CHAPTER XV: Of the Royal Authority As It Was Established by the Constituent Assembly. - Germaine de Staël, Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution (LF ed.) 
Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution, newly revised translation of the 1818 English edition, edited, with an introduction and notes by Aurelian Craiutu (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2008).
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- A Thinker For Our Times: Madame De Staël, Her Life and Works
- Life of Madame De Staël
- Works of Madame De Staël
- Madame De Staël and Napoléon
- The Ideas of Considerations
- The Reception of Considerations
- Madame De Staël and America
- Note On the Present Edition
- Considerations On the Principal Events of the French Revolution
- Notice By the Editors 1
- Advertisement of the Author
- Part I
- Chapter I: General Reflections.
- Chapter II: Considerations On the History of France.
- Chapter III: On the State of Public Opinion In France At the Accession of Louis XVI.
- Chapter IV: Of the Character of M. Necker As a Public Man.
- Chapter V: M. Necker’s Plans of Finance.
- Chapter VI: M. Necker’s Plans of Administration.
- Chapter VII: Of the American War.
- Chapter VIII: M. Necker’s Retirement From Office In 1781.
- Chapter IX: The Circumstances That Led to the Assembling of the Estates General.—ministry of M. De Calonne.
- Chapter X: Sequel of the Preceding.—ministry of the Archbishop of Toulouse.
- Chapter XI: Did France Possess a Constitution Before the Revolution? 1
- Chapter XII: On the Recall of M. Necker In 1788.
- Chapter XIII: Conduct of the Last Estates General, Held At Paris In 1614.
- Chapter XIV: The Division of the Estates General Into Orders.
- Chapter XV: What Was the Public Feeling of Europe At the Time of Convening the Estates General?
- Chapter XVI: Opening of the Estates General On the 5th of May, 1789.
- Chapter XVII: Of the Resistance of the Privileged Orders to the Demands of the Third Estate In 1789.
- Chapter XVIII: Conduct of the Third Estate During the First Two Months of the Session of the Estates General.
- Chapter XIX: Means Possessed By the Crown In 1789 of Opposing the Revolution.
- Chapter XX: The Royal Session of 23d June, 1789.
- Chapter XXI: Events Caused By the Royal Session of 23d June, 1789.
- Chapter XXII: Revolution of the 14th of July (1789).
- Chapter XXIII: Return of M. Necker.
- Part Ii
- Chapter I: Mirabeau.
- Chapter II: Of the Constituent Assembly After the 14th of July.
- Chapter III: General La Fayette.
- Chapter IV: Of the Good Effected By the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter V: Liberty of the Press, and State of the Police, During the Time of the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter VI: Of the Different Parties Conspicuous In the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter VII: Of the Errors of the Constituent Assembly In Matters of Administration.
- Chapter VIII: Of the Errors of the National Assembly In Regard to the Constitution.
- Chapter IX: Efforts Made By M. Necker With the Popular Party In the Constituent Assembly to Induce It to Establish the English Constitution In France.
- Chapter X: Did the English Government Give Money to Foment Troubles In France?
- Chapter XI: Events of the 5th and 6th of October, 1789.
- Chapter XII: The Constituent Assembly At Paris.
- Chapter XIII: Of the Decrees of the Constituent Assembly In Regard to the Clergy.
- Chapter XIV: Of the Suppression of Titles of Nobility.
- Chapter XV: Of the Royal Authority As It Was Established By the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter XVI: Federation of 14th July, 1790.
- Chapter XVII: Of the State of Society In Paris During the Time of the Constituent Assembly.
- Chapter XVIII: The Introduction of Assignats, and Retirement of M. Necker.
- Chapter XIX: State of Affairs and of Political Parties In the Winter of 1790–91.
- Chapter XX: Death of Mirabeau.
- Chapter XXI: Departure of the King On the 21st of June, 1791.
- Chapter XXII: Revision of the Constitution.
- Chapter XXIII: Acceptance of the Constitution, Called the Constitution of 1791.
- Part Iii
- Chapter I: On the Emigration.
- Chapter II: Prediction of M. Necker On the Fate of the Constitution of 1791.
- Chapter III: Of the Different Parties Which Composed the Legislative Assembly.
- Chapter IV: Spirit of the Decrees of the Legislative Assembly.
- Chapter V: Of the First War Between France and Europe.
- Chapter VI: Of the Means Employed In 1792 to Establish the Republic.
- Chapter VII: Anniversary of 14th July Celebrated In 1792.
- Chapter VIII: Manifesto of the Duke of Brunswick.
- Chapter IX: Revolution of the 10th of August, 1792—overthrow of the Monarchy.
- Chapter X: Private Anecdotes.
- Chapter XI: The Foreign Troops Driven From France In 1792.
- Chapter XII: Trial of Louis XVI.
- Chapter XIII: Charles I and Louis XVI.
- Chapter XIV: War Between France and England. Mr. Pitt and Mr. Fox.
- Chapter XV: Of Political Fanaticism.
- Chapter XVI: Of the Government Called the Reign of Terror.
- Chapter XVII: The French Army During the Reign of Terror; the Federalists and La Vendée.
- Chapter XVIII: Of the Situation of the Friends of Liberty Out of France During the Reign of Terror.
- Chapter XIX: Fall of Robespierre, and Change of System In the Government.
- Chapter XX: Of the State of Minds At the Moment When the Directorial Republic Was Established In France.
- Chapter XXI: Of the Twenty Months During Which the Republic Existed In France, From November 1795 to the 18th of Fructidor (4th of September) 1797.
- Chapter XXII: Two Singular Predictions Drawn From the History of the Revolution, By M. Necker.
- Chapter XXIII: Of the Army of Italy.
- Chapter XXIV: Of the Introduction of Military Government Into France By the Occurrences of the 18th of Fructidor.
- Chapter XXV: Private Anecdotes.
- Chapter XXVI: Treaty of Campo Formio In 1797. Arrival of General Bonaparte At Paris.
- Chapter XXVII: Preparations of General Bonaparte For Proceeding to Egypt. His Opinion On the Invasion of Switzerland.
- Chapter XXVIII: The Invasion of Switzerland.
- Chapter XXIX: Of the Termination of the Directory.
- Part Iv
- Chapter I: News From Egypt: Return of Bonaparte.
- Chapter II: Revolution of the 18th of Brumaire.
- Chapter III: Of the Establishment of the Consular Constitution.
- Chapter IV: Progress of Bonaparte to Absolute Power.
- Chapter V: Should England Have Made Peace With Bonaparte At His Accession to the Consulate?
- Chapter VI: Of the Solemn Celebration of the Concordat At Nôtre-dame.
- Chapter VII: M. Necker’s Last Work Under the Consulship of Bonaparte.
- Chapter VIII: Of Exile.
- Chapter IX: Of the Last Days of M. Necker.
- Chapter X: Abstract of M. Necker’s Principles On Government.
- Chapter XI: Bonaparte Emperor. the Counter-revolution Effected By Him.
- Chapter XII: Of the Conduct of Napoléon Toward the Continent of Europe.
- Chapter XIII: Of the Means Employed By Bonaparte to Attack England.
- Chapter XIV: On the Spirit of the French Army.
- Chapter XV: Of the Legislation and Administration Under Bonaparte.
- Chapter XVI: Of Literature Under Bonaparte.
- Chapter XVII: A Saying of Bonaparte Printed In the Moniteur.
- Chapter XVIII: On the Political Doctrine of Bonaparte.
- Chapter XIX: Intoxication of Power; Reverses and Abdication of Bonaparte.
- Part V *
- Chapter I: Of What Constitutes Legitimate Royalty.
- Chapter II: Of the Political Doctrine of Some French Emigrants and Their Adherents.
- Chapter III: Of the Circumstances That Render the Representative Government At This Time More Necessary In France Than In Any Other Country.
- Chapter IV: Of the Entry of the Allies Into Paris, and the Different Parties Which Then Existed In France.
- Chapter V: Of the Circumstances Which Accompanied the First Return of the House of Bourbon In 1814.
- Chapter VI: Of the Aspect of France and of Paris During Its First Occupation By the Allies.
- Chapter VII: Of the Constitutional Charter Granted By the King In 1814.
- Chapter VIII: Of the Conduct of the Ministry During the First Year of the Restoration.
- Chapter IX: Of the Obstacles Which Government Encountered During the First Year of the Restoration.
- Chapter X: Of the Influence of Society On Political Affairs In France.
- Chapter XI: Of the System Which Ought to Have Been Followed In 1814, to Maintain the House of Bourbon On the Throne of France.
- Chapter XII: What Should Have Been the Conduct of the Friends of Liberty In 1814?
- Chapter XIII: Return of Bonaparte.
- Chapter XIV: Of the Conduct of Bonaparte On His Return.
- Chapter XV: Of the Fall of Bonaparte.
- Chapter XVI: Of the Declaration of Rights Proclaimed By the Chamber of Representatives, 5th of July, 1815.
- Part Vi
- Chapter I: Are Frenchmen Made to Be Free?
- Chapter II: Cursory View of the History of England.
- Chapter III: Of the Prosperity of England, and the Causes By Which It Has Been Hitherto Promoted.
- Chapter IV: Of Liberty and Public Spirit Among the English.
- Chapter V: Of Knowledge, Religion, and Morals Among the English.
- Chapter VI: Of Society In England, and of Its Connection With Social Order.
- Chapter VII: Of the Conduct of the English Government Outside of England.
- Chapter VIII: Will Not the English Hereafter Lose Their Liberty?
- Chapter IX: Can a Limited Monarchy Have Other Foundations Than That of the English Constitution?
- Chapter X: Of the Influence of Arbitrary Power On the Spirit and Character of a Nation.
- Chapter XI: Of the Mixture of Religion With Politics.
- Chapter XII: Of the Love of Liberty.
Of the Royal Authority As It Was Established by the Constituent Assembly.
It was already a very dangerous matter for the public tranquillity to break all at once the strength that resided in the two privileged orders of the state. But had the means given to the executive power been sufficient, it would have been practicable to replace, if I may so express myself, fictitious by real institutions. But the Assembly, ever distrustful of the intentions of the courtiers, framed the royal authority against the King instead of making it a vehicle for the public good. Government was shackled to such a degree that its agents, though responsible for everything, could act in nothing. The ministry had scarcely a messenger at their disposal; and M. Necker, in his examination of the constitution of 1791, has shown that in no republic, including even the petty Swiss cantons, was the executive power so limited in its constitutional action as the King of France. The apparent splendor and actual inefficiency of the Crown threw the ministers, and the King himself, into a state of anxiety that was perpetually increasing. It is certainly not necessary that a population of twenty-five million should exist for one man; but it is equally unnecessary that one man should be miserable even under the pretext of giving happiness to twenty-five million; for injustice of any kind, whether it reaches the throne or the cottage, prevents the possibility of a free, that is, of an equitable, government.
A prince who would not content himself with the power granted to the King of England would not be worthy of reigning; but, in the French constitution, the situation of the King and his ministers was insupportable. The country suffered from it still more than the sovereign; and yet the Assembly would neither remove the King from the throne nor renounce its temporary mistrust, at the time that the formation of a durable system was under discussion.
The eminent men of the popular party, unable to extricate themselves from this uncertainty, always mixed in their decrees a portion of evil with good. The establishment of provincial assemblies had long been desired; but the Constituent Assembly combined them in such a manner as to exclude the ministers altogether from this portion of the administration. A salutary dread of all those wars so often undertaken for the quarrels of kings had guided the Constituent Assembly in the mode of organizing the military force; but it had put so many obstacles to the influence of the executive power in this respect that the army would have been unfit to serve out of the country, so apprehensive were they of its becoming instrumental to oppression at home. The reform of criminal jurisprudence and the establishment of juries brought down blessings on the name of the Constituent Assembly; but it decreed that the judges should owe their appointment to the people instead of the King, and that they should be re-elected every three years. Yet the example of England and the dictates of enlightened reflection concur to show that judges, under whatever government, ought not to be removable, and that in a monarchical state it is fit that their nomination should belong to the Crown. The people are much less capable of appreciating the qualities necessary for a judge than those necessary for a representative of the people: ostensible merit and extensive information ought to point out to the eyes of all a fit representative, but length of study alone qualifies a man for the duties of the bench. Above all, it is important that judges should be subject neither to removal by the king nor to re-appointment or rejection by the people. If, from the first days of the Revolution, all parties had agreed to show invariable respect to judicial forms, from how many misfortunes would France have been preserved! For it is for extraordinary cases, above all, that ordinary tribunals are established.
One would almost say that justice among us is like a good housewife, who is employed in domestic matters on working days, but who must not be brought forward on solemn occasions; and yet it is on occasions when passion is most excited that the impartiality of law becomes more necessary than ever.
On the 4th of February, 1790, the King had repaired to the Assembly to give, in a very well composed discourse, at which M. Necker had labored, his sanction to the principal laws already decreed by the Assembly. But in this same discourse the King forcefully showed the unhappy state of the kingdom and the necessity of improving and finishing the constitution. Such a course was indispensable, because the secret advisers of the King, representing him always as if he were in captivity, made the popular party distrustful of his intentions. Nothing was less suitable to so moral a character as Louis XVI than a presumed state of continual powerlessness; the pretended advantages of such a system were destructive of the real strength of virtue.
See Necker’s arguments on the role of executive power in Du pouvoir exécutif dans les grands états, especially pt. II, chap. xv, 549–57, 575–78. Necker also discussed the Assembly’s skepticism toward the executive power in De la Révolution française, pt. II, 288–97. On the role and limits of the executive power, also see Burke, Reflections, 309–16. A comprehensive analysis of Necker’s views on this topic can be found in Grange, Les idées de Necker, 279–93.
The Constitution of 1791 provided for an unprecedented extension of the practice of popular election of local officials. According to chapter IV, section 2, “Internal Administration,” the administrators of every department enjoyed a certain independence from central power. They were “elected at stated times by the people to perform administrative duties under the supervision and authority of the king.” (Documentary Survey of the French Revolution, 252) The original text of the Constitution can be found in Les Constitutions et les principales lois politiques de la France depuis 1789, 1–32. For more information, see Taine, The French Revolution, vol. I, 217–49. Bailleul criticized Madame de Staël’s views on the Constitution of 1791 in Examen critique, vol. I, 359–92.
In the United States, however, judges are elected.