A letter written in English by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte will go up for auction on Sunday and is expected to fetch up to $100,000 as a one-of-a-kind artifact.
Written in March 1816 on St. Helena, auctioneer Osenat said the letter was the first of three written in English by Emperor Napoleon after being defeated and exiled from France. The letter, on a single sheet of yellow paper, was addressed to Emmanuel de Las Case, a close aide who acted as an English teacher; it was written in the middle of the night when Napoleon couldn't fall asleep.
Count Las Case, Napoleon wrote. It is two o'clock after midnight, I have enow sleep, I go then finish the night into to cause with you. He shall land above seven day, a ship from Europe that we shall give account from anything who this shall have been even to day of first January thousand eight hundred sixteen. You shall have for this ocurens a letter from Lady Las Case that shall you learn what himself could carry well if she had conceive the your occurens. But zI tire myself and you shall have of the ado at conceive my.
Jean-Christophe Chataigner, of Osenat told, CNN the letter was sort of ... a historical revenge for Napoleon, who learned English while being held captive under a military guard.
He was imprisoned by the English, said Chataigner, and he wants to continue to have a certain degree of independence, of freedom, and to be able to learn English without his jailers knowing it was a great motivation for him.
Chataigner said the letter is written surprisingly well for someone who had learned English in the early 1800's.
I think that French people who learn English today make lots more mistakes than Napoleon at the time, so it's a letter which is relatively well-written, he said. There are very few mistakes apart from a few words which have two meanings in English.
The letter, one of three written in English by Napoleon while exiled to St. Helena, went on display in Paris on Tuesday before the auction set for Sunday in Fontainebleau, just south of Paris.