« 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)


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.




Public instruction had, under as enlightened régime as the Empire was, to take part in the impulse stamped by the head of State on all the branches of administration. “There are only”, said the Emperor, “those who want to deceive the peoples and govern for their own profit, who can want to keep them in ignorance; for the more the peoples will be enlightened, the more the number convinced of the necessity of laws, and of defending them, and the more society will be stable, happy and prosperous. And if a time should ever come when enlightenment be harmful to the masses, it will only be when the government, in hostility with the interests of the people, will push them into a desperate position, or reduce the poorest class to die of poverty; for then there will be more sense in defending oneself or becoming a criminal”.

The National Convention had already done much in overthrowing the Gothic edifice of teaching. But, in times of trouble, it is difficult to found; and the projects of establishments of instruction remained imperfect. There were primary schools only in the towns and cities, and the central schools were deserted. Napoleon divided, in 1802, teaching into three classes. Firstly, the municipal, or primary schools, of which 23,000 were to be created; secondly, the secondary schools, or communal colleges; thirdly the lycées and special schools, maintained at the expense of the treasury. The Institute was at the head of the whole edifice. The greatest activity was impressed into the creation of the schools, which the cities and départements vied for, and of which they offered to pay the expense.
There were established at first forty-five lycées: there was to be at least one for each arrondissement of every appeals tribunal. Three commissions of erudites travelled throughout the country, to pour into the lycées all the matter of instruction. There were 6,400 pupils pensioners of the State.

The government had works written for teaching mathematics, by La Place, Monge and Lacroix; natural history, by Duménil; mineralogy, by Brongniart; chemistry, by Adet; astronomy, by Biot; physics, by Haûy.

The title of Prytanée français, under which, until then, several colleges had been comprised, was accorded, in 1803, exclusively to the College of Saint-Cyr, a school, free of charge, reserved for the sons of officers who had died on the battlefield. The pupils of this school, after taking their examinations, passed on to the special school in Fontainebleau, which was also created at this time.

A special naval school, and ship schools were founded at Toulon and in Brest.

Two practical mine schools were created; one at Geislautern, in the département of the Saar, and the other in Pesey, in the département of Mont-Blanc.

In 1806, the Emperor felt the need of regularising instruction by a general system. This system has been reproached with shackling liberty. But, as it has been said above, the time for liberty had not come, and when a government finds itself at the head of a nation which has just discarded all ideas from the past, it is its duty, not only to direct the present generation, but to raise the emerging generation in the principles that have caused the revolution to triumph. “There will be no stable political State”, the Emperor said, “if there is no teaching body with fixed principles; its creation, on the contrary, will fortify the civil order”.

Although it contained restrictions, the system of education was a beautiful and great monument, and was in harmony with the imperial organisation as a whole, which spoke to all abilities, opened the way, tracing it with precision, while effacing all of the snares that prevented people from travelling along it. To all of you who wish to give yourselves to the art of teaching, as to those of you who wish to devote yourself, either to the art of healing, or the erudition of the legal expert, the career is open; provided that society has sufficient guarantees that you are capable of teaching morality and not vice; that you know how to distinguish between healing plants and poisonous saps, or that, pupils of the law, you have studied its spirit, and will know how to defend it!

The first regulations adopted by Napoleon had caused public instruction to make great progress. Numerous schools had arisen, but they were isolated and independent from one another. The condition of the men who devoted themselves to teaching was not assured; they were not subject to a general common regulation. The Emperor conceived the project of linking by direct relations all these establishments, by uniting into one body all the professors, and by raising the status of their profession to equal the most highly considered occupations.

Public instruction, throughout the whole Empire was exclusively entrusted to the University. It was composed of as many academies as there were courts of appeal. The schools belonging to an academy were placed in the following order: 1st the faculties for higher sciences, and the awarding of qualifications; 2nd, the lycées; 3rd, the colleges and communal secondary schools; 4th, institutions, schools kept by private tutors; 5th, the boarding schools, belonging to private masters and dedicated to less advanced studies than those of the institutions; 6th, the little, or primary schools. The little seminaries were under the watch of the University.

There were five orders of faculties: those of theology, law, medicine, mathematical and physical sciences. There was a faculty of theology per metropolitan church, and one at Strasbourg, and another at Geneva, for the reformed religion [Protestantism]. The law schools formed twelve faculties: the five medicine schools formed five. A faculty of sciences and a faculty of letters were established by each lycée, the seat (chef-lieu) of each academy.
In each faculty the qualifications were the baccalauréat, the licence, and the doctorat, which were conferred following examinations.

The administrative hierarchy, and of teaching, was comprised of nineteen levels. No one could be called to a position without having passed though the lower positions, and obtained, in the different faculties, qualifications corresponding to the nature and importance of its functions. The functionaries were divided into titularies, officers of the University, and officers of the academies; they were subject to a severe discipline. After thirty years of uninterrupted service, they could be declared emeriti, and receive a retirement pension.

The University was regulated and governed by the grand master, named and revocable, by the Emperor.

The council of the University was composed of 30 members. At the seat (chef-lieu) of each academy, there was an academic council of ten members.
There were inspector-generals of the University, charged with visiting establishments of instruction by order of the grand master.

There was to be established, by each academy, and in the interior of the colleges and lycées, one or several schools for training good masters for the primary schools.

The University was to bend itself, without respite, to perfecting teaching in all its branches, to favour the writing of classical books, and above all to see to each that the teaching of sciences was always at the level of all acquired knowledge, and that the spirit of system could never stop its progress.

The lycées, of which the number was brought up to a hundred, in 1811, were to be the nurseries of professors, rectors, and masters of study. The Emperor wanted them to be given great incentives to emulation, in order that the young people who were to devote themselves to teaching would have the prospect of rising from one rank to another, all the way to the foremost positions of the State. There were, in each lycée, twenty pupils kept at the expense of the government; eighty pupils were by half, and fifty by three quarters, in order to make accessible to the talents of the poor, the means to flourish.

In the movement that he impressed upon instruction, Napoleon replaced the study of dead languages, which were almost exclusively taught previously, by the more useful study of physics and mathematics, and it was in the same spirit that he opposed the pre-eminence that some wished to give to medicine over surgery.

The Polytechnic School, whose founding is to the credit of the Directory, underwent great development, and furnished distinguished officers to the armies, and scholars in all the branches of practical science.

The Normal School, of which the establishment had been formulated under the Convention, received its achievement under the Empire.

Napoleon created, under the title of imperial houses, two distinct establishments: one for the education of daughters of members of the Legion of Honour, the other for the education of orphans. In the first, one received a brilliant education; in the second, the orphans learned all the womanly works apt to give them the means to earn their living.

Provision was made for the fate of children whose education was entrusted to public charity; they formed three classes : foundlings, abandoned children, poor orphans. A hospice in each arrondissement was charged with receiving them.

In Rouen, an anatomical preparatory school was created. The school of arts and trades, founded in 1803 in Compiègne and afterwards transferred to Châlons-sur-Marne, had as its mission to spread everywhere the benefits of an industrial education. In 1806 a second was created in Beaupréau, and a third in the abbey of Saint-Maximilien near Trèves.

The French school of fine arts in Rome was restored to activity and transferred to the Villa Medici. Fifteen pupils were sent there.

The Emperor did not limit himself to creating schools, he further stimulated all kinds of merit by prizes and rewards, for which, with a great purpose of emulation, he had all the scholars of Europe compete. A prize of 60,000 francs was instituted for whoever should make progress in galvanism, and another, comprised of a medal of 3,000 francs, for the best experiment, which, in the view of the Institute, would be made each year on this subject. In 1808 the famous English chemist Davy won the annual prize of the Institute.
The decennial prizes, which were founded at this time, were an encouragement offered to all the sciences and to all the arts. There were nine of 10,000 francs, and thirteen of 5,000.

Among the numerous encouragements accorded to the sciences, we must mention the prize of 12,000 francs, which was promised to the author of the best paper on the disease called croup.

The Emperor consecrated the right of property to the heirs of authors deceased having left posthumous works.

He had conceived of the idea of erecting a sort of literary university, comprising thirty or so professorships, so well-coordinated that they would be a sort of office intended to aid literary, geographical, historical and political research; where, for example, whosoever wished to know a period could inform himself as to which works he should read, of the papers, the chronicles that he should consult; where any man, lastly, who wished to traverse a region, could acquire the necessary information for his voyage.

“The only reasonable encouragement for literature”, said the Emperor, “are seats in the Institute, because they give poets a place in the State”. He wished that the second class of the Institute form a sort of literary tribunal, charged with making a reasoned and impartial critique of recently published writings of some merit.

He spared no effort to honour the memory of dead scholars. From Osterode, covered all over with the dust of battles, he ordered that the statue of d’Alembert be placed in the hall of sessions of the Institute. He had mausoleums raised to Voltaire and Rousseau.

The busts of Tronchet and Portalis, the redactors of the first draft of the Code Napoléon, were placed in the hall of the Council of State.

In Cambrai, a monument was raised to the ashes of Fénelon.

Despite the wars, the imperial government neglected nothing that might further the sciences. It was thus that in 1806, among others, he ordered the publication, at his expense, of the account of the voyages and discoveries, made between 1800 and 1804, by Perron, Lesueur and Captain Baudin.

Biot and Arago were sent to Spain to continue measuring the arc of the Meridian to the Balearic Islands.

The National Institute was charged with drawing up a general picture of the progress in the sciences, letters and the arts since 1789; to be presented to the government, every five years, by a deputation. This body was also meant, furthermore, to propose its views on the discoveries of which it considered the application useful to the public good, on the aid and encouragements of which the sciences, arts and letters would have need, and the perfecting of the methods employed in the different branches of public instruction.

We thus see that the Emperor gave to instruction the same movement as to industry; and we may say, as Thibaudeau does [Volume III, page 404], that it is the pupils of the lycées who, after the fall of the Empire, continued, in the arts, sciences and letters, the glory of France.





A propos Mouvement Bonapartiste

JOURNAL OFFICIEL DE LA RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE 6 février 2010 1016 - * Déclaration à la préfecture de Meurthe-et-Moselle. MOUVEMENT BONAPARTISTE Objet : défendre, faire connaître et étendre les principes et valeurs du Bonapartisme. Il s’appuie sur l’adhésion populaire à une politique de redressement conjuguant les efforts des particuliers, associations et services de l’État. Le mouvement défend les principes bonapartistes sur lesquels il est fondé, et qui régissent son fonctionnement intérieur. Il défend également la mémoire de Napoléon le Grand, ainsi que celle de Napoléon III et de leurs fils, Napoléon II et Napoléon IV. Il reconnait Napoléon IV comme ayant régné sans avoir gouverné, en vertu du plébiscite de mai 1870. Le mouvement ne reconnait pas d’empereur après 1879, en vertu de l’absence de plébiscite. Républicain, il privilégie le bonheur, les intérêts et la gloire des peuples, et n’envisage de rétablissement de l’Empire que si les fondements en sont républicains et le régime approuvé par voie référendaire.
Cet article, publié dans éducation, cultes, idées napoléoniennes, institutions, Intérieur, est tagué , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Ajoutez ce permalien à vos favoris.


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