Page images

Colli was directed to apply to him completely humbled, who had long for that purpose, and proposed a been considered as the most secure suspension of arms, while the peace of any, by his position, against the was negociating. But he refused inroads of the French: his prede. to suspend his operations, unless the cessors, though frequently hard king delivered two strong towns pressed by them, had never been reinto his hands, as pledges of the duced to such extremities, and ne, sincerity of his intentions, and im- ver experienced such disgrace. By mediately dispatched commissioners this treaty he was despoiled of all to Paris.

power and consequence; and though The king's situation was so criti. he retained the title of the king, cal, that he was obliged to comply be remained no more than the nowith this requisition, and the French minal sovereign of his dominions. were put in possession of Cava, The reduction of the king of Coni, and Toriona. 'The Austrians, Sardinia was an event that changed thus deprived of their ally, were at once the whole face of Italy. obliged to fall back on the Milanese. That prince was no longer master In their march they artempted 10 of the barriers that nature has fixed sieze the town of Alessandria, be- between that country and France, longing to the king of Sardinia, and from which he derived his prinbut the commandant prevented the cipal importance. They were now execution of this design, and Beau. in the hands of the French, and the lieu hastened to cross the Po, in or- Italian powers, deprived of this der to cover himself and the country rampart of their dominions, to the north of that river.

themselves at the mercy of a people, In the mean time, negociations for who had, for many centuries, en. peace were carried on at Paris, be. deavoured to obtain iween the king of Sardinia and the among them, with the manifest design French republic, which imposed of subjecting them to their influence, severe conditions on this unfortunate

These astonishing successes could prince. He was constrained

not fail to inspire the French aryield up Savoy, the patrimony of mies, that had obtained them, with his ancestors for many ages, toge- the highest degree of exultation: ther with the city and territory of nor did their commander forget to Nice, and a tract of land, which the improve the sentiments of self ap. conquerors entitled the Department plause and confidence, manifested by of the Maritime Alps. A new ar- ihem, into that disposition of mind, rangement was made of the fron- which would lead them on to those tiers on each side, highly advantage- farther exploits he had in contemous to France. He consented to plation. He issued an address to stop and put an end to all prosecu- them on the ewenty-sixth of April

, tions against any of his subjects for three days after the application for their political opinions, to withdraw peace from the Sardinian monarch, himself from the coalition, and to wherein he recapitulated, in a truly apologise for his conduct towards the classical and energetic style, the republic. Such were the principal glory they had acquired, and repreterms of the treaty.“

sented that which lay still before In this manner was the prince them.

[ocr errors]

a footing




“ You have precipitated your- our ships at Toulon : the hour of selves, like a torrent, from the vengeance and retribution is now heights of the Apennines. You at hand. But let the people remain have routed and dispersed all who tranquil; we are friends to all the have opposed your progress. Pied- people, and more particularly the mont, delivered from Austrian ty- descendants of Brutus, of Scipio, ranny,displays its natural sentiments and the great men whom we have of peace and friendship for France. taken for our models. Re-establish Milan is ours, and the republican the capitol, and place there with flag flies over all Lombardy. The honour the statues of the heroes that dukes of Parma and Modena owe rendered it celebrated ; awaken the their political existence to your ge- Roman people, debased' by many nerosity. The army, which with centuries of slavery. Such will be so much pride threatened you, has the fruit of your victories ; they no barrier of protection against your will form an epoch for posterity; courage ;. the Po, the Tessin, and you will have the immortal glory the Adda, have been unable to of changing the face of the first stop you a single day; those boasted country in Europe. The free French bulwarks of Italy' have been in- people, respected by the whole sufficient to delay your progress; world, will give to Europe a gloyou have surmounted them as ra- rious peace, which will indemnify pidly as you passed the Appennines. them for the sacrifices they have So much success has carried you to made during six years; you will the bosom of your country: your re- then return to your homes, and your presentatives have ordained a fête, fellow citizens will say, shewing you, dedicated to your victories, which this man was of the army of Itawill be celebrated in all the com- ly.” munes of the republic. Your fathers, Such were the ideas which the your mothers, your wives, your French general exerted himself to sisters, your lovers, will enjoy your impress upon the public, as well success, and boast with pride that as on his own people. His private they belong to you. Yes, soldiers, conversations were of the same tenyou have done much; but does there dency, and he omitted no opporremain nothing more to be done? tunity of representing the expediThough we have known how to tion of the French into Italy as invanquish, we have not known how tended to lay the foundation of a to profit of our victories. Posterity total deliverance of the inbabitants will reproach us with having ter- from the government of strangers, minated our course in Lombardy: and the tyranny of domestic rulers. but already I see you run to arms;

Sentiments of this description a slothful repose fatigues you.

Let were not unacceptable to multitudes us depart! we have yet forced in every part of Italy. The mamarches to make, enemies to sub- jority of the natives could not but due, laurels to gather, injuries to perceive the humiliation of being revenge, Let those tremble who subject 10 princes born and bred in bave whetted the poignards of civil foreign countries : they could not, war in France, who have basely from that circumstance alone, feel assassinatedour ministers and burned that attachment for them which


[ocr errors]

they might have done for native having seized a number of boats, princes.

rowed to the other side, protected To the praises bestowed by Buo. by 'so heavy a discharge of musketry, naparte on his army, the directory that the enemy was obliged to readded its acknowledgments to him, tire, and leave them to land, which and those of his oficers who had they did in the compaciest order. signalized themselves in the laie This was effected on the sevebih of actions. It wrote to them separately, May. As soon as Beaulieu was apspecifying, in the most gracious and prised of it, equally astonished at an satisfactory manner, the particular event he had so little expected, and motives for which the thanks of the anxious to repair the mistake he had public' were due to them.

committed, he selected the best of This homage paid to their me- his troops, with wbom he advanced rit, in the name of the nation, on the French, in hope of coming by those who were invested with upon them before a sufficient numits supreme authority, was received, ber could have crossed 10 secure the by the French officers, as the highest passage of the rest ; but they were honour that could be conferred not only on his side of the river, upon them, to be considered as de- but marching towards him. On reserving of it was now become the ceiving this intelligence, he insummit of their wishes; só effectually trenched himself at Fombio, a vilhad the republican notions of patri. lage advantageously situated, exotism taken possession of their minds. pecting the arrival of reinforce

The moment after the suspension ments; but he was immediately of arms between the French and attacked on every side by the the king of Sardinia had been signed, French, who forced him to break Buonaparte lost no time in availing up his camp in the utmost disorder, himself of it to the utmost. llein. and with the loss of a large quanstantly put army in motion from tity of horses and baggage, as well all quarters, in order to cross the as of men. Po, and to render it doubtful to Another body of Austrians was, the enemy, by his various' move- in the mean time, hástening to his ments, at what place he would at. aid, and came up with the French tempt the passage over, that river. early the next morning : but geThe Austrian general did not doubt 'neral Laharpe, an officer of great but the French would endeavour to merit and intrepidity, charged ihem pass it at the town of Valenza, which with such vigour, that they were they had stipulated with the Sar- instantly defeated, and put to fight. dinian ministry should be ceded to The loss of this officer, who fell them for that purpose. For this on this occasion, was more than a reason, he made every disposition counterpoise to the success of the necessary to obstruct their passage at French. He was a Swiss by birth; this place: but Buonaparte deceived and, being driven from his country, bim; and, by rapid marches, reached on account of his republican printhe banks of the Po, opposite to ciples, he took refuge in France, the city of Placenza. A body of and entered into the service of the horse prepared to oppose him ; but republic, where his military talents a chosen corps of French infantry, raised him to the rank of a general.



[merged small][ocr errors]

He was high in the esteem of Buona. and whose thirst of fame would parte, who bad formed the greatest thereby be gratified to the utmost expectations from him, and grie extent of bis wishes. pously lamented his fall.

Between him and that capital of The duke of Parma, ia whose Austrian Italy lay the remains of sight, as it were, the French had the Imperial forces, determined to crossed the. Po, and defeated the risk another battle for its preservaAnstrians iwice in one day, did not tion. They were posted on the dare to prolong the contest on his other side of the Adda, over which part, with so irresistable a foe. He stood a long bridge, which Beaulieu requested an armistice from Buona. had intended to break down, but was parte, and obtained it on condition prevented from doing by the quick of paying a large contribution in approach of the French general. It money, horses, and provisions; of was protected, however, by so nudelivering into ibe possession of the merous an artillery, that the AusFrench twenty capital paintings trians did not imagine the French to be chosen by them, and of send- would be able to force a passage ing without delay commissaries to over it. Paris, to conclude a peace with the On the tenth of May, the French republic: on these terms the duke army arrived in sight of this bridge, procured a neutrality for his domi- before which stood the town of Dions, which was concluded on the Lodi, filled with the Imperial troops Rinth of May.

which were also posted in every The uninterrupted successes of place around it in ihe most advanthe French had now struck their tageous order of battle that the enemies with universal consterna- situation of the town and its envition. Beaulieu himself, though an rons would admit. Beaulieu hari, expert and intrepid warrior, thought on this occasion, displayed uncomit more prudent to act on the des mon skill, conscious that, on the fensive, ihan to attack ibem with issue of this day, the fate of Aus. troops continually defeated. The tria in Italy wholly depended, and bravery of the Austrians, though un. that, were he deleated, all future deniable, had not been proof against resistance would be vain. their impetuous valour and unyield. The battle began at nine in the ing enthusiasm. They seemed to morning. The approaches to Lodi have reversed the characier formerly were vigorously attacked by the attributed to them, of impatience French, who, after an obstinate disand unsteadiness, and to have as. pute, drove ihe Austrians into that sumed that of firmness and con- iown; where a resolute fight ensued: stancy.

but the French had again the advanTheir exploits had now opened tage, and forced them to retreat to them the road to Milan, the cap- ' across the bridge to their main body, ture of which would give them the which was drawn up in order of possession of Lombardy, and effect battle, with formidable batteries on the expulsion of the Austrians from their right and left to guard the Italy. This was the project of passage of the bridge. A battery Buonaparte, whose glory would be was planted on the opposite side completed by such an achievement; by the French, and a violent can3


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

nonade was kept up, on both sides, would have been much greater. It during great part of the day. was owing to the approach of night

But the French general was con. that the French desisted from the vinced, that unless he succeeded in pursuit. Favoured by darkness, effecting a passage over the bridge, Beaulieu withdrew from the field his failure would be construed into of battle, after losing upwards of 2 deseat, and the reputation of the two thousand men, killed, woundFrench arms would suffer in the opi- ed, and taken, and twenty pieces nion of the public. Full of this of cannon. The loss of the French idea, which was certainly well was considerable: the crossing of founded, he determined to try every the bridge alone cost them near a effort, and to encouuter every per- thousand of their boldest men, who sonal risk, in order to carry a point were destroyed by the batteries on which so much appeared at issue. pointed on it from the Austrian side Forming together the selectest bo- of the river. dies of his army, he led them in This defeat of the Iinperial army person to the attack of the bridge, appeared so decisive to marshal in the midst of a most tremendous Beaulieu that be durst not venture fire. The intrepidity he displayed to stop the progress of the victors was necessary to confirm the cou- towards Milan. Collecting the sage of his men, whom the great. wrecks of his army, he made a ness of the danger seemed to stag. speedy retreat towards Mantua, puse ger : but his presence, and that of sued by a large body of the French, all the chief officers in the French who, in their way, seized on Pizarmy, animated the soldiers to such zighitona and Cremona, two places a degree, that they rushed forward of noie. The main body under with an impetuosity wbich nothing Buonaparte proceeded to Milan, afwas able to withstand. They crossed ter taking Pavia, where all the Austhe bridge and assailed the whole trian magazines fell into the hands line of the Austrian artillery, which of the French. was instantly broken. They fell Buonaparte entered Milan the fifa with equal fury on the troops that teenth of May, five days after the advanced to charge then, who battle of Lodi, which, conformawere thrown into disorder, and put bly to his opinion and that of his to flight on every side. The victo. rival, Beaulieu, proved wholly de. rỳ was complete. Had it not been cisive of the fate of Lombardy. for the excessive fatigue undergone Here the French general thought it by the French, a great proportion necessary to allow his people some of whom had marched ten leagues days of repose, after the unceasing that day to join the army, the loss toils of a whole month, marked by of the Imperialists, though great, uninterrupted victories.


« PreviousContinue »