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The Reign of George III - (Continued.) page 17

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Sir John Moore entered Spain under the impression that several brave and victorious Spanish armies were to cooperate with him; but he looked in vain for any such armies. Nay, on the very day of his arrival at Salamanca, he heard of the defeat of the conde de Belvedere, near Burgos; and only two days afterwards that general had also been defeated at Espinosa, on the frontiers of the province of Biscay. He demanded from the junta to know with whom he was to co-operate for the conduct of the, campaign, and lie was referred to Castanos. But Castanos had already lost the confidence of the proud and ignorant junta, and had little information to give. On the I5th of November general Pignatelli, the governor of the province, announced to him that the French had taken possession of Valladolid, only twenty leagues from Salamanca; from the dormant Mr. Frere, he heard nothing. This was startling intelligence; for he had only a small portion of his army yet with him. Sir David Baird was still struggling with the obstructive junta at Corunna, and Sir John Hope was wandering near Madrid with the artillery. Moore began to have a very gloomy idea of the situation, not only of Spain, but of his situation in it. He wrote that there was no unity of action; no care of the juntas to promote it, or to furnish arms and clothing to the soldiers; that he was in no correspondence with the generals of the other armies, and knew neither their plans nor those of the government. He declared that the provinces around him were not armed; and, as for the national enthusiasm of which so much had been said, that he saw not a trace of it. That, in short, the English had no business there; but he would still try to do something, if possible, for the country, being there.

Meantime, Buonaparte was preparing to descend like an avalanche on this absurdly inflated nation. To set himself at ease with the north, whilst thus engaged in the peninsula, he deemed it first necessary, however, to have an interview with the emperor of Russia in Germany. The spirit of the Germans was again rising; and, notwithstanding the spies and troops of Buonaparte, his paid literati - like Johannes Müller - and his paid princes - like those of the Rhenish confederation, Bavaria, Baden, and Würtemberg - the Germans were beginning to blush at their humiliation, and to lament the causes of it, their effeminacy, and their division into so many states, with all the consequent prejudices and intestine feuds.

Prussia, which had suffered so severely for its selfish policy, and had been so cut down in territory and insulted in its honour by Napoleon, began to cherish the hope of yet redeeming itself, by a more manly spirit and a more cordial co-operation with the rest of Germany. In this work of regeneration - which is sure to take place sooner or later, when nations have been well beaten and humiliated, and which then, in their renewed manhood, require no foreign aid for the accomplishment of their freedom - all classes laboured. The king, under the inspiration of his patriotic minister, Von Stein, began most essential reforms. He abolished the feudal servitude and forced labour under which the peasantry groaned; he made a thorough moral re-organisation of the army, admitting of promotion from the ranks; he allowed any man that had the money to purchase baronial estates; and he deprived the higher nobility of the exclusive right of possessing landed property, and of appointment to the higher civil and military posts.

Von Stein, too, commenced the work of inspiring the mass of the people with a new soul of patriotism. He established a secret society, called the " Tugend Bund," or " Union of Virtue," which was to unite nobles, statesmen, officers, and literati in one common confederation for the rescue of the country. Amongst those who entered the most enthusiastically, were colonel Schill, who had headed with such effect his troop of volunteer cavalry, Jahn, a professor at Berlin, and Moritz Arndt, a professor of Bonn, the author of the famous national song, "Was ist der Deutschen Vaterland?" in which he maintained that it was not Prussia, nor Austria, nor any other particular state, but all Germany, so far as the language extended. This song was seized upon with a universal passion by the theatricals and all the youth of Germany, and is still continually sung by them in chorus, with an enthusiasm that never wanes. Arndt sang other songs of so patriotic a character, and handled Buonaparte so roughly in his " Geist der Zeit" or "Spirit of the Times," that he was, for some years, obliged to seek refuge in Sweden.

Jahn established in Berlin a school of gymnastics, and recommended the like in every town throughout Germany. Though the ostensible purpose was to strengthen the frames of the young, the real purpose was to invigorate them for the coming fight of freedom, and he made his pupils feel this. As he marched them through the Brandenburg Gate out of Berlin, he would ask a fresh scholar as lie passed under it, " What are you thinking of now? " If the boy did not know what to answer, he would give him a box on the ear, saying, at the same time, " You should think of this - how you can bring back the four fine statues of horses that once stood over this gate, and were carried by the French to Paris." Scharnhorst, the commander of the Prussian army, though restricted to the prescribed number of troops, created a new army by continually exchanging trained soldiers for raw recruits, and secretly purchased an immense quantity of arms, so that, on emergency, a large body of men could be speedily assembled. He had also all the brass battery guns converted into field-pieces, and replaced by iron guns.

But Napoleon's spies were everywhere. They discovered the existence of the " Tugend Bund," and of the secret societies of the students, which they carried on under the old name of the Burschenschafts, or associations of the students. Though Napoleon pretended to ridicule these movements, calling it mere ideology, he took every means to suppress it. The minister, von Stein, in consequence of the contents of an intercepted letter, was outlawed; Scharnhorst and Grüner, the head of the police, were dismissed from their offices; but it was all in vain - the tide of public feeling had now set in the right way.

The same spirit was alive in Austria. Abuses were reformed; a more perfect discipline introduced. John Philip von Stadion, the head of the ministry, encouraged these measures; the views of the archduke Charles were carried out on a far wider basis. A completely new institution, that of the Landwehr, or armed citizens, was set on foot. The Austrian armies were increased greatly. In 1807 the Hungarian diet voted twelve thousand recruits; in 1808, eighty thousand; while eighty thousand organised soldiers, of whom thirty thousand were cavalry, constituted the armed reserve of this warlike nation. Napoleon remonstrated, and received very pacific answers, but the movement went on. Stein, now a refugee in Austria, fanned the flame there, and he and count Munster, first Hanoverian ambassador, and afterwards English ambassador at Petersburg, were in constant correspondence with each other and with the government of England.

Before Buonaparte, therefore, could proceed to Spain, he determined to meet the czar at Erfurt, in Germany, by their open union to overawe that country, and to bind Alexander more firmly to his interest by granting him ampler consent to his designs on Turkey and on Finland. It was on this occasion that Buonaparte brought such trains of actors, actresses, opera singers, and dancers to charm and inveigle his pious ally; and with such effect, that Alexander was excessively smitten by a celebrated actress, mademoiselle B------. It was on this occasion, too, that Buonaparte gave an entertainment to the czar on the field of Jena, and hunted the hare with him over the ground on which he had beaten Prussia, as an open affront to that nation. The meeting took place on the 27th of September, and terminated on the 17th of October. Both emperors returned in appearance more friendly and united than ever, but both, in secret, distrusting his ally. Buonaparte, who was now intending in earnest to divorce Josephine, and marry a daughter of a royal house, by whom he might have issue, and thus league himself with the old dynasties, made a proposal for one of the Russian archduchesses, which was evaded by Alexander, on the plea of the difference of religion. Such a plea did not deceive the keen sagacity of Buonaparte; he felt it to result from a contempt of his plebeian origin, and still more from a belief in the instability of his now giddy elevation; and he did not forget it. The Russian house has repeated the same refusal to the conqueror's nephew. To impress on Europe, however, the idea of the intimate union of the czar and Buonaparte, they addressed, before leaving Erfurt, a joint letter to the king of England, proposing a general peace. To this letter Canning answered to the ministers of Russia and France, that Sweden - against whom the czar had commenced his war of usurpation - Spain, Portugal, and Sicily, must be included in any negotiations. The French and Russian ministers, on the contrary, proposed a peace on the uti possidetis principle, or that of every one retaining what they had got. This, Canning replied, would never be consented to; and, of course, the two emperors knew that very well, but the letter had served Buonaparte's purpose. It enabled him to tell France and the world how much he was disposed to peace, and how obstinate was England; it served to make the world believe in the close intimacy of the czar and himself. He now hurried back to France, and, opening the session of the corps legislatif J on the 25th of October, lie announced that he was going to Spain to drive the English leopards - for such he always absurdly persisted in calling the lions in the royal arms of this country - out of both Spain and Portugal. On the 27th he set out.

Buonaparte determined to overwhelm both Spanish and English by numbers. He had poured above a hundred thousand men across the Pyrenees, and had supplied their places in France by two enormous conscriptions of eighty thousand men each. He now followed them with the rapidity of lightning. From Bayonne to Vittoria lie made the journey on horseback in two days. He was already at Vittoria a week before the British army, under Sir John Moore, had commenced its march from Lisbon. It was his aim to destroy the Spanish armies before the British could come up - and he accomplished it. The Spanish generals had no concert betwixt themselves, yet they had all been advancing northward to attack the French on different parts of the Ebro, or in the country beyond it. It was the first object of Napoleon to annihilate the army of Blake, which occupied the right of the French army in the provinces of Biscay and Guipuscoa. Blake's army, notwithstanding the many millions of dollars sent by the British government to clothe and provide the Spanish troops, was in a most destitute condition - half naked, and very short of ammunition. The money, by the carelessness of Frere, had gone into the pockets of avaricious members of the junta of Madrid; and the greater part of the two hundred thousand muskets were put into hands that did not know how to use them. The greater part, therefore, of the money and the arms, as in Germany, fell into the hands of the French, to be used against us. The best part of Blake's army was a body of nine or ten thousand men, which had been sent by Buonaparte, under the command of general Romana, into Denmark, on the plea of aiding him and Russia against the machinations of England; but, in reality, to have them out of the way whilst he seized their country. Romana was a brave man and genuine patriot, and he was glad of his absence. These troops had been shut up in the island of Funen, to keep from them the knowledge of what had taken place in Spain; but a catholic priest, of Scotch extraction, of the name of Robertson, succeeded in opening a communication betwixt Romana and the British admiral Keates, who brought off the army successfully, and landed it at Sant Andero, in Biscay, where it had joined Blake.

Whilst Blake lay in Biscay, the conde de Belvedere lay at Burgos, with fifteen thousand men. Belvedere was brave, but young and inexperienced, and he had about him a number of students, full of enthusiasm and false confidence. More to the east lay Castanos, near Tudela. Such were the positions of the three Spanish armies, containing about one hundred thousand men; therefore, equal to the French in number, but possessing very little discipline, and a most destructive amount of blind pride.

Blake was attacked by general Lefevre on the last of October, on ground very favourable to the Spaniards, being mountainous, and thus not allowing the French to use mach artillery; bat, after a short fight of three hours, he was compelled to fall back, and, for nine days, he continued his retreat through the rugged mountains of Biscay, with his army suffering incredibly from cold, hunger, drenching rains, and fatigue. There was said to be scarcely a shoe or a greatcoat in the whole force. Having reached Espinosa de los Monteros, he hoped to rest and recruit his troops, but Lefevre was upon him, and he was again defeated. He next made for Reynosa, a strong position, where he hoped to re-collect his scattered army; but there he received the news of the defeat of Belvedere, from whom he hoped for support.- The French were again upon and surrounding him, and he was compelled to order his army to save themselves by dispersing amongst the mountains of the Asturias, whilst himself and some of his officers escaped to St. Andero, and got on board a British vessel. Great quantities of arms, ammunition, and stores, which had been furnished by England, fell into the hands of the French at Reynosa, St. Andero, and other places.

Buonaparte had arrived at Vittoria on the 8th of November, between the defeat of Blake at Espinosa and his dispersion at Reynosa, and he immediately dispatched Soult to attack Belvedere. This self-confident commander of two-and-twenty - surrounded by as self-confident students from Salamanca and Leon - instead of falling back, and forming a junction with Castanos, stood his ground in an open plain in front of Burgos, and was scattered to the winds. Between three and four thousand of his men were killed, wounded, or taken prisoners, and all his cannon and baggage captured. Buonaparte had now only to beat Castanos, and there was an end to the whole Spanish force. That general was by far more cautious and prudent than the rest, and he fell back on the approach of marshal Lannes, at the head of thirty thousand men, to Tudela. But Buonaparte had sent numerous bodies of troops to intercept his course in the direction of Madrid, and, unfortunately for Castanos, ho was joined by Palafox, who had made so successful a stand against the French at Zaragossa. Castanos was for retreating still, to avoid Lannes in front, and Ney and Victor, who were getting into his rear; but Palafox, and others of his generals, strongly recommended his fighting, and a commissioner sent from the junta in Madrid, in the French fashion, to see that he did his duty, joined in the persuasion, by hinting that to retreat would give suspicion of cowardice and treachery. Against his better judgment, Castanos, therefore, gave battle on the 22nd of November, at Tudela, and was completely routed. There was a terrible slaughter of the Spaniards, who were cut clown mercilessly by the French cavalry. Numbers fled to the mountains, and the shattered remains of the army retreated with Castanos to Calatayud. Palafox hastened back to Zaragossa, which was destined to undergo another frightful siege. The road was now left open to Madrid, and the French troops had orders to advance and reduce it; and they did this with a fiendish ferocity, burning the towns and villages as they proceeded, and shooting every Spaniard that they found in arms.

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