Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
actions, belauded as
they were by half the world, and so he had to repudiate truth,
goodness, and all humanity.
Not only on that day, as he rode over the battlefield strewn with
men killed and maimed (by his will as he believed), did he reckon as
he looked at them how many Russians there were for each Frenchman and,
deceiving himself, find reason for rejoicing in the calculation that
there were five Russians for every Frenchman. Not on that day alone
did he write in a letter to Paris that "the battle field was
superb," because fifty thousand corpses lay there, but even on the
island of St. Helena in the peaceful solitude where he said he
intended to devote his leisure to an account of the great deeds he had
done, he wrote:
The Russian war should have been the most popular war of modern
times: it was a war of good sense, for real interests, for the
tranquillity and security of all; it was purely pacific and
It was a war for a great cause, the end of uncertainties and the
beginning of security. A new horizon and new labors were opening
out, full of well-being and prosperity for all. The European system
was already founded; all that remained was to organize it.
Satisfied on these great points and with tranquility everywhere, I
too should have had my Congress and my Holy Alliance. Those ideas were
stolen from me. In that reunion of great sovereigns we should have
discussed our interests like one family, and have rendered account
to the peoples as clerk to master.
Europe would in this way soon have been, in fact, but one people,
and anyone who traveled anywhere would have found himself always in
the common fatherland. I should have demanded the freedom of all
navigable rivers for everybody, that the seas should be common to all,
and that the great standing armies should be reduced henceforth to
mere guards for the sovereigns.
On returning to France, to the bosom of the great, strong,
magnificent, peaceful, and glorious fatherland, I should have
proclaimed her frontiers immutable; all future wars purely
defensive, all aggrandizement antinational. I should have associated
my son in the Empire; my dictatorship would have been finished, 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 devoted, in company
with the Empress and during the royal apprenticeship of my son, to
leisurely visiting, with our own horses and like a true country
couple, every corner of the Empire, receiving complaints, redressing
wrongs, and scattering public buildings and benefactions on all
sides and everywhere.
Napoleon, predestined by Providence for the gloomy role of
executioner of the peoples, assured himself that the aim of his
actions had been the peoples welfare and that he could control the
fate of millions and by the employment of power confer benefactions.
"Of four hundred thousand who crossed the Vistula," he wrote further
of the Russian war, "half were Austrians, Prussians, Saxons, Poles,
Bavarians, Wurttembergers, Mecklenburgers, Spaniards, Italians, and
Neapolitans. The Imperial army, strictly speaking, was one third
composed of Dutch, Belgians, men from the borders of the Rhine,
Piedmontese, Swiss, Genevese, Tuscans, Romans, inhabitants of the
Thirty-second Military Division, of Bremen, of Hamburg, and so on:
it included scarcely a hundred and forty thousand who spoke French.
The Russian expedition actually cost France less than fifty thousand
men; the Russian army in its retreat from Vilna to Moscow lost in
the various battles four times more men than the French army; the
burning of Moscow cost the lives of a hundred thousand Russians who
died of cold and want in the woods; finally, in its march from
Moscow to the Oder the Russian army also suffered from the severity of
the season; so that by the time it reached Vilna it numbered
only fifty thousand, and at Kalisch less than eighteen thousand."
He imagined that the war with Russia came about by his will, and the
horrors that occurred did not stagger his soul. He boldly took the
whole responsibility for what happened, and his darkened mind found
justification in the belief that among the hundreds of thousands who
perished there were fewer Frenchmen than Hessians and Bavarians.
Several tens of thousands of the slain lay in diverse postures and
various uniforms on the fields and meadows belonging to the Davydov
family and to the crown serfs--those fields and meadows where for
hundreds of years the peasants of Borodino, Gorki, Shevardino, and
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