Page:Napoleon's Addresses.djvu/20

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xvi
INTRODUCTION.

dresses. Take one of the days when he was at the height of his power and note the marvellous range over which his thoughts run. He gives direction for the mobilization of troops and the fortification of a town; inquires of Cambacérès or Portalis the meaning of a law they have under consideration for the new Code, asks them why such a law is necessary, if it existed under Louis XIV., why it should not be worded in this way instead of that; he remembers a general who is compromising himself in a love affair, and counsels him at least to be discreet; he scolds Josephine for extravagance; orders a monument to the last general killed on the field of battle; selects the names to be given to certain new streets and bridges of Paris.

To the end of his career his addresses show the same vigor and range. Even those sent to the inhabitants and authorities of Elbe are as fertile in schemes for improving the island as those addressed to the French people; they show, too, the same attention to detail. At Elbe he even dictated, with ceremonious regard for the forms which become the ruler of a king-