Life of Napoleon Bonaparte. Volume IV


Sir Walter Scott

Series: Historical Figures
BISAC: BIO008000

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)



Table of Contents

Chapter I—Conduct of Russia and England during the War with Austria—Meditated Expedition of British Troops to the Continent—Sent to Walcheren—Its Calamitous Details and Result—Proceedings of Napoleon with regard to the Pope—General Miollis enters Rome—Napoleon publishes a Decree, uniting the States of the Church to the French Empire—Is Excommunicated—Pius VII. is banished from Rome, and sent to Grenoble—afterwards brought back to Savona—Buonaparte is attacked by an Assassin—Definitive Treaty of Peace signed at Schoenbrun—Napoleon returns to France on the 14th November, 1809,
Chapter II—Change in Napoleon’s Domestic Life—Causes which led to it—His anxiety for an Heir—A Son of his Brother Louis is fixed upon, but dies in Childhood—Character and influence of Josephine—Strong mutual Attachment betwixt her and Napoleon—Fouché opens to Josephine the Plan of a Divorce—Her extreme Distress—On 5th December, Napoleon announces her Fate to Josephine—On 15th they are formally separated before the Imperial Council—Josephine retaining the rank of Empress for Life—Espousals of Buonaparte and Maria Louisa of Austria take place at Vienna, 11th March, 1810,
Chapter III—Almost all the Foreign French Settlements fall into the hands of the British—French Squadron destroyed at the Isle of Aix, by Lord Cochrane—and at the Isle of Rosas, by Lord Collingwood—Return to the Proceedings in Spain—Soult takes Oporto—Attacked and Defeated by Sir Arthur Wellesley—Ferrol and Corunna retaken by the Patriots—Battle of Talavera, gained by Sir Arthur Wellesley—Created Lord Wellington—The French Armies take many Towns and Strong Places—Supreme Junta Retreat to Cadiz—The Guerilla System—Growing Disappointment of Buonaparte—His immense Exertions—Battle of Busaco—Lord Wellington’s famous Retreat on Torres Vedras,
Chapter IV—Change in Napoleon’s Principles of Government—Becomes suspicious of Talleyrand and Fouché—Fouché endeavours, {iv}without the knowledge of Napoleon, to ascertain the Views of England with respect to Peace—His Plan is defeated by a singular Collision with a similar one of Napoleon—and Fouché is sent away as Governor-General of Rome—His Moral and Political Character—Murmurings of the People against the Austrian Alliance—Continental System—Ignorance of Napoleon of the Actual Political Feelings of Great Britain—The License System—Louis Buonaparte—Endeavours in vain to Defend Holland from the Effects of the Continental System—He Abdicates the Throne, and retires to Gratz in Styria—Holland is annexed to the French Empire,
Chapter V—Gustavus IV. of Sweden is Dethroned and succeeded by his Uncle—The Crown Prince killed by a fall from his Horse—Candidates proposed for the Succession—The Swedes, thinking to conciliate Napoleon, fix on Bernadotte—Buonaparte reluctantly acquiesces in the Choice—Parting Interview between Bernadotte and Napoleon—Subsequent attempts of the latter to bind Sweden to the Policy of France—The Crown Prince unwillingly accedes to the Continental System—Napoleon makes a Tour through Flanders and Holland—Returns to Paris, and takes measures for extending the Continental System—Seizure of the Valois—Coast along the German Ocean annexed to France—Protest by the Czar against the appropriation of Oldenburg—Russia allows the Importation, at certain Seaports, of various articles of British Commerce—Negotiations for Exchange of Prisoners between France and England; and for a General Peace, broken off by Buonaparte’s unreasonable demands,
Chapter VI—View of Napoleon’s gigantic Power—The Empress Maria Louisa delivered of a Son—Criticism on the Title given him, of King of Rome—Speculations in regard to the advantages or disadvantages arising from this Event—Retrospect—Ex-Queen of Etruria—Her severe and unjustifiable Treatment by Napoleon—Lucien Buonaparte is invited to England, where he writes Epic Poetry—Attempt to deliver Ferdinand, defeated—Operations in Portugal—Retreat of Massena—Battles of Fuentes d’Onoro fought by Lord Wellington—On the South Frontier of Portugal, by Lord Beresford—Of Barossa, by General Graham—Enterprise of Arroyo-Molinas—Spaniards defeated under Blake—Valencia captured by the French, and he and his Army made Prisoners of War—Disunion among the French Generals—Joseph wishes to abdicate the Throne of Spain,
Chapter VII—Retrospect of the Causes leading to the Rupture with Russia—Originate in the Treaty of Tilsit—Russia’s alleged Reasons of Complaint—Arguments of Napoleon’s Counsellors against War with Russia—Fouché is against the War—Presents a Memorial to Napoleon upon the Subject—His answer—Napoleon’s Views in favour of the War, as urged to his various Advisers,
Chapter VIII—Allies on whose assistance Buonaparte might count—Causes which alienated from him the Prince-Royal of Sweden—who signs a Treaty with Russia—Delicate situation of the King of Prussia, whose alliance the Emperor Alexander on that account declines—A Treaty with France dictated to Prussia—Relations between Austria and France—in {v}order to preserve them Buonaparte is obliged to come under an Engagement not to Revolutionize Poland—His error of Policy in neglecting to cultivate the alliance of the Porte—Amount of Buonaparte’s Army—Levies for the Protection of France in the Emperor’s absence—Storming of Ciudad Rodrigo by Lord Wellington—Buonaparte makes Overtures of Peace to Lord Castlereagh—The Correspondence broken off—Ultimatum of Russia rejected—Napoleon sets out from Paris, 9th May, 1812—and meets the Sovereigns his allies at Dresden—A last attempt of Napoleon to negotiate with Alexander proves unsuccessful,
Chapter IX—Napoleon’s Plan of the Campaign against Russia—Understood and provided against by Barclay de Tolly, the Russian Generalissimo—Statement of the Grand French Army—Of the Grand Russian Army—Disaster on the River Wilia—Difficulties of the Campaign, on the part of the French—Their defective Commissariat and Hospital Department—Cause of Buonaparte’s determination to advance—His forced Marches occasion actual Delay—Napoleon remains for some days at Wilna—Abbé de Pradt—His intrigues to excite the Poles—Neutralized by Napoleon’s engagements with Austria—An attempt to excite Insurrection in Lithuania also fails,
Chapter X—Proceedings of the Army under Prince Bagration—Napoleon’s manœuvres against him—King Jerome of Westphalia is disgraced for alleged inactivity—Bagration is defeated by Davoust, but succeeds in gaining the interior of Russia, and re-establishing his communication with the Grand Army—which retreats to Drissa—Barclay and Bagration meet at Smolensk on the 20th July—The French Generals become anxious that Napoleon should close the campaign at Witepsk for the season—He persists in proceeding—Smolensk evacuated by De Tolly, after setting fire to the place—Reduced condition of the French, and growing strength of the Russian Armies—Peace effected between Russia, and England, Sweden, and Turkey—Napoleon resolves to advance upon Moscow,
Chapter XI—Napoleon detaches Murat and other Generals in pursuit of the Russians—Bloody, but indecisive Action, at Valoutina—Barclay de Tolly’s defensive System relinquished, and Koutousoff appointed to the chief command of the Russian Army—Napoleon advances from Smolensk—Battle of Borodino fought, on 5th September—Prince Bagration slain—Koutousoff Retreats upon Mojaisk, and thence upon Moscow—Napoleon continues his Advance on the 12th—Count Rostopchin, Governor of Moscow—His Character—The Russians abandon Moscow, which is evacuated by the Inhabitants—The Grand Russian Army marches through Moscow—Last public Court of Justice held there by Rostopchin, after which he follows the march of the Army,
Chapter XII—On 14th September, Napoleon reaches Moscow, which he finds deserted by the Inhabitants—The City is discovered to be on fire—Napoleon takes up his quarters in the Kremlin—The fire is stopt next day, but arises again at night—Believed to be wilful, and several Russians apprehended and shot—On the third night, the Kremlin is discovered to be on Fire—Buonaparte leaves it, and takes his abode at Petrowsky—The Fire rages till the 19th, when four-fifths of the City {vi}are burnt down—On the 20th, Buonaparte returns to the Kremlin—Discussion as to the Origin of this great Conflagration—Disorganisation and Indiscipline of the French Army—Difficulty as to the Route on leaving Moscow—Lauriston sent with a Letter to the Emperor Alexander—Retrospect of the March of the Russian Army, after leaving Moscow—Lauriston has an Interview with Koutousoff on 5th October—The Result—Armistice made by Murat—Preparations for Retreat—The Emperor Alexander refuses to treat,
Chapter XIII—Murat’s Armistice broken off—Napoleon leaves Moscow on 19th October—Bloody Skirmish at Malo-Yarrowslavetz—Napoleon in great danger while reconnoitring—He Retreats to Vereia, where he meets Mortier and the Young Guard—Winzingerode made Prisoner, and insulted by Buonaparte—The Kremlin is blown up by the French—Napoleon continues his Retreat towards Poland—Its Horrors—Conflict near Wiazma, on 3d November, where the French lose 4000 Men—Cross the River Wiazma during the Night—The Viceroy of Italy reaches Smolensk, in great distress—Buonaparte arrives at Smolensk, with the headmost Division of the Grand Army—Calamitous Retreat of Ney’s Division—The whole French Army now collected at Smolensk—Cautious conduct of Prince Schwartzenberg—Winzingerode freed on his road to Paris by a body of Cossacks—Tchitchagoff occupies Minsk—Perilous situation of Napoleon,
Chapter XIV—Napoleon divides his Army into four Corps, which leaves Smolensk on their Retreat towards Poland—Cautious proceedings of Koutousoff—The Viceroy’s Division is attacked by Miloradowitch, and effects a junction with Napoleon at Krasnoi, after severe loss—Koutousoff attacks the French at Krasnoi; but only by a distant Cannonade—The division under Davoust is reunited to Napoleon, but in a miserable state—Napoleon marches to Liady; and Mortier and Davoust are attacked, and suffer heavy loss—Details of the Retreat of Ney—He crosses the Losmina, with great loss of Men and Baggage, and joins Napoleon at Orcsa, with his Division reduced to 1500 men—The whole Grand Army is now reduced to 12,000 effective men, besides 30,000 stragglers—Dreadful Distress and Difficulties of Buonaparte and his Army—Singular scene betwixt Napoleon and Duroc and Daru—Napoleon moves towards Borizoff, and falls in with the Corps of Victor and Oudinot—Koutousoff halts at Kopyn, without attacking Buonaparte—Napoleon crosses the Beresina at Studzianka—Partouneaux’s division cut off by Witgenstein—Severe Fighting on both sides of the River—Dreadful losses of the French in crossing it—According to the Russian official account, 36,000 bodies were found in the Beresina after the thaw,
Chapter XV—Napoleon determines to return to Paris—He leaves Smorgoni on 5th December—reaches Warsaw on the 10th—Curious Interview with the Abbé de Pradt—Arrives at Dresden on the 14th—and at Paris on the 18th at Midnight—Dreadful State of the Grand Army, when left by Napoleon—Arrive at Wilna, whence they are driven by the Cossacks, directing their Flight upon Kowno—Dissensions among the French Generals—Cautious Policy of the Austrians under Schwartzenberg—Precarious state of Macdonald—He Retreats upon Tilsit—D’Yorck separates his Troops from the French—Macdonald effects his Retreat {vii}to Königsberg—Close of the Russian Expedition, with a loss on the part of the French of 450,000 Men in Killed and Prisoners—Discussion of the Causes which led to this ruinous Catastrophe,
ChapterXVI—Effects of Napoleon’s return upon the Parisians—Congratulations and Addresses by all the Public Functionaries—Conspiracy of Mallet—very nearly successful—How at last defeated—The impression made by this event upon Buonaparte—Discussions with the Pope, who is brought to France, but remains inflexible—State of Affairs in Spain—Napoleon’s great and successful exertions to Recruit his Army—Guards of Honour—In the month of April, the Army is raised to 350,000 men, independently of the Troops left in Garrison in Germany, and in Spain and Italy,
Chapter XVII—Murat leaves the Grand Army abruptly—Eugene appointed in his place—Measures taken by the King of Prussia for his disenthraldom—He leaves Berlin for Breslau—Treaty signed between Russia and Prussia early in March—Alexander arrives at Breslau on 15th; on the 16th Prussia declares War against France—Warlike preparations of Prussia—Universal enthusiasm—Blucher appointed Generalissimo—Vindication of the Crown Prince of Sweden for joining the Confederacy against France—Proceedings of Austria—Unabated spirit and pretensions of Napoleon—A Regency is appointed in France during his absence—and Maria Louisa appointed Regent, with nominal powers,
Chapter XVIII—State of the French Grand Army—The Russians advance, and show themselves on the Elbe—The French evacuate Berlin, and retreat on the Elbe—The Crown-Prince of Sweden joins the Allies, with 35,000 Men—Dresden is occupied by the Sovereigns of Russia and Prussia—Marshal Bessières killed on 1st May—Battle of Lutzen fought on the 2d—The Allies retire to Bautzen—Hamburgh taken possession of by the Danes and French—Battle of Bautzen fought on the 20th and 21st May—The Allies retire in good order—The French Generals, Bruyères and Duroc, killed on the 22d—Grief of Napoleon for the death of the latter—An Armistice signed on 4th June,
Chapter XIX—Change in the results formerly produced by the French Victories—Despondency of the Generals—Decay in the discipline of the Troops—Views of Austria—Arguments in favour of Peace stated and discussed—Pertinacity of Napoleon—State of the French Interior—hid from him by the slavery of the Press—Interview betwixt Napoleon and the Austrian Minister Metternich—Delays in the Negotiations—Plan of Pacification proposed by Austria, on 7th August—The Armistice broken off on the 10th, when Austria joins the Allies—Sudden placability of Napoleon at this period—Ascribed to the news of the Battle of Vittoria,
Chapter XX—Amount and distribution of the French Army at the resumption of Hostilities—of the Armies of the Allies—Plan of the Campaign on both sides—Return of Moreau from America, to join the Allies—Attack on Dresden by the Allies on 26th August—Napoleon arrives to its succour—Battle continued on the 27th—Death of General Moreau—Defeat and Retreat of the Allies, with great loss—Napoleon {viii}returns from the pursuit to Dresden, indisposed—Vandamme attacks the Allies at Culm—is driven back towards Peterswald—Conflict on the heights of Peterswald—Vandamme is Defeated and made prisoner—Effects of the victory of Culm, on the Allies—and on Napoleon,
Chapter XI—Military Proceedings in the North of Germany—Luckau submits to the Crown-Prince of Sweden—Battles of Gross-Beeren and Katzbach—Operations of Ney upon Berlin—He is defeated at Dennewitz, on the 6th September—Difficult and embarrassing situation of Napoleon—He abandons all the right side of the Elbe to the Allies—Operations of the Allies in order to effect a junction—Counter-exertions of Napoleon—The French Generals averse to continuing the War in Germany—Dissensions betwixt them and the Emperor—Napoleon at length resolves to retreat upon Leipsic,
Chapter XII—Napoleon reaches Leipsic on 15th of October—Statement of the French and Allied Forces—Battle of Leipsic, commenced on 16th, and terminates with disadvantage to the French at nightfall—Napoleon despatches General Mehrfeldt (his prisoner) to the Emperor of Austria, with proposals for an armistice—No answer is returned—The Battle is renewed on the morning of the 18th, and lasts till night, when the French are compelled to retreat, after immense loss on both sides—They evacuate Leipsic on the 19th, the Allies in full pursuit—Blowing up of one of the bridges—Prince Poniatowski drowned in the Elster—25,000 French are made prisoners—The Allied Sovereigns meet in triumph, at noon, in the Great Square at Leipsic—King of Saxony sent under a Guard to Berlin—Reflections,
Chapter XIII—Retreat of the French from Germany—General Defection of Napoleon’s Partisans—Battle of Hannau fought on 30th and 31st October—Napoleon arrives at Paris on 9th November—State in which he finds the public mind in the capital—Fate of the French Garrisons left in Germany—Arrival of the Allied Armies on the banks of the Rhine—General view of Napoleon’s political relations—Italy—Spain—Restoration of Ferdinand—Liberation of the Pope, who returns to Rome—Emancipation of Holland,
Chapter XXIV—Preparations of Napoleon against the Invasion of France—Terms of Peace offered by the Allies—Congress held at Manheim—Lord Castlereagh—Manifesto of the Allies—Buonaparte’s Reply—State of Parties in France—The Population of France, in general, wearied of the War, and desirous of the Deposition of Buonaparte—His unsuccessful attempts to arouse the National Spirit—Council of State Extraordinary, held Nov. 11th, when new taxes are imposed, and a new Conscription of 300,000 men decreed—Gloom of the Council, and violence of Buonaparte—Report of the State of the Nation presented to Napoleon by the Legislative Body—The Legislative Body is prorogued—Unceasing activity of the Emperor—National Guard called out—Napoleon, presenting to them his Empress and Child, takes leave of the People—He leaves Paris for the Armies,
Chapter LXXIII.—Declaration of the Allies on entering France—Switzerland—Schwartzenberg {ix}crosses the Rhine—Apathy of the French—Junction of Blucher with the Grand Army—Crown-Prince of Sweden—Inferiority of Napoleon’s numerical Force—Battles of Brienne—and La Rothière—Difficulties of Buonaparte, during which he meditates to resign the Crown—He makes a successful Attack on the Silesian Army at Champ-Aubert—Blucher is compelled to retreat—The Grand Army carries Nogent and Montereau—Buonaparte’s violence to his Generals—The Austrians resolve on a general Retreat, as far as Nancy and Langres—Prince Wenceslaus sent to Buonaparte’s headquarters—The French enter Troyes—Execution of Goualt, a Royalist—A Decree of Death against all wearing the Bourbon emblems, and all Emigrants who should join the Allies,
Chapter XXV—Retrospect of Events on the Frontiers—Defection of Murat—Its consequences—Augereau abandons Franche Comté—Carnot intrusted with the command of Antwerp—Attack on Bergen-op-Zoom, by Sir Thomas Graham—The Allies take, and evacuate Soissons—Bulow and Winzegerode unite with Blucher—Wellington forces his way through the Pays des Gaves—Royalists in the West—Discontent of the old Republicans—Views of the different Members of the Alliance as to the Dynasties of Bourbon, and Napoleon—Proceedings of the Dukes of Berri and Angoulême, and Monsieur—Battle of Orthez—Bourdeaux surrendered to Marshal Beresford—Negotiations of Chatillon—Treaty of Chaumont—Napoleon’s contre-projet—Congress at Chatillon broken up,
Appendix No. I—Reflections on the Conduct of Napoleon towards the Prince-Royal of Sweden,
Appendix No. II—Extract from Manuscript Observations on Napoleon’s Russian Campaign, by an English Officer of Rank,

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