'Achille Murat, the Prince of Tallahassee,' was one of Florida's most eccentric pioneers, son of Joachim Murat and Caroline Bonaparte, one-time crown prince of Naples, and nephew of Napoleon. Disenchanted with the reactionary monarchies of Europe, Murat emigrated to America in 1823 and became one of the great essayists on culture and mores in the new Republic.
Author, etc.: Murat, Achille 1801-1847
Title: Florida letters of Achille Murat, 1822-1841.
Description: 24 letters and 6 undated items.
Notes: Achille eventually settled in Florida, first in St. Augustine, and afterwards at Wascissa, Florida, near Tallahassee. On July 12, 1826, he married Catherine Daingerfield Willis Gray, a distant niece of George Washington. Achille made his living as a planter and an attorney, published his observations on life in America, and made numerous trips back to Europe, involving himself in various intrigues against the French monarchy. Because of his father's title as King of Naples, Floridians often referred to Murat and his wife as the Prince and Princess of Tallahassee. He was one of the most colorful and opinionated settlers in territorial Florida.
Planter and attorney. Napoleon Achille Charles Louis Murat was the son of Joachim Murat and Caroline Bonaparte, and the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. After the fall of Napoleon and the death of his father, young Achille lived under house arrest with his mother and brothers in Austria. Frustrated by the conservative reaction in Europe and by the surveillance of his family, he immigrated to the United States in 1822. Staying for a while with his uncle, Joseph Bonaparte, at Point Breeze, New Jersey.
Language: The bulk of the material is in French, but some of the correspondence is translated into English.
Summary: The collection consists of 24 letters dated between December 29, 1822, and March 8, 1841, as well as 6 undated items. The letters cover a wide range of topics, from domestic life to politics to science and nature. Murat wrote about his early observations on life in the United States and Florida, conditions at his plantation, Lipona, his family life (including his sometimes stormy relations with his uncle, Joseph Bonaparte) and his views on political events in Europe. All the letters are written in French.
The original letters are accompanied by typescripts in French and occasionally by English translations. Most of Murat's political observations were eventually published in his work, A moral and political sketch of the United States of North America, 1833. All letters are addressed to Murat's former tutor in France. Florida personalities mentioned in the letters include governors William Duval and Richard Keith Call.