The Worlds Famous Orations. Continental Europe (3801906). 1906.
IV. During the Egyptian Campaign
Napoleon I (17691821)
Born in 1769, died in 1821; served in Corsica and at Toulon in 1793; went to Italy in 1794; to Egypt in 1798; executed coup détat of Brumaire in 1799; won the Battle of Marengo in 1800; made Consul for life in 1802; Emperor in 1804; won the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805, Jena and Friedland in 1807; fled from Moscow in 1812; lost the Battle of Leipsic in 1813; abdicated April 11, 1814; escaped from Elba in February, 1815; defeated at Waterloo in June, 1815; exiled to St. Helena in October of the same year.
SOLDIERS,1 you are a wing of the army of England! You are masters of the modes of warfare appropriate to mountains, to plains, to sieges. Naval war remains to complete your experience. The Roman legions whom you have sometimes imitated, but not as yet equaled, fought Carthage successively upon this sea and upon the plains of Zama. Victory never forsook them, because they were constantly brave, patient of fatigue, well disciplined, resolute. But, soldiers, Europe has her eyes upon you! You have great destinies to fulfil, battles to fight, fatigues to surmount!
Cadis, Sheiks, Imans, Chorbadgys, you will be told that I came to destroy your religion; do not believe it. Let your answer be that I come to reestablish your rights and punish your usurpers, and that I have more respect than the Mamelukes for your god, his prophet, and the Koran.
But, is there a fine country? It is appropriated by the Mamelukes. Is there a beautiful slave, a fine horse, a fine house? All this belongs to the Mamelukes. If Egypt be their farm, let them show the lease which God has given them of it! But God is just and merciful to the people. The Egyptians will be called to fill the public stations. Let the wisest, the most enlightened, the most virtuous govern, and the people will be happy.
Cadis, Sheiks, Imans, Chorbadgys, tell the people that we, too, are true Mussulmans. Is it not we who demolished the pope, the great enemy of the Mussulmans? Are we not the friends of the grand seignior?
Sheiks, Ulemans, believers of Mohammed, make known to the people that those who have been enemies to me will find no refuge either in this world or the other. Is there a man so blind as not to see that Destiny itself directs my operations?2
Note 1. Translated by a member of the New York Bar. [back]
Note 2. Napoleons famous remark at the Pyramids was not part of any of these speeches. As Thiers relates the incident, the army on its march suddenly came within sight of the gigantic Pyramids gilded by the sun, and then halted as if seized with curiosity and admiration. With his face beaming with enthusiasm, Napoleon began to gallop before the ranks of the soldiers, and pointing to the Pyramids exclaimed consider that from the summits of these Pyramids forty centuries have their eyes fixed upon you. Thiers gives only these words. [back]