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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Napoleon's Declaration to Madrid's Corregidor

Download Carl - British Grenadiers

My research on American affairs led me to this primary source quotation, Napoleon's declaration to Madrid's Corregidor (Mayor) after his completely unlawful invasion in 1808. Check it out!

Napoleon's tyrranical declaration in Madrid:

"I am pleased with the sentiments of the city of Madrid. I regret the injuries she has suffered, and am particularly happy that, under the existing circumstances, I have been able to effect her deliverance, and to protect her from great calamities. I have hastened to adopt measures calculated to tranquillize all ranks of the citizens, knowing how painful the state of uncertainty is to all men collectively and individually. I have preserved the spiritual orders, but with a limitation of the number of monks. There is not a single intelligent person who is not of the opinion that they were too numerous. Those of them who are influenced by a divine call, shall remain in their cloisters. With regard to those whose call was doubtful, or influenced by temporal considerations, I have fixed their condition in the order of secular priests. Out of the surplus of the monastic property, I have provided for the maintenance of the pastors, that important and useful class of clergy. I have abolished that court which was a subject of complaint to Europe and the present age [i.e., the Inquisition]. Priests may guide the minds of men, but must exercise no temporal or corporeal jurisdiction over the citizens.

"I have accomplished what I owed to myself and my nation. Vengeance has had its due. It has fallen upon ten of the principal culprits: all the rest have entire and absolute forgiveness. I have abolished those privileges which the grandees usurped, during the times of civil war, when kings but too frequently are necessitated to surrender their rights, to purchase their tranquillity, and that of their people. I have abolished the feudal rights, and henceforth everyone may set up inns, ovens, mills, employ himself in fishing and rabbit hunting, and give free scope to his industry, provided he respects the laws and regulations of the police. The selfishness, wealth, and prosperity of a small number of individuals, were more injurious to your agriculture than the heat of the dog-days. As there is but one God, so should there be in a state but one judicial power. All peculiar jurisdictions were usurpations, and at variance with the rights of the nation; I have abolished them. I have also made known to every one what he may have to fear, and what he may have to hope. I shall expel the English army from the Peninsula. Saragossa, Valencia, Seville, shall be reduced to submission, either by persuasion, or the power of my arms. There is no obstacle which can long resist the execution of my resolutions. But what transcends my power is this Ð to consolidate the Spaniards as one nation, under the sway of one king, should they continue to be infected with these principles of aversion and hatred to France, which the partisans of the English and the enemies of the Continent have infused into the bosom of Spain. I can establish no nation, no king, no independence of the Spaniards, if the king be not assured of their attachment and fidelity.

"The Bourbons can no longer reign in Europe. The divisions in the royal family were contrived by the English. It was not the dethronement of king Charles [IV, the King of Spain], and the favourite (the Prince of the Peace [Manuel Godoy]), that the duke de Infatado [in whose villa at Chamartin Napoleon had made his headquarters], that tool of England, as is proved by the papers found in his house, had in view. The intention was to establish the predominant influence of England in Spain; a senseless project, the result of which would have been a perpetual Continental war, that would have caused the shedding of torrents of blood. No power under the influence of England can exist on the Continent. If there be any that entertain such a wish, their wish is absurd, and will sooner or later occasion their fall. It would be easy for me, should I be compelled to adopt that measure, to govern Spain, by establishing as many viceroys in it as there are provinces. Nevertheless, I do not refuse to abdicate my rights of conquest in favour of the king; and to establish him in Madrid, as soon as the 30,000 citizens which this capital contains, the clergy, nobility, merchants, and lawyers, shall have declared their sentiments and their fidelity, set an example to the provinces, enlightened the people, and made the nation sensible that their existence and prosperity essentially depended upon a king and a free constitution [Lovett translates this phrase as "a liberal king and constitution"], favourable to the people; and hostile only to the egoism and haughty passions of the grandees.

"If such be the sentiments of the inhabitants of the city of Madrid, let the 30,000 citizens assemble in the churches; let them, in the presence of the Holy Sacrament, take an oath, not only with their mouths, but also with their hearts, and without any jesuitical equivocation, that they promise support, attachment, and fidelity to their king; let the priests in the confessional and the pulpit, the mercantile class in their correspondence, the men of the law in their writings and speeches, infuse these sentiments into the people; then shall I surrender my right of conquest, place the king upon the throne, and make it my pleasing task to conduct myself as a true friend of the Spaniards. The present generation may differ in their opinion; the passions have been brought into action; but your grand-children will bless me as your renovator; they will reckon the day when I appeared among their memorable festivals; and from that will the happiness of Spain date its commencement. - 'You are thus, Monsieur le Corregidor,' added the emperor, 'informed of the whole of my determination. Consult with your fellow citizens, and consider what part you will choose; but whatever it be, make your choice with sincerity, and tell me only your genuine sentiments.'

We also get this gem, when he begins his Tudela campaign:

"I am here with the soldiers who conquered at Austerlitz, at Jena, at Eylau. Who can withstand them? Certainly not your wretched Spanish troops who do not know how to fight. I shall conquer Spain in two months and acquire the rights of a conqueror."

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