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vote of 250,000 men would be proposed to the chamber in July, and the levy would have been completed in September. Fire-arms were fabricated at a rate each month exceeding the usual rate in six months. The manufactures of military clothing were wholly unprovided and decayed; and the troops, with the exception of a few favoured regiments, were naked. He re-established those factories, and clothed the soldiers. The public service was supplied, not merely with ready money, but by large advances to the contractors. At the same time the state pensioners were paid with exactness. France, at the end of September, would have between 800,000 and 900,000 men organised, ar
armed, and equipped. The problem of her independence consisted in warding off hostilities till that time. The empire would then present a brazen frontier which no human power could pass with impunity. On the 1st of June, France had 559,000 effective men under arms, and of these 217,000 were ready to take the field. But, in spite of the utmost activity, the contest might begin before autumn; the combined armies of Europe would greatly outnumber those of France, and, in that case, the destinies of the empire would be decided under the walls of Lyons and the capital. Napoleon had frequently thought of fortifying Paris ; more particularly after the campaign of Austerlitz. The fear of alarming the Parisians, and the rapid succession of events, prevented the execution of this project. He thought that a great capital is the country of the élite of the nation, the centre of opinion, the universal depôt; and that therefore it was the most glaring contradiction to leave a point so important unfortified. Fifty thousand national guards, and two or three thousand artillery men, will defend a city against 300,000 men; but would be put to flight in open ground by a few thousand cavalry. States often want soldiers, men never, for interior defence. Napoleon accordingly charged the generals of engineers, Haxo, and Lery, with the fortification of Paris and Lyons. It is not, whilst asleep that a nation places one fiftieth of her population under arms in a month. What, then, would she do awake?” His obvious aim and interest were, if
could not be obtained, to delay hostilities.
He accordingly employed every resource of formal and secret negotiation. He made an overture to the British government, which was referred, by lord Castlereagh, to lord Clancarty, at Vienna.
He addressed a letter to the emperor of Austria, who submitted it to the other sovereigns. Neither communication was replied to. One of the known satellites of Talleyrand was selected at Paris, and sent off to Vienna with offers of forgiveness, favour, and a bribe. “ You are fooled, or you would fool me,” said Talleyrand; believing, perhaps, that it was not in human nature to pardon his treason and ingratitude. *
Napoleon proclaimed, on his arrival at Paris, that the coronation of the empress and king of Rome should form part of the business of the champ de Mai. The declaration of Vienna made it apparent
Campagne des Cent Jours.
Mémoires du duc de Rovigo.
that the emperor of Austria would not consent to the return of his daughter and grandson. They were, in effect, state prisoners at the palace of Schoenbrun. A plan concerted for their escape, and its discovery by the Austrian police, became the news of Europe for a day.
The conduct of a wife whose hand has been bartered for considerations in which she has no part, should be indulgently judged. Napoleon, however, shared with the Austrian archduchess glory and a throne ; he treated her with the utmost personal kindness; and, it was said, gained her affection. She got credit for soliciting permission from the congress to join him in Elba, and for entering eagerly into this plot for her escape to France. The world was grossly deceived, or, more properly, in this as in other instances where the ruling caste is concerned, grossly deceived itself. A letter from Vienna, written by a Frenchman in the service of the empress, was delivered by a courier to Lavalette. The letter bore no address; but the courier stated, from verbal instructions, who had written it, and for whom it was intended. Lavalette placed it unopened in the hands of Napoleon. The contents disclosed to him that he must no longer count on the empress; that she spoke of him in terms of fear and hatred ; and that she had utterly abandoned herself to the man who was appointed her chief jailor. The letter was without either address or signature, and doubts were suggested of its authenticity by Napoleon. It was submitted to Caulincourt, who was well acquainted him authentic. Napoleon retired to his private cabinet; the wrongs of Josephine were avenged by the pangs which he must, at that moment, have endured. He had the social and softer feelings. Without them he could not possess the boundless devotion of his first wife, and the affection of her family and of his own. Without the sentiment of friendship he could not possess and prove so many friends. He must have felt, in this recoil, with the utmost bitterness of disappointment and remorse, that there are human obligations too sacred, and human feelings too precious to be sacrificed at the shrine of politics and power ; and that ambition itself may be best promoted, as it is best enjoyed, by a partnership of the heart. Had the emperor never discarded her who linked her fortune and her fate with the young officer of artillery who had “ nothing but his sword *,” he would probably have died on the throne of France, and not upon the rock of St. Helena.
The object of Maria Louisa's infatuated passion was not formed, according to .common notions, to captivate a princess ; — he was destitute of the graces of person and mind. His face was whimsi
* Whilst his marriage with Madame Beauharnois was pending, he escorted her, one day, to the residence of her notary. The lady and the notary went into another room, and the man of business strongly advised her not to marry a young officer, “ with nothing but his sword.” Napoleon, the day after he had placed on the head of Josephine an imperial crown, commanded the attendance of the notary, and abruptly addressed him, “ Well, M. — have I nothing but my sword now?”
cally mutilated. All that remained of one eye was the dim disfigured socket. She afterwards satisfied her scruples, or sanctified her shame, by that religious mockery of the German courts, – a marriage with the left hand. Count Niepperg died some time since, leaving several children by the ex-empress, who are acknowledged, and bear imperial titles.
Pending the military preparations and political negotiations and intrigues of Napoleon, the allies were employed in the same way, with less activity, but with more success. A military conference was substituted for the congress at Vienna, to determine the plan of the campaign. The first meeting, held on the 31st of May, in the presence of the emperor of Russia, by the princes Schwartzenberg, Wrede, and Wolkonski, lord Cathcart, and general Knesebeck, military representatives of Austria, Bavaria, Russia, England, and Prussia, resolved as a basis that three grand armies should be formed on the lower and upper Rhine, under the orders of Wellington, Blucher, and Schwartzenberg. Prince Schwartzenberg, general Knesebeck, and the duke of Wellington, severally submitted their views in writing to the conference. * The memorial of prince Schwartzenberg is dated Vienna, April 20th. 6 It would be dnngerous," says he, "to indulge flattering illusions. . The time which might prove favourable to a project of invasion is gone by; the armies of the allies being in general too remote from the frontiers of France. The means of resistance of the French are numerous," &c. He calculates, however, that the