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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

Moreau easily broke through this barrier


[Sidenote:

1799. BONAPARTE FIRST CONSUL.]

At this crisis, the Archduke Karl, Austria's single good general, threw up his command, on account of the interference of the Court of Vienna with his plans. His place was filled by the Archduke John, a boy of nineteen, under whom was an army of 100,000 men, scattered in a long line from the Alps to Frankfort. Moreau easily broke through this barrier, overran Baden and Wuertemberg, and was only arrested for a short time by the fortifications of Ulm. While these events were occurring, another Austrian army under Melas besieged Massena in Genoa. Bonaparte collected a new force, with such rapidity and secrecy that his plan was not discovered, made a heroic march over the St. Bernard pass of the Alps in May, and came down upon Italy like an avalanche. Genoa, thousands of whose citizens perished with hunger during the siege, had already surrendered to the Austrians; but, when the latter turned to repel Bonaparte, they were cut to pieces on the field of Marengo, on the 14th of June, 1800. This magnificent victory gave all Northern Italy, as far as the river Mincio, into the hands of the French.

Again Bonaparte offered peace to Austria, on the same basis as before. An armistice was concluded, and Francis II. made signs of accepting the offer of peace, but only that he might quietly recruit his armies. When, therefore, the armistice expired, on the 25th of November, Moreau immediately

advanced to attack the new Austrian army of nearly 90,000 men, which occupied a position along the river Inn. On the 3d of December, the two met at Hohenlinden, and the French, after a bloody struggle, were completely victorious. There was now, apparently, nothing to prevent Moreau from marching upon Vienna, and the Archduke Karl, who had been sent in all haste to take command of the demoralized Austrians, was compelled to ask for an armistice upon terms very humiliating to the Hapsburg pride.

[Sidenote: 1801.]

After all its combined haughtiness and incompetency, the Court of Vienna gratefully accepted such terms as it could get. Francis II. sent one of his ministers, Cobenzl, who met Joseph Bonaparte at Luneville (in Lorraine), and there, on the 9th of February, 1801, peace was concluded. Its chief provisions were those of the Treaty of Campo Formio: all the territory west of the Rhine, from Basel to the sea, was given to France, together with all Northern Italy west of the Adige. The Duke of Modena received part of Baden, and the Duke of Tuscany Salzburg. Other temporal princes of Germany, who lost part or the whole of their territory by the treaty, were compensated by secularizing the dominions of the priestly rulers, and dividing them among the former. Thus the States governed by Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots or other clerical dignitaries, nearly one hundred in number, were abolished at one blow, and what little was left of the fabric of the old German Empire fell to pieces. The division of all this territory among the other States gave rise to new difficulties and disputes, which were not settled for two years longer. The Diet appointed a special Commission to arrange the matter; but, inasmuch as Bonaparte, through his Minister Talleyrand, and Alexander I. of Russia (the Emperor Paul having been murdered in 1801), intrigued in every possible way to enlarge the smaller German States and prevent the increase of Austria, the final arrangements were made quite as much by the two foreign powers as by the Commission of the German Diet.


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