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Napoleon’s sarcophagus

But not all of Napoleon rests inside the sarcophagus. There has been a long tradition in certain European countries of extracting various body parts and burying them elsewhere; hearts are a particular favorite. If this seems a bit macabre, consider that Albert Einstein’s brain was, for decades, preserved in a glass jar in Kansas (it is now in Princeton, New Jersey) and that pathologists routinely excise body parts for later examination. Cathedrals and holy sites throughout the world regularly display relics, which often include bones, fingers, skulls and other assorted body parts. And throughout much of the nineteenth century all manner of memorial products were made from human hair.

When Napoleon died, everything associated with him took on a near-religious aura. Even the trees around his grave in Saint Helena were cut down and crafted into souvenir splinters. The day after Napoleon’s death, an autopsy was performed by his doctor, Francesco Antommarchi. Surrounded by a large number of witnesses, Antommarchi removed Napoleon’s heart, which was supposed to be delivered to his estranged wife, Marie-Louise, as well as parts of his stomach and intestines for further examination (Napoleon had officially died from stomach cancer).

Then, according to the story, a priest by the name of Vignali, who administered Napoleon’s last rites, lopped off all or part of Napoleon’s privates (Vignali also made off with some of Napoleon’s knives and forks, a silver cup and also received substantial remuneration for conducting the funeral). In 1916 Vignali’s descendents sold the whole lot to a British rare book dealer for an undisclosed amount. In 1924, the book dealer sold the collection to a Philadelphia book collector, A. S. W. Rosenbach, for $2,000. A few years later Rosenbach displayed Napoleon’s excised appendage at the Museum of French Art in New York City. After changing hands a few more times, the collection was put up for auction at Christie’s in London in the late 1960s. Alas, the collection didn’t sell and the lack of a sale became fodder for the British tabloids. The most creative headline was Not Tonight Josephine.

From the perspective of the historian, Warren’s most significant work was her three-volume History of the Rise, Progress and Termination of the Country Revolution, which featured a florid and Manichean style that reflected its times. San Diego Map Warren hoped that the work would teach philosophy by example, as Bolingbrook once said. Her political philosophy in the History is in the old republican tradition of the radical Whig, anti-Federalist, and Jeffersonian continuum. Her history emphasized what she saw as the eternal battle between popular liberty and the dangerous power of arbitrary and unrepresentative government. Liberty alone could not sustain a republic, however. In her view, republican government was unstable and tended toward despotism. Reason and the virtue of self-sacrifice were necessary to stave off this degeneration.

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