In January, 1812, Wellington, as has been mentioned, stormed Ciudad Rodrigo; on April sixth Badajoz fell. On April eighteenth Napoleon offered terms of peace, Spain to be kept intact under Joseph, Portugal to be restored to the house of Braganza, Sicily to remain under Ferdinand, and Naples under Murat. Considering all the circumstances, the offer was worthy of consideration; but the English cabinet refused it. The possibility of peace with Great Britain being thus extinguished, Napoleon considered what course he should pursue toward the other great Protestant land, which also felt itself to be struggling for life. Some well-informed persons asserted that at first the Emperor contemplated destroying the Hohenzollern power utterly. If so, he quickly dismissed the idea as involving unnecessary risk. With the reforms of Stein and Hardenberg successfully accomplished, with her educational system completed and her army reorganized, with her people electrified at last into true patriotism, Prussia was again a redoubtable power. Her influence permeated all Germany, and the secret associations which ramified everywhere labored for German unity, their members already dreaming of the Jura, Vosges, and Ardennes as the western frontier of their fatherland. At first Frederick William made overtures to the Czar, offering an army of a hundred thousand men. Alexander, desiring a purely defensive war, was cold; but late in 1811 he agreed, in case of an attack on Prussia, to advance as far as the Vistula, "if possible."
The capitulation at Cintra, the affair at Bayonne, and the uprising of the Spaniards had combined to intensify rebellion in Portugal. She was now in full sympathy with Spain, and her people were scarcely less bitter or less active than the Spaniards. The easy terms secured by Junot had infuriated England, and not only Dalrymple and Burrard, but Wellesley himself, had been recalled to give an account of their conduct. The last was triumphantly vindicated; but while the others were not convicted of dereliction in duty, they were virtually withdrawn from active life. Sir John Moore was now in command of the English troops in the Peninsula. He had been reinforced with ten thousand men, and feeling sure of Portugal, had advanced into Spain. To Napoleon it seemed evident that his intention was to seize Madrid.
The Life and Career of Napoleon Bonaparte - ThoughtCo
Lyons - "Napoleon Bonaparte and the legacy of the French Revolution"
Markham - "Napoleon's road to glory"
Felix Markham - "Napoleon and the awakening of Europe" first publ.
Napoleon Bonaparte: A Life by Alan Schom
But the real object of that winter journey to Italy seems to have been the two interviews which the Emperor had with his brothers Joseph and Lucien, the former being beckoned from Naples to Venice, the latter from Rome to Mantua. The younger brother had, after the first juvenile heats of radicalism, become a moderate republican, holding his convictions resolutely. Having opposed a hereditary consulate for Napoleon, and unmindful of any reward he might have claimed for his services of Brumaire, he withdrew from public life to spend his time in study and the gratification of his literary tastes. On the death of his first wife, by whom he had two daughters, he married, in direct opposition to Napoleon's wishes, the beautiful and accomplished Mme. de Jauberthon. This was in 1803. Having been importuned to put her away and lend himself to the project of buttressing the Empire by accepting a crown and contracting a royal marriage, he had refused. By far the ablest and most courageous of the Bonaparte brothers, he was utterly indifferent to the rise of Napoleonic empire, for his principles were fixed. It was with reluctance that he came to Mantua. There are two accounts of what happened there: that which has long been accepted—of Lucien hotly refusing the crown of Portugal, with the hand of Prince Ferdinand for his daughter Charlotte; and that which makes Napoleon's first offer to have been Etruria. Both accounts agree, however, that the Emperor raised his bid to the promise of Italy—always on condition that his brother should divorce his wife and rule in the interest of the imperial power. Lucien disdained even this bribe, declaring that he would accept the crown, but that he would rule in the interests of his subjects, and that he would in no case consider a divorce. Angry words were spoken. Napoleon crushed in his hand a watch with which he had been toying, hissing out that thus he would crush wills which opposed his. "I defy you to commit a crime," retorted Lucien. Before parting there was a half reconciliation, and Napoleon requested that at least his brother's eldest daughter might be sent to Paris for use in the scheme of royal alliances. Lucien assented, and the child, a clever girl of about fourteen, was sent to live with Madame Mère. She was thoroughly discontented, and wrote bright, sarcastic letters to her stepmother, whom she loved, depicting the avarice of her grandmother and the foibles of her other relatives. These, like all other suspected letters of the time, were intercepted and read in the "cabinet noir"; their contents being made known to Napoleon, he sent the petulant, witty writer back to her father. Despairing of any support from Lucien or his family, Napoleon formally adopted his stepson Eugène, the viceroy, with a view to consolidating and confirming the Italian feeling of dependence on France.