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Eylau: Precis Des Travaux de la Grande Armée

Senate Decree on Special Conscription: 4 December 1806

MISTERS Regnault (of Saint-Jean-in Angely) and Lacuée, speakers of Council-of State, charged to present a project of senate-consult, had been introduced at the beginning of the meeting.

Mr. Regnault having gone up to the platform, made reading of a project of senate- consult, bearing on:  “That eighty thousand conscripts will be picked up in 1807; the call will be made at the times which will be fixed by the imperial decrees; they will be taken among the French born since and including January 1, 1787, up to December 31 of the same year.” 

Mr. Regnault then exposed the reasons for this senate-consult in the following terms: 

MY SIRS, SENATORS,

“A little more than one year has passed since H. M. the Emperor and King, took leave of his capital to push back the aggression of the Emperor of Austria, instilling in the center of the Senate the insurance which the French soldiers would owe them.

“Europe saw, Senators, with which glorious fidelity this majestic promise was fulfilled, and in this day, anniversary of the immortal victory of Austerlitz, we like to recall to the French People the feeling of happiness and the recognition.  But this memorable time is already separated from us by triumphs no less acclaimed.  This army, that headed by H. M. found three months were enough last year to fight, to overcome, to pacify, comes to fight and overcome a new enemy.  The soldiers of H. M. have now a second debt made owed them.

"French, it is for you that which is yours to do.  H. M. did not rest on his people no more than on his army, and none of his hopes were misled.  Before going towards the Danube, he, in liaison with you, Senators, had called up in advance for the military service the conscripts of 1806, and given task of guarding our coasts, our borders, and our fortified towns, to the citizens trained in national guards.

"The national guards honorably fulfilled their obligations; they are still under the arms in several departments of the Empire.  The young conscripts answered with fidelity and courage the call of the Emperor and the fatherland.  They are in the ranks of our victorious phalanxes.  There they compete with the old soldiers, and it is because of prudence that trusted their bravery and with the genius that they employed, that the Empire owes its safety and its glory.  It is with this absolute devotion, with this whole confidence of the people and the army, with its Emperor, that France must see the war pushed to 250 miles beyond its borders, and all the calamities which are inseparable with it, falling down on those which caused it.

"Senators, that the precaution of H. M. proposed last year with your wisdom, is not less necessary, but more necessary even today.

“It is necessary to prepare a new conscription to carry, if it were necessary, towards the edges of the Rhine, of the Vistula, the Sprée, the Oder, a new force for our victorious army.  Is needed that the interior regiments are complementary, and present to our enemies a reserve prepared to fly where the voice of H. M. will call it.  One needs in the interest of the people and the armies, that their force makes it possible for H. M. to spare their bravery, and that while sending more brave men to the engagements, it costs them less brave men to obtain the victory.  The war that England paid to renew, and bribed for the prolongation, is not an ordinary war any more besides:  it should not finish with the autumn of the next year.  H. M. wants to save his people and his allies this renewal of periodic of battles, where glory and the triumphs are always bought by losses and sacrifices.  He declared in Europe to them his intention to ensure a general and lasting peace.  It is while applying to all the European shores, the principles which he applied to all the seas, which the Emperor calls to bring back to nations and civilized nations the old principles of law.  It is by exiling the vessels of England from all the coasts where H. I. and R. M., will carry his victorious weapons and his avenging justice, that he will punish the English ministry that is guilty of its refusal to give to the World, usefully and honorably for England, the peace after the which World sighs.  There are these noble thoughts, these generous projects, which H. M. entrusts to the Senate and the nation, whose execution still requires the contest of all the wills.  It is to ensure the realization of it, that the conscription of 1807 as of this moment will be called by you, Senators, as you called, fourteen months ago, that of 1806.  This extraordinary measure, as the circumstances that Europe is in, will produce similar and happier effects still than the ones last year.  Those conscripts marched to help conquer kingdoms;  those which will follow them will help to conquer peace.  You will bring closer for them the time of self-sacrifice and combat;  they will bring closer for their fatherland the time of peace and the recognition. 

"Here is the project of Senate-consult that H. M. ordered to present to you."

The Senate returned the examination of the project of senate-consult, and the report to be made on the message of H. M. at a commission that was named forthwith, and was composed of the senators Lacépède, Garat, Bathelemy, Valence and Pérée.

Today December 4, this commission issued with the Senate, by the body of the senator Lacépède, the following report: 

MY SIRS, SENATORS,

"You returned to your special subcommittee the message which was addressed to you by H. I. and R. M. in his General quarters in Berlin, and which was communicated to you by H. A. S. the prince Arch-Chancellor of the Empire.  You also returned to your special subcommittee the imperial decree as well as the two reports of the minister of H. M., and a project of senate-consult relating to the military conscription of 1807, and of which I will read.  Your commission was of unanimous opinion, which the Senate was to hasten to adopt the project of senate-consult which is proposed to you, and whose reasons were developed so well by the speakers of the Government, and that are exposed in a so admirable way in the message of H. Imperial and Royal M.  Besides it believed it better to be able to assist the feeling which this so memorable message made us test, which while proposing to you to offer to H. Imperial M., in an address of which the commission instructed me to submit the project to you, the homage of your deep devotion and of your sharp and respectful recognition.  I have thus have the honor to propose to the Senate, in the name of his special subcommittee, to adopt, firstly, the project of senate-consult relating to the military conscription; in the second place, the project of decree as well as the address which I will have the honor to present to you. 

On this report, the Senate, in the same meeting, adopted the project of decree and the address proposed by his commission.  (These two parts will be published when H. M., with whom this issuance was made, orders their printing).

 

 

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