Imatges de pàgina

would be base indeed could they not retaliate by patriotic Vendees. You are told one hundred thousand men are at your gates: It is a falsehoodour forces are equal to those of the invaders, and they double their numbers if you reckon the national guards and federates. This, therefore, is not the time to assume a suppliant posture." Monsieur Bory de Saint Vincent therefore moved, 1. That Napoleon II. be instantly proclaimed emperor. 2. That the national guard be invited to partake the dangers of the troops of the line. 3. That representatives be deputed to the army, not to controul the military manœuvres, but to cement the union of the citizens and soldiers, and prove to the foreign sovereigns that it was incapable of being dissolved. These extravagant proposals, which inferred a declaration of a war of extermination, were received by the Chamber with applauses, and ordered to be transmitted to the army and the departments.

Cautiously and prudently, yet with great art and success, Fouché and his party were counteracting these violent proceedings and declarations, and labouring to keep open that door for reconciliation between Louis and his subjects, which the violent republicans were striving to shut. He submitted to the Chamber a letter in his own name to the Duke of Wellington demanding an armistice, in which their tone and style of thinking was so happily imitated, that it was adopted by acclamation, without their observing, that in fact it left a distinct opening to treat for the restoration of the Bourbons, upon the principle always of their guaranteeing constitutional liberty. He declared, that June 27. the Chambers were busied with the arrangement of a constitution, which should be fixed at an equal distance from the extremes

July 1.

of despotism and licentiousness, and that when it was signed by the prince who should be called to reign over France, the sovereign should receive the crown and sceptre from the hands of the nation. In an address or proclamation of the Chambers of a later period, the same prudent silence was observed concerning the name of the sovereign, and the assembly only pledged themselves never to acknowledge any chief of the state who should not acknowledge the rights of the nation, and ratify them by a solemn compact. The private correspondence of Fouché was much more explicit, and held out to the sovereigns, as the natural conclusion of the war, the restoration of the king upon such a basis as should prevent the adoption of any violent measures in vengeance of a defection, which had been too general to be a safe or prudent subject of punishment, and as should at the same time secure the constitutional rights of the nation, and restore the mutual confidence between the king and his subjects, the interruption of which was the chief obstacle to his again ascending the throne.

These sentiments were in every re. spect acceptable to the British minister and general. As members of a free state, they were bound not to suffer the extinction of the liberties of France, and in a political point of view, it was highly desirable for the interest of Louis himself, that his government should be founded upon a principle liberal enough to conciliate that numerous class of his subjects who considered constitutional rights as a boon which they had acquired by the various sufferings of the nation under the different changes of the revolution, and who were unwilling to quit their interest in privileges so valuable in themselves, and which had in many respects been so dearly purchased.

The obstinacy of the Chambers, how ever, rendered it apparent, that the prosecution of warlike measures was still necessary to attain this desirable conclusion.

The allied armies, as might have been expected, even from generals of far inferior talents to those by whom they were guided, made no attempt to renew the doubtful and slaughterous assault of 1814, upon the strong position of Montmartre and Belleville. They resolved to cross the Seine, and thus rendered vain all the preparations for defence on the northern quarter, by attacking Paris on the unfortified side. The necessary manœuvres could now be executed at leisure and with security, since there was no hostile army in the field, by which their rear or communications could be endangered.

Blucher, according to this plan of operations, crossed the Seine at Saint Germains, and advanced on the heights of Meudon. The French army also shifted their ground from the northern to the southern frontier of Paris, and made a gallant attempt to defend Versailles. They were finally unsuccessful, and the Prussian army was com pletely established on the heights of Meudon, having their left wing at Saint Cloud, and their reserve at Versailles. The plain of Grenelles and Montrouge, only defended by garri soned villages, and a slight half-finished entrenchment, was all that lay betwixt them and Paris.

By a combined movement, the Duke of Wellington also crossed the Seine, by forming a bridge at Argen tueil; and thus Paris was completely invested on its defenceless side. The English general might have increased the distress and alarm which prevailed in the capital, by intercepting the necessary supply of provisions. But it is his glory to add no horrors, which can be avoided, to those necessary to

warfare. Success was certain by other means, and, to the astonishment of the Parisians, the usual supplies for their market reached their destination in safety, after having been permitted to traverse the hostile camp. This trait of generosity, which resembled that ascribed to their own Henry IV. upon a similar occasion, greatly softened the public mind towards the approaching conqueror.

Meantime the different factions began to shew themselves in Paris. All the national guards wore at this time the three-coloured cockade; but those who favoured the king made the white part of that emblem bear so large a proportion as to hide the other two, while such as held opposite sentiments contrived that the red and blue colours should eclipse the white as much as possible. The colonels of their legions endeavoured to appease the differences to which these distinctions gave rise, recommending to their soldiers unanimity, and their proper duty of maintaining the national tranquillity. In other classes the difference of political opinions broke out with acts of violence. The federates threatened and insulted whomsoever they suspected of being royalists; and, it is said, one or two individuals were killed in the streets, for crying Vive le Roi, or wearing the lily or white cockade. On the other hand, some royalists undertook and actually executed the perilous task of spiking several guns on the heights of Montmartre. Every thing seemed to threaten an immediate collision of the opposite factions, when an incident took place which gave temporary spirits to the defenders of Paris.

The corps of General Vandamme and Girard, consisting of about twenty-five thousand infantry, and ten thousand cavalry, lay in the plain of Montrouge, the cavalry occupying

the Bois de Boulogne. Grouchy, with a part of the troops which he brought from Laon, continued to garrison Montmartre. In advancing close to Paris, the Prussians had left only a small detachment of about 1500 horse in Versailles. General Excelmans attacked and surprised the Prussians on this point, while July 3. General Piré executed a combined movement on Rocquancourt. The Prussian detachment being thus at once engaged in front and rear, the French obtained possession of Versailles, and took several hundred horses. These last proved the only permanent fruits of their victory, for Versailles was immediately regained by a superior force of Prussians.

Notwithstanding this partial and temporary success, the defence of Paris was becoming every moment less practicable. The Prussians car. ried successively all the outposts around Paris, and even the village of Issy, close under the walls. The armies were in presence of each other, the head-quarters of the French being at the barrier de l'Enfer, an outlet of Paris. Blucher had already sent for a battery of Congreve's rockets, and was supposed to be animated by a strong inclination to make effective use of that terrible instrument of destruction. There was an awful pause of hostilities as if by mutual consent, but every thing announced that the most dreadful fate impended over this fine capital, unless averted by timely capitulation.

A general council of war was held in Paris on the night betwixt the 2d and 3d of July. Of fifty general officers present, only two augured the possibility of defending the capital, and the risk of its total destruction, in so hopeless an attempt, was obvious and imminent. The parties which existed within the walls of Paris, and the inflamed passions of the

lower classes, threatened scenes of internal pillage, bloodshed, and massacre, to add to the horror of an assault by the besiegers. Soult and Massena both acknowledged the necessity of surrender. The latter ob. served, that his own defence of Genoa would establish his character for obstinately maintaining an honourable defence; but that, situated as Paris was, he saw no other measure practicable, but that of applying for terms of capitulation. Such an opinion, formally engrossed and subscribed by most of the general officers, was communicated to the provisional government, as the sentiments of the council of war. They debated for some time, whether the surrender of Paris ought to be tendered to the King of France, or to the generals of the allied armies. The former opinion was supported by Fouché and Caulaincourt, but the influence of Carnot over Quinette and Grenier, caused the latter to be adopted, as the only means of delaying the worst, in their estimation, of evil days-that, namely, of the king's restoration.

The Baron de Bignon, provisional minister for foreign affairs, with General Guilleminot, chief of the general staff of the French army, and the Count de Bondy, prefect of the department of the Seine, now left the city as plenipotentiaries to meet with commissioners from the allied generals. The preliminary conferences were held at Buonaparte's favourite residence of St Cloud; and, in the very council-room, where he had so often predominated as sole arbiter of the affairs of Europe. It was resolved, that the capitulation should be a military convention, without any relation to political questions. The following were the conditions subscribed and agreed to.

Art. I. There shall be a suspension of arms between the allied armies com

manded by his Highness the Prince Blucher, and his Excellency the Duke of Wellington, and the French army under the walls of Paris.

Art. II. The French army shall put itself in march to-morrow, to take up its position behind the Loire. Paris shall be completely evacuated in three days; and the movement behind the Loire shall be effected within eight days.

Art. III. The French army shall take with it all its materiel, field artillery, military chest, horses, and property of regiments, without exception. All persons belonging to the depots shall also be removed, as well as those belonging to the different branches of administration, which belong to the army.

Art. IV. The sick and wounded, and the medical officers whom it may be necessary to leave with them, are placed under the special protection of the Commanders-in-chief of the English and Prussian armies.

Art. V. The military, and those holding employments to whom the foregoing article relates, shall be at liberty, immediately after their recovery, to rejoin the corps to which they belong.

Art. VI. The wives and children of all individuals belonging to the French army, shall be at liberty to remain in Paris. The wives shall be allowed to quit Paris for the purpose of rejoining the army, and to carry with them their property, and that of their husbands.

Art. VII. The officers of the line employed with the Feterés, or with the Tirailleurs of the National Guard, may either join the army or return to their homes, or the places of their birth.

Art. VIII. To-morrow, the 4th of July, at mid-day, St Denis, St Ouen, Clichy, and Neuilly, shall be given up. The day after to-morrow, the 5th, at the same hour, Montmartre

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Art. XI. Public property, with the exception of that which relates to war, whether it belongs to the government, or depends upon the municipal authority, shall be respected, and the allied powers will not interfere in any manner with its administration and management.

Art. XII. Private persons and property shall be equally respected. The inhabitants, and in general all individuais who shall be in the capital, shall continue to enjoy their rights and liberties without being disturbed or called to account either as to the situations which they hold, or may have held, or as to their conduct or political opinions.

Art XIII. The foreign troops shall not interpose any obstacles to the provisioning of the capital, and will protect, on the contrary, the arrival and the free circulation of the articles which are destined for it.

Art. XIV. The present convention shall be observed, and shall serve to regulate the mutual relations until the conclusion of peace. In case of rupture, it must be denounced in the usual forms, at least ten days beforehand.

Art. XV. If difficulties arise in the execution of any one of the articles of the present convention, the interpretation of it shall be made in favour of the French army and of the city of Paris.

Art. XVI. The present convention

is declared.common to all the allied armies, provided it be ratified by the powers on which these armies are dependant

Art. XVII. The ratifications shall be exchanged to-morrow, the 4th of July, at six o'clock in the morning, at the bridge of Neuilly.

Art. XVIII. Commissioners shall be named by the respective parties, in order to watch over the execution of the present convention.

This military convention being af terwards censured, Carnot published a Memoir on the subject, in which he made it clear that the circumstances of the capital, and of the army which defended it, rendered the treaty unavoidable. "Any other place," he observed, "than Paris, would certainly have been able to hold out longer; but who would ever have justified us in having exposed to general massacre, to all the horrors of a besieged town, a capital which contains 600,000 individuals? Buonaparte had fortified only the right bank of the Seine, which is naturally covered by the heights of Montmartre and Belleville. The left side of the river remained without defence; the scarcely perceptible traces of a few lines formed all that had been done for it. I had made observations on that subject to the emperor; but he was persuaded that he would never be attacked on the side of the plain of Montrouge. However, the allies having become masters of St Germain, had passed the greater part of their forces to the left bank; and the river having become fordable in almost every part on account of the lowness of the water, it was impossible to intercept their communications; they might, by assault, have rendered themselves in an instant masters of the capital; and supposing that they had failed in a first, or

a second attempt, they could have returned to the charge until they completely succeeded. They had their rear open, could always re-commence with fresh troops, and choose the most favourable moments for their attacks. We, on the contrary, were obliged to be continually on our guard at all the outlets of the immense circuit which we had to defend, and always with the same troops, worn out with fatigue by the forced marches they had made since the fatal battle of Waterloo. Let it be imagined what impression must have been made upon the inhabitants by the continual entrance of a considerable number of wounded soldiers, who would soon have filled the hospitals and private houses, without any other hope than that of merely warding off for a few days an inevitable catastrophe. Who knows even whether the internal sensation which such proceeding must have occasioned, would not have hastened that catastrophe? Who can say whether the troops themselves, whose firmness had already been shaken, would have been able, in that tumult, to preserve that unity of discipline which was so necessary for them?"

The Memorial next adverts to the danger arising from the allies having got possession of the village of Au bervilliers, which rendered it difficult for the defenders to maintain the fortified line from St Denis to La Villette, which, if forced, would enable the besiegers to enter Paris at the barrier of St Denis, notwithstanding the fortifications of Montmartre. Carnot then states the position of the troops on the opposite side of Paris, where the main attack was apprehended.

"The Prussians occupied the village of Issy, at the entrance of which we had a post, and where there was established a kind of tacit suspension of hostilities. Their line was removed from ours, refusing its right, their plan

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