Research Subjects: Napoleon Himself


Address to His Soldiers, 25 December 1799

Proclamation to the French before the Second Italian Campaign

Proclamation to the Soldiers before the Battle of Marengo, June, 1800

Letter to the Emperor of Austria, on the Field of Marengo, June, 1800


Napoleon's Addresses: The Second Italian Campaign

Compiled By Tom Holmberg


Address to His Soldiers, 25 December 1799

"In promising peace to the French nation, I was your organ. I know your valor. You are the men who have conquered Holland, the Rhine, Italy, and made peace under the walls of astonished Vienna.

Soldiers, it is no longer your business to defend your frontiers: you are now to invade the states of your enemies. There is not one among you who have made different campaigns, but who knows that the most essential duty of a soldier is, with patience and constancy, to suffer privations. Several years of a bad government are not to be repaired in one day.

It will be a pleasure to me, in the character of first magistrate, to proclaim to the nation the corps, that, by its discipline and valor, shall best deserve to be hailed as the support of their country.

Soldiers, in due time, I shall be in the midst of you; and astonished Europe shall recollect, that you are a race of brave men."

Gifford, C.H. History of the Wars occasioned by the French Revolution... London: W. Lewis, 1817.

Proclamation to the French before the Second Italian Campaign

"Frenchmen: You have been anxious for peace.  Your Government has desired it with still greater ardor.  Its first efforts, its constant wishes, have been for its attainment.  The English Ministry has exposed the secret of its iniquitous policy.  It wishes to dismember France, to destroy its commerce, and either to erase it from the map of Europe, or to degrade it to a secondary power.  England is willing to embroil all the nations of the Continent in hostility with each other, that she may enrich herself with the spoils, and gain possession of the trade of the world.  For the attainment of this object she scatters her gold, becomes prodigal of her promises, and multiplies her intrigues."

Proclamation to the Soldiers before the Battle of Marengo, June, 1800

"Soldiers: When we began our march, one department of France was in the hands of the enemy.  Consternation pervaded the south of the Republic.  You advanced.  Joy and Hope in our country have succeeded to consternation and fear.  The enemy, terror-struck, seeks only to regain his frontiers.  You have taken his hospitals, his magazines, his reserve parks.  The first act of the campaign is finished.  Millions of men address you in strains of praise.  But shall we allow our audacious enemies to violate with impunity the territory of the Republic?  Will you permit the army to escape which has carried terror into your families?  You will not.  March, then, to meet him.  Tear from his brows the laurels he has won.  Teach the world that a malediction attends those that violate the territory of the Great People.  The result of our efforts will be unclouded glory, and a durable peace."

Letter to the Emperor of Austria, on the Field of Marengo, June, 1800

"Sire:—It is on the field of battle, amid the sufferings of a multitude of wounded, and surrounded by fifteen thousand corpses, that  beseech your Majesty to listen to the voice of humanity, and not to suffer two brave nations to cut each other's throats for interests not their own.  It is my part to press this upon your Majesty, being upon the very theatre of war.  Your Majesty's heart can not feel it so keenly as does mine.

"For what are you fighting? For religion? Than make war on the Russians and the English, who are the enemies of your faith.  Do you wish to guard against revolutionary principles? It is this very war which has extended them over half the continent, by extending the conquests of France.  The continuance of the war can not fail to diffuse them still further.  Is it for the balance of Europe?  The English threaten that balance far more than does France, for they have become the masters and the tyrants of commerce, and are beyond the reach of resistance.  Is it to secure the interests of the House of Austria?  Let us then execute the Treaty of Camp Formio, which secures to your Majesty large indemnities in compensation for the provinces lost in the Netherlands, and secures them to you where you most wish to obtain them, that is, in Italy.  Your Majesty may send negotiators whither you will, and we will add to the Treaty of Campo Formio stipulations calculated to assure you of the continued existence of the secondary States, all of which the French Republic is accused of having shapen.  Upon these conditions peace is made if you will.  Let us make the armistice general for all the armies, and enter into negotiations instantly."



Note: Unless noted previously, all addresses are from:

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

[ More on Napoleon's AddressesNapoleon Himself Index ]

Search the Series

© Copyright 1995-2005, The Napoleon Series, All Rights Reserved.

Top | Home ]