TRANSCRIPTS (of the speeches) THAT CHANGED THE WORLD: Moments That Made History
I go, but you, my friends, will continue to serve France. Her happiness was my only thought.
Speech bidding farewell to his army, delivered by Napoleon Bonaparte on 20 April, 1814, after his failed invasion of Russia and defeat by the Allies, leading to his forced abdication as Emperor of France.
Biography in brief: Born 15 August, 1769, in Corsica, of Italian descent. Napoleon became an army officer in 1785 and had a brilliant military career. In 1796 he married Josephine de Beauharnais, later divorcing her to marry Marie Louise, daughter of the Austrian Emperor. He became First Consul in 1799 and Emperor of the French five years later. Under his rule, France became a European superpower. He abdicated twice, first in 1814 when Paris fell to his enemies, and again in 1815. He died in exile under British arrest, 5 May 1821.
“Soldiers of my Old Guard: I bid you farewell. For twenty years I have constantly accompanied you on the road to honor and glory. In these latter times, as in the days of our prosperity, you have invariably been models of courage and fidelity. With men such as you our cause could not be lost; but the war would have been interminable; it would have been civil war, and that would have entailed deeper misfortunes on France.
I have sacrificed all of my interests to those of the country.
I go, but you, my friends, will continue to serve France. Her happiness was my only thought. It will still be the object of my wishes. Do not regret my fate; if I have consented to survive, it is to serve your glory. I intend to write the history of the great achievements we have performed together. Adieu, my friends. Would I could press you all to my heart”.
Napoleon Bonaparte – April 20, 1814
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