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PATTLE OF WAGRAM.
Etzendorf and the right by Aspean; they were covered by redoubts surrounded by pallisadoes, and defended by one hundred and fifty pieces of cannon. The action was commenced at day light, and by six o'clock all of the Austrian fortifications between Essling and Etzendorf were taken, and almost the whole of the garrisons killed or wounded. The arch-duke endeavoured to outflank the French right, while they directed their principal efforts to break the Austrian centre near Wagram; and at evening had nearly gained that village, when two columns, one of French the other of Saxons mistaking each other, were thrown into confusion, which enabled the Austrians to recover the post.
The next morning Bonaparte perceiving that the arch-duke had weakened his centre to extend his flanks, and learning that the Austrians were outflanking his left, formed two strong columns, which, preceded by 100 pieces of artillery, advanced to within half musket shot of the Austrian centre, and then opened a tremendous fire which silenced their
and threw their ranks into disorder ; this was followed by a charge from the columns, which compelled the centre to give away ; the right wing, unable to sustain itself, fell back also, and soon the left followed the example. The fate of the day was decided ; victory again declared for her favourite. The Austrians fled and were pursued by the victors until the 12th, when they made overtures for an armistice. In the battle of Wagram, the French, according to their own accounts, took 20,000 prisoners, while their own loss was estimated at 1,500 killed, and 4,000 wounded.
A definitive treaty of peace between France and Austria was signed on the 14th of October, by which the latter ceded to the former all her sea-coasts, and the kingdoms of Bavaria and Saxony were enlarged so as to become more efficient checks upon Austria. Prussia was rewarded for her neutrality by the cession of part of Gallicia, and the legitimacy of Joseph as king of Spain, although he had been obliged to flee from Madrid, was recognized. These were the leading
230 HIS SPEECK TO THE SENATE-HIS DIVORCE.
articles of the treaty as published to the world ; but it is supposed that there was a stipulation of a domestic nature, which must bave wounded the feelings of Francis more than the sacrifices of territory which he was constrained to make.
After the return of Bonaparte to France, the sittings of the legislative body were opened by an imperial speech, in which the events of the year 1809, and the state of France at the close of it, formed the principal topics, as usual. “I was marching” he said
on Lisbon and Cadiz, when I was under the necessity of treading back my steps and planting the French Eagles on the ramparts of Vienna. Three months had witnessed the rise and termination of the fourth Punic war; which has made fresh additions to the glory and the continental preponderance of France."
In the course of the year 1809, Bonaparte deprived Switzerland of even nominal independence, which it had possessed, by declaring himself mediator of that country.
Early in the year 1810 Bonaparte “put away his wife" and took to himself another. He was induced to this measure solely by political considerations, and not like Henry the 8th or the present George the 4th, because he could not “ controul his inclinations." He appears always to have been attached to Josephine; his marriage to whom, undoubtedly contributed in some degree to his rapid fortune. The object of Bonaparte was to consolidate the great empire he had established ; and feeling secure during his own life time, he was looking forward beyond it. There was no prospect of his having issue by Josephine, and if there was, he thought that royal blood, and a connection with the house of Austria, would add to the stability of his throne, when possessed by his successor.
On the 27th of February, Bertheir was sent to Vienna to demand the hand of the arch-duchess Maria Louisa, daughter of the emperor Francis, with whom he had so long been contending. The marriage ceremony was performed at Vienna on the 11th of March, the arch-duke Charles representing Bonaparte, on
HIS MARRIAGE-ANNEXATION OF HOLLAND TO FRANCE.231
this occasion. What an interesting and delicate affair is a royal wedding. Politics are substituted for love, and matters of state, for marriage settlements. What changeable creatures kings are! One day they will attempt to murder each other in the field, and the next be engaged in forming matrimonial alliances. During twelve years Bonaparte and the arch-duke had been opposed to each other, in the strife of war, and now the latter personates the former, in a marriage of his own niece. Children never quarrelled and made friends again, with more ease than crowned heads.
Even Louis, Bonaparte's brother, was not disposed to join sufficiently hearty, in his continental restrictive system, and Napolean determined upon the annexation of Holland to France. This measure the emperor justified by alledging that the English orders in Council having destroyed the public law in Europe, the security of France required that the mouths of the Scheldt, the Meuse, the Rhine, the Ems, the Weser and the Elbe, should be under its controul, and internal navigation between France and the Baltic established. The Hans Towns were soon after added to the French empire, when it was said, “ that after a glorious struggle for ten years, the most extraordinary genius that ever nature in her munificence produced, had reunited and held in his triumphal hands the scattered wrecks of the empire of Charlemagne."
At this period decrees were passed for the more rigorous enforcement of the restrictive system ; military governors were appointed at the ports annexed to France; and all English merchandize, whether taken by land or sea, was to be burnt.
Several arbitrary decrees relating to internal affairs were passed ; one requiring all servants of both sexes to register their names in books to be kept by the . Prefects of the police. The liberty of the press was attacked by another ; there being no more than foug presses and sixty printers allowed in the capital, and two presses and a proportional number of printers in each of the departments.
232 EXTENT AND POWER OF THE FRENCH EMPIRE
To mitigate the privations occasioned by the restrictive system, the cultivation of the beet root, as a substitute for the sugar cane, and the plant woad, to supply the place of indigo, was enjoined; and so confident was Bonaparte of success in this scheme, that be prohibited the importation and use of the sugar and indigo of the West Indies as English commodities, to . take effect on first of Jannary 1813.
On the 20th of April the empress was delivered of a son, in whose behalf the title of “ King of Rome" was received. On the 26th of June the minister of the interior presented the annual expose, of the state of the French empire ; which stated, “ that since the last session, the empire had received an addition of 16 departments, five millions of people, a territory yielding a revenue of 100 millions of livres, 300 leagues of coast, with all their maritime means; the mouths of the Rhine, the Meuse, and the Scheldt were not then French; the circulation of the interior empire was circumscribed. The mouths of the Ems, the Weser, and the Elbe, place in our hands all the timber that Germany furnishes; the frontiers of the empire lean on the Baltic, and this having a direct communication with the north, it will be easy for us to draw from thence, masts, hemp, iron, and such other naval stores as we may want. We at this moment unite all that France, Germany and Italy produce as materials for the construction of ships.”
At this period the extent and power of France was at its greatest height; yet great as it was, it was not co-extensive with the ambition of its ruler. The period of its greatest power was also the period of its greatest weakness. As Bonaparte himself said, there was but one step between the sublime and the ridiculous, so it is often the case, that there is but one step between the greatest elevation and the Fall, of individuals and of Empires. Mortals are, placed on the surface ofthe earth, and when, disregarding nature's bounds, they soar too high, their heads becoming dizzy exposes them to fall. The enlargement of an Empire aug. inents its external strengtħ, but increases its internal
ITS INTERNAL WEAKNESS.
weakness; it becomes stronger as it respects its neigh. bours, but weaker in itself. But where the parts of an Empire are thrown together by conquest, and united only by force, its internal weakness is much greater, and the moment the force is removed it falls to pieces. Such an Empire is like a cask; it is not held together by any internal principles of union or sympathy among the parts, but by the external bands that surround it. The more extensive it is therefore, the greater is the strain upon the external bands of power, which keep it together; and if they once break, before they can be replaced the whole fabrick falls to pieces. Such was the condition of the French Empire in 1810 and 1811, preceding the war which broke out between France and Russia, which proved fatal to it, and dissolved the spell of Bonaparte's ambition, that had so long paralized Europe.
The Emperor Alexander is uneasy under the Treaty of Tilsit....
Protracted negotiation.... During which both parties make extensive preparation for war....
...Bonaparte joins the army... Declares war against Russia.... The Russians adopt the Fabian policy...Actions at Witepsk.... Macdonald sustains a severe loss and recrosses the Dwina.... Attack at Borodino.... The Russians abandon Moscow and deliver it up to the flames....
The French commence their retreat.... The winter sets in.... The dreadful calamities of the French army.... Destruction at Krasnai...The remains of the army reach Wilna.... Bonaparte proceeds to Paris.... Defection and revolt of the allies.... Great exertions of France to carry on the war.... Bonaparte returns to the army....Fixes his head quarters at Dresden.... The allies are defeated in several engagements and obliged to retreat.... The mediation of Austria....She declares against France.... Action at Dresden.... Moreau is killed.... Obstinate action at Leipsic.
The conditions of the treaty of Tilsit, bore hard upon the emperor Alexander, and he was disposed to free himself from them ; yet wished to avoid offend