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Military Movements.-Flight of the French to their own Frontiers.-Retreat of Grouchy's Division.-Battle at Namur.-Grouchy escapes to Laon.-Adrance of the Allies.-Capture of Avesnes by the Prussians-Their Severity to the French.-Moderation of the British--Who take Cambray and Peronne. -French Commissioners come to treat of Peace.-Armistice refused.-Conference at Haguenau.-Fouché secretly embraces the Interest of the Bourbons.
-Advance of the Allied Armies.-Wrede crosses the Rhine at Manheim, and takes Chalons.-The Prince Royal of Wirtemberg enters France from Philipsberg-Defeats General Rapp, and invests Strasbourg-The Arch-Duke Ferdinand defeats Lecourbe, and advances on Langres.-General Frimont drives the French from the Valley of the Arve-Bubna takes the Tete-de-Pont at Arly. The Grand Army, under the Sovereigns, enters France without Opposition. Situation of the French Provisional Government.—They have no Ïnfluence either with the Army or the People-Yet retain their Animosity to the Bourbons.-Malleville's Address in Favour of the Bourbons.-Reflections on the Course he recommended.-Gareau denounces Malleville.-Fortifications of Paris.-The Army's Declaration against the Bourbons.-Propositions of Bory St Vincent in the Chamber of Representatives.-The Allied Armies come before Paris.-Declaration of the French Army.-Measures of Fouché and the moderate Party.-Operations of the Armies.—Skirmish at Versailles. -Paris Surrenders.-The Conditions of Capitulation.
WHILE the French factions debated,
lington and Blucher to take the full advantage of the victory of Waterloo, and to prostrate their antagonists while they yet staggered under that terrible blow.
The retreat of the disorderly crowd which was once called the grand French army, had taken instinctively the route to their own frontiers. Closely followed, and harassed at every step by the Prussians, they flocked along the main road from Charleroi like a drove of out-wearied, and yet
terrified cattle. Where that road divides into two branches, one leading to Avesnes and the other to Philippeville, the fugitives separated themselves, no one pretending to give any general direction, and followed either route as chance or choice directed each individual, or group of flyers. Notwithstanding Buonaparte's orders, no attempt was made to assemble any force at Avesnes: Soult contrived at Mezieres to collect about four thousand stragglers, destitute of cannon, baggage, and arms, with whom he withdrew under the walls of Laon. There they were joined by other stragglers, and at length by the corps of Grouchy and Vandamme.
high-road passes as it leads from Namur to Dinant. Here they lost many men and cannon. But by dint of sacrificing the rear, the French generals were enabled to conduct to Rocroi, and from thence to Laon, about twenty thousand men, in much more tolerable plight as to arms, arrangement, and military equipment, than those whom Soult had rallied in that neighbourhood. And although Grouchy's retreat cost greatly more than onethird of his troops, yet, in the circumstances in which he was placed, it was by no common exertions of generalship that he prevented the same total dissolution of his army which had be fallen that of Napoleon. The Avenger of Blood was in the mean time pressing on their footsteps.
Blucher, on the second day after the battle, was under the walls of Avesnes, which he carried by escalade, taking five and forty pieces of cannon. To give the French a feeling of those severities which they had often inflicted on the German and Spanish prisoners of war, he directed that the captive garrison of Avesnes should be employed to work on the fortifications of Cologne, and the officers confined in the citadel of Wessep; " all," as the Prince-Marshal's dispatch sternly expresses it, " to be treated with the necessary severity." It had been agreed between Wellington and Blucher, that, without paying attention to the strong barrier towns of Lisle and Valenciennes, &c. but leaving them to be masked by the other troops of the coalition as they came up, the victorious armies of Britain and Prussia should, with the least possible delay, march forward on Paris. After the capture of Avesnes, therefore, the Prince-Marshal continued his march upon Laon, and occupied St Quentin in his route. The same severity which dictated the order from Avesnes regu
This division of the French army had fought the battle of Wavres, it will be remembered, on the 18th; and, upon receiving the news of that of Waterloo, was the following day under the necessity of commencing a perilous retreat in front of the Prussian corps with whom they had been engaged, and which had formerly retired before them, but now instantly resumed the offensive. The attack of Thielman, which took place so soon as the French columns began to retreat, was made with such fury, that great slaughter ensued; Vandamme himself was wounded, several guns were taken, and the French division, with difficulty and loss, fell back upon Namur. Here Grouchy resumed his retreat, committing to Vandamme, with the rear-guard, the difficult task of protecting it. The French lined the decayed and imperfect and ruined defences of that once strong town, and defended them with success against the van-guard of the pursuers. But when the main body of the Prussians came up, scaling ladders were applied, the place carried by storm, the defenders driven through the streets, and pursued with great loss along the difficult and narrow defiles which the
lated the Prussian conduct on their march. Blucher acted on the avowed principle, that France should feel the effects of war as a future lesson, and, it must be owned, his soldiers willing ly seconded the views of their chief. Nothing could be more strongly contrasted than the two parallel lines on which the Prussians and British march ed to Paris; and the stern vengeance of the Prince Marshal will long re main recorded upon the former, in characters of ruin and desolation,
The British general kept the more northern road to Faris, and, owing to the necessity of halting two days after the severe action of Waterloo, only entered the French territories upon the 20th of June. An order, made public at Binche on that day, apprized ti e soldiers that they were about to enter the territory of an ally of the respective sovereigns of the union, and commanding, therefore, the most strict observance of discipline. This order was so punctually obeyed, that the march of the British troops through France was acknowledged, by the inhabitants themselves, to have been conducted with infinitely more attention to public and private property, than had ever marked the conduct of their own troops on similar occasions. The consequence was, that the British were hailed in every town where they arrived as triends and protectors, rather than regarded as an invading army. The country through which they marched was favourable to the Bourbon 'cause, and readily and spontane ously raised the white flag, and assumed he emblems of returning loy. alty. Cambrai, a town well fortified, and strongly situated in a marshy and flat country, was sum June 24. moned by a detachment from the right of Lord Wellington's army. It was garrisoned chiefly by national guards, who showing some symptoms of indecision, Gen.
Colville, who commanded the British forces, hazarded an attack by escalade, made at four different points. The coup-de-main perfectly succeeded, in some degree with the aid of the citizens of the place, who were zealous royalists. The citadel surrendered in the course of the next day. The King of France soon after entered this town, and was received with great rejoicing Peronne, a pace so strong that it is said never to have been taken, (and was therefore hitherto termed Peronne la Pucelle,) fell next in their line of operation. Garrisoned like Cambrai with national guards, who had no good-will to the quarrel in which they had been engaged, this town, so capable of defence, surrendered to June 26. General Maitland, after a horn work, which covers the suburb on the left of the Somme, had been carried by storm. The garrison, like that of Cambrai, laid down their arms, and was permitted to retire to their own habitations.
While the British thus advanced with little opposition, the course of Blucher, who, owing to the delay oc casioned by the capture of these two towns, had gained a day's march in advance, was not so bloodless. His army occupied a line from Senlis through Vulers Corerets to La Ferté Milon. This position interposed the whole Prussian army between Paris and the body of French troops assembled under Soult and Grouchy at La ou, which had now advanced as far as Soissons toward the capital. The situation of the latter became extremely critical, and they were com pelled to hazard a desperate attack on the Prussian centre at Villers Coterets, hoping to break through Blu cher's position, and so force their way to Paris. The attack miscarried, with the loss of six guns and a thousand prisoners; but the French generals,
nevertheless, found means, by a rapid movement to their right, to attempt a second attack on the left wing of the Prince-Marshal. Here they also sustained some loss; but never theless, by the skill and rapidity of their movements, avoided the attempts made to cut them off, and, crossing the Marne, gained the road to Paris through Meaux; and contrary, perhaps, to their own expectations, as well as those of their enemies, carried their forces unbroken under the walls of the capital.
The provisional government rejoiced in the arrival of these troops, chiefly as they gave them a colour of strength to give weight to the negociation which they had already commenced. Their commissioners and plenipotentiaries, La Fayette, Ponte coulant, with three others, with the versatile Constant for their secretary, had been dispatched to the head-quarters of the allies, with letters to Blucher and Wellington, soliciting an armistice, and declaring that France had removed the only alleged cause of the war, in receiving the abdication of Buonaparte. They were the bearers of letters from the provisional government to the Prussian and Enghish generals. And at the same time, or soon after, letters were sent from Fouché and Davoust to the allied generals, requesting an armistice. The Duke of Wellington returned a civil refusal. Blucher's language was more harsh. Paris and France," he said, "were at his mercy-he came to help the honest men against the knaves, and he warned Davoust not to treat Paris as he had done Hamburgh." This was bitter language; but Nelson, who knew the French character well, was of opinion, that when dealt with according to the punctilious decorum of ceremonious intercourse, they are apt to set down the courtesies which they receive as marks of timidity in
those who use them. The commis 'sioners were sent forward to Haguenau, where the allied sovereigns, advancing at the head of a large army, held their head-quarters for the present. They had here a conference with plenipotentiaries on the part of the allies.
That the name of Napoleon II. might be no objection to the treaty, the powers of the commissioners to treat were stated to be in the name, and for the benefit, of the French people. Their ostensible pleas, as already no. ticed, were founded upon the allegation, that Buonaparte's elevation having been the declared cause of the allies having taken up arms, the sole occasion of the war was removed by his abdication. They urged, that the allied powers had declared, that it was no part of their intention to force a government on the French nation, and that the Prince Regent, in particular, had declared, that, in acceding to the treaty of Vienna, he did not bind the British government to insist upon the restoration of the Bourbon family as an indispensable condition of peace. The plain answer to this plea was, that the clause in the treaty founded upon was so far from barring the Prince Regent from giving assistance to his dethroned ally, Louis XVIII.; that, on the contrary, it was qualified with the most express acknowledgment of his rights, and of the intention of Great Britain to support them so far as the events of war would enable her to do, although the Prince Regent, wisely distrustful of futurity, declined to pledge the nation tó a prosecution of the war on that sole ground. In a word, so far from renouncing the restoration of the Bourbons at the outset of the contest, it was pronounced a main object of the war, to be pursued with all such energy as was consistent in the first place with prudence, and the regard
due to their own states, in case reverses should render it of difficult at tainment; and, in the second place, subject, as the prosecution of every such object must be, to the laws of international justice respecting France. The battle of Waterloo, and its conquences, decided the first question, and gave the allies the full power of restoring the king. The fundamental question remained behind, how far it could be justly exercised, or was to he considered as an act of tyranny and oppression to the realm of France. The solution of this question must clearly depend upon the character of the present government towards Europe, and towards France.
The first was the more important subject of consideration to the sovereigns, who had taken up arms to compel France, from whom they had sustained for twenty years so many acts of aggression, willing or not willing, to adopt such a mode of government as would afford reasonable guarantees for the peace of Europe. This was the ground on which they attacked Buonaparte, and it is plain that this provisional government, composed of and supported by the very men who had been active in his cause, and selected by him as a ministry, had the same character of usurpation and violence which attached to his own. If the principles which they held out were of a more popular character, it was impossible for the allied sovereigns to forget that these were the very principles which had before been perverted to so much mischief, and professed in many instances by the very men who had carried on a revolutionary war in Europe before Buonaparte rose to distinction, for the express purpose of altering every other government to the model of the republic, one and indivisible. To have left these men in possession of power, would have indeed been to have thrown away the fruits of a victory, bought by so many in
valuable lives, and the sovereigns would have acted as foolishly as he who, desirous to root up a poison-tree, should only lop its topmost bough, and spare its stem and its roots. On the principle of self-preservation, therefore, they were entitled, and called upon, to tear up from the roots a government capable of renewing the mischiefs to which it had formerly given rise, and conducted, too, by the very same men, under whose direction it had achieved all the evils of which its re-establishment threatened the renewal. And this they were entitled to do by the means of a just, because a necessary war, although every man in France had distinctly given his assent to this government, and was now willing to adhere to and maintain it. The principle would resolve into that by which war was declared against Buonaparte, namely, that every state's right to chuse its own government must be necessarily qualified by the condition, that the government so chosen shall be consistent with the safety and quiet of their neighbours. In justice, therefore, to the cause in which they had drawn their swords, the allies were compelled to refuse the terms of peace proposed by a government, who, no more than Buonaparte himself, could offer any guarantee for the tranquillity of Europe.
But we shall suppose the safety of Europe out of question, and that the war had been only undertaken with the purpose of supporting an unfortunate ally driven from his throne, which has been in all ages a common reason assigned for hostilities. It is clear that such a war must be just or unjust, according to the circumstances attending the expulsion of the prince whose cause is espoused. If he has lawfully forfeited his throne, the powerful ally who replaces him in his authority abuses the superior force which he possesses, and commits a gross crime against the national independence of the injured