[merged small][graphic]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

HE state of affairs at the close of the year 1813 was such as afforded an almost certain prospect of a speedy termination of the mighty contest which had so long been subsisting between the French empire, and the powers coalesced to limit its exorbitant aggrandisement, and curb the unbridled ambition of its ruler. The presence of four great armies on the proper territory of France, acting in concert, and tending to a common centre, could not fail of producing events which in some mode or other must prove decisive of the objects for which the war was undertaken. Public expectation, throughout Europe was raised to the highest pitch, and it was not disappointed. After a short but vigorous struggle, in which France, deprived of the greater part of those veteran troops which had carried their conquering arms through so many other countries, saw itself at length incompetent to its own defence: a concluding battle placed the capital at the mercy of the confederates, and effected the immediate overthrow of that despotism, under which the French had at the same time been triumphant and enslaved, with the restoration of the ancient monarchy, and a general peace as the result. The treaty of Paris, signed within its walls by sovereigns, whose own capitals had not long before been in the possession of French troops, will ever rank among the most memorable events in modern history. A change so momentous in the European system, necessarily left a vast variety of public interests to be discussed, and of measures to be provided for; so that, although the grand decision took place early in the year, it cannot be thought extraordinary that

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »