IV. THE MAPMAKER: 1806–07

When William Pitt received the news of Austerlitz, he was nearing death. Seeing a map of Europe on a wall, he asked that it be removed. “Roll up that map,” he said; “it will not be wanted these ten years.”19 Napoleon agreed, and remade the map.

He began by remaking Prussia and Austria. Talleyrand, whom he summoned to Vienna to phrase the imperial will in diplomatic language, advised him to give Austria moderate terms on condition of signing with France an alliance that might end the connection of English subsidies with Austrian policies, and might give France some support, even if only geographical, in conflict with Prussia and Russia. Napoleon, suspecting the fragility of alliances, thought rather to weaken Austria beyond possibility of challenging France again, and to win Prussia from Russia by an easy peace. Meanwhile he allowed Alexander to lead his surviving Russians back to Russia unpursued.

By a treaty signed in Maria Theresa’s cabinet in the Austrian royal palace of Schönbrunn (December 5, 1805), Napoleon required Prussia to disband its Army, cede the margravate of Ansbach to Bavaria, and the principality of Neuchâtel to France, and to accept a binding alliance with its conqueror. Frederick William III expected to get in return the province of Hanover, which Napoleon was glad to promise him as a deterrent to any pro-English sentiment in Prussia.

The Treaty of Pressburg with Austria (completed in Napoleon’s absence, December 26, 1805) was merciless. She had begun hostilities by invading Bavaria; she was now required to give up to Bavaria, Baden, and Württemberg all her lands in the Tirol, Vorarlberg, and south Germany. So enlarged, Bavaria and Württemberg became kingdoms, and Baden became a grand duchy allied with France. To recompense France for her outlay of men, money, and matériel in the war, Austria transferred to a French protectorate all her possessions in Italy, including Venice and its hinterlands; and she agreed to pay France an indemnity of forty million francs—part of which, Napoleon was happy to learn, had recently arrived from England.20 In addition he ordered his art connoisseurs to send to Paris some choice pictures and statues from Austrian palaces and galleries. All this tribute of land and money and art the victor, in his Roman way, considered to be rightful spoils of war. Finally he ordered that a triumphal column be erected in the Place Vendôme in Paris, and be coated with metal taken from enemy cannon captured at Austerlitz.

Talleyrand signed these treaties, but, disappointed by the rejection of his advice, he began to use his influence—not always this side of treason—against the further extension of Napoleon’s power. He later excused himself as having served France by his disservices to his employer, but he made both of them pay.

On December 15, 1805, Napoleon left Vienna to join Josephine in Munich. There they assisted at the marriage of Eugène (who had been made viceroy of Italy) to the Princess Augusta, eldest daughter of Bavaria’s King. Before the wedding Napoleon formally adopted Eugène as his son, and promised him the crown of Italy as his inheritance. It was a marriage of political convenience, to cement the alliance of Bavaria with France; but Augusta learned to love her husband, and helped to save him after his adoptive father’s fall.

Emperor and Empress went on to Paris, where he was met with such official celebrations and public acclaim that Mme. de Rémusat wondered “if it be possible that a human head should not be turned by such excess of praise.”21 Facts helped to sober him. He found that during his absence mismanagement had brought the Treasury near to bankruptcy; the Austrian indemnity came to its rescue. He still had to contend with attempts upon his life, for on February 20, 1806, he received word from Charles James Fox, then prime minister of England, that he should be on his guard, since a would-be assassin had offered to kill Napoleon for a reasonable sum.22 Fox had had the man kept under detention, but there were probably other such patriots for a price. As England was then at war with France, the Prime Minister’s act lived up to both the Christian and the chivalric code. Amid homicide individual and collective, France, on January 1, 1806, returned to the Christian Gregorian calendar.

On May 2, after four months of administrative recuperation, the Emperor read to the Corps Législatif his “Report on the Condition of the Empire in 1806.” It recounted briefly the victories of the Army, and the acquisition of allies and terrain; it described the flourishing condition of French agriculture and industry; it announced the Industrial Exhibition—something new in French history—that was to open at the Louvre in the fall; it noted the building or repair of harbors, canals, bridges, and 33,500 miles of roads—several of these across the Alps; it told of great structures in progress—the Temple de la Victoire (now La Madeleine), the Bourse or Stock Exchange, which lifted money into art, and the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile that was beginning to crown the Champs-Élysées; and it ended with the assurance which France was beginning to seek: “It is not conquests that the Emperor has in mind; he has exhausted the sphere of military glory. … To perfect the administration, and make it a source of lasting happiness and ever-increasing prosperity for his people, … such is the glory at which he aims.”23

The mapmaking continued. On July 12, 1806, the incredible Emperor accepted, as a gift, another empire, composed of the kingdoms of Bavaria, Saxony, Württemberg, and Westphalia, the grand duchies of Baden, Berg, Frankfurt, Hesse-Darmstadt, and Würzburg, the duchies of Anhalt, Arenberg, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Nassau, Oldenburg, Saxe-Coburg, Saxe-Gotha, Saxe-Weimar, and half a dozen petty principalities. The initiative in this remarkable marriage of friend and foe had been taken (according to Méneval)24 by the “Prince Primate” Karl Theodor von Dalberg, formerly archbishop of Mainz. Under his lead the heads of the various states asked Napoleon to take them under his protection, pledged him contingents (totaling 63,000 men) for his armies, announced their separation from the Holy Roman Empire (which Charlemagne had established in A.D. 800), and formed the Confederation of the Rhine. Probably this new orientation of Teutonic regions was eased by the spread, among them, of the French language and literature. The intellectual community was almost international. Prussia naturally protested against the immense strengthening of France, but Austria, helpless in defeat, accepted the change. Since the withdrawal of sixteen princes and their states reduced the Holy Roman Empire to an inconsiderable fraction of its original extent, Francis II (August 6, 1806) renounced his title and prerogatives as head of the once spacious structure that Voltaire had called “not holy, not Roman, and not an empire,” and henceforth he contented himself with the title of Francis I, Emperor of Austria.

Now the French Empire, and soon the Code Napoléon, extended in effect from the Atlantic to the Elbe. It included France, Belgium, Holland, the border states west of the Rhine, Geneva, and nearly all of Italy north of the Papal States. The man who had envied Charlemagne had apparently repeated Charlemagne’s achievement of “giving laws to the West”—i.e., Western Europe. But from the Atlantic to the Elbe thoughtful souls wondered: How long can this brotherhood of Gaul and Teuton last?

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