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814. LAST MILITARY xMANCEUVRE OF NAPOLEON. 271;
In the mean time Bonaparte, like the stag at bay, had turned from Blucher to Schwartzenberg; who, in his absence, had recovered the ground lost subsequent to the affair of Montereau. The emperor, to check him, fought his last battle on the 20th of March, at Arcis, where his troops, wearied and disheartened, at length gave up, and lost their long-supported energy and victory together. Naught seemed to remain but a retreat into Paris. That capital was the idol of Napoleon: it supplied the place of mistress to him: he loved, adorned, prided in it; lavished there his flattery, his treasures; courted it with pomp and magnificence, and even with the honeyed falsehoods of the Moniteur. At the same time he was an imperious lover; allowing to the object of his affection scant of liberty, and demanding the fullest return of obsequiousness and devotion. In all his victories he thought of Paris, and the chief use made of his spoil was to embellish it. Before its eyes had been displayed all his triumphs, all his grandeur. To return to it ruined, and bankrupt even in hope, was^too much as yet for his pride; though misfortune subsequently endowed him with the apathy requisite. Napoleon, from these feelings, or from military views more profound, now refused to retreat to his capital, but resolved to fling himself in the rear of his enemies, fall upon their straggling parties, cut off their communications, and distract them, if possible, from Paris. He liked the confusion consequent upon these audacious and anomalous manoeuvres, which disturbed his enemies in their plans and calculations, and which afforded him the best chance of advantage. Sallying therefore eastward, betwixt the Aube and Marne, Napoleon reached St. Dizier with a portion of his army. The divisions of Mortier and Marmont were ordered to join him; but these, intercepted by the allies, who did not allow their advance on Paris to be interrupted, were driven back upon the capital.
On Sunday, the 27th of March, the inhabitants heard the sound of war approach. The roar of cannon was in the direction of Meaux; and these portents were followed by the marshalling of national guards, the crowding in o£ frighted peasants, wounded and straggling soldiers. The gay boulevards were soon converted into a long bivouac. Terror and incertitude were in most countenances, indignant sorrow in some, joy in few. Marshals Marmont and Mortier had posted their scanty force round Paris, and scarcely removed from its frail walls, except where the heights of Montmartre and Belleville and the castle of Vincennes offered advantagesof ground or support. Within the walls Joseph Bonaparte held the command. The empress, an amiable and affectionate III.—18
wife, was not a heroine, and now fled with her son from the menaced scene of strife. The boy, it is said, showed extrdme reluctance to depart. Joseph, on his part, showed a degree of confidence. It was hoped that the enemy wTere not in force, that Napoleon might arrive with aid. Prolonged defence was imposssible; and a firm attitude was preserved merely lest any advantages, that time or the emperor could bring, might be lost.
On the 30th the allied troops commenced the attack of the several heights; bat, the Prussians not having come up in sufficient force on the right, the brunt of the battle was on the heights of Belleville and at Pan tin, where the small number of French made a gallant resistance, but were, in the end, overpowered. The young pupils of the Polytechnic school plied the guns; and many perished in this their first essay of arms. From the very first the sovereigns had proffered to spare the city by capitulation: it was now accepted by Marmont, who had received permission of Joseph to this effect. After the order that prince had fled. On the last day of March the emperor of Russia and king of Prflssia entered Paris in triumph at the head of their troops, welcomed with all the outward appearance of joy by the Parisians, who thus affected to gloss over defeat even in their own eyes. The views of the monarchs were sufficiently evinced by their dining with Talleyrand on that day. Caulaincourt, who arrived from Napoleon, was obliged to wait for an answer.
That rejected child of fortune had found at St. Dizier that his eccentric march had failed in diverting the allies from their march upon the capital. He had made the great blunder of supposing that those generals, who fought to the utmost whilst under his eye, or dreading his censure, were likely to exert themselves for victory when defeat would for ever deliver them from an imperious and unfortunate master. Napoleon bent his steps back towards the capital by Troyes, and the main road of Fontainbleau. He had already passed that town, when he encountered, on the evening of the 30th, some of the troops of Marmont, retiring by virtue of the capitulation. He could scarcely credit the tidings. Joseph's flight, Marmont's surrender, seemed inexplicable to him. He persisted in advancing; and it was only by persuasion, almost amounting to force, that he was made to believe in the loss of his capital, and to return to Fontainbleau: from hence he dispatched Caulaincourt to Paris.
The partisans of the house of Bourbon now openly assumed the white cockade, and paraded the streets. They were observed in silence by the population. But the allied troopi 1814. ABDICATION OF NAPOLEON. 277
tacitly declared more than their tolerance of tht*>e signs, by displaying" white bands upon their arms; for which, indeed, another origin was assigned. It became incumbent, however, even upon the humblest citizen to come to a decision. The old revolutionary bands again were mustering. The enlightened classes all rallied by degrees to the cause of monarchy, and the citizens were fully alive to the Imperial despotism. A proclamation of the comte d'Artois, brother of Louis XVIIL, was therefore read, and received with favor The novelty of royalism gained many proselytes on one hand, whilst its antiquity commanded others. These scattered sentiments communicated, spread like a flame; and in not very many hours the Bourbons, lately unknown and uncared for by the Parisians, were hailed and expected as the saviors and legitimate rulers of France.
Popular feeling was thus brought round to the desired point; and the sovereigns, the emperor of Austria by a singular chance being absent, some of the operations of war having thrown him back upon Lyons, declared their determination not to treat with Napoleon. Talleyrand convoked the conservative senate, those legislative puppets of Napoleon, and by their votes proceeded to enumerate all the faults and illegalities of the emperor, concluding from such premises to his forfeiture of the crown. A provisional government was then appointed, of which Talleyrand himself was the chief; and thus, master of the machinery of government, as well as of the ears of Alexander and his ministers, this sagacious politician disposed events into the channel where he wished them to flow.
Bonaparte, learning the color of events, and the proclamation of the sovereigns, which refused to treat with him, now meditated asserting once more his rights by the sword. He reviewed his troops, harangued them, and moved them on towards Paris. But his marshals dissuaded from this desperate resolve, which they refused to support; and some even told him that he was no longer emperor. It was then that he drew up a declaration, stating that as "he was the sole obstacle to the peace of France, he was willing to remove that obstacle—to depart—to resign his crown, nay, his life, if required, leaving his succession open to his son, and the regency to the empress. There was some hesitation in Parts as to the acceptation or refusal of this act. To the last, the hopes of the Bourbons depended upon a hair. But Talleyrand had taken his measures. Marmont declared his adhesion to the provisional government,—in other words, to Talleyrand,
and answered for his corps, which he afterwards conducted within the allied lines. Here expired the dynasty of Napoleon, as his personal reign had been already terminated. His marshals, officers, and friends deserted him one by one, from Berthier, prince of Neufchatel, down to the mameluke Rustan. There remained merely to go through the ceremony of signing the unconditional abdication, which with reluctance, and not without moving appeals to the officers yet present, to aid him to support another struggle, he consum* mated on the 11th Df April, 1814
Abbeville built by Hugh Capet, i. 27.
Abercrombie, general, iii. 167. Death
Academy, the French, established in
Acre, siege of, i. 43.
Addington succeeds Pitt as prime
Adrian, pope, i. 17. 165.
^Egidius, count, i. 9.
Agincourt, battle of, i. 102.
Agnes Sorel, mistress of Charles VII.
Agoult, marquis de, ii. 246.
Aguesseau, d\ represents the magis-
Aiguillon, duke d\ shut up in the
Aiguillon, duke d\ ii. 198. Succeeds
Aix, the capital of Provence, i. 188.
Aix-la-Chapelle, the treaty of, con
Alberoni, an Italian of low birth,
Albert of Brandenburg, i. 216.
Albert, duke of Austria, iii. 26.
Alberto Gondi, count de Retz, i. 248.
Albigenses, the primitive reformers, i.
Albuera, battle of, iii. 245.
Albuquerque, iii. 135.
Alencon, due d\ thrown into prison,
Alencon, duke, imprisonment of, i.
Alencon, duchess d\ sister of Francic
Alexander IV. pope, i. 63. Death of,
Alexander, emperor of Russia, iii. 176
Alexis, the Greek emperor, i. 34.
Algiers, bombardment of, ii. 100.
Allemanni, i. 8.
Aleppo, the sultan, Edessa taken by
Alliance, quadruple, ii. 148.
Alliance, triple, ii. 147.
Alphonse, brother of Louis IX.; mar.
Alva, duke of, i. 242.
Alvinzi, marshal, iii. 118.
Amalric, abbot of Citeaux, i. 48.
Amaury de Montfort offers to cede all
Amboise, the court removed to the
Amboise, edict of, i. 240.
Amboise, Bussy d\ i. 260. Assassin a
Amiens, peace of, iii. 168.
Amyot, the translator of Plutarch, i.
Ancre, mareschal, his avarice, ii. 14
Andre wDoria, i. 176. 191.
Angouleme, duchess d\ her avarice;
Augouleme, duchess d\ daughter of