Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Our tribute to Napoleon - 200 years later.


Darren took his Mum to London for a treat - and what a treat it was!

Darren was going to London on business on 6 September 2016, so suggested I came with him.
Darren wanted to give his Mum a treat as my husband and his father Peter Olney had passed away on 9 May 2016.  An opportunity not to be missed. As a result of writing many family history blogs over recent years, I had made some good contacts and here was my opportunity to be able to meet some of them.

In 2013 I published the Olney Family Archives.
A cousin found my blog and she challenged me to find out more about Doris Olney. If you start reading at the "Arthur & Doris Olney" Post, then the "Keith & Marjorie Olney" Post, you will soon discover that Doris Moss had family connections to Napoleon and St Helena, the island where Napoleon was in exile 1815 - 1821. The Post "Doris Moss - as discovered in 2014" reveals a lot.

What was Doris' father Clement Moss going to do with two young children after his wife Matilda Moss died in 1898?  Doris was only 2 years old when her mother died in Adelaide, South Australia. She was brought up by the family of her deceased mother's first husband Archibald Glasson who had died in New Zealand in 1892. The Glasson family were thought to be friends of the Olney family without knowing the real connection until I discovered it.
When Matilda Moss died there was also a 10 week old baby Claude Moss that had to be cared for.  The oldest brother of Clement Moss, Valentine & Elizabeth Moss brought Claude up as their own in New Zealand. It was interesting to observe that Claude spent many years living in London without ever knowing he had 2 half  brothers and 2 half sisters also living in England.  Sad story but has now had a good ending.

Clement Moss, the father of Doris & Claude went to the Boer War in South Africa in 1899 and stayed in South Africa for a few years. Clement ended up in England in about 1909 and married Emily Swift in 1913.  Together they had 4 children - Kathleen, Clement, Cyril and Vera. The boys have since passed away.
Clement George Moss at the Boer War in South Africa 1899-1902.

Darren and I had the privilege of meeting the half sisters of Doris & Claude  Moss in Worthing, England. I need to remind you that neither the Australian family or the English family of Clement Moss knew of each others existance until I discovered it in 2014, so this meeting was very special for us all.

Kathleen Wood (95), her son Trevor Wood, Darren, Peter Wood, Joy & Vera Ames (102).

Descendents of Clement Moss 1870-1933 meet for lunch.

Joy with the half sisters of Doris Moss - Kathleen Wood (95) and Vera Ames (102)

Vera Ames (102).

Joy visited the ladies again during the next week.

Darren and I also visited Dr Veronica Moss, one of Clement Frederick Moss' 4 daughters.  We also had a skype call to Veronica's sister Ulla in Sweden.

Darren Olney, Veronica Moss and Joy Olney.
Veronica Moss and Joy Olney.

Joy Olney met Dominee Newton Dunn for coffee, the grand-daughter of Cyril Moss.
An interesting story here is that several weeks after Dominie and I meet, Dominie had coffee with an old university friend that she had not seen for many years as Charlotte had been living in Australia and was known to Darren. Charlotte and I had met just a week earlier in London with Darren. Charlotte and Dominie were sharing with each other about meeting a lady just a few weeks earlier that had shared an incredible story about how she had found part of the family that they never knew existed - 100 years later.  That lady was ME. What a small world we live in.

Drinks with Charlotte & Dan and Darren at The Anchor in London.

Off to Paris

After visiting the Moss family in England and hearing all their stories about the Moss family in St Helena and their associations with Napoleon on St Helena 200 years ago, Darren and I were inspired to take a few days out to visit Paris and take in some Napoleonic history.  Darren came away with the notion that as his great great great great grandfather Isaac Moss (1796-1864) was a good friend of Napoleon's while he was exiled on the island of St Helena 1815 until his death in 1821, we should do some more research about Napoleon in Paris.

Leaving London from King's Cross St Pancreas Station via Eurostar through the English Channel. We travelled light by sharing that small case!

We chose to go via Eurostar from King's Cross St Pancreas Station in London to Gare du Nord, Paris via the English Channel

The Station proceedures were just like at an Airport.  The Eurostar travels at speeds up to 300kmph, slowing to 160kmph through the 50 kms tunnel in the English Channel.  The tunnel was opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1994.  The trip takes 2 hours 15 minutes.

We negotiated our way via the underground rail system to our accomodation.This was Le Defense Station.

The stations and trains were very clean and easy to board.

Our accomodation in Paris.

We were keen to get out and explore Paris.

Firstly we went to Chateau de Malmaison, the home of Josephine and Napoleon Bonaparte.  Josephine purchesed the property in 1799 while her husband was off fighting in Egypt.  Josephine was given the estate after the couple divorced in 1809 and lived there until her death 5 years later in 1814. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) rose to prominence during the French Revolution as Emperor of France 1804-1815, then exiled to St Helena 1815-1821.

We particularly went to Chateau de Malmaison to see the agreement made between Queen Victoria and Isaac Moss in 1857.  Isaac Moss was paid 3500 English Pounds to break his 21 year lease of   "Longwood House" (Napoleon's home while in exile on St Helena), but unfortunately the Napoleonic section was closed so we could not see it. About 1838 Isaac Moss took on a 14 year lease of "Longwood House" (1838-1852) and in 1852 Isaac took on a 21 year lease but that was cut short in 1857. "Longwood House" today is St Helena's Museum, Napoleon's grave is empty as his body was exhumed and taken back to Paris in 1840 and "The Briars" where the Balcombe family lived  and hosted Napoleon for the first 6 weeks of his stay on St Helena was given back to the French in 1959.  Today all three locations fly the French flag.  Many of the Moss children were born at "Longwood House", hence why we have a particular interest in "Longwood House" and Napoleon. 

Napoleon Bonaparte and Empress Josephine were crowned at Notre Dame on 2 December 1804.

Empress Josephine was crowned on 2 December 1804 at Notre Dame in Paris.

Many portraits adorned the walls of Chateau de Malmaison, the furniture was equisite so here are some for your enjoyment.

Bust of Napoleon

Portraits of Josephine


Napoleon's bed chamber

"Napoleon Crossing the Alps" by Jacques-Louis David.

Another famous portrait of Napoleon.

A table top commissioned by Napoleon with portraits of leaders.

Table designed by Napoleon

Drawing Room - note the bust of Napoleon and Josephine in the corner.

Bust of Napoleon

Next we visited Les Invalides Military Museum in Paris to see Napoleon's tomb. Extensive work was carried out beneath the Dome, involving an immense excavation to create a space for the tomb.  Napoleon was transferred from St Helena on 15 December 1840 but not in position until 2 April 1861.

Cathedral Saint Louis at Les Invalides
Dome over Napoleon's tomb.

Napoleon's tomb - 15 foot tall red quartzite sarcophagus, sculptured from blocks of red quartzite and placed on a green vosges granite base and surrounded by a laurel crown.

Napoleon's tomb surrounded by a laurel crown and inscriptions referring to the Empire's great victories. An amazing resting place for an Emperor that was exiled.

Off the main "Napoleon" centrepiece was a number of tombs of worthy leaders. Truely an impressive place to visit.

You cannot go to Paris without a visit to Le Louvre, but we were interested in things of Napoleon.

Napoleon Bonaparte renamed Le Louvre "Museum Napoleon" in 1804.  Darren is leaning over the Napoleon "N" at the entrance to Napoleon 111's apartment at Le Louvre.

Napoleon 111's apartments.

Napoleon 111's apartments.

Napoleon 111's drawing room.

Napoleon 111's Drawing room.
Napoleon 111's apartment.

Napoleon 111's Dining room.

Napoleon's bed chamber.

Napoleon 111's apartments.

Napoleon Bonaparte's Throne

Of course while we were at Le Louvre we had to see Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, painted 1503-06.  It is only 30" x 21" and hanging at the far end of a big room with crowds trying to get a glimpse or take a photo.

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci at Le Louvre. 
Other paintings.

This painting took up the whole wall at the opposite end of the room to Mona Lisa. Quite a contrast.

Painting of the beheaded head of John the Baptist.
Darren's choice for a photo!
Joy's choice for a photo!
At Le Louvre.
Chateau de Versailles is 20km southwest of Paris.  Built by Louis X111 in 1623 but has had many extensions.  It was the "showcase" of France. No particular connection to Napoleon, but he would have frequented here.

Chateau de Versailles but closed to the public on Mondays.

Even though it was closed we could still take in the atmosphere and enjoyed the gardens at the back.

Joy & Darren at Chateau de Versailles.

There was still more to see in Paris.

A visit to Eiffel Tower.

We are actually in Paris.

We did a lot of walking in Paris but stopped for coffee, crepes, juice and eats as necessary.  An ideal way of taking in the French atmosphere.
Notre Dame where Napoleon was crowned on 2 December 1804.

Campse Elysees, the most famous avenue in Paris. From Arc de Triumph to Concord near Le Louvre.

An exact replica of the Statue of Liberty's flame in New York, "Liberty Flame" above the tunnel entrance where Princess Diana died in August 1997.  An unofficial memorial for Diana - quite disappointing.

Darren overlooking River Seine in Paris.
Walking alongside the River Seine in Paris.

A walk alongside the River Seine in Paris.

And of course a visit to Paris would not be complete without a climb up the steps to Sacre-Coer (Roman Catholic) on about the only bit of high ground in Paris.

Sacre-Coeur, constructed 1875-1914.

Interior of Sacre-Coeur.  Beautiful painting adorn the walls and dome with lots of gold.

Montmarte is famous for its artists and the selling of their paintings. Just along side is Sacre-Coeur.  We ate crepes while enjoying the atmosphere.

After 4 days, it was time to return to London.

Gare du Nord, the main railway station in Paris where we caught our train straight back to King's Cross St Pancreas station in central London.

Darren relaxing on the Eurostar.

Exiting the Euro Tunnel on our way back to London.

  My connection with Napoleon and the Mott family


I find it quite incredible that the Mott family were involved with Napoleon's surrender at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and the Moss family were living on the Island of St Helena when Napoleon was exiled there in 1815.

I suggest you go to my Brighouse/Mott Family Archives Blog and click on http:brighousemottfamilyarchives.blogspot.com.au for more details.  You will read in the John & Ann (Tyrell) Mott Post about their son, Andrew Mott, First Lieutenant of HMS Bellerophon who personally took the surrender of Napoleon in 1815.  Napoleon gave Andrew Mott his two pistols and they remained in the family for many years.

Napoleon gave First Lieutenant Andrew Mott his 2 pistols.

A descendant of First Lieutenant Andrew Mott, Andrew Luther Mott (1828-1904) lent the 2 pistols to a Naval Exhibition in Chelsea, England in 1891.

An example of Napoleon's pistols

A century later, an Australian descendant, John Wesley Mott (1891-1979) inherited Napoleon's 2 pistols because of his distinguished military records. As a result of his WW1 involvement, John W.Mott was awarded a Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Military Cross. The article below gives an account of Napoleon's surrender of his 2 pistols to First Lieutenant Andrew Mott and their "home" in Brisbane.

This article was in "The Brisbane Courier" on Saturday 27 August 1927

Napoleon's Pistols in Brisbane.  By Spencer Browne.

Napoleon's Abdication and Flight.  

After Waterloo, after the furious days "when Wellington smashed Bonaparte," Napoleon returned to Paris, hoping to reorganise his shattered forces, to form a new army and fight on. He found, however, a war weary Paris, and a hostile Chamber of Deputies, and sent a delegation, in response to an imperious call, to represent the causes of the loss of the battle of Waterloo, and his proposals for public safety, and for treating with the combined Powers for peace. The Ministers, with Prince Lucien at their head, suggested a committee of five members from each Chamber to discuss the proposals of the Emperor, but they found the Deputies arrogantly hostile, and obviously bent upon an abdication. M. Henry Lacoste said: "The veil is torn aside - our misfortunes are known. You talk to us of peace; but what new basis will you give to your negotiations.

You know as well as we that Europe has declared war against Napoleon alone. Will you hence forth separate the nation from Napoleon? For my part, I declare I see but one man between us and peace. Let him speak and the country will be saved." The Deputies granted the Emperor an hour's grace to declare himself. The Emperor's friends, including Prince Lucien and Prince Joseph, urged that the time for other action had passed, and urged submission, and Napoleon, with an ironical smile, said to the Duke of Orleans: "Write to those gentlemen to make themselves easy; they shall soon be satisfied." and one of the historians tells us: "He then wrote his abdication." But Napoleon insisted that he had only abdicated in favour of his son. The return of Grouchy to France with his army intact, and the rally of the wrecks from the forces of Waterloo, saw the formation of a force of some 50,000 or 60,000 men, and they showed that they still could sting, the Prussians being badly cut up on one occasion; but the French vainly sought an armistice. Blucher would have no armistice, and the so-called treachery of Fouche, of the Prince of Echmuhl, and others, and the practical investment of Paris by the Allies, broke the French spirit or bent it to the Allied will. From the headquarters of the Allies at Hagenau was issued a peremptory note, aimed at the surrender of Napoleon and the ex-Emperor saw that it was time to "up sticks and off."

How Napoleon left France.

It may be said that had it not been for treacheries the French soldiers would have put up a desperate fight for their country as they regarded the situation and for their beloved Napoleon. Much blood shedding on both sides was saved by the firmness of the Allies. The note from their headquarters referred to above ran thus: "The three Powers consider it as an essential condition of peace and real tranquillity that Napoleon Bonaparte shall be incapable of disturbing the peace of Europe in future; and in consequence of the events which occurred in March last (1813), the Powers must insist on Napoleon Bonaparte being placed in their custody. Napoleon, who had left the Imperial Palace as a matter of discretion, and was practically under the guardianship of General Beker, at Malmaison, had moved on to Rochefort, and on the day after the Prussians surrounded the palace where the Government held its sittings (July 8), Louis XVIII returned in triumph and took possession of his capital and throne."

Napoleon went on board the frigate La Saale, with his suite on the Medusa, and anchored at the Isle of Aix. On July 10, an English fleet of eleven vessels was seen cruising within sight of the port, and on July 11 Napoleon sent to inquire of the British Admiral whether he was authorised to allow him liberty to go to England or the United States, and the answer from the Admiral was that he was ready to receive Napoleon and convey him to England. Dissatisfied with such a reply, history tells us, Napoleon had some idea of going on board an American vessel at the mouth of the Gironde, "whose captain would be most happy and proud to have received him." and also, "He also refused the proffered assistance of some young midshipmen full of courage and devotion, who, with two barks, swore they would forfeit their lives if they did not convey him to New York." Napoleon evidently was reluctant to be taken to the bosom of the American Republic, and decided for England. He sent a message to the British Admiral that on the following day he would go on board his vessel, and on July 15 he went off in the brig L'Epervier, and was received on board the H.M.S. Bellerophon with the honours due to his military rank."

Surrender to Captain Maitland.

It is clear from the account of Captain Maitland, of the Bellerophon that the honours were not paid to Napoleon when he first boarded that ship. Maitland, in his despatch on the surrender, said: "At break of day on July 15, 1815, L'Epervier French brig-of-war, was discovered under sail standing out towards the ship with a flag of truce up; and at the same time the Superb, bearing Sir Henry Hotham's flag, was seen in the offing. By half-past five the ebb tide failed, the wind was blowing right in, and the brig, which was within a mile of us, made no further progress, while the Superb was advancing with the wind and tide in her favour. Thus situated, and being most anxious to terminate the affair I had brought so near to a conclusion previous to the Admiral's arrival, I sent off Mr. Mott, the first lieutenant, in a barge, who returned soon after 6 o'clock, bringing Napoleon with him."   That brief historical sketch probably will revive the memories of folk who have not recently studied the Napoleonic career, and it is a prelude to a very interesting circumstance which has a close Queensland association.

Napoleon's Pair of Pistols.
A few days ago I went with Mr. W. T. Mott, of Laura-street, South Brisbane, to the safe deposit vaults of the Queensland Trustees. Ltd., and there he showed me, and allowed me the great pleasure of handling and making a close inspection of a pair of pistols, most carefully preserved. They are old flintlocks of a heavy calibre, and on the base of the stock each is the letter "N", with a crown and laurel wreath. These were presented by Napoleon at the time of his surrender in 1815 to the late Commander Andrew Mott, of H.M.S. Bellerophon, and they were "shown at the Naval Exhibition at Chelsea in 1891." by A. L. Mott, Esquire, R.X.E.  A certificate which endorses their bona fides, if that were necessary, seeing that they have not been out of the possession of the Mott family since they were presented to Commander Mott of the Bellerophon in 1815 is signed by Albert Edward J?, (the late King Edward, then Prince of Wales), and by Admiral W. M'Dowell. 

In the early days of the recent Great War. a young authorised surveyor, J. W. Mott, who was then on the Daly River, Northern Territory, came to Brisbane and enlisted in the 7th Field Engineers. Prior to gaining a commission overseas, he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, and then as a lieutenant he won the Military Cross. On going over to England on leave from France, the young soldier's relatives considered that he was well entitled to be the family holder of the pistols given by the great Napoleon to their relative, Commander Andrew Mott, who took the ex-Emperor from L'Epervier, and conveyed him to his formal surrender on the Bellerophon.

It was the father of Lieutenant J. W. Mott. M.C.. D.C.M., who showed me the pistols in Brisbane.  Mr. W. T. Mott is well known in Brisbane, having been for many years in the Public Service, and is the son of the late J. W. Mott, formerly a contractor in a big way, who came to Brisbane in 1893. It is doubtful if there is a more interesting, souvenir of war in the Commonwealth than this brace of pistols, which we may assume were carried in the holsters of the great military genius. Napoleon and the bent "grips" of which were so often in his hands. Their owner, Mr. J. W. Mott, is an authorised surveyor, practising at Bundaberg. It was an agreement with his father, Mr. W. T. Mott, that I should not "bring the young follow into the limelight." I have had to mention him in connection with the Napoleon souvenir, as a historical necessity, and he must patiently bear the publicity.

John Wesley Mott 1891-1979 M.C.  D.C.M.

It could be that Andrew Luther Mott (1828-1904), a great nephew of Lieutenant Andrew Mott, inherited the pistols because he had the name of Andrew Mott. He certainly had an interest in the pistols as he "lent them to the Naval Exhibition in 1891".

The father of John W.Mott was Samuel Mott (1790-1873) & Andrew L. Mott's father was Edward Mott (1797-1878).  Samuel & Edward were brothers.
Samuel's son John Wesley Mott (1832-1904) married Diana Sarah Jeves (1829-1912) in 1852.
John's son William Thomas Mott (1862-1943) married Caroline Madeline Banks in 1890.
William's son John Wesley Mott (1891-1979) married Dorothy Beatrice Harvey (1894-?) in 1923 and they had a son John Wesley Mott (1926-2006).

Samuel Mott was a Shipwright and built a cottage known as "Mott's Cottage" in Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia in 1850s.  Today it it owned by the National Trust and a Tourist Attraction for visitors to Port Fairy. His son John W.Mott settled in Brisbane where the next generations of Motts have lived.

Samuel Mott 1790 - 1873 A Whaler & Shipwright

"Mott's Cottage" in Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia

Home of William T. Mott at 27 Laura Street, South Brisbane 1903-1943 & 1955.

Word is that John Wesley Mott's widow sold the pistols to someone in Canberra. I have endevoured to trace their whereabouts without success. Now 200 years later, it would be great to know where the pistols are. 

If anyone can help solve this mystery I would appreciated a contact by email to Joy Olney at joyolney@gmail.com

Back in London

While in London I had afternoon tea with Queen Elizabeth 11 at Buckingham Palace, but unfortunately she was not at home. Never-the-less, I enjoyed my tour of the Palace and the scrumptious vanilla slice and iced coffee at the conclusion of the tour.  It is interesting to note that there is only 32 degrees of separation between myself and Queen Elizabeth 11, so I felt quite at home!

Joy at Buckingham Palace.
Afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace.
I visited Wesleyan Methodist Church in London as my Grandpa, Rev Leslie Sruart Macdougall was a Methodist Minister in Tasmania and Victoria from 1901-1948. If you have an interest in Methodism, I suggest you take a look at my Blog at  http://macdougalldiaries@blogspot.com.au which will give an overlook at his diaries written from 1895-1948.

John Wesley, Founder of Methodist Church.

Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, London.

If you see any need for corrections, or have a comment to make, please contact the author, Joy Olney via email at joyolney@gmail.com

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