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LEPCHA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 464 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LEPCHA, the name of the aboriginal inhabitants of Sikkim (q.v.). A peace-loving people, the Lepchas have been repeatedly conquered by surrounding hill-tribes, and their ancient patriarchal customs are dying out. The total number of speakers of Lepeha, or Rong, in all India in 1901, was only 19,29r. Their rich and beautiful language has been preserved from extinction by the efforts of General Mainwaring and others; but their literature was almost entirely destroyed by the Tibetans, and their traditions are being rapidly forgotten. Once free and independent, they are now the poorest people in Sikkim, and it is 'from them that the coolie class is drawn. They are above all things woodmen, knowing the ways of beasts and birds, and possessing an extensive zoological and botanical nomenclature of their own. See Florence Donaldson, Lepcha Land (1900). LE PELETIER (or LEPELLETIER), DE SAINT-FARGEAU, LOUIS MICHEL (176o-1793), French politician, was born on the 29th of May 176o at Paris. He belonged to a well-known family, his great-grandfather, Michel Robert Le Peletier des Forts, count of Saint-Fargeau, having been controller-general of finance. He inherited a great fortune, and soon became president of the parlement of Paris and in 1789 he was a deputy of the noblesse to the States-General. At this time he shared the conservative views of the majority of his class; but by slow degrees his ideas changed and became very advanced. On the 13th of July 1789 he demanded the recall of Necker, whose dismissal by the king had aroused great excitement in Paris; and in the Constituent Assembly he had moved the abolition of the penalty of death, of the galleys and of branding,, and the substitution of beheading for hanging. This attitude won him great popularity, and on the 21st of June 1790 he was made president of the Constituent Assembly. During the existence of the Legislative Assembly, he was president of the general council for the department of the Yonne, and was afterwards elected by this department as a deputy to the Convention. Here he was in favour of the trial of Louis XVI. by the assembly and voted for the death of the king. This vote, together with his ideas in general, won him the hatred of the royalists, and on the loth of January 1793, the eve of the execution of the king, he was assassinated in the Palais Royal at Paris by a member of the king's body-guard. The Convention honoured Le Peletier by a magnificent funeral, and the painter J. L. David represented his death in a famous picture, which was later destroyed by his daughter. Towards the end of his life, Le Peletier had interested himself in the question of public education; he left fragments of a plan, the ideas contained in which were borrowed in later schemes. His assassin fled to Normandy, where, on the point of being discovered, he blew out his brains. Le Peletier had a brother, Felix (1769-1837), well known for his advanced French nation. See cEuvres de M. le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau (Brussels, 1826) with a life by his brother Felix; E. Le Blant, " Le Peletier de St-Fargeau„ et eon meurtrier," in the Correspondant review (1874); F. Clerembray, Episodes de la Revolution (Rouen, 1891); Brette, " La Reforme de la legislation universelle, et le plan de Lepelletier Saint-Fargeau," in La Revolution francaise, xlii. (1902) ; and M. Tourneux, Bibliog. de l'hist. de Paris . . (vol. i., 189o, Nos. 3896-3910, and vol. iv., 1906, s.v. Lepeletier).
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