July 4 1815: Happy Fourth of July


“What is the present state of things in Europe, at this time and what it may be when you receive this, is unknown to us. Their horizon seems overspread with clouds, and whether The storm may pass away, or burst on their heads seems uncertain. If the latter, they have long scenes of misery to go through, and not without risk of involving us, and certainty of embarrassing our communications with them. But I hope for peace. I trust that the allied powers will be sensible that they have neither the right nor the power to impose on France a ruler which she rejects, or to displace one who, from being originally an Usurper, seems now to have become a legitimate despot, by the will of the great body of the nation. They have rejected their king Log, and preferred a kite. They have a right to be eaten, if they chuse it. Altho’ war seems to be one of the obstacles which nature has provided against the too great multiplication of the human species, and therefore can never be expected to be entirely done away, yet there is still room enough in the world for many more than are yet living, and we may therefore, without irreligion, pray for peace, which, while it lengthens the lives of many, gives comfort & prosperity to the general mass.”

— Thomas Jefferson writes to  George Ticknor, July 4 1815. Continue reading

July 2 1815: Secret Orders to Capture Napoleon


On July 2 1815, Admiral Sir Edward Thornborough writes to William Mounsey, the Captain of the Feurieuse, with secret orders in case Napoleon is captured.

Sir – In reference to my orders to you of yesterday’s date relative to Napoleon Buonaparte I am to acquaint you a proposition has reached His Majesty’s Government from the present rulers of France demanding a passport and safe conduct for Buonaparte and his Family to proceed to America. In this proposition His Majesty’s Government have returned a negative answer and it now seems more probable than ever that Buonaparte will endeavor to effect his Escape either to England or what is more likely to America. Continue reading

July 1 1815: Our Independence Is Strengthened

On July 1 1815 Thomas McKean, in Philadelphia, writes to John Adams. Thomas McKean was a very prominent American politician of the time. He  was a delegate to the Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, was President of Congress, President of Delaware, Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, and Governor of Pennsylvania. Continue reading

June 29 1815: Napoleon Says Goodbye to His Mother 

“On the 29th [ June 1815] Napoleon was told by Fouché’s emissaries, Decrès and Boulay de la Meurthe, that the government had released two frigates, the Saale and Méduse, for his use, and that since the Prussians were approaching he needed to leave Malmaison. Pausing only to visit the room in which Josephine had died, and to say goodbye to his mother and Hortense for the last time, he left the house with Bertrand and Savary at 5.30 p.m. (Ferdinand, Napoleon’s premier chef, chose not to go with him as he had not been paid what he had been promised when he went to Elba.) ‘If I had gone to America,’ Napoleon later mused, ‘we might have founded a State there.’”

Napoleon the Great by Andrew Roberts

June 29 1815: Wellington Not an Executioner 

On June 28 1815, the Duke of Wellington writes Sir Charles Stuart, G.C.B.

My Dear Stuart, I send you my dispatches, which will make you acquainted with the state of affairs. You may show them to Talleyrand if you choose.

‘General ________ has been here this day to negociate for Napoleon’s passing to America, to which proposition I have answered that I have no authority. The Prussians think the Jacobins wish to give him over to me, believing that I will save his life. Blücher wishes to kill him; but I have told him that I shall remonstrate, and shall insist upon his being disposed of by common accord. I have likewise said that, as a private friend, I advised him to have nothing to do with so foul a transaction; that he and I had acted too distinguished parts in these transactions to become executioners; and that I was determined that if the Sovereigns wished to put him to death they should appoint an executioner, which should not be me. Continue reading