Primarily letters from various members of the Murat and
Bonaparte families to Murat. Includes correspondence regarding
Murat's attempt to organize a Belgium Foreign Legion in the 1830's;
manuscripts of his writings on politics, slavery, economics, and
literature; and family legal papers. The letters are in French, English, and Italian. Napoleon is not represented.
Achille Murat, son of Caroline Bonaparte and Joachim Murat (King of
Naples, 1808-1815), grew up in Paris and Naples as heir presumptive to his father's titles. After the fall of Napoleon he
lived in exile with his mother, brother Lucien, and sisters Letizia and Louise at Frohscorf Castle in Austria. Upon reaching
his majority he petitioned for a passport to
America. In 1823, he arrived in New York where news of a Spanish liberal revolution reached him. He decided to violate his
promise never to return to Europe and sailed for Gibraltar, but he arrived too late. Upon his return to New York, he took
out American citizenship papers and married a great-grand-niece of Washington, Catherine Willis Gray. He lived in Florida
and for a time in New Orleans engaged in farming and various highly speculative business ventures. In the revolutionary 1830s
he returned to Europe to become head of the Foreign Legion of the new Kingdom of Belgium, hoping for a "call from Italy" which
never came. Back in America he published a book on the United States which failed to catch the public fancy. Murat was a
staunch supporter of slavery though he professed to fight for the liberation of man. He was engaged in continuous litigation
with the French Government for the Murat properties seized in 1815. He also tried to compel his uncle Joseph (Napoleon's
elder brother) to give an accounting of funds the Emperor had given him to us "as I would use it."
Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights
reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To
obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the
Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.