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date: 18 May 2024

Napoleon I 1769–1821
French monarch, emperor 1804–15 

  1. Think of it, soldiers; from the summit of these pyramids, forty centuries look down upon you.
    before the Battle of the Pyramids
    speech to the Army of Egypt on 21 July 1798
  2. It [the Channel] is a mere ditch, and will be crossed as soon as someone has the courage to attempt it.
    letter to Consul Cambacérès, 16 November 1803
  3. Hats off, gentlemen. If he were still alive, we should not be here.
    to his officers, standing by the grave of Frederick the Great in Berlin, 1806
    Nancy Mitford Frederick the Great (1970)
  4. I want the whole of Europe to have one currency; it will make trading much easier.
    letter to his brother Louis, 6 May 1807
  5. Religion is an all-important matter in a public school for girls. Whatever people say, it is the mother's safeguard, and the husband's. What we ask of education is not that girls should think, but that they should believe.
    ‘Note sur L'Établissement D'Écouen’ 15 May 1807
  6. In war, three-quarters turns on personal character and relations; the balance of manpower and materials counts only for the remaining quarter.
    ‘Observations sur les affaires d'Espagne, Saint-Cloud, 27 août 1808’
  7. There is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous.
    to De Pradt, Polish ambassador, after the retreat from Moscow in 1812
    D. G. De Pradt Histoire de l'Ambassade dans le grand-duché de Varsovie en 1812 (1815); see Paine
  8. France has more need of me than I have need of France.
    speech to the Corps Législatif, Paris, 31 December 1813
  9. As to moral courage, I have very rarely met with two o'clock in the morning courage: I mean instantaneous courage.
    E. A. de Las Cases Mémorial de Ste-Hélène (1823) vol. 1, pt. 2, 4–5 December 1815; see Thoreau
  10. An army marches on its stomach.
    attributed, but probably condensed from a long passage in E. A. de Las Cases Mémorial de Ste-Hélène (1823) vol. 4, 14 November 1816; also attributed to Frederick the Great
  11. As though he had 200,000 men.
    when asked how to deal with the Pope
    J. M. Robinson Cardinal Consalvi (1987); see Stalin
  12. La carrière ouverte aux talents.
    The career open to the talents.
    Barry E. O'Meara Napoleon in Exile (1822) vol. 1; see Carlyle
  13. England is a nation of shopkeepers.
    Barry E. O'Meara Napoleon in Exile (1822) vol. 2; see Adams, Smith
  14. Nothing is more contrary to the organization of the mind, of the memory, and of the imagination…It's just tormenting the people with trivia!!!
    on the introduction of the metric system
    Mémoires…écrits à Ste-Hélène (1823–5)
  15. Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.
    attributed from the late 19th century
  16. Not tonight, Josephine.
    attributed, but probably apocryphal; the phrase does not appear in contemporary sources, but was current by the early twentieth century
  17. A pile of shit in a silk stocking.