the Napoleontic era

In 1795, the French revolutionary armies came into Maastricht by a route along the river. Maastricht was annexed to France and became the capital city of the Département de la Meuse Inférieure. A chaotic era came. The Maastricht people disdained the tree of liberty, the republican calendar and the goddess of reason, but suffered by the economical chaos and the closing of churches. Some priests refused to swear the oath of hatred against the kingship and were persecuted.
When Napoleon seized the power, quieter times came for Maastricht too. Catholicism regained a large portion of its rights. The guilds and feudal institutions were abolished and replaced by modern institutions. In 1803, Napoleon visited Maastricht and showed interest in the fortifications above all.
Some Maastricht people became rich by buying former ecclesiastical property. However, very few regretted the expulsion of Napoleon in 1814. The people had brought in too many taxes and soldiers. In the picture you see a letter from a lonesome Maastricht soldier to his aunt and uncle.

another picture