of Public Safety was now struck down by the very man who through the Directory inherited by direct lineal descent the dictatorial powers instituted in the s ring of 1793 for the salvation of the republic. It remains to add that the suspects in the plot of October 1800 were now guillotined (31st of January 1801), and that two of the plotters closely connected with the affair of Nivose were also executed (21st of April). The institution of the special tribunals (already referred to), which enabled Bonaparte to supersede local government in thirty-two of the departments, was another Outcome of the bomb conspiracy.
Far more lenient was Bonaparte's conduct towards a knot of discontented officers who, in April-May 1802, framed a clumsy plot, known as the “Plot of the Placards, " for arousing the soldiery against him. He disgraced or imprisoned the ringleaders, ordered Bernadotte (perhaps the fountain head of the whole affair) to take the waters at Plombieres and drove from office Fouché, who had sought to screen the real offenders by impugning the royalists. Bonaparte's action in the years 1800-1802 showed that he feared the old republican party far more than the royalists. In April 1802 he procured the passing of a senatus consultum granting increased facilities for the return of the émigrés; with few exceptions they were allowed to return, provided that it was before the 23rd of September 1802, and, after swearing to obey the new constitution, they entered into possession of their lands which had not been alienated; but barriers were raised against the recovery of their confiscated lands. Very many accepted these terms, rallied to the First Consul with more or less sincerity; and their return to France to strengthen the conservative elements in French society. The promulgation of the Concordat (18th of April 1802) and the institution of what was in all but name a state religion tended strongly in the same direction, the authority of the priests being generally used in support of the man to whom Chateaubriand applied the epithet “ restorer of the altars." Nevertheless, despite Bonaparte's marvellous skill in rallying moderate men of all parties to his side, there remained an unconvinced and desperate minority, whose clumsy procedure enabled the great engineer to hoist them with their own etard and to raise himself to the imperial dignity. But before referring to this last proof of the Machiavellian skill of the great Corsican in dealing with plots, it is needful to notice the events which brought him into collision with the British nation.
The treaty of Amiens had contained germs which ensured its dissolution at no distant date; but even more serious was the conduct of Bonaparte after the conclusion of peace. He carried matters with so high a hand in the affairs of Holland, Switzerland and Italy as seriously to diminish the outlets for British trade in Europe. His action in the matters just named, as also in the complex affair of the secularization's of clerical domains in Germany (February 1803), belongs properly to the history of those countries; but we may here note that, even before the signature of the peace of Amiens (27th of March 1802), he had effected changes in the constitution of the Batavian (Dutch) republic, which placed power in the hands of the French party and enabled him to keep French troops in the chief Dutch fortresses, despite the recently signed treaty of Lunéville which guaranteed the independence of that republic. His treatment of the Italians was equally high-handed. In September 1801 he bestowed on the Cisalpine republic a constitution modelled on that of France. Next, he summoned the chief men of the Francophile party in that republic to Lyons in the early days of 1802, in order to arrange with them the appointment of the chiefs of the executive. It soon appeared that the real aim of the meeting was to make Bonaparte president. He let it be known that he strongly disapproved of their proposal to elect Count Melzi, the Italian statesman most suitable for the post; and a hint given by Talleyrand showed the reason for his disapproval. The deputies thereupon elected Bonaparte. As for the neighbouring land, Piedmont, it was already French in all but name. On the 21st of April 1801 he issued a decree which constituted Piedmont as a military district dependent on France; for various reasons he postponed the final act of incorporation to the 21st of September 1802. The Genoese republic a little earlier underwent at his hand changes which made its doge all-powerful in local affairs, but a mere puppet in the hands of Bonaparte. In central Italy the influence of the First Consul was paramount; for in 1801 he transformed the grand duchy of Tuscany into the kingdom of Etruria for the duke of Parma; and, seeing that that promotion added lustre to the fortunes of the duchess of Parma (a Spanish infanta), Spain consented lamely enough to the cession of Louisiana to France. The effect of these extraordinary changes, then, was the carrying out of Napoleonic satrapies in the north and centre of Italy in a way utterly inconsistent with the treaty of Lunéville; and the weakness with which the courts of London and Vienna looked on at these singular events confirmed Bonaparte in the belief that he could do what he would with neighbouring states. The policy of the French revolutionists had been to surround France with free and allied republics. The policy of the First Consul was to transform them into tributaries which copied with chameleonic fidelity the political fashions he himself set at Paris.
Of all these interventions the most justifiable and beneficent, perhaps, was that which related to the Swiss cantons. Whether his agents did, or did not, pour oil on the fiames of civil strife, which he thereupon quenched by his Act of Mediation, 19th of February 1803, is a. complex question. The settlement which he thereby imposed was in many ways excellent; but it was dearly purchased by the complete ascendancy of Bonaparte in all important affairs, and by the claim for the services of a considerable contingent of Swiss troops which he thereafter rigorously enforced.
The re-occupation of Switzerland by French troops in October 1802 wrought English opinion to a state of indignation against the autocrat who was making conquests more quickly in time of peace than he had done by his sword; and the irritation increased when, on the 29th of January I1803, he publicly stated: “It is recognized by Europe that Italy and Holland, as Well as Switzerland, are at the disposal of France.” Another act of his at that time made still more strongly for war. On the 30th of January he caused the official French paper, the Moniteur, to publish in extenso a confidential report sent by Colonel Sebastiani describing his so-called commercial mission to the Levant. In it there occurred the threatening phrase: “ Six thousand French would at present be enough to conquer Egypt.” An equally significant hint, that the Ionian Isles might easily be regained by France, further helped to open the eyes of the purblind Addington ministry to the resolve of Napoleon to make the Mediterranean a French lake. Ministers were also deeply concerned at the continued occupation of Holland by French troops, which made that country and, therefore, the Cape of Good Hope, absolutely dependent on France. They accordingly resolved not to give up Malta unless Lord Whitworth, the British ambassador at Paris, “received a satisfactory explanation” relative to the Sebastiani report. Napoleon’s refusal to give this, and his complaint that Great Britain had neglected to comply with some of the provisions of the treaty of Amiens, brought Anglo-French relations to an acute phase. By great dexterity he succeeded in turning public attention almost solely to the fact that Britain had not evacuated Malta. This is probably the sense in which we may interpret his tirade against Lord Whitworth at the diplomatic circle on the 13th of March. While not using threats of personal violence, as was generally reported at the time, his language was threatening and offensive. Annoyed by Whitworth’s imperturbable demeanour, he ended with these words: “You must respect treaties, then: woe to those who do not respect treaties. They shall answer for it to all Europe.” The news of the strengthening of the British army and navy lately announced in the king’s speech had perhaps annoyed him; but seeing that his outbursts of passion were nearly always the result of calculation—he once stated, pointing to his chin, that temper only mounted that high with him—his design, doubtless, was to set men everywhere talking about the perfidy of Albion. If so, he succeeded. His own violations of the treaties of Lunéville and Amiens were overlooked; and in particular men forgot that the weakening of the Knights of St John by the recent confiscation of their lands in France and Spain, and the protracted delay of Russia and Prussia to guarantee their tenure of power in Malta, furnished England with good reasons for keeping her hold on that island. On the 4th of April the Addington cabinet made proposals with a view to compensation. In return for the great accessions of power to France since the treaty of Amiens (Elba, it may be noted, was annexed in August 1802) Great Britain was to retain Malta for ten years and to acquire the small island of Lampedusa in perpetuity. French troops were also required to withdraw from Holland and Switzerland, and thus fulfil the terms of the treaty of Lunéville. Despite the urgent efforts of Joseph Bonaparte and Talleyrand to bend the First Consul, he refused to listen to these proposals. Finally, on the 7th of May, the British government sent a secret offer to withdraw from Malta as soon as the French evacuated Holland. To this also Napoleon demurred. The rupture, therefore, took place in the middle of May; and on a flimsy pretext the First Consul ordered the detention in France of all English persons.
The reasons for his annoyance are now well known. It is certain that he was preparing to renew the struggle for the mastery of the seas and of the Orient, which must break out if he held to his present resolve to found a great colonial empire. But he needed time in order to build a navy and to prepare for the execution of the schemes for the overthrow of the British power in India, which he had lately outlined to General Decaen, the new governor of the French possessions in that land. The sailing of Decaen’s squadron early in March 1803 had alarmed the British ministers and doubtless confirmed. their resolve to have the question of peace or war settled speedily. Whitworth also warned them on the 20th of April that “the chief motives for delay are that they (the French) are totally unprepared for a naval war.” This was quite correct. Napoleon wished to postpone the rupture for fully eighteen months, as is shown by his secret instructions to Decaen. The British government did not know the whole truth; but, knowing the character of Napoleon, it saw that peace was as dangerous as war. In any case, it sent the proposals of the 4th of April in order to test the sincerity of his recent offer of compensation to England. He refused them, mainly, it would seem, because he could not believe that the Addington ministry could be firm; and in his rage at the discovery of his error he revenged himself ignobly on British tourists and traders in France.
He now threw all his energies into the task of marshal ling the forces of France and his vassal states for the overthrow of “perfidious Albion.” Naval preparations went on apace at all the dockyards, and numbers of Hat-bottomed boats were built or repaired at the northern harbours. Disregarding the neutrality of the Germanic System, Napoleon sent a strong French corps to overrun Hanover, while he dispatched General Gouvion St Cyr to occupy Taranto and other dominating positions in the south-east of the kingdom of Naples. Exactions at the expense of Hanover and Naples helped to lighten the burdens of French finance; Napoleon’s sale of Louisiana to the United States early in 1803 for 60,000,000 francs brought further relief to the French treasury; and by pressing hard on his ally, Spain, he compelled her to exchange the armed help which he had a right to claim, for an annual subsidy of £2,880,000. Through Spain he then threatened Portugal with extinction unless she too paid a heavy subsidy, a demand with which the court of Lisbon was fain to comply.
Thus the first months of the war served to differentiate the two belligerents. England made short work of the French squadrons and colonies, particularly in the West Indies, while Napoleon became more than ever the master of central and southern Europe. The whole course of the war was to emphasize this distinction between the Sea Power and the Land Power; and in this fact lay the source of Napoleon’s ascendancy in France and neighbouring lands, as also of his final overthrow.
Napoleon’s utter disregard of the neutrality of neighbouring states was soon to be revealed in the course of a royalist plot which helped him to the imperial title. Georges Cadoudal, General Pichegru and other devoted royalists had concocted with the comte d'Artois (afterwards Charles X. of France) in London a scheme for the kidnapping (or more probably the murder) of the First Consul. The French police certainly knew of the plot, allowed the conspirators to come to Paris, arrested them there, and also on the 16th of February 1804 General Moreau, with whom Pichegru had two or three secret conferences. This was much; for Moreau, though indolent and incapable in political affairs, was still immensely popular in the army (always more republican than the civilians) and might conceivably head a republican movement against the autocrat. But far more was to follow. Failing through his police to lure the comte d'Artois to land in Normandy, Napoleon pounced on a scion of the House of Bourbon who was within his reach. The young duc d'Enghien was then residing at Ettenheim in Baden near the bank of the Rhine. He had served in the army of his grandfather, the prince of Condé, during the recent war; and Bonaparte believed for a time that he was an accomplice to the Cadoudal-Pichegru plot. He therefore sent orders to have him seized by French soldiers and brought to Vincennes near Paris. The order was skilfully obeyed, and the prince was hurried before a court-martial hastily summoned at that castle. Before they passed the verdict, Napoleon came to see that his victim was innocent of any participation in the plot. Nevertheless he was executed (21st of March 1804). It is noteworthy that though Napoleon at times sought to shift the responsibility for this deed on Talleyrand or Savary, yet during his voyage to St Helena, as also in his will, he frankly avowed his responsibility for it and asserted that in the like circumstances he would do the same again.
The horror aroused by this crime did not long deaden the feeling, at least in official circles, that something must be done to introduce the principle of heredity, as the surest means of counteracting the aims of conspirators. The senate, as usual, took the lead in suggesting some such change in the constitution; and it besought Napoleon “to complete his work by rendering it, like his glory, immortal.” Other official addresses of the same general tenour flowed in; and even the tribunate showed its docility by proposing that the imperial dignity should be declared hereditary in the family of Bonaparte (3rd of May). Napoleon thereupon invited the senate to “make known to him its thoughts completely.” The senate and the tribunate each appointed a commission to deal with the matter, with the result which every one foresaw. Carnot alone in the tribunate protested against the measure. The other councils adopted it almost unanimously. The Senatus Consultum of the 18th of May 1804 awarded to Napoleon the title of emperor, the succession (in case he had no heir) devolving in turn upon the descendants of Joseph and Louis Bonaparte (Lucien and Jerome were for the present excluded from the succession owing to their having contracted marriages displeasing to Napoleon). In a plebiscite taken on the subject of the imperial title and the law of succession, there were 3,572,329 affirmative votes and only 2569 negatives. In this vote lay the justification of the acts of the First Consul and the pledge for the greatness of the emperor Napoleon. The republicans in nearly every case voted for him: and it is significant of the curious trend of French thought that the new imperial constitution of the 18th of May 1804 opened with the words: “The government of the Republic is confided to an emperor, who takes the title Emperor of the French.”
The changes brought about by this constitution were mainly titular. Napoleon’s powers as First Consul for Life were so wide as to render much extension both superfluous and impossible; but we may note here that the senate now gained a further accession of authority at the expense of the two legislative bodies: and practically legislation rested with the emperor, who sent his decrees to the senate to be registered as senatus consulta. Napoleon’s chief aversion, the tribunate, was also divided into three sections, dealing with legislation, home affairs and finance—a division which preluded its entire suppression in 1807. More important were the titular changes Napoleon, as we have seen, did not venture to create an order of nobility until 1808, but he at once established an imperial hierarchy. First came the French princes, namely, the brothers of the emperor; six grand imperial dignities were also instituted, viz. those of the grand elector (Joseph Bonaparte), arch-chancellor of the empire (Cambacérès), arch-chancellor of state (Eugène de Beauharnais), arch-treasurer (Lebrun), constable (Louis Bonaparte), grand admiral (Murat). These six formed the emperor’s grand council. Next came the marshals, namely, Berthier, Murat, Masséna, Augereau, Lannes, Jourdan, Ney, Soult, Brune, Davout, Bessières, Moncey, Mortier and Bernadotte. Four generals—Kellermann, Lefèbvre, Pérignon, Serrurier—received the titles of honorary marshals. Next came dignities of a slightly lower rank, such as those of grand almoner (Fesch), grand marshall of the palace (Duroc), grand chamberlain (Talleyrand), grand master of the horse (Caulaincourt), grand huntsman (Berthier), grand master of ceremonies (Ségur). These with a host of lesser dignities built up the imperial hierarchy and enabled the court quickly to develop on the lines of the old monarchy, so far as rules of etiquette and self-conscious efforts could reproduce the courtly graces of the ancien régime.
Meanwhile Napoleon was triumphing over the last of the republican generals. Moreau’s trial for treason promised to end with an acquittal; but the emperor brought severe pressure to bear on the judges (one of whom he dismissed), with the result that the general was declared guilty of participating in the royalist plot. Thereupon Napoleon, in order to grace the new régime by an act of clemency, pardoned Moreau, it being understood that he must leave France. lile left immediately for the United States. Sentence of death was passed on the royalist conspirators. On Josephine’s entreaties, the emperor commuted the sentence for eight of the well-connected men among them; Cadoudal and others of lower extraction were executed on the 24th of June. The brave Breton peasant thus summed up the results of his plot: “We meant to give France a king and we have given her an emperor.” The mot was literally true. Victories in the field were not more effective in consolidating Napoleon’s power than were his own soups d’état and the supremely skilful use which he made of conspiracies directed against him. He showed his sense of the value of Fouché’s services in exploiting the royalist plot of 1803–1804 by reconstituting the ministry of police and bestowing it upon him. Thenceforth plots were few. Would-be plotters remained quiet from sheer terror of his power and ability, or from a conviction that conspiracies redounded to his advantage.
Napoleon was now able by degrees to dispense with all republican forms (the last to go was the Republican Calendar which ceased on the 1st of January 1806), and the scene at the Coronation in Notre Dame on the 2nd of December 1804 was frankly imperial in splendour and in the egotism which led Napoleon to wave aside the pope, Pius VII., at the supreme moment and crown himself. It is worthy of note that Josephine then won a triumph over Joseph Bonaparte and his sisters, who had been intriguing to effect a divorce. Napoleon, though he did not bar the door absolutely against such a proceeding, granted hgr her heart’s desire by secretly going through a religious ceremony on the evening before the coronation. It was performed by Fesch, now a cardinal; but Napoleon could afterwards urge the claim that all the legal formalities had not been complied with; and the motive for the marriage may probably be found in the refusal of the pope to appear at the coronation unless the former civil contract was replaced by the religious rite.
As happened at every stage of Napoleon’s advancement, the states tributary to France underwent changes corresponding to those occurring at Paris. The most important of these was the erection of monarchy in North Italy. The Italian republic (formerly the Cisalpine republic) became the kingdom of Italy.
At first Napoleon desired to endow Joseph, or, on his refusal, Louis, with the crown of the new kingdom. They, however, refused to place themselves out of the line of direct succession in France, as Napoleon required, in case they accepted this new dignity. Finally, he resolved to take the title himself. The obsequious authorities at Milan at once furthered his design by sending an address to him, by requesting the establishment of royalty, and on the 15th of March 1805 by offering the crown to him. On the 26th of May he crowned himself in the cathedral at Milan with the iron crown of the old Lombard kings, amidst surroundings of the utmost splendour. On the 7th of June he issued a decree conferring the dignity of viceroy on Eugene de Beauharnais, his stepson; but everything showed that Napoleon’s will was to be law; and the great powers at once saw that Napoleon’s promise to keep the crowns of France and Italy separate was meaningless. The matter was of international importance; for by the treaty of Lunéville (February 1801) he had bound himself to respect the independence of the two republics of North Italy, the Cisalpine and the Ligurian. The defiance to Austria was emphasized when, on the 4th of June, he promised a deputation from Genoa that he would grant their request (prompted by his agents) of incorporating the Genoese (or Ligurian) republic in the French empire. In the same month he erected the republic of Lucca into a principality for Bacciochi and his consort, Elisa Bonaparte.
These actions proclaimed so unmistakably Napoleon’s intention of making Italy an annexe of France as to convince Francis of Austria and Alexander of Russia that war with him was inevitable. The tsar, as protector of the Germanic System, had already been so annoyed by the seizure of the duc d’Enghien on German territory, and by other high-handed actions against the Hanse cities, as to recall his ambassador from Paris. Napoleon showed his indifference to the opinion of the tsar by ordering the seizure of the British envoy at Hamburg, Sir George Rumbold (24th of October); but set him free on the remonstrance of the king of Prussia, with whom he then desired to remain on friendly terms. Nevertheless, the general trend of his policy was such as powerfully to help on the formation of the Third Coalition against France—a compact which Pitt (who returned to power in May 1804) had found it very difficult to arrange. Disputes with Russia respecting Malta and the British maritime code kept the two states apart for nearly a year; and Austria was too timid to move. But Napoleon’s actions, especially the annexation of Genoa, at last brought the three powers to accord, with the general aim of re-establishing the status quo ante in Germany, Holland, Switzerland and Italy, or, in short, of restoring the balance of power which Napoleon had completely upset.
Military affairs in this period are dealt with under Napoleonic Campaigns; but it may be noted here that during the anxious days which Napoleon spent at the camp of Boulogne in the second and third weeks of August 1805, uncertain whether to risk all in an attack on England in case Villeneuve should arrive, or to turn the Grand Army against Austria, the only step which he took to avert a continental war was the despatch of General Duroc to Berlin to offer Hanover to Prussia on consideration of her framing a close alliance with France. It was very unlikely that that peace-loving Court would take up arms against its powerful neighbours on behalf of Napoleon, and his proceedings in the previous months had been so recklessly provocative as to arouse doubts whether he intended to invade England and did not welcome the outbreak of a continental-war. But in the case of a man so intensely ambitious, determined and egoistic as Napoleon, a decision on this interesting question is hazardous. Little reliance can be placed on his subsequent statements (as, for instance, to Metternich in 1810) that the huge preparations at Boulogne and the long naval campaign of Villeneuve were a mere ruse whereby to lure the Austrians into a premature declaration of war. It is, however, highly probable that he meant to strike at London if naval affairs went well, but that he was glad to have at hand an alternative which would shroud a. maritime failure under military laurels. If so, he succeeded. His habit was, as he said, faire son thème en deux façons, and he now took the second alternative. On or about the 25th-27th of August he resolved to strike at Austria. He did so with masterly skill and swiftness, and the triumphs of Ulm and Austerlitz hid from View the disaster of Trafalgar; and the only official reference to that crushing defeat was couched in these terms: “Storms caused us to lose some ships of the line after a fight imprudently engaged” (speech to the Legislature, 2nd of March 1806).
The glamour of Austerlitz had very naturally dazzled all F renchmen. Its results indeed were not only astounding at the time, but were such as to lead up to a new cycle of wars. By the peace of Presburg (26th of December 1805) Napoleon compelled Austria to recognize all the recent changes in Italy, and further to cede Venetia, Istria and Dalmatia to the new kingdom of Italy. The Swabian lands of the Habsburgs went to the South German states (allies of Napoleon), while Bavaria also received Tirol and Vorarlberg. The Electors of Bavaria and Württemberg were recognized as kings.
Nor was this all. Napoleon pressed almost equally hard upon Prussia. That power had been on the point of offering her armed mediation in revenge for his violation of her territory of Anspach; but she was fain to accept the terms which he offered at the sword’s point. When modified in February 1806, after Prussia’s demobilization, they comprised the occupation of Hanover by Prussia, with the proviso, however, that she should exclude British ships and goods from the whole of the north-west coast of Germany. To this demand (the real commencement of the “Continental System”) the Berlin government had to accede, though at the cost of a naval war with England, and the ruin of its maritime trade. Anspach and Bayreuth were also to be handed over to Bavaria, it now being the aim of Napoleon to aggrandize the South German princes who had fought on his side in the late war. In order to strengthen this compact, he arranged a marriage between the daughter of the king of Bavaria and Eugene Beauharnais; and he united the daughter of the Elector of Württemberg in marriage to Jerome Bonaparte, who had now divorced his wife, formerly Miss Paterson of Baltimore, at his brother’s behests. Stéphanie de Beauharnais, niece of Josephine, was also betrothed to the son of the duke (now grand duke) of Baden. By these alliances the new Charlemagne seemed to have founded his supremacy in South Germany on sure foundations.
Equally striking was his success in Italy. The Bourbons of Naples had broken their treaty engagements with Napoleon, though in this matter they were perhaps as much sinned against as sinning. After Austerlitz the conqueror fulminated against them, and sent southwards a strong column which compelled an Anglo-Russian force to sail away and brought about the flight of the Bourbons to Sicily (February 1806). This event opened a new and curious chapter in the history of Europe, that of the fortunes of the Napoléonides. True to his Corsican instinct of attachment to the family, and contempt for legal and dynastic claims, he now began to plant his brothers and other relatives in what had been republics established by the French Jacobins. Eugene Beauharnais had been established at Milan. Joseph Bonaparte was now advised to take the throne of Naples, and without any undue haggling as to terms, for “those who will not rise with me shall no longer be of my family. I am making a family of kings attached to my federative system.” At the end of March 1806 Joseph became king of the Two Sicilies. A little later the emperor bestowed the two papal enclaves of Benevento and Ponte-Corvo on 'I'alley rand and Bernadotte respectively, an' act which emphasized the hostility which had been growing between Napoleon and the papacy. Because Pius VII. declined to exclude British goods from the Papal States, Napoleon threatened to reduce the pope to the level merely of bishop of Rome. He occupied Ancona and seemed about to annex the Papal States outright. That -doom was postponed; but Catholics everywhere saw with pain the harsh treatment accorded to a defenceless old man. The prestige which the First Consul had gained by the Concordat was now lost by the overweening emperor.
But it was on the banks of the Rhine that the Napoleonic system received its most signal developments. The duchy of Berg, along with the eastern part of Cleves and other annexes, now went to Murat, brother-in-law of Napoleon (March 1806); and that melodramatic soldier at once began to round off his eastern boundary in a way highly offensive to Prussia. She was equally concerned by Napoleon’s behaviour in the Dutch Netherlands, where her influence used to be supreme. On the 5th of June 1806 the Batavian republic completed its chrysalis-like transformations by becoming a kingdom for Louis Bonaparte. “Never cease to be a Frenchman” was the pregnant advice which he gave to his younger brother in announcing the new dignity to him. In that sentence lay the secret of all the disagreements between the two brothers. Louis resolved to govern for the good of his subjects. Napoleon determined that he, like all the Bonapartist rulers, should act merely as a Napoleonic satrap. They were to be to him what the counts of the marches were to Charlemagne, warlike feudatories defending the empire or overawing its prospective foes.
Far morewas to follow. On the 17th of July Napoleon signed at Paris a decree that reduced to subservience the Germanic System, the chaotic weakness of which he had in 1797 foreseen to be highly favourable to France. He now grouped together the princes of south and central Germany in the Confederation of the Rhine, of which he was the protector and practically the ruler in all important affairs. The logical outcome of this proceeding appeared on the 1st of August, when Napoleon declared that he no longer recognized the existence of the Holy Roman Empire. The head of that venerable organism, the emperor Francis II., bowed to the inevitable and announced that he thenceforth confined himself to his functions as Francis I., hereditary emperor of Austria, a title which he had taken just two years previously. This tame acquiescence of the House of Habsburg in the reorganization of Germany seemed to set the seal on Napoleon’s work. He controlled all the lands from the Elbe to the Pyrenees, and had Spain and Italy at his beck and call. Power such as this was never wielded by his prototype, Charlemagne. But now came a series of events which transcended all that the mind of man had conceived. As the summer of 1806 wore on, his policy perceptibly hardened. Negotiations with England and Russia served to show the extent of his ambition. Sicily he was determined to have, and that too despite of all the efforts of the Fox-Grenville cabinet to satisfy him in every other direction. In his belief that he could ensnare the courts of London and St Petersburg into separate and proportionately disadvantageous treaties, he overreached himself. The tsar indignantly repudiated a treaty which his envoy, Oubril, had been tricked into signing at Paris; and the Fox-Grenville cabinet (as also its successor) refused to bargain away Sicily. War, therefore, went on. What was more, Prussia, finding that Napoleon had secretly offered to the British Hanover (that gilded hook by which he caught her early in the year), now resolved to avenge this, the last of several insults. Napoleon was surprised by the news of Prussia’s mobilization; he had come to regard her as a negligible quantity, and now he found that her unexpected sensitiveness on points of honour was about to revivify the Third Coalition against France.
The war which broke out early in October 1806 (sometimes known as the war of the Fourth Coalition) ran a course curiously like that of 1805 in its main outlines. For Austria we may read Prussia; for Ulm, Jena-Auerstadt; for the occiipation of Vienna, that of Berlin; for Austerlitz, Friedland, which again disposed of the belated succour given by Russia. The parallel extends even to the secret negotiations; for, if Austria could have been induced in May 1807 to send an army against Napoleon’s communications, his position would have been fully as dangerous as before Austerlitz if Prussia had taken a similar step. Once more he triumphed owing to the timidity of the central power which had the game in its hands; and the folly which marked the Russian tactics at Friedland (14th of June 1807), as at Austerlitz, enabled him to close the campaign in a blaze of glory and shiver the coalition in pieces.
Now came an opportunity far greater than that which occurred after Austerlitz. The Peace of Presburg was merely continental. That of Tilsit was of world-wide importance. But before referring to its terms we must note an event which indicated the lines on which Napoleon's policy would advance. After occupying the Prussian capital he launched against England the famous Berlin Decree (21st of November 1806), declaring her coasts to be in a state of blockade, and prohibiting all commerce with them. 'No ship coming thence was to be admitted into French or allied harbours; ships transgressing the decree were to be good prize of war; and British subjects were liable to imprisonment if found in French or allied territories. This decree is often called the basis of the Continental System, whereby Napoleon proposed to ruin England by ruining her commerce. But even before Trafalgar he had begun to strike at that most vulnerable form of wealth, as the Iacobins had done before him. Nelson's crowning triumph rendered impossible for the present all other means of attack on those elusive foes; and Napoleon's sense of the importance of that battle may be gauged, not by his public utterances on the subject, but by his persistence in forcing Prussia to close Hanover and the whole coastline of north-west Germany against British goods. That proceeding, in February 1806, constitutes the basis of the Continental System. The Berlin Decree gave it a wide extension. By the mighty blow of Friedland and the astonishing diplomatic triumph of Tilsit, the conqueror hoped speedily to overwhelm the islanders beneath the mass of the world's opposition. Napoleon at Tilsit resembles Polyphemus seeking to destroy Ulysses. The crags which he flung at Britannia did indeed graze the Stern and graze the prow of her craft.
The triumph won at Friedland marks in several respects the climax of Napoleon's career. The opportunity was unique; and he now put forth his utmost endeavours to win over to his side the conquered but still formidable tsar. In their first interview, held on a raft in the middle of the river Niemen at Tilsit on the 2 5th of June, the French emperor, by his mingled strength and suppleness of intellect, gained an easy mastery over the impressionable young potentate. Partly from fear of a national Polish rising which Napoleon held in reserve as a last means of coercion, and partly from a subtle resolve to use the French alliance as a means of securing rich domains at the expense of Turkey, Prussia, Sweden and England, Alexander decided to throw over his allies, Prussia and England, and to seize the spoils to which the conqueror pointed as the natural sequel of a F ranco-Russian alliance. Napoleon, therefore, had Prussia completely at his mercy; and his conditions to that power bore witness to the fact. The prayers of Queen Louisa of Prussia failed to bend him from his resolve. He refused even to grant her tearful request for Magdeburg. At a later time he reproached himself for not having dethroned the Hohenzollerns outright; but it is now known that Alexander would have forbidden this step, and that he dissuaded Napoleon from withdrawing Silesia from the control of the House of Hohenzollern. Even so, Prussia was bereft of half of her territories; those west of the river Elbe went to swell the domains of Napoleon's vassals or to form the new kingdom of Westphalia for Jerome Bonaparte; while the spoils which the House of Hohenzollern had won from Poland in the second and third partitions were now to form the duchy of Warsaw, ruled over by Napoleon's ally, the elector (now king) of Saxony. Danzig became nominally a free city, but was to be occupied by a French garrison until the peace. The tsar acquired a frontier district from Prussia, recognized the changes brought about by Napoleon in Germany and Italy, and agreed by a secret article that the Cattaro district on the east coast of the Adriatic should go to France. Equally important was the secret treaty of alliance between France and Russia signed on that same day. By it Napoleon brought the tsar to agree to make war on England in case that power did not accept the tsar's mediation for the conclusion of a general peace. Failing the arrival of a favourable reply from London by the 1st of December 1807, the tsar would help Napoleon to compel Denmark, Sweden and Portugal to close their ports against, and make war on, Great Britain. Napoleon also promised to mediate between Russia and Turkey in the interests of the former, and (in case the Porte refused to accept the proffered terms) to help Russia to drive the Turks from Europe, “the city of Constantinople and the province of Rumelia alone excepted.” This enterprise and the acquisition of Finland from Sweden, which Napoleon also dangled before the eyes of the tsar, formed the bait which brought that potentate into Napoleon's Continental System. Both Russia and Prussia now agreed rigorously to exclude British ships and goods from their dominions.
The terms last named indicate the nature of the aims which Napoleon had in view at Tilsit. That compact was not, as has often been assumed, merely the means of assuring to Napoleon the mastery of the continent and the control of a cohort of kings. That eminence he enjoyed before the collision with Prussia in the autumn of 1806; and he frequently, and no doubt sincerely, expressed contempt of conquests dans cette vieille Europe. The three coalitions against France had not produced a single warrior worthy of his steel. The treaty of Tilsit may more reasonably be looked on as an expedient for piling up enormous political resources with a view to the coercion of Great Britain. If that end could not be achieved by massing the continental states against her in a solid phalanx of commercial war, then Napoleon intended to ensure her ruin by that other enterprise which he had in view early in 1798 (see his letter of the 23rd of February 1798), namely the conquest of the Orient. An expedition against India had recently occupied his thoughts, as may be seen by the instructions which he issued on the 10th of May 1807 to General Gardane for his mission to Persia. The Orient was, indeed, ever the magnet which attracted him most; and his hostility to England may be attributed to his perception that she alone stood in the way of his most cherished schemes. The treaty of Tilsit, then, far from being merely a European event, was an event of the first importance in what may be termed the Welt-politik of Napoleon. His confidence that his vastly enhanced powers would enable him first to coerce, and thereafter to overthrow, the British empire may be illustrated by his allowing the appearance in 1807 of an official atlas of Australia in which about one-third of that continent figures as “Terre Napoleon.”
As usually happened in this strife of the land power and the sea power, Napoleon's continental policy attained an almost complete success, while the naval and oriental schemes which he had more nearly at heart utterly miscarried. The continent accepted the new development of his System. After some diplomatic fencing Russia and Prussia broke with England and entered upon what was, officially at least, a state of war with her. Further, owing to the carelessness of the Prussian negotiator, Napoleon was able to require the exaction of impossibly large sums from that exhausted land, and therefore to keep his troops in her chief fortresses. The duchy of Warsaw and the fortress of Danzig formed new outworks of his power and enabled him to overawe Russia. In home-aEairs as in foreign affairs his actions bespoke the master. On returning from Tilsit to Paris he relieved Talleyrand of the ministry of foreign affairs, softening the fall by creating him a grand dignitary of the empire. The more subservient Champagny now became what was virtually the chief clerk in the French foreign office; and other changes placed in high station men who were remarkable for docility' rather than originality and power. Napoleon also suppressed the Tribunate; and in the year 1808 instituted an order of nobility. During the course of a tour in Italy in December 1807 he gave a sharp turn to that world-compelling screw, the Continental System. By the Milan Decree of the 17th of December 1807, he ordained that every ship which submitted to the right of search now claimed by Great Britain would be considered a lawful prize. The imperious terms in which this decree was couched and its misleading reference to the British maritime code showed that Napoleon believed in the imminent collapse of his sole remaining enemy." This was natural. Britain, it was true, acting on the initiative of George Canning, had 'seized the Danish fleet, thus forestalling an action which Napoleon certainly contemplated; but on the other hand Denmark now allied herself with him; and while in Lombardy he heard of the triumphant entry of his troops into Lisbon—an event which seemed to prelude his domination in the Iberian Peninsula and thereafter in the Mediterranean. The occupation of Lisbon, which led on to Napoleon's intervention in Spanish affairs, resulted naturally from the treaty of Tilsit. The coercion of England's oldest ally had long been one of Napoleon's most cherished aims, and was expressly provided for in that compact. To this scheme he turned with a zeal whetted by consciousness of his failure respecting the Danish fleet. On the 27th of October 1807 he signed with a Spanish envoy at Fontainebleau a secret convention with a view to the partitioning of Portugal between France and Spain. Another convention of the same date allowed him to send 28,000 French troops into Spain for the occupation of Portugal, an enterprise in which a large Spanish force was to help them; 40,000 French troops were to be cantonned at Bayonne to support the first corps. Seeing that Godoy, the all-powerful minister at Madrid, had given mortal olience to Napoleon early in the Prussian campaign of 1806 by calling on Spain to arm on behalf of her independence, it passes belief how he could have placed his country at the mercy of Napoleon at the end of the year 1807. The emperor, however, successfully gilded the hook by awarding Algarve, the southern province of Portugal, to Godoy. The north of Portugal was to go to the widow of the king of Etruria (a Spanish Infanta); her realm now passing into the hands of Napoleon. Thus Portugal in 1807, like Venice in 1797, was to provide the means for widely extending the operations of his statecraft.
The natural result followed. Portugal was easily overrun by the allies; but Junot's utmost efforts failed to secure the Portuguese fleet, which, under the protection of a British squadron, sailed away to Brazil with the royal family, the ministers and chief grandees of the realm. In other respects all went well. The French reinforcements which entered Spain managed to secure some of the strongholds of the northern provinces; and the disgraceful feuds in the royal family left the country practically at the emperor's mercy.
The situation was such as to tempt Napoleon on to an undertaking on which he had probably set his heart in the autumn of 1806, that of dethroning the Spanish Bourbons and of replacing them by a Bonaparte. Looking at the surface of the life of Spain, he might well believe in its decay. The king, Charles IV., looked on helplessly at the ruin wrought by the subservience of his kingdom to France since 1796, and he was seemingly blind to the criminal intrigues between his queen and the prime minister Godoy. His senile spite vented itself on his son Ferdinand, whose opposition to the all-powerful favourite procured for him hatred at the palace and esteem everywhere else. Latterly the prince had fallen into disgrace for proposing, without the knowledge of Charles IV., to ally himself with a Bonaparte princess. Here, then, were all the conditions which favoured Napoleon's intervention. He allowed the prince to hope for such a union, and thus enhanced the popularity of the French party at Madrid. Godoy, having the prospect of the Algarve before him, likewise offered no opposition to the advance of Napoleon's troops to the capital; and so it came about that Murat, named by Napoleon his Lieutenant in Spain, was able to enter Madrid in force and without opposition from that usually clannish populace. The course of events, and especially the anger of the people, now began to terrify Charles IV., the queen and Godoy. They prepared for flight to America-a step which Napoleon took care to prevent; and a popular outbreak at Aranjuez decided the king then and there to abdicate (19th of March 1808). Murat, now acting very warily in the hope of gaining the crown of Spain for himself, refused to recognize this act as binding, still more so the accession of Ferdinand VII. Charles thereupon declared his abdication to have been made under duress and therefore null and void. The young king, still hoping for Napoleon's favour, now responded to the suggestion, forwarded by Savary, that an interview with the emperor would clear up the situation. The same prospect was held out to Charles IV., the 'queen and Godoy, with the result that the rivals for the throne proceeded to the north of Spain to meet the arbiter of their destinies. Napoleon journeyed to Bayonne and remained there. The' claimants, each not knowing of the movements of the other, crossed the Pyrenees, and Ferdinand on his arrival at Bayonne found himself to be virtually a prisoner in the hands of the emperor. Napoleon had little difficulty in disposing of the father, whose rage against -his son blunted his senses in every other direction. As for Ferdinand, the emperor, on hearing the news of a rising in Madrid on the 2nd of May, overwhelmed him with threats, until he resigned the crown into the hands of his father, who had already bargained it away to Napoleon in return for a pension (5th of May 1808). Princely abodes in France and annuities (the latter to be paid by Spain)-such was the price at which Napoleon bought the crown of Spain and the Indies. Naturally nothing more was heard of the partition of Portugal. According to outward appearance nothing was wanting to complete the emperor's triumph. He is said to have remarked with an oath after Iena that he would make the Spanish Bourbons pay for their recent bellicose proclamation. If the story is correct, his acts at Bayonne showed once more his custom of biding his time in order to take an overwhelming revenge. That the son of a Corsican notary should have been able to dispose of the Spanish Bourbons in this contemptuously easy way is one of the marvels of history.
But even in this crowning triumph the cramping egotism of his nature-a mental vice which now grew on him rapidly -fatally narrowed his outlook and led him to commit an irretrievable blunder. In his contempt for the rulers of Spain he forgot the Spanish people. In all the genuine letters of the spring of 1808-that of March 29th to Murat, no. 13,696 of the Correspondence, is acknowledged to be a forgery-there is not a sign that he regarded the Spaniards as of any account. On the 27th of March he offered the crown of Spain to his brother Louis, king of Holland, in these terms: “ The climate of Holland does not suit you; besides Holland can never rise from its ruins. I think of you for the throne of Spain. You will be the sovereign of a generous nation of eleven millions of men and of important colonies.” On Louis declining the honour, it devolved on Joseph, king of Naples, who vacated that throne for the benefit of Murat-a source of disappointment and annoyance to both. The emperor pushed on his schemes regardless of everything. The first signs of the rising ferment in Spain were wasted on him. He believed that the arrival of so benevolent a king as Joseph, and the promulgation of a number of useful reforms based on those of the French Revolution, would soothe any passing irritation. If not, then his troops could deal with it- as Murat had dealt with the men of Madrid on the 2nd of May. He, therefore, pressed on the march of a corps of French and Swiss troops under Dupont towards Cadiz, in order to take possession of the French sail of the line, five in number, which had been in that harbour since Trafalgar. The importance which he then assigned to naval affairs appears in many letters of the months May to June 1808. He intended that Spain should very soon have ready twenty-eight sail of the line-“ce qui est bien peu de chose ”-so as to drive away the British squadrons, and then he would strike “de grands coups” in the autumn. Evidently then the Spanish dockyards and warships (when vigorously organized) were to count for much in the schemes for assuring complete supremacy in the Mediterranean and the ultimate overthrow of the British and Turkish empires, which he then had closely at heart.
The Spanish rising of May- June 1808 ruined these plans irretrievably. The men of Cadiz compelled the French warships to surrender, and the levies of Andalusia, closing around Dupont, compelled him and some 23,000 men to lay down their arms at Baylen (23rd of July). This disaster, the most serious suffered by the French since Rossbach, sent a thrill through the Napoleonic vassal states and aroused in Napoleon transports of anger against Dupont. “Everything is connected with this event ” he wrote on the 2nd of August, “Germany, Poland, Italy.” Indeed, along with other serious checks in Spain, which involved the conquest of that land, it cut through the wide meshes of his policy both in Levantine, Central European and commercial affairs. The partition of Turkey had to be postponed; the financial collapse of England could not be expected now that she framed an alliance with the Spanish patriots and had their markets and those of their colonies opened to her; and the discussions with the tsar Alexander, which had not gone quite smoothly, now took a decidedly unfavourable turn. The tsar saw his chance of improving on the terms arranged at Tilsit; and obviously Napoleon could not begin the conquest of Spain until he felt sure of the conduct of his nominal ally. Still worse was the prospect when Sir Arthur Wellesley with a British force landed in Portugal, gained the battle of Vimiero (21st of August), and brought the French commander, Junot, by the so-called convention of Cintra, to agree to the evacuation of the country by all the French troops. The sea power thus gained what had all along been wanting, a sure basis for the exercise of its force against the land power, Napoleon. Still more important, perhaps, was the change in moral which the Spanish rising brought about. Napoleon’s perfidy at Bayonne was so flagrant as to strip from him the mask of a champion of popular liberty which had previously been of priceless worth. Now he stood forth to the world as an unscrupulous aggressor; moral force, previously marshal led on the side of France, now began to pass to the side of his opponents. The value of that unseen ally he well knew: “Once again, let me tell you,” he wrote to General Clarke on the 10th of October 1809, “in war moral and opinion are more than half of the reality.”
Such were the discouraging conditions which weighed him down at the time of the interview with the tsar at Erfurt (September 27th–October 12th, 1808). That event was so important as to require some preliminary explanation. For some five months past the two emperors had been exchanging their views as to the future of the world. Stated briefly they were these. Napoleon desired to press on the partition of Prussia, Alexander that of Turkey. The tsar, however, was determined to save Prussia if he could; and Napoleon after the first disasters in Spain saw it to be impossible to uproot the Hohenzollerns; while it was clearly to his interest to postpone the partition of Turkey until he had conquered Spain and Sicily. Austria meanwhile had begun to arm as a precautionary measure; and Napoleon, shortly after his return from Bayonne to Paris, publicly declared that, if her preparations went on, he would wage against her a war of extermination. The threat naturally did not tend to reassure statesmen at Vienna; and the tsar now resolved to prevent the total wreck of the European system by screening the House of Habsburg from the wrath of his ally. For the present Napoleon’s ire fell upon Prussia. A letter written by the Prussian statesman, Baron vom Stein, had fallen into the hands of the French and revealed to the emperor the ferment produced in Germany by news of the French reverses in Spain. In that letter Stein urged the need of a national rising of the Germans similar to that of the Spaniards, when the inevitable struggle ensued between Napoleon and Austria. The revenge of the autocrat was characteristic. Besides driving Stein from office, he compelled Prussia to sign a convention (8th of September) for the payment to France of a sum of 140,000,000 francs, and for the limitation of the Prussian army to 42,000 men.
Apart from this advantage, placed in his hands by the imprudence of Stein, Napoleon was heavily handicapped at the Erfurt interview. In vain did he seek to dazzle the tsar by assembling about him the vassal kings and princes of Germany; in vain did he exercise all the intellectual gifts which had captivated the tsar at Tilsit; in vain did he conjure up visions of the future conquest of the Orient; external display, diplomatic finesse, varied by one or two outbursts of calculated violence-all was useless. The situation now was utterly different from that which obtained at Tilsit. Alexander had succeeded in pacifying Finland, and his troops held the Danubian provinces of Turkey—a pledge, as it seemed, for the future conquest of Constantinople. Napoleon, on the other hand, had utterly failed in his Spanish enterprise; and the tsar felt sure that his rival must soon withdraw French garrisons from the fortresses of the Oder to the frontier of Spain. These facts, and not, as has often been assumed, the treachery of Talleyrand, decided Alexander to assume at Erfurt an attitude of jealous reserve. He refused to join Napoleon in any proposal for the coercion of Austria or the limitation of her armaments. Finally he agreed to join his ally if he (Napoleon) were attacked by the Habsburg power. Napoleon on his side succeeded in adjourning the question of the partition of Turkey; but he awarded the Danubian provinces and Finland to his ally and agreed to withdraw the French garrisons from the Prussian fortresses on the Oder. On the 12th of October both potentates addressed an appeal to George III. to accord peace to the world on the basis of uti possidetis. Canning assented, provided that envoys of all the states and peoples concerned took part in the negotiations. Whereupon a reply came from Paris (28th of November) that the French emperor refused to admit the envoys of “the king who reigns in Brazil, the king who reigns in Sicily or the king who reigns in Sweden.” The “Spanish insurgents” were equally placed out of court. Clearly, then, Napoleon’s desire for peace was conditional on his being allowed to dictate terms to the rulers and peoples concerned.
Already he had shown that the sword must decide affairs in Spain. After spending a short time in Paris in order to supervise the transfer of his forces from Germany to the Pyrenees, he journeyed swiftly southwards, burst upon the Spaniards, and on the 3rd of December received the surrender of Madrid. There, on the 16th of December, he issued a decree (omitted from the official Correspondence) declaring le nommé Stein an enemy of France and confiscating his property in the lands allied to France. The great statesman barely succeeded in escaping to Austria, a land in which the hopes of German patriots now centred. Encouraged by the sympathy of all patriotic Germans and the newly found energy of its own subjects, the House of Habsburg now began to prepare for war. Napoleon was then in the midst of operations against Sir John Moore, whose masterly march on Sahagun (near Valladolid) had thwarted the emperor’s plans for a general “drive” on to Lisbon. Hoping to punish Moore for his boldness, Napoleon struck quickly north at Astorga, but found that he was too late to catch his foe. At that town he also heard news on the 1st of January 1809, which portended trouble in Germany and perhaps also at Paris. Austria was continuing to arm; and the emperor perceived that the diplomatic failure at Erfurt was now about to entail on him another and more serious struggle. His anxiety was increased by news of sinister import respecting frequent interviews between those former rivals, Talleyrand and Fouché, in which Murat was said to be concerned. Handing over the command to Soult, he hurried back to Paris to trample on the seeds of sedition and to overwhelm Austria by the blows which he showered upon her in the valley of the Danube. Sir John Moore and the statesmen of Austria—the heroic Stadion at their head—failed in their enterprise; but at least they frustrated the determined effort of Napoleon to stamp out the national movement in the Iberian Peninsula. Thereafter he never entered Spain; and the French operations suffered incalculably from the want of one able commander-in-chief.
In the Danubian campaign of 1809 he succeeded; but the stubborn defence of Austria, the heroic efforts of the Tirolese and the spasmodic efforts which foreboded a national rising in Germany, showed that the whole aspect of affairs was changing, even in central Europe, where rulers and peoples had hitherto been as wax under the impress of his will. The peoples, formerly so apathetic, were now the centre of resistance, and their efforts failed owing to the timidity or sluggishness of governments and the incompetence of some of their military leaders. The failure of the archduke John to arrive in time at Wagram (5th of July), the lack of support accorded by the Spaniards to Wellesley before and after the battle of Talavera (28th of July), and the slowness with which the British government sent forth its great armada against Flushing and Antwerp, a fortnight after Austria sued for an armistice from Napoleon, enabled that superb organizer to emerge victorious from a most precarious situation. The hatred felt for him by Germans found expression in a daring attempt to murder him made by a well-bred youth named Staps on the 12th of October.
Two days later Napoleon, by means of unworthy artifices, hurried the Austrian plenipotentiaries into signing the treaty of peace at Schonbrunn. The House of Habsburg now ceded Salzburg and the Inn-Viertel to Napoleon (for his ally, the king of Bavaria); a great portion of the spoils which Austria had torn from Poland in 1795 went to the grand duchy of Warsaw, or Russia; and the cession of her provinces Carinthia, Carniola and Istria to the French empire cut her off from all access to the sea. After imposing these harsh terms on his enemy, the conqueror might naturally have shown clemency to the Tirolese leader, Andreas Hofer; but that brave mountaineer, when betrayed by a friend, was sentenced to death at Mantua owing to the arrival of a special message to that effect from Napoleon. In other quarters he achieved for the present a signal success. It was his habit to issue important decrees from the capitals of his enemies; and on the 17th of May 1809 he signed at Vienna an edict abolishing the temporal power of the pope and annexing the Papal States, which the French troops had occupied early in the previous year. On the 6th of July 1809 Pius VII. was arrested at Rome for presuming to excommunicate the successor of Charlemagne, and was deported to Grenoble and later on to Savona. The same year witnessed the downfall of Napoleon's persistent enemy, Gustavus IV. of Sweden, who was dethroned by a military movement (29th of March 1809). His successor, Charles XIII., made peace with France on the 6th of January 1810, and agreed to adopt the provisions of the Continental System. The aim in all these changes, it will be observed, was to acquire control over the seaboard, or, failing that, the commerce of all European states.
As happened in the years 1802–1803, Napoleon extended his “System” as rapidly in time of peace as during war. The year 1810 saw the crown set to that edifice by the annexations of Holland and of the north-west coast of Germany. In both cases the operative cause was the same. Neither Louis Bonaparte nor German douaniers could be trusted to carry out in all their stringency the decrees for the entire exclusion of British commerce from those important regions. In the case of King Louis, family quarrels embittered the relations between the two brothers; but it is clear from Napoleon's letters of November-December 1809 that he had even then resolved to annex Holland in order to gain complete control of its customs and of its naval resources. The negotiations which he allowed to go on with England in the spring of ISIC, mainly respecting the independence of Holland, are now known to have been insincere. Fouché, for meddling in the negotiations through an agent of his own, was promptly disgraced; and, when neither England was moved by diplomatic cajolery nor Louis Bonaparte by threats, French troops were sent against the Dutch capital. Louis fled from his kingdom, and on the 9th of July 1810 Holland became part of the French empire. In the next months Napoleon promulgated a series of decrees for effecting the ruin of British commerce, and in December 1810 he decreed the annexation of the north-west coast of Germany, as also of Canton Valais, to the French empire. This now stretched from Lübeck to the Pyrenees, from Brest to Rome; while another arm (only nominally severed from the empire by the Napoleonic kingdom of Italy) extended down the eastern shore of the Adriatic to Ragusa and Cattaro, threatening the Turkish empire with schemes of partition always imminent but never achieved.
It is time now to notice two important events in the life of the emperor, namely his divorce of Josephine and his union with Marie Louise of Austria. The former 'of these had long been foreseen. The Bonapartes had intrigued for it with their usual persistence, and Napoleon was careful never to make it impossible. His triumph over Austria in 1809, and especially the attempt of Staps to murder him, clinched his determination to found a dynasty in his own direct line. From Josephine he could not expect to have an heir. Accordingly, on his return to Paris he caused the news to be broken to her that reasons of state of the most urgent kind compelled him to divorce her. An affecting scene took place between them on the 30th of November 1809; but Napoleon, though moved by her distress, remained firm; and though the clerics made a difficulty about dissolving the religious marriage of the first of December 1804, the formalities of 1 which were complete save that the parish priest was absent, yet the emperor instituted a chancery for the archbishop of Paris, with the result that that body pronounced the divorce (January 1810). Josephine retired to her private abode, Malmaison, where her patience and serenity won the admiration of all who saw her.
Meanwhile the deliberations respecting the choice of her successor had already begun. Opinions were divided in the emperor's circle between a Russian and an Austrian princess; but the marked coolness with which overtures for the hand of the tsar's sister were received at St Petersburg, and the skill with which Count Metternich, the Austrian chancellor, let it be known that a union with the archduchess, Marie Louise, would be welcomed at Schonbrunn, helped to decide the matter. The reasons why the emperor Francis acquiesced in the marriage alliance are well known. Only so could his empire survive. A marriage between Napoleon and a Russian princess would have implied the permanent subjection of Austria. By the proposed step she would weaken the Franco-Russian alliance. But why did Napoleon fix his choice on Vienna rather than St Petersburg? Mainly, it would seem, because he desired hurriedly to screen the refusal, which might at any time be expected from the Russian court, under the appearance of a voluntary choice of an Austrian archduchess. Further, an alliance with the House of Habsburg might be expected to wean the Germans from all thought of gaining succour from that quarter. The wedding was celebrated first at Vienna by proxy, and at Notre Dame by the emperor in person on the 2nd of April. Though based on merely political grounds, the union was for the time a happy one. He advised his courtiers to marry Germans—“they are the best wives in the world, good, naive and fresh as roses.” Metternich, on visiting Compiègne and Paris, found the emperor thoroughly devoted to his bride. Napoleon told him that he was now beginning to live, that he had always longed for a home and now at last had one. Metternich thereupon wrote to his master: “He (Napoleon) has possibly more weaknesses than many other men, and if the empress continues to play upon them, as she begins to realize the possibility of doing, she can render the greatest services to herself and all Europe.” The surmise was too hopeful. Napoleon, though he never again worked as he had done, soon freed himself from complete dependence on Marie Louise; and he never allowed her to intrude into political affairs, for which, indeed, she had not the least aptitude. His real concern for her was evinced shortly before the birth of their son, the king of Rome, when he gave orders that if the life of both mother and child could not be saved, that of the mother should be saved if possible (20th of March 1811). This event seemed to place Napoleon's fortunes on a sure basis; but already they were being undermined by events. The marriage negotiations of 1809–1810 had somewhat offended the emperor Alexander; his resentment increased when, at the close of 1810, Napoleon dethroned the duke of Oldenburg, brother-in-law of the tsar; and the breach in the Franco-Russian alliance widened when the French emperor refused to award it compensation to the duke or to give to the Russian government an assurance that the kingdom of Poland would. never be reconstituted. The addition -of large territories to the grand duchy of Warsaw after the war of 1809 aroused the fears of the tsar respecting the Poles; and he regarded all Napoleon's actions as inspired by hostility to Russia. He, therefore, despite Napoleon's repeated demands, refused to subject his empire to the hardships imposed by the Continental System; at the close of the year 1810 he virtually allowed the entry of colonial goods (all of which were really British borne) and little by little broke away from Napoleon's system. These actions implied war between France and Russia, unless Napoleon allowed such modifications of his rules (e.g. under the license system) as would avert ruin from the trade and finance of Russia; and this he refused to do.
The campaign of 1812 may, therefore, be considered as resulting, firstly, from the complex and cramping effects of the Continental System on a northern land which could not deprive itself of colonial goods; secondly, from Napoleon's refusal to mitigate the anxiety of Alexander on the Polish question; and thirdly, from the annoyance felt by the tsar at the family matters noticed above. Napoleon undoubtedly entered on the struggle with reluctance. He spoke about it as one that lay in the course of destiny. In one sense he was right. If the Continental System was inevitable the war with Russia was inevitable. But that struggle may more reasonably be ascribed to the rigidity with which he carried out his commercial decrees and his diplomacy. He often prided himself on his absolute consistency, and we have Chaptal's warrant for the statement that, after the time of the Consulate, his habit of following his own opinions and rejecting all advice, even when he had asked for it, became more and more pronounced. It was so now. He took no heed of the warnings uttered by those sage counsellors, Cambacérés and Talleyrand, against an invasion of Russia, while “the Spanish ulcer ” was sapping the strength of the empire at the other extremity. He encased himself in fatalism, with the result that in two years the mightiest empire reared by man broke under the twofold strain. His diplomacy before the war of 1812 was less successful than that of Alexander, who skilfully ended his quarrel with Turkey and gained over to his side Sweden. That state, where Bernadotte had latterly been chosen as crown prince, decided to throw off the yoke of the Continental System and join England and Russia, gaining from the latter power the promise of Norway at the expense of Denmark.
Napoleon on his side coerced Prussia into an offensive alliance and had the support of Austria and the states of the Rhenish Confederation. At Dresden he held court for a few days in May 1812 with Marie Louise: the emperor Francis, the king of Prussia and a host of lesser dignitaries were present—a sign of the power of the modern Charlemagne. It was the last time that he figured as master of the continent.
The military events of the years 1812-1814 are described under NAPOLEONIC CAMPAIGNS; and we need therefore note here only a few details personal to Napoleon or some considerations which influenced his policy. Firstly we may remark that the Austrian alliance furnished one of the motives which led him to refrain during the campaign of 1812 from reconstituting the Polish realm in its ancient extent. To have done so would have been a mortal affront to his ally, Austria. Certainly he needed her support during that campaign; but many good judges have inclined to the belief that the whole-hearted support of Poles and Lithuanians would have been of still greater value, and that the organization of their resources might well have occupied him during the winter of 1812-1813, and would have furnished him with a new and advanced base from which to strike at the heart of Russia in the early summer of 1813. If the Austrian alliance was chiefly responsible for his rejection of that statesmanlike plan, which he had before him at Smolensk, it certainly deserves all the hard things said of it by the champions of Josephine. Another consideration which largely conduced to the disasters of the retreat was Napoleon's postponement of any movement back from Moscow to the date of October 10th, and this is known to have resulted from his conviction that the tsar would give way as he had done at Tilsit. Napoleon's habit of clinging to his own preconceptions never received so strange and disastrous an illustration as it did during the month spent at Moscow. On the other hand, his desertion of the army on the 5th of December, not long after the crossing of the river Beresina, is a thoroughly defensible act. He had recently heard of the attempt of a French republican general, Malet, to seize the public offices at Paris, a quixotic adventure which had come surprisingly near to success owing to the assurance with which that officer proclaimed the news of the emperor's death in Russia. In such a. case, the best retort was to return in all haste in order to put more energy into the huge centralized organism which the emperor alone could work. His rapid return from Spain early in I8OQ, and now again from Lithuania at the close of 1812, gives an instructive glimpse into the anxiety which haunted the mind of the autocrat. He believed that, imposing as his position was, it rested on the prestige won by matchless triumphs. Witness his illuminating statement to Volney during the Consulate: “Why should France fear my ambition? I am but the magistrate of the republic. I merely act upon the imagination of the nation. When that fails me I shall be nothing, and another will succeed me.” To this cause we may ascribe his constant efforts to dazzle France by grandiose adventures and by swift, unexpected movements. But she had now come profoundly to distrust him. Her thirst for glory had long since been slaked, and she longed for peaceful enjoyment of the civic boons which he had conferred upon her in that greatest period of his life, the Consulate. That the Russian campaign of 1812 was the last device for assuring the success of the Continental System and the ruin of England was nothing to the great mass of Frenchmen. They were weary of a means of pacification which produced endless wars abroad and misery at home. True, England had suffered, but she was mistress of the seas and had won a score of new colonies. France had subjected half the continent; but her hold on Spain was weakened by Wellington's blow at Salamanca; and now Frenchmen heard that their army in Russia was “ dead.” At home many industries were suffering from the lack of tropical and colonial produce: cane sugar sold at five, and coffee at seven, shillings the pound. The constant use of chicory for coffee, and of woad for indigo, was apt to produce a reaction in favour of a humdrum peaceful policy; and yet, by a recent imperial decree, Frenchmen had the prospect of seeing the use of the new and imperfectly made beet sugar enforced from the 1st of January 1813, after which date all cane sugar was excluded as being of British origin. Shortly before starting for the Russian expedition Napoleon vainly tried to reassure the merchants and financiers of France then face to face with a sharp financial crisis. Now at the close of 1812 matters were worse, and Napoleon, on reaching Paris, found the nation preoccupied with the task of finding out how many Frenchmen had survived the Russian campaign.
Yet, despite the discontent seething in many quarters, France responded to his appeal for troops; but she did so mechanically and without hope. Early in January 1813 the senate promised that 3 50,000 conscripts should be enrolled; but 1 50,000 of them were under twenty years of age, and mobile columns had to be used to sweep in the recruits, especially in Brittany, the Netherlands and the newly annexed lands of North Germany. In the old provinces of France Napoleon's indomitable will overcame all difficulties of a material kind. Forces, inexperienced but devoted, were soon on foot; and he informed his German allies that he would allow the Russians to advance into Central Germany so as to ensure their destruction. As for the “ treason ” of General York, who had come to terms with the Russians, it moved him merely to scorn and contempt. He altogether underrated the importance of the national movement in Prussia. If Prussian towns “ behaved badly ” (he wrote on the 4th of March), they were to be burnt; Eugene was not to spare even Berlin. Prussia (he wrote on the 14th of March) was a weak country. She could not put more than 40,000 men in the field (the number to which he had limited her in September 1808). He therefore heard without dism-ay at the end of March that Prussia had joined Russia in a league in which Sweden was now an active participant.
It was clear that the spiritual forces of the time were also slipping out of his grasp. Early in January he sought to come to terms with the pope (then virtually a captive at Fontainebleau) respecting various questions then in debate concerning the Concordat. At first the emperor succeeded in persuading the aged pontiff to sign the preliminaries of an agreement, known as the “ Fontainebleau Concordat” (25th of January 1813); but, on its insidious character becoming apparent, Pius VII. revoked his consent, as having been given under constraint. Nevertheless Napoleon ordered the preliminary agreement to be considered as a definitive treaty, and on the 2nd of April gave instructions that one of the refractory cardinals should be carried off secretly by night from Fontainebleau, while the pontiff was to be guarded more closely than before. On these facts becoming known, a feeling of pity for the pope became widespread; and the opinion of the Roman Catholic world gradually turned against the emperor while he was fighting to preserve his supremacy in Germany. “I am following the course of events: I have always marched with them.” Such were his words uttered shortly before his departure from Paris (15th of April). They proved that he misread events and misunderstood his own position.
The course of the ensuing campaigns was to reveal the hardening of his mental powers. Early in April he sought to gain the help of 100,000 Austrian troops by holding out to Francis of Austria the prospect of acquiring Silesia from Prussia. The offer met with no response, Austria having received from the allies vaguely alluring offers that she might arrange matters as she desired in Italy and South Germany. Napoleon began to suspect his father-in-law, and still more the Austrian chancellor, Metternich; but instead of humouring them, he resolved to stand firm. The Austrian demands, first presented to him on the 16th of May, shortly after his victory of Lützen, were (1) the dissolution of the grand duchy of Warsaw, (2) the withdrawal of France from the lands of north-west Germany annexed in 1810 and (3) the cession to Austria of the Illyrian provinces wrested from her in 1809. Other terms were held in reserve to be pressed if occasion admitted; but these were all that were put forward at the moment. On this basis Austria was ready to offer her armed mediation to the combatants. Napoleon would not hear of the terms. “I will not have your armed mediation. You are only confusing the whole question. You say you cannot act for me; you are strong, then, only against me.” This outburst of temper was a grave blunder. His threats alarmed the Austrian court. At bottom the emperor Francis, perhaps also Metternich, wanted peace, but on terms which the exhaustion of the combatants would enable them to dictate. Yet during the armistice which ensued (June 4th-July 20th; afterwards prolonged to August 10th) Napoleon did nothing to soothe the Viennese government, and that, too, despite the encouragement which the allies received from the news of Wellington’s victory at Vittoria and the entry of Bernadotte with a Swedish contingent on the scene. Austria now proposed the terms named above with the addition that the Confederation of the Rhine must be dissolved, and that Prussia should be placed in a position as good as that which she held in 1805, that is, before the campaign of Jena. On the 27th of June -she promised to join the allies in case Napoleon should not accept these terms.
He was now at the crisis of his career. Events had shown that, even after losing half a million of men in Russia, he was a match for her and Prussia combined. Would he now accept the Austrian terms and gain a not disadvantageous peace, for which France was yearning? These terms, it should be noted, would have kept Napoleon’s empire intact except in Illyria; while the peace would have enabled him to reorganize his army and recover a host of French prisoners from Russia. His signing of the armistice seemed to promise as much. To give his enemies a breathing space when they were hard pressed was an insane proceeding unless he meant to make peace. But there is nothing in his words or actions at this time to show that he desired peace except on terms which were clearly antiquated. His letters breathe the deepest resentment against Austria, and show that he burned to chastise her for her “perfidy” as soon as his cavalry was reorganized. His actions at this time have been ascribed to righteous indignation against Metternich’s double-dealing; and in a long interview at the Marcolini palace at Dresden on the 26th of June he asked the chancellor point blank how much money England had given him for his present conduct. As for himself he cared little for the life of a million of men. He had married the daughter of the emperor: it was a mistake, but he would bury the world under the ruins. Talk in this Ossian-like vein showed that Napoleon’s brain no longer worked clearly: it was a victim to his egotism and passion. July and the first decade of August came and went, but brought no sign of pacification. The emperor Francis made a last effort to influence his son-in-law through Marie Louise. It was in vain. Nothing could bend that cast iron will. Nothing remained but to break it. On the expiration of the armistice at midnight of August 10th-11th Austria declared war.
After the disastrous defeat of Leipzig (17th–19th October 1813), when French domination in Germany and Italy vanished like an exhalation, the allies gave Napoleon another opportunity to come to terms. The overtures known as the Frankfort terms were ostensibly an answer to the request for information which Napoleon made at the field of Leipzig. Metternich persuaded the tsar and the king of Prussia to make a declaration that the allies would leave to Napoleon the “ natural boundaries” of France—the Rhine, Alps, Pyrenees and Ocean. The main object of the Austrian chancellor probably was to let Napoleon once more show to the world his perverse obstinacy. If this was his aim, he succeeded. Napoleon on his return to St Cloud inveighed against his ministers for talking so much about peace and declared that he would never give up Holland; France must remain a great empire, and not sink to the level of a mere kingdom. He would never give up Holland; rather than do that, he would cut the dykes and give back that land to the sea. Accordingly on the 16th of November he sent a vague and unsatisfactory reply to the allies; and though Caulaincourt (who now replaced Maret as foreign minister) was on the 2nd of December charged to give a general assent to their terms, yet that assent came too late. The allies had now withdrawn their offer. Napoleon certainly believed that the offer was insincere. Perhaps he was right; but even in that case he should surely have accepted the offer so as to expose their insincerity. As it was, they were able to contrast their moderation with his wrongheadedness, and thereby seek to separate his cause from that of France. In this they only partially succeeded. Murat now joined the allies; Germany, Switzerland and Holland were lost to Napoleon; but when the allies began to invade Alsace and Lorraine, they found the French staunch in his support. He was still the peasants’ emperor. The feelings of the year 1792 began to revive. Never did Napoleon and France appear more united than in the campaign of 1814.
Nevertheless it led to his abdication. Once more the allies consented to discuss the terms of a general pacification; but the discussions at the congress of Chatillon (5th of February–19th of March) had no result except to bring to light a proof of Napoleon’s insincerity. Thereupon the allies resolved to have no more dealings with him. As his chances of success became more and more desperate, he ventured on a step whereby he hoped to work potently on the pacific desires of the emperor Francis. Leaving Paris for the time to its own resources, he struck eastwards in the hope of terrifying that potentate and of detaching him from the coalition. The move not only failed, but it had the fatal effect of uncovering Paris to the northern forces of the allies. The surrender of the capital, where he had centralized all the governing powers, was a grave disaster. Equally fatal was the blow struck at him by the senate, his own favoured creation. Convoked by Talleyrand on the 1st of April, it pronounced the word abdication on the morrow. For this Napoleon cared little, provided that he had the army behind him. But now the marshals and generals joined the civilians. The defection of Marshal Marmont and his soldiery on the 4th of April rendered further thoughts of resistance futile. To continue the strife when Wellington was firmly established on the line of the Garonne, and Lyons and Bordeaux had hoisted the Bourbon fleur de lys, was seen by all but Napoleon to be sheer madness; but it needed the pressure of his marshals in painful interviews at Fontainebleau to bring him to reason.
At last, on the 11th of April, he wrote the deed of abdication. On that night he is said to have tried to end his life by poison. The evidence is not convincing; and certainly his recovery was very speedy. On the 20th he bade farewell to his guard and set forth from Fontainebleau for Elba, which the powers had very reluctantly, and owing to the pressure of the tsar, awarded to him as a possession. He was to keep the title of emperor. Marie Louise was to have the duchy of Parma for herself and her son. She did not go with her consort. Following the advice of her father, she repaired to Vienna along with the little king of Rome. As for France, she received the Bourbons, along with the old frontiers.
Meanwhile Napoleon, after narrow escapes from royalist mobs in Provence, was conducted in the British cruiser “Undaunted” to Elba. There he spent eleven months in uneasy retirement, watching with close interest the course of events in France. As he foresaw, the shrinkage of the great empire into the realm of old France caused infinite disgust, a feeling fed every day by stories of the tactless way in which the Bourbon princes treated veterans of the Grand Army. Equally threatening was the general situation in Europe. The demands of the tsar Alexander were for a time so exorbitant as to bring the powers at the congress of Vienna to the verge of war. Thus, everything portended a renewal of Napoleon’s activity. The return of French prisoners from Russia, Germany, England and Spain would furnish him with an army far larger than that which had won renown in 1814. So threatening were the symptoms that the royalists at Paris and the plenipotentiaries at Vienna talked of deporting him to the Azores, while others more than hinted at assassination.
He solved the problem in characteristic fashion. On the 26th of February 1815, when the English and French guard ships were absent, he slipped away from Porto Ferrajo with some 1000 men and landed near Antibes on the 1st of March. Except in royalist Provence he received everywhere a welcome which attested the attractive power of his personality and the nullity of the Bourbons. Firing no shot in his defence, his little troop swelled until it became an army. Ney, who had said that Napoleon ought to be brought to Paris in an iron cage, joined him with 6000 men on the 14th of March; and five days later the emperor entered the capital, whence Louis XVIII. had recently fled.
Napoleon was not misled by the enthusiasm of the provinces and Paris. He knew that love of novelty and contempt for the gouty old king and his greedy courtiers had brought about this bloodless triumph; and he felt instinctively that he had to deal with a new France, which would not tolerate despotism. On his way to Paris he had been profuse in promises of reform and constitutional rule. It remained to make good those promises and to disarm the fear and jealousy of the great powers. This was the work which he set before himself in the Hundred Days (19th of March to 22nd of June 1815). Were his powers, physical as well as mental, equal to the task? This is doubtful. Certainly the evidence as to his health is somewhat conflicting. Some persons (as, for instance, Carnot, Pasquier, Lavalette and Thiébault) thought him prematurely aged and enfeebled. Others again saw nomarked change in him; while Mollien, who knew the emperor well, attributed the lassitude which now and then came over him to a feeling of perplexity caused by his changed circumstances. This explanation seems to furnish a correct clue. The autocrat felt cramped and chafed on all sides by the necessity of posing as a constitutional sovereign; and, while losing something of the old rigidity, he lost very much of the old energy, both in thought and action. His was a mind that worked wonders' in well-worn grooves and on facts that were well understood. The necessity of devising compromises with men who had formerly been his tools fretted him both in mind and body. But when he left parliamentary affairs behind, and took the field, he showed nearly all the power both of initiative and of endurance which marked his masterpiece, the campaign of 1814. To date his decline, as Chaptal does, from the cold of the Moscow campaign is clearly incorrect. The time of lethargy at Elba seems to have been more unfavourable to his powers than the cold of Russia. At Elba, as Sir Neil Campbell noted, he became inactive and proportionately corpulent. There, too, as sometimes in 1815, he began to suffer intermittently from ischury, but to no serious extent. On the whole it seems safe to assert that it was the change in France far more than the change in his health which brought about the manifest constraint of the emperor in the Hundred Days. His words to Benjamin Constant—“I am growing old. The repose of a constitutional king may suit me. It will more surely suit my son”—show that his mind seized the salient facts of the situation; but his instincts struggled against them. Hence the malaise both of mind and body.
The attempts of the royalists gave him little concern: the duc d'Angouléme raised a small force for Louis XVIII. in the south, but at Valence it melted away in front of Grouchy’s command; and the duke, on the 9th of April, signed a convention whereby they received a free pardon from the emperor. The royalists of la Vendée were later in moving and caused more trouble. But the chief problem centred in the constitution. At Lyons, on the 13th of March, Napoleon had issued an edict dissolving the existing chambers and ordering the convocation of a national mass meeting, or Champ de Mai, for the purpose of modifying the constitution of the Napoleonic empire. That work was carriew out by Benjamin Constant in concert with the emperor. The resulting Acte additional (supplementary to the constitutions of the empire) bestowed on France an hereditary chamber of peers and a chamber of representatives elected by the “electoral colleges” of the empire, which comprised scarcely one hundredth part of the citizens of France. As Chateaubriand remarked, in reference to Louis XVIII.’s constitutional charter, the new constitution—La Benjamine, it was dubbed—was merely a slightly improved charter. Its incompleteness displeased the liberals; only 1,532,527 votes were given for it in the plébiscite, a total less than half of those of the plébiscites of the Consulate. Not all the gorgeous display of the Champ de Mai (held on the 1st of June) could hide the discontent at the meagre fulfilment of the promises given at Lyons. Napoleon ended his speech with the words: “My will is that of the people: my rights are its rights.” The words rang hollow, as was seen when, on the 3rd of June, the deputies chose, as president of their chamber, Lanjuinais, the staunch liberal who had so often opposed the emperor. The latter was with difficulty dissuaded from quashing the election. Other causes of offence arose, and Napoleon in his last communication to them warned them not to imitate the Greeks of the later Empire, who engaged in subtle discussions when the ram was battering at their gates. On the morrow (12th of June) he set out for the northern frontier. His spirits rose at the prospect of rejoining the army. At St Helena he told Gourgaud that he intended in 1815 to dissolve the chambers as soon as he had won a great victory.
In point of fact, the sword alone could decide his fate, both in internal and international affairs. Neither France nor Europe took seriously his rather vague declaration of his contentment with the rôle of constitutional monarch of the France of 1815. No one believed that he would be content with the “ancient limits.” So often had he declared that the Rhine and Holland were necessary to France that every one looked on his present assertions as a mere device to gain time. So far back as the 13th of March, six days before he reached Paris, the powers at Vienna declared him an outlaw; and four days later Great Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia bound themselves to put 150,000 men into the field to end his rule. Their recollection of his conduct during the congress of Châtillon was the determining fact at this crisis; his professions at Lyons or Paris had not the slightest effect; his efforts to detach Austria from the coalition, as also the feelers put forth tentatively by Fouché at Vienna, were fruitless. The coalitions, once so brittle as to break at the first strain, had now been hammered into solidity by his blows. If ever a man was condemned by his past, Napoleon was so in 1815.
On arriving at Paris three days after Waterloo he still clung to the hope of concerting national resistance; but the temper of the chambers and of the public generally forbade any such attempt. The autocrat and Lucien Bonaparte were almost alone in believing that by dissolving the chambers and declaring himself dictator, he could save France from the armies of the powers now converging on Paris. Even Davout, minister of war, advised him that the destinies of France rested solely with the chambers. That was true. The career of Napoleon, which had lured France far away from the principles of 1789, now brought her back to that starting-point; just as, in the physical sphere, his campaigns from 1796-1814 had at first enormously swollen her bulk and then subjected her to a shrinkage still more portentous. Clearly it was time to safeguard what remained; and that could best be done under Talleyrand's shield of legitimacy. Napoleon himself at last divined that truth. When Lucien pressed him to “dare,” he replied “Alas, I have dared only too much already.” On the 22nd of June he abdicated in favour of his son, well knowing that that was a mere form, as his son was in Austria. On the 25th of June he received from Fouché, the president of the newly appointed provisional government, an intimation that he must leave Paris. He retired to Malmaison, the home of Josephine, where she had died shortly after his first abdication. On the 29th of June the near approach of the Prussians (who had orders to seize him, dead or alive), caused him to retire westwards towards Rochefort, whence he hoped to reach the United States. But the passports which the provisional government asked from Wellington were refused, and as the country was declaring for the Bourbons, his position soon became precarious. On his arrival at Rochefort (3rd of July) he found that British cruisers cut off his hope of escape. On the 9th of July he received an order from the provisional government at Paris to leave France within twenty-four hours. After wavering between various plans, he decided on the 13th of July to cast himself on the generosity of the British government, and dictated a letter to the prince regent in which he compared himself to Themistocles seating himself at the hearth of his enemy. His counsellor, Las Cases, strongly urged that step and made overtures to Captain Maitland of H.M.S. “Bellerophon.” That officer, however, was on his guard, and, while offering to convey the emperor to England declined to pledge himself in any way as to his reception. It was on this understanding (which Las Cases afterwards misrepresented) that Napoleon on the 15th of July mounted the deck of the “Bellerophon.” No other course remained. Further delay after the 15th of July would have led to his capture by the royalists, who, were now everywhere in the ascendant. In all but name he was a prisoner of Great Britain, and he knew it.
The rest of the story must be told very briefly. The British government, on hearing of his arrival at Plymouth, decided to send him to St Helena, the formation of that island being such as to admit of a certain freedom of movement for the august captive, with none of the perils for the World at large which the tsar's choice, Elba, had involved. To St Helena, then, he proceeded on board of H.M.S. “Northumberland.” The title of emperor, which he enjoyed at Elba, had been forfeited by the adventure of 1815, and he was now treated officially as a general. Nevertheless, during his last voyage he enjoyed excellent health even in the tropics, and seemed less depressed than his associates, Bertrand, Gourgaud, Las Cases and Montholon. He landed at St Helena on the 17th of October. He resided first at “The Briars” with the Balcombes, and thereafter at Longwood, when that residence was ready for him. The first governor of the island, General Wilks, was soon superseded, it being judged that he was too amenable to influence from Napoleon; his successor was Sir Hudson Lowe.
Napoleon's chief relaxations at St Helena were found in the dictation of his memoirs to Montholon, and the compilation of monographs on military and political topics. The memoirs (which may be accepted as mainly Napoleon's, though Montholon undoubtedly touched them up) range over most of the events of his life from Toulon to Marengo. The military and historical. works comprise précis of the wars of Julius Caesar, Turenne and Frederick the Great. He began other accounts of the campaigns of his own age; but they are marred by his having had few trustworthy documents and statistics at hand. On a lower level as regards credibility stands the Mémorial de Sainte-Hélene, compiled by Las Cases from Napoleon's conversations with the obvious aim of creating a Napoleonic legend. Nevertheless the Mémorial is of great interest—e.g. the passage (iv. 451-454) in which Napoleon reflects on the ruin wrought to his cause by the war, in Spain, or that (iii. 130) dealing with his fatal mistake in not dismembering Austria after Wagram, and in marrying an Austrian princess—“There I stepped on to an abyss covered with flowers”; or that again (iii. 79) Where he represented himself as the natural arbiter in the immense struggle of the present against the past, and asserted that in ten years' time Europe would be either Cossack or republican. It is noteworthy that in Gourgaud's Journal de Ste. Héléne there are very few reflections of this kind and the emperor appears in a guise far more life-like. But in the works edited by Montholon and Las Cases, where the political aim constantly obtrudes itself, the emperor is made again and again to embroider on the theme that he had always been the true champion of ordered freedom. This was the mot d'ordre at Longwood to his companions, who set themselves deliberately to propagate it. The folly of the monarchs of the Holy Alliance in Europe gained for the writings of Montholon and Las Cases (that of Gourgaud was not published till 1899) a ready reception, with the result that Napoleon reappeared in the literature of the ensuing decades wielding an influence scarcely less potent than that of the grey-coated figure into whose arms France flung herself on his return from Elba. All that he had done for her in the days of the Consulate was remembered; his subsequent proceedings-his tyranny, his shocking waste of human life, his deliberate persistence in war when France and Europe called for a reasonable and lasting peace—all this was forgotten; and the great warrior, who died of cancer on the 5th of May 1821, was thereafter enshrouded in mists of legend through which his form loomed as that of a Prometheus condemned to a lingering agony for his devotion to the cause of humanity. It was this perversion of fact which rendered possible the career of Napoleon III.
Bibliography.—In the following list only the most helpful and accessible works can be enumerated. Asterisks are placed against those works which have been translated into English.
A. General: Histories and Biographies. *A. Thiers, Histoire de la Révolution française, du Consulat et de l'Empire (many editions in French and English); *P. Lanfrey, Histoire de Napoléon I. (5 vols., Paris, 1867-1875) (incomplete); Sir A. Alison, History of Europe, 1789-1815 (14 vols., London, 1833-1842); ] J. Holland Rose, The Life of Napoleon I. (2 vols., London; 3rd ed., 1905); A. Fournier, Napoleon der erste (3 vols., Prague and Vienna, 1889); W. M. Sloane, Napoleon: a History (4 vols., London, 1896-1897); O'Connor Morris, Napoleon (New York, 1893); E. Lavisse and A. N. Rambaud, “La Revolution française, 1789-1799” and “Napoléon,” vols. viii. and ix. of the Histoire générale; The Cambridge Modern History, vol. viii. (“The French Revolution”) and vol. ix. (“Napoleon”) (Cambridge, 1904 and 1906); W. Oncken, Das Zeitalter der Revolution, des Kaiserreichs, und der Befreiungskriege (2 vols., Berlin, 1880); A. T. Mahan, Influence of Sea Power on the French Revolution and Empire (2 vols., London, 1892); A. Sorel, L'Europe et la Révolution française (parts v.-viii. refer to Napoléon) (Paris, 1903-1904); F . Masson, Napoléon et so famille (4 vols., Paris, 1897-1900).
The great source for Napoleon's life is the Correspondance de Napoléon I. (32 vols., Paris, 1858-1869). Though garbled in several places by the imperial commission appointed by Napoleon III. to edit the letters and dispatches, it is invaluable. It has been supplemented by the *Lettres inéclites de Napoléon Ier, edited by L. Lecestre (2 vols., Paris, 1897; Eng. ed. 1 vol., London, 1898), and Lettres inédites de Napoléon Ier, edited by L. de Brotonne (Paris, 1898) (with supplement, 1903).
B. Works dealing mainly with particular periods.
I. Early years (1769-1795). Napoléon inconnu (1786-1793), edited by F. Masson (2 vols., Paris, 1895); A. Chuquet, La Jeunesse de Napoléon I. (3 vols., Paris, 1897-1899); T. Nasica, Mémoires sur l'enfance et la jeunesse de Napoléon I. (Paris, 1852); B. Gadobert, La Jeunesse de Napoléon I. (Paris, 1897); J. Colin, L'Education militaire de Napoleon (Paris, 1900); P. Cottin, Toulon et les Anglais en 1793 (Paris, 1898); H. F. T. Jung, Bonaparte et son temps, 1769-1799 (3 vols., Paris, 1880-1881); O. Browning, Napoleon: the First Phase (London, 1905); H. F. Hall, Napoleon's Notes on English History (London, 1905); C. J. Fox, Napoleon Bonaparte and the Siege of Toulon (Washington, 1902); H. Zivy, Le Treize Venaémiaire (Paris, 1898).
II. The Period 1796-1799. (For the campaigns of 1796-1800, 1805-7, 1808, 1812-15, see French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Campaigns.) The chief works on civil, diplomatic and personal affairs in the life of Napoleon for the period 1796-I 799 are: P. Gaffarel, Bonaparte et les républigues italiennes, 1796–1799 (Paris, 1895); C. Tivaroni, Storia critica del risorgimento italiano (3 vols., Turin, 1899-(in progress)); E. Bonnal de Ganges, La Chute d'une république (Venise) (Paris, 1885); E. Quinet, Les Révolutions d'Italie
(Paris, 1847); ]. du Teil, Rome, Naples et le directoire; armistices et traités, 1796-1797 (Paris, 1902); A. Sorel, Bonaparte et Hoche en 1797; L. Sciout, Le Directoire (3 vols., Paris, 1895); F. A. Aulard, Paris pendant la réaction thermidorienne et sous le directoire (5 vols., Paris, 1898-1902); Comte A. J. C. J. Boulay de la Meurthe, Le Directoire et l'expédition d'Egypte (Paris, 1885); E. Driault, La Question d'Orient (Paris, 1898); D. Lacroix, Bonaparte en Egypte (Paris, 1899); A. Vandal, L'Avènement de Bonaparte (Paris, 1902-1903); *F. Rocquain, Etat de France au 18 Brumaire (Paris, 1874); Bonaparte à St Cloud(anonymous) (Paris, 1814).
III. The Consulate and Empire (December 1799–April 1814). (a) Family and personal affairs: *F. Masson, Napoléon chez lui (2 vols., Paris, 1893-), *Napoléon et les femmes (3 vols., Paris, 1893-1902), Napoléon et son fils (Paris, 1904); M. F. A. de Lescure, Napoléon et sa famille (Paris, 1867); *Lettres de Napoléon d Joséphine (Paris, 1895); A. Guillois, Napoléon, l'homme, le politique, l'orateur (2 vols., Paris, 1889); *A. Lévy, Napoléon intime (Paris, 1893); Baron C. F. de Méneval, Napoléon et Marie Louise (3 vols., Paris, 1843-1845); Baron A. du Casse, Les Rois, frères de Napoléon (Paris, 1883); H. Welschinger, Le Divorce de Napoléon (Paris, 1889),
(b) Plots against Napoleon: E. Daudet, Histoire de l'émigration (3 vols., Paris, 1886-1890 and 1904-1905), and La Police et les chouans sous le consulat et l'empire (Paris, 1895); G. de Cadoudal, Georges Cadoudal et la Chouannerie (Paris, 1887); E. Guillon, Les Complots militaires sous le consulat et l'empire (Paris, 1894); *G. A. Thierry, Le Complot des Libelles, 1802 (Paris, 1903); Mémoires historiques sur la catastrophe du duc d'Enghien (Paris, 1824); H. Welschinger, Le duc d'Enghien (Paris, 1888); E. Hamel, Histoire des deux conspirations du Général Malet (Paris, 1873).
(c) Administration, Finance, Education. (For the Code Napoléon see Code.) *J. Pelet de la Lozère, Opinions de Napoléon sur divers sujets de politique et d'administration (Paris, 1833); Damas-Hinard, Napoléon, ses opinions et judgements sur les hommes et sur les choses (2 vols., Paris, 1838); L. Aucoc, Le Conseil d'état avant et depuis 1789 (Paris, 1876); E. Monnet, Histoire de l'administration provincial, department ale et communal en France (Paris, 1885); F. A. Aulard, Paris sous le Consulat (Paris, 1903, seq.); L. de Lanzac de Laborie, Paris sous Napoléon (Paris, 1905, seq.); A. Edmond-Blanc, Napoléon I., ses institutions civiles et administratives (Paris, 1880); H. Welschinger, La Censure sous le premier Empire (Paris, 1882); C. van Schoor, La Presse sous le consulat et l'empire (Brussels, 1899); M. C. Gaudin (Duc de Gaete), Notice historique sur les Jinances de la France, 1800-1814 (Paris, 1818); R. Stourm, Les Finances du consulat (Paris, 1902); J. B. G. Fabry, Le Génie de la réoolution considéré dans l'education (3 vols., Paris, 1817–1818); F. Guizot, Essai sur l'histoire et l'état actuel de l'instruction publique (Paris, 1816); C. Schmidt, La Réforme de l' Université impériaie en 1811 (Paris, 1905); The memoirs of Chaptal, Méneval, Mollien, Ouvrard and Pasquier deal largely with these subjects. Those of Bourrienne and Fouché are of doubtful authority; the latter are certainly not genuine.
(d) Diplomacy and General Policy: Besides the works named under A, the following may be named as more especially applicable to this section: A. Lefebvre, Histoire des cabinets de l'Europe pendant le consulat et l'empire (3 vols., Paris, 1845–1847); C. Auriol, La France, l'Angleterre, et Napoléon, 1803-1806 (Paris, 1905); B. Bailleu, Preussen und Frankreich von 1795-1807; Diplomatische Corregondenzen (2 vols., Leipzig, 1881-1887); Comte D. de Barral, Etude sur l'histoire diplomatique de l'Europe (2nd part), 1789–1815, vol. i. (Paris, 1885); O. Browning, England and Napoleon in 1803 (London, 1887); H. M. Bowman, Preliminary Stages of the Peace of Amiens (Toronto,1900); *Coquelle, Napoléon et l'Angleterre, 1803-1815 (Paris, 1904); A. Vandal, Napoléon et Alexandre Ier (3 vols., Paris, 1891–1893); W. Oncken, Oesterreich und Preussen im Befreiungskriege (2 vols., Berlin, 1876); H. A. L. Fisher, Napoleonic Statesmanship: Germany (Oxford, 1903); A. Rambaud, La Domination française en Allemagne (2 vols., Paris, 1873-1874); G. Roloff, Die Kolonialpolitik Napoleons I. (Munich, 1899) and Politik und Kriegführung während des Feldzuges von 1814 (Berlin, 1891); A. Fournier, Der Congress von Châtillon (Vienna and Prague, 1900); P. Gruyer, Napoléon, roi de I'Ile d'Elbe (Paris, 1906); *H. Houssaye, 1815 (3 vols., Paris, 1898-1905); C. M. Talleyrand (Prince de Benevento), Lettres inédites à Napoléon, 1800-1809 (Paris, 1889).
IV. Closing Years (from the second abdication, June 22nd 1815, to death). Captain F. L. Maitland, Narrative of the Surrender of Bonaparte (London, 1826; new ed., 1904); Sir T. Ussher, Napoleon's Last Voyages (London, 1895; new ed., 1906); G. Gourgaud, Sainte-Hélène: Journal inédite de 1815 d 1818 (2 vols., Paris, 1899); Marquis C. J. de Montholon, Récits de la captivity de l'empereur Napoléon à Ste Hélène (2 vols., Paris, 1847); Comte E. P. D. de Las Cases, Mémorial de Ste Hélène (4 vols., London and Paris, 1823); Lady Malcolm, A Diary of St Helena (London, 1899); W. Forsyth, History of the Captivity of Napoleon at St Helena (3 vols., London 1853); R. C. Seaton, Napoleon's Captivity in Relation to Sir Hudson Lowe (London, 1903); Basil Jackson, Notes and Reminiscences of a Staff' Officer (London, 1903); Earl of Rosebery, Napoleon: the Last Phase (1900); J. H. Rose, Napoleonic Studies (London, 1904).
Many of the works relating to Napoleon's detention at St Helena are perversions of the truth, e.g. O'Meara's A. Voice from St Helena (London. 1822). The works of Las Cases and Montholon should also be read with great caution. The same remark applies to Mrs L. A. Abell's Recollections of the Emperor Napoleon (London, 1844), W. Warden's Letters written on Board H.M.S. “Northumberland" (London, 1816) and J. Stokoe's With Napoleon at St Helena (Eng. ed., London, 1902). Santini's Appeal to the British Nation (London, 1817) and the Manuscrit venu de Ste Hélène d'une manière inconnue (London, 1817) are forgeries.