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enemy! Ney, Oudinot, Macdonald took the more manly CHAP. part of protesting in Napoleon's presence against his project of attacking the allies in the capital. What, if he desisted ? His abdication, no doubt, in favour of the King of Rome and the Empress. To this, after much remonstrance, passion, quarrel, and at length resignation, Napoleon consented. Caulaincourt, Ney, and Macdonald were to go to Paris with the offer. They passed through Marmont's quarters as they went, and learned the more extreme step that he had taken. They expostulated with him, and he promised to suspend the execution of his design, and await the issue of their negotiations. They proceeded to Paris to the residence of Alexander, and in their first interview shook that monarch in his design of dethroning the Bonaparte family altogether for the Bourbon. What might have come of his indetermination must remain uncertain. For in the night, the chief officers of Marmont's corps, Souham and Bourdesoult, summoned to Napoleon's presence, feared that this was an indication of his resolve to inflict immediate punishment upon their treason. They had fully agreed in Marmont's stipulations with Schwarzenberg In the apprehension, therefore, of their discovered treason, they precipitated it, by ordering the troops under arms, and marching them through the enemies' lines, which opened to receive them, to Versailles. The soldiers and officers, all but their chiefs, had remained in ignorance of what was intended. And they were no sooner arrived at Versailles than they mutinied, and threatened the leaders who had betrayed them with death. Marmont, who was in Paris, was despatched by his royalist friends to tranquillise his division, in which he succeeded, by promises and explanations as false as his whole conduct. Marmont, in fact, betrayed his master and his cause. Alexander, who still hesitated to sacrifice Maria Louisa and her son, and who would have been sustained by Austria in any scheme for retaining them on the throne, no sooner
CHAP. learned the defection of Marmont than he definitively XLIII.
gave up all idea of resuming negotiations with Napoleon, dismissed Ney and his colleagues, flinging himself irrevocably in the path of the already commenced restoration.
Caulaincourt and Macdonald had thus but to return on the evening of the 5th of April to Fontainebleau, and intimate to Napoleon the necessity of complete abdication. They offered from Alexander the island of Elba in independent sovereignty, with Parma and Piacenza for the Empress. Napoleon besought that Tuscany, rather than Parma, might be the principality of the Empress. He, however, did not insist, but told his murmuring marshals that, had they and Marmont supported him, he could certainly have driven the allies from Paris, and wrung from these a peace honourable to France and to them. They would not, and in consequence he wrote the following abdication :
“ The allied sovereigns having proclaimed that the Emperor Napoleon is the sole obstacle to peace, he, faithful to his engagements, renounces for himself and his heirs, the thrones of France and Italy, there being no personal sacrifice, not even that of life, which he is not prepared to make for the interests of France."
On the 6th, the marshals brought the documents to Prince Talleyrand. In exchange for it, they received the island of Elba for Napoleon, Parma and Piacenza for the Empress and her son. 80,000l. was to be paid annually to the new sovereign of Elba, and as much more to be divided amongst his family. A principality was promised to Eugène. On the 11th of April, 1814, the treaty was signed, and the act of abdication de livered by Caulaincourt to the provisional government. All was consummated.
LOUIS THE EIGHTEENTH.
What tremendous flux and reflux of the tide of empire! CHAP. It had swept at the commencement of the century XLIV. eastward over the continent, submerging all from the Sound to the Sicilian Straits, and from the Rhine to the Niemen. Old dynasties rose from the inundation, which covered Germany, merely like some towers and steeples, which barely out-topped the flood. The ebb was more rapid than the flow. In 1813, Napoleon was still victorious at Bautzen, Russia and Prussia retreating to the Oder and the Vistula, yet in the spring of 1814, the back tide had brought the Cossacks from the Don to stable their steeds in the court-yards of the palaces of Paris.
The great fault of Napoleon was in reality his excuse. He attempted what was impossible, to dominate the east of Europe from the west. No matter how he tried it, he could not have succeeded. His chroniclers blame him for not having stopped short on the Vistula or the Niemen. It would have been all the same. Had he indeed not thrown away half a million of soldiers in Russia, he might have held Germany longer in his grasp. Eventually or permanently he could not have kept it.
The land was in a ferment, the popular passions swelling to a height that no force could have withstood, at a time when military science and strength had become equalised, or when whatever strategic superiority remained to the French was more than
CHAP compensated by the superiority of other races in enthuXLIV.
siasm, energy, and love of independence.
Napoleon's empire, a mere military one, could not have endured. No prudence of his could have preserved it. And his imprudence did but shorten its existence. The empire fallen, what was to replace it? For if the west could not dominate the east, as little could the east put its yoke upon the west. The obvious answer was, the Bourbons with the old frontier and their old pacific policy. But would the nation tolerate, would the people rally to them, would the army obey? The Prussians cared little, provided they extended their kingdom to the Rhine. The Austrians not more, so that they succeeded to Napoleon in the domination of Italy and Germany. But Alexander deemed it worth consideration how the French government was to be settled, and the national spirit satisfied. The example of England had taught him to put faith in a constitution. He hoped to govern Poland by one. The Bourbons surely could repay the French for the supremacy they had lost by the blessings of freedom and of peace.
The senate, therefore, which had obsequiously voted Napoleon's forfeiture of the throne, and named the provisional government, was invited by Alexander to form a committee to frame a constitution. The liberal member of the committee was Count Nesselrode, the champion of divine right was the Abbé de Montesquieu, the representative of the Bourbon brothers and the party of the emigration. He would scarcely hear of a constitution,* till he was awakened from his obstinacy by the tidings that Alexander was treating with Napoleon's envoys, with a view to the regency of Maria Louisa. Marmont's defection saved the Bourbons, and the Royalist pretensions were somewhat humbled by the narrow escape they had had. At last a constitution
* Montesquieu's Memoir, published in Moniteur, April 1815.
was framed upon the English model, two chambers, an hereditary and an elective chamber, a responsible ministry. The existing senate was to form the upper house, with some fifty new members of royal appointment, the old members being assured of all their honours and appointments. The Count d'Artois, already approaching Paris, evaded accepting this constitution, by declaring that he was not empowered to speak for his brother. He entered the capital, however, the day after the conclusion of the treaty with Napoleon, and assumed the government. One of his first acts was to order the evacuation of the French fortresses on the Rhine, Elbe, and Oder, an inevitable step perhaps, but highly unpopular. Another act, equally so, though quite as pardonable, was his adoption of the white for the tricolor flag
About a fortnight afterwards, Louis the Eighteenth reached Compiégne. He was visited by the marshals, whom he received as cordially as his gout and obesity permitted. Not only M. de Talleyrand, but Alexander, betook himself thither. Louis was less cordial with them. He was prepared to give a constitution, but not to have one forced upon him, as these personages had undertaken to do. A royal declaration was issued from St. Ouen, rejecting the constitution voted by the senate, which was far from having met with general adhesion, but promising to place a liberal one before the chamber. On the 3rd of May, he entered Paris and the Tuileries, dismissing the imperial guard from the post at the palace, a ņot inconceivable precaution at a time when conspiracies were but naturally to be expected. M. de Talleyrand was declared minister of foreign affairs ; Montesquieu, home department; Baron Louis, an excellent choice, finance minister; General Dupont, in disgrace with Napoleon for his conduct at Baylen, war minister.
* Réflexions de Bergasse.