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Exultation of the French at the Successes of their Armies.-Their Army in Italy animated by the Praises of their Countrymen, and the Conversation as well as the Proclamations of Buonaparte to a high Passion for Glory. -Enters the Duchy of Modena.-Spoliation of Monuments of Antiquity and Art.—Abhorrence of the Italian Nobility and Clergy towards the French greater than that of the inferior Classes.-A general Insurrection, ready to break out, quashed by the Vigilance and Promptitude of Buonaparte. -The Austrians, under General Beaulieu, with the Connivance of the Venetians, take Possession of Peschiera.-Buonaparte advances against Beaulieu, who retreats to the Tyrolese.-The Venetians tremble before the French.-Dismiss from their Territories the Brother of the late King and Claimant of the Crown of France.-Buonaparte takes Possession of Verona.-Blockades Mantua.-Prepares to march into the Tyrolese.Detained by Insurrections in the Districts, known under the Name of Imperial Fiefs.-These being suppressed, he carries his Arms to the Southward.-Reduces Tortona, Bologna, and Urbino.-Menaces Rome.—Armistice between the Pope and Buonaparte.-Suspension of Hostilities with Naples.-Buonaparte the Friend and Patron of Men of Learning and Science-Ambitious Views of the French Republic.—Insurrection in Lugo. Quelled, and the City reduced by the French.-The Blockade of Mantua converted into a close Siege.-Raised by Marshal Wurmser.-Actions between the French Army and that of the Austrians, reinforced by Detach ments from Mantua.-Remarkable, Instance of Presence of Mind in Buonaparte.-The Austrians driven back beyond the Adige.
HE news of these astonishing successes had, in the mean time, filled all France with exultation. A splendid festival was appointed, at Paris, by the Directory, in order to celebrate them with suitable magnificence. To render it more solemn, it was accompanied with speeches to the citizens, and eulogiums of the victorous army, pronounced by Carnot, the president of the day, and calculated to animate the public against the ene
mies of France, particularly the English; and to encourage the nation to bear up cheerfully against the pressures of the war, by the prospect of terminating it finally to the advantage and glory of France.
During an interval of five days rest, allowed by Buonaparte to his soldiers, he did not forget to address them in his usual manner, and to excite their ardour, by a recital of their exploits, and a representation of the honours and applause be
stowed upon them by their country, and by a prospect of the future triumphs awaiting them.
He was now meditating expeditions into the territories of those princes of whose enmity to France sufficient proofs had been given. A detachment of his army had already entered the duchy of Modena, the sovereign of which had fled to Venice with his treasures. From this city be deputed a minister to the French general, with whom he concluded a suspension of arms on much the same conditions as those granted to the duke of Parma.
The spoliation of the repositories of art, which was now annexed to the conditions of treaties with the Italian princes, proved one of the most vexatious as well as mortifying circumstances of the French invasion. The monuments of painting and of statuary, which adorned their palaces, cities, and churches, were viewed by the natives with a mixture of delight and veneration. They entertained a species of affection for them; and, in the presence of some of them, they placed not a little confidence. They had become a kind of tutelary deities and household gods. The Italians were sensible of emotions not altogether dissimilar to those of the Israelite Micah, into whose house armed men from Dan entered, and took away "the graven image, and the ephod, and the seraphim, and the molten image. In one respect, the oppressions of the French in Italy were greater than those of the northern hordes under Attila
and Odoacer; for those chiefs did not trouble the Romans with de
mands of pictures, statues, and sculptures. It seems to be the fate of the great models of the arts, like the arts themselves, to travel from the east, by the west, to the north. Perhaps their tour in this direction is not yet terminated. To deprive the poor Italians of objects so long endeared to them, by habit and possession, seemed an act of tyranny exercised upon the vanquished in the wantonness of power. Those objects had been respected by all parties, in the vicissitude of those events that had so frequently subjected the places that contained them to different masters. The French were the first who had conceived the idea of seizing them as a matter of mere property. Herein they were accused of consulting their vanity rather than their taste for the fine arts. The Romans, in their triumphant periods, had plundered the Greeks of all the master-pieces they could find in their country. This appeared to the French a precedent fit for their imitation, and a sanction for robbing the Italians of what they esteemed the most va luable part of their property, and the most honourable proof they still retained of their former superiority in those departments of genius. The conduct of the French, in tearing the monuments of antiquity and art from Italy, and carrying them to Paris, was universally con demned and execrated by all civilized nations. It was, in truth, in some measure, plucking the rose from the tree.
Motives of this nature, conspiring with the dissatisfaction experienced by multitudes, at the irreverence
"Ye have taken away the gods which I made, and what have I more?"-Judges
which the French testified for the religious practices of the natives, enabled those who hated them, on this account, to instil their hatred into others, and to inflame their indignation against men who presumed to more sense in those matters than other nations.
The two classes whose inveteracy to the French was most notorious, were the nobility and the clergy; as the French did not scruple to avow their enmity and contempt for both, it was natural that these should hold them in abhorrence. In their speeches and conversations, public and private, the former seldom failed to represent the nobles as tyrants, and the priests as impostors. The depression which both these orders of men had suffered in France, showed what was intended for them in other parts of Europe, were the French to succeed in the vast design imputed to them, of entirely subverting the political and religious system of this quarter of the globe. Actuated by these apprehensions, several of the most resolute of the nobility, and most zealous of the clergy, resolved, it was said, to incite the commonalty to rise against the French, on the first opportunity that should seem favourable to such a design. The day fixed upon for its execution, was the twenty-fourth of May. Early in the morning, Buonaparte set out for Lodi, at the head of a strong detachment. He had hardly reached that place, when he was informed, by an express, that an almost general insurrection was spreading through Lombardy. The alarm bells were ringing every where, and the peasantry and lower classes throughout the country, instigated by the nobles and the clergy, were up in arms, and intent on the VOL. XXXVIII.
massacre of all the French they could meet with. Rumours were circulated, that Beaulieu, strongly reinforced, was on his march to Milan, and that a number of French detachments had been surprised and put to the sword. Incensed at the ideas of equality upheld by the French, the nobles had dismissed their domestics, telling them, that, being their equals, they could no longer employ them as servants. The partisans of Austria were, in short, exerting all their activity to raise commotions, and no place was free from them.
On the receipt of this intelligence, Buonaparte hasted back to Milan with a large body of horse and foot. He arrested a number of suspected persons, and ordered those to be shot who had been taken in arms. Heintimated to the archbishop, and to the clergy and nobles of the city, that they should be responsible for its tranquillity. A fine was imposed for every servant discharged, and every precaution taken to prevent the conspiracy from gaining ground.
It was principally at Pavia, that the conspirators were the most numerous. They had seized on the citadel, guarded by a small party of French, whom they made prisoners. Being joined by some thousands of peasants, they resolved to defend the town, and refused admittance to Buonaparte, on his summoning them to surrender. But a body of French grenadiers burst open the gates, on which those who had the custody of the French, who had been compelled to surrender in the citadel, set them at liberty. None of them
were missing: had violent hands been laid upon them, the determi nation was taken to destroy Pavia, [H]
and to erect on its site a pillar with this inscription, "Here stood the city of Pavia."
In order to deter the inhabitants of this, and the other towns inclined to stir up insurrections, the promoters of that at Pavia were sentenced to be shot, and two hun dred hostages, for their peaceable behaviour, were delivered to Buonaparte, who sent them to France. He next issued a proclamation, declaring, that those who did not lay down their arms within twenty-four hours, and take an oath of obedience to the French republic, should be treated as rebels, and their houses committed to the flames.
The nobles and priests in the insurgent districts were to be arrested and sent to France. The places within the precincts of which a Frenchman was assassinated, were condemned to pay triple taxes till the assassin was given up. The same fine was laid on places where concealed arms and ammunition were found. Persons of rank and fortune who excited the people to revolt, either by dismissing their servants, or by holding inimical discourses against the French, were to be sent to France, and to forfeit part of their estates.
Injunctions and declarations of this nature were posted up in every place of note throughout the M lanese. Particular precautions were taken for the security of the city of Milan, the castle of which still remained in possession of the Austrians, who might, in case of any formidable insurrection, have given it effectual assistance.
Freed from the perplexity occasioned by these disturbances, Buonaparte prepared to prosecute the plans he had been forming. The
broken forces of the Austrians had in their retreat taken refuge on the Venetian territory. Hither they were closely pursued by the French. But previously to the commencement of operations in the Venetian state, Buonaparte was careful to give formal notice of his intentions to the senate.
The disposition of the Venetian government, towards France, was justly suspected to be inimical. Had it been friendly before the entrance of the French into Italy, their successes, and the powerful footing they had now obtained, would have rendered them too dangerous to be viewed with a favourable eye. Situated between two such powers as France and Austria, Venice had no inclination to befriend the one more than the other, and would gladly have been delivered from the proximity of both. Unwilling to offend a state between which, and the French republic, an amicable intercourse subsisted, the French general published an address to that government and people, wherein he assured them, that in following the enemies of France into the Venetian territories, he would observe the strictest discipline, and treat the inhabitants with all the amity and considerationTM due to the ancient friendship existing between the two nations.
In the mean time, the Austrians had taken possession of Peschiera, by the connivance of the Venetians, to whom that town belonged. Here Beaulieu hoped to be able to make a stand, till succours arrived to him from Germany. Buonaparte, desirous to expel him from Italy, or to compel him to surrender, advanced to that town, intending to cut off his retreat to the Tyrol, by the eastern side of the lake of Garda. Early
in the morning of the thirteenth of May, several divisions of the French approached the bridge of Borghetto, by which Buonaparte proposed to effect a passage over the Mincio, and surround Beaulieu's army. The Austrians made the utmost efforts to defend the bridge; but the French crossed it after a warm action: the Austrian general perceiving their intent, withdrew in haste from his position at Peschiera, and retired with the utmost expedition to the river Adige, which, having passed, be broke down all the bridges, to prevent the French from pursuing him. By these means he secured his retreat to the Tyrol, the only place of safety now remaining to him.
Buonaparte might now consider himself as the undisputed master of Italy. He was so much viewed in that light by the senate of Venice, even previously to his passage of the Mincio, and the defeat of Beaulieu, that, foreseeing the danger of appearing too well inclined to the house of Bourbon, they had warned out of their territories the unfortunate brother of the late king of France, who had, on the death of his nephew, son to that monarch, assumed the name of Lewis the eighteenth, together with the royal title.
The circumstances of his dismission did the Venetians no credit: on that prince's demanding the sword, formerly presented to the senate by his ancestor, the celebrated Henry the fourth of France, as a token of his regard, they refused to restore it, on pretext that alarge sum of money, due from him to the state, had never been discharged.
Buonaparte took possession, on the third of June, of the city of
Verona, the late residence of the French prince. He now determined to lay siege to Mantua, the only place of strength and importance left to the emperor in Italy. The reduction of this fortress would effectually put an end to the influence of the court of Vienna, and transfer to France the power and credit exercised by the emperor in all the affairs of Italy.
This was a deprivation to which the head of the house of Austria could not bear the idea of submitting, and every effort was resolved upon to prevent it. The ill success of Beaulieu had been such, that it was determined, at Vienna, to substitute another commander in his room. Marshal Wurmser, a veteran general in high esteem, was appointed to succeed him, though he had himself experienced several defeats by the French.
In hope of reducing Mantua before succours could arrive, Buonaparte determined to lay immediate siege to it. On the fourth of June it was invested by the French, who drove the out-posts into the town, which was now closely surrounded on every side.
But the want of artillery prevented him from doing any more than blockading it. He had formed hopes of reducing that city by other means than a formal siege; which were to cut off all succours from Germany, and all provisions from its neighbourhood.
In order to effect the first of these purposes, he resolved to carry the war into the imperial dominions in Germany, and to invade the Tyrol itself. This was doubtless a very bold and hazardous attempt: the natives of that difficult and moun tainous country being not only a [H2] resolute