Treaty of the month: What historic treaty has amused me this month?

This month: The Treaty of Fontainebleau (1814)

Yes ladies and gentleman, after a long absence and by literally 'some' demand the Treaty of the Month is back for May 2013! A throw back to the retro days of History and the Sock Merchant, this is where I discuss a historic international treaty that has amused me over my Yorkshire Tea and patisseries this month.

The Rise and Fall of Napoleon
Who, When and Where?

The Treaty of Fontainebleau was an agreement established in Fontainebleau, France, on 11 April 1814 between Napoleon Bonaparte and representatives from the Austrian Empire, Russia, and Prussia. With this treaty, the allies ended Napoleon's rule as emperor of France and sent him into exile on Elba.

The agreement contained a total of twenty-one articles. Based on the most significant terms of the accord, Napoleon was stripped of his powers as ruler of the French Empire, but both Napoleon and Marie-Louise of Austria were permitted to preserve their respective titles as emperor and empress. Moreover, all of Napoleon's successors and family members were prohibited from attaining power in France.

The treaty also established the island of Elba as a separate principality to be ruled by Napoleon. Elba's sovereignty and flag were guaranteed recognition by foreign powers in the accord, but only France was allowed to assimilate the island. Napoleon had to surrender all of his estates in France to the French crown, and submit all crown jewels to France. He was permitted to take with him 400 men to serve as his personal guard.

The treaty was ratified on the same day it was signed. The signatories were Caulaincourt, Duke of Vicenza, Marshal MacDonald, Duke of Tarentum, Marshal Ney, Duke of Elchingen, Prince Metternich, Count Nesselrode, and Baron Hardenberg.
The British position was that the French nation was in a state of rebellion and that Napoleon Bonaparte was a usurper. Lord Castlereagh explained that he would not sign on behalf of the king of the United Kingdom because to do so would recognise the legitimacy of Napoleon as emperor of the French and that to exile him to an island over which he had sovereignty, that was only a short distance from France and Italy, both of which had strong Jacobin factions, could easily lead to further conflict.


Why it has amused me:

In 2005, two Americans, former history professor John William Rooney and Marshall Lawrence Pierce, were charged by a French court for stealing a copy of the Treaty of Fontainebleau from the French National Archives between 1974 and 1988. The theft came to light in 1996 when a curator of the French National Archives discovered that Pierce had put the document up for sale at Sotheby's. Rooney and Pierce pleaded guilty in the United States and were fined (a $1,000 fine for Rooney and a $10,000 fine for Pierce). However, they were not extradited to France to stand trial there. The copy of the treaty, along with a number of other documents (including letters from King Louis XVIII of France) that were checked out from the French National Archives by Rooney and Pierce were returned to France by the U.S. in 2002. Cheeky Buggers!