News of Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo (June 12-18)had reached Halifax in July; and in early August had come word of his abdication, under pressure from the French Assembly, on June 22. On 29 June, the former emperor set out for Rochefort with a small entourage in hopes of effecting an escape to the United States. He reached that port on France's west coast on July 3--only to find it blockaded by the Bellerophon along with two other British warships. Finally, on July 15, his options limited, he decided to cast his lot with the British.
The news of his capture reached Halifax on Sept. 3 by H.M. Brig Rolla, which arrived from Falmouth, England, after a trip of 28 days. On Wednesday, 6 Sept., the Nova-Scotia Royal Gazette reported it this way:
"The "political life" of Bonaparte is, we believe, at last, really "terminated"--on the 15th July, he went on board the Bellerophon, off Rochefort, surrendered himself to Captain Maitland, and soon after arrived in the Harbour of Plymouth: from whence His Majesty's Government have ordered him to be taken in the Northumberland to St. Helena--and at the date of the last accounts he was on the eve of sailing for that place.Evidently, the news was spread by word of mouth before it was able to appear in the local newspapers.