xxxxxIn 1809, inspired by the popular Spanish and Portuguese uprisings against French rule, the Austrians -
THE NAPOLEONIC WARS 1803 -
THE BATTLE OF WAGRAM 1809
Metternich: by the English portrait painter Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-
xxxxxAs we have seen, in 1807, determined to maintain his Continental System, Napoleon invaded Portugal to enforce the blockade against the British. Then a year later to ensure access to that country, he seized control of Spain, putting his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne. As a result, both countries rebelled against the French occupation; the British sent an army to support them; and Napoleon had the Peninsular War on his hands.
xxxxxTo Austria, humiliated by the defeats of Ulm and Austerlitz in 1805, this seemed the long-
xxxxxThe immediate result was a French occupation of Vienna, but towards the end of May, at Aspern and Essling, just across the River Danube from the capital, the Austrian army, led by Archduke Charles, inflicted upon Napoleon his first major defeat on the battlefield. Unfortunately for them, however, the Austrians did not take advantage of their victory, and Napoleon, anxious to prevent a larger coalition forming against him, quickly regrouped and sought out his enemy. He found the Austrians deployed on the plain of Marchfeld, either side of the village of Wagram some ten miles north-
xxxxxOn the afternoon of the 5th July 1809 he crossed over the Danube and launched his opening attack, but this was repulsed. Then on the morning of the next day the Austrians mounted a counterattack in the south, driving the French back for some considerable distance. But Napoleon then brought up his artillery. This caused heavy casualties and stopped the Austrian advance in the centre, whilst a French attack in the north managed to outmanoeuvre the enemy, causing confusion and bringing about a general retreat. Archduke John arrived with reinforcements in the late afternoon, but by this time the Austrians were in full flight, leaving behind some 40,000 casualties and prisoners. The French casualties were also high, about 34,000, but Napoleon had won the day and France remained in control of Germany. Four days later Archduke Charles sued for peace.
xxxxxMetternich,xdespite his earlier misjudgment, was appointed foreign affairs minister by the Emperor in October 1809, and spoke for Austria at the Treaty of Schönbrunn. He attempted to soften the terms of the agreement, but Napoleon would have none of it. Austria lost over 30,000 square miles with a population of some three and a half million. Much of this went to France, including Istria and Trieste, and a part of Croatia; the Grand Duchy of Warsaw gained West Galicia; Bavaria obtained Salzburg and Berchtesgaden; and Russia, who had supported Napoleon as an ally, received part of East Galicia. In addition, Austria had to pay a large indemnity, reduce its army to 150,000, and join the Continental System.
xxxxxDespite these harsh terms, Metternich achieved quite a measure of success after Schönbrunn by deciding that if you cannot beat your enemy it is best to join him. With this in mind he managed to arrange a marriage between Marie-
and Nicolas Appert
xxxxxLeading his own war of resistance at this time was the Tirolese patriot Andreas Hofer (1767-
xxxxxHofer then occupied Innsbruck and set up an administration with himself as governor and commander in chief. However, in spite of promises from Emperor Francis I that the Tirol would remain Austrian, after the defeat at Wagram in July 1809, the Treaty of Schönbrunn ceded the region to Napoleon, and the French moved into the area in force. Hofer and his men retreated into the mountains, and it was then that his whereabouts was betrayed to the French -
xxxxxIncidentally, the remains of this national hero were brought back to Innsbruck in 1823, and buried in the Franciscan Church there. An account of his fight for freedom is the subject of a festival held each year in Iselberg, and a poem about him, Landwirth (Landowner) Hofer, written by the German poet Julius Mosen (1803-
xxxxxFighting his own battles for Austria at this time was the Tirolese patriot Andreas Hofer (1767-
xxxxx It was in 1809 that the Parisian chef, Nicholas Appert (1749-
xxxxxIt was in 1809 that a Parisian chef, Nicolas Appert (1749-
xxxxxThe need for such an invention had been recognised by the military as early as 1795, and in that year a reward was offered by the Directory to anyone who could devise a practical method of preserving food. Having carried out experiments over fourteen years and achieved just that, in 1810 Appert was awarded 12,000 francs by Napoleon and published a book about his method entitled The Art of Preserving All Kinds of Animal and Vegetable Substances for Several Years. Two years later, with the money he had made from his invention, he opened up a factory at Massey, south of Paris -
xxxxxAtxthe same time (1810) an English inventor, Peter Durand (1768-
xxxxxTins proved much easier to make airtight, were stronger, and they were more speedily produced than bottles. In the early days four cans could be manufactured in a day, but production was quickly stepped up (today it is 400 a minute!). Inx1815 the German explorer Otto von Kotzebue (1787-
xxxxxIncidentally, we are told that a tin of veal and peas, canned in England in 1818, was still fresh when opened in 1938!