1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bonaparte
BONAPARTE, the name of a family made famous by Napoleon I. (q.v.), emperor of the French. The French form Bonaparte was not commonly used, even by Napoleon, until after the spring of 1796. The original name was Buonaparte, which was borne in the early middle ages by several distinct families in Italy. One of these, which settled at Florence before the year 1100, divided in the 13th century into the two branches of San Miniato and Sarzana. A member of this latter, Francesco Buonaparte, emigrated in the middle of the 16th century to Corsica, where his descendants continued to occupy themselves with the affairs of law and the magistracy.
Carlo Buonaparte [Charles Marie de Bonaparte] (1746–1785), the father of Napoleon I., took his degree in law at the university of Pisa, and after the conquest of Corsica by the French became assessor to the royal court of Ajaccio and the neighbouring districts. His restless Napoleon’s father and mother. and dissatisfied nature led him to press or intrigue for other posts, and to embark in risky business enterprises which compromised the fortune of his family for many years to come. In 1764 he married Letizia Ramolino, a beautiful and high-spirited girl, aged fourteen, descended from a well-connected family domiciled in Corsica since the middle of the 15th century. The first two children, born in 1765 and 1767, died in infancy; Joseph (see below), the first son who survived, was born in 1768, and Napoleon in 1769. The latter was born in the midst of the troubles consequent on the French conquest, Letizia having recently accompanied her husband in several journeys and escapes. Her firm and courageous disposition showed itself at that trying time and throughout the whole of her singularly varied career. Simple and frugal in her tastes, and devout in thought and manner of life, she helped to bind her children to the life of Corsica, while her husband, a schemer by nature and a Voltairian by conviction, pointed the way to careers in France, the opening up of which moulded the fortunes of the family and the destinies of Europe. He died of cancer in the stomach at Montpellier in 1785.
Letizia lived to witness the glory and the downfall of her great son, surviving Napoleon I. by sixteen years. She never accommodated herself to the part she was called on to play during the Empire, and, though endowed with immense wealth and distinguished by the title of Madame Mère, lived mainly in retirement, and in the exercise of a strict domestic economy which her early privations had made a second nature to her, but which rendered her very unpopular in France and was displeasing to Napoleon. After the events of 1814 she joined the emperor in the island of Elba and was privy to his plans of escape, returning to Paris during the Hundred Days. After the final downfall of Waterloo, she took up her residence at Rome, where Pope Pius VII. treated her with great kindness and consideration, and protected her from the suspicious attentions of the powers of the Grand Alliance. In 1818 she addressed a pathetic letter to the powers assembled at the congress of Aix, petitioning for Napoleon’s release, on the ground that his mortal illness had removed any possibility of his ever again becoming a menace to the world’s peace. The letter remained unanswered, the powers having reason to believe that it was a mere political move, and that its terms had been previously concerted with Napoleon. Henceforth, saddened by the death of Napoleon, of her daughters Pauline and Elisa, and of several grandchildren, she lived a life of mournful seclusion. In 1829 she was crippled by a serious fall, and was all but blind before her death in 1836.
For the Bonaparte family in general, and Carlo and Letizia, see Storia genealogica della famiglia Bonaparte, della sua origine fino all’ estinzione del ramo già esisente nella città di S. Miniato, scritta da un Samminiatese (D. Morali) (Florence, 1846); F. de Stefani, Le antichità dei Bonaparte; precede per una introduzione (L. Beretta) (Venice, 1857); L. Ambrosini and A. Huard, La Famille impériale. Hist. de la famille Bonaparte depuis son origine jusqu’en 1860 (Paris, 1860); C. Leynadier, Histoire de la famille Bonaparte de l’an 1050 à l’an 1848 (continuée jusqu’en 1866 par de la Brugère) (Paris, 1866); A. Kleinschmidt, Die Eltern und Geschwister Napoleons I. (Berlin, 1876); D. A. Bingham, The Marriages of the Bonapartes (2 vols., London, 1881); F. Masson, Napoléon et sa famille (4 vols., Paris, 1897–1900); A. Chuquet, La Jeunesse de Napoléon (3 vols., Paris, 1897–1899); T. Nasica, Mémoires sur l’enfance et la jeunesse de Napoléon jusqu’à la âge vingt-trois ans; précédes d’une notice historique sur son père; Baron H. Larrey, Madame Mère (2 vols., Paris, 1892); Clara Tschudi, Napoleons Mutter: aus dem Norwegischen übersetzt von H. von Lenk (Leipzig, 1901).
The brothers and sisters of Napoleon I., taken in order of age, are the following:—
I. Joseph (1768–1844), was born at Corte in Corsica, on the
7th of January 1768. He was educated at the college at Autun
in France, returned to Corsica in 1784, shortly after
the death of his father, and thereafter studied law at
the university of Pisa. He became a barrister at
Napoleon’s brothers and sisters:
1. Joseph Bonaparte. Bastia in June 1788, and was soon elected a councillor of the municipality of Ajaccio. Like his brothers, Napoleon and Lucien, he embraced the French or democratic side, and on the victory of the Paolist party fled with his family from Corsica and sought refuge in France. After spending a short time in Paris, where he was disgusted with the excesses of the Jacobins, he settled at Marseilles and married Mlle Julie Clary, daughter of a merchant of that town. The Bonapartes moved from place to place, mainly with the view of concerting measures for the recovery of Corsica. Joseph took part in these efforts and went on a mission to Genoa in 1795. In 1796 he accompanied his brother Napoleon in the early part of the Italian campaign, and had some part in the negotiations with Sardinia which led to the armistice of Cherasco (April 28), the news of which he bore to the French government. Later he proceeded to Leghorn, took part in the French expedition for the recovery of Corsica, and, along with the commissioner of the French Republic, Miot de Melito, helped in the reorganization of that island. In March 1797 he was appointed by the Directory, minister to the court of Parma, and early in the summer he proceeded to Rome in the same capacity. Discords arose between the Vatican and the French Republic, and it is clear that Napoleon and the French Directory ordered Joseph to encourage revolutionary movements in Rome. On the 28th of December 1797 a disturbance took place opposite the French embassy, which led to the death of the French general, Léonard Duphot. Joseph at once left Rome, which soon became a republic. Repairing to Paris, he entered on parliamentary life, becoming one of the members for Corsica in the Council of Five Hundred. He made no mark in the chamber and retired in 1799.
Before the coup d’état of Brumaire he helped Napoleon in making overtures to Sieyès and Moreau, but otherwise did little. Thereafter he refused to enter the ministry, but became a member of the council of state and of the Corps Législatif, where his advice on the state of public opinion was frequently useful. He had a hand in the negotiations for the Concordat, but, according to Lucien Bonaparte, looked on that measure as “ill-advised and retrograde.” His services in the diplomatic sphere were more important. At Mortfontaine, his country-house, he concluded with the envoy of the United States a convention which bears that name (1800). He also presided over the negotiations which led to the treaty of Lunéville with Austria (February 9, 1801); and he and Maret represented France in the lengthy discussions with the British envoy, Lord Cornwallis, which resulted in the signature of the treaty of Amiens (March 25, 1802). This diplomatic triumph in its turn led to the consolidation of Napoleon’s power as First Consul for life (August 1, 1802) with the chief voice in the selection of his successor. On this question the brothers disagreed. As neither Joseph nor Napoleon had a male heir, the eldest brother, whose ideas of primogeniture were very strict, claimed to be recognized as heir, while Napoleon wished to recognize the son of Louis Bonaparte. On the proclamation of the French empire (May 1804) the friction became acute. Napoleon offered to make Joseph king of Lombardy if he would waive all claim of succession to the French throne, but met with a firm refusal.
Meanwhile Joseph had striven earnestly, but in vain, to avert a rupture with England, which came about in May 1803. In 1805 he acted as chief of the French government while Napoleon was campaigning in Germany. Early in 1806 he proceeded to Naples with a French force in order to expel the Bourbon dynasty from southern Italy, Napoleon adding the promise that the Neapolitan crown would be for Joseph if he chose to accept it. The conquest of the mainland was speedily effected, though Gaëta, Reggio and the rock of Scylla held out for some months. The Bourbon court retired to Sicily, where it had the protection of a British force. By the decree of the 30th of March 1806 Napoleon proclaimed Joseph king of Naples, but allowed him to keep intact his claims to the throne of France. In several letters he enjoined his brother to greater firmness in his administration: “These peoples in Italy, and in general all nations, if they do not find their masters, are disposed to rebellion and mutiny.” The memoirs of Count Miot de Melito, whom Joseph appointed minister of war, show how great were the difficulties with which the new monarch had to contend—an almost bankrupt treasury, a fickle and degraded populace, Bourbon intrigues and plots, and frequent attacks by the British from Sicily. General Stuart’s victory at Maida (July 3) shook Joseph’s throne to its base; but the surrender of Gaëta soon enabled Massena to march southwards and subdue Calabria. During his brief reign at Naples, Joseph effected many improvements; he abolished the relics of feudalism, reformed the monastic orders, reorganized the judicial, financial and educational systems, and initiated several public works. In everything he showed his desire to carry out the aims which he expressed to his consort in April 1806: “Justice demands that I should make this people as happy as the scourge of war will permit.”
From these well-meant, but not always successful, efforts he was suddenly called away by Napoleon to take the crown of Spain (May 1808). There his difficulties were far greater. Despite the benevolent intentions announced to the Spaniards in his proclamation dated Bayonne, 23rd of June 1808, all reconciliation between them and the French was impossible after Napoleon’s treatment of their de facto king, Ferdinand VII. For the varying fortunes of King Joseph in Spain and in the eventful years of the Peninsular War, see Spain and Peninsular War. His sovereignty was little more than titular. Compelled to leave Madrid hastily in August 1808, owing to the Spanish success at Baylen, he was reinstated by Napoleon at the close of the year; and he was thereafter kept in a subordinate position which led him on four occasions to offer to abdicate. The emperor took no notice of these offers, and ordered him to govern with more energy. Between February and May 1810 the emperor placed the northern and north-eastern provinces under the command of French generals as military districts, virtually independent of Joseph’s authority. Again the king protested, but in vain. As his trusted adviser, Miot de Melito, observed in his memoirs, Joseph tried to be constitutional king of Spain, whereas after the experience of the years 1808–1809 he could only succeed in the Peninsula by becoming “the mere instrument of a military power.” “Bearing a title which was only an oppressive burden, the king had in reality ceased to exist as a monarch, and barely retained some semblance of authority over a small part of the French army as a general. Reduced by the exhausted state of his treasury to the last extremity he at length seriously thought of departure.” Joseph took this step in April 1811, and proceeded to Paris in order to extort better terms, or offer his abdication; but he had to return with a monthly subsidy of 500,000 francs and the promise that the army of the centre (the smallest of the five French armies) should be under his control. Late in that year Napoleon united Catalonia to France. Wellington’s victory at Salamanca (July 22, 1812) compelled Joseph to leave his capital; and despite the retirement of the British in the autumn of that year, Joseph’s authority never fully recovered from that blow. The end of his nominal rule came in the next year, when Wellington utterly overthrew the chief French army, commanded by King Joseph and Marshal Jourdan, at Vittoria (June 21, 1813). The king fled from Spain, was disgraced by Napoleon, and received the order to retire incognito to Mortfontaine. The emperor wrote to the minister of war (July 11, 1813):—“His [Joseph’s] behaviour has never ceased bringing misfortune upon my army; it is time to make an end of it.”
Napoleon was equally dissatisfied with his brother’s conduct as lieutenant-general of France, while he himself was conducting the campaign of 1814 in the east of France. On the 30th of March, Joseph empowered Marmont to make a truce with the assailants of Paris if they should be in overpowering strength. On the surrender of the capital Joseph at once retired. The part which he played during the Hundred Days (1815) was also insignificant. It is strange that, four days after Waterloo, Napoleon should have urged him to inspirit the Chamber of Deputies with a view to a national resistance (Lettres nouvelles de Napoléon). In point of fact Joseph did little beyond seeking to further the emperor’s plans of escape to America. After the surrender of his brother to the captain of H.M.S. “Bellerophon” at Rochefort, Joseph went to the United States. Settling in Bordentown, New Jersey, he adopted the title of comte de Survilliers, and sought to promote plans for the rescue of his brother from St Helena. In 1830 he pleaded, but unsuccessfully, for the recognition of the claims of the duke of Reichstadt (king of Rome) to the French throne. He afterwards visited England, and for a time resided at Genoa and Florence. In the latter city, the cradle of his race, he died on the 28th of July 1844. In person he somewhat resembled Napoleon, but utterly lacked his strength and energy. He was fitted for an embassy or judgeship, but was too mild, supine and luxurious for the tasks thrust upon him by his brother. Yet his correspondence and memoirs prove that he retained for Napoleon warm feelings of affection.
Of the many works dealing with Joseph Bonaparte we may cite Baron A. du Casse, Mémoires et correspondance politique et militaire du roi Joseph (10 vols., Paris, 1854), and Les Rois frères de Napoléon (1883); J. S. C. Abbott, History of Joseph Bonaparte (New York, 1869); G. Bertin, Joseph Bonaparte in America; Joseph Bonaparte jugé par ses contemporains (anon.); the Memoirs of Count Miot de Melito (translation, edited by General Fleischmann, 2 vols., 1881); R. M. Johnston, The Napoleonic Empire in Southern Italy (2 vols., with an excellent bibliography, London, 1904); Correspondence of Napoleon with Joseph Bonaparte (2 vols., New York, 1856); Baron A. du Casse, Histoire des ... traités de Mortfontaine, de Lunéville et d’Amiens, &c. (1855–1857); F. Masson, Napoléon et sa famille (4 vols., Paris, 1889–1900).
II. Lucien (1775–1840), prince of Canino, was born at Ajaccio on the 21st of May 1775. He followed his elder brothers to the schools of Autun and Brienne. At that time he wished to enter the French army, but, being debarred by defective sight, was destined for the church, and2. Lucien Bonaparte with this aim in view went to the seminary at Aix in Provence (1786). His excitable and volatile disposition agreed ill with the discipline of the place, and on the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789 he eagerly espoused the democratic and anti-clerical movement then sweeping over France. On returning to Corsica he became the leading speaker in the Jacobin club at Ajaccio. Pushing even Napoleon to more decided action, Lucien urged his brothers to break with Paoli, the leader of the more conservative party, which sought to ally itself with England as against the regicide republic of France. He headed a Corsican deputation which went to France in order to denounce Paoli and to solicit aid for the democrats; but, on the Paolists gaining the upper hand, the Bonapartes left the island and joined Lucien at Toulon. In the south of France he worked hard for the Jacobinical cause, and figured as “Brutus” in the Jacobin club of the small town of St Maximin (then renamed Marathon). There on the 4th of May 1794 he married Mlle Catherine Boyer, though he was a minor and had not the consent of his family—an act which brought him into a state almost approaching disgrace and penury. The coup d’état of Thermidor (July 28, 1794) compelled the young disciple of Robespierre hurriedly to leave St Maximin, and to accept a small post at St Chamans. There he was arrested and imprisoned for a time until Napoleon’s influence procured his release, and further gained for him a post as commissioner in the French army campaigning in Germany. Lucien soon conceived a dislike for a duty which opened up no vista for his powers of oratory and political intrigue, and repaired to Corsica. In the hope of being elected a deputy of the island, he refused an appointment offered by Napoleon in the army of Egypt in 1798. His hopes were fulfilled, and in 1798 he entered the Council of Five Hundred at Paris. There his vivacious eloquence brought him into prominence, and he was president of that body on the eventful day of the 19th of Brumaire (November 10) 1799, when Napoleon overthrew the national councils of France at the palace of St Cloud. The refusal of Lucien to put the vote of outlawry, for which the majority of the council clamoured, his opportune closing of the sitting, and his appeal to the soldiers outside to disperse les représentants du poignard, turned the scale in favour of his brother.
By a strange irony this event, the chief event of Lucien’s life, was fatal to the cause of democracy of which he had been the most eager exponent. In one of his earlier letters to his brother Joseph, Lucien stated that he had detected in Napoleon “an ambition not altogether egotistic but which surpassed his love for the general weal; ... in case of a counter-revolution he would try to ride on the crest of events.” Napoleon having by his help triumphed over parliamentary institutions in France, Lucien’s suspicion of his brother became a dominant feeling; and the relations between them became strained during the period of the consulate (1799–1804). He accepted office as minister of the interior, but was soon deprived of it owing to political and personal differences with the First Consul. In order to soften the blow, Napoleon appointed him ambassador to the court of Madrid (November 1800). There again Lucien displeased his brother. France and Spain were then about to partition Portugal, and the Spanish forces were beginning to invade that land, when the court of Lisbon succeeded, owing (it is said) to the free use of bribes, in inducing Godoy, the Spanish minister, and Lucien Bonaparte to sign the preliminaries of peace on the 6th of June 1801 at Badajoz. The First Consul, finding his plans of seizing Lisbon frustrated, remonstrated with his brother, who thereupon resigned his post, and returned to Paris, there taking part in the opposition which the Tribunate offered to some of Napoleon’s schemes. Lucien’s next proceeding completed the breach between the two brothers. His wife had died in 1800; he became enamoured of a Mme Jouberthou in the early summer of 1802, made her his mistress, and finally, despite the express prohibition of the First Consul, secretly married her at his residence of Plessis (on October 23, 1803). At that time Napoleon was pressing Lucien for important reasons of state to marry the widow of the king of Etruria, and on hearing of his brother’s action he ordered him to leave French territory. Lucien departed for Italy with his wife and infant son, after annoying Napoleon by bestowing on her publicly the name of Bonaparte. He also charged Joseph never to try to reconcile Napoleon to him.
For some years he lived in Italy, chiefly at Rome, showing marked hostility to the emperor. In December 1807 the latter sought to come to an arrangement by which Lucien would take his place as a French prince, provided that he would annul his marriage. This step Lucien refused to take; and after residing for some time at his estate of Canino, from which he took the papal title of prince of Canino, he left for America. Captured by a British ship, he was taken to Malta and thence to England, where he resided under some measure of surveillance up to the peace of 1814. Returning to Rome, he offered Napoleon his help during the Hundred Days (1815), stood by his side at the “Champ de Mai” at Paris, and was the last to defend his prerogatives at the time of his second abdication. He spent the rest of his life in Italy, and died at Rome on the 29th of June 1840. His family comprised four sons and six daughters. He wrote an epic, Charlemagne, ou l’Église délivreé (2 vols., 1814), also La Vérité sur les Cent Jours and Memoirs, which were not completed.
For sources see T. Jung, Lucien Bonaparte et ses mémoires (3 vols., Paris, 1882–1883); an anonymous work, Le Prince Lucien Bonaparte et sa famille (Paris, 1888); F. Masson, Napoléon et sa famille (4 vols., Paris, 1897–1900), and H. Houssaye, ”1815” (3 vols., Paris, 1899–1905).
III. Marianne Elisa (1777–1820) was born at Ajaccio on the 3rd of January 1777. Owing to the efforts of her brothers she entered the establishment of St Cyr near Paris as a “king’s scholar.” On its disruption by the revolutionists in 1792 Napoleon took charge of her and 3. Elisa. brought her back to Ajaccio. She shared the fortunes of the family in the south of France, and on the 5th of May 1797 married Felix Bacciochi, a well-connected Corsican. In 1805, after the foundation of the French empire, Napoleon bestowed upon her the principality of Piombino and shortly afterwards Lucca; in 1808 her importunities gained for her the grand duchy of Tuscany. Bacciochi being almost a nullity, her pride and ability had a great influence on the administration and on Italian affairs in general. Her relations with Napoleon were frequently strained; and in 1813–1814 she abetted Murat in his enterprises (see Murat). After her brother’s fall she retired, with the title of countess of Compignano, first to Bologna and afterwards to Santo Andrea near Trieste, where she died on the 6th of August 1820.
See J. Turquan, Les Sœurs de Napoléon (Paris, 1896); P. Marmothan, Élisa Bonaparte (Paris, 1898); E. Rodocanachi, Élisa Bonaparte en Italie (Paris, 1900); F. Masson, Napoléon et sa famille (4 vols., Paris, 1897–1900).
IV. Louis (1778–1846) was born at Ajaccio on the 2nd of September 1778. His elder brother Napoleon supervised his education with much care, gaining for him scholarships to the royal military schools of France, and during the time when the elder brother was a lieutenant in 4. Louis Bonaparte. garrison at Auxonne Louis shared his scanty fare. In 1795 Napoleon procured for him admission to the military school at Châlons, and wrote thus of the boy:—“I am very pleased with Louis; he fulfils my hopes; intelligence, warmth, good health, talent, good address, kindness—he possesses all these qualities.” Louis went through the Italian campaign of 1796–97 with Napoleon and acted as his aide-de-camp in Egypt in 1798–99. In 1802 the First Consul married him to Hortense Beauharnais, a forced union which led to most deplorable results. In 1804 Louis was raised to the rank of general, and entered the council of state in order to perfect his knowledge of administrative affairs. In the next year he became governor of Paris and undertook various military and administrative duties.
After the victory of Austerlitz (December 2, 1805) Napoleon began to plan the formation of a ring of states surrounding, and in close alliance with, the French empire. He destined Louis for the throne of Holland, and proclaimed him king of that country on the 6th of June 1806. From the first the emperor reproached him with being too easy with his subjects and with courting popularity too much. The increasing rigour of the continental system brought the two brothers to an open rupture. Their relations were embittered by a violent jealousy which Louis conceived against his wife. In 1808 the emperor offered Louis the throne of Spain then vacant; but on Louis refusing to accept it the honour went to Joseph. The dispute between Louis and the emperor continued. In the latter part of 1809 Napoleon virtually resolved to annex Holland, in order to stop the trade which the Dutch secretly carried on with England. At the close of the year Louis went to Paris, partly in order to procure a divorce from Hortense and partly to gain better terms for Holland. He failed in both respects. In January 1810 Napoleon annexed the island of Walcheren, alleging that Louis had not done his share in defending the interests of France at the time of the British Walcheren expedition (1809). The French troops also occupied Breda and Bergen-op-Zoom. Louis gave way on all the points in dispute; but his acquiescence only postponed the crisis. After the collapse of negotiations with Great Britain in the spring of 1810, the emperor again pressed Louis hard, and finally sent French troops against the Dutch capital. Thereupon Louis, despairing of offering resistance, fled from his kingdom and finally settled at Töplitz in Bohemia. On the 9th of July 1810 Napoleon annexed Holland to the French empire. Louis spent the rest of his life separated from his wife, and in 1815 gained the custody of his elder son. He lived chiefly at Rome, concerning himself with literary and philosophic studies and with the fortunes of his sons. Their devotion to the national and democratic cause in Italy in 1830–1831 gave him much pleasure, which was overclouded by the death of the elder, Napoleon Louis, in the spring campaign of 1831 in the Romagna. The failure of his other son, Charles Louis Napoleon (afterwards Napoleon III.), to wrest the French crown from Louis Philippe by the attempts at Strassburg and Boulogne also caused him much disappointment. He died on the 25th of July 1846 and was buried at St Leu. Under more favourable conditions Louis would have gained a name for kindness and philanthropy, proofs of which did indeed appear during his reign in Holland and gained him the esteem of his subjects; but his morbid sensitiveness served to embitter his relations both of a domestic and of a political nature and to sour his own disposition. His literary works are unimportant. His sons were Napoleon Charles (1802–1807), Napoleon Louis (1804–1831), and Charles Louis Napoleon (1808–1873), afterwards emperor of the French as Napoleon III. (q.v.).
The chief works on the life and reign of Louis are le comte de Saint-Leu, Documents historiques et réflexions sur le gouvernement de Hollande 3 vols., 2nd ed., Paris, 1820); F. Rocquain, Napoléon I er et le Roi Louis, d’après les documents conservés aux archives nationales (Paris, 1875); Baron A. du Casse, Les Rois frères de Napoléon (Paris, 1883); A Garnier, La Cour de Hollande sous le règne de Louis Bonaparte, par un auditeur (Paris and Amsterdam, 1823); T. Jorissen, Napoléon I er et le roi de Hollande (1806–1813 ) d’après des documents authentiques et inédits (Paris and The Hague, 1868); V. Loosjes, Louis Bonaparte, Koning van Holland (Amsterdam, 1888); L. Wichers, De Regeering van Koning Lodewijk Napoleon (1806–1810) (Utrecht, 1892); F. Masson, Napoléon et sa famille (4 vols., Paris, 1897–1900).
V. Marie Pauline (1780–1825), the gayest and most beautiful member of the family, was born at Ajaccio on the 20th October 1780. At seventeen years of age she married General Leclerc, a staff officer of Napoleon, and accompanied him to St Domingo, where he died of yellow fever in 5. Pauline. 1802. Returning to Paris she espoused Prince Camillo Borghese (August 23, 1803) and went to reside with him in Rome. She soon tired of him, returned to Paris and gratified her whims in ways that caused some scandal. In 1806 she received the title of duchess of Guastalla. Her offhand treatment of the new empress, Marie Louise, in 1810 led to her removal from court. Nevertheless in 1814 she repaired with “Madame Mère” to Elba, and is said to have expressed a wish to share Napoleon’s exile in St Helena. She died in 1825 of cancer. Canova’s statue of her as Venus reclining on a couch is well known.
See J. Turquan, Les Sœurs de Napoléon: les princesses Élisa, Pauline et Caroline (Paris, 1896); F. Masson, Napoléon et sa famille (4 vols., Paris, 1897–1900).
VI. Maria Annunciata Caroline (1782–1839) was born at Ajaccio on the 25th of March 1782. Early in 1800 she married Joachim Murat, whose interests she afterwards advanced with all the power of her ambitious and intriguing nature. He became governor of Paris, 6. Caroline Murat. marshal of France (1804), grand duke of Berg and of Cleves (1806), lieutenant of the emperor in Spain (1808), and early in the summer of that year king of Naples. The distance of this capital from Paris displeased Caroline; her relations with Napoleon became strained, and she associated herself with the equivocal movements of her husband in 1814–1815. Before his tragic end at Pizzo on the 13th of October 1815, she had retired to Austrian territory and was placed under some measure of restraint. Finally she lived at Trieste with her sister Elisa. She died on the 18th of May 1839.
See J. Turquan, Caroline Murat, reine de Naples (Paris, 1899); F. Masson, Napoléon et sa famille (4 vols., Paris, 1897–1900). See also under Murat, Joachim.
VII. Jerome (1784–1860) was born at Ajaccio on the 15th of November 1784; he shared the fortunes of the family in the early years of the French Revolution, was then educated at Juilly and was called to the side of his brother, then First Consul of France, in 1800. Many 7. Jerome Bonaparte. stories are told illustrating his impetuous but affectionate nature. While in the Consular Guard he fought a duel with the younger brother of General Davout and was wounded. Soon afterwards he was transferred to the navy and cruised in the West Indies, until, when blockaded by a British cruiser, he left his ship and travelled through the United States. At Baltimore he fell in love with Miss Elizabeth Patterson, and, though a minor, married her. This disregard of discipline and of the laws of France greatly annoyed Napoleon; and when in 1805 Jerome brought his wife to Europe, the emperor ordered her to be excluded from his states. Jerome vainly sought to bend his brother’s will in an interview at Alexandria. In May 1805 he received command of a small squadron in the Mediterranean, while his wife proceeded to Camberwell, where she gave birth to a son. In November Jerome sailed in a squadron commanded by Admiral Willaumez, which was to ravage the West Indies; but it was scattered by a storm. After damaging British commerce in the North Atlantic, Jerome reached France with his ship in safety in August 1806. Napoleon made him a prince of France, and gave him command of a division of South Germans in the campaign of 1806. After Jena, Jerome received the surrender of several Prussian towns. An imperial decree having annulled the Patterson marriage, the emperor united Jerome to the princess Catherine of Württemberg; and in pursuance of the terms of the treaty of Tilsit (July 7, 1807) raised him to the throne of the new kingdom of Westphalia. There Jerome, though frequently rebuked by the emperor, displayed his fondness for luxury, indulged in numerous amours and ran deeply into debt. In some respects his kingdom benefited by the connexion with France. Feudalism was abolished; the Code Napoléon was introduced; the Jews were freed from repressive laws; and education received some impulse in its higher departments. But the unpopularity of Jerome’s rule was shown by the part taken by the peasants in the abortive rising headed by Baron Wilhelm von Dörnberg and other Westphalian officers in April 1809. Despite heavy taxation, the state debt increased greatly; and the sending of a contingent to Russia in 1812 brought the state to the verge of bankruptcy. In the early part of that campaign Jerome was entrusted with an important movement which might have brought the southern Russian army into grave danger; on his failure (which was probably due to his lack of energy) the emperor promptly subjected him to the control of Marshal Davout, and Jerome returned to Cassel. In 1813, on the fall of the Napoleonic régime in Germany, Jerome retired to France, and in 1814 spent some time in Switzerland and at Trieste. Returning to France in 1815, he commanded a division on the French left wing at Waterloo and attacked Hougomont with great pertinacity. On Napoleon’s second abdication Jerome proceeded to Württemberg, was threatened with arrest unless he gave up his wife and child, and was kept under surveillance at Goppingen; finally he was allowed to proceed to Augsburg, and thereafter resided at Trieste, or in Italy or Switzerland. His consort died in 1835. He returned to France in 1847, and after the rise of Louis Napoleon to power, became successively governor of the Invalides, marshal of France and president of the senate. He died on the 24th of June 1860. His children were Jerome Napoleon (see XIV.), Mathilde (see XII.) and Napoleon Joseph Charles Paul (born in 1822); the last was afterwards known as Prince Napoleon (see XI. below) and finally became the heir to the fortunes of the Napoleonic dynasty.
The chief works relating to Jerome Bonaparte are: Baron Albert du Casse, Mémoires et correspondance du roi Jérôme et de la reine Cathérine (7 vols., Paris, 1861–1866) and Les Rois frères de Napoléon (1883); M. M. Kaisenberg, Konig Jerome Napoleon; W. T. R. Saffell, The Bonaparte-Patterson Marriage; August von Schlossberger, Briefwechsel der Konigin Katharina und des Konigs Jerome von Westfalen mit Konig Friedrich von Württemberg (Stuttgart, 1886–1887), supplemented by du Casse in Corresp. inédite de la reine Cathérine de Westphalie (Paris, 1888–1893); A. Martinet, Jérôme Napoléon, roi de Westfalie (Paris, 1902); P. W. Sergeant, The Burlesque Napoleon (1905); F. Masson, Napoléon et sa famille (4 vols., Paris, 1897–1900). (J. Hl. R.)
The fortunes of the Bonaparte family may be further followed under the later biographies of its leading members, mainly descendants of Lucien (II. above) and Jerome (VII. above).
VIII. Charles Lucien Jules Laurent (1803–1857), prince
of Canino, son of Lucien Bonaparte, was a scientist rather than a
politician. He married his cousin, Zénaïde Bonaparte,
daughter of Joseph, in 1822. At the age of twenty-two
Descendants of Lucien:
8. Charles. he began the publication of an American Ornithology (4 vols., Philadelphia, 1825–1833), which established his scientific reputation. A series of other works in zoology followed: Iconographia della fauna Italica (3 vols., Rome, 1832–1841), Catalogo metodico degli uccelli europei (1 vol., Bologna, 1842), Catalogo metodico dei pesci europei (1 vol., Naples, 1845, 4to), Catalogo metodico dei mammiferi europei (1 vol., Milan, 1845), Telachorum tabula analytica (Neufchatel, 1838). He was elected honorary member of the academy of Upsala in 1833, of that of Berlin in 1843, and correspondent of the Institute of France in 1844. Towards 1847 he took part in the political agitation in Italy, and presided over scientific congresses, notably at Venice, where he declared himself in favour of the independence of Italy and the expulsion of the Austrians. He entered the Junto of Rome in 1848 and was elected deputy by Viterbo to the national assembly. The failure of the revolution forced him to leave Italy in July 1849. He gained Holland, then France, where he turned again to science. His principal works were, Conspectus systematis ornithologiae, mastozologiae, erpetologiae et amphibologiae, Ichthyologiae (Leiden, 1850), Tableau des oiseaux-mouches (Paris, 1854), Ornithologie fossile (Paris, 1858). Eight children survived him: Joseph Lucien Charles Napoleon, prince of Canino (1824–1865), who died without heirs; Lucien Louis Joseph Napoleon, born in 1828, who took holy orders in 1853 and became a cardinal in 1868; Julie Charlotte Zénaïde Pauline Laetitia Désirée Bartholomée, who married the marquis of Roccagiovine; Charlotte Honorine Josephine, who married Count Primoli; Marie Désirée Eugénie Josephine Philomène, who married the count Campello; Auguste Amélie Maximilienne Jacqueline, who married Count Gabrielli; Napoleon Charles Grégoire Jacques Philippe, born in 1839, who married the princess Ruspoli, by whom he had two daughters; and Bathilde Aloyse Léonie, who married the comte de Cambacérès. The branch is now extinct.
IX. Louis Lucien (1813–1891), son of Lucien Bonaparte, was born at Thorngrove, Worcestershire, England, on the 4th of January 1813. He passed his youth in England, not going to France until 1848, when, after the revolution, 9. Louis Lucien. he was elected deputy for Corsica on the 28th of November 1848; his election having been invalidated, he was returned as deputy for the Seine in June 1849. He sat in the right of the Legislative Assembly, but had no direct part in the coup d’état of his cousin on the 2nd of December 1851. Napoleon III. named him senator and prince, but he took hardly any part in politics during the Second Empire, and after the proclamation of the Third Republic in 1870 he withdrew to England. There he busied himself with philology, and published notably some works on the Basque language: Grammaire basque, Remarques sur plusieurs assertions concernant la langue basque (1876), Observations sur le basque Fontarabie (1878). He died on the 3rd of November 1891, leaving no children.
X. Pierre Napoleon (1815–1881), son of Lucien Bonaparte, was born at Rome on the 12th of September 1815. He began his life of adventure at the age of fifteen, joining the insurrectionary bands in the Romagna (1830–1831); 10. Pierre. was then in the United States, where he went to join his uncle Joseph, and in Colombia with General Santander (1832). Returning to Rome he was taken prisoner by order of the pope (1835–1836). He finally took refuge in England. At the revolution of 1848 he returned to France and was elected deputy for Corsica to the Constituent Assembly. He declared himself an out-and-out republican and voted even with the socialists. He pronounced himself in favour of the national workshops and against the loi Falloux. His attitude contributed greatly to give popular confidence to his cousin Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III.), of whose coup d’état on the 2nd of December 1851 he disapproved; but he was soon reconciled to the emperor, and accepted the title of prince. The republicans at once abandoned him. From that time on he led a debauched life, and lost all political importance. He turned to literature and published some mediocre poems. In January 1870 a violent incident brought him again into prominence. As the result of a controversy with Paschal Grousset, the latter sent him two journalists to provoke him to a duel. Pierre Bonaparte took them personally to account, and during a violent discussion he drew his revolver and killed one of them, Victor Noir. This crime greatly excited the republican press, which demanded his trial. The High Court acquitted him, and criticism then fell upon the government. Pierre Bonaparte died in obscurity at Versailles on the 7th of April 1881. He had married the daughter of a Paris working-man, Justine Eleanore Ruffin, by whom he had, before his marriage, two children: (1) Roland Napoleon, born on the 19th of May 1858, who entered the army, was excluded from it in 1886, and then devoted himself to geography and scientific explorations; (2) Jeanne, wife of the marquis de Vence.
XI. Napoleon Joseph Charles Paul, commonly known
as Prince Napoleon, or by the sobriquet of “Plon-Plon,”
(1822–1891), was the second son of Jerome Bonaparte,
king of Westphalia, by his wife Catherine, princess
of Württemberg, and was born at Trieste on the
Descendants of Jerome:
11. Prince Napoleon (Plon-Plon). 9th of September 1822. He soon rendered himself popular by his advanced democratic ideas, which he expressed on all possible occasions. After the French revolution of 1848 he was elected to the National Assembly as a representative of Corsica, and (his elder brother, Jerome Napoleon Charles, dying in 1847) assumed the name of Jerome. Notwithstanding his ostensible opposition to the coup d’état of 1851, he was designated, upon the establishment of the Empire, as successor to the throne if Napoleon III. should die childless, and received a liberal dotation, but was allowed no share in public affairs. Privately he professed himself the representative of the Napoleonic tradition in its democratic aspect, and associated mainly with men of advanced political opinions. At court he represented the Liberal party against the empress Eugénie. In 1854 he took part in the Crimean campaign as general of division. His conduct at the battle of the Alma occasioned imputations upon his personal courage, but they seem to have been entirely groundless. Returning to France he undertook the chief direction of the National Exhibition of 1855, in which he manifested great capacity. In 1858 he was appointed minister for the Colonies and Algeria, and his administration aroused great hopes, but his activity was diverted into a different channel by his sudden marriage in January 1859 with the princess Marie Clotilde of Savoy, daughter of Victor Emmanuel, a prelude to the war for the liberation of Italy. In this war Prince Napoleon commanded the French corps that occupied Tuscany, and it was expected that he would become ruler of the principality, but he refused to exert any pressure upon the inhabitants, who preferred union with the Italian kingdom. The next few years were chiefly distinguished by remarkable speeches which displayed the prince in the unexpected character of a great orator. Unfortunately his indiscretion equalled his eloquence: one speech (1861) sent him to America to avoid a duel with the duke d’Aumale; another (1865), in which he justly but intemperately protested against the Mexican expedition, cost him all his official dignities. Nevertheless he was influential in effecting the reform by which in 1869 it was sought to reconcile the Empire with Liberal principles. The fatal war of 1870 was resolved upon during his absence in Norway, and was strongly condemned by him. After the first disasters he undertook an ineffectual mission to Italy to implore the aid of his father-in-law; and after the fall of the Empire lived in comparative retirement until in 1879 the death of Napoleon III.’s son, the Prince Imperial (see XIII. below), made him direct heir to the Napoleonic succession. His part as imperial pretender was unfortunate and inglorious: his democratic opinions were unacceptable to the imperial party, and before his death he was virtually deposed in favour of his son Prince Napoleon Victor, who, supported by Paul de Cassagnac and others, openly declared himself a candidate for the throne in 1884. He died at Rome on the 17th of March 1891. In the character of his intellect, as in personal appearance, he bore an extraordinary resemblance to the first Napoleon, possessing the same marvellous lucidity of insight, and the same gift of infallibly distinguishing the essential from the non-essential. He was a warm friend of literature and art, and in a private station would have achieved high distinction as a man of letters.
His eldest son, Prince Napoleon Victor Jérome Frédéric (b. 1862), became at his death the recognized head of the French Bonapartist party. The second son, Prince Louis Napoleon, an officer in the Russian army, showed a steadier disposition, and was more favoured in some monarchist quarters; in 1906 he was made governor of the Caucasus.
XII. Mathilde Letitia Wilhelmine (1820–1904), daughter of Jerome, and sister of Prince Napoleon (XI.), was born at Trieste on the 20th of May 1820; after being almost betrothed to her cousin Louis Napoleon, in 1840 she was married to Prince Anatole Demidov. His conduct, 12. Mathilde. however, led to a separation within five years, and the tsar Nicholas compelled him to make Princess Mathilde a handsome allowance. After the election of Louis Napoleon to the presidency of the republic she took up her residence in Paris, and did the honours of the Élysée till his marriage. She continued to live in Paris, having great influence as a friend and patron of men of art and letters, till her death on the 2nd of January 1904.
XIII. Napoleon Eugene Louis Jean Joseph (1856–1879), Prince Imperial, only son of the emperor Napoleon III. and the empress Eugénie, was born at Paris on the 16th of March 1856. He was a delicate boy, but when the war of 1870 broke out his mother sent him to the army, 13. Prince Imperial: son of Napoleon III. to win popularity for him, and the government journals vaunted his bravery. After the first defeats he had to flee from France with the empress, and settled in England at Chislehurst, completing his military education at Woolwich. On the death of his father on the 9th of January 1873 the Imperialists proclaimed him Napoleon IV., and he became the official Pretender. He was naturally inactive, but he was influenced by his mother on the one hand, and by the Bonapartist leaders in France on the other. They thought that he should win his crown by military prestige, and he was persuaded to attach himself as a volunteer to the English expedition to Zululand in February 1879. It was a blunder to have allowed him to go, and the blunder ended in a tragedy, for while out on a reconnaissance with a few troopers they were surprised by Zulus, and the Prince Imperial was killed (June 1, 1879). His body was brought back to England, and buried at Chislehurst.
XIV. The Bonapartes of Baltimore are a branch of the family settled in America, descended from Jerome Bonaparte (VII.) by his union with Elizabeth (b. 1785), daughter of William Patterson, a Baltimore merchant, probably descended from the Robert Paterson who was the original of Sir Walter Scott’s “Old Mortality.” The marriage took place at Baltimore on the 24th of December 1803, but it was greatly disliked by Napoleon, who refused to recognize its legality. However, it was valid according to American law, and Pope Pius VII. refused to declare it void. Nevertheless Jerome was forced by his brother to separate himself from his wife, whom he had brought to Europe, and after a stay in England Madame Patterson, or Madame Bonaparte, as she was usually called, returned to Baltimore. She died in 1879. Jerome’s only child by this marriage was Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte (1805–1870), who was born in England, but resided chiefly in Baltimore, and is said to have shown a marked resemblance to his uncle, the great emperor. He was on good terms with Jerome, who for some time made him a large allowance, and father and son occasionally met. His elder son, also called Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte (1832–1893), entered the French army, with which he served in the Crimea and in Italy.
Charles Joseph Bonaparte (b. 1851), younger son of the first Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, and a grandson of Jerome, king of Westphalia, attained a distinguished place in American politics. Born at Baltimore on the 9th of June 1851 and educated at Harvard University, he became a lawyer in 1874 and has been president of the National Municipal League and has filled other public positions. He was secretary of the navy in President Roosevelt’s cabinet from July 1905 to December 1906, and then attorney-general of the United States until March 1909.
- Derived, it is supposed, from the nickname “Plomb-plomb,” or “Craint-plomb” (fear-lead), given him by his soldiers in the Crimea.