Narrative of the Most Remarkable Events Which Occurred In and Near Leipzig eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 106 pages of information about Narrative of the Most Remarkable Events Which Occurred In and Near Leipzig.
in his good fortune, and in his ability to turn unforeseen accidents to his own advantage, or at least to render them harmless.  Rarely has a general been so highly favoured by fortune for a long series of years as he.  It is no wonder then that this confidence at length increased to such a degree as frequently to become the height of temerity.  In Russia, Napoleon met with many circumstances which he had not taken into his calculation; but he nevertheless penetrated to Moscow.  Here he for the first time experienced such a reverse as no general ever yet sustained.  His immense army was entirely annihilated.  His stern decree created a new one, to all outward appearance equally formidable.  From the haste with which its component parts were collected, it could not but be deficient in intrinsic energy, and it was impossible to doubt that this would be shewn in time.  In this respect his antagonists had a decided advantage, as must have been obvious to him after the battles of Luetzen and Bautzen.  Had he not been so vastly superior in number to the Russian and Prussian army in the first engagement, he would indisputably have been defeated on that occasion.—­The political relations of Europe had moreover undergone an extraordinary change.  He could not for a thousand reasons be a moment doubtful of the choice of Austria.  If with a strong and well-appointed army she could not by negotiation bring about a peace upon the basis of a future balance of power among the principal states of Europe, in which Prussia and Russia were willing to acquiesce, there could be no question that for the sake of her own existence she would espouse the cause of those two powers.  This Napoleon seems to have considered as impossible, or the advantages already obtained must have inspired him with the confidence that even the accession of Austria to the alliance could not prevent the prosecution of his victorious career to the Vistula.  Could he have expected to encounter the whole Austrian army in Silesia, or to reduce the fortresses of Upper Silesia, with such rapidity as to be able a third time to menace Vienna, and to compel the force assembled on the Bohemian frontiers to return with precipitation to cover the capital?  This would have been too presumptuous an idea.  He probably fancied himself strong enough, with 400,000 men, led on by himself and the ablest generals of the age, to cope, if even Austria should declare against him, with all three powers; especially if he presumed that he should be able to force all the combined armies united to a general engagement, and to annihilate them with a single blow.  The proposals for peace were rejected:  not the slightest disposition was shewn to treat, and the armistice of two months answered no other purpose than to convince Austria of the absolute necessity of joining the cause of the allies, and exerting all her energies to conquer that peace by the sword, which there was not the least hope of accomplishing by negotiation.  By the
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Narrative of the Most Remarkable Events Which Occurred In and Near Leipzig from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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