Napoleon Series Archive 2014

monarchie espagnole sous Joseph Bonaparte

Nature juridique de la monarchie espagnole sous Joseph Bonaparte: Réflexions à partir d’une mise au point sur l’abolition de l’Inquisition en 1808
Jean-Baptiste BUSAALL

It is accepted as fact that Napoleon was the first to abolish the Inquisition in December 1808. Nonetheless, a legal analysis of the text of the Bayonne Constitution of July 1808 reveals that the tribunal of the Holy Office had in fact been implicitly swept away by the judicial reorganisation. This double abolition points to a duality of law-giving authority in the internal juridical order of the Spanish monarchy and hence raises the question of the political and juridical nature of the Constitution that Napoleon, as the self-styled regenerator, had devised. Its content cannot be properly understood without taking into account the principles of the «constitutional bloc of the Consulate and the Empire» which served as a model, and without examining the preparatory works. These reveal the way in which the assembly of Spanish notables gathered at Bayonne managed surreptitiously to alter the nature of the copy of the French model in such a way as to hispanify it and ensure that the new monarchy rested upon the traditional foundations of «pactist» theory. Despite Joseph’s wish to reign within the framework of this constitutional pact of subjection, and despite imperial promises to respect its independence, the State’s sovereignty was truncated. Spanish autonomy was subordinated to the needs of the French empire, which had installed a quasi-autochthonous protectorate that was sustained solely by the presence of its armies.