Letter Signed ("Napoleon"), to the Bishop of Versailles regarding his impending coronation as Emperor, 2 pp recto and verso, legal folio, St. Cloud, 1st Prairial, year 12 (May 20, 1804), also signed by Secretary of State HUGHES-BERNARD MARET and Charge des affaire JEAN-ETIENNE-MARIE PORTALIS, minimal spotting and toning to page, in custom red morocco clamshell box.
"CALLED BY DIVINE PROVIDENCE AND THE CONSTITUIONS OF THE REPUBLIC TO IMPERIAL POWER, I SEE IN THIS NEW ORDER OF THINGS NOTHING BUT GREATURE MEANS OF ASSURING ... THE NATIONAL POWER AND PROSPERITY."
In this letter to the Bishop of Versailles, Napoleon announces his call to Imperial power, and also orders the cleric to adapt the liturgy in his parish to include the "Veni-Creator-Spiritus," traditionally sung at the election of new popes and consecration of new bishops, and the "Te Deum," traditionally sung at periods of public rejoicing.
During his years as First Consul, Napoleon restored public confidence in the church, which had been greatly undermined by the French Revolution. In this letter, he seems to be calling in a favor, asking the Bishop to incorporate the celebration of his impending coronation into the common liturgy. In part, translated: "The object of my dearest thoughts has always been the happiness of the French people, and their glory the object of my labors. Called by Divine Providence and the Constitutions of the Republic to Imperial power, I see in this new order of things nothing but greater means of assuring, within and without, the national power and prosperity. I take comfort with confidence in the powerful aid of the Almighty. He will inspire His Ministers to support me by all means within their power. They will enlighten their people by wise instruction, preaching to them love of duty, obedience to law, and the practice of all the Christian and civil virtues. They will call the blessing of Heaven upon the nation and on the Supreme Head of State. I am writing you this letter, therefore, to tell you that as soon as you have received it, you will see to it that the Veni-Creator and the Te Deum are sung in all the churches of your Diocese; that you invite to prayer in your Church all the Authorities who are accustomed to help in these sorts of Ceremonies, and that you order the Reading to the Throne in the Churches of the Diocese in accordance with the decree of the Senate enacted the 28th day of Floreal last, assuring me that you will arounds by your example, the zeal and pity of all the faithful...."