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The Napoleon Series > Government > Governments and Politics

Declaration of St. Ouen.

The Count of Artois, acting for Louis XVIII, declined to accept the constitution prepared by the Senate Treaty of Paris. He was, however, prevailed upon to promise that he would accept "the basis" of it. This declaration was promulgated in redemption of that promise. It should be compared with both the Senate's constitution and the Constitutional Charter.

May 2, 1814.

Duvergier, Lois, XIX, 23.

Louis, by the grace of God, King of France and of Navarre, to all those to whom these presents come, greeting.

Recalled by the love of our people to the throne of our fathers, enlightened by the misfortunes of the nation, which we are destined to govern, our first thought is to invoke that mutual confidence so necessary to our repose and to its welfare.

After having read attentively the plan for a constitution proposed by the Senate at its sitting of the 6th of April last, we have recognized that the principles thereof were good, hut that a great number of articles hear the impress of the haste with which they were drawn up and they cannot in their present form become fundamental laws of the State.

Resolved to adopt a liberal constitution we wish that it should be wisely drawn up; and not being able to accept one which it is necessary to amend we convoke, for the 10th of the month of June of the present year, the Senate and the Corps-Legislatif, and engage to put before their eyes the work which we shall have done with a commission chosen from among these two bodies, and to give as a basis for this constitution the following guaranties:

Representative government shall be maintained such as it is today, divided into two bodies, to wit:

The Senate and the Chamber composed of the deputies of the departments;

Taxes shall be freely consented to;

Public and personal liberty are guaranteed;

Liberty of the press shall be respected, saving the precautions necessary for the public tranquility;

Liberty of worship is guaranteed;

Property shall be inviolable and sacred; the sale of the national lands shall remain irrevocable.

Responsible ministers may be prosecuted by one of the legislative chambers and judged by the other.

Judges shall be removed, and the judicial power independent;

The public debt shall be guaranteed; pensions, ranks and military honors shall be preserved, as also the old and the new nobility.

The Legion of Honor, of which we will fix the decoration, shall be maintained.

Every Frenchman shall he eligible to civil and military employments.

Finally, no person shall he disturbed on account of his opinions or his vote.

Given at St. Ouen, May 2, 1814.

[Signed] Louis.



Seignobos, Europe Since 1814, 106; Lavisse and Rambaud, Histoire Generale, IX, 890-891.


Placed on the Napoleon Series 8/00


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