Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 6.djvu/171

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—a Republican and an Emperor—a Mohammedan—a Catholic and a Patron of the Synagog—a Subaltern and a Sovereign—a Traitor and a Tyrant—a Christian and an Infidel—he was, through all his vicissitudes, the same stern, impatient, inflexible original—the same mysterious incomprehensible self—the man without a model, and without a shadow.

His fall, like his life, baffled all speculation. In short, his whole history was like a dream to the world, and no man can tell how or why he was awakened from the reverie.

Such is a faint and feeble picture of Napoleon Bonaparte, the first (and it is to be hoped the last) emperor of the French.

That he has done much evil there is little doubt; that he has been the origin of much good, there is just as little. Through his means, intentional or not, Spain, Portugal, and France have arisen to the blessings of a free constitution; superstition has found her grave in the ruins of the inquisition, and the feudal system, with its whole train of tyrannic satellites, has fled for ever. Kings may learn from him that their safest study, as well as their noblest, is the interest of the people; the people are taught by him that there is no despotism so stupendous against which they have not a resource; and to those who would rise upon the ruins of both, he is a living lesson, that if ambition can raise them from the lowest station, it can also prostrate them from the highest.