Saturday, October 15, 2011

Exile

‘…Upon the 15th of October 1815, the Northumberland reached St. Helena, which presents but an unpromising aspect to those who design it for a residence, though it may be a welcome sight to the sea-worn mariner. Its destined inhabitant, from the deck of the Northumberland, surveyed it with his spy-glass. St. James's Town, an inconsiderable village, was before him, enchased, as it were, in a valley, amid arid and scarped rocks of immense height; every platform, every opening, every gorge, was bristled with cannon. Las Cases, who stood by him, could not perceive the slightest alteration of his countenance. The orders of government had been, that Napoleon should, remain on board till a residence could be prepared suitable for the line of life he was to lead in future. But as this was likely to be a work of time, Sir George Cockburn readily undertook, on his own responsibility, to put his passengers on shore, and provide in some way for the security of Napoleon's person, until the necessary habitation should be fitted up. He was accordingly transferred to land upon the 16th of October; and thus the Emperor of France, nay, well nigh of Europe, sunk into the Recluse of St. Helena…’

Sir Walter Scott’s “The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte” provides some color to the fact of Napoleon’s reaching his final home, St. Helena, on October 15, 1815.

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