Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

is not, for the prefent, neceffary to call on the princes and states of the empire for their contingents, and the discharge of the other duties they owe to the conftitution. A true German and patriotic heart, and an understanding enlightened by fo much fad experience, can never be led into fo great an error: an error, which would deprive us of the only means of concluding a fpeedy peace, on fair and proper terms, and fuch as might be folid and lafting. It would be wrong, for a moment, to lofe fight of the maxim, that the moft vigorous preparation for war is the fureft way to obtain peace. This we fall acquire both the fooner, and on the better terms, if the enemy fhall fee that we are in a state for continuing the war, in cafe of his perfifting in an imperious tone, and pretending yet once more to prescribe a peace, accompanied with difgrace and flavery, or that fhould put it into his power to involve us in difgrace and flavery hereafter. We have been too often deceived by a precipitate hope of peace, on the part of France, to be lulled, by the late events, into a fleep of fallacious fecurity. It has been invariably found, that every new faction in France has talked a great deal about peace. The word peace has been always in their mouths, never in their hearts. By the plaufible af furances of peace they only aimed at drawing over public opinion to their fide, and acquiring popularity. They have uniformly commenced new wars. They have never fhewn a difpofition to make peace on equal terms. By peace, they mean nothing more than the extermination of their enemies.

"The revolution of the ninth of

November, when clofely contemplated, cannot, all at once, infpire full concedence in the new govern. ment. A part of the perfons, into whofe hands the fupreme power has fallen, are the members of former councils, who, both by their profefled principles, and the whole of their public conduct, have fworn eternal enmity and mortal hatred to all states not conftituted like their own; feveral of which they have overthrown, and others of which, in the midft of perfect peace, they have perfidioufly brought under their fubjection. Nor is the fpirit that reigns in the publications of France of the moft pacific nature. In thefe, it is often faid, that the late revolution has no other end in view, than to raise the republic to the rank which he ought to hold in the fcale of European nations. The old directory, in those writings, is cenfured, not for having made war on their neighbours, but for having made war unfuccefsfully; for not having made new conquefts, and for having loft provinces that had been before conquered. The French proclamations fet out always with a difcourfe about victory, and fpeak of peace only in the laft place: which fhews that they do not yet confider circumfiances as fufficiently favourable for pacification; and that they have a mind, before the conclufion of peace, to try the chances of war.

The minifter of war announces openly, that he is bufily employed in recruiting the army, and providing all things neceflary for its equipment and fupport. He adds, that he will join it himself, and fhare its dangers, as foon as the feafon will admit the opening of the campaign; and that he is preparing new [pretended] triumphs.

"In the warlike preparations of France, there has been no remiffion, that can induce the Germans to admit of any relaxation in theirs; on the contrary, a new military corps is to be formed in the four departments not united to the republic. But, even on the fuppofition, that there is no reafon for miftrufting the views and the pro. jects of the new rulers of France, the late revolution' is not yet fufficiently confirmed and confolidated to afford any reasonable affurance that it will not be overthrown as the others have been. On the whole, the prefent queftion is not concerning fuch a peace, as a convention for a fhort time, or an armiflice. The point in hand is, conditions of perfect fecurity; conditions demanded by honour, dignity, liberty, the integrity of the German empire, and the inviolability of the moft facred treaties. The object contended for, is a fit, juft, and permanent peace, according to the fenfe of the decifions of the diet; fuch as fhall fecure religion, property, civil order, and the conftitution of the German empire."

"I invite you to take all these objections into your moft ferious confideration, according to the fentiments of patriotifm with which you are infpired; and, having done fo, you will undoubtedly agree with me, that prudence imperiously demands that you do not fuffer your felves to be thrown into a state of inaction, by rumours of approaching peace, and more moderate principles; but to keep your arms in your hands, and to preferve a military attitude until peace be actually figned. You will perceive, as I do, how fatally imprudent it would be to let any languor creep into

measures of defence, and how ne ceffary it is to redouble our efforts for a due augmentation of the troops, and to accomplish, with the greatest activity, and, in the most ferious manner, the renewed decifion of the diet, and the refolutions it entered into and confirmed, for the common defence; in order that we may have it in our power to oppose an energetic mals of efforts, to the views of the enemy, whatever they may be. It is only by an impofing military force that it is poffible to hinder the enemy from new attacks and devaftations; to fhorten or to terminate the evils of war; to improve the terms of pacification; and, in a word, to accelerate a peace worthy of the name, and to compenfate the multiplied facrifices by which, for fo long a time, we have endeavoured to procure it."

The court of Vienna fortified, as we have feen, by pecuniary fupplies from England, and the acceffion of Bavarians, Wirtemburgers, and other German troops in British pay, and mindful of both the past and recent glory and conquefts of the Auftrian arms, was not to be fhaken or diverted from its refolution of perfevering in war, by the offer of a negociation for peace, by Buonaparte, on the general ground of the treaty of Campo Formio. The imperial minifters replied to the overtures of the first conful, that the emperor would not negociate for peace, but in conjunction with his ally the king of Great Britain. Though the circles of the empire were not to be roufed from that lethargic indifference to the common profperity and fafety, into which, from the prevailing luxury and felfishness of the age, and the hope of security and advan

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tages of fecret understandings with France and with Prufia, they had fallen; the Auftrians, feconded by the English, prepared for military operations with great alacrity and vigour: notwithstanding the defection of the Ruffians, under marthal prince Suwarrow, and the oppofition of a powerful party at court in favour of peace on any tolerable terms; in which number was the archduke Charles, though he knew, as he declared, that it was only by prefenting an impofing military force, ready for action, that any tolerable terms of peace were to be expected. Nor were the military preparations of the French flackened, as is truly ftated in the archduke's letter, but more and more quickened, during the short period of the attempt at a negociation for peace with the Auftrians and English. The infurrections in the weftern departments, while they juftified military confcriptions and movements, to the greatest lovers of peace, were only a kind of a great military review and rendezvous for affembling and exercifing a vast body of troops to be employed, as occafion might require, in any direction.

After the inftallation of the confuls, a ceremony which was performed with vaft pomp, at the Thuilleries, on the nineteenth of February, and the final reduction of the rebellion in the weft, announced to the French nation at the fame period, the firft conful gave official notice of the rejection of of thofe overtures for peace, which he had tendered to different powers,

[ocr errors]

and particularly of their rejection by England. He addrelled a proclamation, complaining of the ob ftinate determination of the English to continue the war, and inviting the French to furnish the fubfidies and men, that were neceflary for acquiring peace by force of arms, if it could not be regained by con ciliatory measures, of which, however, he faid, that he was not yet without fome hopes. It was also, at the fame time, decreed by the confuls, that an army of referve fhould be railed, to confift of fixty thousand men, compofed of confcripts, and to be aflembled at Dijon, where the firft conful himself was to take the command of it in perfon. The proclamation and decree of the firtt conful were approyed of by the legislative body and tribunate. A part of the new confular guard, amounting to thirtyfix thousand men, of the finest youth of France, received orders to hold themselves in readinefs to march, on the twenty-fifth of March, to Dijon, to join the army of referve, where different bodies of troops had already affembled Bertier, minilter-at-war, was to accompany the general-in-chief, and the ex-director, Carnot, was to take charge of his department in his abfence. Bernadotte was allo appointed to be one of his lieutenant-generals.

While the French army of referve is drawing from different parts of France to Dijon, the great centre of military defign and operation, on the part of France, it will be proper to look back to the fitua

As stated in our laft volume. Prince Suwarrow, with the remains of his army, returned to Ruffian Poland, through Bavaria and Bohemia. The chagrin he experienced from this reverse of fortune, at the end of lus brilliant career, occafioned, or at least precipitated, his death.

tion

tion of military affairs at the end of the preceding campaign, fo fingularly complicated and extenfive, of

1799.

[ocr errors]

The principal operations of that can paign were closed with the furrender of Coni by the French, on the third of December. The affairs of Auftria, in Italy, at this epoch, wore a very favourable afpect. The road to victory, as formerly obferved, had been opened by general Kray, at Legnano and Magnan, and the field-marthal Suwarrow had improved thofe advantages with all the decifion, energy, and genius of his character: in fo much, that, at the end of 1799, the French poffeffed nothing in Italy but the city and fmall republic of Venice. All the paffes of the monnta ns that divide France from Italy were in the hands of the Auftrians.

On the other hand, the French were in poffeffion of the whole left bank of the Rhine, from its fource to where it falls, by divided streams, into the ocean: that is to fay, from Switzerland to Holland, both inclufive.

pionet, retreating to his defenfive pofts in the maritime Alps, ftationed the principal part of his troops between Savona and Genoa, the ordinary afylum of the republicans, after their defeat. In the be ginning of December he quitted the command which he had neither held with much reputation, nor with much fuccefs. It would not, however, be juft to appreciate his talents by the refult of the three laft months of the campaign which he conducted: for his army was left in fuch total want of money, of provifion, of clothing, and of all camp and military equipage, that he was, in fact, of neceflity, lefs taken up with fighting, than with providing for the exiftence of his troops, with preventing and appeating the difcontents of his foldiers, with repreting the excefles to which foldiers, almost dying of hunger, and accustomed to pillage, gave themfelves up, and with protecting them from the just vengeance of the inhabitants of the country.

The fituation of the French army,

General Melas having demolish-quartered in the territories of Ge ed the works conftructed for the noa, was ftill more difaftrous. The fiege of Coni, and left a garrifon vefels of the allies conftantly cruizing there, proceeded to established can- on the coafts of Genoa, prevented tonments of his advanced posts in or intercepted all fupplies of foreign the openings and paffes of the Pied- grain, which is at all times necefmontefe and maritime Alps. He lary for the maintenance of thatcounthen diftributed the reft of his army try; and which was become much in winter quarters, throughout Pied- more fo from the additional number mont and Lombardy, fixing his of mouths. The fcarcity of grain head-quarters at Turin. Cham- was at different times fo exceffive,

This general, in his way back to France, fell fick, at Nice, and died, on the ninth of January, at Antibes, of an epidemic fever, which broke out about the end of the campaign, and made great ravages in the left divifions or his army, and alfo carried off a great number of the inhabitants of the frontier towns in Provence, Dauphine, and Franche Comté. Championet was the fon of an innkeeper at Grenoble. The principal fervice which he did the republic was in the war at Naples: the fuccefs of which has been attributed to general Macdonald, who ferved under him.

that

that a real famine was to be dreaded, and the price of bread was always exorbitant. The wants of the French, as may easily be fuppofed, were always the firft fupplied, and the people were left to the horrors of their fate. Several infurrections broke out, not only in the country, but even in Genoa; and the French, incapable of remedying the evils which occafioned them, under the pretext of defending the town against the Imperia lifts, declared it to be in a state of Liege, that is to fay, they fufpended the authority of government, and fubjected it to their own. The Ligurian republic, thus reduced under fubjection to their ally, confoled themselves by immitating, both in June and November, the changes of government which took place, at those periods, in France. It was in this ftate of things, not unlike that in which he had left Switzerland, that general Massena took the command of the army of Italy, in place of Championet; and, according to the custom of the French commanders, announced himfelf before hand, by a proclamation, in which he promifed plenty and vic

tory.

Thefe engagements he found it the more difficult to fulfill, not while his army was held in a ftate of blockade by an English fleet, under lord Keith at fea, the victorious Auftrians were in poffeffion of all the territories that environ thofe of the Genoefe republic.

Though no armistice had been agreed on between the French and Auftrians, the grand operations of the war, in other quarters, were fufpended by the rigour of the feafons. Yet there were fome parts, fuch as the banks of the Levante

and the Scrivia, where there was ftill fome fighting. In a course of actions between a part of the French army, on the fourteenth, fifteenth, and fixteenth of December, and the Auftrian divifion, under the generals Klenau and Hohenzollern, in which feveral hundreds of men were killed on each fide.

Thefe fkirmishes finally clofed the compaign, and the corps of the generals Klenau and Hohenzollern on the one fide as well as thofe of the French generals St. Cyr and Vatrin on the other, took up their winter quarters.

The pofitions of the oppofite armies, in the beginning of January, 1800, were thefe:-The Auftrian army of Switzerland ended at the upper valley of the Tefino, and was there met by the army of Italy, which had abforbed that of the Tyrol. General Davidovich occupied Bellinzona, and his advanced pofts extended as far as Ariolo, thus obferving the openings of the St. Gothard. That of the Simplou was guarded by a part of the corps which prince Victor de Rohan had commanded in the valley of Offola, on the frontier of the Upper Valais. The troops left in the valley of Aufta by general Haddick, when at the end of October, he went to reinforce general Kray, were fiationed along the frontier of the Lower Valais, and occupied the foot of the great and little St. Bernard. The pallages of the Maurienne, the foot of Mont Cenis, the valley of Suza, till beyond Exiles, and that of Cluzon til beyond Feneftrelles, which was held in blockade, were guarded by different detachments, all under the orders of genera! Kaim, who commanded at "arin, where the right of the army ended.

The

centre,

« AnteriorContinua »