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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 11, March 16, 2008, Article 27

NAPOLEON MEDAL 'FLUNG INTO THE SEA'

[According to a report in The Scotsman, a reward is being
offered for a rare medal given to scientist Humphry Davy
that his widow is said to have tossed into the ocean.
-Editor]

A rare medal given by Napoleon to pioneering British
scientist Humphry Davy was thrown into the sea by his widow,
one of his family descendants has claimed after a reward
was offered for its discovery.

The Royal Society of Chemistry appealed for help in finding
the medal after discovering a letter shedding new light on
Napoleon's decision to honour the chemist, despite being
locked in combat with Britain at the time.

But Davy's fourth great-niece Margaret Tottle-Smith said
memories of the difficult journey to collect the honour
may have influenced his widow Jane's decision to hurl it
from the Cornwall's Mounts Bay.

"It's a very sad story," she said. "Humphry married a young
widow. She was a socialite – she loved parties, she loved
balls and when he died suddenly and the money was cut off,
Jane was a widow again with no children.

"She had had a very bad experience going to collect that
medal. It was a shocking memory for her.

"A lot of his possessions she gave to the Society because
he was president there, but not the medal. I have a feeling
that Jane was very ashamed of the medal and hated it.

"The medal she took one day, apparently… and threw it into
the sea. She got rid of the memories."

For two centuries, until the discovery of the letter by the
RSC, mystery surrounded Davy's perilous wartime journey to
France to collect a medal awarded by Napoleon Bonaparte.

The letter, dated March 14 1808 – 200 years ago last Friday
– was sent by a French navy officer to Jean-Baptiste Delambre,
an astronomer and general secretary of the Institut de France.

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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