When Napoleon arrived at St. Helena he was forty-two years old. Napoleon was allowed luxurious walks around the grounds of Longwood. He had several servants waiting at his hand and foot. A French cook to cook anything his hearts desires. Where ever Napoleon went he was followed by one or two soldiers to accompany him. But still Napoleon sent letters to the Adm. Sir George Cockburn about the inhumane conditions. 3
By the early 1818, it was evident that Napoleon was sick and never did he forget a moment to complain. Napoleon complained of violent stomach aches he would say it was burning. Also had, chills, vomiting, and loss of appetite. In the end of 1820’s, his diet only consisted of fluids and cold drinks - still he continued to gain weight. Napoleon and the people around him knew he was becoming sick. Since he was no longer in power he didn’t have t convince the people that he was in the best health. Napoleon was appointed a doctor, Dr. Antommarchi. When Dr. Antommarchi took Napoleon under his care, Napoleon even found the sight of food repulsive.4
At the house of Longwood there was one food that was kept specifically for Napoleon, his wine. The Corsican butler that was responsible for ordering and inspecting his food from abroad including the wine, died coincidently in 1818.5 This would have made it very easy for anyone to tamper with Napoleon’s wine, which no one touched. Arsenic, odorless and tasteless, could be introduced into Napoleon’s wine without being detected.
Dr. Antommarchi prescribed him calomel, but had strict directions that he could not take more than half a grain because of it’s toxicity (it contained mercury chloride.) 6 The calomel was used to keep Napoleon from vomiting up what little food he could keep down. In March of 1821, Dr. Antommarchi began giving Napoleon tartar emetic in his lemonade drink. to keep Napoleon from vomiting up what little food he could keep down. In March of 1821, Dr. Antommarchi began giving Napoleon tartar emetic in his lemonade drink. This was supposed to relive Napoleon of his severe constipation problems. The base of this emetic was antimony potassium tartrate, a highly toxic substance. Napoleon was now ingesting potentially three poisonous substances.
A poison is that once inside the body, produces harmful chemical reactions that interfere with the body’s normal functions. Arsenic will go for the heart, kidneys, stomach, and the intestines. 7 According to the symptoms of arsenic poisoning: vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and irritation of the stomach. It may also cause neurological effects and hypertension. Arsenic poisoning can show up at levels of even 0.005-0.01 in drinking water. 8 So in theory this could also work with wine.
In April, Napoleon lost energy for his tirades against anyone. Clearly another dose of arsenic had been slipped into his