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Fournier L'heritier, Claude

FOURNIER L'HERITIER, CLAUDE (1745-1825), French revolutionist, called "l'Américain," was born at Auzon (Haute-Loire) on the 21st of December 1745, the son of a poor weaver. He went to America to seek his fortune, and started at San Domingo an establishment for making tafia (an inferior quality of rum), but lost his money in a fire. Returning to France he threw himself into the Revolution with enthusiasm, and specially distinguished himself by the active part he took in the organization of the popular armed force by means of which the most famous of the revolutionary coups were effected. His influence was principally manifested in the insurrections of the 5th and 6th of October 1789, the 17th of July 1791, and the 20th of June and the 10th of August 1792. He was on bad terms with the majority of the politicians, and particularly with Marat, and spent a great part of his time in prison, all the governments regarding him as an agitator and accusing him of inciting to insurrection. Arrested for the first time for trying to force an entrance into the club of the Cordeliers, from which he had been expelled, he was released, but was in prison from the 12th of December 1793 to the 21st of September 1794, and again from the 9th of March 1795 to the 26th of October 1795. After the attempt on the First Consul in the rue Sainte-Nicaise he was deported to Guiana, but was allowed to return to France in 1809. In 1811, while under surveillance at Auxerre, he was accused of having provoked an émeute against taxes known as the droits réunis (afterwards called contributions indirectes), and was imprisoned in the Château d'If, where he remained till 1814. On the second restoration of the Bourbons Fournier was confined for about nine months in the prison of La Force. After 1816 he was left unmolested, turned royalist, and passed his last years in importuning the Restoration government for compensation for his lost property in San Domingo. He died in obscurity.

For further details see preface to F.A. Aulard's edition of Fournier's Mémoires secrets (Paris, 1890), published by the Société de l'histoire de la Révolution.

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

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