BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man

Friedrich Schiller


The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois


Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh


Knowledge of Higher Worlds and its Attainment

Rudolf Steiner


Napoleon the Little

by Victor Hugo

Excerpt:

THE CONSTITUTION.

A roll of the drums: clowns, attention!
"The President Of The Republic,

"Considering that—all the restrictive laws on the liberty of the press having been repealed,—all the laws against handbills and posting-bills having been abolished,—the right of public assemblage having been fully re-established,—all the unconstitutional laws, including martial law, having been suppressed,—every citizen being empowered to say what he likes through every medium of publicity, whether newspaper, postingbill, or electoral meeting,—all solemn engagements, especially the oath of the 20th December, 1848, having been scrupulously kept,—all facts having been investigated, all questions propounded and discussed, the merits of all candidates having been publicly debated, without the possibility of alleging that the slightest violence had been exercised against the meanest citizen,—in one word, in the fullest enjoyment of liberty— "The sovereign people being interrogated on this question: "Do the French people mean to place themselves, tied neck and heels, at the discretion of M. Louis Bonaparte?

"Have replied YES by 7,500,000 suffrages (Interruption by the author:—we shall speak again of these 7,500,000 suffrages).

"PROMULGATES "THE CONSTITUTION OF WHICH HEBE FOLLOWS THE TENOB:

"Article 1. The Constitution recognises, confirms, and guarantees the great principles proclaimed in 1789, and which are the foundation of the public rights of the French people.

"Article 2 and following. The march of events being impeded by the freedom of speech and the liberty of the press, they are superseded by the police and the censorship, as well as by the secret deliberations of the senate, the legislative body and the council of state.

"Article last. The thing commonly called human intelligence is suppressed.

"Done at the Palace of the Tuileries January 14, 1852.

"Louis Napoleon.

"Seen and signed with the great seal.

"E. Rouhee.

"Keeper of the Seals and Minister of Justice."

This Constitution, which loudly proclaims and confirms the revolution of 1780 in its principles and its consequences, and which merely abolishes liberty, has clearly and happily been infused into the mind of M. Bonaparte, by an old provincial play-bill which we will here recall to memory:

This Day,
Che (Grantt lirptnsnitattan

OF

LA DAME BLANCHE,

AN OPERA IN THREE ACTS.

Note. The music which would embarrass the progress of the action, will be replaced by a lively and piquant dialogue.

II.

THE SENATE.

This lively and piquant dialogue is comprised in the council of state, the legislative body and the senate.

Is there a senate then? Certainly. This "great body," this "balancing power," this "supreme moderator," is even the principal splendour of the Constitution. Let us consider it for a moment.

The senate! Well, it is a senate. But of what senate are you speaking? Is it the senate whose duty it was to deliberate on the description of sauce with which the Emperor should eat his turbot? Is it the senate of which Napoleon thus spoke on the 5th April, 1814. "A sign was an order for the senate, and it always did more than was required of it?" Is it the same senate of which the same Napoleon said in 1805: "The poltroons were afraid of displeasing me?"* Is it the senate which drew from Tiberius a similar exclamation: "The base wretches ! greater slaves than we require them to be!" Is it the senate which caused Charles XII. to say: "Send my boot to Stockholm." "For what purpose Sire?" demanded his minister. "To preside over the senate,'' was the reply. But let us not trifle. This year they are eighty; they will be one hundred and fifty the next. They monopolize to themselves, in full plenitude, fourteen articles of the "Constitution," from article 19 to article 33. They are "the guardians of the public liberties;" their functions are gratuitous by Article 22; consequently, they have from fifteen to thirty thousand francs per annum. They have the peculiar privilege of receiving their salary, and the good sense "not to oppose" the promulgation of the laws. They are all illustrious


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