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Memel, Bonaparte demanded that his ambassador, Lauriston, should be permitted to attend personally on the emperor Alexander at Wilna, with whom he could have a free communication through a proper officer appointed for that purpose.
Just before Bonaparte left Paris, the minister for foreign affairs presented him with the usual report; in this report the approaching war with Russia forms the principal topic; and it confirms, what indeed was very apparent from the official correspondence already given, that France went to war with Russia, solely and expressly because Russia would not ruin herself for the sake of the continental system. Other causes of complaint against Russia are, however, introduced in this report : in 1809, Austria made war on France : Russia was bound by treaty to assist France, in case of hostility with any power, the force agreed upon was 150,000 men, but Russia was so slow in her motions, and so inadequate in the force she brought forward, that only 15,000 men came into the field, and by the time they had crossed the Russian frontier the fate of the war was decided. It does not appear that any remonstrance was made to Russia at the time of this non-fulfilment of her engagements; and it was brought forward in the report merely to strengthen a weak cause, The report then adverts to the Russian Ukase of 1810, already noticed; the admission of English merchandise; her armies threatening the invasion or the independency of the duchy of Warsaw ; and, finally, her protest respecting Oldenburgh. The desire of Bonaparte for peace, according to custom, is blazoned forth; but his determination is also expressed to maintain by arms, the honor of treaties, and the existence and integrity of the states of his allies. At the same time, there were laid before the senate, treaties wbich had been entered into by France with Austria and Prussia : by the treaty with Austria, that power engaged to furnish 30,000 men to France in her war with Russia ; the integrity of the Turkish territories in Europe was guaranteed; and the principles of the treaty of Utrecht recognised : the principles of this famous treaty here alluded to, are those which relate to maritime commerce ; and which, undoubtedly, sanction Bonaparte's favorite doctrine, “that neutral bottoms make neutral goods;" and that the flag covers and protects the merchandise, even though it be the property of a belligerent, provided it be not contraband of war: the recognition of this principle by Austria proved her devotion to France, and her hostility to England, much more than her engagement to furnish 30,000 men. The treaty between France and Prussia was merely nominal ; all the resources and troops of the late power had long been at the entire disposal of Bonaparte, and would consequently in his war with Russia, be employed exactly in the same manner as if they were his own.
Preparations for war on the part of Russia and France.-
-The Situation and Means of the two Powers contrasted.-Character of the Russian Soldiery.-- Advantages and Disadvantages of the two Nations in the approaching Contest.-A curious Sketch of the Life of Bonaparte.-Commencement of Hostilities.
The preparations for war, both on the part of Russia and France, had been begun almost as soon as the differences between them originated. Even in the spring of the year 1811, the Russian government perceived that these differences would produce hostilities: experience convinced it, that Bonaparte was not to be trusted, that he never forgave any deviation from his commands, or his expectations, on the part of any of his allies; and that nothing would satisfy him, short of such a subjection or dismemberment of the Russian em. pire, as would render it no longer formidable, and as would put it completely in his power to exclude from its ports British manufactures and produce : under the conviction, therefore, that the tremendous crisis was approaching, which would in all probability determine the fate of their country, and either reduce it under the authority of Bonaparte, or place it effectually and securely beyond his reach, the Russian cabinet occupied itself in military preparations on the most extensive scale. As they wished these preparations to be conducted and managed so as not to augment the jealous and prying suspicion of Bonaparte, or to afford him fresh pretexts for indignation or hostility, they were carried on with great secrecy and circumspection; or where they were of such a nature as
to attract notice, plausible reasons were assigned for them. Cannon were secretly sent from the arsenals towards the frontiers of the empire. Throughout the whole extent of European Russia, and part of the Asiatic division of the empire, there are numerous bodies of troops, called “Garrison battalions :" these were incorporated with the regular forces; so that by the end of February in 1811, in the western provinces of Russia, there were quartered no fewer than 200,000 mer. In order that the strength and condition of the other corps in the more distant parts of the empire might be fully and accurately ascertained, many of the more intelligent generals, who commanded divisions of them, visited Petersburgh, under pretence of attending their private affairs, but in reality to lay before the war minister the state of their divisions, and to consult with him on the best means of increasing their numbers and improving their discipline.
Fresh activity was given to these preparations, as soon as the incorporation of the Hanse-towns with the French empire, and the seizure of the duchy of Oldenburgh were known at St. Petersburgh :-the last aggression made a deep impression on the mind of Alexander, and added strength to his conviction, that these seizures were only preparative steps towards a war with Russia, and ought rather to incite him to the utmost circumspection, vigilance, and self-defence. In all probability he would immediately have declared war against France, and not have contented himself with a mere pretext against the seizure of the duchy of Oldenburgh; but Russia was at this period entangled in hostilities with Turkey, which occupied a considerable portion of her troops ; and besides,
her finances were embarrassed, and required to be placed on a more regular and productive plan.However, though it would not have been prudent in Russia, in the spring of 1811, to have commenced hostilities with France, she did not lose sight of the high and increasing probability, that they must very soon take place : the manufacture of arms was encouraged : 500,000 muskets, and 2000 pieces of ordinance were finished in a space of time so short, that the skill, experience, and industry of Britain could not have produced them more quickly ; fortifications were constructed on the banks of the Dwina ; so that the military preparations of this vast and cumbrous empire were not only much more formidable, and on a much larger scale, than they had been previous to hostilities with France in the years 1805 and 1807, but, they were conducted and managed with more method and order, and directed with more precision and accuracy to the points and objects most necessary. The organization of the forces, also, was altered : the cavalry formerly used to be attached to the different divisions of infantry, but, they were now separated from them. The infantry of the line consisted of 28 divisions, of six regiments each, and every regiment contained three battalions of 600 effective men; forming a total of 302,400 infantry; the cavalry consisted of seven divisions, of 40 squadrons each, every squadron containing 142 effective men, so that the whole cavalry amounted to 39,760 : besides these, there were 50,000 Cossacks. The whole military force of the Russian empire, therefore, in 1811, when she exerted herself in the expectation of an immediate rupture with France, amounted to 392,160 men : but of these, two divisions were employed against the Persians ; five against the Turks; and