Just for Christmas, I give you the low down on what the English used to know about Napoleon in the days when we were taught about him at all.
"1066 and All That" -Sellars & Yeatman, pub. 1931 "All the history you can remember"
A classic of English humour, which I fear will only appeal to the English sense of humour, I will give it a try however. I have made a few cuts; all mispellings are carefully reproduced from the original. I am sorry I cannot reproduce the pictures but I have indicated where they come so you can imagine them.
"This is the only Memorable History of England, because all the History that you can remember is in this book, which is the result of years of research in golf-clubs, gun-rooms, green-rooms etc."
The War was now called the Napoleonic War, after Napoleon, a Corsican, whose real name was Bonuapart, and who had cleverly made himself First Consul by means of a 'whiff of grape-nuts'. (This is called the Napoleonic Legend.)
The French Revolution caused great loss of life, liberty, fraternity, etc., and was, of course, a Good Thing, since the French were rather degenerate at the time; but Napoleon now invented a new Convention that the French should massacre all the other nations and become top nation, and this, though quite generate, was a Bad Thing.
Napoleon ought never to be confused with Nelson, in spite of their hats being so alike; they can most easily be distinguished from one another by the fact that Nelson always stood with his arm 'like this', while Napoleon always stood with his arms 'like that'.
But the most important of the great men who at this time kept Britain top nation was an Irishman called John Wesley, who afterwards became the Duke of Wellington (and thus English).
.....It was however, against Napoleon and his famous Marshals (such as Marshals Ney, Soult, Davos, Murren, Soult, Bleriot, Snelgrove, Ney etc.) that Wellington became most memorable. Napoleon's armies always used to march on their stomachs, [Picture} shouting "Vive l'Interieur!" and so moved about very slowly (ventre-a-terre, as the French say) thus enabling Wellington to catch them up and defeat them. When Napoleon made his troops march all the way to Moscow on their stomachs they got frozen to death one by one, and even Napoleon himself admitted afterwards thatit was rather a Bad Thing.
The second part of the Napoleonic War was fought in Spain and Portugal andwas called the Gorilla War on account of the primitive Spanish method of fighting.[Picture]. Wellington became so impatient with the slow movements of the French troops that he occupied himself drawing imaginary lines all over Portugal and thus marking off the fighting zone; he made a rule that defeats beyond these lines did not count, while any French army that came his side of them was out of bounds. Having thus insured himself against disaster, Wellington won startling victories at Devalera, Albumia, Salamanda, etc.
After losing this war Napoleon was sent away by the French, since he had not succeeded in making them top nation; but he soon escaped and returned just in time to fight on the French side at the battle of Waterloo. This utterly memorable battle was fought at the end of a dance, on the Playing Fields of Eton, and resulted in the English definitely becoming top nation.It was thus a very Good Thing. During the engagement the French came on in their usual creeping and crawling method and were defeated by Wellington's memorable order, "Up Jenkins and Smashems."
This time Napoleon was sent right away for ever by everybody, and stood on the deck of a ship in white breeches with his arms 'like that'.
Happy Christmas to you all.