- Introduction to the Third Edition.
- On Civil Liberty and Self-government.
- Chapter I.: Introductory.
- Chapter II.: Definitions of Liberty.
- Chapter III.: The Meaning of Civil Liberty.
- Chapter IV.: Ancient and Modern Liberty.—Ancient, Medieval, and Modern States.
- Chapter V.: Anglican Liberty.
- Chapter VI.: National Independence—Personal Liberty.
- Chapter VII.: Bail.—Penal Trial.
- Chapter VIII.: High Treason.
- Chapter IX.: Communion.—Locomotion, Emigration.
- Chapter X.: Liberty of Conscience.—Property:—Supremacy of the Law.
- Chapter XI.: Quartering Soldiers.—The Army.
- Chapter XII.: Petition.—Association.
- Chapter XIII.: Publicity.
- Chapter XIV.: Supremacy of the Law.—Taxation.—Division of Power.
- Chapter XV.: Responsible Ministers.—Courts Declaring Laws Unconstitutional.—Representative Government.
- Chapter XVI.: Representative Government, Continued.—Basis of Property.—Direct and Indirect Elections.
- Chapter XVII.: Parliamentary Law and Usage.—The Speaker.—Two Houses.—The Veto.
- Chapter XVIII.: Independence of the Judiciary.—The Law Jus, Common Law.
- Chapter XIX.: Independence of Jus, Self-development of Law, Continued.—Accusatorial and Inquisitorial Trials.—Independence of the Judge.
- Chapter XX.: Independence of Jus, Continued.—Trial By Jury.—The Advocate.
- Chapter XXI.: Self—Government.
- Chapter XXII.: American Liberty.
- Chapter XXIII.: In What Civil Liberty Consists, Proved By Contraries.
- Chapter XXIV.: Gallican Liberty.—Spreading of Liberty.
- Chapter XXV.: The Institution.—Its Definition.—Its Power For Good and Evil.
- Chapter XXVI.: The Institution, Continued.—Institutional Liberty.—Institutional Local Self-government.
- Chapter XXVII.: Effects and Uses of Institutional Self-government.
- Chapter XXVIII.: Dangers and Inconveniences of Institutional Self-government.
- Chapter XXIX.: Advantages of Institutional Government, Farther Considered.
- Chapter XXX.: Institutional Government the Only Government Which Prevents the Growth of Too Much Power.—Liberty, Wealth, and Longevity of States.
- Chapter XXXI.: Insecurity Op Uninstitutional Governments.—Unorganized Inarticulated Popular Power.
- Chapter XXXII.: Imperatorial Sovereignty.
- Chapter XXXIII.: Imperatorial Sovereignty, Continued.—Its Origin and Character Examined.
- Chapter XXXIV.: Centralization.—Influence Of Capital Cities.
- Chapter XXXV.: Vox Populi Vox Dei.
- Appendix I.: A Paper On Elections, Election Statistics, and General Votes of Yes Or No.
- Appendix II.: A Paper On the Abuse of the Pardoning Power.
- Appendix III.: A Paper On Subjects Connected With the Inquisitorial Trial and the Laws of Evidence.
- Appendix IV.: Magna Charta of King John, Fifteenth Day of June, In the Seventeenth Year of the King's Reign, A.d. 1215.
- Appendix V.: The Petition of Right. 1
- Appendix VI.: An Act For the Better Securing the Liberty of the Subject, and For Prevention of Imprisonments Beyond the Seas, Commonly Called “the Habeas Corpus Act.” 1
- Appendix VII.: Bill of Rights, Passed 1 William and Mary, Sess. 2, Ch. 2, 1689.
- Appendix VIII.: A Declaration By the Representatives of the United States of America In Congress Assembled.
- Appendix IX.: Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union Between the States.
- Appendix X.: Constitution of the United States of America.
- Appendix XI.: The French Constitution, Adopted and Proclaimed On the Twenty-fourth of June 1793. the First Republican Constitution
- Declarations of the Rights of Man and of Citizens.
- Constitution of the Twenty-fourth of June, 1793.
- Appendix XII.: French Charter of Louis XVIII. And That Adopted In the Year 1830.
- Appendix XIII.: Constitution of the French Republic. Adopted November, 1848.
- Appendix XIV.: The Present Constitution of France.
- Appendix XV.: Report of the French Senatorial Committee On the Petitions to Change the Republic Into an Empire, In November, 1852, 1 and the Senatus-consultum Adopted In Conformity With It.
- Appendix XVI.: Letter of the French Minister of the Interior, Mr. De Morny, Addressed to the Prefects of the Deparments In the Year 1852.
of the twenty-fourth of june, 1793.
of the republic.
1. The French Republic is one and indivisible.
of the division of the people.
2. The French people is, for the purpose of exercising its sovereignty, divided into primary assemblies according to cantons.
3. For the purpose of administration and justice, it is divided into departments, districts, and municipalities.
of the right of citizenship.
4. Every man born and living in France, of twenty-one years of age, and every alien, who has attained the age of twenty-one, and has been domiciled in France one year, and lives from his labor;
- or has acquired property;
- or has married a French woman;
- or has adopted a child;
- or supports an aged man;
and finally every alien whom the legislative body has declared as one well deserving of the human race, are admitted to exercise the rights of a French citizen.
5. The right of exercising the rights of citizen is lost:
- by being naturalized in a foreign state;
- by accepting offices of state, or favors which do not proceed from a democratic government;
- by being sentenced to dishonorable or corporal punishments, till reinstated in the former state.
6. The exercise of the rights of citizen is suspended:
- by being in a state of accusation;
- by a sentence in contumaciam, so long as this sentence has not been rescinded.
of the sovereignty of the people.
7. The sovereign people embraces the whole of French citizens.
8. It chooses its deputies directly.
9. It delegates to electors the choice of administrators, public civil judges, penal judges, and judges of cassation.
10. It deliberates on laws.
of the primary assemblies.
11. The primary assemblies are formed of the citizens who have resided six months in a canton.
12. They consist of no less than 200 and no more than 600 citizens, called together for the purpose of voting.
13. They are organized, after a president, secretaries and collectors of votes have been appointed.
14. They exercise their own police.
15. No one is allowed to appear there with arms.
16. The elections are made either by secret or loud voting, at the pleasure of each voter.
17. A primary meeting can in no case prescribe more than one manner of voting.
18. The collectors of votes note down the votes of those citizens who cannot write, and yet prefer to vote secretly.
19. The votes on laws are given by “Yes,” and “No.”
20. The elections of primary assemblies are published in the following manner:
The united citizens in the primary assembly at—, numbering—votes, vote for, or vote against, by a majority of—.
of the national representation.
21. Population is the only basis of national representation.
22. For every 40,000 individuals, one deputy is chosen.
23. Every primary assembly which is formed of from 39,000 to 41,000 individuals, chooses directly a deputy.
24. The choice is effected by an absolute majority of votes.
25. Every assembly makes an abstract of the votes, and sends a commissioner to the appointed central place of general record.
26. If at the first voting, no absolute majority be effected, a second meeting shall be held, and those two citizens who had the most votes, shall be voted for again.
27. In case of an equal division of votes, the oldest person has the preference, no matter whether he was voted for, or whether he was chosen without it. In case of an equality of age, the casting of lots shall decide.
28. Every Frenchman, who enjoys the rights of a citizen, is eligible throughout the whole republic.
29. Every deputy belongs to the whole nation.
30. In case of non-acceptance, of abdication, or expiration of office, or of the death of a deputy, the primary assembly which had chosen him shall choose a substitute.
31. A deputy who hands in his resignation, cannot leave his post till his successor shall have been appointed.
32. The French people assembles every year on the 1st of May for election.
33. It proceeds thereto, whatever the number of citizens [present] may be, who have a right to vote.
34. Extraordinary primary meetings are held at the demand of one-fifth of the eligible citizens.
35. The meeting is, in this case, called by the municipal authority of the usual place of assembly.
36. These extraordinary meetings can transact business only when at least more than one-half of the qualified voters are present.
of the electoral assemblies.
37. The citizens, united in primary assemblies, nominate in proportion of 200 citizens, (they may be present or not,) one elector; two, for from 301 to 400;three, for from 501 to 600.
38. The holding of election meetings, and the manner of election, are the same as in the primary meetings.
of the legislative body.
39. The legislative body is one, indivisible and continual.
40. Its session lasts one year.
41. It assembles on the 1st of July.
42. The national assembly cannot be organized, unless at least one more than one-half of the deputies are present.
43. The deputies can, at no time, be held answerable, accused or condemned on account of opinions uttered within the legislative body.
44. In criminal cases, they may be arrested if caught in the act;but the warrant of arrest and the warrant of committal can be issued only by the legislative body.
mode of procedure of the legislative body.
45. The sessions of the national assembly are public.
46. The debates in their sessions shall be printed.
47. It cannot deliberate, unless it consist of 200 members.
48. It cannot refuse to members the floor, in the order in which they demand the same.
49. It decides by a majority of those present.
50. Fifty members have the right to demand a call by names.
51. It has the right of censorship on the conduct of the members in its midst.
52. It exercises the power of police at the place of its sessions, and within the whole extent of its environs.
of the functions of the legislative body.
53. The legislative body proposes laws, and issues decrees.
54. By the general name of law, are understood the provisions of the legislative body which concern:
- the civil and penal legislation;
- the general administration of revenues and of the ordinary expenditures of the republic;
- the national domains;
- the inscription, alloy, stamp and names of coins; declaration of war;
- every new general division of the French territory; public instruction;
- public demonstrations of honor to the memory of great men.
55. By the particular name of decrees are understood those enactments of the legislative body, which concern:
- the annual establishment of the land and marine forces; the permission or refusal of the marching of foreign troops
- through the French territory; the admission of foreign vessels of war into the ports of the republic;
- the measures for the common peace and safety; the distribution of annual and momentary relief and of public works;
- the orders for the stamping of coins of every description; the unforeseen and extraordinary expenses;
- the local and particular orders for an administration, a commune, and any kind of public works;
- the defence of the territory;
- the ratification of treaties;
- the nomination and removal of the commander-in-chief of the army;
- the carrying into effect the responsibility of members of the executive council, and of public officers;
- the accusation of discovered conspiracies against the common safety of the republic;
- every alteration in the division of the French territory; the national rewards.
of the making of laws.
56. A notice must precede the introduction of a bill.
57. Not till after a fortnight from the giving of notice can the debate begin, and the law be temporarily accepted.
58. The proposed law is printed and sent to all the communes of the republic, under the address of, Proposed law.
59. If, forty days after the sending in of the proposed law, of the absolute majority of departments, one-tenth of all the primary meetings, legally assembled by the departments, have not protested, the bill is accepted and becomes a law.
60. If protest be made, the legislative body calls together the primary meetings.
of the superscription of laws and decrees.
61. The laws, decrees, sentences, and all public transactions are superscribed:
In the name of the French people, in the—year of the French Republic.
of the executive power.
62. There shall be an executive council, consisting of twenty-four members.
63. The electoral assembly of each department nominates a candidate. The legislative body chooses from this general list the members of the executive council.
64. It shall be renewed each half session of every legislature, in the last months of its session.
65. The executive council has the management and supervision of the general administration. Its activity is limited to the execution of laws and decrees of the legislative body.
66. It appoints, but not out of its midst, the highest agents of the general administration of the republic.
67. The legislative body establishes the number of these agents, and their business.
68. These agents form no council. They are separated one from the other, and have no relation among themselves. They exercise no personal power.
69. The executive council chooses, but not from its midst, the foreign agents of the republic.
70. It negotiates treaties.
71. The members of the executive council are, in case of violation of duties, accused by the legislative body.
72. The executive council is responsible for the non-execution of the laws and decrees, and the abuses, of which it does not give notice.
73. It recalls and substitutes the agents at pleasure.
74. It is obliged, if possible, to inform the judicial authorities regarding them.
of the mutual relations between the executive council, and the legislative body.
75. The executive council shall have its seat near the legislative body. It shall have admittance to, and a special seat at the place of session.
76. It shall every time be heard, when it shall have to give account.
77. The legislative body shall call it into its midst, in whole or in part, when it is thought necessary.
of the administrative authorities and the municipalities.
78. There shall be a municipal authority in each commune of the republic; and in each district an intermediate administration; and in each department a central administration.
79. The municipal officers are chosen by the assemblies of the commune.
80. The administrators are chosen by the electoral assemblies of the departments and of the district.
81. The municipalities and the administrative authorities are annually renewed one-half.
82. The administrative authorities and municipal officers have not a representative character. They can, in no case, limit the resolves of the legislative body, nor the execution of them.
83. The legislative body assigns the business of the municipal officers and of the administrative authorities, the rules regarding their subordination, and the punishments to which they may become liable.
84. The sessions of the municipalities and of the administrative authorities are held in public.
of civil justice.
85. The civil and penal code is the same for the whole republic.
86. No encroachment can be made upon the right of citizens to have their matters in dispute decided on by arbitrators of their own choice.
87. The decision of these arbitrators is final, unless the citizens have reserved the right of protesting.
88. There shall be justices of the peace, chosen by the citizens of the districts, appointed by law.
89. They shall conciliate and hold court without fees.
90. Their number and extent of power shall be established by the legislative body.
91. There shall be public judges of arbitration, who are chosen by electoral assemblies.
92. Their number and districts are fixed by the legislative body.
93. They shall decide on matters in controversy, which have not been brought to a final decision by private arbitrators or by the justices of the peace.
94. They shall deliberate publicly. They shall vote with loud voice.
They shall decide in the last resort on oral pleadings, or on a simple petition, without legal forms and without cost. They shall assign the reasons of their decisions.
95. The justices of the peace and the public arbitrators are chosen annually.
of criminal justice.
96. In criminal cases, no citizen can be put on trial, except a true bill of complaint be found by a jury, or by the legislative body.
The accused shall have advocates, either chosen by themselves, or appointed officially. The proceedings are in public. The state of facts and the intention are passed upon by a jury. The punishment is executed by a criminal authority.
97. The criminal judges are chosen annually by the electoral assemblies.
of the court of cassation.
98. There is a court of cassation for the whole republic.
99. This court takes no cognizance of the state of facts.
It decides on the violation of matters of form, and on transgressions expressed by law.
100. The members of this court are appointed annually through the electoral assemblies.
of the general taxes.
101. No citizen is excluded from the honorable obligation to contribute towards the public expenses.
of the national treasury.
102. The national treasury is the central point of the revenues and expenses of the republic.
103. It is managed by public accountants, whom the legislative body shall elect.
104. These agents are supervised by officers of account, whom the legislative body shall elect, but who cannot be taken from their own body: they are responsible for abuses of which they do not give legal notice to the courts.
of the rendition of accounts.
105. The accounts of the agents of the national treasury, and those of the administrators of public moneys are taken annually, by responsible commissioners appointed by the executive council.
106. Those persons appointed to revise the accounts are under the supervision of commissioners, who are elected by the legislative body, not out of their own number; and they are responsible for the frauds and mistakes of accounts, of which they do not give notice.
The legislative body preserves the accounts.
of the military forces of the republic.
107. The general military power of the republic consists of the whole people.
108. The republic supports, also, in times of peace, a paid land and marine force.
109. All Frenchmen are soldiers; all shall be exercised in the use of arms.
110. There is no generalissimo.
111. The distinction of grade, the military marks of distinction and subordination, exist only in service and in time of its duration.
112. The general military force is used for the preservation of order and peace in the interior; it acts only on a written requisition of the constituted authorities.
113. The general military force against foreign enemies is under the command of the executive council.
114. No armed body can deliberate.
of the national convention.
115. If of the absolute majority of departments, the tenth part of their regularly formed primary assemblies demand a revision of the constitution, or an alteration of some of its articles; the legislative body is obliged to call together all primary assemblies of the republic, in order to ascertain whether a national convention shall be called.
116. The national convention is formed in like manner as the legislatures, and unites in itself the highest power.
117. It is occupied, as regards the constitution, only with those subjects which caused its being called together.
of the relations of the french republic towards foreign nations.
118. The French nation is the friend and natural ally of free nations.
119. It does not interfere with the affairs of government of other nations. It suffers no interference of other nations with its own.
120. It serves as a place of refuge for all who, on account of liberty, are banished from their native country.
These it refuses to deliver up to tyrants.
121. It concludes no peace with an enemy that holds possession of its territory.
of the guaranty of rights.
122. The constitution guarantees to all Frenchmen equality, liberty, security, property, the public debt, free exercise of religion, general instruction, public assistance, absolute liberty of the press, the right of petition, the right to hold popular assemblies, and the enjoyment of all the rights of man.
123. The French republic respects loyalty, courage, age, filial love, misfortune. It places the constitution under the guaranty of all virtues.
124. The declaration of the rights of man and the constitution shall be engraven on tables, to be placed in the midst of the legislative body, and in public places.
(Signed) COLLOT D'HERBOIS, President.
Durand-Maillane, Ducos, Meaulle,
Charlesde laCroix Gossuin, P. A. Laloy,
french charter of louis xviii. and that adopted in the year 1830.
The following is the charter of 1830, as I translated it in that year, for a work published in Boston, under the title of “Events in Paris during the 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th of July: translated from the French.”
This charter of August 8, 1830, is in substance the charter of Louis XVIII. with such changes as the chambers adopted in favor of liberty. The new articles, or the amendments of the old ones, are printed in italics, and the old readings or suppressed articles are given in notes: so that the paper exhibits both the charters.
FRENCH CHARTER OF 1830.
The whole preamble of the ancient charter was suppressed, as containing the principle of concession and octroi (grant), incompatible with that of the acknowledgment of national sovereignty.
The following is the substitution of the preamble:
declaration of the chamber of deputies.
The chamber of deputies, taking into consideration the imperious necessity which results from the events of the 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th of July, and the following days; and from the situation in which France is placed in consequence of the violation of the constitutional charter:
Considering, moreover, that by this violation, and the heroic resistance of the citizens of Paris, his majesty Charles X., his royal highness Louis Antoine, dauphin, and all the members of the senior branch of the royal house, are leaving, at this moment, the French territory—
Declares that the throne is vacant de facto et de jure, and that it is necessary to fill it.
The chamber of deputies declares secondly, that according to the wish, and for the interest of the French people, the preamble of the constitutional charter is suppressed, as wounding the national dignity in appearing to grant to the French rights which essentially belong to them; and that the following articles of the same charter ought to be suppressed or modified in the following manner.
Louis Philippe, King of the French, to all to whom these presents shall come, greeting:
We have ordained and ordain, that the constitutional charter of 1814, as amended by the two chambers on the 7th August, and adopted by us on the 9th, be published anew in the following terms:
public law of the french.
Art. 1. Frenchmen are equal before the law, whatever otherwise may be their titles or their rank.
Art 2. They contribute in proportion to their fortunes to the charges of the state.
Art. 3. They are all equally admissible to civil and military employments.
Art. 4. Their individual liberty is equally guaranteed. No person can be either prosecuted or arrested, except in cases provided for by the law, and in the form which it prescribes.
Art. 5. Each one may profess his religion with equal liberty, and shall receive for his religious worship the same protection.
Art. 6. The ministers of the catholic, apostolic and Roman religion, professed by the majority of the French, and those of other Christian worship, receive stipends from the public treasury.
Art. 7. Frenchmen have the right of publishing and causing to be printed their opinions, provided they conform themselves to the laws.
The censorship can never be re-established.
Art. 8. All property is inviolable, without exception of that which is called national, the law making no difference between them.
Art. 9. The state can exact the sacrifice of property for the good of the public, legally proved, but with a previous indemnity.
Art. 10. All examination into the opinions and votes given before the restoration is interdicted, and the same oblivion is commanded to be adopted by the tribunals and by the citizens.
Art. 11. The conscription is abolished. The method of recruiting the army for land and sea is to be determined by the law
forms of the king's government.
Art. 12. The person of the king is inviolable and sacred. His ministers are responsible. To the king alone belongs executive power.
Art. 13. The king is the supreme head of the state; commands the forces by sea and by land; declares war, makes treaties of peace and alliance and of commerce; he appoints to all offices in public administration, and makes all regulations necessary for the execution of the laws, without ever having power either to suspend the laws themselves, or dispense with their execution.
Nevertheless, no foreign troops can be admitted into the service of the state without an express law.
Art. 14. The legislative power is to be exercised collectively by the king, the chamber of peers, and the chamber of deputies.
Art. 15. The proposition of the laws belongs to the king, to the chamber of peers, and to the chamber of deputies.
Nevertheless, all the laws of taxes are to be first voted by the chamber of deputies.
Art. 16. Every law is to be discussed and freely voted by the majority of each of the two chambers.
Art. 17. If a proposed law be rejected by one of the three powers, it cannot be brought forward again in the same session.
Art. 18. The king alone sanctions and promulgates the laws.
Art. 19. The civil list is to be fixed for the duration of the reign of the legislative assembly after the accession of the king.
of the chamber of peers.
Art. 20. The chamber of peers is to form an essential portion of the legislative power.
Art. 21. It is convoked by the king at the same time as the chamber of deputies. The session of one begins and ends at the same time as that of the other.
Art. 22. Any assembly of the chamber of peers, which should be held at a time which is not that of the session of the chamber of deputies, is illicit, and null of full right, except only the case in which it is assembled as a court of justice, and then it can only exercise judicial functions.
Art. 23. The nomination of the peers of France belongs to the king. Their number is unlimited; he can vary their dignities, and name them peers for life, or make them hereditary at his pleasure.
Art. 24. Peers can enter the chamber at twenty-five years of age, but have only a deliberative voice at the age of thirty years.
Art. 25. The chamber of peers is to be presided over by the chancellor of France; and in his absence, by a peer named by the king.
Art. 26. The princes of blood are to be peers by right of birth. They are to take their seats immediately behind the president.
Art. 27. The sittings of the chamber of peers are public as that of the chamber of deputies.
Art. 28. The chamber of peers takes cognizance of high treason, and of attempts against the security of the state, which is to be defined by the law.
Art. 29. No peer can be arrested but by the authority of the chamber, or judged but by it in a criminal matter.
of the chamber of deputies.
Art. 30. The chamber of deputies will be composed of deputies elected by the electoral colleges; the organization of which is to be determined by law.
Art. 31. The deputies are to be elected for five years.
Art. 32. No deputy can be admitted into the chamber till he has attained the age of thirty years, and if he does not possess the other conditions prescribed by the law.
Art. 33. If, however, there should not be in the department fifty persons of the age specified paying the amount of taxes fixed by law, their number shall be completed from the persons who pay the greatest amount of taxes under the amount fixed by law.
Art. 34. No person can be an elector if he is under twenty-five years of age; and if he does not possess all the other conditions determined by the law.
Art. 35. The presidents of the electoral colleges are elected by the electors.
Art. 36. The half at least of the deputies are to be chosen from those who have their political residence in the departments.
Art. 37. The president of the ohamber of deputies is to be elected by the chamber itself at the opening of each session.
Art. 38. The sittings of the chamber are to be public, but the request of five members will be sufficient that it forms itself into a secret committee.
Art. 39. The chamber divides itself into bureaux (committees) to discuss the projects of laws, which may have been presented from the king.
Art. 40. No tax can be established nor imposed, if it has not been consented to by the two chambers, and sanctioned by the king.
Art. 41. The land and house tax can only be voted for one year. The indirect taxes may be voted for many years.
Art. 42. The king convokes every year the two chambers, he prorogues them, and may dissolve that of the deputies; but in this case he must convoke a new one within the period of three months.
Art. 43. No bodily restraint can be exercised against a member of the chamber during the session, nor for six weeks which precede or follow the session.
Art. 44. No member of the chamber can be, during the session, prosecuted or arrested in a criminal matter, except taken in the act, till after the chamber has permitted his arrest.
Art. 45. Every petition to either of the chambers must be made in writing. The law interdicts its being carried in person to the bar.
of the ministers.
Art. 46. The ministers can be members of the chamber of peers or the chamber of deputies.
They have, moreover, their entrance into either chamber, and are entitled to be heard when they demand it.
Art. 47. The chamber of deputies has the right of impeaching the ministers, or of transferring them before the chamber of peers, which alone has the right to judge them.
Art. 48. All justice emanates from the king; it is administered in his name by the judges, whom he nominates, and whom he institutes.
Art. 49. The judges named by the king are immovable.
Art. 50. The ordinary courts and tribunals existing are to be maintained, and there is to be no change but by virtue of a law.
Art. 51. The actual institution of the judges of commerce is preserved.
Art. 52. The office of justice of peace is equally preserved. The justices of peace, though named by the king, are not immovable.
Art. 53. No one can be deprived of his natural judges.
Art. 54. There cannot, in consequence, be extraordinary com mittees and tribunals created, under whatever title or denomination this ever might be.
Art. 55. The debates will be public in criminal matters, at least when the publicity will not be dangerous to order and decency, and in that case the tribunal is to declare so by a distinct judgment.
Art. 56. The institution of juries is to be preserved; the changes which a longer experience may render necessary can only be effected by a law.
Art. 57. The punishment of confiscation of goods is abolished, and cannot be re-established.
Art. 58. The king has the right to pardon and to commute the punishment.
Art. 59. The civil code, and the actual laws existing that are not contrary to the present charter, will remain in full force until they shall be legally abrogated.
particular rights guaranteed by the state.
Art. 60. The military in actual service, retired officers and soldiers, widows, officers and soldiers on pension, are to preserve their grades, honors and pensions.
Art. 61. The public debt is guaranteed. Every sort of engagement made by the state with its creditors is to be inviolable.
Art. 62. The old nobility retake their titles. The new preserve theirs. The king creates nobles at his pleasure; but he only grants to them rank and honors, without any exemption from the charges and duties of society.
Art. 63. The legion of honor is to be maintained. The king shall determine its internal regulations and the decorations.
Art. 64. The colonies are to be governed by particular laws.
Art. 65. The king and his successors shall swear, at their accession, in presence of the two chambers, to observe faithfully the present constitutional charter.
Art. 66. The present charter, and the rights it consecrates, shall be intrusted to the patriotism and courage of the national guard and all the citizens.
Art. 67. France resumes her colors. For the future there will be no other cockade than the tri-colored cockade.
Art. 68. All the creations of peers during the reign of Charles X. are declared null and void.
Article 23 of the charter will undergo a fresh examination during the session of 1831.
Art. 69. There will be provided successively by separate laws, and that with the shortest possible delay, for the following subjects:
1. The extension of the trial by jury to offences of the press, and political offences.
2. The responsibility of ministers and the secondary agents of government.
3. The re-election of deputies appointed to public functions with salaries.
4. The annual voting of the army estimates.
5. The organization of the national guards with the intervention of the national guards in the choice of their officers.
6. Provisions which insure, in a legal manner, the state of officers of each grade, by land and sea.
7. Departmental and municipal institutions founded upon an elective system.
8. Public instruction and the liberty of instruction.
9. The abolition of the double vote; the settling of the electoral conditions, and that of eligibility.
Art. 70. All laws and ordinances, inasmuch as they are contrary to the provisions adopted by the reform of the charter, are from this moment annulled and abrogated.
We give it in command to our courts and tribunals, administrative bodies, and all others, that they observe and maintain the present constitutional charter, cause it to be observed, followed and maintained, and in order to render it more known to all, they cause it to be published in all municipalities of the kingdom and every-where, where it will be necessary, and in order that this be firm and stable forever, we have caused our seal to be put to it.
Done at the Palais-Royal, at Paris, the 14th day of the month of August, in the year 1830.
By the king:
The Minister Secretary of the State for the department of the Interior.
Examined and sealed with the great seal:
The keeper of the seals, Minister Secretary of the State for the department of Justice.
constitution of the french republic.
adopted november, 1848.
In presence of God, and in the name of the French people, the National Assembly proclaims:
I. France has constituted herself a republic. In adopting that definite form of government, her proposed aim is to advance with greater freedom in the path of civilization and progress, to insure that the burdens and advantages of society shall be more and more equitably apportioned, to augment the comfort of every individual by the gradual reduction of the public expenses and taxes, and by the successive and constant action of her institutions and laws cause the whole body of citizens to attain, without farther commotion, a constantly increasing degree of morality, intelligence, and prosperity.
II. The French republic is democratic, one and indivisible.
III. It recognizes rights and duties anterior and superior to all positive laws.
IV. Its principles are Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
Its basis is, Family, Labor, Property, and Public Order.
V. It respects the nationality of foreign states, as it causes its own to be respected. It undertakes no wars with a view of conquest, and never employs its power against the liberty of any people.
VI. Reciprocal duties bind the citizens to the republic and the republic to the citizens.
VII. It is the duty of the citizens to love their country, serve the republic, and defend it at the hazard of their lives; to participate in the expenses of the state, in proportion to their property, to secure to themselves, by their labor, the means of existence, and, by prudent forethought, provide resources for the future; to co-operate for the common welfare by fraternally aiding each other, and in the preservation of general order by observing the moral and written laws which regulate society, families, and individuals.
VIII. It is the duty of the republic to protect the citizen in his person, his family, his religion, his property, and his labor, and to bring within the reach of all that education which is necessary to every man; it is also its duty, by fraternal assistance, to provide the means of existence to necessitous citizens, either by procuring employment for them, within the limits of its resources, or by giving relief to those who are unable to work and who have no relatives to help them.
For the fulfilment of all these duties, and for the guarantee of all these rights, the National Assembly, faithful to the traditions of the great Assemblies by whom the French revolution was inaugurated, decrees the constitution of the republic, as following:
Art. 1. The sovereignty exists in the whole body of French citizens. It is inalienable and imprescriptible. No individual, no fraction of the people can arrogate to themselves its exercise.
rights of citizens guaranteed by the constitution.
Art. 2. No person can be arrested or detained, except as prescribed by law.
Art. 3. The dwelling of every person inhabiting the French territory is inviolable, and cannot be entered except according to the forms and in the cases provided against by law.
Art. 4. No one shall be removed from his rightful judges—no commissions or extraordinary tribunals can be created under any pretext, or by any denomination whatsoever.
Art. 5. The penalty of death for political offences is abolished.
Art. 6. Slavery cannot exist upon any French territory.
Art. 7. Every one may freely profess his own religion, and shall receive from the state equal protection in the exercise of his worship. The ministers of the religions at present recognized by law, as well as those which may be hereafter recognized, have the right to receive an allowance from the state.
Art. 8. Citizens have the right of associating together and assembling peaceably and unarmed, in order to petition or manifest their ideas by means of the press or otherwise. The exercise of these rights can only be limited by the rights or the liberty of others, or for the public security. The press cannot in any case be subjected to censorship.
Art. 9. Education is free. The liberty of teaching is to be exercised according to the capacity and morality determined by conditions of the laws, and under the supervision of the state. This superintendence is to be extended to all establishments of education and instruction, without any exception.
Art 10. All citizens are equally admissible to all public employments, without other reason of preference than merit, and according to the conditions to be determined by law. All titles of nobility, all distinctions of birth, class or caste, are abolished forever.
Art. 11. All descriptions of property are inviolable; nevertheless, the state may demand the sacrifice of property for reasons of public utility, legally proved, and in consideration of a just and previous indemnity.
Art. 12. The confiscation of property can never be re-established.
Art. 13. The constitution guarantees to citizens the freedom of labor and of industry. Society favors and encourages the development of labor by gratuitous primary instruction, by professional education, by the equality of rights between the employer and the workman, by institutions for the deposit of savings and those of credit, by agricultural institutions; by voluntary associations, and the establishment by the state, the departments and the communes, of public works proper for the employment of unoccupied laborers. Society also will give aid to deserted children, to the sick, and to the destitute aged who are without relatives to support them.
Art. 14. The public debt is guaranteed. Every species of engagement made by the state with its creditors is inviolable.
Art. 15. All taxes are imposed for the common good. Every one is to contribute in proportion to his means and fortune.
Art. 16. No tax can be levied or collected except by virtue of the law.
Art. 17. Direct taxation is only awarded for one year. Indirect taxes may be awarded for several years.
of public power.
Art. 18. All public powers, whatever they may be, emanate from the people. They cannot be delegated by hereditary descent.
Art. 19. The separation of powers is the first principle of a free government.
of the legislative power.
Art. 20. The French people delegate the legislative power to one sole assembly.
Art. 21. The total number of representatives of the people shall be 750, including the representatives from Algeria and the French colonies.
Art. 22. This number shall be increased to 900 for assemblies called together to revise the constitution.
Art. 23. Population is the basis for election.
Art. 24. Suffrage is direct and universal. The act of voting is by secret ballot.
Art. 25. All Frenchmen aged twenty-one, and in the enjoyment of their civil and political rights, are electors, without property qualifications of any kind.
Art. 26. All electors are eligible to be elected without reference to property qualifications or to place of abode, who are twenty-five years of age.
Art. 27. The electoral law will determine the causes which may deprive a French citizen of the right of electing or being elected. It will designate those citizens who, exercising or after having exercised official functions in a department or territory, cannot be elected there.
Art. 28. The holding of any remunerating public office is incompatible with the trust of a representative of the people. No member of the national assembly can be nominated or raised to public offices, receiving salary, the appointment to which is in the gift of the executive, during the continuance of the legislature. Exceptions to the regulations contained in the two preceding paragraphs are to be settled by the organic electoral law.
Art. 29. The conditions of the preceding articles are not applicable to assemblies elected for the revision of the constitution.
Art. 30. The elections for representatives shall be by departments, and by ballot. The electors shall vote at the chief place of their district; nevertheless the district may be, from local causes, divided into several subdivisions, under the forms and in conformity with the conditions to be determined by the electoral law.
Art. 31. The national assembly is elected for the period of three years, to be then wholly renewed. Forty-five days at least before the term of the legislature, a law shall be passed to fix the period of the new elections. If no law is passed within the time prescribed by the preceding paragraph, the electors shall have full right to assemble and vote on the thirtieth day preceding the close of the legislature. The new assembly is convoked by full right for the day following that on which the trust of the preceding assembly expires.
Art. 32. The assembly is permanent; nevertheless it may adjourn to any period which it shall determine. During the continuance of the prorogation, a commission, composed of members of committees, and twenty-five representatives appointed by the assembly, by ballot, having an absolute majority, will have the right to convoke the assembly, in cases of emergency. The president of the republic has also the right to convoke the assembly. The national assembly will determine the place where it shall hold its sessions, and will direct the number and description of the military forces which shall be appointed for its security, and have them at its order.
Art. 33. Representatives may be re-elected.
Art. 34. The members of the national assembly are the representatives, not of the department which nominates them, but of the whole of France.
Art. 35. They cannot receive imperative instructions.
Art. 36. The persons of the representatives of the people are inviolable. They cannot be pursued, accused, nor condemned, at any time, for opinions uttered within the assembly.
Art. 37. They cannot be arrested for criminal offences, excepting when taken in the very fact, nor prosecuted, until after permission granted for such purpose by the assembly. In case of an arrest in the very fact, the matter shall immediately be referred to the assembly, which shall authorize or refuse the continuation of the prosecution. The above regulation to apply also to the case of citizens imprisoned at the time of being named representatives.
Art. 38. Every representative of the people is to receive a remuneration, which he is not at liberty to renounce.
Art. 39. The sittings of the assembly are to be public. Nevertheless, the assembly may form itself into a secret committee, on the requisition of a number of representatives, as settled by the rules. Each representative has the right of initiating parliamentary measures, which he will do according to the forms determined by the regulations.
Art. 40. The presence of half the members, and also one over, is necessary to vote on any law.
Art. 41. No bill (except in cases of urgency) shall be passed till after it has undergone three readings, at intervals of not less than five days between each reading.
Art. 42. Every proposition, the object of which is to declare the urgency of a measure, must be preceded by an explanation of motives. If the assembly is of opinion to accede to the proposition, it will fix the time when the report upon the necessity of the case shall be represented. On this report, if the assembly admit the urgency of the case, it will declare it, and fix the time of the debate. If it decides against the urgency of the case, the motion will have to go through the usual course.
of the executive power.
Art. 43. The French people delegates the executive power to a citizen, who shall receive the title of president of the republic.
Art. 44. The president must be born a Frenchman, thirty years of age at least, and must never have lost the quality of Frenchman.
Art. 45. The president of the republic shall be elected for four years, and shall not be eligible for re-election until after an interval of four years. Neither shall the vice-president, nor any of his relations or kindred of the president, to the sixth degree inclusive, be eligible for re-election after him, within the same interval of time.
Art. 46. The election shall take place on the second Sunday in the month of May. If, in the event of death or resignation, or from any other cause, a president be elected at any other period, his power shall expire on the second Sunday of the month of May, in the fourth year following his election. The president shall be elected by secret ballot, and by an absolute majority of votes, by the direct suffrage of all the electors of the French departments and of Algeria.
Art. 47. The records of the electoral operations shall be transmitted immediately to the national assembly, which shall determine without delay upon the validity of the election, and shall proclaim the president of the republic. If no candidate shall have obtained more than one-half of the votes given, and at the least two millions of votes, or if the conditions required by article 44 are not fulfilled, the national assembly shall elect the president of the republic by an absolute majority, and by ballot, from among the five candidates eligible who shall have obtained the greatest number of votes.
Art. 48. Before entering upon his functions, the president of the republic shall, in the presence of the assembly, take an oath of the tenor following: “In presence of God, and before the French people, represented by the national assembly, I swear to remain faithful to the democratic republic, one and indivisible, and to fulfil all the duties which the constitution imposes upon me.”
Art. 49. He shall have the right of presenting bills through the ministers in the national assembly. He shall watch over and secure the execution of the laws.
Art. 50. He shall have the disposal of the armed force, without ever being allowed to command it in person.
Art. 51. He cannot cede any portion of the territory, nor dissolve or prorogue the national assembly, nor suspend the operation of the constitution and the laws.
Art. 52. He shall annually present, by a message to the national assembly, an exposition of the general state of the affairs of the republic.
Art. 53. He shall negotiate and ratify treaties. No treaty shall be definitive until after it has been approved by the national assembly.
Art. 54. He shall watch over the defence of the state, but he shall not undertake any war without the consent of the national assembly.
Art. 55. He shall possess the right of pardon; but he shall not have the power to exercise this right until after he has taken the advice of the council of state. Amnesties shall only be granted by an express law. The president of the republic, the ministers, as well as all other persons condemned by the high court of justice, can only be pardoned by the national assembly.
Art. 56. The president of the republic shall promulgate the laws in the name of the French people.
Art. 57. Laws of emergency shall be promulgated three days after, and other laws one month after their passing, counting from the day on which they were passed by the national assembly.
Art. 58. Previous to the day fixed for the promulgation, the president may, by a message assigning reasons therefor, demand a reconsideration of the law. The assembly shall then reconsider it, its resolution becomes definitive, and shall be transmitted to the president of the republic. In such a case, the promulgation shall be made within the delay allowed to laws of emergency.
Art. 59. In default of the promulgation of laws by the president, within the period fixed by the preceding articles, the president of the assembly shall provide for their due promulgation.
Art. 60. The credentials of envoys and ambassadors from foreign powers shall be addressed to the president of the republic.
Art. 61. He shall preside at all national solemnities.
Art. 62. He shall be furnished with a residence at the expense of the republic, and shall receive an allowance of six hundred thousand francs per annum.
Art. 63. He shall reside in the place in which the national assembly holds its sessions, and may not leave the continental territory of the republic without being authorized by law so to do.
Art. 64. The president of the republic shall have power to appoint and revoke the appointment of the ministers. He shall appoint and revoke, in a council of ministers, the diplomatic agents, commanders-in-chief of the armies of the republic by sea and land, prefects and the chief commandant of the national guards of the Seine, the governors of Algeria and the other colonies, the attorney-general and all other functionaries of superior rank. He shall appoint and dismiss, at the suggestion of the competent minister, according to the terms and conditions fixed by law, all other officers and functionaries of the government of secondary rank.
Art. 65. He shall have the right of suspending, for a period not exceeding three months, the agents of the executive power elected by the people. He shall not be able to dismiss them unless by the advice of the council of the state. The law will determine the case in which agents, having been dismissed, may be declared not to be eligible again for the same office. Such a declaration of in-eligibility can only be pronounced by a formal judgment.
Art. 66. The number of ministers and their several powers, duties and emoluments shall be settled by the legislative power.
Art. 67. The acts of the president, excepting those by which he appoints or dismisses the ministers of the republic, shall be of no effect, unless countersigned by a minister.
Art. 68. The president of the republic, the ministers, the agents, and all the other depositaries of public authority, shall be responsible, each in so far as he is concerned, for all the acts of the government and of the administration. Every measure by which the president of the republic shall dissolve or prorogue the assembly, or interpose any obstacle to the exercise of its public trust, shall be deemed a crime of high treason. By this sole act, the president becomes divested of his functions, and the people are bound not to yield obedience to him; the executive power is thereby transferred in full authority to the national assembly. The judges of the high court of justice shall immediately assemble, on pain of forfeiture of their offices. They shall call together a jury, in some place to be by them designated, in order to proceed to trial and judgment upon the president and his accomplices; and they shall themselves appoint a magistrate to be charged with the functions of state attorney. A law shall determine the other cases of responsibility, as well as the forms and conditions of the prosecution of them.
Art. 69. The ministers shall have admission into the national assembly, and shall be heard whenever they require it, and they may also obtain the assistance of commissioners, who shall have been appointed by a decree of the president of the republic.
Art. 70. There shall be a vice-president of the republic, to be appointed by the national assembly, from a list of three candidates presented by the president within the month succeeding his election. The vice-president shall take the same oath as the president. The vice-president shall not be appointed from among the relations or kindred of the president to the sixth degree inclusive. Should the president by any cause be prevented from officiating, the vice-president will represent him for the time being. If the presidency shall become vacant by the death of the president, his dismissal from office, or from other causes, a new election for president shall take place within a month.
of the council of state.
Art. 71. There shall be a council of state, of which the vice-president of the republic shall of right be the president.
Art. 72. The members of this council shall be appointed for six years by the national assembly. The half of this council shall be renewed in the first two months of each new legislature, by secret ballot, and by an absolute majority. They shall be indefinitely re-eligible.
Art. 73. Such of the members of the council of state, who shall have been appointed from among the members of the assembly, shall be immediately replaced as representatives of the people.
Art. 74. The members of the council of state cannot be dismissed, except by the national assembly and at the suggestion of the president.
Art. 75. The council of state shall be consulted upon all bills or laws proposed by the government, which, according to law, must be presented for their previous examination; and also upon parliamentary bills which the assembly may send to them for their examination. It shall prepare the rules of public administration, and will alone make those regulations with regard to which the national assembly have given it a special delegation. It shall exercise over the public administrations all the powers of control and of superintendence which are conferred upon it by law. The law will determine the other powers and duties of the council.
of the interior administration.
Art. 76. The division of the territory into departments, arrondissements, districts and communes shall be maintained. Their present limits shall not be changed, except by law.
Art. 77. There shall be—1. In each department an administration composed of a prefect, a general council, and a council of prefecture. 2. In each arrondissement, a sub-prefect. 3. In each district, a district-council; nevertheless, only a single district-council shall be established in any city which is divided into several districts. 4. In each commune, an administration, composed of a mayor, his assistants, and a municipal council.
Art. 78. A law shall determine the composition and duties of the general councils, the district councils, and the municipal councils, as well as, also, the manner of appointing the mayors and their assistants.
Art. 79. The general councils and the municipal councils shall be elected by the direct vote of all citizens living in the department or district; each district shall elect one member of the general council; a special law shall regulate the forms of election in the department of the Seine, in the city of Paris, and in cities containing a population of more than twenty thousand souls.
Art. 80. The general councils, the district councils, and the municipal councils may be dissolved by the president of the republic, with the advice of the council of state; the law will fix the period within which a new election shall be held.
of the judiciary power.
Art. 81. Justice shall be awarded, gratuitously, in the name of the French people. The proceedings shall be public, except in cases where publicity may be detrimental either to the public order or public morals, in which case the court shall declare the same by a formal judgment.
Art. 82. Trial by jury shall be continued in criminal cases.
Art. 83. The decision upon all political offences, and upon all offences committed by means of the press, appertains exclusively to the jury. The organic laws shall determine the tribunal and powers in relation to offences and defamation against private individuals.
Art. 84. The jury alone shall decide upon the question of damages claimed on account of offences by the press.
Art. 85. The justices of peace and their assistants, the judges of the first instance and of appeal, the members of the court of cassation and of the court of accounts, shall be appointed by the president of the republic, according to a system of candidateship on conditions which shall be regulated by the organic laws.
Art. 86. The magistrates shall be appointed by the president of the republic.
Art. 87. The judges of the first instance and of appeal, the members of the court of cassation and of the court of accounts shall be appointed for life. They shall not be dismissed or suspended, except after judgment, nor retire with a pension, except for causes and according to proceedings appointed by law.
Art. 88. The councils of war and of revision of the armies by sea and land, the maritime tribunals, the tribunals of commerce, the prud'hommes, and other special tribunals, shall retain their present organization and their present functions, until the law shall decide otherwise.
Art. 89. Conflicts of privileges and duties between the administrative and the judicial authority shall be regulated by a special tribunal, composed of members of the court of cassation and of counsellors of state, to be appointed, every three years, in equal number, by the respective bodies to which they belong. This tribunal shall be presided over by the minister of justice.
Art. 90. Appeals for incompetence, or excess of power against the decrees of the court of accounts, shall be carried before the tribunal of conflictive jurisdiction.
Art. 91. A high court of justice shall decide, without appeal, demur, or recourse of annulment, in all accusations made by the national assembly against the president of the republic or the ministers. It shall likewise, in the same way, try all cases of persons accused of crimes, attempts, or plots against the internal and external safety of the state, which the assembly may have sent before it. Except in the case provided for in article 68, it shall not be called together unless by decree of the national assembly, which shall also designate the city in which the court shall hold its sittings.
Art. 92. The high court shall be composed of five judges and of thirty-six jurymen. Every year, in the first fifteen days of the month of November, the court of cassation shall appoint from among its members, by secret ballot and an absolute majority, the judges of the high court, the number to be five judges and two supplementary judges. The five judges, who are thus called upon to sit, will themselves select their president. The magistrates performing the functions of the public ministry shall be designated by the president of the republic, and, in the event of the accusation of the president or his ministers, by the national assembly. The jury, to the number of thirty-six, and four supplementary jurymen, shall be taken from among the members of the general councils of the departments. Representatives of the people shall not be competent to form part of these juries.
Art. 93. When a decree of the national assembly shall have ordered the formation of the high court of justice, as also in the cases provided for in the 68th article, on the requisition of the president or of one of the judges, the president of the court of appeal, and in default of that court, the president of the tribunal of the first instance of the chief judiciary court of the department, shall draw lots in public assembly for the name of a member of the general council.
Art. 94. On the day appointed for the trial, if there are less than sixty jurymen present, the number shall be filled up by supplementary jurymen, drawn by lot by the president of the high court of justice, from among the names of the members of the general council of the department in which the court holds its sitting.
Art. 95. Those jurymen who shall not have given an adequate excuse for absence, shall be condemned to a fine of not less than one thousand francs, and not exceeding ten thousand, and to be deprived of their political rights during five years at the utmost.
Art. 96. Both the accused and the public accuser shall have the right to challenge, as in ordinary cases.
Art. 97. The verdict of the jury pronouncing the accused guilty cannot be rendered except by a majority of two-thirds.
Art. 98. In all cases regarding the responsibility of the ministers, the national assembly may, according to the circumstances, send the accused minister to be tried either before the high court of justice or by the ordinary tribunals for civil indemnities (or damages).
Art. 99. The national assembly and the president of the republic may, in all cases, transmit the examination of the acts of any functionary (except of the president himself) to the council of state, whose report shall be made public.
Art. 100. The president of the republic can only be brought to trial before the high court of justice. Except as is provided for by article 68, he cannot be tried unless upon accusation brought against him by the national assembly, and for crimes and misdemeanors, which shall be determined by law.
of the public forces.
Art. 101. The public force is instituted for the purpose of defending the state against enemies from without, and to insure, internally, the maintenance of order, and the execution of the laws. It is composed of the national guard and of the army by sea and by land.
Art. 102. Every Frenchman, save in exceptions determined by the law, owes to his country his services in the army and in the national guard. The privilege of every citizen to free himself from personal military service shall be regulated by the law of recruitment.
Art. 103. The organization of the national guard, and the constitution of the army, shall be regulated by law.
Art. 104. The public force is essentially obedient. No armed force can deliberate.
Art. 105. The public force employed to maintain order in the interior can only act upon the requisition of the constituted authorities, according to the regulations prescribed by the legislative power.
Art. 106. A law shall determine those cases in which the state of siege shall be declared, and shall regulate the forms and determine the effects of such a measure.
Art. 107. No foreign troops can be introduced into the French territory without the previous assent of the national assembly.
Art. 108. The legion of honor is maintained; its statutes shall be revised, and made to accord with the constitution.
Art. 109. The territory of Algeria, and of the colonies, is declared to be French territory, and shall be governed by their separate laws until a special law shall place them under the provisions of the present constitution.
Art. 110. The national assembly confides the trust of this present constitution, and the rights it consecrates, to the guardianship and patriotism of every Frenchman.
of the revision of the constitution.
Art. 111. Whenever, in the last year of a legislature, the national assembly shall have expressed the wish that the constitution should be modified, in whole or in part, this revision shall be entered upon in the following manner: The wish expressed by the assembly shall not be converted into a definitive resolution until after three successive deliberations held upon the subject, at the interval of one month between each deliberation, and the measure shall only be carried by a vote of three-fourths of the assembly. The number of votes must be five hundred at the least. The assembly for revision shall only be appointed for three months. It shall only engage in the special revision for which it has been assembled; nevertheless, in cases of emergency, it may provide for legislative necessities.
Art. 112. The provisions of the codes, laws, and regulations, now in force, and which are not in contradiction with the present constitution, shall remain in force until otherwise provided by law.
Art. 113. All the authorities constituted by the present laws shall continue in the exercise of their present duties until the promulgation of the organic laws which relate to them.
Art. 114. The law of judiciary organization will determine the particular mode for the appointment and first composition of the new tribunals.
Art. 115. After the vote upon the constitution, the constituent national assembly shall proceed to draw up the organic laws, which shall be determined by a special law for that purpose.
Art. 116. The first election of a president of the republic shall take place in conformity with the special law passed by the national assembly on the 28th of October, 1848.
the present constitution of france.
When I wrote the article Constitution for the Encyclopædia Americana, which was before the French revolution of 1830, I classed constitutions under three general heads: 1. Those established by the sovereign power, real or so called. These were subdivided into constitutions established by a sovereign people for their own government, as ours are; and into such as are granted, theoretically at least, by the plenary power of an absolute monarch; such as the then existing French charter was, a fundamental law called by the French octroyed. 2. Constitutions formed by contracts between nations and certain individuals whom they accept as rulers on distinct conditions. 3. Constitutions forming a compact between a number of states. The present constitution of France is not included in either of these classes. Its genesis, as the reader well knows, was that, first, an individual acquired absolute power by a conspiracy or coup d'état, then caused the people to vote whether they would grant him plenary power to prescribe a constitution; he received the power by above seven millions of votes, and issued the following document, copied from the constitution which Napoleon the First had prescribed at the beginning of this century. If, then, the reader insists upon calling this a constitution—we certainly do not call France at present a constitutional country—we may call it a constitution per saltum, for it was in former times one of the different ways of electing a pope, or the head of a great society, such as the Templars, to elect one individual with the right of appointing the chief, and this was called electing per saltum, by a leap. I also divided constitutions into cumulative constitutions, such as the constitution of England, or that of ancient Rome, and into enacted (or written) constitutions, such as ours are. The present constitution of France can again be classed neither under the one nor the other head. It may, perhaps, be called decreed, or by any name the reader prefers. It is difficult to find an appropriate name for a thing which is the result of a confused mixture of ideas, of absolutism, popular sovereignty, violence, of breaking of oaths and prescribing of others, of coup d'état, and ratification by those whose work was destroyed by the soldiery, and by the idea of the “incarnation” of popular absolute power in one person. Louis Napoleon has been called the incarnation of a great principle. I do not pretend to find a philosophical name for this product. Probably the whole constitution belongs to the “Napoleonic ideas,” of which we read so much at this moment; or we may call it in future an imperatorial or Cæsarean constitution.
The following, then, is the present French Constitution, as it appeared in the official paper, the Moniteur, of January 15, 1852, preceded by the proclamation of Louis Napoleon.
president of the republic.
In the name of the French People.
Frenchmen! When, in my proclamation of the 2d of December, I stated to you in all sincerity what were, according to my ideas, the vital conditions of government in France, I had not the pretension, so common in our days, of substituting a personal theory for the experience of ages. On the contrary, I sought in the past what were the best examples to follow, what men had given them, and what benefit had resulted therefrom.
Having done so, I considered it only logical to prefer the precepts of genius to the specious doctrines of men of abstract ideas. I took as model the political institutions which already, at the beginning of the present century, in analogous circumstances, strengthened society when tottering, and raised France to a high degree of prosperity and grandeur.
I selected as model those institutions which, in place of disappearing at the first breath of popular agitations, were overturned only by all Europe being coalesced against us.
In a word, I said to myself, since France has existed for the last fifty years only in virtue of the administration, military, judicial, religious, and financial organization of the consulate and the empire, why should we not adopt likewise the political institutions of that period? As they were created by the same mind, they ought to bear in themselves the same character of nationality and practical utility.
In fact, as I stated in my proclamation, our present society, it is essential to declare, is nothing else than France regenerated by the revolution of ‘89 and organized by the emperor. Nothing remains of the old régime but great reminiscences and great benefits. But all that was then organized was destroyed by the revolution, and all that has been organized since the revolution, and which still exists, was done by Napoleon.
We have no longer either provinces, or pays d'état, or parliaments, or intendants, or farmers general, or feudal rights, or privileged classes in exclusive possession of civil and military employments, or different religious jurisdiction.
In so many things incompatible with itself had the revolution effected a radical reform, but without founding anything definitive. The first consul alone re-established the unity, the various ranks, and the veritable principles of government. They are still in vigor.
Thus, the administration of France was intrusted to prefects, sub-prefects, and mayors, who substituted unity for the commissions of the directory; and, on the contrary, the decision of business given to councils from the commune to the department. Thus, the magistracy was strengthened by the immovability of the judges, by the various ranks of the tribunals; justice was rendered more easy by the delimitation of attributions, from the justice of peace to the court of cassation. All that is still existing.
In the same way our admirable financial system, the bank of France, the establishment of budgets, the court of accounts, the organization of police, and our military regulations, date from the same period.
For fifty years it is the code Napoléon which had regulated the interests of citizens amongst themselves; and it is still the concordat which regulates the relations between the state and the church.
In fine, the greatest part of the measures which concern the progress of manufactures, commerce, letters, sciences, and the arts, from the regulations of the Théâtre Française to those of the Institute— from the institution of the prud’hommes to the creation of the legion of honor—were fixed by decrees of that time.
It may then be affirmed that the framework of our social edifice is the work of the emperor, and that it has resisted his fall and three revolutions.
Why, with the same origin, should not the political institutions have the same chances of success?
My conviction was long formed on the point, and it is on that account that I submit to your judgment the principal bases of a constitution, borrowed from that of the year 8. When approved by you, they will become the foundation of our political constitution.
Let us examine what the spirit of them is.
In our country, monarchical as it has been for eight hundred years, the central power has always gone on augmenting. The royalty destroyed the great vassals; the revolutions themselves swept away the obstacles which opposed the rapid and uniform exercise of authority. In this country of centralization, public opinion has unceasingly attributed to the head of the government benefits as well as evils. And so, to write at the head of a charter that that chief is irresponsible, is to be against the public feeling—is to want to establish a fiction, which has three times vanished at the noise of revolutions.
The present constitution, on the contrary, declares that the chief whom you have elected is responsible before you; and that he has always the right to appeal to your judgment, in order that, in solemn circumstances, you may continue to him your confidence, or withdraw it.
Being responsible, his action ought to be free and unshackled. Thence the obligation of his having ministers who may be the honored and puissant auxiliaries of his thought, but who no longer form a responsible council, composed of mutually responsible members, a daily obstacle to the particular impulse of the head of the state, the expression of a policy emanating from the chambers, and by that very circumstance exposed to frequent changes, which prevent all spirit of unity and all application of a regular system.
Nevertheless, the higher a man is placed the more independent he is, and the greater confidence the people have placed in him the more he has need of enlightened and conscientious councils. Thence the creation of a council of state, henceforward a veritable council of the government, first wheel in our organization, a collection of practical men, elaborating bills in special commissions, discussing them with closed doors, without oratorical ostentation in general assembly, and presenting them afterwards for acceptance to the legislative body.
Thus, the government is free in its movements and enlightened in what it does.
What is now to be the control exercised by the assemblies?
A chamber, which takes the title of legislative body, votes the laws and the taxes. It is elected by universal suffrage, without scrutin de liste. The people, selecting each candidate separately, can more easily appreciate the merits of each.
The chamber is not to be any longer composed of more than about 260 members. That is a first guaranty of the calm of the deliberations, for only too often the inconsistency and ardor of passions have been seen to increase in assemblies in proportion to their number.
The report of the sittings, which is intended to inform the nation of what is going on, is no longer, as formerly, delivered to the party spirit of each journal; an official publication, drawn up by the care of the president of the chamber, will be alone permitted.
The legislative body discusses freely each law, and adopts or rejects it. But it cannot introduce all of a sudden those amendments which often disarrange the whole economy of a system and the ensemble of the original project. Still more, it does not possess that parliamentary initiative which was the source of such grave abuses, and which allowed each deputy to substitute himself at every turn for the government, by presenting projects the least carefully studied and inquired into.
The chamber being no longer in presence of the ministers, and the various bills being supported by speakers belonging to the council of state, time is not lost in vain interpellations and passionate debates, the only object of which was to overturn the ministers, in order to place others in their stead.
Thus, then, the deliberations of the legislative body will be independent, but the causes of sterile agitations will have been suppressed, and proper time and deliberation given to each modification of the law. The representatives of the nation will, in fact, maturely perform their serious functions.
Another assembly takes the name of senate. It will be composed of the elements which, throughout the whole country, create legitimate influences—an illustrious name, fortune, talent, and services rendered.
The senate is no longer, like the chamber of peers, the pale reflection of the chamber of deputies, repeating, at some days' interval, the same discussion in another tone. It is the depository of the fundamental compact, and of the liberties compatible with the constitution; and it is only with respect to the grand principles on which our society is based that it examines all the laws, and proposes new ones to the executive power. It intervenes, whether to resolve every grave difficulty which might arise during the absence of the legislative body, or to explain the text of the constitution, or to insure what is necessary for its being acted on. It has the right to annul every arbitrary and illegal act, and, thus enjoying that consideration which belongs to a body exclusively occupied with the examination of great interests, or the application of grand principles, it occupies in the state the independent, salutary and conservative position of the ancient parliaments.
The senate will not be, like the chamber of peers, transformed into a court of justice; it will preserve its character of supreme moderator; for disfavor always reaches political bodies, when the sanctuary of the legislators become a criminal tribunal. The impartiality of the judge is often called in doubt, and he loses a portion of his prestige in public opinion, which sometimes goes the length of accusing him of being the instrument of passion or of hatred.
A high court of justice, chosen from amongst the higher magistrates, having for jurymen members of the councils-general throughout all France, will alone decide in cases of attentats against the head of the state and public safety.
The emperor used to say to the council of state: “A constitution is the work of time; and too large a margin cannot be left to ameliorations.” Consequently, the present constitution has fixed only what it was impossible to leave uncertain. It has not inclosed within an impassable circle the destinies of a great people; it has left to change a margin sufficiently wide to allow, in great crises, other means of safety to be employed than the disastrous expedient of revolutions.
The senate can, in concert with the government, modify all that is not fundamental in the constitution; but as to the modifications effected in its primary bases, sanctioned by your suffrages, they cannot become definitive until after they have received your ratification.
Thus the people remains always master of its destiny, as nothing fundamental can be effected independently of its will.
Such are the ideas and principles which you have authorized me to carry into application. May the constitution confer on our country calm and prosperous days! May it prevent the return of those intestine struggles, in which the victory, however legitimate it may be, is always dearly purchased! May the sanction, which you have bestowed on my efforts, receive the benediction of heaven! In that case, peace will be insured at home and abroad, my prayers will be granted, and my mission accomplished!
Constitution made in virtue of the powers delegated by the French People to Louis Napoleon Bonaparte by the vote of the 20th and 21st of December, 1851.
The president of the republic—
Considering that the French people has been called on to pronounce its opinion on the following resolution:
The people wish for the maintenance of the authority of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, and give him the powers necessary to make a constitution, according to the bases laid down in his proclamation of the 2d December.
Considering that the bases proposed to the acceptance of the people were:
1. A responsible chief appointed for ten years.
2. Ministers dependent on the executive power alone.
3. A council of state, formed of the most distinguished men, to prepare the laws and support the discussion of them before the legislative body.
4. A legislative body, to discuss and vote the laws, elected by universal suffrage, without scrutin de liste, which falsifies the election.
5. A second assembly, formed of the most illustrious men of the country, as an equipoising power (pouvoir ponderateur,) guardian of the fundamental compact and of public liberties.
Considering that the people have replied affirmatively by seven million five hundred thousand votes,
Promulgates the constitution, the tenor of which is as follows:
Art. 1. The constitution admits, confirms, and guarantees the great principles proclaimed in 1789, and which are the bases of the public right of Frenchmen.
forms of the government of the republic.
Art. 2. The government of the French Republic is confided for ten years to Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, the actual president of the republic.
Art. 3. The president of the republic governs by means of ministers, of the council of state, of the senate, and of the legislative body.
Art. 4. The legislative power is exercised collectively by the president of the republic, the senate, and the legislative body.
of the president of the republic.
Art. 5. The president of the republic is responsible to the French people, to whom he has always the right to make an appeal.
Art. 6. The president of the republic is the chief of the state; he commands the land and sea forces, declares war, makes treaties of peace, alliance, and commerce, appoints to all employs, and makes the regulations and decrees necessary for the execution of the laws.
Art. 7. Justice is rendered in his name.
Art. 8. He alone has the initiative of laws.
Art. 9. He has the right of granting pardon.
Art. 10. He sanctions and promulgates the laws and the senatus consultum.
Art. 11. He presents every year to the senate, and to the legislative body, by a message, the state of the affairs of the republic.
Art. 12. He has the right to declare the state of siege in one or several departments, on condition of referring it to the senate within the shortest possible delay. The consequences of the state of siege are regulated by law.
Art. 13. The ministers depend only on the chief of the state—they are only responsible for the acts of the government as far as they are individually concerned in them; there is no joint responsibility among them, and they can only be impeached by the senate.
Art. 14. The ministers, the members of the senate, of the legislative body, and of the council of state, the officers of the land and sea forces, the magistrates and public functionaries, take the following oath: I swear obedience to the constitution and fidelity to the president.
Art. 15. A senatus-consultum fixes the sum allowed annually to the president of the republic during the whole continuance of his functions.
Art. 16. If the president of the republic dies before the expiration of his term of office, the senate is to convoke the nation, in order to proceed to a fresh election.
Art. 17. The chief of the state has the right, by a secret act deposited in the archives of the senate, to point out to the people the names of the citizens whom he recommends to the interest of France to the confidence of the people and to their suffrages.
Art. 18. Until the election of the new president of the republic, the president of the senate governs with the co-operation of the ministers in functions, who form themselves into a council of government, and deliberate by a majority of votes.
of the senate.
Art. 19. The number of senators shall not exceed 150; it is fixed for the first year at 80.
Art. 20. The senate is composed: 1, of cardinals, marshals, and admirals; 2, of citizens whom the president of the republic may think proper to raise to the dignity of senators.
Art. 21. The senators are appointed for life.
Art. 22. The functions of senator are gratuitous; nevertheless, the president of the republic may grant to senators, on account of services rendered, or of their position with regard to fortune, a personal donation, which cannot exceed 30,000 francs per annum.
Art. 23. The president and the vice-presidents of the senate are named by the president of the republic, and chosen from among the senators. They are appointed for one year. The salary of the president of the senate is fixed by a decree.
Art. 24. The president of the republic convokes and prorogues the senate. He fixes the duration of its sessions by a decree. The sittings of the senate are not public.
Art. 25. The senate is the guardian of the fundamental compact and of public liberties. No law can be promulgated without being submitted to it.
Art. 26. The senate may oppose the promulgation:
1. Of laws which may be contrary to, or be an attack on, the constitution, on religion, on morals, on freedom of worship, on individual liberty, on the equality of citizens in the eye of the law, on the inviolability of property, and on the principle of the immovability of the magistracy.
2. Of those which may comprise the defence of the territory.
Art. 27. The senate regulates by a senatus-consultum:
1. The constitution of the colonies and of Algeria.
2. All that has not been provided for by the constitution, and which is necessary for its march.
3. The sense of the articles of the constitution which give rise to different interpretations.
Art. 28. These senatus-consulta will be submitted to the sanction of the president of the republic, and promulgated by him.
Art. 29. The senate maintains or annuls all the acts which are referred to it as unconstitutional by the government, or denounced for the same cause by the petitions of citizens.
Art. 30. The senate may, in a report addressed to the president of the republic, lay down the bases of bills of great national interest.
Art. 31. It may also propose modifications in the constitution. If the proposition is adopted by the executive power, it must be stated by a senatus-consultum.
Art. 32. Nevertheless, all modifications in the fundamental basis of the constitution, such as they were laid down in the proclamation of the 2d December, and adopted by the French people, shall be submitted to universal suffrage.
Art. 33. In case of the dissolution of the legislative body, and until a new convocation, the senate, on the proposition of the president of the republic, shall provide by measures of urgency for all that is necessary for the progress of the government.
of the legislative body.
Art. 34. The election has for its basis the number of the population.
Art. 35. There shall be one deputy to the legislative body for every 35,000 electors.
Art. 36. The deputies are to be elected by universal suffrage, without scrutin de liste.
Art. 37. They will not receive any payment.
Art. 38. They are named for six years.
Art. 39. The legislative body discusses and votes bills and taxes.
Art. 40. Any amendment adopted by the committee charged to examine a bill shall be sent back without discussion to the council of state by the president of the legislative body. If the amendment is not adopted by the council of state, it cannot be submitted to the discussion of the legislative body.
Art. 41. The ordinary sessions of the legislative body last three months; its sittings are public; but, at the demand of five members, it may form itself into a secret committee.
Art. 42. The report of the sittings of the legislative body by the journals, or by any other means of publication, shall only consist in the reproduction of the minutes of the sitting, drawn up at its conclusion under the direction of the president of the legislative body.
Art. 43. The president and vice-presidents of the legislative body are named by the president of the republic for one year; they are to be chosen from among the deputies. The salary of the president of the legislative body will be fixed by a decree.
Art. 44. The ministers cannot be members of the legislative body.
Art. 45. The right of petition can only be exercised as regards the senate. No petition can be addressed to the legislative body.
Art. 46. The president of the republic convokes, adjourns, prorogues, and dissolves the legislative body. In the event of its being dissolved, the president of the republic must convoke a new one within a delay of six months.
of the council of state.
Art. 47. The number of councillors of state in ordinary service is from forty to fifty.
Art. 48. The councillors of state are named by the president of the republic, and may be dismissed by him.
Art. 49. The council of state is presided over by the president of the republic, and in his absence by the person whom he appoints as vice-president of the council of state.
Art. 50. The council of state is charged, under the direction of the president of the republic, to draw up bills and the regulations of public administration, and to solve the difficulties which may arise in administrative matters.
Art. 51. It supports, in the name of the government, the discussion of bills before the senate and legislative body. The councillors of state charged to speak in the name of the government are to be named by the president of the republic.
Art. 52. The salary of each councillor of state is 25,000 francs.
Art. 53. The ministers have rank, sitting, and deliberative votes in the council of state.
of the high court of justice.
Art. 54. A high court of justice shall try, without appeal, or without recourse to cassation, all persons who may be sent before it charged with crime, attentats, or conspiracies against the president of the republic, and against the internal and external safety of the state. It can only be formed in virtue of a decree of the president of the republic.
Art. 55. A senatus-consultum will determine the organization of this high court.
general and transitory clauses.
Art. 56. The provisions of the codes, laws and regulations, which are not contrary to the present constitution, remain in vigor until they shall have been legally revoked.
Art. 57. The municipal organization shall be determined by law. The mayors shall be named by the executive power, and may be chosen from those not belonging to the municipal council.
Art. 58. The present constitution will be in vigor from the day on which the great bodies of the state shall have been constituted. The decrees issued by the president of the republic, from the 2d December up to that period, shall have the force of law.
Given at the Palace of the Tuileries, this 14th day of January, 1852.
Sealed with the great seal.
The reader must remember that all the decrees, which were issued after the coup d'état, and before its “ratification” by the people, were considered as ratified likewise; for instance, the still existing law by which the government transports members of secret political societies, without trial, and by authority of which many other persons deemed dangerous were transported to Cayenne. The same is to be said of the stringent law of the press according to which every paper exists at the will of the government, with regulations which may become utterly ruinous for the editor and publisher. The minute regulations of the coats and trowsers of the senators and members of the legislative corps need not probably be mentioned here as organic laws; but on March 22d, 1852, appeared the following important decree:
Louis Napoleon, President of the French Republic:
Considering article 4 of the constitution, and seeing that at the moment when the senate and legislative body are about to enter on their first session, it is important to regulate their relations with the president of the republic and the council of state, and to establish, according to the constitution, the organic conditions of their works, decrees:
THIRD DIVISION.—OF THE LEGISLATIVE BODY.
meeting of the legislative body, formation and organization of the bureaus, and verification of the powers.
Art. 41. The legislative body is to meet on the day named by the decree of convocation.
Art. 42. At the opening of the first sitting the president of the legislative body, assisted by the four youngest members present, who will fill the functions of secretaries during the session, will proceed to form the assembly into seven bureaus, drawn by lot.
Art. 43. These seven bureaus, named for the whole of the session, will each be presided over by the oldest member, the youngest performing the office of secretary.
Art. 44. They will immediately proceed to the examination of the minutes of the election of the members distributed by the president of the legislative body, appointing one or several of their members to bring up a report thereof in a public sitting.
Art. 45. The assembly examines these reports: if the election be declared valid, the member when present immediately takes the oath prescribed by article 14 of the constitution; if absent, at his first appearance, after which the president of the legislative body pronounces his admission, and the deputy who has not taken the oath within fifteen days of his election is considered as dismissed. In case of absence the oath may be taken by writing, and in this case must be addressed by the deputy to the president of the legislative body, within the delay above mentioned.
Art. 46. After the verification of the returns, and without waiting for the decision on contested or adjourned elections, the president of the legislative body shall make known to the president of the republic that the legislative body is constituted.
presentation, discussion, and vote of bills.
Art. 47. Bills presented by the president of the republic are to be presented and read to the legislative body by councillors of state appointed for that purpose, or transmitted, by order of the president of the republic, by the minister of state to the president of the legislative body, who causes them to be read at the public sitting. These bills will be printed, distributed, and placed on the order of the day of the bureaus, which will discuss them and name by ballot, and by a simple majority, a committee of seven members to report on them.
Art. 48. Any amendment arising from the initiative of one or more members, must be handed to the president, and be by him transmitted to the committee. No amendment can, however, be received after the report shall have been presented at the public sitting.
Art. 49. The authors of the amendment have a right to be heard before the committee.
Art. 50. If the amendment is adopted by the committee, it transmits the tenor of it to the president of the legislative body, who sends it to the council of state, and the report of the committee is suspended until the council of state has pronounced its opinion on it.
Art. 51. If the opinion of the council of state, transmitted to the committee through the president of the legislative body, is favorable, or a new wording proposed by the council of state be adopted by the committee, the text of the bill to be discussed in public sitting shall be modified conformably to the new wording adopted. If the opinion, on the contrary, is unfavorable, or if the new wording proposed by the council of state is not adopted by the committee, the amendment will be considered as not having been offered.
Art. 52. The report of the committee on the bill examined by it shall be read in a public sitting, and printed and distributed at least twenty-four hours before the discussion.
Art. 53. At the sitting fixed by the order of the day, the discussion shall open on the ensemble of the bill, and afterwards on the different articles or chapters, if it be a law on finance. There is never any occasion to deliberate on the question of deciding if the discussion of the articles is to be passed to, as they are successively put to the vote by the president. The vote takes place by assis et levé, and if the result is doubtful, a ballot is proceeded to.
Art. 54. If any article is rejected, it is sent back to the committee for examination. Each deputy then, in the form specified in articles 48 and 49 of the present decree, presents such amendments as he pleases. Should the committee be of opinion that a new proposition ought to be made, it transmits the tenor of it to the president of the legislative body, who forwards it to the council of state. The matter is then proceeded on in conformity with articles 51, 52, and 53 of the present decree, and the public vote which then takes place is definitive.
Art. 55. After the vote on the articles, a public vote on the ensemble of the bill takes place by the absolute majority. The presence of the majority of the deputies is necessary to make the vote valid. Should less than that number be present, the vote must be recommenced. Bills of local interest are voted by assis et levé, unless the ballot be called for by ten members at least.
Art. 56. The legislative body assigns no reasons for its decisions, which are expressed in the following form: “The legislative body has adopted;” or “The legislative body has not adopted.”
Art. 57. The minute of the bill adopted by the legislative body is signed by the presidents and secretaries, and deposited in the archives. A copy of the same, similarly signed, is transmitted to the president of the republic.
messages and proclamations addressed to the legislative body by the president of the republic.
Art. 58. These are brought up and read in open sitting by the ministers or councillors of state named for that purpose. These messages or proclamations cannot be discussed or voted upon unless they contain a proposition to that effect.
Art. 59. The proclamations of the president of the republic, adjourning, proroguing, or dissolving the legislative body, are to be read in public sitting, all other business being suspended, and the members are immediately afterwards to separate.
Art. 60. The president of the legislative body announces the opening and closing of each sitting. At the end of each sitting, after having consulted the members, he names the hour of sitting for the following day, and the order of the day, which are posted up in the assembly. This order of the day is immediately for warded to the minister of state, the president of the legislative body being responsible for all notices and communications being duly forwarded to him.
Art. 61. No member can speak without having asked and obtained leave of the president, and then only from his place.
Art. 62. The members of the council of state appointed in the name of the government to support the discussion of the laws are not subject to the formality of speaking in their turn, but whenever they require it.
Art. 63. The member called to order for having interrupted cannot be allowed to speak. If the speaker wanders from the question, the president may call him back to it. The president cannot allow any one to speak on the call to the question. If the speaker twice called to the question in the same speech shall continue to wander from it, the president consults the assembly to ascertain whether the right of speaking shall not be interdicted to the speaker for the rest of the sitting on the same question. The decision takes place by assis et levé without debate.
Art. 64. The president alone calls to order the speaker who may interrupt it. The right to speak is accorded to him who, on being called to order, submits and demands to justify himself; he alone obtains the right to speak. When a speaker has been twice called to order in the same speech, the president, after having allowed him to speak to justify himself, if he demands it, consults the assembly to know if the right of speaking shall not be interdicted to the speaker for the rest of the sitting on the same question. The decision is taken by assis et levé without debate.
Art. 65. All personalities and all signs of approbation or disapprobation are interdicted.
Art. 66. If a member of the legislative body disturbs order, he is called to order by name by the president; if he persists, the president orders the call to order to be inscribed in the minutes. In case of resistance, the assembly, on the proposition of the president, pronounces, without debate, exclusion from the house for a period which cannot exceed five days. The placarding of this decision in the department in which the member whom it concerns was elected may be ordered.
Art. 67. If the assembly becomes tumultuous, and if the president cannot calm it, he puts on his hat. If the disorder continues, he announces that he will suspend the sitting. If calm be not then re-established, he suspends the sitting during an hour, during which the deputies assemble in their respective bureaus. On the expiration of the hour the sitting is resumed; but, if the tumult recommences, the president breaks up the sitting and postpones it to the next day.
Art. 68. The demands for the order of the day, for priority, and for an appeal to the standing orders, have the preference over the principal question, and suspend the discussion of it. Orders of the day are never motivés. The previous question—that is to say, that there is no ground for deliberation—is put to the vote before the principal question. It cannot be demanded on propositions made by the president of the republic.
Art. 69. The demands for secret sittings, authorized by article 14 of the constitution, are signed by the members who make them, and placed in the hands of the president, who reads them, causes them to be executed, and mentioned in the minutes.
Art. 70. When the authorization required by article 11 of the law of the 2d February, 1852, shall be demanded, the president shall only indicate the object of the demand, and immediately refer it to the bureaus, which shall nominate a committee to examine whether there be grounds for authorizing a prosecution.
Art. 71. The drawing up of the minutes of the sittings is placed under the high direction of the president of the legislative body, and confided to special clerks nominated by him, and liable to dismissal by him. The minutes contain the names of the members who have spoken, and the résumé of their opinions.
Art. 72. The minutes are signed by the president, read by one of the secretaries at the following sitting, and copied on two registers, signed also by the president.
Art. 73. The president of the legislative body regulates, by special order, the mode of communicating the minutes to the news-papers, in conformity with article 42 of the constitution.
Art. 74. Any member may, after having obtained the authorization of the assembly, cause to be printed and distributed, at his own cost, the speech he may have delivered. An unauthorized printing and distribution shall be punished by a fine of from 500f. to 5000f. against the printers, and of from 5f. to 500f. against the distributors.
We read in the Constitutionnel: “It is, as already stated, at the Tuileries, in the Salle des Maréchaux, that the sitting of the senate and legislative body on the 29th will be held. The prince-president, surrounded by his aides-de-camp, his orderly officers, his ministers, and the council of state, will be placed on a raised platform; opposite the president of the republic will be, on one side the senate, and on the other the legislative body. The prince-president will deliver a speech. A form of an oath will then be read, and each member of the senate and of the legislative body, on his name being called over, will pronounce from his place the words Je le jure! The clergy, the magistracy, and the diplomatic body will be represented at this solemnity. A small number of places will be reserved in an upper gallery for persons receiving invitations.”
report of the french senatorial committee on the petitions to change the republic into an empire, in november, 1852, and the senatus-consultum adopted in conformity with it.
Messieurs les Senateurs: France, attentive and excited, now demands from you a great political act—to put an end to her anxieties and to secure her future.
But this act, however serious it may be, does not meet with any of those capital difficulties which hold in suspense the wisdom of legislators. You know the wishes expressed by the councils general, the councils of arrondissement, and the addresses of the communes of France: wishes for stability in the government of Louis Napoleon, and for return to a political form which has struck the world by the majesty of its power and by the wisdom of its laws. You have heard that immense petition of a whole people rushing on the steps of its liberator, and those enthusiastic cries, which we may almost call a plébiscite by anticipation, proceeding from the hearts of thousands of agriculturists and workmen, manufacturers and tradesmen. Such manifestations simplify the task of statesmen. There are circumstances in which fatal necessities prevent the firmest legislator from acting in accordance with public opinion and with his own reason; there are others where he requires a long consideration in order to solve questions on which the country has not sufficiently decided. You, gentlemen, are not exposed either to this constraint or to this embarrassment. The national will presses and supplicates you, and your exalted experience tells you that in yielding to her entreaties you will contribute to replace France in the paths which are suitable to her interests, to her grandeur, and to the imperious necessities of her situation. All this is in fact explained by the events which take place before you.
After great political agitations, it always happens that nations throw themselves with joy into the arms of the strong man whom Providence sends to them. It was the fatigue of civil wars which made a monarch of the conqueror of Actium; it was the horror of revolutionary excesses, as much as the glory of Marengo, which raised the imperial throne. In the midst of the recent dangers of the country, this strong man showed himself, on the 10th of December, 1848, and on the 2d of December, 1851, and France confided to him her standard, which was ready to perish. If she has declared her will to confide it to him forever in this memorable journey, which was only one suite of triumphs, it is because, by his courage and by his prudence, the man has shown himself equal to the task; it is because, when a nation feels herself tormented by the agitations of a stormy government, a necessary reaction leads it towards him who can best secure order, stability and repose.
Louis Napoleon, therefore, is in this wonderful situation, that he alone holds in his hands these inestimable gifts. He has in the eyes of France, his immense services, the magic of his popularity, the souvenirs of his race, the imperishable remembrance of order, of organization, and of heroism, which make the hearts of all Frenchmen beat. He again revives in the eyes of Europe the greatest name of modern days, no more for the military triumphs for which his history is so rich, but for chaining down the political and social tempests, for endowing France with the conquests of peace, and for strengthening and fertilizing the good relations of states. Both at home and abroad it is to him that is attached a vast future of pacific labor and of civilization. That future must not be delivered to the chance of events and to the surprise of factions.
That is why France demands the monarchy of the emperor; that is to say, order in revolution, and rule in democracy. She wished it on the 10th December, when the artifices of an inimical constitution prevented the people from expressing their opinion. She wished it again on December 20, when the moderation of a noble character prevented its being demanded. But now the public sentiment overflows like a torrent; there are moments when enthusiasm has also the right of solving questions. For some time past visible signs announced what must be the mission of Louis Napoleon, and the foreseeing reason of statesmen put itself in accordance with the popular instinct in order to fix the character of it. After the bitter sarcasm which put the heir to a crown at the head of the republic, it was evident that France, still democratic from her habits, never ceased to be monarchical in her instincts, and that she wished for the re-establishment of the monarchy in the person of the prince who revealed himself to her as the conciliator of two ages and of two minds, the line of union of the government and of the people, the monarchical symbol of organized democracy.
At the end of the last century, the preponderance of the democratic element gave rise to a belief in speculative or ardent minds that France ought to mark the new era into which she had entered by a divorce between her government and the monarchical form. The republic was borrowed from the souvenirs of antiquity. But in France political imitations seldom succeed. Our country, although taxed with frivolity, is invincibly attached to certain national ideas and to certain traditional habits, by which it preserves the originality of which it is proud. The republic could not acclimatize itself on the French soil. It perished from its own excesses, and it only went into those excesses because it was not in' the instincts of the nation. It was but an interval, brilliant abroad, and terrible at home, between two monarchies.
At that period, glory had raised to power one of those men who found dynasties and who traverse ages. It is on that new stem that France saw flourish a monarchy suitable to modern times, and which yielded to no other in its grandeur and in its power. Was it not a great lesson to see a similar fortune reserved, fifty years after, for a second trial of the republican form? Is it not a striking example of the perseverance of the French mind in things which are like the substance of her political life? Is not the proof complete and decisive?
It will be the more so, as the imperial monarchy has all the advantages of the republic without its dangers. The other monarchical régimes (the illustrious services of which we will not depreciate) have been accused of having placed the throne too far from the people, and the republic, boasting of its popular origin, skilfully entrenched itself against them in the masses, who believed themselves to be forgotten and overlooked. But the empire, stronger than the republic on democratic grounds, removes that objection. It was the government the most energetically supported and the most deeply regretted by the people. It is the people who have again found it in their memory to oppose it to the dreams of ideologists and to the attempts of perturbators. On the one hand, it is the only one which can glorify itself in the right recognized by the old monarchy, “that it is to the French nation that it belongs to choose its king;” on the other, it is the only one which has not had quarrels to settle with the people. When it disappeared in 1814, it was not by a struggle of the nation against its government. The chances of an unequal foreign war brought about that violent divorce. But the people have never ceased to see in the empire its emanation and its work; and they placed it in their affections far above the republic—an anonymous and tumultuous government, which they remember much more by the violence of its proconsuls than by the victories which were the price of French valor.
That is why the Napoleonic monarchy absorbed the republic a first time, and must absorb it a second time. The republic is virtually in the empire, on account of the contract-like character of the institution, and of the communication and express delegation of power by the people. But the empire is superior to the republic, because it is also the monarchy; that is to say, the government of all confided to the moderating action of one, with hereditary succession as a condition, and stability as its consequence. Monarchy has the excellent quality of yielding admirably to all the progress of civilization: by turns feudal, absolutist, and mixed; always old and always modern, it only remains to it to reopen the era of its democratic transformation, which was inaugurated by the emperor. That is what France now wishes; it is what is asked of you by a country fatigued with utopian ideas, incredulous with respect to political abstractions, and whose genius, a union of sound sense and poesy, is so constituted that it only believes in power under the figure of a hero or a prince.
Even if the love of Frenchmen for monarchy be only a prejudice, it must be respected; a people can only be governed in accordance with its ideas. But it must in particular be respected, because it is inspired by the most essential wants and the most legitimate interests of the country.
France is a great state which wishes to preserve at home and abroad the force which a vast territory and thirty-five millions of inhabitants give. She is both agricultural and commercial. Notwithstanding the fertility of her soil, she would be poor if manufactures were not to add immense personal to real capital, and if the tastes for polite enjoyments and moderate luxury did not give to labor an aliment always new. But labor, in order to arrive at the result of its enterprises, should be seconded by so many advances of funds, and such a persevering continuance of efforts, that all success would escape it if it were interrupted or troubled by the storms of disquieting and subversive policy. It demands, therefore, stability of institutions, as the source of confidence and the mother of credit.
All these conditions of a regular and prosperous life the monarchy procures to France; any other form can only compromise them.
Monarchy is the government of great states, to which institutions made for duration are marvellously suitable, as the most solid foundations are required for a vast edifice. The republic, on the contrary, is only the government of small states, if we except the United States of America, which, by their geographical position, form an exception to all rules, which, besides, are only a federation; a republic has never been able to establish itself except in small nations, in which the embarrassments of that difficult and complicated form of government are corrected by the small extent of territory and population.
Ancient Rome, so far from contradicting this rule, fully confirms it. The republic was only in the city and for the city. Beyond it there were only avaricious masters and oppressed subjects. If ever France can be said to have had a sort of neighborhood with the republic, it was in the middle ages, when the republican spirit, extinguished from the time of the Cæsars, had become awakened in a part of Europe; when France was only a chess-board of almost independent provinces; and when the feudal principalities were in all parts menaced by the communal movement. But since that movement all the interior action of France has removed her from the republican form. She, in particular, separated from it, when she gave herself a united territory and thirty-five millions of inhabitants living under the same laws, in the same country, and united by an infinite chain of dependent interests, which the same movement of circulation causes to terminate in a sole centre. Such a people is not to be shaken, as were the citizens of a single city, even if called Athens or Rome. A country which lives by its labor, and not by the labor of slaves and presents from the state, cannot be occupied with speeches of the forum, with the permanent agitation of comitia, with the anxieties of politics always in ebullition. This fever, to which democratic republics give the name of political life, cannot with impunity be communicated to a nation whose splendor particularly consists in the pacific development of its wealth, and in the regular and intelligent activity of its private interests.
Our fathers learned these truths in the rude school of public and private misfortunes. They compose all the interior policy of the commencement of this century. Why should incorrigible innovators have in these latter times inflicted the too palpable demonstration of them upon us? We have seen altars raised to instability and to periodical convulsions—the two plagues of the social body; we have seen laws made to reduce to solemn precepts the febrile and terrible crisis which may ruin a people; we have seen the vessel of the state launched on an unknown sea, without a fixed point to guide itself by, without an anchor to cast out, and no one can say what would have become of the future of France, if Providence, watching over her, had not raised up the man of intrepid heart who extended his hand to her.
France, with full knowledge of what she is doing, intends to return to her natural state; she longs to find again her real position and to resume her equilibrium. The French people, in its admirable common sense, is not so infatuated with its superior qualities that it is not aware of its weak points. It feels itself variable in its impressions, prompt to be worked on, and easy to be led away. And because it distrusts the rapidity of a first movement, it seeks a fixed point in its institutions, and desires to be retained on a stable and solid basis. The French democracy has sometimes been compared to that of Athens. We have no objection to the comparison as far as politeness and elegance of mind are concerned, but we in all other respects utterly disclaim the similitude. The Greek democracies were nothing but a perpetual flux and reflux, never accepting the corrective of their levity. They were, besides, idle and grasping, living on the civic oboli and distributions of food. On the other hand, the French democracy, of a more masculine and more haughty character, does not look to the state for the care of its well-being; it depends on its own efforts for support, and most joyfully submits to the eternal law of God—daily labor. Its speculations comprise the whole world; it cultivates the earth with its free hands; it furrows the mighty deep with its vessels; it multiplies its industrial creations, engenders capital, and renders the future tributary to its able and immense combinations. When a nation thus founds its enterprise on credit and durability, when sometimes not less than half a century is necessary to it to reap the benefit of its operations, it is not the institutions of a day that can give it any hope of their success. It would be senseless if it did not desire to make the moving sphere of its interests turn round the motionless axis of a monarchy.
It is true that in France equality is an object of absolute worship, and a monarchy has, as its very first condition, the privileged existence of those grand and rare individualities which God raises above their fellows to form dynasties, and which are less human beings than the personification of a people and the concentrated radiation of a civilization. But equality, such as we conceive it in France, admits without jealousy those providential grandeurs, rendered legitimate by state reasons, below which it finds its level. At Rome and Athens equality consisted in rendering each citizen admissible to the supreme authority; and it is therefore that men considered all equality at an end when Augustus had converted the republic into a monarchy. In France we considered it as saved and confirmed forever, under the reign of the emperor. The reason is, that in this country of equality there is nothing that is less supported than the government of one's equals; because equality is there fully satisfied in holding everything in its grasp, places, credit, wealth, and renown, and in having a wide and open road before it to arrive at everything except that extreme point of power, that inaccessible summit, which the care of the public tranquillity has placed high above all private competition. By that the democracy wonderfully agrees with the monarchy, and that union is so much the more solid that common sense unites with the habits of the people in cementing it.
But should cavilling minds, believing themselves more wise than the whole country, bring forward as an objection to the desire expressed for the hereditary empire, the inconveniences which minorities and bad princes may, at certain intervals, produce in monarchical states, we would reply that all human institutions contain within themselves certain defects and weaknesses. The monarchy has not the privilege of perfection; it has simply, for France, the merit of an incontestable superiority over the system of perpetual election, which only offers an eternal series of struggles and hazards, and which solves one difficulty only for the purpose of immediately leaving another in suspense.
Some ancient states, believing that they were improving on the monarchical system, had placed in sovereign and immovable assemblies that element of stability which dynasties represent. But have not such assemblies also had their moments of weakness? Does not their history exhibit melancholy instances of venality or tyranny? Has not their baseness given them insolent and seditious guardians? And in the point of view of moral responsibility, which is one of the great checks on the conscience, there is not the slightest comparison between a man and an assembly. In assemblies, the responsibility of the body effaces that of the individuals; and as a collective responsibility is very nearly illusory, it comes to pass that that irresponsibility, which sometimes constitutes the force and independence of assemblies, is also the cause of their excesses. In a prince, on the contrary, the responsibility is undivided and inevitable, and presses with all its weight on the side of duty. In fine, when evil creeps into a sovereign political body, it continues there as a precedent, increases as a tradition, and the thing itself can only be kept up by keeping up the evil. On the contrary, if evil glides to the throne, it causes alarm only by temporary and intermittent perils, which are, besides, extenuated by the institutions and the modifications which are more easily effected in the case of a man than in that of an assembly. The feeble Louis XIII. was followed by the grand Louis XIV.; and, besides, Louis XIII. is, in the eyes of posterity, covered by his minister, Richelieu.
The general considerations appear to us to prove sufficiently that the national sentiment which addresses itself to you, gentlemen, as to sage mediators between the people and the prince, is neither a frivolous caprice nor a fleeting infatuation. Behind the fascination of a great name, and above the gratitude which is felt for the acts of a noble and patriotic courage, there are grand thoughts, powerful interests, and an admirable intuitive perception of the public wants. France, gentlemen, desires to have the life of a great nation, and not that precarious and sickly existence which wastes away the social body. During the last four years, whilst subjected to perilous experiments, she has known how to correct by her good sense the evils of a deplorable situation. But it is necessary that such a situation should be brought to a close. Up to the present time, she had been able to find, in the midst of the tempests which assailed her, only transitory gleams of safety, on which no future prosperity could possibly be based. At present, she is about to enter the port, to found, by means of the fortunate pilot whom she greets with joy, the edifice of her prosperity on the solid ground of monarchy.
Let us now look to the details of the draft of the senatus-consultum.
Louis Napoleon will take the name of Napoleon III. It is that name which re-echoed in the acclamations of the people; it is the name which was inscribed on the triumphal arches and trophies. We do not specially select it; we merely accept it from a natural and spontaneous election. It has, besides, that profound good sense which is always to be met with in the wonderful instincts of the people. It is a homage to Napoleon I., whom the people never forgets; and it is a pious remembrance for his youthful son, who was constitutionally proclaimed emperor of the French, and whose reign, short as it was, has not been effaced by the obscure existence of the exile. It solves for the future the question of succession, and signifies that the empire will be hereditary after Louis Napoleon, as it has been for himself. In fine, it connects the political phase to which we owe our safety with the glorious name which was also the safety of past times.
And yet, by the side of the traditional element, contemporary events preserve their proper value and their peculiar signification. If Louis Napoleon is called on at present to resume the work of his uncle, it is not merely because he is the heir of the emperor, but because he deserves to be so; it is on account of his devoted-ness to France, and of that spontaneous and personal action which has rescued the country from the horrors of anarchy. It is not sufficient for him to be the heir of the emperor; he must be again elected, for the third time, by the people. Thus the succession and the election will be in accord to double his force, the modern feet rendering the old one young and vigorous by the puissance of a reiterated consent and a second contract.
The senatus-consultum next invests Louis Napoleon with the right to adopt an heir, in default of a direct successor. Adoption, which is a common right in private families, cannot be an exception in dynastic families; for, when no natural heir exists, it is a principle in public law that the choice of the monarch belongs to the people. But that rule is that of ordinary times, and cannot suit in an absolute manner an order of things which again resumes a new course after a long interruption, and in the midst of the most extraordinary circumstances.
Louis Napoleon, the depositary of the confidence of the people, charged by it to draw up a constitution, can, on infinitely stronger grounds, receive the mandate to provide for certain eventualities, and to prevent certain crises in which that constitution might perish. The strokes of nature have been often terrible in reigning families, and have set at naught the councils of wisdom. The French people will not imagine that it makes too great a sacrifice of its rights in abandoning itself once more to the prudence of the prince whom it has made the arbiter of its destinies. This provision, besides, is borrowed from the imperial constitution. The empire which revives ought not to be less powerful in its means than was the empire at its commencement. And in order to remain within the letter and the spirit of that precedent, the senatus-consultum proposes to you not to admit of such adoption, except for the male descendants, natural and legitimate, of the brothers of Napoleon I. The right of unlimited adoption would be in manifest contradiction with the popular wish for the re-establishment of the empire, which is the guiding star of our deliberations. In fact, the empire is inseparable from the name of Bonaparte; and cannot be conceived without a member of that family with which the new form of the monarchy was stipulated in France. Everything ought to remain consistent in the work which we are considering.
But above that combination, solely of a political character, France places a hope which more than anything constitutes her faith in the future; and that is, that, at no distant period, a wife will take her place on the throne which is about to be raised and will give to the emperor scions worthy of his great name and of this great country. That debt was imposed on the prince on the day when the cries of “Vive l'Empereur” hailed him on his passage; and he will accept it virtually but necessarily the day when the crown will be placed on his head. For, since the empire is established with a view to the future, it ought to carry with it all the legitimate consequences which preserve that future from uncertainty and shocks.
In default of the direct line and of the adoptive line, the case of succession in the collateral line must be provided for. On that point we propose to you a clause, by which the people should confer on Louis Napoleon the right of regulating by an organic decree that order of succession in the Bonaparte family. By that means, our senatus-consultum will remain more perfectly in accord with the popular wish, which in its unlimited confidence has placed in Louis Napoleon's hands the destinies of the country; it will likewise be more in conformity with the political changes which France has entered into since 2d December. The greatest political genius of Italy, in the sixteenth century, was accustomed to say, in those rare and solemn moments in which the question is to found a new state, that the will of a single man was indispensable. That is what the nation comprehended so admirably when it remitted to Louis Napoleon the task of drawing up the constitution which governs us. At present, that a capital modification is taking place in one of the very foundations of that constitution, it appears natural and logical to again confer on Louis Napoleon a portion of the constituent power, in order that, in the special point which concerns most intimately the interests of the dynasty of which the nation declares him the head, he may fix on such provisions as appear to him best appropriated to the public interest and the interest of the monarch. For his family, as well as for the country, Louis Napoleon is the man of an exceptional situation, and no fear must be entertained of adding to his power, in order that, with the assent of all, he may settle it by the authority of a single person. We, therefore, propose to you, after a conference with the organs of the government, which has led to unanimity of opinion, an article thus worded: “Art. 4. Louis Napoleon Bonaparte regulates, by an organic decree addressed to the senate and deposited in the archives, the order of succession to the throne in the Bonaparte family, in case he should not leave any direct or adopted heir.”
It is not necessary for us to say to you that in this system the formula to be submitted to the French people ought to contain an express mention of that delegation. It will be necessary, according to the constitution, that the French people be called on to declare whether it desires or not to invest Louis Napoleon with the power which we conceive ought to be conferred on him.
After having thus spoken of the succession to the imperial crown, the senatus-consultum carries the attention to the condition of the family of the emperor. It divides it into two parts: 1, the imperial family, properly so called, composed of the persons who may by possibility be called to the throne, and of their descendants of both sexes; and 2, of the other members of the Bonaparte family.
The situation of the princes and princesses of the imperial family is to be regulated by senatus-consulta; and they cannot marry without the emperor's consent. Article 6 pronounces for any infraction of this regulation of public interest the penalty of losing all right to the succession, with the proviso, however, that in case of the dissolution of the marriage by the death of the wife, without issue, the right is at once recovered.
As to the other members of the Bonaparte family, who compose the civil family, it is to the emperor, and not any longer to senatus-consulta, that it appertains to fix by statutes their titles and situation. It is useless to insist on this distinction, as it is explained by the difference which exists between the civil family and that uniting in itself the double character of civil family and political family.
We have also to request your special attention to the final paragraph of Article 6, which confers on the emperor full and entire authority over all the members of his family. These special powers are called for by the gravest considerations, and belong to the right generally instituted for reigning families. Princes are placed in so elevated a position by public right and national interest, that they are, in many respects, out of the pale of the common law. The greater their privileges are, the more their duties are immense towards the country. Montesquieu has said: “It is not for the reigning family that the order of succession is established, but because it is for the interest of the state that there should be a reigning family.” They belong, therefore, to the state by stricter ties than other citizens, and on account even of their very greatness must be retained in a sort of perpetual ward-dom, under the guardianship of the emperor, the defender of their dignity, the appreciator of their actions, and serving to them as father as much as guardian, in order to preserve to the nation this patrimony in fact.
If these reasons do not apply in all their extent to the members of the private family, there are others of not less importance, which are drawn from the conjoint responsibility imposed by a name which is the property of the nation, as much as of the persons who have the honor of bearing it.
Besides, several of these persons have the privilege of being the only ones in the state that the emperor can place by adoption in the rank of the persons who may succeed to the crown. But there is no public privilege which ought not to be paid for by duties specially created to justify its necessity, and to co-operate in the object of its establishment.
There is another point which it is sufficient for us to remind you of—the maintenance of the Salic law in the imperial dynasty. In France, the Salic law is, so to speak, incorporated with the monarchy, and, although its origin goes back to the remotest periods, it has so completely penetrated into our way of thinking, and is so completely in accord with the rules of French policy, that it is inseparable from all transformations in the monarchical principle.
Finally, gentlemen, the senatus-consultum provides for the case in which the throne should be vacant: “if ever the nation should be so unfortunate as to experience this affliction,” (to use the language of the celebrated edict of July, 1717,) “it would be for the nation itself to repair it.” Article 5 formally recognizes this fundamental, essential, and inalienable right. At the same time it provides for the means of preparing a choice worthy of the French people, by its prudence and maturity. In consequence, an organic senatus-consultum, proposed to the senate by the ministers formed into a council of government, with the addition of the president of the senate, the president of the legislative body, and the president of the council of state, shall be submitted to the free acceptance of the people, and will give to France a new emperor.
Such, gentlemen, are the principal provisions of the senatus-consultum, now submitted to you for consideration, and which will prepare the august contract of the nation with its chief. Should you adopt it, you will order by a concluding article, in virtue of the constitution, that the people be consulted concerning the re-establishment of the imperial dignity in the person of Louis Napoleon, with the succession of which we have just explained to you the combinations. But, gentlemen, we may affirm, whilst bending at present before a public will which only asks for an occasion to burst forth afresh, that the empire is accomplished. And that empire, the dawn of which has lighted up the path of Louis Napoleon in the departments of the south, rises over France, surrounded by the most auspicious auguries. Everywhere hope revives in men's minds; everywhere capital, restrained by the uncertainty of the future, rushes with ardor into the channels of business; and everywhere the national sap circulates, and vivifies to produce the most abundant fruits.
This reign, gentlemen, will not be cradled in the midst of arms and in the camp of insurgent praetorian guards. It is the work of the national feeling, most spontaneously expressed; it has been produced in our commercial towns, in our ports, in the most peaceful centres of agriculture and manufactures, and in the midst of the joy of an affectionate people; it will consequently be the Empire of Peace—that is to say, the revolution of ‘89, without its revolutionary ideas, religion without intolerance, equality without the follies of equality, love for the people without socialist charlatanism, and national honor without the calamities of war. Ah! if the great shade of the emperor should cast a glance at this France which he loved so much, it would thrill with joy at beholding the gloomy predictions of St. Helena, at one moment so near being realized, totally disproved. No; Europe will not be delivered up to disorder and anarchy! No; France will not lose the grandeur of her institutions, and it is the ideas of Napoleon directed towards peace by a generous-minded prince, which will be the safeguard of civilization.
In the month of November, 1852, the senate adopted the following senatus-consultum:
Proposition to modify the Constitution, in conformity with Articles 31 and 32.
Art. 1. The imperial dignity is re-established. Louis Napoleon Bonaparte is emperor, under the name of Napoleon III.
Art. 2. The imperial dignity is hereditary in the direct and legitimate issue of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, from male to male in the order of primogeniture, and with perpetual exclusion of women and their descendants.
Art. 3. Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, in default of a male child, may adopt the children and legitimate descendants in the male line of the brothers of Napoleon I.
The forms of adoption shall be regulated by a senatus-consultum.
If, after the adoption, male children of Louis Napoleon shall be born, his adoptive sons cannot succeed him, except after his own legitimate descendants.
The successors of Louis Napoleon, and their descendants, cannot adopt.
Art. 4. Louis Napoleon regulates, by an organic decree addressed to the senate and deposited in its archives, the order of succession on the throne in the Bonaparte family, in case he should not leave any direct legitimate or adopted heir.
Art. 5. In default of any legitimate or adoptive heir of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, and of successors in collateral line who may derive their right from the organic decree above mentioned, a senatus-consultum, proposed to the senate by the ministers, formed into a council of government, with the addition of the actual presidents of the senate, the legislative corps, and of the council of state, and submitted for adoption to the people, appoints the emperor, and regulates in his family the hereditary order from male to male, to the perpetual exclusion of women and their descendants.
Until the election of the new emperor shall be consummated, the affairs of the state are governed by the actual ministers, who shall form themselves into a council of government and deliberate by a majority of votes.
Art. 6. The members of the family of Louis Napoleon eventually called to succeed him, and their descendants of both sexes, form a part of the imperial family. A senatus-consultum regulates their position. They cannot marry without the authorization of the emperor. Their marriage without this authorization deprives of the right of inheritance as well him who contracts the marriage as his descendants.
Nevertheless, if there are no children of such a marriage, and the wife dies, the prince having contracted such a marriage recovers his right of inheritance.
Louis Napoleon fixes the titles and the condition of the other members of his family.
The emperor has plenary authority over all the members of his family. He regulates their duties and their obligations by statutes which have the force of laws.
Art. 7. The constitution of the 15th of January, 1852, is maintained in all those dispositions which are not contrary to the present senatus-consultum; it cannot be modified except in the forms and by the means there prescribed.
Art. 8. The following proposition shall be presented for the acceptation of the people in the forms determined by the decrees of the 2d and 4th of December, 1851:
“The people wills the re-establishment of the imperial dignity in the person of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, with inheritance in direct legitimate or adoptive descendants, and gives him the right to regulate the order of succession to the throne in the Bonaparte family in the manner described in the senatus-consultum of the 7th of November, 1852.”
The senate adopted this senatus-consultum by eighty-six votes of eighty-seven senators.
More than eight millions of people voted yes, according to the official publications.
“All Frenchmen of the age of twenty-one, in possession of their civil and political rights,” were called upon to vote by a decree of some length; of November 7th, 1852.
The paper on elections, the first of this Appendix, contains the details of this and other votes, as well as the view of the author regarding them.
In addition to the papers here given, it ought to be remembered that the senate can decree organic laws, and thus a senatus-consultum has been passed, according to which the legislative corps (already so denuded of power and influence) is deprived of the right to vote on the single items of the budget. It must adopt or reject the budgets of each ministry as a whole. This means, of course, that it must adopt the whole—for government would necessarily be brought to a stop if the entire budget of a ministry were rejected; and the executive government would simply order again the soldiery to clear the legislative hall, assume the dictatorial power, and make the people rectify the coup.
letter of the french minister of the interior, mr. de morny, addressed to the prefects of the deparments in the year 1852.
The minister of the interior addressed the following circular to the prefects of the departments:
“MonsieurlePréfet: You will shortly have to proceed to the elections of the legislative body. It is a grave operation, which will be either a corollary or a contradiction of the vote of the 20th December, according to the employment which you make of your legitimate influence. Bear well in mind that universal suffrage is a new and unknown element, easy for a glorious name to make the conquest of, unique in history, representing in the eyes of the populations authority and power, but very difficult to fix on secondary individualities; consequently, it is not by following former errors that you will succeed. I desire to inform you of the views of the head of the state. You perceive that the constitution has aimed at avoiding all the theatrical and dramatic part of the assemblies, by interdicting the publication of the speeches delivered; in that way the members of those assemblies, not being occupied with the effect which their words in the tribune are to produce, will think more of carrying on seriously the affairs of their country. The electoral law will pronounce on the incompatibilities. The situation of public functionaries in a political assembly is always a very delicate matter, as in voting with the government they lower their proper character, and in voting against it they weaken the principle of authority. The exclusion of functionaries, and the suppression of all indemnity, must necessarily limit, in a country where fortunes are so divided as in ours, the number of men who will be willing and able to fulfil such duties. Nevertheless, as the government is firmly decided never to make use of corruption, direct or indirect, and to respect the conscience of every man, the best means of preserving to the legislative body the confidence of the populations is to call to it men perfectly independent by their situation and character. When a man has made his fortune by labor, manufactures, or agriculture, if he has been occupied in improving the position of his workmen, if he has rendered himself popular by a noble use of his property, he is preferable to what is conventionally called a political man, for he “will bring to the preparation of the laws a practical mind, and will second the government in its work of pacification and re-edification. As soon as you shall have intimated to me, in the conditions indicated above, the candidates who shall appear to you to have the most chance of obtaining a majority of votes, the government will not hesitate to recommend them openly to the choice of the electors. Hitherto, it has been the custom in France to form electoral committees and meetings of delegates. That system was very useful when the vote took place au scrutin de liste. The scrutin de liste created such confusion, and such a necessity for coming to an understanding, that the action of a committee was indispensable; but now these kind of meetings would be attended with no advantage, since the election will only bear on one name; it would only have the inconvenience of creating premature bonds, and appearances of acquired rights which would only embarrass the people, and deprive them of all liberty. You will, therefore, dissuade the partisans of the government from organizing electoral committees. Formerly, when the suffrage was restricted, when the electoral influence was divided among a few families, the abuse of this influence was most shameful. A few crosses, little merited, and a few places, could always secure the success of an election in a small college. It was very natural that this abuse should cause great dissatisfaction, and that the government should be called on to abstain from any ostensible interference. Its action and its preferences were then occult, and for that very reason compromised its dignity and its authority. But by what favors could the government be now supposed capable of influencing the immense body of the electors? By places? The whole government of France has not establishments vast enough to contain the population of one canton. By money? Without speaking of the honorable susceptibilities of the electors, the whole public treasury would not be sufficient for such a purpose. You will remember to what the result of the efforts of the government was reduced on the 10th December, 1848, in favor of the candidate to the presidency who was then in power. With universal suffrage there is but one powerful spring, which no human hand can restrain or turn from the current in which it is directed, and that is public opinion; that imperceptible and indefinable sentiment which abandons or accompanies governments, without their being able to account for it, but which is rarely wrong in doing so; nothing escapes it, nothing is indifferent to it; it appreciates not only acts, but divines tendencies; it forgets nothing, it pardons nothing, because it has, and can have, but one moving power—the self-interest of each; it is alive to all, from the great policy which emanates from the chief of the state to the most trivial proceedings of the local authorities, and the political opinion of a department depends more than is generally believed on the spirit and conduct of its administration. For a long time past the local administrations have been subordinate to parliamentary exigencies; they occupied themselves more in pleasing some influential men in Paris than in satisfying the legitimate interests of the communes and the people. These days are happily, it may be said, at an end. Make all functionaries thoroughly understand that they must carefully occupy themselves with the interests of all, and that he who must be treated with the greatest zeal and kindness is the humblest and the weakest. The best of policies is that of kindness to persons, and facility for interests—and that functionaries shall not suppose themselves created for purposes of objection, embarrassment, and delay, when they are so for the sake of dispatch and regularity. If I attach so much importance to these details, it is because I have remarked that inferior agents often believe that they increase their importance by difficulties and embarrassments. They do not know what maledictions and unpopularity they bring down on the central government. This administrative spirit must be inflexibly modified; that depends on you; enter firmly on that path. Be assured that then, instead of seeing enemies in the government and local administration, the people will only consider them a support and help. And when afterwards you, in the name of this loyal and paternal government, recommend a candidate to the choice of the electors, they will listen to your voice and follow your counsel. All the old accusations of oppositions will fall before this new and simple line of policy, and people in France will end by understanding that order, labor, and security can only be established in a durable manner in a country under a government listened to and respected.