Napoleon I's speech following his abdication, to his soldiers at Fontainebleau
|Napoleon I's speech following his abdication, to his soldiers at Fontainebleau
|Delivered in 1814, and translated by a member of the New York Bar Association to appear in the English volume of the Vicomte de Cormenin's book "Eminent Orators of France", and later appeared in William Jennings Bryan's 1906 book The World’s Famous Orations, Volume VII "Continental Europe".|
SOLDIERS, 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.
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.
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.
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!