On This Day in Napoleonic History – 31 July 1815

23Napoleon finds out his fate

Admiral Lord Keith and Sir Henry Bunbury, the undersecretary of state for war, arrived on HMS Bellerophon to inform Napoleon, whom they addressed as General Bonaparte, of his impending exile to Saint Helena.

Although this decision didn’t come as a complete surprise to Napoleon, he didn’t take the news well, saying that his blood would rather stain the planks of Bellerophon than he should go to Saint Helena and that their despicable actions would throw a veil of darkness on future history of England. He added that the climate would kill him in three months. After they left, he told Captain Maitland: ‘I would prefer being delivered up to the Bourbons. Among other insults, they style me General. They may as well call me Arch-Bishop.’

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