How can you think that Napoléon was poisoned to death?
It is not so hard if you know how people reached the conclusion. You have not realised what large amounts of evidence supports the poisoning theory. We have the combined eyewitness accounts of at least seven different people: Francesco Antommarchi, Archibald Arnott, Henri Gratien Bertrand, Gaspard Gourgaud, Louis Joseph Marchand, Edward O’Meara and John Stokoe. Please note that all these testimonies roughly match each other. The differences are no more than could be explained by human error and errors of communication. We have the two reports Francesco wrote after performing an autopsy on the dead Napoléon. Francesco was the only person present who was specially trained for this. Furthermore, he was an honest man who did not intentionally exaggerate what he knew. We have the eyewitness accounts of several people present when Napoléon's first grave was opened. I know which people were there, but not exactly which ones have witnessed. The important thing is that their testimonies also roughly match each other.
Since 1960 we also have chemical analyses of hair samples from Napoléon. I am talking about twelve measurements which support the poisoning theory. Please note that they were made in ways not allowing to choise of results. The first two were even made by a person who did not even know who the hair samples came from. The four ones not matching the pattern have not disproved the poisoning theory. On the other hand they require an explanation. My suggestion about a such is presented here.
Please note it is not me who come up with the poisoning theory. Sten Forshufvud found it all out long before I was born. He got the support of two historians: Ben Weider and David Geoffrey Chandler. These two were acknowledged by other historians as experts on Napoléon. In order to convince them Sten had to explain how he had thought. Had Sten been all wrong they would not have trusted him. Historians are trained to think logically. At least they would not have been convinced about something radically different from their own conclusions without very good reasons. David admitted that the poisoning theory explained more than anyone else. Ben survived Sten by 23 years and continued to pursue the issue as long as he lived. Largely I have just retold what others have arrived at. To the extant I have drawn my own conclusions I am ready to tell how I have thought. If someone then finds any legitimate error, I can admit that. However, you then have to explain in what way I have made it wrong. To tell only that I am wrong unfortunately does not work.
This page was last changed on the 23rd of February 2023.