Lot n° 8
1500 - 2000
MIRABEAU (Honoré Gabriel Riquetti de).
Manuscript... - Lot 8 - Osenat
MIRABEAU (Honoré Gabriel Riquetti de).
Manuscript largely autograph entitled "[Introduction] on the declaration that Russia made to the Curlande, and which is found in the gazettes of Leyde of May 20 to June
to the Curlande, and which is found in the gazettes of Leiden from May 20 to June 3". 4 pp. in-folio, or 2 pp.
1/2 in-folio in Mirabeau's hand, with erasures and corrections, and 1 p. 1/2 in-folio in another hand,
presenting particularities of the Germanic spelling, probably that of his secretary Karl von
Nolde; incomplete of the last 3 paragraphs; a marginal lack with damage to a word.
IMPORTANT DIPLOMATIC MEMORANDUM TO THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.
FOREIGN AFFAIRS. In those years, Mirabeau was looking for a destiny, and he made a first trip to
Germany from November 1785 to April 1786, with a simple letter of recommendation from Vergennes.
Thanks to his friend, the future prince of Talleyrand, who was close to Calonne, he then received from the same
Vergennes an unofficial mission of information for the account of France, whereas the king of
the King of Prussia was about to die - at the same time, Mirabeau had to collect secretly all kinds of financial
financial information for Talleyrand's personal affairs. In Paris, he hired a German-speaking secretary
the services of a German-speaking secretary, Baron Karl von Nolde, nephew of the Chamberlain of Courland, Otto
Christopher von der Howen, and left with him for Prussia, where he stayed from July 1786 to January 1787.
DRAFT WITH MANY IMPORTANT VARIANTS WITH
THE VERSION PUBLISHED in 1789 by Mirabeau himself in his Histoire secrète de la Cour de Berlin,
under the title of "Mémoire remis à la Cour de France, sur la déclaration [...]".
"THE CURLANDE HAS JUST BEEN OFFICIALLY THREATENED TO INCUR
THE INDIGNATION OF THE SOVEREIGN OF THE RUSSIAS IN THE CASE THAT THE RUMOR THAT HAS SPREAD
THE RUMOR THAT HAS SPREAD ABOUT THE ABDICATION OF THE CURRENT DUKE IN FAVOR OF
OF THE DUKE OF WIRTENBERG, PRUSSIAN GENERAL. It is known that this ferocious man, abhorred in his country
to the point of not being able to remain there, when he does not fear all the violence of the cabinet of St-Petersburg,
is son of the famous Biren named duke in 1760 by the influence or rather by the terror of Russia which chased away
Charles of Saxony, uncle of the elector and legitimate duke, to install the favorite of Elizabeth,
czarina; it is known that the current duke has more than once felt the full weight of the resentments of Catherine II;
that he was relegated at home for whole years in Siberia; that his influence is null and his abdication desired.
WHAT IS NOT ALSO KNOWN, OR RATHER WHAT IS VERY SECRET, IT IS THAT SIX YEARS AGO
SIX YEARS AGO A UKASE OF THE EMPRESS ENJOINED HIM TO HAVE TO HAND OVER HIS
DUCHY TO PRINCE POTEMKIM; and that by the advice of Chancellor Taube [Ernst Johann von
Taube] and of the chamberlain Howen, he conjured up the storm by making pass to prince Potemkim then and always very
The crisis starts again today, because one feels how much the duke became by his
savings and his avarice, tired of his precarious existence and one of the richest private princes of Europe aspires
to put himself under the shelter of the events, and that one fears that the cabinet of Berlin forms some speculation on
Curlande with the help of a new duke entirely at its disposal. The conditions which gave to Poland a right of protectorate
a right of protectorate on Curland ceasing to have force of law at the moment when this annihilated Republic is
in the impossibility of fulfilling it, one undoubtedly apprehends that Prussia subrogates itself in its place... [Mirabeau makes
here a geographical and economic picture of the duchy of Courland]. It is perfectly useless to establish
here that CURLAND BEING A FREE AND REPUBLICAN STATE whose sovereign is purely
elective, so that it can well abdicate but not yield its rights, RUSSIA HAS NO SPECTACLE
OF THE RIGHT TO MEDDLE IN ITS AFFAIRS. THE RIGHT IS A WORD EMPTY OF MEANING
WHEN CONTRASTED WITH THE WORD "FORCE". Russia has long been in a position to vex Curland, to dictate to her
Curlande, to dictate its choices, to force its votes, to extort or snatch its goods, and its men;
It happened to him to make kidnap its minister in Warsovie, and to relegate him in Siberia; and its party is taken since a long time to familiarize the Courts of Europe with the idea that Curlande occupies a rank in the world only as much as Russia wants to dispose of it well... ". Mirabeau then proposes that France renews its trade agreement with the Curonian Spit, for economic reasons, but also geopolitical: France would gain in particular the access of its military navy to two ports in the Baltic, and Russian-Prussian relations would be less strained by maintaining an intermediate zone.
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