Modern History Sourcebook:
Farewell to the Old Guard, April 29, 1814
A speech by from April 20, 1814, by Napoleon Bonaparte, after
his failed invasion of Russia and defeat by the Allies.
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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(c)Paul Halsall Aug 1997