Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

194

THE BATTLE OF HOHENLINDEN.

of Campo Formio ; but Francis in the mean time, having received a subsidy of two millions from Baitain, refused to ratify the treaty, unless that power was included in the peace. This occasioned a rupture, as Bonaparte insisted on a separate treaty, and hostilities were resumed. The emperor of Austria applied for the extension of the armistice, which he could only obtain at the price of the surrender of Philipsburg, Ulm, and Ingolstadt, with their dependant forts. The armistice, which was limited to forty-five days, having expired, hostilities were recommenced. Encouraged by several partial advantages, the archduke John, who commanded the Imperial army, ventured to make a general assault upon the French line at Hohenlinden on the 3d December. The contest was obstinate and sanguinary ; a division of the republican troops debouched upon the left wing and centre of the Austrians, with irresistible force, broke their line, reached the great road, and assaulted the left flank and rear of the imperial column. The Austrians with their usual firmness maintained the conflict for several hours, but were at length broken by the impetuosity of the French, thrown into irretrievable confusion, and entirely defeated, with the loss of fifteen thousand men killed or taken prisoners. The battle of Hohenlinden was decisive of the contest ; and the emperor finding it impossible to oppose the rapid career of the victorious French, renewed the negotiation, and being released from his engagements to Great Britain, it terminated in the peace of Luneville.

Thus, in one year, the wonderful genius of Bonaparte, retrieved the affairs of France, and restored the glory of the French arms, in all quarters ; reconquered Italy and all their former acquisitions, which had been lost, dissolved the coalition, humbled the Emperor of Austria, and obtained peace, with all the enemies of the Republic, except Great Britain, who remained alone in the dreadful struggle.

CHAPTER X.

The emperor Paul becomes dissatisfied with Great Britain.... Dispute between Denmark and England as to the right of search.... Maritime confederacy formed in the north in defence of neutral rights....

The first consul charges Great Britain with attempting to establish a universal maritime dominion.... Power

of France....She makes great preparation and threatens to in? vade England.... Alarm in that country....Affairs in Egypt re

sumed.... A convention concluded.... The English government refuse to ratify it....Great victory near Heliopolis.... Kleber assassinated.... His great worth.... Menou succeeds to the command....His ridiculous conduct.... British expedition arrives in the Mediterranean...

.... The troops land, and are attacked by the French near Alexandria.... The latter are defeated.... English march to Cairo.... The garrison surrenders.... Alexandria besieged, capitulates, and the French troops are surrendered.... Treaty of peace concluded between Great Britain and France.

All the enemies of France being removed except Great Britain, the republic exerted all its power and diplomatic influence and intrigue, to turn the tables upon England, and to form a combination against that power which had been the soul of all the coalitions formed against France. The autocrat, Paul, had become disgusted with the coalition and the allies at the close of the campaign of 1799, considering that his soldiers had fought the battles, and that the Austrians had possessed themselves not only of all the political advantages of the victories of the allies, but of all the glory ; his enmity to England, which had been growing for some time, was inflamed to the highest pitch by the capture of Malta, without its being ceded to him as Grand Master.

A dispute had also arisen between Great Britain and Denmark, relative to the old maritime question as to the right of search; the British having exercised this right upon a fleet of merchantmen under convoy of a Danish frigate.

Bonaparte, aware of the unfriendly dispositions of Paul towards Great Britain, knowing his capricious character, and being acquainted with the maritime dispute between Denmark and England, determined

[ocr errors][merged small]

to avail himself of these circumstances, and to turn them to good account in promoting his schemes of hostility against Great Britain. He formed the plan of the northern maritime confederacy, and humoring the whims, and flattering the pride of Paul, he persuaded him to approve the scheme; and from his influence, Denmark and Sweden were induced to join, and a formidable maritime confederacy was formed in the north for the defence of neutral rights, upon the same basis, and for the same object as the armed neutrality, formed by Holland and the northern powers against Great Britain during the American revolutionary war.

Paul immediately laid an embargo on the British shipping in his ports; a long discussion ensued between Great Britain and the northern powers as to maritime rights, which resulted in nothing, leaving the parties where it found them, and each side in their own opinion having the better of the argument. The confederates contended for the principles that the right of search should be restricted to merchant vessels not under convoy of national ships, seizures confined to contraband articles, and that the flag should protect the goods on board, and that free and neutral bottoms made free and neutral goods. The king of Prussia afterwards favoured the maritime confederacy, Bonaparte having sent his brother Louis as minister to the court of Berlin.

In his messages to the Legislative bodies, the first consul constantly charged England with prolonging the war: “Why is it," said he, " that the treaty of Luneville is not a general pacification ? this was the wish of France, this was the constant object of the efforts of its government.” He also charged Great Britain with attempting to establish a universal maritime dominion, and of advancing pretensions contrary to the rights and dignity, of all nations ; talked much about the liberty of the seas, free trade, and declared that France would avenge the injuries common to all nations, and contend only for the peace and happiness of the world. These sentiments were reiterated by the

POWER OF FRANCE-INVASION OF ENGLAND.

197

constituted authorities, and the press laboured incessantly in the same cause.

About this time the consular government signified their intention of putting down the maritime pretensions of England, incompatible with the rights of other nations, in a novel and curious manner. The National Institute of France presented a quantity of books, magnificently bound, to the Royal Society of London ; accompanying which, was a complimentary letter, signed “ Bonaparte, President of the National Institute, and First Consul of France.” On this letter was an elegantly executed vignette, representing the Genius of Liberty sailing on the open ocean in a shell, with the following motto:

LIBERTE DE MER." France, at this period, (1801) was immensely powerful, the general pacification gave the government a vast disposable force, and she was greatly strengthened by her allies. Active preparations on a scale of great magnitude were made for invading England. An immense number of troops were collected at Amiens, Bologne, and other places, called, the chosen army.' The building of ships and other operations for a vast armament, went on rapidly, not only upon the coasts of France, but of Holland.

Aided by the Spanish and Dutch, the French gov. ernment commanded a powerful marine; the combined fleets of France and Spain that lay in the harbour of Brest alone, amounted to fifty-two sail of the line. The whole sea-coast was divided into six maritime prefectures, in each of which a prefect was appointed; and not only ships, but gun-boats, and flatbottom boats, were built and equipped, throughout the Dutch and Flemish coast, as well as that of France, and redoubts were erected and furnaces prepared for heating balls in places supposed to be most liable to attack by the British.

In England, great alarm prevailed'; corps of volunteers were formed in almost every town and village in the kingdom; the mechanic threw aside his tools, and shouldered his musket; military parades and reviews

198

OPERATIONS IN EGYPT.

were to be seen in every direction, and the whole country exhibited a warlike appearance. The fleet from the Baltic returned, and their naval force became so extensive and formidable as to blockade the whole coast of France. Attempts were made to destroy the French gun-boats; an expedition was fitted out, under the command of Lord Nelson against Dunkirk and Bologne, which sustained a heavy loss and accomplished nothing important.

We will now return to Egypt. When Bonaparte left there, near the close of the year 1799, he had made overtures for a pacification with the Ottomans, and the negociation being continued by-Kleber, who was left in command, a convention was concluded in January, 1800, by which the French were to evacuate Egypt. This was agreed to by Sir Sydney Smith, notwithstanding which, Lord Keith, commanding the English fleet in the Mediterranean, received orders from the British ministry, not to ratify the convention, and to capture all French vessels returning to France. In consequence of the treaty, the French had delivered up several posts, and the grand vizir demanded the surrender of Cairo. This was refused by Kleber, on the ground that the English had refused to ratify the convention, which he considered as at an end, and signified his intention of renewing the war. Both parties were engaged in preparation until the 20th of March, when a great battle was fought near Heliopolis. In this engagement, the French troops, consisting of fifteen thousand men defeated 80,000 Mussulmen. The conflict was dreadful, and the slaughter immense ; more than 8000 men were killed, besides the wounded and prisoners. After this decisive action the negociation was renewed, the British government representing that they were not apprised that the convention had been agreed to by Sir Sydney Smith, when they ordered admiral Keith to disregard it, and professing their willingness to ratify it. But before the negociation was brought to a conclusion, Kleber was cruelly assassinated by a Turkish aga. This was an irreparable misfortune to the French army in

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »