donderdag 31 december 2009

An earthquake on St.Helena

In the book 'A Voice from St.Helena' ( Redfield, vol II, 1854) from Barry E. O'Meara I read on pag. 132 - 133 following:

On the 21th sept. 1817:
At about six minutes before ten o’clock at night, three distinct shocks of an earthquake were felt at Longwood. The whole of the house was shaken with a rumbling, clattering noise at first, as if some heavy body, like a loaded wagon, was dragged along the upper apartments, succeeded by an evident tremulous motion of the ground, the glasses ratling on the table, and the pictures receding from the walls. The duration of the whole might have been from sixteen to twenty seconds, as Captain Blakeny and myself, who were sitting together at the time that it occurred, had sufficient time from its commencement until it was over, to reason and reciprocally ask from what it could proceed, before we guessed at the right cause, which we discovered simultaneously before it ceased. No mischief was done. *

Generals Montholon, Gourgaud, all the household attendants and English servants came out. No alarm appeared to exist amongst them.
General Montholon informed, that his son Tristan, who was asleep, was awoke by the shock, and exclaimend that somebody was endeavoring to throw him out of the bed.

General Gourgaud also felt three distinct shocks. Upon inquiry being made of some of the sentinels about the house, they replied that they had not experienced any thing extraordinary. This may be accounted for by the fact of the wind having been so strong at the time, that they were obliged to use considerable exertion in walking against it.

The sensation was very strongly felt in our kitchen, about forty yards from the house, and at the guard-room, about five hundred yards distant, particularly by those men who were lying down on the ground.
Very little mischief was done in the island. It appeared that the direction of the shocks was perpendicular. Had it been lateral, Jamestown must have been overwhelmed with immense masses of rock.

* Although Napoleon was in bed, which he did not leave during the time of the shocks, some veracious person wrote in England that “Bonaparte endeavored to escape out of the house, but was stopped by the sentinels” , which falsehood was eagerly inserted in some of the ministerial papers.

woensdag 30 december 2009

Mysterious birdcages of Napoleon

In February 2009 I visited St.Helena.
At the end of the tour in Longwood House stood an enormous wooden birdcage. (see photo).

At home I red about the workings of Napoleon in the garden since aug. 1819.
The French writer Octave Aubry, who visited the island at the moment of the opening of Longwood as a museum (1935) wrote in his fabulous book Sainte Hélène (I: La Captivité de Napoléon; II: La mort de l'Empereur):

'Above the first waterbassin the emperor let build by handy Chinese workers a tripod birdcage, coulorfull painted and crowned with an eagle.
By lac of other birds there was placed in it a pheassant and some chickens, the in Jamestown bought singing birds died. There were also put some pigeons in it, but they flew away when the cage was openend.'
It was this birdcage that was taken with him when General Bertrand returned to France at the end of may 1821. Nowedays this cage is in the museum Bertrand in the city of Chateauroux in France.

I have seen this birdcage at St.Helena. Here is a photo of it, taken by myself!

Of course I visited in aug. 2009 the museum of Chateauroux.
I saw an immense birdgcage of Napoleon with some commentaries written on a paper on the wall.
I was just like Octave Aubry had told. See the two photos I took myself.

So: within six month I have seen TWO birdcages!!
That seems impossible to me. I have never heard or red of two cages.
How is this possible?
With one is the real one?
Can anybody tell me?

maandag 28 december 2009


From 6 till 17 dec. 2009 I was in Dakar (Senegal) for doing a job (although I am retired).
On a free saterday I visited the island of Gorée, about ten km of the front of the harbour of Dakar.
I am always and everywhere looking for traces of the Napoleontic area.
In Dakar itself I found nothing. But I did on this island!
I visited a garden with was called after a French biologican of the Napoleontic area. His name was Michel Adanson (1727 - 1806).
His engraved portrait and the currency of his live were hanging on the wall.
It was good readable.

zondag 27 december 2009

Elsevier van kerst 2009

In de kersteditie 2009 van Elsevier  (65e jaargang nr. 51/52) staat op pag. 210 - 211 een artikel genaamd DANKZIJ NAPOLEON, de Franse erfenis van 1810.
Het vertelt in korte stukjes over Nationaal geldend recht, Nieuwe maten en gewichten, Vechten voor Napoleon, de verplichte achternamen,  Rechts rijden en Grondbelasting en kadaster.
Een aardig artikel van Robert Stiphout.
Er staan enkele details in, die ik nog niet kende.

First blog

This is my first blog. It is about Napoleon.

Look on for my other 'Napoleontic' - website.