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Clermont-Tonnerre, Stanislas Marie Adelaide

CLERMONT-TONNERRE, STANISLAS MARIE ADELAIDE, Comte de (1757-1792), French politican, was born at Pont-à-Mousson on the 10th of October 1757. At the beginning of the Revolution he was a colonel, with some reputation as a freemason and a Liberal. He was elected to the states-general of 1789 by the noblesse of Paris, and was the spokesman of the minority of Liberal nobles who joined the Third Estate on the 25th of June. He desired to model the new constitution of France on that of England. He was elected president of the Constituent Assembly on the 17th of August 1789; but on the rejection by the Assembly of the scheme elaborated by the first constitutional committee, he attached himself to the party of moderate royalists, known as monarchiens, led by P.V. Malouet. His speech in favour of reserving to the crown the right of absolute veto under the new constitution drew down upon him the wrath of the advanced politicians of the Palais Royal; but in spite of threats and abuse he continued to advocate a moderate liberal policy, especially in the matter of removing the political disabilities of Jews and Protestants and of extending the system of trial by jury. In January 1790 he collaborated with Malouet in founding the Club des Impartiaux and the Journal des Impartiaux, the names of which were changed in November to the Société des Amis de la Constitution Monarchique and Journal de la Société, etc.. in order to emphasize their opposition to the Jacobins (Société des Amis de la Constitution). This club was denounced by Barnave in the Assembly (January 21st, 1791), and on the 28th of March it was attacked by a mob, whereupon it was closed by order of the Assembly. Clermont-Tonnerre was murdered by the populace during the rising of the 9th and 10th of August 1792. He was an excellent orator, having acquired practice in speaking, before the Revolution, in the masonic lodges. He is a good representative of the type of the grands seigneurs holding advanced and liberal ideas, who helped to bring about the movement of 1789, and then tried in vain to arrest its course.

See Recueil des opinions de Stanislas de Clermont-Tonnerre (4 vols., Paris, 1791), the text of his speeches as published by himself; A. Aulard, Les Orateurs de la Constituante (2nd ed., Paris, 1905).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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