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of the enemy. But when he found it, at last, advancing, rapidly advancing, toward that territory which had been assigned him as the reward of his wretched policy, the grovelling spirit of interest did that which no sense of honour, no principle of justice, no motive even of self-preservation, had proved adequate to effect;-it opened his eyes to the truths which had been often sounded in his ears ;—it made him sensible of his own situation ;-it exposed to him the dangers which threatened him on every side ;-and it roused his torpid and inanimate soul to exertions be coming the nation which he governed, and, in a great degree, adequate to the alarming exigency of the case. All Europe now re-echoed the deep note of preparation, which was heard from one extremity of the Prussian dominions to the other. A military nation in arms--a people apparently united, and breathing the most fervent devotion to their King-troops in the highest state of discipline, and commanded by veterans who, to the practical knowledge which they had derived from the memorable cam paigns of the great Frederic, joined the theoretical wisdom so abundantly to be reaped from a steady and close contemplation of the new tactics, and revolutionary operations, of modern France ;-these were circumstances well calculated to inspire the most sanguine hopes, and to justify the most flattering expectations. At this crisis it was naturally to be inferred, that Prussia would carefully compare her means of resistance with the means of attack about to be opposed to her. She must have known that it was her first, so would it be her last, struggle with the general Usurper; consequently, that she was not to fight for any portion of her territory, but for her political existence; and that she must either secure victory, or submit to annihilation. With this knowledge, then, was it too much to expect that she would call forth all the resources of the state, all the energies of the people-that she would em ploy, in short, her whole physical strength in the contest?
The army which she marched against the enemy was certainly most formidable, as well from discipline as from numbers. It was also most ably commanded, and had taken the field in time-au advantage of no small importance, if duly improved. But instead of improving it, she wholly threw it away. Instead of attacking the detached parts of the French army before they had formed into one compact mass, as she had frequent opportunities of doing-she halted, as it were, to give them time to form; nay, she went even farther; and certain as the fact is, posterity will scarcely credit it, she publicly proclaimed the day on which she would begin her military operations, and before which, no measure of hostility would be attempted by her. There is something so extraordinary, so much out of the usual course of things, in this proceeding, that the mind in attempting to discover the cause of it, is lost and bewildered in the fruitless search. It must be supposed, that the King of Prussia thought his army invincible, and that he was marching to certain conquest;--and that, therefore, this notice to the enemy was a proof of forbearance and of magnanimity that would extort the admiration of the present age, and tend to immortalize his name, while it exposed him to no risk whatever. On this supposition alone, not very favourable, it must be admitted, to his judgment, can he be cleared from the imputation of insanity. Thus, between imbecility and madness, must his Ma jesty be content to chuse. For certainly, to apprise the enemy of his de
signs, to give them time to reconnoitre the strength and distribution of his forces, and to unite and consolidate their own, was an act so unprece dented in the annals of human warfare, so utterly irreconcileable with any known or conceivable principles of human action, that it is impossible to refer it to any other causes. There was, indeed, in all probability, another motive for such forbearance, which may be considered as a constituent part of the efficient cause of his conduct on this occasion. He might think, that by assuming a more formidable attitude than that which he assumed the year before, he might frighten his enemy into more important concessions, and might gain for himself more considerable ac quisitions of territory than he had then. He was not aware of the im mense difference of his situation in 1805 and in 1806. At the former period, previous to the battle of Austerlitz, he held, as it were, the fate of Europe in his hands. On him it depended whether the sanguinary Ruf. fian, who had usurped the throne of the Bourbons and the power of Charlemagne, should extend the limits of his sway by new triumphs, or should perish in disgrace. Buonaparte knew that the gallant Archduke Charles was on his rear, rapidly advancing from Italy with a powerful army, de voted to their chief, and undismayed by defeat. In his front was the united force of Austria and Russia. Thus situated, and trembling for his existence, the wily Usurper cunningly appealed to the low-minded am bition and avarice of his Prussian Majesty; and while he bribed him to inactivity, he doomed him to dishonour. Hanover was the bribe which will stamp the Prussian name with indelible infamy to the remotest posterity. But far different was the relative situation of Prussia and France in the autumn of 1806; then France had no enemy to encounter on the continent of Europe but Prussia herself. All the difficulties of the preceding year had vanished, and her undivided force, if allowed time to collect it, could be turned against her only enemy. This it was the busi ness of Prussia to prevent ;-this Prussia had the power to prevent; but by the gross misconduct before noticed, she did not prevent it. She suffered France to assemble her armies; she allowed her to chuse her points of attack; she left her to fix the day of battle. When that fatal day ar rived, the very spirit of anarchy appears to have pervaded the Prussian ranks; there was no fixed plan of defence, or of attack; there was no concert or co-operation between the different divisions of the army; but all seems to have been left to chance, and all was, accordingly, lost. Nor had Frederic William even the melancholy consolation of Francis the First, to be enabled to say, Tout est perdu, hors l'honneur. It was now that the absence of all foresight, prudence, and discretion, from the Prus. sian councils became more manifest than ever, in the operations which pre. ceded the defeat at Auerstadt; so manifest, indeed, were they, as almost to justify suspicions of treachery in the leading members of the cabinet. The possibility of a defeat seems never to have entered into the calcula. tions of these arbiters of the fate of nations; since no precautions whatever had been adopted, no means devised, for collecting the scattered remains of the army, for securing their retreat, or for enabling them to make a farther stand against the enemy. In a word, the battle of Auerstadt was suffered to decide the fate of the Prussian Monarchy. Some sub. sequent skirmishes took place, in which the Prussians proved what, if ably commanded and judiciously led, they were capable of doing; but
they only served to increase the effusion of blood, without impeding the progress of the foe. Fortress after fortress was reduced; and nothing like an army appeared to oppose the advancing enemy, who marched to the capital without resistance. Weak, wavering, and timid, the Prussian Monarch now hastened to dispatch his trusty Ambassador, Lucchesini, to the ferocious Conqueror with proposals for peace, which were rejected with scorn; and Frederic William was compelled, in spite of himself, to prolong a contest which he should never have begun, without a previous determination not to sheath the sword until the object for which he had drawn it had been obtained.
It is not the least unaccountable part of his Prussian Majesty's conduct, that, with a certainty of assistance and co-operation from the gallant Em. peror of Russia, he should have rushed forward to meet the enemy alone, instead of acting on the defensive until the arrival of his Allies. It has been asserted, indeed, and with a great shew of truth, that the minister to whom the dispatches for the Imperial Alexander had been entrusted, and which were intended to accelerate the march of his troops, purposely kept them back so long, as to make their arrival impossible in time to prevent the French from taking possession of the Prussian capital. If this, however, were the fact, it does not exempt the King from merited censure for his temerity and imprudence in the first instance, and for his weakness and meanness afterwards. He ought, assuredly, either to have secured the assistance of Russia before he opened the campaign, or to have taken such measures as would afford him the fairest prospect of success, unsupported by allies, and render a defeat at least reparable. But he omitted every precaution which wisdom and prudence suggested; and the want of principle which had marked his whole conduct previous to this disastrous war, has, through his own subsequent imbecility, been punished as it deserved, exhibiting, as has been truly remarked, at once a memorable example to other princes, and a signal instance of retributive justice.
It will be proper here to remind the reader, that, in this instance, as in almost every other, it was not so much to their own strength, ability, and courage, that the French were indebted for success, as to the weakness, and infatuation of their enemies. It is to be hoped, however, that his own fate will impress on the mind of the Prussian Monarch that lesson which he has failed to imbibe from the fate of others; and that henceforth he will not only be ready to acknowledge, that no throne can be safe during the existence of the present revolutionary government of France, but prepared to act in strict conformity with such an acknowledgment, should the fortune of war leave it in his power to act at all. Indeed the late conduct of Frederic William appears to justify this hope; for, since the approach of the Russians, he has assumed a more dignified and becoming tone; he has rejected the insolent proposition of Buonaparte for a truce; and has declared that he will conclude no peace but in conjunction with his august Ally. This is the language of King; and if he have learned wisdom and firmness in the school of adversity, he will have reason to reckon the day of his defeat at Auerstadt as the most propitious day of his life.
After the peace of Presburg, the joint fruits of Austrian weakness and of Prussian treachery, the Russian Emperor, true to the principles
which had uniformly governed his conduct, avowed his disposition to bring forward the whole force of his vast empire, in defence of the remains of European independence, and in resisting the further encroachments of the common enemy, whenever a disposition should be manifested by other powers to concur in the execution of so noble a plan. Wanting ao defence for his own dominions, he looked not for any accession of territory; not seeking for conquest, he was not dismayed by defeat; not inti midated by disaster, he sought not to decline the conflict; nor did he relinquish the field until the power to which he had acted as ally, had sheathed the sword, and submitted to an humiliating and degrading peace. He was therefore fully prepared to redeem his pledge, by obeying the call of Prussia; and had that call been made in time, Berlin had been safe, Buonaparte had been checked in his victorious career, and the French had been expelled from Germany. This is not the deduction of a sophist; it is not the reasoning of a zealot; but a self.evident fact. For can it be denied by the most confident political sceptic, that the presence of eighty thousand Russians at the battle of Auerstadt, would have decided the fate of the day in favour of the Allies; or that the total defeat of the French would have rendered their expulsion from Germany a matter of facility? Still it will be left for subsequent events to decide, whether the absence of the Russians at the opening of the campaign, be really a cause for lamenfation or not. They are now fighting nearer to their own country, whence reinforcements can speedily be sent, and consequently, in case of defeat, their loss may be more easily repaired, and their retreat more effectually secured.
But the most important advantage derived from the transfer of the scene of action from the banks of the Rhine to those of the Vistula, is the immense distance to which it throws the Usurper from the seat of his go vernment and the source of his power. 'Tis true, that he has left no active eremy behind him; but 'tis equally true, that he has nothing but doubtful friends, discontented Allies, and murmuring vassals, between himself and France. If, in presumptuous reliance on his past fortunes, or on the terror of his name, he dare to leave the intermediate States, and his own territory, unawed by the presence of his troops, in order to draw an immense force into Poland, he will indeed have set his life upon a cast," and he "must stand the hazard of the die." But even then Russia, with the assistance which Prussia, in her fallen state, can supply, will be able to cope with him. Indeed the military force of Russia is, at least, equal to that of France; and no danger can accrue to her from drawing the garrisons from her different fortresses, and from leaving her territory without troops; whereas Buonaparte, by such conduct, would be exposed to the most imminent danger. Besides, if he were to sustain a signal defeat in Poland, it would be a matter of extreme difficulty to repair his losses, or even to secure his retreat, in an enemy's country.
It is in this quarter then, and from these circumstances, that a ray of comfort is perceptible amidst the general gloom. Whether it portend good or evil, it is not for man to decide. But it is the province of man to infer from existing circumstances probable facts; and certainly the present state of things, the relative situation of the Belligerent Powers, the consideration of their different views, means, and resources-all combine to sanction the hope, that the career of successful villany is about to be b
@ APP. VOL. XXV,
checked, and that the instrument of retributive justice inflicted on others, will himself experience its dreadful effects in his turn.
The Russians come not into the field an inexperienced band, strangers to modern tactics, or unused to modern warfare; they have fought with the French in Italy, in Switzerland, and in Germany; they have defeated them with inferior numbers; they were never defeated by them with equal numbers. The brave followers of Suwarrow made the invincible army of Italy fly before them; and the recollection of their gallant achievements will, we trust, animate their countrymen, inspire them with a noble spirit of emulation, and lead them to exact severe vengeance, in the morasses of Poland, for the defeat which they sustained in the plains of Moravia. They are commanded by veteran leaders, who combine with the discretion of age all the vigour and firmness of youth; by generals who are conversant with the new mode of fighting introduced by the French, who are perfectly acquainted with the country, and who have a full knowledge of the strength and resources of the enemy. To the e advantages they add another of, at least, equal importance: both officers and troops are proof against that perfidy, fraud, and corruption, which have been such potent instruments in the hands of their parents, the French. Treachery is as much unknown in the Russian ranks as cowardice. Honour binds the officer, and duty secures the soldier. From an enemy so composed, every thing of which courage, united with prudence and perseverance, is capable, may reasonably be expected. None of that inhuman courtesy, none of that barbarous liberality, none of that cruel forbearance, which so strongly marks the other opponents of the murderous hordes of modern Gaul, and which constitutes the tinsel frippery of war, will be displayed by this bold and hardy race, who, with minds uncontaminated by the vicious refinements of the South, still think rebellion a crime, and regicide a sin; who still dare to punish murder, by whomsoever committed, and to retaliate even upon Frenchmen.
Buonaparte, disappointed in his expectations of dictating such a peace at Berlin as would effectually render the King of Prussia his vassal, and secure the succession to one of his own spurious breed, begins at length to be sensible of the danger to which he is exposed. Having advanced into the heart of Poland, he no doubt hoped, by a display of his revolu tionary skill, and with the aid of his trusty agent Kosciusko, to raise a rebellion throughout the country, and to establish a new kingdom for the youngest of his low-born family. But various causes, which common sagacity might have foreseen, have combined to frustrate his benevolent efforts. In the first place, the Poles, unfortunately for the Arch-Usurper, have been governed, since the partition of their country, with infinitely more mildness, justice, and humanity, than they had ever experienced under their former bastard monarchy, and, assuredly, more than the French themselves, or any of their tributary states, experience under the benignant reign of the merciful Napoleone; of course, they are not quite so willing to exercise the holy right f insurrection, as this general guardian. of the rights and liberties of Europe had been led to believe. Secondly, the Russians have, very properly, declared, that any of the Poles, subjects of Alexander, who shall take up arms, or join the French, shail assuredly meet the punishment of death: hence fear renders those obedient whom inclination will not secure. And lastly, Buonaparte is afraid of