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PLANS OF THE CAMPAIGN.
of the campaign ; the first was to have marched early in April, towards Brussels, and rallied the Belgic army under his standard, the English and Prussian armies, then being scattered and without commanders, or any plan of action. Wellington was at Vienna, and Blucher at Ber: lin, and many of the officers discharged on furlough. But this course was opposed by hopes of Peace, the unsettled state of France, and the want of an adequate force. Not more than 35,000 men, could have been collected for this service, and so small a force as this, could not have been assembled without abandoning the fortifications from Calais to Phillipsville, forming the triple line of the north.
It was first of all deemed necessary to expel the Bourbons from the French territory, and restore internal tranquility, which was not effected until the 20th of April, and if there was little prospect of peace, it was important to convince France of the moderate and pacific intentions of the emperor
The second plan was to act on the defensive, leaving to the allies the odium of commencing hostilities; to encounter them in fortified places; and having penetrated to Paris and Lyons, thence to commence vigorous and decisive operations, the main force being concentrated in the vicinity of these cities. This project would have afforded time to complete the levy and organization of the force deemed necessary for the national defence, before it would have been expected, to strike a decisive blow; besides, the enemy would be weakened by penetrating into the country, constantly opposed and harrassed.
The third plan was to commence hostilities before the allies could be prepared; to surprise them with the sudden opening of the campaign, and to defeat the English and Prussian armies in Belgium, before those of Russia, Austria, &c. should arrive on the Rhine. This plan required that operations should be commenced by the middle of June, it being thought impossible for the allies to begin offensive operations before the 15th of July. The defeat of the English and Russians in Flanders, was expected to occasion a rising in Belgium, in favour of the French, increase the unpopularity of the war in England, perhaps overthrow the ministry, and inspire France with
PLANS OF THE CAMPAIGN.
hopes and confidence; besides, this plan was more in conformity to the genius of the French armies, their leader, and their usual course of warfare, and avoided the dreadful inconveniences of suffering the enemy to penetrate into the heart of France, and occupy a large portion of its territory.
By the middle of June, 140,000 men could be assembled on the frontier of Flanders, leaving a chain of posts and garrisons in the fortresses. But was it possible with this force to beat two armies which covered Belgium ; the English of 104,000 men, and the Russian of 120,000, making together 224,000 men ? These two armies were under the command of two different generals, had separate cantonments, and might be attacked so as not to be able to afford each other assistance, besides with the exception of the English, they were considered greatly inferior. The French army was weakened by the removal of 20,000 men to La Vendee, which the extension of the insurrection in that quarter rendered necessary ; this lessened the chance of success, But Belgium and the four departments of the Rhine considered France as their deliverer, and some understanding existed between the French and the Belgic army. These considerations induced the emperor to decide in favour of the last plan; he intended, however, in case he failed in the attack, to fall back with his forces to the capital, and avail himself as far as he could of the advantages of the second plan.
From the frontiers we will return to the capital. The Champ de Mai was celebrated at Paris on the last of May. It was a grand national festival, magnificent and impressive.
“ The emperor's throne was placed in front of the military school, between two ampitheatres, in which 15,000 persons were seated. An altar was erected in the middie, and at the distance of about 100 fathoms, was raised another detached throne which commanded the whole Champ de Mai. The emperor having proceeded in magnificent procession to the Champ de Mai, seated bimself on the throne amidst universal acclamations.
Mass was then performed by the archbishop de Tours. When
CEREMONY OF THE CHAMP DE MAI.
mass was over, the members of the deputation of the electoral colleges advanced to the throne, and ascended the steps. They were about 500 in number, and were presented by the arch-chancellor of the empire. One of the members, M. Dubois, representative of the department of Marne and Loire, then pronounced an address in the name of the French people. He commenced in the following manner : 6 Sire- The French people had decreed you the crown, which
abdicated without their consent; its suffrages now impose on you the duty of resuming it. A new contract has been formed between the nation. Assembled from all quarters of the empire around the tables of the law, upon which we have just inscribed the will of the people—that will which is the only legitimate source of power-it is impossible for us not to repeat the cry of France of which we are the immediate organs, not to declare in the presence of Europe, to the august chief of the nation, what it expects from him, and what he ought to expect from it.” The speaker enquired what were the designs of the allies, and what has occasioned their aggression ? 6 We will not,” he exclaimed, “ have for our head him whom our enemies choose for us, and we will have him to whom they are adverse." “They presume," he continued, “ to proscribe you personally-You, sire, who, though so often master of their capitals, had generously established them on their tottering thrones! This hatred of our enemies, strengthens our attachment to you. Were the meanest of our citizens proscribed, we ought to defend him with the same energy: he would be, like you, under the ægis of the law, and of the power of France." The speaker then noticed the threatened invasion of France, “yet shut up within our frontiers which nature has not given us ?” Ought they not,” he adds, “to be afraid of reminding us of very different times, and of a very different state of things, which, however, might once more recur.” “Because France," he asks, “determines to be France, must she be degraded, torn, dismembered ; and is the fate of Poland reserved for us?” The speaker then declares that the allies cloak fatal designs under the mask of sole intention of separating the emperor from the nation. “ They would no longer be able (says the speaker) to be
CEREMONY OF THE CHAMP DE MAI.
lieve our oaths--we could no longer believe their promises. Titles—the feudal system-privileges-all that is odious to us, was evidently the aim and bottom of their thoughts." This energetic speech concludes in the following words--- Sire, nothing is impossible, nothing will be spared, to secure honor and independence, those goods more dear than life! Every thing will be done to repel an ignominious yoke. We say it to nations--may their chiefs hear us! If they accept your offers of peace, the French people will expect from your administration, strong, liberal and paternal motives to console it for the sacrifices which peace has cost us ; but, if they will leave us only a choice between war and shame, the whole nation rises entire for war; it is ready to extricate you from the offers, perbaps too moderate, which you have made, to spare Europe a new convulsion. Every Frenchman is a soldier. Victory will attend your eagles; and our enemies, who reckon upon our divisions, will soon regret having provoked us."
At the conclusion of this speech, the Champ de Mai resounded with shouts of Vive la nation! vive le
empeThe arch-chancellor then proclaimed the result of the votes, by which the additional act to the constitutions of the empire is accepted almost unanimously. There were 1,282,357 affirmative, and 4,207 negative votes. The chief of the heralds at arms then declared the acceptance of the additional act by the French people. New acclamations were heard from every part. chamberlain placed a table before the throne, on which was laid the additional act, and the arch-chancellor deliv. ered a pen to prince Joseph, who presented it to the emperor, and his majesty invested with his signature the act of the promulgation of the constitution. The table being removed, the emperor seated and covered, addressed the assembly. He said, “ Emperor, consul, soldier, I hold every thing for the people. In prosperity, in adversity, in the field of battle, in council, on the throne, in exile, France has been the sole and constant object of
my thoughts and actions. Like the king of Athens, 1 sacrificed myself for my people, in the hope of witnessing the realization of the promise given to gurrantee to France
THE EMPEROR'S SPEECH.
her natural integrity--her honor and her rights.” The emperor concluded his address in the following energetic terms: “Frenchmen, you are about to return into your departments. Tell the citizens that circumstances are, arduous !-that with union, energy and perseverance, we, shall come off victorious from the struggle of a great peo-, ple with its oppressors; that future generations will se-, verely scrutinize our conduct; that a nation has lost every thing when it has lost its independence. Tell them, that the foreign kings whom I raised to the throne, or who are indebted to me for the preservation of their crowns; who all, in the time of my prosperity, courted my alliance and the protection of the French people, are now aiming all their blows at my person.
If I did not see that it is against the country that they are really directed, I would place at their disposal this life against which they manifest such animosity. --But tell the citizens also, that while the French shall retain for me the sentiments of love, of which they give me so many proofs, this rage of our ene-. mies will be impotent.”
“ Frenchmen, my will is that of the people; my rights. are its rights; my honor, my glory, my happiness can never be distinct from the honor, the glory, and the happinessof France."
His majesty's speech was received with demonstrations of the warmest emotions, and when he had done speaking the archbishop of Bourges, approached the throne, and kneeling, presented the New Testament to the emperor, who took the oath in these terms, “ I swear to observe the constitutions of the empire and make them to be observed." The prince arch-chancellor, then, at the foot of the throne, first pronounced the oath of obedience to the constitution, and fidelity to the emperor. The assembly repeated, unanimously, “ we swear it."
The emperor then, on delivering the eagle and colors to the national guard, called upon
swear to de fond them at the price of your blood ?"--Universal cries
we swear it," resounded through the enclosure. The emperor said—“ Soldiers of the national guard of Paris-Soldiers of the imperial guard! I confide to you the imperial eagle with the national colors. You swear