Fain, Agathon Jean Francois

FAIN, AGATHON JEAN FRANCOIS (1778-1837), French historian, was born in Paris on the 11th of January 1778. Having gained admittance to the offices of the Directory, he became head of a department. Under the Consulate he entered the office of the secretary of state, in the department of the archives. In 1806 he was appointed secretary and archivist to the cabinet particulier of the emperor, whom he attended on his campaigns and journeys. He was created a baron of the empire in 1809, and, on the fall of Napoleon, was first secretary of the cabinet and confidential secretary. Compelled by the second Restoration to retire into private life, he devoted his leisure to writing the history of his times, an occupation for which his previous employments well fitted him. He published successively Manuscrit de 1814, contenant l'histoire des six derniers mois du règne de Napoléon (1823; new edition with illustrations, 1906); Manuscrit de 1813, contenant le précis des événements de cette année pour servir à l'histoire de l'empereur Napoléon (1824); Manuscrit de 1812 (1827); and Manuscrit de l'an iii. (1794-1795), contenant les premières transactions de l'Europe avec la république française et le tableau des derniers événements du régime conventionnel (1828), all of which are remarkable for accuracy and wide range of knowledge, and are a very valuable source for the history of Napoleon I. Of still greater importance for the history of Napoleon are Fain's Mémoires, which were published posthumously in 1908; they relate more particularly to the last five years of the empire, and give a detailed picture of the emperor at work on his correspondence among his confidential secretaries. Immediately after the overthrow of Charles X., King Louis Philippe appointed Fain first secretary of his cabinet (August 1830). Fain was a member of the council of state and deputy from Montargis from 1834 until his death, which occurred in Paris on the 16th of September 1837.

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

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