1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mirabeau, André Boniface Louis Riqueti, Vicomte de

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3684181911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 18 — Mirabeau, André Boniface Louis Riqueti, Vicomte de

MIRABEAU, ANDRÉ BONIFACE LOUIS RIQUETI, Vicomte de (1754–1792), brother of the orator Mirabeau, was one of the reactionary leaders at the opening of the French Revolution. Sent to the army in Malta in 1776 he spent part of his two years there in prison for insulting a religious procession. During the War of American Independence he was in several sea-fights with the English, and was at the taking of Yorktown in 1781. In the following year he had two narrow escapes from drowning. In 1789, with his debts paid up by his father, he was elected by the noblesse of Limoges a deputy to the States General. He was a violent Conservative and opposed everything that threatened the old régime. His drunkenness produced a corpulency which brought him the nickname Mirabeau Tonneau (“Barrel Mirabeau”); but he was not lacking in some of that insight which marked his brother. He shared fully in the eccentric family pride; and boasted of his brother’s genius even when bitterly opposing him. He emigrated about 1790, and raised a legion which was to bear his name; but his insolence alienated the German princes, and his command was taken from him. He died in August 1792—of apoplexy or from a duel—in Freiburg im Breisgau. He wrote some verse as well as various pamphlets.

See Joseph Sarrazin, Mirabeau Tonneau, ein Condottiere aus der Revolutionszeit (Leipzig, 1893); and La Révolution française, vols. xxi. and xxiv.; Eugène Berger, Le Vicomte de Mirabeau (Mirabeau Tonneau), 1754–1792 (1904); and for a list of contemporary pamphlets, &c., M. Tourneux, Bibliographie de la ville de Paris . . ., vol. iv. (1906).