Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Murat, Napoléon Achille

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MURAT, Napoléon Achille, author, b. in Paris, 21 Jan., 1801; d. in Wasceissa, Jefferson co., Fla., 15 April, 1847. He was the son of Joachim Murat, king of Naples, and bore in his youth the title of Prince of Two Sicilies. When King Joachim lost his throne in 1815, young Murat sought a refuge with his mother, a sister of Napoleon I., in the castle of Frohsdorf, in Lower Austria. He received there a fine education, but in 1821 left Europe for the United States, where he afterward resided. On his arrival in New York he made immediate application for naturalization, and, after a few months' sojourn in that city, made an extensive tour through the United States. On reaching Florida, he was so much impressed with the climate of the country that he bought a large estate near Tallahassee, built there a magnificent home, and divided his time between farming, cattle-breeding, hunting, and fishing. He was elected alderman of the city in 1824, mayor in the following year, and in 1826 appointed postmaster, which office he held till 1838. When Lafayette revisited the United States, Murat joined him in Baltimore, and accompanied him to Washington, and during most of his journey through the country. Lafayette introduced him to Catharina Dudley, a grandniece of Washington, and Murat, conceiving an attachment for her, asked for her hand. Although her family at first objected to the union, they were persuaded through the personal entreaties of Lafayette, and the ceremony took place at Washington on 30 July, 1826. Murat and his bride went immediately to Wasceissa, notwithstanding the entreaties of their friends, who promised him a political career if he would settle in Virginia. He also declined in 1832 a nomination for congress that was tendered him by the Democrats of Richmond. He continued to live quietly in Florida, devoting his large fortune to aid benevolent institutions, and for the welfare of the people. As early as 1828 he published in the “Revue trimestrielle” of Paris letters on America, in which he gave curious and interesting details concerning political parties in the United States, and the new states of the Union, that were the means of giving Europeans more accurate information of this country. These letters were afterward published under the following title: “Lettres d'un citoyen des États-Unis a ses amis d'Europe” (Paris, 1830). Murat also published “Esquisses morales et politiques sur les États-Unis d'Amérique” (2 vols., Paris, 1838), and “Exposition des principes du gouvernement républicain tel qu'il a été perfectionné en Amérique” (1838). This last work enjoyed a great reputation, passed through more than fifty editions, and is still the manual of the Democrats in western Europe. It was translated into English, German, Dutch, and other languages, and its publication in Italy was forbidden by the Austrian government, as many believed that, in spite of the republican principles that were advocated by the author, he was a pretender, and that his book was an elaborate and able manifesto. Murat died childless, leaving large sums of money to charitable institutions. His wife resided on her plantation till her death on 6 Aug., 1867. During the civil war her estate suffered from both armies, and at its close she received from Napoleon III. a life annuity of 20,000 francs. Shortly after the war she visited France, and was received at the imperial court with great cordiality. — Napoléon Achille's brother, Napoléon Lucien Charles Joseph François, b. in Milan, Italy, 16 May, 1803; d. in Paris, France, 11 April, 1878, lived with his mother and brother in the castle of Frohsdorf from 1815 till 1822, when he went to Venice, but, being persecuted by the Austrian authorities, he took passage in 1824 for the United States. He was shipwrecked on the coast of Spain and detained there as a prisoner for several months, but his brother, who was already a naturalized American citizen, invoked the protection of President Monroe, and, through the U. S. minister, young Murat was set at liberty, and arrived in Boston in April, 1825. He then joined his uncle, Joseph Bonaparte, who was living in Philadelphia under the name of Count of Survilliers, and, by advice of his brother, made application for naturalization papers. He went afterward to live with the latter in Florida, and also travelled through the country as far as Texas and California. In 1827 he married, in Baltimore, Carolina Georgina, daughter of Thomas Frazer, of Bordentown, N. J., and lived in the former city for a few years. Reverses of fortune afterward compelled Murat to keep a boarding-house in 1834, but his wife established a school for young ladies, which became fashionable and enabled him to give up this pursuit. They lived prosperously for a few years, but Murat had never abandoned the idea of recovering the lost throne to which his brother had relinquished all claims. He made trips to France in 1839 and 1844, to confer with his adherents, but was allowed to remain only five weeks at a time. Nevertheless, he kept up a daily correspondence with the supporters of the imperial cause, and held meetings at his house in Baltimore. After the fall of Louis Philippe in 1848, he returned to France with his wife, was elected a deputy to the constituent assembly, and re-elected in 1849, being also appointed in the latter year minister to Turin. In 1852 he was created a senator and given the rank of prince. He published a manifesto in 1861, in which he claimed the throne of his father, but, not being supported by Napoleon III., he withdrew his claim. In 1870 he was shut up with Marshal Bazaine in Metz, and after the fall of the empire he revisited the United States, where he had still some business interests. Madame Murat died on 10 Feb., 1879. They left five children. Caroline Lætitia, b. in Baltimore in 1832, married Baron de Chassiron, who died in 1870, and she married in 1871 John Garden, a wealthy American; Joseph Joachim, b. in Baltimore in 1834, became a major-general in the French army; Anna, b. in Baltimore in 1848, married the Duke de Mouchy; Achille Napoléon, b. in Baltimore in 1847, married Princess Dadiani de Mingrelia; and Louis Napoléon, b. in Paris in 1851, married Princess Maria Orbeliani. Murat's correspondence while he was in the United States, and his letters concerning this country, have been published several times.