Sunday, February 26, 2012

Escape from Elba

‘At length Mariotti, the French consul at Leghorn, and Spannoki, the Tuscan governor of that town, informed Sir Niel Campbell that it was certainly determined at Elba, that Buonaparte, with his guards, should embark for the Continent. Sir Neil was at Leghorn when he received this intelligence, and had left the Partridge sloop of war to cruise round Elba. It was naturally concluded that Italy was the object of Napoleon, to join with his brother-in-law Murat, who was at that time, fatally for himself, raising his banner.

On the 25th of February [1815], the Partridge having come to Leghorn and fetched off Sir Niel Campbell, the appearance, as the vessel approached Porto Ferrajo on her return, of the national guard on the batteries, instead of the crested grenadiers of the Imperial guard, at once apprised the British resident of what had happened. When he landed, he found the mother and sister of Buonaparte in a well-assumed agony of anxiety about the fate of their Emperor, of whom they affected . to know nothing, except that he had steered towards the coast of Barbary. They appeared extremely desirous to detain Sir Niel Campbell on shore. Resisting their entreaties, and repelling the more pressing arguments of the governor, who seemed somewhat disposed to use force to prevent him from re-embarking, the British envoy regained his vessel, and set sail in pursuit of the adventurer. But it was too late; the Partridge only obtained a distant sight of the flotilla, after Buonaparte and his forces had landed.’

From Walter Scott’s “The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte”.  Napoleon’s hundred days began February 26, 1815.

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