Joachim Murat, a French soldier, and king of Naples, born at La Bastide-Fortuniere, near Cahors, March 25, 1771, executed in Calabria, in the night of Oct. 13-14, 1815. He was the son of an innkeeper, was educated for the church at the college of Cahors, and afterward at Toulouse, and was ordained sub-deacon; but being dismissed from the seminarv on account of some youthful follies, he enlisted in a regiment of chasseurs. Cashiered for an outbreak of temper after he had risen through some of the lower grades, he became a waiter at a cafe in Paris. He soon entered the constitutional guard of Louis XVI., and on its dissolution received a sub-lieutenancy in a cavalry regiment. He was cashiered after Robespierre's overthrow, but was restored, served as aide-decamp to Bonaparte, and accompanied him to Italy. After Beaulieu's defeat he was sent to Paris with the 21 standards taken from the Austrians, and returned to his post to share in the following Italian campaigns, in which he rose to the rank of brigadier general.
In 1798 he went with Bonaparte to Egypt. He was wounded at the taking of Alexandria and in the battle of the pyramids, and was conspicuous in the Syrian campaign, contributing to the victory of Mount Tabor, April 16, 1799, and leading the assault at Acre. In the battle of Aboukir, July 25, he was again wounded, and was rewarded with the rank of general of division. He left Africa with Bonaparte, who had conceived a strong liking for him, and in the coup d'etat of the 18th Brumaire was at the head of the grenadiers who expelled the council of 500 from their hall at St. Cloud. The chief command of the consular guard and the hand of Caroline Bonaparte were his recompense. At Marengo he was at the head of the cavalry, and in 1801 he commanded the army which invaded the kingdom of Naples and took possession of Elba. He was then made governor of the Cisalpine republic, and in 1804 of Paris and member of the legislative body; and on the establishment of the empire he received the baton of a marshal and the title of prince.
He had a large share in the success of the campaign of 1803 in Germany, and led the cavalry at Austerlitz. In 180G he was made grand duke of Berg and Cleves. His abilities were strikingly displayed in the battles of Jena,' Eylau, and Friedland, and still more in following up the results of these victories. In 1808 he commanded the army which invaded Spain. After the elevation of Joseph Bonaparte to the Spanish throne he went to Italy, where, on Aug. 1, 1808, he was proclaimed king of the Two Sicilies, under the name of Joachim Napoleon. He attempted to ameliorate the condition of his new subjects, encouraged agriculture and industry, improved the public finances, increased the navy, and organized an army 70,000 strong. To vindicate the independence of Naples, he ordered that all foreigners in his service should renounce allegiance to their native country. This edict, aimed especially at the French, called forth an imperial decree declaring that, the kingdom of Naples being part of the French empire, every Frenchman should be of right a citizen of the Two Sicilies. The king then listened to overtures from various European powers, particularly Austria. He durst not, however, disregard Napoleon's summons to take part in the campaign against Russia, and was intrusted with the supreme command of the cavalry.
At Borodino he withstood the Russian fire daring the whole day. But his energy seemed to falter when the retreat from Moscow commenced, especially after he had been worsted at Vinkovo, Oct. 18, 1812. He however received the chief command of the army when, after the disastrous crossing of the Beresina, Napoleon left it in haste for Paris. But Murat proved unequal to his arduous task; he was anxious to return to Italy, and on Jan. 16, 1813, suddenly took his departure. He resumed his secret negotiations with the enemies of Napoleon, but joined his brother-in-law in the campaign of 1813, and displayed his wonted intrepidity again at Dresden, Wachau, and Leipsic. On his return to Italy he signed, Jan. 11, 1814, a treaty with Austria, by which his kingdom was guaranteed to him, on condition that he should act in concert with the allies at the head of an army of 30,000 men. He accordingly marched against Prince Eugène, viceroy of Italy, and forced him to retreat toward the Adige. But his new allies, having used him, were ready to abandon him, while the Bourbons were insisting on his overthrow at the congress of Vienna. On hearing of this, he sought the support of the Italian patriots, was secretly reconciled with Napoleon, and on the news of the latter's return from Elba marched against the Austrians. He advanced through the Papal States to the banks of the Po; but being worsted at Ferrara, he was forced to beat a hasty retreat; fought bravely, but ineffectually, May 2 and 3, at Tolentino; was driven in disorder along the sea and across the Apennines, made an ineffectual stand at San Germano and Mi-gnano, and finally saw his army wasted away by battle and desertion.
He now attempted negotiation; but, deserted by even his own emissaries, and the populace of Naples rising in insurrection, he was obliged to fly to Ischia, while his queen took refuge on board an English frigate. From Ischia he went to the shores of Provence, where he arrived on May 25 at night, After the battle of Waterloo, in which he was not allowed to share, he went to Piacenza, where he remained for two months, and then to Bastia, where he landed Aug. 25. Here he prepared an expedition, and on Sept. 28, at the head of 250 men, with seven small transports, he set sail for Naples; his squadron was scattered by foul weather, while he himself with a few companions was driven to the gulf of Santa Eufemia. He landed on Oct. 8 near Pizzo, attempted in vain to rouse the inhabitants of this village in his behalf, was pursued to the mountains by the peasants of the neighborhood, and fought to the last, but finally fell into the hands of his pursuers and was taken to the castle of Pizzo, where he was condemned by a court martial, and shot in one of the rooms of the castle.
Being offered a chair and a handkerchief to bandage his eyes, he replied: "I have braved death long and often enough to face it with my eyes open and standing." Leonard Gallois published a Histoire de Joachim Murat (Paris, 1828); and the later events of his career have been chronicled by Coletta, Les six demiers mois de la de de Murat (1821), and by Franceschetti, MÁmoires sur les evencments qui ontprecede la mort de Joachim I. (1820). - By his wife Caroline (see Boxa-paete, vol. iii., p. 26), Murat left two sons and two daughters. Both the latter married Italian noblemen, Laetitia Josephine becoming Countess Pepoli, and Louise Julie Caroline, Countess Ras-poni. The elder son, Napoleon Achille, born Jan. 21, 1801, after his father's death went with his mother to Haimburg, Austria, came in 1821 to the United States, settled in Florida, married a grandniece of Washington, devoted himself to scientific pursuits, and wrote some essays on the institutions of America. He died April 15, 1847, on his estate near Tallahassee. The younger, Napoleon Lucien Chakles Joseph FRANCOIS, born in Milan, May 16, 1803, after living near his mother till 1825, went to Spain, where he was arrested on suspicion.
After his liberation he came to the United States, and married a Miss Fraser, his wife earning a support by teaching. After repeated short stays in France, he returned thither in 1848, and was elected to the constituent and legislative assemblies. He was envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Turin in 1849, became senator Jan. 25,1852, and received the title of prince of the imperial family in 1853. In 1860, when the Bourbons were expelled from Naples, Murat put forth his claims to the throne of the Two Sicilies; bur at the instance of Napoleon III. he soon publicly disclaimed his pretensions. In 1870 he was with Bazaine in Metz, and when the city capitulated was made prisoner. Hi- eldest son, Joseph Joachim Na-poLfeox, horn in Paris, July 21, 1834, has been since 18GG a colonel in the French army, and in April, 1872, obtained leave to serve four years in the Swedish army.