- Jacques Hébert
Jacques René Hébert (
November 15, 1757— March 24, 1794) was editor of the extreme radical newspaper " Le Père Duchesne" during the French Revolution. His followers are usually referred to as "the Hébertists" or "the Hébertistes"; he himself is sometimes called "Père Duchesne", after his newspaper.
Born 1757 at
Alençon, Orne, to jeweller Jacques Hébert (died 1766) and Marguerite Beunaiche of Houdrie (1727-1787). His family was ruined by a lawsuit while he was still young, and Hébert came to Paris. There he found work in a theatre, where he wrote plays in his spare time, but these were never produced.
In 1790, he attracted attention through a pamphlet he published, and became a prominent member of the club of the
Hébert's influence was mainly due to his articles in his journal, "Le Père Duchesne", which appeared from 1790 to 1794. These polemic articles were written with wit, but were also violent and abusive, and purposely couched in foul language in order to appeal to the
sans culottes. Initially, "Le Père Duchesne" supported (1790-1791) a constitutional monarchyaround King Louis XVI, as well as the opinions of the Marquis de La Fayette; its most violent attacks of the period were aimed at Jean-Sifrein Maury(the main opponent of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy). Hébert changed his beliefs after the king's flight to Varennes in June 1791, and started referring to Marie Antoinetteas 'the Austrian bitch' and addressing Louis XVIas 'Monsieur Veto, the drunken drip.'
Prominence and clash with Robespierre
His violent attacks on the
Girondistpresence in the National Conventionled to his arrest on May 24, 1793, but he was released owing to the threatening attitude of the mob. His tone was further radicalised by the killing of Jean-Paul Maratin July 1793; his attacks on Marie Antoinettecontributed to the mood of hostility towards her, and indirectly to her execution. Henceforth very popular, Hébert organized with Pierre Gaspard Chaumettethe worship of Reason, in opposition to the theistic cult of the Supreme Beinginaugurated by Maximilien Robespierre, against whom he tried to instigate a popular movement. The failure of this brought about the arrest of the Hébertists.
Hébert and his immediate followers —although certainly not all his sympathizers— were
guillotined March 24, 1794, and were among the few to have become adversaries of Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safetyfor an excess of zeal rather than for any accusations of counter-revolutionary activity. It is said that Hebert was hysterical on his way to his execution and fainted at the sight of the guillotine. His wife, Marie Marguerite Françoise Hébert (née Goupil) (born 1756), who had been a nun, was executed twenty days later. They had a daughter, Scipion-Virginia Hébert (February 7, 1793 - July 13, 1830).
*1911 The 1911 "Encyclopaedia Britannica", in turn, gives the following references:
**Louis Duval, "Hébert chez lui", in "La Révolution Française, revue d'histoire moderne et contemporaine", t. xii. and t. xiii.
**D. Mater, J. R. Hibert, "L'auteur du Père Duchesne avant la journée du 10 août 1792" (Bourges, Comm. Hist. du Cher, 1888).
François Victor Alphonse Aulard, "Le Culte de la raison et de l'être suprême" (Paris, 1892).
* [http://www.marxists.org/history/france/revolution/hebert/index.htm Jacques Hébert Internet Archive] on
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.