The Napoleon Dynasty …more

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The Origin of the Bonaparte Family
Taken from the Introduction from the book The Napoleon Dynasty by Charles Edwards, published in 1852.

Charles BonaparteIt should not be forgotten that the Bonaparte Family sprang from Italian soil.  That wonderful peninsula has been the fruitful source of genius, and Empire, for nearly thirty centuries.  Whatever light the world has had, sprang from the Hebrews, the Greeks, or the Italians.  The last represent them all.  And thus we owe to them not our NEW WORLD only but all we arc and all we hope to be.  Italy no longer governs the world by arms, but she still asserts her dominion of ideas.  The intellect and the institutions of modern times have been moulded by the genius of Italy.

The object of the book is to furnish in a single volume, authentic biographies of the principal members of the Bonaparte Family.  To gather and arrange from many volumes into one, valuable, rare and interesting materials now floating on the turbid ocean of Modern History – beyond the reach of all but the adventurous, the curious, or the learned.

 The Introduction   Josephine

The Napoleon Dynasty


The Napoleon Dynasty, 1852
The Napoleon Dynasty, 1852

Here is an introductory extract taken from the book The Napoleon Dynasty by Charles Edwards, published in 1852.  More will follow.


The Napoleon Dynasty or the History of the Bonaparte Family


The Lives of Carlo, Letitia and Cardinal Fesch

A BONAPARTE again rules France. The results of the late Revolution, have invested the character and history of Napoleon with a new and deeper interest.

Twice the Bourbons have gone down, and left a Republic in France,—and twice that Republic has given way to the Napoleon Dynasty. The struggle may not yet be over, but there are more Bonapartes than Bourbons living to maintain it.

Something greater than stars watched over the birth of Napoleon, and a power higher than fortune guides the destinies of the Bonaparte Family. No one’s history has been written by so many different hands, no one’s history read by so many eyes, as the Corsican Soldier’s. Not a generation has passed away since he died, and his name and his history, are familiarly known to more men to-day, than Alexander’s or Caesar’s.

No man has ever put forth such influence on human fortunes.  Men and nations bent before him, as willows bend when the storm sweeps by.  It exhausted and impoverished all Europe to crush him.  They chained the Eagle to the bald cliff of a volcanic rock of the ocean, among the clouds—and six years England kept a fleet to watch him, and see him chafe and die; and then they opened his body and took out his vitals, and were sure he was dead—and then they excavated a grave in the rock, and welded his coffin in by strong bars of iron, and then they watched the place for twenty years.

And when at last Europe was no longer afraid of the dead Eagle’s ashes, she let France take them back to the banks of the Seine.

They had stolen the young Eagle from the parent nest, and carried him away among strangers, where he pined, sickened, and died.  Europe then thought she could breathe free again.


Tradesmen’s Tokens No III



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Tradesmen’s Tokens No III This is the third and final part of a three part series on Tradesmen’s Tokens. Tradesmen’s Tokens were commonly used by tradesmen as a form of currency when there was a shortage of the normal types of coin.  It allowed them to continue to trade and was widely used in the mid 17th century.

From The Gentleman’s Magazine Volume 31 May 1849 Page 496

THIS Token appears to have been of the satirical class, and was issued by William Newcome of “Darby.”  The inscription, which is continued  from the obverse to the reverse is “Touch not mine anointed; doe my prophets noe harme;” the propriety of which is not countenanced by any device on the coin.  Doubtless Newcome was a profane wag, and designed to have a fling at the Puritans, who were accustomed to adopt scriptural signs and mottoes (whether appropriately or otherwise) after the “Praise-God Barebones” fashion.*  And had any caviller questioned the  applicability of the quotation, Master Newcome would probably have directed him to read it, “doe my profits noe harme.”  The issuing of these  Tokens was a very profitable affair,  for one pennyworth or copper or brass could be converted into forty or fifty  tokens; hence they came to be issued in such quantities, that the Government was compelled to suppress them  by severe enactments.

 Yours, &c. B. N.

*There is a public-house at Tunbridge Wells, at the back of Mount Sion, which formerly bore for its sign “God encompasseth us;”  the puritanical landlord little imagining it would ever become corrupted into its present ludicrous designation, “The Goat and Compasses.”   Tunbridge Wells during the reign of Charles II. was the stronghold of Puritanism, as the names of “Mount Sion.” “Mount Ephraim,” &c. given to the localities by these sectarians, still attest.  And there is a curious custom still adhered to in the oldest church (or chapel) of this popular place of resort — that of the separation of the sexes during divine service — the men occupying one side, and the women the opposite side of the church.  Even temporary visitors here fall in with this ancient practice, which is doubtless of puritanical origin.

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Tradesmen’s Tokens No II

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Tradesmen’s Tokens No IIThis is the second in a three part series on Tradesmen’s Tokens, following on from my earlier post as promised.  Its from the Gentleman’s Magazine Volume 31 in April 1849 page 369.


From The Gentleman’s Magazine Volume 31 April 1849 Page 369

THE Token engraved here is of the class called “Rhyming Tokens,”— a very rare and limited series.  John Hart has appropriately enough adopted a heart as his device, in juxtaposition with the initials of himself and his wife.  It was a curious but universal custom to place the wife’s as well as the husband’s initials on these Tokens; where it is omitted the presumption is that the man was a bachelor.  Instead of date or motto, round the edge we have this distich, singular for its orthography:

“Take. these. that. wil. Ile. chaing. them. sti.”

equivalent to the “I promise to pay” on the bank notes of the present day.

Snelling has noticed these Tokens, and has engraved one that reads:

“Though I’m but brasse,
Yet let me passe.”

and he has also described another, of which we have an example in our own collection, issued by the proprietor of the “Coffee House in Exchange Ally” (now Garraway’s), which bears the device of a Turk’s head, with this rhyming inscription:

“Morat the Great, men did mee call,
Where’er I came I conquer’d all.”

Coffee having been introduced into Europe via Turkey, a Turk’s head naturally became the favourite sign of coffee-houses; and Amurath III. (popularly called Morat or Morad), who was a renowned warrior, appears to have been the most popular personage, although we have occasionally met with Tokens bearing the head of “Solyman.”

B. N.


Part 3 of Tradesmen’s Tokens coming soon