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Henry W. Sage 

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3 1924 092 445 729 

Cornell University 

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This Second Edition of Paved0mmet i den nittende Hundredaar 
is so different from the first that it may almost be called a 
new book. Besides the introductory section, practically the 
whole of the second volume is printed from a fresh manuscript, 
and that part of the first volume, the history of Pius VII., 
for which the former edition served as a basis, contains many 
pages that are wholly new, and only few which have not 
received some addition or alteration. When I first put forth 
this sketch of the modern Papacy, I had never seen Rome, and 
I hardly knew the Roman Church except through books. I 
owe it to the Ministry for Ecclesiastical and Educational Affairs, 
and the Carlsberg Fund, that in repeated visits to Italy, 
Germany, France, and Belgium, of longer or shorter duration, 
I have been enabled to make studies for this work, and to 
become personally acquainted with several of the men who 
have taken a part in making the recent history of the Papacy. 
It was my idea to conclude my account with a brief view of 
the chief points in the papacy of Leo XI 1 1., like those pages 
in the First Edition which dealt with the years immediately 
following the Vatican Council. But I have abandoned that 
design for several reasons. . . . When I came to put down 
on paper the last portion of my work, I saw clearly that the 
right appreciation of a papacy which, like that of Leo XIII., 
is largely occupied with the solution of diplomatic problems 


and the publication of Encyclicals on social questions, could 
not be formed without going pretty fully into things. It is my 
hope before long to be able to offer such a representation, which 
would then serve as an independent supplement to this book, 
and so to fulfil a desire which has been expressed on many 

The completion of the book, contrary to my desire, has 
been deferred. The delay has been caused partly by one or 
two large and unforeseen interruptions in my daily work, 
partly by the extent of the literature that had to be mastered, 
and by frequent difficulties in obtaining the sources which 
have been used in the concluding sections. I had reached 
the middle of my work before I received such important 
contributions to the later history of the Papacy as Purcell's Life 
of Cardinal Manning (2 vols., London 1895), the last volume 
of Ricasoli's Lettere e documenti (Firenze 1895), the first portions 
of the Rivista storica del risorgimento Italiano (Torino i895f), 
which contain amongst other things extracts from Castagnola's 
accounts of the ministerial conferences in 1870, and Nigra's 
Ricordi diplomatic*, del 1870 (in the Nuova Antologia for 1st 
March 1895). I felt that it would be inexcusable to finish 
the book before this new material had been worked into the 
account, but this required time. 

HORNB/EK, 18//& August \i 


The Author of this book, Dr Fredrik Nielsen, was born at 
Aalborg in the year 1846. After being ordained in 1873, 
he was appointed in 1877 Professor of Divinity (Ecclesiastical 
History) in the University of Copenhagen. The year before 
his appointment to that post the first edition of this book 
was published. The second and much altered edition came 
out, one volume at a time, in 1895 and 1898. Two years 
after this latter date, he was appointed Bishop of his native 
town of Aalborg. He had not been Bishop of Aalborg more 
than five years when the government offered him the see 
of Odense, in Fyen. It was an attractive offer. The see 
of Odense is better endowed than that of Aalborg. It has 
an interesting cathedral, and it lies several hours nearer to 
Copenhagen and its libraries. But Bishop Nielsen felt that 
his work at Aalborg was not yet done, and he refused the 
offer. Last year, the government made a fresh proposal. 
Aarhus is the chief town of Jylland or Continental Denmark, 
and the second largest city in the kingdom. Its cathedral 
rivals Roskilde in beauty, if it does not excel it. Important 
educational schemes are under consideration, involving prob- 
ably the creation of a new university at Aarhus, and the 
government felt that no one could so well superintend the 
carrying out of such a project as Bishop Nielsen. Yielding 
to pressure from many quarters, Bishop Nielsen consented to 
the translation, and now presides over the important diocese 
of Aarhus. 



The appointment is as honourable to the Danish govern- 
ment as to Bishop Nielsen. The Bishop is not a man who 
has laid himself out to find favour with people in high position. 
His outspoken dislike of Freemasonry, in the form which it 
assumes on the Continent, is said to have made him an 
object of dislike in eminent places, and it was for a long time 
thought that the Court would be opposed to his advancement. 
On the other hand, he is no adherent of the Radical govern- 
ment which has now been for some years in power ; but that 
government placed him on the important commission, which 
is engaged in drawing up a constitution for the Danish 
Church (Kirkeforfatning), of which, along with Skat Rgfrdam, 
Bishop of Sjselland, he is the leading spirit ; and it is the same 
government which has now brought about his translation to 

Dr Nielsen was much influenced in his earlier days by the 
Grundtvigian revival in the Danish Church. The main feature 
of that revival was a combination of evangelical and spiritual 
fervour with a strong insistence upon the doctrine contained 
in the Apostles' Creed and the Lutheran formularies. Other 
things which were characteristic of Grundtvigianism the Bishop 
of Aarhus has left behind, if he was ever affected by them ; but 
he has lost none of the warm whole-hearted Christian earnest- 
ness which marked the movement. His position may be said 
to be that of a large-minded and statesman-like High Church- 
man among ourselves. How wide is his outlook upon con- 
temporary church life is shown by these volumes themselves. 
He was on terms of intimate friendship with Dollinger during 
the lifetime of that great scholar. Though he has never visited 
England, he reads every important work that appears in this 
country of a theological, philosophical, or historical kind, and 
regularly follows the course of events in England with the 
keenest sympathy and insight. 



There are many points of resemblance between the position 
of the Church of Denmark and that of our own Church at 
home, although the Danish Church makes no claim to have 
preserved a strictly episcopal succession, and there is, perhaps, 
no other body of Christians outside England, which looks upon 
things so nearly as we do ourselves. Standing a little off 
from the main currents of European thought, the Danish 
students and theologians, while sharing to the full the powers 
of hard work and the thoroughness of investigation, which 
are so conspicuous in the German universities, are able to 
exercise an independent judgment upon the problems under 
discussion. They bring to bear upon them a singularly useful 
combination of faculties. There is something eminently sane 
and sensible in their mental constitution, partly owing, it 
may be, to the poetic warmth of heart, which belongs to 
the Scandinavian races, and to that rich vein of humour 
which sees the absurdities into which a narrow logic is 
liable to betray the schools of " rigour and vigour." They are 
clear thinkers, without being misled, as some men are, by the 
very clearness with which their views present themselves. 
Practical considerations exercise with them a wholesome 
influence upon theory. Their language is rich in literature of 
the highest order, and it is a misfortune that so few English 
people are acquainted with it. 

The present work is intended to form part of a larger whole. 
Bishop Nielsen hopes within the present year to finish a third 
volume, dealing with the pontificate of Leo XIII., and thus 
completing the history of the Nineteenth Century. But besides 
this, he has already published, in 1881, the first volume of a 
work on the internal history of the Roman Church during the 
same period. This first volume of Det indre Liv brings the 
account down to the year 1830. The indefatigable author 
hopes, as soon as the third volume of Paved0mmet is done, to 


proceed at once with the next portion of the Indre Liv. The 
whole will then form a complete history of Romerkirken i det 
nittende Hundredaar, the Church of Rome in the Nineteenth 

Besides this important work, Dr Nielsen has published an 
admirable History of the Church in two large volumes 
(Haandbog i Kirkens Historie), the first {Old Kirken) dealing 
with the Patristic period, the second {Middelalderen) with 
the period from Gregory the Great to the eve of the Reforma- 
tion. This book has reached its fifth edition, and has been 
translated not only into German, but also into Magyar and 
Slovenian. He published a volume of Essays and Reviews 
{Karakteristiker og Kritiker) in 1884, and one on Church and 
State (Statskirke og Frikirke) in the year before. In 1889, 
he published an interesting account of the religious develop- 
ment of Gruntvig {N. F. S. Grundtvigs religimse Udvikling). 
He has contributed a good deal, especially on northern subjects, 
to Hauck's (Herzog's) German Realencyclopadie, and is the 
author besides of a large number of Smaaskrifter, on 
Undenominational Schools, Modern Judaism, Free Thought, 
Freemasonry, and similar subjects, as well as papers of a 
biographical character. 

The translation now offered to English readers is the work 
of different hands, and the execution of it has been long 
delayed. I began the translation myself some ten years ago, 
but soon found that other duties made it impossible for me 
to make quick progress with it. At my request the work 
was taken over by Miss Ingeborg Muller, now Mrs Molesworth 
St Aubyn, of Clowance, in Cornwall. She, too, was much 
hindered in her kindly accepted task, and was obliged after 
some time to give it up. I then obtained the help of the 
Rev. A. V. Storm, formerly Danish Chaplain in London, and 
now Pastor of the Citadel Church in Copenhagen. His work, 


extending through the whole of the second volume, and part of 
the first, has been carefully revised by Mr and Mrs J. F. Caroe 
of Blundellsands ; but I have gone over the whole work again 
with the original, practically re-writing a good deal of it. My 
best thanks are due to those who have contributed so much 
time and pains to the book as it now stands. 

I earnestly desire that the English book may serve, besides 
other purposes, to draw nearer to each other the Churches of 
England and of Scandinavia, which, if any, are faites pour se 
connaitre et Maimer. 


Canterbury, March 1906. 



I. Jansenism and Gallicanism i 

II. LEsprit Philosophique and Jesuitism ... 24 

III. The Abolition of the Order of the Jesuits . 56 

IV. Alfonso Maria de' Liguori 88 

V. Febronianism and Josephinism 109 

VI. The French Revolution 137 

VII. Pius VI 165 

VIII. Pius VII.— The Conclave in Venice . . . .191 

IX. The Concordat with France 219 

X. The Coronation of the Emperor 260 

XI. The Rupture between the Emperor and the Pope . 283 

XII. Imprisonment and Release 301 

XIII. Restoration and Reaction 340 




The nineteenth century rose dark and threatening for the 
Roman Church. In February 1798, under the protection of 
French arms, the inhabitants of Rome had proclaimed the 
Republic, and when, in August 1799, Pius VI. died at Valence, 
in French captivity, eight months passed away before a 
successor was found, so that at the change of century the 
Roman Church was without a head. 

And the new Pope immediately met with difficulties on 
every side. The ancient power and influence of the Papacy 
seemed to be completely annihilated in the chief Roman 
Catholic countries, and almost everywhere the earlier reverence 
for the chair of St Peter had given way to indifference, or 
to an ill-will, which for a long time had been growing great 
and strong. 

Nowhere was the change of sentiment towards Rome more 
marked than in France ; but in that country many different 
circumstances had contributed to loosen the ancient bond 
between the head of the Roman Church and the Church of 
France — the eldest daughter of Rome. 

Louis XIV. had been the defender and support of the 
Church. It is true that after Mazarin's death he had not 
thought it necessary to choose a new Cardinal-Minister, but 
he had himself continued the policy of the cardinals. Like 
another Constantine or Theodosius, he sought to promote the 
cause of the Church, and he never renounced his Jesuit 
vol. r. A 


education. He compelled all the members of his household 
to seek their confessors amongst the disciples of Ignatius 
Loyola ; x and both politicians and courtiers found his favour 
more easily, if they had entrusted the guidance of their 
consciences to Jesuits. Until Madame de Maintenon gained 
power over him, and thereby acquired an unique influence 
upon ecclesiastical affairs, all French sees were filled in his 
reign according to the suggestion of the Jesuit confessors. In 
all directions, even in the furthest Missions, the members of 
the Society of Jesus could count upon the help of France ; and 
they showed their gratitude towards the great King who was 
so favourable to them by spreading his praises and defending 
his policy ; so that at Rome complaints were made, that the 
genius of Jesuitism had become enthusiastic for the destinies of 
France, but was ill disposed towards the Pope, because he had 
condemned so many of the moral propositions of the Jesuits. 2 
But in spite of the guidance of the Jesuit confessors, the new 
Constantine betrayed many of the weaknesses which clung to 
the old ; and Saint-Simon was not the only one who complained 
that the Court of Louis XIV. suait I'hypocrisie. Fenelon in a 
courageous letter told his King that his life had practically re- 
moved him " out of the way of truth and righteousness, and in 
consequence out of the way of the Gospel," 3 and Madame de 
Maintenon wrote later to the Archbishop of Paris : " Religion 
is but little known at Court. People wish to shape it to suit 
themselves, instead of directing themselves according to it. 
They only trouble themselves about all its external observances, 
not about the spirit of it. The King will never fail to keep a 
station or a fast, but he will not understand that one ought to 
humble oneself and to be filled with a true spirit of penitence, 
and that we must clothe ourselves in sackcloth and ashes to pray 
for peace." 4 Careful observers easily saw that the King's zeal 
for the good of the French Church was not so much owing to 
a deeply-rooted conviction of the truth of the Roman Catholic 

1 1, v. Ddllinger : Die Politik Ludvigs XIV. in Akad. Vortrdge (Nordlingen 
1888) I, 278 ; Sicard : L' ancien clergt de France (Paris 1893) I, 230. 

2 Thus Cardinal Sfondrati. F. H. Reusch : Beitrdge zur Gesch. des Jesuiten- 
Ordens (Munich 1894), 83. 

3 Corresfondance de Finclon (Paris 1827) II, 336. 

4 Corresf. de Mme. de Maintenon par Th. Lavallee (Paris 1866) IV, 3o8f. 


doctrine, as to the fact that this religion was the King's religion, 
so that to diverge from it was to rebel against the King's absolute 
sovereignty. And even if Louis XIV. did not possess the same 
unbounded power in the ecclesiastical realm as in that of the 
State, Fenelon was undoubtedly right when he asserted that 
his King had more power over the Church than the Pope 
himself. 1 The embassy at Rome was in the eyes of Louis 
XIV. the most important of all the French embassies, 2 and 
the representative of France at the papal Court could always 
reckon upon the existence of a French party among the 
cardinals — les cardinaux de la faction 3 — who had so great an 
influence that no one was elected Pope who would not be a 
persona grata at Versailles. Every now and then there was 
variance between the successors of St Peter and Louis 
XIV.; but, in spite of all, that King to the last stood to the 
whole Roman Catholic world as the shield and protector of 
the Roman Church ; and when he died Clement XI. publicly 
gave him the testimony that he had been possessed of all 
the Catholic virtues. 4 

This favourable judgment was particularly owing to Louis 
XIV.'s "ardent zeal for the faith." He had, as Clement XI. 
said, in the course of a few months rid the whole of France of 
the false Protestant faith, and had for many years with a strong 
hand defended the papal ordinances against Jansenism, and 
given them effect. The eventful revocation of the Edict of 
Nantes, which abolished Protestantism in the native country of 
Calvin, was in the eyes of Clement XI. a deed of faith which 
might cover many sins ; and by his combat against Jansenism 
Louis XIV. had done an equally great service to the Papacy 
and to Jesuitism. 

Cornelius Jansen, a native of the Netherlands, for some time 
Professor of Holy Scripture in the University of Louvain, who 
died Bishop of Ypres in 1638, had with great enthusiasm and 
intrepid perseverance advanced along the way which had been 
trodden before him by Michael Bajus. In opposition to the 

1 Dollinger : Akad. Vortrdge I, 289. 

2 Instruction to Lavardin in Recueil des Instructions. Rome, par G. Hanotaux 
(Paris 1888), 287. 

3 Ibid. , 289, 349. 

* Dollinger: Akad. Vortrdge I, 289. 


Pelagianism — whole or half — of the dominant theology, he 
maintained Augustine's doctrine with regard to sin and grace. 
Ten times he had read through the many folio volumes which 
contained the writings of the African bishop. The treatises 
against the Pelagians he had laboured through as often as 
thirty times ; and in the course of this profound study of the 
Augustinian literature, that great Doctor of the Church had 
come to be to him an authority incapable of being shaken, 
like an inspired evangelist who had done the same for the 
right recognition of divine grace as the Evangelist John had 
done for the recognition of the Divinity of the Word. In a 
folio published two years after his death under the title of 
Augustinus, he set forth his views concerning a reformation 
to be accomplished by reviving the doctrine of Augustine. 
According to him, the contemporary theologians understood 
neither the fall of man nor grace, neither the Old nor the 
New Testament ; but he hoped by following Augustine and 
gaining a hearing for conversion, faith, and inward religion, 
to be able to make head against the externalism of the 
Jesuits, and to produce an inner regeneration of the Church. 
With great acuteness and zeal for the truth, he hunted down 
Pelagianism in the said work in all its disguises, because 
in his eyes Pelagianism was the ruin of all true piety and 
of all genuine morality. A short time previously, the friend 
of his youth and his companion in studies, Jean du Vergier 
d'Hauranne, Abbot of the Benedictine Convent of St Cyran, 
had, under the name of Petrus Aurelius, in several essays 
which were afterwards collected into a book, developed his 
views about the right constitution of the Church as an episcopal 
aristocracy, in opposition to the papal absolutism which was 
the Jesuit ideal. 

In spite of this return to Augustine, and in spite of their 
criticism of the Jesuit theology and ethics, Cornelius Jansen 
and St Cyran were anything but protestant-minded. It was 
not the evangelical passages in Augustine which made such 
an impression upon them. They shared in the fullest measure 
the Jesuits' hatred of Protestantism, and they used their 
brilliant pens to combat its adherents. Jansen had even 
written a pamphlet sharply attacking Richelieu, because France 
under his direction had allied itself with the Swedish and 


German Protestants, and he had a great reputation in Spain, 
the mother country of the Counter Reformation. But his 
Augustinus undeniably contained expressions calculated to 
cause offence amongst those who wished to defend the Pope's 

Cornelius Jansen was confronted with this difficulty: — in 
the case of Michael Bajus and his Augustinianism, Rome, 
which appeared to set the African Doctor so high, had 
condemned Augustinian propositions which, so far from being 
casual utterances, might be said to form the basis of the 
whole system of Augustine. Instead of submitting himself 
unconditionally to the papal decision on such points, Jansen 
expressed the surmise that Rome's condemnation only sprang 
from a love of peace, or that the disapproval on Rome's part 
only meant that the assertions of Augustine were inopportune, 
not that they were false or heretical. And he himself on 
these points sided with Augustine against Rome. He ended 
his book with a comparison between the semi-Pelagian divines 
of the old days and his contemporaries, Less, Molina, and 
Vasquez ; and, as if to protect himself against all contingencies, 
he finally insisted with great force that the thoughts which 
he had worked out were not his own, but were derived from 
Augustine. 1 

The Jesuits had read Cornelius Jansen's book before it 
appeared. By the help of a printer's man they had obtained 
possession of the proof-sheets. 2 As soon as they saw what it 
contained, they turned to the papal nuncio and besought him 
to hinder the spread of the Jansenist poison, and the book was 
accordingly at once prohibited by a decree from the Inquisition. 
But the Council in Brabant would not submit to this decree, 
and not even a papal Bull of 1642, which forbade the book 
and referred to the earlier bulls against Michael Bajus, could 
reduce the University of Louvain to obedience. 3 Even after 
the papal Bull had been acknowledged by King Philip IV. 

1 P. 1070. With regard to his relation to the Papacy, see, besides the older 
literature, A. Vandenpeereboom : Cornelius Jansen, septihne 4v$que d' Ypres (Bruges 
1882), and : Jansenius, ivlque d' Ypres, ses derniers moments, sa soumission au S. 
Siige, d'aprh des documents inidits (Louvain 1893). 

2 Cr£tineau-Joly : Hist, de la Compagnie dejlsus (Paris 1859) IV, 18. 

3 F. H. Reusch : Der Index der verbotenen Biicher (Bonn 1885) II, 457f- 


in 165 1, some of the bishops of the Netherlands, with the 
Archbishop of Malines at their head, protested that a con- 
demnation of Cornelius Jansen's book would be a condem- 
nation of Augustine. 

Before the prelates of the Netherlands were reduced to 
submit to the Bull of 1642, accompanied as it was by the 
King's licence, eighty-five French bishops had applied to Rome 
to obtain a condemnation of certain specified passages in 
Jansen's book. Innocent X., who was Pope at the time, was 
much more of a jurist than of a theologian ; but as St Peter's 
successor, he believed himself to be placed under the direct 
influence of the Holy Ghost, 1 and on the strength of this he 
considered himself qualified to explain all the depths of 
Scripture and to solve all scholastic problems. At the outset 
indeed he had had no particular desire to meddle with this 
strife. 2 He excused himself by saying that he was old, and 
that he had never studied theology (non ho mai studiato teologid). 
But after repeated persuasions he gave way, and in 1653 
published a Bull which condemned five propositions in the 
Angus tinus. 

With this new Bull, the battle over Cornelius Jansen's book 
became a contest concerning the limits of the papal infallibility. 
Jansen's adherents, with Antoine Arnauld at their head, would 
not deny that the five condemned propositions were in them- 
selves objectionable, but they affirmed that the propositions 
were not found in Jansen in the form which the Pope 
condemned, and with regard to this point of fact (J>oint defaif) 
they would not submit to the papal authority, but contented 
themselves with observing a respectful silence {silence re- 
spectueux). As Arnauld would go no further in the way of 
submission, he was ejected from the Sorbonne, and Pope 
Alexander VII. published in 1656 a third Bull which con- 
firmed the decision of his predecessor. But this Bull made 
no more impression upon the Jansenists than the earlier ones, 
and their views won more and more adherents. After Arnauld's 
ejection from the Sorbonne, Pascal began the publication of 
his Provincial Letters, and beyond the borders of the Nether- 

1 He remarked to some theologians of Paris: "Tutto questo dipende dall' 
inspirazione dello Spirito Santo." Dollinger : Das Papstthum (Munich 1892), 507. 

2 Reusch : Index II, 469. 


lands and of France Jansenism made its appearance in Spain 
and Italy and Austria. Under Innocent X. a doctor from the 
Sorbonne even dared to defend the heretic of the Nether- 
lands in the church of St Louis at Rome, until his mouth 
was stopped by the Jesuits. 1 

In order to give universal effect in France to the Bull of 1656 
Alexander VII., with the approval of Louis XIV., composed 
a formula to be subscribed by all French bishops, priests, 
monks, and nuns. By assenting to it, the subscribers submitted 
to the decisions of Rome with regard to the five condemned 
propositions. In order to get all to subscribe, the Pope was 
obliged to see many do so with reservations. But a disagree- 
ment between Louis XIV. and the Papacy for a time withdrew 
attention from Jansenism. 

Ever since the days of Hugh Capet, the French bishops 
had complained of Rome's encroachments, and had made much 
of the comparative independence of the Gallican Church with 
regard to Rome, in which sentiment they had the sympathies 
of the Crown. In the days of Henry IV. (1594), when the 
reaction against the League had again exalted the Crown, and 
when the thought of the power and significance of the State 
had gained greater distinctness, Pithou had collected the 
documents upon which were founded the so-called Gallican 
rights. 2 The programme of Gallicanism turned upon these 
two chief propositions ; that the Kings of France were in 
secular matters independent of the Pope ; and that the Pope's 
spiritual authority was limited by the laws of the Church. 
From the first proposition they concluded that the King, as 
the born protector of the Church, had the right of calling 
together national an'd provincial Councils in his dominions, 
in order with their help to legislate for the Church, and that 
the Pope's Bulls could not be published in France without the 
King's consent (pareatis, placet). Gallicanism took a strong 
hold, partly because the bishops were indisposed to submit 
to Rome, and partly because the sense which the Parliaments 
entertained of their own independence was steadily on the 
increase ; and with the national movement in the beginning 

1 L. v. Ranke : Die romischen Papstc, 8th ed. (Leipzig 1885) I, 92. 

2 Cp. Hanotaux' Introduction to the Recueil des Instructions, mentioned above, 


of the 17th century the Gallican theory gained still more 
adherents. The Gallicans were then called Les Francais, Les 
Bons Frangais, and if men were wanted to defend in the 
schools the ultramontane conception of the rights of the 
Popes, they had to be fetched from the Netherlands or from 
Germany; for most Frenchmen considered it to be crimen 
lessee patrice. 

The Crown gained much by the spread of Gallicanism. 
Gallicanism was to no small degree promoted by legists who 
had studied the Roman law and who sought to introduce the 
conceptions of Roman law into French territory. Without 
reserve it allowed to the King divine authority and made 
him the equal of the Pope. The Holy Ghost, the Gallican 
said, chooses the Pope in the Conclave, but He chooses the 
King also, and that from his mother's womb. On the strength 
of his divine authority the King is lord over the property of 
the Church, and in this way he acquires the means to satisfy the 
nobles, and to keep the third estate in check. But power 
brings its duties. Just as the Roman Empire from the 
beginning was tinged with a spiritual character, so the Most 
Christian King in France had, according to the theory of the 
Gallicans, ecclesiastical obligations. He was not only bound to 
watch over Church and school, but also to extirpate all 
heresies. Therefore the Gallican divines and lawyers found 
that it was all as it should be, when Louis XIV. got rid of 
Protestantism out of France, and Richelieu's alliance with the 
foreign Protestants roused their displeasure. 

Gallicanism reached its height under Louis XIV. The 
Gallican theory concerning the origin and rights of the Crown 
gave the basis for his autocracy. He believed fully in his 
ecclesiastical mission, but he also took a firm stand upon 
the fundamental Gallican propositions. When Ultramontanism 
began to raise its head, the Sorbonne fearlessly declared (in 
1663) that it was not the doctrine of that renowned faculty 
that the Pope had any authority whatever over the Most 
Christian King in secular concerns, or that the Pope could take 
any measures which conflicted with the law of the French 
Church. At the same time the Sorbonne repudiated the 
assertion that the Pope was above a General Council, or could 
be infallible without the consent of the Church {nullo accedente 


Ecclesice consensu)} This declaration was confirmed by Louis 
XIV., and he forbade any other teaching in his kingdom. 
Following upon this, the Sorbonne pronounced censure upon 
several works of an ultramontane tendency, and when 
Alexander VII. in a severe Bull disapproved of the censure, 
the Parliament of Paris, with the King's consent, opposed the 
publication of the papal Bull. 

This strife, which died away in diplomatic negotiations, was 
only a prelude to a far more serious conflict between Gallicanism 
and Ultramontanism. Louis XIV. had for a long time made 
the religious orders feel his power, without paying any attention 
to the complaints of Rome, and he had, without scruple, laid 
hands upon the possessions of the Church. 2 The ancient droit 
de regale allowed the Crown to enjoy the revenues of a vacant 
bishopric until the new bishop had registered his oath of 
allegiance, and in the meantime to dispose of the livings 
dependent upon the vacant see. This right Louis wished to 
extend to those French provinces where it had never been 
recognised. 3 Innocent XI. endeavoured time after time to in- 
duce him to refrain from such encroachments, but in vain. At 
last he resorted to threats. In a brief of 27th December 1679, 
he intimated that he would use all the means which God had 
placed in his hands. But these words made no impression upon 
Louis XIV., who found defenders of Gallicanism even amongst 
the French Jesuits. 4 His Jesuit confessors, who had the nomina- 
tion of the French bishops in their hands, saw in the extension 
of the droit de regale an extension of their own power and of 
that of their order, which had the special advantage of putting 
them in position to prevent the hated Jansenists from obtaining 
still more preferments, and accordingly Jesuits like Rene' Rapin 
and Louis Maimbourg defended the King's proceedings without 
scruple. When the General of the Jesuits, at the instigation 
of Innocent XL, summoned Maimbourg and Louis XIV.'s con- 
fessor, La Chaise, to Rome, the two Jesuits, in spite of the promise 

1 Reusch : Index II, 552f. 

2 C. Gerin: Louis XIV. et le Saint-Sitge (Paris 1894) II, 1291"., 234f., 527f., 
4 86f. 

3 G. J. Phillips: Das Regalienrecht in Frankreich (Halle 1873), l5of. ; L. de 
Fouchier : Hist, du droit de Regale (Paris 1893), I49f. 

* Reusch : Beitrdge zur Gesch. des Jesuitenordens, 671". 


of their order, would not listen to the General's summons. 
Maimbourg continued to defend Louis XIV. so zealously that 
the Pope threatened the General of the Jesuits himself with 
deposition if he did not expel the daring author from his order, 
and enjoin penance upon those who had read his books upon 
the subject. When this intelligence reached Versailles, Louis 
XIV. was at first disposed to put difficulties in the way of 
Maimbourg's expulsion from the Society of Jesus ; but on 
closer consideration he acquiesced in Maimbourg's quitting the 
order of his own apparent free will, on promise of a pension 
from the King. 

At that time the French priesthood was assembled in synod 
at Paris (1681-1682). The Gallican spirit which prevailed 
amongst the prelates present displayed itself forthwith, when the 
Archbishop of Paris, after the opening service, said that the 
assembly had now fulfilled its duties towards its first religion 
(aux devoirs de sa premiere religion) by celebrating a Mass of the 
Holy Ghost, but that it remained to fulfil the duties of the 
second (qu'il y avait une seconde religion a laquelle il fallait 
satisfaire) which consisted in waiting upon the King. 1 The 
assembly approved of Louis XIV.'s extension of the droit de 
regale, and accepted the four Gallican propositions, which 
maintained that the secular power was independent of the 
spiritual, that a General Council was above the Pope, that the 
ancient rules of the Gallican Church were not to be violated, 
and that it was a valid affirmation that the Pope's decrees in 
matters of faith are only incapable of being reversed (irrefor- 
mabiles) when they have the Church's assent {Ecclesia consensu)? 

This famous Gallican declaration for a while obtained in 
France the authority of a religious formula. Louis XIV. 
made it the basis of religious instruction in all French schools, 
and required that everyone who wished to take a degree in 
divinity or law should take his oath to observe it. 3 The Pope 
felt his spiritual authority greatly outraged by the four 
Gallican propositions, and never since the days of Francis I. 
had the relations between the papal power and the French 

1 Sicard : Vancien clergi de France I, 103 ; following Prods verbaux des 
assemblies du clergi V, 373. 

2 E. Ollivier : Nouveau manuel de droit eccUsiastique (Paris 1886), 35f. 

3 U. Maynard in the Revue des questions historiques VIII, 456f. 


King been so strained. When Louis XIV. went on to fill the 
French sees with prominent members of this Gallican-minded 
synod, the patience of Innocent XL gave way, and he refused to 
permit the new bishops to receive the canonical institution, 
without which they could not perform a bishop's duties. It 
was in vain that Louis XIV. sought to appease the angry Pope 
by crowning his persecutions of the Protestants with the 
treacherous revocation of the Edict of Nantes, the token -of a 
complete break with Richelieu's policy, and forming a challenge 
to all the Protestant powers of Europe. Innocent XI. told him 
that Christ had used a different method of conversion, and that 
the moment for such a " mission " seemed unfortunately chosen, 
when the King himself was engaged in a violent strife with the 
Pope. 1 As Louis XIV. would not yield, Innocent at last laid 
an interdict upon the church of St Louis at Rome, where the 
French embassy used to hear Mass. By way of a rejoinder, 
Louis laid siege to Avignon, and appealed to a General Council : 
indeed it was actually said that he was minded to make the 
Archbishop of Paris, who was a Gallican, Patriarch of France. 2 

The situation at this time was so dangerous for Rome, that 
Innocent XL in spite of his dislike of Protestantism found it 
expedient to promise great subsidies to the Prince of Orange, 
in the hope that he might defend the interests of the Roman 
Church against Louis XIV. upon the Rhine. By this means 
the Papacy unwillingly came to pave the Protestant prince's 
way to the English throne. On the other side, the strife with 
the Pope was the real cause of Louis XIV.'s enigmatic attack 
upon Germany. Perhaps he thought that the prospect of a 
great European war, the issues of which were uncertain, would 
make Innocent XL more inclined to yield. 3 But the war in 
the Palatinate had not the desired effect, and the seriousness 
of the circumstances soon compelled Louis XIV. to show 
a conciliatory disposition towards the Papacy. Already 
under Innocent XL's successor, Alexander VIIL, he restored 
Avignon and opened negotiations. But not until the time of 

1 Ranke: R6m. Papste III, 115: "all' ora che erano piu bollenti le contro- 
versie col papa." 

2 The idea of a French Patriarchate was defended in the last days of Richelieu by 
the Jesuit Michel Rabardeau. Reusch : Beitrage zur Gesch. des Jcsuittnordens, 62f. 

3 So Ranke, op. cit. Ill, Il7f. 


Innocent XII. was peace with Rome concluded, upon the 
condition that the French bishops, who had hitherto been 
unable to obtain the recognition of Rome, should profess their 
"inexpressible grief" at the declaration of 1682, while Louis 
XIV. informed the Pope that he had given the necessary 
orders for depriving the four Gallican propositions of their 
rank as an authoritative formula in France. 

Thus the Papacy came victorious out of the conflict; but 
the strife over the Gallican rights was nevertheless in the highest 
degree fraught with consequences for Rome. It could not easily 
be forgotten that the French priesthood and the French King 
had solemnly adopted Gallicanism, and that for half a score 
of years it had been inculcated into the French youth. The 
solemn proclamation of the propositions in 1682 was an event 
which aroused universal attention ; but the revocation of them 
in 1693 had nothing striking about it. It took place without 
noise, as a statement on the part of certain bishops, and in a 
private letter from the King to the Pope. And even as early 
as 1697 Louis XIV. caused Cardinal Janson, his ambassador 
at the Court of Rome, to declare that he would not allow the 
papal infallibility to be taught in France. 1 In 171 3 he went 
further, and stated that he had in fact only promised Innocent 
XII. that he would no longer enforce Gallicanism upon his 
subjects, but that he had never intended to wage war upon 
the Gallican view of questions which were, and, as he main- 
tained, ought to be, open questions for all Frenchmen. 2 

After the conclusion of peace with Rome the battle against 
Jansenism came once more into prominence. The Jansenists, 
who were mystically disposed, had shown no particular interest 
in the King's Gallican Church policy, and in the dispute over 
the regale they had been on the Pope's side. The convent of 
Port Royal, a convent of Cistercian nuns in the valley of 
Yvette between Versailles and Chevreuse, which since the 
days of St Cyran had been " a nest of Jansenist error," had 
for this reason been made especially to feel the King's dislike. 
When the Countess of Grammont in 1699 had made her 
retreat among the nuns of Port Royal, she did not receive 
the usual invitation to Court. " People cannot come to Marly, 

1 A. Floquet: Bossuet de 1670-1682 (Paris 1864), 572. 

2 Artaud : Hist, du Pape Pie VII. (Paris 1836) II, 17. 



if they go to Port Royal," said Louis. 1 The Jesuits hated 
and feared the circle of brilliant writers who had attached 
themselves to Port Royal, and they egged the King on against 
this abode of Jansenism, which had gradually become the 
cradle of that literature which was shedding glory over his 
reign. Even Fenelon, who was usually gentleness itself, recom- 
mended the utmost severity towards the dangerous sect, which 
had spread far wider than most people imagined. At last 
Louis XIV. saw no other way than to beg Pope Clement XL 
for a new Bull which should crush Jansenism altogether ; and 
in 1705 Clement composed the Bull Vineam Domini Sabaoth. 
Before he solemnly published it, he despatched it into France, 
that the King might make corrections in it, and the royal 
Placet was thus assured beforehand. 2 So good had the relations 
between Rome and Versailles become, and such confidence 
was shown by the infallible Pope to the fallible King who 
had been the protector and defender of the Gallican heresy. 

Clement XL's Bull contained an absolute condemnation of 
Jansenism ; and because the nuns of Port Royal would only 
subscribe it with a reservation, their convent was doomed to 
destruction. Louis XIV. could not bear to have people near 
him who dared to withstand his royal will, and he begged the 
Pope for a new Bull giving permission for the dissolution 
of Port Royal. As soon as this Bull was published in 1709, 
he sent out the lieutenant Of police from Paris, with a con- 
siderable force of men, against the two and twenty defenceless 
women at Port Royal, of whom the youngest was fifty years 
old, the eldest over eighty. 3 Only the Prioress and one of 
the sisters steadily refused to subscribe ; the others agreed 
to do so. Nevertheless, they were all removed from the 
convent, and the year after it was levelled with the ground. 
Not even the dead were permitted to rest in their graves 
in peace ; many corpses were disinterred and treated with 
barbarous savagery. 

The epic story of Jansenism was not ended, however, with 
the destruction of Port Royal, and the Jansenist question long 
continued to keep France in a disturbed state. Fdnelon, 

1 Sainte-Beuve : Port Royal (Paris 1888) VI, 163. 

2 Reusch : Index II, 698. 

s Sainte-Beuve : Port Royal VI, 228f. 


who followed the propaganda of the Jansenists with so much 
attention, wrote in 1705, in a private memoir e intended for the 
Pope : " In our Belgium there is scarcely a theologian of repute 
to be found who is not devoted to Jansenism ; in Brussels, 
Douai, Liege, and Amsterdam, their worst books are printed 
with impunity. Almost all the booksellers sympathise with 
that party." 1 Five years later, in making an application to the 
Jesuit Le Tellier, who after the death of La Chaise became 
confessor to Louis XIV., he drew a similar picture of the pro- 
gress of Jansenism. All those who had studied at the Sorbonne, 
with the sole exception of the members of the seminary of St 
Sulpice, many of the Benedictines, Oratorians, Augustinians, 
Carmelites, a good number of Capucins and Franciscans, many 
courtiers, and the majority of pious women, might, he said, 
be reckoned as belonging to the party of Cornelius Jansen. 2 

The Jesuits were not at all contented. Already, before the 
suppression of Port Royal, Clement XI. had published a pro- 
hibition of the translation of the New Testament, accompanied 
by edifying remarks, which was the work of Paschasius 
Quesnel, the Oratorian, in whose Congregation Jansenism had 
for a long time made great inroads. 3 Le Tellier, who had in 
vain sought to blacken the Fathers of the Oratory at Court,* 
now attempted to smite them and the cause of Jansenism by 
procuring a new papal condemnation of Quesnel's book. The 
reply of Rome was the famous Bull Unigenitus, 6 which con- 
demned one hundred and one propositions of Quesnel's New 
Testament (171 3). 

It was amidst opposition from the circle nearest to the Pope 
that this Bull was composed, and, as informants at Rome 
expressed it, it was " not published without terrible resistance." 
Clement XI. is said to have used the disputed book for his own 
edification. He was now obliged to consent to its condemnation 
pour faire plaisir au Roi, as the Jesuit Daubenton wrote to 

1 Fenelon : CEuvres (Toulouse 1811) XV, 596. 

2 Corresfondance de Finelon III, 244. 

3 P. Allemand : Hist, de V education dans Vancien Oratoire de France (Paris 
1889), I40f. 

4 See his memorandum printed in L. Seche : Les derniers Jansinistes (Paris 1891) 
I. 17-32- 

5 C. Schill : Die Constitution Vnigenitus, ihre Veranlassung und ihre Folgen 
(Freiburg 1876). The author holds unreservedly the ultramontane point of view. 


Fenelon. 1 At an episcopal synod which the Archbishop of 
Paris, Cardinal de Noailles, held in January 1714, out of forty- 
nine bishops assembled there were no fewer than nine, among 
them Cardinal de Noailles himself, who desired an explanation 
from the Pope, before submitting to the Bull. 2 But Louis XIV. 
would not allow this minority to apply to Rome. Cardinal de 
Noailles was banished from the Court, and the other opponents 
were " exiled " to their sees. Thereupon the Bull was registered 
by the Parliament of Paris, with the usual reservation — pro- 
vided that it did not conflict with the rights of the Crown and 
the liberties of the Gallican Church. 

So far had Jesuitism succeeded in the battle with Gallicanism 
and Jansenism when Louis XIV. died. The opposition which 
the Bull Unigenitus aroused all over France had made a strong 
impression upon the aged King. The Duchess of Orleans 
comes very near to saying that the commotion caused by " that 
accursed Constitution," which would not allow Louis XIV. to 
have any rest night or day, had shortened his life. 3 

The new government adopted a new ecclesiastical policy. 
Philip, Duke of Orleans, who assumed the Regency, immediately 
gave the imprisoned Jansenists their liberty, and Cardinal de 
Noailles was taken again into favour. Le Tellier, on the other 
hand, was obliged to forsake the country. There was even for 
an instant some talk of suppressing the Jesuits and calling the 
Protestants back ; but the Duke was satisfied with banishing 
the disciples of Loyola from the confessional and the pulpit, and 
with modifying the severity of the laws against the Protestants. 4 
These measures aroused the greatest alarm in the camp of 
the Jesuits, and bright hopes among the Jansenists. The 
church question, which even under Louis XIV. had been 
discussed with lively interest in lay circles, now divided all 
Frenchmen into two groups, which in some places even adopted 
an external badge to distinguish themselves from each other. 
Those who sympathised with the Jansenists wore a red, white, 
and yellow ribbon, while the Unigenitus party wore red and 

1 Correspondance de Flmlon IV, 371. 

2 Reusch : Index II, 734f. 

3 Correspondance compute de Madame, Duchesse d'OrUans, nie Princesse palatine, 
mere du Rigent, par M. G. Brunet (Paris 1855) II, 169. 

4 F. Rocquain : L'esprit rivolutionnaiie avant la revolution (Paris 1878), "ji. 


black. Four of the French bishops went so far as to appeal to 
an Universal Council, and a daring Frenchman posted up their 
appeal upon the wall of St Peter's under the very eyes of the 
Pope. All France came gradually to be divided into two 
parties, the Acceptants, and the Recusants or Appellants. To 
the first, according to the saying of Voltaire, belonged a hundred 
bishops, the Jesuits, and the Capucins ; to the second, fifteen 
bishops and — the whole nation. 1 In this division the original 
question, whether the hundred and one propositions were or 
were not heretical, fell into the background behind the question 
whether a papal Bull on matters of dogma was infallible. 

In order to still the tumultuous waves, the Duke-Regent 
turned to Rome ; and he forbade the publication of books or 
pamphlets on the burning question so long as his negotiations 
with the Pope were on foot. This order only awoke indignation 
on both sides, and Philip of Orleans in his perplexity determined 
to talk to the Duke of Saint-Simon on the subject. 2 The 
conversation, which took place in the Regent's box at the Opera, 
lasted during the whole performance; and it opened views which 
the unprincipled Duke-Regent had not before suspected. Saint- 
Simon made him understand the significance of the contest by 
setting it clearly before him that the most virtuous and learned 
prelates, and all the educated part of the nation, stood on the 
side of the Appellants, and that the victory of the Unigenitus 
party would in fact mean that Rome had gained the same power 
over France as it had already gained over Portugal, Spain, and 
Italy. Accordingly the all-important thing to do, Saint-Simon 
said, was to intimidate the papal nuncio in Paris, to show a 
firm front to the Pope, and " to teach the Jesuits in Paris and 
Rome to talk French." 

But the Duke- Regent did not follow Saint-Simon's able advice. 
Probably he had been frightened by Dubois, who was already 
striving to gain the cardinal's purple, for which purpose it was 
above all things necessary to preserve good relations between 
Rome and Versailles. To impress the weak Regent more 
thoroughly, Clement XI. published a violent Pastoral, which 
under threat of excommunication demanded complete and 
instantaneous obedience to the Unigenitus. Against this 

1 Voltaire : Le Steele de Louis XIV. (London 1788) III, 362. 

2 Saint-Simon : Mimoires, par Cheruel et Regnier (Paris 1873) XIII, 346f. 


demand all the French Parliaments protested, pointing out 
that the Pope's Pastoral presupposed the doctrine of infalli- 
bility, which France had for centuries withstood. Now also 
the Sorbonne and the University of Paris, which had hitherto 
in a dignified manner held back, ranged themselves on the 
side of the Parliaments, and Cardinal de Noailles caused his 
appeal to be posted up on all the church doors in the capital. 

The discovery of a plot whose aim was to transfer the 
Regency to the King of Spain, in which it was supposed that 
the hand of the Jesuits could be traced, had the effect of making 
Philip of Orleans think it wisest to fall in as far as possible with 
the Society of Jesus and with Rome ; and various papers and 
pastorals, which were condemned by the Parliament of Paris to 
the fire, showed that the Unigenitus party had by no means 
given up the hope of victory. In one pamphlet, the opinion 
that Councils are superior to the Pope was represented as a new 
dogma, contrary to tradition ; in another, it was said that to 
deny the Pope's infallibility was as heretical as to deny the 
Divinity of Christ. The Archbishop of Reims, in a letter 
to the Acceptants, accused the opponents of the Bull — the 
Appellants — of going astray in the paths of Luther, Arius, 
Nestorius, and Eutyches ; and he counselled his party to refuse 
the Regent any subsidies from the Church, if he did not wholly 
and entirely adopt the Unigenitus. On the other side, in a 
Jansenist pamphlet, an Universal Council was compared with 
the Estates of the Realm, which "enjoy all the rights of 
sovereignty when they are assembled." Although this writing 
also was condemned by the Parliament as an attack upon the 
royal authority, 1 it revealed what political ideas were growing 
up under cover of Gallicanism and Jansenism, just as the advice 
of the Archbishop of Reims to the Acceptants showed that 
there was a section of the higher clergy who were not dis- 
inclined to place regard for the Church above regard for the 

It was at this time that the financial projects of John Law 
began to arrest the attention of all Frenchmen, and Jansenism 
now retired for a while into the shade, in favour of the discussion 
about the gold from the Mississippi, as at one time it had been 
driven into the background by the strife over the regale and 

1 Rocquain, 17k 
VOL. I. B 


Gallicanism. But the Duke-Regent, who was surrounded by 
Jesuits, did not lose sight of the recognition of the Unigenitus ; 
and when the peace between France and Spain was sealed by a 
proposal for a double marriage between the princely houses, 
it was taken for granted that the Regent would protect the 
Jesuits, and would give effect to the disputed Bull in that 
country where the Spanish Infanta was to be educated in view 
of becoming one day Queen. In reward for his activity on this 
occasion, the Jesuit Daubenton gained in addition two favour- 
able concessions for his order : a Jesuit was nominated as 
confessor to the French King, and the Chancellor d'Aguesseau, 
a bitter enemy of the Society of Jesus, was dismissed. 1 But the 
resistance of the Appellants to the Unigenitus was not broken, 
and it became clear that Saint-Simon had spoken the truth in his 
description of the two parties. The cause of Jansenism was 
followed with sympathy by the largest and the best part of the 
nation, and many Jansenists showed in the hour of danger a 
courage which took men's thoughts back to the intrepidity of 
the first Christians under the persecutions of the Roman 

The Duke- Regent, however, cast in his lot more and more 
distinctly with the Jesuits. High offices of State were given to 
their friends, and after the death of Claude Fleury, the Gallican 
church historian, a Jesuit, as had been agreed at the time of the 
peace with Spain, was assigned to Louis XV. for his confessor. 
This confessor painted the Jansenists in such black colours, 
that the young King came to consider a Jansenist as a worse 
being than an atheist. 2 The ancient rights of the Parliaments 
were recklessly trodden under foot, and their complaints were 
not listened to. A chambre du Pape was erected in Paris, to 
which was given the duty of prosecuting all writings directed 
against the papal see and the Bull Unigenitus. The harsh 
ancient laws of censorship were collected, and if they had been 
enforced, the liberty of the Press would have been completely 
annihilated in France. Thus the Regency which began with 
being so liberal minded, ended with adopting the ways of Louis 
XIV. Mathieu Marais might with good reason write in his 
memoirs (1723), "Rome rules over us more than ever it did; 

1 Correspondance de Madame, Duchesse a" Orlians II, 361. 

2 Ibid.., 368. 


our liberties disappear, and we are falling into infallibility." 1 
The desire for the cardinal's hat, as the Duchess of Orleans 
says, had " made most of the bishops mad." 2 All France was 
scandalised when Dubois, an openly immoral and irreligious 
man, who had long before obtained Fenelon's see of Cambrai, 
received as a reward for his activity on behalf of the Unigenitus 
the cardinal's purple. But when the unprincipled prelate in 
1722 had been chosen First Minister by the Regent, the French 
bishops forgot the scandal to such an extent that in 1723 
they unanimously chose him President of their quinquennial 
assembly. Shortly after, however, both the old clerical libertine, 
and the Duke Regent, died. 

Cardinal Dubois' successor, no less unworthy, and in ecclesi- 
astical questions no less ignorant than he, the Duke of Concte- 
Bourbon, gave himself also over to the guidance of the Jesuits. 
The Infanta of Spain, indeed, was sent home without the 
accomplishment of the marriage between her and Louis XV., 
which had been agreed upon at the conclusion of the peace 
with Spain ; but Maria Leczinska, who became Queen of 
France, was quite as much in the Jesuits' leading strings. 
The people of Paris called her Unigenita, and sang a ballad 
which ended thus : — 

" Et ton r£gne s'affermira, 
Cher Unigenitus, par Unigenita." 

Under the new government, in spite of the protest of Sweden 
and Holland, the ancient laws against the Protestants were 
again put in full force. All other divine service, except that of 
the Roman Church, was forbidden ; all Protestant ministers were 
to be punished with death ; all Protestant laymen with lifelong 
imprisonment and loss of their property. And the doctrine of 
the Pope's infallibility, which hitherto had only ventured shyly 
and timidly forth, was now expanded and exhibited at full 
length in a book printed in Holland, the work of a Benedictine 
author, as an expression of the doctrine of all countries and of 
every age. 3 It was of little use that the Parliament of Paris 
suppressed the book ; the doctrine of infallibility was now 
supported in every way by the supreme authority. 

1 Rocquain, 32. 2 Correspondanu II, 165. 

3 Rocquain, 36f. 


The Bishop of Frejus, Cardinal Andre Fleury, who in 1726 
at the age of seventy years succeeded the Duke of Bourbon as 
First Minister, had already for some while taken the lead in 
church matters, and had shown himself a determined opponent 
of the Jansenists. 1 Once upon a time he had himself been a 
thorough-going Jansenist, but in the course of time he had 
become more ultramontane than the Pope, and accordingly 
under his government Jesuitism gained one victory after another. 
The aged Cardinal de Noailles, who for so long a time had 
boldly refused to subscribe the Unigenitus without reservation, 
was now obliged to make known his acceptance of the Bull, and 
his successor in the archiepiscopal see of Paris persecuted with 
great zeal all those priests in his diocese who were tainted with 
Jansenism. In 1730 Fleury even succeeded in getting the hated 
Constitution registered in the Sorbonne, but only after depriving 
forty-eight of the doctors of the Sorbonne of their right to vote. 
In the'same year the Cardinal caused Louis XV., by means of a 
lit de justice, to compel the Parliament also to register an order 
that the clergy of the whole kingdom should submit to the 
Unigenitus without any manner of reservation, and thereupon 
the University finally gave up its opposition. In this case also 
obedience was only extorted by an act of violence. No fewer 
than eighty-two members protested when the University 
determined to strike the appeal against the Unigenitus off its 
register ; but these protesting doctors were punished by the loss 
of their degrees, so that the renowned University on this 
occasion lost many powerful teachers. 2 

After the subjection of Cardinal de Noailles, the Sorbonne, 
and the University, Jesuitism had to all appearance completely 
won the victory in France. But many of those who submitted 
to the Unigenitus, out of a sense of duty to the Pope, still differed 
in other respects from the Society of Jesus. Massillon, who died 
Bishop of Clermont, upbraided the Jansenists, it is true, with 
having led women and simple lay folk to express opinions on 
the deepest mysteries, and with having made those mysteries 
the subjects of dispute. " This," he said, " has spread irreligion, 
because for lay people the distance is not great between 

1 See in particular the Memoires du due de Luyttes (Paris 1 861) V, 2371". 

2 Rocquain, 97. 


disputation and doubt, and between doubt and unbelief." 1 But 
all the same Massillon would not make common cause with the 
order of Loyola in everything. "The Jesuits," he writes to 
another French bishop, 2 " have their opinions, which the Church 
tolerates ; but do you really believe that the majority of the 
bishops think and teach as they do? I can assure you that 
the opposite is the case." 

Massillon was certainly right. Cornelius Jansen, Arnauld,' 
and Pascal had not lived in vain ; and in the crowd of prelates 
who mustered round the banner of the Unigenitus there were 
many who only followed the standard with divided hearts, and 
with much reservation. But new demands were constantly 
being made from Rome which confirmed the Jesuits in their 
assurance of victory. Benedict XIII., who had been Pope since 
1724, in 1726 canonised the Jesuit Aloysius of Gonzaga, and in 
him the order of Loyola found its favourite saint. Little by 
little, the legend of St Aloysius was embellished with accounts 
of the strangest apocryphal miracles, 3 and already under the 
following Pope six Aloysius-Sundays, as they were called, had a 
plenary indulgence accorded to them. Benedict XIII. was 
eager also to make the day of Gregory VII. (25 th May) a 
festival for the whole Roman Church, and he wished to introduce 
everywhere into the breviaries a lesson i praising the great 
Pope for having excommunicated Henry IV., taken his kingdom 
from him, and absolved his subjects from their allegiance. The 
Parliament of Paris, however, opposed the introduction of this 
addition, and there were other places also where the same was 
prohibited. 6 

As Ultramontanism and Jesuitism became more daring, 
Gallicanism and Jansenism proceeded to greater extremes. In 
Gallican circles people began seriously to discuss the separation 
of Church and State ; and on the same day that the Parliament 

1 Sicard : L'ancien clerge de France I, 376 note. 

2 Soanen, Bishop of Senez. The letter is found in Blampignon : Vipiscopat de 
Massillon, suivi de sa correspondance (Paris 1884), 263^ 

3 Reusch: Beitrdge zur Geschichte des Jesuitenordens, 20lf., and Zeitschrift fiir 
Kirchengeschichte, 1894, 279k 

4 Lectio V. in the section for 25th May. 

5 Reusch : Index II, 788f. Modern Ultramontanism regards this encomium upon 
Gregory VII. as "harmless language." Schill : Die Constitution Unigenitus, 252, 


of Paris refused the above-named addition to the Breviary, it 
found it necessary at the same time to express condemnation 
of a Jansenist work, the author of which had affirmed in the 
name of the faithful laity that there were cases in which the 
shepherd ought to obey the sheep, and that the people should 
be judges when the bishops fell into error. 1 The Jansenist- 
minded Bishop of Montpellier, about the same date, spoke in a 
pastoral letter of an approaching revolution, which, in his opinion, 
would cause the formation of a new Church, to take the place 
of the existing Church, which had been so misled and degraded. 2 
And amidst the strong provocation of the moment expressions 
were used which showed that many of the thoughts of the 
Revolution were sprouting up under the shelter of Gallicanism 
and Jansenism. " The people," it was said, " is above the King, 
as the Universal Church is above the Pope," and words of the 
kind were echoed far and wide. In this way the Bishop of 
Montauban, 3 a partisan of the Jesuits, in 1753 dared in his pastoral 
letter to hint that the Parliament of Paris might perhaps be in 
a position to emulate the English Parliament, and to bring the 
King of France to the scaffold. 4 

By degrees Jansenism had abandoned the quiet obedience 
which distinguished it in the days of Louis XIV., and had now 
developed into a strong domestic opposition, which was an 
increasingly political force. At the outset, the Jansenists had 
set their hopes upon the young King ; but when it became 
apparent that in all church questions he was dependent upon 
the Jesuits, and in moral respects was no better than the 
Regency men, they turned with repugnance from the Court- 
And at Court they began to be differently regarded. Up till 
now the disciples of Cornelius Jansen had been considered une 
secte fastueuse; after 1750 they were esteemed at Court to be 

And however great may be the sympathy entertained for 
Jansenism, promoted as it had been by many luminous 
intelligences and noble hearts, it ought not to be forgotten 
that the Jansenist controversy, so bitterly carried on, had 
momentous consequences for the French Church. In a high 

1 Rocquain, 54. 2 Ibid. , 73. 

3 Journal et Mimoires du Marquis dArgenson (Paris 1866) VIII, 153. 

4 Roaquain, 175. 


degree it weakened the power of resistance to the anti- 
ecclesiastical and anti-christian spirit, which in the course 
of the eighteenth century worked its way more and more 
into prominence, and the eager battle against the Bull 
Unigenitus drove many hesitating Gallican prelates over into 
the arms of Rome. From defending a papal Bull, not a few 
passed on to defending the Pope's infallibility, which was 
the pith and marrow of the whole contention. 



BEHIND the Jansenist opposition, which originally spoke in 
the name of faith and spirituality, and which, though it was 
not influenced by English Puritanism, nevertheless recalled 
many features of the same, it was possible even before the 
middle of the century to observe an opposition of a philosophical 
nature. It had been schooled by the English Deists, and by 
the statesmen and thinkers of England, and it turned in the 
name of outraged reason against both Rome and Versailles 
with greater energy than Jansenism had shown, and with 
clear consciousness of a far more profound divergence. Hatred 
of Jesuitism, contempt for the many prelates who were unworthy 
of their position, the short-sighted fanaticism which at last 
desired to exclude all opponents of the Bull Unigenitus from 
the means of grace, and even from church burial ; the dis- 
agreeable scenes of convulsion and alleged miracles at the 
grave of the Jansenist Abbe Paris in the churchyard of St 
M6dard — all this contributed to stimulate the rising criticism 
of the Church and of its doctrine. The century was not half 
run out, before both Ultramontane and Jansenist were speaking 
of le siecle irreligieux ; and this century which had begun 
with theology ended in atheism and materialism. 

The esprit philosophique of the eighteenth century can trace 
its pedigree up to Rabelais and his Pantagruel philosophy, 
which stood in near relation to the Humanism of Erasmus 
and the Renaissance. 

Through Montaigne and Charron, through De la Mothe 
le Vayer, Gassend, Huet, and Bayle, scepticism and criticism 
were kept alive among many Frenchmen, so that there were 
signs early in the eighteenth century of a widespread freedom 



of thought. The Duchess of Orleans wrote as early as 1722 : 
" I do not believe that there are a hundred persons in Paris, 
either amongst the ministers of the Church or amongst men 
of the world, who hold the true Christian faith, or who even 
believe in our Saviour." 1 These words certainly contain much 
exaggeration, but it is a fact that free thought, in spite of 
Arnauld and Pascal, and the great French preachers, had 
gained a powerful hold. And while the Jansenists and the 
Parliamentary Gallicans were carrying on their brave fight 
against papal infallibility and royal autocracy, Montesquieu 
and Voltaire were making in England preliminary studies 
for those works which were to carry the esprit philosophique 
far beyond the circle of the so-called gens des lettres. But 
not till after the middle of the century did the pursuit of 
philosophy become a power in the French commonwealth. 2 

Montesquieu's Lettres Persanes, which appeared in 1721, is 
commonly considered as the first swallow which heralded the 
philosophic spring. In those famous letters the author allows 
his wit to play at the expense of " the ancient idol before 
which people are accustomed to strew incense " ; of " the 
magician who makes the King believe that Three are only 
One, and that bread which is eaten is not bread, and wine 
which is drunk is not wine." They contain attacks upon 
the celibacy of the clergy, and the life of the convent, upon 
the confessional and the Inquisition, and biting mockery 
over the account of the Fall and of Christ's miraculous 
birth. All the polemic of Voltaire lies already stored in 
this bold book, which treats the Church and its activities with 
superior irony, and the monks with the greatest contempt. 
It came out anonymously ; and, although it was printed at 
Rouen, for the sake of security it bore the name of Amsterdam 
upon the title-page. It had the good fortune to pass the 
censor of the Press, and within the course of a very short 
time it appeared in four editions and four after-impressions. 3 
Not so lucky, thirteen years later, were the Lettres Philosophiques 
of Voltaire, although this book also, because of the censorship 
of the Press, bore Amsterdam instead of Rouen as its printing- 

1 Correspondance de Madame, Duchesse d' Orlians II, 369. 

z Ch. Aubertin : L' esprit public au XVIII. sikle (Paris 1873), 270. 

3 A, Sorel : Montesquieu (Paris 1889), 39. 


place. The Parliament of Paris condemned the philosophical 
letters to be burned, as injurious to religion and the common- 
wealth, and the author, in order to escape the Bastille, was 
obliged to seek shelter in the Chateau of Cirey, with his friend 
the Marquise de Chatelet. Later on, Voltaire once more 
aroused the wrath of Cardinal Fleury by the copies of La 
Pucelle which passed from hand to hand; but in 1739, when 
the Cardinal at the age of eighty-six was hoping to be the 
successor of Pope Clement XII., he approached the witty 
writer to secure his pen in that war to the death against 
Jansenism, which was to open for himself the way to the 
chair of St Peter. Voltaire then- received a commission to 
write certain letters against Jansenism, which might form a 
counterpart to Pascal's famous Provincial Letters against 
Jesuitism ; and he undertook the work. But before he had got 
very far with it, to Cardinal Fleury's exasperation, he threw 
his manuscript into the fire. 

Shortly after, Fleury died without seeing his dream of 
the tiara fulfilled, and under the direction of the Marquis 
d'Argenson a great change took place in the attitude of 
the government towards philosophy. D'Argenson, who had 
sat beside Voltaire on the benches of the Jesuit College 
Louis-le-Grand, was equally removed from Jansenism and 
from Jesuitism ; but the latter was a power which he was 
obliged, as a statesman, to reckon with. His private religion 
was like the Deism which lay behind Voltaire's religious 
polemic. In 1754 he wrote in his diary : " We are assured 
that everything in France is preparing for a great religious 
reformation, which will be something very different from 
that coarse Reformation, that mixture of superstition and 
free thought, which in the sixteenth century came to us from 
Germany. Both have overtaken us in consequence of the 
encroachments of tyranny and the covetousness of the priests ; 
but as our people and our century are very differently instructed 
from those of Luther, things will go as far as they ought to 
go; all priests, all revelation, all mysteries, will be put under 
the ban; and men will from henceforth only see God in His 
great beneficent works." 1 Starting from this conception of 
the circumstances of his time, D'Argenson laboured earnestly 

1 Journal et Mimoires du Marquis d'Argenson VIII, 28lf, 


for tolerantisme, and for a few years the French philosophers 
were able to set forth their views without danger, so long 
as they could escape offending the Jesuitism which still 
steadily prevailed at Court. 

Voltaire was one of those who made good use of the 
tolerance now begun, and he understood better than most 
how to flatter the Pope and the Jesuits. The learned and 
vivacious Bolognese, Prosper Lambertini, who, as Benedict XIV, 
won the tiara when Cardinal Fleury coveted it, accepted the 
dedication of Voltaire's drama of Mahomet, in which the Arabian 
prophet, amidst frequent sallies against fanaticism, is depicted 
as a coarse impostor, and as a Tartuffe with sword in hand. 
In 1742 the production of Mahomet was still prohibited at 
Paris, but the Pope sent the author a mirthful and most 
gracious letter of thanks for the dedication. Voltaire had 
also the pleasure of seeing two of his dramatic works produced 
at Versailles in 1745, at the wedding of the Dauphin. He 
became royal historiographer, and obtained the permission of 
Louis XV. to seek admission into the Academy. 

To obtain this long desired honour, he was obliged to 
court the good-will of the Jesuits ; and he found no difficulty 
in doing so. A Jansenist church newspaper had spoken of 
Benedict XIV.'s friendly communication to the French poet, 
and had upbraided the latter with his affection for the Jesuits. 
This gave Voltaire the opportunity of making a public declara- 
tion of his love for Jesuitism, which was at the same time a 
declaration of submission to the Church. He sent a letter 
to Pere de la Tour, the principal of the College Louis-le- 
Grand, in which he assured him that he had never seen anything 
but what was fair and good — diligence, moderation, and order — 
in his old school, and that he could not conceive how people 
had come to ascribe bad morals to the Society of Jesus. He 
thought it possible that some points which were assailed in 
the moral system of the Jesuits were nothing but base falsifica- 
tions on the part of opponents ; his own Henriade had not 
been printed correctly. " Probably," he says in this connexion, 
"no correct edition of my works will be obtainable till after 
my death." Like the great Corneille, he was willing to allow 
the Church to be the judge of all his writings. " If at any 
time," he wrote, " a single page has been printed in my name 


which could offend even one minister of the Church, I am 
willing to tear it in pieces in his presence. I wish to live 
peaceably, and to die in the bosom of the Roman Catholic 
Apostolic Church, without attacking anyone, without injuring 
anyone, without having one thought that could offend anyone 
whatever." 1 

This hypocritical letter, which gained access for Voltaire 
to the French Academy, shows better than anything else 
what power Jesuitism still had at Paris in 1746. A couple 
of months after Voltaire had in this humiliating fashion 
attempted to win the favour of the Jesuits, the Parliament 
condemned to the bonfire La Mettrie's Histoire Naturelle de 
I'Ame, in which all difference between spirit and matter was 
denied. The same punishment at the same time befell Diderot's 
first work, his Pensees Philosophiques, in which he entirely 
rejected positive Christianity. This was the beginning of a 
combat on the part of the Parliament of Paris against the 
materialism which was now raising its head. Many of the 
Frenchmen who affected philosophy had forsaken Descartes, 
and attached themselves to Condillac and his doctrine that 
sense was the only source of ideas ; and very many passed 
by degrees from sensualism to pure materialism. In works 
like Toussaint's Des Mosurs, Helvetius' De VEsprit and De 
IHomme, and Baron Holbach's Systeme de la Nature, 
materialism came more and more unhesitatingly forward as a 
denial of God's Being and Providence, of freedom, and of the 
difference between good and evil, of the existence of the 
soul, and of everlasting life. 

At the same time that French thought was thus breaking 
more and more with Cartesianism, Bossuet's highly admired 
Politique tirie de VEcriture Sainte was thrown into the shade 
by Montesquieu's L'Esprit des Lois. In spite of his Lettres 
Persanes, Montesquieu had been exceedingly well received 
by the Pope when he visited Rome in 1728. Benedict XIII. 
went so far as to give the distinguished Frenchman, when he 
took his leave, a dispensation from fasting without being asked. 
The next day a messenger from the Curia brought Montesquieu 
the dispensation in writing, in order (amongst other things) 
to obtain the customary fee ; but Montesquieu dismissed the 
J CEuvres de Voltaire (Paris 1831) LV, 83f. 


messenger with the remark that Benedict XIII. was a man of 
honour, whom he could trust upon his word alone. When the 
Esprit des Lois came out in 1748, there was great excitement 
in ecclesiastical circles at the French capital. It was thought 
that this book ne menage pas assez la religion ; but the Jesuit 
and Jansenist critics in vain endeavoured to stop its dissemina- 
tion. Even at Rome, in the immediate entourage of the 
Pope, Montesquieu had friends and patrons. In less than 
two years his book went through twenty-one editions, and 
was translated into all languages. When at last, in 1752, 
Rome put it upon the index of prohibited books, its reputa- 
tion was so well established that no one regarded the papal 
prohibition — which indeed has attracted so little observation 
that as late as 1857 Villemain denied its existence. 1 

In the second half of the century came one after another 
the successive volumes of the great Encyclopedia, which gives 
as trustworthy a picture of the doubt and unbelief of the 
eighteenth century as Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologies 
gives of the faith and superstition of the thirteenth. Those 
who laboured together upon the Encyclopedia showed a clever 
reticence in those articles where it might be expected that 
ecclesiastically minded readers would especially look for some- 
thing to take offence at. Voltaire was alarmed when he saw 
that the articles on metaphysical and theological subjects 
were so orthodox that they might have stood in a church 
Encyclopedia. D'Alembert, however, comforted him by saying 
that there were other less conspicuous articles in which the 
damage was made good ; and Diderot in view of Voltaire's 
apprehensions expressed the assurance that time would teach 
men to make a difference between what the author had written 
and what he had thought. 2 This distinction both the Church 
and the government quickly learned to make. The Archbishop 
of Paris, De Beaumont, immediately complained that daring 
writers, as if by agreement, were using their talents and their 
industry to concoct poison, " and perhaps their success," he said, 
"has exceeded their expectations." 3 Jesuit and Jansenist vied 

1 A. Sorel : Montesquieu, 1387. Reusch : Index II, 869f. Index librorum 
prohibitorum (Romse 1881), no. 

a J. Bertrand : D'Alembert (Paris 1889), 62f. J. Reinach : Diderot (Paris 
1894), 59. 3 Rocquain, 150. 


with one another to induce the state authorities to intervene, 
and this time their endeavours were successful. As soon as 
the second volume of the Encyclopedia was issued, both the 
parts which had appeared were confiscated, and this "engine 
of war for the de-christianisation of France" 1 was thereby, 
to outward appearance, rendered harmless for French Christians. 

But the scoffing criticism of the Encyclopedists, in spite of 
all prohibitions of their work, penetrated further and further 
into French society. That philosophy, which sprang from the 
gilded and silk-upholstered chairs in the salons, was at first 
accounted to belong only to " good society," and it despised the 
people, which to most of the philosophers, as to Voltaire, was 
la canaille. But little by little the aristocratic philosophy 
trickled down to the bourgeois, and so became an important 
power in the French commonwealth. Contempt for religion 
and morality ; the abstract conception of Man and of the People 
(which was little in accordance with reality) ; the utter want of 
historical sense ; the superstitious belief in the importance of 
philosophy for the life of men and for the commonwealth — all 
this prepared the ground, so that it came to bear fearful and 
bloody fruit for the whole French nation. And a political 
criticism grew up side by side with the philosophical criticism. 
Its progress was stimulated by the unfortunate Peace of Aachen, 
by the heavy taxes, by a terrible famine, and by Louis XV.'s 
excesses and prodigality. A deluge of ballads and satirical 
pictures fostered contempt for the King, and hatred for royalty ; 
and many of them, which were directly aimed at the monarchy, 
included the Church also in their displeasure, because the altar 
was a support to the throne. 

In the very midst of these threatening conditions, Jesuitism, 
confident of victory — the Jesuitism which could bring even a 
Voltaire, as it appeared, to his knees — ventured to begin a 
new war of extermination against its old foe Jansenism. In 
accordance with the orders of Archbishop de Beaumont — due, 
no doubt, to the instigation of the Jesuits — the priests in Paris 
who belonged to that party refused the sacraments to the dying 
if they could not furnish proof that they had confessed to priests 
who had submitted to the Bull Unigenitus ; and many un- 
pleasant scenes took place at death-beds. The Parliament of 
1 E. Joyau : La Philosophic en France pendant la Revolution (Paris 1893), 44, 


Paris stepped in against the Archbishop and those priests in the 
capital who complied with his command, and the action caused 
so great a rejoicing that the government found it necessary to 
order silence with regard to the Unigenitus. But the order was 
not obeyed, and the King did not know what to do. When he 
talked with Madame de Pompadour, who at that time was 
influenced by Choiseul, he thought the Parliament was in the 
right ; but when he had conferred with his Prime Minister, 
Tencin, who was the tool of the Jesuits, he thought that the 
Archbishop was right. Heartily tired 1 of the complaints and 
prohibitions of the Parliament, he sent the members of it to 
Pontoise ; but it brought him no rest. One after another the 
friends of Parliament forsook Paris, and the priests of the 
capital complained that the number of communicants was 
steadily going down. D'Argenson, whose Memoirs make it 
possible for us to follow almost day by day the conflict between 
Parliament and the bishops, writes : " You cannot blame the 
English philosophy, which in Paris has only been accepted by 
some hundred philosophers, for the harm which has been done 
to religion in France. It is due to hatred of the priests, which 
now passes all bounds. The ministers of religion can scarcely 
show themselves in the streets without a hue and cry after 
them ; and all this arises from the Bull Unigenitus and the 
disgrace of Parliament." 2 In every direction sympathy for the 
Parliament was openly displayed ; and even the provincial 
Parliaments forgot their old jealousy of the Parliament of the 
capital, and ranged themselves upon its side. 

Yet the Jesuits did not despair. They got the King to 
banish the members of the Parliament of Paris to Soissons 
without giving them anything to do, and to decree that a 
" Royal Chamber " should take the place of Parliament ; and as 
soon as this was accomplished, they advanced with even greater 
boldness. Their adherents throughout France refused the 
sacraments to the opponents of the Bull Unigenitus, and in the 
Holy Week of 1754 a Jesuit preacher admonished Louis XV. 
that heresies always have to be extinguished in blood, and that 
it would be best to shed a few drops in time, in order to avoid a 

1 " Sa Majeste dit que les affaires du parlement l'ennuient plus qu'elles ne la 
chagrinent." D'Argenson VIII, 26. 

2 D'Argenson VIII, 35 (19th May 1753). 


whole flood afterwards. To D' Argenson it looked as if all were 
moving towards a great religious and political revolution. It 
was no longer Jansenists and Jesuits who stood opposed to each 
other ; it was a national party and a church party — Frenchmen, 
and the partisans of the Inquisition and of superstition. 1 

The revolution, however, which threatened to break out in 
J 7S4. was fortunately averted by the King's dissolving the 
" Royal Chamber," calling the members of the Parliament back, 
and banishing the Archbishop and two other episcopal fire- 
brands to Conflans. In his distress De Beaumont wrote to 
Madame de Pompadour to implore her good offices ; but from 
that quarter he got no consolation. " I wish," answered the 
Marquise, " that certain prelates, instead of considering them- 
selves Church Fathers and issuing pastorals which Parliament 
burns and the nation despises, would give us an example of 
self-control, moderation, and love of peace. Bills of confession 
are certainly a remarkable institution, but charity is better 
still." 2 In this letter can already be discerned the storm which 
was rising against the Jesuits in France. "Your Jesuits," the 
Marquise writes again, "ought to be left to the justice of the 
Parliaments. A man who knows them well said to me 
yesterday that the only good thing they had ever done was to 
furnish us with quinine from Peru. But they have been a 
scourge to those kings and states which have tolerated them. 
It is not possible for me to do the Jesuits any service ; but even 
if I could, I would not ; I tell it you straight out. My opinion 
is that they deserve to be abolished. Now abolish them ! " 
The letter has the following characteristic ending : " I have this 
moment received a great budget of letters. They are from 
bishops who beg me to use my influence in favour of the 
Society. By this I see that almost the whole clergy of the 
country has formed a league to save the Society, while almost 
all the lay people are united to destroy it — and with good 
reason. I shall beg those bishops also to let me have peace 
and to give me their episcopal blessing." 

When such was the feeling at Court, it was not wonderful 
that the Parliament became bolder. Paris rejoiced again when 

1 D'Argenson VIII, 278f., 242, 313. 

2 Lettres de Madame la Marquise de Pompadour, depuis 1753 a 1762 indusivcment 
(Londres 1772), I26f. 


the Parliament forbade the ministers of the Church, whatever 
might be their rank— the bishops were thus included — to give 
the Bull Unigenitus the authority of a rule of faith. Thereby the 
importance of the detested Bull for France was for the time 
destroyed; 1 but the opponents of the Jesuits were still not 
propitiated. The priests were so hated, says D'Argenson, that 
it was at the risk of their lives that they went through the 
streets in their long clothes ; and in good society people no longer 
dared to say a word in defence of the priests or of the 
Unigenitus? The clergy of the Jesuit party talked already of 
a persecution like that of Diocletian ; but there were signs that 
they would not behave themselves so quietly as the ancient 
Christians did in the days of Diocletian. DArgenson was 
told that in the Bastille there was a priestly fanatic on behalf of 
the Unigenitus, who was accused and convicted of an attempt 
upon the King's life ; and there were other priests who went so 
far as to hint that there were still Ravaillacs to be found. 3 In 
these circumstances it made no impression upon the King when 
the bishops informed him that they should feel themselves 
tempted to the uttermost if he would not interfere against the 
Parliament. 4 Louis XV,, on the contrary, gave permission for 
the Encyclopcedia to appear again ; Protestants in many places 
obtained leave to build churches, and there was some talk of 
putting the Edict of Nantes in legal force once more. At the 
carnival of 1756 there were so many caricatures of bishops, 
abbes, monks, and nuns, that D'Argenson said it looked as if 
the French were falling away to the doctrines of Luther and 
of Calvin. 5 

The strenuous labours of the Jesuits, however, succeeded in 
disturbing the good relations between the King and the Parlia- 
ments. The supreme tribunal of France, le Grand Conseil, at 
the instigation of the Jesuits, applied to Louis XV., request- 
ing him to put a stop to the resistance offered to the Unigenitus ; 
and in court circles plans were discussed for giving to the Grand 
Conseil the place of the Parliament of Paris ; by which means 
Ultramontanism would have won the game. 6 Madame de 

1 «' Voila la constitution aneantie nationalement," wrote D'Argenson (19th March 
1755) VIII, 452. 

2 Ibid., 453. 3 H>id., IX, 18. " Ibid., 63. 

5 Ibid., 216. 6 Ibid., 2561". 

VOL. I. C 


Pompadour, who at an earlier time had broken with the bishops 
in order to side with the Parliament, now threw herself into the 
arms of the Jesuits. By February 1756 the Marquise, who from 
thenceforth was to be only Louis XV. 's " friend," had taken the 
Jesuit De Sacy for her confessor ; and she, who shortly before 
had felt highly flattered when Voltaire called her " one of ours," J 
now after her change followed with the greatest zeal all her 
confessor's advice and commands. 2 The morals of the Court, 
however, were not improved. Louis XV. took two new 
mistresses ; and according to D'Argenson the tone at Versailles 
was no purer than that of a common brothel. 3 The courtiers 
followed Louis XV.'s example ; and everywhere in the pass- 
ages of the Court chamber-maids were met carrying letters of 
assignation. But this corrupt Court was in religious matters 
decidedly Jesuit. Madame de Pompadour became more and 
more the First Minister of France, and her efforts were directed 
towards binding the King to the order of Loyola, so that the 
Parisians thought that Louis XV. was more popish than 
Louis XIV. had ever been. 4 

At this time the humiliations and disappointments of the 
Seven Years' War filled the minds of all Frenchmen with grief 
and anger ; but in spite of these misfortunes the Jesuit party 
kept up internal dissension by constant attacks upon the Parlia- 
ment of Paris. The Bishop of Troyes ordered his priests to offer 
prayers for its conversion, 5 and in a pastoral letter he declared 
at length that all the misfortunes of France were owing to the 
Parliament's lack of right devotion to the Blessed Virgin, and 
its unbelief in the Immaculate Conception. 6 Parliament took 
action against these and similar utterances on the part of the 
episcopate, and it was proposed to throw the Bishop of Troyes 
into, prison. Before this was done, Louis XV. once more became 
irresolute, and in his distress besought Benedict XIV. to find 
some means of appeasing the raging billows. The reply of 
Rome was a brief which insisted that the Unigenitus was a law 
of the Church, and must be obeyed if men did not wish to forfeit 
eternal happiness. In view of this brief the French priests might 
at their own risk (a leurs risques et perils) give the sacraments to 

1 J. Reinach : Diderot, 61. ' 2 D'Argenson, IX, ig6f. 

3 Ibid., i7of. 4 Ibid., 356. 

5 Ibid., 307. • Ibid., 359. 


dying people who were only suspected of Jansenism ; but from 
henceforth they were to refuse them to open Jansenists. 1 When 
the Parliament of Paris desired to have this brief suppressed, 
Madame de Pompadour addressed the King thus : " Stand fast ; 
you have the Pope on your side." Whereupon Louis XV., in 
December 1756, after hearing Mass in the Sainte Chapelle and 
kissing the splinter of the True Cross, held a lit de justice, 
at which he ordered the acceptance of the Bull Unigenitus as 
a law of the Church, and made a decree with regard to the 
future position of Parliament which stripped it of any import- 
ance. 2 

This arbitrary proceeding on the part of the King aroused 
the greatest exasperation at Paris. It was whispered in 
corners that the time for resistance would soon come, and 
one of the members of Parliament, the Abb6 Chauvelin, 
hinted that this lit de justice was " the last sigh of the expiring 
monarchy." 3 The attempt of Damiens upon the life of Louis 
XV., which took place on 5th January 1757, threw men's minds 
into still stronger excitement. Both Jesuits and Jansenists 
were credited with the attempt, and Louis XV. profited by the 
occasion to publish a threat of death against all who ventured 
in print to attack religion or the royal authority, or to disturb 
the public peace. 4 But as soon as quiet appeared to have 
returned, the feeble King abandoned his strong measures, and 
Parliament recovered its ancient position. At last, in the year 
1757, commands were once more issued not to name the Bull 
Unigenitus in public writings, theses, or discussions ; but in 
order, at the same time, to show kindness to the episcopate the 
Archbishop of Paris received permission to return. When the 
Sorbonne, indignant at the King's vacillation and arbitrariness, 
offered a reminder that the renowned faculty had promised to 
defend the Roman Catholic religion usque ad effusionem 
sanguinis, the Dean was immediately banished a hundred 
miles from the capital, and the Archbishop, who was at the 
back of these proceedings of the Sorbonne, was sent to 

At the same time the Jesuits suffered another defeat. In 
the hope of better days they had caused the famous Moral 

1 Rocquain, 199. 2 ,D'Argenson, IX, 3s6f. 

3 J6id., 368. 4 Rocquain, 204. 


System of their Westphalian brother, Hermann Busenbaum — 
the Medulla Theologies Moralis — to be printed, in an edition, 
moreover, which was in many points enlarged. The Parliament 
of Toulouse immediately ordered this book to be burnt by the 
hangman, because it appeared to contain propositions which 
were in conflict with divine and human laws, and might induce 
subjects to make attempts upon the sacred person of the King. 1 
Busenbaum in fact taught the infallibility of the Pope, and the 
supremacy of the Papal Chair over secular princes, and in his 
utterances about certain cases in which manslaughter and theft 
were permissible, the Parliament of Toulouse, which was joined 
by the Parliament of Paris, found a pernicious morality. It was 
in vain that the heads of the Jesuit houses declared that they 
had always bowed to the Gallican Articles, that they abhorred 
the murder of kings, and disliked the propositions which were 
assailed. They were not believed. The Jansenist newspaper, 
Nouvelles Ecclesiastiques, expressed its astonishment that such 
men were still tolerated in France, and public opinion was so 
incensed against the Jesuits that no one dared to speak against 
the King's proceedings with regard to the Sorbonne and the 
Archbishop of Paris. 

At this moment Pope Benedict XIV. died (3rd May 1758), 
and the Jesuits used every effort to secure the election of a new 
pope who was favourable to their order. The merry, witty 
Benedict XIV. had never been altogether a friend to Jesuitism. 
As Cardinal and Archbishop of Bologna, he had once cried to 
the renowned French Benedictine Montfaucon, " If there were 
rather less of Gallican liberties on your side, and fewer ultra- 
montane demands on ours things would quickly right them- 
selves." 2 As Pope he had been compelled by circumstances to 
maintain the Unigenitus, and personally he valued highly the 
General of the Jesuits, Visconti ; but it sounded like an antici- 
pation of what was to befall the order of Loyola, when he 
said to Visconti's successor, Centurioni, "It is an article of 
faith that / should have a successor ; but no General of an 
order can say the same of himself." 3 His closest friend in the 
College of Cardinals, Passionei, was an open enemy of the Jesuits. 

1 Reusch : Beitrdge zur Geschichte des Jesuitenordens, /\§{, 

2 Sicard : L'ancien clergi de France I, 426. 

3 G. Phillips: Vermischte Schriften (Wizn 1856) II, 155. 


One day Benedict XIV., to tease Passionei, placed a copy of 
Busenbaum's Moral System in a conspicuous place in his 
library. As soon as the learned Cardinal spied the book, he 
flung it angrily out of the window. Passionei was not the 
only one of the high princes of the Church who nurtured a 
dislike for Jesuitism. Therefore it was of the utmost import- 
ance for the Jesuits to procure a successor to Benedict XIV. 
who would not give ear to the opponents of the order, and 
all the more because the deceased Pope had entrusted to their 
enemy, Cardinal Francisco de Saldanha, the office of investigat- 
ing, as visitor and reformer, the operations of the Jesuits in 
Portugal and in the East and West Indies. 

Portugal, which is seldom heard of in church history, had 
already begun under Benedict XIV. that conflict with the 
Jesuits, which led at last to the expulsion of the order from 
the country. At Lisbon the disciples of Loyola were not 
only, as almost everywhere in Europe, confessors to the 
royal family, 1 but also the advisers of the King and of the 
Ministers ; and no great office in state or Church was filled 
without their opinion being heard. 2 The Portuguese Minister, 
Sebastian Carvalho, Count of Oeyras, afterwards Marquis of 
Pombal, like others, owed his elevation to the Jesuits. But 
he had long been secretly their opponent. Even whilst he 
was Ambassador of Portugal at Vienna he had been indignant 
at their religious and political power. When he became 
Portuguese Minister, his indignation grew to hatred, because 
his schemes of reform were opposed at every point by the 
members of the powerful order. The Society of Jesus was 
at that time a great commercial company, which, by its bold 
speculations and great command of money, threatened in 
certain regions of the New World to crush all other commercial 
enterprises ; and the Jesuit state of Paraguay had long been 
a sore to the statesmen of Spain and Portugal alike. An 
exchange in South America between Spain and Portugal 
could not for many years be brought into operation, because 
the Indians, supported and led by the Jesuits in Paraguay 
offered an armed opposition to it. 

1 Cp. the recollections of the Jesuit Cordara in Dollinger's Beitrage zurpolit., 
kirchl. und Cultur-Gesch. der seeks letzten Jahrhunderte (Wien 1882) III, 72. 

2 A. Theiner : Geschichte des Pontificats Clemens' XIV. (Leipzig 1853) I, 4- 


The fatal earthquake of Lisbon (ist November 1755), by 
which 30,000 people lost their lives, called forth the first collision 
between Pombal and the Jesuits. The Jesuits intimated that 
that appalling natural occurrence was Heaven's punishment for 
the sins of the Prime Minister and of the King; and they 
went out to the palace of Belem to warn King Joseph to do 
public penance. 1 When the Jesuits in Paraguay refused any 
longer to obey commands, Pombal determined to take revenge 
upon the refractory order. One September night, in 1757, the 
Jesuit confessors at Court were banished to their Novice 
House, and at the same time the members of the order were 
forbidden to show themselves at the palace without the express 
permission of the King. Next the Minister turned to Benedict 
XIV. complaining of the trickeries and covetousness of the 
Jesuits. He informed the Pope that a Portuguese Jesuit had 
said from the pulpit, in order to defend the monopoly of his 
order, that anyone who took a share in any rival commercial 
company would have no part in the fellowship of Jesus Christ ; 
and Jesuits were said to have affirmed that wine bought of other 
dealers could not be used for the Holy Eucharist. 

It was on the ground of these and similar accusations that 
Benedict XIV., a month before his death, had nominated 
Cardinal Saldanha as Apostolic Visitor. As soon as the 
Cardinal had obtained his powers from Rome, he published a 
decree which forbade the Jesuits to carry on trade after their 
usual manner to the infringement of divine and human law. 2 A 
little later, a second decree ordered them, till further notice, to 
desist from occupying the confessional and the pulpit in Portugal. 
In these circumstances it was of the utmost importance for the 
disciples of Loyola that a Pope should be chosen who would 
stop this visitation, which was very irksome to the order ; while 
on the other side the opponents of Jesuitism did their utmost 
to promote the election of an enemy of the Jesuits. The 
Jansenists, who could reckon upon no small number of their 
own persuasion in the College of Cardinals, had immediately 
sent confidential agents to Rome to influence opinion ; and the 
envoy of Portugal at Rome, Almada, had shortly after the 

1 H. Schafer : Geschichte von Portugal (Gotha, 1854) V, 254f. 

2 Light has been thrown upon this decree from the Jesuits' side in E. Duhr's 
Jesuitenfabeln (Freiburg 1893), 275f. 



publication of the papal brief to Saldanha requested his 
government to send some articles of value as presents to the 
two Cardinals Passionei and Archinto, who without doubt had 
been especially active in procuring that brief, and who might 
act in the interests of Portugal in the approaching Conclave. 1 
As a counterpoise to these anti-Jesuit efforts, twenty-two 
cardinals, led by Gianfrancesco Albani, entered into a sworn 
agreement by which they pledged themselves not to choose an 
opponent of Jesuitism. 2 After long discussions the votes of the 
College of Cardinals appeared to gather round the Sardinian 
Cavalchini, who had voted for the canonisation of Bellarmine, 
and now apparently was the Jesuits' candidate ; but when 
France employed its right of veto against him, the cardinals 
hastened to choose the Venetian Rezzonico, who was scarcely 
less acceptable to the Jesuit party, and after the lapse of eight 
months Rezzonico came out of the Conclave as Clement XIII. 

The new Pope was a pious but very weak man, well suited 
to become a tool in the hands of the Jesuits. 8 When people on 
every side praised his good-heartedness, Cardinal Passionei, 
who more than anyone else had the credit of wrecking the 
scheme for Bellarmine's canonisation, remarked : " Jesus Christ 
bore the same testimony to Nathaniel, but he did not make 
Nathaniel an Apostle." i 

Soon after Clement XIII. had ascended the Chair of St 
Peter, the General of the Jesuits, Lorenzo Ricci, presented to 
him a petition with reference to the visitation in Portugal. In 
it Ricci declared that he had heard nothing whatsoever of the 
disorders which were said to have taken place in Portugal, and 
he proposed that the enquiry into the situation there should 
be conducted from Rome, affirming that if the opposite 
course were adopted, the visitation might easily lead to 
greater disturbances. 5 Clement XIII. answered by recom- 
mending to the order three things — silence, patience, and 

1 Gomes: I.e Marquis de Pombal (Lisbonne 1869), 157, after a letter from 
Almada in the Archives of the Portuguese Ministry of the Interior. 

2 Cordara 2of., cp. also Petruccelli della Gattina : Histoire diplomatique des 
Conclaves (Bruxelles 1866), IV, I4if. 

3 Ad extremum, Cordara writes (p. 21), terrefaciebat me ipsa nature bonitas 
etfacilitas novi fontificis, qua dos, ubi modum excedit, vitium est in principe. 

* C. Justi: Winckelmann (Leipzig 1872) II, 1, 224. 
5 Schafer V, 263. 


prayers ; the rest, he said> he would see to himself. 1 And 
thereupon he ordered his nuncio at Lisbon "in a friendly 
manner, and as if of his own motion" to let Saldanha know 
that people at Rome were displeased at his decrees, and 
especially at his attempt to bar the access of the Jesuits to 
the confessional and the pulpit. 

Saldanha, however, had died a few weeks before Ricci had 
his audience of Clement XIII., and accordingly the visitation 
was for the time at a standstill. But in spite of the friendly 
attitude of the new Pope towards the order of Loyola, the 
dislike of it at Rome increased day by day. Almada 
obtained — it is not known by what means — a copy of Ricci's 
petition, and had it printed with the addition of certain 
remarks which renewed the old charges against the Jesuits. 
Out of regard for the Court of Lisbon, Clement XIII. dared 
not forbid the dissemination of this writing; and Almada 
ventured to publish a supplement, in which he described the 
Jesuits as rebels both against the Pope and against temporal 
rulers, accusing them of having taken the lives of more than 
twenty royal personages by means of poison and the 
dagger. From the archives of the Propaganda itself he 
succeeded in obtaining a document, which formed the basis 
of an attack on the hated order. On the gate of the Jesuit 
seminary were read the lines : 

" L'Ispano e il Portughese 
V'aborre e vi discaccia. 
II Gallico paese 
Spero che presto il faccia." 

And a French Jansenist wrote home that he had the best 
hopes of the ruin of the order ; that even if the Pope wished 
to protect it, his efforts in that direction would not be 
crowned with success. 2 

While in Rome the enemies of the Jesuits thus gained 
courage, the order fared badly in Portugal. The attempted 
assassination of King Joseph (3rd September 1758), not only 
gave Pombal an opportunity of taking vengeance on a few of 
those noble families, which stood in the way of his reforms 
and his personal wishes, but also had fatal consequences for 

1 Cordara, 22. 2 Ibid., 23k 


the Portuguese Jesuits. 1 In the night between the nth and 
12th of January 1759 ten Jesuits were arrested as members 
of the conspiracy against the King's life. Among these 
was Malagrida, a Milanese, who was confessor to the Tavora 
family. 2 The tribunal appointed to try them found them 
guilty. Some of the accused noblemen made confessions 
which were very damaging, especially to Malagrida; and 
several witnesses said they had heard the Jesuits talk of a 
divine judgment which was soon to fall upon the Portuguese 
Court. 3 Among contemporaries, however, opinions were 
divided as to the guilt of the order, and Jesuit authors still 
affirm that the part alleged to have been taken by the 
members of their order in the attempted assassination was 
only a fable, which had sprung from Pombal's wish to assure 
his power over the weak and suspicious King. 4 

The case against Malagrida and the other members of his 
order gave Pombal the desired opportunity of getting at 
the Jesuits. A note was sent to Clement XIII., which pointed 
to their probable expulsion, and called upon the Chair of 
St Peter to join with the royal authority in putting an end 
to those acts of violence, which filled the whole of Europe 
with disgust and indignation. 5 The Portuguese bishops sided 
with the government and sent out pastoral letters condemning 
the errors of the Jesuits and forbidding anyone to have any- 
thing to do with the members of the order. But the papal 

1 A. de Saint-Priest : Histoire de la chute des Jisuites (Paris 1846), 15C ; Schafer 
V, 264f. 

2 Adami, the General of the Servites, told Baron C. H. von Gleichen {Souvenirs de 
C. H. Baron de Gleichen, Paris 1868, 31) that when the news of Malagrida's imprison- 
ment came to Rome, Cardinal Negroni was entertaining a party at dinner. Ricci was 
among the guests. Everybody advised him to write at once to the King of Portugal, 
and say that although the order was convinced of Malagrida's innocence the King was 
entreated to be merciful. But Ricci was inflexible. He wrote line lettrefolle to the 
effect that a Jesuit could only be judged by the Society itself. The events which 
followed were the consequence. 

3 J. Smith : Memoirs of the Marquis of Pombal (London 1843) I, 2l7f. ; 

II, Ilf. Schafer V, 28lf. P. P. Wolf: Allg. Geschichte derjesuiten (Zurich 1791), 

III, 8of. 

4 So Duhr 424. The papal nuncio, Cardinal Acciaiuolo, is reported, however, to 
have said at Florence on his return from Portugal " that the Jesuits were undoubtedly 
the authors of the attempted assassination of his Majesty Dom Joseph." — Memoirs of 
the Marquis of Pombal, I, 286f. 

5 Wolf III, 1 i 4 f. Schafer, 288f. 


Secretary of State, Cardinal Torregiani, as well as Clement 
XIII. himself, took part with the order, and as it appeared 
impossible for Rome and Lisbon to make common cause 
against the Jesuits, a royal edict was issued (3rd September 
1759) ordering all Jesuits to leave Portugal and the Portuguese 
colonies. Seven vessels of transport were made ready to 
carry all the Portuguese members of the order to the Papal 
States; but first an attempt was made to induce the younger 
men, who had not yet taken the solemn vows, to draw back. 
With most of them it was labour in vain ; all but a few 
went on board singing the Psalm, In exitu Israel de JEgypto, 
domus Jacob de populo barbaro. The departing Jesuits had 
no doubt hoped that this scene would touch the spectators ; 
but in this respect they were disappointed. The crowd 
watched their departure without showing sympathy, and the 
Portuguese clergy even struck a medal to celebrate their 
expulsion. 1 Later on all the possessions of the Jesuits in 
Portugal and the colonies were confiscated by the State ; 
and Malagrida, who in prison had solaced himself with 
writing fanatical books about the immaculate conception of 
St Anne, and about Antichrist, was condemned to be led 
through the streets of Lisbon with a rope round his neck, 
and then to be strangled and burnt — not as a political 
offender, but as a heretic. 

Events in Portugal were watched in the salons of Paris 
with mixed feelings. The philosophers were filled with 
contempt for Pombal, who during the trial had constantly 
feigned the greatest affection for the order of Loyola ; and 
Voltaire thought it cowardice to condemn as a heretic the 
man who was accused of high treason. 2 On the other hand, 
advanced minds in Paris wished that Jesuitism, as the 
bulwark of superstition, might disappear from the face of 
the earth ; and what happened in Portugal made people 
begin to talk loudly in France of expelling them from that 
country also. For the time, however, the Parliament of Paris 
was mostly occupied with a strenuous attempt to check the 
tide of materialistic and anti-christian literature. Helvetius' 
work De I'Esprit and Voltaire's poem on Natural Religion 

1 Wolf III, I39f. ; Cretineau-Joly V, i6if. 

2 Voltaire : Pricis du sihle de Louis XV. (Dresden 1769) II, 2821". 


were condemned to the flames, and the great Encyclopedia 
which now had reached its seventh volume, was committed 
for closer examination to a committee of lawyers and divines. 
On 8th March 1759 the privileges for printing this work 
were withdrawn, and some months later Clement XIII. 
issued a solemn condemnation of the Encyclopedia, and laid 
an interdict on its circulation. Shortly afterwards the Arch- 
bishop of Paris received permission at last to come back 
from Perigord, after a banishment of one-and-twenty months. 
This put new life into the attacks upon philosophy. In the 
Academy, Lefranc de Pompignan made a violent speech 
against the philosophers, and at the Theatre Francais a play 
by Palissot was acted, in which a servant, while stealing 
something from his master, says : " Now I shall become a 
philosopher." The Church and the government had a meet- 
ing-point in their common hatred of philosophy, and hence- 
forth the philosophers were confronted by both opponents, 
who in their eyes became more and more a single enemy. 1 

Under these strained conditions the attention of all was 
suddenly drawn to a lawsuit in which the Jesuits were 
involved. Upon the island of Martinique Loyola's order had 
a great trading station which was in brisk communication 
with Europe, and especially with France. A firm at Marseilles 
issued a bill of exchange for about three million francs, 
for which colonial produce was due. The ships which were 
to bring these wares to Marseilles were seized by the English, 
and the loss had serious consequences. Pere La Valette, 
the director of the trade in Martinique, was obliged to offer 
to say Masses instead of repaying the large sum, and in 
consequence the firm at Marseilles was compelled to stop 
payment. Although the Jesuits could easily have raised the 
three million francs, they let the matter go to law, and on 
8th May 1761 the Grande Chambre unanimously sentenced 
them to pay the sum with interest and compensation. 
When the rumours of this sentence reached Paris, there 
was general rejoicing. It was plain that people wished the 
French Jesuits to share the fate of the Portuguese. And 
ruin was much nearer at hand than the arrogant disciples of 
Loyola imagined. 

1 Rocquain, 2i3f. 


During the lawsuit it was urged that the statutes of the 
order were a social danger, and the Parliament ordered them 
to be produced. The Jesuits dared not disobey, but got the 
King to demand that the statutes should be delivered up to 
him in order that (as it was said) he might have them examined. 
Meanwhile "an angel or a charitable soul" obtained another 
copy for the Parliament, and the members now took the 
examination into their own hands. By this examination it 
came to light that the Jesuits had been banished from France 
in 1594, and that when they returned in 1603 it was only on 
sufferance and without express permission. The Advocate- 
General now demanded that they should endeavour to procure 
such permission and receive no novices until it was granted. At 
the same time he accused them of holding pernicious doctrines, 
especially of defending murder and regicide. On the strength of 
this plea the Parliament condemned four-and-twenty Jesuit 
writings to the flames, and forbade the Jesuits to carry on their 
work of teaching until the whole case was sufficiently investigated. 

This step made an immense sensation in Paris. It was 
expected that the Grand Cornell would interfere and prevent the 
decision of the Parliament from being carried out. This did 
not take place ; but the King commanded that the case should 
be postponed for a year, and forty -five out of fifty French 
bishops publicly declared that no fault could be found with 
the conduct or doctrines of the Jesuits. 1 But the other 
Parliaments placed themselves on the side of the Parliament 
of Paris and began to examine the statutes of the order 
of the Jesuits. In order to ward off the threatening storm 
a royal commission called upon the French Jesuits to declare, 
that they rejected every doctrine which could possibly 
permit the use of violence against the sacred person of a 
king; 2 and that in their public and private theological 
lectures they would never advance anything contrary to the 
Gallican Articles. 3 A hundred and sixteen French Jesuits 
at once signed the declaration, 4 but Ricci refused to acknowledge 
the step; when Louis XV., to save the order, proposed the 

1 Rocquain, 226f. 2 Reusch : Beilrdge, 1 7f. 3 Reusch, 1 14k 

4 "Laudem earn prsecipuse in sedem apostolicam observantise, quam hactenus 

obtinuerant, hac neque quaesita nee necessaria declaratione nullo suo emolumento 

amiserunt." So says Cordara ; see Dollinger : Beitrage III, 34. 


appointment of a native Vicar-General who should rule the 
French Jesuits with a general's authority, this also was 
rejected. As soon as the Bishop of Laon had stated the 
King's wishes to the General of the Jesuits, Ricci put the 
case before his assistants ; and they referred the decision 
to the Pope. Clement XIII. saw clearly that other rulers 
could easily be tempted to demand a similar concession, 
and that a separate French General-Vicar would divide the 
French Jesuits from the rest of the order. Therefore he 
uttered the famous words : Ant sint ut sunt, aut non sint, 
and when Ricci brought this answer to the Bishop of Laon 
the negotiations were broken off. 1 

Louis XV. still sought to shield the order by proposing 
to make it undergo a reformation, but Parliament would 
not yield. At the appointed time, 1st April 1762, the Jesuits 
were forced to stop their teaching, and all their papers 
were seized. On 6th August the same year, exactly a year 
after the commencement of the enquiry, the Parliament 
condemned a hundred and sixty-three Jesuit writings to the 
flames, 2 and declared the Society on French territory to be 
dissolved. The philosophers triumphed as if the victory were 
due to them. Diderot imagined how Voltaire, when he heard 
the news, would lift up his hands and eyes to heaven and 
say : " Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace ; 
for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation ! " But Voltaire himself 
saw more clearly the real cause of the defeat of the Jesuits. 
He says : " It is neither Sanchez nor Lessius nor Escobar, 
nor the absurdities of the Casuists, which have ruined the 
Jesuits; it is Le Tellier, and the Bull (Unigenitus), that have 
extirpated them in nearly the whole of France. The plough, 
which Le Tellier, the Jesuit, drove over the ruins of Port Royal, 
has produced those fruits which are now gathered after the 
lapse of sixty years." 8 

The course of events in France awoke the greatest 
consternation in Rome. 4 On 3rd September Clement XIII. 
called together a secret Consistory, where he eased his 

1 Cordara, loc. cit. 

2 A list of them is given in Rocquain, 5l4f. 

3 Louis XV. II, 288. 

4 A. Theiner : Geschichte des Pontificals Clemens' XIV. II, 3of. 


sorrowful mind by making a speech exceedingly hostile to 
France. The General of the Jesuits and those cardinals 
who were friends to the order at once urged him to print the 
speech. But the more moderate members of the Sacred 
College, headed by Lorenzo Ganganelli, the future Pope 
Clement XIV., begged him earnestly to refrain ; for one reason, 
because he had started with the false premise that the 
Parliaments had forced the French Jesuits to acknowledge 
the Gallican liberties, while the truth was that the Jesuits 
had taken this step voluntarily, hoping to save their order 
from the threatening danger. This discovery made such an 
impression upon the weak Clement XIII. that he put his 
speech under lock and key, and forbade the cardinals to say 
a word more about publishing it, though he sent letters to 
several of the French prelates exhorting them to shield the 
persecuted Jesuits. 

But from the midst of the French episcopate itself a 
vehement accusation was launched against the Society of 
Jesus. Fitz James, Bishop of Soissons, a son of the Duke of 
Berwick, the illegitimate son of James II., could not forget 
the misfortunes of his family, and at every opportunity laid 
the blame for them upon the Jesuits. He now wrote a 
pastoral letter 1 in which he condemned the Jesuit doctrines ; 
and three other bishops joined him. In order to crush these 
attacks upon the Jesuits, Clement XIII. made the Inquisition 
issue a decree forbidding the circulation of Fitz James' pastoral 
letter ; but the Parliament simply rejected the decree of the 
Inquisition. Still the Jesuits would not give in. One of 
their friends, a member of the episcopate, sent an open letter 
to the King in which he informed him that all good citizens 
and virtuous souls were horrified at what had befallen the Jesuits. 
Pamphlets appeared accusing the Parliament of violating 
justice ; but others also appeared containing violent attacks 
upon the Jesuits. In one of these, which professed to treat of 
three " necessary " things, the writer advocated the banishment 
of the Jesuits, the extirpation of Christianity, and the killing of 
the Dauphin, who was a friend of the Jesuits. Many thought 
that this daring book originated in the camp of the Jesuits 
themselves, in order to frighten the Court and the moderates. 2 

1 Reusch : Index II, 921. 2 Rocquain, zyji. 


After the dissolution of the order in France, most of the 
members found shelter in the provinces with bishops, noblemen, 
and people of wealth ; but many still lived together as priests 
under their old rules, hoping that the tide would soon turn, when 
they could quickly reorganise themselves. For the time there 
was no prospect of such a turn. After a new royal edict had 
shut them out from the schools, another declared that all their 
property now belonged to the State. In vain the Archbishop of 
Paris again dared to raise his voice on their behalf. The Parlia- 
ment burnt his pastoral letter and begged the King to punish 
the " incorrigible " prelate. Louis XV. granted their prayer, and 
banished Beaumont to a distance of forty miles from Paris. 

In order to strike the Jesuits still more sensibly the Parlia- 
ment demanded (February 1764) that they should swear that they 
would neither singly, nor together, follow the constitutions of their 
order, that they would break off all connexion with their leaders, 
and would abjure the doctrines set forth in an anthology of their 
assertions {Extraits des assertions des Jesuites). A subsequent 
Act of Parliament further decided that any Jesuit who would 
not within eight days take this oath should leave the kingdom. 
Consequently exile was the only possible thing for most of them. 1 
In these desperate circumstances many friends of the Jesuits 
advised Clement XIII. to summon a French National Council, 
in hopes that it would protect the order. This was certainly 
a most unfortunate plan. It was opposed, among others, by 
Cardinal Ganganelli, who represented to the Pope that such a 
Council would probably lead to a schism. 

Louis XV. now thought that there was nothing else to be 
done but to issue a new decree (November 1764) abolishing for 
ever the Society of Jesus in his kingdom. At the same time he 
decided that all lawsuits against the Jesuits and their friends 
should be stopped immediately; and the Archbishop of Paris 
received permission to return. Former Jesuits were also allowed 
to remain in France if they would break off all connexion with 
their order and act as priests under the usual superintendence 
of the bishops. Only from Paris and its immediate neigh- 
bourhood were they ordered temporarily to keep aloof; but a 
prospect was opened to them of entering the capital if they 
behaved well and gave no cause for complaint. 

1 A. Theiner I, 33C 


At this moment the General of the Jesuits prevailed upon 
the feeble Clement XIII., without the knowledge of his Secretary 
of State, to issue a document, which re-established the Society 
of Jesus and defended it against those unjust charges, as the 
Pope considered them, which had been brought against it. This 
was the Constitution Apostolicum pascendi of 7th January 1765. 
This Constitution had been composed with the greatest secrecy 
by Ricci and a few prelates at the papal Court who were friends 
of the order. Its appearance caused anxiety to some of the 
best friends of the Jesuits in Rome, 1 but great joy to others, as 
can be seen from the grateful letter sent to Clement XIII. by 
the Bishop (since canonised) of Sant' Agata dei Goti. 2 Every 
bishop was immediately made acquainted with this Constitution 
through the nuncios ; but only thirteen Spanish prelates, two 
French, seven Italian, and one Bohemian, thanked the Pope for 
this defence of Jesuitism, and through the replies of these 
prelates the Pope learned once more how numerous were the 
enemies of the order in all countries. Before long this enmity 
showed itself more strongly. Tanucci, the well-known reforming 
minister of the King of the Two Sicilies, immediately informed 
the papal nuncio at Naples that the latest Constitution was 
a very unwise document, and its circulation in the united 
kingdoms was forbidden under penalty of heavy fines. Venice, 
Tuscany, Parma, and Modena all followed the example of 
Naples with more or less severity ; in Lombardy the Governor 
of Milan prohibited not only this document, but the notorious 
Maundy Thursday Bull {In ccsna Domini). The Parliament of 
Paris likewise immediately prohibited this untimely Constitution, 
and in Portugal it was decided that anyone who should dare to 
have it in his possession or to distribute it among others, should 
be guilty of high treason and forfeit his honour, office, and 
property. The rage against Rome and the Jesuits had now 
reached such a point in Portugal, that they would not even 
receive a letter from the Pope. 3 

In Spain also the new Constitution caused the smouldering 
hatred of the Jesuits to leap into flame. Already in January 
1762, King Carlos III. had issued a so-called Pragmatic 

1 Theiner I, 37. 

2 Lettere di S. Alfonso Maria d£ Ligttori (Roma 1887) I, 566. 

3 Theiner I, 43. 


Sanction, which limited considerably the privileges of the 
religious orders ; and in Spain the Jesuits had many opponents 
in the episcopate. When a good number of the fugitive Jesuits 
from France sought shelter there, some of the bishops even 
refused them permission to say Mass. As soon as the new 
Constitution was published, the papal nuncio in Spain reported 
to Rome that nearly all were agreed that it was untimely and 
harmful, and that it was generally looked upon as a work of 
the Jesuits, and an evidence of the power which they possessed 
in the immediate entourage of the Pope. 1 

This rash Constitution only had the effect of increasing 
ill-will towards the Papacy in all Roman Catholic states. 
Decrees were everywhere passed which made even the smallest 
documents proceeding from St Peter's Chair the object of 
searching suspicion, and their publication without royal con- 
sent was forbidden. In Spain, where the Jesuits had long 
enjoyed much power in the schools, people began to criticise 
their educational labours, and their friends and adherents lost 
their high offices in Church and State. As a counter-move the 
Spanish Jesuits attacked several of the reforms which had 
lately been set on foot. This attack on the work of the 
government caused serious disturbances. When Aranda and 
others of Carlos III.'s Ministers were pointed out by the Jesuits 
as being the cause of all the disturbances in Spain, a royal 
decree was issued on 2nd April 1767, abolishing the Society 
of Jesus as far as Spain was concerned, and banishing all 
Spanish Jesuits from the country. After the publication of 
this decree nearly five thousand Spanish Jesuits were put on 
board transports and sent to Civita Vecchia. There they were 
driven away with cannon shot. It was already difficult enough 
for Rome to provide for their brother Jesuits who had fled from 
Portugal and France ; so the unfortunate exiles were compelled 
to roam about on the sea until the Duke of Choiseul gave the 
Governor of Corsica permission to open that island to them. 
In spite of all that these poor wretches had suffered, they 
could not resist the temptation of making an attempt to get 
back to Spain. In Spanish convents which had had Jesuit 
confessors, visionary women had proclaimed that great judg- 
ments were coming upon Spain, the destruction of all the 

1 Cp. the despatch of the nuncio to the Papal Secretary in Theiner I, 44!. 
VOL. I. D 


Bourbons, and the overthrow of religion. 1 As soon as this 
report reached Corsica two hundred and fifty Jesuits ventured 
to creep back into Spain. Their audacity was at once dis- 
covered, and new and severe penal laws were enacted, to be 
enforced also in the Spanish possessions in America and India, 
to keep the Jesuits for ever away from the fatherland of the 
Founder of their order. 

The banishment of the Jesuits from Spain came as a com- 
plete surprise to the Pope. Rome had not expected such a 
measure from a prince whose father had been the first to choose 
Jesuits for his confessors, and whose mother was a Farnese, of 
the family of Pope Paul III. 2 The worst of it was that events 
in Spain added fresh fuel to the hatred of the Jesuits in France. 
Carlos III. at once sent the "Pragmatic Sanction" to Louis 
XV. with an explanation of the reasons which had led to its 
issue. In the course of the negotiations which were opened 
between the cabinets of Madrid and Versailles, the Duke of 
Choiseul said : " If the Pope were wise, enlightened, and of a 
firm character, he would not attempt any other remedy than 
the total abolition of the order by means of a Bull." 3 Already 
before the end of April the Parliament of Paris had decided 
that the Jesuits should be turned out of all French possessions, 
and on 8th May a decree was issued commanding all Jesuits to 
leave France within fourteen days. After short intervals the 
Parliaments in the provinces followed the example of Paris ; 
that of Aix even proposed that the Jesuits should be banished 
from the papal territories of Avignon and Venaissin, and that 
these should be annexed if Rome would not agree. This bold 
Parliament of Aix even proposed that the Pope should be 
forced to abolish the Society of Jesus for ever. 

The desire for the total abolition of the order became more 
and more marked. When Portugal made overtures to Rome, 
Clement XIII. declared that the recall of the Jesuits was an 
indispensable condition of the restoration of former relations. 4 
But Pombal would not hear of it. On the contrary, he formed 

1 Cordara in Dbllinger III, 39. 

2 Cordara, 36f. 

3 The Duke de Choiseul to the Marquis d'Aubeterre, 21st April 1762; 
Theiner I, 68 ; Rocquain, 259. 

4 Smith s Memoirs of the Marquis of Pombal II, 8of. Theiner I, 72f. 


a plan that Spain, France, and Portugal should unite in a league 
and demand the abolition of the order, threatening to call a 
General Council if this demand were not acceded to. The 
Portuguese statesmen even thought of coming to an under- 
standing with the Jansenists at Utrecht, and so causing an 
open schism. Clement XIII. tried in vain to make an impres- 
sion on King Joseph by writing him a letter with his own hand. 
The King answered that Portugal would not come to terms 
with St Peter's Chair before the order of the Jesuits was 
abolished. At the same time, Tanucci, on behalf of the King 
of the Two Sicilies, had all the Jesuits from Naples and Sicily- 
conveyed in a miserable plight to the frontier of the Papal 
States, and the Grand Master of the order of St John sent 
away the Jesuits who were in Malta. Everything indicated 
that the days of the order would soon be numbered, for popular 
feeling rose against them everywhere. Even in Rome, in some 
circles, there was much ill-will against them, because of the 
humane manner in which Clement XIII. had provided for the 
expelled Portuguese Jesuits, and passed over others to make 
them chaplains to the Roman hospitals, confessors in nunneries, 
parish priests, and canons. 

In spite of all, some of the French philosophers watched 
the death struggles of Jesuitism with much sympathy. They 
hated the Jesuit canaille just as much as that of the Jansenists 
and of the Parliaments, but they were disgusted at the 
hypocrisy which made many statesmen, like Pombal, allege 
zeal for the Church as their reason for persecuting the order 
of Loyola. 1 In their view of the matter the King of Sardinia 
was right when he gave to Cordara, as the true and real reason 
for hating the Jesuits, their riches and the predominance of 
their order over all others. 2 The French philosophers had no 
appreciation of the moral wrath which found vent in Jansen's 
Augustinus and Pascal's Provincial Letters ; and the earnestness 
of the Jansenists was very irksome to them. In 1765 
D'Alembert published anonymously a book entitled Histoire 
de la destruction des Jhuites. According to Diderot this 
caused more sensation in Paris than the author's four Volumes 
of mathematics. 3 D'Alembert's sympathy with the persecuted 

1 For Pombal's "Apology" see his Memoirs II, i4of. 

2 Cordara, 35. 3 J. Bertrand : D'Alembert, 119. 


order is apparent throughout the book. His lucubrations 
issue in the assertion that the destruction of Jesuitism will 
certainly be of great advantage to "Reason," but only on 
condition that Jansenist intolerance be not substituted for that 
of the Jesuits. At all events the Jesuits were reasonable people 
who could wink at the ways of others, and allow them to keep 
their thoughts in peace, if only the outward part was right. 
But the Jansenists were not so considerate; therefore they 
seemed to D'Alembert to be barbarians worse than the English 
Puritans. And Voltaire wrote after the expulsion of the 
Jesuits from France : " It is dreadful to be exposed to the 
attacks of wolves when you have got rid of the foxes." 1 

Doubtless many of the other spokesmen of the Esprit 
philosophique agreed with D'Alembert and Voltaire. Sympathy 
with the Jesuits could only show itself in glimpses, for in many 
cases it was choked by that hatred of the Church which found 
its classic expression in the watchword of Voltaire and the 
philosophers: Ecrasez I'infdme, e'crasez la, 2 first heard in 1762, 
when the first violent blow was struck at Loyola's French 

In this memorable year Rousseau's Emile and Contrat social 
both saw the light. Emile, which was printed in Holland, 
was burnt by the Parliament, and the Archbishop of Paris 
warned people against it in a special pastoral letter. But 
everybody read it, and at the end of half a year it was in all 
the booksellers' windows in Paris. 3 This Natural Gospel of 
Education gained an influence which few books attain. The 
Savoyard priest, who, in spite of the shipwreck of his Christian 
faith, wished to remain in his office, became a pattern for many 
French priests. And his deistic confession, with its easily 
perceptible reminiscences , of Descartes, 4 carried on a quiet 
Propaganda, until one day it became the official creed of 
France. Emile gave the impulse to a brisk discussion of 
educational problems, during which it became apparent that 
the French schools had really entered on a new phase, in spite 

1 Recueil des lettres (Paris 1784) X, 478. The date of the letter is 6th May 1768. 
Cp. p. 360. 

2 It is clear that Pinfdme was intended to mean the Church, not Christ. 
Strauss : Voltaire, i88f. 

3 Rocquain, 235. 

* F. Bouillier : Histoire de la philosophic cartisunne (Paris 1854) II, 634f. 


of the outward likeness to the old. The Encyclopedia, which 
in this case is an unwilling witness, declared as early as 1751 
that the pupils as a rule left the schools " with such a superficial . 
knowledge of religion, that the first ungodly conversation, or 
the first dangerous reading, was too much for them." 1 The 
pupils soon encountered the " ungodly conversations " and the 
"dangerous reading" in the schools themselves. IJ esprit 
philosophique soon penetrated the Sorbonne to such an extent 
that the Abbe Morelles, who belonged to that school of thought, 
could rejoice that Reason was getting by degrees the better of 
theological stupidities. 2 In the Sorbonne, they began to defend 
theses which bore the impress of Locke's and Condillac's 
philosophy ; 3 even in Saint Sulpice the philosophic spirit was 
felt. The pupils at the seminary thought the old prayers too 
long and too mystical. 4 A deacon was caught reading 
Helvetius' de VEsprit during a procession, and there were 
complaints from all sides of the worldly-mindedness of the 
future priests. The expulsion of the Jesuits had important 
consequences in the schools. It was not easy for the teaching 
communities such as the Benedictines and Oratorians to get 
the requisite number of Christian teachers in a hurry, and 
they often had to resort to lay masters who were more or less 
tainted with the Esprit philosophique!' 

At the same time that Emile was influencing parents and 
teachers, the Contrat social made an immense impression on 
statesmen and thoughtful citizens. 6 In the remarkable eighth 
chapter, where Rousseau treats of the so-called civic religion, he 
counts the Romish Church with Lamaism and the Japanese 
religion among those curious systems " which give men two sets 
of laws, two sovereigns, and two countries ; and which lay upon 
them duties which are mutually contradictory, and prevent men 
from being at the same time good citizens and pious men." 
The Christianity of the Gospel is in his opinion immeasurably 
better, but it is contrary to the social spirit. A community of 
real Christians would not be a community of men and women. 

1 Under the word College. 

2 A. Sicard : Viducation morale et civique avant et pendant la revolution (Paris 
1884), 137. 

3 Sicard, i63f. 4 Ibid., 139. ° Ibid., 144. 
6 A. Chuquet : /./. Rousseau (Paris 1893), 147 f. 


It is in the interest of the State that every citizen should have 
a religion which inspires him with love of duty, but the doctrines 
. are a matter of indifference to the State. There are, however, 
certain sentiments de sociabilite, without which one can neither 
be a good citizen nor a loyal subject. These dogmas in the 
civic religion are of a moral, rather than a religious, nature, and 
should be as few as possible. They could really be limited to 
the Savoyard priest's belief in a Supreme Being, conscience, and 
the immortality of the soul. It is the business of the sovereign 
to decide upon these articles of faith ; he should not force any- 
one to believe them, but he may exile those citizens who do not 
accept them, not for impiety, but on the ground of their being 
insociables. Besides these dogmas the State should maintain the 
principle that intolerance is altogether objectionable. " Anyone 
who says, Outside the Church there is no salvation ! should be 
expelled from the State." 

Voltaire, himself also a deist, agreed with Rousseau in his 
views on the relations between Church and State. He exerted 
himself to make princes see that priests were the greatest 
enemies of monarchy, and the philosophers the best support 
against the encroachments of the clergy. He thought the time 
had come for the State to resume the power which the Church 
had usurped in the Middle Ages. The Church should no longer 
be allowed to rule the community. He took up Boniface VIII.'s 
old idea about the impossibility of the Church and State having 
equal power, but came to the opposite conclusion. In his 
opinion it was the State, not the Church, that should rule. 
Could two masters be tolerated in a house, the father and the 
children's teacher, who is paid by the father ? For himself and 
a little band of superior intellects he claimed full freedom of 
thought, but a positive religion was necessary to preserve order 
in the community. A philosopher might be an atheist, but a 
statesman should be a theist. 1 Nevertheless he sent out from 
Ferney a succession of writings which all more or less tended to 
undermine the inherited faith of the French people. Most of 
these books were small (petits livrets), because it was easier to 
get books of that kind distributed among young men and 
women. He felt himself to be the apostle of a new church, the 
chief dogma of which was Tolerance, which he preached with 

1 Joyau : La philosophie en France pendant la rivolution, 34k 


enthusiasm in his Traits de la Tolirance and other works ; and 
when he heard that this book was read at Court, and saw its 
effect in the trial of Jean Calas, he cried : " The scales are falling 
from men's eyes ; the kingdom of Truth is at hand ! " " God 
is blessing our new Church." x 

The Parliaments had great difficulty in stopping the circula- 
tion of these dangerous books, but they did their best. Fr 
Melchior Grimm foresaw that the time would soon come when 
it would be just as difficult to find philosophical books in Paris 
as in Constantinople. Yet in spite of the vigilance of the police 
the prohibited books were circulated. Even among the police 
officials " the new Church " had willing " brethren " and " con- 
federates " who saw to the distribution of the works of Voltaire 
and the Encyclopaedists. And the government often hesitated 
to deal too violently with persons who received autograph letters 
from the King of Prussia, and one sign of favour after another 
from the Empress of Russia. 2 The freethinkers held well to- 
gether. Ever since 1759, when the Encyclopedia was forbidden, 
the Encyclopaedists and those who thought with them had 
formed a league, the object of which was " to raise the throne 
of Reason upon the ruins of dogma." To many it appeared 
that this object would soon be gained. When Diderot, in 
1767, during a visit to Baron Holbach at Grandval, received a 
parcel of books attacking the Church and Christianity, he wrote : 
" I do not know what is to become of the poor Church of Jesus 
Christ or of the prophecy that the gates of hell shall not prevail 
against it." And a bishop is reported to have said : " At the 
rate at which everything is going now, religion can not have 
fifty years to live." 3 

The adherents of the Esprit philosophique were still more 
confirmed in their triumphant conviction that the future 
belonged to them, when they saw the Society of Jesus abolished 
by a brief from the Pope. 

1 Recueil des lettres VII, 384, 403. 

2 Rocquain 25of. 

3 Ibid., 2.6$, 



The idea of forcing a total abolition of Loyola's order, by 
making joint representations to the Pope, gained ground among 
the Bourbon princes and statesmen, and a fresh unwise pro- 
ceeding of Clement XIII. made the princes put the thought 
into action. 

Ever since 1 731, when the house of Farnese became extinct, 
and the Infante Don Carlos, son of Philip V. of Spain, took to 
himself the government of Parma and Piacenza, the popes had 
claimed to be the real lords of those states. Every year on the 
eve of St Peter's Day they made a solemn protest against the 
Spanish prince's usurpation of what presumably belonged to the 
successors and heirs of Paul III., the former Cardinal Farnese; 
and when the young Duke Ferdinand of Parma, in spite of the 
protest of his bishop, permitted himself to invade the rights and 
dignities of the Church, his action caused the greatest indigna- 
tion at Rome. Clement XIII. first warned the Duke Infante; 
but as this had no effect he issued an edict (30th January 1768) 
declaring all Ferdinand's measures, which were contrary to the 
laws of the Church, to be null and void, and threatening him 
and his counsellors with excommunication under the " Bull of 
Maundy Thursday " {In coena Domini) if they did not at once 
bow to the see of St Peter. 

But this was not to be thought of. What Duke Ferdinand 
had done was perfectly approved of by his paternal uncle, King 
Carlos III. of Spain, and also by his maternal grandfather, Louis 
XV. of France. The Pope's threat only served to draw out the 
family feeling of the Bourbons. The Bourbon family treaty was 
made on 15th August 1761, originally as a counter-move against 
England ; among other things it contained a sentence that who- 



ever attacked one of the two thrones attacked both. King 
Ferdinand I. of the Two Sicilies and the Infante Ferdinand, 
Duke of Parma, both came under the treaty as the son and 
nephew of Carlos III., and therefore the attack roused all the 
reigning Bourbons. Unwise prophecies and personal satires and 
satirical pictures, directed against the Spanish king and his 
counsellors, enraged the Spaniards still more, and both Carlos 
III. and Louis XV. advised the Duke of Parma to take no 
notice whatever of the papal letters, but to send all the Jesuits of 
Parma to the Papal States. This advice was followed and there 
came a fresh protest from Rome. It made no impression on 
the allied princes ; Naples answered by absorbing the Papal 
peculiars of Benevento and Pontecorvo, and France those of 
Avignon and Venaissin. 

These reprisals caused the greatest consternation at Rome. 
Clement XIII. was so overcome by grief and anger that it 
was thought necessary to bleed him ; his Secretary of State, 
Torregiani, was likewise so affected that he had to undergo 
the same operation. 1 As soon as the Pope had somewhat 
recovered, he wrote and complained to Carlos III., but, instead of 
considering this complaint, the Spanish king sent a secret order 
to his representative at the chair of St Peter to demand that 
Rome should withdraw at all points. The Spanish representative 
was to insist upon Clement XIII.'s recalling and destroying the 
letter against Parma ; recognising the sovereignty of the Infante, 
and submitting to the loss of Benevento and Pontecorvo, 
Avignon and Venaissin ; banishing Cardinal Torregiani and 
the General of the Jesuits from Rome, and abolishing the 
order. 2 The old relations between Spain and St Peter's see 
could only be renewed on such conditions. Carlos III. also 
tried to draw Maria Theresa into the coalition against the 
Jesuits. The wise and prudent empress answered that she 
had no reason to work for the abolition of the order, but, if the 
Holy Father thought such a step necessary, she would neither 
oppose it nor disapprove. 

The papal diplomatists tried in vain to make the Bourbon 
Courts look with more favour on the disciples of Loyola. The 
Spanish ambassador at Paris, a friend of the Jesuits, whose wife 

1 D'Aubeterre to Choiseul, 22nd June 1768. Theiner I, 109. 

2 Theiner I, 115. 


was descended from the family of St Aloysius of Gonzaga, and 
who had two brothers of his own in the order, informed the 
papal nuncio in Paris that the fire which was burning in Spain 
could only be quenched by the abolition of the order. When 
this was done, Spain would do anything for Rome, and Rome 
would be able also to help to stop the progress of infidelity 
which was spreading in Spain as elsewhere. 1 Carlos III. sent 
one courier after another to Versailles to induce Louis XV. 
to take common action against the Jesuits. At last, in the 
beginning of 1769, France, Spain, and the Two Sicilies jointly 
demanded that the order of the Jesuits should be abolished. 
To gain time, the Roman Jesuits made Clement XIII. claim an 
explanation of the reasons for the demand ; but even Lorenzo 
Ricci began now to lose heart. He told the French ambassador 
at Rome, in a confidential conversation, that the rage of the 
people might be turned upon the Society of Jesus to such a 
degree, that its members would be in danger of life and limb. 2 
It is said that Clement XIII. thought of bringing forward the 
case of the order in a Consistory which was fixed for 3rd 
February ; but he died the night before ; sorrow and anxiety 
had sapped his remaining strength. 

The Conclave which met on 15th February 1769 was in an 
unusual degree an object of interest to all politicians. 3 The 
health of Clement XIII. had long been so doubtful that the 
election of a new pope had been looked upon as a near 
contingency, and the different governments had for some 
time been considering what position they would take when 
the time came. All the Roman Catholic princes wished for 
a pope of a different stamp from Clement XIII. and one who 
would not choose Torregiani for his Secretary of State. 
Carlos III. went still further; his opinion was that they 
should make sure beforehand that the new Pope would 
abolish the Jesuit order. The Jesuits felt what was in the 
air, and did everything to avert the catastrophe. All intrigues 
that could be devised either before or during a Conclave were 
brought into operation. 

Cardinal Rezzonico, a cousin of Clement XIII., rallied the 

1 Theiner I, 121. 2 Ibid., 124. 

3 Petruccelli della Gattina IV, i7of. ; F. Masson : Le Cardinal de Bemis (Paris 
1884), 77 f. 


friends of the Jesuits among the cardinals, the so-called 
Zelanti, round himself; but the opposite party, the "Cardinals 
of the Crowned Heads," formed a counter-organisation. The 
Jesuits wanted a quick election, because that would make it 
easier to place one of their friends in St Peter's chair, and 
Ricci advised the cardinals to provide a new head for 
Christendom as soon as possible. But the diplomatists 
objected, and the French ambassador, the Marquis d'Aubeterre, 
informed the members of the Conclave in his own name and 
that of the Spanish Charge d'affaires that they would both 
leave Rome immediately if the Jesuit General's advice were 
followed. This threat answered its purpose. For a long 
time, more than a third of the cardinals would not vote ; they 
would not hear of finishing the Conclave before the arrival of 
the French and Spanish cardinals — two from either country. 1 
The foreign cardinals kept them waiting a long time. One 
of the French cardinals, Bernis, Archbishop of Albi, had 
great difficulty in getting together the considerable sum 
which was necessary for the journey, and the Spanish 
cardinals were so afraid of the sea that they got off the 
man-of-war, which the government had put at their disposal, 
to pursue the journey by land. During the long time of 
waiting, the Conclave had the unexpected honour (16th March) 
of a visit from two princes who were soon to cost St Peter's 
see serious anxieties — the Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany 
and his brother the Emperor Joseph II. Both princes were 
admitted to the assembly of the cardinals, and the various 
members of the Conclave were presented to them. When 
some of the cardinals asked the young Emperor to protect 
the new pope, he answered : " You can do that best your- 
selves by your own wisdom, in choosing a pope who will 
keep the rule ne quid nimis, and who will not force matters 
on." When Cardinal Torregiani was presented, Joseph II 
said rather coldly : " I have very often heard him mentioned ! " 
It was quite plain that the Jesuit party could not expect 
any support from the two young princes. 2 Joseph II. wrote 
home to his mother : " We saw the Conclave. As all the 

1 Theiner I, 173. 

2 Ibid., i83f., following the letters of Cardinal Orsini and the Marquis 


cardinals begged us to go in, we let ourselves be persuaded. 
It is rather amusing to see it, especially because one so 
seldom has the chance." 1 

The instructions given by the Duke of Choiseul to the 
French cardinals were, that they should act in concert with 
their Spanish and Sicilian brethren. The Archbishop of 
Naples, who was the candidate of Spain and the Sicilies, 
would also be acceptable to France, and there were a few 
cardinals, such as Torregiani, who were not to be elected ; but 
otherwise the French government had no special wishes as to 
the person of the future pope. Its chief interest lay in a 
different direction — the retention of Avignon and Venaissin — 
which the Parliaments would not give up. 2 The Spaniards 
were instructed to demand three concessions — the abolition 
of the Society of Jesus, the cession of Avignon and Venaissin 
to France, and of Pontecorvo and Benevento to Naples. 3 Of 
these three claims Carlos III. evidently had the first most 
at heart. The Cardinal Archbishop of Seville, the spokesman 
of the Spaniards, thought that there was no reason why the 
future pope should not give a definite promise, either in 
writing or in the presence of witnesses, to abolish the Jesuit 
order. But in Cardinal Bernis' opinion such a plan was 
contrary to all canonical laws, and he urged that a cardinal 
who would stoop to give such a promise was not to be trusted. 4 
The Cardinal of Seville, however, was not moved by this 
objection ; he and the other Spanish cardinal had come 
with the firm determination " to take good care not to be 
fooled by the Frenchmen." 5 

But where was a cardinal to be found who had the 
qualities necessary for a pope, and was at the same time 
willing to fetter himself by such a bond ? Even Cordara 
admits that there were not many " papable " cardinals in 
the Conclave of 1769. 6 The Marquis d'Aubeterre, who did 
not share Cardinal Bernis' scruples about binding the future 
pope, had long had his eye on Lorenzo Ganganelli, and the 

1 A. von Arneth : Maria Theresia und Joseph II. Ihr Correspondenz (Wien 1867) 
I, 243. Letter of 1 8th March. 

2 Masson, 94I 

3 Petruccelli della Gattina IV, \-]zi. 

4 Masson, 100. 5 Hid., 107. 6 Cordara, 40. 


Spanish cardinals voted for him immediately after they had 
entered the Conclave. 1 But could Ganganelli be trusted? 
He had attended the Jesuit school at Rimini ; it was said 
that he had to thank the General of the Jesuits for the hat 
which Clement XIII. had given him, 2 and Cardinal Rezzonico 
seemed to be willing to vote for him. It was no wonder 
that the Spaniards began to doubt, and refused to work in 
earnest for his election as long as he had not bound himself 
in any way. As far as can be gathered from Bernis' later 
despatches, 8 Ganganelli complied with the wishes of the 
Spanish cardinals, and, as a theologian (en qualite de tkeologien), 
recognised, in writing, the possibility that the future pope, 
with due respect to Canon Law, and without violating the 
rules of wisdom and justice, might, with a clear conscience, 
abolish the Society of Jesus. Cretineau-Joly, the historian of 
the Jesuits, who, it must be owned, was anything but 
trustworthy, 4 says that he had held in his hand a note of 
Ganganelli's to that effect ; but that note has not since been 
found in the Spanish archives. Several historians, therefore, 
ignoring Cretineau-Joly, and calling attention to Cardinal 
Bernis' ttgerete proverbiale, deny that Ganganelli ever wrote 
such a note. It is certain that the Cardinal of Seville concealed 
this document from Bernis, and it was only afterwards from 
the lips of the new Pope himself that Bernis heard of this 
ambiguous declaration. But Bernis' account of what the 
Pope had afterwards told him about this note has such a 
stamp of reality that there does not seem to be sufficient 
reason to doubt its truth. 

After receiving Ganganelli's declaration, the Spaniards firmly 
supported his candidature. When Bernis noticed this, he 
approached the confidential agent of Austria in the Conclave, 
Cardinal Pozzobonelli, in order to discover the attitude of 
the Court of Vienna. As he found sympathy in that quarter, 
he resolved to bring the long and tiring Conclave to an end 
as soon as possible. On the evening of the 17th May he 

1 Theiner I, 211. 

2 Masson, 141. 

3 See below, p. 66. Masson 107, 149. 

4 With regard to him, see A. von Druffel in the Hist. Zeitschrifl, 1884; cp. 
also U. Maynard : J. Cretineau-Joly (Paris 1875), 30lf. 


sent his "Conclavist" to Ganganelli to let him know what 
the general feeling was. At first Ganganelli gave out that 
he would not accept the election, but by degrees he began 
to discuss different questions which showed that the thought 
of obtaining the tiara had not been quite foreign to his 
mind. The French conclavist told him, so it is said, that 
the three governments expected him to meet them half way, 
especially in abolishing the Society of Jesus, and in giving 
satisfaction to the Duke of Parma. Ganganelli answered 
that he had thought out a plan which would easily settle 
the last point, and he was convinced that the abolition of 
the Jesuit order was " necessary," but it ought, he said, to 
be carried out with due observance of all the proper forms. 
When the conclavist asked what forms he had specially in 
view, he answered that the approval of the Catholic Courts 
and of their clergy ought to be obtained : and so the conversa- 
tion ended. 1 

Next evening (18th May), Bemis again sent his conclavist 
to Ganganelli's cell ; this time furnished with a memorandum, of 
which the chief purpose was to show what gratitude the future 
Pope owed to the French cardinals, who had taken such an 
important part in his election. Ganganelli answered that 
he had always had an affection for France, and that he bore 
Louis XV. in his heart, and Cardinal Bernis in his right hand. 
The memorandum expressed anxiety, lest the observance of all 
the forms which had been mentioned with respect to the aboli- 
tion of the Society of Jesus might place the new Pope in a false 
light, and that in any case it would retard the business. But 
Ganganelli reassured Bernis by declaring that events would 
justify the methods which he would choose. And when Bernis 
wished also to know how the reconciliation with Parma was 
to be effected, Ganganelli confided to him, under promise of 
secrecy, that he thought of marrying the Infante-Duke at 
Rome with his own hands to the Austrian Archduchess who 
was chosen to be his bride. Such a proceeding on the part 
of the new Pope would cancel all the threats and curses of 
Clement XIII. against Parma. In reference to the wish 
expressed in the memorandum, that France should be allowed 

1 Bernis to Choiseul, 19th May, 1769. Masson, 108. 

'»■] CLEMENT XIV 63 

to retain Avignon, and Naples Benevento, he only said that 
he would leave that point entirely to the King's conscience. 1 

After these declarations Bernis had no doubt that Ganganelli 
ought to be pope, and all the more so because he had readily 
agreed to appoint as his Secretary of State and other high 
officials the persons suggested by the Cardinal of Albi. So 
Bernis went at a late hour of the night to Cardinal Pozzobonelli, 
with whom he also found Rezzonico. The three cardinals at 
once agreed that next day they would make all their partisans 
vote for Ganganelli ; and as the party led by the two Cardinals 
Albani would likewise vote for him, full unanimity would be 
reached. On the 19th May, forty-six out of the forty-seven 
voting papers bore the name of Lorenzo Ganganelli; he had 
himself voted for Rezzonico, who hitherto, during the whole 
time of the Conclave, had not received a single vote. 2 The 
new Pope took the name of Clement XIV. in gratitude to 
Clement XIII. for having given him the purple, and also 
as a token that he wished to throw a veil of oblivion over 
the ill-will which his predecessor had often shown him of 
late years. 

Clement XIV. had at an early age been adopted into the 
order of St Francis ; his nature was peaceable and harmonious, 
and the constant disagreements between Clement XIII. and 
the secular powers had always been distasteful to him. As we 
have seen, he had again and again raised his voice among the 
cardinals in the cause of moderation and reasonableness. In 
spite of the name, he did not mean to be a repetition of Clement 
XIII. He was anxious and suspicious, and trusted only him- 
self, his Franciscan confessor, and his Franciscan cook ; and all 
the Jesuit eyes which watched him everywhere made him feel 
uncomfortable. The French ambassador wrote to the Duke of 
Choiseul, in the days of Clement XIII., that the Jesuits held all 
the entrances to the Pope's palace, so that whichever way 
Clement XIII. turned he always heard the same story. 3 As 
the confessors of the nobles, Loyola's disciples took a leading 
part in the Roman salons, and everywhere in the Papal States 
they were in power. The new Pope was by no means a favourite 

1 See the conclusion of the despatch last mentioned. 

2 Theiner I, 220. 

3 Schafer : Geschichte von Portugal V, 343. 


in the best Roman society, so Joseph II. wrote to his mother, 
— the Pope being of humble birth and a sworn enemy of the 
Jesuits. 1 Clement XIV. on his part did not like the enormous 
influence of the Jesuits. His predecessor had been accustomed 
to discuss all important questions with the cardinals and the 
General of the Jesuits. Clement XIV. would not follow this 
plan. Partly on principle, and partly from anxiety, he decided 
to act entirely on his own account ; only facts and not reasons 
should in future be made known to the cardinals. In his 
person an enlightened absolutism ascended St Peter's throne, — 
though certainly in rather a frightened form. He succeeded in 
breaking free from the yoke of the cardinals ; but to make up 
for this, the representatives of the foreign powers had much 
more influence under him than under his predecessor. 

This rupture with the cardinals and dependence on the 
foreign governments made Clement XIV. very unpopular in 
Rome. The slighted cardinals drew back resentfully from the 
silent and suspicious Pope ; and their resentment infected the 
Romans, who in so many ways depended upon their Eminences, 
and who suffered besides under the parsimony of the new 
Pope and his serious efforts to raise the deeply depressed 
finances of the Papacy. 

With the foreign Courts Clement XIV. quickly came to a 
good understanding. Maria Theresa had had scruples about 
giving her consent to her daughter's marriage with the Infante- 
Duke of Parma as long as the dispute with Rome was not 
settled. A dispensation from Rome was necessary, because of 
the near relationship of the bride and bridegroom. This was 
now sent immediately, 2 and so the effect of the violent measures 
of Clement XIII. against Parma was quietly neutralised. But 
with the abolition of the Society of Jesus things did not go 
so easily. On 31st May the Marquis d'Aubeterre informed 
the Duke of Choiseul that he had expressed the wishes of 
France in this matter. Clement XIV. had asked for time, as 
it could not be done in a moment ; especially as, according 
to the ambassador, the Pope "so far was accustomed to do 
everything himself." 3 

1 Ameth : Maria Theresia und Joseph II. I, 273. 
a Joseph II. to Maria Theresa ; Arneth I, 284. 
3 Theiner I, 336. 

in.] JESUIT "BLUFF" 65 

When D'Aubeterre soon after was recalled to France, 
Cardinal Bernis was made the French ambassador to the see 
of St Peter, and as the representative of the head of the 
Bourbon Courts, he took over for a time the management of 
the negotiations with the Pope. Everything was done in the 
greatest secrecy. The General of the Augustinian order, who 
was a Spaniard and well known in Rome, was one of the few 
who were initiated ; he was to help Cardinal Bernis with good 
advice. But in spite of every precaution the Jesuits found out 
what was in the wind, and took all possible pains to follow the 
course of events by the help of spies. In order to frighten the 
Pope, they spread abroad prophecies that he would die before 
he had time to sign the paper abolishing the order. 1 But 
Cardinal Bernis was able to reassure his government with the 
news that Clement XIV. would not allow himself to be scared 
by these Jesuit prophecies, but had given Padre Georgi, a 
theologian of the Augustinian order, the task of making a 
draft of the brief of dissolution. At the same time, however, 
he did not conceal his anxiety lest Clement's incessant labour 
should injure his health. 

The whole affair progressed much more slowly than Carlos 
III. wished, and would perhaps have gone yet more slowly if 
the Jesuits had not again roused universal exasperation by 
announcing to the world, in a boastful manner, that their 
missionaries had received the same privileges and indulgences 
that other missionaries usually received. In order to make a 
display of this papal favour, as if it were evidence of the present 
Pope's protection of their order, they had the papal letter to 
their missionaries printed and distributed everywhere. All that 
they gained by it was that on 22nd July Cardinal Bernis in 
the name of France, Spain, and Naples explicitly demanded 
the abolition of the order. Clement XIV. endeavoured to 
moderate the anger of the allied princes by expressing his 
astonishment at the " audacity " with which the Jesuits boasted 
of a letter, which in reality only contained what was given to all 
workers in the mission field. He also held out the prospect of 
two new letters being issued which would reduce the pride of the 
reverend fathers, adding that he would show the world that he 
was not afraid of doing his duty. Cardinal Bernis wrote to his 

1 Bernis to Choiseul, 13th July 1769. Theiner I, 340. 
VOL. I. E 


government: "After this the Holy Father spoke to me with 
much spirit, clearness, and force about the abolition of the 
Jesuit order. He said to me that in this affair he must 
consider his conscience and his honour ; — his conscience, 
because he must respect the laws of the Church and the 
example set by his predecessors on similar occasions ; his 
honour, because he could not lightly disregard the deference 
due to those who had not demanded the abolition, i.e., the 
Emperor and Empress, the Polish Republic, the King of 
Sardinia, the Venetians, the Genoese, and even the King of 
Prussia." 1 Clement XIV. did not conceal, however, from the 
Cardinal of Albi that he feared for his life, and he asked for 
time to carry out his plan, if for no other reason but that the 
world should not believe that he had bound himself before his 
election to fulfil the wishes of the allied princes. Two days 
later Bernis wrote in a private letter to Choiseul : " That docu- 
ment which they (the Spaniards) had got the Pope to sign, was 
in no wise binding ; the Pope has himself told me what it 
contained. His Holiness is afraid of being poisoned, he dis- 
trusts all his entourage, and does not confide in anyone." 2 In 
the beginning of August, Bernis further informed his govern- 
ment that an attempt had been made to remove the Franciscan 
who kept the Pope's papers and keys, and also the friar of the 
same order who looked after the Pope's kitchen. He also 
said that Clement XIV. took more and more precautions with 
his food and drink. 3 The confidence which the Pope always 
placed in him made an impression on him, and he did his best 
to defend Clement XIV.'s delay against the impatient princes. 

In reality France could well wait, for the time which was 
spent in negotiations only served to strengthen French 
authority in Avignon and Venaissin. But Spain could not 
and would not brook any delay in the abolition of the Society 
of Jesus ; and the Duke of Choiseul saw with a certain terror, 
how this one thing so occupied the Spanish diplomatists, that 
they forgot "England, Pitt, and the greatest and dearest 
interests, only to think about the Jesuits and to plague him 
with them." On 2nd August he sent Bernis a private letter, 

1 Despatch of 26th July. Theiner I, 343f. 

2 Masson, 107 and 149. Cp. above, p. 61. 

3 Despatch of 9th August. Theiner I, 348f. 


in which he tells him that it was said in Spain that he, the 
French Minister, who in his own country was counted the 
worst enemy of the Jesuits, was in reality one of their hangers on. 
Nothing in the world was really a subject of greater indifference 
to him than the Jesuits ; but a decision must now be arrived 
at as soon as possible. 1 A few days later, therefore, he sent 
Bernis, officially, a sort of ultimatum charging the Cardinal 
to inform Clement XIV. that two months was the longest 
respite France would allow him. At the same time at an 
audience he made the papal nuncio at Paris feel his ill- 
humour — the more so because he had been freshly incited 
by Tanucci, who was in the highest degree offended by a 
work called Reflexions on the conduct of the Bourbon Courts 
with reference to the Jesuits, in which Loyola's disciples had 
given full vent to their anxious and wrathful hearts. 

In these circumstances, Bernis found it necessary to present 
another note to Clement XIV., and to request a definite 
promise of the abolition of the order. To get out of this 
promise as easily as possible, Clement XIV. sent a letter 
written in bad French to Louis XV., in which he promised to 
examine the matter and then "give a proof of his fatherly 
love." 2 Louis XV. thanked him for this trivial and unsatis- 
factory letter; but Carlos III. could no longer contain his 
impatience. Certain diplomatists slandered Bernis to him, and 
in Madrid it was even feared that France would withdraw her 
support from the common cause. However, the Duke of 
Choiseul succeeded in convincing Carlos III. that this fear 
was unfounded ; and Bernis regained the Spanish king's 
confidence to such a degree, that he was commissioned to 
present a new note to Clement XIV. in the name of all the 
Bourbon princes, with the addition of Portugal. In this note 
the Pope was requested, first to sanction, by means of a Bull, 
all that had been done with the Jesuits and their possessions 
in the Bourbon states ; and, secondly, to inform the combined 
governments of the course which he intended to take in 

1 See the letter in Masson, I5of. The words are: "Rien au monde ne m'a 
£te plus indifferent toute ma vie que les J ^suites. . . . Je les donne a tous les 

2 A. Theiner : dementis XIV. Epistola et Brevia (Paris 1852), 31, and 
Masson, I54f. 


carrying out his former promise of abolishing the Jesuit order 
Clement XIV. promised to do as they wished, but again 
begged for time, pointing out the difficulty of the case and the 
hindrances that the Jesuits put in his way at every turn. 
Bernis wrote to Choiseul : " The Pope has occupied himself 
far too much in examining the depth of the ditch he has 
to cross ; he has wasted time in tasting the medicine instead 
of swallowing it at once." 1 The wretched Clement grew 
more and more anxious as the time for deciding drew near. 
One day he would brace himself up with thinking of that 
courageous brother of his order, Sixtus V. ; and the next he 
would be paralysed with fear by thinking of all the dangers 
which threatened him. Bernis wrote : " He has an intermittent 
fever ; after a good day there always comes a bad one." 

It was a great misfortune for Clement XIV. that he had 
not a single cardinal near him who could advise and comfort 
him. Once more he resolved to rid himself of his difficulties 
by means of a letter. He made drafts of several letters to 
Carlos III., but not till the 30th November did he gain 
enough courage to put his name to one, in which among 
other things he said that he was collecting some ancient 
documents, which in the eyes of the world would amply 
justify the Spanish king's wisdom in expelling the "restless 
and dangerous Jesuits from his country." He also said that 
he would very soon lay before his Spanish Majesty a plan 
for the total abolition of the Society of Jesus. 2 By this letter 
he crossed the Rubicon. The promise here given was as 
plain as could be wished, and his Catholic Majesty was a 
man who knew how to enforce the fulfilment of promises 
made to him. Choiseul, who was half surprised at this 
unreserved letter, wrote privately to Bernis : " If I were the 
Pope, I should pull this thorn out of my foot and destroy 
those monks, so as never to hear of them again. It would 
only be necessary to alter the constitution of the order a 
little, dress the members in white, and dedicate them to the 
Virgin, and then get the leaders of the order to agree to 
this metamorphosis. Those who wish to have the Jesuits 
in their states could then keep them under the name of 

1 Private letter 15th November. Masson, 160. 

2 The letter was written in Italian : a translation of it is found in Masson, 160. 


'Virginians'; but neither we nor the Spaniards will have 
them." 1 

It would doubtless have been more difficult to effect this 
"metamorphosis" than the Duke of Choiseul imagined, and 
in any case Clement XIV. did not choose to follow this 
course. He approved of his predecessor's words : Aut sint 
ut sunt, aut non sint. To him the only possible plan was 
to effect an abolition of the hated order in accordance with 
all canonical rules. It seemed a sign of what was to follow 
that on Maundy Thursday of 1770 he omitted to have the 
Bull In ccena Domini read in St Peter's. For several centuries, 
pope after pope had worked at this Bull. It had last been 
edited under Urban VIII. (1627). It excommunicated and 
cursed all heretics and schismatics, and all who without the 
Pope's permission read, owned, or printed books written by 
people of another faith. The " Bull of Maundy Thursday " had 
long been an object of displeasure to statesmen, because in 
it the Pope encroached on the sovereign rights and self- 
government of states, as well as on the right of princes to 
judge and to punish. In France, Spain, Portugal, Naples, 
the Netherlands, Bohemia, and Mainz, it had long been 
prohibited, and in Switzerland great resentment had recently 
been expressed against its accusations of heresy. 2 When the 
reading of the Bull was omitted in 1770, the Jesuits fumed ; 
but everywhere in Catholic Christendom the step was much 
appreciated. 3 Loyola's disciples were still more enraged when 
Clement XIV. made peace with Portugal, and even made 
Pombal's brother a cardinal ; and they were highly scandalised 
to hear of the splendid reception given to the papal nuncio 
when shortly afterwards he made his entry into Lisbon. 

But in spite of the dropping of the Bull In cmna Domini, 
and the peace with Portugal, Carlos III. was not content. 
Why did Clement go on delaying to suppress the order? 

1 Letter of 16th January. Masson, 161. 

2 Theiner I, 290. 

3 Although the Maundy Thursday Bull is no longer read on Maundy Thursday, 
Rome considers it as by no means abrogated. Pius IX., in his Constitution of 14th 
October 1869, renewed it in a somewhat altered form, and at the last Vatican Council 
he had it distributed in the second General Congregation. Shortly after, it was also 
posted up in the usual places at Rome for the whole Church to become acquainted with 
it. Dollinger : Das Papstlhum (Miinchen 1892), 2l6f., 502. 


In order to hasten matters Carlos III. got thirty-four of his 
bishops to send a letter to Rome in which they demanded 
the complete abolition of the Society of Jesus. 1 This com- 
bination of the Spanish episcopate had a noticeable influence 
in spurring Clement on. He at once took away from the 
Jesuits the management of the priestly seminary at Frascati. 
He thought of forbidding them to receive any more novices. 
At the end of March Bernis was able to inform Choiseul 
that Clement XIV. himself had told him that the brief 
against the Jesuits was nearly ready, and that the draft of 
it would be sent to the King of Spain so that he could send 
it on to Louis XV. ; but that the brief must be kept secret 
until they were quite agreed about the abolition. In the 
end of April he wrote that Clement XIV. was dissatisfied 
with the style of the brief, and was occupied in altering it. 
Meanwhile neither Bernis nor Choiseul could understand why 
Carlos III. had suddenly become more patient; but, as Spain 
was now negotiating on her own account, Bernis received 
orders to remain quiet. 

The reason for Carlos' patience, which at first was so 
mysterious, soon came to light. Bernis discovered that lively 
negotiations were being carried on between Madrid and Rome 
about another matter, which, for the time, quite eclipsed the 
Jesuit question. Carlos III.'s confessor had long been very 
eager to obtain the canonisation of the Franciscan nun, Maria 
of Agreda, and he had succeeded in making his royal penitent 
anxious for this canonisation which would confer upon Spain 
a new saint. Maria of Agreda, who died in 1665, lived in a 
convent which her mother had founded at Agreda in Old 
Castile. This convent was dedicated to the Immaculate Con- 
ception of the Blessed Virgin, and Maria of Agreda was an 
enthusiastic believer in this " pious proposition," which had long 
been an apple of discord among the Roman theologians. A 
mystical work was published in her name : Mistica Ciudad de 
Dios, milagro de su omnipotencia y abismo de la gracia (Madrid 
1670), containing a biography of Our Lady which gave much 
offence, especially in France, where the Sorbonne forbade the 
circulation of the book. In the days of Pope Innocent XL, 

1 Theiner I, 531, and Masson, 163. They differ with regard to the number of the 


the Inquisition likewise issued a decree against it, because it 
represented the Scotist doctrine of the Virgin Mary's immacu- 
late conception as a divine revelation. It taught that the 
Virgin Mary's body and blood propria specie was present in the 
Eucharist, and that every 8th of December she celebrated her 
own conceptio imntaculata, borne up to heaven by angels ; and 
other similar follies. According to the visions of the Spanish 
nun the Virgin Mary had also helped the Apostles to compose 
the Apostles' creed, had visited St James at Zaragossa to 
command him to build a church, and so forth. 1 

Such was the curious "biography," which, after several 
unsuccessful attempts with former popes, they now endeavoured 
to get recognised by the Fransciscan Clement XIV. This done, 
it would be possible for Maria of Agreda to be crowned as a 
saint, and so the way be paved for the dogma of the immaculate 
conception of the Virgin Mary, about which Carlos III. and the 
Spanish Fransciscans were " strangely fanatical." So wrote the 
French ambassador at Madrid. Choiseul was beyond measure 
astonished that anybody in the age of Voltaire and the Encyclo- 
paedists could put faith in such romances, and at Paris it was 
thought that the whole thing was fraught with possible dangers. 
It was still fresh in remembrance what troubles had been caused 
by the controversy over the Bull Unigenitus ; and now a battle 
was gathering about the Immaculate Conception, for it was 
certain that in France, where the Sorbonne had expressed the 
greatest contempt for the nun's work, the new dogma would 
never be received with submission. However, neither then nor 
at a later time was any decisive judgment delivered upon the 
fantastic imaginations of the Spanish nun. It was said in 1866 
that Pius IX. had confirmed a decree of the Congregation of the 
Index forbidding the book ; but to this day it still appears in 
translations and adaptations, with episcopal approbation pre- 
fixed. Indeed, Pius IX. publicly praised the learned Bene- 
dictine Dom GueVanger, for having written an apology for the 
work of Maria of Agreda. 

The episode of Maria of Agreda shows clearly the spiritual 
plane upon which the battle with Jesuitism was fought, so far 
as Spain was concerned. Of course, the interlude came very 
opportunely for the disciples of Loyola, and Bernis observed 

1 Reusch : Index II, 253k 


that they once more lifted their heads high. 1 In the same letter 
in which he gave his government this information, he mentioned 
also that it was rumoured in Rome that the King of Spain and 
his confessor were beginning to feel qualms of conscience and 
uneasiness about giving the coup de grace to the Society of 
Jesus, and that the Spanish king wished to draw back from 
the combat against the Society. An extract from this con- 
fidential despatch was sent to the ambassador of France at 
Madrid by Choiseul, who bade him at the same time to make 
a discreet use of the confidential information given by the 
Cardinal of Albi. Whether through stupidity or through 
malice, the French ambassador was so inconceivably indiscreet 
as to send the whole extract to the Spanish Foreign Minister. 
This senseless or malicious step gave rise to a far from pleasant 
exchange of notes between France and Spain, in the course of 
which expressions, which were anything but diplomatic, were 
used on the Spanish side with regard to Cardinal Bernis, who 
had in reality only done his duty in keeping his government 
well informed about facts and opinions at Rome. 2 

Bernis boldly continued his work at Rome, although the 
prospect before him was somewhat discouraging, because the 
Spanish ambassador was now allowed to take the lead. The 
latter was exceedingly jealous of his dignity, but was not in a 
position to point out means for attaining the end. It was easy 
to nominate new cardinals, who would support the Pope, and 
as easy to make two of the boldest champions of the Jesuits 
feel the papal displeasure. " But the King of Prussia, England, 
and the Protestants, were agitating in earnest on behalf of the 
society, and at Rome it was adored." It was, in Bernis' 
opinion, a matter of less importance that at Vienna, likewise, 
people appeared to wish to make use of the Jesuits for the 
future; for if they were deprived of their General, their rule, 
and their vows, and so were converted into a congregation of 
priests like St Sulpice, the Austrians could easily get leave to 
keep and use them. But— "there was Rome in the back- 
ground and Rome was entirely devoted to the Jesuits. Rome 
would only allow the Pope to suppress them if the see of 
St Peter recovered Avignon and Benevento." 3 

1 Despatch of 1st August 1770. Masson, 165. 

2 Despatch from Grimaldi, 3rd (?) September 1770. Masson, 166. 

3 Despatch from Bernis, 5th September. Masson, 162. 


These last words give a short expression of Cardinal Bernis' 
diplomatic tactics in the case. In his opinion it was necessary 
to choose between the suppression of the Jesuit order and the 
cession of Avignon. If the one object was to be gained the 
other must be given up. But Choiseul wished to have both : 
he only thought that Carlos III. should see to the first, and 
Bernis to the second. At this juncture, however, circumstances 
arose which made it difficult for Spain to bestow as much 
thought upon the Jesuit question as before. A war with 
England was a near possibility. The danger of war passed over, 
and there was again a prospect of taking up the interrupted 
negotiations. But at last, in December 177 1, Bernis was surprised 
by a brief intimation that the Dukes of Choiseul and of Praslin 
had both fallen into disgrace and were dismissed ; and a little 
later he learned that the Duke of Aiguillon and M. de la 
Vrilliere had taken their places. 

It was a fresh piece of good news for the Jesuits. 1 The 
Duke of Aiguillon was so well known for a friend of theirs that 
the ladies of Paris were already laying wagers on the recall of 
the order to France, 2 and on 16th January Bernis informed the 
new Minister that the Jesuits of Rome had bidden farewell to 
fear, and that at the same time sure hopes were now entertained 
at Rome of the restoration of Avignon. 3 But in spite of his 
sympathy with Jesuitism, the Duke of Aiguillon could not 
think of sacrificing Spain and the family compact at a moment 
so critical for France, and orders were given to La Vrilliere to 
assure Carlos III. that Louis XV. had by no means forgotten the 
promise which he had made to His Catholic Majesty with 
regard to the Jesuits. 

It was again the turn of Spain to pursue other objects, and 
to break off the thread of the negotiations. Carlos III.'s con- 
fessor had once more succeeded in rousing his master to be 
jealous for a canonisation, which this time stood in a kind of 
connexion with the suppression of the Jesuit order, inasmuch 
as it concerned the elevation of the Jesuits' ancient enemy, the 

1 In the undoubtedly correct description of the new Minister sent to Clement 
XIV. by his nuncio at Paris (Theiner II, 39X) we read : "He has always passed, and 
still passes, for a champion of the Jesuits ; whether he is so by conviction or from 
motives of policy must be left to the judgment of Him who searches the hearts." 
It can be seen from this description that a very imperfect morality was consistent with 
much partiality for the Jesuits. 

2 Theiner II, 106. 3 Masson, 176. 


Mexican Juan de Palafox, who died in 1659 as Bishop of Osma. 1 
Bishop Palafox, even before Pascal wrote his Provincial 
Letters, had been commissioned by the Cardinal Archbishop 
of Toledo to write against the Probabilism of the Jesuits ; but 
death overtook him before he had accomplished his task. He 
succeeded, nevertheless, in evincing his dislike of the Society 
of Jesus in another way, by sending to Rome a complaint of 
the Jesuits' proceedings ; and a papal brief of 1648 had in the 
main justified his view. As early as 1696 steps had been taken 
in Spain to get Juan de Palafox beatified, but the General of 
the Jesuits had hindered it. Now the matter came up again, 
and Rome this time was willing to meet the wishes of the 
Spaniards. The matter, however, was long delayed, and before 
the " heroic virtues " of the deceased bishop were sufficiently 
examined, Pius VI. stopped the process of beatification. 

This breaking off of action against the Jesuits' order was 
not so significant as the former ; still, it was a breaking off, and 
they began again to hope to ride out the storm. Bernis in- 
dignantly informed his government that the Roman Jesuits 
had begun once more to agitate for the curious " Devotion to 
the Sacred Heart of Jesus," which is one of the pet children 
of Jesuitism in the way of worship. 2 At the Colosseum, in 
particular, they held festivals of the Heart of Jesus, and upon 
an altar which was erected there was seen a picture representing 
Christ with His breast open ; from His heart issued a multitude 
of Hosts, and Christ was holding one of them out to a kneel- 
ing nun, Marguerite Marie Alacoque. " The heretics and the 
ungodly," wrote Bernis, " make fun of these novelties ; but the 
fanatics use them to swell the ranks of their party." 

Nevertheless, Carlos III. was naturally indisposed, when it 
came to the point, to give up his demand for the suppression 
of the Society of Jesus, and his impatience once more awoke. 
In the new Spanish ambassador to the papal Court, Don Jose 
Monino, he found the right man to bring this great and often 
frustrated cause to a successful issue. 

Don Jose Monino had the reputation of being an intrepid 
diplomatist, and a determined opponent of the Jesuits. When 
in 1772 he took up his situation at Rome, things were speedily 

1 Reusch: Index 11, 494. Dollinger-Reusch : Morahtreitigkeiten I, 37, 669. 

2 Despatch of 8th May 1771. Masson, i84f. 


changed. 1 Every one trembled before his energy, which was 
the subject of much talk. As soon as he arrived in Rome 
Clement XIV. caught a cold, Cardinal Bernis thought of going 
into the country, and Cardinal Orsini suddenly bethought him 
that he must visit a convent of nuns. But the Pope's cold 
passed off quickly ; Bernis thought better of it and remained in 
Rome ; and the negotiations began afresh. At the very first 
audience which Moniflo had with Clement XIV. he gave the 
Pope to understand that Spain was determined to have the 
matter brought to a conclusion at once. When Clement began 
to speak of the difficulties, he reminded him of his promises, 
and added : " My master the King is a resolute prince ; if too 
long a delay makes him distrustful, all will be lost." Clement 
XIV. knew of no other way of escaping for the time from more 
audiences than to say that he was obliged to go and take 
the baths ; and therewith he left Rome. 

While he was absent, Monifio made an accurate study of 
the state of things at Rome, and at the same time he attempted 
to intimidate the Pope's confessor, Buontempi, the only person 
who had any influence over Clement XIV. The cold Spanish 
diplomatist gave the poor Franciscan to understand that there 
were far worse things which could befall a favourite than to be 
sent home to the cloister, and that, on the other hand, it was a 
matter of importance to stand well with so powerful a prince 
as His Catholic Majesty. 

At last, in August, Clement XIV. came back. At the first 
audience he promised Monifio to bring the beatification of 
Bishop Juan de Palafox to completion ; but the Spanish diplo- 
matist took no interest whatever in it. Next he expressed a 
willingness to close the Jesuits' noviciate and to forbid them to 
receive any more novices ; but Monifio told him that Spain 
desired " suppression, not reforms." In his anguish Clement 
let fall some words about all the difficulties connected with the 
suppression of an order like the Society of Jesus. Monifio 
answered that he would himself with pleasure work out a scheme 
for the suppression of the Jesuits, if the Pope would only give 
him a few pieces of information for his guidance. Hoping by 
the acceptance of this offer to gain time, Clement agreed to it ; 
1 A large part of Monino's despatches are printed in the appendix to Saint- Priest, 


but by 6th September Bernis was able to lay before him the 
proposed scheme, and at the same time Carlos III. sent a letter 
to Louis XV., in which he expressed his deliberate conviction 
that there would be no peace in the kingdoms until the Society 
of Jesus was entirely dissolved. 1 

But Rome could not, and would not, make haste. At an 
audience in the middle of November, Clement XIV. acknow- 
ledged that he had endeavoured to spin the case out with the 
intention that it might not be said that the suppression of the 
order was a condition of his election. These scruples made no 
impression upon Monino. He answered curtly that so long a 
time had now gone by — three years and a half — that it would be 
absurd to make such an accusation. Upon this Clement made 
two important admissions : he confessed that on weighing the 
good that might result from the dissolution of the order, and 
the evil that would follow upon its continuance, he had come 
to the conclusion that it ought to be dissolved ; and he 
admitted that not a single government had shown a disposi- 
tion to maintain it. 2 Of taking any immediate action, however, 
he would not hear. 

In these conditions Monino thought that he must begin to 
use serious threats ; and at an audience on 22nd November 
he went to the utmost bounds of what he could think 
at all permissible in dealing with a successor of St Peter. 3 
The stern bearing of the Spanish ambassador brought 
Clement to disclose the fact that he was actually engaged 
in composing the brief of dissolution ; and he informed 
Monino, in confidence, of the main outlines of what was to 
be contained in the preamble. Shortly after this audience 
Clement went still further, and commissioned a Roman 
prelate named Zelada to arrange in secrecy the suppression of 
the Society, according to the scheme drawn up by Monino 
in September, and in conjunction with the Spanish diplomatist. 
On 6th January the work was ready, and the outcome of the 
joint labours of Zelada and Monino was presented without 
delay to Clement. The Pope decided that the document 
should first be sent to Carlos III., and from him to Louis XV, 

1 Printed, with Louis' answer, in Masson, 210. 

2 Despatch from Bernis to D'Aiguillon, 17th November. Theiner II, 26of. 
» Despatch from Bernis to D'Aiguillon, 24th November. Theiner II, 262. 


and to the King of Portugal; and Cardinal Bernis con- 
sidered the matter to be so completely finished, that he pro- 
posed to his government to give Zelada an abbacy, worth 
twelve or fifteen thousand francs a year, as a reward for his 
services. 1 

A sure token of what was coming was seen in the closing 
of the Jesuits' famous Collegium Romanum ; and the followers 
of Loyola, with a view to emergencies, now began to realise 
their property. In some places, as at Bologna, they even sold 
their church plate. On 17th February, Bernis informed his 
government that a copy of the papal brief had been delivered 
to Moniflo and transmitted by him the same day to Madrid. 
On 5th March it was sent with the approval of Carlos III. to 
Louis XV., and on 14th March it was returned to the King 
of Spain without being examined at Versailles ; if Spain was 
satisfied with it, France would be so too. 2 The Jesuits had 
hoped that Maria Theresa would offer remonstrances, but 
Choiseul had long before assured himself of the consent of 
Austria to the suppression of the order. 

Thus all went according to the wishes of the Spaniards. 
But the time of procrastination was not yet quite over. The 
brief does not appear to have been subscribed by Clement 
until 8th June ; and even after that was done there were still 
measures to be taken. Before the world could be informed 
of what had happened, various archives of the Jesuits had 
to be secured, and Clement expected that France would sur- 
render Avignon before the brief of suppression was published, 
as Tanucci, in whom he had little confidence, might otherwise 
hesitate to relinquish his hold upon Benevento. The expecta- 
tion of the surrender of Avignon cost another delay, and to set 
things going Moniflo found it necessary to frighten the Pope's 
confessor again. At last, however, on 13th August a com- 
mission was appointed consisting of five cardinals, with the 
Dominican Padre Mamachi and a Franciscan of the strict 
observance as consulting theologians, and the prelate Mace- 
donio as secretary, to settle all questions relating to the pub- 
lication of the brief. This Congregation de rebus extinctce socie- 

1 Letter from Bernis, 27th January 1773. Masson, 215. 

2 D'Aiguillon wrote, 25th January : "Si l'Espagne est contente, nous le serons, 
sa satisfaction etant notre seul et unique objet." Masson, 217. 


tatis Jesu was bound under threat of excommunication to the 
deepest secrecy. 1 

On Monday, 16th August, in the evening, the great secret 
burst. At nine o'clock that day Macedonio, accompanied 
by soldiers and the police for fear of a riot in the street, 
appeared at the Gesu, the Jesuits' chief house, to deliver to the 
General the fatal brief. At the same stroke of the clock other 
prelates read the brief to the Rectors in the other houses and 
colleges of the Jesuits in Rome. The followers of Loyola were 
forbidden until further notice to perform ecclesiastical functions, 
and they were not allowed to quit their dwellings. Later the 
same evening Cardinal Corsini, the president of the appointed 
Congregation, sent his carriage to fetch Lorenzo Ricci, and to 
drive him to the English College. Thence the General was 
afterwards taken to the Castle of Sant' Angelo, where he died in 
1775 in a mild captivity, surrounded by his assistants. The 
severe treatment of Ricci was in vain defended on the ground 
that various seditious writings from members of the suppressed 
order were discovered. 2 The Jesuit Cordara, who thought it 
reasonable enough for Clement XIV. to yield to the pressure 
of the political powers, and suppress the Society of Jesus, 3 
was by no means the only person who considered it a great 
mistake that Ricci was not appointed to a bishopric instead 
of being thrown into prison. 

At the cost of the Apostolic Camera, all the members of the 
order were supplied with the ordinary garb of priests, and after 
that received permission to leave their houses. Only the old 
and sick were detained, and the greatest consideration was 
shown to them on the part of the Pope. " All are agreed," writes 
Bernis, on 18th August, "that the Pope's decrees were conveyed 
to the Jesuits with great moderation and great kindness. It is 
also universally considered that the brief of suppression is well 
written, and is as lenient as possible towards the Jesuits." 4 On 
this point Cordara was at one with the Cardinal of Albi. 5 

What are the contents of this famous brief Dominus ac 

1 The instructions for the Congregation in Theiner : dementis XIV. Epistola et 
Brevia, 2y)l. 2 Theiner II, 378, 385. 

3 "Num propter Jesuitas, utique conservancke religioni non necessarios, disper- 
denda quatuor Europe amplissima regna cum parte maxima Americae ? " Cordara, 
55- " Theiner II, 338. * Cordara, 62. 


redemptor noster of 21st July 1773, which dissolved the mighty 
order of Loyola ? 1 

Attention is first called to the well-known decree of the 
Lateran Council forbidding the erection of new orders, because 
of the harmful confusion which too great a number of them 
might create in the Church of God. In spite of this decision 
of the Council of 12 15, the Apostolic See had found it necessary 
in the years that followed to confirm several new orders. There 
were, however, in history cases of orders being suppressed. 
Clement V. dissolved the order of the Templars, Pius V. 
abolished the Humiliates, Urban VIII. extinguished the con- 
gregation of the Reformed Conventual Brethren, the orders of 
St Ambrose and St Barnabas, and so forth. It was not so 
small a list of extinguished orders that Clement XIV. was able 
to name in justification of the step which he intended to take. 
After this introduction the rise of the Society of Jesus is 
described, and the many complaints which from early days were 
made by various princes, amongst others by Philip II. of Spain, 
against the powerful order. The complaints began as early as 
the time of Paul IV., Pius V., and Sixtus V., and not even the 
threat of Gregory XIV. to launch the greater excommunication 
at those who, directly or indirectly, assailed the Society, its 
regulations or decrees, had been able to stay the attacks. " Day 
by day," says the brief, "throughout all the world, the most 
distressing controversies are carried on concerning the doctrines 
of the Society, which many consider to be at variance with right 
faith and good morals." In spite of all that could be done, the 
dislike of the Jesuits continued. " The more the outcry and the 
complaints against this Society made themselves heard, causing 
here and there dangerous commotions, contentions, and scenes 
of scandal, the more was the bond of charity between Christians 
broken, and hearts were filled with party spirit, hatred and 

1 It is printed in Theiner : dementis XIV. Epistola et Brevia, 385-403. The 
document is often spoken of as a Bull, but this is incorrect. Bulls begin with the 
name of the Pope, without giving his number, and with the addition of servus 
servorum Dei ; they are signed by the Prodatary (while Briefs are signed by the 
secretary for Briefs), and sealed with a seal depicting Peter and Paul— Briefs, with the 
Fisherman's Ring. The document of 21st July 1773, begins : " Clemens Papa 
XIV.," it is signed by Cardinal Negroni, the Secretary for Briefs, and it is " Datum 
... sub annulo Piscatoris." Thus it bears all the distinctive marks of a Brief. Cp. 
Duhr : Jesuiten-Fabeln, 33of. 


enmity." At last the Kings of France, Spain, Portugal, and the 
Two Sicilies had seen themselves obliged to expel the Jesuits 
from their kingdoms and dominions. But not even this measure 
was sufficient to pacify the Christian world. Nothing less than 
the complete suppression of the Society was demanded. 

As soon as this desire was expressed, Clement XIV. had 
examined into the matter. He had come to the conclusion that 
the Society no longer produced the rich fruits and the blessing 
for the sake of which it was founded. And he was of opinion 
that the restoration of true and lasting peace to the Church was 
unattainable so long as the order continued to exist. "For 
these weighty reasons, as well as for others, commended to us 
by the rules of prudence, and by regard for the good government 
of the Church, and kept by us in the depth of our heart, we 
abolish and suppress this Society of Jesus after mature considera- 
tion, in consequence of our complete understanding, and in the 
strength of our entire apostolic power." The brief then proceeds 
to forbid any expressions of opinion upon the extinction of the 
order, whether by word of mouth or in writing, and at the 'same 
time forbids any ridicule of the dissolved Society. Lastly, the 
Pontiff dismisses the notion of anyone questioning the authority 
of the brief "on the pretext of undue influence, obreption or 
subreption, nullity or invalidity, or on the ground of want of 
intention on our part ; or by reason of any other flaw however 
great or important." " It shall be, and for ever remain, valid, 
firm, and effective ; it shall retain and exercise its force fully 
and completely, be implicitly obeyed and entirely followed and 
observed by each and every person whom it concerns or in 
future shall concern." 

Soon after the issue of this brief, which seemed to bring the 
epic of the Jesuits to a close for ever, Clement XIV. took his 
way to Castel Gandolfo, to that splendid palace where, until the 
time of Pius IX.'s and Leo XIII.'s "captivity" in the Vatican, 
the successors of St Peter sought coolness and fresh air, and 
where time was often shortened by a game of billiards in the 
beautiful room with its enchanting view over the lake of Albano 
lying far beneath. While Clement XIV. was there, he filled up 
the vacancies left in the schools and the mission field by the 
disappearance of the Jesuits, and on his return to Rome, he 
transformed the Collegium Romanum, where in the palmy 


days of Jesuit theology Bellarmin had set up his professorial 
chair. It was to the disciples of Thomas and of Duns Scotus, 
some of whom were themselves ex-Jesuits, that the task of 
theological instruction was now committed. Only the disciples 
of Augustine were kept away from the reformed academy, in 
order that the transition from the dogmatics of the Jesuits might 
not be too abrupt. 1 

Clement XIV. felt that a load was lifted off his mind when 
he had got so far, and the diplomatists thought he seemed in 
better health and spirits than before. 2 Carlos III. was delighted 
at having gained his end ; and when the brief reached Lisbon, 
the town was illuminated for several days. Louis XV. was less 
pleased. He thought that the abolition might have been carried 
out in a more considerate manner, and without so much violence, 
and the award with regard to Jesuit property, which was com- 
municated to the French government by the Congregation, left 
a sting behind ; because, as far as France was concerned, the 
thing had been settled long ago in a different way. Inasmuch 
as a great part of the brief was not of real interest to France, 
where the order was virtually suppressed in 1764, Louis XV. 
resolved not to register it, but only to make it officially known 
to the bishops. It was also exceedingly distressing to Louis 
XV. that it now became necessary to take steps with regard to 
the restitution of Avignon. It is true that D'Aiguillon had 
dissolved Parliament in 1771, and put the Grand Conseil in 
its place, so that there was no fear of parliamentary opposition. 
But the members of Parliament were still alive, and they and 
their Gallican sympathisers would view with anger the restora- 
tion of Avignon and Venaissin to the see of St Peter. 

Among the Parisians, moreover, a certain reaction could 
also be felt with regard to the Jesuit question itself. Many 
were surprised at the papal brief, because they had imagined 
that when it came to the point, Clement XIV. would not 
have the courage to abolish an order approved by the Council 
of Trent. Louis XV.'s daughter, Mme. Louise, who had 
taken the veil in the Carmelite convent at Saint Denis, was 
especially eager in the Jesuit cause. She made use of various 
intrigues to make her royal father beg for the restoration of 

1 Theiner II, 380. 

2 Bernis, in a despatch of 3rd November 1773. Saint-Priest, 145. 

VOL. I. F 


the Jesuit order in his country. 1 She showed her love for 
the suppressed order by plaguing D'Aiguillon and Bernis with 
her requests for Jesuit relics. Now it was the cross and 
candlesticks which had stood on the high altar of the church 
of the Collegium Romanum ; now other objects which had 
belonged to the Jesuits. She and Archbishop de Beaumont put 
their heads together to work for the Society of Jesus, and 
several circumstances seemed to favour their wishes. Many 
Frenchmen, even followers of the esprit philosophique, pitied 
the Jesuits because of the persecution they had suffered. They 
were missed in the schools ; and when Louis XV. sat in his 
chapel, weighed down by his many sins, one or two preachers 
dared to blame him for having given his consent to that 
which had befallen the Society of Jesus. On St Francis 
Xavier's day, 1773, an ex-Jesuit preached a sermon in Paris, 
in which, among other things, he said that his hearers had 
presumably come there to weep over what had happened, 
and he spoke so disrespectfully of Clement XIV. that the 
papal nuncio had to take the matter up. 2 D'Aiguillon even 
began to prepare a royal edict permitting those Jesuits who were 
expelled by order of Parliament to return and seek appoint- 
ments in the French Church, but only on the understanding 
that they submitted to the brief Do-minus ac redemptor noster. 

There were one or two things, however, which indicated 
that not all Jesuits would bow to this brief. From Rome 
came vague rumours of serious defiance on the part of the 
Jesuits, and even of the General himself; and both Frederick II. 
and Catherine II. refused to enforce the brief in their 
countries. Frederick II. found the Jesuits useful in Silesia, 
and Catherine II. needed their help in White Russia. Ac- 
cordingly the Silesian Jesuits were provided with a vicar- 
general to take the place of Ricci. The doings of the Prussian 
king made a painful impression at Rome, and Clement XIV. 
begged Austria to induce Frederick to submit to the brief. 3 

Both Frederick II. and Catherine II. refused to carry out 
the Pope's wishes, giving as the reason their solemn promise in 
the treaty of 18th September 1773, to let the Roman Catholic 
Church remain in statu quo in their newly acquired Polish 
territory. In their opinion this included the maintenance of 

1 Masson, 240f. 2 Theiner II, 468f. 3 Masson, 254. 


the Society of Jesus, although the Pope had actually abolished 
the order before the treaty was concluded. Nevertheless, 
as far as Frederick II. is concerned, we have words of his 
which show that in reality he had a very poor opinion of 
the learning of the Jesuits, and of their teaching powers. 1 

The ex -Jesuit, Francis Xavier Feller, sounded the alarm all 
over Germany, by writing poisoned articles against Clement 
XIV. in the German papers, and also in those of Holland 
and Belgium. 2 It was common in Jesuit circles to accuse the 
Pope of simony. It was asserted that he had undertaken 
before his election to abolish the order, and so had bought 
the tiara by his promise to carry out the wishes of the Bourbon 
Courts. The learned Italian Jesuit, Zaccaria, ventured to use 
very bold expressions in the immediate neighbourhood of 
the Pope. 3 A myth was formed, to the effect that Clement 
XIV. had signed the brief with a pencil, at night, in one of 
the windows of the Quirinal, had fainted immediately after 
signing, and had lain on the marble floor till the morning. 
On being carried to bed he had cried again and again : " Oh 
God, I am damned ! Hell is my home ! There is no 
salvation for me now!" These stories, which belong to the 
same class as the Jesuit fables about the Jansenist meeting 
at Bourgfontaine, 4 and about Luther's suicide, have been 
brought to light again in our times by Cretineau-Joly and 
polemical Jesuits of lesser importance. They are founded on 
some autograph notes by the Jesuit Bolgeni, now preserved 
in the archives of the Jesuit General at Rome. 5 Bolgeni 
gives Cardinal de Simone as his authority ; but on closer 
examination the untrustworthiness of Bolgeni's notes is so 
apparent, that they have only been believed in those quarters 
where the wish exists to lower Clement XIV.'s character and 
work at any cost. 

But it is certain that the opposition to the brief made an 
impression on the infirm and anxious Pope. For a moment 
it seemed that Madame Louise's intrigues would succeed 
in France. D'Aiguillon sent to Bernis a " plan for forming a 
congregation in France for the employment of the former 

1 Theiner II, 40of. 2 Ibid., 39if. 3 Ibid., tfoi. 

4 See Reusch : Beitrage zur Geschichte des Jesuilenordens, i2of. 

6 They are printed in Theiner : dementis XIV. Epistola et Brevia, 37if. 


Jesuits " ; 1 which was nothing less than a re-establishment 
of the order with a special superieur geniral for France. Thus 
the Jesuits and their friends now desired the very arrange- 
ment, which at the beginning of the negotiations they had 
rejected with scorn. 2 

There was one great obstacle to the accomplishment of this 
plan; it would constitute a grave offence both to Carlos III. 
and to the Pope. Consideration for the latter probably did 
not weigh very much, but to offend his Spanish Majesty so 
deeply was a more serious thing. The plan was quietly put 
aside. Meanwhile affairs in France became so threatening 
that Clement XIV. was constrained to issue a fresh brief (9th 
March 1774), addressed to Bernis, in which he charged him to 
labour to have the brief Dominus ac redemptor noster completely 
carried out. 8 When the Cardinal of Albi sent the new brief to 
D'Aiguillon, it was accompanied by an explicit note, in which 
the writer proved that it was the Pope's will that the order 
should never again appear. 4 He characterised as false and 
foolish the assertion that Clement XIV. was secretly a friend 
of the Jesuits, and that as soon as he had satisfied the sovereigns, 
he would be glad enough to have the Society restored. On the 
contrary, it was only fear of hurting the Roman Catholics in 
Prussia and Russia which kept the Pope from launching ex- 
communications against those who dared to resist his clearly 
expressed will. D'Aiguillon did not think it expedient to make 
this note known to all the French bishops. He gave Madame 
Louise something else to occupy her thoughts ; the Jesuits had 
to be put off; and the death of Louis XV. (10th May 1774) 
soon dashed the hopes of all the French friends of the Jesuits. 
Soon after the accession of the new King, D'Aiguillon, who 
owed his elevation to Madame du Barry, was compelled to 
retire ; and under the new regime the restoration of Parliament 
was immediately talked of. Forty French bishops attempted in 
vain to frighten the young King from taking this step, by 
representing to him how dangerous it might be to the Church. 
On 1 2th November 1774 Louis XVI. held a lit de justice, and 

1 It was published for the first time by Masson, 25if. 

2 See above, p. 45. 

3 Printed in Theiner : dementis XIV. Epistolce et Brevia, 297k 

4 Masson, 259L 


reinstated the members of Parliament in the possession of 
those functions of which in his opinion they ought never to 
have been deprived. 1 

By that time Clement XIV. was dead. The difficulties 
about the restoration of Avignon and Benevento, and the French 
designs for re-establishing the suppressed order, had filled him 
with new cares and troubles, and every anxiety told upon his 
bodily health. After Holy Week in 1774 he became more 
infirm, and the diplomatists already began to prepare for 
another Conclave. Bernis wrote to his government, after an 
audience on 16th August, that Clement XIV. had become 
very thin and old, so that he feared the disease had gone below 
the surface. 2 The Pope's enemies had spread the report that 
he had gone out of his mind, and as this rumour had also 
reached Paris, Bernis thought it right to contradict it. On 7th 
September he wrote : " In spite of whatever malicious men have 
dared to say, the Pope's mind is as sound and his head as clear 
as ever. During the last week he has received not only his 
own Ministers, but the foreign representatives." 3 

The disease took its course, and fear of the Jesuits caused 
the sick Pope fresh pangs. Only up at Castel Gandolfo did 
he feel safe and happy. In Rome he was in constant dread 
of Jesuit poison and Jesuit daggers ; and the prophecies of his 
quickly approaching death, which were now and then circu- 
lated among the people, increased his alarm. At Christmas, 
1773, there were riots in the streets of Rome ; and although 
they were quelled with comparative ease, Clement XIV. felt 
that the shouts of joy with which the Roman people greeted 
his appearance in the streets became less frequent and less 

The end came on 22nd September 1774. Bernis wrote to 
his government on 28th September : " You will already have 
heard that the Pope died last Thursday at eight in the 
morning ; he retained his mental faculties to the last." 4 The 
body was so wasted with long sickness and evil humours, that 
decomposition set in at once, and the customary exhibition on 
the lit de parade had to be dispensed with. This circumstance 

1 P. de Crousaz-Cretet : Viglise et lUtat au XVIIIme sihk (Paris, 1893), 252f. 

2 Bernis to Vergennes, 17th August 1774 ; Theiner II, 508 ; Masson, 286. 

3 Theiner II, 512. 4 Ibid., 515 ; Masson, 293. 


strengthened the report that he had been poisoned, which 
gained more and more credence. Cardinal Bernis believed this 
report ; 1 Don Jose Monifio was inclined to do the same ; and 
M. Beranger, the French charge d'affaires at Naples, even 
wrote that " Padre Parisi, the Fransciscan, who was with 
the Pope during his last moments, writes to his friend the 
Chevalier Bottola, that the General of the order has admitted, 
under the seal of confession, that he gave orders to poison the 
Pope, and said by whom the poison was administered." 2 It 
was stated that the poison was acquetta. According to some, 
Clement XIV. had received it in the Holy Eucharist ; according 
to others he had eaten poisoned figs. 

In confutation of this report, we are reminded that the 
evidence of the confessor, of the doctors, and of many other 
contemporaries, all points to the belief that Clement XIV. 
died a natural death. 3 Cordara dismisses the report as a 
piece of absurdity which is not worth wasting words upon. 4 
Others have asked : In whose interest would it have been 
to poison the Pope at such a time? 5 Cordara says that the 
Jesuits were not so silly as to commit such a crime so late, 
when their order had been suppressed and everything settled, 
if they ventured to do it at all. On the same side Baron C. H. 
Gleichen, who was for a time in the Danish diplomatic service, 
is thought to have expressed the truth when he wrote : " Clement 
XIV. died from fear of dying. Poison was his one idea; 
and the sudden decomposition of his body was only the 
result of the horrible fright which killed him. I am convinced 
that the Jesuits would still be in existence, if they had 
been as bad as was supposed." 6 When the evidence of well- 
informed men is so sharply contradictory, it seems best for 
history to hold her verdict in suspense, admitting that on the 
basis of our present means of knowledge, it is impossible to 

1 Masson, 293. Saint-Priest likewise believes in the poisoning ; op. cit. i$of. 

2 Masson, 294. 

3 So Theiner II, 518, and [A. von Reumont :] Ganganetti : seine Briefe und 
seine Zeit (Berlin 1847) 7of. The latter writer has since declared (Aus Kbnig 
Friedrich Wilhelms IV. gesunden und kranken Tagen, Leipzig 1885, 291) that he 
is now inclined to see many things in a different light ; but whether this retractation 
extends to the question how Clement XIV. died, is not stated. 

4 Dbllinger : Beitrage III, 59. 6 So Masson, 296f. 

6 Souvenirs de Ch. H. Baron de Gleichen, par P. Grimblot (Paris 1868), 33. 
Baron Gleichen died in 1807. 


decide how far the report that Clement XIV. was poisoned 
was a true report. 1 

There is no doubt, however, that the suppression of the 
Jesuit order was an event of world-wide importance. This 
powerful society, which had ruled princes and statesmen 
through the confessional, and the rising generation through 
the schools, had used its influence to support the system of 
the Curia, and by all means in its power to annul the effects 
of the Reformation. When it was suppressed, the mediaeval 
theory of the State lost its best support, and the Reformation 
its fiercest foe. It was the political sins of the Jesuits which 
roused the anger of the Bourbons ; therefore it was just that 
they should be overthrown for political reasons. Their fall 
was the only real fruit of the Bourbon family treaty. But 
political winds are apt to turn. The day might come when 
politicians, and those who regard things in a political light, 
might wish to see Loyola's order restored, because they 
needed it to head, not only the Counter-Reformation, but also 
the Counter-Revolution. Such a day would perhaps never 
have come, had the abolition of the order been the result of 
religious and moral indignation at those things in Jesuitism, 
which must be said to conflict with real religion and true 

1 This is the opinion ofM. Brosch : Geschichte des Kirchenstaaies (Gotha 1882) 
II, 143- 



DURING the time that the ghost of Jesuitism was dis- 
embodied, it found refuge in an order founded by an Italian, 
who has not only been canonised, but also honoured, with the 
title of Doctor ecclesice. 

If we can believe the records of a process of beatification, 
a wonderful miracle took place in the little episcopal city of 
Sant' Agata dei Goti, between Benevento and Caserta, on that 
2 ist of September when Clement XIV. was in his last agony. 
Alfonso Liguori, the Bishop of the place, who was seventy- 
eight years old, fell into a trance while resting in his easy 
chair after Mass. He neither moved nor spoke, and was 
insensible to everything about him. The whole of that day 
and the following night he remained thus, and no one dared 
to rouse him from his state of holy ecstasy. But at dawn the 
next day he rang his bell, as a sign that he wished to say Mass 
as usual. When he saw the astonished faces of the members 
of his household, he asked : " What is the matter ? " They 
told him how long he had sat without giving any sign of life. 
"That is true," he answered, "but you do not know that I 
have been with the Pope, who is now dead." Those who 
surrounded him at first believed that the Bishop had had a 
dream. Later on they found that he had returned to conscious- 
ness of his surroundings at the very moment that Clement 
XIV. died at Rome. 1 They concluded that this was an 
instance of the phenomenon familiar in the legends of the 
Saints, called " bilocation," when a man is permitted to be in 
two places at once. 2 It is said that this was not the only 

1 A. Capecelatro : La vita di Sant' A. M. de' Liguori (Roma 1893) II, 269, 
following a contemporary, Padre Tannoia, and the Process of the Beatification. 
Gorres : Die christliche Mystik (Regensburg 1837) II, 58of.] LIGUORPS YOUTH 89 

"bilocation" which the Bishop of St Agata experienced. 
Once, while staying at Amalfi, he is said to have preached 
in the church there, and at the same moment to have been 
hearing a confession in his house at home; and once, while 
at Naples, he gave alms to a poor woman at Nocera de' Pagani. 

Alfonso Maria de' Liguori, the subject of these stories, 
which are still repeated even by a cardinal-archbishop and 
librarian to the Pope, 1 was born 27th September 1696 at 
Marianella, one of the suburbs of Naples. His father, Giuseppe 
de' Liguori, was a captain of the galleys ; his mother, Anna 
Cavalieri, was of Spanish extraction on the mother's side. 
His mother's predilection for the Spanish Saint Alfonso of 
Toledo provided him with his first Christian name, and the 
family veneration for the Madonna gave him his second. 
This name was prophetical, for never since the Middle Ages 
has the Virgin Mary had a more true knight than the Bishop 
of Sant' Agata. 

As Alfonso Maria's father was often away on the galleys, 
his education was at first principally left to his pious mother. 
His first instruction he received from the fathers of the 
Oratory ; and in this congregation, so well known in the 
history of music, young Liguori's taste for music and for 
poetry was fostered. He had inherited the harp of Giacopone 
of Todi. He began early as a Laudese, and a duet between 
the Soul and Jesus Christ, arranged for the violin, of which 
both the words and music are his, has lately been brought 
to light in the British Museum. 2 

His parents had not intended the young Lauda composer 
for the service of the Church. With his good looks, his 
large head, high forehead, aquiline nose, and speaking eyes, 
they expected him to make his fortune in other ways. When 
he was twenty-one years old, the parents on both sides 
arranged a marriage between him and the beautiful Teresa, 
aged fourteen, the only daughter of Francesco Liguori, Prince 
of Presiccio. But when the Princess of Presiccio soon after 
gave birth to a son, the engagement was broken off, because, 
as the cardinal biographer says, "Teresina would now lose 

1 A. Capecelatro was made Archbishop of Capua in 1880, and Cardinal in 1885, 
and Head Librarian to the Pope. 

2 Capecelatro I, 33. 


her dowry — a thing which even Christians think a great 
deal too much of in the question of marriage." Teresina's 
brother did not live long, and after his death the former 
marriage project came up again. Now, however, Teresina was 
unwilling. Her heart was set upon the cloister, and within 
the convent walls she met an early death. Thirty-seven 
years later her former betrothed, then an elderly priest, 
wrote an account of her life of piety and her edifying death. 
It does not mention that her biographer had once regarded 
his subject with earthly love. It may, however, have been 
from association with the love of his youth that the pious 
priest and bishop so often resorts to the intercession of St 
Teresa. Sia lodato Gesii, Giuseppe e Maria, con S. Teresa 
in compagnia ! So runs the heading of the first letter in 
that collection of many volumes of correspondence, which 
Liguori's disciples have lately published ; 1 and Teresina's 
saintly namesake is put in a place of honour in the heading 
of many of Liguori's letters, next to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. 

A proposed marriage with another rich heiress was coldly 
declined by Alfonso. He also had made up his mind to 
live unmarried, and he gave himself up wholly to his work 
as an advocate. But a sensible wound to his vanity gave 
him a distaste for that work. An important case, which he 
had hoped to win, was lost, because in an important part 
of the papers he had overlooked the little word non. This 
misfortune made such an impression upon him that he sat 
silent for three days without taking food, and after that 
decided to break with the false world. With prayer he laid 
down his advocate's sword before an image of the Virgin, 
just as Loyola at Montserrat had laid his weapons at the 
feet of the Madonna. After a very short period of theological 
study, Alfonso, in 1725, was ordained sub-deacon — the first 
step on the priestly ladder. 

As a priest, Liguori determined to imitate the Saint of the 
Oratory, Philip Neri. He immediately began to work among 
the Lazzaroni in Naples, and in the evenings he gathered 
round him men of every grade of society for spiritual 
conversation. In the open places in Naples he often made 
Stirring addresses to casual listeners, and when the bells rang 

1 Lettere di S. Alfonso Maria de 1 Liguori (Roma 1887) I, 1. 


for ^ Ave Maria, he and his friends at many of the churches 
invited young and old to come in for prayer and for instruc- 
tion in the rules of a Christian life. He also tried his spiritual 
powers outside Naples. When an earthquake had brought 
distress and misery upon Foggia, a thing happened while 
he was preaching in the church of St John the Baptist in 
that town, which he and others took as a sign that he was 
under the Madonna's special protection. During his preaching, 
a famous and ancient effigy of the Virgin became alive and 
moved, much to the amazement of the congregation, who with 
loud shouts and tears commended themselves to the Mother 
of God. 1 

Liguori also worked for a time at Amalfi, and had there 
an experience of no less importance than the one at Foggia. 
A visionary nun, Sister Maria Celeste Costarosa, had a 
vision, in which she saw a number of priests gathered together 
for love of God, and preaching to millions of neglected souls 
in villages and country districts. Liguori was one of these 
priests, and it seemed to Sister Maria that God said : " I 
have chosen Alfonso to be the leader of the new congregation 
of priests which shall prosper in honour of Me ! " 

The words of the visionary woman fell into good ground 
in Liguori's mind. In 1732, he, with eleven others, began 
a mission in the little town of Scala, in the province of 
Benevento, among the numerous cowherds and goatherds in 
the neighbourhood. The Bishop of Scala gave him and his 
friends a dwelling-place in a poor monastic building ; and in 
the cathedral of Scala, after a Mass of the Holy Ghost and 
a Te Deum, the new congregation was formed ; the Saviour 
(Salvator) being chosen as patron. 2 But in Naples there 
arose a jealousy of the new order. The Congregation of the 
Propaganda raised objections ; they even thought of depriv- 
ing Liguori of his humble living, and in March 1733 nearly 
everyone deserted him. But he was firmly resolved to 
sacrifice himself altogether on behalf of the poorest and the 
most neglected, and his courage rose again when the Bishop 
of Cajazzo gave him an ancient hermitage in the village of 

1 Liguori's own account given to the Bishop of Foggia, and written in 1777, 
is found in Lettere II, 456f. 

2 Capecelatro I, i6<]f. 


Schiavi {Sclavia). It would doubtless have made him still 
more hopeful if he had known, what the Cardinal of Capua 
believes to be a fact, that the asylum which received him 
was the same place where the great schoolman, Anselm of 
Canterbury, wrote part of his famous treatise Cur Deus 
homo. 1 

Later on, Liguori obtained new houses for his congrega- 
tion in Ciorani and Nocera de' Pagani, and began spiritual 
exercises after the manner of the Jesuits, with those who 
gave themselves up to his guidance. But the old antagonism 
between the priests and the congregations made itself felt 
here again, and the Alfonsini had to suffer somewhat from 
the opposition of the clergy. A complaint was lodged against 
him at Rome, and he was accused of wishing to form a new 
order without the Pope's permission. He replied that most 
of the orders had been formed with only the bishop's 
permission at first, and that the Pope had established them 
afterwards, and that, of course, he wished to have the work 
he had begun acknowledged, not only by the see of 
St Peter, but by his King as well. 2 

There was much to be done, however, before this end 
could be reached ; for Rome was somewhat slow to authorise 
new orders. Liguori determined to labour as an apostle 
of the written word as well as of the spoken, and in 1744 he 
began his work as an author with a little book on the 
Sacrament and Maria Santissima. He continually emphasises 
the fact that this work and the numerous others from his 
hand owe their origin, not to the vain desire of making a 
name, but to zeal for the honour of God and for Christian 
truth. 3 His writing was to be an " Apostolate," and he used 
his pen so industriously that his works in the Regensburg 
edition fill two and forty volumes. 

After some years had passed, and the congregation was 
no longer in its infancy, Liguori resolved to attempt to get it 
acknowledged by the Pope and by the King. Benedict XIV. 
had all the circumstances examined, and on 23rd February 
1749 the new order was confirmed. Liguori had written 

1 Capecelatro I, 187. 2 Ibid., 2TJai. 

3 Lettere III, 274, 56, 216, and many other places, especially in the letters to his 
publisher, Remondini, at Venice. 


letters to Benedict XIV. and the Cardinal-Archbishop of 
Naples explaining his programme as the founder of the 
order. 1 The congregation was to consist of priests who 
lived together under the supervision of the local bishop, like 
the "Fathers of the Mission" and the so-called Pit Operai. 
The members were always to choose their dwellings in the 
poorest neighbourhoods, and to devote themselves especially 
to the neglected shepherds and other equally ignorant and 
helpless people. They should also be willing to take part in 
missions, in the work of instruction, and in the administration 
of the Sacraments — in fact to be a sort of home missionaries 
in priests' orders. This project was approved by Benedict 
XIV. ; but with reference to the name of the new congrega- 
tion an alteration was made at Rome. Liguori had wished 
to call his order the Congregation of St Saviour ; but as 
there was already a company of Canons Regular at Venice 
which bore that name, his order was called after Christus 
Redemptor. Liguori was then solemnly acknowledged as 
Rector Major of the " Redemptorists." After the papal 
ratification many new members applied for admission, 
although the full leave {exequatur) of the Crown was not 
obtained till a much later date. 2 The King, however, had 
shown his sympathy with Liguori's work by giving him an 
annual pension before Benedict XIV. confirmed the order. 3 

Liguori was convinced that the happy execution of his plan 
was due first of all to the Madonna. In token of his gratitude 
he wrote the most widely read of his devotional books, Le 
glorie di Maria Vergine, a full-voiced utterance of the most 
modern cultus of Mary, and at the same time a collection of 
highly-coloured flowers gathered with something more than 
naivete from the field of the more ancient Marialogy. Before 
that time, in 1748, Liguori had published the first edition of 
his chief work, the Theologia Moralist at which he had been 
labouring for fifteen years, and which he kept on improving 
to the last. These two books, like all his writings, grew out of 

1 Lettere I, I49f., I54f. 

2 With regard to the difficulties connected with this, see Lettere I, 205, 237, 240, 
350f., 379. 

3 Lettere I, 150. 

4 The dedication (to the Archbishop of Conza) and the preface to the first edition 
are printed in the Lettere III, 3f. 



his practical work. The book in praise of the Madonna gave 
expression to that heartfelt affiance in her, which stamped 
his whole religious life ; his Moral Theology was the fruit, 
not only of long years of study bestowed upon the subject, 
but also of his work in the confessional, and of his efforts to 
make the Neapolitan shepherds submit to the law of Christ. 

In 1747 the King offered him the archbishopric of 
Palermo, 1 but he did not accept the offer, because he wished 
to devote himself wholly to the congregation, which at that 
time had not yet received the Pope's confirmation. Fifteen 
years later came a new offer, this time of the bishopric of Sant' 
Agata dei Goti ; a diocese which contained about 30,000 souls, 
with a yearly income of more than 11,000 lire, a considerable 
sum as things went at that time. 2 He would rather have 
declined this also ; but orders came from Rome to accept 
it, and according to the rule of the Redemptorists he was 
obliged to comply. 3 But Liguori was never quite happy as 
a bishop. The consecration at Rome with all its ceremonies and 
big gratuities scandalised him at the outset and landed him 
besides in money difficulties ; and in 1765 he was so tired 
that he begged to be relieved of the burden of the bishopric. 4 
Not until 1775 was he allowed to resign. At that time he had 
for several years suffered from constant pains in his head and 
chest, and was deaf and nearly blind. Four times during his 
episcopate he had taken the Viaticum and twice received 
Extreme Unction. 6 Rheumatism had so crippled him that 
his head had sunk right down upon his breast, and it was 
only by means of special arrangements that he was able to 
drink of the cup at Mass. Seen from behind he looked like 
a headless trunk. 

Even while Bishop of Sant' Agata, he had been Rector- 
Major of the Redemptorists, but not until after the resignation 
of his see could he again give himself wholly to his congregation. 
He settled at Nocera de' Pagani, and from thence, with the help 
of younger and stronger men, he ruled, amidst increasing feeble- 
ness of body, the steadily growing troop of the Redemptorists. 
But it was not without much opposition and many disappoint- 

1 Lettere I, 136k 2 Capecelatro II, 3. 

3 Lettere I, 469. * Ibid., 554^ 

5 Ibid. II, 34if. The application to Pius VI. for leave to retire. 



ments. 1 He saw with sorrow how the spirit of disobedience 
spread within his order, and the opposition to it grew so strong 
that at one time there was a talk of dissolving the order or re- 
constructing it altogether. 2 It also distressed Liguori that the 
Neapolitan State delayed so long in acknowledging the 
Redemptorists. The first step towards this recognition was 
taken in 1779, and two Redemptorists were sent to Naples to 
negotiate the matter. Their instructions were not to yield a 
jot or tittle of the rule that had been confirmed at Rome. These 
instructions were transgressed, and the Regolamento, which was 
the outcome of the negotiations with the Neapolitan govern- 
ment, would have put the order completely at the mercy of the 
secular powers. 3 The blind old Founder of the order was 
made to believe that the new rules agreed with the old, and 
acting on the advice of his confessor and others he signed 
the Regolamento. He soon discovered that he had been 
deceived ; but nevertheless he ordered the publication of the 
new rule, after the government had agreed to some small, 
unimportant alterations. He was convinced that it was 
necessary to yield outwardly to the King's demands ; for 
instance, that the promises ought to be exchanged for an 
oath of obedience, because the King did not like promises. 4 

Those of the Redemptorists, however, who lived in the Papal 
States complained to the see of St Peter; and at Rome 
they would not hear of any temporal government altering 
a rule confirmed by the Pope. It was lost labour that Liguori 
endeavoured to show that the rule and the Regolamento agreed 
on all vital points. 5 The Roman commission, which was 
appointed to examine the case, said that Liguori's behaviour 
was quite incomprehensible. " It is impossible," says a letter 
to him from Rome, " that a man of your wisdom and learning 
should allow himself to be led into using secret reservations, 
which are contrary to the principles of healthy morality, or 
should flatter himself that he can appear what he is not, and 
can be something other than he seems." 6 The result of the 

1 Capecelatro II, 342f. 

2 Lettere III, 469. ; Capecelatro II, 348f. 

s Lettere II, 5l8f.; Capecelatro II, 45 if. Dollinger and Reusch : Geschichte 

der Moralstreitigkeiten (Nordlingen 1889) I, 362^, following a monograph of 
Dilgskron, which is unknown to me. 

4 Lettere II, 535. 6 Ibid., 539f. 6 Dollinger-Reusch I, 364. 


new Regolamento was a complete schism. On 22nd September 
1770 Pius VI. appointed a new superintendent over the four 
Redemptorist houses in the Papal States, and the Neapolitan 
houses were shut out of the congregation and deprived of the 
enjoyment of its privileges and favours. 1 

By this means, Liguori and those Redemptorists, who wished 
with him to follow the new rule, were put out of the order. 
This was, of course, a heavy blow to the old man. In several 
letters to the new superintendent of the Redemptorists in the 
Papal States he endeavoured to effect a compromise, per- 
mitting the Neapolitan Redemptorists to follow the rule 
approved by the King, and those in the Papal States that of 
the Pope. No concession was to be expected on the part of 
the King. 2 Liguori wrote a letter to Pius VI. ; but it was 
not well received. 3 "I know," Pius is said to have exclaimed, 
" that Alfonso is a saint, and has always been devoted to the 
Roman See ; but in this matter he has not shown himself so." * 

Liguori bore in silence the displeasure of Pius VI. at his 
having in the matter of the congregation followed the temporal 
power rather than the see of Peter, and when anyone asked 
his advice he always answered : " Obey the Pope ! " Not till 
three years after his death, which occurred 1st August 1787, 
did the King of the Two Sicilies revoke the Regolamento, and 
then the Neapolitan Redemptorists were again received into the 
order. But before Liguori closed his eyes he had the joy 
of seeing his order send a branch far into the North. In 
1783 Clemens Maria Hoffbauer from Moravia, and Johann 
Hiibel from Bohemia, entered the congregation at Rome, 
and after a while they began to hold missions in one of the 
churches in Warsaw. 5 A little later the Redemptorists came 
to Southern Germany and Switzerland ; and in 181 2 Hoffbauer 
himself, instigated by Adam Muller, began a work in Vienna, 
which prospered greatly under the ecclesiastical reaction 
which followed the Congress of Vienna; Zacharias Werner, 
the famous preacher of the Congress, even found shelter for 

1 Lettere II, 557f. " E cessato con ci6 " [i.e., by the adoption of the Regolamento, 
which is described as un nuovo sistema], "di esser membra di detta congregazione e 
di godere di tutte le prerogative e grazie." 

2 " II Re non si rimuove mai dal suo sistema." Lettere II, 569. 

3 Lettere II, 572f. 4 Dollinger-Reusch I, 365. 

6 Seb. Brunner : CI. Maria Hoffbauer und seine Zeit (Wien 1858), zgf. 


a time in the tents of the Liguorians. In the next generation 
Liguori's order came into Portugal, France, Belgium, Holland, 
Prussia, Russia, Turkey, England, and North America ; in 
our days Baltimore is a main centre of its activity. 1 Where 
Loyola's disciples have had full liberty to spread their wings, 
Liguori's are generally of less importance, but where this has 
not been the case, or where, as now in Germany, the Jesuits 
are excluded, there the Redemptorists have in many ways 
been their substitutes. 

There is considerable likeness between the two orders in 
important points, and Liguori, the Neapolitan, has in several 
respects been the disciple of Loyola the Basque. With an 
intuitive perception that the Redemptorist order is altogether 
of the same spirit as their own, the Jesuits have been very 
eager to obtain for Liguori all the honours that the Church of 
Rome could bestow. Immediately after his death a preliminary 
enquiry into his " virtues and miracles " was begun at Nocera de' 
Pagani and Sant' Agata dei Goti, with a view to his being 
ultimately beatified. There were, however, a few incidents in 
his life which required to be cleared up before such an honour 
could be obtained. In 1772 Liguori had written a long dedica- 
tion of his book, Trionfo della Chiesa, to Tanucci, the powerful 
Neapolitan Minister, who was one of the most ardent 
" Regalists " of his time. 2 The friendly words which Liguori 
addressed to Tanucci in this dedication shocked many people. 
However, they comforted themselves with the thought that 
it was " only a dedication " ; that Tanucci had not personally 
broken with Christianity ; and also that even such a holy man 
as Francis of Sales had looked upon flattery with indulgence, and 
had attributed to it an " indirect " educational importance. 3 The 
schism within the order, and Liguori's own attitude towards 
the rule, might likewise be the cause of certain difficulties to 
the Promoter fidei in the course of a process of beatification. 
In order to stifle such questions Pius VI., after a careful 

1 Capecelatro II, 569^ 

2 Printed in the Lettere III, 400C 

3 Cardinal Villecourt says on this subject : " La civilite, suivant la doctrine de 
Saint Franfois de Sales, permet quelques paroles flatteuses a 1'egard de ceux, qui 
en meritent le moins : elles sont alors une lecon indirecte, afin qu'ils songent a 
s'en rendre dignes " (Capecelatro II, 264). It is easily understood how Newman's 
Teutonic seriousness rose up against such Latin ethics. 

VOL. I. G 


investigation of the circumstances, issued a brief commanding 
eternal silence upon this delicate point. 1 So the trial took its 
course, and in 1803 appeared an official declaration that there 
was nothing in Liguori's writings contrary to the faith {nihil 
censura dignuin). After this declaration Pius VII. gave a dis- 
pensation from the rule that fifty years must elapse between a 
man's death and the examination of his " virtues " ; and when 
the Jesuit order was risen from the grave which policy had dug 
for it, Pius VII. (on 15th September 1816) placed Alfonso 
Maria de' Liguori among the number of the beatified. 

Only two years later the first steps were taken towards 
obtaining a place for the Bishop of Sant' Agata on the roll of 
Saints, but it was not until 1839 that Gregory XVI. issued the 
Bull of Canonisation, advancing Liguori to the company of the 
Saints of the Church, because of his virtues and his miracles. 
Two instances of miraculous healing are especially brought 
forward. 2 But Liguori had not yet reached the greatest honour 
of all. In 1867, 39 cardinals, 10 patriarchs, 135 archbishops, 544 
bishops, 25 heads of orders, and 4 theological faculties — among 
them those of Louvain and Vienna — besought Pius IX. to grant 
to St Alfonso Maria Liguori the honourable title of " Doctor of 
the Church," which placed him side by side with divines like 
Augustine, Bernard of Clairvaux, Thomas Aquinas and 
Bonaventura. It was in reality the army of Jesuitism which 
came forward with this request ; and it was granted by a papal 
decree of 23rd March 1871. 3 

Next to Liguori's war with infidelity and Jansenism, the 
decree lays especial stress upon three things which make him 
worthy to be a doctor ecclesice. They are his setting forth of 
ethical principles, and his zeal for spreading the belief in the 
immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, and in the infalli- 
bility of the Pope. These are also the three main points upon 
which Leo XIII. lays stress in the letter which he wrote 
on 28th August 1879 to Liguori's French translators. 4 A 
closer study of his ethics, of his glorification of the Virgin, 
and of his doctrine of papal infallibility, will make it easy 

1 The brief is to be found in the Lettere II, 558f. 

2 Bull of Canonisation, in Capecelatro II, 582-593. 

3 Printed in Capecelatro II, 594-596. 

4 Leonis Papa: XIII. Allocutioncs, Epistola, Constitutiones (Briigge 1887) 
I, iogf. 



to understand why modern Jesuitism has been so eager for 
his exaltation. 

In the decree above mentioned, Pius IX. says, by way of 
specifying more distinctly Liguori's importance in the domain 
of morals, that he "has thrown light upon what was obscure, 
has cleared up what was doubtful, and has made a safe way 
between the perplexed opinions of theologians, which were 
sometimes lax and sometimes rigorous." 1 This refers to 
Liguori's solution of one of the ethical problems which have 
filled an important place since the rise of Jesuitism. But in 
order to understand Liguori's position in the theory of ethics, 
we must first consider his own ethical personality. 

The papers of the process of beatification expatiate at great 
length upon his many " heroic virtues." He was one of the 
heroes of that monastic asceticism of which the only object is 
to make life as unpleasant and burdensome to itself as possible. 
At Ciorani he lived for years at the back of a staircase in a 
wretched, narrow room, which received light and air only 
through an opening covered with paper dipped in oil and wax, 
instead of glass. In order to make every step painful he often 
carried pebbles in his shoes ; and when he was going to eat he 
generally hung a big stone round his neck. Three days a 
week he ate nothing but a thin soup and bread ; when he had 
fish, he contented himself with the scanty pickings about the 
head. Every time he took his frugal meal, he had a box of 
bitter herbs by him, which he sprinkled over his food, so that 
both taste and smell was repulsive. Before eating sweet fruits 
he made them unpalatable by putting salt or bitter herbs upon 
them ; and neither the beggars, nor the cats, which were always 
about him, would touch his food. He never slept more than 
five hours, and he often spread his sheet over sharp stones, which 
went so deep into him that the blood spurted out upon the wall. 
In the daytime it was his rule to wear a penitent's belt, garnished 
with spikes ; and both night and day he plied the scourge upon 
his feeble body. Like other saints, however, both male and 
female, he seems to have had a weakness, if such it may be 
called : his weakness was for snuff. It is said that this point 
was alleged by the Advocatus diaboli during the process of 

1 " Cum inter implexas theologorum sive laxiores sive rigidiores sententias 
tutam straverit viam." 


beatification, but was dismissed with the remark, that Liguori 
took snuff by the doctor's orders, as a remedy for an affection 
of the eyes. 1 It is certain that his confessor gave him the 
testimony that he never had " matter " for a confession. Yet 
what was the spiritual condition of this saint ? 

He was continually plagued by scruples, which brought him 
to the verge of insanity. His letters give a forcible impression 
of the incredible suffering to which his scrupulous conscience 
subjected him. The further he advanced in asceticism, the 
stronger his temptations became. He always turned his back 
when talking to women ; but, as a feeble old man, he 
acknowledged that he could not walk down a street without 
casting his eyes downwards so that they might not meet any 
temptation to impurity. 2 In order to conquer his scruples, he 
made himself a perfect tool in the hands of his spiritual guide. 
No Jesuit could have been more willing to sacrifice his will than 
Liguori ; and he was always impressing upon his Redemptorists 
the importance of absolute obedience. " My Father ! I am 
cold ; give me a little of your warmth, and tell me at least what 
I shall do ! " Thus runs one of the many notes, which in his 
anguish he wrote to his director. 3 Each time he had to act, 
this famous moral theologian, who had to govern an order as 
well as a bishopric, was as bewildered as a child. It was not 
only such a question as that of giving up or retaining his see 
which could set him endlessly arguing ; he was just as hope- 
lessly at a loss in face of the problem whether he should have 
a sack of straw under his head or not. 

Work among those who had been led astray first aroused 
Liguori's moral interests ; it was no wonder, therefore, that 
ethics became to him principally casuistry, and that the 
problem of Probabilism occupied his thoughts at an early 
period. In those days complaints of the slackness of the 
Jesuit moral system were heard on all sides ; and an honest 
man, like Cordara, dared not deny that the ethics of the 
order had a shady side, although, like a good Jesuit, he was 
more inclined to regard the doubtful teaching as a theoretical 
weakness than as an offence against right. 4 The most 

1 Dollinger-Reusch I, 371. 

2 Ibid., 376. 3 Lettere I, 78. 

4 "Quis enim neget in re morali qusedam nostris scriptoribus excidisse, quae 


objectionable point in Jesuit ethics was the teaching about 
moral probability. According to the Jesuit view, a clear 
and certain recognition of the right course of action is in 
most cases difficult, and in some impossible ; therefore in 
every action and every moral opinion a man must take into 
consideration its greater or less probability. 

Probabilism, as it was called (or Laxism) — and the Jesuits 
were as a rule Probabilists — went so far as to teach that in 
doubtful cases it was allowable to follow the less safe opinion, 
even if it were also the less probable, nay, even if it had an 
extremely small degree of probability (tenuiter, dubie, 
probabiliter probabilis). Rigorism (or Tutiorism), on the other 
hand, insisted that when there was a doubt about the lawful- 
ness of an action, it should be left undone, even if there 
were more reasons for its lawfulness than for the opposite. 
This severe doctrine, however, was condemned in 1690 by 
Alexander VIII., and therefore the Rigorists so far modified 
their view as to allow that the less safe opinion might be 
followed, if it were in the highest degree probable (probabilis- 
sima), but only in that case. 

Liguori had been brought up to the severe view, but he 
had learnt also that many moralists held another. 1 In the 
course of his work in the confessional, and among the peasants, 
his Rigorism dwindled more and more, especially after he 
had plunged into the moral theology of the Jesuit Busenbaum. 
In 1748 he published in Italian a manual for confessors, and 
in the same year the first edition of his Morals appeared 
in the form of notes and discussions supplementary to 
Busenbaum's famous book. In this first edition he still 
kept back his own opinion about Probabilism ; but in the 
second, which was dedicated to Benedict XIV., he says 
in his address to the Pope that he has sought to take a 
middle course between the extremes of laxity and severity. 2 
Some years later he wrote to his publisher at Venice, telling 
him that he must not have the book looked over by a theo- 
logian who holds the rigorous view, for instance a Dominican ; 

damnata deinde sunt? At errore mentis labi humana infirmitas est, non culpa." 
Cordara in Dollinger : Beitrdge III, 65. 

1 For what follows cp. Dbllinger-Reusch I, 4l2f. 

2 The dedication is printed in the Lettere III, I2f. ' 


because the author himself does not hold those views, but 
takes a middle course. 1 He says, at the same time, that the 
Jesuits at Naples have praised his book both publicly and 
privately, although on some points he is too rigorous for 
them. In the third edition (1757) he still holds the same 
views unaltered ; but in a Latin edition of extracts from his 
Morals, which appeared in 1758, he teaches that not only 
is it permissible to reject the safer opinion if the opposite one 
is more probable, but even if it is only equally probable. 

The struggle which at that time was going on against 
Jesuitism, and which was partly directed at its Probabilism, 2 
made it desirable that Liguori should prove that he did not 
share the lax views of the Jesuits. In a work called Breve 
dissertazione delF uso moderato dell' opinione probabile, which 
appeared in 1762 at the time when he was made a bishop, 
he maintained with great force the so-called Equiprobabilism, 
a sort of half Probabilism from which he never went back. 
He now asserted that it was allowable to follow the less safe 
opinion when it is but equally probable with the safer one. 
In his Equiprobabilism he comes nearest to being a disciple 
of the Bavarian moralist, Eusebius Amort, of Pollingen. 3 
Liguori thought that with his modified Probabilism he had 
placed a sufficient distance between himself and the Jesuit 
Probabilism which was so strongly attacked ; and in his letters 
he often expresses his annoyance that people could class him 
with the Jesuits. 4 But, as the promotor fidei expressed it 
when he was made a " Doctor of the Church," although 
St Alfonso in his system is an opponent of Probabilism, he 
proves himself a true Probabilist when he is concerned with 
the decision of individual cases. 

In his writings may be found instances of the notorious 
mental reservation of the Jesuits, as when he says : " A wife 

1 Lettere III, 2of. The letter is of the date 15th February 1756. 

2 See above, p. 36. 

s From Amort he had learned, as he says in a letter to him (Lettere III, 246) 
"quod sequi liceat opiniones seque aut quasi aaque probabiles, minus notabiliter 
probabilibus explosis." 

4 Thus he writes (Lettere III, 487), on 15th November 1776, to Remondini: 
"Io non seguito la dottrina de' Gesuiti, ma sono contrario al sistema de' Gesuiti, 
e forse alia maggior parte delle sentenze particolari de' Gesuiti. Io non sono stato 
scolare de' Gesuiti." Cp. 29,71"., 42if., where he repudiates Probabilism. 


who breaks her marriage vows may deny her breach of marriage 
to her husband, while meaning, ' I have not done it in such a 
manner that I need confess it.' She may also say that she 
has not broken marriage, inasmuch as the marriage still 
exists, and when she has confessed the sin she can say, ' I am 
not guilty.' " 1 Busenbaum taught that anyone in extreme 
want may take so much of another's property as is required 
to save him from his necessity. To this Liguori appends 
the question, whether a man of note, who is ashamed to beg 
or to labour, may take the goods of others. His answer is : 
Yes, if the man is so much ashamed of begging, that he would 
rather die than beg. He also examines at length in his 
Moral Theology, how much a man may steal without incurring 
the guilt of mortal sin, and his casuistry here takes such an 
excursion that he gives a regular tariff. From a beggar not 
even a few farthings can be taken without committing mortal 
sin, from a poor labourer up to a shilling, from a man in easy 
circumstances half-a-crown, from a very rich merchant four 
and sixpence, while a theft from a king is only mortal sin 
when it exceeds fourteen shillings. 2 To this are added further 
investigations into the degrees of sinfulness according to the 
length of the intervals between the times when the sums were 

It is hardly to be wondered at that such moral theology 
should be characterised even by Roman Catholics as " immoral 
theology," or that the Abbe Laborde in 185 1 exclaimed: "If 
Liguori's doctrine is right, then the narrow way of the Gospel 
is made broad, or rather it is given up, and the broad way 
which leads to destruction is recommended to Christians." 3 But 
since 1 87 1 these morals are canonised by the Roman Church, 
and Liguori is now to Roman Catholic ethics what Thomas 
Aquinas is to Roman Catholic dogmatics. The heart of the 
Cardinal-Archbishop of Capua beats high with joy at the 
thought that these two great lights in the theological world 
were both not only Italians, but " from our province." 4 John 
Henry Newman, on the other hand, openly declared that 

1 Dollinger-Reusch I, 44Sf. 

2 Theologia Moralis (ed. Ninzatti, Venetiis 1882) I, 23of. 
s Dollinger-Reusch I, 469. 

4 Capecelatro I, 427. 


Liguori's defence of equivocation and the like is, in his 
opinion, an Italian form of morals which does not suit English- 
men. 1 But what could the protest of an individual do ? 
Cardinal Wiseman said that even in his time there was no 
confessional in England which was not under the influence 
of " the gentle theology of this saint " ; 2 and to Cardinal 
Manning Liguori was the moral theologian. Modern Roman 
Catholic systems may on individual points be more or less 
strict than the Bishop of Sant' Agata, but the spirit is the 
same, and it is the spirit of Jesuitism. 

It is in like manner a breath of Jesuit piety, which meets 
us in Liguori's doctrine with regard to the Blessed Virgin. 
As early as 173 1 he wrote in a letter to some nuns: "Pray 
always to Mother Mary ; and to get her to show you favour, 
you must love her, praise her, and honour her ! Let her sweet 
name be always in your hearts and on your lips ! You must 
know that she, the fair one, loves you tenderly. Be grateful 
and return her love ! Love of Mary is a certain pledge of 
Paradise (pegno sicuro del Paradiso). " 3 Mamma mia is the 
term of endearment which he always uses for the Mother of 
our Lord, and in all his letters she is invoked at the beginning 
or end, with Jesus and Joseph. In Liguori's youth Francesco 
Pepe, the Jesuit, 4 had made his appearance in Naples as an 
ardent advocate of the doctrine of the immaculate conception 
of the Virgin. Francesco Pepe wrote praises of the immaculate 
conception on little strips of paper (cartelline), and these strips 
were taken as a dose by sick people in hopes of being cured ; 
they were also given to hens to make them lay more eggs. 
Even this superstitious cultus of the Madonna was counten- 
anced by Liguori. When he lay at death's door, he asked 
for one of Pepe's strips and swallowed it. 

As early as 1734 he communed with Francesco Pepe about 
a matter which became one of the chief points in his own 
doctrine of Mary ; that all men are saved by the Madonna's 
mediation, because all grace is distributed through her. In 
one of his pamphlets he gives a popular account of the way 
things are done in heaven. Appealing for support to Bernard 

1 J. H. Newman : Apologia pro vita sua (London 1893), 2 73f- 

2 Dbllinger-Reusch I, 47lf. 

3 Lettere I, II. 4 Reusch : Index II, 217. 


of Clairvaux, he says : " The most holy Virgin places herself 
before her divine Son and shows Him her bosom wherein He 
was shut up for nine months, and her holy breast which He so 
often sucked. The Son then places Himself before His divine 
Father and shows Him His opened side, and His holy wounds, 
and when the Father sees such sweet pledges of the Son's love, 
He can deny Him nothing, and we gain all." The pamphlet 
ends with the words : " Hail, Jesus, our Love, and Mary, our 
Hope!" 1 

It is chiefly in his book above mentioned, Le glorie di Maria 
Vergine (written in 1750), that his doctrine about Mary is 
found. According to his own account, this was the book 
which had caused him most trouble, and also gained him most 
praise. 2 In our days it is still very widely circulated ; in 
Germany and France it has gone through many editions, and 
in England it was strongly recommended by Wiseman and 
Manning. But when it is printed north of the Alps, it is 
frequently found that a few things, especially some of the most 
superstitious stories, have been carefully removed. Not every- 
where in these days is it safe to offer to Roman Catholic 
Christians the mediaeval Madonna-legends of Bernardino of 
Siena, and Bernardino of Busto. 

In this extraordinary book Mary is represented as the 
queen of the universe, the sweet Mother, whose prayer Jesus 
always hears. 3 Her mediation is morally necessary, and all 
God's grace flows through her, la mediatrice di grazia^ She 
co-operates also in our justification ; for God has entrusted to 
her the dispensing of all grace to usward. 5 No one comes to 
Christ unless the Blessed Virgin has drawn him by her prayers. 6 
Mary is our hope, and she is almighty as Christ, though only 
in the sense in which a creature can be so ; the Son is almighty 
by nature ; the Mother by grace. 7 Her name is sweet in life or 
death ; she saves people from hell, and brings her own into 

1 Miscellanea o raccolta d'operette la piit parte ascetiche (Monza 1832) II, 42. 

2 Lettere III, 98. 

3 Le glorie di Maria Vergine (Milano 1880, with episcopal approbation) I, 2if. 

4 Ibid., 161, 1791". Cp. II, 376f., where this section of the book is defended 
against an unnamed critic. 

5 " Maria si chiama la co-operatrice della nostra giustificazione, perche a lei ha 
commesso Dio tutte le grazie da dispendarsi a noi" I, 175. Cp. II, 93f. 

6 Ibid., I, 175. 7 Ibid., 191. 


Paradise. 1 Salvation is easy through her. A Franciscan once 
in a vision saw two ladders. At the top of one, which was red, 
stood Christ ; at the top of the other, which was white, stood 
Mary. Those who tried to climb up the red ladder always fell 
down as soon as they had gained a few steps ; but when they 
complied with an invitation to try the white one, all went well. 
The Blessed Virgin stretched out her hand to them, and so 
they safely entered Paradise. 2 The moral of this story, which 
is taken from a Franciscan chronicle, is clear: it is difficult to 
be saved through Christ ; but through Mary it is easy. Mary 
is also ascended into heaven, just as Christ is, 8 and she is our 
pattern in all virtues.* As the daughter of God the Father, 
the mother of the Son, and the bride of the Holy Ghost, she 
is conceived without taint of sin {Maria Immacolatd)? 

As a foundation for his doctrine of Mary, Liguori often 
quotes both the Old Testament and the New ; but his interpre- 
tation is . the wildest allegory. He affirms, moreover, that he 
has spent several years in collecting what the Fathers and the 
most celebrated ecclesiastical authors have written about Mary's 
mercy and power ; but Old-Catholic criticism has proved that 
in using the works of the Fathers of the Church he has 
betrayed " boundless ignorance and levity." 6 Many quotations 
are at second or third hand, and he attributes to Ignatius, 
Athanasius, Ephraem the Syrian, Augustine, Anselm, and 
Bernard of Clairvaux sayings which are either not in their 
works at all, or are found in quite a different form. 

The same doubtful use of quotations from the Fathers is 
found in Liguori's defence of the third point in the programme 
of modern Jesuitism, viz., the infallibility of the Pope. 7 To 
the first edition of the Moral Theology in 1748 there was 
appended a disquisition on the infallibility of the Pope and 
his superiority to Councils, and as late as 1776 Liguori still 
occupied himself with this problem. In the end of the latter 
year he informs his publisher that he has finished a little book 
on papal infallibility, but because of the persecution preparing 
for his congregation, and in order not to rouse the anger of 

1 Le glorie di M. V. I, 247. 

2 Ibid., 264. s Ibid. II, Hgf. 
4 Ibid., 235f. s Ibid-> if. 

8 Deutschir Merkur, 1885, Nos. 50, 51. 
7 Dollinger-Reusch I, 396f. 


modern litterati, he does not mean to publish it — at all events 
not under his own name. But he is so delighted with his 
work, that he dares to assert that the dogma of infallibility 
has here received a better foundation than in Zaccaria, Noghera, 
or any other theologian. 1 The fate of this treatise is unknown ; 
it is uncertain whether it was ever printed. But apart from 
it, there are five treatises on the Pope by the hand of Liguori, 
which were so agreeable to many members of the late Vatican 
Council, that it was proposed to define the infallibility in 
Liguori's words. 2 

During the Vatican Council attention was drawn to the 
fact that nearly all the quotations from the works of the 
ancient Fathers, which are found in Liguori's treatises, are 
either given inaccurately, or are taken from spurious com- 
positions ; 3 and Dollinger, in 1 871, offered to demonstrate to 
his archbishop that those proofs of papal infallibility which 
are found in Liguori's works (as well as in those of Perrone, 
Cardoni, Ghilardi and Schwetz) " are for the most part spurious, 
forged, or garbled." 4 However, the historical proof of infalli- 
bility is by no means the most important with Liguori. To 
him the infallibility of the Pope is a necessary axiom of the 
whole system : if God has not given the Pope infallibility, He 
has not taken sufficient care for the good government of His 
Church. And it is not only human law, the law codified by 
the Church, which is subjected to the Pope's interpretation 
and government, but also the divine law. 

Belief in the Pope's infallibility was not common at the end 
of the eighteenth century, so it was not to be wondered at that 
many of Loyola's persecuted disciples should feel drawn towards 
Liguori and his order. St Alfonso's " powerful defence of the 
primacy of the Pope and of his office of infallible teacher," so 
highly praised by Leo XIII. in the letter to which reference has 
been made, 5 first showed its effectiveness south of the Alps. 
But his writings and ideas have since, under the sheltering 

1 Lettere III, 489. 

2 J. Friedrich : Geschichte des vatikanischen Konzih (Rom. 1887) III, I, 417. 

3 J. Friedrich : Documentor ad illustrandum Concilium Vaticanum (Nordlingen 
1871) II, 272f. 

4 Briefe und Erklarungen von I. v. Dollinger iiber die vatikanische Decrete 
(Miinchen 1890), 76, 84. 

5 See above, p. 98. 


wings of the revived Jesuit order, done a great work outside 
Italy, and have in many places schooled people for Jesuitism. 
The kinship between Liguori and Loyola is felt not only in 
those main points upon which stress has been laid. The 
Bishop of Sant' Agata was as intolerant as any Jesuit. In one 
of his last works 1 he mentions with high praise the revocation 
of the Edict of Nantes, which drove all the followers of the 
''ungodly" Calvin out of France. He hated all forms of 
Jansenism and Protestantism, and thought it quite right that 
Sister Maria Josefa, a nun in the convent of Frasso, had been 
forbidden by her director to read an Italian translation of the 
four Gospels. " Women, and especially nuns, should not read 
books of that sort {tal sorta di libri), and least of all when they 
are translated into the vulgar tongue." He recommends them 
instead, as the best guides to a holy life {per fare una persona 
santd), stories of saints and spiritual books, especially Rodriguez 
and Saint Jure — two Jesuit authors. 2 And he calls to mind 
how St Theresa refused to receive a would-be nun, who brought 
the Holy Scriptures with her, saying that nuns should only 
become acquainted with the Bible through sermons and con- 
fessors, but not read it themselves. The attempts of the Jesuits 
to stop the work of the Bible societies would have found 
support in St Alfonso. 

1 Miscellanea II, 377f. 

2 Lettere II, 207f. 



In i 741, after the death of Charles VI., when the German 
electors met to choose a new emperor, the papal nuncio, Doria, 
like former nuncios on similar occasions, did his best to induce 
the ecclesiastical electors to cancel the fourteenth article in 
the stipulations of election, obliging the emperor to oppose 
certain Roman encroachments, and to acknowledge the rights 
of Protestantism in accordance with the terms of the Peace of 
Westphalia, and with various Acts of the Diet. Instead of 
giving in upon this point, the electors expressed the wish that 
Rome would satisfy those complaints which for many centuries 
had found vent in the so-called gravamina nationis Germaniccz. 
A privy councillor of the Elector of Trier, named Von 
Spangenberg, who was a convert and the son of a Pfarrer at 
Harzen, was commissioned, together with an official of Trier, 
Johann von Hontheim, to enquire what was the real state of 
the case with regard to these gravamina, which had played a 
particularly prominent part at the time of the Reformation, and 
how far the constitution of the German Catholic Church was in 
accordance with existing laws. 1 As the Elector of Trier would 
have the first voice in the matter when it came publicly forward, 
it was needful for the commissaries of Trier to consider the 
matter very thoroughly. 

The task which was thus given to Hontheim had important 
consequences in his after life. 2 Spangenberg once made the 
remark in a large company that it was much to be wished that 

1 Cp. a letter of Spangenberg to Von Krufft in 0. Mejer : Febronius (Freiburg 

1885), 5if- 

2 For what follows consult, besides O. Mejer, G. Phillips : Justinus Febronius 
in his Vermischte Schriften II, i6of., and Reusch : Index II, 94of. 



some learned priest should come forward, who could place in 
its proper light the difference between the spiritual power of the 
Pope and the arrogance of the Roman Court, and who would 
draw the line between the ecclesiastical and the temporal power. 
No one was more suited to solve this problem than Hontheim ; 
both his studies and his position made him the proper person. 

Johann Nicolaus von Hontheim was born at Trier in 1701. 
After receiving his first instruction there from the Jesuits, 
he went to Louvain, where Zeger Bernhard van Espen had 
for nearly half a century lectured on canon law in a manner 
which betrayed the strong influence of Grotius' Law of Nature, 
and of Gallicanism. When Hontheim was a student at 
Louvain, Van Espen was an old man of nearly eighty, and 
no longer lectured. But canon law was taught after his 
manner, and the aged master often put in an appearance at 
the students' debates, to impress upon them those truths 
which were the outcome of his long years of study in Church 
history and jurisprudence. While at Louvain, it dawned 
upon young Hontheim that there was a difference between 
Catholicism and Popery ; and at the same time his eyes were 
opened to the sins of Jesuitism. He became a Gallican, but 
not, like Van Espen himself and many of his disciples, a 
Jansenist as well. 

His studies took him likewise to the Protestant University 
of Leyden ; and on his return home Hontheim was made 
professor at the University of Trier, and afterwards commissary 
of the " Official " at Coblenz, superintendent of the seminary 
for priests in that town, and canon of the Collegiate Church of 
St Florian. This brought him into close communication with 
the Elector Franz Georg, Count of Schonborn, who usually 
lived at Ehrenbreitstein. Franz Georg was not contented, 
like his predecessors for the last hundred and forty years, 
to leave church matters to a suffragan, while himself attending 
only to politics. He had duly received consecration and 
zealously fulfilled his episcopal duties. At the beginning he 
employed Hontheim only in matters of State, such as the 
imperial elections in 1741 and 1745. But when his suffragan 
died in 1748, Hontheim became also his ecclesiastical coadjutor, 
as titular Bishop of Myriophyti in parlibus infidelium. Under 
the next elector, Johann Philipp von Walderdorff (1756-1768), 


who took more interest in the chase than in the concerns of 
the Church, nearly the whole conduct of ecclesiastical affairs 
was put into Hontheim's hands, and he had occasion to make 
his views felt in many directions. He endeavoured to break 
the power of the Jesuits at the University of Trier and in 
the scholastic sphere in general. He thought of substituting 
Benedictines for the Jesuits in the theological faculty, a plan, 
however, which was not carried out until after the Jesuits 
were expelled from France. He took care that canon law 
was taught on Gallican principles. His historical interest 
showed itself in the production of several important works 
throwing light on the history of Trier. They betray a zeal 
for collecting and sifting original documents, which was not 
common in those days, as well as a great love for Germany, 
and for his native Trier. 

But the most remarkable of Hontheim's works is a goodly 
quarto volume : De statu ecclesice et legitima potestate Romani 
Pontificis, which was published in September 1763, by the book- 
seller Esslinger at Frankfurt. In this the author endeavours 
to answer the question which had been put to him at the 
imperial election twenty-two years before, and which he had 
never lost sight of since. On the title page the publisher 
concealed himself and the place of printing under the mis- 
leading statement : Bullioni apud Guillelmum Eccardi ; the 
author called himself Justinus Febronius. It was a chance 
name, taken from Justine, his younger brother's daughter, 
who, on entering the convent of Juvigny near Clermont, had 
just then exchanged her baptismal name for that of Febronia. 
The book was printed with the greatest secrecy at Frankfurt. 
The proofs were read by Dumaix, Dean of the Collegiate 
Church of St Leonard, that " very clear-sighted " Roman Catholic 
priest, belonging to the circle of Mme. de la Roche, who gave 
Goethe such " full and beautiful " information about the external 
and internal condition of the ancient Church. 1 

In the reading-room of the town library at Trier there 
is a portrait of Hontheim in his episcopal house-dress. If 
it is like him, his features bore a resemblance to those of 
Herder and Goethe, and something of the large-mindedness 
and extensive survey of those two men appears in his book. 
1 Goethe's Dichlung una Wahrheit (ed. Hempel) III, 130. Cp. 38of. 


It is written by a learned theologian in rather ornate Latin, 
and an observant reader soon discovers that the author's views 
have been enlarged, not only by means of historical study, but 
by taking part in practical politics. Its author is a statesman, 
not a schoolman. The book contains the Gallican system 
transplanted to German soil. It champions the importance 
of the episcopate and the rights of the State as against the 
Papacy ; and it ends with an appeal to reject utterly those 
claims which are based on nothing but the forged Isidorian 
Decretals, and to return to the constitution of the Church as 
it was during the first four centuries of the Christian era. 
In a certain sense there is not much that is new in the book ; 
the ideas are those of Bossuet, Natalis Alexander, Fleury, and 
the other great Gallicans. But Febronius speaks with such 
clearness and authority, that the reader feels to what an extent 
Gallicanism has leavened his theology and his conception of 
Christianity. In the beginning of the book he addresses 
himself to the pope, the princes, the bishops, and doctors of 
divinity and of ecclesiastical law ; and throughout these appeals 
it is clear that his theoretical discussions have a practical aim. 
He hopes to succeed in bringing the actual state of things 
into agreement with his ideas. 

The popes are called upon to define the proper limits of their 
own powers. But Febronius has no belief that this summons 
will be heeded ; therefore the princes must come forward to 
defend the rights of their respective national churches. In 
France, Gallicanism supported the rights of the French king ; 
to Van Espen it meant maintaining the rights of his sovereign, 
the Emperor ; to Febronius it became the assertion of the rights 
of each territorial prince. At the Council of Trent it had not 
been decided whether the bishops received their authority 
directly from God or from the Pope. Febronius held the 
former view; and he believed that the Roman Church would 
regain its old power of attracting, if this view were universally 
enforced by help of the princes. His book bore on the title 
page the words : ad reuniendos dissidentes in religione Christianos 
compositus, showing what he hoped would be the result, when 
the cause of the bishops had vanquished that of the Curia. 
The bishops, he says, ought never to forget that they are the 
successors of the Apostles, and they ought to demand the 


restitution of their rights. Doctors of divinity and of canon 
law should get rid of the false doctrines of the Pope's juris- 
diction and infallibility. The episcopal system must take the 
place of the papal, and the autocracy of the papal decrees must 
be shattered. At the beginning, the Church was by no means a 
monarchy ; the Apostles were equal ; St Peter was only the first 
among equals. The bishops have their rights directly from 
Christ, but the Pope has only received the primacy in com- 
mission from the Church. It is false doctrine to say that the 
Pope represents the Church, for the Church is represented by 
the General Council. Bishops have the right of self-government 
as heirs of the authority given to the Apostles to rule the 
Church. This former state of things must be brought back ; 
the question is how ? Priests and people must be instructed in 
the origin and justification of the Pope's claims. Councils 
must be called together, a General Council if possible, at all 
events National Councils, and the Catholic princes must meet 
and set bounds once for all to the power of the Papacy. 

The nuncios at Cologne and Vienna at once sent Febronius' 
book to Rome, and in February 1764 it was placed on the 
Index. But Clement XIII. wished the affair to be kept as quiet 
as possible ; it was not in the interests of Rome at that moment 
to provoke a public discussion on such a delicate point. A few 
weeks, however, after the book was condemned, he called upon 
the German electors and bishops in several letters to suppress 
it, and his request was acceded to even at Trier. In spite of 
this, the substance of the book appeared in a German form in 
1764 ; a new and enlarged edition in 1765 ; in 1766 the book was 
translated into Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese; and in the 
following years new editions kept appearing. Although the 
Elector of Trier's prohibition of the book was couched in 
somewhat gentler language than the Pope's, Hontheim thought 
it right to ask to be released from his various offices, alleging 
his age and indifferent health. But the Elector refused to 
grant his request, and he continued to execute his offices. For 
safety's sake he published in one or two local papers a declara- 
tion that he was not Justinus Febronius. Although no one 
believed this declaration, Prince Clemens Wenzel, Bishop of 
Freisingen, Regensburg, and Augsburg, who succeeded the 
Elector Johann Philipp in 1768, made him Privy Counsellor and 
vol. 1. H 


" Conferenzrath," chief of the clerical Consistory, and Minister, so 
that the most important part of the ecclesiastical management 
was put into his hands , and especially the dealings with Rome. 
The Pope made Cardinal Albani represent to the Elector the 
impropriety of entrusting such a high ecclesiastical office to a man 
of Hontheim's views. Hontheim himself answered on behalf of 
the Elector, that he had publicly denied that he was the author 
of the book ; that Trier was by no means governed on 
Febronian principles ; and that, on the contrary, they showed all 
due loyalty and sincerity towards the Roman see. 1 

But Rome was not reassured. Both north and south of the 
Alps a number of answers to Febronius were composed. 
Ballerini at Verona, Sangallo at Venice, Corsi at Florence, 
Zaccaria at Modena, and Mamachi at Rome were some of the 
most notable Italian opponents of Febronianism ; and in 
Southern Italy the Bishop of Sant' Agata sharpened his 
pen to fight this new foe. Hontheim replied to some of these 
criticisms, which swelled the later editions of his book to such 
an extent that in 1777 he thought it necessary to publish an 
abridged edition. But in spite of all these attacks, Clemens 
Wenzel upheld his aged servant, until an ex-Jesuit, named 
Beck, to whom had been given the task of teaching theology 
and ecclesiastical law to the Elector, who was quite ignorant 
of these sciences, gained such power over his noble pupil that 
he "did with him what he would." 2 By means of a long 
succession of intrigues, in which the papal nuncio and others 
played a part, Hontheim's position as the trusted adviser of 
the Elector was completely undermined ; and at last, in 1778, 
they extorted from the old man of seventy-seven a moderately 
worded recantation. 3 At Rome people exulted loudly in this 
victory over Gallicanism, to which so shortly before the Jesuit 
order had been sacrificed. At Trier it was expected and assumed 
that Hontheim's recantation would remain a secret ; but that was 
not to be the case. Already on Christmas Eve 1778, Pius VI. 
gathered the cardinals around him in their festal robes in St 
Peter's, to communicate to them the recantation of the Coad- 
jutor Bishop of Trier, and the whole Roman Catholic world was 

1 O. Mejer, 68f. 

2 Ibid,, ioif. 

3 IHd., I28f. Masson, 349^ 


afterwards informed of this event which was so gratifying 
to Rome. 

In ultramontane circles the triumph of Rome found an 
echo, but elsewhere this victory over a feeble old man was 
not thought of much consequence. A. C. Hwiid, a Dane, 
who afterwards became Provost of the Regents College in 
Copenhagen, was staying at Vienna soon after the news of 
Hontheim's retractation had arrived, and he says that many 
people there " abused Febronius and said he was in his second 
childhood." 1 But this explanation of his retractation is hardly 
justifiable; Hontheim knew well what he was doing when he 
showed this outward obedience to Rome. He wrote : " I have 
in a certain way recalled my book Justinus Febronius, just as 
a much more learned prelate, Fenelon, did, in order to avoid 
scenes and unpleasantnesses. But my retractation does not harm, 
and never will harm, the world and the Christian religion ; and 
as little does it benefit and will it benefit the Roman Court. 
The world has read, tried, and accepted the assertions in my 
book, and my retractation will no more make thoughtful minds 
deny or reject those assertions than will the refutations written 
by so many of the Pope's theologasters, monks, and flatterers." 2 
The same keynote sounds through a Latin commentary on his 
retractation, which Hontheim published in 1781, and which shows 
us that in all essentials his standpoint remained the same. 

Febronianism had made many conquests. Even before the 
appearance of Hontheim's famous book, the ultramontane 
system and the doctrine of the Pope's infallibility had begun 
to be put in the background in the Roman Catholic schools 
and class books of Germany. The Jesuits were in reality 
overthrown in Germany before the order was abolished. 
When Clement XIV. had succeeded Clement XIII. in 1769, 
Emmerich Joseph of Breitenbach, Elector of Mainz (1763-1774), 
whose Ministers were not only Gallicans but Voltairians, 
proposed that commissioners from the three Rhenish electors 
should meet at Coblenz and consult on the question of 
demanding "the correction of various abuses," and especially 
with regard to the best way of securing " the restoration of the 

1 A. C. Hwiid: Udtog af en Dagbog, holden i Aarene 1777-1780 (Kjobenhavn 
1787) I, 44°f- 

2 O. Mejer, H5f. 


original episcopal power." 1 These deliberations, which lasted 
from September till December, led to the drawing up of the 
thirty Latin " Articles of Coblenz," of which nearly all are aimed 
at the arrogance of Rome and the extortions of the Roman 
chancery. There is much which points to the belief that the 
Articles were composed by Hontheim's pen ; at all events they 
contain Febronian ideas. The Articles of Coblenz were sent 
to the Emperor Joseph II. with a petition that the freedom of 
the German Church might be so established, " that the chief 
churches of this nation should enjoy not less freedom than 
the churches of other nations." After some delay the Emperor 
Joseph II. replied that some of the electors' grievances could 
be redressed at once by any archbishop or bishop, with the 
knowledge of the Emperor ; others must be brought before 
the Diet ; and others again must stand over for the present. At 
first the electors wished to press their case, but when they were 
privately informed from Vienna, that the right moment was not 
thought to have arrived for taking this matter up, they let it 
drop. So the Articles of Coblenz were only of importance as 
the precursors of the " Points " of Ems. 

After the fall of the Jesuits, Febronianism rushed to the 
front everywhere in Germany. The German Benedictines, 
Cistercians, Franciscans, and Augustinians, and especially the 
numerous professors in Germany, who after the disappearance 
of the Jesuits were not members of any order, fearlessly acknow- 
ledged the doctrine of the Council of Constance, that a General 
Council of the Church was superior to the Pope, and professed 
the Gallican principles of ecclesiastical law. 2 At the same time 
it became possible to study history with more freedom and 
under better conditions. It was now no longer necessary to 
represent Henry IV., Henry V., Frederick Barbarossa, and 
Lewis of Bavaria, as wicked adventurers and half heretics, 
because they would not bow to the demands of the mediaeval 
Papacy. People saw that right was not always on the side 
of the Papacy, and now they dared to say so. The historical 
sense which was awaking deprived the ultramontane system 
of one support after another. 3 

1 O. Mejer, 76f. 

2 Dollinger : Kleinere Schriften (Stuttgart 1890), 410. 

3 L. vonRanke: Die deutschen Miichte und der Furstenbund (Leipzig, 1875), 88. 

v.] JOSEPH II 117 

Even crowned heads fell more and more under the power 
of the Gallicanism and Febronianism which was in the air ; 
and Europe witnessed a faint echo of the great struggle of the 
Middle Ages between the Ghibellines and the Guelphs. The 
Romish Church had long been at war with the spirit of the 
age ; now it came into collision with the modern State, which 
assumed more and more the right of interfering in every 
department of life. At Vienna there was a circle of adminis- 
trative officers and of professors, who not only maintained the 
superiority of the Councils to the Papacy, but also the power 
of the State in church matters and the civil duties owed by 
the priesthood to the State. 1 Their doctrine of the 
" omnipotent " State, and of the union of all rights and duties 
in the head of the State, made an early impression upon 
Joseph II. After visiting his brother-in-law, Louis XVI., in 
1777, and getting a closer view of French affairs, he became an 
opponent of religious intolerance. He returned to Austria with 
the conviction that the decay to be everywhere noticed in those 
southern provinces of France, which are so richly endowed by 
Nature, was due to the persecution of the Huguenots, and that 
a prince should not deprive his country of the advantages to be 
gained from excellent Protestant agriculturists and other good 
Protestant subjects. 2 When he heard that Protestantism 
was to be suppressed in Moravia, he made representations 
to his mother in the name of religious freedom, but Maria 
Theresa did not understand her son's "indifference and 
tolerance," which, to her mind, would only lead back to the 
days of club law, and would bring about the ruin of Austria. 3 

The young Emperor, on the other hand, was convinced that 
religious liberty was the condition of the future greatness of 
Austria, and when Maria Theresa's death in 1780 gave him a 
free hand, he soon showed that he was a believer in tolerance, 
and also in the doctrine of the omnipotence of the State. As 
Professor Sonnenfels, one of the Liberal lecturers at the 
University of Vienna, said in 1782, the very first year of his 

1 C. T. Perthes : Politische Personen und Zustande in Deutschland zur Zeit der 
franzbsischen Herrschaft (Gotha 1869) II, 7of. ; Fr. Krones : Handbuch der 

Geschichte Oesterreichs (Berlin 1879) IV, 496. 

2 Arneth : Maria Theresia und Joseph II. II, 2, 141. 

3 Arneth II, 2, I57f. Cp. I46f. 


reign was " more fruitful in remarkable laws, than the whole 
lives of other princes." x And the enlightened despotism 
of Joseph II. found a few adherents among the church 
dignitaries of the realm, even when it ventured upon ecclesias- 
tical territory. Count Francis Hrzan-Haras, who, in 1780, was 
made a cardinal, and Austrian Minister to the Papal Court; 
the Archbishop of Salzburg, Primate of the Austrian Empire ; 
the Bishops of Laibach and Koniggratz, willingly lent a hand 
to the carrying out of his church reforms, and defended them 
against the attacks which came from the rest of the episcopate 
led by the Cardinal- Archbishop of Vienna, Count Migazzi, and 
the Primate of Hungary, Count Batthyany, Archbishop of 

Soon after Joseph II. became sole ruler, he granted to 
his dominions the freedom of the Press, by means of a law 
which only forbade the issue of such writings as treated 
in an altogether offensive manner of religion or morals, the 
State or the rulers of the country. After the issue of this law 
a number of libellous pamphlets appeared, in which both 
the Emperor and religion were sharply attacked. Joseph II. 
defended religion, but as for his own person, he let these 
" Biichel " writers attack it as much as they liked. Maria 
Theresa had ordered, in 1767, that papal Bulls should not 
be published in Austria without the Placet of the government. 
Joseph II. extended this order so as to apply to the decisions 
and decrees of all foreign religious authorities, and he com- 
manded that the Bulls In coena Domini and Unigenitus should 
be removed from the service-books. 2 For the future the 
religious orders were not to be allowed to confer directly 
with their generals in Rome ; all transactions were to go 
through the Austrian envoy at the Papal Court. In order to 
draw away young Austrians from the foreign influences in the 
Collegium Germanicum in Rome, a college for Austrians 
intended for the priesthood was founded at Pavia, and to 
promote the formation of an Austrian Catholic national 
Church the Emperor supported the bishops in every way 

1 A. Wolfund H. von Zwiedineck-Sudenhorst : Oesterreich unter Maria Theresia, 
Joseph II., und Leopold II. (Berlin 1884), 223. 

2 A. Riehl und R. von Reinohl : Kaiser Joseph II. als Reformator auf kirchl. 
Geiiei {Wiea 1881), tff. 


against the Curia. Formerly, the Austrian bishops were 
compelled to obtain powers from the Pope, for five years at 
a time, to give dispensations in certain matrimonial cases ; 
now, the bishops in the dominions of Joseph II. were com- 
manded to give dispensations in those cases without the 
Pope's permission, " because it was obviously of great importance 
to the State that the bishops should make use of the power 
which God had given them." To bind the prelates still closer 
to the State, Joseph determined that the bishops, before 
their oath to the Pope, should take an oath to the Emperor, 
in which they promised " all their lives to be faithful and 
obedient to the Emperor, and to the best of their power to 
promote the good of the State and the service of the Emperor ; 
not to take part in meetings, projects, or consultations, which 
might be injurious to the State, but, on the contrary, when 
such things came to their knowledge, to inform the Emperor 
without delay." 1 

A still greater sensation was caused by Joseph II.'s Edict 
of Toleration, published on 13th October 1781. 2 Under Maria 
Theresa the Protestants had existed on sufferance {auf 
Kundigung), and the Jews had been quite without rights or 
protection. The Protestants now received permission, wherever 
there were a hundred families of them, to build meeting-houses, 
though these were not allowed to have towers or bells nor an 
entrance from the street, which might give them the pretension 
of being churches (so eine Kirche vorstellete). By means of 
an imperial dispensation, Protestants might after this even 
be permitted to take public appointments and academical 
degrees, to enjoy full citizenship and the rights of property. 
A brighter day dawned also for the Jews. 3 The old regulation 
that all children of mixed marriages must be brought up in 
the faith of the Roman Church was restricted. If the father 
were a Roman Catholic, all the children were still to be 
brought up in the Roman Catholic religion ; but if the father 
were a Protestant, the sons were to follow his religion, and 
the daughters that of the mother. It was moreover forbidden 

1 Wolf und Zwiedineck-Siidenhorst, 249X 

2 Printed in Riehl and Reinbhl, H4f. Cp. G. Frank: Das Toleranzfatent 
Joseph II. (Wien 1882). 

3 With regard to the ordinances affecting the Jews, see Riehl- Reinohl, I46f. 


to force non-Catholics to take part in processions or other 
forms of service of the "dominant religion." After these 
tolerant laws were made the number of Protestants increased 
remarkably. In 1782 there had only been 73,722 Protestants 
with 28 meeting-houses in German Austria ; five years later 
there were 156,865 with 154 places of worship. 1 

The year after the issue of the Toleration Edict, Joseph 
II. laid his hand on the numerous Austrian monasteries. 
In this department also some changes had been made during 
his mother's reign, but they were by no means of a radical 
nature, and were carried out with the Pope's approval. 
Joseph II. acted on his own account and went to work in a 
much more thorough fashion. In his eyes the monasteries 
were the abodes of idlers and strongholds of hierarchical 
tendencies ; and when, in November 178 1, some questionable 
conduct in the Carthusian monastery of Mauerbach in Lower 
Austria had attracted general attention to the monastic 
institutions, Joseph, in a letter to the Chancellor of his 
Court, set forth his plan for abolishing those monasteries 
which were serving no useful purpose by education, by sick- 
nursing, or by study. 2 On 12th January 1782 a rescript was 
issued which must be considered as the real law for dissolving 
monastic institutions ; in consequence of which one house 
after another was closed. 3 In 1770 there had been 2,163 
monastic establishments for monks and nuns in Austria 
and Hungary ; in 1786 no fewer than 783 of these had been 
dissolved in virtue of the rescript of 1782 and subsequent 
imperial decrees. This reduction of the convents by Joseph, 
which was imitated in the beginning of the following century 
in Baden, Bavaria, and Wurtemberg, saved Austria from a 
revolution like the French Revolution, and one which might 
easily have been far more destructive ; it was also a 
measure of great importance in political economy. 4 Before 
Joseph II.'s reforms three-eighths of all landed property was 
in the hands of the Church, and the wealth of the convents 
was enormous. Although in many places a good deal of 

1 Wolf und Zwiedineck-Sudenhorst, 252. 

2 A. Wolf: Die Aufhcbung der Kloster in Innerosterreich (Wien 1871), 19k 

3 It is printed in Riehl-Reinohl, I05f., and in Wolf, 27f. 
* Wolf, 166. 


this wealth was put away before the government commissioners 
crossed the convent threshold, what remained caused general 
astonishment. It was not expected that such riches would 
be found. The large quantity of dead capital which was 
now suddenly brought into circulation had a great economic 
effect ; the same was the case with the many men and 
women who by means of the convent law were restored to 
the family and to the commonwealth. 

All Joseph II.'s church reforms sprang from his conviction 
that the State had the right to abolish pernicious ecclesiastical 
institutions, to stop abuses, and to arrange on its own account 
all matters of service which were not immediately connected 
with the faith. In defence of these reforms the Bishop of 
Laibach issued a pastoral letter (1783) in which he maintained 
that all bishops had equal power, and that the first among them, 
although he was the successor of St Peter, had no rights of 
jurisdiction over the others ; to him was only given the task 
of preventing schisms and maintaining unity, and also of watch- 
ing over the purity of the Catholic Faith. The monastic orders 
were human institutions which had degenerated in the course 
of time ; the Church could well do without them, and the closing 
of convents would in no wise injure religion. 1 

Of course the ecclesiastical reforms in Austria were variously 
judged of both at home and abroad. Frederick II. mockingly 
called Joseph II. "my brother the sacristan " ; the followers of 
the esprit philosophique considered the doings in Austria to be 
only pernicious half measures ; but many faithful Catholics looked 
upon Joseph II.'s reforms as the beginning of the end. At 
Rome the news from Vienna caused the greatest horror, and 
Pius VI. thought that he ought to try his powers as il persuasore 
to make the Emperor change his course. Immediately after the 
death of Maria Theresa there was a coolness between Pius VI. 
and Joseph II., because the Pope had omitted to hold the 
solemn service, which was customary on the death of Catholic 
sovereigns, maintaining that it ought only to be held for a man. 
When the Austrian envoy communicated this to his master, 
adding that Pius VI. would not allow those prelates who were 
dependants of the Imperial Court to wear mourning, Joseph 
answered : " It is a matter of complete indifference to me 
1 Fr. Krones IV, 497. 


whether the Bishop of Rome is polite or rude." 1 But in reality 
it was not indifferent to him. And Pius VI. resolved by visiting 
Austria to get an opportunity of atoning for his rudeness. 

When Pius VI. informed the cardinals that he was going to 
Vienna, the news caused great consternation, and several of them 
tried to keep him back. Cardinal Bernis even wrote a letter in 
which he told Pius VI. that people already began to laugh at his 
apostolic ardour, " and ridicule is the most formidable weapon 
against the Church and her servants." 2 But it was of no use, 
Pius was bent upon going. At Vienna the Pope's intimation of 
his intended journey gave great surprise. Prince Kaunitz 
would have preferred that the Emperor should decline the visit. 
This the Emperor would not do, but in the letter which he sent 
to thank the Pope he expressed a positive assurance that it 
would be utterly impossible to make him change his mind with 
regard to the ordinances which he had introduced, partly for the 
better ordering of church matters, and partly to make use of 
the sovereign power which was his by right. 8 This reply to 
Pius VI. was at once published in the newspapers, and Joseph II. 
had thereby committed himself to such an extent, that there 
could be no question of yielding on any essential point. 

On 27th February 1782 Pius VI. left Rome and reached 
Vienna on 22nd March. Throughout the journey the Roman 
Catholic people greeted him with great joy ; the Emperor 
Joseph II. came to meet him in a friendly manner, and himself 
conducted him into Vienna. Magnificently furnished apartments 
in a wing of the Hof burg were assigned to him ; but only a single 
entrance led to them, and that was strictly guarded. The 
Austrian bishops received imperial orders to keep away from the 
capital, but the country people streamed in from all sides to 
receive the Pope's blessing. It was necessary to use ships and 
barges on the Danube to house those who could not find shelter 
on land, and at one time it was even feared that provisions would 
run short. Every day the Pope had to bless as many as seven 
different sets of people from the open gallery of the palace, and 

1 Masson : Le Cardinal de Bernis, 396, following a despatch from Bernis to 

2 Printed in Masson, 396. 

3 H. Schlitter : Die Reise des Papsles Pius VI. nach Wien und sein Aufenthatt 
daselbst, in the Pontes Rer. Austr. XLVII. (Wien 1892) ictff. This paper contains 
all the documents relating to the journey. 



the Austrian magnates were daily admitted to kiss the Fisher- 
man's Ring on his finger. On Easter Day Pius VI. said Mass in 
St Stephen's, and on the same day he appeared with the tiara 
upon his head on the balcony of the Jesuit church to bless a 
crowd of about fifty thousand people. Even the enemies of 
the Church were moved at the sight of the people's devotion to 
the Pope; but Joseph II. did not recall his ecclesiastical laws, 
and Prince Kaunitz, who was jealous of the Pope's popularity, 
showed the greatest disrespect during a visit which Pius VI. 
paid him, and a grievous disregard of the courtesies usually 
offered to a Pope. The Prince did not go down the stairs to 
receive his eminent guest, and Pius VI. was " quite astonished " 
when the Catholic Minister pressed his hand instead of kissing 
it. Their conversation turned upon art, not upon politics, 
and it was clear to Pius VI. that il persuasore had made no 
impression at all upon the old diplomatist. Nor had any- 
thing been gained by the negotiations with Joseph II. The 
Pope had to submit to the Edict of Toleration and the 
conventual law remaining in force, and it was impossible 
to come to an agreement about the royal Placet, the episcopal 
oath, and the power of the bishops in matrimonial cases. 
Pius really attained nothing by this journey, but the setting 
of a fateful example to his successor. In order to do Pius 
VI. a favour, Joseph II. gave the title of Prince of the 
Empire to his nephew Count Onesti ; but the Pope begged 
the Emperor to keep back the diploma for a time " because 
he feared satire." 1 

After the unfortunate visit to Kaunitz, Pius VI. determined 
to go home, and a few days later (22nd April) he left Vienna. 
Joseph II. was quite glad at his going. He was tired of 
seeing all the passages and stairs thronged with people who 
wanted his guest to bless rosaries and pictures, and he was 
shocked at the " ridiculous enthusiasm " of the women. He 
accompanied Pius VI. to Mariabrunn, and, before parting, 
they prayed together in the convent church. But the next 
day, imperial emissaries came to Mariabrunn to dissolve 
the convent. That was Kaunitz's revenge for his master's 

1 Schlitter, 197; Arneth : Joseph II. und Leopold von Toscana ; ihr Briefwechsel 
(Wien 1872) I, 103. 


After the Pope's visit Joseph II. continued in the path of 
reforms, but " quite gently." 1 A high ecclesiastical commission 
was appointed with Freiherr von Kressel as president. In the 
provinces local ecclesiastical commissions were formed, which, 
without reference to the Pope, took upon themselves to interfere 
in church affairs, and new conventual laws did away with more 
and more of the abodes of monks and nuns. Violent briefs 
came from Rome; and when Joseph II. by his own authority 
appointed an Archbishop of Milan, a brief was sent which nearly 
caused a rupture. At Christmas, in 1783, Joseph II. suddenly 
appeared in Rome ; 2 it seems to have been his intention to 
break with the Pope altogether. He is said to have confided to 
Cardinal Bernis and the Spanish envoy, D'Azara, that without 
making any doctrinal alterations, he intended to render the 
Austrian Catholic Church independent of Rome, and that 
thirty-six of his bishops would make common cause with 
him. But D'Azara represented to him, that so great a change 
would take time; and he made Joseph II. afraid that Prussia 
would take advantage of the dissatisfaction which a breach 
with Rome would create. Joseph therefore gave up his project ; 
and from 1784 onwards he showed greater moderation and 
more consideration for the old order of things in the Church. 
Later on, in January 1790, when Belgium was lost, both he and 
Kaunitz begged Pius VI. to use his influence to make the 
Belgian bishops and priests cease their opposition to Austria. 
Joseph II. was then dying, and from his deathbed he summoned 
with feverish anxiety his brother Leopold, Grand Duke of 
Tuscany, that he might take a share of the burden of govern- 
ment. 3 But before Leopold reached Vienna, Joseph II. was 

Leopold II., who succeeded his brother on the imperial 
throne, approved of the church policy of Joseph. He con- 
sidered that his imperial brother deserved well of religion 
for enlightening Europe and removing that superstition and 
those abuses, " which many deplored without having the courage 
to attack them directly or at the root." 4 Before he became 

1 "Je vais tout doucement mon train," he wrote to his brother Leopold on 
13th October 1783. Arneth I, 175. 

a Arneth I, io6f. » Ibid., II, 318. 

4 Letter to Joseph, 29th November 1783. Arneth I, 189. 


Emperor he had endeavoured to the best of his power to pave 
the way for Jansenism and Gallicanism in his Grand Duchy. 

Italian Jansenism had gained a stronghold in the theo- 
logical faculty which the Austrian government had instituted 
at the University of Pavia, and the Jansenist theologians and 
teachers of ecclesiastical law acquired still greater influence, 
when Joseph II. used the Milanese property of the Roman 
Collegium Germanicum to found a Collegium Germanicum et 
Hungaricum at Pavia. 1 Giuseppe Zola and Pietro Tamburini, 
the most important teachers in the new faculty, gave general 
offence because of their Jansenism, which did not so much take 
the form of a revival of St Augustine's doctrine of Grace, as that 
of bitter opposition to Jesuit morals and a strong tendency 
to church reform in the Gallican spirit. They were reproached 
with making a Council superior to the Pope, of denying the 
Pope's infallibility in matters of faith, and of maintaining 
that a bishop had a right to make alterations in the breviary ; 
in short, of being the disciples not only of Cornelius Jansen, but 
of Van Espen and Febronius as well. 2 

While Pavia thus became a nest of Jansenists and Galli- 
cans, " Bigotism " had found a safe retreat in Tuscany, which 
Cosimo III.'s devotion to Rome had made an Eldorado for 
priests and monks. In 1766 the town of Florence, with 78,635 
inhabitants, had no fewer than 1,377 priests, 917 monks, and 
2,134 nuns, distributed between nearly sixty convents. 3 The 
" angelic " life had also a dark side in Florence ; hideous vices 
prevailed behind the convent walls, and ignorance and super- 
stition displayed itself in the priesthood. It was therefore a 
very difficult and rather hopeless task that the Grand Duke 
Leopold set himself, when he made up his mind to introduce 
reforms like those of Joseph in the Tuscan Church. 

His greatest support in this work of reform was Scipione 
de' Ricci, Bishop of Pistoja and Prato, who was an enlightened, 
virtuous, and zealous prelate, but at the same time violent, 
impatient, and reckless. 4 On his father's side Ricci belonged 

1 See above p. 118. . 2 Reusch : Index II, 956f. 

3 A. von Reumont : Geschichte Toscanas (Gotha 1877) II, 151. 

4 Memorie di Scipione de' Ricci, scritte da lui medesimo e pubblicate con documcnti 
da Agenore Gelli (Firenze 1865) I. — II. De Potter: Vie et Mimoires de Scipion 
Ricci (Paris 1826) I.— IV. 


to one of the oldest and most distinguished families of Tuscany, 
and his mother was a Ricasoli. He was born in 174.1, and when 
he was fifteen years of age he came to Rome to receive the 
benefit of instruction from the Jesuits ; their last General, 
Lorenzo Ricci, was a relative of his. As his Jesuit teachers 
told him that St Francis Borgia had promised all Jesuits that 
they might be certain of eternal salvation, he wished to enter 
the order ; but both his mother and Lorenzo opposed this wish. 1 
He was called home to Florence, and went afterwards to Pisa, 
where he studied law and theology. His theological teachers 
there were Benedictines from Monte Cassino, disciples of 
St Augustine, but " consideration for certain papal decisions 2 
did not permit these learned monks to say all that they 
thought." In 1766 Scipione was ordained priest, and soon 
after he became uditore at the nunciature at Florence, and 
afterwards vicar-general to the Archbishop. 

As such, Ricci experienced the fresh breeze that went 
through the Church of Rome after the abolition of the Jesuit 
order. He plunged into the study of the Epistles of St Paul 
and of the Gallican Canon Law ; and the vicar-general of the 
Archbishop of Florence soon became known as an ardent 
Jansenist and Febronian. The Grand Duke, who wished to 
make use of him in carrying out his intended Church reforms, 
proposed him for the archiepiscopal throne of Pisa, but as 
Rome made objections, he appointed him in 1780 Bishop of 
Pistoja and Prato. 

After the downfall of the Jesuits, the Dominicans had come 
into power in that diocese, as everywhere else in Tuscany. 
But a bishop like Ricci could not in the long run agree with 
the disciples of St Thomas. Already, when he went to Rome 
to be consecrated, people were offended because he did not 
approve of the adoration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus— la 
cardiolatria he calls it — which had found many zealous partisans 
among the Italian Dominicans ; 3 and in his own diocese, when 
he tried with a firm hand to reform some convents of Dominican 
nuns, the inhabitants of which were given to a curious mixture 
of quietism and sensuality, a storm of ill-will arose against him. 
Although Rome approved of his moral zeal, he was informed 

1 Memorie I, Ii. 2 g ee a b ove| p, jf, 

3 Memorie I, 58f. De Potter I, dt,i. 


that he had erred in making the scandals public. Moreover, 
when with Jansenistic rigour he opposed the dispensations from 
fasting which had become common, but which in his eyes were 
unnecessary, he was told that he did not " believe in the Pope." 
" As if this new article of faith," he writes with disgust in his 
Memoirs, "were the watchword of Catholicism." 1 

The sentiments of the ex-Jesuits towards Ricci were 
naturally not sweetened when he proposed to introduce 
catechising in Lent from a new Jansenistic catechism instead 
of the usual Lenten sermons with their pompous rhetoric ; or 
when he took upon himself to remove several " apocryphal and 
unedifying" lessons from the breviary. 2 Offence was taken 
because, when visiting convents, he insisted on seeing their 
collections of books, and gave vent to his anger when he saw 
them lodged in a wretched place and full of cobwebs. 3 Many 
looked upon such zeal for "enlightenment" as suspicious. 
There were Italians who considered religious enlightenment 
harmful to the common people ; the only thing that was 
wanted was "a priest or a bishop who could bless the people 
from a high tower." 4 The scandal grew when Ricci openly 
approved of Leopold's Josephine reform, and of the reduction 
of the number of convents, and even ventured to thank the 
Grand Duke, because "by means of his high and absolute 
authority " he had abolished the tribunal of the Inquisition in 
Tuscany, and so " delivered the State from the pernicious effects 
of a foreign Court of Justice which had been sustained by 
arrogance, and had thriven upon ignorance and selfishness." 5 
The more trouble the Grand Duke took to raise the episcopate 
and to make it independent of the Pope, the greater grew the 
indignation both in Tuscany and at Rome. There were Tuscan 
priests, who in their sermons violently attacked Joseph II. and 
Leopold, and on the church door at Prato were found requests 
for prayer on behalf of the heterodox bishop. 6 Soon violent 
attacks upon Ricci appeared in the Press. 

But neither he nor his prince was scared by the opposition 
they encountered. In the beginning of 1786 Leopold sent to 
the Tuscan bishops a draft scheme of church reforms which was 

1 Memorie I, 154. De Potter II, 24I s Memorie I, 475. 

3 Ibid., 197. * Ibid., 40$. 

6 Ibid., i66f. Reumont II, 159, 176. 6 Memorie I, 159, 234. 


to be considered at diocesan synods ; and with a view to such 
consideration, Ricci gathered together nearly two hundred and 
fifty of his priests and theologians, in the autumn, to a diocesan 
synod at Pistoja. It was noticed at once that in his episcopal 
style and title he had omitted the usual addition, " by the grace 
of the Holy See." The proceedings of the synod caused the 
greatest consternation. It not only approved of the proposed 
programme of reforms, but it acknowledged the four Gallican 
propositions, and it asserted that the Church had no right to 
introduce new dogmas, and that its infallibility rested upon its 
fidelity to the Scriptures and to the primitive tradition. 1 

Leopold, who daily received a report of the proceedings 
at Pistoja, was well satisfied with it all, and next year he 
summoned all the bishops of Tuscany to a national or general 
synod in the Palazzo Pitti at Florence. Ricci had told him 
beforehand that this was too hasty a step, because both priests 
and laymen were still too unenlightened, and the bishops too 
fast bound to Rome. 2 He had also cautioned Leopold against 
summoning the national synod to Florence, where there was 
an archbishop with Romish sympathies, a papal nuncio, and 
a great army of fanatical monks. But with the feverish 
impatience of an absolutism which is bent on reform, Leopold 
would neither wait nor call the national synod to any other 
town than the capital. 

It turned out as Ricci had said. Only the Bishops of Chiusi 
and Colle supported him when he advocated the projected 
reforms ; all the other bishops opposed him so strongly that 
for a moment he even thought of resigning his see. Leopold 
ordered him to retain his office, but as he saw the hopelessness 
of continuing the proceedings, he dissolved the meeting. How 
indignant Leopold was with the ruling tendency in the Church 
can be seen from his letters to his brother. In his eyes 
Pius VI. is an ignorant person, in French leading strings ; a man 
generally despised, capable of selling everything for money, 
and filled with hatred of " our House." 3 Three years after the 
national synod in the Palazzo Pitti, when he was called to the 
Imperial throne, he was obliged to leave the government of 
Tuscany to a regency, but his advice to the regency was, that 

1 Memorie I, 49 if. 2 Ibid., S03f. 

3 Arneth II, 76. 


in church matters and important questions they should never 
show any obsequiousness towards the Court of Rome. 1 

When Leopold left Tuscany, Ricci lost his main support. 
The new government had neither the power nor the will to 
protect him, and after receiving the imperial crown Leopold's 
zeal for reforming the Church cooled considerably. The 
troubles in Hungary, the Turkish war, the loss of Belgium, 
and the French Revolution gave him other things to think of, 
and warned him to be careful. The exigences of the Emperor's 
position did not escape the vigilance of opponents, and religious 
fanaticism was let loose upon the unbefriended bishop. Even 
while the national synod was still assembled, people had spread 
a report at Prato that Ricci, who did not like exaggerated 
veneration of the relics of saints, intended to pull down the 
altar in the cathedral of Prato which enclosed a precious relic 
in the form of the girdle of the Blessed Virgin. This report 
caused quite a revolution in Prato, and at last the waves rose 
so high in Pistoja likewise that Ricci had to flee from his 
palace. After his flight "the will of the people" destroyed 
all the fruits of the synod of Pistoja ; and at Pisa, Leghorn, and 
Florence the " Scipionists " were subjected to persecution. In 
the country, where Ricci had sought sanctuary, everyone left 
the parish church when he went up to the altar, so that he 
was obliged to say his Mass in a private chapel. 

The Emperor Leopold came to Florence, but Ricci got no 
comfort from a conversation with him ; the Emperor was silent 
and oppressed, and engrossed by the threatening clouds which 
were gathering on the political horizon. His successor, the 
young Archduke Ferdinand, had no appreciation of the fight 
which his father and the Bishop of Pistoja had fought together. 
Under such circumstances there was nothing for Ricci to do 
but to resign his bishopric and seek shelter on an estate in the 
country. He took this step in 1791, 2 but from his retreat he 
followed the course of events in France with the greatest 
interest. Gregoire and the Gallicans had all his sympathy. 
Even before he laid down his crosier, he had expressed in two 
letters to friends in France his approval of the Civil Constitution 
of the Clergy, and of the oath taken to it by the Jansenist and 

1 C. Cantu : Histoire des Italiens traduite, par Lacombe (Paris 1861) XI, 33. 

2 Memorie II, 36lf. 

VOL. I. I 


Gallican bishops. 1 His opinions were not kept to himself, and 
in Tuscany he was now looked upon as a Jacobin. His 
enemies and those of Febronianism were active at Rome, and 
in 1794 Pius VI. issued the Bull Auctorem fidei, which con- 
demned the "errors" of Ricci and of the synod of Pistoja. 
The same year both Zola and Tamburini were dismissed from 
their professorships at Pavia. 2 

During those troubled times, when one day the French 
were in power, and the next day superstitious mobs which rushed 
along with the picture of the Madonna for their banner and 
with the Madonna herself as their heavenly Generalissimo,, Ricci 
bore his part of his country's suffering. The French did him 
no personal violence, but the mob with its Roman sympathies 
put him for a time in prison. The hatred of this enemy of 
superstition was still alive, and Ricci seemed to be firm in 
his Febronianism. In 1796 he wrote to Bishop Gregoire: 
"The triumph of the faith will not come about so long as 
the successor of the poor fisherman, St Peter, is also the 
successor of the great Csesars." 3 But Rome worked with un- 
tiring energy in hopes of wresting a retractation from the 
Italian Febronian, as had been done from Febronius himself. 
This goal was reached when Pius VII. passed through Florence 
in 1805 on his return journey from the Imperial coronation at 
Paris. Ricci signed a mild form of recantation and was after- 
wards kindly received in the Palazzo Pitti by the Pope and many 
of his old opponents. It was not for the sake of his personal 
advantage that he took this step ; personally he gained nothing 
by it. But for a long time he had been pained by the thought 
that he stood as a sign of strife within the Church of Tuscany, 
and that he was a cause of offence to many simple souls. 
He did not give up his Jansenism and Febronianism in spite 
of his outward retractation ; but he saw that the time had 
not yet come for his opinions to gain the victory. Yet a 
smile must have flitted across the old bishop's face at the 
festival of reconciliation in the Palazzo Pitti, when Pius VII.'s 
confessor said that the synod at Pistoja was the real cause of 
all the revolutions which then kept Europe in disturbance. 4 

1 Memorie II, 375k 2 Reusch : Index II, 957. 

s Reumont II, 252. 

4 Memorie II, 40of. De Potter III, ic>3f. Ricci died in 1810. 


At the same time that the Grand Duke of Tuscany, with 
the help of the Bishop of Pistoja, endeavoured to carry out his 
church reforms, Febronianism was solemnly acknowledged by 
the great princes of the Church, north of the Alps, who felt 
that their power was threatened by the arrogance of Rome. 

After the Reformation, the popes had sent nuncios to 
Germany and Switzerland in order the better to carry on the 
war against Protestantism by their aid. Vienna, Cologne, and 
Lucerne had gradually become fixed places of residence for 
such emissaries, and the papal nuncio in Vienna had often 
been useful as " an embodiment of the idea of the Counter- 
Reformation." These nuncios were always representatives of 
the Pope, but their authority was not the same everywhere. 1 
The bishops had often felt that their dignity was impaired by 
the establishment of the nunciatures, and now and then they 
had protested against Rome's manner of proceeding. Thus, 
when a new nunciature was to be formed at Munich, the 
bishops concerned became uneasy. Although there was no 
particularly eminent prelate in Bavaria to feel aggrieved, this 
part of Germany was under the Archbishop of Salzburg and 
the Elector of Mainz. These two princely dignitaries, who held 
Febronian views, saw that the object of the new nunciature 
was to destroy their influence in Bavaria, where the Elector 
was in the leading strings of the ex-Jesuits. They made 
representations accordingly to Rome ; and on not receiving a 
satisfactory answer to a question about the limits of the new 
nuncio's powers, they, in conjunction with the Electors of 
Trier and Cologne, sent representatives to a congress held 
in August 1786, in the Vier Thurme hotel at Ems. 2 

Here the envoys of the four prince-bishops agreed to the 
so-called " Points of Ems," which were soon after acknowledged 
by the prelates concerned, and handed to the Emperor, together 
with a letter in which the three Electors and the Archbishop 
of Salzburg declared themselves willing, in the name of freedom 

1 O. Mejer: Die Propaganda, ihre Provin%en und ihr Recht (Gottingen 1853) II, 
l8of. ; io8f. 

2 E. Munch: Geschichte des Emsercongresses und seiner Punctate (Carlsruhe 1840). 
M. Stigloher : Die Errichtung der papsllichen Nuntiaturen und der Emsercongress 
(Regensburg 1867). O. Mejer : Zur Geschichte der rbm.-deutschen Frage (Rostock 
1871) I, 8gf. 


and nationality, to enter upon a contest against the encroach- 
ments of Rome. The " Points " themselves are in the main a 
repetition of the thirty Articles of Coblenz. 1 The eminent 
princes of the Church declare, that in the Pope they see the 
Primate of the Church, but that on no account will they 
acknowledge the power which the successors of St Peter have 
assumed in virtue of the false Decretals of Isidore. They 
appeal to the Emperor to call a synod, or in some other way 
to give the bishops an opportunity of getting rid of those abuses 
which by degrees have crept in, and to re-establish ecclesiastical 
discipline. If the Pope has not acknowledged the " Points " 
of Ems within the course of two years, they desire that a 
German National Council should meet to ensure their execution. 

Hontheim, who, because of his great age, was not present 
at Ems, expressed to his Elector his joy at "this great and 
happy step towards the freedom of the German Church"; 
but he made no concealment of the slightness of his faith in 
Councils. He thought that it had often been shown, and 
the last time at Trent, that it was very difficult to protect 
such meetings against intrigues proceeding from without or 
from within, and that the members of the Councils were generally 
tempted to think more of their own advantage than of the good 
of the Church and true discipline. 2 This letter seems to have 
been the last work which issued from the pen of the aged 
bishop. Four years after the congress at Ems, he died, full 
of days, with a bright hope that his ideas were well on the 
way to gaining the victory in the land he loved so well. 

This hope was not fulfilled. Carrying out the "Points" 
of Ems would of necessity lead to the total abolition of the 
Pope's primacy in its mediaeval form ; and in the face of such 
projects the Pope was, of course, compelled to bring all his 
powers into action. The Emperor Joseph II. received the 
appeal of the prince-bishops very graciously, and called upon 
them in conjunction with their suffragans "to shake off the 
Roman yoke " ; but he was not unaware that Rome was using 
all possible arts of intrigue. 3 To the new nuncio at Cologne, 

1 See above, p. 116. 2 O. Mejer: Febronius, 2o6i. 

3 "Je ne sais ce qui en arrivera, mais Rome intrigue beaucoup contre," wrote 
Joseph to his brother. Ameth : Joseph II. und Leopold von Toscana II, 43. That 
Leopold also followed the affair with interest is shown by his reply, p. 48k 



Bartolommeo Pacca, then a man of thirty years of age, was 
committed the task of leading the host against the rebels of 
Ems ; and he acquitted himself of this difficult charge with 
great ability. 

The Elector of Cologne, Max Franz, Maria Theresa's 
youngest son, who had received the electorship in 1784, agreed 
with his two elder brothers on church matters ; and he was 
not too particular about fulfilling his ecclesiastical duties. 
Now and then he contented himself with attending Mass on 
horseback outside the church window, or in an open carriage 
before the church door. But he had assumed a sort of 
ecclesiastical manner. Mozart, who knew him at Salzburg, 
wrote of him in 1781, when he was still only Coadjutor at 
Cologne: "When God gives anyone an office, He gives him 
also understanding. This has been the case with the Archduke. 
Before he was a priest, he was much cleverer and wittier, and 
he talked less, but with more sense. Now you should see him ! 
Stupidity glares out of his eyes ; he chatters and talks away 
for ever, and all in a falsetto voice ; his neck is swollen up. 
In a word, it is as if he were turned quite upside down." 2 
Max Franz refused to receive Pacca before the new nuncio 
had renounced all pretensions to jurisdiction, and soon after 
Pacca's arrival the new University of Bonn was opened 
(November 1786). On this occasion things were so "philo- 
sophically " done that one of the Canons of Cologne said that 
the whole thing was "a solemn declaration of war against 
the Holy See." 2 

But in spite of his youth Pacca was quite equal to the occasion. 
Immediately after his arrival at Cologne, he wrote to the priests 
in the electoral dioceses of Mainz, Trier, and Cologne. He said 
that it had come to the ears of the Pope that certain archbishops 
had overstepped the limits of their powers by granting dis- 
pensations, which were the prerogative of Rome — especially for 
marriages between relatives. Children born of such unions 
were to be counted as born in incest. And as Pacca had begun, 
so he continued. He was filled with a burning enthusiasm for 
the cause of Rome, while the four ecclesiastical princes, who 

1 C. T. Perthes: Poliiischt Zustande und Persenen in Deutschland \, 194. 

2 Pacca : Historische Denkwiirdigkeiten iiber seinen Aufenthalt in Deutschland, 
1786-1794 (Augsburg 1832), 54. 


had set up the " Points " of Ems, were ill-fitted to be church 
reformers. The Elector of Mainz, Friedrich Carl Joseph von 
Erthal, was a thoroughly worldly-minded man, who lived for 
society and hunting, for pomp and grandeur. According to 
Pacca he only remembered that he was a bishop, when there 
was a chance of causing the Pope uneasiness or of opposing 
the Holy See. 1 Several of his circle were Rationalists or 

It could not be concealed from anyone that religious in- 
dignation at the encroachments of the Papacy had not nearly 
so much to do with the action of these high German prelates 
as worldly lust of power. They gained no support from their 
suffragans, nor yet from the congregations. The Bishop of 
Speyer rose at once and set himself vigorously against the 
policy of the electors. The other German bishops afterwards 
made common cause with him — doubtless, not for church reasons 
alone. Just as in the Middle Ages, the bishops preferred having 
the far-away Pope as their immediate superior instead of a 
metropolitan close at hand. Religiously-minded laymen, like- 
wise, turned away from these pompous and worldly prelates, 
who often were anything but blameless in their lives. Not in 
this form could Febronianism hold its own against Rome's 
persecution. By order of the Curia an exhaustive official 
"reply" (Responsio) to the German prelates was published in 
November 1789, partly composed by Pacca and Zaccaria. In 
this, Pius VI. claimed supreme authority in the Church, and he 
even dared to apply the text about obeying God, rather than 
men, to those cases in which the Pope's will was contrary to the 
law and statute of the land. 2 

But the publication of this pamphlet was contemporary with 
the outbreak of the French Revolution, and events in Paris soon 
threw a veil of oblivion over the " Points " of Ems. Already in 
1792, when Archbishop Maury, as Papal Nuncio Extraordinary, 
visited the prelates of the Rhine, a couple of them had lost all 
sympathy for the "Points" of Ems. The Elector of Mainz 
called the Archbishop of Salzburg "a madman," and the 

1 Pacca 14. Cp. Perthes I, 22f., and F. Leitschuh : Franz Ludwig von Erthal, 
Furstbischof von Bamberg und Wiirzburg (Bamberg 1894), gf. 

2 Reusch : Index II, 953. 


Congress of Ems " a collection of stupidities " ; x and Max 
Franz of Cologne himself spoke " with the greatest contempt " 
of the Congress of Ems and of his colleague at Salzburg. 2 

Just as Gallicanism, in the course of time, was in many 
cases influenced by the philosophical school, so Febronianism 
was influenced both by V esprit philosophique, and by German 
rationalism. In 1776 a secret order was formed in Germany, 
the so-called " Illuminati." s Their organisation was framed after 
the pattern of both the Jesuit order and the Freemasons ; and 
their object was to fight for the light against the darkness of 
superstition, and especially against all Jesuitism. The founder 
of this order was Adam Weishaupt, a moral philosopher and 
Professor of Ecclesiastical Law at Ingolstadt, that ancient 
stronghold of Jesuitism. Weishaupt himself was educated by 
the Jesuits, but he was seized with the ideas which issued from 
France, and became an enthusiast for "enlightenment." The 
sign of the order of the Illuminati was P.M.C.V. {Per me azci 
vident, through me the blind see), and their watchword was " to 
make Reason rule." The members of the different grades of 
the order were instructed in the dogmas of enlightenment, 
just as were the pupils of the Jesuits in the Church of Rome. 
Among the Illuminati the same obedience was exacted, and the 
same system of espionage held sway, as among the Jesuits. 
The lower grades were to read books which might serve to 
educate the heart ; didactic poems and fables formed their 
poetical reading, but besides these the writings of Seneca, 
Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Plutarch, Adam Smith, Basedow, 
Helvetius, and others were recommended. The higher grades 
were to lay special stress on a civil and religious training ; 
besides Weishaupt's own works, which betray the powerful 
influence of Rousseau, they were to study " books of religion," 
such as the Systeme de la Nature and the works of Helvetius. 
The Illuminati extended far beyond the boundaries of Germany 
and the Church of Rome ; they had a few followers in Denmark, 
and many in Sweden. But their great increase awoke in their 

1 Correspondance diplomatique et mimoires intdits du Cardinal Maury, par 
Ricard (Lille 1891) I, 31. 

2 Maury I, 40. 

3 G. Frank: Geschichte der protest. Theologie (Leipzig 1875) III, 28f. 
H. Hettner: Lileraturgeschichte des iSten Jahrhunderts III, 333f- 


opponents the lust of persecution. Weishaupt was deprived of 
his office as "a conceited usher"; and a price was even put 
upon his head, after he had taken refuge with the Duke of 
Gotha, where he died in 1830. A few years after his flight from 
Ingolstadt the order began to dwindle away, but not without 
having partly fulfilled its object — the gathering together for 
common action of the enemies of Jesuitism in Germany. This 
object has been bequeathed to the Freemasons, who both north 
and south of the Alps and the Pyrenees still wage vehement 
war against the followers of Loyola and their work in State, 
Church, and school. 



The Jansenist bookseller of Paris, Hardy, relates in his 
Memoirs that in 1744, when Louis XV. was dangerously ill, 
six thousand Masses for his recovery were ordered in the 
sacristy of Notre Dame ; in 1757, after Damiens' attempt 
upon his life, the number of Masses paid for on that account 
was six hundred ; in 1774, when the King was at the point 
of death, the number ordered was only three. 1 These figures 
are a thermometer which shows the rise and spread of 
infidelity in the capital, and the declining sense of affection 
for the Royal Family. 

In Paris and many other places in France people talked 
of the glorious " Age of Reason " and the " Enlightened 
century," which had begun since the sun of philosophy had 
put to flight the former state of intellectual nonage. Philosophy 
was hailed as the heir of religion. The ideas of Voltaire, 
Rousseau, and the Encyclopaedists were advocated with an 
enthusiasm which savoured of the religious fanaticism of 
former ages. The doctrine of the philosophers about la 
bonti originate spread far beyond the philosophic circle, 
supplanting the doctrine of original sin and the congenital 
corruption of man, which had formed the background to the 
seriousness of the Jansenists. 2 The Jansenistic paper, Nouvelles 
ecclesiastiques, complained that the young received no support 
against aggressive infidelity in the philosophical teaching of 

1 Aubertin : Ij 'esprit public au XVIIImi sikle (Paris 1873), 415. 

2 Now we come upon confessions like this : " L'erreur peut-Stre la plus grave 
que la philosophic du dernier siecle ait commise . . . c'est d'avoir substitu£ le dogme de 
la bonte naturelle de l'homme a celui de sa perversite fonciere." F. Brunetiere in 
the Revue des deux Mondes, 1895, 1st January, 1 16. 



the University of Paris. 1 On the threshold of the Revolution 
the Abbe Coyer wrote a " moral catechism " for boys of six 
or seven years of age, from which the citizens of the future 
were to learn virtue. In this catechism faith, hope, and 
love as " scholastic " virtues are superseded by the new 
trilogy, justice, beneficence, and courage ; and great men 
are set up as patterns in the place of Christ. Children 
were, as another of the pedagogues of the period expressed it, 
" the hope of philosophy " ; and by giving them an education 
such as "the Spartans, the Persians, and Telemachus" had 
received, it was expected that in a short time such men 
would be moulded as religion could not match, and whom the 
Court could not corrupt. 2 

Unhappily for Prance, the Church was at that time ill 
fitted to combat the terrible foe, which was advancing from 
every quarter. 3 Formerly the French Church had possessed 
great orators who with their brilliant rhetoric were able to 
dazzle those whom they could not convince ; now she was 
all but dumb. Ecclesiastical eloquence in the grand, classical 
style had gone to the grave with Massillon ; only in Pere 
Bridaine had there been a faint echo. After the middle of 
the eighteenth century the French bishops only became 
eloquent when the object was to attack Protestantism, and 
to point out the dangers which threatened France, if the 
Protestants were allowed religious liberty. In their pastoral 
letters high prelates were capable of flattering the Court 
in a manner that was nothing less than blasphemous. The 
Bishop of Saint-Papoul spoke of the birth of the Duke 
of Normandy (Louis XVII.) in terms which were taken 
from the Christmas Gospel. 4 Episcopal speakers sometimes 
avoided using the name of Christ in the pulpit, speaking 
only of "the law-giver of the Christians." 5 Instead of fighting 
against that unbelief which raised its head everywhere both 
in literature and in the community, the French prelates 

1 Sicard : Viducation morale et civique avant et pendant la revolution, 164. 

2 Sicard, 179C 

3 A. de Tocqueville : Vancien regime et la revolution (Paris 1866), 2191". Sicard : 
Vancien clergi de France (Paris 1893), 1931". 

4 Sicard : Vancien clergi, 212. Rocquain, 3l8f. 

5 H. Taine : Les origines de la France contcmporaine. L'ancien regime (Paris 
1876), 382. 


were satisfied with rousing the King's suspicions against the 
" unbelieving " Maria Antoinette, who had caused the removal 
of the Duke of Aiguillon, and with complaining because a 
portfolio had been entrusted to the Protestant Necker. 

Formerly, the French bishoprics had been open to all ; 
under Louis XIV. and XV., they were as good as always 
bestowed upon noblemen. These noble pastors seemed to 
have quite forgotten how the Council of Trent had reminded 
bishops of the duty of residence, and during their long 
winter sojourn at Paris and Versailles the grandeur and 
luxury in which they lived excited more indignation than 
admiration. A few of them, such as Cardinal Rohan, Arch- 
bishop of Strassburg, who gained such unhappy notoriety 
through the necklace affair, in spite of princely incomes, fell 
into bottomless debt. These noble bishops were often so 
ignorant in all ecclesiastical and theological questions that 
they could not write their own pastoral letters ; and because 
of the Jansenistic sympathies of their theologians, they not 
infrequently expressed Jansenistic opinions which in reality 
were quite foreign to the minds of these great lords. Their 
self-indulgence and want of earnestness caused general indigna- 
tion. Gregoire says in his Memoirs that the faithful only knew 
from hearsay what a bishop looked like, and that Confirmation 
was neglected to such an extent, that, according to a popular 
saying, the seven sacraments had been reduced to six. 1 

The reports of brilliant fetes, balls, and plays in bishops' 
palaces and convents gave great offence to those who cared 
for the Church. The Abbot of Clairvaux, the ancient monastery 
of St Bernard, held quite a court. He drove four horses, and 
insisted upon his monks addressing him as Monseigneur. When 
Cardinal Rohan resided in his palace at Saverne, he had seven 
hundred beds, one hundred and eighty horses, and twenty-five 
valets for his numerous high-born guests. 2 It was not talk of 
the kingdom of God which seasoned the luxurious feasts of 
these wealthy prelates. More than one of the French bishops 
in the days of Louis XVI. were altogether unbelievers. A 
simple priest, it used to be said, ought to believe something, 
else he will be called a hypocrite; but if he is steadfast in 

1 Mimoires de Grigoire (Paris 1837) II, 26. 

2 Taine, I54f. 


the faith, he will be thought bigoted. A vicar-general can 
permit himself to smile at religion ; a bishop can laugh at it ; 
and a cardinal can make jokes about it. 1 The smile of the 
vicar-general was seen, when the Abbe Bassinet of Cahors in 
1767, in the chapel of the Louvre, delivered the customary 
oration in memory of St Louis, in which he described the 
Crusades as a mixture of folly, cruelty, and injustice ; did not 
mention God nor any of the saints, nor quoted a single word 
of Scripture. A marked example of the bishops' mockery 
was given by Lomenie de Brienne, Archbishop of Toulouse, 
sometime Minister of State, who openly laughed at miracles 
and relics. When there was a question of making him Arch- 
bishop of Paris, Louis XVI. raised the objection, that in that 
position there ought to be a man who believed in God. 2 
Brienne belonged to that group of French prelates, who had 
let dogma go in order only to lay stress on statesmanship ; 
the bishops and abbots of this " new school " were called les 
prelats administrateurs. 

When the state of the pastors and teachers of the Church 
was such, it was not wonderful that unbelief and immorality 
spread in the flock, and complaints were heard from all parts 
that Sundays and feast days were not kept, because indifference 
and doubt had taken the place of the ancient faith. France 
became more and more ripe for revolution, and at last the 
long foreseen day arrived, when, as Joseph de Maistre said, 
the giant who carries the world changed shoulders. 

At the beginning of the Revolution the French Church 
possessed three great privileges. In a religious sense the 
whole country was one. The Roman Church was not only 
the Church of the State, but also the dominant Church to 
such a degree that free exercise was not permitted to other 
confessions and religions. This ruling Church had the schools 
entirely in her power; and her great possessions were un- 
taxed. 8 It was especially the intolerance of the prelates, and 
the immunity of ecclesiastical property from taxation, which 
aroused indignation everywhere. When Louis XVI. was 
anointed, Archbishop Brienne, in spite of his unbelief, 
admonished the King that it was reserved for him to give 

1 Taine, 382. 2 Rocquain, 399. 

s E. Meric : Le clergl et les temps nouveaux (Paris 1892), 5f. 


the death-blow to Calvinism in France ; and in 1789 the Abbe 
de la Rochefoucauld spoke with contempt of the Protestants, as 
that sect which in the midst of its ruin had the effrontery to 
seek to appropriate to falsehood those privileges which belong 
only to truth. 1 Every concession to the Protestants was met 
with grudging resentment on the part of the priesthood. In 
1788, when the Notables wished to extend taxation to lands 
belonging to the Church, the assembly of the clergy made 
vigorous protests against the proposal as an overthrow of all 
laws human and divine. The clergy had repeatedly shown 
that the Church was willing to give great free-will offerings 
for the good of the country; 2 but after 1788 the prelates 
declared that honour and conscience alike forbade them to give 
their consent to turning a charitable contribution into a forced 
tax. 3 The most religious of the bishops, as Talleyrand says, 
opposed the new taxation in order not to touch " the patrimony 
of the poor " ; 4 the prelates of high birth hated every form of 
change ; and the rest said, that the Church in order to fulfil 
her great mission, and to maintain her high social position, 
was bound to retain the wealth with which ancestral piety 
had endowed her. This resistance on the part of the priesthood 
only caused irritation, and criticism fastened upon the large 
sums which went yearly to pay the prelates. It was said 
that France had too many bishops, and that they were too 
richly rewarded. The eleven archbishops, and one hundred 
and twenty-three bishops had an annual income of nearly 
8,500,000 francs. The incomes of the vicars-general and canons 
exceeded 13,000,000; seven hundred and fifteen abbeys in 
commendam brought their holders 9,000,000 a year, and seven 
hundred and three priors received nearly i,5oo,ooo. 5 And 
while some bishops and abbots, who did nothing, had 
100,000 francs a year or even much more, there were over- 
worked priests, who received barely 700. 6 Such circum- 
stances caused ill-feeling, and when the Revolution broke 
out, not only the immunity of church property from taxation, 

1 E. de Pressense : Viglise et la rivolution francaise (Paris 1889), 251". 

2 Meric, I76f. 

3 De Pressense, 23. 

4 Mimoires du Prince de Talleyrand (Paris 1891) I, 24f. 
6 De Pressense, 9. 

6 Taine: La revolution (Paris 1878) I, 212. 


but the church property itself was lost, religious unity was 
destroyed, and the power of the Church over the schools was 

In the first period of the Revolution, the alterations of the 
existing system aimed at forming a gentle transition to a new 
arrangement of ecclesiastical affairs. Church property was 
confiscated, but the State took over the duty of maintaining 
Divine service, of providing for the support of the clergy, and 
of relieving the poor. 1 The convents and the religious orders 
were dissolved. It was determined that no one should be 
molested for his opinions — certainly not on the ground of his 
religious opinions — so long as he made no breach of the public 
order, established by law, in the course of propagating them. 
Freedom of worship was allowed ; civil marriage was intro- 
duced ; at one time there was talk of a separation of Church 
and State. But if this was ' to be carried through, the State 
must either take the church property without pledging itself 
to pay the clergy, or it must allow the Church a kind of freedom 
of action. The first of these alternatives would at that stage 
of the Revolution have been stamped as sacrilege ; the other 
was rejected because it might give the Church a dangerous 
independence and make of it a State within the State. It was 
necessary to attach the clergy to the Revolution, and this was 
the purpose of the so-called "Civil Constitution," 2 the com- 
position of which was greatly influenced by the former 
Advocate-General of the clergy, the Jansenist Camus, who 
was one of the deputies of the third Estate. 8 

By the Civil Constitution the French bishoprics were to 
be altered, and their number cut down, so that each of the 
new departments should form a diocese. Bishops and prelates 
were to have a smaller, but a fixed stipend, and to be chosen 

1 "L'Assemblee Nationale declare que tous les biens eccleaastiques sont a la 
disposition de la nation, a la charge de pourvoir d'une maniere convenable aux frais 
du culte, a l'entretien de ses ministres, et au soulagement des pauvres." Decree of 
2nd November 1 789. That the Budget of Public Worship, which in our days has 
been so much attacked from the Radical side, is really a creation of the Revolution 
has been proved with great force, amongst others, by A. Leroy-Beaulieu : La 
revolution et le libiralisme (Paris 1890), 24if. 

2 This is printed in part in L. Sciout : Histoire de la Constitution Civile du clergi 
(Paris 1872) I, i82f. ; the whole in A. Theiner : Documents inidits relatifs aux 
affaires religieuses de la France 1790-1800 (Paris 1857) I, 243^ 

3 L. Sech^ : Les dernier s Jansinistes (Paris 1891) I, 193k 


by the laity ; the bishops by the electors to the council of the 
departments ; the priests by the electors to the governing boards 
of the respective districts {Cassemblie administrative du district). 
Jews and Protestants had the rights of electors no less than 
Roman Catholics. This radical alteration of the ecclesiastical 
system, in which the faithful adherents of the Roman Church 
not unreasonably saw something more than a harmless " civil 
scheme for the clergy," met with strong opposition from most 
of the ministers of the Church ; and even a man like Talleyrand 
was inclined at a later time to call the Civil Constitution the 
greatest political mistake of the National Assembly. 1 It 
annulled at a stroke the Concordat of 1516, and excluded 
King and Pope from the selection of bishops and priests. The 
wrath of the French priesthood, however, soon took a lower 
key, when Mirabeau declared that if the priests made opposition, 
the nation might question whether they could ever prove useful 
citizens. The people, he said, would never allow the care of 
their souls to be entrusted to men who were enemies to the 
people's welfare. 

At Rome the adoption of the Civil Constitution aroused 
the greatest alarm — the more so as the National Assembly 
appeared to be inclined to take possession of Avignon and 
Venaissin, the inhabitants of which in May 1790 had declared 
themselves in favour of reunion with France. Cardinal Bernis, 
who was still the representative of France with the Holy See, 
saw in the Civil Constitution a subversion of the whole 
discipline and system of the Roman Church, 2 and his strong 
language in a despatch to the Foreign Minister of France 
made Louis XVI. exceedingly reluctant to give his confirmation 
to the Civil Constitution. 

When the news of the great event which had taken place 
in "France reached Rome, Pius VI. delivered a passionate 
address to the cardinals at a secret consistory on 29th March 
1790, in which he complained of the injustices inflicted upon 
the Church in France ; and he told the princes of the Church 
that he only held his peace because he thought that the moment 
was not yet come to speak. 3 On 10th July he sent a letter 

1 Mimoires du Prince de Talleyrand 'II, 123. 

a Bernis to Montmorin, 30th June 1790. Masson: Le Cardinal Bernis, 479. 

3 A. Theiner: Documents I, if. Cp. Sciout I, 265f. 


to Louis XVI., in which he warned the King against leading 
his people into error, or provoking a schism — perhaps even a 
religious war — by confirming the impious Constitution, and 
he threatened to lift up his voice as supreme Pastor in case 
his warning was not taken. 1 The threat made an impression 
upon Louis, but the will of the National Assembly was un- 
mistakable. Two days after the receipt of the Pope's letter — 
28th June — Louis was compelled to promise to confirm the 
decree establishing the Civil Constitution, but on the condition 
that it should not be published until it had gained the approval 
either of the French bishops or of the visible Head of the 
Church. 2 

The same day Louis sent a letter to Pius VI. in which he 
assured him that he prized most highly his title of the Eldest 
Son of the Church. If he had considered it necessary to 
execute the decree, it was only because he hoped thereby to 
be able to ward off a disastrous breach, which would bring 
calamity, not only upon the French Church, but upon the 
Church at large. 3 At the same time Bernis received instruc- 
tions to induce Pius VI. to agree to some particular points in 
the Constitution — amongst others the rearrangement of the 
bishoprics. The Cardinal at once perceived that this was 
impossible ; the best that was attainable was the speedy issue 
of such a brief as might pacify men's minds and strengthen 
the King's position, by condemning the Constitution indeed, 
but letting one or two things in it pass as temporary con- 
cessions. 4 Pius VI. thought that he could not draw up such a 
brief without laying the case before a congregation of the 
cardinals. The cardinals had great sympathy with Louis XVI., 
but would on no account consent to acknowledge the Constitu- 
tion in any way, because such a step might have serious results 
elsewhere. 5 Before the cardinals had finished their delibera- 
tions, Pius VI. received word that Louis, compelled by circum- 
stances, had sanctioned the Constitution. On receiving this 
information, the Pope wrote him a confidential letter, containing 
a gentle reproof and a reference to a fuller communication 

1 Theiner I, 5f. 2 Masson, 481. 3 Theiner I, 264f. 

4 See Bernis' Pro-memoria importantc confidenziale in Theiner I, 275f. ; and 
also the three preceding documents. 

5 Masson, 485^ 


to be sent later when the cardinals should have finished their 
deliberations. 1 

But in France the current of events rushed on regardless 
of pope and cardinals. When at length, on the 27th of 
October, it had been settled in Rome that Louis was to be 
told that the new decree must be altogether rejected, the 
decree was actually being put in execution. The chapters 
were dissolved, and France had received the first bishop 
chosen in accordance with the Constitution — Expilly of 
Finisterre. In order to knit the priesthood the more closely 
to the Revolution it was determined on the 27th of November 
that every member of the clergy should take an oath, in which 
they not only promised obedience to the secular authorities 
and to the laws, but bound themselves to uphold the Civil 
Constitution to the best of their power. Once more the King 
delayed giving his signature, and on 3rd December he sent 
a fresh letter to Pius VI., in which, after describing the serious 
situation, he begged the successor of St Peter to put those 
alterations, which were inevitable, into canonical form. 2 It 
was courageous of the King to put off signing, but he could 
not do so for long. Already on 26th December — some time 
before an answer could have arrived from Rome — he was 
obliged to put his name to the decree of 27th November, 
and the oath was at once demanded of all the French bishops 
and priests. 

This question of the oath divided the French priesthood into 
two parts : the jurors (les assermentes, constitutionnels), and the 
non-jurors (les insermentes, refractaires)? On 27th December, 
closely watched by the National Assembly, the Abbe Gregoire 
swore fealty to the nation, the laws, the King, and the Civil 
Constitution, in the belief that it was a matter which only 
concerned the outward polity, not the doctrine of the Church, 
and in the conviction that the Pope would have excom- 
municated Bishop Expilly and condemned the Constitution, 
if it had been heresy to conform to it. Between thirty and 
forty thousand priests took the oath in the period which 

1 Theiner, I, i8f. 

2 The letter is printed for the first time in Masson, 489. Theiner omits a good 
many of Louis' letters, especially such as are not to the King's credit. 

3 De Pressens^, I37f. Sciout I, 3g8f. 

VOL. I. K 


followed, 1 but many other priests, and by far the greater part 
of the bishops, refused to do so. On 10th March and 13th 
April 1791, communications at length arrived from Rome, 
which showed that the non-jurors had rightly interpreted the 
silence of Pius VI. 2 

Probably not many people were impressed by the heavy 
artillery of patristic and canonical learning displayed in these 
briefs ; but the reference to the King's coronation oath made 
Louis very anxious, and the threat that the Pope thought of 
taking strong measures, like those which his predecessors had 
used on similar occasions, no doubt strengthened the non-juring 
bishops and priests and many laymen in their resistance to 
the Civil Constitution. In the eyes of most of the faithful laity, 
the non-juring priests were the only true pastors. Already, at 
Easter, in 1791, Louis desired to escape to Saint-Cloud in 
order to avoid performing his Easter duties under the direction 
of a confessor who had taken the oath. But his carriage was 
stopped at the entrance to the Champs-Elys^es, and he was 
obliged to return to the Tuileries. When he afterwards went to 
Montmddy with all his family, it was not only to avoid the 
tyranny of the citizens, but possibly still more to be able to 
confess to a non-juring priest. 3 Doubtless it was also the Civil 
Constitution, and the demand that he should swear to it, which 
drove the King to make his unfortunate attempt at flight ; and 
his flight led to a fatal breach between the monarchy and those 
clergymen who had taken the oath. Gr6goire had in March 
1 79 1 been consecrated Bishop of Blois by Talleyrand, Gobel, 
and Miroudot, the reading of the papal Bulls and the usual 
oath of allegiance to the successor of St Peter being omitted. 4 
When it became known that the King had fled, Gr^goire sent 
a pastoral letter to his priests in which he spoke of this un- 
fortunate step as a new storm, which would bring the ship of the 

1 Gazier: E-tudes sur V histoire religieuse de la revolution (Paris 1887), 18. De 
Pradt thinks that the number was as high as 60,000. 

2 Theiner I, 32f., 57f. Mirabeau is reported to have said : " Les prStres qui 
m'embarrassent ne sont point les refractaires ; ce sont ceux qui ont ob£i a la loi 
du serment. Que ne le refusaient-ils tous ! nous les aurions tous jetes au dela des 
Alpes." Gazier, 306, following the periodical Chronique Religieuse I, 128. 

3 Gazier, 7 if. 

4 E. Meric : Histoire de M. Emery et de Viglise de France pendant la revolution 
(Paris 1885) I, 243, 


State all the sooner into port. He hoped that Louis would stay 
away for good, and would rather that the King had been sent 
on across the frontier, than brought back to Paris. 1 

About three months after the King's flight, the National 
Assembly was closed (30th September 1791)1 and the Legisla- 
tive Assembly began its meetings. Instead of loudly pro- 
claiming liberty of conscience, as might have been expected, it 
made itself a party to the religious struggle, and betrayed its 
antagonism to Christianity at every point. As early as 29th 
November it issued a decree that all non-juring priests should 
forfeit their stipends, and somewhat later, on 6th April 1792, at 
the instance of a former Court Chaplain, Anastase Torn6, who 
had become constitutional Bishop of Bourges, priests and bishops 
were forbidden to wear clerical dress. This prohibition, however, 
as we shall see, was constantly ignored. On 27th May the 
Assembly permitted the authorities of the departments to 
banish any priest, who was accused by twenty citizens of being 
a perturbateur. When Louis XVI. refused to sign the laws of 
29th November 1791 and 27th May 1792, there was a violent 
outburst of popular fury against " Monsieur Veto." The King 
was first insulted on 20th June ; then came the storming 
of the Tuileries on 10th August, and this led to the fall of 
the monarchy. 

A few weeks later — 26th August — a new law ordered all 
non-juring priests to leave the kingdom within fourteen days ; 
" but the people were just as capable of mocking the laws as the 
legislators were of making them." Many of those priests, who 
would not take the oath to the Constitution, chose rather to live 
in hiding in France than to emigrate. There were laymen, who 
considered the churches desecrated by the services of those 
priests who had taken the oath, and they met in the church- 
yards, or in old, long forsaken chapels and meeting-houses, 
where non-juring priests held services. At Amiens the church- 
yard of Saint Denys was crowded every Sunday and feast-day 
with faithful Catholics, who heard Mass there with the double 
satisfaction of having not only remained faithful to the Pope, 
but also of exposing themselves to being persecuted for their 
faith. 2 There were non-juring priests all over France, who 

1 Gazier, 73. 

2 Un sijour en France de 1792 a 1795, par H. Taine (Paris 1895), 8, 48. 


secretly baptized children and heard confessions. People often 
seized upon the most extraordinary means of meeting their 
religious wants. One lady gave a ball, and in a little chamber 
behind the ball-room a non-juring priest secretly heard the 
confessions of some of the guests. 

The joy with which the dawn of the Revolution was greeted 
soon disappeared. An Englishwoman, who had seen the flush 
of victory in 1790, observed a great difference in 1792. The 
"honeymoon" was then over, and something like indifference 
was spreading to an alarming extent. 1 The unwise policy 
which had made of religion the flag of a party began to bear 
very different fruits from what the revolutionists had expected. 
Many people, who had not thought much about religion before, 
became ardent Papists when the support of the chair of St 
Peter had become the mark of a certain political creed. And 
many simple people soon lost their feeling even about " Bastille 
day " when they discovered that the Revolution meant death to 
the Church. In 1792 the English lady traveller asked an apple 
woman, who brought fruit every day, but stayed at home 
on 14th July, whether she sided with the aristocrats. "Mon 
Dieu, no," answered the poor woman ; " it is not because I 
am an aristocrat or a democrat, but because I am a Christian 
woman." 2 

In the National Convention, which numbered among its 
members Gregoire and fifteen other bishops, who had taken 
the oath, 3 there was, to begin with, a strong opposition to that 
anti-christian spirit ; and it found voice at once. Cambon, 
who was one of the deputies, introduced a motion to free the 
nation from paying the expenses of Divine service and of the 
maintenance of priests, which had been proposed in the 
Legislative Assembly. But this met with opposition both 
within the Convention and without. Daubermesnil, who was 
by no means an adherent of orthodox Roman Catholicism, 
maintained that priests were useful to the Republic, because 
they preached love of the laws and obedience to the authorities, 
and kept the fire of liberty burning in the hearts of their fellow- 
citizens. Catholic citizens of Paris petitioned the Convention 
to retain the budget for public worship, and Gr6goire, who on 

1 Op. dt., 2. 2 Op. cit., 13. 

3 Gazicr, 97. De Pressens£, 288f. 


30th November for the fifteenth and last time sat in the 
presidential chair, still wearing his episcopal dress, guided the 
stormy proceedings so well, that the session ended by deciding 
that the maintenance of Divine service, and of the clergy, should 
not be given up. But the waves ran high. Bazire declared 
that he would rather go to hell with Voltaire than to paradise 
with St Labre ; La Planche, who himself had been a priest, 
said that next to kings priests were the most terrible scourges 
of mankind. Others, such as Danton, only wished to retain 
the priests until officiers de morale were obtained, who should 
instruct the people. But Philippe Druhle, who maintained that 
the clergy were in a position to spread the love of the Republic, 
was supported by Robespierre. In spite of the intrigues of 
the Paris Commune, and the threatening language of the 
revolutionary newspapers, the budget for public worship was 
not abolished that day ; and when, on Christmas Eve 1792, 
at seven o'clock in the evening, after the lights in the churches 
were lighted, and the bells had begun to ring, the Council of 
the Commune gave orders that the places of worship were to 
be kept shut during Christmas night, there was a great 
uproar in the streets. The churches were besieged by crowds 
demanding that the priests should celebrate the solemn 
midnight Mass as usual. 1 

Soon after having brought the budget for public worship 
happily through the purgatory of debate in the Convention, 
Gregoire went to Savoy and Nice to set in order church 
matters among the " Allobroges," who had likewise given 
themselves a Civil Constitution. When he returned to Paris 
in May 1793, he found the aspect of the National Convention 
quite altered. He, who was so good a republican that at first 
he could not sleep for joy at the thought of living in a republic, 
had always hoped " to christianise the Revolution " ; but now 
he saw with sorrow, how in the course of a few months the 
hatred of Christ had quite gained the upper hand. He found 
the "majestic" assembly, which to the sound of the thunder 
of the Prussian batteries had founded the Republic, changed 
into a club, a sort of adjunct to the Jacobin club, and beheld 
it governed by two or three hundred people, " who were to be 
called criminals, because the language did not contain a more 

1 Gazier, I74f. 


expressive word to describe them." In March 1793 the 
Convention had issued a severe law against those priests, who 
after emigrating dared to come back again to France. Later 
on, it determined that all members of the clergy who had not 
taken the oath of liberty and equality, as well as all priests 
who were accused of incivisme by five citizens of their canton, 
should be transported to Guiana. Finally, a price was actually 
set upon the heads of those priests who dared to carry on their 
work in secret. Anyone who informed against such a priest 
was to receive a hundred francs, and the person against whom 
the information was laid was to lose his life. 1 

Even before this last law was published, the head of Saint- 
Sulpice, the Abbe Emery, who was sixty-one years of age, 
had been imprisoned on information given by persons in his 
native place. His trial carries the mind back to the procedure 
of the heathen officials against the early Christians of Rome. 2 
But Christianity was not to be eradicated at this time any 
more than then. In prison the Abbe Emery continued to 
administer the sacrament of penance. One day Robespierre 
was told that in the conciergerie there was a highly-respected 
priest, who had heard the confessions of a great number of 
the prisoners. Instead of ordering him to the scaffold, 
Robespierre only answered : " Let him be ! He shall not be 
condemned yet ! He is a man who helps us ; he gets people to 
go to their death without complaint. His day will come." 
So the Abbe Emery escaped the guillotine. 

But these strict laws were often broken. A hundred and 
twenty priests, over sixty years of age, who had not taken the 
oath, and were imprisoned in Paris, with the connivance of 
their warders received frequent visits from the faithful, who 
sought consolation and religious aid from them. 3 Religion 
had still power over the Parisians. On 9th May 1793 Dutard 
wrote to Garat : " This morning a priest in his canonical dress 
passed my door taking the holy sacrament to a sick person. 
You would have been astonished to see how the same people 
who persecute the ministers of the Church, both men and 
women, old and young, threw themselves upon their knees to 

1 Gazier, i88f. 

2 Meric : Histoire de M. E,mery I, 342f. 

3 Un sijour en France, 74. 


worship." 1 In spite of all the declamations of the members 
against Christianity, the Jacobin Club still did not venture 
to remove a wooden cross, which, in full sight of all, was fixed 
on one of the side galleries of their meeting-hall. In the 
country, where the Church was more deeply rooted, dis- 
obedience to the anti-religious laws of the Convention and 
loyalty to religion were still more manifest. The rising in 
La Vendee was due, in the first place, to indignation at the 
treatment of the Church by the Revolution, and only in a 
secondary manner to devotion to the monarchy. 

But in the National Convention the anti-christian wave 
rose higher and higher. 2 In September 1793, when the Terror 
had conquered all its opponents, Atheism was solemnly 
proclaimed, and religious persecution systematically employed. 
A few months earlier, the Convention had rejected the demand 
for religious liberty as being dangerous to the Republic, because, 
as Robespierre said, religious freedom might lead to the forma- 
tion of an alliance between " Superstition " and despotism ; 
and Danton had prophesied that a time would come when the 
worship of Liberty would be the only religion of all French- 
men. That time was now come. At that particular moment 
it was intolerable even to hear the word " religious liberty " 
mentioned. To the advanced spirits in the Convention, the 
difference between priests who had taken the oath and priests 
who had not had disappeared. One provincial club-orator 
even held that the readiness with which the oath had been 
taken by some was disastrous for France ; because if all 
priests had refused to take it, " Superstition " could not have 
done so much harm in the country. 3 Still the champions of 
liberty in the Convention had some hesitation in resorting to 
dragonnades; they preferred to employ actors as priests of 
" Reason " and " Morality " as a means of combating religion. 

Meantime the blind hatred of Christianity shown by the 
members of the Convention and the Clubs served to give 
greater power to the Counter-Revolution. Maury, then Arch- 

1 A. Schmidt: Pariser-Zustiinde wiihrend der Revolutionszeit (Jena 1876) III, 
221. Cp. H. Taine : La Revolution (Paris 1878) II, 390. 

2 De Pressens£, 3i4f. Gazier, i88f. 

8 Speech of Citizen Lonqueue in the true Sansculottes' Club at Chartres, in 
Gazier, 194^ 


bishop of Nicaea in partibus, in a memorandum to the Pope 
of 23rd June, does not conceal his bright hopes that the 
supremacy of the laws would soon be restored. " The 
progress of the Counter- Revolution," he writes, " grows day 
by day with a rapidity that soon may be incalculable." x The 
White Terror, however, for which Maury hoped, would have 
had no place for religious liberty. It can be seen from his 
expressions that it would only have been the philosophers, 
the Protestants, the Jansenists, and the Freemasons, who 
would have suffered for rebellion against the Church and 
the monarchy. But for the present the Red Terror was in 
power, and it stopped the mouths of the two and forty bishops 
and priests in the Convention who had taken the oath. One 
of them, however, Fauchet, dared to say that, fortunately for 
society, the extirpation of all religion is an absolute impossi- 
bility. As a punishment, he was made to mount the scaffold 
on 31st October 1793. Others of the forty-two were im- 
prisoned ; others again hid themselves, and at last Gregoire 
sat alone in the Convention, with his tonsure, and in a garb 
whose colour showed that he was and would continue to be 
a bishop. 2 When the Archbishop of Paris, Gobel, whose 
example was followed by several others, solemnly abjured his 
faith in order to show compliance with the will of the people, 
Gregoire rose and bore a Christian witness, which, in spite 
of the infernal howls that it called forth, really drew from the 
hearers greater respect than the coquetting of Archbishop 
Gobel with the red cap. 3 

Together with the old divine worship, the old calendar was 
abolished and France received a new republican calendar, 
which began with the equinox, 22nd September 1792, the 
day after the opening of the Convention. Decades were 
substituted for the weeks, and the place of the Christian festivals 
was taken by political, civil, and moral fetes that were to semer 
I'annee de grands souvenirs and thereby attach the rising 
generation to the Revolution. 4 The eighteenth century showed 

1 Theiner : Documents inidits I, 38if. Cp. Coi-respondance diplomatique tt 
mimoires inidits du Cardinal Maury I, 138. 

2 Gazier, 199k 

3 De Pressens£, 32if. Gazier, 207f. 

4 Sicard : L' Education morale el civique avant et pendant la revolution, 368f. 


a great partiality for agriculture, the praise of which was 
spread abroad by its philosophers and its poets, and the new 
calendar was based upon la sainte agriculture, because, as 
Boissy d'Anglas explained, nature had made the French 
people a people specially adapted to farming. 

Just as the new calendar was substituted for the old, a 
new form of worship was to supersede the Christian worship 
of God. In the choir of the church of N6tre Dame, a temple 
was erected to Philosophy, and young girls in white sang 
Chenier's hymn, while an actress of light character sat on 
the altar as the " Goddess of Reason," decked with flowers. 
The provinces were not behindhand in this matter. In the 
course of twenty days, 1 no fewer than 2,346 French churches 
were transformed into " Temples of Reason," and when it was 
impossible to produce a " Goddess of Reason " on the spot, 
the members of the Convention for the locality supplied one, 
who by the help of theatrical garb and stage appointments 
was fitted up for " worship." Outside Paris also the attempt 
was often made at the festivals of the "Worship of Reason" 
to get some priest who, for the edification of his radical hearers, 
would denounce his faith and call Christianity a fraud. 2 But 
it must be said, to the honour of the French clergy, that it 
was very difficult to procure such priestly renegades. As a 
rule, a layman had to be dressed up in priestly garb to 
enact the comedy of apostasy. As might be expected, the 
people quickly became tired of this new worship, and the real 
Sansculottes had many scruples about stepping over the 
threshold of a church. In the report of Anacharsis Clootz, 
which was printed by order of the Convention, we read : " We 
Sansculottes need no other speeches than the Rights of Man, 
no other doctrines than the commands of the Constitution, 
and no other churches than the Clubs. . . . The intolerance of 
Truth will some day even forbid the word ' Temple ' (fanum), 
because it is the root of the word ' fanaticism.' " In December 
l 793 there were still in Paris two or three small chapels in 
which services were held, 3 and for some months these were 
thronged by great crowds. But the " intolerance of Truth " 
could not allow the Catholics of Paris even this much, and 

1 Gazier, 314. 2 Un sijour en France, i6of. 

3 Gazier, 218. 


the little churches were closed. Such services were in the 
eyes of the Convention only an attempt " under the pretext 
of religion to betray the cause of liberty." * 

Before six months had passed, France was already tired of 
the new worship, and after Chaumette, Gobel, Anacharsis Clootz, 
and other high priests of the new goddess, had been guillotined, 
Robespierre made an end of the " Worship of Reason" by declar- 
ing on the 7th of May 1794 that the French nation believed 
in the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. The 
confession of the Savoyard priest became thereby the creed 
of France, and the place of atheism was taken by deism. The 
new festivals of "the Supreme Being" were celebrated in the 
open air, under the artistic conductorship of the famous David. 
The " temples " therefore were no longer of any use, and they 
were turned into storehouses, often after having been despoiled 
with barbarous violence. But the theatrical festivals of the 
Supreme Being also proved in the long run to be but poor 
substitutes for the old service, in spite of David's sense of 
colour and talent for grouping, and one after another men 
turned away with contempt and disgust from the liturgical 
inventions of Robespierre. "You are beginning to tire us 
with your Supreme Being," said one of the members of the 
Convention, after one of the long festivals on the Champs de 
Mars ; and in the tribune of the Convention Chenier confessed 
openly that a solid foundation for the nation's morals had not 
yet been found. 2 

The 9th of Thermidor 3 (27th July 1794) made no great 
change as regards religion ; the Thermidorians were in reality 
just as good Terrorists as Robespierre. Carrier declaimed 
against the priests as people " who had grown old in the vices 
of a parsonage, in luxury, effeminacy, or prejudices." A former 
priest, who had taken the oath, was condemned to death in 
Paris by the revolutionary tribunal, because he had distributed 
"fanatical and counter-revolutionary," that is, religious books. 
In spite of the persecution, however, a good many of the priests 

1 Cp. the decree of Frimaire 16-18, in the year II, in Gazier, 222. 

2 " La morale populaire . . . cherche encore un point d'appuisolide." Sicard, 407. 

3 Up to 9th Thermidor, about 2,700 people had been guillotined ; of these 
nearly 200 were priests and half of these had taken the oath ; their crime was 
described as "fanaticism." Gazier, 218. 


who had not taken the oath ventured to return to their country, 
some of them disguised as women ; and the Convention was 
flooded with petitions for liberty of worship. The members 
of the Convention were informed in one of the petitions that 
crowds of harvesters, who in June 1794 were passing a church, 
had stopped outside to pray. 1 Another petition, in which 
Cicero, Plutarch, Voltaire, and Rousseau are quoted, says: 
"To annihilate the Christian religion in France is the same 
thing as to deprive the whole nation of its dearest and holiest 
treasure. . . . Legislators ! restore the Catholic worship in France ; 
give back to the French nation, your comrades in arms, their 
temples and their altars!" The Convention had at that time 
sanctioned the freedom of the Press, and it was hoped that 
religious liberty also would be obtained. 

There were in the Convention three bishops who had taken 
the oath, who escaped with their lives through the Reign of 
Terror without renouncing their faith — Gregoire of Blois, Royer 
of L'Ain, and Saurine of Landes. Royer had, it is true, been 
imprisoned for a long time, and Saurine had been obliged to 
hide himself to escape the guillotine. At the earliest moment 
possible, these three bishops joined with citizen Desbois de 
Rochefort, Bishop of Somme, whom the Committee of Public 
Safety had just let out of prison, to work for liberty of worship, 
the restoration of Divine service throughout the Republic, peace 
amongst the divided priesthood, and association with the Holy 
See and foreign Churches. 2 

On 2 1 st December 1794, Gregoire made a speech in the 
Convention in favour of freedom of worship. 3 At first he was 
listened to with applause, afterwards his voice was drowned 
by shouts and hisses. He told the members of the Convention 
that there was religious liberty in Turkey but not in France, 
and he denied to his countrymen any right hereafter to 
speak scornfully of the Inquisition. He warned them against 
thinking it possible to have a Republic without religion, and 
claimed religious liberty as one of the rights of man ; while he 
he also predicted that a continuous refusal of the liberty of 
worship would end in a counter-revolution, make democracy 
hated, and sow discord in the land. He concluded by proposing 
to secure to all citizens the free exercise of their religious 

1 Gazier, 233L 2 Ibid., 231. 3 Printed in Gazier, 34lf. 


services, so far as these did not violate order and the public 

The Convention did not hear Gregoire to the end, but 
passed on to the order of the day, and called loudly for the 
decades, and the festivals of Liberty, Prosperity, Stoicism, 
the Republic, Hatred of tyrants, and the rest. Since the 
liberty of the Press was greater than the liberty of the Tribune, 
the Moniteur and other papers were able to report fragments 
of Gregoire's speech with or without comment. The Journal 
de Perlet wrote thus : " Would the war in Vendee have been so 
terrible, if more tolerance had been shown in the rest of the 
Republic and in that district ? . . . If you want peace in the land, 
you must treat all with justice, and allow every one to exercise 
his legitimate rights." 1 And in spite of the apparent defeat 
of Gregoire, his speech was a triumph for all religious French- 
men. " Everybody is now talking," so writes the English lady- 
traveller on 23rd January 1795, "of the restoration of the 
churches and the reinstatement of the priests." 2 When 
Gregoire had his speech printed, that all might read both 
what he had said and what he had wanted to say, he received 
thanks and congratulations by the hundred. 

In its anger the Convention passed a new and still more 
severe decree against the non-juring priests who ventured to 
return. But the courageous action of Gregoire had so effectually 
mooted the question of religious liberty that it could no longer 
be hushed and stifled. Even extreme Republicans 3 now wished 
for religious liberty, because they feared lest " an usurper capable 
of conceiving and carrying out great designs " should use liberty 
of worship as a formidable instrument ; and they recom- 
mended that this dangerous weapon, that might so easily be 
lifted against the Republic and the Revolution, should be done 
away with. There were other Republicans, however, who were 
of opinion that if once the Sunday were reintroduced, the 
festival of the " Three Kings " and the Kings themselves would 
soon follow after, and that there was an inner connexion 
between priesthood and kingship. 

1 Gazier, 245. 

2 Un sljour en France, 258f. 

3 For instance Baudin, from whose work, written in 1795, Gazier quotes remark- 
able expressions, 24SL 


The Convention had at last to give way to public opinion, 
and to decree liberty of worship. The reformed philosopher, 
Boissy d'Anglas, induced it on 21st February 1795 to pass a 
decree, which laid down that, while the Republic would not 
subsidise any form of worship, nor supply places for religious 
assemblies or for clergy to live in, the exercise of worship ought 
not to be interfered with, inasmuch as religious liberty was a 
right of man. 1 This decree was especially favourable to the 
priests who had not taken the oath, since they were as a rule 
connected with wealthy people, who were able both to find 
them their daily bread and to give them places to hold their 
services in. Afterwards a new decree of 8th June 1795 granted 
"temporarily" to the citizens and the communes the free use 
of the buildings, "that were originally intended for Divine 
worship " ; but nobody could obtain permission to exercise any 
religious function without first promising to obey the laws of 
the Republic — a new "civil" oath, which gave rise to new 
troubles. 2 

After the issue of the decree of 21st February, Gregoire 
on 1 2th March sent a courageous pastoral letter to his clergy 
with a request to have it read on the first Sunday after its 
receipt in all parishes of the diocese. 3 This pastoral letter 
travelled much further than the diocese of Blois ; and the 
peculiar mixture of definite Christian faith with civisme, 
found in it, as in the speeches of Gregoire, did not fail of its 
effect. In a comparatively short time Divine service was set 
on foot all over France, a proof of the great attachment to the 
ancient Church, which the persecutions of the Convention had 
been able to repress, but not to eradicate. On 1st May 1795 
Saint Medard was thrown open, the first of the churches in the 
capital ; after the decree of 8th June, twelve of their ancient 
churches were handed over to the Parisians for service ; and, 
finally on nth August the keys of N6tre Dame were delivered 
over, so that Divine service could be held in the church on 
1 5th August — the Feast of the Assumption. But many of the 
French churches were in great need of restoration after the 
vandalism of the Revolution. Notre Dame had been a store- 

1 Decree of 3rd Vent6se in the year III, in Gazier, 255f. 

2 Sciout : Histoire de la constitution civile du clergd IV, 39'f. 

3 Printed in Gazier, 370-390, 


house for wine casks, and the wind blew through the many 
broken window-panes and the loosely joined planks, which 
served for doors. 1 A band of Jansenists under the leadership 
of a barrister, Agier, formed meanwhile "a Catholic league," 
which among other things saw to the restoration of the 
churches, and joy at the re-opening of the sacred buildings 
manifested itself in great liberality amongst high and low. 2 

Gregoire and his friends were now able to work for the 
carrying out of their plans with good hope of success ; and 
the honour of setting up again the altars of France belongs 
in reality more to the assermente Bishop of Blois than to 
Bonaparte. Gregoire and his friends founded also, with sym- 
pathetic help from foreigners such as Scipione de' Ricci, a 
" Society for Christian Philosophy," which was to distribute 
useful books, and refute writings dangerous to the Christian 
faith. This society published several apologies, which were 
especially directed against the attacks on positive religion, by 
which Boissy dAnglas had proved his philosophical re- 
publicanism, when he advocated the cause of religious liberty. 
A religious periodical was also published by Gregoire's party, 
called the Annates de la religion, which soon gained 1800 
subscribers. 3 The decades very soon lost their importance, 
and were succeeded by the Sundays ; and even philosophers 
such as Fourcroy began to see that philosophy was mistaken, 
when it believed in the possibility of such a spread of enlighten- 
ment as to extirpate religious prejudices. He was of opinion 
that the people ought to be allowed to keep their clergy, 
their altars, and their worship, because these were a source of 
comfort to the many persons who are unhappy. 4 

Although the Civil Constitution had in 1793 been already 
suspended, it still cast its dark shadows over the regenerating 
work of Gregoire. He and the bishops who joined him 
exhorted all French Christians to avoid unprofitable strife, and 
to exert all their powers to edify and educate the people. But 
this exhortation was only followed in small degree. The 
different attitude in which those priests who had taken and 

1 Un sijour en France, 2%"]i. , 255. 

2 S£ch£ : Les origines du concordat (Paris 1894) I, 142. 

3 Gazier, 282f. 

4 H. Taine : Le rigime moderns (Paris 1891) I, 229. 


those who had not taken the oath stood to the Civil Constitu- 
tion pointed back to a deep political opposition, and at this 
critical moment, when an alliance of all good forces was so 
much needed, two religious parties were seen in sharp an- 
tagonism to each other, and religious fanatics condemned 
their opponents to eternal damnation. Those who had taken 
the oath, rallying round their bishops, had as their organ the 
Annates de la religion ; those who had not taken the oath, 
formed a secret society, led by the vicars-general of the 
emigrated bishops, and the Annates Catholiques was the 
mouthpiece of their views. 

Those who had taken the oath soon came to feel, like the 
German Old Catholics of our own days, that it is in the long 
run a doubtful advantage for a religious party to be helped 
by the State. The Civil Constitution was after all only a 
political, administrative measure, and the hand of the State 
soon proved itself a heavy hand. Behind those who had 
taken the oath there was a political power, which more and 
more betrayed its likeness to the Beast from the deep ; behind 
the others was a pope, who at last was surrounded by the 
glory that radiates from martyrdom. Immediately after the 
bestowal of religious liberty, it became evident that the priests 
who had not taken the oath had more followers than the 
others. 1 And no wonder. The French nation was at bottom 
more in sympathy with monarchy than the philosophers and 
Sansculottes of the capital had imagined ; and it was only 
the altar of those who had not taken the oath that would 
support a throne. Amongst the assermente's there was always 
discernible, as in the pastoral letter of Gr£goire, a republicanism 
and a civisme, that was not to everybody's taste. It made an 
impression also upon many weaker souls, that the priests who 
had not taken the oath dared to attack so vehemently the 
work of the others, that they actually began to rebaptize and 
remarry those who had been christened and married by the 
constitutional ones. But this reckless attitude, and the 
Royalistic agitation, of which those who had not taken the 
oath were often guilty, stirred the wrath of the Convention, and 
in two new decrees precautions were taken against the non- 
juring clergy, who, as Grdgoire wrote, 2 everywhere preached 
1 Sciout IV, 386. 5 Gazier, 303. 


rebellion against the laws of the Republic in the most dis- 
graceful manner. 

When, in October 1795, the National Convention was 
succeeded by the Directory, affairs were in a far better con- 
dition than when the Convention had succeeded the Legislative 
Assembly in the September of three years before. Mass was 
said in nearly 30,000 out of the 40,000 French parishes ; * the 
Civil Constitution was set aside, and the bishops who had 
taken the oath declared that they were willing to retire and to 
do all they could in order to promote religious peace. There 
are many letters from bishops and priests who had taken the 
oath, which prove that in 1795 the writers were hoping for a 
reconciliation with the see of St Peter, but only on the basis 
of the Gallican propositions of 1682. 2 

The Directory seemed at first as if it would proceed still 
further in the path of tolerance upon which the National 
Convention had at last entered, but the awakening religious 
feeling, which everywhere manifested itself, roused the dis- 
pleasure of the Directorial government, and led it to begin 
new persecutions. It soon became evident that too few 
churches had been handed over to the faithful, but instead 
of giving them any more, the Directory, which needed 
money, sold churches and abbeys, mostly for demolition. 
No fewer than one hundred churches were sold in Paris, and 
pulled down ; the church at Cluny was levelled with the 
ground, and the cathedrals of Blois and Chartres would 
have suffered the same fate if they had not been bought 
by those who had taken the oath. 3 Many parsonages were 
likewise put up for sale, and those which were not sold, 
were placed at the disposal of the municipalities as schools, 
in which the children were to be educated in the tenets of 
the Revolution, without any religous influence. The Directory 
annoyed priests and congregations by forbidding the ringing 
of bells, by attempts to hinder the keeping of Sunday sacred, 
and by demanding strict observance of the new calendar. 

To crown its ecclesiastical policy, the new government 

1 In 1796 there were services in 32,214 parishes. Gregoire : Histoire du 
mariage des prltres en France (Paris 1826), the preface V. 

2 Gazier, 307. 

s Sech£ : Les engines du concordat I, 120. 


finally gave the Church a new rival in the so-called " Theo- 
philanthropists," the " Friends of God and Man," 1 whose 
apostle, Lareveillere-Lepeaux, was a member of the Directory. 
This new religion was a clumsy and stupid attempt to win 
religious Frenchmen to a new form of Divine worship on the 
basis of the deism of Rousseau. It was easy to see that 
the French nation needed religion and religious institutions, 
and in order to supply this want, Lareveillere-Ldpeaux, or 
rather Valentin Haiiy, 2 with the naiveti of the time of the 
Revolution, wished to invent a new philanthropic religion, 
just as the Abbe" Sieyes in his days had invented a constitution. 

The Theophilanthropists "honoured" a Supreme Being 
who rewards virtue and punishes vice. In praise of this 
Being, hymns were sung, and addresses were given at the 
Theophilanthropic meetings, which taught the duties of the 
man and the citizen. A sort of civil baptism was also intro- 
duced, which was a novelty in philanthropism as compared 
with Robespierre's festivals of the Supreme Being, and 
there were sponsors of both sexes who promised to educate 
the new citizen in the teachings of Theophilanthropism. A 
blessing on the flower-bedecked wedding couple was also intro- 
duced, and the wedding ceremony concluded with a hymn 
in praise of marriage as opposed to a "restless celibacy." 
And when death came, the Theophilanthropists gathered 
together in the " temple " round a painting, under which was 
written : " Death is the beginning of eternity," while the head 
of the family, who, as in the ancient North, was essentially 
the priest, gave utterance to reflexions on the shortness of 
life, and the immortality of the soul. 

It was not difficult for the Directory by violence and perse- 
cutions to bring Christian Frenchmen once more into a time 
like that of the catacombs, but its favour could not breathe 
life into the still-born Theophilanthropism. At the very intro- 
duction of the Theophilanthropic worship into Paris, it was 
reported: "The meetings are not well attended. The new 

1 Gregoire : Histoire des secies religieuses (Paris 1814), 8gf. De Pressense, 423f. 
Sicard : Viducation morale et civique pendant la revolution, 448f. 

2 This appears from the newly published Mtmoires de Lareveillire-Lipeaux 
(Paris 1895) !• — HI-, which Thiers and other historians of the Revolution read in 

VOL. I. L 


cult does not seem destined to have a long career. The atten- 
tion demanded is tiring; the workman needs diverting, and 
monotonous speeches send him to sleep." Even " diversions," 
such as the placing of a pair of tame doves on the altar 
during the celebration of a marriage, could not secure for the 
new religion any popularity. When Lareveillere-Lepeaux 
despondingly complained to Talleyrand of its small power to 
win its way, the former Bishop of Autun answered : " Jesus 
Christ died for His religion ; you must do something similar 
for yours." After 1798, Theophilanthropism quietly disappears 
without leaving any visible traces behind it. It was, in fact, 
only a step on the ladder, by which the French nation worked 
itself up from the atheism of the worship of reason to the 
old faith. 

To what degree the Church had revived in spite of the 
vexations and persecutions of the Directory, can be judged 
from the Council which met in Paris in August 1797, on 
the invitation of "the united bishops" who had taken the 
oath. 1 In the circular letter, which gave the invitation to 
the meeting, and which was signed by Gregoire, Royer, and 
Saurine, with three other bishops, the writers expressed first 
their devotion to the Pope, but then went on to say that 
the old church custom of holding councils was the best means 
of maintaining unity in faith, morals, and discipline. When 
the Council was opened on 15th August, in Notre Dame, 
seventy-two representatives were present from the whole of 
France, and amongst them no fewer than twenty-six bishops, 
and a bishop-elect who was not yet consecrated — just as 
many therefore as at the opening of the Council of Trent. 
Bishop Lecoz opened the meeting with a sermon, in which 
he described the scenes which those present had witnessed. 
" Simple peasants trembled for gladness merely at hearing 
the name of Jesus mentioned. The sight of the image of 
the Crucified made their countenances tremble for joy, after 
they had been sorrowful so long." 2 

After having deliberated for three months, partly in N6tre 

Dame, partly in the chapel in the H6tel de Pons, where lived 

Clement, the Bishop of Versailles, the meeting agreed upon 

a decree of peace {decret de pacification), which acknowledged 

1 Seche I, I37f. 2 De Pressens£, 446^ 


the Pope as the visible Head of the Church by divine right, 
but also demanded the maintenance of the principles and 
liberties of the Gallican Church (Articles I. and V.). If there 
were two bishops in one diocese, the one who was elected and 
consecrated before 1791 was to be the rightful bishop, but 
the other, elected and consecrated after that year, was to be 
the legitimate successor of the former. And the same rule 
was to obtain in parishes which had two priests (Article X.). 
This Gallican Council broke up with great expectations of 
peace in the Church, and before the parting in the choir 
of Notre Dame Gregoire had the pleasure of handing over 
to the assembly 1,000 francs which sympathetic Spanish 
Catholics had contributed towards defraying the expenses of 
the meeting. He was also able to read several letters, which 
proved how great was the sympathy with which the Church 
south of the Pyrenees followed the deliberations of the 
Council. 1 

But only a minority of the bishops and priests who had 
not taken the oath looked with sympathy upon the Council 
of 1797. Its Gallicanism repelled many ; and most of those 
who had not taken the oath had thrown in their lot with 
the Bourbons to such an extent that they declined to stand 
on an equal footing with the bishops and priests of the Revolu- 
tion, who had not only sworn fealty to the Republic, but also 
hatred to the monarchy. After the coup d'etat on the 18th 
of Brumaire, in place of the former oath, so irksome to many, 
was substituted a simple promise of loyalty to the Con- 
stitution (Je promets fidiliti a la constitution) and the Moniteur 
explained that in this promise there lay no declaration 
.whatever of determination to maintain the Constitution, but 
only a promise not to oppose it. 2 

Those who had not taken the oath could make such a 
promise with a good conscience, and such a man as the Abbe 
Emery at Saint-Sulpice advised all to do so. Many, therefore, of 
those who had not taken the oath now returned to work in the 
Church. But the bishops who had emigrated would not acquiesce 
in even so slight a recognition of the Revolution as this ; they 
hoped to work for the restoration of the old regime by resisting 

1 S£ch£ I, 159. 

• J E. Meric : Histoire de M. £mery II, iof. 


at all points the new order of things in France. This was, in the 
opinion of the Abbe" Emery, the same as sacrificing religion for 
illusions, 1 and many agreed with him in this. Accordingly, 
Bonaparte, when he took in hand the arrangement of ecclesi- 
astical affairs, encountered not only the old tension between 
those who had taken the oath and those who had not, but 
within the ranks of these last an antagonism between those 
who dreamt of a restoration of the order of things which 
preceded the French Revolution, and those who were willing to 
make peace with the new order, provided only that the recon- 
ciliation were sanctioned by the successor of St Peter. 

1 "On s'irnagine par la," he wrote on 20th September 1800 (Menc II, 13), to 
the Abbe Romeuf, "ramener l'ancien regime: on se trompe cl on sacrifie a dcs 
illusions la religion." 



In Italy also, and not least in the Papal States, the French 
Revolution caused great and violent alterations. 

The Conclave which met in 1774 after the death of Clement 
XIV. had contained the same conflicting parties as the Conclave 
of 1769. The Zelanti-were still sharply opposed to the cardinals 
belonging to the Crowned Heads ; and they hoped for the 
restoration of the Jesuit order by means of a new pope of Jesuit 
sympathies, who might obtain support from a minister of one of 
the great Roman Catholic powers, friendly to the Jesuits. The 
Jesuit party had still enough influence to venture to remove the 
inscription on the monument of the late Pope, which spoke of 
his dissolution of the order ; but it could not set Lorenzo Ricci 
free from his imprisonment in the Castle of St Angelo. 

It was very difficult for the Conclave to agree. 1 The 
Spaniards would not acknowledge the candidates of the Zelanti, 
and the Zelanti refused those proposed by the Spaniards. The 
cardinals went into conclave in the Vatican on 5th October 
1774; but at the beginning of the year 1775 there was still 
no prospect of coming to any agreement. A great many of 
the cardinals used in the evening to visit Cardinal Bernis in 
his cell — No. 46 s — to pass the time, and enjoy the sweetmeats 
and fresh confectionery, which were sent into the Conclave 
every day from the hospitable cardinal's kitchen. For a time, 
Cardinal Colonna had obtained many votes, but there could be 

1 [Bourgoing] : Mimoires historiques et philosophiques sur Pie VI. et son 
pontifical (Paris 1793) r < >8f. Petruccelli della Gattina: Histoire diplomatique des 
conclaves IV, 21 if. Masson : Le cardinal de Bernis, 3oof. 

2 A plan of the Conclave in 1774 is to be seen in L. Lector : Le conclave (Paris 
1894). Cp. the text, p. 317. 

I6 5 

166 PIUS VI [chap. 

no question of his election ; he was only a man of straw, who 
was made use of until a real candidate could be found, and 
under the pious surface of the proceedings in the Conclave 
intrigues were carried on, as is usually the case, which were 
far from edifying. Time began, however, to pass heavily for 
the cardinals, and Bernis was longing to see his sick friend, 
the Princess of Santa Croce. When a piece of the wall round 
the Conclave fell down, the story was circulated that the 
accident was due to him, and that he had walked out through 
the opening to visit the princess. 1 Certain it is, that Bernis 
was tired of the incarceration, and he resolved to look out 
for a Zelante who would be sufficiently accommodating to 
the Bourbon Courts for the votes to converge upon him. 
Bernis' choice fell upon Braschi, the least dangerous of all 
the Zelanti. On 12th February he informed Braschi, that 
the Bourbons wanted a pope who, without giving any definite 
verbal or written promise before his election, would offer some 
hopes of confirming by a new brief or a bull the brief of 
Clement XIV. with regard to the abolition of the Society of 
Jesus ; who would either solemnly repeal the Bull of Maundy 
Thursday, or would at least consign it to oblivion ; and who 
would say nothing about any claims to Parma, Piacenza, and 
the Two Sicilies. Braschi considered that these wishes were 
reasonable, and he became Bernis' candidate accordingly. On 
the following evening Bernis settled with the future pope how 
the Secretaryship of State and other high posts were to be 
filled, and on 14th February he went the round of the cells 
in order to win over the Austrian and Spanish cardinals, who 
had scruples about giving their votes to Braschi. On 15th 
February the final voting took place, and Bernis' candidate 
received the votes of all the other cardinals. 

Giovanni Angelo Braschi, of Cesena, who after some hesita- 
tion between Clement XV. and Benedict XV., chose to be 
called Pius VI., was a handsome man with a dignified 
demeanour and graceful movements. Everybody praised his 
rhetorical gifts and his ingratiating manner, but everybody 
knew also that he was beyond measure vain. When Luynes 
and Bernis, the two French cardinals, reported to their govern- 

1 Rivera in a despatch of 28th January 1775, Petruccelli della Gattina IV, 234. 
Cp. Masson 3i6f. 


ment that the Conclave was ended, they described the new 
Pope as fifty-seven years of age, an honest nobleman with- 
out favourites, and morally pure and well educated ; but the 
despatch ends cautiously with the following words : " God 
alone knows the heart, and men can only judge by appear- 
ances. The new Pope's manner of governing will show, 
whether, before his election, we saw his face or only his 
mask." 1 

While the cardinals were in conclave, Rome had been 
flooded with satirical writings and pasquinades of the most 
offensive sort. 2 Several of them were burned on the Piazza 
Colonna by the executioner ; but the scoffing did not cease 
because of that. The spirit of the eighteenth century had 
pervaded Italy also. Statesmen such as Firmian in Lombardy, 
Du Tillot in Parma, Rinuccini, Pallavicini and Gianni in 
Tuscany, Tanucci in Naples, Caracciolo and Simonetti in 
Sicily, were more or less under the influence of the French 
philosophy and the Gallican canon law. After the abolition 
of the Spanish dominion in Italy, a fresh current of thought 
passed through the peninsula, and the Spanish influence was 
succeeded by a strong influence from France. It was Voltaire, 
Rousseau, and the Encyclopaedists, who took up the inheritance 
of Loyola and the stiff and gloomy Spaniards. When the 
Italian universities were reformed, after the expulsion of the 
Jesuits, they nearly all came into the hands of the men of 
free thought, and from them proceeded a strong opposi- 
tion to the Church. The ruins of Pompeii, Herculaneum, 
and Psestum, which were brought again to light, gave, like 
the discovery of ancient remains in the days of the Humanists, 
the impulse to a new humanistic paganism, and the discovery 
of several of the writings of Greek thinkers had an influence 
similar to that of the treasures of the Byzantine libraries 
when they reached the west in the latter part of the Middle 
Ages. The effect of the antique might be traced at the end 
of the eighteenth century in every branch of intellectual life, 
and not least in art, from architecture to the style of furniture 
and the very cut of people's clothes. Even the morals of 
antiquity were revived. " In the morning a short Mass, in 

1 Masson, 314, partly already in Mimoirts sur Pie VI, 2<)f. 

2 Ibid., 307^ 

168 PIUS VI [chap. 

the afternoon a game of basset, in the evening a sweetheart," 
said a Venetian proverb ; x and the Cicisbeati undermined 
married life both in the higher and in the lower walks of life. 

In spite of the fulminations of the Church Freemasonry 
nourished in Italy, and the Illuminati obtained not a few 
followers south of the Alps. A host of pamphlets appeared 
containing bold attacks upon the Church, the Pope, and the 
scholastic theology. As early as 1723 Pietro Giannone 2 had 
published his Istoria civile del Regno di Napoli, in which, 
without wishing to break with the Church, he scoffed at saints 
and indulgences, and adopted a critical attitude towards the 
miracle of the blood of St Januarius. Although his book 
was dedicated to Charles VI. and published with the per- 
mission of the Vicegerent, it was placed upon the Index as 
an offensive and seditious writing, full of affronts to all ecclesi- 
astical authority, and especially to the see of St Peter. 3 Two 
years later, another Neapolitan, Giambattista Vico,* under the 
title : " Principles of a New Science regarding the Nature of 
Races," published a smaller but not less famous work ; for in his 
Scienza Nuova Vico, although his views are based on defective 
historical and philosophical premises, yet — as Goethe said — 
gathered together with remarkable intuition all the historical 
points of view of former times into a " mighty unity," a 
philosophy of history, which is also rich in deep insight into 
the philosophy of language. The philosopher and political 
economist, Antonio Genovesi, 5 the disciple of Leibnitz and 
Locke, proposed to Tanucci that theology should be banished 
from the University of Naples in order that history and 
physics might take its place ; and in his lectures on Political 
Economy, delivered at Naples in 1755, and published in 1765, 
Genovesi spoke against the celibacy of the clergy and the 
right of the monasteries to own property, and maintained 
that the State had a right to confiscate the goods of the 
Church. He was called in consequence by his antagonists, 
such as Mamachi, an enemy of religion and the State. But 

1 Petruccelli della Gattina IV, 251. 

2 Settembrini : Lezioni di letteratura Italiana (Napoli 1872) III, 25f. 

3 Reusch : Index II, 784^ 

4 B. Fontana : Lafilosofia della storia nei pensatori Italiani (Imola 1873). 

5 Settembrini III, 53f. M. Brosch : Geschichte des Kirchenstaates II, 9f. 


in spite of all opposition of the Church, the Philosophy of 
Sense, which he advocated, made great progress amongst 
the Italian youth. 

An anti-religious spirit appeared also amongst lawyers like 
Gaetano Filangieri and Cesare Beccaria; and Metastasio 
mentions that in his youth there was an ardente falange anti- 
Vaticana of Neapolitan jurists. 1 Filangieri not only wished to 
wrest the schools from the guardianship of the Church, but 
according to his view the State ought also to watch over the 
education of priests. Although Beccaria, " to escape the bonds 
of superstition and the howls of fanaticism," resolved to conceal 
the full significance of his message in a cloud of words, his 
book Dei delitti e delle pene contained a crushing condemnation 
of the Inquisition and of torture, and with this famous book a 
new era commenced in criminal law, which was more needed 
in Italy than anywhere else. Natural science received a new 
impetus from the discoveries of Volta and Galvani, and in 
Italy, as elsewhere, contempt for the Church and Christianity 
became for many the first result of the reviving study of the 
forces of Nature. 

It was thus in a society deeply rent by humanism and 
scepticism that Pius VI. took over the inheritance of St Peter, 
in the secret hope of regaining for the Papacy the tried support 
of Jesuitism. The favourites of Clement XIV. soon learned 
that the new Pope did not approve of the church policy of his 
predecessor ; and although Pius VI. at first proceeded with the 
greatest caution, it was soon discovered what was the most 
ardent wish of this Zelante. In spite of the eagerness of Spain 
to have Bishop Juan de Palafox 2 placed among the Blessed, 
Pius VI. delayed the process of beatification, and at last it was 
stopped by an imperative message from the Pope in 1777 ; it 
was asserted that the correspondence of that enemy of the 
Jesuits with the theologians of Louvain had given the Advocatus 
diaboli plenty of ground for assailing his orthodoxy. 3 On the 
other hand, Pius VI. dared not, especially out of regard for 
Spain, to open the gates of the Castle of Sant' Angelo for Lorenzo 
Ricci ; but when, as Bernis wrote home, 4 " Providence ordered 

1 Settembrini III, 25. 2 See p. 74. 

3 Mimoires sur Pie VI. I, 39f. 

4 Masson, 326. 


things so well" that the Jesuit General died (24th November 
1775), his imprisoned assistants were immediately released. 

Before the death of Ricci, Pius VI. had already entered upon 
secret negotiations with Frederick II. regarding the Jesuits. 
Bernis reported to his government in October 1775 that the 
Prussian king, who had no envoy in Rome, had been negotiat- 
ing with the Pope by means of a certain Abate Ciofani, who 
was much attached to the Jesuits. The headquarters of the 
negotiations was not Rome, however, but Warsaw, where 
Garampi, one of the allies of the Jesuits, was nuncio. 1 The 
brief of Clement XIV. inhibited such Jesuits as would not 
acknowledge the dissolution of their order from the per- 
formance of all priestly offices ; but Pius VI. allowed Garampi 
to give permission to the bishops of Silesia and Prussian 
Poland to grant the Jesuits the right to minister in spite of 
refusing obedience to the brief. For Frederick II., in spite of 
the brief of dissolution, looked upon the Jesuits in Prussia as 
a lawful society ; the Prussian Jesuits received novices as usual, 
and they thought of electing a new General after the death of 
Ricci, but contented themselves with a vicar-general for Silesia. 
Pius played a double part, inasmuch as openly, out of regard 
for the Bourbons, he spoke against the contumacy of the 
Prussian Jesuits, whilst secretly he approved of it. 

In June 1776 it was even rumoured, that there had been 
issued, from the Secretariate for Memorials, which was managed 
by Rezzonico, the friend of the Jesuits, a rescript whereby the 
ex-Jesuits obtained permission to use the office peculiar to 
their society, " as if the Pope still considered the society as in 
being." France and Spain, however, made strong representa- 
tions ; and Tanucci declared on behalf of Naples that that 
kingdom would not hereafter in the usual solemn way 
deliver to the Pope, on the Feast of St Peter and St Paul, the 
customary tribute consisting of a white steed and ten thousand 
Roman gulden. It was no small grief to the vain Pope, who 
liked to seize upon every opportunity of appearing in full 
splendour, to be obliged to renounce the imposing scene, and 
in order to appease the Bourbon Courts he cancelled the rescript 
to the ex-Jesuits. Bernis was so pleased with this compliance 

1 Masson, 33of. Cp. Brosch II, 141, where there are fragments of Venetian 


that he confidently wrote home : " If this Pope should be so 
foolish as to work for the revival of the Society, he will meet 
with a general and unsurmountable opposition from the Courts, 
whether they be enemies or friends of the Jesuits." * 

But towards the end of the year 1776, fate was indeed 
extraordinarily kind to the disciples of Loyola. Just when 
the Bourbon Courts began to draw together for a joint resistance 
to the double game of Pius VI., important changes took place 
in political circles. Tanucci at Naples was succeeded by the 
Marquis de la Sambucca ; Don Jose Monino was recalled to 
Madrid to become the premier of Spain ; in this way he 
became occupied with other matters than keeping an eye on 
the friendliness of Pius VI. towards the Jesuits ; and Pombal 
in Portugal fell into disgrace. Thus there disappeared at one 
moment from the political arena three of the most formidable 
opponents of the Jesuits ; and Bernis was quite prepared to 
see the Queen of Portugal, who after the fall of Pombal seemed 
inclined to turn her court into une veritable capuciniere, make up 
her mind to demand the re-establishment of the Society of Jesus. 

Under such circumstances the ex-Jesuits took fresh heart, 
and in Catherine II. of Russia they found a well-wisher, who 
was able greatly to befriend them. 2 The two hundred and one 
Jesuits in White Russia and Lithuania were among the first 
to take the oath of fealty to the Empress, and this procured 
for their superiors the most friendly reception when later on 
they met in St Petersburg to do homage to Catherine. When 
the brief of Clement XIV. was issued, Tchernichef, the Governor 
of White Russia, who was a friend of the Jesuits, prohibited 
under most heavy penalties the introduction of Roman decrees 
into Russia. The Russian Jesuits therefore were able to act 
as if the brief Dominus ac redemptor noster did not exist. It 
is said that they asked Catherine's permission to obey the 
bidding of the Pope, but that the Orthodox Empress replied 
that she wished to keep the Society of Jesus as it was. No 
doubt their petition was more or less of a pretence, and the 
reply of the Empress was scarcely unwelcome to them. 

1 Masson, 334. 

8 Cp. Masson, 337f., mainly following : La compagnie dejisus conservte en RussU 
aprh la suppression de 1773. Ricit dun Jisuite de la Russie Blanche (Taxis, 1872), 
and : Un Nonce du Pape a la cour de Catherine II. Mimoires d'Archetti (Paris 1872). 


So zealous was Catherine II. for the welfare of the Jesuits, 
that she begged Garampi to consecrate a convert named 
Stanislaus Siestrzencevicz, who had been educated as a 
Calvinist, to be Bishop of Mallo in partibus, that he might 
become apostolic visitor in White Russia. Before his consecra- 
tion Siestrzencevicz solemnly promised the Empress to allow 
the Jesuits to live as heretofore. Thus Russia became an 
asylum for all the Polish, German, and Italian Jesuits. The 
Bishop of Mallo took upon himself to ordain to the priesthood 
a number of Jesuit scholastici. In later times writers on the 
Jesuit side, mainly relying upon a letter attributed to the 
former Polish minister, the Marquis Antici, have asserted that 
the Russian Jesuits on these points acted under the sanction 
of the Pope. 1 - 

A great deal of what we now know about the state of 
affairs in Russia was unknown to the diplomatists of those 
days. In his relations with these, Pius VI. continued his 
ambiguous policy. His constant excuse was that he had no 
power either over a Protestant prince like Frederic II., nor 
over a schismatic like Catherine. But Bernis was at his post. 
As soon as he heard that the Marquis Antici — whom he calls 
"the ecumenical minister," in reference to the many Courts 
he had served since he had been in Poland — had obtained a 
brief permitting the ex-Jesuits at Cologne to live in community, 
and to teach and preach, he sounded such an alarm that the 
brief, which was already issued, was torn to pieces in his 
presence. 2 But in Russia the Jesuits continued their activities, 
and Rome did not desist from its double game. As Bernis 
wrote to his government, it was not displeasing to the Pope that 
" seed of the Jesuits " should be preserved in remote countries, 3 
and with the sanction of Catherine II. the Russian Jesuits, on 
9th October 1782, elected Father Stanislaus Czernievicz as 
vicar-general with the authority of General. 4 

This was open rebellion against the brief of Clement XIV, 
and the step taken by the Russian Jesuits caused the greatest 

1 S. Sanguinetti : La compagnie de Jisus et son existence canonique dans tlglise 
(Paris 1884), 4o6f. The letter is without name, but, says S., "on reconnait aisement 
la facon d'ecrire du marquis Antici." 

2 Masson, 345. 3 Ibid., 358. 
* Ibid., 365. 


indignation, both at Versailles and at Madrid. But help against 

the rebels was not to be expected from Pius VI. Already, in 

April 1780, he is supposed, in conversation with Cardinal Calino, 

to have called the dissolution of the Society of Jesus " a true 

mystery of iniquity," and to have promised to seize the first 

opportunity for its re-establishment, maintaining that Clement 

XIV. was not in full possession of his mental faculties, either 

before or after the dissolution, 1 and just when the representatives 

of France and Spain in Rome were urgent to wring from Pius 

VI. a disapproval of the doings of the Russian Jesuits, Catherine 

II. informed him that in that case she would deprive all her 

Roman Catholic subjects of the free exercise of their religion. 2 

That this threat might not be carried into effect, Pius VI. made 

haste to satisfy all Catherine's wishes, but he sent at the same 

time to the Kings of France and Spain a brief which solemnly 

confirmed the brief of dissolution, and condemned the conduct 

of the Bishop of Mallo, as far as it was at variance with that 

brief. 3 If this new brief had been published, the duplicity of 

Pius VI. would have been patent to everybody, but the new 

Spanish representative at Rome, Florida-Blanca, partly out of 

respect for Russia, and partly out of attachment to the Pope, 

deemed it best to put off the publication. It became possible 

therefore for Pius VI. to continue his perfidious policy. Soon 

after, in March 1783, the Bishop of Mallo, who in the meantime 

had become Archbishop of Mohilev, sent his coadjutor to Rome 

to request, in the name of the Empress, 4 the Pope's recognition 

of the doings of the Jesuits in White Russia. Pius VI. told 

Bernis that he had expressed to this coadjutor his serious 

disapproval of the former Bishop of Mallo's conduct, 6 but the 

coadjutor himself swore, two years afterwards, that the Pope in 

reality had thrice repeated to him : Approbo Rossos Jesuitas ! 6 

1 Sanguinetti, 395f. ' 2 Masson, 365. 

3 The Brief (29th January 1783) says : ' ' Improbantesque ilia Mallensis acta, quae 
Apostolicis fel. rec. Clementis XIV. Prsedecessoris nostri in forma Brevis Uteris die 
21 Julii 1773 datis adversarentur." Theiner : Clementis XIV. Epistola et Brevia 379. 

4 " Ce qui Siestrzencevicz a fait en faveur des Jesuites, il ne l'a pas fait de sa 
propre autoritl ; mais par l'ordre de Catherine II. elle-meme." Mimoires d'Archetti, 
20 and 126. 

5 Despatches of 4th and 12th March 1783. Masson, 367. 

* Masson, 367, following La compagnie de Jisus conservte en Russie, 98. In 
connexion with the preceding, see also Count D. Tolstoy : Romanism in Russia 
(London 1S74) I, 328. 


Shortly after this, there were one or two incidents at 
Rome, which showed how completely Pius VI. had become 
by degrees the slave of Jesuitism. A French beggar, Benoit 
Joseph Labre, from a village in the diocese of Boulogne-sur- 
mer, who had lived nine years in Rome, died on 16th April 
1783. At once it began to be said that he was a saint. 
The Romans spoke with enthusiasm about his holy un- 
cleanliness and his long prayers at the church doors. It 
was soon reported also that he had worked miracles and 
had entrusted his confessor with important prophecies. 1 This 
confessor, Marconi, who wrote his life, was an ardent adherent 
of the Jesuits, and Bernis saw at once that the Jesuit party 
was at the back of this enthusiasm for Labre, which was 
turning the superstitious and ignorant city upside down. The 
excitement cooled somewhat, when a letter from Labre was 
found in France, in which he recommended the reading of 
the works of the Jansenist Oratorian, Pere Lejeune, and at 
the same time it was discovered at Rome, that Labre was 
accustomed to get good food and drink at an osteria, so that 
doubts began to arise with regard to the severity of his 
asceticism. Furthermore, Marconi, who called himself with 
pride his confessor, had in reality only heard his confession 
twice. 2 

After these discoveries, the ex-Jesuit, Zaccaria, thought 
it prudent to drop that sketch of the holy man's life which 
he was engaged in writing; but fanaticism and enthusiasm 
could not be restrained by critical researches. It was said 
that Labre had worked miracles, not only at Rome, but in 
France as well, and Pius VI. interested himself in the slandered 
saint. In defiance of the remonstrances of Bernis, he put 
everything in train for the process of beatification ; and in 
the very middle of the Revolution, on 31st March 1792, when 
Bernis was no longer able to watch his actions, he began 
the apostolic "process," and declared Labre the Venerable. 
It was a triumph for the Jesuits ; and although both they 
and the Pope soon had other matters to think of than 

1 One of the most trustworthy sources for the life of Labre is Bernis' despatches 
of the year 1783. They are collected in Appendix XIV. to Saint-Priest's Histoire de 
la chute des Jisuites, 335-345. See also Mimoires sur Pie VI. I, 74ft 

2 Despatch of Bernis, 19th July 1783, Saint-Priest, 34of. 


processes of beatification, the French beggar was not 
forgotten. On 20th May 1861, he was beatified, and on 
8th December 1881, Leo XIII. canonised him. 

In 1792, when the process of Labre's beatification was 
set in motion, the re-establishment of the order of Loyola was 
also seriously considered. 1 It was thought that the unbeliev- 
ing philosophy would hardly have gained so many conquests 
if the order had not been suppressed. Even a diplomatist like 
Aranda, the Spanish representative in Rome, who formerly 
had been very fierce against the Jesuits, now hoped to find 
in the re-established order an ally against the Revolution. 
But it was still too soon to call for "the strong and well- 
tried pilots " ; only in the atmosphere of a general European 
reaction could the solemn re-establishment of the hated order 
be spoken of. Pius VI. had to be satisfied with such triumphs 
as the recantation of Febronius, and the victories over the 
Electors at Ems and the Bishop of Pistoja, and, as we have 
seen, even those victories were crossed by bitter humiliations. 

The home government of Pius VI. was fairly energetic, 
but not successful. 2 Clement XIV. had endeavoured to effect 
a balance in the budget by diminishing his expenses. Only 
when enterprises of general utility or of science were in 
question, was he liberal. But Pius VI. was anything but 
economical. He endeavoured by a new fiscal system, and 
in other ways, to obtain larger revenues for the papal treasury. 
Still it was much easier to reduce the expenditure than to 
increase the revenue, and the new taxes created much dis- 
content. The Jubilee year of 1775 did not bring, as in the 
Middle Ages, a flood of gold pieces to Rome ; but it gave 
Pius the opportunity to exhibit himself often in splendid 
attire, and to elicit from the many spectators admiration 
for his fine hands and his small feet. " Quanto e bello ! " was 
the exclamation that usually met him on the part of the 
Roman women, but with the addition, more flattering for a 
pope, " Tanto e bello quanto e santo ! " 

The most debated of all Pius VI.'s civic enterprises was 
the draining of the Pontine marshes. 3 Many were enthusiastic 

1 See Ant. Capello's despatch of 28th April 1792, in Brosch II, 189. 

2 Brosch II, I44f. 

1 Mimoires de Pie VI. I, I25f, and Brosch II, isof. 

176 PIUS VI [chap. 

about this undertaking, but the enthusiasm soon subsided. 
It became evident that Pius VI. had wished, by carrying 
out his project, to gain the reputation of an engineer, without 
having any of the qualifications. Before one third of the 
marshes had been converted into dry ground, all the money 
which the whole undertaking should have cost was used up. It 
had been expected that the arable land so reclaimed would in 
a short time repay the cost of drainage ; but this hope failed 
completely. The Romans were scandalised when Pius VI. 
gave to a relation of his, who already called himself " Duke " 
Braschi, the reclaimed land in perpetual lease. It looked like 
an anachronistic attempt to get a principality for a pope's 

The draining of the Pontine marshes was by no means 
the only enterprise that exhausted the papal treasury and 
brought the finances of Pius VI. into hopeless disorder. The 
Renaissance ideas floating in the air of Rome had infected him. 
He desired to carry his name down to posterity as a builder. 
The architect, Carlo Marchionne, was bidden to make plans for 
a sacristy for St Peter's. When completed, this sacristy was 
not as large as Pius had thought it would be ; but, as it 
stands, with its three magnificent apartments, adorned with 
dazzling splendour, it cost more than 1,500,000 Roman 
gulden. The pompous inscription above the main entrance, 
which announces to coming generations that it was erected 
according to the wish of the people {publica vota), must not be 
taken too literally. A few days after it was set up, the following 
disavowal could be read underneath it : — 

" Publica ! mentiris. Non publica vota fuere, 
Sed tumidi ingenii vota fuere tui." 1 

The Romans had quickly seen through the vainglorious 
Pope, who never omitted to mark any statue or work of art 
which he had himself added to the collections of the Vatican 
with the words : Munificentia Pit Sexti, and who in the so- 
called Museo Pio-Clementino has erected the finest monument 
to his munificentia. 

With the French Revolution began the great humiliations of 
1 Mimoires de Pie VI. I, 94. 


Pius VI. In Austria it was believed that he was at the 
bottom of the disturbances in Tuscany and the insurrection in 
Belgium, which latter — like a prophecy of that covenant between 
Ultramontanism and Liberalism, which later on was struck 
in Belgium — was in fact led by the Archbishop of Malines 
and a Liberal advocate. If Pius VI. really played with the 
revolutionary fire in Tuscany and Belgium, he was cruelly 
punished for it by all the disasters which the French Revolution 
and its sequel brought upon his head. We have seen what 
horror the Civil Constitution of the clergy and the occupation 
of Avignon and Venaissin created in Rome. During the days 
of the Directory misfortunes came still closer home to the 

Shortly after France became a Republic, the French 

diplomatist, Hugou de Bassville, who had been sent to Rome 

in November 1792 to discover the weak points in the papal 

government, 1 had the Bourbon fleur-de-lis removed from the 

post office, and from the Palazzo Mancini, where the French 

Academy had its home ; and later on the statue of Louis XVI. 

in the Academy was thrown down. The papal Secretary of 

State informed Bassville at once that his master did not approve 

of displacing the fleur-de-lis in favour of the device of the 

"so-called" Republic. The ill-will towards France in certain 

circles was very great. When the French diplomatist, with 

some countrymen of his, drove down the Corso on 13th January 

x 793> bis carriage was attacked in the Piazza Colonna by a 

crowd of people, who seem to have been set on by one or two 

abb6s, and Bassville was mortally wounded. 2 The circle of 

French artists, who had their place of resort in the Academy 

at the Palazzo Mancini, and whose sympathies were with the 

Revolution, were greatly exasperated by his death ; and the 

exasperation was not less in Paris. The Moniteur spoke about 

laying the Vatican in ashes ; and notwithstanding their many 

anxieties at home and abroad, the Parisians did not forget to 

demand revenge upon the murderers of Bassville. 3 

On 26th April 1796 General Bonaparte issued from his 
headquarters at Cherasco a proclamation, in which he called 

1 F. Masson : Les diplomates de la revolution (Paris 1882), section : Hugou de 
Bassville d. Rome, 1$. 

a Ibid., 84. 3 Ibid., III. 

VOL. I. M 

178 PIUS VI [chap. 

upon his victorious troops to carry liberty, not only to Turin 
and Milan, but also to Rome, " where the murderers of Bassville 
are still trampling on the ashes of those who vanquished the 
Tarquins." 1 On 15th May he made his entry into Milan ; and 
on 19th June he came to Bologna, where already in 1794 
some young Italians had endeavoured to raise an insurrection, 
and had decked themselves with the Italian tricolour, formed 
of the white and red colours of Bologna, together with the 
green of hope. Immediately upon the arrival of Bonaparte 
the Senate of Bologna took the oath of fealty to the French 
Republic, and in the course of a short time Ferrara, Ravenna, 
Imola, and Faenza were in the power of the French. Every- 
where in the conquered places the Pope's coat of arms was 
taken down, and trees of liberty were planted ; and Bonaparte 
was preparing to go through Romagna and the Marches to 
Rome, to take revenge for Bassville. 

In his hour of need Pius VI. besought the Tuscan statesman, 
the Marchese Manfredini, as the servant of a neutral power, 
to go to Bologna and make an attempt to stop the advancing 
enemy. 2 With Manfredini went Lorenzo Pignotti, who hoped 
to win the heart of Bonaparte by using in honour of the young 
commander a stanza of Tasso's about Godfrey of Bouillon. But 
neither the words of Manfredini nor the verse of Tasso made 
any impression on the victorious warrior. The Spanish repre- 
sentative in Rome, Don Jose d'Azara, who next attempted to 
incline Bonaparte more favourably towards the Pope, was not 
more successful. 3 When D'Azara proposed to let Pius VI. off 
with paying four or five million lire for expenses of war, 
Bonaparte became furious, and called it an insult to the French 
nation to imagine that its enemy could get off so cheaply. He 
gave such free course to his ill-humour that at last D'Azara 
withdrew to his apartment, shedding tears of shame. 4 On 23rd 
June 1796 it came at last to a very burdensome truce for Rome. 6 
Besides the cession of Bologna and Ferrara, it laid upon the 

1 Correspondance de NapoUon I. (Paris 1858) I, 219. 

2 A. von Reumont : Geschichte Toscanas II, 27of. 

3 Pius VI. 's memorandum of 12th June 1796 in Seche I, 181. The reader will 
there find a reproduction of D'Azara's diplomatic papers, from the archives at AIcalA. 

4 H. von Sybel : Geschichte der Revolutionszeit (Diisseldorf 1870) IV, 203f, 
following the statement of Belmonte. 

6 Correspondance de NapoUon I. I, 527^ 


Curia heavy compensation for the family of Bassville. Five 
hundred valuable manuscripts and a hundred works of art 
were to be delivered over, besides provisions to the value of 
five and a half million lire, and a war indemnity of fifteen 
millions and a half. 

To arrive at an agreement about the final conditions of 
peace, Pius VI. sent Count Pierracchi to Paris. The Papal 
representative could not expect to find much good-will on the 
part of the Directory. Carnot was the only one of the Directors 
who did not wish to see a Roman republic raised on the 
ruins of the Papacy. For Lareveillere-Lepeaux the successor 
of St Peter was a rival ; Catholicism was the successful 
competitor with Theophilanthropism. And Rewbell had the 
genial idea, that if it was not possible to get rid of the Papacy 
altogether, it would be well to get two or more popes at once, 
so that republicans, and royalists, and the various States, might 
have one apiece ; only care must be taken that the Pope of the 
French Republic should dwell at Rome. 1 

To appease the men of the Revolution, Pierracchi brought 
with him a brief to all faithful Catholic Christians dwelling in 
France and in communion with the Papal See. 2 In this letter, 
Pius VI. appealed to the recipients to keep the peace and to 
show due submission to the powers that be, reminding them 
that the Roman Church, like St Paul, teaches that authority 
is from God. It was the first time that Pius VI. had spoken 
in this way with reference to the French Republic ; and the 
letter caused great irritation among the Roman Zelanti, who 
maintained that obedience could only be demanded for legiti- 
• mate authorities, and never for usurping ones. Most of the 
priests who had taken the oath to the Constitution disseminated 
the letter with joy, as a proof that they had acted correctly ; 
but some of them, more clear-sighted than the rest, had some 
misgivings with regard to the form in which the address was 
couched, and also as to certain expressions in the letter itself. 
Those who had not taken the oath were as dissatisfied with it 
as the Zelanti at Rome. 

1 S£che I, 34, after one of Rewbell's despatches in connexion with the approach- 
ing Conclave. 

2 Seche I, 20. The address in the French translation is as follows : "A tous les 
fideles du Christ, catholiques r&idant en France, qui sont en communion avec le Saint- 
Siege apostolique." 


On 26th July Count Pierracchi was presented by the Spanish 
representative in Paris, the Marquis del Campo, to the French 
Foreign Secretary, Delacroix ; but it was not till 12th August 
that negotiations began. Delacroix at once rode the high 
horse, and informed Pierracchi that it would be the easiest thing 
in the world for France to change all the principalities of Italy 
into revolutionary states. 1 The first demand of Delacroix on 
behalf of the Directory was a distinct and explicit withdrawal 
of all the violent and contemptuous expressions that the Pope 
had used in bulls and briefs with regard to the French 
Revolution. The above-mentioned brief to the faithful 
Catholics in France was in Delacroix's view inadequate ; and 
as the Foreign Secretary and Pierracchi could not agree about 
an altered drafting of the article referring to the withdrawal 
of earlier bulls and briefs, the negotiations were hastily broken 
off. On 23rd August the Papal envoy received orders to 
leave Paris at the earliest possible moment, together with his 
Secretary of Legation, because it had been clearly shown that 
he had not sufficient authority to make the requisite submission. 2 
After the victory of Bonaparte over General Wurmser and 
the Austrians, the Directory thought that there was no need 
to wait so long a time as would elapse before Pierracchi could 
get the necessary instructions from Rome. It was much 
simpler to entrust to the victorious General of the army in Italy 
the duty of negotiating directly with the Pope. 

While the peace negotiations were in progress, it seems 
that there were also negotiations tending to nothing less 
than the conclusion of a new Concordat with Rome. If we 
may venture to believe the memoirs left by the Papal Nuncio 
at Paris during the Revolution, Mgr. de Salamon, which were 
published a few years ago by the Abbe Bridier, Pierracchi 
played also the part of second to Salamon in conducting 
confidential negotiations for a Concordat. 3 Mgr. Salamon 
says: "The Directory made many concessions in order to 

1 The Marquis del Campo's despatch to D'Azara, 13th August 1796. Seche I, 

a "Cette latitude de pouvoirs dont elle [Sa Sainted] ne pouvait se dissimuler la 
necessity." The letter and the decree of expulsion are given in Seche I, 47. 

3 Mimoires inddits de Finternonce a Paris pendant la revolution (Paris 1890), 


induce His Holiness to confirm the Civil Constitution of the 
clergy. Half of the old bishops were to have been recalled, 
and restored to their former sees, and half of the bishops 
who had taken the oath were to have been retained. When 
an episcopal see was vacant, the Directory was to propose 
three persons, of whom the Pope was to select one." The 
draft of this Concordat, according to Mgr. Salamon, was 
actually printed ; but when a further oath was demanded from 
the bishops and priests, Pius VI. peremptorily rejected it. 

These negotiations for a Concordat have hitherto been 
altogether unknown, and men as much at home in those 
times as Boulay de la Meurthe, who edited the documents 
relating to the history of the actual Concordat, are very 
sceptical with regard to the revelations of the Papal Nuncio. 
It is certainly an extraordinary thing that this attempt to 
make a Concordat does not seem to have been mentioned at all 
at the conclusion of the Concordat of 1801. Silence with 
regard to the negotiations in 1796 can perhaps be explained 
by the fact that Rome did not feel inclined to take up former 
negotiations which were based upon a partial recognition of 
the bishops who had taken the obnoxious oath, and of the 
Civil Constitution. Besides this, Rome in 1801 stood face 
to face with a different government from that of 1796. From 
other sources 1 we learn that Pierracchi brought with him 
two cardinals' hats, of which the one seems to have been 
destined for Gregoire, the other for Bishop Saurine, who 
also had taken the oath. 2 It is, furthermore, a fact that 
Pierracchi during his three or four weeks' stay in Paris had 
dealings with the bishops of that party, who were on friendly 
terms with Carnot. 3 Salamon's account, therefore, is not wholly 
untrustworthy, but we are for the present unable to check 
the details of his story. Only so much is certain that he 
was disposed to over-rate his own importance ; and it is 
difficult to believe that the Directory really intended to 
make a Concordat with Rome, even on the basis of a partial 
acceptance of the Civil Constitution. Possibly it was a case 
in which Carnot acted on his own account. 

At Rome hopes were entertained of escaping the humiliat- 
ing conditions of peace by gaining time. When D'Azara 
1 Gazier, 127. 2 Cp. p. 155. 3 Sichi I, 41. 


returned from Bologna he was received as a deliverer ; but 
he was little edified by the state of things in the city of 
St Peter. He was scandalised by the endless processions, 
and by the streams of people who visited images of the 
Madonna that opened and shut their eyes. In spite of his 
devotion to the Pope, this Spanish nobleman was a child of 
the eighteenth century. When Miot, the French ambassador 
to Tuscany, and some other French agents, came to Rome, 
by Bonaparte's orders, to enforce the conditions of the armistice, 
there were frequent scenes in the streets. The Pope and 
the inhabitants of Rome were compelled to part with their 
art treasures ; and there was such eagerness in Paris to get 
hold of them that the notion was entertained of offering 
Pius VI. a famous old image of St Anne from a Carmelite 
monastery at Auray in exchange for this or that object 
of art. 1 

As soon as Wurmser crept forward, the English-Neapolitan 
party took courage again, and Pius VI. determined to make an 
attempt to induce Bologna and Ferrara to throw off the French 
yoke. But the appeal which he sent to the Senate of Bologna 
was immediately despatched to Bonaparte by the Senate itself, 
and the Archbishop of Ferrara, Cardinal Mattei, who had gone 
to Ferrara, in spite of the armistice, to refix the Papal 
coat of arms, soon became the prisoner of Bonaparte. After 
Wurmser's defeat the Cardinal-Archbishop was arrested and 
conveyed to Brescia, and Pius VI. received a sharp admonition 
to keep better order in his capital, so that French citizens 
there might not be exposed to ill-treatment. At this juncture, 
Pierracchi returned to Rome with the proposal of the Directory 
that the expressions in former bulls and briefs derogatory to 
the Revolution should be withdrawn. The cardinals, who 
were immediately called together, declared it to be impossible 
for the Pope to accede to this request, 2 but DAzara induced 
the Dominicans of Maria sopra Minerva and their General, 
who was a Spaniard, to deliver an elaborate opinion, which 
attempted to prove that the request of the Directory, when 
rightly understood, was not injurious to the doctrine of the 
Church. Furnished with this theological judgment, D'Azara 
went to the Pope, but the acumen of the Dominicans was 
1 S£ch6 I, 57. 2 Ibid., 6of. 


not appreciated by him. He declared to D'Azara that this 
question was settled, and that he intended, by the advice of 
the cardinals, to leave Rome. Preferably he would go to 
Spain; but as D'Azara did not dare to encourage the execution 
of this plan without the permission of his sovereign, he spoke 
of a retreat to Malta. He had already asked the English 
Admiralty to place one or two ships at his disposal, that he 
might safely reach that place of security. He also requested 
D'Azara once more to do the Papacy the favour of accompany- 
ing the Papal negotiator, Mgr. Galeppi, from Rimini to Florence, 
where he was to meet the French commissioners. 

The moment D'Azara was out of Rome, Pius VI. summoned 
the unfortunate Dominican General, and charged him with 
having done incalculable harm to the dignity of the Pope, 
the Papal States, and the whole Church of God, by his incon- 
siderate opinion. A letter from the General to D'Azara affords 
a lively picture of the excited conversation, and shows how 
deeply the successor of St Dominic was hurt, as a theologian, 
a Dominican, and a Spaniard, by the abuse of the wrathful 
Pope. 1 

The negotiations at Florence led to no result. Mgr. Galeppi 
repudiated all idea of retractation, and, when the discussions 
were broken off, Pius VI. appealed to the King of Spain and 
the other Catholic powers. Then a new French diplomatist, 
Cacault, came to Rome in the place of Miot, to look after the 
interests of France in the execution of the provisions of the 
truce. Shortly after appeared an envoy from Naples, desirous 
of concluding a defensive alliance with the Pope. It was 
General Acton, the Machiavellian Minister of King Ferdinand, 
who made this proposal ; but the spies of Bonaparte in Naples 
had already long ago reported what was going on to the French 
headquarters, and Bonaparte immediately made Cacault write 
to Acton and say that a French army would appear on the 
frontier, if he ventured to allow Neapolitan soldiers to enter 
the Papal States. 

To bring the matter to an issue, Bonaparte sent a letter to 

Cardinal Mattei, in which he suggested that Mattei should go 

to Rome and enlighten Pius VI. as to the real state of affairs, 

and with regard to the dangers which might result from 

1 Seche I, 64. The letter is dated 17th September 1796. 


protracted obstinacy on the part of the Papacy. 1 Mattel went ; 
but he found the Pope fully determined to try the fortunes of 
war. Cardinal Albani was sent to Vienna to beg help of 
Austria, and it was hoped in Rome that the victories of France 
would soon be succeeded by defeat. On the feast of the 
Epiphany 1797 the new banners of the Papal army bearing 
the well-known inscription, In hoc signo vinces, were consecrated 
with great solemnity in St Peter's, and the prelate who said 
the Mass addressed to the troops on the occasion some words 
about the approach of a " Holy War." 2 

All the hopes of Rome were quickly shattered. As soon 
as Bonaparte learned that Pius VI. had made an alliance with 
Austria, he ordered Cacault to leave Rome within six hours, 
and then he turned his hand against the Papal States. After 
firing a few shots near Castel Bolognese, the Papal troops 
retired in great haste, whereupon the French occupied Ancona 
without striking a blow, and pushed on as far as Tolentino 
(13th February). The tidings of the fall of Ancona caused 
the greatest consternation at Rome. Pius VI. immediately 
summoned a congregation of cardinals, which resolved that 
the successor of St Peter should flee to the Neapolitan frontier 
with his ministers, while the cardinal-bishops should betake 
themselves to their sees. The costly tiaras of the Pope and 
all his precious stones were packed up, all the cash that 
could be got out of the banks and lending houses was 
gathered together, and on Saturday, nth February, at even- 
tide, the flight was to be accomplished. But when it was 
noised abroad in Rome that Pius VI. was intending to leave, 
a great multitude thronged the piazza of St Peter's, and 
when the Pope was about to mount into his carriage, the 
advocate Bartolucci gathered up courage and made such strong 
remonstrances that the Pope's flight was for the moment given 
up. Instead of doing as he had intended, Pius VI. sent 
Cardinal Mattei, his nephew Braschi, the Marchese Massimi, 
and Mgr. Galeppi to Tolentino to sue for peace. 3 

Bonaparte had shown great humanity and moderation in 
the occupied districts. He kept firm discipline amongst his 

1 Seche I, 8of. 

2 D'Azara's despatch of 13th January 1797. Sech£ I, 249f. 

3 D'Azara's despatch of 18th February 1797. Seche I, 276f. 


troops, and did not allow religion to be outraged. But the 
conditions of peace which he now imposed were naturally more 
rigorous than those at Bologna. By the peace of Tolentino, 
concluded on 19th February, the Pope was obliged to 
abandon his claims upon Avignon and Venaissin, Bologna, 
Ferrara, and Romagna; he was compelled to promise to dis- 
band his army, to deliver up the manuscripts and art treasures 
which were formerly promised, and to pay 15,000,000 lire 
more than were imposed upon him at Bologna. 1 Five days 
later Pius VI. signed the hard and humiliating treaty of peace, 
and he might even count himself happy that Bonaparte, as 
his aide-de-camp, Marmont, says, still allowed himself to be 
so much guided by political calculations and practical con- 
siderations that he was insensible to the honour of entering 
the metropolis of the Christian world as a conqueror. 2 

So far from doing this, Bonaparte sent Marmont to Rome 
to arrange the necessary details for the execution of the terms 
of peace. Pius VI. received the young officer "with dignity 
and kindness," and Marmont found the venerable old man, 
who spoke with interest of Bonaparte, and with admiration of 
the French victories, both impressive and charming ; but he 
was shocked at the levity of the Romans. In the fortnight 
he spent in the town he saw all the inhabitants devoting 
themselves to enjoyment, and the light-mindedness of the 
women, according to his accounts, surpassed all description. 3 
And yet this peace of Tolentino was in reality the beginning 
of the end of the temporal power of the Pope. When 
Bonaparte forwarded the terms of peace to the Directory, he 
accompanied them with a letter showing the importance which 
he himself attached to what France gained at Tolentino. 4 It 
was better, he said, to get the three best provinces of the 
Papal States surrendered by the Pope of his own free will 
than to have taken it all by force ; and the 30,000,000 
lire promised to France were in his estimation worth ten 

1 The conditions are found in Correspondance de NapoUon I. II, 444k 

3 Mimoires du due de Raguse (Paris 1857) I, 262. 

s "Je trouvai la soci&e extremement animee et livree exclusivement aux 
plaisirs ; la facilite des femmes romaines, alors autorisee par les maris, passe toute 
croyance ; un mari parlait des amants de sa femme sans embarras et sans mecon- 
tentement." Mimoires du due de Raguse I, 264C 

4 Correspondance de Napoleon I. II, 442. 

186 PIUS VI [chap. 

times as much to the French as Rome itself. " It is my 
opinion," he writes, " that when Rome has lost Bologna, Ferrara, 
and Romagna, and the thirty millions that we have taken, 
it cannot hold together any longer ; the old machine will fall 
to pieces of itself." D'Azara passed the same judgment on 
the situation. It seemed to him that Rome could not possibly 
fulfil the heavy economic obligations. " The Pope," he writes, 
" will by the cession of all his best provinces become powerless 
and without authority ; and as the party in Rome, which is 
desirous of a change of government, has grown enormously, 
it will be a miracle if a revolution does not take place in 
Rome with incalculable consequences." x 

Even among the cardinals there were some who, like 
Cardinal Doria, 2 clearly perceived the difficulties of the posi- 
tion; and they insisted that Rome should in every particular 
fulfil her obligations, and renounce all thoughts of revenge in 
order to escape still greater calamities. But most of the 
members of the Sacred College, of which an overwhelming 
majority had voted for the fatal breach of the truce, 3 consoled 
themselves with the silent hope that the fortunes of war 
would soon turn, and that Austria or Naples would send help. 
Amongst the adherents of the Zelanti hatred of France and 
the French increased in proportion as the revolutionary 
party, not without incitement from Paris, more and more 
daringly lifted up its head in Rome. On the 21st of October 
the zealous Lareveillere-Lepeaux wrote to Bonaparte, in view 
of the death of the Pope, which was then considered imminent : 
" We must use the opportunity to favour the institution of a 
representative government in Rome, and to deliver the world 
at last from the dominion of the Pope." 4 There were many 
other Frenchmen besides the apostle of Theophilanthropism 
who hoped for the approaching fall of the Papacy. 

The republicans in Rome, however, had not patience enough 
to wait for the Pope's death. In the night between 27th and 
28th December some of them, starting at the Villa Medici on 

1 Despatch of 24th February 1797. SecM I, 288. 

2 Brosch II, 209f. 

3 According to a communication of Pius VI. to the Duke Braschi two-thirds of 
the cardinals had voted for the war ; see D'Azara's despatch of 8th February 1797. 
Sichi I, 273. 

4 L. von Ranke : Hist.-biogr. Studien (Leipzig 1877), 4. 


the Pincian Hill, attempted to plant trees of liberty in several 
places of the town. 1 The military guards easily quelled the 
disturbances that night ; but the next evening the Roman 
republicans assembled in front of the Palazzo Corsini in the 
Via della Longara in Trastevere, where the envoy of France, 
Joseph Bonaparte, was living, and an eventful encounter took 
place, of which the most trustworthy account is given in a 
despatch from Joseph Bonaparte to Talleyrand. 2 According 
to that account, a few of the Roman revolutionaries had already 
visited Joseph Bonaparte on 27th December, to tell him that 
on the following night a revolution would break out in the 
town. Joseph answered that in consequence of his position 
at the Papal Court, he could not become a party to such a 
plot; and he represented to them that the intended revolu- 
tion would be both unprofitable and untimely. No regard 
was paid to these remonstrances. At four o'clock he was 
roused by a great noise, but, as has been said already, the 
tumult was soon quelled, and Joseph slept peacefully that night. 
The day following, when he had heard more of the events 
of the night, he went to the Papal Secretary of State and begged 
him to punish all those Romans, who, not being in the service 
of the Legation, had assumed the French cockade. While he 
was sitting at dinner on the evening of the same day in the 
Palazzo Corsini, the porter brought word that a score of people 
assembled outside were distributing French cockades and 
shouting : " Long live the Republic ! Long live the Roman 
people!" One of them, an artist, whom Joseph Bonaparte 
knew, wished to speak to the Ambassador of France. He 
began by saying : " We are free, and we have come to ask the 
support of France." Joseph advised the excited young man to 
keep quiet, and to exhort his companions to be still, informing 
him that he would not afford the Roman revolutionaries any 
protection whatsoever. After the artist had departed, it was 

1 Mimoires de Pie VI. II, 32if. Thugut's and Cobenzl's despatches in Sybel 
V, if. 

2 Mdmoires et Correspondance du roi Joseph, par A. du Casse (second edition, Paris 
1853) I, p. 174c In harmony with this is a despatch of D'Azara of 29th December 
1797 in Sechi I, i6gf. and 33of. From the papal side we have a report from the 
commandant of the barracks at Ponte Sisto, printed in Artaud : Histoire du pape 
Pie VII. I, p. 45f., and the account of Consalvi in his Mimoires (second edition, 
Paris 1866) II, p. 57f. 

188 PIUS VI [chap. 

announced that the Via della Longara was quite full of people, 
shouting : " Long live the Republic ! " When Joseph heard it, he 
called for the insignia of his ambassadorial rank, and descended 
the stairs to reason with the crowd ; but before he got out of 
the palace he heard an outcry, and the court of the palace was 
full of people, who had taken refuge there, pursued by Papal 
troops. Joseph asked the leader of the troops by what right 
Papal soldiers had entered the premises that were under the 
jurisdiction of France, and ordered them to retire. General 
Duphot, who had followed Joseph Bonaparte, eager as he was, 
sprang in amongst the troops, and followed the crowd down 
the Via della Longara as far as the Porta Settimiana. There 
he dropped down, struck by two bullets, and no sooner was he 
fallen to the ground than many shots were fired upon the 
inanimate corpse, and the clothes were torn off it. 1 

The death of Duphot exasperated the Romans of the French 
party beyond measure, and Joseph Bonaparte quitted Rome 
immediately. The brave young general was next day to have 
married Joseph's sister-in-law, the child sweetheart of General 
Bonaparte, D^siree-Eugdnie Clary, of Marseilles, who later on 
became the wife of Bernadotte. 2 For this reason the death of 
Duphot was in more than one way a source of grief to the 
General of the Italian army, and the Directory was infuriated 
when it received intelligence of what had happened. The 
Moniteur called upon the French nation to shed tears " because 
one of its most distinguished generals had fallen at the hands 
of the priestly assassins at Rome," and General Berthier was 
immediately ordered to march upon that city with 15,000 
soldiers. When the French were two days' journey from the 
town, it was intended that Pius VI. should be forced by 
menaces to flee, so as to avoid laying hands on the successor 
of St Peter. 3 

As soon as the French drew near to Rome, the terrified 
Pope sent out agents with a view to stopping the French 
army, but they were turned away. Not until the gates of 
Rome were reached, would Berthier consent to give them an 

1 D'Azara's despatch, Seche I, p. 170. 

2 Mimoires du roi Joseph I, p. 181. F. Masson: Napolion et les femmes (Paris 
1894), p. 18. 

3 The date of the Order is 14th January 1798 ; it is given in Correspondance de 
Napolion I. Ill, p. 475. 


interview. On 10th February, he had advanced to that 
point, and as Pius had not fled, as was expected of him, 
Berthier made a series of humiliating demands upon him. 
He asked for the right to place a garrison in the Castle of 
Sant' Angelo, a fresh contribution of money and horses, and 
the erection of two monuments to Bassville and to Duphot. 
Pius VI. conceded everything. For some days, it seemed 
as if the French were going to maintain the Pope's authority 
in the town, and Berthier was content to establish his head- 
quarters outside the Porta del Popolo, between Monte Mario 
and Pontemolle. But on 15th February about three hundred 
Roman " patriots " assembled in the Forum Romanum to 
proclaim the abolition of the Papal government and the 
reign of liberty and equality. A tree of liberty was planted 
on the Capitol, and seven consuls were elected who showed 
their mind forthwith by inviting the French general to a 
meeting in the citadel. Berthier accepted the invitation, 
and, on that spot so full of memories, he begged the spirits 
of Cato, of Pompey, of Brutus, of Cicero, and of Hortensius 
to accept the homage of the freemen of France. A few days 
later, a deputation consisting of Jews, apostate monks, and 
rebels, waited upon Pius VI. in order to extract from him a 
recognition of the Roman republic. Pius answered that 
God had bestowed the sovereignty upon him, and that he could 
not abdicate it ; he said that he was an old man of more than 
eighty years of age, who was ready to bear any outrages 
that they might think fit to inflict upon him. Upon this 
reply, the Vatican was occupied by "patriots," who ordered 
Pius VI. to leave Rome within eight and forty hours. 

On 20th February 1798, the aged Pope quitted his 
capital under military surveillance, accompanied only by a 
small band of atttendants. A few days later, the cardinals 
also were ejected, although, as Alfieri told them with scathing 
contempt in his Misogallo, several of them had "sung the 
Te Deum, which was offered in St Peter's to celebrate the 
deposition of the Pope." 1 On the Tuscan frontier, the Pope 
was received as the guest of the Grand Duke, 2 and in that 
capacity took up his abode first at Siena, in the monastery 

1 Quoted by Brosch II, p. 214. 

2 A. von Reumont : Geschichte Toscana's II, 28of. 

igo PIUS VI [chap. vii. 

of the Augustinians, now the Collegio Tolomei, in the Piazza 
S. Agostino. When an earthquake compelled him to leave 
Siena (on ist June 1798), he took his journey to the 
beautiful Certosa, situated about four miles out of Florence, 
with its glorious view over the valley of the Ema, and the 
snow-covered peaks of the chain of the Apennines. But by 
1 2th March 1799 the Directory declared war against Tuscany, 
and on 27th March, the same day that the Grand Duke 
forsook Florence, the Pope, in spite of his fourscore and two 
years and his infirmity, had to leave the Certosa in the Val 
d'Ema, 1 to be conveyed by way of Parma, Tortona, and 
Turin, to the citadel of Valence in Dauphine, where death 
on 29th August put an end to his anxieties and sufferings. 
His body remained unburied for four months, until Bonaparte, 
as one of the first proofs of the conciliatory mind of the 
Consulate towards the Church of Rome, granted the exiled 
Pope a grave, and erected a monument in his honour. The 
heart of Pius VI. is still preserved at Valence, but his dust 
rests in the crypt under St Peter's ; 2 and in the confession 
near the high altar of St Peter's, close by the grave of 
the Apostle, surrounded by the ever-burning lamps, is seen 
his kneeling figure, chiselled by the hand of Canova. 

The prophecy of Malachias was well adapted to Pius VI., 
when it foretold that a peregrinus apostolicus would be the 
successor of Clement XIV. But the description is still better 
suited to the Pope who came next ; for the affliction and 
exile of Pius VI. were only a prelude to the still greater 
affliction, and the still more bitter exile, that awaited his 

1 Reumont II, p. 289. 

2 The removal of the body to Rome took place in 1802. Artaud : Histoire du 
Pape Pie VII. I, p. 2371. 



PlUS VI. had decreed the year before he died that, in view 
of the special circumstances, the Conclave which was to 
choose his successor should meet where most of the cardinals 
were living, or where the Dean of the College of Cardinals, 
Giovanni Francesco Albani, thought it most suitable. 1 When 
Pius VI. left Rome, Cardinal Albani fled to Naples, where 
he assembled ten other cardinals, in conjunction with whom 
he sent a missive to the Roman Catholic sovereigns, through 
the nuncios, to complain of the treatment of the Pope, 
and to protest against the occupation of the patrimony of 
St Peter. This document caused the Austrian government 
much displeasure, partly because it was promulgated from 
Naples. It was feared in Vienna that it contained an indica- 
tion that the next Conclave would be held at Naples, and 
not on imperial ground, as people in Austria wished. 
Cardinal Albani, however, hastened to inform the Court of 
Vienna that nobody thought of holding the Conclave there ; 
and when the King of the Two Sicilies left his capital 
on 31st December 1798, and retired to Sicily, most of the 
cardinals who were assembled at Naples set sail for Venice. 
As soon as the news of the death of Pius VI. reached that 
place, at the end of September, 1799, the Cardinal - Dean 
invited the members of the college to the city of the lagoons 
in order to take counsel where the Conclave should meet. 
Cardinal Albani had at the beginning hopes of being able ' 
to summon the cardinals to Rome, because, while Bonaparte 
was in Egypt, the Russians and Austrians had expelled the 

1 The Bull: Quum nos superiore anno (13th November 1798), issued from the 
Certosa in Val d'Ema. Bullarium HomanumX, I75f. 



French from Italy. But the Austrian ambassador, Baron 
Thugut, seems to have opposed this project, 1 and, after some 
discussion, Venice was chosen as the place for the Conclave. 

Before the Conclave opened, it was necessary to appoint 
a secretary for it. The secretary of the College of Cardinals, 
Cardinal Negroni, was the obvious person for this post ; but 
he was out of favour with the other cardinals, and he was 
then residing at Rome. They determined, therefore, to 
pass him by and to choose another for this important position. 
Many prelates of high standing coveted the favour of the 
cardinals]; but their votes gathered round one who, according 
to his own account, did not at all desire the post of honour, 
and Ercole Consalvi, one of the twelve members of the Court 
of Appeal of the Roman Church {rota Romand), was chosen 
secretary of the Conclave. 

This remarkable man, 2 who played a leading part in the 
history of the Papacy during the first part of the nineteenth 
century, was born at Rome on 8th June 1757. His grandfather, 
Gregorio Brunacci, a nobleman of Pisan extraction, in order 
to become heir to a certain Marquis Consalvi, belonging 
to one of the richest families of Toscanella, changed his 
ancient and noble name of Brunacci for the less high-born, 
but not less honourable one of Consalvi. The grandchild 
of Gregorio Consalvi, Ercole, was the eldest of five children, 
who were early left orphans. Ercole and his younger 
brother were first educated by the Piarists at Urbino, a 
branch of the order of schoolmasters which Jose Calasanzio 

1 Rossi de Bisamberg's despatch of 30th October 1799 in Petruccelli della 
Gattina IV, 285. 

2 For what follows cp. Bartholdy : Zuge aus dem Leben des Cardinals H. 
Consalvi (Stuttgart 1825). Wiseman : Recollections of the last four Popes (London 
1858). L. von Ranke : Hist.-biogr. Studien (Leipzig 1877), I if., and Mimoires du 
Cardinal Consalvi, par Cretineau-Joly (second edition, Paris 1866), 1-11. It is 
established (Maynard : Critineau-Joly , 448) that the editor (about whom see above, 
p. 61) on at least one not unimportant occasion has allowed himself to "improve" 
the Mimoires by inserting what Consalvi, according to his opinion, ought to have 
written (avec son caractire a du ripondre). In the presence of such untrustworthiness 
it is a duty to use great caution. It will also, on several points, be necessary to 
follow the despatches published by A. Theiner {Histoire des deux concordats, Paris 
1869 I), where the accounts of the Mimoires deviate from them. Yet on several 
occasions it is possible, even probable, that the discrepancies are due to slips of 
memory on the part of Consalvi, and not to falsifications of the editor ; cp. Ranke, 
21 note, and A. von Druffel in the Historische Zeitschrift, 1884, 64^ 


of Aragon had founded in 1617. But the brothers remained 
there only four years. One of the Piarists used regularly 
every evening to chastise the children on the naked body as 
a punishment for the faults of the day, and in the course of 
such a punishment Ercole's brother sustained a serious damage 
to the knee. For this reason both the brothers were taken 
away from the school at Urbino, and were admitted into 
the college which Cardinal Henry of York at that time opened 
at Frascati, close to the ancient Tusculum. 1 The Cardinal 
of York, or, as he preferred to be styled, the Cardinal-Duke, 
was a grandchild of King James II., and a younger brother 
of the Stuart Pretender, Charles Edward, who also lived in 
Italy under the title of the Earl of Albany. After the death 
of Charles Edward the Cardinal of York called himself 
Henry IX., King of France and England, and subscribed to 
his last will the signature of Henry Roy. But this designa- 
tion was rather an expression of his legitimist views than a 
claim to the English crown. Cardinal Henry was a well 
meaning man, but a hypochondriac. The only work which 
he left was a sort of medical autobiography privately printed 
for friends, which contains an elaborate account of all his 
illnesses, and of the doctors whose advice he had sought. He 
had no great intellectual gifts, and no particular learning, 
but he took pleasure in diffusing information and in advanc- 
ing knowledge. The school at Frascati was kept in excellent 
condition, and it acquired a very large library, especially 
rich in English books. The young people were taught by 
able masters, and the Cardinal-Duke was intimate with both 
masters and pupils. He was a great lover of music, and it 
was at a musical entertainment that he is said to have first 
noticed the young Ercole Consalvi. 

Ercole soon became one of his favourite prote'ge's. The old 
descendant of kings was pleased to find in the gifted young man 
a strongly developed self-reliance and a firm belief in a glorious 
future. Consalvi also tried his hand at poetry. Italy, at the 
time, had poets by the hundred, and all learned men wrote 
sonnets and canzonette. Most of this so-called poetry was only 
rhythmical prose, and Consalvi's own contribution to poetical 

1 A. von Reumont : Aus den Papieren des Cardinals von York, in the Historisches 
Jahrbuch I, 2%i. 

VOL. I. N 


literature does not seem to deserve any other name. He sang 
in a Latin epigram about Samson and Delilah, and in Italian 
Anacreontic verse about a tame canary ; but he composed also 
an Italian poem which was recited at one of the annual 
examinations at Frascati, and this poem betrays the bright hope 
for the future which the young Abate entertained. It is written 
in the pastoral style of the time ; for the poet of fifteen was a 
member of the great poetical society of the Jesuits at Rome, 
called Arcadia, which in spite of its classical Greek dress had 
chosen Gesu Bambino as its protector. 1 Consalvi addresses 
Pallas Athene, and implores of her strength for the hard work 
and the late hours which studies necessitate ; but as a reward 
he expects " renown, honour and riches — a spur to noble deeds." 2 
When the young Consalvi had finished his course at the 
school and in the seminary at Frascati, he entered, in 1776, the 
ecclesiastical Academy in Rome, where amongst others he had 
the former Jesuit Zaccaria for his master. The pupils of this 
academy were the special favourites of Pius VI., and Consalvi 
had scarcely finished his education, when the Pope in 1783 
entrusted him with the office of cameriere segreto. In this 
capacity it was his duty to receive those who desired audiences 
at the Vatican. Next year he was appointed one of the Pope's 
domestic prelates ; then a member of the Congregation del buon 
governo, and at the same time, for a while, under the protection 
of his uncle, Cardinal Negroni, secretary to the great benevolent 
institution of San Michele a Ripa. The institution before long 
underwent a change, and Consalvi in consequence lost this post, 
because the Pope considered that his great gifts could be better 
employed at the Bar than in administration. When a member 
of the pontifical segnatura died, Consalvi obtained the vacant 
place, under circumstances which assured him that he was in 
special favour. His predecessor died on the Thursday in Holy 
Week, and on Good Friday Consalvi was appointed votante 
di segnatura. He hastened immediately to the Pope to render 
him thanks. Although Pius VI. as a rule never received 
grateful officials, and in spite of the holy day, Consalvi was 
immediately admitted and received by the Pope with the 

1 Settembrini III, I02f. 

2 The poem is given in its complete form in Wiseman, I05f; a fragment in 
Bartholdy, 5f. 


promise of more conspicuous promotion at the first opportunity. 
When the post of nuncio at Cologne 1 became vacant, Pius VI. 
offered his favourite this important appointment, but he refused, 
and Pacca was sent instead. 

Consalvi remained in Rome, secretly wishing to become 
eventually a member of the Roman rota, which in Roman 
Catholic countries is honoured with the name of " the asylum of 
justice." The members of the rota Romana had long holidays, 
and in these Consalvi wished to be able to gratify his love of 
travelling. Hitherto he had only seen Tuscany and Naples, but 
he longed to go further afield. When a place on the rota as 
uditore for Rome fell vacant, he obtained it on the strength of 
the favour in which he stood with the Pope, and because of his 
powerful connexions. 

Frascati was then the place where the rich Roman nobility 
spent the autumn months, and Consalvi often stayed there. 
Being a close friend of the Cardinal-Duke and a gifted man 
of society, he became a welcome guest in noble houses both at 
Frascati and in Rome, so that he came to be called in jest 
Monsignore Ubique. Amidst his daily duties in Rome and 
the feasts of Frascati he did not forget his studies ; but he 
endeavoured beyond all else to acquire a close knowledge of 
human nature by intercourse with mankind. Music was his 
only passion. When Cimarosa, the composer of // Matrimonio 
Segreto, Rossini's rival, came to Rome to get his operas put 
on the stage, Consalvi could spend whole nights with him in 
order to be the first to hear his works. But he would never 
listen to Rossini's music. 

The reorganisation of the papal army had for a long time 
been a necessity, and it was effected by means of Consalvi. The 
post of Papal Minister of War was abolished, because the 
Austrian General, Caprara, who was to superintend the re- 
organisation, refused to be under the control of a War Minister 
who was bound to be a prelate. As the Pope on the other hand 
could not forgo the supervision of his own army, a military 
Congregation was formed, consisting of the Commander-in-Chief, 
some officers of high rank, and a prelate with the title of 
Assessor, who on behalf of the Pope and the Secretary of State 
was to follow the development of the defences of the country. 

1 See above, p. 132. 


This important post was given to Consalvi. Very different 
judgments were passed upon this new military organisation, and 
the carrying of it into effect met with much difficulty. Consalvi, 
meanwhile, was of opinion that it was done at the right moment, 
because thereby the Directory " lost the satisfaction of seeing 
the Pope's throne overturned by a home rebellion." 1 The 
Directory was obliged to " throw off the mask " and remove 
Pius VI., and for this act of violence the fate of General Duphot 
afforded, as we have seen, a welcome opportunity. 

As soon as the Pope was carried off, Consalvi was seized and 
thrown into the Castle of Sant' Angelo. There he remained 
three or four months, either because he was altogether forgotten, 
or because the French governors were so often changed, that 
they never found time to examine matters thoroughly. After 
the expiration of this period he was suddenly removed from the 
castle to a monastery, and it was rumoured that he and certain 
cardinals and prelates were to be sent into exile at Cayenne. 
This punishment was exchanged for deportation to a place 
chosen by themselves, and Consalvi and his fellow prisoners 
were brought to Civita Vecchia, thence to be carried further off. 
It was Consalvi's wish to go to Livorno, from whence he could 
easily visit Pius VI. in the Certosa in the Val d'Ema. His 
many friends at Rome, having heard that the prisoners were to 
be sent to Cayenne, did all they could to obtain permission for 
his return to Rome ; but by this they did him an awkward 
service. When he arrived in Rome, the Revolution had gained 
a complete victory, and one or two of the consuls in the new 
Republic were not at all friendly disposed towards him. 
Accordingly, he was again taken to the Castle of Sant' Angelo, 
and his friends informed him, that they had obtained leave for 
him to travel to Naples, but not to the Pope. To this leave, 
however, was attached the condition, that he should first ride 
through the streets on an ass, while the Sbirri whipped him 
with leathern thongs. Window seats were already hired in the 
thoroughfares through which the procession was to pass; but 
the French general was opposed to such a spectacle. 2 Together 

1 Consalvi II, 49f. 

2 When the papal rule had been re-established, the last two Roman consuls were 
taken through the streets in a similar procession. D'Haussonville : Veglise romaine 
et le premier empire (second edition, Paris 1869) I, 51. 


"with eighteen galley slaves and four respectable people" 
Consalvi was sent to Naples. When he came to the frontier, 
he was not allowed to cross it, until the Cardinal-Duke, who 
had fled to Naples, interceded for him with the Neapolitan 
Minister, Acton, " who felt himself flattered at being able to do 
something for a legitimate prince." At Naples Consalvi found 
several friends, but he would not settle down there. He longed 
to get to Florence and to see the Pope. On his allegation that 
his aged uncle on the mother's side, Cardinal Carandini, who 
lived at Venice, desired to see him, he obtained a passport to 
that town. He travelled by way of Livorno and the Val 
d'Ema, and there he met Pius VI. Before leaving the Val 
d'Ema, he received the blessing of the dying Pope, and he 
promised Pius VI. to do all that lay in his power for the 
Braschi family. 

When Consalvi reached Venice towards the end of 
September, he received the news that his goods had been 
confiscated. In the first instance, they had been appropriated 
to the Republic on the ground that their owner had emigrated, 
but when Consalvi's friends pointed out that this was not the 
case, the consuls issued two new decrees. By one of these 
they restored his property to Citizen Consalvi, because he had 
not emigrated, but, by the second, they confiscated them afresh, 
because he was an enemy of the Roman Republic. Such was 
republican logic. 

As soon as Consalvi became secretary of the Conclave, his 
first duty was to communicate to the various Courts the news 
of the Pope's death. Under normal conditions this would not 
be a very formidable task ; all that was required was to put 
together a few sentences in praise of the deceased Pope, and 
the same letter might be sent to all. But under the circum- 
stances it was a difficult task, and one which demanded a 
different treatment in each case. Austria had occupied the 
three Legations and the Papal States right up to the gates 
of Rome. Naples had taken Rome and the Papal territory 
as far as Terracina, and the Spanish King had indulged 
in several acts, which, from the papal point of view, could 
only be regarded as intolerable encroachments. Furthermore, 
the Conclave was to be held on foreign ground, in a town 
belonging to the power which had usurped the possession of 


several of the Papal provinces. Consalvi did not take in hand 
the difficult task without anxiety. First of all he sent a 
letter to the Head of the Holy Roman Empire, in which he 
spoke of him as a combination of Constantine, Theodosius, and 
Charles the Great. He reminded him in the letter of the close 
connexion between the throne and the altar, saying: "The 
enemies of the Church are your enemies. Too many crowned 
heads, alas, in our time have seen that the princely power 
falls when the dignity of the Church decays. Restore the 
Church of God to her ancient splendour ; then the enemies 
of the Crown will shake in terror of the mighty sword, which 
guards the holy empire!" 1 To Paul I., Emperor of Russia, 
a member of the Greek Orthodox Communion, who had 
ordered his soldiers to protect the Roman Church, was addressed 
a missive which breathes a special good-will. The late Pope 
had always thought of Paul I. — so it tells him — with the 
liveliest interest, since the day when he held him in his arms. 
And who of all the princes could better avert the perils which 
threatened the Church ? Who could win renown in a happier 
way ? 2 Even to " the King of France," the exiled Louis XVI 1 1., 
who had only been " the Count of Provence " to Pius VI., the 
College of Cardinals sent their message and their greeting 
at the instigation of Cardinal Maury. It was, so runs the 
communication to him, the same ungodly hands that were 
sullied with the blood of his royal brother, which, in his kingdom 
of France, had brought about the death of the saintly Pope. 
The day which saw Louis XVIII. again seated on the throne 
of his forefathers would be a happy day for the Church, as 
well as for him, for then the Most Christian King would restore 
the Church to its ancient splendour, make religion, piety, and 
good morals flourish afresh in the kingdom, and form a good 
and docile people. 3 

After the composition of these letters it was the secretary's 
duty to provide room for the Conclave. When it was held at 
Rome, the Vatican was its regular meeting-place; on a few 
occasions, especially when sanitary reasons required it, the 
cardinals had assembled at the Quirinal. 4 This time the 

1 Consalvi I, 22if. 2 Ibid., 22t,i. 

3 Ibid., 228f. 

4 Lucius Lector : Le conclave, 3i2f. 


first place which occurred to the cardinals was the roomy 
Benedictine monastery of S. Giustina at Padua which stood 
on imperial soil. At one moment they talked of Parma, which 
seemed to offer many advantages, and, finally, the suggestion 
was made of either Perugia or Viterbo, where conclaves had 
been held before, and where the French yoke had then been 
thrown off. They wished to be upon ground which was both 
free and historic ; but at last it was decided — chiefly, as it seems, 
for economical reasons — to accept the Emperor's offer of the 
Benedictine monastery of San Giorgio Maggiore on the lagoon, 
of which the cupola and high campanile rise immediately 
opposite the piazza of San Marco and the Riva degli Schiavoni. 
The months of October and November passed by while the 
preparations for the Conclave were making, and as both the 
College of Cardinals and the Papal See were totally destitute 
of funds, it was necessary for the Austrian government to 
defray most of the expenses. A few wealthy cardinals, like the 
Archbishop of Toledo, whose annual income was more than 
1,500,000 francs, contributed their share to the many and 
heavy expenses which the Conclave involved ; x but most of the 
cardinals lived in such a depressed condition that they needed 
support. Some were even reduced to accepting pensions 
from Protestant governments. Thus Denmark paid a yearly 
sum of a thousand lire to Cardinal Borgia, who took a paternal 
interest in all Danish travellers to Rome, while England bestowed 
£4000 a year upon the Cardinal of York, that he might be able 
to live' as beseemed his royal birth. 2 Several of the cardinals 
who lived away from Venice found it difficult to raise the sum 
necessary for the journey to the lagoons. The rich Roman 
banker, Marchese Torlonia, who had helped the Papacy in the 
payments connected with the peace of Tolentino, again placed 
his credit and his resources at the disposal of the cardinals ; 
but they took no advantage of his offer any more than of 
those from the republican capitalists of Rome. 3 

In the end of November the usual nine days' Masses 
{novendiali) were celebrated for the deceased Pope, and on 
30th November, the first Sunday in Advent, thirty-four out of 

1 Mimoires du Cardinal Maury I, 2l4f. 

2 Ibid., 360. 

3 Consalvi I, 2l\i. ; Maury I, 249. 


the forty-six cardinals whom the Roman Church then had, 1 
went into conclave. The cardinals assembled with a lively 
consciousness that great events were impending. On the very 
same day, 8th October, when Consalvi sent out the despatches 
to the crowned heads, Bonaparte returned from Egypt ; and 
before the doors were shut upon the cardinals in the monastery 
of San Giorgio, the 18th of Brumaire compelled the Directory 
to make way for the Consulate. 

Some important changes in the old rules for the Conclave 
were of necessity made on this occasion, because Rome was 
not the place of assembly ; but in the main those rules were 
observed. 2 Some time elapsed, however, before anything was 
done; the Emperor had been invited to send an ambassador 
to the Conclave, but the Court of Vienna replied that its 
interests should be watched over by Cardinal Hrzan, who was 
on the way to Venice. They were obliged, accordingly, to 
wait for him. 

As soon as Hrzan arrived, the voting began. Three groups 
formed themselves amongst the cardinals. The Austrian party 
ostensibly led by Antonelli, secretly by Hrzan, wished to have 
the Cardinal-Archbishop of Ferrara, Alessandro Mattei, 3 for 
pope, because he had taken part in the conclusion of peace at 
Tolentino. The Austrian government was anxious to retain 
the Legations which had been ceded by that peace to France, 
and they therefore desired a pope who might conceivably be 
willing to acquiesce in such a cession. Some even thought 
that Austria had already secured the consent of Mattei on 
this point. But the Austrian party among the cardinals did 
not immediately propose Mattei. When Hrzan arrived in the 
Conclave, he only declared that the Emperor wished for a 
pope who suited him. It was not necessary, he said, to choose 
a talented man, for in Rome a pope could easily obtain the 
necessary "lights." But it was important to choose a good 
man, who was in favour at Vienna. 4 

1 Their names are given in S6ch6 : Les origines du Concordat II, 2. 

2 Consalvi I, 233f. ; Maury I, 264^ ; Petruccelli della Gattina IV, 2<)lf. ; 
S^che II, if., and Cipolletta : Memorie politiche sui Conclavi da Pio VII. a Pio IX. 
(Milan 1863), 6of. 

3 Concerning him see Maury I, 212. 

i Maury I, 273. Letter to Louis XVIII. of 14th December 1799. 


The next main group was, in the strict sense of the word, 
the Roman party. Its official leader was the nephew of the 
late Pope, Cardinal Braschi, 1 who gathered round him all the 
princes of the Church who were under obligations to Pius VI. 
The real leader of the party was Albani, its candidate Bellisomi, 2 
then Bishop of Cesena, formerly nuncio in Poland and in 
Portugal. He was a man who would unconditionally maintain 
the rights of the Papal States. Bellisomi had several very 
faithful followers, amongst others Cardinal Calcagnini, who at 
a later moment was not far from being chosen Pope by this 
Conclave. When Hrzan, in the beginning of January, applied 
to Calcagnini in order to induce him to vote for Mattel", the bold 
Cardinal answered : " I have been twenty days at Ferrara thinking 
over the election of a Pope, twenty more at Padua, and twenty 
more again here at Venice, and my conscience has never been 
satisfied with anyone but Bellisomi. It is of no avail to speak 
to me in this matter ; I am unchangeable. Good-bye." 3 

Besides these two groups, each of which had a definite 
candidate, there was a third party consisting of the unattached 
{volanti). To this belonged, amongst others, the Cardinal-Duke 
of York, the learned Cardinals Borgia and Gerdil, and the 
French Cardinal, Maury, Bishop of Montefiascone, whose 
recently published letters to Louis XVIII. 4 are an important 
source of information for the back-stairs history of the 
Conclave. There are not many members of the Conclave 
who escape the pointed criticisms passed by the old rival of 
Mirabeau in his letters to his prince ; all the Italians especially 
are taken severely to task — those unprincipled, untrustworthy 
beings who have no conception of a great character, and who 
always understand how to turn round at the right moment, 
inasmuch as according to their morality it is the greatest 
folly to be in a minority. 5 Maury is often so unmerciful in 
his criticism of his colleagues, that he is obliged to remind 
Louis XVIII. of the words of Fenelon : "God does His work 
in the Conclaves amidst the clash of passions, and it is always 
His will that prevails." 6 

1 Maury I, 211. 2 Ibid., 278. 3 Ibid., 364. 

4 They are to be found in the often quoted Correspondance et Mimoires du 
Cardinal Maury, par Ricard (Lille 1891), 1-11. 

5 Maury I, 454. 6 Ibid., 360. 


Besides Austria, Naples was the only other power which 
followed the transactions of the Conclave with special interest. 
It can be gathered from various despatches 1 and from the 
instructions given to Cardinal Ruffo 2 that the plan of the 
Neapolitans was to strain every nerve to secure Benevento 
and Pontecorvo for themselves, and to give to Catholic 
Christendom a pope who would demand the restitution of his 
ancient states and would drive Austria back to the other side 
of the River Po. Ruffo made his debut in the Conclave by 
saying that his government would never acquiesce in the 
choice of a subject of the Emperor. 3 The French to begin 
with were fully occupied with other things ; and besides, the 
election of a pope meant very little to France, as France was 
at the beginning of the new century. Not that that country 
was quite without friends in the Conclave. Chiaramonti, 
Di Pietro, and Doria, formerly nuncio at Paris, had in spite 
of everything great sympathy with the eldest daughter of 
Rome ; but it was dangerous for members of a Conclave 
held on Austrian soil to acknowledge this sympathy. Spain, 
which in former times, as we have seen, had taken keen 
interest in the politics of conclaves, was now wholly in- 
different. In 1797, when the death of Pius VI. was expected, 
Carlos IV. had expressed his wish to see the Spanish Cardinal, 
Lorenzana, in the chair of St Peter, but D'Azara immediately 
informed him that for the last two centuries none but Italians 
had been elected. 4 To the horror of the cardinals, 6 upon the 
death of Pius VI. the Spanish king, acting on the advice of 
his Minister, the Jansenist d'Urquijo, 6 had immediately liberated 
his bishops from the oppressive guardianship of the Roman 
Curia and his people from several heavy contributions to the 
See of St Peter. Accordingly the cardinals at Venice looked 
with anxiety towards the land which gave birth to Loyola. 

At one of the first ballots Bellisomi obtained eighteen 
votes, 7 and from private conversations it became clear that a 

1 Cipolletta, 49f. 2 Petruccelli della Gattina IV, 287. 

3 Maury I, 354. 

4 D'Azara's despatch of 10th October 1797 in Seche I, 328. 
6 Maury I, 236. 

6 Secbi II, 4 ; following Boulay de la Meurthe : Documents sur les negotiations 
du concordat I, 256. . 

7 Maury I, 278. 


still larger number were disposed to vote for him. It seemed 
therefore that the Conclave would end quickly ; but this was 
against the interests of Austria. Accordingly, Hrzan began 
his intrigues. He represented to Albani, the Dean of the 
College of Cardinals, how all-important it was for all friends 
of the Papal States to have a pope who was a persona grata 
at Vienna ; that Bellisomi was by no means such a person, 
while Mattei was eminently so. Albani answered that the 
imminent election of Bellisomi would be the result of the 
free vote of the cardinals, and that he was in no position to 
hinder it. If on the other hand Austria chose to use her right 
of veto, that would be another matter. Hrzan then declared 
that he had not actually received orders to veto Bellisomi's 
election, but that he wished to consult his Court on the subject. 
He begged therefore that the final voting might be postponed 
until he could receive an answer from Vienna. Albani was 
weak enough to consent to such a postponement, although it 
was unlawful and involved a violation of the freedom of the 
Conclave. When Hrzan promised to abstain from all intrigues 
in the meanwhile, Albani, in consideration of Austria's political 
supremacy at the time, accorded a postponement of the decision 
for eleven or twelve days. 

Hrzan did not keep his promise. The courier was scarcely 
despatched before he began to set his party in motion to make 
Bellisomi's election impossible. " There was in the Conclave," 
says Consalvi, 1 " a very upright and deserving cardinal, respected 
by all, but not loved by any, because he was of a hard 
nature." Joined to his many good qualities, this prelate had 
the failing of wishing to make people believe that everything 
that happened was due to him. He was not in sufficient 
favour to form any hope of the tiara for himself, but at least 
he would " create " the pope, and he used the delay accorded 
to Hrzan to concoct intrigues. Consalvi does not give the name 
of the cardinal he thus describes ; but from the notes left by 
Cardinal Doria's conclavist, we know that Antonelli is meant. 
He had espoused Mattel's candidature with the greatest zeal, 
and he argued that the friendship of Austria would be the best 
means of recovering the Legations. At the same time Hrzan 
reminded the cardinals that Charles the Great, in his time, 
1 Mimoires I, 247. Cp. Maury I, 287, 294. 


carried without difficulty the election of Hadrian I., and 
Charles V. the election of Hadrian VI ; a similar complaisance 
ought to be shown to the Emperor now. By this means, 
Austria, which at the moment was the dominant power in 
Italy, might perhaps be induced to be more accommodating in 
relation to the Papacy. By the united energy of Hrzan and 
of Antonelli, Mattei soon obtained ten, and even thirteen, votes. 
But the reckless agitation of Hrzan caused also many anxieties, 
and aroused strong opposition on the part of those who did not 
wish for a pope who was in the hand of Austria. When the 
bold Austrian tried his powers of persuasion upon Albani, the 
Cardinal-Dean declared that the sacred college was determined 
to have full liberty in giving the Church a head, and so long 
as the cardinals were occupied with the fulfilment of this great 
duty, they would confidently leave the interests of the Holy 
See to Providence. Albani became so excited in the course of 
this conversation with Hrzan that he had a fainting fit ; but 
he had expressed the thoughts of many of the cardinals, 
and his answer to Hrzan went the round of the Conclave as 
a winged word. 1 

The message, which came at last from Vienna, contained 
a strong recommendation of Mattei ; 2 but, after what had 
happened, to elect him was an impossibility. An attempt was 
then made to gather the votes round one or two of the " un- 
attached " and Calcagnini ; 3 and the last-named cardinal 
obtained four and twenty votes. His election was thus 
assured; but when the cardinals prepared themselves to 
kiss his hand in homage, Hrzan on behalf of the Court 
of Vienna interposed the veto. There was again a deadlock. 
While these painful events were taking place in the 
Conclave, revolutionary disturbances occurred in Venice. It 
was necessary to fetch new troops to keep order, and guns 
were mounted by the church and monastery on San Giorgio, 
to protect the Conclave against emergencies. 

To Maury more than anyone else belongs the honour 
of having discovered the solution which brought an end to 
the more and more unseemly proceedings of the Conclave. 
In 1798, Louis XVIII. had told this representative of his in 

1 Maury I, 294. 2 Ibid., 304. 

3 See above, p. 201. ' 

viil] MAURY AND RUFFO 205 

the College of Cardinals, that he desired above all things 
to see him in the chair of St Peter. " I wish," he wrote to 
Maury, "that the future Head of the Church may be a man 
of ripe years, though not an old man ; a man who has already 
given evidence of courage and good principles, whose eloquence 
is known all over Europe, and whose health is such as to 
bear the strain which now more than ever before will be 
inseparable from the papal tiara. In this picture your name 
only is wanting ; it is you whom I wish to see elevated to 
the papal throne, and this would be the greatest good fortune 
that could befall France and the Church." 1 It is hardly 
likely that there were many besides Louis XVIII. who 
dreamt of seeing the Cardinal of Montefiascone made Pope, 
and Maury's own ambition did not go further than to " create " 
the new Pope. He used often to drink chocolate with one 
of his nearest neighbours in the Conclave, Cardinal Ruffo 
of Naples, and with him he naturally discussed again and 
again the great question of finding a candidate who might 
command a sufficient number of votes. Although Maury 
was Ruffo's " friend," 2 he did not omit to give his King a 
malicious little silhouette of this Italian among others. Both 
in the service of Pius VI. and in that of the King of Naples 
he had displayed considerable political and military skill. 
Maury does not deny that Ruffo was born with talent, but 
he says that his character is brutal, and that he can neither 
master nor conceal his thoughts. He has a happy memory, 
but not many ideas, and his reading is limited to a few 
books on political economy which he thinks that nobody 
but himself has read. 3 There is, doubtless, much that is 
strikingly like in this portrait, but part of it describes 
Maury himself as much as Ruffo. They were two kindred 
souls, and both of them enjoyed but a small degree of esteem 
amongst the other cardinals. Maury had constantly the 
impression that he was not highly valued in the sacred 
college, and Ruffo told his sovereign that he never spoke to 
others except when actually necessary, because on account of 
his political past in Naples they considered him a Jacobin. 4 
It was a chance that brought Maury and Ruffo together ; 

1 Maury I, 188. 2 Ibid., 293. Cp. 259. 

3 Ibid., 353. 4 Petruccelli della Gattina IV, 30of. 


but they suited each other admirably, and when Mattei, 
Bellisomi, and others had proved impossible, the two " friends " 
cast their eyes upon a new candidate, who little by little 
won favourable opinions. Ruffo tells his King that he had 
now and then conversed with another of the "Jacobins" of 
the Conclave. In his walks in the monastery garden, he 
sometimes met a cardinal " who walked with a very quick 
step, and used to hum one of the well-known tunes of the 
day as he went along." At first Ruffo had saluted him, 
then in passing exchanged a word or two ; and at last it 
had come to longer conversations between the two " Jacobins." 
These conversations had convinced Ruffo that Chiaramonti — 
that was the name of the cardinal — was the right man, both 
in view of the needs of the time and in view of the private 
wishes of Naples. 

Maury also had arrived at the same result. Although it was 
chiefly due to his energy that the cardinals before the Conclave 
saluted the Count of Provence as King of France, he had 
nevertheless followed with the greatest interest the rising star 
of General Bonaparte ; and he shared the Italian dread of being 
in the minority, even if the minority was gathered round a 
legitimate king. It is not easy to decide whether he divined 
beforehand what a masterful part Bonaparte was by and by 
to play in his country — the country which he never forgot — or 
whether he thought that the formidable general, like another 
Monk, might be able to bring about a restoration of the 
Bourbons. 1 In the letter which he despatched to Louis XVIII. 
after the news of the 18th of Brumaire, he concluded with the 
following ambiguous words : " So now we have in Paris a new 
revolution, which will bring the true counter-revolution to 
ripen. This military government, which has been so hideously 
unmasked, creates horror. It means the end of Bonaparte, 
unless it be for him only the first step on the true and genuine 
path of honour." 2 While many of the other cardinals looked 
upon Austria as the power which beyond all others ought to 
be propitiated by the new Papal election, Maury became more 
and more convinced, that the centre of gravity lay and would 
always lie in his native land, and that General Bonaparte in one 

1 Seche II, 19. 

2 Maury I, 262. The letter is of date 30th November 1799. 


way or another was the man of the future. It was therefore of 
the utmost importance to secure a pope who had shown himself 
able to understand the French, and who would not be frightened 
when the words liberty and equality were mentioned. Such a 
man was the Cardinal of Imola. And if Maury could carry his 
election through, he would not only confer a benefit on the 
Church and on his own country but also on himself; because 
he who creates the Pope, has a right to expect to have his 
activity appreciated. And Maury had many wishes, which he 
expressed freely and unblushingly. In the letter which he 
sent to King Louis XVIII. only a week after the end of the 
Conclave, he was already able to inform him that his nephew 
had obtained a canonry in St Peter's at Rome, and that he 
himself had prospects of the richly endowed Archbishopric of 
Fermo, which would bring in 70,000 lire a year, and that he 
hoped that in that case his brother would succeed to the 
bishopric of Montefiascone ! x Many things serve to indicate 
that it was not entirely for the sake of France and of the 
Church, that Cardinal Maury decided to work for the election 
of Chiaramonti, coupled as it was with peculiar difficulties. 

Barnaba Luigi Chiaramonti 2 was born on 14th August 1742 
at Cesena in the Legation of Fori!. His father belonged to the 
Italian nobility, but not to the most distinguished nor to the 
richest section of it. He had studied at Parma, and at the 
age of sixteen he joined the Benedictine order, on which 
occasion he added the name of Gregory to his baptismal name. 
At a later time he came to Rome as a teacher of divinity, and 
there he defended in public certain theses, amongst others 
this, that there is a place in heaven for women, which a con- 
temporary fanatic had denied. He was distantly related to 
Pius VI., and by his favour the young Chiaramonti was made 
titular abbot of the Benedictine monastery of San Callisto, so 
that he was allowed to wear the ring and mitre, and occupied 
a special seat in the choir of the monastery ; but was other- 
wise under the abbot chosen by the monks themselves. 

1 Maury I, 3?6f. 

2 Cp. Artaud: Histoire du pope Pie VII. (Paris 1837), 1-11, and Cardinal 
Wiseman's work above mentioned, in which everything is painted in rose-colour ; 
together with Alessandro Gavazzi : My Recollections of the last four Popes (London 
1858), which follows Wiseman, "as the shadow the body," with a criticism which is 
often very bitter. 


This papal appointment caused jealousy in the monastery, 
and several complaints were raised against Abbot Gregory. 
During the examination of these complaints, Pius VI. made 
closer acquaintance with his kinsman, and came to be very 
fond of him. When the bishopric of the beautiful Tivoli became 
vacant, Chiaramonti was appointed to it, but he continued to be 
a monk in mind and thought. In the wood by Tivoli he 
allowed several hermits to build their huts — amongst others 
the Redemptorist, Clement Hoffbauer of Vienna. 1 

When the Pope's uncle, Cardinal Bondi, died, the see of 
Imola became vacant, and Chiaramonti exchanged Tivoli for 
Imola ; shortly afterwards he was made Cardinal. As Cardinal- 
Bishop of Imola, Chiaramonti gained a reputation for gentleness 
and firmness. He was very beneficent ; and many of the 
exiled French priests were hospitably received by him. He 
always gave away the half of his income, and many times, 
because of his generosity, he found himself quite at a loss for 
means. When he had to travel to the Conclave at Venice, he 
was obliged to borrow the money for the journey from another 

As Bishop of Imola, Cardinal Chiaramonti had taken a 
step which set most of his colleagues against him ; but it 
was precisely the thing which had awakened the sympathy 
of Maury and Ruffo. In 1797 when the French, before the 
peace of Tolentino, invaded Italy, many members of the 
hierarchy fled ; but the Bishop of Imola was one of the few 
pastors who remained with their flocks. On 2nd February 
1797, the day after war had been declared against the Pope, 
French troops passed through Imola, and they took up their 
quarters in the palace of Chiaramonti. 2 When Bonaparte came 
to Ancona, the bishop of which had fled, he said to those who 
brought him the keys of the city : " The Bishop of Imola, who 
is also a cardinal, has not fled ; I did not see him on my 
way through, but he is at his post." 3 At Christmas 1797 
Chiaramonti preached a sermon which he afterwards published 
in print. 4 After having spoken of the birth of Christ at 

1 Seb. Brunner : CI. Maria Hoffbauer und seine Zeit, 2j{. 

2 Napolion I. : Mtmoires, par Montholon (Paris 1825) IV, 6. 

3 D'Haussonville I, 28. 

4 Fragments of it are found in Italian in Botta, but it is printed complete amongst 
the documents in D'Haussonville I, 355-371 in the translation of Gregoire. 

viii.] A JACOBIN SERMON 209 

Bethlehem, he exhorted the congregation to appreciate the 
Divine favour, which was shown to them in the proclamation 
of the glad tidings. Christianity, he said, is the true liberty ; 
but liberty is something different from the disintegration of 
society and the anarchy which confounds evil and good. True 
liberty creates peace and happiness ; but peace is a daughter of 
civil order, and is only to be found where there are authorities 
to whom obedience is paid. Therefore the Catholic religion 
teaches that to resist the magistrate is to resist God. "The 
democratic rule which now is introduced among us," that is, 
the Cisalpine Republic, " is not opposed to the principles which 
I have set forth ; it is not against the gospel ; it demands on the 
contrary the lofty virtues, that are only to be attained in the 
school of Jesus Christ." How the virtues flourished in the free 
States of ancient heathendom — in Sparta, Athens, and ancient 
Rome! Even the Fathers of the Church spoke of them with 
admiration. Our virtues will make us good democrats, "but 
of the kind who work without an afterthought for the common 
weal, who renounce hatred, dishonesty, and ambition, and who 
are as careful to respect other people's rights as to fulfil their 
own duties. Thereby the true equality is also established, the 
equality which teaches man, what he owes to God, to himself, 
and to his equals." An absolute external equality of endow- 
ments and of wealth is not to be found, and never will be 
found. "Such a fanciful, arithmetical equality, if I may call 
it so, would turn everything upside down in the natural and 
moral world." But the virtues by themselves cannot enable 
us to do our duty in the right way. Only the gospel can do 
that — the gospel which creates Christian virtues. The beauty 
of the gospel struck even the author of Emile, as is clearly 
shown by his expressions in the confessions of the Savoyard 
priest. And the gospel teaches us obedience. " Let us humble 
ourselves under the designs of Providence. Do not think that 
the Catholic religion and the democratic form of government 
are irreconcilable. When you are wholly Christians you will 
be excellent democrats. Imitate our Saviour's obedience and 
humility by submitting yourselves to the laws and to the 
lawful authority ! " The sermon concluded with an appeal 
to the priests to be patterns of Christianity and philanthropy ; 
by that means all virtues would take root in those entrusted 

VOL. I. O 


to their care, and the honour of the Republic and the welfare of 
the citizens would thrive. 

This was a different language from what people were 
accustomed to hear from Italian pulpits, but the preacher 
had nevertheless, at no point, forsaken Christian ground. He 
had pointed out that liberty and equality can only nourish 
with Christianity as their presupposed foundation, and he 
had unsparingly refuted the false view of these conceptions. 
Artaud may be right, when he says that the schoolmaster is 
to be seen throughout this sermon ; it is cold and clear. But 
Botta testifies that "these words, spoken with great amiability 
by so distinguished a man, pacified men's spirits, did their 
hearts good, and helped to found the new order of things." 1 
Such a sermon, however, was not a high road to St Peter's 
Chair. Napoleon calls it somewhere a Jacobin discourse, 2 
and amongst the cardinals Chiaramonti was regarded as 
tainted with republicanism. He was, moreover, somewhat 
young ; a Pope of sixty gave no assurance of a speedy 
change in the papacy. 

This remarkable sermon was to Maury and Ruffo the 
best indication that Chiaramonti ought now to be made 
Pope. Bonaparte had returned ; he had been made Consul 
and had commenced a new Italian campaign. If he were 
victorious, it was important that St Peter's Chair should be 
occupied by one who had gained beforehand the respect of 
the Consul, and who was not a declared enemy of the new 
order of things. Bellisomi was after all a stiffneck, Mattei 
an Austrian mercenary, but Chiaramonti was a man with 
whom a Republic and a Frenchman could deal. Ruffo agreed 
with Maury in this view ; Chiaramonti's election would be 
a blow to Austria, and so Naples would be satisfied. 

But from the" wish for Chiaramonti's election to getting 
him elected was a long step. It encountered at once a real 
obstacle in the ambition of Cardinal Antonelli. Maury 
broached the subject in a confidential conversation which he 
had one day with Consalvi, as they walked together in the 
exercise ground of the Conclave. 3 The secretary thought the 

1 Botta V, 136. Cp. Theiner : Histoire des deux concordats (Paris 1869) I, 66. 
3 Mimoires, par Montholon VI, 42. 
8 Consalvi I, 251. 


suggestion excellent, and encouraged Maury to go to work 
upon it, although he was not blind to the difficulties caused 
by Cardinal Antonelli's ambition, and by the "youth" of 
Chiaramonti. They agreed that Consalvi should privately 
enquire of Braschi whether it was likely that the party which 
he led, and which still clung to Bellisomi, would give their 
votes to Chiaramonti, who himself belonged to the party. 
If Braschi would guarantee this, they were at once sure of 
about one-half of the votes. It would be more difficult to 
win the opposite party, which zealously clung to Mattel ; 
but if Antonelli, the leader of the party, were won, it was 
not too much to hope to win the rest. But how was he 
to be induced to favour Chiaramonti's election? If Maury 
went straight to him and proposed it, he would he offended 
because it was not his own idea. It had to be done under- 
hand. Maury's conclavist, the Abate Pinto Poloni of Rome, 
was on good terms with Cardinal Antonelli, and often talked 
with him. Maury and Consalvi accordingly instructed Pinto 
Poloni to go to Antonelli, and, in the course of conversation, 
mention Chiaramonti as a candidate for the Papacy, and 
hint at the likelihood of his election being carried. They 
expected that Antonelli would not scruple to pass off the 
idea of a simple conclavist as his own. 

This plan was put in action. Antonelli fell into the trap, 
and began at once to advocate eagerly the cause of Chiara- 
monti within his own party. At the same time Consalvi went 
to Braschi and suggested to him the election of Chiaramonti. 
Braschi thought the idea an exceedingly happy one, but he 
doubted if the opposite party would agree to it. To escape 
suspicion, it was arranged that Braschi should wear the 
appearance of being greatly surprised, but nevertheless wholly 
indifferent, in case Antonelli should speak to him about 
Chiaramonti's election. The play went off very well ; there 
remained only one little knot to untie. Cardinal Hrzan 
hesitated on account of Austria and the Legations. He 
had no acquaintance at all with Chiaramonti, and he felt 
bound in any case to sound him before he could give him 
his vote. A visit to Chiaramonti's cell taught him that the 
Bishop of Imola had the same respect for the treaty of 
Tolentino as for the lawful authorities in the Cisalpine Republic, 


and that he cared more for the maintenance of the spiritual 
authority of the Church than for the preservation of the 
temporal power. It was also a comfort to Cardinal Hrzan 
to notice that Chiaramonti had only entertained a passing 
thought, if any, of the possibility of being made pope, and 
accordingly he had not provided himself with a Secretary of 
State. Yet Hrzan was not at all sure what attitude to adopt 
towards the election of the Bishop of Imola beyond despatching 
a courier to Vienna forthwith, to receive orders from Baron 
Thugut. But this time the cardinals would not wait to 
receive the word of command from the Emperor. On 12th 
March came that confusion in the Conclave which generally 
betokens that the end is in sight ; and in the evening of 
13th March Braschi's party went to Chiaramonti's cell to 
kiss his hand. After them came the unattached, and last, 
Antonelli with the Austrians, — the proud cardinal still 
under the impression that all this, like everything else, was 
his own doing. But Hrzan did not give up all hope for 
lost. He would not pay homage to Chiaramonti ; he demanded 
that everything should be put off until the arrival of the 
courier from Vienna, but the cardinals would not hear of 
it. Then he began to intrigue afresh. He worked all night, 
and at every hour he brought forward a new candidate, 
but all in vain. After the kissing of hands the election was 
complete, and while Hrzan went restlessly from cell to cell, 
the Bishop of Imola sat quietly in his own, and wrote letters 
to the sovereigns, to the Papal Nuncios, and to Rome ; and 
his servants were busily engaged in shortening the papal 
robes, which were too long for him. 

At last the day dawned which, as Consalvi expressed it, 
put an end to the widowhood of the Church. On 24th March, 
the voting commenced at the usual hour, and all the votes 
were given to Chiaramonti. As soon as the election was 
accomplished, all the cardinals who sat on the same side 
as the newly-chosen Pope quitted their seats and left him 
by himself as a token of reverence. The Cardinal-Dean 
then went to the Bishop of Imola, and asked him in the 
usual way whether he accepted the election. Chiaramonti 
begged for a moment's pause in which to pray ; but after 
the prayer he answered briefly that he accepted it with a 


lively sense of his own unworthiness, and in confident 
reliance upon the aid of the cardinals. He was then asked 
what name he would assume as Pope, and he answered, 
that out of gratitude to his predecessor he would bear the 
name of Pius VII. After the acceptance of the election, 
the new Pope was led to the altar and vested in the papal 
robes, Thereupon the cardinals proceeded to adore him, and 
the chapel was thrown open that the conclavists also might 
pay their homage to the new Pope. While the Pope received 
it, Cardinal Doria informed the crowd, which had gathered in 
the little square in front of the church, that Chiaramonti had 
been made Pope under the name of Pius VII. After that, the 
Conclave Was thrown open and the people admitted to kiss 
the Pope's foot In the afternoon Pius VII. was carried 
in procession to the abbey church, and placed on the altar, 
where all the cardinals and the congregation knelt down 
before him, as the custom is, in silent adoration. Outside in 
the square two orchestras played, and in the evening the 
campanile, the dome and door of the church, and the whole 
monastery were splendidly illuminated. All the church bells 
rang, with short intervals, for three days in succession, and 
the Piazza of San Marco also was illuminated in festive 
manner, " but, nevertheless," says a newspaper of the time, 
" the rejoicing and interest was not nearly so great as might 
have been expected." x The Austrians in Venice did not even 
put candles in their windows. 

In ordinary circumstances the Pope is crowned in St 
Peter's eight days after the election, and outside Rome the 
coronation is generally performed in the principal church of 
the place. Everybody therefore hoped that the Pope would 
be crowned in San Marco, and they expected to see the 
inhabitants and the official world of Venice gathered together 
in that large and splendid space. But the imperial agents in 
Venice dared not give permission. They said that they had 
made enquiries at Vienna, and had received no answer. 
Consalvi is not disinclined to believe that the communica- 
tion which came from Vienna was to the effect that they 
should say that no answer had come, in order not to give 

1 Allgemeinc Zeitung, 25th March 1800, cited in Gams: Die Geschichte der 
Kirche Christi im l^ten Jahrhundert I, 52. 


a flat refusal. For the coronation was an expression of the 
temporal power of the Pope, and the Imperial Court preferred 
to think that the temporal power was at an end. Others 
have imagined that Austria refused the request for financial 
reasons, but that is improbable. Consalvi informs us that 
the devout Catholics in Venice were ready to bear all the 
expenses of the coronation, " so that it should not cost the 
Imperial Court a penny." 1 Pius VII. expressed to Cardinal 
Hrzan his surprise at the attitude of Austria, but the only 
answer he obtained was that the Cardinal had received no 
orders on the point. Accordingly, there was nothing else to 
be done but either to omit the coronation altogether, or to 
let it take place in the abbey church. Pius VII. chose the 
latter expedient, and on 21st March he was crowned in San 
Giorgio. A devout Venetian nobleman presented the chair 
in which he was carried, and the papal chaplains followed 
with the tiara. According to the ancient custom a tuft of 
cotton is thrice burned before the Pope, and at the same 
moment he is addressed with the words : " Holy Father, so 
vanishes the glory of the world ! " A deacon removes the 
episcopal mitre from the Pope's head, and another places the 
triple crown upon it instead, saying : " Receive the tiara with 
the three crowns, and know that thou art the father of 
princes and the leader of kings, yea, the vicar of our 
Saviour Jesus Christ upon earth ! " Thereupon the Pope 
thrice pronounces the blessing, and with this blessing is con- 
nected a plenary indulgence. 2 

A day or two after the election of the new Pope, Cardinal 
Hrzan came to Pius VII. and suggested that he should select 
Cardinal Flangini for his Secretary of State. Flangini was 
a faithful friend of Austria. The Pope answered that for the 
moment he had no state whatever, and therefore needed no 
Secretary of State ; meanwhile he had entrusted current business 
to the secretary of the Conclave, Consalvi. Thereupon Hrzan 
endeavoured to persuade the Pope to pay a visit to Vienna, 
but he had no greater success upon that point. Pius VII. 
burned eagerly to get to Rome. The whole attitude of Hrzan 
showed that he was more the subject of the Emperor than of 

1 Consalvi I, 289. 

2 Petruccelli della Gattina I, 76. 

viii.] VOYAGE TO ROME 215 

the Church ; and the Pope must therefore have had some 
considerable reluctance to overcome before he could consecrate 
him Bishop of Sabaria, or Stein am Anger. He did so, 
nevertheless, on the 8th of May, and on that occasion he 
delivered an address which gives evidence either of a very 
high degree of the spirit of the peacemaker, or else of a 
weakness that ill befits a pope. Could Pius VII. seriously 
think that the church at Stein am Anger, "renowned as the 
birthplace of St Martin of Tours," would receive an accession 
of honour from having so "tried" a pastor as Cardinal 
Hrzan ? 1 

As Pius refused to go to Vienna, an imperial ambassador, 
the Marchese Ghislieri, suddenly arrived at Venice. He 
explained to Consalvi, that the Austrian Court was willing 
to give back to the Pope his former territories with the 
exception of the three Legations, which the Emperor wished 
to retain. Consalvi made a provisional remonstrance against 
such a plan, but referred Ghislieri to the Pope himself. Pius 
declared that he would never give his consent to such a 
cession, and Ghislieri then met him with an amendment. 
Austria would be content with two of the Legations and a 
small strip of the third. When the Pope set himself equally 
against this proposal, Ghislieri grew angry and hastened off 
to Consalvi, to whom he vented his bitterness in complaints 
of this Pope, "who was so new to the trade." But Consalvi 
was quite unable to give the angry envoy any consolation. 
Ghislieri failed equally to obtain a hearing, when he expressed 
his Emperor's displeasure at the fact that Pius VII., as well as 
the cardinals before the Conclave, had acknowledged the 
Count of Provence as King of France. Pius listened with a 
smile to the complaints of the vehement ambassador. 2 

When everything was provisionally arranged, Pius VII. 
made ready to go to Rome. It was his intention to travel 
by land, but Austria forbade it. A journey through the 
Legations would be dangerous, for the inhabitants would un- 
doubtedly pay homage to the new Pope as their legitimate 
sovereign. For this reason the Austrians proposed that the 
Pope should sail to Pesaro, the extreme point of the papal 

1 Bullarium Romanum XI, 26-28. 

2 Maury I, 411. Despatch to Louis XVIII., 12th July 1800. 


territory. The frigate Bellona was set in order for this 
journey, and the Pope and his small circle went on board the 
poor ship, together with the Marchese Ghislieri, " as the Pope's 
jailer," says Consalvi. Pius VII. often related in after days, 
that the captain of a Turkish vessel had offered to accompany 
him, but that he had refused it. 1 The Bellona drew too much 
water, so that the guns had to be unshipped before the party 
could start, and the passage was exceedingly disagreeable. 
From Pesaro the Pope continued his journey by land, still 
accompanied by his "jailer," who was greatly depressed at 
Ancona to hear of the battle of Marengo. On 3rd July, Pius 
VII. made his entry into his capital, greeted by the enthusiasm 
of the people ; and, on the spot where a crown had been offered 
to General Berthier, a splendid triumphal arch was erected in 
honour of the Pope. The Romans did all they could to show 
their devotion to the new pontiff; the Roman Republic had 
lasted too short a time to take much root among the people. 
The Pope's first steps were directed to the grave of the Prince 
of the Apostle, where he prayed. " No revenge, no hateful per- 
secutions," says the Prussian counsellor of legation, Bartholdy, 
"stained the return of the Papal government. Pius VII. and 
his ministers showed gentleness and forgetfulness of the past 
both in 1800 and in i8i4." z 

On nth August Consalvi was appointed Cardinal-Deacon, 
and the Pope made a speech 3 on the occasion, in which he 
bestowed high praise upon the earlier life of the secretary of 
the Conclave, but especially upon his activities at Venice. On 
the same day, Consalvi was made Secretary of State or Prime 
Minister, 4 and by that means became the life and soul of 
all the actions of the Papal See. It is doubtful whether Pius 
VII. could have found a better minister, for he and Consalvi 
supplemented each other well. Pius had lived far away 
from the world and its noise, and he knew but little of politics 
and diplomacy. Consalvi, on the other hand, was versed in 
political relations as only few ecclesiastics were, and gifted 
as still fewer with powers of statesmanship. "The whole of 

1 De Pradt : Les quatre concordats (Paris 1818) II, 195. 

2 Bartholdy, 27. 

3 Bullarium Romanum XI, 33f. 

4 Consalvi II, 115. 


Italy greeted him as a worthy heir of the immortal political 
geniuses of Rome, who were half swans, half foxes, and who 
have accomplished more conquests with words than kings 
with the sword." Contemporary diplomatists applied to him 
what Sixtus V. said of Cardinal d'Ossat, the ambassador of 
Henry IV. to Rome : " In order to escape his observation, it 
is not enough to keep silence ; you must refrain from thinking 
in his presence." 1 Pius VII. was gentle and amiable, and 
looked at everything on the bright side. He could lull 
himself to any extent with illusions; but when they burst, 
he could be more possessed with terror than was becoming 
for a man. Consalvi did not lay himself out so much to 
disappointments in happy times, and he had more firmness 
in times of misfortune. Both of them had great gifts for 
winning people. Pius VII. drew everyone to himself by the 
amiability which shone from his whole personality. Consalvi 
was, as the Romans called him, "a siren," whose strength 
lay in a charming courtesy and in his powers of persuasion. 
" If we could fix a pattern to serve for all popes, it ought to 
be that of Pius VII," says De Pradt 2 It might be added, 
that for popes of the type of Pius VII. it must always be 
desired that they should have such Secretaries of State as 
Consalvi. This, however, must not be taken to mean that 
Pius was only a tool in Consalvi's hands, without will of 
his own, as has sometimes been represented. Consalvi won 
his master's absolute confidence by giving him every day 
exact and detailed information of everything that took place 
at home and abroad, so that he was constantly in a state of 
readiness for all events. But Pius VII. and his minister 
were not always agreed. When the Pope leaned his head 
on one side and looked fixedly in front of him, Consalvi 
knew that they differed so much in their views that it 
was useless to go further. Often did Pius VII. make many 
objections before he gave in to the persuasive arguments of 
the " siren," and Consalvi dared not gain too many con- 
secutive victories. 3 There was also a great difference in 
the way in which the two men looked upon the conditions 

1 Consalvi I, 329. 

2 Les quatre concordats II, 194. 

3 Bartholdy, 67f. 


of the time. The sympathy for liberty and for France, which 
the Bishop of Imola had displayed, was never quite renounced 
by the Pope. But Consalvi, who had been educated in the 
legitimist circle of the Cardinal-Duke, and was intimate 
with the aunts of Louis XVIII., was a conservative by nature, 
who had no feeling for notions of liberty, but only sympathy 
for the old regime in France. And there was, moreover, a 
deeper divergence still — Pius VII. was of a contemplative, 
religious nature; Consalvi's bent was more external and 



Shortly after the election of Pius VII., General Bonaparte 
crossed the Little St Bernard, and entered Italy. A few days 
before Pius left Venice, he made his entry into Milan, and 
before the Pope reached Rome, Bonaparte had won the 
victory of Marengo (14th June). 

After the entry into Milan, Bonaparte gave orders that Te 
Deum should be sung in the churches, " as a thanksgiving for 
the deliverance of Italy from heretics and infidels." This was 
an allusion to the fact that the Austrians had accepted the help 
of the English to blockade the port of Genoa, and that of the 
Turks to bring provisions into Venice. On 5th June he spoke 
at Milan to the priests of the town. " I wished," he said, " to 
see you all gathered here that I might have the satisfaction 
of disclosing in my own person the feelings which I entertain 
for the Catholic Apostolic Roman religion. I am convinced 
that this religion is the only one that can bring true happiness 
to a well-ordered community, and lay firm the foundations 
of government. I assure you that I shall strive to guard 
and defend it at all times, and by all means. I look upon 
you as my dearest friends. I declare here before you, that if 
any one ventures to use any disparaging language about 
our common religion, or dares to show the smallest dis- 
respect to your sacred persons, I shall hold him as a dis- 
turber of the public peace, and as an enemy of the common 
weal. As such, I shall punish that man in the severest 
and most notable fashion, even with death, if necessary. It 
is my intention that the Christian Catholic Roman religion 
in its entirety shall be maintained and publicly exercised, and 
that it shall have as full, as extensive, and as inviolable an 



exercise, as it had at the time when I first entered this happy 
country. . . . France, by the lessons which she has learnt 
from misfortune, has her eyes at last opened; she has 
recognised that the Catholic religion is the only anchor 
that can give her stability amidst the surges and save her 
from the storm. She has, therefore, called back that religion 
to her bosom. I will not deny that I myself have had a 
share in this excellent work. I can give you this information, 
upon which you may rely, that the churches in France are 
being re-opened, that the Catholic religion there has regained 
its old splendour, and that the people look with reverence 
upon their sacred priests, who, full of zeal, are returning to 
their bereaved flocks. Let not the treatment of the late 
Pope cause you any fear whatever. Pius VI. owed the mis- 
fortunes which befell him partly to the intrigues of his 
counsellors, partly to the cruel policy of the Directory. If 
I should be able to talk with the new Pope, I hope to succeed 
in removing all the obstacles that may still hinder the 
complete reconciliation of France with the head of the 
Church." 1 This communication was not at all to be kept as a 
secret by the priests. Bonaparte's address was printed, in 
order "that not only Italy and France, but all Europe, might 
become acquainted with the designs of the First Consul " ; 
and a week after the victory of Marengo and the truce with 
Melas, Bonaparte had the victorious banners blessed with 
great solemnity in the cathedral of Milan, " without paying 
any heed to what the atheists of Paris might say to it." 

On the way from Marengo he came to Vercelli, and there 
he had an important meeting with the bishop of the 
town, Cardinal Martiniana, the last cardinal who had seen 
Pius VI. when the captive Pope passed through Crescentino. 2 
On 25th June, Martiniana paid the victorious general a visit, 
which he returned the next day surrounded by the whole of 
his staff. 8 He asked Martiniana to go to Rome and tell 
the new Pope "that he would make him a present {lui faire 
cadeau) of 30,000,000 of French Catholics ; that he wished to 

1 Correspondance de NapoUon I. VI, 338f. 
a Maury I, 308. 

3 Maury's despatch to Louis XVIII. 12th July 1800, Maury I, 407f. Cp. 
Consalvi II, 3S2f., and Talleyrand I, 283f. 


have religion in France ; that the intruded bishops and priests 
were a set of discreditable robbers, of whom he wished to 
get rid as soon as possible; that there had formerly been 
too many bishoprics in the country, and that their number 
ought to be restricted ; that he wished for a fresh priesthood 
altogether (un clerge vierge) ; that some of the old bishops 
were held in little esteem in their dioceses, where they never 
resided ; that several had only emigrated in order to weave 
intrigues, and that he would never have such bishops back 
again ; their dismissal ought to be considered, and he would 
give them a suitable pension ; as time went on, he would 
secure for the priests an honourable but not luxurious living ; 
the worst paid bishop should have 15,000 francs a year; 
the exercise of the spiritual jurisdiction of the Pope in 
France should hereafter be free ; the Pope alone should have 
the power of giving the bishops canonical institution, but they 
should be nominated by the possessor of the sovereign power ; 
finally, he would reinstate the Pope in the possession of all 
his dominions." 

In this proposal of Bonaparte, made on 26th June 1800, 
lies the germ of the later Concordat. The news of the meeting 
between Martiniana and Bonaparte must, of course, have dis- 
turbed Louis XVIII. very much; for several things seemed 
to indicate that the victor of Marengo would not be satisfied 
with being another General Monk. Maury, after communi- 
cating this proposal, writes cautiously : " One does not yet see 
anything that is monarchical in it, although, at the first glance, 
it might seem to be the first step to the throne." And as if 
he would comfort his King, whom he had already gone far 
towards betraying, he adds : " What strange bishops would 
not Bonaparte appoint ! Whence would he choose them, if 
indeed he does not mean to make use of them to crush religion 
altogether? How will one be able to reconcile Catholicism 
with the decades, the oaths, and the unstable position of a 
state-paid priesthood, with divorce and other laws now in 
force, with the destruction of schools, seminaries, and so forth." 

But Cardinal Maury can scarcely have thought that the 
difficulties which he thus piled up for the reassurance of his King 
were quite insuperable. Cardinal Martiniana, of whose powers 
Maury had but a poor opinion, sent his nephew, Count Altiaci, 


to Rome with a copy of the proposal, and one of Bonaparte's 
couriers waited at Vercelli for Rome's answer. 1 Pius VII. imme- 
diately laid the important message before the cardinals, and these, 
according to Consalvi, had no doubt that they ought to grasp 
the outstretched hand, which opened a way to effect a settle- 
ment of religious affairs in a country where the revolutionary 
spirit had nearly extinguished religion. On 8th July, Maury 
reported to his King, that it was rumoured that Spina, 
Archbishop of Corinth in partibus, had been chosen to conduct 
negotiations with Bonaparte, and he promised to keep a vigilant 
eye on the matter. 2 On 16th August he related that a full 
congregation of cardinals had been appointed to prepare in- 
structions for Spina, but that, in his opinion, a happy solution 
of this matter would be "exceedingly difficult to arrive at." 3 
Later on he told Louis XVIII. that he had at once put 
himself into communication with the Archbishop of Corinth, 
whom he found mild and moderate, but wanting in all theo- 
logical and canonical knowledge, very badly informed about 
the French Revolution, but perfectly convinced that the 
Catholic religion could only be established in a monarchical 
France, and " full of zeal and admiration for the exiled King." 4 
Spina had, however, the usual weaknesses of the Italians; 6 
he thought it was the greatest folly to join a minority, and 
he was very distant with Maury, who was not much thought of 
in Rome. Maury, therefore, went out to Montefiascone, and 
there ascertained that the necessary instructions to Spina had 
been drawn up with the greatest secrecy, and that only Consalvi 
and two other cardinals had obtained knowledge of them, 
under oath of secrecy. Concerning this, too, he had a comfort- 
ing word for his King : " This secrecy, which is disturbing to 
superficial people, in no way disturbs me. On the contrary, 
it reassures me. Your Majesty's acuteness will easily guess 
the reason." 6 

It was no easy task that was imposed upon the Arch- 
bishop of Corinth, and many rumours were spread about, 

1 The letter of Pius VII., of loth July 1800, to Martiniana, amongst the documents 
in Theiner II, isf. 

2 Maury I, 426. 3 Ibid., 429X 

4 Ibid. , 449f. The despatch is dated 25th September. 

5 See above, p. 201. 6 Maury I, 454f. 


which were calculated to awaken doubt as to the sincerity 
of the First Consul's kindly feelings towards the Church. 1 

It was, for instance, no secret that Bonaparte in 1797 in 
a speech at Luxembourg had classed religion, and monarchy, 
and aristocracy amongst the prejudices, which the French 
people should conquer. Yet he belonged in no wise to the 
most advanced section of the freethinkers. A few months 
after the peace of Campo Formio, he had commanded his 
sister Pauline, General Leclerc's wife, to have her new-born 
son christened in the Capucin church at Milan by a priest 
who had not taken the oath, before the celebration of the 
birth took place in the government palace. 2 While his 
friends, who had kept aloof from the excesses of the Revolu- 
tion, held very radical opinions on religious questions, it was 
otherwise with him. He liked to converse with Monge, 
Lagrange, and Laplace on philosophical and religious matters, 
and he often brought them to confusion by his remonstrances 
against their unbelief. " My religion," he once said to Monge, 
" is very simple. I look upon this grand complicated splendid 
universe, and then I say to myself that it cannot have been 
produced by chance, but it must be the work of an unknown 
Almighty Being, who is as much above man as the universe 
is superior to our finest mechanism." It was the riddles of 
the world that brought him to approach religion. On another 
occasion he said : " My nerves are in sympathy with the feeling 
of God's existence." 

A disciple of Voltaire might express himself thus, but a 
materialist never. Bonaparte was also far from sharing the 
materialist's view of the historical religions. When, for 
example, Volney concluded that all the positive religions 
rested on fraud and chimera because of the great differences 
between them, Bonaparte drew another conclusion. He found 
something of an universal religion behind the different specific 
religions, and this something was his religion. He was con- 
vinced of the truth of religion ; but in the positive religions 
he saw only symbols and images of the true religion. 

1 For the following, cp. Lanfrey : Histoire de Napolion I . (3rd edition, Paris 1869) 
I, 337f. ; Thiers : Histoire du consulat et de [empire (Paris 1845) m> 2o8f. ; 
H. Taine : Le rigime moderne (Paris 1894) II, 6f. Correspondence de Napolion I. 
V. and VI. passim ; and Chaptal : Mes souvenirs sur Napolion (Paris 1893), 236f. 

a Mimoires du chancelicr Pasquier (Paris 1893) I, 151. 


Nevertheless, the religious question for him, as for Voltaire, 
was not in the least a matter of sentiment ; he approached it 
through logical conclusions. The memories of his childhood, 
Catholic Corsica, and his pious mother, all of which 
circumstances Thiers uses to explain his attitude towards 
the Church, certainly influenced him but little. He knew well 
that such religious memories might mean something to other 
people — thus he would not introduce Protestantism into 
France, because Protestantism had no associations for the 
French — but for himself it was otherwise. In him, mind and 
will were superior to sentiment, and we find in him but small 
trace of religious feeling. At Malmaison, one Sunday, he was 
touched on hearing the church bells of Rueil, but his emotion 
quickly gave way to a speculation as to what impression the 
familiar sound of the bells might make upon simple and 
believing people. In his attitude towards the positive religions 
he was above all a politician. To his mind they were of value 
only in so far as they might help him to reach the goal at 
which he aimed. On the banks of the Nile, he bowed to 
Muftis and Imams ; on the plains of Lombardy he showed 
reverence for Catholic priests ; but to him, the peculiarity of 
Islamism was only a curious dress; and the special features of 
Catholicism consisted only in certain ceremonies. His devotion 
ceased the moment his power was imperilled. He was, there- 
fore, in the end led to desire a sort of Caliphate, that he 
might be sure of absolute submission in everything. 

When he went to Egypt, he commanded his soldiers "to 
show the same respect to Muftis and Imams as they had 
shown in Italy towards Rabbis and Bishops." In a pro- 
clamation of 2nd July 1798, he says to the inhabitants 
of Egypt : " We also are true Mussulmans. Is it not we 
that have crushed the Pope, who said that war ought to be 
waged against the Mahommedans ? " He even prides himself 
upon having "overturned the cross {renverse la croix)." He 
has himself given us the key to the understanding of such 
language. " It might have been possible for circumstances 
to have converted me to Islam. ... A change of religion, 
indefensible for private reasons, may be excused when immense 
political results follow. Henry IV. was right when he said : 
' Paris is well worth a Mass.' Would not the dominion of the 


East, perhaps the subjection of the whole of Asia, be worth 
a turban and a pair of slippers ? " 1 It was greed of power and 
ambition that led him to flatter Islam — "charlatanism, but 
not of the common sort," as he himself said afterwards. 2 He 
dreamt a fantastic dream of an Oriental Empire. The dream 
was most powerful when he lay before St John of Acre. 3 
The hill tribes wished to join him, and the Arabic portion of 
the people needed a leader. If Acre fell into his hands he 
would hold the key to Damascus ; Constantinople could 
not hold out in the West, and in the East India would lie 
open. An order of the day would suffice, he thought, to 
make all the French soldiers Mahommedans. He subsequently 
propounded the theory that polygamy, as permitted by Islam, 
is an effectual means of extinguishing racial differences by 
gathering the various races within the same family ; and 
even Oriental slavery had to his mind a pleasing side, when 
he compared it to that of the West. 4 

Neither polygamy nor slavery, at the latter of which 
the French certainly became adepts, were enough to 
frighten the French soldiers from Islam ; but there were 
other difficulties, as was shown by the strange discussion on 
the subject between Bonaparte and the Sheikhs at the great 
mosque. 6 "Publish a Fetam commanding the people to obey 
me," said Bonaparte on that occasion. " Why do you and all 
your army not become Mussulmans ? " answered the venerable 
Sheikh Sherkavi. " Do so, and 100,000 men will immediately 
rally to your banners. You will restore the old empire of 
the Caliphs, and become the Ruler of the East." "God," 
objected Bonaparte, " has not adapted Frenchmen for cir- 
cumcision, and it is impossible for them to abstain from 
wine." "Circumcision is not absolutely necessary," answered 
the Sheikhs, " but every Mussulman who drinks wine goes to 
hell." Bonaparte asked the Sheikhs to consider whether some 
concession could not be made on that point. He received 
the answer : " You can be a good Mussulman without 
circumcision, and without abstaining from wine ; but you 

1 Las Cases: Memorial (Paris 1823) III, m. 

a Las Cases III, no. 3 Las Cases V, 75f. 

4 Mimoires, par Montholon II, 26of. 

5 Thibaudeau : NapoUon Bonaparte (Stuttgart 1828) V, 75f. ; Memorial III, in, 

VOL. I. P 


must then compensate for the wine-drinking by good works, 
and especially by alms-giving." " Then we are all good 
Mussulmans and friends of the Prophet ! " exclaimed 
Bonaparte. The Sheikhs thereupon issued the Fetam with 
regard to submission, and Bonaparte had the ground marked 
out for an immense mosque, bigger than the Jemel Azar, 
which was to be built in memory of the conversion of the 
army. By this means he gained time ; but the intended 
wholesale conversion to Islam never took place, because the 
expedition to Syria failed. Menou was the only general 
who became a Mahommedan ; he called himself Abdallah, 
and married an Egyptian wife. It was a sacrifice ; but he 
hoped by that step to further the success of the expedition. 
The other generals felt no inclination to follow his example, 
and even the French soldiers smiled when they read the 
proclamations of Bonaparte, which had been translated into 
the figurative language of the East by Oriental poets. 
But the Arabs said of the foreign general, " Strong is his 
arm, and his words are honey." 

The dream of an Eastern Empire was not realised ; it was in 
the West that the ambitious dreamer was to raise up his throne. 
When he returned to France, he found, instead of Muftis and 
Imams, the Pope and the bishops, and with them negotia- 
tions had to be conducted in another way than with the 
Sheikhs at the great mosque. " People will say," as he then 
expressed himself, "that I am a Papist. I am nothing. I 
was a Mussulman in Egypt for the welfare of my people. 1 
will be a Catholic here. I do not believe in religion. But 
the idea of a God " — here he raised his hands towards heaven 
— " who made that ? Around this great name imagina- 
tion has woven its legends ; let us hold fast to those that 
have already taken shape." 1 A national religion was to his 
mind a form of inoculation, which might satisfy mankind's 
love of the miraculous, and at the same time be a security 
against charlatans and sorcerers. " The priests," he said, " are 
better than all the Cagliostros, the Kants, and all the dreamers 
of Germany." The existing religions had also, in his eyes, 
the advantage that both their direction and their strength 
were well known. And some religion is a national necessity. 2 
1 Taine II, 6. 2 Quoted by Taine II, 8, 19. 


Society cannot exist without inequality of wealth, nor in- 
equality of wealth without religion. When one man is dying of 
hunger beside another who has abundance, it is impossible for 
him to disregard this inequality, unless there exists an authority 
which says : " God so wills it ! " Therefore Bonaparte found 
that he must of necessity strive for the recognition of a religion, 
and this, in his opinion, could only be Christianity in the form 
of Roman Catholicism. 

But the religion of the French nation must be in the 
hands of the French government. In this respect the 
religion of the Pope presented certain difficulties, which 
had to be removed, and the Pope himself did not at that 
time feel much inclined to negotiate with the victorious 
general. Pius VII. had read in the Moniteur the Egyptian 
army orders of Bonaparte, and they gave him great offence. 
They confirmed the rumour current in Europe that Bonaparte 
had gone over to Islam. This rumour was repeated when 
Bonaparte returned, and his friends at Rome did all they 
could to make Pius VII. believe that the impious proclama- 
tions were mischievous inventions. As soon as Bonaparte's 
entourage perceived that he had designs with regard to the 
Church, some of them advised him to abstain, and to let 
religion alone. This, however, in his opinion, would be an 
unwise policy, because in that case Catholicism would become 
a dangerous power. Everything possible ought to be done 
to attach the priesthood to the new order of things and to 
break the last thread that still bound the country to the old 
royal line. Others wished him to place himself at the head 
of a French Church. But would he do that? He had a 
feeling that he would make himself ridiculous, if he, the 
soldier, were to play the part of a pope. Had not Robespierre 
become ridiculous by his worship of the Supreme Being, 
and the Directory by its Theophilanthropism ? Others again 
advised him to introduce Protestantism. Were he to do so, 
he was of opinion that the country would turn against him. 
Francis I. might have introduced Protestantism ; but in the 
year 1800 it was an impossibility. Protestantism was not 
the religion of France; past centuries had decided its fate 
in that country. " Have we Protestant associations ? " he 
asked. " How can a man be moved by sermons, when he 


has not heard them in his youth, and how little do the 
cold Protestant churches invite to devotion?" 

There is an echo of the polemics of Bossuet in this 
objection. Bonaparte had the Latin writings of the Bishop 
of Meaux translated for his benefit, and at the same time he 
sought for thorough information regarding the Gallicanism of 
the Parliaments. 1 Before he began negotiations with the 
old hierarchy, which, to his mind, was too royalist, he had 
long conversations with Gr6goire. But he soon discovered 
that the bishops and priests who had taken the oath, were 
sincere Republicans, who would scarcely follow him to the 
goal which he already had in view. 2 It was Bossuet's Catholi- 
cism, which on consideration he decided to establish in 
France. It could be reconciled with a war policy and with 
autocracy. He would not work for a servile Catholicism, 
which anxiously waited for the word from Rome, but for 
a freeborn Gallicanism, obedient to Rome in spiritual matters, 
but independent in church policy. 

But it was far safer first to endeavour to win the Pope 
over than to raise at once the banner of Gallicanism. 
Catholicism, in Bonaparte's view, was the best religion, just 
because it had a pope. In 1797 he had written to his 
brother Joseph : " When the Pope is dead, you must do all 
you can to hinder the election of a new Pope and to bring 
about a revolution." 3 Later, he came to think differently. 
" If there had not been a pope, it would have been necessary 
to create one for this occasion, just as the Roman Consuls 
in times of difficulty created a dictator." 4 Bonaparte's victories 
in Italy would easily bring the Pope into his power, and 
thereby he would gain influence over the whole Roman Catholic 
world. The Papacy, which he had formerly called " a rusty old 
engine," now suddenly became " a lever of great importance" ; 
the irreverent expression, " the old fox," which he had formerly 
used of the Pope, was now exchanged for "the Most Holy 
Father," and the " priestly mob" {pritraille) and the " weak 
brained fools " were now addressed and spoken of as venerable 
and holy men. When Cacault was sent as ambassador to 
Rome, he asked how the Pope should be treated. " As if he 

1 Taine II, 18. 2 Gazier, 143. 

3 Mimoires du roi Joseph I, 168. 4 Quoted in Taine II, 11. 


commanded 200,000 men," Bonaparte answered ; that is to say, 
as a power of the magnitude of Prussia. The generals were not 
capable of such a change of face, they had lived too long in 
the atmosphere of the Clubs. They feared, as Thiers says, the 
ridiculous position they might appear in at the altar. Consalvi 
in his despatches always describes Bonaparte as fighting alone 
against "the fury of the Jacobins and the laughter of the 
philosophers." 1 But just because he stood alone in this 
matter, he attached to himself the great mass of the people, and 
he had no wish to share either power or honour with others. 
He well knew that the philosophers would laugh at him, 
but he was convinced that the people would bless him. 2 
And he needed the people's blessing in order to realise his 
dream. La Fayette guessed aright what was in his mind, 
when, on hearing of his ecclesiastical policy, he said to 
him : " Confess ! You want the little flask broken over 
your head." A Concordat with the Pope was an indispens- 
able preliminary for an Empire. Before power could be 
gathered into one man's hand, the religious division in 
France must be healed. The Concordat was a mariage de 
convenance between the Revolution, no longer very young, 
and old France represented by its old religion. 3 

Archbishop Spina was chosen to negotiate with the Frencli 
government, because he had accompanied Pius VI. in exile, 
and had become acquainted with Bonaparte at Valence. He 
had expected to meet Bonaparte in Italy, but the general had 
been some time in Paris when the Archbishop finally started. 
Spina was accompanied on his journey by the former General 
of the Servites, Caselli, one of the most learned theologians of 
the Roman Church ; they did not arrive in Paris till the month 
of November, 1800. The negotiations 4 were conducted on 

1 See for example the despatch of 13th July 1801, in Theiner : Histoire des deux 
concordats (Paris 1869) I, 208. 

2 Mtmoires du Comte Chaptal, 237. 

3 Vinet : litudes sur la litttrature francaise du XIX. sUcle (2nd edition, Paris 1857) 
I, 217. 

4 For the history of the Concordat we have in Cardinal Consalvi's Mtmoires (I, 
3ogf.) a source of information which is at first sight of the highest order, inasmuch as 
the author was Papal Secretary of State and the moving spirit in all these negotiations. 
This source, however, must be used with great caution. It is unfortunate, as a 
matter of form, that the editor, Cretineau-Joly, has given us a French translation 
instead of the Italian text. And the contents themselves make it impossible to use 


behalf of France by the Abb6 Bernier, an energetic but exceed- 
ingly ambitious priest, who originally played an important part 
amongst the Royalists of Vendee, but had afterwards attached 
himself closely to Bonaparte, thereby hoping for promotion. 
It might have been thought that the First Consul could have 
found a better man for this difficult task ; but he could scarcely 
have found a priest possessed of a more soldier-like notion of 
obedience. 1 

The programme which Bonaparte had proposed to the 
Cardinal of Vercelli served as a basis for the negotiations between 
France and the Papacy, which began on 8th November. The 
first important point in the negotiations was the formation of 
a new French episcopate ; but great difficulties lay in the 

the Mimoires as a wholly trustworthy authority. They were composed at Reims 
in 1812, that is to say about ten years after the events which they relate. They are 
written in a very bitter spirit, during Consalvi's captivity in France, and it is evident 
that the author is strongly under the influence of passion. The papal librarian, 
Augustin Theiner, has enabled us (see above, p. 192) to criticise the Mimoires of 
Consalvi by means of his despatches and letters, which Theiner collected partly in 
the French Foreign Office and partly in the secret archives of the Vatican. With 
great skill he has connected these despatches by a thin thread of narrative so as to 
give us a clear sketch of the real state of affairs, and it is evident that not only did 
the angry Cardinal's memory fail him, but that his otherwise clear judgment was 
frequently obscured. Bonaparte, according to his account, would even then have 
been, what he in later years became, brutal in his treatment of the Church. But 
Theiner on the other hand goes much farther than he ought to do in his defence 
of Bonaparte. More than once it is evident, that Theiner's book was intended to 
please Napoleon III. by portraying the attitude of the first Napoleon towards the 
Pope as an example for the third. Even if Bonaparte was not such a brutal 
politician, he was even then, as he was throughout, a politician and nothing more 
in his attitude towards the Church. Theiner does not attach sufficient importance 
to the fact that the documents which he has collected are despatches, and as such, 
according to Consalvi's own language (Theiner I, 171), they had to be worded with 
great moderation, even if they were in cipher, because the cipher was pretty well 
known. No opportunity was therefore given for the expression of purely personal 
views, and in many places in the despatches the truth is only expressed with great 
reserve, as C. de Meaux (in the Revue des questions historiques IV, 7, 1869) immedi- 
ately pointed out. If the Mimoires are a lens which magnifies the violence and 
recklessness of the First Consul, the despatches are a lens which minimise his faults. 
We must, therefore, in every single point weigh them against one another in order 
to get at the truth. We find also contributions to the history of the negotiations 
for the Concordat in Talleyrand's and Cardinal Maury's Mimoires so often referred 
to. Count Boulay de la Meurthe has diligently collected all the documents relating 
to this history ; and upon this collection, and upon despatches at Alcala and in the 
French archives, Leon Seche' has based a detailed description of the origin of the 

1 Seche II, 6of 


way. Bonaparte could not possibly allow the whole of the old 
episcopate to be reinstated. It would anger the country too 
greatly, and would be dangerous for his own projects, for the 
old bishops were all attached to the old regime. The reinstate- 
ment of the episcopate might easily become the first step 
towards the restoration of the old monarchy. From among 
the bishops who had not taken the oath, he could only select 
those who had maintained a moderate attitude, and who were 
not too much hated in Paris. The rest of them would have 
to be forced, with the aid of the Pope, to resign their episcopal 
position. As a precedent it was possible to point to the 
procedure of the bishops at the time when the Donatist 
movement in the early Church was quelled. Indeed Bernier 
even dared to point to the Council of Constance, which, for 
the sake of peace, deposed three popes. But, on the other 
hand, some of those who had taken the oath had to be included 
in the episcopate about to be created. It was possible to 
choose those who had taken a small part, or at least an 
honourable part, in the Revolution, and who were well known 
for their moral purity. The people would never consent to 
the choice of bishops, unless those who had advocated liberty 
were included amongst the number. But would Rome consent 
to this, and what conditions would she impose ? 

Further, an agreement had to be arrived at as to the 
temporal position of the priesthood. The church property 
had been confiscated, and there could be no question of giving 
it back ; but could Rome acquiesce in such a " robbery " of 
the "gifts of the faithful" and the "heritage of the poor?" 
Spina proposed at the outset to reintroduce tithes ; but it 
would have been certain to provoke new disturbances. The 
abolition of the tithes was to many Frenchmen one of the 
best achievements of the Revolution, and their reintroduction 
in the France of the period was an impossibility. 

Finally, a Concordat required a term to describe the position 
of the French people towards the Catholic religion. Catholicism 
could not be called " a State religion " ; but even such a term as 
" the religion of the majority," used of the Catholic religion, 
would encounter much opposition. Mirabeau had once 
expressed himself against all such terms, as containing either 
the notion of privilege or else merely statistical information, 


and so being either inadmissible or superfluous. This last 
point, which obviously had to be settled in the first article of 
the Concordat, became therefore a special point of contention. 
At the first audience Bonaparte had told Spina that he would 
again make the Catholic religion the ruling one {dominante) 
in France, 1 but it was not long before Spina discovered that 
the First Consul had no intention whatever of fulfilling his 

It was altogether very difficult to arrive at an agreement. 
Spina rejected one proposal after another, 2 and it soon became 
evident that he had not sufficient instructions. After having 
frightened and threatened the Archbishop who was not furnished 
with sufficient powers, Bonaparte arrived at the conclusion 
that it would be best to send the fifth edition of the proposed 
Concordat to Rome. Cacault was despatched, provided with 
full powers for both ecclesiastical and political negotiations ; 
and the intention was, that the proposal, after having been 
signed in Rome by him and by a representative of the Pope, 
should be returned to Paris, to be ratified by Spina within 
twenty-four hours after the arrival of the courier. 3 Not before 
ioth March 1801 did the courier arrive at Rome with this 
fifth proposed Concordat. He also brought with him, as a 
token of friendship, the sacred image of Loretto, which the 
French at a former time had carried away. The Pope im- 
mediately summoned together twelve of the cardinals and laid 
the proposal before them ; but it did not please the princes 
of the Church, and it was therefore returned, together with an 
explicit statement of the reasons that led to its rejection. 
Cacault, although an old Republican, was devoted to Pius VII. 
and Consalvi. He wrote at the same time a letter to 
Talleyrand, in which he assured him that the proposal was 
rejected not from any evil intention, but because people in 
Rome were "awkward, slow by nature, and theologians by 
profession ; still there was hope that things might by degrees 

But Bonaparte would not wait any longer. 4 Cacault was 

1 Seche II, 67. 

2 These proposals are printed in Sech6 II, 2i4f. 

3 SecM II, 99. 

4 Consalvi I, 3161. Seche II, nsf". 


ordered to break off diplomatic relations, and to leave Rome, 
if the Pope did not within five days agree to the proposal as 
it stood. This order reached Cacault on 28th May, and on 
the same day Consalvi received letters from Spina and Bernier, 
announcing Bonaparte's decision. Consalvi was so overcome 
by the news that he had to take to his bed. In the evening 
Cacault was admitted, although the Cardinal was in bed with 
high fever. Consalvi assured Cacault that it would mean death 
to the Pope if Bonaparte's threats were carried out. But the 
French delegate could do nothing else but inform the Papal 
Court next day of France's ultimatum. 

Pius VII took the matter more serenely than his secretary 
had expected, and he showed then, as always, a real and true 
piety under misfortune. But he dared not sanction the proposal 
as it stood, and a breach was therefore inevitable. Cacault 
then advised that Consalvi should be sent to Paris ; it would, 
he thought, flatter Bonaparte to see a cardinal and a Papal 
Secretary of State seeking audience in the Tuileries, and possibly 
the persuasions of " the Siren " might make the general once 
more disposed to be friendly. Trusting to Cacault's friendship, 
and his knowledge of the situation, both the Pope and the 
cardinals agreed to this proposal. On 3rd June, Consalvi 
presented to Cacault the Papal rejection of the proposal, but 
next day he and Cacault left Rome in the same carriage. They 
hoped thereby to prevent the disquietude which might easily 
arise if it became generally known that a breach had occurred 
between Rome and France. Cacault relates how Consalvi did 
all he could on the journey to make known to the people that 
it was the French ambassador with whom he was sharing 
a carriage on such friendly terms. They travelled to Florence, 
where Consalvi met Murat, with whom he spent a day "in 
the greatest amity." Cacault remained in Florence, but 
Consalvi continued to journey to Paris as quickly as possible. 
It caused him much pain as he travelled to see many churches 
destroyed, and others dedicated to Youth, Friendship, Com- 
merce, Power, and the like. 

On 20th June, Consalvi arrived in Paris at night, and put 
up at the Hotel de Rome, where Spina and Caselli lived. Next 
day he reported to Cardinal Doria, who had been made Papal 
Secretary of State for the time being, that he had found Spina 


occupied in examining a sixth proposal for a Concordat 
not very different from the fifth rejected at Rome. 1 Bernier 
came at once, on the morning after Consalvi's arrival, to arrange 
for the audience with Bonaparte, who wished to see the Cardinal 
as • soon as possible. After receiving Bonaparte's orders at 
Malmaison, Bernier returned with the message that the Cardinal 
could be admitted the next day at seven in the evening ; he 
added that Bonaparte wished to see him in the dress worn by 
the cardinals at Rome. The Master of the Ceremonies fetched 
Consalvi from the hotel, and drove in through the big gate 
of the Tuileries to the salon of the ambassadors. Consalvi, 
dressed in black with red stockings and red skull-cap, was 
then led up the grand staircase, and through several rooms 
where troops saluted him. In the last ante-chamber he was 
received by Talleyrand, who accompanied him to the salon 
where Bonaparte awaited him. 2 The First Consul, who was 
surrounded by ministers and a great many officials placed with 
theatrical effect, advanced a few steps, with Talleyrand beside 
him, to meet Consalvi. He addressed him in gentle and calm 
tones ; at the beginning he was rather grave, but by and by 
he became smiling and lively. He spoke of the Pope with much 
friendliness, but with regard to the ecclesiastical negotiations 
he offered no bright prospects. A new proposal had been drawn 
up, which must be accepted within five days. Very important 
considerations forbade him to grant the least delay. If the 
proposal were not agreed to, he would break off negotiations and 
introduce a national religion. He added that he had the most 
certain means of obtaining success in such an undertaking. 
Consalvi answered, "respectfully, but also with the assurance 
which innocence and truth inspires " ; but he could not manage 
to get the respite extended. Nevertheless, he derived the 
impression from the whole reception that it was very solemn, 
and intended to do great honour to the Pope. 

What did the First Consul mean by his ambiguous expres- 
sions about the adoption of a "national religion," which he 
hoped to succeed in introducing ? As we learn from Consalvi's 
despatch that Talleyrand stood by his side when he uttered 
this threat, we may conclude that he referred to the synod of 

1 Despatch to Doria, Theiner I, \"]oi. 
! S^che II, i 3 7f. 



the bishops and priests who had taken the oath, which assembled 
a week later in Paris. Shortly before Consalvi arrived in 
Paris, Bonaparte had had a conversation with a bishop, who is 
characterised by Gregoire as one "who was unyielding in his 
devotion to religion and to liberty, who had never nattered 
the possessor of power, and who was therefore persecuted by 
him, and was afterwards the object of the despot's fierce anger." J 
There is no doubt that this bishop was Gregoire himself. The 
conversation was opened by the First Consul, who said : 
" Catholic France is divided into two parties ; in order to 
unite them I intend to make a Concordat with the Pope. Give 
me your sincere opinion about it." The bishop answered that 
the schism was much to be regretted in itself; but that to 
remove it no Concordat was needed. The Catholic Church 
had stood for 1,200 years without Concordats ; she had apostolic 
traditions and canonical authority, and these were enough ; 
the first four ecumenical Councils were at that time as much 
honoured as the four Gospels. Thereupon the bishop criticised 
the Concordat between Francis I. and Leo X. ; and his criticism 
was especially directed against the privileges accorded to high- 
born bishops, and against the withdrawal of the election of 
bishops from the laity. It was the programme of those who 
had taken the oath which the bishop thus explained. Bonaparte 
listened patiently to the learned explanation, but the party of 
the bishops and priests who had taken the oath formed only 
the second alternative in his designs. They had no pope. It 
is true he gave permission to hold a new Constitutional Council 
in Paris ; but it was nothing more than a political move. 2 In 
his entourage it was mostly Talleyrand who spoke up for the 
Constitutional clergy, and Bonaparte in religious matters had 
not much confidence in the former Bishop of Autun. It 
seemed to him, therefore, quite a seasonable thing that 
Talleyrand, shortly after the arrival of Consalvi, should leave 
Paris to take the baths. 

The negotiations between Bernier and Consalvi proceeded 
meanwhile, and Bonaparte often discussed the questions with 
Consalvi personally in Bernier's presence, but it was not 
possible to reach entire agreement. Bonaparte would not 

1 Gregoire : Essai historique sur les libertis de V iglise gallicane (Paris 1818), I58f. 

2 SecheJI, I24f. 


allow it to be stated in any way in the Concordat that the 
government professed the Catholic religion. He several times 
called attention to the fact that he himself was born a Catholic, 
and that he had never rejected Catholicism. Consalvi thought 
at such moments that it would be unwise and dangerous, 
tempting though it was, to remind him of the proclamations 
in Egypt. When Consalvi one day expressed his dislike for 
the Constitutional Synod, Bonaparte said, with a smile : " When 
you cannot agree with God, you must try to come to an under- 
standing with the devil." However, on 3rd July, Consalvi was 
able to report home that there appeared to be agreement 
upon certain important points. 1 The only misfortune was that 
the First Consul, with the best will himself in the matter, 
had to take into consideration all shades of opinions. The 
official class, the philosophers, the libertines, and the majority 
of the officers, were against the Concordat, and they declared 
openly to Bonaparte that a Concordat would be a sure means 
to restore the monarchy. It was in view of the strength of 
this resistance that Consalvi exclaimed : " I was prepared for 
rain, but not for such a deluge." 

At last the happy moment seemed to draw near when the 
Concordat might be signed, and this ceremony was fixed for 
13th July. 2 Consalvi, Spina, and Caselli were to sign on 
behalf of the Pope ; Joseph Bonaparte, Cretet, Conseiller 
d'Etat, and Bernier on behalf of France. The signing was 
to take place in Joseph Bonaparte's house. Consalvi wrote 
in a despatch to Doria, that this happy consummation was due 
to two circumstances — Talleyrand's absence, and the approach 
of 14th July. This day, with its festivities in memory of the 
storming of the Bastille, was in the future, according to 
Bonaparte's design, to be the anniversary of the peace between 
France and the Pope. He asked in the above-mentioned 
despatch to have the Concordat returned as soon as possible 
with the signature of the Pope, but he expressed at the same 
time a fear lest new difficulties should arise. And they arose. 

Unfortunately, Bonaparte had already, on 10th July, in an 
announcement about the festivities on the day of the Bastille, 

1 Postscript to the despatch of 2nd July, Theiner I, 194. 

2 Consalvi I., 37of. Consalvi's despatch to Doria in Theiner I, 221, and 
Mimoires du roi Joseph I, 85f. , 2oof. 


declared that " the scandal of religious dissensions should soon 
be put an end to." On 13th July, he had further caused the 
following announcement to appear in the Moniteur: "Cardinal 
Consalvi has been successful in the negotiations which the 
Holy See has commissioned him to conduct with the govern- 
ment." This was enough to set all the antagonists of the 
Concordat in motion. The synod of those who had taken the 
oath issued a sort of proclamation with the heading : " Liberty, 
Equality," which was a direct protest against a Concordat with 
the Pope. In spite of all precautions the contents of the 
Concordat had become generally known, so that in the evening 
of 13th July an invective against it was handed to Bonaparte. 
At the same time " Citizen," formerly Count Blanc d'Hauterive, 
a friend of Talleyrand and Gregoire, had made a new sketch 
of a Concordat, which was of such a nature that the Pope would 
never be able to agree to it. They attempted to get Bonaparte 
to place this new draft before Consalvi as the ultimatum of the 
French government, since the one which Consalvi and Bernier 
had agreed upon "brought the negotiations back again to 
the first difficulties." 1 On the morning of 1 3th July, Consalvi 
received a communication from Bernier, asking him to meet 
him at Joseph Bonaparte's in the afternoon of the same day. 
He enclosed a copy of the Gallican Concordat which the 
enemies of the Papacy wished to enforce. Afterwards the 
Abbe Bernier arrived himself, to pacify Consalvi with the 
assurance that everything would end happily in spite of the 
intrigues of the opposition. 

At four o'clock Consalvi, accompanied by Spina, Caselli, 
and Bernier, repaired to the house of Citizen Joseph Bonaparte 
in the Rue du Faubourg Saint Honore. The First Consul's 
brother received them cordially and declared that the matter 
would soon be settled, inasmuch as everything was agreed 
upon. They seated themselves round a table, and when a 
little dissension as to who should sign first had been settled 
in favour of Consalvi, 2 he took the pen to sign his name. On 
running his eye through the first articles, he discovered 

1 Cp. D'Hauterive's letter in Theiner I, 217. 

2 Consalvi I, 370. In the official text in Portalis' Discours, J. Bonaparte's name 
is placed before Consalvi's, and Cretet's before Spina's, a fact which, according to 
Cacault's despatch (Theiner I, 414), created great dissatisfaction in Rome. 


immediately that it was the Concordat of fD'Hauterive which 
was placed before him, and he therefore positively refused to 
sign. Joseph and Cretet, who was also present, did not 
seem to know anything of it, and at their earnest entreaty 
Consalvi declared himself ready to draw up then and there a 
proposal for a new Concordat. They began forthwith, and 
after nineteen hours incessant work, they finished it. Only 
as to the first article were they unable to agree. The Pope 
had explicitly demanded as the main points (i due cardini) 
liberty of worship for the Catholic Church and permission 
to hold their services publicly. This last point had encountered 
opposition from Bonaparte. He wished to have the paragraph 
concerning it drafted as follows : Son culte sera public, en 
se conformant toutefois aux reglements de police, a form which 
Consalvi had consistently opposed, because he feared that 
the Church would thereby be subjected to the arbitrary 
action of the police. Consalvi proposed that the rest of the 
Concordat should be signed, but that this article should stand 
over until Pius VII. had given a decision. Since the Con- 
cordat could not be published without his final signature, 
such an arrangement could do no harm. Joseph hastened to 
the Tuileries with the new draft, but an hour later, he returned 
with the tidings that the First Consul had torn up the Con- 
cordat and thrown the pieces into the fireplace. 1 He would have 
the Concordat as last proposed, or else break off all negotia- 
tions. It was two o'clock when Joseph returned ; at five 
the banquet in honour of the Bastille day was to take place, 
and during that festivity Bonaparte wished to be able to 
report either the completion of the Concordat or a breach. 
For two consecutive hours Joseph and Bernier exhausted 
every means to induce the Cardinal to give in, but he refused. 
At four he returned to the hotel to dress, and an hour later 
he presented himself at the Tuileries with Spina, for the 

He had scarcely entered the room where the First Consul 
was, before the latter said to him in a scornful voice: "So 
then, Monsieur le Cardinal, you have wished for a 
rupture. Very well! I have no need of Rome. I will act 
independently. If Henry VIII., who had not a twentieth 

1 Consalvi I, 385k 


part of my power, could successfully change the religion of 
his country, surely I can do the same. When I change the 
religion of France, I change it at the same time in nearly the 
whole of Europe, so far does my influence reach. Rome will 
discover what losses she has suffered ; she will weep over 
them, but she will find no compensation for them. You 
may go away ; it is the best thing you can do. You wished 
for a rupture, and since you wish for it, you shall have it." 
In answer to these words which were uttered so loudly that 
everybody could hear them, Consalvi said that he could 
neither transgress his authority nor give his consent to any- 
thing contrary to the principles of the Holy See. 1 Thereupon, 
the First Consul commenced a conversation with the Cardinal, 
and demanded the adoption of the article in question just as 
it stood without the alteration of a single syllable. Consalvi 
repeated that he would never subscribe to it as it stood. 
" Well, then," said Bonaparte in conclusion, " I have a 
right to say that you have sought a breach, and that I 
look upon the matter as closed. Rome will come to feel it, 
and to weep tears of blood over this breach." While utter- 
ing these words, Bonaparte had approached the Austrian 
ambassador, Count Cobenzl. He turned towards him and 
repeated his threats against Rome, adding that he would alter 
the ways of thinking and religion in every European state. 
He would certainly not be the only one that would turn his 
back upon the Roman Church (a se passer de I'eglise Romaine). 
He would soon set Europe on fire from top to bottom, and 
the blame and the hurt would fall upon the Pope. Thereupon 
he mingled with his guests, and repeated similar words to 
several of them. 

Afterwards, Count Cobenzl came to Consalvi and remon- 
strated with him anew. When Bonaparte saw it, he joined them 
and said it was waste of time to try to overcome the obstinacy 
of the Papal minister. Cobenzl, however, contrived to give 

1 Cretineau-Joly has here perverted Consalvi's Italian manuscript (see it verbally 
given in Seche' II, 154) by making Bonaparte ask : " When are you leaving?" and 
Consalvi answer : "After dinner." Maynard defends this perversion by exclaiming : 
"Que l'ecrivain de nos jours, qui ne se sentirait pas fier d'avoir trouve un mot si bien 
venu et si bien en place, se charge de jeter a Cretineau la premiere pierre," an 
exclamation that bears witness to a peculiar interpretation of the duties of an editor 
of Memoires. 


such a turn to the conversation that Bonaparte gave per- 
mission for a new meeting next day as a last attempt, and 
Consalvi arranged to meet the other representatives next 
day at noon at the house of Joseph Bonaparte. In hopes 
of a successful result of this meeting Bonaparte allowed 
the Papal banner to keep its place amongst the flags of 
friendly powers which decorated the balloon that ascended 
in the evening from the Champs Elysees. This was the 
first time since the Revolution that the Papal flag had floated 
over French soil. 

The Cardinal spent a restless night. In the morning Spina 
returned mournful and bewildered. Padre Caselli had come to 
him early and had said that he dared not be a party to making 
any further resistance, and, as Spina knew that Caselli was a 
much more learned theologian than himself, he was now quite 
of the same opinion. If Consalvi did not agree with them that 
they ought to give in, they would give a separate vote. This 
was but little encouraging to Consalvi ; but he determined in 
spite of all to maintain his position, and he asked his two helpers 
to conceal their inclination to submit as long as possible. The 
meeting at Joseph's house began at twelve o'clock, and only at 
night did they come to an agreement ; Consalvi had got the 
article altered as he desired, 1 and Joseph had decided to sign it 
in this form, hoping to be able to induce his brother to accept 
what he had done. The signing took place at two o'clock in 
the morning— at the same time as Joseph's wife gave birth to 
a daughter, who, although good fortune was prophesied for her 
by the envoy of the vicar of Christ, met with but a poor fate. 2 
The next day Joseph came to Consalvi and told him the result 
of his conversation with his brother. Bonaparte had at first 
been very angry, then he had become absorbed in thought, and 
after a long silence, he had promised to accept the Concordat 
as it stood. The idea had just then occurred to him of carrying 
his war through by the so-called "organic articles." 

The Concordat of Messidor 26th in the ninth year (15th July 

1 "Son culte sera public, en se conformant aux reglements de police que le 
Gouvernement jugera necessaires pour la tranquillity publique." Thus he hoped to 
escape the arbitrariness of the police. 

2 Mi moires du rot Joseph I, 86 : " Veuve a trente ans, separfe de son pere, 
proscrite comme tout le reste de sa famille." 


1801) 1 opens with the declaration that the Roman Church is 
" the religion of the majority." As such it must have liberty of 
worship and a public service within certain limits, which are 
mentioned. There is to be a redistribution of the French 
dioceses, 2 and the Pope undertakes to notify the French bishops 
that he confidently expects, that, "for the sake of peace and 
unity, they are ready to undergo any sacrifices, even if it were 
of their own sees." If the bishops, contrary to expectation, 
refuse to make such a sacrifice they must be compelled to do 
it. The First Consul shall, in the course of three months, 
nominate new bishops and archbishops to the dioceses according 
to the new divisions, and the Pope shall give them canonical 
institution according to the ancient forms; but no period of 
time was fixed for this. Bishops and priests are to swear on 
the Gospel allegiance to the Republic, and in all churches the 
following prayer shall be recited at each service : Domine, 
salvam fac Rempublicam. Domine, salvos fac consules. 

The bishops are to select the parish priests ; but their 
choice must only fall upon men who are pleasing to the 
government. All the necessary churches shall be placed at 
the disposal of the bishops, but the Pope is to promise that 
neither he nor his successors will in any way injure the owners 
of the church property which has been confiscated. The 
government will, on the other hand, grant to the ministers of the 
Church suitable stipends, and French Catholics have permission 
to make gifts to the Church. The First Consul shall enjoy the 
same privileges as the ancient government, but if any of his 
successors leaves the Catholic Church, a new arrangement must 
be made. The binding document shall be delivered in Paris 
within the course of forty days. 

This Concordat was, as Count Chaptal says, 3 the most 
daring enterprise which Bonaparte carried out during the first 
years of his rule. " The idea of giving to the Pope jurisdiction 
once more over Frenchmen was so repulsive to the prevail- 
ing state of mind and public opinion that he alone could have 

1 Printed in Theiner I, 42 if, and in Ollivier : Nouveau manuel de droit ecctfsi- 
astigue, loyi. 

2 Strangely enough the ancient see of Remi is not to found any more according 
to the new arrangement. Was its abolition a sacrifice to the hatred of the monarchy ? 
fthe Archbishopric of Reims was refounded in 1817.] 

3 Chaptal, 236. 

VOL. I. Q 


formed the plan and carried this great work through." The 
Abbe" de Pradt, indeed, relates that Napoleon repeatedly called 
the Concordat " his greatest mistake" ; but here, as on many 
other points, this tainted source of information is refuted by 
Napoleon's own expressions at St Helena. 1 It can with 
greater reason be maintained that this daring move was the 
beginning of the extraordinary success of the First Consul. 
Bonaparte, in fact, reaped as great political advantage from 
the treaty of peace with the Pope as Constantine the Great 
and Pepin from their alliance with the Church. 

Yet the advantage lay still more with Rome, and on this 
account Pius VII. remembered to the end "this saving deed 
of Christian heroism," in spite of all the hard things which he 
experienced later on at Napoleon's hands. Rome did not 
only regain for the Church a firm footing in France ; but by 
the Concordat the Curia gained a victory in a land, from which 
up till now had gone forth the most energetic protest against 
the absolute power of the Papacy. The way in which Pius 
VII. forced the whole French episcopate to resign and submit 
to a complete rearrangement of all the sees, could only be 
defended on Bellarmine's theory of Papal Supremacy. In spite 
of his Gallicanism and his studies in Bossuet, Bonaparte inflicted 
by his action a deadly wound on the liberties of the Gallican 
Church, and Roman Ultramontanism could congratulate itself 
on having got the French government to accept the ultra- 
montane theory of the supremacy of the Pope over the 
episcopate, and to silence every appeal to the old Gallican canon 
law. Later attempts of Bonaparte to revive Gallicanism had 
no lasting importance, but the Concordat was and remained 
a great victory for Ultramontanism. 

When the negotiations about the Concordat were finished, 
Consalvi was received by Bonaparte in a farewell audience. 
When he entered in the cardinal's purple, Bonaparte could 
with difficulty keep his laughter back ; " if a single one had 
laughed, we should all," says De Pradt, "have been in danger 
of falling into irrepressible laughter, like the gods of Homer." 2 
Consalvi pointed out during the audience that the Papal See 
had shown clearly in this case that it did not at all covet 
temporal power or other worldly things, and the First Consul 
1 Skhe" II, 2o6f. 2 De Pradt II, 267. 


listened to him civilly and without impatience. The following 
day, however, he was recalled to the Tuileries, and Bonaparte 
asked him very searching questions about the Papal States. 
In the course of the conversation he remarked, in passing, that 
he had difficulty in choosing between the bishops who had 
and who had not taken the oath in the appointments to the 
new dioceses. Consalvi was much alarmed at this utterance, 
and maintained that it had been an understood thing during 
all the negotiations that none of those who had taken the oath 
should again become bishops, because they were not in com- 
munion with the Pope. Bonaparte answered coldly that he 
could not entirely pass them by, because a strong party was 
on their side. Consalvi maintained firmly that it would be 
impossible to give them canonical institution, unless, at any 
rate, they made ample apology ; but Bonaparte wished to save 
them from humiliation. This conversation made bad blood, 
and the First Consul showed his anger some days later at a 
review by passing Consalvi in silence, as he stood at the head 
of the diplomatic circle. When Consalvi had drafted a Bull 
to accompany the publication of the Concordat, he finally 
obtained permission to leave, and on 6th August he arrived 
in Rome, "more dead than alive, overcome by fatigue and 
want of sleep." Bonaparte afterwards sent him a magnificent 
casket as a reward for his work, and both Spina and Caselli 
received presents. The Papal See was obliged to make a 
gift in return, but it was very difficult, for, as Cacault says in 
a despatch, " they have left the Pope nothing but the relics of 
saints, and that stuff is of little value now in France." 1 The 
Pope, however, did his best; Madame Bonaparte received a 
splendid rosary of lapis lazuli, with a cameo, surrounded by 
diamonds, "of the same kind as the Pope is accustomed to 
give to great princesses." So writes Cacault with evident 
satisfaction. 2 

The news of the conclusion of the Concordat, according to 
Consalvi, created great rejoicing in Paris, and outside France 
also it was welcomed by Catholics and Protestants. 3 There 
were not a few Catholics, however, who were not at all 

1 Theiner I, 285. 2 Ibid., 294. 

3 For instance in the Protestant journal, Voix de la religion au XIX sikle, at 
Lausanne. Vinet: Etudes sur la lift, francaise 1. 216. 


satisfied. The Royalists were very unwilling to see the Pope 
concluding a concordat with the Revolution, for the strife 
between revolutionary France and Rome had given them their 
firmest hope of the restoration of the old regime. In Italy 
the words went from mouth to mouth : 

" To save his faith 
Pius (VI.) lost his throne. 
To save his throne 
Pius (VII.) abandoned his faith." 

The National Church Council at Paris was highly exasperated, 
but it was commanded to dissolve a few weeks after Consalvi's 
departure. It broke up with bitter denunciations of "the 
faithless and cunning Rome, which always derives benefit from 
everything," x but yet with the promise that the bishops would 
apply for their discharge if the Pope publicly demanded it. 2 
That the Freethinkers were not satisfied is natural enough. 
Many of them had hoped to attain freedom of belief in France 
as in North America, and from that moment they lost faith 
in the republican sentiments of Bonaparte. But what did 
Bonaparte think himself? He was the politician. With 
Consalvi and the Pope he touched the ecclesiastical chords, 
but to Cabanis he declared : " Do you know what the Con- 
cordat which I have recently signed means? It is a religious 
vaccination. In fifty years' time there will be no religion in 
France." 3 

On 25th July, the Concordat reached Rome, and there it 
was secretly placed before a congregation of cardinals and 
theologians to be examined by them. Some of the cardinals 
objected strongly to one or two of the articles, but it was 
from personal motives, which were ill-concealed behind a 
theological disguise ; jealousy of Consalvi was for certain of 
them the real ground of their criticism. 4 But in spite of 
these somewhat lengthy and wearisome discussions at Rome, 
the Papal envoy reached Paris, bringing the document, magnifi- 
cently got up, and signed by the Pope, before the forty days 
had expired. Bonaparte was then occupied in reading Fleury's 

1 Theiner I, 3695. 2 Sech£ II, 162. 

3 Mme. de Stael : Considirations sur la revolution fran(aise (Paris 1818) II, 
275k 4 Seche II, i66f. 


Church History, and the reading made it clear to him that 
it would now be very useful to him to have a Legate (a latere) 
sent to France. He saw from Fleury's account what power 
the Papal Legates had in the Middle Ages, how they had been 
like little popes in the various countries ; if such a Legate, 
endued with sufficient authority, came to Paris, the First 
Consul would have him in his power, and then everything 
would be gained. He therefore asked the Pope to send a 
Legate to Paris, and suggested Cardinal Caprara for the post. 1 
Caprara, Bishop of Jesi, then a man of sixty-eight years 
of age, had been nuncio at Cologne, Lucerne, and Vienna 
and was said to have Febronian sympathies. The Pope 
complied with the desire of the First Consul, and in the 
evening of 4th October, the Cardinal drove into Paris 
quietly, according to his own wish. The next day he had 
an audience with Talleyrand, and the latter communicated 
to him the happy news that Theophilanthropism in France 
was now entirely suppressed. 

But difficulties were in store for Caprara like those which 
Consalvi had met with, and the Cardinal Legate had neither the 
Papal Secretary's genius nor his energy. The hard task had 
been entrusted to him of demanding the restoration of the 
Legations and of opposing to the utmost the appointment 
of those who had taken the oath as bishops under the new 
regime. Bonaparte had entrusted Portalis to conduct the 
negotiations on behalf of France. He was a Gallican by 
sympathy, a disciple of the Oratorians, well versed in canon law. 
Afterwards he became Minister of Public Worship. But the First 
Consul followed the business step by step. With his wonderful 
acuteness, he soon got on so far with it that Caprara could say 
of him : " He judges as if he were a canonist and theologian 
by profession." It was Bonaparte's wish that the publication 
of the Concordat should take place on Brumaire 18th (9th 
November), but it was impossible to have everything arranged 

1 Cardinal Maury, who was very angry at being forced, by the desire of France, 
to retire to Montefiascone, while the Concordat was being discussed at Rome, wrote 
in a cipher despatch of 20th August 1801 to Louis XVIII. : " Le chevalier d'Azara a 
insinue a Bonaparte de demander au pape pour cette mission extraordinaire le 
Cardinal Caprara, son ami, l'ami des francais, par la protection desquels il se 
fiattait de devenir pape, l'ami du feu Prince de Kaunitz, homme souple, faible, 
depourvu de toute connaissance theologique et canonique." — Maury II, 160. 


for that day. Both the bishops who had and those who had not 
taken the oath were to lay down their office ; a Bull had to be 
published about the rearrangement of the dioceses ; and finally 
the new bishops had to be nominated — a matter of great 
difficulty, because Bonaparte still insisted on choosing some of 
those who had taken the oath to be amongst the new 

As soon as the Concordat was signed, the Pope sent a brief 
to the bishops of France, begging them to resign. Circumstances 
even forced him to ask their resignation within ten days. 1 The 
bishops who had not taken the oath, and who were in France, 
immediately obeyed the admonition, and the bishops who 
were in Italy at once followed their example. Only one of 
them, the Bishop of Beziers, first asked permission of Louis 
XVIII. to resign. 2 The French bishops who had been 
hospitably received in Spain, Switzerland, and Germany, like- 
wise sent compliant answers forthwith to the Papal brief; but 
the eighteen bishops who had taken refuge in England hesitated. 
They criticised the Concordat sharply, and some of them 
doubted whether the Pope had any right to make such a 
demand upon bishops ; others thought that he ought first to 
have obtained leave of Louis XVIII. Twelve of them would 
not submit for a good while — some of them probably under 
political influence from the English government, which did not 
wish to see the religious division healed, because it weakened 
the country. Their opposition encouraged Louis XVIII. to 
speak also, and on 6th October he sent from Warsaw to all 
the bishops in the kingdom a protest against the Concordat, 
whose wording he did not know.s But this protest made an 
impression on only a very few of the bishops. 

The bishops who had taken the oath, like most of the others, 
were not unwilling to resign their sees. With the exception 
of Savines of Viviers, 4 they signed a joint letter, in which they 
declared themselves ready to make the heavy sacrifice freely 
and without reserve. But they said besides, that they wished 
to show to the Pope, as the successor of St Peter, the obedience 

1 Maury II, 235U a Theiner I, 345. 

s His letter in Seche II, i83f. 

4 He wrote : " On a tant crie que nous etions inlrus ; j'appartiens a l'ancien et 
au nouveau regime ; nous verrons quel sera tintrus qui osera, sans mon aveu, 
gouvernermon diocese." — Seche II, 176. 


and submission that was due to him according to canons and 
holy decrees of the Church, and that they adhered firmly to 
the faith of the Apostles. 1 A distinction between the decrees 
of the Church and those of the Pope, and the acknowledgment 
of the " faith of the Apostles," sounded in ultramontane ears like 
" pure Jansenism," and the letter which they forwarded was not 
according to the formula that Rome had wished them to sign. 
Some of those who had taken the oath, moreover, in separate 
letters to Pius VII. used expressions which wounded the Pope, 
because, as Theiner puts it, they bore " the stamp of Jansenism." 
Thus Gregoire declared in his own name and another bishop's : 
" Although called by a free election, we only agreed after the 
utmost reluctance to take upon us the heavy burden of the 
episcopate and to receive the holy consecration ; but we see 
with joy the moment approaching, in which we can quit our 
posts without doing harm either to the cause of religion or to 
that of the Republic. Our faith has always been the faith of 
the Apostles, to which God has given us grace to bear witness, 
even with the guillotine before our eyes." 2 

Since the episcopal sees were vacant, it was necessary to 
fill them again, and, according to the Concordat, the selection 
was placed in the hands of Bonaparte, while the canonical 
institution rested with the Pope. The rearrangement of the 
dioceses was first put in hand, and Bonaparte took an active 
share in it. He went into the most minute details, decided 
which churches should be the principal ones, and where the 
new parsonages should be placed. When he saw that ten 
metropolitans and forty diocesans were not enough, he 
generously added ten new dioceses, which the Cardinal Legate 
of course gladly accepted. Then the new bishops were selected. 
It must be said in praise of the old lawful bishops, that they 
did not intrigue to get back into office ; most of them would 
not accept the new sees until a great pressure had been brought 
to bear upon them. Bernier, who had hoped to receive the 
Archbishopric of Paris as a reward for his services, had to 
content himself with Orleans, and there he died soon after, of 
grief at not having been made a cardinal. 3 

1 Seche II, 176. 

2 The letter is given among the documents in Theiner II, 101. 

3 Seche II, 193. 

■2$ f he concordat with France [chap. 

From the bishops who had taken the oath, Pius VII. 
required an explicit declaration, that "they adhered and 
submitted to the Pope's judgment concerning ecclesiastical 
affairs in France," 1 or, in other words, that they acknowledged 
the Pope's condemnation of the Revolution and of the Civil 
Constitution of the clergy. 

Bonaparte did not wish to go so far ; but at Rome the 
demand of the Pope seemed too mild. A bogus Moniteur 
was printed, in which was seen a proclamation of Bonaparte 
to the Egyptians, in which he says that he has expelled the 
vicar of Jesus Christ on earth out of Rome. 2 The intention 
was to excite the popular mind ; and there were those who 
suggested that Pius VII. should flee to Malta and seek help 
from the English, rather than come to terms with the ungodly 
First Consul. 

At Paris the Pope's requirement was considered altogether 
exorbitant; those who had taken the oath were friends of 
the Revolution, and must at any cost be saved from humilia- 
tions. It was pointed out to Bonaparte that there were 
several of these bishops for whom public opinion demanded 
seats in the new episcopate, and there were moments at 
which it looked as if there would be serious disturbances in 
the capital. Bonaparte was compelled to abuse his power 
to eject fifty members of the Legislative Assembly, because 
they were enemies of the Concordat, before he could expect 
to get it approved by the majority of the Assembly. But 
the Pope was more difficult to deal with. Two out of the 
ten Constitutional bishops whom Bonaparte had singled out 
to receive French bishoprics again, 3 were already reconciled to 
the Pope ; but the other eight were not, and did not care about 
reconciliation. As soon as their nomination was communicated 
to them, they went to the Cardinal Legate on the morning of 
Maundy Thursday, to arrange for the canonical institution. 
Caprara showed them a letter addressed to the Pope, that con- 
tained amongst other things the above-mentioned expressions, 

1 Without such a declaration, says Cacault in writing home, the Pope would think 
himself "perdu comme Honorius" (D'Haussonville I, 412). Supposing that he 
here gives a real utterance of Pius VII., we have in it the Pope's view of his heretical 

2 Artaud : Histoire du Pape Pie VI 1. I, 164. 
8 Seche II, I93f. 


and he demanded that each of them should forward it, signed 
with his own name, before there could be any idea of institution. 
The bishops refused to sign a recantation couched in such 
strong language, but promised to draw one up themselves in 
a; milder form. From Caprara they went to Portalis to 
complain, and afterwards to other powerful personages, and as 
they found support everywhere, they grew bolder. 

At this point everything seemed about to break down 
again. The Legate dared not to give in to the request 
of the bishops, because it was against his instructions ; 
Bonaparte neither could nor would agree to the requirement 
of the Legate, because its fulfilment would make the opposi- 
tion to the Concordat far stronger. At this difficult juncture 
Bernier reappeared as mediator. He proposed that the bishops 
in his and another's presence should secretly and orally make 
the recantation which the Pope required ; and both Caprara 
and Bonaparte agreed to this proposal. It is said that the 
eight bishops made the recantation in hot haste on Easter 
Even, in the presence of Pancemont, Bishop of Vannes, and 
of Bernier. But as Rome carelessly divulged the secret, in 
spite of the promise of silence, the eight bishops declared that 
they had never recanted in such a way. We are here placed 
in the difficulty of doubting the veracity of either Bernier 
or of the bishops ; and in spite of Theiner's clever attempt 
yet again to save Bernier's honour, D'Haussonville, even if he 
be wrong in some of his premises, is no doubt right when 
he attaches greater credence to the eight bishops than to 
the shrewd Bernier. 1 It is most difficult to understand how 
the Bishop of Vannes, who was considered a saint, could 
acquiesce in such an untruth. 2 

However this may be, Bernier's account of the meeting with 
the eight who had taken the oath helped to remove the last 
difficulties on the part of Rome. On 3rd April 1802 Bernier 
reported to Consalvi that the Concordat had been passed in 
the Conseil cTEtat on the previous day " without discussion." 
On the following Monday, 5th April, it was to be laid before the 
Legislative Assembly " not to be approved or to be rejected, but 
to be published as the law of the Republic." No difficulty was 

1 Theiner I, 393f. ; and D'Haussonville I, igo. 

2 Cp. Pasquier's estimate of him in the Mimoires du chancelier Pasquicr, it J. 


to be expected from that quarter. " It is the first work of the 
Assembly," Bernier adds, "and it will do it well. Lucien 
Bonaparte, who is appointed tribune, is preparing to support 
it in a speech." 1 It was to Portalis, however, that the duty of 
removing the last opposition in the Legislative Assembly was 
entrusted. He did so in a brilliant speech, so far as its form is 
concerned. First he pointed out the necessity of religion, which 
is really founded upon the necessity of having a scheme of 
morality. But a scheme of morality without dogmas would be 
une justice sans tribunaux. The multitude cannot be satisfied 
with proofs. It must have commandments — religion and not 
merely philosophy. The positive religions have this advantage, 
that they possess ceremonies. An abstract religion can never 
be a popular religion, and atheism is more dangerous to the 
State than superstition. But could not a new religion be 
formed ? No, it is impossible. It is their antiquity which gives 
splendour to religions ; men must believe that they are the work 
of God. Everything is lost, as soon as people catch a glimpse 
of the hands of man. Why then not go on with Christianity ? 
Can the religion of Descartes, Newton, Pascal, Bossuet, and 
Fenelon be opposed to enlightenment and good morals? 
Christianity, no doubt, has certain dogmas of its own ; but 
" they fill up the space which reason leaves empty, and which 
imagination would be sure to fill up in a worse manner." 
Furthermore, the State must aid religion in order to have some 
control of it. The Concordat, now concluded, must therefore 
be considered very successful, from the point of view of the 
State, particularly because of the " organic articles " which were 
added to it. 2 

Such a speech was needed when Bonaparte "erected the 
altars" in France. The "organic articles" to which Portalis 
alludes, were certain regulations which the French government 
had made with regard to the carrying out of the Concordat. 8 
They were drawn up without the knowledge of the Pope, 
and gave him occasion afterwards to make the strongest 
remonstrances ; for they actually made the Church the slave of 

1 Bernier's letter in Theiner I, 397f. 

2 Portalis: Discours prononct dans la stance du Corps Ligislatif du 15 germinal 
(5th April) an X (Paris an X). 

'They are printed in Ollivier, H5f., and in the appendix to Portalis : Discours. 


the State. No Bull, no brief, or any other missive from the Pope, 

so those articles enact, may be published or printed without 

the permission of the government. Legates and nuncios must 

obtain authority from the French government to work in France. 

Not even ecumenical Councils can obtain validity in France, 

unless they are first examined and ratified ( by the government, 

and no ecclesiastical synod may be called together there without 

its permission. All services of the Church must be given 

without remuneration, with the exception of those for which the 

government has fixed the allowance. In all matters the 

Conseil d'Etat may be appealed to as a kind of final Court. 

There are no longer any legal exemptions for the clergy. 

Archbishops and bishops may add to their names " Citizen " or 

" Monsieur " ; all other titles are abolished. If an archbishop 

refuses to consecrate his suffragans, the senior bishop may do it 

instead of him. No one may be made a bishop before, thirty 

years of age, and only if he be a Frenchman born. The bishops 

may not leave their dioceses without permission of the First 

Consul. All the teachers in the seminaries must sign the 

Gallican declarations of 1682, and promise to communicate to 

their pupils the teaching embodied in them. No foreigner 

may be made a priest in France without special permission. 

There must be one catechism and one liturgy for the whole of 

France, and no festival except Sunday can be celebrated 

without special permission of the government. All ministers 

of the Church must wear French dress, and be clothed in black ; 

the bishops, however, have permission to wear a cross and 

purple stockings. No religious ceremony must take place 

outside the churches in regions where there are several forms 

of belief. The church ceremony of marriage may only be 

performed when the couple has first contracted civil marriage. 

The archbishops are to have 15,000 francs a year, the bishops 

10,000 francs, and the priests 1,500 or 1,000, besides parsonage 

and garden. 1 

In spite of these " organic laws," which were to restore the 
Gallican liberties to the Church of France, the Legislative 
Assembly did not relish swallowing the bitter pill, which the 
Concordat was to them. On the same day that Portalis 

1 The position of the Reformed and Lutheran Churches is treated in an appendix. 
Ollivier, I27f. 


delivered his speech, a deputation from the Assembly had an 
audience of Bonaparte. The spokesman made a speech in 
which he dwelt upon the peace of Amiens, which was now 
finally concluded, but he did not by a single syllable allude to 
the Concordat. It was a demonstration, the object of which 
was clear enough; but Bonaparte was not slow in answering. 
After thanking them he spoke as follows : " The session of the 
Legislative Assembly opens with the most important work 
that can engage the attention of a popular assembly. The 
whole French nation is desirous of seeing an end of religious 
strife, and a settlement of the form of public worship. You 
must, like the nation itself, be unanimous about the result of 
your deliberations. The French nation will hear with the 
greatest satisfaction that it has not a single legislator who has 
not voted for the peace of conscience, and the peace of family 
life, which is more important for the welfare of the people than 
the peace upon which you have just now congratulated the 
government." 1 It was a speech, which, in point of clearness, 
left nothing to be desired ; and two days after, the Legislative 
Assembly passed the Bill by 228 votes to 21. On the same 
day the tribunate passed it by 78 to 9. The mob of Paris and 
the zealous revolutionaries revenged themselves by hooting a 
play, which one of the tribunes, who had spoken in favour of 
the Concordat, produced just at the same time in the Theatre 
Francais ; 2 and the generals and the soldiers were astonished 
at hearing " the little corporal " speaking as if he were delivering 
a sermon. 

On Friday, 9th April, Caprara was officially received at the 
Tuileries as Legate of the Holy See. He had requested that a 
man on horseback should carry a cross of gold in front of him, 
as old custom demanded when legates went to Court ; but the 
authorities did not yet dare to present such a spectacle to the 
inhabitants of Paris. The cross was placed in one of the closed 
carriages, which preceded that of the Cardinal Legate. The 
First Consul received him at the head of a splendid assemblage, 
and listened graciously to his speech. He then took the oath. 
Bonaparte on the previous day had promulgated a decree, which 
acknowledged Caprara's function as Legate, as soon as, " accord- 

1 Correspondance de Napolton I. VII, 546. 

2 De Pressense, 519. 


ing to the usual formula," he had promised to conform to the 
laws of the State and "the liberties of the Gallican Church." 
This expression was at the time undoubtedly understood by 
most of the outside world, as though the Legate was to acknow- 
ledge the four propositions of 1682 ; but such was not the case. 
The oath was only a general promise of obedience. 1 After the 
taking of the oath, Bonaparte expressed his appreciation of the 
Legate's person, and also the hope that the result of his mission 
would be " hailed with joy by all enlightened philosophers and 
true philanthropists." 2 On the following Sunday, which was 
Palm Sunday, four new prelates were canonically instituted, 
amongst them Cambace>es as Archbishop of Rouen, and Bernier 
as Bishop of Orleans. Each of the new bishops received a gift of 
money, a cross, a pastoral staff, and a mitre. The ceremony 
took place in the church of N6tre Dame, which, until then, had 
been under the charge of those who had taken the oath. The 
unusual spectacle attracted a great multitude of people. The 
church, says Thiers, was full of a numerous band of Christians, 
who had been sighing over the unhappy state of religion, 
and who, without belonging to any party, accepted that day with 
gratitude the First Consul's gift to them. 

On Easter Even, Bonaparte issued a proclamation, in which 
he invited the French to take part in the next day's festival, 
the publication of the Concordat. " Frenchmen ! " says the pro- 
clamation, " in the midst of a revolution which was inspired by 
patriotism, there suddenly arose religious dissensions, which 
have become a scourge to your families, an incitement to party 
strife, and the cause of hope to our enemies. A foolish policy 
attempted to stifle these dissensions under the fragments of the 
altars, under the ruins of religion itself. At its bidding the 
pious festivals ceased, at which citizens called each other by the 
tender name of brother, and acknowledged each other as fellow- 
men under the hand of that God who made them ; the dying 
who was alone with his pain no longer heard the voice of 
comfort that calls Christians to a better life ; God Himself seemed 
to have been banished out of Nature. ... It was to the Pope 
that the example of centuries, and reason, bade us go to make 

1 "Item servaturum statuta et consuetudines Reipublicae et nunquam jurisdictioni 
ac juribus gubernii derogattirum." Among the documents in Theiner II, 154. 

2 Correspondance de NapoUon I. VII, 549. 


peace between divided opinions, and to reconcile estranged 
hearts." Then the clergy are addressed : " Ministers of the 
religion of peace! Let the deepest oblivion hide your strifes, 
your misfortunes, and your faults. . . . Let the citizens learn 
from you that the God of peace is also the God of armies, and 
that He fights against those who wish to forbid France to be 
independent and free." 1 

At last that Easter Day came, 18th April 1802, which at one 
and the same time was to be marked by the publication of the 
peace of Amiens and of the Concordat. Whilst the First 
Consul in the morning hours exchanged the documents relating 
to the peace of Amiens with the ambassadors of the foreign 
powers, a crowd, partly civil, partly military, paraded the streets 
to publish the Concordat. At eleven o'clock Caprara went to the 
church of N6tre Dame followed by archbishops and bishops in 
full canonicals, and on that day the golden cross was carried 
before the Legate. Louis XV.'s gilded chariots and state carriages 
drove to the church, full of ladies in brilliant costumes, and 
on Madame Bonaparte's carriage were seen, for the first time, 
footmen in green livery with gold lace, which came afterwards 
to be the colours of the Napoleons. The First Consul went to 
church at the head of his faithful admirers. On the way, the 
splendid procession met Berthier and the generals, and, at a sign 
from Bonaparte, these joined his suite. It was a stratagem. To 
make the generals join in, Berthier had invited them to dtjedner, 
and after dfy'eAner requested them to go to the Tuileries to con- 
gratulate the First Consul. He took care that this request was 
accomplished at the moment when Bonaparte was on his way 
to church ; and thus the generals were tricked into going to 
church likewise. They took part in the service, but they were, 
as Thiers says, more obedient than converted. 

The former Archbishop of Aix, De Boisgelin, preached, and 
his sermon was a panegyric upon the General and the First 
Consul. The speaker drew a comparison between him, Pepin, 
and Charles the Great. The whole thing was a prelude to 
the coronation, and Bonaparte had specially chosen the 
Archbishop of Aix because he had preached in the cathedral 
of Reims when Louis XVI. was crowned. It seemed on that 
day as if France had only one ruler, and not three consuls. 
1 Corrcspofidance de Napolion /. VII, 558. 


Bonaparte was also the only one for whom incense was 
literally burnt. When the priests asked in the morning 
whether the censer should not be swung for the other two 
consuls, Bonaparte answered : " No ; the perfume will still 
be too strong for them." The presage of autocracy which 
was linked with the restoration of the Catholic religion evoked 
still more repugnance amongst the friends of liberty. Madame 
de Stael shut herself up in order to avoid seeing " the hateful 
show," and dissatisfaction smouldered among many of those 
nearest to Bonaparte. On returning from church the First 
Consul said to one of the generals : " Did not everything 
seem to be in the old order again to-day?" He received 
the answer : " Yes ; except that two millions of Frenchmen 
have died for liberty, and cannot be restored to life." 1 But 
Pasquier, afterwards Chancellor, writes in his Memoires : " Never 
did Bonaparte show himself greater than on that day. It 
was the most magnificent victory that could be gained over 
the Revolution. All the rest, without exception, were only 
results of this." 2 And Talleyrand saw in the Concordat the 
best proof of Napoleon's strength of character; for in con- 
cluding it he defied both the scorn of the army and the 
opposition of his brother consuls. 3 

After the conclusion of the Concordat, which was received 
with great joy, especially in the provinces, Bonaparte sent 
Pius VII. a letter in which he signed himself de Vdtre Saintete 
le tres-devoud fils. But there were still two subjects of 
controversy between the First Consul and Rome — the Organic 
Articles, and the Legations, which Pius VII. constantly hoped 
to regain. Rome was greatly annoyed at the Organic Articles, 
but still more at the deceitful manner in which they were put 
forth. A paper was published in Paris, of which the title 
was Concordat, printed in capitals. In this the Organic 
Articles, were printed immediately after the articles of the 
Concordat and under the same date, so that it looked as if 

1 Mme. de Stael : Considerations II, 278. Her opinion of De Boisgelin, 276. 
De Boisgelin was afterwards the first who called Napoleon "legitimate," which 
word, according to Portalis, was the most important in a priest's mouth, op. cit. Ill, 

2 Mimoires du chancelier Pasquier I, 1 60. 

3 Talleyrand II, 36. 


they formed part of the Concordat concluded with the Pope. 1 
Consalvi passed the following judgment upon their contents: 
"They overthrew nearly the whole new edifice, which we 
had built up with so much pains. The regulations which the 
Concordat had made as to the liberty of the Church and of 
Divine Service, were again exposed to the decisions of Gallican 
jurisprudence, and the Church of France was in danger of 
being once more enslaved." 

Consalvi's anxieties were fully shared by Pius VII. and 
his theologians, but nothing could be done. All representa- 
tions, all prayers, all threats were in vain. The Organic 
Articles continued in force. And they were not quite without 
their advantages. They diminished the number of the parish 
priests, and increased the number of assistant clergy (vicaires, 
desservants), and since these could be removed simply at the 
bidding of the bishop, 2 a very large part of the clergy became 
altogether dependent upon the bishops. Bonaparte purposed 
by this regulation to extend his supremacy over the episcopate 
to the whole of the French clergy, but the, dependence of the 
clergy upon the bishops in reality opened to Rome a sure 
prospect of ruling the French priesthood. This regulation 
in the Organic Articles contributed not a little to making 
Ultramontanism victorious in France, after the Gallican leaven 
had been purged out of the French episcopate. 

But it was not at all easy to carry into practice the regula- 
tions of the Concordat, and to reconcile in detail the Church of 
the Revolution with the Church of the Monarchy. The priests 
and bishops who had not taken the oath could not forget 
the past of those who had done so, and the latter often saw 
in the former traitors to the cause of France and of liberty. 
The exiled bishops in England, and some of those in Spain, 
Germany, and Poland sent pastoral letters to their old flocks 
in order to stir up resistance to the new administration. 
Bonaparte was furious with these rebels, and Talleyrand was 
ordered to take measures against them through diplomatic 
channels. Nevertheless, the happy relationship with Rome 
was not disturbed by this means, because the protesting bishops 
by their attitude acted as much against the bidding of the 

1 Consalvi I, 429k 

2 Titre 2, art. 31 : "lis seront approuvfe par l'eveque et r^vocables par ltd." 


Pope as against that of the First Consul. Yet even down 
to our own days, a small schismatic body has continued in 
several of the French departments, called the petite e'glise, whose 
special feature is resistance to the Concordat. At first this 
" little church " had both bishops and priests ; it now consists 
only of lay people, and more and more of them seem to 
reconcile themselves to Rome, except in the cases where they 
have gone to yet further extremes in their resistance to the 
Papacy. 1 

In order to show Pius VII. his satisfaction with the 
Concordat, Bonaparte presented him with two ships, whose 
names were changed to St Peter and St Paul. The Pope 
went wild with joy, as Cacault 2 writes, and the Romans 
began little by little to forget that there had ever been 
a revolution in their own town, as well as in France. 
"The Pope's subjects," reports Cacault a little later, "weep 
with joy because they find the French such good Catholics, 
and they exult to see them taking their places as the Eldest 
Sons of the Church." 3 Pius VII., for his part, supported 
Bonaparte so earnestly that he made five Frenchmen cardinals, 
amongst others Fesch, the half-brother of Laetitia Ramolino, 
and therefore half-uncle to the First Consul. On 27th March 
1803 there was again an ecclesiastical fete in the Tuileries, at 
which Madame Laetitia experienced the uncommon pleasure 
of seeing her son present the Cardinal's hat to his uncle in 
just the same way as Louis XIV. had presented it to the 
great cardinals in the days of old. 4 Nine months previously 
Pius VII. had given Bonaparte another sign of his good- 
will by issuing a brief, in which he made a layman of 
Talleyrand, who had worked so faithfully for the conclusion 
of the Concordat. The former Bishop of Autun considered 
it a sign of perfect forgiveness on the part of Rome, when he 
heard that Pius VII. had said to Consalvi, M. de Talley- 
rand! ah ! ah ! Que Dieu ait son dme, mais moi je I'aime 

1 J. E. B. Drochon : La petite tlglise (Paris 1894), where also is found (385^) a 
letter about them (of 19th July 1893) from Leo XIII. to the Bishop of Poitiers. 

2 Despatch in Theiner I, 55of. 3 Theiner I, 554f. 

4 Lyonnet: Le Cardinal Fesch (Paris 1841) I, l86f. Ricard : Le Cardinal Fesch 
(Paris 1893), 941. 

5 Talleyrand I, 284. 

VOL. I. R 


At the same time as the Concordat was published, a 
young, as yet unknown, nobleman of Brittany, Chateaubriand 
by name, put forth a work, which under the title of Le ge"nie 
du Christianisme praised the beauty of Christianity. The book 
was very highly spoken of in the Moniteur, but sharply 
criticised by the Freethinkers. The author wished to convert 
infidels into believers by showing that Christianity is neither 
absurd, nor coarse, nor petty, as people had been taught by 
Voltaire and the Encyclopedia, " that Tower - of - Babel of 
Science and Reason." He had himself attained to faith through 
tears, and he strove to move others to tears by casting the 
splendour of poetry upon the "beauties" of Faith and of 
Divine Service. The essay was far more a poetical than an 
apologetic work, and the author was richer in images than 
in ideas, just as he had penetrated further into the works of 
the great poets than into the Holy Scriptures. 1 But these 
poetic effusions had their effect. Many Frenchmen required 
to see the beauty of Christianity, before they could acknowledge 
its truth. 

And as poetry was employed through Chateaubriand's 
work to glorify the Concordat, so also was art likewise. Wicar 
made a drawing, representing Pius VII. in the act of sign- 
ing the Concordat, which Consalvi was holding out to him. On 
Cacault's suggestion that it might prove a means of "honour 
and profit" to give this drawing a further publicity, it was 
etched on copper, and 5,000 copies were struck off. In a 
cheaper edition the etching was distributed in all the 
parsonages, in order to proclaim the peace between Bonaparte 
and Rome. 2 

But could this peace last long? In June 1803, after being 
present at an ordination at Lyons, conducted by Cardinal 
Fesch, Chateaubriand writes the following words to a friend : 
" If an all-powerful man were to draw his hand back to-day, 
Philosophism would to-morrow execute the priests with the 
sword of Tolerance, and reopen on their behalf the philanthropic 
deserts of Guiana." s On such weak foundations did the peace 
rest ! There was still a possibility of new dangers to the Church, 

1 See more about it in F. Nielsen's Det indrc Liv (Kjobenhavn 1881) I, 92f. 

2 See the despatch of Cacault in Theiner I, 509 and 554f. 

3 Lyonnet : Le Cardinal Fesch I, 253. 


which Chateaubriand did not think of: the all-powerful man 
might not only draw his hand back, but might lay it upon 
the Church. Before this could happen, Pius VII. had to render 
him the greatest service that could be asked of a pope. He 
must cast the glory of legitimacy over the crown which the 
daring soldier had seized. 



ITALY was the first country in which the great French Revolu- 
tion found an echo ; it was also the first in which the religious 
reaction made its appearance. 

In the latter half of 1801 an extraordinary assembly from 
the Cisalpine Republic gathered at Lyons to consider the 
future constitution of North Italy. The assembly unanimously 
elected Napoleon Bonaparte President of the Italian Republic, 
and at the same time passed certain laws respecting the Church, 
which gave the clergy a much more favourable position than 
they had hitherto enjoyed. And Bonaparte showed his attach- 
ment to the Church by setting the following words at the head 
of the new Cisalpine Constitution : " The Catholic Apostolic 
and Roman Religion is the religion of the State." 

The First Consul wished the relation between State and 
Church in Italy to be arranged by a Concordat similar to 
the French one ; but the authorities in the Italian Republic 
were very unwilling to follow him in this. The Vice-President 
of the Republic, Francesco Melzi, was a determined enemy 
of the Church; and the hostile spirit, which ruled in official 
circles at Milan, found expression in a decree of 23rd June 
1802, which contravened the agreements of Lyons, and brought 
the Church into complete dependence upon the State. 1 But 
Bonaparte now took up the negotiations for a Concordat, and 
with a sure hand led them to a happy issue with the support 
of those who had brought about the French Concordat. He 
sent the Cisalpine officials a thundering letter, and by his 
threats against the Italians, and his complaisance towards 
the Pope, the matter was brought so far that the Italian 

1 The decree is printed in Theiner II, 19k 


Concordat was signed in Paris on 16th September 1803; and 
after being ratified by the Council of State at Milan, it became 
law on 2nd November of the same year. 1 But the Italian 
Concordat had a sequel, like that of the French one. Melzi 
published some further regulations of the same nature as the 
Organic Articles in France, and they gave the Pope fresh 
occasion for sorrow and complaint. 

Meanwhile affairs in France developed with the usual 
celerity ; on 1 8th May 1 804, the First Consul was designated 
Emperor of the French. Directly Napoleon received the 
title of Emperor, it began to be said in Paris that he ought 
to be crowned by the Pope. The only question was, whether 
it should be done at Aix la Chapelle, the favourite city of 
Charlemagne, in Paris, or at Lyons. Bonaparte gladly agreed 
to the suggestion. It was his wish to found a western empire 
like that of Charles the Great; and although, as he often 
said afterwards, he considered himself called of God to be 
Emperor of Europe, he could not but wish the successor of 
St Peter to be present when the new Empire was solemnly 
inaugurated. 2 And just at that moment he had special reason 
to desire the strongest religious and moral support that the 
Pope could give ; for the murder of the Duke of Enghien 
had laid a blood-guiltiness upon his head, which only the 
benediction of the Pope could remove. 8 

Cardinal Caprara immediately reported to Rome the sug- 
gestion of the Parisians, and, for his part, he thought that such 
a coronation could only be good for religion, the Church, 
and the State.* On 9th May 1804 the Cardinal Legate dined 
with Madame Bonaparte at Saint Cloud. The newly-elected 
Emperor was present, and entered into confidential conversation 
with Caprara. " Everyone," he said to the Legate, " tells me 
how glorious it would be if my anointing and coronation were 
performed by the Pope's own hand, and it would also be of 
benefit to religion. It is not likely that any other power 
will protest against this proceeding. For the moment I shall 

1 The Italian Concordat is printed among the documents in Theiner II, 2701". 

2 I. von Dbllinger : Betrachtungen iiber die Frage der Kaiserkronung, in 
KUinere Sehriften (Stuttgart 1890), I28f. 

3 Lanfrey : Histoire de Napotton I. Ill, 209. 

4 Despatch from Caprara in Theiner II, 64. 


not directly approach the Pope on the subject, because I do 
not wish to expose myself to the risk of a refusal. Will you 
introduce the question ? and when I receive your answer, I will 
take the necessary steps with regard to the Pope." On the 
following day, Caprara sent a report of this conversation to 
Rome. He said that Bonaparte had mentioned the example of 
Pepin, who was anointed by Pope Stephen II., and that he 
had " spoken with uncommon seriousness." It was Caprara's 
opinion that Pius VII., without regard to old age, health, or any 
other consideration, ought to come and fulfil the wish of the 
Emperor. 1 In a postscript he met the objection that Napoleon 
might go to Rome, as Charlemagne had done, by the plea that 
the Emperor could not leave the centre of the empire. He even 
used the somewhat material argument in support of his proposal, 
that the coming of the Pope would draw many to Paris, and the 
poor city was much exhausted by the war, and needed resources. 2 
But at Rome there was great hesitation in agreeing to 
Caprara's proposal. According to the decree of the Senate 
of 8th May, Napoleon was to promise to respect, and cause 
to be respected, " the laws with regard to the Concordat, and 
freedom of worship," a regulation which seemed to protect the 
Organic Articles and to injure the supposed right of the Catholic 
Church. Added to this, it might be dangerous at the moment 
to make common cause with the French empire. The French 
bishops in England had published statements, in which they 
took up the cause of the ancient monarchy, and attacked the 
Concordat which compelled the priests to swear allegiance to 
the new regime in France, and to pray for it ; and from Warsaw 
Louis XVIII. issued a protest against everything that had 
been done since 1789. These circumstances required that 
Rome should be most cautious. But, on the other hand, it 
was evident that the fate of Rome and of the Papal States 
was in the hands of the new Emperor. If he were to send 
his troops against the city of St Peter, there was nothing else 
for Pius VII. to do than to leave as soon as possible for 
Sicily, trusting that the English fleet would protect him there. 
The diplomatic negotiation thus entered upon extended over 

1 Compare the extract from the correspondence between Caprara and Consalvi, in 
D'Haussonville I, so8f. 

2 Theiner II, 66. 


five months. Consalvi, in a letter of later date to Talleyrand, 
ascribes to his courage and labour the honour of having brought 
about the fulfilment of the Emperor's wish. 1 But he had great 
difficulties to surmount, especially because he had to deal 
with Napoleon's uncle, Cardinal Fesch, who, as the ambassador 
of France at Rome, pleaded, in the eyes of such a diplomatist 
as Consalvi, his nephew's cause with an inconvenient want 
of tact. Consalvi's main impression of these negotiations 
was that they were painful and tiresome, 2 and the store-keeper 
of the first Italian war sometimes appeared under the robes of 
Cardinal Fesch in the oddest ways. When, for example, Fesch, 
after an excited interview with Consalvi, was about to get into 
his carriage, and his footman asked where he would drive, he 
cried out ill-temperedly, " To the devil ! " (a casa del diavolo). 
A score of persons of all classes overheard it, besides the 
ambassador of a foreign power, and the story went round 
Rome. 3 

In our days, newspaper correspondents would soon have 
found out the secret of the diplomatists at Paris and Rome, 
and the telegraph would have carried it round the world ; 
but it was otherwise then. Only a very small circle at Paris 
was admitted into the thoughts of the new Emperor, and 
they kept their own counsel. At Rome they proceeded no 
less cautiously. The cardinals whose opinion was asked 
had the secret confided to them under the seal of con- 
fession, and it was confided only to one at a time, so that 
nobody knew how many people shared the secret. Cardinal 
Fesch sent the Emperor a memorandum in which he collected 
all the objections of the several cardinals. 4 They did not 
agree in recognising the legitimacy of the Emperor's position. 
The Organic Articles, and the French occupation of the three 
Legations, which Caprara in vain tried to regain, not to mention 
Avignon and Venaissin, were serious hindrances, besides ; for 
the popes had hitherto only crowned those emperors and 
kings who had been the support of the Church in temporal 
as well as other matters. As already mentioned, the oath 

1 See the letter in Artaud : Histoire du Pope Pie VII. II, 103. 
3 Mimoires de Consalvi II, 411. 

3 Artaud : Histoire du Pape Pie VII. I, 495. 

4 See his letter and memorandum in Theiner II, 8gf. 


which the Emperor was to take could not fail to be an 
embarrassment to the Roman Church ; and what would the 
Bourbon family 1 and the Austrian Emperor say to such pro- 
ceedings? Would the Pope's journey awaken the jealousy 
of other courts, and make them believe that he preferred 
France to the rest of Christendom? While the Pope was 
in Paris, business with other powers would be interrupted, 
and the whole ecclesiastical machinery would come to a 
standstill. And when the Pope got to Paris, he might witness 
many a profanation of holy things. He might meet rebellious 
bishops, renegade priests, and Madame de Talleyrand, 2 and 
no one could be certain that the respect that was due to 
him would be shown. The journey of Pius VI. to Vienna 
had been very perilous, but the journey to Paris would be 
worse ; for it was a nobler object to endeavour to lead a 
prince back from his errors than to crown an emperor. And 
what consequences might not this journey entail ? All 
princes might in future demand that the Pope should come 
and crown them. 

These and several other objections were brought forward 
by the cardinals, and they could not be removed in a day. 
But Cardinal Fesch was always sanguine, and his hopefulness 
infected the Court of Paris. On 20th June the Cardinal Legate 
was again at Saint Cloud. The Empress Josephine went to 
him and said : " Well, are we to have the Pope at Paris to 
crown my husband, the Emperor ? " Caprara was embarrassed, 
but the Empress continued : " I know quite well that it is 
all arranged. But your silence deserves all respect ; I cannot 
but approve your Eminence's silence." The Cardinal Legate 
then remarked that it was not at all so certain that the Pope 
would come, as the Empress believed. As he could not see 
the Emperor that evening, he drove to Talleyrand, who received 
the Legate with the exclamation : " Matters are at last settled ! 
The Pope is coming to crown the Emperor I" To him also 
the Cardinal Legate was obliged to express his doubts as to 

1 Louis XVIII, 's anger at the Concordat and its results can be seen in Maury II, 
25 if. 

2 According to Artaud I, 467, the Pope especially stipulated that Madame de 
Talleyrand should not be presented to him, because, in spite of his brief, he would 
not acknowledge the marriage which the former Bishop of Autun had contracted. 


whether the certainty with which the Pope's coming was 
expected in court circles was really justified. 1 

A few days later, Caprara sent a despatch to Talleyrand 
which set forth all the difficulties connected with the Pope's 
journey, and the requirements that must be met if he were to 
come. 2 Rome desired that the anointing and crowning should 
not be alleged as the sole object of the journey ; it should be 
understood that the Emperor wished to confer with the Pope 
on the ecclesiastical situation in France at large. The Emperor 
must also announce that it was impossible for him to leave 
his capital at the very beginning of his reign. The invitation 
must finally be brought, not by an ordinary courier, but by 
an embassy, consisting of two French bishops. The oath 
should be altered so that the scruples of Rome might be 
removed ; and in particular the doubtful expression, " the 
laws relating to the Concordat," which might imply the Organic 
Articles, must be altered. The ceremony itself should follow 
the Roman ritual for the anointing and crowning of kings ; 
and the constitutional oath, which is not mentioned in the 
ritual, must be kept separate from the ecclesiastical function. 
It followed as a matter of course that the Pope would forget 
the behaviour of the priests and bishops who had taken the 
oath, but had recanted ; but he would not see the contumacious 
bishops who first condemned the Civil Constitution, and after- 
wards denied having done so. He would come towards the 
close of the year, so that the coronation might take place on 
Christmas Day, as a parallel to the coronation of Charles the 
Great ; 3 and he would proceed by short stages, so as to give 
the faithful everywhere a share in his blessing. But he would 
make his stay at Paris as short as possible. 

The hesitations and requirements of Pius VII. gave the 
French government matter for many deliberations, and when 
it was rumoured that a coronation by the Pope's own hand 
was in view, the Republicans and the Freethinkers began again 
to move. In reply to them the Pope's coming was defended 

1 Caprara's report to Consalvi in D'Haussonville I, 525. 

2 Despatch in Theiner II, looi. 

3 "Also Rom selbst ermunterte den Imperator sich als den Karl des neunzehnten 
Jahrhunderts zu betrachten ; den Papst selber liess man verheissen, dass er das an 
Napoleon thun wolle, was Leo III. an Karl gethan hatte ! "— Dollinger, 137. 


as the best means of casting splendour upon the approaching 
solemnity. 1 Who was there that better understood the arrange- 
ment of magnificent pageants than the Roman Church ; and 
was there ever likely to be an occasion when a pageant would 
make a greater impression than when the Pope was present 
at it himself? Such considerations, however, did not weigh 
much with the atheistic generals and senators. The Conseil 
d'Etat, which had received the Concordat in silence, strongly 
opposed the idea of a coronation by the Pope, and even the more 
moderate members were scandalised by this attempt to revive 
the ways of the Middle Ages. Napoleon fought valiantly for his 
design, pointing out that a pope in the nineteenth century could 
not possibly enforce the claims of Gregory VII. or Innocent III., 
and he concluded with a consideration which once again reduced 
the Conseil to obedient silence. "Gentlemen," he said, "you 
discuss this question at the Tuileries and in Paris. Suppose 
you were discussing it in London, in the British Cabinet ; 
suppose you were, to put it briefly, the ministers of the King 
of England, and you heard that the Pope was crossing the 
Alps to anoint the Emperor of the French, would you consider 
it as a triumph for England or for France?" 2 

On 1 8th July Talleyrand was at last able to send to 
Pius VII. the answer of the French government to his 
requirements. 3 All the Pope's anxieties about the tone of 
feeling in France are dismissed. It is further remarked, that 
it could not reasonably be expected that affairs in France after 
such a revolution should at once be free from all defects. 
Napoleon's great and good acts, it was further remarked, were 
already so numerous, that it might be said that he had done 
more for the Pope than any other monarch had ever done 
in so short a time. "The reopening of the temples, the 
setting up again of the altars, the ordering of Divine Service 
anew, the organisation of the clergy, the grants to the cathedral 
chapters, the foundation of clerical seminaries, the guarantee 
given to the Pope for the retention of his States, the restitution 
of Pesaro, Fort Saint Leon, and Urbino, the Italian Concordat, 
the support that was given to the conclusion of a German 

1 Dollinger, 128. 

2 Thiers : Histoire du Consulat et de F Empire V, 225. 
s Theiner II, 127k 


Concordat, the reopening of the missions, the protection of 

the Oriental Catholics against the Turks — did not all these 

things constitute a rare chain of benefits to the Church ? " 

As to the oath, Talleyrand explained that the expression, 

"laws relating to the Concordat," only meant the Concordat 

itself, and not the Organic Articles. Liberty of worship was 

liberty for individuals to follow their conviction, and should 

be understood in the same way as the liberty granted to the 

Lutherans by Charles V. in Germany, and yet he was crowned 

by Clement VII. As France had formerly seen Pius VI. go 

to Vienna without feeling any jealousy, so might the other 

powers now without jealousy see Pius VII. go to Paris. There 

was no reason to fear the consequences, for an empire like 

the French Empire could only be founded avec eclat, and it 

was no every-day occurrence. In conclusion, it was said that 

the Emperor had the greatest respect for the sacred customs of 

the Church, so that, as a matter of course, the ancient ritual of 

the Church should be followed, and the oath should be kept 

separate from it. But, on the other hand, the Emperor would 

rather not wait until Christmas ; it was his wish that the 

coronation should take place on the 18th of Brumaire. 

This answer was bound to satisfy Rome, and it was accom- 
panied by clear proofs of the goodwill of the Emperor. On 
15th July a great distribution of the order of the ligion d'honneur 
took place, and on that occasion the Emperor took off the grand 
cross which he himself wore, and sent it by Talleyrand to 
Caprara. Then he said to him : " I flatter myself that you 
will accept it. It is a pleasure to me to be able to confer it 
upon you with the assurance that you are the first foreigner 
who has received this distinction." 1 But it always seemed as 
if negotiations between Rome and Paris were to encounter 
incessant hindrances, and a new and serious hindrance arose 
just when everything seemed on the point of being arranged. 
Evidently as a concession to the revolutionary party, Napoleon 
conceived the idea of dissevering the anointing from the crown- 
ing. The first was to be done by Pius VII. in the church of 
Ndtre Dame, the second by a French cardinal (and therefore an 
imperial subject), in the church of the Invalides, just as the 
Archbishop of Reims in olden days had crowned the French 

1 Theiner II, 135 ; and D'Haussonville I, 528. 


kings. This plan met with determined opposition at Rome. 
The crowning was in the eyes of the people more important 
than the anointing. It was just the proud thought that the 
Pope, after such serious defeats, in such a godless age, could 
yet bestow royal crowns, that attracted Pius VII. to Paris. 
For even if the higher classes saw the coronation in another 
light, the mass of the people would look upon it as a repetition 
of the medieval coronations, so full of honour for the Papacy. 
Napoleon saw at once that he must give way to the opposition 
of the Pope. But as in the Organic Articles he had found a 
way of escape from those parts of the Concordat that were 
disagreeable to him, so he had devised a way of escape from 
being crowned by the Pope's hand. 

As the clergy had not yet sufficiently regained its old 
prestige for a mission of such importance to be entrusted to 
a minister of the Church, 1 the Emperor sent the invitation to 
Rome by his old comrade-in-arms, General Caffarelli, an 
enthusiastic friend of the Concordat. It was worded as 
follows : " Holy Father ! The happy effect which the restora- 
tion of the Christian religion has had on the morals and 
character of my people prompts me to ask your Holiness to 
give me a new proof of the interest you feel in my welfare 
and that of this great nation, at one of the most important 
epochs known to the history of the world. I pray you to 
come and give in fullest measure a religious character to the 
ceremony of anointing and crowning the first Emperor of the 
French. This event will inaugurate a new era if it is performed 
by your Holiness in person. It will call down upon us and 
upon our people blessings from the God whose laws govern 
empires and families according to His will." 2 The Pope 
received Caffarelli very graciously, and Napoleon was at last 
near his object. Francis II. of Austria took an important 
part in bringing things to a successful issue. Pius VII. had 
been afraid of offending the Imperial house by crowning 
Napoleon as Emperor ; but in the midst of the negotiations with 
him a message was received to the effect that Francis II., under 
the title of Francis I., Emperor of Austria, wished to make 
the imperial dignity hereditary in his house. This step was 

1 Theiner II, 218. 

2 Correspondance de Napolion I. IX, 662. 


a great relief to Pius VII., for thereby the crown of Charles the 
Great came to be strictly without an owner. On 6th October 
1804 he announced officially to the papal nuncio that he 
meant to go to Paris, but "not merely to anoint and crown 
the Emperor." The object of his journey was to guard also 
the interests of religion, and he expected to have great results 
from it. 1 

After a fortnight's rest at Castel Gandolfo, Pius VII. 
returned to Rome, and delivered there at a secret assembly 
of cardinals on 29th October an allocution, in which he 
explained all the negotiations with France and the object of 
his journey. 2 Napoleon hastened matters with all his might, 
that the coronation might at least take place on the Sunday 
after the 18th Brumaire (9th November). But this was 
impossible. The Pope was unable to leave Rome until 2nd 
November, after hearing Mass, and offering a long prayer in 
St Peter's. 

He was accompanied on the journey by a small suite, con- 
sisting of six cardinals, certain prelates, court officials, and 
doctors.. Consalvi remained at Rome, but Fesch, who was the 
Ambassador of France at Rome, accompanied the Pope. From 
the moment Pius VII. set foot on French soil the travelling 
expenses were defrayed by the French treasury. The French 
officials had received orders to arrange everything in the best 
possible manner. In spite of the low state of the papal 
treasury, Pius VII. had brought presents with him : for 
Napoleon two cameos, representing Achilles and Scipio; for 
Josephine some antique vases ; and for the ladies-in-waiting 
costly rosaries. The journey lay through Florence and 
Alessandria to Turin, and from thence over the Alps to 
Lyons. Crowds of men and women gathered everywhere to 
receive the Pope's blessing, and he was feted both by high 
and low. The youth of Lyons sent a deputation, which had 
an audience of the Pope, to assure him that they shared the 
faith of their fathers, and were happy to confess it with heart 
and fervour in a district so rich in martyrdoms. The old 
general who was in command at Lyons brought his son to 
the Pope, and said : " Holy Father ! Jesus Christ blessed little 

1 Letter in Theiner II, 181. 

2 Bullarium Romanum XII, 244c 


children ; bless my child, thou, who art His vicar on earth ! 
I wish to educate him for the Church and the Emperor." x At 
Lyons, however, the Pope had the sorrow of losing the aged 
Cardinal Borgia, the friend of all Danish visitors to Rome ; 
he was taken ill during the festivities. 

From Lyons the journey was continued to Fontainebleau, 
where Napoleon was to meet Pius VII., and here as everywhere 
the Pope travelled through "a people on their knees." 2 On 
Sunday, 25th November, he arrived at Fontainebleau. Napoleon 
had, destined the day to hunting, in order that he might avoid 
a solemn reception. The first meeting between them was to 
seem as if it were due to chance. Pius VII. therefore saw 
the new Charles the Great make his appearance in hunting 
costume, surrounded by Mamelukes and a great pack of 
hounds. The two sovereigns embraced each other, and got into 
the same carriage, to drive to Fontainebleau in a procession 
headed, strangely enough, by Mamelukes. On the palace 
staircase the Pope was received by the Empress and the 
courtiers, and when he had rested for some hours, the Emperor 
and Empress paid him a visit. 

After a three days' stay at Fontainebleau the entry into 
Paris took place, but in the evening ; because Napoleon did 
not wish the Parisians to see that the Pope sat on his right 
hand in the carriage. A suite of rooms at the Tuileries was 
placed at the Pope's disposal, and, as a delicate attention, they 
were furnished in the same way as the apartments in the 
Quirinal, so that he might feel himself at home. On 30th 
November he sent a letter to the Queen of Etruria in which 
he expressed himself quite overpowered by the goodness 
of the Emperor. 3 On the same day representatives of the 
Senate, the Legislative Assembly, the Tribunate, and the 
Conseil cCEtat had audience of him. People were afraid lest 
the democratic and Voltairian Tribunate should introduce a 
jarring note among the expressions of welcome, but nothing of 
the kind happened. The president, Fabre de l'Aude, recalled 

1 Lyonnet : Le Cardinal Fesch I, 34Sf. 

2 The angry Consalvi at Reims in 1812 (II, 413) describes the Pope's journey as 
follows : " In short, they made the Pope gallop to Paris, like a private chaplain who 
receives orders from his master to say Mass." 

3 Letter in Theiner II, 200. 


the action of the Pope at Imola, and the improvements in 
the government of the Papal States which he had introduced, 
but passed lightly over the Concordat. At first the Parisians 
received Pius VII. with curiosity, but this was soon changed 
into affection. The Pope of sixty-two, in his white dress, with 
his dignified and benevolent-looking features, who understood 
so well how to comport himself in a situation so unusual for 
a Pope, soon became the darling of the Parisians. Every 
morning the square in front of the Flora pavilion at the 
Tuileries, in which he lived, was filled with great crowds, who 
fell upon their knees when he blessed them, and Napoleon 
began to be jealous of the growing popularity of the Pope. 1 

December 2nd, the first Sunday in Advent, was fixed upon 
as the great day on which the Emperor and Empress were 
to be crowned. Pius VII. much wished to know in good time 
what the ceremonial was to be, but they put him off with 
all sorts of excuses, so that he first became acquainted with 
it when it appeared in the daily papers. 2 The day before the 
coronation, Josephine came to the Pope in the greatest agita- 
tion. She unburdened her mind to him, and told him that 
she was only civilly married to the Emperor. 8 In 1796, 
amidst the disturbances of the Revolution, they had, before 
Barras, in the presence of a couple of witnesses, contracted 
a civil marriage, and two days after, the young general had 
departed alone for the army in Italy. Nobody suspected it. 
The Emperor had been so eager to have all the children of 
his generals christened and his relations married in church, 
that people thought he had himself been secretly married at 
the altar. Josephine had for a time been carried away by 
the revolutionary current, and had taken the matter lightly ; 
many husbands and wives of her entourage had not received 
the blessing of the Church. But lately she had felt qualms 
of conscience. When the Concordat was concluded, she asked 
her husband to have their marriage blessed in a church ; but 
Napoleon had opposed it, either to avoid scandal, or because 

1 Mimoires de Mme. de Rimusat, par Paul de R6musat (Paris 1880) II, 65f., 84. 

2 Aus Metternichs nachgelassenen Papieren (Wien 1880) I, I, 292. 

3 H. Welschinger : Le divorce de Napolion (Paris 1889), I3f. Mdmoires du 
Chancelier Pasquier I, 367k F. Masson : NapoUon et les fe?nmes (Paris 1894), 
22f. and I23f. 


he already had thoughts of divorcing her. It is indeed certain 
that his brothers, often in a brutal way, attempted at this time 
to persuade him into a divorce. 

After hearing Josephine's confession, the Pope refused to 
crown the Emperor and Empress J until the canonical marriage 
had taken place, but he allowed it to be performed privately. 
On ist December, about four o'clock in the afternoon, 2 a little 
altar was erected with all secrecy in one of the Emperor's 
rooms, and Cardinal Fesch, by the authority of Pius VII., 
married the imperial couple without the presence of any 
witnesses. 3 The wedding ceremony remained a great secret 
between the few concerned ; only Fesch, Berthier, Duroc, and 
Talleyrand were to know what had happened. After the 
ceremony, Fesch went to the Pope. " Is the marriage accom- 
plished?" asked Pius VII.; and when the Cardinal answered, 
" Yes," he proceeded : " Well, then, we will no longer refuse 
to crown the Empress." The old custom, that princes, when 
crowned, should communicate, Pius had purposely omitted to 
mention ; his conscience forbade him to put any pressure 
upon the Emperor to partake of the Sacrament. 

If we may believe the Prefect of the Palace, De Beausset, 
the painter Isabey had previously, by means of small wooden 
dolls, given the Court instruction in the coronation ceremonies, 
and this childish procedure had met with the approbation of 
Napoleon. 4 A great part of the dresses and the arrangements 
was left to the decision of David, and everything was done 
on the most sumptuous scale. 

The 2nd of December was a cold day, but the weather 
was beautiful, and the streets of Paris were thronged with 
people. The church of Notre Dame was decorated with gold 
embroidered velvet from the vaulting to the floor. On the 
right side of the altar a throne was erected for the Pope ; 

1 According to Consalvi's statement to Metternich (Joe. cit.) there had been no 
mention during the long negotiations of the coronation of Josephine. It was not 
mentioned until Pius was at Paris. 

2 Ricard : Le Cardinal Fesck, p. 120, even gives the time of the marriage as 
eleven in the evening. 

- Mme. de Remusat says that Josephine with rapture confided to her husband 
that she had been married by Fesch "en presence des deux aides de camp." 
Mimoires II, 67. 

4 Lanfrey III, 238. 


at the foot of the altar stood two plain armchairs for Napoleon 
and Josephine. The main door of the church was closed, 
because an immense throne, with twenty-four steps leading 
up to it, was erected there, over against the altar. At nine 
in the morning, Pius VII. drove from the Tuileries to the 
Archbishop's palace, where he was attired in his papal robes. 
After a short rest there, he passed through one of the side 
doors into the church, attended by bishops, priests, and 
a detachment of the imperial guards. In front of him were 
carried the cross and the insignia of the papal dignity. At 
his coming all present rose to their feet, and an orchestra 
of 500 men played the melody set to the words of 
Christ, beginning : " Thou art Peter." After kneeling at the 
altar, Pius VII. ascended his throne, and the French bishops 
approached to do homage. 

A whole hour the Emperor kept the assembly waiting, 
probably because the Master of the Ceremonies had made a 
faulty arrangement of the times for the different processions 
to start. Napoleon drove first to the Archbishop's palace, 
from which the crown, the sceptre, the sword, and the imperial 
mantle were fetched, and were carried by the generals in 
front of him into the church, and placed upon the altar. 
At his entry into the church, Napoleon was attired in an 
ermine cloak, and on his head he had a wreath of laurels, in 
which he put people in mind of the heads upon ancient coins. 
He and Josephine at first took their seats in the chairs 
at the altar, 1 and after the Vent Creator had been sung, 
the Pope asked him if he would promise to keep the laws, 
maintain justice and peace, and render to the ministers of the 
Church the honour due to them. With his hand on the 
Gospel the Emperor took oath : " I promise it." After 
another prayer their Imperial Majesties went up to the altar, 
while the choir sang : " Zadok the priest and Nathan the 
prophet anointed Solomon king in Zion, and the people 
rejoiced and said, ' Let the King live for ever ! ' " Then the 
Pope anointed first the Emperor, and afterwards the Empress, 
on the forehead, the arms, and the hands. As soon as the 
anointing was over, the imperial couple returned to their 

1 Cp. the order of the ceremony in Theiner II (documents), 298f. Mme. de 
Remusat : Minwires II, 68f. 

VOL. I. S 


places, and the High Almoner of France dried the anointed 
places. After the anointing, the Pope blessed the crowns, 
the sword, the mantles, and the rings ; and when the ring, 
the sword, the mantle, and the sceptre had been given to the 
Emperor, Pius VII. approached the altar again to take the 
crown and give it also to Napoleon ; but Napoleon took the 
crown out of the Pope's hand and placed it on his own head. 
Then he took also the crown intended for Josephine and placed 
it on her head, after which they both walked up to the great 
throne, accompanied by the Emperor's brothers, who carried 
their trains. 

When Napoleon and Josephine were seated on the throne, 
the Pope approached and blessed them, and after kissing the 
Emperor on the cheek, he turned towards the assemblage and 
cried : Vivat imperator in ceternum. The assemblage took it 
up and shouted : " Long live the Emperor ! " and the guns 
announced that the Emperor of the French had received the 
blessing of the Church. 

As soon as the church ceremony was over, the Pope retired. 
But then came forward the presidents of the Senate, the Conseil 
cCEtat, the Legislative Assembly, and the Tribunate; and the 
Emperor, seated, and with his hand on the Gospel, took 
the oath, in which, amongst other things, he promised to 
"respect and protect equality before the laws, political and 
civil liberty, and the irrevocable sale of national estates" — 
terms which brought a breath of modern times into the 
mediaeval surroundings. After taking the oath, the Emperor 
and his consort left the church under a canopy, carried by 
priests. Then once more the guns were heard, and the people 
crowded together in the streets through which the Emperor 
drove. But the revolutionary generals took no part in the 
popular rejoicing. They saw with annoyance a son of 
the Revolution trampling on its religious and political ideals, 
and they did not conceal their ill-will ; the modern Emperor, 
in the midst of his triumph, heard, like those of old, Fescennine 
verses, as he left the church of Notre Dame in the grand 
procession. 1 

1 Mme. de Remusat's friends and acquaintances also kept aloof, but amused 
themselves in her house, waiting to see her return in her new finery. — Mimoires II, 


But Pius VII. was not satisfied either. It was contrary 
to the agreement, that Napoleon should have placed the crown 
on his own head. In that way the essential similarity between 
the imperial coronation and the kingly coronations of the 
Middle Ages disappeared. 

How long Napoleon had had in his mind the device which 
he carried into effect cannot be determined ; but that it was 
not a momentary impulse which he followed is evident from 
the ceremonial, as reported by Theiner, 1 and from the final 
discussions between Napoleon and the Pope. 2 Pius VII. 
meanwhile was so exasperated at the conduct of Napoleon, 
that he made the request that, if the coronation was mentioned 
in the Moniteur, the description should follow the ceremonial 
as originally arranged, according to which the Pope was to 
place the crown upon the Emperor's head. To this Napoleon 
would not agree ; but on the other hand he did not wish to give 
the Pope any opportunity of making protests. He therefore 
took this course: he forbade the official paper to give any 
account of the coronation. Whilst all the French papers were 
full of descriptions of the splendid solemnity, the Moniteur 
observed absolute silence, although in the issue of 3rd December 
it had promised to give the detailed description "which our 
readers expect." 3 

The accounts of the coronation in N6tre Dame astonished 
Europe, and filled all the friends of legitimist principles with 
resentment. From St Petersburg Joseph de Maistre wrote : " I 
wish, from the bottom of my heart, that the poor Pope would 
proceed to St Domingo to anoint Dessalines. When a man 
of the Pope's dignity and importance forgets both to such a 
degree, one cannot but wish that he would go so far in self- 
degradation as to become a mere puppet of no consequence." 4 
De Maistre even considers that the abominable crimes of 
Alexander Borgia were less dangerous than the disgraceful 
fall of his weak successor. 

It took a long time before people at Rome received any 

1 Theiner II (documents), yi^t. There we read : " Priere pour la tradition des 
anneaux, de Tepee " etc., but " Priere pendant que Tempereur prend la couronne." 

2 Cp. p. 268. 3 Artaud I, 520. 

4 Correspondance de M. le Comtt de Maistre I, 138. Quoted in D'Haussonville 


news of the Pope, and Consalvi was filled with anxious fore- 
bodings. In the evening of 18th December he was informed 
that a balloon had descended by the lake of Bracciano, thirty- 
five miles from Rome. A slip of paper, attached to the 
balloon, announced that the owner was Garnerin, the privileged 
aeronaut of the Russian Emperor, and that the balloon had 
been sent up from Paris on the 25th of Frimaire (16th 
December) during a banquet which the city of Paris gave in 
honour of " His Majesty the Emperor Napoleon." In this 
way the first announcement of the coronation reached Rome; 
but many disbelieved it. The Duchess of Cumberland laid a 
wager with the French secretary of legation, Artaud, that either 
the whole story about the balloon was an invention, or that it 
was sent up by the English ; for at that time the English 
were seen everywhere. But Consalvi and the other cardinals, 
who had been privy to the negotiations, breathed more freely. 1 

As soon as Napoleon was anointed and crowned, his 
interest in the Pope at once diminished. He still showed 
great goodwill towards the Church and the clergy, and the 
greatest attention possible was bestowed upon the Pope. 
When Pius VII. visited the imperial printing press, a book 
was presented to him, which contained the Lord's Prayer in 
nearly a hundred languages, and another book was under 
preparation which glorified in verse his stay at Paris in almost 
all the tongues of the world ; Silvestre de Sacy, with Hariri for 
his model, composed the Arabic verses in the collection. The 
Moniteur every day gave long descriptions of the visits paid 
by the Pope, and it seemed as if everything had gone well. 
On few occasions only did the successor of St Peter observe 
any ill-feeling. Once when he was blessing a crowd he noticed 
a man going away in order to avoid the blessing, but 
with happy presence of mind the Pope cried out to him : 
"Do not run away, Sir; the blessing of an old man never 
did any harm," and the saying went round Paris. 2 

In spite of goodwill on the part of Napoleon and the 
Parisians, Pius VII. longed to go home, but Napoleon did 
all he could to keep him. It was evident that it was the 
Emperor's intention, if possible, to induce the Pope to remain 

1 Artaud I, 522k Theiner II, 221. 

5 Thiers : Hisloire du Consulat et de V Empire V, 270. 


in France. One day a high officer — Pius VII. would never 
reveal his name — proposed to him that he should take up 
his abode at Avignon and establish a Papal palace in the 
Archbishop's residence at Paris : a privileged quarter of the 
city should then be formed, in which the ambassadors to the 
Pope should live. It is evident from this that Napoleon — 
for that he was the moving spirit is beyond doubt — had 
advanced so far in his plans for a State Church, that the 
Pope henceforth was to sink down to the level of an imperial 
chaplain. 1 Pius answered the officer that he would never 
willingly acquiesce in such a plan. If they were to use force, 
they would only have at Paris " a poor monk called Barnabas 
Chiaramonti." Before he left Rome he had made arrange- 
ments to meet such an emergency, so that a new pope would 
immediately be elected. 

The people of Rome wished much to have the Pope back. 
On the night between the last day of January and the first 
of February, their city was overtaken by a great calamity. 
The Tiber had overflowed its banks, and had inundated a 
part of the city with such rapidity that the inhabitants had 
to save themselves by escaping to the house-tops, where they 
stood and cried : Barcarolo, a not ! pieta ! pane ! Consalvi 
himself arrived on the scene, got a boat launched, and in his 
cardinal's dress went from roof to roof with food for the 
unfortunate people. Artaud, who was himself an eye-witness 
of this action, relates how the example of the Cardinal had a 
striking effect upon other leading men of Rome. 2 

The news of this disaster made Pius long to return to 
Rome ; but before he left he formulated his claims to the 
Emperor. 3 He asked for the abolition of several abuses, and 
of those laws which were contrary to the dogmas of the 
Church. This was the case with the regulations of the Code 
Napoleon about divorce, and with several of the Organic 
Articles, especially the acknowledgment of the Gallican pro- 
positions. He demanded that the bishops should have their 

1 Artaud II, 44f. Theiner II, 2$>i. endeavours without sufficient reason to 
consign this proposal to the region of fables. The information, gained from the 
Memoirs of Metternich and Lebzeltern, about the negotiations at Savona (see below), 
render Artaud's story still more credible. 

2 Histoire du Pape Pie VII. I, 53if. 

3 Theiner II, 254f. In February or March 1805. 


old right of watching over the morals and conduct of their 
priests, and that the old laws about the observance of Sundays 
and holy days should again be put in force. Married priests 
should be prohibited from teaching ; the monastic orders should 
be introduced again, or at least be tolerated. And finally, 
the Catholic religion must be declared to be the dominant 
religion in France. This letter was accompanied by another, 
in which the Pope touched upon the loss of his provinces. 
In accordance with the prompting of his conscience, and 
trusting to the Emperor's sense of justice, he pointed out 
that if he had to bear the heavy expenses connected with 
the Papacy he could not do without the territories which 
the French had taken from him. " It would, moreover, help 
to maintain equilibrium in Italy, to restore his lands to a 
prince who had no other weapons of defence than temporal 
weakness and spiritual dignity." The Emperor ought to 
imitate Charles the Great, who gave back to the Pope what 
he had conquered from the Lombards ; and if there ever were 
a peace congress, the Papal chair must send a representative 
to it, not to interfere in the temporal negotiations of the 
sovereigns, but to see to the interests of the Papacy. The 
papal appeal ended with the expression of the wish that 
Pius VII. and Napoleon might obtain the same renown as 
Stephen IV. and Saint Louis. 

This document Pius VII. delivered personally to Napoleon 
at Malmaison. The Emperor received it kindly, but he 
reserved his answer to the different points ; and it was evident, 
as Cardinal Antonelli reports to Consalvi, that there was no 
chance whatever of regaining the lost provinces. The Pope 
was further confirmed in the hopelessness of his case when, 
on 15th March, Melzi, at the head of an embassy of Cisalpine 
officials, offered Napoleon the royal crown of Italy. There 
was no likelihood that the new King of Italy would begin his 
reign by restoring to the Pope some of his best provinces, 
especially considering how opposed to the Papacy feeling then 
was in the north of Italy. 

Nevertheless the Pope received detailed and respectful 
answers to all his grievances. In the two replies produced 
by the joint study of Napoleon and Portalis, a line of action 
is indicated which at that time was the only possible and 


right one, since it points to what could be realised under the 
then existing conditions. But such regard to existing con- 
ditions could not be reconciled with the claim of the Papacy 
to have absolute sovereignty. The claim to have the lost 
provinces restored was first answered. The Emperor declared 
that " he had always thought that it would be to the advantage 
of religion that the Pope at Rome should be looked up to, 
as not only the head of the Church, but also an independent 
sovereign." The Revolution, however, had destroyed the Pope's 
temporal power, and had damaged his spiritual power also, until 
the Emperor had at last succeeded, after many victories, 
in re-erecting the altars, and leading 30,0x30,000 Catholics 
back to their allegiance to St Peter's chair. But because the 
authority of religion had been maintained, resistance to it 
was by no means broken, and against such enemies as those 
of the Church power and riches were of no avail. Hatred 
and jealousy would rise against it, the very moment it obtained 
more temporal power and splendour. The amiable personality 
of Pius VII. secured greater deference to the Papal chair 
than the riches and power of former times. Nevertheless, the 
Emperor was highly disposed to secure for the Pope better 
temporal conditions, if God should permit the right moment 
to present itself. The constitution of the State, and his sacred 
oath, forbade him at that time to do what he would like ; but 
if God granted him life, he hoped to be able " to improve and 
extend the Holy Father's territory. He would always con- 
sider it an honour and good fortune to be one of the strongest 
supports of the Papal chair." * 

Later on, Portalis composed a definite answer to the different 
points which the Pope had advanced in the first of his letters. 
With regard to the complaint that the French laws allow 
divorce, he says : " The civil law cannot forbid divorce in a 
country where religious parties are tolerated, which permit it." 
It would have shown but little wisdom suddenly to alter a 
legislation which fifteen years of revolution had naturalised 
in France. Besides, civil laws can only be relatively good ; 
ideal demands must be adapted to the historical conditions of 
the nation. But in order not to disturb consciences, a circular 
of the time of the Consulate gave the priests permission to 
1 Theiner II, 26jf, 


refuse to marry divorced persons in church so long as their 
consorts were alive. When the Pope demanded the restoration 
of the old right of the bishops over their priests, the State 
was obliged, in the face of such a demand, to maintain its 
right to judge offences committed by priests, because priests 
are citizens. Canonical offences were quite another matter ; 
such questions would immediately be referred by the State to 
the bishops. As to the Pope's wish for legislation respecting 
holy days, it was maintained that good example is more 
important than legislation. In the country there was more 
piety, and there the sanctity of Sunday would be more easily 
preserved ; but in the towns it could not be enforced, because 
many would thereby suffer loss of income, and because many, 
as experience taught, by being forced to rest, would indulge 
in vices and crimes. The Pope's wish that married priests 
should not be employed as teachers would be respected, but 
his claim to have the Catholic religion declared to be the 
dominant one could not be complied with. " It is such in 
reality," says the reply, "because it is the religion of the 
Emperor, of the imperial family, and of the majority ; a law 
that contained such a definition would be of no real good, 
but would only expose religion itself to great dangers. In 
the existing spiritual conditions such a law would reawaken 
old hatreds and create new enemies for Catholicism." 

Nobody will deny that the Emperor and his councillors 
were right in their objections ; even Augustin Theiner says : 
" Everybody must admit that unfortunate and deplorable 
circumstances did not allow Napoleon just then to go further." 1 
But, on the other hand, it can easily be understood that Pius 
VII., who was always sanguine, had relied more on the 
friendliness of the Emperor than he ought to have done, 
and had believed him able to do more than he did. He 
returned home with disappointed hopes and anxieties over 
the possible consequences of the step he had taken ; and 
this disappointment was so great that it cast dark shadows 
over what was otherwise bright in his journey. When Consalvi, 
eight years afterwards, comes to speak of the papal visit to 
Paris, "his memory and his pen refuse to tell of all the 
humiliations which the Pope had to suffer there." 2 These 
1 Theiner II, 280. 2 Mtmoires II, 413^ 


words contain exaggeration no doubt, but it is certain that the 
friendship between the Emperor and the Pope had cooled a good 
deal when they parted. Napoleon was disappointed because 
the Pope would not remain in France. But the good relation- 
ship was not yet disturbed by any real breach. On Sunday, 
24th March, Pius christened, with his own hand, Louis Napoleon, 
the son of Louis Bonaparte and Hortense Beauharnais. The 
EmperOr stood godfather : Madame Laetitia was the child's god- 
mother. Nine cardinals and fifteen archbishops and bishops 
were present. To those outside, everything betokened the 
most cordial relations between the head of the State and 
the head of the Roman Church ; but Pius was no longer 
comfortable in Paris, and he became more and more eager 
to go home. 

The Emperor and the Pope travelled separately, although 
they travelled the same way, in order that people might 
have the opportunity of paying proper homage to them both ; 
but they met afterwards at Turin. Napoleon had found his 
people in jubilation : Pius had again seen the people on 
their knees. From Turin, the Pope continued his journey 
through Parma, Modena, and Florence. There he met Scipione 
de' Ricci, who at last made his submission, 1 and on 16th 
May he re-entered his capital. The Cardinal of York went 
to meet him at the head of the cardinals, and there was joy 
everywhere. The Pope's first steps were directed to the 
altar of St Peter's ; there he cast himself upon his knees to 
thank God, while a Te Deum resounded through the vaulting 
of the church. On 26th June he called together the College 
of Cardinals, and gave an account of his journey. In this 
he stated briefly that on 2nd December " the anointing and 
coronation of the Emperor and of his illustrious consort, our 
beloved daughter in Jesus Christ, Josephine, were carried out 
in the most solemn manner." He dwelt, besides, upon all 
the bright points of the journey ; much had already been 
accomplished, and this was an earnest of further advantages 
to the Church in the future. 

Before this communication was made to the College of 
Cardinals, Napoleon had been crowned at Milan on 26th 
May; and some weeks later he published the famous decree 

1 See above, p. 130. 


relating to the ordering of the clergy, which demolished the 
last traces of the Revolution, and of Gallicanism in the 
Italian Church. This decree also called forth dissatisfaction 
at Rome, because it violated the Italian Concordat. According 
to the Concordat, the Emperor was not to take such measures 
without the co-operation of the Pope, but Napoleon forgot 
that completely, in his eagerness to have everything speedily 
arranged. When Rome complained of this forgetfulness, 
Napoleon was vexed, and informed Pius VII. "that he had 
several times told His Holiness before that the Roman Court 
was much too slow, and that it pursued a policy which 
might have been good enough in the past centuries, but was 
no longer suited to this." 1 The bitter pill was, however, wrapped 
up in so many kind expressions that Pius VII. was on the 
whole pleased with the letter, because it showed " the Emperor's 
attachment to religion and his opposition to the false philo- 
sophy of the century." 2 

It was not long, however, before Pius VII. came to feel 
that hand in hand with the Emperor's friendliness towards 
the Church, there went a great want of respect for the successor 
of St Peter. To induce Pius VII. to come to Paris, Napoleon 
had hinted that he would be prepared to go to Rome him- 
self "with a good escort," if the Pope would not choose to 
come to him. 3 That " good escort," moreover, he had close at 
hand, and he did not hesitate to use it, when he no longer 
had his own way. 

1 Carrespondance de Napotton I. XI, 120. 

2 The Pope's answer in Theiner II, 347f. 

' Dollinger: Kleinere Schriften, 157, following the indications of Dr Antommarchi. 



IN the year 1803 Napoleon's youngest brother, Jerdme, was in 
the United States as an officer in the squadron of Admiral 
Willaumez. During his stay at Baltimore he made the acquaint- 
ance of the daughter of the rich Protestant merchant Paterson ; 
and the Bishop of Baltimore married the young couple in spite 
of their different creeds, and in spite of the fact that the 
bridegroom, who was only nineteen years of age, could not 
produce the permission of his mother. Napoleon, who was 
then only First Consul, at first looked upon this union as an 
act of juvenile indiscretion ; but when Jer6me showed signs of 
wishing to take his wife to Europe, the Director of Police 
received orders, in case it happened, to send her to Amsterdam, 
and from thence back to America. Jerdme, meanwhile, was 
careful to land his wife at Lisbon, but when he heard there 
of his brother's order, he dared not disobey it. He sent his 
wife to Holland, and travelled himself to Milan to meet the 
Emperor. Napoleon soon got his brother to wish for a 
divorce, and his mother to lodge the complaint that her 
consent had not been obtained ; but it was not easy to get 
the Pope to annul the marriage. Cardinal Caprara placed 
his theological adviser, Caselli, at the disposal of the Emperor 
in order to find out all the reasons that might tell in favour 
of the Emperor's wishes ; but an agent of the United States 
pleaded the cause of the Paterson family at Rome. Pius VII., 
who had studied canon law all his life, took the greatest 
pains to discover a reason which might make it possible 
for him to gratify the Emperor ; and at last he believed that 
he had found such a reason in one of the decrees of the 
Council of Trent. But he soon had scruples. Had the 



decree of the Council of Trent been published at Baltimore? 
Minute investigations were made in the archives of the 
Inquisition and the Propaganda to find an answer to this 
question, and the upshot was that the decree of the Council 
of Trent had not been published at Baltimore. Consequently, 
Pius VII., in the friendliest of terms, refused to sanction the 
divorce. Napoleon, quite unable to understand the anxious 
scruples of the Pope, found in the conduct of Rome only a 
ridiculous expression of spitefulness and ill-will, and he could 
not conceive how a pope should not be willing at once to 
declare the marriage of a Catholic with a Protestant null and 
void. That religion, then as always, was to Napoleon only 
a weapon for momentary use, was made plain at a later 
time, when he made Je>6me marry the Lutheran heiress of 
Wurtemberg. 1 

After this little disagreement the Pope began to discover, 
as did nearly all the sovereigns of Europe, that Napoleon was 
a tyrant, who could less and less put up with any hindrances 
in his way. But in spite of the strained relations between 
France and Rome, the other Powers continually upbraided him 
with showing special favour to France. They soon had occasion 
to see that the relation between the Pope and the Emperor 
was less warm than they thought. In October 1805 the French 
troops obtained permission to march through the Papal States 
on their way from Naples to the north of Italy ; but the French 
general forthwith abused this permission to occupy the Papal 
city of Ancona. The Pope expressed to the Emperor his 
astonishment at this step, and threatened in the mildest terms 
to break off diplomatic relations if Ancona were not evacuated 
by the French. 2 

A sorrowful tone pervades the whole of the Pope's letter. 
He has paid every regard to France ; he has been obliged to 
suffer for it at the hand of others, and what reward has he 
received? Napoleon was then outside Vienna (November 
1805), and he was so much taken up with more important 

1 Prince Napoleon, J£r6me's son, in the Revue des deux mondes for 1 5th September 
1867, tries to prove that the Pope afterwards acknowledged the dissolution of the first 
marriage by sanctioning the second. That the Prince, however, is not right in this 
matter is clearly apparent from Pius VII. 's careful expressions about the second 
marriage (D'Haussonville II, 389/.), and from Consalvi's words {Mtmoires II, 463). 

2 D'Haussonville II, 59. 


matters that two months elapsed before he found time to 
answer the Pope from Munich, in January 1806. He received 
the Pope's letter, he said, at a critical moment, but he answered 
it amidst surroundings of good fortune and of praise. His 
words from beginning to end sound like a rebuke to the 
Pope. He takes God to witness that he has done more for 
religion than all the reigning sovereigns put together, but 
Pius VII. has always been unreasonable and ungrateful. 1 In 
a letter to Fesch on the same day, Napoleon calls the Pope's 
letter "ridiculous and idiotic," the Pope's councillors "fools," 
and he threatens to recall Fesch and send a Protestant layman 
to Rome as Minister. He says bluntly that the Pope and his 
councillors, by their relations with the Russians and English, 
have " prostituted religion," and he hints that he might be 
tempted to reduce the Pope to be Bishop of Rome. 2 

This " reduction " appeared to him more and more desirable. 
The Papal States formed a disagreeable gap between the 
kingdoms of Naples and of Italy, and its capital was the 
seat of a clever diplomacy representing Powers which were 
nearly all hostile to France. Fouch6, who even in Rome 
had many spies, reported to his Emperor that Nelson's victory 
at Trafalgar had created quite as much joy in Rome as the 
battle of Austerlitz. The same spies also reported, it is true, 
that the Quirinal remained neutral, but this Napoleon did 
not believe. He found it advisable, however, to prepare the 
way for the reduction by peaceful negotiation, and to that 
end he wrote, on 13th February 1806, a remarkable letter 
to the Pope. 3 

In this he advises the Pope to get rid of all difficulties by 
keeping aloof from those Powers which, from a religious point 
of view, are heretical and outside the Church, and, politically 
speaking, are so far distant from the Papal States that they 
are unable to defend him, and can do him nothing but harm. 
He further proposes a sort of alliance between France and 
Rome. " Our conditions," he says, " ought to be, that Your 
Holiness will pay the same regard to me in temporal matters 
that I pay to you in spiritual matters. . . . Your Holiness is 
sovereign in Rome, but I am the Roman Emperor. All my 

1 Correspondence de Napoldon I. XI, 642k 

2 Ibid., 643f. 3 Ibid., XII, 477- 


enemies ought to be yours." He reproaches Rome for its 
slowness and laziness, but hints that this reproach only concerns 
certain persons in the Pope's entourage, who "do not care for 
what is right, but, instead of labouring in these critical times to 
heal the hurt, only labour to make it worse." These words were 
aimed at Consalvi. Fesch, who could never hit it off with the 
papal Secretary of State, 1 continually slandered Consalvi to 
Napoleon, and the Emperor had discovered, during the negotia- 
tions for the Concordat, that Consalvi was one of the few 
Roman statesmen who had sufficient political insight and 
knowledge of European politics to prove dangerous. Therefore 
the Emperor's ill-will turned more and more against Consalvi. 
In the above-mentioned letter to Fesch Napoleon wrote : " Tell 
Consalvi, that if he loves his country, he must either leave the 
ministry or do what I require ; and that I may be religious, 
but that I am not a sanctimonious person." 

The Emperor's demand at this period was that the Pope 
should break off diplomatic connexions with all the enemies 
of France, expel their subjects from the Papal States, and 
close his harbours against them — in short, cast in his lot with 
the Emperor. It can easily be imagined that a statesman 
like Consalvi never could agree to such a project ; for the 
moment that such a demand was satisfied, the Pope would have 
sunk into being nothing but a French courtier bishop. Nor 
did Napoleon make Rome more complaisant by emphasising 
the Roman character of his empire ; for people were by no 
means blind to the great difference that there was between 
the Europe of Charles the Great and modern Europe. If he 
had pursued Napoleon's policy, Pius VII. would have surrendered 
his spiritual authority over more than half of Europe ; and in 
view of the despotic character of the Emperor, it is very doubtful 
if he would by that means have gained any greater influence 
over the Church of France. 

Consalvi, in the meantime, advised the Pope to place the 
matter before the cardinals, and this was done. Two meetings 
were held, in which thirty cardinals took part ; but all of them, 
except the French cardinal, Bayane, were against Napoleon's 
proposal, "because the independence of the Holy See was 
so closely connected with the welfare of religion" {troppo 

1 Lyonnet I, 523. Ricard, 153. 


strettamente connessa col bene della Religione.) 1 In an elaborate 
letter the Pope explained the reasons which led him to reject 
the Emperor's proposal. God is the God of peace ; how, then, 
could His representative be expected to further strife? God 
offers peace both to them that are nigh, and to them that are 
afar off; therefore, the Pope must keep peace both with 
Catholics and with heretics. On this ground he must reject 
the Emperor's proposal, which would drag him into war with 
the Emperor's enemies. Regarding Napoleon's censure upon 
Rome for being slow, with special reference to affairs in 
Germany, Pius VII. rightly points out that affairs there were 
very complicated, and became more so day by day, especially 
after the congress of Regensburg. Napoleon's attempt to make 
himself Roman Emperor is dismissed with the remark that he 
is the Emperor of the French, but that he has no authority 
whatever over Rome. There is no emperor over Rome : it 
would mean the abolition of the Papal authority. There is a 
title of Roman Emperor, but it belongs to the Emperor at 
Vienna, and cannot at one and the same time be borne by 
two sovereigns. Pius VII. therefore feels himself constrained 
to reject Napoleon's theory that the Pope should acknowledge 
his authority in temporal matters, just as he acknowledges 
that of the Pope in spiritual matters ; for the Pope's spiritual 
authority is of divine origin, and cannot be compared with any 
temporal authority. It is therefore unreasonable to demand 
that the enemies of a prince should be also the enemies of 
the Pope. Such a demand would be in conflict with the divine 
mission of the Papacy in the world. 2 

That this letter would not make Napoleon more favourably 
disposed is obvious ; he believed that he clearly discerned in 
it the views of Consalvi. His hatred of the Papal Secretary 
increased in consequence, and it continually received fresh 
nourishment. When Joseph was appointed King of Naples, 
the event was announced to the Pope in very high-flown 
language ; but a few days after, Consalvi reminded Fesch in 
a note, of "the very intimate connexion which had existed 
for several centuries between the Pope and Naples"; 3 or, in 

1 Consalvi II, 443. 

2 An extract from the letter will be found in D'Haussonville II, I27f. 

3 D'Haussonville II, 173- 


other words, that the Pope claimed sovereignty over both the 
Sicilies. This boldness filled up the measure. " What does 
this Papal Secretary mean ? What spirit of levity has possessed 
him ? " writes Napoleon to Caprara. " If this continues, I will 
have Consalvi removed from Rome, and make him responsible 
for what he intends, for he is evidently bribed by the English." 1 

In order to show that his threats were seriously meant, 
Joseph had already, a week or two before, been ordered at 
once and in all secrecy to occupy Civita Vecchia, the seaport 
of Rome. Consalvi protested immediately against this occupa- 
tion, and ordered the papal nuncios to inform the foreign 
governments that it was an act of violence, and not a con- 
sequence of any friendly agreement. But this did not stop 
Napoleon. Shortly afterwards the Moniteur announced that the 
Emperor had granted Benevento and Pontecorvo, the Pope's 
two enclaves in Naples, to Talleyrand and Bernadotte, and 
at the same time a layman and an enemy of the Church, 
Alquier, was sent to Rome as French ambassador in the place 
of Cardinal Fesch. By this the Pope perceived clearly that 
nothing less than his whole temporal power was at stake, 
and he therefore determined to take up a firm attitude towards 

When Consalvi saw that the Pope's mind was made up, he 
considered that the moment was come to retire, although he 
was convinced that it would be of no use. He suggested to the 
Pope that he should choose another secretary, but for a long 
time the Pope was unwilling, lest it might seem to be a con- 
cession to Napoleon. 2 At last he gave in to the representations 
of Consalvi, and on 17th June 1806 chose Cardinal Casoni to 
be his successor. Casoni had spent some time at Avignon, and 
had afterwards been nuncio in Spain, and France had no reason 
to suspect him. It was a genuine sorrow to the Pope to lose 
Consalvi, and this sorrow was shared both by the citizens of 
Rome and by the foreign diplomatists. 3 Everybody felt as if 
they were standing upon a volcano — Pius VII. no less than his 
subjects. When Cardinal Fesch had his farewell audience of 
Pius, he denied point-blank the Pope's right to use his spiritual 
authority in the present condition of things in France, and he 

1 Correspondance de Napolion I. XII, 457f. 

2 Consalvi II, 48if. 3 Ibid., II, 49U. 


professed openly the opinion that General Councils were superior 
to the Pope. The master's want of consideration had infected 
the servants. 

Napoleon proceeded further and further in the direction of 
his ideal " Caliphate," which, especially since the coronation, 
had become his favourite and constant subject of thought. 
D'Haussonville observes how Napoleon, after the coronation, 
put forward the old bishops, whilst formerly he had been 
particularly anxious to support those who had taken the oath. 1 
At the same time he threw open commissions in the army to the 
old nobility, the Bar to the old Parliamentary families, and the 
offices of the Court to the men of the old rigime. He himself 
explained why he did so : " Only the people of the old stock 
know how to serve (seruir)." He wished his government to be 
regarded as a continuation of the government of Louis XIV., 
only with this difference — that he was infinitely greater than 
the great King, and consequently he ought to have the Church 
more completely in his power. After his return from Tilsit in 
1807 he told the papal nuncio in Paris, in the presence of all 
the diplomatists, that he would not allow his subjects to go to 
Rome and pay homage to " a foreign prince " like the Pope, so 
long as the Pope would not lay all sovereignty aside, and, like 
St Peter, be content with the spiritual power. 2 

At the very moment when he was about to break with the Pope, 
he was to be seen taking more than usual pains, as he expresses 
it, " to speak the language of religion." He asks the bishops to 
render thanks to " the God of battles " for the splendid protection 
He has afforded to the arms of France, and the priests are ordered 
to pray " that our persecuted Catholic brethren in Ireland may 
obtain liberty of worship." At first his victorious bulletins 
were read in the churches ; but this was afterwards forbidden, 
because it would be awkward if the Emperor were ever to suffer 
a defeat, and, besides, the pulpit would thereby gain too ggeat 
an influence. Napoleon had great ideas of the importance of 
a sermon, and he followed the preachers with the greatest 
attention. "Let M. Robert, the priest at Bourges, know," he 
writes to Portalis, the Minister of Public Worship, " that I am 
displeased with him. On the 15th August he preached a very 

1 D'Haussonville II, 2o8f., 215. 

2 Metternich : Nachgelassene Papiere 1,1, 2(j$t. 

VOL. I. 


poor sermon." 1 At first he confined priests with whom he 
was " displeased " in a monastery, afterwards they had to go to 
prison. Sainte Marguerite, Fenestrelle, and Ivr6e had their cells 
filled with clergymen. 

But did not some of the French clergy deserve the scorn 
that lay at the bottom of divers of the Emperor's remarks ? 
There were many bishops and priests who fawned upon 
Napoleon, and nattered him in a most indecent manner, and 
there was no one who had the courage to stay him on the 
road of self-deification. At the suggestion of Portalis two 
new festivals were introduced, as compensation for the old 
ones which had been abolished in order that the people should 
not be drawn away from work. One of them, " St Napoleon's 
Day," was to be kept on 1 5th August, the birthday of Napoleon, 
and it was to be a day of thanksgiving for the good fortune 
of the empire ; on the other hand, the Assumption of the 
Blessed Virgin, which had previously been associated with 
that day, was to be put out of mind. At a corresponding festival 
in the winter-time the Great Army and the Emperor's corona- 
tion were to be glorified. In answer to the circular which 
ordered the introduction of these festivals, petitions were sent 
in from many quarters to be allowed to erect chapels to the 
saint who had been so fortunate as to give the great Emperor 
his name. The old returned emigrant, D'Osmond, Bishop of 
Nancy, invited the faithful to form associations named after 
the new fashionable saint ; and the biographer of D'Osmond, 
the Abbe" Guillaume, says in 1862, in flattery of the Second 
Empire : " At the sound of the magic name Napoleon, thought 
became animated, hearts grew warm, and the masses set 
themselves in movement, and worked for the honour and the 
welfare of the country." 2 

There was, however, one drawback connected with the new 
saint : he was quite unknown. The Bollandists and the Roman 
Martyrology did not mention him, and D'Osmond could not 
find anything at all about St Napoleon in the libraries of 
Nancy. The zealous bishop wrote direct to Paris, but in spite 
of the city's wealth of books all researches had the same poor 
result ; no one anywhere knew anything of St Napoleon. At 

1 P'Haussonville II, 226. 

2 Quoted in D'Haussonville II, 232. 



length Comparative Philology was drawn upon to help to 
dissipate the darkness that surrounded the new saint. It 
was discovered that a Greek of the name Neopolis or Neopolas 
had suffered martyrdom at Alexandria under Diocletian or 
Maximian. It was thought, therefore, that the name Neopolas, 
in accordance with the changes of sound in mediaeval Latin, 
must gradually have passed into Napoleo, and so into the Italian 
Napoleone. Upon this deep philological hypothesis, the new 
saint made his entry into the French calendar. But it was no 
wonder that the Emperor, who lived and laboured amongst 
the French people, by degrees put the unknown saint into 
the shade, when the day of St Napoleon gathered together 
the festive crowds. 

Ecclesiastical despots are wont to feel a certain uneasiness 
with regard to the individual differences which make their 
appearance along with the appropriation of things religious; 
and therefore they have commonly endeavoured to give the 
Church around them an appearance of uniformity. At that 
time several church papers were published in France, but they 
were all ordered to stop, because it was not easy to keep an 
eye on them. On the other hand, a Journal des Curds was to 
be published as a kind of official church organ. 1 The same 
striving after uniformity had already been expressed in the 
Organic Articles, where we read : " There shall be only one 
liturgy and one catechism in all the Catholic Churches of 
France." 2 Shortly after the conclusion of the Concordat, the 
preparation of a new catechism was taken in hand, but after- 
wards Napoleon thought it most profitable to take Bossuet's 
catechism as a basis. It was in harmony with his awakening 
sympathy for the old regime. In spite of warning from the 
Holy See, Cardinal Caprara had taken part in the preparation 
of the new catechism, and was afterwards rewarded for it with 
censures from Rome. The Imperial Catechism of 1806 was thus 
in the main the work of the Bishop of Meaux, but Bousset's 
composition was supplemented by certain additions "which 
should bind the people closer to the Emperor's august 
person," and "guide their submission towards the proper 
end." In order to understand such phrases as these we need 

1 D'Haussonville II, 229f. 

a Articles organiques, titre 3, art. 39. 


only look at the explanation of the Fourth (i.e., the Fifth) 

In Bossuet's catechism we read, What does the Fourth 
Commandment teach us further? 

Answer : To respect all in authority, priests, kings, magis- 
trates and others. 1 

These few words sufficed in 1686, but in 1806 this part of 
the catechism was considerably swelled. Napoleon would not 
be placed behind the priests and in a line with the magistrates, 
and Frenchmen since the Revolution would need a more 
thoroughgoing education in obedience to be of any avail. 
Therefore the corresponding part in the Imperial Catechism, 
which seems to be the work of the Emperor himself, reads thus : 

Q. : What duties have Christians towards the princes 
who govern them, and what are our particular duties towards 
Napoleon 1., our Emperor? 

A.: Christians owe to their sovereigns, and we especially 
to Napoleon I., our Emperor, love, respect, obedience, faithful- 
ness, military service, the taxes, which are imposed to preserve 
and defend the empire and his throne; we owe him, further, 
fervent prayers for his salvation, and for the spiritual and 
temporal welfare of the State. 

Q : Why do we owe all these duties towards the Emperor ? 

A. : First, because God, who creates kingdoms, and divides 
them after His will, has lavished upon our Emperor gifts 
both in peace and war, has placed him as ruler over us, and 
made him to be the minister of His power, and the image of 
Himself on earth. To honour and serve our Emperor is therefore 
to honour and serve God Himself. Secondly, because our Lord 
Jesus Christ Himself, both by His teaching and by His example, 
has taught us what we owe to our sovereign ; He was born at 
the time when obedience was being paid to the commandment 
of Caesar Augustus ; He paid the prescribed tax ; and at the 
same time that He bade men to render unto God the things 
that are God's, He bade them to render unto Caesar the things 
that are Caesar's. 

Q. : Are there not special circumstances which ought to 
bind us still closer to Napoleon I., our Emperor? 

A. : Yes, for it is he whom God has raised up under 
1 D'Haussonville II, 246. 


difficult circumstances to restore public worship and the holy 
religion of our fathers, and to be its guardian. He has restored 
and preserved public order by his deep and effectual wisdom ; 
he defends the State with his mighty arm ; he has become the 
Lord's anointed by his consecration at the hands of the Pope, 
the head of the whole Church. 

Q. : What must we think of those who do not fulfil their 
duty towards our Emperor? 

A. : According to St Paul the Apostle, they oppose what 
God has Himself ordained, and render themselves worthy of 
eternal damnation. 

Q. : Shall we owe the same duties towards the legitimate 
successor of the Emperor as towards the Emperor himself? 

A. : Yes, surely ; for we read in the Holy Scriptures that 
God, the Lord of heaven and earth, according to His will, 
not only gives kingdoms to a single person, but also to his 

Q. : What are our duties towards our magistrates ? 

A. : We must honour, respect, and obey them, because our 
Emperor has entrusted to them his authority. 

Q. : What is forbidden by the Fourth Commandment ? 

A. : It is forbidden to disobey our superiors, to do them 
harm, or to say anything evil of them. 

According to this recipe obedience to the Emperor was 
in future to be hammered into the French children. When 
the Pope came to know of this catechism, he remonstrated 
immediately, because the Emperor in authorising it assumed 
a power which God had confided to the Church alone. It was 
to the apostles, and not to kings, that Christ had said, " Go ye 
and teach all nations ! " But it was too late ; the Imperial 
Catechism continued to be the authorised manual of instruction 
in France until the fall of the empire. 

New encroachments went hand in hand with the Emperor's 
surreptitious usurpation of the right to establish text-books, 
which in Catholic lands is reserved for the Pope alone. 1 
Napoleon was not contented with having taken possession of 
the fortified places in the Papal States. He desired the moral 

1 For the following, cp. , besides D'Haussonville's detailed account at the end of 
Vol. II. and in Vol. III., C. de Meaux : Pie VII. et Napolion, in the Revue des 
questions kistoriques (Paris 1867) I, 2, S49f. 


support of the Pope against his enemies ; and since Pius VII. 
was unwilling to give it, he determined to take the final step. 
On ioth January 1808 General Miollis was ordered to advance 
upon Rome with the greatest secrecy, and in such a way that 
it would appear as if he intended to effect a juncture with the 
troops in Naples. He was to take the city, and to repress 
the least .attempt at rebellion very severely. 1 

At the end of January 1808 the General marched at the 
head of his army from Florence. As soon as he came to the 
borders of the Papal States, he asked permission to proceed 
by way of Rome. He expressed the wish that he had wings 
with which to reach Naples through the air, but since there 
was no other road on land than that through Rome, he asked 
permission to use it. 2 The permission was granted, and nobody 
wondered at seeing, early in the morning of 2nd February 1808, 
a numerous French corps marching in through the Porta del 
Popolo. The army proceeded in order along the Via Babbuino, 
by the Piazza di Spagna, to the Porta S. Giovanni, with some 
guns in front, followed by the cavalry and infantry. As soon 
as they reached the great square in front of the Quirinal, where 
the Pope lived, a halt was made, and the guns were trained on 
the palace. It was Candlemas Day, and when the French 
soldiers marched in, the Pope and the cardinals were at service 
in the chapel of the Quirinal. They did not allow themselves 
to be in the least disturbed by the French, who beheld with 
wonder the Pope and the cardinals entering their carriages 
after the service as if nothing were happening. The Roman 
people could not take the matter so quietly, and for the first 
time in the memory of man the carnival week passed entirely 

Shortly after the French occupation of Rome, Cardinal 
Casoni was taken suddenly ill, and Doria Pamfili, who, on 
account of his short stature, was called Breve Papce, succeeded 
him as Papal Secretary of State. His government, however, 
did not last long, for Napoleon gave vent to his hatred of 
the Sacred College in an order which commanded that all the 
cardinals who were not Papal subjects by birth, should 

1 Correspondance de Napolion I. XVI, 279. 

2 A. vonRennenkampff: Ueber Pius VII. und dessen Exkommunikation Napoleons 
(St Petersburg 1813), ii. 


immediately be conveyed to their native regions, whether they 
would or not. In consequence of this order Doria was com- 
pelled to leave for Genoa, and Gabrielli became his successor. 
The Pope's patience was now at an end : " Alas, these con- 
cessions," he exclaimed, " what disasters have they not brought 
upon me ! " and in his despair he took the decisive step of 
breaking off diplomatic relations with France. Caprara's pleni- 
potentiary power was taken from him, and he was recalled. 
The Pope's entourage tried to dissuade him from so violent 
a measure, but he stood firmly by his plan ; it almost seemed 
as if he felt a certain pride in daring to take such a fateful 
course alone. The foreign diplomatists were more or less 
indifferent to the fate of the Pope ; there were other thrones 
which were tottering at the time. 

On 1 6th June two officers entered the house of the Papal 
Secretary of State, Gabrielli, without being announced, and put 
him under arrest. 1 Then they sealed up his writing-desk, on 
which lay several important documents, and took him away from 
Rome. In the evening of the same day the Pope summoned 
Cardinal Pacca, and appointed him secretary. This cardinal 
had won his diplomatic spurs as nuncio at Cologne, but had 
afterwards been overshadowed by Consalvi, of whose secret 
enemies he was one. Pacca was an extreme absolutist both 
in Church and State, and had a more theological turn of mind 
than Consalvi. In conversation he was brilliant, and he pos- 
sessed natural humour ; but his horizon was narrow, and his 
view warped. The defiant position which he had been obliged 
to take at Cologne had been entirely after his own heart, and 
the situation which now awaited him as Papal Secretary did 
not differ much from the previous one. His experience at 
Cologne had taught him that it was best to proceed gently 
at the outset. Everything went quietly for a time — so quietly 
that the Pope began to be anxious : " My Lord Cardinal," 
he said one morning to Pacca, " people say in Rome that we 
have fallen asleep. We must show that we are awake, and 
send a strong note to the French general regarding these 
latest deeds of violence." 2 

But Pacca reserved his guns till the right moment. He 

1 Pacca : Historische Denkwiirdigkeiten (Augsburg 1831) I, 21, 

2 Pacca I, 29. 


had many conversations with General Miollis, in which he endea- 
voured to persuade the General to stop the acts of violence, but 
in vain. Bitter words were exchanged between them. Miollis 
said that he had orders to shoot and hang everybody who 
opposed the Emperor's commands within the Estates of the 
Church. Pacca, however, only became defiant : he was not 
frightened. 1 

The right moment for energetic measures was not long 
delayed. The French had attempted to form a citizen guard 
in Rome, and many had been enrolled. But on 24th August 
1808 a proclamation was found posted at the street corners of 
Rome, in which the Pope, as the "lawful sovereign" of the 
State, threatened those who enrolled themselves in the guard 
with the punishment of the Church. 2 Miollis, who recognised 
Pacca's style in the proclamation, determined to remove this 
Secretary as he had removed his predecessor. A few days later 
he sent a major to Pacca, to order his immediate departure for 
Benevento, his native town. The major was attended by a 
subaltern, who was to take care that the Secretary did not leave 
the house, and especially that he should have no communication 
with the Pope. Pacca, with the major's permission, wrote a note 
to the Pope, in which he told him the reason of his unwonted 
absence from the audience. A few moments afterwards the 
Pope entered, and told the officer that he was tired of all the 
indignities inflicted upon him. Thereupon he turned to Pacca 
and ordered him to follow him. The French officer, who did 
not understand Italian, asked Pacca very politely to translate 
the Pope's words. The Secretary did so. When Pacca had 
finished, the Pope said : " My Lord Cardinal, let us go." He 
then led Pacca away by the hand, and the disconcerted officer 
dared not resist. From that day Pacca occupied three rooms 
adjoining the Pope's apartments ; both of them felt as if they 
were besieged, and expected a sudden attack every day. 

The rumour of Napoleon's intention to usurp the Papal 
States and carry off the Pope revived at the Quirinal the idea of 
excommunicating the Emperor. It had already been proposed 
in 1806, but at that time it was considered to be premature. 
Consalvi would, it is certain, have hesitated long before he 

1 Pacca I, 38. 

2 It is printed among the documents in Pacca I, I02f. 


would have fulminated an excommunication ; but Pacca did 
not believe that the Church's thunderbolt was less effective in 
the nineteenth century than in the Middle Ages. Two different 
Bulls were drawn up, one in case the French should use force 
before carrying away the Pope, another in the contrary case ; 
and it was no longer any secret that Pius VII. intended to use 
the strongest measures, for he felt himself driven to extremities. 
To the prelate of his treasury he said that he " had the mine 
ready, and only required to take the match in his hand to fire it 
off," and to another official he said : " We see well enough that 
the French now mean to force us to speak Latin. Well ! we 
will do so!" 1 

On 10th June 1809, shortly before noon, the Papal arms 
were taken down from the Castle of Sant' Angelo, amidst the 
thunder of guns, and the tricolour was hoisted. At the same 
time a decree issued by Napoleon on 1 8th May at Schonbrunn 2 
was published throughout the city. By this the Papal States 
were united to the empire, so that the sovereignty of the Pope 
was abolished. As soon as this news reached the Quirinal, 
Pacca hastened to the Pope, and both exclaimed, Consummatum 
est! Pius, however, still hesitated a little when it came to 
publishing the Bull of excommunication. He said that he had 
again read it through, and he thought that some expressions 
used in it about the French government were too strong ; 
but Pacca maintained that the language was not too severe, 
and that, on the contrary, they had waited too long before 
protesting seriously against the violent action of the French. 
These words struck Pius VII. He returned to his desk and 
signed a protest in Italian, and then ordered the Bull to be 
posted at the usual places : at St Peter's, at the Church of the 
Lateran, and at Santa Maria Maggiore. Before sunset it was 
done by the hands of pious and brave men, and when the Romans 
returned from vespers they could see the mighty document 
with its big letters, until the French came and tore it down. 

In this Bull, 3 Quam memoranda, the Pope first of all 
enumerates all the sufferings which the Church and her 
ministers had had to undergo. These had been so great 

1 Pacca I, 86. 

2 de Napoleon I. XIX, 19. 

3 Printed in Pacca I, I inf.. in Latin and German ; in French, in Artaud II, 525. 


that it was no longer possible to show forbearance. " But 
we pray that those men will come to see that accord- 
ing to the law of Christ they are subject to our throne, 
and are placed under our supremacy. For we also have a 
kingdom, and a far better one {etiam prasstantius), and it would 
be absurd to say that the spirit must obey the flesh, the 
heavenly obey the earthly." 1 The Pope is constrained to 
draw the punishing sword of Holy Church, but it is done 
in the hope that those who are against him will repent. 
Then follows the usual form of excommunication against all 
who have presumed to use violence against the Church, and 
against their assistants, and lastly, the command is given to 
proclaim the fulmination "in all places and amongst all 

Pacca assures us that this Bull made the Romans rejoice, and 
there is no reason to doubt that such a step was greeted 
with joy by faithful Catholics, who saw the Pope in such 
mournful circumstances. But the imprisonment of Pius VII. 
in Rome was only a half-measure. Napoleon commanded 
General Miollis to execute any orders that he might receive from 
Murat, King of Naples, with regard to the Pope, and he wrote 
to Murat, that, if contrary to the spirit of the Gospel the Pope 
dared to preach rebellion, he should be arrested. 2 As Miollis 
was afraid that serious tumults would break out in Rome, he 
obtained Murat's permission to arrest Pius. The night before 
6th July the General had invited the e"lite of Rome to a 
splendid fete in the Palazzo Doria, 3 and at three o'clock in the 
morning the Quirinal was surrounded. The French soldiers, 
commanded by General Radet, met with no resistance, because 
the Swiss Guard had received orders to keep back so as to 
avoid bloodshed. The French burst in the doors with the 
butt-ends of their muskets, and groped in the dark through 
the passages of the palace to the wing in which the Pope 
resided. Pacca heard the noise, and sent his nephew to the 
Pope to wake him. The Spanish cardinal, Despuigs y Dameto, 
also rushed into the Pope's room, where he was received with 
the exclamation : " It is all over with us now ! " The courageous 

1 A quotation from Gregory of Nazianzus. 

2 Correspondance de Napotton I. XIX, 161. 

3 A. von Rennenkampff, 40. 

xi.] PIUS VII. SEIZED 299 

Spaniard answered : " Your Holiness knows that to-day is 
the octave of the feast of St Peter and St Paul. People 
expect that Your Holiness will give an example of courage." 
"Your Eminence is right," answered the Pope, and dressed 
himself. 1 When he was dressed, he went down to the Audience 
Chamber, where Pacca and some of those nearest the Pope 
had gathered. When the doors were broken in, Pius VII. 
walked to his table, and the cardinals ranged themselves 
beside him. Radet, who came at the head of his men, was 
startled at the sight, and remained silent for some moments ; 
he afterwards related how the memory of his First Communion 
rose up at this moment in his mind and held him back. At 
length he summoned up his courage, and, though pale, and 
with a shaking voice, said that he had the disagreeable duty 
of compelling Pius VII. to abdicate his temporal power, or 
else of conducting him to General Miollis. The Pope answered 
that he could not abdicate what was not his own: he was 
only steward of the Papal States. Thereupon he and Pacca 
were led to the gate of the Quirinal, where a carriage was 
in waiting for them. Despuigs accompanied the Pope to 
the carriage door and begged for the departing Pope's bless- 
ing and absolution. As a punishment for this hardihood he 
was shut up in the Collegium Romanum. Instead of driving 
to General Miollis, the carriage turned out of the city, and 
Radet apologised to his prisoner for the untruth he had 
uttered. Outside the Porta del Popolo post-horses were in 
waiting, and with them they went on, away from Rome, upon 
the road to Florence. In spite of their distress the Pope 
and his Minister could not help smiling, when they discovered, 
on looking into their purses, their apostolic poverty. The Pope 
had only twenty baiocchi, the Cardinal fifteen. Pius VII. 
jestingly showed the contents of his purse to Radet, who was 
in the same carriage, and said : " There, you see what is left 
to me of my kingdom ! " Pacca meanwhile was seized with 
an anxious thought : — Was the Pope sorry for the excommunica- 
tion ? It was this which had brought him into such distress, 
and Pacca, as has been shown above, was to a great extent 
the cause of its being issued. But his anxiety soon disappeared, 
for Pius said with a smile and a satisfied air : " My Lord 

1 Maury I, 221. 


Cardinal, we did well in publishing the Bull of excommunication 
on ioth June, for now we could not have done it." 

From Florence they travelled through Genoa and Turin to 
Grenoble, and from thence by Valence, Avignon, and Nice 
to Savona, on the Gulf of Genoa. Pacca was then conveyed 
to Fenestrelle, where he was taken very ill. He complained 
of the severe climate, the long winter evenings, and the 
heretical atmosphere ; for the inhabitants, who were formerly 
Waldensians, had after the Reformation become Calvinists. 1 
The population of the different towns and villages showed 
Pius VII. and his Minister all possible respect, and the 
magistrates tolerated this, because they had not then received 
more detailed orders from the Emperor. But Fouche took 
care that the Pope was never mentioned in the Moniteur, 
and the Parisians therefore obtained no news whatever of 
the Pope's fate through the papers. Both the south and 
the north of Italy were constantly spoken of, but with regard 
to the great event in the city of the Tiber the greatest 
secrecy was maintained. Yet even in Paris there were dark 
rumours of the kidnapping of the Pope, and it was there 
believed that he was at Grenoble. On 9th August 1809, the 
Moniteur at last contained a letter of 1st August from Grenoble 
in which it was said : " People here are much concerned about 
an unknown animal which has passed through here ; the traces 
it has left lead people to suppose that it was a reptile of a 
bigger kind than those which are known in France." After 
that, more is related about the road which the " reptile " took, 
and how it fell at last into a mountain stream. 2 

In such language did Napoleon's official organ indulge not 
quite five years after the coronation. 

1 Pacca II, 63f. 

2 Le Moniteur Universe! for 1809, No. 221, column 870. 



While travelling to and from Bayonne, in April 1808, Napoleon 
stayed a short time at Bordeaux. To the Archbishop of that 
city, D'Aviau, he had shown special kindness, and he had reason 
to believe that the clergy of Bordeaux were attached to him. 
On his return from Bayonne he had an interview with the 
Archbishop and the clergy, and he used the occasion to 
broach the question whether divorce was permitted or not. He 
had, in fact, determined to divorce Josephine. An old doctor 
of the Sorbonne, the Abbe Thierry, who had no idea why the 
Emperor asked this question, immediately quoted the saying : 
"What therefore God hath joined together let not man put 
asunder." " That is all very well," answered the Emperor, " under 
ordinary circumstances in life ; without that there would be 
no stability in marriage. But under circumstances of greater 
importance, when the welfare of the State demands it, it is 
quite another matter." The Abbe Thierry, however, stead- 
fastly maintained that the Gospel knows of no exceptions. 
" Are you then a Protestant ? " said Napoleon ; " do you 
not acknowledge the importance of tradition?" "Tradition," 
answered the Abbe, " agrees with Holy Scripture, that the 
matrimonial bond is indissoluble." " No," said the Emperor, 
"tradition is on my side; I have seen that in Poland, Posen, 
Hungary, and other States which I have visited." There- 
upon he addressed himself to the Superior General of the 
seminary at Bordeaux, but the latter supported the Abbe by 
showing that in the cases the Emperor knew of there was 
no question whatever of divorce. When Napoleon perceived 
the unanimity of the clergy on the point, he became " red with 
anger," and dismissed them. "What sort of people has the 



Archbishop of Bordeaux around him? There is not one 
theologian amongst them," he said, when they were gone. 
But D'Aviau soon discovered that the Emperor took more 
than a theoretical interest in the question under debate, for 
Napoleon, through his Minister of Public Worship, ordered him 
to dismiss on the spot all the priests who had differed from 
their Emperor. 1 

When Napoleon returned to Fontainebleau (November 1809) 
after the battle of Wagram and the peace of Vienna, his plan 
was ripe, and he communicated his decision to the unfortunate 
Josephine. 2 Negotiations were therefore commenced regarding 
the dissolution of the imperial marriage. The civil difficulties 
were easily removed, although the decree of 1806 says respecting 
the imperial family : " Divorce is forbidden to the members of 
the Imperial House of both sexes and of all ages." This pro- 
hibition Napoleon quickly got over by declaring that the 
regulation did not include the Emperor himself, but only 
his family. There was more difficulty with regard to the 
ecclesiastical side of the marriage. When Napoleon spoke 
to Cardinal Fesch about it, the latter remarked that it would 
be most natural to approach the Pope about it, but Napoleon 
refused to do so. He appealed to a court instituted by him- 
self, and the court declared that there was no bond between 
the Emperor and Josephine, because the Emperor had not 
given his consent to the union. At the sitting of 26th 
December 1809, Cardinal Fesch supplied the following informa- 
tion on behalf of the Emperor: "The Emperor had not given, 
and never could have given, a true consent to this marriage. 
' How,' the Emperor had said, ' could I, on the day when I 
founded a dynasty, marry a woman by whom I could not 
possibly have children?'" His Majesty declared that he had 
never given his consent to this marriage, which is proved 
by the following considerations: (1) that he had never chosen 
to have it blessed by the Church, although he had required 
that marriages in his family should so be blessed ; (2) that 
when on a solemn occasion he had been obliged not to break 

1 Lyonnet : Histoire de Mgr. d* Avian II, 561 ; quoted by D'Haussonville III, 


2 Welschinger : Le divorce de Natolion, 2J{ ; Masson : Napollon et Us femmes, 


with the Empress (sic), he had desired that the marriage 
should be contracted without witnesses and without publicity ; 
(3) that he had declared before Cardinal Fesch, Marshal Duroc, 
and others, when the ceremony was over that he had not 
given his consent ; and that the circumstances of that time 
sufficiently prove that he could not have given it. 1 What a 
tissue of hypocrisy and faithlessness is disclosed by a study 
of the Emperor's conduct in this matter ! 

Even before the divorce was accomplished, Napoleon had 
been contemplating a fresh marriage. It was, in fact, because 
he desired to have heirs that he wished to divorce Josephine. 
His first thought was of the Emperor Alexander's sister, the 
Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia, then fifteen years 
of age ; 2 but afterwards his attention was directed to Marie 
Louise, the daughter of the Austrian Emperor. As far as can 
be made out, the author of this scheme was Metternich, 3 who 
perhaps hoped to secure his own position and that of Austria 
by an alliance between Austria and France founded upon a 
matrimonial compact. Marie Louise belonged to a family 
whose womenkind, as was stated during the negotiations, were 
wont to be very prolific. There were men amongst Napoleon's 
counsellors who advised him to marry a French lady capable 
of giving him hope of an heir. This proposal to marry the 
daughter of one of the brave men of France appealed directly 
to Napoleon ; * but he dismissed it as unwise, from the political 
point of view. He had repeatedly observed how largely unions 
between the reigning families figured in the alliances of the 
time. A marriage with Marie Louise would politically be the 
most advantageous ; and that determined his choice. 

In February 18 10 he published a decree of the Senate, 
which made Rome the second city of the empire, and imposed 
upon the popes at their elevation an oath to the Emperor 

1 C. de Meaux was the first to bring to light this document, of which a small 
fragment is printed in D'Haussonville III, 228. 

3 Aus Metternichs nachgelassene Papieren I, 2, 143k ; E. Wertheimer : Die 
Heirat der Erzherzogin Marie Louise mit Napoleon (Archiv fiir oesterr. Geschichte, 
Wien 1882, Vol. LXIV.), 51 if. ; Talleyrand: Mimoires I, 4471-5 A. Vandal: 
Napolion et Alexandre I. (Paris 1893) II, I74f. 

3 See Wertheimer 506, in opposition to Metternich's own account, which is 
evidently not trustworthy, in the Nachgel. Papiere I, o8f. ; cp. P. Bailleu in the 
Historische Zeitschrift, Neue Folge VIII, 253^ 

4 Talleyrand II, 7. 


of France like that of the earlier popes to Charles the Great 
As stipend they were to receive 2,000,000 francs a year, 
and palaces where they chose to live, especially in Paris 
and Rome. At the same time Napoleon impressed upon 
the Pope that "Jesus Christ had come to bless and not to 
upset thrones," and he further addresses him as follows : " You 
have enough to do, if you will attend to spiritual matters and 
the cure of souls. My mission is to govern the West ; you 
must not interfere in this. If only Your Holiness had occupied 
yourself with the salvation of souls, the German Church would 
not have been in the chaotic and disorganised condition in which 
it now is. The popes of Rome have for a long time interfered 
in things that do not concern them, and have neglected the 
true welfare of the Church. I acknowledge you as my spiritual 
head, but I am your Emperor." 1 

It seems strange that the Emperor, after such a decree 
and such a letter, should still entertain the hope of inducing 
Pius VII. to perform the wedding ceremony. That the thought 
passed before his mind has been inferred from a letter written 
to the Minister for Public Worship, in which he requests him 
to have the papal attire, especially the costly tiara, brought to 
Paris. 2 He thought, perhaps, that he could order the Pope 
about in the same way as he ordered his French bishops, whom 
he told to do incredible things. His uncle, Cardinal Fesch, 
for example, was always his scapegoat. If Fesch pronounced an 
opinion contrary to the Emperor's, Napoleon expressed himself 
with withering scorn. " Where did you learn that ? " he would 
ask. " In Italy, while you catered for bread for my soldiers ? 
Let people who understand things speak of what you do not 
understand. I do not care a whit to know what you think." 3 
However, it is most probable that the above-mentioned order 
to bring the papal attire to Paris was in no way connected 
with the intended wedding ceremony, but with the possible 
election of a new pope. With this prospect in view the 
Emperor had shortly before given orders to his Minister 
of Public Worship, Count Bigot de Preameneu, with regard to 
the cardinals at Rome. On 29th September, he wrote to the 
Minister : " I wish you to begin to send the French cardinals 

1 Correspondance de Napolion I. XX, 1, I95f. 

a Ibid., 200. 3 D'Haussonville III, 237. 


to Paris. When this first step has been taken, we shall be able 
to see what it will be expedient to do with the cardinals of the 
kingdom of Italy." On 18th December of the same year, he 
wrote in like manner to the Minister, " M. Bigot de Preameneu, 
repeat the order to General Miollis to cause all the cardinals in 
Rome, and especially Cardinal di Pietro, to leave. This order 
: must be executed within twenty-four hours after the receipt of 
this letter ; if not, punishment for disobedience will follow." x 

Before this letter arrived, Miollis had already begun to 
carry out his Emperor's wish. With the exception of some 
feeble old men who could not bear the journey, all the cardinals 
were sent to Paris, whether they liked it or not. Consalvi and 
Di Pietro, however, would not obey the order, because they 
could not leave Rome without the Pope's permission. But 
when Miollis had received the Emperor's last letter, he made 
short work with them. In the night preceding 10th December, 
soldiers entered Consalvi's apartment, and forced him to make 
ready for a journey, and to get into a carriage. In the carriage 
he found Di Pietro, and the two travelled together by short 
stages, so that they did not reach Paris before 20th February. 2 
Although Consalvi was on friendly terms with the Emperor's 
family, and with several of the leading men in the French 
capital, he kept himself as much as possible aloof from all 
society, because he considered that he owed it to his position 
as a cardinal of the Roman Church, and as a friend of the 
Pope ; but not all the cardinals had as much tact. 3 Moreover 
Consalvi, Di Pietro, and two other cardinals refused to receive 
the "pension" of 30,000 francs which Napoleon allowed the 
cardinals, and which the majority of them accepted after 
quieting their consciences with various less distasteful, but 
also less honourable, paraphrases of the word "pension." 
Although Consalvi was hard pressed for funds, he continued 
to refuse every gift of money; and in order to obtain the 
means of livelihood, he even sold the snuff-box which the 
Emperor had given him after the conclusion of the Concordat. 

1 These two letters are not in the great collection of Napoleon's letters, but 
amongst the documents in D'Haussonville III, 465, 468. 

2 Consalvi II, i67f. 

3 Pacca II, 89 and Consalvi II, 171, complain bitterly of the behaviour of the 
cardinals. Consalvi, on the other hand, is not, as Gams II, 279 supposes, touched by 
the complaints of Pacca. Cp. Consalvi II, 173. 

VOL. I. U 


But although Consalvi kept away from society, he could 
not avoid paying some visits, and, in particular, he had to be 
presented to Napoleon. Together with Di Pietro and three 
other cardinals who had newly arrived, he was introduced to 
the Emperor by Fesch. As soon as Napoleon, after the other 
cardinals had been presented, caught sight of Consalvi, he 
exclaimed : " Cardinal Consalvi, how thin you have become ! 
I scarcely knew you again." " Sire," answered Consalvi, " the 
years pass quickly. It is now ten years since I had the honour 
of paying my respects to Your Majesty." " It is true ; it will 
soon be ten years since you came here for the Concordat. We 
concluded it in this room ; but what has been the use of it ? 
It has all come to nothing. Rome was determined to lose 
everything. I must confess that I acted unwisely in removing 
you from the ministry. If you had retained the post, matters 
would not have reached this extreme." These words were 
said with unfeigned kindness, but Consalvi did not forget his 
position ; he only answered : " Sire, if I had retained the post, 
I should have done my duty." When Napoleon heard these 
words he cast a steady glance at him, and began to complain 
of Rome. Twice more he expressed his opinion that every- 
thing would have been different if Consalvi had remained 
Papal Secretary, and so, thrice in all, Consalvi had occasion 
to contradict him. 1 

This scene was an omen of Consalvi's attitude towards the 
Emperor's second marriage, 2 which was to be celebrated at the 
beginning of April 1810. At nine in the evening of 15th 
December 3 Napoleon had solemnly announced to those around 
him, that out of consideration for the welfare of the State, he was 
dissolving his marriage with Josephine. The act of divorce was 
then signed by all present, 4 and the next day the great event 
was announced to the Senate. Shortly afterwards negotiations 
for the new marriage with Marie Louise were opened ; and after 
the scruples of the Archbishop of Vienna, Count Hohenwart, 
with regard to the invalidity of Napoleon's first marriage had 

1 Consalvi II, I77f. 

2 We have an account of this meeting from Consalvi's own hand, written at Reims 
at the end of the year 1812. It is printed in Consalvi I, 440f. 

3 Welschinger, yji. 

* Welschinger gives on page 44 a facsimile of all the signatures. 


been happily overcome, Mar^chal Berthier, now Prince of 
Neufchatel and Wagram, proposed on behalf of his imperial 
friend to the Austrian Emperor's daughter. The inhabitants 
of Vienna, who were longing for peace and a return of the 
happy days when Kaunitz and Choiseul were at the head of 
affairs in the two kingdoms, received the news of the intended 
marriage with delight, and they made harmless jests about 
peasant families who are wont to fight after a marriage, whilst 
emperors fight before a marriage. On nth March the 
preliminary wedding took place in the Augustinian church at 
Vienna, at which the Archduke Karl represented the imperial 
bridegroom. Eleven days later Marie Louise set foot on 
French soil. 1 Napoleon met his bride in the neighbourhood 
of Soissons, and conducted her to Compiegne. On Saturday, 
31st March, the Empress-designate proceeded from Compiegne 
to Saint Cloud, where there was a grand reception. On the 
following day the civil contract was to be signed at Saint Cloud ; 
on the Monday the ecclesiastical wedding ceremony was to take 
place in the Tuileries, and on Tuesday their Majesties would 
receive congratulations. 

Altogether twenty-nine cardinals were then in Paris, and 
they were all invited to the wedding ; but not all of them could 
or would go. Cardinal Caprara was in his second childhood, and 
Fesch was to perform the wedding ceremony, so that those two 
must be left out of the reckoning. Of the remainder, thirteen 
(amongst them Mattei, Delia Somaglia, Di Pietro, Galeffi, 
Opizzoni, and Consalvi) intended to stay away both from the civil 
and from the religious function ; but the fourteen others (amongst 
them Giuseppe and Antonio Doria, Caselli, Spina, Maury, 
Ruffo, and Albani) chose to be present at everything. Through 
Fesch, the Emperor learnt the intention of the thirteen cardinals, 
but he did not believe that they would dare to carry their 
hostile views into practice. 

All the twenty-seven cardinals were present by agreement at 
Saint Cloud, at the reception on 31st March. When Consalvi 
arrived, the Commissioner of Police, FoucW, went to him to 
question him about the intentions of the thirteen. Consalvi 
thought it best to answer the enquiry honestly, and he 
gave a detailed explanation of the reasons that compelled the 
1 A. Vandal II, 314*- Welschinger, 158!. 


cardinals to stay away. The conversation was interrupted by 
the entrance of their Majesties. When the Emperor, who intro- 
duced those present to Marie Louise, came to the circle of 
cardinals, he exclaimed, " Oh ! the cardinals ! " and thereupon 
he mentioned the name of every one of them. When he 
came to Consalvi, he said : " This is the man who concluded 
the Concordat ! " By this and by similar kind words he wished 
to entice the cardinals to abandon their defiant attitude ; but 
he was not successful. The thirteen stayed away from the 
signing of the civil contract the next day ; and even two 
of the fourteen felt scruples about taking part in a ceremony 
which the Church of Rome condemned, and were attacked by 

On Monday, 2nd April, the entry into Paris was to take 
place, and the ecclesiastical marriage was to be performed in 
the Tuileries. 1 As the thirteen cardinals absented themselves 
also on that day, the chairs which were placed for them were 
removed in order to conceal their absence. Some of the fourteen 
were again in default, but as they pleaded sickness as their 
excuse, they were considered as having been present. Napoleon 
entered the chapel with a pleased look, but when he saw only 
eleven cardinals sitting there, he became very angry. Consalvi 
relates that the Emperor's glance "presaged the ruin of all the 
princes of the Church who were not present at the wedding 
ceremony." And his revenge was not long delayed. The 
day after, all the cardinals appeared at Court in full costume. 
First of all, the senators were admitted to offer their congratula- 
tions, and with them went Fesch, who on that day preferred 
being a senator to being a cardinal. After the Senate came 
the Conseil d'Etat and the Legislative Assembly, to the great 
annoyance of the cardinals, who were not accustomed to be 
placed so low on the ladder of precedence. But a still greater 
humiliation was in store for them. An officer was ordered 
by the Emperor to send the thirteen refractory cardinals home. 
" The eyes of everyone," says Consalvi, " were turned towards 
the cardinals as they were shown to the door. They had to go 
through rooms which were full of people." To the fourteen 
who were at length admitted, Napoleon gave vent to his wrath ; 
he was especially angry with Opizzoni and Consalvi, most of all 
1 Lyonnet II, 250. Welschinger, 205f. 


with the latter. " He was most culpable. He had not acted 
upon theological prejudices, for he had none, but out of hatred, 
enmity, and revenge, because he had been expelled from the 
ministry at Napoleon's bidding. He was a crafty diplomatist, 
who had wished to set a most carefully devised political trap, for 
he had endeavoured to raise the most dangerous opposition to 
the Emperor's successors, by making them illegitimate." The 
Emperor even threatened to have Consalvi and two other 
cardinals shot. 

The next day, at eight o'clock in the evening, the thirteen 
cardinals received a written summons to meet at nine o'clock at 
the office of the Minister of Public Worship, to receive the 
Emperor's orders. 1 All of them came, and found Fouche also 
there. As soon as they were seated, the Minister made a long 
speech, which he concluded by announcing to them (1) that 
their property was confiscated, and their emoluments withdrawn ; 

(2) that the Emperor would not have them cardinals any longer, 
and that he forbade them to wear the insignia of that dignity ; 

(3) that the Emperor would later on decide as to their future 
place of abode. Legal proceedings would be instituted against 
some of them. The cardinals defended themselves against the 
accusations of the Minister — not without effect, it would seem, 2 
and both he and Fouche declared that they wished to see a 
happy ending to the affair, both for the cardinals' sakes, and 
for the sake of the empire. 

The cardinals thereupon repaired to Cardinal Mattei's 
lodgings, and there they composed during the night their 
defence, which in the course of the next day was sent to the 
Minister, in order that he might present it to the Emperor. The 
Emperor, however, had left for St Quentin, and, in consequence, 
his former orders held good ; the thirteen were " decardinalised," 
and, as " black " cardinals, formed a contrast to the " red," who 
were willing to follow the Emperor's bidding. Two months 
passed, in which the black cardinals parted with their carriages, 
and dismissed their servants, and hired poor lodgings, because 
in future they were to depend on charitable gifts. But at the 

1 The Emperor's orders are amongst the documents in D'Haussonville III, 46gf, 
but not in the large collection. A part of the Minister's account of the meeting is to 
be found in the same place, p. 271. 

a Consalvi II, 2i2f. 


beginning of June they were once more summoned to the 
Minister, to receive the announcement that they were to be sent 
to different places of exile about the country. Consalvi and 
Brancodoro were sent to Reims, and it was there that the 
former Papal Secretary wrote his Memoirs. At the same 
time Pacca was imprisoned at Fenestrelle in close confine- 
ment, and furtively wrote down his experiences. He was so 
uncomfortable there that he contests Napoleon's right after- 
wards to complain of Hudson Lowe at St Helena, because 
the Emperor himself had been still more tyrannical towards 
the ecclesiastics. 1 

While all this was going on, Pius VII. remained a prisoner 
at Savona. 2 He arrived there on 16th August 1809; and 
after a few days' stay with the Prefect of the town, he received 
rooms in the bishop's palace, which was very poorly furnished. 
Napoleon had ordered that he was to receive 50,000 francs 
a month, and that horses and carriages were to be placed 
at his disposal. Livery was made for his servants, and they 
also were to be paid a monthly wage from the Treasury. But 
Pius refused to receive anything personally, and asked his 
servants to receive as little as possible. He lived as a com- 
plete ascetic ; a few vegetables and a little fish were his only 
diet. He took his walks in the neglected little garden of 
the episcopal palace, and said his Mass daily in the plain and 
badly-kept chapel of the palace, 3 where his attendants often 
saw him praying for the sovereign who formerly was the 
Church's guardian, but now was its oppressor. Sometimes 
he blessed the people from a tumbledown balcony, which he 
reached by a perilous staircase. He took care, as far as cir- 
cumstances permitted, to fulfil his duties as Pope. His secretary 
was denied him, but he was allowed to make use of one of 
his attendants, who wrote a fairly legible hand, as a clerk. 

1 Pacca II, 69. 

s H. Chotard : Le Pape Pie VII. h Savone (Paris 1877), a work which in the 
main is founded upon the daily reports of General Count Berthier at Savona to. 
Prince Camillo Borghese, the Governor of Piedmont, and upon the unpublished 
Mtmoires of Ritter von Lebzeltern. 

3 Count Berthier complains of the niggardliness which was always displayed with 
regard to the fitting up of the Pope's lodging, Chotard 15, 24. On the other hand, 
Napoleon declares that the Pope's lodging at Savona "est montee sur un plus haut 
pied que celle qu'il avait a Rome" (Metternich : Nachgelassene Papiere I, 2, 347). 


But besides a clerk he wanted also a counsellor, and it was at 
one time his especial wish to have by him the octogenarian 
Antonelli, who, by reason of his great age, had remained in 
Italy. He was allowed to receive letters, but they were first 
sent to the Bishop of Savona, in whose apartments they were 
opened and read by General Berthier or the Prefect, in order 
that Napoleon might keep his eye on the correspondence. 
But the Emperor wished to know more of the Pope's thoughts, 
and particularly whether the moment had arrived for making 
peace. A very difficult controversial question had arisen in 
France ; Napoleon had nominated some new bishops. These, 
according to the Concordat, ought to have canonical institution 
from the Pope, but on 26th August Pius VII., in a letter to 
Caprara, who was then Archbishop of Milan, refused to give 
it. 1 The Minister of Public Worship advised Napoleon to send 
the newly- chosen bishops to their dioceses without it, 2 but 
this would have been a plain violation of the Concordat. Yet 
as soon as the marriage with Marie Louise was arranged, 
Napoleon no longer shrank from that expedient. As he had 
the former Roman Emperor on his side he thought that he 
might do anything ; an alliance between France and Austria 
had from time immemorial been fateful for the chair of St 
Peter. But as Austria at this juncture offered to mediate 
between the parties, he accepted the offer. 

At the same time that Marie Louise was travelling to 
France, Metternich also went there, to find out, as he says, whether 
the son-in-law of his imperial master would sheathe his sword 
or continue his system of conquests. 3 The negotiations con- 
cerning the divorce of Josephine which preceded the marriage 
with Marie Louise had, of course, opened the question of the 
relations of Napoleon to the Pope ; and after the wedding 
Metternich suggested to Napoleon that Ritter von Lebzeltern, 
who was on the way to Savona to treat with Pius VII. about 
certain Austrian affairs, might also make an attempt to mediate 
between the Emperor of the French and the Pope. 4 Metternich 

1 Ricard : Le concile national de 1811 (Paris 1894), iof. 

2 See his letter in D'Haussonville III, 378. 

3 Nachgclassene Papiere I, 1, I02f. 

* Cp. the despatches in Metternich's Nachgelassene Papiere I, 2, 339f., and 
Lebzeltern's Mimoires in Chotard, £>$. 


considered the r61e of mediator especially suited to the Emperor 
of Austria as the chief sovereign of Christendom ; but in order 
to have something definite to go upon with the Pope, he asked 
Napoleon to write down some indications of his views, whilst 
at the same time he emphasised that these indications must 
be framed in a merely preliminary form, lest it should seem 
as if Austria wished to force the will of France upon the 
Pope. He had had a good opportunity of noticing how pain- 
ful the controversy with Pius VII. and the Church was to 
Napoleon, and he hoped that an understanding between the 
conflicting parties would result, if the Pope would give in 
with regard to the purely secular power. The knowledge of 
the cardinals which he had gained in Paris did not make 
him very hopeful. But even if the negotiations should fail to 
lead to any result, the Austrian Emperor would not suffer by 
them, and might rejoice at having attempted to help forward 
the victory of religion. 1 

In the remarks which Napoleon wrote down for the use 
of Lebzeltern, he declared that he would not be the cause of 
any schism in matters spiritual ; it was his firm resolve to 
continue to "be attached to the religion of Saint Louis, and 
to the religion which French theology had professed from his 
time until that of Louis XV." 2 He would give up the idea 
that the Pope should live in Paris, although by collecting the 
cardinals and the Roman archives there, and by spending 
several millions on the extension and embellishment of the 
archiepiscopal palace in Paris, he had undoubtedly worked for 
the realisation of this idea. If the Pope would take up his 
abode at Avignon, he would not be required to renounce his 
former sovereignty ; it would be sufficient if he promised to 
abstain from taking measures against France. In this case he 
might also be spared the oath not to violate the Gallican 
rights. On the other hand, if he wished to go to Rome, he 
must resign his temporal sovereignty ; but Napoleon would 
not oppose the outward forms of the Pope's independence 
such as the receiving and sending of ambassadors and couriers. 
He gave Lebzeltern clearly to understand, however, that, per- 
sonally, he had no need of a reconciliation ; his bishops would 

1 Nar.hgelassene Papiere I, 2, 345f. 

2 Metternich's Nachgelassene Papiere I, 2, 346f. 


grant him the requisite dispensations in matrimonial matters. 
The Code Napoldon authorised civil marriage, and the difficulty 
as to the canonical institution refused to the bishops would 
be surmounted by means of a Council. It was therefore the 
Pope who ought to take the first step. Metternich also 
asked Lebzeltern to remind the Pope that he did not live in 
the Middle Ages. The evangelical spirit was weakened in 
dioceses which had no bishops ; and canonical ideas dis- 
appeared altogether, because the Church had no head in a 
position to act freely. 

On 27th April Lebzeltern left for Savona with these 
instructions. Although he represented France just as much 
as Austria, it was extremely difficult for him to obtain 
admission to the imprisoned Pope ; but at length he succeeded. 
He found Pius VII. somewhat aged, but gentle and tranquil. 
The Pope entertained only one wish : to obtain free communi- 
cation with the bishops and the faithful, and to be allowed 
some of his counsellors at Savona. But he would not hear 
one word about the resignation of his temporal power, which 
Napoleon desired. He committed his cause to God, and would 
calmly await the end of the persecution. He was not at all 
unwilling to annul Napoleon's excommunication, "but in order 
to obtain absolution, a man must do penance," he said. His 
former experiences had made him very suspicious of the 
high-handed French Emperor. What was the use of a compact, 
if, perchance, "articles" were added to it which violated the 
agreement ? 

After Lebzeltern's departure, Pius VII. sent a despatch to 
Metternich, in which he declared that, however desirous he 
might be of peace with Napoleon, it was quite impossible to 
fulfil the Emperor's demands, because he would thereby injure 
the dignity of the Church and of the vicar of Christ, and surrender 
the most sacred prerogatives, both spiritual and temporal, of 
the Apostolic See. 

Lebzeltern's account of his conversations with Pius VII. did 
not, of course, serve to make Napoleon more friendly disposed ; 
they only showed him, as he said to Metternich, that the Pope 
was "not yet ripe." 1 The Austrian ambassador endeavoured 
in vain to convince Napoleon that it was a reasonable desire 

1 Metternich : Nachgelassene Papiere I, 2, 358. 


on the part of the imprisoned Pope to have counsellors with 
him. Such an entourage, in the Emperor's opinion, would only 
strengthen Pius VII. in his ill-will towards France; and even 
if these counsellors were taken from amongst both the red 
and the black cardinals, he did not expect any good results 
from their consultations. The mediation of Austria, therefore, 
led to nothing. But one thing Lebzeltern had learnt on his 
journey, and Metternich did not conceal it from his Emperor. 
The Austrian diplomatist had not only observed that Napoleon's 
treatment of the Pope had made a great impression on the 
Italians, but also that all eyes were turned towards Austria. 
The visit of the Austrian agent to Savona had awakened 
general hopefulness, and there was a prospect that many 
minds would revolt against the oppression that rested upon 
that unhappy country. 

When as little success attended a later attempt of Napoleon 
to break down the firmness of the Pope by sending to Savona 
the two red cardinals, Spina and Caselli, well known from the 
history of the Concordat, he determined to act without any 
regard to Pius VII. Some of the new bishops were ordered 
to repair immediately to their dioceses, and in all that they 
wrote, to use their episcopal titles, " without waiting any longer 
for canonical institution." He intended to follow the same 
course towards the premier bishop of France. Cardinal Fesch, 
Archbishop of Lyons, who styled himself " the primate of Gaul," 
since the end of 1808 had also administered the archbishopric 
of Paris. The Abbe Emery, one of the few ecclesiastics who 
commanded Napoleon's respect and admiration, endeavoured to 
convince the cardinal that he could not thus multiply offices, 
but it was of no avail. If the nephew could be both emperor and 
king at the same time, why should not the uncle be at the same 
time archbishop of. two places ? Napoleon, however, demanded 
that Fesch should accept the archbishopric of Paris in reality, 
should bear the title of it, and not merely administer it from a 
distance. " Sire," answered the Cardinal, " I will wait for the 
Holy Father's canonical institution." "Then," said Napoleon, 
"you condemn the bishops who have gone to their dioceses 
without it. I will, however, soon compel you to do my will." 
" Sire, potius mori," exclaimed the Cardinal. 

Napoleon was angry ; but suddenly he conceived the idea of 


avoiding a family quarrel by a pun. " Aha ! potius mori, rather 
Maury — well, well! Maury shall be Archbishop of Paris." 1 
Cardinal Maury was not a man of scruples, when his own 
worldly advancement was concerned. The times had taught 
him that to follow the dictates of conscience might be attended 
by unpleasantness, and he never forgot that lesson. Already, 
on 1st December 1803, he, the friend of Louis XVIII. and the 
consolation of the Bourbons, had approached the victorious 
First Consul, 2 and on 1st August 1804 he had burned his 
boats and offered his services to the Emperor. 3 Napoleon, not 
without mistrust, had received the renegade. In 1805 the 
Emperor saw Maury for the first time, in Genoa, after the 
coronation at Milan. Five minutes' conversation sufficed to 
dazzle the ambitious Cardinal, and to win him entirely over 
to the Emperor's side. And Talleyrand was ordered to let 
Consalvi know that Maury had been taken into the Emperor's 
favour, "who receives all Frenchmen with goodwill," After- 
wards Maury came to Paris. He played some part there in 
the divorce, and his elastic conscience permitted him — as well 
as his old friend in the Conclave, Ruffo — to assist both at the 
civil contract and at the ecclesiastical wedding. As soon as he 
received the tempting offer of the Archbishopric of Paris he 
immediately left Montefiascone, and the want of canonical 
institution did not trouble him. As he left the Emperor's 
audience chamber he met Pasquier, the newly-appointed Com- 
missioner of Police, in the corridor of the palace. With his 
rough humour Maury said to him : " Well, the Emperor has 
now supplied two of the greatest wants of the capital ! With 
good police and good clergy, he can always be sure of public 
tranquillity, for, after all, an archbishop is also a sort of 
Prefect of Police." This humour greatly displeased Pasquier, 
and in his Mimoires he expresses his contempt for this clumsy 
plebeian, who had become the head of the French clergy 
although he was a person strangely without tact and 
avaricious to a ridiculous degree. 4 

1 I/yonnet: Vie du Cardinal Fesch II, 174; Ricard : Le Cardinal Fesch, 22jf. 
The truth of this anecdote is disputed by the Abbi Cattet. Maury : Mimoires II, 


2 Maury II, 306. 

a Ibid., 3l6f. ; Mme. de Remusat: Mimoires II, isof. 
4 Mimoires du Chancelier Pasquier (Paris 1893) I, 4151; 


Maury, however, was not to enjoy his exalted position 
quietly. In the Chapter of N6tre Dame there were some 
who would not acquiesce in such a violation of the Church's 
laws ; amongst them the young Capitular-Vicar, the Abbe 
d'Astros. He protested frequently in a manner most dis- 
agreeable to Maury, and in the presence of others, against 
the Cardinal's right to the archbishopric, and protests soon 
came from a greater personage. 

On 16th October Maury announced to Pius VII. that the 
Emperor had offered him the Archbishopric of Paris. 1 The 
answer of the imprisoned Pope was a letter in which he told 
the Cardinal that he had betrayed the Church. "You are 
not ashamed," wrote Pius, "of taking part against us in a 
contest, which we only carry on in order to defend the dignity 
of the Church ! " It was unheard of in the annals of the 
Church that a bishop should assume the government of a 
diocese without the Pope's canonical institution ; and who 
had dissolved the tie that bound Maury to Montefiascone? 
Maury ought therefore to resign at once an office to which 
he had no right. 2 

With regard to this disagreeable letter from the Pope, 
Maury adopted the plan of taking no notice. Some years 
afterwards, when it was printed, he denied in a memorandum, 
which he wrote as his apology, that he had ever received 
Pius VII.'s letter. 3 But on this point he has not been believed. 4 
In another manner he learnt that the Pope disapproved of his 
action. A Society of Catholic Christians had been formed, 
which openly assisted the Pope with alms, but secretly cir- 
culated his letters. By this means D'Astros learned that 
Pius VII. disapproved of the appointment of Maury, and this 
leaked out in Paris. At the end of 1810 the French police 
intercepted a letter from the Pope, addressed to D'Astros, 
which said, that in order to remove any reason for doubt, 
and for the sake of greater precaution, the Pope deprived 
the archbishop, nominated by the Emperor, of all authority 
and all right of jurisdiction, and he " declared null and void 
everything done contrary to his command, whether done 
wittingly or unwittingly." 

1 Maury II, 392f. 2 Ibid., 394f. 8 Ibid., 459. 

4 Cp. Poujoulat, quoted in Maury II, 397. 


This letter made Napoleon furious. When the clergy con- 
gratulated him on New Year's Day, 181 1, he said to Maury, 
" Where are your vicars ? " When D' Astros was presented, 
the Emperor cried to him : " Above everything, Monsieur, a 
man ought to be a Frenchman ; that is the way to be at the 
same time a good Christian. The teaching of Bossuet is the 
only guidance to be followed ; it is a sure preventive of error. 
The religion of Bossuet is as different from that of Gregory VII. 
as heaven is from hell. I know, Monsieur, that you are 
opposed to the regulations which my policy prescribes. You 
are the only suspicious man in my empire. However" (and 
here the Emperor laid his hand upon his sword), " I have 
a sword at my side ; be careful." 1 As soon as the audience 
was over, Maury informed D'Astros that the Prefect of Police 
wished to " ask him some questions," and the Archbishop drove 
to the Prefecture himself with his Capitular - Vicar. After 
examining the memory and the pockets of D'Astros, they 
forced him to confess that he had been in communication with 
the Pope, and he was then allowed to depart. But Napoleon 
was so exasperated when he heard about his confession, that 
at first he wished to have him shot. This sentence, however, 
was altered into imprisonment for life, and the Abb6 had to 
remain in confinement at Vincennes, until the fall of the 
empire. 2 

But this was not enough for the Emperor : Pius VII. also 
must be punished. One night, in the beginning of January, 
the Prefect of Savon a forced himself into the Pope's apartments 
and made a domestic search. All the drawers were opened ; 
even the dresses of the Pope and his servants were ripped 
open in order to make sure that nothing was hidden in them. 
Afterwards they forced the Pope's writing table open, while 
he took his walk in the little garden. They deprived him 
of pen and ink and of all books, even of his breviaries and of 
his Office of Our Lady; and everything was sent to Genoa 
to be examined by French police officers. In future Pius VII. 
was only to be allowed to read the Moniteur, and this became 
less and less pleasant reading for him ; for the time had long 

1 D'Haussonville III, 428, according to the Abbe d'Astros' personal narrative in 
writing. Cp. the Mtmoires de Pasquier I, 441, and Maury II, 4011". 

2 D'Haussonville IV, 7 ; Mimoires de Pasquier I, 442. 


gone by since it reported the Emperor's benevolence towards 
the Church. His most attached servants, amongst them his 
old barber, were sent to Fenestrelle ; and hands were even laid 
upon some gold pieces, which faithful Catholics had given to him. 
His household expenses hereafter were to be cut down, so that 
only five paoli (about two shillings) a head were allowed for all 
necessaries to each person, 1 and the carriages that had been 
at his disposal were sent to Turin. These two regulations were 
quite meaningless, because the Pope required scarcely anything 
for himself, and had never used the carriages. 2 He was not 
allowed to keep even the Fisherman's Ring, in order that he 
might not use it as a signet. The captain of the gendarmes 
demanded the delivery of it, and it was given to him, but 
broken in two. 

At the same time there appeared at the instance of Napoleon 
certain publications intended to defend his action, and the 
imperial librarian, Barbier, had been occupied since January 
1810 in investigating whether there were any precedents of 
popes being suspended or dismissed by emperors. 3 Historical 
science was now to be harnessed to the Emperor's triumphal 
car ; but passion did more. Napoleon now believed firmly 
that the " clerical rabble " had conspired against him, and his 
anger knew no bounds. One after another of the clergy, from 
cardinals to priests, was " removed " ; and even ladies, well known 
for their piety and church sympathies, were thrown into state 
prisons. But all this did not throw the mantle of legality over 
the Emperor's church policy ; this was to be the work of a 
Franco- Italian Council. 

Already, in 1809, Napoleon had instituted an ecclesiastical 
commission, 4 and had laid several questions before it, partly 

1 D'Haussonville IV, 129. 

2 Napoleon's letters on this question were never printed until D'Haussonville 
(III, 437) published them. They are also omitted in the large collection, probably 
because, as the preface to the thirteenth volume says, they do not belong to the 
letters which Napoleon I. would have wished to make public, " si . . . il avait voulu 
montrer a la postirite sa personne et son systeme." But they throw unmistakable 
light both on the person and on the system. 

3 Correspondance de Napoleon I. XXI, 413. 

4 Talleyrand: Mimoires II, 517; Ricard: Le concile national de 181 1 (Paris 
1894), isf. This work is based upon the official documents that have recently been 
discovered among Cardinal Fesch's personal records at Lyons. 


xii.] THE ABBE EMERY 319 

regarding the whole Church, partly the Church of France, 
amongst other things the question of calling together a council. 
The only member of this commission who had any church 
feeling was the Abbe" Emery; it was most painful to him 
to see his colleagues go so far as to count the conferring of 
the legion cThonneur and of titles amongst the good things 
which the Emperor had done for religion. 1 He had even 
stronger reason to be grieved when he saw how far the 
commission could go in lowering itself upon reassembling 
in 181 1. He determined, therefore, to express his own view 
of the circumstances when the commission, after its work was 
ended, had an audience of the Emperor on 1 6th March. 2 

With great boldness he reminded the Emperor that it was 
stated in the Imperial Catechism that " the Pope was the visible 
Head of the Church." In the preface to the Propositions of 
1682, it was also clearly stated that St Peter's primacy is derived 
from Christ Himself, and that Christians owe obedience to the 
Pope. Napoleon was impressed, but not angry with the bold 
priest ; he entered upon a discussion with him, and remarked, 
amongst other things, that he would not deny the spiritual 
authority of the Pope, since he had it from Christ. " But," he 
said, " Christ did not give him the temporal power ; that Charles 
the Great did. I am the successor of Charles the Great, and I 
take it from him again, because he does not know how to use it, 
and because it hinders him in exercising his spiritual functions." 
When the Abbe" argued that Bossuet explicitly maintains 
that the Pope must have perfect liberty in order to be able to 
exercise his spiritual power, Napoleon pointed out to him 
that the times were now quite changed. In Bossuet's time 
Europe had several rulers, now it had only one; and as all 
other sovereigns bowed to this one, why should not the Pope 
also do the same ? The Abbe" Emery did not give in ; he 
answered in such a way that the Emperor was silent. All 
the court officials wondered at his courage, and some of the 
bishops were weak enough to apologise to Napoleon for his 
boldness ; but the Emperor declared that Emery had spoken 
like a man of sense ; he wished that everybody would speak 

1 £.. Meiic : Histoire de M. £mery II, 326, and Revue des questions historiques 
I, 2, 5641". 

1 D'Haussonville IV, 8of. ; Talleyrand II, 78f. 


in like manner. 1 A few days later Fesch received the 
following answer, when he wished to make some remarks : 
" You had better keep quiet ! You are an ignorant person. 
Where did you learn theology? I must have a talk with 
Emery about the matter; he understands it." Unfortunately 
for the Church of France, Emery's days were soon numbered. 
The Church's misfortunes preyed upon him, and when he heard 
that the Emperor intended to carry into effect the scheme of a 
church Council, he died, on 28th April 181 1. " In order to guard 
against a condition of things which is as much opposed to 
religion as to the principles of the Gallican Church and the 
interests of the State," so ran the phrase in the invitation to 
the Council 2 — the Emperor had decided to gather together all 
the bishops of France and Italy to a meeting in the church 
of N6tre Dame on 9th June. After the invitations had been 
sent out, Napoleon despatched three of his faithful bishops 
to Savona to reopen negotiations with the Pope, hoping that 
the prospect of a church Council would frighten him. He 
gave Pius VII. the choice between two things : a residence 
in Rome, if he would take the same oath as the French 
bishops did according to the Concordat — or at Avignon, if he 
would acknowledge the four Gallican Propositions. 3 On 9th 
May 181 1 the bishops arrived at Savona, and on the following 
day they were received in audience by Pius VII. 

During the discussions which followed, Pius VII. showed 
great firmness, though with courtesy. He did not wish to do 
anything contrary to the declaration of 1682 ; but he could not 
recall the Bull of condemnation of it, which Alexander VIII. 
had published on the day before he died. With regard to the 
canonical institution of the French bishops he would perhaps 
have been willing to give way, if such cruel treatment had not 
been meted out to the Church. As the bishops could make no 
impression, the Prefect made an attempt. He employed both 
threats and persuasion, and tried all manner of means. The 
incessant pressure upon Pius VII. put him into a restless state 
of fever; he could not sleep at nights, and in the daytime 
he was languid. Wearied out by the pressure put upon him, 

1 Meric II, 409. 

2 Ricard : Le concile national de 181 1, 95f. 

3 Correspondanct de NapoUon 1. XXII, 17,656. 

xii.] PIUS VII. GIVES IN 321 

he gave in and agreed to the addition of an appendix to the 
Concordat, by which he promised to give the bishops, whom the 
Emperor appointed, canonical institution within six months ; 
if a longer period elapsed, for other reasons than regard to the 
unworthiness of the persons, the metropolitan or the senior 
bishop of the province should be allowed to consecrate them. 
In the document which contains this agreement it is added 
that the concessions have been made in the hope that the 
Papal See may soon regain its liberty and independence. 1 The 
document was not signed, however, in order that it might not 
appear to be a treaty, but only an expression of the Pope's will. 2 
As soon as the bishops, with the help of the Prefect and the 
Pope's doctor, had induced Pius to grant these concessions, they 
departed; but they had scarcely left Savona before Pius VII. 
regretted his compliance. He wished to recall the bishops, 
and he set about correcting the articles that had been drawn 
up ; but it was too late. When he realised it, he sank into a 
state that bordered upon mental derangement. 

While the unhappy Pope was thus suffering both bodily 
and spiritual torments, the church Council was opened at Paris 
on 17th June 181 1. 3 Altogether ninety-five French and Italian 
bishops were summoned to the capital, and these were joined by 
nine bishops-elect, who had not yet received their consecration. 
The meetings were held in the roomy choir of N6tre Dame. 
The Bishop of Troyes opened the meeting with a speech in 
which he endeavoured to give both the Emperor and the Pope 
their due. 4 But people were so tired of hearing the Emperor 
praised, that no attention was paid to the speaker's homage to 
him ; on the other hand, they listened with astonishment to the 
Bishop's expression of great attachment to the Pope. Fesch had 
read through the speech before it was delivered, and cancelled 
several passages of it, but the Bishop of Troyes took no notice of 
his censorship. Afterwards, Fesch himself advanced, and caused 
the Council, after the manner of older councils, to swear allegi- 
ance to the Pope. The Emperor was furious, both with the 

1 Cp. the account given by the Archbishop of Tours, among the documents in 
D'Haussonville IV, 422f. ; especially 430. 

2 Thiers XIII, 136. 

3 Talleyrand : Mimoims II, 98f. ; D'Haussonville IV, l66f., 371 ; De Pr'adt 
II, 473f. ; and Ricard, iioi., I36f. 

i Ricard, I42f. 

VOL. I. X 


contents of the opening speech and with the taking of the oath, 
although this last was indisputably necessary unless a tinge of 
heresy was to be thrown over the Council from the very beginning. 

On the evening of 18th June a number of the Council 
were invited to Saint Cloud. As soon as they entered the 
room where Napoleon was, he seized the number of the 
Moniteur which reported the first meeting of the Council, and 
turned upon the bishops with the strongest invectives. The 
unfortunate Fesch had to bear the brunt of it. Napoleon 
scoffed at him, because he had called himself the Primate of 
Gaul without imperial permission. He considered it a sign that 
Fesch wished to advance himself, and that on account of his 
relation to the Emperor he hoped perhaps to be made Pope. 
"A nice Pope, to be sure!" he exclaimed. When Fesch 
answered, and some of the bishops came to his succour, 
Napoleon became still more exasperated. He cried : " These 
gentlemen treat me as if I were Saint Louis, but I am 
Charles the Great ! Yes, I am Charles the Great ! " This 
disagreeable collision only came to an end after Napoleon 
had talked till he was tired ; and to prevent a fresh outbreak 
of the Emperor's anger, the Bishop of Nantes begged to have 
a private conversation with him. At midnight the bishops 
went home anything but edified by their visit to Saint Cloud. 1 

At the session of 20th June the French and Italian Ministers 
of Public Worship entered in their official costume, and the 
former read out an imperial decree, whereby Napoleon chose 
Fesch as president, and demanded the institution of a com- 
mittee of police {tin bureau charge 1 de la police de Fassemblee), 
which, as in some of the former councils, was to keep order ; 
both the imperial Ministers of Public Worship were to be 
members of it. The assembly was dismayed at the Emperor's 
demand and at the hateful name of a bureau of police ; but 
it bowed to his will after altering the name to that of " interior 
administration." 1 Napoleon, however, always employed in the 
official language the word which he had chosen himself. The 
French Minister then read the imperial message to the Council. 
It was full of the most violent attacks upon the Pope and his 
Bulls ; "which were drawn up in the language of Gregory VII., 
and displeased everyone." Mention was made of Pius VII.'s 
1 Talleyrand II, 9gf. 


"unhappy projects," which never came to anything, and the 
message ended with threats. His Majesty gave the assembled 
bishops to understand that he would never allow the Pope to 
exercise the same influence in France in the appointments to 
vacant dioceses as he exercised in Germany in the appoint- 
ment of vicars apostolic. He had become fully convinced 
that the English and other nations were right when they 
asserted that the Catholic religion was a hindrance to the 
independence of the government. The Emperor wished, 
therefore, "as Emperor and King, as the defender of the 
Church, and father of his people," that the bishops should 
be instituted as they were before the Concordat, and that 
a see should not be left vacant for more than three months. 1 
This was reckless language to use to an assembly of servants 
of the Roman Church, and the Minister's speech involved a 
breach of the Concordat and of the latest arrangements with 
the Pope ; but the Synod was quite helpless. Napoleon wished 
to influence the election of the committees ; the meetings were 
to be secret, and no account of them was to be printed 
without being previously read by the Emperor. Most of the 
prelates present were filled with admiration of the Emperor's 
mighty genius ; but only a small group, like Maury, De 
Pradt, the confessor of Marie Louise, Duvoisin of Nantes, 2 
and those prelates who had recently pleaded Napoleon's 
cause with the Pope, were quite won over to the Emperor's 
plans. The message which the Minister had to deliver nearly 
frightened the majority of the assembly away from Napoleon ; 
the wondering bishops felt "like a body of pilgrims in the 
desert, who suddenly hear the roar of a lion." The vacillating 
attitude of the assembly found its expression in the President's 
behaviour : Cardinal Fesch was by turns the uncle of the 
Emperor and a bishop of the Roman Church. 

The first duty of the assembly was an answer to the 
Emperor's message, and a committee was chosen to draw 
it up. When they met, Duvoisin produced an answer, which 
was, he said, " approved by Napoleon " ; he might have said, 

1 Ricard, iSSf. 

2 About his work in the confessional, see Memorial V, 3281". Napoleon calls him 
there, " Mon oracle, mon flambeau." Cp. Pacca III, 64, and Chaptal : Met souvenirs 
sur Napokon, 24 if. 


" written by Napoleon." He acted somewhat rudely, and 
the committee considered his behaviour so offensive that 
the draft of the answer was very much altered before it 
was presented to the whole assembly. But it received no 
friendly treatment there. The Bishop-Coadjutor of Miinster, 
Kaspar Maximilian Droste zu Vischering, rose and said that 
he did not see in the draft the most important thing of all — 
namely, a petition to have the Pope restored to perfect liberty. 
When some objected that this was not the moment to express 
such a wish, another bishop said : " Now is the very time to 
follow the Apostle's exhortation : Be instant in season and out 
of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort ! " Fesch then spoke, and 
said that an address on behalf of the Pope would find a more 
suitable place in the decisions with regard to the canonical 
institution of bishops ; but this view did not obtain support. At 
a later meeting no greater inclination was shown to comply 
with the Emperor's wishes, although Duvoisin again declared 
that Napoleon insisted upon the draft which he had laid before 
them. They gave in so far as to cut down their alterations 
to some extent ; but it was also decided that only the President 
and the Secretaries should sign the address. This conclusion 
of the debate on the address stirred Napoleon's anger afresh. 
He wished to know what the alterations consisted of, and 
declared that he would hear no more of the address, still less 
receive it ; he even withdrew an invitation to the bishops, who 
had been invited to an audience. On the other hand, he 
demanded that the assembly should in the course of a week 
give a declaration of its view as to the canonical institution. 
Two of the bishops had cause to feel how angry he was, 
when he said to them : " I wished to make you cardinals ; 
it will be your own fault if you sink down to be beadles. 
The Pope refuses to carry out the regulations of the Concordat ; 
very well ! then we will no longer have a Concordat." 

The question of canonical institution was in reality the 
main question. 1 An early settlement of this question seemed 
to De Pradt and others to be a necessary measure of self- 
defence ; it would in their opinion be spiritual suicide if the 
clergy did not get this matter arranged as soon as possible. 
But it was very difficult to do. An easy solution would be 
1 De Pradt II, 479. Ricard, I98f. 


to ask permission to send a message to the Pope ; but Napoleon 
would not allow of that. The members of the assembly were 
ignorant of the last agreement with Pius VII., and they had 
no idea, as Napoleon had, that the Pope was then nearly mad 
with grief because of the concessions which had been wrung 
from him. The Emperor demanded that the Council should 
first pass a decree and then send a message to the Pope. A 
committee was therefore appointed to consider the question 
of canonical institution, and Fesch laid before the committee 
a letter from the Minister of Public Worship on behalf of 
Napoleon, in which he asked for a clear answer to the question 
whether the Council considered itself competent to come to a 
decision on the subject of canonical consecration. 1 He received 
the answer : " The committee begs permission to consult with 
the Pope." Fesch, who carried this message to the Emperor, 
met with the usual reception. When he wished to say a few 
words in defence, Napoleon said : " Hold your tongue about 
theology ! If I had but studied for six months, I should know 
more about it than you do." He threatened also to "cashier 
the Council " ; the prefects could then appoint the priests, the 
chapters, and the bishops. In case the metropolitan would 
not give them canonical institution, he would close the 
seminaries, so that religion should have no more ministers. 
Upon this the bishop gained the victory over the uncle in 
Cardinal Fesch's breast : " If you want to have martyrs," he 
said boldly to the Emperor, " then begin with your own family ! 
I am ready to seal my faith with my life. So long as the Pope 
does not give his sanction, I, as Archbishop, will not institute 
any of my suffragans. Yes, I will even go further : if any one 
of my suffragans dares to consecrate a bishop in my province, 
I will immediately excommunicate him." 

The former storekeeper did not usually speak in this 
manner, and his words seem to have made Napoleon hesitate. 
At the same time news arrived from Savona that the Pope's 
excitement had given way to a quiet melancholy, which did 
not shut out the hope of a peaceful understanding. Under these 
circumstances Napoleon changed his tactics. The deputation 
to Savona were ordered to relate what they had hitherto kept 
secret about their journey. Napoleon then called his secretary, 
1 Documents in D'Haussonville IV, 418. 


and dictated to him a document, which was hereafter to form 
the basis for the discussions of the Council. 1 In this document 
it is stated that a deputation had visited the Pope in order 
to make arrangements about the matter under discussion ; and 
it is proposed that the Council should pass a decree, requesting 
the Emperor to adopt the latest agreement with the Pope as 
the law of the State, and to send new envoys to the Pope " to 
thank him for having by this concession put an end to the 
misfortunes of the Church." 

This was a turn worthy of a great general. Fesch and 
Duvoisin, who knew nothing of the Pope's remorse over the 
concessions — for that was still concealed — called the Emperor's 
production "an inspiration," and their enthusiasm infected 
the other members of the committee. With few exceptions, 
they agreed almost with joy to the imperial decree ; all were 
deceived by seeing the Pope mentioned. But when the 
first enthusiasm had given place to calmer consideration they 
took another view of the matter, and Fesch was honest enough 
not to cheat them. As soon as he perceived the change of 
feeling, he laid the imperial decree before them next day for 
fresh discussion, and it was then rejected. This was a sign 
that the majority of the committee suspected the Emperor's 
truthfulness and honesty. Fesch had once more the dis- 
agreeable task of reporting to the Emperor that his latest 
proposal had no chance of being adopted. Napoleon's patience 
then gave way. On ioth July a general session of no 
importance was held, but on the following day it was 
announced that the Council was closed. Then came the 
usual sequel : the Bishop of Troyes and two more bishops 
of the opposition were dragged out of their beds by the police 
and taken to Vincennes, where they were thrown into close 
confinement. 2 

Fresh reports now arrived from the Prefect at Savona ; 
Pius VII., it was said, was recovering, and there was a better 
prospect of reconciliation. Napoleon at once resolved to make 
use of the chance of an agreement thus opened ; and the 
Council was ordered to reassemble. Some of the bishops, 
who had most strongly opposed the Emperor's design, had left 

i D'Haussonville IV, 328f. 

2 Talleyrand II, 105. Ricard, 245k 


Paris ; but that would only assist the negotiations ; the others 
were ordered to remain. 1 Before the Council reassembled, 
Napoleon attempted to influence the prelates by promises 
and threats, and on the whole he succeeded, but not in every 
case. One day he was employing his usual tactics with 
Bishop Miollis, a brother of the Governor of Rome, with the 
object of inducing him to support his part. " Sire," answered 
the pious Bishop, " I never make any important decision with- 
out taking counsel of the Holy Spirit ; I ask, therefore, for 
time for consideration." Four days after Napoleon met Miollis 
again, and asked him : " Well, Monsieur 1'Eveque, what has 
the Holy Spirit said to you ? " " Sire," answered the Bishop, 
" the very opposite of what Your Majesty has said." 2 

On 5th August the Council held its last general session. 
The Archbishop of Tours read a complete account of the 
interview with the Pope, and a verbatim report of the points 
he had conceded. There was no opportunity for debate ; the 
meeting had only to bow to the will of the Emperor, and 
say Amen to what he had dictated. Maury hastened to say 
that all discussion was " useless," because they were agreed. 
And about what ? " The National Council," they decreed, 
" has in an emergency the right to decide with regard to 
the consecration of bishops." And what is an emergency ? 
" In case the Pope," they further decreed, " refuses to sanction 
the decree which the Council adopts regarding the consecration 
of bishops, then there is an emergency." A resolution was then 
passed s that the Emperor should in future appoint the bishops, 
and that the Pope should give them canonical institution. If 
the Pope did not give it within six months, the archbishop or 
the senior bishop of the province might do so. The assembly 
asked the Emperor to confirm the decree, and to permit a 
deputation of six bishops to request the Pope to sanction 
this decision, which alone could put an end to the misfortunes 
of the Church in France and Italy. More than five-sixths of 
the prelates who were present agreed, having been persuaded 
one by one, either by threats or by promises, and the decree 

1 Talleyrand II, lo6f. ; Ricard 254f. 

3 Bishop Miollis is reported to have furnished Victor Hugo with several traits for 
his description of the Bishop in Les Mis&ables. 
3 Printed in Ricard 26of., 


was passed. "Our wine did not taste well in the cask," said 
Cardinal Maury ; " it is better in bottles." 

Pius VII. knew next to nothing of the Council at Paris ; 
the Prefect of Savona himself had very little acquaintance 
with what was happening, and the little he knew he con- 
cealed from the Pope. He must, therefore, have been highly 
astonished when in the beginning of September he received a 
deputation from the Council. 1 It was a matter of course 
that Napoleon had appointed the members of it, and that he 
had chosen only friends of the empire. They had been 
ordered to ask for a full recognition of the decree. In order 
to induce the Pope to comply, the Imperial government sent 
some cardinals also to Savona, amongst others Ruffo ; they 
were to endeavour to remove all the Pope's scruples. The 
unhappy Pius VII., thus betrayed and tormented on all 
sides, gave in and signed a brief on 20th September 1871, 
approving the contents of the decree. 2 He resigned thereby 
the sole right of the Pope to grant canonical institution ; 
and that was a very serious step. It is true that the arch- 
bishops of the period before the Concordat of Francis I. had 
instituted the bishops, but at that time the election was in 
the hands of the Church and not of the State, as was the 
case after the Concordat of Napoleon. As soon as the brief 
was ready, it was sent, together with a very benevolent letter, 
to the Emperor, who was then at Flushing, much occupied 
with the impending war with Russia. Although the Pope had 
conceded everything, Napoleon was not satisfied. He would 
not answer the letter, but made as though he had not received 
it, and sought a fresh reason for disagreement with his prisoner. 
Perhaps the Emperor was dissatisfied because the Pope would 
not completely and for all time resign his sovereignty over 
the Eternal City ; he would no longer put up with the least 
resistance. When he returned from Moscow a conqueror, the 
Pope should sink down to be a court bishop, and the Emperor 
would be the Caliph of the West. At a later time he him- 
self betrayed to us his own ideas. 

On 1 6th August 1816 he was reading Zaire and some 
scenes of Oedipe after dinner with his fellow-sufferers at St 

1 Talleyrand II, no. 

2 Pociunenls in P'Haussonvjlle V, 3995, 


Helena, and the conversation turned upon Christianity and 
the Church. "What would have happened," he said, "if I 
had returned from Moscow victorious and triumphant? I 
should then finally have accomplished the separation of the 
spiritual from the temporal, which is so hurtful to His Holiness, 
while the mixing up of the two brings confusion into the 
community by the hand of the very person who ought to be 
the harmonious centre. I would then have exalted the Pope 
beyond all measure; I would have surrounded him with 
splendour and homage ; I would have made him forget the 
loss of his temporal power ; I would have made an idol of 
him (une idole). He should have taken up his residence near 
me ; Paris would have been the capital of the Christian world, 
and I would have governed the world both of politics and of 
religion. It would have been a further means of uniting all 
the federal States of the empire and of maintaining peace. 
I would have held my religious assemblies side by side with 
the legislative ones. My councils would have been repre- 
sentative of Christendom, and the popes should only have 
been presidents of them. / would have opened and closed 
these assemblies, sanctioned and published their canons as 
did Constantine and Charles the Great. This supremacy has 
slipped out of the hands of the emperors because they made 
the mistake of letting the popes live at too great a distance 
from themselves." He said, moreover, that he had always 
thought it desirable that the religious leadership should be in 
the hands of the sovereign. " Without it one cannot rule ; 
without it a nation will every moment be disturbed in its 
repose, its dignity, and its independence." 1 

But it was not these ecclesiastical plans that most occupied 
his thoughts at the moment. The invasion of Russia concerned 
him more. Yet on the way to Moscow, the thought of being 
able one day to wield "the two swords" kept floating before 
him like a beautiful mirage. While he was receiving homage 
in the palace of Dresden from his imperial father-in-law, from 
kings and princes, his thoughts reverted to the prisoner at 
Savona. " I hear that English ships are in the neighbourhood 
of Savona," he wrote to Prince Borghese ; " I think it will be 
necessary to convey the Pope into safety. You must therefore 
1 flftmorial de Sainte-Hittne V, 339f. 


instruct the Prefect and the Commandant to see to it that 
the Pope is removed, together with his attendants, in two good 
carriages. The Pope must have the doctor in his carriage." 1 
Once more, in the later part of the letter, he reminds Borghese 
that the carriage must be really good, and orders are given 
that the Pope shall travel in the usual black clerical garb, 
and that he must be taken through the towns by night in 
order to avoid a concourse. The destination of the journey 
was to be Fontainebleau, where he would be in the Emperor's 

The idea that the English had a plan for releasing the 
Pope was a creation of Napoleon's imagination. D'Hausson- 
ville in vain sought for traces of it in the Foreign Office, in 
the archives of the English Admiralty, and in the private 
papers of Croker, the Secretary of the Admiralty ; he found 
nothing which could give the least ground for the Emperor's 
anxiety. 2 But Napoleon's orders were, of course, promptly 
obeyed. Pius VII. had to divest himself of his papal dress, and 
even to take off his shoes in order that the attendants might tear 
off the embroidered crosses and blacken them with ink ; even 
the golden cross, which he wore about his neck, was taken 
from him. " It does not matter," he said ; " everybody knows 
my face." On the journey he was taken ill, and a doctor, 
Claraz, had to be summoned. Claraz has left a written descrip- 
tion of his meeting with the Pope, which shows that Claraz 
was threatened with death if he betrayed the name of his 
patient. 3 After suffering great agony the unhappy Pope 
reached Fontainebleau on 16th June 1812, but not the smallest 
preparation had been made for his reception. He was no 
longer even allowed the triumph of being received by a group 
of faithful Catholics. At first he suffered so much that he 
could not bear to talk, and he spent the day in solitude ; but 
afterwards he received numerous visits. The "red" cardinals 
and the bishops who were devoted to Napoleon were ordered 
to visit the Pope in order to induce him to make new and 
great sacrifices when the Emperor should return victorious. 

1 Correspondance de Napoleon I. XXIII, 18,710. Cp. Talleyrand: Mtmoires 
II, 124. 

2 D'Haussonville V, iS3f. 

3 The manuscript is in the British Museum. See D'Haussonville V, i6if. 


Fontainebleau was the last step on the way to Paris, and 
there the archiepiscopal palace, which then was situated near 
Notre Dame, was already being fitted up to receive the Pope. 
In a little guidebook of that time we still read of this palace : 
" Now the Pope's residence, and formerly the Archbishop's 
palace." But there was only small likelihood of inducing the 
Pope to go willingly to Paris ; they could not persuade him 
to live differently at Fontainebleau from what he had done at 
Savona. He said Mass in a little room adjoining his bedroom, 
and he would not go either into the chapel or into the garden. 
He lived as sparingly as possible, and endeavoured to do 
everything for himself. The Duke of Rovigo even records 
that he mended his own clothes, and washed his own bands 
when they got black with snuff. 1 But the Duke is wrong when 
he tells us further that Pius VII. never read, though there was 
a good library in the palace. 2 Fontainebleau, which was filled 
with memories of Henry II. and Diana of Poitiers, Henry IV 
and Gabrielle d'Estrees, perhaps did not contain books 
that were according to the taste of the Pope, but from other 
quarters he borrowed the writings of St Cyprian — and Van 
Espen's Canon Law. 3 

The news of the disastrous end of the Russian expedition 
was received by ecclesiastical circles in France as a judgment 
of God. When Pius VII. excommunicated Napoleon, the 
Emperor wrote to Eugene : " Does not the Pope know that 
the times have changed? Does anyone believe that ex- 
communications will cause the weapons to fall out of my 
soldiers' hands ? " " God," says Cardinal Pacca, " now permitted 
this to happen." 4 It was indeed reported that "the soldiers 
could not keep a firm hold of their weapons ; they slipped 
out of the hands even of the bravest." Pacca and many 
other faithful Catholics saw in the defeats upon the ice-fields 
of Russia a fulfilment of the Psalmist's words : " Fire and 
hail, snow and vapours, wind and storm, fulfilling His word." 
On 1 8th December 1812, Napoleon returned at midnight to 
the Tuileries, and he began immediately to repair his disasters 
by new conscriptions of soldiers. He perceived that a real or 

1 Mdmoires du Due de Rovigo (Paris 1828) VI, 72. 

2 D'Haussonville V, 175. 3 See above, p. IIO. 
4 Pacca II., 118. 


feigned reconciliation with the Pope might be very useful under 
the circumstances, both with the Catholics of France and with 
those of Germany. But it was difficult for him to approach 
Pius VII. again. He had not answered the Pope's autograph 
letter, and he had since used violence against the Head of 
the Church. He seized the opening of the new year as the 
best opportunity for making fresh overtures to the Pope, 
and wrote a letter on 29th December to Pius VII. In this 
he expresses his pleasure at hearing that the Pope's health 
was better, and assures him of his friendship in spite of 
everything that has passed between them. " Perhaps," he 
says, " we may succeed in reaching the object so ardently 
desired, of ending all the differences between State and 
Church. I, for my part, am much inclined to it ; it will 
depend upon Your Holiness." 1 Civility demanded that the 
Pope should acknowledge the letter with thanks. Cardinal 
Doria, the former nuncio in France, who was in the Emperor's 
good graces, was sent to Paris. During the Cardinal's short 
stay there, it was arranged to reopen negotiations, and some 
days later Duvoisin was sent to Fontainebleau with a fresh 
proposal that was to form the basis of a final agreement. 
Doria, Ruffo, and a few other cardinals and archbishops 
formed a sort of church commission to advise the Pope. 

It might have been expected that Napoleon's new proposals 
would be more temperate than the former, but this was not 
the case. The same regard for credit in the world around, 
which makes a business man on the verge of bankruptcy 
display the utmost luxury, caused Napoleon to increase his 
demands at this critical moment. The Pope and his successors 
were to swear before their coronation neither to do nor to 
command anything contrary to the Gallican Propositions, and 
the Pope was only to have the right of appointing one-third 
of the College of Cardinals. With regard to the appointments 
of diocesan bishops, the last agreement was to continue in 
force. The Pope was to disapprove and condemn the conduct 
of those cardinals who would not be present at the Emperor's 
wedding, but the Emperor was to give them an amnesty ; only 
Di Pietro and Pacca were to be exempted from it. The Pope 
1 Corresfondance de NapoUon I. XXIV, 19,402. For what follows, cp. Pacca 

m,6 3 f. 


was to live in Paris for the future, and to have 2,000,000 francs 
a year. This proposal again threw Pius VII. into the greatest 
anxiety. He did not sleep, and he grew so weak that Duvoisin 
was afraid of continuing to treat with him. 

When Napoleon heard this, he determined to act on his 
own behalf. On 18th January he was hunting near Fontaine- 
bleau, and suddenly he betook himself to the palace in a 
post-chaise. In the evening, as the Pope sat in the midst of 
the cardinals and bishops and repeated anecdotes of Tivoli, 
and Imola, and Cesena, which wearied the listeners, but cheered 
the narrator,i Napoleon suddenly entered. All those present 
retired as quickly as possible, but Napoleon walked straight 
up to the Pope, embraced him, and kissed him. On that 
evening they did not discuss business, but Napoleon did all 
he could to show cordiality and friendliness. Pius VII. 
was delighted with this meeting, and told his attendants 
with rapture how the Emperor had embraced and kissed 
him ; Pacca considers this to be evidence of the Pope's mental 

In the following days took place those discussions between 
Emperor and Pope, about which so much has been written 
and so little is known. Chateaubriand, in his book Bonaparte 
and the Bourbons, narrates that Napoleon pulled the Pope by 
the hair and grossly insulted him. The Pope, however, accord- 
ing to Pacca, always denied this. 2 The only thing Pius VII. 
complained of was that Napoleon "had treated him as an 
ignoramus in ecclesiastical affairs." Napoleon, in his notes 
dictated at St Helena, passes over in silence the negotiations at 
Fontainebleau. But although we have no trustworthy account 
of the way in which the agreement was arrived at, we know the 
gist of it well. Bonaparte abated his demands considerably. 
In the Concordat which the Pope signed after many refusals 
and much inward trepidation, there is no mention of the Gallican 
Propositions, nor of the interference of the various States in 
the selection of cardinals. Nor was the Pope to be obliged 
to live in Paris, and important concessions were made as to 
the appointment of particular bishops in the neighbourhood 
of Rome and in France, although the regulations already agreed 

1 Pacca III, 115. 

3 With this also agrees De Pradt III, 5. 


upon were in the main confirmed. 1 But in spite of all this 
complaisance the Pope felt but little inclination to sign. On 
the evening of 25th January, before signing it, he let his eyes 
travel round the circle that surrounded him ; but most of 
them cast their eyes down or shrugged their shoulders, as a 
sign that there was nothing for it but to give way. 2 As soon 
as the Concordat was signed, an order was immediately given 
to recall the exiled cardinals and to release those in prison. 
Only over Pacca, according to the Pope, "a real battle was 
fought," " because," the Emperor said, " Pacca is my enemy." 
At length Napoleon gave way, and sent a courier to Turin to 
release this cardinal like the rest. On the same evening he 
dictated to Duvoisin a letter to Pius VII., in which he says 
that the Emperor has treated with him only in his capacity 
of ecclesiastic, and that the Pope by this Concordat has neither 
directly nor indirectly resigned his sovereignty over the Roman 
States. 3 Was this intended for a kindness, or as a sarcasm ? 

Immediately after the Concordat of Fontainebleau was 
concluded, Te Deum was sung in all churches, and the agreement 
between the Emperor and the Pope was officially notified 
to the authorities in Milan and in Rome. Napoleon remained 
three more days at Fontainebleau, but then returned to Paris 
to arrange a new campaign. After his departure the cardinals 
gathered round their aged sovereign, and both Pacca and Consalvi 
were provided with rooms in the immediate neighbourhood of 
the Pope. They found Pius pale and thin, with sunken eyes ; 
he had no peace of mind, he could eat nothing ; and 
he said : " I am dying mad, like Clement XIV." Pacca, who 
knew how difficult Napoleon's position then was, consoled him 
by saying that everything might still turn out well, but the 
unfortunate Pope, who had not had the opportunity of following 
the course of events in the world, would not be comforted. 

He immediately placed each article of the Concordat before 

1 The Concordat is printed in Correspondance de NapoUon I. XXIV, 4501". Cp. 
Talleyrand II, H7f. 

2 Pacca III, 66. 

3 The letter, which is not printed in the large collection, is found among the 
documents in D'Haussonville V, 530, and Pacca III, 721". D'Haussonville says, 
p. 228 : " II est assez difficile de deviner si elle etait dictee par une intention gracieuse 
ou si elle contenait un sarcasme amer contre le saint-pere." Pacca (III, 73) regards 
it as a new and offensive mockery. 


the cardinals in order to hear their opinion about it ; the 
deliberation which then took place was no easy matter. " We 
had," says Pacca, " to make this examination away from Rome ; 
we lived in one of Napoleon's palaces, surrounded by his 
ministers and servants ; we had to meet in all secrecy to avoid 
giving occasion to think that we were intriguing. The Sacred 
College was divided into the ' black ' and the ' red ' cardinals, 
and I found reason to believe that to some of them might 
be applied Tertullian's saying about those shepherds, who in 
time of peace are lions, and deer in time of strife." Some of 
the cardinals proposed that the Concordat should immediately 
be recalled, but this proposal met with great resistance from 
others ; for how could such a proceeding be reconciled with 
the Pope's infallibility. 1 This view triumphed, nevertheless ; 
and Consalvi informed Pius VII. that the feeling of the majority 
of the cardinals was overwhelmingly in favour of recall. 
Consalvi therefore made a draft of such a document, and the 
Pope copied it out. Every morning Di Pietro and Consalvi 
brought the paper to him that he might write out a little of 
it, and in the afternoon Pacca took it away, hiding it under 
his clothes, for it was not safe to leave it in the Pope's apart- 
ments where everything was examined. Pacca relates, that in 
spite of the winter cold he sometimes sweated for fear, when 
he passed the sentinels with the important document hidden 
under his clothes. 

The copy was finished on 24th March, and the document 
was then sent to the Emperor. Pius VII. confesses in it that 
since he signed the Concordat, he has been tormented with 
qualms of conscience and with penitence, so that he has had 
no peace nor rest. He regrets the offence he has thereby 
given to the Church; and as Paschal II. in his time recalled the 
concessions made by him to Henry V., so now he recalls his. 2 
After the despatch of this letter Pius VII. regained his peace 
of mind, and was able to eat and sleep. But the cardinals 
were in great suspense, not knowing how Napoleon would 

1 Pacca says (III, 77) that many of the cardinals (both of the red and of the 
black) at that time used the following argument : "How can you Italians reconcile 
this great mistake, this papal downfall, with the doctrine of the infallibility of the 
Head of the Roman Church ? " 

2 Pacca III, 831". Talleyrand II, ngf. Chaptal, 245. 


receive the notice of the repudiation of the Concordat, and the 
news which reached them was not favourable. When he 
mentioned the matter to his Council of State, he is reported 
to have said : " This will never be settled, unless I cut off the 
heads of some of those priests at Fontainebleau." But when 
one of the members of the Council invited him to declare 
himself Head of the French Church, he said : " No, that would 
be to break the windows." He chose another way. On the 
following day he wrote to the Minister of Public Worship : 
"You must observe the strictest secrecy with regard to the 
Pope's letter of 24th March, so that I can, according to circum- 
stances, say either that I have received it, or that I have not." 1 
The bishops were to be sent home " on account of Holy Week " 
and of their duties, but the Concordat of Fontainebleau was to 
remain the law of the State in spite of the Pope's withdrawal. 
The bishops, moreover, were to be kept in ignorance of the 
withdrawal, and were to sign an address of which Napoleon 
himself supplied the draft. In this the Concordat is called an 
inspiration of the Holy Ghost to bring to an end the misfortunes 
of the Church. The Emperor took the matter into his own 
hands and directed it, as if it were the only thing he had to 
do, although at the same time he was engaged in re-organising 
his army. 

Maury was sent out to Fontainebleau in order to get the 
Pope and his counsellors to change their opinion ; but Maury's 
eloquence was wasted. He was in disgrace with the Pope, and 
remained so. 2 The Emperor then had recourse to strong 
measures; Di Pietro was imprisoned, and others than the 
cardinals were forbidden to be present at the Pope's Mass. 
These were ordered not to interfere in anything, "that they 
might at least not disturb the affairs of the State, since they 
would not put the Church's concerns in order." After this 
Napoleon set out for the army, but he issued one order after 
another to use violent measures towards the clergy, and the 
Pope remained a prisoner. At Dresden Napoleon received a 
letter from his faithful servant Bishop Duvoisin. The letter 
was written on the bishop's death-bed, and contained the 

1 Printed among the documents in D'Haussonville V, 532f., but not in the 
official edition. 

2 Maury II, 433f. 


following words : " I implore you to liberate the Holy Father. 
His imprisonment darkens the last moments of my life. I 
have several times had the honour of telling you how this 
captivity pains the whole of Christendom, and what difficulties 
arise from its prolongation. I believe that the Holy Father's 
return to Rome will be necessary for your happiness." x 
Napoleon ordered a monument to be erected in memory of 
the deceased bishop in the cathedral at Nantes, but he did 
not fulfil the last wish of his dying servant. After the success- 
ful sortie from Dresden he dreamt once more dreams of victory. 

But fortune had deserted him, and instead of being able, as a 
conqueror, to employ menaces and violence against the ministers 
of the Church, he was compelled to request the priests, as a 
defeated commander surrounded on every side by enemies, to 
pray for the country, the army, and the Emperor. This request 
was no doubt complied with in most places, but the breach 
between the Emperor and the Pope could not be healed. On 
9th May 181 3 Pius VII. had declared all the bishops recently 
installed to be unlawful, intruded pastors, and their official acts 
to be invalid, and on this point he was inflexible. 

A new advance on the Emperor's part did not lead to any 
result ; even the cardinals had now lost their faith in Napoleon's 
sincerity. On 22nd January 18 14 a colonel of gendarmes, 
Lagorsse, who had taken a part in the last negotiations with 
the Pope, appeared at Fontainebleau with three empty carriages, 
and he told the cardinals the great news that he had received 
orders to take Pius VII. back to Rome. In reality the Pope 
was not to be taken further than Savona, and the journey was, 
according to Napoleon's orders, to be made slowly, and along 
byeways. 2 The cardinals advised the Pope to ask that two or 
three members of the Sacred College should accompany him. 
This request was not fulfilled, and it soon became evident to 
everybody that Pius VII. was only to be removed in order 
to be further away from the theatre of war, and so in greater 

On 23rd January Pius VII., after hearing Mass at 

Fontainebleau, took leave of the cardinals, whom he 

admonished to show loyalty to the Papacy and firmness 

against all temptations on the part of the temporal power. 

1 D'llaussonville V, 288f. 2 Ibid., 3i8f. 

VOL. I. , Y 


At the end of February he reached Savona by way of Limoges, 
Montauban, and Montpellier. At Savona he was received by 
a new prefect, the Marquis de Brignole, who treated him more 
as a sovereign than as a prisoner, and on 17th March Brignole 
announced to him that he was free, and might leave the 
next day if he pleased. " I will not go to-morrow," answered 
Pius VII., "for it is the Festival of Our Lady, the patroness 
of this town. To-morrow I will say Mass in your church." 
He did not leave Savona until 19th March, four days before 
the Allied Powers at the castle of Dampierre in Champagne 
decided to advance upon Paris. 

A week after the Pope's departure from Fontainebleau, the 
cardinals were also ordered to leave in different sets, and at 
different times, for places which Napoleon would specify. The 
Imperial exchequer was then at so low an ebb that the prelates 
themselves had to defray the expenses of the journey, and even 
to pay the police escort which was to look after them. At 
B^ziers Consalvi received the news of Napoleon's abdication, 
and he immediately demanded a passport from the under- 
prefect. As this was refused, he produced his red cardinal's 
cap, and said that this would serve as a passport if the prefect 
persisted in refusing to give him one. On his journey Consalvi 
had to spend the night in a little house close to Frejus, because 
the post-horses were being kept ready for the Emperor. The 
next morning, as Napoleon drove by, Consalvi stood on a piece 
of rising ground by the roadside. The Emperor immediately 
recognised the papal diplomatist, and said to Field-Marshal von 
Keller, who sat beside him, and who wished to know Napoleon's 
opinion of Consalvi : " He is a man who does not wish to 
appear to be a priest, but he is more of a priest than all the 
rest of them." 1 This was the last meeting between the two 
great men. Consalvi continued his journey southward, and 
at Imola he met Pius VII., who again appointed him to the 
Secretaryship of State, but at the same time ordered him to 
proceed instantly to Paris to negotiate with the Allied Powers. 

As we now approach the end of Napoleon's long strife with 
the Pope, the cardinals, and the bishops, it seems reasonable to 
ask what effect this strife had upon the Emperor's own religious 
views. One who knew him well has hazarded the opinion that 

1 Bartholdy, 55. 


his original deism and fatalism would in the course of time have 
developed into real devotion to the Church, if this strife had not 
arisen. 1 But on account of his controversy with the Church the 
development took an entirely different course. In dealing with 
so many bishops and cardinals, and by reading the controversial 
writings of the Gallicans and the Ultramontanes, Napoleon learnt 
that the Church of Rome no less than the Protestant section 
of the Church contains great differences within itself. He is 
reported to have said that each Catholic priest has in reality 
his own religion. "The Pope's is different from that of the 
cardinals, and these do not agree among themselves in religious 
matters. The principles of the Archbishop of Tours do not 
agree with those of the Bishop of Nantes, nor his with those 
of the Bishop of Evreux." From this he concluded that there 
was nothing fixed in religion. Like several of the great 
Ghibellines of the Middle Ages, he came out of the conflict 
with the Church a shipwrecked man as regards religion. 

But he had learnt one thing. It was that there lay in the 
Papacy a power of resistance of a special nature and of a 
peculiar strength. A few days had sometimes been sufficient 
to make mighty sovereigns give way on every point ; but the 
Emperor had never been able to bend the weak pontiff. While 
Pius VII. was a prisoner at Savona and everything seemed 
lost to the Chair of St Peter, Napoleon learned, as he said to 
Count Chaptal, "that the power that rules over souls has a 
greater sway than that which rules over bodies." 2 

1 " Si ses demeles avec le Pape ne fussent pas survenus, je ne derate pas qu'a 
quarante cinq ans il n'efit et6 devot." — Chaptal, 239. 

2 Chaptal, 244. 



THE Pope's journey to Rome was a triumphal progress ; the 

people fell on their knees before him, and the princes did 

homage to him. In his native town of Cesena he was met 

by Murat, who had deserted Napoleon and joined the Allied 

Powers. Murat's troops had occupied Rome and the Papal 

States, and he himself came to Cesena, not only to pay 

homage to the Pope, but also to be recognised as King of 

Naples. When Pius VII. told him that the rights of the 

Papacy over Naples must first be acknowledged, the Neapolitan 

ministers advised their King to promise the white courser ; but 

Murat rejected the advice as derogatory to his honour. 1 Before 

the Porta del Popolo, which Pius VII. reached on 24th May, 

Carlos IV. of Spain greeted the returning Pope ; and the crowd 

unharnessed the horses of his carriage, in which the Dean of 

the College of Cardinals, Mattei, and Cardinal Pacca, were seated, 

and thirty young men of the best Roman families dragged 

it to St Peter's. 2 Amidst the enthusiastic shouts of the crowd 

Pius VII. mounted the steps of the church, and in the church 

Charles Emanuel IV. of Sardinia kissed his foot. At the 

Quirinal Queen Marie Louise of Etruria awaited his coming. 

Pius VII. was the one who had suffered most at the hands of 

Napoleon ; therefore he was made a hero of by the sovereigns, 

who were rejoicing to be able to shake off the French yoke. 

But there was also a deeper cause for the homage paid to the 

successor of St Peter ; it was paid not to the martyr only but 

also to the Head of the Church. The sovereigns of Europe 

were glad at the quelling of the Revolution, and since the 

1 Coppi : Annali d 'Italia (Roma 1827) IV, 282f. 
a Artaud II, 372, 379k 


chap, xiii.] PIUS VII. RESTORED 341 

Revolution was in its inner nature anti-religious, the Restoration 
bore from the beginning a religious and ecclesiastical impress, 
and the Pope was extolled as the representative of religious 
interests, even by Protestants. 1 The bloody drama enacted 
in France had taught the sovereigns how easily thrones could 
follow altars to their ruin, and "the throne upon the altar" 
became the watchword of the Restoration. Instead of the 
revolutionary triad, " liberty, equality, fraternity," the reaction 
set up foi, rot, lot. To a certain extent Napoleon himself 
helped to inaugurate the Restoration ; his coronation and the 
institution of the new French nobility was the first expression 
of that return towards the Middle Ages and what belonged to 
them, which was so marked in the period following 1814. 

But the attempt to reintroduce the faith of the Middle Ages 
was not more sincere in the case of many sovereigns than 
Napoleon's solicitude for the Church. It was outwardly politics, 
and inwardly a matter of police, that made many hark back 
to the altars. They wished to infuse into the people "a spirit 
of bondage again to fear " ; therefore the new period became 
the blossoming season of Ultramontanism. Gallicanism, 
Febronianism, and all freer movements within the Roman 
Church were stopped. The portion of the Middle Ages, which 
Rome herself wished to revive, was not the time of Valdes, 
Wycliffe, and Hus, not the time of the proud metropolitans, 
the mighty Ghibellines, and the great Councils, but the days 
of Innocent III., when the whole of Christendom listened to 
the words that proceeded from the see of St Peter. And in 
Rome people saw with happy wonder that the Papacy was 
becoming a necessary factor in many of the systems of the 
reactionary theorists. 

Thus when Schlegel sought in the past a remedy for the 
future, he halted at the empire, the Papacy, and the orders of 
chivalry, but it was the empire of Charles the Great and of 
the Ottos that he wished to restore, before the battle between 
the Guelphs and the Ghibellines. The ideal for the European 
system of states and nationalities should be a harmonious 
co-operation between Empire and Papacy as in the days of 

1 How far Protestants could go in their homage to the Papacy can be seen from 
the letters collected in the introduction to the Mimoires of Consalvi. The letters 
from Protestant statesmen are, as a rule, far more " devotes " than those of Catholics. 


Otto III. and Sylvester II. De Maistre expressed still more 
clearly the dawning apotheosis of the Papacy. To him the 
Papacy was the one essential thing in religion, the only help 
against " the constitutional fever." The Pope was to be an 
umpire who should put an end to all strife ; , he was to be 
above princes and peoples alike, and infallibility was to be 
in the spiritual world the same thing as the sovereignty in 
the temporal world. 

And Pius VII., during the controversy with Napoleon, had 
developed into a pope after the heart of the Romanticists. His 
moral character had shown itself to be more marked than his 
intellectual powers, and he was stronger in the passive than in 
the active virtues ; his courage was the suffering type of courage, 
and the martyr's crown suited him better than the triple tiara. 
If Napoleon had been face to face with a personality like 
Gregory VII. or Alexander III., all the scenes in the drama 
would have had quite another character, from the prelude of 
the coronation to the Concordat at Fontainebleau. In dealing 
with a dove like Pius VII. the imperial eagle often seemed 
only a common hawk ; and there was more of a Celestine V. 
than of a Boniface VIII. in the meek peregrinus Apostolicus. 
In his inmost heart Pius VII. was a quiet monk, who was 
more at home in a cell and a convent garden than in the 
salons of the Louvre or in the Champs Elysees. 

But at his side he had a statesman who was soon to prove 
himself a match for the other statesmen of the Restoration. 
This time it was the Guelph, who had with him a Peter de 
la Vigne. Dante in his Divina Commedia makes the great 
minister of Frederic II. of Hohenstaufen say that he possessed 
both the keys of his sovereign's heart, and that he understood 
how to open and to shut sweetly, as he turned them. 1 In 
these words the Romans saw a description of the relation 
between Pius VII. and his Secretary of State. 

But circumstances compelled Pius to send his Peter de 
la Vigne for a while to Paris and Vienna to watch over the 
political interests of the Papal See, and during his absence 
Bartolommeo Pacca, who had been appointed Cardinal 
Camerlengo, occupied the post of Papal Secretary of State. 
Pacca was a counsellor of another stamp. Consalvi was in many 

1 Inferno XIII, 58. 


respects a man of modern sympathy and intelligence, who saw 
the various statesmen working for the consolidation of their 
states upon a conservative basis, without jealously watching over 
the supposed sovereignty of the Church with the Bull Unam 
Sanctam always in his mind. Pacca, on the other hand, who 
had given German Febronianism its death-blow, was entirely 
possessed with mediaeval ideals, and the Jesuit policy was his 
policy. Pius VII. admired in Consalvi a political breadth of 
view and a diplomatic skill which he did not himself possess ; 
in Pacca he could rejoice over a consistent prosecution of that 
statecraft which was born within the monastery walls, and 
which looked upon everything through a church window. 

Before Pius VII. made his entry into his capital, Cardinal 
Rivarola as legate a latere had already endeavoured to put 
everything in Rome on the old footing. What he had begun 
was continued by Pacca, and he began at the right end 
from the point of view of the Restoration and the Counter- 
Revolution. He had already proposed in his daily conversations 
with the Pope at Fontainebleau the restoration of the Jesuit 
order. 1 Pius had been doubtful. He was a Benedictine, and the 
teachers of his youth had been opposed to the Jesuits ; " and it 
is well known," says Pacca, " what an impression that which we 
learn in our youth makes upon us." But the destroyer of 
Febronianism did not give up the idea for lost. He had him- 
self been brought up on Pascal's Provincial Letters and 
Arnauld's book on the practical morals of the Jesuits ; but these 
early impressions he counted among the sins of his youth. 
Only with the assistance of the revived order of the Jesuits 
would it be possible, in his opinion, for the Papacy to crush 
the hydra of the Revolution. 

We have already seen that the spirit of Jesuitism had 
found an asylum with Alfonso Maria de' Liguori's congre- 
gation of the Redemptorists, and that in Prussia and Russia, 
thanks to Frederick II. and Catherine II., "Jesuit seed" had 
been preserved until better times should come. Some- 
thing more had likewise happened. In 1794 the ex-Jesuit 
de Broglie, son of the Marshal, together with the Abbes de 
Tournely and Pey of Louvain, had formed " a Society of the 
Sacred Heart of Jesus," which was to be a substitute for the 

1 Pacca III, n6f. 


dissolved order. 1 The advance of the French army compelled the 
little society to flee from Louvain to Augsburg, and from thence 
to Passau and Vienna. In Austria " the Society of the Sacred 
Heart of Jesus " gained many friends, amongst others the Arch- 
duchess Marie Anna, who enabled it to open a school at 
Hagenbrunn and a house for novices at Prague ; but at the 
close of the century it was united at the Pope's bidding to the 
so-called " Paccanarists " or " fathers of the faith of Jesus." 2 

There was a tradition in Italy and Spain, that if Loyola's 
order was ever to be restored, it would not be done by a king, 
but by a soldier or a man of the people. Niccolo Paccanari 
was such a man. He was a tanner of Trent, who had been a 
soldier in the Pope's army, but had forsaken his warlike occupa- 
tion in order to live a life of penitence. He and a few more 
young men of the people had taken care of a dozen or so of 
the seminarists who had been turned out of the palace of the 
Propaganda after the French occupation of Rome. The religious 
and enthusiastic youths were soon noticed by the revolutionary 
party, and were imprisoned in the castle of Sant' Angelo. In 
the room where these young men were confined Lorenzo Ricci 
had breathed his last, and the young prisoners, who had the 
deepest veneration for Loyola's order, there formed the plan of 
restoring the dissolved order themselves. After their release 
they retired to a secluded spot near Spoleto, and chose Paccanari 
as their Superior. They put themselves into communication 
with Pius VI. while he was at Val d'Ema, and obtained of 
him leave to hold missions, after the manner of the Jesuits, and 
in all essentials to follow the Jesuit rule, while they called them- 
selves "the fathers of the faith of Jesus" {Compagnia delta 
fede di Gesii). The ex-Jesuits looked with jealousy upon this 
imitation of their order, but at Padua, where the fathers of the 
faith of Jesus had their house for novices, [many young men 
in sympathy with the Jesuits gathered together, and this 
society, which was augmented by the members of "the 
Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus," became a nursery 
for Loyola's order. When the Society of Jesus was restored, 
not a few of the fathers of the faith of Jesus sought admis- 

1 Cr£tineau-Joly : Histoire de la compagnie dejisus V, 41 8f., and ZOckler (Steitz) 
in Hauck-Herzog VIII, 774f., and XIV, 547f. 

2 Mimoires du Cardinal Maury I, 237!, and Louis XVIII. 's letter, 244k 


sion into it, and by order of the Pope were let off with only 
one year's noviciate. 

But besides these off-shoots, there were also true branches 
on the old stem. On 7th March 1801 Pius VII., at the instance 
of the Emperor Paul I., had re-established the order of Loyola 
in the Russian Empire, by the brief Catholicce fidei, 1 which 
is addressed to the Superior of the Russian Jesuits Franz 
Karev. It was the peculiar situation in Russia which induced 
him to do this ; and it was only to hold good in Russia {intra 
tamen Rossiaci imperii fines dumtaxat et non extra). His reasons 
for this step were solicitude for the training of priests, and the 
fact that the harvest was great but the labourers few. On 
30th July 1804 in a new brief addressed to the superior and 
'■'presses generalis" Gabriel Gruber, Karev's successor, he had 
re-established the order for the kingdom of the Two Sicilies, 
again at the instigation of the temporal ruler, King Ferdinand. 2 
It was, perhaps, only the great controversy with Napoleon, that 
hindered the complete restoration of the order a few years after. 
In the house at the Gesu in Rome a band of Jesuits continued to 
live ; they consisted chiefly of returned missionaries, they laboured 
in the cure of souls, and in preaching ; and several seminaries 
were under their control. 3 From this centre proceeded continual 
demands to make good the error of Clement XIV., and Cardinal 
Pacca made himself the interpreter of these desires. 

By the two Bulls above-mentioned, Pius VII. had taken such 
a decisive step towards re-establishment of the order, that the 
logic of events was bound to compel him, sooner or later, to 
accede to Pacca's wish. He knew beforehand, as he said in a 
letter to Consalvi, that the re-establishment would put the 
philosophical and Jansenist clique in a bad humour ; but in 
their displeasure he saw the best evidence that the order ought 
to be restored. 4 Nor was much opposition to be expected from 
the leading statesmen. The disciples of Ignatius Loyola had 
in past times stood sponsors for political autocracy; therefore 
Conservative politicians looked upon them as champions of the 

1 Printed in Bullarmm Romanum XI, lo6f. , and in Sanguinetti : La compagnie 
dejisus, 38of. Cp. Tolstoy : Romanism in Russia II, 43k 

2 Bullarium Romanum XI, and Sanguinetti, 385^ 
s J. Huber : Der Jesuitenorden (Berlin 1873), 56°. 
4 Consalvi : Mimoires I, 88. 


throne as well as of the altar. Amongst Metternich's papers 
there is an interesting memorandum, 1 written in 1825, which 
shows how this statesman looked upon the much-contested 
order. He is full of admiration for Saint Ignatius, who with " a 
truly Christian outlook," formed his order as a protection for 
the Head of the Church. But he distinguishes between the 
original order and that " Jesuitism " which had so greatly- 
degenerated in the eighteenth century, and which would 
undoubtedly have been compelled by the governments to 
return to its original purity, if the philosophical spirit of the 
century had not demolished the order altogether. Metternich 
entirely approves of the original aim of the order : " the 
maintenance of the Church and the Throne, and the victory of 
both over their opponents." The " passionate persecution and 
endless bitterness," which all revolutionary spirits, from the 
religious Reformers down to the lowest Radical, had displayed 
towards the Society of Jesus, was to him a sure sign that the 
Jesuits had not abandoned their original task. From that side, 
therefore, there was no need to expect serious objections to the 
restoration, even if such a step should be hailed both with 
astonishment, and with ill-will, by certain circles in the Austrian 

On 7th August 1814 Pius VII. entered the Jesuit church 
at Rome in solemn procession, and said Mass at the altar of 
Ignatius. He then caused the Bull Sollicitudo omnium to be 
read in the adjoining oratory before a numerous congregation of 
cardinals, bishops, and Neapolitan and Sicilian Jesuits. The 
Pope says in that Bull that the care of the Church committed 
to his charge imposes upon him the duty of meeting the 
spiritual needs of Christendom by all the means in his power. 
Since the re-establishment of the Society of Jesus in Russia 
and in the kingdom of the Two Sicilies by the briefs of 7th 
March 1801, and of 30th July 1804, the unanimous wishes of 
nearly the whole of Christendom had called forth urgent and 
strong appeals to restore the order, especially since the activities 
of the Society had borne abundance of fruit in the countries 
where it had been at work. The Pope would therefore be 
guilty of a grave sin against God, if, amidst the heavy storms 
that raged around the ship of St Peter, he were to reject the 

1 Nachgelassene Pafiere II, 2, 228f. 


strong and experienced navigators who offered themselves to 
cleave a way through the seething billows. For that reason 
he had determined to carry out what had been his warmest 
wish since he ascended the throne of St Peter, and he now 
gave command by the present irrevocable decree, that the 
former permissions issued for Russia and the Sicilies should 
from this moment be extended to all parts of the Papal States, 
and to all states and kingdoms. This decision, it is said, is to 
be for all time abiding and inviolable ; every action contrary to 
it, from whomsoever it emanates, shall be invalid and ineffectual, 
and in particular the brief of Clement XIV. is by these presents 
made null and void, and deprived of all efficacy. 1 

Pacca says, that it is impossible to describe the joyful shouts 
of the good Romans, and the acclamations which greeted the 
Pope on his way to and from the church of the Jesuits. 2 But 
he is not an entirely impartial witness in this matter, and we 
know that Consalvi and others with him had great misgivings. 3 
It seemed to many to be premature to restore the order wholly 
to its former status, and there were Conservative cardinals who 
thought it exceedingly improper for one pope to restore an 
order which another pope had dissolved for ever. But the 
revived order made its way quickly in most places. Ferdinand 
VII. of Spain, immediately after the Restoration, resolved to 
support his tottering throne by means of the Jesuits, although 
De la Huerta, the financial minister, was the only member 
of the regular Conservative Castilian council who pleaded 
their cause. 4 To strengthen the Spanish king in his intention 
Pius VII. sent him a letter on 15th December 1814, 6 warmly 
commending the order, and on 29th May 1815 such Spanish laws 
as were a hindrance to the return of the Jesuits were repealed, 
so that Loyola's order quickly came into possession of great 
riches and regained their old power in the confessional and in 
the schools. In Piedmont the Jesuits had a faithful friend in 
Charles Emanuel, the brother of Victor Emanuel I., who at 
the beginning of 181 5 became a Jesuit novice; 6 and there also 

1 Bullarhim Romanum XIII, 323^ Cp. Sanguinetti, l"]oi. 

2 Pacca III, 117. 3 Bartholdy, 69. 

* Gervinus : Geschichte des XlXtenJahrlmnderts (Leipzig 1856) II, 24. 

6 Printed in Sanguinetti, I94f. 

6 Cr&ineau-Joly : Histoire de la compagnie dejisus VI, 46f. 


they soon became, by favour of the King and of the nobility, 
masters of the universities and in the schools, and obtained 
great influence over the government and the tribunals. 1 In 
1816 they came to Vienna, and in 18 18 by the help of the 
Bishop of Geneva and Lausanne they obtained a stronghold 
at Fribourg, from which they could work other places in 
Switzerland. 2 

But from Portugal and Brazil came a strong protest against 
the restoration of the order, 3 and in France great difficulties 
were in store for it. The "fathers of the faith" had there 
prepared the way for the order, and as most of the members of 
this congregation had been incorporated with the disciples of 
Loyola, 4 the latter took courage and founded a house for the 
professed at Montrouge. 5 Lamennais greeted their efforts with 
joy, being convinced that they alone could revive religion in 
France, but Gallicanism and Jansenism again and again entered 
into conflict with them. 6 In Russia Jesuitism had a great 
admirer in another of " the prophets of the past," the Sardinian 
representative in St Petersburg, De Maistre, who looked upon 
the order as one of the best instruments for promoting 
enlightenment and civilisation. 7 But they lost the asylum 
which Catherine II. and Paul I. had granted them, because 
their propaganda, becoming bolder and bolder after the restora- 
tion of the order, began to frighten the Orthodox rulers of 
Russia. On 16th December 1815 they were banished from the 
two Russian capitals, 8 and on 13th March 1820 they were 
expelled from the whole of Russia and Poland. 9 The exiled 
Russian and Polish Jesuits found an asylum in Galicia, where 
the Dominican convent at Tarnopol was granted to them. At 
first, it was desired that they should break off connexion with 
Rome, and choose a vicar-general for the Austrian province 

1 Gervinus II, 2 if. 

2 Gams : Geschichte der Kirche Chrisii im XlXten Jahrhundert II, 326f. 

3 Cp. the Marquis da Aguiar's note of 1st April 1815 in Paulus : Sophronizon 
(Frankfurt 1819) IV, 53f. 

4 See above, p. 344. 

6 A. Lirac : Les Jesuites et la liberie religieuse sous la restauration (Paris 1879) 
and Nielsen's Romerkirken i det igde Hundredaar. Det indre Liv I, I42f. 

6 Nielsen: op. cit. I, i82f., I98f. 

7 Ibid., 36f. 

8 The Ukase is partly given in Tolstoy : Romanism in Russia II, 118. 

9 Tolstoy II, I26f. 


independent of the General of the order, and should at the 
same time subject themselves to certain restrictions ; but after 
they had pointed out to the government, in an application 
drawn up with true Jesuit dialectic, that the demands made 
upon them were not conformable to the statutes of their 
order, they were allowed to live as their statutes directed. 1 

As soon as the Jesuits, who had been driven out like dogs, 
had returned according to the old prophecy like eagles, 
fanaticism, superstition, and Ultramontanism found in them 
a ready army, and reaction all round broke forth under 
Pacca's administration of the Papal States. All the laws of 
the French period were immediately cancelled by Cardinal 
Rivarola, and the Canon Law and the Papal Constitutions 
were again put in force. 2 Every improvement which the 
French had introduced into Rome was got rid of, from the 
lighting of the streets to vaccination. Begging was again 
allowed, and the images of the Madonna began again to roll 
their eyes. The Jesuits once more got the schools into their 
hands, and Latin thereby obtained an overwhelming importance 
in education. 3 The Inquisition was restored. At the beginning 
of 1815 there were already 737 prosecutions for heresy in 
progress, and in 1816 the Inquisitor at Ravenna condemned 
a converted but renegade Jew to death. 4 The Congregation 
of the Index went to work and extended its operations to 
political and poetical writings, so that at length several of 
Alfieri's poetical works (January 1823) came to be on the list 
of prohibited books. 5 Cardinal della Genga, the successor of 
Pius VII. in the chair of St Peter, who was then vicar-general 
at Rome, forbade the Roman priests to wear an overcoat as 
laymen did ; and every Saturday at least 300 Jews from the 
Ghetto had to go to church to listen to a sermon intended to 
convert them ; Della Genga even thought of closing the gates 
of the Ghetto every evening. 6 The monasteries were opened 
once more; an edict of 15th August 18 14 re-established at 

1 Metternich : Nachgelassene Papiere II, 228f. 

2 Coppi : Annali d' Italia IV, 284. Cp. Dollinger : Kirche und Kirchen 
(Mtlnchen 1861), 5S2f. 

3 G. Pasolini : Memorie (Torino 1887), 29. 

4 Gervinus II, 17, 23. 

5 Index librorum prohibitorum (Roma 1881), 7. Cp. Reusch : Index II, 1018, 

6 Ranke : Hist.-biogr. Studien,iogf. 


one stroke 1,824 convents for monks and 612 for nuns. 1 The 
sale of church property was stopped, and the demand was 
made that those, who during the French occupation had bought 
anything belonging to the Church, should restore what they 
had bought. The Dominican Magister Palatii, Anfossi, even 
wrote a pamphlet in which he maintained that those who did 
not return such acquisitions would forfeit eternal salvation. 2 
As long as Consalvi had any influence, Anfossi's work was 
not allowed to see the light, but it shows what were the 
ruling thoughts in Zelanti circles immediately after the 
Restoration began. It was Pacca's desire to force everything 
back, not only to the time before 1789, but even to the time 
before 1773. 

While Pacca was doing his best to spread the gloom and 
darkness of the Middle Ages over the Eternal City, Consalvi 
was travelling in foreign lands. 3 When he arrived in Paris in 
May, all the allied princes and diplomatists had left, or were 
about to leave, for London ; Consalvi did not hesitate to follow 
them, especially as he bore an introduction from Pius VII. to 
the Prince Regent. But when he was about to set foot on 
English soil, he was perplexed. Durst he show himself in 
his cardinal's dress in England, where no cardinal had been 
received for a couple of hundred years, and where the people 
not long before had burned the Pope himself in effigy? He 
solved the question by putting on the black coat and white 
neckcloth of an English clergyman, and he met with no 
violence. The English were then so kindly disposed towards 
all the enemies of Napoleon that the Pope's minister could 
show himself everywhere without let or hindrance, and at a 
public banquet the English drank to the health of Pius VII. 
without any objection being made. 4 Consalvi had even in 1800 
the reputation amongst Englishmen of being a "very gentle- 
manly liberal man," 5 and he maintained his reputation. 
Through him a closer connexion was begun between the 

1 Gervinus II, 17. 

2 C. C.J. Freiherr von Bunsen, geschildert von' seiner WUwe (Leipzig 1868) 
I, 244. 

3 Bartholdy, S6f. 

4 Bunsen I, 247f. 

5 Castlereagh Memoirs (London 1849) III, 384. 


Papacy and England, where the Roman propaganda was 
afterwards to obtain so much success. 1 

From London Consalvi travelled to the Congress at Vienna. 
The diplomatists who gathered there were not unwilling to 
listen to the wishes of Rome. They had learnt, as Talleyrand 
explained to Louis XVIII. in 1815 on the way from Ghent to 
Paris, that the old belief that sovereignty is an emanation of 
Deity had lost its hold, as well as the belief that certain 
families were to reign in the strength of divine right. " Nowa- 
days," said Talleyrand, " the general opinion is that that is the 
legitimate power, which can best secure for the nations peace 
and happiness, and which has existed for a long period of 
years, and so has many associations connected with it." 2 From 
this point of view, which was held by many of the statesmen 
assembled at Vienna, the Papacy could certainly reckon upon 
a prominent place, and those who were the upholders of 
legitimacy bowed reverently before a ruling dynasty which 
traced its genealogy back to St Peter, and which possessed 
the rich associations of Rome. 

Italy had sent but few representatives to the Austrian 
capital. That beautiful country was looked upon as a 
conquered province, which was at the disposal of the Allied 
Powers. It was only a " geographical expression " to most 
statesmen. The only man who really took an interest in 
the peninsula was Count Capodistrias, the representative of 
Russia, and that was only because he was a Philhellenist. 
Greece and Italy were to him two noble sisters, sunk in 
the sleep of death ; " let the one sister awake, and the other 
would also be released from her magic slumber." 3 

Fortunately for the Papacy, Pius VII. had a statesman in 
Consalvi, who possessed all the qualifications necessary for 
bringing the cause of the Papal States to the desired end. 
As the Pope's Legate, he took precedence, according to old 

1 In Castlereagh's Correspondence, Despatches, and other papers (London 1852) 
XII, 239, is to be seen a despatch from Consalvi of 7th April 1820. At the bottom 
of the despatch there is a request to turn over the leaf, and when this is done we 
read confidential communications, which show that Consalvi played a part in the 
affair between George IV. and Queen Caroline. Cp. Wiseman, 204. 

2 Talleyrand III, 218. 

3 Words of Rossi, quoted in H. Reuchlin : Geschichte Italiens (Leipzig 1859) 
I, 60. 


custom, of all the other ambassadors, and this was conceded 
without objection even by the sovereigns who were not in 
communion with Rome; At first, however, his influence does 
not seem to have been great. He was considered to be 
insinuant comme un parfum, and his zeal and perseverance 
were admired, 2 but it took some time before his most 
eminent qualities were observed. Meanwhile, he was soon 
initiated into all secrets, and the English, German, and Russian 
diplomatists seem to have been especially intimate with 
him. 3 We have, from Consalvi's own hand, an account of 
a confidential meeting, which throws light on the temper 
of the Congress. In a fragment of a note written at the 
end of 1814 or the beginning of 1815, we hear that he had 
a long conversation one day, with Prince Hardenberg, Count 
Nesselrode, and Lord Castlereagh. " I came away from the 
conversation much troubled," he writes. " Prince Hardenberg 
and Lord Castlereagh admit in confidential conversation, that 
they have no confidence in the arrangements which we are 
making here. People think they can crush out the Revolu- 
tion by suppressing or silencing it ; but it penetrates into the 
very midst of the Congress through all the crevices that 
are opened for it. An able and far-seeing policy has never 
allowed itself to give nations new rulers, new laws, manners, 
and customs, every half century. Laws are a bridle to which 
the human mouth must get accustomed little by little. The 
yoke which a happy obedience imposes must pass from one 
generation of a family to another, more as a reminiscence of 
fatherly protection, than as a sign of servitude. The French 
Revolution represents princes as tyrants, and abhors the holy 
and venerable traditions of the past. Its mission is to hew 
everything down with the stroke of the axe, and to intro- 
duce everything new with cannon shots. It is a new form 
of despotism inaugurated in the name of liberty, and this 
new form will be more disastrous both for people and for 
princes, because it brings defeats and misfortunes without 

1 Kliiber: Aden des Wiener-Congresses in den Jahren 1814 und lZl$ (Erlangen 
1815) IV, 314. ' 

2 Thus the Marquis San Marzano in a despatch of 28th December 1814 : see 
N. Bianchi : Storia documentata delta diplomazia Europea in Italia (Torino 1865) 
I, 407. 

b Artaud II, 423, and the letters in the first vol. of Consalvi's Memoirs. 


number as the result of blindness and arrogance. When I 
think of them I am absolutely in despair. We are engaged 
here in propping up an old hovel with money and might ; 
but we do not think of erecting a new, solid house, although 
it would probably cost less and would certainly be more 
durable." 1 The three ambassadors understood Consalvi's 
anxiety well, but the troublous times and modern ways of 
thought made it, in their opinion, impossible to build the 
solid house. The great misfortune of the negotiations at the 
Congress seemed to Consalvi to be the want of mutual 
understanding between those present ; they only understood 
one another when two were together at a time in this 
ecumenical council of monarchy. " We are like the builders 
of the Tower of Babel," he says ; " our tongues become 
confounded the very moment we lay the first stone of the 
foundation." The conversation shows that Consalvi was a 
Conservative of the purest water. From his point of view 
he was also an enemy of the liberty of the Press. When he 
was in Paris, he had expressed to Louis XVIII. his dis- 
satisfaction with the recently published Charter, and said that 
the liberty of the Press was the most dangerous weapon 
which had ever been placed in the hands of the opponents 
of religion and of monarchy. It would be extended at every 
public crisis, and with every social disturbance ; and he foresaw 
that the despotism of the Press would more and more be 
exercised by unknown men or by persons of bad character. 2 
When the case of the Papacy itself came before the Congress, 
Consalvi had to use all his skill as a statesman to ward off 
the threatening perils. Some days before the peace of Paris, 
Metternich in a note to Lord Castlereagh 3 had expressed the 
opinion that Austria ought to have the Legations, partly on 
account of the agreement of Prague, arrived at on 27th July 
18 1 3, partly because the Austrian house had an "indisputable" 
right to that part of Italy, because the sovereign of Austria was 
King of Rome, hereditary Emperor and head over all Germany. 
Against this assertion Consalvi protested in a note of 23rd June 
which he sent from London to the principal powers of Europe. 4 

1 Consalvi I, 22f. * Ibid., 2$. 

3 Of 26th May 1814, printed in Bianchi I, 333f. Cp. 7. 

4 Printed in Artaud II, 373f. 

VOL. I. Z 


In that note he claimed the restoration of all the provinces of 
the Papal See which had been occupied by foreign powers, 
arguing that Rome in 1806 had refused to make common 
cause with Napoleon, and to consider Napoleon's enemies as 
its own ; x and Rome had never wavered since in refusing 
alliance with Napoleon. The Papacy, according to Consalvi, 
had a complete right both to the Legations, and to Avignon 
and Venaissin, Benevento and Pontecorvo, even to Parma and 
Piacenza ; for Rome had never acknowledged those princes 
who governed the two last - named countries, but on the 
co.itrary she had protested every St Peter's Day against the 
loss of them. " The Holy Father," says Consalvi, " has taken 
his oath to keep and defend all these lands, and he cannot do 
without them, if he is to occupy his old position and forward 
the interests of religion." 

Afterwards, on 23rd October, he prepared another note, 2 in 
which he repeated the same claims and reminded England and 
Russia that Pius VII. had suffered so much, because he would 
not break with them. But further with regard to the Catholic 
churches of Germany — he uses the plural in order to guard 
against the rising idea of a German Imperial Church 3 — Rome 
had many wishes and many demands. The peace of Luneville, 
by which the Rhine had been fixed as the eastern frontier of 
France, had compensated the temporal princes who lost by the 
peace at the expense of the Church, and the secularisation of 
church property and the abolition of the spiritual principalities 
were the results of this peace. The church property had not 
since been given back, and the Holy Roman Empire had not 
been re-established. Next to the loss of his provinces this last 
misfortune weighed especially heavily upon the Pope's conscience, 
for the Holy Roman Empire was, as Consalvi explained in a 
subsequent note, " the centre of political unity and a venerable 
fabric of antiquity founded upon religion, the overthrow of which 
was one of the most deplorable works of destruction that the 
Revolution had committed." 

Great difficulties arose as to the question of the provinces. 

1 See above, p. 285f. 

2 Kltiber : Uebersicht der diplomat. Verhandlungen des Wiener - Congresses 
(Frankfurt 1816) III, 47of. 

3 See Nielsen : Romerkirken i det v)de Hundredaar. Del indre Liv I, 343^ 



Louis XVIII. in the instructions given to his ambassadors 
had demanded that the Holy See should have not only the 
provinces on the Adriatic coast but also the Legations of 
Ravenna and Bologna. 1 But weighty voices were lifted against 
this project. 2 Prussia insisted that the Legations should be 
given to the King of Saxony as compensation for the lands 
that he had lost. Austria preferred to have the Legations 
herself; but as this could not be, she wished to hand them 
over to the Infanta Marie Louise, so as to keep her and her 
son away from Tuscany and Parma. But Marie Louise had 
promised the Pope never to receive a province which had 
belonged to the Holy See, and the Sardinian Court would 
not suffer the Pope to lose any territory for the benefit of 
a Bourbon princess. Russia contemplated making the three 
Legations into a kingdom for Eugene Beauharnais, and the 
Emperor Alexander I. said bitterly to Metternich, " Austria 
thinks she is sure of Italy ; but there is a Napoleon there 
of whom use might be made." 3 The want of agreement as 
to the partition of Italy was on the point of breaking up the 
congress, when the empire of the hundred days compelled the 
princes to agree. 

Great consternation in Rome followed the landing of 
Napoleon in France. 4 His sister, Madame Elisa, is reported 
to have declared at Bologna : " Bonaparte is in France ; if 
they imprison him, we will get hold of the Pope here as a 
hostage." King Murat of Naples, who joined Napoleon during 
the hundred days, had projects of taking Pius VII. prisoner 
and sending him to Gaeta. 5 He asked permission to march 
through the Papal States with 12,000 men, that he might join 
Napoleon. This was refused, and Pius considered the position 
of affairs so serious, that he entrusted the government of Rome 
to Cardinal della Somaglia and a Junta, and fled by way of 
Florence and Leghorn to Genoa. 6 But he was quite cheerful. 
He said immediately, " This is a storm that will last for three 
months," and he was not far wrong. 

Napoleon knew how important the friendship of the Pope 
was in such a difficult situation as his. He therefore sent 

1 Talleyrand II, 240. 2 Bianchi I, 1341. 

3 Talleyrand II, 445f. 4 Artaud II, 415. 

5 Coppi IV, 355. 6 Ibid,, 4oif, 


Pius VII. a letter in which he represented his return "as a 
work of the unanimous will of a great nation." x He received 
no answer to this letter, but as he continually gave friendly 
assurances, and as Murat had been beaten back by the Austrians, 
Pius VII. resolved to return home. First, however, he paid a 
visit to Savona, where he crowned an image of the Madonna 
much revered by the people ; and on the square in front of the 
episcopal palace, which had formerly been his prison, he received 
the homage of the King of Sardinia. He afterwards visited 
Turin, Parma, and Modena, and was everywhere greeted with 
veneration by princes and people. 2 

On 7th June he made his fourth entry into his capital 
after being a fugitive for seventy-eight days. Two days after- 
wards the Congress of Vienna determined in the 103rd article 
of the peace to restore to the see of St Peter the Marches, with 
Camerino, Benevento, and Pontecorvo, the three Legations of 
Ravenna, Bologna and Ferrara, with the exception of a small 
piece of Ferrara, situated on the left bank of the Po. Although 
this might well be considered an extremely favourable result, 
Consalvi made a protest on behalf of Pius VII. against the 
peace of Vienna. Rome was dissatisfied with the loss of 
Avignon, Venaissin, and the strip of Ferrara, and with the 
provision that Austria should have the right of placing troops 
in the Castle of Comacchio and at Ferrara. 3 But the protest 
naturally availed nothing. Since the Bull of Innocent X. 
against the peace of Westphalia, people were prepared for 
objections of that kind. Consalvi had obtained the utmost 
that could possibly be obtained, and diplomatists were full 
of admiration for the results he had achieved. " That is the 
boldest and prettiest stroke that has been made on the 
green table," said Talleyrand to Metternich about Consalvi, 4 
and another of the diplomatists wrote : " Up to the very con- 
clusion of the Congress Consalvi hovered between hope and 
fear. It is necessary to have seen him at Vienna in order 
to appreciate his watchfulness, his energy, and his passionate 
devotion to the interests of the Holy See." 6 

1 Artaud II, 419^ 2 Coppi IV, 402. 

3 Klilber IV, 313^ ; VI, nyji. 

4 See the letter from Gentz in Consalvi's Memoires I, go. 
<* Bartholdy, 60. 


When Consalvi came home, the engraver, Antonio Banzo, 
had got a drawing by Manno engraved in all secrecy, in which 
the Cardinal is depicted as presenting the restored Legations 
to Pius VII. In this picture Consalvi is turning his eyes 
towards the Pope, and with his right hand points to Bologna, 
a kneeling figure, wearing the helmet of Minerva. Behind 
Pius VII. is seen, in addition to the city of Rome, Religion 
standing, and History seated. This idea was afterwards used 
by Thorvaldsen in the monument which he executed at Rome in 
1824. In Thorvaldsen's beautiful bas-relief, which is placed in 
the Pantheon, Consalvi is seen bringing the six Papal provinces 
back to Pius VII. The provinces are represented as women 
with mural crowns. Ancona, in front, is to be recognised by 
the rudder ; Bologna by the shield bearing the arms of the 

After the close of the Congress of Vienna Consalvi was 
able quietly to resume the government, but under the most 
difficult conditions. It is true that Pius VII. had received 
nearly all his territories again, but as regards the outward 
position of the hierarchy things had much changed. The 
Pope was at that time in the position of a nobleman, whose 
mansion has been given back to him, but without sufficient 
means to enable him to lead the old life. Much less money 
came in, and the younger sons of the rich houses, who had 
formerly done service at the Papal Court for nothing, came 
no more, since there was no prospect of receiving rich abbeys 
and prebends. 1 Happily the debt of the Papal States had 
been considerably reduced during the French period by the 
abolition of the spiritual corporations. These had owned a 
large proportion of the bonds, which were cancelled by this 
abolition ; and moreover the property of the corporations could 
be sold to meet the Papal debt. In the year 1800 the debt 
was 74,000,000, and in 1815 only 33,ooo,ooo, 2 and in the same 
period the income had risen from 3,000,000 to 6,000,000 or 

The greatest misfortune of Rome was the priestly govern- 
ment, and it was not easily broken up. Consalvi, at Vienna, 
had given the Allied Powers many promises regarding it, but 

1 Kolle : Ilaliens Zukunft, 58f. 

2 Bartholdy, 61, whose estimate is on the whole accepted by Gervinus II, 56. 


he was not in a position to fulfil them. When he returned, Pacca 
had for a long time exercised a hierarchical rule in the old 
style, and had done everything to wipe out all traces of the 
French occupation. Some of the more progressive Romans, in 
despair at Pacca's reactionary government, had enrolled them- 
selves in Murat's army, and were lost in his adventurous 
expedition ; others led a life of indolence. Every fifteenth 
person encountered in the street was a priest or a monk; 
every tenth a footman in livery. Several of the Eastern, and 
most of the Western, orders of monks had their general offices 
in Rome, and there were a great number of monasteries. There 
was not much industry in these houses : only the English 
monks had the reputation of studying more, of taking more 
exercise, and of washing themselves more frequently than 
the rest. 1 

Yet among the priests there were some who felt that radical 
changes were needed. Thus, in 1814, the Abate Giuseppe 
Antonio Sala presented to the Pope a quarto volume of 
202 pages, which contained the first part of a complete 
scheme of reform {Piano di riforma, umiliato a Pio VII.)? 
Sala, who was intimately connected with Cardinal Caprara, 
had stayed in Paris from the conclusion of the Concordat until 
the coronation of the Emperor. In 1809, Pius VII., shortly 
before his imprisonment, appointed him secretary of the 
apostolic delegation at Rome, but after the French occupation 
of the town Sala had to flee, first to Cascia, then to the 
Villa Salviati near Fiesole. At Cascia he continued to 
correspond with the imprisoned Pope, and, when Pius VII. 
returned home, Sala joined him. On the journey to Rome 
he was master of the ceremonies to Pius VII., and later on 
he accompanied the Pope in his flight to Genoa. 

As early as 1798 Sala wrote in his diary, of which Cugnoni 
has published some fragments, that both the government of the 
Papal States and the Church itself required great reforms with 
regard to the ecclesiastical personnel? Such thoughts were 
expressed by him in the Piano di riforma, which in 18 14 he 

1 [Kolle]: Rom imjahre 1833 (Stuttgart 1834), 6f. 

2 G. Cugnoni : 77 Cardinale Giuseppe Antonio Sala, in the Nuova Antologia 
1880 II, 24lf. 

3 Nuova Antologia, 253. 


presented in all humility to the restored Pope. He blamed 
the existing commixture of the sacred and the secular, and 
maintained that political sovereignty was not essential for the 
successor of St Peter. He also expressed his regret that 
the Papal bullarium contained decrees about civil affairs side by 
side with ecclesiastical decisions. The high places of the 
Church ought to be better filled ; the rules of the Council of 
Trent ought to be closely followed in the choice of cardinals and 
bishops. Preachers ought to be compelled to preach Christ 
Jesus and Him crucified, instead of changing the pulpit into an 
academical chair or into a theatre ; and the monastic houses of 
men and women ought to be reformed. 

Sala's publication was sent to Vienna to Consalvi, but he 
showed himself very ungraciously disposed towards the Piano. 
Orders were immediately sent to Rome to stop the sale of the 
book, and an attempt was made to destroy the copies that were 
already in circulation. The destruction of the inopportune book 
was so effectual that Professor Cugnoni for twenty-five years 
sought in vain to get hold of a copy. Padre Curci relying upon 
Cugnoni's disclosures not long ago bitterly reproached Consalvi 
for his conduct, 1 and expressed the opinion that the zeal of the 
Papal Secretary was due to his anxiety lest he should be removed 
from his post by the reforming Abate, who stood in such high 
favour with Pius VII. This is undoubtedly an unjust accusa- 
tion. Consalvi was then so highly respected, both by Pius VII. 
and by the whole of Europe, that he scarcely needed to fear 
being set aside for a man like Sala, whose name of honour, even 
after he at length received the purple under Gregory XVI., was 
" the live archives of the Holy See." 2 But one can quite under- 
stand that to Consalvi it would be very inopportune that voices 
should be raised in Rome for the separation of the spiritual and 
temporal power just at the very moment when he was fighting 
a hard battle amongst the diplomatists in order to preserve all 
the temporal possessions of the Papal See. Besides, most of the 
proposals for reform made by the Abate were neither so new 

1 C. M. Curci: Das neue Italien unci die alten Zeloten (Leipzig 1882) II, i66f. 
Cp. Nippold : Handbuch der neuesten Kirchengeschichte (Elberfeld 1883) II, 26, 
who only seems to be acquainted with Sala's programme through Curci's 

2 Nuova Antologia, 288. 


nor so conspicuous as to provoke Consalvi's jealousy. Many 
of them enjoyed his full approval, but he was so much of a 
practical politician that he preferred rather to act than to write 
about affairs. 

Even before he left Vienna he promulgated several laws for 
the settlement of the internal affairs of the recovered Legations. 1 
He allowed most of the French amendments to remain in 
force, confirmed the sale of the national estates, and promised 
a new and better government. 2 As early as 6th July 1816 
the great Motu proprio was published, which became a sort of 
Constitution for the whole of the Papal States. 3 In the preface 
Consalvi says that Divine Providence seems to have made use of 
the French occupation of the country to prepare the way for 
uniformity and unity in the State. Unity was in his opinion the 
basis of every political regulation which could strengthen the 
government and make the people happy ; therefore it was his 
intention to proceed in the path which the French had trodden. 
Both the towns and the nobility lost their old privileges, which 
not infrequently in past time had caused difficulties to the 
popes ; and all monopolies and exemptions disappeared. The 
Papal States, on the model of the French division into depart- 
ments, were divided into seventeen " delegations," and at the head 
of each of these a " delegate " was placed with the same power as 
the French prefects. By the side of the delegates there were 
to be provincial consultative bodies, whose members were 
appointed at Rome, and not by the province itself. The whole 
of this system was a thorough centralisation, which gave great 
power both to the leading men in the State and to the individual 
officials ; and the delegates were to be prelates. The priesthood 
thus obtained an absolute predominance in the new settlement. 
With regard to the administration, the taxes, and the customs, 
the Motu proprio allowed the French arrangements to remain ; 
in other directions, as for instance with regard to education, it 
promised that everything should be improved "as quickly as 
possible." The educational system was, however, not so bad as 
has often been asserted; there were at that time more than 

1 L. C. Farini : Lo stato Romano (Firenze 1853) I, 7f. Ranke, 79f., and 
Gervinus II, 49f. 

2 Coppi IV, 405^ 

8 Bullarium Romanum XIV, 47k 


a hundred schools at Rome, in which instruction was given free 
or at very little cost. 

The finances also were the object of Consalvi's care ; but 
they were in a hopeless condition, and they remained so. The 
times were past when Prince Doria could send 500,000 scudi 
to the Papal mint ; there were now only a few rich men at 
Rome, such as Torlonia and some other bankers. As early as 
18 16 the Budget showed a deficit of more than 100,000 
scudi. The expedient was then tried of farming the taxes 
after the manner of Ancient Rome, and this was carried very 
far. For the sake of economy the feeding of the prisoners, 
the number of whom in 1820 rose to 11,000, was let out to 
private persons. The first person who undertook it received 
1 S soldi a day ; but he delegated his duty to others for 
10 and 8 soldi, so that the prisoners were starved. The 
judicial procedure was as bad as the prison system. Cardinal 
Rivarola, as has been said above, had already, before Pius VII. 
returned to Rome, abolished " for ever " the French laws, and 
the Canon Law and the apostolical constitutions became again 
valid. Incredible confusion was the result, and Consalvi had 
to devise a new code. The part which concerned judicial 
procedure appeared as early as 1817, mainly by the help of the 
Bartolucci whose name has been mentioned before; but the 
rest was never finished. Law and justice in the Papal States 
were still dependent therefore upon favour and chance, and 
the Papal grace was continually abused. " Consalvi," say the 
courteous Annali cF Italia, "began much, accomplished some- 
thing, but left various matters unfinished, such as the code, 
the financial system, and the fund for paying off the National 
Debt." 1 The clear sight of the Secretary of State had perceived 
that a great deal of what the French Revolution had produced 
ought to be, and might be, preserved and imitated ; but there 
was no authority in Rome possessed of sufficient power, or 
provided with the necessary staff, to carry out the new order 
of things. 

But who under such difficult circumstances could have done 
more than Consalvi? Formerly the Church had fed both town 
and country ; now it needed to be supported by both, and 
therefore it became an object of dislike. The provinces were 

1 Coppi V, 334. 


highly displeased at everything being determined at Rome, 
and the aristocracy missed its old privileges. To this must 
be added the wide division between clergy and laity, which 
appeared so markedly after the French occupation ; and, as 
reasonable concessions were not made in time, this division 
afterwards became fatal. Farini thinks that Pius VII. 
might at that time have raised the banner of the Guelphs 
and have assumed a protectorate over all Italy ; x but was it 
really possible? Pius VII. would in such a case have had 
to break with the Conservative powers, which were his support, 
and to trust himself to the people, of whom half were free- 
thinkers. How would such a proceeding have fitted with the 
agreements concerning "the outward and inward tranquillity 
of Italy," which were signed a few days after the closing scenes 
at Vienna? And is there the least likelihood that Pius VII. 
would have succeeded where Pius IX. failed, at a moment 
when reaction and restoration were in full swing in Europe? 
The Papal States were bound to succumb to the fate which 
has always overtaken every corrupt blending of politics with 

The possibility "of infusing a new spirit into Guelphism," 
of which Farini speaks, disappears completely, when it is seen 
how strong was the resistance which Consalvi had to encounter. 
Many libels against him were produced at Rome, which passed 
from hand to hand in manuscript in the Roman cafes, and 
he met with the strongest opposition among his own colleagues. 
Cardinal Albani declared openly that he felt no inclination 
to pay three times as much as formerly in taxes upon his 
estates, which were now worth only a third of what they had 
been ; and many thought as Albani did. Pacca became the 
leader of a great party of Zelanti, who would not budge from 
strict ecclesiastical principles, and who secretly and openly 
accused Consalvi of being infected with ungodly liberalism. 
To this party belonged the Cardinals Castiglioni, afterwards 
Pius VIII., and Delia Genga, afterwards Leo XII. 

On account of the resistance which Consalvi always met 
with from the cardinals, he excluded them from any influence 
upon the government. Their animosity increased accordingly, 
and they had recourse to the fatal expedient of forming or 

1 Farini I, 9. 


of favouring secret reactionary societies, which proved a great 
misfortune, since religion through them became a tool in the 
service of politics. The growing power of the Jesuits was no 
longer sufficient — more helpers were needed. 1 A politico-religious 
society called the Pacifici or the Santa Unione had long existed. 
Their motto was the saying of our Lord, " Blessed are the peace- 
makers." They swore to maintain the public peace, even if it 
cost them their lives. The Sanfedisti, as the members of the 
association were called, only aimed originally at defending the 
faith and the Pope against worldly aggressions ; but after- 
wards these shield-bearers of absolute theocracy ventured in the 
name of Christianity to raise bloody persecutions against the 
Liberals without regard to class, sex, or age. It was at the 
instigation of the Sanfedisti that Pius VII., on 13th September 
1821, promulgated a Bull against the Carbonari. 2 These, like all 
secret societies, delighted to derive their origin from the mysteries 
of the ancient world, especially from the ministers of Isis and of 
Mithra, but they were in reality scarcely older than the French 
occupation. While the French made friends in Italy through 
the Freemasons, the Carbonari, as patriotic Italians, had 
endeavoured to throw off the French yoke, and their society 
became a nursery both for the longing after liberty, and for 
the national feeling. In their " unbridled love of liberty " they 
swore upon the poison flask and upon red-hot iron to think 
night and day of the extirpation of tyrants, and to keep the 
secrets of the society, otherwise " the poison flask should be 
their drink, and red-hot iron should burn their flesh." At their 
feasts the Carbonari drank to each other with the words, 
" Death or independence," and they sang of the " blood-red 
star," that was rising over their country, which should be in 
the ascendant again, "at the cock crow, when the eagles are 
fighting." 3 

Compared with the calamities which the antagonism between 
the Sanfedisti and the Carbonari brought upon the Papal States, 
the other epidemic of brigandage was of less importance. In 
self-defence against the French many had been compelled to 
take to the mountains ; and afterwards those who came into 

1 Farini I, 10. 

2 Buttarium Romataim XV, 446k 

3 Coppi V, 13, 16, 29, 212. Ranke, n8f. Bunsen I, 176. 


collision with the law sought a hiding-place there. A false 
spirit of romance cast a peculiar glamour over the bandits, so 
that the girls of Rome looked up with admiration to the men 
who " could live in the mountains," and their fathers as a rule 
did not hesitate to do business with them. By a sort of agree- 
ment Consalvi succeeded in restricting this nuisance, but it is 
not even yet quite eradicated. 1 

But if in many respects Consalvi's home government did 
not reach what he aimed at, he was absolutely successful in his 
foreign politics. The good fortune which had smiled upon him 
at Vienna, never left him, and he gained by his diplomatic skill 
a series of victories, which proved of great importance for the 
position of the Roman Church in most of the European 

At one time it created some dissatisfaction amongst the 
princes, 2 that Pius VII. would not join the Holy Alliance, 
which was intended to maintain justice, love, and peace. 3 This 
league of sovereigns, which was mainly due to Frau von 
Kriidener's untiring energy, was to form a substitute for the 
system of balance which rested upon power only, and not upon 
justice. This enthusiastic woman had succeeded in winning 
over the Emperor Alexander I. of Russia to her plan. The 
Tsar looked upon her as an angel, who spoke in the name of 
God, and she saw in him the " white angel," whose mission it 
was to build up all that the black angel, Napoleon, had torn 
down. This new alliance was to create harmony and mutual 
honesty ; right of conquest was not to be recognised, the great 
armies were to be disbanded, and the era of eternal peace was 
to dawn. The Turks were to make it their business to stop the 
plague, and to treat their Christian subjects more humanely ; the 
piratical states of North Africa were to be wiped out, and the 
English commercial despotism to be broken. It was the 
recollection of past trials and dangers, and a humble sense 
that the Almighty hand of God had helped them, that made 
the princes desirous to enter this league. But the fair words 
of the treaty of alliance — words which Frau von Krudener 

1 Ranke, I02f. Wiseman, I77f. 

2 Bianchi I, i89f. 

3 W. T. Krug: Gesammelte Schriftcn III {La sainte alliance), 235f. This 
section was written in 1816. 


had only with difficulty preserved from "the unholy hands of 
diplomatists and courtiers," 1 — were sadly confuted in the period 
that followed by the acts of the alliance ; it became a conspiracy 
of princes against the liberty of the peoples. The Holy Alliance 
was the expression of a feeling similar to that which, after 
the wars of religion, gave Henry IV. the idea of a Christian 
European state, in which Catholics, Lutherans, and Calvinists 
were to enjoy the free exercise of their religion. But the 
romanticism of the period cast a special glamour over the new 
princely alliance. 

" Was hor' ich rauschen ? Himlischer Spharen Klang 
Tont durch die Liifte ; seliger Geister Schaar, 
Wie einst auf Bethlehems Gefilde, 
Schwebet hernieder von Licht umflossen." 

Thus sang the poet in his enthusiasm for the alliance, 
and at first the people in many places joined in ; but Pius VII. 
maintained a cold attitude. He would not look upon "heretics " 
as genuine members of the Church, and he would not, as the 
alliance desired, give up the power of excommunication and 
the Inquisition. 

We might have expected that a man like Consalvi, in 
matters pertaining to forms of faith, would have shown him- 
self less narrow than the statesmen of the Zelanti, who on all 
points followed the dogma of the schools, and the church policy 
of the Middle Ages. But this was not the case ; Consalvi 
was as intolerant in things of this kind as Pacca and the other 
Zelanti, and he had openly expressed to Louis XVIII. his dis- 
satisfaction that the French charter should have granted liberty 
of worship. Niebuhr succeeded, indeed, in 18 19 in obtaining 
permission to hold an Evangelical service in Rome once a 
week in the Prussian embassy, whereby the precedent was 
established for the services which are now held in the Palazzo 
Caffarelli. But general religious liberty in Rome was out of 
the question. The fanaticism of the Roman section of the 
Church against the Evangelical and against the individual 

1 Krug : Gesprach unter mer Augen nnt Frau von Kriidener (Leipzig 1818) 
printed in Krug's Ges. Schriften III, 267f. C. Eynard : Vie de Mme. de Kriidener 
(Paris 1849) II, 93f. P. L. Jacob : Mme. de Kriidener, ses lettres et ses ouvrages 
inidits (Paris 1880), 49, 78f. 


members of it, was at that period, according to Bunsen, 1 
at its height. In order to proselytise amongst the Protestants 
residing in Rome, a French publication, the Voix de Peglise 
catholique caix protestants de bonne foi, was sent to them, which 
Brandis, a member of the Prussian legation, answered in a 
letter, in which he showed that the main propositions to 
be proved were very poorly handled; that it was impudent 
ignorance to attack the character of the Reformers and their 
friends, and ridiculous folly to present the fathers of the 
Council of Trent as patterns of sanctity. Finally, Brandis 
set forth what intellectual and religious sacrifices were in 
reality demanded, before a Protestant with a good conscience 
could go over to the Roman section of the Church. 2 

The fanaticism of the leading Roman circles towards the 
Reformation appeared strikingly in the condemnation of the 
Bible Societies. Clement XI. in his time had condemned in 
the Bull Unigenitus the proposition that reading the Bible 
is useful for all, and that the obscurity of God's Holy Word 
ought not to debar Christian laymen from reading it. 3 But 
Jansenism, on the other hand, had contributed to make even 
zealous Catholics take a more tolerant view of the reading 
of the Bible. Benedict XIV. allowed all the faithful to 
read the Scriptures provided they would use only an authorised 
version, furnished with notes taken from the fathers of the 
Church, or Catholic men of learning. It was, therefore, not 
the reading of the Bible in itself, but the free investigation 
of the Scriptures which was to be prohibited. Pius VI. even 
went so far as to write to the Abate Martini, afterwards 
Archbishop of Florence: "You do well to encourage the 
faithful to read the Divine Word, for it is the purest of 
fountains, and must be kept open to all the faithful, so that 
they may draw from it purity in morals and belief." 

But when the reaction set in, and the Protestant Bible 
Societies gave the Curia cause for fresh alarm, new pro- 
hibitions appeared. In Poland, the authorised version put 
forth in 1599 by the Jesuit, Jacob Wuick, had been republished, 

1 Bunsen I, 518, in his Denkschrift of 1823. 

2 Bunsen I, I48f. 

a Propositio 80. Lectio sacrae scripturse est pro omnibus. 81. Obscuritas sancti 
verbi Dei non est laicis ratio dispensandi se ipsos ab ejus lectione. 


and at the same time a new translation without notes. Pius 
VII. took occasion to send a letter to the Archbishop of 
Gnesen, Metropolitan of Poland, in which he expressed his 
abhorrence of the crafty invention (to wit, the Bible Societies) 
by which the very foundations of religion are undermined 
{vaferrimum inventum, quo vel ipsa religionis fundamenta 
labefactantur). He had sought the counsel of the cardinals to 
consider how "this plague" might be best cured. 1 Rome's 
dislike of the Bible Societies was shared by several of the 
leading men of the Restoration, as can be seen from 
Metternich's Memoirs? He tells Nesselrode that he himself 
every day reads a chapter or two in Luther's translation, 3 
but nevertheless he thinks that the Roman Church acts 
wisely in forbidding ordinary men to read the Bible, which 
contains so many mysterious passages, and relates so many 
crimes and immoral scenes. In Austria, Catholics were 
allowed to read Catholic translations under the supervision 
of the Church, and Protestants to read their own without 
supervision ; but Metternich was certain the Emperor would 
never allow a Bible Society to be formed in his empire. 4 

It was the old rancour on the part of the restored 
Society of Jesus that found vent in the condemnation of the 
Bible Societies. It was also the cause of Jesuitism and Ultra- 
montanism, that Consalvi furthered when in the period after 
the Congress of Vienna, so rich in princely meetings and 
princely compacts, he succeeded in concluding and introducing 
a whole series of agreements with the different States, so that 
the time after 181 5 may be described as an era of Concordats. 6 
For the new Concordats were first and foremost a means of 
suppressing the National Church movements in Roman Catholic 
countries, and of eradicating all traces of Jansenism, Gallicanism, 
and Febronianism. Consalvi, who had learnt his diplomatic 
lessons during the negotiations with Bonaparte over the French 
Concordat, had a much easier task in the conclusion of the 
later agreements. He now dealt with statesmen who had a 

1 The letter is printed in Paulus : Sophronizon I, 236/. 

2 Metternich : Nachgel. Papiere II, I, S8f. 

3 "La meilleure qui ait jamais ete faite en aucun pays et dans une langue 
vivante," 60. 

4 P. 57. ° Nippold II, 47f. 


far greater respect for the Papacy than Bonaparte ever had, and 
who were far less on their guard against the artifices of Roman 
policy than the keen-sighted First Consul had been. 

And the Concordat with Bonaparte was useful as a pattern 
for the later agreements. No legitimate sovereign could expect 
more and greater concessions than revolutionary France had 
obtained, and the uncompromising suppression of Gallicanism, 
which was the assured consequence of those terms of the French 
Concordat by which the old episcopate was set aside, promised 
the victory to Ultramontanism in all the National Churches. 
Consalvi at once revealed his diplomatic skill by the very order 
in which the Concordats were concluded. Agreements with the 
friendliest governments, and with countries where the Jesuits 
had already begun to prepare the way for a return to the old 
state of things, opened this era of Concordats. 

In Spain Ferdinand VII. returned to the Concordat of 1753 ; * 
in Sardinia, the government persecuted all opponents of the 
Pope's Infallibility, and ten dioceses, which had been abolished 
by the French, were restored in 1817. 2 In the same year France 
concluded a new Concordat, by which the Concordat of 1801 
was made invalid, while the old Concordat of 15 16 was to come 
again into force. 3 The suppressed bishoprics were to be restored 
and endowed so richly that a great part of France would again 
come under the dead hand ; but the old rights of the Gallican 
Church would, by the new agreement, be in every respect kept 
sacred. At Rome people already rejoiced that the French Church 
had regained her old splendour, and Pius VII. showed his satis- 
faction by giving three of his legitimist antagonists among the 
French bishops the cardinal's hat. 4 But before this Concordat 
could become law in France, it had to be sanctioned by the 
chambers, and that proved impossible. The projet de lot, which 
the government laid before the legislative assemblies, contained 
in reality just as gross a violation of the new Concordat, as the 
Organic Laws did of the Concordat of 1801 ; and fury reigned 
at Rome over this last exhibition of French faithlessness. And 

1 E. Munch : Vollsldndige Sammlung aller Konkordate (Leipzig 1830) I, 443f. 

2 Munch II, 745 ; Bianchi I, 28sf. 

3 Miinch II, 54f. 

4 O. Mejer : Zur Geschichte der rom. deutschen Frage (Rostock 1872) II, 148!. 
That work contains also a catalogue of the extensive literature connected with 
this Concordat. 


even with the proposed restrictions, the Concordat of 18 17 
could not pass. Count Portalis was therefore sent to Rome to 
induce Pius VII. either to abandon the new Concordat altogether 
or to alter the articles objected to, so that there might be some 
hope of carrying the matter through. But all his efforts were 
fruitless. The Curia would go no further than to promise a 
suspension of the new Concordat until circumstances in France 
were changed. After the negotiations had been in abeyance 
for six months, Portalis renewed them under the ministry of 
Richelieu ; but Rome would not make any more concessions 
than before. In 18 19 a temporary suspension of the new 
Concordat was agreed upon, by which the Concordat of 1801 
again came into force for the time being. 1 And Pius VII. to 
the last held to this view of the arrangement of 18 19, as being 
merely temporary. 2 

The course of things in Bavaria was very similar. With that 
state also Rome made a most favourable arrangement in 1817. 3 
But here again opposition did not fail to declare itself, 4 and the 
government had to give way to the storm, by appending to the 
new Constitution an Edict which assured to the Protestants 
establishment and guarantees ; 5 since that time the government 
of Bavaria has halted between submission to the Concordat and 
loyalty to the Constitution. By a clever use of the fear of the 
Revolution, which possessed the Neapolitan reigning family, 
Consalvi at last succeeded, in 1818, in making a Concordat with 
Naples, which contained all the concessions that Rome could 
reasonably wish for. 6 The Revolution of 1820 certainly caused 
a temporary breach between Rome and Naples, but in 1821 
the Concordat again came into force. 

Things did not go so smoothly with the Protestant 
governments. The Republican Constitution of the Netherlands 
had brought with it religious liberty, but under Napoleon the 
affairs of the Roman Catholic Church had not been settled, 
although the Emperor had made several offers in that direction 

1 Bullariufn Romanum XV, 239. Speech of Pius VII. in a secret consistory of 
23rd August 1819. 

2 Compare the Circumscription Bull of 6th October 1822, Bullarium Romanum 
XV, 577f. 

» Munch II, 2i7f. 4 O. Mejer II, %-ji. 

5 Munch II, 226f. 6 Ibid., 7o8f. Bianchi I 274f. 

VOL. I. 2 A 


while Pius VII. was a prisoner at Savona. 1 Immediately after 
the Restoration, William I. expressed his wish to conclude a 
Concordat with Rome, which after being sanctioned by the 
estates should form part of the Constitution of the Netherlands. 
The negotiations were opened by Count Reinhold and continued 
by De Celles ; but it was not until 18th July 1827 that a con- 
clusion was reached, by which the French Concordat of 1801 
was extended to Belgium ; three new bishoprics were created, 
and the appointment of the Roman Catholic bishops was 
taken away from the non-Catholic King. 

At the Vienna Congress there had been an inclination to 
form a free German National Church, 2 and during the negotia- 
tions which took place in 18 18 at Frankfort between the states 
which composed the ecclesiastical province of the Upper Rhine, 
an echo of Febronianism was still heard. Metternich wished 
that all the German federal states should conclude a common 
Concordat with Rome, 3 and he made overtures in that direction, 
but they were without result. On the other hand, the several 
Protestant states in Germany made arrangements and Con- 
cordats of their own with the Pope. Frederic William III. 
sent to Rome the great historical pioneer, Niebuhr, as the 
representative of Prussia, 4 and Niebuhr obtained in 1821 an 
agreement with Rome which the Pope himself called mirificum. 
Niebuhr, who was critical enough in other things, was 
completely convinced of the Harmlosigkeit of the Papal 
Court; 6 and he was a bitter antagonist of Febronianism and 
of Jansenism. Therefore the agreement which he introduced, 
and which was concluded by Hardenberg himself during his 
stay at Rome, 6 was especially favourable for the Papacy. 

The only Catholic power which did not make a new agree- 

1 O. Mejer : Die Propaganda, ihre Provinzen und ihr Recht (Gottingen 1853) 
II, 97f. Nippold : Die rim. kath. Kirche im Kdnigreich der Niederlande (Leipzig 
1872), I49f. 

2 Nielsen : Det indre Liv I, 343f. 
a Nachgelassene Papiere II, 1, 3f. 

4 As regards the relations between Prussia and Rome in the beginning of the 
nineteenth century, see A. Frantz in the Deutsche Zeitschrift f. Kirchenrecht, 1892, igf. 

5 O. Mejer: Zur ram. deutschen Frage III, 1, 101. In 1824 Niebuhr wrote to 
Bunsen : " Der Katholicismus halt sich nur durch die absolute Indifferenz der hoheren 
Stande fur wirkliche Religion. Mit den Bedurfnissen des 16 Jahrhunderts verschwan- 
de er von der Erde." Bunsen I, 220. 

6 Mejer, 163. 


ment with the Pope was Austria ; for over this country there 
still hung in matters relating to the Church something of the 
spirit of Joseph II. But the Emperor Francis I. came to 
Rome in 18 19 with his consort, his daughter, Prince Metternich, 
and a splendid retinue, to visit Pius VII. and to demonstrate 
his affection and reverence for him. It was a welcome visit, 
and it would have been still more welcome if the Papal Treasury 
had not been completely empty. Pius VII. was obliged, 
curiously enough, to borrow some of the money for the 
festivities arranged for Francis I. and Metternich, from Madame 
Letitia Bonaparte and the Princess Pauline. The remainder 
was raised by the collecting of outstanding debts, and by the 
conclusion of unfortunate leases. 1 During the visit of the 
imperial couple to Rome the friendship between Consalvi 
and Metternich was renewed, and shortly afterwards the 
Austrian minister, on his way to Karlsbad, gave his Roman 
colleague good advice. " Crush intriguers and you diminish 
intrigues. You may in every respect rely upon us for help 
in the good cause ; " so runs the letter of Metternich. " The 
intimate understanding that exists between our two govern- 
ments will serve mightily for the preservation of peace, and 
the gates of hell will not prevail against it." 2 But Metternich, 
as we learn from his Memoirs, was anything but edified by 
his stay in Rome. He writes from there to his wife : " I 
confess that I do not comprehend how a Protestant can become 
a Catholic at Rome — Rome is like a most splendid theatre, 
but it has the poorest of actors. Keep my remark to yourself, 
for otherwise it will go the round of Vienna, and I am too 
much interested in religion and its victory to wish in any 
way to make an attack upon it." 3 

Other princely personages followed the example of 
Francis I., 4 as the Kings of Naples and of Prussia. Prince 
Christian of Denmark also, and Princess Caroline Amalie, 
visited Rome ; amongst Consalvi's letters there are letters of 
gratitude from them both for the kindness which the Cardinal 
had shown them during their stay in the Eternal City. It 
was during their visit that Thorvaldsen came into closer 

1 Gervinus II, 57. 2 Consalvi I, I26f. 

3 Metternich : Nachgelassene Pafiere II, 1, 194. 

4 Wiseman, 203f. 


contact with Consalvi and the Roman clergy. 1 But besides 
these guests Rome had several exiled kings constantly 
within her walls. Both Charles IV. of Spain and Charles 
Emmanuel IV. of Savoy had taken up their abode there, and 
the family of Napoleon also for a long time found an asylum 
at Rome. 

But it was above all the devotees of art and science who 
flocked to the city of St Peter, where antiquity and the Middle 
Ages meet. It was Consalvi's idea to make Rome the 
metropolis of the world as the city of art, since it no longer 
seemed able to be the world's mistress ; artists therefore were 
held in high honour. Canova was highly regarded both by 
Pius VII. and by his Secretary of State, and Thorvaldsen 
was able to create his masterpieces there, admired and honoured 
by all. During Consalvi's time it was chiefly sculpture that 
flourished in Rome; afterwards it was painting. In 1817, and 
often afterwards, the Crown Prince Ludvig of Bavaria visited 
the city to refresh his spirit by gazing at its art treasures. 
He acquired the Villa Malta on the Monte Pincio and lived 
amongst the antiquities of the Eternal City, surrounded by 
artists such as Cornelius, Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld, 
Overbeck, Catel, Thorvaldsen, and the architect, Leo von 
Klenze. 2 Rome also contained men of learning in great 
numbers. Several of the representatives of foreign powers, 
such as Niebuhr and Bunsen, have acquired a greater name 
in the history of knowledge than in that of diplomacy. 

But the city of St Peter was not allowed to be only an asylum 
for Church and art; under Pius VII. there were already fore- 
bodings of new storms. In 18 16 the Pope said to Artaud, 
when the conversation turned upon the recently published 
Motu proprio : " The people are difficult to deal with nowa- 
days." 3 He had reason to observe how the difficulties increased 
year by year. In 18 17 the Carbonari made an unsuccessful 
attempt to seize the town of Macerata, and two years after- 
wards it came to light that they had designs upon Rome 
itself. An Italian officer named Illuminati, brought a couple 

1 J. M. Thiele : Thorvaldsen i Rom II, 187. 

2 L. von Kobell : Unter den vier ersten Konigen Bayerns (Munchen 1894) I, 
»3f. Cp. Bunsen I, I4if. 

3 Artaud II, 484. 


of letters to the post-office. The postmaster noticed that the 
man was uneasy ; he therefore opened the letters. They con- 
tained information for fellow-members of a lodge, composed in 
enigmatic language. Illuminati was tortured, but he would 
confess nothing. He would not eat, in order to meet death 
without confessing. Then came a letter to him from his mistress 
at Venice, and love conquered politics. The desire of life 
returned ; he ate, and confessed. It appeared from his dis- 
closures that there was a network of conspiracy over the 
whole peninsula. 1 

When Spain in 1820 proclaimed the Constitution of 1812, 
a revolutionary movement was felt throughout the whole of 
Italy. In Naples the army demanded the Spanish Constitution 
of 1 8 12, and a revolution broke out in Sicily. In the south 
of Italy the rising was directed against the tyranny of the 
King ; in the north against foreign dominion. " The kingdom 
of Italy ! Independence ! " was the watchword in Piedmont. In 
the midst between these two revolutionary streams lay the 
Papal States, whose sovereign could never rule according to 
a Constitution, and whose minister was a friend of Metternich. 
In the enclaves of the Papal States, Benevento and Pontecorvo, 
people were already planting trees of liberty, and a declaration 
was published which stated that it was the will of the people of 
Benevento to live and die free, and in union with Naples. 2 In 
Rome rings were sold with death's heads and other emblems 
of the Carbonari; in the Legations, where the French rule had 
left behind it a revolutionary seed ready to sprout, the members 
of the secret societies held meetings in out-of-the-way places 
of the woods, and sang : " We are all soldiers of liberty ! " A 
fictitious proclamation was spread abroad, in which the Pope 
promised for the future to govern according to " the Spanish Con- 
stitution, the gospel, and the Council of Trent." It even seemed 
for a moment as if Consalvi's opponents, the most reactionary 
cardinals and the Liberals, would unite in a costituzione 
cardinalizia, formed after the Spanish model, which had very 
attractive features for the priesthood, because it forbade the 
exercise of any other religion than the Catholic, and surrounded 
the elections with religious ceremonies. 

Consalvi weathered the storm by keeping cool, and by 
1 Ranke, I27f. 2 Ibid., 129. 


combining firmness with clemency. During the carnival 
season, troubles broke out in the Legations, but when the 
Austrians appeared, matters became quiet again. The Holy- 
Alliance succeeded in smothering the revolts in the southern 
peninsulas of Europe, and Jansenism which had boldly raised 
its head in the Spanish Cortes and in the Portuguese court 
circles received thereby its death-blow. The victory of the 
alliance, however, was not an unmixed pleasure to Pius VII. 
He, like the rest of the Italian sovereigns, received much good 
advice regarding his government which Consalvi would not 
accept. It hurt him to see St Peter's successor placed on an equal 
footing with the princes of Tuscany and Modena. A Bull was 
promulgated in 1 821, as we have seen, against the Carbonari, but 
from that moment Consalvi became more distant towards 
Metternich ; whereupon the secret agents of Austria in Rome 
spoke with the greatest bitterness of the Cardinal, " who forgot 
the instructions he had received from the Allied Powers in 181 5." 
The condition of affairs in Rome was described as " demoralisa- 
tion in things spiritual, disorder and corruption in things 
temporal," and Roman politics as a mixture of Pharisaism 
and Machiavellism. 1 We cannot wonder therefore that Austria, 
when a rumour of the Pope's failing health was circulated 
looked about for a candidate for the Papal chair, and would 
on no account have Consalvi elevated to the Papacy. Louis 
XVIII. on the contrary trusted Consalvi more and more, and 
the Orleanists also leaned towards Rome. Louis Philippe 
in 1822 wrote in his paternal style to Consalvi, that his wife 
and he were "happy in inculcating upon their young family 
affection for the see of St Peter," and as a token of his great 
respect for the Cardinal he sent him some flowers, because he 
had learned from Talleyrand that Consalvi was a great lover 
of flowers. 2 

In the same year that the Pope issued the Bull against the 
Carbonari, the captive Emperor died. The pious Pope had never 
forgotten him. In October 18 17 he wrote from Castel Gandolfo 
to Consalvi : " The Emperor Napoleon's family has informed 
me through Cardinal Fesch that the climate of the rocky island 
of St Helena is deadly, and that the poor exile sees his strength 

1 The despatch in Delia Gattina IV, 318. 
s Consalvi I, I5if. 


ebbing away with every minute. This news has caused me 
unspeakable sorrow, and you will no doubt share it with me ; 
for we must both remember that, next to God, we owe it to him 
that religion was re-established in the great French Empire. 
Savona and Fontainebleau were only spiritual delusions or 
errors, due to human ambition ; the Concordat was a saving act, 
full of Christian courage. ... It would be to my heart a joy 
like nothing else, if I could help in lessening Napoleon's sufferings. 
He can no longer be dangerous to anyone. I only wish that he 
may not cause anybody remorse." * It was language worthy of a 
Christian. Pius VII. was minded to write to the Allied Powers, 
and especially to the Prince Regent of England, and he 
requested Consalvi also to intercede with that Prince, who was 
the Cardinal's "dear and good friend." In a letter of 18th May 
1 81 8, Madame Letitia thanks the Pope for all that he has 
done for her " great, unhappy, proscribed one in St Helena " ; she 
feels herself like the " mother of all sorrows," and her only 
consolation is that Pius VII. has forgotten the past, so that he 
now only thinks of her and her children with kindness. 2 

The news received from St Helena was always sad. Pius 
VII. had sent to Napoleon a priest, the Abb^ Vignali, who 
was to bring him the consolations of religion ; but there was 
nothing to indicate that misfortune and downfall had brought 
the Emperor to the Christian faith. He ordered, however, the 
Sacrament to be exhibited in the sick-room, and just before his 
death he received Extreme Unction. 3 His will opens with the 
words, " I die in the bosom of the Apostolic and Roman Church ; " 
and he wished to have the observances of the Roman Church 
followed at his funeral. When his doctor scoffed at this he said : 
" Young man ! You are perhaps too clever to believe in God ; I 
am not so advanced as that. Not all can be atheists." A few 
days before his death he said : " I shall see my generals again. 
They will meet me ; they will yet again feel the excitement 
there is in earthly glory. We will speak of what we have 
achieved ; we will converse about our art with Frederick, Turenne, 
Conde\ Caesar, and Hannibal, unless people up there, like those 
here below, should be afraid of seeing so many warriors in one 

1 The letter is in Consalvi I, o.of. Cp. Bianchi I, 265k 

2 Consalvi I, Ii6f. 

3 Lyonnet : Le Cardinal Fesch II, 658! 


place." Thus it was a modern Valhalla that he looked for, 
and Mme. de Remusat is scarcely wrong, when she says that 
Napoleon attached greater importance to the immortality of 
his name than to that of his soul. 1 

At last, on 5 th May, whilst storm and rain raged outside, 
he breathed his last after a terrible death struggle. " My 
son — the army — Desaix," were the few words that could be 
caught, and it has been gathered from them that the dying 
Emperor's last thoughts dwelt upon Marengo. As soon as the 
news of his death was received at Rome, Pius VII. ordered 
Cardinal Fesch to hold a memorial service, as a sign that 
Napoleon had died at peace with the Church, 2 and the Italians 
sang Manzoni's song, // cinque Maggio, with the verse : 

" II Dio, che atterra e suscita, 
Che affanna e che consola, 
Sulla deserta cultrice 
Accanto a lui posd." 

Pius VII. did not survive him long. On 6th July 1823, in 
the evening, he fell on the floor in his chamber in the Quirinal, 
and was obliged to keep his bed. While he lay ill, a disaster 
occurred, which to the Romans was an omen of the Pope's 
death : the Church of San Paolo outside the walls was burned 
down. 3 It was the most beautiful Basilica of Rome, built under 
Theodosius, with five aisles, divided by Corinthian columns. 
In the monastery by San Paolo Pius VII. had spent his youth as 
a quiet monk in literary occupations, and he loved that church. 
While it was burning, he was so ill that they dared not tell him 
about it. He grew weaker day by day, and he was prepared for 
the coming of death. The Emperor of Austria sent him old 
Tokay, and Louis XVIII. presented him with an ingeniously 
contrived mechanical bed to lessen his sufferings. On 17th 
August he made his communion, and on the 19th he received 
Extreme Unction ; and in all the churches of Rome prayers 
were offered for the dying Pope, who in a gentle voice 
continually repeated the words : " Savona — Fontainebleau." 4 It 

1 Mimoires II, 369. 

2 Artaud II , 577. 

s The particulars about the fire may be found in Bunsen I, 2o6f. Coppi V, 320. 
4 Artaud II, 604. 

xhi.] DEATH OF PIUS VII 377 

is a beautiful story that Pius VII. in his last illness would not 
bear the usual mode of address, " Most Holy Father," and said, 
"No, call me 'poor sinner.'" 1 On 17th August he died 
calmly and quietly, absorbed in prayer. Consalvi, who was 
himself ill with fever, had risen from his bed to watch the 
last three nights by his sovereign. 2 As soon as Pius breathed 
his last, he fell upon his knees at the bedside and watered the 
dead man's feet with his tears. 

With the death of Pius VII. Consalvi's rule came to an end. 
At the first meeting of the cardinals jealousy and ill-will towards 
the powerful Secretary of State were immediately displayed, 
but Cardinal Fesch defended him. 3 Cardinals della Somaglia 
and Ruffo received orders to prepare everything for a new 
Conclave, and while Masses were said for the deceased Pope, 
thoughts were eagerly turned towards finding the best man to 
succeed him. Consalvi never attempted to play a part again ; 
all his thoughts were concentrated upon raising a worthy 
monument to his dead master. In his will of 1st August 1822, 4 
he had appointed a sum of 20,000 Roman florins for this 
purpose. The execution was to be entrusted to Canova or to 
Thorvaldsen, and if neither could undertake the work, to one 
of the best sculptors in Rome. The monument was to consist 
of three statues : over the urn the statue of the Pope, and 
by his side two figures, representing heavenly Strength and 
heavenly Wisdom. 

As Canova died shortly after the will was made, the 
execution was entrusted to Thorvaldsen. 6 One day in 
November, while he was occupied in working at his Angel 
of Baptism, he was summoned to the Vatican, and was there 
commissioned by Consalvi to execute the monument of 
Pius VII. He was greatly pleased with this task; contrary 
to his usual custom, he stopped his friends in the street 
and told them of his good fortune. He made several 
sketches. First he represented the Pope sitting with a palm- 
branch in his hand, while two angels carried a crown of stars 
above his head. It was unfortunate, for palm and crown 

1 Henke : Foist Pius VII. (Marburg i860), 35. 

2 Bunsen I, 210. 3 Artaud II, 609. 

4 Printed in Consalvi I, icflf. 

5 J. M. Thiele : Thorvaldsen i Rom II, \%"]i. 


are the attributes of saints, and Pius VII. was not a saint. 
Then he represented the Pope sitting, weighed down by his 
many sufferings, with the triple crown, which he had taken 
off, standing beside him. 1 It was Pius VII. at Savona and 
Fontainebleau ; but what was desired was Pius VII. at Rome. 
At last he made a third sketch, in which the Pope sat, clothed 
in his heavy cope embroidered with the instruments of the 
Apostles' martyrdom, and his right hand uplifted to bless the 
people, and his left foot advanced for them to kiss. The face 
had the mild and gentle expression of the pious Pope, and 
contemporaries considered the likeness striking. The model 
for this monument, which was finished in 1825, was generally 
admired. But zealous Catholics were dissatisfied ; they thought 
it was a scandal that a heretic should execute a monument 
to the Head of the Church in the chief sanctuary of Roman 
Catholic Christendom, and they hoped that Thorvaldsen, as 
usual, would not be ready in time. But this spurred the 
great artist on. The monument was ready at the appointed 
time and was unveiled on 2nd April 183 1. 2 

1 The sketch is to be seen in the Thorvaldsen Museum at Copenhagen, Room 
XXXIII, No. 149. 

2 Gregorovius [die Grabdenkmaler der Piipste, I79f.) finds the monument "fast 
zu protestantisch " and says : " Ueberhaupt fiigt sich dieses Grabmal nicht gut in die 
grossen Verhaltnisse des Sanct Peter, und wenn es an natiirlicher Einfachheit des 
Stils Canovas Grabmal fiir Clemens XIII. iibertrifft, so muss es ihm doch an 
kraftiger Wirkung weit nachstehn. " To the first part of this criticism there is 
certainly nothing to be said.