Life of Napoleon Bonaparte. Volume I

Sir Walter Scott

Series: Historical Figures
BISAC: BIO008000



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Sir Walter Scott first published his biography on Napoleon in 1827. The work represents an important contribution to the study of France during the Napoleonic Era. The book provides an honest and thorough account of the man and the society in which he lived.
(Imprint: SNOVA)

Chapter I—Review of the state of Europe after the Peace of Versailles—England—France—Spain—Prussia—Imprudent Innovations of the Emperor Joseph—Disturbances in his Dominions—Russia—France—Her ancient System of Monarchy—how organised—Causes of its Decay—Decay of the Nobility as a body—The new Nobles—The Country Nobles—The Nobles of the highest Order—The Church—The higher Orders of the Clergy—The lower Orders—The Commons—Their increase in Power and Importance—Their Claims opposed to those of the Privileged Classes
Chapter II—State of France continued—State of Public Opinion—Men of Letters encouraged by the Great—Disadvantages attending this Patronage—Licentious tendency of the French Literature—Their Irreligious and Infidel Opinions—Free Opinions on Politics permitted to be expressed in an abstract and speculative, but not in a practical Form—Disadvantages arising from the Suppression of Free Discussion—Anglomania—Share of France in the American War—Disposition of the Troops who returned from America
Chapter III—Proximate Cause of the Revolution—Deranged State of the Finances—Reforms in the Royal Household—System of Turgot and Necker—Necker's Exposition of the State of the Public Revenue—The Red-Book—Necker displaced—Succeeded by Calonne—General State of the Revenue—Assembly of the Notables—Calonne dismissed—Archbishop of Sens Administrator of the Finances—The King's Contest with the Parliament—Bed of Justice—Resistance of the Parliament and general Disorder in the Kingdom—Vacillating Policy of the Minister—Royal Sitting—Scheme of forming a Cour Plénière—It proves ineffectual—Archbishop of Sens retires, and is succeeded by Necker—He resolves to convoke the States-General—Second Assembly of Notables previous to Convocation of the States—Questions as to the Numbers of which the Tiers Etat should consist, and the Mode in which the Estates should deliberate
Chapter IV—Meeting of the States-General—Predominant Influence of the Tiers Etat—Property not represented sufficiently in that Body—General character of the Members—Disposition of the Estate of the Nobles—And of the Clergy—Plan of forming the Three Estates into two Houses—Its advantages—It fails—The Clergy unite with the Tiers Etat, which assumes the title of the National Assembly—They assume the task of Legislation, and declare all former Fiscal Regulations illegal—They assert their determination to continue their Sessions—Royal Sitting—Terminates in the Triumph of the Assembly—Parties in that Body—Mounier—Constitutionalists—Republicans—Jacobins—Orleans
Chapter V—Plan of the Democrats to bring the King and Assembly to Paris—Banquet of the Garde du Corps—Riot at Paris—A formidable Mob of Women assemble to march to Versailles—The National Guard refuse to act against the Insurgents, and demand also to be led to Versailles—The Female Mob arrive—Their behaviour to the Assembly—To the King—Alarming Disorders at Night—La Fayette arrives with the National Guard—Mob force the Palace—Murder the Body Guards—The Queen's safety endangered—Fayette's arrival with his Force restores Order—Royal Family obliged to go to reside at Paris—The Procession—This Step agreeable to the Views of the Constitutionalists, Republicans, and Anarchists—Duke of Orleans sent to England
Chapter VI—La Fayette resolves to enforce order—A Baker is murdered by the Rabble—One of his Murderers executed—Decree imposing Martial Law—Introduction of the Doctrines of Equality—They are in their exaggerated sense inconsistent with Human Nature and the progress of Society—The Assembly abolish titles of Nobility, Armorial bearings, and phrases of Courtesy—Reasoning on these Innovations—Disorder of Finance—Necker becomes unpopular—Seizure of Church lands—Issue of Assignats—Necker leaves France in unpopularity—New Religious Institution—Oath imposed on the Clergy—Resisted by the greater part of the Order—General View of the operations of the Constituent Assembly—Enthusiasm of the People for their new Privileges—Limited Privileges of the Crown—King is obliged to dissemble—His Negotiations with Mirabeau—With Bouillé—Attack on the Palace—Prevented by Fayette—Royalists expelled from the Tuileries—Escape of Louis—He is captured at Varennes—Brought back to Paris—Riot in the Champ de Mars—Louis accepts the Constitution
Chapter VII—Legislative Assembly—Its Composition—Constitutionalists—Girondists or Brissotins—Jacobins—Views and Sentiments of Foreign Nations—England—Views of the Tories and Whigs—Anacharsis Clootz—Austria—Prussia—Russia—Sweden—Emigration of the French Princes and Clergy—Increasing Unpopularity of Louis from this Cause—Death of the Emperor Leopold, and its Effects—France declares War—Views and Interests of the different Parties in France at this Period—Decree against Monsieur—Louis interposes his Veto—Decree against the Priests who should refuse the Constitutional Oath—Louis again interposes his Veto—Consequences of these Refusals—Fall of De Lessart—Ministers now chosen from the Brissotins—All Parties favourable to War
Chapter VIII—Defeats of the French on the Frontier—Decay of Constitutionalists—They form the Club of Feuillans, and are dispersed by the Jacobins—The Ministry—Dumouriez—Breach of confidence betwixt the King and his Ministers—Dissolution of the King's Constitutional Guard—Extravagant measures of the Jacobins—Alarms of the Girondists—Departmental Army proposed—King puts his Veto on the decree, against Dumouriez's representations—Decree against the recusant Priests—King refuses it—Letter of the Ministers to the King—He dismisses Roland, Clavière, and Servan—Dumouriez, Duranton, and Lacoste, appointed in their stead—King ratifies the decree concerning the Departmental Army—Dumouriez resigns, and departs for the Frontiers—New Ministers named from the Constitutionalists—Insurrection of 20th June—Armed Mob intrude into the Assembly—Thence into the Tuileries—La Fayette repairs to Paris—Remonstrates in favour of the King—But is compelled to return to the Frontiers—Marseillois appear in Paris—Duke of Brunswick's manifesto
Chapter IX—The Day of the Tenth of August—Tocsin sounded early in the Morning—Swiss Guards, and relics of the Royal Party, repair to the Tuileries—Mandat assassinated—Dejection of Louis, and energy of the Queen—King's Ministers appear at the Bar of the Assembly, stating the peril of the Royal Family, and requesting a Deputation might be sent to the Palace—Assembly pass to the Order of the Day—Louis and his Family repair to the Assembly—Conflict at the Tuileries—Swiss ordered to repair to the King's Person—and are many of them shot and dispersed on their way to the Assembly—At the close of the Day almost all of them are massacred—Royal Family spend the Night in the Convent of the Feuillans
Chapter X—La Fayette compelled to Escape from France—Is made Prisoner by the Prussians, with three Companions—Reflections—The Triumvirate, Danton, Robespierre, and Marat—Revolutionary Tribunal appointed—Stupor of the Legislative Assembly—Longwy, Stenay, and Verdun, taken by the Prussians—Mob of Paris enraged—Great Massacre of Prisoners in Paris, commencing on the 2d, and ending 6th September—Apathy of the Assembly during and after these Events—Review of its Causes
Chapter XI—Election of Representatives for the National Convention—Jacobins are very active—Right hand Party—Left hand side—Neutral Members—The Girondists are in possession of the ostensible Power—They denounce the Jacobin Chiefs, but in an irregular and feeble manner—Marat, Robespierre, and Danton, supported by the Commune and Populace of Paris—France declared a Republic—Duke of Brunswick's Campaign—Neglects the French Emigrants—Is tardy in his Operations—Occupies the poorest part of Champagne—His Army becomes sickly—Prospects of a Battle—Dumouriez's Army recruited with Carmagnoles—The Duke resolves to Retreat—Thoughts on the consequences of that measure—The retreat disastrous—The Emigrants disbanded in a great measure—Reflections on their Fate—The Prince of Condé's Army
Chapter XII—Jacobins determine upon the Execution of Louis—Progress and Reasons of the King's Unpopularity—Girondists taken by surprise, by a proposal for the Abolition of Royalty made by the Jacobins—Proposal carried—Thoughts on the New System of Government—Compared with that of Rome, Greece, America, and other Republican States—Enthusiasm throughout France at the Change—Follies it gave birth to—And Crimes—Monuments of Art destroyed—Madame Roland interposes to save the Life of the King—Barrère—Girondists move for a Departmental Legion—Carried—Revoked—and Girondists defeated—The Authority of the Community of Paris paramount even over the Convention—Documents of the Iron-Chest—Parallel betwixt Charles I. and Louis XVI.—Motion by Pétion, that the King should be Tried before the Convention
Chapter XIII—The Trial of Louis—Indecision of the Girondists, and its Effects—The Royal Family insulted by the Agents of the Community—The King deprived of his Son's society—The King brought to Trial before the Convention—His First Examination—Carried back to Prison amidst Insult and Abuse—Tumult in the Assembly—The King deprived of Intercourse with his Family—Malesherbes appointed as Counsel to defend the King—and De Seze—Louis again brought before the Convention—Opening Speech of De Seze—King remanded to the Temple—Stormy Debate—Eloquent attack of Vergniaud on the Jacobins—Sentence of Death pronounced against the King—General Sympathy for his Fate—Dumouriez arrives in Paris—Vainly tries to avert the King's Fate—Louis XVI. beheaded on 21st January, 1793—Marie Antoinette on the 16th October thereafter—The Princess Elizabeth in May 1794—The Dauphin perishes, by cruelty, June 8th, 1795—The Princess Royal exchanged for La Fayette, 19th December, 1795
Chapter XIV—Dumouriez—His displeasure at the Treatment of the Flemish Provinces by the Convention—His projects in consequence—Gains the ill-will of his Army—and is forced to fly to the Austrian Camp—Lives many years in retreat, and finally dies in England—Struggles betwixt the Girondists and Jacobins—Robespierre impeaches the Leaders of the Girondists, and is denounced by them—Decree of Accusation against Marat—Commission of Twelve—Marat acquitted—Terror of the Girondists—Jacobins prepare to attack the Palais Royal, but are repulsed—Repair to the Convention, who recall the Commission of Twelve—Louvet and other Girondist Leaders Fly from Paris—Convention go forth in procession to expostulate with the People—Forced back to their Hall, and compelled to Decree the Accusation of Thirty of their Body—Girondists finally ruined—and their principal Leaders perish—Close of their History
Chapter XV—Views of Parties in Britain relative to the Revolution—Affiliated Societies—Counterpoised by Aristocratic Associations—Aristocratic Party eager for War with France—The French proclaim the Navigation of the Scheldt—British Ambassador recalled from Paris, and French Envoy no longer accredited in London—France declares War against England—British Army sent to Holland, under the Duke of York—State of the Army—View of the Military Positions of France—in Flanders—on the Rhine—in Piedmont—Savoy—on the Pyrenees—State of the War in La Vendée—Description of the Country—Le Bocage—Le Louroux—Close Union betwixt the Nobles and Peasantry—Both strongly attached to Royalty, and abhorrent of the Revolution—The Priests—The Religion of the Vendéans outraged by the Convention—A general Insurrection takes place in 1793—Military Organisation and Habits of the Vendéans—Division in the British Cabinet on the Mode of conducting the War—Pitt—Wyndham—Reasoning upon the subject—Vendéans defeated—They defeat, in their turn, the French Troops at Laval—But are ultimately destroyed and dispersed—Unfortunate Expedition to Quiberon—La Charette defeated and executed, and the War of La Vendée finally terminated—Unsuccessful Resistance of Bourdeaux, Marseilles, and Lyons, to the Convention—Siege of Lyons—Its Surrender and dreadful Punishment—Siege of Toulon
Chapter XVI—Views of the British Cabinet regarding the French Revolution—Extraordinary Situation of France—Explanation of the Anomaly which it exhibited—System of Terror—Committee of Public Safety—Of Public Security—David the Painter—Law against Suspected Persons—Revolutionary Tribunal—Effects of the Emigration of the Princes and Nobles—Causes of the Passiveness of the French People under the Tyranny of the Jacobins—Singular Address of the Committee of Public Safety—General Reflections
Chapter XVII—Marat, Danton, Robespierre—Marat poniarded—Danton and Robespierre become Rivals—Commune of Paris—their gross Irreligion—Gobel—Goddess of Reason—Marriage reduced to a Civil Contract—Views of Danton—and of Robespierre—Principal Leaders of the Commune arrested—and Nineteen of them executed—Danton arrested by the influence of Robespierre—and, along with Camille Desmoulins, Westermann, and La Croix, taken before the Revolutionary Tribunal, condemned, and executed—Decree issued, on the motion of Robespierre, acknowledging a Supreme Being—Cécilée Regnault—Gradual Change in the Public Mind—Robespierre becomes unpopular—Makes every effort to retrieve his power—Stormy Debate in the Convention—Collot D'Herbois, Tallien, &c., expelled from the Jacobin Club at the instigation of Robespierre—Robespierre denounced in the Convention on the 9th Thermidor, (27th July, 1794,) and, after furious struggles, arrested, along with his brother, Couthon, and Saint Just—Henriot, Commandant of the National Guard, arrested—Terrorists take refuge in the Hotel de Ville—Attempt their own lives—Robespierre wounds himself—but lives, along with most of the others, long enough to be carried to the Guillotine, and executed—His character—Struggles that followed his Fate—Final Destruction of the Jacobinical System—and return of Tranquillity—Singular colour given to Society in Paris—Ball of the Victims
Chapter XVIII—Retrospective View of the External Relations of France—Her great Military Successes—Whence they arose—Effect of the Compulsory Levies—Military Genius and Character of the French—French Generals—New Mode of Training the Troops—Light Troops—Successive Attacks in Column—Attachment of the Soldiers to the Revolution—Also of the Generals—Carnot—Effect of the French principles preached to the Countries invaded by their Arms—Close of the Revolution with the fall of Robespierre—Reflections upon what was to succeed


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