巴州:田间地头春潮涌 一村一策奔小康

CHAPTER III. THE REIGN OF GEORGE II.

Of Napoleon's monster army, Marshal Macdonald commanded the left wing; the Austrians were on the right under Schwarzenberg; and the main body consisted of a succession of vast columns commanded by the most famous French generals, including Bessires, Lefebvre, Mortier, Davoust, Oudinot, Ney, Grouchy, King Jerome of Westphalia, Junot, Poniatowski, Regnier, Eugene Viceroy of Italy, etc.; and Murat commanding all the cavalry. Buonaparte led this centre of two hundred and fifty thousand men with his Imperial[42] Guard. To oppose this huge army, composed of numbers and of officers such as the world had not seen before, Alexander had about two hundred and sixty thousand men. He lay at Wilna, with Barclay de Tolly and one hundred and twenty thousand men. In different positions, more northwards, lay Count Essen, Prince Bagration, the Hetman Platoff, with twelve thousand Cossacks; and, watching the Austrian right in Volhynia, lay General Tormasoff, with twenty thousand men. Advancing on them in three vast masses, the French army approached the Niementhe King of Westphalia directing his march on Grodno, the Viceroy of Italy on Pilony, and Buonaparte himself on Nagaraiski, three leagues beyond Kovno. On the 23rd of June the head of Napoleon's column came upon the Niemen, and saw the other bank covered with vast and gloomy forests. As the Emperor rode up to reconnoitre this scene, his horse stumbled and threw him; and a voice, from the crowd behind him, was heard saying, "A bad omen! A Roman would return!" When the head of the column the next morning crossed the river, a single Cossack issued from the solemn woods, and demanded their reason for violating the Russian soil. The soldiers replied, "To beat you, and take Wilna!" The Cossack disappeared, and left all solitary as before. Three days were required to get the army across, and before they could pitch their tents they were assailed by a violent thunderstorm, accompanied by torrents of rain. But the royal family put no faith in these professions; they resolved not to wait the arrival of the French, but to muster all the money and valuables that they could, and escape to their South American possessions. Whilst these preparations were being made in haste, the British traders collected their property and conveyed it on board British vessels. The inhabitants of the British factory, so long established in Lisbon, had quitted it on the 18th of October, amid the universal regret of the people. The ambassador, Lord Strangford, took down the British arms, and went on board the squadron of Sir Sidney Smith, lying in the Tagus. On the 27th of November the royal family, amid the cries and tears of the people, went on board their fleet, attended by a great number of Portuguese nobility; in all, about one thousand eight hundred Portuguese thus emigrating. The Prince Regent accompanied them, sensible that his presence could be of no service any longer. The fleet of the royal emigrants was still in the Tagus, under the safe[548] protection of Sir Sidney Smith's men-of-war, when Junot and his footsore troops entered Lisbon, on the 1st of December. He was transported with rage when he saw their departing sails, for he had received the most imperative injunctions to secure the person of the Prince Regent, from whom Napoleon hoped to extort the cession of the Portuguese American colonies. Junot declared that the Prince Regent and royal family, having abandoned the country, had ceased to reign, and that the Emperor Napoleon willed that it should henceforth be governed, in his name, by the General-in-chief of his army. This proclamation of the 2nd of February set aside at once the conditions of the Treaty of Fontainebleau; the imaginary princedom of Godoy was no more heard of, and the kingdom erected for the King of Etruria remained a mere phantom at the will of Buonaparte. The property of the royal family, and of all who had followed them, was confiscated; a contribution of four million five hundred thousand pounds sterling was laid on a people of less than three millions, and as there was not specie enough to pay it, plate and every kind of movable property was seized in lieu of it, without much regard to excess of quantity. The officers became money-brokers and jobbers in this property, much of which was sent to Paris for sale, and the whole unhappy country was a scene of the most ruthless rapine and insult.

Simultaneously with these proceedings, the actions commenced by Wilkes, and the printer, publishers, and others arrested under the general warrant, were being tried in the Common Pleas. All the parties obtained verdicts for damages, and that of Wilkes was for a thousand pounds. Chief-Justice Pratt, strengthened by the verdicts, made a most decided declaration of the illegality and unconstitutional nature of general warrants. To the Czar it appeared most politic that the war with Napoleon, as it must come, should come whilst the British in Spain were harassing him and draining his resources; and, on his part, Buonaparte, resenting the hostile attitude of Alexander, and suspecting his secret understanding with Bernadotte, determined, notwithstanding the ominous character of the war in Spain, to summon an army utterly overwhelming and crush the Czar at once. It was in vain that such of his counsellors as dared urged him to abstain from the Russian invasion. They represented the vast extent of Russia; its enormous deserts, into which the army could retreat, and which must exhaust so large a host as he contemplated; the inhospitable climate; the difficult rivers; the unprofitableness of the conquest, if it succeeded; and the improbability that success there would put an end to the war in Spain, whilst any serious disaster would cause the nations to stand up behind him as one man. These were all arguments of mere policy; for as to the considerations suggested by morality or justice, these had long been abandoned by Buonaparte, and therefore were never even adverted to by his friends. The Sovereigns of the Holy Alliance, however, acted on principles and with designs very different. Their general principle was not to tolerate any change in the European Governments that did not emanate from themselves. The Greek Revolution they denounced as a rebellion against the legitimate authority of the Sultan. The actual Government of Spain they regarded as incompatible with the safety of monarchical power, and France called upon the Sovereigns to re-establish the despotism of Ferdinand. Russia, Austria, and Prussia took the same view of the Spanish Revolution, but were unwilling to interfere by force of arms. France was not so scrupulous upon that point. Chateaubriand and other votaries of absolutism in Church and State were busy fomenting conspiracies in Spain, and secretly supplying arms and ammunition to the priest-ridden enemies of constitutional government in that country. An army which during the previous year had been assembled on the frontier, under the ridiculous pretence of preventing the fever at Barcelona from spreading into France, changed its name from that of a sanitary cordon to an army of observation. M. de Villele, the new French Prime Minister, threw off the mask, and in a circular note stated that unless Spain altered her political constitution, France would use force to convert her from her revolutionary theories.