Fauchet, Claude, Bishop

FAUCHET, CLAUDE, BISHOP (1744-1793), French revolutionary bishop, was born at Dornes (Nièvre) on the 22nd of September 1744. He was a curate of the church of St Roch, Paris, when he was engaged as tutor to the children of the marquis of Choiseul, brother of Louis XV.'s minister, an appointment which proved to be the first step to fortune. He was successively grand vicar to the archbishop of Bourges, preacher to the king, and abbot of Montfort-Lacarre. The "philosophic" tone of his sermons caused his dismissal from court in 1788 before he became a popular speaker in the Parisian sections. He was one of the leaders of the attack on the Bastille, and on the 5th of August 1789 he delivered an eloquent discourse by way of funeral sermon for the citizens slain on the 14th of July, taking as his text the words of St Paul, "Ye have been called to liberty." He blessed the tricolour flag for the National Guard, and in September was elected to the Commune, from which he retired in October 1790. During the next winter he organized within the Palais Royal the "Social Club of the Society of the Friends of Truth," presiding over crowded meetings under the self-assumed title of procureur général de la vérité. Nevertheless, events were marching faster than his opinions, and the last occasion on which he carried his public with him was in a sermon preached at Notre Dame on the 14th of February 1791. In May he became constitutional bishop of Calvados, and was presently returned by the department to the Legislative Assembly, and afterwards to the Convention. At the king's trial he voted for the appeal to the people and for the penalty of imprisonment. He protested against the execution of Louis XVI. in the Journal des amis (January 26, 1793), and next month was denounced to the Convention for prohibiting married priests from the exercise of the priesthood in his diocese. He remained secretary to the Convention until the accusation of the Girondists in May 1793. In July he was imprisoned on the charge of supporting the federalist movement at Caen, and of complicity with Charlotte Corday, whom he had taken to see a sitting of the Convention on her arrival in Paris. Of the second of these charges he was certainly innocent. With the Girondist deputies he was brought before the revolutionary tribunal on the 30th of October, and was guillotined on the following day.

See Mémoires ... ou Lettres de Claude Fauchet (5th ed., 1793); Notes sur Claude Fauchet (Caen, 1842).

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

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