Page:Napoleon's Addresses.djvu/13

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ix
INTRODUCTION.

it to others, watches the development of his plans and follows the gradual enlargement of his power. Nowhere else is there so fine an opportunity to observe the steady unfolding of his ambition for world-mastery, to see how he aspired to rule France, then her neighbors, then Europe, the Orient, America, the Isles of the sea. An especially curious study in connection with that of the evolution of his ambition is that of the methods he followed to enlist men in his stupendous undertakings. Such a study is possible only in the addresses.

The spell he exercised over the army is explained here, partially, at least. It was the custom to post the addresses through-out the ranks where each soldier could see and read them. The men had been accustomed at home to seeing all official communications from the Government to the people placed on the bill-boards, and so read them from habit. But Napoleon's bulletins, if they were posted in a familiar way, had a new character. He addressed the soldiers as if they were comrades, explaining the general situation of the army