“His eyes… were very similar to those of cats”

Returning to the memoirs of Louise Murat; Louise pauses from relating the events of the last days of her parents' reign in Naples, to provide some interesting perspectives on two well-known (and controversial) figures who visited the Kingdom in 1813 and 1814, respectively: Joseph Fouché, Napoleon's notorious former Minister of Police; and Louise's aunt, Pauline …

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“We would be driven to a state of barbarism”

Continuing with Louise Murat's memoirs, we arrive at Murat's decision, in 1815, to march in support of Napoleon following his brother-in-law's triumphant return from Elba. Murat had been urged by Joseph Bonaparte to try to convince Emperor Francis of Austria to ally himself to Napoleon; but the letter Murat ends up sending Francis towards the …

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“You can never know how attached to you I am”

Today--25 March--is the shared birthday of Joachim & Caroline Murat (in 1767 & 1782, respectively), so I've put together a little something to provide some insight into their relationship. There's one period in particular during which an abundance of letters exists from Caroline to Joachim: their long separation(s) during most of 1810. Joachim and Caroline …

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“The false words attributed to him”

Emmanuel-Augustin-Dieudonné-Joseph, Count de Las Cases, was one of the few men to voluntarily accompany Napoleon into exile on Saint Helena, along with his son. There, he served the deposed Emperor as a secretary, recording numerous conversations with Napoleon and taking extensive notes, which he later turned into the Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène following his expulsion from the island …

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“They led him to his doom.”

In this excerpt from Louise Murat's memoirs, Louise discusses how her father became drawn into the cause of Italian unification, why he broke away from the Allies in 1815, and his final, disastrous campaign against Austria.  Source: Louise Murat, Souvenirs d’enfance d’une fille de Joachim Murat, pages 206-213. *** It was thus that after fall of Napoleon, tranquility was …

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“A colleague whose presence offended their gaze”

In this excerpt from Louise Murat's memoirs, Louise discusses the reconciliation between Murat and Napoleon, the political situation during the First Restoration which eventually led to her father breaking away from his new allies, and counters a number of criticisms of her father's conduct in 1815. Source: Louise Murat, Souvenirs d'enfance d'une fille de Joachim Murat, pages 196-206. …

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“The spectators roared with laughter”

In the aftermath of Murat's treaty with Austria, Naples was soon swarming with eager travelers from all over Europe--particularly English aristocrats, who, prior to the Napoleonic wars, had been regular visitors to the area. Perhaps the most famous visitor received by King Joachim and Queen Caroline during this brief, idyllic period, was the controversial Caroline …

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“This first spark of revolt might become a general inferno”

Continuing with the series of letters in Louis Murat's memoirs leading up to her father's defection from Napoleon. We left off in July 1813, with Murat writing to Napoleon prior to departing to join him for the 1813 campaign, his pride still wounded from Napoleon's treatment of him following his return from Russia. Sensing that …

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