Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Decree by Eugène Napoleon (de Beauharnais) in the Kingdom of Italy - 1806

I was picking up an antique chest of drawers that Mrs.Goose had found in an old antique shop on the outskirts of Prague. Whilst I was waiting for the chest to be covered for moving I noticed the old print above hanging in the corner. I asked the owner how he came by it and if it was for sale. He said his partner picks up curios in Northern Italy and this was something he's brought back. It had been hanging there for a few years and little interest shown. So I took it off his hands for 40 Euros, and now it's hanging above the desk.
I'm sure I got a good bargain as it is what I suspected it to be, an Official Imperial Decree from 1806, issued by Eugène de Beauharnais in Milan, as Viceroy of the kingdom of Italy. 
Perhaps there were thousands of these things nailed to notice boards in Northern Italy, and are still sitting in drawers all over the place. Needless to say, I'm happy with my little piece of Napoleonic History, and particulalry as Eugène de Beauharnais was a fairly decent chap (notwithstanding the punishments he listed in the decree).
I managed to read through and write down all the content of the decree, which I've been told is in slightly dated Italian. The subject of the Decree is the demand of the draft of troops from the years 1803, 1804, 1805, and 1806. The decree was issued in August 1806.

Napoleon was obviously anticipating (or planning...) that war would break out and was rapidly mobilising the draft for four years in Italy. Two months later Prussia declared war on France, and thus began the war of the Fourth Coalition. 

If you look at the translation you'll see what must have been fairly hefty financial sanctions for the families of draftees who failed to turn up  at barracks. It can be easily summed up: "by the grace of god and the constituion, give me your sons our give me your money..."

The decree certainly gives you a taste of just how our Corsican friend managed to raise all those armies, and how he was probably little grieved-after in many countries following his fall. 

So the text in English below,  followed by the original in Italian:

The translation of the text into (what I hope is correct) English is as follows:


By the grace of God and the Constitutions of the French Emperor and King of Italy:

EUGENE NAPOLEON of France, Vice-King of Italy, Prince of Venice, archchancellor French Empire State, to all those who see the present health.

We, by virtue of 'which has been delegated authority from' Almighty and most August Emperor and King Napoleon I, Our Father honored and gracious Sovereign, we have decreed and ordained as follows:

Article 1. The old departments of Regua will make in the space of sixty days, counting from the publication of this decree, the draft must for the years 1803, 1804, 1805, and 1806.

2. The prefects are responsible for any fees and full compliance with the Whole previous article.

3. The fathers of the conscripts who were to be "refrattarj" (deserters?) to this decree, and in the absence of their fathers, their guardians will be required to pay in the public Treasury, and in the hands of the receiver of contributions of their Municipality or County, a fine of six hundred lire.

4. The fine will be paid in the month following after the sixty days granted by this Decree. Payment of the fine will not be able to deduct the "refrattarj" (deserter?), if they are later arrested for any of the penalties handed down against them under the old Act.

5. The receiver will require contributions of those fines with the same rights and duties allocated to them for the collection of regular contributions.

6. Gl 'conscription of individuals belonging to the year 1803, 1804.1805, and 1806 which have already been exempted for any cause whatever, will be subject to reconsideration.

7. This examination will be done in any place of Chief Prefecture by a commission composed by the Prefect of the Department, Captain of the Gendarmerie, a line officer in activity, by a physician and a surgeon appointed by the Prefect.

8. The Prefect will not be able to neglect in any case to preside over the operations of the Commission instituted colleagues' previous article.

9. The Ministers of Interior and the War are responsible, in ciascunno what it is concerned, the implementation of this Decree will be published and inserted in the Bulletin of the laws.

Since August 4, 1806 in Monza them.

Eugene Napoleon.
For the Vice-King;
The Board Secretary of State
L. Vaccari

Milan, the Royal Printing House [price money 2]

In the Italian original:


Per la grazia di Dio e per le Costituzioni, Imperatore de'Francesi e Re d'Italia:

EUGENIO NAPOLEONE di Francia, Vice-Re d'Italia, Principe di Venezia, Arcicancelliere di Stato dell'Impero Francese, a tutti quelli che vedranno le presenti, salute.

Noi, in virtu dell' autorita che Ci e stata delegata dall' Altissimo ed Augustissimo Imperatore e Re NAPOLEONE I, Nostro onoratissimo Padre e grazioso Sovrano, abbiamo decretato ed ordinato quanto segue:

Art. 1. Gli antichi dipartimenti del regua compiranno nello spazio di sessanta giorni, a contare dalla pubblicazione del presente decreto, quanto debbono per coscrizione degli anni 1803, 1804, 1805, e 1806.

2. I prefetti sono risponsabili dell intiera  e piena esecuzione dell articolo precedente.

3. I padri dei coscritti che fossero per essere refrattarj al presente decreto, ed in mancanza de loro padri, i loro tutori o curatori saranno tenuti a versare nel Tesoro publico, e nelle mani del Ricevitore delle contribuzioni del loro Comune o Cantone, una multa di seicento lire.

4. La multa sara pagata nel mese succesivo dopo i sessanta giorni concessi dal presente Decreto. Il pagamento della multa non potra sottrarre i refrattarj, se sono posteriormente arrestati, ad alcuna delle pene contro di loro pronunciate dalle Leggi precedenti.

5. I I Ricevitori delle contribuzioni esigeranno le dette multe coi medesimi diritti e doveri che sono loro attribuiti per l'esazione delle contribuzioni ordinarie.

6. Gl' individui appartenenti alle coscrizioni degli anni 1803, 1804,1805, e 1806 che ne siano gia stati esentati per qualunque siasi causa, saranno sottoposti ad un nuovo esame.

7. Questo esame sara fatto in ogni Capo-luogo di Prefettura da una Commissione composta dal Prefetto del Dipartimento, dal Capitano della Gendarmeria, da un Ufficiale di linea in attivita, , da un Medico e da un Chirurgo nominati dal Prefetto.

8. Il Prefetto non potra dispensarsi in nessun caso dal presiedere alle operazioni della Commissione instituita coll' articolo precedente.

9. I Ministri dell'Interno e della Guerra sono incaricati, ciascunno in cio che lo concerne, dell'esecuzione del presente Decreto che sara pubblicato ed inserito nel Bollettino del Leggi.

Dato in Monza li 4 agosto 1806.

Eugenio Napoleone.
Per il Vice-Re;
I Consigliere Segretario di Stato,
L. Vaccari

Milano, della Reale Stamperia [ prezzo soldi 2 ]

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a great find! Your own little piece of Napoleonic history!