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The Life of Napoleon I (Volume 1 of 2) by Rose

And Godoy with an inroad of 80


In

vain did the King of Prussia represent to Napoleon that Hanover was not British territory, and that the neutrality of Germany was infringed and its interests damaged by the French occupation of Hanover and Cuxhaven. His protest was met by an offer from Napoleon to evacuate Hanover, Taranto and Otranto, only at the time when England should "evacuate Malta and the Mediterranean"; and though the special Prussian envoy, Lombard, reported to his master that Napoleon was "truth, loyalty, and friendship personified," yet he received not a word that betokened real regard for the susceptibilities of Frederick William III. or the commerce of his people.[270] For the present, neither King nor Czar ventured on further remonstrances; but the First Consul had sown seeds of discord which were to bear fruit in the Third Coalition.

Having quartered 60,000 French troops on Naples and Hanover, Napoleon could face with equanimity the costs of the war. Gigantic as they were, they could be met from the purchase money of Louisiana, the taxation and voluntary gifts of the French dominions, the subsidies of the Italian and Ligurian Republics, and a contribution which he now exacted from Spain.

Even before the outbreak of hostilities he had significantly reminded Charles IV. that the Spanish marine was deteriorating, and her arsenals and dockyards were idle: "But England is not asleep; she is ever on the watch and will never rest until

she has seized on the colonies and commerce of the world."[271] For the present, however, the loss of Trinidad and the sale of Louisiana rankled too deeply to admit of Spain entering into another conflict, whence, as before, Napoleon would doubtless gain the glory and leave to her the burden of territorial sacrifices. In spite of his shameless relations to the Queen of Spain, Godoy, the Spanish Minister, was not devoid of patriotism; and he strove to evade the obligations which the treaty of 1796 imposed on Spain in case of an Anglo-French conflict. He embodied the militia of the north of Spain and doubtless would have defied Bonaparte's demands, had Russia and Prussia shown any disposition to resist French aggressions. But those Powers were as yet wholly devoted to private interests; and when Napoleon threatened Charles IV. and Godoy with an inroad of 80,000 French troops unless the Spanish militia were dissolved and 72,000,000 francs were paid every year into the French exchequer, the Court of Madrid speedily gave way. Its surrender was further assured by the thinly veiled threat that further resistance would lead to the exposure of the _liaison_ between Godoy and the Queen. Spain therefore engaged to pay the required sum--more than double the amount stipulated in 1796--to further the interests of French commerce and to bring pressure to bear on Portugal. At the close of the year the Court of Lisbon, yielding to the threats of France and Spain, consented to purchase its neutrality by the payment of a million francs a month to the master of the Continent.[272]

Meanwhile the First Consul was throwing his untiring energies into the enterprise of crushing his redoubtable foe. He pushed on the naval preparations at all the dockyards of France, Holland, and North Italy; the great mole that was to shelter the roadstead at Cherbourg was hurried forward, and the coast from the Seine to the Rhine became "a coast of iron and bronze"--to use Marmont's picturesque phrase--while every harbour swarmed with small craft destined for an invasion. Troops were withdrawn from the Rhenish frontiers and encamped along the shores of Picardy; others were stationed in reserve at St. Omer, Montreuil, Bruges, and Utrecht; while smaller camps were formed at Ghent, Compiegne, and St. Malo. The banks of the Elbe, Weser, Scheldt, Somme, and Seine--even as far up as Paris itself--rang with the blows of shipwrights labouring to strengthen the flotilla of flat-bottomed vessels designed for the invasion of England. Troops, to the number of 50,000 at Boulogne under Soult, 30,000 at Etaples, and as many at Bruges, commanded by Ney and Davoust respectively, were organized anew, and by constant drill and exposure to the elements formed the tough nucleus of the future Grand Army, before which the choicest troops of Czar and Kaiser were to be scattered in headlong rout. To all these many-sided exertions of organization and drill, of improving harbours and coast fortifications, of ship-building, testing, embarking, and disembarking, the First Consul now and again applied the spur of his personal supervision; for while the warlike enthusiasm which he had aroused against perfidious Albion of itself achieved wonders, yet work was never so strenuous and exploits so daring as under the eyes of the great captain himself. He therefore paid frequent visits to the north coast, surveying with critical eyes the works at Boulogne, Calais, Dunkirk,


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