Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 352 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHARLES FRANCCOIS LEBRUN, duc de Plaisance (1739-1824), French statesman, was born at St-Sauveur-Lendelin (Manche) on the ,9th of March 1739, and iii 1762 made his first appearance as a lawyer at Paris. He filled the posts successively of censeur royale (1766) and of inspector general of the domains of the crown (1768); he was also one of the chief advisers of the chancellor Maupeou, took part in his struggle against the parlements, and shared in his downfall in 1774. He then devoted himself to literature, translating Tasso's Gerusalemme liberate; (1774), and the Iliad (1776). At the outset of the Revolution he foresaw its importance, and in the Voix du citoyen, which he published in 1789, predicted the course which events would take. In the Constituent Assembly, where he sat as deputy for Dourdan, he professed liberal views, and was the proposer of various financial laws. He then became president of the directory of Seine-et-Oise, and in 1795 was elected as a deputy to the Council of Ancients. After the coup d'etat of the 18th Brumaire in the year VIII. (9th November 1799), Lebrun was made third consul. In this capacity he took an active part in the reorganization of finance and of the administration of the departments of France. In 1804 he was appointed arch-treasurer of the empire, and in 8o5–18o6 as governor-general of Liguria effected its annexation to France. He opposed Napoleon's restoration of the noblesse, and in 18o8 only reluctantly accepted the title of duc de Plaisance (Piacenza). He was next employed in organizing the departments which were formed in Holland, of which he was governor-general from 1811 to 1813. Although to a certain extent opposed to the despotism of the emperor, he was not in favour of his deposition, though he accepted the fait accompli of the Restoration in April 1814. Louis XVIII. made him a peer of France; but during the Hundred Days he accepted from Napoleon the post of Grand Master of the university. On the return of the Bourbons in 1815 he was consequently suspended from the House of Peers, but was recalled in 1819. He died at St Mesmes (Seine-et-Oise) on the 16th of June 1824. He had been made a member of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in 1803. See M. de Caumont la Force, L'Architresorier Lebrun (Paris, 1907) ; M. Marie du Mesnil, Memoire sur le prince Le Brun, duc de Plaisance (Paris, 1828) ; Opinions, rapports et choix d'ecrits politiques de C. F. Lebrun (1829), edited, with a biographical notice, by his son Anne-Charles Lebrun.

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