CHAPTER I: News from Egypt: Return of Bonaparte. - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
- 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.
News from Egypt: Return of Bonaparte.
Nothing was more likely to produce a striking effect on the mind than the Egyptian war; and though the great naval victory gained by Nelson near Aboukir had destroyed all its possible advantages, letters dated from Cairo, orders issuing from Alexandria to penetrate to Thebes, on the confines of Ethiopia, increased the reputation of a man who was not now within sight, but who at a distance seemed an extraordinary phenomenon. He put at the head of his proclamations Bonaparte, Commander-in-chief and Member of the National Institute; whence it was concluded that he was a friend to knowledge and a protector of letters; but the guarantee which he gave for these qualities was not any firmer than his profession of the Mahomedan faith, followed by his concordat with the Pope. He was already beginning to deceive Europe by a system of juggling tricks, convinced, as he was, that for everyone the science of life consists merely in the maneuvers of egoism. Bonaparte is not a man only but also a system; and if he were right, the human species would no longer be what God has made it. He ought therefore to be examined like a great problem, the solution of which is of importance to meditation throughout all ages.
Bonaparte, in reducing everything to calculation, was sufficiently acquainted with that part of the nature of man which does not obey the will to feel the necessity of acting upon the imagination; and his twofold dexterity consisted in the art of dazzling multitudes and of corrupting individuals.
His conversation with the Mufti in the pyramid of the Cheops could not fail to enchant the Parisians, for it united the two qualities by which they are most easily captivated: a certain kind of grandeur and of mockery together. The French like to be moved and to laugh at being moved: quackery is their delight, and they aid willingly in deceiving themselves, provided they be allowed, while they act as dupes, to show by some witticisms that they are not so.
Bonaparte, in the pyramid, made use of the Oriental style. “Glory to Allah,” said he, “there is no true God but God, and Mahomet is his prophet. The bread stolen by the wicked turns into dust in his mouth.” “Thou hast spoken,” said the Mufti, “like the most learned of the Mullahs.”—“I can cause a chariot of fire to descend from Heaven,” continued Bonaparte, “and direct it upon the earth.”—“Thou art the mightiest Captain,” replied the Mufti, “whose hand the power of Mahomet hath armed.” Mahomet, however, did not prevent Sir Sidney Smith from arresting by his brilliant valor the successes of Bonaparte at St. Jean-d’Acre.
When Napoléon, in 1805, was named King of Italy, he said to General Berthier in one of those moments when he talked of everything that he might try his ideas upon other people: “This Sidney Smith made fortune fail me at St. Jean-d’Acre; my purpose was to set out from Egypt, proceed to Constantinople, and arrive at Paris by marching back through Europe.” This failure, however, made at the time a very decent appearance. Whatever his regrets might be, gigantic like the enterprises which followed them, Bonaparte found means to make his reverses in Egypt pass for successes; and although his expedition had no other result than the ruin of the fleet and the destruction of one of our finest armies, he was called the Conqueror of the East.
Bonaparte, availing himself with ability of the enthusiasm of the French for military glory, associated their self-love with his victories as well as with his defeats. He gradually took possession of the place which the Revolution occupied in every head, and attached to his own name that national feeling which had aggrandized France in the eyes of foreigners.
Two of his brothers, Lucien and Joseph, had seats in the Council of Five Hundred, and both in their different lines had enough of intellect and talent to be eminently useful to the General. They watched for him over the state of affairs, and when the moment was come, they advised him to return to France. The armies had been beaten in Italy and were for the most part disorganized through the misconduct of the administration. The Jacobins began to show themselves once more, the Directory was without reputation and without strength: Bonaparte received all this intelligence in Egypt, and after some hours of solitary meditation, he resolved to set out. This rapid and certain perception of circumstances is precisely what distinguishes him, and opportunity has never offered itself to him in vain. It has been frequently repeated that on departing then, he deserted his army. Doubtless, there is a species of exalted disinterestedness which would not have allowed a warrior to separate himself thus from the men who had followed him, and whom he left in distress. But General Bonaparte ran such risks in traversing the sea covered with English vessels; the design which summoned him to France was so bold that it is absurd to treat his departure from Egypt as cowardice. Such a being must not be attacked with common declamations: every man who has produced a great effect on other men, to be judged, should be examined thoroughly.
A reproach of a much graver nature is the total want of humanity which Bonaparte manifested in his Egyptian campaign. Whenever he found any advantage in cruelty, he indulged in it, and yet his despotism was not sanguinary. He had no more desire to shed blood than a reasonable man has to spend money without need. But what he called necessity was in fact his ambition; and when this ambition was concerned, he did not for a moment allow himself to hesitate to sacrifice others to himself. What we call conscience was in his eyes only the poetical name of deception.
On August 1, 1798.
There is no evidence that Napoléon intended to convert to Islam. For more information on this topic, see Spillman, Napoléon et l’Islam.
The Concordat was signed on July 16, 1801.
This imaginary dialogue was published in various French journals of that period.
In May–June 1799.
Lucien Bonaparte (1775–1840), later Prince of Canino; Joseph Bonaparte (1768–1844), later king of Naples and king of Spain (until 1814).
Napoléon left Egypt on August 23, 1799.