1830: French Charter of 1830

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Source: Appendix to Francis Lieber, On Civil Liberty and Self-Government, 3rd revised edition, ed. Theodore D. Woolsey (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., 1883).



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.


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.1

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.1

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.2

Art. 14. The legislative power is to be exercised collectively by the king, the chamber of peers, and the chamber of deputies.3

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.1

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.2

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.3

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.1

Art. 27. The sittings of the chamber of peers are public as that of the chamber of deputies.2

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.3

Art. 31. The deputies are to be elected for five years.4

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.1

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.2

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.3

Art. 35. The presidents of the electoral colleges are elected by the electors.4

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.5

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.6

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.1

judicial regulations.

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.1

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.1

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.2

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.3

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.

Dupont (de l'Eure)

[1.]This article 6 is substituted for the articles 6 and 7 of the old charter, which ran thus:

6. However, the catholic, apostolic and Roman religion, is the religion of the state.

7. The ministers of the catholic, apostolic and Roman religion, and those of other Christian confessions, alone receive stipends from the public treasury.

[1.]Article 8 of the old charter:

The French have the right to publish and to cause to be published their opinions, conforming themselves to the laws, which shall prevent the abuse of this liberty.

[2.]Article 14 of the old charter:

The king is the supreme head of the state, commands the forces by land and sea, declares war, makes treaties of peace, alliance and commerce, appoints to all offices of public administration, and makes rules and orders necessary for the execution of the laws and the safety of the state.

[3.]There was in article 15 of the old charter: and the chamber of deputies of the departments. These last three words have been suppressed.

[1.]Art. 15 is in the place of art. 16 and 17 of the old charter, which were thus:

Art. 16. The king proposes the law.

Art. 17. The proposition of the law is carried, at the pleasure of the king, to the chamber of peers or that of the deputies, except the law of taxes, which is to be directed to the chamber of deputies.

[2.]Art. 17 is substituted for articles 19, 20 and 21, suppressed as useless, after the preceding provisions. They were the following:

Art. 19. The chambers have the right to petition the king to propose a law on any subject whatever, and to indicate what seems to them proper the law ought to contain.

Art. 20. This request may be made by each of the chambers; but, after having been discussed in secret committee, it is not to be sent to the other chamber, by that which proposes, until after the lapse of ten days.

Art. 21. If the proposition is adopted by the other chamber, it is to be laid before the king; if it is rejected, it cannot be presented again in the same session.

[3.]This is article 26 of the old charter, augmented by this provision, which was not in the former, and the words following have been suppressed: or that it should be ordained by the king.

[1.]Art. 30 of the old charter:

The members of the royal family and the princes of the blood are peers by the right of birth; they sit immediately behind the president; but they have no deliberative voice before their twenty-fifth year.

Art. 31 was thus:

The princes cannot take their seat in the chamber, but by order of the king, expressed for each session by a message, under penalty of rendering everything null which has been done in their presence. Suppressed.

[2.]All deliberations of the chamber of peers are secret. Art. 32 of the old charter.

[3.]Art. 36 was thus:

Every department shall have the same number of deputies which it has previously had. Suppressed.

[4.]Art. 37 of the old charter:

The deputies shall be elected for five years, and in such a way that the chamber is renewed each year by a fifth.

[1.]Art. 38 of the old charter:

No deputy can be admitted into the chamber if he is not forty years old, and if he does not pay direct taxes of 1000 francs.

[2.]Article 39 of the old charter:

If, nevertheless, there should not be in the department fifty persons of the indicated age, paying at least 1000 francs direct taxes, their number will be completed by those who pay the highest taxes under 1000 francs; and these may be elected concurrently with the others.

[3.]Art. 40 of the old charter:

The electors who concur in electing the deputy cannot have the right of suffrage, if they do not pay a direct tax of 300 francs; and if they are less than thirty years of age.

[4.]Art. 41 of the old charter:

The presidents of the electoral colleges shall be nominated by the king, and be, by right, members of the college.

[5.]Art. 43 of the old charter:

The president of the chamber of deputies is nominated by the king, from a list of five members, presented by the chamber.

[6.]In consequence of the initiative, art. 46 and 47 are suppressed, which were thus:

46. No amendment can be made to a law, if it has not been proposed or consented to by the king, and if it has not been sent back and discussed by the bureaux.

47. The chamber of deputies receives all propositions of taxes; only after these laws have been consented to, they may be carried to the chamber of peers.

[1.]Article 56 of the old charter is suppressed; it ran thus:

They cannot be accused except for treason or peculation. Particular laws will specify this kind of offences, and will determine how they are to be prosecuted.

[1.]Art. 63 of the old charter:

In consequence there cannot be created extraordinary committees and tribunals. The jurisdictions prévôtales, if their re-establishment should be found necessary, are not comprised under this denomination.

[1.]Art. 73 of the old charter:

The colonies will be governed by particular laws and regulations.

[2.]Art. 74 of the old charter:

The king and his successors shall swear at the coronation, to observe faithfully the present constitutional charter.

[3.]Arts. 75 and 76 of the old charter are suppressed; they ran thus:

75. The deputies of the departments of France who sat in the legislative body, at the last adjournment, will continue to sit in the chamber of deputies, until replaced.

76. The first renewal of the fifth of the chamber of deputies will take place the latest in the year 1816, according to the order established.