zaterdag 17 december 2016

The Day Thomas Jefferson’s Daughter Told Him She Wanted to Become A Nun

There was a period when Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin were all in Paris at the same time. Franklin was there as our first ambassador to the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. His job was get funds from France to bankroll the Revolution, and to cement a military alliance so we would win the war. Jefferson and Adams were there as commerce commissioners whose task it was to arrange an import/export trade deal with the French. Being in Catholic France was a new experience for all of them, and we know that the Church made a profound impression on one of Jefferson’s daughters, Patsy, and on one of Adams’ sons, John Quincy.

Polly and Patsy Jefferson were in their early teens when they arrived in Paris, so one of Jefferson’s first tasks was to find a suitable school for his daughters. All of his new French acquaintances recommended an elite convent school, l’Abbaye Royal de Panthemont in the Faubourg Saint-Germain. There the girls studied mathematics, history, geography, and they learned modern languages. It was a splendid education, of a kind that very few girls received back in America. Jefferson’s daughters also learned to play the harpsichord from Claude Balbastre, the organist at the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

In addition to operating a school, the nuns also offered rooms to aristocratic ladies who sought a quiet retreat from their troubles—the lack of a husband, the death of a husband, or the separation from a husband. One of the ladies living at the Panthemont at the same time as Polly and Patsy was Josephine de Beauharnais, the future lover, wife, and empress of Napoleon. Read all:ncregister/the-day-thomas-jeffersons-daughter-told-him-she-wanted-to-become-a-nun

maandag 12 december 2016

Les robes de Joséphine de Beauharnais au Château de Malmaison

© Agathe Lautréamont, 2016
Dentelle, soie, lin, mousseline, satin, jersey, velours, taffetas… Autant de termes qui évoquent richesse, délicatesse, goût et préciosité. Et c’est bien par ces mots que l’on pourrait qualifier la délicieuse toilette de la première épouse de l’Empereur Napoléon Bonaparte : Joséphine de Beauharnais. Ce trousseau est rarement sorti des réserves du Château de Malmaison car, vieux de maintenant plus de deux siècles, les vêtements peuvent grandement souffrir d’une exposition à l’air et à la lumière. Leur fragilité rajoute à leur grande beauté. Découvrons ensemble, en images, le parcours d’une sublime exposition qui laisse, à la sortie, des étoiles plein les yeux

maandag 5 december 2016

L’hôtel d’Eugène de Beauharnais à Paris se raconte

Dans le très beau salon des quatre saisons de l’hôtel de Beauharnais à Paris, des cygnes dorés s’invitent sur les pilastres qui courent autour de la pièce. Sur la corniche qu’ils supportent, ce sont des aigles, tout aussi resplendissant d’or, qui déploient leurs ailes. Lorsqu’il fut créé, au tout début du XIXe siècle, ce décor n’était en rien anodin.

L’aigle évoque Napoléon Bonaparte, le cygne son beau-fils Eugène de Beauharnais. Ce dernier est devenu propriétaire de cette belle demeure, édifiée en 1713 par l’architecte Boffrand, le 20 mai 1803 à l’âge de 22 ans. Et, bénéficiant des conseils avisés en matière de déco de sa mère Joséphine de Beauharnais et de sa sœur Hortense, et surtout de la générosité de l’empereur Napoléon Ier, qui à cette époque voyait en lui un successeur pour le trône, Eugène a fait subir aux lieux, en seulement quelques années, une totale et fort coûteuse métamorphose intérieure. parismatch/Royal-Blog/royaute-francaise/L-hotel-d-Eugene-de-Beauharnais-a-Paris-se-raconte-1111091

woensdag 11 mei 2016

Napoleonic 'treasure' unearthed in Tasmanian bookshop

Left: Co-owners of the Cracked and Spineless bookshop, Richard Sprent (left) and Mike Gray, with the journal.
A handwritten journal found buried in an Australian bookshop is believed to be a prominent soldier's diary from the Napoleonic wars, writes Paul Carter.
Royal Engineer John Squire was an officer who fought for the British army in the Napoleonic era, but his interests extended far beyond the battlefield. Sophisticated and possessing a talent for writing, he served in theatres of war around the world and was prominent enough to be mentioned in diplomatic dispatches.

Lt Col Squire was a worldly man, with an interest in history and antiquities. So it's fitting that his writings are now causing great excitement on the other side of the planet, in the colony he'd have known as Van Diemen's Land. At the back of a second-hand book store, at the back of a Hobart arcade, at the back of the world in Tasmania, it appears that one of Squire's journals has been discovered.

The new owners of the Cracked and Spineless bookshop discovered the journal in a pile of old books tucked away in a cupboard. It details the English-Portuguese army's second siege of the Spanish city of Badajoz, which took place in May and June 1811, during the Napoleonic Wars.
The bookshop's co-owner, Mike Gray, said the journal was discovered a couple of weeks ago.
"The previous owner collected hundreds of thousands of books," Mr Gray said. "Some of them were in a cupboard so I sent in someone interested in old books to see if they could find anything.
"They brought out the journal and I thought 'yeah, maybe about $20, but I'll check it'. Mr Gray said the journal could have been in the shop for 20 years, but no-one knew how it arrived. A working theory is that it arrived with the colonists who established Van Diemen's Land.

The journal's cover, reading 'journal 1611'A treasure'

Squire died of fever in 1812, soon after the third and successful British siege of Badajoz, which comprised part of the Peninsular War during the Napoleonic era. Some of his letters survive at the British Library. His journals and essays ranged in content from the technical aspects of war to his involvement with antiquities.

These works and his supporting role in some of history's great moments have made Squire a moderately well-known figure among scholars who study the era. Gavin Daly, an expert in the Peninsular War at the University of Tasmania, said he believed the journal was a genuine "treasure". A handwriting match could be made with Squire's letters kept at the British Library, he said. Dr Daly said Squire was mentioned twice in dispatches by the Duke of Wellington. "Squire pops up in Egypt in 1801 when the French surrendered Alexandria. He was in South America in 1807. He was in Sweden in 1808. He was in the Netherlands at various stages and ended up in the peninsula," Dr Daly said.

Officer and gentleman

"He's not just an interesting figure as an engineer but he's also important because he had broad interests in history, geography and antiquities. "He was present when the Rosetta Stone was given to the British. He writes a paper on Roman antiquities in Egypt, and he accompanies William Richard Hamilton east and is involved in bringing some of the Elgin Marbles to Britain. "When he died in the peninsula in 1812 of fever, not long after the third and final siege of Badajoz, there was a considerable lamenting of his life. "He'd been rapidly promoted … but there was also this sense that he was the archetypal gentleman officer, who mixed in broad intellectual circles. He had a broad curiosity about the world."   Dr Daly said the journal was focused on many of the technical aspects of the siege."There's not a lot in the journal about broader reflections about the nature of the war or the nature of the campaign," Dr Daly said. "What comes through though is someone who is very much focused on being as good an officer as he can - he says his foremost obligation being an officer is to do his duty. "This is a very professional soldier."

Image copyright Paul Carter
Image caption The journal is mostly focused on the technical aspects of the siege, rather than the broader context surrounding it

maandag 21 maart 2016

The King of Rome, Napoleon II

Read all about the birth of the King of Rome:  shannonselin/birth-king-of-rome/

Napoleon, a prey to silent agitation, watched this painful scene, encouraging all present by his brave attitude. At last, after many efforts, and in the midst of so much anguish, the so-impatiently-desired child came to light. It was a son, pale, motionless, and to all appearances lifeless. In spite of all the measures taken in such cases, the child remained seven minutes without giving any signs of life. The Emperor standing in front of him was following in silence and with an air of profound attention, every movement of the accoucheur, when at last he saw the child’s breast rise, the mouth open and a breath exhaled. He feared lest it might be the first and last, but a cry escaping from the child’s lungs tells him that his son has taken possession of life. All anxiety then ceases. In the effusion of his joy Napoleon bent over the child, seized it in his arms, with a spontaneous movement, carried it to the door of the drawing-room in which all the grandees of his Empire were assembled and presenting it to them said: ‘Here is the King of Rome.’ He then returned and placed the child back in M. Dubois’s hands saying: ‘I give you back your child.’ …

Read about the life of Napolein II shannonselin/napoleon-ii

Painting: Napoleon II, styled King of Rome, later Duke of Reichstadt, by Thomas Lawrence, 1818-1819

donderdag 17 maart 2016

The Countess, Napoleon and St. Helena: In Exile With The Emperor 1815 to 1821

When Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to the remote island of St. Helena after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 he took with him twenty-four people, including his doctor, servants and four of his Generals.

One of the Generals, Count Henri-Gatien Bertrand, was Napoleon’s Grand Marshal of the Palace. Count Bertrand was accompanied by his wife Countess Françoise Elisabeth (Fanny) Bertrand and their three children. Tall, elegant and aristocratic the Countess was a feisty and beautiful young woman who had shone in French Society. She hated the island of St. Helena ‘The Devil shit this place as he flew from one continent to the other’ she said on her arrival. But loyal to her husband she stayed by his side until Napoleon’s death on 5th May 1821 and was at the ex-Emperor’s bedside when he died. Read more Countess-Napoleon-St-Helena

The Bertrand’s Cottage on St Helena, built 1816

zaterdag 12 maart 2016

What did Napoleon’s wives think of each other?

In September 1810, Napoleon advised Josephine that the new Empress was pregnant. It was suggested to Josephine that she leave Paris during Marie Louise’s confinement. Josephine was thus at Navarre on March 20, 1811, when the ringing of bells and booming of cannons announced the birth of Napoleon’s and Marie Louise’s son, the King of Rome. She wrote to Napoleon:
Amid the numerous felicitations you receive from every corner of Europe…can the feeble voice of a woman reach your ear, and will you deign to listen to her who so often consoled your sorrows and sweetened your pains, now that she speaks to you only of that happiness in which all your wishes are fulfilled! … I can conceive every emotion you must experience, as you divine all that I feel at this moment; and though separated, we are united by that sympathy which survives all events.
I should have desired to learn of the birth of the King of Rome from yourself, and not from the sound of the cannon of Evreux, or the courier of the prefect. I know, however, that in preference to all, your first attentions are due to the public authorities of the State, to the foreign ministers, to your family, and especially to the fortunate Princess who has realized your dearest hopes. She cannot be more tenderly devoted to you than I; but she has been enabled to contribute more toward your happiness by securing that of France. She has then a right to your first feelings, to all your cares; and I, who was but your companion in times of difficulty – I cannot ask more than a place in your affection far removed from that occupied by the Empress Maria Louisa. Not till you shall have ceased to watch by her bed, not till you are weary of embracing your son, will you take the pen to converse with your best friend – I will wait. (1)

Read all: shannonselin/what-did-napoleons-wives-think-of-each-other/ 

maandag 22 februari 2016

Adam Albert von Neipperg, Lover of Napoleon’s wife

Adam Albert von Neipperg was an Austrian nobleman, soldier and diplomat who seduced Napoleon’s second wife, Marie Louise, while Napoleon was in exile on Elba. Charged with this task by Marie Louise’s father, Emperor Francis I of Austria, Neipperg discouraged Marie Louise from joining her husband and eventually erased any feelings of loyalty Marie Louise had towards Napoleon. Count von Neipperg had three children with Marie Louise. He then quietly married her after Napoleon’s death. Together they proved to be relatively popular governors of the Duchy of Parma.

Read all:

7 things you (probably) didn’t know about the Napoleonic Wars

1) The young Napoleon showed little promise
2) The royal navy attacked a city
3) All sides understood the ‘propaganda war
4) The best way to defeat Spain was to invade Argentina
5) Nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition to end
6) The showdown at Waterloo was delayed due to rain
7) Waterloo was not the final battle against France
Read all: historyextra

donderdag 18 februari 2016

Napoleon's Catholic marriage certificate to be sold at auction

The certificate from Napoleon Bonaparte's secret religious wedding to Josephine in 1804, eight years after their civil marriage, will go under the hammer in March, the French auction house Osenat said Monday.
The document is signed and sealed by Cardinal Joseph Fesch, who presided over the clandestine wedding that took place at the behest of Pope Pius VII as a condition for his presence at Napoleon's coronation.
It is part of a collection being sold by Christopher Forbes, a US billionaire and francophile, that mainly comprises artefacts from the reign of Napoleon's nephew and heir, Napoleon III.
Read all: telegraph

Note boasts rare signatures of naNapoleon, Josephine

Full signatures from a pair of notorious lovebirds — Napoleon and Josephine — lend an otherwise routine 19th-century French marriage contract a rare prestige among other love notes on display at a high-end jewelry and antique showcase in Florida.

Just weeks after the French Senate declared him emperor, Napoleon and Josephine de Beauharnais were witnesses to the wedding of General Pierre-Augustin Hulin, who took part in the storming of the Bastille, sparking the French Revolution.

The document also is one of the first Napoleon signed with his full name, just as a monarch might today, instead of simply writing "Bonaparte" as he had before, Lowenherz said.
Read all: mysanantonio.


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