1 October (9 Vendémiaire, An X): Signing in London of the peace preliminaries between France and Britain. These preliminaries returned to France, Spain and Holland the colonies which had been taken from them. France, for its part, agreed to leave the ports in the Kingdom of Naples.
3 October (11 Vendémiaire): “At about seven o'clock in the evening, loud and frequent cannon reports were heard which lasted a fair time. At nine o'clock, Commissaires de police, escorted by several detachments of cavalry and infantry and to the accompaniment of martial music, published abroad in all the squares and crossroads in Paris the news of the signature of the peace preliminaries with Britain.”
Gazette de France, 12 Vendémiaire
The Parisian theatres also celebrated the peace by adapting their programmes: thus the Théâtre français put on a repeat performance of L'Anglais à Bordeaux (The Englishman in Bordeaux), a play by Favart first performed in 1763 in celebration of the peace which ended the Seven Year's War with England.
5 October (13 Vendémiaire): The painter Louis-François baron Lejeune (1775-1848) announced to the public, via the press, that his 'painting representing the moment at which the French won the battle of Marengo had just gone on show at the Salon. The General in Chief, Alexandre Berthier, who at that time was an ADC, had been so good as to give [him] the main idea for [his] painting […]. Since this never-to-be-forgotten victory was still fresh, in all its details, in the minds of those who take an interest in the glorious deed of our Armées, [he] thought it best to exhibit the painting this year, even though it was not completely finished.”
Citoyen français, 13 Vendémiaire
6 October (14 Vendémiaire): An arrêté (bill) created the function of Conseiller d'Etat (Councillor of State) to the government in charge of all religious affairs and particularly everything regarding the application of the recent Concordat; on 8 October (16 Vendémiaire), Jean-Etienne-Marie Portalis (1746-1807) was appointed to this post. In 1804, he became the first Ministre des Cultes (Minister for Religion), organised his new ministry and directed it until his death three years later.
8 October (16 Vendémiaire): A Franco-Russian treaty was signed in Paris by the Count Marcov, minister for Foreign Affairs representing the Tsar in the French capital. This treaty sealed an agreement between the two countries with respect to many of the difficult Italian issues worrying them, notably the independence of the Kingdom of Naples. It also affirmed Russia's position as mediator in European affairs and expressed Franco-Russian desires to make every possible effort to maintain general peace in Europe.
9 October (17 Vendémiaire): The publication the Publiciste remarked with amazement that: “For fifteen days now, Citizen David has been announcing in the newspapers that for the sum of 1 franc 80 cent.[imes] it is possible to view his paintings of the First Consul and of the Sabines. It is hard to believe that the author of this annoucnement is the famous David, one of the most distinguished painters of the French school; and it has already been noted by others before now that, even though his wealth may not equal his talent, he is not so poor as to stoop to such a way of enriching himself which leaves him open to the odious suspicion of avaraice or empirism…”
10 October (18 Vendémiaire): On carrying with him the ratification of the peace preliminaries between France and England, Jacques-Alexandre-Bernard Law, Comte de Lauriston (1768-1828; of Scottish origin, grandson of the financier John Law 1671-1729) was acclaimed and carried in triumph by crowds in London.
10 October (18 Vendémiaire): the First Consul asked Chaptal, Minister of the Interior, to encourage the establishment and activity of Italian actors in Paris: “This is suitable above all from a political point of view given our great preponderance in Italy.”
11 October (19 Vendémiaire): Bonaparte sent a diplomatic mission to the Sublime Gate (Turkey) led by Horace-François-Bastien Sébastiani, Comte de La Porta (1772-1851), in order to arrange a peace between France and the Ottoman Empire.
Born in Corsica, and a supporter of the values of the Revolution, Sébastiani played a key role with his Dragoons during Coup d'Etat of 18 Brumaire, and as a result gained Bonaparte's confidence. His diplomatic career began in the Middle East (Palestine, Egypt, Ottoman Empire), where his role was to watch the development of British influence in the region. He was French ambassador to the Sublime Gate from 1806 to 1808, subsequently taking up again his military career. After serving in the initial years of the Peninsular War in Spain – during which he refused to support a conspiracy against Napoleon organised by Joseph Bonaparte (King of Spain) and Maréchal Soult – he was put in charge of the Boulogne camp between 1810 and 1812, and he took part in the Russian and German campaigns. In 1814, he rallied to Louis XVIII. During the July Monarchy he was Navy Minister (1830), Minister for Foreign Affairs (1830 to 1832), Minister for War (1833 to 1834), and finally ambassador to England (1834 to 1840).
12 October (20 Vendémiaire): While the First Consul spent the day at Malmaison, a majority of the Conseil d'Etat vigorously opposed the Concordat.
14 October (22 Vendémiaire): As a result of the re-establishment of good relations between France and Britain, Bonaparte asked Interior Minister Chaptal and Finance Minister Gaudin to take a series of measures in order to repair the road from Paris to Calais, “since there is going to be a great deal of traffic on this route “. In the same spirit, the First Consul asked the Ministre de la police générale, Fouché, to ensure the free passage of Britons in France, “making sure however that they carry British passports and that they are in no way émigrés”.
Correspondance, tome VII, n° 5804, 5805, 5806
17 October (25 Vendémiaire): Talleyrand, Minister for Foreign Relations, was given the mission to give orders to suspend the publication of the Almanach impérial, and to deliver to Monsieur Testu, the publisher, the changes required by the First Consul, notably in the section entitled Puissances de l'Europe (European powers):
– To leave out the Ecclesiastical princes of Germany, whose destiny had been compromised by a clause in the Traité de Lunéville and which remained therefore uncertain;
– To suppress the names of all the princes whose lands were on the left bank of the Rhine;
– To make no mention of the Duke of Parma, the King of Sardinia or the princes of the House of Savoy;
– To include in alphabetical order the republics of Lucca, Ragusa, San Marino and the Seven Islands;
– To make no mention of Poland.
A Russo/Ottoman convention of 21 March, 1800 had made the Ionian islands into the Republic of the Seven Islands (Corfu, Paxos, Lefkada, Ithaca, Cephalonia, Zakynthos, and Kythira), under the sovereignty of the Sublime Gate but actually under Russian protection. The Republic passed into French hands in 1807 with the Treaty of Tilsit.
21 October (29 Vendémiaire): The Gazette de France informed its readers of a savage child caught in the Aveyron region of France: according to the report presented on 22 Vendémiaire by his tutors at the Institut national, “the little savage has managed to acquire some of humanity's conventional signs, he has crossed the boundary and has reached our land. The proof they give of this is that this child from the woods is now perfectly able to say, in a voice of a normal pitch and volume, the words soupe (soup) and lait (milk).” The newspaper continued in a somewhat ironic tone: “Given that attention is being paid to his education, it is very likely that in two years time his tiny dictionary will have expanded to include the words vache (cow) and poêlon (saucepan)”.
23 October (1 Brumaire): The town of Boulogne celebrated the arrival of the first British ship to enter the port since 1793. This was the result of the peace preliminaries and the promise of a soon to be definitive end to hostilities between France and Britain.
23 October: A fête was given at Malmaison in honour of General Moreau. This solemn official event covered the growing rivalry between the victor at Hohenlinden and the First Consul.
24 October (2 Brumaire): General Leclerc was given the responsibility of putting an end to attempts at autonomy on Saint-Domingue; he landed with his troops on 29 January 1802 (9 Pluviôse, An X). Toussaint-Louverture was declared an outlaw on 17 February (28 Pluviôse) and then arrested on 7 June (18 Prairial). He died in prison on 7 April, 1803 (17 Germinal, An XI).
29 October (7 Brumaire): In Paris, the Théâtre Feydeau took the name of Opéra-Comique.
30 October (8 Brumaire): Bonaparte (as witness) signed the marriage contract between Jean Andoche Junot, then Commandant de la place de Paris, and Laure Adélaïde Constance Permon. Both of limited means, they had received 140 000 Francs from the First Consul. After discussion, Junot accepted the request of Laure de Permon and married her in church, at midnight, at Saint-Louis d'Antin; the first of many “originalities” which the future Duchesse d'Abrantès was to inflict upon her entourage. The civil marriage took place in the Mairie of the 9th arrondissement.
4 November (13 Brumaire, An X): In front of the Tuileries, the 'Consular palace', the fours Byzantine horses taken from Saint Mark's Venice were installed on top of the Carrousel Arch, and the Place Carrousel was cleared and paved in preparation for the celebrations of the second anniversary of the Coup d'Etat of 18 Brumaire.
7 November (16 Brumaire): Volta presented the results of his research on 'electric fluids' during a meeting at the Institut, in the presence of the of the First Consul; at a later meeting of the Insitut on 26 Brumaire, he demonstrated several experiments.
7 November (16 Brumaire): The Paris Préfet de police renewed his orders for the good upkeep of shop fronts by shopkeepers and that of houses by their owners. In addition to being ordered to sweep in front of their premises every day, they were enjoined to “lpace all mud and waste in a pile and not to push it towards neighbours premises. In times of snow and ice, house and shop owners are required to sweep away snow and to break the ice. […] and, with cases of black ice, to throw ashes, sand or gravel in order to prevent accidents.”
9 November (18 Brumaire): For the day of peace celebrations, the 'Jour de la fête de la paix' (but also the anniversary of Bonaparte's coup d'etat), the area around the Tuileries was closed off to traffic, and all the shops and manufactories in Paris were closed, all that is apart from the gaming houses, which did a roaring trade that day. Buildings were decorated with banners glorifying Bonaparte as “vainqueur et pacificateur” (victor and pacifier). The banks of the Seine were illuminated from the Tuileries to the Pont de la Concorde bridge, whilst in the Place de la Concorde on the Tuileries side, a theatre housing a temple of peace was set up. A 52-metre high column erected in the middle of the 'demi-lune des Champs-Élysées' (perhaps the 'Rond Point') was entirely illuminated and set within this perspective. The Tuileries gardens were also illuminated and a triumphal arch (three arches surmounted by an attic storey) was built in front of the consular palace (i.e., the Tuileries Palace; the arch was possibly placed on the site of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel).
10 November (19 Brumaire): Bonaparte received the English plenipotentiary Lord Cornwallis. Born in 1738, Charles Mann, Marquess of Cornwallis, was second in command in the American War of Independence (1778), being defeated at Yorktown in 1781, and became governor-general and commander-in-chief of India (1786-93), during which time he defeated Tippoo Sahib in the Third Mysore War. As Viceroy of Ireland (1798-1801), he beat off the French attack on Ireland of 1798. He was appointed to command in India again in 1805 but died there on 5 October.
12 November (21 Brumaire): An arrêté (bill) (not printed) was passed establishing rules for public life at the Tuileries and Saint-Cloud palaces, creating notably the office of Gouverneur du palais du Gouvernement, (Governor of the Palace of the Governement), a role entrusted to the ADC Duroc. The role of the governor was to oversee and administer the palace police (both internal and external).He also gave orders to the messengers and bailiffs and (under the direction of the First Consul) ensured that the daily business of the palace ran smoothly. He was assisted by four prefects of the palace, all of whom had roles of introducing the different visiting authorities and persons to the Consuls. The reception of ambassadors, for example, was governed by a remarkable 'ballet' of protocol:
On ordinary ambassadorial audience days, one of the palace prefects would receive the said ambassadors in the 'Salle des Ambassadeurs' (art. 9). When all the ambassadors were present, he sent a messenger to the palace prefect in charge of the 'Salle d'Audience' or audience chamber. This prefect then informed the governor who, personally, took the message from the First Consul to be given to the messenger, who would then carry it to the initial prefect, the one in charge of receiving the ambassadors (art. 10). Once the order had been received, the foreign ambassadors and ministers would set off, preceded by the palace prefect followed by the messenger. The military posts would present arms as they passed (art. 11). When announced by the bailiffs, the palace prefect in charge of the 'Salle d'Audience' would order the doors to the 'Salle du Gouvernement' (the Government Chamber) to be opened, join his colleague, enter with him, and both would stand either side of the door, one to right, the other to the left (art. 12). The palace governor then advanced towards the door together with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in order to receive the ambassadors, who then entered and greeted the First Consul in the manner established by custom (art. 13). After the audience, the ambassadors were accompanied back to the doorway by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the palace governor. From there, one of the prefects accompanied them back to the 'Salle des Ambassadeurs', in the same order and with the same ceremonial (art. 14).
14 November (23 Brumaire): Lannes was appointed ambassador in Lisbon. This 'exile by promotion' was part of the First Consul's anxious strategy to distance those who had publicly shown hostility to the Concordat.
19 November (28 Brumaire): police reports noted that in two of the poorest neighbourhoods in Paris, Saint-Antoine et Saint-Marceau, there was great interest in the lottery: “on the day before the draw, the pawn shops in these areas are besieged by women bringing all their belongings and household tools. Violent quarrels with their husbands nearly always ensue.”
20 November (29 Brumaire): Duroc was appointed Gouverneur du palais des Tuileries (Governor of the Tuileries palace). Géraud-Christophe-Michel Duroc (1772-1813) became Napoleon's ADC shortly after participating in the Brumaire coup d'etat. He became a general of great ability, distinguishing himself during the campaigns in Austria, Prussia and Poland between 1805 and 1807, then in Germany, Russia and Saxony. He also performed diplomatic mission, negotiating the Treaty of Schönbrunn and then the armistice with Russia in June 1807. In 1808, he received the abdication of the king of Spain. Grand maréchal du Palais in 1805, he was made Duc de Frioul (Duke of Friuli) in May 1808.
21 November (30 Brumaire): Raphael's remarkable painting, The Holy Family, went on show in the Grande Galerie of the Louvre.
21 November (30 Brumaire): A systematic and unified method for numbering the houses and displaying street names was enacted: the numbers were posted on enamelled terracotta plaques, some rectangular with even numbers embossed in black on a white ground, other conversely were oval with the odd numbers gouged out in white on black ground; this in accordance with the bill passed by the Paris Préfet de police of 11 March (20 Ventôse, An IX):
I. Street name plates which have been effaced must be replaced by legible ones, at owners' expense.
II. All existing numbers on houses and buildings in Paris are to be removed.
III. The houses and buildings will be renumbered with a single series of numbers for each road, using numerals of a size specified here below.
IV. Each house or building shall have only one number, even if there are several entrances onto the same street.
V. The numbers must be marked in black Arabic numerals, 16 centimetres (6 inches) tall and 27 millimetres (12 lines) broad, in an oblong with a grey-white background, all done in oil paint. The numbers should be placed at the main entrance of each house at a height of about 3 metres.
22 November (1er Frimaire): Official re-establishment of postal services between France and Britain. Every day, starting on 15 December, a post chase was to leave Paris for London at 11am. The journey was to take four and half days and the price of a seat was fixed at 168 Francs.
22 November (1er Frimaire): Charles-François Dupuis (1742-1809), député for Seine-et-Oise, known for his opposition to the Concordat, was elected president of the Corps législatif: this election was interpreted as a mark of opposition to Bonaparte's religious policy. Having received a degree in theology, Dupuis had abandoned the ecclesiastical career towards which he was heading in order to become a lawyer and to pursue his mathematical and astronomical studies. He was later to invent the optical telegraph, subsequently perfected by Chappe.
22 November (1er Frimaire): In Paris, the Lycée républicain began a new academic year, the 17th since its foundation. And the teaching staff was some of France's best-known specialists, namely: Georges Cuvier (1769-1832) for natural history, Jean-Joseph Sue (1760-1830) for anatomy, Antoine-François de Fourcroy (1755-1809) for chemistry, Jean-François Delharpe, known as de La Harpe (1739-1803) for literature, Joseph-Marie de Gérando (1772-1842) for moral philosophy, Jacques-Guillaume Legrand (1743-1807) for architecture, Pierre-Roland-François Butet, known as Butet de la Sarthe (1769-1825) for experimental physics (although the latter was perhaps most famous for his studies on grammar). Officially, the academic year began on 22 November, 1801 (1er Frimaire, An X), ending on 17 August, 1802 (29 Thermidor, An X).
24 November (3 Frimaire): The first sitting of the Corps legislative: members of the public who attended included Mgr Spina, Archbishop of Corinth, Monsieur Lucchesini, ambassador for Prussia, and Lord Cornwallis.
6 December (15 Frimaire): At 2pm, the Tribunat opened discussions on the Code Civil.
The month of December 1801 was marked by Tribunat and Corps législatif criticisms of the Code civil, a pretext by which they registered their opposition to the Concordat. Indeed, the Tribunate went so far as to reject several entries in the code, something which led Bonaparte to 'cleanse' this “chambre bavarde” (house of chatterers).
12 December, 1801 (21 Frimaire): The journal Le Publiciste reported on the decisions taken by the Préfet of the Département de la Seine (approved by the Ministère de l'Intérieur), concerning the administrative regulations for the Paris 'Ecoles centrales':
“Every 'Ecole centrale' should have a conseil d'administration (board of governors) made up of a president, and two administrative officers chosen by the Préfet from amongst the teachers. The president's term of office is to last three years, that of the administrative officers, one. Their common duties will be to oversee the conservation of the school's scientific and artistic materials, and to inform the Préfet as to when repairs are necessary, both for the security and salubrity of the building. Maintenance of teaching standards is to be the duty of the President.”
The 'Ecoles centrales' were the secondary schools founded in France in 1795, which were soon to be replaced by the Lycées (law of 11 Floréal, An X – 1 May, 1802).
12 December (21 Frimaire): The ceremony of the Order of Saint Andrew was performed in Saint Petersburg, and amongst the celebrations there was a gala event presided over by the Tsar and his wife. Amongst the knights of the order accompanying the imperial couple in the castle chapel at the religious service, there were two foreign ministers, one from Sweden and one from Naples.
14 December (23 Frimaire): The departure of General Leclerc and his troops on a mission to restore order on the island of Santo Domingo and to bring down the government of General Toussaint-Louverture.
After the opening of the debate on 6 December, the Tribunat declared its strong opposition to the first articles of the Code Civil, in the sitting of 15 December (24 Frimaire).
Paris, 18 December (27 Frimaire): The director of an important London theatre wished to invite the great French actor Talma to come to play in England for a season, but Talma had refused. The Journal des Débats added: “and we think that he would do well not to accept for some years to come. When it is one's destiny to perform the masterpieces of Corneille and Racine, one must eschew Shakespeare and his burlesque…”
Journal des débats, 28 Frimaire
The Société de la Charité maternelle (The Mothers' Charitable Society) published excellent results for the end of 1801: “of the 42,686 Francs, which many different establishments and philanthropists have placed at the society's disposition, 38,500 have been, and will be distributed to three hundred families. As a result of this aid, the mothers in these families will be able to keep and feed their children at home. Of the total of 300, two hundred and fifty-eight women have already given birth and the Society is pleased to announce that it has lost only twenty-nine of these adopted children.”
Clef du Cabinet, 30 Frimaire
Monday 4 January (14 Nivôse): Louis Bonaparte, 3rd brother of Napoleon, married Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Josephine by her first marriage to Alexandre de Beauharnais, before Huguet de Montaran, mayor of the Ist arrondissement. Later, Louis and Hortense on one side, and Murat and Caroline on the other (whose civil marriage had taken place on 20 January, 1800), received a nuptial blessing from Cardinal Caprara. Seeing that his marriage was being organised by the First Consul rather quietly, Louis set about sending out invitations, which enfuriated Bonaparte: “Madame Bonaparte, mother, has the honour of inviting you to the marriage of her son, Chef de bataillon Louis Bonaparte, to Mademoiselle Hortense de Beauharnais. Paris, 13 Nivôse, An X. The couple are to dine at the Tuileries on the following day.”
5 January (15 Nivôse): Launch for a subscription to produce a new volume of La Ménagerie du Muséum d'Histoire naturelle “drawn from live animals and engraved by some of the best artists in In-folio format on fine paper and with the greatest care”. This new volume included a panther, a hyena, a brown bear and a “White nose, a type of large monkey”. The texts accompanying the engravings were by Lacépède.
7 January (15 Nivôse): An order in council (arrêté) created a squadron of 150 Mamluks, set under the orders of Chef de Brigade Rapp and formed from the Mamluks, Syrians and Copts who had been recruited from the Armée d'Orient.
8 January (15 Nivôse): The First Consul left for Lyons on 14 Nivôse in the evening. In November 1801, Bonaparte had decided to organise a meeting of the Députés of the Cisalpine Republic in order to reconsider the constitution.
24 January (4 Pluviôse): The Journal des débats published the following announcement: in conformity with the bill passed by the Consuls concerning the transfer of the Bibliothèque nationale, the literary/scientific societies and the artists who live in the Louvre may continue to live there until 21 April (1 Florial), the date on which repair work is due to start. The Sorbonne will continue to house a great number of artists selected by the government.
25 January (5 Pluviôse): Bonaparte was elected President of the Repubblica Italiana, the new title for the Repubblica Cisalpina due to come into force 26 January. Francesco Melzi d'Eril was appointed vice-president.
Melzi's brief was to make the republic into a modern state, whilst at the same time accomodating Murat and his troops stationed in Italy. Even though he was opposed to the creation of the monarchy in 1805, he was the first to be ennobled in the Kingdom of Italy, becoming the Duca di Lodi on 20 December, 1807. Limoged for a certain time, he returned to power and influence in 1809 when he acted as President of the Consiglio privato and the Consiglio dei ministri during the absence of the viceroy Eugène de Beauharnais. He died in Milan, 16 January 1816.
Ferdinando Marescalchi (1764-1816) was appointed Foreign Minister, a post which he was to continue to occupy when the republic became a kingdom in 1805.
The government of the Repubblica Italiana took office on 20 Pluviôse.
28 January (8 Pluviôse): creation of the Ecole spéciale militaire (Special Military School), an officer training academy
29 January (9 Pluviôse): the teachers at the Paris Ecole de peinture et de sculpture (Painting and Sculpture School) awarded two prizes:
– The Torse peint (painted torso) prize founded by Caylus,
– And the Tête d'expression (expressive head) prize founded by Latour.
The first was shared ex-aequo by Ingres, pupil of David's, and Thomassin, pupil of Vincent's. The second was won by Matte, sculptor.
Journal des débats, 11 Pluviôse, An X
After a short military career, Anne-Claude-Philippe de Tubières, Comte de Caylus (1692-1765), turned to engraving (engravings after Rubens, Van Dyck, Leonardo da Vinci, Watteau). Member of the Académie royale de peinture et sculpture in 1731, he was an important art patron of his time. Portrait and character painter, Louis Thomassin exhibited works in the Salon during the period 1796 to 1810. Pupil of Vien, François André Vincent (1746-1816) won the Premier prix for painting at the Ecole de l'Académie royale in 1767 (after having won second prize in 1766). After a stay in Italy, he entered the Académie royale de peinture in 1777, becoming professor there in 1792. He exhibited works at the Salon during the period 1777 to 1801 and was at the time considered a great artist. Pupil of Monot and Dejoux, Nicolas-Augustin Matte (1781-1837) won the Grand prix de Rome in 1807, and exhibited works at the Salon during the period 1810 to 1835.
31 January (11 Pluviôse): The First Consul returned to Paris.
In February 1802, the 'Richard et Lenoir' material manufactory, in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine in Paris, continued to grow and was at that time producing between 700 and 800 pieces of material every month. On the other hand, commerce in jewellery was slowing down, probably because of the post-Christmas lull: companies were forced to lay off workers.
Having left Brest on 14 December 1801 (23 Frimaire, An X), and having landed on Sainte-Domingue on 29 January, 1802 (9 Pluviôse, An X), general Victoire-Emmanuel Leclerc (1772-1802) launched his first attack on Toussaint-Louverture on 6 February 1802 (17 Pluviôse, An X).
9 May, 1801 (19 Florial, An IX): The Assemblée Constituante of Saint-Domingue (inaugurated 4 February, 1801), formed by general Pierre-Dominique Toussaint-Louverture (1743-1803), presented the text of the constitution to the general. The island was placed under an autonomous military dictatorship but remained a French colony in which they declared that 'slavery is abolished. Men who are born here live and die free Frenchmen' (Titre II, art. 3). Catholicism was declared the official religion (Title III, art. 6). The proclamation of the Consitution by Toussaint-Louverture on 3 July, 1801 (14 Messidor, An IX) was seen by France however as an affront to its authority and Bonaparte sent general Leclerc and some troops who landed on 29 January, 1802. In view of the fact that Toussaint-Louverture had been fighting against slavery and for self-rule for the island, the French declared him an outlaw on 17 February, 1802 and he was arrested on 7 June of the same year. Imprisoned in France (in the Jura region) and despite pleas for clemency, he died there on 7 April, 1803.
9 February, 1802 (20 Pluviôse, An X): The new government of the 'Repubblica Italiana' (name coined by Napoleon during the talks at Lyons) was installed in Milan: Melzi chose Prina as the first minister of finance.
Giuseppe Prina (1766-1814), extremely competent and a tireless worker, was to become a key figure in the 'Repubblica Italiana': he organised the financial administration along French lines, created a new currency, stablised the national debt, undertook a cadastral survey, etc. However, the continually mounting military expenses caused his downfall. Angry crowds revolted (spurred on by Prina's rivals) and he was murdered by the mob, in Milan, 20 April, 1814.
Founded on 24 February, 1801 (5 Ventôse, An IX), the Internat des hôpitaux de Paris was an independant medical school setting faculty exams which was open to all those who passed an exam. The aim of the school was to provide personnel for the “hospices” (19th-century name given to hospitals). On 10 February, 1802 (4 Ventôse, An X) the school set its first entrance exam: of the 64 candidates, 24 were appointed. The degree was four years long.
The month of February was marked by Carnival celebrations, which took place throughout Paris almost every day: on 13 February, 1802 (24 Pluviôse, An X), “the number of mascarades and disguises was considerable. This was particularly the case for the Boulevard du Temple and the Rue Saint-Antoine where whole crowds were wearing masks. Of particularly note was a carriage pulled by four horses in which there were masked figures representing the older orders: the nobility, the clergy and the 'tiers itat'. […] That evening the guinguettes (open-air cafés), cabarets, cafés and shows were full to bursting with people. […] There were two balls, one at the Veillie near to the Palais de justice and the other at the Hôtel de Longueville.”
(Report of the Préfecture de police of 26 Pluviôse, An X).
A bill of 12 February, 1802 (23 Pluviôse, An X), created the Ecoles pratiques des mines in the Départements of the Sarre (more or less equal to the present-day Saar region of Germany) and of Mont-Blanc (Haute-Savoie): “In the former school, they will teach the art of mining iron ore and coal, whilst at the same time dealing with every aspect concerning the preparations which can be made from mineral substances. In the latter, students will be taught everything related to the mining of lead, copper, silver, and sulphates. Teaching will be offered by three professors, one of whom will be in charge of teaching the practical science of exploitation, the second will give courses on the art of mechanics and all its applications with respect to mining work, and the third will teach the principles of chemistry and physics required by mineralogists.” The director and professors were appointed by the First Consul upon presentation by the Minister of the Interior.
It was only in 1810 that mining became subject to a law (21 April) which defined three categories of mine (open cast, gravel and earth pits, mines with tunnels, etc.) and the governing concessions and mine management. In November 1810 a Corps impérial des Mines was founded, made up of engineers and 'inspecteurs généraux'.
15 February, 1802 (26 Pluviôse, An X): The mortal remains of Pius VI were returned to Rome. His opposition to the French Revolution was symbolised by his condemnation of the 'Constitution civile du clergé' of 1791. After the loss of the Venetian territory and Avignon in 1791, then loss of the new territories with the signature of the Treaty of Tolentino (1797), The pontiff was to witness the arrival in Rome of the French army, under Berthier, on 10 February, 1798. Thus deposed as a temporal sovereign, Pius VI was kept prisoner in various Italian and later French towns. He died in Valence, 29 August, 1799.
18 February, 1802 (29 Pluviôse, An X): The Gazette nationale announced that the prefect of the Dipartement de la Seine Infirieure (today Seine-Maritime) had decided to send two young shpeherds, who both could read and write, to veterinary school in Alfort. Founded in 1766, this school was the principal place of education for vets in the northern half of France. Another school, in Lyons, was for student vets from the southern half of France. Most of the vets educated in these school were military vets.
In Paris there existed a Sociiti des amis des arts (a society of friends of the arts) which had created a fund (through the participation of founders and share holders) in order to support artists and to promote art by buying paintings, sketches and sculptures by contemporary French artists: “Every year, on 30 Prairial, these items were divided up amonst the share holders on the basis of one item for ten shares.”
Gazette nationale, 30 Pluviôse, An X
“Polyglotie”, a project for the learning of living foreign languages:
“The aim of this establishment is for children to learn to speak and pronounce well several languages without difficulty at a time in childhood which is usually wasted. […] In Russia, the children of foreigners, from an early age, speak four languages with equal ease. German, English, Italian and French, since they are the most useful, will be the languages principally taught in these establishments. Children of all ages will be accepted; but those from three to six will be preferred since it is at this age that the organs are most favourable. Since this institution requires large fees, we propose a subscription for six months in advance, to be deposited at the same notary who runs the fund. Price for the year, from 3 to 6 years, 400 fr.; from 6 to 9, 550 fr.; from 9 to 12, 700 fr.; from 12 to 16, 900 fr.”
Gazette nationale, 3 Ventôse, An X
26 February, 1802 (7 Ventôse,An X): Victor Hugo was born in Besangon.
26 February, 1802 (7 Ventôse, An X): A new Constitution was promulgated in Switzerland, on the initiative of Reding. Alois Reding (1765-1818), Swiss politician, began his career as a soldier in the Spanish army fighting against the French Revolutionary Armées. The years 1797-1803 were difficult for the Swiss Confederation. The influx of Revolutionary ideas, successive coups d'etat by unitarians and federalists, attempts to create a Republican government, and the complex diplomatic and military situation in Europe all took their toll on Swiss political life. Indeed Switzerland was highly sought after and consequently fought over by the Armées of the coalitions and the French Revolutionary army. Unable to work together, the federalists and unitarians asked First Consul Bonaparte to arbitrate for them and to help them to lay the foundation of the République helvètique proclaimed on 12 April, 1798. The 'Constitution de Malmaison', signed in May 1801 did not stop the conflict, however. Although approached several times thereafter, Bonaparte remained indifferent, and Reding decided to proclaim a new consitution in February 1802: but this had no more success than that of 1801. In fact, 1802 was to be another year of sterile political debate and popular revolt.
Calm was not restored until the Constitution of 1803, or Acte de Médiation, which sounded the death knell for the republic and marked a return to a federal organisation based on 19 cantons.
P. Hicks and I. Delage – February 2001, published online April 2007.
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