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The Surrender of Napoleon Being the narrative of the surrender of Buonaparte   By: (1777-1839)

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THE

SURRENDER OF NAPOLEON

BEING THE

NARRATIVE OF THE SURRENDER OF BUONAPARTE, AND OF HIS RESIDENCE ON BOARD H.M.S. BELLEROPHON, WITH A DETAIL OF THE PRINCIPAL EVENTS THAT OCCURRED IN THAT SHIP BETWEEN THE 24th OF MAY AND THE 8th OF AUGUST 1815

BY

REAR ADMIRAL SIR FREDERICK LEWIS MAITLAND, K.C.B.

A NEW EDITION EDITED, WITH A MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR, BY WILLIAM KIRK DICKSON

WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS EDINBURGH AND LONDON MCMIV

All Rights reserved

NOTE.

After Sir Frederick Maitland's death in 1839 his papers passed into the hands of Lady Maitland, who liferented his property of Lindores in Fife until her death in 1865. They then passed with the property to Sir Frederick's nephew, Captain James Maitland, R.N., and on his death to his brother, Rear Admiral Lewis Maitland, my father, from whom they came to me.

The preparation of the present volume has been undertaken by Mr. Dickson at my request.

FREDERICK LEWIS MAITLAND.

LINDORES, December 9, 1903 .

PREFACE.

"You are publishing a great and interesting national document.... The whole narrative is as fine, manly, and explicit an account as ever was given of so interesting a transaction." So wrote Sir Walter Scott to Captain Maitland after reading the manuscript of his Narrative of the Surrender of Buonaparte . It is undoubtedly a historical document of the first importance, not only as a record of "words by an eyewitness" of an ever memorable event, but as a vindication of the good faith of the British Government in its conduct towards Napoleon.

In his Preface to the original edition, published by Henry Colburn in 1826, Sir Frederick Maitland wrote:

"Immediately after the extraordinary and interesting events took place which are here recorded, I was, by the earnest solicitations of my friends, induced to throw together the notes and memoranda in my possession, of the proceedings in which I bore so prominent a part. I was further led to undertake this task, so foreign to my usual occupations, in consequence of the many misrepresentations that appeared at that time, respecting the conduct of Buonaparte while on board the ship I commanded, as well as my treatment of him.

"The following Narrative was then written solely for the private perusal of my friends, and not with a view to publication, many reasons combining, at that time, in my opinion, to render such a measure inexpedient.

"I made it my study to state events exactly as they occurred, and, in doing so, to avoid, as much as possible, all prejudice, either against or in favour of the extraordinary man whom it was my fortune to secure and bring to this country. It may appear surprising that a possibility could exist of a British officer being prejudiced in favour of one who had caused so many calamities to his country; but to such an extent did he possess the power of pleasing, that there are few people who could have sat at the same table with him for nearly a month, as I did, without feeling a sensation of pity, allied perhaps to regret, that a man possessed of so many fascinating qualities, and who had held so high a station in life, should be reduced to the situation in which I saw him.

"Although many of the causes for withholding my Narrative from the public eye have long been removed, I had no intention of bringing it forward, until by accident it fell into the hands of a most celebrated literary character [Sir Walter Scott]. He did me the honour, on returning it, to express an opinion which I was not at all prepared to expect, and so strongly to recommend its being published, that however averse to appearing as an author, I have been induced, under the sanction of such high authority, to present it to the public."

The text and notes of the edition of 1826 have been reprinted verbatim... Continue reading book >>




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