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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/768

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NAPOLEON


698


NAPOLEON


self for having signed these articles and disavowed the signature ho had given. Napoleon had failed egrc- giously. He did not listen to the advice of the Comte do Narbonne, who, in a letter drafted by young Ville- maiii, expressed the opinion that the pope ought to be set at liberty and sent back to Rome. It has been claiiued that Napoleon had said to his ministers of State: "If I don't knock the head off the shoulders of some of those priests at Fontainebleau, matters will never be arranged." This is a legend; on the con- trary, he ordered the minister of public worship to keep secret the letter of 24 March. Immediately, act- ing on his own authority, he declared the Concordat of Fontainebleau binding on the Church, and filled twelve vacant sees. On 5 April he had Cardinal di Pietro removed from Fontainebleau and threatened to do the same for Cardinal Pacca.

In the Dioce.ses of Ghent, Troyes, and Tournai, the chapters regarded the bishops appointed by Napoleon as intruders. The irregular measures of the emperor only exasperated the resistance of the clergy. The Belgian clergy, warned by Count Van der Vrecken of the pope's retractation, began to agitate against the im- perial policy. Meanwhile, on 2.5 April, 1813, Napo- leon assumed command of the Army of Germany. The victories of Lutzen (2 May) and Bautzen (19-22 May) weakened the Prussian and Russian troops. But the emperor made the mistakes of accepting the mediation of Austria — only a device to gain time — and of consenting to hold the Congress of Prague (July). A letter from Pius VII, secretly carried in the face of many dangers by Van der Vrecken, warned the Congress of Prague that the pope formally rejected the articles of 2.5 January. Napoleon continued nevertheless to send from his headquarters with the army severe orders calculated to overcome the resist- ance of the Belgian clergy : on 6 August he caused the director of the seminary of Ghent to be imprisoned, and all the students to be taken to Magdeburg; on 14 August he had the canons of Tournai arrested. But his perils were increasing. Josejih had been driven out of Spain. Bernadotte, King of Sweden, one of Napo- leon's own veterans, was driving the French troops out of Stralsund. Under Schwarzenbcrg, Bliicher and Bernadotte, three armies were forming against the emperor. He had but 280,000 men against 500,000. He was victor at Dresden (27 August), but his gen- erals were falling away on all sides. He was deserted by the Bavarian contingents in the celebrated "Battle of the Nations" at Leipzig (18-19 October), the defec- tion of the Wurtembergers and the Saxons was the chief cause of his defeat. The victories of Hanau (.30 October) and Hocheim (2 November) enabled his troops to get back to France, but the Alhes were soon to enter that land.

Liberation of the Pope: End of the Empire. — The liberation of the pope figured on the programme of the Allies. In vain did the emperor send the Marchesa di Brignoli to Consalvi, and Fallot de Beaumont, Arch- bishop of Bourges, to Pius VII, to open negotiations. In vain, on IS January, 1814, when he learned that Murat had gone over to the Allies and occupied the Roman provinces on his own account, did he offer to restore the Papal States to Pius VII. Pius VII de- clared that such a restitution was an act of justice, and could not be made the subject of a treaty. Mean- time, Bliicher and Schwarzenbcrg were advancing through Burgundy. On 24 January, Lagorse, the commandant of gendarmes who had guarded Pius VII for four years, announced to him that he was about to take him back to Rome. The pope was conveyed by short stages through southern and central France. Napoleon defeated the Allies at Saint-Dizier and at Brienne (27-29 January, 1814), the princes offered peace on condition that Napoleon should restore the boundaries of France to what they were in 1792. He refused. As the Allies demanded the liberation of the


pope. Napoleon sent orders to Lagorse, who was tak- ing him through the south of France, to let him make his way to Italy. On 10 March the prefect of Monte- notte received orders to have the pope conducted as far as the Austrian outposts in the territory of Pia-. cenza. The captivity of Pius VII was at an end.

The war was resumed immediately after the Con- gress of Chatillon. In five days Napoleon gave battle to Bliicher four times at Champaubert, Montmirail, Chateau-Thierry, and Vauchamp, an(l hurled him back on Chalons; against Schwarzenbcrg he ("ought the battles of Guigues, Mormant, Naiigis. and Mrry, thus opening the way to Troyes. But Lyons was taken by the Austrians, Bordeaux by the English. Kxhausted as he was. Napoleon beat Bliicher again at Craonne (7 March), retook Reims and Epcrnay, and contem- plated cutting off the retreat of Bliicher and Schwar- zenbcrg on the Rhine. He caused a general levy to be decreed; but the Allies had their agents in Paris. Marmont and Mortier capitulated. On 31 March the Allies entered Paris. On 3 April the Senate de- clared Napoleon dethroned. Returning to Fontaine- bleau, the emperor, determined to try one last effort, was stopped by the defection of Marmont's corps at Essonnes. On 20 April he left Fontainebleau; on 4 May he was in Elba.

At the end of ten months, learning of the unpopu- larity of the regime founded in J'rance by Louis XVIII, Napoleon secretly left Elba, landed at Cannes (1 March, 1815), and went in triumph from Grenoble to Paris (20 March, 1815). Louis XVIII fled to Ghent. Then began the Hundred Days. Napoleon desired to give France liberty and religious peace forthwith. On the one hand, by the Acle Additionnel, he guaranteed the country a constitu- tional Government; on the other hand (4 April, 1815), he caused the Duke of Vicenza to write to Cardinal Pacca, and he himself wrote to Pius VII, letters in a pacific spirit, while Isoard, auditor of the Rota, was commissioned to treat with the pope in his name. But the Coalition was re-formed. Napoleon had 118,000 recruits against more than 800,000 soldiers; he beat Bliicher at Ligny (16 June), whilst Ney beat Wellington at Quatre Bras; next day, at Waterloo, Napoleon was victorious over Biilow and Wellington until seven o'clock in the evening, but the arrival of 30,000 Prussians, under Bliicher, resulted in the em- peror's defeat. He abdicated in favour of his son, set out for Rochefort, and claimed the hospitality of England. England declared him the prisoner of the Coalition and, in spite of his protests, had him taken to the Island of St. Helena. There he remained until his death, strictly watched by Hudson Lowe, and dictated to General Montholon, Gourgaud, and Ber- trand those "M(5moires" which entitle him to a place among the great writers. Las Casas, at the same time, wrote day by day, the "Memorial de Sainte- H^lene", a journal of the emperor's conversations. In the first of his captivity. Napoleon complained to Montholon of having no chaplain. "It would rest my soul to hear Mass", he said. Pius VII petitioned England to accede to Napoleon's wish, and the Abb6 Vignali became his chaplain. On 20 April, 1821, Napoleon said to him: "I was born in the Catholic religion. I wish to fulfil the duties it imposes, and receive the succour it administers." To Montholon he affirmed his belief in God, read aloud the Old Testament, the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles. He spoke of Pius VII as "an old man full of tolerance and light". "Fatal circumstances", he added, "em- broiled our cabinets. I regret it exceedingly." Lord Rosebery has attached much importance to the paradoxes with which the emperor used to teaze Gourgaud, and amused himself in maintaining the superiority of Mohammedanism, Protestantism, or Materialism. One day, when he had begn talking in this strain, Montholon said to him: "I know that