The Frankfort Declaration
December 1, 1813.
British and Foreign State Papers, I, 911
This manifesto of the allied powers was issued just as their armies were about to enter France. Its purpose, as shown by various expressions in the document, should be noticed. Its phraseology upon such points as the future of France and its boundaries also requires attention. The latter may be compared with that of the first draft as quoted by Fournier.
The French government has just ordered a new levy of 300,000 conscripts. The reasons of the senatus-consultum contain a provocation to the allied powers. They find themselves again called upon to promulgate in the face of the world the views which govern them in the present war, the principles which constitute the basis of their conduct, their views and their determinations.
The allied powers are not at war with France, but with that haughtily announced preponderance, that preponderance which, to the misfortune of Europe and of France, the Emperor Napoleon has for too long a time exercised outside of the boundaries of his empire.
Victory has led the allied armies to the Rhine. The first use which their Imperial and Royal Majesties have made of victory has been to offer peace to His Majesty the Emperor of the French. An attitude reinforced by the accession of all the sovereigns and princes of Germany has not had any influence upon the conditions of peace. The conditions are founded upon the independence of the French Empire, as well as upon the independence of the other states of Europe. The views of the powers are just in their object, generous and liberal in their application, reassuring for all, and honorable for each.
The allied sovereigns desire that France should be great, strong and happy, because the great and strong French power is one of the fundamental bases of the social edifice. They desire that France should be happy, that French commerce should rise again, and that the arts, those blessings of peace, should flourish again, because a great people cannot be tranquil except in as far as it is happy. The powers confirm to the French Empire an extent of territory which France never knew under its kings, because a valiant nation should not lose rank for having in its turn experienced reverse in an obstinate and bloody conflict, in which it has fought with its usual daring.
But the powers also wish to be free, happy and tranquil. They desire a state of peace which, by a wise distribution of power and a just equilibrium, may preserve henceforth their peoples from the innumerable calamities which for the past twenty years have weight upon Europe.
The allied powers will not lay aside their arms without having attained that great and beneficent result, that noble object of their efforts. They will not lay aside their arms until the political condition of Europe shall be again consolidated, until immutable principles shall have resumed their rights over vain pretensions, until the sanctity of treaties shall have finally assured a real peace for Europe.
Frankfort, December 1, 1813.
Title: The constitutions and other select documents illustrative of the history of France, 1789-1901
References: Fournier, Napoleon, 648-650; Rose, Napoleon, II, 346-347; Lavisse and Rambaud, Histoire générale, IX, 848-849; Sorel, L'Europe et la révolution française, VIII, 224-225.
Placed on the Napoleon Series 5/00
© Copyright 1995-2008, The Napoleon Series, All Rights Reserved.