Reviews of Books

1900 English Historical Review  
REVIEWS OF BOOKS 887 of fiefs, and many members of families of the long robe held bishoprics rind other lucrative and dignified benefices. But these are matters of detail and in no way affect the soundness of his general conclusions. P. F. WILLBBT Let Campagnes des Armies Franqaises de 1792 d 1816. Par CAMILLH VALLAUX. (Paris: Alcan. 1899.) THIB is a serviceable little handbook, giving eoncise and businesslike summaries of the chief campaigns. To accomplish this in 860 pages is a difficult task
more » ... is a difficult task which demands a nice sense of proportion ; and in this respect I think M. Vallaux's judgment has been sometimes at fault. For instance, he gives twenty-three pages to the raising of the revolutionary forces and their combats at Yalmy and Jemmapes, but only fourteen pages to the campaign of 1816: the'whole of the Peninsular war is dashed off in twenty-two pages, while as many as seven are given to the not very interesting battle of Wagram. And it would have been advisable to omit altogether the civil strifes at Lyons and Toulon, and in La Vendee. They can scarcely rank as campaigns, however much the last war was a ' war of giants.' M. Vallaux's tone as to the origin of the wars is studiously moderate. He frankly recognises that the Girondins flung down the gauntlet to central Europe in 1792, and that the Jaoobins did the same to us in the following year. As is natural, where so large a space is covered, there are several little defects in detail. Though the Italian campaigns of 1796 and 1797 are accurately desoribed, it is a strange exaggeration to say that (p. 170) at the Trebbia in 1799 the French were 'not beaten, but only checked.' In 1806 Mack never had 80,000 men under his orders in Bavaria. The best authorities give the Frenoh losses at Eylau as nearly, if not quite, equal to the Russian losses. If. Vallaox puts them at less by 10,000. Neither does he explain the movements of Davout, which induced Bennigsen to give up his strong position at Heilsberg and undertake that fatal march on Ednigsberg via Friedlaad. It is unlikely that the Russian losses at Friedland were ultimately as high as 20,000, for crowds of stragglers joined the colours at Tilsit. But M. Vallaux retains the traditional numbers. In the very curt treatment of the Peninsular war exception might be taken to many statements-e.g. that Wellesley was some time ' in disgrace' for having accorded the terms of Ointra, or that he was created Duke of Wellington after Talavera, or that pitched battles had not much effect on the campaigns. Salamanca and still more Vittoria were as decisive as almost any battles of the period; and the latter of these calls for a full description. Again, in the account of the Russian campaign of 1812 the efforts of Napoleon to catch Bagration's force by a convergence of Davout and Jerome can hardly be understood if we accept oar author's statement that the Russian force was entre Bobruisk et Mintk. Bagration was much further forward, being, indeed, in front of the marshes of the Pripet. In the very brief account of Waterloo the capture of La Haie-8ainte is placed as late as 6 P.M., without any notioe of the evidence which attributes to the Frenoh at least a partial lodgment before that time ; and the final dibdel* of the Frenoh is even desoribed as beginning before the charge of the Old Guard.
doi:10.1093/ehr/xv.lviii.387 fatcat:hmrkv544gzahzifiehdo3nolhu