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What if Napoleon escaped St Helena? Where would he go?

GarethWilliams

New member
In my recently published novel, Needing Napoleon, available from most online bookshops, my main character, Richard Davey, helps Bonaparte escape from St Helena. There certainly were plans for an escape, including a sailing ship disguised inside a barrel painted blue as camouflage!
The question my plot twist asked is this - if Napoleon did escape St Helena, where would he go?
 

Von Callay

Kept After Class by Mrs. MacBrayne
Not knowing anything about what he's actually thinking at the time, the two big options seem to be France and not-France. If he wants to try the Hundred Days 2: I Dare You To Form an 8th Coalition, obviously it has to be France. Whether or not that is actually plausible to accomplish isn't necessarily proof it wouldn't be attempted. There's probably a really sad story to be had in him going back and trying and things just never taking off again.

If not-France, then I guess it depends on what the diplomatic fallout consequences would be. How upset are the British going to be that he's escaped, what are the political implications for the government of any country he lands in, etc. He could go to the United States, for example, but I don't know how he'd be received or what would happen to him there.
 

GarethWilliams

New member
Not knowing anything about what he's actually thinking at the time, the two big options seem to be France and not-France. If he wants to try the Hundred Days 2: I Dare You To Form an 8th Coalition, obviously it has to be France. Whether or not that is actually plausible to accomplish isn't necessarily proof it wouldn't be attempted. There's probably a really sad story to be had in him going back and trying and things just never taking off again.

If not-France, then I guess it depends on what the diplomatic fallout consequences would be. How upset are the British going to be that he's escaped, what are the political implications for the government of any country he lands in, etc. He could go to the United States, for example, but I don't know how he'd be received or what would happen to him there.
Good summary, I think. He had relatives in America. If he is feeling ill, then he will seek comfort but if he was miraculously recovered, might Brazil or Africa beckon?
 

Kimkatya

NORM DICKS DON BONKER
Patreon supporter
Location
The Place That Hates England More Than The English
Pronouns
she/'er (as in "phwoar, look at the cans on 'er")
If not-France, then I guess it depends on what the diplomatic fallout consequences would be. How upset are the British going to be that he's escaped, what are the political implications for the government of any country he lands in, etc. He could go to the United States, for example, but I don't know how he'd be received or what would happen to him there.
Lord Thomas Cochrane had the idea to ship Napoleon to Latin America so he could be Emperor of Peru, but by the time he swung round, Napoleon was too sick to do so, at least according to Mike Duncan and the Revolutions podcast. Still think you could get a story out of it.
 

Von Callay

Kept After Class by Mrs. MacBrayne
Good summary, I think. He had relatives in America. If he is feeling ill, then he will seek comfort but if he was miraculously recovered, might Brazil or Africa beckon?
I wonder also how he would get along in the US, there being waves of emigrants from the various stages of the Revolution already living here. I used to live some way down the road from where Edmond Genet finished up as a gentleman farmer in upstate New York.

Lord Thomas Cochrane had the idea to ship Napoleon to Latin America so he could be Emperor of Peru, but by the time he swung round, Napoleon was too sick to do so, at least according to Mike Duncan and the Revolutions podcast. Still think you could get a story out of it.
I never get used to this idea when it comes up in history. "Next step, institute the monarchy and crown a king. If you can't make your own king, store-bought is fine, they have some nice ones you can get in Europe for reasonable rates."
 

windin

Not really sure anymore
Location
Auckland NZ
The was a Sharpe novel about this, Sharpes Devil.

Lord Cochrane was going to spring him from Saint Helena and start a series of conquests in South America with Napoleon leading armies made up of former Officers from both sides of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe eager for more glory.

Boney popped his clogs before it could happen though

The basic idea seemed to be that Soldiers don't like peace and just needed an excuse and a figurehead to pick up the sword again no matter what the cause is.
 

Redolegna

Champagne Socialist
Published by SLP
Location
Paris
Pronouns
he/him
The basic idea seemed to be that Soldiers don't like peace and just needed an excuse and a figurehead to pick up the sword again no matter what the cause is.
Most soldiers like peace just fine, they don't like half-pay, if that. And coming back to places where their services aren't as needed, their chances for social promotion are over, and the economy is entering a bad recession with no jobs available right as the climate does a blip making it very hard on poor people.
 

lordroel

Well-known member
In my recently published novel, Needing Napoleon, available from most online bookshops, my main character, Richard Davey, helps Bonaparte escape from St Helena. There certainly were plans for an escape, including a sailing ship disguised inside a barrel painted blue as camouflage!
The question my plot twist asked is this - if Napoleon did escape St Helena, where would he go?
To Texas ore any other place where he can feel useful.
 

Hendryk

The sunlit uplands are just around the corner
Published by SLP
Location
France
Lord Thomas Cochrane had the idea to ship Napoleon to Latin America so he could be Emperor of Peru, but by the time he swung round, Napoleon was too sick to do so, at least according to Mike Duncan and the Revolutions podcast. Still think you could get a story out of it.
Latin America sounds like a good destination for him, the place was in revolutionary upheaval and many of the local leaders from Bolivar on down viewed him as something of a role model.
 

ChrisNuttall

Well-known member
It’s been a while since I did any serious reading on the topic, but I had the impression that Napoleon’s best days were past him by 1815 – he mishandled the road to Waterloo quite badly, which didn’t help when most of the continent was united against him. I honestly cannot see Waterloo II getting off the ground, not after a pretty decisive defeat.

Going somewhere else? Latin America seems a good choice, but I don’t know how influential he’d really be. Napoleon was the product of a very specific time and fought in certain types of war – I don’t know how well he could adapt to the realities of Latin America. He also might have problems because he started as a revolutionary hero (great) and then become emperor (less so) and generally acted like the king who’d been deposed and executed years ago.

Chris
 

GarethWilliams

New member
It’s been a while since I did any serious reading on the topic, but I had the impression that Napoleon’s best days were past him by 1815 – he mishandled the road to Waterloo quite badly, which didn’t help when most of the continent was united against him. I honestly cannot see Waterloo II getting off the ground, not after a pretty decisive defeat.

Going somewhere else? Latin America seems a good choice, but I don’t know how influential he’d really be. Napoleon was the product of a very specific time and fought in certain types of war – I don’t know how well he could adapt to the realities of Latin America. He also might have problems because he started as a revolutionary hero (great) and then become emperor (less so) and generally acted like the king who’d been deposed and executed years ago.

Chris
Michael Fass’s novel, ‘Napoleon’s Drop’ deals with this quite nicely. Most of the book involves the English and Americans manoeuvring against each other with the threat of Bonaparte being sprung at the centre of things.
 
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