AWAY FROM ROME!
of the storming of the Bastille, the Concordat would be proclaimed. Meanwhile, however, the document had been altered by Bernier at Napoleon's command. Consalvi, pen in hand, read the text before he signed and detected the deceit. Bernier stuttered in perplexity and defended his master, while Joseph Bonaparte entreated the Cardinal to sign. "It is not difficult to imagine what the wrath of a man like my brother would be if he were publicly exposed in his own news- paper as the author of a false news-despatch concerning so important a matter.*' Consalvi demanded that new negotiations take place. These lasted nineteen hours without pause. Now the moment had come when the signed Concordat was to go into effect. One single article was still under debate. It concerned the freedom of worship and its public practice, and the official character of the Catholic re- ligion. Consalvi stated that this point must be reserved for future discussion, and signed the rest, Joseph rushed off to consult Napo- leon. Before an hour had passed, he returned with a troubled expres- sion on his face. Bonaparte had torn the document into shreds. He insisted that the article to which Consalvi had made reservations must also be signed and that if it were not negotiations would be terminated.
In just a few more hours the festive anniversary banquet, to which Consalvi had also been invited, was to begin. Napoleon's advisers implored the Cardinal to give way. "I felt a fear like that of death/' he writes. "I saw the reproaches of everyone directed at me. . . During two hours of struggle, I persisted in my refusal and negotiations were broken off/'
During the dinner Napoleon strode toward Consalvi with a flushed face and addressed him in a loud and contemptuous voice, "I see, Cardinal, that you have wanted a breach. You shall have it! I don't need Rome I will act on my own. I need no Pope. . . You can go! This is the best thing you could do. When are you leaving?" In loud and passionate terms the Consul reiterated his annoyance be- fore the rest of the invited guests.
Cobenzl now undertook to bring about a reconciliation; and this was affected after a conference lasting eleven hours. When the com- promise was reported to Napoleon he was furious but soon became very silent and conceded the point. He himself could not want a breach; for a France torn asunder from the Papacy could not hope to