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NAPOLEON understood his bùsiness. Here was a mán' who in each moment and emérgency' knew what to do next. It is an immense comfort and refreshment to the spírits, not only of kings, but of cìtizens. Few mén' have any nèxt; they live from hand to mòuth, without plán, and are ever at the end of their lìne, and, after each áction, wait for an impulse from abròad. Napoleon had been the first man of the world, if his énds' had been purely pùblic. As he is, he inspires confidence and vígour! by the extraordinary ùnity of his action.
He is fìrm, sùre, self-denying, self-postpóning, sacrificing everything to his àim-mòney, tróops, génerals, and his own safety also; not misled, like cómmon adventurers, by the splendour of his own means. "'Incidents ought not to govern policy," he said, "but pólicy, ìncidents.” "To be hurried away by every event is to have no political system at all." His víctories! were only so many doors, and he never for a mòment lost sight of his way onward' in the dazzle and úproar of the present cìrcumstances. He knew what to do, and he flew to his màrk.
He would shorten a straight líne to come at his òbject. Horrible ànecdotes! may, no doubt, be collected from his history of the price at which he bought his succésses; but he must not, therefore, be set down as crúel, but only as ónel who knew no impediment to his will; not blood-thirsty, not crúel,—but wòe to what thing or person stood in his wày. Síre, General Clarke cannot combine with General Júnot, for the dreadful fire of the Austrian battery." "Let him càrry the battery." "Síre, every regiment that approaches the heavy artillery' is sacrificed. Síre, what orders?" Forward! Forward!
In the plenitude of his resources' every obstacle seemed to vanish. "There shall be no 'Alps," he said; and he built his perfect ròads, climbing by graded galleries their steepest précipices, until 'Italy was as open to Páris as any tówn in France. Having decided what was to be done, he
díd that' with might and màin. He put out àll his strength. He risked everything, and spared nothing-neither amunìtion, nor money, nor troops, nor génerals, nor himself. If fighting be the best mode of adjusting national dífferences! (as large majorities of men seem to agrée), certainly Bonaparte was right in making it thòrough.
"The grand principle of wár," he said, "was, that an army ought always to be ready by day and by nìght, and at all hours, to make all the resistance' it is capable of making." He never economised his ammunition, but on a hostile position rained a tòrrent of iron-shells, balls, grápeshot-to annihilate all defence. He went to the edge of his possibility, so heartily was he bent on his object. It is plain that in Italy' he did what he could, and all that he could; he came séveral times' within an ìnch of rúin, and his own person' was all but lòst. He was flúng into the marsh at Arcòla. The Austrians were between him and his troops' in the confusion of the struggle, and he was brought off with desperate èfforts. At Lonato,* and at other places, he was on the point of being taken prisoner.
He fought sixty battles. He had never enough. Each víctory was a new weapon. "My power would fall, were I not to support it by new achièvements. Conquest' has made me what I ám, and conquest' must maintain me." He fèlt, with every wise mán, that as much life is needed for conservation as for creation. We are always in pèril, always in a bad plight, just on the edge of destruction, and only to be saved by invention and coùrage. This vigour was guarded and tempered' by the coldest prúdence and punctuality. A thunderbolt in the attack, he was found invúlnerable in his intrènchments. His very attack! was never the inspiration of courage, but the result of calculation. His idea of the best defencel consisted in being always the attacking party. "My àmbition," he says, "was great, but was of a cold nature."
Everything depended' on the nícety of his combinations; the stars were not more púnctual than his arìthmetic. His
A small town near Lake Garda in Italy.
personal attention descended to the smallest particulars. "At Montebello! I ordered Kellermann to attack with eight hundred horse, and with thèse he separated the six thousand Hungarian grenadiers! before the very eyes of the Austrian càvalry. This cávalry was half a league off, and required a quarter of an hour to arrive on the field of action; and I have obsèrved' it is always those quarters of an hour' that decide the fate of a battle."
Before he fought a battle, Bónaparte thought little about what he should do in case of succéss, but a greát deal' about what he should dól in case of a reverse of fortune. The same prudence and good sénse marked all his behaviour. His instructions to his secretary at the palace' are worth remembering:-"During the night, enter my chámber1 as seldom as possible. Do not awáke mel when you have any good news to communicate; with that there is nò hurry. But when you bring bád news, rouse me instantly, for thén! there is not a moment to be lost." His achievement of búsiness was immènse, and enlarges the known powers of men. There have been many working kings, from Ulysses to William of 'Orange, but none' who accomplished a títhe of this man's performance.
To these gifts of náture, Napoleon added the advantagel of having been bórn' to a private and humble fòrtune. In his làter days, he had the weakness of wishing to add to his crowns and badges! the prescription of aristocracy; but he knew his debt to his austere education, and made no secret of his contempt for the bòrn kings, and for "the hereditary dònkeys," as he coarsely styled the Bourbons. He said that, in their éxile, "they had learned nothing, and forgot nothing." Bonaparte had passed through all the degrées of military service; but, also, was cìtizen before he was émperor, and so had the key to citizenship. His remarks and éstimates discovered the information and justness of the méasurement of the middle class.
Those who had to deal with him' found that he was not to be imposed upon, but could cípher as well as anòther When the expenses of the èmpress, of his house
hold, of his palaces, had accumulated great débts, Napoleon examined the bills of the creditors himself, detected overcharges, érrors, and reduced the claims by considerable sùms. His grand weapon, namely, the millions whom he dírected, he owed to the representative character which clothed him. He ínterests us as he stands for Fránce and for Europe; and he exists as captain and kíng! only as far as the Revolution, or the interests of the industrious másses, found an organ and a leader in him.
In the social interests! he knew the meaning and value of lábour, and threw himself naturally on that side. The principal works that have survived him, are his magnificent roads. He filled his troops with his spirit, and a sort of freedom and companionship grew up between him and thém, which the forms of his cóurt' never permitted between the officers and himself. They performed under his eye that which no òthers could do. The best document of his relation to his troops, is the order of the day' on the morning of the battle of Austerlitz, in which Napoleon promises the troops that he will keep his person! out of reach of fire, This declaration, which is the revèrse of thát òrdinarily made by generals and sovereigns on the eve of a battle, sufficiently explains the devotion of the army to their leader, EMERSON.
NAPOLEON'S LAST REQUEST.
Ah! bury me deep in the boundless sea,
heart have a limitless grave,
my spirit in life was as fierce and free As the course of the tempest wave;
And as far from the reach of mortal control
Were the depths of my fathomless mind,
And each mutinous billow that skyward curls
That name shall be storied in record sublime,
And renowned till the wreck of expiring time,
EVE OF WATERLOO.
STOP! for thy tread is on an 'Empire's dust!
There was a sound of révelry! by night,
Soft eyes looked love to eyes! which spake again,
But hùsh! hàrk! a deep sound' strikes like a rising knell !
Did ye not hear it? Nò; 'twas but the wind,
Or the car rattling o'er the stony strèet;