French National Assembly's Proclamation, 1 July 1815

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Frenchmen!

The Foreign Powers proclaimed, in the face of Europe, that they were only armed against Napoleon; and that they wished to respect our independence, and the right which belongs to every Nation to choose a Government suitable to its habits and its interests.

Napoleon is no longer the Chief of the State. He has renounced the Throne, and his Abdication has been accepted by your Representatives. He is removed from us. His son is called to the Empire by the Constitution of the State. The coalesced Sovereigns are informed of this; and the War ought to be terminated, if the promises of Kings have any foundation in truth.

While Plenipotentiaries have been sent to the Allied Powers to treat for peace in the name of France; the Generals of two of those Powers have refused any Suspension of Arms. Their troops have accelerated their marches under favour of a moment of hesitation and trouble. They are now at the very gates of the capital, and no communication has stated for what object the War is continued. Our Plenipotentiaries will soon declare whether we must renounce Peace. In the mean time, resistance is not only legitimate, but necessary: and humanity, in requiring an account of the blood uselessly shed, will not accuse those brave men who only combat to repel from their houses the scourges of war, murder, and pillage; and to defend with their lives the cause of Liberty, and of that Independence the imprescriptible right of which has been guaranteed to them even by the Manifestoes of their Enemies.

Amidst these circumstances, your Representatives cannot forget that they were not chosen to stipulate for the interests of any individual Party, but for the whole Nation. Every act of weakness will dishonour them, and will only tend to endanger the future tranquillity of France. While the Government is employing all the means in its power to obtain a solid Peace ; or, should that not be obtained without compromising our honour, to repel the Battalions of Foreigners: what more advantages to the Nation can be done than to collect and establish the fundamental rules of a Monarchical and Representative Government, destined to secure to all citizens the free enjoyment of those sacred rights which sacrifices so numerous and so great have purchased ; and to rally for ever, under the National Colours, that great body of Frenchmen who have no other interest, and no other wish, than an honourable repose and a just independence.

Meanwhile the Chambers conceive that their duty and their dignity require them to declare that they will never acknowledge, as legitimate Chief of the State, him who, on ascending the Throne, shall refuse to acknowledge the Rights of the Nation, and to consecrate them by a solemn Compact The Constitutional Charter is drawn up ; and if the force of arms should succeed in temporarily imposing upon us a Master — if the destinies of a great Nation are again to be delivered up to the caprice and arbitrary will of a small number of privileged persons — then, in yielding to force, the National Representation will protest in the face of the whole World against the oppression of the French People.

Your Representatives will appeal to the energy of the present and future generations to renew their claim both to National Independence, and the Rights of Civil and Religious Liberty. For these Rights they now appeal to the reason and the justice of all civilized Nations.