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
AGRICULTURE – INDUSTRIE – COMMERCE
The Emperor made precise distinctions in the resources of a State. “Once”, he said, “only one kind of property was known of, that of land; then another arose, that of industry, grappling at this time with the former : it is the great struggle of the fields against the counting room, of the battlements against the trades; then came a third kind, derived from the enormous taxes levied upon the administrated, and which, distributed by the neutral and impartial hands of government, can guarantee against the monopoly of the other two, serves as their intermediary, and prevents them from fighting each other”. He made the following classification:
Agriculture; the soul, the foundation of the Empire.
Industry; the ease, the happiness of the population.
Exportation ; the superabundance, the good employment of the other two.
Exportation, very much beneath the other two in its results, was for this reason constantly subordinated to them in Napoleon’s mind. “External commerce is made for the other two”, he said, “the other two are not made for it. The interests of these three essential foundations are divergent, and often in opposition. I have always treated them according to their natural rank”.
Agriculture did not cease to make great progress under the Empire. “It is by comparisons and by examples”, said Napoleon, “that agriculture, like all of the other arts, perfects itself”. He ordered the prefects to make known to him the agricultural land owners who distinguished themselves, either by a broader and more reasoned crop, or by more careful husbandry of farm animals and improvement of breeds. In the départements which were behind in cultivation, the good land owners were induced to send their children to study the methods used in the départements where agriculture was flourishing. Praise and distinctions were awarded to those who had the most excelled.
The Rural Code, under development from 1802, was submitted in 1808 to consultative commissions, formed in each branch of the court of appeal, and composed of the most distinguished judges, administrators and farmers. It could not be completed before the fall of the Empire.
In 1807 the government created, in the veterinary school in Alfort, a professorship of rural economics.
Industry was not only encouraged, under the Empire, but we could say that it was, in a sense, created; it attained in little time an extraordinary degree of prosperity.
The Emperor, in saying that industry was a new kind of property, expressed in one word its importance and its nature. The spirit of property is in itself invasive and exclusive. Property in land had had its vassals and its serfs. The revolution set free the land; but the new property of industry, growing daily, tended to pass through the same phases as the first, and to have like it, its vassals and its serfs.
Napoleon foresaw this tendency inherent in any system whose advances are conquests; and while he protected the masters of industrial establishments, he did not forget the rights of the workers. He established in Lyons, and later in other manufacturing cities, a council of prudent men (prud’hommes), veritable judges of the peace of industry, who were charged with settling the disagreements which might arise between those who work and those who set others to work. Regulations were publishing on the policing of factories, trademarks, disputes, and the respective obligations of workers and manufacturers. Consultative chambers for manufactures, factories, arts and trades were instituted. There was installed, in the ministry of the Interior, a general council of factories and manufactures. The Emperor often loaned, from his civil list, to factories which, for lack of outlets, were on the brink of suspending their activity. His intention was to come to the aid of industry by the establishment of a special fund. He wrote, after the battle of Eylau, to the minister of the Interior, “My aim is not to stop such or such a businessman from declaring bankruptcy; the finances of the State would not suffice; but to stop such and such a factory from closing. My aim is to compensate lack of sales by temporary lending. I want to build a stable and perpetual establishment, and to endow it with forty or fifty million (francs), in such a way that the lack of sales be less cruel for the manufacturer”.
The Emperor raised up industry by making the sciences take part in its improvement. “If they had left me the time”, he said, “soon there would have no longer been any trades in France; they would all have been arts”. In effect, chemistry and mechanics were, during his reign, employed in perfecting all branches of industry. Thus, how many machines were created, how many inventions saw the light under the imperial régime!
If the spirit of association did not make greater progress in France, it was not for lack of encouragement on the part of the head of State; for in the midst of the preoccupations of war, he ordered the minister of the Interior to seek to sell to companies the canals which were completed, and recommended insistently to him in 1807 that he have the bridge of Jena built in iron like the pont des Arts, by a company.
The Emperor always opposed the re-establishment of guilds and masterships. He established schools of arts and trades in Châlons. The highest prizes were founded to encourage all inventions. A sum of a million francs was promised to the inventor of the best machine for spinning flax; a first prize of 40,000 francs, and a second of 20,000, to the inventor of the best machine for picking, carding, combing and spinning wool.
He created cotton manufactures in France, which included spun cotton, cloth, and printing. Before the Empire, the art of spinning cotton was not practiced in France, and cloth was imported to us from abroad. Cotton was cultivated advantageously in the south of France, Corsica and Italy; the harvest was estimated in 1810 at 100,000 kilogrammes. Merino sheep were raised and spread throughout the Empire. Napoleon ordered that excavations be dug to search for granite, and it is to this order that we owe the quarries that are worked today. European products replaced exotic products; pastel replaced indigo; beetroot was substituted for sugar cane; garance for cochineal; the factories of artificial sodas replaced foreign sodas; and now all these various products are sources of wealth for France. The production of beetroot sugar amounts to 50,000,000 kilogrammes per year.
Exportation across the seas could not, because of the war, benefit from great extension. But internal commerce took on immense development; for we may say that internal commerce at that time was European commerce, from Hamburg to Rome.
A general council of commerce was set up under the minister of the Interior, like the one established for industry.
In all his treaties, the Emperor aimed always at favouring French commerce. In 1808, he opened markets in Spain to French national products, by having the prohibitions on silks from Lyons, Tours and Turin, abolished. He ensured the same outlets for cloth from Carcassonne, canvas from Britanny, and French metalware. He wanted commerce to establish French houses, to receive merchandise from France, and send to France, Russian merchandise. And it is still, thanks to a treaty made by the Emperor with Russia, that France draws from this country the building timber needed for her navy.
The Commercial Code was completed and adopted in 1807.