Charles-François Lebrun

Charles-François Lebrun, 1st duc de Plaisance (19 March 1739 – 16 June 1824), was a French statesman who served as Third Consul of the French Republic and was later created Arch-Treasurer and Prince of the Empire by Napoleon I.

Charles-François Lebrun
Charles-François Lebrun, duc de Plaisance
Portrait of Charles-François Lebrun, duc de Plaisance, by Robert Lefèvre, 1825
Third Consul of France
In office
12 December 1799 – 18 May 1804
Preceded byRoger Ducos
Succeeded byRepublic abolished
Member of the Council of Five Hundred
In office
22 August 1795 – 9 November 1799
Member of the National Constituent Assembly
In office
9 July 1789 – 30 September 1791
Member of the Estates General for the Third Estate
In office
6 May 1789 – 6 June 1789
Personal details
Born19 March 1739
Saint-Sauveur-Lendelin, Manche, Kingdom of France
Died16 June 1824 (aged 85)
Sainte-Mesme, Yvelines, Kingdom of France
Spouse(s)Anne Delagoutte
ChildrenAnne-Charles Lebrun, 2nd duc de Plaisance
Alexander Lebrun
Sophie-Eugenie Lebrun
Auguste-Charles Lebrun
Dorothée Lebrun


Ancien Régime

Born in Saint-Sauveur-Lendelin (Manche), after studies of philosophy at the Collège de Navarre, he started his career during the Ancien Régime, making his first appearance as a lawyer in Paris in 1762. He filled the posts of censeur du Roi (1766) and then Inspector General of the Domains of the Crown (1768).[1]

During the early 1760s, Lebrun became a disciple of Montesquieu and an admirer of the British Constitution, travelling through Southern Netherlands, the Dutch Republic, and finally to the Kingdom of Great Britain (where he witnessed the debates in the London Parliament).

He became one of Chancellor René Nicolas de Maupéou's chief advisers, taking part in his struggle against the parlements and sharing his downfall in 1774. Lebrun then devoted himself to literature, translating Torquato Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered (1774) and the Iliad (1776). He retreated from public life to his property in Grillon, attempting to live a life as envisaged by the philosophe Jean-Jacques Rousseau. During the cabinet of Jacques Necker, he was consulted on several occasions, but never appointed to high office.[1]

Constituent Assembly and provincial politics

Lebrun, Charles François
Charles-François Lebrun

At the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789, he foresaw its importance in his volume La voix du Citoyen, published the same year, and predicted the course which events would take. In the Estates-General and (after he took the Tennis Court Oath) in the National Constituent Assembly, where he sat as deputy for the Third Estate in the bailiwick of Dourdan, he professed Liberalism and proposed various financial laws, without affiliating to any particular faction.[1] A partisan of constitutional monarchy even after King Louis XVI's flight to Varennes (June 1791), he became the target for the suspicions of the Jacobin Club.

After the voting of the 1791 Constitution, he was ineligible for the Legislative Assembly (like all former members of the Constituent Assembly), and became instead president of the directory of Seine-et-Oise département.[1]

Lebrun retired from this position on 7 August 1792, and again retired to Dourdan. Three days later, the storming of the Tuileries Palace signalled the move towards the establishment of the French Republic by the creation of the National Convention. Lebrun further aroused the indignation of republicans when he accepted to represent Dourdan in the electoral college of Seine-et-Oise which nominated deputies to the Convention.

Terror, Thermidor, and Directory

A suspect during the Reign of Terror, he was twice arrested: the first time in September 1793, liberated after the intervention of Joseph Augustin Crassous (representative on mission to Seine-et-Oise); the second time in June 1794 (paradoxically, on orders from the same Crassous) - threatened with the guillotine, he was saved by a relative of his who stole his record of prosecution, thus causing a delay long enough for Lebrun to be saved by the Thermidorian Reaction.

In 1795, Lebrun was elected as a deputy to the French Directory's Council of Ancients and,[1] although a supporter of the House of Bourbon, he voted against prosecutions of Jacobins, and showed himself in favour of national reconciliation.

Consulate, Empire, and Restoration

The Three Consuls (Lebrun, right)
Histoire Naturelle 1810
Histoire Naturelle, 1810 - one of the paintings recently installed in the entrance of Herengracht 40 in Amsterdam, this one with the portrait of Charles-François LeBrun, Napoleon's governor of the Netherlands
Mansion of Lebrun on Herengracht 40, Amsterdam
Tombe lebrun
Tomb of Charles-François Lebrun

Lebrun was made Third Consul following Napoleon Bonaparte's 18 Brumaire coup in the Year VIII (9–10 November 1799; see French Consulate). In this capacity, he took an active part in Napoleon's reorganization of the national finances and in the administration of France's départements. He was made a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in 1803, and in 1804, he was appointed Arch-Treasurer of the French Empire. From 1805 to 1806, he was governor-general of Liguria, during which time he completed its annexation by France.[1]

He opposed Napoleon's restoration of the noblesse and, in 1808, only reluctantly accepted the title of duc de Plaisance (Duke of Piacenza),[1] a rare, nominal, but hereditary duché grand-fief, extinguished in 1926. From 1811 to 1813, he served as governor-general of a part of the annexed Netherlands, reorganizing its départements - Zuyderzée and Bouches-de-la-Meuse.[1] He was assisted by Antoine de Celles and Goswin de Stassart.

Although to a certain extent opposed to the autocracy of the Emperor, he was not in favor of his deposition, although he accepted the fait accompli of the Bourbon Restoration in April 1814. Louis XVIII made him a Peer of France, but during the subsequent Hundred Days, he accepted from Napoleon the post of grand maître de l'Université. As a consequence, he was suspended from the House of Peers when the Bourbons returned again in 1815, but was recalled in 1819. He died five years later in Sainte-Mesme (then in Seine-et-Oise, now in Yvelines).[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Chisholm 1911, p. 352.


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lebrun, Charles François" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 352. Endnotes:
    • Auguste-Armand de la Force, L'Architrésorier Lebrun (Paris, 1907)
    • M. Marie du Mesnil, Memoire sur le prince Le Brun, due de Plaisance (Paris, 1828)
    • ed. Anne-Charles Lebrun (Lebrun's son), Opinions, rapports et choix d'écrits politiques de C. F. Lebrun (1829)

External links

Preceded by:
College of 3 Provisional Consuls
Napoléon Bonaparte
Roger Ducos
Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès
Head of State of France
(Third Consul along with:)
Napoléon Bonaparte
(First Consul)
Jean-Jacques Cambacérès
(Second Consul)
(12 December 1799 – 18 May 1804)
Succeeded by:
Napoléon I
(Emperor of the French)
French nobility
Preceded by
Title Created
Duc de Plaisance
Succeeded by
Anne-Charles Lebrun
Political offices
Preceded by
Roger Ducos
Third Consul of the French Republic
1799 - 1804
Served alongside:
Napoleon Bonaparte (First Consul)
Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès (Second Consul)
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Preceded by
Office created
Arch-Treasurer of the French Empire
1804 - 1814
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Preceded by
Office created
Governor-General of Liguria
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Preceded by
Office created
Governor-General of Holland
Succeeded by
Office abolished


was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar, the 1739th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 739th year of the 2nd millennium, the 39th year of the 18th century, and the 10th and last year of the 1730s decade. As of the start of 1739, the Gregorian calendar was

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

1739 in France

Events from the year 1739 in France.

1799 in France

Events from the year 1799 in France

1824 in France

Events from the year 1824 in France.

Cabinet of the French Consulate

The Cabinet of the French Consulate was formed following the Coup of 18 Brumaire which replaced the Directory with the Consulate. The new regime was ratified by the adoption of the Constitution of the Year VIII on 24 December 1799 and headed by Napoleon Bonaparte as First Consul, with Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès and Charles-François Lebrun serving as Second and Third Consuls respectively.


Charles-François may refer to:

Charles-François de Broglie, marquis de Ruffec (1719–1791), French soldier and diplomat

Charles-François Lebrun, duc de Plaisance (1739–1824), Third Consul of France

College of Navarre

The College of Navarre (French: Collège de Navarre) was one of the colleges of the historic University of Paris, rivaling the Sorbonne and renowned for its library.


Consul (abbrev. cos.; Latin plural consules) was the title of one of the chief magistrates of the Roman Republic, and subsequently a somewhat significant title under the Roman Empire. The title was used in other European city states through antiquity and the Middle Ages, then revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic. The relating adjective is consular, from the consularis.

This usage contrasts with modern terminology, where a consul is a type of diplomat.

Council of Ancients

The Council of Ancients or Council of Elders (French: Conseil des Anciens) was the upper house of French legislature under the Constitution of the Year III, during the period commonly known as the Directory (French: Directoire), from 22 August 1795 until 9 November 1799, roughly the second half of the period generally referred to as the French Revolution.

The Council of Ancients was the senior of the two halves of the republican legislative system. The Ancients were 250 members who could accept or reject laws put forward by the lower house of the Directory, the Council of Five Hundred (Conseil des Cinq-Cents). Each member had to be at least forty years of age, and a third of them would be replaced annually. They had no authority to draft laws, but any bills that they renounced could not be reintroduced for at least a year.Besides functioning as a legislative body, the Ancients chose five Directors, who jointly held executive power, from the list of names put forward by the Council of Five Hundred. The Council of Ancients had their own distinctive official uniform, with robes, cape and hat, just as did the Council of Five Hundred and the Directors. Under the Thermidorean constitution, as Boissy d'Anglas put it, the Council of Five Hundred was to be the imagination of the Republic, and the Council of Ancients its reason.The name adopted for the body was based on the French translation/adaptation of the term Senate .

Coup of 18 Brumaire

The Coup of 18 Brumaire brought General Napoleon Bonaparte to power as First Consul of France and in the view of most historians ended the French Revolution. This bloodless coup d'état overthrew the Directory, replacing it with the French Consulate. This occurred on 9 November 1799, which was 18 Brumaire, Year VIII under the French Republican Calendar.


The Driemanschap (Triumvirate) of 1813 was formed after Charles-François Lebrun and the French troops suddenly left the area of the Netherlands.

It consisted of Frans Adam van der Duyn van Maasdam, Leopold of Limburg Stirum and Gijsbert Karel van Hogendorp.

The three statesmen invited the almost forgotten Prince William VI of Orange, the later King William I, to The Hague to prevent anarchy or a possible annexation of the Netherlands by Prussia or England. He was proclaimed the Sovereign Prince of the new Principality of the United Netherlands.

Duc de Plaisance

The French title of duc de Plaisance (English: Duke of Piacenza) was created on 24 April 1808 by Napoleon I for Charles-François Lebrun, Arch-Treasurer of the Empire and former Consul. The title became extinct in 1926, upon the death of the sixth duke.

First Cabinet of Napoleon I

The First Cabinet of Napoleon I was appointed by the Emperor Napoleon I upon the establishment of the First French Empire on 18 May 1804, replacing the Cabinet of the Consulate. It was succeeded by the French Provisional Government of 1814 following the downfall of Napoleon and the abolition of the Empire.

French Consulate

The Consulate (French: Le Consulat) was the top level Government of France from the fall of the Directory in the coup of Brumaire on 10 November 1799 until the start of the Napoleonic Empire on 18 May 1804. By extension, the term The Consulate also refers to this period of French history.

During this period, Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul, established himself as the head of a more authoritarian, autocratic, and centralized republican government in France while not declaring himself sole ruler. Due to the long-lasting institutions established during these years, Robert B. Holtman has called the Consulate "one of the most important periods of all French history." Napoleon brought authoritarian personal rule which has been viewed as military dictatorship.

Grand Dignitaries of the French Empire

The Grand Dignitaries of the French Empire (French: Grands Dignitaires de l'Empire Français) were created in 1804 by the Constitution of the Year XII, which established Napoleon Bonaparte, previously First Consul for Life, as Emperor of the French. The seven Grand Dignitaries broadly paralleled the Great Officers of the Crown which had existed under the Ancien Régime and were essentially honorific, although several limited functions were ascribed to them in the new constitution of the Empire. In the Imperial nobility the Grand Dignitaries ranked in status directly behind the Princes of France, although in practice, most Grand Dignitaries also held the title of Prince.

In 1807 two new dignitaries were created, a further two in 1809, and another in 1810, raising the final number to twelve. Many of the dignitaries were also members of the Imperial Family, with those that were not being high-ranking figures in the Imperial administration. The Grand Dignitaries were abolished along with the First Empire in 1814 upon the Bourbon Restoration, the Great Officers of the Crown being resurrected, and were not restored under the Second Empire.


Holland is a region and former province on the western coast of the Netherlands. The name Holland is also frequently used informally to refer to the whole of the country of the Netherlands. This usage is commonly accepted in other countries, and sometimes employed by the Dutch themselves. However, some in the Netherlands, particularly those from regions outside Holland, may find it undesirable or misrepresentative to use the term for the whole country.

From the 10th to the 16th century, Holland proper was a unified political region within the Holy Roman Empire as a county ruled by the Counts of Holland. By the 17th century, the province of Holland had risen to become a maritime and economic power, dominating the other provinces of the newly independent Dutch Republic.

The area of the former County of Holland roughly coincides with the two current Dutch provinces of North Holland and South Holland in which it was divided, which together include the Netherlands' three largest cities: the de jure capital city of Amsterdam; Rotterdam, home of Europe's largest port; and the seat of government of The Hague.

Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès

Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès, duc de Parme (18 October 1753 – 8 March 1824), was a French nobleman, lawyer and statesman during the French Revolution and the First Empire. He is best remembered as one of the authors of the Napoleonic Code, which still forms the basis of French civil law and French-inspired civil law in many countries.


Lebrun, LeBrun, or Le Brun may refer to:

Charles Le Brun (1619–1690), French painter

Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun (1729–1807), French lyric poet

Charles-François Lebrun, duc de Plaisance (1739–1824), French statesman

Ludwig August Lebrun (1752–1790), German composer and oboist

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755–1842), French painter

Francesca Lebrun (1756–1791), German singer and composer

Louis-Sébastien Lebrun (1764–1829), French opera composer and tenor

Pierre-Antoine Lebrun (1785–1873), French poet

Napoleon LeBrun (1821–1901), American architect

Albert Lebrun (1879–1950), President of France

Rico Lebrun (1900–1964), Italian artist

Jean Lebrun (born 1950), French journalist and radio producer

Claude LeBrun (born 1956), American mathematician

Céline Lebrun (born 1976), French judoka

March 19

March 19 is the 78th day of the year (79th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 287 days remaining until the end of the year.

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