Imatges de pÓgina

is damnatory to his fame. We have attentively perused, and deeply considered, the numerous defences by his adherents and admirers, as well as what the Emperor himself has said upon those charges so abhorrent to humanity, and we have found in those attempted justifications nothing but the palliations of expediency. His conduct at Acre is a great


his fame. When Barry O'Meara, the English surgeon attached to Bonaparte at St. Helena, conversed with Bonaparte on this subject, he honestly replied, that “Sir Sidney displayed great talent and bravery ;” and confessed that he was the chief cause of his failure there, on account of his having taken all his battering-train in the manner we have narrated. He declared that, had it not been for that, he would have taken Acre in spite of him. He acknowledged that he behaved very bravely, and that he was most ably supported by Phélypeaux, whom Bonaparte called a man of talent, saying that he had studied engineering under him. He also does justice to Major Douglas, remarking that he behaved very gallantly; and proceeds in his remarks, accounting for his defeat, thus : “ The acquisition of five or six hundred seamen as canonniers was a great advantage to the Turks, whose spirits they revived, and whom they showed how to defend

the fortress. But he committed a great fault in making sorties,” (one of which, by its success, turned the fate of the struggle, “ which cost the lives of two or three hundred brave fellows, without the possibility of success; for it was impossible that he could succeed against the number of French before Acre.

“ I would lay a wager that he lost half of his crew in them.”

(The ex-emperor was wrong there.) “ He dispersed proclamations among my troops, which certainly shook some of them ; and I, in consequence, published an order, stating that he was mad, and forbidding all communication with him. Some days after, he sent, by a lieutenant or midshipman, a flag of truce, with a challenge to meet me at some place which he pointed out, in order to fight a duel. I laughed at this, and sent back intimation that when he sent Marlborough to fight me, I would meet him. Notwithstanding this, I like the character of the man."

We may be indulged in some observations upon this fanfarade, which is altogether highly honourable to Sir Sidney; still more so, seeing it came from the mouth of a renowned and beaten enemy.

In the abstract, we do not think that the dispersing incitements to revolt amongst the soldiery



of an enemy is a legitimate--we know it not to be a fair-method of warfare ; but, in this case, it was only a very gentle retaliation of a system carried on outrageously by Bonaparte himself. We hold it to be as ungenerous and as treacherous to endeavonr to raise to revolt and to poison the minds of the enemy, as it would be morally to drug the wells and springs at which they must drink. But Bonaparte set the example of this moral poisoning, and fought in Egypt almost as much by proclamation as by the ball and bayonet. The taunt, therefore, comes with but an ill grace from the mouth of Nap:)leon.

He could not help dashing a little cold water into his freewill offering of praise; he was beaten, and therefore he not very wisely undervalues and depreciates the powers which chastised him, which is a foolish sacrifice of pique at the shrine of personal vanity.

As to the account of the duel affair, which we are inclined to believe, we confess that it is rather out of the usual routine of military matters, and, being a bad imitation of two or three examples of antiquity, is in execrable taste. But it is a mistake only of a high and chivalrous mind; and viewing the gasconading answer of the challenged, we think Napoleon gains nothing at


all by the story. Sir Sidney, in common with every Englishman of that period, had strong prejudices against Bonaparte, as the very head and heart of the demoralising and irreligious principles that it seemed to be the aim of France to establish throughout the world. To annihilate, at a single blow, this moral pest, seemed to be well worth the risk of one life-to say nothing at all of the purely personal insult that Bonaparte publicly put upon him, in proclaiming him mad.

And a very pleasant thing it is to reflect uponthe making an opponent mad by a general order. If Sir Sidney Smith was affected with madness, there was dreadful method in it-a method that out-manæuvred and out-generalled the man that discovered the insanity. We gladly take the wheat from this testimony of Bonaparte, and leave to him, and to those who blindly admire him, the chaff.

We think that it may be fairly stated that the retreat of Bonaparte from before Acre was conducted in a spirit of exasperation and cruelty, generated by disappointed pride and baffled ambition. He was great only in success, and a stranger to the greatest of greatness-greatness in adversity In after life he attempted this grandeur, but could not support the character. As he wended his miserable and discomfited way from the scene of his defeat, he seems to have been wholly the slave of passion and resentment, and to regret that his powers of showing his anger, mighty as they were, were too little for the magnitude of his will.

It has been urged against him that, in his march the magazines and granaries with which he met were all fired, that desolation and rapine marked his progress, that the cattle were wantonly destroyed, and “ that the affrighted inhabitants, with rage in their hearts, beheld, without being able to prevent, the disasters which marked their invader's way.” This may be true, but it is the common picture of all retreating armies; and let it be remembered that Bonaparte, as he marched, was continually in hostili-" ties, and that it would not have been the most approved military strategy to have left to his pursuers magazines and well-stored granaries, with herds of fat cattle. Let us confine ourselves, in our condemnation of this great man, to the facts, and to the charges brought against him, in truth and in honesty, by Sir Sidney Smith. As we have before stated, some of his acts have been explained, and some palliated; yet still, the amount of guilt is heavy against him.

In a siege of so long a duration as that which

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