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The Life of Napoleon I (Volume 1 of 2) by Rose

Masson in his Napoleon Inconnu


[Footnote

2: As to the tenacity of Corsican devotion, I may cite a curious proof from the unpublished portion of the "Memoirs of Sir Hudson Lowe." He was colonel in command of the Royal Corsican Rangers, enrolled during the British occupation of Corsica, and gained the affections of his men during several years of fighting in Egypt and elsewhere. When stationed at Capri in 1808 he relied on his Corsican levies to defend that island against Murat's attacks; and he did not rely in vain. Though confronted by a French Corsican regiment, they remained true to their salt, even during a truce, when they could recognize their compatriots. The partisan instinct was proof against the promises of Murat's envoys and the shouts even of kith and kin.]

[Footnote 3: The facts as to the family of Napoleon's mother are given in full detail by M. Masson in his "Napoleon Inconnu," ch. i. They correct the statement often made as to her "lowly," "peasant" origin. Masson also proves that the house at Ajaccio, which is shown as Napoleon's birthplace, is of later construction, though on the same site.]

[Footnote 4: See Jacobi, "Hist. de la Corse," vol. ii., ch. viii. The whole story is told with prudent brevity by French historians, even by Masson and Chuquet. The few words in which Thiers dismisses this subject are altogether misleading.]

[Footnote 5: Much has been written to prove that Napoleon was born in

1768, and was really the eldest surviving son. The reasons, stated briefly, are: (1) that the first baptismal name of Joseph Buonaparte was merely _Nabulione_ (Italian for _Napoleon_), and that _Joseph_ was a later addition to his name on the baptismal register of January 7th, 1768, at Corte; (2) certain statements that Joseph was born at Ajaccio; (3) Napoleon's own statement at his marriage that he was born in 1768. To this it maybe replied that: (_a_) other letters and statements, still more decisive, prove that Joseph was born at Corte in 1768 and Napoleon at Ajaccio in 1769; (_b_) Napoleon's entry in the marriage register was obviously designed to lessen the disparity of years of his bride, who, on her side, subtracted four years from her age. See Chuquet, "La Jeunesse de Napoleon," p. 65.]

[Footnote 6: Nasica, "Memoires," p. 192.]

[Footnote 7: Both letters are accepted as authentic by Jung, "Bonaparte et son Temps," vol. i., pp. 84, 92; but Masson, "Napoleon Inconnu," vol. i., p. 55, tracking them to their source, discredits them, as also from internal evidence.]

[Footnote 8: Chaptal, "Mes Souvenirs sur Napoleon," p. 177.]

[Footnote 9: Joseph Buonaparte, "Mems.," vol. i., p. 29. So too Miot de Melito, "Mems.," vol. i., ch. x.]

[Footnote 10: Chaptal, "Souvenirs sur Napoleon," p. 237. See too Masson, "Napoleon Inconnu," vol. i., p. 158, note.]

[Footnote 11: In an after-dinner conversation on January 11th, 1803, with Roederer, Buonaparte exalted Voltaire at the expense of Rousseau in these significant words: "The more I read Voltaire, the more I like him: he is always reasonable, never a charlatan, never a fanatic: he is made for mature minds. Up to sixteen years of age I would have fought for Rousseau against all the friends of Voltaire. Now it is the contrary. _I have been especially disgusted with Rousseau since I have seen the East. Savage man is a dog._" ("Oeuvres de Roederer," vol. iii., p. 461.)


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