“It was for the great cause, the end of uncertainties and the beginning of security. A new horizon, new labours were unfolding, all full of welfare and prosperity for all. The European system was established; all that remained was to organise it.

“Satisfied on these great points and tranquil everywhere, I too should have had my congress and my holy alliance. These are ideas stolen from me. In this assembly of great sovereigns, we could have treated of our interests like one family and have reckoned, as clerk with master, with the peoples.

“Europe would soon in that way have made in fact but one people, and every one, travelling all over it, would always have found himself in the common fatherland. I should have required all the rivers to be open for the navigation of all; the seas to be common to all; and the great standing armies to be reduced henceforth simply to the bodyguard of the sovereigns.

“Returning to France, to the bosom of the great, strong, magnificent, tranquil, and glorious fatherland, I should have proclaimed its frontiers immutable, all future war purely defensive, all fresh aggrandisement anti-national. I should have associated my son in the empire; my dictatorship would have been over, and his constitutional reign would have begun…

“Paris would have been the capital of the world, and the French the envy of the nations!…

“My leisure then and my old age would have been consecrated, in company with the Empress, and during the royal apprenticeship of my son, to visiting in leisurely fashion with our own horses, like a genuine country couple, every corner of the empire, receiving complaints, redressing wrongs, scattering monuments and benefits on all sides.”

He, predestined by Providence to the gloomy, slavish part of executioner of the peoples, persuaded himself that the motive of his acts had been the welfare of the peoples, and that he could control the destinies of millions, and make their prosperity by the exercise of his power.

“Of the four hundred thousand men who crossed the Vistula,” he wrote later of the Russian war, “half were Austrians, Prussians, Saxons, Poles, Bavarians, Würtembergers, Mecklenburgers, Spaniards, Italians, Neapolitans. The Imperial army, properly so-called, was one third composed of Dutch, Belgians, inhabitants of the Rhineland, Piedmontese, Swiss, Genevese, Tuscans, Romans, inhabitants of the thirty-second military division, of Bremen, Hamburg, etc. It reckoned barely a hundred and forty thousand men speaking French. The Russian expedition cost France itself less than fifty thousand men. The Russian army in the retreat from Vilna to Moscow in the different battles lost four times as many men as the French army. The fire in Moscow cost the lives of one hundred thousand Russians, dead of cold and want in the woods; lastly, in its march from Moscow to the Oder, the Russian army, too, suffered from the inclemency of the season: it only reckoned fifty thousand men on reaching Vilna, and less than eighteen thousand at Kalisch.”

He imagined that the war with Russia was entirely due to his will, and the horror of what was done made no impression on his soul. He boldly assumed the whole responsibility of it all; and his clouded intellect found justification in the fact that among the hundreds of thousands of men who perished, there were fewer Frenchmen than Hessians and Bavarians.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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