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In April, 1809, England succeeded in drawing Austria into another Alliance against France, which led, by the French victory at Wagram in July, to the complete subjugation of Austria. Instead of breaking up the Austrian Monarchy, as it was in his power to do, Napoleon proposed as the price of peace a marriage with Maria Louisa, daughter of the Emperor Francis. In December of this year, he divorced his first wife Josephine; in April, 1810, he married the Archduchess of Austria. Napoleon's chief motive in this marriage was doubtless to secure the permanent alliance of Austria; and he inferred, besides, it would add to the prestige of his dynasty.
In July of this year Holland was annexed to France, and Louis Bonaparte, who opposed the project, fell into disfavor. This may be considered the culminating point of Napoleon's career. From this period may be dated errors which showed that his judgment was disturbed by his marvellous success. Some of his best auxiliaries, as Fouché and Bernadotte, fell away from him; he quarrelled with the Pope, who excommunicated him; and, worse than all, his "Continental Blockade,” levelled at England, greatly damaged the commerce of France and caused general dissatisfaction. In March, 1811, Maria Louisa gave birth to a son who was created King of Rome"; and this was the last boon conferred on him by a bounteous Providence.
Unable to restrain his martial spirit, he declared war on Russia in June, 1812, without caring to secure the co-operation of Sweden or Turkey. He set out with an army of 450,000 men, and marched through Poland in pursuit of the Russians, who constantly retreated. It was only at Borodino near Moscow that a battle
occurred, where the Russians were beaten. On the 14th September, Napoleon entered Moscow, and the day following a conflagration broke out which destroyed it. The Fabian tactics of Russia were then revealed. They had retreated before Napoleon only to lure him on to Moscow, which was burnt over his head. His situation was alarming. He waited for a month in the hope of peace; and on October 19th, began a retreat the most disastrous which history records. Only a fragment survived of the half million of men that left France. Quitting his army, he reached Paris in December.
In the following March, 1813, Russia was joined by Prussia in the war against him, and in August, Austria entered the Coalition. Meanwhile England was steadily forcing back the French forces in Spain. In April, Napoleon again took the field with a new army of 350,000 men, and in August defeated at Dresden the combined armies of Russia, Prussia, and Austria. October, however, he was defeated at Leipsic through the defection of his Saxon auxiliaries, and was forced to fall back on France. In January, 1814, the Allies crossed the Rhine. The campaign which ensued is considered the most brilliant in Napoleon's career. He gained repeated victories, and the Allies offered terms of peace, which the Emperor rejected. He was manoeuvring to enclose the enemy between himself and Paris; but his plan was defeated by the sudden surrender of the Capital in March-an event attributed by some to treachery. In April he signed his Abdication, and retired to Elba, of which the Allies, as if in derision, made him the Sovereign.
RESTORATION OF THE MONARCHY.
NAPOLEON'S downfall brought the old French Monarchy back, but under circumstances that rendered it only a phantom of its former self. Napoleon wielded the absolute power of Louis XIV., and could also boastL'état, c'est moi. His successor, Louis XVIII., brother of Louis XVI., on the contrary, was transformed into that modern invention, yclept a Constitutional Kingthe first which appeared on the continent of Europe. On the death of his nephew, the Dauphin, in 1795, he took the title of King, and was recognized as such by Europe; and on the Abdication of Napoleon in April, 1814, the Senate, at the instigation of the European Coalition, called him to the throne. Louis XVIII. began his reign in the same month.
In spite of the moderation of the King, the conduct of the Royalists and the Clergy was so arrogant and reactionary, that the country soon became shocked and alienated. Napoleon, perceiving the tide was again setting in his favor, forsook his retreat, and boldly landed in France, March, 1815.
THE HUNDRED DAYS.
AMID the most enthusiastic demonstrations, Napoleon. made his way from Cannes to Paris, and reascended the throne; his rival, Louis XVIII., retiring on his approach to Holland. The Allies, convinced that peace was impossible whilst the Emperor held power, resolved to renew the war, and in three months they advanced on France. Napoleon met them finally at Waterloo, and his defeat there closed his career. He was exiled by the Allies to St. Helena, where he arrived in October, 1815, and died in May, 1821.
As a warrior and an administrator, Napoleon is ranked with Alexander and Cæsar of the ancient, and Charlemagne of the modern world-considered the four greatest men that Europe has produced. He rendered eminent service to France by extinguishing the factions of the Revolution in 1799, and setting up a framework of society which has endured in great part to the present day. In repressing anarchy, reconstituting society, restoring religion, reorganizing education, creating the Code, and in placing France at the head of Europe, he established solid claims on the admiration of his countrymen.* This, however, comprises the useful part of his career. His insatiable thirst for war rendered his political existence incompatible with the safety of Europe, whilst his despotic
* The Empire founded by Napoleon is regarded as equal to that of Charlemagne; for it consisted in 1812 of 130 French departments— which included various German and Dutch provinces; 24 departments of Italy annexed to France, and 7 provinces of Illyria.
character was inconsistent with the permanent welfare of France, and his overthrow became an imperative. necessity. His military exploits achieved immortality for his name, but yielded to the world nothing save wonder and regret.
LOUIS XVIII. reascended the throne in July, 1815. For sixteen years had Napoleon held France in his stern grip. His intellect, his will, and his glory, had confounded opposition; but with his disappearance, the Nation relapsed once more into the hands of Politicians.
The Allied Sovereigns and their Statesmen, who entered Paris a second time in 1815, must have pondered deeply over the situation. For twenty-six years France had been in their eyes little else than a common nuisance: first with her Revolution, its anarchy, bloodshed, and subversive principles; next with her Napoleonic Wars, assailing and subjugating all nations in turn. Twice had Europe risen in self-defence, and twice had France been stricken down. How to extinguish such a volcano must have been a perplexity to the conquerors. Various projects were discussed. Should the Feudal System be restored? Should the Absolute Monarchy be set up again? But Feudality without the Middle Ages, and Absolute Monarchy without the Seventeenth century, would be anachronisms and shortlived. Europe, irritated and bewildered, returned home, and left France to the solution of her own destiny.