Page:Napoleon's Addresses.djvu/17

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xiii
INTRODUCTION.

which compelled obedience, just as there was something in his bearing which silenced those who met him face to face. Augereau went in to his first interview with Napoleon sneering contemptuously at the idea of an untried commander being sent to the Army of Italy, but he backed out from his presence, pale with dismay. "His first glance crushed me," he cried. In a similar way a first address from Napoleon bewildered and silenced critics and opponents. They were baffled by his apparent candor, by the serious way in which he took himself, and by the complete mastery he had of all the elements in a situation. There seemed to be no fact which had escaped him, no contingency he had not considered. A reading of the addresses shows that much of the impression of strength they produce is due to the fact that the writer has full knowledge of the business in hand. One sees from the way in which he criticizes, asks questions, and advises that he understands his subject. Of course, it is in military matters that it is particularly conspicuous. Here he knows everything, the quality of cloth which ought to be used in