Napoleon’s Death and Walter Scott’s birth
Today is the two hundredth anniversary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte on St Helena. It was a remarkable life. His actions had a major impact on the future of Europe. The University of Edinburgh possesses his dining table from St Helena, bought and brought back, and then gifted to the University by an alumnus. It is a rather typical British Georgian snap-top table in mahogany.
Napoleon’s remains were brought back to Paris in 1840 and reburied in the Hôtel des Invalides in a tomb that your blogger thinks rather excessive; but perhaps it suits the character of the man. Around the tomb are some huge marble representations of aspects of his achievements, including the Code civil.
One of the strange oddities of history is that Napoleon shares his birthday with his biographer Sir Walter Scott, though the novelist was born in 1771 and Napoleon in 1769. So this year, as well as being the anniversary of Napoleon’s death is also the two-hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Scott’s birth. The University of Edinburgh also owns a table connected with Scott, in this case his library table from his house in Castle Street.
In Scott’s biography, as your blogger has pointed out in an earlier blog, he criticised the Code civil, as unhistorical: https://www.elhblog.law.ed.ac.uk/2019/08/24/15-august-birthday-of-napoleon-and-sir-walter-scott-codes-and-europe/
For a discussion of some of this, see the lecture given by your blogger to the Edinburgh Sir Walter Scott Club on 17 October, 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZ396MopnJI