BEFORE proceeding to a discussion of the opinions of the parties mentioned in the previous chapter, it will be well to pause on a group not yet mentioned, but whose influence is often important in society--the rising generation of young intellectuals, who had not had their opinions unalterably fixed during the stress of the more violent days of the Revolution. How did these newcomers, who were about to make themselves audible, regard the havoc which their predecessors had wrought upon the Church and society? This question, it seems, is sufficiently answered by the rapturous joy with which they greeted Chateaubriand Génie du Christianisme.1 This notable work was published in France for the first time in April, 1802, almost simultaneously with the publishing of the Concordat. Its success was tremendous and it secured for its author, in the words of Villemain, "a kind of acknowledgement which, mingled with enthusiasm, marked for M. de Chateaubriand one of those epochs of public favor, rare in the lives of the most illustrious."2
It is pretty clear from its contents, that it was not simply the persuasive eloquence of Chateaubriand that made the Génie du Christianisme so popular in 1802; as Sainte-Beuve____________________
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Publication information: Book title: The Concordat of 1801:A Study of the Problem of Nationalism in the Relations of Church and State. Contributors: Henry H. Walsh - Author. Publisher: Columbia University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1933. Page number: 62.
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