Pope Pius VII: A Letter Signed by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1807 Concerning the Papal States

Pope Pius VII: A Letter Signed by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1807 Concerning the Papal States

Translation of the Letter

This letter appears in “Correspondance de Napoleon ler, Tome XVI”
Entry 13367

My son,

We must stick, for the good of Ancona, to the decree which I have issued; everything must remain in the hands of the Pope’s government; but General Lamarois, in his capacity as governor, must command the military and the police.  The 400,000 francs necessary for the working of the port will be taken from the funds from the provinces, as well as what is necessary for the maintenance of the troops. I pray God that has you in his care and may keep you safe.

Milan 23 November 1807

Pope Pius VII: Napoleon Letter of 1807
Pope Pius VII: Napoleon Letter of 1807, Close up

The artifact is a letter signed by Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821) (“Napol”) in 1807 to, “Mon fils,” his adopted son of Josephine.

In the letter he is discussing his strategy for managing Pope Pius VII during his assault on the Papal States.  

It consists of one page and was written from the Palais du Milan on Nov. 23, 1807.  A penciled note at the bottom right notes that the text of the letter is in the hand of General Geraud Duroc (1772 – 1813).

Napoleon was writing to Prince Eugene Napoleon (de Beauharnais), Viceroy of the Kingdom of Italy and commander of the army of Italy.  He mentions a secret plot which seems to relate to his creeping campaign against the Vatican and its duchies. 

Father Richard Kunst
The Importance of This Letter

The content is important to the collection, because Napoleon was more hostile to the popes than any other modern age leader.

The year after this letter Napoleon kidnapped the pope, and the pope then excommunicated him.

Also the Cause for canonization for Pius VII was recently  introduced, too:

Pius VII died in 1823 at age 81. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI began the process towards canonizing him, and he was granted the title, “Servant of God.”

Pius VII’s spiritual strength was shown in his forgiving nature by not only offering refuge in Rome to the Bonaparte family, but also by intervening for Napoleon when his health deteriorated while in captivity on the island of St. Helena. The pope believed his captivity was too harsh. He sent him a chaplain to minister to his needs.

Pius VII was pope from 1800 – 1823.

  • Date January 18, 2022
  • Tags Documents, Pius VII