FOUCHÉ (JOSEPH). Piece signed "The duke of Otranto" as governor general of the Illyrian Provinces. Laybach [now Ljubljana in Slovenia], 2 August 1813. 1 p. in-folio, beautiful copper-engraved header illustrated with the large coat of arms of Napoleon I. "On the proposal of the intendant general, we have decided & decree: ... s[ieu]r Artusi is appointed municipal councillor of the commune of Pola [in Istria, currently Pula in Croatia] in replacement of s[ieu]r Tarara deceased... "AN IMPOSSIBLE MISSION TO REMOVE A SCHEMER. In disgrace since 1810, Joseph Fouché was entrusted in July 1809 with the functions of governor of the Illyrian Provinces with the rank of Minister of State and the related salary. Reunited in 1809 into an entity integrated into the French Empire, these heterogeneous provinces were to participate in the continental blockade by closing their Adriatic shores to English trade, and to constitute a bulwark against Austria. After the disaster of the Russian campaign and the Malet affair, which had revealed the fragility of the regime, Napoleon I decided to usefully occupy a potentially dangerous man far from France: Joseph Fouché was given the mission of organising the defence against Austria and spying on it from the Illyrian provinces. His arrival in Laybach on 29 July 1813 was interpreted by Metternich as a sign that Napoleon I did not accept the conditions of peace and had chosen to continue the war. As usual, the duke of Otranto showed himself to be formidably efficient, reorganising the administration, seeking to influence opinion through a newspaper (entrusted to Charles Nodier), and trying to conciliate the peasantry on the question of feudal rights without upsetting the nobility too directly. He was, however, under no illusion, and the irresistible advance of the Austrian troops forced him to organize the withdrawal to Italy from the end of August to October 1813.