« EelmineJätka »
The official situation which the Author enjoyed under Prince Eugene, enabled him to give a faithful history of the most extraordinary campaign which the annals of war record. His style is simple and unaffected ; and, though he aims not at any flights of eloquence, bis descriptions often powerfully interest the feelings, and reach the heart. His recital of the passage of the Wop and the Beresina, yield not in genuine pathos to any real or fictitious narrative of ancient or modern times. The simplicity and candour with which he writes, are pledges of his fidelity.
The moderation and reserve with which he speaks of the unprincipled contriver of this infamous and disastrous expedition,
are worthy of notice.
It is an interesting struggle between the honest indignation of the man, and that reverence for his general, which he had ever been taught to consider as the first duty of the soldier, and which, in his mind, was associated with the memory of former victories, and much personal obligation. But the English reader, who has no restraint like this on the indignant feelings of his soul, will trace the bloody career of this execrable tyrant with mingled aversion and horror. The enterprise had no colour of justice. It was prompted by the wildest lust of power, and in its execution every principle of humanity was outraged. Hurried on by the vain and puerile ambition of planting his eagles on the walls of the ancient capital of the Czars, he neglected every military precaution, he calculated not on the forces that hovered on his rear, he remembered not the rigours of a northern winter, but led to certain destruction the proudest arıny of which France, in her happiest days, could boast: and when he was
compelled to retrace his steps with sad discomfiture, our blood curdles at the recital of the wanton destruction which marked his retreat. While he strove, with savage fury, to wreak his revenge on the enemy, he forgot that his own soldiers would be the principal victims of the desolation which he caused. The first division was ordered to plunder and destroy without mercy, that his eyes might be gratified with the sight of human misery. He thought not, he cared not, that the divisions which followed were, by these means, exposed to the horrors of a Russian winter, without food to eat, or one habitation left entire, to afford them shelter. Thus perished five hundred thousand men the victims of inordinate ambition and savage barbarity. He has had his reward. He has been hurled from the tbrone which he usurped, and the disasters which our author so feelingly described, prepared the way for the deliverance of France, and the repose of Europe. If he be not dead to every sentiment of humanity, we can scarcely wish him a greater punishment than in the solitude of Elba, to muse on this faithful and affecting narrative of the unparalleled sufferings of his devoted followers.
LONDON, November 24th, 1814.
N. B. The French Edition of LABAUME'S NARRA. TIVE, is imported by Mess. BOSSANGE and MASSON, No. 14, Great Marlborough-Street, where the Public will meet with a more extensive Assortment of Foreign Publications, thun at any other Establishment in the Kingdom. Their general Catalogue will be published in the course of the present month (November). It will contain not only the most esteemed Works in French Literature, but all those which have been published in France during the last Twenty Years, on the Sciences, Arts, History, &c. Ali new French Books árrive at this depôt in London the same week that they are published in Paris.