by Victor Hugo
«At the beginning of this century, France was for the nations a splendid spectacle. A man filled it then and made it so large that it filled Europ. This man, left the shade, had arrived in few years at the highest royalty which never perhaps astonished the history. A revolution had given birth to him, a people had choosen him, a pope had crowned him. Each year, he moved back the borders of his Empire...He had erased the Alps like Charlemagne and the Pyrenees like Louis XIV; He has built his State with center of Europe like a citadel, giving it for bastion and for work ten advanced monarchies that he had made enter at the same time in his Empire and in his family. All in this man was disproportionate and splendid. He was above Europe like an extraordinary vision.»
(Victor Hugo, Speech to the French Academy, June 3, 1841)
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