Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER I. - The Origins of Contemporary France: The Modern Regime, vol. II
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CHAPTER I. - Hippolyte Taine, The Origins of Contemporary France: The Modern Regime, vol. II 
The Origins of Contemporary France: The Modern Regime, vol. II, trans. John Durand (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1894).
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I. Centralization and moral institutions.—Object of the State in absorbing Churches.—Their influence on civil society.—II. Napoleon’s opinions on religion and religious belief.—His motives in preferring established and positive religions.—Difficulty in defining the limit between spiritual and temporal authority.—Except in Catholic countries, both united in one hand.—Impossible to effect this union in France arbitrarily.—Napoleon’s way of attaining this end by another process.—His intention of overcoming spiritual authority through temporal interests.—III. Services which he obliges the Pope to render.—Resignation or dismissal of the old bishops.—End of the constitutional Church.—Right of appointing bishops and of sanctioning curés given to the First Consul.—IV. Other services expected of the Pope.—Coronation of Napoleon at Notre-Dame.—Napoleonic theory of the Empire and the Holy See.—The Pope a feudatory and subject of the Emperor.—The Pope installed as a functionary at Paris, and arch-chancellor on spiritual matters.—Effect of this for Italy.—V. Services which Napoleon desires or expects from the French clergy.—His Roman idea of civil power.—Development of this conception by the legists.—Every religious association must be authorized.—Legal statutes which fix the doctrine and discipline of the four authorized Churches.—Legal organization of the Catholic Church.—Its doctrine and discipline to be that of the old Gallican Church.—New situation of the French Church and new rôle of civil power.—It sets aside its ancient obligations.—It retains and augments its regalian rights.—The Church of France before 1789 and after 1802.—Increased preponderance and complete dominion of the civil power.—VI. Reasons for suppressing the regular clergy.—Authorized religious associations.—The authorization revocable.—VII. System to which the regular clergy is subject.—Restoration and application of Gallican doctrines.—Gallicanism and submission of the new ecclesiastical staff.—Measures taken to insure the obedience of the existing clergy and that of the clergy in the future.—Seminaries.—Small number of these allowed.—Conditions granted to them.—Proceedings against suspicious teachers and undisciplined pupils.—VIII. Changes in the ecclesiastical hierarchy.—Motives for subordinating the lesser clergy.—The displacement of assistant priests.—Increase of episcopal authority.—Hold of Napoleon over the bishops.—IX. Political use of the episcopacy.—The imperial catechism.—Pastoral letters.—X. The Council of 1811.—The Concordat of 1813.
After the centralizing and invading State has taken hold of local societies there is nothing left for it but to cast its net over moral societies, and this second haul is more important than the first one; for, if local societies are based on the proximity of physical bodies and habitations, the latter are formed out of the accord which exists between minds and souls; in possessing these, the hold is no longer on the outside but on the inside of man, his thought, his will; the mainspring within is laid hold of, and this directly; then only can he be fully mastered, and disposed of at discretion. To this end, the main purpose of the conquering State is the possession of the Churches; alongside as well as outside of itself, these are the great powers of the nation; not only does their domain differ from its own but, again, it is vaster and lies deeper. Beyond the temporal patrimony and the small fragment of human history which the eyes of the flesh perceive, they embrace and present to mental vision the whole world and its first cause, the total ordinance of things, the infinite perspective of a past eternity and that of an eternity to come. Underneath the corporeal and intermittent actions which civil power prescribes and regulates, they govern the imagination, the conscience and the affections, the whole inward being, that mute, persistent effort of which our visible acts are simply the incomplete expression and the rare outbursts. Indeed, even when they set limits to these, voluntarily, conscientiously, there is no limit; in vain do they proclaim, if Christian, that their kingdom is not of this world; nevertheless, it is, since they belong to it; masters of dogma and of morals, they teach and command in it. In their all-embracing conception of divine and human things, the State, like a chapter in a book, has its place and their teachings in this chapter are for it of capital importance. For, here do they write out its rights and duties, the rights and duties of its subjects, a more or less perfect plan of civil order. This plan, avowed or dissimulated, towards which they incline the preferences of the faithful, issues at length, spontaneously and invincibly from their doctrine, like a plant from its seed, to vegetate in temporal society, flower and fructify therein and send its roots deeper down for the purpose of shattering or of consolidating civil and political institutions. The influence of a Church on the family and on education, on the use of wealth or of authority, on the spirit of obedience or of revolt, on habits of initiation or of inertia, of enjoyment or of abstention, of charity or of egoism, on the entire current train of daily practice and of dominant impulsions, in every branch of private or public life, is immense, and constitutes a distinct and permanent social force of the highest order. Every political calculation is unsound if it is omitted or treated as something of no consequence, and the head of a State is bound to comprehend the nature of it if he would estimate its grandeur.
This is what Napoleon does. As usual with him, in order to see deeper into others, he begins by examining himself. “To say from whence I came, what I am, or where I am going, is above my comprehension. I am the watch that runs, but unconscious of itself.” These questions, which we are unable to answer, “drive us onward to religion; we rush forward to welcome her, for that is our natural tendency. But knowledge comes and we stop short. Instruction and history, you see, are the great enemies of religion, disfigured by the imperfections of humanity. . . . I once had faith. But when I came to know something, as soon as I began to reason, which happened early, at the age of thirteen, my faith staggered and became uncertain.”1 This double personal conviction is an after-thought, when preparing the Concordat. “It will be said that I am a papist.2 I am nothing. In Egypt I was a Mussulman; here I shall be a Catholic, for the good of the people. I do not believe in religions. The idea of a God!” (And then, pointing upward:) “Who made all that?” The imagination has decorated this great name with its legends. Let us content ourselves with those already existing; “the disquietude of man” is such that he cannot do without them; in default of those already made he would fashion others, haphazard, and still more strange. The positive religions keep man from going astray; it is these which render the supernatural definite and precise;3 “he had better take it in there than go after it at Mademoiselle Lenormand’s, in the stories got up by every adventurer, every charlatan, that comes along.” An established religion “is a kind of vaccination which, in satisfying our love of the marvellous, guarantees us against quacks and sorcerers;4 the priests are far better than the Cagliostros, Kants, and the rest of the German mystics.” In sum, illuminism and metaphysics,1 the speculative inventions of the brain and the contagious overexcitement of the nerves, all the illusions of credulity, are unhealthy in their essence, and, in general, anti-social. Nevertheless, since they belong to human nature, let us accept them like so many streams tumbling down a slope, except on condition that they remain in their own beds and have, many of them, no new beds and not one bed alone by itself. “I do not want a dominant religion, nor the establishment of new ones. The Catholic, Reformed, and Lutheran systems, established by the Concordat, are sufficient.”2 With these one need not grope one’s way in the unknown. Their direction and force are intelligible, and their irruptions can be guarded against. Moreover, the present inclinations and configuration of the human soil favor them; the child follows the road marked out by the parent, and the man follows the road marked out by the child. For instance,3 “last Sunday, here at Malmaison, while strolling alone in the solitude enjoying the repose of nature, my ear suddenly caught the sound of the church-bell at Ruel. It affected me, so strong is the force of early habits and education! I said to myself, What an impression this must make on simple, credulous souls!” Let us gratify these; let us give back these bells and the rest to the Catholics. After all, the general effect of Christianity is salutary. “As far as I am concerned,4 I do not see in it the mystery of the incarnation, but the mystery of social order, the association of religion with paradise, an idea of equality which keeps the rich from being massacred by the poor. . . . Society5 could not exist without an inequality of fortunes, and an inequality of fortunes without religion. A man dying of starvation alongside of one who is surfeited would not yield to this difference unless he had some authority which assured him that God so orders it that there must be both poor and rich in the world, but that in the future, and throughout eternity, the portion of each will be changed.” Alongside of the repressive police exercised by the State there is a preventive police exercised by the Church. The clergy, in its cassock, is an additional spiritual gendarmerie,1 much more efficient than the temporal gendarmerie in its stout boots, while the essential thing is to make both keep step together in concert.
Between the two domains, between that which belongs to civil authority and that which belongs to religious authority, is there any line of separation? “I look in vain2 where to place it; its existence is purely chimerical. I see only clouds, obscurities, difficulties. The civil government condemns a criminal to death; the priest gives him absolution and offers him paradise.” In relation to this act, both powers operate publicly in an inverse sense on the same individual, one with the guillotine and the other with a pardon. As these authorities may clash with each other, let us prevent conflicts and leave no undefined frontier; let us trace this out beforehand; let us indicate what our part is and not allow the Church to encroach on the State.—The Church really wants all; it is the accessory which she concedes to us, while she appropriates the principal to herself. “Mark the insolence of the priests3 who, in sharing authority with what they call the temporal power, reserve to themselves all action on the mind, the noblest part of man, and take it on themselves to reduce my part merely to physical action. They retain the soul and fling me the corpse!” In antiquity, things were much better done, and are still better done now in Mussulman countries. “In the Roman republic,1 the senate was the interpreter of heaven, and this was the mainspring of the force and strength of that government. In Turkey, and throughout the Orient, the Koran serves as both a civil and religious bible. Only in Christianity do we find the pontificate distinct from the civil government.” And even this has occurred only in one branch of Christianity. Everywhere, except in Catholic countries, “in England,2 in Russia, in the northern monarchies, in one part of Germany, the legal union of the two powers, religious control in the hands of the sovereign,” is an accomplished fact. “One cannot govern without it; otherwise, the repose, dignity, and independence of a nation are disturbed at every moment.” It is a pity that “the difficulty3 cannot be overcome as with Henry VIII. in England. The head of the French government would then, by legislative statute, be the supreme head of the French Church.”
Unfortunately, this is repugnant to France. Napoleon often tries to bring it about, but is satisfied that in this matter “he would never obtain national coöperation”; once “embarked,” fully engaged in the enterprise, “the nation would have abandoned him.” Unable to take this road, he takes another, which leads to the same result. As he himself afterwards states, this result “was, for a long time and always, the object of his wishes and meditations. . . . It is not his aim4 to change the faith of his people; he respects spiritual objects and wants to rule them without meddling with them; his aim is to make these square with his views, with his policy, but only through the influence of temporal concerns.” That spiritual authority should remain intact; that it should operate on its own speculative domain, that is to say, on dogmas, and on its practical domain, namely, on the sacraments and on worship; that it should be sovereign on this limited territory, Napoleon admits, for such is the fact. We have only to open our eyes to see it; right or wrong, spiritual authority on this distinct domain is recognized sovereign, obeyed, effective through the persistent, verified loyalty of believers. It cannot be done away with by supposing it non-existent; on the contrary, a competent statesman will maintain it in order to make use of it and apply it to civil purposes. Like an engineer who comes across a prolific spring near his manufactory, he will not try to dry it up, nor let the water be dispersed and lost; he has no idea of letting it remain inactive; on the contrary, he collects it, digs channels for it, directs and economizes the flow, and renders the water serviceable in his workshops. In the Catholic Church, the authority to be won and utilized is that of the clergy over believers and that of the sovereign pontiff over the clergy. “You will see,” exclaimed Bonaparte, while negotiating the Concordat, “how I will turn the priests to account, and, first of all, the Pope!”1
“Had no Pope existed,” he says again,2 “it would have been necessary to create him for the occasion, as the Roman consuls created a dictator under difficult circumstances.” He alone could effect the coup d’état which the First Consul needed, in order to constitute the head of the new government a patron of the Catholic Church, to bring independent or refractory priests under subjection, to sever the canonical cord which bound the French clergy to its exiled superiors and to the old order of things, “to break the last thread by which the Bourbons still communicated with the country.” “Fifty emigré3 bishops in the pay of England now lead the French clergy. Their influence must be got rid of, and to do this the authority of the Pope is essential; he can dismiss or make them resign.” Should any of them prove obstinate and unwilling to descend from their thrones, their refusal brings them into discredit, and they are “designated1 as rebels who prefer the things of this world, their terrestrial interests to the interests of heaven and the cause of God.” The great body of the clergy along with their flocks will abandon them; they will soon be forgotten, like old sprouts transplanted whose roots have been cut off; they will die abroad, one by one, while the successor, who is now in office, will find no difficulty in rallying the obedient around him, for, being Catholic, his parishioners are so many sheep, docile, taken with externals, impressionable, and ready to follow the pastoral crook, provided it bears the ancient trademark, consists of the same material, is of the same form, conferred from on high and sent from Rome. The bishops having once been consecrated by the Pope, nobody save a Gregory or some antiquarian canonist will dispute their jurisdiction.
The ecclesiastical ground is thus cleared through the interposition of the Pope. The three groups of authorities thereon which contend with each other for the possession of consciences2 —the refugee bishops in England, the apostolic vicars, and the constitutional clergy—disappear, and now the cleared ground can be built on. “The Catholic religion being declared3 that of the majority of the French people, its services must now be regulated. The First Consul nominates fifty bishops whom the Pope consecrates. These appoint the curés, and the state pays their salaries. The latter may be sworn, while the priests who do not submit are sent out of the country. Those who preach against the government are handed over to their superiors for punishment. The Pope confirms the sale of clerical possessions; he consecrates the Republic.” The faithful no longer regard it askance. They feel that they are not only tolerated, but protected by it, and they are grateful.1 The people recover their churches, their curés, the forms of worship to which they are almost instinctively accustomed, the ceremonial which, to their imagination, belongs to every important act of their lives, the solemn rites of marriage, baptism, burial, and other sacramental offices.—Henceforth mass is said every Sunday in each village, and the peasants enjoy their processions on Corpus-Christi day, when their crops are blessed. A great public want is satisfied. Discontent subsides, ill-will dies out, the government has fewer enemies; its enemies, again, lose their best weapon, and, at the same time, it acquires an admirable one, the right of appointing bishops and of sanctioning the curés. By virtue of the Concordat and by order of the Pope, not only, in 1801, do all former spiritual authorities cease to exist, but again, after 1801, all new titularies, with the Pope’s assent, chosen, accepted, managed, disciplined,2 and paid by the First Consul, are, in fact, his creatures, and become his functionaries.
Over and above this positive and real service obtained from the sovereign pontiff, he awaits others yet more important and undefined, and principally his future coronation in Notre Dame. Already, during the negotiations for the Concordat, La Fayette had observed to him with a smile:3 “You want the holy oil dropped on your head”; to which he made no contradictory answer. On the contrary, he replied, and probably too with a smile: “We shall see! We shall see!” Thus does he think ahead, and his ideas extend beyond that which a man belonging to the ancient régime could imagine or divine, even to the reconstruction of the empire of the west as this existed in the year 800. “I am not Louis XIV.’s successor,” he soon declares,1 “but of Charlemagne. . . . I am Charlemagne, because, like Charlemagne, I unite the French crown to that of the Lombards, and my empire borders on the Orient.” In this conception, which a remote history furnishes to his boundless ambition, the terrible antiquary finds the gigantic and suitable framework, the potent, specious terms, and all the verbal reasons he requires. Under Napoleon, the successor of Charlemagne, the Pope can be only a vassal: “Your Holiness is the sovereign of Rome, but I am its emperor,” the legitimate suzerain. “Provided with “fiefs and counties” by this suzerain, the Pope owes him political fealty and military aid; failing in this, the endowment, which is conditional, lapses and his confiscated estates return to the imperial domain to which they have never ceased to belong.2 Through this reasoning and this threat, through the rudest and most adroit moral and physical pressure, the most insidious and most persevering, through spoliation, begun, continued and completed by the abduction, captivity and sequestration of the Holy Father himself, he undertakes the subjection of the spiritual power: not only must the Pope be like any other individual in the empire,1 subject by his residence to territorial laws, and hence to the government and the gendarmerie, but again he must come within the administrative lines; he will no longer enjoy the right of refusing canonical investiture to bishops appointed by the emperor,2 “he will, on his coronation, swear not to take any measures against the four propositions of the Gallican Church,”3 he will become a grand functionary, a sort of arch-chancellor like Cambacérès and Lebrun, the arch-chancellor of the Catholic cult.—Undoubtedly, he resists and is obstinate, but he is not immortal, and if he does not yield, his successor will: it suffices to choose one that is manageable, and to this end things work in the next conclave. “With my influence and our forces in Italy,” Napoleon says afterwards,4 “I did not despair, sooner or later, by one means or another, of obtaining for myself the control of the Pope, and, thenceforward, what an influence, what a lever on the opinion of the rest of the world!”
“Had I returned victorious from Moscow, I intended to exalt the Pope beyond measure, to surround him with pomp and deference. I would have brought him to no longer regretting his temporality; I would have made him an idol. He would have lived alongside of me. Paris would have become the capital of Christendom, and I would have governed the religious world the same as the political world. . . . I would have had my religious as well as legislative sessions; my councils would have represented Christianity; the Popes would have been merely their presidents. I would have opened and closed these assemblies, sanctioned and published their decrees, as was done by Constantine and Charlemagne.” In 1809, the restoration of the great Carlovingian and Roman edifice had begun; its physical foundations were laid. By virtue of a decree,1 “the expenses of the Sacred College and of the Propaganda were declared imperial.” The Pope, like the new dukes and marshals, was endowed with a landed income on “property in different parts of the empire, two millions of rural revenue free of all taxation.” “Necessarily” the Pope must have two palaces, one at Paris and the other at Rome. He is already nearly fully installed in Paris, his person being all that was lacking. On arriving from Fontainebleau, two hours off, he would find everything belonging to his office; “the papers2 of the missions and the archives of Rome were already there.” “The Hôtel Dieu was entirely given up to the departments of the court of Rome. The district around Notre Dame and the Ile St. Louis was to be the headquarters of Christendom!” Rome, the second centre of Christendom, and the second residence of the Pope, is declared3 “an imperial and free city, the second city of the empire”; a prince of the empire, or other grand dignitary, is to reside there and “hold the court of the emperor.” “After their coronation in the cathedral of Notre Dame at Paris, the emperors” will go to Italy before the tenth year of their reign, and be “crowned in the church of St. Peter at Rome.” The heir to the imperial throne “will bear the title and receive the honors of the King of Rome.” Observe the substantial features of this chimerical construction. Napoleon, far more Italian than French, Italian by race, instinct, imagination, and souvenirs, considers in his plan the future of Italy, and, on casting up the final accounts of his reign, we find that the net profit is for Italy and the net loss is for France. “Napoleon wanted to create the Italian kingdom over again,1 combining Piedmont, Tuscany, etc., in one united independent nation, bounded by the Alps and the sea. . . . This was to be the immortal trophy erected in his honor. . . . He awaited impatiently the birth of a second son that he might take him to Rome, crown him King of Italy and proclaim the independence of the great peninsula under the regency of Prince Eugene.” Since Theodoric and the Lombard kings, it is the Pope who, in preserving his temporal sovereignty and spiritual omnipotence, has maintained the sub-divisions of Italy; let this obstacle be removed and Italy will once more become a nation. Napoleon prepares the way, and constitutes it beforehand by restoring the Pope to his primitive condition, by withdrawing from him his temporal sovereignty and limiting his spiritual omnipotence, by reducing him to the position of managing director of Catholic consciences and head minister of the principal cult authorized in the empire.
In carrying out this plan, he will use the French clergy in mastering the Pope, as the Pope has been made use of in mastering the French clergy. To this end, before completing the Concordat and decreeing the Organic Articles, he orders for himself a small library, consisting of books on ecclesiastical law. The Latin works of Bossuet are translated for him, and he has drawn up an exposition of the Gallican parliamentary doctrine. The first thing is to go down to the roots of the subject, which he does with extraordinary facility, and then, recasting and shaping all theories to suit himself, he arrives at an original, individual conception, at once coherent, precise, and practical; one which covers the ground and which he applies alike to all churches, Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, and even Jewish, to every religious community now existing and in time to come. His master-idea is that of the Roman legists and of ancient imperial jurisprudence; here, as elsewhere, the modern Cæsar goes back beyond his Christian predecessors to Constantine, and farther still, to Trajan and Augustus.1 So long as belief remains silent and solitary, confined within the limits of individual conscience, it is free, and the State has nothing to do with it. But let it transgress these limits, address the public, bring people together in crowds for a common purpose, manifest itself openly, it is subject to control; forms of worship, ceremonies, preaching, instruction and propagandism, the donations it calls forth, the assemblies it convenes, the organization and maintenance of the bodies it engenders, all the positive applications of the inward revery, are temporal works. In this sense, they form a province of the public domain, and come within the competency of the government, of the administration and of the courts. The State has a right to interdict, to tolerate, or to authorize them, and always to give them proper direction. Sole and universal proprietor of the outward realm in which single consciences may communicate with each other, it intervenes, step by step, either to trace or to bar the way; the road they follow passes over its ground and belongs to it; its watch, accordingly, over their proceedings is, and should be, daily; and it maintains this watch for its own advantage, for the advantage of civil and political interests, in such a way that concern for the other world may be serviceable and not prejudicial to matters which belong to this one. In short, and as a summary, the First Consul says, in a private conversation: “The people want a religion, and this religion should be in the hands of the government!”1
On this theme, his legists, old parliamentarians or conventionalists, his ministers and counsellors, Gallicans or Jacobins, his spokesmen in the legislative assembly or the tribunate, all imbued with Roman law or with the Contrat Social, are capital mouthpieces for proclaiming the omnipotence of the State in well-rounded periods. “The unity of public power and its universality,” says Portalis,2 “are a necessary consequence of its independence.” “Public power must be sufficient unto itself; it is nothing if not all.” Public power cannot tolerate rivals; it cannot allow other powers to establish themselves alongside of it without its consent, perhaps to sap and destroy it. “The authority of a State is very precarious when men on its territory exercise great influence over minds and consciences, unless these men belong to it, at least in some relation.” It commits a grave imprudence “if it continues strange or indifferent to the form and the constitution of the government which proposes to govern souls,” if it admits that the limits within which the faith and obedience of believers “can be made or altered without its help, if it has not, in its legally recognized and avowed superiors, guarantees of the fidelity of inferiors.” Such was the rule in France for the Catholic cult previous to 1789, and such is to be the rule, after 1801, for all authorized cults. If the State authorizes them, it is “to direct such important institutions with a view to the greatest public utility.” Solely because it is favorable to “their doctrine and their discipline” it means to maintain these intact and prevent “their ministers from corrupting the doctrine entrusted to their teaching, or from arbitrarily throwing off the yoke of discipline, to the great prejudice of individuals and the State.”1 Hence, in the legal statute by which a Church is incorporated and realizes what she is, it states in precise terms what it exacts or permits her to be; henceforward she shall be this or that and so remain; her dogmas and her canons, her hierarchy and her internal regime, her territorial subdivisions and circumscriptions, her regular or casual sources of income, her teachings and her liturgy are definite things and fixed limitations. No ecclesiastical assembly, Protestant, Catholic, or Israelite, shall formulate or publish any doctrinal or disciplinary decision without the government’s approbation.2 No ecclesiastical assembly, Protestant, Catholic, or Israelite, shall be held without the approval of the government. All sacerdotal authorities, bishops and curés, pastors and ministers of both Protestant confessions, consistorial inspectors and presidents of the Augsbourg Confession, notables of each Israelite circumscription, members of each Israelite consistory, members of the central Israelite consistory, rabbis and grand-rabbis, shall be appointed or accepted by the government and paid by it through an “executory” decision of its prefects. All the professors of Protestant or Catholic seminaries shall be appointed and paid by the government. Whatever the seminary, whether Protestant or Catholic, its establishment, its regulations, its internal management, the object and spirit of its studies, shall be submitted to the approval of the government. In each cult, a distinct, formulated, official doctrine shall govern the teaching, preaching, and public or special instruction of every kind; this, for the Israelite cult, is “the doctrine expressed by the decisions of the grand Sanhedrim”;1 for the two Protestant cults, the doctrine of the Confession of Augsbourg, taught in the two seminaries of the East, and the doctrine of the Reformed Church taught in the Genevan seminary;2 for the Catholic cult, the maxims of the Gallican Church, the declaration, in 1682, of the assembly of the clergy3 and the four famous propositions depriving the Pope of any authority over sovereigns in temporal matters, subordinating the Pope to œcumenical councils in ecclesiastical and spiritual concerns, and which, in the government of the French Church, limit the authority of the Pope to ancient usages or canons inherited by that Church and accepted by the State.
In this way, the ascendency of the State, in ecclesiastical matters, increases beyond all measure and remains without any counterpoise. Instead of one Church, it maintains four, while the principal one, the Catholic, comprising thirty-three millions of followers, and more dependent than under the old monarchy, loses the privileges which once limited or compensated it for its subjection.—Formerly the prince was its temporal head, but on conditions which were onerous to him—on condition that he should be its exterior bishop and its secular arm, that it should have the monopoly of education and the censorship of books, that he should use his strong arm against heretics, schismatics and free-thinkers. Of all these obligations which kings accepted, the new sovereign frees himself, and yet, with the Holy See, he holds on to the same prerogatives and, with the Church, the same rights as his predecessors. He is just as minutely dictatorial as formerly with regard to the details of worship. At one time he fixes the fees and perquisites of the priest for administering the sacraments: “This fixation is a purely civil and temporal operation, since it resolves itself into a levy of so many pence on the citizen. Bishops and priests should not be allowed to exercise this faculty.1 The government alone must remain the arbiter between the priest who receives and the person who pays.” Again, he intervenes in the publication of plenary indulgence: “It is essential2 that indulgences should not be awarded for causes which might be contrary to public tranquillity or to the good of the country; the political magistrate is equally interested in knowing what the authority is that grants indulgences; if its title to act is legal, to what persons indulgences are granted, what persons are intrusted with their distribution, and what persons are to fix the term and duration of extraordinary prayers.”
Thus bound and held by the State, the Church is simply one of its appendices, for its own free roots by which, in this close embrace, it still vegetates and keeps erect have all been cut off short; torn from the soil and grafted on the State, they derive their sap and their roots from the civil powers. Before 1789, the clergy formed a distinct order in temporal society and, above all others, a body exempt from imposts and proprietary, a tax-payer apart which, represented in periodical assemblies, negotiated every five years with the prince himself, granted him subsidies and, in exchange for this “gratuitous gift,” secured for itself concessions or confirmations of immunities, prerogatives and favors; at this time, it is merely a collection of ordinary individuals and subjects, even less than that—an administrative staff analogous to that of the university, of the magistrature, of the treasury, and of the woods and forests, yet more closely watched and bridled, with more minute precautions and stricter interdictions. Before 1789, the curés and other second-class titularies were, for the most part, selected and installed without the prince’s intervention, now by the bishop of the diocese or a neighboring abbé, and again by independent collators, by the titulary himself,1 by a lay patron or a chapter, by a commune, by an indultaire, while the salary of each titulary, large or small, was his private property, the annual product of a piece of land or of some indebtedness attached to his office and which he administered. Nowadays, every titulary, from the cardinal-archbishop down to a canon, cantonal curé, and director or teacher in a seminary, is appointed or accepted by the civil power to which he swears fidelity, while his salary, set down in the budget, is simply that of a public employé, so many francs and centimes for which he comes monthly to the office of the treasury paymaster, along with others of his colleagues who are employed by the State in non-Catholic cults, together with others, his quasi-colleagues, whom the State employs in the university, in the magistrature, in the gendarmeries, and in the police.2 Such, in all branches of social life, is the universal and final effect of the Revolution. In the Church, as elsewhere, it has extended the interference and preponderance of the State, not inadvertently but intentionally, not accidentally but on principle.3 “The Constituent” (Assembly), says Siméon, “had rightly recognized that, religion being one of the oldest and most powerful means of government, it was necessary to bring it more than it had been under the control of the government.” Hence, the civil constitution of the clergy; “its only mistake was not to reconcile itself with the Pope.” At present, thanks to the agreement between Pope and government, the new régime completes the work of the ancient régime and, in the Church as elsewhere, the domination of the centralizing State is complete.
These are the grand lines of the new ecclesiastical establishment, and the general connections by which the Catholic Church, like an apartment in an edifice, finds itself comprehended in and incorporated with the State. It need not disconnect itself under the pretext of making itself more complete; there it is, built and finished; it cannot add to or go beyond this; no collateral and supplementary constructions are requisite which, through their independence, would derange the architectural whole, no monastic congregations, no body of regular clergy; the secular clergy suffices. “Never1 has it been contested that the public power had the right to dissolve arbitrary institutions which do not insist on the essence of religion and which are judged suspicious or troublesome to the State.” As a principle, all religious communities should be judged in this way; for they are spontaneous bodies; they form their own organization, and without the aid of the State, through the free will of their members; they live apart, according to the proper and peculiar statute which they adopt, outside of lay society, alongside of the established Church, under distinct chiefs chosen by themselves, sometimes under foreign ones, all more or less independent, all, through interest and by instinct, gathered around the Holy See, which, against diocesan authority and episcopal jurisdiction, serves them as protector. Formerly, the monks2 formed the Pope’s militia; they recognized no other sovereign, and thus were they more to be feared by governments than the secular clergy. The latter, without them, “would never have caused embarrassment;” henceforth there will be no other body.1 “I want bishops, curés, vicars, and that’s all! Religious communities have been allowed to re-establish themselves against my instructions;—I am informed that, at Beauvais, the Jesuits have formed establishments under the name of the Fathers of Faith. It should not be allowed”—and he prohibits it by decree.2 He dissolves “all associations formed under the pretext of religion and unauthorized.” He decides that, in future, “no aggregation or association of men or of women shall be formed under pretext of religion unless formally authorized;” he enjoins the prosecuting attorneys of his courts “to prosecute even by extra proceedings all persons of both sexes who directly or indirectly violate this decree.” He reserves to himself, however, the faculty of authorizing communities by which he can profit, and, in fact, he authorizes several of these as instrumentalities which society needs, or which are useful to the State, especially nursing or teaching sisters of charity,3 the brethren of Christian schools,4 and, first in rank, the Lazarists and the Fathers of foreign missions.5 “These monks,” he says,6 “will be of great service in Asia, in Africa, and in America. I will send them to procure information on the state of the country. Their robe protects them, while it is a cover to political and commercial designs. . . . I will allow them a capital to start with of 15,000 francs rental. . . . They cost little, are respected by savages, and, having no official character, cannot compromise the government.” Moreover, “religious zeal leads them to undertake work and to face perils which are beyond the strength of a civil agent.”—Of course, as they are “secret diplomatic agents,” the government must keep them in hand and direct them. Consequently, “their superior must no longer reside in Rome, but at Paris.” The same precaution is taken with reference to other congregations, which, in teaching or in charity, become regular auxiliaries of the lay power. “The general-superior of the Sisters of Charity will live in Paris1 ; the entire body will then be in the hands of the government.” As to the brethren of the Christian schools, Napoleon absorbs these in his university.2 “They must be licensed by the grand-master,3 who will certify to their internal regulations, accept their oaths, prescribe a special costume, and superintend their schools.” Observe the exigencies of the government at this point, its measures for controlling the religious orders authorized by it. Abbé Hanon,4 the common superior of the Sisters of Saint-Vincent de Paul, having refused to place Madame Lætitia at the head of the council of the order, is carried off at night and shut up at Fenestrelles, while the Sisters, who, following the instructions of their founder, refuse to recognize a superior appointed by the civil power, are treated in the same manner as formerly the nuns of Port-Royal.1 “It is time to put an end to this scandal of the Sisters of Charity in rebellion against their superiors. It is my intention to suppress all the houses which, in twenty-four hours after the notice you give them, do not return to subordination. You will replace the houses suppressed, not by Sisters of the same order, but by those of another order of charity. The Sisters at Paris will lose their influence, which will be a good thing.” Whatever the communities may be, the authorization by which they organize is merely a favor, and every favor granted may be withdrawn. “I will have no more missions of any kind.2 I established missionaries in Paris and gave them a house—I take all back. I am content with religion at home; I do not care to spread it abroad. . . . I make you responsible if (in a month from this) on the first of October there are any missions or congregations still existing in France.”—Thus does the regular clergy live, under a revocable title, by toleration, despotically, under a suspended thread which, perhaps to-morrow, may be cut short at pleasure.
The secular clergy remains better guaranteed, it seems, and by a less precarious statute, for this statute is an international and diplomatic act, a solemn and bilateral treaty which binds the French government, not only to itself but to another government, to an independent sovereign and the recognized head of the whole Catholic Church.—Consequently, it is of prime importance to rebuild and raise higher the barriers which, in ancient France, separated the secular clergy from the Pope, the customs and regulations which constituted the Gallican Church a province apart in the Church universal, the ecclesiastic franchises and servitudes which restricted the Pope’s jurisdiction in order that the jurisdiction of the king might be extended. All these servitudes to the advantage of the lay sovereign, and all these franchises to the prejudice of the ecclesiastic sovereign, are maintained and increased by the new statute. By virtue of the Concordat and by consent of the Pope, the First Consul acquires “the same rights and privileges in relation to the Holy See as the old government,”1 that is to say the same exclusive right to nominate future French cardinals and to have as many as before in the sacred college, the same right to exclude in the sacred conclave, the same faculty of being the unique dispenser in France of high ecclesiastical places and the prerogative of appointing all the bishops and archbishops on French territory. And better still, by virtue of the Organic Articles and in spite of the Pope’s remonstrances, he interposes, as with the former kings, his authority, his Council of State and his tribunals between the Holy See and the faithful. “No bull, brief, rescript, decree . . . of the court of Rome, even when bearing only on individuals, shall be received, published, printed or otherwise executed without permission of the government. No person, bearing the title of apostolic nuncio, legate, vicar or commissioner, . . . shall, without the same authorization, exercise on the French soil or elsewhere any function in relation to the interests of the Gallican Church. . . . All cases of complaint by ecclesiastical superiors and other persons shall be brought before the Council of State.”2 “Every minister of a cult3 who shall have carried on a correspondence with a foreign court on religious matters or questions without having previously informed the Minister of Worship and obtained his sanction shall, for this act alone, be subject to a penalty of from one hundred to five hundred francs and imprisonment during a term of from one month to two years.” Every communication from high to low and from low to high between the French Church and its Roman head, cut off at will, intervention by a veto or by approval of all acts of pontifical authority, to be the legal and recognized head of the national clergy,1 to become for this clergy an assistant, collateral, and lay Pope—such was the pretension of the old government, and such, in effect, is the sense, the juridic bearing, of the Gallican maxims.2 Napoleon proclaims them anew, while the edict of 1682, by which Louis XIV. applied them with precision, rigor and minuteness, “is declared the general law of the empire.”3
There are no opponents to this doctrine, or this use of it, in France. Napoleon counts on not encountering any, and especially among his prelates. Gallican before 1789, the whole clergy were more or less so through education and tradition, through interest and through amour-propre; now, the survivors of this clergy are those who provide the new ecclesiastical staff, and, of the two distinct groups from which it is recruited, neither is predisposed by its antecedents to become ultramontane. Some among these, who have emigrated, partisans of the ancient régime, find no difficulty in thus returning to old habits and doctrines, the authoritative protectorate of the State over the Church, the interference of the Emperor substituted for that of the King, and Napoleon, in this as in other respects, the legitimate, or legitimated, successor of the Bourbons. The others, who have sworn to the civil constitution of the clergy, the schismatics, the impenitent and, in spite of the Pope, reintegrated by the First Consul in the Church,1 are ill-disposed towards the Pope, their principal adversary, and well-disposed towards the First Consul, their unique patron. Hence, “the heads2 of the Catholic clergy, that is to say, the bishops and grand-vicars, . . . are attached to the government;” they are “enlightened” people, and can be made to listen to reason. “But we have three or four thousand curés or vicars, the progeny of ignorance and dangerous through their fanaticism and their passions.” If these and their superiors show any undisciplined tendencies, the curb must be tightly drawn. Fournier, a priest, having reflected on the government from his pulpit in Saint-Roch, is arrested by the police, put in Bicêtre as mad, and the First Consul replies to the Paris clergy who claim his release “in a well-drawn-up petition,” “I wanted to prove to you, when I put my cap on the wrong side out, that priests must obey the civil power.”3 Now and then, a rude stroke of this sort sets an example and keeps the intractable in the right path who would otherwise be tempted to leave it. At Bayonne, concerning a clerical epistle in which an ill-sounding phrase occurs, “the grand-vicar who drew it up is sent to Pignerol for ten years, and I think that the bishop is exiled.”4 At Séez, when constitutional priests are in disfavor, the bishop is compelled to resign on the instant, while Abbé Langlois, his principal counsellor, taken by the gendarmes, led to Paris from brigade to brigade, is shut up in La Force, in secret confinement, with straw for a bed, during fourteen days, then imprisoned in Vincennes for nine months, so that, finally, seized with paralysis, he is transferred to an insane retreat, where he remains a prisoner up to the end of the reign.
Let us provide for the future as well as for the present, and, back of the clergy who now exist, set up the future clergy. The seminaries will answer this purpose. “Public ones must be organized1 so that there may be no clandestine seminaries, such as formerly existed in the departments of Calvados, Morbihan and many others; . . . the formation of young priests must not be left to ignorance and fanaticism.” “Catholic schools need the surveillance of the government.” There is to be one of these in each metropolitan district, and “this special school must be in the hands of the authorities.” “The directors and teachers shall be appointed by the First Consul”; men will be placed there who are “cultivated, devoted to the government and friendly to toleration; they will not confine themselves to teaching theology, but will add to this a sort of philosophy and correct worldliness.”—A future curé, a priest who controls laymen and belongs to his century, must not be a monk belonging to the other world, but a man of this world, able to adapt himself to it, do his duty in it with propriety and discretion, accept the legal order of things in which he is comprised, not damn his Protestant neighbors, Jews or freethinkers too openly, be a useful member of temporal society and a loyal subject of the civil power; let him be a Catholic and pious, but within just limits; he shall not be an ultramontanist or a bigot.—Precautions are taken to this effect. No seminarist may become subdeacon without the consent of the government, and the list of ordinations each year, sent to him at Paris by the bishop, is returned, cut down to the strictly necessary.2 From the very beginning, and in express terms,3 Napoleon has reserved all curacies and vicarages for “ecclesiastics pensioned by virtue of the laws of the Constituent Assembly.” Not only, through this confusion between pension and salary, does he lighten a pecuniary burden, but he greatly prefers old priests to young ones; many of them have been constitutionnels, and all are imbued with Gallicanism; it is he who has brought them back from exile or saved them from oppression, and they are grateful for it; having suffered long and patiently, they are weary, they must have grown wiser, and they will be manageable. Moreover, he has precise information about each one; their past conduct is a guarantee of their future conduct; he never chooses one of them with his eyes shut. On the contrary, the candidates for ordination are unknown; the government which accepts them knows nothing about them except that, at the age when the fever of growth or of the imagination takes a fixed form, they have been subject for five years to a theological education and to a cloistral life. The chances are that, with them, the feverishness of youth will end in the heat of conviction and in the prejudices of inexperience; in this event, the government which exempts them from the conscription to admit them in the Church exchanges a good military recruit for a bad ecclesiastical recruit; in place of a servant it creates an opponent. Hence, during the fifteen years of his reign, Napoleon authorizes only six thousand new ordinations,1 in all four hundred per annum, one hundred for each diocese or six or seven per annum. Meanwhile, by his university decrees, he lets lay daylight into clerical enclosures2 and shuts the door of all ecclesiastical dignities to suspicious priests.3 For great security, in every diocese in which “the principles of the bishop” do not give him full satisfaction, he interdicts all ordination, nomination, promotion, or favor whatever. “I have stricken off1 all demands relating to the bishoprics of Saint-Brieuc, Bordeaux, Ghent, Tournay, Troyes and the Maritime Alps. . . . My intention is that you do not, for these dioceses, propose to me any exemption of service for conscripts, no nominations for scholarships, for curacies, or for canonries. You will send in a report on the dioceses which it would be well to visit with this interdiction.” Towards the end, the Gallicism of Bossuet no longer suffices for him; he allowed it to be taught at Saint-Sulpice, and M. Emery, director of this institution, was the priest in France whom he esteemed the most and most willingly consulted; but a pupil’s imprudent letter had been just intercepted, and, accordingly, the spirit of that association is a bad one. An order of expulsion of the director is issued and the installation in his place of a new one “day after to-morrow,” as well as new administrators of whom none shall be Sulpician.2 “Take measures to have this congregation dissolved. I will have no Sulpicians in the seminary of Paris.3 Let me know the seminaries that are served by Sulpicians in order that they too may be sent away from these seminaries.”4 —And let the seminarists who have been badly taught by their masters take heed not to practise in their own behalf the false doctrines which the State proscribes; especially, let them never undertake, as they do in Belgium, to disobey the civil power in deference to the Pope and their bishop. At Tournay,1 all those over eighteen years of age are sent to Magdebourg; at Ghent, the very young or those not fit for military service are put in Saint-Pelagie; the rest, two hundred and thirty-six in number, including forty deacons or sub-deacons, incorporated in an artillery brigade, set out for Wesel, a country of marshes and fevers, where fifty of them soon die of epidemics and contagion.—There is ever the same terminal procedure; to Abbé d’Astros, suspected of having received and kept a letter of the Pope, Napoleon, with threats, gave him this ecclesiastical watchword: “I understand a profession of the liberties of the Gallican Church, but for all that I wear the sword, so look out for yourself!”—In effect, the military sanction, the arbitrary punishment, physical constraint, the sword ready to strike, is discovered behind all his institutions; involuntarily, the eyes detect beforehand the flash of the blade, and the flesh is sensible of the rigid keen incision.
Thus is a conquered country treated. He is, in relation to the Church, as in a conquered country.2 Like Westphalia or Holland, she is a naturally independent country which he has annexed by treaty, which he has been able to “englobe” but not absorb in his empire, and which remains invincibly distinct. The temporal sovereign, in a spiritual society, especially such a sovereign as he is,—nominally Catholic, scarcely Christian, at best a deist and from time to time as it suits,—will never be other than an external suzerain and a foreign prince. To become and remain master in such an annexation requires always a sight of the sword. Nevertheless, it would not be wise to strike incessantly; the blade, used too often, would wear out; it is better to utilize the constitution of the annex, rule over it indirectly, not by an administrative bureau (régie), but by a protectorate, in which all indigenous authorities can be employed and be made responsible for the necessary rigors. Now, by virtue of the indigenous constitution, the governors of the Catholic annex—all designated beforehand by their suitable and indelible character, all tonsured, robed in black, celibates and speaking Latin—form two orders, unequal in dignity and in number; one inferior, comprising myriads of curés and vicars, and the other superior, comprising some dozens of prelates.
Let us turn this ready-made hierarchy to account; and, the better to use it, let us tighten the strings. In agreement with the upper clergy and the Pope, we will increase the subjection of the lower clergy; we will govern the inferiors through the superiors; whoever has the head has the body; it is much easier to handle sixty bishops and archbishops than forty thousand vicars and curés; in this particular we need not undertake to restore primitive discipline; we must not be either antiquaries or Gallicans. Let us be careful not to give back to the second-class clergy the independence and stability they enjoyed before 1789, the canonical guarantees which protected them against episcopal despotism, the institution of competition, the rights conferred by theological grades, the bestowal of the best places on the wisest, the appeal to the diocesan court in case of disgrace, the opposing plea before the officialité, the permanent tie by which the titulary curé, once planted in his parish, took root there for life, and believed himself bound to his local community like Jesus Christ to the universal Church, indissolubly, through a sort of mystic marriage. “The number of curés,” says Napoleon,1 “must be reduced as much as possible, and the number of assistants (desservans) multiplied who can be changed at will,” not only transferable to another parish, but revocable from day to day, without formalities or delay, without appeal or pleading in any court whatsoever. Henceforth, the sole irremovable curés are the four thousand; the rest, under the name of succursalists, numbering thirty thousand,1 are ecclesiastical clerks, surrendered to the discretionary power of the bishop. The bishop alone appoints, places and displaces all belonging to his diocese; at his pleasure, and with a nod, he orders the best qualified for the best post to pass over to the worst, from the large borough or small birthplace, where he has lived at ease near his family, to some wretched parish in this or that village buried in the woods or lost on a mountain, without fees or parish domicile; and still better, he cuts down his wages, he withdraws the State salary of five hundred francs, he turns him out of the lodgings allowed him by the commune, a pedestrian on the highway, with no viaticum, even temporary, excluded from ecclesiastical ministries, without respect, unclassed, a vagabond in the great lay world whose ways are unknown to him and whose careers are closed to him. Henceforth, and forever, bread is taken out of his mouth; if he has it to-day, it is lacking on the morrow. Now, every three months, the list of succursalists at five hundred francs drawn up by the bishop, must be countersigned by the prefect; in his upper cabinet, near the mantelpiece on which the visiting-cards of every considerable personage in the department are displayed, facing the emperor’s bust, the two delegates of the emperor, his two responsible and judicial managers, the two superintended overseers of the conscription, confer together on the ecclesiastical staff of the department; in this as in other matters, they are and feel themselves kept in check from on high, curbed and forced, willingly or not, to come to some agreement. Compulsory collaborators by institution, each an auxiliary of the other in the maintenance of public order, they read over article by article the list of appointments of their common subordinates; should any name have bad notes, should any succursalist be marked as noisy, undesirable, or suspect, should there be any unfavorable report by the mayor, gendarmerie or upper police, the prefect, about to sign, lays down his pen, states his instructions and demands of the bishop against the delinquent some repressive measure, either destitution, suspension or displacement, removal to an inferior parish, or, at least, a comminatory reprimand, while the bishop, whom the prefect may denounce to the minister, does not refuse to the prefect this act of complacency.
Some months after the publication of the Concordat,1 Mademoiselle Chameron, an opera-dancer, dies, and her friends bear her remains to the church of St. Roch for interment. They are refused admittance, and the curé, very rigid, “in a fit of ill-humor,” orders the doors of the church to be shut; a crowd gathers around, shouts and launches threats at the curé; an actor makes a speech to appease the tumult, and finally the coffin is borne off to the church of Les Filles St. Thomas, where the assistant priest, “familiar with the moral of the gospel,” performs the funeral service. Incidents of this kind disturb the tranquillity of the streets and denote a relaxation of administrative discipline. Consequently the government, doctor in theology and canon law, intervenes and calls the ecclesiastical superior to account. The First Consul, in an article in the Moniteur, haughtily gives the clergy their countersign and explains the course that will be pursued against them by his prelates. “The Archbishop of Paris orders the curé of St. Roch into a retreat of three months, in order that he may bear in mind the injunction of Jesus Christ to pray for one’s enemies, and, made sensible of his duties by meditation, may become aware that these superstitious customs, which degrade religion by their absurdities, have been done away with by the Concordat and the law of Germinal 18.” Henceforth all priests and curés must be prudent, circumspect, obedient, and reserved,1 for their spiritual superiors are so, and could not be otherwise. Each prelate, posted in his diocese, is maintained there in isolation; a watch is kept on his correspondence; he may communicate with the Pope only through the Minister of Worship; he has no right to act in concert with his colleagues; all the general assemblies of the clergy, all metropolitan councils, all annual synods, are suppressed. The Church of France has ceased to exist as one corps, while its members, carefully detached from each other and from their Roman head, are no longer united, but juxtaposed. Confined to a circumscription, like the prefect, the bishop himself is simply an ecclesiastical prefect, a little less uncertain of his tenure of office; undoubtedly, his removal will not be effected by order, but he can be forced to send in his resignation. Thus, in his case, as well as for the prefect, his first care will be not to excite displeasure, and the next one, to please. To stand well at court, with the minister and with the sovereign, is a positive command, not only on personal grounds, but for the sake of Catholic interests. To obtain scholarships for the pupils of his seminary,2 to appoint the teachers and the director that suits him, to insure the acceptance of his canons, cantonal curés, and candidates for the priesthood, to exempt his sub-deacons from the conscription, to establish and to defray the expenses of the chapels of his diocese, to provide parishes with the indispensable priest, with regular services and the sacraments, requires favors, which favors cannot be enjoyed without an affectation of obedience and zeal and, more important still, devotedness.
Besides all this, he is himself a man. If Napoleon has selected him, it is on account of his intelligence, knowing what he is about, open to human motives, not too rigid and of too easy conscience; in the eyes of the master, the first of all titles has ever been a supposable docile character, associated with attachment to his system and person.1 Moreover, with his candidates, he has always taken into consideration the hold they give him through their weaknesses, vanity and necessities, their ostentatious ways and expenditure, their love of money, titles and precedence, their ambition, desire for promotion, enjoyment of credit, and right of obtaining places for protégés and relations. He avails himself of all these advantages and finds that they answer his purpose. With the exception of three or four saints, like Monseigneur d’Aviau2 or Monseigneur Dessolles, whom he has inadvertently put into the episcopate, the bishops are content to be barons, and the archbishops counts. They are glad to rank higher and higher in the Legion of Honor; they loudly assert, in praise of the new order of things, the honors and dignities it confers on these or those prelates who have become members of the legislative corps or been made senators.3 Many of them receive secret pay for secret services, pecuniary incentives in the shape of this or that amount in ready money. In sum, Napoleon has judged accurately; with hesitation and remorse, nearly the whole of his episcopal staff, Italian and French, sixty-six prelates out of eighty, are open to “temporal influences.” They yield to his seductions and threats; they accept or submit, even in spiritual matters, to his positive ascendency.1
Moreover, among these dignitaries, nearly all of whom are blameless, or, at least, who behave well and are generally honorable, Napoleon finds a few whose servility is perfect, unscrupulous individuals ready for anything that an absolute prince could desire, like Bishops Bernier and De Pancemont, one accepting a reward of 30,000 francs and the other the sum of 50,000 francs2 for the vile part they have played in the negotiations for the Concordat; a miserly, brutal cynic like Maury, archbishop of Paris, or an intriguing, mercenary sceptic like De Pradt, archbishop of Malines; or an old imbecile, falling on his knees before the civil power, like Rousseau, bishop of Orleans, who indites a pastoral letter declaring that the Pope is as free in his Savona prison as on his throne at Rome. After 1806,3 Napoleon, that he may control men of greater suppleness, prefers to take his prelates from old noble families—the frequenters of Versailles, who regard the episcopate as a gift bestowed by the prince and not by the Pope, a lay favor reserved for younger sons, a present made by the sovereign to those around his person, on the understood condition that the partisan courtier who is promoted shall remain a courtier of the master. Henceforth nearly all his episcopal recruits are derived from “members of the old race.” “Only these,” says Napoleon, “know how to serve well.”1
From the first year the effect arrived at is better than could be expected. “Look at the clergy,”2 said the First Consul to Rœderer; “every day shows that in spite of themselves their devotion to the government is increasing, and much beyond their anticipation. Have you seen the pastoral declaration of Boisgelin, archbishop of Tours? . . . He says that the actual government is the legitimate government, that God disposes of thrones and kings as he pleases and that he adopts the chiefs whom the people prefer. You yourself could not have said that better.” But, notwithstanding that this is said in the pastoral letter, it is again said in the catechism. No ecclesiastical publication is more important; all Catholic children are to learn this by heart, for the phrases they recite will be firmly fixed in their memories. Bossuet’s catechism is good enough, but it may be improved,—there is nothing that time, reflection, emulation, and administrative zeal cannot render perfect! Bossuet teaches children “to respect all superiors, pastors, kings, magistrates, and the rest.” “But these generalities,” says Portalis,3 “no longer suffice. They do not give the proper tendency to the subject’s submission. The object is to centre the popular conscience on the person of Your Majesty.” Accordingly, let us be precise, make appointments and secure support. The imperial catechism, a great deal more explicit than the royal catechism, adds significant developments to the old one, along with extra motives: “We specially owe to our Emperor, Napoleon the First, love, respect, obedience, fidelity, military service, and tributes ordained for the preservation of the empire and his throne. . . . For God has raised him up for us in times of peril that he might restore public worship and the holy religion of our fathers and be its protector.” Every boy and girl in each parish recite this to the vicar or curé after vespers in their tiny voices as a commandment of God and of the Church, as a supplementary article of the creed. Meanwhile the officiating priest in the pulpit gravely comments on this article, already clear enough, at every morning or evening service;1 by order, he preaches in behalf of the conscription and declares that it is a sin to try to escape from it, to be refractory; by order, again, he reads the army bulletins giving accounts of the latest victories; always by order, he reads the last pastoral letter of his bishop, a document authorized, inspired and corrected by the police. Not only are the bishops obliged to submit their pastoral letters and public instructions to the censorship; not only, by way of precaution, are they forbidden to print anything except on the prefecture presses, but again, for still greater security, the bureau of public worship is constantly advising them what they must say. First of all, they must laud the Emperor; and how this must be done, in what terms, and with what epithets, so that without indiscretion or mistake they may not meddle with politics, may not seem like a party managed from above, may not pass for mouthpieces, is not indicated, and it is a difficult matter. “You must praise the Emperor more in your pastoral letters,” said Réal, prefect of police, to a new bishop. “Tell me in what measure.” “I do not know,” was the reply. Since the measure cannot be prescribed, it must be ample enough. There is no difficulty as regards other articles.
On every occasion the Paris bureaux take care to furnish each bishop with a ready-made draft of his forthcoming pastoral letter—the canvas on which the customary flowers of ecclesiastical amplification are to be embroidered. It differs according to time and place. In La Vendée and in the west, the prelates are to stigmatize “the odious machinations of perfidious Albion,” and explain to the faithful the persecutions to which the English subject the Irish Catholics. When Russia is the enemy, the pastoral letter must dwell on her being schismatic; also on the Russian misunderstanding of the supremacy of the Pope. Inasmuch as bishops are functionaries of the empire, their utterances and their acts belong to the Emperor. Consequently he makes use of them against all enemies, against each rival, rebel or adversary, against the Bourbons, against the English and the Russians, and, finally, against the Pope.
Similar to the Russian expedition, this is the great and last throw of the dice, the decisive and most important of his ecclesiastical undertakings, as the other is in political and military affairs. Just as, under his leadership, he forces by constraint and, under his lead, a coalition of the political and military powers of his Europe against the Czar,—Austria, Prussia, the Confederation of the Rhine, Holland, Switzerland, the kingdom of Italy, Naples, and even Spain,—so does he by constraint and under his lead coalesce all the spiritual authorities of his empire against the Pope. He summons a council, consisting of eighty-four bishops that are available in Italy and in France. He takes it upon himself to drill them, and he makes them march. To state what influences he uses would require a volume1 —theological and canonical arguments, appeals to Gallican souvenirs and Jansenist rancors, eloquence and sophisms, preparatory manœuvres, secret intrigues, public acting, private solicitations, steady intimidation, successful pressures, thirteen cardinals exiled and deprived of their insignia, two other cardinals confined in Vincennes, nineteen Italian bishops conveyed to France under escort, without bread or clothes; fifty priests of Parma, fifty of Plaisance, besides one hundred other Italian priests, sent away or confined in Corsica; all congregations of men in France—Saint-Lazare, Mission, Christian Doctrine, Saint-Sulpice—dissolved and suppressed; three bishops of the council seized in bed at daylight, put into a cell and kept in close confinement, forced to resign and to promise in writing not to carry on correspondence with their dioceses; arrest of their adherents in their dioceses; the Ghent seminarists turned into soldiers, and, with knapsack on their backs, leaving for the army; professors at Ghent, the canons of Tournay, and other Belgian priests shut up in the citadels of Bouillon, Ham and Pierre-Chatel2 ; near the end, the council suddenly dissolved because scruples arise, because it does not yield at once to the pressure brought to bear on it, because its mass constitutes its firmness, because men standing close together, side by side, stand all the longer. “Our wine in the cask is not good,” said Cardinal Maury; “you will find that it will be better in bottles.” Accordingly, to make it ready for bottling, it must be filtered and clarified, so as to get rid of the bad elements which disturb it and cause fermentation. Many opponents are in prison, many have retired from their dioceses, while the rest are brought to Paris and cunningly worked upon, each member in turn, apart and confined, tête-à-tête with the Minister of Worship, until all, one by one, are brought to sign the formula of adhesion. On the strength of this, the council, purged and prepared, is summoned afresh to give its vote sitting or standing, in one unique session; through a remnant of virtue it inserts a suspensive clause in the decree, apparently a reservation,1 but the decree is passed as ordered. Like the foreign regiment in an army corps which, enlisted, forced into line, and goaded on with a sharp sword, serves, in spite of itself, against its legitimate prince, unwilling to march forward to the attack, meaning at the last moment to fire in the air, so does it finally march and fire its volley notwithstanding.
Napoleon, on the other hand, treats the Pope in the same fashion, and with like skill and brutality. As with the Russian campaign, he has prepared himself for it long beforehand. At the outset there is an alliance, and he concedes great advantages to the Pope as to the Czar, which will remain to them after his fall; but these concessions are made only with a mental reservation, with the instinctive feeling and predetermination to profit by the alliance, even to making an independent sovereign whom he recognizes as his equal, his subordinate and a tool; hence, quarrels and war. This time also, in the expedition against the Pope, his strategy is admirable,—the entire ecclesiastical territory studied beforehand, the objective point selected,2 all disposable forces employed and directed by fixed marches to where the victory is to be decisive, the conquest extended and the seat of the final dominion established; the successive and simultaneous use of every kind of means—cunning, violence, seduction and terror; calculation of the weariness, anxiety and despair of the adversary; at first menaces and constant disputes, and then flashes of lightning and multiplied claps of thunder, every species of brutality that force can command; the States of the Church invaded in times of peace, Rome surprised and occupied by soldiers, the Pope besieged in the Quirinal, in a year the Quirinal taken by a nocturnal assault, the Pope seized and carried off by post to Savona and there confined as a prisoner of state almost in cellular seclusion,1 subject to the entreaties and manœuvres of an adroit prefect who works upon him, of the physician who is a paid spy, of the servile bishops who are sent thither, alone with his conscience, contending with inquisitors relieving each other, subject to moral tortures as subtile and as keen as old-time physical tortures, to tortures so steady and persistent that he sinks, loses his head, “no longer sleeps and scarcely speaks,” falling into a senile condition and even more than senile condition, “a state of mental alienation.”2 Then, on issuing from this, the poor old man is again beset; finally, after waiting patiently for three years, he is once more brusquely conducted at night, secretly and incognito, over the entire road, with no repose or pity though ill, except stopping once in a snow-storm at the hospice on Mount Cenis, where he comes near dying; put back after twenty-four hours in his carriage, bent double by suffering and in constant pain; jolting over the pavement of the grand highway until almost dead and landed at Fontainebleau, where Napoleon wishes to have him ready at hand to work upon. “Indeed,” he himself says, “he is a lamb, an excellent, worthy man whom I esteem and am very fond of.”1
An improvised tête-à-tête may probably prove effective with this gentle, candid and tender spirit. Pius VII., who had never known ill-will, might be won by kindly treatment, by an air of filial respect, by caresses; he may feel the personal ascendency of Napoleon, the prestige of his presence and conversation, the invasion of his genius. Inexhaustible in arguments, matchless in the adaptation of ideas to circumstances, the most amiable and most imperious of interlocutors, stentorian and mild, tragic and comic by turns, the most eloquent of sophists and the most irresistible of fascinators, as soon as he meets a man face to face, he wins him, conquers him, and obtains the mastery.2 In effect, after seeing the Pope for six days, Napoleon obtains by persuasion what he could not obtain afar by constraint. Pius VII. signs the new Concordat in good faith, himself unaware that, on regaining his freedom and surrounded by his cardinals, who inform him on the political situation, he will emerge from his bewilderment, be attacked by his conscience, and, through his office, publicly accuse himself, humbly repent, and in two months withdraw his signature.
Such, after 1812 and 1813, is the duration of Napoleon’s triumphs and the ephemeral result of his greatest military and ecclesiastical achievements—Moskowa, Lutzen, Bautzen and Dresden, the Council of 1811 and the Concordat of 1813. Whatever the vastness of his genius may be, however strong his will, however successful his attacks, his success against nations and churches never is, and never can be, other than temporary. Great historical and moral forces elude his grasp. In vain does he strike, for their downfall gives them new life, and they rise beneath the blow. With Catholic institutions,1 as with other powers, not only do his efforts remain sterile, but what he accomplishes remains inverse to the end he has in view. He aims to subjugate the Pope, and he led the Pope on to omnipotence. He aims at the maintenance and strength of the Gallican spirit among the French clergy, and yet brings them under the rule of the ultramontane spirit. With extraordinary energy and tenacity, with all his power, which was enormous, through the systematic and constant application of diverse and extreme measures, he labored for fifteen years to rend the ties of the Catholic hierarchy, take it to pieces, and, in sum, the final result of all is to tie them faster and hasten its completion.
Mémorial, iv., 259 (June 7 and 8, 1816); v., 323 (Aug. 17, 1816).
Thibaudeau, p. 152 (Prairial 21, year x).
Mémorial, iv., 259 (June 7 and 8, 1816).—Pelet de la Lozère, “Opinions de Napoléon au conseil d’état,” p. 223 (March 4, 1806).
“Discours, rapports et travaux sur le Concordat de 1801,” by Portalis (published by Frédéric Portalis), p. 10.—In his speech on the organization of cults (Germinal 15, year x), Portalis, although a good Catholic, adopts the same idea, because he is a legist and one of the Ancient Régime. “Religions, even false, have this advantage, that they are an obstacle to the introduction of arbitrary doctrines. Individuals have a centre of faith; governments have no fear of dogmas once known and which do not change. Superstition, so to say, is regulated, circumscribed and kept within bounds which it cannot, or dare not, go outside of.”
Thibaudeau, p. 151 (Prairial 21, year x). “The First Consul combated at length the different systems of the philosophy on cults, natural religion, deism, etc. All that, according to him, was mere ideology.”
Pelet de la Lozère, p. 208 (May 22, 1804).
Thibaudeau, p. 152 (Prairial 21, year x).
Pelet de la Lozère, p. 223 (March 4, 1806).
Rœderer, “Œuvres complètes,” iii., 334 (Aug. 18, 1800).
M. Bignon, official and special interpreter, in Napoleon’s mind, on diplomatic matters, says in relation to the oath imposed by the Concordat, “This oath made the clergy a sort of sacred gendarmerie.”
Pelet de la Lozère, p. 205 (February 11, 1804).
Ibid., p. 201.
Pelet de la Lozère, p. 206, (Feb. 11, 1804).
Mémorial, v., 323 (Aug. 17, 1816).
Pelet de la Lozère, p. 201.
Mémorial, v., 353 (Aug. 17, 1816). Notes on “Les Quatre Concordats,” by M. de Pradt (Correspondence of Napoleon I., xxx., p. 557).
Bourrienne, “Mémoires,” v., 232.
Notes on “Les Quatre Concordats,” by M. de Pradt (Correspondence of Napoleon I., xxx., 638 and 639).
Thibaudeau, p. 152 (Prairial 21, year x).
Notes on “Les Quatre Concordats,” by M. de Pradt (Correspondence, xxx., 638).
Count Boulay de La Meurthe, “Négociations du Concordat.” (Extract from the “Correspondant,” 1882, on the religious state of France in November, 1800, and particularly on the condition of the constitutional Church, the latter being very poor, disunited, with no credit and no future.) The writer estimates the number of active priests at 8000, of which 2000 are constitutionnels and 6000 orthodox.
Thibaudeau, p. 152.
Thibaudeau, p. 154 (words of the First Consul): “What makes the government liked is its respect for worship. . . . The priests must be connected with the government.”
Ibid., p. 154: “Is it not better to organize worship and discipline the priests rather than let things go on as they are?”
La Fayette, “Mémoires,” ii., 200. (“Mes rapports avec le Premier Consul.”)
D’Haussonville, “l’Église romaine et la Premier Empire,” ii., 78 and 101. Napoleon’s letters to Cardinal Fesch, Jan. 7, 1806; to the Pope, Feb. 22, 1806; and to Cardinal Fesch, of the same date. “His Holiness will have the same consideration for me in temporal matters as I have for him in spiritual matters. . . . My enemies will be his enemies.”—“Tell people (in Rome) that I am Charlemagne, the sword of the Church, their emperor; that I must be treated the same; that they should not know that there was a Russian empire. . . . If the Pope does not accept my conditions, I shall reduce him to the condition he was in before Charlemagne.”
Decree, May 17, 1809. “Whereas, when Charlemagne, emperor of the French, and our august predecessor, donated several counties to the bishops of Rome, he gave them only under the title of fiefs and for the welfare of his own states, and as by the said donation Rome did not thereby cease to form part of his empire, . . . the states of the Pope are now reunited to the French empire.”
Sénatus-consulte, Feb. 17, 1810, title ii., article xii. “Any foreign sovereignty is incompatible with the exercise of any spiritual sovereignty within the empire.”
D’Haussonville, ibid., iv., 344. (Decree of the National Council, Aug. 5, 1811.—Concordat of Fontainebleau, Jan. 25, 1813, article 14.—Decree on the execution of this Concordat, March 23, 1813, art. 4.)
Sénatus-consulte, Feb. 17, 1810, articles 13 and 14.
Mémorial, Aug. 17, 1816.
Sénatus-consulte, Feb. 17, 1810.
Notes by Napoleon on the “Les Quatre Concordats de M. de Pradt” (Correspondence, xxx., 550). Lanfrey, “Histoire de Napoléon,” v., 214. (Along with the Vatican archives, there were brought to Paris the tiara and other insignia or ornaments of pontifical dignity.)
Sénatus-consulte, Feb. 17, 1810.
Notes by Napoleon on “Les Quatre Concordats” (Correspondence, xxx., 518).
Cf. Roman laws on the Collegia illicita, the first source of which is the Roman conception of religion, the political and practical use of augurs, auspices and sacred fowls.—It is interesting to trace the long life and survivorship of this important idea from antiquity down to the present day; it reappears in the Concordat and in the Organic Articles of 1801, and still later in the late decrees dissolving unauthorized communities and closing the convents of men.—French legists, and in particular Napoleon’s legists, are profoundly imbued with the Roman idea. Portalis, in his exposition of the motives for establishing metropolitan seminaries (March 14, 1804), supports the decree with Roman law. “The Roman laws,” he says, “place everything concerning the cult in the class of matters which belong essentially to public rights.”
Thibaudeau, p. 152.
“Discours, rapports et travaux sur le Concordat de 1801,” by Portalis, p. 87 (on the Organic Articles), p. 29 (on the organization of cults). “The ministers of religion must not pretend to share in or limit public power. . . . Religious affairs have always been classed by the different national codes among matters belonging to the upper police department of the State. . . . The political magistrate may and should intervene in everything which concerns the outward administration of sacred matters. . . . In France, the government has always presided, in a more or less direct way, over the direction of ecclesiastical affairs.”
“Discours, rapports, etc.,” by Portalis, p. 31.—Ibid., p. 143: “To sum up. The Church possesses only a purely spiritual authority; sovereigns, as political magistrates, regulate temporal and mixed questions with entire independence, and, as protectors, they have the same right to see to the execution of canons and to repress, even in spiritual matters, the infractions of pontiffs.”
Articles Organiques. 1st. Catholic cult, articles 3, 4, 23, 24, 35, 39, 44, 62. 2d. Protestant cults, articles 4, 5, 11, 14, 22, 26, 30, 31, 32, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42, 43. Israelite cult, decree of March 17, 1808, articles 4, 8, 9, 16, 23. Decree of execution, same date, articles 2 and 7.
Decree of March 17, 1808, articles 12, 21.
Articles Organiques (Protestant cults), 12 and 13.
Articles Organiques (Catholic cult), 24. Teachers selected for the seminaries “will subscribe the declaration made by the clergy of France in 1682; they will submit to teaching the doctrine therein set forth.”
“Discours, rapports, etc.,” by Portalis, p. 101.
Ibid., p. 378.
Abbé Sicard, “Les Dispensateurs des bénéfices ecclésiastiques” (in the “Correspondant,” Sep. 10, 1889, p. 883). A benefice was then a sort of patrimony which the titulary, old or ill, often handed over to one of his relatives. “A canonist of the eighteenth century says that the resignation carried with it one third of the income.”
D’Haussonville, iii., p. 438. (Narrative of M. Pasquier.)
Report of Siméon to the tribunat on presenting to it the Concordat and Organic Articles, Germinal 17, year x.—Henceforth “the ministers of all cults will be subject to the influence of the government which appoints or confirms them, to which they are bound by the most sacred promises, and which holds them in its dependence by their salaries.”
“Discours, rapports, etc.,” by Portalis, p. 40. Émile Ollivier, “Nouveau manuel de droit ecclésiastique,” p. 193. (Reply by Portalis to the protests of the Holy See, Sep. 22, 1803.) Before 1709 Portalis writes: “The spectacle presented by the monks was not very edifying. . . . The legislature having decided that religious vows could not be taken up to twenty-one years of age, . . . this measure keeps novices away; the monastic orders, sapped by the state of morals and by time, could obtain no recruits; they languished in a state of inertia and of disfavor which was worse than annihilation. . . . The era for monastic institutions had passed.”
Pelet de la Lozère, p. 146. (Words of Napoleon, March 11, 1806.)
Pelet de la Lozère, p. 207 (May 22, 1804).
Decree of Messidor 3, year xii (June 22, 1804).—Letter of Napoleon to the King of Naples, April 14, 1807, on the suppression of convents at Naples: “You know that I don’t like monks, as I have uprooted them everywhere.” To his sister Elisa, May 17, 1806: “Keep on and suppress the convents.”
“État des congrégations, communantés et associations religieuses,” drawn up in execution of article 12 of the law of Dec. 12, 1876 (Imprimerie nationale, 1878): 1st. Congregations of women with a general superior, nurses and teachers, authorized from Prairial 28, year xi, to January 13, 1813, total, 42; 2d. Communities of women without a general superior, nurses and teachers, authorized from April 9, 1806, to Sept. 28, 1813, total, 205.
Ibid., Brethren of the Christian Schools, namely, of Saint Yon, authorized March 17, 1808.
Ibid., Congregation of the Mission of Saint-Lazare, authorized Prairial 17, year xi.—Congregation of the Seminary of Foreign Missions, authorized Germinal 2, year xiii.
Pelet de la Lozère, p. 208 (May 22, 1804).
Pelet de la Lozère, p. 209.
Decree of March 17, 1808, article 109.
Alexis Chevalier, “Les Frères des écoles chrétiennes après la Révolution,” p. 93. (Report by Portalis approved by the First Consul, Frimaire 10, year xii.) “Henceforth,” says Portalis, “the superior-general at Rome abandons all inspection of the Christian Brothers. In France, it is understood that the Brothers will have a superior general resident at Lyons.”
D’Haussonville, v., p. 148.
D’Haussonville, v., p. 148. Letter of Napoleon to the Minister of Worship, March 3, 1811 (omitted in the published correspondence).
Ibid., iv., p. 133. (Letter by Napoleon, Sep. 2, 1809, omitted in the “Correspondence.”)
Concordat, articles 4, 5, 16.
Articles Organiques, i., pp. 2, 6.
Code pénal, decree of Feb. 16-20, 1810, article 207.
Napoleon’s own expressions: “I may regard myself as the head of the Catholic ministry, since the Pope has crowned me.” (Pelet de la Lozère, p. 210, July 17, 1806.)—Note the word crowned (sacré). Napoleon, as well as former kings, considers himself as clothed with ecclesiastical dignity.
On the sense and bearing of Gallican maxims cf. the whole of the answer by Portalis to Cardinal Caprara. (Émile Ollivier, “Nouveau manuel de droit ecclésiastique,” p. 150.)
Decree of Feb. 25, 1810. (The edict of Louis XIV. is attached to it.) Prohibition to teach or write “anything opposed to the doctrine contained” in the declaration of the French clergy. Every professor of theology must sign “and submit to teaching the doctrine therein set forth.”—In establishments where there are several professors “one of them will be annually directed to teach the said doctrine.”—In colleges where there is but one professor “he will be obliged to teach it one of three consecutive years.”—The professors are required to hand in to the competent authority “their minutes dictated to the pupils.”—None of them can be “licensed, whether in theology or in canon law, nor graduated as doctor, without having maintained the said doctrine in one of his theses.”
Cf., for details, d’Haussonville, i., p. 200 et seq.
Pelet de la Lozère, p. 205. (Words of Napoleon, Feb. 4, 1804.)
Thibaudeau, p. 157 (Messidor 2, year x).
Rœderer, iii., pp. 535, 567.
Pelet de la Lozère, p. 203. (Napoleon’s words, Feb. 4, 1804.)—Law of March 14, 1804.
Cf. “Letters of Mgr. Claude Simon, bishop of Grenoble, April 18, 1809, and October 6, 1811.”
Articles Organiques, p. 68.
Bercastel and Henrion, “Histoire générale de l’Église,” xiii., p. 32. (Speech by M. Roux-Laborie, deputy in 1816.)—At the present day, the ordinations oscillate between 1200 and 1700 per annum.
Decree of November 15, 1811, articles 28, 29, 32. “On and after July 1, 1812, all secondary ecclesiastical schools (small seminaries) which may not be situated in towns possessing a lycée or college shall be closed. No secondary ecclesiastical school shall be placed in the country. In all places where there are ecclesiastical schools the pupils of these schools shall pursue their studies in the lycée or college classes.”
“Correspondence of Napoleon (notes for the Minister of Worship), July 30, 1806.” In order to be curé of the first class, chanoin, vicar-general or bishop one must henceforth be bachelor, licencié, doctor in the university grades, “which the university may refuse in case the candidate shall be known to entertain ultramontane ideas or ideas dangerous to authority.”
D’Haussonville, v., p. 144 et seq. (Letter of Napoleon to the Minister of Worship, Oct. 22, 1811, omitted in the “Correspondence.”) The letter ends with these words: “This mode of acting must be kept secret.”
“Histoire de M. Emery,” by Abbé Elie Méric, ii., p. 374. The order of expulsion (June 13, 1810) ends with these words: “Immediate possession is to be taken of the house which might belong to some domain and which, at least in this case, could be considered as public property, since it might belong to a congregation. If it is found to be private property belonging to M. Emery or to any other person, the rents might first be paid and then afterwards it might be required, save indemnity, as useful for the public service.” This shows in full the administrative and fiscal spirit of the French State, its heavy hand being always ready to fall imperiously on every private individual and on all private property.
Letter of Napoleon, Oct. 8, 1811.
Ibid. Nov. 22, 1811.
D’Haussonville, v., p. 282. (Letter of Napoleon, Aug. 14, 1813, omitted in the “Correspondence.”)—“Mémoires” du Chancelier Pasquier, iv., p. 358.
Rœderer, iii., p. 430 (Germinal 19, year x): “The legate was received today in the consular palace; in making his speech, he trembled like a leaf.”
Pelet de la Lozère, p. 206 (May 22, 1804).
Decrees of May 31, 1804, Dec. 26, 1804, and Sep. 30, 1807, with the list of succursals by departments.—Besides the succursalists paid by the State, there were vicars not less dependent on the bishop and maintained by allowances from the communes or by private donations. (Bercastel et Henrion, xiii., p. 32, speech by M. Roux-Laborie in the Chamber of Deputies, 1816.) “In his re-composition of the Church of France the usurper established 12,000 vicars dependent on alms, and it will not surprise you that, instead of 12,000, there were only 5000 who were courageous enough to die of starvation or implore public charity. . . Thus are 4000 country churches without worship or minister,”
Thibaudeau, p. 166, and article of Brumaire 30, in the Moniteur.
Rœderer, iii., p. 479 et seq. (Report on the Senatorerie of Caen.) The priests everywhere feel that they are watched and set aside. “Most of those I encounter exclaim, Poor curé, an unfortunate curé. The functionaries are devoted to the Emperor as their sole support against the nobles, whom they dread, and against the priests, whom they slightly esteem. . . . The military, the judges, the administrators when alluding to the priests or to religion merely smile; the priests, on the other hand, express very little confidence in the functionaries.”
Decree of Sep. 30, 1804 (with the allotment of 800 scholarships and 1600 demi-scholarships to each diocesan seminary). These will be allowed us on being presented by the bishops.
D’Haussonville, ii., p. 227.
Idem, iv., p. 366. Order of arrest of M. d’Avian, archbishop of Bordeaux, as one of the opponents of the Council (July 11, 1811). Savary himself, Minister of Justice, raises objections. “Sire, do nothing with M. d’Avian. He is a saint and we shall have everybody against us.”
Idem, iv., p. 58. Address of the ecclesiastical commission enumerating the favors granted to religion, “the Legion of Honor, conferred on many prelates, the titles of baron and count assigned to bishops and archbishops of the Empire, the admission of several of these to the legislative assembly and senate.”
D’Haussonville, iv., p. 366. (Last session of the national council, August 5, 1811.)
Idem, i., pp. 203-205.
Idem, ii., p. 228. Cf. the “Almanach impérial de 1806-1814.”—Lanfrey, “Histoire de Napoléon,” v., p. 208. The Prince de Rohan, head chaplain, writes in a request he makes, The great Napoleon is my tutelary divinity. On the margin of this request Napoleon attaches the following decision: “The Duc de Frioul will pay to the head chaplain 12,000 francs—tax on receipts of the theatres.” (Feb. 15, 1810.) Another example of the same type is M. Roquelaure, archbishop of Malines, who addresses Josephine with a little ancient-régime speech, at once episcopal and gallant. The First Consul, therefore, makes him Member of the Institute. (Bourrienne, v., p. 130.) This archbishop, in the administration of his diocese, zealously applies the policy of the First Consul. “We have seen him suspend from his functions a priest who had exhorted a dying man to restore ecclesiastical property which he had taken.” (“Dictionnaire biographique,” published at Leipsic by Eymery, 1806, 1808.)
D’Haussonville, ii., 231.
Rœderer, iii., p. 459 (December 30, 1802).
D’Haussonville, ii., 257. (Report by Portalis to the Emperor, Feb. 13, 1806.)—Idem, ii., 226.
D’Haussonville, ii., 237, 239, 272.—Pelet de la Lozère, 201: “At other times Napoleon praised the priests, wanted their services, largely attributing the departure of conscripts and the submission of the people to their influence.”—Idem, 173 (May 20, 1806, words of Napoleon): “The Catholic priests behave very well and are of great service. It is owing to them that the conscription this year has been better than in former years. . . . No branch of the State speaks so well of the government.”
D’Haussonville, iii., iv. and v., passim.
“Mémoires,” by the Chancelier Pasquier, iv., 358.
D’Haussonville, iv., 366 (last phrase of the text): “A deputation of six bishops will go and beg His Holiness to confirm this decree.”
To an ordinary reader, even Catholic, if not versed in canon law, Napoleon’s exactions seem mediocre and even acceptable; they reduce themselves down to fixing a delay and seeming to add to the competency of councils and the authority of bishops. (D’Haussonville, iv., 366, session of the council, Aug. 5, 1811, propositions adopted and decree. Cf. the Concordat of Fontainebleau, Jan. 25, 1813, article 4.)
D’Haussonville, iv., 121 and following pages. (Letters of the prefect, M. de Chabrol, letters of Napoleon not inserted in the “Correspondence,” narration of Dr. Claraz.) 6000 francs, a present to the bishop of Savona, 12,000 francs salary to Dr. Porta, the Pope’s physician. “Dr. Porta,” writes the prefect, “seems disposed to serve us indirectly with all his power. . . . Efforts are made to affect the Pope either by all who approach him or by all the means in our power.”
Ibid. (Letters of M. de Chabrol, May 14 and 30, 1811.) “The Pope has fallen into a state of stupor. . . . The physician fears a case of hypochondria; . . . his health and reason are affected.” Then, in a few days: “The state of mental alienation has passed.”
Mémorial (Aug. 17, 1816).
D’Haussonville, v., 244. Later, the Pope keeps silent about his interviews with Napoleon. “He simply lets it be understood that the emperor spoke to him haughtily and contemptuously, even treating him as an ignoramus in ecclesiastical matters.”—Napoleon met him with open arms and embraced him, calling him his father. (Thiers, xv., 295.)—It is probable that the best literary portrayal of these tête-à-tête conversations is the imaginary scene in “Grandeurs et Servitudes Miltaires,” by Alfred de Vigny.
Comte Chaptal, “Notes”: “No, in the course of sixteen years of a stormy government, Bonaparte never met with so much resistance and never suffered so many disappointments as were caused by his quarrel with the Pope. There is no event in his life which more alienated the people as his proceedings and conduct towards the Pope.”