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or here and there a hardy pedestrian, the infantry loaded with their arms, and in full military equipment, the cavalry leading their horses. The musical bands played from time to time, at the head of the regiments, and, in places of unusual difficulty, the drums beat a charge, as if to encourage the soldiers to encounter the opposition of nature herself. The artillery, without which they could not have done service, were deposited in trunks of trees hollowed out for the purpose. Each were dragged by a hundred men, and the troops making it a point of honour to bring forward their guns, accomplished this severe duty, not with cheerfulness only, but with enthusiasm. The carriages were taken to pieces, and harnessed on the backs of mules, or committed to the soldiers, who relieved each other in the task of bearing them with levers; and the ammunition was transported in the same manner. While one half of the soldiers were thus engaged, the others were obliged to carry the muskets, cartridge-boxes, knapsacks, and provisions of their comrades, as well as their own. Each man, so loaded, was calculated to carry from sixty to seventy pounds weight, up icy precipices, where a man totally without incumbrance, could ascend but slowly. Probably, no troops, save the French, could have endured the fatigue of such a march; and no other General than Bonaparte, would have ventured to require it at their hand.
"He set out a considerable time after the march had begun, alone, excepting his guide. He is described by the Swiss peasant who attended him in that capacity, as wearing his usual simple dress, a grey surtout, and three-corned hat. He travelled in silence, save a few short and hasty questions about the country, addressed to his guide from time to time. When these were answered, he relapsed into silence. There was a gloom on his brow, corresponding with the weather, which was wet and dismal. His countenance had acquired, during his eastern campaigns, a swarth complexion, which added to his natural severe gravity, and the Swiss peasant who guided him, felt fear as he looked on him. Occasionally, his route was stopt by some temporary obstacle, occasioned by a halt in the artillery or baggage; his commands, on such occasions, were peremptorily given and instantly obeyed; his very took seeming enough to silence all objection, and remove every difficulty.
"The army now arrived at that singular convent, where, with courage equal to their own, but flowing from a much higher source, the Monks of St. Bernard have fixed their dwellings among the everlasting snows, that they may afford succour and hospitality to the forlorn travellers in those dreadful wastes. Hitherto, the soldiers had had no refreshment, save when they dipt a morsel of biscuit amongst the snow. The good fathers of the convent, who possess considerable magazines of provisions, distributed bread and cheese, and a cup of wine, to each soldier as he passed, which was more acceptable in their situation, than according to one, who shared their fatigues, would have been the gold of Mexico.
"The descent on the other side of Mount St. Bernard, was as difficult to the infantry as the ascent had been, and still more so to the cavalry. It was, however, accomplished without any material loss, and
the army took up their quarters for the night, after having marched fourteen French leagues. The next morning, 16th May, the vanguard took possession of Aosta, a village of Piedmont, from which extends the valley of the same name, watered by the river Dorea, a country pleasant in itself, but rendered delightful by its contrast with the horrors which had been left behind.
"Thus was achieved the celebrated passage of Mount St. Bernard, on the particulars of which we have dwelt the more willingly, because, although a military operation of importance, they do not involve the unwearied details of human slaughter." Vol. i. pp. 472-474.
These passages, with others that were quoted in a former number of this work, will exhibit at the same time his pre-eminent talents as a writer, and some of his peculiar opinions. Yet, considered merely as a literary effort, this work betrays marks of great haste in the composition, and many inaccuracies.* Neither do we consider the style as uniformly so correct, so brilliant, or so animated, as in some of the happier productions of his prolific pen.
In reading history, we have frequently been amused with that spirit of prediction after the event; that exposition of causes which rendered inevitable the effects that have actually been produced; and that prudent sagacity which judges of the wisdom of measures, when there is no longer any doubt about their results. Historians seem to adopt implicitly the sentiment of Juvenal, "nullum numen abest si sit prudentia," and consider man as the arbiter of his own fortunes.
In speaking of the Treaty of Tilsit, the following reflections and comments are made by our author.
"One of the most important private articles of the Treaty of Tilsit, seems to have provided, that Sweden should be despoiled of her provinces of Finland, in favour of the Czar, and be thus, with the consent of Bonaparte, deprived of all effectual means of annoying Russia. A single glance at the map will show, how completely the possession of Finland put a Swedish army, or the army of France, as an ally of Sweden, within a short march of St. Petersburgh; and how, by consenting to Sweden's being stripped of that important province, Napoleon relinquished the grand advantage to be derived from it, in case of his ever being again obliged to contend with Russia upon Prussian ground. Yet there can be no doubt, that at the Treaty of Tilsit, he became privy to the war, which Russia shortly afterwards waged against Sweden, in which Alexander deprived that ancient kingdom of her frontier province
We have not noticed these inaccuracies, neither errors of date, nor position because, in subsequent editions, these can and will be corrected. The frequent mistaking of east for west, or the contrary, the repeated and extraordinary confusion in speaking of the wings of contending armies, would, without the anecdotes which were current during the time of its publication, of wagon loads of re-printed sheets passing from office to office, manifest the great haste in which the work was sent to the press.
of Finland, and thereby obtained a covering territory, of the last and most important consequence to his own capital.
The Porte was no less made a sacrifice to the inordinate anxiety, which at the Treaty of Tilsit, Bonaparte seems to have entertained, for acquiring at any price, the accession Russia to his extravagant desire of destroying England. By the public treaty, indeed, some care seems to have been taken of the interests of Turkey, since it provides that Turkey was to have the benefit of peace under the mediation of France, and that Russia was to evacuate Moldavia and Wallachia, for the acquisition of which she was then waging an unprovoked war. But by the secret agreement of the two Emperors, it was unquestionably understood, that Turkey in Europe, was to be placed at the mercy of Alexander, as forming, naturally, a part of the Russian empire, as Spain, Portugal, and, perhaps, Great-Britain were, from local position, destined to become provinces of France. At the subsequent Congress betwixt the Emperors at Erfurt, their measures against the Porte were more fully adjusted.
"It may seem strange that the shrewd and jealous Napoleon should have suffered himself to be so much over-reached in his treaty with Alexander, since the benefits stipulated for France, in the Treaty of Tilsit, were in a great measure vague, and subjects of hope rather than certainty. The British naval force was not easily to be subdued-Gibraltar and Malta are as strong fortresses as the world can exhibit—the conquest of Spain was at least a doubtful undertaking, if the last war of the succession was carefully considered. But the Russian objects were nearer, and were within her grasp. Finland was seized on with little difficulty, nor did the conquest even of Constantinople possess any thing very difficult to a Russian army, if unopposed, save by the undisciplined forces of the Turkish empire. Thus, it is evident, that Napoleon exchanged for distant and contingent prospects, his acquiescence in the Russian objects, which were near, essential, and, in comparison, of easy attainment. The effect of this policy we shall afterwards advert to. Meanwhile, the two most ancient allies of France, and who were of the greatest political importance to her in case of a second war with Russia, were most unwisely abandoned to the mercy of that power, who failed not to despoil Sweden of Finland, and but for intervening causes, would, probably, have seized upon Constantinople with the same ease.
"If the reader should wonder how Bonaparte, able and astucious as he was, came to be over-reached in the Treaty of Tilsit, we believe the secret may be found in a piece of private history." Vol. ii. pp. 145–146.
Now to us these appear to be the remarks of a sagacious, but somewhat prejudiced mind, examining events and principles after they are become matters of history, and have ceased to be matters of speculation. To one, who without bias, could place himself in imagination at the æra of the peace of 'Tilsit, it would, we think, appear that Napoleon had given inconsiderable boons, trifles of no comparative value, for some of the most important possessions in the universe, and, that the facility of securing their
mutual cessions, if bargaining away like two robbers their neighbour's property, can be called a cession, was, in all human probability, altogether in his favour. He permitted to Russia the occupation and possession of Finland. This grant, it is true, was easily secured. But this acquisition only removed from Russia a source of possible annoyance; it added little or nothing to her resources or actual strength. Finland is, in extent, a large province, but its soil is barren and its climate inhospitable. It might have offered to the enemies of Russia a landing place, near the capital of her empire, but it could afford to an army no support-neither men, nor horses, nor provisions. It furnished a barrier to Alexander, on a side on which his territory was somewhat exposed, and, in so far, was to him an acceptable possession.
The permission to occupy Turkey, was a privilege to engage in wars of an indefinite extent, (even if no European power should interfere in the contest) of prodigious expense, of a peculiar character, and eminently calculated to exhaust the resources of an empire. There was no doubt that the armies of Russia would be in the field superior to the Ottoman troops; but the population of Turkey is warlike, brave, and inspired with a reckless fanaticism-hostile nationally, we might almost say personally, to the Russians, and unwilling to submit even when trampled to the earth. Napoleon knew that the very danger which no one anticipated in Spain, would certainly occur in Turkey; that the people would surely rise in insurrection in every part of that extensive empire, and, that war would be continued in one shape or other, until there should be many opportunities for the other powers of Europe, perhaps, even for himself, to interpose, if such a course should be deemed politic, or become necessary. He relinquished to Russia game of great value, but it was yet to be taken, and it was certain that the chace would be hazardous, desperate, and of long continuance-while he was to be permitted, in return, to occupy the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal, countries separated by the ocean from all people but his own, and to which his immense, and hitherto invincible armies had free access. The governments of these countries had been hitherto perfectly submissive to him; his mandates were obeyed by the ministers of Spain as if they had been issued to his own prefects. No human power, apparently, could frustrate his designs. Austria might regret the acquisition, she could not resent it-She had been driven from the western parts of Europe-she could not communicate immediately with Spain-she would certainly not declare war, and, without an ally, bring the whole power of the
French empire on her own dominions, when she had found herself, even with the aid of Russia, unable to resist. Prussia was almost annihilated, and even if her monarch had been ordered to descend from his throne, he must, probably, have submitted without a struggle. Great-Britain, it is true, was powerful at sea, more powerful than ever since the battle of Trafalgar, but since the campaign in Holland in 1794, she had discovered no disposition to engage as principal on land. She had lately made two unsuccessful, we might almost say, disgraceful expeditions to Egypt and Buenos Ayres, where her troops had been defeated, even by undisciplined forces, it was not probable that she would send them to contend against the armies of Napoleon. Even in the course of this very year, (1807) she permitted Lisbon, the capital of her most ancient ally, to be occupied by Junot without a struggle, and only sent a squadron to shelter the persons and property of her own subjects, on their flight from Portugal, and, as it happened, to assist in transporting to Brazil, the sovereign of that country, and his attendant courtiers. Opposition from any quarter appeared at that moment, improbable and vain, and Napoleon had reason to believe that, by securing the acquiescence of Russia, the only power who could move or cause others to rise against his usurpations, he had secured not only the peninsula of Spain and Portugal, but their immense ultra-marine possessions; had acquired almost beyond doubt or hazard, the finest, intrinsically the most wealthy, and the most extensive empire on the habitable globe.
It becomes our duty to point out some of those peculiarities which appeared to us as blemishes, on perusing this work.Some of those opinions which must circumscribe its circulation, and seem already to have diminished its reputation.
It must be acknowledged that from Sir Walter Scott we expected a finished and classical work. One not compiled from the current tales and compilations of the day; not written for his own times, or the circles that surround him; but designed and fitted to descend to posterity as a fair tablet on which should have been faithfully and beautifully engraved, the transactions of his own age; a monument which future races, and nations yet unknown might have continued to examine and to study, as presenting an anthentic record of a momentous period when it should have passed away. It is, perhaps, because we had measured his merits by too high a standard, that some imperfections in the work have pressed strongly on our notice.
The first that we shall mention, is the apparent deficiency of original information, the small amount of new materials, and the very little additional light which, in this history, has been