LARGE ENGRAVED DOCUMENT PARDONING A DESERTER, BOLDLY SIGNED BY NAPOLEON AS EMPEROR IN 1812
NAPOLEON. Document signed. Dresden: May 27, 1812. Single broadside vellum leaf, measuring 21-1/2 by 17 inches, printed and accomplished in manuscript on recto, handsomely matted and framed with a color portrait of Napoleon. Entire piece measures 40 by 25 inches.
Large and striking engraved document on vellum, granting clemency to Joseph Pagès, a fusilier of the Garde Nationale who was found guilty of the crime of desertion, boldly signed "Napoleon" in 1812 as Emperor of the French, King of Italy, Protector of the Rhine, and so on. With the embossed blindstamp, countersigned by the Minister of Justice, Claude Ambroise Régnier ("Le Duc de Massa"); by the Archichancelier of the Empire, Jean-Jacques Régis de Cambacérès ("Cambacérès"), and by the Secretary of State, Pierre Daru. Beautifully matted and framed with a portrait.
This finely printed document features Napoleon's name in bold at the top, followed by his many titles: "Empereur des Françaises, Roi d'Italie, Protecteur de la Confédération du Rhin," and so on. In translation, the document reads, in part (manuscript accomplishments in italic): "We have received the supplication of Joseph Pagès, called Laplagne, fusilier in the Battalion of the Garde Nationale in activity of the Department of Gers condemned by judgment of the special Council of War on the date of January 22, 1812 on penalty of three years labor and payment of 500 francs for the crime of desertion." The document then declares "faire grâce pleine et entière au dit Pagès, dit Laplagne"—a complete and total pardon. The declaration was made official in Dresden, on Mauy 27, 1812, boldly signed by Napoleon using his full name ("Napoleon"), and countersigned by his Archichancelier, his Minister of Justice, and his Secretary of State, and stamped with the faint but visible Imperial blindstamp. Text in French, with English translation laid in a pocket on verso of frame.
Two faint fold lines. Document clean, signatures fine, Napoleon's characteristically quite bold. A magnificent piece.