OREALD.COM - An Old Electronic Library
eng: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

The Reign of George III - (Continued.) page 8


Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 <8> 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

How Francis of Austria could be merry under such circumstances is not very easy to conceive, for he was at the mercy of his enemy, and Buonaparte did not spare him. The consequences of this battle were most disastrous to Austria. Buonaparte returned to Vienna, and again occupied the palace of Schönbrun. There he and Talleyrand concerted the demands which should be made; and an armistice was signed, on these terms, with prince John of Lichtenstein, on the 6th of December. Buonaparte flattered the prince, by the highest compliments, on his talents as a diplomatist, and repeated these in his bulletins; and, if a diplomatist who gives you all you ask is an able one, so was John of Lichtenstein. The final treaty was signed by the Emperor Francis, at Presburg, on the 26th of December, a fortnight after the battle of Austerlitz. By this treaty, Austria surrendered to Buonaparte all her territories in Italy, as well as her Venetian provinces of Dalmatia and on the coast of Albania. She surrendered her only seaport on the Adriatic, Trieste, and thus reduced herself to a mere inland power. She was compelled to cede to her rival Bavaria, the Tyrol - a country most faithfully attached to the house of Hapsburg - the bishopric of Passau, and other regions. In all, Austria surrendered three millions of people, and one hundred and forty millions of francs. Bavaria and Wurtemberg, for their hostility to their own German race, were elevated into kingdoms, and Baden, for the same unpatriotic services, into a grand duchy. Thus France and her allies, or rather subjects, were now in possession of both Switzerland, Italy, and the Tyrol on one side, and of Holland and Belgium on the other, so that she had everywhere an open high road into Germany, and nations of tributary princes, which were to aid in further enslaving it. Prussia had made up her mind, on hearing of the victory of Austerlitz, and Haugwitz appeared at Schönbrun, not to declare war on Buonaparte, but to compliment him on his victory. Buonaparte could not conceal his contempt for this despicable conduct. He said, "Ah! this compliment was intended for others, but fortune has transferred it to me; " but, as he still intended to make use of Prussia, and could humiliate George III. of England by her means, lie concluded a treaty with Haugwitz, by which he handed over Hanover to our late beloved cousin and ally, and claimed Anspach in lieu of it. He then strengthened the confederation of the Rhine, of which he was protector, and so completely broke up the old federation of Germany, that Francis of Austria soon after abandoned the title of elective emperor of Germany, and assumed that of hereditary emperor of Austria. These matters being arranged, Buonaparte proceeded to Munich, to complete some other plans. " He arrived at Munich," says Savary, " a few hours before New- year's Day, 1806. The empress had come thither by his order a fortnight before. There was, as may be supposed, great rejoicing at the court of Bavaria: not only was the country saved, but almost doubled in extent. The greater delight was, therefore, expressed at seeing us. We now perceived something that Ave had as yet only heard vaguely talked of." This was a summons to Eugene Beauharnais, the son of Josephine and viceroy of Italy, to go to Munich to be married to the princess Augusta of Bavaria. Other matrimonial alliances were also contemplated with the other German houses whom Napoleon had aggrandised - one with "Wurtemberg, and another with Baden - and these were not only afterwards carried out, but one to the cost of Josephine, that of Napoleon with the daughter of the emperor of Austria. From Munich Buonaparte returned in triumph to Paris.

The success of Buonaparte had been as much the result of the miserable measures of the allies as of his Own genius. Great Britain, which had again come forward with her money, to form a northern league against France, had contributed no sagacity towards the operations of that league. As Napoleon was aiming at the very heart of Austria, and thus keeping Prussia in check till he had struck an essential blow to the Austrian empire, the efforts of the northern league should have been, with all vigour, to contract his operations, and divide his attention. Instead of leaving him unmolested to destroy Austria, a powerful army, ably commanded, should have appeared threatening his flank or rear; Sweden, Russia, and England, should have appeared in the field with such a force and promptness as should have paralysed his designs. Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden - a brave general, and enthusiastic in the cause against Buonaparte - was put at the head of the forces sent to march on Hanover, to expel Bernadotte, and, restoring that electorate to them, advance into Holland. With an adequate force, and such a general, Buonaparte must have been recalled to the protection of Holland; Prussia would have found it safe to declare against him; she could bring two hundred thousand men into the field, and a new face must have been given to the war. But Pitt, with all the boasts of his talent, never had any of that martial sagacity which distinguished his father, the great earl of Chatham, and which enabled him to drive the French out of the colonies of North America, out of Canada and Nova Scotia, and out of India. He never had the instinct, like his father, to pitch on young officers of genius, and place them at the head of armies. He selected no Wolfe, no Clive. Lord Wellington was, indeed, growing into a future conqueror in India, but through the patronage, not of Pitt, but of his brother, lord Wellesley. Instead of insisting that a strong Russian force should be sent to Gustavus, and instead of sending a large English army, too, both Ave and Russia divided what few forces we did put in motion, and thus rendered them worse than useless; for we rendered them irritating and mischievous, because they were not effective. Instead of sending an army of thirty or forty thousand to the Baltic, and calling on Russia to do the same, which she could have done, notwithstanding the army under the emperor Alexander - for Russia did not want men, she only wanted arms and ammunition, which we could have supplied - Ave sent only about six thousand, and sent another eight thousand from Malta, to co-operate with twelve thousand Russians in a descent on the kingdom of Naples. This expedition might have been left till the success in the north was secured; in truth, it had better have been left altogether. When general Don and lord Cathcart landed in Swedish Pomerania, and were joined by the king's German legion and some other German hired troops, our army amounted only to sixteen thousand men, the Swedes to twelve thousand, and the Russians to ten thousand - altogether, not forty thousand men. But what was worse than the paucity of numbers, were the divisions amongst the commanders. Lord Harrowby was sent to Berlin, to endeavour to induce Prussia to join this coalition, but Prussia was well aware of the want of unity in the allied army, and, weighing probabilities, as has always been her policy to the last minute, she could not be moved. The king of Sweden was so incensed at the cold, shuffling conduct of the king of Prussia, that he wrote him some very indignant and undiplomatic letters, which only furnished him with a further excuse for holding aloof. Gustavus, seeing no good likely to be done, resigned his command in the allied army, where, indeed, he had enjoyed no real command at all, and retired with his forces to Stralsund. This was a fatal exposition of want of unity, and it was not till three weeks were gone that the breach was healed. By this time it was the middle of November. Ulm had surrendered, Napoleon was master of Vienna, and Prussia was still watching what would be the fate of the coming battle betwixt Napoleon and the emperors of Austria and Russia. The union of the allies came too late; the force was altogether too small to turn the scale of the campaign. had Gustavus marched into Hanover a month earlier, with sixty thousand men, he might have rendered Austerlitz a non- entity; as it was, he had only time to invest Hamelen, where Bernadotte had left a strong garrison, when the news of Austerlitz arrived, and caused the allies to break up the campaign, and each to hurry off to his own country. The British re-embarked, a great deal of money having been spent only to cause Buonaparte to laugh at their abortive endeavours; the Russians retired to Mecklenburg, to wait for their fleet; and Gustavus went home, to find that he had forfeited the confidence of his subjects, who deemed him, now an object of the perpetual resentment of Buonaparte, and thus sure to bring trouble on Sweden. The expédition, a miserable failure in itself, was a fatal one to Gustavus - it cost him his crown.

The consequence of the ill-advised dispatch of a miserable force of English and Russians to Naples was equally abortive and equally as mischievous to the king of Naples as the northern expedition had proved to the king of Sweden. On the 27th of September of this year, only, a convention had been entered into in Paris betwixt Napoleon and Ferdinand IV., king of Naples, which was ratified by Ferdinand on the 8th of October. By this the French engaged to withdraw their forces from the kingdom of Naples, and Ferdinand to preserve a strict neutrality. The French did, indeed, withdraw, under St. Cyr, to assist Massena in the north of Italy, against Austria; and no sooner was this the case than Ferdinand raised his army to the war strength, and the English and Russians came to his support with their united army of twenty thousand men. But the news of the decisive victory of Buonaparte at Austerlitz, which had squandered the northern coalition, had the same effect here. The Russians and English withdrew, and St. Cyr was ordered by Napoleon to march back into Naples, and punish severely the perfidy of the court of Naples. He was particularly bitter against the queen of Naples, to whom he attributed the movement and the total guidance of the king. He declared that she should be precipitated from the throne, should it cost another thirty years' war. He sent his brother, Joseph Buonaparte, to take the command of the army, and to assume the government of the country. The king and queen fled, abdicating in favour of their son, the prince royal; but this did not stop the march of the French, who were only too glad of such a plea for possessing themselves of the kingdom of Naples. Pescara, Naples itself, rapidly surrendered to the French. Count Roger de Damas and the duke of Calabria made a longer résistance on the mountains of Calabria, but they were compelled to give way before the veteran troops of general Regnier, and all Italy - at least, nominally - was under the rule of France. Gaëta alone, which the governor, the prince of Hesse Philipsthal, refused to surrender, stood out till the following July. When summoned to yield the fortress by the French, he replied, that Gaëta was not Ulm, nor was he general Mack. But the defence of Gaëta had no influence on the general fate of Naples, and only precipitated that of its brave defender, who died suddenly, as was asserted, of poison.

We have now to turn from the feeble and ill-directed efforts of England to counteract the plans of Napoleon en land, to the successful ones on our really protecting element - the sea. All Napoleon's endeavours to cross the Channel with his grand army he had seen to be impossible. Nelson was riding there in his glory, and the French fleets were only safe while they were in port. The impatience of this restraint caused Napoleon to urge on his admirals a greater daring; and these incitements to a rash hazard brought, eventually, that which must have occurred sooner, had the admirais listened to his suggestions rather than their own knowledge of the truth - the utter destruction of the French navy.

Under such stimulants from the emperor, Villeneuve seized the opportunity, when the weather had driven back the blockading English fleet, to steal out of Toulon on the 18th of January, 1805, and another fleet of ten vessels escaped out of Rochefort on the 11th of the same month. These squadrons stood away for the West Indies, and managed to get home again without meeting with an English fleet. Thus encouraged, Villeneuve made another venture. Nelson, who was watching Villeneuve off Toulon, in order to tempt him out, bore away along the Spanish coast as far as Barcelona. Villeneuve put out to sea, and the 31st of March, with tell ships of the line, seven frigates, and two brigs. Nelson had gone a little too far, and it was not till the 7th of April that he heard of their issue from port. Before he could prevent it, they had passed the Straits of Gibraltar, and Struck once more across the Atlantic. He was joined by the Spanish admiral, Gravina, from Cadiz, with six Spanish ships of the line, and two other French ships of the line. This combined fleet now amounted to eighteen sail of the line, six forty-four gun ships, and a number of smaller craft. Nelson did not hesitate to pursue them with his ten ships of the line and three frigates; but contrary winds withheld him, and it was the 7th of May before he could get out of the Straits of Gibraltar. His ships were, most of them, in very bad condition, one of them, the Superb, having never been in a home port for four years. Villeneuve had upwards of a month's start of Nelson, and his orders were to bear away to Martinique with five thousand one hundred troops, which lie bad on board, to capture St. Lucia, and strengthen the garrisons of Martinique, Guadaloupe, and Dominique. He was afterwards to wait and see if Gautheaume could get out of Brest and join him with twenty-one more sail of the line, when they were to do ail possible mischief amongst our islands and merchantmen. But the chief scheme was, by this means, to draw the English fleet after them, and then, hurrying back, enable Buonaparte to cross the Channel for England. Villeneuve did nothing but take the Diamond Rock, a fortification of the English, lying opposite to Fort Royal Bay, into which he had entered. He then sailed to Guadaloupe, where he was joined by two seventy-four gun ships; and an American - delighted, as all his countrymen were, on every occasion to give the French information to our injury - having apprised him of a homeward-bound British convoy, he went after it, and succeeded, off Antigua, in capturing fifteen merchantmen. His success was, how- ever, spoiled in the possession of it, for one of the prisoners informed him that Nelson was already in the West Indies in quest of him. Terrified at this news, he burnt ail his prizes, and made ail sail homewards. Nelson, in the mean- time, was misled by some of the Yankee skippers abounding in those seas, and sent on a false scent after Villeneuve towards Venezuela and the mouth of the Orinoco. Not finding him, lie was satisfied that he had sailed for Europe, and lie made after him. Nelson sighted Cape St. Vincent on the 17th of July, after a run of more than three thousand two hundred miles. The next day he fell in with admirais Collingwood, who was watching Cadiz, but who had no news of Villeneuve, but informed him that Sir Robert Calder was blockading Ferrol. On the 19fch lie anchored in the Bay of Gibraltar, and went on shore for the first time for two years, short only of two day s. Hearing that Villeneuve was still out in the Atlantic, he bore away westward again to intercept him, but in vain; and, on returning to Ushant, where Collingwood was cruising, he learned that Sir Robert Calder had met with and attacked him, at the very time Nelson was off Gibraltar, namely, on the 22nd of July.

<<< Previous page <<< >>> Next page >>>
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 <8> 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Pictures for The Reign of George III - (Continued.) page 8

Pope Pius VII
Pope Pius VII >>>>
Lord Sidmouth
Lord Sidmouth >>>>
Coronation of Napoleon the First
Coronation of Napoleon the First >>>>
Conscript
Conscript >>>>
Napoleon entering Milan
Napoleon entering Milan >>>>
City of Trieste
City of Trieste >>>>
The Battle of Austerlitz
The Battle of Austerlitz >>>>
French soldier
French soldier >>>>
Birth-place of Lord Nelson
Birth-place of Lord Nelson >>>>
Plan of the Battle of Trafalgar
Plan of the Battle of Trafalgar >>>>
Lord Nelson mortally wounded
Lord Nelson mortally wounded >>>>
View of Peschiera.
View of Peschiera. >>>>
All the Talents
All the Talents >>>>
A Brazilian forest
A Brazilian forest >>>>
Statue of Napoleon
Statue of Napoleon >>>>
Jerome Buonaparte
Jerome Buonaparte >>>>
Sir John Duckworth
Sir John Duckworth >>>>
Trial of Palm
Trial of Palm >>>>

Home | Privacy Policy | Copyright | About