Napoleon I’s speech to the French people-1797
Delivered on December 10, 1797
CITIZENS, the French people, in order to be free, had kings to combat. To obtain a Constitution founded on reason, it had the prejudices of eighteen centuries to overcome, The Constitution of the year 3 and you have triumphed over all obstacles. Religion, feudalism, royalty have successively for twenty centuries past governed Europe; but from the peace which you have just concluded dates the era of republican governments.
You have succeeded in organizing the great nation whose vast territory is circumscribed only because Nature herself has fixed its limits. You have done more. The two finest countries in Europe, formerly so renowned for the arts, the sciences, and the great men whose cradle they were, see with the greatest hopes genius and freedom issuing from the tomb of their ancestors. These are two pedestals on which the destinies are about to place two powerful nations.
I have the honor to deliver to you the treaty signed at Campo Formio, and ratified by his majesty, the emperor. Peace insures the liberty, prosperity, and the glory of the Republic. When the happiness of the French people shall be seated on better organic laws, all Europe shall become free.
Note: Treaty of Campo Formio (Campoformido) was signed on 17 October 1797