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1803. OCCUPATION OF HANOVER. 175
Most of them accepted command under the French, except Toussaint, who scorned the offer, and merely demanded to return to his farm. Here, however, he was closely watched; and in the effervescence of a population ill subdued, suspicions, true or false, could not fail to attach to the old leader. Toussaint-Louverture was seized, sent on board a ship, and conveyed to France, where he lingered many years at the chateau of Joux, in the Jura. This treachery, if it was such, proved bootless. The yellow fever decimated the French, and soon reduced this flourishing army to a few thousand men. Leclerc himself fell a victim; and the breaking out of the war decided the ultimate loss, to France, of this her most important colony.
The first steps of Bonaparte, on the renewal of the war with England, was to order his armies to march north and south ; that of Holland to occupy Hanover; that of Lombardy to invade Naples, and garrison Tarentum. He could combat his maritime foe only by establishing his power in sea-ports, and in rendering every shore hostile to her, who rendered every wave hostile to him. To plant himself, therefore, like a huge colossus bestriding Europe, one foot on the Mediterranean, the other in the Baltic, was the attitude of menace assumed by the first consul against England. Towards the latter end of May, 1803, general Mortier marched with an army from Holland against Hanover. The troops of the electorate were not capable of making a serious resistance. They retreated before the foe, at length capitulated, and were broken, Mortier taking peaceable possession of the country. These conquests of the French necessarily excited disquiet and mistrust on the part of the great powers of the north. Russia, which had taken the Sicilian court under its protection, was offended by the reoccupation of the kingdom of Naples, and still more seriously displeased to see the French flag waving upon the fortresses of "the Baltic. That power had sought in vain to cover Hanover by a neutrality which was to extend to the north of Germany. Her remonstrances were not listened to. Prussia, as may be well supposed, had cause to be still more alarmed by the presence of such a formidable neighbor. The French, not contented with Hanover, already menaced to occupy Hamburgh and Bremen. The necessity of opposing England was still the pretext. But the possession of Hamburgh, commanding the mouth of the Elbe, would enable the French to give law to the north of Germany. Not only was Prussia herself weakened by this, but her only title to respect and influence being founded upon her claims to protect the liberties and independence of surround
ing states, she was here stricken painfully by a blow vainly aimed at England. Thus, by delivering up Hanover, without a blow, the English ministry, if they acted on calculation, fulfilled all the ends of wise policy, avenged themselves of Prussia for its selfish and pusillanimous neutrality, and placed the courts of Berlin and St. Petersburgh in the necessity of either humbling their sovereign dignity before Bonaparte, or of Hinging themselves into the alliance of Great Britain. T counteract this, the scheme of Bonaparte was, by menace 01 bribe, to compel Russia to join cordially with him in a kind of submissive alliance. "The germ," says Bignon, French ambassador to Prussia, and well acquainted with the projects of his master,—" the germ of what was subsequently called the continental system existed in the mind of the first consul, and this system reposed upon the support of Prussia. One of the objects of the usurpation of Hanover was to make that court feel the inconveniences of a state of indecision towards France, and the advantages of a close alliance with her. To render Prussia powerful, in order that, by its union with France, it might awe the continent to quiet, was the aim of Bonaparte. If it be asked why, towards the close of .his reign, Napoleon showed himself merciless towards Prussia, the reason is, that Prussia was the power which wished him most ill, in forcing him to combat and destroy her, instead of extending and strengthening her monarchy, in order that she and France united might keep Austria and Russia immovable, and at the same time give that development and efficacy to the continental system, which would force England to peace."
Nothing can be more clear than this language of the French diplomatist: Prussia was to be fattened and enriched, provided she acted a part subservient to France. Hanover was the bribe offered to her, and there was considerable hesitation in refusing it. All the old ministers of Prussia were disposed to accept the electorate and the French alliance: Hardenberg alone was of the contrary opinion. But the influence which decided the monarch of Prussia to reject the insidious and disgraceful proposals of Bonaparte was that of Alexander, emperor of Russia, a sovereign whose high personal feelings of pride and independence raised him already in the east of Europe as the competitor of the tyrant of the west. Alexander visited Berlin: his opinion, his arguments, had weight, and overcame all the representations of Duroc and the other French envoys. The queen and court, at first drawn into admiration of French heroism, were recalled to feelings of national spirit by the voice and example of Alexander; and the kino-, instead of aiming at rounding his tprri180*\ INVASION OF KNGLAND MENACED. 177
tor} at the cost of England and the gift of France, was inspired with the nobler aim of securing the independence of Germany.
Singular, indeed, it was, that every act of Bonaparte now told in favor of England, or of its ministry, which, had he "ested tranquil, could certainly not have continued a war without feasible object or possible success. The occupation f Hanover and the southern peninsula of Italy roused Europe. And now a French army collected along its northern coast, and destined to invade England, had the effect of rousing all the energies of that country, silencing the remonstrance of the partisans of the peace, and rousing the proud spirit of the British to that pitch of inveteracy against the foe, that war, to the last shilling and the last drop of blood, became the sole and all-pervading thought of the country. A field of battle was denied to Bonaparte: but his activity was turned to military organization; and he now formed the armies, and prepared the resources, destined to achieve conquests hereafter with such brilliant success. Alexandria was fortified at an enormous expense. The first consul looked upon it as the bulwark of Italy. From Otranto and Tarentum to the Texel, every coast and sea-port saw fortifications rise around it; and the English fleet, blocking each harbor and menacing every shore, might observe with pride the gigantic attempt of her foe to surround Europe, as it were, with a wall of defence against her. As to the colonies or foreign possessions of France, the remaining ones now fell: and Louisiana, wrested from the weak hands of Spain by a surreptitious treaty, was now sold for a sum of money to the United States, to preserve the province from England, and as the only mode left of deriving advantage from it.
The army and flotilla collected for the invasion of England was the chief object and topic of the year 1803. The former was swelled by contingents of Dutch, Swiss, and Italians. Sou It, Davoust, and Ney, had each commands. His more ancient and celebrated generals Bonaparte had dispersed: he disliked their familiarity, their old footing of equality with him, and dreaded their interference with his ambiguous designs. Thus Moreau was destined to some inferior command; Lannes, after a scene of altercation, in which he had used the most gross language towards Bonaparte, was dispatched to Lisbon to cool his zeal and mend his fortune, both of which the gallant and rough soldier fulfilled; Murat was sent to Naples, as Leclerc had been to St. Domingo, for the same purpose. Spain, reluctant to incur the hostility of England by furnishing open aid to France, proposed a pecuniary subsidy in lieu. This Beurnonville negotiated.
Public attention, however, was now turned from military projects and events to domestic ones, by the discovery of a conspiracy against the first consul. The hopes of the royalists upon his first accession to power have been noticed, as well as the zeal which Josephine employed in endeavoring to turn her husband to favor the restoration. Two letters of Louis XVIII. demanded of him this act of disinterestedness, which Bonaparte calmly but firmly declined. His subsequent measures for strengthening and perpetuating his own power, soon convinced the partisans of the house of Bourbon that no hopes were to be entertained of his co-operation, and accordingly their views were elsewhere directed. The consulship for life had been voted. Several distinguished men had protested against the decree, unless accompanied with guarantees of freedom. Lafayette conveyed his protest in a letter: Camille Jordan published his in favor of the liberty of the press; Madame de Stael courageously opened her saloon to this enlightened opposition, but a decree of exile banished her from Paris. Some of these friends of liberty then turned their views towards Louis XVIII. and entered into a correspondence with him, wherein that prince promised, in case of restoration, to respect the principles of liberty, and to grant a charter similar to that decreed in 1814. Royer Collard was one of these. The leanings and opinions, however, of retired and speculative men, were not energetic enough to inspire or conduct a project of conspiracy: powerful events, alone, could give them opportunity of realizing their wishes.
The Bourbons reckoned in their cause more zealous and active partisans, men eager to strike a blow, to force and anticipate events, rather than to wait for their tardy or improbable development. General Pichegru was one of these: he had escaped from his place of transportation to England, where he lived in want of these succors that the French royalists were willing to extend to their partisans. From these reasons, and from having been long enlisted in the cause, as well as from mortification at not having acted more resolutely in Fructidor, Pichegru now entered into a plot for violently overthrowing the power of Bonaparte, with a knot of men fitting for such an enterprise. George Cadoudal, the stubborn Chouan, was another leader. It was not to be supposed that such a man would shrink from assassinating the first consul, who was, personally, the chief obstacle in the way of their plan; but how far this was a generally received principle of the enterprise, is difficult to ascertain.
What the conspirators chiefly wanted was a name, a leader 1804 PICHEURUS CONSPIRACY. 179
of eminence, to oppose to that of Bonaparte. Moreau was precisely the personage; a great general, a rival of Bonaparte. The very project of enlisting such a man contradicts the idea of assassination, which he certainly would not listen to, and which his countenance might render unnecessary. Moreau, though a valiant soldier, was a weak man: he had allowed himself to be duped in Brumaire; and since his victory of Hohenlinden he had been treated with studied neglect by Bonaparte. His wife, subsequent to that victory, had several times sought an interview with the first consul and Josephine, at the Tuilleries, had been kept in antechambers, and slighted. She had great influence over her husband, and she exerted it to induce him, already sufficiently willing, to hearken to propositions for overthrowing the tyranny of Bonaparte. The royalist agents, on the watch, took advantage of this disposition, and formed a reconciliation betwixt him and Pichegru; and he thus became, at least, cognizant of the intended plot. Fouche, who had lost his situation as chief of the police, but who still maintained his agents, is said to have been instrumental in thus implicating Moreau, and in maturing a plot, of which he himself holding the clue might take advantage with Bonaparte in showing his superior information, his utility, and zeal.
Pichegru, at length, arrived from England in January, 1804; George Cadoudal had preceded by many months. They both saw Moreau, who was disgusted by the ferocity of the latter; and their scheme, whatever it was, seemed not to make any progress towards maturity. Numbers of their accomplices were already in prison; and it seems as if Pichegru and Cadoudal were allowed to continue at large merely to afford them leisure to win over Moreau still more, and implicate him. But these conspirators of such discordant opinions, could agree in no plan whatever: they met, separated, hindered the conspiracy, had always excuses for deferring their project, and despaired of fixing upon any. When they were severally arrested,—Moreau first, then Pichegru, Cadoudal, and the Polignacs,—Pichegru and Cadoudal were both armed, and the latter made resistance. When questioned as to his supposed project of assassination, Cadoudal frankly answered, "I came to Paris to attack the first consul openly by force, and by the same means which he takes to protect himself, his escort and his guard. We waited to act until a French prince arrived in Paris." This confession indicated, what indeed seems probable, that the project was a revolution, not a mere assassination, which must have been often in the power of Cadoudal to effect during the six months