Research Subjects: Government & Politics


Title I

Inheritance

Imperial Family

Regency

Grand Dignitaries

Grand Officers

Oaths

Senate

Council of State

Legislative Body

Tribunate

Electoral Colleges

High Imperial Court

Judicial Class

Promulgation

Title XVI


Constitution of the Year XII

May 18, 1804 (28 F1oréaI, Year XII)

Through this measure the life consulate was transformed into the Empire. It should be studied in conjunction with the constitutions of the years VIII and X, which it supplemented. Most of the institutions created by the two preceding constitutions were retained, but with important alterations which should be noticed. A number of new institutions also call for notice. The question of establishing the imperial dignity, but not the whole document, was submitted to popular vote.

Title I.

  1. The government of the French Republic is entrusted to an emperor, who takes the title of EMPEROR OF THE FRENCH.
    Justice is administered in the name of the Emperor by the officers whom he appoints.
  2. Napoleon Bonaparte, present First Consul of the Republic, is Emperor of the French.

Title II. Of the Inheritance.

  1. The imperial dignity is hereditary in the direct natural and legitimate lineage of Napoleon Bonaparte, from male to male, by order of primogeniture, and to the perpetual exclusion of women and their descendants.
  2. Napoleon Bonaparte can adopt the children or grandchildren of his brothers, provided they have fully reached the age of eighteen years, and he himself has no male children at the moment of adoption.
    His adopted sons enter into the line of his direct descendants.
    If, subsequently to the adoption, male children come to him, his adopted sons can be summoned only after the natural and legitimate descendants.
    Adoption is forbidden to the successors of Napoleon Bonaparte and their descendants.
  3. In default of a natural and legitimate heir or an adopted heir of Napoleon Bonaparte, the imperial dignity is devolved and bestowed upon Joseph Bonaparte and his natural and legitimate descendants, by order of primogeniture, from male to male, to the perpetual exclusion of women and their descendants.
  4. In default of Joseph Bonaparte and his male descendants, the imperial dignity is devolved and bestowed upon Louis Bonaparte, and his natural and legitimate descendants by order of primogeniture from male to male to the perpetual exclusion of women and their descendants.
  5. In default of a natural and legitimate heir and of an adopted heir of Napoleon Bonaparte;
    In default of natural and legitimate heirs of Joseph Bonaparte and his male descendants;
    Of Louis Bonaparte and his male descendants;
    An organic senatus-consultum, proposed to the Senate by the titular high dignitaries of the Empire and submitted for the acceptance of the people, appoints the emperor and controls in his family the order of inheritance, from male to male, to the perpetual exclusion of women and their descendants.
  6. Until the moment in which the election of the new emperor is completed, the affairs of the state are directed by the ministers, who form themselves into a council of government and who make their decisions by a majority of votes. The secretary of state keeps the register of the deliberations.

Title III. Of the Imperial Family.

  1. The members of the imperial family within the order of inheritance bear the title of French Princes.
    The eldest son of the Emperor bears that of Prince Imperial.
  2. A senatus-consultum regulates the manner of the education of the French princes.
  3. They are members of the Senate and of the Council of State when they have reached their eighteenth year.
  4. They cannot marry without the authorisation of the Emperor.
    The marriage of a French prince made without the authorisation of the Emperor entails deprivation of all right of inheritance, both for him who contracts it and for his descendants.
    Nevertheless, if there is no child from this marriage, and it becomes dissolved, the prince who had contracted it recovers his rights of inheritance.
  5. The documents which attest the birth, marriages, and decease of the members of the imperial family, are transmitted upon an order of the Emperor to the Senate, which orders their transcription upon its registers and their deposit in its archives.
  6. Napoleon Bonaparte establishes by statutes, to which his successors are required to conform:
    1st. The duties of the persons of both sexes, members of the imperial family, towards the Emperor;
    2d. An organization of the imperial palace in conformity with the dignity of the throne and the grandeur of the nation.
  7. The civil list remains as it has been regulated by articles 1 and 4 of the decree of May 26-June I, 1791.
    The French princes, Joseph and Louis Bonaparte, and, for the future, the younger natural amid legitimate sons of the Emperor, shall be treated in conformity with articles 1, 10, 11, 12 and 13 of the decree of December 21, 1790-April 6, 1791.
    The Emperor can fix the jointure of the Empress and assign it out of the civil list; his successors can change none of the dispositions which lie shall have made in this respect.
  8. The Emperor visits the departments: in consequence, imperial palaces arc established at the four principal points of the Empire.
    These palaces are designated and their appointments determined by a law.

Title IV. Of the Regency.

  1. The Emperor is a minor until he has fully completed eighteen years; during his minority there is a regent of the Empire.
  2. The regent must be at least fully twenty-five years of age.
    Women are excluded from the regency.
  3. The Emperor designates the regent from among the French princes who are of the age required by the preceding article, and in default of them, from among the titular grand dignitaries of the Empire.
  4. In default of designation on the part of the Emperor, the regency is bestowed upon the prince the nearest in degree in the order of inheritance, who has fully completed twenty-five years.
  5. If, the Emperor not having designated the regent, none of the French princes have fully completed twenty-five years, the Senate elects the regent from the titular grand dignitaries of the Empire.
  6. If, by reason of the minority in age of the prince summoned to the regency in the order of heredity, it has been bestowed upon a more remote kinsman, or upon one of the titular grand dignitaries of the Empire, the regent who has entered upon his functions continues until the majority of the Emperor.
  7. No organic senatus-consultum can be issued during the regency, nor before the end of the third year which follows the majority.
  8. The regent exercises, until the majority of the Emperor all the attributes of the imperial dignity.
    Nevertheless, he cannot make appointments to the high dignities of the Empire, nor to the places of the grand officers, which may be vacant at the time of the regency, or which may become vacant during the minority, nor use the prerogative reserved to the Emperor to raise citizens to the rank of senator.
    He cannot dismiss the grand judge nor the secretary of state.
  9. He is not personally responsible for the acts of his administration.
  10. All the acts of the regency are in the name of the minor Emperor.
  11. The regent does not propose any project of law or of senatus-consultum, nor adopt any rule of public administration until after he has taken the opinion of the council of regency, composed of the titular high dignitaries of the Empire.
    He cannot declare war, nor sign treaties of peace, alliance, or commerce until after deliberation over it in the council of regency, whose members, for this case alone, have deliberative voice. The decision is by a majority of the votes; and if there is an equal division, it passes, according to the opinion of the regent.
    The minister of foreign affairs takes a seat in the council of regency, when this council deliberates over matters relative to his department.
    The grand judge minister of justice can be summoned there by order of the regent.
    The secretary of state keeps the register of its deliberations.
  12. The regency does not confer any right over the person of the minor Emperor.
  13. The stipend of the regent is fixed at one-fourth of the sum of the civil list.
  14. The guardianship of the minor Emperor is confided to his mother, and in her default, to the prince designated for that purpose by the predecessor of the minor Emperor.
    In default of the mother of the minor Emperor and of a prince designated by the Emperor, the Senate confides the guardianship of the minor Emperor to one of the titular grand dignitaries of the Empire.
    Neither the regent and his descendants nor women can be chosen for the guardianship of the minor Emperor.
  15. In case Napoleon Bonaparte shall make use of the power conferred upon him by article 4, title II, the document of adoption shall be drawn up in the presence of the titular grand dignitaries of the Empire, received by the secretary of state and transmitted immediately to the Senate in order to be transcribed upon its registers and deposited in its archives.
    When the Emperor designated either a regent for the minority or a prince for the guardianship of a minor Emperor, the same formalities are observed.
    The documents of designation, either of a regent for the minority or a prince for the guardianship of a minor Emperor, are revocable at will by the Emperor.
    Every document of adoption, of designation or of revocation of designation, which shall not have been transcribed upon the registers of the Senate before the decease of the Emperor shall be null and void.

Title V. Of the Grand Dignitaries of the Empire.

  1. The grand dignitaries of the Empire are these:
    Grand elector,
    Archchancellor of the Empire,
    Archchancellor of state,
    Archtreasurer,
    Constable,
    Grand admiral.
  2. The titular grand dignitaries of the Empire are appointed by the Emperor.
    They enjoy the same honors as the French princes and take rank immediately after them.
    The date of their reception determines the rank which they respectively occupy.
  3. The high dignitaries of the Empire are irremovable.
  4. The titular grand dignitaries of the Empire are senators and councillors of state.
  5. They form the grand council of the Emperor;
    They are members of the privy council;
    They compose the grand council of the Legion of Honor.
    The present members of the grand council of the Legion of Honor preserve their titles, functions and prerogatives for the duration of their lives.
  6. The Senate and the Council of State are presided over by the Emperor.
    When the Emperor does not preside over the Senate or the Council of State, he designates the one of the titular high dignitaries of the Empire who must preside.
  7. All the decrees of the Senate and of the Legislative Body are rendered in the name of the Emperor and are promulgated or published under the imperial seal.
  8. The grand elector performs the functions of chancellor;
    1st, For the convocation of the Legislative Body, the electoral colleges and the cantonal assemblies; 2nd, for the promulgation of the senatus-consulta providing for the dissolution either of the Legislative Body or of the electoral colleges.
    The grand elector presides in the absence of the Emperor when the Senate proceeds to the appointment of senators, legislators, and tribunes.
    He can reside in the palace of the Senate.
    He brings to the knowledge of the Emperor the claims formulated by the electoral colleges or the cantonal assemblies, for the preservation of their prerogatives.
    When a member of an electoral college is denounced, in conformity with article 21 of the organic senatus-consultum of 16 Thermidor, Year X, as being involved in some act prejudicial to honor or the fatherland, the grand elector invites the college to express its opinion. He brings the opinion of the college to the knowledge of the Emperor.
    The grand elector presents to the members of the Senate, the Council of State, the Legislative Body, and the Tribunate, the oath which they take at the hands of the Emperor.
    He receives the oath of the presidents of the department electoral colleges and the cantonal assemblies.
    He presents the solemn deputations of the Senate, Council of State, Legislative Body, Tribunate, and the elect oral colleges when they are admitted to the audience of the Emperor.
  9. The archchancellor of the Empire performs the functions of chancellor for the promulgation of the organic senatus-consulta and the laws.
    He performs, likewise, those of chancellor of the imperial palace.
    He is present at the annual report in which the high judge minister of justice gives an account to the Emperor of the abuses which may have been introduced into the administration of either civil or criminal justice.
    He presides over the high imperial court.
    He presides over the united sections of the Council of State, and of the Tribunate, in conformity with article 95, title XI.
    He is present at the celebration of the marriages and at the birth of the princes, at the coronation and at the obsequies of the Emperor. He signs the record which the secretary of state draws up.
    He presents to the titular grand dignitaries of the Empire, the ministers and the secretary of state, the grand civil officers of the crown, and the first president of the court of cassation, the oath which they take at the hands of the Emperor.
    He receives the oath of the members and of the bar of the court of cassation, and of the presidents and procureurs-general of the courts of appeal and the criminal courts.
    He presents the solemn deputations and the members of the courts of justice admitted. to the audience of the Emperor.
    He signs and seals the commissions and warrants of the members of the courts of justice and of tIne ministerial officers; he seals the commissions and warrants of civil functions, administrative and other certificates which shall be designated in the regulation providing for the organization of the seal.
  10. The archchancellor of state performs the functions of chancellor for the promulgation of treaties of peace and alliance and for the declarations of war.
    He presents to the Emperor and signs the letters of credence and tine ceremonial correspondence with the different courts of Europe, drawn up according to the forms of the imperial formulary of which he is the keeper.
    He is present at the annual report in which the minister of foreign affairs gives an account to the Emperor of the political situation of the state.
    He presents to the ambassadors and ministers of the Emperor at foreign courts the oath which they take at the hands of His Imperial Majesty.
    He receives the oath of the resident chargés d'affaires, secretaries of embassy and legation, commissioners-general and commissioners of commercial relations.
    He presents the extraordinary ambassadors and ambassadors, and French and foreign ministers.
  11. The archtreasurer is present at the annual report in which the ministers of finance and of the public treasury render to the Emperor the accounts of the receipts and expenditures of the state and express their views upon the needs of the finances of the Empire.
    The accounts of the annual receipts and expenditures are endorsed with his signature before being presented to the Emperor.
    He receives, every three months, the statement of the report of the national accounting, and every year the general result and the views for reform and improvement in the different parts of the accounting; he brings them to the knowledge of the Emperor.
    He audits every year the ledger of the public debt.
    He signs the warrants for the civil pensions.
    He presides over the united sections of the Council of State and of the Tribunate, in conformity with article 95, title XI.
    He receives the oath of the members of the national accounting, of the finance administrations, and of the principal agents of the public treasury.
    He presents the deputations of the national accountants and of the finance administrations admitted to the audience of the Emperor.
  12. The constable is present at the annual report in which the minister of war and the director of the war administration render account to the Emperor of the provisions taken to complete the system of defence of the frontiers, the maintenance, repair, and supplying of the posts.
    He lays the first stone of the fortresses whose construction is ordered.
    He is governor of the military schools.
    When the Emperor does not in person transmit the flags to the corps of the army, they are sent to them in his name by the constable.
    In the absence of the Emperor, the constable presides over the grand review of the imperial guard.
    When a général d'armée is accused of an offence specified in the military penal code, the constable can preside over the council of war, which must give judgment.
    He presents to the marshals of the Empire, the colonels-general, the inspectors-general, the general officers and the colonels of all arms, the oaths which they take at the hands of the Emperor.
    He receives the oaths of the majors, and leaders of battalions and squadrons of all arms.
    lie installs the marshals of the Empire. He presents the general officers and the colonels. majors. and leaders of battalions and squadrons, when they are admitted to the audience of the Emperor.
    He signs the warrants of the army and those of the military pensioners of the State.
  13. The grand admiral is present at the annual report in which the minister of the navy renders account to the Emperor of the condition of the naval forces, arsenals, and supplies.
    He receives annually and presents to the Emperor the accounts of the marine invalids' fund.
    When an admiral, vice-admiral, or rear-admiral commanding in chief a naval force is accused of an offence specified in the marine penal code, the grand admiral can preside over the court martial which shall give judgment.
    He presents to the admirals, vice-admirals, rear-admirals, and captains of vessels the oath which they take at the hands of the Emperor.
    He receives the oaths of the members of the council of prizes and the captains of frigates.
    He presents the admirals, vice-admirals, rear-admirals, captains of vessels and frigates, and the members of the council of prizes, when they are admitted to the audience of the Emperor.
    He signs the warrants of the officers of the naval forces and those of the marine pensioners of the state.
  14. Each of the titular grand dignitaries of the Empire presides over a department electoral college.
    The electoral college sitting at Brussels is presided over by the grand elector.
    The electoral college sitting at Bordeaux is presided over by the archchancellor of the Empire.
    The electoral college sitting at Nantes is presided over by the archchancellor of state.
    The electoral college sitting at Lyon is presided over by the archtreasurer of the Empire.
    The electoral college sitting at Turin is presided over by the constable.
    The electoral college sitting at Marseilles is presided over by the grand admiral.
  15. Each of the titular grand dignitaries of the Empire receives annually by way of fixed stipend two-thirds of the sum appropriated for the princes, in conformity with the decree of December 21, 1790.
  16. A statute of the Emperor regulates the functions of the titular grand dignitaries of the Empire near the Emperor and determines their costumes in the grand ceremonies. The successors of the Emperor can deviate from this statute only by a senatus-consultum.

Title VI. Of the Grand Officers of the Empire

  1. The grand officers of the Empire are:
    First, the marshals of the Empire, chosen from among the most distinguished generals.
    Their number cannot exceed that of sixteen.
    The marshals of the Empire who are senators are not part of this number.
    Secondly, eight general inspectors and colonels-general of artillery and engineers, of cavalry troops and of the navy.
    Thirdly, the grand civil officers of the crown, such as are instituted by the statutes of the Emperor.
  2. The positions of the grand officers are irremovable.
  3. Each of the grand officers of the Empire presides over an electoral college which is especially set aside for him at the moment of his appointment.
  4. If, by an order of the Emperor or by any other cause whatsoever, a titular grand dignitary of the Empire or a grand officer happens to discontinue his functions, he preserves his title, his rank, his privileges, and half of his stipend: he loses these only by a judgment of the high imperial court.

Title VII. Of the Oaths.

  1. Within the two years which follow his accession or his majority, the Emperor, accompanied by
    The titular grand dignitaries of the Empire,
    The ministers,
    The grand officers of the Empire,
    Takes oath to the French people upon the gospel, in the presence of:
    The Senate,
    The Council of State,
    The Legislative Body,
    The Tribunate,
    The court of cassation,
    The archbishops,
    The bishops,
    The grand officers of the Legion of Honor,
    The national accountants,
    The presidents of the courts of appeal,
    The presidents of the electoral colleges,
    The presidents of the cantonal assemblies,
    The presidents of the consistories,
    And the mayors of the thirty-six principal cities of the Empire.
    The secretary of state prepares the record of the taking of the oath.
  2. The oath of the Emperor is thus expressed:
    "I swear to maintain the integrity of the territory of the Republic, to respect and cause to be respected the laws of the concordat and the liberty of worship, to respect and cause to be respected equality of rights, political and civil liberty, the irrevocability of the sales of the national lands; not to raise any impost, nor to establish any tax except in virtue of the law; to maintain the institution of the Legion of Honor; to govern in the sole view of the interest, the welfare and the glory of the French people."
  3. Before beginning the exercise of his functions, the regent, accompanied by:
    The titular grand dignitaries of the Empire,
    The ministers,
    The grand officers of the Empire,
    Takes oath upon the gospel, and in the presence of The Senate,
    The Council of State,
    The president and questors of the Legislative Body,
    The president and the questors of the Tribunate,
    And the grand officers of tie Legion of Honor.
    The secretary of state prepares the record of the taking of the oath.
  4. The oath of the regent is expresses in these terms:
    "I swear to administer the affairs of time state, in conformity with the constitutions of the Empire, time senatus-consulta and the laws; to maintain in all their integrity the territory of the Republic, the rights of the nation and those of the imperial dignity, and to deliver up to the Emperor, at the moment of his majority, the authority, the exercise of which is confided "to me."
  5. The titular grand dignitaries of the Empire, the ministers and the secretary of state, the grand officers and the members of the Senate, the Council of State, the Legislative Body, the Tribunate, the electoral colleges and the cantonal assemblies, take oath in these terms:
    "I swear obedience to the constitutions of the Empire and fidelity to the Emperor."
    The public, civil, and judicial functionaries and the officers and soldiers of the army and navy take the same oath.

Title VIII. Of the Senate.

  1. The Senate is composed:
    1st, Of the French princes who have reached their eighteenth year;
    2d, Of the titular grand dignitaries of the Empire;
    3d, Of eighty members appointed upon the presentaion of the candidates chosen by the Emperor from the list formed by the department electoral colleges;
    4th, Of citizens whom the Emperor deems suitable to be raised to the dignity of senator.
    In case the number of the senators shall exceed that which has been fixed by article 63 of the organic senatus-consultum of 16 Thermidor, Year X, provision shall be made for this by a law for the execution of article 17 of the senatus-consultum of 14 Nivôse Year XI.
  2. The president of the Senate is appointed by the Emperor and chosen from among the senators.
    His functions continue one year.
  3. He convokes the Senate upon an order issued of his own accord by the Emperor and upon the request either of the commissioners, which will be spoken of hereafter in articles 60 and 64, or of a senator, in conformity with the provisions of article 70, or of an officer of the Senate for the internal affairs of the body.
    He gives an account to the Emperor of the convocations made upon the request of the commissions or of a senator, of their object, and of the results of the deliberation of the Senate.
  4. A commission of seven members, appointed by the Senate and chosen within its own body, takes cognizance, upon the communication made to it by the ministers, of the arrests effected in conformity with article 46 of the constitution, when the persons arrested have not been brought before the tribunals within ten days after their arrest.
    This commission is called the senatorial commission of personal liberty.
  5. All persons arrested and not put on trial within ten days after their arrest, can apply directly by themselves, their relatives, or their representatives, and by way of petition, to the senatorial commission of personal liberty.
  6. When the commission considers that detention prolonged beyond ten days after arrest is not warranted by the interest of the state, it invites the minister who has ordered the arrest to cause time detained person to be put at liberty or to send him before the ordinary tribunals.
  7. If, after three consecutive invitations, renewed within the share of one month, the detained person is not put at liberty nor sent before the ordinary tribunals, the commission requests a meeting of the Senate, which is convoked by the president and which renders, if there is need, the following declaration:
    "There are strong presumptions that N-------is arbitrarily detained."
    Thereafter proceedings are in conformity with the provisions of article 112, title XIII, Of the high imperial court.
  8. A commission of seven members, appointed by the Senate and chosen from within its own body, is charged to watch over the liberty of the press.
    Periodical works printed and distributed by subscription are not included within its powers.
    This commission is called the senatorial commission of the liberty of the press.
  9. Authors, printers, or publishers. who believe that there is ground for complaint over restrictions placed upon the printing or circulation of a work can have recourse directly and by way of petition to the senatorial commission of the liberty of the press.
  10. When the commission thinks, that the restrictions are not warranted by the interest of the state, it invites the minister who has given the order to revoke it.
  11. If, after three consecutive invitations renewed within the space of one month, the restrictions remain, the commission asks for a meeting of the Senate, which is convoked by the president and which renders, if there is need, the following declaration:
    "There are strong presumptions that the liberty of the press has been violated."
    After that, proceedings are in conformity with the provision of article 112, title XIII, Of the high imperial court.
  12. One member of each of these senatorial commissions discontinues his functions every four months.
  13. The projects of law decreed by the Legislative Body are transmitted to the Senate on the day of their adoption, and deposited in its archives.
  14. Every decree rendered by the Legislative Body can he denounced to the Senate by a Senator:
    1st, As tending to the reestablishment of the feudal régime; 2d, as contrary to the irrevocability of the sales of the national lands; 3d, as not having been deliberated upon in the forms prescribed by the constitutions of the Empire, the regulations and the laws; 4th, as constituting an attack upon the prerogatives of the imperial dignity and those of the Senate; without prejudice to the execution of articles 21 and 37 of the acte of the constitutions of the Empire of the date of 22 Frimaire, Year VIII.
  15. The Senate, within the six days which follow the adoption of the project of law, deliberating upon the report of a special commission, and after having heard three readings of the decree in three sittings held on different days, can express the opinion that there is no need to promulgate the law.
    The president conveys to the Emperor the resolution of the Senate with a statement of the motives for it.
  16. The Emperor, after having heard the Council of State, either declares by a decree his adherence to the resolution of the Senate, or causes the promulgation of the law.
  17. Any law whose promulgation tinder that circumstance has not taken place before the expiration of the interval of ten days, can no longer be promulgated, unless it has been newly deliberated upon and adopted by the Legislative Body.
  18. The entire operations of an electoral college and the partial operations which are relative to the presentation of the candidates to the Senate, Legislative Body, and Tribunate cannot be annulled on account of unconstitutionality, except by a senatus-consultum.

Title IX. Of the Council of State.

  1. When the Council of State deliberates upon projects of law or regulations of public administration, two-thirds of the members of the council in ordinary service must be present.
    The number of the councillors of state present cannot be less than twenty-five.
  2. The Council of State is divided into six sections, to wit:
    Section of legislation,
    Section of the interior,
    Section of the finances,
    Section of war,
    Section of the navy,
    And section of commerce.
  3. When a member of the Council of State has been carried for five years upon the list of the members of the council in ordinary service he receives a commission of councillor of state for life.
    When he ceases to be carried upon the list of the Council of State in ordinary or extraordinary service, he has a right to but one-third of the stipend of councillor of state.
    He loses his title and his rights only by a judgment of the high imperial court, involving afflictive or infamous penalty.

Title X. Of the Legislative Body.

  1. The retiring members of the Legislative Body can be re-elected without interval.
  2. The projects of law presented to the Legislative Body are sent back to the three sections of the Tribunate.
  3. The sittings of the Legislative Body are divided into ordinary sittings and committees of the whole.
  4. The ordinary sittings are composed of the members of the Legislative Body, the orators of the Council of State, and the orators of the three sections of the Tribunate.
    The committees of the whole are composed only of the members of the Legislative Body.
    The president of the Legislative Body presides over the ordinary sittings and over the committees of the whole.
  5. In ordinary sitting, the Legislative Body hears the orators of the Council of State and those of the three sections of the Tribunate, and votes upon the project of law.
    In committee of the whole, the members of the Legislative Body discuss among themselves the advantages and disadvantages of the project of law.
  6. The Legislative Body forms itself into committee of the whole:
    1st. Upon the invitation of the president, for the internal affairs of the body;
    2d. Upon a request made to the president and signed by fifty members present;
    In these two cases the committee of the whole is secret, and the discussions shall not be printed nor divulged.
    3d. Upon the request of the orators of the Council of State, especially authorised for that purpose.
    In this case the committee of the whole is necessarily public.
    No decision can be reached in the committees of the whole.
  7. When the discussion in committee of the whole is closed, the decision is adjourned to the next day in ordinary sitting.
  8. The Lcgislative Body, on the day when it must vote upon the project of law, hears, in the same sitting, the résumé which the orators of the Council of State offer.
  9. The decision over a project of law cannot in any case be deferred more than three days beyond that which has been fixed for the closing of the discussion.
  10. The sections of the Tribunate constitute the only commissions of the Legislative Body, which can form others only in the case provided for in article 113, title XIII, Of the high imperial court.

Title XI. Of the Tribunate.

  1. The functions of the members of the Tribunate continue ten years.
  2. The Tribunate is renewed by half every five years. The first renewal shall take place for the session of the Year XVII, in conformity with the organic senatus-consultum of 16 Thermidor, Year X.
  3. The president of the Tribunate is appointed by the Emperor out of a presentation of three candidates made by the Tribunate by secret ballot and a majority.
  4. The functions of the president of the Tribunate continue two years.
  5. The Tribunate has two questors.
    They are appointed by the Emperor out of a triple list of candidates chosen by the Tribunate by secret ballot and a majority.
    Their functions are the same as those assigned to the questors of the Legislative Body by articles 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 of the organic senatus-consultum of 24 Frimaire, Year XII.
    One of the questors is renewed each year.
  6. The Tribunate is divided into three sections, to wit:
    Section of legislation.
    Section of the interior.
    Section of the finances.
  7. Each section forms a list of three of its members from whom the president of the Tribunate designates the president of the section.
    The functions of the president of a section continue one year.
  8. When the respective sections of the Council of State and the Tribunate ask to unite, the conferences take place under the presidency of the archchancellor of the Empire or of the archtreasurer according to the nature of the matters to be examined.
  9. Each section discusses separately and in sectional meeting, the projects of law which are transmitted to it by the Legislative Body.
    two orators of each of the three sections carry to the legislative body the opinion of their section, and explain the grounds for it.
  10. In no case can the projects of law be discussed by the Tribunate in general assembly.
    It unites in general assembly, under the presidency of its president, for the exercise of its other attributes.

Title XII. Of the Electoral Colleges.

  1. Whenever a department electoral college meets for the formation of the list of candidates for the Legislative Body, the lists of candidates for the Senate are renewed.
    Each renewal renders the former presentations of no effect.
  2. The grand officers, the commandants, and the officers of the Legion of Honor are members of the electoral college of the department in which they have their domicile, or of one of the departments for the cohort to which they belong.
    The legionaries are members of the electoral college of their district.
    The members of the Legion of Honor are admitted to the electoral college, of which they shall form part, upon the presentation of a certificate which is delivered to them for that purpose by the grand elector.
  3. The prefects and the military commandants of the departments cannot be elected candidates for the Senate by the electoral colleges of the departments in which they exercise their functions.

Title XIII. Of the High Imperial Court.

  1. A high imperial court takes cognizance:
    1st. Of the personal offences committed by the members of the imperial family, the titular grand dignitaries of the Empire, the ministers and the secretary of state, the grand officers, the senators, and the councillors of state;
    2d. Of crimes, attempts and conspiracies against the internal and external security of the state, the person of the Emperor and that of the heir presumptive of the Empire;
    3d. Of offences of responsibility of office committed by the ministers and councillors of state especially charged with a part of the public administration;
    4th. Of betrayals of trust and abuse of power, committed either by the captains-general of tine colonies, the colonial prefects and commandants of French establishments outside of the continent, or by the administrators-general employed extraordinarily, or by the generals of the army or navy; without prejudice, in respect to these, of prosecutions by the military jurisdiction in the cases determined by the laws;
    5th. Of the fact of disobedience of the generals of the army or navy who disregard their instructions;
    6th. Of the peculations and squandering of which the prefects of the interior make themselves guilty in the exercise of their functions;
    7th. Of the forfeitures and complaints of prejudice which may be incurred by a court of appeal or by a court of justice or by members of the court of cassation.
    8th. Of denunciations on account of arbitrary detentions and of violations of the liberty of the press.
  2. The seat of the high imperial court is in the Senate.
  3. It is presided over by the archchancellor of the Empire.
    If he is ill, absent, or lawfully prevented, it is presided over by another of the titular grand dignitaries of the Empire.
  4. The high imperial court is composed of the princes, the titular grand dignitaries and grand officers of the Empire, the high judge minister of justice, sixty senators, the six presidents of the sections of the Council of State, fourteen councillors of state, and twenty members of the court of cassation.
  5. The senators, the councillors of state and members of the court of cassation are appointed by order of seniority.

  6. There is before the high imperial court a procureur-general, appointed for life by the Emperor.
    He performs the duties of the public ministry, being assisted by three tribunes, appointed each year by the Legislative Body out of a list of nine candidates presented by the Tribunate, and of three magistrates whom the Emperor appoints, also each year, from among the officers of the courts of appeal and of criminal justice.
  7. There is before the high imperial court a recorder-in-chief appointed for life by the Emperor.
  8. The president of the high imperial court can never be challenged; he can abstain for legitimate reasons.
  9. The high imperial court can act only upon proceedings instituted by the public ministry in the offenses committed by those whose rank makes them subject to the jurisdiction of the imperial court; if there is a complaint, the public ministry becomes necessarily joint and prosecuting party, and proceeds as is required hereinafter.
    The public ministry is likewise the joint and prosecuting party in cases of forfeiture or of complaint of prejudice.
  10. The security magistrates and the jury directors are required to draw tip and transmit, within the period of eight days, to the procureur-general before the high imperial court all the documents of the proceedings, when, in the offences whose reparation they seek, it happens either from the quality of the persons, or the title of the accusation, or from circumstances, that the matter belongs to the jurisdiction of the high imperial court.
  11. Nevertheless, the security magistrates continue to collect the proofs and indications of the offence.

  12. The ministers or the councillors of state charged with any part whatsoever of the public administration can be denounced by the Legislative Body, if they have given orders contrary to the constitutions and the laws of the Empire.
  13. The Legislative Body can likewise denounce:
    The captains-general of the colonies, the colonial prefects, the commandants of French establishments outside of the continent, the administrators-general, when they have betrayed their trusts or abused their authority;
    The generals of the army or navy who have disobeyed their instructions;
    The prefects of the interior who have made themselves guilty of squandering or of peculation.
  14. The Legislative Body denounces likewise the ministers or agents of authority when there has been, on the part of the Senate, declaration of strong presumptions of arbitrary detention or of violation of the liberty of the press.
  15. The denunciation of the Legislative Body cannot be decreed except upon the demand of the Tribunate, or upon the application of fifty members of the Legislative Body, who require a secret committee for the purpose of causing the selection by way of ballot, of ten from among themselves to draw up the instrument of denunciation.
  16. In either case, the request or the demand shall ho made in writing, and signed by the president and the secretaries of the Tribunate, or by the ten members of the Legislative Body.
    If it is directed against a minister or a councillor of state charged with a part of the public administration, it is communicated to him within the period of a month.
  17. The denounced minister or councillor of state does not appear there to reply.
    The Emperor appoints three councillors of state to repair to the Legislative Body on the appointed day, and to give information upon the facts of the denunciation.
  18. The Legislative Body discusses in secret committee the facts included in the request or the demand, and it decides by means of the ballot.
  19. The document of denunciation shall be circumstantially stated and signed by the president and secretary of the Legislative Body.
    It is addressed by a message to the archchancellor of the Empire, who transmits it to the procureur-general before the high imperial court.
  20. Betrayals of trust or abuses of power of the captains-general of the colonies the colonial prefects the commandants of the establishments outside of the continent, and the administrators-general; the facts of disobedience on the part of the generals of the army or the navy to the instructions which have been given them; and the squanderings and extravagances of the prefects are denounced by the ministers, each within his department, to the officers charged with the public ministry.
    If the denunciation is made by the high judge minister of justice, he cannot assist nor take part in the judgments which follow upon his denunciation.
  21. In the cases prescribed by articles 110, III, 112, and 118 the procureur-general notifies the archchancellor of the Empire, within three days, that there is need for the high imperial court to meet.
    The archchancellor, after having taken the orders of the Emperor, fixes within eight days the opening of the sittings.
  22. At the first sitting of the high imperial court it shall pass upon its jurisdiction.
  23. When there is a denunciation or a complaint, the procureur-general in concert with the tribunes and the three magistrate-officers of the bar, considers whether there is need for prosecutions.
    The decision belongs to him; one of the magistrates of the bar can be charged by the procureur-gencral with the direction of the prosecutions.
    If the public ministry thinks that the complaint or the denunciation ought not to be admitted, it states the grounds for the conclusions, upon which the high imperial court pronounces, after having heard the magistrate charged with the report.
  24. When the conclusions are adopted, the high imperial court brings the affair to an end by a definitive judgment.
    When they are rejected, the public ministry is required to continue the prosecutions.
  25. In the second of the cases provided for by the preceding article, and also when the public ministry considers that the complaint or denunciation ought to be admitted, it is required to prepare the document of accusation within eight days, and to communicate it to the commissioner and the alternate whom the archchancellor of the Empire appoints from among the judges of the court of cassation who are members of the high imperial court. The functions of this commissioner, and, in his default, of the alternate, consist of making the examination and the report.
  26. The reporter or his alternate submits the document of accusation to twelve commissioners of the high imperial court, chosen by the archchancellor of the Empire, six from among the senators and six from among the other members of the high imperial court. The members chosen do not participate in the judgment of the high imperial court.
  27. If the twelve commissioners conclude that there is need for accusation, the commissioner-reporter prepares an ordinance in conformity therewith, issues the warrants of arrest, and proceeds to the examination.
  28. If the commissioners, on the contrary, think that there is no need for accusation, the matter is referred by the reporter to the high imperial court, which pronounces definitively.
  29. The high imperial court cannot give judgment with less than sixty members. Ten of the whole number of members can be challenged, without assignment of cause, by the accused and ten by the public party. The decision is rendered by majority of the votes.
  30. The proceedings and the judgment take place in public.
  31. The accused have counsel; if they do not present any, the archchancellor of the Empire officially gives them some one.
  32. The high imperial court can pronounce only the penalties provided by the penal code.
    It pronounces, if there is need, condemnation to damages and civil interests.
  33. When it acquits, it can put those who are acquitted under the surveillance or at the disposal of the high police of the state, for the time which it determines.
  34. The judgments rendered by the high imperial court are not subject to any appeal;
    Those which pronounce condemnation to an afflictive or infamous penalty can be executed only when they have been signed by the Emperor.
  35. A special senatus-consultum contains the remainder of the arrangements relative to the organization and action of the high imperial court.

Title XIV. Of the Judicial Class.

  1. The judgments of the courts of justice are entitled arrêts.
  2. The presidents of the court of cassation, of the courts of appeal and of criminal justice, are appointed for life by the Emperor, and can be chosen from outside of the courts over which they shall preside.
  3. The tribunal of cassation assumes the denomination of court of cassation.
    The tribunals of appeal assume that of court of appeal;
    The criminal tribunals, that of court of criminal justice.
    The president of the court of cassation and those of the courts of appeal divided into sect ions assume the title of first president.
    The vice-presidents assume that of presidents.
    The commissioners of the government before the court of cassation, the courts of appeal and the courts of criminal justice, take the title of imperial procureurs-general.
    The commissioners of the government before the other tribunals assume the title of imperial procureurs.

Title XV. Of the Promulgation.

  1. The Emperor causes the sealing and promulgation of the organic senatus-consulta,
    The senatus-consulta,
    The actes of the Senate,
    The laws.
    The organic senatus-consulta, the senatus-consulta, and the actes of the Senate are promulgated at the latest on the tenth day following their emission.
  2. Two original copies are made of each of the documents mentioned in the preceding article.
    Both are signed by the Emperor, attested by one of the titular grand dignitaries, each according to their rights and powers, countersigned by the secretary of state and the minister of justice, and sealed with the great seal of the state.
  3. One of these copies is deposited in the archives of the seal, and the other is transmitted to the archives of the public authority from which the acte emanated.
  4. The promulgation is thus expressed:
    "N. (the prenomen of the Emperor), by the grace of God and the constitutions of the Republic, Emperor of the French, to all present and to come greeting:
    "The Senate, after having heard the orators of the Council of State, has decreed or resolved, and we order as follows:
    "(And if a law is in question) The Legislative Body has rendered ... (the date) the following decree, in conformity with the proposal made in the name of the Emperor, and after having heard the orators of the Council of State and of the sections of the Tribunate, the ...
    "We command and require that the presents, invested with the seals of the State and inserted in the Bulletin of the Laws, be addressed to the courts, tribunals and administrative authorities, in order that they may inscribe them in their registers, observe them and cause them to be observed; and the high judge minister of justice is charged to supervise the publication of them."

  5. The executory copies of the judgments shall be drawn up as follows:
    "N. (the prenomen of the Emperor), by the grace of God and the constitutions of the Republic, Emperor of the French, to all present and to come, greeting:
    "The court of ... or the tribunal of ... (if it is a tribunal of first instance), has rendered the following judgment:"
    (Here follows the arrêté or judgment.) "We command and require of all bailiffs upon this requisition to put the said judgment into execution; of our procureurs-general and our procureurs before the tribunals of the first instance, to take it in hand ; of all commanders and officers of the public forces, to lend assistance when it shall be legally required of them.
    "In testimony whereof the present judgment has been signed by the President of the court or the tribunal, and by the bailiff."

Title XVI and Last.

  1. The following proposition shall be presented for the acceptance of the people, in the forms prescribed by the arrêté of 20 Floréal, Year X:
    "The people desire the inheritance of the imperial dignity in the direct, natural, legitimate and adoptive lineage of Napoleon Bonaparte, and in the direct, natural, and legitimate lineage of Joseph Bonaparte and of Louis Bonaparte, as is regulated by the organic senatus-consultum of this day."

Bibliography

Title: The constitutions and other select documents illustrative of the history of France, 1789-1901
Author(s): Anderson, Frank Maloy, 1871-
Publication: Minneapolis, The H.W. Wilson company,
Year: 1904
Description: xxvi, 671 p. p., 20 cm.

References

Cambridge Modern History, IX, 107-111; Fournier, Napoleon 275-282; Rose, Napoleon, I, 429-432; Sloane, Napoleon, II, 203-207; Lanfrey, Napoleon. II, 398-402, 406-415; Lavisse and Ranbaud, Histoire générale, IX, 35-37, 224-229; Aulard. Révolution française, 771-778 ; Jaurès Histoire socialiste, VI, 195-204.


 

 

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