Treaty of Fontainebleau (1814)

Treaty of Fontainebleau (1814)

The Treaty of Fontainebleau was an agreement established in Paris (Fontainebleau) on April 11, 1814 between Napoleon Bonaparte and representatives from Austria, Hungary and Bohemia, Russia, and Prussia.


The agreement contained a total of twenty-one articles. Based on the most significant terms of the accord, Napoleon was stripped of his powers as ruler of the French Empire, but both Napoleon and Marie-Louise of Austria were permitted to preserve their respective titles as emperor and empress. [Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 202. (Article II) "Their Majesties the Emperor Napoleon and the Empress Marie-Louise, will preserve their titles and qualities to enjoy them during their lives. The mother, brothers, sisters nephews and nieces of the Emperor shall equally preserve, wherever they may be sojourning, the titles of princes of his family."] Moreover, all of Napoleon's successors and family members were prohibited from attaining power in France. [Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 202. (Article I) "His Majesty the Emperor Napoleon renounces, for himself, his successors and descendants as well as for each of the members of his family, all right of sovereignty and domination, as well as over the French Empire and the kingdom of Italy as over all other countries."]

The treaty also established the island of Elba as a separate principality to be ruled by Napoleon. [Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 203. (Article III) "The island of Elba, adopted by his Majesty the Emperor Napoleon, for the place of his residence, shall form, during his life, a separate principality, which shall be possessed by him in all sovereignty and property."] Elba's sovereignty and flag were guaranteed recognition by foreign powers in the accord, but only France was allowed to assimilate the island. [Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 203. (Article IV) "All the allied powers engage themselves to employ their good offices cause to be respected, by the Barbary powers, the flag and territory of the island of Elba, so that in its relations with the Barbary powers it should be assimilated to France."]

In another tenet of the agreement, the Duchy of Parma, the Duchy of Placentia, and the Duchy of Guastalla were ceded to Empress Marie-Louise. Moreover, a direct male descendant of Empress Marie-Louise would be known as the "Prince of Parma, Placentia, and Guastalla". [Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 203. (Article V) "The Duchies of Parma, of Placentia, and of Guastalla shall be given, in all property and sovereignty, to her Majesty the Empress Marie-Louise. They shall pass to her son and to his descendants in direct line. The prince her son shall take, from this time, the title of Prince of Parma, of Placentia, and of Guastalla."] In other parts of the treaty, Empress Josephine's annual income was reduced to 1,000,000 francs [Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 204. (Article VII) "The annual income of the Empress Josephine shall be reduced to 1,000,000f., in domains, or in inscriptions on the grand livre of France. She shall continue to enjoy, in full property, all her estates real and personal, and may dispose of them in conformity with the laws of France."] and Napoleon had to surrender all of his estates in France to the French crown, [Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 204. (Article IX) "The estates which his Majesty the Emperor Napoleon possesses in France, whether of extraordinary or private domain, shall revert to the crown. Of the sums funded by the Emperor Napoleon, whether in the grand livre, or in the Bank of France, whether in canal shares, or in any other manner, and which his Majesty gives up to the crown, there shall be reserved a capital which shall not exceed 2,000,000f., to be disposed of in gratuities in favour of persons who shall be inscribed in the list that shall be signed by the Emperor Napoleon, and which shall be remitted to the French government."] and submit all crown jewels to France. [Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 204. (Article X) "All the crown jewels shall revert to France."] He was permitted to take with him 400 men to serve as his personal guard. [Alphonse de Lamartine, p. 206. (Article XVII) "His Majesty the Emperor Napoleon can take with him, and keep for his guard, 400 men, volunteers, officers, subofficers, and soldiers."]

The treaty was ratified on the same day it was signed. The signatories involved were Duke Caulincourt of Vicenza, Duke Marshal MacDonald of Tarentum, Marshall Ney (the Duke of Elchingen), Prince Metternich, the Count of Nesselrode, and the Baron of Hardenberg. [Alphonse de Lamartine, pp. 206-207. (Article XXI). "The present treaty shall be ratified, and the ratifications of it shall be exchanged at Paris in the term of two days, or sooner, if possible. Done at Paris, the 11th April, 1814 (Signed) CAULAINCOURT, Duke of Vicenza. The Marshal Duke of Tarentum, MACDONALD. The Marshal Duke of Elchingen, NEY (Signed) The Prince of METTERNICH. The same articles have been signed separately, and under the same date, on the part of Russia, by the Count of Nesselrode, and on the part of Prussia, by the Baron of Hardenburg."]


In 2005, two Americans, former history professor John William Rooney (age 74) and Marshall Lawrence Pierce (age 44), were charged by a French court for stealing a copy of the Treaty of Fontainebleau from the French National Archives between 1974 and 1988. The theft came to light in 1996 when a curator of the French National Archives discovered that Pierce had put the document up for sale at Sotheby's. Rooney and Pierce pleaded guilty in the United States and were fined ($1,000 fine for Rooney and $10,000 fine for Pierce). However, they were not extradited to France to stand trial there. The copy of the treaty, along with a number of other documents (i.e. letters from King Louis XVIII of France) checked out from the French National Archives by Rooney and Pierce, were returned to France by the U.S. in 2002. [ [,,2-10-1462_1840178,00.html Paris to try US citizens 24/11/05] "Paris - A French court is to try two US citizens over the theft of important historical documents - including the treaty of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's surrender in 1814 - that were smuggled out of national archives between 1974 and 1988. John William Rooney, a 74-year-old former history professor, and Marshall Lawrence Pierce, 44, are to be judged on charges of receiving stolen goods in the case, which could be heard as early as next year, court officials in Paris said. It was unlikely, however, that either would be present for the trial. Both were convicted in their home country in 2002 of US customs violations related to the illegal importation of the stolen documents - resulting in a $1 000 fine for Rooney and a $10 000 fine for Pierce - and US authorities have ignored an official French request for international legal assistance. The French case against the men does not directly address the matter of the thefts because of a statute of limitations for that crime. The case came to light in 1996 when the curator of France's National Archives opened a Sotheby's catalogue and discovered the impending sale of the Treaty of Fontainebleau, a priceless text signed by Napoleon on April 11, 1814 in which he gave up his empire and accepted exile on the island of Elba. The seller was Pierce. After a little research, the curator found that the document was registered as belonging to the National Archives and should have been on its shelves. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation, alerted by legal action started by France, ordered the withdrawal of the item from auction. Further research by France revealed that dozens of other historical documents were missing from its National Archives, as well as from its army archives - all of them consulted by Rooney. The Treaty of Fontainebleau and many of the other recovered documents (including 30 letters from Louis XVIII before he took over from Napoleon to become king, with excisions made to remove the National Archives stamp) were returned to France by the United States in 2002. Several dozen documents, however, remain missing, all of them checked out by Rooney, on the basis of his academic credentials."] [ [ JS Online: Former professor may be doomed to repeat history: Man was already convicted in U.S. for taking historic treaty, now France wants to try him too (Author: Megan Twohey; Date: January 18, 2006)] "In the late 1980s, a history professor from Marquette University named John William Rooney walked into the French National Archives in Paris and walked out with a copy of the 1814 Treaty of Fontainebleau, a woven paper with red wax seals and a green silk cord through which Napoleon Bonaparte agreed to give up the French empire and accept exile. The opportunity to steal a major piece of history, Rooney said, was too tempting to pass up. "If you were to stand in front of the pyramids of Egypt, you might pick up a chip, too," he said last week during an interview in which he admitted stealing the document. But the decision is continuing to haunt him more than 15 years later. In 2002, a federal court in New York convicted Rooney of conspiracy to transport stolen property after his friend, Marshall Lawrence Pierce, put the treaty up for auction. Rooney was placed on probation and ordered to pay a fine. The American Embassy in France returned the document to the archives...Rooney thought that was the end of his legal trouble. But in November, a Paris court agreed to try him and Pierce on charges of receiving stolen goods. The case, which will be heard sometime this year, means that Rooney - now 74, retired and living in Wauwatosa - could be sentenced to up to three years in prison, according to the French newspaper Le Monde. "We are looking forward to seeing them punished for this major crime to our patrimony," a spokesman for the French Ministry of Culture said in an e-mail interview.Rooney, who was born and raised in Birmingham, Ala., attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery before doing graduate work at a Belgian university, he said. He was hired by Marquette in 1971. A professor of 19th century history, Rooney made an impression on students and colleagues alike, said James Marten, chair of the university's history department. "He was very flamboyant," Marten said. "He had a real following among some students." During summer breaks, Rooney would travel to foreign countries to conduct research. Among his destinations was the French National Archives. "I took out hundreds of documents from there, if not more," Rooney said. Between 1987 and 1988, he checked out the Treaty of Fontainebleau and a cluster of letters from Louis XVIII of France, said the French Ministry of Culture. Rooney said he didn't think it was wrong to bring the documents back to the U.S. "You could say the document got into the national archives because it had been stolen at some point before," he said of the 1814 treaty. "You could say that they stole it." But the French National Archives didn't see it that way. In 1996, the archives received a phone call from Sotheby's in New York. Pierce had put the treaty up for sale through the auction house and inquired about selling the cluster of letters. Sotheby's wondered if the archives were interested. "Our manuscript expert called the French National Archives and said - 'There's this extremely important French document, would you be interested in buying it?' " said Matthew Weigman, a Sotheby's spokesman. The National Archives wasn't. Instead, the French authorities launched an investigation of Rooney and Pierce. So did the Federal Bureau of Investigation." Documents still missing "Five years later, the two men were tried in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on charges of possessing, transporting and conspiring to sell stolen goods. The U.S. attorney's office in New York didn't have jurisdiction to charge Rooney for theft. At the time, Rooney and Pierce were living together in Tennessee. Rooney, who resigned from Marquette in 1992, had moved there to work for the University of the South in Sewanee, where he served as a visiting professor in 1995 and 1996. Pierce, 30 years Rooney's junior, was described in press articles at the time as a student of history and an aspiring novelist. Rooney pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and was sentenced to two years of probation and four months of home confinement and was ordered to pay a small fine. Pierce, who could not be reached for comment, received a similar sentence. Rooney would not say why he gave the treaty and letters to Pierce. Other documents that Rooney checked out of the French National Archives remain missing. He says he doesn't have them. "The FBI came to my house and went through everything," he said. "They took my computers and printed out all my documents. But they didn't find anything. They gave it all back to me." Rooney hoped that when the New York case came to a close, he would be free from further scrutiny. But the French authorities continued to investigate. Even before Rooney and Pierce were tried by the federal court, the U.S. attorney's office in New York was sharing evidence against them with France through the Office of International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Justice. The French case against Rooney and Pierce does not directly address the matter of the thefts because of a statute of limitations for that crime. The French have no means of forcing them to attend their trial. And Drew Wade, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice, said he did not know whether American authorities would be required to extradite the two men if they are sentenced to prison. Rooney said he wants nothing to do with it. "I kind of closed the door," he said. "I'd be very distressed if it was reopened."]



*Alphonse de Lamartine (translated by Michael Rafter). "The History of the Restoration of Monarchy in France". H. G. Bohn, 1854 (New York Public Library).

See also

* List of treaties

External links

* [ Encyclopedia Britannica - Napoleon I]

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