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O’Meara tended the wounded and gave medical assistance during the embarkation under fire as the troops retreated back to Sicily.

The twenty-two-year-old assistant surgeon was however to be court-martialled in Messina on 17 June, 1808, “for being the bearer of a challenge from a junior to senior officer on the evening of 27 May [and] and for persevering to repeat that challenge on the 28, under Captain Donnor, in which capacity he arrived in England at the end of 1809.

Lowe was also to demand regular bulletins regarding Napoleon’s health.

Though this troubled O’Meara’s professional conscience as a doctor, he complied.

As Lowe ramped up his policy to get O’Meara to leave and as O’Meara became more and more embroiled with the French party at Longwood, (performing errands, acting as go-between for them with the governor, explaining when communications between Longwood and Plantation House broke down…), the situation came to a head. Ordered to leave Longwood the very same day, O’Meara was finally arrested and shipped off the island at the beginning of August 1818. Albert Benhamou, a staunch supporter of O’Meara desiring to rehabilitate the Irishman’s reputation, has recently published (with commentary) O’Meara’s letters to Finlaison. And Hubert O’Connor, who offers no comment for this period in O’Meara’s life, published an un-sourced diary – what he calls “a daily record of his doings and conversations with his great patient […] extracts and summaries from those diaries” – but presumably from previously published material. 10 What would appear to be indisputable is that, over and above the Lowe/O’Meara feud, during his three years on St. I will not say corrupted, for he was of a nature to scorn a pecuniary bribe. He was perverted from his proper duty and allegiance, his judgement was warped, his conceptions of right and wrong were weakened and confounded, and his principles undermined, by the blandishments and sophistries of the great Machiavel with whom he held daily converse”; [37] 13 “Mr O’Meara was dismissed from the British service for having officially insinuated that Sir Hudson Lowe had suborned him to poison Buonaparte, or sounded him respecting such a crime, nine or ten months before he made the communication to the government.

O’Meara suffered himself to be cajoled and fascinated into the admirer, adherent, agent and tool of Napoleon. The patronage of Lord M[elvi]lle was thus secured; and Mr.6 This chance employment was in fact to be O’Meara’s moment of destiny. As Napoleon’s private doctor, he was in a tricky position, party to Napoleon’s private health details, information which in the end was to be politically sensitive, because Napoleon was to attempt to claim poor health induced by a tropical climate as leverage for a return to Europe.The result was that O’Meara - the only person qualified to describe the emperor’s health - found himself put under pressure from both the British and the French side at Longwood House. Helena was healthy (only partly true, Jamestown was healthy, Longwood plain was very damp and humid) and that Napoleon was in excellent health, and above all that he did not have hepatitis, the disease of the tropics.O’Meara then writes that his father “was honoured with a special mark of royal favour by [George III], who was graciously pleased to grant him a pension for the loyalty and gallantry he displayed in seizing with his own hands” (Jeremiah was 26 at the time) “two of the leaders of an armed mob in the North of Ireland […] as also for other services rendered by him, in support of the honour and interest of his sovereign”. They were Protestant insurgents who had enacted a bloodless insurrection in 1763 in Armagh, Tyrone, Derry and Fermanagh against unfair taxes and land appropriation. Jeremiah Meara, who had distinguished himself in action against the “Oak Boys” insurgents in Londonderry. Catherine married Jeremiah in 1781 and four children were born, O’Meara being the third of three brothers, the eldest - Hely Fitzpatrick - born in 1782 and Charles Stanhope – presumably named after Jeremiah’s commanding officer in the 29 See Turtle Bunbury ( We know that O’Meara received a relatively good education – already by 1819 he was fluent in two foreign languages (French and Italian) – because his father refers to him as reading Virgil and Lucian at the age of 11.As implicitly noted by Barry Edward himself in the 1819 publication, his own birth year was 1786. [18] See the Jeremiah’s letter to the Lord Lieutenant General...

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