Arnault, Antoine Vincent
b. 1 January 1766, Paris
d. 16 September 1834, Goderville, near Le Havre
He was a secretary in the office of the King's sister in 1785. In 1791 he made his debut as a dramatist with Marius à Minturnes. In 1792, the royalist opinions he had expressed forced him into exile in England, then Belgium, but he soon returned to France. He was arrested, but influential friends (Tallien and others) got him released. He continued to write both plays and librettos for operas (by Méhul). He went to Italy in 1797, where he met Bonaparte. The latter gave him responsibility for organising the government of the Ionian islands. In 1799, he followed Bonaparte as far as Malta. He supported him in the coup of 18 brumaire. In 1800 he became head of the division for public education at the Ministry of the Interior. Later he was made Secretary General of the University. When Napoleon finally fell, Arnault went into exile in the Low Countries. He was later able to return to France and in 1829 was readmitted to the Academy. He is mainly remembered for his Vie politique et militaire de Napoléon and his Souvenirs d'un sexagénaire. Sources: Balteau, J. and others. Dictionnaire de biographie française, 1933-, vol III, p. 901-2 (interestingly, this only gives years of birth and death, not full dates); Hoefer, D. Nouvelle biographie universelle/générale, 1852-66; and Michaud. Biographie universelle ancienne et moderne, 1843-?, vol 2, pp. 245-65 (which gives Arnault's date of birth as 22 January 1766, and the date of his death as the summer of 1836). No biography in Bouvier, F. Bonaparte en Italie, 1796, 1899.