Soldiers of my Old Guard:
I bid you farewell. For twenty years I have
constantly accompanied you on the road to honor and glory. In these
latter times, as in the days of our prosperity, you have invariably
been models of courage and fidelity. With men such as you our cause
could not be lost; but the war would have been interminable; it
would have been civil war, and that would have entailed deeper
misfortunes on France.
I have sacrificed all of my interests to those of the country.
I go, but you, my friends, will continue to serve France. Her
happiness was my only thought. It will still be the object of my
wishes. Do not regret my fate; if I have consented to survive, it is
to serve your glory. I intend to write the history of the great
achievements we have performed together. Adieu, my friends. Would I
could press you all to my heart.
April 20, 1814.