Secret Memoirs of Robert, Count de Paradès, Written by Himself, on Coming Out of the Bastile
Little is known of the true origins of the French adventurer Victor-Antoine-Claude Robert, Count de Paradès (1752-86). He arrived in Paris in 1778, just as the Franco-American alliance, which guaranteed French military support to the United States against Great Britain, was being signed. Paradès was determined to join the French Army, but lacking the connections to do so, offered his services as a spy. He travelled repeatedly to England, visiting ports and fortifications to gather confidential information. First published in 1791, this work provides a detailed account of Paradès' adventures and misfortune. Written while he was jailed in the Bastille, the book denounces the corruption of ministers who wrongly accused him of state treason after the failure of the 1779 Franco-Spanish 'Armada' against Plymouth. A fascinating historical document, it sheds light on the political relations between France and England during the American War of Independence.