Considerations on the Order of Cincinnatus to Which are Added, as well Several Original Papers Relative to That Institution, as also a Letter from the Late M. Turgot, ... to Dr. Price, on the Constitutions of America; and an Abstract of Dr. Price's Observations on the Importance of the American Revolution

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by Comte Gabriel-Honoré de Riquetti de Mirabeau

Considerations on the Order of Cincinnatus
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Title not held by The Wolf Law Library
at the College of William & Mary.
Author Comte Gabriel-Honoré de Riquetti de Mirabeau
Published :
Edition Precise edition unknown
Volumes volume set

Comte de Mirabeau, Honoré Gabriel Riqueti (1749-1791) was born on March 9, 1749 at Bignon, near Nemours. Son of a respected French economist and grandson to Jean Antoine, hero of the 1705 Battle of Cassano, Mirabeau enjoyed the privileged upbringing of a nobleman. As the fifth child and second son of his family, Mirabeau began his anticipated armed service career in 1767, following years of training in French military school. Mirabeau's propensity for initiating scandalous love affairs, acquiring large gambling debts, and igniting heated arguments with superiors led to several imprisonments and exiles. Escaping prison at the castle of Joux with his mistress Sophie, Mirabeau fled to neighboring Switzerland. While Mirabeau lived abroad, French authorities condemned him to death at Pontarlier for rapt et vol. In May 1777, French police seized Mirabeau and returned him to prison once more, this time in the castle of Vincennes.

From prison, Mirabeau launched his extensive literary career, drafting several titles before earning a reversal of his death sentence. After fortuitously securing his release, Mirabeau's political discourse adopted a distinctly populist flair. Attacking the existing French order with pointed censure, Mirabeau occasionally retreated to Holland and London as a way of calming the controversy generated by his writings.

On one such furlough to London, Mirabeau authored Considerations on the Order of Cincinnatus in response to American pamphlets, authored by Aedanus Burke (1743-1802) of South Carolina. Under the pseudonym "Cassius," Burke circulated two pamphlets, An Address to the Freemen of South Carolina (January 1783) and Considerations on the Society or Order of Cincinnati (October 1783), where Burke condemned the Society of the Cincinnati, a lineage organization established to preserve the ideals and fellowship of the officers of the Continental Army who served in the Revolutionary War, as an attempt at reestablishing a hereditary nobility within America's budding republic.

Burke's arguments appealed to Marabeau's distrust of established political order, a political theme catching fire in late-eighteenth century France. In drafting Considerations on the Order of Cincinnatus, Marabeau utilized materials personally provided by Benjamin Franklin, whose role as Minister to France effectively muzzled any ability to publicly criticize the the French monarchy.

Though posthumously considered critical to the developments of the French Revolution, Marabeau's contributions to history are often examined with mixed opinion. Following Marabeau's death, evidence produced at Revolution-era trials exposed Marabeau's hidden loyalty to the crown and workings as an intermediary between major incumbent and revolutionary forces.

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Probable work. Precise edition unknown. Several editions in French and England were published at London and Philadelphia. Whether Wythe owned the French edition or the first English American edition is undetermined.