When news of Napoleon’s 5 May 1821 death on the isle of St Helena reached Europe in early July of that year, it sent shockwaves throughout the continent. Newspapers and magazines immediately filled with reflections on his rise and fall, and seemingly every poet in every European nation pondered the demise of the man who only six years earlier had appeared super-human. 1 By the time the July instalment of Maga came out near the end of the month, the subject had been thoroughly analysed from all sides. In his Blackwood’s essay touching on Napoleon’s death, George Croly acknowledges this fact, writing, ‘the pens of the public journalists have so belaboured the topic with their whole unwieldy strength of praise and censure, that nothing but common-place would venture on the detail of his character’. With that disclaimer, however, Croly launches into a direct assault on Napoleon’s legacy, admitting his greatness in the military arena but declaring him an unmitigated failure as a politician, thinker and human being. Simply put, Croly suggests, ‘With the power of good and evil, he chose evil’. 2