ANONYMOUS (France) Portrait of Mirabeau (1749-1791) ca. 1860 [R/V] - x +
PHOT1860mira

CN: PHOT1860mira

MT: albumen print on paper mounted on card (9x6 / C:10x6)

TX: inscribed with fountain pen at lower center of margin in French <Mirabeau>, inscribed with pencil at rear upper center <Mirabeau>

PR: Maison Alphonse Giroux, Paris

DN: Mr. Megakles Rogakos - 2009

CM: Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Comte de Mirabeau (9 March 1749, Le Bignon-Mirabeau, Loiret - 2 April 1791) was a French writer, popular orator and statesman. During the French Revolution, he was a moderate, favoring a constitutional monarchy built on the model of the United Kingdom. He unsuccessfully conducted secret negotiations with the French monarchy in an effort to reconcile it with the Revolution. § The family of Riqueti (sometimes spelled Riquet), originally of the small town of Seyne, became wealthy through merchant trading in Marseille. In 1570, Jean Riqueti bought the château and seigniory of Mirabeau, which had belonged to the great Provençal family of Barras. In 1685, Honoré Riqueti obtained the title marquis de Mirabeau. He died in 1737. § His son, Jean Antoine, grandfather of Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, served with distinction through all the later campaigns of the reign of Louis XIV. At the Battle of Cassano (1705), he suffered a neck wound so severe he thereafter had to wear a silver stock. Because he tended to be blunt and tactless, he never rose above the rank of colonel. On retiring from the service, he married Françoise de Castellane with whom he had three sons: Victor (marquis de Mirabeau), Jean Antoine (bailli de Mirabeau) and Louis Alexandre (Comte de Mirabeau). Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau was the son of Victor. § His first literary work, except the bombastic but eloquent Essai sur le despotisme (Neufchâtel, 1775), was a translation of Robert Watson's Philip II, done in Holland with the help of Durival; his Considerations sur l'ordre de Cincinnatus (London, 1788) was based on a pamphlet by Aedanus Burke (1743-1802), of South Carolina, who opposed the aristocratic tendencies of the Society of the Cincinnati, and the notes to it were by Target; his financial writings were suggested by the Genevese exile, Clavière. § During the Revolution he received yet more help; men were proud to labour for him, and did not murmur because he absorbed all the credit and fame. Étienne Dumont, Clavière, Antoine Adrien Lamourette and Étienne Salonion Reybaz were but a few of the most distinguished of his collaborators. Dumont was a Genevese exile, and an old friend of Romilly's, who willingly prepared for him those famous addresses which Mirabeau used to make the Assembly, pass by sudden bursts of eloquent declamation; Clavière helped him in finance and not only worked out his figures but also even wrote his financial discourses; Lamourette wrote the speeches, on the Civil Constitution of the Clergy; Reybaz not only wrote for him his famous speeches on the assignats, the organization of the national guard, and others, which Mirabeau read word for word at the tribune, but also even the posthumous speech on succession to the estates of intestates, which Talleyrand read in the Assembly as the last work of his dead friend. § As an orator, his eloquence has been likened to that of both Bossuet and Vergniaud, but it had neither the polish of the old 17th century bishop nor the flashes of genius of the young Girondin. It was rather parliamentary oratory in which he excelled, and his true compeers are Edmund Burke and Charles James Fox rather than any French speakers. Personally he had that which is the truest mark of nobility of mind, a power of attracting love and winning faithful friends - quote by Thomas Carlyle.

[Megakles Rogakos 12/2009]

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