Hortense on Napoleon

These liberals, these energetic patriots whom France should honor since they defended so courageously its rights and its liberties, lost their cause because they separated it from that of the one man who could have saved them. To be sure the position was a critical one. Those in office found themselves confronted either with the necessity of accepting again absolute authority or surrendering their Country to the foreign invader.

They would have done better to place their confidence in the promises of the victorious warrior. It was the desire for freedom that made them enslave themselves. I have heard it said often enough, and I cannot deny the fact, that the authority of a legal Constitution is preferable to that of a single man, but at this moment the memory of all the great things the Emperor had accomplished filled my mind to the exclusion of everything else.

Had he not rescued the country from anarchy and chaos, established a throne founded on the essential equality of man, increased France's fame abroad, reestablished its finances, religion, industry and social order?


Had he not accomplished a host of other glorious and useful acts which the nation had benefited by because they were the product of his genius?

Yet the man who had done so much was forsaken. He and his few faithful friends found themselves exposed to all sorts of dangers, including the schemes of revenge which the enemy might entertain.