Description

    Manuscript Archive Regarding Napoleon's Arrival at Elba An Autograph Letter Signed by Alexis Boyer, French anatomist and Napoleon's surgeon, 7pp., 4.75" x 7.25", in French, May 4-8, 1814, written to a Mr. Grassier. A remarkable first-hand and day-by-day account of Napoleon's arrival at the island of Elba to take charge of his new Kingdom, reading in part: "A very extraordinary event, which was most unexpected, has drawn the attention of all Europe to the Country where I live... you will certainly be interested to learn what I can tell you about the man who has ruled over us to this day. On April 28th an aide-de-camp of the Minister of War arrived here on an English frigate. He was under orders to receive His Majesty the Emperor, to install him, to hoist the white flag (of the House of Bourbon), and to proclaim our adherence to the new government. Despite the astonishment caused by such an extraordinary and so swift a change the Governor submitted to the orders of Louis XVIII. Since that time we were in the expectation of seeing the arrival of the man who had renounced the French crown...Last night towards six o'clock coming to this town, there was an English frigate dispatching a skiff that landed at the port. The boat had on board an Austrian General, and Englishman (Colonel), a Russian (aide-de-camp), the French General Drouot, a Polish Colonel, and several officers of the British Navy. That boat announced that the frigate just arriving had on board the Emperor Napoleon. Preparations for his reception were immediately undertaken, and a part of the Army staff went aboard the ship; I was in the reception committee. He received us in the council room of the frigate. He talked to each of us and declared his desire to sleep on board and not to come ashore until 2 p.m. today. He ordered the Sub-Prefect to convoke the mayors of the different communities of the island, and the vicary to assemble all the parish priests, and finally all the senior clerks to assemble their subordinates. The morning was spent in formal preparation of a gorgeous display and in drawing up the minutes of the transfer of the island of which General Drouot took possession in the name of the Emperor. It was then taken care to procure the lodgings for the different people who accompanied him...At three o'clock the cannons of the forts and man-of-war, anchored at the roadstead, announced the landing of His Majesty. A new flag particular to the island was hoisted on all the forts... At the Emperor's landing the Mayor presented him with the keys to the city, which he received and immediately gave back... he was accompanied to the Town Hall while the bells were ringing, and the guns and cries of 'Long live the Emperor' sounded...The 5th His Majesty left his palace at 5 o'clock and inspected the fortification, the barracks, the magazines, and all the military establishments...At 2 o'clock he set free the prisoners who had rioted when the enemy was approaching...The 6th His Majesty inspected the iron mine of Rio, two miles from here. He was still accompanied by the same persons. The English frigate saluted him with cannon-shots. The 7th ...His Majesty went out to pay a visit to the barracks, the officers' mess, the mess of the artillery pioneers, and the military hospital. He asked me about everything having to do with my service. He was apparently very satisfied with the management of the hospital and of the care the sick receive. I was afraid that he would ask me from what country I came, a question he asked everyone; in view of the fact that he had been very badly treated by the people of Provence and that he had many reasons for complaining about the behavior the Provenceaux had shown him. His Majesty moved around all day, he is always on his feet, and we have had the pleasure for three days of seeing him on our crossroads. At five o'clock His Majesty sailed to meet an English frigate which arrived from Genoa at six o'clock. [In Provence, Napoleon had been mobbed, stoned, hung in effigy, and roundly terrified.] The 8th His Majesty left for Longone this morning; it is two miles from here. A great celebration is being prepared there. There will be a ball. We are assured that he will not be back until tomorrow... He arrived at Frejus on the 26th. He was accompanied by an English Colonel, and Austrian General, and a Russian aide-de-camp. The two former ones are still here, the latter one left immediately for Paris. The French men in his entourage are the Lord High Steward Count Bertrand, the Artillery Division General Drouot, a Polish Colonel, Mr. Fouteau, his physician; and his treasurer. His mameluke has left him. Not a single surgeon wanted to follow him (the emperor). He has met with much ingratitude. His heart mush have suffered from the estrangement of persons whom he had honored by his friendship and his favors. We are positively told that six or eight hundred men of his Old Guard will come here. His Majesty offers great benefits to those of the garrison who want to stay. It was suggested to me to stay here as his First Surgeon. That is not astonishing. He has no surgeon, and I am here the First one on the island. The salaries are ten thousand francs per year; 20 thousand francs for the full livery, the table and lodgings. It does not tempt me because, though on one side it offers great advantages, it has many inconveniences, which I foresee vaguely, on the other side..." A rich narrative, and valuable primary source for the historical record. Comes with the original transmittal envelope. Letter and envelope are stamped with the name a previous owner; on the whole, in very fine condition.

    Also included is an Autograph Manuscript Signed in French, 2pp, 6" x 8", May 4, 1814, being a transcription of the proclamation addressed to the inhabitants of the Isle of Elba by the Commanding General. In Boyer's hand, in part: "People of the Isle of Elba: The vicissitudes of human life have brought the Emperor Napoleon into your midst, and by his choice he becomes your sovereign. Before making his home among you your august and new sovereign addressed to me the following words which I am eager to let you know because they are the pledge of your future happiness. 'General, I have sacrificed my rights in the interest of the country, and I have reserved for myself the sovereignty and ownership of the Isle of Elba. This has been consented to by all the powers. Will you, please, inform the inhabitants of the new state of things and of the choice I have made in adopting their island as my dwelling place because of their manners and customs and their climate. Tell them that they will be the constant object of my most intense concern.' People of Elba! Those words need no comment. They determine your destiny. The Emperor judged you justly. I owe you this acknowledgement, and I render it to you. Inhabitants of the Isle of Elba! Soon I shall leave you. That separation will be a painful one for me because I love you sincerely. But the knowledge that you will be happy sweetens the bitterness of my departure, and whatever good luck I shall still have, it will always bring this island close to me by the reminiscence of the virtues of its people and the good wishes I have for them. Porto Ferrajo, May 4, 1814. The Brigadier General [signed] Identical copy: The Chief of Staff of the Island Boyer" The manuscript is stamped with the name of the former owner; and is on the whole, in very fine condition.

    This archive of Napoleonic material lastly includes a partly-printed medical certificate signed by Boyer for a wounded army officer, in French, 1p., 7" x 9.75", Parma, November 25, 1807. This document further supports Boyer's acknowledged service to the French Empire as a surgeon. Stamped with the name of the former owner; on the whole, in very fine condition.


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