TOUT POUR ET PAR LE PEUPLE – EVERYTHING FOR AND BY THE PEOPLE
« Pour l’Honneur de la France, pour les intérêts sacrés de l’Humanité – For the Honour of France, for the sacred interests of Humanity »
(Napoléon le Grand, le 17 ventôse an VIII – Samedi 8 mars 1800 – Napoleon the Great, 17th of Ventôse Year VIII – Saturday 8th March 1800)
ON NAPOLEONIC IDEAS
NAPOLEON III, EMPEROR OF THE FRENCH
Translated from the French
by Paul-Napoléon Calland, President of the Bonapartist Movement, and published in French and English in honour of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Napoleon the Great, on the Fifteenth of August, 2019.
Traduit du français par Paul-Napoléon Calland, Président du Mouvement Bonapartiste, et publié en français et en anglais en l’honneur du 250e anniversaire de Napoléon le Grand, le 15 août 2019.
WE have shown in the preceding chapters all the chances that the imperial creations had of lasting. But, some will say, the edifice that you find so solid on the inside has been overthrown. This foreign policy that you find so profound was the cause of its ruin?
To that, we reply – The edifice was solid on the inside; for it was not from the inside that the impact came that overthrew it; as for the system conceived of by the Emperor, it was unable to establish itself permanently, and to appreciate the strength of it, it would have been necessary for it to be applied.
The Emperor fell because he finished his work too soon, because events arriving too rapidly, he vanquished, one might say, too promptly. Outpacing, by his genius, time and men, when he was fortunate, he was believed a god, unfortunate, only his daring was visible. Carried upon the wave of victory, Napoleon could not be followed in his rapid rise by the philosophers, who, limiting their ideas to the narrow circle of the hearth and home, for ray of liberty, helped stifle the hearth of civilization itself.
On another side, the foreign peoples, impatient with the momentary ills of the war, forgot the benefits that Napoleon brought to them, and for a passing ill, refused a whole future of independence. For it was not granted, even to the greatest genius of modern times, to be able, in a few years, to destroy abroad all the mistrusts, and persuade all consciences.
France had grown too much by the Revolution not to awaken rivalries and hatreds; to calm them would have required descent at the very beginning of the Empire. These same rivalries, on the contrary, pushed Napoleon upwards, all the way to the zenith of his might; when afterwards he was obliged to descend, it was no longer possible for him to stop.
Time not having at all cemented his alliances, nor erased the memory of all too recent grudges, at the first setback, his allies turned against him. Cheated in his previsions, the Emperor no longer wished to accept terms that he believed to be insincere; the foreigners, for their part, seeing Napoleon ever more proud after a defeat, thought that he would never consent to a lasting peace.
Napoleon fell only because, his projects growing wider in proportion to the elements at his disposition, he wished, in ten years of empire, to carry out the work of several centuries.
It is therefore not from feebleness that the Emperor succumbed, but from exhaustion; and, despite awful reverses, calamities without number, the French people always strengthened him by their suffrage, supported by their efforts, and encouraged him by their attachment.
It is a consolation for those who feel the blood of the great man flowing in their veins, to think of the regrets that accompanied his passing. The thought is great, and a source of pride, that it took the all the efforts of European coalitions to tear Napoleon from this France that he had made so great! It is not the French people in anger who undermined his throne, twelve hundred thousand foreigners were required twice, to break the imperial sceptre!
Beautiful funerals are these indeed, when the grieving country and glory in mourning, accompany him to his final abode!
GLORIEUX RÈGNE DE 19 ANS * COMME IL GOUVERNE DEPUIS 15 ANS
GLORIOUS REIGN OF 19 YEARS * HOW HE HAS GOVERNED FOR 15 YEARS