The representations of Cardinal Caprara changed Napoleon’s first intention of being again crowned by the Pope as a King of Italy. His crafty Eminence observed that, according to the Emperor’s own declaration, it was not intended that the crowns of France and Italy should continue united. But were he to cede one supremacy confirmed by the sacred hands of a pontiff, the partisans of the Bourbons, or the factions in France, would then take advantage to diminish in the opinion of the people his right and the sacredness of His Holiness, and perhaps make even the crown of the French Empire unstable. He did not deny that Charlemagne was crowned by a pontiff in Italy, but this ceremony was performed at Rome, where that Prince was proclaimed an Emperor of the Holy Roman and German Empires, as well as a King of Lombardy and Italy. Might not circumstances turn out so favourably for Napoleon the First that he also might be inaugurated an Emperor of the Germans as well as of the French? This last compliment, or prophecy, as Bonaparte’s courtiers call it (what a prophet a Caprara!), had the desired effect, as it flattered equally Napoleon’s ambition and vanity. For fear, however, of Talleyrand and other anti-Catholic counsellors, who wanted him to consider the Pope merely as his first almoner, and to treat him as all other persons of his household, His Eminence sent His Holiness as soon as possible packing for Rome. Though I am neither a cardinal nor a prophet, should you and I live twenty years longer, and the other Continental Sovereigns not alter their present incomprehensible conduct, I can, without any risk, predict that we shall see Rome salute the second Charlemagne an Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, if before that time death does not put a period to his encroachments and gigantic plans.
Paris, August, 1805.
My lord:—No Sovereigns have, since the Revolution, displayed more grandeur of soul, and evinced more firmness of character, than the present King and Queen of Naples. Encompassed by a revolutionary volcano more dangerous than the physical one, though disturbed at home and defeated abroad, they have neither been disgraced nor dishonoured. They have, indeed, with all other Italian Princes, suffered territorial and pecuniary losses; but these were not yielded through cowardice or treachery, but enforced by an absolute necessity, the consequence of the desertion or inefficacy of allies.