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LIFE

OF

NAPOLEON BUONAPARTE.

merce

CHAPTER XXII. British Expedition to Copenhagen-Coalition of France, Austria, Prussia, and Russia, against English Com.

- Internal affairs of FranceThe Administration of Napoleonhis Council of State-Court-CodePublic Works - Manufactures— Taxes-Military Organization-The Conscription. NAPOLEON, having left strong garrisons in the maritime cities of Poland and Northern Germany, returned to Paris in August, and was received by the Senate and other public bodies with all the triumph and excess of adulation. The Swedish King abandoned Pomerania immediately on hearing of the treaty of Tilsit. In effect the authority of the Emperor appeared now to be consolidated over the whole continent of Europe. He had reached indeed the pinnacle of his power and pride; henceforth he was to descend; urged downwards, step by step, by the reckless audacity of ambition and the gathering weight of guilt.

The English government, being satisfied that the naval force of Denmark was about to be em

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ployed for the purposes of Napoleon, determined to anticipate him, while it was yet time, and to send into the Baltic such a fleet as should at once convince the court of Copenhagen that resistance must be vain, and so bring about the surrender of the vessels of war (to be retained by England, not in property, but in pledge, until the conclusion of a general peace,) without any loss of life or compromise of honour. Twenty-seven sail of the line, carrying a considerable body of troops under the orders of Sir Arthur Wellesley, (a name already illustrious in the annals of the Anglo-Indian Empire,) appeared before the capital of Denmark in the middle of August, and found the government wholly unprepared for defence. The high spirit of the Crown Prince, however, revolted against yielding to a demand which imperious necessity alone could have rendered justifiable on the part of England: nor, unfortunately, were these scruples overcome until the Danish troops had suffered severely in an action against the British, and the capital itself had been bombarded during three days, in which many public buildings, churches and libraries perished, and the private population sustained heavy loss both of life and property. The fleet being at length surrendered, the English withdrew with it in safety; and the rage of Napoleon -ill disguised in lofty philippics about the violations of the rights and privileges of independent nations—betrayed how completely he had calculated on the use of this marine, and how little he had anticipated a movement of such vigour from the cabinet of St. James's.

The Emperor of Russia is said to have signified,

through a confidential channel, that, though for the present he found himself compelled to temporize, he approved and admired the procedure of the English government. If this be true, however, his public and open conduct bore a very different appearance. The British ambassador was dismissed from St. Petersburg, and a general coalition of Russia, Austria, Prussia, and Denmark, against the commerce of England being speedily afterwards formed, the decrees of Berlin—still further strengthened by other decrees, issued by Napoleon on the 7th December, 1806, at Milan- -were in fact announced as part and parcel of the universal law of the continent. Alexander of Russia marched a large army into Finland, and took possession of that great Swedish province-the promised booty of Tilsit. His fleet in the Mediterranean gained a signal victory over the Turks, and terms of amity between the courts of St. Petersburg and Constantinople were at length arranged under the mediation or dictation of Napoleon. Every thing seemed to point to a state of universal tranquillity or submission throughout the continent, and to a steady devotion of all the resources of the European monarchies to the service of the French Emperor, and the destruction of his last and greatest enemy.

That enemy was ere long, in consequence of a new and unforeseen explosion of guilty ambition, to possess the means of rekindling the continental war, of distracting the alliances of Napoleon, and ultimately of ruining the power which, for the present, appeared irresistible. But a short interval of tranquillity ensued: and we may avail ourselves of the opportunity to recur for a moment to the internal administration of French affairs under the Imperial Government, as now finally organized.

Buonaparte, shortly after the peace of Tilsit, abolished the Tribunate; and there remained, as the last shadows of assemblies having any political influence, the Legislative Senate and the Council of State. The former of these bodies was early reduced to a mere instrument for recording the imperial decrees; the latter consisted of such persons as Napoleon chose to invest for the time with the privilege of being summoned to the palace, when it pleased him to hear the opinions of others as to measures originating in his own mind, or suggested to him by his ministers. He appears to have, on many occasions, permitted these counsellors to speak their sentiments frankly and fully, although differing from himself; but there were looks and gestures which sufficiently indicated the limits of this toleration, and which persons, owing their lucrative appointment to his mere pleasure, and liable to lose it at his nod, were not likely to transgress. In effect they spoke openly and honestly only on topics in which their master's feelings were not much concerned.

His favourite saying during the continuance of his power was, “ I am the State ;” and in the exile of St. Helena he constantly talked of himself as having been, from necessity, the Dictator of France. In effect no despotism within many degrees so complete and rigid was ever before established in a civilized and Christian country. The whole territory was divided into prefectures-each prefect being appointed by Napoleon-carefully selected for a province with which he had no domestic rela

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