Page:The Fall of Maximilan's Empire.djvu/27

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inscription: "Simple soldat en 1831. Maréhal de France en 1864." The command of the army of the Intervention in Mexico was one of great trust and authority. At such a distance from France, unusual power and large discretion were necessarily given to an officer commanding the armies and executing the purpose of the French emperor in the New World, As slowly, but apparently surely, he tightened his grasp on Mexico, driving to remote fastnesses the patriots who refused to sell their birthright, the Marshal's proud and haughty nature asserted itself strongly. There was neither cause for restraint nor reason for modest bearing. The very fates seemed to conspire to make of the promoted soldier a military autocrat moving on the full floods tide of success, and the whispered suspicions of his ambition to possibly succeed or replace in person the Prince whom it was his duty to establish and support on the Mexican throne, were perhaps not ill founded. In the minds of many the matrimonial alliance that he contracted in that country pointed likewise to such a denouement. Hence it may be discerned that when the word came to evacuate the land he had so proudly occupied, it became a revelation to him that his career of military glory and power was swiftly drawing to an end. At first he cursed the fickleness and senselessness of the Mexican people who so stubbornly resisted the foreign arms whose aid their Notables