THE NAPOLEON MEDALS.

Of the numerous means employed to commemorate the achievements of Napoleon, the public buildings and monuments of France bear ample witness. Indeed, Bonaparte's name and fame are so engrafted with the arts and literature of France, that it would be impossible for the government to erase the estimation in which he is held by the French people.

A series of medals in bronze, nearly one hundred and thirty in number, struck at different epochs of his career, exist, each in celebration of the prowess of the French army, or of some great act of his government: a victory, a successful expedition, the conquest of a nation, the establishment of a new state, the elevation of some of his family, or his own personal aggrandizement.

The medal commemorative of the battle of Marengo bears, on one side, a large bunch of keys, environed by two laurel branches; and, on the reverse, Bonaparte, as a winged genius, standing on a dismounted cannon to which four horses are attached upon the summit of Mount St. Bernard, urges their rapid speed, with a laurel branch in one hand, whilst he directs the reins with the other.

That on the peace of Luneville is two inches and a quarter in diameter, with the head of the first consul in uncommonly bold relief; the device, as mentioned in another place, is the sun arising in splendor upon that part of the globe which represents France, and which is overshadowed by laurels, whilst a cloud descends and obscures Great Britain.

The commencement of hostilities by England, after the peace of Amiens, is designated by the English leopard tearing a scroll, with the inscription, Le Traité d'Amiens Rompu par l'Angleterre en Mai de l'An1803; on the reverse, a winged female figure in breathless haste forcing on a horse at full speed, and holding a laurel crown, inscribed, L'Hanovre occupé var l'Armée Francaise en Juin de l'An 1803; and beneath, Frappée avec l'Argent des Mines d'Hanovre, l'An 4 de Bonaparte.

His medal, on assuming the purple, has his portrait, Napoleon Empereur, by Andrieu, who executed nearly all the portraits on his medals; on the reverse, he is in his imperial robes, elevated by two figures, one armed, inscribed, Le Senat et le Peuple.

The battle of Austerlitz has, on the reverse, simply a thunderbolt, with a small figure of Napoleon, enrobed and enthroned on the upper end of the shaft of the thunder.

In 1804, he struck a medal with a Herculean figure on the reverse, confining the head of the English leopard between his knees, whilst preparing a cord to strangle him, inscribed En l'An XII. 2000 barques sont construites;—this was in condemnation of the invasion and conquest of England.

The reverse of the medal on the battle of Jena represents Napoleon on an eagle in the clouds, as warring with giants on the earth, whom he blasts with thunderbolts.

The medal on the Confederation of the Rhine has, for its reverse, numerous warriors in ancient armor, swearing with their right hands on an altar, formed of an immense fasces, with the imperial eagle projecting from it.

Not the least characteristic of the series is a medal, with the usual head Napoleon Emp. et Roi, on the exergue, with this remarkable reverse, a throne, with the imperial robes over the back and across the sceptre, which is in the chair; before the throne is a table, with several crowns, differing in shape and dignity, and some sceptres with them lying upon it; three crowns are on the ground, one broken and two upside down; an eagle with a fasces hovers in the air; the inscription is, Souverainetés donnés M.DCCCVI.

The reverses of the last four in succession, struck during the reign of Napoleon, are, 1. The Wolga, rising with astonishment from his bed at the sight of the French eagle; 2. A representation of la Bataille de la Moskowa, 7 Septembre, 1812; 3. A view of Moscow, with the French flag flying on the Kremlin, and an ensign of the French eagle, bearing the letter N. loftily elevated above its towers and minarets, dated 14th September, 1812; 4. A figure in the air, directing a furious storm against an armed warrior resembling Napoleon, who, unable to resist the attack, is sternly looking back, whilst compelled to fly before it—a dead horse, cannon dismounted, and a wagon full of troops standing still, perishing in fields of snow; the inscription is, Retraite de l'Armée, Novembre, 1812.

The workmanship of the preceding medals are admirable, but most of them are surpassed in that respect by some to which we can do little more than allude.

A finely executed medal, two inches and five-eights in diameter, represents Napoleon enthroned in his full imperial costume, holding a laurel wreath; on the reverse is a head of Minerva, surrounded by laurel and various trophies of the fine arts, with this inscription—Ecole Francaise des Beaux Arts à Rome, rétablie et augmentée par Napoleon en 1803. The reverses—of the Cathedral at Paris—a warrior sheathing his sword (on the battle of Jena)—and Bonaparte holding up the King of Rome, and presenting him to the people—are amongst the most highly finished and most inestimable specimens of art.