1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Drouet, Jean Baptiste

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DROUET, JEAN BAPTISTE (1763-1824), French Revolutionist, chiefly noted for the part he played in the arrest of Louis XVI. at Varennes, was born at Sainte-Menehould. He served for seven years in the army, and afterwards assisted his father, who was post-master of his native town. The carriages conveying the royal family on their flight to the frontier stopped at his door on the evening of the 21st of June 1791; and the passengers, travelling under assumed names, were recognized by Drouet, who immediately took steps which led to their arrest and detection on reaching Varennes. For this service the Assembly awarded him 30,000 francs, but he appears to have declined the reward. In September 1792 he was elected deputy to the Convention, and took his place with the most violent party. He voted the death of the king without appeal, showed implacable hostility to the Girondins, and proposed the slaughter of all English residents in France. Sent as commissioner to the army of the north, he was captured at the siege of Maubeuge and imprisoned at Spielberg till the close of 1795. He then became a member of the Council of Five Hundred, and was named secretary. Drouet was implicated in the conspiracy of Babeuf, and was imprisoned; but he made his escape into Switzerland, and then to Teneriffe. There he took part in the successful resistance to the attempt of Nelson on the island, in 1797, and later visited India. The first empire found in him a docile sub-prefect of Sainte-Menehould. After the second Restoration he was compelled to quit France. Returning secretly he settled at Macon, under the name of Merger and a guise of piety, and preserved his incognito till his death on the 11th of April 1824.

See G. Lenotre, Le Drame de Varennes (Paris, 1905).