The Journal Officiel of Saturday published the following Proclamation to the French People :-
There are solemn moments in the life of people, when the national sense of honour, violently excited, imposes itself with irresistible force, dominates all interests, and alone takes in hand the direction of the destinies of the country. One of those decisive hours has sounded for France. Prussia, towards whom both during and since the war of 1866 we have shown the most conciliatory disposition, has taken no account of our good wishes and our enduring forbearance. Launched on the path of invasion, she has provoked mistrust everywhere, necessitated exaggerated armaments, and has turned Europe into a camp, where reigned nothing but uncertainty and fear of the morrow. A last incident has come to show the instability of international relations, and to prove the gravity of the situation. In presence of the new pretentions of Prussia, we made known our protests. They were evaded, and were followed on the part of Prussia by contemptuous acts. Our country resented this treatment with profound irritation, and immediately a cry for war resounded from one end of France to the other. It only remains to us to leave our destinies to the decision of arms.
We do not make war on Germany, whose independence we respect. We wish that the peoples who compose the great German nationality may freely dispose of their destinies. For ourselves, we demand the establishment of a state of affair which shall guarantee our security and assure our future. We wish to conquer a lasting peace, based on the true interests of people, and to put an end to that precarious state in which all nations employ their resource to arm themselves one against the other. The glorious flag which we once more unfurl before those have provoked us is the same which bore throughout Europe the civilizing idea of our great revolution. It represents the same principles and will inspire the same devotion.
Frenchmen! I am about to place myself at the head of that valiant army which is animated by love of duty and of country. It knows its own worth, since it has seen how victory has accompanied its march in the four quarters of the world. I take with me my own son, despite his youth. He knows what are the duties which his name imposes upon him, and he is proud to bear his share in the dangers of those who fight for their country. May God bless our efforts! A great people which defends a just cause is invincible.
Translation in The Times, 25 July, 1870, p. 5, col. 1.