CORONATION OF 1804 NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Letter signed ("Napoleon"), to the Bishop of Versailles regarding his impending coronation as Emperor, St. Cloud, 1st Prairial, year 12 [20 May 1804]

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Lot 14*
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE - CORONATION OF 1804
Letter signed ("Napoleon"), to the Bishop of Versailles regarding his impending coronation as Emperor, St. Cloud, 1st Prairial, year 12 [20 May 1804]:'CALLED BY DIVINE PROVIDENCE AND THE CONSTITUTIONS OF THE REPUBLIC TO IMPERIAL POWER... ASSURING ME THAT YOU WILL AROUSE BY YOUR EXAMPLE THE ZEAL AND PITY OF ALL THE FAITHFUL'

£ 90,000 - 120,000
US$ 110,000 - 150,000
CORONATION OF 1804
NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Letter signed ("Napoleon"), to the Bishop of Versailles regarding his impending coronation as Emperor, announcing his call to Imperial power and asking him to incorporate the celebration into the common liturgy, in French, countersigned by Secretary of State Hughes-Bernard Maret and Charge des affaires Jean-Etienne-Marie Portalis, 2 pages, minimal spotting and toning to page, folio, in custom red morocco clamshell box, St. Cloud, 1st Prairial, year 12 [20 May 1804]

Footnotes

  • 'CALLED BY DIVINE PROVIDENCE AND THE CONSTITUTIONS OF THE REPUBLIC TO IMPERIAL POWER... ASSURING ME THAT YOU WILL AROUSE BY YOUR EXAMPLE THE ZEAL AND PITY OF ALL THE FAITHFUL': NAPOLEON PROCLAIMS HIS ACCESSION AS EMPEROR AND ASKS FOR THE CHURCH TO SUPPORT HIS CORONATION.

    Whilst Napoleon believed himself to be called by "Divine Providence" to the role of Emperor, he was fully aware that he was reliant on the twin pillars of the church and the people ("the Constitutions of the Republic") for the establishment and continuation of his power. Napoleon here asks for the blessing of the church on his coronation as Emperor. He also asks the cleric to "...arouse by your example, the zeal and pity of all the faithful..." by adapting 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 part, translated: "The object of my dearest thoughts has always been the happiness of the French people, and their glory the object of my labours. 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 arouse by your example, the zeal and pity of all the faithful..."
Contacts
CORONATION OF 1804 NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Letter signed ("Napoleon"), to the Bishop of Versailles regarding his impending coronation as Emperor, St. Cloud, 1st Prairial, year 12 [20 May 1804]
CORONATION OF 1804 NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Letter signed ("Napoleon"), to the Bishop of Versailles regarding his impending coronation as Emperor, St. Cloud, 1st Prairial, year 12 [20 May 1804]
CORONATION OF 1804 NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Letter signed ("Napoleon"), to the Bishop of Versailles regarding his impending coronation as Emperor, St. Cloud, 1st Prairial, year 12 [20 May 1804]
CORONATION OF 1804 NAPOLEON BONAPARTE. Letter signed ("Napoleon"), to the Bishop of Versailles regarding his impending coronation as Emperor, St. Cloud, 1st Prairial, year 12 [20 May 1804]
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