December 12 1812: Napoleon's Plans

"I am not afraid of energetic men; I know how to use and guide them. Besides, I can do nothing which is opposed to equality; and youth, like the nation, clings to equality. If you have talent I can push you forward; if you have merit I can protect you. This is recognized, and it is useful to me. Fontanes [Legislator and Grand Master of the University of Paris] would have reared marquises form me. Their only place is on the comic stage - though the taste of today has really dethroned them there, since Mole quit the scene and Fleury broke down. I need councilors of state, prefects, officers, engineers, Professors. Therefore the scope of our instruction must be broadened, to season these young heads full of Greek and Roman ideas. It is important to give a monarchic turn to the vitality of those traditions; for that is history. I shall give my first attention to education; it will be my first care as soon as peace is established, for it is the safeguard of the future. I want all instruction to be public - even my son's, in part. I have a great plan in that connection."
— Napoleon tells Armand de Caulaincourt, travelling by sleigh, in the early hours, just as they arrive at the Hotel de Saxe, at Posen: Armand de Caulaincourt, At Napoleon's Side in Russia (Enigma Books, 2008), page 293

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