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many lost less than they might have done. It is probable enough that Talleyrand accepted from these sums of money that were collectively respectable. A few cases are put on reliable record. There is not the least reason to doubt that in most cases of advantage conferred the Foreign Minister was ready to receive money. He freely expressed his disposition. Cadeau diplomatique was a familiar and not dishonourable phrase of the day. "I have given nothing to St. Julien," Talleyrand wrote to Napoleon, "because all the Directory jewellery is out of date." On another occasion he urges Napoleon to give a substantial sum of money to the Spanish Minister. No doubt, the present usually took the form of a piece of jewellery worth money. "Talleyrand preferred cash,” says von Gagern, indulgently. It saved trouble. When we regard the enormous quantity of negotiations and settlements thrown on Talleyrand by Napoleon's plans, it is difficult to feel surprise that he made some millions of francs. His action does not invite our admiration, but we may bear in mind that in not a single case is he known to have strained or deserted his duty for money, and that more than half the specific charges against him. will not sustain examination.
To complete the picture of the extraordinary activity of Napoleon and Talleyrand at this time we must notice its range beyond Europe. Treaties were concluded with Turkey, Algeria and Tunis. Napoleon's mind found time to interest itself in Australia, India, America and the West Indies. After the peace of
Amiens he took up the idea of colonies as "safety valves" for the over-strained and over-populated nation which Talleyrand had put forward under the Directory. But Talleyrand seems to have been little more than a clerk in the not very honourable pursuit of this plan. Napoleon sent out his ill-fated army to St. Domingo with a message to Toussaint l'Ouverture that it was coming to help him. At the same time he directed Talleyrand to inform England that it was going to destroy the native government, and hint that it might restore the slave trade; while Bruix and others were pointing out to the dazed new democracy in France that slavery had been fully recognised by those admirable models of theirs, the "free peoples of antiquity." In 1801 he made Talleyrand assure Spain that Louisiana, which Spain ceded to him, would never be given to a third Power. It is on record that Talleyrand firmly opposed him when he unscrupulously sold it to the United States two years later. Expeditions to India and to Australia complete Australia complete the gigantic programme of their activity, save for the important work of reconciliation with Catholicism which may open a new chapter.
THE RESTORATION OF RELIGION
NAPOLEON'S imperial vision included in its first vague outline the restoration of the Church in France and the establishment of good relations with Rome. The sharpness of his earlier antagonism to religion was worn down by his experience and his political requirements. Let the old clergy overrun the provinces of France again, and they would soon exorcise them of their superficial Jacobinism. He had seen in the East how despotism throve where it had the support of religion. The new
Pope, Pius VII, should be disposed to make a bargain with the new Charlemagne. Not only did France seem still to drift away from Catholicism, but the spirit of Gallicanism had passed over the Rhine and the Pyrenees. Alarming rumours of the founding of "national " churches came to the Vatican from Spain and South Germany; while Catholic Austria held aloof with an open cupidity for the Pope's temporal dominions. So the Corsican free - thinker converted himself into "Charlemagne." The Pope might be reminded of the spiritual desolation that cried for his spiritual intervention in France; ultramontanism could be made innocuous by the simple by the simple expedient of abolishing the mountains, and making a Catholic Constantinople of
Paris; the police would be seconded by the subtler gendarmery of the clergy, the heads of which would be ingeniously fitted into the political machinery of the country. Before Napoleon left Italy (after Marengo) he sent the Bishop of Vercelli to the Pope with a message of peace.
Talleyrand had already written to the Vatican in the same feeling, at the direction of the First Consul. Mr. Holland Rose and many other writers entirely misunderstand Talleyrand's share in the work of religious pacification, because they have a quite false idea of his attitude towards the Church. I interpret the negative evidence to mean that Talleyrand was agnostic rather than deistic, in spite of his admiration for Voltaire and his dislike of Diderot and d'Holbach. But he was an agnostic Liberal statesman of a type familiar in France (and many other countries) down to our own time. He never attacked or ridiculed religion. He believed the Church to be a useful agency among the mass of the people, provided it was earnest and spiritual, and did not meddle with politics beyond promising eternal torment to the more violent radicals. Of this we have evidence enough even in his speeches of 1790-1792. He would not at all resent Napoleon's proposals, if Napoleon would firmly maintain the rights of the constitutional clergy. There is not a particle of evidence that raises any difficulty as to Talleyrand's attitude.*
* Contrast with Mr. Rose's opinion that of E. Ollivier, a violent modern critic: "He threw himself with equal zeal into the negotiation of the Concordat."
He is nowhere found with the angry soldiers and politicians who thought the revolution had made a French Church an anachronism, and who filled Paris with fresh murmurs at the idea of a Concordat.
Towards the end of 1800, Paris had a new fact to proceed on in its cafés. The Vatican had sent Mgr. Spina, the Papal Nuncio at Florence, to confer with Talleyrand and Napoleon. The sagacious priest did not flaunt his purple, merely announcing that the Archbishop of Corinth had come to treat with Napoleon on matters concerning the administration of Rome. But the religious controversy had revived in France, and the appearance of a papal envoy fanned the flame. The relaxation of the laws had introduced a large number of the emigrant clergy, and these contended everywhere with the Constitutionalists for the care of souls and of presbyteries. The confusion was increased by the Theophilanthropists, who claimed the sacred edifices of the country in the superior name of virtue, and asked the people to bow to their august abstractions. After a mass they would decorate Catholic altars with flowers in honour of morality, and they showed no lack of courage in defending their fair ideals. Philosophic deists and quick-witted atheists smiled on the confusion. But all eyes were now centred on the pale and portly prelate who sat in long conference with the ex-bishop at the Foreign Office.
Mgr. Spina had been generally directed to avoid the excommunicated apostates, but to moderate the