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The Modern Regime, Volume 2
The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 6
by Hippolyte A. Taine^M

BOOK FIFTH. The Church.




BOOK SIXTH. Public instruction.



CHAPTER III. Evolution between 1814 and 1890.


After Taine's death in March 1893, his nephew André Chevrillon
arranged his last manuscripts on the Church and Education for
publication and wrote the following introduction which also tells us
much about Taine and his works

PREFACE By André Chevrillon.

"To treat of the Church, the School, and the Family, describe the
modern milieu and note the facilities and obstacles which a society
like our own encounters in this milieu, such was the program of the
last[1] section of the "Origins of Contemporary France." The preceding
volume is a continuation of the first part of this program; after the
commune and the department, after local societies, the author was to
study moral and intellectual bodies in France as organized by
Napoleon. This study completed, this last step taken, he was about to
reach the summit. He was about to view France as a whole, to
comprehend it no longer through a detail of its organs, in a state of
formation, but its actual existence; no longer isolated, but plunged,
along with other occidental nations, into the modern milieu,
experiencing with them the effects of one general cause which changed
the physical and intellectual condition of men; which dissolved
sentiments formerly grouping them together, more or less capable at
length of adapting themselves to new circumstances and of organizing
according to a new type suited to the coming age that now opens before

Only a part of this last volume was written, that which relates to
the Church and to public instruction. Death intervened and suddenly
arrested the pen. M. Taine, at this moment, was about completing his
analysis of subordinate societies in France. - For those who have
followed him thus far it is already clear that the great defect of the
French community is the fragmentation of the individuals, who
isolated, dwindling, and prostrate at the feet of the all-powerful
State, who, due to remote historical causes, and yet more so by
modern legislation, have been made incapable of "spontaneously
grouping around a common interest." Very probably - and of this we may
judge by two sketches of a plan, undoubtedly provisional, but the
ideas of which were long settled in his mind - M. Taine would have
first described this legislation and defined its principles and
general characteristics. He meant to show it more and more systematic,
deliberately hostile to collective enterprise, considering secondary
bodies not as "distinct, special organs," endowed with a life of their
own, "maintained and stimulated by private initiation," but as agents
of the State "which fashions them after a common pattern, imposes on
them their form and prescribes their work." - This done, this defect
pointed out, the author was to enumerate the consequences flowing from
it, the social body entirely changed, "not only in its proportions but
in its innermost texture," every tendency weakened by which
individuals form groups that are to last longer than themselves, each
man reduced to his own self, the egoistic instinct enhanced while the
social instinct wastes away for want of nourishment, his daily
imagination solely concerned with life-long aims, incapacitated for
politics as he is "lacking spheres of action in which he may train
himself according to his experiences and faculties", his mind
weakening in idleness and boredom or in a thirst for pleasure and
personal success, - in short, an organic impoverishment of all
faculties of cohesion, leading to the destruction of the natural
centers of grouping and, consequently, to political instability.[2]

One association of special import remains, the most spontaneous, the
deepest rooted, so old that all others derive from it, so essential
that in any attack upon it we see even the substance of the social
body decaying and diminishing. On the nature of the Family; on its
profound physiological origins; on its necessary role in the
prolongation and "perpetuation of the individual" by affording him
"the sole remedy for death"; on its primitive constitution among men
of our own race; on its historic organization and development "around
the family home"; on the necessity of its subsistence and continuance
in order to insure the duration of this home; on its other needs, M.
Taine, with his knowledge of man and of his history, had given a good
deal of thought to fundamental ideas analogous to those which he has
consecrated to the classic spirit, to the origin of honor and
conscience, to the essence of local society, so many stones, as it
were, shaped by him from time to time and deeply implanted as the
foundations of his criticism of institutions. Having set forth the
proper character and permanent wants of the Family he was able to
study the legislation affecting it, and, first, "the Jacobin laws on
marriage, divorce, paternal authority and on the compulsory public
education of children; next, the Napoleonic laws, those which still
govern us, the Civil Code" with that portion of it in which the
equality and leveling spirit is preserved, along with "its tendency to
regard property as a means of enjoyment" instead of the starting-point
and support of "an enduring institution." - Having exposed the system,
M. Taine meant to consider its effects, those of surrounding
institutions, and to describe the French family as it now exists. He
had first studied the "tendency to marriage"; he had considered the
motives which, in general, weaken or fortify it, and appreciated those
now absent and now active in France. According to him, "the healthy
ideal of every young man is to found a family, a house of infinite
duration, to create and to rule." Why in modern France does he give
his thoughts to "pleasure and of excelling in his career"? Why does he
regard marriage "without enthusiasm, as a last measure, as a
'settling-down,' and not as a beginning, the commencement of a
veritable career, subordinating all others to it and regarding these,
pecuniary and professional, as auxiliary and as means?" - After the
tendency to marriage, "the tendency to paternity." How does the
shrunken family come to live only for itself? In what way, in default
of other interests, - homestead, domain, workshop, lasting local
undertakings, - how does the heart, now deprived of its food by the
lack of invisible posterity, fall back on affection for visible
progeny?[3] In a country where there are few openings, where careers
are overcrowded, what are the effects of this paididolatry[4], and, to
sum up in one phrase, in what way does the French system of to-day
tend to develop the most fatal of results, the decline in the birth

Here the study of institutions on a grand scale terminated. Formerly,
M. Taine had contemplated a completion of his labors by a description
of contemporary France, the product of origins scrutinized by him and
of which he had traced the formation. Having disengaged his factors he
meant to combine them, to show them united and acting in concert, all
centering on the great actual facts which dominate the rest and which
determine the order and structure of modern society. As he had given a
picture of old France he aimed to portray France as it now is, with
its various groups, - village, small town and large city, - with its
categories of men, peasants, workmen, bourgeois, functionaries and
capitalists; with the forces that impel each class along, their
passions, their ideas, their desires. Besides the numerical statistics
of person he meant to have set forth the moral statistics of souls.
According to him, psychological conditions exist which render the
social activity of men possible or impossible. And, especially, "in a
given society, there is always a psychological state which provokes
the state of that society." It was his aim to seek out in the novel,
in poetry, in the arts since 1820, that is to say in all works that
throw light on the various and successive kinds of the reigning ideal
- in philosophy, in religion, in industry, in all branches of French
action and thought - the signs of the psychological tendencies of
modern Frenchman in this or that social condition. What would this
book have been? M. Taine had sketched it out so far back, he had
abandoned it for so long a time and never alluded to it, that nothing
remains by which we can form any idea of it. But, in this undertaking
demanding so much science, so much intuition, so much experience of
accurate observation, of general views and precise generalization - in
this vast study requiring such profound knowledge, not alone of France
but of societies offering points of comparison with her, we may be
certain that the author of Notes sur Paris, Notes sur l'Angleterre, of
the Ancien Régime, the critic accustomed to interpret civilizations,
literature and works of art, the thinker, in fine, who, to prepare
himself for the greatest tasks he undertook, traveled five times over
France, studying its life with the eyes of an artist, in the light of
history and of psychology, ever preceding his philosophic study with
visual investigation, would have been equal to the task.[5]

Already for several years, M. Taine, aware that his time was short,
had narrowed the limits of the work he was engaged upon. But what his
work lost in breadth and in richness of detail it would have gained in
depth and in power. All his master ideas would have been found in it,
foreshortened and concentrated. Always seeking in this or that group
of them what he called his generators, intellectual and moral as well
as political, he would have described all those which explain the
French group. Unfortunately, here again the elements are wanting which
allow one to foreshadow what this final analysis and last construction
might have been. M. Taine did not write in anticipation. Long before
taking the pen in hand he had derived his most significant facts and
formed his plan. He carried them in his brain where they fell into
order of themselves. Ten lines of notes, a few memoranda of
conversations - faint reflections, to us around him, of the great
inward light - are all that enable one to attempt an indication of the
few leading conceptions were to complete "Les Origines de la France

"Le Milieu Moderne", was to have been the title of the last book. The
question here is how to discover the great characteristics of the
period into which European societies entered and about were to live.
Rising to a higher point of view than that to which he had confined
himself in studying France, M. Taine regarded its metamorphosis as a
case of transformation as general as the passage of the Cité antique
over to the Roman Empire over to the feudal State. Now, as formerly,
this transformation is the effect of a "change in the intellectual and
physical condition of men"; that is to say, in other words, in the
environment that surrounds them. Such is the advent of a new
geological period, of a glacial period, for example, or, more
precisely, "the very slow and then accelerated upheaval of a
continent, forcing the submarine species which breathe by gills to
transform themselves into species which breathe by lungs." It is
impossible to divine in what sense this adaptation takes place if we
do not comprehend the event, that is to say if we do not perceive its
starting-point and the innate force which produces it. According to
Taine, this force, in the present case, is the progress the increasing
authority of positive, verifiable science. What a definition he would
have given of science and its essence! What a tableau of its progress,
the man whose thought was matured at the moment when the scientific
spirit entered into history and literature; who breathed it in his
youth with the fervid and sacred enthusiasm of a poet seeing the world
grow brighter and intelligible to him, and who, at the age of twenty-
five, demanded of it a method and introduced this into criticism and
psychology in order to give these new life - the mechanical equivalent
of heat, natural selection, spectroscopic analysis, the theory of the
microbes, recent discoveries in physics and the constitution of
matter, research into historic origins, psychological explanation of
texts, extension of oriental researches, discoveries of prehistoric
conditions, comparative study of barbaric communities - every grand
idea of the century to which he has himself contributed, all those by
which science embraces a larger and larger portion of the universe, he
saw them containing the same essence; all combining to change the
conception of the world and substitute another, coherent and logical
in the best minds, but then confused and disfigured as it slowly
descends to the level of the crowd. - He would have described this
decent, the gradual diffusion, the growing power of the new Idea, the
active ferment which it contains after the manner of a dogma,
beneficent or pernicious according to the minds in which it lodges,
capable of arming men and of driving them on to pure destruction when
not fully comprehended, and capable of reorganizing them if they can
grasp its veritable meaning.

Its first effects are simply destructive, for, through Darwinism,
through experimental psychology, through the physiology of the brain,
through biblical exegesis, through the comparative study of savage
communities and their moral systems, the new concepts at first shocks
the religious idea which it tends to replace; even, with the half-
cultivated and in the minds of novices, it tends to pure negation, to
hostility against existing religions. To every social gathering around
the religious idea that explains and sustains it, what a disturbance
in the secular system formed by the co-ordination and mutual
adaptation of laws, customs, morality, and institutions! What a
rupture of the inward equilibrium which maintains man passive and
tranquil! The consequent mental agitation will lead to agitation,
impulsion, ambitions, lassitude, despondency, and disorder in all the
sentiments which had thus far maintained every species of society, the
family, the commune, the Church, free association and the State! -
Now, along with the immediate effects of science on the intellectual
habits of men consider the effects of its application to their
material condition; at first, their increased well-being, their power
increased, then the rupture of the ties that bind them to their
birthplace, the concentration of masses of workmen in the towns to
which they are attracted by great and rapid industrial development,
the influx of new ideas, of every species of information, the gradual
decline of the old hereditary prejudices of caste and parish which act
automatically as instincts, and are useful as instincts to the small
groups in which the individual is born and in which he lives. How
could such a profound change in the condition of humanity fail to
undermine everywhere the order of things which group men together? Why
should not the new milieu at once attack all ancient forms of society?
For, at the moment of its establishment, there exists in Europe a
general form of society manifest through features in common; a
monarchy - hereditary royalty, dynastic but frequently limited, at
least in fact, - a privileged nobility performing military service as
a special function, a clergy organized as a Church, proprietary and
more or less privileged, local or special bodies also proprietary -
provinces, communes, universities, brotherhoods, corporations - laws
and customs which base the family on paternal authority, perpetuating
it on the natal soil and by social rank; in brief, institutions which
modern ideas disturb in every direction, the first effect of which is,
while developing the spirit of doubt and investigation, to break down
subordination to the king, to the gentleman, to the noble, and, in
general, to dissolve society founded on heredity. Such phenomena are
already observable everywhere, the ruin of feeble corporations by the
state, its constant tendency to interference, to the absorption of
every special service and the descent of power into the hands of a
numerical majority. - What plan, then, governs these societies in the
way of reorganization, and, since they all belong to a common type,
what are the common resources and difficulties of adaptation? On what
lines must the metamorphosis be effected in order to arrive at a
viable creations? And, abandoning the general problem in order to
return to contemporary France, grown up and organized under our own
eyes, how does the great modern event affect it? How does "this common
factor combine with special factors, permanent and temporary," belong
to our system? With the French, whose hereditary spirit and character
are easily defined, in this society founded on Napoleonic institutions
moved by our "administrative mechanism," what are the peculiar
tendencies of a leveling democracy which seeks immediate
establishment? Among the maladies which are special with us - feeble
birth-rate, political instability, absence of local life, slow
industrial and commercial development, despondency and pessimism - can
an aptitude for transformation which we do not possess be
distinguished in the sense demanded by the new milieu ? The knowledge
we have of our origins, of our psychology, of our present
constitution, of our circumstances, what hopes are warranted?

M. Taine could not have replied to all these questions. If, twenty
years ago, on the morrow after our disasters, just as we once more set
about a new organization, putting aside literature, art, and
philosophy, noble contemplation and pure speculation, abandoning works
already projected, he gave himself up to the technical study of law,
political economy and administrative history; if, for twenty years, he
secluded himself and devoted himself to his task - at what a cost of
prolonged effort, with what a strain his mental faculties, with what
weariness and often with what dissatisfaction! - if he shortened his
life, it was to discharge what he deemed a duty to that suffering
France which he loved with tender and silent passion, the duty of
aiding in her cure by establishing the general diagnosis which a
philosopher-historian was warranted in presenting after a profound
study of its vital constitution. The examination finished, he felt
that he had a right to offer the diagnosis. Not that his modesty
permitted him to foretell the future or to dictate reforms. When his
opinion was asked in relation to any reform he generally declined
giving it. "I am merely a consulting physician," he would reply; "I do
not possess sufficient details on that particular question - I am not
sufficiently familiar with circumstances which vary from day to day."
In effect, according to him, there is no general principle from which
one can deduce a series of reforms. On the contrary, his first
recommendation would have been not to try to find simple solutions in
political and social matters, but to proceed by experiments, according
to temperaments, and accepting the irregular and the incomplete. - One
becomes resigned to this course by a study of history and by acquiring
"the sense of surrounding facts and developments." Here do we find the
general remedy for the destructive effects produced by the brusque
progress of science, and she herself furnishes this remedy, when, from
the hasty and the theoretical, she becomes experimental and builds on
the observation of facts and their relations. "Through psychological
narration, through the analysis of psychological conditions which have
produced, maintained, or modified this or that institution, we may
find a partial solution to each question of reform," gradually
discovering laws and establishing the general conditions that render
possible or impossible any given project. When constituted and then
developed, reorganized, respected and applied to human affairs, the
sciences of humanity may become a new instrument of power and
civilization, and, just as the natural sciences have taught us to
derive profit from physical forces, they may teach us to benefit by
moral forces. M. Taine believed that the French were very well
qualified for this order of study: if any other people possess
superior mental faculties in respect of memory or a better knowledge
of philology, he thought we had in our favor a superiority of the
psychological sense.

Except for such beneficial generalities which may provide general
hygienic guidelines, could M. Taine have suggested immediate remedies?
It is scarcely probable. In any even, he was not a partisan for hasty
decentralization. When, under the influence of a bad system, an
organization has contracted a vice that reaches its vital organs, the
following treatment nearly becomes mandatory;[6] in any event, no
sudden modification of it must be thought of; all that can be done is
to lessen its pernicious effect by resorting to make-shift or short
term measures. Taking advantage of unforeseen circumstances, using
great circumspection, noting favorable symptoms that had impressed him
- for example a certain new birth of the spirit of association under
the Third Republic - leaving to political authorities the care "of
adjusting means" to the diversity and mobility of things, we may
believe that M. Taine would have confined himself to indicating in
what sense we could, with prudence, lay our course. To do this, it
sufficed for him to sum up his diagnosis and lay down the conditions
of duration and progress. In a matter of such vital import nobody can
speak for him. Accordingly, if the conclusion is not written, whoever
knows how to read his thought may divine it. The work, such as it is,
is finished; it already contains his ideas in full; the intelligent
eye has only to follow them and to note their consequences and
André Chevrillon
Menthon, St-Bernard, October, 1893.

BOOK FIFTH. The Church.


I. Napoleon's Objectives.

Centralization and moral institutions - Object of the State in
absorbing Churches. - Their influence on civil society.

After the centralizing and invading State has taken hold of local
societies there is nothing left for it but to cast its net over moral
societies[7], and this second haul is more important than the first
one; for, if local societies are based on the proximity of physical
bodies and habitations, the latter are formed out of the accord which
exists between minds and souls; in possessing these, the hold is no
longer on the outside but on the inside of man, his thought, his will;
the incentive within is laid hold of, and this directly; then only can
he be fully mastered, and disposed of at discretion. To this end, the
main purpose of the conquering State is the possession of the
Churches; alongside as well as outside of itself, these are the great
powers of the nation; not only does their domain differ from its own
but, again it is vaster and lies deeper. Beyond the temporal patrimony
and the small fragment of human history which the eyes of the flesh
perceive, they embrace and present to mental vision the whole world
and its first cause, the total ordinance of things, the infinite
perspective of a past eternity and that of an eternity to come.
Underneath the corporeal and intermittent actions which civil power
prescribes and regulates, they govern the imagination, the conscience
and the affections, the whole inward being, that mute, persistent
effort of which our visible acts are simply the incomplete expressions
and rare outbursts. Indeed, even when they set limits to these,
voluntarily, conscientiously, there is no limit; in vain do they
proclaim, if Christian, that their kingdom is not of this world;
nevertheless, it is, since they belong to it; masters of dogma and of
morals, they teach and command in it. In their all-embracing
conception of divine and human things, the State, like a chapter in a
book, has its place and their teachings in this chapter are for it of
capital importance. For, here do they write out its rights and duties,
the rights and duties of its subjects, a more or less perfect plan of
civil order. This plan, avowed or dissimulated, towards which they
incline the preferences of the faithful, issues at length,
spontaneously and invincible from their doctrine, like a plant from
its seed, to vegetate in temporal society, flower and fructify therein
and send its roots deeper down for the purpose of shattering or of
consolidating civil and political institutions. The influence of a
Church on the family and on education, on the use of wealth or of
authority, on the spirit of obedience or of revolt, on habits of
initiation or of inertia, of enjoyment or of abstention, of charity or
of egoism, on the entire current train of daily practice and of
dominant impulses, in every branch of private or public life, is
immense, and constitutes a distinct and permanent social force of the
highest order. Every political calculation is unsound if it is omitted
or treated as something of no consequence, and the head of a State is
bound to comprehend the nature of it if he would estimate its

II. Napoleon's opinions and methods.

Napoleon's opinions on religion and religious belief. - His motives in
preferring established and positive religions. - Difficulty in
defining the limit between spiritual and temporal authority. - Except
in Catholic countries, both united in one hand. - Impossible to effect
this union in France arbitrarily. - Napoleon's way of attaining this
end by another process. - His intention of overcoming spiritual
authority through temporal interests.

This is what Napoleon does. As usual with him, in order to see deeper
into others, he begins by examining himself:

"To say from whence I came, what I am, or where I am going, is above
my comprehension. I am the watch that runs, but unconscious of

These questions, which we are unable to answer,

"drive us onward to religion; we rush forward to welcome her, for that
is our natural tendency. But knowledge comes and we stop short.
Instruction and history, you see, are the great enemies of religion,
disfigured by the imperfections of humanity. . . . I once had faith.
But when I came to know something, as soon as I began to reason, which
happened early, at the age of thirteen, my faith staggered and became

This double personal conviction is in the back-ground of his thinking,
when he drafted the Concordat:

"It will be said that I am a papist.[9] I am nothing. In Egypt I was
a Moslem; here I shall be a Catholic, for the good of the people. I do
not believe in religions. The idea of a God!" (And then, pointing
upward:) "Who made all that?"

Imagination has already decorated this great name with its legends.
Let us content ourselves with those already existing; "the
restlessness of man" is such that he cannot do without them; in
default of those already made he would fashion others, haphazard, and
still more strange. The positive religions keep man from going astray;
it is these which render the supernatural definite and precise;[10]
"he had better catch it there than pick it up at Mademoiselle
Lenormand's, or with some fortune-teller or a passing charlatan." An
established religion

"is a kind of vaccination which, in satisfying our love of the
marvelous, protects us against quacks and sorcerers;[11]the priests
are far better than the Cagliostros, Kants, and the rest of the German

In sum illuminism and metaphysics,[12] speculative inventions of the
brain or of a contagious overexcitement of the nervous system, all
these illusions of gullible men, are basically unhealthy, and, in
general, anti-social. Nevertheless, since they are part of human
nature, let us accept them like so many streams tumbling down a slope,
but on condition that they remain in their own beds and that they have
many but no new ones and never one bed alone for itself.

"I do not want a dominant religion, nor the establishment of new
ones. The Catholic, Reformed, and Lutheran systems, established by the
Concordat, are sufficient."[13]

Their direction and force are intelligible, and their irruptions can
be guarded against. Moreover, the present inclinations and
configurations of the human soil favor them; the child follows the
road marked out by the parent, and the man follows the road marked out
when a child.

"Listen,[14] last Sunday, here at Malmaison, while strolling alone in
the solitude enjoying the repose of nature, my ear suddenly caught the
sound of the church-bell at Rueil. I was moved, so strong is the force
of early habits and education! I said to myself, What an impression
this must make on simple, credulous people!"

Let us gratify them; let us give back these bells and the rest to the
Catholics. After all, the general effect of Christianity is

"As far as I am concerned,[15] I do not see in it the mystery of the
incarnation, but the mystery of social order, the association of
religion with paradise, an idea of equality which keeps the rich from
being massacred by the poor."

"Society[16] could not exist without an inequality of fortunes, and an
inequality of fortunes without religion.[17] A man dying of
starvation alongside of one who has abundance would not yield to this
difference unless he had some authority which assured him that God so
orders it that there must be both poor and rich in the world, but that
in the future, and throughout eternity, the portion of each will be

Alongside of the repressive police exercised by the State there is a
preventive police exercised by the Church. The clergy, in its cassock,
is an additional spiritual gendarmerie, much more efficient than the
temporal gendarmerie in its stout boots, while the essential thing is
to make both keep step together in concert.

Between the two domains, between that which belongs to civil authority
and that which belongs to religious authority, is there any line of

"I look in vain[19] where to place it; its existence is purely
chimerical. I see only clouds, obscurities, difficulties. The civil
government condemns a criminal to death; the priest gives him
absolution and offers him paradise."

In relation to this act, both powers operate publicly in an inverse
sense on the same individual, one with the guillotine and the other
with a pardon. As these authorities may clash with each other, let us
prevent conflicts and leave no undefined frontier; let us trace this
out beforehand; let us indicate what our part is and not allow the
Church to encroach on the State. - The Church rally wants all; it is
the accessory which she concedes to us, while she appropriates the
principal to herself.

"Mark the insolence of the priests[20] who, in sharing authority with
what they call the temporal power, reserve to themselves all action on
the mind, the noblest part of man, and take it on themselves to reduce
my part merely to physical action. They retain the soul and fling me
the corpse!"

In antiquity, things were much better done, and are still better done
now in Moslem countries.

"In the Roman republic,[21] the senate was the interpreter of heaven,
and this was the incentive of the force and strength of that
government. In Turkey, and throughout the Orient, the Koran serves as
both a civil and religious bible. Only in Christianity do we find the
pontificate distinct from the civil government."

And even this has occurred only in one branch of Christianity.
Everywhere, except in Catholic countries,

"in England,[22] in Russia, in the northern monarchies, in one part of
Germany, the legal union of the two powers, the religious control in
the hands of the sovereign, 'is an accomplished fact.' One cannot
govern without it; otherwise, the repose, dignity, and independence of
a nation are disturbed at every moment."

It is a pity that "the difficulty[23] cannot be overcome as with Henry
VIII. in England. The head of the French government would then, by
legislative statute, be the supreme head of the French Church."

Unfortunately, this is repugnant to France. Napoleon often tries to
bring it about, but is satisfied that in this matter "he would never
obtain national cooperation"; once embarked," fully engaged in the
enterprise, "the nation would have abandoned him." Unable to take this
road, he takes another, which leads to the same result. As he himself
afterwards states, this result "was, for a long time and always, the
object of his wishes and mediations. . . . It is not his aim[24] to
change the faith of his people; he respects spiritual objects and
wants to rule them without meddling with them; his aim is to make
these square with his views, with his policy, but only through the
influence of temporal concerns." That spiritual authority should
remain intact; that it should operate on its own speculative domain,
that it to say, on dogmas, and on its practical domain, namely, on the
sacraments and on worship; that is should be sovereign on this limited
territory, Napoleon admits, for such is the fact. We have only to open
our eyes to see it; right or wrong, spiritual authority on this
distinct domain is recognized sovereign, obeyed, effective through the
persistent, verified loyalty of believers. It cannot be done away with
by supposing it non-existent; on the contrary, a competent statesman
will maintain it in order to make use of it and apply it to civil
purposes. Like an engineer who comes across a prolific spring near his
factory, he will not try to dry it up, nor let the water be dispersed
and lost; he has no idea of letting it remain inactive; on the
contrary, he collects it, digs channels for it, directs and economizes
the flow, and renders the water serviceable in his workshops. In the
Catholic Church, the authority to be won and utilized is that of the
clergy over believers and that of the sovereign pontiff over the

"You will see," exclaimed Bonaparte, while negotiating the Concordat,
"how I will turn the priests to account, and, first of all, the

III. Dealing with the Pope.

Services which he obliges the Pope to render. - Resignation or
dismissal of the old bishops. - End of the constitutional Church. -
Right of appointing bishops and of sanctioning curés given to the
First Consul.

"Had no Pope existed," he says again,[26] "it would have been
necessary to create him for the occasion, in the same way that the
Roman consuls appointed a dictator for difficult circumstances." Only
such a dictator could effect the coup d'état which the First Consul
needed, in order to constitute the head of the new government a patron
of the Catholic Church, to bring independent or refractory priests
under subjection, to sever the canonical cord which bound the French
clergy to its exiled superiors and to the old order of things, "to
break the last thread by which the Bourbons still communicated with
the country." "Fifty émigré[27] bishops in the pay of England now lead
the French clergy. Their influence must be got rid of, and to do this
the authority of the Pope is essential; he can dismiss or make them
resign." Should any of them prove obstinate and unwilling to descend
from their thrones, their refusal brings them into discredit, and they
are "designated[28] as rebels who prefer the things of this world,
their terrestrial interests to the interests of heaven and the cause
of God." The great body of the clergy along with their flocks will
abandon them ; they will soon be forgotten, like old sprouts
transplanted whose roots have been cut off; they will die abroad, one
by one, while the successor, who is now in office, will find no
difficulty in rallying the obedient around him, for, being Catholic,
his parishioners are so many sheep, docile, taken with externals,
impressionable, and ready to follow the pastoral croisier, provided it
bears the ancient trademark, consists of the same material, is of the
same form, conferred from on high and sent from Rome. The bishops
having once been consecrated by the Pope, nobody save a Gregory or
some antiquarian canonist will dispute their jurisdiction.

The ecclesiastical ground is thus cleared through the interposition of
the Pope. The three groups of authorities thereon which contend with
each other for the possession of consciences[29] - the refugee bishops
in England, the apostolic vicars, and the constitutional clergy -
disappear, and now the cleared ground can be built on. "The Catholic
religion being declared[30] that of the majority of the French people,
its services must now be regulated. The First Consul nominates fifty
bishops whom the Pope consecrates. These appoint the curés, and the
state pays their salaries. The latter may be sworn, while the priests
who do not submit are sent out of the country. Those who preach
against the government are handed over to their superiors for
punishment. The Pope confirms the sale of clerical possessions; he
consecrates the Republic." The faithful no longer regard it askance.
They feel that they are not only tolerated, but protected by it, and
they are grateful.[31] The people recover their churches, their
curés, the forms of worship to which they are almost instinctively
accustomed, the ceremonial which, to their imagination, belongs to
every important act of their lives, the solemn rites of marriage,
baptism, burial, and other sacramental offices. - Henceforth mass is
said every Sunday in each village, and the peasants enjoy their
processions on Corpus-Christi day, when their crops are blessed. A
great public want is satisfied. Discontent subsides, ill-will dies
out, the government has fewer enemies; its enemies, again, lose their
best weapon, and, at the same time, it acquires an admirable one, the
right of appointing bishops and of sanctioning the curés. By virtue of
the Concordat and by order of the Pope, not only, in 1801, do all
former spiritual authorities cease to exist, but again, after 1801,
all new titularies, with the Pope's assent, chosen, accepted, managed,
disciplined,[32] and paid by the First Consul, are, in fact, his
creatures, and become his functionaries.-

IV. The Pope, Napoleon's employee.

Other services expected of the Pope. - Coronation of Napoleon at
Notre-Dame. - Napoleonic theory of the Empire and the Holy See. - The
Pope a feudatory and subject of the Emperor. - The pope installed as a
functionary at Paris, and arch-chancellor on spiritual matters. -
Effect of this for Italy.

Over and above this positive and real service obtained from the
sovereign pontiff, he awaits others yet more important and undefined,
and principally his future coronation in Notre Dame. Already, during
the negotiations for the Concordat, La Fayette had observed to him
with a smile:[33] "You want the holy oil dropped on your head"; to
which he made no contradictory answer. On the contrary, he replied,
and probably too with a smile: "We shall see! We shall see!" Thus
does he think ahead, and his ideas extend beyond that which a man
belonging to the ancient régime could imagine or divine, even to the
reconstruction of the empire of the west as this existed in the year
800. "I am not Louis XIV.'s successor," he soon declares,[34] "but of
Charlemagne. . . . I am Charlemagne, because, like Charlemagne, I
unite the French crown to that of the Lombards, and my empire borders
on the Orient." In this conception, which a remote history furnishes
to his boundless ambition, the terrible antiquitarian finds the
gigantic and suitable framework, the potent, specious terms, and all
the verbal reasons he requires. Under Napoleon, the successor of
Charlemagne, the Pope can be only a vassal: "Your Holiness is the
sovereign of Rome, but I am its emperor," the legitimate suzerain.
"Provided with "fiefs and counties" by this suzerain, the Pope owes
him political fealty and military aid; failing in this, the endowment,
which is conditional, lapses and his confiscated estates return to the
imperial domain to which they have never ceased to belong.[35] Through
this reasoning and this threat, through the rudest and most adroit
moral and physical pressure, the most insidious and most persevering,
through spoliation, begun, continued and completed by the abduction,
captivity and sequestration of the Holy Father himself, he undertakes
the subjection of the spiritual power: not only must the Pope be like
any other individual in the empire,[36] subject by his residence to
territorial laws, and hence to the government and the gendarmerie, but
again he must come within the administrative lines; he will no longer
enjoy the right of refusing canonical investiture to bishops appointed
by the emperor,[37] "he will, on his coronation, swear not to take any
measures against the four propositions of the Gallican Church,"[38] he
will become a grand functionary, a sort of arch-chancellor like
Cambacérès and Lebrun, the arch chancellor of the Catholic cult. -
Undoubtedly, he resists and is obstinate, but he is not immortal, and
if he does not yield, his successor will: it suffices to choose one
that is manageable, and to this end things work in the next conclave.

"With my influence and our forces in Italy," Napoleon says
afterwards,[39] "I did not despair, sooner or later, by one means or
another, of obtaining for myself the control of the Pope, and,
thenceforward, what an influence, what a lever on the opinion of the
rest of the world!"

"Had I returned victorious from Moscow, I intended to exalt the Pope
beyond measure, to surround him with pomp and deference. I would have
brought him to no longer regretting his temporality; I would have made
him an idol. He would have lived alongside of me. Paris would have
become the capital of Christendom, and I would have governed the
religious world the same as the political world. . . . I would have
had my religious as well as legislative sessions; my councils would
have represented Christianity; the Popes would have been merely their
presidents. I would have opened and closed these assemblies,
sanctioned and published their decrees, as was done by Constantine and
Charlemagne." In 1809, the restoration of the great Carlovingian and
Roman edifice had begun; its physical foundations were laid. By
virtue of a decree,[40] "the expenses of the Sacred College and of the
Propaganda were declared imperial." The Pope, like the new dukes and
marshals, was endowed with a landed income on "property in different
parts of the empire, two millions of rural revenue free of all
taxation. "Necessarily" the Pope must have two palaces, one at Paris
and the other at Rome. He is already nearly fully installed in Paris,
his person being all that was lacking. On arriving from
Fontainebleau, two hours off, he would find everything belonging to
his office; "the papers[41] of the missions and the archives of Rome
were already there." "The Hôtel Dieu was entirely given up to the
departments of the court of Rome. The district around Notre Dame and
the Ile Saint-Louis was to be the headquarters of Christendom!" Rome,
the second center of Christendom, and the second residence of the
Pope, is declared[42] "an imperial and free city, the second city of
the empire"; a prince of the empire, or other grand dignitary, is to
reside there and "hold the court of the emperor." "After their
coronation in the cathedral of Notre Dame at Paris, the emperors" will
go to Italy before the tenth year of their reign, and be "crowned in
the church of St. Peter at Rome." The heir to the imperial throne
"will bear the title and receive the honors of the King of Rome."
Observe the substantial features of this chimerical construction.
Napoleon, far more Italian than French, Italian by race, instinct,
imagination, and souvenirs, considers in his plan the future of Italy,
and, on casting up the final accounts of his reign, we find that the
net profit is for Italy and the net loss is for France. "Napoleon
wanted to create the Italian kingdom over again,[43] combining
Piedmont, Tuscany, etc., in one united independent nation, bounded by
the Alps and the sea. . . . This was to be the immortal trophy erected
in his honor. . . . He awaited impatiently the birth of a second son
that he might take him to Rome, crown him King of Italy and proclaim
the independence of the great peninsula under the regency of Prince
Eugene." Since Theodoric and the Lombard kings, it is the Pope who,
in preserving his temporal sovereignty and spiritual omnipotence, has
maintained the sub-divisions of Italy; let this obstacle be removed
and Italy will once more become a nation. Napoleon prepares the way,
and constitutes it beforehand by restoring the Pope to his primitive
condition, by withdrawing from him his temporal sovereignty and
limiting his spiritual omnipotence, by reducing him to the position of
managing director of Catholic consciences and head minister of the
principal cult authorized in the empire.

V. State domination of all religion.

Services which Napoleon desires or expects from the French clergy. -
His Roman idea of civil power. - Development of this conception by the
jurists. - Every religious association must be authorized. - Legal
statutes which fix the doctrine and discipline of the four authorized
Churches. - Legal organization of the Catholic Church. - Its doctrine
and discipline to be that of the old Gallican Church. - New situation
of the French Church and new rôle of civil power. - It sets aside its
ancient obligations. - It retains and augments its regalian rights. -
The Church of France before 1789 and after 1802. - Increased
preponderance and complete dominion of the civil power.

In carrying out this plan, he will use the French clergy in mastering
the Pope, as the Pope has been made use of in mastering the French
clergy. To this end, before completing the Concordat and decreeing the
Organic Articles, he orders for himself a small library, consisting of
books on ecclesiastical law. The Latin works of Bossuet are
translated for him, and he has drawn up an exposition of the Gallican
parliamentary doctrine. The first thing is to go down to the roots of
the subject, which he does with extraordinary facility, and then,
recasting and shaping all theories to suit himself, he arrives at an
original, individual conception, at once coherent, precise, and
practical; one which covers the ground and which he applies alike to
all churches, Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, and even Jewish, to every
religious community now existing and in time to come. His master-idea
is that of the Roman legists and of ancient imperial jurisprudence;
here, as elsewhere, the modern Caesar goes back beyond his Christian
predecessors to Constantine, and farther still, to Trajan and
Augustus.[44] So long as belief remains silent and solitary, confined
within the limits of individual conscience, it is free, and the State
has nothing to do with it. But let it transgress these limits, address
the public, bring people together in crowds for a common purpose,
manifest itself openly, it is subject to control; forms of worship,
ceremonies, preaching, instruction and propaganda, the donations it
calls forth, the assemblies it convenes, the organization and
maintenance of the bodies it engenders, all the positive applications
of the inward reverie, are temporal works. In this sense, they form a
province of the public domain, and come within the competency of the
government, of the administration and of the courts. The State has a
right to interdict, to tolerate, or to authorize them, and always to
give them proper direction. Sole and universal proprietor of the
outward realm in which single consciences may communicate with each
other, it intervenes, step by step, either to trace or to bar the way;
the road they follow passes over its ground and belongs to it; its
watch, accordingly, over their proceedings is, and should be, daily;
and it maintains this watch for its own advantage, for the advantage
of civil and political interests, in such a way that concern for the
other world may be serviceable and not prejudicial to matters which
belong to this one. In short, and as a summary, the First Consul says,
in a private conversation:

"The people want a religion, and this religion should be in the hands
of the government!"[45]

On this theme, his jurists, old parliamentarians or conventionalists,
his ministers and counselors, Gallicans or Jacobins, his spokesmen in
the legislative assembly or the tribunate, all imbued with Roman law
or with the Contrat Social are capital megaphones for proclaiming the
omnipotence of the State in polished sentences. "The unity of public
power and its universality," says Portalis,[46] "are a necessary
consequence of its independence." "Public power must be self-
sufficient; it is nothing if not all..." Public power cannot tolerate
rivals; it cannot allow other powers to establish themselves alongside
of it without its consent, perhaps to sap and weaken it. " The
authority of a State might become precarious if men on its territory
exercise great influence over minds and consciences, unless these men
belong to it, at least in some relation." It is careless "if it
remains unfamiliar or indifferent to the form and the constitution of
the government which proposes to govern souls," if it admits that the
limits within which the faith and obedience of believers "can be made
or altered without its support, if it has not, in its legally
recognized and avowed superiors, guarantees of the fidelity of
inferiors." Such was the rule in France for the Catholic cult
previous to 1789, and such is to be the rule, after 1801, for all
authorized cults. If the State authorizes them, it is "to direct such
important institutions with a view to the greatest public utility."
Solely because it is favorable to "their doctrine and their
discipline" it means to maintain these intact and prevent "their
ministers from corrupting the doctrine entrusted to their teaching, or
from arbitrarily throwing off the yoke of discipline, to the great
prejudice of individuals and the State."[47] Hence, in the legal
statute by which a Church is incorporated and realizes what she is, it
states in precise terms what it exacts or permits her to be;
henceforward she shall be this or that and so remain; her dogmas and
her canons, her hierarchy and her internal regime, her territorial
subdivisions and circumscriptions, her regular or casual sources of
income, her teachings and her liturgy are definite things and fixed
limitations. No ecclesiastical assembly, Protestant, Catholic, or
Israelite, shall formulate or publish any doctrinal or disciplinary
decision without the government's approbation.[48] No ecclesiastical
assembly, Protestant, Catholic, or Israelite, shall be held without
the approval of the government. All sacerdotal authorities, bishops
and curés, pastors and ministers of both Protestant confessions,
consistorial inspectors and presidents of the Augsbourg Confession,
notables of each Israelite circumscription, members of each Israelite
consistory, members of the central Israelite consistory, rabbis and
grand-rabbis, shall be appointed or accepted by the government and
paid by it through an executory" decision of its prefects. All the
professors of Protestant or Catholic seminaries shall be appointed and
paid by the government. Whatever the seminary, whether Protestant or
Catholic, its establishment, its regulations, its internal management,
the object and spirit of its studies, shall be submitted to the
approval of the government. In each cult, a distinct, formulated,
official doctrine shall govern the teaching, preaching, and public or
special instruction of every kind; this, for the Israelite cult, is"
the doctrine expressed by the decisions of the grand Sanhedrin";[49]
for the two Protestant cults, the doctrine of the Confession of
Augsbourg, taught in the two seminaries of the East, and the doctrine
of the Reformed Church taught in the Genevan seminary;[50] for the
Catholic cult, the maxims of the Gallican Church, the declaration, in
1682, of the assembly of the clergy[51] and the four famous
propositions depriving the Pope of any authority over sovereigns in
temporal matters, subordinating the Pope to ecumenical councils in
ecclesiastical and spiritual concerns, and which, in the government of
the French Church, limit the authority of the Pope to ancient usages
or canons inherited by that Church and accepted by the State.

In this way, the ascendancy of the State, in ecclesiastical matters,
increases beyond all measure and remains without any counterpoise.
Instead of one Church, it maintains four, while the principal one, the
Catholic, comprising 33 million followers, and more dependent than
under the old monarchy, loses the privileges which once limited or
compensated it for its subjection. - Formerly the prince was its
temporal head, on condition that he should be its exterior arm, that
it should have the monopoly of education and the censorship of books,
that he should use his strong arm against heretics, schismatics and
free-thinkers. Of all these obligations which kings accepted, the new
sovereign frees himself, and yet, with the Holy See, he holds on to
the same prerogatives and, with the Church, the same rights as his
predecessors. He is just as minutely dictatorial as formerly with
regard to the details of worship. Sometimes he fixes the fees and
perquisites of the priests for administering the sacraments: "This
charge is a purely civil and temporal operation, since it resolves
itself into a levy of so many pence on the citizen. Bishops and
priests should not be allowed to decide here.[52] The government alone
must remain the arbiter between the priest who receives and the person
who pays." Sometimes, he intervenes in the publication of plenary
indulgence: "It is essential[53] that indulgences should not be
awarded for causes which might be contrary to public order or to the
welfare of the country; the political magistrate is equally interested
in knowing what the authority is that grants indulgences; if its title
to act is legal, to what persons indulgences are granted, what persons
are entrusted with their distribution, and what persons are to fix the
term and duration of extraordinary prayers." - Thus bound and held by
the State, the Church is simply one of its appendices, for its own
free roots by which, in this close embrace, it still vegetates and
keeps erect have all been cut off short; torn from the soil and
grafted on the State, they derive their sap and their roots from the
civil powers. Before 1789, the clergy formed a distinct order in
temporal society and, above all others, a body possessing property and
exempt from taxes, a tax-payer apart which, represented in periodical
assemblies, negotiated every five years with the King himself, granted
him subsidies and, in exchange for this "disinterested gift," secured
for itself concessions or confirmations of immunities, prerogatives
and favors. Today, it is merely a collection of ordinary individuals
and subjects, even less than that - an administrative staff similar to
that of the university, of the magistrature, of the treasury, and of
the woods and forests, even more closely watched and bridled, with
more detailed precautions and stricter interdictions. Before 1789, the
curés and other second-class officials were, for the most part,
selected and installed without the prince's intervention, sometimes by
the bishop of the diocese or a neighboring abbé, sometimes by
independent collators, by the titular himself,[54] by a lay patron or
a chapter, by a commune, by an indultaire, by the pope, while the
salary of each titular, large or small, was his private property, the
annual product of a piece of land or of some indebtedness attached to
his office and which he administered. Nowadays, every incumbent, from
the cardinal-archbishop down to a canon, cantonal curé, and director
or teacher in a seminary, is appointed or accepted by the civil power
to which he swears fidelity. His salary, set down in the budget, is
simply that of a public employee, so many francs and centimes for
which he comes monthly to the office of the treasury paymaster, along
with others of his colleagues who are employed by the State in non-
Catholic cults, together with others, his quasi-colleagues, whom the
State employs in the university, in the magistrature, in the
gendarmerie, and in the police.[55] Such, in all branches of social
life, is the universal and final effect of the Revolution. In the
Church, as elsewhere, it has extended the interference and
preponderance of the State, not inadvertently but intentionally, not
accidentally but on principle.[56] "The Constituent" (Assembly), says
Siméon, "had rightly recognized that, religion being one of the oldest
and most powerful means of government, it was necessary to bring it
more than it had been under the control of the government." Hence, the
civil constitution of the clergy; "its only mistake was not to
reconcile itself with the Pope." At present, thanks to the agreement
between Pope and government (Napoleon, First Consul), the new régime
completes the work of the ancient régime and, in the Church as
elsewhere, the domination of the centralizing State is complete.

VI. Napoleon Executes the Concordat.

Reasons for suppressing the regular clergy. - Authorized religious
associations. - The authorization revocable.

These are the grand lines of the new ecclesiastical establishment, and
the general connections by which the Catholic Church, like an
apartment in a building, finds itself included in and incorporated
with the State. It need not disconnect itself under the pretext of
making itself more complete; there it is, built and finished; it
cannot add to or go beyond this; no collateral and supplementary
constructions are requisite which, through their independence, would
derange the architectural whole, no monastic congregations, no body of
regular clergy; the secular clergy suffices. "Never[57] has it been
contested that the public power had the right to dissolve arbitrary
institutions which do not insist on the essence of religion and which
are judged suspicious or troublesome to the State." As a principle,
all religious communities should be judged in this way; for they are
spontaneous bodies; they form their own organization, and without the
aid of the State, through the free will of their members; they live
apart, according to the proper and peculiar statute which they adopt,
outside of lay society, alongside of the established Church, under
distinct chiefs chosen by themselves, sometimes under foreign ones,
all more or less independent, all, through interest and by instinct,
gathered around the Holy See, which, against diocesan authority and
episcopal jurisdiction, serves them as protector. Formerly, the
monks[58] formed the Pope's militia; they recognized no other
sovereign, and thus were they more to be feared by governments than
the secular clergy. The latter, without them, "would never have caused
embarrassment;" henceforth there will be no other body.[59] "I want
bishops, curés, vicars, and that's all! Religious communities have
been allowed to re-establish themselves against my instructions; - I
am informed that, at Beauvais, the Jesuits have formed establishments
under the name of the Fathers of Faith. It should not be allowed " -
and he prohibits it by decree.[60] He dissolves "all associations
formed under the pretext of religion and unauthorized." He decides
that, in future, "no aggregation or association of men or of women
shall be formed under pretext of religion unless formally authorized;"
he enjoins the prosecuting attorneys of his courts "to prosecute even
by extra proceedings all persons of both sexes who directly or
indirectly violate this decree." He reserves to himself, however, the
faculty of authorizing communities by which he can profit, and, in
fact, he authorizes several of these as instruments which society
needs, or which are useful to the State, especially nursing or
teaching sisters of charity,[61] the brethren of Christian
schools,[62] and, first in rank, the Lazarists and the Fathers of
foreign missions.[63] "These monks," he says,[64] will be of great
service in Asia, in Africa, and in America. I will send them to
procure information on the state of the country. Their robe protects
them, while it is a cover to political and commercial designs. . . . I
will allow them a capital to start with of 15,000 francs rental. . . .
They cost little, are respected by savages, and, having no official
character, can not compromise the government." Moreover, "religious
zeal leads them to undertake work and to face perils which are beyond
the strength of a civil agent." - Of course, as they are "secret
diplomatic agents," the government must keep them in hand and direct
them. Consequently, "their superior must no longer reside in Rome, but
at Paris." The same precaution is taken with reference to other
congregations, which, in teaching or in charity, become regular
auxiliaries of the lay power. "The general-superior of the Sisters of
Charity will live in Paris[65]; the entire body will then be in the
hands of the government." As to the brethren of the Christian
schools, Napoleon absorbs these in his university.[66] "They must be
licensed by the grand-master,[67] who will certify to their internal
regulations, accept their oaths, prescribe a special costume, and
superintend their schools." Observe the exigencies of the government
at this point, its measures for controlling the religious orders
authorized by it. Abbé Hanon,[68] the common superior of the Sisters
of Saint-Vincent de Paul, having refused to place Madame Lœtitia
(Napoleon's mother) at the head of the council of the order, is
carried off at night and shut up at Fenestrelles,[69] while the
Sisters, who, following the instructions of their founder, refuse to
recognize a superior appointed by the civil power, are treated in the
same manner as formerly the nuns of Port-Royal.[70]

"It is time to put an end to this scandal of the Sisters of Charity in
rebellion against their superiors. It is my intention to suppress all
the houses which, in twenty-four hours after the notice you give them,
do not return to subordination. You will replace the houses
suppressed, not by Sisters of the same order, but by those of another
order of charity. The Sisters at Paris will lose their influence,
which will be a good thing."

Whatever the communities may be, the authorization by which they
organize is merely a favor, and every favor granted may be withdrawn.

"I will have no more missions of any kind.[71] I established
missionaries in Paris and gave them a house: I cancel it all. I am
content with religion at home; I do not care to spread it abroad. . .
. I make you responsible if (in a month from this) on the first of
October there are any missions or congregations still existing in
France." -

Thus does the regular clergy live, under a revocable title, by
toleration, despotically, suspended by a thread which, perhaps to-
morrow, may be cut at the masters pleasure.


System to which the regular clergy is subject. - Restoration and
application of Gallican doctrines. - Gallicanism and submission of the
new ecclesiastical staff. - Measures taken to insure the obedience of
the existing clergy and that of the clergy in the future. -
Seminaries. - Small number of these allowed. - Conditions granted to
them. - Proceedings against suspicious teachers and undisciplined

The secular clergy remains, better protected, it seems, and by a less
precarious statute, for this statute is an international and
diplomatic act, a solemn and bilateral treaty which binds the French
government, not only to itself but to another government, to an
independent sovereign and the recognized head of the whole Catholic
Church. - Consequently, it is of prime importance to rebuild and raise
higher the barriers which, in ancient France, separated the secular
clergy from the Pope, the customs and regulations which constituted
the Gallican Church a province apart in the Church universal, the
ecclesiastic franchises and servitudes which restricted the Pope's
jurisdiction in order that the jurisdiction of the king might be
extended. All these servitudes to the advantage of the lay sovereign,
and all these franchises to the prejudice of the ecclesiastic
sovereign, are maintained and increased by the new statute. By virtue
of the Concordat and by consent of the Pope, the First Consul acquires
the same rights and privileges in relation to the Holy See as the old
government,"[72] that is to say the same exclusive right to nominate
future French cardinals and to have as many as before in the sacred
college, the same right to exclude in the sacred conclave, the same
faculty of being the unique dispenser in France of high ecclesiastical
places and the prerogative of appointing all the bishops and
archbishops on French territory. And better still, by virtue of the
Organic Articles and in spite of the Pope's remonstrances, he
interposes, as with the former kings, his authority, his Council of
State and his tribunals between the Holy See and the faithful. " No
bull, brief, rescript, decree . . . of the court of Rome, even when
bearing only on individuals, shall be received, published, printed or
otherwise executed without permission of the government. No person,
bearing the title of apostolic nuncio, legate, vicar or commissioner,
. . . shall, without the same authorization, exercise on the French
soil or elsewhere any function in relation to the interests of the
Gallican Church. . . . All cases of complaint by ecclesiastical
superiors and other persons shall be brought before the Council of
State."[73] Every minister of a cult[74] who shall have carried on a
correspondence with a foreign court on religious matters or questions
without having previously informed the Minister of Worship and
obtained his sanction shall, for this act alone, be subject to a
penalty of from one hundred to five hundred francs and imprisonment
during a term of from one month to two years. Every communication
from high to low and from low to high between the French Church and
its Roman head, cut off at will, intervention by a veto or by approval
of all acts of pontifical authority, to be the legal and recognized
head of the national clergy,[75] to become for this clergy an
assistant, collateral, and lay Pope - such was the pretension of the
old government, and such, in effect, is the sense, the juridical
bearing, of the Gallican maxims.[76] Napoleon pro-claims them anew,
while the edict of 1682, by which Louis XIV. applied them with
precision, rigor and minuteness, "is declared the general law of the

There are no opponents to this doctrine, or this use of it, in France.
Napoleon counts on not encountering any, and especially among his
prelates. Gallican before 1789, the whole clergy were more or less so
through education and tradition, through interest and through pride;
now, the survivors of this clergy are those who provide the new
ecclesiastical staff, and, of the two distinct groups from which it is
recruited, neither is predisposed by its antecedents to become
ultramontane. Some among these, who have emigrated, partisans of the
ancient régime, find no difficulty in thus returning to old habits and
doctrines, the authoritative protectorate of the State over the
Church, the interference of the Emperor substituted for that of the
King, and Napoleon, in this as in other respects, the legitimate, or
legitimated, successor of the Bourbons. The others, who have sworn to
the civil constitution of the clergy, the schismatics, the impenitent
and, in spite of the Pope, reintegrated by the First Consul in the
Church,[78] are ill-disposed towards the Pope, their principal
adversary, and well-disposed towards the First Consul, their unique
patron. Hence, "the heads[79] of the Catholic clergy, that is to say,
the bishops and grand-vicars, . . . are attached to the government;"
they are "enlightened" people, and can be made to listen to reason.

"But we have three or four thousand curés or vicars, the progeny of
ignorance and dangerous through their fanaticism and their passions."

If these and their superiors show any undisciplined tendencies, the
curb must be tightly drawn. Fournier, a priest, having reflected on
the government from his pulpit in Saint-Roch, is arrested by the
police, put in Bicêtre as mad,[80] and the First Consul replies to the
Paris clergy who claim his release "in a well-drawn-up petition,":

"I wanted[81] to prove to you, when I put my cap on the wrong side
out, that priests must obey the civil power."

Now and then, a rude stroke of this sort sets an example and keeps the
intractable on the right path who would otherwise be tempted to leave
it. At Bayonne, concerning a clerical epistle in which an ill-
sounding phrase occurs, "the grand-vicar who drew it up is sent to
Pignerol for ten years, and I think that the bishop is exiled."[82]

At Séez, when constitutional priests are in disfavor, the bishop is
compelled to resign on the instant, while Abbé Langlois, his principal
counsellor, taken by the gendarmes, led to Paris from police station
to police station, is shut up in La Force, in secret confinement, with
straw for a bed, during fourteen days, then imprisoned in Vincennes
for nine months, so that, finally, seized with paralysis, he is
transferred to an insane retreat, where he remains a prisoner up to
the end of the reign.

Let us provide for the future as well as for the present, and, beyond
the present clergy, let us train the future clergy. The seminaries
will answer this purpose: " Public ones must be organized[83] so that
there may be no clandestine seminaries, such as formerly existed in
the departments of Calvados, Morbihan and many others; . . . the
formation of young priests must not be left to ignorance and
fanaticism." - "Catholic schools need the surveillance of the
government." - There is to be one of these in each metropolitan
district, and "this special school must be in the hands of the
authorities." - "The directors and teachers shall be appointed by the
First Consul"; men will be placed there who are "cultivated, devoted
to the government and friendly to toleration; they will not confine
themselves to teaching theology, but will add to this a sort of
philosophy and correct worldliness." - A future curé, a priest who
controls laymen and belongs to his century, must not be a monk
belonging to the other world, but a man of this world, able to adapt
himself to it, do his duty in it with propriety and discretion, accept
the legal establishment of which he is a part, not damn his Protestant
neighbors, Jews or freethinkers too openly, be a useful member of
temporal society and a loyal subject of the civil power; let him be a
Catholic and pious, but within just limits; he shall not be an
ultramontanist or a bigot. - Precautions are taken to this effect. No
seminarist may become subdeacon without the consent of the government,
and the list of ordinations each year, sent to him at Paris by the
bishop, is returned, cut down to the strictly necessary.[84] From the
very beginning, and in express terms,[85] Napoleon has reserved all
curacies and vicarages for "ecclesiastics pensioned by virtue of the
laws of the Constituent Assembly." Not only, through this confusion
between pension and salary, does he lighten a pecuniary burden, but he
greatly prefers old priests to young ones; many of them have been
constitutionnels, and all are imbued with Gallicanism; it is he who
has brought them back from exile or saved them from oppression, and
they are grateful for it; having suffered long and patiently, they are
weary, they must have grown wiser, and they will be manageable.
Moreover, he has precise information about each one; their past
conduct is a guarantee of their future conduct; he never chooses one
of them with his eyes shut. On the contrary, the candidates for
ordination are strangers, the government which accepts them knows
nothing about them except that, at the age when the fever of growth or
of the imagination takes a fixed form, they have been subject for five
years to a theological education and to a cloistral life. The chances
are that, with them, the feverishness of youth will end in the heat of
conviction and in the prejudices of inexperience; in this event, the
government which exempts them from the conscription to admit them in
the Church exchanges a good military recruit for a bad ecclesiastical
recruit ; in place of a servant it creates an opponent. Hence, during
the fifteen years of his reign, Napoleon authorizes only six thousand
new ordinations,[86] in all four hundred per annum, one hundred for
each diocese or six or seven per annum. Meanwhile, by his university
decrees, he lets lay daylight into clerical enclosures[87] and shuts
the door of all ecclesiastical dignities to suspicious priests.[88]
For more security, in every diocese in which "the principles of the
bishop" do not give him full satisfaction, he prohibits all
ordination, nomination, promotion, or favor whatever. "I have
stricken off[89] all demands relating to the bishoprics of Saint-
Brieuc, Bordeaux, Ghent, Tournay, Troyes and the Maritime Alps. . . .
My intention is that you do not, for these dioceses, propose to me any
exemption of service for conscripts, no nominations for scholarships,
for curacies, or for canonries. You will send in a report on the
dioceses which it would be well to strike with this ban." Towards the
end, the Gallicism of Bossuet no longer suffices for him; he allowed
it to be taught at Saint-Sulpice, and M. Emery, director of this
institution, was the priest in France whom he esteemed the most and
most willingly consulted; but a pupil's imprudent letter had been just
intercepted, and, accordingly, the spirit of that association is a bad
one. An order of expulsion of the director is issued and the
installation in his place of a new one "day after to-morrow," as well
as new administrators of whom none shall be Sulpician.[90] "Take
measures to have this congregation dissolved. I will have no
Sulpicians in the seminary of Paris.[91] Let me know the seminaries
that are served by Sulpicians in order that they too may be sent away
from these seminaries."[92] - And let the seminarists who have been
badly taught by their masters take heed not to practice in their own
behalf the false doctrines which the State proscribes; especially, let
them never undertake, as they do in Belgium, to disobey the civil
power in deference to the Pope and their bishop. At Tournay,[93] all
those over eighteen years of age are sent to Magdebourg; at Ghent, the
very young or those not fit for military service are put in Saint-
Pelagie; the rest, two hundred and thirty-six in number, including
forty deacons or sub-deacons, incorporated in an artillery brigade,
set out for Wesel, a country of marshes and fevers, where fifty of
them soon die of epidemics and contagion. - There is ever the same
terminal procedure; to Abbé d'Astros, suspected of having received and
kept a letter of the Pope, Napoleon, with threats, gave him this
ecclesiastical watchword:

"I have heard that the liberties of the Gallican Church are being
taught: but for all that, I wear the sword, so watch out! "

So behind all his institutions one discovers the military sanction,
the arbitrary punishment, physical constraint, the sword ready to
strike; involuntarily, the eyes anticipates the flash of the blade,
and the flesh is feels in advance the rigid incision of the steel.

VIII. Administrative Control.

Changes in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. - Motives for subordinating
the lesser clergy. - The displacement of assistant priests. - Increase
of episcopal authority. - Hold of Napoleon over the bishops.

Thus is a conquered country treated. He is, in relation to the
Church, as in a conquered country.[94] Like Westphalia or Holland,
she is a naturally independent country which he has annexed by treaty,
which he has been able to include but not absorb in his empire, and
which remains invincibly distinct. The temporal sovereign, in a
spiritual society, especially such a sovereign as he is, - nominally
Catholic, scarcely Christian, at best a deist and from time to time as
it suits, - will never be other than an external suzerain and a
foreign prince. To become and remain master in such an annexed
country it is always advisable to exhibit the sword. Nevertheless, it
would not be wise to strike incessantly; the blade, used too often,
would wear out; it is better to utilize the constitution of the annex,
rule over it indirectly, not by an administrative bureau (régie), but
by a protectorate, in which all indigenous authorities can be employed
and be made responsible for the necessary rigors. Now, by virtue of
the indigenous constitution, the governors of the Catholic annex - all
designated beforehand by their suitable and indelible character, all
tonsured, robed in black, celibates and speaking Latin - form two
orders, unequal in dignity and in number; one inferior, comprising
myriads of curés and vicars, and the other superior, comprising some
dozens of prelates.

Let us turn this ready-made hierarchy to account; and, the better to
use it, let us tighten the strings. In agreement with the upper clergy
and the Pope, we will increase the subjection of the lower clergy; we
will govern the inferiors through the superiors; whoever has the head
has the body; it is much easier to handle sixty bishops and
archbishops than forty thousand vicars and curés; in this particular
we need not undertake to restore primitive discipline; we must not be
either antiquaries or Gallicans. Let us be careful not to give back
to the second-class clergy the independence and stability they enjoyed
before 1789, the canonical guarantees which protected them against
episcopal despotism, the institution of competition, the rights
conferred by theological grades, the bestowal of the best places on
the wisest, the appeal to the diocesan court in case of disgrace, the
opposing plea before the officialité, the permanent tie by which the
titular curé, once planted in his parish, took root there for life,
and believed himself bound to his local community like Jesus Christ to
the universal Church, indissolubly, through a sort of mystic marriage.
"The number of curés," says Napoleon,[95] "must be reduced as much as
possible, and the number of assistants (desservans) multiplied who can
be changed at will," not only transferable to another parish, but
revocable from day to day, without formalities or delay, without
appeal or pleading in any court whatsoever. Henceforth, the sole
irremovable curés are the four thousand; the rest, under the name of
succursalists, numbering thirty thousand,[96] are ecclesiastical
clerks, surrendered to the discretionary power of the bishop. The
bishop alone appoints, places and displaces all belonging to his
diocese at his pleasure, and with a nod, he transfers the most
competent from the best to the worst post, from the large borough or
small town, where he was born and has lived at ease near his family,
to some wretched parish in this or that village buried in the woods or
lost on a mountain, without income or presbytery; and still better, he
cuts down his wages, he withdraws the State salary of five hundred
francs, he turns him out of the lodgings allowed him by the commune,
on foot on the highway, with no viaticum, even temporary, excluded
from ecclesiastical ministries, without respect, demeaned, a vagabond
in the great lay world whose ways are unknown to him and whose careers
are closed to him. Henceforth, and forever, bread is taken out of his
mouth; if he has it to-day, it is lacking on the morrow. Now, every
three months, the list of succursalists at five hundred francs drawn
up by the bishop, must be countersigned by the prefect. In his upper
cabinet, near the mantelpiece on which the visiting-cards of every
considerable personage in the department are displayed, facing the
emperor's bust, the two delegates of the emperor, his two responsible
and judicial managers, the two superintended overseers of the
conscription, confer together on the ecclesiastical staff of the
department. In this as in other matters, they are and feel themselves
kept in check from on high, curbed and forced, willingly or not, to
come to some agreement. Compulsory collaborators by institution, each
an auxiliary of the other in the maintenance of public order, they
read over article by article the list of appointments of their common
subordinates; should any name have bad notes, should any succursalist
be marked as noisy, undesirable, or suspect, should there be any
unfavorable report by the mayor, gendarmerie or upper police, the
prefect, about to sign, lays down his pen, quotes his instructions and
demands of the bishop against the delinquent some repressive measure,
either destitution, suspension or displacement, removal to an inferior
parish, or, at least, a comminatory reprimand, while the bishop, whom
the prefect may denounce to the minister, does not refuse to the
prefect this act of complacency.

Some months after the publication of the Concordat,[97] Mademoiselle
Chameron, an opera-dancer, dies, and her friends bear her remains to
the church of Saint-Roch for internment. They are refused admittance,
and the curé, very rigid, "in a fit of ill-humor," orders the doors of
the church to be shut; a crowd gathers around, shouts and launches
threats at the curé; an actor makes a speech to appease the tumult,
and finally the coffin is borne off to the church of Les Filles-Saint-
Thomas, where the assistant priest, "familiar with the moral of the
gospel," performs the funeral service. Incidents of this kind disturb
the tranquility of the streets and denote a relaxation of
administrative discipline. Consequently the government, doctor in
theology and canon law, intervenes and calls the ecclesiastical
superior to account. The first Consul, in an article in the Moniteur,
haughtily gives the clergy their instructions and explains the course
that will be pursued against them by his prelates. "The Archbishop of
Paris orders the curé of Saint-Roch into retirement for three months,
in order that he may bear in mind the injunction of Jesus Christ to
pray for one's enemies, and, made sensible of his duties by
meditation, may become aware that these superstitious customs . . . ,
which degrade religion by their absurdities, have been done away with
by the Concordat and the law of Germinal 18." From now on all priests
and curés are prudent, circumspect, obedient, and reserved,[98]
because their spiritual superiors are so as well, and could not be
otherwise. Each prelate, posted in his diocese, is maintained there in
isolation; a watch is kept on his correspondence; he may communicate
with the Pope only through the Minister of Worship; he has no right to
act in concert with his colleagues; all the general assemblies of the
clergy, all metropolitan councils, all annual synods are suppressed.
The Church of France has ceased to exist as one corps, while its
members, carefully detached from each other and from their Roman head,
are no longer united, but juxtaposed. Confined to a circumscription,
like the prefect, the bishop himself is simply an ecclesiastical
prefect, a little less uncertain of his tenure of office; undoubtedly,
his removal will not be effected by order, but he can be forced to
send in his resignation. Thus, in his case, as well as for the
prefect, his first care will be not to excite displeasure, and the
next one, to please. To stand well at court, with the minister and
with the sovereign, is a positive command, not only on personal
grounds, but for the sake of Catholic interests. To obtain
scholarships for the pupils of his seminary,[99] to appoint the
teachers and the director that suits him, to insure the acceptance of
his canons, cantonal curés, and candidates for the priesthood, to
exempt his sub-deacons from military service, to establish and to
defray the expenses of the chapels of his diocese, to provide parishes
with the indispensable priest, with regular services and the
sacraments, requires favors, which favors cannot be enjoyed without an
affectation of obedience and zeal and, more important still, devotion.
Moreover, he is only a human being. If Napoleon has selected him, it
is on account of his intelligence, knowing what he is about, open to
human motives, not too rigid and of too easy conscience; in the eyes
of the master, the first quality is an obedient personality attached
to his system and person.[100] Moreover, with his candidates, he has
always taken into consideration the hold they give him through their
weaknesses, vanity and needs, their ostentatious ways and expenditure,
their love of money, titles and precedence, their ambition, desire for
promotion, enjoyment of credit, and right of obtaining places for
protégés and relations. He avails himself of all these advantages and
finds that they answer his purpose. With the exception of three or
four saints, like Monsignor d'Aviau[101] or Monsignor Dessolles, who
he has inadvertently put into the episcopate, the bishops are content
to be barons, and the archbishops counts. They are glad to rank higher
and higher in the Legion of Honor; they loudly assert, in praise of
the new order of things, the honors and dignities it confers on these
or those prelates who have become members of the legislative corps or
been made senators.[102] Many of them receive secret pay for secret
services, pecuniary incentives in the shape of this or that amount in
ready money. In sum, Napoleon has judged accurately; with hesitation
and remorse, nearly the whole of his episcopal staff, Italian and
French, 66 prelates out of 80, are open to "temporal influences". They
yield to seductions and threats; they accept or submit, even in
spiritual matters, to his positive ascendancy.[103]

Moreover, among these dignitaries, nearly all of whom are blameless,
or, at least, who behave well and are generally honorable,
Napoleon[104] finds a few whose servility is perfect, unscrupulous
individuals ready for anything that an absolute prince could desire,
like Bishops Bernier and De Pancemont, one accepting a reward of
30,000 francs and the other the sum of 50,000 francs[105] for the vile
part they have played in the negotiations for the Concordat; a
miserly, brutal cynic like Maury, archbishop of Paris, or an
intriguing, mercenary skeptic like De Pradt, archbishop of Malines; or
an old imbecile, falling on his knees before the civil power, like
Rousseau, bishop of Orleans, who writes a pastoral letter declaring
that the Pope is as free in his Savona prison as on his throne at
Rome. After 1806,[106] Napoleon, that he may control men of greater
suppleness, prefers to take his prelates from old noble families - the
frequenters of Versailles, who regard the episcopate as a gift
bestowed by the prince and not by the Pope, a lay favor reserved for
younger sons, a present made by the sovereign to those around his
person, on the understood condition that the partisan courtier who is
promoted shall remain a courtier of the master. Henceforth nearly all
his episcopal recruits are derived from "members of the old noble
stock." "Only these," says Napoleon, "know how to serve well."

IX. The Imperial Catechism

Political use of the episcopacy. - The imperial catechism. - Pastoral

From the first year the effect arrived at is better than could be
expected. "Look at the clergy,"[107] said the First Consul to
Roederer; "every day shows that in spite of themselves their devotion
to the government is increasing, and much beyond their anticipation.
Have you seen the pastoral declaration of Boisgelin, archbishop of
Tours? . . . He says that the actual government is the legitimate
government, that God disposes of thrones and kings as he pleases and
that he adopts the chiefs whom the people prefer. Your yourself could
not have said that better." But notwithstanding that this is said in
the pastoral letter, it is again said in the catechism. No
ecclesiastical publication is more important: all Catholic children
are to learn this by heart, for the phrases they recite will be firmly
fixed in their memories. Bossuet's catechism is good enough, but it
may be improved, - there is nothing that time, reflection, emulation,
and administrative zeal cannot render perfect! Bossuet teaches
children "to respect all superiors, pastors, kings, magistrates, and
the rest." "But these generalities," says Portalis,[108] "no longer
suffice. They do not give the proper tendency to the subject's
submission. The object is to center the popular conscience on the
person of Your Majesty." Accordingly, let us be precise, make
appointments and secure support.

The imperial catechism, a great deal more explicit than the royal
catechism, adds significant development to the old one, along with
extra motives:

"We specially owe to our Emperor, Napoleon the First, love, respect,
obedience, fidelity, military service, and tributes ordained for the
preservation of the empire and his throne. . . For God has raised him
up for us in times of peril that he might restore public worship and
the holy religion of our fathers and be its protector."

Every boy and girl in each parish recite this to the vicar or curé
after vespers in their tiny voices as a commandment of God and of the
Church, as a supplementary article of the creed. Meanwhile the
officiating priest in the pulpit gravely comments on this article,
already clear enough, at every morning or evening service;[109] by
order, he preaches in behalf of the conscription and declares that it
is a sin to try to escape from it, to be refractory; by order, again,
he reads the army bulletins giving accounts of the latest victories;
always by order, he reads the last pastoral letter of his bishop, a
document authorized, inspired and corrected by the police. Not only
are the bishops obliged to submit their pastoral letters and public
instructions to the censorship; not only by way of precaution, are
they forbidden to print anything except on the prefecture presses, but
again, for still greater security, the bureau of public worship is
constantly advising them what they must say. First and foremost, they
must laud the Emperor. But in what terms, and with what epithets,
without indiscretion or mistake, in order not to meddle with politics,
not to appear as a party managed from above, not to pass for
megaphones, is not explained, and is therefore a difficult matter.
"You must praise the Emperor more in your pastoral letters," said
Réal, prefect of police, to a new bishop. "Tell me in what measure."
"I do not know," was the reply. Since the measure cannot be
prescribed, it must be ample enough. There is no difficulty as regards
other articles. - On every occasion the Paris offices take care to
furnish each bishop with a ready-made draft of his forthcoming
pastoral letter - the canvas on which the customary flowers of
ecclesiastical amplification are to be embroidered. It differs
according to time and place. In La Vendée and in the west, the
prelates are to stigmatize "the odious machinations of perfidious
Albion," and explain to the faithful the persecutions to which the
English subject the Irish Catholics. When Russia is the enemy, the
pastoral letter must dwell on her being schismatic; also on the
Russian misunderstanding of the supremacy of the Pope. Inasmuch as
bishops are functionaries of the empire, their utterances and their
acts belong to the Emperor. Consequently he makes use of them against
all enemies, against each rival, rebel or adversary, against the
Bourbons, against the English and the Russians, and, finally, against
the Pope.

X. The Council of 1811. - The Concordat of 1813.

Similar to the Russian expedition, this is the great and last throw of
the dice, the decisive and most important of his ecclesiastical
undertakings, as the other is in political and military affairs. Just
as, under his leadership, he forces by constraint and, under his lead,
a coalition of the political and military powers of his Europe against
the Czar, - Austria, Prussia, the Confederation of the Rhine, Holland,
Switzerland, the kingdom of Italy, Naples, and even Spain, - so does
he by constraint and under his lead coalesce all the spiritual
authorities of his empire against the Pope. He summons a council,
consisting of eighty-four bishops that are available in Italy and in
France. He takes it upon himself to drill them, and he makes them
march. To state what influences he uses would require a volume[110] -
theological and canonical arguments, appeals to Gallican souvenirs and
Jansenist rancors, eloquence and sophisms, preparatory maneuvers,
secret intrigues, public acting, private solicitations, steady
intimidation, successful pressures, thirteen cardinals exiled and
deprived of their insignia, two other cardinals confined in Vincennes,
nineteen Italian bishops conveyed to France under escort, without
bread or clothes. Fifty priests of Parma, fifty of Plaisance, besides
one hundred other Italian priests, sent away or confined in Corsica.
All congregations of men in France - Saint-Lazare, Mission, Christian
Doctrine, Saint-Sulpice - dissolved and suppressed. Three bishops of
the council seized in bed at daylight, put into a cell and kept in
close confinement, forced to resign and to promise in writing not to
carry on correspondence with their dioceses; arrest of their adherents
in their dioceses; the Ghent seminarists turned into soldiers, and,
with knapsack on their backs, leaving for the army; professors at
Ghent, the canons of Tournay, and other Belgian priests shut up in the
citadels of Bouillon, Ham and Pierre-Chatel.[111] Near the end, the
council suddenly dissolved because scruples arise, because it does not
yield at once to the pressure brought to bear on it, because its mass
constitutes its firmness, because men standing close together, side by
side, stand all the longer. "Our wine in the cask is not good," said
Cardinal Maury; "you will find that it will be better in bottles."
Accordingly, to make it ready for bottling, it must be filtered and
clarified, so as to get rid of the bad elements which disturb it and
cause fermentation. Many Opponents are in prison, many have retired
from their dioceses, while the rest are brought to Paris and cunningly
worked upon, each member in turn, apart and confined, téte-à-téte with
the Minister of Worship, until all, one by one, are brought to sign
the formula of adhesion. On the strength of this, the council, purged
and prepared, is summoned afresh to give its vote sitting or standing,
in one unique session; through a remnant of virtue it inserts a
suspensive clause in the decree, apparently a reservation,[112] but
the decree is passed as ordered. Like the foreign regiment in an army
corps which, enlisted, forced into line, and goaded on with a sharp
sword, serves, in spite of itself, against its legitimate prince,
unwilling to march forward to the attack, meaning at the last moment
to fire in the air, so does it finally march and fire its volley

Napoleon, on the other hand, treats the Pope in the same fashion, and
with like skill and brutality. As with the Russian campaign, he has
prepared himself for it long beforehand. At the outset there is an
alliance, and he concedes great advantages to the Pope as to the Czar,
which will remain to them after his fall; but these concessions are
made only with a mental reservation, with the instinctive feeling and
predetermination to profit by the alliance, even to making an
independent sovereign whom he recognizes as his equal, his subordinate
and a tool; hence, quarrels and war. This time also, in the
expedition against the Pope, his strategy is admirable, - the entire
ecclesiastical territory studied beforehand, the objective point
selected,[113] all disposable forces employed and directed by fixed
marches to where the victory is to be decisive, the conquest extended
and the seat of the final dominion established; the successive and
simultaneous use of every kind of means - cunning, violence, seduction
and terror. Calculation of the weariness, anxiety and despair of the
adversary; at first menaces and constant disputes, and then flashes of
lightning and multiplied claps of thunder, every species of brutality
that force can command; the States of the Church invaded in times of
peace, Rome surprised and occupied by soldiers, the Pope besieged in
the Quirinal, in a year the Quirinal taken by a nocturnal assault, the
Pope seized and carried off by post to Savona and there confined as a
prisoner of state almost in cellular seclusion,[114] subject to the
entreaties and manoeuvres of an adroit prefect who works upon him, of
the physician who is a paid spy, of the servile bishops who are sent
thither, alone with his con-science, contending with inquisitors
relieving each other, subject to moral tortures as subtile and as keen
as old-time physical tortures, to tortures so steady and persistent
that he sinks, loses his head, "no longer sleeps and scarcely speaks,"
falling into a senile condition and even more than senile condition,
"a state of mental alienation."[115] Then, on issuing from this, the
poor old man is again beset; finally, after waiting patiently for
three years, he is once more brusquely conducted at night, secretly
and incognito, over the entire road, with no repose or pity though
ill, except stopping once in a snow-storm at the hospice on Mount
Cenis, where he comes near dying; put back after twenty-four hours in
his carriage, bent double by suffering and in constant pain; jolting
over the pavement of the grand highway until almost dead and landed at
Fontainebleau, where Napoleon wishes to have him ready at hand to work
upon. "Indeed," he himself says, "he is a lamb, an excellent, worthy
man whom I esteem and am very fond of."[116]

An improvised tête-a-tête may probably prove effective with this
gentle, candid and tender spirit. Pius VII., who had never known ill-
will, might be won by kindly treatment, by an air of filial respect,
by caresses; he may feel the personal ascendency of Napoleon, the
prestige of his presence and conversation, the invasion of his genius.
Inexhaustible in arguments, matchless in the adaptation of ideas to
circumstances, the most amiable and most imperious of interlocutors,
stentorian and mild, tragic and comic by turns, the most eloquent of
sophists and the most irresistible of fascinators, as soon as he meets
a man face to face, he wins him, conquers him, and obtains the
mastery.[117] In effect, after seeing the Pope for six days, Napoleon
obtains by persuasion what he could not obtain afar by constraint.
Pius VII. signs the new Concordat in good faith, himself unaware that,
on regaining his freedom and surrounded by his cardinals, who inform
him on the political situation, he will emerge from his bewilderment,
be attacked by his conscience, and, through his office, publicly
accuse himself, humbly repent, and in two months withdraw his

Such, after 1812 and 1813, is the duration of Napoleon's triumphs and
the ephemeral result of his greatest military and ecclesiastical
achievements - Moskow, Lutzen, Bautzen and Dresden, the Council of
1811 and the Concordat of 1813. Whatever the vastness of his genius
may be, however strong his will, however successful his attacks, his
success against nations and churches never is, and never can be, other
than temporary. Great historical and moral forces elude his grasp.
In vain does he strike, for their downfall gives them new life, and
they rise beneath the blow. With Catholic institutions,[118] as with
other powers, not only do his efforts remain sterile, but what he
accomplishes remains inverse to the end he has in view. He aims to
subjugate the Pope, and he led the Pope on to omnipotence He aims at
the maintenance and strength of the Gallican spirit among the French
clergy, and yet brings them under the rule of the ultramontane
spirit.[119] With extraordinary energy and tenacity, with all his
power, which was enormous, through the systematic and constant
application of diverse and extreme measures, he labored for fifteen
years to rend the ties of the Catholic hierarchy, take it to pieces,
and, in sum, the final result of all is to tie them faster and hasten
its completion.



[1] Se preface to "The Modern Régime," Vol. I.

[2] On some of the ideas above indicated see "The Modern Régime," Vol.
I. p.120.

[3] An allusion to Malthusianism, practiced by many heads of families
in France. M. Taine would probably have shown this practice contrary
to national welfare. -Tr.

[4] Idolizing of children. (SR.)

[5] Cf. "Les carnets de voyage."

[6] On this idea see Volume I of "The Modern Régime," page 332, to
the end of the chapter. (Ed. Laff. II. pp. 592 to 605).

[7] Today this would probably be the media especially television.

[8] Memorial, IV.,259 (June 7 and 8, 1816); V., 323 (Aug. 17, 1816).

[9] Thibaudeau, p. 152 (Prairial 21, year X.

[10] Idem, IV.,259, (June 7 and 8, 1816). - Pelet de la Lozere,
"Opinions de Napoléon au conseil d'état," p 223, (March 4, 1806).

[11] "Discours, rapports et travaux sur le Concordat de 1801," by
Portalis (published by Fréderick Portalis), p.10. - In his speech on
the organization of cults (Germinal 15, year X), Portalis, although a
good Catholic, adopts the same idea, because he is a legist and one of
the ancient Régime. "Religions, even false, have this advantage, that
they are an obstacle to the introduction of arbitrary doctrines.
Individuals have a center of faith; governments have no fear of dogmas
once known and which do not change. Superstition, so to say, is
regulated, circumscribed and kept within bounds which it cannot, or
dare not, go outside of."

[12] Thibaudeau, p. 151 (Prairial 21, year X). "The First Consul
combated at length the different systems of the philosophy on cults,
natural religions, deism, etc. All that according to him, was mere

[13] Pelet de la Lozère, p. 208 (May 22, 1804).

[14] Thibaudeau, p. 152 (Prairial 21, year X).

[15] Pelet de la Lozère, p, 223 (March 4, 1806).

[16] Roederer, "Oevres complètes," III., 334 (Aug. 18, 1800).

[17] What impression could this have made on Lenin? Could he not have
felt: "Perhaps Napoleon's logic was good at that time but now with
electricity, the steam engine and modern industrialism it will be
possible to do without the efficiency of capitalism and hence with
its inequalities and egoism? If so then we can recreate the equality
dreamt of by Babeuf, Robespierre, Saint Just and the other ancient

[18] Ref.: "Where some people are very wealthy and others have
nothing, the result will either be extreme democracy or absolute
oligarchy, and despotism will come from either of these excesses."
Aristotle. (SR.)

[19] Pelet de la Lozère, p. 205 (February 11, 1804).

[20] Ibid., p. 201.

[21] Pelet de la Lozère, p. 206, (Feb. 11, 1804).

[22] Mémorial, V., 323 (Aug. 17, 1816).

[23] Pelet de la Lozère, p 201.

[24] Mémorial, V., 353 (Aug. 17, 1816). Notes on "Les Quatre
Concordants," by M. de Pradt (Correspondence of Napoleon I., xxx.,

[25] Bourrienne, "Mémoires," V., 232.

[26] Notes on "Les Quatre Concordats," by M. de Pradt (Correspondence
of Napoleon I., XXX., 638 and 639).

[27] Thibaudeau, p. 152 (Prairial 21, year X).

[28] Notes on "Les Quatre Concordats," by M. de Pradt (correspondence,
XXX., 638).

[29] Count Boulay de La Meurthe, "Négotiations du concordat." (Extract
from the correspondant," 1882, on the religious state of France in
November, 1800, and particularly on, the condition of the
constitutional church, the latter being very poor, disunited, with no
credit and no future.) The writer estimates the number of active
priests at 8000, of which 2000 are constitutionnels and 6000 orthodox.

[30] Thibaudeau, p.152.

[31] Thibaudeau, p. 154 (words of the First consul) "What makes the
government liked is its respect for worship. . . . The priests must be
connected with the government."

[32] Ibid., p.154: "Is it not better to organize worship and
discipline the priests rather than let things go on as they are?"

[33] La Fayette, "Mémoires, II., 200. ("Mes rapports avec le Premier

[34] D'Haussonville, "l'Église romaine et la Premier Empire," II.. 78
and 101. Napoleon's letters to Cardinal Fesch, Jan. 7, 1806; to the
Pope, Feb.22, 1806 and to cardinal Fesch, of the same date. "His
Holiness will have the same consideration for me in temporal matters
as I have for him in spiritual matters. . . . My enemies will be his
enemies." - "Tell people (in Rome) that I am Charlemagne, the sword of
the church, their emperor; that I must be treated the same; that they
should not know that there was a Russian empire. . . . If the Pope
does not accept my conditions, I shall reduce him to the condition he
was in before Charlemagne."

[35] Decree, May 17, 1809. "Whereas, when Charlemagne, emperor of the
French, and out august predecessor, donated several counties to the
bishops of Rome, he gave them only under the title of fiefs and for
the welfare of his own states, and as by the said donation Rome did
not thereby cease to form part of his empire, . . . the states of the
Pope are now reunited to the French empire."

[36] Sénatus-consulte, Feb. 17, 1810, title II., article XII. " Any
foreign sovereignty is incompatible with the exercise of any spiritual
sovereignty within the empire."

[37] D'Haussonville, ibid., IV.,344. (Decree of the National Council,
Aug. 5, 1811. - Concordat of Fontainebleau, Jan. 25, 1813, article 14.
- Decree on the execution of this Concordat, March 23, 1813, art. 4.)

[38] Sénatus-consulte, Feb.17, 1810, articles 13 and 14.

[39] Mémorial, Aug.17, 1816.

[40] Sénatus-consulte, Feb.17, 1810.

[41] Notes by Napoleon on the "Les Quatre Concordats de M. de Pradt"
(correspondence, XXX., 550). Lanfrey, "Histoire de Napoléon," V., 214.
(Along with the Vatican archives, there were brought to Paris the
tiara and other insignia or ornaments of Pontifical dignity.)

[42] Sénatus-consulte, Feb. 17, 1810.

[43] Notes by Napoleon on "Les Quatre Concordats" (Correspondence,
XXX., 548).

[44] Cf. Roman laws on the Collegia illicita, the first source of
which is the Roman conception of religion, the political and practical
use of augurs, auspices and sacred fowls. - It is interesting to trace
the long life and survivorship of this important idea from antiquity
down to the present day; it reappears in the Concordat and in the
Organic Articles of 1801, and still later in the late decrees
dissolving unauthorized communities and closing the convents of men. -
French jurists, and in particular Napoleon's jurists, are profoundly
imbued with the Roman idea. Portalis, in his exposition of the motives
for establishing metropolitan seminaries (March 14, 1804), supports
the decree with Roman law. "The Roman laws," he says, "place every
thing concerning the cult in the class of matters which belong
essentially to public rights."

[45] Thibaudeau, p.152.

[46] "Discours, rapports et travaux sur le Concordat de 1801," by
Portalis, p.87 (on the Organic Articles), p.29 (on the organization of
cults). "The ministers of religion must not pretend to share in or
limit public power. . . . Religious affairs have always been classed
by the different national codes among matters belonging to the upper
police department of the State. . . The political magistrate may and
should intervene in everything which concerns the outward
administration of sacred matters. . . . In France, the government has
always presided, in a more or less direct way, over the direction of
ecclesiastical affairs."

[47] "Discours, rapports, etc.," by Portalis, p. 31. - Ibid., p.143:
"To sum up: The Church possesses only a purely spiritual authority;
the sovereigns, in their capacity of political magistrates, regulate
temporal and mixed questions with entire independence, and, as
protectors, they have even the right to see to the execution of canons
and to repress, even in spiritual matters, the infractions of

[48] Articles Organiques. 1st. Catholic cult, articles 3, 4, 23, 24,
35, 39, 44, 62. 2nd. Protestant cults, articles 4, 5, 11, 14, 22, 26,
30, 31, 32, 37, 38, 39, 41, 42, 43. - Israelite cult, decree of March
17, 1808, articles 4, 8, 9, 16, 23. Decree of execution, samedate,
articles 2 to 7.

[49] Decree of March 17, 1808, articles 12, 21.

[50] Articles Organiques (Protestant cults), 12 and 13.

[51] Articles Organiques (Catholic cult), 24. Teachers selected for
the seminaries "will subscribe the declaration made by the clergy of
France in 1682; they will submit to teaching the doctrine therein set

[52] "Dsicours, rapports, etc," by Portalis, p. 101.

[53] Ibid, p. 378.

[54] Abbé Sicard, "Les Dispensateurs des bénéfices ecclésiastiques"
(in the "Correspondant," Sep.10, 1889, p.883). A benefice was then a
sort of patrimony which the titulary, old or ill, often handed over to
one of his relatives. "A canonist of the eighteenth century says that
the resignation carried with it one third of the income."

[55] "Souvenirs", by Pasquier (Etienne-Dennis, duc), Librarie Plon,
Paris 1893. Vol. I. p. 415. : "The nomination of Cardinal Maury as
arch-bishop of Paris was published on the same day that I had been
appointed prefect of police. The new arch-bishop had made too much
noise in the past for him not to have become known to me. He was as
happy with his appointment as I was unhappy with mine. I met him in
the chateau Fontainebleau and I have ever since been haunted by the
noisy expression of his happiness. He constantly repeated this
sentence: "The Emperor has just satisfied the two greatest
requirements of his capital. With a good police and a good clergy he
can always be sure of public order, since an arch-bishop is also a
prefect of the police."

[56] Report of Siméon to the tribunat on presenting to it the
Concordat and Organic Articles, Germinal 17, year X. - Henceforth "the
ministers of all cults will be subject to the influence of the
government which appoints or confirms them, to which they are bound by
the most sacred promises, and which holds them in its dependence by
their salaries."

[57] "Discours, rapports, etc.," by Portalis, p. 40. - Emile Ollivier,
"Nouveau manuel de droit ecclésiastique," P.193. (Reply by Portalis to
the protests of the Holy See, Sep. 22, 1803.) Before 1789 Portalis
writes: "The spectacle presented by the monks was not very edifying. .
. . The legislature having decided that religious vows could not be
taken up to twenty-one years of age, . . . this measure keeps novices
away; the monastic orders, sapped by the state of morals and by time,
could obtain no recruits; they languished in a state of inertia and of
disfavor which was worse than annihilation. . . . The era for monastic
institutions had passed."

[58] Pelet de la Lozère, p.146. (Words of Napoleon, March 11, 1806.)

[59] Pelet de la Lozère, p.207 (May 22, 1804).

[60] Decree of Messidor 3, year XII (June 22, 1804). - Letter of
Napoleon to the King of Naples, April 14, 1807, on the suppression of
convents at Naples: "You know that I don't like monks, as I have
uprooted them everywhere." To his sister Elisa, May 17, 1806: "Keep on
and suppress the convents."

[61] "État des congrégations, communantés et associations
religieuses," drawn up in execution of article 12 of the law of Dec.
12, 1876 (Imprimerie nationale, 1878): 1st. congregations of women
with a general superior, nurses and teachers, authorized from Prairial
28, year XI, to January 13, 1813, total, 42; 2nd. communities of women
without a general superior, nurses and teachers, authorized from April
9, 1806, to Sept. 28, 1813, total, 205.

[62] Ibid., Brethren of the Christian Schools, namely, of Saint Yon,
authorized March 17, 1808.

[63] Ibid., congregation of the Mission of Saint-Lazare, authorized
Prairial 17, year XI. - Congregation of the Seminary of Foreign
Missions, authorized Germinal 2, year XIII.

[64] Pelet de la Lozère, p.208 (May 22, 1804).

[65] Pelet de la Lozère, P.209

[66] Decree of March 17, 1808, article 109.

[67] Alexis Chevalier, "Les Frères des écoles chrétiennes après la
Révolution," p. 93. (Report by Portalis approved by the First consul,
Frimaire to, year XII.) "Henceforth," says Portalis, "the superior-
general at Rome abandons all inspection of the Christian Brothers. In
France, it is understood that the Brothers will have a superior
general resident at Lyons."

[68] D'Haussonville, V., p. 148.

[69] Fortress in the Italian Alps. (SR.)

[70] D'Haussonville, V., p. 148. Letter of Napoleon to the Minister of
Worship, March 3, 1811 (omitted in the published correspondence).

[71] Ibid., IV.,p.133. (Letter by Napoleon, Sep. 2, 1809, omitted in
the "Correspondence.")

[72] Concordat, articles 4, 5, 16.

[73] Articles Organiques, I., pp. 2, 6.

[74] Code pénal, decree of Feb. 16-20, 1810, article 207.

[75] Napoleon's own expressions: "I may regard myself as the head of
the Catholic ministry, since the Pope has crowned me." (Pelet de la
Lozère, p. 210, July 17, 1806.) - Note the word crowned (sacré).
Napoleon, as well as former kings, considers himself as clothed with
ecclesiastical dignity.

[76] On the sense and bearing of Gallican maxims cf. the whole of the
answer by Portalis to Cardinal Caprara. (Émile Ollivier, "Nouveau
manuel de droit ecclésiastique," p.150.)

[77] Decree of Feb.25, 1810. (The edict of Louis XIV. is attached to
it.) Prohibition to teach or write "anything opposed to the doctrine
contained" in the declaration of the French clergy. Every professor of
theology must sign and submit to teaching the doctrine therein set
forth." - In establishments where there are several professors "one of
them will be annually directed to teach the said doctrine." - In

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