Proclamation of General Dufour to the Swiss Army of 5 November 1847

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Proclamation of General Dufour to the Swiss Army of 5 November 1847  (1847) 
by Guillaume-Henri Dufour, translated by M. J. Mayers
This proclamation was issued by the commander of the Swiss federal army, General Guillaume-Henri Dufour, on the eve of the Sonderbund War, the 1847 civil war in Switzerland. The present translation of the original German, French and Italian text was published in the book by M. J. Mayers, Note-book of the late civil war in Switzerland (John W. Parker, London, 1848).

Soldiers! After the long manifesto which the Federal Diet has just addressed to you, it remains for me to add but a very few words, at this solemn conjuncture.

It is in order to give effect and execute the decree of the supreme authority of the Swiss Confederation, that you have been called from your homes and to take up arms. It is for you, and all faithful confederates to rally around the national banner which has been displayed; and to be mindful, that it is your most sacred duty to defend it with your best energies and at the price of your blood.

Your country calls now for your united aid, and for the exertion of all your physical strength, to rescue Switzerland from a slate of trouble and distraction which cannot be allowed to exist any longer, compatible with the general safety. The country relies on your devotedness, and I feel assured, that you will not disappoint its expectations.

Soldiers, you are called to pass through this struggle not only victorious but reproachless: it must hereafter be said of you, that you have fought well while that was necessary, but that all the while you have proved humane and generous.

I recommend to your especial care and protection all children, females, aged persons, and the ministers of religion. He, who lays violent hand on an inoffensive person, dishonours himself and disgraces his colours. The prisoners and the wounded claim so much the more your attention and compassion, as they are fellow countrymen, with whom you have oftentimes been united under the same banner.

You will commit no unnecessary and wanton act of violence on the country-people, among whom you may be quartered; and you will be prepared to undergo the privations, which the present season necessarily entails; notwithstanding the care that has been taken to supply your wants. Your officers are most willing to share with you every hardship; and it is tor you to obey their orders and to follow their example. It is oftentimes more meritorious for the soldier to bear cheerfully hardship and privations, than to fight manfully on the field of battle.

But if all turn out as I am led to expect, the campaign will not be of long duration, and you will return to your homes, satisfied that you have executed a great undertaking; and that you have rendered signal services to your native land, by placing it in a position of having vindicated its independence and neutrality.

This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.