John R. Glover, secretary to Rear Admiral Cockburn (on board the "Northumberland"), with introd. and notes by J. Holland Rose, London, T. Fisher Unwin, 1906


John R. Glover, secretary to Rear Admiral Cockburn (on board the "Northumberland"), with introd. and notes by J. Holland Rose, London, T. Fisher Unwin, 1906

This previously unpublished account of Napoleon's voyage to St Helena by a British eyewitness was published almost simultaneously in French and English in 1893.
The author was John Richard Glover, secretary to George Cockburn, the British Admiral to whom Napoleon's safe conduct to St Helena had been entrusted. The daily journal kept by J.R. Glover is very similar to that written by the admiral himself which had been published in 1833 and Glover's accuracy in copying was doubted even by Cockburn at the time. See the article above cited by Morriss. The tone of the journal is distant, reserved but respectful to Bonaparte, the ex-emperor.
Glover's text is a mixture of genres: a simple catalogue of quotations of Napoleon at lunch and dinner (Napoleon “refights” the battle of Waterloo, he remembers the Egyptian expedition); a catalogue of what Napoleon did on the voyage (his post-prandial walks on the bridge, his reading “in his shirtsleeves”); and a list of anecdotes of life aboard ship (the games of chess in the afternoon and the ritual evening games of dice “vingt-et-un”). Glover's portrait of the emperor on his way into exile is one of a relaxed and even talkative person.


"September 6. The trade-wind winds continued until about four in the afternoon, when we had excessive heavy rain. Bonaparte, who was in very good spirits, had no sooner eaten his dinner than, to the surprise of all, he got up to take his usual walk on deck, notwithstanding it was still pouring with rain; and on the Admiral remarking to him the same, and advising him not to go out, he treated it lightly, and said the rain would not hurt him more than the sailors whom he saw on deck catching the rain and running about in it. The Admiral no longer opposed him, and out he went, accompanied by Bertrand and Las Cases, who though obliged to attend him, seemed by no means to enjoy the idea of the wetting they were doomed to undergo. It required but a short time to obtain a complete soaking, which the trio did, and Bonaparte then retired to his own cabin, from which he did not make his appearance during the evening.".
The book itself
Title: Napoleon's last voyages, being the diaries of (…) John R. Glover, secretary to rear Admiral Cockburn (on board the "Northumberland")
Editor: J. Holland Rose
Publisher and publication date: Londres, T. Fisher Unwin, 1906
Physical description: p. 115-238
Publication history
Editions in English

- First publication in October-November, 1893, in The Century illustrated monthly magazine (London), under the title "Taking Napoleon to Saint-Helena"
- Edition with commentary by J. Holland Rose in 1895, published by Unwin (London): Napoleon's last voyages, being the diaries Admiral Sir Thomas Ussher, R.N., K.C.B. (on board the 'Undaunted') and John R. Glover, secretary to Rear Admiral Cockburn (on board the 'Northumberland'). This work was to be republished by Unwin in 1906 and also published in the US by Scribner and sons (New York).
Editions in French

- Simultaneously with the first English original appeared the French version, published in the Journal des débats (Paris), 1893, entitled "Narration d'un voyage à Sainte-Hélène ou Déportation de Napoléon à Sainte-Hélène. Récit d'un voyage à Sainte-Hélène, se rapportant principalement aux actions et aux entretiens de Bonaparte, jadis le fléau de l'humanité, et maintenant le détenu de la nation dont la destruction avait été pendant de longues années le but essentiel de son activité".
- In Henry Borjane, Napoléon à bord du 'Northumberland', which groups together the eyewitness accounts of the voyage to St Helena. Glover's account is published under the title "Journal de bord du secrétaire de l'amiral Cockburn" par J.R. Glover. Published by Plon in 1936
- Extracts of Glover's were published in J. de Pougins-Roquefort, Napoléon prisonnier vu par les Anglais, Tallandier, 1978. This book was re-published in 2002 by the same publisher in the collection, Bibliothèque napoléonienne.

Author: LHEUREUX-PRÉVOT, Chantal
Month: July
Year: 2006