Born at Le Bignon, Mirabeau suffered a virulent case of smallpox at a young age, which left his face scarred with pockmarks. His family was quite wealthy, and his father obtained for him a commission in the cavalry, but the Army was a poor fit for him. Young Mirabeau became embroiled in an affair with his colonel's wife; when the affair came to light, Mireabeau's father had him imprisoned on the Ile de Ré. He spent many years in and out of prison, always one step ahead of creditors (and, more often than not, angry husbands).
Later, while imprisoned at Fort de Joux, he seduced his jailer's wife and escaped with her. He settled in Amsterdam, where he became involved with various occult societies. Later arrested by the police, he was again imprisoned for three years in the castle of Vincennes, where he wrote dozens of texts in which he condemned the arbitrary nature of French justice, as well as an essentially pornographic text, Erotika-Biblion.*
* At this point I should just say - this bed-hopping, war-dodging, erotice-writing anti-establishment gigolo sounds like the most French man ever.
I mean, he took Frenchmanhood to whole new heights.
And when I say 'Frenchmanhood', I am talking about his level of Frenchness - not his French manhood.
Actually, I'm talking about that as well.
Once released from prison, his life changed when, in Neuchâtel, he met the "Genevese revolutionaries" in exile, including financier Etienne Clavière, who would play an important role in Paris. These talented men formed the foundations of Mirabeau's group and political reasoning; they wrote, he signed. This explains his prolific production (politicians have always used ghost writers). He attacked the banks in his texts in return for payment by another banker, thus allowing him to pay off his mountain of debt. He also attacked French minister Charles Alexandre de Calonne, which led to yet another lettre de cachet and his subsequent exile in Prussia, where he acquired the certainty that "the middle classes shall only be freed by joining forces with the lower classes." In any case, the nobility wanted nothing to do with this strange marquis.
At the outset of the Revolution, he was elected to represent the Third Estate at the Estates General. For all that, the inspiration for his "political workshop" lay with his friends; Mirabeau, an exceptional orator, was merely their spokesman.
The remainder of his story is better known: his services were paid for by the King (as early as October 1789), even though the court never heeded his advice. Proof of his secret dealings with the King came with the discovery of the famous iron chest at the Tuileries Palace, containing, among other things, correspondence and a list of payments. However, by this time, he had already been in the grave for 16 months. Prior to his death, when his health, damaged by his excesses, had all but failed him, his last speech was delivered by Talleyrand, but in actual fact had been written by Genevese pastor Etienne Salonion Reybaz.