MARIE LOUISE - Document Signed as Regent 1813
MARIE LOUISE (1791-1847)
Document Signed (“Marie Louise”) as Regent, confirming the continuation of service of Valentin Salha as Minister of War to the King of Westphalia [Napoleon’s younger brother Jerome], under the same conditions as the Imperial Decree of 26 August 1811, namely, that he should return to France immediately if recalled, and never bear arms against the Emperor should conflict erupt between France and the King of Westphalia.
Countersigned by the Minister of Justice, the Duc de Massa and by the Minister of State for the Regency, the Duc de Cadore.
1 page partly printed large oblong folio, 44 x 58 cms in French on vellum, St. Cloud, 10 August 1813.
Napoleon invested his wife with the Regency on 30 March 1813, before departing for what was to be one of his most ill-fated campaigns, culminating at Leipzig in October. The appointment of Marie Louise as Regent may well have been prompted at least in part by a concern to ensure the succession of their young son, should anything happen to him. Though the Empress was only 21 at the time, her upbringing at the Hapsburg court would have left her well equipped to deal with routine matters.
Valentin Salha, described here as being from Bardos (near Bayonne), had enjoyed a career in the French navy before his appointment as aide de camp to Jerome Bonaparte in Westphalia. In 1810, he became Minister of War for the Kingdom. The appointment was to come to an untimely end in October. Jerome Bonaparte, who had already behaved disgracefully during the Russian campaign, fled his kingdom at the news of the disastrous defeat at Leipzig to take refuge in France.
It is unusual to find documents signed by Marie Louise as Regent, and this is a particularly attractive example.
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