FESCH, JOSEPH: French cardinal, half-brother of Lætitia, mother of Napoleon I.; b. at Ajaccio, Corsica, Jan. 3, 1763; d. at Rome May 13, 1839. He studied at the seminary in Aix and became a priest before 1789. At the outbreak of the French Revolution he took service in the army, and in 1796 was Napoleon's commissary of war in Italy. When Napoleon was made consul he returned to the Church, and became archbishop of Lyons in 1802. The following year he was made a cardinal and sent to Rome as French ambassador. In 1804 he successfully negotiated for the coronation of the emperor by the pope at Paris, and in 1805 he was made Grand Almoner of France, Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, and a member of the Senate. Although until now he had been ready to further the interests of his illustrious nephew, he had no intention of completely surrendering his rights as cardinal. The result was a break with Napoleon; and in May, 1806, Fesch was recalled from Rome. In 1809 he declined the archbishopric of Paris, a peace-offering from Napoleon, and also declined to declare Napoleon's divorce of the same year valid. As president of the National Ecclesiastical Council at Paris in 1811 he led the opposition. Accordingly, the council was dissolved, and Fesch fell into complete disgrace. He retired to Lyons, and in 1814 to a nunnery he had established at Gravina, Italy. After Napoleon's return from Elba he was made a member of the House of Peers. On the restoration of the Bourbons he withdrew to Rome, leaving his bishopric in the hands of a vicar for twenty-four years. In 1856 Ajaccio, his native city, erected a monument to his memory.