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MARC RENE MARIE DE VOYER DE PAULMY

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Originally appearing in Volume V02, Page 460 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MARC RENE MARIE DE VOYER DE PAULMY, marquis d'Argenson (1771-1842), son of the preceding, was born in Paris in September 1771. He was brought up by his father's cousin, the marquis de Paulmy, governor of the arsenal, and was made lieutenant of dragoons in 1789. Although, at the age of eighteen, he had succeeded to several estates and a large fortune, he em-braced the revolutionary cause, joining the army of the North as Lafayette's aide-de-camp and remaining with it even after Lafayette's defection. Leaving France to take one of his sisters to England, he was denounced on his return as a royalist conspirator, on the charge of having in his possession portraits of the royal family. He then went to live in Touraine, married the widow of Prince Victor de Broglie, and saved her and her children from proscription. He introduced new agricultural instruments and processes on his estates, and installed machinery imported from England in his ironworks in Alsace. He was an enthusiastic adherent of Napoleon, by whom he was appointed in May 1809 prefect of Deux-Nethes. He helped to repel the English invasion of the islands of South Beveland and Walcheren (August 18og), and afterwards directed the defence works of Antwerp, but resigned this post (March 1813) in consequence of the complaints of the inhabitants and the exacting demands of the emperor. In May 1814 he refused the prefecture of Marseilles offered to him by the Bourbons, but was elected deputy from Belfort in 1815 during the Hundred Days. On the 5th of July 1815 he took part in the declaration protesting against any tampering with the immutable rights of the nation. He was a member of the Chambre introuvable, where he became one of the orators of the democratic party. He was one of the founders of the journal Le censeur europeen and of the Club de la liberte de la presse, and was an uncompromising opponent of reaction. Not re-elected in 1824 on account of his liberal ideas, he returned to the chamber under the Martignac ministry (1828), and resolutely persisted in his championship of the liberty of the press and of public worship. On the death of his wife he voluntarily renounced his mandate (July 1829), and hailed the revolution of 1830 with great satisfaction. On the 3rd of November 1830 he was elected to the chamber as deputy from Chatellerault, and took the oath, adding, however, the reservation " subject to the progress of the public reason." His independent attitude resulted in his defeat in the following year at the Chatellerault election, but he was returned for Strassburg. He wished the incidence of the taxes to be arranged according to social condition, and advocated a single tax proportionate to income like the English income tax. He harped incessantly on this idea in his speeches and articles (see his letters in La Tribune of June 20, 1832). Although he was a proprietor of ironworks he opposed the protectionist laws, which he considered injurious to the workmen. He became the mouthpiece of the advanced ideas; subsidized the opposition newspapers, especially the National; received into his house F. M. Buonarroti, who in 1796 had been implicated in the conspiracy of " Gracchus " Babeuf (q.v.); and became a member of the committee of the Society of the Rights of Man. He was even sued in the courts for a pamphlet called Roulade d'un homme tithe d sentiments populaires, and delivered a speech to the jury in which he displayed very daring social theories. But he gradually grew discouraged and retired from public affairs, refusing even municipal office, and living in seclusion at La Grange in the forest of Guerche, where he devoted his inventive faculty to devising agricultural improvements. He subsequently returned to Paris, where he died on the 1st of August 1842.
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