Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jerome Bonaparte

'The real cause of seizing the territories of an unoffending prince [the landgrave of Hesse-Cassel], who was totally helpless, unless in so far as right or justice could afford him protection. was Bonaparte's previous resolution, already hinted at, to incorporate Hesse-Cassel with the adjacent territories, for the purpose of forming a kingdom to be conferred on his youngest brother Jerome. This young person bore a gay and dissipated character; and, though such men may at times make considerable sacrifices for the indulgence of transient passion, they are seldom capable of retaining for a length of time a steady affection for an object, however amiable. Jerome Bonaparte, as before stated, had married an American young lady, distinguished for her beauty and her talents, and had thus lost the countenance of Napoleon, who maintained the principle, that, segregated as his kindred were from the nation at large, by their connexion with him, his rank, and his fortunes, they were not entitled to enter into alliances according to the dictates of their own feelings, but were bound to form such as were most suitable to his policy. Jerome was tempted by ambition finally to acquiesce in this reasoning, and sacrificed the connexion which his heart had chosen, to become the tool of his brother's ever extending schemes of ambition. The reward was the kingdom of Westphalia, to which was united Hesse-Cassel, with the various provinces which Prussia had possessed in Franconia, Westphalia Proper, and Lower Saxony; as also the territories of the unforlunate Duke of Brunswick. Security could be scarcely supposed to attend upon a sovereignty, where the materials were acquired by public rapine, and the crown purchased by domestic infidelity.'

Jerome, the youngest of Napoleon's brothers, was born on November15, 1784.  His reign as King of Westphalia began in July of 1807, when Napoleon created the realm.  It ended in 1813, when allied Russian and Prussian forces subdued the kingdom, which was reabsorbed in German states.  The text above comes from Walter Scott's "Life of Napoleon Buonaparte".

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