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Memorial de Saint Helene: Journal of the Private Life and Conversations of the Emperor Napoleon at Saint Helena


Count Emmanuel De Las Cases

Volume I, Part I

Transcribed by Dr. Alexander Mikaberidze


Circumstances the most extraordinary have long kept me near the most extraordinary man of modern times. Admiration made me follow him without knowing him and love attached me to him as soon as I did know him. The world is full of his glory, his deeds and his monuments; but no one knows the true shades of his character, his private qualities, or the natural disposition of his soul. This great void I undertake to fill up, and for such a task I possess advantages unexampled in history.

I collected and recorded, day by day, all that I saw of Napoleon, all that I heard him say during the period of eighteen months in which I was constantly about his person. In these conversations, which were full of confidence, and which seemed to pass, as it were, in another world, he could not fail to be portrayed by himself as if in a mirror, in every point of view and under every aspect. Henceforth the world may freely study him: there can be no error in the materials.

The particulars here collected are, with regard to arrangements, in a state of great confusion; they remain nearly in the order in which I noted them down at St. Helena. On recovering my manuscript, a short time ago, when it was restored to me by the English Government, I at first intended to have arranged it in a new form and in a certain degree of connection. But I was compelled to renounce this design: on the one hand, the state of my health prohibited application; on the other, I felt myself controlled by time. I considered the speedy publication of my work as a sacred duty to the memory of him whose loss I deplore. I also hope it may afford pleasure to those who love him, and force respect from those who were his enemies. Finally, I have a third and no less important object in this publication, namely, that it will afford an opportunity of defense to those who may find any thing state in it of which they may imagine they have cause to complain; the public will judge and history will speak, with greater certainty.

Count Las Cases

Biography of Count Las Cases



  • Introduction
  • Return Of The Emperor To The Elysée After The Battle Of Waterloo
  • The Abdication
  • Deputation Of The Chamber Of Peers-Caulincourt-Fouché
  • The Provisional Government Presented To The Emperor
  • The Emperor Quits The Elysée
  • The Minister Of Marine Comes To Malmaison
  • Napoleon Quits Malmaison And Departs For Rochefort
  • Embarkation Of The Emperor
  • Embarkation Of Napoleon On Board The Bellerophon
  • Summary Dictated By Napoleon Himself
  • Ministerial Decision
  • Remarkable Words Of The Emperor
  • Departure From Plymouth-Continuance In The Channel-Protest
  • Anchored Off Star Point-Persons Allowed To Accompany The Emperor
  • Conversation With Lord Keith-Examination Of The Emperor’s Effect-He Quits The Bellerophon-Separation-We Sail For Saint Helena
  • Description Of The Emperor’s Cabin On Board The Northumberland
  • We Lose Sight Of Land-Reflections-Argument Against The English Ministers
  • The Emperor’s Mode Of Living On Board The Northumberland
  • Singular Good Fortune Of The Emperor
  • Continuation Of The Voyage-Occupation-The Emperor’s Origin And Family-Anecdotes
  • Madeira, Etc.-Violent Gale-Chess
  • The Canaries-Passing The Tropic-Details Of The Emperor’s Childhood- Napoleon At Brienne-Pichegru-Napoleon At The Military School In Paris-In The Artillery-His Companions-Napoleon At The Commencement Of The Revolution
  • Cape Verde Islands-Napoleon At The Siege Of Toulon-Rise Of Duroc And Junot-Napoleon Quarrels With The Representatives Of The People-Quarrels With Aubry-Anecdotes Relative To Vendemiaire – Napoleon General Of The Army Of Italy-Integrity Of His Military Administration-His Disinterestedness- Nicknamed Petit-Caporal-Difference Between The System Of The Directory And That Of The General Of The Army Of Italy.
  • The Emperor Determines To Write His Memoirs
  • Trade Winds-The Line
  • A Storm, Examination Of Certain Libels Upon The Emperor-General Reflections
  • Employment Of Our Time
  • Accidental Phenomenon-Passage Of The Line-Christening
  • Examination Of The Antigallican-Sir Robert Wilson’s Writings-Plague At Jaffa, Anecdotes Of The French Army In Egypt-Feelings Of The Army In The Egyptian Campaign-Berthier-Jests Of The Soldiery-Dromedaries-Death Of Kleber-The Young Arab—Singular Coincidences Respecting Philipeaux And Napoleon-Circumstances On Which Fate Depends-Caffarelli’s Attachment To Napoleon-Reputation Of The French Army In The East-Napoleon Quitting Egypt To Assume The Government Of France-The English Expedition-Kleber And Desaix.
  • The Emperor’s Method Of Dictating
  • A Singular Accident
  • Complaints Of The Crew Against The Admiral-Examination Of Another Work-Refutations-Reflections
  • Arrival At St. Helena
  • Landing Of The Emperor At Saint Helena
  • The Emperor Fixes His Abode At Briars-Description Of The Place-Miserable Situation
  • Description Of Briars-The Garden-The Emperor Meets The Young Ladies Of The House
  • The Youth Of France-The Emperor Visits Mr. Balcombe’s House
  • Horror And Misery Of Our Situation-The Emperor’s Indignation-Note To The English Government
  • Mode Of Living At Briars –Cabinet Whoch The Emperor Had With Him At Austerlitz-The Emperor’s Large Cabinet-Its Content-Articles Of Virtu-Libels Against Napoleobn, Etc.
  • The Emperor Commences The Campaign Of Egypt With The Grand Marshal-Anecdotes Of Brumaire, Etc.-Letter Of The Count De Lille-The Beautiful Duchess De Guiche
  • Occupations Of The Day-Council Of State-Disgrace Of Portalis-Dissolution Of The Legislative Body In 1813-Senate
  • The General of the Army Of Italy-Ancient Armies-Chingis Khan-Modern Invasions-Characters Of Conquerors
  • Ideas-Plans-Political Suggestions
  • Midnight Conversations By Moonlight-The Two Empresses-Maria-Louisa’s Marriage-Her Household-The Duchess Of Montebello-Madame De Montesquiou-The Institute Of Meudon-Sentiments Of The House Of Austria With Regard To Napoleon-Anecdotes Collected In Germany, Since My Return To Europe
  • The Fauxbourg St. Germain, Etc.- The Emperoro’s Freedom From Prejudice And Ill-Will-Characteristic Language
  • One The Officer’s Of The Emperor’s Household In 1814-Plans Of Address To The King
  • The Emperor’s Idea Of Reserving Corsica-His Opinion Of Robespierre-His Ideas Respecting Public Opinion-Expiatory Intention Of The Emperor With Regard To The Victims Of The Revolution
  • Cascade At Briars
  • First And Only Excursion During Our Abode At Briars-The Admiral’s Ball
  • My Conduct While The Emperor Was At Elba
  • The Emperor’s Temperament-Riding-Notions Of Medicine
  • Our Mode Of Living At Briars-My First Visit To Longwood-Infernal Machine: Its History
  • Conspiracy Of Georges, Pichegru, Etc.-The Duke D’Enghien-The Slave Toby-Characteristic Reflections Of Napoleon.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: January – February 2006