TOUT POUR ET PAR LE PEUPLE – EVERYTHING FOR AND BY THE PEOPLE
« Pour l’Honneur de la France, pour les intérêts sacrés de l’Humanité – For the Honour of France, for the sacred interests of Humanity »
(Napoléon le Grand, le 17 ventôse an VIII – Samedi 8 mars 1800 – Napoleon the Great, 17th of Ventôse Year VIII – Saturday 8th March 1800)
ON NAPOLEONIC IDEAS
NAPOLEON III, EMPEROR OF THE FRENCH
Translated from the French
by Paul-Napoléon Calland, President of the Bonapartist Movement, and published in French and English in honour of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Napoleon the Great, on the Fifteenth of August, 2019.
Traduit du français par Paul-Napoléon Calland, Président du Mouvement Bonapartiste, et publié en français et en anglais en l’honneur du 250e anniversaire de Napoléon le Grand, le 15 août 2019.
CHAPTER III : INTERNAL MATTERS / QUESTION INTÉRIEURE
2ème Partie / Part Two
ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANISATION (ORGANISATION ADMINISTRATIVE)
The administrative organisation of the Empire, like the greater part of the institutions of that epoch, had an immediate object to fulfil, and a distant end to attain. Centralisation afforded the only means of constituting France so as to establish a stable régime, and form a compact unit capable of resisting Europe, and of supporting at a later moment, liberty.
The excess of centralisation, under the Empire, ought not to be considered as a definitive and settled system, but rather as a means of arriving at a settled system. In all the institutions of the Empire this is the predominant idea and the general tendency, which it is especially necessary to investigate and understand.
A good administration is composed of a regular system of taxation, of a prompt and impartial mode of collecting them; of a system of finances which assures public credit; of an honourable magistrature which will cause the laws to be respected; finally, of a system of administrative machinery which will cause the life to circulate from the centre to the extremities, and from the extremities to the centre. But that which especially distinguishes a good administration, is that it calls forth all kinds of merit, and all rare faculties to illuminate its career and put in operation all improvements; that it represses with vigour all abuses; that it improves the lot of the poorer classes; that it rouses to activity all branches of industry; that it holds a just balance between rich and poor, between those who labour and those who employ, between the agents of power and those who are administered by them.
The Convention had divided France into départements. The Emperor facilitated the exercise of power by the creation of the offices of prefect, sub-prefect, mayor and deputy. France was further divided into 398 communal arrondissements. Each département had a general council and a council of the prefecture; the first presided over the distribution of public burdens, and watched the special agent of power; the second decided upon claims of individuals against the administration.
The Emperor rejoiced at Saint Helena in the recollection of having instituted the offices of a minister of the treasury, and a minister secretary of State. The minister of the treasury concentrated all the resources and controlled all the expenditures of the Empire. The secretary of State issued all acts of government; he was the minister of the ministers, imparting life to all intermediate actions, the grand notary of the Empire, signing and legalising all documents.
The Emperor introduced order and economy into all branches of the public service, as well as into the administration of all the institutions of charity. He re-established the general direction of the forests, of the registry, and of the custom-houses, which had before been superintended by collective administrations. The administration of the forests was rendered more economical and more simple; that of the registry was rendered less onerous, by a better distribution of the taxes.
As to the military administration, we see in the Memorial of Saint Helena that Napoleon found it too extended. “They had centralised in Paris”, he said, “the direction of the markets, of the furnishing materials, of the making up, and subdivided the correspondence of the ministry among as many persons as there were regiments. But, on the contrary, the correspondences should have been centralised and the resources subdivided by transporting them into the several localities”.