Caroline Langdon Eustis, Dolley Madison and Bonaparte
(from Wikipedia) On 24 December 1803, Jérôme Bonaparte, Napolean's youngest brother, married Elizabeth Patterson (1785–1879), daughter of Baltimore merchant William Patterson and his wife Dorcas Spear. Napoleon was unable to convince Pope Pius VII to annul their marriage, so he annulled their marriage himself. Elizabeth was pregnant at the time with a son, and on her way to Europe with Jérôme.
When they landed in neutral Portugal, Jerome set off overland to Italy to attempt to convince his brother to recognize the marriage. Elizabeth then attempted to land in Amsterdam, but Napoleon had issued orders barring the ship from entering the harbour. Being with child Elizabeth went on to England where Jérôme Napoleon Bonaparte was born in 95 Camberwell Grove, Camberwell, London, England.
Jérôme never saw Elizabeth again (she was divorced by a Special decree of the Maryland Assembly in 1815).
Elizabeth, already pregnant, wound up returning her father's in MD. She received money from Napolean, accumulated a substantial estate; traveled abroad a few times; and her grandson by Bonaparte served in Teddy Roosevelt's cabinet (Secretary of the Navy and Attorney General).
The year Elizabeth Bonaparte's divorce was granted, she appealed to Sarah's aunt, Caroline Langdon Eustis. After receiving the request below, Caroline wrote to Dolley Madison explaining their (Caroline's and William Eustis') decision not to travel with Madame Bonaparte (see specifically the 3d paragraph in the letter beneath the image).
The image below is Madame Elizabeth Bonaparte's note to Mrs. Eustis:
Caroline Langdon Eustis to Dolley Payne Todd Madison, 11 May 1815; Caroline Langdon was Sarah's Aunt.
My dear Madam,
Boston May 11th. 1815—
I have this moment received your valuable present—and hasten by the morning mail to return to you our grateful thanks—we cannot praise the likeness but we know for whom they were designed, and they are welcome to our best affections—they shall be dearly cherished—I could not read your letter without a tear of tenderest gratitude—that you should be so prompt in answering my extravagance—how kind!
But we have long known your heart—without this proof, why should I have for a moment doubted your friendship—and why should I for a moment wonder at your goodness—may this heart ever remain unchanged, for it is now most truely devoted—meet again!! O! my friend we shall certainly meet—I would not think otherwise for worlds—nothing would have prevented our visiting you the last month, could we have believed it possible for our voyage to have been delay’d so long—now it is 6 or 7 weeks since we left our home expecting to embark in 8 or 10 days—we were ready some weeks before and were about taking accommodations on board a Ship from Boston when we heard the Congress Frigate was order’d for Holland—and would be ready in 2 or 3 weeks as She only wanted men—not yet come round to Boston—has but 80 men, and 400 the compliment—something seems to be the matter—we know not what—
Morris who is commander, has lately married a beautiful wife who does not wish him to leave her—if this can be the cause of the delay, which seems impossible, the Officers at New-York, and Bainbridge here are leagued with him for in three instances there have been men order’d from the lakes to the Congress—and those who have not been press’d on board the Ships at New-York, have been stop’d here by Bainbridg for the ’74 Independence—yesterday there arrived 200 and to-day expected 100 more the last who are to come from the Lakes—immediately put on board the Independence—it is said there are 80 more than are wanted who will be sent to Morris—an officer of the Congress was sent to New-York to recruit—after 2 months recruited 60 men. a few days since while he was preparing to bring them away, the commander of the Macedonian found them convenient for his Ship—the poor officer
will return looking very foolish—considering these delays, if we are to go in this Ship there seems no prospect of geting away very soon.
My dear Madam, as it respects our poor little friend, Madam Bonaparte (for we find she has not yet relinquished the name so unfortunate when in disgrace) we are very uncomfortably situated—She is on the way as far as New-York where she found a letter from me giving notice of our slow movements and that she might take her own time at New York—as the roads were bad her health delicate—and as we should not embark soon she might find more amusements at this season of the year in N. York than in Boston. she had been there two or three days when the news of this great revolution arrived—we heard through my Brother that her plan was not changed, but waited to hear from me when to meet us at Boston—we find it is the universal sentiment that she ought not to go at this time, and there would be great impropriety in her going with us—
Mr. Eustis joins in the common opinion that it would be imprudent at least, in her as well as ourselves—in the present uncertain state of politics there are possible embarrassments which might occur which would be mutually unpleasant. I have been obliged to express to her some thing like this leaving a hope—I have not heard from her yet—she will doubtless defer her visit to Europe untill she can hear from France—I am disappointed—and grieve to give her pain but see no remedy—excuse me dear Madam, for trespassing on your precious time—with affectionate respects to the President believe me ever yours
C. L. Eustis