FRANCAIS, ANTOINE, Count (1756-1836), better known as Français of Nantes, French politician and author, was born at Beaurepaire, in the department of Isère. In 1791 he was elected to the legislative assembly by the department of Loire Inférieure, and was noted for his violent attacks upon the farmers general, the pope and the priests; but he was not re-elected to the Convention. During the Terror, as he had belonged to the Girondin party, he was obliged to seek safety in the mountains. In 1798 he was elected to the council of Five Hundred by the department of Isère, and became one of its secretaries; and in the following year he voted against the Directory. He took office under the consulate as prefect of Charente Inférieure, rose to be a member of the council of state, and in 1804 obtained the important post of director-general of the indirect taxes (droits réunis). The value of his services was recognized by the titles of count of the empire and grand officer of the Legion of Honour. On the second restoration he retired into private life; but from 1819 to 1822 he was representative of the department of Isère, and after the July revolution he was made a peer of France. He died at Paris on the 7th of March 1836.
Français wrote a number of works, but his name is more likely to be preserved by the eulogies of the literary men to whom he afforded protection and assistance. It is sufficient to mention Le Manuscrit de feu M. Jérôme (1825); Recueil de fadaises composé sur la montagne à l'usage des habitants de la plaine (1826); Voyage dans la vallée des originaux (1828); Tableau de la vie rurale, ou l'agriculture enseignée d'une manière dramatique (1829).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)