It’s Over, Napoleon | in St. Helena, by Oscar Rex. Emperor Napoleon in exile. (Photo by Leemage/Corbis via Getty Images)

Things Worth Remembering: The Call to Take Up Arms Against Napoleon

In a 1799 speech, the British prime minister warned that ‘the monster’ could not be left ‘to prowl the world unopposed.’

Welcome to Douglas Murray’s column, Things Worth Remembering, in which he presents great speeches from famous orators we should commit to heart. To listen to Douglas read from and reflect on British prime minister William Pitt’s June 1799 speech on the danger of Napoleon, scroll to the end of this piece. 

On a recent flight, I struggled to make it through Ridley Scott’s 2023 Napoleon. I admired the battle scenes and wondered about Joaquin Phoenix’s accent, but, most of all, I missed not seeing one of Napoleon’s biggest nemeses: British prime minister William Pitt. 

Pitt the Younger, as he was known (his father was prime minister before him), became the youngest ever prime minister of England at the age of just 24. Following the union of Britain and Ireland in 1800, he went on to become the first prime minister of the new United Kingdom. 

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