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Jacques René Hébert

Jacques René Hébert (November 15, 1757 - March 24, 1794), French Revolutionist, called "Pére Duchesne," from the newspaper he edited, was born at Alençon, Orne[?], 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 August 10, 1792 he was a member of the revolutionary Commune of Paris, and became second substitute of the procw-eur of the Commune on December 2 1792. His violent attacks on the Girondists led to his arrest on May 24 1793, but he was released owing to the threatening attitude of the mob. Henceforth very popular, Hébert organized with PG Chaumette 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 enrages, 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 Pére Duchesne, 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 Revolution Française, revue d'histoire moderne et contemporaine, t. xii. and t. xiii.; D Mater, J. R. Hébert, l'auteur du Pére Duchesne avant la journée du 10 août 1792 (Bourges, Comm. Hist. du Cher, 1888); FA Aulard, Le Culte de la raison et de l'être suprême (Paris, 1892).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

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