Written by London Swaminathan


Date: 21  September 2018


Time uploaded in London – 18-13 (British Summer Time)


Post No. 5454

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.



How did the British kill Napoleon Bonaparte?

Arsenic is an interesting element in the Periodic Table. It is linked to the death of several Popes, Napoleon Bonaparte and beer drinkers of Manchester.

Here below are given some interesting titbits

1.Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon I (1769-1821) was emperor of France. A general from 1796, overthrew the rulers and became dictator. From 1803 he conquered most of Europe and installed his brothers as puppet kings. After the Peninsular War and retreat from Moscow in 1812, he was forced to abdicate in 1814 and was banished to the island of Elba. In March 1815 he reassumed power but was defeated by the British and Prussian forces at the Battle of Waterloo and exiled to the island of St Helena where he died. His body was brought back to Paris in 1840. He was buried in Hotel des Invalides in Paris.

High levels of arsenic were detected in his hair when it was analysed by neutron activation analysis. It showed that he was exposed to the element. Some people think it was deliberately done to kill him. Arsenic is a slow killing poison. Modern research shows that it can happen from wall papers with fungal growth under damp conditions.
When a sample of wall paper from Longwood House, his home on St Helena, was found in a scrap book in 1980s  was analysed. The green pattern on it was an arsenic pigment.


How did they kill Popes?
In the past, Popes were also disposed of with slow killing arsenic poisoning. They called it ‘succession powder ‘ because it helped them to kill dukes, popes and kings. The average intake of arsenic in our daily food is up to one milligram. A lethal dose of arsenic oxide is generally 100 milligrams. The body can get rid of it with antidotes.

Horse Race and Charles Dickens
The stimulatory effect of arsenic was exploited by the unscrupulous race horse trainers. In small doses, arsenic stimulates the metabolism and boosts the formation of red blood cells; but prolonged exposure causes health problems

Arsenic was prescribed for all kinds of ailments, such as rheumatism, malaria, TB, and diabetes. It became popular with Dr Fowlers Solution. This was concocted in 1780 by the doctor. In the nineteenth century it was regarded a popular cure all, a general tonic and aphrodisiac, even Charles Dickens used it. It was often prescribed by doctors to aid convalescence.

For 5000 years, ancient civilisations have been using it. Even today it is used in Chinese medicines. More recently arsenic trioxide was approved by the US Food and Drugs Administration for treating a form of leukaemia.
It was used in World War I as a chemical weapon. It caused terrible blisters on skin.

In the 1900s beer drinkers in Manchester were affected by arsenic poisoning and seventy people were killed. In the Indian state of West Bengal high levels of arsenic are found in well waters. The Indian government issued chlorination tablets that will oxidise arsenic trioxide to form an insoluble salt with the iron that is present in the water.

Two more interesting titbits

Soil contaminated with arsenic can be cleaned by growing Chinese ladder fern Pteris vitiata.
According to Roman writer Pliny, emperor Caligula financed a project for making gold from Orpiment and some was produced but so small a quantity that the project was abandoned.

Source book- Natures building blocks by John Emsley.

Arsenic symbol –  As
Atomic number – 33
Atomic weight – 74.92160
Melting point – 616 C
It is a metalloid element.


Leadership Qualities of Napoleon the Great!

stamp napoleon bonaparte

stamp napoleon bonaparte

Article No. 2073

Written by London swaminathan

Date : 15  August  2015

Time uploaded in London :–  18-51

(Pictures are used from various sources)

napo 5

1.How did Napoleon win the Hearts of his Soldiers?

Napoleon used many tricks to boost the morale of his troops. He would say to one of hi aides-de-camp, “Ascertain from the colonel of a regiment, whether he has in his corps a man, who has served in the campaigns of Italy, or the campaigns of Egypt. Ascertain his name, where he was born, the particulars of his family, and what he has done. Learn his number in the ranks, and to what company he belongs, and furnish me the information.”

On the day of the review, Napoleon, at a single glance, could spot the man who had been described to him. He would go up to him as if he recognised him, address him by his name and say – “Oh, so you are here! You are a brave fellow – I saw you at Aboukir – How is your old father! What! Have you not got the cross? Stay, I will give it to you.”

Then the delighted soldiers would say to each other, “You see the Emperor knows us all; he knows our families; he knows where we have served.”

What a stimulus this was to the soldiers whom he succeeded in persuading that they would all, sooner or later, become marshals of the Empire.



2.Aversion to Commerce

Napoleon openly expressed his aversion to commerce and those engaged in it. When a deputation of businessmen came out from Antwerp to welcome him on his approach to the city, he met them with the words: “I don’t like merchants! A merchant is a man who would sell his country for a shilling.”

“England is a country of shop keepers” – said Napoleon according to French Newspapers.




Napoleon instructed his secretary, Bourrienne, to leave all his letters unopened for three weeks, and then observed with satisfaction how large a part of correspondence thus disposed of itself and no longer required an answer.


4.On George Washington  

On the reception of the news of the death of Washington, Napoleon addressed the following letter to the consular guard and the army:

“Washington is dead! That great man who fought against tyranny, and consolidated his country’s freedom. His memeory will be always dear to Frenchmen, and to all freemen in both the worlds – but especially to the French soldiers, who like him, and the American soldiers, have struggled for liberty and equality. The First Consul, therefore, orders that for ten days black crepe shall be suspended from all the flags and standards of the Republic.”



5.Mussolini and Napoleon

According to story circulating in Rome, Mussolini dies and goes to Paradise, where he is greeted warmly by Napoleon. “God will be here in a few minutes,” says Napoleon “Since you are new here, you should probably warned that we rise when he enters.”

“What! I get up? Don’t forget I am the Duce.” (Duce=Duke)

“I am Caesar,” states a voice. “Yet I have the manners to rise.”

“Not I”, says Mussolini. The argument is becoming warm when Machiavelli approaches.

“Peace, friends” he exclaims. “I will arrange everything”

Three solemn knock announce the coming of God.

“Attention!” thunders Machiavelli “Here come the photographer!”

Whereupon Mussolini hops to his feet, folds his arms, sticks out his chin and chest.

Peace reigns.



6.Great Butcher!

When Napoleon, after a series of victories, came to visit annexed Belgium, he found, on entering, Ghent, a triumphal arch erected by the Guild of Butchers. It was inscribed:

“The little butchers of Ghent to Napoleon the Great (butcher).”




Napoleon was one day searching for a book in his library, and at last discovered it on a shelf somewhat above his reach. Marshall Moncey, one of the tallest men in the army, stepped forward, saying:

“Permit me, Sire, I am higher than your Majesty”

“You are longer, Marshal,” said the emperor with a frown.



8.Hair will Grow!

When General Leclerc, unloved husband of Pauline Bonaparte, died in Haiti, she had him placed in a costly coffin and cut off her beautiful hair and buried it with him.

“What a touching tribute to her dead husband!” said someone to her brother Napoleon.

The emperor smiled cynically:

“Hm! Of course she knows that her hair will come in longer and thicker for being cropped.”



9.Knowledge of Latin

One time when Louise Napoleon was racking his brains over a pile of Latin dictionaries and grammars, Napoleon the Third entered the room. He looked at him with sympathy and said, “It is a grind, translating Latin. I never could.

The tutor spoke up in astonishment, “But your Majesty’s translation of Caesar’s ‘commentaries’?”

“It was not mine,” said the Emperor and went off.



10.First among Women

Mme. De Stael (to  Napoleon ): General who is the woman you would love the most?

Napoleon : My own

Mme. De Stael: But what would woman would you admire the most?

Napoleon: The best housekeeper.

Mme. De Stael: But with you, who would be the first among women?

Napoleon: She who has had the most babies.


napoleon3 (1)


The leading nobles of Poland addressed a petition to Marie Walewska to accept Napoleon as her lover. They quoted scripture to reinforce their argument:

“Did Esther, do you think, give herself to Ahasueros out of the fullness of her love for him? So great was the terror with which he inspired her that she fainted at the sight of him.  We may therefore conclude that affection had but little to do with her resolve. She sacrificed her own inclinations to the salvation of her country and that salvation it was her glory to achieve. May we be enabled to say the same to you, to your glory and our own happiness!”




Written by S Nagarajan

Research Article No. 1689; Dated 4 March 2015.


Memory:Queen Draupadi of Mahabharata and Emperor Napoleon of France

Emperor Napoleon had an excellent memory. He memorized the rosters of his units and used to call the soldiers by name. It is estimated more than one lakh soldiers were in his army. Baron Meneval, Napoleon’s secretary, wrote in his memoirs that his memory had been described as ‘astonishing’. Various biographers describe his memory as ‘very retentive’, ‘near photographic, ‘prodigious’, and ‘phenomenal’.

Cyrus had a memory so prodigious that he knew by heart the names of all the officers and soldiers of his armies. Emperor Otho, the successor to Galba had learned the names of all the soldiers of his army. He used to call everyone by his proper name.


Similarly Mithridates , the famous king and emperor Adrianius knew by heart the names of all their soldiers. Themistocles was able to remember thirty thousand citizens of Athens by name. Xerxes was reputed to be able to recall the names of the one lakh soldiers in his armies. We believe all these statements without raising any question.


Let us compare these interesting facts with the photographic memory of Queen Draupadi of Mahabharata. She revealed her very rare qualities to the Queen Sathyabama, the wife of Lord Krishna in an intimate chat. She informed Sathyabama that one lakh sixty thousand Brahmanas (priestly class) were daily fed in the palace of Yudhishthira. He also had a hundred thousand well-dressed serving maids with bracelets on arms and golden ornaments on necks, and decked with costly garlands. They were all skilled in singing and dancing. Draupadi knew the names and features of all those girls, as also what they are and what they were, and what they did not.

Yudhishthira had also a hundred thousand maid-servants. These servants daily used to feed guests, with plates of gold in their hands. And while Yudhishthira lived in Indraprastha a hundred thousand horses and a hundred thousand elephants used to follow in his train. These were the possessions of Yudhishthira while he ruled the earth. It was Draupadi, however, who regulated their number and framed the rules to be observed in respect of them; and it was she who had to listen to all complaints about them. Indeed she knew everything about what the maid-servants of the palace and other classes of attendants, even the cow-herds and the shepherds of the royal establishment, did or did not! We are astonished with the statements of Draupadi.


When we compare these statistics with that of Napoleon and other kings we are compelled to admire how sharp was her intellect and memory!While we are ready to believe historians like Pliny, the same way we have to believe the statements of the great Queen Draupadi also. This astonishing memory is one of her qualities only. The women of the world should learn more about Draupadi and should follow her footsteps by developing rare skills.

Note:  The original Sanskrit slokas of Mahabharata were translated by sri Ganguly in 1873-1886. The English version has been taken from public domain and for authenticity sake used here. Readers could download the full Mahabharata from net.

Socrates, Napoleon, Valluvar believed in Fate!


Research paper written by By Santhanam Nagarajan

Research article No.1483; Dated 13th December 2014.

Fate and Free will – Part VI

Maharishi Aurobindo has explained that all men great and strong have believed some higher force. He explains Fate, thus:

“There have been people who have believed in fate or destiny or whatever you may call it. Napoleon III used to say, ‘So long as something is necessary to be done by me it will be done in any case and when that necessity will cease, I shall be thrown on the wayside like an unworn vessel.’ And that is what exactly happened to him. Napoleon also believed in Fate.

All men who have been great and strong believe in some higher Force, greater than themselves, moving them. Socrates used to call this his Daemon, man’s divine being. It is curious how sometimes even in small things one depends on this voice.


Socrates’ belief in Fate

Once Socrates was walking with a disciple when they came to a place where they had to take a turn. The disciple said, ‘Let us take this route.’ Socrates said, ‘My Daemon asks me to take to take the other.’ The disciple did not agree and followed his own route. After he had gone a certain distance he was attacked by some pigs and thrown down by them.

There are some who do not follow the inner voice but an inner light. The Quakers believed in that.”

Quoting Napoleon, Aurobindo further explains fate and effort.
“Napoleon when asked why he believed in Fate, yet was always planning and acting, answered, ‘Because it is fated that I should work and plan.”

The great work Thirukkural explains fate and effort very interestingly.
The great work Thiurkkural is the master-piece of Tamil literature. The great poet Thiruvalluvar has given it to the whole world. It consists of 1330 couplets.

valluvar 4

Valluvar’s belief in Fate

Rev G.U. Pope said: “Thiruvalluvar was undoubtedly one of the greatest geniuses of the world. Complete in itself, the sole work of its author has come down the stream of ages absolutely uninjured, hardly a single various reading of any importance being found.

The Kural owes much of its popularity to its exquisite poetic form. The brevity rendered necessary by the form gives an oracular effect to the utterances of the great Tamil “Master of Sentences”. They are the choicest of moral epigrams.”

Now let us read the two couplets.

The couplet no 380 says: “What is stronger than Fate? Even if we think of a way to avert it, it will forestall us.”
The couplet no 620 says: “Those who labor on untiringly and without fault will overcome even fate.

Even though both these couplets seem to be contradictory, they are not.
Work hard and smart and leave the rest to God. God helps to those who help themselves.

Maharishi Thiruvalluvar and Maharishi Aurobindo have explained very beautifully Fate and effort thus.
Let us explore further.


Maharishi Aurobindo explains fate and effort, quoting Napoleon. “Napoleon when asked why he believed in Fate, yet was always planning and acting, answered, ‘Because it is fated that I should work and plan.” The great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar in his great work Thirukkural says: “What is stronger than Fate? Even if we think of a way to avert it, it will forestall us.” But he also says: “Those who labor on untiringly and without fault will overcome even fate.”

To be continued …………………..