Research Subjects: Napoleon Himself


 

 

 

Proclamation to the Soldiers before the Battle of Eckmuhl: April, 1809

Proclamation to the Troops at Ratisbon: April, 1809

Address to the Troops on Entering Vienna: May, 1809

Proclamation to the Hungarians: 1809

Bibliography


Napoleon's Addresses: 1809 War with Austria

Compiled By Tom Holmberg

 

Proclamation to the Soldiers before the Battle of Eckmuhl: April, 1809

"Soldiers: The territory of the Confederation of the Rhine has been violated.  The Austrian general supposes that we are to fly at the sight of his eagles, and abandon our allies to his mercy.  I arrive with the rapidity of lightning in the midst of you.  Soldiers: I was surrounded by your bayonets, when the Emperor of Austria arrived at my bivouac in Moravia.  You heard him implore my clemency, and swear an eternal friendship.  Conquerors in three wars, Austria has owned everything to our generosity.  Three times she has perjured herself! Our former successes are our guarantee for our future triumphs.  Let us march, then, and at our aspect, let the enemy recognize his conquerors."

Proclamation to the Troops at Ratisbon: April, 1809

"Soldiers: You have justified my anticipation.  You have supplied by bravery the want of numbers, and have shown the difference which exists between the soldiers of Cæsar and the armed rabble of Xerxes.  Within the space of a few days we have triumphed in the battles of Thaun, Abersberg, and Eckmuhl, and in the combats of Peissing, Landshut, and Ratisbon.  One hundred pieces of cannon, forty standards, fifty thousand prisoners, three bridge equipages, three thousand baggage-wagons with their horses, and all the money chests of the regiments, are the fruits of the rapidity of your marches, and of your courage.  The enemy, seduced by a perjured Cabinet, appeared to have lost all recollection of you.  His awakening has been speedy; you have appeared more terrible that ever.  Lately, he crossed the Inn, and invaded the territory of our allies.  Lately, he talked of nothing less than carrying the war into the bosom of our country.  Now, defeated, dispersed, he flies, in consternation.  Already my advance-guard has passed the Inn.  In one month we will be in Vienna."

Address to the Troops on Entering Vienna: May, 1809

"In a month after the enemy passed the Inn, on the same day, at the same hour, we entered Vienna.  Their militia, their levies en masse, their ramparts, created by the impotent rage of the princes of the House of Lorraine, have fallen at the first sight of you. The princes of that house have abandoned their capital, not like the soldiers of honor, who yield to circumstance and the reverses of war, but as perjurers haunted by the sense of their crime.  In flying from Vienna, their adieus to its inhabitants have been murder and conflagration.  Like Medea, they have with their own hands massacred their own offspring. Soldiers: The people of Vienna, according to the expression of a deputation of the suburbs, abandoned, widowed, shall be the object of your regards. I take its good citizens under my special protection.  As to the wicked and turbulent, they shall meet with exemplary justice. Soldiers: Be kind to the poor peasants; to those worthy people who have so many claims upon your esteem.  Let us see in it but a proof of that divine justice which punishes the ungrateful and the perjured.

Proclamation to the Hungarians: 1809

"Hungarians: The moment is come to revive your independence.  I offer you peace, the integrity of your territory, the inviolability of your constitutions,—whether of such as are in actual existence, or of those which the spirit of the time may require. I ask nothing of you. I desire only to see your nation free and independent.  Your union with Austria has made your misfortunes.  Your blood has flowed for her in distant regions.  Your dearest interests have always been sacrificed to those of the Austrian hereditary states.  You form the finest part of the Empire of Austria, yet you are treated as a province.  You have national manners, a national language; you boast an ancient and illustrious origin.  Resume, then, your existence as a nation.  Have a king of your own choice, who will reside among you, and reign for you alone."

 

Bibliography:

Napoleon's Addresses: Selections from the Proclamations, Speeches and Correspondence of Napoleon Bonaparte. Edited by Ida M. Tarbell. (Boston: Joseph Knight, 1896.)

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: February 2003

 

 

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