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346 & 348 BROADWAY. 

EKTEEBD, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1859, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of 
New York. 


WHATEVER tends to throw light upon the character 
and policy of that remarkable man, who now, Emperor 
of the French, wields the power and influence of 
France, and holds in his firm hand the trembling 
balance of peace and war, is matter of public im- 
portance. Not only have the learned, whether states- 
men, historians, philosophers, or philanthropists, mo- 
tives of: reasonable curiosity, to learn all that can be 
learnt concerning the individual, who is playing, and 
apparently is destined to play, the leading part in the 
great world -drama now enacting; but every one 
holding property, or engaged in commercial, in- 
dustrial, or financial enterprises, whether merchant, 
manufacturer, contractor, or banker ; every one using 
or giving credit ; in fine, every man of business, who 
has any thing to gain by peace, and every capital- 
ist, who has any thing to lose by war, has a personal 
interest to know all that he can know, concerning 
the springs of action which move and guide the mind 
and will of the sovereign, who, at the head of the cen- 
tral nation of the civilized world, curbs or spurs the 
military enthusiasm of six hundred thousand armed 
men, backed by a population of thirty-six millions 


of a warlike race, fond of glory, the professed 
champions of an advanced civilisation. 

I have thought, therefore, that, in translating into 
English this work, which, first published in 1839, may 
be regarded as presenting the policy and the prom- 
ises of Prince Louis Napoleon, the present Emperor, 
then thirty-one years of age, and an exile, I should 
render a service not only to literature, but to practi- 
cal intelligence, by enabling those who do not read, 
or may not possess, or have access to, the original, to 
form some opinion as to the probable course of polit- 
ical events, so far as they may depend upon the will 
and action of Napoleon III. He writes no more 
books ; he is aware of the force and virtue of speech 
and of silence ; he keeps his own counsels, and, in the 
words of Solomon, we may say of him, " the heart of 
" the king is inscrutable." But what he has written, 
he has written. Those who read what he has written, 
will, in drawing conclusions as to the action of the 
Emperor from the words of the exile, each according 
to his own judgment, make allowances for the changes 
which time, marriage, paternity, success, and perhaps 
a better and more practical knowledge of the affairs, 
duties, responsibilities, limits, and dangers of govern- 
ment may have wrought in the mind and heart of 
the author. It is not improbable, that these " Napo- 
" Iconic Ideas" give to the world the most authentic 
indications of the present and settled purposes and 
policy of the leader of the French ; and that they are 
overtures and true 

" prologues to the swelling act 
"Of the imperial theme." 

Are we authorized to infer from the ratification 
of his assumption of imperial power by the all 


but unanimous suffrages of the French people, that 
they, in sanctioning the restoration of the Napoleonic 
dynasty, have readopted also the Napoleonic regime ? 
If it be so, we have in this book a programme of 
the active policy and living aspirations of France. 

In making the foregoing remarks, I do not by any 
means wish it to be understood, that I consider the 
interest which attaches itself to the original work 
limited to transient circumstances, and to the present 
moment. On the contrary, many of the ideas are 
valuable in themselves and suggestive of others : they 
form, in my opinion, an important contribution to the 
science and art of politics, and to philosophy. The 
book might very properly have been entitled a philo- 
sophical analysis of the Consulate and the Empire. 

Americans should, I think, more than others, desire 
to understand the foundation of that theory, which, 
planned and put in operation by Napoleon I., and now 
continued by Napoleon III., hopes and promises to 
reconcile in France personal and political liberty, and 
equality before the law, with an hereditary throne. 
We have thought that an elective Chief Magistracy 
affords the surest guaranty of liberty and equality 
to a people of our race, situated in our ^circumstances ; 
but we are interested to study and to understand the 
modifications which these leading political principles 
or objects of the age undergo, in adapting themselves 
to the peculiar circumstances of various races, and in 
combining themselves with forms of social organisa- 
tion and of government different from those which 
seem to suit us, though they may not be suitable to 
nations of different blood, and in a different state of 
preparation. The same sun rises and sheds the 


same light upon the whole earth ; but it discloses to 
our view a great variety of scenery ; in one place,' 
the beautiful and level fields of fertility and content- 
ment, which may represent a Republic in another, 
the magnificent inequalities of a mountainous region, 
which may represent an Empire. 

There are many points of resemblance between 
the political movements of France and of America, 
during the past seventy or eighty years. Both are 
apparently working out, each independently, a solu- 
tion of the great problems of the times. In France, 
the social revolution has assumed the phase which may 
be called the Napoleonic policy ; here, it has taken the 
form which we call the American system. As many 
of the questions presented in both cases are similar 
or analogous, it is probable that in studying the French 
methods we shall learn many things useful and appli- 
cable to ourselves. If Napoleon had been born here, 
he probably would have sincerely adopted the Amer- 
ican system. 

It is proper here to call to mind that Napoleon III., 
in becoming Emperor of the French, has not forfeited 
his title to be considered a citizen of the republic of 
letters, a state which allows and knows no distinc- 
tion of political rank. It may be that, aware as he 
is of the mutability of fortune, he attaches more pros- 
pective importance to his reputation as an author, than 
to his success as a sovereign : nor would such a pref- 
erence be without reason. David was a great king, 
the founder of a dynasty ; but his chief title to fame, 
apart from all questions of inspiration, rests upon 
his poetical works. His wiser son was a greater 
prince, who consolidated and firmly established the 


royal power which he inherited ; but his book of prov- 
erbs is the surest and the still living proof of his tra- 
ditional wisdom. Is it necessary for me to cite Cassar 
and his Commentaries ? or to allude to one who seem- 
ed to prefer the Academic uniform to the Imperial 
robes ? Public opinion is the master of kings ; and 
the pen which forms and guides public opinion is, there- 
fore, more powerful than the royal sword, as it is 
more glorious than the jewelled sceptre. 

The publication of this work will introduce to the 
people of the United States a citizen of the republic 
of letters ; as such let him be judged, without fear and 
without favor, according to his merits. 

For. obvious reasons, in translating this work, fidel- 
ity to the original has been an especial duty : it has 
therefore been the principal aim. The original metal 
has been recoined, not transmuted; it retains, I 
trust, the genuine ring. 


YOEK, April, 1859. 



IF the destiny which my birth presaged 
had not been changed by events, I, a nephew 
of the Emperor, should have been one of the 
defenders of his throne, and a propagator of 
his ideas ; I should have enjoyed the glory 
of being a pillar of his edifice, or of dying in 
one of the squares of his guard, while fighting 
for France. The Emperor is no more ! but his 
spirit still lives. Prevented from defending his 
shielding power with arms, I can at least at- 
tempt to defend his memory with the pen. To 
enlighten public opinion by searching out the 
thought, which presided over his high concep- 
tions, to recall to mind his vast plans, is a task 
which yet smiles upon my heart, and consoles 
my exile ! Fear of offending contrary opinions 
will not restrain me : ideas which are under the 


aegis of the greatest genius of modern times may 
be avowed without reserve ; nor do they need 
to adapt themselves to the varying caprices of 
the political atmosphere. Enemy of all abso- 
lute theories, and of all moral dependence, I 
have no engagement with any party, any sect, 
or any government. My voice is free, as my 
thought ; and I love freedom ! 

CARLTON 'TERRACE, July, 1839. 




General movement of progress. Forms of government 
Their mission. 



Mission of the Emperor. Liberty will follow the same path as 
religion. Ke-establishment of the monarchy and of the Catho- 
lic religion. How Napoleon should be judged. 



General tendency. Principles of fusion, equality, order, and 
justice. Administrative Organisation. Judiciary order. 
Finances. Charitable institutions, communes, agriculture, 
manufactures, commerce. The Army. Political Organisa- 
tion. Fundamental principles. Accusations of despotism. 
Military government. Answers to these accusations. 




Napoleonic foreign policy. The different projects of. the Em- 
peror. Benefits conferred upon nations. Italy, Switzerland, 
Germany, Westphalia, Poland. His views concerning Spain. 



European association. Liberty in France. 





General movement of progress. Forms of government. Their 

ALL the revolutions which have agitated the 
world, all the efforts of great men, warriors, or 
legislators, are they destined to result in nothing ? 
Do we move constantly in a closed circle, in which 
light succeeds ignorance, and barbarism civilisa- 
tion ? Far from us be so sad a thought ; the sa- 
cred fire which animates us ought to lead to a 
result worthy of the divine power which inspires 
us. Thejmprovement of society marches onward. 
in spite of obstacles, without intermission ; it knows 
no limits but those of the earth. 

" The human race," says Pascal, " is a man who 
never dies, and always advances towards perfection." 
Sublime image of profound truth! The human 


race never dies ; but it is subject to all the mala- 
dies to which man is subject ; and although it al- 
ways advances towards perfection, it is not exempt 
from human passions, that dangerous but indispen- 
sable arsenal, which furnishes the means of our ele- 
vation or of our ruin. 

This comparison involves the principles upon 
which t^e life of nations is founded ; that life which 
has two natures and two instincts; one divine, 
which tends towards perfection, the other mortal, 
which tends ^awards corruption. 

Society then enfolds two contrary elements : on 
the one hand, immortality and progress ; on the 
other, disease and dissolution. 

Ah 1 generations, as they succeed one another, 
participate in the same elements. 

All nations have something in common the 
instinctive desire and need of improvement. Each 
nation has something peculiar the special disease 
which paralyzes its efforts. 

Governments have been established to aid so- 
ciety to overcome the obstacles which impede its 
march. Their forms have been varied according 
to the maladies they have been called to cure, ac- 
cording to the epoch, and according to the charac- 
ter of the people they have presided over. Their 
task never has been and never will be easy, be- 
cause the two contrary elements, of which our ex- 


istence and the nature of society is composed, 
demand the employment of different means. In 
view of our divine essence, we need, for our prog- 
ress, only liberty and work ;. in view of our mor- 
tal nature, we need for our direction a guide and 
a support. 

A government is not, then, as a distinguished 
economist has said, a necessary ulcer ; it is rather j 
the beneficent^motive power of all social organiza- ' 

When the panorama of history is unrolled be- 
fore our eyes, we find there always these two great ' 
phenomena. Upon the one side a constant system ! 
which obeys a regular progression, which advances 
and never retreats: this is progress. Upon the 
other side, we see nothing but flexibility and 
mutation: these belong to the forms of govern- 

Progress never disappears, but it is often dis- 
placed ; it goes from the government to the gov- 
erned. The tendency of revolutions is, always, to 
restore progress to the governors. When progress 
is at the head of society, it marches boldly and 
swiftly, for it guides ; when progress is confined 
to the governed, it marches slowly, for it must 
fight its way. In the first case, the people, having 
faith, allow themselyes to be governed m_the 
second case, on the..contrarj^_the people wish to 
do every thing themselves. 


Ever since the world has existed, there has 
been progress. To "be assured of this, it is only 
necessary to measure the road of civilisation ; the 
track is marked by the great men who are as mile- 
stones, each a degree higher and nearer the end 
than the preceding ; and we go from Alexander to 
Caesar, from Caesar to Constantine, from Constan- 
tine to Charlemagne, from Charlemagne to Na- 

Forms of government, on the contrary, do not 
follow constant laws. Republics are as old as the 
world ; the elective system and the hereditary 
system have for ages disputed the possession of 
power, and power has rested by turns in the 
hands of those who had on their side science 
or intelligence, right or strength. Governments 
are not therefore based upon invariable forms : 
there is no more a governmental formula for 
the happiness of nations, than there is a uni- 
versal panacea for the cure of all diseases. " Eve- 
" ry question of political forms," says Carrel, " has 
" its data in the state of society, not elsewhere." 
These words involve a great truth. In politics, 
the good is only relative, never absolute. 

Admitting the ideas which precede, it is impos- 
sible to attach high importance to the learned dis- 
tinctions which writers have made between the 
government of one and the government of many, 
between democratic governments and aristocratic 


governments. 1 All have been good, for they have 
existed and continued hi existence; and for any 
given people, any form has been the best which 
has continued the longest time. But, a priori, the 
best government is that which fulfils well its mis- 
sion that is to say, that which is modelled upon the 
wants of the epoch, and which in forming itself 
upon, and adapting itself to, the present state of 
society, employs the necessary means to open a 
smooth and easy road for advancing civilisation. 

I say it with regret, I see at the present day 
only two governments which fulfil well their provi- 
dential mission; these are the two Colossuses, which 
exist, one at the extremity of the new, the other at 
the extremity of the old world. 2 Whilst our old 

1 Far be from me the idea of entering into a discussion 
upon the comparative merits of monarchies and republics ; I 
leave to the philosophers and the metaphysicians the solution 
of a problem which, treated a priori, I consider insoluble. I 
see in monarchy neither the principle of divine right, nor all 
the faults and defects which some pretend to see. I see in 
the hereditary system only a guaranty of the integrity of a 
country. In order to appreciate this opinion, it is sufficient to 
recollect, that the two monarchies of France and of Germany 
were born at the same time, at the partition of the empire of 
Charlemagne. The crown became wholly elective in Germany 
it remained hereditary in France. Eight hundred years after 
the partition, Germany was divided into about twelve hundred 
States her nationality had disappeared ; while in France the 
hereditary principle has destroyed all the petty sovereigns, and 
formed a great and compact nation. 

2 1 do not mean to say by this that all the other govern- 
ments of Europe are bad ; I wish to say only, that in the pres- 


European centre resembles a volcano, which con- 
sumes itself, in its crater, the two nations of the 
East and the West march without hesitation on 
the road of improvement ; one of them through the 
will of one man, the other through liberty. 

Providence has committed to the United States 
of America the charge of peopling and of subduing 
to civilisation* all that immense territory which 
extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean, 
and from the North pole to the equator. Their 
government, which is a simple administration 
has had, up to the present time, but to put in 
practice the old adage, " Laissez faire, laissez pas- 
" ser, 5> in order to favor that irresistible instinct, 
which urges the population of the United States 
towards the West. 

In Russia, to an imperial dynasty is due all the 
progress which, during a century and a half, has 
withdrawn this vast empire from barbarism. The 
imperial power must contend against all the old 
prejudices of our ancient Europe ; it must central- 
ize, as much as possible, in the hands of a single 
man, all the forces of the State, in order to de- 
stroy the abuses which* tend to perpetuate them- 
selves under the protection of communal and 
feudal franchises. The East can receive only from 
him the ameliorations which it expects and awaits. 

ent day no other government is on a level with its great 



But France ! France of Henry IV., of Louis 
XIV., of Carnot, of Napoleon always the fountain 
of progress for "Western Europe possessing the 
two elements of empire, the genius of the peaceful 
arts, and the genius of war ; has France no longer 
a mission to fulfil ? Will she exhaust her resources 
and her energies in never-ending internal and sui- 
cidal contests ? No I such cannot be the destiny 
of France ! Soon will arrive the day when, in 
order to reign over her, it will be understood that 
her part is, to cast into the scales of all treaties 
her sword of Brennus on the side of civilisation ! 

\J < 



Mission of the Emperor. Liberty will follow the same path as religion. 
Ee-establishment of the monarchy and of the Catholic religion. 
How Napoleon should be judged. 

WHEN ideas which have governed the world 
during long periods lose, in consequence of the 
necessary transformation of society, their force and 
their empire, new ideas, destined to replace those 
which preceded, arise. Although they bear with- 
in themselves a re-organizing germ, they proceed 
nevertheless by means of disorganization. But, so 
great is the presumption of new-born ideas, and so 
agreeable to our ephemeral existence is the idea 
of duration, that, as they pluck the stones from the 
old edifice and build upon the fallen mass anew, 
they proclaim the ruins to be a new and inde- 
structible foundation ; until successive falls, and 
successive burials of that which preceded, teach 
them that they have torn down and not built up 
that their work requires more solid materials, in 


order to be safe from the crash of the crumbling 

It is thus that the ideas of 1789 (ideas which, 
after having overturned Europe, will end by se- 
curing its repose) appeared, already in 1791, to 
have destroyed the old, and to have created the 
new, order of things. But the birth of liberty is 
slow and painful, and the work of ages cannot be 
destroyed without tremendous shocks! 1793 fol- 
lowed hard upon 1791 ; and the world witnessed 
ruin after ruin, transformation after transformation, 
until at length Napoleon appeared, cleared up the 
chaos of nothingness and of glory, separated truths 
from passions, the elements of success from the 
seeds of death, and reduced to synthesis, all those 
great principles, which, contending together un- 
ceasingly, compromised the cause in which all were 

Napoleon, arriving upon the stage of the world, 
saw that he was to play the part of being the tes- 
tamentary executor of the revolution. The de- 
structive conflagration of contending parties was 
extinct, and when the revolution, dying, feut not 
vanquished, bequeathed to Napoleon the duty of 
accomplishing her last wishes, she said to him: 
"Secure upon solid foundations the principal re- 
" suits of my efforts ; reunite the French, now di- 
"vided; repulse feudal Europe, now in league 
"against me; heal my wounds; spread light among 


u the nations ; complete broadly what I have com- 
" menced deeply ; be for Europe what I have been 
" for France ; and even though you may be called 
" upon to water the tree of civilisation with your 
" blood, to see your plans misunderstood and re- 
jected, and those who are dear to you condemned 
" to wander in exile over the earth never aban- 
" don the sacred cause of France, but make it tri- 
"umph by all the means which genius invents, 
" and humanity approves." 

This great mission Napoleon accomplished to 
the very end. The task was difficult. It was 
necessary to found upon new principles a society 
still boiling with hatred and rancor, and to make 
use, for consolidation, of the same instruments 
which, until then, had only served to demolish. 

The^ommon lot of every new risen truth is 
to alarm rather than persuade, to wound rather 
than convince. This is because it projects itself 
with greater force, as it has been longer restrained ; 
because, having obstacles to overcome, it must 
contend and overthrow, until, understood and 
adopteA by the general mass, it becomes the basis 
of a new social order. 

Liberty and the Christian religion will follow 
the same path. Christianity, armed with death 
against the old Roman form of society, excited for 
a long time the fear and the hatred of nations ; 
then, hi virtue of martyrdoms and persecution, the 


religion of Christ penetrated into the depths of 
minds and of consciences ; soon she had at her 
control armies and kings ; Constantine and Charle- 
magne conducted her in triumph through Europe. 
Then religion laid aside her weapons of war, unveil- 
ed to all eyes her principles of order and peace, and 
became the organizing element of society, and the 
support of power. Thus will it be with liberty : 
already has she passed through some of the same 
phases. In 1793, she affrighted peoples as well as 
sovereigns ; then, having assumed more gentle 
forms, she insinuated herself everywhere, following 
our battalions. In 1815, all parties adopted her 
colors, and supporting themselves upon her moral 
force, covered themselves with her flag. The 
adoption was not sincere, and liberty was obliged 
to resume her weapons of war. Fears were re- 
newed with the contest. Let us hope that they 
will soon cease, and that liberty will again put on 
her festal robes, never to quit them more. 

The Emperor Napoleon has contributed mor 
than any other person to hasten the reign 
liberty, by preserving the moral influence of the 
revolution, and diminishing the fears which it in- 
spired. 1 Without the Consulate and the Empire, 

1 It was the fear which the French revolution roused in 
the minds of sovereigns, that arrested the reforms and the 
progress which had been commenced before 1789, by Joseph 
II. in Austria, and by Leopold in Italy. 



>! I 


the revolution would have been merely a great 
drama, leaving grand recollections, but few practi- 
cal results. The revolution would have been 
drowned in the counter-revolution ; but the con- 
trary took place, because Napoleon planted deep 
in France, and introduced everywhere in Europe, 
the principal benefits resulting from the grand 
crisis of 1789, and because, to use his language, " he 
" purified the revolution, seated firmly kings, and 
" ennobled the people." He purified the revolution, 
by separating the truths, which it caused to tri- 
umph, from the passions, which, in their delirium, 
had obscured them; he seated firmly kings, by 
rendering royal power respectable and honora- 
ble ; he ennobled the people, by giving them a 
consciousness of their strength, and those institu- 
tions which elevate man in his own respect. <The 
Emperor should be regarded as the Messiah of 
new ideas ; for, in moments which immediately fol- 
low a social dissolution, the essential thing is, not 
to put into application principles in all the subtilty 
of their theory, but to seize the regenerating 
spirit, to identify one's self with the sentiments of 
the people, and guide them boldly towards the end 
which they desire to reach. To be capable of ac- 
complishing such a task, it is necessary -that " your 
fibre should respond to that of the people," * that 
you feel as the people feel, and that your interests 

1 Words of the Emperor. 


be so intermingled, that you must conquer or fall 
together ! _ 

It was this union of sentiment, of instinct, and 
of will, which created the power of the Emperor. I 
It is a grave error to think that a great man is 
omnipotent, and that he derives his powers only 
from himself. To know how to divine, to use 
wisely, and to guide, these are the first qualities 
of a superior genius. " I have taken care," said 
Napoleon, " not to fall into the error of the men 
" of modern systems, to imagine that I represent 
" of myself, and through my own thoughts, the 
" wisdom of nations. The skill of the workman 
" consists in knowing how to avail himself of the 
" materials which he has at hand." 
f One of the first necessities of a government is 
ftp understand well the state of the country which 
it rules, and to know where exist the elements of 
strength upon which it can rely. The ancient mono 
archy had for supports the nobility and the clergy, 
because at that time the two principal elements of 
strength resided in those two classes, which repre- 
sented landed wealth and moral influence. The 
Revolution had destroyed all that feudal edifice ; 
it had displaced interests, created new sources of 
power and wealth, and given birth to new ideas. 

To attempt to restore the ancient regime, to 
rely upon forces which no longer had roots, would 
have been folly. The Emperor, while re-estab- 


lishing ancient forms in founding his authority, re- 
lied only upon the young and vigorous sap of new 
interests. He re-established the clergy, but with- 
out making them a means of government. So also 
the transition from the republic to a monarchy, 
and the re-establishmeiit of public worship, instead 
of awakening fears, reassured men's minds ; for, 
far from crossing any interest, these acts satisfied 
political and moral wants, and responded to the 
wishes of the majority. Indeed, if these transfor- 
mations had not corresponded with the sentiments 
and ideas of the majority, Napoleon would not 
have made them ; for he appreciated correctly, 
'and he desired to augment, not to weaken, his 
moral power. Thus, never before were so great 
changes accomplished with so little effort. Napo- 
leon had but to say, " Let the churches be open- 
" ed," and the faithful rushed to fill them. He 
asked the nation, " Do you wish the governing 
"power to be hereditary?" and the nation an- 
swered affirmatively by four millions of votes. 1 

1 Some persons wish to raise doubts concerning the legiti- 
mate character of such an election. But they attack thus all 
the constitutions of the republic ; for those constitutions even 
did not obtain so complete a sanction. 

The Constitution of 1791 was not submitted to the accept- 
ance of the people. 

Voters. Accepting. Kefusing. 

Constitution of 1T93, 1,801,018 11,600 

" " year 3, 1,057,390 49,977 

" " 8, Consulate, 8,012,569 3,011,007 1,562 

Consulate for life, 3,577,259 3,568,888 8,874 

HerftditaryEmpire, 1804, 3,524,254 3,521,675 2.579 


It is difficult to disengage ourselves entirely from 
the past ; generations, like individuals, are con- 
trolled by their antecedents. Our sentiments are 
for the most part only traditions. Slave of the 
recollections of his infancy, man obeys all his life, 
without suspecting it, the impressions which he re- 
ceived in his early days, and the trials and influ- 
ences to which he was then subjected. The life of 
a people is subject to the same general laws. A sin- 
gle day cannot change a republic of 500 years into 
an hereditary monarchy, or convert a monarchy of 
1,400 years into an elective republic. 

Consider Rome : during 500 years her repub- 
lican forms existed, and they placed her at the 
head of the world. During 500 years the elective 
system produced great men, and the dignity of 
consul, of senator, of tribune, was far above that of 
the thrones of kings, whom the Romans knew only 
by seeing them chained to the triumphal cars of 
their conquerors. And, although Rome could no 
longer maintain those institutions which had en- 
dured for ages, and which had created her gran- 
deur and her power, she preserved nevertheless, 
for 600 years more, under the emperors, the vener- 
ated forms of the republic. So the French repub- 
lic, which succeeded a monarchy of 1,400 years, 
under which France had become great and glori- 
ous, in virtue of the sole principle of monarchical 
centralisation, in spite of the faults and errors of 


her kings ; so the French republic not only soon re- 
clothed itself with the ancient forms, but from its 
very origin it preserved the distinctive character 
of the monarchy, by proclaiming and strengthening 
by every means that centralisation of power which 
had been the vital element of French nationality. 

Let us add to these considerations, that Napo- 
leon and Caesar, who found themselves in analogous 
circumstances, had to act with the same motives 
in opposite ways. Both of them wished to recon- 
struct with ancient forms upon new principles. 1 It 
belonged to Ca3sar, therefore, to preserve republi- 
can forms ; to Napoleon to re-establish the forms 
of monarchy. 

At the commencement of the nineteenth cen- 
tury great unanimity was felt in favor of render- 
ing the power of the Emperor hereditary, whether 
because of the traditional force of ancient institu- 
tions, or of the prestige which surrounds man 
invested with authority, or of the desire for an 

1 The emperor, in his Precis des Guerres de Cesar, has 

clearly proved, that Caesar never desired never could desire 

to make himself king. " Caesar, Conqueror," said Napoleon, 

' never govei*ned but as consul, dictator, or tribune ; he con- 

' firmed, then, rather than discredited, the ancient forms of 

' the republic. Augustus, even, a long time after, and when 

' whole generations of republicans had been swept away by 

' proscriptions and the war of the triumvirs, never entertained 

' the idea of erecting a throne. It would have been on the 

' part of Caesar a strange poh'cy to replace the curule chair of 

* the conquerors of the world by the decayed throne, which 

* even the vanquished despised." 


order of things which should give greater guaran- 
ties of stability. But the difficulty of establishing 
the republican form might perhaps be explained 
by another consideration. France, since 1789, had 
been democratic ; but it is difficult to conceive, in a 
great European state, the existence of a republic 
without an aristocracy. 1 

There are in every country two sorts of in- 
terests, very distinct and often opposed to each 
other, general interests and particular interests, 
or, in other words, permanent interests and tran- 
sient interests. The first do not change with suc- 
ceeding generations; their spirit transmits itself 
from age to age by tradition rather than by calcu- 4 
lation. These interests can be represented only by 
an aristocracy, or, hi the absence thereof, by an 
hereditary family. The particular and transient 
interests, on the contrary, change continually ac- 
cording to circumstances, and can be well un- 
derstood only by representatives of the people, 
who, being renewed continually, present a faithful 
expression of the wants and the wishes of the 
masses, Now, France having no longer an aris- 
tocracy, and being no longer able to maintain an 

1 1 find in *e History of the Revolution, by M. Thiers, an 
analogous idea. " Upon better reflection, it would be seen that 
" an aristocratic element is more particularly suitable to repub- 
" lies." It may be added that an aristocracy does not need a 
chief, whilst it is the nature of a democracy to personify itself 
in one man. 


aristocracy, that is to say, a privileged body, 
whose influence is great only because its authority 
is consecrated by time, the republic would have 
been destitute of this conservative power, which, 
though often oppressive, yet, a faithful guardian of 
general and permanent interests, built up, during a 
series of centuries at Rome, Venice, and London, 
the greatness of their respective nations by simple 
perseverance in a national system. 

To supply this want of stability and national 
perseverance, which is the great defect of demo- 
cratic republics, it was necessary to create an 
\ hereditary family, which should be the conservator 
of the general interests, and whose power should 
be founded upon the democratic spirit of the 

But, let opinions differ as they may concerning 
the value of these considerations ; let Napoleon be 
censured for having surmounted his republican 
laurels with a crown; let the French people be 
blamed " for having desired and sanctioned this 
change every thing is susceptible of contro- 
versy there is one point, upon which all who 
recognize in the Emperor a great man must agree, 
and that is even if he erred his intentions should 
always have been up to the level of his faculties 
and his capacity. It is the height of inconsistency 
to ascribe to a great genius all the weaknesses of 
mediocrity. There are, however vulgar minds, 


which, jealous of the superiority of merit, seem to 
revenge themselves by ascribing to it their paltry 
passions. Thus, instead of comprehending that a 
great man can be guided only by great concep- 
tions, and by reasons of State of the highest and 
farthest reach, they say : " Napoleon made him- 
" self Emperor, because he was ambitious ; he sur- 
" rounded himself with the illustrious names of the 
" ancient regime, to gratify his vanity ; he poured 
" out the treasures and the purest blood of France, 
" to aggrandize his power and place his brothers 
" upon thrones ; and he married an arch-duchess of 
" Austria, in order to have a real princess in his 
" bed." " Have I then reigned over pigmies in in- 
" telligence, w T ho have so little understood me ?" 
said Napoleon, at St. Helena, in a moment of 
chagrin. Let his spirit be consoled ! The masses 
have for a long time done him justice : every day 
that passes, as it discovers a misery which he 
cured, an evil which he extirpated, throws light 
upon, and explains his noble plans. And his great 
ideas, which, as the present darkens, shine ah 1 the 
brighter, stand as luminous beacons, promising and 
making visible, through and beyond the clouds and 
tempests, a future of safety ! 




General tendency. Principles of fusion, equality, order, and justice. 
Administrative Organisation. Judiciary order. Finances. Chari- 
table institutions, communes, agriculture, manufactures, commerce. 
The Army. Political Organisation. Fundamental principles. 
Accusations of despotism. Military government. Answers to these 

THE different governments which held power 
successively from 1789 to 1800, obtained, in spite 
of their excesses, great results. The independence 
of France had been maintained ; the feudal system 
had been broken up, and salutary principles had 
been widely spread. Nevertheless, nothing was as 
yet solidly established ; too many hostile elements 
stood face to face. 

At the epoch when Napoleon arrived at power, 
the true genius of legislation consisted in judging 
by a coup cfrceil of the relations which existed be- 
tween the past and the present, between the pres- 
ent and the future. 


It was necessary to solve and answer the fol- 
lowing questions ; 

Whatjjjfias^haze^pasafid a/way never to return ? 

What ideas must ultimately triumph? 

Finally, what ideas are susceptible of immediate 
application, and will hasten the reign of those which 
are destined to prevail ? 

The Emperor made by a rapid glance this dis- 
tinction, and though he distinctly foresaw the pos- 
sibilities of the future, he confined his action to the 
realisation of present possibilities. 

The great difficulty in revolutions is to avoid 
confusion in popular ideas. The duty of every 
government is to oppose false ideas, and to guide 
true ideas by placing itself boldly at their head ; 
for if, instead of guiding, a government allows it- 
self to be led, it hastens to destruction, and com- 
promises society, instead of protecting it. 

The Emperor acquired so easily his immense 
ascendency, because he w'as the representative of 
the true ideas of his age. As to harmful ideas, he 
never attacked them in front, but always in flank, 
parleying and negotiating with them, and finally 
reducing them to submission by a moral influence ; 
for he knew that violence is unavailing and worth- 
less against ideas. 

Having always an object in view, he employ- 
ed, according to circumstances, the most prompt 
means to attain it. 


What .was Ms -ultimate object-? 

Yes, liberty ! and the more one studies the his- 
tory of Napoleon, the more will he be convinced 
of this truth. For liberty is like a river ; in order 
that it may bring abundance and not devastation, 
it is necessary to prepare for it a broad and deep 
channel. If, in its regular and majestic course, it 
remains within its natural limits, the regions which 
it traverses bless its passage ; but, if it comes like 
an overflowing torrent, it is regarded as the most 
terrible of calamities ; it awakens every form of 
distrust, and then one sees men in their prejudice 
reject liberty because she may destroy, as if one 
should banish fire because it may burn, or water 
because it may inundate. 

But, is it said liberty was not secured by the 
imperial laws ? The name of liberty was not, it is 
true, placed at the head of every law, or placarded 
at every public square ; but every law of the Em- 
pire prepared for its peaceful and certain reign. 

When, in a country, there exist parties ex- 
asperated against each other, and violent mutual 
hatreds, it is necessary that these parties disap- 
pear, and these hatreds be pacified, before liberty 
is possible. 

When, in a country become thoroughly demo- 
cratic like France, the principle of equality is not 
generally applied, it must be introduced into all 
the laws, before liberty is possible. 


When there is neither public spirit, nor re- x 
ligion, nor political faith, it is necessary to create 
at least one of these elements, before liberty is 

When the ancient manners and customs have 
been destroyed by a social revolution, it is neces- 
sary to create new manners and customs in har- 
mony with the new principles, before liberty is 

When, in a nation, there is no longer an aris- 
tocracy, and nothing remains organized but the 
army, it is necessary to reconstruct a civil order, 
based upon a precise and regular organisation, be- 
fore liberty is possible. 

Finally, when a country is at war with its 
neighbors, and it contains in its bosom partisans 
of its enemies, it is necessary to conquer those ene- 
mies, and convert them into sure allies, before 
liberty is possible. 

We must pity those who wish to reap before 
having ploughed the field, or sown the seed, or 
given to the plant the necessary time to germi- 
nate, to blossom, and to ripen its fruit. It is a 
fatal error to imagine that a declaration of princi- 
ples is sufficient to constitute a new order of 

After a revolution, the essential thing is not to 
make a constitution, but to adopt a system, which, 
based upon popular principles, possesses all the 


force necessary to found and establish, and which, 
while surmounting the difficulties of the moment, 
possesses in itself the flexibility which enables it to 
adapt itself to circumstances. Besides, after a con- 
flict, can a constitution guaranty itself against re- 
actionary passions ? how dangerous is it to attempt 
to convert transitory necessities into general and 
permanent principles ! 1 "A Constitution," Napo- 
leon has said, "is the work of time ; one cannot 
" provide in it too broad a power of amendment." 

We proceed to recapitulate, under the preced- 
ing points of view, the actions of the Emperor. 
To judge is to compare. We will compare then 
his reign with the immediate epoch which preceded, 
and with the epoch which followed. We will 
judge his plans by what he did when victorious 
by what he has left in spite of his defeat. 

When Napoleon returned from Egypt, all 

1 A thousand examples could be cited to support this idea. 
We. will confine ourselves to recalling to mind, that in 1792, 
in order to prevent the government from re-establishing the 
unequal distribution of estates among children, the power of 
disposing of property by will had been substantially taken 
away. Napoleon reformed this reactionary law. Under the 
Restoration the Swiss troops were detested they received 
more pay than French troops. After the revolution of 1830, 
it was not considered sufficient to send them away, but an 
article was introduced into the Charter forbidding government 
to employ any foreign troops. One year later came the mis- 
fortunes of Poland ; 6,000 Poles took refuge in France ; it was 
desired to enlist them in regiments, but the reactionary article 
of the Charter prohibited it ! 


France received him with transport, and regarded 
him as the savior of the Revolution, then about to 
expire. France, fatigued by so many successive 
efforts, agitated by so many different parties, had 
gone to sleep amidst the thunder of her victories, 
and seemed about to lose all the fruit of that which 
she had acquired. The government was without 
moral force, without principle, without virtue. Fur- 
nishers and contractors were at the head of society, 
and held the highest rank in the midst of corrup- 
tion. Generals of the army, such as Championnet 
at Naples, and Brune in Lombardy, 1 feeling that 
they were the strongest, began to refuse obedience 
to the government, and imprisoned its representa- 
tives. Credit was annihilated, the treasury was 
empty, public stock had fallen to eleven per cen- 
tum, waste was rife in the administration, the most 
odious brigandage infested France, and the prov- 
inces of the west were in a constant state of insur- 
rection. Finally, the ancient regime approached 
again with alarming speed; for the axe of the 
lictor no longer protected the cap of liberty. 

Everybody talked of liberty and equality ; but 
each party wished them only for itself. "We want 
equality, said some ; but we do not wish to grant 
the rights of citizenship to the relatives of nobles 
and of emigrants ; we propose to leave a hundred 

1 Thiers, History of the Revolution. 


and forty-five thousand Frenchmen in exile. 1 We 
want equality, said others ; but we do not wish to 
give offices to conventionalists. Finally, we want 
liberty ; but we are for maintaining the law which 
condemns to death those whose writings tend to 
recall the ancient regime ; we are for maintaining 
the law of hostages, which destroys the security of 
two hundred thousand families ; 2 we are for main- 
taining the impediments which nullify the liberty 
of worship, etc., etc. 

Such contradictions between professed princi- 
ples and their practical application tended to in- 
troduce confusion into ideas and into things. It 
must have been so, so long as there was not a na- 
tional power, which, by its stability and its con- 
scious strength, was exempt from passion, and able 
to give protection to all parties, without losing 
any thing of its popular character. 

Men have, in all times, had the same passions. 
The causes which produce great changes are dif- 
ferent, but the effects are often the same. It is 
almost always seen that in times of trouble the 
oppressed cry out for liberty for themselves, and 
having obtained it, that they refuse to grant it to 
those who were their oppressors. There existed 
in England, in the seventeenth century, a religious 

1 This is the number settled by the report of the minister 
of police, year 8. 

8 Bignon, vol. i. p. 11. 


and republican sect, which, being persecuted by 
the intolerance of the clergy and the government, 
resolved to quit the country of their ancestors, 
and go beyond the seas to an uninhabited world, 
there to enjoy that sweet and holy liberty which 
the old world refused to grant. Victims of intol- 
erance, and conscious of the ills which it inflicts, 
certainly these independent men will, in the new 
country which they go to found, be more just than 
their oppressors ! But, inconsistency of the hu- 
man heart ! the very first law passed by the Puri- 
tans founding a new society in the State of Massa- 
chusetts, was one declaring the penalty of death 
to those who should dissent from their religious 
doctrines ! 

We must admire the Napoleonic spirit, which 
was never either exclusive or intolerant. The 
emperor, superior to the petty passions of parties, 
and generous as the people whom he was called to 
rule, professed always this_ma,\im, that, ijau politics 
evils should be remedied, not revenged. 

The abuse of the royal power, and the tyranny 
of the nobility, had caused that tremendous re- 
action which is called the Revolution of 1789. 
This brought on other reactions of a contrary and 
most calamitous nature. "With the accession of 
Napoleon, all the reactionary passions ceased. 
Strong in the sympathy of the people, he pro- 
ceeded rapidly to the abolition of all unjust laws ; 


he cicatrized all wounds, recompensed all merit, 
adopted every glory, and brought all Frenchmen 
to concur in one sole object, the prosperity of 

Scarcely was the First Consul invested with 
power, before he revoked the laws which excluded 
the relatives of emigrants and of former nobles 
from the exercise of political rights and of the 
functions of public offices. The law of forced 
loans was recalled and replaced by an extraordi- 
nary levy additional to the regular taxes. Napo- 
leon put an end to the requisitions " en nature? 
and established the law of hostages. He recalled 
the writers condemned to deportation by the law 
of the 19th Fructidor, year 5, such as Carnot, 
Portalis, Simeon. He allowed the conventional- 
ists Barrere and Vadier to return. He opened the 
doors of France to more than one hundred thou- 
sand emigrants, among whom were the members 
of the constituent assembly. He caused to be 
restored to their public offices certain convention- 
alists, whom it had been desired to exclude. He 
pacified la Vendee. He organized the administra- 
tion of the municipalities in the cities of Lyons, 
Marseilles, and Bordeaux. He expressed himself 
to the Council of State on one occasion, in these 
words : " To rule by means of a party is to put 
" one's self sooner or later in dependence upon it. 
" I shall not fall into that snare ; I am national. I 


" make use of all who have the capacity and the will 
"to inarch with me. This is the reason why I 
" have composed my Council of State of constitu- 
"ents who were called moderate, or feuillants, 
" such as Defermon, Roederer, Regnier, and Reg- 
"nault; of royalists, such as Devaines and Du- 
" fresnes ; finally, of Jacobins, such as Brune, R6al, 
" and Berlier. I love honest men of all parties." 
Prompt to recompense recent services, as well as 
to illustrate all great souvenirs, Napoleon placed 
in the Hotel des Invalides, by the side of the stat- 
ues of Hoche, Joubert, Marceau, Dugommier, 
and Dampierre, the statue of Conde, the ashes of 
Turenne, and the heart of Yauban. He revived 
at Orleans the memory of Jeanne d'Arc, at Beau- 
vais that of Jeanne Hachette. In 1800 he made 
the restoration of a great citizen, Lafayette, an in- 
dispensable condition of a treaty. Later, he took 
as aides-de-camp, officers (Drouot, Lobau, Ber- 
nard) who had been opposed to the consulate for 
life ; and he treated with the same benevolence 
senators who had voted against the establishment 
of the empire. Always faithful to the principles 
of conciliation, the Emperor, in the course of his 
reign, granted a pension to the sister of Robes- 
pierre, as he did to the mother of the Duke of 
Orleans. 1 He consoled and assisted in her misfor- 

1 The Emperor granted to the mother of the present king, 
Louis Philippe, a pension of 400,000 francs, and one of 200,000 
francs to the Duchess of Bourbon. 


tunes the widow of Bailly, President of the Consti- 
tuent Assembly, and supported in her old age the 
last descendant of Duguesclin. 

To reunite all the national forces against the 
enemy, to reorganize the country upon principles 
of equality, order, and justice, this was the task 
of Napoleon. He found under his hand many ele- 
ments full of antipathy, and, according to his own 
expression, instead of extirpating them, he united 
them by amalgamation. 

Divisions existed not only in political parties, 
but also in other bodies of the nation. The clergy 
was divided between the old and the new bishops, 
the high and the low church, priests sworn par- 
tisans of the revolution, and refractory priests. 
These last were the favorite children of the Pope. 
Profiting by the influence which the protection of 
the head of the religion gave them, they perverted 
minds through writings printed abroad, which 
they scattered over the country. The Emperor, 
by his concordat, removed the leader of this mis- 
guided flock, and brought back the clergy to ideas 
of concord and submission. 1 The republic of let* 

1 By article 3 of the Concordat, the Pope undertook to 
procure the renunciation of the emigrant bishops, whose let- 
ters mandatory and pastoral continued to sow trouble in their 
ancient dioceses. Article 13 sanctioned the alienation of eccle- 
siastical property, and declared the title of possession valid in 
the hands of purchasers. 


ters was divided between the Institute and the old 
Academy. He merged the members of the Acad- 
emy in the Institute, and the savants lived in 
peace, uniting their intelligence to illuminate the 
nation, and hasten the progress of science. There 
existed ancient names, to some of which were an- 
nexed souvenirs of glory ; and titles, whose influ- 
ence was not entirely extinct. Napoleon recon- 
ciled ancient and new France, by mingling with 
the inherited titles new titles acquired by merito- 
rious services. The Jews formed a nation within 
the nation ; some of their dogmas were contrary 
to the French civil laws. The Emperor caused to 
be convoked the grand Sanhedrim, which, in con- 
cert with the imperial commissioners, reformed 
those political regulations of the law of Moses, 
which were susceptible of modification; and the 
Jews became citizens. The barriers which sepa- 
rated them from the rest of the nation gradually 

Especially let us not overlook the fact that all 
which Napoleon undertook and accomplished, in 
order to effect a general fusion, was done without 
renouncing the principles of the Revolution. He 
recalled the emigrants without touching the prin- 
ciple of the irrevocability of the sale of the na- 
tional property. He re-established the Catholic 
religion at the same time that he proclaimed lib- 
erty of conscience, and gave equal pecuniary as- 


sistance to the ministers of every form of worship. 
He caused himself to be consecrated by the sov- 
ereign Pontiff, without subscribing to any of the 
concessions trenching upon the liberties of the 
Gallican church which the Pope demanded. He 
espoused the daughter of the Emperor of Austria, 
without surrendering any of the rights of France 
to the conquests which she had made. He re- 
established titles of nobility, but without annexing 
to them privileges or prerogatives. These titles 
were open to all classes, all services, and all pro- 
fessions. Under the Empire all idea of caste was 
destroyed ; no one pretended to boast of his parch- 
ments. It was asked what one had done, not what 
was his birth. 

The first quality of a people that aspires to a 
free government is respect for the law. Now a 
law possesses no force, except in the interest which 
each citizen has to respect or to break it. In or- 
der to ingraft in the people respect for the law, it 
was necessary that the law should be executed for 
the common good, and that it should consecrate 
the principle of equality in all its extent ; it was 
necessary to revive the prestige of authority, and 
to plant deep in the manners and customs the prin- 
ciples of the revolution ; for manners and cus- 
toms are the sanctuary of institutions. At the. 
birth of a new society, the legislator makes the 
manners and customs, or corrects them, while at 


a later period the manners and customs make the 
laws, or preserve them from age to age. When 
institutions are in harmony, not only with the 
interests, but still more with the sympathies and 
the habits of a people, then is formed that public 
and national spirit which forms the strength of a 
country, because it serves as a bulwark against 
every encroachment of power, and every attack of 
parties. " There is in every nation," says Montes- 
quieu, " a general public spirit upon which power 
"itself is founded; when it shocks that public 
" spirit, the shock is communicated to itself, and it 
" necessarily comes to a stand-still." 

This public spirit, so difficult to create after a 
revolution, was formed, under the Empire, by the 
establishment of those codes of law which settled 
the rights of every one, through the severe mo- 
rality introduced into the administration, through 
the promptitude with which authority repressed 
all injustice finally, through the zeal which the 
Emperor constantly exhibited to satisfy the ma- 
terial and the moral wants of the nation. His 
government did not commit the fault common to 
so many others, of separating the interests of the 
soul from those of the body, casting the former 
into the regions of chimera, and admitting the 
latter only into the domain of reality. Napoleon, 
011 the contrary, in giving an impulse to all the 
elevated passions, and showing that merit and 


virtue lead to riches and honors, proved to the 
world that the noble sentiments of the human 
heart are but the flag of the material interests of 
man well understood, precisely as the Christian 
morality is sublime because, even as a civil law, it 
is the safest guide we can follow, and the best 
counsellor of our private interests. 

But it was not sufficient, in order to recon- 
struct the nation, that the Emperor should repair 
the evils caused by the injustice of former govern- 
ments, or that he should derive support from ah 1 
classes without distinction ; it was also necessary 
that he should organize France. 

A system of government embraces an adminis- 
trative organisation and a political organisation. 
In a democratic state, such as France was, the ad- 
ministrative organisation was the most important ; 
for it governed, to a certain degree, the political 
organisation. In an aristocratic country, political 
action being in the hands of a whole class, the 
holders of power reign rather by personal than by 
administrative influence ; the governmental force 
is distributed among all the patrician families. 1 
But in a government of which the foundation is 

1 England furnishes an example in support of this opinion. 
The lord-lieutenants of the counties have not half the power 
of the prefects of France, but they have twice their moral in- 
fluence. Their influence is derived from their position in so- 
ciety, not from their office ; it is the lord who governs, much 
more than the lieutenant of government. 


democratic, the chief alone possesses governmental 
power : as the moral force is derived solely from 
him, so every thing returns to him, whether love or 
hatred. In such an order of society, centralisation 
should be stronger than in any other; for the 
agents of authority have only that prestige which 
authority lends them, and in order that they may 
preserve this prestige, it is necessary that they 
should have considerable power without ceasing 
to be absolutely dependent upon the chief, so that 
they may be subjected to the most vigilant sur- 


The administrative organisation of the Empire, 
like the greater part of the institutions of that 
epoch, had an immediate object to fulfil, and a 
distant end to attain. Centralisation afforded the 
only means of constituting France so as to estab- 
lish a stable regime, and form a compact unity 
capable of resisting Europe, and of supporting, at 
a later moment, liberty. The excess of centralisa 
tion, under the Empire, ought not to be considered 
as a definitive and settled system, but rather as 
means of arriving at a settled system. In all th 
institutions of the Empire this is the predominant 
idea and the general tendency, which it is especially 
necessary to investigate and understand. 

A good administration is composed of a regular 


system of taxes, of a prompt and impartial mode 
of collecting them ; of a system of finances which 
assures public credit ; of an honorable magistracy 
which will cause the laws to be respected ; finally, 
of a system of administrative machinery which 
will cause the life to circulate from the centre to 
the extremities, and from the extremities to the 
centre. But that which especially distinguishes a 
good administration, is, that it calls forth all kinds 
of merit, and all rare faculties to illuminate its 
career and put in operation all improvements 
that it represses with vigor all abuses that it me- 
liorates the lot of the poorer classes that it rouses 
to activity all branches of industry that it holds a 
just balance between rich and poor, between those 
who labor and those who employ, between the 
agents of power and those who are controlled by 

The Convention had divided France into de- 
partments. The Emperor facilitated the exercise 
of power by the creation of the oflices of prefect, 
sub-prefect, mayor, and adjoint. France was fur- 
ther divided into 398 communal arrondissements. 
Each department had a general council and a 
council of the prefecture ; the first presided over 
the distribution of public burdens, and watched 
the special agent of power ; the second decided 
upon claims of individuals against the adminis- 


The Emperor rejoiced at Saint Helena in the 
recollection of having instituted the offices of a 
minister of the treasury, and a minister secretary 
of state. The minister of the treasury concen- 
trated all the resources and controlled all the ex- 
penditures of the Empire. The secretary of state 
issued all acts of government ; he was the minis- 
ter of the ministers, imparting life to all interme- 
diate actions, the grand notary of the Empire, 
signing and legalizing all documents. 

The Emperor introduced order and economy 
into all branches of the public service, as well as 
into the administration of all the institutions of 
charity. He re-established the general direction 
of the forests, of the registry, and of the custom- 
houses, which had before been superintended by 
collective administrations. The administration of 
the forests was rendered more economical and 
more simple ; that of the registry was rendered 
less onerous, by a better distribution of the 

As to the military administration, we see in 
the Memorial de Sainte HeUne that Xapoleon 
found it too extended. " They had centralized at 
" Paris," said he, " the. direction of the markets, 
" of the furnishing materials, of the making up, 
" and subdivided the correspondence of the ministry 
" among as many persons as there were regiments. 
" But, on the contrary, the correspondences should 


"have been centralized and the resources sub- 
divided by transporting them into the several 

The judiciary order, under the Directory, was 
composed of 417 correctional or criminal tribunals, 
and of 1,798 civil tribunals. In 1800, a tribunal of 
first instance was established in each communal 
arrondissement ; and it had also cognizance of mat- 
ters of correctional police, an arrangement which 
very much facilitated the administration of justice 
among the citizens. Above these tribunals of first 
instance, were constituted 29 courts of appeal. 
Each department had a criminal tribunal. The 
court of cassation sat at Paris. In 1810 the 
courts of appeal and the criminal courts were 
united, and received the title of imperial courts. 
They had cognizance both of civil and of criminal 
matters. The courts of criminal justice were 
abolished. The courts of assizes and the special 
courts were branches of the imperial courts. The 
union of these two kinds of justice had two ad- 
vantages ; first, to give a guaranty of justice to 
the accused in subjecting him to a less rigorous 
jurisdiction, one which was not exclusively con- 
fined to the discovery of crimes, in the matters 
which were brought before it ; second, the civil 
magistracy being generally respected, and the 
criminal magistracy being, from the very nature 
of its functions, unpopular, the fusion of these two 



judiciary bodies resulted in causing the criminal 
magistracy to participate in the public respect 
which surrounded the civil magistracy. 

As a proof of the excellence of the judiciary 
institutions of the Empire, it is well to remark 
that crimes constantly diminished in number, and 
that the number of prisoners of state, which was 
9,000 on the 18th Brumaire, was reduced to 150 
in 1814. 

The finances of a great state, ought, according 
to the Emperor, to provide the means of meeting 
the exigencies of extraordinary circumstances, and 
even of the vicissitudes of the most obstinate wars, 
without recourse to the imposition of new taxes, 
the settlement of which is always difficult. His 
system consisted in having a large number of 
taxes which pressed lightly upon the people in 
ordinary times, and of which the percentage was 
raised or lowered according to public need, by 
means of additional centimes. 

It is well known to how many abuses the col- 
lection of taxes was subjected before the 18th 
Brumaire, and the treasury possessed at that epoch 
only 150,000 francs. The dividends and pensions 
of the State were paid only in paper, which was 
at a considerable discount. Payments into the 
treasury were made in more than forty different 
kinds of things. It was impossible to make up a 



At the commencement of the Consulate, Pitt, 
our terrible adversary, thought he saw in the defi- 
ciency of money and of credit the near ruin of 
France. He did not know all the resources within 
the reach of a skilful and strong government. One 
year sufficed Napoleon, after the 18th Brumaire, 
to regulate the collection of contributions ; so that, 
while abolishing all violent processes, he met the 
expenditures, diminished the taxes, restored a me- 
tallic currency, and held three hundred millions of 
francs in securities. 

" Finances founded upon a good system of ag- 
" riculture never fail ; " these were the words of 
the First Consul. 1 Facts have proved that he was 

By the order and regularity which he intro- 
duced into the administration and into the budgets, 
he revived credit. He favored the creation of the 
bank of France ; but while he rendered it inde- 
pendent of the government, he reserved over it a 
power of control. He required, not that it should 
lend him money, but that it should afford facilities 
for realizing economically the revenues of the State, 
at convenient times and places. He showed con- 
stantly a disposition to come to its assistance in 
moments of difficulty. u Notwithstanding the bad 
" spirit and the distrust with which certain gov- 
"ernors of the bank are animated," said he in 
1 Letter of Napoleon to the King of England. 


1805, " I will, if necessary, stop the pay of my sol- 
" diers to sustain the bank." It was his intention 
to establish branches of this institution in all the 
great cities of France. 

He created the office of minister of the treas- 
ury independent of the minister of finances. He 
did not wish an alliance between the bank and the 
treasury, because he thought that a simple move- 
ment of funds might disclose a secret of State. 
One of the most important innovations which were 
introduced into the .treasury, was the keeping of 
accounts by double entry. 

France ought to rejoice that the system of 
borrowing, which at this time weighs so heavily 
upon England, was not put in practice under the 
Empire. Napoleon had settled upon different 
principles, in limiting by a special law the sum 
total of the public debt to eighty million francs 
of annual dividends. 

Among the meliorations which ought to be 
credited to the Empire is the law which required 
receivers-general, notaries, and stock-brokers to 
give bonds. For a new government it was essen- 
tial that the price of public stocks should be main- 
tained in a progressive state of improvement ; and 
the natural consequence of this necessity was a 
right of police and surveillance over those who, 
speculating only upon the rise and fall of public 
stocks, might have an interest to cause them to 


fall. The enlightened investigations of the Em- 
peror advanced so far as to cause the tariff of an- 
nuities to be rectified, because not in accordance 
with the calculation of probabilities. 

He established the sinking-fund, and expressed 
himself thus on that occasion : " It is said that a 
" sinking-fund should be only a machine for bor- 
" rowing ; that may be true ; but the time has not 
" come for France to found her finances upon 
"loans." He created a." caisse de service," which 
was charged with the principal duty of effecting 
with rapidity the local application of the receipts 
to the expenditures in the departments. He 
opened accounts current with the receivers-gen- 

It was his intention to create " caisses d>activi- 
<," the increasing amounts of funds belonging to 
which would have been consecrated to works of 
public improvement. There would have been a 
" caisse d'activite " of the Empire for national 
works, a " caisse " of the departments for local 
works, and a " caisse " of the communes for mu- 
nicipal works. 

In 1806, tolls and road taxes were abolished; 
and a law authorized the levying of a tax upon the 
entry of goods, in all cities in which the civil hos- 
pitals had not sufficient revenues. 

The Council of Liquidation, instituted in 1802, 
ceased its labors the 30th of June, 1810. It had 


liquidated all the debts of the State ; that long- 
continuing open wound of the Revolution, as M. 
Thibaudeau expressed it, was at length closed. 

The Emperor estimated that France needed a 
budget of 800,000,000 francs for a state of war, 
and of 600,000,000 francs for a state of peace. 
The budget, under the Empire, never exceeded 
the above-mentioned figures, except after the re- 
verse of Moscow ; even then, in spite of war, it 
was 400,000,000 francs less than that with which 
twenty-four years of profound peace have bur- 
dened France. 4The Emperor did not expend for 
his own uses half his civil list ; he employed the 
excess in forming a reserve fund, or in executing 
public works, or in assisting manufactures. In 
1814, all his reserves were consecrated to carry on 
the national war. 

A good system of settling accounts is the indis- 
pensable complement of a good system of finances. 
The constitution of the year 8 had preserved a com- 
mission of control to sit in judgment upon ac- 
counts ; it was not equal to the immense work 
accumulated upon it. From 1792 to 1807, of 
11,477 accounts, the commission had passed upon 
only 8,793. The Emperor, anxious to regulate 
every thing, established the court of accounts, which 
brought up the arrears of this important branch of 
the public service. 

The Emperor has been reproached with having, 


in adjusting the taxes, too much favored landed 
property. It was his opinion that, during times 
of peace, it was best to husband the resources of 
direct imposts, because these alone in time of war 
support all the burden; and that it was best to 
take advantage of the activity which peace imparts 
to consumption to levy upon it indirect contribu- 
tions which it cannot furnish in times of war. 
Besides, there may have been a political object in 
this temporary preference ; for it should be noticed 
that the political changes which had taken place 
since 1789 had created about *ten millions of 
landed proprietors ; and that these proprietors, all 
whose interests were attached to the revolution, 
formed a class which the government had particu- 
lar reasons for sustaining, because that body of 
new holders of land was called upon to form a 
public spirit. The Emperor said one day in the 
council of state : " The system of imposed taxes is 
" bad ; under it there is neither property nor civil 
"liberty; for civil liberty depends upon the se- 
" curity of property. It does not exist in a coun- 
" try where the vote of the tax-payer may every 
"year be changed. One who has 3,000 francs 
" rent does not know how much will be left the 
" next year for his subsistence. The imposed tax 
" may absorb his whole income. We see men, for 
" a miserable interest of fifty or a hundred francs, 
" make solemn pleas before grave tribunals, and a 


" simple clerk can, by a single stroke of his pen, 
" overburden you by several thousand francs ! In 
" such a state of things property does not exist. 
" When I buy a piece of land, I do not know 
" what I am purchasing. In Lombardy, in Pied- 
"mont, they have a land tax assessment book. 
" Every one knows beforehand what he must pay. 
" The book is unalterable ; changes are made in it 
" only in extraordinary cases, and after a formal 
"judgment. If the levy is increased, every one 
" bears his share according to the book, and he 
" can make his. calculations in his office. One 
" knows what he has ; and he has a property. 
"Why is there not public spirit in France? be- 
" cause a proprietor is obliged to court the favor 
u of the administration. If he stands ill with it, 
" he is ruined. Judgments upon reclamations are 
" arbitrary ; for this reason in no other country 
"are people so servilely attached to government 
" as in France, because property is dependent 
" upon its favor. In Lombardy, on the contrary, 
" a proprietor lives upon his land, without troub- 
" ling himself as to who governs. Nothing has 
" ever been done in France for property. He 
" who will introduce a good law concerning assess- 
" ments (cadastre) will deserve a statue." In 
1810 the assessment register (cadastre) was put in 
operation in 3,200 communes ; about 600,000 pro- 


prietors in these communes enjoyed the advantage 
of proportional equality. 

Property in mines had never been regulated 
except imperfectly. In 1810 it was regulated by 
laws, and the Emperor created a body of engineers 
of mines. 

The amelioration of the condition of the poorer 
classes was one of the first preoccupations of the 
Emperor. In a letter to the Minister of the Inte- 
rior of the 2d November, 1807, he said that he 
would consider the doing away with mendicity a 
great glory. He established depots of mendicity ; 
forty-two existed already in 1809. In order to 
find the most effectual means of relieving the 
misery of the people, he solicited the advice of all 
writers upon the subject. He founded the mater- 
nal institution, which was to have a council of ad- 
ministration in every great city of the Empire. 
The institution of the Sisters of Charity was re- 
established with ah 1 its ancient advantages, and 
without the abuses which had perverted its orig- 
inal intention. Six houses destined to receive the 
orphans of members of the Legion of Honor, to 
the number of 600, were established in 1810. The 
Hotel des Invalides received in 1803 a new organ- 
isation, and several branches were established at 
different points. Napoleon created asylums in the 
country for the veterans, where each person who 
was admitted received a rural tenement, a piece 


of land producing a net income equal to the 
amount of his retiring pension. 

In 1807, the property which a decree of the 
Convention had alienated from the hospitals was 
restored to them. 

Convicts of the criminal tribunals, and of the cor- 
rectional police, had been promiscuously mingled 
in the prisons with the suspected and the accused. 
The government adopted the system of central 
prisons, exclusively for those who had been con- 
demned to imprisonment for a year or longer. 

The Emperor desired that public worship should 
be gratuitous, and adapted to the people ; that a 
decent burial should be granted to the poor with- 
out charge. " No one has a right," said he, ".to 
" lay a tax upon the dead : the poor should not be 
" deprived because they are poor, of that which 
" consoles them in their poverty." He ordered 
that the churches should be opened gratuitously 
to the public ; and that if a church was hung with 
black for the funeral services of a rich man, it should 
not be unhung until after performing the services 
for the poor. It was his intention to reduce the 
price of places in the pit of the Theatre Fran^ais 
on Sunday, in order that the poorer classes might 
enjoy the masterpieces of our literature. In the 
address which he delivered, in 1807, to the legis- 
lative body he said that in every part of his Em- 
pire, even in the smallest village, the comfort of 


the citizens and the value of land would be soon 
increased in consequence of the general system of 
amelioration which he had planned. 

War prevented the complete realisation of so 
comprehensive a scheme, and arrested the execu- 
tion of a great number of other philanthropic 
ameliorations. Among them we cite the desire to 
put a stop to the inconveniences existing at the 
house of detention of the prefecture of police in 
Paris, where honest men were obliged to pass 
the night in company with thieves and worse 

Communes. The administration of France was 
organizing its machinery. It was necessary, as 
has been before said, to centralize every tiling, in 
order to ameliorate, vivify, and establish, with the 
intention to distribute later at the circumference its 
due proportion of power, which the centre had 
temporarily absorbed. 

The Emperor was alive to the importance of a 
good communal administration, and said that care 
must be taken not to destroy the municipal spirit. 
He often took the side of the mayors against the 
prefects, and desired that they should be present 
at the inauguration of the mayors. It was his 
opinion that the taxes levied upon the entrance of 
goods into cities or towns, should be administered 
by the mayors for the benefit of the communes, 



and that the prefects should confine themselves to 
simple superintendence. 

To encourage, in the rural communes, exchanges 
and settlements, calculated to do away with the 
evils of excessive partition, and of the tying up of 
titles to land, the government exempted from pay- 
ing the fees of registry, the first commune whose 
inhabitants should accomplish what was desired by 
a general mutual agreement. 

The communal spirit is essentially conservative; 
all that it acquires, whether it be an abuse or an 
advantage, it holds with equal tenacity. In order 
to regenerate the communes, it was necessary to 
deprive them of a part of their rights, until their 
training should be completed ; then, only, would 
have been granted to them a greater independ- 
ence, without danger to the general welfare. The 
prosperity of the communes was the object of the 
most anxious solicitude of the Emperor. 

" To work," said he, " for the prosperity of 
" 36,000 communes, is to work for the prosperity 
" of 30,000,000 of population, by simplifying the 
" question, and, by diminishing the difficulty per- 
"taining to great numbers, whose difference is iii- 
" dicated by the proportion between 36,000 and 30,- 
" 000,000." With this view the Emperor divided 
the communes into three classes : communes which 
were in debt ; communes whose accounts were 
square ; and communes having disposable resources. 


By certain ways and means, which he explained to 
the minister of the interior, five years would have 
sufficed to clear away the indebted communes ; there 
would then have remained only the two classes, viz. : 
those whose accounts were square, and those having 
disposable resources ; and at the end of ten years 
every commune in France would have been hi 
possession of disposable resources. 

" The alienation of the property of the com- 
" munes, considered in reference to the progress 
" of agriculture," said the Emperor, " is the most 
" important question of political economy which 
" can be agitated." The discussion of it was cut 
short by the imperious necessities of war. In 1813, 
the lands, houses, and factories, belonging to the 
communes were sold ; they retained the woods, 
pastures, turf-fields, and other property, which the 
inhabitants enjoyed in common, or from which they 
derived no revenue, as well as the buildings ap- 
propriated to the public service, and the places 
which contributed to the public health or pleasure. 
The property which was to be sold was conveyed 
to the sinking fund. The communes received, in 
five per cent, stock, an income equal to the net rev- 
enue derived from the property conveyed. 

It is very clearly seen, from what precedes, 
that the intentions of the Emperor were all di- 
rected towards the amelioration of the material 
well-being of the country. It is also seen that 


when the disasters of war compelled him to have 
recourse to expedients, the resources which he 
knew how to develop were not destructive of the 
interests of the country, and that they were dif- 
ferent from the means employed by other govern- 
ments in similar circumstances. He did not resort 
either to paper-money, or to forced loans, or to 
excessive borrowing, or to the depreciation of the 
value of coin, as was done even by Frederic the 

The Emperor had made precise discriminations 
among the resources of a State. " Once," said he, 
" only one kind of property was recognized, prop- 
" erty in land ; then came another kind, that of 
" industry, which is now engaged in a contest with 
" the first ; it is the great contest of the field 
" against the counting-room, of the battlements 
" against the trades ; then came a third kind, de- 
" rived from the enormous taxes levied upon the 
" people, and which, distributed by the neutral 
" and impartial hands of government, affords pro- 
" tection against the monopoly of the others, serves 
" as their medium of communication, and prevents 
" their proceeding to acts of violence." He made 
the following classification : 

Agriculture ; the foundation of the Empire. 

Manufactures ; representing the comfort, the 
happiness of the population. 

Foreign commerce ; representing superabun- 


dance, and the good employment of Agriculture 
and Manufactures. 

Foreign commerce, very much inferior to the 
two other branches in its results, was for this 
reason constantly subordinated to them in the 
mind of Napoleon. " Foreign commerce is made 
" for t^e two other branches they are not made 
"for it. The interests of these three essential 
" bases are divergent, often opposite. I have 
" always treated them with reference to their 
" natural rank." * 

Agriculture did not cease at any time to make 
great advances under the Empire. " Agriculture, 
" like all other arts," said Napoleon, " perfects it- 
" self by means of comparison and example." He 
directed the prefects to make known to him the 
agricultural proprietors who distinguished them- 
selves, whether by a better understood or more 
rational culture, or by a more careful training of 
farm animals and improvement of breeds." In such 
departments as were behindhand in the arts of 
cultivation, the good proprietors were induced to 
send their children to study and learn the methods 
employed in the departments where agriculture 
was in a flourishing state. Praise and distinction 
were awarded to those who excelled. 

The rural code, projected in 1802, was sub- 
mitted in 1808 to commissions of consultation, 
formed in each branch of the court of appeal, and 


composed of the most distinguished judges, ad- 
ministrators, and agriculturists. This code could 
not be completed under the Empire. 

In 1807 the government created, in the vete- 
rinary school of Alfort, a professorship of rural 

Manufactures were not only encouraged, under 
the Empire, but it may be said that they were, in 
a certain sense, created. They attained in a short 
time a high degree of prosperity. 

The Emperor, in saying that manufactures 
represented a new kind of property, expressed in 
a single word its importance and its nature. The 
spirit of property is, of itself, encroaching and ex- 
clusive. Property in land had had its vassals and 
its serfs. The revolution enfranchised the land ; 
but the new property that of manufactures 
growing daily, tended to pass through the same 
phases as the first, and to have, like the first, its 
vassals and its serfs. 

Napoleon foresaw this tendency, which is in- 
herent in every system which advances by con- 
quest : and while he protected the masters of in- 
dustrial establishments, he did not forget the rights 
of the workmen. He established in Lyons, and 
later in other manufacturing cities, a council of 
discreet men (prucPhommes), veritable judges of 
the peace in industrial matters, whose duty it 
was to settle the differences which might arise 


between employers and employed. Regulations 
were published concerning the police of factories, 
trade-marks, disputants, and the respective duties 
of workmen and manufacturers. Chambers of con- 
sultation concerning manufactures, factories, arts, 
and crafts were instituted. There was inaugu- 
rated at the ministry of the interior a council- 
general of factories and manufactures. The Em- 
peror assisted often, by means of his civil list, 
branches of manufacture which, for want of a 
market, were in danger of stopping work. It was 
his intention to aid industry by the establishment 
of a special fund for that purpose. He wrote, 
after the battle of Eylau, to the minister of the in- 
terior : " My object is not to prevent this or that 
" merchant from failing ; the resources of the State 
" would not suffice for that ; but to prevent a 
" branch of manufacture from perishing. My ob- 
" ject is to supply the place of sales by a temporary 
" loan. I wish to found a stable and permanent 
" establishment, to endow it with a capital of forty 
" or fifty millions, so that, in times of cessation of 
" demand, and stagnation, the position of the man- 
" ufacturer shall be less severe." 

The Emperor raised up manufacturing indus- 
try, by causing the sciences to co-operate in its 
improvement. " If I had had sufficient time," said 
he, "soon there would have been no crafts in 
" France. The arts would have taken their place." 



Indeed, under his reign, chemistry and mechanics 
were applied to the improvement of all branches 
of industry. Besides, how many new machines 
were created, and useful inventions made, during 
the imperial regime. 

If the spirit of association did not make greater 
progress in France, it was not for want of encour- 
agement on the part of the chief of the State ; for 
in the midst of the preoccupations of war, he or- 
dered the minister of the interior to endeavor to 
sell to companies the canals which were finished, 
and enjoined upon him in 1807 to cause the iron 
bridge of Jena to be constructed, as the Pont des 
Arts had been, by a company. 

The Emperor always opposed the re-establish- 
ment of wardenships and guilds. He founded 
schools of arts and crafts at Chalons. High prizes 
were offered for the encouragement of all inven- 
tions. The sum of a million francs was promised 
to the inventor of the best machine for spinning 
flax ; a first prize of 40,000 francs and a second of 
20,000, to the inventor of the best machinery for 
picking, carding, combing, and spinning wool. 

He created the cotton manufacture in France, 
including yarns, cloths, and prints. Before the 
Empire the art of spinning cotton was not known in 
France; and cotton cloths were imported from 
abroad. Cotton was cultivated advantageously in 
the South of France, in Corsica, and in Italy ; the 


crop was estimated in 1810 at 100,000 kilogrammes. 
Merino sheep' were distributed throughout the Em- 
pire. He gave directions to search for granite, 
and to this we are indebted for the quarries which 
are now worked. 1 European products took the 
place of foreign products ; pastel was substituted 
for indigo ; beet-root for the sugar-cane ; garance 
for cochineal ; artificial soda for foreign soda ; and 
now all these products are sources of wealth to 
France. The manufacture of beet-root sugar amounts 
to 50,000,000 kilogrammes a year. 

Foreign commerce beyond the seas could not, 
on account of war, be much extended. But the 
commerce of the interior received a great develop- 
ment; for it may be said that at that time the 
commerce of the interior embraced the commerce 
of the European continent, from Hamburg to 

A council-general of commerce, as of industry, 
was installed under the minister of the interior. 

In all his treaties, the Emperor endeavored to 
favor French commerce. In 1808, he opened the 
markets of Spain to the national products, by sup- 
pressing the prohibition of the silks of Lyons, 
Tours, and Turin. He secured a market in like 
manner for the cloths of Carcassonne, the linens of 
Bretagne, and French ironware. He desired that 
commerce should establish at St. Petersburg!} 
1 Bignon. 


French houses, which should receive French mer- 
chandise, and introduce into France the merchan- 
dise of Russia. And to this time, thanks to a 
treaty made by the Emperor with Russia, France 
obtains from that country her timber for the build- 
ing of ships. 

The commercial code was completed and adopt- 
ed in 1807. 

The public worlcs, which the Emperor caused 
to be executed upon so great a scale, were not 
only one of the principal causes of the internal 
prosperity of the country, but they contributed 
much towards social progress. In fact, these 
works, while multiplying the means of communi- 
cation, produced three great advantages : First, 
they employed all the idle, and thus assisted the 
poorer classes. Second, they favored and encour- 
aged agriculture, manufactures, and commerce ; 
the creation of new roads and canals, increasing 
the value of lands, and facilitating the transporta- 
tion and sale of products. Third, they destroyed 
the spirit of locality, and removed barriers, such 
as those which separate not only the different prov- 
inces of a State, but different nations, by rendering 
easier all the connections and relations of men, and 
drawing closer the bonds which ought to unite 
them. The system of Napoleon consisted in exe- 
cuting by the State a great number of works, and 
after finishing them, in selling them and applying 


the proceeds to other works. It is important to 
notice that, in spite of war, the Emperor found the 
means of expending in twelve years, 1,005,000,000 
francs in public works. And the man who had so 
great treasures at his disposition, who distributed 
700,000,000 francs in endowments, never possessed 
any private property ! 

Public instruction ought, under an enlightened 
regime like that of the Empire, to participate in 
the impulse given by the chief of the State to all 
branches of the administration. " Only those," 
said the Emperor, " who seek to deceive the peo- 
" pie, and rule for their own advantage, wish to 
" keep them in ignorance ; for the more enlight- 
" ened the people is, the greater will be the num- 
" ber of those convinced of the necessity of hav- 
" ing and of supporting laws, and.the more settled, 
" prosperous, and happy will society be ; and if a 
" time shall ever arrive when intelligence will be 
" injurious to the masses, it will only be when the 
" government, in hostility to the interests of the 
" people, shall crowd it into a forced position, or 
" reduce the lowest class to starvation ; for then 
"the multitude will use its greater intelligence 
" either to defend itself or to commit crimes." 

The National Convention had already done a 
great deal towards overthrowing the Gothic edifice 
of instruction. But in times of trouble, it is diffi- 
cult to found ; and the projected establishments of 


instruction remained incomplete and unfinished. 
There were primary schools only in the cities ; the 
central schools were vacant. In 1802, Napoleon - 
divided the institutions of instruction into three [ 
classes: first, the municipal or jgrin^ary^ schools, of 
which there were to be 23,000 ; second, the sec- 
ondary schools or communal colleges ; third, the 
lyceums and special schools, maintained at the ex- / 
pense of the public treasury. The Institute was- 
at the head. The greatest activity was imparted!/ 
to the creation of the schools. The cities and the 
departments disputed for them with emulation, 
and offered to bear the expenses of them. 

There were established at first forty-five lyce- 
ums ; there was to have been one at least for each 
arrondissement of every tribunal of appeals. Three 
commissions of savants went through the country, 
to provide the lyceums with all the materials of 
instruction. There were 6,400 pupils pensioners 
of the State. 

The government caused to be written works 
concerning instruction, in mathematics, by La 
Place, Monge, and Lacroix ; in natural history, by 
Dumenil ; in mineralogy, by Brongniart ; in chem- 
istry, by Adet ; in astronomy, by Biot ; in phys- 
ics, by Haiiy. 

The title of French Prytaneum, under which, 
until then, several colleges had been comprised, 
was given in 1803 exclusively to the College of 


Saint-Cyr, a school, free of charge, reserved for 
the children of officers who had died on the field 
of battle. The pupils of this school, after having 
undergone examination, passed to the special 
school of Fontainebleau, which was also created 
at that epoch. 

There were established a special naval school, 
and ship-schools at Toulon and Brest. 

Two practical schools of mines were founded : 
one at Geislautern, in the department of the Saar ; 
the other at Pesey, hi the department of Mont- 

In 1806, the Emperor felt the necessity of reg- 
ulating instruction by a general system. It has 
been charged against this system that it shackled 
liberty ; but, as has been before said, the time for 
liberty had not come. When a government finds 
itself at the head of a nation which has just thrown 
off all ideas derived from the past, it is its duty not 
only to guide the present generation, but to bring 
up the rising generation in the principles which 
caused the revolution to triumph. " There can 
" be no stable political state," said the Emperor, 
" if there be not a corps of instruction with set- 
"tled principles. The creation of such a body 
" will, on the contrary, fortify civil order." 

The system of education, provided with suit- 
able restrictions, was a great and beautiful monu- 
ment in harmony with the plan of the imperial 


organisation, which addressed itself to all capaci- 
ties, opening the way, tracing the lines with preci- 
sion, and removing all obstacles. To all of you 
who desire to devote yourselves to the art of in- 
struction, as to the art of medicine, or to the science 
of jurisprudence, the career is open : provided 
only that society have the proper guaranties that 
you are capable of teaching morality and not vice ; 
that you know how to distinguish between health- 
ful plants and poisonous juices ; and that, pupils 
of the laws, you have studied their spirit, and 
know how to defend them ! 

The first regulations adopted by Napoleon had 
caused great progress to be made in public in- 
struction. Numerous schools had been established, 
but they were isolated and independent of each 
other. The career of teachers and professors was 
not assured; they were subjected to no general reg- 
ulation. The Emperor conceived the plan of con- 
necting by intimate relations all these establish- 
ments ; by uniting in one body all the professors, 
and raising the consideration and importance of 
their occupation to a level with the most honor- 
able employments. 

Public instruction, in the whole Empire, was 
intrusted exclusively to the university. The uni- 
versity was composed of as many academies as 
there were courts of appeal. The schools belong- 
ing to an academy were placed in the following 


order : 1st, the faculties of the high sciences, and 
for the conferring of degrees ; 2d, the lyceums ; 
3d, the colleges and secondary communal schools ; 
4th, institutions, schools kept by private teachers ; 
5th, boarding-schools belonging to private teach- 
ers, and devoted to studies less advanced than 
those pursued at the institutions ; 6th, the little or 
primary schools. The little seminaries were under 
the superintendence of the university. 

There were five orders of faculties ; those of 
theology, law, medicine, mathematical sciences, 
and physical sciences. There was a faculty of 
theology for every metropolitan church, besides 
one at Strasbourg, and one at Geneva for the re- 
formed religion. The schools of law formed twelve 
faculties ; the schools of medicine five. A faculty 
of sciences and a faculty of letters were established 
near each lyceum, the chef-lieu of an academy. 

In each faculty the degrees were those of 
bachelor, licenciate, and doctor ; they were con- 
ferred after examinations. 

The administrative hierarchy of instruction com- 
prised nineteen degrees. No one could be called 
to a place without having passed through the in- 
ferior places, and having obtained in the different 
faculties a rank corresponding to the nature and 
importance of the functions. The functionaries 
were divided into titularies, officers of the univer- 
sity, and officers of the academies ; they were sub- 


jected to strict discipline. After thirty years' 
uninterrupted service, they could be declared 
emeriti, and receive a retiring pension. 

The university was presided over and governed 
by the grand master, appointed by the Emperor, 
and removable at his will. 

The council of the university was composed of 
thirty members. At the cJief-lieu of each- academy 
there was an academic council of ten members. 

There were inspector-generals of the university 
whose duty it was to visit establishments of in- 
struction at the order of the grand master. 

Thei;e was to be established near each acad- 
emy, and in the colleges and lyceums, one or more 
schools, for the purpose of forming good masters 
for the primary schools. 

The university was to strive, without cessation, 
to perfect instruction in all its branches, to en- 
courage the composition of classical works, and 
especially to take care that instruction in the sci- 
ences should be always up to the level of all ac- 
quired knowledge, and that the spirit of system 
should never arrest progress. 

The lyceums, of which the number was brought 
up, in 1811, to one hundred, were to be the nurs- 
eries of professors, rectors, and masters. The Em- 
peror desired to present to them great motives to 
emulation, in order that the young men who might 
devote themselves to instruction should have be- 


fore them a perspective of promotion from one 
grade to another, up even to the chief places of 
the State.- There were in each lyeeum twenty 
pupils maintained at the expense of government ; 
eighty received assistance to the extent of one- 
half, and fifty to the extent of three-quarters 
of their expenses, so that the poor endowed with 
talent might have a means of making themselves 

In the impulse which he imparted to instruc- 
tion, Napoleon replaced the study of the dead 
languages, which until then had been almost ex- 
clusively taught, by the study of the most useful 
physical and mathematical sciences, and in the 
same spirit he opposed the desire to give medi- 
cine pre-eminence over surgery. 

The Polytechnic school, the foundation of which 
is to be credited to the Directory, received a great 
development, and furnished distinguished officers 
to the army, and savants in all branches of practi- 
cal science. 

The Normal school, planned under the Con- 
vention, received its beneficial settlement and estab- 
lishment under the Empire. 

Napoleon created, under the title of imperial 
houses, two establishments ; one for the education 
of daughters of members of the Legion of Honor, 
the other for the education of orphans. In the 
first, the pupils received a brilliant education ; in 


the second, they were taught all the employments 
of women suited to enable them to gain their own 

Provision was made for children whose educa- 
tion was confided to public charity. They consisted 
of three classes ; foundlings, children who had been 
deserted by their parents, and poor orphans. An 
asylum in each arrondissement received them. 

A school of anatomical preparations was estab- 
lished at Rouen. The school of arts and trades 
founded in 1803 at Compiegne, and afterwards 
transfered to Chalons upon the Marne, was intend- 
ed to distribute throughout the country the bene- 
fits of an industrial education. In 1 806, a second 
was created at Beaupreau, and a third in the ab- 
bey of Saint Maximilian, near Treves. 

The French school of fine arts, at Rome, was 
restored to activity and transferred to the Villa 
Medici. Fifteen pupils were sent and maintained 

The Emperor did not confine himself to creat- 
ing schools, he also encouraged all kinds of merit 
by prizes and recompenses, for which, with a view 
to excite emulation, all the savants of Europe were 
invited to compete. A prize of 60,000 francs was 
offered to the one who should make an important 
advance in galvanism, and another an annual medal 
of the value of 3,000 francs for the best new ex- 
periments which, in the judgment of the Institute, 


should be made in the same branch. In 1808, the 
celebrated English chemist, Davy, gained the an- 
nual prize. 

The decennial prizes which were then founded, 
were to encourage all sciences and all arts. There 
were nine of 10,000 francs each, and thirteen of 
5,000 francs. 

Among the numerous encouragements- granted 
to the sciences, should be mentioned the prize of 
12,000 francs promised to the author of the best 
treatise upon the disease called the croup. 

The Emperor consecrated the right of property 
to the heirs of authors dying and leaving posthu- 
mous works. 

He conceived the idea of establishing a sort 
of literary university, composed of about thirty 
professorships, so connected that they should form 
a complete system adapted to facilitate liter- 
ary, geographical, historical, and political re- 
searches; where, for instance, any one who de- 
sired to study an epoch, could obtain information 
as to the works he ought to read, the memoirs 
and chronicles he ought to refer to ; where any 
one intending to travel could obtain necessary in- 
formation concerning his journey. 

" The only reasonable encouragement for liter- 
"ature," said the Emperor, "is membership in 
" the Institute ; this gives to poets character and 
" consideration in the State," He desired that a 


second class of the Institute should form a sort of 
literary tribunal, charged with the duty of giving 
analytical (raisonnee) and impartial criticisms of 
works of a certain degree of merit which should 

He spared nothing to honor the memory of 
deceased savants. At Osterode, all covered with 
the dust of battle, he gave directions to place the 
statue of D'Alembert in the hall of session of the 
Institute. He caused monuments to be erected to 
Voltaire and to Rousseau. 

The busts of Tronchet and of Portalis, com- 
pilers of the first plan of the Code Napoleon, 
were placed in the hall of the Council of State. 

At Cambray a monument was erected over the 
ashes of Fenelon. 

In spite of wars the imperial government neg- 
lected nothing that could advance the sciences. 
Thus in 1806, among other things, he ordered 
the publication, at his expense, of the history of 
the travels and discoveries made from 1800 to 
1804, by Peron, Lesueur, and Captain Baudin. 

Biot and Arago were sent to Spain, to con- 
tinue the measurement of the meridian arc as far 
as the Balearic Islands. 

The National Institute was required to make 
up a general resume and picture of the progress 
of science, letters, and arts, from the year 1789; 

it was to be presented to the government by 


a deputation, every five years. This body was 
also expected to state its views concerning dis- 
coveries, the application of which it might 
deem useful to the public service ; concerning 
the assistance and encouragement of which the 
sciences, arts, and letters stood in need ; and con- 
cerning improvements in the methods employed in 
the different branches of public instruction. 

Thus it is seen that the Emperor gave to in- 
struction the same impulse which he gave to in- 
dustry, and, as Thibaudeau has said, it was the 
pupils of the lyceums, who, after the fall of the 
Empire, continued in art, science, and letters, the 
glory of France. 

Of the army. It would be beyond our subject 
to investigate all the improvements which were 
introduced into the organisation of the army, and 
to recount its illustrious deeds. The whole world 
knows the exploits of those heroic soldiers, who, 
from Arcole to Waterloo, seconded the gigantic 
enterprises of Napoleon, and died for him with 
happiness, because they knew that they died for 
France. Besides, it would take too long to re- 
capitulate all that the army did for the Emperor, 
and all that he did for the army. Let us examine 
solely, in a social point of view, the military or- 

The conscription, which, unhappily, in conse- 
quence of the continuance of war, was such a 


burden to France, was one of the greatest insti- 
tutions of the age. Not only did it consecrate the 
principle of equality, but, as has been said by Gen- 
eral Foy, " it was calculated to be the palladium of 
" our independence, because, placing the nation in 
" the army, and the army in the nation, it furnished 
u inexhaustible resources for defence." The prin- 
ciple which presided over the formation, of the law 
concerning conscription was to have received 
greater developments ; and it may be said, that 
the ideas of the Emperor have been put in opera- 
tion by other governments, among them by Prus- 
sia. It was not sufficient that the army was re- 
cruited from the whole nation ; it was also neces- 
sary that the whole nation should, in case of 
disaster, form a reserve to the army. The Em- 
peror said : " Never does a nation which repels an 
" invasion want men ; but, often, soldiers." The 
military system of Prussia offers immense advan- 
tages ; it removes the barriers which separate the 
citizen and the soldier ; it gives the same motive, 
and the same object to all men under arms the 
defence of the soil of the country ; it furnishes the 
means of maintaining a great military force, with 
the least possible expense ; it enables a whole popu- 
lation to resist invasion with success. The army, 
in Prussia, is a great school, in which all the youth 
instruct themselves in the art of arms ; the land- 
wehr, which is divided into three bans, is the re- 


serve of the army. In the military organisation, 
there are then several classifications, but all are 
derived from the same source, all look towards the 
same end. There is emulation, not rivalry, among 
the organized corps. 

It is well known that the national guard, which 
had fallen into disuse in the last years of the Re- 
public, was re-established by Napoleon in 1806. 
In 1812 it was divided into three bans, composed: 
the first, of men of 20 to 26 years (of the six last 
years of service of the conscription), who had not 
before been enlisted ; the second, of all the able- 
bodied men of 26 to 40 years ; the third, or arrive 
ban, of men from 40 to 60 years of age. It is evi- 
dent that this system was completely similar to 
that which is now in vigor in Prussia. " At the 
" restoration of peace," said the Emperor, u I 
" should have brought all the sovereigns to main- 
" tain only their guard ; I should have proceeded 
" to organize the national guard in such a manner 
" as that each citizen would know his post in time 
" of need : then," added he, " would have been 
" seen a nation well cemented, able to resist both 
** time and men." 


We have passed rapidly in review the adminis- 
trative organisation of the Empire, and called at- 
tention to the principal material benefits of that 


epoch. Let us now cast a rapid glance over its 
political organisation. 

In the first place, let me be permitted to say 
that I consider the tendency which exists in France, 
to desire always to copy and adopt the institutions 
of foreign countries, to be a misfortune. Under 
the Republic, people were Roman ; then the Eng- 
lish constitution appeared to be thought the master- 
piece of civilisation; the titles of "noble peer" 
and "honorable member" seemed more liberal 
than those of tribune and senator ; as if in France, 
that country of honor, to be " honorable " was a. 
title and not a quality. Finally arose the Ameri- 
can school. Shall we never be ourselves ? Eng- 
land, it is true, has offered us for a long time a 
splendid spectacle of parliamentary liberty. But 
what is the chief element of the English constitu- 
tion? What is the foundation of the edifice? 
The aristocracy. Suppress the aristocracy, and in 
England there would be no political organisation ; 
" the same as in Rome," said Napoleon, " if re- 
ligion had been taken away, nothing would have 
" remained." 

In the United States of America, we see also 
great things ; but what single point of comparison 
is there between that country and France ? The 
United States have not yet become a social world, 
for the organisation of such a world presupposes 
stability and order ; stability, attachment to the 



soil, to landed property conditions impossible to 
fulfil so long as the commercial spirit, and the dis- 
proportion between the number of the inhabitants 
and the extent of territory shall cause land to be con- 
sidered as merchandise. Man has not yet taken root 
in America; he is not incorporated with the. land ; 
his interests are personal, not territorial. 1 In Ameri- 
ca, commerce stands in the first rank ; then come 
manufactures ; and, last, agriculture. It is the 
European order reversed. (See page 65.) 

France, in many points of view, is at the head 
of civilisation; and yet it seems to be doubted 
whether she may give herself laws which are 
uniquely French that is to say, laws adapted to 
her own wants, modelled upon her own nature, 
and in harmony with her political position ! Let 
us adopt from foreign countries such improve- 
ments as long experience has consecrated ; but let 
us preserve in our laws French forms, French in- 
stinct, and French spirit. "Politics," says a 
writer, M. Dannou, "is the application of his- 
" tory to the ethics of society." The same may be 
said as to constitutions: it is necessary that the 
compact which unites the different members of a 
social organisation, should derive its form from 
the experience of the past, from the present state 
of the society, and from its prospective spirit. 
A constitution should be framed specially for the 
1 See, upon this subject, De Tocqueville. 


nation to which it is to be adapted. It should be 
like a garment which, if well made, will fit but one 

In a political point of view, the Emperor could 
organize France only provisionally ; but all his in- 
stitutions contained a germ of improvement which 
at the restoration of peace he would have de- 

To begin, let us establish one truth, name- 
ly, that when the French people proclaimed Na- 
poleon Emperor, France was so fatigued by dis- 
orders and continual changes, that all concurred 
to invest the chief of the state with the most ab- 
solute power. The Emperor had no need to covet 
it ; it was thrust upon him. By as much as public 
opinion had formerly demanded the diminution of 
executive power, because it was deemed hostile, 
by so much did opinion exert itself to augment it, 
when it was satisfied that the executive power was 
tutelary and remedial. It depended only on Napo- 
leon to have neither a legislative body nor a senate, 
so weary were men of those eternal discussions, kept 
up, as he expressed it, by a mob of men who dis- 
puted with acrimony about the tint, before having 
secured the triumph of the color. 

The Emperor Napoleon did not commit the 
fault of many statesmen that of desiring to sub- 
ject the nation to an abstract theory, which be- 
comes, in such case, for a country a bed of Pro- 


crustes ; he studied, on the contrary, with care, the 
character of the French people, their wants, and their 
present condition ; and upon the data acquired he 
organized a system, which he could continue to 
modify according to circumstances. "Where 
" should I have been," said he, " face to face with 
" all Europe with a government built of ruins, the 
" foundations of which were not yet firmly seated, 
"and those forms to be continually combined 
"with new circumstances depending even upon 
"variations of foreign politics, if I had subjected 
"these combinations to absolute methods which 
"admit of no modifications, and which are efficient 
" only because they are immutable ? " 

The predominant idea, which presided over all 
the internal establishments of the Emperor, was 
the desire to found civil order. 1 France was sur- 
rounded by powerful neighbors. Since Henry IV., 
she had been the object of the jealousy of Europe. 
She required a large permanent army to maintain 
her independence. That army was organized ; it 
had its colonels, its generals, its marshals ; but the 
rest of the nation was not organized ; and by the side 

1 " I wish to organize in France civil order. Tip to the 
' present time there have been in the world only two powers, 
' the military and the ecclesiastical. The barbarians, who in- 
1 vaded the Koman Empire, could not found a solid establish- 
' ment, because they were destitute both of a body of priests 
' and of a civil order." Words of the Emperor before the 
Council of State. 


of this military hierarchy, by the side of these 
dignities to which glory lent so much lustre, it was 
necessary that there should be civil dignities of 
equal weight and influence ; otherwise the govern- 
ment would be always in danger of falling into the 
hands of a fortunate soldier. The United States 
offer us a striking example of the inconveniences, 
which attend the weakness of a civil authority. 
Although, in that country, there are none of the 
fermentations of discord, which for a long time 
yet will trouble Europe, the central power, being 
weak, is alarmed at every independent organisa- 
tion ; for every independent organisation threatens 
it. It is not military power alone which is feared ; 
but money power the bank : hence a division of 
parties. The president of the bank might have 
more power than the President of the country ; for 
a much stronger reason, a successful general would 
soon eclipse the civil power. In the Italian repub- 
lics, as in England, the aristocracy constituted the 
organized civil order ; but France having, happily, 
no longer any privileged bodies, it was by means 
of a democratic hierarchy, which should not of- 
fend the principle of equality, that the same ad- 
vantages were to be secured. 

Let us examine in this point of view the consti- 
tutions of the Empire. 

The principles upon which the imperial laws 
were settled were : 


/ Civil equality, in harmony with the democratic 
| principle. 

A hierarchy, in harmony with the principles of 

Border and stability. 

I*"""" Napoleon was the supreme chief of the state, 
the elect of the people, the representative of the 
nation. In his public acts, it was the Emperor's 
pride to acknowledge that he owed every thing to 
the French people. When at the foot of the Pyre- 
nees, surrounded by kings, and the object of their 
homage, he disposed of thrones and empires, he 
claimed with energy the title of first representative 
of the people, a title which seemed about to be 
given exclusively to members of the legislative 
U body. 1 

/ The imperial power alone was hereditary. No 
other office in France was hereditary; all other 
offices were open to election or merit. 

There were two chambers ; the senate and the 
legislative body: 

The senate, of which the name is more popular 

y than that of the chamber of peers, was composed 
of members nominated by the electoral colleges ; 
one-third of them only subject to appointment by 
the Emperor. It was presided over by one of the 
members, selected by the chief of the state ; it 
watched over the Constitution, it was the protec- 

1 See the note published by order of the Emperor in the 
Moniteur of December 19, 1808. 


tor of individual liberty and of the liberty of the 
press. 1 The senate being, next to the sovereign, 
the first power of the state, the Emperor sought 
to give it the greatest weight and importance cir- 
cumstances would allow ; for, when the influence 
which organized bodies exert does not follow the 
order of their political hierarchy, it is conclusive 
evidence that the Constitution is not in harmony 
with public opinion ; it is in such case a machine 
in which the wheels do not work well together. 

Therefore, to give influence to the senate, the 
idea of the Emperor was not to make of it simply 
a tribunal, or an asylum for all the ministers whom 
public opinion had condemned ; but, on the con- 
trary, to compose it of all the high excellences, 
and to make it the guardian and protector of all 
the liberties of the nation. 2 

1 M. Bignon, in his History of the Empire, expresses him- 
self as follows : " The system established was not bad in itself, 
" nor were the liberties of the nation left entirely -without 
" guaranties. If these guaranties are illusory, if the senato- 
" rial commissions upon individual liberty and the liberty of 
" the press are to become inefficient and inactive, it is because 
" France is going through an order of events in which ques- 
u tions of domestic interest and private right will inevitably 
" be subordinate to the necessities of the executive, and to the 
" power of action upon foreign countries." 

2 It was the opinion of the Emperor that an hereditary 
chamber could not be established in France, and that it would 
have no influence. He remarked in 1815, to Benjamin Con- 
stant, who was one of the most ardent partisans of the Eng- 


To render the senators independent, and to 
attach them to the soil of the provinces, there were 
established in each arrondissement of the court of 
appeals a senatorial estate returning to the incum- 
bent senator 20,000 to 25,000 francs income for 

The members of the legislative body were nom- 
inated by the electoral colleges of the departments, 
and were paid during the sessions. 

It is important to call to mind here the mode 
of election introduced by Napoleon. In the Con- 
stitution of the year 8, Sieyes had invented a sys- 
tem of representation by Notables, which deprived 

lish Constitution: "Your Chamber of Peers would be, in a 
" short time, only a camp or an ante-chamber." 

The President of the senate convoked the senate at the 
order of th.e Emperor ; at the request of the senatorial com- 
missions upon individual liberty and the liberty of the press ; 
or of a senator for the purpose of objecting to a decree of tft 
legislative body ; or of an officer of the senate, concerning in- 
ternal affairs of the body. 

Each of the senatorial commissions was composed of seven 
members. Every person arrested and not brought to trial 
within ten days of the time of arrest could apply to tKis com- 

A high imperial court was established to take cognizance 
of crimes against the internal safety of the state, of misde- 
meanors, and abuses of office committed by ministers and 
councillors of state, and of abuses of power committed by the 
imperial agents, civil and military, etc. 

The seat of the high court was in the senate ; the arch- 
chancellor of the Empire presided over it ; the forms of pro- 
cedure were protective ; the debates and judgments were open 
to the public. 


the people of all participation in the elections. Al- 
though Sieyes, a former member of the Constituent 
Assembly, of the Convention, and of the Directory, 
was a friend of liberty, he found himself compelled 
to do this, by circumstances, and in order to preserve 
the Republic; for, before the 18th Fructidor, the 
elections returned royalists to the legislative body ; 
the 18th Fructidor drove them out. Then came 
the turn of the Jacobins ; the 28th Floreal elimi- 
nated them; but in the following elections they 
appeared to maintain themselves, and took meas- 
ures to dismiss their rivals. There was nothing 
permanent ; it was, each year, as Thibaudeau him- 
self says, the triumph of a party. 

But the firm and national march of the Con- 
sulate had already created a strong and compact 
France ; and the vessel of state was in less danger 
of being wrecked upon one of the two rocks which 
were always to be feared terror and the ancien 

Napoleon, created Consul for life, suppressed 
the lists of Notabilities of Sieyes, and established 
district assemblies, composed of all the citizens 
residing in the district. These assemblies chose 
the members of the electoral colleges of the arron- 
dissements and of the departments. Those who 
paid the largest amount of taxes imposed in the 
department were eligible to the electoral colleges ; 
but there could be added to the colleges of the ar- 


rondissements ten members, and to the colleges 
of the departments, twenty members not proprie- 
tors, selected from among the members^of the 
Legion of Honor, or from among those who had 
distinguished themselves by services. The col- 
leges nominated two candidates for vacant places 
in the legislative body ; the college of the depart- 
ment alone nominated candidates for the places of 
senators ; one of the two candidates must be taken 
from elsewhere than the college making the nomi- 

Examining the spirit which dictated these 
laws, framed at an epoch when the people were 
emerging from violent discussions, when war was 
always threatening, and when the most sincere 
friend of liberty saw the necessity of limiting the 
rights of election, il is impossible not to recognize 
**tif"f t IP** ft e intention of the Emperor to re-es- 
tablish the elective system upon the broadest basis, 
and the following words of the orator of govern- 
ment at that time, confirm this opinion : " The 
" electoral colleges bind the high authorities and 
" the people reciprocally to each other ; they are 
"intermediate bodies between power and the 
" people ; they imply a classification of citizens, an 
" organisation of the nation. In that classification 
" it was necessary to combine the contrary inter- 
" ests of capitalists and proUtaires^ .because prop- 
" erty is the fundamental basis of all political asso- 


"elation. It was necessary also to introduce 
"non-proprietors, in order to keep open a career 
" to talent and to genius." 

The .Council of State was one of the most im- 
portant wheels of the machinery of the Empire. 
Composed of the most distinguished men, it formed 
the privy council of the sovereign. Its members, 
free from all constraint, not intent upon producing 
an effect, and stimulated by the presence of the 
sovereign, wrought out the laws without any other 
preoccupation than the interests of France. The 
orators of the Council of State were required to 
present for the acceptance of the chambers the 
laws which it had prepared. 

The Emperor created auditors of the Council 
of State ; their number was carried up to three 
hundred and fifty; they were divided into three 
classes, and attached to ah 1 branches of administra- 
tion. The Council of State formed thus a nursery 
of instructed and enlightened men, capable of car- 
rying on advantageously the administration of the 
country. Familiar with all great political ques- 
tions, they received from the government impor- 
tant missions. 

This institution supplied a great want; for, 
when a country has schools of jurisprudence, of 
medicine, of war, of theology, etc., is it not con- 
trary to reason that it should not have one for the 
art of governing, which is the most difficult of all 


arts, for it embraces all the sciences, exact, poli- 
tical, and moral ? l 

" I prepared for my son," said the Emperor at 
Saint Helena, " a most advantageous position. I 
" educated for him a new school, the numerous 
" class of auditors of the Council of State. Their 
" education finished, and having come of age, they 
" would, some day, have filled all the important 
" posts of the Empire ; strong in our principles, 
" and in the examples of our predecessors, they 
" would have been, all of them, from twelve to 
"fifteen years older than my son; which would 
"have placed him precisely between two gener- 
"ations most advantageously maturity, experi- 
" ence, and wisdom above, youth and activity be 
" low." 

The council of disputed claims was instituted as 
a special tribunal, to sit in trial upon cases concern- 
ing public functionaries, and to decide appeals from 
the councils of the prefectures, upon cases relating 

1 In default of an efficient tribune, which the constitutional 
government would have given to France, never had a sover- 
eign so enlightened a council, or one in which all questions 
concerning administrative and civil order were discussed with 
more freedom and independence. In the absence of that trib- 
une which would have expressed public opinion, never did a 
sovereign better divine the true state of opinion, never did 
any other analyze better its character or know better how to 
profit often by its correctness, sometimes also by its errors. 


to the furnishing of subsistence, to certain viola- 
tions of the laws of the state, etc. 

The desire of the Emperor to raise to high con- 
sideration the political bodies, is manifested by the 
creation of the dignity of grand elector ; by the 
honors with which he surrounded the president of 
the legislative body ; 1 by the detailed exposes of 
the state of the Empire which he caused to be laid 
before the legislative body ; by the importance 
which he imparted to the opening of the sessions. 
Regarding himself as the first representative of the 
nation, he considered himself bound to give an ac- 
count of his acts before the constituted bodies. 
Hence the opening of the session of the legislative 
body was never, under his reign, a vain ceremony ; 
he did not come to seat himself upon a throne, 
with all the externals of a royalty of the sixteenth 
century, in order to repeat stupidly the words of 
his ministers, but, standing before the legislative 
body, he communicated frankly his ideas. It was 
not weakness concealing itself under the guise of 
power ; it was power of its own accord rendering 
homage to the constituted bodies of the state. 

Instead of influencing the elections, Napoleon 
often recommended to those around him not to 
ofier themselves as candidates for the senate ; he 
told them that they could arrive at that dignity by 

1 The president of the legislative body had a guard of 


another road that it was necessary to leave to the 
notables of the provinces the satisfaction of choosing 
for themselves. 

The principles which guided the Emperor in 
the choice of public functionaries were much more 
reasonable than those in use at the present day. 
When he named the chief of an administration, he 
did not consult the political shade of color of the 
man, but his capacity as a functionary. Thus, in- 
stead of inquiring into the political antecedents of 
his ministers, he only required of them the special 
knowledge needed. Chaptal, a celebrated chemist, 
was charged with the duty of opening new paths 
for manufacturing industry ; the learned Denon 
was appointed director of the museum of arts ; 
Mollien, minister of the treasury. If the finances 
of the Empire were so prosperous, it was in a great 
measure owing to the fact that Gaudin, Duke of 
Gae'ta, entered the ministry of finances under the 
Consulate, and continued in the office until 1814. 

In order that the road might be open for all 
improvements, the court of cassation was charged 
with the duty of doing for the laws what the Insti- 
tute did for the sciences. The court was required 
to present every year a compte rendu of the im- 
provements of which the different branches of 
legislation were susceptible, and make known the 
faults and defects which experience had demon- 


One should also observe that, in the institutions 
of the Empire, there was a continual movement 
acting from the circumference towards the centre, 
and from the centre reacting towards the circum- 
ference, like the circulation of the blood which, in 
the human body, flows towards the heart, and from 
the heart reflows towards the extremities. On the 
one hand, the people participate by election in all 
political offices; on the other hand, the bodies 
politic are presided over by men appointed by the 
central power. The great dignitaries of the Em- 
pire presided over the electoral colleges of the 
largest cities ; the other great civil officers, or the 
members of the Legion of Honor, presided over-the 
other colleges. 1 

The Councillors of State, on extraordinary ser- 
vice, were sent into the departments to watch over 
the administration. They transmitted the plans 
of the government, and received the complaints 
and the expressions of the wishes of the people. 
The senators who enjoyed the revenues of sena- 
torial estates were required to reside three months 
every year in their arrondissements, in order to 
take to them the opinion of the centre, and bring 
back to Paris the opinion of the arrondissement. 

The creation of the Legion of Honor, which 

1 Each electoral college terminated its session by voting 
an address to the Emperor, which was presented to him by a 


divided the French territory into sixteen arron- 
dissements, with the designation of chef-lieu, was, 
according to the expression of the reporter of the 
law, a political institution which placed in society 
intermediaries through whom the acts of the 
executive could be delivered to public opinion 
with fidelity and benignity, and through whom 
also public opinion could react upon the executive. 
The great benefits which were experienced 
from the introduction of the Code ISTapoleon are 
well known ; it had put many branches of legisla- 
tion in harmony with the principles of the Revolu- 
tion, and had much diminished litigation by bring- 
ing a multitude of cases within the comprehension 
of every one. But this code did not respond fully 
to the wishes of the Emperor : he projected a 
universal or complete code, so that there might be 
no other laws than those inscribed in this code, 
and that all which was not comprised therein might 
be pronounced, once for all, null and void : " for," 
added he, " in virtue of some old edicts of Chilpe- 
" ric or Pharamond, dug up for the occasion, no 
" one can say that he is safe from being duly and 
" legally hanged." 

To sum up the imperial system,- it may be said, 

/4hat its basis is democratic, since all the powers are 

/ derived from the people ; whilst the organisation 

/ is hierarchical, since it provides different grades in 

(_, order to stimulate all capacities. 


Competition is opened to 40,000,000 of souls ; 
merit alone distinguishes them ; different degrees 
of the social scale reward them. 

Thus, politically, we have assemblies of the can- 
ton, electoral colleges, the legislative body, the 
council of state, the senate, the great dignitaries. 

For the army ; every citizen is a soldier, every 
soldier may become officer, colonel, general, or 

For the Legion of Honor ; all classes of merit 
have the same right all services whether civil, 
military, industrial, ecclesiastical, or scientific ; and 
all may obtain the grades of legionary, officer, com- 
mandant, grand officer, or grand eagle. 

Public instruction has its primary schools, its 
secondary schools, its lyceums, and the Institute 
as the head of the edifice. 

Justice has its tribunals of first instance, its im- 
perial courts, and the court of cassation. 

Finally, the administration of government has 
its mayors, adjoint-mayors, sub-prefects, prefects, 
ministers, and councillors of state. 

Napoleon was then a centre around which all 
the national forces grouped themselves. He had 
divided France for purposes of administration into 
communal arrondissements and prefectures ; politi- 
cally into electoral colleges and senatorial estates ; 
defensively, into military divisions ; judicially, into 
districts of the imperial court ; religiously, into 


bishoprics ; philosophically, into lyceum districts ; 
and morally, into arrondissernents of the Legion of 

The body politic, like the corps of instruction, 
and like the administrative body, had its feet in 
the communes, and its head in the senate. 

The government of the Emperor was then, to 
use a comparison, a colossal pyramid with a broad 
foundation and an elevated apex. 

If one, after having surveyed the period from 
1800 to 1814, turns his eyes to the present epoch, 
he will see that the greater part of the institutions 
founded by the Emperor still exist, and that they 
by their sole virtue have maintained the adminis- 
tration. Although deprived of innate moving 
power, France obeys, now for 24 years, the im- 
pulse which Napoleon gave her. But one must not 
judge of the Empire by the false imitations which 
we have seen ; people have copied things, as if they 
had never understood the spirit which presided at 
their creation. We are indebted to two causes for 
all the prodigies which, in spite of wars, we have 
seen produced under the Empire ; one of them 
the genius of the man, the other the system 
which he established. Under the Empire all the 
intelligence, and all the capacity of France were call- 
ed upon to co-operate with one single aim, in pro- 
moting the prosperity of the country. Since that 
time all the leading minds have been occupied only 


in contending among themselves, and in discussing 
which road to follow, instead of making advances. 
Political discipline has been broken up, and instead 
of marching towards one object in close column, each 
one has suddenly adopted a line of march of his own, 
and separated himself from the body of the army. 

It has been said that the Emperor was a despot, 
It is true that his power was equal to the work of 
creation before him, and in proportion with the 
confidence of the people. " Under Napoleon," 
said General Foy, who certainly cannot be accused 
of partiality, " neither the vexations of subaltern 
" pretension, nor the intolerance of castes, nor the 
"insufferable domination of parties was known. 
" The law was strong, often rigid, but it was equal 
"for all." Napoleon was a despot, it is said; yet 
he never dismissed any one from public office, with- 
out an inquiry, and report of facts, and rarely ever 
without hearing the accused functionary: never 
when the questions involved were civil or adminis- 
trative. Napoleon never took action upon ques- 
tions of policy without a previous discussion. 1 
Never before did a sovereign take counsel so fully 
and carefully as the Emperor, for he sought only 
one thing the truth. Could he have been a sys- 
tematic despot, who, by his codes and his organi- 
sation tended always to replace the arbitrary by 
law? We see him in 1810 prevent the appropria- 
1 Bignon, voL v. p. 168. 


tion of private property to public; uses without pre- 
vious hearing and judgment; 1 and establish the 
council of disputed claims, in order to regulate the 
exercise of that portion of arbitrary power which 
was absolutely necessary for the administration of 
the state. " I desire that the state shall be gov- 
" erned by law, and that whatever must necessarily 
" be done without law shall be legalized by the in- 
" tervention of a constituted body." 

We see him also, in 1810, show his discontent 
that a law concerning the press had not been pre- 
pared, 2 and, what is particularly worthy of notice, 
he repeated often these memorable words : " I do 
" not wish that this power should descend to my 
" successors, because they might abuse it." 

When one reads history, he is astonished at the 
severity of the judgments pronounced by French- 

1 "I wish the fact of public utility to be verified by a 
' senatus consultum, a law or a decree deliberated upon in the 
' Council of State ; and then the disputes or claims which arise 
' settled by the tribunals. I declare that I cannot reconcile 
' myself to seeing the arbitrary insinuate itself everywhere, and 
' so great a state administered and governed, witHout oppor- 
' tunity of complaint." Words of the Emperor before the 

Council of State. 

2 " The press, which it is pretended is free, is really in a 
' state of absolute slavery ; the police allows works to be pub- 
' lished or suppressed arbitrarily, and the minister of police does 
' not exercise his own judgment ; he is obliged to refer his 
' decisions to his own bureaux. Nothing can be more irreg- 
' ular, more arbitrary, than this regime." Words of the Em- 
peror before the Council of State. 


men upon their own government, and their indul- 
gence towards foreign governments. Here is, for 
example, the judgment which Carrel rendered upon 
the administration of Cromwell ; and certainly the 
English Protector ranks far below the French 
hero : " It was fortunate for England that such a 
" man (Cromwell) took upon himself the responsi- 
" bility of performing unavoidable acts of violence, 
" because order in the place of anarchy was to 
" come from usurpation, and order was necessary. 
"Everywhere, and in all times, necessities have 
" dictated the agreements or compacts called prin- 
" ciples, and principles are always silent in the 
" presence of necessities. There was necessity for 
" security, for repose, for a grandeur which should 
" impose upon the foreign enemies of the Revolu- 
" tion, and overshadow commercial interests hos- 
u tile to the interests of England. There was ne- 
" cessity for an administration which comprehend- 
" ed all parties and committed itself to none ; which 
" thoroughly understood all the ideas of the epoch, 
" without making exclusive profession of any of 
" them ; which made use of the army without fol- 
" lowing its lead. Cromwell was right against the 
" royalists, because they were enemies of the coun- 
" try : against the Presbyterians, because they were 
"intolerant, and did not understand the revolu- 
" tion ; against the levellers, because they demand- 


" ed the impossible ; finally, against the fanatical 
"republicans, because they did not comprehend 
" public opinion." 1 

Are not these words a faithful explanation of 
the reign of the Emperor? Nevertheless, one 
hears some French voices prefer unjust accusations, 
repeating, for example, that the government of 
Napoleon was the government of the sword ! If 
that opinion could have become general, there 
would have been occasion to exclaim, with Mon- 
tesquieu : " Woe to the reputation of the prince 
" who is oppressed by a party which becomes dom- 
" inant, or who has endeavored to destroy a preju- 
" dice which survives him ! " 

Never, in fact, was the internal administration 
of power less military in its character than that of 
the Emperor. In all his acts we recognize the 
tendency to give civil order pre-eminence over 
military order. Under the imperial regime, no 
post of civil administration was held by military 
men. He who created civil dignities to balance 
the dignities of the army; who, by the institution 
of the Legion of Honor, wished to reward in the 
same manner the services of the citizen and those 
of the soldier ; who, from the instant of his ac- 
cession to power, occupied himself with the lot of 

1 History of the Counter-Revolution in England, Introduc- 
tion, page 60, 


the civil employes of government j 1 who gave al- 
ways precedence to civil officers ; who, in the inte- 
rior, and even in conquered countries, sent as en- 
voys councillors of state clothed with an adminis- 
trative authority superior to that of the generals, 
such is the man whom party spirit has wished to 
represent as the partisan of a military regime !* 

It has been made a subject of complaint that 
the uniform of military discipline was introduced 

1 When Napoleon arrived at power, the military pensions 
were already regulated by law ; but there was no legal pro- 
vision for granting civil pensions. As there was no provision 
for the retirement of the functionaries, they abused their 
places. The Directory, not being empowered to grant pen- 
sions, granted an interest in public transactions, an immoral 
state of things. Thibaudeau, vol. iii, p. 179. 

a M. Thibaudeau, in his History of the Consulate, reporting 
what the Emperor said to the Council of State, namely, that 
no man was more a civilian than himself, adds : " If the milita- 
" ry were invested with importance and consideration, their 
" authority was rigorously confined to their natural sphere ; its 
" slightest encroachments were immediately rigidly repressed. 
u The First Consul supported the courts and the prefects 
" against the generals. Citizens were subjected only to civil 
" authority ; to say the contrary, is to contradict evidence." 
Vol. ii. p. 213. 

A general, loaded with testimonials of the favor of the 
sovereign, had no power to arrest an obscure criminal. In 
the conflicts, sufficiently numerous, between the military and 
the civil authority, the decision was almost always in favor of 
the latter. Ibid. vol. i. p. 82. 

In 1806, Junot, governor of Paris, was accused of breaking 
the game-law. He set at defiance the authority of the courts. 
He was obliged to settle the matter to avoid an execution 
Ibid, vol. v. p. 318. 


into the lyceums. But is it wrong to diffuse in the 
nation a military spirit that spirit which awakens 
the most noble passions, honor, disinterestedness, 
patriotism, and which creates habits of order, reg- 
ularity, and submission to authority? The mili- 
tary spirit is dangerous only when it is the exclu- 
sive property of a caste. 1 

As to the military uniform, the Emperor 
caused it to be adopted in the lyceums, and the 
special schools, with a view to equality. One day 
when he visited the prytame of Saint Cyr, his feel- 
ings were shocked at the difference which existed 
in the clothes of the pupils ; some wearing a 
fashionable costume, while others were ragged. 
The emperor declared that he would have no dis- 
tinction of dress among the pupils ; that equality 

1 With the exception of the manual exercise of arms, and 
the exercise of platoon-manoeuvring, in which regard was had 
to the strength of the pupils, there was in their studies, their 
repasts, their recreations, only the difference of the substitu- 
tion of the drum for the bell. Choosing between these two 
instruments, we give the preference to the drum. The bell 
suggests ideas of humility and abnegation ; the drum, ideas of 
glory and honor. Under the regime of the bell pupils were 
flogged ; corporal punishments were forbidden under that of 
the drum. The members of the lyceums observed a discipline 
and had a careful dress and a masculine attitude which the 
pupils of the greater part of the colleges never had. They 
were imbued, it is said, with a taste for arms : but were not 
all the youth of the country subject to the law of conscrip- 
tion ? Thibaudeau. 


ought to be the first element of education ; and he 
caused to be given to all the same uniform. 

Finally, it was a strange sort of military gov- 
ernment, one in which the tranquillity of a vast em- 
pire was maintained without a soldier, while the 
Emperor and the army were eight hundred leagues 
from the capital ! 1 And, further, the imperial 
eagles, which so many laurels had illustrated, were 
never defiled by French blood shed by French 
soldiers. Few governments can say as much of 
their flag ! 

The praise of the Emperor is in his deeds. It 
is sufficient to turn over the pages of the Moniteur. 
His glory is like the sun : he is blind who does not 
see it. Obscure detractors cannot countervail open 
acts ; a few drops of ink cannot alter the color of 
the sea. Nevertheless, as there are vulgar minds 
which cannot comprehend that which is great, and 
as in epochs of transition party spirit disfigures 
great historical features, it may not be amiss to 
remind the masses, who feel such admiration for 

1 No troops were necessary even in the countries which 
had been annexed. Piedmont, Tuscany, Genoa, had not fifteen 
hundred soldiers present. When the Emperor was at Vienna 
there were only twelve hundred men in the garrison of Paris. 
The Emperor drove in the midst of the crowd which covered 
the place of the Carrousel ; and in the park of St. Cloud in an 
open carriage with four horses, at a walk, with the Empress 
and a single page, in the midst of 150,000 spectators who sur- 
rounded his carriage. Persons now living saw him. Thibau- 
deau, vol. 8, p. 176. 


the Emperor, that their veneration is not based 
upon the deceitful show of a vain glory, but upon 
the just appreciation of actions, which had for their 
object the happiness of humanity. 

And if, in the celestial region where his great 
soul now reposes in peace, Napoleon could still be 
troubled by the agitations and the opinions which 
are in conflict here below, might not his indig- 
nant shade thus answer his accusers ? " All that I 
" have done for the prosperity of France, I have 
"had to accomplish in the intervals of battles. 
"But you, who accuse me, what have you done 
" during twenty-four years of profound peace?" 

Have you reconciled discords, and united the 
parties around the altar of the country? Have 
you distributed among the different powers of the 
state the moral weight which the law concedes, 
and which is a pledge of stability ? 

Have you given to your chamber of peers the 
democratic organisation of my Senate ? 

Have you preserved to the Council of State its 
salutary influence and beneficent functions ? 

Have you preserved in the Legion of Honor 
the purity and prestige of its first organisation ? 

Have you given to your electoral system the 
democratic foundation of my cantonal assemblies ? 

Have you facilitated the access of all to the 
representative chamber, by assuring compensation 
to its members ? 


Have you rewarded all merits, repressed cor- 
ruption, and introduced into the administration 
that severe and pure morality which renders 
authority worthy of respect ? 

Have you caused the influence of power to be 
exerted for the improvement of manners? In- 
stead of diminishing, have not crimes increased in 
frequency ? 

Have you secured property, by completing the 
operation of the book of assessments ? 

Have you caused a thousand new industries to 
spring from the soil ? 

Have you, during a long peace, finished half 
the works that I commenced during severe wars ? 

Have you opened new markets for commerce ? 

Have you improved the condition of the poorer 
classes ? 

Have you employed all the revenues of France 
with a single view to her prosperity ? 

Have you re-established the law of divorce, 
which protected the morality of families ? 

Have you organized the national guard in such 
a manner that it will be an impregnable barrier 
against invasion ? 

Have you confined the clergy to its religious 
functions, far removed from political power ? 

Have you preserved to the army that respect 
and popularity which it had so justly acquired ? 


Have you not endeavored to degrade the noble 
mission of the soldier ? 

Have you granted to our living relics of Wa- 
terloo the morsel of bread which belonged to them 
as the price of the blood which they poured out 
for France ? 

The tri-color flag, and the name of French- 
man, have they preserved that prestige and influ- 
ence which caused them to be respected through- 
out the world ? 

Have you secured to France allies upon whom 
she can count in time of danger ? 

Have you diminished the burdens of the peo- 
ple ? Your taxes of peace, are they not higher 
than my taxes of war ? 

Finally, have you not weakened that adminis- 
trative centralisation, which I established, in order 
to organize the interior, and resist the foreign ene- 
mies of France ? 

No ; you have preserved of my reign only that 
which was intended to be temporary and transient ; 
and you have rejected all the advantages which 
palliated defects ! 

The benefits of peace you have not obtained ; 
and all the inconveniences of war you have suf- 
fered, and still suffer, without its great compensa- 
tions, honor and the glory of the country ! 



Napoleonic foreign policy. The different projects of the Emperor. 
Benefits conferred upon nations. Italy, Switzerland, Germany, 
"Westphalia, Poland. His views concerning Spain. 

TECEBE are three ways of regarding the rela 
tions of France with foreign governments. They 
may be reduced to the three following systems : 

There is a blind and passionate policy, which 
would throw down the glove to Europe, and de- 
throne all the kings. 

There is another policy precisely opposite, 
which consists in maintaining peace, and purchas- 
ing the friendship of sovereigns, at the expense of 
the honor and of the interests of the country. 

Finally, there is a third policy, which frankly 
offers the alliance of France to all governments 
which are willing to co-operate with her in com- 
mon interests. 

Pursuing the first, there can be neither peace 
nor truce ; pursuing the second, there is no war, 


but also no independence ; pursuing the third, 
there is no dishonorable peace, and no universal 

The third system is the Napoleonic foreign 
policy ; it is that which the Emperor put in prac- 
tice during the whole of his career. If Napoleon 
fell notwithstanding, he fell in virtue of causes 
which we shall explain by and by ; but that which 
is certain is that without this policy he never could 
have successfully repelled the attacks of Europe. 
"Rome," says Montesquieu, "became great, be- 
" cause her wars with other nations were succes- 
" sive ; each nation, by an inconceivable good for- 
" tune attacking her, only after another had been 
" vanquished." 

That which chance and fortune did for the ag- 
grandisement of Rome, Napoleon procured for 
France by his policy. 

From 1796, when, with 30,000 men he made 
the conquest of Italy, he was not only a great gen- 
eral, but a profound political statesman. The 
Directory, in its ignorance, sent to General Bona- 
parte an order to dethrone the King of Sardinia, 
and to march upon Rome, leaving 80,000 Austri- 
ans, who issued from the Tyrol, in his rear. Na- 
poleon disregarded instructions so ill-advised. He 
formed an alliance, offensive and defensive, with 
Piedmont, made a treaty with the Pope, and beat 
the Austrians. The fruit of this policy and con- 


duct was the peace of Campo-Formio. Finally, 
after a few years, Napoleon, who shortly before 
was chief of a state which was at war with all 
Europe, united under the tri-colored flag, to march 
upon Moscow, Prussians, Hanoverians, Dutch, 
Saxons, Westphalians, Poles, Austrians, Wirtem- 
burgers, Bavarians, Swiss, Lombards, Tuscans, 
Neapolitans, and others. 

By this combination of all these nations, united 
under his orders, one may form a judgment con- 
cerning the skill of the policy of the Emperor. If 
he did not succeed at Moscow, it was not because 
his combinations were ill concerted ; it was be- 
cause fate and the elements conspired against him. 
The risks, in so great an enterprise, are in propor- 
tion to the resujts expected. 

After Napoleon arrived at power, it was evi- 
dently necessary that he should have a general 
object in view, but his views were constantly modi- 
fied, extended, or contracted, according to the 
march of events. " I was not guilty of the folly," 
said he, " of desiring to bend events to suit my 
" system ; but, on the contrary, I bent my system 
" so as to adapt it to events." 

To secure the independence of France, toes- 
tablishja, solid European peace, such was the ob- 
ject_Jie _had in view, ^nd_which he was so near 
attaining, in spite of the complications of events, 
and the unceasing conflict of opposite interests. 


The more the secrets of diplomacy shall be re- 
vealed, the more will the world be convinced of 
this truth, that Napoleon was led step by step 
through the force of events and things to that 
gigantic power which was created by war, and by 
war destroyed. He was not the aggressor ; on 
the contrary, he was constantly obliged to repel 
the coalitions of Europe. If sometimes he ap- 
peared to get the start of his enemies, it was be- 
cause the guaranty of success in war consists in 
taking the initiative. " And besides," as Mignet 
has said, " the true author of a war is not he who 
" declares it, but he who renders it necessary." 

Let us pass in rapid review the great drama 
which commenced at Arcole and ended at Water- 
loo, and we shall see that Napoleon^ appears as one 
of those extraordinary beings whom Providence 
creates to be the majestic instrument of His im-. 
penetrable designs, and whose mission is so clearly 
defined in advance, that an irresistible power seems 
to compel them to fulfil it. 

After having made the conquest of Italy, and 
carried the torch of civilisation to the foot of the 
Pyramids the place which was its cradle he re- 
turned to Europe, and by the battle of Marengo 
obtained peace, of which France stood in great 
need. But this peace was of too short duration ; 
England wished war. It seems as though the two 
most civilized nations were employed by Provi- 


dence to enlighten the world, one in exciting na- 
tions against France, the other in conquering in 
order to regenerate them. At one moment the two 
giants stood face to face ; there was but a narrow 
strait between them. They appeared about to 
struggle for the mastery, body to body ; but such 
was not the decree of fate. The genius of civilisa- 
tion of the age was destined to march towards the 
East. People of Illyria and of Carinthia, of the 
Danube and of the Spree, of the Elbe and of the 
Vistula, you saw her and followed her laws ; vic- 
torious, she received your worship ; you then hated 
her, but, after her disappearance, only to regret and 
bless her ! 

Every coalition which was formed increased the 
preponderance of France, for the God of battles 
was with us ; and the power of Napoleon grew in 
proportion with the hatred of his enemies. Our 
allies derived advantage from our conquests. In 
1805, France had for allies Prussia, the little states 
of Germany, Italy, and Spain. The victories of 
Ulm and Austerlitz gave Hanover to Prussia, 
Venice to Italy, the Tyrol to Bavaria. Prussia 
detached herself from the French alliance, and 
Napoleon was compelled to subdue her at Jena. 1 

1 It will be asked one day why Napoleon, in the six last 
years of his reign, showed himself without pity for Prussia ; it 
was because Prussia was the power which injured him most by 
compelling him to contend with and destroy her ; her, whom 


The creation of the kingdom of Westphalia was a 
consequence of the dismemberment of Prussia, and 
of the victories of Eylau and Friedland. A glimpse 
of a future of peace was caught at Tilsit. The two 
most powerful monarchs of the world, representing 
80,000,000 of men, and the civilisation of the East 
and the West, met upon a river which separated 
interests of the greatest magnitude. The interview 
between Alexander and Napoleon upon the Nie- 
men, was, then, for Europe, like the union of the 
two voltaic poles, which, from the difference of 
their nature, produce, when they meet, the electric 
light. How was it possible not to believe in a bril- 
liant future of prosperity, when these two great 
monarchs agreed upon assuring the repose of the 
world ? Napoleon, in 1808, found himself at Er- 
furth, in the midst of a congress of kings, who had 
been conquered or convinced ; but England was 
neither conquered nor convinced ; her fleets hov- 
ered upon every shore, and her gold weighed 
heavy in the scales of treaties. 1809 saw a new 
coalition ; it was dissolved at Eckmuhl and Wag- 
ram. The French eagle soared over Bremen, Lu- 
beck, and Hamburg. Bavaria obtained the prov- 
ince of Salzbourg. Illyria became a portion of 
the great empire. 

he desired to enlarge, fortify and aggrandize, in order to se- 
cure by her co-operation the immobility of Russia and Austria, 
to give to the continental system an uncontested development, 
and thus force England to make and keep peace. Bignon. 


The views of Napoleon were extended as the 
field of his exploits was enlarged ; events put him 
in a position, which enabled him to contemplate 
the regeneration of Europe. The great difficulty 
for Napoleon was, not to conquer, but to dispose 
of his conquests. As sovereign of France he was 
bound to make use of them in a French interest ; 
as a great man, in a European interest. That is 
to say, it was necessary that his conquests should 
satisfy the temporary interests of war, at the same 
time that they should furnish the means of establish- 
ing a system of general peace. The provinces which 
he incorporated with France were only so many 
media of exchange, so many counters, 1 which he 
held hi reserve until a definitive settlement of 
peace. But inasmuch as such incorporations gave 
rise to suspicions of a desire to establish a univer- 
sal monarchy, he founded kingdoms, which had an 
appearance of independence, and elevated his 
brothers to thrones, in order that they might form 
in the different countries the pillars of a new edi- 
fice, and unite the appearance of permanency with 
the substantial power of change. They alone, 
although kings, would be subject to his will, 
and would decide according to the decrees of his 

1 " Illyria was but an advanced sentinel at the gates of 
" Vienna ; 1 will, by-and-by, restore it for Gallicia." Words 
of Napoleon. He said to a deputation from Berlin in 1807 : 
" I have not desired war ; I am satisfied with the boundary of 
"the Rhine." 


policy, to quit their thrones and become again 
French princes ; they united the apparent inde- 
pendence of royalty with a real dependence of 
family. Thus the Emperor was seen to change, 
according to circumstances, the governments of 
Holland, of Naples, of Lombardy, of Spain, and of 
the grand-duchy of Berg. 

It was a fatality for Napoleon, to be obliged to 
create so many new kingdoms : they therefore are in 
error, who have said that he ought, in view of his 
own interests, to have dethroned the sovereigns 
of Prussia and of Austria, when he occupied their 
capitals. The Emperor by so doing would only 
have increased his embarrassments and the num- 
ber of his enemies, for those sovereigns were be- 
loved by their subjects and, besides, whom could 
he put in their places? Men beyond the Rhine 
do not like governments imposed by us, any better 
than we like those which enemies impose upon us. 
Remember that in 1808 Napoleon thought it ne- 
cessary to change the dynasty of a great nation. 
That dynasty had so degenerated, that it approved 
of its own removal. ; The country, whose lot she 
placed in the hands of the Emperor, was that for 
the regeneration of which French influence was 
the most necessary; nevertheless, all Spain rose 
to reclaim the monarch whom a foreign power 
had taken away. 

The Emperor conciliated, then, as far as was 


possible, temporary interests, and transient exi- 
gencies with his great object, a resettlement of 
Europe upon the basis of the interests of all. But 
fate seemed always to force him into new wars ; and, 
as if it was not enough that he had liberated from 
the trammels of past ages Italy, Switzerland, and 
Germany, it was necessary that he should conduct 
his armies under the burning sky of Andalusia, 
and through the snows of Russia, and that his 
legions, like those of Csesar, should even in dying 
leave as traces of their passage the germs of a new 
civilisation. In 1812, the contest became more 
terrible. In order that general peace might be 
established and consolidated, it was necessary that 
England in the west, and Russia in the east, should 
be persuaded by reason, or subdued by victory. 
The great designs of the Emperor were about to 
be accomplished; the West of Europe marched 
upon Moscow. But alas! a winter changed all! 
Napoleonic Europe could no longer exist. From 
the grandeur of the failure, form an idea of the 
gigantic result of success! It was no longer a 
question of combining and founding ; it was neces- 
sary for the Emperor to defend and protect France 
and her allies. The field of battle was transferred 
from the banks of the Ber6sina to the foot of 
Montmartre. Peace ! peace ! cried the cowards, 
who until then had been silent. But the soul of 
the Emperor was inaccessible to pusillanimous 


counsels. Although his body bled in every part, 
Death, he exclaims, rather than a shameful peace ! 
death, rather than be Emperor of a France smaller 
than I received ! 

The lightning flashed once more! but soon 
came Waterloo! Here every French voice is 
choked, and finds no longer any thing but tears ; 
tears for the vanquished, and tears for the victors, 
who will sooner or later regret the overthrow of 
the only man who could mediate between two 
hostile ages ! 

^J^^L^ 6 !^^^^ ^ e 

never would listen to any propositions of peace. 

Did she believe that the Emperor desired her ruin? 
He never entertained such a thought. He did but 
make reprisals. The Emperor esteemed the Eng- 
lish people, and to secure peace would have made 
every sacrifice except such as would compromise 
his honor. In 1800, the first Consul wrote to the 
King of England : " Shall the war, which for eight 
" years has ravaged the four quarters of the earth, 
" be eternal ? Is there no way of coming to an 
"understanding? How can the two most en- 
" lightened nations of Europe, each more power- 
" ful than is necessary for its safety and independ- 
" ence, sacrifice to ideas of vain-glory, the welfare 
" of commerce, internal prosperity, and the happi- 
V ness of families ? How is it, that they do not 


" feel that peace is the first of necessities, as it is 
"the first of glories?" 

In 1805, the Emperor addressed to the same 
sovereign the following words: "The world is 
" large enough for two nations to live in, and rea- 
" son is abundantly able to find the ways of con- 
" ciliating every thing, if only there is on both 
" sides the will. Peace is the wish of my heart, 
" but war has never been contrary to my glory. 
"I conjure your Majesty not to deny himself the 
" happiness of voluntarily granting peace." 

In 1808, Napoleon united with Alexander to 
bring over the British Cabinet to ideas of con- 

Finally, in 1812, when the Emperor was at the 
apogee of his power, he made again the same 
propositions to England. He always sued for 
peace after a victory, never after a defeat. " A 
" nation," said he, " can replace men more easily 
" than honor." 

It would be too sad an idea to think that war 
had been kept up only through the revengeful 
passions, or the interests of parties. If an obsti- 
nate contest continued for so long a time, it was 
doubtless because the two nations understood each 
other too little, and each government erred as to 
the real condition of its neighbor. England saw, 
perhaps, in Napoleon only a despot, who oppresses 
his country, and exhausts all her resources to 



gratify his warlike ambition ; she could not recog- 
nize that the Emperor was the elect of the people, 
of whom he represented all the interests, material 
and moral, for which France had contended since 
IT 8 9. It may also be held that the French gov- 
ernment, confounding the enlightened aristocracy 
of England with the feudal aristocracy which 
weighed upon France before the Revolution, 
thought that it was dealing with an oppressive 
government. But the English aristocracy is like 
the Briareus of fable. It has a hold upon the people 
by a hundred thousand roots. It obtained from 
them as many sacrifices as Napoleon obtained 
efforts from the French nation. And it is worthy 
of notice in the contest between these two coun- 
tries, that the rivalry of England placed Napoleon at 
one time in a position to realize against that power 
a European project, similar to that which Henry 
IV. would have put in execution against Spain, if 
the steel of a base assassin had not deprived France 
and Europe of that great monarch. 

We shah 1 return, in another chapter, to a con- 
sideration of the morality of the end which the 
Emperor designed to attain. Let us examine now 
the principal improvements which he introduced 
{ into foreign countries. Very differently from other 
\ governments, which have always treated the prov- 
\ inces they have acquired like conquered countries, 
the Emperor caused all the nations of which he 


was master to participate in the benefits of_an 
enlightened administration; and the countries 
which he incorporated with France, enjoyed from 
that instant the same prerogatives as the mother 
country. When he gave crowns, he imposed ' 
always two conditions upon the king whom he ap- 
pointed ; the inviolability of the constitution, and 
the guaranty of the public debt. 

In Italy, he formed a great kingdom, which 
had its separate administration and its Italian 
army. All the administrative and judicial offices 
were filled by natives. The troops were no longer 
composed of mercenaries and the dregs of the 
population. Every man was called upon to defend 
his country : the army became citizen. The sover- 
eign could no longer dip, according to his caprice, 
into the public treasury; he had his civil list. 
Feudalism, tithes, mortmains, and monastic orders 
were destroyed; a constitutional statute estab- 
lished three colleges: 1st, proprietors; 2d, those 
engaged in commerce; 3d, the learned. There 
were added to the first two colleges which re- 
quired for admissibility the qualification of the 
payment of a certain amount of imposts, a third 
college, free from that requisition, composed, 
under the name of College of Savants, of two hun- 
dred citizens chosen from among the most celebrated 
men of all branches of science, or of the liberal or 
mechanic arts, or from among those who had most 



distinguished themselves whether by their doctrines 
in ecclesiastical matters, or by their acquisitions in 
legislation, morals, politics, or administration. 

The citizens were organized into a national 
gnard. The country, divided into departments, 
and administered by prefectures and sub-prefec- 
tures, lost that provincial spirit which is the 
death of nationality. "New laws concerning prop- 
erty and mortgages simplified administration and 
enriched the country. Agriculture, the sciences, 
and the arts, were encouraged. The French Code 
was introduced, and publicity of proceedings in 
criminal matters was declared. Houses of industry 
were erected in several cities to put an end to 
mendicity. Convents were converted into hos- 
pitals, justices of the peace were appointed, and 
the decimal system of money, weights, and meas- 
ures was established. Public instruction was reg- 
ulated by a law which divides it, economically, 
into three degrees national, departmental, and 
communal; and scientifically likewise into three 
degrees transcendental, intermediate, and ele- 
mentary. Above all stood the National Institute. 
The Italian concordat protected the temporal 
power from encroachments of the ecclesiastical 
power. The various bonds of the people of Italy 
were drawn closer by more easy means of com- 
munication. The Alps were levelled, and the 
Apennines, cut by new routes, united Piedmont 


to the Mediterranean. Italian glory awoke, and 
for the first time since Caesar, Italian legions were 
seen to tread as conquerors the soil of Spain. The 
name of Italy, so beautiful, dead for so many ages, 
was restored to provinces which, until then s had 
been severed. That name implies in itself a future 
of independence. 1 

Napoleon put an end to those little republics, 
which, as Montesquieu has said, owed their exist- 
ence only to the perpetuity of their abuses. From 
the Alps to Otranto there were but three great di- 
visions : the kingdom of Italy, the kingdom of 
Naples, and the French provinces. Napoleon had 
united to the French empire Piedmont, as well as 
Rome and Florence, for the purpose of habituating 
their people to a government which makes the in- 
habitants citizens and soldiers. The wars at an 
end, he would have restored them to the mother 
country ; and these provinces, invigorated by his 
authority, would have passed by an easy transition 
from French dominion to an Italian government ; 
while, if this organisation had been more hasty, the 
people, not having been prepared by French ac- 
tion for a common nationality, would doubtless 

1 In receiving the Italian deputation which brought him the 
crown of Italy, Napoleon replied in public to M. Melzi : " I have 
"always intended to create the Italian nation free and inde- 
" pendent. I accept the crown, and will keep it but only so 
" long as my interests render it necessary." See Botta, book 
22, p. 5. 


have regretted their ancient political individu- 

Switzerland, given up to civil war, to the ter- 
rors of anarchy, and at the same time to the en- 
croachments of the aristocracy, was all at once 
pacified by the mediation of Napoleon. He called 
before him the representatives of Helvetia, opposed 
the opinion of those who desired liberty for certain 
cantons only, and dependence for the rest ; and 
having fully discussed the interests of each, he 
made them adopt a constitution which, while it 
consecrated the principles of liberty and justice, 
preserved of the preceding regime all which was 
not incompatible wifh those principles. The chief 
articles of the act of mediation were : 1st, Equal- 
ity of rights among the nineteen cantons ; 2d, The 
voluntary surrender of privileges on the part of 
patrician families; 3d, A federal organisation, in 
virtue of which each canton was organized accord- 
ing to its language, its religion, its customs, its in- 
terests, and its opinions. Accordingly Switzerland, 
which is indebted to the act of mediation for 
twelve years of quiet and prosperity, has always 
preserved its gratitude to the mediator. 

Southern Germany, liberated from the yoke of 
the Germanic empire, beheld civilisation advancing 
under the auspices of the Code Napoleon, and in- 
stead of being cut up into two hundred and eighty- 
four states, she saw their number reduced to thirty- 


one by the establishment of the Confederation of 
the Rhine. 1 

1 Seigniories and sovereignties of ancient Germany having 
a voice in the Diet, and rights of legislation and jurisdiction 
in their territories : 

Electors, ..... 9 
Lay Princes, . . . . 61 

Ecclesiastical Princes, . . .33 

Abbots and Abbeys with seigneurial rights, 41 
Counts and Seigniors of the Empire, 

In Wetteravia, . . .16 

In Swabia, ... 23 

In Franconia, . . .17 

In Westphalia, . . 33 

Sovereigns, 233 
Republics, 61 

Total, 284 States. 

The decree of Ratisbonne (1803), the first act of the Ger- 
manic empire, drawn up under the influence of Napoleon, 
reduced these States to the number of 147 : 

Electors, . . . . .10 

Seigniors having a voice in the Diet, . 131 

Free Cities, .... 6 


By the Confederation of the Rhine, Napoleon mediatized 
all these princes ; there remained only 31 States : 
Kings, . .... .4 

Elector Arch-chancellor, . . 1 

Grand Dukes, .... 3 

Landgrave, .... 1 

Princes, . . . . .11 

Dukes, 16 

Count, ..... 1 


Westphalia, another germ of regeneration, seated 
upon the Elbe, composed of provinces which suffered 
all the abuses of feudalism, received institutions 
which consecrated the equality of all citizens before 
the law, and suppressed every industrial privilege 
and every kind of serfdom. The introduction of 
the civil code, and the publicity of trials by jury in 
criminal matters, were ameliorations for which the 
French regime must be credited. The fiefs were 
declared free properties, providing, however, for 
reversion to the crown in case of default of heirs. 
Prospective arrangements were made to prevent 
the suits which might arise in consequence of the 
abolition of serfdom. The purchase of rents and 
of feudal reservations was regulated by a law. 
All religions enjoyed, equal liberty; the Jewish 
worship had its consistory. 

In Bavaria, the King Maximilian granted in 
1808 a constitution which secured the liberties of 
the people, and destroyed feudal privileges. 

In the grand-duchies of Baden and of Berg, as 
in the lands of Erfurth, Fulde, Hanau and Bay- 
reuth, the influence of the Emperor caused to be 
abolished, in 1808, serfdom, the cultivators' tax, 
and the fees derived therefrom to the profit of 
the seigniors. The serfs and cultivators obtained 
complete civil rights, and the right of holding 

Liberty of conscience did not exist in Saxony : 


the Emperor caused it to be declared in the con- 
stitution of that country in 1806. 

Poland, that sister of France always so devoted, 
so magnanimous, may hope for a resurrection not 
long to be delayed, for the Emperor erected the 
duchy of Warsaw as a nucleus for a complete 
nationality. The constitution of this new duchy 
abolished slavery, consecrated the principle of 
equality of rights, and placed under the safeguard 
of the tribunals the social state of all persons. It 
introduced the French civil code. The King of 
Saxony was elected as sovereign of Warsaw, be- 
cause he was a descendant of princes who had 
reigned over Poland. He had near him, in his 
character of grand-duke of Warsaw, a council of 
state, composed of the most distinguished Poles. 
A. constitutional statute was decreed, which as- 
sured the privileges and liberties of the people. 
The general diet was composed of two chambers, 
that of the senate and that of the nuncios. The 
diet voted the taxes and discussed the laws. 
Finally, as has been said by M. Bignon, in a work 
of which the patriotism rivals the talent, a tribune 
was erected at Warsaw in the midst of the silent 
atmospheres of neighboring governments. 

Although the Emperor had it in his power to 
dispose arbitrarily of the destiny of so many 
nations, he allowed them always to co-operate in 
framing the laws which he gave them. His con- 


duct was the same in regard to all the countries, 
the old governments of which he changed. In 
1800, he invited the deputies of northern Italy to 
come to Lyons, and discussed with them the con- 
stitution which should govern them. 1 

In 1805, another extraordinary council was 
called together at Paris to constitute the king- 
dom of Italy. In Holland, the legislative body 
of the country was charged with the duty of fram- 
ing the constitution. For Switzerland, the act of 
mediation was in like manner the work of the 
deputies of the cantons assembled at Paris. 

The system of the Emperor, which consisted in 
calling near him the most distinguished persons of 
a country, in order to work out its regeneration, 
having procured so happy results for Switzerland 
and Italy, Napoleon resolved, in 1808, to apply it 
to Spain, which, more than any other nation, 
needed a political reorganisation. 

The Emperor did not go to Bayonne with the 
intention of dethroning the kings of Spain ; but 
when he saw Charles IV. and Ferdinand at his 
feet, and could judge for himself of their complete 
incapacity, he pitied the lot of a great people, and, 

1 This extraordinary council comprised all the notabilities 
of the republic, the clergy, the magistracy, the administra- 
tions of the departments and of the principal cities, the cham- 
bers of commerce, the academies and the universities, the 
national guards, and the troops of the line. All classes and 
all professions sent their representatives. 


as he said himself, he seized by the forelock the 
opportunity which fortune presented him of recon- 
stituting Spain, and of uniting her intimately with 
his system. He assembled at Bayonne an extra- 
ordinary national junta, composed of deputies 
elected by all the provinces. A plan of constitu- 
tion was opened to the free discussion of the junta ; 
this plan provided for a senate, a council of state, 
the cortes or assemblies of the nation divided into 
three bans; he adopted the judicial system of 
France ; equality in payment of imposts, and in 
admission to public employments, was guarantied ; 
entails were diminished ; liberty of the press was 
authorized, to take effect two years after the adop- 
tion of the constitution; finally, that charter se- 
cured all the rights which the Spanish people de- 
sired, and put an end to all the old abuses, such as 
the inquisition, feudal privileges, etc. 1 [la commu- 
nicating to the people of the peninsula his inten- 
tions, the .Emperor addressed them hi these beau- > 
tiful words : " Spaniards ! after long agony your 
" nation is on the verge of dissolution. I have wit- 

1 Upon arriving at Madrid, the Emperor abolished the in- 
quisition. He reduced the convents, at the same time pro- 
viding an honorable subsistence for the monks, and increasing 
the salaries of the country curates. He suppressed the feudal 
rights and personal services. He transferred the custom-houses 
to the frontiers. Finally, the alienation by gift of certain civil 
and ecclesiastical impositions was revoked, and all seigneurial 
jurisdiction was abolished. Bignon, voL viii. p. 64. 


" nessed your sufferings, and bring you a remedy. I 
" do not wish to reign over your land, but I desire to 
" acquire an eternal right to the love and gratitude 
" of your posterity. Your monarchy is decrepit ; 
" I will renew its youth. I will improve your in- 
" stitutions, and, if you will second me, enable 
" you to enjoy the benefits of a reform without 
" violence, disorder, or convulsion. Spaniards ! I 
" have convoked a general assembly of delegates 
'* from the provinces and the cities. I desire to 
" assure myself, personally, of your wants and your 
" wishes ; I will then place your glorious crown 
" upon the head of another self, promising you a 
" constitution which reconciles the gentle and salu- 
" tary authority of the sovereign with the liberty 
" and privileges of the people ; for I desire that 
" your latest children shall preserve my memory, 

" and say, He was the regenerator of our country JJ 

But no nation was less prepared than Spain to 

\ undergo a social revolution. She was deaf to this 

J noble language, and rejected the only hand which 
could save her. At the present time she ought to 
feel regrets all the more bitter, since the terrible 
prediction of the Emperor at Saint Helena is being 
accomplished : " I would have spared them," said 
he, " the dreadful tyranny which tramples them 
" under foot 3 and the fearful agitations which await 

yf If war is the scourge of humanity, this scourge 


loses a great part of its unhappy influence when the 
force of arms is called to found, not to destroy. 
The wars of the Empire have been like the over- 
flow of the Nile : when the waters of the river 
cover the fields of Egypt, one would imagine that 
the country was laid waste ; but hardly have the 
waters retired, before they are followed by fertility 
and abundance! 



European association. Liberty in France. 

WHEN the fortune of arms had rendered Napo- 
leon master of the greater part of the continent, 
he desired to use his conquests for the establisL- 
inent of a European confederation. 1 . 

Prompt to apprehend the tendency of civilisa- 
tion, the Emperor hastened its march by executing, 
without delay, that which otherwise had been en- 
folded in the distant decrees of Providence. His 
genius foresaw that the rivalry which separates 

1 He caused the supplementary act to be preceded by the 
following remarkable words : " I intended," said he, in speak- 
ing of the past, " to organize a great, federative European sys- 
' tern, which I had conceived as conformable to the spirit of 
' the age, and favorable to the progress of civilisation. In 
' order to be able to complete it, and give it all the breadth 
' and stability of which it was susceptible, I adjourned the es- 
' tablishment of several internal institutions more especially 
" designed to protect the liberty of citizens." 


the different nations of Europe, would disappear / 
before a general interest well understood. / 

The more the world improves itself, the more 
are the barriers which separate men lowered, and 
the greater is the number of countries which re- 
ciprocal interests tend to unite. 

In the infancy of society, the state of nature 
existed between man and man; then a common 
interest united a small number of individuals who 
surrendered some of their natural rights in order 
that society might guaranty to them complete 
enjoyment of the rest. Then was formed the 
tribe, an association of men among whom the 
state of nature disappeared, and law took the place 
of the right of the strongest. The greater the 
progress of civilisation, on a correspondingly more 
extensive ecale was this transformation effected. 
Men fought at first from gate to gate, from hill to 
hill ; then the spirit of conquest and the spirit of 
defence gave rise to cities, provinces, states ; and 
a common danger having united a large number of 
these territorial fractions, nations were formed. 
Then the national interests having embraced all the 
local and provincial interests, wars were carried on 
only between people and people ; and each people, 
in its turn, made a triumphal march over the terri-_ 
tory of its neighbor, when it was led by a great 
man, and attended by a great principle. The com- 
mune, the city, and the province, have thus, one 


after the other, enlarged their social sphere, and 
extended the limits of the circle, outside of which 
the state of nature exists. This transformation 

( stopped at the frontier of each country ; and it is 
still force, not right, which decides the lot of na- 

/ __tions. 

To replace among the nations of Europe the 

'* state of nature by the social state, such was the 
idea of the Emperor ; all his political combinations 
tended to this great end ; but it was necessary, in 
order to reach it, to bring England and Russia to 

( a frank concurrence in his views. 

" Every war in Europe," said Napoleon, " is a 
" civil war. The Holy Alliance is an idea stolen 
" from me." That is to say, a holy alliance of the 
nations through their kings, and not of the kings 
against the nations. In this consists the immeas- 
urable difference between his idea, and the man- 
ner in which it was realized. Napoleon had dis- 
placed the sovereigns for the temporary interests 
of the nations ; in 1815, the nations were dis- 
placed for the particular interests of the sover- 
eigns. The statesmen of that epoch, consulting 
only hatreds and passions, founded European equi- 
librium upon the rivalry of the great powers, in- 
stead of settling it upon general mutual inter- 
ests. So their system has crumbled to ruins in all 
its parts. 

The policy of the Emperor, on the contrary, 



consisted in founding a solid European association, / 
by causing his system to rest upon complete na- I 
tionalities, and upon general interests fairly satis- / 
fied. If fortune had not deserted him, he would 
have held in his hands all the means necessary for 
the new constitution of Europe : he had kept in 
reserve whole countries, of which he could dispose 
in order to attain his end. Dutch, Romans, Pied- 
montese, inhabitants of Bremen and of Hamburg, 
all of you who have been astonished to find your- 
selves Frenchmen, you will return to the atmos- 
phere of nationality which suits your antecedents 
and your position; and France, in surrendering 
the rights which victory gave her over you, still 
acts for her own proper interests ; for her interests 
can never be separated from those of civilized na- 
tions. In order to cement the European associa- 
tion, the Emperor, to use his own words, would 
have caused to be adopted a European code, and a 
European court of cassation, to correct all errors, as 
the Court of Cassation in France corrects the errors 
of French tribunals. He would have founded a 
European Institute to animate, direct, and unite 
all the learned associations of Europe. 1 Uniform- 
ity of coins and money, weights and measures, and 
uniformity in legislation, would have been secured 
by his powerful intervention. 

1 The Emperor had already commenced this branch of Eu- 
ropean association for the sciences, by offering European prizes 


Thus would have been accomplished the last 
grand transformation for our continent ; and as com- 
munal interests had risen superior to individual in- 
terests, and then interests of cities to communal 
interests, and interests of provinces to interests of 
cities, and finally, national interests to interests of 
provinces ; so, on precisely the same principle, Eu- 
ropean interests would have ruled over national 
interests and humanity would have been satisfied; 
for Providence could not have intended that one 
nation should be happy only at the expense of 
others, that there should be in Europe only victors 
and vanquished, and not the reconciled and harmo- 
nious members of one great family. 

Napoleonic Europe once founded, the Emperor 
would have proceeded in France to the establish- 
ment of his institutions of peace. He would have 
consolidated liberty ; he had only to let loose the 
cords of the net-work he had prepared. 

The government of Napoleon, better than any 

for new discoveries or inventions. Notwithstanding the exist- 
ence of war, Davy, of London, and Hermann, of Berlin, won 
prizes offered by the Institute. 

In the same idea of European confraternity, the Emperor 
caused to be declared by a senatus-consultum, of the 21st 
February, 1808, that those who had rendered or should render 
important services to the state, or who should introduce 
inventions, or useful industries, or should form great estab- 
lishments, might after one year of residence be admitted to 
enjoy the rights of French citizenship, which rights should he 
conferred upon them by a decree. 


other, could have sustained liberty, for the simple 
reason that liberty would have strengthened his 
throne, though it overthrows such thrones as have 
not a solid foundation. 

Liberty would have fortified his power, be- 
cause Napoleon had established in France all that 
ought to precede liberty ; 1 because his power r 
posed upon the whole mass of the nation ; because 
his interests were the same as those of the people ; 
because, finally, the most perfect confidence reigned 
between the ruler and the governed. 

In fact, without identical interests, without afc 
solute confidence, no authority is possible; how- 
ever well a government may act, or intend to act, 
it is doomed to perish if evil intents are attributed 
to all its acts. " One of the indispensable qualities 
" of a government," says M. Thiers, 2 " is to have 
" that good reputation which defends it from in- \ 
"justice. When it has lost that, and every thing j 
" even the wrongs of others and of fortune \ 
" is imputed as a crime, there remains no longer \ 
" the faculty of governing, and this lack of author- 
" ity should condemn it to retire." 

In England, in 1687, the want of confidence of 
the people towards the sovereign led to fatal con- 
sequences. The king, James II., published, of his 
own authority, a declaration of liberty of con- 

1 See the commencement of the third chapter, page 34. 

2 History of the Revolution. 


science for all his subjects; but the nation dis- 
trusted the intention of the sovereign, and think- 
ing that he desired by the declaration to favor 
the triumph of Catholicism felt indignant at an act 
which it suspected of duplicity, although the prin- 
ciple involved was just and generous. 

To the Emperor Napoleon, on the contrary, 
possessing the confidence of the people, all was 
easy. He had at the beginning surmounted the 
greatest difficulty and laid the principal founda- 
tions of a solid establishment, by reconciling 
among themselves all the members of the French 
family. All agreed as to the fundamental basis 
of the constitution. The interests of the majority 
were mingled to such a degree with those of his 
dynasty, that La 1811, on the very spot where, a 
few years before, implacable hatred to royalty had 
been sworn, all Paris and all France were seen to 
salute with their acclamations the birth of a child, 
because that child appeared to be a pledge of the 
duration and stability of the imperial government. 

Beloved especially by the people, could Napo- 
leon fear to grant political rights to all the citi? 
zens? After being chosen consul for life, he re- 
established the principle of the right of elec- 
tion, and used these significant words : " For the 
" sake of the stability of the government, it is ne- 
" cessary that the people should have a share in 
" the elections ! " Thus already in 1803, Napoleon 


foresaw that liberty would .fortify Ms power. His 
wannest partisans being among the people, the 
more he lowered the electoral qualification, the 
better chances had his natural friends of arriving 
at the legislative assembly; the more power he 
gave to the masses, the more he strengthened his 

Nor would liberty of discussion in the Cham- 
bers have endangered the imperial government; 
for, all being agreed upon the fundamental ques- 
tions, an opposition would only have had the effect 
of giving birth to a noble emulation, and instead 
of expending its energies in attempting the over- 
throw of government, it would have confined its 
efforts to endeavoring to improve it. ^ 

Finally, the liberty of the press would have 
served only to exhibit in better light the grandeur 
of the plans of Napoleon, to proclaim the benefits 
attending his reign. As General, Consul, Em- 
peror, having done every thing for the people, 
would he have feared being reproached with mak- 
ing conquests which had resulted in the prosperity 
and glory of France, and in the peace of the 
world ? "Would he have feared that a more bril- 
liant glory would have been contrasted with his 
own? No, a government glorious with laurels 
both civil and military, could not have feared the 
light ! The more moral power an authority has, 
the less necessity does it feel to employ material 


force ; and the more power public opinion confers 
upon it, the better able it is to dispense with 
using it. 

Let us repeat, then: identity of interests of 
sovereign and of the people, is the essential 
foundation of a dynasty. A government is firm- 
ly and immovably seated when it can say to 
itself: That which will be for the advantage of 
the greatest number, that which will secure the 
liberty of the citizen and the prosperity of the 
. country, will constitute the force of my authority, 
and will consolidate ray power. But when a gov- 

ernment finds partisans only in a single class, when 
Jtf Y liberty furnishes arms only to its enemies, how can 
one hope that it will enlarge the system of elec- 

tion, that it will favor liberty? Can a govern- 
ment be expected to commit suicide ? 


ThuSj under Napoleon, a normal state was 
arrived at without shocks and without troubles, 
a state in which liberty would have been the sup- 
port of power, the guaranty of public welfare, in- 
stead of being a weapon of war, and a torch of dis- 

It is with an impression similar to that which 
follows an intoxicated dream, that one dwells upon 
the picture of happiness and stability that Europe 
would have presented, if the comprehensive plans 
of the Emperor had been realized. Each country, 
limited by its natural boundaries, united to its 


neighbors by relations of interest and friendship, 
would have enjoyed the benefits of independence, 
of peace, and of liberty ; and sovereigns, free from 
fear and suspicion, would have applied themselves 
to improving the condition of their people, and to 
introducing among them all the advantages of 
civilisation ! 

Instead of that, what have we now in Europe ? 
Every one, when he goes to sleep at night, fears 
the awakening of the morning ; for the germs of 
evil are distributed everywhere, and every honest 
soul dreads even blessings, because of the sacrifices 
which must be made to obtain them ! 

Friends of liberty, who have rejoiced at the 
downfall of Napoleon, your error has been fatal ! 
How many tedious years must pass, how many 
struggles and sacrifices must be gone through and 
suffered, before you will arrive again at the point 
to which Napoleon had advanced you ! 
And you, statesmen of the Congress of Vienna, 
who have been masters of the world, while stand- 
ing upon the ruins of the Empire you might have 
played a splendid part, but you did not compre- 
hend it ! You have aroused the people in the 
name of liberty, and even of license, against Napo- 
leon ; you have put him under the ban of Europe 
as a despot and a tyrant ; you claim to have de 
livered the nations and assured their repose. They 
for a moment have believed you ; but nothing solid 


and permanent can be built upon falsehood and 
error. Napoleon had closed the gulf of revolu- 
tions ; you, overthrowing him, have reopened it. 
Take care that the gulf does not swallow you up ! 



WE have exhibited iii the preceding chapters 
all the chances of duration which the imperial cre- 
ations possessed. But, will it be said the edifice 
of the interior, which you deemed so solid and firm, 
has been overturned ? that foreign policy which 
you consider so profound has proved the cause of 
his ruin ? 

We reply : The edifice of the ulterior was 
solid and firm; for the shock which overturned 
it did not come from the interior : as for the sys- 
tem conceived by the Emperor, it was not defini- 
tively established, and it would have been neces- 
sary to put it into operation in order to demonstrate 
its strength. 

The Emperor fell, because he completed his 
work too hastily because, events pressing too rap- 
idly^Jie conquered too promptly. Anticipating, 
by his genius, both time and men, when fortunate, 
he was regarded as a god ; when unfortunate, 


nothing was perceived but his rashness. Borne 
along by the current of victory, his rapid course 
could not be followed by the philosophers, who, 
restricting their ideas to the narrow circle of the 
domestic hearth, on account of a gleam of liberty, 
aided in quenching the very fire of civilisation. 

At the same time foreign nations, impatient 
of the temporary evils of war, forgot the benefits 
which Napoleon brought them, and on account of 
a transient ill, rejected a whole future of independ- 
ence. It was not within the power of even the 
greatest genius of modern times, in so few years 
to destroy in foreign countries all prejudices and 
convince all consciences. 

^Z France had become too great, in consequence 
of the Revolution, not to awaken rivalries and 
hatreds ; in order to appease them, it would have 
been necessary to descend in the scale from the 
time of the commencement of the Empire. But 
these very rivalries caused Napoleon to mount to 
the climax of his power ; when afterwards he was 
obliged to descend, he could not stop in his down- 
ward course. 

Time not having cemented his alliances, T>r ef- 
faced the memory of too recent enmities, his allies, 
upon the first check, turned against him. De- 
ceived in his expectations, the Emperor refused to 
accept propositions which he did not think sincere ; 
the enemy, on their side, seeing Napoleon always 


more haughty after a defeat, thought that he never 
would consent to a definitive peace. 

Napoleon's plans were constantly enlarged in 
proportion with the elements which he had at his 
disposition, and he fell because he desired to ac- 
complish in ten years a work which would have 
required several generations. 

Not then in consequence of impotence did the 
Emperor succumb, but in consequence of exhaus- 
tion. And in spite of his terrible reverses and in- 
numerable calamities, the French people always 
supported him by their suffrages, sustained him by 
their efforts, and encouraged him by their attach- 

It is a consolation to those who feel the blood 
of a great man flowing through their veins, to think 
of the regrets which accompanied his removal. It 
is a great and proud thought that it required all 
the efforts of allied Europe to tear Napoleon from 
France, which he had rendered so glorious. It 
was not the French people, in their wrath, who 
overturned his throne ; it required twice twelve 
hundred thousand foreign swords to break his 
imperial sceptre ! 

Full of beauty and honor are the obsequies of *"\ 
the sovereign, whom a nation in tears, and glory j 
clothed in mourning, accompany to his last resting- / 
place ! 



THE period of the Empire was a war of life and 
death, waged by England against France. Eng- 
land triumphed ; but, thanks to the creative ge- 
nius of Napoleon, France, although vanquished, has 
f- lost, substantially, less than England. The finances 
I of France are still the most prosperous in Europe ; 
| England bends under the weight of debt. The 
impulse given to industry and to commerce has 
not been stopped in spite of our reverses ; and at 
this time the European continent supplies itself 
\ with the greater part of the products which Eng- 
land formerly supplied. 

Now, we ask, who are the greatest statesmen, 
those who have ruled over countries which have 
gained, in spite of defeat, or those who have 
governed countries which have lost, in spite of 
victory ? 

The period of the Empire was a war of life and 
death against the old European system. The old 


system has triumphed ; but in spite of the fall of 
Napoleon, the Napoleonic Ideas have germinated 
everywhere. The victors have even adopted the 
idfeas of the vanquished, and the people consume 
themselves in efforts to rebuild what Napoleon 
had established among them. 

In France the realisation of the ideas of the 
Emperor, under other names or other forms, is 
demanded without cessation. If a great measure 
or a great work is put in execution, it is generally 
a project of Napoleon, wjrich is prpceeded with or 
finished. Every act of power, every proposition 
of the Chambers, places itself under the aegis of 
Napoleon, in order to secure popularity ; and upon 
a word fallen from his lips, a whole system is 

Italy and Poland have endeavored to recover^ 
the national organisation which Napoleon had given! 

Spain sheds profusely the blood of her children, 
in order to re-establish the institutions which the 
consultum of Bayonne, in 1808, guarantied. The 
troubles which agitate her are but the reaction 
which spontaneously arises against resistance to 
the ideas of the Emperor. 

At London, also, a reaction has taken place, 
and the major-general of the French army at 
Waterloo has been feted by the English people 
like a conqueror. 


Belgium, in 1830, manifested distinctly her 
desire to become again what she was under the 

Several countries of Germany ask urgently for 
the laws which Napoleon gave them. 

The Swiss cantons unanimously prefer the act 
of mediation of 1 803 to the compact which unites 

Finally, we have seen even hi a democratic 
republic (Berne), those districts which formerly 
belonged to France, demand in 1838, from the 
government of Berne, the imperial laws, of which 
their incorporation with that republic had deprived 
them since 1815. 

Let us then ask again, who are the greatest 
statesmen, those who found a system which crum- 
bles in spite of their all-sufficient power, or those 
who found a system which survives their defeat, 
and rises from its ruins ? 

-N. -The Napoleonic Ideas have then the character 
of ideas which control the movement of society, 
since they advance by their own force, although 
deprived of their author ; like a body which, 
launched into space, arrives by its own momentum 
and weight at the end designed. 

There is no longer any necessity to reconstruct 
the system of the Emperor ; it will reconstruct it- 
self. Sovereigns and nations will concur in re- 



establishing it ; because each one will see in it a 
guaranty of order, of peace, and of prosperity. 

Besides, where can we find, at this day, the ex- 
traordinary man who can command the attention 
of the world by the respect due to the superiority 
of his conceptions and ideas ? 

The genius of our epoch has need only of simple 
reason. Thirty years ago it was necessary to fore- 
see and prepare ; now it is a question only of cor- 
rect appreciation, and of careful collection and ar- 

" In contemporary, as in historical facts,*' Na- / 
poleon has said, "lessons may be found, but rarely j 
"models." It is impossible to copy that which! 
has been done, because imitations do not always \ 
produce resemblances. 

In fact, to copy in the details, instead of copy- 
ing in the spirit, a past government, would be to 
act like a general, who, finding himself upon the 
same field of battle where Napoleon or Frederic 
had conquered, should undertake to secure victory 
by repeating the same manoeuvres. 

In reading the history of nations, as the history 
of battles, it is necessary to draw general princi- 
ples, without confining one's self to follow servilely, 
step by step, vestiges which are imprinted, not 
upon sand, but upon a more elevated ground the 
interests of humanity. 

In conclusion, let us repeat it, the Napoleonic 


Idea is not one of war, but a social, industrial, com- 
x~j meroial idea, and one which concerns all mankind. 
If to some it appears always surrounded by the 
thunder of combats, that is because it was in 
fact for too long a time veiled by the smoke of 
cannon and the dust of battles. But now the 
clouds are dispersed, and we can see, beyond the 
glory of arms, a civil glory greater and more en- 

May the shade of the Emperor repose, then, in 
peace! His memory grows greater every day. 
Every surge that breaks upon the rock of Saint 
Helena, responding to a whisper of Europe, brings 
a homage to his memory, a regret to his ashes, 
and the echo of Longwood repeats over his tomb : 


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vA,*^ I^^Hflirt. 

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24.91 Napoleonic ideas