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CHAP.
XLIII.

the Russians driven from it, with the loss of their commander.

Whilst Napoleon was engaged in these vain man@uvres, the congress of Chatillon was at an end. Caulaincourt, by his master's order, had presented a contreprojet, maintaining the frontier of the Rhine, and the others replied by breaking up the conference on the following day, March 19, 1814. Nothing was left for the Austrians but to act upon the treaty of Chaumont, and advance upon Paris. The Austrian and Prussian armies had both been reinforced, and it was now resolved that they should unite and march together. Napoleon had hurried from the Marne, calculating that he could fall upon the rear of Schwarzenberg, whom he supposed to be advanced as far as Nogent. Instead of this, he fell upon the front of the Austrians, and fought with them on the 20th the murderous battle of Arcis. The chief result was to persuade Napoleon of his inability to check the enemies' advance upon Paris. And the sole plan that occurred to him was that already conceived and partially abandoned, of dashing into Lorraine, rallying the garrisons of the different fortresses, and coming back with 100,000 men on the rear and communications of the enemy. It would have been better perhaps had he persevered in these intentions. But tidings soon arrived of the panic of the Parisians and of the authorities, with the renewed intrigues of the Bourbons, encouraged by their success at Bordeaux, where the Duke d’Angoulême had declared his presence, and where the rights of his family had been acknowledged. After marching and countermarching between Vitry and St. Dizier for a full week, which was completely lost to him, Napoleon, early in the morning of the 28th, resolved to pursue the enemy to Paris.

He had given them ample time to render such resolve useless. Defeating the feeble corps of Marmont and Mortier at La Fère Champenoise, the allies arrived on the 29th before Paris, and on the 30th the attack of the

heights north of that city began. Never was the capital CHAP.

XLIII. of a great military empire more utterly unprovided with the means of defence. The regular troops of the two marshals did not exceed 23,000 men. A commencement had been made of enrolling a large number of the citizens in the national guard. But there were not muskets to arm even them, much less the working classes and people of the faubourgs, who demanded and who might have most efficiently used them. Some guns were dragged up to the heights of Belleville, the boys of the Polytechnic School undertaking to serve them. Some palisades and tambours had been erected before the gates. There were neither the men nor the materials for defence. Even had these abounded, there was no influential personage or commander to direct it. King Joseph, who had returned to Paris in January, after being exiled from it, and treated with unaccountable sererity, represented to Napoleon the necessity of at least one of his brothers remaining in the capital, in case of the enemy appearing or entering it. Napoleon deprecated this; an imperial commissioner would do, he said, but at length consented that Louis might remain. He feared lest the enemy should replace him on the throne by one of his brothers. For the same reason, he ordered Joseph to remove the Empress and her son from Paris on the appearance of the enemy, as well as the ministers and grand dignitaries. Joseph passed some time on the hill of Montmartre to witness, if not direct, the defence. The heights of Romainville and Belleville were fiercely disputed against the Russians all the morning of the 30th, but Blücher poured over the plains of St. Denis to Montmartre, which put Joseph to immediate flight. Longer defence was impossible without exposing the capital to the horrors of an assault; Marmont and Mortier therefore capitulated, consenting

* Emperor's correspondence with Joseph. Memoirs of the latter.

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to withdraw the troops under their command, some 20,000, to the south of the capital.

Whilst Schwarzenberg and Blücher were thus conquering the heights of Paris, and forcing Marmont and Mortier to capitulate, Napoleon had hastened from Troyes, with Berthier and Caulaincourt, taking the post, and following the road by Sens, Montereau, and Fontainebleau. It was only on approaching Cour-de-France towards midnight, that the travellers learned the events of the day, and the capitulation of the capital, by virtue of which the troops were then returning by the road to Fontainebleau. General Belliard, whom Napoleon first met, informed him of all. Thunderstruck, the Emperor sat for some moments silent opposite the fountains which adorn the road at Juvisy. He soon woke up with the hope that, as his troops could arrive from Troyes at Fontainebleau, he might still strike a blow at the enemy. To prevent the allied sovereigns taking any till he could do so, became his first object. And he accordingly despatched Caulaincourt to Paris, giving orders that the 20,000 men who had evacuated Paris should take post at Essonne, where in a short time the 50,000 he had left behind at Troyes could join them.

On the following day, the 31st of March, the Emperor Alexander and the King of Prussia made a solemn entry into Paris at the head of their troops. The Emperor of Austria remained still behind at Dijon. The emotion of the Parisians may be better conceived than depicted. The people were the most mortified. The upper ranks were gratified, as if an earthquake had passed beneath them. The middle class welcomed peace, as a substitute for glory. A review followed, after which Alexander repaired to Prince Talleyrand's, and even took up his abode there. *

He was in perplexity what to do. To

decided step,

* The Czar and his minister oc visional government were huddled cupied all the upper part of the into the entresol, of which Beugnot house, whilst Talleyrand and the pro- gives an amusing description.

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grant any terms to Napoleon was merely to put it into CHAP. his power to renew the military struggle sooner or later. * But whom to put in his place? The Bourbons alone appeared as candidates; but could they sustain themselves? That was the important question which the Czar asked of Talleyrand, and to which he replied that the Bourbons could reign, nay, alone could reign.

The result of this hasty council at Prince Talleyrand's was a declaration of the allied sovereigns, placarded immediately on the walls of Paris, that, as they could grant France much better terms under any other prince than Bonaparte, they had determined to set him aside, and no longer treat with him. They were ready to accept and guarantee such a constitution as the nation should devise, and prayed the senate to lose no time in appointing a provisional government to take charge of affairs and prepare the new constitution.

Thus was the superior power apparently made over to the senate. These nominees of Napoleon were but too ready to abandon him. And Caulaincourt, who visited them to awaken their imperial loyalty, found none to listen to him. All preferred following the suggestions of Prince Talleyrand, whom they elected chief of the provisional government, with the Duke d'Alberg, Beurnonville, Jaucourt, and Montesquieu for colleagues. All were Royalists. It was almost tautology to follow up this by a declaration that Napoleon Bonaparte had forfeited the throne.

The bar thus removed, which alone obstructed the legal restoration of the Bourbons, the partisans of the exiled dynasty rushed to take possession of its ancient authority. And an agent of the Count d'Artois, who was at Nancy, insisted on his being governor of the

“Si j'avais signé les anciennes dit à la nation, que ce n'était pas "limites," wrote Napoleon to Joseph une paix que j'avais signée, mais une on Feb. 18, “j'aurais couru aux capitulation.”—Mém. de Joseph. armes deux ans après, et j'aurais

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CHAP: kingdom. Prince Talleyrand and the senate resisted,

pleading the necessary preliminary of a constitution. Disputes arose as to the nature of this constitution, and of the right of the senate to impose it. The Royalists mocked the very idea, but Alexander was serious in as yet holding the Bourbons at arm's length.

Napoleon was at Fontainebleau with 70,000 men. He had sent Caulaincourt to negotiate merely in order to gain time, and he meditated no less than an attack on the scattered quarters of the allies, the success of which appeared to him not doubtful. The royalists, therefore, and the greater number of even Bonaparte's functionaries which had embraced their cause, used their utmost efforts to persuade the high military officers to abandon the imperial standard, and to put an end to the war. All were anxious for this latter result, for Napoleon, they knew, would battle interminably, and, recent events proved, to no good purpose. Such a war as they had been waging, odious to all, was more odious for the prospect that the first act of its renewal would be a battle fought in the streets of the capital. Macdonald, who had his family in Paris, shrank especially from this.

Ney, Oudinot, Lefebvre were equally averse to a renewal of the combat. Marmont still more so. Talleyrand had himself visited the marshal after the capitulation of Paris, and pointed out to him that the sole security of France and of its military chiefs lay in a Bourbon restoration. Napoleon had not any support left upon which he could depend; Massena, he thought afterwards, would have stuck by him to the last, but he was absent. The Emperor placed least reliance upon Macdonald, most upon Marmont.

Marmont. Yet the former proved the more loyal, the latter a traitor. Ney, he said, was a child.

Whilst Napoleon was arranging his design of an attack on Paris, Marmont, who commanded the advanced corps of 15,000 men at Essone, had come to a secret agreement with Schwarzenberg to pass to the

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