Napoleon 's Letters From An Italian Nobleman 's Family

1098 Words Sep 29th, 2016 5 Pages
Acquiring insight into the personalities and feelings of any historical figure is a tricky thing. Often we are left with secondary, and sometimes very biased, accounts of how individuals conducted themselves in various situations in their lives. But luckily, we are sometimes left with vivid sources penned by figures themselves, and that is what we have with Napoleon 's letters. Through them we can hope to gain a better and more well-rounded look into the life one of the most loved, and reviled, men in recent history.
To begin, let us take a look at Napoleon’s letters to his immediate family. Letter 71 is addressed to his sister Pauline, who in 1803 had married into an Italian nobleman’s family. In this letter, Napoleon expresses his love for his sister, and wishes her nothing but happiness, showing a tender and brotherly side not often associated with the conquering emperor. But this letter is also no simple social call, but a request that his sister make herself known and appreciated as a socialite in the city of Rome, seat of the Papal States. This is a shrewd and clever move on his part, displaying an understanding of the delicacies of statesmanship and foreign opinion.
In letter 109, a brief note penned in 1806 to his sister Elisa, Napoleon urges her to only allow dresses of silk and batiste to be worn at the court of her husband in Italy. He insists that “preference may be given to the products of French industry”, and is fully confident that such fashion will become…

More about Napoleon 's Letters From An Italian Nobleman 's Family

Open Document