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Kurope, but for none so unfortu. BAttAy as the French, was the system adopted by Buonaparte.
After the battle of Jena, a pro. position was made, either by Russia in concert with her allies to the roler of France, or by the ruler of France to Russia and her allies, for a congress of all the belligerent pavers, to be held for the purpose ol a general pacification. The Russian government, keeping a stea. dy eye on Constantinople, objected to.the admission of the Turks into the congress, Buonaparte insisted on the admission of the grand.sig. Lior as the friend and ally of France, in return for which, Russia would be permitted likewise in the con. gress to make common cause with Eagland. The basis of negotiation proposed by Buonaparte, between what he called the two belligerent ■Ktet* was equality and reci. procity, and a system of compensations. Though the negotiation had been interrupted by a serious of hot actions, and the king of Prussia, and the Russian generalissimo, had declined to enter into any treaty for aa armistice, or peace, as above no. ticed, after the battle of Eylau, Buonaparte, on the fall of Dantzig, made a direct proposal for renew, ing the negotiation to the emperor Alexander, accompanied by a de.
* A term that might include a maritime pacification with England.
t Besides the corueriptt of actual service, there are an equal number of eontzripti of the reserve, to march only in cases of emergency; and besides this, a third body, called supplementary conscripts, amounting to \ of the whole contingent, for the purposeof filling up the contingencies occasioned by death* desertion, or other causes, before junction at head quarters. If the supplement should not be equal to this purpose, the reserve supplies itsplace; and, at all events, no *:fici*ncy i» permitted, as each canton is accountable for its lull assessment. No Frenchman under the age of thirty, can travel through the Empire, or hold any situation under government, or serve in any public office, unless he can produce • ceiti icate duly authenticated, attesting that he has discharged his liability to the conscription. Thus the whole mate population of France is organized
M 4 ihto
olaration that he was desirous of peace, above all things, and ready to listen to any reasonable overture for that end. That the French chief was sincere in this declaration, there is little reason to doubt. The progress of his arms from the Elbe to the Oder, and from'the Oder to the Passarge, beyond the Vistula, and the commanding position of his army, strengthened by the reduction of Dantzig, might enable him, to treat with advantage, and to re. turn to Paris with glory. On the other hand, the battle of Eylau, as well as that of Pultusk, and other engagements, proclaimed the un. certain issue of a decisive action with such an enemy; and in whose favour a powerful diversion might be occasioned by a combined Swedish and English army, landing in Pomerania, in his rear, and commanding the course of the Oder from Stralsund to Frankfort. The necessity too, which would be in. volved by a prolongation of the war, of drawing levy after levy, of unfortunate young men and boys, from their wretched families, could not be any other than a cause of most serious alarm, and apprehension. + Since the commencement of the war against Prussia, that is, in the course of six or seven months, three several levies of con.
scripts had been raised. The last of these, by which the conscripts of September 1808, were called for in March 1807. created a melancholy bordering on despair. Although all correspondence relative to the position, of the armies, was rigor, ously interdicted, and no letters 6 u tie red to pass without scrutiny, it was impossible wholly to conceal the mortality and the hardships in. separable from the various move, ment- of the troops, and the unaccustomed rigours' of a northern winter. A third conscription was generally considered as "an undertaking too bold for the internal administration, especially at a moment when a belief was current among all ranks, tiiat the emperor would not be able to extricate himself from the embarrassments, in which, after the battle of Kylau, he was supposed to be involved. The government, apprehensive of the danger, set themselves to prepare the public mind for the event, by employing emissarii s to announce their intention in whispers through the circles, and three thousand rotfee.houses of the capital. Cut an impression of terror was visible, even to a cursory observer, on the countenances of (hose who were either themselves exposed to the danger, or shuddered at the prospect of new revolutionary horrors, of suspicion and joy,
but half disguised in the lower in. brows of the most resolute of the disaffected, constantly on thealprttd improve the concurrence of opportunity, and who hailed this desperate expedient as a confirmation ol their hopes. The orator of the goj vernment, Rcnaud St. Jean D'An] gelt/, shed tears, whether of sorrow or joy, as he stated the necessity ol the measure: and the senate recei. ved it, contrary to their usual practice, in silent acquiescence, and with every symptom of reluctance ai>i dismay.* In order to assuage the general grief, it was found advise, able to qualify the new call for! 80.000 men, by a clause onactine that they were then to be merely Organized, and retained within tut limits of the empire, as a national guard. Circumstances enabled them to adhere to this condition, which most certainly world have been violated, if the armies tiad sustained a defeat.—In the midst of disquietude and fear, public festivals were multiplied, in order to give the administration at home an air of confidence: and an unusual degree of splendour brightened the court of the empress, who, remained in Paris, and took a principal share in those mummeries of despotism.+
It was not to be wondered at, therefore, if, all things considered. Buonaparte should be desirous of i fjrification. There was no reC'trtson, perhaps no return., for him to fVis, but in the character of a c )9 neror. Though, after the fall of Dantzis;, the main army was inrrea«ed by a disposeable force of nore than 3(),OUO, and though there insneither truce nor armistice, he did sot tike any measures for ira. r»>di3fe'y opening the campaign, «»d surprizing the enemy according to his usual system, by the promptitude and the celerity of his move. «rnt», but manifested every symptoci of a sincere arid even somewhat truest desire that hostilities might be, for the present, terminated by negotiation. Till this negotiation shuald be brought to some issue, he seemed determined to remain on the defensive. The ambassadors attracting his court at Finkenstein, were witnesses of the proud cmin*nre en which he now -stood, and abundant care was taken that they should fully understand the importance of his recent conquest, the great bulwark of the Vistula. When the ambassador of the port (Vid Mahomed Vahid) was present, ed, on the 28th of May, by the prince of Benevento (Maurice Talleyrand) to Buonaparte, he said tithe ambassador, that he, and the soitan S*utb, would be for ever ifter, as inseparably connected as
into a military system. The members of ihe confederation of the Rhine are not subjected 10 the conscription. The French government unwilling to make the allies as warlike as the trench nation, does not demand any very copious supplies of men; hut incredible contributions Cor the maintenance, pny, and clothing, of its own troops.
* As a proof and illustration of the nl.ject condition to which that body was reduced, it may be mentioned that before the law was pasted by the senate, the minister of police had issued hi* orders lor the appearance of the conscripts of I'ans at the registry.
fCode dela conscription, "Ike, Paris, 1806, seance du senat conscrvatcur ■du i April ICO?
the right hand and the left.* The offices and administration of the government were now transferred from Warsaw to Dantzig, which seemed at this time to be intended for the capital of the French dominions in those parts. This city was visited on the- 30th of May by Buonaparte, attended by t!ie greater part of his start", his minister for foreign relations, and in short, all his court. He reviewed his troops, and gave orders for the reparation of the works demolished in the course of the siege. General Happ, a great favourite, Was appointed governor, and Le I-'ebvre created duke of Dantzig. Each soldier engaged in the sie^c, received a gratuity of ten francs. From his imperial camp at Finkenstein, May 28th, Buonaparte wrote to the conservative senate, that he had instituted duchies, as rewards for eminent services done him, whether military or civil, and that, in pursuance oi this system of encouragement, he had creuted, l>y letters patent, the marshal Le Febvre, hereditary duki of Dantzig, not only in consideration of his late achieve, ment, but because ont, and ever since the first day of his reign, Le Febvre had rendered him the most signal service. It was his business, he said, to establish the fortunes of such families as**Jevoted themselves
• Buonaparte, of whom it has been said that he is an honorary memher of nil rehjioos, has always been at great pains to propagate a belief among ilie Mab.0. Indians that be entertains the utmu-t veneration tor Islauinism and the prophet, lie assumed a Mahometan name, and alt* cud not only to fall m nidi all the religious prejudices and fooleries of the fiu^s, but to adopt the genius or tui n of tfceir language. Sec Vol. XLI. History ul Europe, 1799, pp. 7—i4. A journalist ■bo,now and then, seasons liis Chronicle with agreeable sallies of wit and bu» nour, observes that the emperor ot Austria thus closely embraced between me two inseparable hands of Selim nnd Buonaparte, must have felt himself in an U'tward sitoation. Immbiou. No. 162. p. 617.
f tee Vul. XUi. Uistuky o!" Euroi'z, 171W, p. 16.
without • 73th Bulletin dc la granrle amice.
•without reserve to his service, and constantly sacrificed their own par. ticular interests to his..
The secret history of the negotiation for peace, the circumstances that determined the Russians to avoid a general action before the fall of Dantzig, and yet to make a vigorous attack on the French, fifteen days after the capitulation of that place, time lms uot yet discloicd. On the 5th of June, the grand French army was attacked by the allies at different points of its line. On the right of the allies, and the left of the French, twelve Russian and Prussian regiments, forming two divisions, attacked the tote du pout of Spanden on the Passarge, which was defended by a regiment of light infantry, strongly covered by en. trenchments and redoubts. They were repulsed seven times, and as often renewed the attack. But immediately after the last assault, they •were charged by a regiment of dragoons, that had come up to the assistance of the regiment of infan. try, and forced to abandon the field of battfe with a great loss in killed and wounded. Two divi. •ions, belonging to the centre of the allied army, attacked, at the same time, the lite du pont of Lomitten, which was defended by a brigade of the corps of marshal Soult. The Russian general, with 1,100, fell in the action; 100 were taken, and a great many wounded. The loss of the French, according to their bulletin*, was no more than 120 men. This is incredible. And it is here stated, only as an instance of that
extravagance of misrepresentation, which restrains us from repeating, on all occasions, their gasconades of this kind.—At the same time, also, the Russian commander in chief, general Benaigsen, with the grand duke Constantine, the imperii) guard, and three divisions of the other troops, attacked the position! of marshal Ney, on the right wing of the French line at Aldkirken, Gutstadt, and Wolfsdorf. After a severe contest, marshal Ney fell back, but in good order, to Ack. endorf.
On the following day, June 6th, the allies attacked the Cth corps of the French army, under the command of marshal Soult, and general Marchand, at Deppen, on the Pas. sarje. The Russians in the action of this day, lost according to their own acknowledgment, if we may credit the French bulletin, 2,000 killed, and more than 3,000 wounded. The loss of the French, accor. ding to their statement, in killed and wounded, was extremely tri. fling as usual. But they acknowledged the loss of 250 taken prisoners, for the most part by the Cossacks, who, on the morning of the attack, had got into the rear of the French army.
Buonaparte informed of the movements of the allies, left Finkensdin on the evening of the 5th of Jnnc, passed the night of the 6th at Saalfield, and that of the 7th in bivouact, with marshal Ney at Deppen, and immediately took upon himself the command, and issued the necessary orders to the whole army. On the ttl>, the 4th corps marched to Wolfs, dorf. where it fell in with the diri. din of Kamonskoy, on its way to rejoin the main body. The French corps attacked and defeated it, and ■ die evening took its position at Aklkirken. At the same time, Buonaparte with the corps of the marshals iVey, and Lasnes, his guard, and the cavalry of reserve, advanced to Gutstadt. Part of the rear guard of the Russian army, comprising 10,000 cavalry, and 15.000 infantry, took a position at Glottaw, and attempted to dispute the way. The grand duke of ix-rg, after some very skilful manoeuvres, drove the Russians from all their positions. Three brigades of light, and a division of heavy cavalry, car. ried all before them. And the French having taken 1,000 prisoners, and all the positions and re. doubts, of the Russians, between them and Gutstadt, entered that town, sword in hand, at eight o'clock in the evening. On the 10th, the French army moved towards Heils. berg, and on its march took several of the enemy's camps. About a quarter of a league beyond these camps, it came up with the rear. guard of the allied army, consisting of from 15, to 18.000 cavalry, and several lines of infantry. It was immediately attacked by a division of French dragoons, the cuirassiers of another division, and a brigade of light cavalry. The French were repulsed again and again, and as often renewed the at. tack. At two o'clock the corps under marshal Soult was formed. Two divisions marched to the right, while a third marched to the left, to seize on the edge of a wood, the occupation of which was necessary, ia order to support the left of the
t Bivouac is a guard at night performed hy the whole army, which, either at a piece, or lying before an cnemr, every evening draws out from its tents, or huts, and continue* all night in arms.
cavalry. Re-inforcement after re. inforccmeut, of both infantry and cavalry, was sent to the rear-guard, from the main army, which was posted at Heilsberg: and many efforts were made by the Russians, who were defended by the fire of more than sixty pieces of cannon, to maintain themselves in their positions before that town, in vain. Several of their divisions were rout, ed, and at nine in the evening, the French found themselves under the Russian entrenchments. Thefusilcers of the guard, commanded by general Savary, were put in motion to sustain the division of Verdicr. And some of the corps of infantry of the reserve, under marshal Lasnes, attacked the enemy, at the close of the day, when it had begun to be dark, in order to cut off his communication with Lansberg: in which he completely succeeded. The ardour of the troops was such, that several companies of the infantry of the line insulted the Russians in their entrenchments. A number of them fell in the ditches of the redoubts, at the foot of the pal. lisades.
Huonaparte passed (he 11th on the field of battle. He there drew up the different corps and divisions of the army inorderof battle, thatthe war might be terminated at once by a decisive engagement. The whole of the Russian army was assembled at Heilsberg, where the magazines were established, and it occupied a position strong by nature, and farther strengthened by the labour of four months. At four in the afternoon, Buonaparte ordered marshal Davoust to change his front, and push forward the left wing of his corps; a movement which brought him upon the lower Alia,