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“As soon as the Abbé Coquereau had recited the prayers, the coffin was removed with the greatest care, and carried by the engineer-soldiers, bareheaded, into a tent that had been prepared for the purpose. After the religious ceremonies, the inner coffins were opened. The outermost coffin was slightly injured: then came one of lead, which was in good condition, and enclosed two others — one of tin and one of wood. The last coffin was lined inside with white satin, which, having become detached by the effect of time, had fallen upon the body, and enveloped it like a winding-sheet, and had become slightly attached to it.
“It is difficult to describe with what anxiety and emotion those who were present waited for the moment which was to expose to them all that death had left of Napoleon. Notwithstanding the singular state of preservation of the tomb and coffins, we could scarcely hope to find any thing but some misshapen remains of the least perishable part of the costume to evidence the identity of the body. But when Doctor Guillard raised the sheet of satin, an indescribable feeling of surprise and affection was expressed by the spectators, many of whom burst into tears. The Emperor was himself before their eyes! The features of the face, though changed, were perfectly recognized; the hands extremely beautiful; his well-known costume had suffered but little, and the colors were easily distinguished. The attitude itself was full of ease, and but for the fragments of the satin lining which covered, as with a fine gauze, several parts of the uniform, we might have believed we still saw Napoleon before us lying on his bed of state. General Bertrand and M. Marchand, who were both present at the interment, quickly pointed out the different articles which each had deposited in the coffin and remained in the precise position in which they had previously described them to be.
“The two inner coffins were carefully closed again; the old leaden
coffin was strongly blocked up with wedges of wood, and both were once more soldered up with the most minute precautions, under the direction of Doctor Guillard. These different operations being terminated, the ebony sarcophagus was closed as well as its oak case. On delivering the key of the ebony sarcophagus to Count de Chabot, the King's Commissioner, Captain Alexander declared to him, in the name of the Governor, that this coffin, containing the mortal remains of the Emperor Napoleon, was considered as at the disposal of the French Government from that day, and from the moment at which it should arrive at the place of embarkation, towards which it was about to be sent under the orders of General Middlemore. The King's Commissioner replied that he was charged by his Government, and in its name, to accept the coffin from the hands of the British authorities, and that he and the other persons composing the French mission were ready to follow it to James Town, where the Prince de Joinville, superior commandant of the expedition, would be ready to receive it and conduct it on board his frigate. A car drawn by four horses, decked with funereal emblems, had been prepared before the arrival of the expedition, to receive the coffin, as well as a pail, and all the other suitable trappings of mourning. When the sarcophagus was placed on the car, the whole was covered with a magnificent imperial mantle brought from Paris, the four corners of which were borne by Generals Bertrand and Gourgaud, Baron Las Cases and M. Marchand. At half-past three o'clock the funeral car began to move, preceded by a chorister bearing the cross, and by the Abbé Coquereau. M. de Chabot acted as chief mourner. All the authorities of the island, all the principal inhabitants, and the whole of the garrison, followed in procession from the tomb to the quay. But with the exception of the artillerymen necessary to lead
the horses, and occasionally support the car when descending some steep parts of the way, the places nearest the coffin were reserved for the French mission. General Middlemore, although in a weak state of health, persisted in following the whole way on foot, together with General Churchill, chief of the staff in India, who had arrived only two days before from Bombay. The immense weight of the coffins, and the unevenness of the road, rendered the utmost carefulness necessary throughout the whole distance. Colonel Trelawney commanded in person the small detachment of artillerymen who conducted the car, and, thanks to his great care, not the slightest accident took place. From the moment of departure to the arrival at the quay, the cannons of the forts and the “Belle Poule’ fired minute-guns. After an hour's march, the rain ceased for the first time since the commencement of the operations; and on arriving in sight of the town, we found a brilliant sky and beautiful weather. From the morning, the three French vessels of war had assumed the usual signs of deep mourning: their yards crossed and their flags lowered. Two French merchantmen, “Bonne Amie' and “Indien,” which had been in the roads for two days, had put themselves under the Prince's orders, and followed during the ceremony all the manoeuvres of the “Belle Poule.’ The forts of the town, and the houses of the consuls, had also their flags half-mast high. “On arriving at the entrance of the town, the troops of the garrison and the militia formed in two lines as far as the extremity of the quay. According to the order for mourning prescribed for the English army, the men had their arms reversed, and the officers had crape on their arms, with their swords reversed. All the inhabitants had been kept away from the line of march, but they lined the terraces commanding the town, and
troops, the 91st Regiment being on the right, and the militia on the left. The cortége advanced slowly between two ranks of soldiers to the sound of a funeral march, while the cannons of the forts were fired, as well as those of the “Belle Poule,” and the ‘Dolphin ; ' the echoes being repeated a thousand times by the rocks above James Town. After two hours' march, the cortége stopped at the end of the quay, where the Prince de Joinville had stationed himself at the head of the officers of the three French ships of war. The greatest official honors had been rendered by the English authorities to the memory of the Emperor—the most striking testimonials of respect had marked the adieu given by St. Helena to his coffin ; and from this moment the mortal remains of the Emperor were about to belong to France. When the funeral-car stopped, the Prince de Joinville advanced alone, and in presence of all around, who stood with their heads uncovered, received, in a solemn manner, the imperial coffin from the hands of General Middlemore. His Royal Highness then thanked the Governor, in the name of France, for all the testimonials of sympathy and respect with which the authorities and inhabitants of St. Helena had surrounded the memorable ceremonial. A cutter had been expressly prepared to receive the coffin. During the embarkation, which the Prince directed himself, the bands played funeral-airs, and all the boats were stationed round with their oars shipped. The moment the sarcophagus touched the cutter, a magnificent royal flag, which the ladies of James Town had embroidered for the occasion, was unfurled, and the “Belle Poule’ immediately squared her masts and unfurled her colors. All the manoeuvres of the frigate were immediately followed by the other vessels. Our mourning had ceased with the exile of Napoleon, and the French naval division dressed itself ceive the imperial coffin under the French flag. The sarcophagus was covered in the cutter with the imperial mantle. The Prince de Joinville placed himself at the rudder, Commandant Guyet at the head of the boat; Generals Bertrand and Gourgaud, Baron Las Cases, M. Marchand, and the Abbé Coquereau occupied the same places as during the march. Count Chabot and Commandant Hernoux were astern, a little in advance of the Prince. As soon as the cutter had pushed off from the quay, the batteries ashore fired a salute of twenty-one guns, and our ships returned the salute with all their artillery. Two other salutes were fired during the passage from the quay to the frigate; the cutter advancing very slowly, and surrounded by the other boats. At half-past six o'clock, it reached the “Belle Poule,” all the men being on the yards with their hats in their hands. The Prince had arranged on the deck a chapel, decked with flags and trophies of arms, the altar being placed at the foot of the mizzenmast. The coffin, carried by our sailors, passed between two ranks of officers with drawn swords, and was placed on the quarter-deck. The absolution was pronounced by the Abbé Coquereau the same evening. Next day, at ten o'clock, a solemn mass was celebrated on the deck, in presence of the officers and part of the crews of the ships. His Royal Highness stood at the foot of the coffin. The cannon of the ‘Favorite” and ‘Oreste’ fired minute-guns during this ceremony, which terminated by a solemn absolution; and the Prince de Joinville, the gentlemen of the mission, the officers, and the premiers maitres of the ship, sprinkled holy water on the coffin. At eleven, all the ceremonies of the church were accomplished, all the honors done to a sovereign had been paid to the mortal remains of Napoleon. The coffin was carefully lowered between decks, and placed in the chapelle ardente which had been pre
the streets were occupied only by the out in all its festal ornaments to re
pared at Toulon for its reception. At this moment, the vessels fired a last
salute with all their artillery, and the
frigate took in her flags, keeping up only her flag at the stern and the royal standard at the maintopgallantmast. On Sunday, the 18th, at eight in the morning, the “Belle Poule' quitted St. Helena with her precious deposit on board. “During the whole time that the mission remained at James Town, the best understanding never ceased to exist between the population of the island and the French. The Prince de Joinville and his companions met in all quarters and at all times with the greatest good-will and the warmest testimonials of sympathy. The authorities and the inhabitants must have felt, no doubt, great regret at seeing taken away from their island the coffin that had rendered it so cele. brated; but they repressed their feel. ings with a courtesy that does honol to the frankness of their character.”
for the sake of the individual interest of the landlady in question, it must have been satisfactory to her to find that the peculiarity of her position was so delicately appreciated by the august Prince who commanded the expedition, and carried away with him animae dimidium suae — the half of the genteel independence which she derived from the situation of her hotel. In a word, politeness and friendship could not be carried further. The Prince’s realm and the landlady's were bound together by the closest ties of amity. M. Thiers was Minister of France, the grea; patron of the English alliance. At London M. Guizot was the worthy representative of the French good-will towards the British people; and the remark frequently made by our orators at public dinners, that “France and England, while united, might defy the world,” was considered as likely to hold good for many years to come, – the union that is. As for defying the world, that was neither here nor there; nor did English politicians ever dream of doing any such thing, except perhaps at the tenth glass of port at “Freemason’s Tavern.” Little, however, did Mrs. Corbett, the Saint Helena landlady, little did his Royal Highness Prince Ferdinand Philip Marie de Joinville, know what was going on in Europe all this time (when I say in Europe, I mean in Turkey, Syria, and Egypt); how clouds, in fact, were gathering upon what you call the political horizon; and how tempests were rising that were to blow to pieces our AngloGallic temple of friendship. Oh, but it is sad to think that a single wicked old Turk should be the means of setting our two Christian nations by the ears 1 Yes, my love, this disreputable old man had been for some time past the object of the disinterested attention of the great sovereigns of Europe. The Emperor Nicolas (a moral character, though following the Greek superstition, and adored for his mildness and
benevolence of disposition), the Emperor Ferdinand, the King of Prussia, and our own gracious Queen, had taken such just offence at his conduct and disobedience towards a young and interesting sovereign, whose authority he had disregarded, whose fleet, he had kidnapped, whose fair provinces he had pounced upon, that they determined to come to the aid of Abdul Medjid the First, Emperor of the Turks, and bring his rebellious yassal to reason. In this project, the . French nation was invited to join; but they refused the invitation, saying, that it was necessary for the maintenance of the balance of power in Europe that his Highness Mehemet Ali should keep possession of what by hook or by crook he had gotten, and that they would have no hand in injuring him. But why continue this argument, which you have read in the newspapers for many months past? You, my dear, must know as well as I, that the balance of power in Europe could not possibly be maintained in any such way; and though, to be sure, for the last fifteen ears, the progress of the old robber as not made much difference to us in the neighborhood of Russell Square, and the battle of Nezib did not in the least affect our taxes, our homes, our institutions, or the price of butcher's meat, yet there is no knowing what might have happened had Mehemet Ali been allowed to remain quietly as he was: and the balance of power in Europe might have been – the deuce knows where. Here, then, in a nutshell, you have the whole matter in dispute. While Mrs. Corbett and the Prince de Joinville were innocently interchanging compliments at Saint Helena, -bang! bang! Commodore Napier was pouring broadsides into Tyre and Sidon; our gallant navy was storming breeches and routing armies; Colonel Hodges had seized upon the green standard of Ibraham Pacha; and the powder-magazine of St. John of Acre was blown up sky.
high, with eighteen hundred Egyptian soldiers in company with it. The French said that l'or Anglais had achieved all these successes, and no doubt believed that the poor fellows at Acre were bribed to a man. It must have been particularly unpleasant to a high-minded nation like the French—at the very moment when the Egyptian affair and the balance of Europe had been settled in this abrupt way—to find out all of a sudden that the Pacha of Egypt was their dearest friend and ally. They had suffered in the person of their friend; and though, seeing that the dispute was ended, and the territory out of his hand, they could not hope to get it back for him, or to aid him in any substantial way, yet Monsieur Thiers determined, just as a mark of politeness to the Pasha, to fight all Europe for maltreating him, - all Europe, England included. He was bent on war, and an immense majority of the nation went with him. He called for a million of soldiers, and would have had them too, had not the King been against the project and delayed the completion of it at least for a time. Of these great European disputes Captain Joinville received a notification while he was at sea on board his frigate: as we find by the official account which has been published of his mission. “Some days after quitting Saint Helena,” says that document, “the expedition fell in with a ship coming from Europe, and was thus made acquainted with the warlike rumors then afloat, by which a collision with the English marine was rendered possible. The Prince de Joinville immediately assembled the officers of the * Belle Poule,” to deliberate on an event so unexpected and important. “The council of war having expressed its opinion that it was necessary at all events to prepare for an energetic defence, preparations were made to place in battery all the guns that the frigate could bring to bear
against the enemy. The provisional cabins that had been fitted up in the battery were demolished, the partitions removed, and, with all the elegant furniture of the cabins, flung into the sea. The Prince de Joinville was the first “to execute himself,' and the frigate soon found itself armed with six or eight more guns. “That part of the ship where these cabins had previously been, went by the name of Lacedaemon; every thing luxurious being banished to make way for what was useful. “Indeed, all persons who were on board agree in saying that Monseign. eur the Prince de Joinville most worthily acquitted himself of the great and honorable mission which had been confided to him. All affirm not only that the commandant of the expedition did every thing at St. Helena which as a Frenchman he
with all the measured solemnity, all
the pious and severe dignity, that the son of the Emperor himself would have shown upon a like occasion. The commandant had also comprehended that the remains of the Emperor must never fall into the hands of the stranger, and being himself decided rather to sink his ship than to give up his precious deposit, he had inspired every one about him with the same energetic resolution that he had himself taken ‘against an extreme eventuality.’” Monseigneur, my dear, is really one of the finest young fellows it is possible to see. A tall, broad. chested, slim-waisted, brown-faced, dark-eyed young prince, with a great beard (and other martial qualities no doubt), beyond his years. As he strode into the Chapel of the Invalides on Tuesday at the head of his men, he made no small impression, I can tell you, upon the ladies assembled to witness the ceremony, Nor are the crew of the “Belle Poule’’ less