Murat Joachim , Marshal (1804) king of Naples from 1808 to 1815




Joachim Murat,
Marshal (1804),
king of Naples from 1808 to 1815
(La Bastide-Fortunière
(Lot), 1767 - Pizzo, 1815)
Joachim Murat , Maréchal (1804), roi de Naples de 1808 à 1815 .

Joachim Murat
By Gros
Museum of the Louvre, Paris.

Marshal, king of Naples: in the set of napoleonian chess, Murat is the rider, splendid warlike in extravagant costumes, Murat is the insane, impetuous one and unwise, Murat is the queen who needs the evidence of affection of her Master to offer all her devotion. He is treated like a pawn, placed on a throne without liberty of action. From there, a treason with half-consumed, a fine tragedy in an Italian village.

Joachim, the junior of twelve children, landlords parents, undertakes studies with the seminar of Lazaristes of Toulouse. In February 1787, following a quarrel with a comrade, he gives up the ecclesiastical way to engage in a regiment of hunters with horse. In two years, he becomes sergeant. Mingled with a mutiny, he is returned army. When his father sees him returning, he closes his purse to him. Murat is made grocer. Already, his plume impresses and he is indicated by his canton to take part in the festival of the Federation of July 14, 1790. The following year, he obtains to be reinstated in the rows of the army like private. He is named second lieutenant on May 30, 1791. One moment worried by the fall of Robespierre, this enthusiastic republican went until adopting the name of Marat finds himself finally without assignment in this end of the year 1794, in Paris. With the paddle of the 13-Vendémiaire, Barred and a young Corsican General, Bonaparte, ask for a volunteer to recover the guns parked with Fine sands. Murat proposes.

He returns with 40 parts, which will make him possible to choke the royalist insurrection.By this epic, Murat binds his destiny to that of Bonaparte. This last appoints him head of brigade on February 2, 1796 and does of them one of him aide-de-camps. For this reason, Murat accompanies him in Italy in 1796 when he is announced by his bravery. Charged with carrying the enemy flags to the Directory, in Paris, he is also requested to intercede at Joséphine so that she joins her husband. He returns from Paris with the rank of brigadier general. He takes part in the head office of Mantoue. After Campoformio, Bonaparte sends him to the congress of Rastatt.

In Egypt, Murat is illustrated with the head of a brigade of cavalry. After the catch of Alexandria (July 2, 1798) and the battle of the Pyramids (July 21, 1798), he is the first to be gone up to the attack of Saint-Jean-in Acre (March 28, 1799), during the forwarding of Syria. With the battle of Aboukir, July 25, 1799, he seizes personally the pasha Mustapha, with whom he slices two fingers in the fire of the action. That is worth a not very ordinary wound to him a ball crosses to him the jaw right through and the rank of major general. Murat became a popular figure.

However, throughout the years spent together, Bonaparte will be abrupt with that which gave him pledges of his honesty the 18-Brumaire while launching to his grenadiers in front of the flabbergasted members of Parliament: «Get me all that people outside!». Bonaparte grants the hand of his sister Caroline to him, in February 1800, but after the intervention of Joséphine. He does him marshal in 1804, Lord High Admiral and prince the following year, but seems to be repugnant to entrust significant commands to him.

Governor of Paris in 1804, Murat signs with reserve the appointment of the committee which governs the execution of the duke of Enghien. He leaves the following year for the campaign Austria, with the head of all the cavalry. After the catch of Ulm (October 15-20, 1805), he continues the Russian and Austrian armies along the Danube. Whereas Napoleon orders to him to cover the sides of the Grande Armée, he enters Vienna to the head of his men, November 11, 1805. Napoleon makes him severe remonstrances for this act of insubordination. Murat is caught up by his control at the time of the battle of Austerlitz, December 2.

Napoleon grants to him the Grand Duchy of Berg and Clèves in 1806; he needs a right-hand man to ensure the continental blockade. Murat tastes with the capacity, proves to be concerned wellbeing of his subjects. It is the occasion of new tensions with the Emperor, who recalls him soon in the rows. In 1806, indeed, Prussia, England, Sweden and Russia declared the war in France. Murat drives out the Prussians to Leipzig, takes part brilliantly in the battle of Iéna on October 14, 1806, makes capitulate Blücher with Lübeck. He enters the first to Warsaw on November 28, 1806. From Eylau (February 8, 1807), he orders all the French cavalry. On the command of Napoleon, he launches his troops to push back the Russian center. This load remains in the legend under the name of «load of the 80 squadrons».

Napoleon offers to Murat the crown of Naples in 1808, but provided that he remains a pawn of imperial politics. Murat undoubtedly dreamed of the Spanish throne for which he paid his person. Sent in Spain without precise instructions, it is him which represses hard the insurrection of May 2, 1808, organizes the exodus of Ferdinand VII and Charles IV towards Bayonne. And this finally acquired Neapolitan crown, he shiveres to be seen some unbrushed, following the example king of Holland, whose kingdom is purely and simply annexed to the Empire in 1810.

This commoner proves to be a conscientious king. He introduces reforms, organizes an army... The frictions with the Emperor begin again, exacerbated by the dissension between Caroline and Murat, who dispute the capacity.

In 1812, Napoleon calls his brother-in-law at his sides for the campaign of Russia, again with the head of the cavalry. During the six months of the campaign, Murat will be constantly in contact with the Russian armies. At the time of the battle of Borodino on September 7, he charges with the head with 15 000 riders to the front with the Russian guns.

Whereas Napoleon is in Moscow, in October 1812, he misses being made encircled in Taroutino (October 18, 1812) but manages to get clear. In December, Napoleon leaves him the command of the Grande Armée to return precipitately to Paris. Murat does not want this command: he wants to save his kingdom. In Wilna, he loses his coolness and gives up the Grande Armée. Of return in Naples, he writes to Napoleon to explain his control. He asks to return to the service of the Emperor.

He returns to take part in the summer campaign of 1813; Napoleon entrusts to him the command of the Army of the south, charged to contain Coalisés of Schwarzenberg. After the defeat of Leipzig (October 16-19, 1813), he comes back to his kingdom. In January 1814, Murat signs a treaty with Austria.

For the congress of Vienna of 1815, generous subsidies which he paid with the diplomats, Talleyrand in particular, are not used of nothing. It is a question of restoring the Bourbons about the Neapolitan throne. Murat, despaired, tries openings on all sides; he writes a cordial letter to Louis XVIII, joins again with Napoleon exiled in the island of Elba. This last announces his project of returnt o him. Murat declares the war in Austria as soon as he learns the unloading from the Emperor. He occupies soon Rome, Ancône, Bologna. From Rimini, he launches a proclamation where he calls the unification of Italy. But soon the Austrian troops, carried out by Neipperg, encircle him. It is the defeat of Tolentino, April 21, 1815.

Murat must escape while Ferdinand finds his throne. He arrives to France where Napoleon refuses to receive him. In Corsica, he brings together 600 men. That is enough for him to dream to reconquer Naples; he embarks for the Italian coast. Unloaded in Pizzo, he is made prisoner, imprisoned. A decree of the King orders at the commission which judges him to leave him «half an hour to receive the helps of the religion» before shooting him. Murat gives himself the command to shoot, October 13, 1815.

Text of Alexandra Dalbin