A letter to Henri Tempier, who was in Rome, in which Eugene gives an idea of the political turmoil in Marseilles – and the delicate position he found himself in as Vicar general of the diocese .
… Now everything is in a turmoil, mutual suspicions disrupt the peace. At every turn the troops make hostile demonstrations. The reason behind this state of affairs is a very bizarre call to arms.
In the 1830 Revolution, Louis Philippe had usurped the throne from the legitimate heir (something that the “legitimist” Eugene did not agree with). The wife of the one who should have been king was the Duchess de Berry (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie-Caroline_de_Bourbon-Sicile,_duchesse_de_Berry ).
She disembarked in Marseilles, and this caused political tension. Some hotheads decided to hoist the white flag of the legitimate monarchy on the steeple of a church – thus involving Eugene, who was trying to maintain some semblance of calm in the diocese on this incendiary issue.
Three men thought they could create a big impression by hoisting a white flag on the top of the steeple of Saint-Laurent. I am still asking myself if those responsible for such a ridiculous plot oughtn’t to be sent to the madhouse rather than to prison where they are now held in close custody.
To Henri Tempier, 6 May 1832, EO VIII n 421
I publish this extract because it gives an idea of the delicate and sensitive situation in which the Church found herself under the anti-religious attitude of Louis Philippe’s government. It helps us to appreciate what Eugene was living through.