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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/767

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NAPOLEON


697


NAPOLEON


decree applied equally to bishoprics in the Roman States. This interpretation Pius VII then formally repudiated, and announced once more that any fur- ther decision on his part would be postponed until he should have with him a suitable number of cardinals. Napoleon first wreaked his irritation on the Bishops of Ghent, Tournai, and Troyes, whom he forced to resign their sees and caused to be deported to various towns, then, on 3 December, he declared the Brief unaccept- able, and charged the prelates to ask for another. Pius VII refused.

On 9 January, 1812, the prelates informed the pope, from the emperor, that, if the pope resisted any longer, the emperor would act on his own discretion in the matter of the institution of bishops. Pius VII sent a personal reply to the emperor, to the effect that he (the pope) needed a more numerous council and facil- ity of communication with the faithful, and that he would then do, "to meet the emperor's wishes, all that was consistent with the duties of his Apostolic minis- try." By way of rejoinder. Napoleon dictated to his minister of public worship, on 9 February, an extraor- dinarily vehement letter, addressed to the deputation of prelates. In it he refused to give Pius VII his lib- erty or to let the "black cardinals" go back to him; he made known that if the pope persisted in the refusal to govern the Church, they would do without the pope; and he advised the pope, in insulting terms, to abdi- cate. Chabrol, the prefect of Montenotte, read this letter to Pius VII, and advised him to surrender the tiara. "Never", was the pope's answer. Then on 23 February, Chabrol notified the pope, in the emperor's name, that Napoleon considered the Concordats abro- gated, and that he would no longer permit the pope to interfere in any way in the canonical institution of the bishops. Pius VII answered that he would not change his attitude. Mme de Stael wrote to Henri Meister: "What a power is religion which gives strength to the weak when all that was strong has lost its strength!" The difference between the pope and the emperor nat- urally reacted upon the feelings of the clergy towards Napoleon, and upon the emperor's policy towards re- ligion. From this time Napoleon refused the semi- narists any exemption from military service. He made stricter the university monopoly of teaching, and Broglie, Bishop of Ghent, who, after leaving the prison of Vincennes, had continued to correspond with his clergy, was sent to the Island of Sainte-Margue- rite.

Last Great Wars : Concordat of Fontaineblenu. — At this time Napoleon was absolutely drunk with power. The French Empire had 130 departments; the Kingdom of Italy 240. The seven provinces of Illyria were subject to France. The rigour of the Continental blockade was ruining English commerce and embarrassing the European states. The tsar would have liked Napoleon, master of the West, to leave him freedom of action in Poland and Turkey; enraged at receiving no such concessions, he ap- proached England. The French armies in Spain were exhausting their strength in a savage and ineffectual war against a cea.seless uprising of the native iiopula- tion; nevertheless Napoleon resolved to attack Russia also. At Dresden, from March to .June, 1SI2, he held a congress of kings, and prepared for war. It was at Dresden, in May, 1812, that, under pretext of .satisfy- ing the demands of Francis Joseph for gentler treat- ment of the pope. Napoleon decided to h.ave Pius VII removed from Savona to Fontaincbleau; the fact i.s that he was afraid the English would attempt a coup de main on Savona and carry off the poijc. After a journey tlic i>ainful incidents of which have been re- lated liy d'llaus.sonville, following a manuscript in the British Museum, Pius VII reached Fontaincbleau on 19 June. Equipages were placed at his di.sposal, he was desired to appear in public and officiate; but he re- fused, led a sohtary life in the interior of the palace,


and gave not the least indication of being ready to yield to Napoleon's demands.

Napoleon definitely declared war against the tsar on 22 June, 1812. The issue was soon seen to be dubious. The Russians devastated the whole coun- try in advance of the French armies, and avoided pitched battles as much as possible. The victory of Borodino (7 September, 1812), an extremely bloody one, opened to Napoleon the gates of Moscow (14 September, 1812). He had expected to pass the win- ter there, but the conflagration brought about by the Russians forced him to retrace his steps westward, and the retreat of the "Grande Armce" so heroically cov- ered by Marshal Ney, cost France the lives of number- less soldiers. The passage of the Beresina was glori- ous. As far as Lithuania, Napoleon shared the suffer- ings of his army, then he hastened to Paris, where he suppressed General Malet's conspiracy and prepared a new war for the year 1813. When he set out for Prus- sia it was his idea to extend his march beyond that country, through Asia to India, to knock over "the scaffolding of mercantile greatness raised by the Eng- lish, and strike England to the heart " . " After this ", he declared, "it will be possible to settle everything and have done with this business of Rome and the pope. The cathedral of Paris will become that of the Catho- lic world. ... If Bossuet were living now, he would have been Archbishop of Paris long ago, and the pope would still be at the Vatican, which would be much better for everybody, for thee there would be no pon- tifical throne higher than that of Notre-Dame, and Paris could not fear Rome. With such a president, I would hold a Council of Nicaia in Gaul."

But the failure of the Russian campaign upset all these dreams. The emperor's haughty attitude towards the Church was now modified. On 29 De- cember, 1812, he wrote with his own hand an affection- ate letter to the pope expressing a desire to end the quarrel. Duvoisin was sent to Fontaincbleau to nego- tiate a Concordat. Napoleon's demands were these: the pope must swear to do nothing against the four articles; he must condemn the behaviour of the black cardinals towards the emperor; he must allow the Catholic sovereigns to choose two-thirds of the cardi- nals, take up his residence in Paris, accept the decree of the council on the canonical institution of bishops, and agree to its application to the bishoprics of the Roman States. Pius VII spent ten days discussing the matter. On 18 January, 1813, the emperor him- self came to Fontaincbleau and spent many days in stormy interviews with the pope though, according to Pius VII's own statement to Count Paul Van der Vrecken, on 27 September, 1814, Napoleon committed no act of violence against the pope. On 2.5 January, 1813, a new Concordat was signed. In it there was no mention either of the Four Articles, or of the nomina- tion of cardinals by the Catholic sovereigns, or of the pope's place of residence: the six suburbican dioceses were left at the pojie's disposition, and he could more- over provide directly for ten bishoprics, either in France or in Italy — on all these points Napoleon made concessions. But on the other hand, the pope con- firmed the decree of the Council of 1811 on the canoni- cal itistitution of l)ishoj)s.

.According to the very words of its preamble, this Concordat was intended only "to serve as basis for a definitive arrangement". But, on 13 February, Na- poleon had it published, just as it stood, as a law of the Stale. This was very unfair towards Pius VII: the emperor had no right to convert "preliminary arti- cles" thus into a definitive act. On 9 February the imprisoned cardinals had been liberated by Napoleon; going to lontaineblcau, they had l'i>uiiil Pius VII very anxious on the sul)jcct of the signature hi' had given, and which he regretted. With the advice of ( 'ons.dvi, ho prepared to retract the "preliminary arti<-li's". In his letter of 24 March to Napoleon he reproached him-