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Antraigues, Emmanuel Henri Louis Alexandre De Launay

ANTRAIGUES, EMMANUEL HENRI LOUIS ALEXANDRE DE LAUNAY, Comte D' (c.1755-1812), French publicist and political adventurer, was a nephew of François Emmanuel de Saint-Priest (1735-1821), one of the last ministers of Louis XVI. He was a cavalry captain, but, having little taste for the army, left it and travelled extensively, especially in the East. On his return to Paris, he sought the society of philosophers and artists, visited Voltaire at Ferney for three months, but was more attracted by J.J. Rousseau, with whom he became somewhat intimate. He published a Mémoire sur les états-généraux, supported the Revolution enthusiastically when it broke out, was elected deputy, and took the oath to the constitution; but he suddenly changed his mind completely, became a defender of the monarchy and emigrated in 1790. He was the secret agent of the comte de Provence (Louis XVIII.) at different courts of Europe, and at the same time received money from the courts he visited. He published a number of pamphlets, Des monstres ravagent partout, Point d'accommodement, etc. At Venice, where he was attaché to the Russian legation, he was arrested in 1797, but escaped to Russia. Sent as Russian attaché to Dresden, he published a violent pamphlet against Napoleon I., and was expelled by the Saxon government. He then went to London, and it was universally believed that he betrayed the secret articles of the treaty of Tilsit to the British cabinet, but his recent biographer, Pingaud, contests this. In 1812 he and his wife Madame Saint-Huberty, an operatic singer, were assassinated by an Italian servant whom they had dismissed. It has never been known whether the murder was committed from private or political motives.

See H. Vaschalde, Notice bibliographique sur Louis Alexandre de Launay, comte d'Antraigues, sa vie et ses oeuvres; Léonce Pingaud, Un Agent secret sous la révolution et l'empire, le comte d'Antraigues (Paris, 1893); Edouard de Goncourt, La Saint-Huberty et l'opéra au XVIIIe siècle.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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