Author: Napoleon Bonaparte
Year: 1814
Location: Fontainebleau, France
Occasion: Address to the loyal officers of the Old Guard

Critical Commentary:

Napoleon addressed his loyal officers of the Old Guard which remained after the failed invasion of Russia. Before this, Napoleon had been the ruler of France for about twenty years. After this address, Napoleon was exiled to Elba. This was followed by 100 days of rule and further exile to St. Helena Island where Napoleon died.

Text of the Speech

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.