THE QUESTION OF CUSTODY
THE last group of grievances related to the question of custody. The main object of the coalesced Governments was, not unnaturally, that under no circumstances should Napoleon escape from confinement and trouble the world again. So they chose the most remote island that they could think of, and converted it laboriously into a great fortress. Strangers could scarcely conceal their mirth, as they saw Lowe adding sentry to sentry, and battery to battery, to render more inaccessible what was already impregnable; although, before leaving England, he had avowed to Castlereagh that he saw no possible prospect of escape for Napoleon but by a mutiny of the garrison. Nevertheless he increased the precautions at compound interest. Las Cases in his intercepted letter to Lucien described them with some humour, and declared that the posts established on the peaks were usually lost in the clouds. Montchenu, the French Commissioner, declared that if a dog were seen to pass anywhere, at least one sentinel was placed on the spot. He is indeed copious on the subject, though he considered his interest and responsibility in the matter second only to those of Lowe himself. He details with pathetic exactitude the precautions taken. The plain of Longwood, where Napoleon lived, is, he says, separated from the rest of the island by a frightful gully which completely surrounds it and is only crossed by a narrow tongue of land not twenty feet broad, so steep that if
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Publication information: Book title: Napoleon, the Last Phase. Contributors: Lord Rosebery - Author. Publisher: Arthur L. Humphreys. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1900. Page number: 98.
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