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Pontecoulant, Louis Gustave Le Doulcet, Comte De

PONTECOULANT, LOUIS GUSTAVE LE DOULCET, COMTE DE (1764-1853), French politician, was born at Caen on the i?th of November 1764. He began a career in the army in 1778.

A moderate supporter of the revolution, he was returned to the Convention for the department of Calvados in 1792, and became commissary with the army of the North. He voted for the imprisonment of Louis XVI. during the war, and his banishment after the peace. He then attached himself to the party of the Gironde, and in August 1793 was outlawed. He had refused to defend his compatriot Charlotte Corday, who wrote him a letter of reproach on her way to the scaffold. He returned to the Convention on the 8th of March 1795, and showed an unusual spirit of moderation by defending Prieur de la Marne and Robert Lindet. President of the Convention in July 1795, he was for some months a member of the council of public safety. He was subsequently elected to the council of five hundred, but was suspected of royalist leanings, and had to spend some time in retirement before the establishment of the consulate. Becoming senator in 1805, and count of the empire in 1808, he organized the national guard in Tranche Comte in 1811, and the defence of the north-eastern frontier in 1813. At the first restoration Louis XVIII. made him a peer of France, and although he received a similar honour from Napoleon during the Hundred Days, he sat in the upper house under the Second Restoration. He died in Paris on the 3rd of April 1853, leaving memoirs and correspondence from which were extracted four volumes (1861- 1865) of Souvenirs historiques et parlementaires 1764-1848.

His son Louis Adolphe Le Doulcet, comte de Pontecoulant (1794-1882), served under Napoleon in 1812 and 1814, and then emigrated to Brazil, where he took part in the abortive insurrection at Pernambuco in 1817. He also organized a French volunteer contingent in the Belgian revolution of 1830, and was wounded at Louvain. The rest of his life was spent in Paris in the study of ancient music and acoustics. Among his works was one on the Musee instrumental du conservatoire de musique (1864). A younger brother, Philippe Gustave Le Doulcet, comte de Pontecoulant (1795-1874), served in the army until 1849, when he retired to devote himself to mathematics and astronomy. His works include Theorie analytique du systeme du monde (Paris, 1829-1846) and Traiti elementaire de physique celeste (2 vols., Paris, 1840).

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

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