EVERYTHING FOR AND BY THE PEOPLE
« For the Honour of France, for the sacred interests of Humanity »
(Napoleon the Great, 17th of Ventôse Year VIII – Saturday 8th March 1800)
On the 29th of Floréal Year X, the Legislative Body voted, in conformity with the proposition made to the assemblies by the government on the 25th of Floréal, and transmitted to the Tribunate on the 27th of Floréal Year X, the law creating the Legion of the Honour. Thus, on the 29th of Floréal Year X, Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the French Republic, promulgated this law, instituting as law of the Republic, the creation of this institution, which rewards eminent merits, be they civil or military.
Later, during his last exile, Napoleon the Great returned to the subject of the values and objectives of the Legion of Honour, and his words were transcribed for future generations by a civilian, the councillor of State Las Cases, and a man of the military, General Bertrand –
« Of the Legion of Honour, he said, among other things, that the diversity of orders of chivalry and the selectiveness in awarding them consecrated castes, whereas the unique decoration of the Legion of Honour, with the universality of its application, was on the contrary, the stamp of equality. The ones perpetuated distance amid the classes, whereas the other was bound to bring cohesion between citizens; and its influence, its results in the great family could become incalculable – it was the common centre, the universal motor of all the diverse ambitions, the vehicle of all that shone, the reward and spur of all generous efforts, etc., etc.
« … Our education and past ways made us far more vain than great thinkers; whence many officers were shocked to see their same decoration descend to the drummer, and equally embrace the priest, the judge, the writer and the artist; but this failing was shortlived; we were marching swiftly, and soon the military would have considered themselves honoured to find themselves the colleagues of the foremost among the learned, and of the most distinguished in all professions, while these would feel honoured, en-nobled, to find themselves aligned with all that was most valiant, and the whole would have truly composed the reunion of all that was most honourable in the State.
« … And he ended on these remarkable words – « On the day that its original organisation will be abandoned, a great thought will have been destroyed, and my Legion of Honour will cease to exist ».
Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène, Thursday 2nd of May 1816.
« The Legion of Honour was the property of everyone who was an honour or an ornament to their country, was at the head of their profession, or contributed to her prosperity or to her glory… If ever, from aristocratic feelings, a medal was instituted to reward the soldier, or if ever the civil order were deprived of it, it will be the Legion of Honour ».
Note dictated to General Bertrand at Saint Helena par His Majesty the Emperor.
On the occasion of the 213th anniversary of the law of the 29th of Floréal Year X, the Bonapartist Movement reaffirms its values, and its commitment to the Honour of France, the sacred interests of Humanity, in its capacity as a national, European, Francophone, Latin and global movement.
We also publish hereafter, for the glory of the Emperor, and to enlighten our readers regarding the importance of this anniversary –
- The oath sworn by the members of the Legion of Honour.
- The words of the Emperor, and of Rœderer, member of the Council of State, and rapporteur of the motion, concerning the principles and goals of the institution of the Legion of Honour.
- Le text (minutes) of the law of the 29th of Floréal Year X of the Republic.
Faithful to the Emperor’s ideals, and respectful of the laws, the Bonapartist Movement commits itself to « devoting itself to the service of the Republic, the preservation of the integrity of her territory, the defence of her laws, and the properties that she has consecrated; to fight by all the means that justice, reason and the laws authorise, any attempt aiming to restore feudalism, or to re-establish the titles and offices that were its attributes; lastly, to take part with all its power in upholding liberty and equality ».
And you ?
President of the Bonapartist Movement
« In all countries, force gives way to civil qualities. Bayonets are lowered before the priest who speaks in the name of Heaven and before the man whose learning imposes respect. I foretold to servicemen who had certain qualms that martial rule would never take hold in France, unless the nation were rendered stupid by fifty years of ignorance. All attempts will fail, and their authors will be victims of them. It is not as a general that I govern, but because the nation believes that I have the civil qualities needed in government; if she did not hold this opinion, the government would not stand. I knew what I was doing when, as the general of an army, I took the quality of a member of the Institute; and I was sure that my reasons would be understood by the last drummer.
Centuries of barbarism must not be compared to our times. We are thirty million men, brought together by the Enlightenment, property and commerce; three or four hundred thousand servicemen are nothing beside this mass. Aside from the fact that a general commands only by civil qualities, as soon as he is no longer in service, he re-enters the civil order. The soldiers themselves are but the children of citizens. The army is the nation. If we considered the serviceman, abstraction made of the rest, we would be convinced that he knows no law other than force, that he sees only himself. The civil man, on the contrary, sees only the general good. The nature of servicemen is to wish all despotically, that of the civil man is to submit all to discussion, to truth and to reason; they have their different prisms, they are often misleading; yet discussion produces light. If we seperated men into servicemen and civilians, we would establish two orders, whereas there is only one nation ».
Words of the First Consul to the Council of State, on the 4th of May 1802, recorded by Thibaudeau, councillor of State.
« […] It is a political institution which places in society intermediaries, via whom the acts of those in power are translated to [public] opinion, faithfully and with good will, and by which [public] opinion can rise all the way to those in power ».
Pierre-Louis Rœderer, councillor of State and rapporteur of the motion concerning the creation of a Legion of Honour to the Legislative Body, 15th of Floréal, Year X of the Republic.
Minute of the law
of the 29th of Floréal Year X
(19th of May 1802)
concerning the creation
of the Legion of Honour
In the name of the French People,
Bonaparte, First Consul,
Proclaims law of the Republic the following decree, rendered by the Legislative Body on the Twenty Ninth of Floréal, Year Ten, in conformity with the proposition made by the Government on the Twenty Fifth of the said month, transmitted to the Tribunate on the following Twenty Seventh.
Creation and organisation of the Legion of Honour.
In application of Article 87 of the Constitution, concerning military rewards, and to reward also, civil services and virtues, there shall be formed, a legion of honour.
This legion shall be composed of a grand council of administration, and of fifteen cohorts, of which each will have its own headquarters.
There shall be accorded to each cohort, national property bringing two hundred thousand francs in income.
The grand council of administration shall be composed of seven grand officers; namely, of the three Consuls, and of four other members, of whom one will be named from among the Senators, by the Senate; another, from among the members of the Legislative Body, by the Legislative Body; another, from among the members of the Tribunate, by the Tribunate; and lastly, from among the councillors of State, by the Council of State. The members of the grand council of administration will conserve, for life, the title of grand officer, even when replaced by the result of new elections.
The First Consul is, by right, head of the Legion, and president of the grand council of administration.
Each cohort shall be composed :
– of seven grand officers,
– of twenty commanders,
– of thirty officers,
– and of three hundred and fifty legionaries.
The members of the legion are members of it for life.
There shall be accorded to each grand officer, five thousand francs ;
To each commander, two thousand francs ;
To each officer, one thousand francs ;
And to each legionary, two hundred and fifty francs.
These payments are taken from the property accorded to each cohort.
Each individual admitted to the Legion shall swear, on their honour, to devote their self to the service of the Republic, the preservation of the integrity of her territory, the defence of her laws, and the properties that she has consecrated; to fight by all the means that justice, reason and the laws authorise, any attempt aiming to restore feudalism, or to re-establish the titles and offices that were its attributes; lastly, to take part with all their power in upholding liberty and equality.
There shall be established in each headquarters town of a cohort, a hospice and housing, to accomodate members of the Legion whom age, infirmities or wounds may render unable to serve the State, or servicemen who, after having been wounded in the war of liberty, might find themselves in need.
Are members of the Legion all the servicemen who have received arms of honour. May be named those servicemen who have rendered important services to the State in the war of liberty. The citizens who, by their knowledge, talents and virtues, have contributed to establish or to defend the principles of the Republic, or caused to be loved and respected, justice or public administration.
The grand council of administration shall name the members of the Legion.
During the ten years of peace which may follow the first formation, the positions which will become empty shall remain vacant up to a tenth of the Legion, and later, up to a fifth. These positions shall not be filled until the end of the first campaign.
In wartime, there will be no vacant positions filled until the end of each campaign.
In wartime, outstanding actions will be entitlement for all ranks.
In peacetime, twenty five years of military service will be required to be named member of the Legion; years of service, in wartime, shall count for double, and each campaign of the last war shall count for four years.
Great services rendered to the State in legislative offices, diplomacy, administration, justice or sciences, shall also be entitlement to admission, on condition that the person who shall have rendered them has been a member of the national guard of their place of residence.
Once the first organisation is made, no one shall be admitted to the Legion unless he has exercised his offices with the required distinction.
Once the first organisation is made, no one may rise to a higher rank without having first been named to the lowest.
The details of the organisation will be determined by the regulations of public administration : it must be established by the 1st of Vendémiaire Year XII; and once this time elapsed, nothing may be changed, but by law.
Added to the original, by us, president and secretaries of the Legislative Body. Paris, the 29th of Floréal, Year X of the French Republic.
Signed Rabaut the younger, president ; Thiry, Tupinier, Bergier, Rigal, Secretaries.
The present law adorned with the seal of State, inserted into the Bulletin of laws, inscribed in the registers of the judicial and administrative authorities, and the minister of justice charged with overseeing its publication.
Paris, the 9th of Prairial, Year X of the Republic.
And sealed with the seal of State.
The First Consul
For the First Consul,
The Secretary of State
Witnessed by the minister of Justice,
I EXCITED ALL EMULATIONS, REWARDED ALL MERITS
AND EXTENDED THE LIMITS OF GLORY