Farewell to the Old Guard
Napoleon Speeches: Farewell to the Old Guard is the short address by Napoleon after his defeat in Russia. Eventually, because there was no support from Paris, he had to disband the last few loyal and elite soldiers.
Background of Napoleon Speeches: Farewell to the Old Guard
This address given in April 20, 1814 was a significant event in the reign of Napoleon. The Old Guard was his personal loyal and elite guard, intimidating soldiers that struck fear in the hearts of his enemies and inspired friendly troops.
After a defeat in Russia, there were only a few soldiers left in the Old Guard. Without the support from the Paris headquarters, Napoleon was forced to disband his personal guard.
Eventually, the Old guard was routed and defeated at the battle of Waterloo. This signified the end of the Guard and the fall of Napoleon.
Transcript of the Address to the Old Guard
Soldiers of my Old Guard: I bid you farewell. For twenty years I have constantly accompanied you on the road to honour 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.
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