The original letter penned in Napoleon’s own illegible hand on April 16, 1821, is in France’s national archives and unavailable for purchase. The copy written by a close advisor is expected to fetch about $162,000 (120,000 euros).
The frail Napoleon new his time was almost up when he penned his will and asked that his ashes be scattered along the river Seine among the French people he loved. When he started to write his will he said to a friend, “My son, it’s time I go, I feel it.”
Napoleon expert Pierre Gheno said, “This document is very special in the great mass of documents produced in Napoleon’s era Napoleon always writes in a factual way. But here we see emotion, saying that he wants his ashes to be scattered on the banks of the Seine (river) among the beloved French. He knew he was dying.”
As it turned out, Napoleon’s ashes weren’t scattered along the river, but were transferred to Paris’ Invalides monument some two decades after his death in 1840. Historians say that the new king ignored the will’s wishes and delayed bringing Napoleon’s remains back to Paris out of fear his legacy was too linked with the French Revolution.
The will also calls for his remaining possessions to be distributed among his close friends in exile on the island of Saint Helena and shows how little Napoleon had during his punitive six years of captivity at the hands of the British following his defeat at Waterloo in 1815.
The once-feared man, who conquered half of Europe, had nothing more than a few jewels, sculptures, porcelain crockery and the odd painting at the time of his death.