The Corsican, Diary of Napoleon - PDF ebook

The Corsican- Diary of Napoleon's life in his own words 

The Corsican- Diary of Napoleon's life in his own words
The Corsican


A few words are needed to explain what this book is, and what it is not. The matter, with the exception of the few bracketed passages, is derived entirely from Napoleon's own words, written and spoken. But there are abbreviations and transpositions of words and of dates.

The abbreviations are not shown, for the reason that they are of constant recurrence, and this general warning is therefore substituted for the usual typographical indication. The transpositions of date are made for the purpose of maintaining the journal form, and belong, in all except rare cases, to one of the two following classes: first, the placing of the details of an event that were written a day or two after it, at the very day of that event; secondly, the placing of a statement uttered at St. Helena forward under the date of the^vjnt^itself. 

Of this second class, there are not many instances. There are also a number of cases of composite texts, as for instance the speech to the Council of Ancients on the 19th of Brumaire, or that to the Polish officers on the retreat from Leipzig, each made up from several versions. 

Once for all, the warning is given that such is the case, as from the nature of the book the footnotes covering this, and the other matters mentioned, appeared to be out of place; they would have been longer than the text itself. 

 Two minor points also require notice: that the dates in terms of the revolutionary calendar have been modernized; and that the names and titles of individuals mentioned have been used with no attempt at uniformity; — thus Ney may be referred to under that name long after he had become Duke of Elchingen, and Prince of the Moskowa. In an appendix, the Napoleonic titles are tabulated, so that the reader can always refer back if necessary. 

In conclusion, what truth this book conveys is not to be sought according to those rules for the treatment of historical documents which it avowedly contravenes, but in such psychological illumination of a great career and character as the method employed has rendered possible. For objectively Napoleon rarely, if ever, speaks the truth; yet subjectively how can he speak otherwise?

Excerpt from Napoleon's diary

Diary of Napoleon's Life

 1769-1795 August 15th, 1769.
 Birth at Ajaccio. I was called Napoleon; that, for centuries past, had been the name given to the second son in our family. April 1779. Military school at Brienne. I entered Brienne and was happy. My mind was be- ginning to work; I was anxious to learn, to know, to get on; I devoured books. I soon became the talk of the school. I was admired, envied; I was conscious of my powers; I enjoyed my superiority. 

October 12th, 1783.
 (To Charles Buonaparte.) My dear father: Your letter, as you may well imagine, gave me little enough pleasure; but as your return to Corsica is necessitated by your illness and by that of a family that is so near to me, I can but approve, and must try to console myself. June 25th, 1784. My brother lacks the courage to face the dangers of action and regards the military profession from the garrison point of view. July 7th. My dear father arrived here on the 21st with Luciano and the two young ladies. Joseph is in the class of rhetoric and could do better if he would only work. October 29th. (At Brienne) everyone said of me: That boy is no good except at geometry. I was not very popular. I was dry as parchment.

1784-87 October 30th. 

Leaves Brienne for the Military College at Paris. March 28th, 1785, Paris: We have lost our father, the sole support of our youth. Our country has lost a keen, enlightened, and honest citizen. It was so decreed by the Supreme Being! (To Madame Buonaparte.) My dear mother: It is for you to console us, the event demands it. Our affection, our devotion, will be doubled, to make you forget, so far as it is possible, the incalculable loss of a beloved husband.
Author:Napoleon Bonaparte.
Editor and translator: Robert Matteson Johnston
Publication date:1910
Publisher Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin

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