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THE

BIOGRAPHICAL MAGAZINE.

JANUARY, 1852.

LOUIS NAPOLEON BONAPARTE, THE PRESIDENT AND DICTATOR OF FRANCE.

In

CHARLES LOUIS NAPOLEON is the third and last son of Louis Bonaparte, and his wife, Hortense Beauharnais; and was born at Paris, on April 20, in the year 1808. Accordingly, he is, at present, forty-three years of age. the Bonaparte family, France has the fate of being governed by foreign blood. The Emperor Napoleon was a native of Corsica. His nephew, the President, is of West-Indian origin, on his mother's side. His father, Louis, the youngest brother but one of the Emperor, and the fifth child of Charles Bonaparte, a judge at Ajaccio, and of Letitia Ramolino, was born September 2, 1778. Though an intelligent and honourable man, and though raised by his powerful brother to the throne of Holland, he never possessed the confidence of the Emperor, whose maxim, in regard to his brothers, whom he elevated into princes, was, that their first duty was to himself, their second to France; and, only when they had discharged these obligations, were they to give a preference to the interests of the nations over whom they were set. After laying down the crown of Holland (1810), which had, in a manner, been forced upon him; and, after being formally separated from his wife, Louis, taking the title of Count de Saint-Leu, from an estate near Paris, the gift of the Emperor, lived for a long time as a private person in Florence, where he died, in the year 1846. His wife, Hortense, was born in Paris, April 10, 1783. Her father, the Viscount de Beauharnais, born May 28, 1760, a native of Martinique, married in that island Josephine Tascher de la Pagerie, who was born there January 23, 1763. Migrating into

France, the Viscount, after holding offices of distinction, lost his life in the murderous collisions of the first French Revolution. Josephine's name has not escaped reproach. Her husband doubted whether Hortense was his child or that of a Creole; who, having fallen in love with Josephine Tascher, when only fourteen years of age, followed her to Paris. A divorce, legally sought for by her husband, was refused. Allowing her a liberal maintenance, however, he lived apart. Neither the mother nor the daughter can be considered a model of domestic affection. Nor were the domestic influences, under which the President was brought up, of the most favourable kind. In a second marriage, Josephine was allied to Napoleon Bonaparte. Thus Hortense, the President's mother, became the Emperor's daughter-in-law. By her marriage with Napoleon's brother, Louis, a second bond was formed; the daughter-in-law became also a sister-in-law. By a double tie, then, is the President connected with the Emperor. Some authorities point to a yet more intimate relationship between Napoleon and Hortense. Certainly the Emperor had a peculiar tenderness towards Napoleon Louis Charles, Hortense's first son. On his death (1807), however, and on the death of his next younger brother (1831), Napoleon Louis, the family rights and feelings settled on Louis Napoleon. It has already appeared that Louis and Hortense were not happy in their conjugal connexion. So great and lasting an impression does his home make on every man, that for a right appreciation of the President's character, one or two additional facts,

B

LIVES

OF

THE ILLUSTRIOUS.

(The Biographical Magazine.)

VOL. I.

"A true delineation of the smallest man, and his scenes of pilgrimage through life, is capable of
interesting the greatest man. All men are, to an unspeakable extent, brothers; each man's life a
strange emblem of every man's; and human portraits, faithfully drawn, are, of all pictures, the
welcomest on human walls."-THOMAS CARLYLE.

LONDON:

J. PASSMORE EDWARDS, 2, HORSE-SHOE COURT,

LUDGATE HILL.

MDCCCLII.


DONATED BY THE

MERCANTILE LIBRARY ASSOCIATI

NEW YORK CITY

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