BONAPARTE Louis - Letter Signed 1805 regarding admission to the Legion of Honour
Louis BONAPARTE (1778-1846)
Letter Signed (“Louis Bonaparte”) to M. Villeneuve, informing him that he had requested his admission to the Legion of Honour.
Half page 4to in French, Paris 2 pluviose an 13 [22 January 1805].
Trans: “I have received, Monsieur, the letter which you sent me. I have requested, with pleasure, your admission to the légion d’honneur. I hope to obtain a favorable result. I am delighted to have this opportunity to be helpful to you.”
Villeneuve is described as Captain of a ship, and it is not impossible that he may have been related to Admiral Pierre Silvestre de Villeneuve, who was to face defeat at the battle of Trafalgar later that year. Admiral Villeneuve himself was admitted to the Legion of Honour in 1804. Napoleon had created the Legion of Honour in 1802 to give rise to a new elite based on merit, open to all men who had given distinguished service to France, regardless of their birth.
Louis was made King of Holland by his brother Napoleon in 1806. He proved to be a respected and, eventually, popular leader, but his espousal of his kingdom’s interests, even when opposed to those of France caused friction with the Emperor. Louis abdicated in 1810, whereupon Napoleon annexed Holland to France. Louis went into exile in Austria at the invitation of Emperor Francis I.
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