CHALIER, JOSEPH (1747-1793), French Revolutionist. He was destined by his family for the church, but entered business, and became a partner in a firm at Lyons for which he travelled in the Levant, in Italy, Spain and Portugal. He was in Paris in 1789, and entered into relations with Marat, Camille Desmoulins and Robespierre. On his return to Lyons, Chalier was the first to be named member of the municipal bureau. He organized the national guard, applied the civil constitution of the clergy, and regulated the finances of the city so as to tax the rich heavily and spare the poor. Denounced to the Legislative Assembly by the directory of the department of Rhone-et-Loire for having made a nocturnal domiciliary perquisition, he was sent to the bar of the Assembly, which approved of his conduct. In the election for mayor of Lyons, in November 1792, he was defeated by a Royalist. Then Chalier became the orator and leader of the Jacobins of Lyons, and induced the other revolutionary clubs and the commune of his city to arrest a great number of Royalists in the night of the 5th and 6th of February 1793. The mayor, supported by the national guard, opposed this project. Chalier demanded of the Convention the establishment of a revolutionary tribunal and the levy of a revolutionary army at Lyons. The Convention refused, and the anti-revolutionary party, encouraged by this refusal, took action. On the 29th and 30th of May 1793 the sections rose; the Jacobins were dispossessed of the municipality and Chalier arrested. On the 15th of July, in spite of the order of the Convention, he was brought before the criminal tribunal of the Rhone-et-Loire, condemned to death, and guillotined the next day. The Terrorists paid a veritable worship to his memory, as to a martyr of Liberty.
See N. Wahl, "Etude sur Chalier," in Revue historique, t. xxxiv.; and Les Premières Années de la Révolution à Lyon (Paris, 1894).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)