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Whilst Dumouriez had thus overrun the Netherlands, other French generals had been equally pushing on aggressions. Custine, with about twenty thousand men, had marched upon the German towns on the Rhine; had taken Spires, Worms, and Mayence by the 21st of October. These towns abounded with Democrats, who had imbibed the grand doctrine of the Rights of Man, and laboured, to their cost, under the same delusion as the Belgiansthat the French were coming solely for their liberation and advantage. Custine advanced to Frankfort-on-the-Main, which he plundered without mercy. Custine called loudly for co-operation from Kellermann; but Kellermann not complying, he was superseded by Beurnonville, who was ordered to take Trves. He attempted it, but too late in the season, and failed. Custine, who had advanced too far from the main army to support his position, still, however, garrisoned Frankfort with two thousand men, and took up his own quarters at Ober-Ursel and Homburg, a little below Frankfort, in the commencement of December.

At Vereiva, where Buonaparte halted on the 27th of October, Mortier arrived from Moscow, having blown up the Kremlin with gunpowder, and with it a crowd of Russians who had rushed in at the moment of his evacuation. Mortier on his march had also surprised and captured General Winzengerode. From this place Buonaparte issued a bulletin, announcing that not only Moscow but the Kremlin was destroyed; that the two hundred thousand inhabitants of Moscow were wandering in the woods existing on roots; and that the French army was advancing towards St. Petersburg with every means of success. Such was the audacity of lying by which he hoped to conceal the truth from Paris. At this moment he was exasperated almost to frenzy by his prospects, and since the defeat of Maloi-Jaroslavitz he had been gloomy and unapproachable from the violence of his temper. On the march the army passed with horror the field of Borodino. "The ground," says Segur, "was covered with fragments of helmets and cuirasses, broken drums, gun-stocks, tatters of uniforms, and standards steeped in blood. On this desolate spot lay thirty thousand half devoured corpses. A number of skeletons, left on the summit of one of the hills, overlooked the whole. It seemed as if here death had fixed his empire. The cry, 'It is the field of the great battle!' found a long and doleful murmur. Napoleon passed quickly; no one stopped; cold, hunger, and the enemy urged us on. We merely turned our faces as we proceeded to take a last melancholy look at our late companions in arms."

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But the agitation of this question produced a strong sensation on the Continent. Buonaparte, who watched every movement of the British Parliament and Government with the deepest anxiety, immediately seized on the discussion as a proof that Great Britain was fast sinking under his Continental system. That system, indeed, was rapidly prostrating the Continent. From all sides complaints had long been pouring in upon him that the suppression of commerce was ruining the great mercantile citiesHamburg, Bremen, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Naples, Genoa, and the other parts of Italy; and that it was diffusing universal poverty and distress. The breach which the Emperor Alexander had made in it, and the determined resistance which the Swedes made to it, had caused him to feel the necessity of relaxing the rigour of his system. But now he took fresh courage. He believed that Great Britain was at her last gasp; that there would speedily be universal rebellion within her from starving citizens; and he held on in his plan, and this proved his ultimate destruction; for it made him all the more determined to coerce Russia, and thus precipitated his fatal campaign against that country. But the loss of the Allies had also been perfectly awful. The Prussians, besides the great slaughter at Ligny, had been engaged in a bloody struggle at Planchenoit, and the British and their Allies had lost in the battle of Waterloo two thousand four hundred and thirty-two killed, and nine thousand five hundred and twenty-eight wounded; these, added to the numbers killed and wounded at Quatre Bras, raised the total to fifteen thousand. Of British and Hanoverian officers alone six hundred were killed or wounded at Waterloo. The Duke of Brunswick fell at the head of his troops at Quatre Bras, without having the satisfaction of witnessing the final ruin of Buonaparte. So many of Wellington's staff were disabled that he had at one time no officer to dispatch with a pressing order. A young Piedmontese, of the family of De Salis, offered himself. "Were you ever in a battle before?" asked the Duke. "No, sir," he replied. "Then," said the Duke, "you are a lucky man, for you will never see such another." When the Duke, who had witnessed so many bloody battles, saw the carnage of Waterloo, and heard, one after another, the losses of so many companions in arms, he was quite overcome. In his despatches he says: "I cannot express the regret and sorrow with which I look round me, and contemplate the losses that we have sustained." And again, "The losses I have sustained have quite broken me down, and I have no feeling for the advantages we have gained."