Lot 150
  • 150


3,000 - 4,000 GBP
3,500 GBP
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  • A volume of manuscript and printed documents detailing relations between the French administration in Rome and the Pope. [Rome], January 1808-April 1811
  • Paper
4to (285 x 203mm.), several hundred pages, clerical copies, mostly in Italian with a few in French, starting with a manuscript list of contents, contemporary half calf, defective at beginning (lacking probably the first 2 pages of contents), binding worn, both covers detached, upper board from a different (smaller) volume


[Robert Milnes, Marquess of Crewe (1858-1945), bookplate on upper cover from a different book]; his daughter Mary, duchess of Roxburghe

Catalogue Note

Napoleon's occupation of Italy and subsequent seizure of Church lands and possessions was eventually resolved with the Papacy by the Concordat of 1801, in which the Catholic Church was partially restored to its previous position within France but with many of its privileges retained by Napoleon. However, when Napoleon invaded Italy again in 1808, he was then excommunicated by Pius VII, which resulted in Pius's abduction by General Radet (though not on Napoleon's orders) and he remained under house arrest until 1814. This volume relates almost day by day the events of 1808-1809 when the French occupied Rome and the Papal States, partly in order to prevent the English from continuing to trade there. General Miollis entered Italy in January, and by early February the pope was nigh-on imprisoned in the Quirinal. The correspondence is predominantly between the Pope or his secretaries of state and the ambassador Charles-Jean-Marie Alquier (1752-1826), who left Rome in February 1808, General Miollis, in charge of the French troops occupying Rome, and General Radet. The first entry in the volume, dated 6 January 1808, is a list of requests made to the Pope by the French, including rubber-stamping Napoleon's choice of cardinals; Pius reacted with inertia, marking the start of his passive resistance which caused the French such problems in Rome. Pius's response via his secretary (dated 30 January 1808) states that he is "altamente sorpresa" and "profondamente addolorato" by Alquier's requests, that he has done everything he can to assist "eccettuate quelle soltanto, che i suoi sagri doveri, e dettami della sua coscienza non gli permettevano" (having excluded only those that his holy office and the dictates of his conscience would not allow him to do). Another statement of resistance was the cockade (coccarda pontificale) given to the troops in Rome still loyal to Pius, which generated more complaints from General Miollis.

The documents are file copies of various notes relating to the instructions of the French and the pope's responses. They are predominantly in Italian, with a few in French, though most of the French documents have been translated into Italian. There are printed proclamations, including Pius's condemnation of the invasion from February 1808, which Miollis tried to suppress, and another by the French banning the carrying of weapons. There is a copy of Napoleon's decree from 2 April 1808 in which he annexed Urbino, Ancona, Macerata and Camerino to the Kingdom of Italy, and his two printed decrees from 17 May 1809, in which he declares that Rome itself has been absorbed into the French Empire; the following item in the volume is Pius's notice of excommunication of the French occupiers (10 June 1809, though not naming Napoleon himself). Pius then made an address to the people of Rome on 6 July as he was arrested by the French and the Quirinal was taken by force. The bulk of the volume pertains to 1808, providing a detailed portrait of the diplomatic actions of both sides during this troubled time.

The survival of this volume is noteworthy. Napoleon had the Vatican Archives removed to Paris between 1810 and 1813, though the files of Pius VII were somehow omitted from this programme; apparently they were buried in the gardens of the Vatican and recovered some fifty years later.