Pius VII And Napoleon I
( Originally Published 1874 )
THE history of the relations between Pius VII. and Napoleon I. naturally divides itself into two periods. The first embraces the years in which Pius was a Sovereign in possession of his dominions, and communicated with Napoleon as one monarch with another. The second includes those in which Pius VII. was a prisoner, in the power of the French Emperor. This may be considered to have commenced on February 2, 18o8, the day on which the French took military possession of Rome, because on that day the temporal government of the Pope really came to an end ; although the States of the Church were not formally annexed to the French Empire until May 17, 1809. I have already called attention to the portion of M. D'Haussonville's work in which lie relates the events of the first period : I now propose to examine his account of the other, which extends from February 2, 1808, to the restoration of Pius VII. to the Vatican, May 24, 1814. In many respects this last is by far the most valuable part of his work. As long as Pius VIL was in fact, as well as right, an independent sovereign, and recognised as such by Napoleon himself, all communications between the two Governments were in their nature to a considerable degree public, and even those which were at the moment secret were in the possession of both parties : it was therefore comparatively difficult to the French Government to give to the world a wholly false account of them. From the day on which the Pope was a prisoner things were in this respect very different. Absolute secrecy as to everything which it did not suit the despot to make public was the universal system of the French Empire. The penalties by which it was enforced were so tremendous, that the attempt to preserve this secrecy actually succeeded to a degree which, to men who, like ourselves, have lived all our lives under a system of which entire publicity is the principal characteristic, seems almost inconceivable. And this secrecy was maintained in order to keep the field open for the free action of a system of lying, so enormous as to be truly portentous. To what extent this system was carried was, I believe, never known or imagined, even by the French themselves, before the publication of the result of M. D'Haussonville's researches. For although secrecy and lying were the characteristics of all Napoleon's dealings, both with the people of the French Empire and with the world around it, there was one department in which he felt it specially necessary to employ them. This was in all that regarded religion. Upon this he expressly wrote to his ministers, —' I do not wish people to talk at all about ecclesiastical affairs ;' and by a system of terror, unscrupulously carried out, he succeeded in making it during almost fourteen years quite impossible for private friends, priests, bishops, and cardinals so much as to speak of them, except with all the secrecy and restraint which marks the councils of men plotting against a strong and unscrupulous Government. The consequence was that what really happened with regard to the Pope, while he was a prisoner in the power of Napoleon, was unknown at the time, in a great measure, even to Napoleon's own ministers, and absolutely to the French clergy and laity, and (it need not be said)-to the world at large. It might have been expected that as soon as the First Empire had fallen all would be made public. Many things no doubt were. Private journals, written by men who had taken part in the ecclesiastical events of that Empire, have years ago been published and have thrown light upon many of them. The Memoirs of Cardinal Pacca, for instance, made known a vast number of most valuable and interesting facts. But there was very much of which no record existed, except in the secret correspondence of Napoleon himself with his ministers, and in that which went on between them and their agents, especially those who from time to time were entrusted with the charge of the Pope's person, or who though he regarded them as his friends were in reality placed as spies about him ; or, again, who were commissioned to negotiate with him on the part of the Emperor. All these invaluable documents have been carefully preserved, and many of them have already been published in the vast collection of the 'Correspondence of Napoleon I.,' which was published at the expense of the French Government during the Second Empire. That collection is a mine of invaluable historical materials, and it professes to supply the means of writing a true and correct history of the ecclesiastical relations of Napoleon I., and especially of his con-duct towards Pius VIL, no less than of his military and political acts. In fact, very many of his letters, instructions, memoranda, and other documents bearing on these subjects are actually given. Everything has been done which could possibly suggest to a diligent student of that huge collection, that it is a full and fair account of all that happened while Pius VII. was a prisoner, so far as it was known at the time to the French Government itself. That it is so, has, I believe, always been taken for granted. As a matter of fact, however, the impression given is as false as it could be made by the supprecssio veri. This has been M. D'Haussonville's great discovery. He has, most carefully and success-fully, sought out the letters, reports, and other documents which the commissioners, appointed by Napoleon III. to publish the correspondence of his uncle, have suppressed without giving the least notice of their existence. These suppressed documents supply the materials of the whole of his narrative during several successive years.
It appeared at a fortunate moment, when the extreme severity with which the press was silenced during the earlier years of the Second Empire had been relaxed, but before the overthrow of that Empire. At an earlier period the work would at once have been suppressed, for the picture it presents of Napoleon personally, as well as of his system of government, is most disgraceful nay, contemptible. Especially it exposes the gross, wilful, and de-liberate falsehood of the whole of that portion of the memoirs dictated to his friends by the dethroned tyrant at St. Helena, which refers to the ecclesiastical events of his reign, whether relating to Pius VII. himself, or to the bishops and clergy of the Empire. That this was felt to be the case by the Government of Napoleon III. is proved by the manner in which they dealt with it. A few years earlier it is certain that the serial work in which M. D'Haussonville's labours were first published, the ' Revue des Deux Mondes,' would not have dared to publish it, and that any periodical which had ventured to do so would have been sup-pressed, When the laws against free publication were relaxed, the Government showed its dislike to the book as well as it could, by giving orders that M. D'Haussonville should be exceptionally refused access to the documents in the ' Archives,' which were open to the public in general. The book may have lost some-thing by this exclusion, but it has gained more, for it proves that the attention of the Emperor and his Government had been turned to it, and that, if they could, they would have denied the authenticity of the very numerous letters and documents of Napoleon I. which the author gives, but which had been suppressed by the commissioners appointed to publish his writings. Again, had the work first appeared after the fall of the Second Empire, some doubt might have been thrown upon it, as has actually been the case with papers of Napoleon III. published under the 'Government of Defence.' All this is now prevented, and M. D'Haussonville's volumes, in which he carefully puts together both all that has be-fore been published, and also all that has hitherto been suppressed, will henceforth be the main authority for historians who undertake to treat of the conduct of Napoleon, either towards the Pope or towards the Church in his empire.
Neither must it be supposed that it is, like the 'Correspondence' itself, so unwieldy as to be without value to any except historians and deep students. The work extends to five volumes. But it is luxuriously printed, and a very large proportion of each volume is composed of 'Pièces Justificatives,' consisting of Napoleon's suppressed letters and other documents, which, though invaluable as authorities for what is stated in the text, need not be read by any ordinary student, who will be satisfied with the account given of them by the author. In the fifth volume, for instance, these documents occupy two hundred and fifteen pages out of five hundred and sixty-seven. The narrative, moreover, is so interesting as to carry the reader on, whether he intends it or not ; and it is much easier to take up the book than to lay it down.
The early part of the third volume gives an account of the state of things in Rome during the seventeen months which elapsed between the occupation of the city by Napoleon's troops and the violent carrying away of the Holy Father into France. It is impossible not to be struck with the parallel between the situation of Pius VIL during these months and that of Pius IX. at the present moment. Thus we find that the French took possession of the printing-offices and the post-offices in obedience to positive commands from Napoleon himself, who wrote to his representative at Rome (vol. iii. p. 9) to 'prevent the publication of any printed papers or acts., of whatever kind, opposed to France, which might be put out by the Roman Government, and to make the police and the booksellers of Rome responsible for them.
Pius VII. and Napoleon L 233 The Holy Father, however, had already drawn up a protest against the occupation, which must have been printed before the entrance of the French troops, as it was posted at all the usual places on the day they came in. It is said to have been ` clandestinely printed during the night, and to have made its unexpected appearance on the walls of Rome.' It declared
His Holiness Pius VII., being unable to fulfil all the demands made upon him on the part of the French Government, because he is forbidden to do so by the voice of conscience and by his sacred duties, feels himself bound to submit to all the disastrous consequences with which he has been threatened in case of refusal, and even to the military occupation of his capital. Resigned in humility of heart to the impenetrable judgments of Heaven, he puts his cause into the hands of God, but he will not fail in the essential obligation of maintaining his sovereign rights, and has therefore commanded us to protest, and he does hereby formally protest, in his own name and in that of his successors, against all usurpation of his dominions : it being his will that the' rights of the Holy See should ever be, and remain intact.
A protest, in the main similar, was also presented to all the ambassadors of foreign Powers in Rome. After this the Holy Father (like Pius IX. at this moment) remained passive.
Satisfied that he had saved his honour by the protest affixed to the walls of his capital, having made up his mind in spite of the importunities of the corps diplomatique not to stir out of the enclosure of the Quirinal, so as to mark the more strongly that he considered himself a prisoner ; Pius VII. had laid in a stock of patience. He did not dislike, in his capacity of Sovereign, to shut himself up as long as possible in a resistance purely passive, and there was no saying to what point his resignation would go.
Thus, as the author says, the only embarrassment caused by the occupation of Rome was that felt by the usurper.
What was to be the next move? Napoleon had already resolved to annex the States of the Church ; but he always liked to make sonic excuse for every outrage, and the modem custom of plebiscitcs, though ' a Napoleonic idea,' had not yet been applied to such cases. He would have thought himself degraded by such a device as that employed the other day by Victor Emmanuel. Not that he would have felt that there was anything degrading in its falsehood. That was a notion which evidently never presented itself to his imagination. So far, he would have been the last man to have any scruple in professing to have received in a day, twice as many votes as could physically have been taken in the time, by the method of voting adopted ; but he would have felt it unworthy of his dignity to profess that he held Rome merely by the election of a Roman mob. What he did resolve upon was to drive the Holy Father to resistance by further injuries, and he chose them with his usual skill. The Pope had shown that he was ready to submit to any outrage upon his temporal sovereignty, although he would neither do nor omit any-thing by which he might make himself responsible for it. Napoleon therefore resolved to interfere with his spiritual administration. This could not be carried on without the assistance of a body of ecclesiastics. The Emperor therefore determined, that all the dignitaries of the Church, cardinals, bishops, priests, &c., ' including those who discharged about the Pope's person purely spiritual functions, relating only to the cure of souls,' should be driven or forcibly carried away from Rome. The only exception was to be in the case of natives of the States of the Church. The Pope gave positive commands to each cardinal not to leave Rome, and, should he be carried away by force, not to continue his journey any farther than he was so taken. The Emperor began with the cardinals, and then went on to the bishops and other prelates, born in the kingdom of Naples, many of whom occupied the most important positions in the Pope's spiritual administration. The Neapolitan cardinals were carried away by force, the prelates received orders to follow them. The Pope (against the advice of those around him) recalled his legate from Paris, and having no other means of publicly expressing his feelings, (for the printing-presses had been seized,) he collected the cardinals remaining in Rome and addressed to them in an allocution the strongest protest, ending,
' We exhort, nay we entreat, we conjure the Emperor and King Napoleon to change his resolution, and to return to the sentiments which he manifested at the beginning of his reign. Let him remember that the Lord God is a King far above all kings, far above himself, all-powerful as he may be ; that He accepts no man's person, and respects no grandeur, be it what it may ; and that those who command others will themselves be one day most severely judged by Him. We understand that we have now a great persecution to endure, but we are fully prepared for it, being fortified by those words of the Divine Master, " Blessed are they who suffer persecution for the sake of righteousness."'
There was no possibility of delusion ; and at Rome especially none was entertained. The recall of the cardinal legate and the allocution pronounced by the Holy Father in the Consistory of March 16th, 11 were acts which could not fail to excite to the extremest point the fury of the Emperor. For several weeks the members of the Sacred College and all the functionaries of the Pontifical Government were in. trembling expectation of seeing ruthless orders at-rive from France which would bring the fatal dispute to a crisis. (VoL iii. p. 39.)
Yet the expected thunderbolt was delayed, and the reason of the delay was characteristic. It was a rule with Napoleon never to run the slightest risk of having on his hands two difficult matters at the same time. Daring and unscrupulous as he ever was, never until he had become intoxicated by the long continuance of success and prosperity such as never fell to the lot of any other man of whom history speaks, did he, in a single instance, forget the restraint which this rule imposed. He was at this moment starting to Bayonne, whither he had lured the King of Spain. His whole mind was engrossed with plans, all perfidious and shameless, but each weighed with the calmest and most calculating prudence, as to the future fate of the monarch who had been so unhappy as to trust to his honour, and of the kingdom of which he resolved to deprive him ; and no provocation would have moved him to get into any difficulty about the Pope, so long as there was any possibility that the Spanish affair might yet give him trouble. Neither was it his way to threaten when he had made up his mind to strike. As he wrote at this very crisis to his brother Louis, offering him, before it was taken from the head of Ferdinand, the crown of which he intended to dispose (Vol. iii. p. 41), 4 A thing should be completed before it is known that we have even thought of it.' As yet therefore, he took no decisive measure, but left it to his ministers to keep the Holy Father in a state of perpetual torment by one act of aggression after another. Thus the Marches and Umbria were formally annexed to his 'Kingdom of Italy,' and formed into three departments. All cardinals, prelates, officers, and other functionaries born in that kingdom were ordered immediately to return to it, on pain of the confiscation of all their property. The French troops (by a disgraceful stratagem) forced their way into the Quirinal and disarmed the Pope's guards. Pius VII. then wrote to the Bishops of Umbria and the Marches to forbid both clergy and laity to take any oath of fidelity to the intrusive Government, or accept any employment under it. The bishops and clergy were not to sing Te Deum on its establishment, but an oath of passive obedience, submission, and non-resistance might be taken. Individuals should never disturb the public peace by plots and factions, because this commonly results in still more grave disasters and scandals (p. 52)-The French general at Rome replied to this by seizing, in the Quirinal, and carrying off to Sinigaglia (of which he was bishop), the Pope's Secretary of State, Cardinal Gabrielli, successor to Cardinal Doria, who being a Genoese by birth, had already been ordered to return home, Genoa having been annexed to France. When the news of these events reached Napoleon, who was still at Bayonne, his repeated charge to his agents in Italy was to keep things quiet, to take care that nothing got into print, and that no noise was made.
Cardinal Pacca was now made the Pope's minister. The French general gave him notice that, the Emperor had given him orders to hang or shoot any person in the States of the Church who should oppose his sovereign will. ` General,' replied the Cardinal, ` you ought by this time to have discovered that the ministers of His Holiness do not allow themselves to be intimidated by threats. As far as I am personally concerned, I shall faithfully execute the orders of my sovereign come what may.' There the matter rested for the moment. On September 6th, 1808, two French officers arrested Pacca in his apartment in the Quirinal, and told him that they were to conduct him to Benevento, his native place. He obtained leave to send word to the Pope, and in a few minutes the door was thrown open and Pius VII. entered. He forbad the Cardinal to submit, took him by the hand, and led him to his own apartments, where he kept him. Of this scene we have a most curious description. And thus things went on for several months. Rome was in a strange state.
The Holy Father was still morally obeyed and reverenced by the immense majority of his subjects as if still in possession of his temporal power. The French general on his side allied, by the necessity of his position, against his own will, to the faction of disorder, maintained discipline not only in the ranks of his own army, which was exemplary in its conduct, but also among his compromising allies.' (Vol iii. p. 81.)
But it became more and more clear that this state of things could not last much longer. Napoleon, though so anxious to keep everything quiet, was not too busy to think of petty annoyances which he thought it possible to offer to the Holy Father, or to write to his agents from the heart of Spain to prescribe them. When the spring of 1809 came he had left Spain and had for a second time made himself master of Vienna, the Austrian Empire having renewed the war : and from Schonbrunn he sent orders for the annexation of Rome to his empire.
On the loth of June, at two o'clock P.m., the Pontifical flag was pulled down from the castle of S. Angelo and the tricolour hoisted. It was saluted by a discharge of artillery, while the French troops proclaimed through the city, with the sound of trumpets, the Imperial decree, dated from Vienna.
The minister of the Pope shall tell his own tale. ' I rushed,' writes Cardinal Pacca, ' into the apartment of the Holy Father, and as we met, each pronounced the words of our Saviour, Consummatum est. It is difficult to describe my feelings, but the sight of the Holy Father, who preserved an unalterable tranquillity, both greatly edified me and restored my courage. A few minutes later my nephew brought me a copy of the Imperial decree. The Pope rose and followed me to the window to hear me read it. I tried to overcome the first pain of the moment, and to read with attention this important document, by which the measures we had to take were to be regulated, but my just and deep indignation at the sacrilege that hour consummated, the presence close to me, before my face, of my unfortunate Sovereign the Vicar of Jesus Christ, waiting to hear from my mouth his sentence of dethronement, the calumnies which at the first glance of my eye I saw in this impious decree, the continual roar of the cannon which announced, with insulting triumph, the most iniquitous sacrilege, all this so deeply moved me, and so much affected my sight, that I was unable to read, without frequent interruption and a half-choked voice, the principal articles of the decree. Then, attentively watching the Pope, I saw his countenance affected at the first words, and remarked the signs, not of fear or dejection, but of an indignation only too natural. By degrees he recovered himself, and listened to what I read with great calmness and resignation. When it was finished the Holy Father went to the table, and, without saying a word, signed the copies of a protest in Italian which was stuck up in Rome the night following. (Vol. iii. p. 98.)
Two forms of a Bull of Excommunication had already been drawn up by Cardinal Pietro, one to be signed if Napoleon should Pius VII. and Napoleon I. 239 seize the person of the Pope at the same time that he took possession of Rome ; the other if he should (as actually happened) leave him for the moment at liberty. This last was signed the same day and posted at S. Peter's, S. Mary Major, S. John Late-ran, and the Market Place. Although posted in the broad day, none of the persons who did it were arrested or even discovered. It is stated by well-informed persons at Rome but not mentioned by M. D'Haussonville) that this was managed by a man who carried on his back a large barrel like those in which wine is carried at Rome. He leaned his burden against the wall, as if to relieve himself of its weight ; while he thus stood a boy who was concealed in the barrel opened a small door which had been prepared in it, and pasted the paper on the wall. When the man moved on, it was left behind, and yet he had not so much as turned his eyes towards the wall.
The publication of this Bull was immediately followed by the seizing of the Pope's person.
Napoleon always declared, he wrote in his memoirs, he repeated several times over to M. de Las Casas in his conversations at St. Helena, that he never gave orders for the arrest of the Pope. When he made this prodigious assertion, Napoleon L did not suspect that his correspondence would at a later period be officially published by Napoleon III The letter written to his brother-in-law, the
King of Naples, leaves no room for evasion. ' If the Pope, contrary to the spirit of his order and of the Gospel, preaches revolt, and tries to make use of the immunity of his house to cause circulars to be printed, he must be arrested.' (Vol. iii. p. 102.)
It is remarkable, observes the author, that ' we already possess four accounts of the carrying away of the Holy Father, all written by eye-witnesses, or, to speak more exactly, by actors in the drama.' The Pope ordered the doors to be locked, and no per-son whatever to be admitted after dark. Sentinels stood where they could see anyone who approached the palace, and the populace continually watched all the movements of the troops, and gave notice of everything to Cardinal Pacca. General Radet wrote to the French Minister of War : ' The horizon gets darker. The Pope governs more effectually by lifting his finger than we do with our bayonets.' It was essential that the violence about to be done to his person should be concealed from the people till it was completed ; and this was skilfully managed. The general found that the Pope's sentinel left his post at daybreak. Some French soldiers who had waited till then got in at an upstairs window into an unoccupied room, and opened the door. The general did not know the way to the apartment of the Vicar of Christ ; but, that the resemblance to his Lord might be more complete, those who came to seize him were guided by a traitor, a servant, who had been a thief, and who had accepted hire for his treason. It was at daybreak on the 6th of July, 1809 ; yet, early as it was, Pius VIL was found quietly seated on the sofa opposite the door of his apartment, with the two Cardinals, Pacca and Despuig, sitting on either side ; for he had given the most positive orders that he should immediately be awakened in case of any alarm, and, on hurrying to his room, they had found him dressing.
Now,' he had said, ' I am with my true friends.' Cardinal Despuig had then proposed that he should retire to the private chapel, and there await the soldiers ; but the Pope thought there would not be time, and that if he were overtaken going to the chapel, it would look as if he were flying. The French soldiers came on, breaking open the doors of the antechambers To avoid disorder, he gave orders that the door of the room should be opened. Then Radet came in, not yet knowing either where or in whose presence he was ; but he soon discovered by the manner of the men who followed him, some of whom (not to mention him who acted as guide) were Romans, to whom the person of the Holy Father was known. Finding that he was in the Presence, Radet took off his hat, and sending back most of his band caused to enter one by one the greater part of the officers of his suite and some non-commissioned officers of gendarmerie, who, silently gliding in at the half-opened door and along the wall of the apartment, ranged themselves in order, with drawn swords and arms grounded, on his right and left. Thus the room was occupied by two groups drawn up facing each other. At the head of the one General Radet, his hat in his hand, booted and spurred, his sword at his side, in the attitude of a military man who has just been taking a place by assault, but perfectly respectful, and at his side a dozen Frenchmen, officers commissioned and non-commissioned, with whom were mixed two or three officers of the Roman civic guard, who were followed by some of the dregs of the people. Opposite to him the Pope, in an ecclesiastical habit as simple as possible, wearing on his finger (says our Italian authority) the Pontifical ring which Pius VI. had worn during his captivity in France, the two Cardinals seated by him, and behind him a group made up of the principal servants of his household_ Each party looked at the other, and silence lasted for more than five minutes. It was evident that General Radet was much disconcerted. He could not without difficulty recover his self-control ; it seemed that he wished to speak, but the words would not come. At last he came forward a few steps, bowed low, and said to his Holiness that he had to perform a painful mission a mission imposed on him by his oath and by the sacred duties of his position. At these words the Pope stood up, and looking at him with dignity, said, ' What do you want with me ? and why have you come at such an hour to disturb my rest and my house ?' ' Most Holy Father,' replied General Radet, ' I come in the name of my Government, to repeat to your Holiness the proposal of giving up your temporal power. If your Holiness consents to this, I have no doubt matters can be arranged, and the Emper0r will treat your Holiness with the greatest respect.' Pius VII. replied, ' If you have felt yourself bound to execute such orders of your Emperor because of your oath of fidelity and obedience, consider the duty imposed on us on us, We say, to maintain the rights of the Holy See, to which we are bound by oaths so numerous. We have no power either to yield or abandon what is not our own. The Temporalities belong to the Church, and we are merely the administrator. The Emperor may have power to tear us in pieces, but that he will not obtain from us. After all that we have done for him, could we look for treatment such as this ?' Radet was more and more disconcerted. ' I know, Holy Father, that the Emperor is under great obligations to you.
Yes; and more than you are aware of. But, to cut this short, what are your orders ?' ' Most Holy Father, I regret the commission imposed upon me ; but since such is the resolution of your Holiness, I am compelled to say that my orders are to conduct you with me.' At these words the Holy Father, who till then had maintained the most dignified tone, suddenly addressed himself to Radet and said, with an air of tenderness and compassion, ' Indeed, my son, that commission is not one to bring down 0n you the Divine blessing? Then, lifting his eyes to heaven, ' This, then, is the return made to me for all that I have done for your Emperor. This is the reward for my great con-cessions towards himself and towards the Church of France. But perhaps God has seen that I have committed a fault in them. It is His will to punish me, and I submit with all humility.' (Vol. iii.p. 120.)
As Radet was leading him to his bedroom, he suggested to the Pope to commit any valuable property to safe hands. He replied, ' A man who does not care for life; cares less for worldly property.'
He then took only his Breviary, and the Crucifix which he usually carried hanging at his breast. Then, leaning on Radet's arm and followed by Cardinal Pacca, he went down the great staircase of the Quirinal. On reaching the great doors, Pius VII. stood still, and gave his blessing to Rome. The French troops were drawn up in order of battle on the Great Place of Monte-Cavallo. None of the population of Rome were either there or at the windows. It was four in the morning, and profound silence reigned everywhere. General Radet says that the soldiers received with a sacred reverence the blessing of the Pope. He then caused the Pope and Cardinal Pacca to get into a carriage, the blinds of which had been carefully nailed, and the doors of which were then locked by a gendarme, took his place on the box with a quartermaster, and gave orders to the postillions to go out of the city by the Porta Pia and go round, outside the wall, to the Porta del Popolo. The carriage was escorted by a detachment of gendarmerie.' (Vol. iii. p. 123.)
It was nearly five A.M. when the carriage, with fresh post-horses, started at full speed for Florence. The Pope asked the Cardinal whether he had any money. They found that the Cardinal had about sevenpence halfpenny, the Pope tenpence. ' We are travelling in apostolic fashion,' said Pacca. Pius VII. added with a smile, ' This is all that remains to me of my dominions.' The Cardinal had a secret feeling of uneasiness, because it had been by himself that the publication of the Bull of Excommunication had been advised. He was relieved when the Pope added with an air of satisfaction, ' It is well that we published the Bull of June loth, for how could we have done it now?'
Pius VII. was aged, and afflicted with a painful disease, which was aggravated by travelling, and he suffered much on his journey. He reached Florence on the 8th, near- midnight. It was governed by Napoleon's sister, EIiza. At three A.M. a colonel arrived with orders that the Pope should instantly go farther. He particularly wished to stay to say mass, especially as it was Sunday, but she would hear of no delay. This was not from cruelty, but from absolute terror. Three days brought him in a very suffering state to the immediate neighbourhood of Genoa. This was then called part of France. But the fear of the authorities was as great as it had been in Tuscany. The mountains came so near to the sea, that there was no possibility of sending the august prisoner by land in any way which would avoid the city. But he was hurried by night to the shore, and carried by sea across the Gulf of Genoa. Thus he reached Alessandria on his way towards Turin. But the Prince Borghese, who governed Turin, was far too much alarmed to let him come there, and he was hurried on by Mondovri and Rivoli to Grenoble.
Whence all this fear? It cannot be doubted that each of Napoleon's satraps had at heart a real terror, like that which induced the Philistines to send away the Ark of God a sincere dread of the Divine judgments upon anyone who should take any part in keeping as a prisoner the Vicar of Christ. But mixed with this was a horrible dread of the tyrant whose instruments they were. They had received no commands from the Emperor.
How was the Pope to be received? If he were treated either with too great or too little severity, who could say into what dis-grace they might fall? There he was, an old and ailing man ; what if he should die in their hands ? The matter was made ten times worse by the enthusiasm of the people. The Holy Father had been hurried from Rome unknown to the inhabitants. But the tidings of his having been carried off soon spread, not by newspapers, for none were allowed to publish anything without the special permission of the authorities, but from mouth to mouth. The farther he went, the longer the news had been spreading, and, therefore, the greater the enthusiasm of the people and the crowds who assembled by the road-side in the country and in the market-places of the towns to kneel for his blessing. ' The journey,' says M. D'Haussonville, 'which at its beginning had been that of a martyr, soon became a procession of triumph.' The farther he went the more decidedly was this the case, and the greater was the fear of the subordinate authorities. The people, naturally enough, could not believe that their religious Emperor could be otherwise than pleased by their expressions of loyalty to the Pope, whom they had so lately greeted with the same enthusiasm as he went to Paris for the coronation.
When news of these things reached Napoleon he was far from pleased. To deny that he had ever authorised the arrest of the Pope was naturally his first instinct, for no lie was too mean for that mighty monarch, that vast genius. As things were, he ordered that he should be sent to Savona on the Riviera, and that Cardinal Pacca should be separated from him, and shut up in the State Prison of Fenestrella. It is a curious instance of the absolute suppression of all news in France under his tyranny, that no journal was allowed to allude to the fact that the Pope had ever come into France. At Grenoble, at the moment when the town was thronged with multitudes from all the country round to kneel for his blessing, the local official journal made no allusion to his having ever been there. Throughout France and in Paris nothing was known about it. Strange to say, there appeared in the ' Moniteur' a letter dated from Grenoble on the very day on which the Pope was hurried away by orders given by Fouché in obedience to those of Napoleon. Those who had heard reports that he had been there, and knew not what to believe, turned eagerly, says the author, expecting some official news on the matter. The Ietter said : 'All men's minds here are occupied by the passage through the commune of Bornin (which the Pope passed through on approaching Grenoble) of an unknown animal. The marks it left seem to show that it must have been a reptile of extraordinary size.' Then followed half a page of details about this reptile, which, it was added, after having wholly engrossed public attention, disappeared in a torrent. What induced Fouché to publish this one can hardly imagine. Was it an attempt to laugh at the Pope ? Napoleon, at least, evidently felt the whole thing to be no laughing matter. Nothing could exceed the pre-cautions taken to keep the Pope's journey from Grenoble to Savona out of public observation. He was not allowed to pass through any town when it could be avoided, and so strictly was he watched, that when the uncle of the Emperor, Cardinal Fesch, who was Archbishop of Lyons, sent his Grand Vicars to pay homage to the Holy Father and present him with some money, they were not allowed access to him. For a long time France was not let to know that the Pope had ever left Rome. At last, when it became necessary to admit that he was at Savona, the only version of the matter which Napoleon allowed to be published was that he had gone thither of his own accord. As late as 1811, when he had been in the most strict imprisonment for nearly two years, the Emperor declared in his official message to the clergy of France assembled by his command in what he called a National Council, ' The Pope had so acted that his presence at Rome became useless ; and some of his partisans might, against his own will, make it dangerous. On the 6th of July he left Rome without the knowledge of the Emperor, and came to Savona, where his Majesty caused him to be received, entertained, and established with all the respect due to misfortune.' (Vol. iii. p. 141-)
Pius VII. reached Savona on the 21st of August, 1809. All that passed there until he was carried, still as a prisoner, to Fontainebleau on the 9th of June, 1812, was kept at the time absolutely secret ; and M. D'Haussonville says (vol. v. p. 140) that at least the whole of the negotiations carried on with him on the part of Napoleon have been till now wholly unknown, ` no historian, either ecclesiastical or lay, having made any mention of them.' His own account of them, in general very minute, is taken exclusively from the official documents, and although there are expressions here and there which a Catholic could not have used, I cannot but express my astonishment, on the whole, at the tone of fairness maintained by the author, who, it is to be specially observed, is a French Protestant. I must in justice confess that I doubt whether any English Protestant, even if he belonged to the school which most loudly claims to call itself Catholic, would have written in a tone of so much candour, and even reverence towards the Pope. But this I believe to be the natural result of the different position of Protestantism in the two countries. In England Protestantism, as a religion, is in its death-struggle. In France it has long ago been dead and buried ; and a French Protestant, even if, like M. Guizot, he presents the strange inconsistency of being still a really religious man, is, in truth, only a ` Christian unattached.' There are, no doubt, plenty of the same class in England, but they are not our religious men, still less are they to be found in the school which cares most about religious questions. Such persons would have written, and I fear will read, the deeply interesting history before me with their minds occupied with the idea of proving that communion with the Pope is not essential to a Catholic position, and other such figments, which to an impartial looker-on like M. D'Haussonville would seem very pitiful nonsense. That he never felt any wish to be a Catholic is only too probable. But that he would feel it childish and absurd to pretend to be a Catholic without being in communion with Pius IX. is most certain and evident. Such nonsense is a growth indigenous in our happy island, and peculiar to it
When the Pope arrived at Savona, after residing four days in the family of Count Egidio Santone, where he was received with all due reverence, he was moved to the Episcopal Palace, where his apartments were fitted up, by order of the Emperor, in a manner suited ' to a sovereign prince of the first dignity' (vol. iii. p. 395). He was surrounded with servants to whom high salaries were offered in the name of the Emperor. He was using ' a poor copper lamp and a very ordinary desk;' but this was no sooner-seen than ' a superb silver lustre and an escritoire magnificently inlaid with gold' were substituted for them. `Equipages, horses, &c, were supplied, and an income of four thousand pounds monthly promised him.' All this was declined ' with great gentleness and many thanks,' and those around him were requested to receive nothing except actual necessaries. General Caesar Berthier (brother to the Prince of Wagram) was sent to preside over his household, with orders to keep up a good establishment, and invite habitually the friends of the Holy Father, to whom all possible reverence was to be shown. At the same time the strictest survacillance was to be maintained. The general was never to be absent from the Pope's levées, or, if absent, was to be represented there by an officer of gendarmerie. At the same time there must be nothing which could suggest the idea of captivity. The difficulty of reconciling these orders, says the author, was increased because the Pope would not in any degree lend himself to lessen it. He found pleasure in returning to the simple life he had led as a monk before he rose in the Church.
He refused to attend the Cathedral pontifically, and would only say mass in his private chapel. 'There he was often found in tears, praying not only for the oppressed Church, but also for the prince who, after having so decidedly protected it, had suddenly become its most vehement persecutor. His only relaxation was to walk in the walled garden of the Episcopal Palace, where his walk was only about fifty paces backward and forward.' It was difficult for Napoleon to deal with a man of habits like these. Where wealth and splendour were considered no gain, it was hard to discover what would be felt as a loss. Hitherto the Emperor had found that if he began with violence and intimidation his victims were only too glad to accept a reconciliation upon any terms he might be so gracious as to concede. He had calculated without a misgiving that such must be the case with Pius VII. But he found himself wholly mistaken. Unluckily, he could not go on as if nothing had happened, for do what he would, he could not help negotiating with his prisoner. Cardinal Pacca might be left at Fenestrella till he died, and things in France would go on quietly; but without Bulls from the Holy Father no Bishop could take possession of his See, and he could not leave the Sees vacant. Almost from the first, therefore, he discovered that by violence against the Pope instead of smoothing the course of affairs, he had thrown them into a state of embarrassment out of which he himself, all-powerful as he was, was utterly unable to extricate them, and that, however unwillingly, he must negotiate with his unresisting prisoner. This was a position wholly new and eminently distasteful to him.
His first step was to suggest to his uncle, Cardinal Fesch, to the Cardinals Caprara and Maury, on whom he could reckon, and to several of the French bishops, to write, as if of their own will, to the Holy Father, and explain how much the Church was suffering by the want of canonical bishops. The letters would have been delivered to the Pope before he reached Savona, if they had not been intercepted by the zeal of Fouche. When they arrived, there was a remarkable difference between them. The letter of Cardinal Fesch was full of expressions of reverence and of a sincere sympathy for the recent sufferings of the Holy Father. That of Cardinal Maury made evident and becoming allusion to them.' Cardinal Caprara, who had been the Legate of Pius VIL at Paris, and M. de Banal, Archbishop of Tours, made no allusion to the subject. The Archbishop seemed to suppose that the refusal of the Pope to institute 'proceeded from some childish caprice, and that he had no motive to assign for it.' The Cardinal did not seem even to have heard, either of the departure of the Pope from Rome or of the seizure of his do-minions. The Pope's answer would have made him aware of these facts if he had really been ignorant. It ended by declaring his wish to fill up the Sees, but that he could not do so, consistently with his duty, till he had about him his natural counsellors, the members of the Sacred College. When Napoleon saw this answer, says M. D'Haussonville, he seems for the first time in his life to have felt a doubt as to the wisdom of his own manner of proceeding. He resolved that while the Pope should have no ecclesiastical advisers, he would have some for himself, and he constituted an ecclesiastical committee ' composed of a few whom he believed he could trust. This committee at least saved him from one inconceivable absurdity which he had so far contemplated as, according to his custom, to make his minister write him a report as to the details of the plan. This was that of calling a general council by his own authority, and presiding in it himself. The committee seem to have convinced him that this would not do, and he took up another idea (which Cardinal Maury says he suggested to him), that the bishops nominated might be sent to administer their dioceses, receiving from the Chapters faculties as Vicars Capitular, a plan from which the unfortunate ecclesiastics shrank with the strongest repulsion.
The fact is that the contest of Napoleon against the Church was in truth a necessary part of his system, and must have come on sooner or later, even if the questions connected with the temporal power of the Pope and the difficulties about the institution of the bishops springing out of it, had never been raised. The real cause of the quarrel was, that he was resolved to be an absolute despot, without control and without limitation. Now the Church is the kingdom of Heaven, and it was even more impossible that a man, who had made up his mind to be absolute master of the civilised world, could be content that the souls of his own subjects and their spiritual relations should be exempted from his dominion, than that he should be content that the neighbouring kingdoms should enjoy a real independence. His attack upon the Pope was as certain to come on as his wars with Austria, Prussia, or Russia. Upon this point M. Thiers and M. D'Haussonville are of one mind.' M. Thiers says what he wanted from the Pope was, ' the suppression of the temporal power of the Holy See the annexation of Rome to the territory of the Empire the establishment of a Papacy dependent upon the new Emperor of the West, residing at Paris or Avignon, enjoying splendid palaces, a salary of eighty thousand pounds, and many other advantages, but placed under the authority of the Emperor of the French, as the Russian Church is under the authority of the Czars, and Islamism under the authority of the Sultans.' M. D'Haussonville himself says:
Let us repeat, for upon this point delusion is impossible, the two monstrous chimeras of domination over all Catholic consciences and of the resurrection of a new Empire of the West, entertained at the same time and caressed with the same love by this strange genius, had now become to his disordered imagination substantial realities. In order to put his hand officially to the work, Napoleon, as we shall soon see, was waiting only till he had won a decisive victory over his last adversary on the Continent the Emperor Alexander. On the morrow of some triumphant treaty, signed at the gates of St, Petersburg or Moscow, a decree like that which after Wagram pronounced the deposition of the Pope from his temporal dominion a decree all the particulars of which were already long since matured in his own mind was all of a sudden to proclaim the Pope's subordination in spirituals to the will of the chief of the French Empire. The final catastrophe of the Russian expedition was necessary in order that Europe might be spared the spectacle, not less strange than lamentable, of the two despots reconciled and dividing between themselves the nations like a miserable flock, and each making himself in his own dominion the absolute master not only of the political destinies, but of the religious faith, of his wretched subjects. How would Napoleon have set about the realisation of his universal supremacy with regard to the Catholic faith ? By what means would the terrible despot have set himself to overcome the obstacles, moral and material, which would certainly have been opposed to him by the branches of the Roman Church, which, spread over the European Continent, were not subject to his Empire, and those (more numerous still) in England, the United States, South America, the East, and over the whole surface of the globe, which were out of his reach ? No man knows, and the world will never know ; for the Emperor did not think fit to explain to us in his Memoirs, how he intended to set about a task so extraordinary. He preferred to carry with him to the grave this incomprehensible secret. (Vol. iii. p. 314.)
Eut, though his Memoirs do not explain how he imagined it possible to set about the undertaking, they leave no doubt that he really intended it, and it need hardly be said that the mere forming of such a design implied the deliberate intention of engaging in a life-and-death struggle with the Catholic Church. And as it was his marriage with an Austrian archduchess, which brought to the highest point the intoxication of his ambition, it was from that moment that he seems to have made up his mind to begin his attack upon the spiritual power of the Pope. On the second Sunday after his marriage, April 15, 181o, he directed his ministre des cultes to draw up a paper upon religious affairs, in which he was not only to lay down principles, but to give in detail all the measures which it would be expedient to adopt. It is explained, that this paper is ` not exactly a decree, because it will not be put into execution or published, but is to remain in the hands of the minister,' and that as circumstances arose which made it expedient that one or another part of the arrangements detailed in it should be carried into execution, a decree was to be published embodying them. Thus, writes Napoleon, ' the trouble of successive reports will be saved, and every time there is a measure to be taken the minister will recite both how much of the plan has been carried out and how much remains to be carried out.' ' These general arrangements,' he adds, ' must be divided according to the different territories and according to the order of matters.' This paper therefore, if we had it, which unfortunately is not the case, would show Napoleon's ideal of Church affairs, which he intended to carry out ultimately and by degrees. The order to the minister shows what the ideal was ; for he says, things are to be laid down as they ought to be, and in an absolute manner, as if no Pole existed.' Nothing could more clearly show that he had, at this period, deliberately made up his mind, ultimately to take upon himself the whole power of the Pope throughout the world. In the meantime, however, he must begin by dealing with Pius VII., and how to do that was a matter of difficulty a difficulty which he had himself created by his own violence and tyranny. By carrying the Pope away as a prisoner he had hoped to compel him to begin negotiations, and to approach Napoleon as a petitioner. That hope had been completely frustrated. It now appeared that he might wait as long as the Pope lived, and that things would remain exactly as they were. This was quite inconsistent with the Emperor's plans, and therefore he found himself compelled, in some way or other, to open negotiations with his prisoner. In order to sound him, he began by allowing an Austrian minister, who had been well known to Pius VII. at Rome, to have an interview with him, ostensibly merely upon some affairs in Austria, but with secret instructions to introduce the subject of the Pope's relations with Napoleon, and to report what was the state of his mind with regard to them. This unauthorised agent reported, that he had found the Pope a little aged, but in good health ; calm, serene, as usual, saying not one word of the least bitterness, even when entering on subjects upon which he could not but feel most keenly.' He had asked the Holy Father whether he could do nothing to prevent the dangers to the Church which the present state of things implied, and had been struck to observe the tone of affectionate feeling towards Napoleon with which he spoke, decidedly more so than towards his own master, the Austrian Emperor. But he had said;
For ourselves we ask nothing of the Emperor. We have nothing more to lose. We have sacrificed all to our duty. We are old and without wants. What personal consideration could turn us aside from the line which our conscience prescribes ! There is absolutely nothing that we desire. We wish for no income, we wish for no honours. The alms of the faithful will be enough for us. There have been Popes poorer than we, and we form no wishes beyond the narrow enclosure in which you see us. But we do ardently long that we may 'be restored to free communications with the bishops and with the faithful. (Vol. iii. p. 419.)
Still there was evidently no disposition to give way, for he added ;
When opinions are founded on the voice of conscience and on sentiments of duty, they are unchangeable, and be sure that there is in the world no physical force which can long contend with a moral force of this nature. The judgment we have pronounced as to the unhappy events which have taken place in our Apostolic See has been dictated by such sentiments, and therefore cannot vary so long as our duty obliges us to pronounce anything upon them. (Vol. iii. p. 421.)
It was plain enough, from this report, that the time was not come for making overtures to the Holy Father. Napoleon next sent two Cardinals, upon whom he felt that he could depend to act as his creatures, still without any acknowledged mission, but with secret instructions. The Pope, divining why they were come, received them with civility, but still remained purely passive, only saying, in answer to their suggestions, that he would not go to Paris except as a prisoner, nor negotiate with the Emperor, unless he had two cardinals of his own choice for advisers.
The unfavourable report of these new commissioners decided Napoleon to change his policy, and show that he could manage the ecclesiastical affairs of France without the Pope's action. He at once ordered the persons whom he had already nominated to the Sees of Asti, Liége, Poitiers, and St. Flour, but who were waiting for canonical institution, to go to their respective dioceses ; his minister had already explained to him their extreme reluctance to do this, and it had hitherto been indulged. At the same time he determined to fill up, without waiting for canonical institution, the See of Paris. It had been vacant for two years, and Napoleon had nominated to it his uncle, Cardinal Fesch, whom the Chapter had at once made Vicar Capitular, glad to have the uncle of the Emperor as their medium of communication with the Government. He was already Archbishop of Lyons, and the excellent Abbe Emery, who was his confessor, had warned him not to assume at the same time the administration of the two most onerous Sees in France. Fesch, however, had the confidence in his own powers which marked the Bonaparte family, and had now for two years acted both as Archbishop of Lyons and Archbishop nominate of Paris. He was now required to act, without the Pope's authority, as Archbishop in full right. He refused. Napoleon insisted. His uncle replied, 'Sire, potius mori.' ' Ah ! ah ! ' replied the Emperor, 'potius mori ; rather Maury. Well, be it so. Maury it shall be;' and Cardinal Maury was nominated. He was a man of talent, and especially of eloquence, who had become distinguished under the old regime, and had resisted with great eloquence the attacks on the Church in the Constituent Assembly. He had been driven from France, and had been made a cardinal by Pius VI. ; had returned to France after the concordat, and unhappily tarnished a great reputation by becoming a mere tool of Napoleon. He now submitted to the terms which Fesch had refused, and acted as Archbishop of Paris. It happened that there was in the Chapter of Paris a certain Abbé d'Astros. ' He was,' says my Protestant author, 'anything but a fanatical priest He was not only prudent and moderate, but a man penetrated with respect for the public authorities, and naturally inclined to con-ciliation. His tendencies were moderately Gallican. He had been one of the most decided in the Chapter in favour of conferring upon Cardinal Fesch the provisional administration of his diocese.' He was, however, conscientious, and he had since discovered that, in doing this, he had made a mistake, and acted in opposition to the manifest intentions of the Holy Father. He had therefore voted against giving the same authority to Cardinal Maury, although as President of the Chapter he had spoken in the name of the commission which announced the vote to him. On that occasion the cardinal had declared that ' he would never take his seat on the episcopal throne of Paris except the Pope should take him by the hand to conduct him to it! The cardinal showed no intention of keeping this engagement, but the Abbé d'Astros watched him closely_ One day in society the cardinal introduced him and his colleagues as ' my Grand Vicars.' " Your Eminence is mistaken,' said the Abbé ; ' not the Grand Vicars of your Eminence, but of the Chapter.' Another day the cardinal, in grand state, was administering ordination, and proceeded to require from a newly-ordained priest the usual oath of obedience to him-self as his bishop. ' Monseigneur,' interrupted the Abbé, out loud, 'permit me to observe, for the information of this young priest, that your Eminence has no right to demand from him this promise.' On days of ceremony he had also forbidden the cross bearer to carry before the cardinal the Cross which is the emblem of Episcopal authority, and had bade him take it back to the sanctuary. This brave man wrote to the Pope at Savona to ask of him directions as to his conduct. Before he received an answer, he obtained privately a copy of a brief, addressed to the cardinal, forbidding him to exercise any jurisdiction in the Arch-diocese of Paris. Of this he could make no public use, but he privately consulted his own first cousin, M. Portalis, a member of Napoleon's Council and ' Director of Publications,' who advised him to keep it secret ` in the interest of religion,' adding that, if it were published, it would be his own official duty to suppress it as unauthenticated and dangerous.' A few days later, a brief addressed to the Abbé d'Astros himself, fell into the hands of the Police in which Pius VII. declared that : ' To remove all doubt and for greater security he took away from Cardinal Maury all power and jurisdiction, declaring null and void everything done in opposition hereto, whether knowingly or ignorantly.' This brief the Abbé had not received, it having been intercepted. Napoleon's wrath was gathering.
On New Year's Day it was the custom that all the authorities in Church and State attended the Emperor's reception, and on that day Napoleon I. delighted to make a scene by breaking out into violence against some man who had given him offence. This he did, as we all know, in March 1803, in the case of the English Ambassador, Lord Whitworth, and he was imitated by Napoleon III. in 1859 when he wished to quarrel with Austria. In 1811 the humble Abbé d'Astros was selected as the victim of such an ex-plosion. The Emperor passed by the Senate, the generals, and officers with an angry air, and requiring Cardinal Maury to pre-sent his Grand Vicars, made one of his usual speeches to the poor Abbé about Bossuet, Gregory VII., the Gallican liberties, and the like, and that a man should be a Frenchman first, and that that was the way to be a good Christian, ending;—
I know that you are opposed to the measures which my policy prescribes. In all my empire you are the most suspected man. But I have my sword at my side (putting his hand on the hilt, an action familiar with Napoleon but rather out of place under the circumstances) ; take care of yourself.' M. d'Astros says, ' Nothing could be more pitiable than these last words and this menace of a sovereign who dominated over all Europe, against a poor priest in rochet and mozetta, armed only with his square cap. I said nothing, but con-tented myself with looking unaffectedly at the Emperor.' (Vol. iii. P. 465.)
When the reception was over the Cardinal asked M. d'Astros to go with him to the Minister of Police, the Duke of Rovigo, who after questioning and threatening him, and saying that if he did not confess he would never again see his family, ' perhaps never the light,' told him that his cousin Portalis had confessed that M. d'Astros had shown him the brief addressed to the Cardinal. This was simply false, but the Abbe' fell into the trap and admitted it. Napoleon at once declared that he should be shot. One of his followers remonstrated that this would be a stain on his own glory, and he gave way, saying, ` Let him be thrown into prison for the rest of his life.' He actually was sent the same day to the dungeon of Vincennes, where he was kept utterly without news of anything in the outer world till the fall of the Empire.1 M. Portalis was publicly rated by the Emperor in the Council of State, deprived of all his offices, and sent into banishment. With regard to the Archbishopric of Florence much the same thing happened, except that the Emperor induced the man whom he had nominated, to undertake the office by personally assuring him, that the whole question with the Pope would be arranged in a very few days, and that his Bulls would arrive before he could reach Florence. When he said this, he must have known not only that what he said was false, but that its falsehood would in a few days be evident to the man he was deceiving. It does not appear that the idea of there being something undignified in deliberate falsehood ever struck the mind of Napoleon.
I have in general confined myself to the history of the Holy Father, not having space to show in detail the monstrous tyranny of the Emperor toward the French clergy; I have made an exception in the ease of the Abbe d'Astres because it did very materially affect the treatment of the Pope. He had hitherto been allowed to correspond with the clergy of the Empire through the instrumentality of the Bishop of Savona. Napoleon had not been unwilling that he should grant marriage dispensations and the like. But that he should direct the conscience of bishops, and that against the will of the Emperor, he considered a monstrous crime. The letters he wrote on this occasion are among those suppressed by the official editors of his correspondence, He at once wrote ordering the Pope's household to be cut down, his carriages and horses (which he had refused to accept) to be taken away, that he should be deprived of books, pen and ink, should not be allowed to communicate with anyone, and that spies should be posted in all the inns at Savona to see that none obtained access to him. He even gave orders that his ring, the annulus Piscato is, should be taken from him and sent to Paris. Pius VII. gave it up, but took care first to break it.
It is painful to read these orders, written with his own hand, by the man who when himself a prisoner at St. Helena complained so bitterly of the sufferings of captivity; and reproached his jailor for treatment, the rudeness of which never approached to that which he cruelly practised towards the prisoner of Savona. The object of the Emperor was to give himself the pleasure of inflicting personal suffering upon the Pope, nor did he attempt to conceal it. He wrote,
You will make the Prefect and Prince Borghese understand, that it is my intention that the Pope should himself intimately feel my displeasure at his conduct.' His agent, M. de Chabrol, reports, ' that in conformity with his instructions he had markedly treated the Pope as one ignorant of what is due to sovereigns. (Vol. iii. p. 477.)
The Emperor also gave orders that the director of his archives should publish an historical book against the Popes : and was even thinking of deposing him by his own authority, for he directed his librarian to examine and report, ' whether there were any examples of Emperors who had deposed or suspended Popes.'
The extreme violence of Napoleon's conduct at this period has been supposed to have been caused by passion, and he him-self gave this account of the matter at St. Helena. M. D'Haussonville is convinced that it was deliberately adopted, that he believed he had almost completed his military victories, and was resolved to make himself absolute master at home. In civil matters this was already done ; the only difficulty foreseen by his 'marvellous sagacity as a despot' was in the Catholic Church ; and here he resolved to put down opposition to his absolute will by sheer terror. The evidence that this was the deliberate reason of his demonstrations of passion was, that he took pains to make them known. Thus he wrote a special letter to the Viceroy of Italy to tell him of his disgraceful outbreak of rage against M. Portalis. Just at the same time, by way of increasing the terror, he seized and committed to dungeons, avowedly for life, three cardinals and a very large number of ecclesiastics, accused of no offence except that they were suspected of feeling sympathy with his victims. Two great ladies were seized, detained for a while, and threatened with the same fate. He even thought of imitating Henry VIII. by regulating all the affairs of the Church by a decree of his legislative body, and was dissuaded from this madness only by Cambacérès and other members of his council, who, though themselves unbelievers, saw its extreme wildness. They, no doubt, saw, what his own immense penetration would have made plain to him, if he had not now been intoxicated by his wonderful prosperity, that the same thing cannot be done in states of society widely unlike ; and that the period in which an Anglican Church could be created by Act of Parliament was gone by for ever.
But though he gave up this, he did not give up the hope of making himself as absolute in spiritual matters as he already was in temporal. He resolved that no one should even talk of ecclesiastical affairs ; and, carrying out this resolution, made an address to his ' Legislative Body,' in which, while professing to go over all that had happened since its last session, he passed over without a word the carrying away of the Pope from Rome and his imprisonment at Savona. The Minister for Worship had to make a report to the 'ecclesiastical commission,' and though it consisted of his own creatures on whom he could safely depend, Napoleon would not allow the facts to be stated even to them. ' The habit of invariable lying was too strong for him,' adds M. D'Haussonville, and he returned to the minister his proposed address requiring him to leave out of it what he had said about the Holy Father.
It seemed curious that while so anxious to prevent all mention of the Pope, and of what he had done and what he was actually suffering, he allowed the ' Moniteur' day after day for months together to publish addresses from different ecclesiastical bodies which professed the most absolute devotion to his policy, and especially supported his claims, as opposed to those of the Holy Father, as to the vacant bishoprics. The first of these addresses purported to be from the Chapter of Notre Dame at Paris. M. D'Haussonville gives a curious and interesting history in detail of the drawing up of this address, which was dictated by Napoleon himself, received in silence by the mass of the Chapter when read to them, objected to by the saintly Abbé Emery, altered owing to his objection, and then published by Napoleon, not as the Chapter had agreed to it, but as he had drawn it up. It appeared in the
Moniteur,' and then for months were published addresses echoing it from all the chapters and ecclesiastical bodies, in the empire and in the kingdom of Italy. The space in the official journal formerly occupied by war was now devoted to these declarations of the clergy against the Holy Father. No doubt, what the author says is true, that the servility which he found among them inspired Napoleon with contempt for the clergy in general He was wont to say that Emery was the only man who inspired him with fear, yet with all this he revered him, and said in his better moments that he should die more happy if he could feel that he left the education of the next generation in hands like his. Yet it was evidently nothing but his opportune death which saved Emery himself from persecution, and his community was actually broken up. It must be remembered, moreover, that although Napoleon found much servility, he did not find that alone. How many hundreds of priests died in his dungeons will never be known till they and he stand together before the judgment-seat of Christ. And as for these addresses, we only know the details of one case, and in that one we know that the canons refused to vote the address which Napoleon dictated, and that he published it declaring they had voted it. How many more of the addresses may have been forgeries we know not.
But what was Napoleon's object in departing from his ordinary policy of entirely suppressing all expression of opinion on religious matters, by publishing in the 'Moniteur' these addresses and a discussion in the Council of State to which the author calls attention, when it professed to make null and void the decree of the Holy Father about the archbishopric of Florence ? There can, I think, be no doubt that the author gives the true answer to this question. Pius VII. was now a close prisoner. No friend, no intelligence from the outer world could reach him except by the connivance of his jailor, M. de Chabrol, Prefect of Montenotte. Care was taken that every cardinal and bishop who was admitted to see him repeated to him, however respectfully in manner, that the Church was in a desperate state, and that the only cause of all its miseries was, that he himself refused to make arrangements which might be made without any sacrifice of principle, which were absolutely necessary in the changed state of society, and which the whole Church agreed in desiring. Then as to reading, M. de Chabrol took care to supply him with the Moniteur,' and he never saw anything else. No letters, except such as were written in exactly the same spirit, were allowed to penetrate to him. And in the ` Moniteur' he saw addresses from all the ecclesiastical bodies of the Empire and of the Kingdom of Italy, all re-echoing the same statements. There are well-known stories of men who have been convinced of facts opposed to the positive evidence of their own senses by what seemed to them the independent testimony of a number of witnesses all agreeing together.' Never was this device tried upon any man so unscrupulously, so ably, so consistently, and for so long a period together as it was upon Pius VII. To add that it as not wholly without success is really to say little more than that he was a man. This great conspiracy was not set in motion with any intention of changing the doctrines which he believed and taught, and of which he would at once have said, ' Though we or an angel from heaven preach any other doctrine, let him be anathema.' All that was desired was to convince him that the good of the Church required that he should agree to certain practical measures, not in them-selves desirable, but which had become absolutely necessary in the existing state of the political world. Many of his predecessors had made concessions, more or less important upon similar subjects. Nay, he himself had done the same in the Concordat which he had made with Napoleon in 1801. He might very naturally be persuaded, that he was mistaken in refusing to make new concessions of the same class if he found that all Catholics, cardinals, bishops, chapters, priests, theologians, laymen, all the wisest and all the most learned, all the most devoted men, were of one mind in declaring that he was wrong, and that his error was entailing upon the Church the most fatal consequences. This was the plan which Napoleon determined to carry out, and in which he was unscrupulously seconded by many able French ecclesiastics. They persuaded themselves no doubt that the object was good. But it is difficult to believe that they did not know that multitudes of the ablest, wisest, and best men in the Church believed that the concessions demanded by Napoleon were such as Pius VII. could not make with a safe conscience, or without grievous injury to the Church : and therefore if they had allowed them-selves to think fairly on the subject, they would surely have seen, that however good they might consider the end proposed, the means by which it was to be obtained, implied or required that they should practise a very gross deception upon the Holy Father.
How this deception was carried on, and the degree of success it obtained, are related by the author with extraordinary research and great skill in his fourth and fifth volumes. The result, thank God, all who take up the history know beforehand. On the part of the Holy Father, there was great bodily weakness, all the infirmities of age, and a habitual distrust in his own judgment, which made it seem almost impossible that he should stand firm under a trial like that to which he was subjected. But there was a single eye, a fixed resolution to adhere to his duty as far as he could see what it was ; and, above all, he had on his side the power of God, and when, humanly speaking, all seemed most certain to go against him, it turned out that the moment was come, the moment of man's extremity and of God's opportunity, in which, with His own right hand and His holy arm, He interfered to get to Himself the victory over every enemy.