A STUDY OF THE PROBLEM OF NATIONALISM
IN THE RELATIONS OF CHURCH AND STATE
HENRY H. WALSH
SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
FACULTY OF POLITICAL SCIENCE
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
To A. P. W.
ONE of the most outstanding characteristics of the doc- trine of nationalism has been its success in winning converts. Christianity has been justly famed for having conquered the Græco-Roman World in the brief space of three hundred years, but the doctrine of nationalism has conquered even a greater area in less than half that time.
The inherent antagonism between these two systems is at once evident. The universal ethics of the Church is nulli- fied by an exclusive ethics of a nation. If both institu- tions are true to their fundamental doctrine there would seem to be no possibility of peace between them; either the Church or nationalism, as we know it today, must abandon the field. The latter, according to its most recent exponents in Italy and Germany, leads logically to a completely integrated state; the former may not survive in such a state. This is the portentous struggle that is taking place between Church and state today, and it is of vital significance to the welfare of civilization.
The Concordat of 1801 was for all intents and purposes the beginning of the Church's considered attempt to deal with the new problem that had been forced upon it by the French Revolution. This book is an endeavor to make clear the fundamental issues that were involved in the nego- tiations of 1801 between the Papacy and the French Re- public. It does not profess to be a study of the substance and operation of the Concordat itself, but rather of the opinions of contemporary leaders of various schools of thought that were in vogue during the Napoleonic régime. In this regard the especial interest of the book is centered on the important influence that nationalism exerted on the minds of leading French statesmen and churchmen as they took their stands on the one side or the other in the never- ceasing struggle between church and state.
For my interest in the subject of nationalism I am deeply indebted to Professor Carlton J. H. Hayes, whose classes on that subject have been a source of inspiration to many. I also wish to express to him my heartfelt thanks for the painstaking care with which he read the manuscript. My thanks are also due to Professors Hazen and MacIver for valuable suggestions and criticisms and to Professor G. T. Robinson who has assisted me in reading the proof. Above all I wish to express my gratitude to my wife for never failing encouragement and assistance.
H. H. W.
PROVIDENCE, R. I., MARCH, 1933.
1. The Problem Stated 11
2. Nationalism as a Faith 11
3. Internationalism of the Church 14
4. The Holy Roman Empire and the Papacy 15
5. Summary 21
ON THE EVE OF THE CONCORDAT
1. Religious Parties in France in 1800 23
2. Semi-Religious Groups 25
3. The Worship of La Patrie 26
4. Philosophic Sects 27
5. Catholicism Regaining Popular Favor in 1800 28
6. The Pope's Attitude Toward the Suggested Concordat 30
7. The Policy of the First Consul Toward the Church 33
THE NEGOTIATIONS FOR THE CONCORDAT
1. Martiniana's Letter to the Pope 39
2. Circumstances Surrounding the Negotiations 40
3. Officials Connected with the Negotiations 41
4. Preliminary Stipulations by the French Government 43
5. An Ultimatum from the First Consul 46
6. The Papal Secretary Negotiates in Paris 47
7. The Domestic Situation in France Becomes an Obstacle 49
8. The Final Days of the Negotiations 51
9. Difficulties Preceding the Proclamation of the Concordat 53
10. Summary of the Concordat 54
11. The Organic Articles 56
12. Ratification Services in Paris and Rome 58
13. Apparent Subjection of the Church to the State 60
CHAPTER III - CHATEAUBRIAND
1. The Young Intellectuals 62
2. Chateaubriand's Conversion 63
3. Influence of Rousseau upon Chateaubriand 64
4. Chateaubriand's Apology for Christianity 66
5. His Contribution to a Romantic Nationalism 67
6. His Approach to a Traditional and Liberal Nationalism 70
7. An Imperialistic Tinge in His Nationalism 73
8. His Views on Internationalism 74
9. The Genius of Christianity Aroused Nationalistic Fervor 74
CHAPTER IV - JEAN-ETIENNE PORTALIS
1. The Legislative Bodies 76
2. Biographical 77
3. Portalis' Reasons for the Reestablishment of the Church 79
4. Limitations to be Placed upon the Pope's Sovereignty 88
5. A National Catechism and the Feast of St. Napoleon 94
6. Napoleonic Nationalism 97
CHAPTER V - JEAN SIFFREIN MAURY
1. The Divine Right Ecclesiastics 100
2. Biographical 102
3. Maury's Political Views 103
4. His Influence at Rome 106
5. Adviser to Louis Bourbon in Ecclesiastical Affairs 108
6. His Desertion from the Bourbon Cause 114
7. Blanchardists and Legitimists 117
CHAPTER VI - HENRI GRÉGOIRE
1. The Spirit of Jansenism 123
2. Grégoire's Republicanism 126
3. Grégoire Opposed Negotiating with the Pope 129
4. The Constitutional Councils Attempted to Create a Veritably National Church 132
5. Grégoire's Interpretation of Gallican Privileges 136
6. His Reconciliation of the Sovereignties of Church and State 140
7. His Conclusions on the Results of the Concordat in France 143
CHAPTER VII - JACQUES-ANDRÉ EMERY
1. Partly Biographical 146
2. Emery's Attitude Toward the Revolution 148
3. The Era of Disestablishment 155
4. After the 18th Brumaire 159
5. The Part Played by Emery in Reestablishing the Church 161
6. Divine Right Claims of Napoleon 162
7. Emery Becomes Ultramontane 166
8. Emery Foresees Danger in Nationally Controlled Seminaries 168
9. The Question of Canonical Institution 169
10. Decline of Gallicanism 176
1. Further Consideration on Napoleon's Policy Toward the Church 178
2. D'Astros' Youth 181
3. D'Astros' Cooperation with Portalis 182
4. His Opposition to the Emperor 184
5. His Controversy with Maury 187
6. Imprisonment of d'Astros and the Intimidation of the Chapter 190
7. D'Astros' Interpretation of the Emperor's Policy Toward the Church 194 8. D'Astros Abandons Gallican Privileges 197
JOSEPH DE MAISTRE
1. Liberalism and Absolutism 199
2. De Maistre's Admiration for France 203
3. De Maistre's Speculative System 205
4. His Criticisms of Eighteenth Century Philosophy 207
5. His Views on the Mission of France 211
6. On the Infallibility of the Pope 215
7. On the Divine Right of Kings 219
8. On Gallicanism 225
1. A Résumé 233
2. The Liberal Catholic Movement 235
3. Church and State Always an Issue 239
4. The Law of Separation, 1905 241
5. The Concordat of 1929 243
THE problem of Church and State as it unfolded itself during the negotiations for the Concordat of 1801 between the Pope and the French state was surprisingly novel to European diplomacy. It revealed a cleavage of opinion practically unknown in former attempts to reconcile things temporal and spiritual. Although there was much talk among the associates of the First Consul about the dangerous Canossa precedent, 1 the circumstances in 1801 were very different from those which gave rise to the Hildebrandine controversy. A new element had been intruded into this latest attempt to bring Church and state into harmonious relationship, making former endeavors to divide the fields of sovereignty seem almost simplicity itself.
This new phenomenon was nationalism, a revolutionary force, impatient of all traditional and venerable ideas of the essential unity of European thought and culture. It gloried in variety and assailed with unusual harshness the Catholic and imperial traditions of the Church of Rome.
An exhaustive definition of nationalism is hardly called for here. Enough research has been done, the results of which are pretty generally known, to enable us to use the term with- out too much ambiguity. Unfortunately for our purposes,
1 Boulay de la Meurthe, Histoire de la Négociation du Concordat de 1801 ( Tours, 1920), ch. i; a good account of prejudices adverse to the Concordat.
nationalism does not always assume the same form at differ- ent epochs of history. Therefore, it is necessary to try to fix its definite content in the year 1801. This has been well done by Professor Hayes, who has made a critical analysis of the elements that go to make up the perfervid patriotism which swept so suddenly over the French people during the fateful years of the Revolution. 2 He points out that the eighteenth-century intellectuals, by their "speculating on the similarities and contrasts between peoples" (the object of these speculations, to a large extent being primitive tribes) had invoked "a revival of tribalism." 3 The eighteenth- century humanitarians expected great things from this revival which was going to give the disinherited masses a new standing and the distressed a new hope.
Incidentally, Rousseau, the most lucid preacher of this new evangel, turned against the founder of Christianity because apparently of the latter's lack of appreciation of tribal solid- arity. Tribalism had never made any distinction between the nation and its religion; they were inextricably one. Rousseau charged our Lord with the crime of "separating the religious from the political system, and thereby destroy- ing the unity of the state and causing the intestine divisions which have never ceased to agitate Christian nations." 4 Furthermore, he declared that "whatever destroys social unity is good for nothing and that all institutions which put a man in contradiction with himself are worthless."5 Be-
2 Hayes C. J. H., Essays on Nationalism (New York, 1926), passim. 3 Hayes, The Historical Evolution of Modern Nationalism (New York, 1931), p. 10.
4 Rousseau, Contrat Social, bk. iv, ch. viii.
5 Ibid. J. H. Rose writes, "The influence exerted by Rousseau on the development of the national idea has not, I think, been sufficiently emphasized. Every student knows that Le Contrat Social is the source of the French democratic nation; but that work is equally the fountain head of modern nationalism. Montesquieu, writing only some fourteen years
sides encouraging nationalists to be very wary of the Church, he, by his low opinions of Christianity, early put the ecclesi- astics on the defensive against the new faith that was to make men free and equal.
It was this faith which turned the men of the French Revo- lution from sober statesmen into unreasonable fanatics and colored all their relations with the Church. It was this faith which still, after all the disillusionment of the Terror and many futile forms of democratic government, made the inti- mate advisers of the First Consul unceasing critics of the concordat he was endeavoring to bring about with the Pope of Rome. The cause of the dispute was the doctrine which Rousseau had so firmly inculcated into the minds of the French people, the absolute unity of the state in all its aspects.
Undoubtedly, Frenchmen had had a consciousness of nationality long before Rousseau instructed them in the com- plete sovereignty of the secular state. But it was expressed through loyalty to the king, rather than an exaltation of the people, a fact well illustrated in a political catechism drawn up for the training of the grandson of Louis XIV, in which the heir to the throne was taught that he alone would repre- sent "the entire nation which had no corporate existence apart from him." 6
Rousseau's task, then, was the transference of loyalty from the kingly symbol to the people themselves, who alone could constitute a nation. As Aulard says, this was an idea which was held by the leaders of French thought in the eighteenth century, even in the days of Louis XIV, and he quotes La Bruyère as saying that "under a despotism there is no true
before Rousseau, scarcely mentions the nation. . . . It was reserved for
Rousseau to set forth the national idea with a force and cogency which
opened up a new era both in thought and deed." Nationality in Modern
History (New York, 1916), lect ii, p. 22.
6 Ibid., p. 19, footnote.
country." Nevertheless, there seems little doubt that it was the eloquent pleading of Rousseau which brought to the people themselves the realization that they were the nation, or, in the words of Aulard, the belief that "there is no true country save where all are free, equal and brethren, where the people is self-governing and forms one family among the other families of the nations." 7 That, Aulard calls "revo- lutionary patriotism." On the 14th of July 1790, on the Champ de Mars, it blossomed forth as a religion. Such is the only name that Aulard can find for this striking "move- ment of union" where oaths were taken to the Fatherland with the deepest fervency and piety. "It was the worship of France, the Fatherland, as one, free and equal." In the hands of the Jacobins it also included excommunication from the Fatherland for all those who dared to impugn the unity of France or the equality of citizens. It is with this revolutionary nationalism, after it has passed through the "fires of the French Revolution" and taken on the intol- erant features added by the Jacobins, that we are particularly concerned in our study of the Concordat. 8
Jacobin nationalism could not tolerate any international organization like the Catholic Church, which claimed sover- eignty of its own within the state of France. A conflict of the national sovereignty of the nation with the international sovereignty of the Church was, in the nature of the case, inevitable, even though the internationalism of the Church
7 Aulard A., Christianity and the French Revolution (trans. by Lady Fraser , London, 1927), p. 64.
8 On this development, G. P. Gooch writes, "In the fulness of time the doctrine of nationalism issued from the volcanic fires of the French Revolution, carrying its virile message of emancipation and defiance to the uttermost parts of the earth, and filling the nineteenth century with the insistent clamor of its demands." Nationalism (London, 1921), p. 5.
in the eighteenth century was far different from that defined by Hildebrand and Boniface VIII. This, if for no other reason than that Europe was no longer politically the field upon which Hildebrand played his daring rôle.
The rise of self-conscious nationalities during the thir- teenth century had compelled the Church to face the realities of a new situation and to adapt its international outlook ac- cordingly. This new internationalism, which came into con- flict with French nationalism during the Revolution, calls for some explanation.
With the imprisonment of Boniface at the opening of the fourteenth century, the Church was forcibly brought to the realization that Europe was no longer one sovereignty, but that the Empire, which it had tried to rule, had broken into fragments in its hands. Internationalism, in the sense that Europe was one in thought and culture with a common center of law and morals, was gone. It was Grotius who, at a much later date, set down in precise terms what this new outlook involved. He regarded it as axiomatic that a state must hold its own existence and preservation as paramount to all other considerations, and follow the law of nature in its relation to other states. 9 He was, for the first time, making it clear to his contemporaries that the old form of unity, the ideal of the ancient Roman Empire, perpetuated during the Middle Ages by the Holy Roman Empire and the Catholic Church, had failed.
(4) The Holy Roman Empire had always been a rather shadowy affair, but it helped to keep alive the illusion that there was a supreme tribunal of appeal in Europe. "Not till the days of the Reformation," says Bryce, "was the illusion
9 Grotius H., The Rights of Peace and War (trans. by A. C. Campbell, London, 1910), vol. i, bk. ii.
dispelled." 10 It was this demand for a final court of appeal that made possible the coronation of Charlemagne in the ninth century. Although his coronation may be explained on the grounds of expediency, it had back of it, as Creighton has put it, "the aspiration of men's hearts, an ideal which was partly a memory of the world wide organization of the old Roman Empire, and partly a yearning for the universal brotherhood which Christianity had taught mankind." 11
In the ensuing controversies between Church and state, the latter strove to make real the world-wide organization, while the former tried to give the cultural and moral tone to the Empire. The conflict arose out of the fact that, in order to realize their ideals, both parties resolved to assume the supreme leadership. The Papacy at first made good its claim. Canossa caught the imagination of Europe. However, as Creighton says, the "drama of Canossa" is to be balanced with the "drama of Anagni." 12 But the counterblow, significantly enough, was not struck by the Empire, but by a feudal state which had at last become con- scious of its distinction of being French. Philip IV, by his imprisonment of Boniface VIII, caused the Church to lose caste, as Dante De Monarchia strikingly illustrates.
The Italian poet had not yet lost the ideal of European unity; rather he holds that, since "the whole human race is ordered for one end," it is necessary that "the leader and lord be one." 13 Yet not to the Church, but to the Empire, he turns for the fulfillment of his ideal. But he was singing
10 Bryce J., The Holy Roman Empire (New York, 1886, revised edition), vol. i, p. 87. 11 Creighton M., A History of the Papacy (London, 1892, new edi- tion), vol. i, p. 11. 12 Ibid., vol. i, p. 28. 13 Dante, The De Monarchia (trans. by Aurelia Henry, Boston and New York, 1904), p. 21.
the swan song of European unity. In the course of time another Italian formulated the philosophy of a new ideal which was to furnish Grotius with his problem of the Rights of Peace and War. Since Europe, by its division, had fallen into a state of nature, it was Machiavelli's high task to eluci- date to princes the law of the jungle. 14
It was too late by several centuries to revive the Empire. The Papacy had helped to destroy it, but in turn was power- less to control the rising nationalities, which were gradually assuming more and more sovereignty to themselves. Men no longer could be influenced by the old ideal, and the Papacy had no army worth calling upon to enforce its admonitions. Disintegration was setting in; it was now necessary that each national state look out for its own integrity. Machiavelli's teaching was well assimilated; ruthlessness, chicanery and sharp practice were regarded as legitimate weapons in the serious business of national survival.
During the era of Councils, it is true, valiant attempts were made to find some binding link to hold together a Europe not yet reconciled to falling apart. The Council of Constance (1414) was for a time the center of European politics. It may properly be regarded as a congress of European powers, a congress similar to those that followed upon the break-up of the Napoleonic Empire in 1814. 15 The fact that it organized itself into nations and that the Battle of Agincourt was fought while it was in session shows that as a peace-maker it was hardly a success.
The Council of Basle (1431-1437) resolved to profit by
14 "Princes ought, therefore, to make war their sole study and occupa- tion, for it is peculiarly the science of those that govern. . . . I repeat, therefore, that by a neglect of this art states are lost, and by cultivating it they are acquired." Machiavelli, The Prince, ch. xiv.
15 "The Council . . . was looked upon as a congress rather than a synod. . . . Europe was hopeless, distracted and longed to realize its unity in some worthy work." Creighton, op. cit., vol. i, p. 267.
the mistakes of Constance. Its leaders were now acutely conscious of the menace of national jealousies, and they opposed any division of the Council into nations. Some of the aims of Basle, as set forth by its able president, Cesa- rini, sound very much like a program for the League of Nations. Writing to Eugenius IV, in order to dissuade him from dissolving the Council, he says that "ambassadors have been sent to make peace between England and France, between Poland and the Teutonic knights," and he warns Eugenius that "the dissolution of the Council will stop their valuable labors." 16
No sooner was the Council dissolved by the Pope than national states began to debate just how many of its de- crees they would accept--clear evidence of the weakness of the Church as an international sovereignty. This weakness is borne out in the remark of the French king when some German princes agitated for a new General Council in 1444. He said, "It would be better to drop the name of a council and bring about an assembly of secular princes; where were the princes, there was also the Church." 17
With the advent of the Protestant revolt, all hope of holding Europe together was finally shattered. Despite the failure of the Councils to give political unity to the continent, the religious bond still had some semblance of reality. But, in the sixteenth century, that too disappeared. Internation- alism from now on was compelled to take a new form, a recognition of the differences between the states of Europe in religion, customs and government, and an attempt to ease the tension to which the continent was subjected by so many various systems. The old cosmopolitanism of loyalty and subjection to a common European center was gone.
However, even now, in the sixteenth century, the hope
16 Quoted by Creighton, op. cit., vol. ii, pp. 66-67.
17 Ibid., vol. ii, p. 224.
to get back to the former conditions was not entirely abandoned. Ranke, in his History of the Popes, points out that there was "one propitious moment for the reconciliation of Protestant and Catholic" that "would have given an unaccustomed unity to all Germany and would have greatly extended the power of the Emperor." 18 The Conference of Ratisbon, he thinks, did not come to nought through theological disputes, but because of political events, which need not have prevented a reconciliation. Charles V, he feels, would have been quick to seize the opportunity for compromise and "as chief of the moderate party would inevitably have obtained predominant influence throughout Europe, more especially in the event of a General Council." 19
Such speculation, however, seems fruitless. Even if there had been a genuine reconciliation at Ratisbon, it was hardly possible that Europe would long have submitted to a common lordship. The only real center, even in the better days of the Holy Roman Empire, was Rome; and the Papacy itself had abandoned the ideal of a political union to the extent of making alliances with Protestants in order to curb the threatening dominance of Charles V. 20
At the Council of Trent, the Church clearly accepted the realities of the new situation. The Popes now frankly recognized that, whatever the Church might be in theory, it was no longer in fact the final arbitrator in both spiritual and temporal matters; and Pius IV admitted that the only way in which the spiritual government of the Papacy could be carried on was with the aid of the sovereigns of Europe. In consequence, Cardinal Morone, the president of the Council (1563), proceeded to bring about a rapprochement
18 Ranke L. von, The History of the Popes (trans. by E. Foster, London, 1847), vol. i, p. 124. 19 Ibid., p. 125.
20 Ibid., p. 195.
between the Pope and the various European monarchs who still recognized the Catholic Church as established in their dominions. 21 It was this new arrangement, a somewhat vague and ambiguous division of sovereignty, which prevailed in France down to the Revolution. The Church still claimed most vigorously an international field of her own, and even Louis XIV, in his famous Four Articles, dared not deny it. Though the first article stated that "kings and princes are not by the law of God subject to any ecclesiastical power," this declaration of independence was carefully balanced by the addition "nor to the keys of the Church with respect to their temporal power." 22
Nor can this statement be regarded as anything more than a working arrangement. Not all the Popes nor the Jesuits accepted it. Indeed, one Pope again acquired an influence in Europe which, Ranke asserts, was "but little inferior to that which the Pope possessed in the eleventh and twelfth centuries." 23 The theoretical position of the Papacy was probably best stated by Bellarmine, that since the Pope is endowed with the fulness of spiritual power, there accrues to him a large amount of secular authority." 24 This, however, was not urged with any great vigor.
Though the Jesuits in the seventeenth century worked valiantly to restore the prestige of the Church in all departments of life by counseling kings, instructing the people in their political duties, and controlling education and literature, yet their methods on the whole were not in accord with the old internationalism of the Middle Ages. Rather, one might say, their policy had a divisive tendency, since the Jesuits
21 Ibid., p. 256.
22 On the Four Articles, vide Jervis W. H., A History of the Church in France, 1516-1789 (London, 1872). 23 Ranke, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 1.
24 Ibid., vol. ii, p. 4.
wherever they went earnestly sought to adapt themselves to local customs. In Spain, they became partisans for Spain; in France, they made themselves French. 25 Thus, whatever binding force was to be found in the religious and educational work of the Jesuits was lost in the remarkable religious apathy that accompanied the mercantile spirit which overran the world in the eighteenth century, invading even the Society of Jesus itself. 26
(5) It is not surprising, then, that, in the negotiations of 1801, the Church found itself struggling not only to preserve its spiritual independence, but to ensure the devotion and loyalty of its own members. Other interests than that of religion had been to the fore in the eighteenth century, above all, trade and commerce. Among certain classes anything that came into conflict with the new god was quietly suppressed, especially religious fervor. Such a faith could hardly answer the deeper emotional needs of the spiritual life of the people. The lack of the Church, however, was made up to a certain extent by the preachings of the humanitarians. When Rousseau added the proper emotional fervor to those new spiritual philosophies, he provided a gospel for the French Revolution. Out of it came the spontaneous formation of federations all over France, which finally culminated in the national federation at Paris. Altars were quickly raised to the new deity, and a new religion was ready to take its place in the vineyard which the Church had long sought to monopolize.
The success of the new religion in winning converts was
25 Ibid., vol. ii, p. 2.
26 "In place of that infallible decision hitherto awaited from the supreme spiritual pastor, there now ruled commerce and the interests of the great powers." Ranke, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 2.
at first tremendous, but a reaction was bound to follow. It was this reaction which gave the Church an opportunity to try to regain its lost prestige and which brought about the negotiations of 1801. By this time, however, the problem had to do not so much with a contest between two sovereignties, as with a struggle between two religions -- the Catholic faith, and the gospel of Jean Jacques Rousseau as interpreted by nationalist Jacobins.
ON THE EVE OF THE CONCORDAT
FOR an understanding of the circumstances in which the Concordat of 1801 was negotiated, it will be unnecessary here to pause upon the ecclesiastical legislation of the first democratic assemblies in France which had divided the Gallican Church into warring camps. Suffice it to say that when the First Consul began negotiating with the Pope, there were several religious parties in France claiming allegiance in some form or other to the Roman Catholic Church. There were, roughly, the Constitutionals, those who had acknowledged the Civil Constitution of the clergy as legal and binding upon the French Church; and there were the non-jurors, those who refused to regard the Constitution of 1790 as valid. But those two rough divisions do not begin to indicate the many conflicting views that had rent asunder the ancient Gallican Communion which Bonaparte was anxious to piece together again.
In the ranks of those who had set themselves in opposition to the government's ecclesiastical policy in 1790, namely, the non-jurors, there was no great show of unity. This party early divided on the question as to what lengths they ought to go in their opposition to the tactics of the Revolution. The oath demanded of the clergy on July 14, 1790, was not at first opposed by them all. 1 This oath read, "I swear to be faithful to the nation and to the law, and to maintain to the utmost of my power the Constitution decreed by the
1 Pisani P., L'Église de Paris et la Révolution (Paris, 1908, 2nd ed.), tom. i, pp. 176 - 184.
Assembly and accepted by the king." An influential clergyman, Abbé Emery, head of the Seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris, did not regard this oath as objectionable, since it did not involve accepting the Civil Constitution. There was considerable dispute on this point, but Emery felt that as the Civil Constitution of the clergy still lacked the king's signature, it could not rightly be included in the oath. 2 There is little doubt that its framers intended the oath to cover the recent legislation of the Assembly on the Church, and, as a consequence, the more conservative clergy would have nothing to do with it. From the beginning of the Revolution, then, there were two schools of thought in the non-juring party--a division which split their ranks beyond repair during the negotiations for the Concordat. The rigorists still refused to compromise with the Revolution, even at the command of the Pope, and finally found themselves a disowned group known as the Petite Église. 3 Nor were the Constitutionals a homogeneous party. The Convention had shown itself favorable to priests who were legally married, with the hope, as Aulard thinks, of discrediting all religion. 4 Many of the Constitutionals grasped this opportunity to take unto themselves wives, but married
2 Gosselin J. E. A., Vie de M. Emery (Paris, 1861), tom. i, p. 230. A good description of "the deepening of discord" between church and state even during the famous federation of July 14, 1790 is found in Hazen C. D., The French Revolution (New York, 1932), vol. i, ch. xviii. 3 A sympathetic account of this sect can be found in a little volume by Latreille C., L'Opposition religieuse au Concordat (Paris, 1910). Vide also Mathiez A., Rome et le Clergé Français sous la Constituante (Paris, 1911), pp. 113-115.
4 "In fact, the Convention set up a condition of privilege for married priests. They numbered more than two thousand, says their historian, the Constitutional Grégoire, who himself was unmarried." Aulard A. , Christianity and the French Revolution (trans. by Lady Fraser, London, 1927), p. 102.
priests were not only abhorrent to that great Constitutional, Abbé Grégoire, but to a large class of people professedly indifferent to religion and were a hardly tolerated party within the Constitutional framework. 5
(2) Besides the above mentioned parties, there were other sects in France in the year 1800, professing to be religious and claiming to be more truly universal than the Church itself. They were, for the most part, societies for patriotic propaganda, who regarded all churchmen as lamentably lacking in love for la Patrie.
It has been the habit sometimes to ascribe the growth of these patriotic sects to the teaching of the eighteenth-century philosophers. Aulard dissents from this view, as he holds that the men of the Enlightenment, unlike them, did not really wish to destroy the Church. Their policy, he says, was rather to unite the Church and state more closely together, in order that the state might be able to give good laws to the Church. They were of the opinion that religion was a necessary thing for the people, but they held that it was a state affair, and so their quarrel was with the Roman hierarchy and not with the Gallican Church itself. 6 The Civil Constitution of the clergy seems to give a clear support to this view, since it was written by men much under the influence of eighteenth-century philosophy. Furthermore, in the federation fêtes of 1790, there was much mingling of Gallican religion and patriotic fervor and little indication at this time of any movement to replace the Catholic religion in France. 7 Nor had the National Assembly, in its defiance of the Pope, any thought of injuring the Gallican Com-
5 Pisani, op. cit., tom. i, pp. 231-232.
6 Aulard, op. cit., p. 39. 7 Ibid., p. 65.
munion, and there was considerable amazement at the actual result of its ecclesiastical legislation.
It is upon the uprising in La Vendée that Aulard lays the blame for the intense unpopularity that overwhelmed Catholicism in France and almost destroyed it during the Reign of Terror. The Civil War was regarded by patriotic Frenchmen as a stab in the back of the much loved new Republic at the most critical moment of its existence. Papal partisans had committed "a crime against the Fatherland, that young Fatherland, so religiously adored--a crime which seemed horrible and inexplicable." 8
From now on good patriots regarded all forms of Catholicism as dangerous to the Republic and there were continual attempts to raise up a new religion to take its place. Mathiez, in an informing work, La Théophilanthropie et le Culte Décadaire 9 gives an exhaustive list of these substitute faiths. For the most part they were thinly veiled patriotic societies, and their weird ritual and bizarre fêtes were designed with the hope of making la Patrie as real to the outward senses as Catholicism had become through its appealing rites and ceremonies. Most of them, including the cult of Reason and the worship of the Supreme Being, had very brief periods of popularity.
(3) There were many attempts to make la Patrie itself a direct object of worship. The Convention toyed with this idea and applauded with enthusiasm a speech by Marie-Joseph Chénier, the burden of which was that it would be perfectly feasible to substitute the worship of the Fatherland for that of the Catholic religion. This speech so appealed to the Con-
8 Ibid., pp. 97-98.
9 Mathiez A., La Théophilanthropie et le Culte Décadaire 1796-1801 (Paris, 1904), p. 18 (especially introd.).
vention that they ordered it to be printed and distributed widely among the people. The following is illustrative of much of the eloquence that burst forth at the altars of la Patrie:
Wrench the sons of the Republic from the yoke of theocracy which now weighs upon them . . . then, free from prejudice and worthy to represent the French nation, you will be able on the ruin of fallen superstition to found the one universal religion which has neither secrets nor mysteries, whose one dogma is equality, whose orators are the laws, whose pontiffs are the magistrates, which asks no incense from the great human family to burn, save before the altar of our country, our mother and our deity. 10
Despite the optimistic predictions of such patriotic orators, congregations were difficult to lure to the altar of la Patrie in 1800.
(4) The Theophilanthropist Church, which embraced more than patriotic devotion, almost became a dangerous rival to Catholicism. The way for it had been prepared by sects of a similar nature bearing such suggestive names as la Religion Naturelle, le Culte Social, and le Culte des Adorateurs. The first of these was a Jacobin community, devoted to the realization of égalité in society; 11 the object of the Culte Social was to consolidate the Republic, 12 while the Culte des Adorateurs produced a messiah determined to regenerate his fellow citizens. 13
All these sects were supposed to abhor dogma; nevertheless, they multiplied on acount of philosophic divergencies.
10 Aulard, op. cit., p. 104.
11 Mathiez, op. cit., p. 40.
12 Ibid., p. 46.
13 Ibid., p. 48.
The Theophilanthropist, being more flexible than its rival faiths, made a wider philosophic appeal. Aulard describes it as a natural religion, not at all like the Rousseau-Robespierre types (purged and primitive sorts of Christianity), for it had as its basis the philosophic outlook of Voltaire and the English freethinkers. 14
This famous cult was for five years a cause of grave concern to anxious Catholics, especially because of the wise measures it took to perpetuate itself. Its educational activities were extensive and it persuaded many families to entrust the religious education of their children to its priests. Theophilanthropist baptisms and marriages became quite the mode in some circles. 15 But despite all its activities, there was really no chance for such a cult to become broadly popular because of the intellectual demands it made upon its devotees.
Besides the ever present Culte Décadaire, which only claimed to be a supplementary religion, there is one other semi-religious body that ought not to be overlooked in any review of religions in France previous to the Concordat. It was an anti-Christian group which advocated simply free thought, but with no official organization; yet it had a place, as Aulard puts it, "in the heart of the National Institute", 16 where it still continues to thrive.
(5) It was no pleasing religious scene that Bonaparte looked upon when he brusquely took over the control of affairs in France. But out of the welter of conflicting religious sects, only two groups, from the point of view of numbers (and numbers weighed heavily with the First Consul), were worthy of his consideration. He could make a national
14 Aulard, op. cit., p. 155.
15 Mathiez, op. cit., p. 244.
16 Aulard, op. cit., p. 156.
church out of the Constitutional or he could reestablish Roman Catholic Christianity in France. The latter alternative was, for many compelling reasons, the only practical way to dispel the discord.
After the proclamation of religious freedom in the law of the 3rd Ventose of the Year III, there had been a remarkable growth of Catholic worship. Aulard has demonstrated from communion lists that congregations at Church services were much larger at this time than they were previous to the Revolution. 17 Jurors and non-jurors were now practically on an equal footing. Grégoire, with his usual energy, led in the reorganization of his Constitutional Church, while Abbé Emery worked diligently for the reestablishment of a Catholicism loyal to the Papacy. Popular sympathy was, according to most observers, on the side of the latter, especially in the country districts. During the seven years of disestablishment, as Aulard facetiously puts it, "the people bubbled over with religion, and philosophy flourished among the elect." 18
It is the opinion of one critical observer of the passing scene, the Baroness de Staël, that the great majority of churchmen were quite content with the state of affairs as they existed during this era of disestablishment. She asserts in her Memoirs that "the most sincere partisans of the Church only aspired to a perfect religious liberty, and the general view of the nation was that all persecutions against the priests should cease." From this she drew the rather hasty conclusion that "the Consular government could have
17 Ibid., p. 148.
18 Ibid., p. 146.
An interesting account of the years of disestablishment is found in Sloane, M. S., The French Revolution and Religious Reform (New York, 1901), pp. 203-242.
satisfied public opinion by maintaining in France toleration such as existed in America." 19
Her assertion, however, is not borne out by a close analysis of the literature of this period. Latreille, who has made a careful study of the situation which the First Consul faced in 1800, dissents from any such view, and thinks that the opinion of Madame de Staël, formulated towards the end of her life, was based upon the consequences of the Concordat rather than the events that brought it about. He says significantly "that a society which was about to make a feast to the Génie du Christianisme of Chateaubriand was hardly ripe for tolerance." 20
(6) There were serious and weighty reasons why both the First Consul and the Pope should have felt that a religious accord was necessary in France in 1800. But considering the fact that the Papal party was gaining ground, the question not unnaturally arises: Why did the Pope attempt to negotiate upon the very unequal terms he was compelled to accept at the hands of the First Consul?
The answer seems obvious. The Revolution may have failed in its first direct effort to destroy Catholicism in France, but its later tactics were much more dangerous than that of open and violent persecution. The Directory, for example, had placed public instruction on a purely nationalistic basis. In the Year VIII a circular to teachers of central schools ordered them to remove from instruction "everything that pertained to the doctrines and rites of all religions
19 Staël, The Baroness de, Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution (trans. into English, 1818), vol. ii, p. 3. 20 Latreille, op. cit., p. 128.
A similar opinion is expressed by Baudrillart A., Quatre Cents Ans de Concordat (Paris, 1905), ch. iv.
Vide also Champion E., La Séparation de l'Église et de l'État en 1794 (Paris, 1903), ch. xxiii.
and sects whatever they might be." 21 Nothing must be taught but universal morality. All free schools that were discovered not teaching the nationalist principles of the French Revolution were to be closed.
It is true that after the 18th Brumaire, the Directory had disappeared, but those who had given it support were still prominent in the public life of the nation. There were the ever present Jacobins, propagating their new-found faith, and they regarded the Church as the eternal enemy of democratic nationalism. Besides these philosophic opponents, there were by now a host of self-interested ones, created by the confiscation of Church property.
Against these powerful enemies, it was dangerous for the Papacy to place too great confidence in the revival of Catholic practices during the period of separation of Church and state. As Boulay de la Meurthe points out, this religious zeal was very much dependent on social situations. 22 The Third Estate, for example, had, in days gone by, aped the men of the Enlightenment to lift itself out of the vulgar strata, and was prone to shun all connection with Christian dogmas. This it was still inclined to do. The nobility while in exile had professed great affection for the Roman See in the hope of political gain, but there was yet grave doubt if it had abandoned its old-time scepticism. Nor were the mass of laborers in both city and country going to forget that the Revolution, despite all its excesses, had released them from many a burdensome Church tithe and feudal due. All these interests were serious menaces to the continuing popularity of the Catholic religion, of which the Pope was by no means unaware, and he felt that the time had arrived to consolidate the gains made in the previous seven years.23
21 Aulard, op. cit., p. 157.
22 Boulay de la Meurthe, Histoire de la Négociation du Concordat de 1801 (Tours, 1920), pp. 3-5.
Pius VII had never been in any sense a rigorist in his opposition to the Revolution; he was hardly even a royalist. While he was bishop of Imola he had published a homily in which he asserted that the democratic principles of the French Revolution were not in opposition to the maxims of the Gospel. 24 Indeed, he had gone as far as to proclaim that the new democracy required of its subjects, virtues, which, if practiced, would make them better disciples of Jesus Christ. For this speech Pius VII was sometimes called a Jacobin. 25
Since he had no conscientious scruples against the political constitution of France, and as he knew well the serious divisions in the ranks of the Papal party, the Pope considered he was well advised for one compelling reason to make an agreement with Bonaparte.
When the first overture was made to him, Pius VII had just returned to Rome under the very dubious protection of Austria. The French victory at Marengo had greatly shaken the ability of Austria to continue her support and it looked as if he must return to exile. The notes of the startling Te Deum at the Cathedral of Milan, after the battle of Marengo, accompanied by the First Consul's dramatic outburst, "I have spoken to the patriots, let your priests say
23 On the religious situation in France in 1799vide Mourret F., Histoire Générale de l'Église (Paris, 1919, 2nd ed.), tom. vii, pp. 282-294.
24 Artaud M. Le Chevalier, Histoire du Pape Pie VII (Paris, 1837, 2nd ed.), tom. i, p. 69. The following extract is taken from the famous homily, "La forme du gouvernement democratique adoptée parmi vous, ô très-chers frères, non, n'est pas en opposition avec les maximes exposées ci-dessus, et ne repugne pas à l'Evangile; elle exige au contraire toutes les vertus sublimes qui ne s'apprennent qu'd l'école de J. C. et pratiquées par vous, formeront votre felicité, la gloire et l'esprit de votre république. . ." 25 Nielsen quotes Ruffo as calling Chiaramonti a Jacobin like himself, and thought he would be the right man for Pope. The History of the Papacy in the XIX Century (trans. under the direction of A. J. Mason, London, 1906), vol. i, p. 206.
the Mass", 26 was a clear challenge for a change of Papal policy toward the French Revolution. Since those upon whom the Papacy depended for protection were proving frail supports, was it not possible that France might be made to assume again her proud title, the eldest daughter of the Church, and "cease from repudiating her past"? 27
Other motives of a more doubtful nature have been imputed to Pius VII. Debidour, a rather harsh critic of the Roman See, puts forward the idea that the Papacy saw an excellent opportunity to inflict a mortal wound upon its old enemy, Gallican liberty. It is his opinion that Pius VII really desired that his hand be forced, and for obvious reasons: "that the First Consul in recognizing the Papal authority to depose bishops without canonical faults should imprudently destroy one of the last guarantees of episcopal freedom against the disciplinary absolutism of the Papacy." 28 But it is quite evident that this is merely a conjecture as to the unrevealed thoughts in the Pope's head, since, publicly at least, he made a firm show of resisting the First Consul's demand that all the bishops of France should be compelled to resign their sees. 29
(7) The objectives of the Pope, on the whole, seem quite clear, but the policy of the First Consul was not so transparent at the opening of the negotiations. His old Jacobin friends were shocked that he should consider making any terms, however advantageous, with what they considered the arch-
26 Boulay de la Meurthe, Documents sur la Négociation du Concordat et sur les autres Rapports de la France avec le Saint-Siège en 1800 et 1801 (Paris, 1891-1897), tom. i, p. 21. 27 Ibid., introd., pp. v-vi.
28 Debidour A., Histoire des Rapports de l'Église et de l'État en France de 1789 à 1870 (Paris, 1911, 2nd ed.), p. 199. 29 Vide infra, ch. ii, p. 43.
enemy of democratic nationalism. Undoubtedly Bonaparte, if he had followed his own personal preferences, would have chosen the Constitutional Church. But this ill-starred body had never from the beginning been able to secure any large following in France. The Reign of Terror, which had visited relentless persecution upon Catholic priests, had proven an even greater scourge to the new ecclesiastical organization. The latter, but for a few notable exceptions, had not shown itself the stuff that martyrs are made of, and many of its members abjured their faith. After the more violent days of the Revolution, a goodly number of its priests repented of their schism from the Catholic communion, and deserted to their old faith. Boulay de la Meurthe estimates that by 1796 the Constitutionals numbered no more than seven thousand members; in some Departments there were only two hundred adherents, in others, only ten. 30 Furthermore, those who persevered with the new organization were a difficult flock to manage, since they were a proud remnant in whom "the spirit of presbyterianism and democracy would brook no interference" 31 from episcopal overseers.
Much to his dismay, Grégoire found that the Jansenist spirit was the chief obstacle to his practical desire to centralize and strengthen the Church of his dreams. Boulay de la Meurthe thinks that he would have shown the qualities of "the chief of a sect" 32 if but given a chance. The opportunity, however, was never to present itself. He made an attempt to gain a strategical advantage over the non-jurors in the early days of the Consulate by summoning a Constitutional Council at Paris, which was to meet annually. This Council was in session during the negotiations for the Con-
30 Boulay, Histoire, pp. 6-7.
31 Ibid., p. 8. 32 Ibid., p. 15.
cordat, and was continually urging all true Catholics to unite with it as the only legitimate church of France.
Bonaparte, for purposes of his own, permitted the Constitutional Council to proceed with its labors unmolested, even while he was closeted with representatives of the Pope. He knew well that when this so-called Church was no longer useful to him as a cause of embarrassment and a standing threat to the Pope, he could easily make an end of it; for the very basis of its foundation was that religion and church government were state matters. When the state saw fit to repudiate it, there was no other alternative for it but to make as graceful an exit as possible.
The principles of this Church were admittedly satisfactory to Bonaparte; he frankly stated that "they had good maxims, but no reputation." Moreover, according to him, "they had a great many priests" but "few of the faithful." 33 On these grounds, because of lack of numbers and popularity, he could only cast toward them a regretful sidelong glance and then turn to the more hopeful task of attempting to mould those who still adhered to the See of Rome into a subservient national church.
Though this remnant of the old Gallican Church was but a pale shadow of the proud body which had once been unquestionably acknowledged as the First Estate of the realm, it had regained an influence in France which the First Consul was quick to perceive. Boulay de la Meurthe, who has furnished some interesting statistics on its strength at this time, estimates that exiles for the Church amounted to about twenty-five thousand souls. Of the eighty-eight surviving bishops of the ancient régime, three had been lost by desertion to the Revolution, twelve continued in France, and seventy-three others were dispersed throughout Europe,
33 Boulay, Documents, tom. i, p. 269.
especially in England and the Empire. 34 However, neither those bishops nor their congregations were united in their opposition to the new régime in France. 35 There were moderates and rigorists, and the oath of fidelity demanded by the government in 1800, in the words of Latreille, had set "bishop against bishop, priest against priest, faithful against faithful," and created a division which "extended from the summit of the hierarchy down to the lowest step of the ladder." 36
One would have expected Bonaparte to have been loath to reestablish a body so badly rent asunder, but he probably welcomed a division which gave him a commanding position as a peacemaker and an opportunity, by the very fact of the internecine strife, to create out of the fragments a church according to his heart's desire. In France the moderates were in the majority, and to them the devout of France were turning for spiritual nourishment. It is Boulay de la Meurthe's estimate that the number of faithful at the debut of the Consulate was about triple that of the Constitutionals. 37 If Bonaparte could gain the loyalty of this group he would then have a strong moderate nucleus which would become imbued with his own national views and about which he would endeavor to build up a Gallican communion to serve as the chief bulwark and adornment to a Napoleonic dynasty, as the old Gallican Church had formerly served the Bourbons.
Moreover, the First Consul seems to have been sincerely convinced that any well organized state must have a reputable religion, in order to explain or soften the injustices and
34 Boulay, Histoire, p. 17.
35 A clear and brief account of the conflicting points of view within the party loyal to the Pope is found in Desdevises du G. Dezert, L'Église et l'État en France (Paris, 1907), tom. i, pp. 328-346, 36 Latreille, op. cit., p. 75. 37 Boulay, Histoire, p. 22.
inequalities which he regarded as innate in any form of social organization. In a conversation at Malmaison in August, 1800, he makes clear to some philosophic friends their error in trying to conceive a society without religion. He asks them, "How can there be any order in the state without religion?""Society," he says, "cannot exist without inequalities of fortune and the inequality of fortune is not able to be maintained without religion." To make this assertion clear to mentally confused metaphysicians, he gives them a graphic example of the rôle that religion plays in society:
When a man dies of hunger alongside another who is glutting himself, it is impossible to explain to him this difference if there is not present an authority who can say to the dying man, "God has willed it so; it is necessary that there be both poor and rich in the world, but afterwards in eternity the sharing shall be otherwise. . . .
In the same conversation he asserted that, since religion is absolutely necessary, any wise government will see that it is master of its priests. If not, he held that it has much to fear from them. To leave them "to one side and not be interested in them when they are tranquil and arrest them when they become agitators" seemed about as sensible to the First Consul as "saying there are some men with lighted torches about the house, leave them alone; if they set it on fire, arrest them." 38
In all this Bonaparte did not have a very high opinion of the integrity of the priests who were to be so useful to him in his avowed object of getting France back into a conventional frame of mind. He was quite frank as to the means by which he hoped to bind the leaders of the Church to himself--through their pecuniary interest. A state-paid Church,
38 Boulay, Documents, tom. i, p. 77.
he felt, would do the bidding of the government and avoid any fear of intractable clergy.
The Concordat of 1801 was to be, in the eyes of the First Consul, a substantial contribution to the social tranquility of France. It was probably designed also to aid in a far-reaching scheme of world domination. But this is a topic that can be more fully dealt with in a later chapter.
THE NEGOTIATIONS FOR THE CONCORDAT
(1) AN old yellow letter recently discovered in the archives of the Vatican is probably the earliest record extant on the overtures for the Concordat of 1801. It is addressed to Pius VII and signed by Cardinal Martiniana. Boulay de la Meurthe was unable to find this letter when making his exhaustive collection of documents, but Mathieu, with the aid of Rinieri of the Civilta Cattolica, discovered several official papers connected with the Concordat that had escaped the notice of Boulay de la Meurthe. Among them was the letter of Cardinal Martiniana which appeared, translated into French, for the first time in 1903. 1
It was written from Verceil, dated June 26, 1800, and gave the gist of a conversation that the cardinal had had with Bonaparte, who stopped off at Verceil on his way to Paris after the battle of Marengo. Beginning with a eulogy of the famous warrior, Martiniana unburdens himself of the remarkable ideas that Bonaparte had in view for the future of the Church in France. The First Consul revealed to him that he would like at this time to be completely rid of the old Gallican Church and with the aid of the Pope make a new start in France. Bonaparte gave as his reason for this drastic act the fact that the émigré bishops who remained in exile were "for the most part animated not by pure zeal for religion but by temporal interests and views," while Constitutionals, on the other hand, would not even bear discussion. Therefore, it will be necessary to
1 Mathieu Cardinal, Le Concordat de 1801 (Paris, 1904, 2nd ed.), p. 2.
choose new bishops by the power which exercises the sovereignty in the nation the Pope from whom "they shall receive their mission and their bulls, reserving to himself the right of canonical institution."
The First Consul was of the opinion that the lands which had been alienated from the Church during the Revolution could not be touched because of the confusion and anger that would result in the attempt to take them from their present owners several times removed from the first confiscation. But, in compensation, he thought that the national treasury could finance the Church, if the number of bishoprics were sufficiently reduced. 2
Such, in brief, were the contents of Martiniana's letter, which Pius VII must have read with the keenest interest and joy. It is important, since it embodied almost completely a rough outline of the reconciliation between the French government and the Holy See which finally became official in the Concordat of 1801.
(2) It is well to keep in mind the circumstances prevailing at the Papal Court during the whole period of the negotiations. French soldiers were stationed just beyond the limits, and sometimes on the possessions of the Holy See. The army was a standing threat to the Pope and put him in the embarrassing position of seeming to yield to physical pressure. Boulay de la Meurthe repudiates the charge that the First Consul presumed to any great extent on his military advantage (Talleyrand he considers the villain of the piece), but he admits that it is true that Bonaparte took many liberties with private despatches between the Roman See and its envoys. The latter, therefore, worked in an atmosphere of suspicion and delay, since they could not trust the French
2 Ibid., pp. 3-5.
post, and the impoverished state of the Pontifical exchequer forbade the expense of private couriers and compelled the Pope's advisers to rely upon friends who were traveling between Rome and Paris, to carry back and forth their most confidential messages. 3
The spirit of the courts at both Rome and Paris was openly hostile to any accommodation between them. The advisory body which should naturally have assisted the Pope and his secretary of state in their very delicate and unprecedented task was the old Congregation created in September, 1790, to examine the Civil Constitution of the clergy decreed by the National Assembly. It was not a hopeful body to turn to for unprejudiced advice, since it was inclined to brood upon past grievances, and was, at the same time, too large and unwieldly to consult in a negotiation in which hasty and vital decisions were not unlikely to be the order of the day. 4
The Papal secretary, Consalvi, decided that it would be necessary to have on hand a smaller and picked company which could be summoned together at a moment's notice; and so, on July 28, he obtained from the Pope a Pontifical decree, nominating five cardinals, five bishops and an equal number of trained theologians or advisers on special questions. This new advisory group was known as the Little Congregation. 5
(3) Upon Monsignor Spina, archbishop of Corinth, fell the task of representing the Roman See in Paris. He was regarded as particularly well informed on French political affairs, having lived for a time in Paris and being personally known to Bonaparte. His chief instructions for negotiating
3 Boulay, Documents, introd., pp. xxii-xxiii.
4 Boulay, Histoire, p. 104.
5 Ibid., p. 105.
were to remember "the privileges indispensable to the carrying on of the Catholic cult" and to secure a true recognition of the jurisdiction of the Church in France. 6 In other words, to make clear to his French colleagues that the Church "should constitute and maintain itself a society, in such a manner as to accomplish freely and fully here below its spiritual mission." 7
When Spina arrived in the French capital, it did not take him long to discover that the First Consul was about the only official connected with the government there who really desired a concordat. The latter had considerable difficulty in finding a satisfactory negotiator who would carry on with anything resembling an open mind. Talleyrand, the secretary of state, was secretly hostile, and he hoped to wear out Bonaparte's patience by overwhelming him with the intricacies of the Roman doctrine. 8 Bonaparte had first turned to Grégoire as a probable plenipotentiary, but Port Royal still rankled in the latter's mind and the First Consul was compelled to listen to a long harangue on ecclesiastical government from a Jansenist point of view. 9 It was soon clear to Bonaparte that Grégoire's principles were too rigidly fixed for him to be helpful in the delicate task of reconciling the French nation with the Holy See. At last he hit upon Bernier, a refractory priest, who had played a prominent part in the royalist uprising in La Vendée. This priest was a man of great personal ambition who had perceived an opening for advancement by early attaching himself to the rising star of France. The First Consul asked Talleyrand to estimate Bernier's qualities. The latter's estimate was favorable
6 Ibid., p. 125.
7 Ibid., pp. 125-126.
8 Boulay, Documents, introd., p. xxii.
9 Grégoire gives his own account of the conversation in his Essai Historique sur les Libertés de l'Église Gallicane (Paris, 1820), pp. 212-227.
and Bernier became the diplomatic agent of the French government to treat with the representatives of the Holy See. 10
(4) It was Bernier, then, who greeted Spina when he first arrived in Paris, and began with him to round out a tentative Concordat. The French representatives were, from the outset, insistent that the bishops of the old régime be forced to resign their sees. This was no small demand to make of the Pope, since these bishops had suffered persecution because of their unswerving loyalty to the Holy See. Nor could the French government have been unaware that in asking the Pope to exercise such drastic powers it was helping the Papacy to undermine the keystone of Gallican liberty.
As already observed, it has been supposed that the Pope was secretly pleased with the French insistence on this stipulation. 11 However, Spina's eloquent plea on behalf of the old episcopate fails to give any support to such a conjecture. In a letter on the subject to Bernier, he wrote, "It would be strange indeed to hoist anew in the provinces the standard of our Holy Religion on the ruins of eighty columns of faith, overthrown and destroyed by the same arm of Peter which ought to sustain and protect them." 12 Bernier's reply to this impassioned plea sounds more like that of a good Jacobin nationalist than a Vendean rebel. He wrote with patriotic fervor:
The immensity of the sacrifices that France has made during the Revolution is known to all Europe. It is not one class, not a portion of the citizens who have suffered; all have undergone
10 Boulay, Histoire, pp. 165-166. A bitter characterization of Bernier is found in Sèche L., Les Origines du Concordat (Paris, 1894), tom. ii, pp. 60-65. 11 Vide supra, ch. ii, p. 33, note 29.
12 Boulay, Documents, tom. i, p. 119.
the necessity, often fatal, which makes the welfare of the state the first of all laws; all have made to la Patrie the indispensable sacrifice of their arms and faculties. 13
Whether the Pope really desired to accede to Bonaparte's demand or not is beside the point. On no other terms could the negotiations have proceeded. Bernier wrote directly to Pius VII himself, and frankly informed him that "if this question is the most painful to your Holiness, it is, in the eyes of the government, the most important", 14 and added that no treaty of peace or union could be considered until the question was settled in accordance with the wishes of Bonaparte. The second consideration that Bernier brought forth as a sine qua non, without which no profitable discussion could take place, was the abandonment by the Church of all claim to her alienated property in France. Any suggestion of its return, Bernier warned the Pope, "would arm half the nation against the Concordat." 15
Neither of these two contentious subjects was to prove, in the long run, a real impediment to an agreement. However, the next issue was less easily disposed of. It concerned the Constitutional bishops whom the Church regarded as in schism. The suggestion of Bernier that they might be automatically received into the Catholic fold by "adhering to the act or treaty of union" 16 was too simple by far. The Pope remained rigidly opposed to any reception into the Church of schismatical bishops without some show of repentance for their errors; while Bonaparte, on the other hand, was equally firm in preventing any humiliation of his former revolutionary colleagues. This was a problem that was never satisfactorily solved. Bernier used all his ingenuity to break the
13 Ibid., tom. i, p. 121.
14 Ibid., tom. i, p. 309. 15 Ibid., tom. i, p. 313. 16 Ibid., tom. i, p. 315.
impasse, but, after he had proclaimed that he had secured an abjuration of errors from the Constitutionals, which he was delegated to deliver to the Pope, some of them denied ever having agreed to it. 17 It has been suggested by Debidour that the desire for a cardinal's hat had something to do with the suspicious circumstances surrounding this dubious act on the part of Bernier. 18
After much sparring between the Roman and French representatives, a concordat, called the Fifth Project, was finally agreed upon and sent to Rome. It had really been dictated by the First Consul and embraced the general ideas he had formerly confided to Cardinal Martiniana. 19
The draft was found unacceptable at Rome for many reasons. The French government was informed that the Pope could not, in any way, seem to approve of laws relating to divorce; the marriage of priests must be denounced; the Church did not wish to legalize the sale of effects of the clergy; nor would the Pope confirm the appointment of bishops and priests who had been consecrated without his consent. The Sacred College also would not hear of the organization of a French national ecclesiastical council whose decisions in the affairs of the Church in France were to be supreme and independent of the Pope.
Bonaparte had assumed that his project would be immediately accepted by the Roman See. He was much taken aback when the Fifth Project was returned to him, a drastically altered document. 20 Talleyrand was directed to inform Cacault, the French agent at Rome, that the gov-
17 On this transaction vide d'Haussonville, Comte, L'Église Romaine et le Premier Empire (Paris, 1868), tom. i, pp. 201-205. 18 Debidour, op. cit., p. 225.
19 The Fifth Project is given in full in Boulay, Documents, tom. i, p. 351.
20 The Contre-Projet is listed as Doc. No. 400 in Boulay, Documents, tom, ii, p. 268. It was sent to Paris, May 12, 1801.
ernment was in no mood for dilatory methods, and that this should be made clear to the Court of Rome. 21 In the letter which Talleyrand sent off, he made the protest more emphatic by pointing out that the only alternative for the Pope, failing an alliance with France, was to put his faith in the military support of two heretical nations, England and Russia. 22
(5) However, Cacault's effort to speed up the Roman diplomats was entirely unsuccessful, and it was decided that a time limit had to be set to their parleys. Bernier was called upon to inform Consalvi that the First Consul's patience was utterly exhausted. "He has charged me," wrote Bernier, "to say to your Eminence that all unnecessary delay shall be imputed to the Holy See; that he will regard it as an overt rupture, and will therefore occupy the estates of the Holy See under title of conquest." And while making this military threat, the letter reaffirmed in no uncertain terms the points to which the Papacy had taken exception in Bonaparte's project; namely, that the First Consul was determined to have a "clergy submissive and faithful to the government", and that those who had accumulated Church lands must have no reason to fear for their titles. Most emphatic of all these reiterations was that the article on the nomination to the new bishoprics was to be expressed in the following words: "His Holiness shall not recognize any titularies of bishoprics retained in France other than those who shall be designated such by the First Consul." 23
Having given this frank warning to Consalvi, Bernier sent some fresh interpretations of the Fifth Project to Cacault, who was to deliver them to the Papal secretary along with the
21 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 400.
22 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 401.
23 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 402.
following ultimatum: "that if, after the delay of five days, the Pope has not adopted, without modification, the two aforesaid projects, my presence at Rome becomes useless in the chief object of my mission and I shall be obliged in virtue of my orders to retire to Florence." 24
The arrival of this ultimatum threw the Roman Court into despair. It was considered impossible for the Church to yield to Bonaparte's threats. Five days was too short a time for a courier to reach Paris and return to Rome. Cacault would have been compelled to leave in the interval and thus would have automatically brought the negotiations to an end.
It was the French representative who finally found a way out of the difficulty. He suggested, upon his own responsibility, that Consalvi should leave Rome in an open carriage with himself, thus avoiding the appearance of a final rupture, and then the cardinal secretary should proceed to Paris to endeavor there to make Bonaparte see wherein his requests were in conflict with fundamental ecclesiastical government. 25 This plan was successfully carried out.
(6) Cardinal Consalvi reached Paris on the night of June 20, and from then on strenuous efforts were put forth to find formulae which would dissipate the fears of partisans of both Church and state for what they considered inalienable rights and liberties.
Before Consalvi arrived in Paris, the Roman Counter Project had been the subject of considerable discussion among the French diplomats. Bernier had reported on it rather favorably to the First Consul, admitting, however, that the Pope's objections to the divorce clauses in the Fifth
24 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 459.
25 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 478.
Project must somehow be overcome. "One must," he wrote to Bonaparte, "even now with the reestablishment of religion allow the continuance of this law, which I as a priest am far from approving; but its suppression at this moment would not be politically expedient." 26 He thought that his Holiness might be made to drop his rigid attitude if it were impressed upon him that the Emperor Justinian and Joseph II of Austria were Catholics and both of them had permitted divorce.
The friendly attitude of Bernier toward the Counter-Project was not shared by Talleyrand. He was quite emphatic in his objection to the demand of the Holy Father, that "the government declare itself Catholic and promise to conserve the purity of the dogmas of religion." The request on dogmas, he held, "appertains to the ecclesiastical minister and it is ridiculous that the civil power declare publicly its consent to this responsibility." Furthermore, he would listen to no complaints about the spoliation of Church property, cynically remarking that "the Church has been despoiled in all ages and the spoliators have only been punished when they were weak." 27
Nevertheless, when Consalvi entered upon his duties in Paris, the French government had sufficiently relented to give him a revised project 28 to work upon, but he was allowed only five days to accept or reject it. Despite all the hints for speed, the undaunted secretary began to make many changes in the Sixth Project. After the words, "The Catholic religion is the religion of the great majority of the French citizens," he suggested adding, "Its cult shall be free and public; and every act of government contrary to these dispositions is annulled or regarded as null." Nor did he
26 Ibid., tom. iii, p. 7.
27 Ibid., tom. iii, pp. 25-27.
28 Listed as Doc. No. 564 Boulay, op. cit., tom. iii, p. 59.
approve of designating the sees held by non-resigning bishops as réputés vacants. He was meticulous about such phrases as "with the approbation of the government," for which he substituted "in concert with the government." Furthermore, he was insistent that the First Consul, who was going to nominate the new bishops, must declare himself a Catholic. 29
Out of these suggestions, and counter-suggestions put forth by the French representatives, was evolved a Seventh Project. 30 But this one also proved unacceptable to Consalvi, and he again drew up a counter memorial which Bernier thought was reasonable; in which opinion, surprisingly enough, Talleyrand concurred.
(7) It looked as if the arduous struggle for an agreement was about over, but domestic circumstances in Paris suddenly created a new state of affairs. Grégoire and his Constitutional brethren had called together a second National Council at Paris; they were urging great caution upon Bonaparte, and especially warned him that he must not barter away Gallican liberties, which, they asserted, it was their duty to guard. They loudly proclaimed that they taught "as an incontestable verity that faithfulness, submission and obeisance to established powers is a duty based on natural and divine rights." In this same declaration of July 4, 1801 they laid it down that "the commandment to honor one's father and mother encloses the obligation to love the Fatherland and to defend it against its enemies; to obey its laws and to contribute to public expenses." 31 This was clearly an open bid for the favor of the First Consul and it must have
29 Ibid., tom. iii, pp. 118-120.
30 Listed as Doc. No. 610, Boulay, op. cit., tom. iii, p. 130.
31 Boulay, op. cit., tom. iii, p. 174.
been a keen reminder to him that the Roman agents had displayed no particular sensitiveness on duties to the Fatherland and obedience to its laws.
Accompanying these proclamations of the National Council of the Constitutional Church was a spirit of disaffection in official quarters over the results of the negotiations. This restlessness had become evident to the First Consul, and he felt obliged to condemn Consalvi's latest attempt to make the Seventh Project, by a few modifications, acceptable to the Roman See. A new one was presented to the Papal secretary, which Bonaparte himself had personally dictated. 32
In the meantime, Consalvi was becoming more of a realist as to the actual state of affairs in France. Writing to Cardinal Doria on July 2, 1801, he emphasizes one fundamental point that has to be kept in mind; namely, that the First Consul is sincere in his desire for a concordat, but, "he wishes to have it without wounding anyone." This, Consalvi concludes, "is well nigh impossible," and he goes on to make clear to the Roman Court the real reason why it was impossible. "With the whole body of magistrates, all philosophers, all the libertines and the greater part of the military against him" Bonaparte had become frightened. As a result, Consalvi says, he had put the affair in many hands with the purpose of exciting their favorable interest and to clear himself of the sole responsibility for the final agreement. The deplorable consequence, as Consalvi conceived it, was that "each one provides his own difficulties," and, what is worse still, each one tries to insert in the project things that are unacceptable to the Church in order to break off the negotiations. It appears to him that, in such an environment of suspicion and hostility, it is impossible to find any common ground of agreement, and yet there is an afterthought, "The consequences of a rupture
32 Ibid., tom. iii, p. 195.
would be more fatal to religion than to the Estates of the Holy See." From his own observation he has come to the conclusion that "the people for the most part . . . are indifferent to religion; it is entirely so in the cities, and partly so in the country districts." As proof of this assertion he feels that he need offer only one fact, "It is that the priests are almost dying of hunger, and no one, or almost no one, gives them alms." 33
(8) With this realistic and depressing outlook, Consalvi steeled himself to persevere in the almost insuperable task of securing a concordat, as the one and only hope of saving Catholicism in France. He had now to deal with the Eighth Project, that had been personally dictated by Bonaparte." 34 When he had altered some of the most objectionable phrases, it was returned to the First Consul on July 12. Except for the wording, it was substantially the same document that Cacault had submitted to Consalvi in Rome on May 29. The First Consul announced that the alterations were acceptable and everything was set for the signing on July 14 in the room of Joseph Bonaparte.
What happened, just as Consalvi was about to sign the document has been variously reported, and the incident has since become a moot point over which historians have waged an interesting controversy.
The Memoirs of Cardinal Consalvi were at one time regarded as a reliable account of the proceedings, but the researches of Theiner, who confessedly wrote his Histoire de Deux Concordats to absolve Bonaparte of the many charges of bad faith that have been laid against him in his relations with the Roman delegates during the negotiations, has
33 Consalvi's letter is found translated into French in Theiner A., Histoire des Deur Concordats (Paris, 1869), tom. i, pp. 195-197. 34 Printed as Doc. No. 640, Boulay, op. cit., tom. iii, p. 201.
thrown considerable doubt on the accuracy of Consalvi's Memoirs, which differ in many respects from his official correspondence with Cardinal Doria. 35 It is Consalvi's contention that Bonaparte at the last moment tried to palm off on him an altered document in the hope that he, Consalvi, would sign without reading it through. 36 Theiner is not able to disprove this assertion, but, from other inaccuracies in the Memoirs, he thinks it doubtful that Bonaparte was really responsible for the attempted deception. Mathieu, on the other hand, writing in 1904, has come to the conclusion that Theiner has attacked too strongly Consalvi's veracity. The latter, he holds, was incapable of such an invention. 37
Be that as it may, it seems indisputable that Consalvi had before him an altered text which he refused to sign. Thereupon followed an exhausting struggle of nineteen hours to draw up a new concordat. The serious point of issue in those last hours concerned the freedom and publicity of Catholic worship. Consalvi was determined that the right of the Church freely to carry on its cult in public should be guaranteed in the agreement. The French government was willing to insert a clause reading, "The Catholic worship shall be publicly exercised," but added, "in conformity with the
35 In support of this view, Theiner quotes extensively from the official correspondence of Consalvi to Cardinal Doria, as preserved in the Archives du Ministére des affaires Étrangères à Paris, vide Theiner, op. cit., tom. i, p. 172. 36 Consalvi wrote in his Memoirs: "On mit la main à l'œuvre, et je pris la plume pour signer. Mais quelle fut ma surprise, quand je vis l'abbé Bernier me présenter la copie qu'il avoit depliée de son rouleau, comme pour commencer par celle-là avant la mienne, et qu'en y jetant les yeux pour m'assurer de son exactitude, je m'aperçus que ce traite qu'on allait signer n'était pas celui dont les commissaires respectifs étaient convenus entre eux, dont était convenu le Premier consul luimême, mais un tout différent." This extract is taken from Mathieu, op. cit., p. 360. 37 Ibid., p. 256.
regulations of the police." Consalvi took violent exception to the stipulation of any police regulations, and, with good reason, as will be seen later. It was the contention of the French that the circumstances of the time made such regulations necessary. The Papal secretary was quick to seize upon this explanation, and asked that such a statement be included in the wording of the project, thus giving the first part of the article an absolute injunction, and the second part the appearance of a temporary arrangement. His suggested wording would have been as follows: ". . . in conformity with the regulations of the police as the circumstances of the time render necessary." Even this did not appeal to the First Consul, so a compromise was hit upon, and the much altered article was made to read, "The cult shall be public, but in conformity with such police regulations as the government may judge necessary to the maintenance of public peace." 38
(9) The Ninth Project,39 and the final text of the Concordat, was signed on the night of July 15, 1801, but many obstacles had to be hurdled before it was put into execution. The first of these was the admission of the Papal bull into France, proclaiming the new relation between Church and state. It was agreed that, since a bull was the Pope's medium of expressing himself on important matters, it would be necessary to give it an apostolic tone to prevent it from bearing the appearance of having been dictated by the French government. Such was the gist of a letter that Bernier wrote to Talleyrand on July 29. But there was also the fear that a rather authoritative apostolic tone might jar on national
38 A clear and well documented description of those last feverish hours of the negotiations is found in Mathieu, op. cit., pp. 253 et seq. 39 Printed as Doc. No. 645, Text definitif du Concordat (July 15, 1801), Boulay, op. cit., tom. iii, p. 213.
sensibilities. Therefore, Bernier put forward the suggestion that the plenipotentiaries of the Holy See should make a first draft of the bull, "and then those of the government should modify all that did not accord with French morals, usages and liberties." 40
Bonaparte was very much dissatisfied with the Roman draft. He perceived a difference of tone in dealing with the non-juring clergy and the Constitutionals; and neither did he like the harsh language used in referring to married priests. 41 But after a few minor alterations the bull was accepted.
An agreement on the form of admission of the Constitutionals into the Catholic fold was, as has been observed, practically impossible. A similar impasse arose in connection with the demand for resignations of non-juring bishops. The brief Tam Multa 42 which the Pope addressed to them on this point, was considered by the First Consul as much too kindly worded, but it was, nevertheless, greeted with a storm of protest by the exiled bishops.
Neither of these two questions was satisfactorily disposed of when Consalvi left Paris for Rome, and they were put aside to be threshed out between two very moderate gentlemen who were chosen to inaugurate the new régime in France. They were Cardinal Capara designated by the Pope at Bonaparte's request, to the office of legate a latere for the Roman See in Paris, and Jean-Etienne Portalis, who was appointed minister for ecclesiastical affairs on October 7, 1801.
(10) A brief summary of the Concordat which Consalvi carried
40 Ibid., tom. iii, p. 312.
41 Ibid., tom. iii, p. 313.
42 Printed as Doc. No. 732, Boulay, op. cit., tom. iii, p. 376.
back to Rome is now in order. The government of the French Republic recognized that the "Catholic, Apostolic and Roman religion is the religion of the great majority of the French people." A new circumscription of the dioceses of France was to be made; there were to be sixty in place of one hundred and thirty-five. A general resignation of existing bishops was agreed upon; new bishops were to be nominated by the First Consul, if he were a Catholic, and institution to office was reserved to the Pope, in accordance with the canonical forms established in the concordat between Leo X and Francis I. The patronage of parish livings, which had been taken away from the landlords in 1790, was given into the hands of the bishops, who in concert with the government were to make a new circumscription of the parishes in their dioceses in accordance with the spiritual needs of the faithful. The much disputed oath of fidelity to the French government was replaced by the oath taken by the clergy under the old régime. Five articles defined the rights of the Church. It was to have freedom in the exercise of public worship; it was to be permitted to establish cathedral chapters; the salaries of the clergy were to be provided for by the state; Catholics were to be allowed to make pious foundations, but, on the other hand, the Pope was made to declare explicitly that no ecclesiastical punishments would be inflicted upon those Catholics who had acquired property that had been alienated from the Church by the Republic. The last two articles granted to the Republic the privileges that had formerly been enjoyed at Rome by the kings of France, but stipulated that a new concordat must be negotiated in the event of any future First Consul's not being a Catholic. 43
43 The official text of the Concordat is found in Raccolta di Concordat su materie ecclesiastiche tra la Santa sede e le autorita civili (compiled by Angelo Mercati, Rome, 1919), pp. 561-565.
(11) There was in the Concordat one very ambiguous clause which Consalvi, as we have seen, did his best to eliminate since he felt that there was something ominous behind it. In a few months it was indeed shown to mean something. It meant nothing less than the Organic Articles which were put forth as the necessary police regulations for carrying on the Catholic cult. These Articles had been kept back by Bonaparte until the bulls connected with the Concordat had been published. 44 Boulay de la Meurthe admits that Rome had known for a long time that some such declaration was to be put forth by the French government and was inclined to acquiesce. The surprise and pain of the Papacy, however, was genuine enough upon the reading of the Organic Articles. Nothing so severe had been expected and Consalvi writes in his Memoirs that "they almost overturned the new edifice which we had taken so much trouble to build up." 45
That the relations between Church and state were very carefully defined in the Organic Articles is evidenced by the fact that there were one hundred and twenty of them, of which seventy dealt with the Roman Church. The supremacy of the state over the Church was asserted in no uncertain terms. No bulls, briefs nor legates were to be received from Rome; no decrees of General Councils or national synods could be received or published in France without the permission of the government. The position, salary, qualifications, dress and titles of the clergy were minutely defined. The occasion for ringing church bells and when not to ring
44 Boulay, op. cit., tom. iv, supplementaire, p. xii, et seq. (especially introd.) ; where Boulay de la Meurthe discusses the doubtful legality of the confusing way the First Consul forced the Organic Articles into the final agreement with the Holy See. 45 Quotation taken from Jervis W. H., The Gallican Church and the Revolution (London, 1882), p. 385.
them were, apparently, of vital concern to the government. The state's rite in marriage took precedence over that of the Church's. The four Gallican Declarations of 1682 were to be taught in all seminaries and professors in such institutions were required to subscribe to them. It was also sought to make the Church uniform by enacting that one liturgy and one catechism be used throughout the Republic. The catechism was provided by the state at a later date, when the Republic had become an Empire. Article Twenty enacted that no bishop could leave his diocese without the permission of the First Consul.
As a compensation, perhaps, for all these irritating restrictions, the bishops were granted the privilege of adding the title citizen or monsieur to their names. The Articles were so arranged as to place the Protestant religion on the same level with the Catholic. 46 To enforce these rules the government was to provide a police force.
On the face of it, the Concordat, with the appended Organic Articles, looked like a complete victory of the state over the Church, and the First Consul for the moment felt proud of his handiwork. He was to be thoroughly disillusioned as later events will show. The Pope, on the contrary, must have viewed the final outcome with dismay. The ancient régime, though it was often rude and intractable, had never spoken in the way that the French Republic had in the Organic Articles. There could be little doubt in his mind that something new and strange had appeared on the face of the earth.
Immediately upon receipt of the Organic Articles, the Pope made a solemn allocution of protest in Consistory, May 24, 1802, asserting that they were contrary to the constitution of the Catholic Church and to the proper observance of the
46 Vide article "Concordat de 1801" in Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique.
laws of ecclesiastical discipline. As a consequence, rumors of misunderstanding between the Pope and Bonaparte got about the city of Paris, and the First Consul felt obligated to insert the allocution in the Moniteur, but cleverly called it one of the customary reservations of the Court of Rome in regard to Gallican liberties. 47
(12) The solemn festival service held in Notre Dame on Easter day, April 18, 1802, to celebrate the reconciliation of France with the Holy See was hardly a spontaneous outburst of praise and thanksgiving. The retort of General Delmas, after the ceremony, to Bonaparte's inquiry as to what he thought about it was a good indication of the temper of the still numerous Jacobin party in France. Said the outspoken general, "It was an extremely fine ceremony; nothing was wanting except the million men who have lost their lives in pulling down what you are now laboring to reconstruct."46 Needless to say, Delmas did not long remain in favor at the Court of the First Consul.
On May 24, a similar thanksgiving service of less pomp was celebrated in Rome in the Patriarchal Basilica of St. John Lateran on the occasion of the publishing of the Concordat in Consistory. Gloom rather than cynicism pervaded the exercises in Rome, as the Organic Articles had just recently been received, and it was on this same day that the Pope made the protest, already referred to, against the Articles. But Pius VII was not without hope since he felt, as he said, in the allocution, that "the great man who ruled France, after having so signally exhibited his zeal for the
47 Jervis, op. cit., pp. 388-389.
A full discussion of the relation of the Organic Articles to the Concordat of 1801 is found in Ollivier E., Nouvean Manuel de Droit Ecclésiastique Français (Paris, 1886), pp. 521-525.
48 Debidour, op. cit., p. 226.
restoration and maintenance of Catholicism, could not possibly desire to contradict himself by persisting in a series of regulations so manifestly opposed to it." 49
Nevertheless, it seems evident that the proceedings of May 24 in Rome were an acquiescence, though a protesting one, to the additions made by the French government to the Concordat. Nor would it have been accepted by the French legislative bodies on April 7, except on the assurance of Portalis, that the Organic Articles fully protected Gallican liberties and that they were an integral part of the agreement with the Papacy. 50 The only way the Pope could have escaped the galling restrictions that were now placed upon the Church in France, was to declare the whole Concordat null and void; but he could not bring himself to this step. He even remained grateful to Bonaparte to the end of his days, despite all the indignities that the man whom he had blessed as Emperor, subsequently hurled upon him. This, with good reason, as Theiner, Bonaparte's special defender, makes abundantly clear.
According to this historian, Pius VII continued grateful to the restorer of the Church in France because, if Bonaparte had not come to the fore when he did, the French nation would have been permanently lost to the Roman See; not only that, but his influence was extended to all the Christian states of Europe, and particularly to Germany where he "arrested an impious war directed against Catholicism." 51 To repay the debt of gratitude pious Catholics felt they owed to the memory of Napoleon Bonaparte for his courageous move in preventing the Jacobins from having their own ruthless way, Theiner wrote his Histoire des Deux Concordats. 52
49 Jervis, op. cit., p. 388.
50 Theiner, op. cit., tom. i, pp. 400-436.
51 Ibid., tom. i, p. xi.
52 Ibid., tom. i, pp. viii-ix.
(13) There can be no doubt that the Church was, for the time being, mercilessly subjected to the will of the French government. Its ceremonies were hedged about with unnecessary restrictions. A police force, constantly on hand to see that all was done as the state thought fit and to keep order among those who professed the doctrines of love and peace, must have been humiliating in the extreme. The state's interference in such matters as marriage and education was a serious blow to the moral prestige of the Church and was an attack on the most vulnerable part of the Catholic armor. Yet, the Church had again established a foothold in France, which might be a step to something worthwhile in the future, and both Pius VII and Cardinal Consalvi felt that they must needs be thankful for small mercies.
The compulsory acceptance of the Organic Articles may not have been such an evil lot for the Roman See as at first sight appeared. They played no insignificant part in turning loyal Gallicans into enthusiastic Ultramontanes. But that is a story to be developed in later chapters, since the chief purpose of this book is to estimate the effect of the Concordat on the national and international viewpoints of the various religious and political parties in France. To do this, it is proposed to examine the opinions of the contemporary leaders of different schools of thought that were in vogue during the Napoleonic régime. There is some excellent material for such a purpose. The fears and objections of the legislative bodies are well reflected in the discourses of the minister of ecclesiastical affairs, Portalis, who had the difficult task of defending the Concordat before the most disgruntled of all parties in France. The moderate clergy and their congregations have a judicious representative in Abbé Emery. Cardinal Maury is for a time, at least, the able defender of the non-jurors and the partisans of the old régime. Doubtful Constitutionals had in Grégoire their chief doubter; and the Ultramontanes found in d'Astros, and more thoroughly in de Maistre, able expounders of the cause that had always been so unpopular in France.
In the following pages each one of the above will come up for review, but first, it is necessary to pause on a man not yet mentioned, but who published in 1802 a book that was more significant at that time than the writings or speeches of any of the others, and whose writings did much to popularize the Concordat. The famous book which Bonaparte pretended to regard as a philosophic defense of his work in reestablishing the Church in France, is the Génie du Christianisme of Chateaubriand.
(I) BEFORE proceeding to a discussion of the opinions of the parties mentioned in the previous chapter, it will be well to pause on a group not yet mentioned, but whose influence is often important in society--the rising generation of young intellectuals, who had not had their opinions unalterably fixed during the stress of the more violent days of the Revolution. How did these newcomers, who were about to make themselves audible, regard the havoc which their predecessors had wrought upon the Church and society? This question, it seems, is sufficiently answered by the rapturous joy with which they greeted Chateaubriand Génie du Christianisme. 1 This notable work was published in France for the first time in April, 1802, almost simultaneously with the publishing of the Concordat. Its success was tremendous and it secured for its author, in the words of Villemain, "a kind of acknowledgement which, mingled with enthusiasm, marked for M. de Chateaubriand one of those epochs of public favor, rare in the lives of the most illustrious." 2
It is pretty clear from its contents, that it was not simply the persuasive eloquence of Chateaubriand that made the Génie du Christianisme so popular in 1802; as Sainte-Beuve
1 ( Œuvres? Complètes de Châteaubriand (Paris, 1861, new ed.). SainteBeuve in his literary study of Chateaubriand says that four thousand copies of the first edition of the Génie du Christianisme were printed and were exhausted ten months later. Étude sur Châteaubriand, Œuvres Complètes, tom. i, p. 132. 2 Villemain M., La Tribune Moderne, Première Partie, M. de Châteaubriand, Sa Vie, Ses Écrits (Paris, 1858), p. 101.
has said, "to separate the book from the ensemble of social circumstances in which it was read is no longer to understand it." 3 A reaction against the sceptical eightieenthcentury philosophy was brewing, and Chateaubriand was fortunate enough to publish his book at the right psychological moment to guide the revolt into channels favorable to the Church.
The form which the author of the Génie du Christianisme gave to a new literary and intellectual vogue is of the greatest significance in any study of nationalism. His avowed object was to restore the faith of his fathers to its old place of honor and prestige, but the romantic mood that he introduced into Christianity also lent powerful aid to the Church's most serious rival in the affections of the French people; and it is questionable if Chateaubriand contributed as much to the strength of Christianity as he did to the development of nationalism.
(2) His faith, as is well known, was romantic and sentimental. The progress of his conversion is noteworthy, as it is the key to an understanding of a new kind of apologetic for Christianity which was part and parcel of the romantic movement of the nineteenth century. Though he definitely ascribed it to the reception of a letter from his sister while he was living in London in 1789, yet the real reason for his religious sentiment goes back to his boyhood days at St. Malo in Brittany. In his Memoirs he describes his father as a severe recluse whose sternness cast a gloom over the household at St. Malo. His mother, on the other hand, yearned for society and gayety, and yet had to be quiet and subdued in the presence of her stern and solemn spouse. However, according to her son, "she made amends to her-
3 Études sur Châteaubriand, Œuvres Complètes, tom. i, p. 68.
self by a kind of timorous melancholy broken with sighs which alone interrupted my father's silent gloom." 4
It was in this rather unnatural atmosphere that Chateaubriand, like his mother, developed a propensity for those tears which were later to be so copiously shed by all good romanticists. He also ascribes to the same source that whimsical conception of his, that he "always imagined himself to be writing seated in his grave." 5 Though for a time he became an associate of a literary-infidel group in Paris and adopted the vogue of scepticism, the serious bent which his melancholy childhood had given to his nature and the memory of his pious mother, brought him back to his early faith. His description of his final acceptance of the Catholic creed is typical. It was just after he had completed in London his first literary work, in which he had voiced many of the doubts that assailed his soul, that a letter came to him from his sister, telling him of the death of his mother and how she had been grieved by the sceptical views of her son, which may have hastened her end. He thought hard about his recent published work, an Essay on Revolutions, and, as he concisely puts it, "I wept and I believed." From that moment the Génie du Christianisme took birth. 6
(3) Another important element that went into the making of this work was le bon sauvage of Rousseau. In 1791, a stirring year in France, Chateaubriand decided to turn his back on the old world and seek for a new existence in the savage life of America. 7 The influence of Rousseau is evident in this move; the young explorer was going to see
4 Châteaubriand Vicomte de, Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe (Paris, 1860), tom. i, p. 20. 5 Ibid., tom. i, p. 3.
6 Villemain, op. cit., p. 77.
7 Études sur Châteaubriand, Œuvres Complètes, tom. i, p. 9.
le bon sauvage at first hand. But events at home soon called him back to France.
While pursuing his researches in the forests of America, he suddenly came across an old English newspaper which described the flight of Louis XVI, his arrest at Varennes, and the reunion of almost all the officers of the royal army under the flag of the princes. The tragedy in that incident touched the romantic chord within him. Thereupon he dropped all his plans of studying savage life, since the voice of honor called him back to Europe to fight for his king. Thus was Chateaubriand enlisted in the cause of the old régime. 8
His martial experiences were somewhat of a disappointment, so he went on to London where he gave himself up to the more congenial task of writing about revolutions; it was also a return, in a sense, to the interrupted work he had begun in America, since his first-hand knowledge of savage life gave him the right, he thought, to speak to all parties in France. He wrote in his preface that there had been vouchsafed to him the remarkable opportunity "to meditate upon the free man of nature and the man free from society; the one near the other on the same soil." 9
It is evident from all this that Rousseau had made a profound impression upon the mind of Chateaubriand. In the Essay on Revolutions he is of the opinion that the Genevan prophet precipitated the violences of the Revolution, yet he still contended that if there were in the world only five books to read, Émile should be one of them. 10 It was not that he approved of the results of Rousseau's work, such as the turmoil in France; that, he deplored; but he did not blame Rousseau so much as his interpreters. Émile, according
10 Ibid., tom. i, p. 556.
8 Ibid., tom. i. p, 13.
9 Essai sur les Révolutions, Œuvres Complètes, tom. i, p. 238.
to Chateaubriand, was never intended to be a practical book; it was written for only a few readers and this, he said, was its chief defect, since literal-minded people had missed the real essence of Rousseau. Just what this is, Chateaubriand does not make clear, but one suspects that it is the high place that the author of Émile gave to feelings and emotions; for it was above all an emotional work that Chateaubriand offered in 1802 as his contribution to the reconcilation of religion and French society. 11 He probably also regarded it as a better interpretation of Rousseau than that made by the leaders of the French Revolution.
(4) Chateaubriand's elaborate fabric in the defense of Christianity is based upon the emotional side of life. He eschewed any philosophical proof of the existence of God. Anything that appealed to his emotions or the æsthetic side of his nature was convincing evidence--he had no need of further proof. He placed sentiment on a higher level than it had ever reached before, and put it forth as the last and final court of appeal in any argument however involved. In answer to the carping sophists, such as the Encyclopedists and their followers, he boldly asserted that the Christian religion is the most poetic, the most humane, the most favorable to liberty, to the arts and letters; the modern world owes everything to it from agriculture even to the abstract sciences, from the hospitals for the unfortunate even to the temples built by Michael Angelo and decorated by Raphael . 12
The summary of his argument in proof of this religion for
11 Études sur Châteaubriand, Œuvres Completes, tom. i, p. 64. Concerning the important influence of Rousseau on the development of the national idea, vide Rose J. H., Nationality in Modern History (New York, 1916), p. 22, and Hayes C. J. H., Historical Evolution of Modern Nationalism (New York, 1931), pp. 22-27, 50-57. 12 Génie du Christianisme, Œuvres Complètes, tom. ii, p. 9.
which he claimed so much, may be put in this way: The works of Christianity indicate its perfection; a perfect consequence cannot spring from an imperfect principle; the logical conclusion is, therefore, that Christianity is not the work of men, but of God.
Good Catholics, even at the time of the first appearance of the Génie du Christianisme, felt the weakness of this subjective defense for their faith. Abbé Pradt was hostile to the book, yet even he testifies Chateaubriand had reinstated religion in the world, placing it on a better footing than it had had for many years. 13
(5) But if he gave Christianity a new fervor, he also played his part in giving la Patrie a similar kind of emotional appeal. The patriotic sentiment is touched upon incidentally in the Génie du Christianisme in a proof for the existence of God; but the author was soon carried away with this minor topic and ended by giving a divine sanction to patriotism rather than establishing the reality of the Deity. His argument was based upon the supernatural origin of the instincts. After having run through the whole gamut of nature, over a widely extended field, he finally came to the instincts of man. It will be a hopeless task, he thinks, to describe the innumerable instincts in man, and so he makes a choice of one, "the most appropriate in man, the most beautiful, the most moral of the instincts, c'est l'amour de la patrie." 14 He here claimed for the Christian religion the credit of having set the proper bounds to this instinct, but held that the patriotic emotion existed long before Christianity entered the world, and even then it accomplished prodigies.
But he realized that there is an apparent conflict between
13 "Vide" article Châteaubriand in the Catholic Encyclopedia. Pradt M. de, Les Quatre Concordats (Paris, 1818), tom. i, ch. xlvi. 14 Génie du Christianisme, Œuvres Complètes, tom. ii, p. 118.
the Christian teaching of universal brotherhood and the patriotic principle which places national boundaries around one's charity. The one seems to nullify the other; but this paradox Chateaubriand boldly essayed to dispel. He admits that Christian love is not exclusive, since "it makes us cherish the family of Adam since it is ours," 15 and the Eucharist also is a symbol of world-wide unity and teaches the principle of equality recognizing neither Jew nor Gentile, but "invites all the children of Adam to the same table." 16 But when this has been said, there is the fact of different intensities of love, and Christianity does not prevent one from loving one's native place and its people best of all. The proof of this lies in the fact of the patriotic instinct itself. Though the Gospel may lay great emphasis upon universal love, that does not mean that God has annulled his work, nor can the Gospel, according to Chateaubriand, mean death to the heart. The Christian religion, he says, "if well understood is only primitive nature washed of its original stain." 17 He regards it as self-evident that the Gospel of Christ could not condemn so virtuous an instinct as that which has "taught the Esquimaux to love his icy home, the Negro his hot desert and the English cabin boy the planks of his ship." Indeed, he goes so far as to say that "it is not possible to have a single virtue or a single true talent without love of Fatherland." 18 Thus would he dispose of those followers of Rousseau who found Christianity sometimes in contradiction with the laws of nature. 19
Chateaubriand's analysis of the patriotic instinct is interesting as a definite attempt to theorize about nationalism. It
15 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 120.
16 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 29.
17 Ibid., tom. ii, pp. 117-120.
18 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 120.
19 Contrat Social, bk. iv, ch. viii.
quickly became the romantic viewpoint, and the material for many a patriotic poem and novel. "What are the bonds," he asks, "which hold one to one's native place?" He admits the difficulty of singling out any one thing in particular, and ends by listing a medley of sights and sounds which have since been greatly enlarged upon by the romantic school of poets. The smiles of a mother, a father or a sister, the memory of an old teacher, the companions of childhood, an old domestic, a dog barking at night in a field, a nightingale who kept her yearly rendezvous in a loved orchard, a swallow's nest, the steeple of a church behind the trees, the yew tree in a cemetery--all these are the material out of which the patriotic sentiment is fashioned. Our author admits that they appear trivial, but he is certain that "these little things show well the reality of a Providence, for they could never have been the source of the love of the Fatherland and of the noble virtues which spring from that love, if a Supreme Will had not ordained it so." 20
With this list, Chateaubriand is able to score a point in favor of the religious man's patriotism over against the impious. He held that the religious man, because of his simple spirit and material sentiments, is more firmly attached to the fields of his ancestors than is the impious. The former "is as an oak, who can soar up to the heavens, but at the same time digs his roots more firmly into his native soil." 21
Despite its romantic coloring, Chateaubriand has undoubtedly given a fair enough analysis of the patriotic sentiment, but he is guilty of following a confusion introduced by Jacobin nationalists during the Revolution, of fusing a local and very circumscribed patriotism with a consciousness of nationality which, as Professor Hayes has pointed out, is
20 Génie du Christianisme, Œuvres Complètes, tom. ii, p. 122et seq.
21 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 350.
the basis of our present-day nationalism." To this confusion he gave a divine sanction and put the Church forward as a better teacher of nationalism than the Jacobins themselves.
(6) But the Church, according to Chateaubriand, has another achievement to its credit, the nation-state system of Europe. The small modern independent state, free to choose its own form of government, was an object of wonder and admiration to the author of the Génie du Christianisme, and he held that such a political arrangement in Europe would never have been possible without the assistance of the Church. Some of these states, he points out, were able to boast of a duration equal to that of the empires of Cyrus and Augustus, and the Church had been the anchorage that gave stability to the nations of Europe in their early careers. According to Chateaubriend's nautical metaphor, these embryonic states would probably have dashed themselves to pieces at the very outset if they had broken away from the "common anchor" where religion held them firmly. The Papacy, then, instead of being regarded with suspicion by the lawmakers of France, should receive from them grateful recognition for its contribution to the freedom and independence of their country.
However, Chateaubriand himself had one reproach to offer against the Church in her work of supervising the evolution of modern states, which he put in the form of a regret. Christianity, by furnishing Europe with a uniformity of morals, he said, has necessarily made the coloring of history less vivid" 23 than that of ancient states. But even this was a defect that could be repaired. Though
22 Hayes C. J. H., The Historical Evolution of Modern Nationalism, p. 6.
23 Génie du Christianisme, Œuvres Complètes, tom. ii, p. 321.
the ancients, with the diversity of their manners and morals, provided material for more beautiful histories than any of modern Europe, he still thought there was enough variety left to furnish wonderful opportunities for some future historian. 24
Chateaubriand is nothing if he is not thorough. He gives an example of how beautiful histories might be written, and it merits a rather full quotation, since it illustrates his traditional nationalism and also his habit of "painting objects as he sees them and seeing them as he loves them." 25
Describing the English as he would have a historian do it, he writes:
A medley of German and French blood, the English people betray at every turn their double origin. Their government is a combination of royalty and aristocracy; their religion is less pompous than the Catholic, but more brilliant than the Lutheran; their military is both heavy and active; their literature and their art, even their language and the shape of their bodies, all show traces of the two sources from which they flow. They reunite the simplicity, the calm, the good sense and the slowness of the German to the éclat, the passion and the vivacity of the French spirit. The English have public spirit and we national honor; our beautiful qualities are more the gifts of divine favor than the fruits of national education; as demi-gods we receive less of earth than of heaven. . . . Eldest sons of antiquity, the French have the Roman genius, but are yet Greek in character. Restless and volatile in good fortune, constant and invincible in adversity; fashioned by the arts; civilized even to excess during periods of national calm; terrible and savage during political turmoil; floating about as ships without ballast at the mercy of the waves of passion; at one moment exalted to the heavens, at the next, down to the abyss; enthusiasts both for the good and the evil; accomplishing the first without looking for any recog-
24 Ibid., tom. i, p. 320.
25 Études sur Châteaubriand, Œuvres Complètes, tom. i, p. 35.
nition, the second with no feeling of remorse; remembering neither their crimes nor their virtues; pusillanimous lovers of life during times of peace; accomplishers of prodigies in days of battle; frivolous mockers of ambitions; followers of routine and innovators at one and the same time; misjudging whatever fails to appeal to them; individually the most amicable of men; while in a body the most disagreeable of all; charming in their own country, insufferable when abroad; all in all more sweet, more innocent than a lamb; more implacable, more ferocious than a tiger--such were the Athenians of former times and such are the French today.
It must now be evident why the Génie du Christianisme met with such a chorus of approval from diverse quarters upon its publication in France in 1802. It was an ingenious defense of the excesses of the previous ten years, as well as of Christianity--a defense which tolerantly allowed Chateaubriand's countrymen to escape harsh censure simply because they were French. The foregoing, it seems necessary to recall, was written merely as an example of how Chateaubriand wished history to be composed; he goes on to say, that "the establishment of the French in Gaul, Charlemagne, the Crusades, the age of chivalry, the battle of Bouvines, the combat of Lepanto, a Conrad of Naples, a Henry IV in France, or a Charles I in England, are at least epochs of singular morals, of famous events, of tragic catastrophe" 26 for historians to lay hold upon and transform into a history equal to any written by the ancients.
Chateaubriand, though no great admirer of Voltaire, thought that if he had been religious, he might have excelled in writing such a history as is here contemplated. Voltaire's lack of gravity held him back, but, even despite this handicap, our author ranks him next to Bossuet, to whom he gives
26 Génie du Christianisme, Oeuvres Complètes, tom. ii, pp, 327-328.
first place as the historian par excellence of France. 27 The flock of romantic historians who sprang up later in the nineteenth century seem to have followed many of the hints thrown out by Chateaubriand.
(7) In his defense of the exalted position of the clergy and the prominent part played by religious orders in society under the old régime, the author of the Génie du Christianisme offers several reasons why the teachers of religion should be honored above all other classes in society, one of which added a decidedly imperialistic tinge to his nationalism. He was of the opinion that the clergy should still be regarded as the First Estate in the realm, since it had become evident "that religion is the basis of civilized society." Plato, Aristotle and Plutarch are put forward as partisans of this viewpoint. Furthermore, the clergy deserved the rank because they had always been a moderating influence in France, 28 in that they excited the enmity of both nobles and people. But it is when he is dealing with the much maligned religious orders that Chateaubriand brings in the imperialistic motive which long deterred the nationalists in France from breaking up the establishment of 1801. He boldly puts forward the expulsion of the Jesuits as an example of bad national policy. It is not, he wrote, the fault of the Ignatian order that China is now closed to the French, nor is it the fault of the same order that France is not contending with the English for the Empire of India. Our author became almost impatient with the old régime when he thought of how useful the French Jesuits "might have been to their Fatherland in the seaports of the Levant." 29
27 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 329.
28 Ibid., tom. ii, pp. 517-520.
29 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 438.
(8) Thus far, it is evident that Chateaubriand when commending the Catholic Church to France had ever in mind the objections and fears of hostile Jacobins. The total effect of his defense of Christianity appears to be a detraction from fundamental Catholic polity, in order to make it accord with Jacobin nationalism. The cosmopolitan theory of the ancient Church, namely, that Europe should be one in culture and morals with a paramount center of loyalty for all the members of the Church, was largely lost sight of or excused on account of the necessities of the times in which it prevailed. 30 His own feelings on the matter appear to have been moulded by the teachings of the eighteenth-century philosophers, since he showed a preference for national variations rather than for a uniformity of manners. He did desire some kind of a mediating influence over jarring nationalistic rivalries; to this extent he was an internationalist. He pictured the Papacy as a sort of world court tribunal, but he discussed the prospect with a large "if." "If there were in Europe," he wrote, "a tribunal which should judge, in the name of God, the nations and the monarchs, which could prevent wars and revolutions, that tribunal would be a chef d'œuvre of the highest degree of social perfection." To this he added, "The Popes, by the influence they exerted on the Christian world, had at one time almost realized this beautiful dream." 31
(9) Chateaubriand may have been a good churchman, but there can be no doubt that he was an excellent French nationalist. He may have strongly deprecated the views of the eighteenth-century philosophers (he says he did), but not their praise of the bon sauvage and their love of common
30 Vide supra, p. 70, note 23.
31 Génie du Christianisme, Œuvres Complètes, tom. ii, p. 520. things and people, which did so much to stimulate the development of democratic nationalism. He may have been opposed to the taste for innovation, but he himself made a large contribution to one of the things that has made our age different from any that has preceded it, in that he defined the nationalism of the French Revolution as a God-given instinct. Thus did he aid the fusion of patriotic love of one's natal place with a consciousness of nationality. 32 He made the Church feel kindly towards the new nationalism by asserting that it, the Church, had been the mother and protector of small states, guiding them on the way to selfconscious nationality. Above all, he was the melancholy romanticist, the father of poems, novels and histories in praise of one's nation and of the little things that make it dear. 33
His support of Rome as an international power was rather timorous. It is true that he bespoke for the Papacy the position of arbitrator among nations of Europe, but even this was dismissed as a "beautiful dream." 34
The Génie du Christianisme may have served its avowed object for the time being--the popularizing of the reestablishment of the Church in France. In the long run, however, the romantic movement, of which Chateaubriand was the most daring pioneer, did more to popularize uncritical nationalistic fervor than to deepen religious faith. Somehow, such an emotionalism as the romanticists stood for attaches better to nationalism than to religion, since it has succeeded in transforming the former into a more vital and attractive religion to many people than that of the Catholic faith. The super-patriots were able to exploit the mood to better purpose than the priests.
32 Vide Hayes C. J. H., Essays on Nationalism (New York, 1926); where he discusses this fusion as the essence of modern nationalism. 33 Essai sur les Révolutions, Œuvres Complètes, tom. i, p. 584.
34 Vide supra, p. 74, note 31.
(1) THE members of the legislative bodies were, perhaps, the most hostile of all groups to the restoration of the Catholic religion in France. The Legislature had for its president in 1802 a sceptical and rude philosopher, who was elected to this office as a protest of defiance to Bonaparte for having dared to negotiate with the Pope. The Tribunate showed its displeasure by electing, as its head, Daunou, one of the First Consul's open opponents. Indeed, in order to secure the approval of these two bodies for the religious settlement that had been made with Rome, it was necessary to exclude by artifice sixty members from the Legislature and twenty from the Tribunate. 1 Even then it required a great deal of persuasive talking and every assurance possible to get an intimation of acquiescence from these usually compliant departments of the government. For this very delicate task, the First Consul made a wise choice in his minister of ecclesiastical affairs, Jean-Etienne Portalis. In the speeches of the latter, before the legislative body, there is perceptible a reflection of the views of the Assembly itself, as well as those of Portalis and the First Consul, on the ideal relationship between Church and state.
Portalis' speeches are of special importance to our purpose here, as they give a clearer outline of Bonaparte's attitude
1 Jervis, The Gallican Church and the Revolution, p. 384.
towards the Church than any provided by the First Consul himself, since what the latter said on different occasions is highly colored by the circumstances of the moment. The two men seem to have been kindred spirits, though one rather suspects that Portalis, very often against his better judgment, deferred to the will of his imperious master. Only on such an assumption can one explain the unusual regulations that were put forth by a professedly sincere Roman Catholic for the carrying on of the Catholic cult in France.
(2) The family of Portalis was distinguished in services to the Church and did not always prove subservient to the designs of Bonaparte. Cardinal d'Astros, a nephew of Portalis, did much to redeem his uncle's subservience by defying the proud Emperor, even to the extent of endangering his life, and in the same affair the son of the minister of ecclesiastical affairs was exiled from Paris by the order of Napoleon. This event, which will be more thoroughly dealt with in another connection, goes to show that, traditionally at least, the Portalis family was devoted to the preservation of the Church in France. 2
By profession, Portalis was a lawyer. Causette speaks of him as "the sage Portalis, who pleaded before the Revolution against Beaumarchais and Mirabeau; and who later, because of his services in the Council of the Ancients, in the redaction of the Civil Code, and in the negotiations for the Concordat, created in France an historic and respected name." 3 In the Council of the Ancients, to which he had been elected by the city of Paris in 1795, he became the leader of the moderate party opposed to the Directory. He was proscribed after the coup d'état of Fructidor, but escaped to Switzerland, and
2 Causette R. P., Vie du Cardinal d'Astros (Paris, 1853), p. 200.
3 Ibid., p. 2.
only returned to France after Bonaparte had become First Consul. In 1800 he was made a councillor of state and assisted in the work of drawing up the Civil Code, a task in which he acquitted himself with so much distinction that he won the attention of the First Consul, who shortly after made him minister of ecclesiastical affairs. 4
A collection of the social and religious views of Portalis, made by his grandson, is interesting as an indication of the ecclesiastical tradition represented by this political defender of the Concordat. Religion he defined as "the partnership of man with God, and the state as the relationship of men among themselves." The latter required neither revelation nor supernatural succor; it is sufficient for men in social relationship "to consult their own interest, affections and divers affinities with their fellow creatures." This statement of faith is quite revealing. It is hardly an orthodox Catholic view, but it sounds reminiscent of Jansenist controversies. 5
Portalis had a mystical religious side to his nature which was characteristic of the Port Royalists; but, like them, he distrusted the Church's meddling in what he considered specifically state affairs. His speeches are a blend of the mystical churchman and the practical statesman trying to solve the problem of the relationship between Church and state in the terms of sovereignty. His affinity with the older Jansenist view is also revealed by the fact that the limited function he permitted the Church to exercise in society was not based upon the Social Contract theory of Rousseau; for,
4 Vide Portalis, Discours, Rapports et Travaux, Inédits, sur le Concordat de 1801 (Paris, 1845), especially biographical introduction written by the grandson of Portalis, Vicomte Frédéric Portalis. 5 Ibid., p. lxvi. On these controversies vide Crousaz-Crétet P. de, L'Église et l'État ou les Deux Puissances an XVIIIe Siècle (Paris, 1893), chs. i-iii (especially).
in dealing with the prevalent compact notions, he makes the very sane observation that "society is not a pact . . . but a fact . . . It maintains itself by the natural relations which formed it."
Portalis was a great believer in natural laws, in the sense in which the English Deists believed in them; and he considered it the highest statesmanship to prevent both the social theorists or constitution makers and the priests from interfering with these natural laws, which of themselves would keep the state on an even keel. Conceding that God had established the laws of human nature, like a good English Deist, he thought that "the hand of the Creator rests itself and allows secondary causes to take their course, after having given movement and life to all that exists." 6 These opinions of Portalis are a good introduction to his long speech to the "citizen legislators, which has been described as his ablest and most successful effort. 7
(3) The speech was a reasoned attempt to show to doubting and protesting politicians why Bonaparte had considered it necessary to restore Roman Catholicism in France, and especially to make clear why he felt obliged to put an end to the Constitutional Church and other attempts to find a religion to replace Catholicism. Portalis endeavored to meet every objection that might have been raised on these points, if his auditors had been allowed to express themselves, and he did so with unusual adroitness.
At the very outset he disposed of any lingering hope that the advocates of a new faith might have been cherishing of establishing in France a more intellectually reasonable cult than they considered the Catholic. Such purely abstract
6 Portalis, op. cit., p. lxvii.
7 Jervis, op. cit., p. 384.
religious ideas, he asserted, could never become popular or national; they were only for the cultured few like the members of the Legislature. But he thought that even his listeners would agree with him that the less intellectually developed members of society could not be allowed to drift into scepticism, since it is through lack of belief that men become isolated. This separative tendency, he held, was a serious menace to the state; unity it should have at all costs, and the only way to attain this necessary goal would be to provide the people with a real tangible religion, comprehensible to all alike. Catholic Christianity was at hand to serve this purpose, and it would be sheer obstinate blindness not to use it.8 In support of this thesis, Portalis had behind him the failure of many a recent philosophical attempt to create a new religion. Some of his listeners had been closely connected with these futile ventures of faith.
The motive behind the creation of these sects, besides the propagating of nationalism, had been to instill conventional morality into a people who, with the loss of their traditional faith, were inclined to let everything else go as well, morals included. Since the legislators felt that it was necessary to have some sort of ethical practices in the nation, Portalis took this common ground as the basis of his plea for the necessity of the reestablishment of Catholic Christianity. In fact, his first rhetorical question was: "How can there be any morals without religion?" For him the idea of a God legislator is just as "essential to the intelligent world as the idea of a God creator and first mover of all secondary causes is to the physical world." It was Portalis' conviction that an atheism which does not recognize design in the world, and is, therefore, compelled to fall back upon a blind fatality, cannot teach any rule of morals. "The withering hand of such a dogma," he said, was the cause of the prevalent immorality in France.
8 Portalis, op. cit., pp. 3-7.
Many moral codes had been designed by the philosophers, some with the ambitious title of "universal morality," to meet the painful situation in which Revolutionary France found herself, but with little show of success. With these well-known failures in mind, Portalis ventured the following:
The laws of a moral code are not enough. Laws rule only certain actions; religion embraces them all. Laws check only the arm; religion regulates the heart. The laws concern only the citizen; religion takes possession of the man. 9
To all this, Portalis' audience were perhaps inclined to assent, but still they might have asked just why he thought Catholic Christianity could succeed better than cults like the Theophilanthropist in teaching morality. His answer was that such cults were hardly positive religions, and that it takes a positive religion, grounded upon realistic rites and ceremonies, to instill effectively into its devotees a respect for proper conduct. Without the aid of impressive ceremonial forms which become a part of daily life, moral rules, according to Portalis, are merely a collection of abstract maxims. To make the point clear, our orator attempted to give the abstruse philosophers a lesson on the teaching of morality. First of all, he warned them that they must not waste their energies in trying to make people think right--an error into which practically all of them had fallen. "Morality," he insisted, "does not consist in the art of thinking right, but in doing right." To get good actions out of citizens, it is necessary that they be prepared by the performance of good customs, and this spade work is done by the Church when it enforces upon its members certain ceremonial practices. 10
If there was one principle of conduct above all others that
10 Ibid.. p. 5.
9 Ibid., p. 4.
the legislators wanted to instill into the people at this time, it was respect for law and government; and Portalis did not forget to claim for the Church, above all other institutions, a preeminence in this regard, especially if the Church is the established religion of the land. The government, he held, to obtain respect, must have religious sanctions behind it. If the government, then, establishes the Catholic cult, it, in turn, becomes the sanction and support of the government and makes it an object of public belief. 11 This was perhaps one of the most important results that Bonaparte expected from the Concordat, and it was with this view in mind that he brought the Pope from Rome to crown him Emperor, or, as it turned out, to give his blessing to Napoleon's own act.
However, Portalis' intellectual audience was inclined to admit that Catholicism would probably do the things claimed for it, but, at the same time, condemned it on the grounds that it was a false religion. Portalis did not overlook this probable indictment of his faith from the members of the Legislature. His reply was that most philosophers disagree about what is truth, and since it is impossible that all the philosophies are true, if the nation, for the sake of truth and unity, decided to make one philosophy the national religion, it would probably be a false one, and a false philosophy, he asserted, is much more dangerous than a false religion. "Does one fear," he asked, "to replace false systems of philosophy with false systems of religion?" There should be no hesitation in deciding in favor of the latter, and Portalis gave his reasons. Even false religions are a bulwark against the introduction of arbitrary doctrines, since they adhere to dogmas which are not constantly changing with every wind of speculation. If the dogmas are superstitious, at least "superstition is regularized, circumscribed and repressed within boundaries over which it is unable to or dare not
11 Ibid., pp. 6-9.
leap." The Social Contract theory was for Portalis an example of a philosophy that became a religion and did not remain within bounds.
There was yet another crime to be charged against false philosophies. France, at the time, was desirous above all else for peace and quiet; for this reason she had so gladly acquiesced in Bonaparte's dictatorship. The false philosophies, said Portalis, militated against the tranquility of the state, since they "render the spirit contentious and leave the heart cold." The false religions, on the other hand, "have at least this merit, that they rally men around some common ideas and dispose them towards some common virtues." 12 Bonaparte meant much the same thing when he said, "If I governed a Jewish people, I should reestablish the temple of Solomon." And it was on the same principle, he declared, that he had become a Mussulman in Egypt. 13 Both he and Portalis were convinced that they could have a united and loyal people only with the aid of the priests.
But the members of the Legislature were well able to retort that religion itself in France had of late been rather contentious. It could hardly have been said of jurors and non-jurors, "see how those Christians love one another." Portalis was ready to agree, and he goes on to say that one of the most imperative tasks that the government had before it, was to get rid of just such evil effects upon society as the religious disputes had been causing. It must be clear to all, he said, that French theologians are by themselves unable to settle their differences. Here, then, was the vital necessity of seeking aid from the Pope. Even the Constitutionals recognized in him a center of unity, and he, only, would be able to bring the religious quarrels in France to an end. 14
12 Ibid., p. 10.
13 Boulay, Documents, tom. i, p. 77.
14 Portalis, op. cit., p. 32.
The solution of the difficulty, however, in the eyes of the members of the Legislature, looked like partiality to the adherents of the Papacy. Why should they triumph over the Constitutionals who had shown distinguished loyalty to la Patrie? A better solution for the internecine strife, in their opinion, was to follow the example England had set under Henry VIII. The English people had a church which was able to teach conventional morality, and, moreover, it was national and patriotic. Why could not France secure for herself a similar kind of church?
Portalis had several good reasons to show why this was impossible. The first is the most surprising, but least convincing. He thought that a church which has its chief always present in the country really becomes an imperium in imperio, and that it is better to have the fountain of religious authority at a distance so that his "voice is only feebly heard" in far-off France. Furthermore, such a chief has to observe great respect and discretion towards those nations upon which he depends for protection. 15
The second reason for refusing to entertain the idea of a distinct national church is much more persuasive. It must have been the decisive one for Bonaparte. Portalis informed the legislators that the French government had made an inquiry into the religious desires of the masses, and this inquiry had revealed that "the majority of the people adhered to the Catholic cult and that in certain departments the inhabitants held to it almost more dearly than to life itself." 16 Moreover, the findings of the central government had been checked with investigations made by prefects of districts and the two were found to be in accord.
This overwhelming public sentiment in favor of the restoration of Catholicism could not have been ignored by the
15 Ibid., p. 34.
16 Ibid., p. 36.
First Consul. He was a Jacobin democrat to the extent that he believed that the secret of successful government, even that of a dictatorship, was to govern men as the greatest number of them wished to be governed. It was in this way that he recognized the sovereignty of the people, and the result of his inquiry into their religious beliefs had left him no alternative but to communicate with the Pope. In fact, he said it was after he had finished the war of La Vendée that he became a Catholic. 17 Portalis, Bonaparte's interpreter, made it sufficiently clear to the legislators that it was in fulfillment of democratic principles that they were asked to give their approval to the Concordat.
If, however, the sovereignty of the people had lost its sanctity in the hearts of the disillusioned legislators, Portalis had a final appeal for remaining within the Roman unity, which he felt sure could not fail to strike a responsive chord in his audience. It still had to do with the different circumstances in England and France, circumstances which prevented the former from serving as a model for the latter. He dwelt upon the insularity of the English people, which he did not think was possible or advisable for the French to imitate. Why, he asked, should the French wish to cut themselves adrift from their European neighbors, and by the same token, to renounce the cult which gave them a common bond with so many other peoples? France, he proudly reminded his hearers, held the first place among the continental nations of Europe; the more powerful of these were her natural
17 Bonaparte, in a conversation at Malmaison ( August 18, 1800), said: "My policy is to govern men as the greatest number of them wish to be governed. That is, I think, the way to recognize the sovereignty of the people. It was this principle that made a Catholic of me when I had finished the war of Vendée, made a Mussulman of me when I had established myself in Egypt; made an Ultramontane of me when I had gained the good will of Italy. If I governed a Jewish people, I should reestablish the temple of Solomon." Boulay, op. cit., tom; i, p. 77.
allies, especially the new Republic of Italy. He admitted that the French influence had been recently extended to Italy by force of arms, but he thought it could be consolidated and preserved through the aid of the Catholic Church. Not in Italy alone, however, was the Church to be a reconciling factor between the régime in his country and the rest of Catholic Europe; he felt certain that the ties of religion would become the medium of a communication and rapprochement with those Catholic countries which had been so long at enmity with Jacobin France.
Continuing along the same strain, Portalis asked why anyone should be alarmed over the enterprises of the Court of Rome, for after all, the Pope could not be more difficult to handle than the representative of any other power. In fact, he would be more docile than other rulers, since he would always be in need of the support of France, and this necessity would give the members of the French government an opportunity to play a part in the politics of the Roman Court, since the affairs of the Church were usually connected with political considerations. 18 Just what advantage France was to reap from this opportunity of meddling in the affairs of Catholic countries all over the world is not made clear by Portalis, but it was a point on which his patriotic audience was little likely to take issue, and consequently it required no elaboration.
To all these cogent reasons for the reestablishment of the Church in France, Portalis added still another, which must have been surprising to his listeners, but one to which they, as good patriots, could hardly have taken exception. In his peroration he endeavored once again to show how the Church, in a unique way, would assist in the great task of teaching the masses to love la Patrie. He seems to have perceived better than Chateaubriand that patriotic devotion
18 Portalis, op. cit., p. 39.
to a political unity of the extent of France is not a natural sentiment, and that it can only be developed by some kind of educational propaganda. Sectional patriotism he recognized as a natural sentiment; but he pointed out that if a "Breton loves his craggy cliffs it does not follow that he will love with an equal devotion the milder climes of the Mediterranean." The problem was concisely given to the legislators in these words:
In a state as extended as France, where so many divers peoples of different climates exist, the Fatherland can not more sensibly affect each individual than does the world, unless we become attached to it by objects which have the power to make it real to out souls, our imaginations, our senses and our affections. The Fatherland is real only when it is made up of all those institutions which render it dear to us. 19
The one institution which Portalis considered the most effective in overcoming sectional patriotism and other divisive tendencies, such as class loyalties, was the Church. It is the religious institutions, he said, which unite and bring men together, since they are habitually present in all situations of life and speak directly to the heart; they console most efficaciously all the inequalities of fortune, since they are able to render endurable the dangers and injustices that belong to society, by offering balm to the unfortunate and leaving a place of repentance to the criminal. 20
Thus did Portalis endeavor to answer for the legislators the question: Why is it in the interest of the Fatherland to protect religion? It was significant that this professed churchman should subordinate every argument in favor of religion to that ever-recurring end, the glory of la Patrie. It
19 Ibid., p. 56. 20 Ibid., p. 57.
was a far cry from the medieval theory that states existed for the glory of God and consequently to aid Mother Church in the supreme task of saving souls. One would gather from Portalis' speech that the Church was to be reestablished to help glorify France--a sufficient end in itself.
(4) There was yet another question that Portalis was compelled to answer before his audience would be completely satisfied. They were probably reconciled to a return of superstition, since no enlightened philosophical cult seemed to be able to take root in France; and they could agree with much that Portalis had said on the need of some organization to teach morality. What they really wanted from Portalis was some information as to the kind of authority the Roman Pontiff was going to exercise in France, and what safeguards had been provided in the Concordat for the protection of the national independence of their country. Portalis' answer to these fears was to give the Assembly a long report on the Organic Articles, and it ought to have put to silence the most apprehensive of the members.
He took up the question first as to whether the religious society recognized by France as the dominant faith would exercise an independent sovereignty within the state, a question which he promised to reduce to the most simple terms. As has already been observed, 21 Portalis had a remarkable faith in the efficacy of natural laws in the guidance of society, and he held that they alone, and not revealed truths, should be relied upon in governing a state. The state did not need to have recourse to any religious oracle in its work of governing, but simply to study the laws by which God indirectly guides society. The first of these natural laws is selfpreservation; it is found in man, and will also be found in
21 Vide supra, p. 79, note 6.
the state. "That which each must do in respect of his own individual salvation, must not the body politic, which is a vast union of a multitude of men, do for its common salvation?" It is with this question that Portalis prefaced his definition of sovereignty. He then asked, "Is the sovereignty anything else than the result of the rights of nature combined with the needs of society." Out of this brief definition, Portalis drew more conclusions than can at first sight be seen, unless one is well versed in natural law. He excluded all recourse to theology in discussing sovereignty, since anything pertaining to natural law is a purely civil question, and this fact "supports the great principles of the independence of governments." To nullify this independence, he said, "would be to weaken and break the ties which unite the citizens to the cité and would be a crime against the state." Thus did Portalis try to elucidate the philosophical conception that lay behind the framing of the Organic Articles. "These truths," he said, "which are the foundations of all public order, are consecrated in the Organic Articles." At the same time, however, the Articles enshrined a precious deposit which had always been the pride of Frenchmen. 22
It was these rules and regulations, which were supposedly added to the Concordat for the guidance of the police, that Portalis asked the legislators to consider as the assurance that France had nothing to fear from the spiritual supremacy of the Pope. In them he was able to find pretty definite limitations placed upon the sovereignty of the Church. He granted that it still retained the right to exclude errors contrary to its moral code and dogmas, but, in case this very necessary privilege should disturb the legislators, he hastened to add that the state must have a watchful interest in such
____________________ 22 Portalis, op. cit., pp. 86-87.
matters, and could disallow the publication of any decision the Church might make "when state exigencies demand it." What was more, the government could even command silence on issues which, if discussed too much, "might agitate spirits too violently." Nor would the government stand aside if there were any arbitrary alarming of consciences. 23 It would almost appear from this that Portalis regarded the Church as, on occasion, a very impulsive and irresponsible organization, which might sometimes need the assistance of the state even in the matter of settling a moral or dogmatic issue.
But the protecting hand of the state was to have a reach even longer than this. Over the routine round of daily religious practice of prayers and devotions, it intended to keep a watchful eye. Prayer, one would have thought, was a religious duty, the guidance of which was an exclusive care of the Church. But Portalis dissented even here. The choice of the hour and place of its performance were to be carefully checked by the police. "The institution of feasts," he allowed, "is in accord with piety and appertains to the ministers of the cult, yet the state is also concerned to see that citizens be not too frequently drawn away from work which is most necessary to society."
When he came to the very contentious subject of marriage, the minister of ecclesiastical affairs had no difficulty in deciding which power had the preeminence in its regulation. Since the very basis and foundation of society depends upon the observance of the marriage contract, he held it as a selfevident fact that no well organized state would ever yield its control over a compact so vitally important to its own welfare. The Church should be permitted the right to guide the marriage relationship and to bless it as a sacrament, but
23 Ibid., p. 89.
to the state belonged the prior ceremony, which, Portalis assured his audience, was the really important one. 24
In all this, it can be seen that Portalis had given the Legislature no opportunity to feel that the Church was to retain the slightest amount of independent sovereignty in France. However, in some observations he made for the First Consul in regard to the allocution of the Pope directed against the Organic Articles, he admitted the possibility of a mixed field, a sort of "no man's land" where Church and state were apt to clash. But he dealt with the problem almost in a tone of disdain for anyone so obtuse as not to be able to perceive clearly to which power belongs the final sovereignty. He had no patience with the Ultramontane contention that since the end of the spiritual was higher than that of the temporal, the former ought to have the preeminence in the mixed field. 25
The Pope in his allocution had contended that the Organic Articles had not only made the state absolute in temporal affairs, but also in spiritual, to such an extent as to contradict the plain meaning of the terms of the Concordat. 26 Portalis' reply to this complaint, in the observations he made for Napoleon, was that "the foundations upon which the Organic Articles repose are the independence of governments in temporal affairs and the limitation of ecclesiastical authority to purely spiritual affairs." It was upon the same foundation that the Four Articles of 1682 had rested, and the Organic Articles were simply the Declaration of 1682 worked out in greater detail.
But Bonaparte had shown considerable concern about some of the passages in the earlier declaration, especially the quotation in one of the articles of the well known saying of our Lord, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and
24 Ibid., pp. 90-91. 25 Ibid., p. 114. 26 Vide supra, ch. ii, p. 57, note 46.
unto God the things that are God's." 27 The First Consul was apprehensive about admitting that some things required accounting to God, or God's vicegerent, the Pope, and he wanted some instruction from Portalis as to just what they might be. To reassure him, the minister of ecclesiastical affairs reminded him of the old Gallican theory put forward at the Councils of Pisa and Constance, that a General Council and not the Pope is the voice of God. Such a statement, if left unsupported, was apt to disturb Bonaparte even more than if he had been told that the Pope was the last court of appeal in purely spiritual concerns; he would probably have preferred to take his chances in dealing with one individual rather than with a factious council. But Portalis hastened to point out the advantage of conceding that an Ecumenical Council is infallible. It was invaluable as a means of appeal from a Papal decision, while, at the same time, it was exceedingly improbable that one should be held for a long time to come. To bring one about, it would be necessary to have the bishops of all Christianity present and each national Church must have its representative at hand; and, since the bishops of France could not leave the state without the government's permission, it was simple enough for the state to prevent any possibility of the Church's exercising its infallible power. If, however, it was deemed expedient to allow a Council to assemble, Portalis pointed out that it could be quickly brought to an end the moment it began to make decisions contrary to the welfare of France by national sovereigns' exercising their right of dissolution. 28
But to return to the problem of mixed fields. Portalis admitted that the boundaries of things temporal and things spiritual are hard to determine, but roundly asserted that it was not the intention of the present French government to
27 St. Luke, 20: 25. 28 Portalis, op. cit., pp. 169-174.
regard the vast field of mixed matters as neutral territory into which both Church and state could make excursions "with the same authority and without any rule of deference." 29 That, he said, would be to introduce a dangerous confusion and often to render the duty of obedience uncertain. To avoid bewilderment, there had to be a supreme power, and Portalis proceeded to make clear which power should prevail in the mixed field. The unity of public authority was a necessity he did not feel called upon to prove; it was so self-evident that even the Ultramontanes did not dare to gainsay it; they held that the spiritual power only should furnish that unity. But, according to Portalis, their argument, however idealistically conceived, broke down in one vital respect, and that is that the spiritual authority lacked any power of coercion. Although Portalis did not put it so bluntly, yet his argument seems to be based upon the fact that the power which bears the physical sword has the might and, therefore, the right to demand the subordination of the spiritual to itself. Not only does this preeminent authority compel the clergy to defer to all the enactments of the government in a spirit of submission, but, as he phrased it, the obedience of the clergy "must not be simply passive, but the ecclesiastical citizen must subscribe and cooperate to such an extent as to assist in the execution of the laws." 30
The readmission of monastic orders into France also brought up the question of foreign sovereignty. Would they become corporations beyond the control of the state in virtue of their vows of obedience to the Pope? Portalis held that it is the ecclesiastical authority that brings a spiritual order into being, but besides existing within the framework of the Church, it had also an existence in the state, and this latter privilege was the result of a temporal permission. It
29 Ibid., pp. 131-134. 30 Ibid., p. 140.
followed, therefore, that if an order should attempt to defy rules laid down for it by the state, the latter could immediately terminate its temporal privileges. 31
All these restrictions on the spiritual power in France had a very negative sound, and a keen critic might have been inclined to say to Portalis that such a "thou shalt not" policy would surely create a rebellious spirit among the clergy. The minister of ecclesiastical affairs was not unaware of the danger but he thought he had some positive plans whereby the clergy would be brought to the proper frame of mind. It was the state's endowment of the ecclesiastical seminaries that was to assure this happy result. The expenditure involved, to which the legislators took such strong exception, Portalis showed, was money well spent, since the seminaries would be brought "under the surveillance of the government," and the nomination of directors and professors would be in the hands of a political magistrate. 32 Thus were the ranks of the clergy to be recruited from seminarians well grounded in Gallican maxims, taught by the paid agents of the state.
(5) The clerical orders were not alone to be carefully trained to serve and reverence the state. The pious rank and file also were to be instructed on their state duties as well as their religious within the portals of the Church. In order to reach them, however, it was necessary for the state to have a hand in the drawing up of a catechism to include good national teaching. The catechism had always been regarded as the peculiar care of the Church, since it contained, generally, doctrinal teaching on the mysteries of the faith. Though nothing seemed to be sacrosanct to Napoleon, even he had
31 Ibid., p. 225. 32 Ibid., pp. 321-325.
doubts as to the advisability of government officials' trying their hands at framing such a purely doctrinal document. He wrote to Portalis on the subject, saying that he would like a new catechism for the Church in France, but at the same time expressing his uncertainty as to whether such a thing could really be composed by state officials. The reply of Portalis must have been very gratifying to the First Consul, for the latter was assured that he would not be shattering sacred traditions by putting out a national catechism. Other nations, said Portalis, have changed their liturgies, why cannot France have her own catechism? 33 So it was done. It came out after Bonaparte had made himself Emperor.
A thin little book entitled Catéchisme à l'Usage de Toutes les Églises de l'Empire Française, printed in Paris in 1808, is one of the most interesting surviving mementos of the First Empire. That Portalis had secured a catechism to gladden the heart of the Emperor is clearly evidenced from the following excerpt:
Q. What are the duties of Christians towards the princes who govern them, and what are our duties in particular towards Napoleon, our Emperor?
A. Christians owe to the princes who govern them, and we owe in particular to Napoleon I, our Emperor, love, respect, obedience, fidelity, military service, and the taxes which are imposed for the preservation and defense of the Empire and his throne; we owe him, moreover, our fervent prayers for his salvation and for the spiritual and temporal prosperity of the state.
Q. Why do we owe all these duties towards our Emperor?
A. It is preeminently because God, who creates empires and distributes them according to His will, in showering our Emperor with gifts, it may be in peace or war, has made him our sovereign and has created him the minister of His power and His repre-
33 Ibid., pp. 264-265.
sentative upon earth. To honor and serve the Emperor is, then, to honor and serve God Himself. 34
Such language as the above might have been deemed appropriate to apply to divine right Bourbons, but was rather startling when it was ascribed to an upstart Corsican. Portalis must have come to the conclusion that God was no longer acting through secondary causes, 35 but had directly intervened in the politics of France when He elevated Napoleon to the seat of the Bourbons.
However, the catechism was not the masterpiece of the minister of ecclesiastical affairs. That title must be reserved for the feast of St. Napoleon. Writing to the Emperor in the year 1806, Portalis informs his Majesty of some recent suggestions the Tribunate had made to perpetuate eternally the "memory of the brilliant triumphs of the Emperor." He does not credit to the Tribunate the suggestion that he is about to lay before his Majesty, but only says that the speeches delivered from the Tribune had given him the inspiration for the program he is about to unfold. He reminds the Emperor how the feast of St. Louis used to stir up for the kings of the ancient régime "love and devotion," while at the same time it "exalted public spirit; the feast of the king was the feast of the kingdom." With this preliminary reminder, he ventures his grand idea:
May not France have the feast of Saint Napoleon! May the feast of your Imperial and Royal Majesty be that of the Empire! May all the memories dear to Frenchmen be again brought together, and may all their affections be united in him whom they regard as Père de la Patrie.
After this lyrical outburst, Portalis comes down to details.
34 Catéchisme à l'Usage de Toutes les Églises de l'Empire Français (Paris, 1808), p. 56. 35 Vide supra, p. 79, note 6.
The Emperor is free to choose his own day upon which the feast can be celebrated, but if it were united to the feast of the Assumption it would probably add more éclat to the sacred occasion. Further suggestions were that the military, civil and juridical authorities take a leading part in the ceremonies and also that "the fathers, mothers and children of the defenders of la Patrie should have a distinguished place; they should march under the banner of Saint Napoleon." 36
(6) The feast of St. Napoleon and the catechism reveal rather sharply some of the purposes which Portalis and the Emperor hoped to serve in the reestablishment of the Church. They were looking for a ritualistic way by which to deepen the nationalism of the new régime. This nationalism was not the exact duplicate of that propagated by the Jacobins in the early days of the French Revolution; there was a considerable reversion to the symbolic type of the ancient régime, in which the king was the center of loyalty, but much of the Jacobin remained. 37 Napoleon did not say in so many words that he was the state, but he did say he was the Revolution, and he boasted that he had established and made solid its work in France. One aspect of that Revolution he did not forget, and that was the patriotic emotional fervor that burst forth during the national fête of 1791. He had undoubtedly been impressed by the power of that newfound faith which had, with raw and untrained recruits, stopped the allied invasion of France. But he had also observed, in the later stages of the Revolution, a decline from the original patriotic fervor, and the many futile attempts to stimulate it again by a systematic form of state worship.
36 Portalis, op. cit., pp. 550-551.
37 On the development of Jacobin nationalism vide Gooch G. P., Nationalism (London, 1921), p. 5.
The Church, he remembered, had taken a very important part in the first invocations at the altar of la Patrie, and he felt that if he could again gain the assistance of the clergy in his national fêtes, they would impress true devotion and loyalty into the hearts of his subjects better than the Jacobin philosophers with their cults of Reason and the Supreme Being. Such thoughts seem to have been in his mind when he began to negotiate for the Concordat; such hopes, at least, were frankly laid before the legislators by his minister of ecclesiastical affairs.
Napoleon confessed a desire to have the souls of his subjects as well as their bodies, and yet he was of the opinion that the Church was always retaining the more important part to itself. His plan, was, first to make an ally of the Church and to subordinate it to his ambitious political plans. Thus he would indirectly have secured control of the coveted souls. The reestablishment of the Church in France involved a further plan for Napoleon which he probably had in mind from the beginning, but only later revealed, and that was to become master of the Pope. There was one flaw in the plan, however; the Pope was apt to refuse to be mastered. That is how the matter finally turned out, much to the dismay of the Emperor. But this is a story that can better be reserved for a later chapter.
Though Portalis did not feel called upon in his speeches to appease the fears and prejudices of the legitimists, yet, unwittingly perhaps, he was moving in their direction when he put forth the imperial catechism and devised the fête of St. Napoleon. It would have been quite natural for believers in the divine right of the Bourbons to regard both the catechism and the fête as blasphemy, and most of them did; but there was one very distinguished member among them who came happily home to France when the upstart Corsican transformed himself into a divine right Emperor. He was, of all men, Abbé Maury, the acknowledged leader of the refractory clergy. This transference of allegiance was the beginning of a truce between the old and new in France; later they were able to find a common bond of union--the subordination of all other interests to that of la Patrie. It is a story that can be best illustrated from the remarkable career of Abbé Maury, to which we now turn.
JEAN SIFFREIN MAURY
THE oath of fidelity demanded of the clergy in 1800 brought into the open a rupture which had long been brewing in the ranks of those who had shown united opposition to the Civil Constitution in 1791. The origin of the cleavage lies not so much in the events of the revolutionary period as in the ecclesiastical controversies of the old régime. As Victor Martin has admirably explained in his Gallicanisme et la Réforme Catholique, the growth of national royalty in France had made both theologians and statesmen acutely conscious of disputed fields of sovereignty and they began to endeavor to make a distinction between the rôle of the prince and the task of the episcopate. The parlements and the house of bishops meditated, discussed and finally agreed that the two authorities had neither the same terrain nor the same means of action, and that, if Church and state were to live together in harmony, they must undertake mutually to sustain one another while at the same time each remaining autonomous in its own particular sphere. 1
In 1615 an ecclesiastical assembly, in conference at the Hotel de la Rochefoucald, laid it down that the "Church in France is a moral being as royalty is another" and that each has its defined field of authority. The ecclesiastics claimed for themselves an independent control over the souls of their
1 Martin V., Le Gallicanisme et la Réforme Catholique (Paris, 1919), introductory chapter (especially).
[ Main Contents | Next ]