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PIERRE GASPARD CHAUMETTE (1763-1794)

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Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 18 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PIERRE GASPARD CHAUMETTE (1763-1794), French revolutionist, was born at Nevers. Until the Revolution he lived a somewhat wandering life, interesting himself particularly in botany. He was a student of medicine at Paris in 1790, became one of the orators of the club of the Cordeliers, and contributed anonymously to the Revolutions de Paris. As member of the insurrectionary Commune of the loth of August 1792, he was delegated to visit the prisons, with full power to arrest suspects. He was accused later of having taken part in the massacres of September, but was able to prove that at that time he had been sent by the provisional executive council to Normandy to oversee a requisition of 60,000 men. Returning from this mission, he pronounced an eloquent discourse in favour of the republic. His simple manners, easy speech, ardent temperament and irreproachable private life gave him great influence in Paris, and he was elected president of the Commune, defending the municipality in that capacity at the bar of the Convention on the 31st of October 1792. Re-elected in the municipal elections of the 2nd of December 1792, he was soon charged with the functions of procurator of the Commune, and contributed with success to the enrolments of volunteers by his appeals to the populace. Chaumette was one of the ringleaders in the attacks of the 31st of May and of the 2nd of June 1793 on the Girondists, toward whom he showed himself relentless. He demanded the formation of a revolutionary army, and preached the extermination of all traitors. He was one of the promoters of the worship of Reason, and on the loth of November 1793 he presented the goddess to the Convention in the guise of an actress. On the 23rd of the same month he obtained a decree closing all the churches of Paris, and placing the priests under strict surveillance; but on the 25th he retraced his steps and obtained from the Commune the free exercise of worship. He wished to save the Hebertists by a new insurrection and struggled against Robespierre; but a revolutionary decree promulgated by the Commune on his demand was overthrown by the Convention. Robespierre had him accused with the Bebertists; he was arrested, imprisoned in the Luxembourg, condemned by the Revolutionary tribunal and executed on the 13th of April 1794. Chaumette's career had its brighter side. He was an ardent social reformer; he secured the abolition of corporal punishment in the schools, the suppression of lotteries, of houses of ill-fame and of obscene literature; he instituted reforms in the hospitals, and insisted on the honours of public burial for the poor. Chaumette left some printed speeches and fragments, and memoirs published in the Amateur d'autographes. His memoirs on the loth of August were published by F. A. Aulard, preceded by a biographical study. CHAUMONT-EN-BASSIGNY, a town of eastern France, capital of the department of Haute-Marne, a railway junction 163 m. E.S.E. of Paris on the main line of the Eastern railway to Belfort. Pop. (1906) 12,089. Chaumont is picturesquely situated on an eminence between the rivers Marne and Suize in the angle formed by their confluence. To the west a lofty viaduct over the Suize carries the railway. The church of St-Jean-Baptiste dates from the 13th century, the choir and lateral chapels belonging to the 15th and 16th. In the interior the sculptured triforium (15th century), the spiral staircase in the transept and a Holy Sepulchre are of interest. The lycee and the hospital have chapels of the 17th and 16th centuries respectively. The Tour Hautefeuille (a keep of the 11th century) is the principal relic of a chateau of the counts of Champagne; the rest of the site is occupied by the law courts. In the Place de l'Escargot stands a statue of the chemist Philippe Lebon (1767–1804), born in Haute-Marne. Chaumont is the seat of a prefect and of a court of assizes, and has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a lycee, training colleges, and a branch of the Bank of France. The main industries are glove-making and leather-dressing. The town has trade in grain, iron, mined in the vicinity, and leather. In 1190 it received a charter from the counts of Champagne. It was here that in 1814 Great Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia concluded the treaty (dated March 1, signed March 9) by which they severally bound them-selves not to conclude a separate peace with Napoleon, and to continue the war until France should have been reduced within the boundaries of 1792.
End of Article: PIERRE GASPARD CHAUMETTE (1763-1794)
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