Research Subjects: Napoleon Himself


 

 

 

Proclamation to the Spaniards on the Abdication of Charles IV: June 2, 1808

Address to the Legislative Body, before Leaving Paris for the Spanish Campaign: 1808

Proclamation to the Soldiers, during the March for Spain: 1808

Summons to M. de Morla to Surrender Madrid: December 3, 1808

Proclamation to the Spanish People: December, 1808

Bibliography

Napoleon's Addresses: 1808 Spanish Campaign

Compiled By Tom Holmberg

 

Proclamation to the Spaniards on the Abdication of Charles IV: June 2, 1808

"Spaniards: After a long agony your nation was on the point of perishing.  I saw your miseries and hastened to apply a remedy.  Your grandeur, your power, form an integral part of my own.  Your princes have ceded to me the rights to the crown of Spain.  I have no wish to reign over your provinces, but I am desirous of acquiring eternal titles to the love and gratitude of your posterity. Your monarchy is old.  My mission is to pour into its veins the blood of youth.  I will ameliorate all your institutions and make you enjoy, if you second my efforts, the blessings of reform, without its collisions, its disorders, its convulsions. I have convoked a general assembly of the deputations of your provinces and cities.  I am desirous of ascertaining your wants by personal intercourse.  I will then lay aside all the title I have acquired, and place your glorious crown on the head of my second self, after having secured for you a constitution which may establish the sacred and salutary authority of the sovereigns, with the liberties and privileges of the people.  Spaniards: Reflect on what your fathers were; on what you are now.  The fault does not lie in you; but in the constitution by which you have been governed.  Conceive the most ardent hopes and confidence in the results of your present situation; for I wish that your latest posterity should preserve the recollection of me, and say: 'He was the regenerator of our country.'"

Address to the Legislative Body, before Leaving Paris for the Spanish Campaign: 1808

"I have travelled this year more than three thousand miles in the interior of my empire.  The spectacle of this great French family—recently distracted by intestine divisions, now united and happy—has profoundly moved me.  I have learned that I cannot be happy myself unless I first see that France is happy.  A part of my army is marching to meet the troops which England has landed in Spain.  It is an especial blessing of that Providence which has constantly protected our army, that passion so blinded the English counsels as to induce them to renounce the possession of the seas, and to exhibit their army on the continent.  I depart in a few days to place myself at the head of my troops, and, with the aid of God, to crown in Madrid the King of Spain, and to place our eagles on the fort of Lisbon.  The Emperor of Russia and I have met at Erfurt.  Our most earnest endeavor has been for peace.  We have resolved to make many sacrifices; to confer, if possible, the blessings of maritime commerce upon the hundred millions of men whom we represent.  We are of one mind, and we are indissolubly united for peace as for war."

Proclamation to the Soldiers, during the March for Spain: 1808

"Soldiers: After triumphing on the banks of the Vistula and the Danube, with rapid steps you have passed through Germany.  This day, without a moment of repose, I command you to traverse France.  Soldiers: I have need of you.  The hideous presence of the leopard contaminates the peninsula of Spain and Portugal.  In terror he must fly before you.  Let us bear our triumphal eagles to the pillars of Hercules.  There, also, we have injuries to avenge.  Soldiers: You have passed the renown of our modern armies, but you have not yet equalled the glories of those Romans, who, in one and the same campaign, were victorious upon the Rhine and the Euphrates, in Illyria and upon the Tagus.  A long peace, a lasting prosperity, shall be the reward of your labors. But a real Frenchman ought not, could not, rest until the seas are open to all.  Soldiers: All that you have done, all that you will do for the happiness of the French people, and for my glory, shall be eternal in my heart."

Summons to M. de Morla to Surrender Madrid: December 3, 1808

"In vain you employ the name of the people.  If you cannot find means to pacify them, it is because you yourself excited them and misled them by falsehood.  Assemble the clergy, the heads of the convents, the alcades, and if between this and six in the morning the city has not surrendered, it shall cease to exist.  I neither will, nor ought to withdraw my troops.  You have slaughtered the unfortunate French who have fallen into your hands.  Only two days ago you suffered two servants of the Russian ambassador to be dragged in the streets because they were Frenchmen.  The incapacity and weakness of a general had put into your hands troops which had capitulated on the field of battle of Baylen, and the capitulation was violated.  You, M. de Morla, what sort of a letter did you write to that general? Well did it become you to talk of pillage—you, who having entered Rousillon in 1795, carried off all the women, and divided them as booty among your soldiers. What right had you, moreover, to hold such language.  The capitulation of Baylen forbade it.  Look what was the conduct of the English, who are far from priding themselves on being strict observers of the law of nations.  They complained of the Convention of Cintra, but they fulfilled it.  To violate military treaties is to renounce all civilization—to put ourselves on a level with the Bedouins of the desert.  How then dare you to demand a capitulation—you who violated that of Baylen?  See how injustice and bad faith ever recoil upon those who are guilty of them.  I had a fleet at Cadiz.  It had come there as to a harbor of an ally.  You directed against it the mortars of the city which you commanded.  I had a Spanish army in my ranks.  I preferred to see it escape in English ships, and to fling itself upon the rocks of Espinosa, than to disarm it.  I preferred having nine thousand more enemies to fight, to violating good faith and honor.  Return to Madrid. I give you till six o'clock to-morrow evening.  You have nothing to say to me about the people, but to tell me that they have submitted.  If not, you and your troops shall be put to the sword."

Proclamation to the Spanish People: December, 1808

"I have declared, in a proclamation of the 2nd of June, that I wished to be the regenerator of Spain.  To the rights which the princes of the ancient dynasty have ceded to me, you have wished that I should add the right of conquest.  That, however, shall not change my inclination to serve you.  I wish to encourage everything that is noble in your own exertions.  All that is opposed to your prosperity and your grandeur I wish to destroy.  The shackles which have enslaved the people I have broken.  I have given you a liberal constitution, and, in the place of an absolute monarchy, a monarchy mild and limited.  It depends upon yourselves whether that constitution shall still be your law."

 

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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