Napoleon, Emperor

The royalist conspiracies were made use of by Bonaparte to establish an hereditary monarchy. At the instigation of his adherents, the making over the hereditary dignity of emperor to Napoleon was proposed to the Tribunal, sanctioned by the Senate, and confirmed by the whole people by the subscription of their names. Whilst the minds of men were still painfully excited by the late bloody executions, Napoleon was proclaimed emperor of the French, and at the end of the year, solemnly anointed by the pope in the church of Nôtre Dame. The crown, however, he placed on his own head, as well as on that of his wife, Josephine, who knelt before him. This magnificent coronation appeared to be the conclusion of the Revolution, since the whole ancient system, for the extinction of which thousands of human lives had been sacrificed, gradually returned. The new emperor surrounded his throne with a brilliant court, in which the former titles, orders, and gradations of rank were revived under different names. He himself certainly retained his old military simplicity, but the members of his family were made princes and princesses; his generals became marshals; the devoted servants and promoters of his plans were connected with the throne as the great officers of the crown, or as senators with large incomes. The establishment of a new feudal nobility, with the old titles of princes, dukes, counts, barons, completed the splendid edifice of a magnificent imperial court.

The great ends attained by the Revolution equality before the law, the peasants' right of property in the soil and other possessions, remained untouched. Industry made great progress, civil arts and trades received a vast impulse; and an unaccustomed prosperity made itself everywhere visible. Magnificent roads, like those over the Alps, canals, bridges, and improvements of all kinds, are, to the present day, eloquent memorials of the restless activity of this remarkable man. Splendid palaces, majestic bridges, and noble streets, arose in Paris, every thing great or magnificent that art had produced was united in the Louvre; the capital of France glittered with a splendor that had never before been witnessed. The university was arranged upon a most magnificent footing , and appointed the supreme court of supervision and control over the whole system of schools and education.

Whilst the attention of all Europe was directed to the western coast of France, where Napoleon was fitting out ships of every kind with the greatest diligence, and assembling a vast camp at Boulogne, with the purpose, as was believed, of effecting a landing on the English coast, he was making preparations, in all silence, for the memorable campaign of 1805. Never were Napoleon's talents for command or his military genius displayed in a more brilliant light than in the plan of this campaign. Assured of the assistance of most of the princes of southern Germany, Bonaparte crossed the Rhine in the autumn with seven divisions, commanded by his most experienced marshals, Ney, Lannes, Marmont, Soult, Murat, etc, and marched into Swabia whilst Bernadotte, disregarding Prussia's neutrality, pressed forward through the Brandenburg Margravate of Anspach-Bayreuth upon the Isar. This violation of his neutral position irritated the king, Frederick William III, to such a degree, that he entered into closer relationship with the allies, and assumed a threatening aspect, without, however, actually declaring war.

After Ney's successful engagement at Elchingen, the Austrian general, Mack, was shut up in Ulm, and cut off from the main army. Helpless, and despairing of deliverance, the incompetent commander commenced negotiations with the French, which terminated in the disgraceful capitulation of Ulm. By this arrangement, 33,000 Austrians, including thirteen generals, became prisoners of war. Covered with shame, the once-brave warriors marched before Napoleon, laid down their arms before the victor, placed forty banners at his feet, and delivered up sixty cannon with their horses. When too late, it was seen in Vienna that Mack was not equal to his lofty position, and he was deprived of his honor, his dignities, and the advantages of his office, by a court-martial. Napoleon's joy at this unexampled good fortune was, however, diminished by the contemporaneous maritime victory of the English at Trafalgar, which annihilated the whole French fleet, but which also cost the life of the great naval hero, Nelson.