War And Peace



ON THE MILITARY SIDE, immediately on entering Moscow, Napoleon gives General Sebastiani strict orders to keep a watch on the movements of the Russian army, sends detachments along the various roads, and charges Murat to find Kutuzov. Then he gives careful instructions for the fortification of the Kremlin; then he makes a plan of the coming campaign over the whole map of Russia; that was a work of genius, indeed. On the diplomatic side, Napoleon summons to his presence Captain Yakovlev, who had been robbed and reduced to rags and did not know how to get out of Moscow, expounds to him minutely his whole policy and his magnanimity; and after writing a letter to the Emperor Alexander, in which he considers it his duty to inform his friend and brother that Rastoptchin had performed his duties very badly in Moscow, he despatches Yakovlev with it to Petersburg.

Expounding his views and his magnanimity with equal minuteness to Tutolmin, he despatches that old man too to Petersburg to open negotiations.

On the judicial side, orders were issued, immediately after the fires broke out, for the guilty persons to be found and executed. And the miscreant Rastoptchin was punished by the order to set fire to his houses.

On the administrative side, Moscow was presented with a constitution. A municipal council was instituted, and the following proclamation was issued:—


“Your misfortunes have been cruel, but his majesty the Emperor and King wishes to put an end to them. Terrible examples have shown you how he punishes crime and breach of discipline. Stern measures have been taken to put an end to disorder and to restore public security. A paternal council, chosen from among yourselves, will compose your municipality or town council. It will care for you, for your needs and your interests. The members of it will be distinguished by a red ribbon, which they will wear across the shoulder, and the mayor will wear a white sash over it. But except when discharging their duties, they will wear only a red ribbon round the left arm.

“The city police are established on their former footing, and they are already restoring order. The government has appointed two general commissioners, or superintendents of police, and twenty commissioners, or police inspectors, stationed in the different quarters of the town. You will recognise them by the white ribbon they will wear round the left arm. Several churches of various denominations have been opened, and divine service is performed in them without hindrance. Your fellow-citizens are returning every day to their dwellings, and orders have been given that they should find in them the aid and protection due to misfortune. These are the measures which the government has adopted to restore order and alleviate your position; but to attain that end, it is necessary that you should unite your efforts with them; should forget, if possible, the misfortunes you have suffered; should look hopefully at a fate that is not so cruel; should believe that a shameful death inevitably awaits those guilty of violence against your persons or your deserted property, and consequently leaves no doubt that they will be preserved, since such is the will of the greatest and most just of monarchs. Soldiers and citizens of whatever nation you may be! Restore public confidence, the source of the prosperity of a state; live like brothers, give mutual aid and protection to one another; unite in confounding the projects of the evil-minded; obey the civil and military authorities, and your tears will soon cease to flow.”

On the commissariat side, Napoleon issued orders for all the troops to enter Moscow in turn, à la maraude, to gather supplies for themselves; so that in that way the army was provided with supplies for the future.

On the religious side, Napoleon ordered the priests to be brought back, and services to be performed again in the churches.

With a view to encouraging commerce and providing supplies for the troops, the following notice was placarded everywhere:—


“You, peaceable inhabitants of Moscow, artisans, and working men, who have been driven out of the city by the disturbance, and you, scattered tillers of the soil, who are still kept in the fields by groundless terror, hear! Tranquillity is returning to this capital, and order is being restored in it. Your fellow-countrymen are coming boldly out of their hiding-places, seeing that they are treated with respect. Every act of violence against them or their property is promptly punished. His Majesty the Emperor and King protects them, and he reckons none among you his enemies but such as disobey his commands. He wishes to put an end to your trouble, and to bring you back to your homes and your families. Co-operate with his beneficent designs and come to us without apprehension. Citizens! Return with confidence to your habitations; you will soon find the means of satisfying your needs! Artisans and industrious handicraftsmen! Return to your employment; houses, shops, and guards to protect them are awaiting you, and you will receive the payment due to you for your toil! And you, too, peasants, come out of the forests where you have been hiding in terror, return without fear to your huts in secure reliance on finding protection. Markets have been established in the city, where peasants can bring their spare stores and country produce. The government has taken the following measures to secure freedom of sale for them: (1) From this day forward, peasants, husbandmen, and inhabitants of the environs of Moscow can, without any danger, bring their goods of any kind to two appointed markets—namely, the Mohovaya and the Ohotny Ryad. (2) Goods shall be bought from them at such a price as seller and buyer shall agree upon together; but if the seller cannot get what he asks for as a fair price, he will be at liberty to take his goods back to his village, and no one can hinder his doing so on any pretext whatever. (3) Every Sunday and Wednesday are fixed for weekly market days: to that end a sufficient number of troops will be stationed on Tuesdays and Saturdays along all the high roads at such a distance from the town as to protect the carts coming in. (4) Similar measures will be taken that the peasants with their carts and horses may meet with no hindrance on their homeward way. (5) Steps will be immediately taken to re-establish the ordinary shops.

“Inhabitants of the city and of the country, and you workmen and handicraftsmen of whatever nationality you may be! You are called upon to carry out the paternal designs of his majesty the Emperor and King, and to co-operate with him for the public welfare. Lay your respect and confidence at his feet, and do not delay to unite with us!”

With a view to keeping up the spirits of the troops and the people, reviews were continually being held, and rewards were distributed.

The Emperor rode about the streets and entertained the inhabitants; and in spite of his preoccupation with affairs of state, visited in person the theatre set up by his orders.

As regards philanthropy, too—the fairest jewel in the conqueror's crown—Napoleon did everything that lay within him. On the benevolent institutions he ordered the inscription to be put up, “Maison de ma mère,” thereby combining a touching filial sentiment with a monarch's grandeur of virtue. He visited the Foundling Home; and as he gave the orphans he had saved his white hands to kiss, he conversed graciously with Tutolmin. Then, as Thiers eloquently recounts, he ordered his soldiers' pay to be distributed among them in the false Russian notes he had counterfeited:—

“Reinforcing the use of these methods by an act worthy of him and of the French army, he had assistance distributed to those who had suffered loss from the fire. But as provisions were too precious to be given to strangers, mostly enemies, Napoleon preferred to furnish them with money for them to provide themselves from without, and ordered paper roubles to be distributed among them.”

With a view to maintaining discipline in the army, orders were continually being issued for severely punishing nonfulfilment of military duty and for putting an end to pillaging.




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