Augustin Robespierre

Augustin Bon Joseph de Robespierre (21 January 1763 – 28 July 1794)[1] was the younger brother of French Revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre.

Augustin Robespierre
Augustin de Robespierre

Early life

He was born in Arras, the youngest of four children of the lawyer Maximilien-Barthelemy-François de Robespierre and Jacqueline-Marguerite Carraut, the daughter of a brewer. His mother died when he was one year old, and his grief-stricken father abandoned the family to go to Bavaria, where he died in 1777.[2] He was brought up by an aunt and trained as a lawyer. His brother Maximilien had won a scholarship from the Abbey of St. Vaast to pay for his studies at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand and had been such an outstanding student that when he obtained his degree in law, he asked the Abbot, Cardinal de Rohan, if he would transfer the scholarship to Augustin to allow him to follow the same career. The Cardinal agreed and Augustin took up his brother's place studying law.[3][4]

Although his political views were very similar to those of his brother, Augustin was very different in character. Handsome, he was also fond of good food, gaming and the company of women.[5] At the outset of the Revolution, Augustin was prosecutor-syndic of Arras.[6] He founded a political club in the town and wrote to his brother to secure its affiliation with the Jacobins in Paris.[7] In 1791, he was appointed Administrator of the département of Pas-de-Calais.

The Convention

Proclamation Commune de Paris 10 Thermidor An II
Proclamation written by Augustin Robespierre and signed by him, Maximilien Robespierre and Couthon calling on the people of Paris to rise up, 10 Thermidor

Augustin unsuccessfully stood for election to the new Legislative Assembly in Arras in August 1791, but his views were too radical for the town, which elected another young lawyer, Sixte François Deusy instead.[8] However on 16 September 1792, Augustin was elected to the National Convention,19th out of 24 deputies, with 392 votes out of 700 cast,[9] by the voters of Paris,[10] and he joined his brother in The Mountain and the Jacobin Club.[11] At the Convention he distinguished himself by the vehemence of his attacks on the royal family and on aristocrats. During the trial of Louis XVI he voted for the death penalty to be applied within 24 hours.[12]

When he first came to Paris to take his seat he was accompanied by his sister Charlotte, and they both lodged with Maximilien in the house of Maurice Duplay. Soon however Charlotte persuaded Maximilien to come with them to a new lodging in the rue Saint-Florentin where she could look after her two brothers. He soon returned to the Duplay's house however, leaving Augustin and Charlotte to live by themselves. However this arrangement did not last long either. In August 1793 Augustin was sent on a mission to Alpes-Maritimes to suppress the Federalist revolt,[13] together with another deputy from the Convention, Jean François Ricord, and Charlotte accompanied him. Much of southeastern France was in rebellion against the Republic, and they barely made it alive to Nice after a very dangerous journey. In Nice they felt secure enough to attend the theatre, but on the third occasion they did so, they were pelted with rotten apples.[14] In 19 December 1793 Augustin took part in the military action, led by Dugommier and Napoleon, which retook Toulon from the British.[15] On their return to Paris, Augustin moved out of the lodging with Charlotte and went to live with Ricord and his wife.[16]

In 1794 Augustin was dispatched once again as a representant en mission, now to the Army of Italy in Haute-Saône. This time he took with him not his sister but his mistress, La Saudraye, the creole wife of a literary man.[17] He used his influence to advance Napoleon Bonaparte's career, after reading Napoleon's pro-Jacobin pamphlet titled Le souper de Beaucaire.[18][19] On his return to Paris he served as a secretary to the Convention.[20]


Execution robespierre, saint just...
Augustin Robespierre led up the steps to the guillotine on 28 July 1794

Augustin was with his brother in the chamber of the Convention on the evening of 9 Thermidor (27 July 1794), when the deputies voted for the arrest of Robespierre. At once, Augustin rose from his place on the benches and said "I am as guilty as him; I share his virtues, I want to share his fate. I ask also to be charged". He was promptly arrested too, along with Saint-Just, Couthon and Lebas.[21] Hearing of the arrests, the Commune of Paris issued orders to all prisons in the city, forbidding them to take the prisoners in. For this reason they were kept under guard in the rooms of the Committee of General Security, where they remained until a place could be found for them. Eventually Augustin was held in the prison of La Force while Maximilien was held in the Luxembourg.[22] Because of the Commune's orders however, they were soon released and made their way to the Hôtel de Ville here they spent the night vainly trying to coordinate an insurrection. On the morning of 10 Thermidor, the forces of the Convention under Barras burst in and succeeded in taking most of them alive.

Augustin escaped through one of the windows of the Hôtel de Ville, and threw himself head first onto the steps of the grand stairway. He was picked up, still alive, and taken away with his brother. He declared that neither he nor his brother had, for one instant, fallen short in their duty to the Convention. Barras ordered him to be taken, in whatever state he was, back to the rooms of the Committee of General Security.[23] From there the prisoners were taken to the Conciergerie prison, and after a summary trial at the Revolutionary Tribunal, they were sent to their deaths. Couthon was the first of the prisoners to be executed, with Augustin second, and Maximilien the last.[24]


  1. ^ accessed 17/04/2017
  2. ^ Ruth Scurr, Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution Vintage Books 2007 pp.17-19
  3. ^ Ruth Scurr, Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution Vintage Books 2007 p.31
  4. ^ John Laurence Carr, Robespierre, History Book Club 1972 p.16
  5. ^ Jean Martrat (trans. Alan Kendall) Robespierre, Angus & Robertson 1975 p.169
  6. ^ J.M.Thompson, Robespierre, Basil Blackwell 1935 p.292
  7. ^ Ruth Scurr, Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution Vintage Books 2007 p.115
  8. ^ Jean Matrat, Robespierre (trans. Alan Kendall) Angus & Robertson 1975 p.122
  9. ^ accessed 17 April 2017
  10. ^ Vie politique de tous les députés à la Convention nationale, pendant et après la Révolution Paris 1814 p.565
  11. ^ Ruth Scurr, Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution Vintage Books 2007 p.208
  12. ^ Vie politique de tous les députés à la Convention nationale, pendant et après la Révolution Paris 1814 p.565
  13. ^ accessed 17 April 2017
  14. ^ Ruth Scurr, Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution Vintage Books 2007 p.252
  15. ^ Ruth Scurr, Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution Vintage Books 2007 p.258
  16. ^ Jean Matrat, Robespierre (trans. Alan Kendall) Angus & Robertson 1975 p.170-171
  17. ^ J.M.Thompson, Robespierre, Basil Blackwell 1935, p.484
  18. ^ David Chandler, Napoleon, Leo Cooper, 2002 (first published 1973) p.21
  19. ^ Philip Dwyer, Napoleon: The Path to Power 1769, Bloomsbury 2007 p.136
  20. ^ accessed 17 April 2017
  21. ^ J.M.Thompson, Robespierre, Basil Blackwell 1935 p.571
  22. ^ Ruth Scurr, A Fatal Purity Vintage Books 2007 p.320
  23. ^ accessed 17/04/2017
  24. ^ Jean Matrat (trans. Alan Kendall), Robespierre, Angus & Robertson 1975 pp.286-8

Further reading

  • Alexandre Cousin, Philippe Lebas et Augustin Robespierre, deux météores dans la Révolution française (2010). (in French)
  • Marisa Linton, Choosing Terror: Virtue, Friendship and Authenticity in the French Revolution (Oxford University Press, 2013).
  • Sergio Luzzatto, Bonbon Robespierre: la terreur à visage humain (2010). (in French)
  • Martial Sicard, Robespierre jeune dans les Basses-Alpes, Forcalquier, A. Crest (1900). (in French)
  • Mary Young, Augustin, the Younger Robespierre (2011).

External links

  • "L'enfance de Maximilien", in L’association Maximilien Robespierre pour l’Idéal Démocratique bulletin n° 45. (in French)


was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar, the 1794th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 794th year of the 2nd millennium, the 94th year of the 18th century, and the 5th year of the 1790s decade. As of the start of 1794, the Gregorian calendar was

11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1794 in France

The following lists events that happened during 1794 in the French Republic.

Battle of Saorgio

The Battle of Saorgio was fought from 24 to 28 April 1794 between a French First Republic army commanded by Pierre Jadart Dumerbion and the armies of the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont and the Habsburg Monarchy led by Joseph Nikolaus De Vins. It was part of a successful French offensive designed to capture strategic positions in the Maritime Alps and Ligurian Alps, and on the Mediterranean coast. Tactical control of the battle was exercised by André Masséna for the French and Michelangelo Alessandro Colli-Marchi for the Coalition. Saorge is located in France, about 70 kilometres (43 mi) northeast of Nice. At the time of the battle, the town was named Saorgio and belonged to Piedmont.

Since September 1792, the Piedmontese defenses around Saorge had resisted capture. In early April 1794, the French struck northeastward along the Italian Riviera, quickly seizing the small port of Oneglia. From there, Masséna struck north to capture two towns in the upper Tanaro valley before turning west to outflank the positions around Saorge. After some fighting, the Austro-Piedmontese withdrew to the north side of the Col de Tende (Tenda Pass) which the French occupied. Dumerbion's troops also seized a large portion of the Italian Riviera. The action occurred during the War of the First Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. The engagement is significant in military history because a newly appointed artillery general by the name of Napoleon Bonaparte drew up the plans for the offensive.

Charlotte de Robespierre

Charlotte de Robespierre (5 February 1760, Arras - 1 August 1834, Paris) was the daughter of François de Robespierre and Jacqueline Marguerite Carraut and the sister of Maximilien de Robespierre and Augustin Robespierre, known for the memoirs she dictated about the life of her brothers during the French Revolution.

Committee of Public Safety

The Committee of Public Safety (French: Comité de salut public), created in April 1793 by the National Convention and then restructured in July 1793, formed the de facto executive government in France during the Reign of Terror (1793–1794), a stage of the French Revolution. The Committee of Public Safety succeeded the previous Committee of General Defence (established in January 1793) and assumed its role of protecting the newly established republic against foreign attacks and internal rebellion. As a wartime measure, the Committee—composed at first of nine and later of twelve members—was given broad supervisory powers over military, judicial and legislative efforts. It was formed as an administrative body to supervise and expedite the work of the executive bodies of the Convention and of the government ministers appointed by the Convention. As the Committee tried to meet the dangers of a coalition of European nations and counter-revolutionary forces within the country, it became more and more powerful.

Following the defeat at the Convention of the Girondins in June 1793, a prominent Jacobin identified as a radical, Maximilien Robespierre, was added to the Committee. The power of the Committee peaked between August 1793 and July 1794. In December 1793, the Convention formally conferred executive power upon the Committee.

The execution of Robespierre in July 1794 represented a reactionary period against the Committee of Public Safety. This became known as the Thermidorian Reaction, as Robespierre's fall from power occurred during the month of Thermidor in the French Republican calendar. The Committee's influence diminished and it was abolished in 1795.

Georges Couthon

Georges Auguste Couthon (22 December 1755 – 28 July 1794) was a French politician and lawyer known for his service as a deputy in the Legislative Assembly during the French Revolution. Couthon was elected to the Committee of Public Safety on 30 May 1793 and served as a close associate of Maximilien Robespierre and Louis Antoine de Saint-Just until his arrest and execution in 1794 during the period of the Reign of Terror. Couthon played an important role in the development of the Law of 22 Prairial, which was responsible for a sharp increase in the number of executions of accused counter-revolutionaries.

January 21

January 21 is the 21st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 344 days remaining until the end of the year (345 in leap years).

Jean François Carteaux

Jean Baptiste François Carteaux (31 January 1751 – 12 April 1813) was a French painter who became a General in the French Revolutionary Army. He is notable chiefly for being the young Napoleon Bonaparte's commander at the siege of Toulon in 1793.

Le souper de Beaucaire

Le souper de Beaucaire was a political pamphlet written by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1793. With the French Revolution into its fourth year, civil war had spread across France between various rival political factions. Napoleon was involved in military action, on the government's side, against some rebellious cities of southern France. It was during these events, in 1793, that he spoke with four merchants from the Midi and heard their views. As a loyal soldier of the Republic he responded in turn, set on dispelling the fears of the merchants and discouraging their beliefs. He later wrote about his conversation in the form of a pamphlet, calling for an end to the civil war.

List of Representatives on Mission

During the French Revolution (1789–1799 or 1815), a représentant en mission (English: representative on mission) was an extraordinary envoy of the Legislative Assembly. The term is most often assigned to deputies designated by the National Convention for maintaining law and order in the départements and armies. They had powers to oversee conscription into the army and to monitor both local military command and local compliance with Revolutionary agendas.

Such inspectors had existed in some form under the Ancien Régime, but the position was systematized during the Reign of Terror and the representatives were given absolute power. Some of them abused their powers and exercised a veritable dictatorship at a local level.

Louis-Marie Stanislas Fréron

Louis-Marie Stanislas Fréron (17 August 1754 – 15 July 1802) was a French politician, journalist, representative to the National Assembly, and a representative on mission during the French Revolution.


Napoléon Bonaparte (, French: [napɔleɔ̃ bɔnɑpaʁt]; Italian: Napoleone Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.He was born Napoleone di Buonaparte (Italian: [napoleˈoːne di ˌbwɔnaˈparte]) in Corsica to a relatively modest family of Italian origin from minor nobility. He was serving as an artillery officer in the French army when the French Revolution erupted in 1789. He rapidly rose through the ranks of the military, seizing the new opportunities presented by the Revolution and becoming a general at age 24. The French Directory eventually gave him command of the Army of Italy after he suppressed a revolt against the government from royalist insurgents. At age 26, he began his first military campaign against the Austrians and the Italian monarchs aligned with the Habsburgs—winning virtually every battle, conquering the Italian Peninsula in a year while establishing "sister republics" with local support, and becoming a war hero in France. In 1798, he led a military expedition to Egypt that served as a springboard to political power. He orchestrated a coup in November 1799 and became First Consul of the Republic. His ambition and public approval inspired him to go further, and he became the first Emperor of the French in 1804. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing a Third Coalition by 1805. Napoleon shattered this coalition with decisive victories in the Ulm Campaign and a historic triumph over the Russian Empire and Austrian Empire at the Battle of Austerlitz which led to the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1806, the Fourth Coalition took up arms against him because Prussia became worried about growing French influence on the continent. Napoleon quickly defeated Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, then marched his Grande Armée deep into Eastern Europe and annihilated the Russians in June 1807 at the Battle of Friedland. France then forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July 1807, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. Tilsit signified the high-water mark of the French Empire. In 1809, the Austrians and the British challenged the French again during the War of the Fifth Coalition, but Napoleon solidified his grip over Europe after triumphing at the Battle of Wagram in July.

Napoleon then invaded the Iberian Peninsula, hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, and declared his brother Joseph Bonaparte the King of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support. The Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, and ended in victory for the Allies against Napoleon. The Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states, especially Russia. The Russians were unwilling to bear the economic consequences of reduced trade and routinely violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon into another war. The French launched a major invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The campaign destroyed Russian cities, but did not yield the decisive victory Napoleon wanted. It resulted in the collapse of the Grande Armée and inspired a renewed push against Napoleon by his enemies. In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in the War of the Sixth Coalition against France. A lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813, but his tactical victory at the minor Battle of Hanau allowed retreat onto French soil. The Allies then invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April. He was exiled to the island of Elba off the coast of Tuscany, and the Bourbon dynasty was restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815 and took control of France once again. The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition which defeated him at the Battle of Waterloo in June. The British exiled him to the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died six years later at the age of 51.

Napoleon's influence on the modern world brought liberal reforms to the numerous territories that he conquered and controlled, such as the Low Countries, Switzerland, and large parts of modern Italy and Germany. He implemented fundamental liberal policies in France and throughout Western Europe. His Napoleonic Code has influenced the legal systems of more than 70 nations around the world. British historian Andrew Roberts states: "The ideas that underpin our modern world—meritocracy, equality before the law, property rights, religious toleration, modern secular education, sound finances, and so on—were championed, consolidated, codified and geographically extended by Napoleon. To them he added a rational and efficient local administration, an end to rural banditry, the encouragement of science and the arts, the abolition of feudalism and the greatest codification of laws since the fall of the Roman Empire".

Philippe-François-Joseph Le Bas

Philippe-François-Joseph Le Bas (4 November 1762, Frévent, Pas-de-Calais – 28 July 1794, Paris) was a French politician.

René-François Dumas

René-François Dumas, born 14 December 1753 in Jussey, in the bailiwick of Amont (now in Haute-Saône), was a revolutionary French lawyer and politician, regarded as a "Robespierrist", who died on 28 July 1794 (10 Thermidor) at Paris.

René-François, despite his ferocity, born of respectable parents, and well educated. In June 1790 Dumas founded a popular society in Lons-le-Saunier and became a member of the city council. In 1791 he was the mayor of Lons-le-Saunier.

He became member of the "Society of the Friends of the Constitution", where he played a leading role, even occupying the presidency.

On 26 September, 1793, Dumas was appointed vice-president of the Revolutionary Tribunal and involved in the trial of Madame Roland, Marie-Antoinette and Madame du Barry.On 8 April 1794, three days after the execution of Danton and Desmoulins, he became the president of the court, in lieu of Martial Joseph Armand Herman, who was appointed Foreign minister. In this quality, with Fouquier-Tinville as the public prosecutor, he headed several major political trials in which defendants are sentenced to death. The trial of the "first conspiracy of the prisons" on 13 April considered in particular to the general Arthur Dillon, the archbishop constitutional of Paris Jean-Baptiste Gobel, procureur syndic of the Commune of Paris Pierre Gaspard Chaumette, and the widows Marie Marguerite Françoise Hébert and Lucile Desmoulins.

In June the tribunal put in force the Law of 22 Prairial. According to Adolphe Thiers their goal was to keep the prisons empty. According to Fouquier-Tinville Dumas and Coffinhal, the vice-presient of the tribunal went each morning to see Robespierre and did what he told them to do, not what the Committee of Public Safety had decided. His last victim was the Princes of Monaco on 28 July. At four o'clock in the afternoon a charge of 45 convicts was sent to the guillotine on the Place de la Nation, but was stopped on the way in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. Francois Henriot, general of the Parisian National Guard, accompanied the procession.

In the evening of 9 Thermidor Dumas joined the insurrectionary Commune of Paris to obtain the release of Maximilien de Robespierre, Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, Couthon, Philippe-François-Joseph Le Bas and Augustin Robespierre. In the morning of 10 Thermidor the whole group was arrested in the "Hôtel de Ville", taken to the Conciergerie and trialed. Fouquier-Tinville, who was considered to be biased, was replaced. In the early evening the group of was guillotined on the Place du Révolution.

Robespierre (disambiguation)

Maximilien Robespierre (1758–1794) was one of the leaders of the French Revolution.

Robespierre may also refer to:

Augustin Robespierre (1763–1794), brother of Maximilien

Gillian Robespierre (born 1978), American film director and writer

Robespierre (Paris Métro), station in the suburb of Montreuil

Robespierre Monument, monument to Robespierre in Moscow, erected shortly after the Russian Revolution

Team Robespierre, American band

Siege of Toulon

The Siege of Toulon (29 August – 19 December 1793) was a military operation by Republican forces against a Royalist rebellion in the southern French city of Toulon.

The Mountain

The Mountain (French: La Montagne) was a political group during the French Revolution, whose members called the Montagnards (French: [mɔ̃taɲaʁ]) sat on the highest benches in the National Assembly.

They were the most radical group and opposed the Girondists. The term, which was first used during a session of the Legislative Assembly, came into general use in 1793. Led by Maximilien Robespierre, the Montagnards unleashed the Reign of Terror in 1793. By the summer of 1793, two minority groups who were referred to as the Mountain and the Girondin, divided the National Convention. The Mountain was composed mainly of members of the middle class, but represented the constituencies of Paris. As such, the Mountain was sensitive to the motivations of the city and responded strongly to demands from the working class sans-culottes. The Mountaineers had little understanding of the daily life and needs of the people in the cities and towns beyond Paris. Although they attempted some rural land reform, most of it was never enacted and they generally focused on the needs of the urban poor over that of rural France. The Mountain operated on the belief that what was best for Paris would be best for all of France.The Girondins were a moderate political faction created during the Legislative Assembly period. They were the political opponents of the more radical representatives within the Mountain. The Girondins had wanted to avoid the execution of Louis XVI and supported a constitution which would have allowed a popular vote to overturn legislation. The Mountain accused the Girondins of plotting against Paris because this caveat within the proposed constitution would have allowed rural areas of France to vote against legislation that benefits Paris, the main constituency of the Mountain. However, the real discord in the Convention occurred not between the Mountain and the Gironde, but between the aggressive antics of the minority of the Mountain and the rest of the Convention.The Mountain was not entirely unified as a party and relied on leaders like Maximilien Robespierre, Georges Danton and Jacques Hébert, who themselves came to represent different factions. Hébert, a journalist, gained a following as a radical patriot Mountaineer (members who identified with him became known as the Hébertists) while Danton led a more moderate faction of the Mountain party (followers came to be known as Dantonists). Regardless of the divisions, the nightly sessions of the Jacobin club, which met in the rue Saint-Honoré, can be considered to be a type of party caucus for the Mountain. In June 1793, the Mountain successfully ousted most of the moderate Gironde members of the Convention with the assistance of radical sans-culottes.Following their coup, the Mountain, led by Hérault-Sécuells, quickly began construction on a new constitution which was completed eight days later. The Committee of Public Safety reported the constitution to the Convention on 10 June and a final draft was adopted on 24 June. The process occurred quickly because as Robespierre, a prominent member of the Mountain, announced on 10 June the "good citizens demanded a constitution" and the "Constitution will be the reply of patriotic deputies, for it is the work of the Mountain". However, this constitution was never actually enacted. The Constitution of 1793 was abandoned when Robespierre later granted himself and the Committee of Public Safety dictatorial powers in order to "defend the Revolution".

Thermidorian Reaction

On 9 Thermidor Year II (27 July 1794), the French politician Maximilien Robespierre was denounced by members of the National Convention as "a tyrant", leading to Robespierre and twenty-one associates including Louis Antoine de Saint-Just being arrested that night and beheaded on the following day.

Thomas-Augustin de Gasparin

Thomas-Augustin de Gasparin, (born 27 February 1754 at Orange, where he also died 7 November 1793), was a French military officer and député for the Bouches-du-Rhône departement to the National Legislative Assembly and the Convention.

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