and the countenance, even in their domestick seclusion. Whoever has had occasion to know the present state of Parisian society will be struck with the prophetick accuracy of the following description, as applied to the aspect it wore at the period of which we are speaking. “Non alias magis anxia et pavens civitates gens adversum proximos, congressus, colloquia, nota ignotaque aures vitari, etiam muta atque inanima tectum et parietes circumspectabantur. Unde plena omnia suspicionem et vix secreta domuum sine formidine. Sed plurimum trepidationes in publico. Ut quemque nuntium fama attulerat animum vultumque conversi, ne diffidere dubiis, ne parum gaudere prosperis viderentur," &c. “ Coacto vero in curiam senatu, arduus rerum omnium modus, ne contumax silentium, ne suspecta libertas." [Tacit. Hist. Lib. i.]

In the midst of disquietude and fear, publick festivals were multiplied, in order to give an air of confidence to the administration at home; and an unusual degree of splendour brightened the court of the empress, who remained in Paris, and took a principal share in these mummeries of despotism. Her majesty was constantly glittering before the publick eye, either at the brilliant cercles of the Thuilleries, the numerous and magnificent fêtes of the Luxembourg and the Garde-Muble, or in the theatres, at the meanest of which she condescended to assist, and to inhale the incense of the multitude. The bulletins announcing the most brilliant successes were regularly kept back for some days, and rumours of disaster intentionally circulated, that the grateful intelliger.ce might produce the greater sensation. These, and other contrivances, however, we are informed, had but little effect in quickening the sluggish loyalty of the body of the people. That emulation of servitude, which is so signally conspicuous in the publick bodies, great officers, and “ mercenary Swiss" of state ; and to which, under all absolute governments, the bigher ranks have evinced so disgraceful a propensity, is but little seen among the lower classes of France ; who mani. fest, for the most part, a chilling indifference to the personal exhibitions of the imperial family, and appear to have lost, in this respect, all the characteristick fervency of their cation.

These trembling anxieties, and humble precautions, will probably appear strange to those who only view at a distance the gigantick frame of this tremendous government, and have not refiected on the various dangers which precipitate the fall of a power founried in force. History shows, with what rapidity of descent old and deeply rooted establishments have sometimes fallen lo the ground: and the circumstances of the French capital, in 1806, may warrant the presumption, that a system, resting only, as it were, on the surface, by its own oppressive weight-with no prescriptive authority with few artificial barriers with no titles to veneration or love-might have been struck down by the first gust of adversity. The alarm which was evidently felt, while it gilds the future with a ray of hope, practically illustrates a great maxim, which cannot be too often inculcated upon the rulers of every country, that for power, there is no more perishable foundation than fiar. “Qui vero," says Cicero, “ in libera civitate ita se instituunt, ut motuantur, his nihil esse potest dementius: quamvis enim demersæ sint leges alicujus opibus, quamvis timetacta libertas, emergunt tamen hæc aliquando, aut judiciis tacitis, aut occultis de honore suffragiis : acriores autem morsus suni intermisse libertatis, quam retentæ.” (Cic. de Cfficiis, lib. ii. cap. vii. ]

We may readily believe, that, if the conscription be hateful to Frenchinen it must be still more so to the countries annexed to their empire. In Italy, and the low countries, many motives conspire to sharpen the sensi

bility of the sufferers, and to foment that rancorous animosity which, as we are assured, is generally entertained against their oppressors. Their hereditary antipathies, well known to the reader of history, and certainly not to be subdued by the events of our own era; the incalculable and heart. struck evils inflicted upon them by the republick and her armies, “the record of which is written in the flesh, and cannot be erased;" the ruin of their old and favourite institutions; the defacement of their monuments of superstition and art; the impoverishment of all classes, and the actual stop. page of every source of private comfort and publick prosperity." the exacerbation of past and present wrongs, they send forth their youth with a reluctance which may be easily imagined, and of which their oppressors are fully aware. In the distribution of the levies among the departments, the contingent allotted to the incorporated territories is designedly small; but the proportion, nevertheless, of their refractory conscripts is astonishingly great; and the coercive measures for the punishment of disobedience, tend to increase the odium of the law itself. The common ends of political dominion, and the purposes of fiscal regulation, of the conscription, and of espionage, have given a monopoly of all offices of profit or trust to Frenchmen, whose conciliatory manners and affected moderation are insufficient tu allay the jealousy resulting from their intrusion. As the Romans spread themselves over the provinces of their empire, these new conquerors inundate every country where the supremacy of iheir arms is felt and acknowledged. The Napoleon code and the language of its authors are established in the courts of Westphalia ; and the governments and civil employments are administered almost exclusively by Frenchmen. Clerks have been draughted from the post offices of Paris to conduct similar establishments in Hamburgh and Dantzick. The customhouse officers of Bordeaux and Nantz regulate the whole Baltick coast. In the countries nominally allied to France, which are treated with less lenity than the territories annexed to her empire, publick authority is every where exercised by Frenchmen; and what the rescript of the imperial legislator spares, private rapacity does not fail to devour. The members of the confederation of the Rhine are not subjected to the conscription ; for, like the Romans, whose policy it was, not to make their subjects or allies as warlike as themselves, the modern pacificators exact no very copious supplies of men, but extort incredible contributions for the pay and clothing of their own troops. Mol. lien, the minister of the French treasury, in the printed budget of 1807, felicitates his emperour, on this subject, in the following terms.

• Your majesty, sire, has protected your people, both from the scourge and the burdens of war.

Your armies have added to their harvest of glory one of foreign contributions; which has assured their support, their clothing, and their pay.” This compliment has nothing of the exaggeration of fattery. During the whole of the last campaign in the north, the treasury of Paris was overflowing. It is their object,f not merely to crush the armies, but

* See Brissot's address to his constituents for an official statement of the sufferings of Delgium during the revolution.

† In the report of the minister of war, of July 1807, on the results of the war with Prussia, the number of Prussian prisoners is estimated at 5179 officers, and 123,418 privates and subalterns; and of killed, at about 50,000. Comparing this statement with the official report of Berlin in 1805, we should have about 60,000 men for the Retual force of that once potent monarch. The report of Visconti, one of the directors of the “ Musée Imperiale des Arts,” descrves to be placed by the side of that of ihe war minister. It records 350 paintings; 242 rare and precious manuscripts,

Yofthem oriental; 50 staties; 80 hists ; 192 articles of bronze, armour, &c.

to ruin the finances of that quarter, in order that the means and the hope of future resistance, may be more completely extinguished. In the above. mentioned Rationarium, the “ Recettes extraordinaires et exterieures," are stated at more than thirty-two millions of livres; a sum exclusive of the exactions for the maintenance of the troops, the splendid establishments of the generals, and the gratification of private cupidity. This surplus is thrown into the list of " ways and means,” to give colour to an idea publickly instilled, that foreign tribute will one day wholly exonerate the mas. ters of the world from the burdens under which they now groan; as in the history of the Roman power, the military at all times, and, at one period, the whole states of Italy, were exempted from taxation.

If there be one principle of military discipline sanctioned by the universal experience of mankind, it is, that soldiers should be kept in a state of unremitting activity. No great commander has ever appeared, with whom this was not a leading maxim; and it may be taken as an axiom, that no conquering army will ever issue from the walls of an idle garrison, or the ale.

a populous city. In attending to the general analogy of our constitution, we must be at once sensible, that the soldier who, when at a dis. tance from the theatre of war, is not inured to extreme labour, and the officer whose eye is not habitually exercised in contemplating the image of his profession, in somewhat of its native proportions, can never be well prepared for the duties of a campaign. The science of command, and the mechanism of subordination, are not to be acquired by the mere manual training, or by the evolutions of small bodies of men ; but must be studied on a large scale in great camps and general movements. All the commen. tators on the tacticks of the ancients, are struck with the importance which they attached to these objects; and represent the fatigues of their military, even in an interval of peace, as prodigies of human endurance. Augustus, Adrian, and Trajan employed the 170,000 men that constituted the peace establishment of their empire, in publick works; and it is to their labours that we may trace the great roads, bridges, and causeways, of which such magnificent vestiges are still extant in the southern parts of Europe. We need not expatiate upon the chances of success for a general who wages war with an army to which there is truly no other difference between the field of battle and the field of parade, than the effusion of blood.

There is no part of the Roman policy which the French have more stu. diously copied, than their attention to military discipline. It is their intention, as they express it, to form “* Une generation piropre à la guerre et à la gloire-“Un peuple guerrier porté à la gloire par ses lois," &c. And for this purpose, the boys of all the lycées of the empire are made to march to their classes by the sound of the drum, and are taught the manual exercise during their hours of recreation. The exercises of the conscripts, after their union at the depots, are incessant, and of a nature to qualify them for the severest hardships. Not a moment of rest is allowed in the short interval between their incorporation and their march to the frontiers or to the enemy. The troops retained in France, which always consist of raw recruits, are collected in numerous bodies, and disciplined without intermis. sion, upon a scale large enough to familiarize the private to the tumult of general action, and the officer to the use of the military coup d'æuil. The

as the spoil which, “ the Protector of the Arts” had collected in the north during bis campaign.

* A generation devoted to war and to glory—A warlike people carried on to glory hy their laws, &c.

camp of Boulogne is intended for this purpose ; and should rather be imi. tated as a nursery for soldiers, , than dreaded as an assemblage of invaders. Fatigue, and the penalties of misconduct, make a dreadful havock among the conscripts, whose youth and condition entail a peculiar delicacy of frame and habits. The waste of life, however, is not one of the objects of imperial solicitude. An unlimited control over the population of the country enables them to replace every deficiency,* and the survivers are poured into the field with bodies moulded into strength,t and minds completely broken to the yoke. Thus, it was found that, with the aid of this probation, -of austere discipline,-and of confidence in their commanders, the French troops supported the privations and severities of the winter campaign of Poland, better than their adversaries, who fought under every natural ad. vantage.

The fear of punishment, the dread of shame, and the hope of reward, are all made to operate in their system with the strongest effect. Blows, which tend to weaken the sense of personal dignity, are never given ; but, when the resources of reproach and disgrace prove insufficient, recourse is had to the utmost rigours of solitary imprisonment, and to the penalties we have detailed in a former part of this article. They know the full value, too, of that esprit de corps, which has so often changed poltroons into heroes; and employ every art to excite and maintain it, by minute divisions and invidious oppositions, employed particularly during the operations of a campaign. It requires little more than one or two years to make veterans of men thus fashioned and conducted; who, according to the bent of their genius, are precipitated in every movement, and led on impetuously to every attack; and whose murmurs, if time were given for the intrusion of discontent, would be lost in the tumults of incessant agitation. By the dispersion of the new conscripts, as we have seen, individually, among their veteran predecessors of a few campaigns, disaffection evaporates without danger to the government; and the former are gradually assimilated to their companions. Once without the sphere of their domestick attractions, with no hope of escape, and conscious that their destiny is irreversibly fixed, they accommodate themselves to circumstances with the facility which belongs to a temperament preeminently flexible and ardent. They are kept as much as possible beyond the frontiers, not merely for the purposes of conquest and rapine, but in order that they may the sooner lose the qualities of the citizen, and become altogether the creatures of the general. With a view to render this conversion more perfect, and more secure for the government, the principal leaders are frequently transferred from one corps to another, in order that no dangerous attachment to individuals may arise from a long continuance in the same command. If their service has

* Were I to raise a new army, says Machiavel, I would choose them between 17 and 40 ;-to recruit an old one, I would always have them of 17. [Art. de la Guerre, liv. I. c. 6.]

† We have received a particular account of the toilsome and incessant exercises of a body of 20,000 men, encamped at Meudon, in August 1806, under the pretext of rewarding their exploits in the north with a great festival at Paris. This was meant as a mask to their leaders' designs upon Prussia, which were then irrevocably determined. No festival was ever celebrated; but the troops were exercised for six hours a day in a deep and wet meadow, Buonaparte himself directing their manæuvres the whole time; and sometimes under a course of almost incessant rain and tempest.

| Machiavel (Art. de la Guer.] attributes all the civil wars and conspiracies of the Roinan empire, after the time of Julius Cesar, to the maintenance of the generals in the same command.

its extraordinary hardships, it has also its peculiar rewards. Their prototypes of antiquity never more successfully reconciled the restraints of discipline and the license of pillage. Death is inexorably inflicted, as we have seen announced in their bulletins, for the slightest transgressions, when it is deemed expedient to enforce order: but we need not be told, that the signal for riot is often given by the general, and the abstinence of the soldier fully requited. After twenty years, he becomes of right a member of the legion of honour; and, as such, is entitled to a small pension for life. This long term, however, is anticipated in numerous instances. Individuals who signalize themselves are promoted on the field of battle, or singled from the ranks with the most encouraging solemnities; and sometimes, for very obvious reasons, invested with the insignia of the order, and dismissed to their homes with the booty they may have acquired.

By a law of the directory, no persons (with the exception of engineers) could become officers, who had not served three years in a subordinate capacity. The revolution naturally opened the way to merit ; and, seconded by this admirable policy, has filled all the posts of their army with men who unite in themselves the qualities of the soldier with the excellences that qualify for command. It is not hazarding too much to assert, that nine tenths of the present French officers have sprung from the ranks. Educated in distant camps, they know no other country; and, habituated by long devotion to the trade of war, it has become their element and their passion. Their whole fortune is staked on the sword; and their attachment is there. fore necessarily secured, under the auspicious influence of a leader, whose indefatigable ambition occupies them in their favourite pursuits, and whose liberal impartiality feeds the hope of preferment, and divides the fruits of conquest. To their credit and example is due much of that spirit, which notwithstanding the causes of alienation heretofore detailed, seems to ani mate the whole frame of the army; and no small share of that portentou success which has attended the course of the French arms. Of the eightee marechaux d'empire, fourteen have either emerged from the ranks, or cended from the lowest employinents.* Most of the generals of divisio **

* Bessieres, originally a common soldier, became in 1796 a captain of infantry in t army of Italy.—Brune, a printer at the commencement of the revolution, a member the club of Cordeliers, and an intimate friend of Danton, commenced his military asse reer in 1793.-Augereau, a private in the Neapolitan service in 1787, became stico after a fencing master at Naples; in 1792 entered as a volunteer in the army of Itale and in 1794 was a general of brigade in the army of the Pyrennces.- Bernadotte the coinmencement of the revolution, a serjeant in the regiment de royal marine 1794 a general of division.—Jourilan enlisted in 1778, but left the service in 17 was a shopkeeper at the commencement of the revolution.- Kellerman began his co reer as a simple hussar in the regiment of Confans.- Lasnes, originally a common du dier, became, in 1795, adjutant of division in the national guard of Paris.-Massen Jena subaltern in the Sardinian service at the beginning of the revolution, in 1793 bec a general of brigade.- Jortier, a captain of a volunteer company in his native vince at the same period.-Ney, a hussar, an adjutant general in 1796, after på through all the inferiour grades.- Leferbre, son of a miller of Alsace, became : Soci jeant in the regiment of French guards before the revolution.-Perignon, after a as a justice of peace at Montesch, engaged in the army, and passed rapidly thr all the subordinate grades, and, in 1794, commanded the army of the eastern F nees.-Soult was a subaltern before the revolution, in a regiment of infantry, a adjutant general in 1795.-Murat served originally in the constitutional gus Louis XVI; became afterwards an officer in the 12th regiment of chasseurs à &c.-Jungt began his career in 1792, as a grenadier in one of the volunteer bath commanded by general Pille; and, in 1796, was one of the aids-de-camp of parte.

« VorigeDoorgaan »