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The Modern Regime, Volume 1

Hippolyte Taine

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .French Empire by a community of vital interests. In vain does he, after Tilsit, make a bargain of this kind with Russia. This bargain cannot hold, because in this arrangement Napoleon, as usual with him, always encroaching, threatening, and attacking, wants to reduce Alexander to the role of a subordinate and a dupe.12115 No clear-sighted witness can doubt this. In 1809, a diplomat writes: "The French system, which is now triumphant, is directed against the whole body of great states,"12116 not alone against England, Prussia, and Austria, but against Russia, against every power capable of maintaining its independence; for, if she remains independent, she may become hostile, and as a precautionary step Napoleon crushes in her a probable enemy.

All the more so because this course once entered upon he cannot stop; at the same time his character and the situation in which he has placed himself impels him on while his past hurries him along to his future.12117 At t. . . Read More