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to degrade and undervalue the charac- pecting there have been elisions in the ter of those whose actions have spoken manuscript, and that the vindictive for themselves, imitates but the spleen Italian may have struck out branches of the idiot who spits against the of some sentences which the better wind, and the disgusting marks of taste of the vain-glorious but polite * whose malice are returned on his own Frenchman had inserted. Here, for visage.
example, is a passage which seems Such must be the feeling of every truncated and mutilated. General reader, when he reads the petty insi- Gourgaud, in estimating the comparanuations by which Gourgaud or his tive strength of the army under Bonamaster attempts to undermine the fame “parte, and that under Wellington, of Wellington. Several of these we says, that the former was inferior in shall notice in the subsequent part of number (a point we shall examine *this review; but it would be difficult hereafter), but superior in the quality for us to keep a moment's silence upon of troops, Les solduts Belges et Alle the wonderful discovery that it was to mands ne valaient pas les soldats Franthe errors, not to the skill, of Welling- çais. It would, we conceive, have 'ton, that Napoleon owed his defeat. been natural to complete the parallel *** According to the generally received with some phrase equivalent to " whatrules of war," we are informed, “ that ever might be thought of the British." the choice of the field of battle at Wa- But on this point the General does terloo, in front of a forest, and of a not hazard an opinion, unless by the great town, after Blucher had been de- following sweeping conclusion deducfeated, was a circumstance which might ed from the incidents of the came have had the most fatal results for the paign. P. 106—" Never have the "English army and the whole coalition.” French troops more perfectly shown He ought, it seems to have fallen back, their superiority over all the troops in and effected a junction with Blucher Europe, than during this short cama day's march to the rear of Waterloo paign, where they have been so con(where, by the way, there is not the stantly outnumbered.” Over ALL the semblance of a position), and he would troops of Europe!! But be it so; if thus have concentrated'his forces with their pretended superiority be always those of Prussia. Even then, it seems demonstrated in the same manner, the opinion of General Gourgaud, we cheerfully make them welcome to that the British and Prussian Generals every Te Deum which they may chant should have avoided an action until upon similar occasions. the Russians and Austrians were upon It is necessary in military narrathe Meuse. That Wellington thought, tives, as well as elsewhere, that causes and found himself competent, to de- should be assigned for events; and as stroy Bonaparte's army instead of it was the rule of Bonaparte neither running away from it, was, it to allow talent in the generals by seems, a blundering into success," whom he was defeated, or valour in according to the phrase applied to the their troops, or the possibility of erpresent ministry ; and if he triumphed ror in his own plans, the occasion over Napoleon, it was only as Yorick of his misfortune was to be imputtriumphed over Eugenius—like a fool. ed to some other cause. It was his The Duke, it seems, won the game, custom to divide this inevitable load precisely, because he did not know of censure between his generals and how to play it; and Bonaparte lost it the blind goddess Fortune ; and his as a great fencer may be foiled by the bulletins afford many instances in raw-boned clown who beats down his which both are overloaded by the proguard by brute force. Comfortable portion allotted to them. reflections these for an Ex-Imperial In the campaign of_1814, indisGeneral to add zest to his segar or cup putably that in which Bonaparte disof coffee—and much good may they do played greatest talent as a general, those who can swallow them.
he was often obliged to assign to Much is, of course, said of the ex- his marechals the discharge of points treme bravery of the French soldiers of duty for which he could only -not a word of the steadiness of those appropriate very disproportioned forby whom it was opposed, foiled, and ces; being under the constant nerendered nugatory.
cessity of keeping under his own imOn this point we cannot help sus- mediate command the most effective VOL. IV.
part of his army, for the execution of piric. At first it works wonders which the masterly military maneuvres by are attested in every newspaper ; when which he so long retarded his fall. it has been some time in use, unfaIt was a necessary consequence, that vourable cases occur ; and when five the generals to whom the subordinate or six people have died of the predepartments of the campaign were as- scription, the patients, as Dr Last himsigned, were often baffled or over- self was obliged to complain, become powered by the superior forces to timorous and unwilling to take the which they were opposed. On such doses. Moscow, and Leipsic, and unwilling failures the ruthless bulle- Montmartre-Busaco, Salamanca, Vito tin had no mercy; nor did the re- toria, and many other dispiriting remembrance of past services, or the collections, sate heavy on the souls of pressure of circumstances, or the ina- the generals who had witnessed those dequacy of the means committed to fatal scenes; and while the recolthem, alleviate the censure of the lection seems neither to have deprive Emperor. It was this circumstance ed them of the skill or inclination which greatly alienated the affections to discharge their duty, it probably of his principal generals, who thought made them anxious, in so dangerthey perceived in it an attempt to save a game, to abide by his inhis own reputation at the expense of structions, on whose account they theirs, and to assume the principal played it, and to whom the great stake merit of success, while he loaded them belonged. Nor must it escape us, that with all the disgrace attaching itself to the French generals were well aware failure. This propensity to throw at what risk they were to display the blame upon the subordinate agents of brilliant audacity and enterprise which Bonaparte's will, and executors of his these reflections appear to have deorders, pervades every page of Gour- manded from them, and how heavy gaud's Relation, of which the follow- a responsibility was imposed upon ing instances will satisfy the reader. them in case of their zeal leading
It is remarked, p. 57, that although them too far beyond the strict letter of the French soldiery shewed, in the their orders. And we will hereafter campaign of 1815, the same confidence see, that Ney, who is chiefly censured and bravery which they had so often as having lost the energy of his early displayed during their most brilliant days, is afterwards blamed still more actions, several of the generals, even severely for having of his own motion Ney himself, were no longer the same occasioned the loss of the battle of men. “ They had no longer that ener- Waterloo, by precipitating an attack of gy and brilliant audacity which they cavalry. had so often displayed upon other oc- Besides this sweeping charge, that casions, and which had so much share the French Generals under Bonaparte in achieving great victories. They did not in this campaign do their utwere become timid and circumspect most to enforce and carry through his in their operations, and their personal plans, distinct errors are imputed to one bravery was the only kind of courage or two of them by name. Upon the 15th which remained to them. They seem, July, Vandamme, it is said, arrived at ed contending who should commit Charleroi four hours later than he himself the least.”
ought to have done, which is describe We have little doubt that this may ed as un funeste contretemps."have been the case that the ignorant Again, upon the juncture of the corps soldiery, confiding on the stars, the of Vandamme with that of Grouchy at fortunes, and the name of the Empe- Gilly, it is stated, that these generals, ror, were animated to their usual pitch deceived by false intelligence, remainof enthusiasm; while the generals, ed stationary, instead of attacking a who measured with a more experienc- small part of the Prussian army under ed eye the comparative strength and Zeithen, which they had mistaken for skill by which Bonaparte was now op- Blucher's main body. And Grouchy posed, should have executed his or is elsewhere censured (with more apders with less confidence of a fac parent reason), for not moving to his Fourable result than in his former left, and placing himself in communis enterprises. The tactics of Bonaparte cation with Bonaparte, instead of re. resembled, in some degree, the peri. maining with his division at Wavre loys nostrum of some dashing em, during the whole of the 18th. This is a subject which we afterwards pro- rat.-It might have mentioned where, pose to enter upon more specifically. and in whose presence, the busts of
These, and other charges against these two illustrious adventurers were Vandamme and Grouchy, are made crowned with laurel, as hopeful assowith moderation, and under qualify- ciates in the same joint adventure. It ing circumstances of excuse and of might-But our present concern is commendation. Upon two individu- with military events, and not with als, the unmitigatcd censure of Gour- politics, --with Ney, rather than with gaud, and as we suppose, of Bonaparte, Murat. descends in full stream. These are, It is the unfortunate Ney to whom Joachim Murat and Michael Ney. By the fatal errors of the action at Quatre a singular coincidence they are both no Bras are ascribed, with the necessary more the safer subjects, therefore, to inference, that had he conducted himbe converted into convenient scape- self as he ought to have done, that goats. The dead can neither vindicate battle must have been won, and the themselves, nor retort upon others; and defeat of Waterloo prevented. The the blame which, if imputed to them, general censure of this unfortunate solGrouchy or Vandamme might have dier, once termed by Bonaparte the Aung back in the face of their censor, bravest of the brave, occurs in more may be securely piled on the bloody than one passage of the relation. graves of Ney and of Murat.
“ It seemed that the recollection of Of Murat, it is said in a note, his (Ney's) conduct in 1814, and afp. 20, that the bad politics of that un- terwards in March 1815, had occasioned happy prince had the chief share a total confusion of mind, (bouleversein the first and second overthrow of ment moral) which affected all his acNapoleon. “ If, in 1814, he had tions. Besides, the Marechal, in actual not abandoned the cause of France for combat the bravest of the brave, frethat of Austria, France would not have quently was deceived in the operations been invaded. And if, in 1815, he of the campaign."--p. 41, Note. In had not declared war against Austria, another passage, the same imputation is France would not probably have a se- again cast on the memory of this unhapcond time undergone foreign subjuga- py man.“ Marechal Ney, perhaps in tion. The Emperor of Austria, seeing consequence of his moral situation, his son-in-law again seated upon the had fallen into an aberration of mind, throne of France, seemed disposed to from which he only recovered in the enter into a treaty with him, when, midst of the fire, when natural and upon the attack of Murat, which, he constitutional bravery surmounted imagined, was the result of a plan con- those feelings, and restored him the certed with Napoleon, he broke off the use of his faculties. One of the faults negotiation, observing, “How is it with which the Emperor reproaches possible that I can treat with Napo- himself, is the having employed that leon, while he is causing me to be at Marechal, or at least having given him tacked in Italy by Murat.” Unfortu- so important a command.”-p. 95. nate Murat, whose opposition or co- We will hardly be suspected of payoperation was equally fatal to thy bro- ing much respect to the memory of ther-in-law! Since thy namesake, Ney: But Murat the Unlucky, there was never, it seems, a more devoted victim to
Suum cuique is our Roman justice. misfortune. Yet if a voice could have While he lived, he was undeniably been heard to reply from the low and the bravest soldier and generally acnameless tomb on the shores of Cala- counted the best general of the French bria, it might have pleaded, that if the service for the petite guerre, in which Neapolitan forces could have executed cavalry and light infantry are employa diversion formidable enough to have ed. In his death he paid the debt of prevented the invasion of France in his treason; and nothing can be now 1814, there seems no reason why they more disgusting than the hypocritical should have been less formidable in malignity which assigns to him an 1815—it might have told the subject alienation of mind, and gravely. imof that continued, though concealed putes it to remorse occasioned by those correspondence betwixt Elba and Na- very crimes in which Bonaparte and ples, which preceded the landing of his minions had involved him. It is Bonaparte, and the expedition of Mu- true that Ney was accessible to the weakness of remorse, that the recol- tle of Quatre Bras, and committed in lection of his traitorous defection at that action the enormous blunders atLons-le-saulnier haunted him, and tributed to him by Gourgaud, would that he appeared, and was in reality, Bonaparte have employed his services less completely won over to Bona- as leader of the vanguard which was parte's cause and measures than others to press Wellington's retreat on the in his situation. It is perhaps such re- 17th, and, finally, have assigned him collections, with those relating to the the most important part in the conpart which Ney played in the Senate, cluding tragedy of the 18th, at Waafter the defeat of Waterloo, where he terloo ? The repeated acts of undoubttore the veil from the specious picture ing and most vital confidence reposof the French resources, with which ed by Bonaparte in Ney are suffiCarnot endeavoured to impose on that cient to confute the tale of pretended assembly-it is perhaps such remem- imbecility now charged against him; brances which dwell in Bonaparte's unless, indeed, we should suppose the memory, and lead him to trample on Ex-Emperor had adopted the policy of the memory of the man who had an old friend of ours-a man of busi“ Put rancours in the vessel of his peace, ness, as they are termed in Scotland Only for him ; and his eternal jewel, who put his own affairs, and those of Given to the common enemy of man, his clients, under the charge of a mad To make him king.".
elerk, merely because he found that But although Ney had the weak, the poor man's derangement formed a ness, such General Gourgaud and ready apology when any thing went General Gourgaud's master may con- wrong. sider it, to be but half villain ; and We hold it of considerable importalthough, in his retirement at his es- ance to us to establish this point; tate of Coudreaux, his inequality of because, if Ney shall be found to temper betrayed his internal remorse, stand, in the law phrase, rectus in it is certain all around him remark- curia, we have a title to adduce him ed, that after he joined the army of as a witness in the cause, and to shew, Bonaparte (which was on the 11th by his evidence, that Gourgaud or June, at Lisle), the joy of finding Bonaparte is now loading his memory himself among the troops which he with faults, which the testimony of had so often commanded, and the the Marechal, while alive, charged upclang of arms to which his ear was so on Napoleon himself. well accustomed, served to silence the We have still to remark another pefeelings by which he had been agi- culiarity of Bonaparte's military nartated since his defection, and restored ratives, which we recognise in Gourto him that energy of mind which was gaud's Relation. As, in telling his proper to his character.
ownstory, he was neither prone to acHad it been otherwise than we have knowledge talents or bravery in his stated-had that moral aberration, that enemies, nor occasional errors or deficonfusion of ideas, that propensity to ciencies in himself, as all his own blunder even in the field of battle, schemes were held up as shewing the now imputed to Ney, really display- quintessence of military science, while ed themselves—is it possible a mental the efforts of his opponents, even when disease whose symptoms are particu- most successful, were said to exhibit larly visible should have escaped the the blunders of ignorant novices in eye of such a keen observer as Bona- the art of war, there was often a load parte? Is he likely to have assigned to of blame to be laid somewhere, more a hypochondriac, sinking under a sense than the shoulders of his subordinate of dishonour and remorse, the command generals could possibly bear. In such of his army at Quatre Bras? Would emergency, the Spoiled Child of Forit have been rational for any command- tune did not (as we bave already er-in-chief-would it have been con- hinted) hesitate to impute the greatsistent with the character of Bonaparte er share of his misadventures to in particular-to have sent to such an some freakish humour of that Deity one a message on the morning of the who had once so highly favoured him. 16th, by Forbin-Janson, to assure him Circumstances of mere chance, the that the “ fate of France was in his most unlikely and the most improhands?” Or, if Ney gave the first marks bable, were gravely stated as having of this moral aberration during the bat- impeded the success of his wisest mea
sures. No reader can have forgot- those which seem to be fictitious, with ten the ill-imagined incident of the the intelligence derived from other blowing up the bridge at Leipsic, owing to the unhappy precipitation of We cannot part with General Gour. the corporal of engineers, who lighted gaud without noticing his preface, the the fatal match, not having ob- first sentence of which asserts the fact served that only half the French army which we have endeavoured to corrohad crossed it. To complete, there borate. fore, the accordance of skill and inci- “ L'empereur Napoléon ayant daigné me dent betwixt Gourgaud's narrative and faire connaître son opinion sur les principaan imperial bulletin, the relation les opérations de la Campagne de 1815; je ought to present us with some specious des souvenirs de la grande catastrophe dont
profitai de cette circonstance favorable, et miracle, which (reversing the drama
j'avais été témoin, pour écrire cette relatic rule) should be introduced, not to tion.” rescue the Hero of the tale, but to Of the truth of this statement we account for his not being able to rescue have no doubt, any more than that the himself. We hope to be equally suce memory of General Gourgaud was a cessful in tracing this strong point of very complaisant memory, and rememsimilarity, as we have been in making bered just as much, and no more, of good the others. It is true, we can their transactions than confirmed the point out no incident so bold in the opinion of the Emperor Napoleon. outline, and so highly coloured, as the
Again, the General assures us, that story of the corporal and the bridge. his narration has been written to counBut if the reader can be satisfied with teract the effect of a number of acthe march and counter-march of a di- counts by authors who, blinded by vision of twenty thousand men, per- excessive national vanity, had given a formed without orders from any human false idea of these events. No doubt being—or if he can be amused with there was not a single disinterested or cries of treason and mutiny, which, faithful narrator of this memorable though sufficient to check an army in history to be found excepting General its career of victory, were heard by no Gourgaud and his Emperor. Neither ears save those of Gourgaud and Bona- did any one discover the vulgar atroparte, his taste for the marvellous shall city and immorality of the English be so far gratified.
character, until it was put in its true For the present, suffice it to say, that light by General Pillet. We are much we consider this Relation as being obliged to them both. drawn up under Bonaparte's eye and The General next assures us, that, direction, and as containing what he as a miltary man, he meddles only desires should be received as the au- with military details, and gravely putthentic narration of this important ting the question, Whether the battle campaign. It may serve him in double of Waterloo has confirmed or shaken point of view. For either its falsehoods the thrones of Europe ? ensured her being discerrfed and confuted, he may tranquillity, or sapp'd its foundations? learn to what tone they ought to be he oracularly answers, the "future will modified in his avowed Memoirs; or shew.” We venture to add our hope, else he may hope, that, by again and that the future will confirm the expeagain repeating the same tale, he may rience of two former years, and the at length impress it upon that nume- well grounded expectation of the prerous class of readers, to whom the sent. There are few things, we think, reiteration of the same story forms at could defeat them, unless unfortunatelength a proof of its credibility.
ly Monseigneur should come in good These preliminary observations have earnest, and thus find means to be an been offered, to prove its general re- actor in new scenes, instead of recordsemblance to the similar details which ing in his island those which have he sent forth respecting the disasters of passed away. Moscow and Leipsic, and the campaign Next we are informed, that it is the of 1814. In our next Number, some object of the work to afford the French pages will be employed in winnowing a new proof that their glories have not the particulars which the Relation lays been tarnished in the field of Waterbefore us, in pointing out such as throw loo. We wish them joy of the aslight upon incidents hitherto incom- surance. pletely explained, and in contrasting Then are the ministers of the powers