The French Question
Anjouists argue that the Spanish Bourbons are “French by blood.” Not only is this wrong (since it was not a concept legally recognised in the Old Regime), but it is Post-Jacobin, anti-traditional, and Revolutionary.
Jus Soli vs. Jus Sanguinis
Jus Soli, “born in the kingdom, country, lands and lordships of the obedience of the King of France,” was the standard for determining if a person was a Frenchman.
There were cases of person “accidentally born” outside the kingdom. The most famous example of this is 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.
Jus Sanguinis, nationality by blood, did not become automatic until the time of Napoleon with Civil Code:
Every child born of a Frenchman in a foreign country is French. Every child born in a foreign country of a Frenchman who shall have lost the quality of a Frenchman, may at any time recover this quality by complying with the formalities prescribed in the ninth article.
Traditional vs. Post-Jacobin
To many, this may seem like a minor detail of what makes a Frenchman, but the difference is fundamental. These different methods are rooted in different understanding, fundamentally different philosophies.
Jus Soli is a transcendent and metaphysical — even, one might say — a spiritual one. This is seen in the defences of the Salic law:
And the first specialty that I find good there is that the kingdom goes by male succession, without being able to fall into the hands of a woman, according to the law that the French call “salic”, which is a very good thing. Because, falling in a feminine line, it comes into the hands and power [it can come into power] of a man of strange nation, which is pernicious and dangerous thing: yet that which comes from such a strange nation [the one who comes from strange nation]is other food and condition and has other mores, other language and other way of living than those of the country where he comes to dominate.
[La Grand Monarchie de France (1558). P. 8. Claude de Seyssel]
We see from the above quote that the concern here is of non-physical things — his culture and “way of living.”
This is consistent with a traditional view of the world. One where men believed in a transcendent moral order where the state was of divine origin.
Jus Sanguinis, on the other hand, reflects an anti-traditional, materialist view. It is the blood, the parentage of a child which determines whether or not he is a Frenchman. This, of course, is the exact view of the Anjouists when they erroneously claim the Spanish Bourbons to be “French by blood.”
The French monarchy, like most Christian monarchies at the time, was based on Davidic kingship. That is why monarchs were anointed with holy oil as was done in the Bible:
Then Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. They blew the ram’s horn and all the people shouted, “Long live King Solomon!”
[1 Kings 1:39]
Similar to France, there was a prohibition against foreign kings:
When you have come into the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, and have occupied it and settled in it, should you then decide to have a king over you like all the surrounding nations, you shall set that man over you as your king whom the Lord, your God, chooses. He whom you set over you as king must be your kinsman; a foreigner, who is no kin of yours, you may not set over you.
The reason for this was a simple one: foreigners were heathens who rejected the God of Jacob. They were a different religion and culture with heathen ways.
While blood is important to determining who is a Jew, the spiritual quality supersedes. It is possible to convert, as evidenced by the conversion of Ruth and the conversions mentioned in Esther:
And many of the peoples of the land embraced Judaism, for they were seized with a fear of the Jews.
This spiritual component mattered because foreigners practised foreign ways and worshiped foreign gods and were idolaters.
Just as in the case of Israel there was a spiritual quality of who was or wasn’t French.
A Frenchman who permanently left France could be considered a foreigner. This is because they left “sans esprit de retour” (without the spirit of return). The use of the word “esprit,” often translated as “intent” in this context, is important.
It shows recognition of a French spirit — that is to say that there is a spiritual quality to who is or isn’t a Frenchman. A person who permanently left France, was quitting the French spirit. The French spirit being the customs, mores, and ways of France. This falls under the definition of “spirit” because they are intangible and immaterial.
This is further evidenced by the use of jus soli to determine if someone was French. A person born in France was more likely to be raised in France. This means they would be of the French spirit. And if they permanently left, of course, they would cease to be of the French spirit and would be foreigners.
All of this proves that Jus Soli is the method most consistent with French history and the Old Regime. Likewise, it is consistent with a traditional worldview — one of a spiritual quality and a belief in a transcendent moral order.