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La Revelliere-Lepeaux, Louis Marie De

LA REVELLIERE-LEPEAUX, LOUIS MARIE DE (1753- 1824), French politician, member of the Directory, the son of J. B. de la Revelliere, was born at Montaign (Vendee), on the 24th of August 1753. The name of Lepeaux he adopted from a small property belonging to his family, and he was known locally as M. de Lepeaux. He studied law at Angers and Paris, being called to the bar in 1775. A deputy to the states-general in 1789, he returned at the close of the session to Angers, where with his school-friends J. B. Leclerc and Urbain Rene Pilastre he sat on the council of Maine-et-Loire, and had to deal with the first Vendeen outbreaks. In 1792 he was returned by the department to the Convention, and on the 19th of November he proposed the famous decree by which France offered protection to foreign nations in their struggle for liberty. Although La Revelliere-Lepeaux voted for the death of Louis XVI., he was not in general agreement with the extremists. Proscribed with the Girondins in 1793 he was in hiding until the revolution of 9-10 Thermidor (27th and 28th of July 1794). After serving on the commission to prepare the initiation of the new constitution he became in July 1795 president of the Assembly, and shortly afterwards a member of the Committee of Public Safety. His name stood first on the list of directors elected, and he became president of the Directory. Of his colleagues he was in alliance with Jean Francois Rewbell and to a less degree with Barras, but the greatest of his fellow-directors, Lazare Carnot, was the object of his undying hatred. His policy was marked by a bitter hostility to the Christian religion, which he proposed to supplant as a civilizing agent by theophilanthropy, a new religion invented by the English deist David Williams. The credit of the coup d'etat of 18 Fructidor (4th of September 1797), by which the allied directors made'themselves supreme, La Revelliere arrogated to himself in his Memoires, which in this as in other matters must be read with caution. Compelled to resign by the revolution of 30 Prairial (18th of June 1799) he lived in retirement in the country, and even after his return to Paris ten years later took no part in public affairs. He died on the 27th of March 1824.

The Memoires of La Revelliere-Lepeaux were edited by R. D. D'Angers (Paris, 3 vols., 1895). See also E. Charavay, La RevelliereLepeaux et ses memoires (1895) and A. Meynier, Un Representant de la bourgeoisie angevine (1905).

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

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