Towards the end of the year 1811, there began to be greater activity in levying troops and in concentrating the forces of Western Europe, and in 1812 these forces — millions of men, reckoning those engaged in the transport and feeding of the army — moved from the West eastward, towards the frontiers of Russia, where, since 1811, the Russian forces were being in like manner concentrated.
On the 12th of June the forces of Western Europe crossed the frontier, and the war began, that is, an event took place opposed to human reason and all human nature. Millions of men perpetrated against one another so great a mass of crime — fraud, swindling, robbery, forgery, issue of counterfeit money, plunder, incendiarism, and murder — that the annals of all the criminal courts of the world could not muster such a sum of wickedness in whole centuries, though the men who committed those deeds did not at that time look on them as crimes.
Translated by Constance Garnett
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