Pius VII At Savona And Fontainebleau
( Originally Published 1874 )
IN two former essays on the history of Pius VII. and Napoleon I, I have traced the very able narrative of M. D'Haussonville from the Conclave in which the Pope was elected, in the year 1800, down to the beginning of 1811. Nothing could be more critical than the whole state of things at that moment. Indeed, those who regarded the Catholic Church as a mere human institution, not unnaturally regarded it as hopeless. And yet the oppressor had already begun to feel some of the inconvenience which was the effect of his own violence. The Pope was a prisoner at Savona. Being deprived of freedom, and resolved not to be a tool in the hands of Napoleon, he refused to do anything. The affairs of the Church in France were suddenly brought to a standstill. No bishop could be instituted ; the usual course of business was suspended, and Napoleon found it a matter of simple necessity to do something which should put a stop to this paralysis of ecclesiastical affairs. For some time he was in absolute perplexity what could be done, and how he should set about it. I have already shown how he tried to get the Pope to act, by causing the highest ecclesiastic in France to write to him, and by trying to work on him by unaccredited agents ; but all was in vain. Then he resolved to cut him off in the most absolute manner from all communication with the external world, and when in this state of solitude to overwhelm him with declarations from the Catholic clergy that they considered the obstinacy of the Pontiff the only obstacle to the peaceful and healthy action of the Church. Care was taken that he should neither see nor hear anything except what was published in the ' Moniteur,' and this official organ was daily loaded with addresses to the Emperor in this sense. For many months,
To the great astonishment of Parisian readers these ecclesiastical documents usurped the place usually devoted to the bulletins of the 'grand army.' In truth, however, it was not for them that they were intended. The Emperor cared much less what effect they might produce at Paris than at Savona. Pius VII. was deprived of the society of his most confidential servants, and just now also of all his books, and of pen, ink, and paper ; no doubt also, of the magnificent inlaid escritoire, which in the first days of his captivity the Count Salmatoris had so zealously caused to he placed in his cabinet. The only recreations allowed him were a walk in the very small garden of the Episcopal residence, and the study of the ' Moniteur.' This last M. de Chabrol took especial care that he should never be without, but when the official paper contained any news likely to work on the mind of his prisoner, he managed that his attention should be specially called to it. If he attended at all to the addresses inserted in the ' Moniteur' of January, February, and March, 1811, Pius VII. must have observed that, with the exception of only five chapters, which preserved a significant silence, all the canons of the See not yet suppressed in Italy were eager in conforming to the mot a'ordre given from Paris. (Vol. iv. p. 23.)
The fact is that care was taken to get up such addresses every-where by means of the Prefect. Some persons might be disposed to wonder, that a man so keen-sighted as Napoleon did not see that they would have carried more weight if they had been less exactly like each other. But I imagine that his contempt of anything like liberty, and his resolution to govern men's consciences by absolute terror, made him indifferent to this consideration. All the chapters in Italy expressed themselves in words nearly identical. The inference no doubt would be that their addresses were dictated to them from above. And he was perfectly content that people should see that. Odcrint dum metuant, was his almost avowed principle in dealing with the clergy. The author remarks that it must have been doubly bitter to the Pope's feelings to see in the ' Moniteur ' the addresses of the chapter of Imola, once his own diocese, and of Savona, his actual residence. This last, I suspect, must have been drawn up by M. de Chabrol himself, because it is full of peculiar phrases and expressions, which figure in his daily despatches, and which he took care to borrow from Napoleon's own letters. The Emperor no doubt calculated that the impression made on the mind of the Pope was likely to be all the stronger, if he saw that the whole clergy of Italy, as well as of France, were driven by sheer terror into adopting not merely the general wishes of Napoleon, but his very expressions. At the same time, while intimidation was chiefly relied on, bribery was not neglected. Five days after the appearance of the Savona address, the author finds an order, under Napoleon's hand, for the payment of 240L. sterling to the Bishop of Savona, ' who,' he adds, ' is very poor.' But it is well to observe that the subserviency of the majority of the clergy, while it filled him with contempt, so far from inducing him to treat them with favour, only made him resolved to multiply his demands.
From this moment he proclaimed at every opportunity, and more loudly than ever, the maxim of State, that bishops, canons, and cures, all owed to him an obedience as entire as that of the other functionaries of his Empire. And what wonder ? The authority of a Church is purely moral, and when great characters gradually disappear out of it, when it shows no esprit de corps, when each of its members is so little occupied with the care of its dignity, that the most considerable among them, instead of feeling its loss as an irreparable disgrace, feel it no merit to stand up for it, the man who has exacted from them these disastrous sacrifices seldom retains any gratitude for them. By a just retribution, it is usually from the hand of the master t0 whom they have had the weakness to submit, that these unworthy priests receive their punishment. They have exalted his pride until, for his misery and for their own, they have turned him into a mad despot, whose ever-increasing demands they are sooner or later unable to satisfy.
In the commencement of 1811, the man who had made the Concordat, had fallen into so strange a state of mind, that at one time he really thought of nothing less than a legislative settlement of the question of the institution of bishops, to be enacted merely by his Senate and his Deputies. (Vol. iv. p. 26.)
From this plan he was dissuaded by the advice of those whom he was wont to call ' the philosophes of his Council of State,' among whom Cambacérès was the first. 'Strange inversion of parts while prelates, sincere believers, deserted from weakness the cause of their Church, its defence was taken in hand, upon principles merely of good sense and moderation, by men who had once been revolutionists, and most of them avowed enemies of the Catholic Faith, or at least utterly indifferent to it.' M. D'Haussonville, who views the matter as a Protestant, is amazed ; to a Catholic it is nothing surprising that He in whose hands are all hearts should, when He so pleases, make use even of His enemies to effect His own purposes,--
' He moulds the Egyptian's heart of stone To do Him honour, and e'en Nero's throne Claims as His ordinance ; before Him still Pride bows unconscious, and the rebel will Most does His bidding, following most his own.'
Dut those who would judge truly of the conduct of the French clergy at this crisis must remember that the number of priests and bishops who, because they refused to submit to the demands of the tyrant, were actually lying in pestilential dungeons or banished to distant isles, can be actually proved to have amounted to many hundreds. Napoleon, indeed, to whom deliberate falsehood never cost even the most passing feeling of shame, dictated to his faithful and deluded followers at St. Helena a statement that the number ' detained' in consequence of his difference with the Church never exceeded fifty-two. By giving an odd number so exactly he evidently wished it to be observed that he was not speaking loosely from memory, but stating the exact number as ascertained by actual calculation. But this was only an instance of what Sir Walter Scott calls ' a lie with circumstance.' M. D'Haussonville prints a number of letters, under his own hand, ordering the imprisonment and transportation of a number many times greater. With the keen polish of French satire, he remarks that these orders must have escaped his memory. Such things are so easily forgotten.' In this world it will never be known how great may have been the number of confessors who were seized, in obedience, not to letters from himself referring only to their own particular case, but to his general directions, which were unsparingly severe, for the arrest of all who in any degree opposed his policy. These were the men of whom the world was not worthy.' But his system of imposing absolute silence, and concealing even the punishment of his victims from the eyes and ears of all men, while he paraded the submission of those whom he succeeded in intimidating, had the effect of deluding not only his contemporaries, but his historians (many of them willing enough to believe anything base of the priests) into the delusion, that the clergy of France and Italy, like every other class of men, suffered them-selves to become his unresisting tools. The truth was, that al-though he found among them only too much of baseness and servility, he encountered a real resistance which he met nowhere else, and which filled him with a rage which shows itself in a very undignified manner in the letters suppressed in the official edition of his correspondence, and published by M. D'Haussonville.
And thus I venture to say that, even when every other institution and individual was crushed beneath the iron heel of Napoleon I., the Church still retained her liberty. For that liberty varies according to the varying condition of the States among which her sons are sojourners. In a non-Catholic State, in which the private and political rights of every subject are defended by just laws equally administered, the freedom of the Church consists in the freedom of each one of her children to do all that is just and right, without suffering for so doing. Such liberty, thanks be to God, we, to a great extent at least, enjoy in these islands. But when, in the inscrutable Providence of God, nations are afflicted with a tyranny like that which oppressed France and Italy sixty years ago, or that which now afflicts unhappy Poland, the Church is still free, even while her children are enslaved, so long as they continue to do what is just and good and to suffer for it. This liberty she possessed under the persecuting heathen Emperors, and she possessed it tinder the man who more perhaps than any other that ever lived combined the highest gifts of genius with the vilest baseness of heart and character, the Corsican tyrant under whose yoke Europe groaned in the earlier years of the present century.
It is necessary to keep this steadily before our minds on reading M. D'Haussonville's narrative, which sets vividly before us the unworthy subservience of so many bishops and members of the Sacred College. The Church was still free even when Napoleon felt himself most secure of her submission, and when all external resistance to his will seemed to have been for ever crushed. She was free precisely because Pius was in captivity, because Cardinal Pacca and several others were in the dreary prison of Fenestrella, among the wildest rocks of the Alps, and several more in the dungeons of Vincennes ; because thirteen more were deprived of all their revenues, forbidden to wear the insignia of their spiritual rank, and placed under the surveillance of the police, in different sequestered towns ; because several of the most eminent French and great numbers of the Italian bishops lay in state prisons ; and because hundreds of priests (how many hundreds is known to God only) were suffering in one or another of these ways; and only suffering more severely because their less elevated rank gave them less claim to the consideration of their jailors. There was not one of these noble confessors but might well echo the words of the great Apostle ; they were in bonds, but because they were bound the Truth was free (z Tim. ii. 9),—' Laboro usque ad vincula, quasi mala operans-sed Verbum Dei non est alligaturn.'
It is evident that all this was keenly felt by Napoleon himself, even when he most affected to despise it; and hence, as the author points out, his language about the act by which the Holy Father annulled the assumed authority of Cardinal Maury in the diocese of Paris, was totally different, according to the audience which he was addressing. Of this, as (at an earlier period) of the Bull of excommunication, he spoke privately to the few whom he most trusted as of ' a most dangerous act, plotted on the part of the Holy Father with the most black perfidy.' Terms failed him to express the fury with which it filled him, because that fury was the result of secret fear. Before the clergy he confined himself to vague allusions to it, as to a foolish and impotent manifestation of ill feeling, to which he attached not the slightest importance. In his public acts and official speeches he systematically avoided even the most distant allusion to What he really wished was, that no man should know anything about it ; he seems almost to have flattered himself that he had succeeded, at a moment when he could hardly help knowing that the acts of violence by which he had wreaked his vengeance on M. de Portalis, the Abbé d'Astros, the cardinals, and the Pope himself, must be talked of in secret by every functionary of the Empire and by every humble curé in the most remote village. All he really effected was, that every man who whispered his feelings about the matter felt that he was acting against the Emperor, and thus became more and more decidedly enlisted as his secret enemy. Still the great monarch kept up his futile attempt at absolute concealment.
The 'Philosophes of his Council of State' soon convinced Napoleon that his first project, that of regulating the institution of bishops after the example of Henry VIII., would not hold water. It was a matter which required ecclesiastical authority, and it followed that nothing less than a council could deal with it. In preparation for this Napoleon had referred questions (which the reader will find, with the answers given to them, in the author's 54th chapter) to two Commissions, appointed, one in 1809, the other in 1811. The questions proposed to the latter of these Commissions began by assuming it as already a settled point that in future the Pope was to have nothing to do with the institution of bishops in France, and the bishops on the Commission were to report on the steps to be taken to supply his place. Cardinal Fesch was a leading member of these Commissions, and with him the saintly Abbé Emery had great influence. He now wrote to the Cardinal that the time was come for ' resistance to blood.' The Cardinal went to the Emperor and warned him that he ` had now come to a point at which he would be compelled to make martyrs; ' but the report of the Commission, though not quite all that Napoleon wished, was elastic enough to comprehend anything. He could not fail to see that if he acted upon it he might wholly dispense with the Pope. What it recommended was the calling of a National Council, and it said plainly enough that, if the Pope still refused to submit, this might take his place. In preparation for the Council the Emperor called together at the Tuileries a great gathering, consisting of the members of his ecclesiastical Commission, and the chief dignitaries of the Imperial Court, Talleyrand, Cambacérès, &c. M. Emery, though a member of the Commission, was unwilling to attend; when specially sent for he retired into his oratory, and, falling on his knees, prayed to be directed how he ought to act, and after a few minutes came calmly out to the bishops who had been sent to bring him. The Emperor opened the meeting with an invective against Pius VII., asking what means the canon law afforded ' for the punishment of a Pope who preaches rebellion and civil war,' and accusing him of doing his best to stir up assassins against the life of the Emperor.
After this discourse (says Cardinal Consalvi), which was nothing but a tissue of erroneous principles, falsehoods, atrocious calumnies, and anti-Catholic maxims, not one cardinal or bishop had the courage to confront force and power in defence of the truth. They all forgot their duties, and maintained a scandalous silence. Even the civil magnates present looked at each other with evident alarm, but in absolute silence. At last the Emperor turned to M. Emery and demanded his opinion on the matter. The simple priest thus questioned looked to the bishops of the Commission, as if asking their permission to express his opinion in their presence ; then turning to the Emperor he said, ' Sire, I can have no other opinion than that expressed in the Catechism which is taught by your orders in all the churches of the Empire. There I read " The Pope is the visible head of the Church." Now a body cannot dispense with its head, with him to whom_ it owes obedience by Divine right.' The simplicity of this answer and the quotation from his own Catechism seemed t0 take the Emperor by surprise, and as he made a pause, as if waiting for M. Emery to say something more, he added, ' In France we are compelled to maintain the four articles of the Declaration of 1682. But we must receive what they teach as a whole. The preamble to that Declaration states that the Primacy of S. Peter and of the Roman Pontiffs was instituted by Jesus Christ, and that to it all Christians owe obedience. Moreover it is added that the four articles have been decreed in order to prevent any attack upon that Primacy from being made under pretext of the liberties of the Gallican Church.' M. finery then went into some developments of the subject, to show ' that the four articles, although they limit the powers of the Pope upon certain points, preserve to him an authority so great and eminent, that without his participation no affair of importance either in doctrine or discipline could be regulated.' From all which he drew the conclusion, that if a council was assembled, as was talked of, such council would have no validity if held without the sanction of the Pope. (Vol. iv. p. 86.)
Nothing so very strong after all, it may be said; he only said what all Catholics know. But it was a strong thing to be laid down by a humble priest, a man invested with no dignity and secured by no diplomatic character, before the face of Napoleon himself, and in the presence of his arch-Chancellor and his grand vice-elector, and of all the highest dignitaries of his Empire specially convened to sanction the purpose he had formed of obtaining the authority of a council to enable him to dispense with the interference of the Holy Father in the institution of bishops ; and that, after he had already extorted from his ecclesiastical commission, consisting of cardinals and high prelates (some of them Iong ago distinguished for having bravely maintained the rights of the Church in the Convention), the concession that 'in case of necessity' (of which necessity he, of course, was to be the judge) such a proceeding would be valid. Everyone present expected a violent outbreak of rage. If as much had been said by Cardinal Fesch, all his dignity as the Emperor's uncle, and as Primate of all the Gauls, and Cardinal, would not have protected him from it. But the Abbe Ëmery had established over the mind of the tyrant the influence of sanctity, and to the surprise of all present he controlled himself. Again addressing M. Ëmery, he said ;
Well I do not dispute the spiritual power of the Pope, since he received it from Jesus Christ. But Jesus Christ did not give him the temporal power. That was given by Charlemagne, and I, as successor of Charlemagne, think fit to take it from him, because he does not know how to use it, and because it interferes with the exercise of his spiritual functions. What have you to say to that, M. Emery?" Sire,' replied M. Emery, 'I can only say what Bossuet says, and whose great authority your Majesty justly reverences, and whom you are so often pleased to quote. Now that great prelate, in his " Defence of the Declaration of the French Clergy," expressly maintains that the independence and complete liberty of the Sovereign Pontiff are necessary for the free exercise of his spiritual authority throughout the world, in so great a multiplicity of empires and kingdoms.' And then, without a moment's hesitation, he went on to quote the exact words of Bossuet, for he had them quite ready by heart, having often quoted them in the Commission itself. And he laid special emphasis upon these words of the Bishop of Meaux, We rejoice at the temporal power, not only for the sake of the Apostolic See, but still more for that of the Church Universal, and we most ardently hope from the bottom of our hearts, that this Sacred Sovereignty may ever remain safe and entire under all circumstances.' ' Well,' replied Napoleon (who had listened patiently, as he generally did when he met a man who knew how to pronounce a weighty opinion upon a subject which he perfectly understood), ' Well, I do not reject the authority of Bossuet. All that was true in his times, when Europe acknowledged a number of masters. It would then have been unsuitable that the Pope should have been the subject of any one sovereign. But what inconvenience is there in the Pope's being subject to me, to me, I say, now that Europe knows no master except myself alone ?' M. Emery was considerably embarrassed by confronting this unlimited pride of the Emperor : he wished to convince and not to wound it. 'Your Majesty,' he replied, 'is better acquainted than I with the history of revolutions. What exists now may not always exist, and in that case all the inconveniences foreseen by Bossuet might once more make their appearance. There-fore the order of things so wisely established ought not to be changed.' The Emperor made no reply, but passing to the clause which the bishops had proposed as an addition to the Concordat, that His Holiness should give institution within a fixed period, in default of which the right of institution should devolve upon the Provincial Council, he again questioned M. Emery, asking him whether he thought the Pope would make this concession. M. finery replied without hesitation. that he thought the Pope would not make it, because it would reduce to nothing his right of institution. The Emperor started, and turning towards the bishops who were 0n the Commission, said to them, 'Ah, ah, Messieurs, you want to lead me into a pss de clerc [an expression for a blunder, in terms contemptuous towards the clergy] by leading me to demand of the Pope a thing which he has no right (ne doit pas) to grant to me.' The bishops were much mortified by the apostrophe which M. Emery's reply had drawn upon them. When the Emperor rose to retire, he bowed his head with a gracious salutation to the ex-superior of S. Sulpice, without seeming to take much notice of the other members of the Commission. As he was leaving the room he asked one of the bishops 'Whether the account M. Emery had given of the teaching of the Catechism about the authority of the Pope was correct. The bishops could not help remembering it. For a moment there was a general conversation, and M. Emery's colleagues, who feared that his openness must have offended the Emperor, gathered round him begging forgiveness for the abbe, in consideration of his advanced age. ' Gentlemen,' said the Emperor, ' you are mistaken. I am not in any degree offended with M. Emery. He has spoken like a man who knows his subject, and that is the way I wish people to speak. It is true he does not think with me, but in this place each one ought to have his opinion free.' (Vol. iv. p. 9L)
No other man ever ventured to speak the truth to Napoleon as boldly as (lid the Abbé Emery. The great men who had been silent witnesses of the scene were struck with amazement. Talley-rand said publicly, ' I was well aware that the Abbe' Emery was an able man, but I never believed him to be so much so. He has skill enough to tell the Emperor the truth without offending him.' Napoleon himself showed his feelings by exclaiming to Cardinal Fesch, who tried to speak to him on ecclesiastical affairs a few days later, ' Hold your tongue. You are a dunce (un ignorant). Where did you ever learn theology ? I must discuss it with M. Emery, who does know it.' But he had refused to be led by this wise counsellor, and he was no longer to possess him. M. Emery had before this been severely punished for his integrity. Napoleon found means of hitting even those who had least to lose. He had already dissolved the different missionary congregations, and had positively forbidden the preaching of missions ; because he feared that the missionary priests might let out the truth with regard to his relations with the Holy See. The Sulpicians had been the last; but a year before this he had broken up their congregation, and had specially ordered M. Emery himself to leave S. Sulpice; because, being consulted by Cardinal Somaglia as to whether he could attend the Emperor's marriage with Maria Theresa, he had replied, 'that he himself should have no scruple, but that, if the Cardinal had any, it might be better not to attend, as conscience binds.' It availed nothing to M. Emery that he was unembarrassed by natural ties ; that he had refused to be elevated to high dignities in the Church; that he cared nothing either for wealth or worldly honours. To him S. Sulpice was instead of wife and children and houses and lands ; within its walls he had spent a long and holy life, had ' feared God in youth and loved Him in age,' and out of it he had sent generation after generation of priests trained in the holiest rules and practices ; there was not so much as one of its stones which was not endeared to him by some holy recollection. But because he had, most cautiously and with the greatest moderation, given advice to a friend who sought it, he was turned out laden with the burden of eighty years to seek a new home in which to die, separated from the brethren among whom he had lived, and expressly forbidden to have any communication with them. Years before he had sent one dear friend across the Atlantic to found a Sulpician community at Baltimore, in the United States, and now he began sorrowfully to anticipate that the time was come when his congregation could exist only a Protestant land under the shelter of political freedom, expelled as it was threatened to be from Catholic Europe by the over-mastering power of Despotism.
Pius VIL, when discussing with the French minister in 'Soo the demands of the First Consul with regard to the Concordat, extolled the peaceable and regular working of religious affairs in free countries, even although they were heretical. Pius VIL was destined once again to do the same thing at Savona, during the terrible storms of the council of 1811. In the same spirit the Abbé Emery at this time turned his mournful eyes towards the United States. He wrote to his most intimate friend, the head of the Sulpician Seminary at Baltimore : Alas ! after the overthrow which has already taken place, and that which is now threatened, it must be admitted to be probable that before long it will be impossible that Sulpician communities should exist in France, and that both the thing and the name will be confined to America. For myself, I cannot think of moving thither. My age does not permit it ; but I forewarn you, that if things turn out as I fear they will, many of our members will go where you are, and I shall take measures to secure their being followed by all our property and all the most precious things we possess.' (Vol. iii, p. 300.)
So well pleased, however, did Napoleon profess himself to be with the Abbé Emery at this moment, that Cardinal Fesch even conceived a hope that he might be permitted to return to die among his brothers and children at S. Sulpice, and ventured to intercede with the Emperor for this favour. But that was too much to hope from the magnanimity of the great Napoleon. The favour was refused, and it was the last which the tyrant was able either to concede or to refuse to the aged priest. The day of weary, disappointing toil was over; the evening had come; the sun had set; in the natural world all was shut in by a sky which had never been so dark and lowering ; but faith assured him that above the clouds and darkness the Sun of Righteousness was shining in undiminished glory, and that when the right time should come He would dispel every mist that man could raise, and once more shine out upon the world which He had created and redeemed. To Him he was willing to leave the care of the future, and for himself he had nothing to desire except the summons by which he was to be called, without longer waiting, to soar beyond those earth-bred clouds, and plunge into the full effulgence of the True Light. And now that summons was come. The last earthly news which reached him was that the Emperor had convened a national council, to be his tool in getting rid of the Pope. He knew too much both of the character and objects of the tyrant, and of the degradation of the great majority of those with whom he had to deal, not to know that this, according to all human calculations, could hardly fail to issue in a great schism and a relentless persecution. It was his last fear, his last grief, if indeed he could be said to fear or to grieve, knowing, as he did with a sober, calm, infallible assurance, that whatever might come first, 'sooner or later his must be the winning side, and that the victory would be complete, universal, eternal.' He had done his part, and now joyfully left to his Lord the working out of the results. He wrote to an intimate friend, ' It is a good moment to die ;' and passed to his rest, April 28, 1811.
Yet his plain-speaking had not been without its result. Napoleon had learned that his Commission (fearing to tell him the truth) had deceived him into believing that, by calling together a council, he might get the right of institution transferred from the Pope to a provincial synod. He now found that he had no alternative, but must, one way or another, come to terms with the Pope. He pushed on the convocation of the council without consulting him, hoping to intimidate him by the expectation that its object was to pronounce against him a sentence of deposition ; and with the same object the letters which summoned it were filled with invectives against the Pope, although, curiously enough, mention of his name was avoided, the complaints being made against ' one of the parties to the Concordat.'
And now the Emperor judged that the time was come to bring to bear upon the Pope the arts for which he had been preparing by long imprisonment and entire shutting out of all intelligence as to the events of the outer world. He determined to send some prelates to treat with him. He selected them with his usual penetration. The author remarks that when he had to deal with churchmen his object was not by any means to select men of bad - character. On restoring the publie recognition of the Church in France at the time of the Concordat he had been at pains to select 'before everything else worthy and commendable pastors, but taking care to find men who had the good qualities of private rather than of public life.' His instinct seldom deceived him, and on this occasion it did for him all he wished.
M. de Banal, whom he made Archbishop of Tours, and M. Duvoisin, Bishop of Nantes, had both belonged to the clergy of the ancicn regime, and before 1789 had even gained a distinguished position in it by their exceptional merit. Both had emigrated during the Reign of Terror, and had returned to France almost at the same moment, shortly after the signing of the Concordat and before its publication. The First Consul immediately saw in them the dispositions which at that moment were shared by all the ecclesiastics to whom he had just opened once more the long-closed gates of their country a sincere gratitude for the interest which he exhibited in the welfare of religion and a warn admiration for his own person. Their tried piety, their exemplary character, the character of their opinions, and (if I must speak out) the partiality and complaisance which they professed towards the authority which had just established itself upon the ruins of our liberties, naturally marked out M. de Barrai and M. Duvoisin for the favour of Napoleon.
M. Maury, Bishop of Trêves, was another man of the same class. These three prelates he selected as his emissaries ; and in a long personal interview gave them their final instructions. 'They were authorised to sign two conventions one on the special affairs of the Church of France and the institution of bishops; the other on the affairs of Christendom at large and the person of the Pope.' With regard to the first, the Pope was to engage to institute all bishops named by the Emperor, and that if this was delayed three months, then institution was to be given by the metropolitan, or if his was the vacant see, then by the senior of his suffragans. As to the other, the Pope might return to Rome if he would take the oath to the Emperor in the form laid down for bishops in the Concordat ; if he refused this, he should not return to Rome, but might fix himself at Avignon, whence he might direct the spiritual affairs of Christendom, and where the ministers of Christian States accredited to him should enjoy the immunities of diplomatic agents, and he should be treated with the honours due to a sovereign, and have free communication with foreign Churches. Eighty thousand pounds sterling per annum should be set apart for his revenue. This sum whether paid by us, or by all Christian princes, shall be raised in whatever manner the Pope prefers out of the benefices of Christendom. As for the spiritual power of the Pope in the interior of our empire, if he goes to Rome and takes the oath, we demand nothing more ; if he does not think fit to take the oath, and goes to Avignon, we shall require him to engage not to do anything in our empire which is inconsistent with the four propositions of the Gallican Church. If these first articles were arranged, the bishops were to assure the Holy Father how much the Emperor desired. ' to come to an understanding with him upon all subsequent questions, and to arrange all the different matters relative to the glory and prosperity of the Christian religion.' In their intercourse with Pius VII, they were never to forget that they were sent in order to impress upon him the afflicted condition of Christendom, and the evils which the ignorance and obstinacy of his counsellors (Pius VII. had no counsellor left within his reach) had produced, and were calculated to produce. My intention is (the Emperor expressly added) that you should make no use of your powers, unless you find the Pope in a reasonable state of mind, and unless, enlightened by what you tell him, he abandons the madness by which he has for so many years been guided. (Vol. iv. p. 109.)
At the last moment he seems to have had some misgivings as to his taking the first step towards a reconciliation, and his minister wrote to renew his instructions that ' they were not to acknowledge that they were invested with any powers, until they saw the Pope disposed to treat ;' also, before signing anything, they were to send it for the Emperor's approval. The bishops were ostensibly sent, not by him, but by their brethren the prelates at the moment present in Paris, from whom they bore letters to the Pope which had been dictated by Napoleon himself. The whole was carefully managed to impress on Pius VII. that the French Church was prepared to separate itself from him, if he did not immediately accept the Emperor's terms.
The three prelates reached Savona on May 9, 1811. The Prefect of Montenotte, an adroit man selected by Napoleon as his gaoler, informed Pius VII. that they had arrived, deputed to him by the clergy of France. He reported to the minister, ' I found the Pope as if he had something on his mind, although calm. He said that the bishops could come in whenever they would, alluding apparently to his want of liberty. I then expressed the strong desire and hope of all enlightened men for a conclusion to the ills of the Church. He answered that he wished it, only on condition that nothing should be demanded of him which could wound his conscience.' At the first interview the bishops assured him that they were not sent to judge him or to announce the intention of the bishops of France to do so, and he told them that he could not take any step until he had ` his natural advisers,' his theologians, and the means of obtaining information as to the qualifications of the persons proposed to him, and that he was now separated even from his confessor, who had been refused admission to him, deprived of books, pen, and paper ; but, adds M. de Banal, among these complaints he did not insist on the necessity of his return to Rome. He appointed a second interview two days later, as he must have time to read the letters they had brought from different cardinals and bishops, of which there were seventeen or eighteen.
We have two very full and independent accounts of all that went on round the person of the Holy Father at this time one from the letters which the Archbishop of Tours daily despatched to the minister at Paris, and which gives the particulars of what may be called the official negotiation with the Holy Father. These letters were afterwards published by him, and have therefore long been public. The other is contained in the letters of M. de Chabrol, the Prefect of Montenotte, and, in fact, the Pope's gaoler. These were as regular and far more full than the others, and contain what may be called the secret history of the affair far more important, I need hardly say, than the other; and this has never been made public until the appearance of M. D'Haussonville's work. It is on these reports that any true narrative of the proceedings at Savona must be founded. As soon as the first interview had taken place he wrote :
The Archbishop of Tours gives your Excellency a detailed account of the first interview with the Pope. We have all agreed that it is specially important to work upon the Pope's feelings, and produce an effect upon his heart, in the situation in which he is placed. Ile seems prepared to stand firm against all argument and discussion, but to be accessible to an impression on his feelings. He reserved yesterday for thinking over the letters which had been sent to him. The day was spent by us in establishing our relations in the interior of the palace, so as to be acquainted with everything the Pope lets drop in familiar conversation, and to have it in our power to bring before him by a channel direct, though not official, whatever it is expedient for the success of the negotiations that he should know.
And what were these secret means of surveillance and of operation, the establishment of which was so important, and from which the Prefect of Montenotte hoped so much ? Must it be confessed ? The Pope's medical attendant had been secretly gained over to the interest of the man who kept his master a prisoner.' It is possible that such disgraceful proceedings may not be so rare in history as one would have hoped. But what we think really extraordinary is, to see a sovereign lower himself by taking a direct path in them. However, the affair was important, and the Emperor was not a man to be checked by such scruples. We have already mentioned that Napoleon had written with his own hand to M. Bigot de Prêameneu, the Ministre des Culters, to tell him that the Pope was to suffer in his own person from his resentment at his conduct. In consequence, things had been so arranged, that the expenses of the Pope's household had been reduced to two shillings and a halfpenny a day for each individual, the Pope included. But the good offices of the Pope's medical attendant deserved to be rewarded on a different scale, and Napoleon valued them too highly to subject himself to be blamed for having forgotten them. He wrote to the minister, ' Tell Dr. Porta that you have laid his letter before the Emperor; tell him that His Majesty has written in the margin of his letter from Amsterdam that whatever disputes there may be between the Pope and His Majesty, and although they may be more or less warm, His Majesty will always regard personal services rendered to the Pope as if they had been rendered to himself. Dr. Porta has only to express his wishes, and his salary shall be paid as it was when the Pope was at Rome ; there-fore a salary of 12,000 francs (L480 sterling) is awarded to him from the time at which he quitted Rome, and this salary shall be continued as long as he stays with the Pope. Add that you are to send him an order for the payment, and that he is to let you know the period at which he ceased to be paid.
M. de Chabrol's letters say 'M. Porta, the Pope's doctor, is of wonderful use to us.' 'The official communications are thus seconded by insinuations which suit our purpose.' He is able to report every doubt which crossed the mind of his prisoner. A complete cordon of conspirators was drawn round the oppressed Pontiff prelates whose character invited confidence and who professed (and no doubt believed themselves sincere in professing) nothing but an earnest desire to serve the interests of the Church in a crisis of extreme danger, and those whom he regarded as his private friends, drawing out of him his secret feelings and doubts for the purpose of betraying them day by day and hour by hour to his oppressor. The tyrant, one of whose greatest qualifications was a happy instinct in judging of the characters of those with whom he had to do, had laid his snare with the greatest skill. Cardinal Pacca says :
The talents of Pius VII. were of no ordinary kind. His character was neither weak nor pusillanimous. On the contrary, he was remark-able for resolution and quickness of wit. Adequately versed in the sacred sciences, he was also endued with that rare practical talent which enables a man to look at matters in their true light, and to see through their difficulties. But to all these fine qualities he united a natural disposition, which some regarded as a virtue, others as a defect His first impression of a subject, his first view of it, showed admirable discernment and exquisite good sense ; but if one of his ministers, or any other person of weight, opposed his opinion in private conversation, and urged him with importunities, this excellent Pontiff would give up his own opinion, and adopt that of the other, which was very often not the better. His enemies attributed this yielding disposition to a great intellectual weakness, an excessive love of repose. Those who were more just regarded it as the effect of a singular modesty, and a want of confidence in his own powers.
Such a man was just the person to be gradually worked upon by assurances day by day repeated, and it seemed to him, by persons quite independent of each other, that the whole of the clergy and bishops of France, and indeed of the whole world, were unanimous in condemning the obstinacy with which he re-fused the proposals of Napoleon as the sole cause of all the troubles of the Church. It was this which induced Cardinal Pacca to pronounce that in his concessions to Napoleon he 'deserved rather sympathy than blame ' ; 'and yet,' says M. D'Haussonville, ' even Cardinal Pacca never knew the dramatic scenes of Savona, for Pius VII. himself could not describe them to him, because he did not know them himself, as they stand out for the first time in all their touching misery in the letters of the Prefect of Montenotte.' (Vol. iv. p. i 56.)
For the details of the intrigues which followed I must refer to the pages of the author, the first in which they have ever been made public. In the second interview the Pope, referring to what Cardinal Fesch had laid down in his letter as the only possible basis of negotiation, said that he could not in conscience decide such questions without the assistance of suitable advisers. The bishops (who, it will be remembered, were known to him, not as agents of Napoleon, but only as delegates sent by the bishops of France), with what they call some `round-about expressions of modesty,' proposed themselves as being qualified both as bishops and by their sincere attachment to the Holy See and to the person of the Pope' to act in that capacity. He then told them that as to the declaration of 1682 he never had done anything contrary to it, and did not intend to do so, but that it was impossible for him to engage not to do so, it having been condemned and nullified by Alexander VIII, ' The Holy Father's tone,' says the bishops' report, ' was touching, and without the least bitterness.' When the details of the Emperor's demands were discussed, and the bishops enlarged on the number of persons most attached to the Pope, who were suffering by the existing state of things, 'he seemed touched and, lifting his eyes to heaven, said to himself, Pasienza.' Still his conscience would not allow him to give way. I am without advisers,' he said; ' the Head of the Church is in prison. If he were free, and had his natural counsellors, it is possible that he might find means of reconciling everything. Plus vident oculi quam oculus.' The bishops began to despair, and yet they continue to report ; ' his kindness, his gentleness, his resignation, and even his friendliness towards us have never varied for a moment. Since our arrival he sleeps little, and frequently complains of his health.' " They were much more affected,' says the author, ' than Napoleon would have liked by what went on before their eyes.' M. de Chabrol became alarmed. On May 13 he writes : ' I went to the palace this morning to make out the secret motives of so ill-timed a resistance. I had a very long talk with Dr. Porta, and made him well understand the situation in which his master was placing both himself and all those attached to his cause. He is thoroughly imbued with these principles, and seemed disposed to do us indirectly all the service in his power.' Next day M. de Chabrol reports a long interview with the Pope himself, to whom he spoke in ' terms which the bishops would have found it difficult to use,' answering to his complaint that he could not act while deprived of his advisers, that 'no counsellors could be so authoritative as the general agreement of the Churches both of France and Italy ; that ' the Council was about to pronounce against him, and deprive him of the power he still had of making terms' ; that the Emperor was making concessions out of pure generosity, as the Council was ready to give him his full demands ; that all the Pope's adherents felt that he ought to give way, and that his successor would blame his memory as having uselessly compromised the power of the Holy See. The Pope replied, with gentleness, that no doubt the opinion of men was something, and that it was possible he might be blamed, but that his opinions had their foundation in his conscience, that upon this he took his stand, and easily forgot the judgment of men to think only of the judgment of God. (Vol. iv. p. 144.)
M. de Chabrol then says that he tried to move him by his feelings, speaking of the sufferings, not of himself alone, but of so many persons on his account.
He was affected, but I had gained no real victory against his inconceivable obstinacy. For himself, he said, he was prepared for everything, and cared little what happened to him. As for the others God would provide, but that he would never purchase the peace of which I spoke, or seek to avoid the reproaches with which I threatened him, by the sacrifices which were proposed to him. He left me, seeming, I repeat, much affected, but resolved. (Vol. iv. p. 145.)
M. de Chabrol continues his reports. He learns from Dr. Porta that the Pope's health is giving way, that his anxiety pre-vents his sleeping, and that he seems crushed by the fatigue of these discussions, and by his sense of the responsibility resting on him. M. de Chabrol's inference is, that the bishops should see him again, and try what repeated conferences would do, and that ' all other possible means are to be used to work on his feelings.' Then he writes : 'Dr. Porta has served us well. He went out yesterday, and took an opportunity this morning to assure the Pope, on his own knowledge, that the whole population, both of Savona and Genoa, are looking for his giving way.
The reports continue in the same strain, but, says the author, the letters of the bishops suddenly become as short and enigmatic as those of the Prefect are clear and detailed.' May 18th, they say that the Pope told them that ' his head was worn out, and that he should be in a better condition in the evening. The fact was, that the ten days during which he had been subject to this incessant persecution had been too much for his bodily and mental strength.'
Twenty-four hours later, without entering into any further details, the bishops report that, having found the Pope tolerably well disposed, they had taken advantage of it to obtain his agreement to several articles relating to the canonical institution, and the additional clause to the Concordat [i.e., the clause authorising the metropolitan to give institution, if not given by the Pope within three months]. The Pope having by degrees become familiarised with this idea, they had even taken the pen and sketched a draught of what they hoped he would agree to. ' This morning we drew out the whole clearly and in French. We presented it to the Pope. He wished for some changes of expression, some additional phrases, some trifling suppressions, and the result is on the whole tolerably good much better than we flattered ourselves a few days ago that we could obtain.' The note thus hastily corrected by its authors in the Pope's cabinet, and of which we shall later republish the text entire, was with his consent left by the bishops upon the Holy Father's chimney-piece. Next morning, at a very early hour, they all set off together for Paris. (Vol. iv. p. 153.) This memorandum made the Pope promise,—I. That he would grant institution to the persons nominated by the Emperor. 2. That he would extend the same provision to the Churches of Tuscany, Parma, and Placentia by a new Concordat. 3. That he would consent to the insertion in the Concordat of a clause providing that he would expedite the Bulls for the Emperor's nominees within a time to be fixed, which he thought could not be less than six months, and if they were delayed beyond six months (for any reason except the personal unworthiness of the persons named), authorising the metropolitan of the vacant Church, or in default of him the senior bishop of the ecclesiastical province, to give the Bulls in his name. Finally, the Pope makes these concessions in the hope of obtaining for the Holy See the ' liberty, independence, and dignity which become it.' (Vol. iv.P430-)
The fact was, and Dr. Porta's reports fully bear it out, that both the body and the mind of the Holy Father had given way under the stress of perpetual anxiety, agitation of feelings, and loss of sleep, continued without sparing during so many days. For several days past he had c felt that he was no longer master of himself, and that (in his own words) he had been in a state of intoxication.'
On the night preceding the departure of the bishops the assistant-chamberlain, who slept in the room opening into the Pope's bedroom, heard him for the first time uttering deep sighs, and accusing himself out loud in terms of the strongest self-condemnation. At seven in the morning he caused M. La Gorse, Commandant of the Palace, to be called, and asked with extreme anxiety whether the bishops were gone, and sent to request the immediate attendance of the Prefect of Montenotte. Before M. de Chabrol had arrived Pius VIL sent again to him by M. La Gorse, and immediately explained to him with great agitation that he had not adverted the evening before to the last lines of the note that had been left with him, that the bishops must immediately be informed by courier. Then begging the Commandant of the Palace to sit down while he corrected a postscript written in the margin of the note which he held in his hand, he began to make so many corrections and interlineations, that when M. de Chabrol arrived half an hour later the note had become very difficult to understand. (Vol. iv. p. 158.)
M. de Chabrol saw that the Pope was in a state of mind in. which it was useless to oppose or reason with him, he took the note, and, leaving the room, tried to decipher it with Dr. Porta. But he was soon recalled. This time it was, not the Iast words, but the first clause in which the Holy Father saw the greatest difficulty. He admitted having read it; but he had made an error, and another article must be substituted for it. After trying in vain to calm him, M. de Chabrol left him, promising to return in an hour. When he came back he found Pius VIL in extreme agitation.
He said that he had done wrong (prevarique ) ; that in the last phrase, which treated of the government of the Church, there was a stain of heresy ; that he would a hundred times rather die; that he had not adverted to this last article, and that it was necessary that I should send off a courier to the bishops to get it suppressed. For the rest, he would abide by it, but the suppression of this was absolutely necessary. He would rather make a public outburst (éclat) in order to make his sentiments known.' Little by little M. de Chabrol succeeded in quieting him, especially by giving him an assurance that he would write to the bishops. 'Next day the Pope was in as great a state of nervous agitation as ever. He assured M. de Chabrol that he had not slept at all in the night, and that his head was quite worn out, and he was in the state of a man half-intoxicated.' Dr. Porta thought his state serious. ' He was led to fear some hypochondriacal affection (hypochondriaque). He still hoped, however, that it would not come on. Unhappily the doctor's hopes were not realised. Some days later he was obliged to certify that the Pope's pulse was irregular and his appetite diminished. He observed that the Pope at times broke off what he was saying, remaining wholly absorbed in one thought; and then suddenly woke up from this absorption as if from a dream. In short, he observed every symptom of an hypochondriacal affection, the tendency of which was to destroy the faculties both of the body and of the intellect.'
M. de Chabrol writes that he observes the same symptoms. A few days later he says, 'The Pope is still in the same state ; he expresses no opinion on any subject, but preserves a profound silence towards everyone.' When the Prefect attempted to intro-duce a conversation about the Council, which was already to have met, he made no answer; absorbed in absolute silence, he shut his eyes like a man buried in profound thought, and only came out of it to say, ' Happily I have signed nothing.' The Prefect tried to continue the conversation, but he fell again into the same state.
All the despatches of the Prefect of Montenotte which we have hitherto quoted were official. In a private letter, addressed to M. Bigot de Preameneu at a moment when he thought, prematurely, that the illness of Pius VII. had come to an end, M. de Chabrol expresses himself more clearly as to the real state of the Pope's health, and uses a word which would never have been formed by our pen, if it had not been read first in the private but authentic correspondence of the Imperial Prefect. 'As this letter is confidential, I think it necessary to make known to your Excellency that it is impossible to treat with the Pope unless he is surrounded by a Council equally cautious and firm, so that he may be kept steady in one resolution. You must have seen by my late letters that the irresolution of the Pope, when wholly shut up in himself, goes so far as to affect his health and his reason. At this moment the mental alienation has gone by, and the physical disorder is less severe, but everything shows that some support is necessary to a weakened intellect and a delicate conscience.'
In these words M. de Chabrol seems to have supposed that he was insulting Pius VII., yet, after all, he can say nothing against him except that he had a delicate conscience, a body subject to human infirmities, and an intellect which in bins, as in all other sons of Adam, was liable to be affected by bodily infirmity. But the person upon whom in truth his report puts a brand of never-dying infamy was the heartless tyrant who, for his own selfish purposes, deliberately subjected to a lingering mental torture more subtle, but no less cruel, than the racks on which the bodies of martyrs have so often been extended a man whom the very heathen would have regarded with reverence, both for his age and his secular dignity, while to Christians these titles to reverence were as nothing compared with that due to his apostolic office and dignity, as Vicar of Jesus Christ upon earth. It does not appear that Napoleon, one of whose great qualities was, that he insisted on reading for himself all the reports (whether of his generals or his civil ministers), was moved either to tenderness or remorse when he learned from those of M. de Chabrol that both the body and mind of Pius VII. had, for the moment, given way under his unrelenting cruelty. It is some satisfaction to know that the result brought upon him considerable difficulty, perplexity, and embarrassment. The ' National Council' had been convoked for June 9, and he had confidently reckoned on being able to report to it, that the Pope had accepted his proposals, and on obtaining from it a unanimous vote of adhesion to them. He had obtained something like an acceptance of his terms, but he did not dare to make use of it, for the Holy Father had not only retracted it, but declared that, if any use were made of it, he would declare loudly and publicly what his judgment really was. The Council was postponed to the 17th, in hopes of some favour-able change at Savona. It met at last, but was far from answering his wishes; and M. D'Haussonville says, 'the lamentable occurrences at Savona which have now, for the first time, been made public, were in fact the principal cause of the failure of the Council of 1811.'
I have detailed the proceedings at Savona both because they so strictly relate to Pius VII. himself and because Napoleon's policy of entire concealment has hitherto been so absolutely successful with regard to them that, as the author shows, M. Jauffret, a man who had special means of obtaining official information, and who published, as late as r823, a work in several volumes full of very accurate details on the internal affairs of the French Church; and the Abbé Pradt, who was nominated by Napoleon Archbishop of Malines, and who has left numerous works on contemporary history, were wholly ignorant of the real nature of the events at Savona, and in consequence unable to conjecture the real motives of Napoleon's conduct i with regard to the Council of 1811. But the real history of these proceedings cannot be too widely known in justice to the memory of Pius VII. Care has been taken by the tyrant, and his adherents, and admirers, to let all the world know he made concessions which he afterwards retracted ; but the circumstances under which they were made, the means taken to deceive him into the belief that he was only doing what was judged by all the best and most religious men cardinals, prelates, priests, and laymen to be necessary in the interests of the Church, and finally that he did not, even for a moment, give way even to this pressure until his sufferings of mind and body had been so long continued as for the moment to over-throw the balance of his mind and prevent his knowing what he was doing all this has hitherto been carefully concealed and is most clearly proved by the official correspondence of M. de Chabrol. It throws light, moreover, upon the character of Napoleon as well as upon that of Pius. In his whole history I doubt whether there is anything even the murder of D'Enghien or the divorce of Josephine which makes one so deeply feel the utter heartlessness of his selfishness, as does the consideration, that day by day for weeks together, he received and read without compassion, the report of the mental tortures inflicted in cold blood, by his authority and orders, upon a man venerable were it only for his age, his secular dignity, and his misfortunes ; who had a special claim upon himself were it only that he had always shown towards him a personal regard and affection more nearly bordering on weakness than anything else in his character ; and who added to all this the infinitely higher dignity of being the Vicar of Christ, which there is good reason to believe Napoleon, however irreligious in practice, really recognised with an interior faith.
The next scene described at Iength by the author is that of the Council of 1811, officially termed ` National,' although, as he shows, it had no claim to that title. Had my object been to select the most interesting parts of the volumes before me, not to confine myself to those which bear most directly on Pius VII., I might perhaps have gone into the details given upon this subject in the forty-eighth, forty-ninth, and fiftieth chapters of M. D'Haussonville's book, even in preference to those which I have already given. Here again he has been fortunate in obtaining several original narratives of all that happened which have not Pius VII. at Savona and Fontainebleau. 293 been available to those who wrote before him, and his narrative is most graphic and interesting. What is specially to be observed is that Napoleon, while of course wishing that the proceedings of what he called a National Council should appear free, took especial pains to keep undiminished the terror which he had already imposed on its members by the persecution of the Abbé d'Astros, of the 'Cardinals in black,' and of so many others Immediately before the assembling of the Council he had broken out with strange and most undignified violence against M. de Bois-Chollet, Bishop of Séez, a man who had done great services in the pacification of La Vendée, and against whom there seems to have been literally no charge even of opposition to the Emperor's policy, but who was complained of by the Mayor, to whom he had given some slight offence. Napoleon, who visited his diocese with Marie Louise, called him before him, and after railing at him in coarse language, ordered all his papers and those of his vicar-general to be seized, and commanded him immediately to resign his see. Then he sent for the chaplains.
These gentlemen found Napoleon kneeling in a chair, the back of which he held in his hands. This was with him an habitual attitude. They began very humbly to intercede on behalf of their bishop, when the Emperor began one of those scenes of premeditated violence in which he seemed to delight more then ever. The victim selected was M. de Gallois, a simple parish priest, made an honorary grand-vicar by M. de Bois-Chollet. He was a priest of great virtue, celebrated for his knowledge of the canons, and who was considered the model ecclesiastic of the diocese. Napoleon, still leaning on his chair, with-out giving them the least salutation, abruptly addressed the canons the moment they had entered the room, and asked very shortly ' Which of you guides your bishop, who is nothing better than a fool?' One of them pointed to M. de Gallois. ' Ah ! is it you ? Why did not you advise him to attend at the marriage of the Rosières ?' a little disconcerted but much more astonished, first looked at the Emperor, whose eyes seemed to give him a sign to answer without delay_ ' Sire, I was not here when those Rosières were married.' ' Why did you make your bishop issue that circular about the suppressed feasts?' 'Sire, I was still absent and, to speak the whole truth, as soon as I knew of it I returned to Sêez to advise a circular of a very different nature, which did actually appearantly where were you then ?' ' With my family.' ' And with such a bishop, who is nothing better than a F fool, why are you so often absent ? and who governs the diocese then ? and why did you become gland-vicar to such a bishop ?' ' Sire, I obey my superiors. Every ecclesiastic owes obedience to his superiors.' ' Are you a good Gallican ?' ' Yes, Sire, perhaps one of the most decided in your empire.' (Vol. iv.P. 179.)
The result was that M. de Gallois was sent to a dungeon at Vincennes, and was never restored to liberty till the fall of the Empire. The ministers interceded for him, but Napoleon said he was ' too clever.' This case was just before the meeting of the Council.
Pius VII. at Savona and Fontainebleau. 295 other reason, he spoke them as they had been written. Then, when each of the bishops was asked, according to custom, whether he consented that the session should be opened, tho Archbishop of Bordeaux (who was reputed to be a saint) said, bowing his head, ' Yes, I consent, saving always the obedience due to the Sovereign Pontiff, which I engage and swear to observe? When the proceedings opened, his uncle, Cardinal Fesch, the president, himself knelt down first of all and took the oath, ending, ' I promise and swear true obedience to the Roman Pontiff, successor of S. Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, and Vicar of Jesus Christ upon. earth.' He then called on all the others to take the same oath, one by one, and was observed to be specially scrupulous in requiring the formula should be distinctly pronounced, when it came to the turn of any who had formerly been constitutionalists, or whose fidelity to the Holy See was for any reason suspected.
Napoleon was so little pleased with these proceedings that he gave the most positive orders that the ' Moniteur' should give no account whatever of the opening of the Council, and rated Cardinal Fesch. Extreme precautions were taken to prevent the publication of any account of what had taken place.
I must refer to chapters xlviii., xlix., and 1. of the author's work and to the valuable documents given in the appendix to vol. iv. for the details as to the debates and proceedings of the Council. They are most interesting.
The Council was divided into two groups most unequal in number. On one side was the small cabal of bishops who acted as managers on behalf of the Emperor. In addition to the four who had been sent to Savona (that is, MM. de Barral, Duvoisin, de Manny, and the Patriarch of Venice) there were Cardinal Maury and the Abbé de Pradt. With them the Sovereign was free to discuss without mystery or concealment all the resolutions which he wished to be proposed to the Council; for there was perfect confidence on both sides. With them he was perfectly at his ease in concerting without reserve whatever means he thought most proper in order to triumph over the opposition of their colleagues. Alongside of these complacent prelates, whose number as we have seen was so very small, or rather in opposition to them, was almost the whole mass of the bishops collected from the provinces of France and from beyond the Alps. These bishops, utterly strangers to politics and party spirit, were all animated by an immense desire of conciliation ; and had made up their minds to make every sacrifice, not absolutely against their consciences, to procure the peace of the Church. Their admiration for the great man who governed France was so great, their assurance of the wisdom of his plans still so entire, and their faith in the power of his genius so unshaken, that they arrived in Paris with the deepest conviction that everything must have been almost entirely settled beforehand at Savona, and that no concession would be demanded either of the Holy Father or of themselves which would be contrary either to their religion or to their dignity. Such was the mirage of happiness which the Minister des Cultes, speaking in the name of his master, dispelled at a single blow on the second clay of sitting]. Hardly could the unhappy bishops believe their ears. Not more scared would be a band of pilgrims who heard for the first time the roar of the lion in the desert. What was now to be wished, to be done, or managed ? To the guileless security of the first days there succeeded a want of confidence reaching the extreme of terror. What they professed to themselves was that they would be firm in the good cause and accomplish their duty to the end, but they secretly asked themselves whether they had the strength to do it. Midway between the Court prelates prepared to do anything, and the majority of the Council so little satisfied but so much terrified, fluctuated the president of the Council, himself drawn in opposite directions by his ultrarnontane convictions and his dynastic inclinations, without credit with his nephew, without influence over his colleagues, full of good intentions, agitation, and contradictory views, and with all his impetuosity managing only to embroil matters more by his want of good sense, discretion, and tact. (Vol. p. 232.)
No state of things, as M. D'Haussonville observes, could have been more favourable than this to the wishes of Napoleon, and yet so exorbitant were his demands, that in the end he had to break up this assembly and have recourse to more violence against its members. It was with extreme difficulty that his uncle could prevent the assembled bishops from going in a body to ask for the liberty of the Holy Father ; and, what still more enraged him, the committee appointed by the Council to report on the matter voted, that the Council was not competent to settle the question of the institution of bishops. He dissolved the Council, and ordered four of the leading bishops (the Archbishop of Bordeaux, the Bishops of Ghent, Troyes, and Tournai) to be sent to dungeons at Vincennes. The first of the four, who fully expected this sentence, and was prepared for it, was not actually seized, because the Minister of Police, the unscrupulous Savary, remonstrated, saying that he was regarded by all men as a saint, and that the universal feeling would be against such a step. The others remained in imprisonment, more or less severe, until the fall of the Empire.
Napoleon, having thus not only dissolved his Council but taken measures which, even if it had still been sitting, would have deprived it of all plausible pretence of freedom, caused his ministers to deal with each of the bishops severally, and by threats and persuasion to obtain his promise to vote for the resolutions demanded by the Emperor. When this had been done, the Council was again called together and obliged to vote ; and that those who had been compelled to promise might be kept to their engagement, the vote was taken, not as before by ballot, but by a public vote. What the Emperor demanded was then carried, but thirteen, or as it seems fourteen, bishops still ventured to vote against it. At this last sitting, on August 5, 1811, a report of what had gone on at Savona, drawn up by the Archbishop of Tours and altered by Napoleon himself, was read. This was the first intimation the Council had had on the subject. The President then put to the vote two questions, after saying that as the majority had already expressed their approval of them, discussion was needless. The first was that 'The National Council is in case of necessity competent to decree as to the institution of bishops.' The Archbishop of Bordeaux publicly protested that he did not admit the competence of the assembly, and the Bishop of Chambéry pro-posed as an amendment ' in case of extreme necessity'; but the original resolution was carried. The next, carried without the formality of a vote, was ' Should the Pope refuse to confirm the decrees which the Council shall make as to the institution of bishops, that will be a case of necessity.' Then the decree itself was voted and signed by the President and secretaries.
Conformably to the spirit of the Holy Canons, arch-bishoprics and bishoprics cannot remain vacant more than a year in all. During that space of time the nomination, institution, and consecration ought to be completed. (ART II.) The Emperor shall be petitioned to continue to nominate to vacant sees in conformity to the concordats, and the bishops nominated by the Emperor shall address themselves to our Holy Father the Pope for canonical institution. (ART. III.) Within six months after the notification of such nomination, macle to the Pope in the usual way, the Pope shall give canonical institution, in conformity to the concordats. (ART. IV.) Should the six months expire without the Pope having given institution, the metropolitan, or, in default of him, the senior bishop of the ecclesiastical province, shall proceed to the institution of the bishop nominated. If the metropolitan is to be instituted, the senior bishop shall confer institution. (ART. V.) The present decree shall be submitted for the approbation of our Holy Father the Pope, and for this purpose His Majesty shall be petitioned to permit that a deputation of six bishops should wait upon His Holiness to beg him to confirm this decree, which alone can bring to a conclusion the troubles of the Churches of France and Italy. (Vol. iv. p. 368.)
And now he had at least obtained a vote from his so-called Council in favour of all that he wished. Six bishops were to lay it before the Holy Father, and ask his confirmation. The accounts of his bodily and mental health sent by M. de Chabrol had at last become so much improved that it was no longer impossible to negotiate with him. But the same unscrupulous agent had already reported that it was useless to try the old plan of keeping him absolutely without communication with any advisers, and then working upon his feelings until he at last gave way. The result of this he saw would only be (as it had already been) to wear out his strength both of body and mind, and wholly to incapacitate him from making any definite arrangement. What the Holy Father had declared from the beginning was, that he could do nothing without the presence and assistance of his natural counsellors, and M. de Chabrol had now reported the same thing. Napoleon therefore resolved to allow some of the Cardinals to resume their natural post in attendance on the Pope. But who were they to be? As for those who were called the 'Cardinals in black,' whom for their fidelity to their conscience he had already deprived of their revenues, forbidden to wear the dress of their office, an sent to live in different out-of-the-way towns of France under the surveillance of the police, he felt sure that he could not trust them ; still less the Pope's former ministers, who had been lying in dungeons at Fenestrella or elsewhere for their fidelity to him. And yet to send none but Frenchmen born would hardly do. Accordingly he selected four, of whom three were Italians Cardinals Dugnami, Roverella, Ruffo, and De Bayane. They were to go, ostensibly free to counsel the Holy Father on the questions in dispute between him and the Emperor. It is humiliating to find that they submitted to pledge themselves in writing, before they went, to advise whatever Napoleon wished. Cardinal Pacca, in recording this, says :
I blush and grieve in making up my mind to expose an action of my colleagues which must inflict a real stain on their memory. But the whole world ought to know the base intrigues employed by the French Government to draw from the Pope concessions injurious to the Holy See, in order that in time to come the like may not be successful against Popes. When the Cardinals set out, it was rumoured in Paris that they had left with the Emperor, at his desire, a promise in writing, and signed. by each of them, that they would use their influence with the Pope to induce him to give way to the Emperor's desires. The truth of this rumour was at first doubted by good Catholics ; they could not believe that cardinals of revered character could forget their solemn oaths and commit an act, I will not say of treachery, but of unpardonable weakness. They went [says the author] as if voluntarily to offer to the suffering Pontiff, a prisoner at Savona, their treacherous assistance and advice, professedly disinterested, but they had concerted every particular of it beforehand with his all-powerful gaoler. It must be added, that this unworthy comedy was to last a long time. Is it credible, those who had under-taken these characters mustered courage to represent them without fear for whole months ? (Vol. v. p. I.)
But the Emperor heard of another person who might, he thought, be useful in the same way M. Bertalozzi, Archbishop of Edessa in partibus. He was in Italy, and had not even been called to the Council. But it carne to Napoleon's ears that he had the entire confidence of the Holy Father. He received orders to come immediately to Paris ; but had no sooner crossed the frontier than he was arrested and committed to prison. Whether this was done to intimidate him, or whether it was a ' regrettable mistake' of the imperial police, the author doubts. However this may be, ` no one could from that moment be more strongly convinced than he that the great thing for the head of the Catholic Church to do was to put an end to the differences which led to mistakes so unpleasant.'
While Napoleon was thus providing a council of advisers for the Pope, he did not allow the bishops of what he called the National Council at Paris to choose those of their own number who were to go in their name to present what had been voted by them for his acceptance. He chose the Archbishop of Tours, the Archbishop-nominate of Malines (De Pradt), the Patriarch of Venice, and the Bishops of Feltre and Placentia ; he afterwards added to their number the Bishops of Trêves, Evreux, and Pavia. They received their instructions not from the Council, but from himself. It was his character, that success always made him raise his terms and make more exorbitant demands, and this was the case now that the bishops of the Empire had ended so in-gloriously the Council in which they had at first shown unusual courage. He insisted that the Pope should receive, absolutely and without modification, all the propositions as to the institution of bishops which he had forced on the assembly at Paris. They were to be applied to all the sees in his Empire. At first he contended that they should be applied to the See of Rome, as well as all others. This was too much. Even his own creatures among the bishops complained that the faithful would not hear of it, and his ministers supported their objection. Napoleon, there-fore, found out that Rome was not included in the decree ; but he still required that the Pope should receive it ` pure and simple,' and that it should include all places which he either had added or might add to his Empire. It is a remarkable proof of the utterly unlimited extent of his voracity for annexation, that he expressly says, the decree includes `whatever he may hereafter annex on the side of Spain' ; showing that his brother Joseph, the puppet King of Spain, whom he had set up, was already destined to be re-moved in due time, and his kingdom annexed to the Empire, as that of Louis Bonaparte in Holland had already been. When all instructions had been given, the Cardinals, the Pope's faithful advisers, and the prelates, who came to treat with him nominally on behalf of the Council, set off almost at the same moment ; but by different routes, lest Pius VII. should see that their plans had been arranged together.
The Holy Father had been again in absolute solitude since the bishops had left Savona on May ea. ' One hopes,' says the author (though nothing shows it) ` that his common books of devotion, paper, pens and ink, and the "Office of the B. Virgin," which had been seized, had been restored to him. But certainly none of his old servants had been allowed to return to him.' All access to him was watched as closely as ever. All the Italians who had left Rome with him were scattered, some in the State prison of Fenestrella, some in other imperial fortresses. Dr. Porta alone was left to him, not without good cause, as his daily visits were more serviceable to the clever Prefect of Montenotte than to the Pontiff himself, M. de Chabrol, exactly informed of the state of health and disposition of his prisoner, was the only person who came from time to time to interrupt the melancholy monotony of his existence by bringing him such news from Paris as he thought it expedient he should hear. His chief subject was to enlarge on anything which had fallen from the Emperor.
M. de Chabrol could hardly think the Pope in his right mind, because when he exhorted him to secure the triumph of the Church by uniting himself to Napoleon, the Pope suggested that possibly constraint and persecution might be advantageous to the Church. There might be fewer Christians, perhaps, but better, and more zealous.' ' I left the Pope,' he said, 'amazed to see the class of facts and ideas in which he seeks examples for his conduct and support for his views. I assure you, however, it is the exact truth.' Meanwhile his reports, especially of what he learns through Dr. Porta, are sent in continually. On the 29th of August arrived the Cardinal de Bayane and M. Bertalozzi ; a few days later the other cardinals. The absolute prohibition of all news except what M. de Chabrol had found it convenient to communicate (the quantity of which was less remarkable than its falsehood) made him wholly dependent on them for all knowledge of what had really taken place in the Council at Paris. They had offered themselves as his advisers. Certainly their first duty as honest men, not to say as members of the Sacred College solemnly sworn as the Pope's counsellors, was to undeceive him as to the false accounts given by Napoleon and his agents with regard to the opinions entertained by the Catholic bishops, clergy, and laity. But unhappily they had made engagements to Napoleon inconsistent with the honest discharge of their duties to the Holy Father. They left him under the impression that the Council had been wholly favourable to Napoleon's demands ; communicating only the votes ultimately passed, but wholly concealing the opposition made to the Emperor's demands the demand for the liberty of the Holy Father the vote carried that the Council was not competent to settle the question of episcopal institution the arrest of the three bishops who were actually in the dungeons of Vincennes and, lastly, the means by which the votes which they communicated had been obtained. This great breach of honour and fidelity was but a sample of all their proceedings. There were at Savona two sets of ecclesiastics -- the bishops sent ostensibly by the Council, really by Napoleon, and the Cardinals, with his old confessor, the Archbishop of Edessa, who had come to be his advisers. These two bodies really concerted together all that was to be said or done, while the Pope was made to believe that there was no communication between them. Nay, care was taken that his Council should talk over affairs with him one by one, in order that the impression might be produced on his mind, that the opinion and advice which each of them expressed to him was not concerted even by themselves in common, but was the spontaneous judgment of each one of them, arrived at separately as his judgment upon the questions which the Holy Father put to him. M. de Chabrol wrote to the minister, after the two first had arrived, ` The opinion of two men worthy of confidence could not be insignificant, given, as it was, at once, and when they were still isolated, so that their advice could not be attributed to any pre-concerted deliberation, but must have its full moral weight.' No man, surely, who reads these proceedings, can restrain his indignation, when he remembers that every word spoken by the Pope's advisers had been settled beforehand with his oppressor. The Archbishop of Tours writes in the same way to the minister, how important it is that they should each have private conversations with the Holy Father, instead of going to him together. With the same object, the Cardinals were most careful to have no communication with the bishops sent by Napoleon ; they privately communicated the state of his mind and purposes to his gaoler, by whom all they said was repeated to the bishops.
Before long it appeared that the Pope had not been merely alleging a fallacious excuse, when he said that he could not meet the Emperor's wishes unless he had the presence and advice of his natural counsellors, and that if they were restored to him a settlement might perhaps be made. We have seen that M. de Chabrol expected important effects from the presence of the cardinals, and the result confirmed his expectations. It seems as if Pius VII. had before been really uncertain in his own mind whether or not he could, without betraying his trust, concede what Napoleon demanded with regard to the institution of bishops ; and felt that if he could it was evidently important to do so, in order to obtain peace for the Church. But the change was so momentous that, when he thought of conceding it by his own unaided judgment and in entire ignorance how the matter would be viewed by other men of learning, sanctity, and high office in the Church, his conscience refused to take on it such a burden, and he could not make up his mind to the responsibility. This responsibility he no longer felt when he was acting, not merely on the advice of the cardinals and of his old confessor, the Arch-bishop of Edessa, but on what they assured him was the deliberate judgment, not only of all the bishops of France and Italy assembled at Paris, but of all good and sober-minded Catholics, both clerical and lay, throughout the civilised world. The fraud, concerted by Napoleon and carried out by these cardinals, produced its full effect. The result was, that before the cardinals had been a month at Savona, he drew up a Brief addressed to the arch-bishops and bishops assembled at Paris, in which he recited and confirmed the resolutions which had been passed on the 7th of August ; thus conceding the whole of Napoleon's demands about the institution of bishops. The French bishops asked for some changes, chiefly verbal, in the drawing up of the Brief, and to most of these the Pope consented. M. de Chabrol then begged him to write to the Emperor. To this he willingly assented, and wrote, with his own hand, a letter of most fatherly kindness. Nothing could exceed the satisfaction and joy both of the cardinals and the bishops. M. de Chabrol felt quite as much. That Napoleon, a man who well knew his own mind, and who had obtained all that he had demanded, should be otherwise than satisfied, never occurred to any of them. The bishops asked Cardinal Fesch to obtain for them, as the reward of their own services, the restoration of the Pope to liberty ; nor did they doubt that they should obtain it. The Pope himself considered the change completed, and although he felt it to be momentous, evidently hoped for the best. In fact, if the Brief had been accepted by Napoleon, as no one doubted it would, and put into immediate operation, it is difficult to imagine that the new system introduced by it would ever have been abolished except by the express command of Pius VII. or one of his successors : for even when the time of Napoleon's fall arrived, those who came in his place would hardly have ventured, whatever might have been their individual wishes, to deprive the civil government of the immense accession of powers he had obtained for it.
But the good Providence of God, once more taking as its instrument the evil passions of the oppressor himself; averted from the Church this danger. Napoleon had, somewhat suddenly, become unwilling to make up his quarrel with the Church, even upon the terms which he had himself dictated. He was on the eve of the Russian war. That he must be victorious in it was a matter of course; and when the time came that he should return to Paris, after conceding peace on his own terms at Moscow or St. Petersburg, what was there to hinder him from making himself far more absolutely master of the Church than he would be, if he now carried out on his side the terms which he had proposed, and which Pius VII. had accepted ?
He was no longer content that the Pope should reside, as he had himself proposed, either at Rome or at Avignon, in a sort of quasi-independence. He had made up his mind that for the future the Head of the Catholic Church should reside in Paris, and be as completely a tool in his hands as the Russian prelates already were in those of the Czar. He delighted to feel, that he should thus make himself really master of the consciences as well as the bodies and properties of all Catholics, not merely on the European Continent (which he regarded as already his own), but of the millions in Great Britain and Ireland, in America, in Asia, and throughout the world. The first fruits he would reap, by employing the whole authority of the Church against the English and Spanish opponents of his brother Joseph, and against the English in Sicily and Naples. But what might be the future uses for which he might employ such a vassal, who could say ? And against hopes like these what was there to set on the other side? —merely the welfare of the Church, the glory of God, the souls of men, and his own honour and good faith. Such things were of course less than dust in the balance. Accordingly he resolved, on some pretext or other, to pick a new quarrel with the Pope, to retain him in captivity, and leave matters unsettled until his triumphant return from Russia, when he would take the settlement of them into his own hands. His first ground of quarrel was, that the Bulls for the institution of those whom he called his bishops' had not arrived, although the Pope in the terms of his Brief had engaged to send them. In fact there was a little delay; but M. de Chabrol explained how it arose, by pointing out that all the secretaries and other officials accustomed to draw up such documents had been separated from the Pope, and that the Bulls were being prepared as speedily as was possible under the circumstances. But the wolf had no difficulty in finding a new ground of quarrel with the lamb. The next was about the application of the terms of the Brief to the episcopal sees immediately about Rome. They had always been in the immediate nomination of the Holy Father. The Emperor, having seized the temporal dominions of the Holy See, had taken this nomination to himself Now it had been well understood, and expressly agreed to by Napoleon himself, that Pius VII. should not be required in any way to sanction the annexation of the States of the Church to the Empire. The Pope had declared that to himself personally nothing could be more grateful, but that he felt precluded from giving any sanction to it, by the oath which he had taken on his election to the Holy See. The matter therefore had been arranged, by adopting in the Brief such general terms as provided for the nomination by the Emperor to the episcopal sees in all districts annexed to the Empire, without mention of the States of the Church in particular. Thus Napoleon practically secured his object, as he was in actual possession; but Pius did no act recognising his possession. The Emperor therefore now demanded that it should be expressly stated that the settlement applied to all the Sees of the Empire,
of which the Roman States form a part.' This was selected as a ground of quarrel, because it was well understood that it was the one thing to which Pius could not in conscience agree; and Napoleon's present object was to demand something, which he would be, however reluctantly, obliged to refuse. A little later he objected to the terms of the Brief, because it provided that a metropolitan, if he gave institution to a bishopric, should do it 'by the Pope's authority,' and because it spoke of the Roman Church as the ' Mother of all Churches.' In a word, if the Holy Father was willing at once to enter voluntarily into the condition of entire vassalage which he designed for him, things might be so arranged at once, and he might be left during the Emperor's absence as the most dignified of his slaves ; if not, (and Napoleon. neither expected nor altogether wished it) then the matter must stand over, until he could finally arrange it himself after his great Russian triumph. Anyhow it must be done by himself, and himself alone; for he had, not without good grounds, the most absolute confidence in the ascendancy which he always gained over every man with whom he came into personal contact, and he felt the matter to be both too difficult and too important to be trusted to any subordinate agent.
With these views the Emperor, as much to the disappointment and astonishment of the able Prefect of Montenotte as of the cardinals and bishops, professed to be wholly dissatisfied with the Brief. The Pope's private and conciliatory letter he refused to answer. When he received it he was at Flushing, on a journey through the northern provinces of his empire, undertaken to prepare matters for the Russian campaign. He wrote instructions to his Minister des Cultes at Paris to keep the Brief absolutely secret, not allowing anyone to know that it had been sent; immediately to break up the Council, and send every one of the bishops out of Paris, not allowing any exception to this except in the case of those who were members of his 'Commission.' As for the Pope, the bishops and cardinals already at Savona were to announce to him the demands of the Emperor. Grievously as they were disappointed at the manner in which their past services had been received, they obeyed. They had an audience on December 13th, but found the Pope inflexible. He was specially displeased with the cardinals. They had come to him professing to act as his own advisers; they had suggested the concessions which he could possibly make, and he had followed their advice; and now in a moment, because it so pleased the tyrant, they came to demand from him further concessions, which they had not only not asked before, but had (either explicitly or implicitly) declared he could not make. They were therefore self-convicted of playing false with him. M. de Chabrol he hardly blamed; he was avowedly the agent of Napoleon. That agent wrote that further concession was, at present, not to be hoped for. ' The Pope has refused it in terms which showed that his resolution was fixed; indeed it was founded upon what the Holy Father termed " an inspiration in his prayers."' He had found that he had been betrayed by his counsellors, and had resolved to act on his own judgment. The most indecent threats, both from the bishops and even more from the Prefect, produced no effect on him. He was calm as ever, but quite unmoved. He resolved, however, to write again to Napoleon himself, and M. D'Haussonville gives his letter. It was in his usual spirit of gentleness; it ended that, with aid from Heaven, we will do, in order to satisfy you, every-thing that can possibly be made compatible with our Apostolic
Ministry. We live in the confidence that by His help who is the supreme disposer of good things in this world, we shall then be able to arrange everything to our mutual satisfaction. Whatever tends to the spiritual advantage of the Church will at the same time restore tranquillity to our own mind ; a tranquillity the more necessary to us because our advanced age brings every day more forcibly before our mind the strict account which we are on the point of giving to God of our own awful duties. With overflowing heart we pray the Lord to pour out upon your Majesty the abundance of His benedictions.'
What answer could Napoleon give to this touching supplication of the Holy Father ? He dictated it himself to his Minister des Cultes. Reproaches, recriminations, threats this was all that the Emperor returned to Pius VIL for his advances and his benedictions. (Vol. v. p. 127.)
This insulting answer fills more than four pages of the volume before me. It is hardly possible to give any idea of it by extracts. What Pius VII. seems to have felt most when it was read to hint by M. de Chabrol (for the cardinals and bishops to whom it was addressed in the name of the minister, though dictated by Napeleon himself; had left Savona before it arrived) was first, that it accused him of ' hoping to excite public troubles;' then that it called on him to resign his office, if he was so ignorant as not to know what every seminarist knows. On hearing the first of these propositions, he protested, 'Never.' When the letter was read, 'He listened with profound emotion. I saw him so much overcome and agitated that his hand trembled greatly.' When M. de Chabrol pressed the advice, he said that, 'Come what might, he would never resign.' What seemed most queer to M. de Chabrol he shall tell in his own words :----' He is always fortifying himself with the idea that God will interfere in the decision of his affairs.' M. de Chabrol was by no means the first, and I fear he will not be the last, who thinks that he cannot more strongly describe the infatuation of his victim, than by saying, ' He trusted in God that He would deliver him. Let Him now deliver him if He will have him.'
The mere rudeness and impertinence of Napoleon's language does not seem to have affected the Holy Father ; as for instance, 4 His Majesty pities the ignorance of the Pope, and feels compassion when he sees a Pontiff who might have discharged so grand and glorious a part become the calamity of the Church; ' ' His Majesty is better acquainted with these [ecclesiastical] matters than the Pope, and too well, ever to be turned aside from the course he has marked out for himself;' and much more of the same kind.
Negotiation was now at an end. Napoleon gave express orders that the imprisonment of the Holy Father should be made as severe as ever; i.e., that no person should on any ground have access to him; that he should be deprived of all books, pen, ink, paper, &c. And M. de Chabrol announces that the order was fulfilled. He gave positive orders that the very existence of the Pope's Brief, and also the fact that he had sent the Bulls for the institution of Napoleon's bishops, should be kept an inviolable secret. And thus it happened that those bishops never were canonically instituted into their sees, although there was no longer any reason why they might not have been so. Thus Cardinal Maury never really was Archbishop of Paris, or Mgr. de Pradt Archbishop of Mechlin ; and the result was that at the fall of the Empire they lost their possession of those sees.
All this part of the history has been till now entirely unpublished. The only authorities for it are to be found in the secret correspondence and reports of Napoleon, his ministers, and his agents, and these have hitherto been strictly concealed. Not one of the important letters given by M. D'HaussonvilIe has been admitted into the official publication of the 'Correspondence of Napoleon L,' and, he adds, nothing can be more curious than the absolute contradiction which is to be seen throughout, in the manifestoes, letters, &c. of Napoleon intended for the public, and those which he designed only for his ministers. He is perhaps the only man in history who was invariably, universally, and deliberately false in all his statements and dealings with others, and who yet retained such clear perspicuity of mind as never in any instance to allow himself to be the dupe even of one of his own most favourite lies. At this very time, for instance, his boast both to the Pope and to the world at large was that the clergy of his Empire were to a man with him and against the Holy Father. His private correspondence proves that he never for one moment allowed himself to be deluded upon this subject; he well understood and ever remembered that, whenever he had to do with a Catholic, he had to do with one who regarded him only as the early Christians regarded Nero and Domitian. He could never take precautions enough against them. This was his reason for chasing every bishop from Paris. At this time he writes to his minister to remove the Sulpicians from every seminary in France ; to allow the immunity from military service, which had been given to the Seminarists, to be extended only to the dioceses of those bishops who had given him complete satisfaction. He at once excepted the dioceses of Saint Brieux, Ghent, Tournai, Troyes, and the Maritime Alps (the last was held by Mgr. Miollis, the original of the bishop whose portrait is drawn in ' Les Misérables'), and adds, ` report to me which dioceses it will be well to strike with this interdiction. But this manner of acting must be kept most secret.' Then he wrote to break up all houses of Sisters of Charity, who adhered to their rule by continuing to obey their superiors whom he had displaced. He was by no means insensible to their services to his sick and wounded soldiers; but he felt that the better Catholic anyone was, the more sure it was that the influence of that person would be thrown into the scale against his plans.
Napoleon set out for Russia. He stopped some days at Dresden, where he was surrounded by the princes of Germany. Some years before he had declared that he was compelled by his ' conscience' to interfere with the Pope because he was suzerain of Germany. He was now really exhibiting himself in that capacity. He was attended by the Emperor and Empress of Austria, by the Kings of Saxony, Bavaria, Wurtemburg, and by almost countless princes and nobles ; the unfortunate and op-pressed King of Prussia following him more like a captive than an ally. There, on the same day, he wrote two letters on ecclesiastical subjects ; the one ordered new severities against the Sisters of Charity, the other ordered the removal of the Pope from Savona to Fontainebleau. No person was too humble, none too high, for his ever-wakeful wrath.
He laid down every detail of the Pope's journey. He was to be dressed as a simple priest, to pass through Turin, Chambéry, and Lyons by night. His companions were to be Dr. Porta and the Archbishop of Edessa, sent for on purpose. The real reason for this last measure seems t0 have been that he would have his prisoner within his own reach on his triumphant return home, as he had resolved to take the matter into his own hands. Characteristically he invented a false one in writing to his brother-in-law, Prince Borghese, to whom he gave his orders. The Pope nearly died on his journey; and a surgeon was sent for while he lay at the Hospital of Mont Cenis, and told, 'You will see a sick man, for whose relief you are to do all you can. I do not say who he is. You will no doubt recognise him; but if you make it known, farewell to your liberty, perhaps to your life.' Such was the liberty of private subjects under the First Empire.
At Fontainebleau the Pope was intended to have lived in state, and the Emperor's plans for him were in some degree allowed to appear; for the Archbishop's palace at Paris was gorgeously furnished for his use and received a new name—' The Papal Palace, formerly archiepiscopal.' He, however, declined everything of the kind. The carriages and horses provided for him he would not use, nor celebrate Mass pontifically, or even walk in the public gardens. He said he was still a prisoner. He had, however, the use of books, and the company of some ecclesiastics. Months passed rapidly away; and Napoleon returned, not in triumph, but as a fugitive. Not a year ago he had refused to answer the most touching letters from the Holy Father, and had sent in return only one loaded with insults, written nominally by his minister. On January 1st, 1813, he volunteered a letter, for which, as monarchs seldom write such productions, it is difficult to find a royal name. It was what schoolboys would call ` sneaking' ; assuring the Holy Father of his distress last summer when he had heard that he was unwell, and that in spite of all that had happened, his own affection to the person of the Holy Father had never varied, and that he 'prayed God that he might have the glory of settling the government of the Church, and might long enjoy and profit by his work.'
This was followed by negotiations. But Napoleon treated the Pope as he did the allied powers; his demands were as large as they had been even in the hour of his proudest success. The Bishop of Nantes and all the actors on the scene at Savona were now collected in the palace of Fontainebleau, and the Bishop had his instructions from Napoleon.
The Pope and his successors shall swear before their coronation not to do or order anything contrary to the four propositions of the Gallican clergy. The Pope and his successors shall in future have the right to nominate only one-third of the Sacred College, the other two-thirds shall be nominated by the Catholic sovereigns. The Pope shall disapprove and condemn by a solemn Brief the conduct of those cardinals who were not present at the ceremony of the religious marriage of the Emperor ; who, however, will restore to them his good graces, on condition of their consenting to sign the said Brief. Cardinals Pietro and Pacca are excepted from this amnesty, and they are never to be allowed to return to the Holy Father. (Vol. v. p. 216.)
Then the Pope was to reside at Paris, and to receive 80,000L. sterling annually out of his alienated dominions. The institution of bishops, including those of the Roman States, was to be according to the decree of the Council. These terms were pressed upon him, as more moderate terms had been pressed at Savona. The result was the same. He said he could not act without counsellors, and the stress upon his mind already seriously affected his health. The Bishop of Nantes reported this to the minister. Two days later, January 18th, 1813, the night had set in, the Pope had taken his siesta and was sitting in conversation with the cardinals and bishops who resided in the palace, when the door suddenly opened, and the Emperor came in. The party hastened to leave the room; but ` Napoleon,' says Cardinal Pacca, ' ran towards the Pope, seized him in his arms, kissed him, and loaded him with demonstrations of affection.' No discussion took place till the next day. Several succeeding days were spent by the two feted-tête. What passed in these secret conferences has never been known. The accounts published under the Restoration were quite without foundation. The stories of personal violence to the Pope, M. D'Haussonville declares are ' false.'
Pius VII., whom his most intimate servants hesitated to question, and who was always loth to explain the particulars of this interview at Fontainebleau, always denied that any violence had taken place, but gave it to be understood that the ' Emperor had spoken to him, says Cardinal Pacca, with hauteur and contempt, and had even treated him as ignorant of ecclesiastical matters.' On the other hand, Napoleon, in the notes dictated at St. Helena, says absolutely nothing on the subject of the interviews at Fontainebleau. He contents himself with saying that he exercised more patience on this occasion than suited his situation or his character. For our part we have found nothing in any of the numerous documents we have examined to contradict the testimony, unfortunately contradictory, either of Pius VII. or of Napoleon. But if we know nothing of the details of the conferences of Fontainebleau, their result at least is certain. At first sight of the text of the new Concordat it appears that the Emperor did not hesitate to withdraw much of his original pretensions. All the clauses which, according to the Bishop of Nantes, had at first sight so greatly shocked the Holy Father, were totally left out. It contains nothing about the four propositions of the Gallican Church, nor of the interference of the Catholic powers in the composition of the Sacred College. Residence at Paris is not distinctly imposed upon the Holy Father; it is only implied in vague terms that he will fix himself in France or in the kingdom of Italy, (Avignon seems to have been the city preferred by Pius VII.). The Emperor no longer demanded that the 'Cardinals in black' should be censured, nor does he impose upon the Sovereign Pontiff the obligation of banishing from his presence for ever Cardinals de Pietro and Pacca. Moreover, if he maintains the fatal limit of six months for the canonical institution of bishops, he makes in return certain concessions, upon which the Pope set great value, and which he had ruthlessly refused at Savona. The six bishoprics suburban to Rome were re-established and restored to the nomination of the Holy Father. Moreover he was to have the right of nominating to ten bishoprics to be hereafter named, either in France or in Italy. With regard to the bishops of the Roman States absent, owing to circumstances, from their dioceses, the Pope might name them to sees in partibus until they were replaced in vacant sees either in the Empire or the kingdom of Italy. Finally, His Majesty engaged to restore to his favour the cardinals, bishops, priests, and laymen, who had incurred his displeasure during the last few years.