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The Napoleon Series > Government > Governments and Politics

Convention of Fontainebleau

Convention with Charles IV

Imperial Decree

Documents upon the Overthrow of the Spanish Monarchy.

The first of these documents shows the manner in which Napoleon secured the military position in Spain which enabled him to dictate terms to the Spanish king and heir apparent. Document B shows the terms forced upon the King. A similar agreement was also forced upon the heir apparent. In both documents B and C there is something shown in regard to the manner in which the transaction was effected and officially justified.

A. Convention of Fontainebleau. October 27, 1807.

De Clercq, Traites, II, 235-236.

  1. The provinces between the Minho and the Duero, with the city of Oporto, shall be given in full ownership and sovereignty to His Majesty the King of Etruria, under the title of King of Northern Lusitania.
  2. The Province of Alemte and the Kingdom of Algarve shall be given in full ownership and sovereignty to the Prince of the Peace, to be enjoyed under the title of Prince of Algarve.
  3. The Provinces of Beira, Tras-os-Montes, and Portuguese Estremadura, shall remain in trust until the general peace, to be disposed of then according to circumstances, and according to what shall be agreed upon between the 2 High Contracting Parties.

    . . . . .

  1. His Majesty the King of Etruria cedes in complete ownership and sovereignty the Kingdom of Etruria to His Majesty the Emperor of the French, King of Italy.
  2. . . . . .
  3. His Majesty the Emperor of the French, King of Italy, guarantees to His Majesty the King of Spain the possession of his States on the Continent of Europe situated to the south of the Pyrenees.
  4. His Majesty the Emperor of the French, King of Italy, agrees to recognize and to cause to be recognized His Majesty the King of Spain as Emperor of the Two Americas, when everything shall be prepared so that His Most Catholic Majesty can take that title, which shall be at the general peace or at the latest within three years.
  5. The two High Contracting Parties shall agree to make an equal partition of the islands, colonies and other beyond-the-sea possessions of Portugal.
  6. The present convention shall remain secret; it shall be ratified and the ratifications thereof shall be exchanged at Madrid at the latest twenty days after the signing.


B. Convention with Charles IV. May 5, 1808.

De Clercq, Traites, II, 246-248.

Napoleon, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine, and Charles IV, King of Spain and the Indies, animated by an equal desire to promptly put an end to the anarchy to which Spain is a prey and to save that valiant nation from the agitations of factions, wishing to spare it all the convulsions of civil and foreign war and to place it without disturbances in the only position which, tinder the extraordinary circumstances in which it finds itself, can preserve its integrity, guarantee it its colonies and enable it also to unite all its means with those of France in order to obtain a maritime peace, have resolved to unite all their efforts and to regulate in a special convention such precious interests . . .

. . . . .

  1. His Majesty King Charles having had in view during all his life only the welfare of his subjects, and relying upon the principle that all the acts of a sovereign ought to be done only in order to attain that aim; able to be under the existing circumstances only a source of dissensions, all the more fatal since the factions have divided his own family, has resolved to cede, as he does cede by the present [convention], to His Majesty the Emperor Napoleon all his right to the throne of Spain and the Indies, as to the only one who at the point to which affairs therein have arrived can reestablish order; intending that the said cession shall take place only in order to cause his subjects to enjoy the two following conditions.
  2. 1st. The integrity of the Kingdom shall be maintained; the Prince whom the Emperor Napoleon shall decide that he ought to place upon the throne of Spain shall be independent, and the boundaries of Spain shall not suffer any alteration.

    2d. The Catholic, Apostolic and Roman religion shall be the only one in Spain; there cannot be tolerated there any reformed religion and still less infidelity, according to the usage established today.

    . . . . .

[The omitted articles provide, inter alia, that the Spanish royal family shall have a refuge in France, a palace and grounds, a stipulated income and the enjoyment of their royal rank.]

  1. The present convention shall remain secret until the Two High Contracting Parties shall see fit to make it known; it shall be ratified, and the ratification thereof shall be exchanged within eight days or as much sooner as shall be possible.

Done at Bayonne, May 5, 1808.


C. Imperial Decree proclaiming Joseph Bonaparte King of Spain. June 6, 1808.

Moniteur, June 22, 1808.

Napoleon, by the grace of God, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine, to all those who shall see these presents, greeting.

The Junta of State, the Council of Castile, the city of Madrid, etc., etc., having made known to us by addresses that the welfare of Spain requires that an end should be promptly put to the interregnum, we have resolved to proclaim, as we do proclaim by the present [proclamation], that our well beloved brother Joseph Napoleon, at present King of Naples and Sicily, is King of Spain and the Indies.

We guarantee to the King of Spain the integrity of his States, whether in Europe, Africa, Asia, or America.

We enjoin upon the lieutenant general of the kingdom, the ministers, and the Council of Castile, to cause the present proclamation to be despatched and published in the accustomed forms, in order that nobody can pretend grounds of ignorance of it.

Given at our imperial palace at Bayonne, June 6, 1808.

[Signed] NAPOLEON.



Fyffe, Modern Europe, I. 367-387 (Popular ed.,. 247-261); Fournier, Napoleon, 425-436; Rose, Napoleon, II, Ch. XXVIII; Sloane, Napoleon, III, 95-119; Lanfrey, Napoleon, III 299-314, 362-433; Hume, Modern Spain, 78-134 ; Henry Adams, History of the United States, IV, 115-125 290-291, 297-303, 315-316; Lavisse and Rambaud, Histoire Generale, IX, 185-191, 200- 208.M


Placed on the Napoleon Series 7/00


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