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was in no danger of inadvertertly going out of the way; and by these means he arrived at that degree of greatness which few have equalled ; none, we may say, have exceeded : for, though it must be allowed that there have been some few heroes who have done greater mischiefs to mankind, such as those who have betrayed the liberty of their country to others, or have undermined and overpowered it themselves; or conquerors, who have impoverished, pillaged, sacked, burnt, and destroyed the countries and cities of their fellow-creatures, from no other provocation than that of glory, i. e., as the tragic poet calls it,
a privilege to kill,
A strong temptation to do bravely ill; yet, when we see our hero, without the least assistance or pretence, setting himself at the head of a gang which he had not any shadow of right to govern ; if we view him maintaining absolute power and exercising tyranny over a lawless crew, contrary to all law but that of his own will; if we consider him setting up an open trade publicly, in defiance not only of the laws of his country but of the common sense of his countrymen ; if we see him first contriving the robbery of others, and again the defrauding the very robbers of that booty which they had ventured their necks to acquire, and which, without any hazard, they might have retained ; here surely he must appear admirable, and we may challenge not only the truth of history, but almost the latitude of fiction, to equal his glory.
Nor had he any of those flaws in his character which, though they have been commended by weak writers, have by the judicious readers becn censured and despised. Such was the clemency of Alexander and Cæsar, which nature had so grossly erred in giving them, as a painter would who should dress a peasant in robes of state, or give the nose or any other feature of a Venus to a satyr. What had the destroyers of mankind, that glorious pair, one of whom came into the world to usurp the dominion and abolish the constitution of his own country; the other to conquer, cnslave, and rule over the whole world, at least as much as was well known to him, and the shortness of his life would give him leave to visit ; what had, I say, such as these to do with clemency. Who cannot see the absurdity and contradiction of mixing such an ingredient with those noble and great qualities I have before mentioned ? Now, in Wild every thing was truly great, almost without alloy, as his imperfections (for surely some small ones he had) were only such as served to denominate him a human creature, of which kind pone ever arrived at consummate excellence. Indeed, while greatness consists in power, pride, insolence, and doing mischief to mankind -to speak out—while a great man and a great rogue arc synonymous terms, so long shall Wild stand unrivalled on the pinnacle of GREATNESS. Nor must we omit here, as the finishing of his character, what indeed ought to be remembered on his tomb or his statue, the conformity above mentioned of his death to his life ; and that Jonathan Wild the Great, after all his mighty exploits, was, what so few GREAT men can accomplish-hanged by the neck till he was dead.
195.—THE PASSAGE OF THE BERESINA.
LABAUME. [EUGENE LABAUME, Colonel of Engineers in the French Army, wrote a graphic account of Bonaparte's Campaign in Russia in 1812. He was an eye-witness of the terrible scene which he describes in the following narrative :-)
The Russians having destroyed in their flight the great bridge of Borisov, defended all the right bank of the Beresina, and occupied, with four divisions, the principal points where we could possibly attempt to pass it. During the 25th, Napoleon mancuvred to deceive the vigilance of the enemy, and by stratagemi obtained possession of the village of Studzianca, placed on an eminence that commanded the river which we wished to pass. There, in the presence of the Russians, and notwithstanding their utmost opposition, he constructed two bridges, of which the Duke of Reggio profited, to cross the Beresina ; and attacking the troops which opposed his passage, he put them to flight, and pursued them without intermission to the head of the bridge of Borisov. During these operations, which took place within the 23rd and 27th of November, we passed four dreadful days, traversing many villages, among which we could only learn the names of Bohr and Kraupki, where fatigue compelled us to halt. The days were so short, that, although we made but little progress, we were obliged to march during part of the night. It was from this cause that so many unhappy wretches wandered from their regiments and were lost. Arriving very late at the encampments, where all the corps were confounded together, they could not distinguish or learn the situation of the regiments to which they belonged. After having marched the whole day, they were often compelled to wander about all night to find their officers, and rarely were they sufficiently fortunate to accomplish their object ; they laid themselves down to sleep, ignorant of the hour of march, and on awaking found themselves in the power of the enemy.
As we passed the Borisov we saw the division of Parthouneaux, forming the rear-guard of the ninth corps. We then quitted the great road that led to the bridge occupied by the Russians, and turned to the right to proceed to Studzianca, where we found Napolcon ; the other troops of the ninth corps, commanded by the Duke of Belluno, arrived likewise by the same road.
The twelfth and ninth corps, and the Poles, commanded by General Dembrowski, not having been at Moscow, had so much baggage, that from Borisov to Studzianca the road was covered with carriages and waggons. The reinforcements which these troops brought us were very acceptable, yet we almost doubted whether the junction of so many men, in the centre of a vast desert, might not increase our misfortunes. Always marching in the midst of a confused mass of stragglers, with the divisions of the ninth corps, we were two hours afterwards arrested in our progress by a great crowd, and, unable to penetrate it, we were compelled to march round it. In the midst of this multitude were some paltry barns on the summit of a little hill, Seeing some chasseurs of the imperial guard encamped around it, we judged that Napoleon was there, and that we were approaching the borders of the Beresina. In fact, it was the very spot where Charles XII. crossed that river on his march to Moscow.
What à frightful picture did this multitude of men present, overwhelmed with misfortunes of every kind, and hemmed in by a morass ; that very multitude which, two months before, had exultingly spread itself over half the surface of a vast eunpire ! Our soldiers, palc, emaciated, dying with hunger and cold, having nothing to defeud them from the inclemency of the season but tattered pelisses and sheepskins half burnt, and uttering the most mournful lamentations, crowded the banks of this unfortunate river. Germàns, Polanders, Italians, Spaniards, Croats, Portuguese, and French, were all mingled together, disputing among themselves, and quarrelling with each other in their different languages; finally, the officers, and even the generals, wrapt in pelisses covered with dirt and filth, confounded with the soldiers, and abusing those who pressed upon them or braved their authority, formed a scene of strange confusion, of which no painter could trace the faintest resemblance.
They whom fatigno, or ignorance of the impending danger, rendered less eager to cross the river, were endcavouring to kindle a fire and repose their wearied limbs. We had too frequently occasion to observe, in these encampments, to what a degree of brutality excess of misery would debase human nature. In one place we saw several of the soldiers fighting for a morsel of bread. If a stranger, pierced with the cold, endeavoured to approach a fire, those to whom it belonged inhumanly drove him away ; or if, tormented with raging thirst, any one asked for a single drop of water from another who carried a full supply, the refusal was accompanied by the vilest abuse. We often heard those who had once been friends, and whose education had been liberal, bitterly disputing with each other for a little straw, or a piece of horse-flesh, which they were attempting to divide. This campaign was therefore more terrible, as it brutalised the character and stained us with vices to which we had before been strangers. Even those who once were honest, humane, and generous, became selfish, avaricious, dishonest, and cruel.
Napoleon having, with the assistance of his guard, forced his way through this immense crowd, crossed the river (November 27th), about three o'clock in the afternoon. The viceroy, who had passed the whole day with him, announced to his staff that what remained of the fourth corps should pass the bridge at eight o'clock at night. Although not a moment should have been lost in escaping from a place so dangerous, many could not prevail on themselves to leave the fires round which they were sitting. " It is much better,” said they, “to pass the night on this side of the river than the other, where there is nothing but marshes; besides, the bridge is as much encumbered as cver, and by waiting till to-morrow the crowd will have lessened and the passage will be easy.” This unfortunate advice prevailed on too many, and, at the hour appointed, only the household of the prince, and a few of the officers of the staff, crossed the river.
It was, indeed, necessary to know all the danger that would have attended our stay on the left side of the river, to induco us to pass to the other. The Viceroy and his suite, arriving on the right bank, encamped on a marshy piece of ground, and endeavoured to find out the places which were most frozen, to pass the night on them and escape the bogs. The darkness was horrible and the wind tremendous, blowing a thick shower of ice and snow full in our faces. Many of the officers, pierced with the cold, did not cease running, and walking, and striking their feet, during the whole night, to preserve themselves from being completely frozen. To complete our misfortunes, wood was so scarce that we could with difficulty supply one little fire for the Viceroy; and, to obtain some firebrands, were obliged to appeal to the Bavarian scldiers, the daughter of whose king had been united in marriage to Prince Eugene.
November 28th. Napoleon being gone towards Zemblin, left behind him this immense crowd standing on the other side of the Beresina. The snow fell with violence; the hills and forests presented only some white indistinct masses, scarcely visible through the fog. We could only see distinctly the fatal river, which, half frozen, forced its way through the ice that impeded its progress.
Although there were two bridges, one for the carriages and the other for the foot soldiers ; yet the crowd was so great, and the approaches so dangerous, that near the Beresina the passage was completely choked up, and it was absolutely impossible to move. About eight o'clock in the morning the bridge for the carriages and the cavalry broke down; the baggage and artillery then advanced towards the other bridge, and attempted to force a passage. Now began a frightful contention between the foot soldiers and the horsemen. Many perished by the hands of their comrades, but a great number were suffocated at the head of the bridge; and the dead bodies of horses and men so choked every avenue, that it was necessary to climb over mountains of carcasses to arrive at the river. Some who were buried in these horrible heaps still breathed; and, struggling with the agonies of death,
caught hold of those who mounted over them; but these kicked them with violence to disengage themselves, and without remorse trod them under foot. During this contention, the multitude which followed, like a furious wave, swept away while it increased the number of victims.
Borisov being evacuated, the three Russian armies effected their junction; and the same day (November 28th), about eight o'clock in the morning, the Duke of Reggio was attacked on the right bank, and half an hour afterwards the Duke of Belluno was engaged on the left. Every soldier, who had before been wandering in confusion, fell into the ranks. The battle was obstinately fought, and the Duke of Reggio could only obtain the victory at the price of his own blood. wounded at the beginning of the action, and compelled to quit the field. The command then devolved on the Duke of Elchingen.
In the mean time the enemy, notwithstanding the valour of our soldiers, and the exertions of their commanders, briskly pressed the ninth corps, which formed the rear-guard. We already heard the roar of the cannon, and the sound dismayed every heart. Insensibly it approached, and we soon saw the fire of the enemy's artillery on the summit of the neighbouring hills ; and we no longer doubted that the engagement would soon extend to that spot which was covered with thousands of unarmed men, sick and wounded, and with all our women and children.
The Duke of Elchingen having rallied his troops, the battle recommenced with new fury. The division of cuirassiers, commanded by General Doumere, made a very brilliant charge, and at the same moment the legion of the Vistula was engaged in the woods, endeavouring to force the enemy's centre. These brave cuirassiers, although enfeebled by fatigue and privations of every kind, performed prodigies of valour. They pierced the enemy's squares, took several pieces of cannon and three or four thousand prisoners, which our weakness would not permit us to retain : for in our cruel situation we fought not for victory, but only for life and the honour of our arms.
In the heat of the engagement many of the balls flew over the miserable crowd which was yet pressing across the bridge of the Beresina. Some shells burst in the midst of them. Terror and despair then took possession of every breast. The women and children, who had escaped so many disasters, seemed to have been preserved only to suffer here a death more deplorable. We saw them rushing from the baggage-waggons, and falling in agonies and tears at the feet of the first soldier they met, imploring his assistance to enable them to reach the other side. The sick and the wounded, sitting on the trunks of trees, or supported by their crutches, anxiously looked around them for some friend to help them. But their cries were lost in the air. No one had leisure to attend to his dearest friend. His own preservation absorbed every thought.
At length the Russians, continually reinforced by fresh troops, advanced in a mass, and drove before them the Polonese corps of General Girard, which till then had held them in check. At the sight of the enemy, those who had not already passed mingled with the Polanders, and rushed precipitately towards the bridge. The artillery, the baggage waggons, the cavalry, and the foot soldiers, all pressed on, contending which should pass the first. The strongest threw into the river those who were weaker and hindered their passage, or unfeelingly trampled under foot all the sick whom they found in their way. Many hundreds were crushed to death by the wheels of the cannon. Others, hoping to save themselves by swimming, were frozen in the middle of the river, or perished by placing themselves on pieces of ice which sunk to the bottom. Thousands and thousands of victims, deprived of all hope, threw themselves headlong into the Beresina, and were lost in the waves.
The division of Girard made its way, by force of arms, through all the obstacles that retarded its march ; and, climbing over that mountain of dead bodies which obstructed the way, gained the other side. Thither the Russians would soon have followed them, if they had not hastened to burn the bridge.
Then the unhappy beings who remained on the other side of the Beresina abandoned themselves to absolute despair. Some of them, however, yet attempted to pass the bridge, enveloped as it was in flames ; but, arrested in the midst of their progress, they were compelled to throw themselves into the river, to escape a death yet more horrible. At length, the Russians being masters of the field of battle, our troops retired; the uproar ceased, and a mournful silence succeeded.
196.-SERMON UPON THE LOVE OF OUR NEIGHBOUR.
Bisttop BUTLER. “And if there be any other Commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."-Romans xiij. I.
It is commonly observed, that there is a disposition in men to complain of the viciousness and corruption of the age in which they live, as greater than that of former ones; which observation is usually followed with this further one, that maukind has been in that respect much the same in all times. Now, not to determine whether this last be not contradicted by the accounts of history, thus much can scarce be doubted, that vice and folly take different turns, and some particular kinds of it are more open and avowed in some ages than in others : and, I suppose, it inay be spoken of as very much the distinction of the present, to profess a contracted spirit, and greater regards to self-interest than appears to have been done formerly. Upon this account it seems worth while to inquire, whether private interest is likely to be promoted in proportion to the degree in which self-lovo engrosses us, and prevails over all other principles ; or whether the contracted affection may not possibly be so prevalent as to disappoint itself, and even contradict its own end, private good.
And since, further, there is generally thought to be some peculiar kind of contrariety between self-love and the love of our neighbour ; between the pursuit of public and of private good ; insomuch that, when you are recommending one of these, you are supposed to be speaking against the other ; and from hence ariseth a secret prejudice against, and frequently open scorn of, all talk of public spirit, and real good-will to our fellow creatures ; it will be necessary to inquire what respect benevolence hath to self-love, and the pursuit of private interest to the pursuit of public; or whether there be any thing of that peculiar inconsistence and contrariety between them over and above what there is between self-love and other passions and particular affections, and their respective pursuits.
These inquiries, it is hoped, may be favourably attended to ; for there shall be all possible concessions made to the favourite passion, which hath so much allowed to it, and whose cause is so universally pleaded ; it shall be treated with the utmost tenderness and concern for its interests.
In order to this, as well as to determine the forementioned questions, it will be uccessary to consider the nature, the object, and end of that self-love, as distinguished from other principles or affections in the mind, and their respective objects. Every man hath a general desire of his own happiness; and likewise a variety of particular affections, passions and appetites to particular external objects. The former proceeds from, or is, self-love ; and seems inseparable from all sensible creatures, who can reflect upon themselves. What is to be said of the latter is, that they proceed from, or together make up, that particular nature, according to which man is made. The object the former pursues is somewhat ex