1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Souza-Botelho, Adélaide Filleul, Marquise de

SOUZA-BOTELHO, ADÉLAIDE FILLEUL, Marquise de (1761–1836), French writer, was born in Paris on the 14th of May 1761. Her mother, Marie Irène Catherine de Buisson, daughter of the seigneur of Longpré, near Falaise, married a bourgeois of that town named Filleul. It was reported, though no proof is forthcoming, that Mme Filleul had been the mistress of Louis XV. Her husband became one of the king’s secretaries, and Mme Filleul made many friends, among them Marmontel. Their eldest daughter, Julie, married Abel François Poisson, marquis de Marigny (1727–1781); Adélaide married in 1779 Alexandre Sebastien de Flahaut de la Billarderie, comte de Flahaut, a soldier of some reputation, who was many years her senior. In Paris she soon gathered round her a salon, in which the principal figure was Talleyrand. There are many allusions to their liaison in the diary of Gouverneur Morris. In 1785 was born her son Auguste Charles Joseph de Flahaut (q.v.), who was generally known to be Talleyrand’s son. Mme de Flahaut fled from Paris in 1792 and joined the society of émigrés at Mickleham, Surrey, described in Mme d’Arblay’s Memoirs. Her husband remained at Boulogne, where he was arrested on the 29th of January 1793 and guillotined. Mme de Flahaut now supported herself by writing novels, of which the first, Adèle de Sénange (London, 1794), which is partly autobiographical, was the most famous. She presently left London for Switzerland, where she met Louis Philippe, duke of Orleans. She travelled in his company to Hamburg, where she lived for two years, earning her living as a milliner. She returned to Paris in 1798, and on the 17th of October 1802 she married José Maria de Souza-Botelho Mourão e Vasconcellos (1758–1825), Portuguese minister plenipotentiary in Paris. Her husband was recalled in 1804, and was offered the St Petersburg embassy; but in the next year he resigned, to settle permanently in Paris, where he had many friends, among them the historian Sismondi. He spent his time chiefly in the preparation of a beautiful edition of the Lusiads of Camoens, which he completed in 1817. Mme de Souza lost her social power after the fall of the First Empire, and was deserted even by Talleyrand, although he continued his patronage of Charles de Flahaut. Her husband died in 1825, and after the accession of Louis Philippe she lived in comparative retirement till her death on the 19th of April 1836. She brought up her grandson, Charles, duc de Morny, her son’s natural son by Queen Hortense. Among her later novels were La Comtesse de Fargy (1822) and La Duchesse de Guise (1831). Her complete works were published in 1811–1822.

See Baron A. de Maricourt, Madame de Souza et sa famille (1907); Lettres inédites de J. C. L. de Sismondi ... et de Madame de Souza (Paris, 1863), ed. St René Taillandier; Sainte-Beuve, Portraits de femmes (1844); and for Mme de Filleul, MM. de Goncourt, Les Maîtresses de Louis XV. (1860) and J. F. Marmontel (1804).