Sunday, July 1, 2012

Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte and the FBI.

Behind the French Menu.
Bryan G. Newman

Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon I, by  most French polls, is that country’s most famous citizen.  However, the last member of the Bonaparte family to change the world was the Emperor’s great-great nephew Charles Bonaparte. Charles Bonaparte was the Emperor’s great-great nephew and an American citizen, and he founded the FBI.

Emperor Napoleon I’s younger brother visits the United States.

Emperor Napoleon I ‘s younger brother Jerome (Geronimo) Bonaparte ( 1784 –1860) visited the USA where he fell in love with a lady called Elizabeth Patterson and they married on Christmas  eve in December 1803. Their marriage soon brought them a son also named Jerome; however, back in France Emperor Napoleon I would not accept the marriage of his brother to a commoner. 

Portrait of Emperor Napoleon I
Photograph courtesy of damiananddude.
 The grandchildren of Jerome Bonaparte 
and Elizabeth Patterson.
Jerome was forced to divorce Elizabeth Patterson and return to France,  there he married Duchess Catherina of Württemberg.  That, however, was not the end of the Bonaparte family’s history in the USA. The son of Jerome and Elizabeth Patterson grew up as an American citizen, graduated Harvard Law School and married Susan May Williams.  Jerome and Susan May had two sons, the eldest was Jerome II (1830 – 1893), and their  youngest  was Charles (1851-1921).  Jerome II studied at West Point and graduated 11th in his class.  Jerome II would serve in The Texas Mounted Rifles, from where he would resign to fight in the French army for his cousin Emperor Napoleon III.

A view of Harvard Law School.
Photograph courtesy of mak506.

Charles went to Harvard Law School, and after graduation married Ellen Channing Day. Charles Bonaparte was considered an astute and ambitious attorney; that , I imagine, was too be expected since he had great-great Uncle who had become an Emperor and a third cousin who was  now Emperor Napoleon III.  In Charles Bonaparte's gene pool there was clearly inbred ambition.

As an attorney Charles met Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt  (1858-1919) before he became President. Then when Teddy became the 26th President of the USA he appointed Charles Bonaparte to investigate land frauds in the Indian Reservations. Charles’s work and solutions to those land frauds were considered a great success.  In 1905, Teddy Roosevelt made Charles Bonaparte Secretary of the Navy and then in 1906 the USA Attorney General. 

Charles Bonaparte, photograph lower right.
Photograph courtesy of Flickr
 As the USA Attorney General Charles Bonaparte found he lacked the enforcement powers for crimes that were national; in May 1908 US Charles Bonaparte created a force of special agents, the first G-Men.  Charles appointed the first director of these special agents who at the time held the title of The Examiner. Later The Examiner would be called the Director of the FBI; the first Examiner, of The FBI, was Stanley W Finch.  

The  FBI badge.
Photograph courtesy of cliff1066 ™
With the end of Roosevelt’s term in 1909, Charles Bonaparte entered private practice and the FBI would grow from strength to strength.

J. Edgar Hoover.
Sixth Director of the FBI
Photograph courtesy of Iman1138.
Jérôme (Geronimo) Napoleon Bonaparte brother of Napoleon 1 and the grandfather of the founder of the FBI is buried with Emperor Napoleon I in Les Invalides, Paris. According to the website Charles in buried with his wife in the Bonaparte family plot in Loudon Park Cemetery in Baltimore.

Les Invalides, Paris France.
Photograph courtesy of Wallyg

After an excellent French dinner in Paris, Corsica or Washington DC raise a glass to Napoleon I’s great nephew Charles Bonaparte, the founder of the FBI; a snifter of a good Napoleon Cognac, a Napoleon Armagnac or a Napoleon Calvados would be suitable.

A Cognac snifter with Napoleon Cognac.
Photograph Courtesy of JonathanCohen

A Napoleon  Cognac, Armagnacs, or Calvados AOC/AOP  are blended grape or apple brandies that have aged for at least six years in oak barrels. The usage of the name Napoleon for these six-year-old brandies was authorized after 1936, by then no Napoleons could claim royalties.
 N.B.   For the diehard Bonapartists, Charles Marie Jérôme Victor Napoleon (1950-) is now Napoleon VII and the current Bonaparte pretender to the French Imperial throne..  Charles Marie is active politically and does not forget his claim to the throne of France.

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Bryan G. Newman
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