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FrRevol_601-650.indd 26 3/16/12 1:15 PM CHAPTER XVI Ofthe Declaration ofRights Proclaimed by the Chamber of Representatives, 5th ofjuly, z8z5. Bonaparte signed his second abdication on the 22d ofJune, 1815; and on the 8th ofthe following month the foreign troops entered the capital. During this very short interval, the partisans of Napoleon lost a great deal of precious time in trying to secure, against the will ofthe nation, the crown to his son.1 Besides, the Chamber ofRepresentatives contained a number of men who would certainly not have been elected without the influence ofparty-spirit; and yet it sufficed that, for the first time during fifteen years, six hundred Frenchmen elected in any manner by the people should be assembled together and deliberate in public, in order that the spirit of liberty and the talent ofspeaking might reappear. Men entirely new in the career of politics spoke with distinguished ability: others, who had not been heard of during the reign of Bonaparte, recovered their old vigor, and yet, I repeat it, there were deputies in that Chamber whom the nation, if left to itself, would never have accepted. But such is the strength of public opinion when men feel themselves in its presence, such is the enthusiasm inspired by a forum where you are heard by all the enlightened men of Europe, that those sacred principles, obscured by long years of despotism, reappeared in less than a fortnight; and in what circumstances did they appear! When factions ofall kinds were kindled in the assembly itself, and when three hundred thousand foreign soldiers were near the walls of Paris. 1. Napoleon II. FrRevol_601-650.indd 27 3/16/12 1:15 PM CHAPTER XVI. Declaration ofRights of5july z8z5 A bill of rights, for I have a pleasure on this occasion2 in making use of the English expression, which recalls only happy and august recollections ; a bill of rights was proposed and carried in the midst of these disasters ; and in the few words we are about to read, there exists an immortal power-truth.* I stop at this last act, which preceded by a few days the complete invasion of France by foreign armies: it is there that I finish my historical reflections. In fact, there is no more a France so long as foreign armies occupy our territory. Let us cast our eyes, before ending, toward those general ideas which have guided us throughout the course of the work; and let us, ifpossible, present a picture ofthat England which we have so often held up as a model to the legislators of France, by accusing them every time that they departed from it.3 * The author intended to have inserted here the Declaration of the Chamber of Representatives , eliminating whatever was not in harmony with the principles professed in this work. This task is of too delicate a nature for the editors to take on themselves to complete it. This chapter is evidently nothing but an outline. Notes in the margin ofthe manuscript pointed out the principal facts of which Madame de Stael purposed treating, and the distinguished names she meant to cite. (Note by the original editors) 2 . On July 4, I 8I 5. This declaration, titled Declaration des Droits des Franfais et desprincipes fondamentaux de leur constitution, drew inspiration from the English Bill of Rights of I689 rather than the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizen of I789. The new declaration, drafted by Garat, former deputy to the Estates General and former minister of justice, stipulated, among other things, popular sovereignty, division of powers, the inviolability of the monarch, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. After the entry of foreign armies in Paris (July 5) and the return of Louis XVIII (July 8), the Chamber was officially dissolved on July I3 and Garat's declaration was abandoned. 3ยท There are significant differences between the published and the original version of this chapter. For more information, see the account given by Chinatsu Takeda, "Presentation des documents," in Revuefranfaise d'histoire des ideespolitiques (Paris: Picard, 2003), no. I8, 2e., 355-61. Madame de Stael's original version of this chapter is reproduced on pp. 365-68. FrRevol_601-650.indd 28 3/16/12 1:15 PM ...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9781614878636
Related ISBN
9780865977327
MARC Record
OCLC
836874520
Pages
834
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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