Research Subjects: Napoleon Himself


 

 

 

To the Legislative Body before the Battle of Jena: 1806

Address to the Captive [Saxon] Officers after the Battle of Jena: October 15, 1806

Proclamation to the Soldiers before Entering Warsaw: January 1, 1807

To the King of Prussia, Entreating Peace after the Battle of Eylau: February, 1807

Address to the Army on its Return to Winter Quarters on the Vistula: 1807

Proclamation to the Soldiers after the Battle of Friedland: June 24, 1807

Bibliography


Napoleon's Addresses: 1806 - 1807 Campaigns

Compiled By Tom Holmberg

 

To the Legislative Body before the Battle of Jena: 1806

"Princes, magistrates, soldiers, citizens, we have all but one object in our several departments,—the interests of our country. Weakness in the executive is the greatest of all misfortunes to the people.  Soldier, or First Consul, I have but one thought; Emperor, I have no other object,—the prosperity of France. I do not wish to increase its territory, but I am resolved to maintain its integrity.  I have no desire to augment the influence which we possess in Europe, but I will not permit that we enjoy to decline.  No State shall be incorporated with our empire; but I will not sacrifice my rights, or the ties which unite us to other States."

Address to the Captive [Saxon] Officers after the Battle of Jena: October 15, 1806

"I know not why I am at war with your sovereign.  He is a wise, pacific prince, deserving of respect.  I wish to see your country rescued from its humiliating dependence upon Prussia.  Why should the Saxons and the French, with no motive for hostility, fight against each other.  I am ready, for my part, to give a pledge of my amicable disposition by setting you all at liberty, and by sparing Saxony.  All I require of you is your promise no more to bear arms against France."

Proclamation to the Soldiers before Entering Warsaw: January 1, 1807

"Soldiers: It is this very hour since you were on the field of Austerlitz, where the Russian battalions fled in disorder, or surrendered up their arms to their conquerors.  Next day proposals of peace were talked of, but they were deceptive.  No sooner had the Russians escaped by, perhaps, blamable generosity, from the disasters of the third coalition than they contrived a fourth.  But the ally on whose tactics they founded their principal hope was no more.  His capitals, his fortresses, his magazines, his arsenals, two hundred and eighty flags, and two hundred field-pieces have fallen into our power.  The Oder, the Wartha, the deserts of Poland, and the inclemency of the season, have not for a moment retarded your progress.  You have braved all; surmounted all; every obstacle has fled at your approach.  The Russians have in vain endeavored to defend the capital of ancient and illustrious Poland.  The French eagle hovers over the Vistula.  The brave and unfortunate Poles, on beholding you, fancied they saw the legions of Sobiesky returning from their memorable expedition.

Soldiers: We will not lay down our arms until a general peace has secured the power of our allies, and restored to us our colonies and our freedom of trade.  We have gained on the Elbe and Oder, Pondicherry, our Indian establishments, the Cape of Good Hope, and the Spanish colonies.  Why should the Russians have the right of opposing destiny and thwarting our just designs?  They and we are still the soldiers who fought at Austerlitz."

To the King of Prussia, Entreating Peace after the Battle of Eylau: February, 1807

"I desire to put a period to the misfortunes of your family, and to organize, as speedily as possible, the Prussian monarchy.  Its intermediate power is necessary for the tranquillity of Europe.  I desire peace with Russia; and, provided the Cabinet of St. Petersburg has no designs upon the Turkish Empire, I see no difficulty in obtaining it.  Peace with England is not less essential to all nations.  I shall have no hesitation in sending a minister to Memil to take part in a congress of France, Sweden, England, Russia, and Turkey.  But, as such a congress may last many years, which would not suit the present condition of Prussia, your Majesty therefore will, I am persuaded, be of opinion that I have taken the simplest method, and one which is most likely to secure the prosperity of your subjects.  At all events, I entreat your Majesty to believe in my sincere desire to reëstablish amicable relations with so friendly a power as Prussia, and that I wish to do the same with Russia and England."

Address to the Army on its Return to Winter Quarters on the Vistula: 1807

"Soldiers:  We were beginning to taste the sweets of repose in our winter quarters when the enemy attacked the first corps on the lower Vistula.  We flew to meet him.  We pursued him, sword in hand, eighty leagues.  He was driven for shelter beneath the cannons of his fortresses, and beyond the Pregel.  We have captured sixty pieces of cannon, sixteen standards, and killed, wounded, or taken more than forty thousand Russians.  The brave, who have fallen on our side, have fallen nobly—like soldiers. Their families shall receive our protection.  Having thus defeated the whole projects of the enemy, we will return to the Vistula and reënter our winter quarters.  Whosoever ventures to disturb our repose will repent of it.  Beyond the Vistula, as beyond the Danube, we shall always be the Soldiers of the Grand Army."

Proclamation to the Soldiers after the Battle of Friedland: June 24, 1807

"Soldiers: On the 5th of June we were attacked in our cantonments by the Russian army.  The enemy had mistaken the cause of our inactivity.  He perceived too late that our repose was that of a lion.  He repents of having disturbed it.  In a campaign of ten days we have taken one hundred and twenty pieces of cannon, seven colors, and have killed, wounded, or taken sixty thousand Russians.  We have taken from the enemy's army all its magazines, its hospitals, its ambulances, the fortress of Könisberg, the three hundred vessels which were in that port laded with all kinds of military stores, and one hundred and sixty thousand muskets, which England was sending to arm our enemies.  From the banks of the Vistula we have come with the speed of the eagle to those of [the] Niemen. At Austerlitz you celebrated the anniversary of the coronation.  At Friedland you have worthily celebrated the Battle of Marengo, where we put an end to the war of the second coalition.

Frenchmen: You have been worthy of yourselves and of me.  You will return to France covered with laurels, having obtained a glorious peace, which carries with it a guarantee of its duration.  It is time for our country to live in repose, sheltered from the malignant influences of England.  My bounties shall prove to you my gratitude, and the full extent of the love which I feel for you."

 

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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