Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
that party, remembering
Suvorov, said that what one had to do was not to reason, or stick pins
into maps, but to fight, beat the enemy, keep him out of Russia, and
not let the army get discouraged.
To the third party--in which the Emperor had most confidence--belonged
the courtiers who tried to arrange compromises between the other two.
The members of this party, chiefly civilians and to whom Arakcheev
belonged, thought and said what men who have no convictions but wish
to seem to have some generally say. They said that undoubtedly war,
particularly against such a genius as Bonaparte (they called him
Bonaparte now), needs most deeply devised plans and profound
scientific knowledge and in that respect Pfuel was a genius, but at
the same time it had to be acknowledged that the theorists are often
one sided, and therefore one should not trust them absolutely, but
should also listen to what Pfuels opponents and practical men of
experience in warfare had to say, and then choose a middle course.
They insisted on the retention of the camp at Drissa, according to
Pfuels plan, but on changing the movements of the other armies.
Though, by this course, neither one aim nor the other could be
attained, yet it seemed best to the adherents of this third party.
Of a fourth opinion the most conspicuous representative was the
Tsarevich, who could not forget his disillusionment at Austerlitz,
where he had ridden out at the head of the Guards, in his casque and
cavalry uniform as to a review, expecting to crush the French
gallantly; but unexpectedly finding himself in the front line had
narrowly escaped amid the general confusion. The men of this party had
both the quality and the defect of frankness in their opinions. They
feared Napoleon, recognized his strength and their own weakness, and
frankly said so. They said: "Nothing but sorrow, shame, and ruin
will come of all this! We have abandoned Vilna and Vitebsk and shall
abandon Drissa. The only reasonable thing left to do is to conclude
peace as soon as possible, before we are turned out of Petersburg."
This view was very general in the upper army circles and found
support also in Petersburg and from the chancellor, Rumyantsev, who,
for other reasons of state, was in favor of peace.
The fifth party consisted of those who were adherents of Barclay
de Tolly, not so much as a man but as minister of war and commander in
chief. "Be he what he may" (they always began like that), "he is an
honest, practical man and we have nobody better. Give him real
power, for war cannot be conducted successfully without unity of
command, and he will show what he can do, as he did in Finland. If our
army is well organized and strong and has withdrawn to Drissa
without suffering any defeats, we owe this entirely to Barclay. If
Barclay is now to be superseded by Bennigsen all will be lost, for
Bennigsen showed his incapacity already in 1807."
The sixth party, the Bennigsenites, said, on the contrary, that at
any rate there was no one more active and experienced than
Bennigsen: "and twist about as you may, you will have to come to
Bennigsen eventually. Let the others make mistakes now!" said they,
arguing that our retirement to Drissa was a most shameful reverse
and an unbroken series of blunders. "The more mistakes that are made
the better. It will at any rate be understood all the sooner that
things cannot go on like this. What is wanted is not some Barclay or
other, but a man like Bennigsen, who made his mark in 1807, and to
whom Napoleon himself did justice--a man whose authority would be
willingly recognized, and Bennigsen is the only such man."
The seventh party consisted of the sort of people who are always
to be found, especially around young sovereigns, and of whom there
were particularly many round Alexander--generals and imperial
aides-de-camp passionately devoted to the Emperor, not merely as a
monarch but as a man, adoring him sincerely and disinterestedly, as
Rostov had done in 1805, and who saw in him not only all the virtues
but all human capabilities as well. These men, though enchanted with
the sovereign for refusing the command of the army, yet blamed him for
such excessive modesty, and only desired and insisted that their
adored sovereign should abandon his diffidence and openly announce
that he would place himself at the head of the army, gather round
him a commander in chiefs staff, and, consulting experienced
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