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Neuville, Jean-Guillaume, Baron Hyde de
Incoming correspondence to French aristocrat, diplomat and politician, Jean-Guillaume, baron Hyde de Neuville, of La Charité-sur-Loire and Paris, France, dated 1813-1843

4 incoming letters, 11 manuscript pages, written by various individuals to Jean-Guillaume, baron Hyde de Neuville, written in French, dated 1813-1843.

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Jean-Guillaume, baron Hyde de Neuville (1776-1857)

Jean-Guillaume, baron Hyde de Neuville (24 January 1776 – 28 May 1857) was a French aristocrat, diplomat, and politician. He was born at La Charité-sur-Loire (Nièvre), the son of Guillaume Hyde, who belonged to an English family which had emigrated with the Stuarts after the rebellion of 1745.

After studying in the College Cardinal Lemoine, in Paris, he entered political life at the age of sixteen. He was only seventeen when he successfully defended a man denounced by Joseph Fouché before the revolutionary tribunal of Nevers. From 1793 onwards he was an active agent of the exiled princes: he took part in the Royalist rising in Berry in 1796, and after the 18 Brumaire coup (9 November 1799), under the name of Paul Xavier, he tried to persuade Napoleon Bonaparte to recall the traditional monarchy.

During the consulate and empire, he practiced medicine in Lyons under the name of Roland, and was awarded a gold medal for the propagation of vaccine. An accusation of complicity in the conspiracy of 1800–1801 was speedily retracted, but in 1806 Napoleon consented to refund Neuville's confiscated estate on condition that he should go to the United States. De Neuville settled near New Brunswick, New Jersey, where his house became a place of refuge for French exiles. In 1813 he was instrumental in helping his friend, General Moreau to accept service in the army of the emperor of Russia. He returned to France after the replacement of the French Empire by the 1814 Bourbon Restoration.

He was sent by Louis XVIII to London to attempt the persuasion of the British government to transfer Napoleon to a remoter and safer place of exile than the isle of Elba, but the negotiations were cut short by the emperor's return to France in March 1815 (the Hundred Days). In January 1816 de Neuville became French ambassador at Washington, D.C., where he negotiated a commercial treaty. On his return in 1821 he declined the position of ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, and in November 1822 was elected deputy for Cosne. Louis XVIII created him a baron, and in 1821 gave him the grand cross of the Legion of honor as a reward for his services.

Shortly afterwards he was appointed French ambassador in Portugal, where he rescued the old king, John VI, who had been imprisoned by his son, and was created Count de Bemposta. His efforts to oust British influence culminated, in connection with the coup d'état of Dom Miguel (30 April 1824), in his suggestion to the Portuguese minister to invite the armed intervention of Britain. It was assumed that this would be refused, in view of the loudly proclaimed British principle of non-intervention, and that France would then be in a position to undertake a duty that Britain had declined.

The planned action was however prevented by the attitude of the reactionary party in the government of Paris, which disapproved of the 1822 Portuguese constitution. This ruined Hyde de Neuville's influence in Lisbon, and he returned to Paris to take his seat in the Chamber of Deputies.

In spite of his pronounced Royalism, he now displayed Liberal tendencies, opposed the policy of Jean-Baptiste de Villèle's cabinet, and in 1828 became a member of the moderate administration of Jean Baptiste Gay de Martignac as Naval Minister. In this capacity, he showed active sympathy with the cause of Greek independence. He greatly improved the colonial system of France, and prohibited the slave trade in its American possessions.

During the Jules de Polignac ministry (1829–1830), he was again in opposition, being a firm upholder of the Charter, However, after the 1830 July Revolution, he entered an all but solitary protest against the exclusion of the legitimate line of the Bourbons from the throne (see July Monarchy and Orléanist), and resigned his seat. Under Louis Philippe, he lived quietly upon his estate of l'Étang, near Sancerre, but in 1837 he took an active part in the discussion of a new treaty of commerce with the United States, and caused several pamphlets to be printed on the subject. He died in Paris.

Hyde de Neuville married Anne Marguerite, Baroness Hyde de Neuville on 23 Aug 1794 at Sancerre. She was born Henriette Anne Marguerite Joséphine Rouillé de Marigny on 10 May 1771 at Sancerre and died 14 September 1849 at Ménétréol-sous-Sancerre. She was a French watercolourist and painter. She lived in the United States from 1807 to 1820, on a New Jersey sheep farm, in New York City, and in Washington, D.C.

Hyde de Neuville was the author of several works including "Éloge historique du Général Moreau" published in New York in1814 and "Observations sur le commerce de la France avec les États-Unis" published in Paris in 1837.His "Mémoires et souvenirs" (3 vols., 1888), compiled from his notes by his nieces, the vicomtesse de Bardonnet and the baronne Laurençeau, are of major interest for the Revolution and the Restoration.

Description of Letters

One letter is dated 1813, two are dated 1829, with the final letter dated 1843.

The letter from 1813 is addressed to Hyde de Neuville when he was in exile in America, at the post office in New Haven, Connecticut. The letter is dated from Bloomingdale and written in French, the last section of the letter is written by a different party in English. Bloomingdale would have been an area of Manhattan, just below Columbia University, where French refugees had gathered and lived, at one point including the future King Louis Philippe I. Louis Philippe visited the United States for four years when he was in exile, staying in Philadelphia (where his brothers Antoine and Louis Charles were in exile), New York City (where he most likely stayed at the Somerindyck family estate on Broadway and 75th Street along with other exiled princes), and Boston.

This letter is unsigned, however a pencil note, docketed on the rear states, "Agent Secret du Comte d' Artois."  The Comte d' Artois was Charles X (1757-1836) who became King of France in 1824. For most of his life he was known as the Count of Artois. An uncle of the uncrowned King Louis XVII, and younger brother to reigning Kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile and eventually succeeded him. The letter is three and a third pages long, with the last part of the text is written in English and deals with the administration of an estate where the person had died intestate. In the beginning of this English section, written by a different person from the French section of the letter, the author makes a comment about the paper chosen by "Simond" for writing the letter. Simond, whoever he might be, is possibly the initial letter writer; however, in a genealogy of the family of Puiseux, one Antoine, comte de Puiseux, was stated to have been the "Agent secret du comte d'Artois a Paris." Further research would have to be conducted to be sure if this is the letter writer’s identity.

At the time the two letters of 1829 were written (April and August), Hyde de Neuville was a member of the ministry of Jean-Baptiste de Martignac (4 January 1828 to 8 August 1829) and served as the naval minister.  One of these 1829 letters mentions Wellington, who at the time was the British prime minister. The other 1829 letter is posted from "au chateau de Bon repos pris touloun," and written by Jean François, Marquis de Cambon, who became Deputy and Mayor of Bonrepos (France) in 1824. Cambon's father was Jean Louis de Cambon (1737-1807), first president of the Parliament of Toulouse in 1787.

When the 1843 letter was written to Hyde de Neuville, he was retired living quietly at his estate of l'Étang, near Sancerre. The letter mentions Infanta Isabel Maria of Portugal, the daughter of King John VI of Portugal. Hyde de Neuville had rescued King John VI when he Hyde de Neuville was ambassador to Portugal and the King had been imprisoned by his son.