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about our conclusions on the subject, and will be better pleased if he shall have toiled through the prolix article with which we have presented him, to be left to the undisturbed exercise of his own judgment,
ART. VIII, Jugement sur Buonaparté, addressé par le General
Dumcurier à la nation Française, et à l'Europe.
Analysis of the Character and Conduct of Bonaparte, addressed to
the French Soldiery, and the People of Europe, by General Dumourier. Translated from the French by Mr Elder; to which is subjoined the original text, Syo. pp. 122. London, Hat:
chard. 1807. M R Elder states in the dedication of his translation, that he re
- quested a friend, who lives in habits of intimacy with Gė: neral Dumourier, to inquire whether or not he was the real author of this piece. The General answered that he was, and that he gave full liberty to publish his declaration to this purpose; adding, at the same time, a good deal of invective, in the style of the pamphlet itself. Satisfied with this evidence, Mr Elder was anxious to make the work known in our language, conceiving that it is calculated to produce an excellent effect in the present crisis, by giving a most intelligent and faithful exposition of the conduct and character of a usurper, whose flagitious darings have spread ruin and desolation throughout a great portion of the European world, and even menaced Great Britain with invasion '--and by proving most satisfactorily, that notwithstanda ing his successes have been unusually rapid, he is not entitled to the character of a general on whose judgment an army can safely rely in any pressing emergency.' Such are Mr Elder's views of his subject; and as for his author, he is s universally considered the most skilful, experienced and gallant officer of the present age, and hath likewise been distinguished in France, and on the Continent, as the most profound statesman that has ever adorned the annals of his country.' Bonaparte and Dumourier being thus' satisfactorily disposed of, we may just mention, before proceeding to the original work, that Mr Elder's proper task of translation, is very ill executed. He nowhere does justice to the spirit of his author,--frequently mistakes his meaning, and in almost every paragraph, takes liberties with the composition, which are as much beyond his province, as to pass judgments on the military character of thçse two celebrated men..
very question whichually plausible der that he comes
The Jugement sur Buonaparté,' is distinguished by most of the qualities which may be remarked in the former productions of General Dumourier,—great fluency of argument such ingenuity as always convinces the reader that he could have said an equal number of equally plausible things on the opposite side of every question which he discusses-considerable rashness in stating decided opinions upon very difficult subjects-and, on all occasions, an exclusive attention to his own side of the argument-a certain facility in bringing together various details, which is apt sometimes to pass for the talent of forming large and comprehensive views, when in reality it may only be an enumeration of particulars seen partially through the medium of some theory-a style, frequently declamatory, but always lively. Those who chuse to peruse this tract in the original, will at least be entertained by it; and it would be in no small degree interesting, could we believe that it contained the sober and matured opinion of one distinguished commander upon the genius of another, and that no considerations of interest, with reference to the people of this country, whose prejudices it flatters-and no 'feelings of personal irritation towards the government of France had' entered into the author's mind, while preparing to pronounce sentence upon the professional merits of his great contemporary. At any rate, the subject is extremely important. The fortunes of the world hang, at this moment, in a far greater degree than at any former period of its history, upon the will, and the destiny of a single individual; and, unhappily, there is no point of material consequence in the situation of any European country, which may not be discussed, without a digression, under the ti tle of General Dumourier's work. We shall, therefore, lay before our readers the opinions of this clever speculatist, and shall suggest the remarks to which they lead, both respecting the individual who is the more immediate subject of the treatise, and the prezent state of Europe in general. • Our author sets out with some remarks upon the unfairness and the folly of judging by the event. He inveighs, in the common way, against the thoughtlessness of mankind, who estimate merit only by the standard of success, and give those honours to fortune which should be reserved for talents and virtues. The uniform good luck which has attended Bonaparte, has, it seems, dazzled the world, and prevented them from perceiving that he is merely a fortunate adventurer; one who owes to pure accident, whatever he has not gained from the weakness of his adversaries. He does nothing according to principle or system ; his rashness Could only be kept from working his inftant deltruction, by the in
fatuation of his enemies. His whole career has been a series of desperate blunders, the least of which, in any other period of the world, must have proved fatal. His crimes are still more astonishing than his temerity; and as his fortune cannot hold out much longer in spite of the latter, so his punishment is surely preparing by means of the former. In government, violence and caprice ;in policy, falsehood and precipitancy ;-in military affairs, want of science, of circumspection, of, self-command,-supplied by nothing but a blind and headlong reliance on his own fortune. Such are the boasted talents which have made Buonaparte illustrious, because men have been dazzled by the mere accident of his success, and never inquired how little he de. ferved it.
It is singular enough, that our author, after these fatisfactory obfervations, immediately falls into the very train of reasoning which he had been condemning fo sharply. The term of Buonaparte's unaccountable success, he says, is at last arrived ; Providence has referved for the Emperor of Russia to stay this scourge of nations; he is stopt in his career, and about to receive his punishment. And now, he adds, when the false glare of good fortune is for the first time removed, we are enabled to form a just estimate of his pretensions to the character of greatness. In short, this tract was written inmediately after the news arrived of the battle of Eylau. General Dumourier then concluded, that every thing was going wrong for the French cause. He saw the tide of fortune turned, and he immediately formed, or at least pronounced, his judgment upon Buonaparte, entering, as was then supposed, on a long course of disasters. So that this extraordinary man, while covered with unparalleled triumphs for ten years of almost constant victory, is only to be marvelled at, because he succeeds without deserving it; and as soon as he receives something like a check, it is no longer fortune, but defert. Let him succeed a hundred times; it is all good luck. If he fail but once, it is his own fault; and this fingle failure is made the rule for judging of all his former successes. It may, however, at once expose the futility of our author's reasoning, if we mention the following topic, to which indeed, in common with other declaimers on this subject, he frequently recurs. After afserting, that he owes every thing to good fortune, and to the weakness of his enemies, that all the powers of the Continent have supplied the stones of which the pedestal of this colossus is built,' and that his career has been brilliant but easy ;' our author adds, 'if indeed he could have stopt after the peace of Amiens,-if he had not feized the iron crown,-if he had not assassinated the Duke d’Enghien, --if he had pardoned Pichegru
wither declaimere owes everything in the powers of this colofti
-and Georges-if he had preserved, by cultivating the arts of peace, the best fruits of his victories, and had restored the lawful princes to the throne of France - alors Buonaparté eût été le plus grand homme que l'histoire passée, presente et future, eût presenté à l'admiration des siècles.' This at once destroys his whole doctrine of Buonaparte having only an ordinary genius; for surely, the addition of extraordinary moderation and virtue, to common · rate talents, cannot constitute • such greatness as the world never faw.' And if our author means to tell us, that true greatness of character depends as much upon worth as genius, he is only repeating a verbal criticism, as trite as it is trivial ; which, if admitted to its utmost extent, merely proves, that a character may be yery great, without attaining the utmost conceivable pitch of greatness. .
General Dumourier proposes to justify his disbelief of Buonaparte's military talents, by a particular analysis of his conduct and that of his enemies, during the three last campaigns ;--the war with Austria in 1805 ; with Prussia in 1806; and the present war with Russia, down to the battle of Eylau. It is unnecessary, and might perhaps appear presumptuous, to follow this analysis minutely. Certain general considerations, which occur to persons not conversant with military affairs, are sufficient answers to the author's inferences, even were we to admit the whole of his details, through respect for so great an authority. But there are also defects in his reasoning, on points of military science, too obvious to have escaped him, had he not been warped by his theory, and set out predetermined to find every thing wrong which both "Buonaparte and the allies have done, and every thing quite practicable which either party has omitted. .
The campaign of 1805, according to our author, was a contest which party should commit most mistakes. England having done nothing to create alarm on the North coast of France, and Prus sia shewing no symptoms of hostility, but, on the contrary, remaining firm in her neutrality, as Buonaparte well knew, from the venality of the cabinet of Berlin; he was enabled to reinforce Massena, and to march with all his troops into Suabia. The blunders of Austria at the outset were obvious; they have never been denied. But the hostile seizure of the Elector of Bavaria's person, and the forcible incorporation of his army with the Emperor's, are surely not the omissions which we have most reason to regret. General Dumourier forgets, that the Elector accused the Emperor of having suddenly demanded the dismission and incorporation of his army; and of having, on a refusal, seized upon the electorate, The Emperor too admitted, that, what
ever ever were his demands, he had ordered his army to march, whether they should be complied with or not. * Here, then, was just as much violence as heart could wish ; but the execution was not so prompt as such violent policy requires ; and Austria had the full credit, without reaping the benefit, of those reprehensible councils. We take the liberty of suggesting, that the grand error, in so far as regarded Bavaria, was the omitting to ascertain, beforehand, whether the influence acquired by Francé over the court of Munich, from the affair of the indemnities, had been extinguished,- or, indeed, expecting that it should be extinguished, or ever imagining that the Elector could hesitate which of the two dangers he should chiefly shun, a rupture with France, or a breach with Austria. Then, if the war could not safely be commenced without Bavaria, it should have been delayed ; or, if it must be commenced, and in spite of Bavaria, it should only have been begun, when Austria was able, at one and the same time, to give France the alarm, and to march through that electorate. Such movements, indeed, require a certain time; and Buonaparte must necessarily have learnt that they were in preparation. Then, he could hurry his army through Flanders and cross the Rhine, as soon as he was assured of the dispositions of Austria. But in what does superiority of policy, aye, and of military address, consist? Is there no skill in moving exactly at the right time,-and to the proper place,-and with the requisite degree of celerity ? The plain truth is, that Austria went to war too soon ;-and, having resolved on war, she delayed her operations too long. France committed no such mistakes ; and beat her accordingly,
But, though the campaign in Suabia occasioned the loss of Vienna and the retreat from Italy, our author says, that, until the battle of Austerlitz, the affairs of the allies might easily have been retrieved. Buonaparte had advanced to a vast distance from home,- both armies were in want of provisions,—a general engagement alone could have saved the French. The allies, therefore, should have left a garrison in Olmutz, and an army of observation in Teschen ;--they should have rapidly marched off towards the Upper Palatinate, by Prague and Egra. In that country they would have found abundant supplies, and might have fallen upon the camp at Schellenberg on the Danube without delay; thus forcing the enemy to retreat, in order to avoid being cut off from his communication with the Rhine. This retreat, our author conceives, would have proved fatal to him, pursued
* See Historical Representation, Sept. 29. 1805, and Austrian Answer, QEtober 16,