2011年4月29日 星期五


Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen(1789)

The representatives of the people of France, formed into a National Assembly, considering that ignorance, neglect, or contempt of human rights, are the sole causes of public misfortunes and corruptions of Government, have resolved to set forth in a solemn declaration, these natural, imprescriptible, and inalienable rights; that this declaration being constantly present to the minds of the members body social, they may be ever kept attentive to their rights and their duties;3 that the acts of the legislative and executive powers of Government, being capable
of being every moment compared with the end of political institutions, may be more respected; and also, that the future claims of the citizens, being directed by simple and incontestable principles, may always tend to the maintenance of the Constitution, and the general happiness.4 For these reasons the National Assembly doth recognise [sic] and declare, in the presence of the Supreme Being, and with a hope of his blessing and favour, the following sacred rights of men and of citizens:  組成國民會議的法蘭西人民的代表們,相信對於人權的無知、忽視與 輕蔑乃是公共災禍與政府腐化的唯一原因,乃決定在一個莊嚴的宣言 裡面,闡明人類自然的、不可讓渡的與神聖的權利,以便這個永遠呈 現於社會所有成員之前的宣言,能不斷地向他們提醒他們的權利與義 務;以便立法權與行政權的行動,因能隨時與所有政治制度的目標兩 相比較,從而更加受到尊重;以便公民們今後根據簡單的而無可爭辯 的原則提出的各項要求,能恆久地導向憲法的維護並有助於人類全體 的幸福。因此,國民會議在上帝之前及其庇護下,承認並且宣佈如下 的人權與公民權:
Men are born, and always continue, free and equal in respect of their rights. Civil distinctions, therefore, can only be founded on public utility.
第一條 (人生而自由平等)

The end of all political associations is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man; and these rights are Liberty, Property, Security, and Resistance of Oppression.


The Nation is essentially the source of all sovereignty; nor can any individual or any body of men, be entitled to any authority which is not expressly derived from it.

Political Liberty consists in the power of doing whatever does not injure another. The exercise of the natural rights of every man, has no other limits than those which are necessary to secure to every other man the free exercise of the same rights; and these limits are determinable only by the law.

The law ought to prohibit only actions hurtful to society. What is not prohibited by the law, should not be hindered; nor should anyone be compelled to that which the law does not require.

The law is an expression of the will of the community. All citizens
have a right to concur, either personally or by their representatives, in
its formation.s It should be the same to all, whether it protects or punishes; and all being equal in its sight, are equally eligible to all honors, places, and employments, according to their different abilities,without any other distinction than that created by their virtues and talents.

No man should be accused, arrested, or held in confinement, except in cases determined by the law, and according to the forms which it has prescribed. All who promote, solicit, execute, or cause to be executed, arbitrary orders, ought to be punished,and every citizen called upon, or apprehended by virtue of the law, ought immediately to obey, and renders himself culpable by resistance.
第七條 (正當程序 due process)

The law ought to impose no other penalties but such as are absolutely and evidently necessary; and no one ought to be punished, but in virtue of a law promulgated before the offense, and legally applied.
第八條 (刑罰法定)

Article 9
Because every man is presumed innocent until he has been declared guilty, if it should be considered necessary to arrest him, any force beyond the minimum necessary to arrest and imprison the person will be treated with severely.[2]

No man ought to be molested on account of his opinions, not even on account of his religious opinions, provided his avowal of them does not disturb the public order established by law.
第十條 (表達與宗教自由)

The unrestrained communication of thoughts and opinions being one of the most precious Rights of Man, every citizen may speak, write, and publish freely, provided he is responsible for the abuse of this liberty, in cases determined by the law.
第十一條 (言論著作出版自由)

Article 12
Guaranteeing the rights of man and of the citizen requires a public force[3]. This force is therefore established for the benefit of all, and not for the particular use of those to whom it is entrusted.
A public force being necessary to give security to the Rights of Men and of citizens, that force is instituted for the benefit of the community and not for the particular benefit of the persons with whom it is entrusted.


A common contribution being necessary for the support of the public force, and for defraying the other expenses of Government, it ought to be divided equally among the members of the community,according to their abilities.
第十三條 為了公共力量的維持和行政管理的支出,普遍的賦稅是不可或缺的。賦稅應在全體公民之間按其能力平等地分攤。

Article 14
All citizens have the right to verify for themselves, or through their representatives, the necessity for the public tax. They further have the right to grant the tax freely, to watch over how it is used, and to determine its amount[4], the basis for its assessment and of its collection, and its duration.


Every community has a right to demand of all its agents, an account of their conduct.

Every community in which a separation of powers and a security of rights is not provided for, wants a Constitution.
第十六條 (權力分立)

The rights to property being inviolable and sacred, no one ought to be deprived of it, except in cases of evident public necessity, legally ascertained, and on condition of a previous just indemnity.

End Notes
1.It is very easy, when translating French, to be misled by the many faux amis (false friends)—words that look the same in French and English but have different meanings. Sometimes, this difference may affect the translation little, but in some cases a more accurate translation gives a very different aspect to the meaning of the original text.

I am at odds with previous available translations that I have seen. Although previous translators have much facility in creating word pictures, they seem often to have avoided reference to a French-English dictionary. This results in inadequate interpretations of an important document.

2.The wording in the final clause of article 9 has been written to reflect more clearly the notion being described. Here, in this endnote, is a more literal translation of this last part of article 9:

“...all harshness that is not necessary to secure his person must be severely suppressed by the law.”

3.of policemen, gendarmes, troops.

4.Quotité: literally the fixed amount representing each share.
There are two types of tax
—tax by shares, where one determines in the first instance the amount each person must pay;
—and tax by distribution, where each administrative unit (commune) must pay; the amount paid being subsequently shared between the inhabitants who each pay their portion.

21. 第12條之解釋:The Declaration af Rights' recognition of the importance of police or
military forces and of the fact that they do not exist for their own benefit is
echoed in VA. BILL OF RIGHTS § 13 (1776) ("a well-regulated militia ... is the
proper, natural, and safe defence of a free State; ... and ... in all cases the
military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil
power"). See also MD. CONST. Declaration of Rights § II (1776) (the "State ought
to have the sole and exclusive right of regulating the internal government and
police thereof"), § XXV ("a well-regulated militia is the proper and natural
defence of a free government"), § XXVII ("the military ought to be under strict
subordination to and control of the civil power"); N.H. CaNsT. art. XXVI (1784)
("the military ought to be under strict subordination to, and governed by the
civil power"); N.C. CaNsT. Declaration of Rights art. XVII (1776) ("the military
should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by the civil power");
PA. CaNsT. art. XIII (1776) ("the military should be kept under strict subordination
to, and governed by, the civil power"); S.c. CaNsT. § XLII (1778) (providing
that "the military [shall] be subordinate to the civil power of the State");
VT. CaNsT. ch. I, art. IV ("the people ... have the sole ... right of governing
and regulating the internal police" of the state), art. XV (1777) ("the military
should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power").[p.43]

1.Google 對 http://www.magnacartaplus.org/french-rights/1789.htm 快取
2.Vincent Robert Johnson,The French Declaration of the Rights of Man and
of Citizens of 1789, the Reign of Terror, and the Revolutionary Tribunal of Paris,Boston College International and Comparative Law Review Volume 13/ Issue 1/1990

by Wanli YANG