During Corsica’s War for Independence, Letizia Romalino-Buonaparté (carrying Napoleon in her womb) proclaimed: "Bullets whistled past my ears, but I trusted in the protection of the Virgin Mary, to whom I had consecrated my unborn child…."
Her husband-Carlo’s brother, Napoléoné Buonaparté [whom she would name her newborn son after] was killed in the Battle of Ponte Novo, as a Corsican martyred-patriot.
CRONIN writes: "August 15 is the Feast of the Assumption, and Letizia (with her devotion to the Virgin Mary) insisted upon going to the Cathedral for High Mass. When Mass had begun, she felt the first signs of labor." Before she could reach the first floor apartment she gave birth to a son still within its caul/veil. "Later that day, a priest came from the cathedral to baptize the boy….
Napoléoné had a generous nature; and would share his toys and sweets with other children without asking for anything in return…" Letizia saw to it (in Corsican fashion) that he bathed daily…"
At he age of five, he was sent to a mixed day-school run by Nuns….Later he went to a boys day-school run by Fr. Recco. Napoléoné was especially adept in mathematics. He learned that "honor is more important than money, fidelity than self-indulgence, courage than anything else…"and a keen sense of justice was inbred into him!…"Letizia upon hearing startling news, would cross herself very quickly and murmur ‘Gesu’…a habit her son picked-up!"
When Napoléoné was 9, with his uncle Guiseppe Fesche, along with his older brother, Joseph, these three [together] would be sent to college in Autun (Aix-de- Provence) under the protection of Letizia’s cousin, the subdeacon of Autun Cathedral, the Abbé Varese, to study the French language and culture together, until Napoléoné’s application for Military school would come through. Thereupon, before going off to military school, Letizia had him and his brother Joseph (who would study for the priesthood) blessed by the Father Superior of the Lazarist priesthood (of which the diocese of Ajaccio’s Archdeacon was his father Carlo’s brother, Luciano Buonaparté [his uncle])in December 1778….The Archbishop of Lyon was the step-uncle of his mother Letizia, being the uncle to her half-brother, Guiseppe Fesch….When, as young lieutenent on leave at age 16, he returned to Corsica, he not only brought with him a trunk-load of classical books; but, also the desire to write down the history of Corsica, organized a "Corsican National Guard" and began his task of replacing French municipal personnel in Ajaccio with Corsicans! Where his late father Carlo had a small terrace, he built a small "summer-house" for himself, where he could study in solitude and peace. He took full charge of the Buonaparté household; and made sure the family received the missing dues for the harvests and unpaid promisary notes. Little Lucien wanted to be a Priest and Joseph needed money to continue his law studies.
For the past three years, Napoléoné spent more time with his family in Corsica, than with his regiment in France. The French ultra-Royalists accused him of being a Jacobite inciting a Corsican "rebellion" against France! He was ordered back….Napoléoné did what little he could possibly do. He left Joseph in charge, who was studying law at Pisa now [instead of the Seminary]; and returned to his regiment at Auxunne….
Background, From the pen of Ghjuvan Filipu Antolini:
Forced into exile after the defeat of Ponte Novu (marking the bloody end of the Independence of Corsica) Pasquale de’Paoli will be celebrated throughout Europe and is received by the King of England as "head of state" that he surely was.
In 1776, the United States of America declared their Independence. In 1787, Americans produced their "Constitution".
Some do not hesitate to say America was inspired by Pasquale de’ Paoli. In any case, Paoli was then known and celebrated in the U.S. (paying him homage) as "a freedom fighter". [Several cities are set up bearing his name (and still exist today).]
Napolèon supported the original Constitutional Monarchy instituted by Louis XVI.
Marbeuf had a "crush" on Napoléoné’s mother and promised her many things. He was welcomed into the Buonaparté Family home. (In the entrance-way is seen a dedication to him!…although Marbeuf, in reality, was not that good to Corsica at all.) In September 1784 MARBEUF died.
Now Corsica was handled by "THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE"! Bureaucrats moved-in; France was on the brink of Bankruptcy…subsequently, the bureaucrats refused to pay Letizia Buonoparté on the use of her groves and facilities. Letizia found herself now in a bad financial situation now that Marbeuf was no longer around. The cost of living rose extremely. Corn inflated to twice what it was in 1771, by 1784. Napoléoné sought justice. He went to Paris in the Fall of 1787 to see the CONTROLLER GENERAL. He had honest figures explaining the amount the French government owed the Buonoparté Family…but added that no sum "could ever compensate for the kind of debasement a man experiences when he is made aware at every moment of his subjection."
Still, THE MINISTERY did not pay Letizia her due monies….and did not recede the ODONE property taken from the BUONAPARTé’s…because one of those bureaucratic officials, a Msr. SIOVIRIS wanted the property for himself! Napoléoné took action.. He wrote to the REGISTRAR of the CORSICAN STATES-GENERAL, Laurent Giubega (his own god-father). Napoléné protested strongly concerning unerergetic tribunals and officers….where the final decision lay in the hands of one man, "a stranger not only to our language and habits but also to our legal systen (instituted by Pasquale Paoli)….very envious of the luxury he has seen on the CONTINENT; and ofcourse, which his salary would not allow him to attain." Still, Napoléoné’s letter had No Effect! These injustices, particularly to his mother, totally changed Napoléoné’s attitude to the French in Corsica. He completely understood Paoli’s weary position. Formerly, Napoléoné accepted the French as beneficial; NOW HE SAW IT AS A OPPRESSIVE: THE FRENCH RULE IN CORSICA WAS TOTAL INJUSTICE, particularly due to the new French System. That FRENCH RULE, he decided, MUST BE ENDED AND CORSICA again be a Free Nation.
Napoléoné writes: "The present position of my country [meaning CORSICA], and the powerlessness of changing it, is a new reason for fleeing this land where duty obliges me to praise men whom virtue obliges me to hate." It took two years for Napoléoné to figure out what had to be done: Napoléoné was to write a book. He would write a "History of Corsica", to arose the world’s feelings of humanity;…and once they knew the facts humanity would demand freedom for Corsica.
Napoléoné made Paoli his central figure; but much of his attention was focused also on the other freedom-fighters against the Genoavese, as Guglielno and Sampiero. Unfortunately, this book was never completed; but, the several chapters completed and written by him, made the distictive point that Corsica would have escaped subjection if only they they had built a strong navy. Napoléonè believed, still, that Corsica must be freed "by a strong and just man".
In late October, in Paris, he had the unfortunate experience of "engaging a lewed woman" which so repulsed him, and turned him back to the beauties and richness of Corsican culture. He was granted "a leave of absense" for the Advent and Christmas holidays.
In 1789, the French Revolution broke out with their own ideas of democracy and freedom; and when the French Revolution began in Paris, Napoléoné viewed it from the prospective of an on-looker, rather than a "French-citizen" [which technically he was]….He was abhored by the mob; but appreciated the love of liberty and self-esteem. Corsica never had the class distinctions of feudal Continental Europe; so, these affairs seemed distant. His thoughts could only run now to where his country "Corsica" would now stand, now that the Bourbon Monarchy had fallen in France. Napoleoné was skeptical to accept the new French rulers. This was reinforced by the fact that the newer French government reversed the promises given to the Buonapartè Family by the Constitutional Monarchy and Marbeuf.
Corsica had sent two deputy-representatives to the "States-Generale" and Napoléoné dearly hoped this would end the occupation of the "Royal-Commissioners" in Corsica. Napoléoné wanted to command the Local Militia; and Joseph desired to be an elected-official deputy! He truly had hopes now of fulfilling Paoli’s dream of a free and independent nation of Corsica.
In Dec. 1789 the newly formed the "Constuent Assembly" in France declared that Corsica was no longer just a possession but a full fledged "Department of the Country of France. Napoléoné was saddened, and ordered his mother Letizia to hoist up banners: "Viva la Nationé; Viva Paoli"….
It was therefore logical that Paoli was received well, in triumph, by the Paris Convention, after a long winded speech by the young Napoléoné Buonaparté. The Marquis de Lafayette served Paoli well as a guide to Paris. Pasquale Paoli to Napoléoné: "There is nothing modern about you: You are a character out of Plutarch." So, Paoli was invited back by the DIRECTOIRE, to become the miltary Governeur of Corsica and appointed head of the Corsican National Guard and President of the General Council. Joseph received his dream; and was chosen as one of the three delegates to receive Paoli ! When Paoli returned from British exile, Paoli greeted Joseph like a long-lost son; and presented Joseph with a portrait of Paoli (that his father Carlo drew of him on the back of a playing-card) when Carlo was his First Secretary. Letizia treasured this.
From 1789-1791, Paoli only wished to preserve good relations on the Island with the French Government.
Paoli was 64 years of age; and Letizia in her mid-thirties believed Paoli was making unwarrented advances toward her! Things got very mixed-up…with Paoli believing that Napoléoné was rejecting his authority….Nothing could have been further from the truth; as Napoléoné adored Pasquale Paoli.
Napolèoné believed a HIGHER VENGEANCE at work; that over all human affairs there broods a DIVINE regulative JUSTICE! In the reforms Napoléoné wished accomplished, he saw the tragic fate of those he envisages for the reformation….BUONAPARTé wrote a 40 page essay, of which he submitted for a prize of 1200 livres offered by THE ACADEMY OF LYON in answer to the QUESTION: "What are the Most Important Truths and feelings to instill into men for their happiness?"
Napoléoné began with an epigraph: "Morality will exist when governments are free" [echoing Raynal’s "Good morals depend upon good government"]. Napoléoné writes: "Man is born to be happy: Nature, an enlightened mother, has endowed him with all the organs necessary to this end. So, happiness is the enjoyment of Life in the way most suitable to man’s constitution.And every man is born with a right to that part of the fruits of the earth necessary for subsitence. Paoliìs chief merit lies in having assured this."
On ‘feeling’, Napoléoné says that man experiences his most exquisite pleasure when he is alone at nightfall, meditating on Nature’s Origin; and such sentiments would be man’s most precious of gifts, among which also must be included as, LOVE OF COUNTRY, LOVE OF WIFE, and "DIVINE FRIENDSHIP". He writes: "A wife and children! A father and a mother, brothers and sisters, a friend! yet, surprisingly, some people find fault with nature, and ask why they were ever born!…. Feelings make us love what is beautiful and just; but, they also make us rebel against tyranny and evil. It is the second aspect we must try to develop and protect from perversion. The good legislator must therefore, guide feeling by reason. At the same time, he must permit complete and absolute frredom of thought, and freedom to speak and write (except where this would endanger/DAMAGE the social order. Tenderness, for instance, must not degenerate into flabbiness….It is reason which distinguishes genuine feeling from VIOLENT Passion, reason that keeps society going, reason that develops a natural feeling and makes it great: To LOVE one’s country is an elementary feeling; BUT to love it above everything else is the ‘love of beauty in all its energy, the pleasure of HELPING TO MAKE A WHOLE NATION happy’….But there is a perverted kind of PATRIOTISM, engendered by ambition." Napoléoné denounces this fanatical ambition, "with its pale complexion, wild-eyes, hurried footsteps, jerky jestures and sardonic laugh."….Napoleon repeastedly comments in his notebook "To what lengths can a man be driven by his passion for fame!" Napoléoné contrasts the ambitious egoist with the genuine PATRIOT: the man who lives in order to HELP OTHERS. Through courage and manly strength, the patriot attains true happiness. To live happilly and to work for others’ happiness is the only religion of God. He says, what pleasure there is to die surrounded by one’s children and be able to say, "I have insured the happiness of a hundred families: I have had a hard life; but the State will benefit from it. Through it, my fellow citizens live calmly; through my perplexities, they are made happy, and, through my sorrows, they are joyous."
SUMS IT THUS: "This was the essay written by Second Lieutenant Buonaparté in his cramped billet in Auxonne(Auçun) between parades and sentry duty…The patriot is clearly Napoléoné himself. His aim in life is to work for others’ happiness….he sees himself as a member of a greater community, working for "a hundred famiies"…and he is not now a soldier; but a civilian.Napoléoné, on 12 June 1789, wrote to General Pasquale Paoli: "I am still young, and maybe rash to undertake this: but I shall be upheld by my love of thruth, of my country and my compatriots, and by the enthusiasm I never cease to derive from the prospect of an improvement of our state…."
Napoléoné, who never ceased admiring Paoli, had early in 1791 requested of Pasoli to provide him with documents, in order that he could fulfill his dream of writing the true history of Corsica. …But the misunderstanding esculated to the point where Paoli issued a legal warrant to have Napoléoné summoned to his "court"! Napoléoné and some others of his "militia" thought it was a warrant for his arrest and inprisonment…which ofcourse it was not (as all Paoli wanted to do was speak and question Napoléoné); but, this was enough to send Napoléoné and his 12 year-old brother Luigi (now known as Louis) fleeing Corsica, to Provence. Napoléoné was transferred back to Valance. Dying, great-uncle Lucciano, the Archdeacon, said to Joseph: "You may be the eldest; but mark my words, your brother Napoléoné will be head of the Buonaparté family." To Napoléoné he said, "Tu poi, Napoléoné, serai un omone;" and told him to keep an eye on Lucien…to be weary of him. In October 1791, Archdeacon Lucciano died, Guiseppi Fesch took his uncle’s archdeaconite position at Ajaccio. Letizia feared Paoli and was confused to what a good Corsican patriotess should do…the French or the English! Three months later, Napoléoné was appointed Adjuntant Major of the "Corsican-Volunteers". The minister of War in Paris granted it to him! He considered resigning from the French Army, and make Corsica his career…for the cause of Life And Liberty!
Robespiere, with his "new edict of Nantes", declared war on the Roman Church by the oath required of priests November 27, 1790 the day after Christmas Federation. Its adapted declaration , stifled religious consciences, and compelled religious-opposition, in declaring war on the Roman Church, by the oath required of priests 27 November 1790 the day after Christmas Federation.
"This meeting will, in earnest, bring bishops, priests, vicars, to swear to the constitution within a week, otherwise they will be deemed to have waived their office. The mayor is held eight days later to denounce the lack of swearing. And those who, on oath, to fail, would be cited in district court and those who refused to interfere in their former office, prosecuted as disturbers." It is the creation of "the constitutional church", the priests philosophers who confuse law and morality, the sworn priests who turn away from the Pope, to stand up against him. The fanaticism of refractory priests transform this into a heretical schism, especially in the West, Brittany and Vendée.
In San Francesco a delegation of faithful Corsicans petitioned a stay of the Orders from Saliceti. It was JOSEPH Buonaparté who ordered them home! When Napoléoné heard about this, he was angered and upset. (It is told that Paoli told Napoléoné: "go forth and be the successor of Alexander.") Napoléoné was a second lieutenant in the Artllery. Two lieutenant-colonels were to be elected for each batallion. One candidate, Quenza, qas also favored of Paoli. Napoléoné kept "open-house" for his Volunteers. He was very impressed that one decided to stay at his home. The election came the next day, at the Church in San Francesco. Matteo Pozzo di Borgo entered in like a Malfia bully with arms; and Naopoléoné’s followers marked him down openly with shouts and dragged him from the platform; And against the French law, Napoléoné got himself elected "lieutenant-colonel" with his Corsican Militia along with Quenza.
Joseph Buonaparte sent the company of Volunteers to Ajaccio. On 02 April 1792 they were formerly inspected by the French garrison official, Colonel Maillard. Maillard insisted that only a quarter of the Volunteers [Napoléoné included] could stay in Ajaccio, the rest, under Rossi would have to go into the interior. The "Ajaccienne division" would be given barracks just outside of Ajaccio’s walls. Son fighting broke-out between the Volunteers and the Ajaccio mariners. Many families fled the city and took ship for Italian ports.
Easter Sunday, the non-jurying priests offered Mass at the Convent of San Francesco. On 09 April, the Faithful made a Procession. 17:00 hours in the evening. Violance broke out again between the sailers and the Volunteers. One of Napoléoné’s lieutenants, Rocco-Serra, was murdered beside him. Napoléoné with some others ran through the Ternano mansion to escape…right aside the Cathedral Square…where the seminarians sheltered them. He tried to go to and explain to Colonel Maillard. But Maillard refused Napoléné’s admittance to his residential-governing house in Ajaccio, The Volunteers needed to be within the cidadel for their safety. Napoléoné relentlessly pleaded with Maillard; but said only the King’s orders could permit that!.
Maillard refused to give Napoléoné and Quenza municians they so badly needed. The next day some unruly Jacobeans, accused of being among The Volunteers of Napoléoné, killed Abbé Santo Peraldi, a widow and a young girl, 13 years-old. The Abbé’s father, Mario Battista Peraldi, with some parishoners, attacked the Seminary. The Volunteers counter-attacked and had to occupy the local houses. The ancient Church of the Jesuits was stormed. . The townsfolk blamed Napoléoné for causing a riot. The French Governor Maillard said that he would attack and destroy the Volunteers if they did not withdraw immediately!
Both Napoléone and Quenza were "men of religion"; and were well known to Abbé Coti, the Procurator Syndic of the District of Ajaccio. Abbé Coti, acted on his own Authority, knowing Napolèoné….Maiallard finally agreed to make peace with the Volunteers. Napoléoné that night had attacked the Benelli mansion; so on 10 April, in the meeting with Quenza, Napoléoné, some other officers and Maillard, there was drawn-up an armistace….But the armistance was not being obeyed! There was a break-ot of violence again over a water-fountain. Napoléoné saw these French troops, and Maillard who led them, as disreputable bullies and is believed to have organized an insurrection against Maillard. On the 11th, Maillard reversed his armistace and gave the Municipality cannons to fight the Volunteers.
The French government sent two commisioners, Cesari and Bartolemeo Arrighi to Ajaccio. Meeting them ahead in Bocognano, Napoléoné gave them the true story. Paoli himself gave Napoléoné and Quenza the right of arms to bring-down the violence in the city of Ajaccio! On 16 April, Cesari and Arrighi entered Ajaccio. The Commissioners sent Quenza to Corté; despite Napoléoné’s pleas; but his brother Joseph interceded against his brother’s wishes, and Napoléoné had to give way. There was no "cuccagna"! Abbé Coti was threatened with suspension of his position and called to Corté. In Paris, Pozo and Peraldi spoke-up against Napoléoné and Paoli. Carlo Andrea Pozzo was made in Paris one of the Four Commissioners of War! It became increasingly plain, that Pasquale Paoli was the one sure center of Corsica: and the only one who could guarantee Corsica’s security. Saliceti deplored Paoli, seeking his "power". When Napoléoné came to Corté with his batallion in May, he immediately sought out Paoli. He proposed a new batallion under his command on 13 May. Joseph told Napoléoné: "It seems to me, that your most prudent course of action would be to leave the island immediately and return to France." Letizia and Joseph convinced Napoléoné to go to Paris to defend himself and Paoli. Napoléone told his brother Joseph on 29 May 1792: "Keep on close terms with General Paoli. He is everything, and can do everything. He will be all important in a future that no one in the world can predict…."
Napoléoné was sickened by what he saw in Paris; recognizing Robespierre and "the Committe for Public Safey" as the vermin they were. Soon came the revelation of the Royal family fleeing justice….and three months after the flight of Varennnes , Napoléoné defended Paoli, finally, at the French Consul despite all that ocurred…as he loved "Il Babbu", when the French wanted to remove and behead Paoli! Napoléoné was granted leave to return to his Corsican family and meet with the old General!
His sister, Maria-Anna was at St Cyr: the aristocratic convent school where her name became Elisa. The Invading Prussian Army were raping and murdering in the wild unruly atmosphere of Paris. The prisons were broken into by them; and they butchered 14,000 prisoners by September! The Revolutionaries tried to stop Napoléoné and Elisa …only thing stopping them from being slaughtered was he and his sister’s Corsican tongue, his uniform and his Corsican passport. They made it back to Ajaccio.
Napoleon despised Robespierre, was very fearful of the The "Commitee of Public Safety". He loved the ringing of Church bells; and said that he firmly believed that only religion could answer man’s thirst for perfect justice….
Napoléoné was reinstated, and Letizia wrote Louis XVI a letter of thanks…one of the last letters of correspondence sent to the great constitutional-Bourbon King! At this time, Robespierre had supressed all regious Orders. in two weeks time, by August, the Tuilleries were attacked; and then began the mass public executions! The Royal Family had been imprisoned in the Temple!
Napoléoné condemned the beheading of the Royal family, therefore by 1793, came "the severe rupture".Pasquale Paoli understands that the revolution is falling into the errors of terror, and turns away from France…after a confirmed meeting with General Napoléoné Buonaparté…who was highly critical of "the Commitee for Public Safety" and the Directory of Robespierre!
"The federalism discordant sects vanished in unity, indivisibility of Reason>>.When King Louis XVI was executed, Pasquale Paoli said to Lucien Buonaparté: "The wretches have guillotined their King: the best of men, a Saint! No Corsican wants anything to do with them [the Robespierreists]…shame on anyone who side with the brigands!"
It was LUCIEN [not Napoléoné] who made accusations against Paoli in the Toulon Revolutionaries Club. "The Convention" orderered Paoli’s arrest….Thus these advents fulfiled the old Archdeacon Luciano’s prophecy concering young Lucien…..
On 11 July 1793, they all finally were enabled to rondevous together out of Ajaccio with the French vessel commadered by Napoléoné; and they sailed for Toulon. They landed in two days time. Napoléon [removing the "é" from his Christian name, and the "u" and accent of his surname] landed with his family in Toulon, 14 July 1793. France had as its new Government "The Commitee of Public Safety" ( a Commitee of 12 likened to the 12 Apostles!)
…the whole clan and the Fesch’s…into the scheming arms of Lucien, who felt no remorse….
On 16 November 1793, the Convention says Catholicism is "deprived of public worship>>. The most concrete consequences of this, lie in the confiscation of Church property. "In principle all buildings used for worship and housing of his ministers should serve as an asylum for the poor and establishment for public instruction>>. Thus began a process of dispossession of all Church properties!!!
Just after this, the British win control of Corsica.Paoli despised the French, was afraid of his own head be taken…And although having no great love for the English, Paoli hoped that the English would grant Corsica the liberty and freedom of State that France was denying Corsica…as he made a few prominent English "friends" to Corsica’s "cause"….But little hope, commitment and no money was coming from the English Government; and from his so-called "friends", came but a few British pounds Sterling. Napoléon opposed Robespierre: Napoléon pluckedthe Convention on Freedom of Worship, on 21 November 1793, hoping to calm the spirits of the nation, and restore sanity to the "state"!.
Paradoxically, Napoléon intended to induce the clergy to respect "the powers of the state", Catholicism, still widely popular, especially for the needs of the masses, finally re-appears as an Institution that qualifies for renewal. The Church of the Papacy is decisively right; and Napoléon seeks to reestablish its full presence in France. In August of 1794, Napoléon was involved with the fall of the Robespierrists; and for his part in overthrowing Robespierre and "The "Commitee of Public Safety", he was arrested. He was imprisoned near ANTIBES. Saliceti played a part in his imprisonment….and wished Napoléon to be guillotined!
A French naval squadron had appeared in Ajaccio, and Paoli decides to abdicate his power, as he [General Paoli]will not serve under England’s [Sir Eliot’s] incompetant Governorship and cruelty, anyway. Paoli abdicated his power…and is exiled to London, for fear that "the Commitee for Public Safety" & France’s First Consul would have his head as well!! Paoli resides in London under the hope that someday his ideals will see the free light of a republic of Corsica and the Western would would follow suit in return…He hoped that if General Bonaparte finally achieved high enough position that he would keep his desired promise of freeing Corsica…BUT the Directory of France (while Napoléon was in Egypt) had other ideas….