The French Declaration of War against Austria (1792)

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The French Declaration of War against Austria
by Legislative Assembly of France, translated by James Harvey Robinson

409. The French Assembly declares war on Austria.The National Assembly, deliberating upon the formal proposition of the king, in view of the fact that the court of Vienna, in contempt of treaties, has not ceased to extend open protection to French rebels;

That it has instigated and formed a concert with several of the powers of Europe directed against the independence and safety of the French nation;

Reasons for war.That Francis I, king of Hungary and Bohemia, has, by his diplomatic notes of the 18th of March and the 7th of April last, refused to renounce this concert;

That, in spite of the proposition made to him by the note of March 11, 1792, to reduce to a peace basis the troops upon the frontiers, he has continued, and hastened, hostile preparations;

That he has formally attacked the sovereignty of the French nation by declaring his intention of maintaining the claims of the German princes who hold territory in France, whom the French nation has repeatedly offered to indemnify;

That he has endeavored to divide the citizens of France and arm them against one another by holding out to the malcontents the hope of assistance from a concert of the powers;

And that, finally, by his refusal to reply to the last dispatches of the king of France, he leaves no hope of obtaining, by way of friendly negotiation, the redress of these several grievances,—which is equivalent to a declaration of war;—the Assembly decrees that immediate action is urgent. Firm purpose of the French to make no conquests.The National Assembly proclaims that the French nation, faithful to the principles consecrated by its constitution, “not to undertake any war with a view to conquest nor ever to employ its forces against the liberty of any people,” only takes up arms for the maintenance of its liberty and independence;

That the war which it is forced to prosecute is not a war of nation against nation, but the just defense of a free people against the unjust aggression of a king;

That the French nation never confuses its brethren with its real enemies;

That it will neglect nothing which may reduce the curse of war, spare and preserve property, and cause all the unhappiness inseparable from war to fall alone upon those who have conspired against its liberty;

That it adopts in advance all foreigners who, abjuring the cause of its enemies, shall range themselves under its banners and consecrate their efforts to the defense of liberty; and that it will promote by all means in its power their settling in France.

Deliberating upon the formal proposition of the king and after having decreed the matter one of urgent importance, the Assembly decrees war against the king of Hungary and of Bohemia.

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The author died in 1936, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.