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FELIX PYAT (1810-1889)

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Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 676 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FELIX PYAT (1810-1889), French Socialist, was born at Vierzon (Cher) on the 4th of October 181o, the son of a Legitimist lawyer. Called to the bar in Paris in 1831, he threw his whole energies into journalism. The violent personalities of a pamphlet entitled Marie Joseph Chenier et le prince des critiques (1844), in reply to Jules Janin, brought him a six months' sojourn in La Pelagie, in the cell just quitted by Lamennais. He worked with other dramatists in a long series of plays, with an interval of six years on the National, until the revolution of 1848. George Sand, whom he had introduced in 183o to the staff of the Figaro, now asked Ledru-Rollin to make him commissary-general of the Cher. After three months' tenure of this office he was returned by the department to the Constituent Assembly, where he voted with the Mountain, and brought forward the celebrated motion for the abolition of the presidential office. About this time he fought a duel with Proudhon, who had called him the " aristocrat of the democracy." He joined Ledru-Rollin in the attempt of the 13th of June 1849, after which he sought refuge in Switzerland, Belgium, and finally in England. For a glorification of regicide on the occasion of the Orsini attempt against Napoleon III. he was brought before an English court, but acquitted, and the general amnesty of 1869 permitted his return to France, but further outbursts against the authorities, followed by prosecution, compelled him to return to England. The revolution of the 4th of September brought him back to Paris, and it was he who in his paper Le Combat displayed a black-edged announcement of the pourparlers for the surrender of Metz. After the insurrection of the 31st of October he was imprisonedfor a short time. In January 1871, Le Combat was suppressed,only to be followed by an equally virulent Vengeur. Elected to the National Assembly, he retired from Bordeaux with Henri Rochefort and others until such time as the ". parricidal " vote for peace should be annulled. He returned to Paris to join the committee of public safety, and, in Hanotaux's words, was the ante ulceree of the Commune, but was blamed for the loss of the fort of Issy. He was superseded there by Delescluze, but he continued to direct the violent acts of the Commune, the overthrow of the Vendome column, the'destruction of Thiers's residence and of the expiatory chapel built to the memory of Louis XVI. He escaped the vengeance of the Versailles government, crossed the frontier in safety, and, though he had been condemned to death in his absence in 1873, the general amnesty of July 188o permitted his return to Paris. He was returned to the Chamber of Deputies for the department of Bouches-du-Rhone in March 1888 and took his seat on the extreme Left, but died at Saint-Gratien on the 3rd of August 1888.
End of Article: FELIX PYAT (1810-1889)
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