Ancient history

Bonaparte Lucien

Prince of Canino (Ajaccio, May 21, 1775 - Viterbo, June 29, 1840).

Lucien Bonaparte, (born Luciano Buonaparte, Ajaccio, March 21, 1775, - Viterbo, June 29, 1840), Prince of Canino and Musignano, was the second of Napoleon Bonaparte's brothers. Son of Charles-Marie Bonaparte and Maria-Létizia Ramolino. He had twelve children from his second marriage including:Pierre Bonaparte (1815-1881), Charles-Lucien Bonaparte (1803-1857) Prince of Canino and Louis Lucien Bonaparte.


Like all Bonaparte boys, he studied on the continent, in Autun, then in Brienne where he met his illustrious brother. But he renounces the career of arms for that of the church and enters the seminary of Aix-en-Provence. Back in Corsica, he continued on this path when the French Revolution turned his life upside down. He was 15 years old and was enthusiastic about new ideas, he became Pascal Paoli's private secretary, but in 1793, on the death of Louis XVI, Lucien, who had become a Jacobin, fell out with Paoli and hatched a plot against him which failed and which causes the banishment from Corsica of the entire Bonaparte family. He took refuge in Saint-Maximin, where he married Christine Boyer, the daughter of his innkeeper, in 1794. Jacobin (he took the name Brutus, in homage to the character from ancient Rome who assassinated Julius Caesar to "save the of Robespierre, he was the victim of repression when the latter fell and was imprisoned for a time. Thanks to his brother who had become a general, he obtained a position as war commissioner in the Northern army once the turmoil in Thermidor subsided.

Political life

He comes to Paris, frequents Barras, the rise in power of Napoleon is favorable to him. He began a political career in the wake of his brother but wanted to devote himself to his region of origin. Deputy to the Council of Five Hundred for Corsica in 1798, he was its president on the day of 18 Brumaire and had with Sieyès actively prepared the coup d'etat but derived little profit from it.

As a deputy, he was a member of the commission responsible for proposing a repressive law against press offences, a historical antecedent to the freedom of the press, said press being, at the time, placed under police surveillance by the law of 19 Fructidor of the year V.

He became Minister of the Interior under the Consulate from December 24, 1799, but he overshadowed the First Consul who sent him for a year as ambassador to Spain; there he made the French influence prevail against the British party and thereby regained the good graces of the First Consul, despite having received several bribes from the Spaniards and the Portuguese. Back in France, he was a member of the Tribunate in 1802 but finally, his disagreement with Napoleon made him deviate from the race for power, he however accepted a mandate as a senator.

His first wife died in childbirth in 1800, leaving him the father of two children. He remarried a widow, Alexandrine de Bleschamp, widow of M. Jouberthon, who had just given him a son in 1803, Charles Lucien, a union which provoked the fury of the future emperor and forced Lucien to leave for Rome, to retire to the Pope Pius VII, whose friendship he had won in 1801 by supporting the Concordat. In 1804, he received nothing from the honors and promotions of the imperial coronation. He settled near Viterbo in the land of Canino, which the pope erected for him into a principality. Reconciliation is not made with Napoleon, so Lucien wants to go to the United States. In 1810, it was during this crossing that he was arrested by the British and imprisoned until 1814. In exile in Rome since May 1814, he was made Prince of Canino on August 31 of that year by Pope Pius VII .

He learned in 1815 of Napoleon's return from the island of Elba and immediately decided to return to France. The emperor agrees to receive him and they reconcile. This time he was recognized as Prince of France, covered with honors and named peer of France. The final fall of Napoleon after Waterloo forced him to return to Rome, being proscribed under the Restoration. He was made Prince of Musignano on March 21, 1824 by Pope Leo XII, but he died in exile as a private individual in 1840.

Literary Achievements

At the same time, Lucien was very interested in literary life and wrote a few works himself, which earned him an armchair in 1803 at the French Academy. He was also a frequent visitor to Madame Récamier's salon. He composed two epic poems:Charlemagne and La Cyrnéïde ou la Corse savede. He had been admitted to the Institute, and was one of the first protectors of Pierre-Jean de Béranger.

The works of Lucien Bonaparte

* The Indian tribe, or Edouard and Stellina, novel, Paris 1799 (trans. in English and German)
* Charlemagne or the saved Church, epic poem in 24 songs, Paris 1815 (translated in English)
* La Cyrnéïde ou la Corse savede, 12 songs, Paris 1819
* To French citizens who are members of the electoral colleges, Le Mans 1834
* The truth about the Hundred Days, Paris 1835
* Memoirs of Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Canino, written by himself, Paris 1836
* Memoir on Etruscan vases, Paris 1836
* 18 Brumaire, Paris 1845