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what any former events in history had thing but they could have, produced, done, the inability of any coalitions, it was now beyond their power to how formidable soever in extent of subdue. The coalitions which were territory or military resources, to sub- successively formed were destroyed. due the enthusiastic valour which with a rapidity as unexampled as it springs from the spirit of a free peo- was alarming; and, in the calamitous ple exerting themselves in defence of events which occurred in 1805, 1806, their native land. The French peo- and 1807, Europe had ample cause to ple, indeed, during this period, were lament both the impolicy of those eat. not free, and never under their for- lier attacks, which had roused the mer monarchs had they suffered so dreadful power with which they were sanguinary a rule as during the first now engaged, and the utter inadeseven years which succeeded the Re- quacy of the system of coalitions to volution. But still the spirit of liberty oppose in an effectual manner the was gone abroad; and extinguished energy which these attacks had proas it was by the despotism at Paris, it duced. The effects which had been lived in the armies on the frontiers, predicted in 1793, when the war comand breathed in the multitudes who menced, now began to develope themhastened to fill their ranks.
selves. The revolutionary armies, in ... But the contest soon changed its place of being weakened and dissipatcharacter. That military spirit which ed by the failure of the financial rethe imprudent aggression of the Euro- sources, and the entire destruction of pean powers had produced, and which the commerce of France, were filled, had healed the dissensions and called as had been foretold, by the multiforth the energies of Revolutionary tudes whom it had deprived of every France, became, in the act of success other means of subsistence. The coa ful defencé, itself the most formidable litions which had been formed, in enemy to the liberty which had given place of subduing and tranquillizing it birth. The French government that great country, as the advocates had tasted the sweets of foreign con- of the war had so fondly anticipated, quest, and the French armies had re- were themselves overthrown in the velled in the spoil of foreign states. contest, and from every successive Ambition became the ruling principle victory the native military ardour of in all ranks; and the whole rising the French people, and the military population of the country looked to skill of the French armies, was rea the profession of arms, as the theatre ceiving new and portentous additions. of individual, as well as national age On the part of the Allies, on the other grandisement. The opening of this hand, the radical weakness and jeavast career to talent of every descrip- lousies of a coalition destroyed all the tion, both augmented, to an unparallel, effects which their accumulated force ed degree, the ability which was brought might otherwise have produced. to the service of the state, and increa- Prussia, in 1805, saw the power of sed, in a manner unknown in modern Austria destroyed at Ulm and Austertimes, the ardour for military distinc- litz, without stirring in her defence, tion among all classes of the people. and Austria, in her turn, beheld with The government yielded a willing obe- utter indifference the annihilation of dience to the universal propensity, the Prussian monarchy at Jena, when and sought in foreign war both the the presence of 30,000 of her troops means of employing the armies, which could probably have turned the scale otherwise might have been formidable of that eventful day. What was to itself, and of gratifying the military still worse, by continuing her supplies ambition of its chief.
to the French armies during the Thenceforward the wars which oc- winter of 1807 she enabled them to curred, though, in appearance, wars recover the defeat of Eylaw, and to of aggression on the part of the Allies, lay the strength of Russia prostrate were, in reality, produced by the insa- on the field of Friedland. tiable ambition of France, since it is Nor was it only by the jealousies always in the power of the stronger which subsisted among them that the power to constrain the weaker to come Allies contributed to the progress of init the first acts of positive hostility. the French armies. The radical evil But the Allies found, to their cost, of a coalition, viz. that each party that the demon which they, and no, trusted to its associate for the main
tenance of the common cause, and impolitic course which was at first postponed the full exertion of its own pursued in regard to the French reresources, paralyzed all the efforts of volution, it was not the time when their armies. Had either Austria, the evil was created, and the enemy Russia, or Prussia, developed previ- was at our gates, to relinquish the ous to the battles of Austerlitz, Jena, contest in which we had engaged. or Friedland, the resources which The power of France, now evidently they have since displayed, with an superior to that of any other state in inferior territory and a dispirited Europe, and clearly despotic in conpeople. when compelled to rest on tinental affairs, was directed with inTheir single efforts for their defence, veterate hostility against this country. the result of these battles would pro- Peace with such a power could obvia bably save been just the reverse of ously be nothing but an armed truce, what actually occurred. Herein, there, and every thing was to be apprehend
fore, lay the extreme impolicy of en- ed from any relaxation in the military i deavouring to coerce France by coali- spirit which the sense of its imminent Sitions--not only that, from the jea- danger had awakened among the free
lousy that subsisted among the sove- people of England. reigns who composed it, the common And when was it that this mighty cause was unceasingly sacrificed, but power, which had been born amidst because each power, trusting to the the tumult and fury of a revolution, support of its neighbours, neglected which had been strengthened by every the full exertion of its own powers, attack that had been made against it, and thus, by enabling the enemy to and had now risen triumphant over triumph over their united forces, dimic the greatest military coalitions that nished to a most alarming degree the had ever existed ? When was it that military spirit and ability of each to it met with its first overthrow ? Was resist singly when it inight be reduc- it from the first coalition on the plain ed to its own resources.
of Fleuerus ? Was it from the second Equally obvious was it, from the coalition on the field of Hohenlinden? event of these calamitous campaigns, Was it from the third coalition on the that the effect so clearly predicted at field of Austerlitz ? Was it from the the commencement of the war had ta- fourth coalition amidst the snows of ken place, and that, from contact with Friedland ? It was from the tumultthe French, the allied armies had uary insurrection of Spain; from the caught some of the contagion of their efforts of a people struggling in their principles. It had long been suspect- own defence; and trusting for the deed that the surprising advantages liverance of their country, neither to gained by the French generals in 1796 the negociations of their sovereign, and 1800 was owing as much to luke- nor the assistance of their allies, but
warmness on the part of the Germans to the vigour of their own councils, S as energy on the side of their oppo- and the valour of their own arms.
nents; but the events of 1805 and That country had joined the confede1806 placed the matter beyond a racy in the commencement of the doubt. The surrender of 30,000 war. It had tried its fortune in the
Austrians in the fortress of Ulm, with method which Mr Pitt prescribed for s out making any resistance,--the capithe subjugation of the revolution, and
tulation of the impregnable fortress of it had utterly failed in the attempt. In Magdeburg, with the flower of the 1808, deprived of its sovereign by the
Prussian army, before the parallel even treachery of Bonaparte ; deserted by ) of the besieging army was begun,- its nobles who were cringing to the - and the rapid subjugation of all the usurper ; bereft of its army which
fortresses through the Prussian terri- was stationed on the Baltic; bridled by
tory, which immediately followed,- its own fortresses which had been bea - left no room to doubt that the armies trayed to the invader; ignorant of
on whom the cause of Europe had war in 'which, for above a century, it been rested were corrupted, and that had been inexperienced, and over
the attempt to crush the French revo- awed in every province by the armies 9 lution had led only to the universal of France, Spain seemed to be already * dissemination of its poison.
subjugated by that ambitious power. Clearly, however, as all these dis- But it was precisely because it had tressing effects had followed from the none of these things, that it rose victo- VOL. 1.
rious upon its oppressor : it was from patriotic resistance was pot lost it the utter absence of any of the resour- pened the eyes of Europe to the meatis ces on which the coalitions had rest- by which success was ultimately to be ed, that the first dawn of hope upon obtained, and showed, that, by trustthe cause of Europe arose. It was ing to the popular energy, and elebecause it had no foreign aid to look vating the popular mind, even the to, no allied armies to fight its battles, dreadful military power which had no standing army to supersede the ex- subdued its armies might be overertion of the popular strength, no cor- come. rupt cabinet to betray the cause in At length, in the madness of an inwhich the people were engaged ; that satiable ambition, Bonaparte's great it first showed that the armies of attack on Russia was begun. In this France were capable of being destroy- attempt, the most gigantic, as well a ed; and that the troops who were co- the most wanton, which he had ever vered with the laurels of Austerlitz made, he did not depend solely on his and Jena might be constrained to own resources. France now led on the yield to the “ might that slumbers in coalition. The whole military struga peasant's arm.” As if it had been gle of Prussia, Austria, Italy, and Pointended to put beyond a doubt, by land, was blended with her veteran the events of the war, what was the troops, and subjected to the rule of method by which the tide of revolu- her experienced cominanders. The tionary conquest was to be restrained, greatest armament which the power and what were the causes to which its of man had ever prepared against the former disasters had been owing, the liberties of mankind was led against Spanish people, without allies, with- one devoted country. Six hundrel out subsidies, without a regular ar- thousand men, headed by the greatest my, gained a greater triumph over the generals of the age, marshalled in the French arms than all the coalitions of strictest military discipline, and stikings, and all the military experience mulated by every object of military of their armies, and all the treasures ambition, were poured into a single of England, had been able to effect. empire. All Europe trembled for the
Austria was the first power which event; and the Government of this followed the bright example, and re- country, taught by the disasters of solved to adopt a different line of con- former times, earnestly dissuaded the duct in the attempt to regain her lost Emperor of Russia from resisting, possessions. For the first time since and, abandoning the system of coalithe French Revolution, she put arms tions, declared, through the voice of into the hands of the people ; she called Mr Percival, that England washed its forth the Landwehr and the Land- hands of the event, and that Russia sturm, and excited the ancient loy- alone was to be answerable for the alty of her Hungarian subjects, to consequences that might ensue. * : whom Maria Theresa had owed the During the progress of the war, recovery of her throne. Without therefore, the parties had insensibly looking for foreign alliances, without changed sides. The system of coaliasking for English subsidies, she trust- tion was begun on the part of the Aled to her own people for the protec- lies; but it was ultimately adopted by tion of the monarchy, and called upon the other side. At the comments their hereditary and tried patriotism ment, France was struggling for its to preserve it from impending destruc- existence, and combined Europe was tion. Nor was it in vain that the ap- arrayed under the auspices of Mr Pitt peal was made. For the first time to effect its partition. Now Russia since the commencement of the Revo- 'was compelled to draw forth her lution, the balance hung doubtful be- forces to resist a far greater coalition, tween Austria and France; and the and maintain a contest with a more devoted gallantry of her troops on the terrible antagonist. field of Aspern almost rescued Eu- But, while Europe beheld with anirope from the thraldom in which a ious dread the magnitude of the prehundred defeats had thrown her ;- parations which France had made; And, though the superior power and military resources of France in the end prevailed in that memorable con • Speech of Mr Percival in the House test, yet the glorious example of her of Commons, May 18, 1812.
while she compared with a despond- triumph which the annals of the ing eye the armies of Russia, with world can exhibit. It is with deep rethe stupendous armament which was gret that we have sometimes heard, brought against her; while she re- even by the friends of civil liberty, flected, with regret, on the iron des- the merit of the Russian army dispotism which now drew forth the re- paraged in that memorable campaign, sources of the coalition, and gave it and the destruction of the French the unity of design which belongs to army imputed rather to the inclea single empire, she did not antici- mency of the elements, than the vapate-she could not have conceived lour and military skill of their oppothe astonishing energies which the nents. Admitting that the immediate Cause of FREEDOM was capable of cause of the destruction of the greater displaying. With a magnanimity be- part of the French army was the infitting of the great cause in which he tense cold experienced during the rewas engaged; with a heroism worthy treat, what was it that drove them of the Alexander of the ancient world, into that retreat ? What constrained the Emperor of Russia disdained all them to leave the half of Moscow foreign assistance; and calling on his which had survived the conflagration, people to surround him, stood forth, or the populous cites of Twer and in defence of his native land, trusting Novogorod, containing ample canin God alone, and in the justice of his tonments for the whole army, at the cause. The tide of invasion rolled on, very commencement of the cold seaand after many a well debated field, son? What, but the superior power the Russian army was constrained to of the Russian army, and the increasyield even the metropolis of the em- ing valour of the Russian people, pire to the fury of the enemy. But, which threatened to close them on like the Athenians of old, they yield- every side, and starve them, like the ed only its ashes; and, by the greatest army wbich Julian headed, in the sacrifice which the world has ever very centre of their conquests? What seen, bore from the invaders all in prevented the French cavalry from their conquest that was worth pre- foraging during the period they lay serving. Well and truly might the at Moscow, and confined the resources Russian patriots say with the English of the army to the ground which itmartyr: “ We have this day lighted self had covered ? Nothing obviously a flame, which, I trust in God, will but the entire destruction of that never be extinguished.”
army which took place in the battle Nor were the effects of this glorious of Borodino. Was not the ultimate example of patriotic devotion lost in retreat of the French army a part of the Russian empire. From the ashes the plan of the Russian commanders, of Moscow there burst forth a flame spoken to in all proclamations from which never could be subdued. The the beginning of the war, and clearly peasantry everywhere flew to arms; anticipated in the simultaneous movethe ranks were filled with ardent sol- ments of Witginstein and Tchickadiers ; the Cossacks even left their goff, which threatened, as soon as sequestered plains ; and the victorious they reached Moscow, to cut off their army found itself besieged amidst the retreat ? And are not we, in these ruins of the capital, where it had an- circumstances, to impute the destructicipated triumph and repose. Re- tion of the French army to the valour treat, dreadful unlooked-for retreat, and conduct of the Russians, as much began: the snows of winter deso- as we impute the victory of La Hogue lated the country: and the greatest to the English navy, although the army which the world had ever seen, greatest part of the French fleet was perished in the land which its ambi- driven ashore and stranded by the tion had violated.
tempests; or the victory of Belgrade But let it not be imagined that it to Prince Eugene, although the Turkwas any accidental or fortuitous cire ish army was driven into the Danube, cumstance which produced these where they perished by the waters splendid victories: let us not take rather than the swords of the Ausfrom the Russian army the well- trians? earned fame which their matchless In this memorable campaign the constancy has obtained : nor from the most valuable commentary is to be cause of liberty the most memorable found on the policy of the original at
tack on France, and on the efficacy of my, indicates in a manner not less the system of coalition by which it unequivocal, the real origin of that was supported. Conscious of the in- terrific power which had arisen out of efficacy of the former system, Eng- the horrors of the French Revolution. land had earnestly advised Russia to It was the energy developed by hose avoid the war ; and, aware of the pa- tile aggression, which made Russia so ralyzing effect of a coalition, upon the great and powerful; it was this which developement of national strength, carried her armies in an unceasing Russia had actually refused the prof course of victory from the Niemen to fered assistance of English subsidies. the Rhine, which at last opened the The very parties who, in the commence- gates of Paris to her arms, and enament of the war, were most forward in bled her to revenge the ashes of her supporting thesubsidizing and coalition own capital, by sparing the cities system, now taught by sad experience, of her prostrate enemy. Without abandoned it. But while Russia a- that aggression ; without the umpa bandoned it, France took it up. And ralleled and glorious spirit which it what was the result? Precisely what awakened, her people would still have the principles of those who, in 1793, been slumbering in peaceful life, and opposed the invasion of France, would her armies, whatever may have been have led us to expect. All the mili- the ambition of their sovereign, would tary resources of the vast monarchies have been obscure in the field of Euwhich Bonaparte led out to the attack, ropean glory, and formidable to none all the tried experience of the innu- of the powers which now tremble at merable veterans who composed his their approach. With this striking army; all the warlike enthusiasm example before our eyes, can we doubt which a hundred victories had pro- what was the cause which produced duced; all the renowned abilities of the extraordinary power of revolutheir leader ; all the vigour and unity tionary France, or impute it to any which his despotic power had infused other source but that popular energy into his army, could not obviate the which hostile aggression can alone prolatent weakness of a coalition, or sub- duce; and which, when successfully due the stubborn spirit of national re. excited, becomes the most formidable sistance. The first reverse of the enemy to the power by which it was French dissipated the vast coalition originally roused. which their ambition had formed. Nor is the ultimate success of the The Austrians drew off in dubious si- Grand Alliance less decisive in favour lence; the Prussians openly deserted of the truth of these principles. Unher colours. France now experienced like all preceding coalitions, that was the latent weakness of that system a combination of the people, to supagainst which it had hitherto been port which all now felt' to be the her good fortune to contend. But in people's cause. The Prussians left the Russia the vigour of single defence French arms before their monarch was now for the first time experien- ventured to declare in the cause of ced. The same power which had freedom ; the Bavarians joined the twice yielded to the arms of France, cause of Germany in spite of the obwhen, supported by the coalition of stinate partiality of their sovereign; Austria and Prussia, now singly resist- the Saxons wheeled in the day of bated an army ten times more formida- tle, and turned their cannon against ble than that before which their united the enemy of mankind; even the sostruggle had formerly bowed. In the vereigns of Europe shared in the gememorable victory which they gained, neral enthusiasm, and, forgetting their we perceive the strongest confirmation former timidity, and the ill-grounded of the principles which were first stat- jealousy which they entertained of ed against the commencement of the their subjects, put arms into the hands war, and in the triumph of the Rus- of the people, and taught by hard nesian armies at Krasnoi, alike as in the cessity, now resisted France by the defeat of the allied armies at Fleurus, same weapons with which she had mark the vigour which the cause of formerly vanquished them. Everynational freedom gives to the arms by where the landwehr and the landsturm which it it is be maintained.
were called forth ;-principles were The subsequent splendid and tri- acted upon and avowed by the soumphant progress of the Russian arvereigns which no one could have ven