The Reign of George III - (Continued.)
Coronation of Buonaparte and Josephine by the Pope - Creation of New French Nobility - These Ceremonies and Titles adopted by the Negroes of St. Domingo - Buonaparte addresses George III. as "Brother and King" - Intrigues against our Ambassadors on the Continent by Buonaparte - Seizure of Sir George Rumbold,_ at Hamburg - Coalition of Pitt and Addington - Addington made Lord Sidmouth - Spanish Affairs - Lord Melville compelled to retire from Office - Case of Mr. Peter Stuart - Melville expelled the Privy Council - Order for Melville's Impeachment by the Commons, for Frauds as First Lord of the Admiralty - Sidmouth resigns - Changes in Cabinet - New Continental League formed with England against France - Napoleon made King of Italy- Lead the Army of England against Germany - Bavaria joins France- Prussia and Baden remain Neutral - The French enter Bavaria - Mack, the Austrian General, beaten, and surrenders at Ulm - The Battle of Trafalgar, on the same Day as Mack's Surrender - The French enter Vienna - The Austrians driven out of Italy - The Austrians and Russians defeated at the Battle of Austerlitz - Austria makes Peace - Buonaparte gives Regal Titles to the Electors of Wurtemberg and Bavaria, and marches into the Austrian Territory - Marries his Relatives into these new Royal Families - Abortive Attempts to bring the Swedes and Russians against Buonaparte - Actions at Sea - Fight betwixt Admirals Calder and Villeneuve - Death of Nelson at Trafalgar - Fresh Mahratta War - Successful Campaigns of Lord Lake - Death of Pitt - The Grenville and Fox Ministry, called " All the Talents " Ministry - Abortive Negotiations with Buonaparte for Peace - Windham's System of Army Reform - Abolition of the Slave Trade - Trial and Acquittal of Lord Melville- Commission of Inquiry into the Conduct of the Princess of Wales - The English and Russians in Naples - Return of the French - Joseph Buonaparte proclaimed King of the Two Sicilies - The War in Sicily and Calabria maintained by the English, under Sir John Stuart and Sir Sidney Smith - Recovery of the Cape of Good Hope - Conquest of Buenos Ayres by Sir Hope Popham and General Beresford - Beresford captured - Proposals of General Miranda to England for the Subjugation of the Spanish American Colonies - Miranda's Attempt, with American Aid- Civil War in Hayti - Admiral Duckworth's Defeat of the French Fleet off St. Domingo - Other Sea Fights - Fresh Honours and Princedoms distributed by Buonaparte - Louis Buonaparte made King of Holland - Buonaparte organises a German Confederation and a Confederate German Array to fight for France - Makes War on Prussia - Overruns Brunswick and Saxony - Murder of Palm, the Bookseller, of Nuremberg, by Buonaparte - Defeat of the Prussians at Jena and Auerstadt - Buonaparte enters Berlin - Prince Hohenlohe defeated and taken at Prenzlow - Surrender of General Blucher - Buonaparte calls on the Poles to rise against Russia and Prussia - Makes an Ally of Saxony - The French, repulsed by the Russians, retire into Warsaw - Death of Charles Fox.Pages: <1> 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Buonaparte now prepared for his coronation. Whilst at Mayence, on the Rhine - where the German princes flocked to pay the most abject homage to him as their " protector," no nations, except England, Russia, and Sweden, keeping aloof - he dispatched one of his aides-de-camp, general Caffarelli, an Italian, to invite the pope to go to Paris to crown the new emperor and empress. Caffarelli was said to be selected for this embassage because he spoke the language well, and was a good diplomatist; but, in truth, there needed only to announce at the Vatican the wish of Buonaparte to have it fulfilled. Pius VII. had already been compelled to submit to the terms of the concordat, which had made such inroads into the ancient power of the church; and he knew very well that, to refuse this request, would bring down upon him fresh humiliations. Buonaparte, who affected to imitate Charlemagne as the founder of the French nation, passing over all the kings of France as unworthy of notice, determined to inaugurate the second empire by a still bolder stretch of authority than Charlemagne himself. That monarch had condescended to make the journey to Italy to receive the privilege of coronation from pope Leo; but Buonaparte resolved that the poor old pope Pius VII. should come to him in France. Pius left Rome on the 5th of November, attended by six cardinals, as many bishops, and two Roman princes, having sent forward as avant-courier cardinal Fesch, Buonaparte's maternal uncle, who had already risen to this dignity by the influence of his victorious nephew. The Alps were already covered with snow when the poor old pope had to cross them. He would fain have gone by sea to Marseilles, but Caffarelli reminded him of the probability of being intercepted by the heretic English, and carried to their schismatic island. The people on his route everywhere received him with the most profound veneration, and the peasants had secured the Alpine precipices by parapets wherever the passage was dangerous. He arrived at Fontainebleau on the 25th of November. Bourrienne and Savary relate the pains that were taken by Buonaparte to luanage so that he should secure a position of superiority over the pontiff in the meeting. Instead, therefore, of waiting to receive him at the Tuileries, he planned a hunting party at Fontainebleau, so that when the pope's carriage approached he should happen to be galloping across the road. When the pope's train approached the public-house, the " Half- Moon," at the top of the hill between Nemours and Fontainebleau, Buonaparte, at the head of his court, dressed ail in hunting costume, dashed out from amongst the trees just before the pope's carriage; then, perceiving the pope, Buonaparte stopped, and the pope, perceiving him, hastened to descend from his carriage. Rapp, who had been bred a protestant, laughed heartily with Bourrienne at the whole farce. The pope got out of the left door of his carriage in his white costume; the ground was dirty, he did not like to step upon it with his white silk shoes, but was obliged to do so at last. Napoleon alighted to relieve him. They embraced; and the emperor's carriage, which had been purposely driven up, was advanced a few paces: but men were posted to hold the two doors open. At the moment of getting in, the emperor took the right door, and an officer of the court handed the pope to the left, so that they entered the carriage by the two doors at the same time. The emperor naturally seated himself on the right; and this first step decided, without negotiation, the etiquette to be observed the whole time the pope was at Paris.
The pope, being driven first to the Tuileries, was afterwards lodged in the archiepiscopal palace, but an incident occurred in his removal which greatly amused the Parisians.
It was the etiquette at Rome that the Chamberlain should precede him on such occasions on an ass, and carry a large cross, such as is used in processions. The Chamberlain could not for the world depart from the practice, and accept a horse. Ail the grooms of the Tuileries were dispatched in quest of an ass, and, one being found, the Chamberlain, with his cross, rode, with a composure which nothing could disturb, through the immense multitudes who lined the quays, and could not help laughing at this odd spectacle, which they beheld for the first time.
Ceremonies equally or more odd were all this time going on in the Tuileries. As the coronation was to be conducted on a new plan, to resemble as much as possible that of Charlemagne, David, the painter, and Isabey, the miniature painter to the imperial court, were in full activity planning the costumes, and the arrangement of the chief figures and attendant groups who were to appear in the ceremony. It was something more than ludicrous - it was disgusting - to see this sanguinary and rancorous jacobin, David, who had figured in ail the horrors of the reign of terror, who had vowed to drink hemlock with Robespierre, and who had so often sworn destruction to ail tyrants and aristocrats, now busied, most blandly, and, to ail appearance, most earnestly, in preparing the inauguration of the great military despot. David had arranged the ceremonies for many an atheistical and deistical pageant and procession; he had painted and praised Robespierre and Marat, and scenes of Roman republicanism, for the imitation of France, and now he was employed to design the plan of this coronation of an imperial master by the man whom he and his fellow-revolutionists had styled the prince of superstitions! But M. Isabey far outvied him in ingenuity on this occasion. Buonaparte proposed that the whole scene, with its actors, should be represented or modelled in plaster, and then M. Isabey conceived a happy idea. He purchased a number of dolls in the shops, and dressed them in coloured paper, and placed them in the proper attitudes, and then grouped them, so that he astonished the emperor and court by presenting every one who was to be engaged in the great pageant exactly in the place, posture, and appearance, that he or she was to occupy. The emperor was delighted, and the coronation was repeatedly rehearsed in private before it was enacted in public and in reality. As Josephine was to be crowned with him, a serious objection was raised by the pope, that her marriage had not been celebrated by a priest, but merely in republican fashion, by a magistrate. It was necessary to be remarried, to satisfy the pontifical scruples, and this was done in private by cardinal Fesch.
The 2nd of December was the day fixed for the august occasion, and, by a circular letter, the mayors and chief municipal officers of the différent towns, and the magistrates and judges, and chief persons of note throughout France, were invited to attend and add to its importance by their presence. It was a trying occasion to the new dignitaries, most of whom had risen from very low stations, to play their parts under the critical eyes of many of the old! noblesse, who gathered to the spectacle, with what feelings it may be supposed; and not they only, but numbers of the German princes a ad barons, as well as Dutch and Spanish, to pay their court to the parvenu monarch. The Parisians, however they might acquiesce in the new style of things, could not forbear indulging in their ridicule of the awkwardness's of these grandees, who now shone in robes of state, but whom they had been more accustomed to see in the red night-caps and blouses of sans-culotteism. Not the least did they make merry over the grotesque appearance of the pope in his silk-embroidered shoes, cardinals in their red stockings, and the whole paraphernalia of these heads of the church. They were again amused at the sight of the popes Chamberlain preceding the papal carriage, riding on his ass, and holding aloft the huge cross. Marshal Serrurier carried the ring of the empress on a cushion; marshal Moncey, her mantle; marshal Murat, her crown; Pauline and Caroline, her sisters-in-law, bore her train. Marshal Kellermann carried the crown of Charlemagne; marshal Perignon, his sceptre; marshal Lefebvre, his great sword; marshal Bernadotte bore the collar of gold of the legion of honour; Eugene Beauharnais, Josephine's son, the imperial ring; and marshal Berthier, the symbolical ring and cross. Then came Buonaparte, arrayed in the imperial mantle, and carrying the sceptre and the hand of justice. At the grand entrance of Notre Dame, a cardinal presented the holy water, and the canons of the cathedral held up a rich baldaquin, over the head of Napoleon. The psalm, "Veni Creator," burstforth as the emperor and empress approached the altar and knelt. There was a great mummery of ceremonies performed by the courtiers, and the pope and cardinals celebrated high mass. Then the pope anointed Napoleon, and blessed the crown, the sceptre, the mantle, and the other regalia, and approached to take up the crown, and put it on the emperor's head. But there Napoleon prevented him. He had won the diadem himself, and he would receive it from no hand but his own - not even that of the so-styled vicar of Christ. He took up the crown and put it on his own head; he beckoned Josephine to approach and kneel, and he also placed her crown on her head himself. The poor pope, however annoyed he might be, submitted with a patient smile, and then, accompanying the emperor to an elevated throne, a fauteuil being placed beside it for the empress, and kissing Napoleon on the right cheek, he shouted - " Vivat Imperator in xternum! " which cry was echoed by thunders of " Long live the emperor and empress! " But these cries rose chiefly from the dignitaries themselves and the officials, and the spectators had to be stimulated to the act by the imperial functionaries. As the procession returned, the people gazing in cold silence, there were some audible murmurs of disgust in old jacobins, and even Bernadotte and Augereau looked gloomy and ill at ease.
And this was the end of so many years of overturnings, of murders of king, queen, and princes, of such wholesale guillotinings and drownings, to purge the country of royalty and aristocracy! And here they were more vigorous than ever: the persons only changed. One of the most characteristic facts of the day showed how intensely Buonaparte felt the wondrous elevation of his fortunes, and that he never forgot anything which wounded his vanity: he sent for M. Raguadeau, a public notary, who had formerly been Josephine's adviser, and whom he had once overheard expressing his astonishment at her intention of marrying him, observing that he had nothing but his cloak and his sword. His overhearing of this he had never mentioned even to Josephine, but now, whilst they were still clad in their imperial splendour, he had Raguadeau introduced, and said - " Well, Raguadeau, have I now nothing but my cloak and my sword? " Josephine heard the words with not less amazement than the confounded notary himself.
The day before the coronation, only, was presented to Napoleon the result of his election to the empire. The numbers who had voted in his favour were three millions five hundred thousand, and of those who had voted against him, three thousand five hundred. This the vice-president of the senate, Neufchateau, who presented it, declared to be the unbiassed expression of the people's choice, and that no monarch could plead a title more authentic. This was what Buonaparte himself always boasted. He said that, if he were not a legitimate sovereign, William III. of England was a usurper, for he was brought in chiefly by the aid of foreign bayonets; that George I. was placed on the British throne by a faction composed of a few nobles; but that he was chosen by the votes of nearly four millions of Frenchmen. In his last days, at St. Helena, he repeated these statements. But, to say nothing of the means by which even these numbers of votes were got up, what is the fact? The population of France was upwards of thirty millions, and yet, when called upon to vote in confirmation of the decree of the senate, for Napoleon as emperor, only three millions five hundred thousand had voted for him; the rest, therefore, whether voting against him, or prudently silent, must be held to be adverse. Had they desired him, they would have voted for him; had they dared, they would probably have voted against him - the very silence at his coronation said as much. There was, therefore, in fact, a majority of two-thirds of the nation against, instead of a majority for him; and, what is more, the act of the senate, and the votes of a small minority, which had, indeed, not seen waited for, annulled the votes of vast majorities of former years for the abolition of monarchy, which were by far more sacred, because they were majorities pronounced by the soul and enthusiasm of the nation. The advocates of Napoleon, however, sensible of the weakness of his claim, had contended that his use of the power which he had assumed justified the assumption of it. It will be one of the chief functions of this history to demonstrate the real character of that use.
The first result of the establishment of this new system of equality was to create a numerous nobility: that hateful aristocracy which had thrown all France into such paroxysms of rage and murder. There was a rapid reproduction of princes, dukes, counts, barons, and, besides these, of orders of distinction. They were not the old nobles, however, who were restored, but a totally new race of men. Buonaparte told the French that he would give them something better than that equality for which they had made the revolution: he would give to men of humble origin the places which the expelled Montmorencies, Tremouilles, and other ancient families had occupied. And this was a doctrine which was sure to find listeners. It made all the difference whether these honours and advantages were to be confined upon old lines, or to be open to the aspirations of the sons of hostlers, innkeepers, and the like. The most provoking thing, nevertheless, was, that the negroes in St. Domingo went on parodying all these changes, burlesquing all these new distinctions. Dessalines, who was now in the ascendant there, no sooner heard of Buonaparte assuming the rank of emperor, than he caused himself to be proclaimed emperor too; and, when the news of the new creations of nobility arrived, he commenced making similar batches of nobles amongst his black courtiers. The English newspapers took great delight in detailing these, to them amusing, but, to Napoleon, provoking imitations.
The year 1805 was opened by Buonaparte addressing a second letter to George III. This letter was dated January 2nd, and commenced: - "Sir and brother," - (it was ostensibly a zealous advocacy for peace, and was well drawn up for the purpose) - " Called," he said, " to the throne of France by Providence, and by the suffrages of the senate, the people, and the army, my first sentiment is a wish for peace. France and England abuse their prosperity. They may contend for ages; but do their governments well fulfil the most sacred of their duties, and will not so much blood, shed uselessly and without a view to any end, condemn them in their own consciences? I consider it as no disgrace to make the first step. I have, I hope, sufficiently proved to the world that I fear none of the chances of war. It, besides, presents nothing that I need to fear; peace is the wish of my heart, but war has never been inconsistent with my glory. I conjure your majesty not to deny yourself the happiness of giving peace to the world, nor of leaving that sweet satisfaction to your children; for, certainly, there never was a more fortunate opportunity, nor a moment more favourable, to silence all the passions, and listen only to the sentiments of humanity and reason. This moment once lost, what end can be assigned to a war which all my efforts will not be able to terminate? Your majesty has gained more within ten years, both in territory and riches, than the whole extent of Europe. Your nation is at the highest point of prosperity; what can it hope for more? To form a coalition with some powers of the continent? The continent will remain tranquil: a coalition can only increase the preponderance and continental greatness of France. To renew intestine troubles? The times are no longer the same. To destroy our finances? Finances, founded on a flourishing agriculture, can never be destroyed. To take from France her colonies? The colonies are, to France, only a secondary object; and does not your majesty already possess more than you know how to preserve? If your majesty would but reflect, you must perceive that the war is without an object, without any presumable result to yourself. Alas! what a melancholy prospect to cause two nations to fight, merely for the sake of fighting. The world is sufficiently large for our two nations to live in it, and reason is sufficiently powerful to discover means of reconciling everything, when the wish for reconciliation exists on both sides. I have, however, fulfilled a sacred duty, and one which is precious to my heart. I trust your majesty will believe in the sincerity of my sentiments, and my wish to give you every proof of it. - Napoleon."
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