1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hébert, Jacques René

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

HÉBERT, JACQUES RENÉ (1757-1794), French Revolutionist, called “Père Duchesne,” from the newspaper he edited, was born at Alençon, on the 15th of November 1757, where his father, who kept a goldsmith’s shop, had held some municipal office. His family was ruined, however, by a lawsuit while he was still young, and Hébert came to Paris, where in his struggle against poverty he endured great hardships; the accusations of theft directed against him later by Camille Desmoulins were, however, without foundation. In 1790 he attracted attention by some pamphlets, and became a prominent member of the club of the Cordeliers in 1791. On the 10th of August 1792 he was a member of the revolutionary Commune of Paris, and became second substitute of the procureur of the Commune on the 2nd of December 1792. His violent attacks on the Girondists led to his arrest on the 24th of May 1793, but he was released owing to the threatening attitude of the mob. Henceforth very popular, Hébert organized with P. G. Chaumette (q.v.) the “worship of Reason,” in opposition to the theistic cult inaugurated by Robespierre, against whom he tried to excite a popular movement. The failure of this brought about the arrest of the Hébertists, or enragés, as his partisans were called. Hébert was guillotined on the 24th of March 1794. His wife, who had been a nun, was executed twenty days later. Hébert’s influence was mainly due to his articles in his journal Le Père Duchesne,[1] which appeared from 1790 to 1794. These articles, while not lacking in a certain cleverness, were violent and abusive, and purposely couched in foul language in order to appeal to the mob.

See Louis Duval, “Hébert chez lui,” in La Révolution Française, revue d’histoire moderne et contemporaine, t. xii. and t. xiii.; D. Mater, J. R. Hébert, l’auteur du Père Duchesne avant la journée du 10 août 1792 (Bourges, Comm. Hist. du Cher, 1888); F. A. Aulard, Le Culte de la raison et de l’être suprême (Paris, 1892).

  1. There were several journals of this name, the best known of the others being that edited by Lemaire.