Proclamation From Napoleon

Frenchmen: There are in the life of people solemn moments, when the national honor violently excited presses itself, irresistibly rises above all other interests, and applies itself with the single purpose of directing the destinies of the nation. One of the decisive hours has now arrived for France. Prussia, to whom we have given evidence during and since the war of 1866, of the most conciliatory disposition, has held our good will as of no account and has returned our forbearance by encroachment; she has aroused distrust in all questions necessitating exaggerated armaments, and has made of Europe a camp where reign distrust and fear of the morrow. A final incident has disclosed the instability of the international understanding, and shown the gravity of the situation in the presence of the new pretences. Prussia was made to understanding our claims. They were evaded and followed with contemptuous treatment. Our country manifested a profound displeasure at this action, and quickly a war cry resounded from one end of France to the other. There remains for us nothing but to confide our destinies to the chance of arms. We do not make war upon Germany, whose independence we respect. We pledge ourselves that the people composing the great Germanic Nationality shall dispose freely of their destinies. As for us we demand the establishment of a state of things guaranteeing our security and assuring the future. We wish to conquer a durable peace based on the true interest of the people and assist in abolishing that precarious condition of things, when all nations are forced to employ their resources in driving against each other. The glorious flag of France, which is once more unfurled to the face of our challengers, is the same which has borne over Europe the civilizing ideas of our great revolution. It represents the same principles. It will inspire the same devotion in Frenchmen. I go to place myself at the head of that valiant army which is animated by love of country and devotion to duty.   The army knows its worth for it has seen victory follow its footsteps in the four quarters of the globe. I take with me my son, despite his tender years. He knows the duties his name imposes on him, and he is proud to bear his part in the dangers of those who fight for our country. May God bless our efforts. A great people defending a just cause is invincible. Napoleon. Paris, July 23, 1870.

Napoleon Makes A Speech

Napoleon replied to the Corps Legislatif:

Messieurs; I experience a great satisfaction on the eve of my departure for the army, in being able to thank you for the patriotic co-operation you have given to my Government. War is legitimate when it is made with the assent of the country and the approbation of its representatives. You are right in recalling the words of Mont….? “the true author of a war is not he who declares, but he who renders it necessary.” We have done all that depended on us to avoid it, and I may say, the entire nation’s irresistible force has dictated our resolutions. I confide to you in parting, that the Empress who will call around her advisers, should circumstances require, she knows how to fill courageously the duty which the position imposes. I take with me my son; he will learn in the mist of the army how to serve his country. Resolved to pursue with energy the great mission confided to me, I have faith in our armies for I know that France is standing behind me and that God protects us.

The Leavenworth Weekly Times, Leavenworth KS. Thursday July 28, 1870. Page 4. (c) Transcribed by Darren McMannis forThe Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies, Inc.