These were all brave words, but the Emperor was in the last stage of exasperation. The letters he wrote at the time betray something of the unutterable pain he felt. No one but himself could really know the difference to him: his glory was smirched, his Oriental plans and his scheme for peace with England were indefinitely postponed, his impatient ally was again put off, while Austria and Prussia were encouraged to revolt. Was the vast structure he had so laboriously erected now to fall in one crash at his feet? The news of Junot's surrender was further embittered by the receipt of information that the Spanish troops under General La Romana, which had slyly been posted first in Hamburg, and then sent to Denmark as Bernadotte's advance-guard, had at last revolted, and were embarking on English ships for home in order to join the movement of national redemption. By this disaster the demonstration against Sweden promised to the Czar was made impossible. This accumulation of misfortunes—defeat before Valencia, defeat before Saragossa, disaster and surrender at Baylen, disaster and disgrace at Vimeiro, retreat from Madrid, desertion of the Duero as a line of defense, exchange of the offensive for a weak defensive, and loss of the whole Iberian peninsula except the strip behind the Ebro—all this was shameful and hard to bear. Nevertheless, under favorable conditions the situation might have been retrieved. The conditions, however, were most unfavorable. The example and success of Spain were daily giving new comfort to Napoleon's enemies both in France and abroad.
For the present, however, France might be trusted. The people as a whole had become imperial to the core. The republicans and royalists were so diminished in numbers, and so silenced by the censorship, that they were virtually impotent. The real ability of the country was no longer in retreat, but in the public service; the administration, both financial and judicial, had every appearance of solidity, and the industrial conditions were so steadily improving that the most enterprising and intelligent merchants began to have faith in the ultimate success of the Continental System as a means of securing a European monopoly to French manufactures and commerce. The perfect centralization of France kept the provinces in such close touch with Paris that there was no open expression of discontent in any part of the country. The people were not well informed as to the facts, and they were slow to apprehend the significance of what they learned. By this time the Emperor was France, and whatever he did must be well done. The gradual infusion of the military spirit into the masses had made them passive and obedient. There had been, they knew, some unpleasant troubles beyond the Pyrenees, but the season was not over, and before winter the Emperor's discipline would no doubt be successful. The grand army now pouring out of Germany across France into Spain evidently meant serious business, but there could be no doubt of the result.
The court remained solemn and dull in its weary round of ceremony. The moving spirit was now occupied elsewhere, and his constant absent-mindedness made the whole structure meaningless; for it was an open secret that the soft grace and beseeching eyes, the graceful and willowy form, the exquisite taste and winning ways of Josephine would avail her no longer. The little nephew, Hortense's son and Napoleon's darling, his intended heir, was dead; Joseph had only daughters, and there being no male successor to the throne, reasons of state made a divorce inevitable. The deference of others to the Empress and her condescension to them were but a mockery, the reality of her power having vanished. In this vain show the Emperor moved more dark and mysterious than ever. It was his will that nothing should be changed, and every courtier played his part as well as possible, the two leading actors playing theirs superbly. There was an outward display of confidence and kindness between them, which sometimes may have been real; there were quarrels, explanations, and reconciliations—a momentary return at times to old affection: but the resultant of the conflicting forces was such as to destroy conjugal trust and create general disquietude.
[Footnote 25: Masson: Josephine repudiee. Welschinger, La divorce de Napoleon.]
When Napoleon looked abroad he saw nothing to reassure him, and everything to create alarm. In Prussia there was a regeneration such as was comparable only to a new birth. The old military monarchy, under which the land had been repressed like an armed camp by its sovereigns, was gone forever. The Tugendbund, that "band of virtue" already mentioned, had ramified to the farthest borders; partizan warfare was abandoned; piety, dignity, purity, courage, and the power of organization were filling the land. The presence of the French could not quench the new spirit, but instead it added fuel to the flames of national hatred. Patriotic conventicles and every other form of secret meeting were held. Scharnhorst went steadily on with the training and reform of the army, while Stein, with a noble devotion, and under an unsympathetic master, was working to perfect his new administrative system. The churches were filled, and the hearers understood every allusion in the glowing sermons addressed to them by a devoted and patriotic clergy; schools, colleges, and universities swarmed with students, whose youthful zeal found every encouragement in the instruction of their teachers, which combined two qualities not always found united in teaching, being at the same time thoroughly scientific and highly stimulating.
At last, in August, Napoleon, who had looked and listened with deep interest, read with his own eyes in one of Stein's intercepted letters that the minister and his colleagues were aiming at a national uprising, not of Prussia alone, but of all Germany. The illustrious statesman, having emancipated the Prussian people, and having seen the reform of the whole political organism in that great land, was proceeding to extend his beneficent influence throughout all Germany. In September Napoleon demanded Stein's dismissal, and enforced the demand by sequestrating Frederick William's Westphalian estates, threatening at the same time to continue the French occupation of Prussia indefinitely. There was apparently no alternative, for the country, although rejuvenated, had no allies, and could not fight alone. Stein, therefore, resigned after an eventful ministry of about a year, in which he had prepared the way for every one of the changes which ultimately reconstructed Prussia.
The two movements which in Spain and Germany menaced Napoleon's prestige were national; there were two others, which, if not that, may, by a stretch of definition, be called at least dynastic. The first was a revolution in Constantinople. The Sultan Mustapha IV had been from the beginning a feeble creature of the soldiers, who, after overthrowing Selim, had set him on the throne. Before long he became the contemptible tool of an irresponsible robber gang known as the "yamacks," who, under the guise of militia, held the Turkish capital in terror. The situation in Constantinople had finally grown unendurable even to the Turks, and the Pasha of Rustchuk appeared at the gates of the city to restore Selim III, who was still a captive in the Seraglio. When the doors of that sacred inclosure were forced open, the first object seen was the body of the murdered sovereign, killed by Mustapha in the belief that he himself was now the sole available survivor of Othman's line. But the soldiers ransacked the palace, and dragged from his concealment the young prince Mahmud, second of the name, and destined to be a great reformer. Him they proclaimed Sultan and set upon the throne, appointing their leader grand vizir. The new government was devoted to reform, contemptuous of French influence, and determined to repress the evils which seemed to have ruined its predecessor. This severity was more than the licentious capital would endure. At once every element of discontent burst forth again,—the janizaries, the Ulema, or doctors of the sacred law, and the people,—some mistrusting one thing, others another, all alike unwilling to obey any master but their own will. Disintegration of what little administrative organization there still was, seemed imminent. The Turkish generals on the Danube began to make light of the armistice or truce of Slobozia, Napoleon's one reliance in his Eastern designs; they actually set in motion their troops, and prepared to take the offensive against Russia. This was in the hope that, before asking a separate peace from the Czar or returning to seize the leadership at Constantinople, they might secure some military prestige as a working capital. The whole outlook seemed to foretell the extinction of French influence with the Porte and a crash in the Orient before Napoleon was ready to take advantage of it.
But the events of Bayonne had been productive of greater alarm to the house of Austria than to any other power. In the humiliation of the Hohenzollerns, Napoleon had the sanction of conquest, though, in view of Prussia's rising strength, it was now commonly said that he had done too much or too little. While in weakening that nation he had rudely lopped the strength of an old French ally, yet he had not destroyed it, and he had exercised what all Europe still admitted to be a right—that of superior force. Austria, on the other hand, had been an old and inveterate rival of France in the race for territorial extension. Napoleon's treatment of her after Austerlitz had been bitter, but the Hapsburgs could not plead former friendship. Here, however, was a new development in Napoleonic ambition. The successive announcements that minor ruling dynasties had ceased to reign had all been made with the partial justification of either conquest or general expediency, or, as in most cases, of both. The Spanish Bourbons had been the Emperor's most obsequious and useful allies, obeying his behests without a question: for their degradation there was no plea either of expediency or of a right secured by conquest. The extinction of what still ranked as a great royal house was accomplished by chicane, was due to a boundless ambition, and was rendered utterly abhorrent to all divine-right dynasties by the specious pretext of reform under which it was accomplished. This gave Francis food for reflection.
In the territorial expansion of Rome her victims were first conquered, then made dependent allies, then at last destroyed, and their lands turned into Roman provinces. It appeared as if this, too, were, in general, Napoleon's policy; but in some cases he showed himself quite willing to dispense with any intermediary stage and marched direct to his goal. Austria, already irritated by the disposition made of Etruria and by the treatment of the Pope, could endure the suspense as to her own fate no longer. Her new military system was complete, her armies were reorganized and reequipped, her administration was well ordered, her generals and statesmen were alike confident. The Emperor of the French had shown quite the same impatience with Austria in July as with Prussia in September, admonishing both to observe the Continental System with strictness; but his warning produced no effect at Vienna. On the contrary, the Viennese newspapers took a belligerent tone, and called for war; English goods poured in through the harbor of Triest; communications between the ministry at London and the cabinet at Vienna became more frequent and regular; the nation supported its monarch and assumed a warlike attitude. The disasters in Spain tied Napoleon's hands, and he did nothing in a military way except to call Davout from Poland into Silesia, and to strengthen Mortier in Franconia.
With the inconsistency of the highest greatness, Napoleon changed his whole political campaign in the twinkling of an eye, as he so often did his military ones. During the long months since the interview at Tilsit, Alexander had been kept in an agony of uncertainty, deprived of real French cooeperation in regard either to Sweden or to Turkey, and actually menaced by the continued occupation of Prussia and the fortification of the strategic points in the duchy of Warsaw. Caulaincourt had found his mission of dissimulation and procrastination most difficult, partly by reason of Pozzo di Borgo's influence, partly because the conquest of Muscovite society was a task hitherto unknown to French arts, and experience had to be dearly bought. In this latter work his success was very moderate, but he became unconsciously an intimate friend and adviser of the Czar. This displeased Napoleon, who promptly recalled him to his senses by a warning that he must not forget that he was a Frenchman. Caulaincourt bravely repelled the insinuation, but the correspondence of Napoleon both with him and with the Czar became so voluminous that the Emperor was virtually his own ambassador.
The contents of these letters were partly personal and friendly; partly promissory, in preparation for what was about to be done at Bayonne; partly preliminary to the second interview between the two emperors, which had been mentioned at Tilsit and often discussed since then. But so far there was not the slightest change of front, no substantial fulfilment of the vague promises, no cooeperation; the world was still under the system of Tilsit in the union of Russia and France—a union so far represented by the will of Napoleon. The events at Bayonne deeply affected Alexander. His ally knew they would, and on July tenth he wrote a long letter to St. Petersburg, lamely justifying his conduct. But, after all, the Czar cared little for ancient European dynasties, and, recovering from the first shock, he began to make sport of a king "who had nothing further to live for than his Louise and his Emmanuel," and then took a firm stand in approval of his ally's course. The French and Russian ministers had now completed their scheme for the partition of Turkey, and the Czar finally and unconditionally assented to the second meeting with the Emperor.
But before the details of the all-important interview could be arranged there was much to be done; in particular, Austria must be held in check. An English vessel had arrived at Triest with a deputation of Spanish insurgents who offered the throne of their country to the Archduke Charles. The armaments of Francis grew stronger day by day. No one could hold the Hapsburg empire in check except the Czar. Even amid the exhausting labors of Bayonne, Napoleon remembered this, and thought of the East, reorganizing his fleet in preparation for cooeperation with that of Russia, and commanding reports to be made on the geography and military history of Persia. After the loss of Baylen, of which he learned in the first days of August, his ingenuity did not desert him, in spite of his heavy heart. A swift courier was despatched on the fifth, with a letter dated back to July twenty-first, and written as if in ignorance of events in Spain. He was enjoined to outrun the ordinary news-carriers, in order that, reaching St. Petersburg before them, he might present as an offering of friendship to Alexander the promise of a virtual evacuation of Prussia—even, in certain contingencies, of Warsaw. Twenty-four hours later another messenger was despatched, conveying the bad news in the mildest form, and expressing as the Emperor's greatest concern a hope that the Russian squadron which had been sent to Lisbon would escape, as he had reassuring news from its commander. It mattered not to him that this was untrue; the end was gained, and the real significance of Baylen was thereby largely concealed from the Czar, or at least the impression made on him by the news was weakened.
Waiting for these communications to produce their effect, the Emperor forwarded a formal remonstrance to Vienna, in his own name, against Austria's warlike attitude, and two weeks later categorically demanded a similar step from the Czar, opening out once more the vista of indefinite aggrandizement for Russia in the East if only the European conflagration were not rekindled. The Czar was charmed by the promises of Napoleon, but when it came to a menacing remonstrance with Austria he hesitated. The anti-French party in Russia were now repeating, like parrots, first, Spain is annihilated, then Austria, then we ourselves. Moreover, as Alexander himself felt, arrangements like those of Tilsit are but too easily overset by unforeseen circumstances, and in such an event what would Europe be without the Hapsburgs? In the end a feeble hint, backed up by a weak menace, was sent to Vienna. Peace, wrote the Czar, is the best policy for Austria. "May not the peace of Tilsit, which I made, carry some obligations with it?" The warning produced a momentary impression in the city on the Danube.
[Footnote 26: See Vandal, Vol. I, Chapitre Preliminaire.]
In this short interval every preparation was hastened for the interview which had now become indispensable to both parties. Napoleon had only one object—to draw the alliance closer in the eyes of all Europe for the conservation of his prestige. Alexander had several—the mitigation of Prussia's bondage, the successful occupation of Finland, and, what was the real bond of the alliance, the partition of Turkey. This was substantially what the Czar had been promised at Tilsit, but he had not yet obtained a single item of the list then agreed upon. In spite of Caulaincourt's caresses and Napoleon's cajoling, he was now in a determined humor, and meant to demand the fulfilment of his ally's engagement, not from good will, but from necessity. Talleyrand, wearied to distraction by the dull life of Valencay and the charge of the Spanish princes, had determined to regain his diplomatic power, and now began, by the agency of his many devoted friends in Paris, an extensive course of preparation for a return to public life and to influence. Through semi-official channels the Czar was informed that France, drunk with victory and conquest, now looked to his wisdom for protection from the further ambitions of her fiery ruler. Before long Alexander's own agents began to confirm this statement. The French nation, at least the reasonable portion of it, they said, was weary of Napoleon's imperial policy. If this were true, Spain and Austria might be used to hold France in check while Russia should work her will on the Danube. No matter now if her ally were faithless: compliance could be forced from his weakness.
This disposition had been partly foreseen by Napoleon; he was informed by Caulaincourt how steadily it was crystallizing into a fixed determination. To the observer the moment seemed critical, but the great adventurer was still able to ride the storm. Whence the impulse came is not easily determined, but he turned to Talleyrand as an agent likely to be useful in such complications. The intriguer came forward promptly, and, receiving the Caulaincourt despatches, together with a verbal explanation from the Emperor, was quickly in readiness for the duty of counselor, to which he was called. Napoleon himself assumed a lofty tone. On August fifteenth he held a levee at St. Cloud to which all the representatives of foreign powers were summoned; those of Russia and Austria stood near together. Again, as on the famous occasion before the rupture of the peace of Amiens, he uttered a public allocution in the form of a conversation; this time it was with Metternich, the Austrian ambassador, and he was calmer and more courtly. Reproaching the Emperor of Austria with ingratitude, he announced his political policy; to wit, that Russia would hold Austria in check, while he and Alexander divided the East between them without reference to Francis, unless the latter should disarm and recognize Joseph as king of Spain. Tolstoi remained frigid throughout the long harangue. It was he who had declared and repeated that eventually Napoleon, having humbled Austria, would attack Russia. A fortnight earlier, in an interview with the stern old Russian, the Emperor had asseverated the contrary, but to no effect: Tolstoi had shown no symptoms of faith or conviction. The address to Metternich was, therefore, a second string to Napoleon's bow in case he should fail at Erfurt to win Alexander. His general mien was undaunted and his tone loftier than ever. The tenor of his private conversation with Metternich and others was that he would rest content with what he had. Spain would no longer be a danger in the rear, Austria and Russia would be his allies, sharing in the mastery of the world, and England, the irreconcilable enemy of them all, would be finally reduced to ignominious surrender by the loss of her means of subsistence.
NAPOLEON AND ALEXANDER AT ERFURT
[Footnote 27: See Fischer: Goethe und Napoleon. Pingaud: Bernadotte, Napoleon et les Bourbons. Rose: Napoleonic Studies. Bernhardi: Geschichte Russlands und der europaeischen Politik im XIX^ten Jahrhundert. Schilder: The Emperor Alexander I, his Life and Reign.]
Napoleon's Imperial Hospitality — The Interviews of Napoleon and Goethe — Meeting of Napoleon and Wieland — Their Conversation — The Gains of Russia — Dangerous Elements in the Dual League — Austria Menaced — Napoleon's Marital Relations — Fouche's Machinations for the Divorce of Josephine — Napoleon's Proposal for a Russian Princess.
The second meeting of the two most powerful monarchs then living occurred at Erfurt on September twenty-seventh, and their deliberations lasted eighteen days. It was Napoleon's greatest diplomatic engagement, and he was the victor. The town was his, and he was, of course, the host. Such splendid hospitality as he lavished would have touched a harder heart than Alexander's. The luxury and military display were barbaric on the one hand, while, on the other, Germany's greatest scholars and men of letters were summoned to flatter the Czar's intellectual pretensions. There was the same exhibition, too, of frank personal confidence and of imperial magnanimity as at Tilsit. Talleyrand and the Russian chancellor, Rumianzoff, held protracted conferences, the former, as he confesses in his memoirs, plotting against his master's interests, in order to see that Austria should suffer no harm. Day after day Napoleon and Alexander paced the floor of the great room in the palace which had been fitted as an office, examining details and bringing matters to a conclusion. There was intoxication in the very air. The kings of Bavaria, Wuertemberg, and Westphalia were present with their consorts and attendant courtiers; so, too, were the Prince Primate and the minor rulers of Germany. The drawing-rooms, streets, and theaters of Erfurt were filled with the splendors of their gorgeous apparel and that of their bedizened attendants. On October fourth the "Oedipe" of Voltaire was given at the playhouse before the assembled courts. At the words, "A great man's friendship is a boon from the gods," Alexander rose, and, grasping Napoleon's hand, stood for a moment in an attitude that typified a renewed alliance. The house thundered with applause.
More memorable still was the appearance on the scene of Germany's most transcendent genius, who came to lay the homage of his intellect at the feet of him whom he considered at the moment, and long after, not only to be the greatest power, but the greatest idealist, in the world. Goethe and Napoleon met twice—once in Erfurt, once in Weimar. On both occasions it was the man of arms who sought out the man of letters—par nobile fratrum. They talked of Werther and his sorrows; the Emperor appreciatively, and with a knowledge of detail. It is said that the latter took exception to some one passage in particular; which one is not known. The poet had probably just risen from penning the "Elective Affinities," and seemed to recognize his dazzling host as a creature familiar with such ties, transcending the bounds of nations, the trammels of commonplace human limitations, the confines of ordinary thought and speech. "A great man can be recognized only by his peers," is one of Goethe's own sentences. What to the poet were common men and the chains of political bondage, what were nations and their ambitions, in comparison with a society where mind and morals had the glorious license of Olympians and could follow the unobstructed paths of inclination in realms controlled only by fancy! Napoleon's greeting was laconic, "Vous etes un homme." This flattered Goethe, who called it the inverse "ecce homo," and felt its allusion to his citizenship, not in Germany, but in the world. The nineteenth-century Caesar then urged the great writer to carry out an already-formed design and compose a drama on the life of his own great prototype; such a work, he was sure, would be worthier of the theme than Voltaire's effort. At St. Cloud Napoleon had once paid a glowing eulogy to the power of tragic dramas, and, speaking of Corneille, declared that to his inspiration the French nation owed many of its finest impulses and its most brilliant deeds. "If he were here, I would make him a prince." To Goethe he now said that in art, as in politics, there should be rule and ordered beauty; apropos of the drama imitated from Shakspere, which mingles tragedy and comedy, the terrible with the burlesque, he expressed surprise that a great mind like Goethe's did not like clean-cut models—"N'aime pas les genres tranches." These two judgments, taken together, give a valuable picture of Napoleon's mind.
Amid the brilliant scenes arranged for the entertainment of Napoleon in the stately little town of Weimar, when surrounded by that German aristocracy which he had humbled, he summoned to his presence the man who in the two periods of his career personified first the strength and then the weakness of the German folk—the aged Wieland. Indeed, the Emperor's conversation throughout that excursion to Weimar was chiefly of learning, as if he bowed before German knowledge, German science, German letters. He had studied much, he said, in the barracks, "when I was a young lieutenant of artillery," and his cold, piercing glance seemed to search the very hearts of the proud princes and dukes who crowded around and literally stood at his chair in domestic service. It was at the ball given by the Grand Duchess that he asked for Wieland. During the evening this gentle and now temperate old man had been present while the actors of the French comedy, brought among other decorative trappings from Paris, had declaimed the "Death of Caesar" from the stage of the ducal theater; he had listened to Talma's significant utterance of the words, "Rule without violence over a conquered universe," and then, wearied by the excitement of these strange experiences, had withdrawn from further revelry. The Grand Duchess of Weimar, anxious to gratify her great guest, sent her carriage to fetch the author of "Oberon"; and rather than detain the illustrious dictator, the poet started as he was, in his ordinary garments, with unpowdered hair, wearing his little skull-cap and felt shoes. The meeting was therefore most dramatic. The dancing almost ceased when Napoleon advanced to meet his visitor, for the company crowded in a wide circle to look on and catch what they might hear. But the conversation was in a low tone.
Wieland would never tell or write what was said, and we know only enough to feel that the great soldier's words were worthy both of his genius and of the occasion. He had treated the German nobility with haughtiness; this plain scholar he treated as an equal. Speaking of the ancients, and defending the Caesars against Tacitus, he discussed the rise of Christianity and emphasized the value of all religions in conserving morals. The poet replied, when needful, in broken French, but soon felt at his ease, for the Emperor seemed disposed to engross the conversation, and in the manner of the times proposed questions. "Which of your works do you prefer?" Wieland disclaimed merit for any, but, under urgency, confessed that he liked best his "Agathon" and "Oberon." Then Napoleon asked the stock query which he so often put to scholars and men of letters: "Which has been the happiest age of humanity?" "Impossible to give a reply," said the poet; "good and evil, virtue and vice, continually alternate; philosophy must emphasize the good and make the evil tolerable." "Admirable! admirable!" said Napoleon; "it is not just to paint everything dark, like Tacitus. He is certainly a skilful artist, a bold, seductive colorist, but above all he aims at effect. History wants no illusions; it should illuminate and instruct, not merely give descriptions and narratives which impress us. Tacitus did not sufficiently develop the causes and inner springs of events. He did not sufficiently study the mystery of facts and thoughts, did not sufficiently investigate and scrutinize their connection, to give posterity a just and impartial opinion. History, as I understand it, should know how to catch men and peoples as they would appear in the midst of their epoch. It should take account of external circumstances which would necessarily exercise an important influence on their actions, and clearly see within what limits that influence wrought. The Roman emperors were not so bad as Tacitus describes them. Therefore I am forced to prefer Montesquieu; he is more just, and his criticism is closer to the truth." In discussing Christianity Napoleon said: "Philosophers seek in vain a better doctrine than one which has reconciled man with himself, and has guaranteed the peace and public order of peoples, as well as the happiness and hope of individuals." The talk lasted for two hours, and the interview ended by a movement, not of Napoleon, but of Wieland himself, who seemed weary with standing. "Go, go," said the Emperor, gently. "Good-night."
Such were the scenes which unrolled themselves before the eyes of Europe. Festival succeeded festival—plays, processions, parades, hunts, balls, and dinners. Onlookers sent broadcast to every quarter accounts of the millennial harmony which presided over all. Emperors, kings, princes, nobles, marshals, generals, historians, scholars, poets, players, diplomatists,—the most brilliant actors on the world's great stage,—were brought together at Erfurt in a group not often equaled. The stars of Russian decorations, the ribbons of the Legion of Honor, glittered for the first time on breasts like those of Goethe and Wieland, which were not accustomed to such distinctions. The dual league of emperors appeared to the world stronger and more illustrious than before. In a sense this was true, for at the close Alexander seemed to have obtained much, if not all, that he had demanded. The two empires were still to act in unity for the reestablishment of a general peace on terms which would guarantee to France her conquests made in the south since Tilsit, and to Russia what she had secured in the east and north. Things were looking brighter for the Czar in Finland, and of the Eastern acquisitions which he so ardently desired, Wallachia and Moldavia were already within his grasp. In other words, England was to be forced into acknowledging the new order of things established by France in Spain, and into acquiescing in Russia's seizure of Finland, Wallachia, and Moldavia. If Austria should ally herself with the Turks to defeat Russia's aims, France would intervene for her ally, and, reciprocally, Russia would do the same in case the cabinet of Vienna should declare war against France. In any case, Francis was to be compelled to recognize the new kings of Spain and Naples under the virtual compulsion of a united summons by Russia and France. If England should again prove intractable, the two monarchs would meet a third time, and within a year, to concert further measures. These were very substantial gains for Russia, and for the time being the Franco-Russian alliance was, as it appeared to the world, mightier and firmer than it had been.
But, on the other hand, it contained now what was wanting before—active germs of dissolution. In the first place, Alexander and his ministers had shown themselves so firm that more than once there had been hot words even between the emperors, and the memories of these were a source of the increased suspicions which Alexander carried back to the Neva. The Czar had, moreover, been compelled to yield a very important point. The treaty, as a whole, was to remain secret for at least ten years. He might occupy and consider as his own the two coveted provinces, but even they were not to be openly annexed until England's answer was received. An Anglo-Turkish alliance, Napoleon reasoned, would be disastrous, while a Russo-Turkish alliance, in case of Russian victory, would give the ministers at St. James's too much insight into the agreement of Erfurt, and perhaps bring on some such calamity as the seizure of the Danish fleet which the suspicions entertained at London concerning Tilsit had precipitated. The ultimate aim of the treaty was to be indefinitely concealed. Another dangerous element in the affairs of Erfurt was that contained in the additional provocation given to Prussia and Austria. It is generally believed that Napoleon urged Alexander to send troops and occupy not only Warsaw, but parts of both Austria and Prussia. This would embroil him with his neighbors, and make central Europe secure while France was fighting Spain. If this be true, it explains two facts. Prussia in her despair had sent one agent after another to Paris in order to secure some mitigation of Napoleon's demands. The last had been Prince William, the King's brother, who early in September had agreed that his country should pay one hundred and forty millions of francs, surrender to France the forts on the Oder, and reduce her army to forty-two thousand men, in return for the withdrawal of Napoleon's troops and a reduction of the indemnity by fourteen and a half millions of francs. On October ninth, three weeks afterward, the prince was invited by Napoleon to hunt hares on the battle-field of Jena! This incident, taken in connection with the demand for Stein's dismissal, seemed very significant of Napoleon's attitude toward Prussia.
General Vincent had been despatched from Vienna nominally to explain away at Erfurt the Austrian armaments; in reality, to observe what was going on. Although he found no difficulty in winning the versatile Talleyrand to his cause, he was treated with scant courtesy by Napoleon, and sent back with a letter from him to Francis containing bitter reproaches and menaces. Stein, after his withdrawal, found, like Hardenberg, a refuge in Vienna. There he formed one of an influential coterie composed of Alexander's envoy, Pozzo di Borgo, and others of like mind, who were steadily consolidating the war sentiment. The activity of these men explained a phrase in the letter to Francis,—"The last rising in mass would infallibly have brought on war if I could have supposed that that levy and those preparations had been arranged with Russia,"—which hinted at Russia's possible interest in the military preparations; and one day at Erfurt, as Napoleon's grenadiers were marching by, the Czar had to listen while their Emperor vaunted the courage they had displayed at Pultusk and Friedland. Apropos of Napoleon's lack of delicacy, it is said that once in the Tuileries he significantly addressed one of his court ladies, not renowned for purity, with the words, "You are fond of men, I understand." "Yes; when they are polite," was the rejoinder. At Erfurt Talleyrand gave the same explanation of his master's vagaries. "We French are more civilized than our monarch," he said to Montgelas, the Bavarian minister of state; "his is only the civilization of Roman history."
But there was another incident at Erfurt more pregnant of ultimate changes than any of these. Thanks to Fouche's Mephistophelian insinuations, and the details which leaked out concerning the quarrels between Queen Hortense, representing her mother, and the Grand Duchess of Berg, representing the Bonapartes, the subject of Napoleon's divorce had become common talk. The new position at Tilsit as the recognized head of Europe's kingly hierarchy seems as early as that to have tempted the Emperor to a course distasteful to the man; but what occurred there is uncertain, and did not commit him. At Fontainebleau, the following autumn, his harsh and distant treatment of Josephine gave color to the suspicion that he was again under temptation. Whom would he choose? asked the gossips. Sometime during the year a list of marriageable princesses was prepared by the Emperor's orders. It included Maria Louisa of Austria, aged sixteen; Maria Amelia, niece of the King of Saxony; and the two sisters of the Czar, the younger of whom was not quite thirteen. The general opinion seemed to fix on one or the other of the Czar's unmarried sisters. This rumor soon reached St. Petersburg, and the scandal-mongers of that capital promptly designated the Grand Duchess Catherine, for she was of marriageable age, and they said she was learning French country dances. Alexander was in consternation; the Russian party would be aghast if he should consent, while a refusal might endanger the alliance on which hung all his ambitions.
Some months previously, Fouche, aware of the conflict in Napoleon's mind, had actually suggested to the Empress, and probably with her husband's knowledge, that she should take the initiative. In reply she ran with disheveled hair and streaming eyes to ask an explanation from her lord in person. He consoled her with many protestations, but he left for Italy without having entirely reassured her. On his return from Milan he roundly abused his minister of police, and forbade his continued plotting. Nevertheless, the daring functionary persistently disobeyed, and by the month of March, 1808, the air of Paris was thick with embittered and ardent pleas on one side or the other. One evening the court was to attend a gala performance to be given in the Tuileries. Their Majesties did not appear. Napoleon, in fact, had not made ready; instead he had retired to his private apartments and had sent for Josephine. She entered her husband's chamber in full array of evening costume, to find him in bed, pale, worn, and weary. At once he began the recital of his perplexities, pouring out, as it were, his whole heart, and, though not uttering the request, he seemed as if beseeching in dumb despair the decisive word from her. The Empress, however, was inflexible. Was he, he said in fierce disappointment, to be compelled to adopt his bastard children? Surprised and touched by her signs of assent, the Emperor vowed never to desert her, and there matters had remained.
At Erfurt the same vacillation overmastered Napoleon as that with which he had been tormented since Tilsit. By his command Talleyrand and Caulaincourt were to drop the remark before Alexander that the matter of the divorce was a European question; he wished to test, he said, the temper of his ally. Both ministers suggested that a contemplated match between the daughter of Paul I and the King of Sweden had fallen through because of the confessional difficulties, the latter being a Protestant, the former of the Greek Church. The Emperor shrugged his shoulders in displeasure, and they discharged their task. Apparently the Czar was not shocked, for, opening the subject himself, he told Napoleon that his best friends looked with anxiety to see him consolidate his work and his dynasty by a second marriage. This of course led to a confidential talk, in which the possibility of a matrimonial as well as a political alliance was mentioned. If Napoleon had demanded on the spot the hand of the Czar's marriageable sister, Catherine, it is doubtful if Alexander would have refused. But the imperial host still vacillated, for he had not taken the irrevocable step; a hesitating mention was made of his guest's younger sister, Anne, who was still a child, as an eventual possibility, and nothing more was said.
To stamp the success of the meeting, a joint letter was sent to George III, asking for peace on the principle of "uti possidetis." The two monarchs parted with every manifestation of personal devotion; but on Alexander's return to his capital his elder sister was married with indecent haste to the Duke of Oldenburg.
THE FAILURE OF THE SPANISH CAMPAIGN
[Footnote 28: See Jomini: Napoleon, III. Cevallos: Exposicion de los hechos y maquinaciones que han preparado la usurpation de la corona de Espana, y los medios que el emperador de los franzeses ha puesto en obra para realizarla. Suchet: Memoires sur ses campagnes en Espagne, 1808-1814. Rocca: Memoirs, 1808-1812. Also Memoirs of Godoy, Marbot, Massena, and Murat.]
The Grand Army in France — Their Entrance to Spain — The Opposing Forces — Napoleon's Strategic Plan — French Victories — Sir John Moore — The British and the Spaniards — Napoleon's Advance to Madrid — His Return Northward — Moore's Retreat — Napoleon at Paris — Death of Moore — The Napoleonic Constitution for Spain — Spanish Resistance — Joseph's Weakness — Establishment of the New Monarchy.
While Alexander was hastening the preparations for his sister's marriage, Napoleon was hurrying toward Spain, whither, too, the legions of the grand army, released by the evacuation of Prussia, had already been ordered. Baylen and Cintra must be retrieved at any cost. As the splendid array of soldiers passed through France they were received like men who had already conquered. The civil authorities spread banquets for them, compliments rained from the honeyed lips of chosen orators, poets sang sweet strains on the theme of their glories. This appeared a spontaneous outburst to the troops, and they marched with the elasticity of enthusiasm to their task. The curious may read to-day what the army could not know—that by Napoleon's personal decree the ministry of war had prepared every detail of that triumph, that the prefects acted under stringent orders, that three sets of warlike songs were written by commission in Paris, and forwarded one each to various points, so that, as the Emperor wrote, "the soldier may not hear the same thing twice." The success of the plan was complete, and the jubilations had every appearance of being genuine.
It was therefore not a tired and disheartened army which was gathered under the walls of Burgos early in November, but a body of picked and energetic veterans. Joseph, to be sure, had done little in the interval to take advantage of the foolish and careless tumult into which the joy of victory had thrown the Spanish people. In spite of the minute directions which had been received almost daily from Napoleon, Jourdan, who, having been the King's military adviser in Naples, had come in the same capacity to Spain, gradually lost every advantage of position. But the French boys who had fought in the summer were older and more experienced. The defensive attitude of their leader had given them the training of camp life, and had secured the recuperation of their strength. When, therefore, they were mingled with the newcomers, they might be considered almost as good soldiers as those who had arrived from Germany.
Moreover, the best generals were now in command: Victor was at Amurrio, Bessieres at Miranda on the Ebro, Moncey at Tafalla, Lefebvre near Bilbao, Ney at Logrono on the Ebro, Saint-Cyr at La Junquera, each with a corps, the smallest of twenty, the largest of thirty thousand men. Duhesme was shut up in Barcelona with ten thousand. There was a reserve of thirty-five thousand, the guard and cavalry, at Tolosa and Vitoria. Mortier's corps of twenty-four thousand was in the rear, and Junot, who had been better received in Paris than he expected, was coming up with nineteen thousand more. In all, there were about two hundred and forty thousand troops. Napoleon, reaching Bayonne on November third, had it announced that there were between three and four hundred thousand! With such a numerous and efficient fighting force, there was no need of exaggeration. To oppose it Blake had thirty-two thousand Spaniards at Valmaseda as the left wing of the Spanish army, and La Romana, having disembarked at Santander, soon arrived with eight thousand more; the center, twenty-five thousand strong, lay between Calahorra and Tudela under Castanos; the right seventeen thousand in number, was at and near Saragossa under Palafox. Before Barcelona was Vives, with twenty thousand, and near Burgos was a reserve of eighteen thousand under Belvedere—about a hundred and twenty thousand men, all told. In addition to this regular army, there was another irregular one of vast but vague dimensions, consisting of the entire nation.
Amid the exciting cares of Erfurt, Napoleon had still found time to study the military situation in Spain with minuteness, and he finally wrote to Joseph that he was coming in person to end the war by one skilful stroke. This hope was founded on the position held by Blake, advanced as it was beyond the Spanish line, and remote enough to be exposed. By a swift blow that general's army might therefore be cut off from its support, and annihilated; the center and right would successively meet the same fate. This plan had been jeopardized by the rashness of Lefebvre. On October thirty-first Blake had advanced from Durango for an attack. He had not only been routed, but in the heat of victory had been thrown far back to Valmaseda by the over-zealous French general. Although the Emperor had hoped for something quite different, having given orders to draw him forward toward Biscay and Navarre, he still did not abandon his strategic plan. The Spaniards had grown warlike in a day, but their victories had intoxicated them, and of military science they had only what they had learned by experience. There was no harmony among the generals—not even a preconcerted plan of operation. Accordingly the mass of the French army was directed toward Burgos to cut off and overwhelm Blake, while two corps under Soult were directed to intercept his retreat.
Burgos fell almost without opposition on November tenth; Blake was defeated the next day at Espinosa, and his scattered columns, turned but not captured by Soult, fled into Asturias, where they joined the force of La Romana. Without a moment's hesitation Ney was now despatched to the southeast in order to fall on Castanos's rear, while Lannes was to unite Moncey's corps with Lagrange's division and attack his front. The Spanish general was posted, as has been said, on the Ebro between Calahorra and Tudela. Before the twentieth the two moves had been executed and all was in readiness. The Spaniards fled before Lannes's attack on the twenty-third, but Ney with his cavalry remained inexplicably stationary, and did not cut off their retreat. They were therefore able to reassemble at Siguenza, while Palafox withdrew to Saragossa. This was seemingly an easy triumph for Napoleon's matchless strategy; his plan worked without real resistance, for his self-sufficient and ignorant enemy was scattered. Nevertheless, it will be observed that the execution was deficient and the result disproportionate. Neither Soult on the right nor Ney on the left showed such vigor or promptness as of old; there was no general surrender by the Spaniards, nor was any portion of their force annihilated. All that was gained—and for a common general it would have been much—was the ability to take another step.
The capitulation at Cintra, the affair at Bayonne, and the uprising of the Spaniards had combined to intensify rebellion in Portugal. She was now in full sympathy with Spain, and her people were scarcely less bitter or less active than the Spaniards. The easy terms secured by Junot had infuriated England, and not only Dalrymple and Burrard, but Wellesley himself, had been recalled to give an account of their conduct. The last was triumphantly vindicated; but while the others were not convicted of dereliction in duty, they were virtually withdrawn from active life. Sir John Moore was now in command of the English troops in the Peninsula. He had been reinforced with ten thousand men, and feeling sure of Portugal, had advanced into Spain. To Napoleon it seemed evident that his intention was to seize Madrid.
This was a mistake. The jubilant Spaniards, expecting to treat Napoleon as they had treated Dupont, had summoned the English to join them. Moore's orders were to assist them, and he prepared to obey, although he well knew what would be the consequences of Spanish hallucination. With one column he reached Salamanca on November thirteenth; the head of the other was at Astorga. His own division numbered only fifteen thousand men; the other was even smaller—ten thousand at the most. It was on that date that he learned of Napoleon's victories. Accordingly he halted to await the next move of the French. That move was against Madrid. Saragossa was besieged by Moncey, Lefebvre was thrown out to guard the right flank, and Ney to protect the left of the advancing columns; the march began on November twenty-eighth.
The first obstacle was the mountain-range of Guadarrama, which had to be crossed by the pass of Somosierra. This defile was found to be strongly guarded; there were not only infantry stationed on the heights, but artillery also, sixteen guns being below the turn of the pass in a most advantageous position. In the early morning of the thirtieth the French infantry began to climb the cliffs on each side of the narrow gorge, and as the mists were heavy their movements were successfully concealed until the Spanish bivouacs were reached surprised, and dislodged. Simultaneously a regiment of Polish light horse was launched against the battery. Their charge was magnificent, and the gunners could fire only a single round before they were overpowered. By the ordinary breakfast hour the pass was free. On the evening of December second the whole army—infantry, cavalry, and artillery—was united on the heights of Chamartin before the gates of Madrid. Two days later, after a gallant resistance by its little garrison and the undaunted inhabitants, the city yielded to the superior strength of Napoleon, and proposed terms. After some parley these were accepted, but under the circumstances the Emperor felt that mildness must be seasoned by menace. There were disorders in the streets, incident to the new occupation by the French, and that fact he used as a plea to declare the capitulation null and the Spanish officers prisoners of war. Their men had escaped the day before.
The military operations of the campaign were of course not yet ended, for Moore had not appeared in the valley of the Tagus, marching, as it was believed he would, toward Madrid. The first task was to find him. The different corps were sent out in all directions, but it was not until the middle of the month that the British position was even approximately ascertained. Napoleon was surprised by what he learned, and concluded that the English were about to abandon Portugal in order to secure Ferrol as a base of supplies. His first impulse was to march out himself and prevent such a disaster; on the twentieth half of his army set forth from Madrid, and on the twenty-second he led them through the snows of the Guadarrama.
Meanwhile Moore had made his decision. It was to attract the attention of the French, draw them toward him, and then slowly retreat northward, thus leaving Andalusia free from interference, and giving the southern Spaniards time to organize once more and equip themselves for a second Baylen. To this end he prepared on the twenty-third to attack Soult, but, learning of Napoleon's rapid advance, he promptly changed his plan and began his retreat; three days later he led his troops safely across the Esla. Then began a famous chase. The Emperor hurried forward, marching on foot through cold and snow to encourage his tired men. He was eager to strike a blow at his enemy's rear before they should get too far away, and Soult was urged onward to Mansilla, to flank the retreating column. On the twenty-ninth the French cavalry reached the Esla and were driven back by the English rear-guard, while Moore stopped only long enough to destroy the magazines at Benevento, and then hurried on to Astorga.
For two days longer the retreat continued. Moore, after many successful skirmishes, reached Corunna, where he hoped to embark. Soult crossed the Esla at last, and on New Year's day, 1809, the Emperor found himself at Astorga. He believed there was an English fleet at Ferrol; the weather was bitter, and his health was jeopardized by the severity of the cold; moreover, disquieting letters arrived, and he determined that this game was not worth the candle. Soult was intrusted with the pursuit, Ney was stationed at Astorga as a reserve, and Napoleon, putting himself at the head of his guards, set out for Valladolid, which he reached on the sixth. After a rest of ten days, new and more disquieting despatches made clear the urgent need for his presence in Paris, though his task in Spain was far from ended. On January twenty-third he reached the Tuileries.
The tale of Moore's splendid retreat, of his courage and calmness in loss and disaster, of his superb control of his men in their disappointment when Corunna was reached and no fleet was found there, of his brave fight with Soult on January sixteenth, of the mortal wound which struck him down in the hour of victory, and of the self-forgetfulness which enabled him in the agonies of death to make all necessary arrangements for his men to embark on the belated ships—all this is a brilliant page of English history, perhaps the finest record in its entire course of glory won in retreat, of patience, moderation, and success in the very hour of bitterest disappointment. It was the spirit and example of Moore which made possible the victories of Wellington.
The French interests in Spain were left in a most deplorable condition. The populace of Madrid had received the hero of the age with coldness, and shut themselves up in their houses to avoid forming a crowd or creating any enthusiasm in the streets. They would not even come out to see the gorgeous military parade which was arranged for their benefit. The gentry and nobility had been alike distant and cold. It was clear that Spain could neither be wheedled, cajoled, nor threatened into even passive acquiescence in the new conquest. It was essential, therefore, that another course should be tried. On December fourth, Napoleon, in the role of reformer-statesman, pronounced and issued from Chamartin a series of the most thoroughgoing edicts. All feudal privileges, all interprovincial customs dues, were swept away; the Inquisition was abolished, and the number of convents was reduced to a third. These measures were in themselves most salutary, and struck at the very root of the upas-tree under the baneful shade of which Spain had been slowly perishing. But to do good they must be enforced; there must be a complete military conquest of the country, and a capable administration.
There was neither. The Spanish army had been defeated, but, severe as had been its punishment, its power of resistance was not destroyed; the occupation of the country was also sadly incomplete, and it made no difference whither French soldiers marched, or what strategic points they held, some kind of Spanish fighting force, no matter how irregular, sprang up behind them and on their sides. The complete military centralization of Prussia had made Jena decisive for the whole loose-jointed territory of that kingdom; the compact territory of Spain and the local independence of her peoples made regular victories utterly fruitless so far as the open country was concerned.
Moreover, Joseph, although he had been driven from his capital, and had enjoyed neither power nor consequence except as the general of Napoleon's armies, now asserted that he, and not his brother, was the king of Spain. He was angry and hurt by the Emperor's assumption of superior sovereignty. He was the one, he felt, who could best deal with the Spaniards, win their affection, and consolidate his power. To be shouldered off his throne, and compelled to stand by while such radical measures were taken, embittered him. Shame, he said, covered his face before his pretended subjects; he renounced all rights to the throne, preferring honor and honesty to power so dearly bought. This angered Napoleon, and he threatened to divide the land into military provinces; but, like his gentler brother, he himself recoiled before the utter annihilation of a nationality so ancient and dignified as that of Spain.
As the price for the evacuation of Madrid, the people of the capital swore to accept Joseph once more as their king. Similar oaths of allegiance came from all the provinces occupied by the French. Although these oaths were not considered binding by those who took them, inasmuch as they held themselves to be acting under compulsion, yet at least the shadow of Joseph's monarchy reappeared under the imperial protection, and a so-called liberal constitution, modeled on that of France, was given to the people as a boon. "It depends on yourselves," was the Emperor's language, "to make this charter yours. If all my endeavors prove vain, and you do not justify my confidence, then I have nothing left but to treat you as a conquered province, and create another throne for my brother. In that case I shall put the crown of Spain on my own head, and teach the ill-disposed to respect it; for God has given me the power and the will to overcome all obstacles."
THE TRANSFORMATION OF AUSTRIA
[Footnote 29: See Metternich: Nachgelassene Papiere (English translation as Memoirs). Mazade: Alexandre Ier et le Prince Czartoryski. Duncker: Friedr. Wilhelm im Jahre 1809. Ranke: Hardenberg und die Geschichte des preussischen Staates von 1793-1813. Rapp: Memoires.]
Dangers in Napoleon's Rear — The State of Paris — Austria Warlike — The Czar's Policy — National Movements in Germany — Napoleon's True Position — Talleyrand's Responsibility — The Needs of France — The Conscription again Anticipated — The Archduke Charles — War Declared by Austria — Charles's Appeals to National Sentiment — Imperial Excess and Dynastic Moderation — The Uprising of the Tyrol — Austria's Successes.
The news from central Europe which reached Napoleon in Spain was of a most alarming character, and made certain considerations so emphatic that all others became insignificant. It mattered not that he must leave behind him a half-accomplished task; that while his strategy had been successful, he had lost the opportunity to annihilate the English, which, though he did not know it at the time, he had really had in the tardy arrival of their transports at Corunna; that the national uprising was not suppressed by his carefully devised measures; that the oaths of allegiance sworn to Joseph and the constitution had been sworn under compulsion by a minority, who, pious as the people were, did not, for that reason, consider even themselves as bound, much less the nation as a whole—all this was serious enough, but it was paltry when compared with what had taken place in German lands while he had been absent from Paris.
During the campaign of Marengo there had been a knot of active, self-seeking, and traitorous men who, having risen by Bonaparte's help, schemed how best to sustain themselves in case of his death. This same group, under the leadership of Talleyrand and Fouche, had been again arranging plans for their guidance should misfortune overwhelm Napoleon in Spain. Such was their activity that even Metternich had been deceived into the belief that they had a large party of French patriots behind them, who, weary of the Emperor's incessant calls on France for aid in enterprises foreign to her welfare, would gladly be rid of him. So grave did the Austrian ambassador consider the crisis that late in November he left his post and set out for Vienna. Vincent's reports about the friction at Erfurt had already found credence in the Austrian capital among the war party, and the belief was spreading that the Franco-Russian alliance was hollow.
Stein's absence from North Germany had only intensified the sympathy of the people with his policy. Even at Koenigsberg, the seat of government, public opinion demanded the measures he had desired. Prussia was not only strong once more, but was ardent to redeem its disgrace. The reflex influence of the popular movements in Prussia and Austria upon one another had intensified both, until the more advanced leaders in the two countries cared little whether the process of German regeneration was begun under Hohenzollern or Hapsburg leadership. Into this surcharged atmosphere came Metternich with his exaggerated statements about the great reactionary party in France. The effect was to raise the elements. He declared, besides, that the Spanish war had absorbed so much of Napoleon's effective military strength that not more than two hundred thousand men were available for use in central Europe, and that Austria alone, with her new armaments, would be a match for any army the French emperor could lead against her, at least in the first stages of a war. Austria had been negotiating for an English subsidy, without which her troops, fine as they were, could not be maintained; but Great Britain refused a grant until they should actually take the field. This fact was an inducement so strong as to put a climax on the already hostile inclinations of the Emperor Francis; and as his minister Stadion had long felt that Napoleon's power must not be allowed time for further consolidation, the government concluded to strike while the difficulties in Spain were at their height.
Although the Czar had left Erfurt in an anxious mood, he was nevertheless clear in his mind that through Napoleon alone could his ambitions be gratified. He was equally convinced that, while the European system should not be further upturned, it must for the present be maintained as it now was. On his homeward journey he had time to reflect on the situation, and as he passed through Koenigsberg the warlike temper of Prussia was so manifest that he thought Frederick William, for a while at least, should be removed from its influence. Accordingly he pressed the King to pay a visit to St. Petersburg. The invitation was accepted, and the Czar's efforts were so successful that when his visitor left for home his feeling was as unwarlike as it had ever been. He informed Austria that his interests were those of Russia, that there should be no offensive warfare, and that any conflict must be confined to repelling an attack. The Czar declared on March second, in response to an inquiry from Vienna, that if Austria should begin a war he would fulfil his obligations to Napoleon; but six weeks later, seeing how determined was the war sentiment at Vienna, and how complete were the preparations of Francis, it seemed best to throw an anchor to windward, and he so far modified his attitude as to explain that in the event of war he would not put his strength into any blow he might aim at Austria.
The cabinet of Vienna was perfectly aware that neither Alexander nor Frederick William represented the national feeling of their respective peoples. They knew that Austria's opportunity to lead a great revolt against Napoleon was to be found in the support of the powerful conservatives of Russia, in the enthusiasm of all Prussia, where Arndt was already crying, "Freedom and Austria!" and in the passionate loyalty of her own peoples, not excepting the sturdy Tyrolese, who, chafing under Napoleon's yoke, were ready for insurrection. On March eighteenth, 1809, the French minister at Vienna wrote to Paris that in 1805 the government, but neither army nor nation, had desired war; that now the government, the army, and the people all desired it. The Austrian plenipotentiary was ordered, in requesting a subsidy from Great Britain, to state that in the event of victory his government hoped to secure such internal vigor as Austria had enjoyed before the treaty of Presburg. As to the neighboring states, she desired some minor rectifications of her own frontier, with indemnifications to the younger branches of her dynasty for their lost domains. These might be found either in Germany or in Italy, and if she should succeed in destroying Napoleon's system of tributary powers, she meant to restore all their territories to their rightful owners, not excepting those of the German princes who had been hostile.
To suppose, as many do, that no inkling of all the stupendous schemes reached Napoleon in Spain is preposterous. Bavaria was his faithful subordinate, and Poland still hoped everything from his successes. Both were in the heart of Germany, and through a carefully organized system of spies, information of the most reliable nature was regularly received in both countries. The same historians who assert that after Marengo Bonaparte left Italy for Paris to cloak his defeat, and that he fled to Malmaison to conceal his direct connection with Enghien's death, expect us to believe that Napoleon fled from Spain merely to throw the responsibility of failure on Joseph. Most men in any crisis act from mixed motives. Such a charge displays skill in combining facts, but Marengo, whether a defeat or a victory, secured France to the general who commanded there; the retreat to Malmaison did not induce the Consul to deny his responsibility for the execution at Vincennes; and it would have been simply an intervention of the supernatural if Napoleon, for purely subjective reasons, had left Spain to return to Paris just at the very instant when his presence was absolutely essential there, not only to check those who, although ostensibly his supporters, were in reality his deadly foes, but also for the warlike preparations to meet the storm which was about to burst. His secretary has asserted that the letters which reached him at Astorga contained all this disquieting news, and there is absolutely no proof that they did not. The probability is all on the side of the account which was universally accepted until attacked by the group of over-credulous French historians whose zeal for the Revolution is such that they feel bound to deny every statement of the equally biased school of Napoleonic advocates.
Moreover, it was from Spain that the Emperor warned the princes composing the Confederation of the Rhine to have their contingents ready. His language is guarded—whether the cabinet of Vienna had drunk from the waters of Lethe or from those of the Danube, he himself would be ready. Besides, his actions could have but one meaning. The moment he reached Paris, significant looks and conduct warned Talleyrand to beware. "Is Joseph," the Emperor said, in an interview with Roederer, "to talk like an Englishman or behave like Talleyrand? I have covered this man with honors, riches, and diamonds; he has used them all against me. At the first opportunity he had, he has betrayed me as much as he could. He has declared during my absence that he kneeled in supplication to prevent my enterprise in Spain; for two years he tormented me to undertake it.... It was the same with regard to Enghien. I did not even know him; it was Talleyrand who brought him to my notice. I did not know where he was; it was Talleyrand who told me the spot, and after having advised the execution he has groaned over it with every acquaintance."
At the same time the columns of the "Moniteur" were filled with half-true accounts of the Emperor's success in Spain, and the French people knew everything that was favorable; but there was a complete suppression of all the rest. As Austria desired war to secure her subsidies from England, so France was again in need of funds which her own resources could not provide. Because of the failure to paralyze Spain by a single blow, Napoleon had, for the first time in his history, returned after a "successful" campaign without an enormous war indemnity. Once again, after temporary patching, French finances were in disorder, and there was urgent need to repair them. The people desired peace for their enterprises, but the continental blockade so hampered commerce that any peace which did not include a pacification of the seas would avail them little. It was a customary formality of Napoleon's to put the entire responsibility of war on the enemy, and it was announced in February that negotiations with Austria had failed. This was in a large sense true, although the particular effort referred to was perfunctory, and was intended technically to secure the help of Russia, which was to fight only in case Austria should be the aggressor.
Gradually, therefore, the war spirit revived in France. No one remonstrated when once more recourse was had to the fatal policy of anticipating the annual conscription. Not only were the conscripts for 1810 called out, but the number was stretched to the utmost, and those who from immaturity or other causes had been unavailable in 1806, 1807, 1808, and 1809 were now collected. The total of the youths thus swept together was not less than a hundred and sixty thousand. To render available their slender efficiency, they were divided among the various regiments already in the field, in each of which these raw and boyish recruits constituted a fifth battalion.
Since the Archduke Charles had been again at the helm of military affairs in Austria, not only had a transformation been wrought in the army as a fighting instrument, but the general staff had likewise been completely reorganized. For two years, therefore, Austria's occupation had been not only forging a sword, but practising, as well, the wielding of it. The lessons taught her by previous experience in Napoleonic warfare were thoroughly learned. It was consequently a very different strategic problem which the Emperor of the French had to solve in this campaign.
For two years the Archduke had been studying his task, and that in the light of ample experience. The conclusion he reached was that he would attack and overpower Davout in Saxony; then, by an appeal to their German patriotism, raise and use the peoples of northern and central Germany for an overwhelming assault on Napoleon. But as the time for action grew near, the moral influence of those annihilating blows which the French armies had struck once and again began to assert itself and to create hesitancy. Count Stadion, the minister of state, knew that diplomacy had reached the limit of its powers and could gain at most only a few weeks. These he felt sure the enemy would use to better advantage in strengthening himself than Austria in her poverty could do. He was therefore urgent for prompt action. Charles, on the other hand, hesitated to face the miraculous resources of Napoleon without a finishing touch to some of his preparations which were still incomplete. He therefore began in January to procrastinate, and consequently it was not until February that Francis demanded an advance. In this interval the whole plan of campaign was changed. The main army, under Charles, was to be collected in Bohemia, ready for action in any direction, so as to thwart whatever course Napoleon might adopt. Hiller was to guard the line of the Inn, the Archduke Ferdinand was to march against Warsaw, while the Archduke John was to enter the Tyrol from Italy and excite the people to revolt. On April ninth all these movements were well under way; Hiller had reached the Inn, and Charles declared war.
Ostensibly this war was to be unlike any other so far waged. The secret instructions given to the imperial Austrian envoy in London clearly indicated that the Hapsburgs hoped by victory to restore their influence both in Italy and Germany; for that was the meaning of "restoration to rightful owners" and the "slight rectification of their frontiers," or, in other words, the restoration of European conditions to what they had been before Napoleon's advent. This was the dynastic side; the national side was also to be used for the same end. "The liberties of Europe have taken refuge under your banner," ran Charles's proclamation to the army; "your victories will break their bonds, and your German brethren still in the enemy's ranks await their redemption." To the German world he said, "Austria fights not only for her own autonomy, but takes the sword for the independence and national honor of Germany." Another manifesto, written by Gentz, the ablest statesman in Vienna, declared that the war was to be waged not against France, but against the persistent extension of her system which had produced such universal disorder in Europe.
The tone and language of these papers have an audible Napoleonic echo in them: if an upstart house, represented by a single life and without direct descendants, could win success by appeals to the people, and gain the support of their enthusiasm by identifying its interests with theirs, why might not an ancient dynasty, with vigorous stock and numerous shoots, do likewise? Moreover, Napoleon no longer respected the limits of natural physical boundaries, or the restrictions of birth, speech, religion, and custom, which inclosed a nation: his empire was to disdain such influences, to found itself on the universal brotherhood of man, and to secure the regeneration of humanity by liberal ideas of universal validity. Austria would offset this alluring summons by a trumpet-call to the brotherhood of Germans, to the strong forces of national feeling, to the respect for tradition and history which would animate her soldiers and justify her course.
If she needed a concrete illustration she could point to the Tyrolese. Since the treaty of Presburg their chains had chafed their limbs to the raw; at this very moment they were again in open rebellion. The administrative reforms introduced by Maximilian of Bavaria were in reality most salutary; his determined stand against priestly domination over the Tyrolese people proved in the end their salvation. But the evils of feudalism were always least among mountaineers, and relations of patriarchal tenderness existed between the aristocracy and the peasantry. The devotion of both classes to their institutions, their habits, their clothes, their customs, their local names, was intense. They had no mind to see the name of their country disappear forever, to lose their pleasant, easy-fitting institutions, or to submit to the conscription and join in the great leveling movement which compelled them to serve in the ranks as ordinary soldiers. With their local assemblies they meant to keep their military exclusiveness as scouts, skirmishers, and sharp-shooters, in all of which lines they excelled.
The more enlightened citizens of the towns were well pleased with Bavarian rule, but the impulsive, ignorant, and superstitious peasantry were the glad instruments of Austrian emissaries. When they learned that war was inevitable and would soon be formally declared, they at once rose, seized Innsbruck, and held it against the Bavarian troops. When an Austrian garrison marched in, their reception was enthusiastic. This was in the middle of April; simultaneously the Archduke John defeated Prince Eugene in Italy and drove him back upon the Adige, while Ferdinand overpowered all resistance in Poland, and on the twentieth occupied Warsaw. Such successes were intoxicating; the great general had, it seemed, been caught napping at last, and the advantage of a successful opening appeared to be with his enemy.
THE FIFTH WAR WITH AUSTRIA—ECKMUeHL
[Footnote 30: See Saski: Campagne de 1809, Lejeune, Memoires du general. Fournier: Oesterreich nach dem Frieden von Wien. Beer: Zehn Jahre oesterreichischer Politik (1801-10).]
Strategic Preliminaries — Final Orders — The Defensive Plan of Austria — Berthier's Failure — Napoleon's Arrival at Donauwoerth — The Height of Napoleon's Ability — The Austrian Advance — The First Collision — Concentration of Napoleon's Army — The Austrians Divided — The Austrians at Eckmuehl — The Battle — Charles's Retreat — The Five Days' Fight — Its Results — Charles at the Bisamberg — Napoleon at Vienna — The German Risings Demoralized — Discrimination of the People — Napoleon's Unsuccessful Appeal to Hungary — Pius VII Loses his Secular Power — Napoleon's Activity — Charles's Sluggishness — Plans of Both Generals — Napoleon on the Lobau.
It was Napoleon's pride that in his campaigns no enemy should lay down the law to him. He did not ask, How will my foe behave? What must I do to thwart him?—that was defensive warfare. For his purposes he must ask, Whence can I best strike? This question he now answered by selecting the valley of the Danube as his line of approach, and Ratisbon as his headquarters. He had before him the most difficult task he had so far undertaken. The concentration and sustenance of his troops must be made along the line of very least resistance. Davout had four divisions—one each in Magdeburg, Hanover, Stettin, and Bayreuth; he was also in command of the Poles and Saxons. Bernadotte had two divisions distributed in Hamburg, Bremen, and Luebeck; Oudinot had one in Hanau; the soldiers of the Rhine Confederation were scattered in all its towns. Two other divisions were just starting for Spain. In the beginning of March Berthier was again appointed chief of staff, and the Emperor's orders were issued. They were as clear, concise, and adequate as any of his best; he was once more on familiar ground, under ordinary conditions, facing a well-known foe, whose strength was greater than ever before, but whose identity was still the same. Davout was to collect his troops at Bamberg, the Poles were to remain in Warsaw, the Saxons in Dresden. To the latter capital Bernadotte should lead his army and then assume command. Oudinot was ordered to Augsburg, where he was to be reinforced. The departing divisions were brought to a halt and sent back to Ulm for Massena's command, while two fresh ones were gathered in France and sent to Strasburg. The Rhine princes were to have their contingents ready and await orders.
A glance at the map will show that, as Napoleon said, he could then in an emergency reach Munich like lightning. But he expected no move from his enemy before the middle of April. By that time he hoped to have his German army gathered, equipped, and ready; in the interval the forces already on the ground could hold Charles in check; by the end of March there would be a hundred thousand French in Bamberg, Ulm, and Augsburg, with thirty thousand Bavarians under Lefebvre about Munich; before the outbreak of hostilities he hoped to have a total of two hundred thousand available fighting troops. "Should the Austrians attack before April tenth," were the orders given on March twenty-eighth, "the army shall be collected behind the Lech, the right occupying Augsburg, the left resting on the right bank of the Danube at Donauwoerth." Then followed the most minute instructions to Berthier, explaining every move, and setting forth the reasons why Ratisbon had been chosen as headquarters. This would assure control of the Danube, keep open a line of communication, and enable the writer so to control space and time that he could open the campaign much as he chose.
These dispositions had already compelled another change of plan by the Austrians. They had expected a repetition of Moreau's advance by Munich; instead, they were called on to defend their capital a second time. Two divisions were left to watch the Bohemian Forest; the rest of the army, with Charles at its head, set out, by the circuitous route through Linz, to join Hiller and assume the offensive in the Danube valley. In case of a battle the two divisions were to come up by the short, direct route through Ratisbon, and add their strength to the main army. On the declaration of hostilities the Austrians at once crossed the Inn and began their march; it was the sixteenth before they reached the line of the Isar. Had the Archduke not been so sparing of his troops, wearied as they were by the circuit through Linz, he might have changed the course of history. Napoleon had not yet arrived, and Berthier, who was but human, had proved unequal to the execution of his commander's orders.
It had been the object of Napoleon to gather his army on a certain definite, well-connected line, and thence use it as necessity demanded. Instead of obeying the letter of his instructions, Berthier had struggled to obey their spirit, and had failed. The command on the left bank had been assigned to Davout; that of all the troops on the other side had been given to Massena; the latter was to concentrate on the Lech, the former at Ingolstadt. So far all was good; then Berthier lost his head (the critics say he never could have learned strategy, if he had had ten lives), and, swerving from the clear letter of Napoleon's orders, he attempted a more rapid combination—not that behind the Lech, but one directly at Ratisbon. Davout was to march thither and remain there; the other divisions were successively to join him. The result was that three days elapsed before any army was gathered at all; the two portions, one at Ratisbon, the other at Augsburg, being for that time widely separated, and each exposed to the separate attack of an enemy without possibility of cooeperation by the other half.
When the Archduke Charles learned the general situation of his enemy he determined to do exactly this thing—that is, to attack and overwhelm each portion of the French army separately. For this purpose he crossed the Isar, and, turning to the right, marched directly on Ratisbon to attack Davout's command with his superior force before Massena's scattered divisions could reach the positions assigned to them. But he was too late. The semaphore telegraph then in use had flashed from station to station its signals of the declaration of war and of the enemy's advance over the Inn, until the news reached Napoleon in Paris on the twelfth. On the sixteenth, after four days' almost unbroken travel, he reached Donauwoerth. The confusion into which Berthier's orders had thrown his carefully arranged plans infuriated him; but when he heard, as he descended from his traveling-carriage, where the enemy was, he could not believe his ears. When assured of the truth he seemed, as eye-witnesses declared, to grow taller, his eyes began to sparkle, and with every indication of delight he cried: "Then I have him! That's a lost army! In one month we are in Vienna!" The enemy's first decisive blunder was the march by Linz; the second was yet to be made.
Napoleon's strategy during the following days was, both in his own opinion and in that of his military commentators, the greatest of his life. Such had been Berthier's indecision when he saw his blunder that one general at least—to wit, Pelet—charged him with being a traitor. In twenty-four hours his puzzled humor and conflicting orders had more or less demoralized the whole army. But Napoleon's presence inspired every one with new vigor, from the division commanders to the men in the ranks. Promptly on the seventeenth the order went forth for Davout to leave Ratisbon and challenge the enemy to battle by a flank march up the right bank of the Danube to Ingolstadt in his very face. Lefebvre was to cover the movement, and Wrede, with one Bavarian division, was held ready to strengthen any weak spot in case of battle. Next day Massena was ordered to set out from Augsburg for the same point, "to unite with the army, catch the enemy at work, and destroy his columns." To this end he was to march eastward by Pfaffenhofen. In a twinkling the scattered French army seemed already concentrated, while scouts came one after the other to announce that the Austrians were separating.
The Austrians had crossed the Isar in good order, Charles himself at Landshut. If they had kept directly onward they might have still wedged themselves between Davout and Lefebvre. But the Archduke grew timid at the prospect of swamps and wooded hills before him; uncertain of his enemy's exact position, he threw forward three separate columns by as many different roads, and thus lengthened his line enormously, the right wing being at Essenbach, the center advanced before Landshut to Hohen-Thann, the left at Morsbach. At four in the morning of the eighteenth Lefebvre received orders to fall on the Austrian left, while flying messengers followed each other in quick succession to spur on Massena with urgent pleas of immediate necessity. It was hoped that he might come up to join an attack which, though intended mainly to divert the Austrians from Davout, could by his help be turned into an important victory.
The Archduke during the day collected sixty-six thousand men at Rohr for his onset, and thirty-five thousand men at Ludmannsdorf to cover his flank, leaving twenty-five thousand at Moosburg. That night Davout's last corps, that of Friant, came in, and he began his march. Massena, who had collected his army and was coming from Augsburg, was ordered to turn, either left toward Abensberg, in order to join Davout, or right toward Landshut, to attack Charles's rear, as circumstances should determine. Lefebvre was now commanded to assume the defensive and await events at Abensberg. Throughout the morning of the nineteenth Davout and Charles continued their march, drawing ever closer to each other. At eleven the French van and the Austrian left collided. The latter made a firm stand, but were driven in with great slaughter.
A considerable force which had been sent to strike Davout on the flank at Abensberg was also defeated by Lefebvre. Before evening the entire French army was united and in hand. Davout was on the left toward the river Laber, Lefebvre, with the Bavarians and several French divisions, was in the center beyond the river Aben, while Massena had reached a point beyond Moosburg. Within sixty hours Napoleon had conceived and completed three separate strategic movements: the withdrawal of the whole army toward Ingolstadt, the advance of his right to strengthen the incoming left, and the rearrangement of his entire line with the right on his enemy's base of operations.
"In war you see your own troubles; those of the enemy you cannot see. You must show confidence," wrote the French emperor about this time to Eugene. How true it was of his own course! On the morning of the twenty-first he declared that the enemy was in full retreat. This was over-confidence on his part, and not true; but it might as well have been. As a result of the preceding day's skirmishing and countermarching the Austrian army was almost cut in two; one division, the right, under Charles, was pressing on to Ratisbon, while the other, under Hiller, was marching aimlessly behind in a general northwesterly direction, and the whole straggling line was not less than twenty miles in length. Lannes, the sturdiest, most rough-and-ready of all the marshals, had arrived from Spain the night before. His presence increased the army's confidence that they would win, and next day he commanded a division formed from the corps of Morand, Gudin, and Nansouty. Davout received orders to hold the enemy in front; Massena was to spread out along their rear from Moosburg down the Isar, ready to harass either flank or rear with half his strength, and to send the rest, under Oudinot, to Abensberg.
On the morning of the twentieth the Emperor himself, with Lannes and Wrede, set out to sever the enemy's line. They had little difficulty. The thin column dispersed before them to the north and south. Hiller was driven back to Landshut, whence he fled to Neumarkt, leaving the Isar in possession of the French. Davout advanced simultaneously against the Archduke's army, which, although very much stronger than Hiller's division, nevertheless retired and occupied Eckmuehl, standing drawn up on the highroad toward Ratisbon. At Landshut the Emperor became aware that the mass of the Austrian army was not before him, but before Davout. Leaving Bessieres and two divisions of infantry, with a body of cavalry, to continue the pursuit of Hiller, he turned back toward Eckmuehl at three in the morning of the twenty-second. Here, again, a great resolve was taken in the very nick of time and in the presence of the enemy. With the same iron will and burning genius, the same endurance and pertinacity, as of old, he pressed on at the head of his soldiers. It was one o'clock when the eighteen-mile march was accomplished and the enemy's outposts before Eckmuehl were reached.
Meantime one of the Austrian divisions left in Bohemia had arrived at Ratisbon. Charles, strengthened by this reinforcement, had determined to take the offensive, and at noon his advance began. Vandamme seemed destined to bear the force of the onset, but in the moment before the shock would have occurred, appeared Napoleon's van. Advancing rapidly with Lannes, the Emperor rode to the top of a slight rise, and, scanning the coming Austrians, suddenly ordered Vandamme to seize Eckmuehl, and then despatched Lannes to cross the Laber and circumvent the enemy. Davout, having learned the direction of the Austrian charge, threw himself against the hostile columns on their right, and after a stubborn resistance began to push back the dogged foe. In less than two hours the French right, left, and center were all advancing, and the enemy were steadily retreating, but fighting fiercely as they withdrew. This continued until seven in the evening, when Lannes finally accomplished his task.
This destroyed all resistance. The Emperor weakly yielded to his generals' remonstrance that the troops were exhausted, and did not order a pursuit. Charles withdrew into Ratisbon. During the night and early morning he threw a pontoon bridge across the stream, which was already spanned by a stone one, and next day, after a skirmish in which his outposts were driven into the town, he crossed the Danube; three days later he effected a junction with his second division, left in the Bohemian Forest, and stood at Cham with an effective fighting force of eighty thousand men. The result proved that Napoleon's judgment had been unerring; had he pursued, in spite of all remonstrance and in disregard of the fatigue of his men, he would have had no mighty foe to fight a few weeks later at Wagram. Some time thereafter he told an Austrian general that he had deliberated long, and had refrained from following Charles into Bohemia for fear the Northern powers would rise and come to the assistance of Austria. "Had I pursued immediately," he said at St. Helena, "as the Prussians did after Waterloo, the hostile army crowded on to the Danube would have been in the last extremity."
"Labor is my element," he remarked on the same dreary isle almost amid the pangs of dissolution. "I have found the limit of my strength in eye and limb; I have never found the limit of my capacity for work." This was certainly true of this five days' fight. "His Majesty is well," wrote Berthier on the twenty-fourth, "and endures according to his general habit the exertion of mind and body." Once more his enemy was not annihilated, but this contentment and high spirits seem natural to common minds, which recall that in a week he had evolved order from chaos, and had stricken a powerful, united foe, cutting his line in two, and sending one portion to the right-about in utter confusion. To the end of his life Napoleon regarded the strategic operations culminating at Eckmuehl as his masterpiece in that particular line. Jomini, his able critic, remained always of the same opinion. French history knows this conflict as the Battle of Five Days; Thann, Abensberg, Landshut, Eckmuehl, and Ratisbon being the places in or near which on each day a skirmish or combat occurred to mark the successive stages of French victory.
The results were of the most important kind. In the first place, Austria's pride and confidence were gone. She had lost fifty thousand men, and her warfare was no longer offensive, but defensive. Charles called for peace, but the Emperor would not listen. The Archduke John, moreover, was compelled to abandon the Tyrol, and when he found himself again in Italy, he was no longer confronted by Eugene alone, that excellent youth but feeble general, whom he had so easily defeated: Macdonald was associated with the viceroy in the command. In Poland, also, Ferdinand's easy successes had carried him too far in pursuit of Poniatowski, and he began to retreat. Lefebvre with the Bavarians was stationed at Salzburg to prevent an irruption of the Tyrolean mountaineers toward the north; all the rest of the Emperor's army was immediately ordered to march on the Austrian capital.
The advance was scarcely contested. Hiller, commanding Charles's left wing, had paused in his retreat, and crossing the Inn with his thirty thousand men, had successfully attacked Wrede at Erding. He had probably heard that Charles was marching to Passau, but the news was false. Learning the truth, he turned again and recrossed the Inn; thence he continued to withdraw, stopping an instant at the Traun to avail himself of a strong position and hold the line if Charles were perchance coming thither to join him. At Ebelsberg, on May third, he made a splendid and momentarily successful resistance, but was overwhelmed by superior numbers. Hearing of his leader's slow advance, and being himself in despair, on the seventh he led his army at Mautern across to the left bank of the Danube in order to effect a junction with the disheartened Archduke, and then destroyed the bridge behind him. The forces of Charles and Hiller met and halted on the slopes of the great hill known as the Bisamberg, which overlooks Vienna from the north shore, and commands the fertile plains through which the great river rolls past the Austrian capital.
Day after day, with unimportant interruptions but no real check, the French ranks marched down the right bank of the stream. On May tenth they appeared before Vienna. Then, as now, it had no efficient fortifications, and its garrison consisted of a citizen militia, strengthened by a small detachment which Hiller had sent forward to reinforce and encourage them. The defenders were commanded by the Archduke Maximilian. There was a brave show of resistance; all the suburbs were evacuated, and the populace gathered behind the old brick walls which had been erected two centuries before against the Turks. At first Napoleon thought there would be a second instance of such embittered and desperate resistance as he had encountered at Madrid. But a feint of the French to cut off the communication of the town with the river, together with a few cannon-balls, quickly brought the unhappy capital to terms; Maximilian marched out at midnight on the eleventh, and on the twelfth Napoleon returned to the neighboring palace of Schoenbrunn, where he had already established his headquarters. The news which arrived from day to day was most encouraging. Poniatowski was again in possession of Warsaw, which the Archduke Ferdinand had evacuated in order to rejoin his brother Charles. The Archduke John, flying before Macdonald, had passed the Carinthian mountains into Hungary, where the liberal movement threatened Austrian rule. The Bavarians, after desperate fighting under Lefebvre, had driven the Tyrolese rebels from Innsbruck. It seemed a proper time to complete, if possible, the demoralization of the whole Austrian empire before crossing the Danube to annihilate its military force. Francis had sown the wind in his declaration of war: he must reap the whirlwind.