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of the French Revolution, the clergy in France were both numerous and wealthy. They amounted to no less than eighteen Archbishops, one hundred and eleven Bishops, and one hundred and fifty thousand Priests, having under their control a revenue of five millions sterling, annually, besides three thousand four hundred convents. The clergy and their wealth were now attacked by the infidel revolutionists, and fell an easy prey. The tithes and revenues of the clergy were taken away, by a decree of the Constituent Assembly; the possessions of the Church were now declared to be the property of the nation; the religious orders were abolished, the monks and nuns ejected from their convents, and their immense wealth seized for the nation. The revolutionary torrent, which was thus set in motion, destroyed law, government and religion in France; and laid waste the Roman Church, both there and in neighboring countries. The Priests were massacred, her silver shrines and saints were turned into money for the payment of the troops, her bells were converted into cannon, and her churches and convents into barracks for soldiers. From the Atlantic to the Adriatic she presented but one appalling spectacle. She had shed the blood of saints and prophets, and God now gave her blood to drink.” (Hist. of the Church, by Goodrich, pp. 183, 184.)
“A civil constitution was formed for the clergy, to which all were required to swear, on pain of death or banishment. The great body refused, and priest and altar were overturned, and blood, once esteemed sacred, flowed to the horses' bridles. Such as could, escaped through a thousand dangers, and found an asylum in
foreign countries. No tongue can tell the woes of the nation." (Marsh's Ec. His., p. 300.)
The above was the commencement of a series of aggressions, which continued until 1809, when Napoleon Bonaparte proceeded to Austria, and, having defeated the Austrian forces in three or four pitched battles, he entered Vienna on the 12th of May. Subsequently, he published a decree depriving the Pope of his temporalities, and annexing his estates to the French empire. That all may see the strength of the historic testimony bearing on these events, we insert the following extracts :
“Imperial decree, dated Vienna, 17th May, 1809, proclaimed in all the public squares and market places of the city.
Napoleon, emperor of the French, etc., taking into consideration that when Charlemagne, emperor of the French, and our sublime predecessor, endowed the Bishop of Rome with various lands, they were given as fiefs to maintain the peace of his subjects, and that Rome did not, therefore, cease form a part of his empire : considering, further, that since that time the union of spiritual and temporal power has been, and still is, the source of dissension, that the Popes have too frequently availed themselves of the one to support their pretensions to the other, and that with spiritual concerns, which are in their naturé immutable, have been confounded worldly affairs, which change with the circumstances and politics of the times; considering, finally, that it is in vain to attempt to reconcile with the temporal pretensions of the Pope all that wo have concerted for the security of our army,
and prosperity of the nations over which we reign, and the dignity and inviolability of our empire,
“We have decreed and do decree, May 17, 1809, as follows: The papal teritory is united with the French empire.” (New Annual Register, 1809 – Scott.)
Part of a Proclamation of John, Archduke of Austria, May 27, 1809. “If God protect the virtuous exertions of the emperor Francis, and his mighty allies, Italy shall be again happy and once more respected in Europe. The head of the Church will possess again his freedom and his dominions." (New Annual Register for 1809, Art. Public Papers, 1st p. 268, 2d p. 272. Scott, p. 256–7.
“Napoleon dated from Vienna, 1809, a decree depriving his holiness of his temporalities, and annexing Rome and its dependencies to the kingdom of Italy. The consequences of a new struggle between a Pope and an Emperor, will shortly be told ; they were of a very different character from those which followed the attempt of Henry IV. tu dispute the supremacy of Gregory VII. eight centuries before.” (Horne's Napoleon, vol. ii. p. 127.)
“Bonaparte issued a decree dated Rome, (July 10) 1809, by which a great number of special tribunals were abolished, as well as every temporal jurisdiction hitherto possessed by the clergy, secular or regular." (New Annual Register 1809, principal occurrence,
“It was officially proclaimed as the fixed determination of the Emperor, (Napoleon) never to- infringe apon the spiritual authority of the Pope, nor even to permit again the temporal sovereignty of the Church.
"And in consequence of this decision, the Code Napoleon,' The Conscription, and the Continental system were introduced in their full vigor.
“The Pope excommunicated Bonaparte, in return for the confiscation of his whole dominion.” (See Allison, vol. iii. p. 285-6.)
“ A proclamation of the consultum, issued upon the 10th of June, 1809, in consequence of the imperial rescript, declared that the temporal dominion of Rome had passed to Napoleon, but she would still continue to be the residence of the visible head of the Catholic Church,
“On the very night when the proclamation of the new functionaries finally divested him of his temporal principality, the head of the Church assumed his spiritual weapons, and in the name of God from whoin he claimed authority, by missives drawn up by himself and sealed with the seal of the fisherman, declared Napoleon, Emperor of the French, with his adherents, favorers, and counsellors, to have incurred the solemn doom of excommunication, which he proceeds to launch against them accordingly.” (Scott's Napoleon, p. 257-8.)
Says the Pope in his bull of excommunication against Bonaparte, 1809, “If the shadow of authority was retained to us in the illustrious city of Rome and in the provinces adjoining, all power was still wrested from us in the flourishing provinces of Urban, the March, and Camerino." (Bower, vol. iii. p. 431.)
Order from Napoleon, 1809. “By order of his imperial and royal majesty, Napoleon, Emperor of the French, king of Italy, protector of the confederation of
the Rhine, etc., etc., etc., we are directed to make known to Pius VII., that he is utterly prohibited from holding any communion whatever, with any ecclesiastics in France, or any other subject of the Emperor, under the penalty of disobedience, both on his part and theirs ; advising him, also, that he is no longer the organ of the papacy, and that his majesty is now engaged in the proper arrangements for his deposition." (Bower, vol. iii. p. 425.)
“On the 17th May, 1809, Napoleon issued his famous decree, which declared the papal dominions united to the French empire.
“Besides the disgrace which the Pope experienced from that course, he had the mortification to be seized in his palace, and was conducted as an exile to the city of Savona." (Bower, vol. iii. p. 424.)
"In 1809, Napoleon appeared once more victorious in Vienna, where he proclaimed, May 17th, the end of the secular authority of the Popes, and the union of the States of the Church with France.” (Maunder, vol. ii. p. 241.)
“During Napoleon's residence at Vienna, (1809) he abolished the temporal power of the Pope, and united the remaining territories of the States of the Church with France, and the city of Rome was declared an imperial and free city.
"The Pope was conducted to Fontainbleau, where Napoleon concluded a second concordat with him, in which, though the Pope did not resume his temporal jurisdiction, he obtained the right to keep embassadors at foreign courts, to receive embassadors, and to appoint certain Bishoprics." (Maun. vol. ii. p. 99.)