Refuting Hilaire de Curzon

Hilaire de Curzon was an Anjouist and President of Union poitevine des syndicats agricoles, an agricultural union.  In 1913, Curzon published De la Nationalité des princes de la branche ainée des Bourbons (1913).

The work consists of a Foreword, three chapters, and a conclusion — all written in the defence of the Spanish Bourbons.  It is worth noting that many of these claims have already been refuted previously.


Curzon begins:

A very large number of French people sincerely devoted to the principles of our traditional Christian monarchy joined the Orleanist party only because they were led to believe that the Bourbons of the elder branch, the direct descendants of Louis XIV had lost their quality of Frenchmen.

Philippe VII of France (left) and (de jure) Juan III of Spain
This is very much the case.  In 1883, the Count of Chambord (titular Henri V of France) died without issue.  There was thus contention between Philippe d’Orleans and the Juan, Count of Montizon (de jure King Juan III of Spain).
By 1883, the Spanish Bourbons had been abroad from France for four generations, making them foreigners and excluding them from the line of succession.

1: The Princes of Bourbon

Why then would these Princes not be French anymore? Because, it is said, they have reigned abroad! Since when, having worn, to the great honour of France, a foreign crown made it lose the quality of Frenchmen?

Ah! This again.  Becoming king of a foreign country does not, in and of itself, cause a prince to lose his right of succession, so long as he remains French — i.e. does not become a foreigner.  François II was King of Scotland by his marriage to Mary, Queen of Scots.  But since he never set foot in Scotland, once cannot call him a foreigner.  One might say that he was “no true Scotsman.”

When the death of Charles IX, the king of Poland his brother, left this kingdom to come and reign in France under the name of Henry III, did anyone think of considering him as a foreign prince?

Henri III had letters patent to preserve his status as a Frenchman:

…so they will remain all right and whatever other things may be theirs now and in the event of his coming and staying as if he were full, he lived and lived continually in this kingdom until their trespass, and their heirs were original and regnicoles.

And of course:

When this same law called to the throne of France, in turn Henri IV, the Bearnais, the King of Navarre, whose branch however had been separated from the throne for almost 300 years, and who was related to the deceased king only 22nd degree, did we think of excluding him as a foreign prince!

We have already proven that Henri IV was a natural Frenchman.  The Bearnais were ruled to be French in 1505 by the Parlement of Paris.  The Parlement would confirm this again in 1579.

When, in 1789, the National Assembly was seized with the question of the validity of these renunciations, why have deliberated for three Days, if one would have considered then the descendants of Felipe V as having lost their quality of French; it was enough to point out that these Princes had lost their nationality; but far from it being so, the Assembly declared that there was nothing to prejudge the effect of renunciations in the presently reigning race. However, the currently reigning race was indeed the descendants of Louis XIV.

What on earth is a supposed Legitimist doing citing the Jacobin constitution of 1791?  There were many instances where this supposed “constitution” violated the Fundamental Laws of France, making it invalid.

For example:

5. If, one month after the invitation of the legislative body, the king shall not have taken this oath, or if, after having taken it, he retracts it, he shall be considered to have abdicated the throne.

6. If the King puts himself at the head of an army and directs the forces thereof against the nation, or if he does not by a formal instrument place himself in opposition to any such enterprise which may be conducted in his name, he shall be considered to have abdicated the throne.

7. If the king, having left the kingdom, should not return after the invitation which shall be made to him for that purpose by the legislative body and within the period which shall be fixed by the proclamation, which shall not be less than two months, he shall be considered to have abdicated the throne.

Abdications are illegal and ultra vires under the Fundamental Laws via the principle of inalienability of the crown.  The crown is not the property of the king.  He cannot abdicate and is bound by law and duty to remain king until his death.

When in May 1712, the English made the offer to Felipe V either to keep Spain, where he reigned for 10 years, or to exchange this kingdom for Savoy, Sicily, Montferrat, Piedmont, she added that in the event that Felipe V accepted this project, he would nevertheless retain all his rights to the crown of France.

Here is yet another proof (which we could call diplomatic), that the fact of having worn a foreign crown does not make lose the quality of French.

This claim is ignorant of history.  The British did not want the the crowns of Spain and France united.  France was already a great power in Europe.  Uniting them with Spain would have made them even more powerful, effectively making them the most dominant power in Europe.  That was the whole reason for the renunciation: to prevent the union of the crowns.

The fact that the British offered Savoy and parts of Italy clearly shows that they found such a potential union acceptable.  Further, at various times Savoyards were treated as natural Frenchman.  Regardless, Felipe V had already been given letters patent to maintain his status as a Frenchman.  These, however, were revoked after the War of the Spanish Succession under diplomatic pressure.

2: The Quality of French

To be king of France, you have to be French. There can be no doubt about it. The king must be absolutely French, by birth, by heart, principles, by opinions, by all the aspirations of his soul; the King must be like “the very conscience of France” in all that it must have of patriotic, generous, Christian.

It is good that someone can recognise this simple fact.

Now the Princes of Bourbon-Anjou are unquestionably French in all these respects. But, it is objected, according to our Civil Code, the quality of French may be lost and the Bourbons of the older branch have lost it.

Unquestionably? The fact that the majority of Legitimists thought otherwise indicates that it was questioned.  This was for good reason.  The Spanish Bourbons were born and raised abroad for four generations:

Carlos III.  Born in Madrid, Spain.  Died in Madrid, Spain.

Carlos IV.  Born in Portici, Naples.  Died in Rome, Papal States.

Infante Carlos (de jure Carlos V of Spain).  Born in Aranjuez, SpainDied in Trieste, Austria.

Juan, Count of Montizon (de jure Juan III of Spain).  Born in Aranjuez, Spain.  Died in Hove, England.

The Spanish Bourbons are very clearly Spanish according to the laws of the Old Regime.

The fundamental and constitutional law which governs the political situation of the royal family, it is the Salic law recognized still alive and consecrated again by the Constitution of 1791 in all that relates to the political order.

The Salic law put the royal family in a situation which differs from that which is made to the other French families by the Civil Code.

Funny that he should mention that.  The Arrêt le Maistre of 1593 specifically states that the Salic law excludes foreigners from the throne:

JUDGMENT of the sitting parliament in Paris which annuls all treaties made or to be made which would call to the throne of France a foreign prince or princess, as contrary to the salic law and other fundamental times of the state.

3: The Nationality

What makes nationality is blood. The Civil Code states this as well in its article 8 (June 26, 1889): “Are French: any individual born of a French, in France or abroad. Is this not exaggeratedly the case of Princes of Bourbon-Anjou.

This is flatly false.  Many times we have proven this absurd claim to be untrue:

As we said above the standard for determining who was a natural Frenchman was jus soli, to be “born in the kingdom, country, lands and lordships of the obedience of the King of France.”

To be “French by blood” was not really a big concept in the Old Regime.  The principle of jus sanguinis, nationality by blood, was used only in limited circumstances.

This began in 1576 after the Edict of Pacification, which declared Protestants who fled the kingdom because of the Wars of Religion would not lose their status as regnicoles.

The most famous example of this it the L’Arrêt Mabile, where a woman born in England was declared an natural Frenchwoman.  Mabile moved to France, took letters of naturalness (which weren’t necessary, but showed her desire to remain in France), and sued for an inheritance of her share of her late grandmother’s estate.

Citing the aforesaid Edict of Pacification, the Parlement of Paris declared her a natural Frenchwoman.

There were plenty of such cases.  There were also cases of people “accidentally” born abroad.  In such cases, it was shown that the birth abroad was “accidental” and that the parents never left France “sans esprit de retour” (“without spirit of return”).  Just like with Mabile, the petitioners were required to maintain residence in France.

Some cases even stretched as far back as two generations, where the petitioner had a French grandfather.

As we have shown, the Spanish Bourbons were abroad for four generations, not two.  And Felipe V’s letters of naturalness were revoked.  Therefore, the Spanish Bourbons were foreigners, excluding them from the succession.

The Princes of Bourbon-Anjou did not go to be naturalized abroad; no act could be produced of it. For there to be naturalization, change of nationality, an authentic public act is required, accomplished in legal forms. Such was the case with Napoleon III who deserves to be pointed out. Queen Hortense, Duchess of Saint-Leu, her mother, went to settle in Switzerland in 1817. Her son Prince Louis-Napoleon was naturalized there as a Swiss subject. By a deliberation of the government of Thurgovia in 1832, the rights of bourgeoisie and Thurgovian nationality were conferred: “Prince Louis Napoleon, wire of Madame the Duchess of Saint Leu”, it is said in the official act. Can we oppose the princes of Bourbon-Anjou with such a fact of naturalization? Certainly not. However Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor, without any reservation, on the subject of new nationality, however well known.

This is not true.  As we have shown above.  The Spanish Bourbons became Spanish and ceased to be French by leaving France and not returning.  And Napoleon III was a usurper.  What does Napoleon III’s usurpation have to do with the Fundamental Laws of France?

Curzon then attempts to show Felipe V had every intention to return:

This spirit of return is still clearly established by the following facts:

In May 1715, that is to say during the very lifetime of Louis XIV, Philippe V sent to the court of France, as Ambassador Extraordinary, the Prince of Celamere with the most confidential instructions; these instructions were accompanied by a power by which Philippe V authorized him to make, at the time of the death of his ancestor, the protests necessary to “arrest and invalidate the resolutions contrary to his rights” and to make known, added the king, ” the firm intention in which I am not to suffer that it is done me any prejudice, and to inviolably maintain my royal rights established and founded on the laws of France.”

While it might be true that Felipe himself had intention to return, can the same be said of his children, his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren — all of whom were born and reared abroad? Certainly not.  Firstly, they were born abroad so they would not be technically “returning” since they were not from there to begin with.

Further, their actions of staying abroad speak for themselves.  Actions speak to intent just as much as words do, and in some cases even more so.  Say that a man in a mask, holding a firearm, walks into a bank.  Even if he claims he is not there to rob the place, such actions speak otherwise.  And when he does rob the place, it is clear by his actions that he had every intention of doing so.

It is generally well known and accepted that Felipe V was homesick and would have certainly returned.  The same, however, cannot really be said of his great grandchildren, who had no attachment to the soil or customs of France.

We must conclude, therefore, that both law and simple common sense declare that the Spanish Bourbons were foreigners.