The Good Friend of the French Nation
“Glory and Justice for the defense of the faith”
Among the distinguished foreigners who came to Paris to visit the Exhibition was a Maronite prince, Emir Hassen-el-Khazen (Hosun el Khazen), whose family has always stood out for his work in France. In the seventeenth century, the services rendered to our country by one of his ancestors, Naufal-el-Khazen, earned him a distinction from Louis XIV. France had only one consulate in Saida for the whole of Syria; the king created a new one in Beirut and entrusted it to Naufal-el-Khazen. This dignity remained in the family until the French Revolution, when the consulate was abolished. By the time he was reinstated by Napoleon I, the family’s representative was too young to get the post, and when he later asked for it, the Ottoman government intervened to prevent his appointment. The members of the family continued to put at the service of France all their wealth and influence, founding schools and fighting, for certain years especially, against the extension of Italian influence.
In this they merely obeyed the wishes of their foregoing, Naufal-el-Khazen, in the will of which is this very significant sentence: \”I declare that if, by misfortune, someone of mine comes to forget France, I deny it and be deprived of his heritage!\” The current prince carries with him multiple family papers, royal letters, diplomatic papers, received by his family under the reigns of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI. These papers, documents and gifts were examined by the head of the archives division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Minister of Plenipoten-Tiaire Girard de Rialle, and certified authentic. We have noted in the statements in these documents some expressions used at that time in our diplomacy and not very known of the current public. In the letters addressed to Naufal-el-Khazen, he is called a Magnificent lord, Prince of Maronite of Mount Lebanon and consul of the \”French nation\”. The King of France is always called our diplomatic agents \”the emperor our august master.\”