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"She" could be the Reason Behind Napoleon's Downfall...!

Updated on January 19, 2015
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Early Life:

Josèphine's real name was Marie Josèphe Rose Teschar Pagerie. She was born in 1763 to a wealthy white Creole family that owned a sugar plant. In 1766 their estate was destroyed by hurricanes so they suffered a lot financially. Josèphine spent her childhood in dark and narrow rooms constructed above the sugar mill.

An idealised portrait of Beuaharnais family made in later years.
An idealised portrait of Beuaharnais family made in later years. | Source

First Marriage:

In 1779 she married Alexandre De Beuaharnais in place of her sister Catherine who died in 1777. Although her marriage was not happy but she had two children, a son Eugene De Beuaharnais and a daughter Hortense De Beuaharnais.

During rein of terror Alexandre was arrested, after considered as suspect he was sentenced to death. Josèphine was also imprisoned in the Carmes jail for almost four months but she was freed with the ending of rein of terror.

Anyhow she was helpless and debtor with two children. She was not that beautiful but was versed in every art of love. She was widow now and had well experienced married life.

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Meeting with Napoleon:

After her first husband death Josèphine did what a wise widow do, started search for a new and a wealthy husband.

By the time in 1795 Josèphine was considered as one of the legendary seductress. Not only this but she was Mistress to Paul Barras ,one of the strongest politician at that time. After the battle of Toulan and saving the directory from Paris mob Napoleon was invited to a party given by Paul Barras. He pursued Napoleon for Josèphine and at the same time he pursued Josèphine to humor him. Actually he wanted to leave Josèphine as he got another mistress for himself. By listening that and thinking of her two children Josèphine showed her interest in Napoleon. (although she did not liked him). Napolian was told by Barras that she had enough money and that trick had a good catch in it.

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Engagement and marriage:

After three months of this incident they both got engaged. In 1795 Napoleon proposed her and they married on 9th March. She was known as Rose but Napoleon did not liked that name he preferred to call her Josèphine, a name she adopted from then on.

Napoleon was so much punctual, he used to say that "Times everything". Once he said "I can lose a war, but can not waste time".

Even after this he reached on his ceremony two hours late that the father began to yawn and finally he slept down.

Poll no. 1:

From Josephine portraits, do you really think she's beautiful?

See results
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Departure:

After 48 hours of his wedding he left for a new fight in Italy. His army was not in a good condition but he fought so hard that his sharpness views ran all across the Europe. No one had seen such a great fight.

The amazing fact is that during such a hard and tough time Napoleon managed to write hundreds of letters to Josèphine, one having more emotions and gratitude then the last one. After all he loved her so much.

A letter written by Napoleon to Josephine.
A letter written by Napoleon to Josephine. | Source
Source

Letters:

In 1933, eight of these letters were sold in London at price of 4000 pounds. One can guess his gratitude for Josephine from the following letter.

To Josephine, AT Milan,

Bresica, August 30, 1796.

Arriving my beloved, my first thought is to write to you.

Your health, your sweet face, and form have not been absent a moment from my thoughts the whole day. I shall be comfortable only when I have got letters from you. I await them impatiently. You can not possibly imagine my easiness. I left you vexed, annoyed and not well. If the deepest and sincerest affection can make you happy, you ought to be...

I am worked to death.

Adieu, my kind Josephine: love me, keep well and often, often think of me.

Bonarparte.

Josèphine showed ignorance in writing letters back to Napoleon, for this attitude of hers Napoleon would always get mad.

In his one letter to Josèphine, he said:

" Your letters are as cold as you were fifty ; we might have been married fifteen years. One finds in them the friendship and feelings of that winter of life. Fie! Josèphine, It is very naughty, very unkind, very un dutiful of you. What more can you do to make me indeed an object for compassion? Love me no longer? Eh! that is already accomplished! Hate me? Well, I prefer that... "

Josephine.
Josephine. | Source
Source

Selfishness of Josephine:

Many women may give their lives on such letters but Josèphine was not fair with Napoline. In response to constantly urging of Napoleon to come to Italy and join him she made a lot of excuses.The truth is she was playing around on him.

After the Italian campaign was over Napoleon returned to Paris and then went to Egypt.

Napoleon's secretary Bourrieene, listened some conversation between Napoleon and one of his friends Judon. He saw that they both looked tense. After some time when secretary joined them, he burst with rage, "You are not genuinely devoted to me, or you would have told me what I have just learned from Junot. There's a true friend for you Josèphine and I six hundreds leagues away! You should have told me Josèphine! Josèphine--this to have deceived me! Damn them I shall exterminate that whole breed of fops and coxcombs! As for her divorce, Yes divorce--a public divorce, open scandal. I must write immediately. I know everything. Its your fault. You should have told me! "

The fact is many of co-fellows of Napoleon knew the activities of Josèphine but none of them ever tried to warn Napoleon.

Many historians believe that Judon was never forgiven by Napoleon for what he told him about Josèphine. For this reason he was with held with the rank of General and he never received the rank of Marshal of France.

Napoleon confirmed this information and went back to Paris. When Josèphine learned that Napoleon has found about her she panicked. Shortly after he came home, he secluded himself in a room, and refused to meet Josèphine, until Hortense The younger of Josèphine begged him to a room. Napoleon told her that she was not faithful to him and she had broken his heart. All of sudden Josèphine was in true love with Napoleon.

Although they remained as husband and wife but Napoleon did not live to Joséphine, however he did hold sincerity to her both children. Tables had turned now. Napoleons had mistress after mistress but he felt that in this way he can not have his own heir, his own son. Anyway he named his nephew as his heir.


Josephine and Napoleon.
Josephine and Napoleon. | Source
Portrait of Marie Lousie and her son.
Portrait of Marie Lousie and her son. | Source

A try for a new life:

Although he had his nephew as heir but a deep wish to have his own son from his blood made him think again. He sat down one evening for dinner with Josèphine and told her that he must divorce her in order to have a son with another wife.

It is said that Josephine scream could be heard across the palace. That night Josèphine went to him to beg him but he said "Go Josèphine, I will always be your friend."

Signing on the divorce papers he had tears in his eyes. His heart was broken. For three days he remain lost in thoughts, staring in the space.

Shortly after the divorce he married Maria Louisa of Austria and renamed her name as Marie Lousie. She did not wanted to marry Napoleon but on political basis her father insisted to do so. She get married but never cared for him.

When Napoleon was abdicated she left him and returned to Austria with her son. It is said that Napoleon never saw them again in the rest of his life.

However Napoleon had grown to a respectful love again with Josèphine, He insisted her to retain the title of Empress and provided a deep devotion for her and her children. The both children remain sincere to the last day of his life.


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Napoleaon without Josephine...

With out Josephine on his side Napoleon's luck vanished. His defeat in Russia in 1812 was a terrible incident. In early 1814 British and Russians were marching on Paris streets, Napoleon was arrested and imprisoned.

Josephine's tomb.
Josephine's tomb. | Source

The End...

Josèphine continued to love Napoleon and died of diphtheria in 1814. After her death Napoleon with tears in his eyes beside her grave said, "My pretty Josephine! At least you did not leave me."


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Poll no. 2:

Do you think that Josephine was behind Napoleon's downfall?

See results

According to some historians Josèphine was broken by imprisonment of Napoleon, she had no spirit to live without him. First she cause the disturbance in his husbands life then she became faithful when there was no need of it.

You will never find her name prominent in Napoleons defeats but she could be the reason behind Napoleons downfall.

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      jiya 2 years ago

      “This soldier, I realized, must have had friends at home and in his regiment; yet he lay there deserted by all except his dog. I looked on, unmoved, at battles which decided the future of nations. Tearless, I had given orders which brought death to thousands. Yet here I was stirred, profoundly stirred, stirred to tears. And by what? By the grief of one dog.

      Napoleon Bonaparte, on finding a dog beside the body of his dead master, licking his face and howling, on a moonlit field after a battle. Napoleon was haunted by this scene until his own death.” True love is not a strong, fiery, impetuous passion. It is, on the contrary, an element calm and deep. It looks beyond mere externals, and is attracted by qualities alone. It is wise and discriminating, and its devotion is real and abiding. #nigham “A picture's is worth a thousand words.” Great job dear (y) :) :)

    • Nigham AFZAL profile image
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      Nigham 2 years ago from Pakistan.

      Thank you, Jiya for such a contemplative input. :)

      (On a personal note, I'm touched. :p )

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      usha gill 2 years ago

      Well done nigham. Very informative. Keep it up girl.

      P.s behind every successful man there is a woman. Behind every unsuccessful man there is also a woman. :p

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