David G. Chandler at work in his office




A letter in response to the article in the Napoleonic Alliance Gazette, Vol. 2002, No. 1, by Victor Blair


To the Editor,


Victor Blair (vol. 2002 No 1) may say what he likes, but I am not really concerned "... on Napoleon's health and the possible poisonning". That aspect is certainly Dr. Ben Weider's main area. I am, on the other hand, deeply involved into the (nasty) Comte d'Artois and above all of Comte de Montholon, the so-called Lt. General as Napoleon's "best friend" at St. Helena. He has been proved a criminal several times over and the myth that he was Napoleon's only real friend on St. Helena in an absolute cock-and-bull story.


We now know that the emperor was murdered; I support Dr. Weider's thesis completely. I am much more concerned "by whom?" and "why?" Mr. Blair kindly refers to me as an authority on the battles, but I am currently deeply into the events from the spring of 1814 to May of 1820. My research with the Montholon notes at the Chateau de Vincennes uncovered the fact that there are serious gaps in the documents but that Montholon was undoubtedly involved in various plots with the Comte d'Artois (later Charles X). This period remains very dark and incomplete, and my illness will prevent me from being the one to do the conclusive research on the matter, but rest assured the truth will eventually come out and it will not be favorable to Comte de Montholon.



David G. Chandler








By Thomas Harding

Dr. Chandler, whose works on the French-born Corsican include the Campaigns of Napoleon, has taken 30 years to accept his conclusions.

"After long checking, I am convinced 99-9 per cent that Napoleon was murdered. The only murderer must been Count Charles-Tristan de Montholon.

"De Montholon was in the right place at the right time and had a sufficient motive to kill his emperor."


An army officer who had an undistinguished career during the Napoleonic wars,  de Montholon had left himself open to bribery after he was caught stealing money from regimental funds.


The Comte d'Artois, brother of Louis XVIII, who had tried to assassinate Napoleon on several occasions, used the information to blackmail de Montholon to become the assassin.


For years de Montholon fed his leader wine laced with arsenic which made him ill but was not deadly.


However, a mixture of an orange drink, bitter almonds and calomel created a lethal cocktail. Calomel added to arsenic produces strichnine which both kills and then removes all symptoms.

A leading British expert on Napoleon has given his backing to the theory that the deposed French Emperor was assassinated by his fellow countrymen.


Dr. David Chandler, considered the foremost living authority on Napoleon, believes that history books should be re-written to include a final chapter on the conspiracy behind his death.


It has taken decades for Dr. Chandler and other academics to accept that one of the greatest military  commanders in history was assassinated. For more than a century, it had been accepted that Napoleon died from stomach cancer aged 52 on May 5, 1821.


But  Dr. Chandler is now " 99.9 per cent certain " that one of France's greatest heroes was poisoned  by his compatriots on St Helena, the south Atlantic island to which ha was exiled following defeat in 1815.



Between his arrival and his death six years later, Napoleon was systematically poisoned with arsenic given by Count Charles de Montholon, a man he regarded as his closest friend on the island but who in fact was acting on the orders of French royalists, the historian claims.


Napoleon : posed threat


The monarchy was motivated by the fear that Napoleon would return to France and lead another revolution.


Earlier this month, hair belonging to Napoleon was found to contain excessive amounts of arsenic in tests commissioned by Ben Weider, a Canadian millionaire and historian who has championed the murder theory for the last 50 years.


See also this report on David Chandler


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