Mirabeau, Honore' Gabriel, Comte De

, well known both by his writings, and the active part he took in bringing about the French revolution, was born in 1749, of a noble family. Throughout life he displayed a spirit averse to every restraint, and was one of those unhappy geniuses in whom the most brilliant talents serve only as a scourge to themselves and all around them. It is told by his democratical panegyrists, as a wonderful proof of family tyranny, under the old government, that not less thau sixty- seven lettres de cachet had been obtained by Mirabeau the father* against this son, and others of his rela-‘ tives. It proves at least as much, what many anecdotes confirm, that, for his share of them, the son was not less indebted to his own ungovernable disposition, than to the severity of his parent. The whole Course of his youth was passed in this manner. Extravagance kept him always poor; and this species of paternal interference placed him very frequently in prison. It may be supposed also, that the part taken by the government in these unpleasant admonitions, did not tend to attach young Mirabeau to that system. The talents of Mirabeau led him frequently to employ his pen, and his publications form the chief epochas of his life. His first publication was, 1. “Essai sur le Despotisme,” “An Essay on Despotism,” in 8vo. Next,


His father, Victor Riquetti, mar­<]ui of Mirabeau, was a political writer, and one of the sect of the cecouomists. His fi’St literary work, enSilled “L’Ami des Homines,” publi-hcd in 1753, in three volumes, contains many useful ideas on rural and political economy, and at one time was such a favourite in France as to proure him the epithet of “Mirabeau l’ami des homines.” He afterwards wrote in favour of provincial admini­ strations, and published “Theorie de IMinpot” but many of the principles advanced here were thought so dangerous that he was for a short time imprisoned in the Bastille. He died in 1790, at the commencement of the revolution. His writings were published collectively in eight wlurnts l’2mo, with the exception of one, entitled “Homines kcelebrer,” in two volumes 8vo, which his fritnd Father Boscoviqh printed at Bassano.

| in one of his confinements, he wrote, 2. a work “On Lettres de Cachet,” 2 vols. 8vo. 3. “Considerations sur Pordre de Cincinnatus,” 8vo; a remonstrance against the order of Cincinnatus, proposed atone time to be established in America. The public opinion in America favoured this remonstrance, and it proved effectual. 4. His next work was in favour of the Dutch, when Joseph II. demanded the opening of the Scheld, in behalf of the Brabanons. It is entitled, “Doutes sur la liberte* de PEscaut,” 8vo. 5. “Lettre a Pempereur Joseph II. sur son reglement concernant P Emigration,” a pamphlet of forty pages, in 8vo. 6. “De la Caisse d’Escompte,” a volume in 8vo, written against that establishment. 7. “De la Banque d’Espagne,” 8vo a remonstrance against establishing a French bank in Spain. A controversy arising on this subject, he wrote again upon it. 8. Two pamphlets on the monopoly of the water company in Paris, Soon after writing these hewent to Berlin, which was in 1786, and was there when Frederic II. died. On this occasion also he took up his pen, and addressed to his successor a tract entitled, 9. “Lettre remise a Frederic Guillaume II. roi regnant de Prusse, le jour de son avenement au trone.” This contained, says his panegyrist, “non pas des eloges de lui, mais des eloges du peuple; non pas des voeux pour lui, mais des vceux pour le peuple; non pas des conseils pour Jui, mais des conseils pour le bonheur du peuple.

Mirabeau was still at Berlin when he heard of the assembly of notables convened in France, and then foretold that it would soon be followed by a meeting of the states. At this period he published a volume against the stockjobbing, then carried to a great height, entitled, 10. “Denonciation de Pagiotage au roi, et a Passemblee des notables,” vo. A lettre de cachet was issued against him in consequence of this publication, but he eluded pursuit, and published a pamphlet as a sequel to the book. His next work was against M. Necker. 11. “Lettre a M. de Cretelle, sur Padministration de M. Necker,” a pamphlet in $vo. 12. A volume, in 8vo, against the Stadtholdership “Aux Bataves, sur le Stadthouderat.” 13. “Observations sur la maison de force appellee Bicetre,” an 8vo pamphlet. 14. Another tract, entitled “Conseils a un jeune prince qui sent la nécessite de refaire son education.” 15. He now proceeded to a larger and more arduous work than any he had yet published, on the Prussian monarchy under | Frederic the Great, “De la Monarchic Prussienne sous Frederic le Grand,” 4 vols. 4to, or eight in 8vo. In this work he undertakes to define precisely how a monarchy should be constituted. When the orders were issued for convening the states-general, Mirabeau returned into Provence, and at the same time published, 16. “Histoire secrette de la cour de Berlin,” two volumes of letters on the secret history of the court of Berlin. This work was condemned by the parliament of Paris, for the unreserved manner in which it delivered the characters of many foreign princes. As the elections proceeded, he was chosen at once for Marseilles, and for Aix; but the former being a commercial town, which seemed to require a representative particularly conversant in such business, Mirabeau made his choice for Aix.

In consequence of this appointment he went to Paris. The part he took there was active, and such as tended in general to accelerate all the violences of the revolution. He now published periodically, 17. his “Lettres a ses commettans,” Letters to his constituents, which form, when collected, 5 vols. 8vo. It is supposed that the fatal measure of the junction of the three orders into one national assembly, was greatly promoted by these letters. The public events of these times, and the part taken in them by Mirabeau, are the subject of general history. He lived to see the constitution of 1789 established, but not to see its consequences, the destruction of the monarchy, the death of the king, and the ruin of all property. He was accused, as well as the duke of Orleans, of hiring the mob which attacked Versailles on the 5th and 6th of October, 1789; but with him was also acquitted by the tribunal of the Chatelet. The dominion of his eloquence in the national assembly had long been absolute, and on the 29th of January 1791, he was elected president. At the latter end of March, in the same year, he was seized by a fever, and died on the second of April. The talents of Mirabeau will not be doubted; the use he made of them will be long lamented, and would probably have been regretted by himself, had he lived only a few months longer; unless we may believe that with a secret attachment to monarchical government, he would have been able to exert an influence sufficient to prevent the excesses which followed his death. 1


Discours preliminaire, prefixed to his Works.