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Will fall the victim of his mother's act.
Have I no husband?
Strangle the child!
[Inez stands speechless, while the cries of the child are heard from without.
List to the music of thy second bridal;
[He drags her to the curtain of the tent; after they have passed through, Inez screams, and lifting up the curtain, discovers him with her dagger in his breast. He staggers forward, and fall's dead.
Inez. Now, then, is murder loose upon the world.
[Distant sounds of battle are heard. And hark!
The sound of raging war is rushing on
Relief from my distraction.
Let me pass!
Where is the rebels' tent? I'll fight no Moors;
Cowards! they have not
It must be here !
Childslayer! It was meet that thou shouldst fall
she is pure - and free
[Takes up the dagger, and reels forward to the
Shrinking amidst this din of strife and blood,
[She sinks dead upon the body.' This tragedy has all the merits, if such they be, of unity and simplicity of action. The interest of the scene is sustained throughout; and though it is not conversant with much variety of feeling, or augmented by the usual artifices of processions and music, it is always sufficiently powerful to attract attention. It may be doubted whether the circumstances connected with the abduction of the child do not rather appertain to melo-drama than to tragedy. Yet it is not improbable that they would awaken as much anxiety and sympathy in an audience, as the suffocation of Desdemona, or the madness of Lady Macbeth. The language is also, perhaps, on the whole, beneath the dignity of tragic composition: but on the other hand, it is not disfigured by any gross affectation: it is sometimes energetic, and not seldom poetical.
ART. XII. History of the Expedition to Russia, undertaken by the Emperor Napoleon, in the Year 1812. By General Count Philip de Segur. 2 Vols. 8vo. Treuttel and Wurtz. 1825. ART. XIII. Napoleon and the Grand Army in Russia; or, a Critical Examination of the Work of Count Philip de Segur. By General Gourgaud, late Principal Orderly Officer, and Aid-decamp to the Emperor Napoleon. 8vo. Martin Bossange and Co. 1825.
E have gained this advantage by the lateness of our notice of Count de Segur's work, that we have acquired materials for more impartially weighing the merit of the imputations which have been cast upon it, in the criticisms of General Gourgaud.
The disastrous termination of the expedition to Moscow, and the political changes which followed that event, are still fresh in the recollection of the public. It was an enterprize, in which the whole military resources of France were called into exertion; and the success of which would have rendered the subjugation of Europe beyond the Rhine complete. It was the last formidable effort of Napoleon to extend his aggressions, and injure England through her allies. Had he effectually established the ascendancy of French influence in the cabinet of St. Petersburgh, he would then have had but one unconquered enemy -the British nation.
Whether he could have succeeded in interdicting our trade, and expelling our manufactures from the Continent, is a question, the affirmative of which no man but himself could have been blind enough to have believed. His 'continental system' was absurd. Like all measures of arbitrary and severe policy its decrees were eluded, its penalties were inoperative, because they fell, not upon his enemy, but upon his ally and his own subject. The continental system," the restriction of British commerce, was the basis of the Russian expedition. On this all writers agree. This policy is avowed, or recognised, in almost every page of the two works before us. By the continental system,' says the Count de Segur, Napoleon had declared eternal war against the English: to that system he attached his honour, his political existence, and that of the nation under his sway.' - His great object,' he adds, was the extension of the continental system; Alexander would shut out the English from the north, and compel Sweden to go to war with them; the French would expel them from the south and the west of Europe.' Again, says the Count, he declared that it was the English alone whom he meant to attack through
Russia; that he would only regard as friends the enemies of Great Britain.' On this subject the historian and his critic are in amity. But this is the only point in which their sentiments coalesce.
The author of the first work, the Count Philip de Segur, was an officer in the household and staff-department of Napoleon. His father, the Count de Segur, held a high rank in the army under the ancien régime, and, having survived the horrors of the Revolution, eventually became attached to the fortunes, and was favored with the confidence, of Bonaparte. His brother, also, was in the army, and was wounded at Wilna, in the campaign of Russia. He himself entered the military profession when young; in 1802 he was made' Adjutant du Palais; in 1805 he was in active foreign service; and in 1806 was a prisoner of war in Russia. He was, consequently, in some measure acquainted with that country, anterior to his entering it with the Grand Army in 1812. He attended the Emperor through the whole of that expedition; he was with the army on its advance and on its retreat; he was an eye-witness of all its actions, of its sufferings, and of its destruction by the elements and the
Several of the early chapters of the first volume are occupied with a sketch of the relations of France and her allies previous to the campaign; - the hesitation and uncertainty of Napoleon regarding it; the sentiments of his ministers and general officers; the war between Russia and the Porte, and the refusal of Bernadotte to join the confederacy. This last occurrence is worthy of being told in the words of the author. After informing us that the communications between France and Russia were at length broken off, he says:
Napoleon immediately addressed himself to the Prince of Sweden; his notes were couched in the style of a lord paramount, who fancies he speaks in the interest of his vassal, who feels the claims he has upon his gratitude or submission, and who calculates upon his obedience. He demanded that Bernadotte should declare a real war against England, shut her out from the Baltic, and send an army of 40,000 Swedes against Russia. In return for this, he promised him his protection, the restoration of Finland, and twenty millions, in return for an equal amount of colonial produce, which the Swedes were first to deliver. Austria undertook to support this proposition; but Bernadotte, already feeling himself settled on the throne, answered like an. independent monarch. Ostensibly he declared himself neutral, opened his ports to all nations, proclaimed his rights and his grievances, appealed to humanity, recommended peace, and offered himself as a REV. AUG. 1825. Ff
mediator; secretly, he offered himself to Napoleon at the price of Norway, Finland, and a subsidy.
At the reading of a letter conceived in this new and unexpected style, Bonaparte was seized with rage and astonishment. He saw in it, and not without reason, a premeditated defection on the part of Bernadotte, a secret agreement with his enemies! He was filled with indignation; he exclaimed, striking violently on the letter, and the table on which it lay open: "He! the rascal! he presume to give me advice! to dictate the law to me! to dare propose such an infamous act to me! And this from a man who owes every thing to my bounty! What ingratitude!" Then, pacing the room with rapid strides, at intervals he gave vent to such expressions as these: "I ought to have expected it! he has always sacrificed every thing to his interests! This is the same man, who, during his short ministry, attempted the resurrection of the infamous Jacobins! When he looked only to gain by disorder, he opposed the 18th Brumaire! He it was who was conspiring in the west against the re-establishment of law and religion! Has not his envious and perfidious inaction already betrayed the French army at Auerstadt? How many times, from regard to Joseph, have I pardoned his intrigues and concealed his faults! And yet I have made him General-in-chief, Marshal, Duke, Prince, and finally King! But see how all these favours, and the pardon of so many injuries, are thrown away on a man like this! If Sweden, half devoured by Russia, for a century past, has retained her independence, she owes it to the support of France. But it matters not; Bernadotte requires the baptism of the ancient aristocracy! a baptism of blood, and of French blood! and you will soon see, that to satisfy his envy and ambition, he will betray both his native and adopted country."
The author then proceeds to describe the departure of Napoleon, at the head of more than six hundred thousand men,' flattering himself that his strength would decide every thing; that a victory on the Niemen would cut the knot of all these diplomatic difficulties which he despised, and that then all the monarchs of Europe, compelled to acknowlege his ascendancy, would be eager to return into his system.'
His march from Paris to Dresden, we are told, 'was a continued triumph.' In the latter city he is represented as surrounded by several Kings, and a crowd of Princes,' who had, at his expressed wish, all thronged to meet him some led by hope, others prompted by fear.'
We pass over the intervening incidents from the passage of the Niemen to the entry of the Grand Army into Smolensko.
* Napoleon, no doubt, spoke of the proposal which Bernadotte made to him to take Norway from Denmark, his faithful ally, in order by this act of treachery to purchase the assistance of Sweden.'