Jacques Hébert


Jacques Hébert

Jacques René Hébert (November 15, 1757—March 24, 1794) was editor of the extreme radical newspaper "Le Père Duchesne" during the French Revolution. His followers are usually referred to as "the Hébertists" or "the Hébertistes"; he himself is sometimes called "Père Duchesne", after his newspaper.

Life

Early life

Born 1757 at Alençon, Orne, to jeweller Jacques Hébert (died 1766) and Marguerite Beunaiche of Houdrie (1727-1787). His family was ruined by a lawsuit while he was still young, and Hébert came to Paris. There he found work in a theatre, where he wrote plays in his spare time, but these were never produced.

In 1790, he attracted attention through a pamphlet he published, and became a prominent member of the club of the Cordeliers in 1791.

"Père Duchesne"

Hébert's influence was mainly due to his articles in his journal, "Le Père Duchesne", which appeared from 1790 to 1794. These polemic articles were written with wit, but were also violent and abusive, and purposely couched in foul language in order to appeal to the sans culottes. Initially, "Le Père Duchesne" supported (1790-1791) a constitutional monarchy around King Louis XVI, as well as the opinions of the Marquis de La Fayette; its most violent attacks of the period were aimed at Jean-Sifrein Maury (the main opponent of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy). Hébert changed his beliefs after the king's flight to Varennes in June 1791, and started referring to Marie Antoinette as 'the Austrian bitch' and addressing Louis XVI as 'Monsieur Veto, the drunken drip.'

Prominence and clash with Robespierre

During the insurrection of August 10, 1792, he was a member of the revolutionary Commune of Paris, and became second substitute of the "procureur" of the Commune on December 2, 1792.

His violent attacks on the Girondist presence in the National Convention led to his arrest on May 24, 1793, but he was released owing to the threatening attitude of the mob. His tone was further radicalised by the killing of Jean-Paul Marat in July 1793; his attacks on Marie Antoinette contributed to the mood of hostility towards her, and indirectly to her execution. Henceforth very popular, Hébert organized with Pierre Gaspard Chaumette the worship of Reason, in opposition to the theistic cult of the Supreme Being inaugurated by Maximilien Robespierre, against whom he tried to instigate a popular movement. The failure of this brought about the arrest of the Hébertists.

Hébert and his immediate followers —although certainly not all his sympathizers— were guillotined March 24, 1794, and were among the few to have become adversaries of Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety for an excess of zeal rather than for any accusations of counter-revolutionary activity. It is said that Hebert was hysterical on his way to his execution and fainted at the sight of the guillotine. His wife, Marie Marguerite Françoise Hébert (née Goupil) (born 1756), who had been a nun, was executed twenty days later. They had a daughter, Scipion-Virginia Hébert (February 7, 1793 - July 13, 1830).

References

*1911 The 1911 "Encyclopaedia Britannica", in turn, gives the following references:
**Louis Duval, "Hébert chez lui", in "La Révolution Française, revue d'histoire moderne et contemporaine", t. xii. and t. xiii.
**D. Mater, J. R. Hibert, "L'auteur du Père Duchesne avant la journée du 10 août 1792" (Bourges, Comm. Hist. du Cher, 1888).
**François Victor Alphonse Aulard, "Le Culte de la raison et de l'être suprême" (Paris, 1892).

External links

* [http://www.marxists.org/history/france/revolution/hebert/index.htm Jacques Hébert Internet Archive] on Marxists.org.


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