Nonfiction > William Jennings Bryan, ed. > The World’s Famous Orations > Vol. VII. Continental Europe
See also: Napoleon I Biography
  The World’s Famous Orations.
Continental Europe (380–1906).  1906.
VI. To His Soldiers at Fontainebleau
Napoleon I (1769–1821)
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 d’état 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 I bid you farewell. For twenty years that we have been together your conduct has left me nothing to desire. I have always found you on the road to glory. All the powers of Europe have combined in arms against me.  1
  A few of my generals have proved untrue to their duty and to France. France herself has desired other destinies; with you and the brave men who still are faithful, I might have carried on a civil war; but France would be unhappy. Be faithful, then, to your new king, be obedient to your new commanders, and desert not our beloved country.  2
  Do not lament my lot; I will be happy when I know that you are so. I might have died; if I consent to live, it is still to promote your glory. I will write the great things that we have achieved.  3
  I can not embrace you all, but I embrace your general. Come, General Petit, that I may press you to my heart! Bring me the eagle, that I may embrace it also! Ah! dear eagle, may this kiss which I give thee find an echo to the latest posterity! Adieu, my children; the best wishes of my heart shall be always with you: do not forget me!  4
Note 1. After his abdication, April 20, 1814. Translated “by a member of the New York Bar.” [back]


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