Napoleon's Addresses/Part IV
NAPOLEON, EMPEROR OF FRANCE.
Letter to the Pope, 1804.
"Most Holy Father:—The happy effect produced upon the character and morality of my people by the reëstablishment of religion induces me to beg your Holiness to give me a new proof of your interest in my destiny, and in that of this great nation, in one of the most important conjunctures presented in the annals of the world. I beg you to come and give, to the highest degree, a religious character to the anointing and coronation of the first Emperor of the French. That ceremony will acquire a new lustre by being performed by your Holiness in person. It will bring down upon our people, and yourself, the blessing of God, whose decrees rule the destiny of Empires and families. Your Holiness is aware of the affectionate sentiments I have long borne towards you, and can thence judge of the pleasure that this occurrence will afford me of testifying them anew. We pray God that He may preserve you, most Holy Father, for many years, to rule and govern our mother, the Holy Church.
"Your dutiful son,
Address to the Troops on Presenting the Colors, Dec. 3, 1804.
"Soldiers: Behold your colors! These eagles will always be your rallying point! They will always be where your Emperor may think them necessary for the defence of his throne and of his people. Swear to sacrifice your lives to defend them, and by your courage to keep them constantly in the path of victory. Swear!"
Letter to the King of England, Jan. 2, 1805.
"Sir, my brother:—Called to the throne by Providence, by the suffrages of the Senate, of the people, and of the army, my first desire is peace. France and England, abusing their prosperity, may contend for ages. But do their respective governments fulfil their most sacred duties in causing so much blood to be vainly shed without the hope of advantage or the hope of cessation? I do not conceive that it can be deemed dishonorable in me to make the first advances. I believe it has been sufficiently proved to the world that I dread none of the chances of war, which indeed offer nothing that I can fear. Though peace is the wish of my heart, yet war has never been adverse to my glory. I conjure your Majesty, then, not to refuse the happiness of giving peace to the world. Delay not that grateful satisfaction, that it may be a legacy for your children; for never have arisen more favorable circumstances, nor a more propitious moment for calming every passion and displaying the best feelings of humanity and reason. That moment once lost, what term shall we set to a struggle which all my efforts have been unable to terminate. In the space of ten years your Majesty has gained more in wealth and territory than the extent of Europe comprehends. Your people have attained the height of prosperity. What then has your Majesty to hope from war? The world is sufficiently extensive for our two nations; and reason might assist us to discover means of conciliating all, were both parties animated by a spirit of reconcilement. At all events I have discharged a sacred duty, and one clear to my heart. Your Majesty may rely upon the sincerity of the sentiments now expressed, and on my desire to afford your Majesty every proof of that sincerity."
Conversation with Decier Regarding the Marriage of Jerome Bonaparte, May 6, 1805.
"Jerome is wrong to think that he will be able to count upon any weakness on my part, for, not having the rights of a father, I cannot entertain for him the feeling of a father; a father allows himself to be blinded, and it pleases him to be blinded because he identifies his son with himself.
"But what am I to Jerome? Sole instrument of my destiny, I owe nothing to my brothers. They have made an abundant harvest out of what I have accomplished in the way of glory; but, for all that, they must not abandon the field and deprive me of the aid I have a right to expect from them. They will cease to be anything for me, directly they take a road opposed to mine. If I expect so much from my brothers, who have already rendered many services, if I have abandoned the one who, in mature age (Lucien), refused to follow my advice, what must not Jerome, who is still young, and is known only for his neglect of duty, expect? If he does nothing for me, I shall see in this the decree of destiny, which has decided that I shall do nothing for him."
Letter to Jerome Bonaparte, May 6, 1805.
Alexandria, 16 Floréal, year 13.
"My brother, your letter of this morning informs me of your arrival in Alexandria. There are no faults that a true repentance will not efface in my eyes.
"Your union with Mademoiselle Paterson is null, alike in the eyes of religion and of the law. Write Mademoiselle Paterson to return to America. I will grant her a pension of 60,000 francs during her lifetime, on condition that she will under no circumstances bear my name,—she has no right to do so owing to the non-existence of her marriage. You must yourself give her to understand that you are powerless to change the nature of things. Your marriage being thus annulled by your own consent, I will restore to you my friendship and continue to feel for you as I have done since your infancy, hoping that you will prove yourself worthy by the efforts you make to acquire my gratitude and to distinguish yourself in my armies."
Address to the Senate, 1805.
"Senators: It is necessary, in the present state of Europe, that I should explain to you my sentiments. I am about to quit my capital, to place myself at the head of my army, to bear prompt assistance to my allies, and to defend the dearest interests of my people. The wishes of the eternal enemies of the continent are accomplished. Hostilities have commenced in the midst of Germany; Austria and Russia have united with England, and our generation is involved anew in the calamity of war. A few days ago I still cherished the hope that peace would not be disturbed. But the Austrian army has passed the Inn. Munich is invaded; the Elector of Bavaria has been driven from his capital. All my hopes of peace have vanished."
Proclamation to the Troops on the Commencement of the War of the Third Coalition, September, 1805.
"Soldiers: The war of the third coalition is commenced. The Austrian army has passed the Inn, violated treaties, attacked and driven our ally from his capital. You yourselves have been obliged to hasten, by forced marches, to the defence of our frontiers. But you have now passed the Rhine; and we will not stop now till we have secured the independence of the Germanic body, succored our allies, and humbled the pride of our unjust assailants. We will not again make peace without a sufficient guarantee! Our generosity shall not again wrong our policy. Soldiers, your Emperor is among you! You are but the advanced guard of the great people. If it is necessary they will all rise at my call to confound and dissolve this new league, which has been created by the malice and gold of England. But, soldiers, we shall have forced marches to make, privations of every kind to endure. Still, whatever obstacles may be opposed to us, we will conquer them; and we will never rest until we have planted our eagles on the territory of our enemies!"
Address to the Austrians, after the Fall of Ulm, October, 1805.
"Gentlemen: War has its chances. Often victorious, you must expect sometimes to be vanquished. Your master wages against me an unjust war. I say it candidly, I know not for what I am fighting, I know not what he requires of me. He has wished to remind me that I was once a soldier. I trust he will find that I have not forgotten my original avocation. I want nothing on the continent, I desire ships, colonies, and commerce. Their acquisition would be as advantageous to you as to me."
Address to the Troops after the War of the Third Coalition, October, 1805.
"Soldiers of the Grand Army: In a fortnight we have finished the entire campaign. What we proposed to do has been done. We have driven the Austrian troops from Bavaria, and restored our ally to the sovereignty of his dominions.
"That army, which, with equal presumption and imprudence, marched upon our frontiers, is annihilated.
"But what does this signify to England? She has gained her object. We are no longer at Boulogne, and her subsidy will be neither more nor less.
"Of a hundred thousand men who composed that army, sixty thousand are prisoners. They will replace our conscripts in the labors of agriculture.
"Two hundred pieces of cannon, the whole park of artillery, ninety flags, and all their generals are in our power. Fifteen thousand men only have escaped.
"Soldiers: I announced to you the result of a great battle; but, thanks to the ill-devised schemes of the enemy, I was enabled to secure the wished-for result without incurring any danger, and, what is unexampled in the history of nations, that result has been gained at the sacrifice of scarcely fifteen hundred men killed and wounded.
"Soldiers: this success is due to your unlimited confidence in your Emperor, to your patience in enduring fatigues and privations of every kind, and to your singular courage and intrepidity.
"But we will not stop here. You are impatient to commence another campaign.
"The Russian army, which English gold has brought from the extremities of the universe, shall experience the same fate as that which we have just defeated.
"In the conflict in which we are about to engage, the honor of the French infantry is especially concerned. We shall now see another decision of the question which has already been determined in Switzerland and Holland; namely, whether the French infantry is the first or the second in Europe.
"Among the Russians there are no generals in contending against whom I can acquire any glory. All I wish is to obtain the victory with the least possible bloodshed. My soldiers are my children."
Proclamation to the Soldiers before the Battle of Austerlitz, Dec. 1, 1805.
"Soldiers: The Russian army has presented itself before you to revenge the disasters of the Austrians at Ulm. They are the same men that you conquered at Hollabrunn, and on whose flying trails you have followed. The positions which we occupy are formidable. While they are marching to turn my right, they must present their flank to your blows.
"Soldiers: I will myself direct all your battalions. I will keep myself at a distance from the fire, if, with your accustomed valor, you carry disorder and confusion into the enemies' ranks. But should victory appear for a moment uncertain, you will see your Emperor expose himself to the first strokes. Victory must not be doubtful on this occasion."
Proclamation after the Battle of Austerlitz, Dec. 3, 1805.
"Soldiers: I am satisfied with you. In the Battle of Austerlitz you have justified all that I expected from your intrepidity. You have decorated your eagles with immortal glory. An army of one hundred thousand men, commanded by the Emperors of Russia and Austria, has been, in less than four hours, either cut in pieces or dispersed. Thus in two months the third coalition has been vanquished and dissolved. Peace can not now be far distant. But I will make only such a peace as gives us guarantee for the future, and secures rewards to our allies. When everything necessary to secure the happiness and prosperity of our country is obtained, I will lead you back to France. My people will behold you again with joy. It will be enough for one of you to say, 'I was at the battle of Austerlitz;' for all your fellow citizens to exclaim, 'There is a brave man.'"
Address to the Soldiers on the Signing of Peace with Austria, Dec. 26, 1805.
"Peace has just been signed by the Emperor of Austria. You have in the last autumn made two campaigns. You have seen your Emperor share your dangers and your fatigues. I wish also that you should see him surrounded by the grandeur and splendor which belong to the sovereign of the first people in. the world. You shall all be there. We will celebrate the names of those who have died in these two campaigns in the field of honor. The world shall ever see us ready to follow their example. We will even do more than we have yet done, if necessary to vindicate our national honor, or to resist the efforts of those who are the eternal enemies of peace upon the continent. During the three months which are necessary to effect your return to France, prove the example for all armies. You have now to give testimonies, not of courage and intrepidity, but of strict discipline. Conduct yourselves like children in the bosom of their family."
Proclamation to the Soldiers, February, 1806.
"Soldiers: For the last ten years I have done everything in my power to save the King of Naples. He has done everything to destroy himself. After the battles of Dego, Mondovi, and Lodi he could oppose to me but a feeble resistance. I relied upon the word of this Prince, and was gracious toward him. When the second coalition was dissolved at Marengo, the King of Naples, who had been the first to commence this unjust war, abandoned by his allies, remained single-handed and defenceless. He implored me. I pardoned him a second time. It is but a few months since you were at the gates of Naples. I had sufficiently powerful reasons for suspecting the treason in contemplation. I was still generous,—I acknowledged the neutrality of Naples. I ordered you to evacuate the Kingdom. For the third time the House of Naples was reëstablished and saved. Shall we forgive a fourth time? Shall we rely a fourth time on a court without faith, honor, or reason? No, no! The dynasty of Naples has ceased to reign. Its existence is incompatible with the honor of Europe, and the repose of my crown."
Address to the Senate on Annexation of the Cisalpine Republic, 1806.
"Powerful and great is the French Empire. Greater still is our moderation. We have in a manner conquered Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Germany. But, in the midst of such unparalleled success, we have listened only to the counsels of moderation. Of so many conquered provinces, we have retained only the one which was necessary to maintain France in the rank among the nations which she has always enjoyed. The partition of Poland, the provinces torn from Turkey, the conquest of India, and of almost all the European colonies, have turned the balance against us. To form a counterpoise to such acquisitions, we must retain something. But we must keep only what is useful and necessary. Great would have been the addition to the wealth and the resources of our territory, if we had united to them the Italian Republic. But we gave it independence at Lyons. And we now proceed a step further, and recognize its ultimate separation from the crown of France, deferring only the execution of that project till it can be done without danger to Italian independence."
To the Legislative Body before the Battle of Jena, October, 1806.
"Princes, magistrates, soldiers, citizens, we have all but one object in our several departments,—the interests of our country. Weakness in the executive is the greatest of all misfortunes to the people. Soldier, or First Consul, I have but one thought; Emperor, I have no other object,—the prosperity of France. I do not wish to increase its territory, but I am resolved to maintain its integrity. I have no desire to augment the influence which we possess in Europe, but I will not permit that we enjoy to decline. No State shall be incorporated with our empire; but I will not sacrifice my rights, or the ties which unite us to other States."
Address to the Captive Officers after the Battle of Jena, Oct. 15, 1806.
"I know not why I am at war with your sovereign. He is a wise, pacific prince, deserving of respect. I wish to see your country rescued from its humiliating dependence upon Prussia. Why should the Saxons and the French, with no motive for hostility, fight against each other, I am ready, for my part, to give a pledge of my amicable disposition by setting you all at liberty, and by sparing Saxony. All I require of you is your promise no more to bear arms against France."
Proclamation to the Soldiers before Entering Warsaw, Jan. 1, 1807.
"Soldiers: It is a year this very hour since you were on the field of Austerlitz, where the Russian battalions fled in disorder, or surrendered up their arms to their conquerors. Next day proposals of peace were talked of, but they were deceptive. No sooner had the Russians escaped by, perhaps, blamable generosity, from the disasters of the third coalition than they contrived a fourth. But the ally on whose tactics they founded their principal hope was no more. His capitals, his fortresses, his magazines, his arsenals, two hundred and eighty flags, and two hundred field-pieces have fallen into our power. The Oder, the Wartha, the deserts of Poland, and the inclemency of the season, have not for a moment retarded your progress. You have braved all; surmounted all: every obstacle has fled at your approach. The Russians have in vain endeavored to defend the capital of ancient and illustrious Poland. The French eagle hovers over the Vistula. The brave and unfortunate Poles, on beholding you, fancied they saw the legions of Sobiesky returning from their memorable expedition.
"Soldiers: We will not lay down our arms until a general peace has secured the power of our allies, and restored to us our colonies and our freedom of trade. We have gained on the Elbe and Oder, Pondicherry, our Indian establishments, the Cape of Good Hope, and the Spanish colonies. Why should the Russians have the right of opposing destiny and thwarting our just designs? They and we are still the soldiers who fought at Austerlitz."
To the King of Prussia, Entreating Peace after the Battle of Eylau, February, 1807.
"I desire to put a period to the misfortunes of your family, and to organize, as speedily as possible, the Prussian monarchy. Its intermediate power is necessary for the tranquillity of Europe. I desire peace with Russia; and, provided the Cabinet of St. Petersburg has no designs upon the Turkish Empire, I see no difficulty in obtaining it. Peace with England is not less essential to all nations. I shall have no hesitation in sending a minister to Memil to take part in a congress of France, Sweden, England, Russia, Prussia, and Turkey. But, as such a congress may last many years, which would not suit the present condition of Prussia, your Majesty therefore will, I am persuaded, be of opinion that I have taken the simplest method, and one which is most likely to secure the prosperity of your subjects. At all events, I entreat your Majesty to believe in my sincere desire to reëstablish amicable relations with so friendly a power as Prussia, and that I wish to do the same with Russia and England."
Address to the Army on its Return to Winter Quarters on the Vistula, 1807.
"Soldiers: We were beginning to taste the sweets of repose in our winter quarters when the enemy attacked the first corps on the lower Vistula. We flew to meet him. We pursued him, sword in hand, eighty leagues. He was driven for shelter beneath the cannons of his fortresses, and beyond the Pregel. We have captured sixty pieces of cannon, sixteen standards, and killed, wounded, or taken more than forty thousand Russians. The brave, who have fallen on our side, have fallen nobly—like soldiers. Their families shall receive our protection. Having thus defeated the whole projects of the enemy, we will return to the Vistula and reënter our winter quarters. Whosoever ventures to disturb our repose will repent of it. Beyond the Vistula, as beyond the Danube, we shall always be the Soldiers of the Grand Army."
Proclamation to the Soldiers after the Battle of Friedland, June 24, 1807.
"Soldiers: On the 5th of June we were attacked in our cantonments by the Russian army. The enemy had mistaken the cause of our inactivity. He perceived too late that our repose was that of a lion. He repents of having disturbed it. In a campaign of ten days we have taken one hundred and twenty pieces of cannon, seven colors, and have killed, wounded, or taken sixty thousand Russians. We have taken from the enemy's army all its magazines, its hospitals, its ambulances, the fortress of Könisberg, the three hundred vessels which were in that port laded with all kinds of military stores, and one hundred and sixty thousand muskets, which England was sending to arm our enemies. From the banks of the Vistula we have come with the speed of the eagle to those of Niemen. At Austerlitz you celebrated the anniversary of the coronation. At Friedland you have worthily celebrated the Battle of Marengo, where we put an end to the war of the second coalition.
"Frenchmen: You have been worthy of yourselves and of me. You will return to France covered with laurels, having obtained a glorious peace, which carries with it a guarantee of its duration. It is time for our country to live in repose, sheltered from the malignant influences of England. My bounties shall prove to you my gratitude, and the full extent of the love which I feel for you."
Letter to Champagny, Nov. 15, 1807.
"Since America suffers her vessels to be searched, she adopts the principle that the flag does not cover the goods.
"Since she recognizes the absurd blockades laid by England, consents to having her vessels incessantly stopped, sent to England, and so turned aside from their course, why should not the Americans suffer the blockade laid by France? Certainly France is no more blockaded by England than England by France. Why should not Americans also suffer their vessels to be searched by French ships? Certainly France recognizes that these measures are unjust, illegal, and subversive of national sovereignty; but it is the duty of nations to resort to force, and to declare themselves against things which dishonor them and disgrace their independence."
Proclamation to the Spaniards on the Abdication of Charles IV., June 2, 1808.
"Spaniards: After a long agony your nation was on the point of perishing. I saw your miseries and hastened to apply a remedy. Your grandeur, your power, form an integral part of my own. Your princes have ceded to me the rights to the crown of Spain. I have no wish to reign over your provinces, but I am desirous of acquiring eternal titles to the love and gratitude of your posterity. Your monarchy is old. My mission is to pour into its veins the blood of youth. I will ameliorate all your institutions and make you enjoy, if you second my efforts, the blessings of reform, without its collisions, its disorders, its convulsions. I have convoked a general assembly of the deputations of your provinces and cities. I am desirous of ascertaining your wants by personal intercourse. I will then lay aside all the titles I have acquired, and place your glorious crown on the head of my second self, after having secured for you a constitution which may establish the sacred and salutary authority of the sovereign, with the liberties and privileges of the people. Spaniards: Reflect on what your fathers were; on what you are now. The fault does not lie in you; but in the constitution by which you have been governed. Conceive the most ardent hopes and confidence in the results of your present situation; for I wish that your latest posterity should preserve the recollection of me, and say: 'He was the regenerator of our country.'"
Address to the Legislative Body, before Leaving Paris for the Spanish Campaign, 1808.
"I have travelled this year more than three thousand miles in the interior of my empire. The spectacle of this great French family—recently distracted by intestine divisions, now united and happy—has profoundly moved me. I have learned that I cannot be happy myself unless I first see that France is happy. A part of my army is marching to meet the troops which England has landed in Spain. It is an especial blessing of that Providence which has constantly protected our army, that passion has so blinded the English counsels as to induce them to renounce the possession of the seas, and to exhibit their army on the continent. I depart in a few days to place myself at the head of my troops, and, with the aid of God, to crown in Madrid the King of Spain, and to place our eagles on the fort of Lisbon. The Emperor of Russia and I have met at Erfurt. Our most earnest endeavor has been for peace. We have resolved to make many sacrifices; to confer, if possible, the blessings of maritime commerce upon the hundred millions of men whom we represent. We are of one mind, and we are indissolubly united for peace as for war."
Letter to the Emperor of Austria, October, 1808.
"Sire, my Brother:—I thank your Royal and Imperial Majesty for the letter you have been so good as to write me, and which Baron Vincent delivered. I never doubted your Majesty, but I nevertheless feared for a moment that hostilities would be renewed between us. There is, at Vienna, a faction which affects alarm in order to drive your Cabinet to violent measures, which would entail misfortunes greater than those which are passed. I had it in my power to dismember your Majesty's monarchy, or at least to diminish its power. I did not do so. It exists as it is by my consent. This is a plain proof that our accounts are settled; that I have no desire to injure you. I am always ready to guarantee the integrity of your monarchy. I will never do anything adverse to the important interests of States. But your Majesty ought not to bring again under discussion what has been settled by a fifteen years' war. You ought to avoid every proclamation or act calculated to excite dissension. The last levy in mass might have provoked war if I had apprehended that the levy and preparations were made in conjunction with Russia.
"I have just disbanded the camp of the Confederation. I have sent a hundred thousand men to Boulogne to renew my projects against England. I had reason to believe when I had the happiness of seeing your Majesty, and had concluded the treaty of Presburg, that our disputes were terminated forever, and that I might undertake the maritime war without interruption. I beseech your Majesty to distrust those, who, by speaking of the dangers of the monarchy, disturb your happiness and that of your family and people. Those persons alone are dangerous; they create the dangers they pretend to fear. By a straightforward, plain, and ingenious line of conduct, your Majesty will render your people happy, will secure to yourself that tranquillity of which you must stand in need after so many troubles, and will be sure of finding me determined to do nothing hostile to your important interests. Let your conduct bespeak confidence, and you will inspire it. The best policy at the present time is simplicity and truth. Confide your troubles to me when you have any, and I will instantly banish them. Allow me to make one observation more—listen to your own judgment—your own feelings—they are much more correct than those of your advisers. I beseech your Majesty to read my letter in the spirit in which it is written, and to see nothing in it inconsistent with the welfare and tranquillity of Europe and your Majesty."
Proclamation to the Soldiers, during the March for Spain, 1808.
"Soldiers: After triumphing on the banks of the Vistula and the Danube, with rapid steps you have passed through Germany, This day, without a moment of repose, I command you to traverse France. Soldiers: I have need of you. The hideous presence of the leopard contaminates the peninsula of Spain and Portugal. In terror he must fly before you. Let us bear our triumphal eagles to the pillars of Hercules. There, also, we have injuries to avenge. Soldiers: You have passed the renown of our modern armies, but you have not yet equalled the glories of those Romans, who, in one and the same campaign, were victorious upon the Rhine and the Euphrates, in Illyria and upon the Tagus. A long peace, a lasting prosperity, shall be the reward of your labors. But a real Frenchman ought not, could not, rest until the seas are open to all. Soldiers: All that you have done, all that you will do for the happiness of the French people, and for my glory, shall be eternal in my heart."
Summons to M. de Morla to Surrender Madrid, Dec. 3, 1808.
"In vain you employ the name of the people. If you cannot find means to pacify them, it is because you yourselves excited them and misled them by falsehood. Assemble the clergy, the heads of the convents, the alcades, and if between this and six in the morning the city has not surrendered, it shall cease to exist. I neither will, nor ought to withdraw my troops. You have slaughtered the unfortunate French who have fallen into your hands. Only two days ago you suffered two servants of the Russian ambassador to be dragged away and put to death in the streets because they were Frenchmen. The incapacity and weakness of a general had put into your hands troops which had capitulated on the field of battle of Baylen, and the capitulation was violated. You, M. de Morla, what sort of a letter did you write to that general? Well did it become you to talk of pillage—you, who having entered Rousillon in 1795, carried off all the women, and divided them as booty among your soldiers. What right had you, moreover, to hold such language. The capitulation of Baylen forbade it. Look what was the conduct of the English, who are far from priding themselves on being strict observers of the law of nations. They complained of the Convention of Cintra, but they fulfilled it. To violate military treaties is to renounce all civilization—to put ourselves on a level with the Bedouins of the desert. How then dare you demand a capitulation—you who violated that of Baylen? See how injustice and bad faith ever recoil upon those who are guilty of them. I had a fleet at Cadiz. It had come there as to a harbor of an ally. You directed against it the mortars of the city which you commanded. I had a Spanish army in my ranks. I preferred to see it escape in English ships, and to fling itself upon the rocks of Espinosa, than to disarm it. I preferred having nine thousand more enemies to fight, to violating good faith and honor. Return to Madrid. I give you till six o'clock to-morrow evening. You have nothing to say to me about the people, but to tell me that they have submitted. If not, you and your troops shall be put to the sword."
Proclamation to the Spanish People, December, 1808.
"I have declared, in a proclamation of the 2d of June, that I wished to be the regenerator of Spain. To the rights which the princes of the ancient dynasty have ceded to me, you have wished that I should add the rights of conquest. That, however, shall not change my inclination to serve you. I wish to encourage everything that is noble in your own exertions. All that is opposed to your prosperity and your grandeur I wish to destroy. The shackles which have enslaved the people I have broken. I have given you a liberal constitution, and, in the place of an absolute monarchy, a monarchy mild and limited. It depends upon yourselves whether that constitution shall still be your law."
Letter to the American Minister, Armstrong, 1809.
"The seas belong to all nations. Any vessel, sailing under whatsoever flag, recognized and avowed by her, should be as much at home in the midst of the seas as if she were in her own ports. The flag floating from the mast of a merchant vessel should be respected as much as if it floated from the top of a village spire.
"In case of war between two maritime powers, neutrals should follow the legislation of neither one. Every vessel should be protected by its flag. Every power which violates a flag declares war against the power to which it belongs. To insult a merchant vessel which carries the flag of a power, is the same thing as invading a town or colony belonging to that power. His Majesty declares that he considers the fleets of nations as floating colonies belonging to those nations. In consequence of this principle, the sovereignty and independence of a nation is a property of its neighbors. If a French citizen was insulted in an American port or colony, the Government of the United States would not deny that it was responsible for it. In the same way the Government of the United States must be responsible for the violation of French property on board of a ship or floating American colony; otherwise, this Government, not being able to guarantee the integrity of its rights and the independence of its flag, his Majesty considers the American vessels which have been violated by visits, by taxes, and other arbitrary acts, as no longer belonging to the United States, and as denationalized.
"But whenever the Government of the United States shall order its vessels armed to repulse the unjust aggressions of England, to sustain its rights, against the refusal of this power to recognize the great principle that the flag covers the ship, and against its unjust pretension of searching neutral vessels, his Majesty is willing to recognize them and treat them as neutrals."
Proclamation to the Soldiers before the Battle of Eckmuhl, April, 1809.
"Soldiers: The territory of the confederation of the Rhine has been violated. The Austrian general supposes that we are to fly at the sight of his eagles, and abandon our allies to his mercy. I arrive with the rapidity of lightning in the midst of you. Soldiers: I was surrounded by your bayonets, when the Emperor of Austria arrived at my bivouac in Moravia. You heard him employ my clemency, and swear an eternal friendship. Conquerors in three wars, Austria has owed everything to our generosity. Three times she has perjured herself! Our former successes are our guarantee for our future triumphs. Let us march, then, and at our aspect, let the enemy recognize his conquerors."
Proclamation to the Troops at Ratisbon, April, 1809.
"Soldiers: You have justified my anticipations. You have supplied by bravery the want of numbers, and have shown the difference which exists between the soldiers of Cæsar and the armed rabble of Xerxes. Within the space of a few days we have triumphed in the battles of Thaun, Abersberg, and Eckmuhl, and in the combats of Peissing, Landshut, and Ratisbon. One hundred pieces of cannon, forty standards, fifty thousand prisoners, three bridge equipages, three thousand baggage-wagons with their horses, and all the money chests of the regiments, are the fruits of the rapidity of your marches, and of your courage. The enemy, seduced by a perjured Cabinet, appeared to have lost all recollection of you. His awakening has been speedy; you have appeared more terrible than ever. Lately, he crossed the Inn, and invaded the territory of our allies. Lately, he talked of nothing less than carrying the war into the bosom of our country. Now, defeated, dispersed, he flies, in consternation. Already my advance-guard has passed the Inn. In one month we will be in Vienna."
Address to the Troops on Entering Vienna, May, 1809.
"In a month after the enemy passed the Inn, on the same day, at the same hour, we entered Vienna. Their militia, their levies en masse, their ramparts, created by the impotent rage of the princes of the House of Lorraine, have fallen at the first sight of you. The princes of that house have abandoned their capital, not like the soldiers of honor, who yield to circumstance and the reverses of war, but as perjurers haunted by the sense of their crime. In flying from Vienna, their adieus to its inhabitants have been murder and conflagration. Like Medea, they have with their own hands massacred their own offspring. Soldiers: The people of Vienna, according to the expression of a deputation of the suburbs, abandoned, widowed, shall be the object of your regards. I take its good citizens under my special protection. As to the wicked and turbulent, they shall meet with exemplary justice. Soldiers: Be kind to the poor peasants; to those worthy people who have so many claims upon your esteem. Let us not manifest any pride at our success. Let us see in it but a proof of that divine justice which punishes the ungrateful and the perjured."
Proclamation to the Hungarians, 1809.
"Hungarians: The moment is come to revive your independence. I offer you peace, the integrity of. your territory, the inviolability of your constitutions,—whether of such as are in actual existence, or of those which the spirit of the time may require. I ask nothing of you. I desire only to see your nation free and independent. Your union with Austria has made your misfortunes. Your blood has flowed for her in distant regions. Your dearest interests have always been sacrificed to those of the Austrian hereditary estates. You form the finest part of the Empire of Austria, yet you are treated as a province. You have national manners, a national language; you boast an ancient and illustrious origin. Resume, then, your existence as a nation. Have a king of your own choice, who will reside among you, and reign for you alone."