BERTHIER Louis Alexandre - Letter Signed 1811, sending Pauline's lover to Spain
Louis Alexandre BERTHIER, Prince of Wagram and Neuchatel (1753-1815)
Letter Signed (“alexandre”) an order to M. de Septeuil to remain on the staff of the duc d’Istrie [Marshal Bessières].
1 page 4to with integral blank leaf, Paris, 26 March 1811.
Trans: “Monsieur de Septeuil is ordered to remain with the military staff of the Marshal Duc d’Istrie until he receives orders to the contrary. M. de Septeuil will make himself as useful as possible to the Duc d’Istrie . . . he will send me details twice weekly of what he is doing.”
M. de Septeuil, who had been on Berthier’s staff, was sent to Spain as a result of a direct order from Napoleon. Septeuil, a rather dashing young officer, was the lover of one of Pauline Bonaparte’s ladies in waiting and later, it is suspected, of Pauline herself. Napoleon ordered that he be sent away from Paris “where he was losing the good habits” formed while on campaign. Once on Bessière’s staff, Septeuil went with him to Fuentes de Onoro, where his horse was shot from under him and Septeuil himself lost a leg.
It was not unlike Napoleon to take a keen interest in the morals of those around him; Pauline proved particularly difficult in this respect. Septeuil’s fate was tied up with that of another of Pauline’s lovers, M. de Canouville, who had incurred the Emperor’s displeasure when seen wearing furs which Napoleon had given to his sister. Canouville suffered a harsher fate than Septeuil. He was sent east, and died during the disastrous Russian campaign.
The document is somewhat crumpled and slightly browned at the edges, with remains of mounting to the verso of the blank leaf, but remains in perfectly clear and legible condition.
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