Music of all the arts has the most influence on the passions and the legislator should give it the greatest encouragement.
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Napoleon Bonaparte was born on Corsica (in the city of Ajaccio), which had only recently been sold to the French by Italy. His family was a member of the minor Corsican nobility. His father arranged for Napoleon's education in France. Napoleon moved to France at the age of nine. He initially considered himself a fool and outsider; accusations of foreignness would dog him through his life. He had become an officer in the French army when the French Revolution began in 1789. Napoleon returned to Corsica, where a nationalist struggle sought separation from France. Civil war broke out, and Napoleon's family had to flee to France. Napoleon supported the revolution and quickly rose through the ranks. In 1793, he freed Toulon from the royalists and the British troops supporting them. In 1795, when royalists marched against the National Convention in Paris, he had them shot. Nicknamed the Little Corporal, Napoleon was a brilliant military synthesist, able to absorb the substantial body of military knowledge of his time and apply it to the real-world circumstances of his era. An artillery officer by training, he was innovative in his use of artillery as a mobile force to support infantry attacks. When appointed commander-in-chief of the ill-equipped French army in Italy, he managed to defeat Austrian forces repeatedly. Austria, led by Archduke Charles, had to negotiate an unfavorable treaty; at the same time, Napoleon organized a coup in 1797 which removed several royalists from power in Paris.
In 1798, Napoleon invaded Egypt in order to undermine Britain's access to India. An indication of Napoleon's devotion to the principles of the Enlightenment was his decision to bring scholars along on his expedition: among the other discoveries that resulted, the Rosetta Stone was translated. Napoleon's fleet in Egypt was completely destroyed by Nelson at The Battle of the Nile, so that Napoleon was land-bound. A coalition against France formed in Europe, the royalists rose again, and Napoleon abandoned his troops and returned to Paris in 1799; in November of that year, a coup made him the ruler and military dictator of France. According to the French Revolutionary Calendar, the date was 18 Brumaire. He instituted several lasting reforms in the educational, judicial, financial and administrational system. His set of civil laws, the Napoleonic Code or Civil Code, has importance to this day in many countries. He was also a dictator and military adventurer who cost France and her allies the lives of millions of men. In 1800, Napoleon attacked and defeated Austria again; afterwards, the British also signed a peace treaty.
In 1802, Thomas Jefferson was prepared to purchase New Orleans from Napoleon who had recently established himself as the undisputed ruler of France, and also acquired the Louisiana area from Spain. Jefferson sent James Monroe to Paris to assist in the negotiations of the Louisiana Purchase. The renewal of the war between the English and French was inevitable, and Napoleon had just faced a major military setback in the west when his army sent to conquer Santo Domingo and establish a base in the western world was destroyed by a combination of yellow fever and fierce resistance led by Toussaint l'Ouverture. With his western forces diminished, Napoleon knew he would be unable to defend Louisiana and suddenly decided to sell the entire territory to the United States. The American negotiators were prepared to spend $2 million for New Orleans, but were dumbfounded when the entire region from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada and from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains, which instantly doubled the size of the US, was offered for less than $20 million. After Napoleon enlarged his influence to Switzerland and Germany, a dispute over Malta provided the pretext for Britain to declare war on France in 1803, and support French royalists opposed to Napoleon. Napoleon however crowned himself Emperor in 1804, in a bizarre scene when he took the crown out of the hands of Pope Pius VII and placed it on his own head. A plan by the French, along with the Spanish, to defeat the British on the sea failed dramatically at Trafalgar, and Britain gained lasting control of the seas. A coalition against Napoleon had formed in Europe again, Napoleon attacked and secured a major victory against Prussia and Russia at Austerlitz. As a result, Napoleon became the de-facto ruler over most of Germany. Napoleon marched on through Poland and then signed a treaty with the Russian tsar Alexander I dividing Europe between the two powers.
Napoleon attempted to enforce a Europe-wide commercial boycott of Britain called the Continental System. He invaded Spain and installed his brother as king there. The Spanish rose in revolt, which Napoleon was unable to suppress. The British invaded Spain through Portugal in 1808 and, with the aid of the Spanish nationalists, slowly drove out the French. While France was engaged in Spain, Austria attacked in Germany and, after initial success, was defeated at the battle of Wagram.
Alexander I of Russia had become distrustful of Napoleon and refused to cooperate with him in against the British. Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812. The Russians under Kutuzov retreated instead of giving battle. Outside of Moscow on 12 Sept., the battle of Borodino was fought. The Russians retreated and Napoleon was able to enter Moscow, assuming that Alexander I would negotiate peace. Moscow began to burn and within the month, fearing loss of control in France, he left Moscow and the French Army suffered a ruinous retreat; the Army had begun as over 500,000 men and in the end less than 10,000 crossed at Berezina. Encouraged by this dramatic reversal, several nations again took up arms against France. The decisive defeat of the French came at the Battle of Leipzig in 1813, also called "The Battle of Nations".
Waterloo and Elba
In 1814, an alliance between Great Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria against Napoleon was formed. Although the defense of France included many battles which the French won, the pressure was overwhelming. Paris was occupied on 31 March. The marshals asked Napoleon to abdicate. The Allies demanded unconditional surrender and on 11 April Napoleon agreed. He was exiled to Elba, a small island in the Mediterranean, under a treaty that let him keep the title of "Emperor" but restricted his empire to that tiny island. Once there and cut off from communications, he became concerned about what was happening to his wife and, more especially, his son, in the hands of the Austrians and so returned to the mainland, where the armies sent to stop him received him as leader, and arrived at Paris and governed for 100 days. His final defeat was by Wellington at Waterloo on 18 June 1815.
Napoleon was imprisoned and then exiled by the British to the island of Saint Helena. There, with a small cadre of followers, he dictated his memoirs and criticized his captors. In the last half of April 1821, he wrote out his own will and several codicils (a total of 40-some pages) himself. His last words were: "France, the Army, Josephine." In 1955 the diaries of Louis Marchand, Napoleon's valet, were published. He describes Napoleon in the months leading up to his death, and led many to conclude that he had been killed by arsenic poisoning. Arsenic was at the time sometimes used as an undetectable poison, administered over a long period of time. In 2001 Pascal Kintz, of the Strasbourg Forensic Institute in France, added credence to this claim with a study of arsenic levels found in a lock of Napoleon's hair preserved after his death, with seven to thirty-eight times normal levels. More recent analysis on behalf of the magazine Science et Vie showed similar concentrations of arsenic can be found in Napoleon's hair in samples taken from 1805, 1814 and 1821. The leader of the newer study (Ivan Ricordel, head of toxicology for the Paris Police) stated that if arsenic was the cause, he should have died years earlier. Arsenic was also used in some wallpaper, as a green pigment, and even in some patent medicines, and the group suggests that the most likely source in this case was a hair tonic.
He married: (1) Josephine de Beauharnais and (2) Marie-Louise of Austria. He had no children with Josephine (which was why he divorced her) and only one with Marie-Louise: Napoleon Francis Joseph Charles Bonaparte (1812-1833), King of Rome (known as Napoleon II of France although he never ruled). Napoleon did have at least two illegitimate children: Charles, Count Leon, (1806 - 1881) (son of Catherine Eleonore Denuelle de la Plaigne [1787 - 1868]) and Alexandre Joseph Colonna, Count Walewski, (1810 - 1817) (son of Maria, Countess Walewski [1789 - 1817]). He had asked in his will to be buried on the banks of the Seine, but when he died in 1821 he was buried on Saint Helena. In 1840 his remains were taken to France and entombed in Les Invalides, Paris.
Detailed Biography - Part I
Emperor of the French, second son of Charles Marie Bonaparte and Maria LÃ¦titia Ramolino, b. at Ajaccio, in Corsica, 15 August, 1769; d. on the Island of St. Helena, 5 May, 1821.
His childhood was spent in Corsica; at the end of the year 1778 he entered the college of Autun, in 1779 the military school of Brienne, and in 1783 the military school of Paris. In 1785, when he was in garrison at Valence, as a lieutenant, he occupied his leisure with researches into the history of Corsica and read many of the philosophers of his time, particularly Rousseau. These studies left him attached to a sort of Deism, an admirer of the personality of Christ, a stranger to all religious practices, and breathing defiance against "sacerdotalism" and "theocracy". His attitude under the Revolution was that of a citizen devoted to the new ideas, in testimony of which attitude we have his scolding letter, written in 1790, to Battafuoco, a deputy from the Corsican noblesse, whom the "patriots" regarded as a traitor, and also a work published by Bonaparte in 1793, "Le Souper de Beaucaire", in which he takes the side of the Mountain in the Convention against the Federalist tendencies of the Girondins.
His military genius revealed itself in December, 1793, when he was twenty four years of age, in his recapture of Toulon from the English. He was made a general of brigade in the artillery, 20 December, and in 1794 contributed to Massena's victories in Italy. The political suspicions aroused by his friendship with the younger Robespierre after 9 Thermidor of the Year III (27 July, 1794), the intrigues which led to his being removed from the Italian frontier and sent to command a brigade against the Vendeans in the west, and ill health, which he used as a pretext to refuse this post and remain in Paris, almost brought his career to an end. He contemplated leaving France to take command of the sultan's artillery. But in 1795 when the Convention was threatened, Bonaparte was selected for the duty of pouring grapeshot upon its enemies from the platform of the church of Saint Roch (13 Vendemiaire, Year IV). He displayed great moderation in his hour of victory, and managed to earn at once the gratitude of the Convention and the esteem of its enemies.
The Campaign in Italy
March, 1798, he contracted a civil marriage with the widow of Alexandre de Beauharnais, Marie Josephine Rose Tascher de la Pagerie, who was born in Martinique, in 1763, of a family originally belonging to the neighbourhood of Blois. In the same month Napoleon set out for Italy, where the Directory, prompted by Carnot, had appointed him commander in chief against the First Coalition. The victory of Montenotte, over the Austrians commanded by Beaulieu, and those of Millesimo, Dego, Ceva, and Mondovi, over Colle's Piedmontese troops, forced Victor Amadeus, King of Sardinia, to conclude the armistice of Cherasco (28 April, 1796). Wishing to effect a junction on the Danube with the Army of the Rhine, Bonaparte spent the following May in driving Beaulieu across Northern Italy, and succeeded in pushing him back into the Tyrol. On 7 May he was ordered by the Directory to leave half of his troops in Lombardy, under Kellermann's command, and march with the other half against Leghorn, Rome, and Naples. Unwilling to share the glory with Kellermann, Bonaparte replied by tendering his resignation, and the order was not insisted on. In a proclamation to his soldiers (20 May, 1796) he declared his intention of leading them to the banks of the Tiber to chastise those who had "whetted the daggers of civil war in France" and "basely assassinated" Basseville, the French minister, to "re-establish the Capitol, place there in honour the statues of heroes who had made themselves famous", and to "arouse the Roman people benumbed by many centuries of bondage". In June he entered the Romagna, appeared at Bologna and Ferrara, and made prisoners of several prelates. The Court of Rome demanded an armistice, and Bonaparte, who was far from eager for this war against the Holy See, granted it. The Peace of Bologna (23 June, 1796) obliged the Holy See to give up Bologna and Ferrara to French occupation, to pay twenty one million francs, to surrender 100 pictures, 500 manuscripts, and the busts of Junius and Marcus Brutus. The Directory thought these terms too easy, and when a prelate was sent to Paris to negotiate the treaty, he was told that as an indispensable condition of peace, Pius VI must revoke the Briefs relating to the Civil Constitution of the clergy and to the Inquisition. The Pope refused, and negotiations were broken off; they failed again at Florence, where an attempt had been made to renew them.
During these pourparlers between Paris and Rome, Bonaparte repulsed the repeated efforts of the Austrian Wurmser to reconquer Lombardy. Between 1 and 5 August, Wurmser was twice beaten at Lonato and again at Castiglione; between 8 and 15 September, the battles of Roveredo, Primolano, Bassano, and San Giorgio forced Wurmser to take refuge in Mantua, and on 16 October Bonaparte created the Cispadan Republic at the expense of the Duchy of Modena and of the Legations, which were pontifical territory. Then, 24 October, he invited Cacault, the French minister at Rome, to reopen negotiations with Pius VI "so as to catch the old fox"; but on 28 October he wrote to the same Cacault: "You may assure the pope that I have always been opposed to the treaty which the Directory has offered him, and above all to the manner of negotiating it. I am more ambitious to be called the preserver than the destroyer of the Holy See. If they will be sensible at Rome, we will profit by it to give peace to that beautiful part of the world and to calm the conscientious fears of many people." Meanwhile the arrival in Venetia of the Austrian troops under Alvinzi caused Cardinal Busca, the pope's secretary of State, to hasten the conclusion of an alliance between the Holy See and the Court of Vienna; of this Bonaparte learned through intercepted letters. His victories at Arcoli (17 November, 1796) and Rivoli (14 January, 1797) and the capitulation of Mantua (2 February, 1797), placed the whole of Northern Italy in his hands, and in the spring of 1797 the Pontifical States were at his mercy.
The Directory sent him ferocious instructions. "The Roman religion", they wrote, "will always be the irreconcilable enemy of the Republic; first by its essence, and next, because its servants and ministers will never forgive the blows which the Republic has aimed at the fortune and standing of some, and the prejudices and habits of others. The Directory requests you to do all that you deem possible, without rekindling the torch of fanaticism, to destroy the papal Government, either by putting Rome under some other power or" which would be still better "by establishing some form of self government which would render the yoke of the priests odious." But at the very moment when Bonaparte received these instructions he knew, by his private correspondence, that a Catholic awakening was beginning in France. Clarke wrote to him: "We have become once more Roman Catholic in France", and explained to him that the help of the pope might perhaps be needed before long to bring the priests in France to accept the state of things resulting from the Revolution. Considerations such as these must have made an impression on a statesman like Bonaparte, who, moreover, at about this period, said to the parish priests of Milan: "A society without religion is like a ship without a compass; there is no good morality without religion." And in February, 1797, when he entered the Pontifical States with his troops, he forbade any insult to religion, and showed kindness to the priests and the monks, even to the French ecclesiastics who had taken refuge in papal territory, and whom he might have caused to be shot as emigres. He contented himself with levying a great many contributions, and laying hands on the treasury of the Santa Casa at Loretto. The first advances of Pius VI to his "dear son General Bonaparte" were met by Bonaparte's declaring that he was ready to treat. "I am treating with this rabble of priests [cette pretraille], and for this once Saint Peter will again save the Capitol", he wrote to Joubert, 17 February, 1797. The Peace of Tolentino was negotiated on 19 February; the Holy See surrendered the Legations of Bologna, Ferrara, and Ravenna, and recognized the annexation of Avignon and the Comtat Venaissin by France. But Bonaparte had taken care not to infringe upon the spiritual power, and had not demanded of Pius VI the withdrawal of those Briefs which were offensive to the Directory. As soon as the treaty was signed he wrote to Pius VI to express to him "his perfect esteem and veneration"; on the other hand, feeling that the Directory would be displeased, he wrote to it: "My opinion is that Rome, once deprived of Bologna, Ferrara, the Romagna, and the thirty millions we are taking from her, can no longer exist. The old machine will go to pieces of itself." And he proposed that the Directory should take the necessary steps with the pope in regard to the religious situation in France.
Then, with breathless rapidity, turning back towards the Alps, and assisted by Joubert, Massena, and Bernadotte, he inflicted on Archduke Charles a series of defeats which forced Austria to sign the preliminaries of Leoben (18 April, 1797). In May he transformed Genoa into the Ligurian Republic; in October he imposed on the archduke the Treaty of Campo Formio, by which France obtained Belgium, the Rhine country with Mainz, and the Ionian Islands, while Venice was made subject to Austria. The Directory found fault with this last stipulation; but Bonaparte had already reached the point where he could act with independence and care little for what the politicians at Paris might think. It was the same with his religious policy: he now began to think of invoking the pope's assistance to restore peace in France. A note which he addressed to the Court of Rome, 3 August, 1797, was conceived in these terms: "The pope will perhaps think it worthy of his wisdom, of the most holy of religions, to execute a Bull or ordinance commanding priests to preach obedience to the Government, and to do all in their power to strengthen the established constitution. After the first step, it would be useful to know what others could be taken to reconcile the constitutional priests with the non constitutional."
While Bonaparte was expressing himself thus, the Councils of the Five Hundred and the Ancients were passing a law to recall, amnesty, and restore to their civil and political rights the priests who had refused to take the oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. But Directors Barres, Rewbell, and Lareveillere Lepeaux, considering that this act jeopardized the Republic, employed General Augereau, Bonaparte's lieutenant, to carry out the coup d'etat of 18 Fructidor against the Councils (4 Sept., 1797), and France was once more a prey to a Jacobin and anti-Catholic policy. These events were immediately echoed at Rome, where Joseph Bonaparte, the general's brother, and ambassador from the Directory, was asked by the latter, to favour the Revolutionary party. Disturbances arose: General Duphot was killed in Joseph Bonaparte's house (28 December, 1797), and the Directory demanded satisfaction from the Holy See. General Bonaparte had just returned to Paris, where he apparently confined himself to his functions as a member of the Institute (Scientific Section). He was by no means anxious to lead the expedition against Rome, which the Directory was projecting, and contented himself with giving Berthier, who commanded it, certain instructions from a distance. For this expedition for Berthier's entry into Rome and the proclamation of the Roman Republic (10-15 February, 1798), and for the captivity of Pius VI, who was carried off a prisoner to Valence, see PIUS VI.
The Campaign in Egypt
While in Paris, Bonaparte induced the Directory to take up the plan of an expedition to Egypt. His object was to make the Mediterranean a French lake, by the conquest of Malta and the Nile Valley, and to menace England in the direction of India. He embarked on 19 May, 1798. The taking of Malta (10 June), of Alexandria (2 July), the battle of the Pyramids (21 July), gave Bonaparte the uncontested mastery of Cairo. At Cairo he affected a great respect for Islam; reproached with this later on, he replied: "It was necessary for General Bonaparte to know the principles of Islamism, the government, the opinions of the four sects, and their relations with Constantinople and Mecca. It was necessary, indeed, for him to be thoroughly acquainted with both religions, for it helped him to win the affection of the clergy in Italy and of the ulemas in Egypt."
The French troops in Egypt were in great danger when the naval disaster of Aboukir, inflicted by Nelson, had cut them off from Europe. Turkey took sides with England: in the spring of 1799, Bonaparte made a campaign in Syria to strike both Turkey and England. Failing to effect the surrender of Acre, and as his army was suffering from the plague (May, 1799), he had to make his way back to Egypt. There he re-established French prestige by the victory of Aboukir (25 July, 1799), then, learning that the Second Coalition was gaining immense successes against the armies of the Directory, he left Kleber in Egypt and returned secretly to France. He landed at Frejus, 9 October, 1799, and was in Paris seven days later. Besides certain political results, the expedition to Egypt had borne fruit for science: Egyptology dates its existence from the creation of the Institute of Egypt (Institut d'Egypte) by Bonaparte.
Bonaparte, First Consul
While Bonaparte was in Egypt, the religious policy of the Directory had provoked serious troubles in France. Deportations of priests were multiplying; Belgium, where 6000 priests were proscribed, was disturbed; the Vendee, Normandy, and the departments of the South were rising. France was angry and uneasy. Spurred on by his brother Lucien, president of the Five Hundred, allied with Directors Sieyes and Roger Ducos, Bonaparte caused Directors Gohier and Moulins to be imprisoned, and broke up the Five Hundred (18 Brumaire; 9-10 November, 1799). The Directorial Constitution was suppressed, and France thenceforward was ruled by three consuls. First Consul Bonaparte put into operation the Constitution known as that of the Year VIII, substituted for the departmental administrators elected by the citizens, others appointed by the Executive Power, and reorganized the judicial and financial administrations. He commissioned the Abbe Bernier to quiet the religious disturbance of the Vendeans, and authorized the return of the non juring priests to France on condition of their simply promising fidelity to the laws of the republic. Then, to make an end of the Second Coalition, he entrusted the Army of Germany to Moreau, and, himself taking command of the Army of Italy, crossed the Great St. Bernard (13-16 May, 1800) and, with the co operation of Desaix, who was mortally wounded, crushed the Austrians (14 June, 1800) between Marengo and San Giuliano at the very spot he had marked on the map in his study in the Tuileries. The Peace of Luneville, concluded with Austria, 9 February, 1801, extended the territory of France to 102 departments.
Bonaparte spent the years 1801 and 1802 effecting internal reforms in France. A commission, established in 1800, elaborated a new code which, as the "Code NapolÃ©on", was to be promulgated in 1804, to formally introduce some of the "principles of 1789" into French law, and thus to complete the civil results of the Revolution. But it was Napoleon's desire that, in the new society which was the issue of the Revolution, the Church should have a place, and consciences should be set at rest. The Concordat with the Holy See was signed on 17 July, 1801; it was published, together with the Organic Articles, as a law, 16 April, 1802. The former of these two acts established the existence of the Church in France, while the other involved the possibility of serious interference by the State in the life of the Church. Napoleon never said, "The Concordat was the great fault of my reign." On the contrary, years afterwards, at St. Helena, he considered it his greatest achievement, and congratulated himself upon having, by the signature of the Concordat, "raised the fallen altars, put a stop to disorders, obliged the faithful to pray for the Republic, dissipated the scruples of those who had acquired the national domains, and broken the last thread by which the old dynasty maintained communication with the country." Fox, in a conversation with Napoleon at this period, expressed astonishment at his not having insisted upon the marriage of priests: "I had, and still have, to accomplish peace", Napoleon replied, "theological controversies are allayed with water, not with oil." The Concordat had wrecked the hopes of those who, like Mme de Stael, had wished to make Protestantism the state religion of France; and yet the Calvinist Jaucourt, defending the Organic Articles before the Tribunat, gloried in the definitive recognition of the Calvinist religion by the state. The Jewish religion was not recognized until later (17 March, 1808), after the assembly of a certain number of Jewish delegates appointed by the prefects (29 July, 1806) and the meeting of the Great Sanhedrim (10 February - 9 April, 1807); the State, however, did not make itself responsible for the salaries of the rabbis. Thus did the new master of France regulate the religious situation in that country.
On 9 April, 1802, Caprara was received for the first time by Bonaparte in the official capacity of Pius VII'slegate a latere, and before the first consul took an oath which, according to the text subsequently published by the "Moniteur", bound him to observe the constitution, the laws, statutes, and customs of the republic, and nowise to derogate from the rights, liberties, and privileges of the Gallican Church. This was a painful surprise for the Vatican, and Caprara declared that the words about Gallican liberties had been interpolated in the "Moniteur". Another painful impression was produced at the Vatican by the attitude of eight constitutional priests whom Bonaparte had nominated to bishoprics, and to whom Caprara had granted canonical institution, and who afterwards boasted that they had never formally abjured their adhesion to the Civil Constitution of the clergy. In retaliation, the Roman curia demanded of the constitutional parish priests a formal retractation of the Civil Constitution, but Bonaparte opposed this and when Caprara insisted, declared that if Rome pushed matters too far the consuls would yield to the desire of France to become Protestant. Talleyrand spoke to Caprara in the same sense, and the legate desisted from his demands. On the other hand, though Bonaparte had at first been extremely irritated by the allocution of 24 May, 1802, in which Pius VII demanded the revision of the Organic Articles, he ended by allowing it to be published in the "Moniteur" as a diplomatic document. A spirit of conciliation on both sides tended to promote more cordial relations between the two powers. The proclamation of Bonaparte as consul for life (August, 1802) increased in him the sense of his responsibility towards the religion of the country, and in Pius VII the desire to be on good terms with a personage who was advancing with such long strides towards omnipotence.
Bonaparte took care to gain the attachment of the revived Church by his favours. While he dissolved the associations of the Fathers of the Faith, the Adorers of Jesus, and the Panarists, which looked to him like attempts to restore the Society of Jesus, he permitted the reconstitution of the Sisters of Charity, the Sisters of St. Thomas, the Sisters of St. Charles, and the Vatelotte Sisters, devoted to teaching and hospital work, and made his mother, Madame Laetitia Bonaparte, protectress of all the congregations of hospital sisters. He favoured the revival of the Institute of the Christian Schools for the religious instruction of boys; side by side with the lycees, he permitted secondary schools under the supervision of the prefects, but directed by ecclesiastics. He did not rest content with a mere strict fulfilment of the pecuniary obligations to the Church to which the Concordat had bound the State; in 1803 and 1804 it became the custom to pay stipends to canons and desservants of succursal parishes. Orders were issued to leave the Church in possession of the ecclesiastical buildings not included in the new circumscription of parishes. Though the State had not bound itself to endow diocesan seminaries, Bonaparte granted the bishops national estates for the use of such seminaries and the right to receive donations and legacies for their benefit; he even founded, in 1804, at the expense of the State, ten metropolitan seminaries, re-established, with a government endowment, the Lazarist house for the education of missionaries, and placed the Holy Sepulchre and the Oriental Christians under the protection of France.
As to the temporal power of the popes Bonaparte at this period affected a somewhat complaisant attitude towards the Holy See. He restored Pesaro and Ancona to the pope, and brought about the restitution of Benevento and Pontecorvo by the Court of Naples. After April, 1803, Cacault was replaced, as his representative at Rome, by one of the five French ecclesiastics to whom Pius VII had consented to grant the purple late in 1802. This ambassador was no other than Bonaparte's own uncle, Cardinal Joseph Fesch, whose secretary for a short time was Chateaubriand, recently made famous by his "La genie du Christianisme". One of Bonaparte's grievances against Cacault was a saying attributed to the latter: "How many sources of his glory would cease if Bonaparte ever chose to play Henry VIII!" Even in those days of harmony Cacault had a presentiment that the Napoleonic policy would yet threaten the dignity of the Holy See.
The idea of a struggle with England became more and more an imperious obsession of Bonaparte's mind. The Peace of Amiens (25 March, 1802) was only a truce: it was broken on 22 May, 1803, by Mortier's invasion of Hanover and the landing of the English in French Guiana. Napoleon forthwith prepared for his gigantic effort to lay the ban of Europe on England. The Duc d'Enghien, who was suspected of complicity with England and the French Royalists, was carried off from Ettenheim, a village within the territory of Baden, and shot at Vincennes, 21 March, 1804, and one of Cardinal Fesch's first acts as ambassador at Rome was to demand the extradition of the French emigre Vernegues, who was in the service of Russia, and whom Bonaparte regarded as a conspirator.
While the Third Coalition was forming between England and Russia, Bonaparte caused himself to be proclaimed hereditary emperor (30 April 18 May, 1804), and at once surrounded himself with a brilliant Court. He created two princes imperial (his brothers Joseph and Louis), seven permanent high dignitaries, twenty great officers, four of them ordinary marshals, and ten marshals in active service, a number of posts at Court open to members of the old nobility. Even before his formal proclamation as emperor, he had given Caprara a hint of his desire to be crowned by the pope, not at Reims, like the ancient kings, but at Notre Dame de Paris. On 10 May, 1804, Caprara warned Pius VII of this wish, and represented that it would be necessary to answer yes, in order to retain Napoleon's friendship. But the execution of the Duc d'Enghien had produced a deplorable impression in Europe; Royalist influences were at work against Bonaparte at the Vatican, and the pope was warned against crowning an emperor who, by the Constitution of 1804, would promise to maintain "the laws of the Concordat", in other words, the Organic Articles. Pius VII and Consalvi tried to gain time by dilatory replies, but these very replies were interpreted by Fesch at Rome, and by Caprara at Paris, in a sense favourable to the emperor's wishes. At the end of June, Napoleon I joyfully announced, at the Tuileries, that the pope had promised to come to Paris. Then Pius VII tried to obtain certain religious and political advantages in exchange for the journey he was asked to make. Napoleon declared that he would have no conditions dictated to him; at the same time he promised to give new proofs of his respect and love for religion, and to listen to what the pope might have to submit. At last the cleverness of Talleyrand, Napoleon's minister of foreign affairs, conquered the scruples of Pius VII; he declared, at the end of September, that he would accept Napoleon's invitation if it were officially addressed to him; he asked only that the ceremony of consecration should not be distinct from the coronation proper, and that Napoleon would undertake not to detain him in France. Napoleon had the invitation conveyed to Pius VII, not by two bishops, as the pope expected, but by a general; and before setting out for France, Pius VII signed a conditional act of abdication, which the cardinals were to publish in case Napoleon should prevent his returning to Rome; then he began his journey to France, 2 November, 1804.
Napoleon would not accord any solemn reception to Pius VII; surrounded by a hunting party, he met the pope in the open country, made him get into the imperial carriage, seating himself on the right, and in this fashion took him to Fontainebleau. Pius VII was brought to Paris by night. The whole affair nearly fell through at the last moment. Pius VII informed Josephine herself, on the eve of the day set for the coronation of the empress, that she had not been married to Napoleon in accordance with the rules of religion. To the great annoyance of the emperor, who was already contemplating a divorce, in case no heir were born to him, and was displaying a lively irritation against Josephine, Pius VII insisted upon the religious benediction of the marriage; otherwise, there was to be no coronation. The religious marriage ceremony was secretly performed at the Tuileries, on the first of December, without witnesses, not during the night, but at about four o'clock in the afternoon, by Fesch, grand almoner of the imperial household. As Welschinger has proved, Fesch had previously asked the pope for the necessary dispensations and faculties, and the marriage was canonically beyond reproach. On 2 December the coronation took place. Napoleon arrived at Notre Dame later than the hour appointed. Instead of allowing the pope to crown him, he himself placed the crown on his own head and crowned the empress, but, out of respect for the pope, this detail was not recorded in the "Moniteur". Pius VII, to whom Napoleon granted but few opportunities for conversation, had a long memoranda drawn up by Antonelli and Caprara, setting forth his wishes; he demanded that Catholicism should be recognized in France as the dominant religion; that the divorce law should be repealed; that the religious communities should be re-established; that the Legations should be restored to the Holy See. Most of these demands were to no purpose: the most important of the very moderate concessions made by the emperor was his promise to substitute the Gregorian Calendar for that of the Revolution after 1 January, 1806. When Pius VII left Paris, 4 April, 1805, he was displeased with the emperor.
But the Church of France acclaimed the emperor. He was lauded to the skies by the bishops. The parish priests, not only in obedience to instructions, but also out of patriotism, preached against England, and exhorted their hearers to submit to the conscription. The splendour of the Napoleonic victories seemed, by the enthusiasm with which it inspired all Frenchmen, to blind the Catholics of France to Napoleon's false view of the manner in which their Church should be governed. He had reorganized it; he had accorded it more liberal pecuniary advantages than the Concordat had bound him to; but he intended to dominate it. For example, in 1806 he insisted that all periodical publications of a religious character should be consolidated into one, the "Journal des cures", published under police surveillance. On 15 August, 1806, he instituted the Feast of St. Napoleon, to commemorate the martyr Neopolis, or Neopolas, who suffered in Egypt under Diocletian. In 1806 he decided that ecclesiastical positions of importance, such as cures of souls of the first class, could be given only to candidates who held degrees conferred by the university, adding that these degrees might be refused to those who were notorious for their "ultramontane ideas or ideas dangerous to authority". He demanded the publication of a single catechism for the whole empire, in which catechism he was called "the image of God upon earth," "the Lord's anointed", and the use of which was made compulsory by a decree dated 4 April, 1806. The prisons of Vincennes, Fenestrelles, and the Island of Sainte Marguerite received priests whom the emperor judged guilty of disobedience to his orders.
The Great Victories (1805-09)
After 1805 relations between Pius VII and Napoleon became strained. At Milan, 26 May, 1805, when Napoleon, as King of Italy, took the Iron Crown of Lombardy, he was offended because the pope did not take part in the ceremony. When he asked Pius VII to annul the marriage which his brother Jerome Bonaparte had contracted, at the age of nineteen with Elizabeth Patterson of Baltimore, the pope replied that the decrees of the Council of Trent against clandestine marriages applied only where they had been recognized, and the reply constituted one more cause of displeasure for the emperor, who afterwards, in 1806, obtained an annulment from the complaisant ecclesiastical authorities of Paris. And when Consalvi, in 1805, complained that the French Civil Code, and with it the divorce law, had been introduced into Italy, Napoleon formally refused to make any concession.
The great war which the emperor was just then commencing was destined to be an occasion of conflict with the Holy See. Abandoning the preparations which he had made for an invasion of England (the Camp of Boulogne), he turned against Austria, brought about the capitulation of Ulm (20 October, 1805), made himself master of Vienna (13 November), defeated at Austerlitz (2 December, 1805) Emperor Francis I and Tsar Alexander. The Treaty of Presburg (26 December, 1805) united Dalmatia to the French Empire and the territory of Venice to the Kingdom of Italy, made Bavaria and Wurtemberg vassal kingdoms of Napoleon, enlarged the margravate of Baden, and transformed it into a grand duchy, and reduced Austria to the valley of the Danube. The victory of Trafalgar (21 October, 1805) had given England the mastery of the seas, but from that time forward Napoleon was held to be the absolute master of the Continent. He then turned to the pope, and demanded a reckoning of him.
To prevent a landing Russian and English troops in Italy, Napoleon, in October, 1805, had ordered Gouvion Saint Cyr to occupy the papal city of Ancona. The pope, lest the powers hostile to Napoleon might some day reproach him with having consented to the employment of a city of the Pontifical States as a base of operations, had protested against this arbitrary exercise of power: he had complained, in a letter to the emperor (13 November, 1805), of this "cruel affront", declared that since his return from Paris he had "experienced nothing but bitterness and sorrow", and threatened to dismiss the French ambassador.
But the treaty of Presburg and the dethronement of the Bourbons of Naples by Joseph Bonaparte and Massena (January, 1806), changed the European and the Italian situation. From Munich Napoleon wrote two letters (7 January, 1806), one to Pius VII, and the other to Fesch, touching his intentions in regard to the Holy See. He complained of the pope's ill will, tried to justify the occupation of Ancona, and declared himself the true protector of the Holy See. "I will be the friend of Your Holiness", he concluded, "whenever you consult only your own heart and the true friends of religion." His letter to Fesch was much more violent: he complained of the refusal to annul Jerome's marriage, demanded that there should no longer be any minister either of Sardinia or of Russia in Rome, threatened to send a Protestant as his ambassador to the pope, to appoint a senator to command in Rome and to reduce the pope to the status of mere Bishop of Rome, claimed that the pope should treat him like Charlemagne, and assailed "the pontifical camarilla which prostituted religion". A reply from Pius VII (29 January, 1806), asking for the return of Ancona and the Legations let loose Napoleon's fury. In a letter to Pius VII (13 February), he declared: "Your Holiness is the sovereign of Rome but I am its emperor; all my enemies ought to be yours"; he insisted that the pope should drive English, Russian, Sardinian, and Swedish subjects out of his dominions, and close his ports to the ships of those powers with which France was at war; and he complained of the slowness of the Curia in granting canonical institution to bishops in France and Italy. In a letter to Fesch he declared that, unless the pope acquiesced he would reduce the condition of the Holy See to what it had been before Charlemagne.
An official note from Fesch to Consalvi (2 March, 1806) defined Napoleon's demands; the cardinals were in favour of rejecting them, and Pius VII, in a very beautiful letter, dated 21 March, 1806, remonstrated with Napoleon, declared that the pope had no right to embroil himself with the other states, and must hold aloof from the war; also, that there was no emperor of Rome. "If our words", he concluded, "fail to touch Your Majesty's heart we will suffer with a resignation conformable to the Gospel, we will accept every kind of calamity as coming from God." Napoleon, more and more irritated, reproached Pius VII for having consulted the cardinals before answering him, declared that all his relations with the Holy See should thenceforward be conducted through Talleyrand, ordered the latter to reiterate the demands which the pope had just rejected, and replaced Fesch as ambassador at Rome with Alquier, a former member of the Convention. Then the emperor proceeded from words to deeds. On 6 May, 1806, he caused Civita Vecchia to be occupied. Learning that the pope, before recognizing Joseph Bonaparte as King of Naples, wished Joseph to submit to the ancient suzerainty of the Holy See over the Neapolitan Kingdom, he talked of "the spirit of light headedness" (esprit de vertige) which prevailed at Rome, remarked that, when the pope thus treated a Bonaparte as a vassal, he must be tired of wielding the temporal power, and directed Talleyrand to tell Pius VII that the time was past when the pope disposed of crowns. Talleyrand was informed (16 May, 1806) that, if Pius VII would not recognize Joseph, Napoleon would no longer recognize Pius VII as a temporal prince. "If this continues", Napoleon went on to say, "I will have Consalvi taken away from Rome." He suspected Consalvi of having sold himself to the English. Early in June, 1806, he seized Benevento and Pontecorvo, two principalities which belonged to the Holy See, but which were shut in by the Kingdom of Naples.
Yielding before the emperor's wrath, Consalvi resigned his office: Pius VII unwillingly accepted his resignation, and replaced him with Cardinal Casoni. But the first dispatch written by Casoni under Pius VII's dictation confirmed the pope's resistance to the emperor's behests. Napoleon then violently apostrophized Caprara, in the presence of the whole court, threatening to dismember the Pontifical States, if Pius VII did not at once, "without ambiguity or reservation", declare himself his ally (1 July, 1806). A like ultimatum was delivered, on 8 July, to Cardinal Casoni by Alquier. But Continental affairs were claiming Napoleon's attention, and the only immediate result of his ultimatum was the emperor's order to his generals occupying Ancona and CivitÃ Vecchia, to seize the pontifical revenues in those two cities. On the other hand, the constitution of the Imperial University (May, 1806), preparing for a state monopoly of teaching, loomed up as a peril to the Church's right of teaching, and gave the Holy See another cause for uneasiness.
The Confederation of the Rhine, formed by Napoleon out of fourteen German States (12 July, 1806), and his assertion of a protectorate over the same, resulted in Francis II's abdication of the title of emperor of Germany; it its place Francis took the title of emperor of Austria. Thus ended, under the blows dealt it by Napoleon, that Holy Roman Germanic Empire which had exerted so great an influence over Christianity in the Middle Ages. The pope and the German emperor had long been considered as sharing between them the government of the world in the name of God. Napoleon had definitively annihilated one of these "two halves of God", as Victor Hugo has termed them. Frederick William II of Prussia became alarmed, and in October, 1806, formed, with England and Russia, the Fourth Coalition. The stunning victories of Auerstadt, won by Davoust, and Jena, won by Napoleon (14 October, 1806), were followed by the entry of the French into Berlin, the king of Prussia's flight to Konigsberg, and the erection of the Electorate of Saxony into a kingdom in alliance with Napoleon. From Berlin itself Napoleon launched a decree (21 November, 1806) by which he organized the Continental blockade against England, aiming to close the whole Continent against English commerce. Then, in 1807, penetrating into Russia, he induced the tsar by means of the battles of Eylau (8 February, 1807) and Friedland (14 June, 1807), to sign the Peace of Tilsit (8 July, 1807). The empire was at its apogee; Prussia had been bereft of its Polish provinces, given to the King of Saxony under the name of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw; the Kingdom of Westphalia was being formed for Jerome Bonaparte, completing the series of kingdoms given since 1806 to the emperor's brothers - Naples having been assigned to Joseph, and Holland to Louis. A series of principalities and duchies, "great fiefs", created all over Europe for his marshals, augmented the might and prestige of the empire. At home, the emperor's personal power was becoming more and more firmly established; the supervision of the press more rigorous; summary incarcerations more frequent. He created an hereditary nobility as an ornament to the throne.
To him it was something of a humiliation, that the Court of Rome persisted in holding aloof, politically, from the great conflicts of the nations. He began to summon the pope anew. He had already, soon after Jena, called Mgr Arezzo to him from Saxony, and in menacing fashion had bidden him go and demand of Pius VII that he should become the ally of the empire; once more Pius VII had replied to Arezzo that the pope could not consider the enemies of France his enemies. Napoleon also accused the pope of hindering the ecclesiastical reorganization of Germany, and of not making provision for the dioceses of Venetia. His grievances were multiplying. On 22 July, 1807, he wrote to Prince Eugene, who governed Milan as his viceroy, a letter intended to be shown to the pope: "There were kings before there were popes", it ran. "Any pope who denounced me to Christendom would cease to be pope in my eyes; I would look upon him as Antichrist. I would cut my peoples off from all communication with Rome. Does the pope take me for Louis the Pious? What the Court of Rome seeks is the disorder of the Church, not the good of religion. I will not fear to gather the Gallican, Italian, German and Polish Churches in a council to transact my business [pour faire mes affaires] without any pope, and protect my peoples against the priests of Rome. This is the last time that I will enter into any discussion with the Roman priest rabble [la pretraille romaine]". On 9 August Napoleon wrote again to Prince Eugene, that, if the pope did anything imprudent, it would afford excellent grounds for taking the Roman States away from him. Pius VII, driven to bay, sent Cardinal Litta to Paris to treat with Napoleon: the pope was willing to join the Continental blockade, and suspend all intercourse with the English, but not to declare war against them. The pope even wrote to Napoleon (11 September, 1807) inviting him to come to Rome. The emperor, however, was only seeking occasion for a rupture, while the pope was seeking the last possible means of pacification.
Napoleon refused to treat with Cardinal Litta, and demanded that Pius VII should be represented by a Frenchman, Cardinal de Bayanne. Then he pretended that Bayanne's powers from the pope were not sufficient. And while the pope was negotiating with him in good faith, Napoleon, without warning, caused the four pontifical Provinces of Macerata, Spoleto, Urbino, and Foligno to be occupied by General Lemarrois (October, 1807). Pius VII then revoked Cardinal Bayanne's powers. It as evident that, not only did Napoleon require of him an offensive alliance against England, but that the Emperor's pretensions, and those of his new minister of foreign affairs, Champagny, Talleyrand's successor, were now beginning to encroach upon the domain of religion. Napoleon claimed that one third of the cardinals should belong to the French Empire; and Champagny let it be understood that the emperor would soon demand that the Holy see should respect the "Gallican Liberties", and should abstain from "any act containing positive clauses or reservations calculated to alarm consciences and spread divisions in His Majesty's dominions". Henceforth it was the spiritual authority that Napoleon aspired to control. Pius VII ordered Bayanne to reject the imperial demands. Napoleon then (January, 1808) decided that Prince Eugene and King Joseph should place troops at the disposition of General Miollis, who was ordered to march on Rome. Miollis at first pretended to be covering the rear of the Neapolitan army, then he suddenly threw 10,000 troops into Rome (2 February). Napoleon wrote to Champagny that it was necessary "to accustom the people of Rome and the French troops to live side by side, so that, should the Court of Rome continue to act in an insensate way, it might insensibly cease to exist as a temporal power, without anyone noticing the change". Thus it may be said that, in the beginning of 1808, Napoleon's plan was to keep Rome.
In a manifesto to the Christian powers, Pius VII protested against this invasion; at the same time, he consented to receive General Miollis and treated him with great courtesy. Champagny, on 3 February, again insisted on the pope's becoming the political ally of Napoleon, and Pius VII refused. The instructions given to Miollis became more severe every day: he seized printing presses, journals, post offices; he decimated the Sacred College by having seven cardinals conducted to the frontier, because Napoleon accused them of dealing with the Bourbons of the two Sicilies, then, one month later, he expelled fourteen other cardinals from Rome because they were not native subjects of the pope. Cardinal Doria Pamphili, who had been appointed secretary of state, in February, 1808, was also expelled by Miollis; Pius VII now had with him only twenty one cardinals, and the papal Government was disorganized. He broke off all diplomatic relations with Napoleon, recalled Bayanne and Caprara from Paris, and uttered his protest in a consistorial allocution delivered in March. Napoleon, on his side, recalled Alquier from Rome. The struggle between pope and emperor was taking on a tragic character.
On 2 April Napoleon signed two decrees: one annexed to the Kingdom of Italy "in perpetuity" the Provinces of Urbino, Ancona, Macerata, and Camerino; the other ordered all functionaries of the Court of Rome who were natives of the Kingdom of Italy to return to that kingdom, under pain of confiscation of their property. Pius VII protested before all Europe against this decree, on 19 May, and, in an instruction addressed to the bishops of the provinces which Napoleon was lopping off from his possessions, he denounced the religious "indifferentism" of the imperial Government, and forbade the faithful of those provinces to take the oath of allegiance to Napoleon or accept any offices from him. Miollis retaliated, 12 June, by driving Gavrielli, the new secretary of state, out of Rome. Pius VII then replaced Gavrielli with Cardinal Pacca, reputed an opponent of France; on 11 July he delivered a very spirited allocution, which, in spite of the imperial police, was circulated throughout Europe; and Pacca, on 24 August, directed a note against the institution of the "Civic Guard" - an idea recently conceived by Miollis - in which Miollis was compelling even the pope's soldiers to enroll. On 6 September, 1808, Miollis sent two officers to the Quirinal to arrest Pacca; Pius VII interposed, declaring that they should not arrest Pacca without arresting the pope, and that in future the secretary of state should sleep at the Quirinal, which was closed to all the French.
The definitive execution of Napoleon's projects against the Holy See was retarded by the wars which occupied him during the year 1808. When he transferred his brother Joseph from the Throne of Naples to that of Spain, Spain rose, and the English invaded Portugal. Dupont's capitulation, at Baylen (20 July, 1808), and Junot's at Cintra (30 August, 1808), were painful reverses for French arms. Napoleon, having made an alliance with the tsar in the celebrated interview of Erfurt (27 September - 14 October, 1808), hastened to Spain. There he found a people whose spirit of resistance was exasperated all the more because they believed themselves to be fighting for their liberty and the integrity of their faith as much as for their country. In November he gained the victories of Burgos, Espinosa, Tudela, and Somo Sierra, and reopened the gates of Madrid for Joseph; on 21 February Saragossa was taken by the French armies after an heroic resistance. A Fifth Coalition was formed against Napoleon: he returned from Spain and, rushing across Bavaria, bombarded and took Vienna (11 13 May, 1809). On the day after the victory he devoted some of his leisure hours to thinking about the pope.
For some time Murat, who in 1808 had replaced Joseph as King of Naples, had been ready to support Miollis whenever Napoleon should judge that the hour had come to incorporate Rome with the empire. On 17 May, 1809, Napoleon issued from Schonbrunn two decrees in which, reproaching the popes for the ill use they had made of the donation of Charlemagne, his "august predecessor", he declared the Pontifical States annexed to the empire, and organized, under Miollis, a council extraordinary to administer them. On 10 June Miollis had the Pontifical flag, which still floated over the castle of St. Angelo, lowered. Pius VII replied by having Rome placarded with a Bull excommunicating Napoleon. When the emperor received news of this (20 June) he wrote to Murat: "So the pope has aimed an excommunication against me. No more half measures; he is a raving lunatic who must be confined. Have Cardinal Pacca and other adherents of the pope arrested." In the night of 5 6 July, 1809, Radet, a general of gendarmerie, by the orders of Miollis, entered the Quirinal, arrested Pius VII and Pacca, gave them two hours to make their preparations, and took them away from Rome at four in the morning. Pius VII was taken to Savona, Pacca to Fenestrella. Meanwhile Napoleon, completing the work of crushing Austria, had been the victor at Essling (21 May, 1809) and at Wagram (6 July, 1809), and the Peace of Vienna (15 October, 1809) put the finishing touch to the mutilation of Austria by handing over Carniola, Croatia, and Friuli to France, at the same time obliging the Emperor Francis to recognize Joseph as King of Spain. The young german, Staps, who attempted to assassinate Napoleon at Schoenbrunn (13 October), died crying: "Long live Germany!"
It was not long, however, before he had to face an enormous difficulty: there were more than twenty bishoprics vacant, and Pius VII declared to Fesch, to Caprara, and to Maury that, so long as he was a prisoner, so long as he could not communicate freely with his natural counsellors, the cardinals, he would not provide for the institution of the bishops. Thus the life of the Church of France was partially suspended. In November, 1809, Napoleon appointed an "ecclesiastical council" to seek a solution of the difficulty. With Fesch as president, this council included as members Cardinal Maury, Barral, Archbishop of Tours, Duvoisin, Bishop of Nantes, Emery, Superior of S. Sulpice, Bishops Canaveri of Vercelli, Bourlier of Evreux, Mannay of Treves, and the Barnabite Fontana. Bigot de Pruameneu, in the name of the emperor, laid before the council several sets of questions relating to the affairs of Christendom in general, then to those of France, and lastly to those of Germany and Italy, and to the Bull of Excommunication.
In the preamble to its replies, the council gave voice to a petition for the absolute liberty of the pope and the recall of the cardinals. It declared that if a general council were assembled for the settlement of the religious questions then pending, the pope's presence at the council would be necessary, and that a national council would not have sufficient authority in questions affecting the whole Catholic Church. It also declared that the pope could not complain of any essential violation of the Concordat, that, when he advanced his temporal spoliation, as one reason for his refusal to institute the bishops canonically, he was confounding the temporal order with the spiritual, that the temporal sovereignty was only an accessory of the papal authority, that the invasion of Rome was not a violation of the Concordat, and that the national council would interpose an appeal from the Bull of Excommunication either to the general council or to the pope better informed. The manner in which canonical institution might be secured for the bishops, if the pope should continue his resistance, was twice discussed. Urged by the Government, the council admitted that, taking the circumstances into consideration, the conciliary institution given by a metropolitan to his suffragans, or by the senior suffragan to a new metropolitan, might possibly be recognized by a national council as, provisionally, a substitute for pontifical Bulls. Emery, thinking the council too lenient, refused to endorse the answers, which were sent to Napoleon on 11 January, 1810.
On 17 February, 1810, the Act regulating the Roman territory and future condition of the pope, introduced by Rugnault de Saint Jean d'Anguly, was passed unanimously by the senate. The Papal States, in accordance with this decree, were to form two departments; from Rome, which was declared the first city of the empire, the prince imperial was to take his title of king. The emperor, already crowned once at Notre Dame, was to go within ten years to be crowned at St. Peter's. The pope was to have a revenue of two millions. The empire was to charge itself with the maintenance of the Sacred Congregation of Propaganda. The pope, on his accession, must promise to do nothing contrary to the four articles of the Gallican Church. Another Act of the Senate, of 25 February, 1810, made the Declaration of 1682 a general law of the empire. Thus did Napoleon flatter himself that he would reduce the papacy to servitude and bring Pius VII to live in Paris. He even prepared a letter to Pius VII in which he told him: "I hold in execration the principles of the Bonifaces and the Gregorys. It is my mission to govern the West; do not meddle with it." This letter he would have had taken to the pope by bishops who were to give notice to Pius VII that in future the popes must swear allegiance to Napoleon, as of yore to Charlemagne, and to inform him that he himself would be dispensed from this obligation, but that he must undertake not to reside at Rome. Napoleon expected in this way to bend the pope to his will. Wiser counsellors, however, prevailed upon him not to send this insulting letter. Nevertheless, to carry out his plan of removing the papal throne from Rome, he ordered Miollis to compel all the cardinals who were still at Rome to set out for Paris, and to have the Vatican archives transported thither. In 1810 there were twenty seven Roman cardinals in Paris; he lavished gifts upon them, invited them to the court festivals, and wished them to write and urge Pius VII to yield; but, following the advice of Consalvi, the cardinals refused.
It was in the midst of these bitter conflicts with the church that, Napoleon desiring an heir, resolved to divorce Josephine. Ever since the end of 1807 Metternich had been aware of the reports that were current about the emperor's approaching divorce. On 12 December, 1807, Lucien Bonaparte had vainly endeavored to obtain from Josephine her consent to this divorce; some time after, Fouchu had made a similar attempt with no better success. In December, 1809, at Fontainebleau, in the presence of Prince Eugene, Josephine's son, the emperor induced her to consent; on 15 December, this was solemnly proclaimed in the throne room, in the presence of the Court, in an address delivered by Napoleon, and another read by the unhappy Josephine, who was prevented by her tears from finishing it. The Act of the Senate (16 December), based on a report of Lacupede, the naturalist, himself a member of the Senate, ratified the divorce. Napoleon then thought of marrying the tsar's sister. But Metternich, getting wind of this project, made Laborde and Schwarzenberg sound the Tuileries to see if Napoleon would marry an Austrian archduchess. The idea pleased Napoleon. The Court of Vienna, however, first required that the spiritual bond between Napoleon and Josephine should be severed.
This bond the pope alone was competent to dissolve; Louis XII had had recourse to Alexander VI; Henry IV to Clement VIII; but Napoleon, excommunicated by his prisoner Pius VII, could not apply to him. Cambacures, the arch chancellor, sent for the diocesan officials of Paris and explained to them that the marriage of Napoleon and Josephine had been invalid in consequence of the absence of the parish priest of the two parties and of witnesses. In vain did they object that only the pope could decide such a case; they were told to commence proceedings, and be quick about it. On 26 December, the promoter of the case, Rudemare, begged Cambacures to submit the matter to the ecclesiastical council over which Fesch presided. On 2 January, 1810, Cambacures sent a request to the official, Boislesve, for a declaration of nullity of the marriage, alleging, this time, that there had been absence of consent on Napoleon's part. On the next day the ecclesiastical council replied that if the defect of Napoleon's consent could be proved to the officiality, the marriage would be null and void. Cambacures wished to produce Fesch, Talleyrand, Duroc, and Berthier as witnesses. The testimony of Fesch was very confused; he explained that the pope had given him the necessary dispensations to bless the marriage; that two days later he had given Josephine a marriage certificate; that the emperor had then upbraided him, declaring to him that he (the emperor) had only agreed to this marriage in order to quiet the empress, and that it was, moreover, impossible for him to renounce his hopes of direct descendants. The other two witnesses told how Napoleon had repeatedly expressed the conviction that he was not bound by this marriage and that he regarded the ceremony only as "a mere concession to circumstances [acte de pure circonstance] which ought not to have any effect in the future".
On 9 January the diocesan authorities declared the marriage null and void, on the ground of the absence of the lawful parish priest and of witnesses; it pronounced this decision only in view of the "difficulty in the way of having recourse to the visible head of the Church, to whom it has always belonged in fact to pronounce upon these extraordinary cases." The promoter Rudemare had concluded with the recommendation that the tribunal should at least lay a precept upon the two parties to repair the defect of form which had vitiated their marriage; Boilesve, the official, refrained from proffering this invitation. Rudemare then appealed to the metropolitan authorities on this point. On 12 January, 1810, the official, Lejeas, with much greater complaisance, admitted both the grounds of nullity advanced by Cambacures - that is, not only the defect of form, but also the defect of the emperor's consent. He alleged that the civil marriage of Napoleon and Josephine had been annulled by the decree of the Senate, that by the concordatory laws (lois concordataires) the religious marriage ought to follow the civil, and that the Church could not now ask two parties who were no longer civilly married to repair the defects of form in their religious marriage. Thus, he declared, the marriage was religiously annulled. It may be noted here that the Catholic Church cannot be held responsible for the excessive complaisance shown in this matter by the ecclesiastical council and the diocesan authorities of Paris. On 21 January, 1810, Napoleon resolved to ask for the hand of Marie Louise. The French ambassador at Vienna, at the request of the Archbishop of Vienna, gave him his word of honour that the sentence pronounced by the diocesan authorities of Paris was legal. At last all the religious obstacles to the celebration of the new marriage were disposed of.
It took place on 1 April, 1810, but thirteen of the cardinals then in Paris refused to be present. These thirteen cardinals were turned away when they presented themselves at the Tuileries two days later; the minister of public worship informed them that they were no longer cardinals, that they no longer had any right to wear the purple; the minister of police forwarded them, two by two, to small country towns; their pensions were suppressed, their property sequestrated. People called them "the black cardinals". The bishops and priests of the Roman States were treated with similar violence; nineteen out of thirty two bishops refused the oath of allegiance to the emperor, and were imprisoned, while a certain number of non juring parochial clergy were interned in Corsica, and the emperor announced his intention of reducing the number of dioceses and parishes in the Roman States by three fourths. This policy of bitter persecution coincided with fresh overtures to his prisoner, the pope, through the Austrian diplomat Lebzeltern (May, 1810). Pius VII's reply was that, to negotiate, he must be free and able to communicate with the cardinals. In July Napoleon sent Cardinals Spina and Caselli to Savona, but they obtained nothing from the pope. There had been no solution of the internal crisis of the Church of France; while Pius VII was a prisoner the bishops were not to receive canonical institution. Bigot de Pruameneu and Maury suggested to the emperor a possible arrangement; to invite the chapter in each diocese to designate the bishop who had been nominated, but not yet canonically instituted, provisional administrator. Fesch refused to lend himself to this expedient and occupy the Archbishopric of Paris; but a certain number of nominated bishops did go to their episcopal cities in the capacity of provisional administrators. Going one step further, Napoleon removed Maury from the See of Montefiascone, and d'Osmond from that of Nancy, and had them designated by the respective chapters provisional administrators of the two vacant Archdioceses of Paris and Florence. Maury and d'Osmond, at the emperor's bidding, left the dioceses given them by the pope to install themselves in these archdioceses.
Despite the rigour of his captivity, Pius VII was able to make known the pontifical commands to Cardinal di Pietro at Semur; a secret agency at Lyons, established by certain members of the Congregation, devised ingenious ways of facilitating these communications as well as the circulation of Bulls. In November, 1810, the Court was stupefied with the news that two Bulls of Pius VII, addressed to the Chapters of Florence and Paris, forbade their recognizing D'Osmond and Maury. The imperial fury was let loose. On 1 January, 1811, Napoleon, during an audience to Maury and the canons, demanded an explanation from d'Astros, the vicar capitular, who had received the Bull, telling him that there is "as much difference between the religion of Bossuet and that of Gregory VII as between heaven and hell"; d'Astros, taken by Maury himself to police headquarters, was imprisoned at Vincennes. At the Council of State, 4 January, 1811, Portalis, a relative of d'Astros, was openly accused of treason by Napoleon, and immediately put out of the council chamber (with a brutality that the emperor afterwards regretted) and was then ordered to quit Paris. Cardinals di Pietro, Oppizzone, and Gabrielli, and the priests Fontana and Gregori, former counsellors of the pope, were thrown into prison. Maury used his influence with the canons of Paris to induce them to apologize to Napoleon, who received them, told them that the pope must not treat him as a roi fainuant, and declared that, since the pope was not acting up to the Concordat in the matter of institution of bishops, the emperor, on his side, renounced the Concordat. The conditions of the pope's captivity were made more severe; all his correspondence had to pass through Paris, to be inspected by the Government; the lock of his desk was picked; he could no longer receive visits without the presence of witnesses; a gendarme demanded of him the ring of St. Peter, which Pius VII surrendered after breaking it in two. Chabrol, the pope's custodian, showed him the addresses to which some of the chapters were expressing their submission to the emperor, but Pius VII was inflexible. A commission of jurisconsults in Paris, after discussing the possibility of a law regulating the canonical institution of bishops without the pope's co operation, ended by deciding that to pass such a law was almost equivalent to schism.
Napoleon was not willing to go so far. He summoned the ecclesiastical council which he had already established and, 8 February, 1811, proposed to it these two questions: (1) All communication between the pope and the emperor's subjects being interrupted, to whom must recourse be had for the dispensations ordinarily granted by the Holy See? (2) What canonical means is there of providing institution for bishops when the pope reuses it? Fesch and Emery tried to sway the council towards some courses which would save the papal prerogative. But the majority of the council answered: (1) That recourse might be had, provisionally, to the bishops for the dispensations in question; 2) That a clause might be added to the Concordat stipulating that the pope must grant canonical institution within a stated time; failing which, the right of institution would devolve upon the council of the province; and that, if the pope rejected this amendment of the Corcordat, the Pragmatic Sanction would have to be revived so far as concerned bishops. The council added that, if the pope persisted in his refusal, the possibility of a public abolition of the Concordat by the emperor would have to be considered; but that these questions could be broached only by a national council, after one last attempt at negotiation with the pope.
On 16 March, 1811, Napoleon summoned to the Tuileries the members of the council and several of the great dignitaries of the empire; inveighing bitterly against the pope, he proclaimed that the Concordat no longer existed and that he was going to convoke a council of the West. At this meeting Emery, who died on 28 April, boldly faced Napoleon, quoting to him passages from Bossuet on the necessity of the pope's liberty. Pius VII not yielding to a last summons on the part of Chabrol, the council was convoked on 25 April to meet on 9 June. By this step Napoleon expected to subdue the pope to his will. In pursuance of a plan outlined by the philosopher Gerando, Archbishop Barral, and Bishops Duvoisin and Mannay were sent to Pius VII to gain him over on the question of the Bulls of institution. They were joined by the Bishop of Faenza, and arrived at Savona on 9 May. At first the pope refused to discuss the matter, not being free to communicate with his cardinals. But the bishops and Chabrol insisted, and the pope's physician added his efforts to theirs. They represented that the Church was becoming disorganized. At the end of nine days, the pope, who was neither eating nor drinking anything, being very much fatigued, consented, not to ratify, but to take as "a basis of negotiation" a note drawn up by the four bishops to the purport that, in case of persistent refusal on his part, canonical institution might be given to bishops after six months. On 20 May, at four o'clock in the morning, the bishops started for Paris with this note; at seven o'clock the pope summoned Chabrol and told him that he did not accept the note in any definitive sense, that he considered it only a sketch, and that he had made no formal promise. He also asked that a courier should be sent after the bishops to warn them of this. The courier bearing this message overtook the bishops at Turin on 24 May. Pius VII warned Chabrol that if the first note were exploited as representing an arrangement definitely accepted by the pope, he "would make a noise that should resound through the whole Christian world". Napoleon, in his blindness, resolved to do without the pope and put all his hopes in the council.
Council of 1811
The council convoked for 9 June, 1811, was not opened at Notre Dame until 17 June, the opening being postponed on account of the baptism of the King of Rome, just born of Marie Louise. Paternal pride and the seemingly assured destinies of his throne rendered Napoleon still more inflexible in regard to the pope. Only since 1905 has the truth about this council been known, thanks to Welschinger's researches. Under the Second Empire, when D'Haussonville wrote his work on the Roman Church and the First Empire (see below) Marshal Vallant had refused him all access to the archives of the council. These archives Welsinger was able to consult. Boulogne, Bishop of Troyes, in his opening sermon affirmed the solidarity of the pope and the bishops, while Fesch, as president of the council, made all its members swear obedience and fidelity to Pius VII. Upon this Napoleon gave Fesch a sound rating, on the evening of 19 June, at Saint Cloud. The emperor had packed his council in very arbitrary fashion, choosing only 42 out of 150 Italian bishops to mix with the French bishops, with a view to ecumenical effect. A private bulletin sent to the emperor, 24 June, noted that the fathers of the council themselves were generally impressed with a sense of restraint. The opposition to the emperor was very firmly led by Broglie, Bishop of Ghent, seconded by Aviau, Archbishop of Bordeaux, Dessole, Bishop of Chambury, and Hirn, Bishop of Tournai. The first general assembly of the council was held on 20 June. Bigot de Pruameneu and Marescalchi, ministers of public worship for France and Italy, were present and read the imperial message, one draft of which had been rejected by Napoleon as too moderate. The final version displeased all the bishops who had any regard for the papal dignity. Napoleon in this document demanded that bishops should be instituted in accordance with the forms which had obtained before the Concordat, no see to be vacant for longer than three months, "more than sufficient time for appointing a new incumbent". He wished the council to present an address to him, and the committee that should prepare this address to be composed of the four prelates he had sent to Savona. The address, which was prepared in advance by Duvoisin, one of these four prelates, was an expression of assent to Napoleon's wishes. But the council decided to have on the committee besides these four prelates, some other bishops chosen by secret ballot, and among the latter figured Broglie. Broglie discussed Duvoisin's draft and had a number of changes made in it, and Fesch had some trouble in keeping the committee from at once demanding the liberation of the pope. The address, as voted, was nonsensical. It was not what Napoleon expected, and the audience which he was to have given to the members of the council on 30 June, did not take place.
Another committee was appointed by the council to inquire into the pope's views on the institution of bishops. After a conflict of ten days, Broglie secured against Duvoisin, by a vote of 8 to 4, a resolution to the effect that, in this matter, nothing must be done without the pope, and that the council ought to send him a deputation to learn what was his will. Napoleon was furious and said to Fesch and Barral: "I will dissolve the council. You are a pack of fools". Then, on second thought, he informed the council that Pius VII by way of concession, had formally promised canonical institution to the vacant bishoprics and had approved a clause enabling the metropolitans themselves in future, after six months vacancy of any see, to give canonical institution. Napoleon requested the council to issue a note to this effect and sent a deputation to thank the pope. First the committee voted as the emperor wished, then, on more mature consideration, suspecting some stratagem on the emperor's part, it recalled its vote, and, on 10 July, Hirn, Bishop of Tournai, speaking for the committee, proposed to the council that no decision be made until a deputation had been sent to the pope. Then, on the morning of 11 July, Napoleon pronounced the council dissolved. The following night Broglie, Hirn, and Boulogne were imprisoned at Vincennes. The emperor next thought of turning over the administration of the dioceses to the prefects, but presently took the advice of Maury, viz., to have all the members of the council called up, one by one, by the minister of public worship, and their personal assent to the imperial project obtained in this way. After fifteen days devoted to conversations between the minister and certain of the bishops, the emperor reconvoked the council for 5 August, and the council, by a vote of 80 to 13, passed the decree by which canonical institution was to be given within six months, either by the pope or, if he refused, by the metropolitan. The bishops who passed this decree tried to palliate their weakness by saying that they had no idea of committing an act of rebellion, but formally asked for, and hoped to obtain, the pope's assent. Napoleon believed himself victorious; he held in his hands the means of circumventing the pope and organizing without his co operation the administration of French and Italian dioceses. He had brought the Sacred College, the Dataria, the Penitentiary, and the Vatican Archives to Paris, and had spent several millions in improving the archiepiscopal palace which he meant to make the pontifical palace. He wished to remove the Hotel Dieu, install the departments of the Roman Curia in its place, and make the quarter of Notre Dame and the Isle de Saint Louis the capital of Catholicism. But his victory was only apparent: to make the decree of the national council valid, the pope's ratification was needed, and once more the resistance of Pius VII was to hold the emperor in check.
On 17 August Napoleon commissioned the Archbishops of Tours and Mechlin, the Patriarch of Venice, the Bishops of Evreux, Trier, Feltro, and Piacenza to go to Savona and demand of the pope his full adhesion to the decree of 5 August; the bishops were even to be precise in stating that the decree applied to episcopal sees in the former Papal States, so that, in giving his assent, Pius VII should by implication assent to the abolition of the temporal power. That Pius VII might not allege the absence of the cardinals as a reason for postponing his decisions, Napoleon sent to Savona five cardinals on whom he could rely (Roverella, Dugnani, Fabrizio Ruffo, Bayanne, and Doria) with instructions to support the bishops. The emperor's artifice was successful. On 6 September, 1811, Pius VII declared himself ready to yield, and charged Roverella to draw up a Brief approving the Decree of 5 August, and on 20 September the pope signed the Brief. But even then, the Brief as it was, was not what Napoleon wanted: Pius VII abstained from recognizing the council as a national council, he treated the Church of Rome as the mistress of all the Churches, and did not specify that the decree applied to the bishoprics of the Roman States; he also required that, when a metropolitan gave canonical institution, it should be given in the name of the pope. Napoleon did not publish the Brief. On 17 October he ordered the deputation of prelates to notify the pope that the decree applied equally to bishoprics in the Roman States. This interpretation Pius VII then formally repudiated, and announced once more that any further decision on his part would be postponed until he should have with him a suitable number of cardinals. Napoleon first wreaked his irritation on the Bishops of Ghent, Tournai, and Troyes, whom he forced to resign their sees and caused to be deported to various towns, then, on 3 December, he declared the Brief unacceptable, and charged the prelates to ask for another. Pius VII refused.
On 9 January, 1812, the prelates informed the pope, from the emperor, that, if the pope resisted any longer, the emperor would act on his own discretion in the matter of the institution of bishops. Pius VII sent a personal reply to the emperor, to the effect that he (the pope) needed a more numerous council and facility of communication with the faithful, and that he would then do, "to meet the emperor's wishes, all that was consistent with the duties of his Apostolic ministry." By way of rejoinder, Napoleon dictated to his minister of public worship, on 9 February, an extraordinarily vehement letter, addressed to the deputation of prelates. In it he refused to give Pius VII his liberty or to let the "black cardinals" go back to him; he made known that if the pope persisted in the refusal to govern the Church, they would do without the pope; and he advised the pope, in insulting terms, to abdicate. Chabrol, the prefect of Montenotte, read this letter to Pius VII, and advised him to surrender the tiara. "Never", was the pope's answer. Then on 23 February, Chabrol notified the pope, in the emperor's name, that Napoleon considered the Concordats abrogated, and that he would no longer permit the pope to interfere in any way in the canonical institution of the bishops. Pius VII answered that he would not change his attitude. Mme de StaÃ«l wrote to Henri Meister: "What a power is religion which gives strength to the weak when all that was strong has lost its strength!" The difference between the pope and the emperor naturally reacted upon the feelings of the clergy towards Napoleon, and upon the emperor's policy towards religion. From this time Napoleon refused the seminarists any exemption from military service. He made stricter the university monopoly of teaching, and Broglie, Bishop of Ghent, who, after leaving the prison of Vincennes, had continued to correspond with his clergy, was sent to the Island of Sainte Marguerite.
Last Great Wars: Concordat of Fontainebleau
At this time Napoleon was absolutely drunk with power. The French Empire had 130 departments; the Kingdom of Italy 240. The seven provinces of Illyria were subject to France. The rigour of the Continental blockade was ruining English commerce and embarrassing the European states. The tsar would have liked Napoleon, master of the West, to leave him freedom of action in Poland and Turkey; enraged at receiving no such concessions, he approached England. The French armies in Spain were exhausting their strength in a savage and ineffectual war against a ceaseless uprising of the native population; nevertheless Napoleon resolved to attack Russia also. At Dresden, from March to June, 1812, he held a congress of kings, and prepared for war. It was at Dresden, in May, 1812, that, under pretext of satisfying the demands of Francis Joseph for gentler treatment of the pope, Napoleon decided to have Pius VII removed from Savona to Fontainebleau; the fact is that he was afraid the English would attempt a coup de main on Savona and carry off the pope. After a journey the painful incidents of which have been related by d'Haussonville, following a manuscript in the British Museum, Pius VII reached Fontainebleau on 19 June. Equipages were placed at his disposal, he was desired to appear in public and officiate; but he refused, led a solitary life in the interior of the palace, and gave not the least indication of being ready to yield to Napoleon's demands.
Napoleon definitely declared war against the tsar on 22 June, 1812. The issue was soon seen to be dubious. The Russians devastated the whole country in advance of the French armies, and avoided pitched battles as much as possible. The victory of Borodino (7 September, 1812), an extremely bloody one, opened to Napoleon the gates of Moscow (14 September, 1812). He had expected to pass the winter there, but the conflagration brought about by the Russians forced him to retrace his steps westward, and the retreat of the "Grande Armue" so heroically covered by Marshall Ney, cost France the lives of numberless soldiers. The passage of the Beresina was glorious. As far as Lithuania, Napoleon shared the sufferings of his army, then he hastened to Paris, where he suppressed General Malet's conspiracy and prepared a new war for the year 1813. When he set out for Prussia it was his idea to extend his march beyond that country, through Asia to India, to knock over "the scaffolding of mercantile greatness raised by the English, and strike England to the heart". "After this", he declared, "it will be possible to settle everything and have done with this business of Rome and the pope. The cathedral of Paris will become that of the Catholic world. . . . If Bossuet were living now, he would have been Archbishop of Paris long ago, and the pope would still be at the Vatican, which would be much better for everybody, for then there would be no pontifical throne higher than that of Notre Dame, and Paris could not fear Rome. With such a president, I would hold a Council of NicÃ¦a in Gaul."
But the failure of the Russian campaign upset all these dreams. The emperor's haughty attitude towards the Church was now modified. On 29 December, 1812, he wrote with his own hand an affectionate letter to the pope expressing a desire to end the quarrel. Duvoisin was sent to Fontainebleau to negotiate a Concordat. Napoleon's demands were these: the pope must swear to do nothing against the four articles; he must condemn the behaviour of the black cardinals towards the emperor; he must allow the Catholic sovereigns to chose two thirds of the cardinals, take up his residence in Paris, accept the decree of the council on the canonical institution of bishops, and agree to its application to the bishoprics of the Roman States. Pius VII spent ten days discussing the matter. On 18 January, 1813, the emperor himself came to Fontainebleau and spent many days in stormy interviews with the pope though, according to Pius VII's own statement to Count Paul Van der Vrecken, on 27 September, 1814, Napoleon committed no act of violence against the pope. On 25 January, 1813, a new Concordat was signed. In it there was no mention either of the Four Articles, or of the nomination of cardinals by the Catholic sovereigns, or of the pope's place of residence: the six suburbican dioceses were left at the pope's disposition, and he could moreover provide directly for ten bishoprics, either in France or in Italy - on all these points Napoleon made concessions. But on the other hand, the pope confirmed the decree of the Council of 1811 on the canonical institution of bishops.
According to the very words of its preamble, this Concordat was intended only "to serve as basis for a definitive arrangement". But, on 13 February, Napoleon had it published, just as it stood, as a law of the State. This was very unfair towards Pius VII: the emperor had no right to convert "preliminary articles" thus into a definitive act. On 9 February the imprisoned cardinals had been liberated by Napoleon; going to Fontainebleau, they had found Pius VII very anxious on the subject of the signature he had given, and which he regretted. With the advice of Consalvi, he prepared to retract the "preliminary articles". In his letter of 24 March to Napoleon he reproached himself for having signed these articles and disavowed the signature he had given. Napoleon had failed egregiously. He did not listen to the advice of the Comte de Narbonne, who, in a letter drafted by young Villemain, expressed the opinion that the pope ought to be set at liberty and sent back to Rome. It has been claimed that Napoleon had said to his ministers of State: "If I don't knock the head off the shoulders of some of those priests at Fontainebleau, matters will never be arranged." This is a legend; on the contrary, he ordered the minister of public worship to keep secret the letter of 24 March. Immediately, acting on his own authority, he declared the Concordat of Fontainebleau binding on the Church, and filled twelve vacant sees. On 5 April he had Cardinal di Pietro removed from Fontainebleau and threatened to do the same for Cardinal Pacca.
In the Dioceses of Ghent, Troyes, and Tournai, the chapters regarded the bishops appointed by Napoleon as intruders. The irregular measures of the emperor only exasperated the resistance of the clergy. The Belgian clergy, warned by Count Van der Vrecken of the pope's retractation, began to agitate against the imperial policy. Meanwhile, on 25 April, 1813, Napoleon assumed command of the Army of Germany. The victories of Lutzen (2 May) and Bautzen (19 22 May) weakened the Prussian and Russian troops. But the emperor made the mistakes of accepting the mediation of Austria - only a device to gain time - and of consenting to hold the Congress of Prague (July). A letter from Pius VII, secretly carried in the face of many dangers by Van der Vrecken, warned the Congress of Prague that the pope formally rejected the articles of 25 January. Napoleon continued nevertheless to send from his headquarters with the army severe orders calculated to overcome the resistance of the Belgian clergy; on 6 August he caused the director of the seminary of Ghent to be imprisoned, and all the students to be taken to Magdeburg; on 14 August he had the canons of Tournai arrested. But his perils were increasing. Joseph had been driven out of Spain. Bernadotte, King of Sweden, one of Napoleon's own veterans, was driving the french troops out of Stralsund. Under Schwarzenberg, Blucher and Bernadotte, three armies were forming against the emperor. He had but 280,000 men against 500,000. He was victor at Dresden (27 August), but his generals were falling away on all sides. He was deserted by the Bavarian contingents in the celebrated "Battle of the Nations" at Leipzig (18 19 October), the defection of the Wurtembergers and the Saxons was the chief cause of his defeat. The victories of Hanau (30 October) and Hocheim (2 November) enabled his troops to get back to France, but the Allies were soon to enter that land.
Liberation of the Pope: End of the Empire
The liberation of the pope figured on the programme of the Allies. In vain did the emperor send the Marchesa di Brignoli to Consalvi, and Fallot de Beaumont, Archbishop of Bourges, to Pius VII, to open negotiations. In vain, on 18 January, 1814, when he learned that Murat had gone over to the Allies and occupied the Roman provinces on his own account, did he offer to restore the Papal States to Pius VII. Pius VII declared that such a restitution was an act of justice, and could not be made the subject of a treaty. Meantime, Blucher and Schwarzenberg were advancing through Burgundy. On 24 January, Lagorse, the commandant of gendarmes who had guarded Pius VII for four years, announced to him that he was about to take him back to Rome. The pope was conveyed by short stages through southern and central France. Napoleon defeated the Allies at Saint Dizier and at Brienne (27 29 January, 1814), the princes offered peace on condition that Napoleon should restore the boundaries of France to what they were in 1792. He refused. As the Allies demanded the liberation of the pope, Napoleon sent orders to Lagorse, who was taking him through the south of France, to let him make his way to Italy. On 10 March the prefect of Montenotte received orders to have the pope conducted as far as the Austrian outposts in the territory of Piacenza. The captivity of Pius VII was at an end.
The war was resumed immediately after the Congress of Chatillon. In five days Napoleon gave battle to Blucher four times at Champaubert, Montmirail, Chateau Thierry, and Vauchamp, and hurled him back on Chalons; against Schwarzenberg he fought the battles of Guiges, Mormant, Nangis, and Mury, thus opening the way to Troyes. But Lyons was taken by the Austrians, Bordeaux by the English. Exhausted as he was Napoleon beat Blucher again at Craonne (7 March), retook Reims and Epernay, and contemplated cutting off the retreat of Blucher and Schwarzenberg on the Rhine. He caused a general levy to be decreed; but the Allies had their agents in Paris. Marmont and Mortier capitulated. On 31 March the Allies entered Paris. On 3 April the Senate declared Napoleon dethroned. Returning to Fontainebleau, the emperor, determined to try one last effort, was stopped by the defection of Marmont's corps at Essonnes. On 20 April he left Fontainebleau; on 4 May he was in Elba.
At the end of ten months, learning of the unpopularity of the regime founded in France by Louis XVIII, Napoleon secretly left Elba, landed at Cannes (1 March, 1815), and went in triumph from Grenoble to Paris (20 March, 1815). Louis VIII fled to Ghent. Then began the Hundred Days. Napoleon desired to give France liberty and religious peace forthwith. On the one hand, by the Acte Additionnel, he guaranteed the country a constitutional Government; on the other hand (4 April, 1815), he caused the Duke of Vicenza to write to Cardinal Pacca, and he himself wrote to Pius VII, letters in a pacific spirit, while Isoard, auditor of the Rota, was commissioned to treat with the pope in his name. But the Coalition was re formed. Napoleon had 118,000 recruits against more than 800,000 soldiers; he beat Blucher at Ligny (16 June), whilst Ney beat Wellington at Quatre Bras; next day, at Waterloo, Napoleon was victorious over Bulow and Wellington until seven o'clock in the evening, but the arrival of 30,000 Prussians, under Blucher, resulted in the emperor's defeat. He abdicated in favour of his son, set out for Rochefort, and claimed the hospitality of England. England declared him the prisoner of the Coalition and, in spite of his protests, had him taken to the Island of St. Helena. There he remained until his death, strictly watched by Hudson Lowe, and dictated to General Montholon, Gourgaud, and Bertrand those "Mumoires" which entitle him to a place among the great writers. Las Casas, at the same time, wrote day by day, the "Mumorial de Sainte Hulene", a journal of the emperor's conversations. In the first of his captivity, Napoleon complained to Montholon of having no chaplain. "It would rest my soul to hear Mass", he said. Pius VII petitioned England to accede to Napoleon's wish, and the Abbu Vignali became his chaplain. On 20 April, 1821, Napoleon said to him: "I was born in the Catholic religion. I wish to fulfil the duties it imposes, and receive the succour it administers." To Montholon he affirmed his belief in God, read aloud the Old Testament, the Gospels, and the acts of the Apostles. He spoke of Pius VII as "an old man full of tolerance and light". "Fatal circumstances," he added "embroiled our cabinets. I regret it exceedingly." Lord Rosebery has attached much importance to the paradoxes with which the emperor used to tease Gourgaud, and amused himself in maintaining the superiority of Mohammedanism, Protestantism, or Materialism. One day, when he had been talking in this strain, Montholon said to him: "I know that your Majesty does not believe one word of what you have just been saying". "You are right", said the emperor. "At any rate it helps to pass an hour."
Napoleon was not an unbeliever; but he would not admit that anyone was above himself, not even the pope. "Alexander the great", he once said to Fontanes, "declared himself the son of Jupiter. And in my time I find a priest who is more powerful than I am." This transcendent pride dictated his religious policy and utterly vitiated it. By the Concordat, as Talleyrand said, he had "done not only an act of justice, but also a very clever act, for by this one deed he had rallied to himself the sympathies of the whole Catholic world." But the same Talleyrand declares, in his "Mumoires", that his struggle with Rome was produced by "the most insensate ambition", and that when he wished to deprive the pope of the institution of bishops, "he was all the more culpable because he had had before him the errors of the Constituent Assembly". This double judgment of the former Constitutional bishop, later the emperor's minister of foreign affairs, will be accepted by posterity. By a strange destiny, this emperor who travelled all over Europe, and whose attitude towards the Catholic religion was in a measure inherited from the old Roman emperors, never set foot in Rome; through him Rome was for many years deprived of the presence of the remotest successor of St. Sylvester and of Leo III; but the successor of Constantine and of Charlemagne did not see Rome, and Rome did not see him.[This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License and uses material adapted in whole or in part from the Wikipedia article on Napoleon Bonaparte and Catholic Encyclopedia (1911)]
Books from Alibris: Napoleon Bonaparte