Lucien Bonaparte: Napoleon's Ablest Brother

J.M. Thompson profiles Napoleon's revolutionary younger brother, who often clashed with the French leader.

An anecdotist of the first empire records that one evening in 1811, at the end of a family dinner-party, Napoleon placed himself with his back to the fire, put his hands behind him, and declared,

“I don’t believe there’s a man in the world so unfortunate in his family as I am. Lucien est un ingrat, Joseph un sardanapale, Louis un cul-de-jatte, Jérô​me un polisson. As for you, mesdames (with a sweeping gesture towards the ladies of the party), vous savez ce que vous ê​tes.”

History is accustomed to speak of Napoleon’s brothers and sisters as the kings and queens, the generals, ambassadors and princesses that his favour and ambition made them.

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