French diplomat, spy, soldier and Freemason (1728-1810). Autograph receipt signed (in third person within the text, and with initials). Tonnerre. ¾ S. Large 8vo.
$ 2,774 / 2.500 €
Receipt for household expenses for "Mlle. D’Éon", here "pour poisson". - Éon de Beaumont was a French transsexual political adventurer, secret agent of Louis XV in Russia (1755), then minister to England. The term "eonism" denoting the tendency to adopt the costume and manners of the opposite sex, is derived from his name. Despite d'Éon's wearing a dragoon's uniform all the time, there were rumors that he was actually a woman, and a betting pool was started on the London Stock Exchange about his true sex.
D'Éon finally claimed to be physically not a man, but a woman, and demanded recognition by the government as such. King Louis XVI and his court complied, but demanded that d'Éon dress appropriately and wear women's clothing. D'Éon agreed, especially when the king granted him funds for a new wardrobe. Overall, Charles d’Éon spent his first 49 years as a man, and his last 33 years as a woman. Upon death, a council of physicians discovered that d'Éon's body was anatomically male. - Lower margin with tiny paper defect..