A title of baron under the Empire

A title of baron under the Empire

  • Sealed letters patent conferring the title of baron on General Scalfort.

  • Great seal of the First Empire. Emperor Napoleon in majesty.

  • The imperial eagle.

  • Cavalry flag bearer. Watercolor drawing attributed to

    DAVID Jacques Louis (1748 - 1825)

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Title: Sealed letters patent conferring the title of baron on General Scalfort.

Author :

Creation date : 1808

Date shown: 1808

Dimensions: Height 53 - Width 59

Technique and other indications: Engraving

Storage place: North Departmental Archives website

Contact copyright: © Nord departmental archives - Photo J.-L. Thieffry

Picture reference: Museum 405/4 Fi 30-2864

Sealed letters patent conferring the title of baron on General Scalfort.

© Nord departmental archives - Photo J.-L. Thieffry

To close

Title: Great seal of the First Empire. Emperor Napoleon in majesty.

Author :

Date shown: 1808

Dimensions: Height 11.8 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Caption: “Napoleon, Emperor of the French”.

Storage place: North Departmental Archives website

Contact copyright: © Nord departmental archives - Photo J.-L. Thieffry

Picture reference: Museum 405/4 Fi 30-2864

Great seal of the First Empire. Emperor Napoleon in majesty.

© Nord departmental archives - Photo J.-L. Thieffry

To close

Title: The imperial eagle.

Author :

Date shown: 1808

Dimensions: Height 11.8 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Caption “Imperial seal of titles. Napoleon, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine ".

Storage place: North Departmental Archives website

Contact copyright: © Nord departmental archives - Photo J.-L. Thieffry

Picture reference: Museum 405/4 Fi 30-2864

© Nord departmental archives - Photo J.-L. Thieffry

To close

Title: Cavalry flag bearer. Watercolor drawing attributed to

Author : DAVID Jacques Louis (1748 - 1825)

Creation date : 1811

Date shown: 1811

Dimensions: Height 31.5 - Width 40.5

Technique and other indications: On the left a cavalry flag bearer of the Napoleonic army, on the right a project for a trapezoidal flag with tassels. Manuscript; drawing; ink; watercolor

Storage place: Historic Center of the National Archives website

Contact copyright: © Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

Picture reference: AF / IV / 1164 suite 265

Cavalry flag bearer. Watercolor drawing attributed to

© Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

Publication date: October 2003

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A title of baron under the Empire

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Historical context

The reward of a "brave"

Napoleon became emperor gradually reintroduced the titles and codified them by two statutes of March 1, 1808. Conferred by law by the exercise of certain functions or graciously, in favor of soldiers and civil servants in particular, the titles of Empire are not however transferable only subject to the constitution of a majorat, that is to say of a set of land assets or inalienable immobilized rents.

General Scalfort receives the title of baron for his merits in the performance of his military duties as well as an endowment in Westphalia. This will allow him to constitute a majorat.

His career is a fine illustration of the loyalty and bravery of an officer of the Empire. Although lame for life, he then pursued this career [1].

Image Analysis

Letters Patent Sealed to Board of Seal of Titles

In the superb case lined with green leather is rolled a parchment measuring 53 by 59 centimeters: letters patent signed in Madrid, December 21, 1808, by Napoleon I. They attribute to General Scalfort the title of baron by reviving the uses of the Ancien Régime: red wax seal [2], affixed here by the Council of the recently instituted seal of titles, formulas of the monarchy of divine right, such as " By the grace of God ”and designation as cousin of the Emperor of the Archchancellor of the Empire - Cambaceres - who countersigns the act.

In the italic text printed on parchment, the beneficiary's mentions are written in calligraphy. Baron Scalfort is represented by his coat of arms [3], because the wearing of the coat of arms has just been authorized again.
A majestic initial, decorated with the imperial eagle [4], evokes the Emperor's arms.

Interpretation

Titles under the Empire

Aware that in any society there is a social elite eager for distinctions, Napoleon Ier must also take into account the fears of the population, who fear the reestablishment of the Ancien Régime. He succeeded in creating a titular elite without violating the ideal of equality that emerged from the Revolution. Many administrators, industrialists or officers receive, like General Scalfort, the title of baron or count, by virtue of their functions or their merits. The titles of Empire resume those of the nobility of the Ancien Régime (with the exception of those of Marquis and Viscount), because Napoleon wanted, in this way, to amalgamate the old elite and the new.

The legislation of the First Empire and in particular the two statutes of 1808 are careful not to use the word nobility. Unlike the nobility of the Ancien Régime, attached at birth, the titles are attributed noùinatively under the Empire and are only transferable to a male descendant, under certain conditions (the majorat) and subject to honorability. of the heir. The titles granted do not entail pecuniary advantages, tax exemption or privilege. In addition, land endowments are located outside of French territory, as here in Westphalia, in order to tie the new elite to the future of the Empire.

  • Bonaparte (Napoleon)
  • political symbol
  • military
  • Germany
  • army
  • Austerlitz
  • Great Army
  • Legion of Honor
  • nobility
  • Old regime
  • First Empire
  • Cambaceres (Jean-Jacques-Régis de)

Bibliography

J.-J. R. de CAMBACÉRÈS Unpublished letters to Napoleon, 1802-1814 , presentation and notes by Jean TulardParis, Klincksieck, 1973.

P. du PUY DE CLINCHAMPS Nobility Paris, PUF, coll. "What do I know? », 1963.

Ségolène de DAINVILLE-BARBICHE "The archives of the seal" in Archives Gazette , 1993, p. 127-151.

C. LEGOUEZE, Napoleon and the nobility of the Empire in the Nord department, master's thesis under the supervision of D. Rosselle, University of Lille-III, 1995.

L. DELSAUT, Soldier, I'm happy with you! The Florilège of the Departmental Archives of the North, 2000. Statistical yearbook of the Department of the North, 1834.

Maurice WAGON, Analytical inventory of the Municipal Archives of Lallaing deposited in the Departmental Archives of the North in 1933, written by Maurice Wagon.

J. TULARD Napoleon dictionary Paris, Fayard, 1987.

Notes

[1] Continuation of General Scalfort's career: Scalfort retired in 1809 but resumed service in 1812 as general commander of a large remount depot in Tours (supply service for new mounts to the cavalry). In 1815, he was colonel of the national guard in Douai. Replaced in his command under the Restoration, he was part of the Douai municipal council until 1830. He died in Lallaing on November 8, 1834.

[2] Round biface seal 118 mm in diameter in red wax on blue and yellow silk lakes. The seal used seems to be a temporary seal to which Cambacérès alludes in one of his letters to Napoleon (of May 5, 1808).

Great seal of the First Empire. The emperor Napoleon in majesty, wearing the vestments of the coronation and crowned with laurels, holding the scepter in the right hand and the hand of justice in the left hand. Behind him a drapery surmounted by the crown. Caption: "Napoleon, Emperor of the French". On the other side, the imperial eagle, holding the thunderbolt in its talons in the middle of a round escutcheon, surrounded by the large collar of the Legion of Honor, with the scepter and the hand of justice in saltire. The crest is placed on the imperial coat sown with bees topped by an open helm. Caption "Imperial seal of titles. Napoleon, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, protector of the Confederation of the Rhine".

[3] Coat of arms of Baron Scalfort : "of silver with the breccia tower and masonry of sand, openwork, closed and terraced gold, accosted to sinister of a climbing lion gules". It is added, at the top right, a quarter specific to the barons left the army, gules with the sword standing blade and handle of silver. (The terms "sable" and "gules" denote the colors black and red respectively).

[4] The imperial eagle: This emblem, desired by the Emperor to refer to Antiquity and to the eagles that the Romans wore on top of military ensigns, also adorns the top of the flag pole. David's watercolor pen drawing of a cavalry flag bearer shows this.

To cite this article

Luce-Marie ALBIGÈS and Marine VASSEUR, "A title of baron under the Empire"


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