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Portrait of Jean-Baptiste Kléber by Jean-Baptiste Paulin Guérin.

André Boniface Louis Riqueti, Vicomte de Mirabeau (30 November 1754 – 15 September 1792), brother of the orator Honoré Mirabeau, was one of the reactionary leaders at the opening of the French Revolution.

Life[edit | edit source]

Known as Barrel Mirabeau (Mirabeau-Tonneau) because of his voluminous taste for drink, he was sent to the army in Malta in 1776, and spent part of his two years there in prison for insulting a religious procession. He served as a colonel, commanding the Touraine Regiment under the comte de Rochambeau in the American Revolution.[1] During the war, he was in several sea-fights with the English and witnessed the Battle of Yorktown in 1781.[2]

In the following year, he had two narrow escapes from drowning. With his debts paid up by his father, he was elected by the noblesse of Limoges a deputy to the States General. Unlike his brother, he opposed the French Revolution. He was a violent conservative and opposed everything that threatened the old régime. and in 1790 left France to join the royalist counter-revolutionary forces in Germany. He was not very successful in his efforts to form a regiment from French exiles and deserters, and died of a stroke in Freiburg two years later.[2]

He once famously wrote that,

Other states possess an army; Prussia is an army which possesses a state.

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.[2]

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