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Handwritten letter from the Marquis of Lisbon on behalf of the Empress Amelia of Brazil (1858)

Handwritten letter from the Marquis of Lisbon on behalf of the Empress Amelia of Brazil (1858)

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In 1858, Empress Amélia of Brazil defends her father, Napoleon's adopted son.

  • Handwritten letter from the Marquis of Lisbon to the French lawyer Dufaure, on behalf of Empress Amélia of Brazil.
  • April 14, 1858, Paris.
  • One sheet, three written pages.
  • 21.4 cm x 27 cm.
  • In French.
  • Excellent condition.

“Eugène de Beauharnais, a European prince” is the title of the large exhibition that will soon open at the Château du Bois-Préau, in the Paris region. Hundreds of objects that belonged to him and works of art for his glory have been lent by prestigious public and private collections across Europe, such as those of the King of Sweden, the Duke of Bavaria or the Louvre and Versailles museums. All these objects will be on display, to remember this ancestor of many princely and ruling families in northern Europe.

But who was Eugène de Beauharnais? Stepson of Napoleon, son of the famous Joséphine, Eugène entered Bonaparte's life at the age of 14. He became a son at heart and after adoption of Bonaparte, who worked to mold Eugène and found in him the ideal material: seriousness, goodwill and modesty. Eugène admired his stepfather and didn't ask for anything. He just tried to follow his lessons and live up to his expectations.

There was a real emotional closeness between them, ever since the Egyptian Campaign. They shared the dangers of war, and also the ordeal of the family storm, when Bonaparte learned of Joséphine's infidelities. The affection he had for Eugène helped preserve the couple. From there, Eugène followed his stepfather in his rise. He became a kind of prince, rising quickly through the ranks and at the age of 23 he was invested with a role for which nothing intended him: the viceroyalty of Italy. He was also later placed at the head of important army corps, as a marshal. Few like Eugène de Beauharnais accompanied Napoleon for so long and were so close to him.

Eugène remained loyal to Napoleon even when the emperor divorced his mother. He then offered to give up all his responsibilities, which Napoleon refused. However, there was an open controversy from 1827 onwards, which gave rise to a posthumous judgment on Eugène: in February 1814, in Italy, he did not comply quickly enough with Napoleon's first orders to withdraw to France. The prince may have hesitated to immediately execute an order that seemed out of place and difficult to implement at the time. Napoleon seemed to agree that Eugène was right a little later, but there was a trial in 1854.

This long three-page letter, on letterhead, from the “Imperial Legation of Brazil in France”, is written by the hand of the illustrious Marquis of Lisbon , also known as Marquis of Tamandaré, in the name of Empress Amélia of Brazil, wife of Dom Pedro I since 1829. The recipient is the great lawyer Dufaure, who defended Eugène de Beauharnais during the trial. The Empress thanked the lawyer, through the Marquis 's letter, for having restored her father's name which had been tarnished during this controversy.

“The Empress is happy to think that the honor and glory of the illustrious Prince are saved for eternity thanks to the eloquence of Mr. Dufaure and his brilliant defense.”

In addition to testifying to this important historical fact, the document brings together some of the greatest historical figures of this period, in France and Brazil, two countries that were already very close at the time: Napoleon, through Eugène de Beauharnais; Empress Amélia de Leuchtenberg, daughter of Eugène and 2nd wife of Dom Pedro I, who was talked about so much during the bicentenary of Brazilian independence; and of course the Marquis of Tamandaré, one of the greatest military men in the history of Brazil.

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