Achille Murat Letters
Scope and Content
Printed transcriptions of the letters are included with the originals. There are also two folders containing copies of transcriptions and partial translations of some of the letters into English.
Murat's letters touch on several topics from personal to political. He often describes his daily life in Florida, including his opinion on the customs of American citizens. He discusses with Thibaudeau several ideas for the books he later published. He mentions his family life in several of the letters, discussing his brother and his uncle, Joseph Bonaparte. One of his letters mentions an alleged affair with a 14 year-old slave girl. She committed suicide after giving birth to Murat's child. His letters also contain allusions to his support of slavery in the South.
Murat notes several people he met and knew well, including governors W.P. Duval and Richard Keith Call. He often expresses his political views on American government, France, and other European nations. These letters provide insight into life in Florida through the eyes of a foreigner who identified himself as American.
- Murat, Achille, 1801-1847. (Person)
In 1823 Murat moved to Florida and resided for while as a planter and attorney near St. Augustine. At this time he began to write about his observations on American politics and life in Florida. He relocated to Tallahassee around 1825 and established a plantation that he called Lipona, an anagram for "Napoli." In 1826 he married Catherine Gray, great-grand-niece of George Washington. His book Esquisse morale et politique des États-Unis de l'Amérique du Nord appeared first in French in 1832 and was later translated into English as The United States of America (1833) and America and the Americans (1849). Another work, Exposition des principes du gouvernement républicain, tel qu'il a été perfectionné en Amérique, dedicated to Andrew Jackson, appeared in 1833. Murat long-identified himself as an American citizen and his writings were often in praise of the country's accomplishments and culture.
Many of his observations were first written in letters to his former tutor, Comte Antoine Thibaudeau. Murat's correspondence with Thibaudeau discussed various topics of his personal life as well as his experiences as an American citizen.
He returned to Europe in 1830 after the outbreak of the "July Revolution" in France and served briefly as colonel of the Belgian Legion. While there, he unsuccessfully attempted to restore his family fortune. In 1834 he returned to the Tallahassee area empty-handed. He died in 1847 and was buried in Tallahassee at the St. John's Episcopal Church Cemetery.
0.5 Linear feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
Alternate Form of Material
- A Guide to the Achille Murat Letters
- Finding aid created by Cassandra Lema
- November 2010
- Description rules
- Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is written in English.
- Digitization funded with the generous support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository
George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America