« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
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.-Con. ference at Haguenau.- Fouché secretly embraces the Interest of the Bourbons.
Advance of the Allied Armics.-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 ou Langres.-General Frimont drives the French from the Valley of the Arve.—Bubna takes the Tele-de-Pont at Arly. The Grand Army, under the Sovereigns, enters France without Opposition. Situation of the French Provisional Government. They have no Influence 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 Alied 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 the victorious generals of the allies advantage of the victory of Waterloo, acted; and so successfully, that the and to prostrate their antagonists while imperfect means left for the defence they yet staggered under that terrible of France against her invaders, were blow. rendered useless by the rapidity of The retreat of the disorderly crowd their movements. Well taught by which was once called the grand experience, they no longer sate down French army, had taken instinctively to wonder at their own success, as if the route to their own frontiers. (were it lawful to alter the scriptural Closely followed, and harassed at every phrase) “ sufficient for the day had step by the Prussians, they flocked heen the glory thereof." All mea- along the main road from Charleroi sures were hastily adopted by Wol.. like a drove of out-wearied, and yet
terrified cattle. Where that road di- high-road passes as it leads from Navides into two branches, one leading mur to Dinant. Here they lost many to Avesnes and the other to Philippe- men and cannon. But by dint of saville, the fugitives separated them- crificing the rear, the French generals selves, no one pretending to give any were enabled to conduct to Rocroi, general direction, and followed either and from thence to Laon, about twenroute as chance or choice directed each ty thousand men, in much more toleindividual, or group of flyers. Not- rable plight as to arms, arrangement, withstanding Buonaparte's orders, no and military equipment, than those attempt was made to assemble any whom Soult bad rallied in that neigh. force at Avesnes : Soult contrived at bourhood. And although Grouchy's Mezieres to collect about four thou. retreat cost greatly more than one. sand stragglers, destitute of cannon, third of his troops, yet, in the circumbaggage, and arms, with whom he stances in which he was placed, it was withdrew under the walls of Laon. by no common exertions of generalThere they were joined by other ship that he prevented the same total stragglers, and at length by the corps dissolution of his army which had be. of Grouchy and Vandamme.
fallen that of Napoleon. The AvenThis division of the French army ger of Blood was in the mean time had fought the battle of Wavres, it pressing on their footsteps. will be remembered, on the 18th; Blucher, on the second day after and, upon receiving the news of that the battle, was under the walls of of Waterloo, was the following day Avesnes, which he carried by escaunder the necessity of commencing a lade, taking five and forty pieces of perilous retreat in front of the Prus
To give the French a feel. sian corps with whom they had been ing of those severities which they engaged, and which had formerly re- had often inflicted on the German tired before them, but now instantly and Spanish prisoners of war, he diresumed the offensive. The attack of rected that the captive garrison of Thielman, which took place so soon Avesnes should be employed to work as the French columns began to re- on the fortifications of Cologne, and treat, was made with such fury, that the officers confined in the citadel of great slaughter ensued; Vandamme Wessep; “ all,” as the Prince-Mar. bimself was wounded, several guns shal's dispatch steroly expresses it, were taken, and the French division, " to be treated with the necessary with difficulty and loss, fell back upon severity.” It had been agreed beNamur. Here Grouchy resumed his tween Wellington and Blucher, that, retreat, committing to Vandamme, without paying attention to the strong with the rear-guard, the difficult task barrier towns of Lisle and Valenof protecting it
. The French lined the ciennes, &c. but leaving them to be decayed and imperfect and ruined de- masked by the other troops of the fences of that once strong town, and coalition as they came up, the victodefended them with success against rious armies of Britain and Prussia the van-guard of the pursuers. But should, with the least possible delay, when the main body of the Prussians march forward on Paris. After the came up, scaling ladders were applied, capture of Avesnes, therefore, the the place carried by storm, the de. Prince-Marshal continued his march fenders driven through the streets, upon Laon, and occupied St Quentin and pursued with great loss along the in his route. The same severity which difficult and narrow defiles which the dictated the order from Avesnes regula lated the Prussian conduct on their Colville, who commanded the British march. Blucher acted on the avowed forces, hazarded an attack by escaprinciple, that France should feel the lade, made at four ditferent points. effects of war as a future lesson, and, . The coup-de-main perfectly succeed. it must be'owned, his soldiers willing- ed, in some degree with the aid of ly seconded the views of their chief. the citizens of the place, who were Nothing could be more strongly con. zealous royalists. The citadel surtrasted than the two parallel lines on rendered in the course of the next which the Prussians and British march day. The King of France soon after ed to Paris; and the stern vengeance entered this town, and was received of the Prince Marshal will long re. with great rejoicing Peronne, a pace main recorded upon the former, in so strong that it is said never to have characters of ruin and desolation, been taken, (and was therefore hi
The British general kept the more therio termed Peronne la Pucelle,) northern' road to Faris, and, owing to fell next in their line of operation. the necessity of halting two days after Garrisoned like Cambrai with national the severe action of Waterloo, only guards, who had no good will to the entered the French territories upon quarrel in which they had been en. the 20th of June. An order, made gaged, this town, so capable public at Binche on that day, appri- of defence, surrendered to June 26. zed the soldiers that they were about General Maitland, afier a to enter the territory of an ally of the horn.work, which covers the suburb respective sovereigns of the union, on the left of the Somme, had been and commanding, therefore, the most carried by storm. The garrison, like strict observance of discipline. 'I his that of Cambrai, laid down their order was so punctually obeyed, that arms, and was permitted to retire to the march of the British troops through their own habitations. France was acknowledged, by the in. While the British thus 'advanced habitants themselves, to have been with little opposition, the course of conducted with infinitely more atten- Blucher, who, owing to the delay oc. țion to public and private property, casioned by the capture of these two than had ever marked the conduct of towns, had gained a day's march in their own troops on similar occasions. advance, was not so bloodless. His The consequence was, that the British army occupied a line from Senlis were hailed in every town where they through Vikers Corereis to La Ferté arrived as triends' and protectors, ra- Milon. This position interposed the ther than regarded as an invading are whole Prussian army between Paris my. The country through which they and the body of French troops assemmarched was favourable to the Bour. bled under Souli and Grouchy at Labon 'cause, and readily and spontane. 011, which had now advanced as far ously raised the white flag, and as as Soissons toward the capital. The sumid he emblems of returning loy. situation of the latter became exalty. Cambiai, a town well fortified, tremely critical, and they were com. and strongly situated in a marshy pelled to hazard a desperate auack
and flat country, was sum. on the Prussian ceptre at Villers CoJune 24. moned by a detachment terets. hoping to break through Blu
from the right of Lord cher's position, and so force their way Wellington's army. It was garrisoned to Paris. The attack miscarried, with chiefly hy national guards, who show. the loss of six guns and a thousand ing some symptoms of indecision, Gen. prisoners; but the French generals,
nevertheless, found means, by a' ra- those who use them. The commis. pid movement to their right, to at- 'sioners were sent forward to Hagueiempt a second attack on the left wing nau, where the allied sovereigns, adof the Prince-Marshal. Here they vancing at the head of a large army, also sustained some loss; but never- held their head-quarters for the pretheless, by the skill and rapidity of sent. They had here a conference their movements, avoided the attempts with plenipotentiaries on the part of made to cut them off, and, crossing the allies. the Marne, gained the road to Paris That the name of Napoleon II. might through Meaux; and contrary, per- be no objection to the treaty, the haps, to their own expectations, as powers
of the commissioners to treat well as those of their enemies, carried were stated to be in the name, and for their forces unbroken under the walls the benefit of the French people. of the capital.
Their ostensible pleas, as already no. The provisional government rejoi- ticed, were founded upon the allegaced in the arrival of these troops, tion, that Buonaparte's elevation hachiefly as they gave them a colour of ving been the declared cause of the strength to give weight to the nego- allies having taken up arms, the sole ciation which they had already com- occasion of the war was removed by menced. Their commissioners and his abdication. They urged, that the plenipotentiaries, La Fayette, Ponte; allied powers had declared, that it coulant, with three others, with the was no part of their intention to versatile Constant for their secretary, force a government on the French had been dispatched to the head-quar- nation, and that the Prince Regent, in ters of the allies, with letters to Blu. particular, had declared, that, in accher and Wellington, soliciting an ar. ceding to the treaty of Vienna, be dîd mistice, and declaring that France pot bind the British government to had removed the only alleged cause insist upon the restoration of the Bourof the war, in receiving the abdica. bon family as an indispensable condition of Buonaparte. They were the tion of peace. The plain answer to bearers of letters from the provisional this plea was, that the clause in the government to the Prussian and Eng. treaty founded upon was so far from lish generals. And at the same time, barring the Prince Regent from gior soon after, letters were sent from ving assistance to his dethroned ally, Fouché and Davoust to the allied ge- Louis XVļII.; that, on the contrary, nerals, requesting an armistice. The it was qualified with the most express Duke of Wellington returned a civil acknowledgment of his rights, and of refusal. Blucher's language was more the intention of Great Britain to supharsh. “ Paris and France,” he said, port them so far as the events of war “ were at his mercy-he came to help would enable her to do, although the the honest men against the knaves, Prince Regent, wisely distrustful of and he warned Davoust not to treat futurity, declined to pledge the nation Paris as he had done Hamburgh.” to a prosecution of the war on that This was bitter language; but Nelson, sole ground. In a word, so far from who knew the French character well, renouncing the restoration of the was of opinion, that when dealt with Bourbons at the outset of the contest, according to the punctilious decorum it was pronounced a main object of of ceremonious intercourse, they are the war, to be pursued with all such apt to set down the courtesies which energy as was consistent in the first they receive as marks of timidity in place with prudence, and the regard
the pr rope,
due to their own states, in case re- valuable lives, and the sovereigns verses should render it of difficult at would have acted as foolishly as he tainment; and, in the second place, who, desirous to root up a poison-tree, subject, as the prosecution of every should only lop its topmost bough, such object must be, to the laws of in- and spare its stem and its roots. On ternational justice respecting France. the principle of self-preservation,
The battle of Waterloo, and its con- therefore, they were entitled, and quences, decided the first question, called upon, to tear up from the roots and gave the allies the full power of a government capable of renewing the restoring the king. The fundamental mischiefs to which it had formerly question remained behind, how far it given rise, and conducted, too, by the could be justly exercised, or was to be very same men, under whose direction considered as an act of tyranny and it had achieved all the evils of which oppression to the realm of France. its re-establishment threatened the The solution of this question must renewal. And this they were entitled clearly depend upon the character of to do by the means of a just, because ent government towards Eu
a necessary war, although every man and towards France.
in France had distinctly given his asThe first was the more importantsub. sent to this government, and was ject of consideration to the sovereigns, now willing to adhere to and maintain who had taken up arms to compel it. The principle would resolve into France, from whom they had sustained that by which war was declared against for twenty years so many acts of ag. Buonaparte, namely, that every state's gression, willing or not willing, to adopt right to chuse its own government such a mode of government as would must be necessarily qualified by the afford reasonable guarantees for the condition, that the government so peace of Europe. This was the ground chosen shall be consistent with the on which they attacked Buonaparte, safety and quiet of their neighbours. and it is plain that this provisional go. In justice, therefore, to the cause in vernment, composed of and supported which they had drawn their swords, by the very men who had been active the allies were compelled to refuse in his cause, and selected by him as a the terms of peace proposed by a goministry, had the same character of vernment, who, no more than Buonausurpation and violence which attach- parte himself, could offer any guaraned to his own. If the principles which tee for the tranquillity of Europe. they held out were of a more popular But we shall suppose the safety of Eucharacter, it was impossible for the rope out of question, and that the war allied sovereigns to forget that these had been only undertaken with the purwere the very principles which had pose of supporting an unfortunate ally before been perverted to so much driven from his throne, which has been mischief, and professed in many in- in all ages a common reason assigned stances by the very men who had for hostilities. It is clear that such a carried on a revolutionary war in war must be just or unjust, according Europe before Buonaparte rose to to the circumstances attending the distinction, for the express purpose expulsion of the prince whose cause is of altering every other government to espoused. If he has lawfully forfeited the model of the republic, one and his throne, the powerful ally who reindivisible. To have left these men in places him in bis authority abuses the possession of power, would have indeed superior force which he possesses, and been to have thrown away the fruits commits a gross crime against the naof a victory, bought by so many in- tional independence of the injured