Page:Napoleon's Addresses.djvu/16

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xii
INTRODUCTION.

preparing the Code of Laws. He would not discuss the laws proposed, in technical and equivocal language, but insisted on translating them into the plainest, most evident terms. When it came to wording the laws, he still declared that they should be kept clear of all obscurities and ambiguities of meaning, so that the most illiterate of the people could comprehend them.

While all of Napoleon's addresses to the army and to the people are imbued with a spirit of comradeship, those to generals, ambassadors, counselors of State, even to the members of his family, are imperious and inflexible in tone. The first impression they produce is that the author knows his own mind and is convinced of his ability to carry out his own plans, that he has no superstitious regard for titles, formalities, even for ties of blood, that he is superior to traditions, and will recognize the authority of no man who does not prove himself the stronger. From the beginning of his career, the audacity of this presumption, this confidence in himself, checked and often stifled opposition. There was, in the high tone of his communications, something