THE New Year dawned with prospects such as Europe had not seen for many a year. Four great armies had invaded the soil of France, and were closing in on its heart. Public expectation was raised to the highest pitch. The British fleet had reached its greatest strength, and represented a "force more than equivalent to the navies of all the other European powers combined." The end was evidently not far off.
Invasion of France.
After some fruitless negotiation with Napoleon at Chatillonsur-Seine, during an armistice, a permanent basis was given to the alliance by the Treaty of Chaumont, signed on 1st March -- "the most important contract that perhaps the history of European diplomacy could furnish," said Castlereagh -- by which the four powers bound themselves, by a twenty years' treaty, not to lay down their arms till the object of the war was attained, and engaged, each of them, to keep 150,000 effective men in the field, independent of garrisons, Great Britain besides guaranteeing £5,000,000 a year for every subsequent year of the war, to be divided equally among the other three powers.
Treaty of Chaumont.
On 31st March, the allied powers entered Paris with much ceremonial, amid acclamations of the crowd, and a proclamation was issued saying that they would not treat with Napoleon or his family; that they would respect the integrity of ancient France as it existed under its legitimate kings; and that they would recognise and guarantee the constitution which the French people might adopt. On 2nd April, the French Senate formally announced that Napoleon Buonaparte had forfeited the throne, and that the hereditary right established in his family was abolished. When Napoleon arrived at Fontainebleau with the wreck of his army, the Allies were in possession of Paris, and, after a long hesitation, he abdicated on the 7th.
The Allies enter Paris.
Abdication of Napoleon.