1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Michaud, Joseph François
MICHAUD, JOSEPH FRANÇOIS (1767–1839), French historian and publicist, was born of an old family on the 10th of June 1767, at Albens, Savoy, was educated at Bourg-en-Bresse, and afterwards engaged in literary work at Lyons, where the events of 1789 first called out the strong dislike to revolutionary principles which manifested itself throughout the rest of his life. In 1791 he went to Paris, where, not without danger, he took part in editing several royalist journals. In 1796 he became editor of La Quotidienne, for his connexion with which he was arrested after the 13th of Vendérniaire; he succeeded in escaping his captors, but was sentenced to death par contumace by the military council. Having resumed the editorship of his newspaper on the establishment of the Directory, he was again proscribed on the 18th of Fructidor, but at the close of two years returned to Paris when the consulate had superseded the Directory. His Bourbon sympathies led to a brief imprisonment in 1800, and on his release he for the time abandoned journalism, and began to write or edit books. Along with his brother and two colleagues he published in 1806 a Biographie moderne, ou dictionnaire des hommes qui se sont fait un nom en Europe depuis 1789, the earliest work of its kind; and in 1811 appeared the first volume of his Histoire des croisades and also the first volume of his Biographie universelle. In 1814 he resumed the editorship of La Quotidienne, and in the same year was elected Academician. In 1815 his brochure entitled Histoire des quinze semaines ou le dernier règne de Bonaparte met with extraordinary success, passing through twenty seven editions within a very short time. His political services were now rewarded with the cross of an officer in the Legion of Honour and the modest post of king’s reader, of which last he was deprived in 1827 for having opposed Peyronnet’s “Loi d’Amour” against the freedom of the Press. In 1830–1831 he travelled in Syria and Egypt for the purpose of collecting additional materials for the Histoire des croisades; his correspondence with a fellow explorer, J. J. F . Poujoulat, consisting practically of discussions and elucidations of various points in that work, was afterwards published (Correspondance d’orient, 7 vols., 1833–1835). Like the Histoire, it is more interesting than exact. The Bibliothèque des croisades, in four volumes more, contained the “Pièces justificatives” of the Histoire. Michaud died on the 30th of September 1839, at Passy, where his home had been since 1832.
His Histoire des croisades was published in its final form in six volumes in 1840 under the editorship of his friend Poujoulat (9th ed., with appendix, by Huillard-Bréholles, 1856). Michaud, along with Poujoulat, also edited Nouvelle collection des mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de France (32 vols., 1836–1844). See Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi, vol. vii. 1