[See larger version] "Mourir pour la patrie,
On the 23rd, only four days after the abdication of the king, Murat entered Madrid with a numerous body of infantry and cuirassiers, attended by a splendid train of artillery. Ferdinand entered the city the same day. He had formed an administration wholly opposed to Godoy and his policy. The Ambassadors of the other Powers presented themselves to offer their congratulations; but Beauharnais, the French Ambassador, preserved a profound silence. Murat, also, though he professed himself friendly to Ferdinand, said not a word implying recognition of his title. Still more ominous, the news arrived that Buonaparte himself was on the way with another powerful army. Murat took up his residence in the Palace of the Prince of the Peace, and greatly alarmed Ferdinand and his courtiers by addressing him, not as "your Majesty," but merely as "your Royal Highness." He counselled him to wait, and do nothing till he could advise with Napoleon, and, in the meantime, to send his brother, Don Carlos, to greet the Emperor on his entrance into Spain. To this Ferdinand consented; but when Murat recommended him also to go, and show this mark of respect to his ally, Ferdinand demurred, and by the advice of Cevallos, one of his wisest counsellors, he declined the suggestion. To complicate matters, Murat opened communication with the king and queen, and, not content with that, with Godoy also, assuring him that his only hope of safety lay in the friendship of the Emperor. By this means Murat learned all the accusations that each party could make against the other, so that these things might serve Buonaparte to base his measures, or, at least, his pretences upon. Encouraged by this, Charles wrote to Napoleon to declare his abdication entirely forced, and to leave everything to the decision of his good friend, the Emperor. But this little episode of the war presented one bright spot amid the vast picture of miserable mismanagement, want of concert and of activity, amongst the Allies engaged against France. The campaign of 1794 was most disgraceful and discouraging. The plan still was for the different armies of the Allies to advance from the different frontiers, north, west, east, and south, and concentrate themselves on Paris; but all the activity and concentration were on the side of the French. In the very commencement of it, it was observed that Prussia was not bringing by any means the stipulated amount of forces into the field. The king, thinking much more of securing his Polish robberies than of co-operating against France, remained in Poland, and was even discovered to be secretly negotiating with the French Convention for peace. Britain was alarmed at this symptom of Prussian defection and made strong remonstrances. Frederick William coolly replied that it was impossible for him to go on without a large sum of money. The hint of Prussia was not lost; money was promised, and in April of this year a subsidy of two millions two hundred thousand pounds was paid to Prussia to secure her more active operation, and on condition that she brought into the field sixty thousand men. The bulk of this money was paid by Britain, a small fraction by Holland; and what was the result? The King of Prussia sent very few troops into the field, but employed the money in paying and maintaining armies to keep down the invaded provinces of Poland, and to invade more! Thus Britain was duped into the disgraceful business of riveting the fetters of unhappy Poland; and it would have been well had this taught the British Government wisdom. But it was now intent on that astonishing career of subsidising almost all the nations of Europe against France; of purchasing useless German soldiers at astounding prices; of pouring out the wealth and blood of Britain like water to enable the Germans and Russians to defend their own hearths and homes, and in vain. The results of this subsidy ought to have satisfied Britain, and would have satisfied any other nation; for it did not long retain Prussia as an ally, even in name.
But these assumptions of new territories and new honours had, as we have seen, alarmed the Northern Powers and Austria. They saw that they could have no peace with such a man, except it were a peace of continual encroachment, humiliation, and slavery, and Russia went so far as to recall her Ambassador, though without a declaration of war. There was the utmost necessity for union, caution, and the exertion of every ability. But the folly and incapacity of those nations appeared to rise in intensity in proportion to the actual need of wisdom, and to the genius of their enemy. Britain, could give them money, but she could not give them talent and sagacity. Before Russia could march down to unite with Austria, Austria, which had so long hung back, and thus delayed the operations of Alexander, now showed as fatal a temerity, and commenced the campaign alone. She rushed into Bavaria, whose Elector, Maximilian Joseph, had entered into league with Buonaparte, in common with Würtemberg and other German States. The Emperor Francis had despatched Schwarzenberg to Munich, to endeavour to prevail on him to unite with Austria against the common enemy of Germany. Maximilian Joseph pleaded that he was quite resolved on doing that, but that his son was travelling in France, and he prayed time to recall him, or Buonaparte would wreak his vengeance upon him. This should have induced Francis of Austria to delay at least a sufficient time for this purpose, especially as it gave another chance for the decision of Prussia in their favour, when it saw the Russians already on the march. Whether the Elector of Bavaria would eventually have kept his promise is doubtful, for Napoleon was, on the other hand, pressing him close, through his Ambassador, M. Otto, to proclaim openly the secret alliance concluded with France.
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