A wise conqueror supports his triumphs by protecting and even elevating the religion of the conquered people. Bonaparte’s principle was, as he himself has often told me, to look upon religions as the work of men, but to respect them everywhere as a powerful engine of government. He never set foot in a mosque; and only on one occasion, which I shall hereafter mention, dressed himself in the Mahometan costume. He attended the festivals to which the green turbans invited him. His religious tolerance was the natural consequence of his philosophic spirit.

Letter to the Emperor of Austria October 1808. Sire, my Brother: I thank your Royal and Imperial Majesty for the letter you have been so good as to write me, and which Baron Vincent delivered. I never doubted your Majesty, but I nevertheless feared for a moment that hostilities would be renewed between us. There is, at Vienna, a faction […]

Letter to the American Minister, Armstrong, 1809. “The seas belong to all nations. Any vessel, sailing under whatsoever flag, recognized and avowed by her, should be as much at home in the midst of the seas as if she were in her own ports. The flag floating from the mast of a merchant vessel should be respected as much as […]

NAPOLEON, EMPEROR OF FRANCE. Letter to the Pope, 1804. Most Holy Father: The happy effect produced upon the character and morality of my people by the reëstablishment of religion induces me to beg your Holiness to give me a new proof of your interest in my destiny, and in that of this great nation, in one of the most important […]

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