NAPOLEON I., Fr. prom. rth'O'hifoxf (Napo leon Bonaparte) (1769-1821). Emperor of the French, born at Ajaccio, on the island of Corsica, August 15, 1769. The family of Buonaparte (as the name was spelled until 1796) was of Tuscan origin. hut had been settled in Corsica since 1529. The parents of the future Emperor were Carlo Maria de Buonaparte and Letizia Ramolino, descendant of a good Florentine family. Napo leon was the fourth child and the second son.
After a few months spent in learning, French in a school at Autun, he entered the military school at Brienne on April 23, 1779. and there remained until he was transferred to the great military school in Paris in September. 1784. Just a year later be received his commission as second lieu tenant in La Fere Regiment of Artillery, which was stationed at Valence. He served with this regiment until 1791, hut passed the greater part of his time (1786-88 and 1789-91) on furlough in Corsica. where he took part in the patriotic movement under Paoli. Ile was in Paris during the events of August 10, 1792, when the mob of Paris attacked the Tuileries, and on August 30th attained the rank of captain in the army.
He returned to Corsica, but this time he had a falling out with Paoli and identified him self with the French Revolutionary Party on the island. The defeat of this party compelled Napoleon and the other members of his family to escape and take refuge in France in June. 1793. As yet Napoleon had shown little indica-• tion of his genius and of the mighty career be was destined to lead. Self-contained and gloomy.
be had made scarcely any friends except Bour rienne. lie had mastered his profession of arms. had shown a capacity for intrigue. and had learned to rely upon himself. In his long leisure hours he had devoted himself faithfully to books of a solid character. He was in the beginning an enthusiastic admirer of Rousseau, and his earliest. writings, which date from the Valence period, reveal an amount of sentiment that is strangely unlike the man who later squandered 1111111:In lives by the hundred thousand in order to gratify his ambition. Buonaparte rejoined his regiment in Southern France, partieipated in On occupation of Marseilles by the Revolutionary forces, and then marched to Toulon to take part in the siege of that town. As chef de batoillon in the Second Regiment of Artillery he was prac tically in charge of the artillery during the siege operations. and won for himself golden opinions from the commissioners of the Convention with the army. One of these commissioners was Robespierre's younger brother. Augustin. whose intimate friend and confidant Buonaparte now became. His conduct at Toulon won him promo Lion to the rank of general of brigade. but his
relations with the younger Robespierre and his outspoken Jacoldnism caused his imprisonment after the coup of the Oth Thermidor. An old Cor sican acquaintance, Saliceti. was one of the com missioners of the Convention in the south of Frame at this moment and intervened on behalf of the young artillery officer. Marmont, who was in position to hell, Buonaparte at this time. said that he did so because he saw "there was so much future in his mint." lle was released on August 20. 1794, and after further misfortunes he turned up in Paris, where he found temporary employment in the topographical bureau.
The Convention was now drawing to a close, but was forced to face one more insurrection, one antagonistic to the new Constitution of the Year Ill. (See FRENCH REVOLUTION.) The work of defending the Convention was intrusted to Barras (q.v.). who selected as his second in command Buonaparte, whom he had seen at Toulon, and whom he now found in Paris half fed and shabbily clothed, awaiting the next turn of the wheel of fortune. "From the first," says ThiCibault. "his activity was astonishing; he seemed to be everywhere at once: he surprised people by his laconic, clear, and prompt orders: everybody was struck by the vigor of his arrange ments, and passed from admiration to confidence. and from confidence to enthusiasm." With the `whiff of grape shot' lie swept the Parisian mob from the streets on the 13th Vend(cmiaire (Octo ber 5. 1795). The Convention came to an end, the Directory took its place with Barras as one of the Directors, and Buonaparte succeeded Barras as commander of the Army of the Interior. Barras welcomed the young hero of the hour to his salon, where the grace of person and charm of manner of a young Creole widow, Josephine de Beauharnais, aroused in Buonaparte passionate admiration and love. Despite a disparity of six years in their ages, the influence of Barras brought about a marriage on larch 9. 1799. Meanwhile the favor of another Director had brought to Buonaparte a much more important command in the army. Buonaparte had visited the Genoese Riviera in 1794. and at the Topo graphical Bureau he had taken the opportunity to prepare a plan of campaign in Northern Italy, which he now perfected and presented to Carnot (q.v.), who admired it and ordered its execution. the general of the Army of Italy, replied that if the Directors wanted the plan carried out they could send down the man who devised it to do it. Ile was taken at his word; Buonaparte was appointed to the com mand. and left Paris two days a fter,his marriage, arriving at Nice in March. 1796.