BECK index

France & Napoleon’s Rise & Fall 1796-1815

by Sanderson Beck

French Directorate and Napoleon 1796-97
France’s Second Directorate 1797-98
Fall of France’s Directorate in 1799
France under Consul Napoleon 1800-1804
France’s Napoleonic Empire at War 1805-07
France’s Napoleonic Empire at War 1808-10
Napoleon’s Empire and Russia 1811-12
France and Napoleon’s Decline in 1813
France and Napoleon’s Decline 1814-15
Germaine de Staël
Madame de Staël’s novels Delphine and Corinne
Germaine de Staël’s Later Years

French Directorate and Napoleon 1796-97

       Napoleon Bonaparte was born on 15 August 1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica. France had acquired Corsica from Genoa in May 1768, and the Bonaparte family was recognized as nobles in 1771. Napoleon learned to read and write Italian in school. In January 1779 he was enrolled in a seminary at Autun in Burgundy for four months to learn French. He read Rousseau’s romantic La Nouvelle Héloise which taught him to follow his authentic feelings. Then he spent five years at the military academy at Brienne-le-Château in Troye, and he was bullied for his Corsican accent and poverty. Napoleon was good at mathematics and learned geometry, algebra, and trigonometry. He read Cicero, Voltaire, Diderot, Abbé Raynal, Erasmus, Virgil, and ancient historians, and he especially liked Plutarch’s Lives of Alexander, Caesar, and Brutus. In October 1784 he moved on to the Royal Military School in Paris. He was an active Corsican nationalist, but he supported the revolutionary Jacobins. He believed in equality before the law, merit, nationalistic government, and military discipline, but he hated mob violence.
      In October 1785 Napoleon became an artillery officer at Valence. He continued to study many histories and military tactics. In April 1786 he wrote an essay on how the Corsicans could resist the French. In June 1788 he began studying artillery at Auxonne. In August 1789 he got sick leave and spent 18 months on Corsica. In January 1790 he supported Antoine Christophe Saliceti’s plan to make Corsica a department of France. Napoleon studied Rousseau’s Constitution of Corsica, and he worked on a history of Corsica but could not get it published. He admired Pasquale Paoli who came back to Corsica in July after 22 years in exile and was elected President. In January 1791 Napoleon was a founding member of the Patriotic Club in Ajaccio, and he returned there again in October 1792 and served under President Paoli on an expedition to the island of San Stefano in February 1793. Paoli preferred the British to the French, but Napoleon urged the Corsicans to support the French Revolution.
      At the Jacobin Club in Toulon his younger brother Lucien Bonaparte denounced Paoli as a traitor, and on 23 May 1793 a Paolist mob plundered the Bonaparte home. Corsica’s Parliament outlawed the Bonapartes, and on 11 June Napoleon and his family fled to Toulon. In 1793 France produced 7,000 cannons which Napoleon knew how to use. He had been made artillery commander in Italy on 24 March, and on 18 April his battle plan helped the French army take the port of Oneglia in Genoa away from the Piedmontese. On 16 September Napoleon commanded the French artillery in the siege of Toulon, and he was promoted to major in October. He studied the batteries at the French naval base in Toulon. On 28 August about 13,000 British allies supported the royalist rebels in Toulon, and the next day the French besieged the port. Napoleon was wounded in the thigh during the attack on the Spaniards in Fort Mulgrave. On 17 December General Jacques François Dugommier approved Napoleon’s strategy that enabled the French to drive out the British in two days while a British squadron destroyed the French fleet. Napoleon was promoted to brigadier general. Saliceti and deputy Thomas Gasparin ordered about 400 suspected fédéres executed, and they destroyed much of the town. Barras took over Toulon, and Robespierre criticized his corruption.

      The Stock Exchange in Paris was closed on 11 December 1795 but was reopened on 12 January 1796. On 25 January the Directory gave themselves the power to appoint provisional administrations for Paris, Lyon, Marseille, and Bordeaux. The next day Nicolas Stofflet in Maine and Loire followed the orders of Louis XVIII and the Count of Artois to take up arms again. Stofflet was captured on 23 February and executed two days later. France’s army had been depleted to 450,000 men. The Directory decreed that the “Marseillaise” was to be sung in all theatres before the performance. In 1796 France had only about 15,000 priests for 40,000 parishes.
      On 1 February the Directory excluded all but the indigent from rations of bread and meat, but public pressure persuaded them to repeal that restriction on the 20th. On the 4th General Schérer resigned rather than implement Napoleon’s plan to invade Italy. On the 14th the Directory ordered theatres to be “schools of morality and of republicanism,” and on the 27th they closed the Feydeau theatre. The assignats were down to 0.25% of their nominal value, and the Directory limited their number to the current 34 billion; only 300 million livres remained from the Ancient Régime.
      On 2 March the Directory made Napoleon the commander of the army in Italy and instructed him to live off the land and to get funds for France’s Treasury and to pay soldiers. On the 6th the 27-year-old Napoleon married the 33-year-old widow of General Beauharnais, Joséphine de la Pagerie. They both lied about their birth years, and she had been the mistress of Barras, Hoche, and Napoleon. Two days later he left to join the French army in Italy.
      Also on 8 March 1796 the legislative Councils decreed that officials must swear “hatred for royalty” before serving. In January the Savona infantry regiment in Nice had 600 soldiers die in 20 days, and the French army in Italy was down to 61,281 men. On 18 March the Directory replaced the nearly worthless assignats with territorial mandate banknotes also based on national property, but by July they were no longer accepted. On 23 March one of the last Vendée leaders, Charette, was wounded and captured, and he was executed six days later.
      At Nice on 26 March Napoleon with his aides-de-camp Col. Joachim Murat, Major Andoche Junot, Captain Auguste de Marmont, and his 17-year-old brother Louis joined the demoralized army under the “older” generals André Masséna 38, Charles Pierre Augereau 38, Jean-Mathieu-Philibert Sérurier 53, A. E. F. Laharpe 32, and chief-of-staff Louis Alexandre Berthier 42. Fever had taken 600 lives in 20 days. The Directory gave Napoleon only 40,000 livres for the entire campaign, less than his annual salary. He ordered the French minister Faipoult in Genoa to borrow secretly 3 million from Jewish financiers. He disbanded a battalion for mutiny, and on 2 April Napoleon spoke to the army he called “naked and hungry,” saying

The government owes us much but can give us nothing….
I will lead you into the most fertile plains on earth.
Rich provinces, wealthy towns all will be yours for the taking.
There you will find honor and glory and riches.2

      Also on 2 April royalists rebelled in Cher and took over Sancerre, but Republican troops took back Sancerre one week later. On the 12th Napoleon’s army defeated Austrians at Montenotte, and three days later the last Austrians in the Apennines surrendered at Dego. On the 26th he promised his men the conquest of Italy if they would respect the people and not pillage. Two days later the Piedmontese agreed to an armistice, giving up Tortona, Alessandria, Coni, and Ceva. Napoleon obtained millions of livres from the Duke of Parma and from Genoa, enabling him to pay his soldiers half their wages in silver, which the Directory approved. He appointed curators to remove objects of art and scholars to collect historical manuscripts. Scientists gathered plants and animals.
      On 16 April 1796 the Councils decreed that anyone advocating a return to the monarchy or the Constitution of 1793 could be executed or deported. On the 20th the Equals began distributing The French People’s Cry against its Oppressors, and their infiltration of the Police Legion led to mutinies on the 28th and to the Directory dissolving the Legion and deploying them on 2 May for military service on the borders. On 10 May Babeuf and Buonarroti were arrested, and Carnot issued warrants for 245 others. Joseph de Maistre published his Considerations on the French Revolution calling it a “providential catastrophe.”
      Napoleon’s army increased to 30,000 men by the time they crossed the Po River on 7 May. On the 10th he aroused his men to take the bridge at Lodi, and on the 15th the magistrates of Milan, glad to be rid of Austrian administrators, opened the gates for the French army. That day in a peace treaty Piedmont-Sardinia ceded Savoy and Nice to France. Catholic priests led a revolt in Pavia. When the council of Pavia refused to surrender, General Jean Lannes had them shot on the 26th. Armed peasants in Binasco attacked the French who killed a hundred men and burned the village as an example. On the 30th at Borghetto they defeated the Austrians who retreated. Napoleon developed the habit of exaggerating enemy losses while minimizing his, and he proclaimed a Lombardic Republic to be governed by Italian giacobini (Jacobins). He abolished internal tariffs and guilds, ended noble assemblies and feudal privileges, declared tolerance for Jews, and occasionally nationalized Church property. On 31 May France’s army of the Sambre and Meuse crossed the Rhine heading toward Vienna.
      On 3 June Napoleon’s army captured Verona in the Venetian Republic and forced the Austrians to retreat toward Tyrol. In Germany the next day the French army led by Kléber defeated Austrians at Altenkirchen. On the 5th Napoleon agreed to an armistice with Naples. The Directory ordered him to attack the Papal States, and they occupied Bologna on the 19th and Ferrara the next day. On the 23rd Pope Pius VI and Napoleon signed an armistice at Bologna. The next day the Directorate increased the postage on newspapers to five centimes in order to discourage their distribution. On the 27th Napoleon’s army occupied Livornio and captured £12 million of English merchandise. Two days later bombardment led to taking the Milan Citadel.
      The French army led by General Jean Moreau overcame the Austrians at Rastatt on 5 July and again at Ettlingen on the 9th. Moreau’s army in Germany fought in the Black Forest and then occupied Stuttgart on the 18th.
      Napoleon entered Florence on 1 July. The journalist Pierre Louis de Lacretelle the elder began criticizing the policies of the Directorate and Napoleon in Italy. Italian peasants revolted at Imola on 4 July, but the French army suppressed them three days later. Also on the 4th Napoleon’s army began a siege of Mantua where 14,000 Austrians occupied the garrison. Austrians forced the French to lift the siege on 1 August. Napoleon went to relieve Mantua and defeated Austrians at Lonato on the 3rd and again at Castiglione in a surprise attack two days later. The French siege of Mantua was reasserted on 27 August.
      His army was collecting art works in Italy, and on 15 August David, Girodet, Soufflot, and other artists circulated a protesting petition. General Pérignon, the French ambassador in Madrid, concluded a treaty of alliance with Spain on the 18th. Four days later the Directory signed a treaty accepting the towns of Huningen and Kehl from the Margrave of Baden. On the 24th Moreau’s army defeated Austrians on the Lech near Augsburg, but the Austrians were victorious over the French army led by General Jourdan. On the 26th Napoleon at Milan organized a government for Lombardy using Italian patriots. Napoleon continued to win victories in Italy in September at Primolano, Bassano, and La Favorita.
      Near Paris at the Grenelle military camp where extremists made inroads a cavalry charge killed twenty demonstrators on 10 September. The Directory established a Military Commission to judge those arrested. At Rome on the 16th the Jacobin Michele Laurora proposed a convention for all Italy. On the 26th General Petiet, the Minister of War, admitted to the Directory that he had lost control over the army in Italy.
      On 2 October Moreau’s army of 35,000 men defeated about 15,000 Austrians at Biberach in Germany, but on the 19th a force of 28,000 Austrians overcame Moreau’s 32,000 French at Emmendingen. On the 4th Napoleon had broken an armistice with the Duke of Modena by invading his duchy. The French removed the Duke, and on the 16th Italians representing Ferraro, Bologna, Reggio, and Modena formed the Cispadian Republic with civil equality and a legion of 2,500 soldiers. On the 10th a military commission had condemned to death 35 rebels who fought at the Grenelle camp uprising, and that day the Directory made a peace treaty with King Ferdinando IV of Naples, releasing French prisoners.
      On 3 November the Directory established military courts that would last for more than a century. On the 7th an Austrian army of nearly 20,000 men defeated 10,500 French led by Claude Vaubois at Calliano. Five days later Austrians fought a French force at Caldiero, and Napoleon retreated to Verona. On the 17th Bonaparte’s army suffered heavier casualties defeating the Habsburg force at Arcole, but they captured 4,000 men and 11 cannons.
      On 30 November the Directory repealed the 1794 law requiring resident permits for foreigners. On 4 December churches in Paris were allowed to reopen with priests who did not take the oath. On the 6th the Directory complied with Napoleon’s demand that civil commissioners be removed from his army. Two days later Jourdan’s successor, General Pierre de Beurnonville, signed a separate treaty with Austrians in Germany. On the 11th the Directory informed ambassador Monroe that they would not recognize his successor, C. C. Pinckney because the Americans had broken the treaty of 1778. After a storm devastated the French invasion of Ireland, they abandoned it at Cork on 24 December. In his Italian campaign Napoleon had collected officially 45,706,493 francs in cash and 12,132,909 in gold, silver, and gems by the end of 1796 while his soldiers and officers gathered loot worth about ten million francs.
      On 10 January 1797 after two months of an Austrian siege the 20,000 French forces led by General Louis Desaix abandoned Kehl in Baden. On the 14th and 15th in Italy 23,000 French soldiers led by Napoleon inflicted about 13,000 casualties on an Austrian army of 28,000 at Rivoli. Two days later most of Giovanni Provera’s Imperial army surrendered to Napoleon at La Favorite in northern Italy. The Polish General Dobrowski signed a treaty with Bonaparte and on the 20th summoned Polish patriots to form a legion in Italy. In Paris on the 30th Director Carnot had the royalist conspiracy led by Abbot Brottier arrested. After 16,300 Austrians died over eight months, Mantua capitulated on 2 February. On that day the Directory declared the remaining French paper money invalid. General Victor’s forces defeated the papal troops near Faenza. On the 9th Napoleon’s army occupied Ancona in the Vatican states, and on the 19th he and Pope Pius VI signed the treaty of Tolentino. The Pope ceded Bologna, Ferrara, and Romagna to France and paid 30 million francs in tribute along with 100 paintings, 500 manuscripts, and a few statues.
      On 10 March Louis XVIII from Germany issued a proclamation urging his supporters to win elections in France, and on the 20th the Directory required all voters to take an oath to the Constitution and the Republic promising to protect them from royalism and anarchy. The young General Hoche as the new commander of the Sambre and Meuse Army removed suppliers and war commissioners who had been stealing from the French army, enabling him to raise soldiers’ pay. At Bologna on the 27th the new Cispadian Republic announced their Constitution with the Catholic state religion.
      In the French elections for one third of the deputies on 4 April the conservative royalists won at least 170 seats in the Council with 45 undecided new deputies; but only 17 were leftists, and 16 supported the Directory. The rightists elected Marquis de Barthélemy of Basel the new director. Napoleon’s army had been increased to 80,000 men and was invading Austria, and in the first week of April they seized Neumarkt, Ungmarkt, and Judenburg where he signed an armistice on the 7th. On the 11th France’s Supreme Court overturned the convictions of the Grenelle Camp rebels. On Easter Sunday the people of Verona slaughtered hundreds of French soldiers.
      On 18 April Napoleon signed an armistice with the Austrians near Leoben. They recognized that France ruled Belgium and the Cisalpine Republic that included Milan, Bologna, and Modena, and they ceded Ionian Islands and the west bank of the Rhine to France. Napoleon gave up Venice to the Austrians. On the 20th Moreau’s Army of the Rhine and Moselle crossed into Rhineland, and French troops reached Frankfurt two days later. That day Moreau discovered that Pichegru had betrayed the Republic. On the 24th the French occupied Padua and proclaimed equal rights for Jews. Sylvain Maréchal in April published the “Manifesto of the Equals” calling for a Republic of Equals.
      On 3 May Napoleon declared war on Venice. On the 12th Venetian patriots rose up and forced the Doge to flee, and three days later French troops entered the city. French soldiers looted as commissioners listed items to be removed, and the new government in Venice promised to pay the French 15 million livres. On the 22nd patriots rose up in Genoa and were protected by French troops. On 14 June Napoleon appointed 22 men to govern Genoa as the new Ligurian Republic. On the 18th Gibert des Molières persuaded the Council to transfer the financial administration from the Directory to the Treasury, and the Council of Elders approved the repeal of the law against priests and émigrés. On the 24th Director Barras wrote to General Hoche asking him to intervene against the royalists in the Council.
      On 9 July the new Cisalpine Republic in Milan united the Cispadane Republic with Lombardy. Napoleon transformed the previous Austrian administration by establishing a congress and municipal councils. On the 16th the directors Barras, Reubell, and La Révellière-Lépeaux sided against Carnot and Barthélemy and appointed Talleyrand Foreign Minister and Hoche War Minister. After Hoche’s forces approached Paris, criticism by rightists persuaded him to resign. Napoleon sent the republican General Augereau to Paris, and the Directory gave him command of the Paris Military Region on 8 August. The Directory reported that Napoleon’s army in the northern Italian campaign had taken 150,000 prisoners, 540 cannons, and 39 warships, winning 18 major battles and 67 lesser conflicts.

France’s Second Directorate 1797-98

      Informed by Fouché’s police, the Directory on 1 September 1797 had the royalist deputy Raffet arrested for conspiring to kill directors Barras and Reubell. On the night of the 3rd General Augereau’s troops occupied the city and began arresting royalists the next day. On the 5th the legislative Councils started passing the Second Directory’s repressive laws. They arrested 65 journalists and rightists, and they banished 11 elders and 11 deputies from the 500. They also quashed the election of royalists in 49 departments. A total of 177 deputies were dismissed from the Councils including 53 who were physically removed by grenadiers. They declared 53 local officials and judges elected invalid, and they were replaced by the Directory’s appointees. The remaining 320 deputies in the Council of 500 repealed recent laws that had benefited the Church. The director Barthélemy was arrested, and Carnot escaped to Switzerland. On the 8th to replace them they elected the Montagnard jurist Merlin de Douai and the anticlerical François de Neufchâteau.
      The Directory appointed General Hoche to command the French armies in Germany, but on the 19th Hoche died at the age of 29 and was mourned. That day Austrians released General Lafayette who had been imprisoned in Slovakia. On the 22nd Pichegru was one of the 18 royalists who were deported to Guiana where they were imprisoned. The next day the Directory dismissed General Moreau because they suspected he was a royalist. On the 24th the National Council of the Constitutional Church was dissolved; bishops appealed for reunification and the use of French in the liturgy. Refractory priests were given two weeks to leave, About 1,750 French priests and 7,500 Belgian priests were deported or imprisoned by June 1799. Returned émigrés had ten days to leave or face death. The number of men drafted into France’s army in 1797 was 382,000.
      In Italy on October 17 Napoleon and the Austrian Cobenzl signed the peace treaty of Campo Formio which the Directory ratified on the 26th, the day they named Bonaparte commander for an invasion of England. On 4 November the Directory approved the division of the new territory west of the Rhine River into four departments. West of those were nine departments that had been Belgium. On the 19th Italian revolutionaries formed a republic in Ancona as French soldiers watched. Napoleon attended the Congress of Rastatt in Germany that began on the 28th. The next day the Directory’s law deprived nobles of the rights of citizens, making them equal to foreigners unless they could prove they supported the Revolution. At Rastatt on 1 December Napoleon and the French agreed to evacuate Mainz as the Austrians left Venice. Napoleon returned to Paris which celebrated his triumphs on the 10th. He declared, “When the happiness of the French people is established on the best organic laws, all Europe will become free.” One week later the Directory banned 16 royalist newspapers.
      Swiss democrats led by Peter Ochs of Basel appealed to the Directory. Napoleon annexed the Valtelline to Lombardy to form a connection to the Swiss. On 8 December he met with Ochs at the home of Reubell, and then Ochs with Merlin drafted a constitution for the Swiss cantons. A French army moved to the Vaud frontier, and the Vaudois accepted the new constitution. Gaspard Monge had become Minister of the Navy in August 1792 until Danton forced him to resign in April 1793. He promoted the manufacture of weapons including 140,000 muskets a year in Paris, and the number of steel mills increased from four to thirty. On the 25th General Monge arranged for Napoleon to be elected a member of the Institute of Sciences and Arts which had replaced the French Academy. In his acceptance speech Napoleon said,

True conquests, the only ones which leave no regret,
are those made over ignorance.
The most honorable and useful occupation for nations
is to contribute to the extension of human knowledge.
The true power of the French Republic
should consist henceforth in allowing
no single new idea to escape its embrace.3

      Also on 28 December during a riot in Rome the guards of Pope Pius VI killed the French General Duphot, and the ambassador Joseph Bonaparte left the city. The Directory ordered General Berthier to march on Rome, and they sent civil commissioners led by Daunou and Monge. Berthier soon resigned and was replaced by General Masséna. Merlin drafted a constitution for Rome with tribunes, consuls, and a senate, but all laws and governing had to be ratified by the French general. Officers mutinied against Masséna because he was notorious for his plundering, and the Directory sent Moreau’s lieutenant Saint-Cyr to replace him.
      On the first day of 1798 royalists in Saint Etienne attacked the mayor and continued to terrorize the town, and on 28 March General Rey would declare martial law. On 4 January the Directory ordered searches to seize English goods throughout France, and two weeks later they authorized the seizing of English cargo on neutral ships. Highway robbery was made punishable by death. On the 11th the Directory ordered General Berthier to take control of Rome. On the 21st the Prussian ambassador in Paris revealed that Talleyrand had obtained a million livres in gold from his “diplomatic” negotiations with Austrians, Prussians, Portuguese, Spanish, and Americans. On the 28th the Directory accepted the annexation of Alsace by the recent plebiscite.
      On 15 February the Directory proclaimed the Republic of Rome, and Pope Pius VI was taken prisoner to Siena. On the 21st the Directory signed a treaty with the Cisalpine Republic that agreed to maintain the occupying French army. On 14 February the Directory had ordered a march on Bern that was carried out by two forces led by Guillaume Brune and Balthazar Schauenburg. Bern surrendered on 4 March, and the next day Schauenburg’s army of 18,000 men defeated the Bernese resisting at Grauholz. Other French troops occupied Freiburg and Soleure. On the 22nd General Brune summoned Swiss deputies to meet at Aarau, and on 12 April they proclaimed the Helvetic Republic. The French seized the treasury at Bern, and they imposed a tax of 15 million on the Swiss cantons; but the Bernese paid off Talleyrand to gain a treaty that lowered their taxes. Civil commissioner Rapinat refused to ratify the treaty, and on 16 June he brought about a coup d’état that forced the two Swiss executives Ochs and La Harpe to resign. France’s Directory recalled Rapinat, but he signed the treaty of alliance with the Swiss on 19 August and stayed until his replacement arrived in May 1799.
      On 9 April 1798 the Year 6 elections began, and 437 seats needed to be filled. Riots against the French in Vienna on the 13th persuaded the ambassador, General Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, to close the embassy and leave. The Theophilanthropy religion had been founded in January 1797, and it was gaining a little more support in Paris with its temples of the Social Contract, Fidelity, and Harmony. Director La Révellière-Lépeaux especially promoted the deistic cult. On 11 May the Council of Elders invalidated the elections in 48 of the 95 departments, preventing 127 Jacobins from taking their seats, and they elected Jean Baptiste Treilhard to replace Director Neufchâteau.
      Napoleon decided against an invasion of England, and on 5 March the Directory approved his plan to conquer Egypt. Talleyrand had suggested to the Institute on 7 July that France should establish colonies in the eastern Mediterranean. On 12 April the Directory appointed Napoleon commander of the new Army of the Orient and ordered him to seize Egypt and “chase the English from all their possessions in the East” while maintaining good relations with the Ottoman Sultan. Because the British controlled the Cape of Good Hope, the French wanted to find another route to the Indies. They also ordered him to seize Malta because they had refused to recognize the French Republic.
      On 19 May Napoleon with 36,826 soldiers, 16,000 sailors and marines, and 167 scholars and artists sailed from Toulon on 280 naval and transport ships with 45,000 tons of gunpowder and 1,330 horses. The French armada reached the island of Malta on 9 June. The next day Napoleon had the French consul deliver a note to the Grand Master of the Knights of Saint John saying he would take by force what he thought was right. On the 11th the Maltese requested a suspension of arms, and that night they surrendered and ceded Malta to France. The French captured 1,200 cannons, 30,000 rifles, 7,000 barrels of gunpowder, and six ships, and they seized from their church the Knights’ treasury of gold, silver, and gems worth more than a million livres. A few knights and Maltese joined the expedition, and the rest of the knights left the island on the 18th. Napoleon said that religious beliefs including Islam would be respected, and he freed 2,000 Turkish and North African slaves who had been chained to Maltese galleys. He appointed General Vauban commander on Malta with a French garrison.
      The French armada managed to avoid Nelson’s British fleet, and on 1 July they landed at Alexandria with 31,000 soldiers and 17,000 sailors. The next day the French army stormed Alexandria, and Napoleon announced that he respected Islam and came only to end the tyranny of the Mamluks who would be arrested and have their property confiscated. He said soldiers guilty of pillaging or rape would face a firing squad. Egyptians laying down their arms and submitting would be protected, but any village disobeying or fighting the French would be burned. He promised they would pay for property taken except for horses, donkeys, oxen, and camels needed for transport. On 4 July the leading muftis and sheikhs in Alexandria agreed to support the French. Lack of grain and grist mills would cause much misery. The French did not have enough canteens for water, and hundreds died of thirst, hunger, malaria, sunstroke, and exhaustion. The French also suffered from the trachoma eye disease as well as dysentery, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Arabs capturing the French often sodomized them before killing them. General Mireur criticized the expedition and killed himself on the 7th, the day the army left for Cairo.
      The French pushed back the Mamluk cavalry at El Ramaneh and defeated them at Shubra Khit on 13 July. At Wardan on the 18th hungry soldiers mutinied, forcing Napoleon to order the seizure of sheep and crops. In the “Battle of the Pyramids” on the 21st the French defeated Murad Bey’s army of 18,000, killing about 2,500 Mamluks and peasants while about a hundred French died. Two days later Napoleon’s army occupied Cairo, a city of 600,000 people. Within three days he set up a municipal council of nine Egyptians who swore allegiance to the French, and he appointed Monge, the chemist Berthollet, and Charles Magellon as an Administrative Commission for Cairo to supervise Mamluk property, state funds, and tax collection. Ibrahim Bey and Murad Bey had escaped with much wealth, and on the 31st Napoleon demanded three million livres from rich merchants.
      On 1 August a British squadron led by Admiral Nelson devastated France’s eastern fleet in Abū Qīr Bay, capturing eleven ships and sinking five with nearly 4,000 men. On the 22nd Napoleon and Monge founded the Egyptian Institute on the model of France’s Institute. On 2 September he provided protection for Muslims going on pilgrimage to Mecca. The next day Maltese people revolted and forced the French to withdraw into the citadel of Valetta. On 21 October Arabs in Cairo revolted against capitulating Muslim leaders around the al-Azhar Mosque which became a fortress for 5,000 armed Muslims. Napoleon had ordered soldiers to stay away from mosques; but he ordered this one bombarded, and about 5,000 were killed. In early December he sent General Bon’s forces to march to the Suez, and they secured it as a port to control the commerce on the Red Sea.
      Meanwhile in Paris on 2 July the Directory had banned eleven new royalist and anarchist newspapers. On the 7th the United States Congress repealed the American treaties with France. On 28 July Parisians celebrated liberty with a parade of Italian art treasures. On 19 August the French agreed to an alliance with the Swiss. On the 30th the French ambassador Charles Joseph Trouvé expelled Jacobins from the Cisalpine Republic, but the next day Redon de Belleville, France’s minister to the Ligurian Republic, led a Jacobin coup at Genoa.
      On 5 September the Council of 500 made military service compulsory for all Frenchmen between the ages of 20 and 25, and they would call up 200,000 annually. In the first year 143,000 were declared fit; but only 97,000 reported for duty, and about 74,000 actually joined their regiments. The next year only 71,000 responded to the summons. A French force led by General Humbert had invaded Ireland on 22 August, but on 15 September they surrendered to the British General Cornwallis. France’s army had been reduced to 327,000 men.
      On 6 October rebels at Haute Garonne in southwest France attacked police and killed their commander. The next day Belgian peasants rebelled against conscription, attacking Overmere in Flanders on the 12th. They formed a military force of 3,500 men and pillaged public treasuries. The French army eventually restored order in the Waes region of Belgium and executed 41 insurgents on 4 November. About 7,000 clergy were to be deported from Belgium; many fled as nearly 500 were arrested. The Austrian General Karl Mack led a Neapolitan army that attacked the Republic of Rome on the 22nd and occupied the city five days later. On the 25th the Directory imposed a tax on every window and door in buildings. The businessman Ouvard was a friend of Director Barras and had accumulated about 15 million francs while supplying the French Navy, but in November he loaned 10 million to France. Before the end of 1798 the British financed the Second Coalition of 500,000 soldiers.
      On 26 November the Neapolitans led by Austrian General Mack occupied Rome, but on 5 December General Championnet’s forces defeated the Neapolitans at Civitacastellana. The Directory declared war on the King of the Two Sicilies and made Joubert commander of the army in Italy which occupied Piedmont on the 8th when Charles Emmanuel ceded it and withdrew to his kingdom of Sardinia. The Neapolitans abandoned Rome, and Championnet returned on the 14th.
      The British Navy blockaded Egypt, and ambassador Spencer Smith allied them with the Ottoman Turks and Russia. On 9 September the Ottoman Empire declared war on France. On 7 October General Desaix’s forces routed the Mamluks at Sediman, and on 8 November a force of 500 dispersed several thousand rebellious peasants at El Faiyum.

Fall of France’s Directorate in 1799

      Championnet’s French forces took over Naples after three days of fighting on 23 January 1799. Three days later the Jacobins in Naples proclaimed the Parthenopian Republic. The French plundered the castle of Caserta, and the generals seized the public treasury of Naples. Championnet dismissed the Civil Commissioner Faipoult on February 6, and the Directory recalled Championnet on the 13th and ordered him arrested on the 24th.
      At Samhud in Egypt on 22 January Desaix’s army of 4,000 defeated 14,000 Mamluks led by Murad Bey. Desaix’s army reached Aswan on 2 February and overcame the last of the Mamluks. About 2,000 Muslim warriors attacked a French flotilla near Karnak, and on 3 March they killed more than 500 and wounded soldiers, sailors, marines, and a band from the riverboat Italia. Desaix’s men later in March destroyed several hundred peasants near Asyut.
      On 10 February Napoleon left Cairo with 13,000 men to invade Syria. An elite unit besieged the Ottoman fortress at El Arish which surrendered on the 18th. On the 25th Napoleon’s army occupied Gaza without a fight. In early March the Russian and Turkish allies drove French forces out of the Ionian Isles. On the 7th Napoleon’s force stormed Jaffa, and his men slaughtered 2,000 Albanian prisoners. The excuses for this atrocity were that his aides were not authorized to offer a surrender, that they had killed a messenger and put his head on a pike, that men who had been captured had broken their parole not to fight the French, and if freed that they might fight them again at Acre. Some French were catching the bubonic plague. Napoleon’s force of 9,000 besieged Acre from 20 March to 21 May while 2,300 of his men died, mostly from the plague and the guns on British battleships. At Canaa on 11 April Kléber’s force of 1,500 defeated nearly 5,000 Turks, and four days later Murat’s men overcame the same number on the Jordan River near Lake Tiberias.
      On 26 February Calabrian rebels led by Bishop Ruffo took the town of Paolo in Naples and massacred the Jacobins. On 12 March France declared war on the Austrian Empire and Tuscany. On the 25th Austrians led by Archduke Charles defeated General Jourdan’s French at Stokach in Germany. Jourdan resigned on 3 April, and his army retreated across the Rhine. In Italy on 26 March French troops entered Florence, and the next day Paul Kray’s Austrian army occupied Verona. On 10 April the French captured Pope Pius VI again and took him to Valence in France where he died on 29 August.
      On 8 April Junot’s forces defeated the Turks at Nazareth, and on the 16th Napoleon’s army routed the Ottomans near Mount Tabor. In the Year 7 elections on the 18th the Jacobins gained a majority while only 66 of the 187 Directory candidates were elected. On the 27th at Cassano the Russian and Austrian Coalition forces led by Suvorov defeated the French army of reinstated General Moreau. The next night Austrian hussars assassinated two of France’s diplomats who had been meeting at Rastatt. The French evacuated Milan and retreated to Genoa and Cuneo, and Suvorov entered Milan. Although Reubell was chosen by lot to be a director, on 16 May the Council of Elders voted 118-87 to elect the Abbé Sieyès instead. Several French forces made gains in Switzerland at Winterthur, Andelfingen, and Frauenfeld. On the 26th the Directory recalled Napoleon who returned to Cairo on 14 June.
      On 17 June the Councils invalidated the election of Director Treilhard and replaced him with the Jacobin Louis-Jérome Gohier, and the next day they forced Douai and La Révellière-Lépeaux to resign. They were replaced by Roger Ducos and General Jean-François Moulin, a friend of Barras. The Coalition army led by Suvorov fought the French on the banks of the Trebbia River for four days and was victorious on the 20th as the French suffered about 14,000 casualties. On the 28th the new Directory forced the rich to loan them 100 million livres. They appointed General Bernadotte to be Minister of War on 2 July, and three days later Joubert was reappointed commander of the army in Italy. On the 6th the Friends of Liberty and Equality founded the Jacobin Club du Manège. On the 12th the Councils passed a law allowing the taking of counter-revolutionaries as hostages who could be deported if officials were assassinated. After a year as Foreign Minister Talleyrand resigned on the 20th.
      The British convoyed 18,000 Turks who captured Abū Qīr on 17 July, but Napoleon’s returning army drove them away on the 25th. About 7,000 Turks died in a siege. When they surrendered, Napoleon gave the survivors food and water and let them go home. The Egypt Institute discovered the Rosetta stone that eventually in 1822 enabled the translation of hieroglyphics from the Demotic and Greek versions. On the 29th the Directory appointed Fouché the Police Minister, and the next day the French garrison surrendered Mantua.
      On 1 August the Council of Elders ended the ban on press freedom, and a debate over the Constitution erupted. On the 5th the Jacobins voted to redistribute property from the wealthy and middle-class to the indigent. On the 6th in Haute Garonne about 5,000 royalists led by General Rougé and the Count of Paulo besieged Toulouse; but officials showed a list of hostages to the rebels, and four days later General Aubugeois led the region’s military in suppressing the revolt. Bordeaux also had rioting, and the next day an insurrection failed at Dax. Republican forces killed several hundred rebels at L’Isle Jourdain. On the 13th Directors Sieyès, Barras, and Ducos ordered Fouché to close the Jacobin Clubs. General Joubert was killed during a defeat at Novi and was replaced by Moreau. Three days later the Council of Elders refused 217-214 to approve the indictment of the four former Directors. On the 20th General Commes and his forces at Montréjeau ended the rebellion in Haute Garonne. On the 23rd Napoleon left Kléber in command of the Army of the Orient and sailed from Egypt for France.
      On 3 September the Directory ordered 34 royalist newspapers shut down and the next day 16 more including 10 Jacobin papers. On the 14th General Jourdan asked the Council of 500 to proclaim a national danger because of a mob threatening the 500, and the next day the Directory replaced the suspected Jacobin sympathizer, War Minister Bernadotte, with Dubois Crancé. Also on the 15th some 200 royalist leaders from Brittany, Anjou, Main, and the Vendée met at La Jonchère castle in Maine et Loire to plan strategy, and on the 23rd the Count Louis de Frotté landed at Meuvaines to command the Chouans in Normandy. Meanwhile on the 19th at Bergen the Dutch in the Batavian Republic led by Brune managed to fight off an invasion of Anglo-Russian forces led by the Duke of York. Austrians and Russians had invaded the Swiss Republic. After a three-day battle the French led by General Masséna drove Korsakov’s Austrian force out of Zurich on the 27th, and Soult’s army forced the Austrians to retreat toward Lake Constance.
      On 6 October French forces led by Brune helped the Batavian Republic defeat coalition forces at Castricum, and on the 18th the Duke of York agreed to evacuate the British from the Republic. On the 9th Napoleon had managed to avoid a British squadron near Touloun, and he was welcomed at Fréjus. The Directory in Paris received him at an open meeting on the 17th, and six days later the Council of 500 elected his 24-year-old brother Lucien Bonaparte their president. By the 29th most of the royalists in the Vendée had been defeated, though about 10,000 insurgents had taken over the region of Le Mans for three days in mid-October.
      On 1 November the French led by General Verdier managed to fight off 4,000 Turkish Janissaries who landed near Damietta on the Nile delta, but on the 4th the Austrians inflicted 7,000 casualties on Championnet’s soldiers and took 4,000 prisoners at Genola near Genoa. Napoleon gained the support of Director Sieyès and Police Minister Fouché by the 3rd, and on the 6th the Councils honored him at a banquet with 750 guests. The next day Napoleon attended the Council of Elders at the Tuileries and warned them that the Republic was threatened by British and Jacobin plots, and so the two Councils must meet together at Saint-Cloud.
      On 9 November at dawn Napoleon ordered sixty officers to protect the two Councils. He and Lucien persuaded the Council of 500 to disband, though some accused him of illegality. Napoleon was recognized as the commander of the army in Paris. The Councils were to meet the next day at the château of Saint-Cloud. Murat’s troops entered the chamber of the Elders, and most deputies escaped out the windows. Directors Sieyès and Roger Ducos agreed to resign, and Talleyrand persuaded Barras to do so; the other two directors Gohier and Moulin were arrested.
      Before dawn the next morning Napoleon ordered 5,000 troops to Saint-cloud, and the Councils swore in him, Sieyès, and Ducos as temporary consuls. Napoleon persuaded the Elders to unanimously accept the need for governmental change; but in the Council of 500 the Jacobins protested. Napoleon stepped outside and sent in soldiers who removed the opposing deputies. Then the Council approved Napoleon, Sieyès, and Duclos as provisional consuls.
       On 11 November Napoleon proposed that he be president of the Consulate, and he took control of the new government. They repealed the hostage law. On the 17th Napoleon asked for support from the theatres decreeing,

Only peaceful feelings, expressions of moderation,
and wisdom and the language of great and generous passions,
should be heard on stage.
Nothing that might separate people from one another
and cause dissension is to be tolerated.

On the 22nd Talleyrand regained his position as Minister of Foreign Affairs; General Berthier was made Minister of War; Fouché was confirmed as Minister of Police; and Jean-Jacques Régis de Cambacérès was appointed Minister of Justice. Martin Gaudin became Finance Minister. They put General Masséna in command of the army in Italy and sent him to defend Genoa. On the 24th Napoleon took from local officials the power to assess and collect taxes.
      By 1 December Napoleon had rejected the constitutional ideas drafted by Sieyès for checks and balances, and he asked Pierre Daunou to write a Constitution that he accepted on the 12th with three consuls governing. The First Consul was given broad powers for ten years to nominate the advisory Council of State, ministers, ambassadors and foreign agents, military officers, and local administrators. The consuls were to live in the Tuileries palace; the first consul would be paid 500,000 francs a year and the other two 150,000 each. After Sieyès was promised 350,000 francs, an estate near Versailles, and a house in Paris, he persuaded the committees to elect Napoleon, Cambacérès, and Charles-François Lebrun as the first three Consuls.
      Napoleon proclaimed this Constitution on 15 December, arguing that it would provide order, justice, stability, force, and moderation, and it became effective on the 25th. That day he sent letters to Britain’s George III and Austria’s Emperor Franz II proposing an end to their wars. On the 22nd the new Council of State began meeting at the Luxembourg. They repealed the laws that persecuted émigrés and nonjuring priests. On the 27th they established a Senate with Sieyès as the president who with Duclos, Cambacérès, and Lebrun appointed the first 31 members, and then those senators elected the other 29. The senators also elected the tribunes and legislators. Later they were to be named by notables chosen by a series of elections. On the 28th the Consulate granted a complete amnesty for past actions and allowed churches to be open on Sundays. Napoleon put his Secretary of State Maret in charge of press relations and made Le Moniteur the Republic’s official journal. Only Napoleon as First Consul could initiate laws and enforce them. This Constitution did not have the usual preamble listing rights. Yet authorities could not enter one’s home without permission except in case of fire or flood; citizens could not be detained more than ten days without a trial; and harsh arrests were made crimes. Senators had to be at least 40 years of age and could serve for life, and the Legislative Body with 300 at least 30 years old could pass laws without debate that the Senate could validate. Of the 60 Senators, 100 Tribunes, and 300 Deputies, 347 of them had been in the National Assembly.
      The Revolution had dramatically changed France, removing the monarchy and the feudalistic aristocracy in the name of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The Catholic Church lost most of its power and authority. About 3,000 clerics suffered violent deaths including 920 who were executed. About a quarter of the 140,000 priests, monks, and nuns emigrated. Peasants had more rights, and a few obtained land. Yet arable land and forests decreased. The sansculottes in the working class supported the revolution; but they made surprisingly few gains because of controlled wages and increased unemployment. Guilds were abolished, and craftsmen were not allowed to form unions. Industry marked time compared to Britain’s progress even though science was encouraged. Zeal for the revolution expanded the military, and conquests enabled France to annex most of Belgium, some of the Venetian territory, and a few islands. They established the Cisalpine Republic in northern Italy, transformed Naples into the Parthenopian Republic, and fostered the Dutch Batavian Republic and the Swiss Helvetic Republic. France and these republics had a total of 82 million people.

France under Consul Napoleon 1800-1804

      On the first day of 1800 France’s new Legislative Body and Tribunate met for the first time. As First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte held most of the power, but he did not purge opponents from these legislative bodies nor in the 29-member Council of State that met about three times a week. This Council also worked in five sections with different functions. His aim was to win them over and unify France now that the Revolution was over. On the 7th he ordered the forming of a Reserve Army of 30,000 men in Dijon. On 17 January Napoleon closed down 60 of France’s 73 newspapers, and he prohibited foreign newspapers. Yet total circulation remained about the same. Napoleon ordered Finance Minister Gaudin to borrow at least 12 million francs from rich bankers in Paris, but he raised only 3 million. On the 27th Napoleon had the wealthy banker Gabriel Ouvrard detained until he agreed to loan the government 14 million francs. Already the value of the franc had doubled, and by the end of January the 100-franc bond which had been worth 12 francs had climbed to 60 francs. Gaudin opened the Bank of France on 13 February with six regents and investors in the 30 million francs of start-up capital. Napoleon sent out 840 officials to collect taxes, and they nearly doubled revenues.
      The plebiscite on the new Constitution was held at the end of January and in early February with every man over the age of 25 eligible to vote. Napoleon had replaced the Interior Minister Laplace with his brother Lucien Bonaparte who announced on the 7th that the Constitution of Year 8 had passed with 3,011,007 votes in favor and 1,562 against, though only about a quarter of those eligible voted. Lucien had ordered counting stopped on the 4th and overestimated votes in favor by about 900,000 to get the total over three million, and probably several thousand voted no.
      Many of the remaining rebels in southwest France had become brigands. Napoleon had suspected robbers detained or deported while those convicted were executed. He increased the paramilitary police from 10,575 to 16,500 and eliminated much corruption. Nearly half of France had been under martial law in November 1799, but gradually Napoleon removed that, increasing his popularity. In March 1800 the consuls replaced more than 3,000 judges and prosecutors they considered too old, corrupt, or incompetent. Symbols of the Revolution such as red bonnets on church steeples were removed, and people no longer had to call each other “citizen.”
      General Hédouville had been ordered to break up and disarm rebels, and on 4 January 1800 he negotiated an armistice with the Chouans in the Vendée. Then Napoleon offered amnesty to those who gave up their weapons by February 18. On 19 February Napoleon moved from the Luxembourg to the Tuileries palace. On the 17th the Legislative Body approved a law that put a prefect in charge of each of France’s 83 departments, and in 1800 they added twenty more departments. Each department had between two and four arrondissements, and inside these were the communes, a system that is still in place. The consuls appointed the prefects, and they in turn selected the judges of peace and the administrators. Napoleon ordered that all public officials be hired based on merit, be well trained, and be paid salaries. On 2 March Napoleon and Lucien chose mostly moderates as prefects. The Consuls selected mayors for towns with more than 5,600 people, and the prefects appointed the other mayors. Police Minister Fouché exercised censorship for security, and on 5 April Interior Minister Lucien imposed it on the theatres. Lucien often opposed his brother and did not please him by publishing the pamphlet, A Comparison Between Caesar, Cromwell, Monck, and Bonaparte because none of them were elected.
      On 19 April an Austrian army of 24,000 men besieged 12,000 French led by General André Masséna at Genoa. Napoleon arrived at Geneva on 9 May, and five days later his army of 51,400 men started crossing the Alps. About 400 Hungarians held out at Fort Bard at the gate of the Aosta Valley for twelve days until 2 June, delaying the expedition. During the Austrian siege of Genoa about 30,000 inhabitants and 4,000 French soldiers died of malnutrition before the others surrendered on 4 June. The British agreed to ship 4,000 wounded and sick French back to France. Masséna was weak from not eating. Yet Napoleon blamed him for not holding out longer, and on 14 June the Emperor ordered 15,000 men to attack an Austrian army of about 29,000 men at Marengo. The French were losing the battle when General Desaix arrived with 11,000 infantry and 1,200 cavalry who counter-attacked. The French lost about 5,500 men including Desaix, but the Austrians suffered some 6,500 casualties and had about 3,000 men captured. Austrian General Melas in the armistice gave up 12 fortresses and recognized the French in Piedmont, Genoa, and most of Lombardy. On 25 April General Jean Moreau’s French army had crossed the Rhine into Germany and had only 90,000 men against 140,000 Austrians, but they managed victories in Bavaria in the next seven weeks. Moreau’s army of 60,000 crossed the Danube at Hochstadt on 19 June and defeated Kray’s 30,000 Austrians who retreated to Ulm. Napoleon wrote to Emperor Franz II offering him peace again.
      Napoleon negotiated a Concordat with the new Pope Pius VII that was signed on 16 July and was ratified in Rome on 15 August and in Paris on 8 September. The French Republic acknowledged that the Catholic religion is accepted by the majority of French citizens and that this faith would be freely exercised in France. Napoleon and the Pope agreed to appoint ten archbishops and fifty bishops. The Church promised to read Napoleon’s proclamations from pulpits and to honor conscription as a patriotic duty. This allowed 10,000 French priests to return to the Roman Church.
      On 30 September 1800 Napoleon’s older brother Joseph Bonaparte signed a friendship and trade treaty with three American commissioners. The peace negotiations with Austria dragged on until Moreau’s French army of 54,000 men defeated 60,000 Austrians and Bavarians at Hohenlinden east of Munich on 3 December, capturing 8,950 men and 76 cannons. On the 24th a large explosion on a Paris street killed less than a dozen people and injured about two dozen, but Napoleon and Josephine escaped. Three previous plots against Napoleon had been discovered. Police arrested 130 Jacobins on 8 January 1801, and without any evidence or trial they were deported, mostly to Guiana. Severe security laws were passed.
      Joseph Bonaparte and Foreign Minister Talleyrand negotiated a peace treaty with Emperor Franz II that was signed at Lunéville on 9 February 1801. France had gained Belgian territory and Piedmont, and the Austrian Empire was no longer in Italy except on the Venetian coast. Both sides recognized the independence of the Batavian, Cisalpine, Helvetic, and Ligurian republics.
      Napoleon created special criminal courts he could appoint in 32 departments starting in February, and on 8 May he sent General Bernadotte with soldiers and military tribunals to suppress the insurgent Chouans. In August the French and the Dutch agreed that when peace came, French troops would leave Holland. On the 19th the British besieged the French in Alexandria, Egypt, and on 2 September, General Jacques-François Menou surrendered. Before the British learned of this, Napoleon had his envoy Louis-Guillaume Otto agree to evacuate Egypt, Naples, and the Papal States in exchange for peace and the British recognizing most of France’s territorial gains since 1793 and the independence of Malta. The agreement was signed on 1 October, and the French celebrated the peace.
      In the 1790s the French colony of Saint-Domingue (Haiti) had 8,000 plantations that used slaves to produce 40% of the sugar consumed by Europeans and 60% of their coffee, and they accounted for 40% of France’s overseas trade. A slave revolt that began in 1795 caused exports to be reduced to 13% of the sugar in 1789 and 15% of the cotton. In 1794 Jacobins had abolished slavery and the slave trade. Napoleon wanted to revive this trade and sent his brother-in-law General Charles Leclerc with 20,000 soldiers that arrived on that island on 29 January 1802 followed by 8,000 more in February. They were to restore slavery by making false promises to the blacks, occupying the island, and by arresting and deporting opponents. Leclerc invited Governor Toussaint to a conference and arrested him. On 20 May Napoleon made a law reviving the slave trade to French colonies and the slavery in those colonies. In this racial war the French lost 50,000 men mostly to disease, and about 100,000 Africans died.
      Napoleon and his wife Josephine arranged for his brother Louis to marry her daughter Hortense on 4 January 1802. Both had affairs, and the paternity of their son was suspected. On the 8th Napoleon and his wife left for Lyon where on the 25th the 442 deputies elected him president of the new Italian Republic that he formed from the Cisalpine Republic and other Italian provinces taken from the Austrians. He returned to Paris, and on 18 March the Consul Cambacérès used the Senate to purge the Legislative Body and the Tribunate of “zealous republicans” including disciples of the late philosopher Condorcet. Napoleon removed the section on moral and political science from the Institute, and he banished Benjamin Constant and Madame de Staël. On 25 March the French and British signed a peace treaty at Amiens that ended the Second Coalition against France. The British released the survivors of the 70,000 French prisoners they held since 1793. Britain also returned the Cape and West Indian colonies to the Dutch, left Egypt, and gained Trinidad, Tobago, and Ceylon. The French withdrew from the Papal States and Naples.
      On 8 April 1802 France added “Organic Articles” to the Concordat protecting the rights of 700,000 Protestants and 55,000 Jews, and it was proclaimed at Notre Dame on the 18th, Easter Sunday. Napoleon allowed the clergy to be primary teachers, but on 1 May a law established 45 public lycées (secondary schools) with a humanistic curriculum that included Greek, Latin, ethics, science, and modern languages without much religion at all. On the 19th the French Legion of Honor was created with 15 cohorts each with 350 legionnaires that Napoleon appointed.
      Napoleon encouraged émigrés, aristocrats, and priests to return with their citizenship rights restored but not their property. In April a law granted amnesty to émigrés who swore loyalty to the Constitution by 23 September. Napoleon began giving directors of soup kitchens 12,000 francs a month to keep the price of bread from rising in May. That month the Senate voted 60-1 to give him a second ten-year term as First Consul. Then a plebiscite was held asking if Napoleon should be made Consul for life, and 3,653,600 voted in favor with only 8,272 opposed, though many people voted twice for it. On 26 June he signed a peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire that allowed French trade in the Dardanelles. On 2 August Napoleon was proclaimed First Consul for life.
      In early July 1802 the British evacuated the tiny island of Elba, and Napoleon had War Minister Berthier secure it in August as a department of France by disarming inhabitants and taking prominent hostages. The Constitution of Year 10 called for electoral colleges elected from the 600 richest men in each department, and it went into effect in early August. That month British newspapers, which often had caricatures of Napoleon, were banned in France. On 11 September Napoleon annexed Piedmont against the advice of Talleyrand and divided it into six French departments. Talleyrand protested against these violations of the sacred law of nations. Duke Ferdinand of Parma died on 9 October, and Napoleon sent in troops to occupy and annex Parma. On 30 September Napoleon mediated for the Swiss and imposed disarmament, and on 15 October he sent General Michel Ney with 40,000 soldiers.
      On 1 October France secretly purchased Louisiana from Spain, and then on 30 April 1803 Napoleon sold 875,000 square miles for 80 million francs to the United States in order to give the British a powerful rival. On 12 December Napoleon claimed that Europe recognized that the Italians, Dutch, and Swiss were disposed by France. That month 22 chambers of commerce were founded in France which still used the economic imperialism of tariffs on foreign goods. On 19 February 1803 the Act of Mediation reorganized the Helvetic Confederation into 19 cantons with a small national army of 15,200 men.
      On 16 May 1803 the British seized 1,200 French and Dutch merchant ships, and two days later Britain declared war on France. Napoleon reacted by interning British men of military age and by sending French troops to invade Hanover at the end of May. In June he ordered five large invasion camps at Brest, Boulogne, Montreuil, Bruges, and Utrecht. On the 25th the Dutch agreed to an alliance with France, and the Helvetic Confederation made a defensive alliance with France on 27 September. By December he had an army of 79,000 infantry, 17,600 cavalry, and 4,700 artillerymen for the English expedition.
      On 16 January 1804 the English landed the royalist General Pichegru at Biville, and he met with General Moreau on the 28th. Police Minister Fouché discovered the plot to assassinate Napoleon the next day, and he had Moreau arrested on 15 February. A total of 356 arrests were made. The rebel Georges Cadoudal had returned to France and was hiding in Paris, but on 9 March he was caught after killing a gendarme in a chase. General Michel Ordener commanded 300 men and entered Baden, and they captured the suspected instigator, the Duc d’Enghien, at his home in Ettenheim on 15 March. Six days later he was tried and executed. On 6 April Pichegru was found strangled in his cell, and it was called a “suicide.” On the 7th France set the ratio between gold and silver at 1:15.5, and for the first time money of account and coins became the same in value.
      A new constitution was drafted in two days and was promulgated by the Senate on 18 May. Napoleon was officially proclaimed Emperor at Saint-Cloud, and he appointed his brothers Joseph Grand Elector and Louis Constable of France. The next day the Emperor appointed four honorary and fourteen active “Marshals of the Empire” who were also given presents of land and titles such as prince. Napoleon expanded the Consular Guard to become the Imperial Guard with 18,000 men which would increase to 100,000 by 1812. Napoleon named his brothers Joseph and Louis as his successors; but Lucien refused to divorce his wife and went to Italy. Napoleon imposed indirect taxes including on beverages from production to consumption. He also raised tariff rates so that colonial articles coming from the British cost 50% more than those from French colonies.
      Cadoudal and Moreau were tried for conspiracy in June. Twenty people including Cadoudal were sentenced to death, but Napoleon pardoned twelve of them. Moreau and four others were sent to prison, and the eight were guillotined on the 25th.
      A plebiscite on the hereditary empire was announced on 7 August. The vote was overwhelming again, though there were about 80,000 fewer voters than on the Life Consulate. On the 16th Napoleon gave out the first crosses of the Légion d’Honneur to 2,000 men in the army.
      On 6 October the British Navy attacked Spain’s bullion fleet and captured £900,000 in silver dollars and gold ingots to prevent them from aiding their French ally. On 2 December 1804 at Paris by agreement Pope Pius VII attended and blessed Napoleon who then crowned himself Emperor. After a Mass he took the following coronation oath:

I swear to maintain the integrity of the territory
of the Republic, to respect and enforce
respect for the Concordat and freedom of religion,
equality of rights, political and civil liberty,
the irrevocability of the sale of national lands;
not to increase any tax except in virtue of the law;
to maintain the institution of the Legion of Honor,
and to govern in the sole interest,
happiness, and glory of the French people.4

Beethoven had entitled his 3rd symphony “Bonaparte,” but upon learning that Napoleon had become Emperor he changed the name to “Eroica.” Having been known as “Bonaparte” before, he now was called “Napoleon.”
      Napoleon supervised the unifying of France’s 42 legal codes, 14,000 decrees, and laws made since 1789 by chairing 55 of the 107 plenary sessions that produced the Civil Code of the French People in 2,281 articles in 493 pages in 1804. Religious toleration for all including atheists mandated the separation of Church and State. The laws continued to be patriarchal giving men more rights than women. The father’s permission for marriage was required for men under 25 and girls under 18. The minimum age for marriage was raised to 15 for girls and 18 for boys. A woman could be imprisoned for two years for adultery, but a man could only be fined. Wives needed their husband’s consent to sell produce or property, and unmarried women could not be legal guardians. It came to be known as the Code Napoléon and was extended to most of the French Empire, and it was supplemented by the Code of Civil Procedure in 1806, the Commercial Code in 1807, and the Criminal Code in 1808.

France’s Napoleonic Empire at War 1805-07

      In December 1804 the British had allied with Sweden, and by April 1805 they had formed the Third Coalition by an alliance with Russia. England agreed to pay £1.25 million for 100,000 men deployed by Russia against the French. Britain was spending 14% of its annual revenues to support their allies. Gabriel Julien Ouvrard loaned France 150 million francs in June, and on the 25th the Dutch agreed to provide 16,000 men and required ships. On December 19 Portugal promised 16 million francs to France.
      On 2 January 1805 Napoleon had written to Britain’s George III urging negotiation for peace. On 1 January he had written to Emperor Franz II that he was going to proclaim his older brother Joseph Bonaparte the King of Italy; but Joseph declined because he would not renounce his hope of succeeding in France. On 17 March in his Paris palace Emperor Napoleon was crowned King of Italy, and on 26 May at Milan he was given the Iron Crown of Lombardy attended by eight cardinals and 30,000 people. He appointed Empress Josephine’s son Eugène de Beauharnais to govern Italy as Viceroy with the help of the former Vice President Francesco Melzi d’Eril. Napoleon persuaded Queen Maria Carolina of Naples and Sicily to sign a treaty of neutrality with France on 22 September 1805, and he put Marshal Masséna in command in Italy.
      During a storm on 30 March 1805 Admiral Villeneuve escaped from the British blockade of Toulon with his fleet and sailed to Cadiz and then west to Martinique, and Admiral Nelson’s squadron followed him. The French were prepared to invade England, and Napoleon ordered Villeneuve to sail to northern Spain. However, Villeneuve went south to Cadiz and was defeated at Cape Finisterre by Nelson on 22 July and was blockaded again. Emperor Franz II resented that Napoleon had become King of Italy and had annexed Genoa, and Austria secretly joined the Coalition on 9 August. Four days later Napoleon learned of Villeneuve’s fate. At this time France’s army including allies was 446,745 men. France allied with Bavaria on the 25th, with Württemberg on 5 September, and with Baden.
      Napoleon had organized his Grand Army into corps of between 20,000 and 40,000 men each. They could march far apart enough to live off the countryside. Yet each could confront an enemy in battle. By 1812 European armies used this system which would last until 1945. Napoleon had Talleyrand offer Hanover to Prussia to gain their neutrality. In September he went to Paris to ask the Senate to levy 80,000 men. He ordered Fouché to make sure no newspapers mentioned the army, and he sent German speakers to spy on his enemies. On the 23rd he decreed that France would abandon its revolutionary calendar and go back to the Gregorian on 1 January 1806.
      In August 1805 the French armies that had gathered by the English Channel marched east with 170,000 men, and on 25 September they crossed the Rhine River. In Paris a rumor that Napoleon had seized all the gold and silver from the Bank of France caused a panic. Actually he had not removed any gold, though the Bank had circulated 75 million francs in paper. The Bank paid some depositors before stopping them. Napoleon returned to Germany and got the Elector of Württemberg to let Ney’s corps pass through.
      By October 6 the Grand Army was near the Danube from Ulm to Ingolstadt. Two days later the forces led by Murat and Lannes, who was killed, defeated the Austrians at Wertingen, capturing 2,900 men. The French won again at Günzburg the next day, and on the 11th at Haslach-Jungingen 5,000 French faced 35,000 Austrians and captured 6,000. To fool the Austrian General Mack the French let “deserters” be captured who said the French were close to mutiny. On the 14th they took another 6,000 at Elchingen, and two days later Murat’s corps captured 15,000 men at Trochtelfingen. On 20 October General Mack at Ulm surrendered 20,000 infantry, 3,300 cavalry, and 17 generals. The French had killed 4,000 while suffering only 1,500 casualties. However, the next day off Cape Trafalgar west of Cadiz the British squadron of 27 ships led by Admiral Nelson destroyed the Franco-Spanish fleet of 33 ships led by Villeneuve. The allies had 3,280 killed, but the British lost only 458 including Nelson. Napoleon ordered the news of Trafalgar censored, and most of the French did not know of it until 1814.
      A Russian army of about 100,000 men led by Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov was marching west to join some 90,000 Austrians led by Archduke Karl. On 3 November Prussia signed an armed mediation treaty with Austria and Russia against France for a British subsidy. Yet Friedrich Wilhelm III could not get Hanover from Britain. On the 7th Napoleon gave strict orders against pillaging, and six days later after taking Tabor bridge they spread a false report that peace had been made in Vienna which the French then took. Napoleon entered Vienna as Franz retreated to the east.
      Napoleon’s army of 78,000 men marched 200 miles eastward in late November. Before dawn on 2 December the French armies took their positions near Austerlitz. Napoleon’s strategy lured 12,000 Russians to the Pratzen high ground, and then 24,000 French attacked them. In the battles that day the French had about 1,300 men killed and about 7,000 wounded. About 20,000 Russians and Austrians were captured, and they suffered 16,000 casualties. The next day Emperor Franz II asked Napoleon for a truce. Napoleon formed an alliance with Prussia at the Schönbrunn palace near Vienna on the 15th, and on the 26th the treaty that Talleyrand signed at Pressburg in Hungary ended the War of the Third Coalition. Bavaria and Württemberg were liberated from the Austrian Empire to become independent kingdoms, and Baden gained Austrian territory and became a grand duchy. Austria ceded Franconia, Vorarlberg, and the Tyrol to Bavaria, and Venice, Dalmatia, and Istria to the Kingdom of Italy. Austria also had to pay an indemnity of 40 million francs to France.
      Napoleon was angry that Queen Maria Carolina of Naples had broken her neutrality and joined the Coalition, and he declared her deposed on 27 December. Marshal Masséna marched an army south from Milan and conquered most of Naples, though a guerrilla war went on in the Calabria mountains for years. The British Navy guarded the straits of Messina, and 5,236 English soldiers badly defeated 5,400 French allies at Maida on 4 July 1806; but the French eventually pacified the Kingdom. Only the Papal States held out, but Napoleon reorganized the clergy, suppressed monasteries, and reduced parishes. His Civil Code was made the law in Italy on 1 January 1806.
      On 30 March 1806 Napoleon made his older brother Joseph the King of Naples and his younger brother Louis on 5 June King of Holland. He gave out aristocratic titles as well as other dignified office titles using the word “grand.” On 15 February Napoleon forced Prussia to annex Hanover and stop its trade with England. Territory east of the Rhine was annexed by the Duchy of Berg, and Murat became its Grand Duke. Talleyrand became Prince of Benevento, Bernadotte Prince of Corvo, Fouché Duke of Otranto, and Berhier Prince of Neuchâtel. Napoleon gave his mistress Eléonore Denuelle de la Plaigne 10,000 francs, and on 13 December she bore him the son, Comte Léon, to prove he could sire children. Napoleon had Eugène marry Princess Augusta of Bavaria on 14 January 1806, and he brought her back to Italy.
      France claimed a profit of 50 million francs on the War of the Third Coalition, having seized cash and property and exacted payments from enemies. On 27 January Napoleon threatened the lives of merchants who would not give France credit, and on 22 April he put the Bank of France under state control by Finance Minister Mollien. Spain, which provided grain and subsidies, was made to bear a debt of 60 million francs, and Vanlerberghe and Ouvrard went bankrupt. France equipped the armies but expected them to sustain themselves. In more than ten years of wars through 1814 France would raise 1.2 billion francs that included 80 million from unpopular taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and salt, 137 million from customs duties, and 232 million from selling national and communal property; but the war expenses were about three billion francs. A tax on butter and eggs paid the bills for hospitals in Paris, and Napoleon put a duty on newspapers. The French Imperial University was founded in May 1806.
      Napoleon’s policy toward Jews was ambiguous. On 17 March his decree made it more difficult for Jews to collect debts. On 30 May he accused Jews of “unjust greed,” and he punished the Jews in Alsace who were nearly half of France’s 55,000 Jews. Yet he proclaimed Judaism as one of the three official religions in France, and in 1807 his edict abolished the special taxes on Jews in Westphalia. The salt tax was restored.
      On 12 July 1806 Napoleon became the Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine that included sixteen states that withdrew from the Holy Roman Empire and allied with France and provided 63,000 German troops, but Prussia and Austria were excluded. On 6 August Emperor Franz II abolished the Holy Roman Empire, though he had declared himself Emperor of Austria in May 1804. Prussia’s Friedrich Wilhelm III decided to go to war against France in July 1806 but did not do so until October. That summer Napoleon remained at peace with Prussia because he was worried about Russia. On 25 August the publisher Johann Palm in neutral Nuremberg was tried for being “anti-Napoleonic,” and he refused to name the German nationalist Philipp Yelin who had published the pamphlet, Germany’s Profound Degradation.
      Also on 25 August Friedrich Wilhelm III demanded that Napoleon withdraw French troops that were east of the Rhine by 8 October. Napoleon in early September mobilized 30,000 reserve soldiers, summoned 50,000 conscripts, and sent spies into Berlin. King Louis Napoleon raised 30,000 troops at Utrecht. Emperor Napoleon ordered his marshals to be in position by 4 October. He left Paris on 25 September and reached Bamberg on 7 October when he received the Prussian declaration of war. Five days later he wrote to the Prussian king urging him to stop the war. Prussia had an army of 225,000 men, but 90,000 were in garrisons. On the 10th French forces led by Marshal Lannes defeated fewer Prussians and Saxons at Saalfeld. Lannes attacked Jena on the 13th. Prussia had 60,000 troops in Jena. The next day the French defeated Prussians led by the Prince of Hohenlohe at Jena while 13 miles away at Auerstedt the French army of 27,000 men led by Louis Nicolas Davout overcame 60,500 Prussian soldiers led by the Duke of Brunswick. That day the Prussians lost 38,000 killed, wounded, and captured to France’s 6,830. On the 16th the Prince of Orange surrendered 12,000 Prussian soldiers and 65 cannons to Murat.
      The French continued to move across Prussia, and Napoleon’s army entered Berlin on 27 October. On the 30th Friedrich Wilhelm III was willing to cede much territory, but he would not agree to let the French use Prussia as a base for fighting the Russians. On 7 November General Blücher surrendered his remaining army to the French at Lübeck, and on the 11th the entire garrison of about 25,000 in fortified Magdeburg capitulated to Marshal Ney. The Grand Duke of Würzburg had joined the Confederation of the Rhine on 27 September, and Elector Friedrich of Saxony did so on 11 December and became a king.
      On 6 November Napoleon had learned that 68,000 Russian soldiers were coming to the aid of Prussia, and on the 21st he declared a blockade against the British Isles in retaliation for the British blockade from Brest to the Elbe since May 1806. He stayed in Berlin arranging reinforcements while his army reached Warsaw on the 27th. Napoleon began an offensive against Bennigsen’s retreating army of 35,000 men, and Davout’s forces crossed the Wkra at Czarnovwo. French soldiers were exhausted and hungry, and a hundred committed suicide by Christmas. The French led by Lannes attacked Pultusk on 26 December. Many Poles rose up and overthrew the Prussian administrators. Napoleon had enlisted about 25,000 Poles in his Italian campaigns in 1797, and on 14 January 1807 he set up a temporary Polish government at Posen (Poznań) under President Malchowski and a commission supervised by Talleyrand and Secretary of State Hugues Maret.
      On 7 January 1807 Napoleon ordered his troops into winter quarters. That month Britain announced a blockade against France and its allies that also affected neutral nations trading with them. On 8 February a Russian army of 76,000 men attacked the 75,000 French at Eylau. They fought for two days, and each side lost more than 20,000 men. After the battle as the troops passed by Napoleon, many shouted for peace and bread. The French army went into winter quarters by the Passarge River for three months while the Russians rested along the Alle. Napoleon summoned 10,000 troops from Bavaria and 6,000 Poles. In March he annexed Tuscany, Parma, Lucca and other states in central Italy. He assigned Marshal Lefebvre with 27,000 soldiers to besiege 14,400 Prussians at Danzig on 19 March, and it continued until the port capitulated on 24 May. Napoleon stayed at Finckenstein Castle and in April wrote 443 letters. Russia and Prussia confirmed the Fourth Coalition with the Convention of Bartenstein on 26 April. Sweden and Austria joined them, and the British contributed money. Napoleon sent General Gardane with seventy men to negotiate with Persia, and at Teheran on 4 May they agreed to an alliance against the British.
      Napoleon led an army of 158,000 men. On 10 June at Heilsberg the Russians led by Count von Bennigsen lost 6,000 men, and French losses were double that; but on the 14th at Friedland (now Pravdinsk) the French led by Napoleon and Lannes suffered about 10,000 casualties, and Bennigsen’s Russians lost twice as many.
      Emperors Napoleon and Aleksandr of Russia agreed to an armistice on 23 June, and they negotiated secretly at Tilsit and formed an alliance. France signed a treaty with Russia on 7 July and with Prussia two days later. Russia gave up Ionian islands and promised to withdraw from Moldavia and Wallachia and be in France’s Continental System blockading the British. Prussia lost half their population in the war and a third of their territory including eastern Bialystok to Russia. Napoleon formed the Duchy of Warsaw, and Prussian land west of the Elbe became the kingdom of Westphalia that contained Magdeburg. On 12 July the French agreed to evacuate Prussia if they paid a war indemnity of 153 million francs. In Dresden on the 22nd Napoleon gave Poland a garrison of 30,000 French soldiers and a constitution as it joined the Confederation of the Rhine. By July the French army in Germany had 410,000 men plus 120,000 in Italy, and 110,000 guarding the coast. While in northern Germany in 1806 and 1807 the French took 133 statues and busts, 193 bronze works, and 367 paintings. They had also captured 140,000 Prussian soldiers and more than 2,000 cannons.
      After being away for ten months, Napoleon returned to Paris on 27 July. On 9 August he made Talleyrand the third most powerful man in France by appointing him Vice Grand Elector, but he resigned from the foreign office the next day. Talleyrand believed that France’s enemies would seek vengeance against their oppressors because Napoleon lacked moral force and was bringing sorrow to himself and Europe.
      Napoleon wanted the Tribunate abolished, and the Senate did so on 19 August. The 38-year-old Emperor raised the age requirement for the Legislative Body to 40. After the French invaded Etruria on the 29th, the Spanish premier Manuel Godoy agreed to let French troops pass through Spain to Portugal. Napoleon wrote to Spain’s Carlos IV on 7 September explaining that Portugal must be taken so that the British would make peace. On 18 October French forces led by Junot crossed into Spain, and marching a thousand kilometers in a month they had about 1,750 men die from hunger and accidents. On the 27th a Spanish envoy signed a treaty at Fontainebleau that secretly divided Portugal giving the north to the Infanta Maria Luisa, who had lost Etruria, and the south to Godoy with the central region to be occupied by French and Spanish military. On 29 November the royal Braganza family sailed for Rio de Janeiro on British warships, and the next day the French army occupied Lisbon without resistance. Junot confiscated the Braganza’s property, demanded 100 million francs, and imposed a constitution with equality before the law and religious freedom.
      On 15 November Napoleon sent his son Jerome a constitution to use in ruling Westphalia. In his private letter he wrote,

The people of Germany, as those of France, Italy, and Spain,
want equality and liberal values.
I have become convinced that the burden of privileges
was contrary to general opinion. Be a constitutional king.5

By the end of 1807 Napoleon had reduced the political newspapers in Paris to only four—the Moniteur, the Journal de l’Empire, the Gazette de France, and the Journal de Paris.

France’s Napoleonic Empire at War 1808-10

      In January 1808 Napoleon sent Murat with an army of 100,000 to take over Spanish fortresses in San Sebastian, Pamplona, Figueras, and Barcelona with Premier Godoy’s cooperation. The French army reached Burgos on 13 March and then threatened Madrid. On the 17th at Aranjuez south of Madrid an uprising overthrew Godoy who hid in his attic and was eventually arrested. Two days later King Carlos IV abdicated to Prince Fernando who supported the revolt. On 23 March Murat with 50,000 troops occupied Madrid, and the next day the people welcomed Fernando VII. On 10 April he left to meet with Napoleon at Bayonne. There Fernando agreed to relinquish the crown. On 2 May people in Madrid revolted and killed at least 150 French soldiers. Murat ordered a firing squad to shoot peasants which the painter Goya depicted famously six years later. The French attacked anyone who was armed in the streets and killed about a thousand Spaniards. On the 6th Fernando abdicated in favor of Carlos IV who two days later passed the crown on to Napoleon who than appointed his older brother Joseph. Fernando was detained at Talleyrand’s estate, and Carlos IV went to live in Rome.
      Insurrections broke out in Biscay, Catalonia, Navarre, Valencia, Andalusia, Estremadura, Galicia, Leon, and in parts of Castile. The British Navy took over Iberian ports. On 25 May Col. Palafox led a revolt in Zaragoza with 220 men against the French. Seville rose up two days later, followed by Galicia on the 30th and Catalonia on 7 June. Napoleon persuaded Spanish grandees at Bayonne to ratify a written constitution that maintained the Cortes (parliament) with three estates. At Oviedo the Asturias Estates declared war on Napoleon, followed on the 6th by the Seville junta and 15 more. Because people in Torquemada had burned Napoleon in effigy, Marshal Bessières had the town razed. The French attacked Cordoba on 13 June and for three days plundered the city. They had an army of 120,000 in Spain, and on the 15th they besieged Zaragoza.
      Joseph was crowned king at Madrid on 20 July, but after eleven days he fled to Burgos. On 14 July a French army defeated Galicia’s smaller force at Medina del Rioseco. However, on the 19th the army of Andalusia killed 2,200 French at Bailén, and wounded General Pierre Dupont surrendered his remaining army of 18,000 men. The Seville junta did not recognize the agreement, and the prisoners were taken to the island of Cabrera where they died of hunger. The French besieged Girona on the 24th, but in mid-August the sieges of Girona and Zaragoza were lifted. A force of 13,000 British and 7,000 Portuguese led by Arthur Wellesley defeated Junot’s army in Portugal at Roliça on 17 August and four days later at Vimeiro. They agreed to the Convention of Cintra on the 30th, and the British Navy took 20,000 defeated French with their arms and booty back to France. Although only about 40,000 guerrillas were operating in Spain, they were very effective at ambushes. From 1808 to 1814 the British provided Spain and Portugal with about £2.65 million a year. The French Legislative Body called up 160,000 recruits.
      Also in March 1808 the French Empire created the ranks of count, baron, and chevalier to be based on merit, not heredity. That year Napoleon made 744 men nobles and 2,015 more in the next three years. Of the 3,263 he named 59% were military men. He also gave donations to loyal subjects. He had 39 imperial palaces, but some he never visited. He worked as much as 16 hours a day, usually ate quickly, and never drank liquor. He traveled to Erfurt to confer with Emperor Aleksandr on 28 September and stayed for 19 days. In August 1807 Napoleon had dismissed Foreign Minister Talleyrand for having taken too many bribes, but he kept him on as Vice-Grand Elector which gave him access to his person and palaces. Talleyrand used this to sell secrets, and he even told Aleksandr that Napoleon was not civilized like the French. The Russian economy was suffering from the banned British trade. Napoleon invited Goethe for lunch on 2 October and enjoyed his conversation. Napoleon and Aleksandr agreed to divide most of Europe between them and pledged mutual defense if Austria attacked either of them. On 25 June Napoleon had learned that Archduke Karl had levied an Austrian army of 150,000 men.
      Napoleon traveled to Spain in November and by then had an army there of 240,000 men. On 2 December he reached Madrid which capitulated two days later. On the 22nd he set out after a British force led by General John Moore across the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains during a blizzard. That winter the French had 300,000 soldiers in Spain. Napoleon without consulting his brother Joseph abolished the Spanish Inquisition and eliminated some convents, seizing their property. On 16 January 1809 Soult’s French army had killed Moore and forced the British to depart from Corunna. On 20 February Zaragoza capitulated, and two days later King Joseph regained power in Madrid. In this war Spain lost about 108,000 lives, 48,000 from disease.
      Napoleon left Valladolid on 17 January 1809, and six days later he reached Paris. He had the Legislative Body call up the conscription class of 1810 to mobilize 230,000 men. On 28 January he reprimanded Fouché and Talleyrand for having criticized in salons his Spanish campaign. He dismissed Talleyrand but did not banish him. The Austrian ambassador Metternich paid about 350,000 francs to know the French battle order, and Talleyrand was suspected of taking the bribe. Napoleon prepared for the Austrian campaign, sending many letters including 29 on 9 March. On 3 April Austria declared war on France and Bavaria, and four days later they invaded the latter. On the 12th by tower signals, which had been invented by the Chappe brothers, Napoleon learned of the invasion led by Austria’s Archduke Karl, and the next day the Emperor left for Donauworth which he reached by the 18th. On the 15th he banned gambling in his empire except in Paris where the police used it to account.
      Napoleon with his army of 89,000 French and Bavarians blocked Karl’s Austrian army of 93,000 men from retreating to Vienna. Napoleon ordered the Bavarian officers to tell their men that Austria intended to partition Bavaria and disband their units. On 20 April the French and Bavarian allies defeated the Austrians at Abensberg in the first of four victories in Bavaria in four days. The next day at Landshut their army of 77,000 defeated 36,000 Austrians. Napoleon’s Franco-Bavarian army moved north, and on the 22nd they defeated Karl’s Austrians at Eckmühl, inflicting double the losses they endured. The next day Napoleon ordered his men to storm Ratisbon, and Karl lost 5,000 men and eight cannons while escaping. Napoleon’s army reached Vienna on 10 May, and Austrians cheered him from the walls. After some bombardment Vienna surrendered early on the 13th. Archduke Karl had crossed the Danube and destroyed the bridges. Napoleon ordered stragglers rounded up and set up a tribunal to punish pillagers. On 8 May at the Piave River in Italy the French army led by Eugène de Beauharnais had defeated the Austrians under Archduke Johann, and both armies headed for Vienna. Napoleon’s men put together a boat bridge across the Danube. About 27,000 of the French army crossed on 21 May at Aspern-Essling and faced 95,000 Austrians, but the next day the French had 66,000 men. The French suffered about 23,000 casualties and the Austrians about 19,000 and had only 700 captured but took 3,000 French. Napoleon ordered a retreat in his first major defeat since Acre in 1799.
      Napoleon had sent General Sextius Miollis to Italy to take over the Papal States, and his troops had occupied Rome on 3 February 1808. The Kingdom of Italy annexed the papal provinces of Ancona, Macerata, Fermo, and Urbino. On 17 May 1809 from Schönbrunn palace Napoleon issued a decree that criticized popes for abusing the Donation of Charlemagne, and the French Empire annexed the remaining Papal States. He offered Pope Pius VII an annual stipend of two million francs, and on 10 June Miollis replaced the Pontifical flag with the French tricolor over St. Angelo. On 5 July Napoleon had Pius VII arrested and taken to the bishop’s palace at Savona on the Italian Riviera where he was kept under “guard of honor” until May 1812 when the Pope was taken to Fontainebleau. Napoleon proclaimed Rome an “imperial free city” and the “second city of the Empire.”
      Austrians invaded Saxony on 9 June 1809, but Eugène’s army from Italy defeated Archduke Johann again at Raab in Hungary. Napoleon complained that the Russians had not come to his aid, but Józef Poniatowski’s Poles defeated Austrians in Silesia. Napoleon increased his army to 130,800 infantry, 23,300 cavalry, and 10,000 artillerymen with 544 guns. Archduke Karl had 113,800 infantry, 14,600 cavalry, and 414 cannons. These two armies fought for two days at Wagram on 5-6 July in Europe’s biggest battle so far. On the first day the Austrians were winning, but the next day the French forced the Austrians to retreat. Napoleon lost about 30,000 men and had 4,000 captured. The Austrians had 23,000 casualties, but 18,000 men were made prisoners. On 12 July they agreed to an armistice.
      At the battle of Talavera in Spain on 27-28 July the forces led by Wellington and Captain-General Cuesta fought the French army led by King Joseph Bonaparte and Marshal Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, and each side lost about 7,400 men. Napoleon complained that Jourdan exaggerated Wellington’s losses to him, though he did not care what he told the newspapers.
      On 12 October a man with a knife was prevented from assassinating Napoleon. He confessed that he wanted to kill him and was executed five days later. The War of the Fifth Coalition ended with a treaty at Schönbrunn on 14 October. Emperor Franz II refused to abdicate; but the Habsburg Empire lost their German states in the Confederation of the Rhine, Istria and Carinthia to France, Salzburg and part of Upper Austria to Bavaria, most of Galicia to the Warsaw Duchy with the eastern fifth going to Russia, and the port of Trieste in the Illyrian Provinces, a total of about 3.5 million people. Austria also agreed to pay an indemnity of 200 million francs and to reduce their army to 150,000 men. Austrians had rebelled in the Tyrol in April, and Napoleon ordered Eugène’s French and Bavarian army of 56,000 men to subdue them in October.
      Napoleon returned to Fontainebleau on 26 October. On 30 November he informed Josephine that he wanted to annul their marriage because she could not give him a child. On 7 December they formally consented to the divorce, and on the 15th Josephine broke down as she was reading, “We are each of us glorious in the sacrifice we are now making on behalf of the country.” Empress Josephine kept her title, had 2 million francs of debt paid for her, and was given 3 million per year for life. On 6 January 1810 France agreed to a peace treaty with Sweden. On 10 February Napoleon imposed censorship, and 97 of the 157 presses in Paris were shut down. In 1811 about 12% of the books would be refused. In December he restricted censoring to libels, and in 1812 less than 4% were rejected.
      Napoleon negotiated a possible marriage with Emperor Aleksandr’s sister Anna Pavlovna; but the Tsar demanded that Napoleon promise not to let Poland be revived as a nation. Napoleon’s mistress Marie Walewska gave birth to his son Alexandre on 4 May 1810. Five of his councilors wanted him to marry the Austrian Archduchess Marie Louise; but Cambacérès advised wedding Anna because he dreaded marching into Russia. Marie Louise’s uncle Karl represented her in the proxy wedding to Napoleon with Berthier standing in for him on 11 March 1810 in Vienna. The couple met for the first time on 27 March, and they consummated the marriage that night before the ceremonial wedding at the Louvre on 1 April when 6,000 veterans were also married and were given 600 francs each. Napoleon later realized that Austria was his natural enemy and would never support him and that if not for this marriage, he never would have gone to war against Russia.
      On 16 April Napoleon appointed the reluctant Marshal Masséna to command a new army in Portugal. Napoleon had nearly blinded him in a hunting accident in September 1808. Napoleon had planned to give himself an army of 100,000 but only allotted 70,000 for Masséna’s Portugal campaign to drive out Wellington’s British troops. The liaison Berthier and Masséna hated each other. Troops were not paid for six months, and many rations were lost because they lacked wagons. A third of the artillery was left in Spain for lack of mules. Reinforcements were promised but did not come. Napoleon believed that they could overcome Wellington’s 25,000 British; but he had also 25,000 Portuguese well defended by fortifications and 628 cannons. Wellington used scorched-earth tactics, and by January 1811 Masséna’s soldiers at Santarem were hungry and plundering if not deserting.
      Napoleon learned that the Police Minister Fouché was involved in secret negotiations with the British, and he dismissed him on 3 June and sent him off to govern Rome. His accomplice Ouvrard had been involved in speculation and was put in debtors’ prison at Sainte-Pélagie. Royalists founded the Order of the Knights of Faith.
      On 1 July a fire at a ball at the Austrian embassy killed four people, and after that Napoleon made sure that the fire-engine system in Paris was improved. He not only collected art in his conquests, but he spent more than his annual budget of 60,000 francs promoting art. In addition to the famous David, other artists who flourished during his reign included Gérard, Géricault, Girodet, Gros, Guérin, Ingres, Prud’hon, Vernet, and Vigée-Lebrun. France set the style in many aspects of life.
      On 3 July Napoleon deposed his brother Louis in Holland because he favored Dutch interests over the French Empire which then annexed Holland. Also in July he adjusted the Continental Blockade by permitting licenses for trading with the British that mostly were given to the French and caused foreign resentment.
      Napoleon learned by October that Russia was building up their army and defenses. That month Jerome Bonaparte complained that Westphalia’s debt had increased to 220 million francs from the 47 million when he became king in December 1807. On 4 November Napoleon wrote to Tsar Aleksandr noting that Russia had sent colonial produce to the Leipzig Fair in 700 wagons and 1,200 merchant ships which were escorted by 20 British warships, and he asked him to confiscate all the goods the British introduced. In December the French Emperor warned the Russian ambassador Aleksandr Kurakin in Paris through his Foreign Minister Champagny that if Russia opened ports to ships with English merchandise, war would be inevitable. On the 19th Napoleon’s empire annexed the Hanseatic towns of Hamburg, Bremen, and Lübeck as well as the Duchy of Oldenburg which was trading with the British. Tsar Aleksandr reacted by decreeing that Russian trade would be opened to neutral nations by the end of the year and that French luxury goods would be banned and others such as wine would have high import duties. Prince Adam Czartoryski advised the Russian Emperor that Poles were the enemies of Russia and were brothers in arms with the French as 20,000 were fighting for them in Spain.

Napoleon’s Empire and Russia 1811-12

      Militarized France was suffering economically. France had at least 250,000 soldiers in Spain, and the cost of this occupation went from 142 million francs in 1808 to 865 million in 1813. In 1789 French manufacturing was worth 50 million francs; but by 1811 this had fallen to 12 million while that year England’s exports were worth 1.25 billion francs. Europe endured an economic crisis in 1811 that included the British who had bad harvests, unemployment, lower wages, Luddites, and inadequate food. In eastern France 40,000 people were unemployed in Mulhouse, and more than 20,000 were jobless in Lyon.
      By January 1811 Napoleon learned that Russia’s duties on land imports were increasing while those by sea were reduced. He suspected that Tsar Aleksandr was going to ally Russia with the British. On the 10th Napoleon reorganized his Grand Army into four large corps. On 18 February he ordered War Minister Clarke to prepare for war with Russia, and on the 28th he wrote to Aleksandr in St. Petersburg that their alliance no longer existed. From the time the units in the Rhine Confederation received their orders to mobilize, the Russians had more than a year to prepare for war. Usually Napoleon’s opponents only had a few weeks’ notice. By April the French Empire had stockpiled a million rations in Stettin and Küstrin.
      On 20 March Empress Marie Louise gave birth to Napoleon-François-Joseph-Charles who was proclaimed “King of Rome.” Napoleon wrote to the King of Württemberg in early April urging him to join the kings of Saxony, Bavaria, and Westphalia by providing soldiers and protecting Danzig from the British Navy. Champagny opposed war against Russia, and on 17 April Napoleon replaced him by making Hugues-Bernard Maret the Foreign Minister. Coulaincourt had been replaced as ambassador at St. Petersburg in May, and in June for five hours he tried to talk Napoleon out of the war. Napoleon would not pay Aleksandr an indemnity for Oldenburg nor would he cede two districts in Poland to him.
      On 5 May Wellington’s British and Portuguese forces induced Masséna’s French army to retreat from the battle at Fuentes de Oñoro. Napoleon replaced Masséna with Marshal Auguste de Marmont as the French commander in Spain. The French army of 290,000 men on the Iberian peninsula in 1812 would have only 224,000 troops a year later. In July 1811 the harvest in northern France failed. Napoleon called it a famine and subsidized the baking industry, but the price of bread doubled by September. Troops were sent into Caen and other towns to subdue bread riots, and some rioters were executed. At his birthday reception on 15 August Napoleon told Ambassador Kurakin that war was likely unless their two countries renewed their alliance. The next day Napoleon and Maret reviewed the negotiations and concluded that the Russians were not in good faith; Napoleon informed the Council of State that after Prussian and Austrian cooperation was assured, Russia would be punished in 1812. He ordered six pairs of shoes for each soldier, and in December he asked his librarian for all the books on Russia and Lithuania including accounts of Karl XII’s Swedish invasion of Russia in 1709. Aleksandr’s spies reported to him that France was preparing for war.
      France occupied Pomerania and annexed it on 20 January 1812, alienating Russia’s recent enemy Sweden. The former French Marshal Bernadotte had become regent of Sweden, and on 10 April he signed a friendship treaty with Russia. Austria in February promised to provide 30,000 troops led by Prince von Schwarzenberg for the Russian invasion, and on 5 March Prussia agreed to send 20,000 men, though a quarter of the officers resigned in protest including Carl von Clausewitz. Eugène had begun marching the 27,400 men in his army of Italy toward Poland on 24 February. That day Napoleon wrote to Tsar Aleksandr suggesting that they could resolve their differences, but by the time he received a reply in April he had put his forces on alert for an expected Russian attack. France’s Grand Army reached the Elbe on 15 March and the Oder on 8 April. Aleksandr had ordered three emergency levies that raised 400,000 new recruits in Russia, and he joined his army at Vilnius on 21 April. Napoleon’s offer for both the French and British to withdraw from the Iberian peninsula was rejected by Foreign Secretary Castlereagh.
      On 9 May 1812 Napoleon with his wife and baby left Paris for the eastern front. He sent General Andreossy to negotiate with Sultan Mahmud IV in Istanbul, and he promised him Moldavia, Wallachia, and the Crimea; but the Turks accepted the Russian offer of the Danube provinces instead in the treaty at Bucharest on the 29th. That day Napoleon left his family at Dresden and said he would be back within two months. At Danzig on 7 June he told Rapp that he merely wanted to take Russian Poland to unite it with the Warsaw Duchy to revive the kingdom of Poland. The French Imperial army of more than a million men had mobilized 600,000 troops and was more than twice as large as the Russian army in the field. The French made up 48% of the infantry and 64% of the cavalry, and most of the foreigners were Austrians and Germans.
      Napoleon crossed the Niemen River early on 24 June, but it took five days for his army to get across. His army was divided into three corps, and he commanded the central one with 180,000 men. They had about 250,000 horses and more than 1,200 cannons. Russia had about 250,000 soldiers with 129,000 led by Barclay de Tolly deployed around Vilnius and Bagration’s second army of 48,000 men a hundred miles to the south while Tormasov’s third army was coming from farther south. Napoleon sent forces led by Eugène and Jérôme Bonaparte to surround Bagration’s army before they could join Barclay’s main force. Tsar Aleksandr’s strategy was to have Barclay’s army lure Napoleon’s Grand Army far into Russia.
      On 28 June Napoleon reached Vilnius where he established a provisional government for Polish Lithuania, and in the cathedral he proclaimed it united with Poland. The French Emperor explained that he could not restore the provinces that Austria had taken because the army of Schwarzenberg was guarding his southern flank. People in the country herded their livestock into forests to avoid French requisition. Napoleon sent the army of 80,000 Austrians, Poles, and Saxons to cross the Berezina River and attack Bagration’s army; but Jérôme’s army let that army escape, and Napoleon replaced his brother with Marshal Davout. Napoleon received General Aleksandr Balashov who urged him to withdraw, but he replied that the ultimatum to do so in April had forced him to choose between “war and dishonor.” Yet Napoleon said he still felt friendship for Tsar Aleksandr and was open to peace. The Russians were retreating while destroying everything that might help the French.
      In the hot weather the French suffered from lack of water, and wagons having trouble crossing rivers left them short of food. During the Grand Army’s 175 days in Russia an average of 1,000 horses died each day. Davout’s army captured Minsk on 16 July, but Bagration’s army escaped. By then the French had 80,000 men sick or dead from typhus, a war disease that had been plaguing the French since 1806. Typhus was the cause of a majority of the 140,000 French who died of disease. Many soldiers were deserting in bands, and hundreds killed themselves. Senior officers began lying to Napoleon. On the 23rd Davout’s army defeated Bagration’s smaller force at Saltanovka. Murat’s forward force mauled Barclay’s rearguard.
      Napoleon wanted a major battle, but he found Vitebsk deserted and stayed there sixteen days. On 24 July Tsar Aleksandr called up 80,000 militia in Moscow and 400,000 serfs. Because of this and British aid that might be coming, Napoleon decided on 11 August to push on toward Smolensk. The next day Schwarzenberg’s forces damaged Tormasov’s army at Gorodeczna, but the other two Russian armies were able to defend against Napoleon’s attack on Smolensk on the 17th in which both sides suffered heavy casualties. That night the Russians slipped away. The next day the Russians fought off Ney’s forces east of Smolensk and managed to retreat. Barclay’s army escaped to Dorogobuzh, but Aleksandr replaced him by appointing Field Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov as commander-in-chief. He retreated but chose the village of Borodino east of Moscow for a confrontation. The French army found Vyazma deserted on the 29th.
      On 2 September Napoleon learned that Wellington’s army had defeated the French at Salamanca on 22 July. On 5 September Napoleon’s army captured a redoubt at Borodino as the Russians lost 6,000 men and the French 4,000. Napoleon had 103,000 men and 587 cannons against 120,800 Russians with 640 guns. The Moscow militia had a well placed redoubt for artillery on the battlefield, but Napoleon’s redoubt had to be moved forward during the battle. This battle at Borodino on the 7th was the deadliest battle in history since Hannibal’s Carthaginians defeated the Romans at Cannae in 216 BC. The French army used at least 60,000 cannonballs and 1.4 million cartridges. The Russians suffered more than 40,000 casualties and the French 28,000.
      Murat’s cavalry pursued retreating Russians and captured 10,000 wounded men. The Russian army entered Moscow on 14 September and evacuated the city of 270,000 leaving only about 15,000 behind. Murat made a truce with the Russian rearguard, and the French army occupied Moscow. The next day Governor Fyodor Rostopchin, who had already removed treasures from the Kremlin before Borodino, had the city’s fire-engines destroyed, torched his own estate, and ordered the police chief to set fires. The French army ransacked the city in two days and shot about 400 people accused of arson. About 12,000 people burned to death. Napoleon was in the Kremlin and fled from the fire, returning on the 18th. About two-thirds of the city was destroyed, but Napoleon stayed there for 35 days. He plundered the treasury and handed out 50,000 rubles to Muscovites who had lost their homes. He sent a letter to Tsar Aleksandr at St. Petersburg suggesting an end to hostilities. Cossacks raided the edges of Moscow and supplemented Kutuzov’s army.
      On 3 October Napoleon secretly ordered preparations to leave Moscow, and the first real snowfall was on the 13th. On the 18th Napoleon’s army of 107,000 men, 3,000 Russian prisoners, and many thousands of civilians left Moscow with 533 cannons and more than 40,000 vehicles loaded with loot. That day Kutuzov’s army attacked them at Tarutino. They crossed the Borodino battlefield where 30,000 corpses had not been buried. At a council of war Napoleon decided to take the northern route to Smolensk. Kutuzov marched his army south but parallel to harass them, and on 3 November at Vyazma they captured about 3,000 French. The French foraged for food and ate dead horses, but they were following the path they and the Russians had devastated on the way to Moscow.
      On 6 November a letter from Cambacérès informed Napoleon that General Claude François de Malet, who had been under house arrest for more than two years for opposing Napoleon, conspired with two priests on the night of 22 October. Forging a report that Napoleon was dead and pretending to be “General Lamotte,” he persuaded 1,200 National Guardsmen to back him and had generals Guidal and Lahorie released into his custody. In the morning of the 23rd Lahorie with troops arrested the Police Prefect Pasquier in his office. Malet killed General Hulin, the military governor of Paris, at his home and tried to replace him by promoting General Doucet. However, General Laborde recognized Malet and had him arrested. They arrested and charged 84 people, and 14 were convicted and executed.
      During the French retreat on 7 November the temperature fell to -30°C, and bodily extremities were subjected to frostbite. Many died of cold or hunger, and cannibalism was reported. Many soldiers threw away their guns. They reached Smolensk on the 9th with about 73,000 men who took five days to straggle in. Napoleon himself led the French against Kutuzov’s army at Krasnoi. In three days the French had 13,000 men killed, and about 26,000 stragglers were captured. As they moved on, more men were falling down on the road. On the 21st the French reached the wide Berezina River and built two bridges, and it took them more than a week to get across. They left behind about 8,000 camp-followers, civilians, and 10,000 vehicles, which men had not been allowed to burn, and the Russians captured 36,000 stragglers. Napoleon’s army had been reduced to about 40,000 men with many officers and only 14,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry.
      On 3 December Napoleon issued his famous 29th bulletin arguing that the cold weather was responsible for the disaster and ordering the raising of 300,000 men. This was published in Paris on the 16th, and the final sentence that the “health of His Majesty has never been better” aroused criticism and resentment for its egotism. He put Murat in command of the army, but he had to abandon Poland and retreat to the Oder. Murat after secretly conferring with Austrians went back to reclaim his throne at Naples. Eugène, Davout, and Poniatowski worked to reorganize the Grand Army. Napoleon covered the 1,300 miles from Vilnius to Paris in 13 days, arriving on 18 December. Five days later the remnants of the army reached Königsberg. More than 100,000 of the 540,000 men he lost had been captured. Of those at least 53,000 died in captivity, and about 20,000 who were not French volunteered to fight for the Russians. In this war the Russians lost about 150,000 soldiers killed and 300,000 wounded or frost-bitten, and all together about a million people probably died in this man-made disaster.

France and Napoleon’s Decline in 1813

      During the winter of 1813 Napoleon transferred 93,000 soldiers from the National Guard to his army, called up 250,000 conscripts, ordered 150,000 muskets from factories, and told each of the 12,000 cantons in his Empire to provide one man and one horse. In that year French conscription would exceed 2% of the population, the highest since the wars of Louis XIV.
      Tsar Aleksandr was determined to destroy Napoleon, and early in 1813 the Russian army crossed the Vistula and invaded Pomerania, driving the French out of Lübeck and Stralsund. On 7 January Sweden declared war against France. One week later the Russian army reached Marienwerder in Prussia, and Eugène withdrew the French army back to Berlin.
      Napoleon on 25 January made a new Concordat with Pope Pius VII recognizing his pontificate in France and Italy, but on 24 March the Pope withdrew his consent. On 7 February Napoleon held a parade by the Tuileries palace, and at a Council of State meeting he arranged in case of his death for Empress Marie Louise and a Regency Council to govern until his son Louis came of age. Six days later he learned that Austria was mobilizing an army of 100,000 men, but Metternich offered to mediate a peace. Marshal Eugène gave up the Oder line by the end of February. France’s budget deficit in 1812 was 37.5 million francs, and new taxes were needed. Selling state-owned land raised only 50 million francs, and so they raised sales taxes by 11.5% and land taxes by 22.6%. The massive mobilization and military spending in the next two years would result in even higher deficits.
      On 28 February Prussia’s Friedrich Wilhelm III and Tsar Aleksandr formed an alliance at Kalisch. Russia promised 150,000 troops to fight Napoleon, and Prussia offered 80,000. The British began shipping arms, equipment, and uniforms to both armies. On 18 March Cossacks instigated a Hanseatic revolt, and Mecklenburg was the first state to withdraw from the Confederation of the Rhine. Prussia and Russia declared war against France on 17 March, and three days later in a proclamation to his people Friedrich Wilhelm called for a war of liberation. Sweden agreed to send 30,000 men for a subsidy of £1,000,000 from the British.
      In early April the French garrison abandoned Dresden, and on the 15th Napoleon left Paris to join allies from Denmark, Württemberg, Bavaria, Saxony, Baden, and Würzburg. On the 25th he took command at Erfurt, and three days later his army of 121,000 men crossed the Elbe into Saxony; but he had only 8,540 cavalry. Pyotr Wittgenstein and Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher commanded the army of 96,000 Russians and Prussians that included 30,000 cavalry. On 2 May a Russian force attacked Marshal Ney’s army near Lützen. Napoleon’s army fought the Allies, and the Allies retreated; but the French suffered 19,655 casualties and the Allies about the same. Napoleon went to Dresden on the 8th and stayed there ten days. He wrote to his wife Marie Louise urging her to appeal to her father, Austrian Emperor Franz II. Napoleon’s army of 90,000 men attacked the fortified town of Bautzen on the 20th, and they were reinforced by Ney’s army of 57,000, forcing the Allied army of 96,000 to retreat. Yet the French had 21,200 casualties and the Allies only about half as many. Two days later in a battle at Reichenbach the death of his close friend, General Géraud Duroc, affected Napoleon deeply. Despite their losses these victories gave Napoleon control over Saxony and most of Silesia, and both sides agreed to a truce on 4 June until 20 July.
      In a treaty signed on 14 June at Reichenbach the British promised to provide a subsidy of £2,000,000 with one-third going to Prussia for their 80,000 troops and two-thirds for Russia’s army of 160,000 men. Prussia ceded Hildesheim and part of Hanover to Britain. The British also guaranteed a war chest for loans up to £5,000,000 for both allies. On the 26th Napoleon met in Dresden with Austria’s Foreign Minister Metternich who was determined to negotiate a peace agreement. The next day Austria agreed in the Reichenbach Convention to fight Napoleon if he did not accept a peace treaty. On 30 June Napoleon and Metternich extended the armistice to 30 August, and the Emperor agreed to accept Austrian mediation at the Prague conference on 29 July.
      On 4 January 1813 Napoleon had ordered his brother Joseph to withdraw from Madrid and move his headquarters north to Valladolid, but he did not finally do so until 17 March. On 21 June Wellington’s allied army decisively defeated the French led by King Joseph and Marshal Jourdan at Vitoria in northern Spain, and Napoleon learned of this on 2 July. He ordered Marshal Soult and several generals to take command of Joseph’s army, but the French occupation of the Iberian peninsula was a failure that had cost more than 250,000 French lives.
      On 12 July Russian, Prussian, and Swedish generals at Trachenberg adopted a strategy proposed by Austria’s General Joseph Radetzky to form three armies and avoid attacking Napoleon’s army but concentrate on those of his lieutenants. Armand de Caulaincourt and General Narbonne-Lara represented the French at Prague, but they would not agree to the demands of Metternich.
      On 11 August the Allies announced that hostilities would resume on the 17th, and on the 12th Austria declared war against France. Schwarzenberg’s army of Bohemia had 230,000 Austrians, Russians, and Prussians. Blücher led the Army of Silesia with 85,000 Prussians and Russians. Bernadotte was leading an army of 110,000 Prussians, Russians, and Swedes moving south from Brandenburg. Napoleon had 351,000 men in Germany near the upper Oder with 93,000 in garrisons in Germany and Poland. Napoleon led 250,000 against Schwarzenberg’s army, and he sent Marshal Oudinot north with 66,000 troops to take Berlin. Davout was ordered to leave 10,000 men to defend Hamburg and reinforce Oudinot with 25,000. Blücher’s army had captured Breslau, but on 16 August he avoided an engagement with Napoleon. Oudinot’s force was attacked three times in three days and was defeated at Gross-Beeren on 23 August and retreated to Wittenberg. Napoleon sent Marshal Ney to replace Oudinot.
      On 19 August Russians increased Schwarzenberg’s army to 237,770, and they invaded Saxony two days later. Napoleon’s army arrived at Dresden on the 26th. Defecting generals Moreau and Henri de Jomini advised Tsar Aleksandr not to attack Napoleon, but Prussia’s Friedrich Wilhelm III insisted they do so. The Russian Field Marshal Wittgenstein arrived with 28,000 men that afternoon; but in the two-day battle Napoleon’s army of 155,000 troops was victorious. The Allies lost 38,000 men and the French only 10,000 as Murat’s cavalry captured 13,000 Austrians. Napoleon became sick with influenza and diarrhea. Also on 26 August Blücher’s army defeated Marshal Macdonald’s 67,000 French in Prussian Silesia, and the next day General Girard’s force was devastated at Hagelberg. On 6 September at Dennewitz in Brandenburg 100,000 Allies led by General von Bülow overwhelmed 60,000 French led by Ney and Oudinot who lost 21,000 troops. By the end of September the Allies had abolished the Confederation of the Rhine.
      Empress Marie Louise asked the Senate to authorize 280,000 recruits, but opposition to conscription in France was spreading. Bernadotte had 160,000 men in the north, Blücher that many in the east, and Schwarzenberg led 190,000 in the south. On 6 October Bavaria declared war on France, and the next day Wellington’s army from Spain invaded France. On the 10th the armies of Schwarzenberg, Blücher, and Bernadotte converged on Napoleon’s army of 203,000 troops at Leipzig. In Europe’s largest battle so far about 500,000 men clashed on the 16th. The next day the ill Napoleon rested his men and asked for an armistice which was refused. By the 19th the Allies had 362,000 men and 1,456 cannons. At Leipzig the French had 38,000 killed or wounded while the Allies lost 54,000 men. The French tried to escape on a bridge that was blown up before noon on the 19th which resulted in 20,000 French being captured. Napoleon had his army fight as they retreated toward the Rhine. His Empire had 120,000 men besieged in German fortresses. They were starved into surrendering, and most became prisoners of war by 1814.
      On 24 October 1813 Murat persuaded the Allies to let him defect and remain King of Naples. Napoleon replaced Foreign Minister Maret with Caulaincourt. A levy to raise 300,000 recruits gained only 120,000. On 14 November Napoleon spoke to Senate leaders in the Tuileries palace, informing them that all of Europe was marching against them. He ordered taxes on tobacco and salt to raise 180 million francs. When only 30 million francs remained in the treasury, he suspended payment on pensions and salaries so that the war administration could continue.
      On 14 November Napoleon told the Senate,
“The Grand Empire no longer exists. It is France itself we must now defend.” On the 16th General Lebrun evacuated Amsterdam, and the next day the Hague revolted. Benjamin Constant criticized Napoleon in On the Spirit of Conquest and Usurpation in its Relation to European Civilization. The Allies at Frankfurt agreed to offer peace terms that would allow France to keep its “natural frontiers,” but they would have to give up Italy, Germany, Spain, and Holland, though only some of Belgium. On 1 December the Allies’ Frankfurt peace terms were made public by distributing 20,000 copies in France, and Napoleon’s intelligence service told him that the French people wanted him to accept a France with more territory than it had under kings. Caulaincourt wrote to Metternich that they would agree, but Wellington arrived on the 10th and insisted that France give up Antwerp and the Belgian coast. The next day Napoleon liberated Fernando VII in the Valençay treaty. The Senate demanded peace. On 29 December the Swiss canceled their mediation agreement that had bound them to Emperor Napoleon.
      In 1813 the Paris stock exchange fell sharply, and shares of the Bank of France dropped from 1,480 francs to 690. At Lyon factories were closed down, and thousands were unemployed. In twenty years the city of Bordeaux had lost 30,000 people, and the price of a barrel of wine in twelve years had fallen from 2,850 francs to 850. Napoleon in December appealed to the senators and deputies for approval of his rejecting the Allies’ peace proposals. The Senate replied that France and humanity needed peace. Deputy Joachim Lainé from Bordeaux wrote an indictment that called the policy of the last twenty years “disastrous for all the people of France.” The deputies voted 223-51 for his criticisms of Napoleon’s actions, and they demanded political and civil rights. The next day Napoleon banished Lainé, banned printing of the document, and prorogued the Legislative Body.

France and Napoleon’s Decline 1814-15

      British Foreign Secretary Castlereagh arrived in January 1814 and persuaded Tsar Aleksandr not to accept any peace with Napoleon who now had some 220,000 men against 957,000 Allied troops. During his imperial rule the French had called up 2,432,335 men, and nearly half were raised in 1813 by altering the height and age requirements. Now draft riots were breaking out in northern France. Napoleon rejected the British peace terms, but on 16 January he wrote to Metternich asking for an armistice. On the 11th Murat had agreed to lead 30,000 troops against Eugène in Italy in exchange for security and some territory. Napoleon let Pope Pius VII return to the Papal States. On the 26th he took command of 36,000 troops at Vitry-le-François and distributed to them 300,000 bottles of champagne and brandy. Three days later they attacked the Army of Silesia at Brienne. On 6 February the treasury’s bullion was secretly removed from Paris.
      The more numerous Allied armies of the Prussian Blücher, Russian Tsar Aleksandr, and the Austrian Schwarzenberg advanced in France toward Paris, and Napoleon’s reduced army occasionally harassed them with minor battles. On 5 March he decreed death for anyone wearing the white cockade. Bernadotte’s army arrived and helped Blücher’s Prussians defeat Napoleon at Laon on 9-10 March. The next day his brother Joseph wrote, “We are on the eve of a total dissolution; there is no way out except to make peace.”6 Napoleon marched his army to attack Rheims and drove out the Russians and Prussians on the 13th. On the 12th Wellington’s army entered Bordeaux, and the mayor set up a royalist government. Napoleon moved south, but his army was repulsed by the much larger Allied army led by Tsar Aleksandr and Schwarzenberg at Arcis-sur-Aube by 21 March. One week later the armies of Schwarzenberg and Blücher joined in front of Paris. On 30 March the French army of 29,000 men led by Joseph Bonaparte and Marshal Marmont met the combined Allied army of 100,000 Russians, 40,000 Prussians, and 15,000 Austrians and Germans, and the French surrendered the next day. Napoleon’s senior officers Ney, Lefebvre, and Macdonald would no longer follow him.
      Also on 30 March Talleyrand organized a coup and negotiated with the Allies. He persuaded the Senate to appoint a provisional government on 1 April, the day the Allied armies entered Paris. The next day the Senate and the Legislative Body deposed Emperor Napoleon and his family. They invited Louis XVIII to become king, and they released French soldiers from allegiance to Napoleon. On the 4th Marmont’s corps surrendered to an allied camp, and Tsar Aleksandr demanded that Napoleon abdicate.
      On 5 April the Allies told Caulaincourt that Napoleon would be sovereign for life over the tiny island of Elba off Italy, and the next day he signed the provisional abdication at Fontainebleau. Also on the 5th the Senate unanimously adopted constitutional guarantees. Article 1 stated, “The French government is monarchical and hereditary from male to male by order of primogeniture.”7 Two days later the army of 40,000 men there paraded shouting, “Vive l’Empereur!” Similar demonstrations occurred at barracks in Orléans, Briaire, Lyon, Douai, Thionville, and Landau, and uprisings broke out in Antwerp, Metz, and Mainz. Troops in Lille rebelled for three days. On the 10th Wellington’s army defeated the French led by Marshal Soult at Toulouse with more than 8,000 casualties. The next day the Allies signed the treaty of Fontainebleau that let Napoleon keep his imperial title and granted him financial support for his family. He would have 2.5 million francs per year. Marie Louise was given the duchies of Parma, Piacenza, and Gustalla, but Austrians took her to Vienna. The next night Napoleon took the poison he always carried; but a doctor was summoned, and he induced vomiting. Napoleon signed the abdication the next morning. On the 14th the Senate designated the Count of Artois as head of the provisional government, and he signed an armistice on 20 April surrendering ports occupied by the French.
      After a ceremony Napoleon left Fontainebleau on 20 April and reached Elba on 3 May. He was accompanied by three French generals, 600 Imperial Guardsmen, and the Allied commissioners, the British Col. Neil Campbell and the Austrian General Franz von Koller. Revenues on Elba were insufficient for his government there, and but he had enough money for 28 months. He organized the island’s defense, aided the poorest 11,400 inhabitants, and read some of the 1,100 books in the library he donated. Josephine died at Malmaison on 29 May. The next day France agreed to peace treaties with major allies negotiated by Talleyrand in Paris. The British returned to France the colonies they had taken since 1789, but France ceded to Britain the colonies of Tobago, Saint Lucia, the Ile de France (Mauritius), Roderigo, and the Seychelles and to Spain the rest of Saint Domingo. The British Navy guarded Napoleon with one frigate and let him have the Elban flagship, L’Inconstant. France also made treaties with Sweden on 8 June, with Portugal on the 12th, and with Spain on 20 July. France got Guadaloupe back from Sweden and French Guiana from Portugal.
      Allies had escorted the Bourbon King Louis XVIII to Paris in May, and France was diminished to the 87 departments of 1791. He offered a new Constitutional Charter on 4 June that established a Chamber of Peers and a Chamber of Deputies. Taxes and prices rose, and the Church regained power. Tariffs on British goods were removed or reduced, hurting French manufacturing. Napoleon suggested that Louis should have proclaimed a new dynasty instead of trying to revive the old regime. Tricolor flags were replaced by white ones with the fleur-de-lis, and émigrés were given senior military offices. Metternich and Talleyrand organized the Congress of Vienna that began meeting on 15 September. On 18 December King Louis confiscated Napoleon’s personal property in France, ending his income. On 3 January 1815 Talleyrand and Metternich signed a treaty of alliance with the British.
      In February 1815 Maret got a message to Napoleon that France was ready for him to return. On the 16th Campbell left Elba to visit his doctor or his mistress. The next day Napoleon had L’Inconstant refitted, and on the 26th he left Elba on it with eight small ships and about a thousand men. They reached the French coast on 1 March and in six days marched north over Alpine mountains to Grenoble where they gained more troops, muskets, and cannons. He issued proclamations to the French people and the army, saying that Louis XVIII was bringing back feudal rights which was not true. Napoleon promised to help peasants who feared émigrés taking feudal dues. When he met a battalion with soldiers aiming their muskets at him, he asked if they wanted to kill him. They did not, and he took control of the 5th Regiment. Crowds cheered him at Vizille, and the 7th Line joined him.
      War Minister Soult and Marshal Ney told Louis XVIII that they would seize Napoleon. Two commanders of the three armies would be nephews of Louis, but both Soult and Ney decided to fight for Napoleon. On 13 March the seven Allies proclaimed Napoleon an outlaw. The next day Ney went over to Napoleon and urged him to correct the evils he had caused.
      On 20 March Napoleon returned to Fontainebleau, and that day Louis XVIII fled from Paris and went to Lille and then Ghent. That night Napoleon returned to the Tuileries for his son’s fourth birthday. Not one person had been killed or wounded in his return to power. The next day on horseback he paraded by more than 50,000 cheering Parisians. He declared himself a product of the Revolution, and he ordered all royalists to leave Paris. Fouché issued warrants for Talleyrand and others.
      In the next three months Napoleon wrote more than 900 letters to prepare for another war. On the 26th he ordered the formation of eight new army corps, but most of the 120,000 recruits were teenagers. He appointed his best general Davout as War Minister, and only ten of his 19 active marshals took his side. His long-time chief-of-staff Berthier died on 15 June falling from a window in Bamberg, Bavaria. Napoleon reversed many of the unpopular Bourbon reforms regarding judicial tribunals, the flag, the Imperial Guard, Bourbon property, the Legion of Honor, and the names of regiments, and he ended censorship and slavery. He dissolved the Legislative Body and summoned the electoral colleges to meet in June to approve a new constitution. His Finance Minister Gaudin managed to raise 17,434,352 francs. Napoleon told his Council that he had renounced imperial ambitions and was now only concerned with France. The Allies meeting at Vienna had formed the Seventh Coalition against him on 25 March. On the 31st Napoleon restored the University of France and brought back the Comte de Lacépède as chancellor. In April he extended conscription to married men and to all men between the ages of 20 and 60. On the 11th rebellion had broken out in the Vendée again, and he sent 25,000 troops there and to Marseilles and a few other places.
      On 22 April the Additional Act for a national plebiscite was announced to elect deputies, and Napoleon chose 80 candidates for the Peers from a list of 120 names drawn up by his brother Joseph. Out of five million electors 1,532,357 voted for the new Imperial Constitution with only 4,802 opposing. Hundreds of thousands of federalists (fédérés) met in assemblies twice a week. He named the talented Marshal Davout to be War Minister, and he and Lazare Carnot worked to get 300,000 muskets quickly. On 15 May the Allies declared war on France. On 1 June the Additional Act was ratified, and Napoleon spoke to 15,000 seated and a crowd of more than 100,000, and he accused the Allies of breaking their peace treaties. The newly elected legislators swore allegiance to the Emperor. On the 9th the Allies signed the treaty at Vienna that reaffirmed their aim to remove Napoleon from power.
      On 12 June Napoleon left Paris to join his army in the north. France had an army of 280,000 in Europe but marched into Belgium with only 120,000 troops. The Allies had already an army of 250,000 men in Belgium and with the Russians and Austrians could have 800,000 troops. On the 15th the former Chouan General Bourmont defected with his staff to the Allies. Napoleon’s Imperial Guards were not stopped from plundering in Belgium. On the 16th he divided his army into three corps. Ney on the left attacked the army led by the Duke of Wellington at Quatre Bras while the forces led by Napoleon and Marshal Grouchy fought Blücher’s army at Ligny where the French were victorious and had about 11,000 casualties. The Prussians had 12,000 killed and wounded; but they also lost 15 cannons and 8,000 deserters. The French led by Ney failed to take Quatre Bras and had 4,000 casualties compared to 4,800 for the Anglo-Dutch-German army. The next day Napoleon sent Grouchy’s army of 33,000 to pursue the Prussians.
      On 18 June the battle near Waterloo began at 11 in the morning. The French had a hundred more cannons than Wellington and 4,000 more men, but at 4 in the afternoon Blücher arrived with 30,000 Prussians. Four hours later at dusk the French threw down their muskets and fled. The French suffered about 25,000 casualties and had some 15,000 missing while the Allies lost a total of 24,000 men.
      Napoleon had also fled. Yet the next day he wrote to Joseph that they could raise an army of 300,000 men; but it was not to be. He rode back to Paris and arrived early on the 21st, and he abdicated the next day. Lafayette took control by appointing five men from each chamber to administer the government. Napoleon may have taken poison but again changed his mind and recovered. He fled to Malmaison and reached Rochefort on 5 July. Davout had been put in command of the army and had signed the capitulation on the 2nd. King Louis XVIII took over the government on the 8th. The territory of France was reduced to what it had been in 1789.
      On 15 July Napoleon surrendered himself to the British in order to avoid being taken by the Bourbons or the Prussians. In the past twelve years France had been at war against Britain for 242 months. Napoleon learned that he would be confined to the isolated island of St. Helena and was taken there on British ships, arriving on 14 October. In June 1816 he began dictating his memoirs to his Chamberlain Las Casas who published them in 1823 in four volumes as Le Memorial de Sainte-Hélène. Napoleon died there on 5 May 1821 at the age of 51. While on that island he wrote,

The men who have changed the world
never succeeded by winning over the powerful,
but always by stirring the masses.
The first method is a resort to intrigue
and only brings limited results.
The latter is the course of genius
and changes the face of the world.8

Germaine de Staël

      Anne Louise Germaine Necker was born at Paris on 22 April 1766; but both her grandfathers were Protestant pastors, and both her parents were Swiss. Her father Jacques Necker was a banker. In 1773 his eulogy of Colbert won a prize from the French Academy whose members often attended Madame Necker’s salon. He served as Finance Minister for Louis XVI in 1777-81 and again in August 1788 when he became the chief minister for most of the next two years. In 1781 he criticized government expenditures in Compte-Rendu which sold 80,000 copies. Her mother was well educated and had had an affair with Edward Gibbon whom Rousseau thought was unworthy of her. Madame Suzanne Necker began raising Germaine according to how Rousseau’s Emile advised raising a boy, not a girl, and she taught her English and Latin. From the age of ten Germaine attended her mother’s intellectual salon on Fridays that included the philosopher Helvétius, the historians Marmontel and Raynal, the economist Galiani, the naturalist Buffon, and encyclopedia writers Diderot, d’Alembert, and Grimm. She learned to write her thoughts without excessive emotion. In her teens she read tragedies by Racine and Voltaire and later acted in them to entertain guests. She studied Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws. She read novels and admired Lafayette’s Princess of Cleves, Richardson’s Clarissa, St. Pierre’s Paul et Virginie, Rousseau’s Julie, ou la Nouvelle Héloise, Fielding’s Tom Jones, and Goethe’s Sorrows ofYoung Werther. When she was 17, her mother tried to get her to marry William Pitt, but Germaine would not leave France.
      Germaine agreed to marry the 36-year-old Swedish ambassador Erik Magnus, Baron Staël von Holstein, in the embassy on 14 January 1786 based on a contract with Sweden’s King Gustavus III that was signed by Queen Marie Antoinette. Germaine could not be forced to move to Sweden which gained the island of St. Barthelémy from France. Germaine sent reports on court news to Gustavus. She loved conversation and took over her mother’s salon which was often attended by the American diplomat, Gouverneur Morris. Germaine was devoted to her father and had competed with her mother for his affection even though he never approved of her writing. That year she wrote the three-act play, Sophie; or, The Secret Sentiments which revealed the incestuous feelings she felt for her father, and it had the effect of liberating her from them. She wrote romantic stories and short novels about tragic lovers. Adélaide et Théodore portrayed the manners of the ancien régime.
      In July 1787 she gave birth to a girl, the only child she had by her husband, but she died in April 1789. Germaine and her husband had love affairs. The father of her first son was Louis de Narbonne who was by rumor considered a son of Louis XV. She and her husband separated in 1797, and he died in 1802. She loved Narbonne’s charm, Mathieu de Montmorency’s idealism, and Talleyrand’s wit.
      Known as Madame de Staël, she published her Letters on the works and character of J. J. Rousseau in 1788 expressing her belief in freedom whether in love, politics or literature. She discussed the moral issues of Julie in his novel, criticized his views on educating women in Emile, challenged some of Rousseau’s political ideas based on Montesquieu, and examined his character as revealed in his Confessions.
      Germaine experienced the early events of the French Revolution in Paris. After the hard winter of 1788-89 the chief minister Necker loaned the government two million francs to purchase wheat for the starving people, and he persuaded the King to accept the doubling of the Third Estate’s representatives. In her account of the French Revolution she considered the Third Estate declaring itself the “National Assembly of France” on 17 June 1789 the beginning of the Revolution. She noted what France lacked.

Religion founded on inquiry,
education generally diffused, the liberty of the press,
and the right of voting at public elections,
are sources of improvement which had been in operation
in England for more than a century.9

Louis XVI dismissed her father Necker at dinner on 11 July 1789, and the next day news of this aroused thousands of Parisians. She went to join him in Brussels and Switzerland; but five days after the Bastille was stormed, the King recalled Necker. When Necker and his daughter returned from Basel, people lined the roads to cheer him. She hoped that a constitutional monarchy could consolidate the gains of the Revolution with rational solutions. Her salons were a center of political intrigue and included Siéyès, Brissot, and Condorcet of the left as well as some on the right; but she pleaded for moderation. When the women led the march to Versailles in early October, she was living with her parents there. She witnessed the mob that killed guards in the Queen’s antechamber and put their heads on pikes as they returned the King and Queen with Lafayette to Paris. From that time Louis XVI considered himself a prisoner.
      In September 1790 Necker resigned and retired to Coppet Castle near Geneva. Germaine stayed in Paris to give birth to Gustave but went to Coppet in October for eleven months. In early 1791 a satirical pamphlet accused her of being a nymphomaniac who provoked riots to keep her lovers. That year she wrote the essay “How Can We Determine What Is the Opinion of the Majority of the Nation?” She perceived a conflict between the tendency to cherish calm and the impulse for liberty. She named the two parties Royalists and Republicans and wrote,

The right wing of the Assembly, known as the Aristocrats,
claims that fear stifles the voice of the majority.
A section of the left wing, known as the Jacobins,
blames all opposition it encounters
upon an attachment to the old abuses.
The two parties agree in professing
to submit to the general will.
But both wrongly rest
(the one with logic completely contrary to the facts
and the other with facts completely contrary to logic)
upon the existence of a majority that never appears
or upon one that is always in rebellion.10

      Germaine got Narbonne appointed Minister of War on 6 December 1791. The next day he spoke to the Assembly which appropriated twenty million for the army, and he promised to raise a force of 150,000 men. Her lover Talleyrand was sent to London to gain Britain’s neutrality. She and Narbonne persuaded the Foreign Minister de Lessart to send an envoy to gain the support of the Duke of Brunswick, but he eventually declined. Louis XVI replaced Narbonne on 9 March 1792. De Lessart was arrested, and the rest of the cabinet resigned. France declared war on 20 April. Germaine attended the large demonstrations, and on 10 August she learned that the Swiss Guards were massacred at the Tuileries and that the royal family was imprisoned in the Temple. Narbonne and Mathieu hid in the Swedish embassy. She persuaded the physician Erich Bollman to help them escape to England on the 20th. Her home in the embassy was searched, and she complained about the violation of diplomatic rights. On 2 September Germaine narrowly escaped injury or death in a riot, and the next day she fled to Coppet where her second son Albert was born.
      In January 1793 she and Narbonne went to England and lived at Juniper Hall in Surrey, but after the King’s death Narbonne no longer shared her liberal ideas. On 10 June she wrote to Gibbon that she is not intoxicated by “romantic ideas” but always believes in reason. In August she wrote “Reflections on the Trial of the Queen” to the Tribunal in Paris. She warned that “what is written in letters of blood will be read by the universe.” When the people are neither just nor generous, liberty cannot be preserved. Her generosity saved several people from the guillotine. On 19 November she published her “Brief Reflections Relating to the Emigrant French Clergy” to defend the refractory priests. That year she wrote in the novella Zulma,

Love is above the laws, above the opinion of men;
it is the truth, the flame, the pure element,
the primary idea of the moral world.11

      In July 1794 during the climax of the Great Terror Germaine wrote her Reflections on Peace addressing the first part to William Pitt and advocating the restoration of good government in a virtuous republic and an end to foreign wars. Yet she warned the Coalition that French victories could lead to more revolutions. She endorsed republics but often criticized the men who governed them. In September she met Benjamin Constant. One night he attempted suicide and confessed his passion for her. Her Reflections on Internal Peace was published in 1795, arguing that only in peace can France work out its republican government. She wanted to help the poor acquire property so that they could participate in a stable government. On 22 April Baron Staël presented his credentials to the Convention, and Sweden became the first nation to recognized the French Republic. Germaine and Constant returned to Paris that spring, and she wrote her “Profession of Republican Faith” and “Essay on Fiction” which Goethe translated into German. She noted that fiction can amuse but also influences moral ideas. In October she was given ten days to leave France, but her husband’s diplomacy extended this to December.
      On 9 June 1797 she gave birth to Albertine de Staël, probably the daughter of Constant. They lived at Coppet, and he wrote The Strength of the Present Government in France and on the Necessity of Supporting It. That year she published On the Influence of the Passions on the Happiness of Individuals and nations, and he circulated the book for her to influential friends in Paris. She noted that a man’s love is physical and immediate while the woman’s love is more emotional and lasts longer. She believed that government could promote the happiness of nations and individuals, but she also argued that such emotions could be the obstacles to happiness. Individual feelings could be stirred or calmed to promote the contentment of a group. She did not believe that despotism could heal popular passions but that the rule of law could. She advised moderation and warned that selfish ambition can corrode character. She warned against the intolerance of the partisan spirit, and she opposed using evil means to try to do good. She found that men can limit a woman’s career even if she has a beautiful heart or a broad and strong mind. Yet nothing in life can equal being truly loved. Love dominates a woman’s life but is only an episode for a man. Goethe liked this book and in April 1797 sent her a copy of his Wilhelm Meister, and this would stimulate her to learn German. In July her influence got Talleyrand appointed Foreign Minister.
      At the end of her life Germaine wrote about the French Revolution and described her encounters and reflections on Napoleon Bonaparte. When she met him on 6 December 1797, she had the feeling that “no emotion of the heart could influence him”12 because he considered humans as things. As she studied his face, he noticed and erased all expression from his eyes. He seemed obsessed with war and used it to establish and maintain absolute power. He appealed to imagination by invading Egypt. He used the fear of Jacobinism to establish his power. He made his power acceptable by presenting himself as a lesser evil in comparison to another cause for alarm. She noted that in 1800 General Bonaparte decreed a constitution without safeguards, and he used laws made during the Revolution as weapons. She observed that individuals were neglected as he managed the masses with military victories during his “ten years of disorder.” He had French newspapers cleverly censored by spreading propaganda. She claimed that she sensed quickly his “tyrannical character and intentions.” She was the first woman he banished, but there were many others. Women irritated him, and he delighted in “saying offensive and vulgar things to them.” She believed that he was afraid of the wit of French women. When Napoleon sent his brother Lucien to ask what she wants, offering to repay her father, she replied that what she thinks is more important than what she wants. On 17 January 1802 Napoleon warned her not to block any road he chose, or he would break her.
      In 1797 she was allowed to return to France to have a baby but had to live at least twenty miles from Paris. She met Napoleon, but he seemed threatened by intellectual women. She helped Talleyrand get appointed foreign minister, but in her salon Napoleon was criticized. In June 1798 she was permitted to move back to Paris. She persuaded Sieyès to have Constant appointed to the Tribunate on 24 December 1799. In his first speech he advised ending the repressive emergency law. Early in 1800 at her dinner party she encouraged Constant to speak frankly, and his prediction that her drawing-room would be deserted came true. She believed she had a “perfect friendship” with Talleyrand, but he did not invite her to his grand ball for Napoleon on February 25. She had arranged his return from America after the Terror and blamed him for the persecution that led to her ten-year exile.
      Germaine de Staël published her Literature Considered in Its Relation to Social Institutions in 1800. In the introduction she explained the importance of literature. Her purpose was to examine the influences of literature on religion, custom, and law and their effect on literature. She wanted to bring enlightened minds back to enjoying philosophy. She believed that perfect virtue creates perfect beauty in the intellectual world. Humans can surrender their deeds to vice but never their judgment which can evaluate works of the imagination. Thus literary criticism involves ethics, and the art of stirring people explores the secrets of virtue. Literary masterpieces can inspire generous actions. Improving one’s taste in literature lifts one’s character. In addition to virtue human dignity benefits from liberty, honor, and knowledge. The art of thinking is essential to the preservation of freedom. When the citizens have a role in directing their government, knowledge becomes indispensable. The principle of equality is based on reason and depends on education. Noble expression elevates the soul and is needed in a democratic state, and eloquence enhances a republican society. Intelligent writing can change and direct national habits, and literature can expose old prejudices. Germaine considered philosophical literature the best guarantee of liberty, though the sciences and arts are also important. Persuading by reasoning is more precise than carrying one away by imagination. Selfishness reduces happiness because it deprives people of help from others. Practicing expanded good will increases social happiness even though public opinion may condemn it. Sometimes one must stand alone to preserve what is great and beautiful and protect true inspiration.
      In the main part of the book she described the literature of various cultures. She did not consider the thousand years of the middle ages as the “dark ages,” and she noticed a difference in the literature of the cold northern Europe from that of the warm southern countries. She argued that a revolution in politics should bring about a revolution in literature. In the last chapter she described how genius and virtue can lead to indestructible progress, and she suggested that a higher source of virtue than reason is God.

Madame de Staël’s novels Delphine and Corinne

      Germaine’s first great novel Delphine was written in 1802, the year her husband died, and describes personal relationships and a tragic romance. Set during the early years of the French Revolution it avoids the political events of the time and is written as a series of letters in the style of many 18th-century novels she admired such as Clarissa, Julie, ou la Nouvelle Héloise, and Young Werther. In her preface she wrote,

The great religious ideas—the existence of God,
the immortality of the soul,
and the union of these splendid hopes with morality—
are so inseparable from all noble emotion,
all musing and tender enthusiasm,
that it would seem impossible to me for any novel,
any tragedy, in sum any work of the imagination,
to move people without their help.11

She also noted that she removed from the letters everything related to political events during the French Revolution.
      In her story the widow Delphine represents herself, Léonce de Mondeville her lover Narbonne, and oddly Mme. de Vernon her friend Talleyrand. Just below the title Delphine is the quote, “A man must be able to brave opinion; a woman to submit to it.” Delphine d’Albemarle’s late husband was older than her and wealthy, and she generously provides money for her cousin Mathilde de Vernon to marry the Spanish noble Léonce. Before his wedding he meets Delphine, and they fall in love while she is urging him toward Mathilde. Delphine’s friend Thérèse d’Ervins has a jealous husband, and Delphine facilitates the unhappy wife in her love affair with M. de Serbellane; but they are caught at her house, and Thérèse’s husband is killed in a duel. Delphine tries to protect her friend’s reputation as her own suffers. Mme. de Vernon tells Delphine that she will let Léonce know that she is innocent, but Vernon betrays her instead so that Léonce will marry her daughter Mathilde. After the wedding Léonce learns that Delphine is innocent. He and Delphine enjoy a Platonic friendship, but gossip spreads innuendos. Mathilde also loves Léonce and becomes pregnant. When Delphine admits to her that she is in love with Léonce, Mathilde asks her to give him up. Delphine joins a convent in Switzerland that is run by Léonce’s aunt who persuades her to take vows. M. de Valorbe is also in love with Delphine who has rejected him, but he pursues her. Léonce challenges him to a duel, but Valorbe refuses. To prevent the duel she has promised to marry him. He begs her help, and they meet in a German town where soldiers arrest Delphine. After her vows are taken, Valorbe informs Léonce that Delphine is innocent. Then Valorbe in despair takes his own life. Delphine learns that Mathilde and her baby have died. Léonce finds that his beloved has taken her vows, but Delphine is informed that the Revolution has weakened religion so much that she can get out of her vows. This, however, makes her unpopular, and to protect him she renounces marriage with Léonce. He tries to join a royalist force but is arrested and sentenced to death. After trying to get him pardoned, she takes poison and dies where he is to be executed. The bodies of the lovers are buried together.
      In Delphine the heroine finds she cannot rely on reason and turns to courage, acceptance, and patience. She finds her happiness in devoting herself to helping others, and Léonce loves her for these qualities. Delphine was successful in France, England, and Germany and had several editions. This novel is an early example of the social criticism in the 19th century. The character of M. de Lebensei is based on her friend and lover, Benjamin Constant, and in a letter to Delphine he writes that love is a great mystery, perhaps a treasure from heaven left on earth by a departing angel. He argues that in a society which accepts marriage of convenience and at a young age the laws against divorce punish the victims of matches arranged by parents. He notes that only the Catholic religion sanctifies indissoluble marriage because it imposes many kinds of pain on people as religious training; but Protestant nations have more humane laws, and the Gospels inspire benevolence and humanity. Lebensei writes to Léonce that liberty is the main source of happiness and the glory of the social order. The novel concludes with the admonition, “Endure the pain, wait upon nature, and do good to humankind.”
      After Delphine was published in December 1802 with a dedication to “French silence,” Napoleon read a digest of it and banished her from Paris, though in September 1803 he let her live 25 miles away in Mafliers. Disturbed by her gatherings, he sent a policeman to order her to move a hundred miles away. She and her children went with the officer to see Napoleon who considered her request to live in Paris. She translated a speech in England by the famous lawyer James Mackintosh defending the royalist émigré Jean-Gabriel Peltier. In 1803 she wrote a new ending without Delphine’s suicide. She also wrote her “Reflections on the Moral Aim of Delphine” and expressed the purpose

to show how, with a superior soul,
one can commit more errors than a mediocre person could,
unless the power of passion is matched by that of reason;
and how, with a generous and sensible heart,
one is apt to become guilty of many sins
if one does not submit to the most rigid morality.15

She also gave the following advice to society:

Be more careful of superior minds and souls;
you do not know the harm and injustice you do
when you give way to your hate for superiority
because it does not submit to all your laws.
Your punishments are disproportionate to the fault,
you break hearts, you strike down destinies
that would have been the world’s jewels.16

      In December 1803 Germaine and Constant went to Germany and met Goethe, Schiller, Wieland, Fichte, and the Schlegel brothers. Goethe noted that her special passion was philosophy, and later he would thank her for breaking up the prejudices that separated Germans from the French and the British. Schiller wrote to Goethe that she wants to explain everything, examine everything, and pass judgment on everything. After her father’s death in April 1804 she returned to Coppet with August Wilhelm von Schlegel as tutor for her two sons. In December they went to Italy, and in Turin they were joined by Simonde de Sismondi, who wrote History of the Italian Republics in the Middle Ages. She was getting over her father’s death and felt she could be free there and benefit from the warm climate. In 1805 she made Coppet an intellectual center.
      Germaine published her greatest novel Corinne, or Italy in April 1807 which was successful and became one of the most popular novels in the 19th century. She offered to remove “offending” passages from Corinne but would not agree to praise Napoleon, and so did neither. Her exile from Paris was renewed, and yet the exasperated Napoleon read it with interest during his lonely exile.
      Set between 1794 and 1803 the autobiographical Corinne never refers to Napoleon’s victorious campaigns in Italy. Like Germaine, the Scottish hero, Oswald Lord Nevil, is mourning his father’s death and comes to Italy to improve his health. In the first paragraph she described Oswald this way:

The most personal of all griefs, the loss of a father,
had provoked his illness; harsh circumstances,
remorse stirred by a meticulous conscience,
embittered his sorrow still more,
and imagination added its own haunting shadows.
When People suffer, they are readily persuaded of their guilt,
and violent sorrow unsettles conscience itself.17

Because of the war with France he has to go through Germany and Switzerland. Germaine had read Lessing’s Nathan the Wise, and Oswald helps trapped Jews at Ancona escape from a fire. Blonde Corinne is very intelligent and is based on the Italian poet Diodata Saluzzo Roero (1774–1840), and Oswald attends her crowning at Rome. The French Count d’Erfeuil arranges for Oswald to meet her. Corinne is attracted to him and tries to make him love Italy so that he will stay. Although Oswald has promised his father that he will marry Lucy Edgermond, he falls in love with Corinne who is the daughter of Lord Edgermond by an Italian wife. She shows him the Pantheon and other sites in Rome so that they can elevate their minds. She contrasts the gothic churches in England and Germany to Italian architecture. After her mother died, her father Lord Edgermond married an English woman. Oswald is about to propose to her; but when his uncle Edgermond arrives, she wonders if their relationship will work. They agree to tell each other about their past as they journey to Naples. She is not sure that she could adapt to English life, and Oswald’s father seems to prefer her half-sister Lucile who has dark hair. He has given Corinne his ring but returns to England, and she secretly follows him and becomes ill there. Because she has not responded to his letters, he plans to marry Lucile. Corinne recovers and discovers that her sister loves Oswald, and so she sends the ring back to him. She loses her gift for poetry, and he fights in wars in the West Indies before returning to Italy with his wife and daughter. Corinne becomes friends with the child, and Lucile learns of her past. Corinne forgives him for breaking her heart and becomes too weak to recite her poetry and dies.
      Germaine de Staël’s novels would influence Walter Scott, Hawthorne, Stendahl and especially Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Margaret Fuller, Charlotte Brontë, George Sand, George Eliot, Elizabeth Browning, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Her Corinne inspired Constant to write his autobiographical novel Adolphe which the poet Byron suggested could be given as an antidote to women who had read Corinne.

Germaine de Staël’s Later Years

      In 1803-04 Germaine de Staël and Benjamin Constant had visited Germany. At Coppet she presented plays, writing Géneviève de Brabant, Hagar in the Desert, and La Sunamite. In 1807 she and Constant performed in Racine’s Andromaque. The publication of Corinne renewed her exile from Paris, and she went back to Germany, visiting Mainz, Frankfurt, Berlin and Vienna. In 1808 Constant broke up with Germaine, and the next year he secretly married Caroline von Hardenberg. Germaine spent six years studying Germany and two years writing the book. In the spring of 1810 Napoleon allowed her to return to Paris to embark for America. She rented a castle ninety miles from Paris and arranged for the printing of 5,000 copies of On Germany that was approved by the censors in September. However, Napoleon ordered the Police Minister to destroy them, and he banished her from France. Fortunately she had hidden three copies.
      In On Germany she described the German character as sincere, faithful, serious, and imaginative, the Latin character as gay, elegant, and witty, and she distinguished these ethnic groups from the European Slavs. She found German better for poetry while the French excelled in prose and conversation. She wrote that love is a religion in Germany, and she found the French lively but arrogant. She observed that the desire to please makes us dependent, but the need to be loved frees us. To understand Prussia she advised studying Friedrich II who was influenced by French philosophy and created an empire; but he did not respect religion and morality, and his rule was based on military force. She especially criticized his role in the partitioning of Poland. She praised the universities in northern Germany for their broad learning. She valued the study of ancient and modern languages, and she noted that grammar connects ideas and so requires more thought than mathematics. Grammar combines precise reasoning and independent thought. She welcomed Pestalozzi’s educational work with children. She believed that the free institutions in England and America helped them develop wisdom.
      Staël admired Schiller for his talent and integrity as a writer. She found Goethe’s passion in Werther unequaled, and she was perhaps the first to describe the new trend in literature as “romantic.” She considered Shakespeare’s dramas the greatest and philosophical, and she noted how enjoyable Molière’s comedies are. She analyzed the dramas of Lessing, Schiller, and Goethe in whose work she found great variety. She praised Joachim de Müller’s History of Switzerland and the literary criticism of the Schlegel brothers. She recognized that Germans excelled in instrumental music.
      She observed that Descartes had directed philosophy inward, and she analyzed the philosophies of Leibniz, Kant, Fichte, Lessing, and Schelling. She considered Leibniz a rational idealist and contrasted his philosophy to Locke’s empiricism based on sensations. She especially liked Kant’s Critique of Judgment; but she suggested that if his view that the highest duty is to be truthful were rigidly followed, social life would be difficult. In ethics she protested against making self-interest the main standard of action. For her “the only supreme law is the law of justice.” In regard to love and marriage she noted the excessive inequality and wanted the double standard between the sexes ended, though noted there will always be a “war between the two sexes.” She found value in religion and distinguished from fanaticism the enthusiasm which comes from the God within and elevates the soul toward truth. Enthusiasm vitalizes thought and action and brings about happiness. She praised the courage of Luther, and she recognized that the Reformation brought forth new ideas. She found Catholics in Germany more tolerant than those in other nations. Her liberal spirit wants the temple opened to the genius of the fine arts, science, and philosophy. She urged people to follow the examples of Jesus and Socrates in forgiving. She got in trouble describing the negative results of France becoming the “master of the world.” She believed that the universe is more like a poem than a machine, and she found imagination more helpful in discovering truth than mathematics.
      She lived at Coppet and in Geneva, and in 1811 she secretly became engaged to young John Rocca. Their son Alphonse Rocca was born in 1812, and the family escaped with Schlegel to Russia in July. Yet even while Napoleon was invading their country, the noble Russians gave her hospitality. In August she won over Tsar Aleksandr and urged him to accept Jean Bernadotte as an ally and to mediate peace between Britain and America. She had invested 1.5 million francs in American land, bonds, and banks, but at St. Petersburg in September she met John Quincy Adams and criticized the United States for their war against England while the British were fighting Napoleon. Germaine went to Sweden in September, and in January 1813 she published “Reflections on Suicide.” She organized a salon for diplomats in Stockholm, and Schlegel became Bernadotte’s secretary and her son Albert his aide-de-camp. She supported the effort by Schlegel and Constant to have Bernadotte replace Napoleon.
      She moved to London in June 1813, and in October On Germany was printed there in French and sold out in three days. After Napoleon abdicated in April 1814, she opened her salon in Paris to great acclaim that included the Duke of Wellington, the Humboldt brothers, James Mackintosh, Bernadotte, and Prince Friedrich of Prussia. When she learned of a plot to murder him at Elba, she warned his brother Joseph Bonaparte who was her friend. In July she wrote to Gallatin that she supported the United States against the British as she had backed the British against Napoleon. When she met Wellington, she lectured him about the war against America. When Germaine learned that Napoleon had returned in March 1815, she said, “There will be no liberty if Bonaparte wins and no national independence if he loses,” and she concluded, “There is no counter-revolution so fatal to liberty as the one he made.”18 After Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo she suggested the liberal Duke Philippe of Orléans, who came to power in 1830, but she accepted the Bourbon Restoration of Louis XVIII and held her brilliant salon.
      In 1816 she published “The Spirit of Translation” and became friends with the poet Byron at Coppet. She believed that the Americans would be very great but wrote to Jefferson that they needed to eliminate slavery first to become more perfect.
      Also in 1816 Germaine wrote Considerations on Principal events of the French Revolution. She argued that the triumph of enlightenment always improves mankind. She noted that the ancient Greek and Roman nations fell because of unjust institutions such as slavery and that despotism made the Asian civilizations stagnant. She described the feudalism set up by conquerors and nobles, and in Europe that was followed by emancipation of the middle classes in German and Italian republics. The Renaissance, printing, Reformation, and discovery of the New World advanced commerce and showed that not all power was military.
      She observed that British nobility was more liberal and had become Europe’s only great empire, having honored commerce and industry. She noted how the English supported charity by private contribution, and English legislation advanced security and liberty. Yet she found their civil law too costly and too long, and she noticed that votes in Parliament could be purchased. Local administration, elections, juries, and newspapers opened English affairs to many. She noted that religious and political fanaticism caused violence, though William Penn and others banished this in North America. In the work of Byron she saw the beginning of “a new age of glory for English poetry.” She criticized British imperialism and the corruption of civil servants in India.
      She considered slavery indefensible even though it had lasted 4,000 years. She believed that the French Revolution showed the perfectibility of humanity and that it would survive the excesses of the Terror, the dictatorship of Napoleon, and the Bourbon Restoration. She asserted that freedom of expression is the only right on which all others depend. She valued religion and the way the United States had separated it from the state. She believed that all people could be freed by education from superstitions and prejudices. Her liberal ideas influenced Victor Hugo’s preface to the unproduced play Cromwell and also the French historians Guizot, Michelet, and Lamartine. She concluded that her errors in politics resulted from her belief that people could be moved by the truth that was expressed vigorously. Her husband Rocca had tuberculosis, and they went to Italy. Germaine suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in February 1817. She talked politics with the Duke of Orléans the day before her death on 14 July. Her son Auguste edited and published her book on the French Revolution in 1818, and her complete works in 1820 including the unfinished autobiographical Ten Years of Exile.

Notes

1. Quoted in The French Revolution by J. F. Bosher, p. 230.
2. Quoted in Napoleon Bonaparte by Alan Schom, p. 42.
3. Quoted in The French Revolution, 1789-1804 by Robert B. Asprey, p. 245.
4. Quoted in Napoleon: A Political Life by Steven Englund, p. 245.
5. Quoted in Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts, p. 462.
6. Quoted in The Bourbon Restoration by Guillaume de Bertier de Sauvigny, tr. Lynn M. Case, p. 17.
7. Ibid., p. 37.
8. Quoted in Napoleon: A Life by Andrew Roberts, p. 206
9. Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution ed. Duc de Broglie and Baron de Staël (1818), Vol. 1, p. 118.
10. On Politics, Literature, and National Character by Madame de Staël, tr. Morroe Berger, p. 124.
11. Quoted in Mistress to an Age: A Life of Madame de Staël by Christopher J. Herold, p. 52.
12. Quotes in this paragraph are from On Politics, Literature, and National Character by Madame de Staël, tr. Morroe Berger, p. 89, 95, 97, 98.
13. Ibid., p. 103, 105.
14. Delphine by Madame de Staël, tr. Avriel H. Goldberger, p. 7.
15. Quoted in Mistress to an Age: A Life of Madame de Staël by Christopher J. Herold, p. 232.
16.Quoted in Delphine by Madame de Staël, tr. Avriel H. Goldberger, p. xxviii.
17. Corinne, or Italy by Madame de Staël, tr. Avriel H. Goldberger, p. 3.
18. On Politics, Literature, and National Character by Madame de Staël, tr. Morroe Berger, p. 105.

Copyright © 2018 by Sanderson Beck

EUROPE & REVOLUTION 1789-1830

France’s Revolution 1789-95
France & Napoleon’s Rise & Fall 1796-1815
France of Louis XVIII & Charles X 1814-30
Britain’s Reaction to France 1789-1799
Britain: War and Recovery 1800-30
Romantic Era of English Literature 1789-1830
Germans, Austria & Swiss 1789-1830
German Idealists and Romantics 1789-1830
Spain, Portugal and Italy 1789-1830
Netherlands and Scandinavia 1789-1830
Poland, Russia & Greek Revolution 1789-1830
Summary and Evaluating Europe 1789-1830
Bibliography

ETHICS OF CIVILIZATION Index

Chronology of Europe 1716-1830
World Chronology 1715-1817

BECK index