July 30 1815: Crowd of Boats

“On Sunday, the 30th of July, the crowd of boats was greater than I ever remember to have seen at one time. I am certain I speak within bounds when I state, that upwards of a thousand were collected round the ship, in each of which, on an average, there were not fewer than eight people. The crush was so great, as to render it quite impossible for the guard-boats to keep them off; though a boat belonging to one of the frigates made use of very violent means to effect it, frequently running against small boats, containing women, with such force as nearly to upset them, and alarming the ladies extremely. The French officers were very indignant at such rude proceedings, saying, “Is this your English liberty? Were such a thing to happen in France, the men would rise with one accord and throw that officer and his crew overboard.”

After the ship’s arrival in England, Buonaparte seldom left the cabin earlier than five o’clock in the afternoon; passing his time in walking up and down the after-cabin, reading a great deal,[8] and often falling asleep on the sopha, having within these two or three years become very lethargic.

I this day informed him, that Lord Keith had received an intimation, that Sir Henry Bunbury, one of the Under Secretaries of State, was to arrive in the course of the day with the decision of the British Government as to his future disposal. He asked me many questions, but, although Lord Keith had acquainted me that Buonaparte was to go to St Helena, he had at the same time desired me not to communicate this information, and I was therefore obliged to evade his interrogatories as I best could.

In the newspapers of this day there appeared the lists of persons proscribed by the Government of France. Among the first class were the names of Bertrand, Savary, and Lallemand: the first treated it with derision, the two others appeared much alarmed, and often asked me if I thought it possible the British Government would deliver them up to Louis. I said, “Decidedly not; you have been received on board an English man of war, and it never can be the intention of the Ministers to deliver you over to punishment.” They were not, however, satisfied by any means; and a French frigate, bearing the white flag, which lay in Hamoaze, was an object of much jealousy to them.

— Captain Maitland of H.M.S. Bellerophon writes about July 30 1815.

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