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anxious to spread their doctrines every where, but the present: government of France have adopted a different policy. It is well known that the Directory would rather have given up Milan to the Emperor, under its old form of government, than have established a republic there; and actually refused to erect› a republic at Rome, when it was lately completely in their power, and anxiously wished for by a majority of the people.
4. Though the French are jealous of the glory acquired by this Italian hero, and though, if he were to return to France, he might perhaps be treated with that ingratitude which is too often the characteristic of republican government, yet his enemies do justice to his merit; he contrives to make his very rivals to second his views, and to assist him with all the zeal imaginable. Indeed, the Directory of France find it essential to their own interest, to give him every possible support, as there is none whom they could send to succeed him, with an equal prospect of success.
Lastly, he has excited an enthusiasm in his army, beyond all example. His troops place the most unlimited confidence in him, and think, under his command, they cannot be vanquished. In addition to that confidence, they have such a respect, and even terror for him, (for, with great affability, nó man preserves stricter discipline), that they dread his reproaches more than the swords of the enemy; and, should every thing else fail, such is the attachment they entertain for his person, that he has only to put himself at their head, at any critical moment of imminent danger and dismay, as he did at Lodi, and, if he does not perish in the combat, his troops, impelled by enthusiasm in the cause they fight for, confidence in the general who commands them, dread of his reproaches if defeated, and attachment to a leader whom they adore, can hardly fail to conquer.
The Result. From a consideration of these circumstances, any thing decisively favourable to the cause of Austria in Italy, cannot be expected. Indeed, if the French were un
successful, which there is no reason to look for, they have only to retire to the fortresses of Mantua, Verona, and others in their possession, whence, in the course of at least this campaign, it will be impossible to dislodge them. The only chance of ultimate success which the Archduke Charles has, is that of retiring towards Vienna; in which case, should Buonaparte incautiously follow him, he may be surrounded, and his army may be destroyed. But if he is satisfied with the possession of Italy, and the countries in its neighbourhood, no force the Emperor can possibly send against him, under any general, however distinguished for ability, can be successful.
London, 3d April 1797.-N. B. The account of Buonaparte's victories did not reach London, or at least was not publicly known, till the Friday following, the 7th of April.
The reader will be enabled to form some idea, both of the resources of Buonaparte's mind, and the promptitude with which he acts, from the following anecdote.
It is well-known, that the Abbé Sieyes was one of the ablest men that France ever produced, and remarkable for his deep and successful intrigues. When the formation of a consulate was determined upon, it became a doubtful question, whether he or Buonaparte should be appointed First Consul. Sieyes's plan was, to be nominated to that situation, and to employ Buonaparte, as Second Consul, to carry his orders into execution. The superior cunning, ability, and promptitude of the Corsican, in one instant, baffled all the schemes which he had been so long meditating, and which he thought were on the eve of being happily accomplished.
The place where they assembled to elect the Consuls, was the Gallery of the Luxembourg, a very large hall, where the electors formed themselves into parties, with their leaders,
and though within sight, yet each of them at such a distance from the other, as not to be overheard. Sieyes lost no time in addressing his party, and descanted on the advantages of having a person, well acquainted with political questions, and civil affairs, at the head of the new government; and the danger of having a soldier intrusted with supreme power, who might, in the end, establish military despotism, in a country, which had conquered its liberties; (the event has proved, that this observation was perfectly well founded); and without pointing himself out to be the man, he plainly indicated the line he wished them to pursue. As soon as he had made this declaration, one of Buonaparte's emissaries, who had mixed himself with the Abbé's friends, quitted the place where they had assembled, joined the other party, and informed them of what had passed. Buonaparte instantly said, "I see what must be done, and all I entreat of you is, as soon as you see me take Sieyes by the hand, that you will cry, Bravo, Buonaparte, as loud as you can, and will prevail on as many as possible to join in the exclamation." He immediately went to the place where Sieyes and his party were assembled, and going up to the Abbé, with a great appearance of cordiality, he said, "Let us not, my friend, have any difference of opinion who shall be the First Consul; for my part, I vote for the Abbé Sieyes,—whom do you vote for?" The Abbé, astonished at such an unexpected address, was led, from complaisance, and an affectation of gratitude and friendship, to say, "I vote for the General Buonaparte." On which Buonaparte gave his hand to Sieyes, as if to thank him for his vote. This being the signal agreed upon, for crying, Bravo, Buonaparte, it resounded from all quarters; Buonaparte's partisans having dispersed themselves throughout the hall, and mixed with those of the other candidates. Even some of the friends of Abbé Sieyes, who saw what had passed, could not help joining in the cry, without thinking of the consequences. Buonaparte was instantly declared First Consul. The Abbé was offered to be made Second Consul, but was so much chagrin
ed at his disappointment, that he declared his resolution to take no farther concern in public affairs.
It is impossible to conceive, that any man could have been placed in so many critical dilemmas as Buonaparte has been, and to have got through them so successfully, without being possessed of the ability and decision which this anecdote evinces. It was communicated to me by a friend, who had it from one of the very actors in the scene, and its authenticity may be depended upon.