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Lucien Bonaparte : biography

21 May 1775 - 29 June 1840

Lucien Bonaparte, Prince Français, 1st Prince of Canino and Musignano (21 May 1775 – 29 June 1840), born Luciano Buonaparte, was the third surviving son of Carlo Buonaparte and his wife Letizia Ramolino.

Lucien was a younger brother of Joseph and Napoleon Bonaparte, and an older brother of Elisa, Louis, Pauline, Caroline and Jérôme Bonaparte. Lucien held genuinely revolutionary views, which led to an often abrasive relationship with his brother Napoleon, who seized control of the French government in 1799, when Lucien was 24.Schom, Alan, Napoleon Bonaparte, (HarperCollins Publishers, 1997), pp 237, 238.

Ancestry

Later years

In 1809 Napoleon increased pressure on Lucien to divorce his wife and return to France, even having their mother write a letter encouraging him to abandon her and return. With the whole of the Papal States annexed to France and the Pope imprisoned, Lucien was a virtual prisoner in his Italian estates, requiring permission of the Military Governor to venture off his property. He attempted to sail to the United States to escape his situation but was captured by the British. When he disembarked in England, he was greeted with cheers and applause by the crowd, which saw him as anti-Napoleon.

The government permitted him to settle comfortably, but under house arrest, at the country house at Thorngrove in Worcestershire, where he worked on a heroic poem on Charlemagne. Napoleon, believing Lucien had deliberately gone to Britain and thus a traitor, had Lucien omitted from the Imperial almanacs of the Bonapartes from 1811 onward.

Lucien returned to France following his brother's abdication in April 1814. He continued to Rome where on 18 August 1814 he was made Prince of Canino, Count of Apollino, and Lord of Nemori by Pope Pius VII and Prince of Musignano on 21 March 1824 by Pope Leo XII.Stroud, Patricia Tyson, The Emperor of Nature: Charles-Lucien Bonaparte and his world, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), pp.21; 160.

In the Hundred Days after Napoleon's return from exile at Elba, Lucien rallied to the imperial cause. His brother made him a French Prince and included his children into the Imperial Family, but this was not recognized by the Bourbons after Napoleon's second abdication. Subsequently Lucien was proscribed at the Restoration and deprived of his fauteuil at the Académie française. In 1836 he wrote his Mémoires. He died in Viterbo, Italy, on 29 June 1840, of stomach cancer, the same disease that claimed his father, his sister Pauline and his brother Napoleon.

Academic activities

Lucien Bonaparte was the inspiration behind the Napoleonic reconstitution of the dispersed Académie française in 1803, where he took a seat. He collected paintings in his maison de campagne at Brienne, was a member of Jeanne Françoise Julie Adélaïde Récamier's salon and wrote a novel, La Tribu indienne. He was an amateur archeologist, establishing excavations at his property in Frascati which produced a complete statue of Tiberias, and at Musignano which rendered a bust of Juno. Lucien owned a parcel which had once formed part of Cicero's estate called Tusculum, and was much given to commenting on the fact.

Marriages and children

His first wife was his landlord's daughter, Christine Boyer,de Bourrienne, Louis Antoine Fauvelet and Ramsay Weston Phipps, Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte, Vol.1, (Charles Scribner's Sons:New York, 1895), 100. the illiterate sister of an innkeeper of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, and by her he had four children, one of whom was stillborn:

  • Charlotte Christine (1795–1865) married Prince Mario Gabrielli
  • Victoire (1797)
  • Christine Charlotte (1798–1847) married Lord Dudley Stuart

His second wife was Alexandrine de Bleschamp, widow of Hippolyte Jouberthon, known as "Madame Jouberthon",Atteridge, Andrew Hilliard and Jérôme Bonaparte, Napoleon's brothers, (Methuen and Co.:London, 1909), 98. and by her he had nine children:

Living octopus

Living octopus

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