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nor relaxed in the pursuit-the English, proud of their indomitable perseverance-looked down on their ancient enemy from the heights of the Pyrénées.
It was not long before these hostile bands dictated their terms of peace to the inhabitants of Paris. At Prague, Napoléon might have bounded his empire by the Rhine: at Châtillon he might have sat upon the throne of ancient France. All that now remained to him was-the sovereignty of Elba-to which he retreated. Thus fell the only man who in modern times has aspired to universal dominion!-after having planted his standard in every capital of Europe, except London-after having visited as a conqueror Rome, Naples, Madrid, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow-after having gained a kingdom at every battle, and distributed crowns and sceptres with the majesty and the omnipotence of a providence, one reverse defeated him and he fell easily, for he stood unsupported. The energies of the nation he represented were pulverized under the weight of his image. Even the military spirit which had hitherto sustained, forsook him—when in one year he demanded one million one hundred thousand soldiers from a population that had already sustained three thousand battles.
The later years of his reign, splendid for his military achievements, but pale in the aspect of his fortunes, were stained by a weakness from which one vainly hopes that heroes may be free. It was then that the king of kings boasted he was a gentleman -it was then that the severe, but frank and friendly soldier, degenerated into the bourgeois empereur, and surrounded himself with all the antiquated niaiseries of a Bourbon court. One sickens at the disgnsting vulgarity with which he sought to fill his palace with a proud nobility that despised him at his respect for the "dames du château," and those who under the the old régime engrossed the privilege of riding in the royal coaches. Ambitious to be revered more as the monarch than the warrior, he was now rather surrounded by courtiers than by pupils. He inspired less the passion of glory than the desire to rise; and his marshals, different from the poor and enthusiastic generals of the republic, thought less of the country than of the estates for which they fought, less of the victory they had to gain than of the principality that would reward it.
As a warrior Bonaparte is not to be juged by ordinary rules
-by his simple success or failure in the field of battle. Some great political conception was usually connected' with his military plans, and he fought not to gain a post or a place, but to change the destinies of the world. It was frequently necessary, then, not merely to obtain a victory, but to obtain it in a particular manner-to frighten Europe by the audacity of his designs, as much as by the success of their execution-and so we see during the whole of his career he hardly ever gained a battle without dictating a peace. Indeed it was the immense consequences attendant upon his victories that should have taught him that they could not often be repeated. No one yet ever played for a number of years with the chances against him in order to win much, without finally losing all.
But the despotism which had been organized to make war, rendered war necessary to continue it. "France was obliged to conquer Europe, or Europe to conquer France:"the phrase is the phrase of a French general attached to the person of Bonaparte, and the Englishman who reads it, and who has had the oportunity of inquiring into the vast plans, and of tracing the vast ambition of Napoléon Bonaparte, will acknowledge-ay, even despite the taxes and the calamities which a long war necessarily entails-will still acknowledge-if he have the courage to rise above the prejudices of party faction— that as Europe owes a great debt to England for her perseverance, so England owes a great debt to those ministers and those warriors by whose unwearied energy and untiring resolution the only peace was obtained which could really guarantee the liberty of mankind. †
One of the circumstances most difficult to reconcile with the violent royalism, the constitutional doctrines, and the passionate republicanism of the present day, is the still remaining affection among all parties for their ancient emperor.
General Foy's Peninsular war.
† I do not approve of our conduct to Bonaparte when he was at our mercy, nor of our conduct to France in 1815, when we should not have confounded the nation with the army, nor humiliated a brave people, with whom we wished to rest in peace; but, opposed as I am, and have ever been, to many of the principles of that party who then possessed power in England, I think it but an act of justice to observe, that the long war it engaged us in appears to me a fatal necessity-dangerous to obey, but, with such a man as Bonaparte on the throne of France, impossible to avoid.
Forgetful of the sentiment with which they shook off his tyranny, the partisans of almost every opinion now unite in chanting the same fatiguing hymn of applause; and as one among the many marvels of our epoch, we saw the monarchy which rose upon the shoulders of a free press, banish Lafayette from its councils, and re-establish the statue of Bonaparte. There is a generosity which approaches to meanness. What can a government, preaching peace, professing liberty, have to do with the conqueror who broke under the wheels of his war-chariot every law but that of his own will? Can it admire him? No: why should it profess admiration? Ay! cry the French, the foot of a despot was on our necks; but his despotism was glorious ! glorious !'
Vous avez vu tomber la gloire
Qui prit l'autel de la Victoire
Vingt nations ont poussé
Jusqu'en vos murs-le char impérieux !
Where, Frenchmen, was the glory of having the Cossacks encamped in your walls, and a sovereign dictated to you by the stranger? Never was France, since Crecy and Agincourt, in so pitiable a condition as at the end of that reign with which you connect her glory. Her commerce was destroyed, her industry repressed, her population absorbed by a system too weak to keep the enemy from her capital. From 1802 to 1817 (fifteen years) the number of patents was only increased by 56,000.* From 1817 to 1829 (but twelve years), they underwent an increase of 253,000. In 1814 the births in Paris were 21,247; deaths, 27,815.
These are facts that signalize the glories of the empire; and such is the difference between peace and war, between even an enlightened despotism and an imperfect constitution. The continent which he conquered owes more to Napoleon than the nation subservient to his conquests. Abroad he carried the civilization and the code of France. In the old kingdoms, which have been re-established, he destroyed many of the old ideas, which it has become impossible to restore. Wherever he
* Patents in 1802, 791,500; 1817, 847,100. Patents in 1817, 847,100; 1829, 1,101,193.
carried defeat, he carried improvement, and the communications which were to facilitate victory, have been utilized to industry and commerce.
At home he repressed many of the energies which elsewhere he excited. But in criticising his reign, it would be unjust to deny its advantages. The same passion which carried Bonaparte to Egypt and to Moscow, expended itself in the interior of his kingdom on those bridges, canals, triumphal arches, and memorable edifices, with which France during his power was decorated and improved. The same system, which for a time so fatally confined industry within certain channels, gave a stimulus to native manufactures. The same unlimited thirst for glory which finally brought the stranger within his dominions, mounted up the mind of the French to a pitch which will long render them capable of great achievements: and, lastly, that spirit of concentration and force, which destroyed many of the principles and benefits of the revolution, consolidated and secured the rest. He was as much the creature of circumstances as of his own genius; both contributed to his success, both contributed to his fall.
The reign of Bonaparte, instead of an argument for despising public opinion, is a strong proof of its power-a power which he never offended with impunity, and to which, even in his most unpopular acts, he always paid a certain attention. It contains three epochs: the first when the nation and the army were one, and military success abroad and security at home were the public opinion. To this period Bonaparte properly belonged. This was the era suited to his genius, and he was then what he idly believed himself afterwards, the real and sole representative of the people.
The next period is that, when hurried on by his genius he passed by that public opinion which lay in the course which he pursued the admiration for military glory which had carried him to the highest place in the republic, he made the foundation of an arbitrary empire-the desire for security, which had strengthened his hands as a free magistrate, he made the basis of a servile submission. The policy of reigning by an army separates the army from the nation, and gives to each its particular views, and its particular interests. In France, where the whole population was deeply imbued with a love of arms,
this division would naturally take place with a certain insensibility and slowness that nearly rendered its progress unperceived. The victory of Austerlitz was celebrated with almost as much national enthusiasm as if it had been gained by the first consul: but the battles which followed, in which success was equally as complete and equally as glorious, seem to have created among the people at large only a moderate sensation; and the triumphs of Eckmuhl and Ratisbonne, in the trophies of which might be counted twenty thousand prisoners, added less to the glory of the conqueror than to the satiety (beginning to exist) of conquest. The third and last portion of Napoleon's reign commences where his despotic spirit had created a reaction in public opinion, which had formerly favoured tyranny by its passion for repose; while his warlike genius, equally extreme, had wearied even the martial ardour of his soldiers. It was then that liberty acquired new force by every imperial decree destined to subdue it, and that that great army was defeated which had marched almost dispiritedly to conquest.
To any one who reads the conspiracy of Mallet, Bonaparte will not appear to have been lost at Moscow. When a soldier of fortune (escaped from prison with eighteen francs for his treasure, and only those whom a disposition to be credulous might render dupes for his accomplices) could endanger a throne which had no hereditary prestige for support, the popularity on which it stood was a treacherous quicksand. But while the essential qualities of Bonaparte's genius, seeming to acquire additional force by the continuance of their action, irresistibly prescribed his course, the clearness of his judgment always showed what ought to be his object. He always felt and saw that his power was that of popular favour and public opinion; but those strong energies in his character, which had made him a type of the inclinations of a particular period, were too indomitable to be turned or constrained towards the wants and wishes of another. He was far from despising popularity ; but decision and force being the characteristics of his genius, he always flattered himself that it was by decision and force that popularity was to be obtained.