The Constitutions and Other Select Documents Illustrative of the History of France 1789-1907

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Date: 1858–1870

World History

C. The Bordeaux Address.

October 9, 1852. Moniteur, October 12, 1852.

Moniteur. Réimpression de l’ancien moniteur. Thirty-one vols. Paris 1858–1870.

Gentlemen,

The invitation of the chamber and of the tribunal of commerce of Bordeaux which I have cheerfully accepted furnishes me an opportunity to thank your grand city for its reception so cordial and its hospitality so replete with magnificence, and I am very glad also, towards the end of my tour, to share with you the impressions which it has left upon me.

The purpose of this tour, as you know, was that I might come to know for myself our beautiful provinces of the south, and that I might appreciate their needs. It has, however, given rise to a much more important result.

Indeed, I say it with a candor as far removed from arrogance as from a false modesty, never has a people testified in a manner more direct, spontaneous, and unanimous the desire to be freed from anxieties as to the future by consolidating in the same hands an authority which is in sympathy with them. It is because they know at this hour both the false hopes with which they deluded themselves and the dangers with which they are threatened. They knew that in 1852 society would hasten to its destruction, because each party was consoling itself in advance of the general ship-wreck with the hope of planting its banner upon the ruins which might float on the surface. They are thankful to me for having saved the ship, merely by raising the banner of France.

Disabused of absurd theories, the people have acquired the conviction that the pretended reformers were only dreamers, because there was always inconsistency and disproportion between their means and the results promised.

To-day, France encompasses me with her sympathies, because I am not of the family of the idcologists. In order to secure the welfare of the country, it is not necessary to apply new systems; but, before everything else, to inspire confidence in the present and security for the future. That is why France seems to wish to return to the Empire.

There is, nevertheless, a fear which I must refute. In a spirit of distrust, certain persons declare: The Empire means war. But I say: The Empire means peace.

It means peace, because France desires it, and, when France is satisfied, the world is tranquil. Glory, indeed, is bequeathed by hereditary title, but not war. Did the princes who justly thought themselves honored in being the grandsons of Louis XIV recommence his struggles? War is not made for pleasure, but by necessity; and at these epochs of transition in which everywhere, by the side of so many elements of prosperity, as many causes of death shoot up, it can be said with truth: Woe to him who first should give in Europe the signal of a collision whose consequences would be incalculable!

I admit, however, that I, like the Emperor, have indeed conquests to make. I wish, like him, to conquer for conciliation the hostile parties and to bring into the current of the great popular stream the hostile factions which are now ruining themselves without profit to anybody.

I wish to conquer for religion, morality, and comfortable living that part of the population still so numerous, which, in the midst of a country of faith and belief, scarcely knows of the precepts of Christ; which, in the midst of the most fertile land in the world, can scarcely enjoy products of first necessity.

We have enormous uncultivated territories to clear, routes to open, harbors to deepen, rivers to make navigable, canals to finish, and our network of railroads to complete. We have opposite Marseilles an enormous kingdom to assimilate to France. We have to connect all of our great western ports with the American continent by those rapid communications which we still lack. In fine, we have everywhere ruins to raise again, false gods to cast down, and truths to make triumphant.

That is how I shall understand the Empire, if the Empire is to be re-established. Such are the conquests which I meditate, and all of you who surround me, who wish, like myself, the welfare of our fatherland, you are my soldiers.

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Chicago: "C. The Bordeaux Address.," The Constitutions and Other Select Documents Illustrative of the History of France 1789-1907 in The Constitutions and Other Select Documents Illustrative of the History of France 1789-1907, ed. Frank Maloy Anderson (New York: Russell Russell, 1908), 558–560. Original Sources, accessed January 22, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PWFBLF86BXPLDLW.

MLA: . "C. The Bordeaux Address." The Constitutions and Other Select Documents Illustrative of the History of France 1789-1907, Vol. Thirty-one, in The Constitutions and Other Select Documents Illustrative of the History of France 1789-1907, edited by Frank Maloy Anderson, New York, Russell Russell, 1908, pp. 558–560. Original Sources. 22 Jan. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PWFBLF86BXPLDLW.

Harvard: , 'C. The Bordeaux Address.' in The Constitutions and Other Select Documents Illustrative of the History of France 1789-1907. cited in 1908, The Constitutions and Other Select Documents Illustrative of the History of France 1789-1907, ed. , Russell Russell, New York, pp.558–560. Original Sources, retrieved 22 January 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=PWFBLF86BXPLDLW.