You have 2 more free articles remaining

The document, believed to be the only copy of the Treaty and now being held by the FBI, had forced Napoleon to renounce his claim to the French Empire and consigned him to exile on the island of Elba.

An indictment filed in the US District Court in New York, says John William Rooney, 69, allegedly stole the document, and Marshall Lawrence Pierce III, 39, also known as Frederick Tomcezak, approached Sotheby’s about selling it.

Both men were arrested in the home they share in Tennessee and were released on bail pending a court hearing.

The indictment further alleges that Rooney, a visiting professor of history at the University of the South, also stole the treaty’s four letters of ratification signed by Napoleon I, King Frederick William III of Prussia, Emperor Francis I of Austria and Czar Alexander I of Russia, as well as about 30 letters of King Louis XVIII of France.

Pierce is alleged to have approached Sotheby’s in 1995 or 1996, saying he bought the treaty from a woman in Lyon, France, about five years earlier. He later mailed the treaty to Sotheby’s, signed an agreement consigning it to be sold at auction, and inquired about selling the letters as well, the indictment states. Sotheby’s spokesman Matthew Weigman said the auction house listed the treaty for a 1996 sale, which alerted the FBI. “Our consignor had no idea there were title issues or that the material in any way had been stolen,” he said.