1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Beauchamp, Alphonse de

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BEAUCHAMP, ALPHONSE DE, French historian and man of letters, was born at Monaco in 1767, and died in 1832. In 1784 he entered a Sardinian regiment of marines, but on the outbreak of war with the French Republic, he refused to fight in what he considered an unjust cause, and was imprisoned for several months. After being liberated he took up his residence in Paris, where he obtained a post in one of the government offices. On the fall of Robespierre, Beauchamp was transferred to the bureau of the minister of police, and charged with the superintendence of the press. This situation opened up to him materials of which he made use in his first and most popular historical work, Histoire de la Vendée et des Chouans, 3 vols., 1806. The book, received with great favour by the people, was displeasing to the authorities. The third edition was confiscated; its writer was deprived of his post, and in 1809 was compelled to leave Paris and take up his abode in Reims. In 1811 he obtained permission to return, and again received a government appointment. This he had to resign on the Restoration, but was rewarded with a small pension, which was continued to his widow after his death.

Beauchamp wrote extensively for the public journals and for the magazines. His biographical and historical works are numerous, and those dealing with contemporary events are valuable, owing to the sources at his disposal. They must, however, be used with great caution. The following are worth mention:—Vie politique, militaire et privée du général Moreau (1814); Catastrophe de Murat, ou Récit de la dernière révolution de Naples (1815); Histoire de la guerre d’Espagne et du Portugal, 1807-1813 (2 vols., 1819); Collection de mémoires relatifs aux révolutions d’Espagne (2 vols., 1824); Histoire de la révolution de Piémont (2 vols., 1821, 1823); Mémoires secrets et inédits pour servir à l’histoire contemporaine (2 vols., 1825). The Mémoires de Fouché have also been ascribed to him, but it seems certain that he only revised and completed a work really composed by Fouché himself.

See an article by Louis Madelin in La Revolution française (1900).