Napoleon's letters to Bigot de Préameneu [1800-1815]

Signature de Napoléon, lettre du 14 brumaire an 13, archives du Conseil d'Etat

The daughter of Félix de Préameneu (1747-1825), successively member of the Conseil d'Etat then Minister of the Cults, Eulalie Nougarède du Fayet, bequeathed in 1866 to the Conseil d'Etat a collection of Napoleon's letters. These 145 letters sent to Bigot de Préameneu by chance escaped the fire which destroyed the archives of the Conseil d'Etat in 1871. makes available to the public the partly unpublished correspondence between Napoleon I and Félix Bigot de Préameneu (1747-1825), Conseiller d’Etat and subsequently Ministre des Cultes (1808-1814). These letters are provided with a detailed commentary written by Jacques-Olivier Boudon, president of the Institut Napoléon.
This collection of letters is of key interest for the religious and political history of the First Empire. In them are detailed not only all the events surrounding the conflict between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII (which culminated in Napoleon’s excommunication and the arrest of the Pope) but also the less well-known antagonisms between the Emperor and a growing number of bishops and clerics in the provinces who sided with the Holy See.

The quality of Napoleon’s writing is very much brought to the fore: indeed to read these letters is to be taken right to the centre of the politics of the time.