Toast to the Emperor
Given by President Emeritus J. David Markham
Napoleonic Historical Society Banquet
Arlington, VA, 2013

 

He brought order out of chaos and restored stability to the government of France.

He maintained the best ideals of the French Revolution and expanded them throughout Europe.

He was a military genius, but his real skills lay in other areas; promoting religious tolerance, legal reforms and advances in the economic, political and educational systems in France and throughout Europe.

He promoted religious freedom and tolerance, and freed the Jews from their onerous restrictions while fighting the Inquisition. He would have had no use for today’s sectarian conflicts but stood for human rights wherever he went.

He was tireless in his efforts to improve the lives of the French and of all who came under his protection.  His sense of the equality of opportunity is reflected by our own ideals.

He is the reason we are here together and he has enriched all of our lives because of the many friendships we have gained. In 25 years with this group, I can tell you that my life has been enriched beyond anything I could have possibly imagined. That he has brought me to you is reason enough for me to raise my glass!

Ladies and gentlemen, raise your glasses to toast the man who has brought Europe into the modern age and those in this room together as he will bring generations to follow together in the same way.

My friends, I give you our mutual friend, Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine.

Vive l’Empereur!