L'autre Sainte-Hélène - The other St. Helena

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Barry O'Meara was the Navy surgeon chosen by Napoleon in July 1815 to follow him to St. Helena as his personal physician. O'Meara's unique position among the captives gave him an insight into their personal routines and thoughts. His status as a British officer gave him access to Plantation House, seat of the Governor of St. Helena, Napoleon’s “gaoler” Sir Hudson Lowe.

Despite the restrictions that surrounded Longwood House, Napoleon's residence, O'Meara decided to conduct a clandestine correspondence with John Finlaison, a friend at the Admiralty in London. His letters recorded his private conversations with the illustrious captive, who became increasingly irritated by Sir Hudson Lowe.

In the autumn of 1817, when Napoleon's health began to decline, the Governor would not believe his physician's diagnosis. Pressure was exerted upon O'Meara, but to no avail, and finally, in July 1818, he was expelled from Longwood. Without medical assistance for over a year, and increasingly isolated in his wretched, damp abode, Napoleon’s health gradually deteriorated leading to his death in May 1821.

These clandestine letters offer an invaluable insight into Napoleon's state of mind during his captivity. O'Meara would later use them to compile his famous book, A Voice from St. Helena, in 1822. However, in the published work, he exercised restraint and softened the tone of the original letters which now for the first time are published in their entirety in of Inside Longwood.

The book is divided into four main sections, representing periods during which O'Meara wrote his letters.

Preface from JohnTyrrell


Dramatis Personæ

Admiral Cockburn
Letters of 22nd October 1815, 12th December 1815, 12th March 1816, 26th March 1816

Sir Hudson Lowe
Letters of 22nd April 1816, 19th June 1816, 6-10th October 1816, 14th October 1816, 23rd December 1816, 29th June 1817

Letters of 17th July 1817, 18th August 1817, 1st November 1817, 10th May 1818, 30th June 1818, 12th July 1818

Barry O'Meara
Letters of 10th August 1818, 20th October 1818, 2nd November 1818
The Holmes letters

The Aftermath



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Barry Edward O'Meara
Napoleon's arrival at St. Helena
General Bonaparte
Napoleon and his companions
Napoleon, Las Cases and O'Meara
Napoleon and Balcombe's daughters
Sir Hudson Lowe, by Wyville
Sir Hudson Lowe, according to French depiction
Admiral George Cockburn
Admiral Pulteney Malcolm
General Gaspard Gourgaud
Sir Thomas Reade
Dr Alexander Baxter
John Finlaison
Lord Henry Bathurst
Sir John Moore
Lord Amherst
Theodore Hook
Young Napoleon
Lieutenant R.H. Reardon
The captive of St. Helena

Map of St. Helena
St. Helena
Longwood House
Longwood battered by the trade winds
Bertrand's cottage at Longwood
Plantation House
The Briars
Porteous House
The Castle in Jamestown
The Court House
Billingsgate market, London

The "Emperor" on board H.M.S. Bellerophon
Napoleon leaning on a gun on board H.M.S. Northumberland
Napoleon's arrival to the island of St. Helena
Napoleon and Sir Hudson Lowe
Sir Hudson Lowe leaving an interview in a temper
Napoleon with Sir Hudson Lowe and Admiral Malcolm
Signature of the new declarations
The passage at Longwood Gate
Sir Hudson Lowe with Napoleon
Napoleon examining the bust of his son
Napoleon opening cases of books
Napoleon at work with Bertrand
Funeral of Cipriani
Proclamation of 16th May 1818
Peeping at the prisoner
Napoleon during illness
Napoleon's farewell to O'Meara
Death of Napoleon

Other illustrations
Gorrequer's Diary
Gourgaud's Journal
Stokoe's narrative
Opposition newspaper
O'Meara's burial record
Napoleon's cocked hat and sword
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